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Small Business Development And Marketing Strategies

Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:

* Advertising
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals

For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.

There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:

* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals

Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.

An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.

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Small Business Bank – How Specialized Banking Works for You

If you’re opening a small business, you need a small business bank, pure and simple. Using your regular bank won’t net you the benefits that a specialized banking account can come with. No matter who you choose as a host for your banking needs, you always need to open a new account for a business. Never use your personal bank account as this can make it next to impossible to discern your business income and expenses from more personal sources. Always choose a new account, and look for a specialized bank whenever possible. The right bank will have a deep understanding of your business needs.

One of the most important features of a small business bank is an assortment of affordable banking solutions. Money is usually tight when you’re starting out. You don’t want to have a high minimum amount on your account that you can’t possibly sustain. If you need to make a large withdrawal for business purposes, you should know that you can do so without jeopardizing your bank account. It’s also important that you’re able to make deposits and withdrawals without a lot of fees. The right business bank will work with you so that you can maximize your profits early on.

Small businesses today are far different than what they were in the past. A mom and pop shop used to be a brick and mortar store with an easily-defined address and actual location. Today, many businesses are run online. You could be running your business from locations all over the country, or all over the globe. You can’t always work with the bank down the street. You need a small business bank that will go with you everywhere you happen to be. Online banking, mobile banking, and more are essential for a business banking account. You don’t want to be tied down to one location, and with the right account you won’t be.

When you’re getting ready to open a new banking account for your business, it’s important to take the time to do your research. Look into a variety of banking opportunities to find the small business bank that’s right for you. When you look at other offers, you’re sure to notice where the best deal really lies. It’s important to understand what’s out there so you don’t get sucked into the first well-worded advertisement you see. Compare your options and look for a small business banking account that provides all the services, benefits, and convenience you need to make your company a success.

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Small Business Computer Consulting Appropriately Setting Your Rates

In small business computer consulting, $100 an hour can be a reasonable and livable rate. Why can setting your rates at $100 an hour make all the difference in the world?

Take the $100 an hour and multiply it by 1,500 hours a year. This is reflecting a 75% utilization rate; or 75% of a typical forty hour work week as billable time. Now youre at $150,000 a year gross.

Salary and Affordability

As a small business computer consulting firm, you will want to take a third of the gross and plow it into sales and marketing. Therefore you can afford a $40,000 base salary for your sales account executive. So, of that one third of your gross small business computer consulting income, $40,000 can go to the base salary and $10,000 can go to related marketing expenses.

Additionally, one third will take care of taxes, insurance and overhead items for the most part, and you have a third of it or $50,000 left to pay a technical staff salary.

Surpassing $100 an Hour

You may be considering exceeding a rate of $100 an hour for your small business computer consulting firm. At that point, you can hit what we call the not-so-imaginary-hourly-billing-rate ceiling.

Needless to say, if your small business computer consulting clients are paying $110 to $125 an hour, it gets even easier to be able to afford really bright, motivated, highly qualified sales and technical staff.

Higher Rates Equal Bigger Businesses

However, if you want to charge above $100 an hour in your small business computer consulting firm, youll almost always need to move above and beyond sweet spot small business clients into really large small businesses, medium size businesses and enterprise-sized accounts that require a different business model and technical skill set.

Once you do that, youre going to be operating under a completely different type of business model. And you will need even more polished and seasoned salespeople to be able to handle those accounts.

Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consultants Secrets. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

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Questions to Ask When Searching for a Small Business Banking Account

The bank a small business owner chooses to bank with is critical to the success of a business. Choose a bank that takes too many fees out, or one that doesnt offer the services a small business needs, and the success of the business is on the line. Conducting research before choosing which bank you use for your small business banking is critical. If you are in the beginning stages of your bank research, the following questions can help you determine if a bank is right for your small business.

The first question you should ask is what banking options the bank provides your small business. Every small business is different, and the banking options one business needs will vary from another. Determining what features are offered, and how they help your small business can help you determine if a certain bank is right for your small business banking needs. Some questions to consider asking include if a bank provides online access to bank accounts, the ability to choose remote checking, and the option to directly deposit checks and money remotely. Once you have determined what features and banking options are being offered to your small business, you can determine what bank offers you the most.

