10 Incredibly important business basics EVERYONE needs to know BEFORE they start a business!

In my career, I have had a total of 3 businesses myself and a few others where I am in partnerships. Each time you start a business the basics are pretty well the same. Here are 10 things I believe are really important for anyone starting up a business....

1. Don't waste your dollars on things you don't need. This alone is one of the biggest reasons people go under. You simply won't need expensive office equipment, computers, phone systems etc when starting out. You'll be surprised at how well a computer of 2 years will perform in caparison to one that's brand new for triple the price! Be real with your $$$$. The basic here is that if it's not going to make money for you, build or protect your business then simply AND quickly look/walk away so you're not tempted to buy it - extravagance has no place when your starting a business on a budget. If you've got hundreds of thousands to splurge though, forget all of the above and go to point 2!

2. Develop a plan of where you wish for you AND your business to be this time next year. You will need to think about such things as a basic marketing plan to so you know what marketing you need to do to achieve that outcome. Starting and building a business is like building a house without the framework it's bound to crumble. Think of your business plan as your roadmap - without it you don't know where you're headed or how to get there. So take a couple of hours and give it some consideration, if you're serious about developing a successful business then I'm sure you can get serious enough to schedule some time in to do it.

3. Ask and get advise - this is huge! This one factor if not done or acted upon can send you under in a quick way! Ask professionals for help and guidance, they will steer you clear of known traps that you just won't know about starting out (I've learnt this one the hard way!). You don't need to be a hero and do everything, and think of everything, yourself. Hate to tell you this but, when you start out you DON'T know everything ok - so don't embarrass yourself by thinking you do, as the only one you'll fool will be yourself(indeed years down the track I'm still learning something everyday)

4. Make sure your business look is congruent. Have a business name that explains what you do so you're customers are buying or dealing from you rather than trying to figure out what you do. BEFORE you register the name, check that you can also get the website domain for it too. It's a real inconvenience and creates dramas for your customer AND you having to explain it to everyone! Colours, style etc need to be the same throughout your website, stationary, business cards etc

5. Hire right - if you are in the retail sector than hire a people person with personality plus over someone with the skills - you can teach practical skills such as taking money etc - but you can't teach people skills. If you need someone for accounts or admin where they aren't dealing with your customers then obviously the skills are more important.

6. Base your business on how you can add value to your customers. You'd be surprised how your business it will grow by suiting the needs of your 'ideal' client AND looking after them each and every time.

7. Know, understand and keep in contact with clients you WANT to deal with - it will not only make business more pleasurable for you and the clients will love dealing with you as you're always happy etc too - happy clients, more business, more referrals, less money spent on advertising and marketing!

8. Get organised - for goodness sake, NO ONE enjoys being stuffed around by someone always giving excuses for their mess, un-organisation, forgetting to follow through, not implementing, lack of communication, being late etc etc etc - get yourself some solid an effective systems to back you up in business so you can do it right EVERY time.

9. Work WITHIN your budget - never above it. It is disastrous to think "Oh we'll get more money in, it'll be right, or oh such as such is expected to pay this month" etc - it won't be - be conservative in your spend otherwise you will go under before you can blink! Don't sign leases or contracts on anything based on a projected income - you're playing with fire and you'll be busy enough without the stress and pressure of this to add to your lot.

10. Outsource what you're not good at or don't like. I'll admit it I do not enjoy any form of admin - yet I'm a perfectionist and need everything to be systemised so it frees me up to be creative. So instead of learning how to do accounts in MYOB and instead of procrastinating for days on filing etc (after I gave both a go time and again) it was easier, quicker and more productive for me and my business to outsource it to someone who WAS passionate about doing it. Not only do they do it in a fraction of the time - but they do it well because they love doing it!

Of course I could easily keep going on - there's always something you learn in business - however I'm sure these 10 will give you a great place to start...

And one more thing ENJOY what you're doing - if you're not, you're definitely in the wrong game and now is a good time to change careers!

