Tag : 10

How to design a business card: 10 top tips #family #business


#designing business cards

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Creative Bloq

How to design a business card: 10 top tips

A well-designed business card lends legitimacy to your business, and can make you stand out from the crowd of competitors. Check out our top tips on how to make a lasting impression.

Although we re working in paperless offices more and more, the humble business card is still a mainstay of business. If you haven t got a card you can give out to prospective clients or collaborators, you re missing out on a key marketing opportunity.

Not all business cards are created equal, however. We live in a world where the average small business can design their own cards and order them from well-known online printers for under 20. These cards tend to be of an inferior weight, and typically use twee clipart to relate themselves to the business being advertised.

What this means is that there are a lot of poorly designed business cards out there! This is both a challenge and an opportunity: to stand out you need to create a design that looks fantastic, and helps you differentiate yourself. If you can make it tactile and feel pleasant in the hand, you ll be well on your way. Create an effective card and you can elevate your business above your competitors before the prospect has ever seen your website!

So, with all that in mind we ve brought together 10 of our top tips for creating effective, innovative business cards .

01. Use good design principles

It might seem obvious but it s worth reiterating that a business card is a piece of printed material like any other. Because of this, the basic principles of paper-based design apply to business cards:

  • keep all your key copy at least 5mm from the trim edge
  • work at 300dpi for best image reproduction
  • ensure you maintain a minimum size for your typography to maintain legibility
  • design in CMYK unless you re working exclusively with spot colours

Many designers also find it helps to use a grid to lay out their cards, as this can help you to achieve the right hierarchy of information as well as ensure your alignment is sound.

02. Get creative within the constraints

There are a couple ‘standard’ sizes for business cards, depending upon where you are in the world. One typical example is 55x85mm, although you’ll see many other sizes quoted on the web. Working within this tiny canvas you can still get creative with the space: start by considering the key information you want to include, which will typically be a name, phone number and email address, then work your design around presenting this information in a creative way.

03. Avoid common pitfalls

There are some common pitfalls to designing business cards that it helps to be aware of. The first and most obvious is to ensure you provide a bleed as specified by your printer. This is commonly 3mm, but can be 5mm so check! Just as important is to avoid using a straightforward border around the entire of the card, as this will show up any misalignment in the trim if the card isn’t perfectly cut.

04. Use special finishes

This example features a UV spot to highlight fret positions, on the reverse of a guitar tutor s business card

An instant way to add impact to your business card, and make it stand out from the crowd, is to use a special finish. Special finishes include the likes of foil blocking, spot-UV and metallic inks, and can add significant cost to your print. What they offer, however, is the opportunity to make your card more tactile, visually impressive and memorable.

Different printers offer different options for finishes, so speak to them to find out what they can do for you, and don t be afraid to go to a specialist if your usual printer only offers straight four-colour print.

05. Cut into your card

This card, designed by Phil Jones, Ryan Coleman and Jeff McCullough for Yoga One, shows how some creative thinking with die-cuts can result in a fun and memorable card

A great way to make your card unique is to use a die-cut process to remove elements from the card stock, leaving a void. You can either use a die to change the shape of your card (by rounding the corners, for example), or you can cut shapes out of the centre.

Dies are expensive to create the first time, although increasingly printers are offering laser-cut options that make it economical to create a die-cut look on shorter print-runs. There are some amazingly creative examples on the web, and when combined with creasing you can use the process to create architectural features in your card design. Also, don’t overlook letterpress as an option.

06. Use unusual materials

This card is constructed from a printed circuit board, and works as a USB device. When plugged in, it provides additional information about the owner

Most business cards are printed on card stock. This is the most cost-effective option for printing your cards. If you re willing to get a little more creative, you can print onto all sorts of different materials including transparent plastics, metals, wood and even slate.

Here dog treats have been used as a business card material, allowing the card to serve two purposes simultaneously

Keep in mind that cards need to be portable, and easy to file away in a pocket or briefcase, but get creative with your choice of stock material and you’ll instantly stand out from everyday business cards.

07. Make it useful

This business card designed by Emily Berry converts into a handy chair that can hold your phone upright on a desk

One of the problems with paper is that it s everywhere. Some people hold on to every bit of paper they receive, while others are far more ruthless and recycle at the first opportunity. To avoid the risk of being recycled, make your business card work as more than simply a calling card.

This card was designed by Jamie Wieck and includes a seed that sprouts after a few days of soaking

Some of the most memorable designs incorporate function as well as form. Examples include business card that act as a holder for hair clips or turn into a miniature armchair for your mobile.

08. Make your own

Breakfast Creatives cut up old cereal boxes to form their own, brand-relevant business card design. Credit: http://breakfastcreatives.co.uk

If you re feeling creative, why not make your own business cards? You can find letterpress kits on eBay at reasonable prices, allowing you to convert any card stock into your own business card with ease. This is a time-consuming but very satisfying way of expressing yourself in a card!

09. Recycle old cards

These cards were made by hand out of business cards, christmas cards and screenprints that went wrong. Credit: http://designbyif.co.uk

Old business cards, postcards or packaging can be repurposed and given a new life as your business card. Recycling is both environmentally sound and can allow you to express your creativity in new and exciting ways. There are some fantastic examples on the web to get your creative juices flowing. The process can be as simple as getting some stickers printed, or as complex as hand-illustrating over the top of each old card to suit the recipient.

10. Double-check your artwork

This tip applies to every bit of print work you do, but it s so crucial it s worth repeating. When sending your artwork off to the print shop, make sure you ve double-checked every single detail. There s nothing worse than getting back your cards and discovering you missed a typo in the email address or name. Check twice, print once is a a well learnt adage!

