Grow Your Business Using These Five Tips

Starting a business is tough.. no exaggeration. To start and run a business is both nerve-racking, petrifying.. and a dozen other emotions. It doesn’t matter if you are drafting the initial business plan, just opened the doors, or been around for awhile. Planning will alleviate much of the risk, but not all. You can’t control everything in life, nor in business.

Want to grow your company? Here are five guidelines to help you do that. Many accomplished business owners wished that someone had told them this at the beginning.. and look at us giving them away to you.

Guidelines to Grow Your Business

1. Realize that you can’t do it all

Being your own boss is part of the appeal to start a business. The owner of a small business will have to be contented to wear many hats – that of a sales assistant, bookkeeper, marketing director. However, this does not require that he or she should do it all on his or her own. Now is a good time to consider outsourcing some pieces of your business to a virtual assistant and a bookkeeper.

You will certainly be able to do it alone for a short time and even manage to flourish, but in order for the business to develop, it can’t go on like that forever. It is crucial to know when to find capable people with the same vision. You can only do so much and if you want the business to thrive, you will have to accept that you need help.

It should not be necessary to relinquish your new found freedom or your control to get help, but you are only one individual.

2. Don’t spread your doubts

Confidence, drive and passion are needed when launching and running a prosperous business. It is, however, normal for doubts about this new undertaking to creep up on you, but essential to know to whom and where to voice these uncertainties.

Don’t tell influential people outside the company like a capitalist that might invest in your venture or the local credit union’s manager. They will only finance someone who is confident about his or her business. So keep your game face on when you approach investors for much needed money. In the same way the employees must be sure that they can believe in you. Don’t when times get tough, don’t express your emotions and doubts openly for all to hear.

It would be lying to say that not everyone have fears and uncertainties. A business owner, however, should arouse confidence in his or her employees. So think about how you act when you are with them, especially when things aren’t happening like you would like it to.

3. Work towards that business you would want

There’s an expression that says that you should fake it until you make it. You should adopt this principle, particularly in the beginning of a business venture.

Don’t intentionally deceive clients about the business’ scope or what services you can offer them. New clients should be instilled with confidence in your business, until your reputation has been established. So, run the business as if it is already the business you would want, even if it is not there yet.

Apply this concept to all aspects of your business venture – from the way potential clients are greeted to the language used on advertising materials and the company website. If a confident air is projected when new customers are dealt with, a first impression is made that will offset the small size or lack of experience.

It is not necessary to approach all dealings as the president of a worldwide organization, but think big when you want to grow your business. Make sure any material or employee who have direct contact with your clients, represent your business the way you would want to.

4. Deal with the negative answer of no

It is only you who can decide to open your own business, an adventure that you yourself decide to go on. Regrettably, to make your dream come true, you’ll have to involve other people whose opinions will have to be heard about the way things happen.

Starting out as the owner of a business you will often hear “no.” Potential customers and clients will not be interested, your idea will be passed on by investors, and your banks loan applications will be turned down. Don’t feel dejected because rejection is essentially fabulous.

How so? For the reason that every time you hear “no,” you must choose to appreciate it as a break. Maybe your bank loan application was turned down, not because of your idea but because of a problem with the business plan. Perhaps a non-interested client could force you into developing your pitch or making your offered services more convincing.

A business owner should look at rejection as inevitable, but it is your choice how to react to it.

5. The business bank account isn’t for your personal use

This is a big one, so read it again. And again. Once your business is going strong, the temptation will be there to use your business account for personal use, to borrow money from the business or treat yourself with lavish payments, but don’t do it, especially in the beginning.

Even a successful business will admit that to grow cost money. Every time you take from the business’ money, the chances of growth diminish. You should be sure to adequately compensate yourself for the work you do, but your salary must be modest and reinvesting in the business must be your main concern.

To grow a business will cost money because everything needed for growth like equipment, talent and space costs money. Therefore the smaller amount you put back, the slower the growth. The more money put back, the faster the operation can be expanded and the more profits can be made.

Ready to Sell the Business?

An old saying goes, “the two best days of owning a boat – the first, when you buy it and the second, when you sell it. The same seems to apply to some start-up businesses too.

As financial experts point out, a business can be sold only once. Even if a business owner has no intention of selling it at any particular time, there may come a time when it is imperative to do so and some plan to smoothen the process may have to be in place earlier. The preparedness such a plan provides may also help get a better price for the business when it needs to be sold considering the amount of hard work and effort that has gone into investing and running a business in the first place.