Abundant Success To You!

By Rachael Bermingham

Top 7 Tips For Writing Your Marketing Plan

A lot of people are at a loss when it comes to deciding how to approach the marketing plan process and how to stay within time and budget constraints. To make for a less stressful marketing plan process, keep these 7 tips in mind:

Think Strategy First

An overall marketing strategy drives many decisions. If you first identify general goals, choosing appropriate marketing programs for a small business plan becomes much easier.

Decide Format

Putting together a general outline and deciding how you will publish the plan can help you better visualize steps you need to take. Examples are (a) a full, detailed report including Executive Summary, the plan itself, and back-up data, (b) a single summary sheet, or (c) something in between. Size and structure of the small business can help determine the scope of the plan.

Set Aside Time

A good, strategic marketing plan requires a certain amount of analysis. Early stages in the process go smoother with minimal interruptions. Make it easier for those working on the plan to concentrate by setting aside "closed" time during early planning stages. In a busy, small business environment, this can be accomplished by working during off hours or putting aside a short time - 30 minutes to an hour - each day.


New, creative ideas flow more freely when people are not inhibited by preconceptions. Hold a brainstorming session, with two rules: (a) there are no bad ideas and (b) everyone's ideas carry equal weight.

Shorten The List

Implementation suffers severely when there is an overload of marketing projects, especially in small businesses with a small or one-person marketing department.. The list of potential projects generated in the brainstorming session can be shortened by concentrating on those likely to be the most profitable and those that take advantage of the company's internal strengths.

Make The Plan Flexible

Business does not operate in a vacuum, so your plan needn't exist in one. For example, the business environment may change during the year or additional marketing opportunities may arise. Building in flexibility to adjust throughout the year can avoid the pitfall of continuing down an unproductive path.

Have Measurements In Place

Knowing if and how well a program works can help you identify opportunities for improvement. In your marketing plan or in back-up documents, set explicit goals and measurements.

By Bobette Kyle

10 Tips for Effective Proofreading

Proofreading may not be terribly fun, but it's one of the most important parts of writing.

Have you ever read a web page or a document that had typos, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes? This reflects badly on you and your business, and you could easily lose a customer over a simple spelling mistake!

Here are some tips for quick and effective proofreading:

1. Wait several hours before proofreading. Otherwise you might be thinking about what you just wrote, rather than watching for typos and punctuation errors.

2. Eliminate distractions. This is very detailed work so you need to be focused.

3. Print out a copy of your work, rather than reading it on a computer screen. To make it even easier, print a double-spaced draft copy.

4. Read the document aloud. This helps to highlight punctuation errors and missing words.

5. Use a piece of colored paper as a guide. This will help to keep your eyes on the line you're working on. If you don't have any colored paper, use a ruler.

6. Read backwards for spelling mistakes. Yes, that's right! You'll find spelling errors much easier if you're going from right to left. Otherwise you might unconsciously start reading, and not "proof" reading.

7. Use a different colored pen such as green or red to make your correction marks. These colors are much easier to see than black or blue.

8. Carefully check numbers and totals. Refigure all calculations and look for misplaced commas and decimal points.

9. If you have a lengthy document to proofread, rest your eyes every 10 to 15 minutes.

10. When you're absolutely sure there are no mistakes, have a partner check your work. Sometimes all it takes is a second pair of eyes.

By Jean Hanson

Ten Ways to Manage a Rapidly Growing Business

While some new business owners face the issue of not enough customers, others face the issue of too many customers/clients. Both are serious issues and must be dealt with carefully. There are many lists on how to find new customers/clients. Here is a list of 10 ways to deal with a rapid influx of new customers. The goal is a steady flow of just the right customers/clients.

1. Know the customer/client that is right for your business.

Get really clear about your ideal client or customer so you can be selective when there are too many business opportunities and you do not have time to accept them all.

2. Have a specialty that you are known for.

Specialize so that you get really good at what you are doing. You can then service more customers/clients quickly.

