7 Steps to Get A Business Loan

Before the hard strike of the Great Recession, it was a lot easier to get business loans. You have to meet certain requirements before the lender can grant you the loan. Given below are 7 steps that you may want to follow when apply for business loans. Read on.

Develop a relationship with the lender

Before you even need the loan, you may want to develop a relationship with the lender. The main people should get familiar with your business. Keep in mind that lenders like to do business with trust worthy people. So, let them know as much as possible about your business.

Purpose of the money

You may want to decide on the purpose you applied for the loan for. Make sure you are going to get a loan for a good purpose. For instance, you can get a loan to buy equipment, property or software. However, it’s not a good idea to get a loan to finance losses or to get unimportant business assets.

Business needs

You may want to make an assessment of how much money your business needs. If you have a small business, you may not want to apply for a large loan. However, make sure you don’t underestimate the money you need to keep your business running. Both underestimating and overestimating can cause problems down the road.

Credit score

Typically, lenders consider the personal credit of a businessman before granting the loan. So, make sure you have a good credit rating. If you have a bad rating, make sure you work on it to get it in good standing.

Finding the lender

You may want to read up on the type of lender that will best suit your business needs. For conventional loans, you can go to commercial banks. However, their parameters are strict. Non-bank lenders is another option that you may consider. Then there are region specific lenders that include banks and other institutes that are interested in economic development in those areas. Lastly, you can check out crowdfunding websites especially if your capital needs are not over $10,000. For personals, you can also check out peer-to-peer websites, such as The Lending Club and Prosper.

Loan application package

You may want to get the loan application package ready. This includes the documents submitted so as to apply for a business loan. Generally, it includes a business plan, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, just to name a few. You may want to keep in mind that lenders may also check out your social media pages while doing their research.

Hang on

Once you have submitted the required documents, you may have to wait for 15 to 30 days for a response from the lender. You can check in on a weekly basis for an update. Usually, lenders may require additional documents before granting the loan.

So, if you have been thinking of applying for a business loan, we suggest that you follow the steps explained in this article.

Entrepreneurial Approach to Resources

Howard Stevenson and his colleagues at Harvard Business School define entrepreneurship as “the process of creating or seizing an opportunity and pursuing it regardless of the resources currently controlled.” This approach, Stevenson maintains, has greatly contributed towards the success of entrepreneurs. He points out that entrepreneurs seek to use the minimum possible amount of all types of resources at every stage in their venture’s growth. These resources include human resources, financial resources, assets and a business plan. Rather than own the resources entrepreneurs need, they seek to control them, according to Stevenson.

Studies indicate that entrepreneurs with such an approach towards business substantially reduce the risk in pursuing opportunities.

1. Capital: Since the amount of capital required will be smaller, it will mitigate risk by reducing the financial exposure and the dilution of the founder’s equity.

2. Flexibility: Entrepreneurs are in a better position to commit and decommit quickly when they do not own a resource. The flexibility of business thus gained can be very useful to a firm, since it enables them to respond faster and reach decisions quickly. In addition to this, the entrepreneurial approach to resources allows strategic experiments, which means that ideas can be tried and tested without committing to the ownership of all assets and resources in the business. For example, it is wise to raise capital gradually as the need arises, otherwise one may end up spending it too early on wrong decisions. Inflexibility also results from committing permanently to a certain technology, software or management system.

3. Low Sunk Cost: The cost of closing down a firm or a venture will also be lower if the ownership of resources is less. If the up-front capital commitment is huge, abandoning such a project will also be very costly.

4. Costs: Fixed costs will be lower, which will have a positive affect on breakeven. Of course in that case variable cost may rise.

5. Reduced Risk: Apart from reducing risk in general, other risk events such as risk of obsolescence of resource are also lower. For example, biotechnology companies have used venture leasing as a way to supplement sources of equity financing.

One should not assume incorrectly that this approach means that a firm cannot afford to buy resources. The fact is that not having ownership has its own advantages and options in the form of flexibility of business and reduced risk. However, at the same time these decisions are very complex, and considerations such as tax implications of leasing vs. buying and other existing laws and regulations have to be thought of thoroughly and carefully.

