Business

As most small business owners know there is a difference between the average employee and true talent. The problem for small business owners is how to attract talent to their business, when so often large businesses are able to outbid and out-perk them, which gives them a decided advantage when it comes to attracting talent. However, there are ways that small business owners can overcome such obstacles and find truly talented applicants anxious to put their skills to work to make that small business successful.

Often, talented people are motivated by more than money. Money matters, of course, but for many of the best and brightest, they are seeking something more. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out in “How to Attract Talent to a Small Company,” the more personal atmosphere of a newer business may very well be more attractive to certain types of talented people. The anti- corporate sentiment that is on the rise throughout the nation can serve as a real advantage to a company.

A small business may not have the financial ability to offer more money or costly benefits to potential employees. However, flexibility in scheduling, such as the ability to telecommute part time, may mean a lot more to people. Get creative with what can be offered, such as a child care co-op or participation in an organic food buying cooperative. Think about the personal needs of the types of talent that you hope to attract to your organization and how they could be met.

Don’t automatically rule out potential employees with a record that demonstrates a bit of a rebellious spirit. They may be just the sort of forward thinking people a small business needs on staff. Diversity should be cultivated, not because employment law encourages it, but because that is the best way to develop a talented workforce and original thinking able to compete with the big boys.

Finding such talent can be difficult for a new business, but using tools like job recruitment software can help locate specialized, stand-out talent. Applicant tracking software can aid in achieving and maintaining a productive labor force balance, ensuring that the right talents come together to form the productive whole for a company.

When courting talent for a small business, it is important to consider the big picture. View the organization as a whole and make an honest appraisal of what qualities are missing. Think about the type of talent necessary to take the small business to the next level of competition, as well as what obtaining that talent is worth investing. Using job recruitment software complemented by applicant tracking software, you can target exactly what your small company is lacking in terms of talent and skill.

Business

eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace, with around 181 million customers. 43% of all internet users in the UK visit the site every month, with an average user spending almost two hours on eBay every single month.

It’s no wonder that a lot of small businesses look at eBay as a way of getting into online sales. It’s not all plain sailing though, and many businesses have found that it can be time consuming and unprofitable.

There are some pointers that can make trading on eBay profitable, interesting and fun. Have you noticed how some sellers can get significantly more bids and higher prices, whilst other sellers offer the same items at lower prices and get little or no interest?

It isn’t down to luck. But put in a effort and planning, and you too can become a successful and profitable eBay trader.

I’ve written this article with an English audience in mind. The legal implications of selling on eBay are from an English perspective. However, most of the concepts will be the same around the world.

Know the Law

If you sell products to consumers, you need to be aware of the Distance Selling Regulations and the E-Commerce Regulations which give protection to consumers who shop via the Internet.

These regulations provide protection to consumers in the following ways:

  1. Consumers have the right to receive information about goods and services, in writing, before deciding to buy;
  2. A cooling off period of seven working days in which the consumer can withdraw from the contract;
  3. Protection from credit card fraud.

Get using eBay

If you haven’t registered on eBay, get yourself a user name and start trading. Give yourself a sensible sounding user name that will add credibility to whatever it is you are going to be selling. Register yourself as a business user as this will give you easier access to more business functions within eBay later on, and register yourself as a Seller as well as a Buyer.

Browse some of the listings, notice how different people list their items. If you see a listing that you like – because of the description, the detail, the photographs, the layout – print a copy off. You may well want to do something similar yourself when it is time for listing your own items.

Get yourself a PayPal account and register yourself as a seller, so that you can receive payments.

Buy a few small items on eBay. Get comfortable with the process. Bid on items in auctions, and buy items using the ‘Buy It Now’ facility.

When you have received your goods, promptly leave good feedback for the seller. They should reciprocate and give you good feedback in return. The more positive feedback you get the better, as this will help your credibility when you start to sell yourself.

Sell a few bits and bobs on eBay as well. It’s a great time to clear the decks of jumble that you’ve picked up over the years.

Research Your Product, Research Your Market Place

Do you know what you want to sell? Who else is selling a similar product? What price are people paying for similar goods? Is your product easy to deliver?

