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Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business

Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business
Here’s to New Beginnings: Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business   When you have a great business idea and strive to achieve financial independence, you might be thinking about launching a small business. Every huge corporation started with a small business, so why not? While you can definitely achieve success in the business world, keeping your small business successful for at least 2 to 5 years is a huge work. This game is worth the candle, though. So, if you’re trying to start a small business, here’s your handy guide to help you out:   Start your journey with research Perhaps, you’ve already come up with a unique – or any – business idea, but is it going to bring you success? Does your business idea have many competitors? Before you take any step, do your own research. Consider running your idea through a simple validation process that will help you to figure out the future of that idea. First of all, your business idea should offer something – be it a service or a product – that the modern market needs these days.   There are many ways to find out if a business idea will be successful, such as focus groups, deep research, and in most cases, trial and error. But before you go through trial and error ask yourself:   Does the market need your product/service? Who are the people who will want to use your product/service? What are the companies that offer similar or the same product/service? Will you be able to compete with them? It’s important to ask confidently without any fear or disappointment.   Create a business plan Any business idea requires a powerful business plan, which will become your guide during the process of establishment and business growth. There are many types of business plans, so choose the one that will suit your idea.   If you’re looking for financial support from a financial institution or an investor, creating a basic business plan is essential. This business plan is usually thorough and long, and contains a set of sections that banks and investors check out when they’re validating a business idea. In case, you’re not looking for any financial support and you’re going to invest in your startup yourself, it may be enough to create a simple and short business plan just to give you the initial steps you should take. You can also come up with a working business plan on a piece of paper and change it as you start working on it.   Consider your finances Generally, a startup doesn’t need too many investments, yet you’ll need some money to cover a number of expenses during the first months or even a year before your business will earn a profit. Calculate the one-time startup expenses like property leases, permits and licenses, legal fees, equipment, branding, insurance, inventory, market research, opening events, trademarking, etc. Then, calculate how much money you will need to keep your startup running for a year (your own paycheck, employee paychecks, utilities, rent, advertising, marketing, travel expenses, supplies, etc.)   As soon as you find out an approximate amount of money, think about the ways to find them. You can either save money or borrow from family or friends. Many new entrepreneurs also apply for an SBA loan. Filling out an SBA personal financial statement may be tricky, but here’s a guide to help you out.   Select a business structure Whether it is a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, a sole proprietorship, or even a corporation, your next step is to select a business structure. Your business structure will affect a lot...
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How To Measure Instagram Marketing ROI

How To Measure Instagram Marketing ROI
How To Measure Instagram Marketing ROI & Establish If It’s Worth Your Money Instagram can be a highly effective addition to your business. As a marketing tool, it’s great for driving engagement, increasing sales, boosting brand recognition, and much more.  But looking beyond all the fuss, how do you know if it’s actually worth it for your business? Read on to discover how you can measure your Instagram marketing ROI and determine if it’s worth your money in 2019.  Recommended reading: Which Digital Channels Deliver the Best ROI?   What is ROI on Instagram? It has historically been difficult to measure the ROI of social media in general, and Instagram is no exception. However, it is possible to get a good idea of how successful your Instagram marketing actually is by comparing the initial costs against your SMART objectives. The initial costs of Instagram marketing are relatively simple, in their most basic terms:   Time: the working hours needed to administer your Instagram strategy. Cost-per-click: this will vary depending on how much you want to pay to get your sponsored posts ad seen (and even if you want to go for a paid ad campaign).   While the costs of an Instagram marketing campaign are fairly easy to track, monitoring the outcomes are a little less straightforward. With most social platforms, results are viewed in terms of likes, shares, and comments — rarely as actual sales. And while Instagram’s Shoppable posts make it easy for you to track, it’s less easy to monitor sales from outside the platform but informed by your Instagram marketing.   However, using SMART goals can help you evaluate your Instagram ROI with a firm footing. These goals are: Specific: what is your goal? do you want more mentions? Followers? Increased sales? It’s down to you, but be specific about the end result you want to achieve. Measurable: how will you measure your goal? Think about the metrics you will use to identify this. Achievable: what do you need to achieve your goal? What resources, tools, and skills are required? Relevant: is your goal aligned with the overall goals of your business? It should be relevant to your brand. Time: how long will your Instagram marketing campaign take? Set a clear deadline so you know when you should begin measuring your success.     Setting SMART objectives as outlined above gives you a strong idea of how successful your Instagram marketing actually is overall. SMART objectives Let’s break down your SMART objectives in terms of Instagram and establish how you can measure your Instagram marketing ROI. Specific Before you do anything else, you should establish exactly what goal it is you want to achieve. Without this, you won’t know the steps you need to take to achieve it. The goals you might be working towards include: Followers Mentions Sales Email subscriptions Of course, these are just a few potential goals you might choose to work towards. There is no right or wrong goal — just choose the one that best serves your business needs. Measurable Once you’ve established your goal, how will you measure this? This is largely tied to your specific goal, and it might be easier for some goals than others. For example, if you want to get more followers, there’s really only one way to measure that. If your follower count increases, then you’ve nailed it. But let’s say you want to see increased sales. In this instance, you’ll need to determine where the sales will come from (in-app or through your online store), if you want to see sales for a certain product or across the board, and so on. Instagram...
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5 Authentic Ways to Make Money With Your Blog