Liked this? Read these!

Have you got any tips for designing effective business cards? Let us know in the comments below.



10 Green Business Ideas for Eco-Minded Entrepreneurs – Small Business Can #business

#green business ideas

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10 Green Business Ideas for Eco-Minded Entrepreneurs

Are you considering to start your own business but are concerned about the impact it will have on the environment? Green businesses are ecofriendly, and they go beyond the regulations to show their commitment to sustainable development. You do not need any particularly brilliant new idea. What is more, most of the green businesses are alternatives of the standard businesses, but with a nature-conscious management and production processes. Check out the following green business ideas.

1. Green Business Ideas Organic farming

While businesses are going green, so are their customers. Everyone nowadays is switching to healthier lifestyle choices, and this particularly concerns the food they consume. The effect of this is that organically grown vegetables and fruits are highly sought, and this trend is sure to continue in the future. The market for these products is very developed, so you will have no trouble finding buyers. What do you need to start this business? A piece of land and love for outdoor work.

2. Organic menu restaurant

If you do not want your hands to get dirty, but still wish to take your piece of the pie in the ongoing healthy-eating trend, why not be on the other side of the transaction? Open a restaurant that would serve only organic meals, made from organic ingredients that you would be buying from organic farmers.

3. Green construction

Become a green contractor. Green construction simply means construction with eco-friendly materials and incorporation of energy saving systems, such as solar heating.

4. Recycling pickup

Recycling is also very popular these days. But no matter how determined people are to recycle, there is always the problem of what to do with bulk trash, like computers and house appliances, once you no longer need them. If you want to start a recycling pickup service, take a page out of the book of Sydney s rubbish removal services. for e-waste. It is a very lucrative business, yet in deficit.

5. Green developer

Develop applications that will help people help the earth. These can be simple guides to local green stores, or complex energy consumption calculators.

6. Green consulting

If you are familiar with green technologies and standards, you can easily become a consultant to other businesses on ecological issues. Help other people start a green business, or turn their current business into a more environmentally friendly one. This consulting can involve anything from efficient energy consumption to sustainable production. Get certified to gain more credibility among customers.

7. Upcycle

Furniture upcycling has quite a hipster vibe. Take any piece of old, unused furniture and repurpose it in an unusual and preferably unexpected way. All you need is some tools and a few original ideas. Once you clear your attic and basement of all the unused furniture, you will find that flea markets are a great place to find new ‘raw materials’.

8. Green blogs

If you like writing, and like to work from home, start a blog. But not just any kind of blog. Start a green blog that will promote green activities.

9. Bicycle business

Bicycles are the most eco-friendly means of transport there is. They emit no gas into the atmosphere and so do not pollute the air. Buying and reselling bicycles has become a huge part of the green revolution. Consider participating in it. You can also open a small local bicycle café where you will sell drinks, while you are repairing your customers’ bicycles. Take tourists to bicycle sightseeing tours of your town, or your neighbourhood.

10. Eco-cleaning

Start a cleaning services company which will use your own natural house cleaning products. Make more money by selling these products to households and other cleaning service companies.

What green business do you see yourself managing?

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Top 10 best business desktop PCs (August 2016) #business #cards


#business computer

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TechRadar pro

Top 10 best business desktop PCs (August 2016)

Plus a handy buying guide

While workforces have become far more mobile, there is still a need for the traditional office desktop PC. It remains the most cost-effective computing device as it’s easily maintained and has the most powerful solutions available on the market.

Despite the drop in laptop prices and increase in mobile processor power, there are still distinct advantages to running desktop systems in an office environment, which is why the desktop remains the most popular form-factor for computer systems.

Speaking of form factors, the desktop PC has evolved significantly over the past three years beyond the monoliths that mid or mini-towers are.

The range of available desktop systems is as wide and varied as business needs themselves, ranging from a few off-the-shelf units for an SMB to the deployment of thousands of basic desktop PCs and everything in between.

The types of desktop PCs

A recent development in the desktop PC world has been a modest diversification of the system case. The typical business PC comes in a mini-tower box, which is probably best sited under or next to your desk.

But if space is at a premium, a smaller case would be a better choice. Dell, for example, delivers its Optiplex models in mini tower, ‘thin’ desktop and ‘compact’ small form factor sizes, each model offering the same computing power but in a different case.

Three other formats that have grown in popularity are:

[1] All-in-one. otherwise known as AIO, which combine the monitor with the base unit. The move to power-efficient components, the falling price of LCD panels and the ubiquity of touch functionality make AIO an increasingly popular choice for businesses. The all-in-one PC essentially resembles a slightly larger than normal LCD display that contains the processor, hard drive and memory built-in to the screen casing. The end result is a very elegant, clutter-free desktop PC.

[2] Ultra-small form factors. otherwise known as net tops or mini PCs, which borrow a lot of their designs (and components) from laptops. They are essentially laptops without a screen, input peripherals and a battery.

[3] HDMI dongles which have been inspired by tablets and smartphones and often share parts with the latter. These are usually used for display signage or in niche markets. They are usually not powerful enough for most tasks but things are likely to improve by the end of 2016.

Top 10 best business desktop PCs in the UK

To help narrow down your search for the ideal system for your business, here are Techradar Pro’s top 10 business desktop PCs in no particular order.

1. Zoostorm 7260-3041

The cheapest desktop PC going

CPU: Intel Celeron 1037U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 18 x 40 x 36cm



10 Best Stock Market Investment News, Analysis – Research Sites #loans #to

#stock market websites

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10 Best Stock Market Investment News, Analysis Research Sites

Ah, investing a word that can strike fear into the hearts of even the most burly and masculine of men. A subject with such a broad and potentially confusing scope of choices, it can bewilder even the most savvy of businessmen.

