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Write Your Way to a Win: Business Proposal 101 #business #invoices


#business proposal examples

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Write Your Way to a Win: Business Proposal 101

It’s a tough world these days, especially for entrepreneurs who have stiff competition in their business niches. Keeping current clients and adding to your client portfolio is the only way you both stay afloat and grow, and no matter how good your products and/or services may be, there are always competitors who want your current business and will go after the same potential clients you do.

Many calls for business proposals are pretty impersonal – governments and public agencies may advertise for bids on projects, products, or other services, give a bid deadline date, and publish the details of their needs. They do this because, by law, they are required to.

For example, a public school district looking to build a new school will publish a “call for bids” for the project. Local and regional contract management firms will then put their proverbial “hats” in the ring and present their proposals. The local school board will receive the bids and make a decision on the contract award, and they are accountable to the public for this decision.

Not so in the private sector. A company is free to make contract decisions as it wishes, having only minimal accountability to their Boards for poor performance and/or cost overrides. Still, business owners seeking new clients and customers must perform well if they intend to keep those clients.

Before You Put Pencil to Paper

Writing business proposals involves a lot of initial legwork. Once you become aware that a potential client is looking for proposals in your business niche, you know you will want to develop a sound, clear, and precise business proposal, and there are many pre-panning activities you will want to conduct.

  • Do Your Research: If you don’t know much about the potential client, you need to study up! Go to the website and read everything! You will get names of decision-makers, get an idea of its business model, how long it been in business, its goals, and it financial picture – all good information to have!
  • Arrange a Meeting with Management: You may not get into see the CEO, but you should make an appointment with as high level a manager as possible. During this meeting you want the client to clarify goals and needs, so be a good listener and take notes! You really want to get clear budget parameters too, so you have a financial framework for your proposal. While the focus of this meeting must be on the client, try to tout yourself a bit – talk about your successes with similar organizations/industries.
  • Develop Your Solutions: Once understand the goals and needs, you are prepared to brainstorm and to develop the most effective and cost-effective ways to serve the client’s needs. For example, if you are in the property management business, and you have become aware that a large apartment complex owner is looking for a new outside property management firm, you meet with that owner or his rep. You ask about his issues and problems and what made him unhappy with the previous management. These will be critical points in your solution proposal.

Writing the Proposal

Writing a business proposal is a lengthy and time-consuming process, so plan enough time to do it right! And if you don’t know how to write a business proposal, you need to be a quick learner. There are templates and samples online that you can study; visit a fellow entrepreneur who has experience and ask for his/her help. Generally, though, your sections will be as follows:

  1. Describe the client’s current situation: In the case of the apartment owner, repair and maintenance have not been acceptable; perhaps screenings of tenants has not be thorough enough; perhaps the management company has not been responsive to tenant issues. These make up the current situation.
  2. State your goals, objectives, and methodologies for meeting the needs of the client and remedying the current situation. Perhaps more resident maintenance staff are required; perhaps the office is under staffed; perhaps there are not clear and consistent policies and practices to respond to repair calls and to conduct those tenant screenings – systems and accountability need to be put into place!
  3. Time and cost: Here is where you get to the heart of the matter. How long, and along what timeline, will you implement the changes, install the equipment, etc. And, critically important, the costs must be carefully and clearly broken down, so that each facet of your solution methodology has a specific cost. In this way, if the client has to cut back on something, he can make informed decisions.
  4. Your conclusion: Do not be afraid to praise yourself. What are the benefits of choosing your company? Point out your successes with similar projects and provide references.
  5. Binding: Make certain that your proposal is bound in a professional manner and submit several copies so that decision-makers can all have their own.

A Word About the Prose

If you are not a good writer, get someone who is. You never know who will be reading your proposal, so make sure there are no grammatical, punctuation or spelling errors. And above all, keep it simple. No one wants to struggle through long and complex sentences with academic-level vocabulary.

How to Write a Business Proposal Letter

A business proposal letter is really a formal and much more dignified “cold call.” You are trying to drum up business by introducing yourself to potential clients who may or may not have heard of you before. The format of the letter should, of course, be business formal and should be impeccable in grammar and style. Here are some pointers:

  1. Find out who the decision-maker is before you write the letter. It should be addressed to that individual.
  2. Your opening paragraph should catch their attention quickly. Using saving money will do the trick, so tell them that you can save them money and/or make their operations more cost-efficient.
  3. The next paragraph should provide more detail about your product or service and describe how it saves money or is more efficient.
  4. The third paragraph should speak to your qualifications. How long have you been doing this? Name past and current clients who have experienced cost savings and greater efficiency with your help. Be certain that you have the approval of these clients to use their names, for they may be contacted.
  5. Closing paragraph should be short and give some call to action. Either ask them to call you or tell them you will call in a few days for an appointment.

Happy proposal writing!

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Andy Preisler is a blogger at Grabmyessay where he came just after he finished his second bachelor. He is very passionate about helping those that are new to the professional aspects of writing, whether it is business related or academic. He is very experienced writer as his field of interests includes education content marketing and business etiquette. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Andy via social profiles.

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A List Of The Worst Business Advice You Can Follow – Ever

#business advice

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A List Of The Worst Business Advice You Can Follow Ever

There’s plenty of advice out there for how to start and run a business. But not all of it is good. In fact, there are some common sayings that are actually some of the worst business advice out there. The following includes some of the worst business advice you can follow.

The Worst Business Advice

Do What You Love

Although it may seem like a nice notion, this popular saying is widely considered one of the worst pieces of business advice out there. Just because you love doing something doesn’t mean that others will find it helpful or necessary. And if no one buys what you’re selling, then doing what you love won’t really get you anywhere.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Likewise, simply building an offering doesn’t mean that you’ll actually attract any customers. This saying implies that if you put in the work, there are customers out there who will support your business. But if you don’t do the research and find a market for your product or service, you very well could be in for a rude awakening.

