Although a business plan is recommended for all businesses and entrepreneurs, the reality is that most small businesses only both when they need to acquire funding. Any investor or bank will require a well-researched and thorough business plan, with feasible financial forecasts and (if you’ve been running for a while) all of your existing profit and loss information.
However, a good business plan really should be something you produce even if you’re not actively looking for funding, as it can help you validate your business idea and bring into focus any challenges or difficulties you might encounter.
Similarly, a business plan can help you understand the finances of your business. Whether it’s through a complex Excel sheet with multiple years, forecasts and calculations, or a more informal list of how you expect to spend and make money. Often, entrepreneurs will be surprised by how much money they are actually going to need, and don’t discover this potentially critical problem until they sit down and complete a financial forecast. Just make sure you double check all of your data, particularly if you’re using a spreadsheet – there are numerous examples of businesses losing substantial sums of money due to a minor Excel error!
Moving away from the financial side of things, a business plan can also help you understand your market, policies and guidelines you need to follow, how you will market your product or services and, crucially, who you will market them to. The difference this can make to the overall success of your small business cannot be overstated, and it allows you to move forward with a clear plan of action. Having a roadmap and an understanding of how you will approach your business and any potential problems can be the difference between success and failure, particularly in competitive industries.
So, if you’re running a small business and you’ve never really sat down to complete a business plan, now might be the time to start. Even if you’ve been up and running for several months or years, it’s never too late to think about the future of your business. If you’re struggling, this simple guide will help you understand how to write a business plan and what you should include.
Congratulations! Your new business has made it past the 5-year milestone.
And, it is doing amazingly well!
You were actually able to beat the odds outlined by the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy. The organization estimates that close to 50% of small businesses close down within 5 years of opening.
Now that you’ve made it past that first possible pitfall, it’s time to think about how you’re going to sustain business growth and take your company to the next level. You’ll want to add more products and services to your list of offerings and perhaps, capture customers from a more widespread geographical radius, demographic, and markets.
To make sure your company is able to sustain those growth levels, you may want to take a few prudent steps. Here are some of the main factors to keep in mind.
The wider scope of your business operations may need advanced skills and talents that you may not have. If you intent to sustain business growth, you’re going to need the expert advice and assistance of a one on one leadership coach. To run a larger company, you’ll need to develop certain leadership skills and personality traits. These skills can help you communicate better with your employees and team members. You’ll learn to prioritize tasks and stay organized for the streamlined functioning of your business operations.
Given that a growing business will need you to devote more time and attention towards it; you’ll also need counseling on how to keep a balance between your professional and personal commitments. Rely on your coach to help you maintain focus and stay grounded while you grow your company.
Conduct extensive research to remain connected with the changing trends in the market. Keep close watch on the new and competing products being launched and how the customer is receiving them. This information will help you improve and enhance your own products so your company remains competitive and continues to grow. Like this feature on the Entrepreneur advises, focus on the identifying a particular requirement that you can fulfill and work on developing new solutions for that need. Creating add-ons or peripheral accessories for existing products in the market is also a smart move and can help you sustain business growth.
Every smart entrepreneur needs to be aware of the importance of digital marketing and advertising. In an era where close to 80% of consumers look for the products they need online, you cannot ignore this vital advertising tool if you’re looking to sustain business growth. Develop an interactive website and create on online presence on all the social media channels possible. Talk about your products and encourage dialog with customers so they can offer feedback. Be aware that before selecting a particular brand, customers are likely to read up reviews from past users before making a final decision. Regular posts and reviews will help you develop a recognizable brand that your customers will learn to trust and choose above other products.
In order to sustain business growth, you need a dedicated customer base that trusts your brand. Study the statistics released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and you’ll find that you have a 60% to 70% probability of selling to an existing customer while the chances of selling to a new customer drops to 5% to 20%. So you see, you need to create a community that is confident of the quality and standards of your company’s products.
And, the one way to make that happen is to go the extra mile with excellent service. In addition to providing the best of customer care by handling complaints efficiently, also focus on offering incentives, points accrual programs for long-term customers, and discounts with bulk orders. Consider Holiday season giveaways or Facebook contests to win popularity or even attract interest in any new product launches.
Read this case study on Fast Company and you’ll learn that one of the best open secrets to sustain business growth is to have an excellent team working with you. Hire the best of talent you can afford who can bring in the skills you lack. Use your newly acquired leadership skills to build a team of expert professionals that integrate perfectly for the smooth functioning of the company. Encourage feedback, innovative ideas, and infuse enthusiasm into the company work culture. Create an atmosphere of belonging to the business and making it their own. That’s the reason why the stress is on working “with” you in place of working “for” you.
Now that your business is generating a profit, using those funds for the expansion of your company is the smart way to go. But, you may also want to make sure you have backup sources of funds in case you need them during product development or acquiring new property. Arranging for additional finance in advance will ensure that there are no delays in the company’s functioning in case you do run out of money. Keep in mind that acquiring loans for an established successful business will not only be easier but also economical.