3. Eliminate clients who drain you.

If a client/customer takes too much of your time, that client/customer is costing you money. Look for ways to predict who will be a time-consuming customer/ client and avoid them. Find ways to eliminate those customers/clients.

4. Create systems to support you.

Examples are: a good business development system* that provides you with the customers or clients you need, a good bookkeeping system to keep track of expenses and revenue, a customer/client tracking system with a database of customers/clients names, addresses, and other useful information. *Even though it may seem like you have too many customers at the moment, that flow will stop unless you keep marketing.

5. Off load routine tasks to others.

What are the repetitive tasks you hate to do but which you know are necessary to run your business? Many administrative tasks are easily taught to a support person and by doing so you make more time in your day to see customers/clients.

6. Leave time in your day for reflection and self-care.

Doing the tasks of the business is of course necessary. Many get so focused on their task lists that they never have time to take a strategic look at the business. Putting aside time every week helps you to find more ways to work with the customers/clients you want to. Leave some time too for taking care of you. This means making time for doctor's appointments, hair care, massage therapy, exercise, meditation and anything else that provides for your health and well being.

7. Set firm boundaries.

Don't allow a client/customer to play on your sympathies and convince you to do something you know you should refuse (i.e. too time consuming, not your specialty and/or for free). Doing favors for others is not a favor to you!

8. Raise fees.

If all the clients/customers coming to you are your ideal clients/customers then it is time to raise fees/prices. This will sort the clients/customer that are willing to pay more for your services and those who are not. Revisit your fee/price structure at least once a year.

9. Refer to others.

When clients/customers are not your ideal clients/customers or when your ideal clients/customers cannot afford your fee, have a list of other business owners to whom you can refer.

10. Hire someone to help you do the work.

Once you have off loaded all the repetitive tasks it may become necessary to hire another worker who does the work that you do to work with you.

By Alvah Parker

Media Training: Seven Ways to Instantly Improve Your Media Interviewing Skills

Imagine if you were going to address a stadium full of people. You'd probably spend hours (if not days or weeks) agonizing over every word you were going to say. You'd practice your gestures in the mirror. You'd carefully select your clothing. You might even rehearse with your family.

Surprisingly, though, many spokespeople don't give much thought to an interview before speaking to a reporter. "It's only one person," they may think, "Plus, I know my material cold."

Preparing for a media interview - during which you may reach many more people than could fit in a stadium - should be at least as important as preparing a speech for that rowdy crowd.

Here are seven ways you can help prepare before you speak to a member of the press:

1. Visualize An Audience of One -- Reporters are simply the conduit between you and the audience. Don't try to impress a journalist with the depth of your technical knowledge or envision an audience of thousands. Instead, visualize the woman listening to news radio on her drive home or the man sitting on his living room sofa reading the morning paper. That personal connection will help ensure that you're having a conversation with the audience instead of speaking at them.

2. Write Tomorrow's Headline -- Every time you give an interview, the reporter should walk away with a clear sense of what the headline will be - and you should be the person who gives it to her. Prior to each interview, write down your perfect headline. It should be short - no longer than a sentence - and completely compelling. During the interview, state your headline several times, and place as many of your other answers as possible within the context of that headline.

3. Play Bridge -- Reporters rarely ask the "perfect question" that allows you to deliver your ideal headline. Therefore, you'll have to seamlessly segue to your point. After answering a reporter's question directly, bridge to your headline by saying something such as, "But I think the most important thing here is..." or "The bigger picture is that...."

4. Help Them See It -- Since people are barraged with more information than they can retain, raw numbers and statistics rarely stick. Instead of just delivering information without context, develop a more user-friendly metaphor. For example, instead of saying that 4.5 million people have Alzheimer's disease, say that more Americans have Alzheimer's disease than Colorado does people.