If you have no idea of what products you want to sell, get a copy of The Trader and Exchange and Mart. It will provide you with a whole list of suppliers and could spawn off some other ideas of what you want to sell.

Consider your product. It isn’t always necessary to pick a product you know about, but there are a few things that you should consider.

Firstly, how are you going to get it to your customer? If it is a big, bulky package, or if it weighs more than 25kg, it is going to cost a lot to get it delivered. It is also going to be difficult to collect it from a customer if there is a fault with the product. Is the package fragile? If so, expect problems with deliveries – no matter how well you think you can package it up.

If your item is too big or bulky to post, phone up a couple of parcel carriers to get some quotes. Use a reputable parcel carrier like ByBox, Initial City Link or Amtrak. If your item isn’t so fragile, consider carriers such as DHL and ParcelForce.

Consider how you will resolve warranty problems. Do you have a supplier who has the facilities and resources to help you, or are you on your own?

The next step is to research your market and find out who is selling something similar on eBay. This is fairly easy as eBay itself provides some useful tools to help you get going, with the Advanced Search function.

Once you click on the Advanced Search function, you can start specifying what you are looking for in much more detail. You can exclude words from your search, you can specify a minimum and a maximum price, you can specify business or private sellers, whether the items should be new or used, and you can specify a range of how many bids the item should have in order to be included in the search.

More interestingly, from a viewpoint of someone wanting to research a specific product on eBay, you can specify Completed Listings only. This means you can see how many similar products to yours have been offered on eBay over the past month, what they sold for, if they sold and the number of people who bid on them.

I recently wanted to sell a car on eBay, and wanted to see what similar cars had sold for over the past few weeks. Using the eBay Advanced Search option, I requested a search for cars similar to mine, within a similar price range.

Very quickly, I was able to ascertain what other cars had been offered, how many bids each auction got and whether the cars sold or not.

It’s a great tool – you can identify if your particular marketplace is saturated or if you are one of only a few sellers.

Now look at these auctions in more detail to find out clues as to why some sold for more than others. You’ll soon notice a pattern:

  1. Lots of photographs and well written information with prominent contact details do well, with lots of interest, lots of bids and a good sale price.
  2. Listings lacking one or more of the above attract less interest.
  3. Animated cartoons, musical effects, difficult to read fonts, or a poor description in two or three lines and typed ENTIRELY IN CAPITAL LETTERS do worst of all.

This is a big eBay secret: spend time on your listing, make yourself look professional. You’ll reap the rewards.

If you now know your product, your market and your competition, you’re a big step along the way. But can you make money? It’s time to…

Forecast!

Forecast your sales to ensure you can make a profit. Take into account:

– Delivery Costs – to the customer, and to you in the first place

– Warranty Failure Costs

– The time it takes to manage the sale and after sale

Then you can identify your break even price. Compare this with the average price of bids on eBay for the products you are planning to sell and see what the difference is.

Test, Test, Test

Before you buy a huge bulk of product, try and test the market with a small sample. This may mean you having to buy your product at a higher price, but it’s an awful lot cheaper than importing containers of product in from China – only to find you can’t sell it!

Get some really good quality photographs and then put your small sample of products on eBay.

How to make the most of your eBay listing

We’ve already discovered a few things about what makes a good listing and what makes a bad one. Now it’s your turn to create your own sales pitch.

Start with an attention grabbing headline and subtitle. In eBay, headlines and subtitles are important. When you search for items on eBay, eBay searches the headlines and subtitles for matching words and phrases, so you need to make sure that all the relevant search words are included.

Here are some examples of good and bad headlines:

Good: Compact, lightweight folding bike/bicycle

Bad: Folding Bike

‘Folding Bike’ is bad because it doesn’t pick up on anyone looking for ‘folding bicycle’. If people are looking for a folding bike, they also want something that is compact and lightweight, so if your folding bike is compact and lightweight, put this in the headline as well, so that you get picked up on people looking for ‘compact bike’, ‘lightweight folding bicycle’ and so on.

