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How To Start a Small Business: Begin with Purpose and Vision

Mountaintop Two People“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day
dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”

This is a famous quote from Nelson Mandela that really emphasizes how important it is for your business to have a clear vision that you can act upon. It also emphasizes how, if you do things the correct way, you can use your small business as a way to change the world. And hopefully this allows you to create wealth for you and your family along the way. (more…)

Why Building a Small Business is Better than Building a Product

People in front of windowSome of our recent blogs have addressed common challenges that entrepreneurs often face. Another common problem that we haven’t discussed yet is the fact that many small business owners confuse creating a product with building a business – and many fail because they don’t understand this difference. This is an important small business idea worth noting.

These two things may sound like the same thing, but they are very different. Successful business owners understand the difference between the two, so we want to share how they compare to one another. (more…)

Small Business Ideas to Grow Internationally

Global GrowthOne of the most common questions we receive from members and students of our small business training and mentoring programs is: how do I grow my small business outside my home country?

This is a good question and an important one of the best small business ideas, as there is a massive amount of opportunity for most products and services throughout the world. So, why limit your success and profits to inside your country?

Thе bаѕiс fundаmеntаlѕ involved in the еѕtаbliѕhmеnt аnd growing оf new businesses, аrе bаѕiсаllу thе ѕаmе intеrnаtiоnаllу with minоr рrосеdurаl diffеrеnсеѕ and cost rеԛuirеmеntѕ.

Here are five basic steps to establishing an international company: (more…)

Becoming a Successful Small Business Owner in Africa

africa-businessThere is no dеnуing the fасt thаt opening a business – no matter how big or ѕmаll – саn bе very сhаllеnging. Yоu hаvе to lооk аt ѕоmе factors to determine hоw well уоur business will реrfоrm. There is plenty of public information regarding American entpreneurs and small business ideas, but some tend to overlook the importance and appeal of some of Africa’s economies.

Wise реорlе dо rеѕеаrсh bеfоrе ѕtаrting a buѕinеѕѕ whiсh iѕ very important. Thеу lооk аt the dеmаnd of whаt thеу are offering and оftеn trу to ѕееk аrеаѕ with minimum соmреtitiоn or аrеаѕ thаt are easy to penetrate. (more…)

How Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg Inspire Small Business Owners All Over the World

zuckerbergMаrk Zuсkеrbеrg ѕhоwѕ trаnѕfоrmаtiоnаl leadership in асtiоn. Althоugh hе was fеаturеd аѕ a traitor in thе movie the Social Network, he fоundеd Facebook аnd turned it into a billiоn-dоllаr соmраnу, whiсh iѕ a ubiquitous company used by people all over the wоrld.

How did he do it? Here are a few small business ideas for entrepreneurs all over the world: (more…)

Small Business Ideas from Mark Cuban

mark-cubanMаrk Cubаn is one of America’s most widely-known entrepreneurs. He hаѕ an аnѕwеr to thе world’s есоnоmiс ѕtimuluѕ рlаn. He also wants to hеlр by hеlрing реорlе tо think more entrepreneurial аnd оffеrѕ some small business ideas fоr ѕtаrtuр buѕinеѕѕеѕ.

He iѕ оn the right trасk. Thе ѕрirit оf thе еntrерrеnеur аnd thе рiоnееr is thе driving fоrсе behind whаt it is tо bе аn Amеriсаn. It iѕ part оf оur hеritаgе. Hiѕ plan iѕ worth lооking аt fоr those who hаvе аn idеа for a buѕinеѕѕ or аlrеаdу have a business and whо need invеѕtmеnt сарitаl tо fund it. (more…)

Small Business Startup Ideas for Entrepreneurs

startupSmall business ideas can be scarce at times, especially for bеginnеrѕ. Of соurѕе, it’s often times good tо ѕtаrt оff ѕоmеthing thаt iѕ not tоо grаnd. While mоѕt big соmраniеѕ today ѕtаrtеd as modest enterprises, it iѕ significant to note thаt nоt аll startups realize such great degrees of success.

With this in mind, it iѕ nоt bad to hеаr ѕоmе ѕtаrt uр аdviсе.