The second question you should ask is what, if any, potential is there for accessing small business loans. Some banks include in their small business banking features the ability to easily gain access to small business loans. If there is reason to believe that your small business may need to apply for a loan sometime in the future, then a bank that offers easy access to a small business loan might be beneficial. If a small business loan is not on the horizon, then the small business loan feature doesnt affect your decision on which bank to use.

The third question you should ask is what bank fees will your small business occur over time. Small businesses will sometimes incur thousands in bank fees over a period of time. Asking what bank fees are can help you assess whether a particular bank is right for your small business banking needs. Banks fees to consider include account holding fees, fees to access online accounts, transaction fees, debit card fees, and remote banking fees. Once you have determined what fees are being assessed by which bank, you can determine which bank is the best choice for your small business.

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Does Your Small Business Really Need A Server The Answer Is No.

As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.

Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.

Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?

Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.

And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.

Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.

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Professional Designed Website Can Quickly Popularize Your Small Business

Are you a small business firm that is seeking an effective means to market yourself to your target audience? Look into a professional Web Design Service to get a website that impresses people about your business. Though there are lots of do-it-yourself ideas on the internet about web designing, nothing can give you the kind of result that a professional website designer can give.

Why Do You Need To Take Web Design Service For Your Small Business Website?

An experienced website designing company will have a team of website designing experts who will implement the latest site design features. This will make your site stand out from your competitors. The site will have all elements necessary by which it is easy-to-use and navigate. All the information that has to be placed in your site will be positioned in the right way and presented in an organized manner so that it is interesting to the people who read it. Having a well designed site will take your small business to greater heights because you can reach across to a global audience. Your products or services are not limited to your local area but it is now available to a global audience. People who are in need of the products or services that your company is offering can now avail it through the information posted in your site.

An impressive and professionally designed website is a great marketing tool. It will showcase your business products or services to a large audience but the cost of such marketing is very minimal. As a small business you have to compete with many medium and large scale businesses in your industry. Having a website will enable you to make a mark for yourself and setup your business as a provider of high quality products or services in your business sector. You can reach out to global customers in the same way as bigger organizations and gain more customers your way. Since your site showcases your brand’s products or services, you can hear from people all over the work inquiring about what your company is offering and how to buy it. Many small business owners are finding better markets by opening a website. If you post blogs, articles or have a Face book profile about your company, you can link all these different internet resources to your site and enjoy the benefits of getting quality site traffic that gives good conversion rates to your site.

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Why Use a Small Business Bank

One of the most important decisions a small business owner, or any business owner for that matter makes is what bank they are going to use. Small business banking provides a wealth of financial services beyond simple deposits, check writing, and withdrawal. Many small businesses need to establish a line of credit or perhaps even take out a loan. Another one of the many services that small businesses need to setup is credit card processing, payroll services, and automatic bill pay. A small company cannot function without the proper financial setup. In order to withstand the financial needs of a successful business, the company needs to set up an account with a bank that is familiar with small business needs.

In order for a bank to attract small businesses, they need to provide aggressive attractions and a wide variety of services. The bank must offer convenience. For example, many small businesses deal with cash and coin. Therefore, they will likely make many trips to the bank to deposit and withdraw money. A bank must also offer plenty of convenient ATM locations so that the small business can have access to their account at any time of the day or night when they need it.

Many banks charge fees ranging from credit card fees to ATM charges, wire transfer fees, and many other normal fees. As a small business owner, you should not find any surprises. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask the small business bank of your choice what fees they charge so that they are not caught by surprise. Make sure and choose a bank that is upfront about their charges, one that is capable of providing you with the lowest rates, the most feasible financial options, and the best in banking service so that you can run your business smoothly and efficiently.

Small business banks must also provide excellent customer service so that when a small business owner has a problem; bankers that can guide the business owner through their problems address the problem. There are many reasons why a small business owner would experience a banking problem such as transaction issues or a forgotten PIN. That is where the small banking specialists step in and take care of your worries so that they can get you and your account straightened out.

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Top 7 Small Business Tax Tips

Here are seven ways for owners of small businesses to save money on their taxes.

1. Incorporate Yourself: If you`re still a proprietor or partner of a business, it`s time to incorporate yourself. Not only will you limit your liability, but you may enjoy lower tax rates on small business income and other tax advantages as well.

2. Be Home Based: If possible, continue (or switch to) being a home based business. Not only will you keep your overhead down, but you will be able to write-off (or deduct) the business use of your home.

3. Income Split: Pay reasonable wages to your spouse and children. In this way, you can legally divert income taxed at your higher rate to your family members that are in a lower tax bracket.

