August 2011

Should you use a group buying site like Groupon for your small business? They seem to be everywhere now, with new ones popping up all the time. Before jumping on the group buying bandwagon, consider the following:

1) Make sure that you can break even

Some of the biggest horror stories are about small businesses getting way more response than anticipated, and then dealing with a deluge of customers that are paying a price that does not even cover costs. Do the math and make a sound financial decision.

2) Target carefully

With the wide variety of options available now, do some research into the target markets of group buying sites. Make sure they are a match for you.

Many small businesses think they can easily maintain their own books. However, doing journal entries is certainly not fun. It is also waste of an entrepreneur’s precious time. Hiring a bookkeeper is an important decision for your business. A bookkeeper is a key part of your management team.

Before you hire, ask yourself:
Do you only look at the price per hour?
Do you look at Certifications?

Organization is essential for business success. It starts with first identifying what is important to you, then prioritizing into categories. Whether it is business, personal, club, or group, you will have more clarity for decision making with surroundings that are fully operational. Your documents will be readily available at your fingertips to develop a plan, stay focussed and meet your goals.

The process starts by making a decision to recycle it, shred it or keep it.

Recycle It -Recycled material is all your generic information, for example, newspapers, magazines, vouchers, and items for public viewing.

The ability to follow-up effectively with potential customers and referral partners is key to the success of a small business.

Create a standard follow-up guideline- Follow-up with potential customers and referral partners within your standard guideline – will it be 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days? If you wait too long, people will not remember you and the opportunity is lost.

Use a follow-up method that suits your business and your personal style- Phone follow-up helps you relay your passion for your product but can potentially interrupt the other person’s busy day. Email follow-up is less intrusive but doesn’t allow your passion to come though. Find out what works for you and keep doing it.

Retail is all about your unique brand. Once you have decided on a concept, completed your business plan, signed your lease, and placed orders for stock to fill your store, the actual day-to-day running of the business can seem like a blur. Taking time to regularly re-visit your brand will keep you focused and increase your profit.

Does your purse match your shoes?

The strength of any retail store is its Brand. It tells the world who you are, and what you do or sell. If you have a bricks and mortar location, a website, a business Facebook page, a twitter account, and a blog, do they support each other? Is your retail location well merchandised, filled with helpful staff, and dynamic original product?