fran4-sm.gif - 10000 Bytes
logo2.gif - 11099 bytes
tips.gif - 5000 bytes
tlcorner1.gif - 1000 Bytes tlcorner1.gif - 1000 Bytes

SMALLBIZ TIPS

Little snippets of information can be invaluable for growing your business. On this page you’ll find some lists of tips from Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business and Business for Beginners to help you during start up and for growing your business.

1. Ten Tips for Women in Business
2. Ten Tips for Men in Business
3. The Six “Ps” of Selling
4. Ten Practical and Proven Promotion Tips
5. Ten Factors to Consider Before Deciding on a Business
6. Fran’s “Top Ten” Home-Based Businesses
7. Twelve Questions for Researching Your Future Market
8. 15 Year-End “Things to Do” Accounting Checklist

TEN TIPS FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS

1. Choose the right business: Many women become involved in businesses that tout low start-up costs, part-time hours, no experience necessary, with maximum financial rewards. These rarely succeed. Be sure you have chosen the right business for the right reasons.

2. Learn to say “NO”:Women constitute a great percentage of the nation’s volunteers. Giving is an important part of owning a business, but be discriminating about how much time you give and whom you give it to. Learn to say “NO” to requests for your time and energy and focus only on commitments that you feel comfortable accepting.
business-women.gif - 27075 Bytes


3. Build your confidence: One of the biggest problems that women face is lack of confidence. Choosing the right business, developing communication skills and becoming the expert helps to build confidence. Let go of the old adage that men are the traditional breadwinners, as times have changed. Don’t let overbearing spouses or family members make you feel guilty about owning a business. Be proud of yourself. Having the freedom and family support to do what you want to is a confidence builder in itself.

4. Reduce isolation: A recent study by the University of Alberta cited isolation as the most common problem for women in business. Join networking groups, business groups and/or special interest groups. You will make the friends you need to bounce ideas off and turn to when you are feeling alone.


5. Put yourself first: Women traditionally put themselves last, hoping there is something left on the plate for themselves. Family is of course our most treasured asset, but so is a happy, healthy and fulfilled mom who has been given the opportunity to explore her inner self and do something she has dreamed of. So try making you and your business a priority – you will feel happier and pass these good vibrations along to your family.

6. Don’t sell yourself too cheaply: Women are notorious for undervaluing their services. This is usually the result of lack of confidence. Know your worth and let clients know what free services you offer, what will be charged for, and what your rates are. Clients will appreciate your honest and straightforward approach. Don’t hesitate to state your charges. If a client tries to beat you down, stand firm or walk away from the job.

7. Monitor your business: Don’t become “too busy” to take financial care of your business. Learn how to read financial figures, update your books monthly and review the results regularly. Consult with your accountant and plan and know your tax position. Women excel in this area if they allow themselves the time to learn.

8. Stop trying to be perfect: Does it really matter if you sweep dust balls under the refrigerator or that dinner was delivered in a box? Spoil yourself to a few hours of housekeeping every two weeks. In case you didn’t know, Superwoman died from overwork.

9. Take your business seriously: If you don’t take your business seriously then don’t expect your family to. Set your goals and focus, then sit down with the family with a set of rules and work towards demanding the respect you need to successfully operate the business.

10. Delegate household chores: Even if you work part-time, send younger children to a babysitter so that you have focused time. Perhaps trade sitting time with a friend. Delegate chores to family members. Try involving the children, even if it is photocopying or helping with mail-outs. Remember, we work to live, not live to work.

From Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business, McGraw-Hill Ryerson
Top of page

TEN TIPS FOR MEN IN BUSINESS

1. Become budget conscious: If you don’t have a head for figures, learn as much as you can about budgeting, projecting, planning and cash flow. Before making a financial commitment, be sure the item is needed and that the business can afford it. Keep your cheque book up to date and the bank account reconciled.