Acquire New Business

A major part of keeping profitable and growing your business is maintaining a focus on business development. Even when you’ve got the right mix of work, clients and employees you should be looking for new opportunities. You could establish a process to do this whilst ensuring your existing customers don’t get neglected. The process helps you manage new business opportunities in a cost- and time-effective manner.

Generate leads

Identify the types of companies you want to work with and a realistic number of companies you want to target over a given period of time. For example: an accountant with experience in the marketing industry might decide to target five opportunities per month focussed on marketing consultancies.

Finding potential clients and identifying new opportunities can be done through networking events, tenders listed in newspapers and industry magazines and headlines in newspapers about new projects and industry seminars. Keep an eye on your industry and stay aware of new developments.

Track the companies you approach in a database ( you could use Microsoft Excel or Access). Tracking should cover the obvious things (company contact details etc) as well as details of what was discussed, potential works, actions and more.

Qualify the leads

Once you have a list of identified companies you must review to ensure they are realistic opportunities. Some areas to think about include:

o Do you have the right contacts to get started?

o Do you have the right services to offer them?

o How can their website help you understand them better?

o Do you have any conflicts of interest in pursuing this company?

o Does this client have growth potential or would it be a quick job?

o Who makes the decisions? How can you reach them?

3. Raise your business profile

By raising your company profile (no matter how small you are) you’ll be able to generate new business with less effort. As a leader in the industry new business will come to you. There are many ways to raise your profile; you could try sponsoring events, adverts and gaining media coverage. The size, location and target market of your business this will dictate what medium to use and the areas to cover.

4. Show them what you’re made of

Start to reach your qualified opportunities by showcasing your company’s products. Send them a brochure or a copy of any newsletters you produce and invite them to join; show off examples of your work; highlight relevant media articles.

Develop standard template letters in Word to send to potential clients to accompany your credentials/brochures. Ensure you link to your database (Excel, Access or Outlook) when merging the letters and envelopes to ensure you don’t have to re-enter details.

There is no specified time for this courting so be patient. It could be six months before anything comes to fruition.

5. Set a meeting time

So you’re in the door. Now you need to sell yourself. Tailor the meeting to suit the way you operate as a business. It could be a formal PowerPoint presentation or a discussion over coffee. You may have no choice for the style of the meeting but make sure you are comfortable and well prepared. During the meeting be sure to demonstrate the knowledge you have developed in the previous stages.

6. Follow up

You’ve presented your capabilities and ideas. Don’t stop there. Follow up is essential. This is a major part of the process and should be taken as seriously as the other steps. You’ll probably be able to build on ideas from the meeting, or you might find an interesting/relevant article or statistics you could send to re-open discussion. Even if you don’t have anything to send, thank them for the opportunity.

Why Hire an Advertising/Marketing Consultant?

As a business owner, you have the option of taking several different approaches to handling your Marketing and Advertising. You may choose to handle the responsibility yourself, with the idea that no one understands your business quite the way you do.. You may also consider hiring a full time marketing manager or even assigning the tasks, as they arise, to someone already working within your organization. Consider this… When your business needs plumbing work do you do it yourself? Hire a plumber to be on staff full time? Or ask your accountant to handle it?

Call in the Experts.

Though some advertising and marketing ventures seems simple enough to be handled ”in house”, nothing is as costly as a marketing misfire. Not only may you be sending out the wrong messages, to the wrong markets, but also by the time you catch it, your budget may be in no shape to recover and redirect. The truth is, no one can do the job as effectively and efficiently as someone who lives and breathes the industry everyday. Plus, the added perk of consistent media contacts that will prove to be financially beneficial to your business.

Seeing the forest and the trees.