5 Authentic Ways to Make Money With Your Blog
5 Authentic Ways to Make Money With Your Blog One reason that so many people want to work from their homes is that there is no need for a large financial investment to begin an online business. One doesn’t need to invest heavily in product development. Those who have expertise in almost anything can begin by simply writing an e-book and promoting it or obtaining a website and promoting products that are produced by others.   Think of the people who promote products that are produced by others as the “modern version of the old door-to-door salesman” except instead of knocking on one door at a time they knock on the doors of millions of people at the same time by way of the Internet. The Internet isn’t called “The Information Super Highway” for nothing. A person can make a very good living selling nothing but information on it. The populations of every industrialized nation in the world have learned that if you want to know anything about anything, you get on a computer and ask the question. They have also learned that you must pay for special information and they are more than willing to do just that. A person who has special knowledge of a subject and could be considered a ‘guru’ has a market for selling that information on the Internet. All that needs to be done is to set up a website, publish the information, advertise and sell the information. I have categorised blog revenue generation through five main categories: AFFILIATES ADS SERVICES SPONSORED POSTS PRODUCTS AFFILIATES Did you know – You can make money from affiliates on day 1 after you launch your blog! Most large companies have affiliate programs and when you sign up, you get a special link. If someone makes a purchase through your special link you stand to get a commission. These commissions range from a few pennies to over $100.  AFFILIATES I have compiled a list of popular companies that offer authentic affiliate programs: Amazon – You can recommend any product on Amazon and if your reader makes a purchase through your link, you get a commission. ShareASale Flexoffers Commission Junction Rakuten eBay Affibank Shutterfly Target Toys R Us StitchFix Bloomingdales BigLots Walmart TJMaxx Burlington Dillards Macys Clickbank You have to make a call as to which affiliate program will suit your content niche and apply accordingly. So that you can seamlessly integrate the ads that will compliment your blog content. ADS When you build traffic to your blog you can get a steady stream of income from banners and advertisements on your blog. They are super easy to setup, but you need a fair amount of traffic to make money from this option. Google Ads Mediavine Sovrn AdThrive SERVICES There are numerous methods to offer your service online. From virtual voice lessons to exercise classes! Many bloggers do consulting or social media management to make money online. If you are a beginner, you could become a virtual assistant for a pro blogger and learn all there is to blogging while you are getting paid. Okay.. now the list  of services you can consider… Virtual Assistant Consulting- in the area of your expertise Freelance Writer Proof-reading Online Coach Home Décor Personal Assistant Online Personal Stylist Facebook Live Exercise Classes (Instagram is a great way to collect subscriptions for your Facebook Page.) Voice Lessons (Use Skype or Google Hangout) Virtual Party Planner Cooking Assistant/ Recipe Reader Sleep Training For Babies Breastfeeding Support Group Working Mothers Coach and Motivator Healthy Living Coach Personal Diet Mentor Yoga or Pilates Live Classes List of Email Marketing Services Please understand that intelligent blogging first...
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How to Avoid Cash Flow Problems as a Small Business