2. Work with your accountant: If you aren’t too interested in figures, find an accountant with whom you can build a comfortable relationship and make time to confer regularly. Employ a reputable bookkeeping service, and heed your accountant’s advice.


3. Pay attention to details: Small and “inconsequential” chores are often overlooked in favour of completing billable work. Use the systems found in this book and make time for the paperwork. If you don’t want to do it, pay someone to set up the systems for you and learn to maintain them.

4. Look at the smaller picture: You need to have the everyday picture in mind as well as the big picture of future success. Don’t ignore what is happening around you as you get caught up in the moment. Small problems quickly escalate if they are ignored.

businessmen.gif - 36806 Bytes

5. Be a compassionate boss: It feels good to be the boss, but everyone can learn from their employees. Talk to them, listen to their ideas and complaints, and implement the good ideas. Encourage, motivate and respect your staff. They often have valid concerns, great suggestions, and experience in areas that you don’t.

6. Don’t forget your family: It’s too easy to become a workaholic and forget the family. When it all boils down, if you don’t have a happy family life, work becomes empty and meaningless. Plan to spend quality times together—pencil time out in your organizer if you find it difficult, but don’t ignore them.

7. Include family in decision-making: Include the family in your business. Tell them how it is going, warn them if you are stressed and tell them why. Discuss important decisions that may affect them and listen to their input. Don’t let the business alienate you from your family.

8. Be open to change: Because old habits die hard, it’s easy not to change. The older we become, the more frightening change can be. Be open to new ideas and technological changes. Learn to bend the rules and be a little more flexible and patient.

9. Limit working hours: Men tend to burn out faster than women as they throw themselves wholeheartedly into their businesses. Adequate sleep, a healthy diet and relaxation time are all important for keeping the work machine finely tuned. Take care of yourself if you are working continual long, hard hours and learn when to stop.

10. Listen to your partner: No one knows you better than your wife or partner, so if you are getting strong messages – listen. Partners don’t normally say anything unless there is an obvious and serious concern. Don’t ignore the warning signals.

From Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business, McGraw-Hill Ryerson
Top of page

THE “SIX Ps” OF SELLING


Using the “Six Ps” of Selling enables you to better understand how to recognize your prospect through to after-sales service.

ONTARGT6.GIF - 5292 Bytes

1. The prospect
People new to selling often ask: “Who is a good prospect and how will I recognize one?” The simple answer to this is that everyone is a prospect. Not everyone will become a customer but everyone is a prospect. Webster’s dictionary defines a prospect as “a potential client or customer”. To elaborate, a prospect is anyone who has the ability or opportunity to use your products or services. This doesn’t mean that they will use you, but only that they have the opportunity available to them.



2. Planning
Before you launch into any sales presentation, you need to plan your approach and the sales strategy to use. Every customer is different and many will present you with unforeseen challenges. The secret is to know what constitutes a successful presentation and how to handle diverse situations.

3. The presentation
Once you have identified a prospect and believe that there is an opportunity for them to become a customer, you start your sales presentation, extolling the virtues of your product or service and why a buying decision would be in the prospect’s best interests.

4. The problems
It is surprising how many salespeople struggle to prevent their customers from voicing their problems or concerns. You need customers to voice their problems before you complete the sale. It is your job to ensure that all problems or objections are satisfactorily answered before you try the closing process. Objections are defined as reasons why clients feel that they should not buy your product.

5. The purchase
The purchase, or the close, is the most important part of the sales process, because if you don’t close the sale, your efforts were in vain. This section explores what a trial close is, how to use it, why people find it difficult to close, how to overcome these problems, and when it is time to close.

6. Public relations
Follow-up and service are what keeps your customers returning. Once the sale is completed and the satisfied customer leaves, how will you follow up to ensure that they stay happy? My car dealership always calls within twenty-four hours to ensure that the vehicle is operating properly, plus they send regular service reminders. I not only appreciate it, I have come to expect it.

From Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business, McGraw-Hill Ryerson
Top of page

TEN PRACTICAL AND PROVEN PROMOTIONAL TIPS

Promoting your business doesn’t necessarily dictate excessive spending if you use the right methods. You have to convey a message to customers that you can either save them money or fill their need, and that you are service-oriented. If you combine a selection of the ideas mentioned here and use them regularly, you will build those solid customer relationships that are lacking in many businesses.

BREAKBAR.GIF - 3771 Bytes

1. Newsletters: Send a newsletter every three or four months to existing and potential clients. You could distribute using the Internet for clients who have e-mail. Incorporate informative and educational items of interest, updates about developments within your industry, and try a competition to monitor the response.

2. Discount cards: It’s surprising just how many people opt to use discount cards, whether it’s for pizza or photo finishing. There is a certain attraction to getting something free in return for being a regular customer. The “buy ten get one free” technique brings people back to your store, and there is always the hope that they may purchase other items.

3. Say thank-you: As discussed in Chapter 9, send thank-you cards regularly. People who take the time to write a personal thank-you note are always remembered, and chances are your name will be referred to others. Show your clients that you care—what goes around comes around.

4. Special occasions: Send clients Christmas cards with a personal note. Some retail stores use a birthday club and send birthday cards to clients, offering a special discount during that month. People often bring in their card to receive their discount. Once again, you are showing clients that you care about them and introducing the personal touch.

5. Draws and competitions: Use special occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving to offer a customer draw. People love to enter them. Many stores offer colouring competitions for children. Our local independent supermarket always has coffee, draws, and a suggestion box on a table where receipts are deposited for prizes. Customers love this special touch.

6. Complimentary coffee: Have the coffee pot brewing. You could even be generous and offer cookies. Think of the harried customer running around trying to complete a dozen quick chores. There is nothing better than the smell of fresh coffee to relax them and make them feel at home. They also appreciate free candy or balloons for the children. These little touches are always noticed.

7. Sponsorships: Consider sponsoring a community organization or children’s team. These organizations always need funding, and your name will become known by your generosity and involvement. You can usually display sponsorship banners at events, and will be mentioned in their advertising and programs. Donate door prizes to other community events and you’ll get a special mention there too. These are all effective methods of promoting your name, besides, it feels good to help.

8. Notice boards: There are notice boards everywhere, so use them. If your business caters to school children, ask permission to put a notice on the school board. Corner stores, garages and some restaurants have notice boards. Put up your business card or a flyer – it’s all free advertising. Those notices with the tear-off phone numbers are quite effective.

9. Fund raisers: Offer your services or products to schools or organizations and donate part of the profits as a fund raiser. This is already done with products such as coupon books and chocolate bars, but you, too, can be creative. An income tax preparer could offer $5 to the organization for each return referred. Your name will be out in your community as a business that cares.

10. Suggestion box: Provide a suggestion box for your customers. Not only will you receive some helpful feedback, this indicates to customers that you care about them and their concerns. If you use any of the suggestions, send the customer a thank-you card along with a small gift certificate. Then you can write about this new idea in your newsletter.

From Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business, McGraw-Hill Ryerson
Top of page

TEN FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE DECIDING ON A BUSINESS

question.jpg - 3301 Bytes

1. Why I want to start a business: Are you starting for the right reasons? Is is passion for the business or passion for the money you could make? Do you have the expertise?

2. My health and mental attitude: Entrepreneurship takes long hours and can be stressful. If you are a “Type A” personality or easily depressed, self-employment can be a challenge.

3. My future goals: Be clear about your short-, mid- and long-term goals for yourself, your family and the business. Do you foresee a comfortable work-at-home situation, or do you want to grow? You need these goals to sustain your motivation.

4. Family and quality of life: These are the two most important facets of our lives. How will your business detract or add to both?