4. Rearrange Your Affairs For Maximum Tax Savings: Can you make some changes to turn your hobby into a moneymaking business? Can you use that extra room in your house as a home office for your business? Can you arrange to use your car more for business purposes? Can you arrange for more of your entertainment expenses to be business related?

5. Document Your Expenses Well: Do you document your expenses well so that they would survive a tax audit? Have you kept a mileage log so that you can prove the percentage business use you claim for your vehicle? Have you kept receipts for all your entertainment expenses and listed the business purpose on the back of each receipt?

6. Be Punctual: File all returns and pay all taxes due (income, payroll, sales, et cetera) on time. This way, you avoid expensive late filing (and payment) penalties and interest.

7. Develop a Tax Planning Mindset: Some people only worry about their taxes during tax season. However, you will save a fortune in taxes, legally, if you make tax planning your year-round concern. Do you make business and personal purchases, investments, and other expenditures with tax savings in mind?

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Curing The Top 3 Business Frustrations With Small Business Coaching

When considering whether you are ready for small business coaching, check first to see if you are suffering from any of the following 3 business frustrations. An experienced coach can guide and support you in remedying these road blocks to small business success.

Not Enough Customers

One of the major frustrations for entrepreneurs is how to consistently fill their sales pipeline with qualified prospects Are you suffering from too few prospects to convert into customers? Have you considered your approach to how you go about marketing your business?.Many businesses utilize a very limited tool box of strategies and tactics in bringing potential customers to their business. A small business coaching program can open your eyes to many different methods for pulling more clients and their dollars.

Lack of Focus and Lack of Direction
It is very easy to become distracted and diminish your effectiveness by splitting your attention over too many tasks. Are you doing too many things and think this means you are productive? This can lead to poor results and an unhappy business owner. Machines can multi task; humans weren’t designed for this function.
Reaching your goals and dreams is more probable when a clear focus and defined objectives are directing your energies. To satisfy your main business goals you need to forego the adhoc decision making approach and structure the way you make decisions based on important priorities. A decision to commence a small business coaching program could be the answer.

Working Too Many Hours
Perform this exercise and enlighten yourself. Write down how many hours you are putting in each week towards running your business. Multiply this by say 50. Now jot down how much you draw in remuneration from the business per annum. Divide the dollar amount by the yearly hours and this will reveal your hourly rate. Sometimes owners will discover what they already feared; that they are earning less than some of their employees.

One of your reasons for starting a small business coaching regime may have been to be financial independent or at least to make enough to enjoy a great lifestyle. The main goal here is to improve your business to the point where:

– You are making more income than if you were working for someone else
– The business is making a profit (not just covering your drawings)
– You will eventually be working less hours

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Proper Tax Preparation Vital To Small Business Success

Making sure your business taxes are in order is too important a job to entrust to just anyone. You need an expert at tax preparation on your side; tax preparers who offer the small business services you’ll find at Padgett Business Services. Padgett has long been a source of a host of financial services for small businesses throughout North America; offering a proven system and over four decades of positive results for their clients. By specializing in the types of taxes that affect small businesses, Padgett agents consistently helps business owners just like you with income taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes and more.

Padgett agents are committed to the thorough understanding of the issues that affect small businesses, and in insuring that your taxes are completed not only in a timely fashion but also in an accurate and beneficial fashion. Upon meeting with Padgett regarding your taxes you will notice straight away that your business is treated as the unique entity it is. Padgett realizes that no two businesses are alike, and you can count on receiving business advice as well as a tax plan that addresses your needs. Once your taxes are completed you can count on their prompt delivery in order for you to easily meet tax guidelines.

Should you find yourself or your business to be the target of a tax audit, Padgett Business Services can help. Counted among our professionals are several IRS enrolled agents; agents who are prepared to represent you in your dealings with the IRS. In such times it pays to have an experienced advocate by your side to guide you through the process and towards the best possible outcome. And to avoid such situations, small business owners can count on Padgett to keep their financial reporting compliant with government standards.

A successful small business is one that reaches out for expert help in the areas of their business beyond their expertise. In the very same way that Padgett’s professionals couldn’t be expected to be an expert at running your business, you can’t be expected to be an expert on state and federal tax codes. Padgett Business Services is however, and can provide a number of small business services while pointing to the proven results experienced by four decades’ worth of satisfied clients.