Good: Smoothie/Smoothy Maker and Juicer with Recipes
Bad: Smoothie Maker

‘Smoothie Maker’ doesn’t say very much – there is nothing to differentiate your product from hundreds of others. But smoothies can make juice, so add that in. The handbook from a smoothie maker includes recipes, so add that too. And as for the the alternative spelling of smoothie? ‘Smoothie’ is an easy word to mis-spell, so if you include the most likely alternative, you’ll get picked up if someone searches for ‘Smoothy Maker’. None of your competitors will, dramatically increasing your chances of a sale.

Once you’ve worked out a headline, write your description. Don’t start writing it on the eBay web site – use Word to start with – then cut and paste your description onto eBay.

There are some ‘magic words’ which work well on eBay. If yo

Business

According to the New York Times small business blog, You’re the Boss, the main reasons small businesses fail range from poor accounting to lack of a good business plan and a declining market. Other reasons include over-expansion and business owners who are unable to get out of their own way because of pride, greed, or perfectionism. Sometimes it’s hard to see the cause of the failure because of our proximity to the situation. For this reason many entrepreneurs continue making the same mistakes again and again.

Entrepreneurship is high-risk. It takes heart. It takes guts. But, for true entrepreneurial spirits the reward far outweighs the risk. So, the question becomes not if they will try again, but how they can learn from past mistakes and move from failure into growth?

Start by asking yourself these four questions:

1) What can I learn from this experience?

Assess everything that went wrong. Was it unavoidable? Was it a careless mistake? Was I the problem? Answer with brutal honesty. This is not an easy process and there may be a long list of shortfalls, but it will help ensure success in the future.

2) What can I appreciate from this experience?

Now it’s time to understand what went right. Be thankful for those things. Carefully look at these pieces to understand how and why these particular things worked in spite of the others.

3) What can I take away from this experience?

Understand both what went wrong and what went right and how they work together. Do they relate? Are they independent of each other? Create a plan of action to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated in the future.

4) What’s the next step?

What would you do if there were no limits? Would you attempt the same venture again? Would you try something completely different? Whatever the case, the important thing is to do something! This failure has not defeated you. Get to work!

4.1 Do I need help? If so, seek help. Learn from others and allow others to offer advice and support. Who says you have to do it all on your own? People want to see you succeed. Let them help.

Once you have the answers you can begin to look at your past mistakes objectively and move forward on to your new venture.

Owning your own business is a challenge. It requires persistence and more hard work than most are capable of. But when successful, the business in exchange offers endless opportunities to learn and limitless possibilities to grow.

Business

Owning a small business used to mean that you couldn’t afford an 800 number. Not so anymore. These days it is just as easy to get an 800 number for your small business as it is to have the electric turned on for your small business.

Having an 800 number is great way to attract new customers and entice more people to call you which will hopefully lead to an increase in sales and your bottom line. The best part is the 800 number you choose will not cost you an arm and a leg anymore.

With the invention of what is known as a virtual 800 number it is no longer necessary to have a main phone line that routes all the calls to various extensions throughout the office. In fact, you don’t even have to have all the extensions in the same office, city, state, or country for that matter. Here is how a virtual 800 number works and how you go about getting one for your small business:

o Choose a service provider: Start by conducting an online search for ‘virtual 800 number service provider’ and what you will get is a number of different companies who all offer similar services at similar prices. You need to take some time to go through the different companies and decide which one is the one you want to use for your 800 number needs.

o Choose a number: This is done with the 800 number service provider and can be done in one of two ways. You can let the 800 number service provider choose a random 800 number to assign you or for a few dollars more you can choose a vanity number such as 800-DOG-TOYS.

o Set up extensions: A virtual 800 number will act as your personal switchboard operator. When a customer calls in they will hear a recorded voice that prompts them to push a certain extension in order to reach the department or party of their choice. These extensions are set up ahead of time by you. You can designate any phone to be an extension and the person calling in is none the wiser. One extension can be your mobile phone, while another extension can be an office line. So long as it is a phone, an extension can be plugged into it. You can also switch the designation of the extensions as your needs and travels change.

o Check messages: If you do miss a call you will have a pre-recorded message play letting the person know that you will call them back as soon as possible. You can check your messages from any phone or have the 800 number service provider e-mail you the message, fax you the message, or even send it to your iPhone or other portable device.

