Monday, August 27, 2012

Tips for Planning Business Meetings

It is always advisable to consult professional meeting planners if you dream of planning successful business meetings. These are professionals who are very knowledgeable and who are certain to make your event a successful one. It is not mandatory to seek the services of one however, since with a few guidelines, you can successfully plan a meeting. Below are quality tips to help you out.

The theme is very important. It is important that the agenda is compelling so that you can attract a lot of attendees. It is true many business people like to attend events, but no one is going to attend any event that sounds dull. Additionally, the agenda should have one theme to avoid overwhelming your attendees. Remember the theme is what holds your meeting together.

You have to choose a convenient date for the meeting. Even with the most appealing agenda in this world, a meeting that is not scheduled on convenient date is likely to be assumed. Depending on the main reason of the meeting, choose the best time for everyone. If it is a seminar for instance, scheduling it in the morning is advisable. Appreciations are best scheduled after work. Do not schedule them on holidays.

The guest list you compile must be an appropriate one. Remember that your business agenda must address a specific audience. It is therefore important that you carry out some research on any guests you would like to invite, to ensure they are well suited. If your meeting is open to the masses, get in touch with them as early as possible. Advisably, you should invite guests of similar rank like yours.

Make a point of inviting your guests as early as possible. This is one of the most crucial factors that determine the attendance you are going to get. In addition, you have to constantly remind them about it, especially those who have confirmed that they are going to attend. Come up with unique ideas to create excitement for the event.

The partners you choose must be reputable. This is a business meeting, and any business partners you choose must have the best reputation ever. Take your time to research comprehensively about any partners you would like to be involved with. Researching on the internet about a company is advisable, but it is not enough. Consider asking around about the company in question.

No meeting can be successful without a viable budget. Make a point of planning well in advance to avoid getting unpleasant surprises in the long run. If there will be food and accommodation, plan appropriately so that you know the amount of money the event needs. Equipment and labor are other things that should be planned for in advance as far as money is concerned. You should also set aside enough money for unforeseen expenses.

You have to be flexible when planning business meetings. Anything can happen and you need to know what to do. The equipment you have hired might not work, your chief presenter might get held up somewhere or maybe the caterers fail to show up. Prepare yourself for such incidents so as to tackle them well in case they arise.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Before You Start a Business

Prior to jumping into the world of running your own business, it's important to understand just what it is that you're getting yourself into - and how you can make the most out of it. Today's post focuses on what I believe to be one of the most important lessons vital to understanding before you start a business - you get out what you put in. Things will not happen on their own, and if you want to see things in your business change (for the better), it is up to you to make it happen.

In many ways, working as an employee for a big company tends to give you the feeling that you are simply another piece to the puzzle. Jobs working for another man can make you feel that what you do isn't important, that no matter how you try to alter your work ethic, it ultimately fails to affect the grand scheme of things. You have good ideas, but nobody ever gets to hear them! You might think that the majority of your job is smoke and mirrors, and that the only hope for progress is through playing your cards right in the game of inner-office politics.

Okay, so I might be a bit biased. But I'm willing to bet that maybe, just maybe, I am not that far off! While some employers are better than others in giving their employees a firm sense of responsibility and motivation, there is certainly something to be said for lack of accountability and how harmful it can be on a person's morale. Quite simply, nobody likes to feel like they are just another brick in the wall. Nobody likes to feel like what they do doesn't matter. When you are the owner of your own business, you are not just given a bit of added responsibility. You are given all of the responsibility.

The best analogy that effectively illustrates this point can be seen in the comparisons between team sports and individual athletics. Let's pretend for a moment that you are the member of a basketball team. The success of your team certainly depends on your individual skill set, but it does not hinge solely on your ability to put the ball in the hoop. You must work as one cohesive unit. Even if you are a stand-out player, a talented team to play alongside you is absolutely crucial if you hope to win the championship game.

Playing on a basketball team is much like working for a large company. Generally speaking, the success of your team is not completely dependent on your individual skill set. Additionally, if you have an off game, your team will not necessarily lose the game. Your role is important, but no matter how you look at it, you will only be a contributing factor! Just remember, even LeBron James was unable to win a championship with a sub-par team that surrounded him in 2011. The Dallas Mavericks played as a cohesive unit, and ended up hoisting the trophy into the air as the best basketball team in the world.