How to Avoid Cash Flow Problems as a Small Business
If you own a small business, then you’re probably no stranger to cash flow issues. In fact, 21% of businesses claim that cash flow problems were significant issues, potentially leading to closing down. One of the best ways business owners can ensure success is by carefully managing cash flow. Because no matter how great your business plan is, your business won’t survive if you run out of money. What Causes Cash Flow Problems? Before you can get a handle of your cash flow issues, you have to understand why they occur. Here are three common reasons why cash flow problems may arise: Unnecessary Spending Many business owners have head the old adage that you have to spend money to make money. Unfortunately, this belief has caused many ambitious business owners to overspend. Not all business expenses equally as important to your operations. Consider the cost-benefit of each expense. Overestimating Future Earnings Optimism is a great trait but it needs to be paired with a healthy dose of objectivity. It’s important to forecast your sales based on previous earnings and data. By not counting on future earnings that may never show up, you can prevent overspending. Inconsistent Sales Some businesses have occasional spikes in sales followed by months where they sell next to nothing. Trends like these cause problems with budgeting and makes it difficult for business owners to make operational decisions, often choosing to survive off of their “good” months. Get started with Flexible Funding today! Flexible Funding provides payroll-funding solutions in addition to back and front office support services as well. Flexible Funding works with staffing companies to implement the right staffing-industry software solutions for each client’s unique needs to create the best solutions and to save you time and money -from off-the-shelf accounting packages like QuickBooks and Sage 50 Accounting to in-house custom-built financial accounting software tools. Whether you are a start-up or an established staffing agency looking for best business practices, Flexible Funding will find the right solution for you– from payroll and invoice processing to W-2 preparation and filing, background checks, custom reporting, and so much more.   Tips for Avoiding Cash Flow Problems Cash flow problems are a reality for nearly all business owners but there are ways to manage them. Here are five ways to mitigate your cash flow issues: 1) Take Out a Short-Term or P2P Business Loan A short-term business loan can provide the capital you need to run your business and pay for any expense, from inventory to office furniture. Short-term business loans have a high rate of approval even for businesses with limited credit history. You’ll receive the money faster than you would if you took out a traditional bank loan, which can be extremely helpful if you have immediate needs. Sometimes the application process can take as little as 24 hours. One of the first places to check for business loans as a business owner would be Small Business Administration. Or, if you prefer to bypass the government, you can try a peer-to-peer business loan. These loans are funded by individual investors through a lending platform. However, these loans usually require more frequent payments, and you will likely end up with a higher interest rate. 2) Use a Working Capital Loan Working capital loans can give you the cash flow to cover crucial operational costs like rent and payroll. This gives you the flexibility to invest in your company’s growth and still cover day-to-day expenses. Unlike other business loans, working capital loans don’t require that you state your reasons for taking out the loan. However, you will have to repay this loan quickly and your loan may have a...
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How to avoid These 16 Cognitive Bias Traps

How to avoid These 16 Cognitive Bias Traps
“If there’s something you really want to believe, that’s what you should question the most.”  ― Penn Jillette To efficiently run a business, it’s necessary to think on your feet. You are required to make thousands of decisions and judgment calls daily. And while there is a wealth of information at our fingertips and communicating with colleagues or employees across the country takes only seconds, all this can lead to an information overload. In order to manage a business productively, we rely on mental shortcuts that allow us to get around this overflow of information. These mental tricks can also help us get around limits in memory, time, or a lack of information. These cognitive biases are necessary to help us make the sheer number of decisions necessary every day. However, cognitive biases can also lead you to make poor decisions and judgments regarding your business. Because they allow you to make decisions that don’t rely on logic, they can hold you back from doing your best work as a leader. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common mental traps that you fall into as a manager of a small business. As your decisions can have a major impact on your bottom line, being more aware of your unconscious biases can help you find more success as a manager. For example, many people struggle with planning and scheduling projects. It is common for tasks to go out of scope or miss their deadlines. This is in part due to a cognitive bias called the “Planning Fallacy.” This bias causes you to underestimate the amount of time it will take to complete a task. However, once you are aware of this tendency, you can plan more time for your assignments than you think you will need and meet your deadlines. To help you in all your small business decisions, check out this infographic Fundera created on some of the more common biases and how to avoid...
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