When you hire a consultant you hire an objective opinion, as well as a fresh point of view. Sometimes a business may lose perspective on itself by being too heavily immersed in the day-to-day operations, and lose itself in the big picture, missing the small details… or vice-versa. Sadly, sometimes a business’s marketing will clearly reflect this. The president of a private jet company’s focus is on the bells and whistles of his fleet. It’s what he sees as important in his view of his business. Inevitably, his marketing may also focus on this portion of his business, ignoring what he is really selling to his potential clients: The feeling and the status of private jets.

If you add another ball, technically it is juggling.

If you, as a business owner, or an employee take on the added tasks of the marketing of the business, attention is being taken from other projects and responsibilities. Inescapably, focus and demands are bound to pull from one and take away from others until something falls to the floor. Consultants are dedicated to one, and only one, portion of your business. Their focus is committed, and they allow you to keep yours where it should be.

The Gumby Factor.

Consultants are very flexible. Immediately ready and available to take on assignments at a moment’s notice. Accessibility to getting a new project off the ground is just a phone call away. On the other hand, trying to hire a new employee specifically to handle your marketing needs takes valuable time to places ads; conduct interviews and then sort through applicants, hoping to find the right person for the job.

The M -Word Money.

When you total up the actual cost of bringing on a new employee, you will most likely find that hiring a consultant is much more cost effective. The hourly rates may seem to favor a full time employee, but when you factor in employee benefits, training time, vacation/sick time, 401(k), the added overhead involved in situating a new employee, and the sheer fact that you may be paying full time wages for something that may not need full time attention, the cost effectiveness will fall in favor of a consultant. Which bring us to….

The C- Word Commitment.

Hiring a full time employee is a commitment. And bringing on an employee to handle a special marketing project, or set up an initial marketing plan, may in the long run leave you scrambling to find a new project or position for that employee. Or worse yet, you find yourself paying a full time marketing director to do basic maintenance. Hiring a consultant requires no long-term commitment. When a consultant completes a project, they have the flexibility to move into whatever position you need them, from quarterly analysis, to basic maintenance, to completely out of the picture, but on the sidelines when you’re ready to take a new step forward.

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

TOP 10 Digital Marketers of 2018

SETH GODIN

Seth Godin is a bestselling author and entrepreneur. He is author of ten books that have been best sellers around the globe, and he is also a prominent speaker. Recently he was chosen as one of 21 Speakers.

Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the industry’s leading interactive direct marketing company, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998. He was called “the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age” by Business Week.

NEIL PATEL

Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, and Hello Bar.He created his first website at the age of 13 and paid a few marketing firms to help him out, but unfortunately they provided no results and took all of his money.

His writing mainly includes topics such as SEO, marketing, and branding. Additionally, you will be surprised to know that Neil Patel has built two multimillion online businesses when he was just 30 years old.

GUY KAWASAKI

Guy Takeo Kawasaki is an American digital marketer specialist and author. Previously, he was an Apple employee who was responsible for marketing their Macintosh computer line in 1984. He brought the word evangelist into vogue in marketing the Macintosh and the concepts related to evangelism marketing and technology evangelism.

Larry Kim

Larry Kim is a well known PPC expert and the founder of WordStream. He is also a writer of four award-winning books and regular contributor to Search Engine Land and Forbes. As a founder of wordstream, he has start up an organization from nothing to a successful software company. He does a huge amount of content marketing and PR stuff. His content has produced a vast figure of press pickups in the recent years.

Joost De Valk

Mr. Joost De Valk is the Founder and CEO of yoast.com and WordPress. He is also SEO, a Blogger and a successful web developer with more than 1.5 million monthly readers on his blog.

In 1994, he launched his first website. Later on, SEO turned to be his profession. For mean time, he started working in digital marketing and gathered information for companies like eBay. Later, he developed the plugin, Yoast SEO, which is considered as the simplest and the best WordPress plugin.

Douglas Kar

Douglas Karr is the CEO of DK New Media and founder of Marketing Technology Blog. Beside all, he is also a famous writer and digital marketers who helped businesses like Mindjet, GoDaddy and many more with his skill in online media, PRs, SEO, blogging and pay-per-click

As digital marketing continued to rise, he conveyed his ideas with experience in marketing technology to help others grow their business.

