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In this report we list tips and suggestions to better guarantee your chances for success in whatever business you are in or are planning to start. Keep in mind that every business venture contains certain inherent risks, and an equal number of alternatives. We do not embrace that any one way is the right way or that our suggestions are the only way. The following items are only suggestions and tips based on our consulting experience and encounter with business people at all levels.
25 Major Causes Why Your Business Could Fail
25 Ways To Boost Your Business
Business Organizing Tips
25 Major Causes Why Your Business Could Fail
Unfortunately, there are sometimes uncontrollable circumstances way beyond our control that can cause our business to fail. These can be such things as fires, natural disasters, down turn in the economy, etc. However, there are also certain controllable circumstances that can also assure our businessís failure if we do not get them under control. ln this section of this report we point out twenty-five of these controllable circumstances so you can avoid them or get them under control.
1. LACK OF WELL DEFINED FOCUS
Success tends to evade those who do not have a focused idea or goal, and business is NO different! Lack of focus is one of the major causes of all business failures that can be avoided by having a well thought out business plan. You must carefully evaluate all your business desires and ambitions, present and future. It is far too easy to get off an a tangent and find yourself lost in a sea of confusion. Always ask yourself where have you been, where are you now, and where do you want to be tomorrow. Set for yourself mini-goals that eventually lead up to the master goal.
2. LACK OF AMBITION
There is little hope for people who do not care whether or not they succeed in life or progress forward. You must avoid the "Lack Of Ambition" snare by wanting to seriously succeed in your business, and want it badly! Your ambition must be so high that you are willing to sacrifice both money and time to achieve your goals. Too often the new entrepreneur loses that initial drive that got them to go into business in the first place.
3. LACK OF SUFFICIENT EDUCATION
Lack of sufficient education in any business venture can be disastrous. When we speak of education in business, we are talking about knowledge in your particular business field as well as some simple business and accounting principles. This knowledge can be acquired through work experience, by attending classes, reading related material, through video and audio tapes, and/or working closely with a mentor. Knowledge that is effectively and persistently applied can open up many doors for you!
4. LACK OF SELF-DISCIPLINE
Self-discipline is a must to succeed in any business. It is much too easy to slack off when you are working for yourself. You must put off the "I will do it tomorrow" attitude. Only you can keep yourself moving and from being distracted and straying into unrelated areas.
5. LACK OF PERSISTENCE
You must always be the one to push yourself, always refusing to quit when things do not go your way. Accept each setback in your business as a lesson and use it to your advantage by learning from them. Never quit! A sure way to fail in any business is to give up when things get a little rough. All businesses have periods of ups and downs, especially at the beginning. Think of your first six months to a year in business primarily as a learning and training period. "BIG" incomes in business rarely happen overnight. Do not give yourself unrealistic expectations and keep driving forward!
6. HAVING A NEGATIVE PERSONALITY OR ATTITUDE
All hope is lost when a person wanting success in business continuously turns people away through their negative actions and words. Success in business can only be achieved by co-operating with and receiving co-operation from others. Rejections and temporary setbacks will not bother you if you expect to periodically encounter them. You must realize that rejection and setbacks are normal in any business as they are in all other areas of life. Thus, do not allow them to make you hard to deal with or a negative person. Also, try your hardest to keep the negatives in your personal life out of your business life. Much too often a business person will be angry over such things as a fight with a spouse or trouble with the kids and lash out at employees, customers, or business associates. Nothing good can ever come from this!
7. WANTING SOMETHING FOR NOTHING
Everything worth while in this life costs something. This cost may be in the form of money, hard work, time, sacrifice, dedication, or a combination of all these. If you are not willing to give something to succeed in business, do not expect something in return. In this life, THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH!
8. NOT MAKING DECISIONS
Sometimes, making a bad decision is better than making no decision at all. Success in business often hinges on the ability to make the right decisions quickly and efficiently when the need arises, especially during a crises. Failure can result from not making a decision by allowing opportunities to pass you by or circumstances to bury you. Being over cautious can sometimes prevent you from making the right decision at the right time. After a reasonable period of time evaluating your goal's direction, value, resources, potential, costs, finances, and demand, you must make a decision. When you decide that any or all of these considerations will benefit you more than do you harm, you must step forward.