5. Be a Layman -- Every profession has its own set of acronyms, specialized terms, and jargon that is not understood by the general public. Successful spokespeople know they have to express complicated thoughts simply to ensure their message resonates. Use metaphors, analogies and anecdotes to help make your point. If you're stuck, try explaining your topic in simple terms to your 12-year-old nephew until he understands it.

6. Accentuate the Positive -- If a reporter asks you an innocuous question, repeat back the question in the beginning of your answer. For example, "How is the weather today?" should be answered with, "The weather is beautiful today," instead of just, "Beautiful." Since a reporter's question is unlikely to be included in the story, speaking in complete sentences allows the journalist to quote an entire self-contained thought.

7. Eliminate the Negative -- If you are asked a negative question, such as, "Has your organization ever broken the law," do not answer by saying, "Our organization has never broken the law." Doing so connects illegal activity and your organization in the same sentence - something you never want to do. Instead, frame your answer in positive terms by saying, "We are confident that we have always complied with the law."

By Brad Phillips

Famous Business Strategies

Either simply a looker-on or a player in the world of business, you see millions piling into the accounts of world's most famous businessmen and naturally the question pops "How?", wondering what is the alchemy they've discovered? Yet, there is no magic here - it's mostly pure strategy. And what it takes to spot it and make it real.


Identifying the best strategy for your business is the key to all success. It should give you the lift that makes a difference. The art for your strategy success is planning.

* settling a vision for your business
* defining a mission
* setting out objectives
* establishing values, goals and programs.


It is all there, it is all important, but first there is the vision. So, is vision a spark, is it a moment? How much is inspiration and how much hard work? Is it 99% perspiration and only 1% inspiration? Can we all be geniuses?

According to Edison's theory I would say yes, if we are committed to hard working, as it is primarily the hard work that makes a genius. Inspiration comes on the way, when involved in as much action as you can handle. Contrary to the conceptual meaning, inspiration seems to be driven by propitious conditions - in this case, by work.

Hard work

So, what really happens behind the fairy-tale success stories is usually not what some would expect - a brilliant, extraordinary, never heard of discovery that changed the world, but, disappointingly enough, plain hard work. What these people have is what I would call "industry intelligence". How is it acquired? Working of course. That is, sharply aware of their industry environment, learning all the rules and deeply involved in their own businesses, success people have at some point of activity a vision for their business that proves to be a winner - the revelation naturally produced as a result of their work commitment.

Let's take the example of three American legends: Sam Walton, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. What do they have in common? The winning vision, the winning strategy.

Sam Walton

In the case of Sam Walton, no new, innovative business models were launched. He followed the existing low-price retailing pattern but the competitive successful strategic approach was that instead of focusing on large cities he took his business to small towns becoming the low-price leader in rural towns.

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett's success resides in his different approach to value investing. While usually investors look for stocks they believe undervalued by the market, Buffett does not take into consideration the stock market aspects, such as for instance the supply and demand ratio. He analyzes the stocks on the basis of their potential as companies. He is interested in long-term results, such as ownership in companies with capacity of generating money, namely, companies with a strong name, great historical results, strong management and industry expertise.

Bill Gates

Neither is the case of Bill Gates to have made extraordinary innovations. Rather than innovation, he had the ability to put together other people's ideas, thus producing big hits and making a profit. He did that first when adjusting BASIC programming language for the Altair 8800 (first PC) - neither of which was his original creation. Then, the same happened with DOS, which Microsoft bought (the original version was QDOS) and adjusted.

Business strategies implementation

Then, action comes. As the saying goes, planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal. It takes guts to act boldly and take whatever risks are necessary to put your vision into practice. It takes a great deal of tenacity to surpass obstacles and get over unfortunate happenings on the way. So, how did they implement their planned strategies? What was the outcome, what principles resulted for them to base their businesses on?

Warren Buffet

For the implementation of his strategy, Buffett has drawn his company choice principles, involving a great deal of analysis of business, management, financial aspects and a great deal of patience, waiting for the right price once the possible investment has been identified.

