Top Consultant Offers Five Steps to Validating Your Small Business Idea

You’ve heard the statistics. Some 90% of all new businesses will fail within fewer than five years.Considering most new businesses are small enterprises, this creates quite a hardship on the entrepreneurs who have their hopes, and perhaps their overall finances decimated as their ventures fail.Here are five steps to determining if your small business idea is a sound one that can last:(1) Develop a sensible economic model.For example, I teach a course at UCLA Extension, “Building Your Consulting & Coaching Business.” We spend quite a bit of time discussing economics, and especially what an adviser must charge clients to reach certain net income requirements. It almost always comes as a surprise to hear that you’re not going to remain in business very long as a coach or a consultant if you cannot command $1,500 a day, or more. Your overhead, which includes time spent in marketing and promotion, will require it.If you don’t think people will invest this kind of money with you, because they don’t have it or don’t want to part with it, then consulting may not be a good fit. The main thing you’re selling is your time, which is finite, so forget about being the Wal-Mart of advisors and charging much less.(2) Benchmark the competition.Is someone doing what you want to do, and making a go of it? One of my clients was visiting an exotic locale and noticed a photography studio that specialized in taking certain types of pictures. He had never seen this back home, thousands of miles away, so he did a little digging. The ONLY competitor he would have if he emulated the studio would be the one he saw, and he planned on improving their model, anyway. So, he went ahead with the plan, and his enterprise prospered.(3) Test the theory.Many people want to run before they can crawl, to have a zillion locations or franchisees before they have tested a single unit. Some of my best ideas, as I judged them, turned out to be duds. A few, to be sure, have taken off, but don’t bet the farm simply because YOU’RE initially enthusiastic. Test it by actually trying to make sales. When customers gladly spend their dough and are happy with what they’ve received, you’ll be on the right track.(4) Modify where necessary.Something simple could be missing from your formula. Let’s say you’re selling yourself as a graphic artist to corporations as a freelancer. You might run into a brick wall by contacting the Human Resources department, because they may not see any internal requests for people with your skills. If they do, it could be for full-time employees. But if you target the Marketing department, then you might easily create opportunities for yourself. A small modification in your aim could make a major difference in the bulls-eyes you hit.(5) Roll it out.If the previous steps give you good results, it’s time to multiply your success. This is easier said than done, because cloning yourself and your business takes administrative resources and capable personnel. But if you START your business with ultimate expansion in mind, this step is easier to accomplish. Back to consulting, if you know that your ultimate goal is to build a firm with a number of colleagues upon whom you can rely, you’ll be likely to develop generic tools and practices that can be duplicated by nearly anyone, under your guidance and training. This is easier than building your advisory service around yourself as a personality, and a brand-of-one, and then trying to clone from there.If you were to ask which of the five steps is most important, I’d say it’s the first: developing a sensible economic model.The other day I accompanied a friend, a painter, to a local park where she set up her easel, and started working on a watercolor. I noticed a handy plastic item that had semicircles stamped in it, allowing her to mix paints quickly and cleanly.When I commented that it was nifty, she replied: “Yeah, for six bucks it should be!”My guess is that it costs pennies to produce, but wholesalers and retailers can really mark it up and make great profits with it. And artists MUST have one, that is, if they want to focus on their creations and not on dirty dabbling.Whoever came up with the idea of making this product for artists was very clever. It serves a need, it’s cheap to produce, and it costs little to ship, takes up modest shelf space, and is exceedingly profitable.Tupperware became a household sensation based on much the same model.So, review this list as you evaluate your ideas, and I hope you join the ranks of small businesses that succeed and thrive!

Let’s Keep it Simple – Online Business Made Easy

During the past decade there has been an explosion of internet businesses all over the web. Most people think that internet business is just for the web smart folks, but think twice. Having an online business can be easy and truly rewarding.Those who have a product or service to bring to market have found the internet to provide a great platform to run their business on. Where do you begin? That all comes down to having the right information. Once you have that in place, you can have an online business up and running within seven days.Some Advantages Of An Online Business1. On the globe with the correct marketing and website in place.2. Opportunities – You have the ability to choose whatever avenue of a business you wish online. you don’t even have to sell anything. You can take your current skill set and market it all over the world online with the right infrastructure in place.3. Cost – You have no storefront, light-bill, or utility bill online. A home based online business requires very little maintenance. Marketing and systems will be your largest expense.4. Answer To Only Yourself – Most people find this the most appealing aspect of running an online business. Working for yourself is what most people want, but few realize just how simple it can be. You control your income, commitment and time you want to invest in your online entity. Some people just want to supplement their income and having an Internet business can be sufficient to fill that need as well.Deciding what it is your going to sell online is sometimes the hardest thing to figure out. With there being hundreds of companies that have already had success with selling their products online, you may want to just plug in or gain the rights to sell a product that has already been proven and tested in the market place.Where ever your comfort level is, is where you want to start. Many online businesses and marketing systems are already established and have helped create success in a lot of people that have used them.Having the ability to earn an income from a stupidly simple online business can be very rewarding and offer the lifestyle that most dream of.

Find the Best Financing Solutions, Merchant Banking Services, and Business Support

Financing Solutions, Merchant Banking Services, and business support are three key things that you will need to help you start your new business. You will need advice and you will need the financial services that they can provide to help you succeed. You must know why are these things crucial to your new business in order to prosper.As a new business, you will need to have the ability to provide as many payment options to your customers as possible. You will want to be able to accept checks, credit and debit cards, and gift or smart cards to increase your revenue. But, you will also want to be able to accept these payment methods safely and securely. You must also benefit from the financial advice that merchant banks can give you.The industry your business is in will determine the kind of merchant you will choose. You will want to check potential merchant websites to see what they offer in terms of specialized services for your industry. Many do offer a wide range of payment processing options tailored to the industries they serve. Match your own business needs to the merchant that offers the most for your industry for the best start possible.Each of the standard industry specializations needs a different kind of merchant services. Industries such as restaurants, retails stores, hair salons, mail order businesses and online retailers each take payments in different ways. They need to find the most ways to take payments securely in the most ways possible to help grow their business.Your business will most likely be included in one of the standard industries. You can check for merchant services that offer the most help with common payment solutions for your particular business. You may need point of sale payment terminals to accept credit or debit cards. You may want to be able to accept gift and incentive cards. You may need to process mobile commerce or Internet payments. Good merchant services will allow you to find what you need at competitive pricing, and will keep you educated and current with the newest technology and products for your industry.Not only will you need a wide range of payment processing options, but much benefit will come from financial activity reporting for the methods you choose. Your merchant services should provide these things. You should also expect good advice for lowering your overall costs of acceptance for the payment types you use.You may find that your merchant service will provide a client manager assigned to you to help manage your accounts. You may be able to consolidate accounts from several banks into one merchant bank. Having the financial expertise that comes with this is very valuable and may be a path you should consider.Education concerning risk reduction and data security is a crucial part of what merchant services will offer you. As businesses expand from local to global markets, the latest news and data security alerts become essential. It will be helpful to find the service that includes ongoing information about how to conduct financial transactions securely. You should also want to learn as much as possible about data security standards. These are key components to any excellent merchant service that you should consider as your financial partner.Financing Solutions, Merchant Banking Services, and business support are crucial elements to your new business. Look for the most resources offered when considering which merchant will become your financial partner to ensure success. You want to have expert financial advice and experienced merchant services to help you succeed.