9. WAITING FOR EVERYTHING TO BE JUST RIGHT
Do not wait for EVERYTHING to be exactly right to start a particular business or go in a particular direction. IT NEVER WILL BE! Start now, with whatever you have available. Many of the things you need will come to you as you work toward your goals and your business grows.
10. WRONG SELECTION OF A BUSINESS
Avoid accepting a "sugar-coated" offer or idea. Under all that sugar there may be something very sour. Be sure to do your homework and carefully research and evaluate the business you want to get into. Choose a business that you are comfortable doing, enjoy, understand, and can reasonably afford to start. Be weary of any "Get Rich Quick" offers. Unless you win the lottery or inherit a fortune, there is no such thing as get rich quick. All good things in life take time and hard work!
11. NO CONCENTRATION OF WORK EFFORT
A concentration of work effort will provide you with a firm foundation for success. Often people in business attempt to do too much at once by themselves which results in nothing getting done. Setup a good business plan from the start that includes getting the right people in the right areas. A good business plan is an excellent resource to have since it can serve as a road map for you to follow. It will help you avoid straying into an unrelated direction and the distractions that can break or block your momentum.
12. LACK OF THE RIGHT RESOURCES
Resources should be viewed as everything available at your disposal to run your business and make it grow. This should include, but not be limited to, your time, your business location, sources of money, software and hardware, personal skills, employees, and education. You may wish to contact owners of similar businesses as yours or trade organizations to obtain information on what resources are required for success in your particular business area.
13. LACK OF CONTROLLED SPENDING
Lack of controlled spending of one of the biggest causes of business failure. Establish a well planned budget before developing your product line or service. A budget should include, but is not limited to, costs for printing, labor, postage, handling, returns, bad debts, and other miscellaneous overhead. Always keep in mind that reckless spending can be extremely disastrous to your business by eating up highly needed capital resources.
You should list and prioritize how much you plan to spend and for what purpose. The basic computer equipment, software, and supplies should always be determined by your business' growth, production, and profits. As your business grows, so will your need for faster production, better record keeping, larger customer lists, etc. Spend if you must, but move with caution and be certain that any spending is well justified.
14. ALLOWING A SALESMAN TO SELL YOU THINGS YOU DO NOT NEED
More often than not, you must just say, "No!" When business is down, you must be hard-nosed with those trying to sell you luxuries for your business that you absolutely don't need. Skip the entertaining frills and concentrate only on the necessary basics. However, great care must be taken to maintain a level of courtesy and professionalism that allows these sellers to consider you a friend when you are in need of something later on. Keep in mind when business is booming, you will want reliable salespeople to show you new models of equipment or a new line of supplies in order to stay on top of things and remain competitive.
15. LACK OF ENTHUSIASM
Enthusiasm is the offspring of desire! Lack of enthusiasm can affect you, your workers, and others you deal with. If you are not excited and motivated about your business, you cannot expect others to be. We all tend too get very excited over anything that is new, but, all too soon lose that zeal. You must work to keep that excitement going.
16. TOO MUCH NEGATIVITY IN YOUR LIFE
Do not be a negative thinker or allow the negative attitudes, words, or thoughts of others (family members, friends, or peers) to influence you to give up when things get a little rough. All of the great men and women in business overcame the skeptics in their lives who said it couldn't be done or it was not worth it. Always look at things form an optimistic point of view by remembering that the glass is not half empty, but, rather it is half full!
17. LACK OF TOLERANCE
Anyone in business with an idea or plan must be of the mind to accept new ideas and consider what others are saying, especially when it comes to constructive criticism. You must take the advice, comments, criticism, and opinions of others with a grain of salt and carefully weigh them. While you do not want the negative influences of others to cause you to quit or slow down, closing all the doors of reason will hinder your understanding, creativity, and ability to properly compete and grow. Avoid arrogance at all cost and try to find that right balance.