On businesses

* simple and understandable
* consistent operating history
* favorable long-term prospects

On management

* rationality in treatment of retained earnings and investment of company profits
* disclosure of all aspects of company performances
* capacity of thinking independently of other managers' way of thinking.

On financials

* look for return on equity, not earnings per share
* analysis of free cash flow growth
* unique niche companies with high profit margins
* look for companies with at least one dollar of market value for every dollar retained

On stock valuation

* reasonable price for the company
* stock valuation analysis followed by analysis of a possible significant discount, case in which it will be purchased.

Success depends on the investor's dedication to learn and follow the principles.

Sam Walton

He gives his ten rules for success in the book "Made in America, My Story":

1. commitment to business
2. profit sharing with partners
3. partners' motivation, competition encouragement
4. total communication with partners, trigerring their commitment
5. giving appreciation to what your partners do for the business
6. keeping spirits up in celebrating success but also in treating failures with a touch of humor
7. listening to everyone in the company, encouraging their talking
8. a sustained exceptional relationship with the customer - exceeding his expectations, showing appreciation, apologizing for mistakes
9. finding a competitive advantage in controlling expenses
10. originality, doing things differently there is a good chance to find unexplored niches.

Bill Gates

Microsoft's corporate mission "A computer on every desk and in every home" shortly became a reality. Offering an easily accessible operating system for computers, perceiving the importance of customizing their product to the ordinary client and not only to computer engineers and thus addressing masses, Bill Gates succeeded in putting together and promoting towards a tremendous popularity (and profit accordingly) the world's dominant operating system.

What these people have in common is nevertheless an extraordinary ingenuity: they innovated their industry domain, building their own strategy tailored for their own business particularities and went further to its implementation.

By Laura Ciocan

How to Apply the 12 Steps for Managment Conflict and Resolution

1. Admit there is a problem.

The very first step in dealing with any problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Surrendering to the idea that control is an illusion allows one to be proactive rather than reactive which creates opportunity for solution.

2. Recognize that a power other than yourself can restore you to sanity.

You do not have to do it alone. You can go to mentors, peer managers, a coach, or even business literature to tap into additional experience, tools and solutions.

3. Choose to turn it over.

Sometimes the biggest obstacle is you. There are times when the best thing you can do is to get out of the way and let others do their jobs.

4. Analyze the situation to determine the cause.

Where did you drop the ball or where could you have handled the situation differently? Look for specific situations, especially those where you can see you were part of the problem and not the solution. The question to ask: 'Have I truly set my people up to succeed in every area of their responsibilities?' Look for consistent patterns in which you are the liability. Remember, if it begins with you, it can end with you.

5. Create a successful plan of action with another person.

An objective view eliminates blind spots and also brings attention to what we do not see ourselves. This step must be taken with someone with integrity and who is concerned about both the business success and your success and has a proven track record of creating results.

6. Humbly get into action.

There is a reason servant leadership creates companies that thrive financially as well as in employee/management relationships. Become a servant-leader and reap the benefits, both personally and professionally.

7. Let your side of the street sparkle.

Take stock of your personal inventory and identify where and with whom you need resolution. Then, decide what action you will take in order to complete/restore relationships.

8. Be entirely ready to implement your plan of action.

Be committed to resolving the situation. Any second-guessing or conflicting intentions should be discussed and put to rest. Willingness is a state of being, not just an attitude. It may sometimes be necessary to modify your plan of action if you are not getting the results you looked for, but don't quit before the miracle.

9 Lead by example.

Be an active part of the solution and admit your piece of the problem. Show up as a leader who accepts personal responsibility and earn respect. You don't need to demand it. People will go where you lead them, so lead by example.

10. Create an outline for others.

Once you have increased productivity and have the trust, respect and loyalty of the people involved (up, down and across the board), write down these steps as guidlines for yourself and others to operate from.Be available to support other managers and MIT's through this process.

By Elizabeth Tull

Panduan Sukses