The Customer is Always Right

This popular saying is meant to encourage business owners and employees to work hard to accommodate customers. And while customers and their opinions are generally important to the success of businesses, they’re not always right. If you’re constantly giving discounts or changing your offerings every time a customer makes a demand, you could be hurting your brand and your bottom line.

Never Turn Down a Paying Customer

Likewise, you shouldn’t assume that every customer you get will help your business. Especially if you have a consulting business or provide some other service where it can be necessary for you to work with someone over the long-term, it may very well be in your best interest to only take on a few very select clients.

Don t Quit Your Day Job

This is some of the worst business advice out there because there’s no right path for every entrepreneur. If you’re just starting out, it may very well be in your best interest to keep your full-time job while building a business. But then again you might be better off quitting and putting all your time and effort into your new venture. When it comes to making this decision, each entrepreneur has to decide based on his or her own set of circumstances, and not listen to a single one-size-fits-all recommendation.

Stay Away From Established Markets

Some experts claim that in order to start a successful business, you need to find a brand new niche or a huge gap in the market. But that’s not always true. You can start a business in an established market as long as you have at least one small thing that customers will appreciate to set you apart.

If You Want Something Done Right, You Have to Do It Yourself

Too many business owners try to do everything themselves because they have a hard time trusting anyone else with their business. But the fact is there are experts and great potential employees out there who can help you do things better than you could all by yourself.

It s All About Who You Know

Personal connections can certainly be helpful when it comes to running a successful business. But putting such a huge emphasis on them can discourage some people who aren’t well connected from starting businesses. You can always build connections as you go.

Stick to Your Plan

A business plan is a helpful tool. But it shouldn’t be the ultimate, unchanging guide for your business. Sometimes things change, and you should be able to adapt your plan to those changes.

Follow an Established Path to Success

Some experts think that there are just one or two ways to make it in the business world. But young, innovative entrepreneurs are forging their own paths every day. So don’t let anyone tell you that there’s one path you HAVE TO take in order to succeed.

Keep Your Business and Personal Life Separate

While there can be some merit to this piece of advice in certain situations, it’s no longer an absolute rule. Some small businesses actually thrive because the owner or the team shares their personality with customers. You don’t need to air all of your personal drama on social media. But being a little bit open and personable with your customers can be a good thing.

All Attention is Good Attention

Drawing attention to your business, especially during the early stages, can be difficult. So when you get any type of attention or press it might seem like a good thing. But if that attention isn’t in line with your brand and the image you want to portray, it could be doing more harm than good.

Hire the Most Experienced People

Experience can be a very good quality when looking to build your team. But it shouldn’t be the only quality you look for. Finding people who are enthusiastic, talented, creative and who share your vision for your business can be just as important if not more so.

Offer the Lowest Prices

Plenty of new businesses fall into the trap of trying to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering the lowest prices. But that isn’t always sustainable depending upon your costs and your business model. And it could damage your reputation moving forward.

Work Hard and Success Will Come

Hard work is certainly important when it comes to running a successful business. But it is not the only thing that matters. Don’t think that just because you’re putting in long hours and trying your best that success will eventually come. Sometimes it s more important to work smart than to work hard. Ultimately, the results you get are what matter.

Don t Try New Things

If you’ve found one or two things that work in your business, it can seem like a safe bet to stick with what works. But doing that won’t allow your business to grow as quickly as you might like. Trying new things can be risky, but it can also be rewarding.

Never Say No

Saying no to new clients, partnerships or opportunities may seem like a bad business strategy. But if you say yes to everything, you could be spreading yourself too thin or taking your business in too many different directions. You need to be very intentional when making those decisions so you can be sure that they’re going to benefit your business in the long run.

You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

This can be true in some circumstances. But you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that making big investments in new equipment, employees, training or other resources, will magically make your business better. You need to be smart about how you spend. And besides, many entrepreneurs have built highly successful businesses with very few or almost no resources at all .

Never Stop Working

You have to work hard to run a successful business. But you also need to find a balance, or else you’ll burn yourself out and find yourself too uninspired to run your business successful. The risk of burnout is one reason work-life balance is an absolute must.

Give Up

Not all businesses succeed. In fact, most don’t. But this is still some of the worst business advice you could ever receive. It’s never up to someone else whether you give up or not. If that’s a decision you need to make, it should be based on more than just outside opinions. Never let others decide when it is time for you to throw in the towel.

What are some of the worst pieces of business advice you have ever heard?

Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird. and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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Starting a Carpet Cleaning Business #search #business #names


#carpet cleaning business

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Starting YOUR OWN Professional Carpet Cleaning Business Can be Exciting, Rewarding, and Very Profitable

Of all the start-up businesses out there restaurants, retail, real estate carpet cleaning is one of the fastest-growing and most secure. According to a recent study by IBISWorld, the cleaning services industry is expected to experience steady growth through 2018.

  • Carpet cleaning is recession-proof
  • The profit potential is HUGE
  • Carpet cleaning is a scalable business
  • There s never a shortage of new customers
  • Demand for professional cleaning services increases every year
  • Anyone can do it

Jon-Don Can Help You Achieve Your Dream

To get your new business started off on the right foot, begin your journey with Steps to Success. This three-day course is designed to take YEARS off your learning curve and provide you with the skills and tools to become profitable right away.

After working with thousands upon thousands of professional carpet cleaners since 1978 from small home-based businesses to mega-corporations with multi-truck fleets we know every stage of this business inside and out. It all starts with the right training. Sure, you could just buy some equipment from us and head out on your own, but wouldn t you rather do it right (and FAST) from day one?