Qadir AK

With passion in digital marketing, Qadir Ak is best known to his innovative strategies while running th online branding company Ultimez Technology. He has been in IT industry since 10+ years. Mr.Qadir from India walks with trends in technology and applies it to every project his company undertakes. Beside India, he is now expanding his Digital marketing & online branding services across wider market of Dubai, UAE.

Dorie Clark

Dorie Clark is an well known digital marketer, speaker, and a regular writer to TIME,Harvard Business Review and the World Economic Forum blog. She is expert in branding and also writer of many famous books like Reinventing You and many more.

Jitendra Vaswani

Jitendra is a Digital Marketing SEO Consultant from India and the founder of

Digi Exe, a Digital Marketing Agency. He is an Blogger and author of WordPress Plugin-SchemaNinja. With 5 years of experience in digital marketing field, he has a strong knowledge of Internet Marketing terms like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Blogging, Social Media Optimization (SMO), Mobile, Ecommerce and WordPress.

How to Choose the Best Website Designer to Work With

There are several design companies that are operating right now because of the high demand for internet presence. Some are even offering low prices for their services which can be really tempting for companies who are running in a tight budget. So how do you know if a website designer is fit to do the job for you?

If you are running a business, it is imperative that you have a website so that you can build your online presence and gather more clients in the process. This is an opportunity that many companies are not taking advantage of. The internet is now widely used by many people who are looking for products and services that they want or need. If your company is not online, you might not be able to get customers that you might have had if only they are able to reach you through the internet. If you do not know where to start, you should hire the services of a website designer that can help you create your website.

Before hiring the service of a website designer, you should do a bit of research yourself on the internet and see if which provider will be able to give you the best service possible. You should check a website programmer’s website and portfolio and see if this is someone that you think can create a good website for you. If his design aesthetic is similar to what you have in mind, then you should consider him as one of your candidates in hiring to do your website. Be sure to have a few web programmers on your list so that you can choose one that can do quality work with the most affordable asking price for his services.

When discussing the asking price that your web programmer will be charging you for the project, you should consider the complexity of your requests and see if it is proportional. Of course, if the website you are asking to be made is complicated and requires lots of sections to house your content, then you should expect that the project will fetch a high service fee. If it is simple and only requires a few pages to design, then your fee should be lower than the usual.

A website designer should be able to work with your requirements and ideas while still being able to give you creative input on the design. As a client, you should not force your design choices to your designer – there is a reason why he is the designer and you are the client after all. If you contract his services to do your website, you should be able to respect and trust his decisions in the design process. If you have ideas that you want incorporated, you can both talk it over and see how your ideas can both mesh together to create a website that both of you will be happy about.

Revisions will surely be made after you have seen the initial design of your website, so be sure to coordinate this with your website designer. There should be a set working deadline when your website will be ready and when it is due, your website should be able to go live without any bugs or errors. Your website is your online representation and it should be able to reflect your company’s ideals. A poor website will tell people that your company is not worth doing business with so be very careful about this.

Top 5 Online Money Making Ideas

In today’s tough times, most are hard-pressed in making ends meet even if they’re currently employed with regular source of income. For some, a job is no longer an option and would rather venture into other money making ideas that can potentially replace their job income.

This article outlines the top 5 online money making ideas a lot of creative people use to earn extra (or full time) income that makes end meet or to actually put food on the table.

The internet has not only changed how we communicate and research for information but offered a lot of income opportunities to ones who are willing to grab it.

  1. Freelancing – One of the most common ways to make money aside from having a traditional job is to offer your services as a freelancer. If you’re an artist, you can position yourself as an artist for hire. Building an online portfolio is extremely pivotal to being an artist for hire. An illustrator needs to be able to show potential clients what they can offer them if they take them on as a client. Independent authors and web publishers are constantly looking for people to design book covers, websites, and logos for them. This is a great income source for someone who enjoys doing graphic design. My friend, does this quite successfully and by having his own website that attract organic traffic, he sets himself up above the many other freelance graphic artists around.Another popular way of making money as a freelancer is to become a freelance writer or editor. Self-publishing books has exploded in recent years. There are a lot of independent authors looking for editors who would like to have their work edited for a more affordable price than the norm in the publishing world. You can editing jobs or be a ghost writer to help the author craft the whole book if you know what you’re doing.