18. NOT ACCEPTING CHANGE
Always remember that the only thing that will never change in life is that there will always be change. Do not let changes upset you or hinder your growth. Expect to deal with change and the obstacles that come with it. Always think, "evaluate, adapt, and overcome." For example, when computers first came on the seen, many businesses did not want to accept them, adhering to doing things the way they had always been done. Those who accepted the change and adapted to it remained competitive, while those who did not either went under or found themselves struggling. If we go back further in history, we see the same thing with such items as the light bulb, the automobile, the telephone, and many other major changes.
19. NOT SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
In order to survive in any business, regardless of the economic climate, it is essential to surround yourself with people who can help guide you in areas that you are weak in and motivate you to keep going forward. For example, if you are weak in the area of taxes, you want a good accountant whom you can work with. If you are planning to expand operations, you want to be around people who will help motivate you, give you new ideas, and help keep you focused. When things get rough, and they will at times, you want to be around people who encourage you to move forward, not bring you to a stop.
20. LACK OF CO-OPERATING SKILLS
Not being able to co-operate with others can easily jeopardize your business or that one big opportunity. This negative trait is so destructive that no well informed business person would ever accept it. The only reason our society can function as a whole is that people can work together, and business is no different!
21. PRACTICING DISHONESTY
Committing a deliberate act of dishonesty can have severe repercussions for any business, not too mention it can place your reputation and self-respect at stake. Getting away with even the smallest act of dishonesty itself is a danger since it can lead to more serious acts of dishonesty. Dishonesty always ends in disaster! Always present yourself and your business in a professional and ethical manner to avoid going down a road that may be impossible to turn back from.
22. LACK OF ADEQUATE RECORD KEEPING
An important thing about running any business is to know where it is and the direction it is headed. You should know on a day-to-day basis your progress and current conditions. It is not hard with todayís user-friendly computer software to track accounts receivables, accounts owed, back orders, profit margins, and a bunch of other important business related items. Keeping adequate records will prepare you to recognize potential problems before they arise and to see any beneficial trends.
23. LACK OF PROPER ADVERTISING
Advertising is no doubt the life blood of all businesses. This can either make or break your business. Never expect a minimal amount of advertising to start the money rolling in. While there are many free advertising resources out there (i.e., word of mouth or free Internet ads), they must be used correctly and aggressively.
24. LACK OF ORGANIZATION
Organization is vital to the success of every business. You should have a flawless system for receiving orders and quickly processing them. Lack of organization can lead to a major business disaster. For example, a major problem seen with many companies is that they have spent a bundle to get their company on the Internet, but, have not given much thought on developing a back room to process the orders when they come rolling in. The end result being that they lose a lot of customers who will never return to their Internet site since they are not able to quickly process the orders.
25. LACK OF GROWTH
The business that stops growing well not be around for very long! It is important for a business to acquire new customers, products, and services. Without growth, your competition will no doubt pass you by.
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25 Ways To Boost Your Business
Item 25 in the previous section states that a business that stops growing is doomed to fail. The following items are things that will help boost your business and keep it growing.
1. LOOK CAREFULLY AT YOUR COMPETITION'S ADVERTISING
Closely analyze and evaluate your competitionís r pricing, marketing techniques, and offers. This should give you some great ideas on ways you can successfully promote your products and services. You will also get a good feel for what it working for them.
2. NEW BUSINESSES CAN BECOME GREAT CUSTOMERS
Carefully watch your local paper for new business listings. Send each new business a marketing letter, brochure, and/or business card. Congratulate them on starting their new business and offer them your particular services or products. Most businesses prefer to use local businesses. Thus, let them know your location and what you can do for them.
3. KEEP OTHERS UPDATED
Regular communication is one of the most powerful ways to boost business growth. Send periodic resume and brochure updates, e-mail, or newsletters to both your current customers and local businesses. Invest the time and money into a web site where people can go to see what is new. You want to always keep others thinking of your business when it comes time to make a purchase.
4. NOTHING BEATS WORD OF MOUTH
Word-of-mouth is your best type of advertising, and not to mention the cheapest. Tactically ask your current customers, friends, and businesses you buy from for referrals. Take advantage of the social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn to get others speaking of your business.
