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Taking your business online

Blogged By: 
Jason Bowser, Featured Startup Business Expert

You can't ignore the role of the Internet in business today. In a very short time, we've gone from mixers and meet-ups to e-mail and tweets. Not having a web site that represents your business today is as negligent as not having business cards.

You know how important taking your business onine is, but maybe you, like many other business owners, don't have a clue about "this Internet thing" or where to even start.

Fear not. Taking your business online, while a project unto itself, is not much different from conducting your business any other way if you break it down into basic components.

Some good reasons for taking your business online

Do I really need a business plan?

Blogged By: 
MBDA


ChecklistYES! It is of critical importance to prepare a business plan prior to starting your business.

The business plan is the road map your business will follow – the plan that shows where you are going, what your business objectives are and how to get there. The plan is a written document that outlines this – providing a detailed description of your business, describing in detail your product or service, how it will benefit the customer, and, most importantly, how you intend to become profitable with it, emphasizing your marketing strategies, financial management and management team.

The business plan is extremely important in many areas, including obtaining financing, whether equity or debt. Most importantly, however, preparing a business plan requires you as the business owner to consolidate your business objectives and strategies into a written document, a document that should be used frequently to review your results and revise you objectives. It is one of an entrepreneur’s most helpful documents; you should give it significant thought and prepare it carefully.

Networking for success

Blogged By: 
MBDA

Business NetworkingWhen we think of networking often times images of happy hour, spending an inordinate amount of time in the evenings at a restaurant or office building with a whole lot of chit chat that may yield little to no business at all.  While this type of activity can seem tiresome and unnecessary, it can be a great way to get your business off the ground.  This simple, cost-effective (sometimes FREE) way of advertising is a means of getting the word out about your business.

Everyone is experienced at networking.  Remember what happened when you ate at that great seafood restaurant, found the best bargain at the local shoe store, located a fantastic dry cleaners?  It’s probably safe to assume you told a few family members, friends or co-workers.  This is networking; passing along information to those who most likely will use these products or services.

Building your company's brand

Blogged By: 
MBDA

Have you ever seen a commercial on television that may appear interesting, but when it’s over, you can’t remember what was being advertised?  That is what’s known as “brand failure.” 

Corporate America spends billions of dollars each year in advertising and promotions for the products or services they provide.  Their goal is obviously to reach as many potential customers as possible.  Any time they create a perception that does not stick in your mind in a positive way every time you hear their company name, its brand has failed. 

The same holds true for your company no matter how large or small.  Building and maintaining a good public image means the difference between success and disaster.   The way the public views your company profoundly impacts the amount of business you can expect to do in any market.  The public image you create for your company should be one that captures attention and motivates customers to purchase your products or utilize your services.

Want to start a business? 20 questions to ask yourself first.

Blogged By: 
Jason Bowser, Featured Startup Business Expert

Opportunity
Being your own boss can be rewarding, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. Sure, to some degree, you have more freedoms working for yourself than you do working for someone else. But often young entrepreneurs find that the workload and the stress of having to continually perform to keep their young business viable can be too much for them. It's true that, statistically in the U.S., more new businesses fail than succeed. You shouldn't let that discourage you but if you're thinking about starting your own business, there are some important things you should think about before making your decision.

People start businesses for a lot of reasons, not just because they have some great idea that can change the world.  In fact, many small businesses do very well marketing others' products and services.

Self-sufficiency
Have you ever felt trapped in a job working for a company? That happens to lots of people and many of them dream of one day starting their own business and working in a way that gives them more control over their worklife such as hours, pay and overall job security--hey you're not going to walk into your own office and fire yourself unexpectedly one day, right?
 

Did you know...

Between 2002 and 2007, minority-owned firms outpaced the growth of non-minority firms in gross receipts, employment, and number of firms. Minority firms are an engine of job creation.
Graph for MBE Growth

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