While working hard and using carefully designed strategies is essential when you’re getting your company off the ground, you’ll need to maintain that perseverance to sustain business growth. Avoid the dangers of complacency or you’ll risk getting overtaken by competing businesses. Follow these 6 proven approaches and your company is sure to cross the 10-year milestone of success and progress.
Are you a chiropractor that has spent their career working in someone else’s clinic? Have you often found yourself wondering what it would be like to start your own business and your own chiropractic clinic? Maybe you’re just starting out in your chiropractic career and have quickly come to the realization that working for someone else isn’t right for you. Regardless of what brought you to this point, starting your own chiropractic business is something that can provide you with a lot of freedom, sense of accomplishment, and challenge.
So, as you enter the beginning phases of starting your business, here are some steps you can use that will help you find your way and get your businesses off to a successful and positive start.
Deciding you want to start your own business is very exciting but saying those words versus making it happen are two very different things. Creating a business plan is an excellent place to start, as it can work as your blueprint moving forward, helping you to figure out what direction you need to go.
No matter what kind of business you plan on opening, it’s never going to be cheap to get started. You will need to buy equipment, rent office space, and possibly hire other staff. If you are just going to start out small and work out of your home, you’ll still need to put money into creating a treatment room for your patients in your home.
As for how to secure financing, it can come from a number of sources. It can be from your own personal savings, a small business loan from the bank, perhaps you qualified for a grant of some sort, or you may even think about having a partner or silent investor.
This brings us to the next consideration, which is whether or not you want a partner. A partner can certainly help with the finances, but they can also help by bringing their own list of existing patients, and they can ensure that you’ve got that extra set of hands to accommodate new patients as they join your clinic. It really depends on how big you plan to grow your business, and whether or not you wanted it to be a solo operation.
You also need to make sure that you have all the required licensing that allows you to practice as a chiropractor.
In order to be effective in your job and start to carve out a niche as a real expert in your field, you will need to do all you can to stay up-to-date on the latest news, developments, and trends in the field of chiropractic care. Website such as Echiropractor.org can certainly help you do just that.
It’s also important to put together a marketing plan to target new patients. This may mean an online and offline marketing campaign, which should differ from each other. Finding patients when you first start out can be difficult, so you may need some creative marketing approaches.
With all these tips, you will have a clearer path moving forward on your journey to start your own business.
One of things that few entrepreneurs battle is disasters. The expectation is that bad things don’t happen that are sufficiently grave to warrant pre-planning to either head them off or better deal with them should they occur. However, many times a major loss of a key person at the business due to a death or a fire at the premises is enough to decimate the operation and bring the company to its knees within mere months.
Here are a few examples of mini and major disasters and how to plan for them or resolve them.
A hard drive failure on a work PC can spell disaster for whichever employee it affects. Some companies will have spare hard drives on hand and personnel who are knowledgeable to fit them, but recovering the data is another matter entirely. In most cases, unless your business has someone trained in computer engineering or repairs, then seeking out a professional service like Secure Data Recovery to assist you is a good idea.
Zero downtime with storage technology is a hot trend right now. Your best bet to achieve this is to have either a spare hard drive or a spare PC sitting ready while sending the hard drive off to be repaired or the data recovered. While not all the data may be recoverable from a damaged or worn out drive, at least some of it might be. In the meantime, ensure you have a solid backup procedure in place. This way, staff can get back up and running quickly using a backup service.
A fire breaking out at the office is not seen as a likely event, but it is often unrecoverable. Not only due to the risk to personnel and the office, but the equipment too. One of the greatest business risks of a possible fire is the potential loss of confidence with client. A serious lack of preparation causing office downtime often results in a temporary shutdown of services. The setback can be so severe that no amount of reassurance or advertising can replace the trust in the business operations after the company is back up and running once more.
There are companies that provide emergency office space within a certain number of hours to move right into. A phone service along with internet is usually available immediately. Alternatively, companies can hire a temporary office from a short-term office rental company for their employees to work in until the matter has been resolved. When there’s a fire disaster recovery plan already in place, most companies tend to survive an unexpected fire; ones that have no plan often fold soon after.
The loss of a key person from the business due to a death is a sad event that affects a company profoundly. It can be the CEO or a President or Vice President, with their loss affecting the ability of the company to survive. Finding a suitable replacement tends to take longer the more senior the position.
To protect against the loss of someone important, insurance companies offer key person insurance to businesses which is essentially life insurance cover for companies. Covering the people who are crucial to the business with a substantial payout to the company should they die unexpectedly, provides time for the company to recover and replace them with someone suitable to keep the company alive.
It’s possible for an entrepreneur to protect their business if they plan well. Covering the sudden loss of key personnel, a technology failure or fire at the premises requires not ignoring each potential problem and addressing it before it ever happens.