Even though I consider myself well-versed in general investment information, there is a world of knowledge, terminology, and strategy that is just beyond my comprehension, and will likely always be.

So where should I, the layman, turn to when I seek competent and comprehensive stock market investment research and analysis ?

Top 10 Stock Market Investment Research Websites

Keep in mind that the main focus of these sites, above all else, is equities. So if you are looking to research ETFs. mutual funds. hedge funds, or any other diversified investment type. many of these websites may not have what you are looking for.

1. Investopedia
If you are just beginning to learn about the world of investments, Investopedia is your one-stop shop for anything and everything. Here, you can look up definitions of terms, register for newsletters with valuable information, use their stock simulator to see how much an investment earns or loses over time, and much more. You can research stocks by company name or ticker symbol and get quite a bit of information about a desired company. They also have a neat Financial Edge section, which can help you with some of the important fundamental principles of personal finance and the markets.

2. Yahoo! Finance
As much as I would like to skip this one over for some of the lesser-known research portals, Yahoo! Finance is just too good. Aside from the myriad of company reports, which you are required to pay for, all of the information at Yahoo finance is free for the taking.

3. Motley Fool
Don t let the name bother you these guys are all business. Whether you are looking to do your own research, or prefer the advice of a seasoned veteran, The Motley Fool has it all. I tend to prefer to follow my own (sometimes idiotic) investment decisions, but if you need help, or want to see what the experts recommend, there are pay services at Motley Fool that may be a good option for you. I have not used them myself, but the few people that I know who have followed their advice have had nothing but positive things to say, and a good amount of success to boot.

4. The Street
If you pay any attention to the world of investing. you know the name Jim Cramer. Personally, I think he is little more than a caricature, but some people swear by him. Mr. Cramer is one of the big name contributors at The Street. That not withstanding, The Street is, in my humble opinion, the best website for investing related articles. The writers have vast knowledge and fantastic insight, without losing focus on what is important the investors for whom they write.

5. Wall Street Journal
For decades, the Wall Street Journal newspaper has been a staple for information and research for investors. Although most of us have done away with the daily black and white delivery method, the Wall Street Journal online delivers even more valuable information than its nearly obsolete predecessor. Nowadays, the Journal s online presence includes The Wall Street Journal. MarketWatch. Barron s. and SmartMoney. among others. All of these sites are valuable resources for investing information, especially when seeking out company-specific news.

6. MSN Money
Microsoft tends to be a pretty self-serving company, at least in my opinion. Even so, once you learn to glance over all of the Microsoft related news at MSN Money, what you get is another fantastic avenue for portfolio boosting. The one complaint I have with MSN Money is the formatting. When looking at stock quotes, there are no lines distinguishing ads from news or charts, which occasionally will take you off-course by clicking an advertisement by mistake.

7. Zacks Investment Research
Zack s does require a membership in order to get to the juicy stuff, but the membership is free and well worth the three minutes it takes to sign up. Here, you will be able to do in-depth research on both stocks and funds. You will also have access to many public and independent reports that will assist you on your quest for the perfect personal investment portfolio .

8. Investor Guide
Investor Guide has many of the same features you ll notice on other sites on this list, so why does it make my top ten? The stock helper tool. First, this tool helps you to determine an optimal investing strategy and style. Then, it provides a list of companies for you to research. Once your list is complete, you will see what others think of each company on your research list. Investor Guide does a great job of aggregating this information from many different sites for you. You will then evaluate the company s competition, decide what to buy, and reap the benefits.

9. Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha is amazing. My one complaint is that there is actually too much information packed into one page, which at times can make it difficult to navigate. If it weren t for the massive amount of content on Seeking Alpha, it would be much higher on this list. Company news is the main focus of the site, so if you have a list of companies to research, this is a pretty good place to start.

10. Online Brokerages
Personally, my account has been housed at Sharebuilder for years now, and their research tools are very good. In the beginning, they had a clumsy interface that was slow and filled with glitches. Since then, they have done an amazing job of streamlining and improving content to the point of near perfection. No matter who you invest with online, be sure to use their research tools, as most of them have easy to use interfaces with plenty of information to sort through. Some of the more popular online stock brokers include E*TRADE. TradeKing. Scottrade. and OptionsHouse .

Final Word

When you are looking to conduct your own investment research, closely monitor where you go online. It is very easy to end up on hot stock pick sites, penny stock investing sites, or poorly executed attempts at legitimacy. Many of these sites are fronts for someone to sell you their foolproof system or something similar. Everything I have provided above is free of charge, though a few of them offer paid services above and beyond what most of us need.

Do you have a preferred investment research site? Tell us about them and what features you like most in the comments below.

You are looking at Matthew Breed. He is a 30 year old sports nerd who lives in North Florida with his fiancee, Sarah. Originally in school for a Business degree that did not work out due to capricious youth and irresponsibility, he is currently “getting past” his Peter Pan syndrome and attends classes for a degree in Information Technology while working full time. His care for personal finance stems from a modest upbringing with fiscally responsible parents who highly value education and frown upon frivolity.

heyyy . Nice post you have been shared here. I would like to look forward to the next post. Thanks for sharing .will be waiting for the next post. It helps me a lot.

There s just so much tripe on Seeking Alpha that I ve stopped going there. Anyone can be a self-appointed expert on the site and there is a lot of pumping that goes on in the guise of analysis. Don t know how you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

http://www.dividendinvestor.com/ Richard Gere

Hi, some great sites. Google’s Finance can also be included. Thoughts?

I honestly can t imagine how you consider SeekingAlpha to be an informational site. Journalistically bankrupt. Opinions, not facts. The same useless opinions cycled over and over. Surely you can do better?