Business

This is Part 1 of a three part guide to help small business understand the value and power of using postcards to market their business. We’ve divided it up into three parts in order to give you some interesting background information on the history postcards (that’s this part), then Part 2 which will cover some of the important reasons why you’d want to get into postcard marketing, and lastly Part 3 which will give you an overview of the ‘how-to’ of postcard marketing.

So….here we go!

Part 1. A Brief History of Postcards

First of all, let’s define what a post card is. A postcard, or post card, is a piece of paper, slightly thicker that regular writing paper, either rectangular or square in shape and intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology.

Looking at the history of postcards, you’ll find that cards inscribed with messages have been sporadically created and posted by individuals almost since the creation of the first postal services.

As the postcard evolved, the earliest known picture postcard was a hand-painted design on a card and posted in London to the writer Theodore Hook in 1840. This early picture postcard bore a penny black stamp. It might have been meant as a joke because the picture on it just happened to be a caricature of workers in the post office.

Let’s fast forward to the US where up until 1861 there was legally no such thing as a postcard. People of that time didn’t have envelopes like we do today but rather the paper they wrote on itself became the envelope.

According to the early US postal regulations of the time, there was officially no such thing as a ‘postcard’ as we know it today. And anybody who created such a device and attempted to ‘post’ it would have a 50/50 chance at best of it being delivered.

Things took a change for the better on February 27, 1861 when the 36th US Congress passed “An Act establishing certain Post Routes.” Section 13 of that Act allowed the mailing of post cards. The section reads:

“And be it further enacted, That cards, blank or printed, blanks in packages weighing at least eight ounces, and seeds or cuttings, in packages not exceeding eight ounces in weight, shall also be deemed mailable matter, and charged with postage at the rate of one cent an ounce, or fraction of an ounce, to any place in the United States under fifteen hundred miles, and at the rate of two cents an ounce or fraction of an ounce, over fifteen hundred miles, to be prepaid by postage stamps.”

And that’s how postcards got started in America.

There were mixed feelings about this new form of correspondence. Many people questioned whether the government could make any money on them and didn’t think the contents could be kept private. However, with the Confederate attacked on April 12 of that year and the start of the American Civil War, the subject of postcards became a forgotten issue.

Historic Lipman’s Postal Card

The first commercially produced card was actually created in 1861 by John P. Charlton of Philadelphia, who patented and produced the first ‘postal card’. Later that year he sold the rights to H. L. Lipman, whose postcards, complete with a decorated border, were labeled “Lipman’s postal card.” These cards had no images.

1861 was an important year in the evolution of postcards because it opened up a whole new industry to private enterprise. The government up to that time the government officially had a monopoly on producing postcards.

Just 9 years later the copyright was transferred to H. L. Lipman of Philadelphia and the earliest postmark found on a “Lipman’s Postal Card” is from October 25, 1870.

At that time the United States government didn’t allow private companies to call their cards “postcards”. They had to be called “souvenir cards” and labeled “Private Mailing Cards”. This regulation was rescinded on December 24, 1901 and after that time it was OK for private companies to use the word “postcard”.

Early postcards were not allowed to have a divided back and correspondents could only write on the front of the postcard. This was known as the “undivided back” era of postcards. On March 1, 1907 the Post Office allowed private citizens to write on the address side of a postcard. It was on this date that postcards were allowed to have a “divided back”.

On these cards the back is divided into two sections, the left section being used for the message and the right for the address. With this type of card began the Golden Age of American postcards, which lasted until 1915, when World War I blocked the import of the fine German-printed cards which had the largest share of the market.

The “white border” era, named thus because they had ‘white borders’ to make printing easier, lasted from about 1916 to 1930. The “linen card” era lasted from about 1931 to the early 1950s, when cards were primarily printed on papers with a textured surface similar to linen cloth.

In America the final major change in postcard design came with the new postcard regulations of March 1, 1907, which allowed the back of postcards to be divided down the center. The right side of the back was now for the address and postage and the left side was for the personal message that used to be written on the front of the card.