Call our New Business Startup Expert at 800-400-9473 ext 2810 to Get Started

The Steps to Success Seminar

This 3-day training session is designed to give independent entrepreneurs hard working, go-getters like yourself who have the drive and desire to launch a new business the tools and knowledge they need to succeed right from the start. With STS, your business and every penny you earn is your own.

This is the class the pro s wish they could have taken. Your instructors will guide you through the first few months of setting up your business. We ll show you profitable pricing strategies, so you won t fall into the ugly trap of setting your prices a bit lower than the going rate (only to discover later that you re not charging enough to make ends meet).

We ll dive into successful marketing tactics, from how to design marketing materials that will drive more sales to tips and tricks for building a website and social media presence. Every attendee will leave with a step-by-step carpet cleaning script designed to create Customer Cheerleaders and super-charge your referral network.

You will participate in hands-on demonstrations and try out different products, experiment with spotting solutions, and use the right equipment on carpet and upholstery you will see and FEEL how to do a good job. You will QUICKLY become brilliant at the basics no prior carpet cleaning experience is required.

Call Mike Cushing at 800-400-9473 ext 2810 to Learn More About The Steps to Success Seminar

The Steps to Success Seminar Overview

    • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the cleaning industry
    • How to price your work for profit
    • How Value-Added Service can make you wealthy
    • How to market your new business to jumpstart your cash flow
    • How to develop your website and social media presence
    • The 2-way phone script that will almost always book the job over the phone
    • Understanding carpet cleaning chemistry
    • How to clean carpet and remove 99% of the most common and most difficult spots
    • How to safely clean upholstery
    • How to remove odors
    • How to clean tile, grout, and other hard surfaces
    • PLUS MUCH MORE

Call Mike Cushing at 800-400-9473 ext 2810 to Get Started

Jon-Don is Different

We are all about much more than chemicals, equipment and supplies. We really want to become your “Partner for Success.” That s not just a bunch of fuzzy corporate jargon; it s something we take very seriously around here.

Jon-Don is successful only when YOUR success comes FIRST. That s why every year, thousands of professional carpet cleaners both new to the industry and veterans alike choose Jon-Don for their supply, service, and training needs.

We have a dedicated staff focused on making you successful by providing answers to your questions and connecting you with the business-building resources you need.

We’re also the only supplier in the market that offers a 30-day return policy everything we sell including truck mounts.

No one else does this.

Why do we do it? Because we stand behind you and what we sell 100%. We truly want to be your “Partner for Success.”

Jon-Don offers a variety of start-up packages to choose from, and each one can be customized to meet your budget and business goals.

We’ll answer the questions you have AND the questions you didn’t know you should ask. We’ll listen REALLY LISTEN to what your goals are and help you select the equipment and supplies that will get you there.

After all, what good is all your brand new equipment if you don t know how to use it? We want you to maximize your success right from the start.

So you see, we don t do things the way other suppliers do. We re a little different. And different is good.

Top Reasons Why You Should Buy from Jon-Don

30-day, money-back satisfaction guarantee even on truck mounts!

We re the only distributor in the industry that offers a 30-day buy-back guarantee on everything. Yes, even on truck mounts. If you re not happy with your purchase, just bring it back within 30 days for a complete refund. Peace of mind isn t on the invoice, but it comes with everything we sell.

Huge, in-stock selection!

You don t need to turn to multiple suppliers to get everything you need for your business. Chemicals, tools, equipment, supplies we are your one-stop shop for absolutely everything you ll need on the job.

Service and repair centers on-site!

Eventually, your equipment is going to need some maintenance work. Whether it s a routine tune-up or a full-blown repair, our factory-trained service technicians can get your equipment fixed FAST.

Warranty PLUS Program

When you buy your truck mount from Jon-Don, you automatically receive our Warranty Plus coverage*. With Jon-Don Warranty Plus, you receive 100% of the manufacturer s warranty coverage plus Jon-Don s repair center will perform FREE labor on all warranty replacement parts.

Whether the manufacturer offers no or limited warranty labor coverage, Jon-Don will automatically cover the installation labor cost of warranty parts. To qualify, you need to purchase your equipment from Jon-Don and the warranty repair must take place in a Jon-Don repair center.

On-going technical training opportunities.

We offer a wide selection of IICRC training courses throughout the year. You can earn industry certifications and improve your knowledge at our seminars, or you can purchase any of our DVD training programs and learn when it s convenient for you.

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is an international certification and standard-setting non-profit organization for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. Jon-Don holds over 150 certification classes a year in multiple subjects.

These classes are recognized by carpet manufacturers, insurance companies, and government agencies.

Take the next step with Strategies for Success

Steps to Success is a wonderful learning experience that gets you started down the right path, but once you ve been in business a while you may be ready for more. Our Strategies for Success seminar is the answer. This industry renowned 5-day course will help you take your business to the next level, and it s a terrific choice once you ve been in business for 6 months or more and are ready to start fine-tuning your operations.

Need help removing a tough spot? Have a quick question about how to clean a particular type of fabric? Need someone to help troubleshoot an equipment problem? Just give us a call! Our friendly representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7:00am 7:00pm to answer your questions 100% free of charge.

Call Mike Cushing at 800-400-9473 ext 2810 to Get Started



I want to be a dog walker #small #business #investment


#dog walking business

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I want to be a dog walker. What will my salary be? Add to.

Job: Professional dog walker

Role: Dog walking is no day at the park. The role of a professional dog walker comes with a lot of responsibility, and requires relationship building with both pets and their owners. That is because dog walkers are often given access to their clients’ homes, and trusted with the care of their beloved animals. Doing so requires keeping a close eye on their pet at all times, which can be difficult when walking more than one dog at a time.

“I treat the dogs like my children,” said Jon Chaisson, the owner of Busters Dog Walking Co. in Toronto and chairman of Professional Dog Walkers Canada, a non-profit organization that provides resources for commercial dog walkers.