On the lower end of this scale, you can accept article writing gigs and help online publishers like niche website owners and bloggers continuously feed their sites with fresh quality content. The key here is quality content, to build ongoing relationships with your clients and build your reputation.

Freelance writing is a great money making idea because you can completely control how much work you take on. if you’re just getting started, websites like Odesk.com and Elance.com are great places to land your initial gigs. Pricing your service competitively will help you attract clients and build your reputation on these freelance job boards but if you’re considering to go this route on a long term basis, I suggest that you build your own website to build your reputation, attract more clients, and turn this into a real business that can potentially replace your day job.

There are a lot of services that you can offer as an online freelancer. If you’re a developer or a programmer, you’ll definitely make more money online by offering software development services.

  1. Become An Online Retailer – Ever bought something off Amazon and eBay? Most of these sellers are people just like you and me operating their own bookstores, gadget shops or computer retail stores off their homes. There are two ways you can start selling stuff as an online retailer.One is by buying stocks and keeping inventories to ship yourself or to become a dropshipper where you partner with a dropshipping supplier that will ship your inventories to your buyers from their warehouses. Option two takes a lot of work but it can be tricky when it comes to pricing, delivery and item quality as you don’t really get to see (or touch) your products before they are shipped to your customers.

The best way to get started with this money making idea is to start selling junk you can find inside your home (ladies, I’m not referring to your husbands!). The average person has a lot of things in their home that they never use. Items like old jewelry, unwatched DVDs and unused craft items are perfect. You can also buy things that are on bargain bins and sell them online for regular prices or get stuff from your local thrift stores or library sales.

The key is on being able to check the current prices of the items you’re looking to resell before you buy them to make sure you’re actually going to make a profit. This is where your smart phone will come handy, all you have to do is download price scanning/comparison apps like FOB Scan.

  1. Sell Fiverr Gigs – Yes, Fiverr gigs! It may not seem like much but Fiverr gigs are no longer limited to $5 per pop. You can offer your initial service or product on the standard $5 pricing but you can offer upgrades from $20 to $50 per pop. Some of the gigs you can offer are voice overs, small graphic jobs, short videos, SEO pushes, and other small and fast jobs that you can do for a few minutes of your time.
  1. Open Up A YouTube Channel – As mentioned in my previous article, YouTube users watch over 4 billion hours of video a month so there are always people willing to watch your videos. A person who plans to make money off of YouTube needs to decide on a niche or what they want to talk about in their videos. Do they want to teach a tutorial or give a commentary? If someone owns all of their material legally, than they’re eligible for the partner program.

With original ideas and constant promotions, an internet entrepreneur can set up shop on YouTube in a matter of minutes. Although it might take a lot of work, the payment after a while can be pretty big but just like any other content marketing businesses, 10 YouTube videos won’t make you a happy camper. It’s always a numbers game, think of it as having your own TV show where you’re the host, producer and channel owner. You can read this article for more on how to make money with YouTube.

  1. Create And Sell Your Own Products – A lot of online marketers found that they can make money faster with creating their own products than creating blogs or niche websites. This of course if beyond the realities of most beginning online marketers but if you have some time to spare, product creation isn’t really that difficult as you may think. Creating an infoproduct (eBook or membership site) on a subject that you know and love will reward you hundred times over. Come to think of it, if you have a product of your own, a lot of other affiliate marketers are willing to sell your products on their websites and email lists for a commission helping you reach a very wide audience that’s impossible for you to reach on your own.

There are a whole lot more money making ideas people use to make money online but these by far are the top ideas that you can put to work for you right away, specially the top 3. Building and publishing your own blog or website is the best way to build a business system that will build an awesome source of passive income in the near future but the top 3 ideas listed above will help you make money right away.