What it entails

The need is not to make a commitment to sell but to be informed about what is necessary and what it entails to sell a business. Some of the important aspects to be aware of and some upfront questions that are pertinent include:

• What is the business worth? – This is the first question every business owner has to ask and really evaluate. However, money should not be the only reason for selling because then it means that the owner is not exactly ready to sell and chances are that the business will be undersold. Having said that, whatever valuation is done by the owner, accountant or banker, only marketplace trends can really evaluate the current value of the business.

• Is the reason for selling a valid one? – Again there is a double-edged sword; if the business owner has a really solid reason it will most likely be sold. Here, the catch is to have reasonable expectations that increase the chances of the business getting a good buyer at the price expected.

If these two basic questions have been answered favorably, there are some important things about the business that require attention and putting together.
An initial checklist of the business and its operations should include:

• Profit and Loss statements going back at least three years
• Federal and Income Tax returns
• List of assets such as equipment and fixtures
• Lease related documents
• Details of loans taken, if any and repayment schedules
• If business is a franchise, terms of the franchise agreement
• Inventories of cash on hand, amounts to receive etc
• Details of additional investors or business associates, if any

It’s important to remember that any business, particularly a small one, has to make the right impression with the buyer. The above details help to provide a professional outlook and will go a long way in impressing a potential buyer.

In addition to presenting the business ‘well on paper’, an honest and sincere outlook and potential of the business also helps to create the right impression. Prospective buyers will certainly want to review income and expenditure figures but beyond that, the sustainability of the business and its pros and cons should not be ‘shrouded’. After all, no one will want to buy a business that will not provide a living; a seasoned business professional may have the acumen to see the potential and be willing to take a risk, but it’s impractical to expect everyone to have that view.
What next?

Once the selling has been figured out, it’s time to ponder on who could be a possible buyer. It could be a like-minded upcoming business entrepreneur who is looking for a chance to escape the ‘run-of-the-mill’ work atmosphere, a competitor or a large company looking to increase its business portfolio. No matter who the buyer is, knowing their aspirations and interest upfront helps to avoid long-winded negotiations and frustrating delays. Getting into a negotiation format with an entity that is not really serious about buying is a mere waste of precious time. This can be overcome by preparing a list of potential buyers amongst the circle of business associates and friends within the owner’s circle who is found to be capable of handling the business in a way that the business owner envisages.

That single aspect is enough to provide more satisfaction than the actual business sale.

Wondering About Financing Small Business Loans?

Many small companies in the US expect some growth opportunities in the next year. That is the great news! The bad news? Financing opportunities are looking bleak, particularly if the business owner has less than great credit, or a new business. Why would you need to know about financing small business loans? The main reasons for small business financing are to receive working capital and funds for capital expenditures.

It used to be that applying for business cash for a smaller business was fairly straightforward. You’d pay a visit to your local friendly banker and talk about your business needs. You’d discuss what you needed and they would help with financing a business loan – yours, to be exact. Then, the financial crisis hit, and banks closed ranks and decided that loans for small business were too risky. Business cash almost dried up. The big losers? Small business owners.

Now, we see the result of lack of financing: many small companies are either struggling to stay afloat, or are finding it almost impossible to capitalize on upcoming opportunities. In a recent Year-End Economic Report published by the National Small Business Association, nearly 40% of small businesses report they are unable to acquire adequate means for financing small business loans they deem necessary for their business to continue and grow.

What are the options for companies to get the business cash they need? The large corporate bankers and small locally owned banks are not the alternative they have traditionally been. You may feel that your business is a captive being held by the current economic situation and credit crisis. What you may not know is that there is a great source of alternative lenders who can provide working capital for small businesses. It is possible for loans to be secured against cash flow or your accounts receivable. In addition things such as inventory and purchase orders can be considered. Do you own property, machinery or equipment? These things as well may be leveraged to secure loans for small business.

What happens when your long time banker tells you there is no money for your business? Don’t give up and think that all is lost. There is help just around the corner for you. Business lending has changed. It may seem a little different to do business on the internet, but that is the new way. You just may be able to get the financing you need when the bankers say “No way.” Asset-based lines of credit may be the way to go in this Brave New World.

Typical banks are just no longer willing to extend traditional financing to the small company owner. There are many reasons for this, some of which are tightened federal requirements, as well as skittish investors who only look at the bottom line. These factors combine to make it seem that any loans for business may seem quite impossible. But don’t believe that! There is a whole new world of private banks and small business lenders who welcome your business. Once the level of risk of the business being financed is determined, you may be pleasantly surprised by the rates and terms you may be offered. Take advantage of the growth opportunities for your business. Grow your business just as you’ve dreamed.