“When I go to the park, I’m making sure they’re not pooping [in inappropriate places], and if they are I’m picking it up, making sure they’re not misbehaving, doing inappropriate things. I have to watch out for things they’re not accustomed to, like some may not be friendly around smaller children, so I need to keep them away from smaller children.”

Salary. The salary of a dog walker will depend on how many clients they have, whether they are self-employed or work for a company, and the level of service they are providing. Dog walkers typically charge between $15 and $25 per dog a day for their services, and in an industry heavily dependent on word-of-mouth, salaries typically grow along with reputation.

As such, Mr. Chaisson predicts that starting salaries can be as low as $15,000 a year, as beginners often need to charge less in order to attract their first few clients. As they build their client base and renegotiate their fees, however, that salary can skyrocket with time.

“You can make $100,000 a year, but it’s a lot of work,” he said, adding that many well-established professional dog walkers make around $80,000 per year, but only if they’ve received positive references, built a large client base and are working as many hours as possible each day.

Education. While there are no educational requirements for commercial dog walkers, some municipalities enforce strict licensing standards. In the City of Toronto, for example, dog walkers need to obtain a $250 commercial dog walker permit in order to walk more than three dogs at a time (with a maximum of six), all of which must be on a leash unless in one of the city’s designated leash-free zones. Licensing laws vary between districts in Vancouver, where the price of a permit ranges from $350 in West Vancouver to $830 for a licence obtained in North Vancouver for businesses located outside of that district.

“It’s unique to big cities right now,” Mr. Chaisson said.

Obtaining a permit typically requires dog walkers to have liability insurance – at a cost of about $600 a year – and file taxes as registered businesses.

Dog walkers are also encouraged to get pet first aid and pet training certification, which can provide added credentials and allow them to charge more for their services, though it is not a requirement.

Job prospects: There is no shortage of dog lovers in Canada, many of whom need a little help taking care of their pets. The barrier to entry as a professional dog walker is quite low, but landing those first few clients can be difficult.

“It’s better if you can meet up with other dog walkers, start networking, and then they will refer people to you,” said Dianne Eibner, owner of Jog-a-Dog and founder of the Professional Dog Walkers Association International, which later became Professional Dog Walkers Canada. “That’s probably your best bet if you’re starting out; get to know other dog walkers who would be willing to refer you.”

Ms. Eibner adds that well-established dog walkers often reach their maximum capacity, and are typically willing to refer new clients to other dog walkers they trust.

Challenges: The biggest challenge dog walkers face in the great white north is undoubtedly the cold weather, which can make the job unbearable during the winter months.

“The winters can be hell, but you dress in layers and take the dogs out for shorter walks, because they do freeze as well,” Mr. Chaisson said.

Ms. Eibner, who is also the author of The Face in the Window – A Guide to Professional Dog Walking , adds that those who work as sole proprietors or run their own dog walking businesses also take on a lot of risk.

“It isn’t the most secure occupation,” she said. “If our client gets laid off from their work, we get laid off too.”

Why they do it: While the winter months make the outdoors the least pleasant aspect of the job, Mr. Chaisson says the opposite is true in summer. “You get to hang out in the sunshine all day while everybody else is stuck inside in their stuffy jobs,” he said.

Furthermore, since many professional dog walkers work as sole proprietors or owners of their own business, they often get to set their own hours and pay.

“I’m able to work only three or four hours a day, and get a full day’s pay,” Mr. Chaisson said. “For six hours a day you can be making upwards of $80,000 to $100,000 [a year] if you really want to put work into it.”

Ms. Eibner adds that most dog walkers simply love spending their time caring for and playing with dogs.

“I love my job, I love hanging out with dogs,” she said. “It’s almost not like a job, but I treat it like a job – you have to on the business end of it – but other times I’m rolling around on the ground with them, that’s the part I enjoy.”

Misconceptions: Mr. Chaisson says that many people believe it’s an easy job, failing to comprehend the level of responsibility that comes with the role.

“You have to be fully aware that these are other people’s property,” he said. “It’s like a daycare; you constantly have to watch over the dogs as if they were your own.”

Ms. Eibner adds that some dog walkers have given the rest a bad name, and that people make assumptions based on a few bad apples.

“Unfortunately, there have been such incidents where a dog walker has caused problems for other people and park users,” she said. “It’s not pleasant when we are deemed guilty by association if or when one dog walker is seen not picking up after their dogs.”

Want to read more stories from our Salaries Series? Find more here .

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20 Original Ideas For Starting A Service-Based Business #business #images


#service business ideas

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20 Original Ideas For Starting A Service-Based Business

Your true calling is just a click away

Technology has come a long way since the printing press. It seems like every day, a new innovation is revealed and each one is more mind-blowing than the next. But even with all of these amazing technological inventions and advancements, there are some things that simply can t replace your own two hands. Like for instance: an app that folds your laundry will [probably] never exist. There are many service-based niches that need to be filled, and there are lots of potential customers who are looking for the right person and not computer for the job.

This is where people with specialized skills and talents can step in and take on the role of professional service provider, and make a profit. With a professional website, some self-promotion and some hard work, you can become that go-to person in your niche. Here are 20 potential service-based biz ideas that we love:

Personal Chef Cooking up delicious gourmet food isn t just done in restaurants, there are lots of people who would love to be treated to a nice meal in the comfort of their own home. Busy families and people looking to make a special occasion extra special will flock to you.

Baby Proofer Are you especially cautious? Can you spot accidents before they happen? Your perfect business just might be to make potential baby hazards disappear in expecting parents homes.

Tutor So long as there are things to learn, a good tutor will always be a highly sought-after commodity. So if you re a math genius or happen to be fluent in Xhosa and have a knack for teaching people, you could be in business.