None of your business

Would the author of this site mind putting a DATE on his article? Or is not putting a date on it a sleazy way of milking more hits out of the page?

I agree. Investopedia is a great resource for learning stock trading.

Best online analysis is in INVESTOOLS at TD Ameritrade. They are now Number 1 in the industry.

Stock Rover is a great tool for individual investors, all the data in one dashboard. And its free! Premium version isnt too expensive either

As FatMan points out below, Seeking Alpha is garbage. Ask any CFA level analyst and you will get the same response. So much of it is agenda driven content/amateur hour content.



10 Cool Business Ideas For Newbie Entrepreneurs #business #tax


#cool business ideas

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10 Cool Business Ideas For Newbie Entrepreneurs

Photo: Liesha Petrovich ; Credit: Crystal Clear Photography, LLC

Ready to take a chance this year? Maybe try something a little bit different?

If your answer is yes, then it’s time to start that business you’ve always dreamed about. You don’t have to start big, or risk your life savings. You can start each of these businesses with a minimal investment, and many as a side hustle on the weekend .

So, if you’re ready to have a little more fun (and income) this year, get inspired by one of these cool business ideas .

1. Offline education.

Online teaching is a booming business—$107 billion to be exact! That figure includes online universities, corporate training, webinars, and selling courses on platforms like Udemy and Ruzuku.

There are also a ton of courses on how to create (and profit from) online courses! But the growth of online learning hasn’t stopped the need for offline, local independent teachers.

If you have a talent and developed skill, why not teach it to an offline audience? Adult education, after-school programs, day-cares, community centers, and even churches need interesting and valuable courses for their members.

Here are a few examples: horseback riding. swimming, karate, dance, gymnastics, music, computers skills technology, golf, tennis, archery, business planning, accounting, home repair, cooking, meal planning, personal finance and so on.

2. Sell your hobby.

Combine your hobby with a business and you’ve got a recipe for success. Businesses like, How to Cook That. are part helpful blog and part online shop. Owner Ann Reardon shares helpful tips and tricks to make amazing desserts, but also sells interesting and fun how-to’s and templates.

Using a simple widget from the e-commerce platform Selz. Ann can sell any recipe, guide or template from anywhere on her website. This can be a great niche business for anyone who wants to start an online business selling plans, guides, patterns or tutorials. You don’t even need your own website, as you can sell your digital download from your own Facebook account or Selz store.

3. Lunch carts, food trucks and kiosks.

Starting a restaurant is one of the riskiest and capital-intensive businesses out there. There is a ton of overhead, even for the smallest diner.

On the other hand, starting a lunch truck, food cart or a kiosk has minimal startup costs. You still have to follow local regulations, but the investment is much smaller than a full-fledged restaurant.

One of the best things about food trucks is the insanely wide variety of possibilities. From a marshmallow cart to cannolis, the portable food business is here to stay. Checkout Portland Maine’s Mami Food Truck, which specializes in Japanese street food.

Photo: Mami s Food Truck; Source: Facebook

4. Vending machine business.

Who would have thought the vending machine industry is worth approximately $8 billion? While the location of the vending machine is the key to success, there are many different kinds of vending machines to consider, including drink, food, toys, gumballs, stickers, games, and even personal grooming machines.

There are also variations of traditional vending machines, like those that only offer healthy vending choices and others that offer credit card payment options.

If you’ve got an entrepreneurial bug and want to try something a little different, Healthy Vending offers a smart guide on how to start a vending machine business .

5. Reiki therapist.

Reiki therapists are at the intersection of new age and creative wellness businesses. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It’s not for everyone, but it can be a fun, interesting and rewarding business.

You have to learn the practice and check the regulations in your area, but for those with a drive to help people, Reiki can be smart and rewarding business.

6. Herbal farm stand.

Shop local. It’s a mantra heard in every small community; and many offer farm stands year-round. There are many different niches to choose from including honey, jams, grass-fed meat, organic produce and fresh herbs.

Photo: © dusk, YFS Magazine

Beyond using herbs for cooking, consumers are now using herbs for medicinal purposes, candles and aromatherapy essences, baths and teas. If you have a green thumb and enough of a backyard for farming, consider starting a herb farm.

It has a low startup cost and can be operated part-time. One enterprising farmer started his business using lavender that grew along his road, and sold lavender sachets. That’s about as low-cost as you can get!

7.Freelancing.

The term freelancer is actually an umbrella term for hundreds of different businesses. It’s anyone who is outsourced to do a job, and the benefit is the employer doesn’t have to pay benefits like insurance or 401k’s.

If you have in-demand skills that can be outsourced, consider starting a freelance business. One of the best things about being a freelancer, is that you can offer your services at competitive prices.

There is always a demand for business services such as: IT, human resources, accounting, PR, customer service, marketing and sales; Writing services: resumes, cover letters, ghostwriting, articles, editing and blog posts; and Miscellaneous services: wedding/event planner, graphic artist, photographer, and interior design.

8. Aquarium maintenance.

This business idea sounds crazy (i know) on the surface. But it’s actually a growing industry, and does great in the right market. You can cater to either homes or businesses, and you are responsible for all aspects of maintaining a healthy aquarium.

Research the licensing regulations in your area. It s a unique business idea for anyone with a passion for fish and aquatic life.

9. Bicycle maintenance and repair.

It’s easy to assume that bike riding is for the young. But biking is actually skyrocketing, especially in city centers and local towns! Thanks to baby boomers, seniors now account for 22 percent of adult bikers. And where bikes are, bicycle repair isn’t that far behind.