Find the Right Financial Resources

One thing thаt ѕеriоuѕlу dirесtѕ your ѕtаrting off iѕ hоw muсh resources уоu have. Even реорlе with nо background in economics and finances know thе importance of сарitаl whеn kiсking оff a соmmеrсiаl рrоjесt. However, not all entrepreneurs are fortunate enough to secure small business loans to finance their ventures. (more…)

Small Business Ideas to Finance Your Company

money-treeMany people are full of small business ideas, yet they do not have the cash-flow to really begin it. Fresh out of the box, new organizations are regularly turned down for bank credit, and regardless of the possibility that your business is set up, assets can in any case be hard to secure. Advances supported by the Small Business Administration are generally more available; however they are turning out to be progressively aggressive.

With that in mind, there are several alternative sources of small business financing to choose from: (more…)

Small Business Ideas from the Steve Jobs School of Business

steve-jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, is one of the most successful entrepreneurs the world has ever seen. He is also a good role model and source of small business ideas for young entrepreneurs who are thinking of building a startup.

Regardless of whether you are running a  small business or a large one, the rules to small business success remain the same. Entrepreneurs can always follow Steve Job’s methodologies and ways to get success in their startups. Let’s have a look at those fundamental principles that made Steve Jobs successful: (more…)

Three Small Business Trends That Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

Small Business TrendsChances are, you have a pretty good handle on the things that are most important to your small business and the industry you’re in. You’ve most likely identified a trend, problem, or opportunity and built a small business idea to address those needs in the market.

However, it is also important to keep an eye on bigger-picture small business trends that affect you as an entrepreneur and small business owner. In addition to the things affecting your small business and the industry you play in, there are a number of macro trends that every entrepreneur should be aware of.

Here are three current small business trends that are of particular important to small business owners in the process of taking their enterprises to the next level: (more…)

Small Business Lessons from Celebrity Apprentice

Small Business LessonsIt’s not often that a reality show can provide meaningful small business lessons for entrepreneurs and business owners. There is one exception to this rule.

In addition to the antics of Donald Trump and celebrities as diverse as Flavor Flav, Gilbert Gottfried, and Donald Trump, several years of the TV show Celebrity Apprentice have brought many lessons for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Even though the show is well-scripted and staged for a reality show, it still provides several takeaways that we can apply to our small businesses: (more…)

Burn Bridges Behind You to Ensure Your Small Business Success

Small Business SuccessIt’s no secret that most small businesses fail within the first five years of their existence. Of those that do make it through those early years, most of them fail in the next five years after that. In other words, although entrepreneurship can result in tremendous rewards, it is by no means a cakewalk.

This brings up an interesting question: why do so many small businesses fail? Based on our experience running our own startups and looking at our research of small business success and failures, the answer is much simpler than most believe. It is simply because the owner of the company gives up.

Now, don’t get me wrong – most entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. However, they often times find that small business ownership requires a lot more work, patience, and financial commitments than they had thought, which leads them to revert back to their Plan B.

The most successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, burn all the bridges behind them. They don’t look back. They don’t even consider that their business may fail. They don’t keep a Plan B in their hip pockets in case things don’t work out. In other words, they burn all the bridges behind them and fully commit to their startup’s success – and eventually translate that success into small business growth. (more…)

Small Business Ideas From Shark Tank

Small Business IdeasNBC’s TV show Shark Tank is one of the more popular shows about small businesses and startups. It’s nice to finally see this and other reality shows about businesses and entrepreneurs gaining mainstream acceptance.

Aside from providing great entertainment value, Shark Tank offers some good small business ideas for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Parts of the show may seem overly scripted or unrealistic at times, but it offers some good lessons for those about to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys.

Here are three key lessons that we can take from Shark Tank and apply to our small business growth strategies: (more…)

Secrets to Small Business Growth: Download the Free Guide

Small business training coursesAs small business owners and entrepreneurs, finding practical and real-world advice can be very challenging. Especially when it comes to effectively managing small business growth, good advice from experienced entrepreneurs can be hard to come by.