Professional Organizer For most people, taking the time to organize their home doesn t only not come naturally, it s painful. So if you have a talent for making sense of messes, you could be sitting on a [neatly stacked] gold mine.

Computer Repairman Fact: today s world would barely function without computers. People are so attached to their own personal devices that they likely would be glad to have the phone number of a technically talented person on speed dial. Is that person you?

Pool Service Technician This business not only has very low start up costs, it s also pretty easy to learn and master quickly. Some elbow grease is required but, if you re ready to do the work with a smile, you could be laughing by the time you get to the bank.

House Sitter This niche is largely built on trust. While watching over peoples homes and keeping things running smoothly is a huge part of it, there are very few people that will hand you the keys without a good reference. Be sure to rack up the testimonials on your website for a good rep.

Home Decorator Color swatches, fabrics and throw pillows, oh my! Your talented eye for interior design can translate into potential big bucks, and all from doing something you love.

Personal Shopper For people who love to shop, this might come as a shock: there are a lot of people who would love to pay other people to buy their clothes. That keen fashion sense and ability to dress just about anyone really comes in handy here.

Mobile Mechanic If you think about it, the time people need a mechanic most is when they re stranded somewhere. If you ve got mechanical skills, all you need is to go to your customers. Your business will not go unnoticed.

Detective We know what you re thinking I don t live in a whodunnit mystery movie. But actually, being a PI is a real thing, and there are clients out there who will be more than willing to employ your sleuthy services.

Graphic Designer Tried and true, this career path is booming right now. With more and more emphasis on online presence for businesses and freelancers, there are lots of jobs to be filled in this field.

Packing Guru Moving can be a very trying time. Why not help people lighten the load by stepping in with your amazing packing powers?

Staffing Expert Finding the right people to help around the house is a delicate business, and isn t easy for most people. Helping people fill the various positions they have open is a growing niche that also needs to be filled.

Limo Driver With a fancypants car and some good insurance, you could [literally] be in the driver s seat of your very own business. Start small, and grow your fleet with other reliable and talented drivers such as yourself.

Translator Here s where that semester abroad comes into play. If you re fluent in another language, you can offer your translating abilities to those interested

Plant Maintenance Person Have you ever noticed that lots of nice offices are full of indoor plants? If you ve got a green thumb, with some basic (and inexpensive) supplies, you can maintain and care for these plants and earn yourself some more greenbacks in your bank account.

Window washing It s a dirty business, which is why so many people are willing to pay someone else to do it. Is that person you?

Debt collector Got a go-getter attitude? Are confident that you don t take no for an answer? Put these traits to good use by getting delinquent payments paid.

Party Planner There s always one person at a party who has comments about how things could have been done better. If that s you, you might have found your calling. Make the perfect party happen for your clients, time and time again.

Ready to take your business online? Set yourself up for success by creating your own website with Wix !

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How to Become a Dog Walker – Wacky Hounds, brightening up your

#dog walking business

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How to start a dog walking business.

Become a professional Dog Walker – The ultimate dog walking job – Dog walker opportunity

This short guide has been written with a view to explaining what is required to start up a professional dog walking business. It should give you a good idea about what you need to consider in your pursuit of becoming a full time Dog Walker. This guide is designed to give you an idea as to what is involved in starting up a professional dog walking business to run on a commercial full time basis. There are many adverts out there offering “dog walking jobs” but there is no need to look for employment as a dog walker or indeed to apply for dog walking jobs, when you can run your very own successful dog walking business.

There are many people, many dog loving people, who are in jobs that they dislike and would give their right arm for an opportunity to make a successful career in some form of dog care. Imagine keeping fit whilst being out in the fresh air and countryside. Could you think of a better way to make a living than keeping fit in the fresh air, whilst working with loads of different dogs every day? The list below will give you a good idea about how to become a self employed dog walker, so that you don’t have to apply for so called “dog walking jobs” or “dog walking opportunities”.

When starting a dog walking/pet sitting business, there is a lot of things to take into consideration:

Business Insurance – You will need quality business insurance which should include the likes of Public Liability, Care Custody & Control/Animal Liability, Professional Indemnity, Equipment Insurance, Personal Accident Cover, Vet Fees Extension, Loss of Key Cover, Glass Cover & Holiday Emergency Cover.

A professionally equipped van – For the transportation of dogs, your van should be professionally kitted out in the inside, be fitted with a moisture extraction system and your livery should be undertaken by professional Sign Writers.

Van Insurance – Suitable cover for a self-employed Dog Walker.

Relevant Local Council Licences – Depending on your local authority, there may be a variety of licences which you must hold, if you wish to operate as a Dog Walker in your local parks or you plan to offer dog home boarding services.

DBS/Disclosure Scotland – Undertake relevant police checks to inspire confidence in your future clients and to demonstrate trustworthiness.

Website – A modern, vibrant website is a must to convey professionalism and to allow prospective clients to find you easily.

Dog Walking/Boarding/Sitting – There is a variety of services that you can offer.

Branding/Trademark – In order to distinguish yourself from your peers, a great deal of thought should go into your brand and the protection of it.

Stationery – Your stationery should be consistent with your brand, and cover the likes of business cards, letterheads & envelopes.

Marketing – It is important to keep your advertising costs to a minimum when starting up any business, yet vital to find clients. Keeping your overheads as low as possible yet effective is advised.

Registration Forms – You will need an easily managed system to sign up new clients and will need well designed forms to cover the likes of Information Form, Terms and Conditions, Veterinary Authorisation, Walking Off the Lead and Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

Cover Letters – Easily edited to cover a wide range of scenarios, to save on administration time.

Charging Structure – The importance of this cannot be understated as there is a fine line between competitiveness and profitability.

