Small Business Success Depends on a Strong Network

Small Business Success Depends on a Strong Network

Some small business owners have to be able to go five years without paying themselves a salary. During this time, they might moonlight as bartenders, grocery clerks, or they may hold a 9-5 job while building their business from 5-9.

Among the ways to build a small business from the ground up, one crucial area in making money is having a network in place. This network will include, but not be limited to, friends, family, and colleagues. Regardless of how big one’s network is, and how influential the person within is, there are still other important factors, such as letting people know about the business.

A Small Business Needs Advertising

Some small business owners never make it past selling their wares to those close to them. This happens (or doesn’t happen) because they never make it happen.

 It costs almost nothing for a person to post fliers on telephone poles or to hand out business cards. The former can work very well for people who do handyman type work, such as lawn care, painting, and plumbing. And the latter is a must for anyone in business. After all, with so many people selling the same goods and services, customers are not going to break their necks to call one person over the other if they have one phone number handy while the other is unavailable.

The point is that if no one knows you are in business, then no one can buy from you. For those who do know you’re in business, they won’t refer you if you do not prove to be reliable, and reliability can be seen in consistently well done work, and in one’s ability to make contact.

These small things make the difference between a professional and an amateur.

Expanding a Network for Business Success

When owning a business it is important to expand your network. This can be done through more traditional advertising or by getting involved in the local community.

Getting involved can be as easy as a restaurant owner sponsoring little league teams and giving the kids coupons. This will get new customers in the door while also compelling old customers to come in more often, especially when their kids’ pictures are on the wall.

For those who want to be more involved, joining organizations like the Lions and Rotary Clubs are great ways to meet new people as is getting involved with charities, such as Habitat for Humanity.

The key to business success is having something people want and need. But if only a small group knows that the business is open, everyone else will be forced to take their money elsewhere.

Small Business Owner Manifesto: Entrepreneurs View and Treat Employees Differently

Small Business Owner Manifesto

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are a unique group of individuals who are often so passionate about what the do or produce that it can be challenging to work for them. People who find themselves in the unique position of working with these trailblazers should leave their notions about 9-5 Corporate America at the door, because entrepreneurs work differently.

The following is a manifesto created by an entrepreneur who, on the promise of anonymity, allowed this to be reprinted to help prospective employees understand what to expect before accepting a position in her organization.

My Future is on the Line

  • I have put my heart, money, soul, and gambled my family’s future on this company. It means everything to me and I often expect it to mean as much to you as it does to me.
  • You are important to me and my business, but realize that I am the one taking 100% of the financial risk for this venture, so when it pays off, don’t think you’re entitled to 100% of the reward.
  • I give 120% every day. I expect the same from you.
  • I never say “die” and I never say “quit”. I may say, “Give me a minute to catch my breath” but then I’m back in there fighting for this company. Quitters and defeatists need not apply.
  • I expect you to not just do your best, but to do what is required.
  • This is not a job but a passion and a way of life. When you are here, this is not what you do, it’s who you are.
  • I do not expect my employees to stay in this organization forever- but I do expect that while you are here you honor your contract, are on time, prepared, enthusiastic, willing to help out in any required capacity, and that you never stop pushing to be better. You do a good job for me and I will make it my mission to get you where you want to be in life. If you leave me hanging, be assured that I will never do anything positive for you ever again- even if decades pass. I have a really long memory.

Titles

  • Everyone, regardless of title, sells, recruits and markets every single day.
  • We all work as a team. Everyone sells, markets, teaches, collates, files, cleans the office, takes out the garbage, and does what is needed, when it is needed- even me.
  • In this organization the words “That’s not my job” equal the words “I quit.”

Communication

  • I am too busy to be politically correct. I never go out of my way to offend someone and if I offend you, know that it’s not intentional and move on.
  • Communicate with me. I can not read your mind and, quite honestly, I don’t want to. I can not help you if I do not know you need help or are unhappy.
  • I only want people on my team who are happy to be where they are. If you’re not happy it will show in your work and I can’t have that. Tell me and we will work toward a solution that will make everyone happy.
  • I listen to all feedback, criticisms, and suggestions- just don’t expect me to act on everything.
  • Do not lie to me. I do not have time for it and there’s no good reason to do it.
  • I give you a lot of time off so do not ask for additional time unless there are extreme- and I mean extreme- circumstances.

Interoffice Politics

  • I can not stand in-fighting and back-stabbing and won’t tolerate it.
  • Disagreements will happen and they are healthy. Don’t take it personally and be a professional. This is America- people are allowed to disagree about things and still respect one another.
  • Do not write something down unless you plan on allowing every person on the planet to be able to read it.
  • You do not have to like me, but you do need to be a professional and be the best at your job.
  • The boss may not always be right , but she’s always the boss.

Employees who can handle the intensity and uncertainty of working for a small business or entrepreneur will develop professional skills serving as a key member of a small group that can propel them to higher levels of larger corporations later in their professional lives.

Download Free Small Business Accounting Samples: Sample Business Forms to Improve Bookkeeping and Accounts at No Cost

Download Free Small Business Accounting Samples

Many small business owners are intimidated by the rules that apply to bookkeeping and accounts receivable and payable. Without previous accounting experience, businesses have several options for maintaining a small accounting department.

  • Hiring a part-time or freelance accountant– This option can be extremely costly, and part-time employees seldom understand the workings of a business as well as full time employees.
  • Investing in a robust accounting software program– This option is also costly, and requires yearly updates, membership costs, and ongoing training.
  • Accounting classes for a current employee– This solution may be costly as well, but is a one-time investment that may pay off over the long-term.
  • Downloading free small business accounting samples– This solution is free, and requires employees to follow a template when entering information.

