There is a very clear distinction between business owners and the business entities they run. You may have a large business but your earnings from it may be meager. It’s best to realize that your business is just a legal body that gives you financial gains. Once the business goes under, these gains cease and you are left out to dry. It doesn’t matter how small or large your business is, the same applies across the board. Solution? Use your business assets to get as much money from your business as possible. However, it’s a tricky balancing act. If you simply withdraw the money to your bank account, you’ll simply pay more in tax. Instead, try the following alternatives.
Giving back to the community or the less fortunate in society is admirable. However, and many do not know this, philanthropy also earns your business certain tax breaks. These tax breaks allow you to give up less of your profits and collect more money from your revenue. It’s a win-win for all involved. Best of all, giving will give your brand a very good reputation in the public limelight
2) Pension plans
If you do not have one already, create a pension plan. A pension plan allows you to take money from your business and into your retirement tax free. The biggest benefit is that some plans allow you to sort of compensate by taking out larger amounts of cash unlike with standard pension plans. Even better, you can then re-invest this money into ventures such as stocks, real estate, or gold and silver bullion.
3) Employee equity options
You can also create an employee equity plan that allows your staff to own a certain share of your business. In essence, they buy part of the business from you. This allows you to liquidate part of your equity and use it for other needs, like investing in other sources of passive income. This plan has numerous benefits. For one, your business setup remains the same. You retain your majority stake in the company and you might enjoy tax rebates. Most of all, your employees get all the motivation they need to work hard and grow your business!
In the business world, ideas are not the problem, the execution is. Many people have great ideas but they are too afraid to execute them. Others have great ideas but they execute them poorly and fail. The successful entrepreneur knows that a business idea is only as good as its execution. If you have a brilliant idea, here’s how you can turn it into a great business.
1) Have a business plan
Sit down and draft a strategy on how you will organize your business, how many staff members you will need, what your running costs will be, the needed start-up capital, and how to market your business. Your business plan should be polished enough such that it covers all the aspects of your idea.
2) Know your target market
Who are you planning to sell your products or services to? Do these people have a need for what you are offering. How old is your target demographic, what are their spending habits, and what are they looking for most in a product or service like yours. if you can answer these questions, you are on your way to starting a great business.
3) Choose your location wisely
Location is critical for the success of a business. Ideally, your business should be located where your target demographic is. if you get the location wrong, your business will have a very difficult time accomplishing what you set out to do.
4) Don’t skimp on quality
Above all else, do not under any circumstances try to cut corners. Customers can tell if you are giving them a raw deal from a mile away. If you provide a substandard product or service, they will simply go to another business where quality is not compromised. Try to have your business stand out in every aspect, from the interior design to the staff uniforms, and even your stationery products.
Most entrepreneurs will attest to having operated businesses while in school. More specifically, while in college. Even the largest social media network today – Facebook – was launched in campus. So what makes starting a business while in college such an allure? Read on to find out.
1) Ready market
In campus, you have hordes of people ready to be potential customers. You don’t have to search far and wide for a market, it’s all around you. All you have to so is create a product that the students need and you’re in business. Considering that securing a market is one of the biggest challenges of running a business, this ready demand is one factor that makes operating a business in campus quite attractive.
2) Lower operating costs
In the outside world, a business owner is bogged down by many costs. These include rent, lighting, air conditioning, license fees, etc. In a campus setting, your business will not have to deal with these costs. This greatly lowers your expenditure. More so, it increases your profit margins to a point where you can sell your products at discounted rates and still make money.
3) Compartmentalized economy
Another reason to start a business in campus is because the economy inside a college is very different from that of the real world. For one, its an unregulated economy. Prices can rise very high if the demand is equally high. Also, if the institution is location away from urban towns, products sold within the campus become the only option for the target market. In essence you can easily become a monopoly and enjoy super profits.
4) Free infrastructure
A campus offers a ready and free infrastructure to run your business. You have a hostel which can serve as your shop and store. You also have noticeboards and free internet which can be used as marketing tools. In addition, the students themselves can be your biggest asset, thanks to word of mouth.
