Posted by – August 18, 2011
A guerilla marketing campaign is both cheap and effective, which is perfect for small businesses looking to advertise their product. Regular advertising campaigns might get the message across, but how many companies can afford to place their advert on TV? Not many, so here are a few tips to create your own guerilla marketing methods.
The first tip is to pinpoint your audience. While large companies will send out advertising everywhere, hoping to get takers in all walks of life. The chances are you need to focus your alternative marketing strategy directly on one particular audience. You’ll need to find this audience and target specific demographics, depending on the company you run. Read the rest of this article
Posted by – July 28, 2011
Do you have what it takes to be a small business owner? You’ll be surprised how many people believe they do. But in truth there are only a selected few that have the skills and determination to succeed. Some of what you need will already be engrained into your personality, but there’s always time to learn what you need, as long as you work hard.
Can you remember back to when you were a child in the playground and following people around? They may have been older kids, or just people with leadership qualities. But even at that young age we knew if we were born to show people the way. Read the rest of this article
Posted by – July 11, 2011
With 2011 half way through some people are still wondering about small business ideas. But believe it or not, this year won’t have changed too much from the last, so if you want some small business ideas, take a look at our suggestions.
The first idea for a new business is making money online. The internet is continuing to grow and will be around for a while yet so making money online seems like an obvious choice. But with so many options where is the best places to start? There are a number of website that offer the chance to make money online by taking surveys, writing or even marketing. If you build up a good enough reputation then there’s no reason why you can’t train and hire others to help.
If the internet isn’t you kind of thing then why not look into ecofriendly products. Everyone is looking for a new way to recycle or help the planet so a small business idea with this in mind might help boost your sales. Start by looking into your capabilities and how you can best use these to your advantage.
While thinking about small business ideas you’ll need to think of something that people will always need. One option is pet care, people will always have pets, and while it may not be glamorous, there is still money to be made from looking after cats and walking dogs.
For more help with small business ideas contact the Winflow Financial Group.
For a small business owner there’s lots to remember. You’ll need to keep an eye on finances, manage staff, look into advertising and overall make sure that your small business management is in order. So what’s the best way to keep everything running smoothly?
- You should start by creating a small business schedule. This is vital for keeping everything organized. Keep it with you at all times, so you can keep it up to date. And make sure you revise it as often as possible. There are apps for creating a diary/schedule so be sure to take advantage of modern technology. The problem with many small business owners is that they let the schedule either, get out of hand, or is never updated. Always be on top of your schedule no matter how crazy it gets.
- Another method of keeping your small business under control is to hire good staff. If your company is doing well then you’ll have more options, but good staff will always help take a load off your back. Be sure to pick someone trustworthy and has a passion for the industry. If they’re good they might be around for a long time, so liking the person will also be handy.
- To keep finances under control you’ll need to become tight with your money, but not too tight. Only use your small business finances on the vital equipment you need and spend only when urgent. You’ll be on a thin margin while your company grows. But keeping the finances under control will help with lowering stress. Be sure to create a budget and stick to it, not following your budget will cause you more problems.
- Lastly, make sure to keep your inbox maintained. If your small business becomes successful you may find your inbox building up. Sooner or later this will get out of control, unless you keep up to date. An out of control inbox means that you may miss customer messages which are good to reply to.
For a small business owner it’s about keeping on top of the work load. There will always be times when things seem out of control, this is to be expected. But while a lot of work shows success, it can also generate stress. So follow the steps above and stay ahead of the game.
For more information on small business success, contact the Winflow Financial Group.
Posted by – June 24, 2011
A business model is the part of your business plan that covers how your company will generate sales and earn a profit. Investors tend to focus on the business model aspect of your business plan more than anything else. You should be able to deliver your business model in a few sentences. The following should be included in your business model:
- Revenue streams. Determine all of the different ways your company generates revenue.
- Favourable cost factors. Your company must demonstrate what factors will enable it to produce high profit margins.
- Description of value. Your business model should include the benefits customers will receive by purchasing your product.
Tips on writing a business model include:
- Get colleagues to help you write the business model. Fresh insights can be very helpful to a business model.
- Incorporate customer trends into your business model.
- Build a few different business model prototypes and choose the best one.
- Re-evaluate your business model as your small business grows.
- Learn from other business models.
- Writing a good business model involves having a good understanding of your customers and target markets. Make sure you are aware of this information before sitting down to write a business model.
- Your business model should be able to make you money today, not just down the road.
If you need start-up advice for your small business, consider Winflow Financial Group‘s consulting services.
Posted by – June 15, 2011
When trying to boost sales for your business, it is much more effective to spend your time and resources on hot prospects over cold ones. Hot prospects are ready-to-buy shoppers with all the information they need to make an informed decision. Cold prospects don’t know anything about your business and will likely require more time and financial effort before they decide to become customers. Some tips for finding hot prospects include:
- Create a sales and marketing system. Determine the best way to attract new customers and sales and systemize the processes to do so.