Because this is essentially the same basic design that is still in use today for postcards, March 1, 1907 is considered the birthday of the modern postcard. However, printers wanting to save money continued using their old designs for a time. So it is common to see postcards that were made after 1907 that still have some white space on the front for writing or to see the undivided backs with a line simply drawn down the middle.

Needless to say, there’s a lot more information available about the history of postcards. It’s readily available on the internet on a variety of sites. But this concludes Part 1… A Brief History Of Postcards. Please follow on to Part 2, “Why Market With Postcards”.

Business

In today’s tough economic climate it is more important than ever to save money wherever possible. This is doubly true for a small business or start-up business whose cash flows are not yet fully established. Here are 5 great tips on how to save money as a small business.

Money Saving Tip #1 – Pay strict attention to metrics, especially your sales volumes and expenses

It is generally acknowledged that one of the greatest businessmen of the modern era was John D. Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil in 1870 and went on to become the world’s richest man and first American billionaire, and is often regarded as the richest person in history. However, when Mr. Rockefeller was just 16 years old he landed his first job. What was that job that set the foundation for a business career as illustrious as any man ever had? He became an assistant bookkeeper. John Rockefeller earned just $50 salary for his first three months’ work. But what he truly gained was an appreciation for financial detail and discipline.

So it is with your small business – you need to have a detailed understanding of what your finances are at any given time. Note, I said a detailed understanding of your finances. The most important numbers to focus in on are your top line sales volumes and revenues and your bottom line expenses. By focusing on top line sales volumes and revenues you get an appreciation of what your business is actually able to earn in a given time period. This assists in setting budgets and goals. Focusing on the expenses gives you a realistic idea of how much money you need to earn to keep your business afloat. It is a good practice to review your finances in detail every single month. This is the first step in understanding where you may be able to save the most money in your business.

Money Saving Tip #2 – Cut out the olives

Robert Crandall worked at Eastman Kodak, Hallmark, and TWA before joining American Airlines in 1973. In 1980 Mr. Crandall became president of American. He was a notorious cost cutter and helped the airline survive and even thrive in a period of deregulation. One of the most famous and oft told stories of Mr. Crandall’s business thrift has to do with the salads served on American Airlines flights at the time. You see, Mr. Crandall carefully examined the companies finances and discovered that the addition of olives to the salads was costing the airline company a great deal. Figuring that no one would really miss a few olives in their salad, Mr. Crandall ordered that the olives be removed from the airlines salads. His savings? More than $100,000.

The lesson for your small business is obvious. Look for items that you are spending money on, but that aren’t giving your customers or clients any appreciable extra value. When you find them, cut them.

Money Saving Tip #3 – Renegotiate with vendors

Every business is the customer of other businesses. You get all sorts of supplies from other companies that help you to conduct your day to day business. No matter what the status of your current relationship – whether you have a long term contract, or whether you are just repeat buying the same items out of habit – it pays to examine and renegotiate with vendors on a continuing basis.

Are you getting the best deal on your phone service? Are you sure? Have you considered switching to a VOIP (voice over IP) phone system? What about using Skype for either internal or external communications? Each system or expense that comes up in your business is a potential area of savings. Challenge your vendors to sharpen their pencils and give you their best deal. Here are a few ways you can save:

Ask for volume discounts – even if you aren’t at the exact volume yet. If you grow you will hit higher volumes.

Get quotes from multiple vendors and then compare them – and share them with the vendors to let them see what your costs are with their competitors.

Consider alternative solutions. For example, maybe your salespeople can share a room on a trip instead of booking two separate rooms.

Money Saving Tip #4 – Start a website

We are very fortunate to live today in an era where just about anything can be sold online. From real estate to retail to consulting, it has become natural for many people to turn first to the Internet when investigating or purchasing goods and services. In the early days of the Internet, small businesses were excluded from competing on the Internet due to high complexity and the costs associated with hiring experts and programmers to create a viable website. This is no longer the case.

One can easily find a freelance web designer for a fraction of what it used to cost by using services such as Elance.com. This is a marketplace where designers and programmers compete to earn your business. You can easily get quotes for website work in a short period of time and also see references and prior work samples to aid in your decision.