5) The student advantage
Lastly, being a student and in campus opens a lot of doors. You can get good discounts on your supplies and people outside are more wiling to buy from you. Some will even go to the extent of freely marketing your products to their contacts.
Social media platforms are not just for getting seen and being heard. That is the primary objective, but it’s not the only one. Social media can be a cash cow is you know how to use it as such. In fact, some people makes loads of money from social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You too can do the same. Here’s how.
1) Becoming an affiliate
One easy and proven way to make money online is by becoming an affiliate. It’s simple, you join an affiliate program with companies such as eBay or Amazon. You then use the provided links to get people to buy the products on social media. Every product sold through your referral will earn you a commission. It may not seem like much but when you have hundreds of people following your cue, you can make serious cash.
2) Promoting sponsored products
The simplest way to make money on social media is by capitalizing your popularity to promote sponsored products. You get paid by a third party to promote their product by giving it a good review or simply encouraging its use. In turn you get paid for your efforts via direct payments, free products/services or discounts.
3) Selling your own products
If you can make a product or offer a service, you too can earn from it via social media. All you have to do is post photos or videos and urge your contacts to try them out. If you have some level of influence, you will net some sales. The more people you have following you, the more you can make.
4) Creating content that capitalizes on your expertise
Lastly, you can sell your know-how as opposed to products and services. This works if you have marketed yourself as an expert in a certain niche. You then capitalize on that know-how to create informational products that people can buy to learn more. For example, If you are great at reviewing vehicles, you can create and sell a video/eBook detailing the best cars to buy in 2016.
Having clearly defined goals is vital for success. However, that is easier said than done. Hitting your goal targets can be an uphill task. Distractions and challenges will get in your way left, right. and center. Before you know it, procrastination will set in and your goals will remain just that – goals. But that doesn’t have to be the case, with the help of the pointers below, you can stay focused and achieve all your goals on time.
1) Note your goals down
Noting your goals down allows you to create a ‘compass’ that will show you the way at all times. You can note your goals in your diary, on your phone, on a sticky not on your desk, or on a poster hang on your wall. Read these goals regularly and remind yourself what you need to do to hit your targets.
2) Put your goals out there
Alone, you might not feel accountable enough if you do not hit your goal targets. After all, its just you. However, if you turn the tables and tell other people about your goals, you then become accountable to them. This forces you to work extra hard not to appear as a failure in their eyes.
3) Get rid of obstructions
Obstructions are everywhere. And if you have enough of them, you will not complete your goals. Identify your obstructions and then get rid of them. For example, if you can’t get any work done when alone, get yourself around people and work as part of a group. If your friends are interrupting your work flow, find a solitary place to get things done.
4) Have a plan
Lastly, have a plan. Know how you will achieve your goal targets and in which order. Having a plan also means that you understand the challenges that will come into play and how you will tackle them. A good plan should also have a timeline of events. That is, after how long do you plan to hit each target goal?
Every business starts small before it can grow and evolve into a multi-million or a multi-billion dollar company. And no matter what stage of this transition your business is in, you should operate it like a big brand. Your revenues may remain small but you will create a business model that works and one that guarantees you steady growth over the years.
1) Create an online presence
Websites and businesses go hand in hand. Having an online presence is not just a fad, it is a vital part of running a business. Recent data shows that more than ever, customers are resulting to the internet to find products or services that they need. In years to come, more business will be taking place online as compared to that being carried out in shops and offices. Having a website is therefore an absolute must, despite the size of your business.
To get started, you can hire a web design firm to create the website for you. You can even hire freelancing web designers online if you want a cheaper alternative to your local options. If you have some credible IT skills, you can purchase a web template online, fill it with content for your customers and have your new site hosted online for a small annual fee. Whatever you do, however, make sure that your site is attractive, easy-to-use, and accessible on mobile phones and tablets as well.