Plus, it’s the type of business that anyone can start in a home garage. For example, the Green Machine Bike Shop in Norway, Maine offers bike repair, but also created group rides in their area to promote their love of biking.

10. Ethical dog breeder.

The term puppy mill brings up horrific images of abused dogs. However, with so-called designer dogs fetching thousands per puppy, there is a growing need for ethical dog breeders.

Photo: © bussardel, YFS Magazine

Ethical breeders keep and care for each dog as a pet, not as livestock. They view their dogs as family members, not just a means to an end. Of course this means less profits than traditional puppy mills, so most ethical breeders only keep a few dogs for breeding purposes. The pet business is part money maker and part adorable fun.

This article has been edited and condensed.

© 2009 – 2020 YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. However, sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms listed here is permitted.

What do you think?

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10 Ways to Quickly Generate Leads #business #continuity #plan


#business leads

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10 Ways to Quickly Generate Leads

Writer and Entrepreneur

You ve printed flyers, you ve sent out mailers, you have blasted your social-media followers, but you re still not getting the lead flow you need to grow your company into the next billion-dollar brand. Well, there are hundreds of ways to generate leads, so don t hang your head.

Here are ten of my favorite.

1.eBooks

These work great for B2B companies or a business that works in a very technical space, as people love to read and gain expertise about their industry. Make sure you don t promote your services or products. People don t want to be sold, they want to be informed. So write it from a neutral perspective and give actionable insights. Share the eBook socially and ask your network to share it for you.

You ll want to ensure that you have a landing page set up that requires visitors to input their name, email and phone number for a chance to download the eBook. Pages like this can be built easily with tools like Unbounce .

2. Newsletter

Do you have a newsletter yet? If not, you re missing out on one of the simplest way to generate more leads. Make sure you put a newsletter sign up in every possible place that makes sense on your website.

With these newsletter, not only do you have a captive audience (people have to opt-in to your newsletter) but email pathways are a great way to avoid getting lost in all the Internet noise. Again, don t make it all about you. Instead, share with your contacts your insights, recent wins you created for your customers and industry news.

3. Blog

Having a blog is one of the best lead generating tools you can use, as it not only allows a company (or person) complete control of what is said but also an opportunity to have the undivided attention of the reader. Make sure that your blog is optimized to generate leads by having a sign-up section for your newsletter and by using the margins to promote your products and services. And I feel like a broken record, but don t make the blog all about you! Give real value.

4.Twitter

Twitter is a dream for generating leads. Use it to reach out to influencers in your industry and get into conversations with them. Their followers, who are probably some of your potential customers, will see your interactions and follow you or visit your site. You can also follow trending subjects that pertain to your business and interject your thoughts into the general discussion by using the # symbol. For instance, if you are in the mobile world, you may use #iphone to find and eventually get leads.

5. Networking events

While a lot of action happens in the digital world, the real world still provides a lot of advantages — especially networking events. Even events that didn t directly pertain to my business have provided me with some of the most valuable contacts and leads. You ll meet more people, expand your network and gain referrals. Plus, it s a great way to build your brand. Make sure to bring business cards and don t be afraid to ask the people you meet for their patronage.

6. Develop an engaging video

Please don t produce another terrible commercial and post it on YouTube. The world doesn t need any more of these. What people always want more of is entertainment. So, spend some time on developing a great idea that promotes your business and engages your customers. Once you ve uploaded the video, you can get the ball rolling on making it go viral by using services like StumbleUpon to drive traffic to your video for pennies per viewer. Video sites like YouTube allow you to put links directly into the video. Use these to link back to specific landing pages on your website.

7. Infographic

Yes, infographics may have been overused a few years back, but people still share them and still stop and read them whenever they can.They re quite cheap to produce as well. Simply come up with an original idea (again, don t make it about you), find a quality (but affordable) graphic designer, then share it socially and ask your network to pass it along. You can also submit your infographics to publications that cover your industry.

Always put your logo and website URL on the bottom of the infographic. This way readers will be able to visit your site.

8. Webinars

Webinars are an inexpensive way to get your message to thousands of potential customers. There are many services that allow you to broadcast a webinar quickly and easily. And if you make it a recurring event, you ll continue to grow your following. So, come up with a great idea that helps your customers and promote it using social media, your network and your newsletter.

At the end of the webinar, feel free to ask the attendees to download an eBook, sign up for your newsletter, or visit your site. This will bring the leads flowing in.

9. Media coverage

Do you know what journalists hate? Being hit up by dozens of PR agencies hour after hour, day after day. Do you know what journalists hate a little less? Having an owner of a company reach out to them and tell their story in a real and authentic manner. In fact, your chances of being covered go up significantly if you do the reach out yourself (as long as your pitch is on point). A few tips regarding reaching out to journalists: Don t mass email them, do not open with to whom it may concern and don t pester them (one follow up email is sufficient).

By getting your name out in the media, you begin to develop a following, increase your personal brand and come off as an expert in your domain all that can help you get leads.

10. Strong branding

Customers love authentic companies. They like it when a company has a strong and clear message and that message is consistent across all of their marketing platforms. So, don t try and be everything to everyone. Customers want the experts and the company that is the best in their industry. Focus on communicating that through your branding and your conversion rates will go up, resulting in more leads.



10 greatest entrepreneurs of all time – Business – Small business #entrepreneur

#top entrepreneurs

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History s 10 greatest entrepreneurs

By Philipp Harper

Special to msnbc.com

How many entrepreneurs have there been in the history of the world? Millions, certainly, probably even billions. These are the men and women who take capital — their own or somebody else’s — and use it to beget more capital. Some fail, some succeed, some excel.