You will also need to work together with a web hosting company to house the site. Daniel Foster is co-founder of UK web hosting company 34SP.com. Mr. Foster suggests, ”Do a comprehensive search on Google for the company you are considering. Look for reviews from current or former customers. You can also use forums such as web hosting talk to help inform yourself and narrow down your choices.”

Shopping around can help you save money on everything from your site design to your domain name to your web hosting.

Money Saving Tip #5 – There is only one boss

Sam Walton is a legend in business and in saving money. Having grown up during the Great Depression, Mr. Walton understood the value of a dollar. Three days after graduating from college, Mr. Walton was hired by JC Penney as a management trainee in Des Moines, Iowa. Taking his knowledge of retailing and his cost cutting mentality and focusing them on the retailing sector, Mr. Walton founded Wal-mart in 1962. The first Wal-Mart opened July 2, 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Wal-Mart eventually became the world’s largest retailer. And Sam Walton was at the head of it all. Leading the company by example. The rest is cost cutting history.

The true lesson that comes from Sam Walton and Wal-mart for your small business comes in the form of a quote. Never forget what Sam Walton himself said, ”There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Don’t ever cut costs at the expense of angering or disappointing your customers. Those savings will be short lived.

Business

A small business has the potential for growth and for this to happen, there is need for it to have a guide on the proposed strategies that it needs to put in place to sail through. An enterprise has very many issues affecting it, as well as others that if well considered, could eventually become part of the bigger picture. What do I mean by saying so?

Issues like going for government contracts are never in the minds of many small entrepreneurs, but if given a thought, it could become just another line of operation for the enterprise. When you search online for information, you will get thousands of pages giving you a guide to a lot of issues that an enterprise owner can engage in. A good business guide should provide you with sufficient information about how to start and plan a business.

The guide in many cases does not give details on a step by step procedure on how to go about it, but the information therein should be enough to help you formulate your idea and plan for it in writing. The guide also gives information on how to market your enterprise, both online and otherwise. You also get to see what it is that other enterprises have done in marketing themselves in order to get to where they are.

Other sections in the guide include information on how to ‘green’ your enterprise or to make it more consumer friendly, how to create favorable working conditions for your staff members, managing your finances as well as protecting the assets that belong to the enterprise. By the time you are through with looking at the guide, you will have acquired a lot of skill and knowledge on management, detecting and controlling fraud and controlling your taxes.

Business

eCollaboration is not a common term, it’s part of a family of terms under ebusiness which is using information and communication technology to utilise the internet to save money and grow your business. eCollaboration is the part that deals with the communications and working together in business. This can be either through working with customers/suppliers or working with team members.

It’s enormously important for several reasons, the first is cost, and using these technologies effectively can help you save money. Secondly, it can improve your image; these technologies allow you to do many of the things which larger companies do and take for granted every day. It also helps you grow your business because it can help you work effectively with other companies and other groups of people to win business and deliver that business once you’ve won it.

There is a wide range of technology which falls into this category, there’s communication technology i.e. voice over IP, instant messaging and conferencing. There are sharing tools like email which we all use every day. There are also other forms of sharing tools, things that help you synchronise one PC to another which enables us to all have access to the same files and there are other tools which help us share calendars etc. Then there is real time collaborations which enable people to work together when not in the same location i.e. web conferencing and video conferencing.

If you only have a small business you may be worried about the cost and time factor, because a lot of the solutions are now web service based, you’re effectively renting these powerful applications through the internet. Being web based means that you don’t need to buy the software and the hardware and have it physically sat in the corner of the office. Because it’s all on demand now, you have access just as and when you need it, starting it at the beginning of a project and stopping it at the end of it. This can be especially beneficial to a small business because of the flexibility it offers as many smaller businesses may not be sure what direction they’ll be going in over the next few years. A lot of eCollaboration technology will be free.