5. REWARD THOSE WHO HELP SPREAD THE WORD
Offer a significant discount or other incentive to a client who sends you a referral that results in a job or sale as a way of saying thank you.
6. DO NOT OVERLOOK OTHER WORKING PROFESSIONALS
Consider putting fliers up at some of the non-traditional locations that cater to working professionals. Many professionals may have the equipment to do their own work, but not the time nor skills.
7. ADVERTISE ON GIVE-AWAYS
Create calendars, t-shirts, caps, and pens with your business name, phone number, Internet address, and other contact information printed on them. Give them away as free gifts. This can greatly increase business.
8. USE PLENTY OF BUSINESS CARDS
Leave your business card whenever you have your hair cut, eat at a restaurant, have your car worked on, with those you meet at parties, etc. The more business cards you get out, the better it is for business.
9. DIRECT MAIL STILL WORKS
Launch a direct mail campaign, using mailing lists that target specific clients. The most successful mailers pinpoint their mailing lists by carefully considering such items as size, geographic area, companies by industry, and people by income level. Ask your list broker for help in developing your mailing list. If you have a customer list, be sure you mail to them on a regular basis. Your own customer list should produce the most orders and responses.
10. DO SOME SIMPLE MATH BEFORE STARTING ANY ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN
When preparing a direct mail campaign or any other type of advertising campaign, calculate the number of sale responses you will need to break even or to make a profit. Be sure to allocate yourself a budget and do your best to stay within that budget. Add up all your expenses and carefully consider if the risk is worth it.
11. BULK MAILING CAN BE A BIG MONEY SAVER
Take the time to learn the post office requirements for bulk mailing, business reply cards, and envelopes before you design your own brochures or start any mail order campaign. Keep in mind that third-class mail often pulls as well as first-class mail and is much more cost-effective.
12. USE PROMOTIONS
Move your new prospects and current customers to order with promotions. Some devices you can use are special discounted prices, a free gift, free information, or a free trial. Be creative in this one area.
13. INVOLVE THE READER
Consider getting the reader of your advertisements involved in your literature by making them do something. Make them fill out an order form, place a peel and stick label somewhere, or click on a link on your web site. Such devices always increase responses and are used everywhere.
14. MAKE KEYWORDS STAND OUT
Highlight words such as "FREE" in all your literature when offering free gifts or information. You can make them bold, larger in size, placed in a box, in quotes, underlined, italicized, etc. Keywords that are highlighted are great eye catchers.
15. PEOPLE FEEL BETTER WHEN THEY HAVE SOME SORT OF GUARANTEE
Give a guarantee of satisfaction in all you do and offer. This will make people more comfortable with your product or service. A guarantee can increase responses significantly.
16. PLACE A TIME LIMIT ON ALL SPECIAL OFFERS
In order to get a quick response, give all special offers a time limit. The limited time offer must be genuine. Use it only if it's true. Move the reader of your advertisement to quick action by having them do such things as fill out a certificate and mail it back to you in an enclosed postage-paid envelope.
17. MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS TO CONTACT YOU
Provide a phone number, E-mail address, or Internet address that allows easy access for your customers to place an order or contact you. The more methods you have for easy contact, the better. People should not have to struggle to get hold of you.
18. A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
When possible, show a picture of your product and/or free gift in your advertisement. A picture is the next best thing to seeing it live up close!
19. TELL WHY THEY SHOULD BUY YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE
Always give both the benefits and features of your product or service. People will take action if the features are good and somehow to their benefit.
20. NEVER PROMISE SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN NOT DELIVER
Nothing can kill your business quicker than not backing up your word. While one happy customer may tell two people about your business, one unhappy customer may tell ten or more.
21. USE COMPETITIVE PRICING
Be sure that the price of your product or service is in line with your competition, while at the same time covering your overhead and providing you a reasonable profit. Know in advance how many orders you need to break even and how many orders you need to make a reasonable profit. While high prices can turn business away, prices too low can make people weary of your products or services and also drive them away.
22. HAVING QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE IS CRUCIAL FOR REPEAT BUSINESS
Develop a well trained and prepared staff to answer the telephones and respond quickly to all inquiries. Make sure your staff is knowledgeable, helpful, and most important, courteous. While it may not be possible to please every customer you have, a rude employee can chase away even the most loyal of customers.