- Use online search engines. Not only should you use the Internet for researching hot leads but you should use it to create an online prescence. Get your business to turn up at the top of search engines through web page optimization or a local paid search campaign.
- Utilize both print and online directories for your business. Advertise in the YellowPages and in any online directory you can. Determine the best way to split your marketing between online and offline advertising.
- Capitalize on referrals. Make connections with other businesses and ask for referrals. Customers are more likely use a referral from a company they trust and these customers typically come ready-to-buy.
For more information about increasing your sales, read this Microsoft business article.
For your small business needs, contact the Winflow Financial Group at 1.800.956.6897.
Posted by – June 14, 2011
Face-to-face sales are made through good customer service. Customer loyalty is also maintained through customer service. Creating a customer service plan for employees to follow can greatly improve sales and keep your salespeople on task. When creating a customer service plan, consider the following:
- Instill the importance of answering phones and returning messages. With unlimited choices available, if your business is slow on returning calls or hard to contact, customers are likely to move onto another retailer.
- Underline the importance of reliability. Encourage your employees not to make promises they can’t keep. If they are too busy to complete a task for a customer they should delegate the responsibility to another employee.
- Set concrete rules for your employees. Don’t allow things like eating or drinking while on the phone and make sure your employees aren’t having conversations that are best saved for their personal time.
- Train your staff to be courteous. Politeness is underdeveloped trait these days, especially in large cities so never under-value the importance of politeness.
- Provide incentives for customers to return. Whether it’s an official coupon or an impromptu free service, consumers like deals and will keep coming back for them.
For your small business needs, contact the Winflow Financial Group at 1.800.956.6897.
Posted by – June 10, 2011
Merchandising is an important contributing factor to overall sales. If your small business runs out of a retail space, it is important to develop a merchandising plan. Keep these tips in mind when you are planning the look of your store:
- Each square foot has a varying sales potential. For example, products by the entrance are likely to sell first so you should stock that location with products that contribute the most sales to your business.
- The goal of a merchandising plan is to optimize productivity and sales.
- Choose lighting that compliments your merchandise.
- Create visual displays for merchandise to attract customers to particular items and increase your sales and profits.
- When creating a visual display make sure the product is the first thing the customer sees.
- Organize your sales floor into grouping of various merchandise. For example, all of the kitchen products should be together in one section.
- Co-ordinating merchandise by colour attracts shoppers.
- Setting up related products across from each other is another good method of merchandising.
To learn more about creating a merchandising plan to optimize your sales, visit this page.
For more articles about creating plans for your small business, see below:
Posted by – June 10, 2011
Deciding to open a retail business can be a big endeavour. According to Canada’s Business Service Centre, 80 percent of all retail stores fail within the first five years. To ensure your business is successful, consider the following:
- Skills a retail business owner should possess include a knowledge of a current trends, sales and market demand.
- Pick a store location that is away from the competition. For more details on choosing the best store location for your small business, read Picking a Store Location for Your Small Business.
- Spending up to 6 percent of your overall budget on advertising when you first open is a good way to establish your brand.
- Identify your target market and base inventory orders around it.
- Take training courses in human resources, management and designing a retail space if you don’t possess the skills.
- Hiring security staff and putting in shoplifting measures will save your business money.
- There are two types of pricing in retail: mark-ups and margins. A mark-up is based on the cost of the item and retail clothing typically has mark-ups between 43 and 67 percent. Margins are based on the selling price of the item. Retail clothing can see margins between 30 and 40 percent.
If you need advice about opening a small business, the Winflow Financial Group can help. Our trained consultants can be reached at 1.800.956.6897.
For more articles about opening small businesses, see below:
Developing a loyal customer base for your small business is the first step toward increasing sales and building your company’s reputation. To develop a customer loyalty strategy consider the following:
- Research that involves the customer will give you the best idea of what your consumers are looking for.
- Build upon your existing brand. The strategy for attracting returning customers shouldn’t conflict with your business vision but should work to develop an existing reputation.
- Instil the value of customer loyalty in all of your employees so everyone is working on the same page.
There are some challenges to developing customer loyalty including:
- What the competition is like. Businesses that have been around longer are likely to attract more returning customers. Try and offer something your competition doesn’t to attract returning customers.
- The state of the economy. During tough economic times shoppers are less willing to part with their money which makes attracting returning customers difficult.
Maintaining a relationship with your customers is the most important aspect of customer loyalty. Be sure your business is practicing good customer service skills and offer rewards to customers who shop frequently.
To learn more about developing customer loyalty read this Q&A by top marketers.
For personalized advice regarding customer loyalty and your small business contact the Winflow Financial Group today.