We’ve all heard the phrase you don’t get something for nothing, so you’re probably a little hesitant about all these ‘free’ services you can find online. Don’t worry though, In general most of them will be safe, but most of them will be teasers so only available at a limited functionality or for a limited amount of people or a limited amount of time. The idea of these is to get you to sign up to the full package. It is for this reason they are unlikely to be malicious. If you’re unsure about a product, or about its name, its best to check it out first. There are a few ways to go about this, there are several expert organisation which specialise in helping in these situations or you could see if it has an online review, a simple search of the product name should be sufficient and, if nothing else, provide you with a forum where someone else is already talking about the product. If any have a questionable reputation it is likely someone would have posted something online.

At the end of the day it’s your call, a lot of this may seem scary and new. We fear what we don’t understand but taking the time to understand eCollaboration can help your business. Remember you’re not alone, whatever questions or concerns you have, and the chances are many other people will have them too. The internet is a wonderful tool, try typing in some of your questions into a search engine and you’ll find dozens of articles, forums and chat rooms with people that can help you. Alternatively, there are several organisations out there which are designed to help small businesses; the most obvious would be Business Link which set up by the Government with the sole purpose of helping small businesses. Alternatively try the National B2B centre which is another free service, they are publicly funded so all their advice is completely free and impartial. This technology is designed to help and grow your businesses and if used correctly it can save you time and money.

Business

The ability for small manufacturers and other modest sized service organization to break through the veil which shielded them from participation with the U.S. Department of Defense and other national security agencies has been penetrated. The Defense Venture Catalyst Initiative (DeVenCI) has developed a program that helps managers within these agencies bypass the usual larger defense contractor and deal directly with small scale enterprises to seek new rapidly deployable technologies. Under the direction of Bob Pohanka, DeVenCI matches defense manager who have problems they need solving with small companies that can offer solutions.

DeVenCI sponsors events several times a year in the Washington, DC area where the small companies get the opportunity to pitch their technologies and wares to an audience of defense agency manager in the hope that a match will occur. To stay on top of which companies and what specialized technologies are available, Pohanka enlist the aid of volunteer venture capitalist across the country. The venture capitalists are provided extensive briefing on the Department of Defense and national security agencies needs. Armed with this information, they network to locate the relevant companies and invite them to a DeVenCI sponsored event.

If a match is made the selected firm is invited to working group meetings to learn more about the potential government buyers needs and is provided with information to help them customize their offer to fit the agencies needs. Once a firm has been accepted, the potential to talk with other defense agency managers also becomes available.

According to Pohanka, DeVenCI initially focused only on the Information Technology needs of the defense agency managers but has since expanded to include offerings from small business involved in biotechnology, sensors, energy, electronics, space, and nanotechnology. Smaller organizations have the ability to quickly adapt to defense agencies needs and make changes without extensive internal reorganization, massive re-engineering, and on a lower budget. This makes small business defense contractors the perfect solution for small level projects which were once assigned to the big company defense contractors.

If you are a small enterprise that is involved in goods or services which may benefit DeVenCI’s defense manager’s needs, but are not on any of the list within the volunteer venture capitalist network, there is still an opportunity for you to get invited to a DeVenCI event. You can submit your company information directly to them at their web site. Go to deveni.dtic.mil and complete their information form online. The ability to become a national defense contractor just got easier.

Business

When you are ready to start a small business, you need to be sure that you are ready. This is because it is no easy task. You have to put in long hours and work extra hard. That is why you need a small business guide. This will give you some sense of direction when starting or even when in business. It is also important to ask for assistance on how to go down this path and survive while you at it. It is essential to have a business plan. This is the first step towards getting your business going.

This plan acts as a guide on how you intend to start your business, your marketing strategies, how to overcome obstacles, your projections etc. When you have a plan, you will be organizing various aspects of your business that may occur in the future. An important part of your small business guide is of course your start up capital. This has to be enough for you to do business for at least six months.

Another item you will need for your small business guide is to recruit a qualified team of people. When you have people employed in your business, you have a higher chance of your business surviving during the first few years. If you want your business to succeed, you have to have the required training and willingness to expand your knowledge. You have to know your strengths and weakness when it comes to business. Concentrate your efforts on what works well for you and use it to the full advantage.

It is also vital to keep your business costs low until your business is capable of running on its own. When you start in a frugal way, it will be easy for you to expand in the future. If you have and follow a reliable small business guide you will eventually achieve what you need for your business.