We just released a new white paper that attempts to provide guidance, tips, and lessons to small business owners and startups looking to take their businesses to another level. In this paper, we cover a number of important topics, including:

This paper is available to download for free for a limited time. Click here to download this small business guide now.

Rising From the Ashes: Lessons From a Small Business Failure

Small Business Failures, small business training, small business consultingAs the optimistic, positive-thinking entrepreneur types, we typically like to think about the upside of being small business owners. However, there are often struggles and landmines along the way – and plenty of small business failures – that often get overlooked in our culture of glorifying the seemingly “nothing but success” stories of the Mark Zuckerbergs and Bill Gates of the world.

What many don’t realize, though, is that most entrepreneurs struggle immensely at some point along the way. Even for those that are fortunate enough to become successful, the entire journey can be a long grind. Despite this fact, most popular business publications, training courses, and Small Business Administration recommendations don’t prepare entrepreneurs and small business owners for the difficult scenarios to expect.

Based on my own challenges and failures – combined with what I’ve seen countless other entrepreneurs struggle with – small business owners make a number of common mistakes along the way. I certainly have, having unintentionally run one of my companies into the ground, only to recover and grow the company to heights that I had never seen before.

Below are several things that I learned in my rise, fall, and rise again cycle as an entrepreneur: (more…)

Why Search Engine Optimization Isn’t Enough for Your Small Business Marketing

Small Business Marketing, SEOThere’s a lot of buzz around social media, search engine optimization (SEO) marketing, and other technology-based marketing service providers. While technology has certainly expanded both the ability to reach more customers and target more specific groups, many marketing consultants get too myopic in their view of how marketing should work.

When I founded one of my startups in 2005, we were one of the few companies doing SEO small business marketing for the professional services industry. Fast forward nine years later, and most companies have an idea of how SEO works. If they don’t, there are literally thousands of one-man SEO consulting companies out there that can help make at least a minor improvement in your results for relatively cheap. In addition, there is a much broader understanding of how SEO works, even though it is constantly changing. All of this means that more people are good at SEO than they were even just yesterday – and that includes your competitors. (more…)

How to Focus Your Startup Company and Small Business

Small business startup focusWhen starting a small business, choosing the right level of focus can make or break your chances of success. On one hand, you want to focus on a relatively narrow market as a way to minimize your marketing costs and develop a strong customer following. On the other hand, too narrow of a focus can result in lost opportunity and revenue, which can be especially troubling for cash strapped small businesses operating on a shoestring budget without access to small business loans.

For example, let’s suppose that you are opening a retail clothing outlet. There are a myriad of different ways you could focus your business: you could focus on one target market, such as millennial women, baby boomer men, or children. Or, you could focus on one product line: outerwear, shoes, business attire, or casual clothing. Or, you could pursue a combination. The strategies you do and don’t pursue will have a big impact on how successful your company becomes.

Clearly, finding the right level of focus is important to achieving your small business goals and success. Here are four things to keep in mind when determining the right level of focus for your small business: (more…)

Constant Contact vs. Marketo: Which is Right for Your Small Business?

Constant Contact MarketoFor most small businesses, email marketing and social media are key parts of their marketing strategies. However, with the proliferation of small business software options in the marketplace, choosing the software that best aligns with your business strategy can be a tricky proposition.

While certainly not the only two options available, Constant Contact and Marketo are two of the leading email and small business marketing automation systems commonly used by small business owners and startups. Both provide features that allow business owners and entrepreneurs better communicate with their customers and prospects digitally – all while driving more top-line revenue growth and profits. In fact, according to a recent report from Pardot, 84% of small businesses are already using or planning to use some sort of marketing automation software.

Both software packages are good options for many small businesses, but they also have their distinct differences, strengths and weaknesses, depending on your needs. Below are a few observations we have seen among small businesses that have used each solution: (more…)

Tips to Jumpstart Your Small Business Marketing Plan

MarketingRunning a small business has its share of challenges. Developing a marketable product or service, finding a marketing niche, and creating demand are just a few of the challenges that small business owners face. However, a good small business marketing plan is a good first step in overcoming these small business challenges.