With so many candidates to choose from, any list of the 10 greatest entrepreneurs of all time will necessarily be somewhat arbitrary. It will also be top-heavy with Americans, just as a list of great chefs would be disproportionately French or of great eccentrics dominated by the British.

Business is what America does. If that sounds chauvinistic, get over it.

Here, without further ado but with tongue occasionally in cheek, are history’s 10 greatest entrepreneurs.

1.King Croesus. A pick by our veterans committee, Croesus, who ruled the Asia Minor kingdom of Lydia in the sixth century B.C. is owed a huge debt of gratitude for minting the world’s first coinage, thereby creating in a single stroke the lifeblood of every business: liquidity and cash flow. Moreover, his opulent lifestyle has given entrepreneurs throughout history something to shoot for. Is there a greater distinction for the commercially inclined than to be deemed “as rich as Croesus”?

2.Pope Sixtus IV. Sixtus gets the nod for realizing that the “wages of sin” meant more than unpleasant repercussions. There was money to be made in damnation, and Sixtus mined it by opening up a new market — the dead — for the indulgences the church had been selling for years. Relatives of the deceased quickly filled the Vatican’s coffers with payments intended to lessen the time their loved ones spent in purgatory. In 1478 Sixtus “grew his market” by authorizing the Spanish Inquisition, which swelled purgatory’s ranks by 100,000 souls in 15 years. He also was the first pope to license brothels.

3.Benjamin Franklin. In a real sense, Franklin was America’s first entrepreneur. Unlike other of the Founding Fathers — the hypermoral Washington, the prodigiously intellectual Jefferson — whose virtues and attainments are seen today as anachronisms, Franklin truly was a model of what many of us would become. Beneath the statesman’s mantle resided a popular author, a printer, an inventor (the lightning rod, bifocals) and a very savvy businessman who knew how to commercialize the fruits of his fertile mind.

4. P.T. Barnum. Americans have always loved a good scam and Phineas Taylor Barnum took the art to new heights. He played on our fascination with the bizarre and freakish with sideshow acts ranging from the midget Tom Thumb to Jumbo the giant elephant. In between was a host of more dubious curiosities. He created the Barnum and Bailey Circus as a showcase for all this wonderment, and dubbed it “the Greatest Show on Earth.” Along the way he invented modern advertising and became rich. For the record, he never said “There’s a sucker born every five minutes,” but he left behind plenty of other bon mots. Among them: “Every crowd has a silver lining.”

5.Thomas Edison. What do you say about the man who gave the world the electric light, the phonograph, talking motion pictures and more than 1,300 other patented inventions? That he was the world’s greatest inventor, certainly. But he was also able to exploit the profit potential in his creations, an entrepreneurial bent that asserted itself when Edison was a teen-ager, printing a newspaper in the baggage car of a rolling train and then selling copies to passengers. His impact on the way people live was and is pervasive. As a combination of inventive genius and entrepreneurial flair, he stands alone.

6.Henry Ford. Ford also fundamentally changed human lifestyles by making available a vehicle, the Model T, that vastly extended people’s range of movement. The automobile would allow America’s masses to fulfill their Manifest Destiny to populate every corner of the continent. But his more profound impact was on industry. The moving assembly line he designed to build his cars was the signal breakthrough of the Industrial Age. Appropriately, Ford earned the seed capital for his enterprise by working as an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit.

7.Benjamin Siegel. Known as “Bugsy” to his friends, Siegel was a notorious mobster with a touch of the visionary. Legend has it that he single-handedly invented Las Vegas, and that’s a stretch. But he was the first to see what the town could become: a lush oasis of pleasure where gambling was just one of the attractions. He also proved adept at attracting other people’s money to build his iconic resort, The Flamingo. Trouble was, some of those other people belonged to an outfit called Murder Inc. and Siegel was gunned down in 1947 amid rumors he had stolen from his partners. But give the devil his due: Before there was the Bellagio, there was Bugsy.

8.Ray Kroc. Nothing says entrepreneur like persistence, and nothings says persistence like Ray Kroc, the kitchen wares salesman who in 1954, at age 52 and in poor health, had his imagination hijacked by a family-run restaurant in the desert outside Los Angeles. Once he had bought out the McDonald brothers, Kroc proceeded to take their concept of a limited menu, fast service and low prices and expand it nationally, in the process creating the fast-food industry and dramatically affecting America’s lifestyle and, sadly, collective health.

9.H. Ross Perot. Within every entrepreneur lurks a touch of the cowboy, and there’s no better example of the strain than Perot, the diminutive Texan who has become best known in recent years as a political gadfly. Before that, though, he was all business, using a $1,000 loan from his wife in 1962 to launch Electronic Data Systems. Perot’s winning idea was that large corporations and organizations needed data-processing help if they were to take full advantage of computer technology. When in the mid-’60s he won contracts with two new federal health-care programs — Medicare and Medicaid — EDS was off and running and Perot was on his way to being one of America’s richest citizens.

10.Jobs & Wozniak. Apple Computer’s two Steves weren’t the first Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to launch a billion-dollar business from a Palo Alto garage — Hewlett and Packard were there before them — but they were the first to democratize computing by creating a machine whose use was so wonderfully intuitive that even technophobes embraced it. Combine the elegance of Wozniak’s operating system design with Jobs’ marketing savvy (remember Apple’s “1984” ad?) and the result was a true phenomenon. Yes, the Apple was eclipsed by the PC, but only after Microsoft (behind the vision of two other notable entrepreneurs, Bill Gates and Paul Allen) developed Windows to ape its rival’s ease of use.

Philipp Harper is a freelance journalist living in south Georgia.