Offering freelance services on established freelance job boards helps you piggy back on their traffic being that they’re the “go to” places for people who are looking to outsource stuff they don’t like to do themselves.

Retailing on Amazon or eBay can also attract sales faster than if you’re going to build your own online store as they already have the traffic of shoppers whose mindset is to scout for products they want to buy online. It’s free to list products on Amazon and you only get charged when you actually sell something while eBay will charge you a few dime when you list a product for sale.

Fiverr on the other hand is the world’s “go to” place for small jobs people want outsourced. It may not be as promising as the first two money making ideas listed herein but they do pay for each gig you deliver.

Earn Easy and Beyond Your Expectation From Online Business Opportunities

Before launching an online business the entrepreneur must build a lucrative website that showcases his business goals and the kind of products he or she is going to offer. The business website is actually the face of the business for those virtual global clients who are the vulnerable consumer or customer of the products or services. An attractive, clean and a professional website featuring the entrepreneur’s profile and vision will attract the targeted audience base.

To generate more profit from online business opportunities, it is essential to convert the clients into permanent assets. It is advisable to make the client happy and satisfied with the products and services that are being offered and misleading the consumer and customer with fake promises and advertisements can turn into a great disadvantage for the business owner. A cordial and friendly behavior is essential in virtual dealings.

Virtual business domain is very competitive. So the entrepreneurs must have a thorough knowledge of the market scenario and new challenges. One must be creative and innovative in order to introduce a unique business idea or product that gives them an edge over the other competitors in the market. Uniqueness is something that goes viral nowadays and set a footprint for others to follow.

Lots of starts up ideas are mushrooming in the market but before just diving into any business ideas it is important for the founder to identify and know his/her potential, only then it would be possible to achieve the desired results. Knowing one’s strength and quality will help to gather the courage to frame the online business into a successful future venture.

There are many business opportunities in the web world to fetch a profitable income in the long run. Such as:

Online knowledge sharing: If someone is skilled in their field of expertise, whatever it is like teaching, culinary skills, and stitching etc, and is willing to start an online teaching portal is a very lucrative business idea. The owner can charge the interested candidates for offering courses and study materials.

Online content writing: This is a very profitable idea for those who are a gifted writer. One can write content for various companies, students and many small businesses that are always in search of a quality and creative content writers for their various business needs.

Freelancing marketing: This type of marketing is done to promote various online businesses and is effective if the founder has owned a blog portal. The promotion is done for various products and services for a company in exchange for which the marketer receives a commission on the percentage of sales.

Web designing: An expert web designer can adopt online web designing business to reach maximum client base. These skilled designers are always in demand for their creation. Once their work is appreciated they are flooded with offers from friends and various other sources and earn profitable revenue.

Online retail store: This is one happening online business opportunities for creative people who have a knack for designing or and are willing to showcase their skill to the maximum customer. With the online sale of various products, any entrepreneur can reach the global web shoppers that fetch handsome revenue for them.

Web world provides a productive platform for online businesses. People are tired of running for earning and after a certain point of time life becomes monotonous. The thirst to do something different pulls them to the internet where they search about different profitable ideas to earn money fast. Though online start ups have a strong potential to flourish but one should dive into it only after a thorough research, otherwise the chances of a failed initiative is guaranteed.

Business Plans – Your Roadway To Success

Experts say that a strong business plan is one sure step in the direction of success. So, what is a business plan in the first place? It is defined as a document that outlines the functional and financial objectives of a business. It also contains details of the budget involved and the goals to be achieved.

Everything on earth is tending to become compact. Gone are those days when a sea beach was described in a thousand words. Today, a similar description is possible with a powerful visual and a string of strong adjectives in only a few words. A mobile phone today is slightly bigger than your thumb. Similarly, a business plan is no longer a document of a hundred pages. Nobody wants to know your business. They want to know your views, your goals, your objectives and your plan of action.