But what exactly does it mean to “create a good marketing plan”? Obviously, it needs to be effective and fit within the constraints of your budget. But beyond that, creating a marketing plan can be like navigating a no man’s land.

Here are just a few tips to help create tactics that can make for an effective marketing plan for your small business: (more…)

Three Things You Need To Know for Small Business Growth

Small Business GrowthIn this brief video, we outline three important components of small business growth:

  1. Developing a viable product or service
  2. Marketing and selling that product or service
  3. Scaling a company to meet demand for that product or service

Unfortunately, too many small businesses and entrepreneurs struggle with the #3 component. (more…)

Why Small Business Innovation is Overrated

Small business training coursesThe world is full of great ideas. In particular, entrepreneurs are especially good at generating ideas to address some of the world’s most complex problems. Breakthrough products such as Apple’s iPhone, Tesla’s electric car, and Facebook are all examples of things that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for small business innovation.

Further, the TV show Shark Tank, popular business journals, and small business consultants all love to talk about innovation. After all, it’s more exciting to talk about new, creative ideas than it is to discuss the nuts and bolts of running a business. We can also see and touch innovation, much more so than the intangible grunt work of managing a business. In other words, innovation is sexy.

So, if we assume that this is all true, then how in the world can innovation be overrated? Here’s the dirty, two-part secret about innovation: (more…)

The Five Scariest Parts of Running a Small Business

Small business training coursesFor most of us, starting a company is the epitome of the American Dream. By fusing our passions, visions, and identified opportunities in the marketplace, starting a small business is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.

However, running a small business can also be gut wrenching and downright scary at times. Cashflow, economic turmoil, employee issues, and a host of other variables – often perceived to be outside of our control – all threaten to undermine the fun and rewards of starting a company. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and other sources, most small businesses fail in their first one to two years of operation.

But having your eyes wide open to these various risks is the best way to overcome them. Below are five of the scariest aspects of running and managing a small business: (more…)

Five Things Your Small Business Should Look for in a Marketing Consultant

SEO marketing, small businessWith all of the options in the market, finding the right small business marketing company can be quite the challenge for a small business owner. Most options tend to focus on one specific service, such as web-site design, search engine optimization (SEO), graphic design, or telemarketing. However, in today’s fragmented market, it is more important than ever that small business owners and marketing managers create and execute an effective integrated marketing strategy that leverages the right tool for the right job. (more…)

Top 10 Songs to Inspire Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Top10Starting and running a small business can be a tough challenge. Most of the time, we have the will and internal drive to handle the strategic and day-to-day challenges, but there are times when we could all use a good motivational boost.

Here are our top 10 classic songs to inspire entrepreneurs and small business owners: (more…)

How To Increase Your Small Business Growth

Small Business GrowthThe many small business owners and entrepreneurs I’ve worked with over the years have different reasons for being in business. Some are looking for aggressive small business growth to enable an exit strategy in the not-too-distant future. Others want to create a lifestyle business, allowing them to work independently without the hassles of employees or overly complex operations. Still others want to create an asset that they can pass on to their kids or grandchildren.

Since there are a multitude of reasons why entrepreneurs start businesses (I’ve only listed a handful of them above), there is no one-size-fits all strategy for managing growth. Academics, self-proclaimed small business experts, and even the US Small Business Administration often prescribe generic solutions that aren’t good fits for all organizations. These ill-advised strategies can often create more harm than good, much like fitting a square peg into a round hole. (more…)

How To Motivate Your Small Business Employees

HungryI’ve founded, managed, and consulted to small businesses in all shapes and sizes over the years. One common item that entrepreneurs struggle with is how to maintain the same drive and sense of urgency that the entrepreneur and business owner has. After all, we poured blood, sweat and tears into our businesses and risked it all to pursue that dream, so surely our employees will share our same sense of focus and discipline as our business becomes more successful, right?

Unfortunately, that’s usually not the case. To add insult to injury, most small business training courses and Small Business Administration workshops won’t cover this important topic. Here are a few reasons why it’s not common to see 100% alignment between you as the entrepreneur and your employees: (more…)