The Top 10 Grants Available to Black, Minority Business Owners #business #consultant


#minority business grants

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Free Money? The Top 10 Grants Available to Black, Minority Business Owners

Every year billions of dollars are awarded in the form of free money and other types of funding. Most people know this money exists, but just don t know where to apply, how much they qualify for, or even where to get an application.

Contrary to popular belief, free money is available to entrepreneurs. Real business grants do exist. In fact, hundreds of black and minority-owned businesses each year receive such grant funding from various government agencies and nonprofit organizations, reports BlackNews.com. Such funds do not have to be repaid, but must be used to either start a new business or enhance an existing one. Others can be used for innovation research.

Here are the top 10 small and minority business grant programs available:

1. The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is a nationwide competition that will award $50,000 in total to six deserving U.S-based entrepreneurs and business owners. Go to www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/fedex_small_business_grant_contest.html

2. The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grants Program allows business owners to apply for financing a particular small business need. Past recipients used funds to purchase computers, hire part-time help, and create marketing materials. Visit www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/national_association_self_employed_nase_business_grants.html

3. The Dare to Dream Grant Program encourages students to move through the business creation process by offering business development seminars and up to $10,000 in funding. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/dare_to_dream_grant_program.html

4. The Miller Lite Tap the Future Business Plan Competition (formerly known as the MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneur Series) is an annual competition for minority business owners sponsored by Miller Lite. Designed to economically empower minority businesses, the program continues to invest in entrepreneurial dreams to empower urban communities. Learn more at MLTaptheFuture.com

5. The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several competitive business grant programs, ensuring that the nation s small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government s research and development efforts. Check out www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/sbir_small_business_research_innovation_grants.html

6. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) organizes various angel investors with the primary objective of supporting minority businesses with mezzanine and second round financing. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/minority_business_development_agency_mbda_business_grants.html

7. The Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) Program provides grants to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The funds can be used for land acquisition, construction, renovation, technical assistance, project planning, and more. Visit www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/rural_business_enterprise_grants_rbeg_program.html

8. The Huggies MomInspired Grant Program awards grants and business resources to moms to further the development of original product ideas and startup businesses. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/huggies_mom_inspired_grant_program.html

9. The DOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program is intended to ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts in the Department s highway, transit, airport, and highway safety financial assistance programs. Learn more at www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/dot_disadvantaged_business_enterprise_program.html

10. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides grant funding to small businesses to engage in biomedical or behavioral research/development that leads to a potential for commercialization. Go to www.businessgrants.org/opportunities/sbir_small_business_research_innovation_grants.html

To learn about more 2014 business grant programs, visit www.BusinessGrants.org .



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10 Rules of Thumb for Naming a Business #business #profile


#naming a business

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10 Rules of Thumb for Naming a Business

It’s been a busy week across the pond — on Monday, July 22, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed a royal baby boy into the world. Upon arrival, and particularly on Tuesday July 23 when the couple first stepped out of St. Mary’s Hospital with the newborn in tow, the world was satisfied in now knowing the sex of the baby. But what about the name? After all, this is a baby that despite being two days old is third-in-line to the throne and upon arrival, is also expected to boost Britain’s economy by nearly 240 million pounds in baby-related product sales — the equivalent of almost $400 million in USD.

Bets were made and while names including Philip, James, George, and Alexander all ranked high on the guessing list, the final name was revealed as George Alexander Louis. Named for his great great grandfather George VI, the new name ensures he will become a future King George VII.

Royalty aside, undoubtedly there was a great deal of care and consideration that went into deciding on the name for the royal baby — especially one that will be a commercial success with collectibles commemorating the event and tourist arrivals. In a similar thread is how a business decides on its own name. With a reported 252 million domain names currently registered online. start-ups at this point have names featuring every misspelling, mashup, hyphen, and underscore under the sun possible to set them apart from competitors. But is this even recommended for a business? And what’s to say that the first name out of the gate doesn’t get changed a few months later? Before you get in too deep on the details of how to name your business, keep the following tried and true tips in mind.

1) First off, conduct a business name search.

Maybe you have a name for your company in mind that is so secret (and amazing) you’re afraid to tell everyone lest somebody else beats you to the punch in using it. Or worse, if you decide to go ahead and use the name and it turns out similar names are out there like it and you’re up in arms on a trademark infringement case. Conduct a business name check first and then reserve the name online if it’s available before you begin the incorporation process.

2) Name needs to be meaningful and memorable.

As stated by the Wall Street Journal. businesses face the challenge of creating names that carry meaning, are memorable, and aren’t “alphabet soup” George Louis Alexander has a name full of meaning with the first name from his great great grandfather and “Louis” from Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Keep in mind what your business offers and tie that in as specifically as possible whenever you can.

3) The shorter the better.

Keep the name of your business short and easy to spell. No muss, no fuss, and definitely makes it easier to claim a website address or URL that way too.

4) Skip nods to pop culture.

And while we’re here, avoid Internet memes too. Sweet Brown’s “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” catchphrase is tired, to say the least.

5) Tell your business like it is.

One of my favorite company name game stories is the story behind Virgin and how Richard Branson (circa age 20) and his team came up with the name because a team member chimed in, “What about Virgin? We’re complete virgins at business.” When in doubt, consider the core of what your business does and stick to that core, rather than trying to cover it up with something fancier or more stately but ultimately confusing.

6) Keep alliteration in mind.

Lululemon, TED Talks, Coca-Cola, and hey, even Kim Kardashian — all brands (and people) that exercise the use of alliteration well and stake out a place in our memory banks while they’re at it.

7) When in doubt, make it up.

See: Haagen-Dazs here, believe it or not! Go for unique and original as much as you possibly can.