2) Take advantage of social media
Social media is a resourceful tool that any business owner can take advantage of. A huge proportion of internet users spend most of their time online browsing in social media sites. If you want to tap into the e-commerce pool, therefore, immersing your small business into the social media world is vital.
With so many social media sites in existence, it can get confusing choosing which ones are right for you. The best way to go about this is to simply join the most visited sites. These are : Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Ideally, the right social media presence for your business should be guided by the target demographic of your clients. You can also research which sites other brands in your industry are using and follow suit.
Once you have a social media presence, you can use it to keep in touch with your customers, to offer customer care service or to market products and services. Even better, you can pay to have these sites publish ads that will draw more people to your business.
3) Spend on marketing
A small business is like a plant. It needs watering to grow. That watering is equivalent to marketing where businesses are concerned. If you want your small business to follow in the footsteps of big brands, you must spend some money on advertising. Set some money aside from your budget or from your total revenue and dedicate it to advertising. Such advertising will help draw new customers and expand your client base. In fact, if well executed, your marketing costs can easily be offset by the business your new clients will bring in.
Of course, do not go all out on marketing. Remember the true size of your business and have your marketing budget reflect that. Online ads and affiliate marketing is a good place to start for a small business.
Starting a business and creating a product from scratch is one of the hardest things to do. It requires a lot of hard work, determination, and focus. This is exactly what the CEO and founder of fashion label FUBU did. He started his fashion line when he was broke and didn’t have much capital to risk about. Several decades later, his business is a force to reckon with and is worth hundreds of millions.
Image from Inc. website: http://www.inc.com/magazine/201310/issie-lapowsky/fubu-founder-daymond-john.html
We asked the fashion mogul what has helped him get to the position he is in after starting from zero and he had this to say:
1) Make sure you’re filing a need in the market
Your idea should be filling a gap that is already in the market. That is, whatever you’re selling should have a ready demand. The only way to make this happen is to come up with products and services that meet the needs of your target market. Assess what is lacking in the industry and then come up with solutions that quench that need. With FUBU, he created a product that helped the rap community define their identify and culture. There was need for a fashion-conscious attire in that community and he filled that need.
2) Make your clients part of the process
He goes on to advise that one should make his or her future clients part of the product development ,right from the start. You can do this by seeking their input on ideas that go into your product. For example, when he was coming up with his book, he conferred with his fans on social media to get ideas on content and the book’s packaging. Doing this makes the customers feel as though they are part of the product, as well as the movement behind that product. This creates strong customer loyalty and drives the people involved to buy the product when it hits the market. Getting ideas from the masses also ensures that you come up with a product that the people want and like. In essence, it guarantees better chances of success in the end.
Good advice is pivotal for the success of an entrepreneur. More than that, understanding that advice and following it diligently will allow you to reach great heights. Every successful entrepreneur can attest to this truth. In most cases, entrepreneurs have certain advice that they have used over the years to get to where they are today. This could be advice from mentors, partners or colleagues. As the popular adage goes, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together’.
To see just how true this philosophy is, we talked to some of the most successful businessmen around. The answers we received were diverse. Some spoke of giving back to the community, others swore to choosing the right workforce, and so on.
For Foursquare’s CEO, Mr. Crowley, that advice is following his instincts- a piece of advice that his mother hammered into him at a tender age. He relied on this advice to choose his major at the university and has since then used it to focus on projects that he likes. He says that his goal is to work on ideas that provide solutions to existing problems. For more than a decade now, he has been doing just that. Foursquare is his biggest accomplishment so far and if his success is any evidence, following good advice is key for entrepreneurs. His firm has raised over a hundred million dollars since inception, making it a top-tier company. This is impressive, especially when you consider that he has had tempting sale offers before. Just recently, he has founded his second company called Swarm, another IT firm that seeks to take over some of the functions in Foursquare. This move is aimed at addressing the needs of the market better through specialization.
With all the success that Mr. Crowley has bagged in the last decade, he is testament that you can never go wrong with good advice. The lesson that his mother drilled into him many years back has helped hm secure a place as one of the most successful and influential people in the tech industry.