23. ALWAYS FOLLOW-UP ON ALL ORDERS AND INQUIRIES
Always remember to follow up! Past business follow-ups are just as important as the initial contact. If a customer has made a recent purchase, find out how is it working out for them. If a person has not purchased anything from you, funneling them more exciting information can turn the tide in your favor.
24. ALWAYS EXPECT SOME ADVERTISING LOSES
It is impossible for every advertising endeavor to strike gold! That is why you should always do some sort of test run before going all out with a particular campaign. Expect to invest more money and/or time in your advertising campaign than you get out of it in the beginning. It is virtually impossible to succeed in any advertising campaign without doing this.
25. OPINIONS OF OTHERS CAN BE VERY VALUABLE
Ask other people their opinions on your advertisements. It is an excellent way to determine what objections your potential customers might have and allows you the opportunity to overcome any obstacles that will hinder your advertising campaign.
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Business Organizing Tips
Organization within your business structure is one of the highest marketing return investments you can ever make. If you get and stay organized, prospects and opportunities will never fall between the cracks. Do not treat organization lightly! Make it a priority in your daily business routine and it will pay you back many times over. Get organized in every part of your business, marketing, and sales activity. The following are some suggestions to help you get better organized.
1. Eliminate all that clutter from your desk. When you have too much clutter on your desk, it becomes difficult to separate the important things from the unimportant. Chances are that at least 50-60% of the papers piled on your desk no longer have any meaning or value.
2. File everything you feel you will later use, both physically and on your computer, by asking yourself where would you be likely to look for it or how would you use it. This will make retrieval less stressful, less time consuming, and less costly!
3. Throw out envelopes and any unnecessary inserts when sorting your mail. Get a wastebasket that SCREAMS out to you to be filled!
4. Do not pile up junk mail. Either immediately go through it or throw it out. This can help cut your paper pile by more than half!
5. Ask yourself how you would be affected if you threw out some specific item. If it will not negatively affect you, throw it out. No need to be a "Pilamaniac" (a person who piles papers upon papers on their desk). Most things can be replaced fairly easily.
6. Square up the piles on the surfaces in your office. They will become more approachable for sorting and may be less threatening. If a particular pile is still too large to sort through for the time you have, cut the pile in half so it is more manageable.
7. Set up a routine system that includes prospect files, lists, orders, and a follow-up strategy. This will help clear away all desktop surfaces in your office and help manage the paper much more effectively than scattered piles ever will.
8. Use a spiral notebook to capture random ideas, to-do lists, mini-agendas, and notes of phone conversations. The notebook creates reliability and is far superior to using floating post-it notes, scraps of paper, or the back of envelopes which can be lost or accidentally thrown out.
9. Enter appointment dates, addresses, or phone numbers right into your calendar, address book, or computer. Keeping them on loose slips of paper can be very dangerous and is asking for trouble.
10. Always set mini-goals for yourself when sorting out your paperwork. Sort one pile in one corner of the office, attacking it one inch at a time. This will help to get you started and make the task at hand much easier.
11. Make good use of hanging folders. Certain information is stored easier this way than in a file folder and is easier to grab when taking information with you.
12. Make good use of e-mail and the phone whenever possible. Saving someone on the other end from adding more paper to their in-basket may encourage them to return you the favor.
13. Concentrate on developing a market niche. Developing a niche will enable you to spend less time and money on marketing and to cut down on excess paper work on items not making you any money.
14. Do not wait until the last minute to get things done. If you do wait until the last minute to get things done, you may find yourself faced with some unwanted and unexpected choices that cost you time and money.
15. Use a computer to enhance your organization, but only after you get a good system planned out. With a computer, you can keep better track of your business by tracking vital information, such as customer lists, accounts receivables, and accounts payable. Give careful consideration to purchasing a Personal Information Manager (PIM) software package such as Outlook. A PIM will give you the power to better manage your schedule and organize your business. A good PIM will include an address book, a calendar, a task list, and an E-mail editor.
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