Stay Competitive: Tips for the Small Business Owner

The idea of your PC being your digital storage space is dying. The power of the internet is starting to be released in the form of new web-based software solutions that give businesses the power to have anywhere, anytime access to their office. Now all a professional needs is a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC, to connect to the internet and they have access to their office at their fingertips.What does this mean for small businesses? Lower costs and a stronger competitive advantage.The world of technology has developed, opening doors for small businesses to eliminate their fixed costs in expensive infrastructure and IT management, and instead use pay as you go solutions that are significantly lower in cost and offer more versatility. In addition, they have the tools to collaborate with their teams in a way never seen before. Through lower costs and increased productivity, small businesses are now able to level the playing field and compete with the big guys.No Infrastructure. No Fixed Costs.Infrastructure is one of the most costly items for small businesses. The initial price to purchase and set up the infrastructure is enough to set a small business back months, if not years. Once it has been set up, the maintenance of the servers and infrastructure is laborious and budget draining. IT personnel have to maintain the system and protect against any downtime that could impair business productivity.Another expense for businesses is software that requires installation. Once a software solution is purchased, it must be installed and license keys have to be maintained on multiple pieces of hardware. The process to do this is laborious and the time intensive.To counteract these two ways of doing business, more companies are moving to the cloud. Once you have just a simple internet connection, you can do almost anything. Software-as-a-Service that runs in the cloud does not require installation which is why more companies are leveling the playing field and adopting this way of doing business. It is seamless to set up and requires no maintenance.When a small business invests their money in cloud software, they significantly limit their spending, allowing them to invest in other aspects of their business, giving them the opportunity to compete and grow faster.Dramatically Cut Overhead CostsInvesting in office space, travel and other resources are huge expenses for small businesses. The world is shrinking and the idea that business must be done from specified locations is becoming old fashioned. Smart businesses know that the way to be competitive is to lower costs in heavy equipment and have consistent access to your office, no matter where you are in the world. This can be done with cloud software.Software in the cloud allows businesses to conduct meetings and manage team collaboration online. Through the use of video and web conferencing, businesses are able to meet in cyberspace, instead of traveling thousands of miles, wasting time and money. Additionally, business files can be stored and shared online, giving professionals access to their important documents from anywhere in the world. Business collaboration tools have added value to the business place, allowing for improved communication. Small businesses with remote locations or people who work from home can now work together better online, staying ahead of the competition by increasing productivity and employee morale.With all of these benefits, it would seem that such a powerful piece of technology would take a while to implement. But the truth is, we already have the technology at our disposal, we just aren’t using it.Immediate ImplementationOne factor that has scared some small businesses into implementing new solutions, is the time it takes to transition to a new system. Transitioning to cloud software, however, is fast and easy and only requires access to the internet.In today’s society, it is difficult to find a business that does not use e-mail or have a website. The idea of web-based software is not totally foreign to us. Because of this, small businesses are able to immediately implement new cloud software solution into their business with little transition or training time required.The learning curve for employees is fast. Most employees use similar technology in their daily lives, making it seamless to integrate into their business life. Social networks, for example, are being turned into private business collaboration tools to enhance communications with geographically distant locations or work-from-home employees.Businesses can be instantly more hands on, making them more innovative and productive instantly. By leveraging current technology, businesses are seeing immediate positive results.Give your Team the Tools to SucceedEmployee morale is driven by the feeling of accomplishment. With the right tools, small businesses are giving their teams what they need to succeed in the workplace, and give public recognition to those who do well, thereby retaining quality employees.Even with a traveling sales force, work-from-home employees and remote locations, small businesses can make sure their employees stay motivated and connected, wherever they are. By having a way to connect in the cloud, these employees get the support they need to succeed, boast about their accomplishments and drive internal competition. Likewise, managers have a bird’s eye view of the business and employees have a forum to share their ideas and accomplishments. Small businesses are able to thrive and stay competitive with a motivated staff behind them.It is clear why cloud computing is taking the small business world by storm. With growing margins and improved employee morale, businesses can become more profitable. Lower IT and overhead costs give small businesses more ground to take off running with their business. Teams have the ability to adopt technology they are already familiar with and interact with their colleagues, partners and clients in a way never seen before, increasing employee productivity and morale. Cloud computing and business collaboration tools are crucial to the success of any small business.

Small Business Startup – Do You Have What It Takes?