Uniform – In accordance with your brand, you must be seen to be smart and professional at all times.

Key Management – It is extremely important that your key management systems are infallible.

Rota Management – In order to run an efficient operation, good time-management is essential.

Accounts – Not only is there a legal requirement for tax purposes, but tidy book keeping will save you a lot of time and expense.

Filing – You should have a tidy and appropriate system in place that complies with all relevant data protection rules and regulations.

Equipment – The types of equipment that you will need on a day to day business will include; Leads, Couplers, nail clippers, tick-removers, waterproof camera and phone, good boots and waterproof trousers and jacket.

Branded Dog I.D tags – Essential that all of your dogs wear these on every walk.

Training – It is not easy to take out a group of dogs for an hour’s walk. The practicalities of being a Dog Walker are far reaching, and you need to consider things like: basic group formation, collection of dogs, positioning of dogs in van, safe release of dogs from van, your walks, photo and video taking, using a dog whistle, potential hazards, safely getting your dogs back in the van and a suitable procedure for returning your dogs. With all of this in mind, you should undertake suitable before commencing with commercial dog walking.

Clients – Last but not least, you need to build and look after your client bank.

As you can see with this brief guide to becoming a dog walker, there is a lot of things to give consideration to. It may seem like a lot, but starting up a professional dog walking service requires a lot of planning.If, however, you would like the backing and help from an already successful and established dog walking company, then please take a look at our franchise page and download a free copy of our prospectus. Also, why not pop in to say hello to us on our facebook page, we won’t bite!

Have a Wacky day!

Join us at Wacky Hounds



How to get a business loan, options & requirements #business #banners


#getting a business loan

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Apply for a business loan

On this page

  • Choosing a loan you need
  • Improve your loan approval chances
  • Risk assessment

How to get a business loan

When applying for a business loan, it’s essential to prepare a detailed business plan and fully inform the lender about your proposed venture. This information helps the lender to provide you with the right type of finance and advice.

Decisions to make

Deciding that your business needs a loan is only the first step. There are a number of things to consider before you approach a lender; how much do you need to borrow; what type of loan will you need; how long will you need it for; can the business afford to repay the loan, interest and any one-off or ongoing fees that come with the loan; what security can you offer the lender and how this affects the interest rate offered.

Find and compare loan options for your business with the Infochoice Small business loan tool.

Online repayment calculators are a good tool in researching options but make sure you take the following into account:

Access to funds you borrow

If you need to access the funds on a semi regular basis (i.e. to help with cash flow to keep the business operating while waiting for your customers to pay for goods etc.), ‘at call’ loans such as an overdraft or line of credit are designed for this purpose. However, if you need the funds to buy a new business or equipment etc. to expand your existing business you will need the funds ‘upfront’. This is also known as a ‘fully drawn advance’ and provides you with the entire loan amount all at once.

Loan terms

Loans provided upfront will need a portion of the loan plus interest paid back at regular intervals. The repayment amount will depend on the term or length of the loan. To determine the loan term suitable for your business you will need to calculate how much you can afford to service the loan. Be aware that the longer the loan term the more total interest you will pay. Loans that are at call have no fixed terms.

Ongoing funding

This is the average amount of an overdraft or line of credit that is used at any one time. E.g. You may wish to have an overdraft limit of $20,000 to provide money for the occasional big expense, but usually you won’t use more than $5000 of that credit limit on average. So in this case $5,000 is the level of ongoing funding you need.

When applying for an overdraft limit, things to watch out for are:

  • higher the overdraft amount higher the fees
  • clauses where the lender can demand repayment of the whole loan at any time.

Fixed or variable interest rate

The choice of rate will affect the stability of repayments, overall cost of the loan and the loan features available. With a fixed rate loan the lender bears the risk of interest rate moves, while with a variable rate you will bear this risk. Ultimately, the choice of variable or fixed rates will depend upon how much free cash flow your business generates after you have paid all your expenses, including loan repayments. If your business has a low profit level, a variable rate loan repayment may rise beyond your ability to pay.

Loan security

Loans can be secured or unsecured by various types of assets, including residential, commercial, rural property or business assets. Alternatively, some loans are unsecured by any asset. Generally the less you provide for security the higher the interest rate will be. Be aware the lender has the legal right to seize any property or asset you offer as security if you can’t repay a loan on time.

Fees

There can be fees which can make a loan less attractive than it first seems. These include one-off fees such as establishment/application fees, exit/discharge fees and early termination fees or regular fees such as service fees or line/credit advance fees. The Business Loan Finder tool includes the cost of set-up and ongoing fees in the average monthly repayment to give you a better idea of the true cost of the loan.

Seek advice

The information provided here will provide you with a range of possible finance options. It is important to seek advice from your accountant or business advisers before approaching a lender for a loan.

Tip: Use our below Cashflow forecasting template to plan your cash flow and work out how much you need to lend.

Plan the business, plan the finance

Lenders will ask for a lot of in-depth information about the financial history of the business. It’s also important for you to create a convincing and detailed business plan which should include a profit and loss budget and cash flow forecast. The information you use to build your business plan may also be needed by the lender to assess your project. This includes both the past and future plans for your business, the people working in it and the market itself.

The outcome of your application is strongly influenced by how well your proposal is researched and how well it is presented.

Risk assessment

Banks and other lenders will look at your businesses risk profile when considering your loan application. Understanding what lenders look for and what they consider risky will help you present your business in a favourable manner.

As a general rule, lenders look for:

  • the level and nature of your security (what you’re offering to give them if you can’t repay the loan)
  • your ability to make regular loan repayments (cash flow risk)
  • your ability to ultimately repay the debt (business risk), including any other debts you might already have.

You need to be able to assess the level of cash flow or business risk in your specific circumstances. A projection of the cash requirements of the business is most important to a lender, as it is the actual cash left after expenses that will repay the loan, not income. It also shows you are an effective manager.

