Every spring I judge intercollegiate MBA-level business plan contests at the University of Oregon, Rice, and the University of Texas, and participate in the Willamette Angel Conference as an investor. That means I read hundreds of business plans and listen to several dozen business pitches. And I form opinions, give feedback, and make choices. ;ve posted about this in the business plan marathon category on Planning Startups Stories, my main blog. And here on there on some other blogs too. If you looked there, yo-d find some of those posts are...
Last month I blogged here about how being socially responsible can help you market your business more effectively. Social responsibility is all about being part of a community, whether tha;s the global community, an online community, your local community or all three. Closely related to socially responsible marketing is another type of marketing tha-s also all about community: event marketing. There are two types of event marketing. The first is organizing your own event; the second is sponsoring an existing event. Both types of event...
In recent months as w;ve met with current and potential small business owners we have been directing them to shift their thinking, in regards to their business planning, to a deeper, more deliberate, more strategic level. The larger a business is the less effective budget-oriented and forecast-based planning will become. These two planning types have a focus forward on items such as anticipated consumer demand on current or for new products. This needs to be taken into consideration but in order to stay in business and function successfully...
If your business is recovering or expanding and you need to hire new people or re-hire former employees, budget for the true cost of each additional employee. Wages are;t your only cost. There are various payroll taxes, employee benefits, and hidden costs that can jack up the cost for adding a worker. And new laws may provide tax reductions- or additions -- for staffing up. Tax and other costsAn employe-s base pay, whether an hourly rate or a fixed salary, is only a portion of the total cost to the company. Increase the base pay by any...
Making the decision to franchise your business should not be taken lightly. Not only will you be investing a sizeable amount of money, but you'll have to provide a blueprint of how your business runs to your franchisees. That's going to take a bit of time. I'm sure that you're excited to start, because you read somewhere that great wealth has been created by a multitude of business owners who have used franchising as their growth vehicle. Before you get to the 'wealth creation' part, you must write a powerful operations...
Sometimes it is hard to tell how your social media activity stacks up. Are you more active -- or less active -- than your peers? Is your target audience likely to be using certain social media over other social media -- say LinkedIn versus video? Are you taking the right steps to build your presence online, or would you get better results if you adjusted your steps? This list of social media benchmarks may trigger some ideas to answer those and other questions: If you use a social media site* such as LinkedIn or Facebook, you...
If yo;re interested in selling your services and products to the government, the single most targeted event you can attend is the GSA Training Conference & Expo. The General Services Administration (GSA) is where you get a GSA Schedule contract- a-vehicl' through which you can do business with the government. GSA Expo is an annual training conference for federal, state, and local government employees, and well as military personnel, who make or influence procurement decisions. Thousands of government and military personnel attend this...
Got a great business idea, but no money to get it off the ground? You are;t alone. With the increase in the number of new business start-ups, more and more people are searching for ways to finance their business enterprises. Because traditional bank loans are nearly impossible to obtain in this economic climate, a lot of entrepreneurs are hoping to attract investors to fund their business start-up or growth initiatives. The good news is there are people who are willing to invest in solid business opportunities, but the operative word here...
Most of us plan all the time. Not just the whole big plan for our business, called;the business plan- as in capital letters, scary, THE BUSINESS PLAN; but also, all the time, the pieces of business that make it work. We plan the product launch, the trade show, the marketing programs, sales events, new product development, channel management, and so forth. Planning your marketing, your product or service mix, your social media or web strategy, your post-recession recovery growth plan, or anything else in your business can boil down to five...
The holiday shopping season is in full swing, but whether your target customers are consumers buying gifts for Grandma or businesses shopping for services, everyone's in a frugal mind-set. Given that most consumers are still holding tight to their purse strings, business owners might be forgiven for thinking competitively. It's easy to feel like you have to fight other businesses tooth and nail for every client, and every dollar, you can get. But in truth, that Scrooge-like attitude has never been more misplaced. Today's...
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