5. Suitability of your skills: Are you experienced and knowledgeable enough for this business? Are you willing to continually upgrade your expertise and knowledge? Of course, you love people – right?

6. Time: You need extensive time to research and get this venture going. Then you’ll be married to it, particularly for the first year or two. How much time are you prepared to devote to this business?

7. Industry track record: It may sound like a wonderful opportunity, but you need to research the past performance of this type of business. Trends come and go.

8. Current and future trends: Chapter 4 is devoted to market research and researching trends. You need to know where this business is going in the next decade.

9. Financial considerations: How much will you need, when will you need it, and where is it coming from?

10. Personal cash needs: You will need the business to provide you with an income. Have you reviewed your family and personal budget? Some businesses don’t generate a profit for a year or two. How will you manage?

From Business for Beginners, Eastleigh Publications
Top of page

FRAN’S “TOP TEN” HOME-BASED BUSINESSES

As a professional who works long hours in a home office, if the business doesn’t come to my home, much of the work is achieved using technology, including remote computer repairs or e-mailing of graphic files. Having personally used all these services, here are my top ten businesses for busy home-based people:

Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Computer and equipment servicing, repairs and cleaning
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Software program education
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Office services for editing, data entry, research
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Gofer (errands, after-school child care and chauffeur)
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Personal fitness coach
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Home delivery shopping service
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Declutterer and organizer, house cleaner
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Mobile automotive mechanic and car detailer
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Hairdressing and beauty needs
Gold.gif - 989 Bytes Personal chef, meal delivery service.

As this list implies, maintaining a healthy computer system and knowing how to use the software is imperative for most businesses these days. Time is wasted on mundane office chores and running errands. The busy person has no time for cleaning, cooking and shopping. Keeping fit should be a priority. If the boss isn’t healthy, then the family and business won’t be either. These types of businesses are all service oriented and don’t take a lot of money to get started.

From Business for Beginners, Eastleigh Publications
Top of page

TWELVE QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCHING YOUR FUTURE MARKET

 
Yes
No
1. Will this business be viable within the next five to ten years?
2. Has the history of this industry been stable?
3. Is this industry growing?
4. Is there export potential in the future?
5. Are imported products cheaper and of comparable quality?
6. Is this a short-lived business subject to consumer trends?
7. Could this business be diversified?
8. Can this business offer services/products that others don’t?
9. Is this business seasonal?
10. Is there enough cash-flow to maintain a sufficient inventory?
11.Will this business be subject to major changes in the next five years?
12. Am I flexible enough to adapt to constant change?

From Business for Beginners, Eastleigh Publications
Top of page

15 YEAR-END “THINGS TO DO” ACCOUNTING CHECKLIST

 
Task Complete
1. Record all sales invoices and taxes collected.
2. Record all bank deposits and correctly allocate.

3. List outstanding accounts receivable, balanced to your books.

4. Record all cheques and correctly allocate.
5. Reconcile bank accounts for the year.
6. List accounts payable, amounts and what they are for.
7. Complete petty cash and proprietor’s cash expense journal.
8. Obtain annual loans statements from lenders and banks.
9. Reconcile outstanding payroll and other tax accounts.
10. List any prepaid expenses (your accountant will check this).
11. Take an accurate physical inventory figure and cost.
12. Prepare information for general journal entries.
13. Total and cross-balance all manual journals.
14 Prepare accountant’s copy of computer-generated reports.
15. List all home-office expenses and vehicle mileage.

From Business for Beginners, Eastleigh Publications
Top of page

tlcorner1.gif - 1000 Bytes tlcorner1.gif - 1000 Bytes
Home | About Small Biz | For Meeting Planners | Book Info | Consulting | General Info | Sitemap | Email
Frances McGuckin
8092 Southwood Road, Half Moon Bay, BC VON 1Y1
Tel: 604-740-0602 Fax: 604-740-0702

Copyright © Frances McGuckin 2003 - Details

Site designed and maintained by PBSCO