How Well Can A Business Plan Be Implemented?

o Simplicity of a business plan – is it understood by one and all? Are its views and objectives clear?

o Specificity of a business plan – are the contents measurable? Are all the activities dated (initiation to completion)? Are all the actions distributed among personnel clearly?

o Real nature of a business plan – are the objectives and targets real? Are the goals set within a specified time achievable?

o Totality of a business plan – is the plan complete? Does it have all the necessary elements to outline your business goals?

A business plan has multiple uses. It can be used to start a new business enterprise, take a loan or to find good investors. There are many other reasons for which you need a business plan. You should first find out why you need a business plan.

Why Do You Need A Business Plan?

o Outline objectives and set goals to achieve them

o Prepare regular business review outlines

o Start a new business enterprise

o Decide on a value on a business for sale and legal issues

o Outline agreements between business partners

If business plans are conceived for different purposes, there must be different business plans for different kinds of ventures. Business plans are also known as growth plans, internal plans, investment plans and so on and so forth.

If your business plan is for internal study and revision, there is no need of background details of your organization because you are already aware of them. You need to add that only if your business plans are meant for banks and other institutions.

What Are The Different Types Of Business Plans?

– The most basic of business plans are the start-up plans that clearly outline the steps for a new business venture. They include details of service provided or product offered, market value of the same, implementation strategies, market and financial analysis. The basic structure consists of a summary of the company, ending with details of financial transactions and expectations for the first year.

– An operational business plan contains details of dates, deadlines and milestones. It is often referred to as an internal business plan.

– A strategic business plan aims at higher levels of target and does not deal much with dates and deadlines. This business plan is more of future and growth oriented and focuses less on facts of the company.

– A growth or expansion business plan focuses more on one or more subset of the business. There are variations of this kind of business plan. If it is meant for a new investment, it will obviously include the background of the company.

– A feasibility business plan is your entire business in bulleted form. It includes the summary, the mission and the vision of the company, the USP of the business enterprise, expected financial outcomes etc. The main purpose of this business plan is to test whether this business is worth a venture at all.

The Seven Points Of Business Plans

Business plans usually cover the following 7 points. Of course, they will vary in detail, depending on the purpose of the business plan.

– Mission Statement – your business plan must explain clearly why you want to start a particular kind of business in the first place. It doesn’t have to be long, but it needs to convey the message clearly.

– Business Description – this is the place where you talk about your business. What is it that you are trying to sell or provide? What is the USP of your business?

– Goals in view – here, you describe both your short term and long term goals. Short term goals may include your plan to acquire office space, provide a proper business name, apply for a business license etc. Long term goals include answers to where you see your business ten years down the line, opening new stores etc.

– Prospective Customers – who is your target audience? Why will they need your service or product? How well do you understand their needs?

– Competition Analysis – this helps you rank your business venture in the market. Who are your competitors? If their focus area is too competitive, try for a niche market that is comparatively less competitive.

– Financial Considerations – be realistic and optimistic about your finances. Make sure to spend only that much with which you are sure to receive returns. Or else, go in for a small business loan till your business can take care of its own expenses.

– Marketing – sell your ideas before you sell your products. Advertise your products everywhere you can think of. Don’t miss out on both offline and online publicity. If you get a chance, exhibit your product or service at local communities and organizations.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Business Plans

Your business plan should:

a) Set concrete goals and deadlines

b) Distribute work among people and departments and set deadlines to achieve the goals

c) Maintain a steady ratio of implementation to strategy to 10:1

d) Provide a platform for regular review and discussion

Your business plan should not:

a) Display your knowledge about your field of expertise

b) Be too lengthy – people lose interest easily

Not all businessmen and women are good planners. It has often been seen that a business fails because of the lack of a good business plan. That is one of the cardinal mistakes for an entrepreneur.

Business Plan Mistakes

Experts have identified some common mistakes regarding business plans. They are:

– No business plan – many business ventures begin without any plan. Plans are written out in a rush only if the clients or banks or investors ask for the same. It is often seen as unnecessary because the business is more important. Imagine the condition of a house without a plan. You will get lost midway in heaps of concrete and steel. Similarly, you will get lost in ideas and desire to implement them.