Individual sports, on the other hand, are different entirely. Your success, or lack thereof, is dependent on how rigorous your training routine is and how dedicated you are to a committed regiment. If you work hard, day in and day out, your passion for excellence will come to light as you start to win races. If you do not work hard, your performance will suffer.

Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven consecutive times because he worked harder than his opponents. He rode his bicycle for six hours a day, committed to a stringent diet, and had a mental toughness that propelled him to the top of the sport. Individual sports can be incredibly liberating. If the star player on a failing basketball team decides to take up marathon running, they are no longer bound by the talent of their contributing members! Their success is up to them! In many ways, however, this can be unbelievably intimidating and pressure filled.

There are no smoke and mirrors to hide behind if you fail to perform. There is nobody to point your finger at, and no excuse to muster up in the face of your accusers. This is what it feels like to own your own company. You are no longer part of a team, playing a small role in the overall success of the organization. You are now the only one on the track. It is you against the world. If you put in the effort, you will reap the rewards.

Like so many other concepts relevant to running a small business, accepting this sense of responsibility is often very difficult for new business owners. Of course, it is far easier to close your eyes and hope for the best, rather than grabbing the bull by the horns and making things happen.

As I built my clothing company from the ground up, I traveled to cities near my home state of Minnesota to pitch my brand to store owners. I visited retailers in Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago with a backpack full of t-shirts, a catalog displaying our pricing information, and an order form that I hoped would soon be filled out. In additional to my local sales strategy, I developed a spreadsheet that contained contact information for buyers across the country in cities that I was unable to meet with in person. With each release, I relentlessly pursued each buyer with my new product offerings, hoping to close deals and develop relationships with those interested in the brand.

As a small brand, the going was rough. Incredibly rough. But with persistent, relentless contact methods, I was eventually able to develop relationships with many retailers that I continue to work with today. These relationships do not exist because they were handed to me. They exist because I was relentless in my pursuit to build a solid chain of retailers.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Key Small Business Tips for Success

Small business tips for starting your own business can put you on the path to financial success.

The SBA says that the term small business includes concerns that are organized to make a profit and have fewer than 500 employees. In this post, small business includes work at home, affiliate marketing, network marketing and online home based businesses, and I will explore small business tips to help you achieve your business goals. These tips will help you get customers and generate more sales quickly.

Here are key small business tips and questions to consider:

1. Why do you want to start a small business? Starting your own business requires commitment. So, don't proceed to do so unless you are prepared for long hours and frustration while you are establishing your business. For many, enduring this is well worth the potential of financial security.

2. Will you market a product or service? A service business is one where you offer your expertise to clients. For a product business, you will need to offer a tangible product. Typically, a product business is more expensive to launch than a service business.

3. Do you have a simplified business plan? The thought of writing a business plan is intimidating to most aspiring entrepreneurs. However, it is possible to write a one-page plan that tells the what, who, how and where of your business. You should keep it simple. You can add details as you go. Just get it started.

4. Who is your customer? Describe your target customer in as much detail as possible. Know their needs and wants. Know how you can provide a solution to their problem. This profile will help you create a targeted marketing message and save you time and money in reaching prospects.

5. What is your pricing? Pricing is an art and a science. You need to cover your costs and generate a reasonable profit. Doing research to see what your competitors are charging can help.

6. Are you watching your costs? Many entrepreneurs tend to underestimate how long it will take for their small business to turn a profit. Don't burden your business with too many costs too quickly. To keep costs to a minimum, hire interns and outsource or barter for services.

7. What's your plan for getting customers? One of my coaches says the secret to business success is spending 85% of your time doing things that will lead to sales and 15% of your time doing everything else. You'll need a marketing plan. How do you plan on attracting prospects and converting them to paying customers? Design your advertising to generate sales. Your advertising should always include an offer and an easy way for prospects to respond.

8. Are you using social media? More and more businesses are moving to social media