A lender’s perception of risk

The following factors can influence your lender’s perception of risk. If a number of these areas apply to you and your business you may need to consider another source of finance.

  • start up businesses incorporate financial, business and management risk
  • lack of security
  • lack of business history
  • industry sector, factors will include levels of competition, barriers to entry, profitability profile and current economic conditions
  • highly seasonal businesses e.g. suimsuits, agriculture. You’ll need to demonstrate how you’ll deal with cash flow pressures in the off season
  • lack of planning, market knowledge and finance skills
  • poor credit history.

Watch out! Before entering into a payment arrangement with the Tax Office, businesses should discuss this with their current or future lenders. Many businesses are unaware that entering into a payment arrangement with the Tax Office or other government agencies may adversely affect their current and future financing arrangements. For instance, a lender may not lend to a business if it is currently in a payment arrangement.

For more details visit the Guide to managing your tax debt on the ATO website.

What’s next?

Handy tools



5 Options for Getting a Business Mailing Address – Danielle Keister –

#business address

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5 Options for Getting a Business Mailing Address

By Danielle Keister | November 19th, 2013

Your #1 job in marketing is establishing trust. Having an address on your website is an important trust and credibility factor.

When you don t have one, people wonder what you re hiding. However, for personal privacy and safety reasons, as well as establishing boundaries, it s not a good idea to use your home address.

Here are five options for getting a business mailing address to erase skepticism while keeping your safety and personal boundaries intact:

1. Get a post office box from your local USPS branch. The cost is minimal, it s a tax deductible business expense and you can apply for, manage and pay for your PO box conveniently online. These days, the post office even allows you to spell out the address which can look nicer on your letterhead than PO Box ### . Prices vary slightly from branch to branch depending on location and can cost as little as $8/month. Visit https://poboxes.usps.com/poboxonline/search/landingPage.do for more information.

2. Get a PO box from a USPS Approved Provider. Many of your local businesses (e.g. drug stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, etc.) are also Contracted Postal Units from which you can get a PO box. This expands your options for finding the nearest convenient location. You can use the link above to search, but I’ll be honest, you might also have to just ask around as I’ve found it doesn’t necessarily give you complete results.

3. Get an EarthClassMail Virtual Mailroom. A bit pricey, but this is a really nifty service. You get a address you can use for your business and have mail sent to. They receive your mail and scan it into PDFs which can then be viewed and managed onscreen via your admin panel. Quickly and easily sort through junk mail and have them recycle or shred anything you don’t want. You can store your mail online and have them send you any physical pieces you like. These are just a few of the features and options available. Check it out at EarthClassMail.com .

4. Get a Virtual Office Location. Many similar services are springing up these days that will provide you with a business mailing address and mail receipt and forwarding. One such service is Davinci Virtual Office Solutions (they also offer virtual receptionist services). Check them out for a location near you.

5. The UPS Store. Get a real street address (not a PO box), package notification and more. You get 24-hour access and with their MailCheck® service you can call in to see if you have mail before you make a trip. Visit TheUPS Store.com for more information.

ABOUT DANIELLE KEISTER: I help women in the administrative support profession put their business britches on. Because when you run a business, you aren’t anyone’s assistant. As industry mentor and founder of the Administrative Consultants Association. I’m on a mission to show you how to kick business butt, get better clients and start making the money you and your family deserve. I’m all about a better life through better business. (Oh, and you’ll knock the socks off clients taking WAY better care of them in the process.) Want it all NOW? Head straight to the ACA Success Store for all the forms, contract templates and learning guides to start or uplevel your administrative support business today!



What – s a Green Business? Green Business Network #business #plan #templates


#green business

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What s a Green Business?

Triple bottom line company. Mission-based business. Social enterprise social entrepreneurship. Socially responsible investing impact investing. Green business.

Green America s Green Business Standards

Green America awards Green Business Certification to companies and organizations that meet or exceed our standards for social and environmental responsibility.

Green businesses adopt principles, policies and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, employees, communities, and the planet. The members of the Green Business Network are changing the way America does business. What do green businesses have in common?

Green businesses are socially and environmentally responsible.

Green companies adopt principles and practices that protect people AND the planet. They challenge themselves to bring the goals of social and economic justice, environmental sustainability, as well as community health and development, into all of their activities — from production and supply chain management to employee relations and customer service.

Green businesses care for their workers.

Green businesses ensure they don t use sweatshop or child labor. Everyone who works directly for them or their suppliers earns a living wage and works in healthy conditions. They create jobs that empower workers and honor their humanity. They also serve as models for the role businesses can play in the transformation of our society to one that is socially just and environmentally sustainable.

Green businesses protect their customers and clients.

Green businesses ensure that they use the safest ingredients, to keep their customers and clients and their families healthy. They also provide green living alternatives to improve quality of life, with products and services that help in areas like affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, education, clean energy and efficiency, fair trade, healthy air, clean water, and more. And they reduce, reuse and recycle, setting a good example.

Green businesses improve their communities.

Along with ensuring their facilities aren t polluting their local communities, many green businesses take steps to make the places that they call home better. Green businesses often spring up in marginalized communities—inner cities, rural and indigenous communities. Many are even started by the people in these communities who, in turn, bring respect and dignity to their employees and the wider neighborhood.



How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps Tutorial

#business pages

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How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps [Tutorial]

It’s no longer a “good idea” for most businesses to be on Facebook. With 829 million people actively using Facebook every day, it’s become a go-to component of almost any inbound marketing strategy.

Thing is, as more and more Facebook features change, so does the process of setting up a Page.

Don’t waste another day poking around aimlessly on Facebook, trying to figure out what the heck to do to get your Facebook Page up and running like a social networking pro.