Steve Jobs began working on a line of personal computers in the 1970s during a time when computers were hardly for everyone and too huge and seemingly complicated to figure out. “Apple” came about as a means to attract people from all walks of life – universally inviting all around. Don’t try to complicate the name of your business or you might wind up alienating some of your audience.

9) Grab your social media spots.

Along with the URL for the business name, you’ll want to check and make sure there are places on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (at the minimum) to claim early on.

10) Changing names? Do it with a purpose.

In an effort to avoid being seen as another “box” like Dropbox, YouSendIt recently switched over to “Hightail” as their new brand name of choice. When deciding on switching names for your business, lead by example and avoid following any crowd you might be seen too closely following. And when further in doubt, seek divine mythology intervention to guide you — Blue Ribbon Sports sought out the Greek winged goddess of victory when it came to switching over their now infamous name, Nike.

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10 Business Valuation Calculators To Gauge Business Value #small #business #plan


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10 Business Valuation Calculators To Gauge Value of A Business for Sale

Believe it or not, there’s no right or wrong way to work out how much a business is worth. Experts use loads of different valuation methods and the number those calculations come up with will vary greatly depending upon the criteria set forth.

That being said, if you know exactly what it is you value in a business, it’s not hard to work out a ballpark figure. After all, nobody in their right mind would pay for an existing business without knowing what it’s worth.

To help you get started, here are some of the Web’s top free business valuation calculators.

10 Business Valuation Calculators

1. CalcXML

CalcXML has been providing a wide range of financial tools to small businesses for a while now. And the company’s valuation calculator is a tried-and-tested model.

It’s a simple tool designed to give potential buyers a quick snapshot. It takes all of the basics into consideration, including: annual earnings, excess compensation and level of business risk. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes.

2. EquityNet

EquityNet is one of the globe’s leading pioneers in crowdfunding. Established in 2005, the platform works to connect thousands of entrepreneurs with investors of all shapes and size and has already helped start-ups across the globe raise hundreds of millions in equity, debt and royalty-based capital.

As part of that mission, EquityNet provides a valuation calculator backed by real market data gathered from over 3,000 business across North America. That enables you to weigh the value of a business against potential competitors which is a factor some analysts often overlook.

EquitNet also provides free calculators to work out a company s profit margin, cash flow and startup risk.

3. ExitAdviser

ExitAdviser is an online support service that enables business owners to connect with potential buyers. In line with that service, ExitAdviser plays home to an extremely quick business valuation calculator designed to give potential buyers quick quotes.

To get an estimate, buyers simply need to enter net profit from a company’s most recent financial year and forecast its sales growth. That said, there are plenty of more advanced input options to help generate more accurate valuations.

4. BizEx

Like most free valuation calculators, BizEx hosts a platform based upon the ‘Multiple of Earnings’ method. But their calculator is far more advanced than most of the free models you’ll find kicking about on other sites.

By including an in-depth breakdown of a company’s discretionary and multiple earnings, you’re able to create instant valuation ranges depending upon a range of variables. Afterwards, you’re given the option to talk these numbers over with a broker if you’re so inclined.

5. Bridge Ventures

The Bridge Ventures calculator is designed to create an estimated market value for a company based upon a diverse set of attributes. Technically speaking, this calculator is only meant to be used for small businesses with revenues of under $2 million.

It’s worth noting this calculator is most compatible with Google Chrome, as there are a few unwanted kinks when opened on Internet Explorer. That said, it’s a simple calculator that renders quality results.

6. Hadley Capital

Hadley Capital ’s business valuation calculator is slightly different, in that it applies a multiple of EBITDA to determine the Enterprise Value of your business. In general, a small business will usually trade for around three or four times its normalized EBITDA. That said, the multiple will slide dramatically based upon a variety of characteristics specific to your business.

This calculator understandably places particular emphasis on your annual EBITDA, annual capital expenditures and how much of your revenue comes from top customers.

7. John Hancock Life Insurance

John Hancock has been around for a long time. As such, you’d expect the company to have worked out a pretty reliable way in which to tally up the value of a business.

First-time buyers may be inclined to check out this calculator, as it includes an incredibly useful glossary of terms designed to cut through all of the meaningless financial jargon associated with business valuations. It also clearly explains all methodologies involved in calculating your valuation.

8. MassMutual Financial Group

MassMutual is an all-encompassing insurance provider that represents over 13 million clients across the globe. Consequently, the company values user experience far more than some of the industry’s smaller websites. Its business value calculator is no exception.

This user-friendly calculator very clearly and concisely walks you through every step of the valuation process in order to work out a decent estimate in as little as two minutes.

9. HelpSME

HelpSME is a great resource for small businesses in need of tutorials and advice. That’s why the site offers an easy-to-use valuation calculator using the Net Present Value (NPV) method. This approach uses a company’s future cash flows to try and work out how much it’s worth in the here and now.

HelpSME’s calculator also includes useful guides designed to help you wrap your head around the value provided.

10. National Life

National Life is an all-encompassing collective of financial services companies, and its online valuation calculator draws upon that power in order to generate fairly well-informed market estimates.

Similar to HelpSME, National Life’s calculator finds the worth of a company by looking at the present value of its expected future earnings. It places particular consideration on a company’s lack of marketability and excess compensation.

In the same way that no two valuations are alike, it s crucial to bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are loads of brilliant valuation calculators online that you can use in order to generate a snapshot of how much a business may be worth.

Just remember: these free business valuation calculators aren t always accurate. At the end of the day, it s up to you to do your homework in order to ensure you ve put in (or accepted) the best possible offer for an existing company.

Nash Riggins is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and an American journalist based in central Scotland. Nash covers industry studies, emerging trends and general business developments. His writing background includes The Huffington Post, World Finance and GuruFocus. His website is NashRiggins.com.

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