– Cash is more important than profits – business is not the same as profits. Cash is the main player. Only if you have cash to spend in the beginning, will you get profits at the end of the day.

– Ideas don’t sell – your business sells because of hard work, perseverance, cash and a lot of common sense. Your idea does not have to brand new. Old wine is better than new ones. Why? People trust age and experience.

– Fear factor – a business plan is as necessary and as routine as making a travel plan. You don’t need to be Einstein to chalk out a business plan. You just need to think straight and pen your thoughts.

– Specificity wins – focus on tangible results, instead of trying to be the best. Results matter and they tell you everything.

– Fit all business plans – your business plan should work for bankers and investors as well as internal review and corrections. Don’t make individual business plans for individual purposes. Rather, concentrate on your business.

– Everything cannot be important – you can have only a few priorities. 20 priorities are vague and they clearly show lack of strategy and of goals.

A business plan is the first step of starting a business. It is neither easy nor difficult. What is a business plan about? How do you implement a business plan? What do you include in a business plan? What are the ‘must have’s’ and ‘have not’s’ of business plans?

Whether it is travel, study, cooking or any other activity involving a process, planning is usually the first step. The same holds true for business. Business plans are probably more important than the business itself. For example, the plan for a house is more important than the house itself, though it is the house that people remember and not the plan. But the house wouldn’t stand without the plan, would it?

Celebrity Branding – Capitalizing on A Star’s Popularity

One of the commonly viewed advertisements today is called Celebrity Branding advertising. We see popular and talented artists endorsing different products in television shows, programs, special events and commercials. Branded clothes, perfumes, make-up, sports gear, and the likes are making good in the market. All of these items carry the signature names of movie stars, models, actors and actresses like Jennifer Lopez, and others.

Customers have the flexibility adjusting to products that are offered in the market especially if it is new. More so, if they find out that the products are represented and endorsed by famous personalities, they become eager and excited to purchase them either for personal use or for gift giving purposes. Through further studies and research of brand specialists, they assign top personalities who can represent a specific product based on different aspects like their personality, occupation, physical attributes or even their capacity to effectively deliver to consumers the real essence of the product or charitable project. Miss India Aishwarya Rai crowned Miss World possesses stunning and expressive eyes and she effectively campaigned for an eye donation big event. Voice over method of advertising taps celebrities with distinct voices that captivate and attract more customers. Advertising is always full of creative ideas and strategies that really work.

As of this time, almost 20% advertisers make use of the celebrity endorsed promotional method. Once a famous personality signs a contract with advertisers, many products and brands will definitely boost in the market. Product endorsers are experts in projecting the image of the product and company to buying viewers. Different products with a single popular endorser can even effectively shift from one personality to another just to be able to relate the significance and function of a specific product to interested consumers. Many have actually done this like David Beckham in endorsing Gillette and Passion.

Another Celebrity Advertising method is through the use of Celebrity logos or graphic images that can totally represent a well known figure such as actors, models, and more. Even simple initials like Jennifer Lopez’ fashion brand logo JLO. The product brand JLO enables different products related to Jennifer Lopez appear branded and highly regarded because of Jennifer’s stardom. Their popularity as well as their talent is enough to draw a big crowd of consumers even in their absence. Any product that will be represented by superstars’ logos, initials and designs will somehow carry out the advertising purpose.

Big names in the business industry really set up a budget for celebrity branding method in advertising their products and services. Nothing can compensate the load of customers that will be magnetized by superstars. Popular and credible personalities can create business tycoons out of a single product. One of the successful ad agencies that created an exclusive ad company that focused on celebrity endorsement is Davie Brown Entertainment. They exquisitely screened celebrities to represent their products and designed ads that would co-relate to their chosen endorser. Their rigid strategy is a proof that they are selective and meticulous when it comes to customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction spells out business success.

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