You might think the hard part is done once you've come up with an idea for a profit-driving enterprise, but visit any Small Business Development Center and you will quickly discover that one of the most challenging parts of launching a business is preparation. The Small Business Administration is a terrific resource for providing funding, consulting and introductions but in order to access those resources, budding entrepreneurs need two key elements: a business plan and a market analysis. A proper market analysis identifies the geographic and demographic demand for your product or service, examines what economic and societal forces are driving your potential market, and lays out research findings, correlations, and conclusions. Let's examine the key elements of a successful market analysis.Read More >
Securing a loan from the SBA – What Small Business Owners Need to Know
The legend of companies like Apple and Microsoft starting in garages may have inspired generations of entrepreneurs to market the Next Big Idea, but venture capital money, technological resources and business opportunities aren't limited to Silicon Valley anymore. With the advancement of office technology, more diversity in office operations, and a stronger opinion among employees as to the importance of lifestyle, other pockets are opening up in the U.S. where startup companies are thriving. Here are snapshots of seven communities where entrepreneurship is thriving.Read More >
For most design work, you probably want to engage a professional graphic designer—no one wants to see an annual report or other vital documents look like they were cobbled together on a shoestring. But whether you are whipping up small items to use on your company's social media pages or simply want to express your intentions more clearly, it is a very good idea to invest some time in learning the basics of Adobe Photoshop. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.Read More >
You joined Facebook to catch up with friends, Twitter to follow celebrities, LinkedIn to get a job, and YouTube to watch funny videos. Guess what? All of your customers are out there doing the same thing. Social media has become a hugely popular marketing tool, but does your small business really need to be on all of them? The answer lies in identifying what kind of company you really are. Successful approaches to marketing between a brick-and-mortar, community-oriented business, an online-only ecommerce site, and a business-to-business service provider are likely to direct you towards one or two specific social platforms, and that's without even considering your target market. Here are a few observations about the most popular sites.Read More >
Earth Day is an annual event that brings people together on each April 22nd to demonstrate support for eco-activism and show that they care for the environment. The event was first celebrated in 1970 and since its humble origins it has spread to nearly 150 countries around the globe. Here are some easy but powerful ways for your company to show the community that you care for our communal environment on Wednesday, April 22nd.
Believe it or not, Spring is coming, so it's a great time for you and your team to refresh yourselves, think about your business approach, and clear out the cobwebs, either real or virtual. Here are a few tips to help you with your “spring cleaning" for your team and your small business.Read More >
Best Small Business Conventions for Grassroots Marketing
Often, small businesses don't have the resources to expand into related verticals. However, a mutually beneficial partnership with another company can expand business for both—for example, a marketing agency outsourcing to a video production company. Other reasons to bring on a partner firm could have to do with skill gaps. Certain functions are essential to running a business and it may make more sense to outsource those services. You may have a terrific product but not enough expertise to efficiently manage sales channels or deliver your product. Sales and marketing is another expertise that is hotly debates by small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs alike. It doesn't matter how great your business is if no one knows about it, and no one is born with a natural ability to create a market—it's a skill that has to be practiced and honed over time. Even just making the money (collecting from customers, paying vendors and employees) may be an area where it's easier to partner with a full service company like Indinero that can more easily and accurately manage your back office.Read More >
Is Your Company Utilizing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy?
How well do you know your target market? If you are launching a startup, and you've done your research, you should already know who is most likely to purchase your product. But, have you created a marketing plan that is designed to effectively reach your potential customers?Read More >