The following presentation provides a visual tutorial to help you get your Page up in no time (you can also read the transcription below). Over 600,000 have found this tutorial helpful, hopefully it proves beneficial for you or a marketer you know, too.

How To Create a Facebook Business Page

Step 1: Choose a Classification.

To begin, navigate to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php . This page will showcase six different classifications to choose from:

  1. Local Business or Place
  2. Company, Organization, or Institution
  3. Brand or Product
  4. Artist, Band, or Public Figure
  5. Entertainment
  6. Cause or Community

Each of these classifications provides more relevant fields for your desired Page.

For this tutorial, we’ll select the second option: company, organization, or institution. After selecting our desired classification, we’ll be asked for an official name for our Business Page. I recommend carefully selecting your name. Although Facebook allows you to change your name and URL once. it’s a difficult and tedious process.

Step 2: Complete Basic Information.

Facebook should automatically walk you through the following four basic sections to complete the fundamental aspects of your Page.

Finish “About” Section

The “about” section will serve as the main 2-3 sentence description for your company. It will be on your main page, so make it descriptive but succinct. Be sure to include a link to your company website as well. Also ensure that this information differentiates your brand, making your page even more appealing to potential followers.

This is also where you can select your unique domain (that, as mentioned above, can only be changed once). For example, the Sidekick by HubSpot Facebook Page employs the URL facebook.com/getsidekick.

Upload Profile Picture

Next you’ll be asked to upload a picture. This will serve as the main visual icon of your page, appearing in search results and alongside any comments you publish. While any perfectly square image will work, the recommended size is 180 x 180 pixels.

Add to Favorites

Every individual Facebook user has a vertical navigation bar to the left of their News Feed. You can add your Business Page as a “Favorite” item here — similar to bookmarking a web page in your web browser — for easy access.

Reach More People

Facebook will prompt you to create an advertisement to draw attention to your Page. Whether employing paid tactics is a part of your strategy or not, I recommend avoiding starting any ads at this stage — there’s no compelling content on the Page yet that would convince them to ultimately “Like” your page.

Step 3: Understand the Admin Panel.

The basic skeleton of your Business Page is now live. Facebook will ask if you’d like to “Like” your Page. Again, I recommend avoid doing so at the moment. This activity will appear in News Feeds of those you’re connected to personally to on Facebook. Without any content on the Page, we want to save that organic Timeline story for when you’re really ready for people to view the Page.

In the top navigation, you’ll see an option for “Settings.” Click that. Along the left side, a vertical navigation bar with different sections should appear. We’ll focus on three core ones now:

  • Page Info: This is where you can add additional details about your business. This section will also unveil different fields based on the classification you chose in Step 1.
  • Notifications. This section allows you to customize when and how you’d like to receive Page alerts. Set a frequency that fits your social media marketing schedule.
  • Page Roles. Whether or not you’ll be the main manager of the Page, there may be others at your organization who need access to your Facebook Page. Here, you can invite other colleagues to make changes to your Pages. Some common use cases here include:
    • A public relations manager who needs to respond to any delicate questions.
    • A support representative who can assist those asking technical questions.
    • A designer tasked with uploading new photo creative to the Page.

Step 4: Populate Page With Content.

Now it’s time to actually publish content to your Page and then invite users to be a part of your growing community. Let’s start with the basic content needed to get your Page kicking.

Posts

The rest of your Page will populate over time as you publish more updates. Facebook currently provides six different posting options:

  1. Plain text status
  2. Photo with caption
  3. Link with caption
  4. Video with caption
  5. Event page
  6. Location check-in

When posting on your page, just be sure to use a variety of content. What images would your audience like to see? What stats would they like to read? What links would they like to click? You can also click the little grey arrow in the top-right corner of each post and then click “Pin to Top” to move one of your posts to the top of your Page’s Timeline for seven days. Use this feature for product announcements, business anniversaries, and other major events pertinent to your brand.

If you want to dive deeper into Facebook posting best practices, check out this blog post.

Cover Photo

This is the large, horizontal image that spans the top of your Facebook Page. Typically, this is a branded image to help attract people to your Page. The official photo dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels. To help you create these cover photos, we have free PowerPoint templates here pre-sized for the right dimensions.

Now that there’s content on the Page, we can start strategically inviting users to Like it. I recommend inviting users in the following cadence:

  • First, invite colleagues to Like your page and its content to build some initial activity.
  • Second, invite supporters in your network. Encourage them to engage.
  • Third, invite customers. With some activity now on the Page, they’ll be more interested.

With content published and users invited, you can go to the “Activity” tab in your Page’s top navigation to monitor how people are engaging with your Page and content.

Step 5: Measure Your Growth.

Finally, we need to measure our efforts to ensure we’re making valuable marketing decisions on Facebook. Fortunately, Facebook has embedded in some decently helpful metrics for us to take advantage of. Simply click the “Insights” option in the top navigation to see the following:

  • Overview. This tab shows a 7-day snapshot of your metrics such as Page Likes, post reach, and overall engagement.
  • Likes. This tab shows your overall fan growth and losses. If you’re employing paid efforts, you’ll be able to see the breakdown of paid versus organic growth.
  • Reach. This tab highlights the raw number of people your Page is reaching every day. If you notice spikes on a specific day, try cross-checking what you posted that day to see if you can replicate that reach.
  • Visits. This tab indicates where on Facebook your viewers are coming from. You can see the difference in visits on Facebook Timelines, your information tab, reviews, and others.

And if you really want to spend time perfecting your Facebook content strategy, watch this brief tutorial on how to analyze exactly that .

And voila! You have a Facebook business page. Now go post interesting content and amass a loyal base of fans!

Want to see how HubSpot uses Facebook? Like our Facebook Page here .

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2010, and it’s since been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.