Bookkeeping Online

Bookkeeping online with sample business forms is both easy and free. By downloading small business accounting samples, users can enter all pertinent information in each template. The templates can be saved online by using a service such as Google Docs. This allows users to access blank accounting templates or previously updated templates, from any location with an Internet connection. Bookkeeping online provides several benefits.

Benefits of Accounting Web Templates

  • Accounting web templates offer benefits for small business accounting personnel by providing access to sample business forms from any computer connected to the Internet. This saves time and can reduce the need for commuting for small business owners with a home office as well as a storefront.
  • Changes to business form templates will take place immediately, reducing the chances of employees using outdated forms.
  • Employees can use the forms from any location, which simplifies filing business expense reports.

Accounting For Small Business

Accounting for a small business can be challenging to do the lack of experience in accounting and bookkeeping tasks, and the expense involved in many accounting solutions. Using sample business forms simplifies this process for business owners, and employees without accounting experience. In addition to downloading free small business accounting samples, such as this Business Account Ledger, which works to track income and expenses for a business, business owners can improve accounting knowledge through accounting courses.

Online Accounting Courses

Taking online accounting courses can improve the ability of an employee to fill an accounting slot without previous training. This lowers the business owner’s dependence on outside accounting personnel, and lowers the overall cost of accounting. While the classes may require an initial outlay of cash, the increased value of the employee to the business repays the investment quickly.

Small Business Help in Salt Lake City

Small Business Help in Salt Lake City

Ever considered opening a small business in Salt Lake City? With the many services and opportunities, one’s dream can soon become a reality.

Why Salt Lake City?

The Wasatch Front is a vibrant community full of life. It is best noted for its seven well known ski resorts, organizations for ballet and opera, and symphony orchestra. Salt Lake City is a clean and environmentally friendly community with numerous parks and a transportation network that surpasses cities of similar size. Its population is great enough to ensure an adequate amount of employees and patrons for any business.

Whether currently running a small business here or wanting to start one, Salt Lake City has ample resources to provide support. Its Small Business Guide makes available numerous mentoring programs that can help an owner determine their greatest skills and talents and guide them through the startup process. Many of these services are free. Best of all, an owner is networked with other entrepreneurs, financing institutions, and numerous other business resources.

 Services Provided for Entrepreneurs

Not sure where to begin? There are multiple organizations that can help develop and market anyone’s ideas. Business professionals can provide guidance with obtaining financing as well as obtaining licensing and permits. Have concerns about zoning? There are assistants to give advice on this topic and many others.

Business leaders, community organizers, and government leaders help provide additional assistance in:

  • Informing of and supporting city policies and ordinances which increase the viability of small businesses.
  • Enabling small businesses to obtain financing from the Revolving Loan Program.
  • Implementing the new Accela software program to clarify and make available planning, permitting and inspection services for small businesses.
  • Improve business growth and opportunities through developing a small business summit.
  • Neighborhood business districts provide business owners help in marketing, demographics, promoting, and organization assistance to small business.

The following is a list of numbers to call for assistance:

Permitting: 801.535.7752

Licensing: 801.535.6644

Zoning: 801.535.7757

Loan Program: 801.535.7122

Business Mentors

There is an organization that can help, the entrepreneur, hook up with an experienced business mentor? The service is called MicroMentor. Now one can develop a one-on-one relationship with a business coach who can give advice about a specific industry as well as how to set up a business.

They currently have approximately 1,200 mentors who have helped 1,400 business owners in attaining a survival rate of 74%, while helping entrepreneurs increase their revenue by 63%. Also, those with over three years experience running a business may volunteer to help as a coach at MicroMentor.

Money to Build Your Small Business

 

Money to Build Your Small Business

The SBIC program purposes to provide creative and flexible loan options to small and newly established businesses. SBICs, or Small Business Investment Companies, have been providing capital to qualified small businesses since 1959, according to the Small Business Association. The SBIC is a privately owned investment fund licensed by the SBA to provide debt or equity financial assistance and management consulting to small businesses that meet preset conditions.

The SBIC program is strikingly different than applying for a loan through a traditional commercial bank. This program aims to help entrepreneurs, companies with smaller budgets and projects that are new and innovative.

Getting the lender interested

Preparing your small business loan proposal for consideration by a SBIC begins with searching a directory of firms in your geographical area that may have an interest in working with your business type. Each SBA licensed SBIC has funding requirements specific to their firm. It is important to familiarize yourself with the types of projects they fund and any criteria the lender specifies. During your search, consider the stage in the life cycle your business is in and compare it to the SBIC funding priorities. Contact the SBIC you identified during your search and speak with a project or loan officer about your business. Consider this an informal introduction. Ask questions, take notes and listen closely to any recommendations.

Keeping the conversation going

Evaluate your current business plan for compatibility with the SBIC criteria and additional information gleaned from the initial contact. There are several types of business plans, and you must ensure your plan is written in the format and presents the information the SBIC needs for consideration. The National Association of Small Business Investment Companies indicates your business plan should minimally present operations, management characteristics, current financial conditions, and funding requirements. Rewrite and reorganize your business plan to suit the conditions of the specific SBIC application. Pay careful attention to the financial section of the plan; it should explain how you plan to profit and what the funds will be used for in the plan.

Understanding the business plan

There are many types of business plans. Generally, a business plan includes the following sections:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Market Summary
  • Organization and Management
  • Financials
  • Appendix

Schedule a formal presentation of your business plan once you are sure your plan format and content meets the criteria set forth by the SBIC. Make sure you have copies for everyone planned to meet with you, and several extras. Sample business plans, business plan templates, and information on growing your small business are available.