Starting and managing a small business is difficult. Do you have all that it takes to be successful in both the startup stage and the longer term?In small business you are constantly subjected to mental strain.You need to have a solid physical constitution because you may find yourself working greater hours than you ever did as an employee.You need to handle uncertainty and anxiety and, if you make mistakes, you will need to accept the repercussions.All that and no absolute guarantee you will even be successful!The honest truth of the matter is that there are definitely many risks and rewards in regard to operating your own business.You could start a small business and find two or three years down the track that your investment has gone up in smoke.However, if you are actually suited to operating a business, you may find that it is one of the most amazing and fulfilling things you do in your life.You can control your own destiny in a way that you never would as an employee.If you succeed, you will have the satisfaction of carving out a place of your own in the business world.And you may well find yourself wealthier than you otherwise would have been.So, do you have what it takes to launch a small business?Your initial step in becoming an entrepreneur really should be to evaluate yourself.Can you accept the risks and the hard work? Are you the kind of individual who will be satisfied by the rewards offered as a result of running a business?There have been a lot of studies of small business people that come up with different suggestions about just what makes them tick and what features they have in common that makes them successful in business.They identify a number of very obvious things like; entrepreneurs as individuals commonly tend not to like taking orders– they definitely prefer being their own boss; that they are high-energy people; that they are enthusiastic about their enterprise; that they have the tendency to be sociable– which helps when it comes to marketing and selling of course; and they are self-contained and can work long periods in solitude and with no back up.More than that, these people are resilient, can cope with rejection and failure and still come back for another shot.They possess mental endurance and can exercise good judgment under stress.They are firm decision-makers, but tend to act only after exhaustively examining all their options.They are not gamblers – they will take risks, yet only after doing everything possible to maximize the odds in their own favor.Now, that is quite a list of traits, but it’s still only half the story.The other half is motivation – is it so strong that it will keep you going through the most difficult times?You might be driven by your own character to want to start your own business but other people are driven to start up their own business as a result of external pressures.They may be discouraged by their employer’s promotion policy, as an example.They might feel that they are not really being paid according to their performance or perhaps their job may place excessive time constraints on them.They may like to be in a position to determine when and where they work.The main point to bear in mind is that not all motivations showcase the kind of active drive that compels successful business people – it’s not as simple as just ‘feeling’ that it’s right for you or even that it would be preferable to what you are doing currently.Being half-hearted is no way to go into business – you have to be very driven to be able to put in the effort that will be demanded.Once you decide that you do have what it takes to go into business, there are 5 things you will want to do to ensure you have the greatest chance of success.1. Make sure there is a market for your product/service and develop your unique business idea. You should understand what you are going to sell, who you are going to sell it to and why they would want to buy it from you. To do that you will need to understand your market place, your customers and your competitors.2. Assess the financial feasibility of your start-up by looking at your launch costs, your sales estimates, your fixed and variable costs and most importantly, how these numbers come together to identify your break even point.3. Create a business plan that records everything you have discovered in the first two steps and sets out your business strategy for success.4. Make up your mind how to you are going to finance your start up company and use the business plan to approach your selected financier.5. Be aware of the legal prerequisites for starting a business and make a decision on what structures you will use to run the business venture.All you need to do now is add the final ingredient of success– the guts to make a start and implement your plan.The entrepreneurial spirit is what makes our world a fantastic place to live, and I encourage you to follow your dreams for small business success, from startup to highly profitable business sale.

Make the Entrepreneur Dream Come Through With an Online Business

Many working individuals are dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur, but how many are taking actions to make it a reality? Starting a traditional business needs a lot of money. This is the key reason that stops those people who are interested in starting a business and become an entrepreneur. Fortunately, the internet makes it possible for everyone to become entrepreneur through online business.Internet is still in its infancy and there are a lot of opportunities to make a success online business. It is just a matter how you are going to grab those opportunities and make your entrepreneur dream comes true. Internet is full of information in term of resources, tips and advices on how to start an online business and what to be done in order to achieve a success in the business. Many people have read the information and get the tips on how to start an online business and make money from their comfort home.However, most of them lack of actions to kick start the mission. That’s why they fail to make their entrepreneur dream comes true. If you have an ambition to become an entrepreneur and you decide to make it a reality through online business, then what are the right steps that you need to do to make it success?Here are a few tips to get you kick start immediately:1. Choose a type of online businessOnline businesses cover a wide range of markets. There is no limit of what you can sell, use your creativity to find a type of business that fit you. The rule of thumb, if you want to make profit from a business, find the business that has market demand. The common types of online businesses include affiliate marketing, set up an eBay online store with dropshipping, set up your own online store, buy products at wholesale price and sell at retail price for profit margin, or integrate dropshipping into your online store to avoid the need to keep stock.2. Source for productsOnce you have identified the type of online business to start, you need to source for the related products to sell online. When you perform product sourcing activities, remember that not all products are able to make profit for you online business. Products with too much of competition or too few demands are not good products to be selected. If you are sourcing for affiliate products, make sure you review the merchant’s landing page to ensure their website has high conversion rate to cover the traffic into buying customers.3. Set a websiteNext, you need to have a website, either you set up it at eBay online store or find a web hosting package, register a domain name and set up a website to sell your selected products or services. The bottom line is you need to have a website if you are serious about make a success online business. Focus some efforts in making your website search engines friendly through proper SEO because it helps to drive free and organic web traffic in the long run.4. Determine internet marketing strategiesIf you just set up a new online business, nobody at the Internet will know your business unless you get the business a good exposure to the internet community so that people who are interested in your products or services can find you and buy from you. Therefore, you should determine the internet marketing strategies that will drive web traffic to your website, monetize the visitors and turn them into your customers.SummaryInternet makes possible for people who are interested in becoming an entrepreneur to make their dream come true. You need to take an action to kick start an online business if you want your entrepreneur dream to become a reality. The above tips are a few quick steps to get you started.