Everyone can take photographs, but not everyone can take great photographs. Photography is a skill which is learned, and although there are some who are innately talented, even these individuals need to have their talents harnessed and enhanced in the proper way. If you have an eye for photography and would like to be a great amateur photographer or establish a career as a professional photographer, adequate training is important. But there are certain things you can do to help you on your way, too. Here are some top tips for photography beginners: what you should know.
As a photography beginner, you are probably inspired by things you see everywhere around you. And this is why it’s important to bring your camera with you at all times. You never really know when inspiration will strike – it could strike when you’re walking down the street, it could strike whilst you’re having supper, and so on. There are many opportunities to hone your craft, and the best way to improve is to take as many photographs as you can.
Note it down
If you can’t bring your camera with you all the time, there’s another thing you can do: note it down. When you are outside or at work, bring a notebook with you so you can note down the different things you see which you might want to go back to when you have your equipment. You should also note down the different aspects such as the lighting (when is the best time of day to come back?), the weather, the crowd, etc. By doing this, you can go back to something that inspired you, take proper photos, and eagerly await the results.
Learning to be a good photographer involves being inspired by everything around you. Look at your surroundings with a ‘photographer’s eyes’ and you’ll see the most ordinary, mundane objects turn into objects of inspiration. Enjoy the process of learning – even the most skilled and veteran photographers will tell you that they enjoy learning something new every day. It’s an art, after all, and the only way you can produce something great is if you enjoy it and are passionate about it.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
An amateur considers a professional camera a delicate piece of equipment – and it is. But you will need to learn how to be comfortable with your equipment, so don’t be afraid to experiment, particularly when it comes to the settings of your camera. Go through the manual and take photos using different settings so you can see what you like and what works for your style.
Don’t neglect your studies
If you are serious about enhancing your skills as a photographer, you should take advantage of whatever resources are available. Take the right photography courses for beginners, so you can learn how to use your equipment properly and learn about basic elements that make up great photography, such as exposure, light, depth of field, composition, and so on. By knowing these aspects, you can at least broaden your knowledge about your favourite hobby (or, eventually, profession if you so choose).
Many people dream of starting their own creative company, and the good news is this: with the right mindset and a bit of hard work, it’s definitely possible! So whether you’re into craftwork and needlework or you’ve got ambitions to open your own studio, there are all sorts of creative entrepreneurship choices out there. Check out these top tips and take them on board to make your journey towards creative self-employment as easy as possible.
Consider your skills
It’s quite common for people to say that they’re “not creative” or that they “don’t have a creative bone” in their bodies. But in truth, everyone has a creative skill of one sort or another. Some people find that they can sit down at an easel and paint a gorgeous picture without having to really try. Other people have an amazing idea for a novel in their heads, and once they sit down and write it becomes the next big bestseller. Others, even, find that they’re always getting compliments about their cooking, and once they open their own restaurant their innovative recipes are great hits.
It doesn’t matter what you’re good at: everyone has something creative that they can do. The secret to success in the world of creative entrepreneurship, though, is locating what it is that you can do and how you can monetise it. If you choose the wrong talent or you fail to choose a talent at all, there’s no chance of success.
Think about the finances
When it comes to launching a creative business, the financial aspect might not be the most interesting thing to think about – but it’s the most important. Without an adequate funding system in place, it may not be possible to get the cash you need to buy or lease equipment, hire essential staff or cover your living costs before you break even financially. There are various sources of start-up funding that you can go for. Investors will provide up-front cash, but they can be hard to come by and are likely to also demand ownership of a portion of your firm.
Other alternatives include bank loans, funding from family and friends, and “bootstrapping” – where you cut your costs so low that you don’t need the help of outsiders. Of course, you can always play the lottery and hope your numbers come up! It might be a long shot but there’s nothing like the anticipation buzz of checking all of the California winning numbers to see if you have the CA lottery winning numbers. It’s a hope that can prompt you to start dreaming big for your business and, who knows, maybe it will get your creative juices flowing.
Getting your patent
One of the most complex areas of law is the intellectual property sphere. There are all sorts of rules and regulations surrounding what can and can’t be patented as your own work, but in theory if you create something (which, let’s face it, you will certainly have to do as a creative entrepreneur) then it is your property and nobody else’s.
With the help of a specialist lawyer, you may find that you are able to secure this in law and enjoy the benefits that brings. You can maximize your chances of a successful IP case by keeping as many drafts, documents and other items you produce as possible and finding a way to get it all dated so that you can verify the process you went through in any future legal case.
Consider working two jobs
The fantastic thing about a creative business is that it can often be built and scaled from a small starting point. If you’re not quite ready to give up the security of a pay check just yet, why not go part time or simply work on your creative business outside of your full-time work hours? Even by devoting an hour a day to your business, you can enjoy both the security of your job and the satisfaction your business gives you until you get to a point where your business can cover your living costs.
In the end, your business is only going to go one of two ways – towards success, or failure. Entrepreneurs instinctively know when things are working out and when they’re not, and it’s essential for you to develop the skills needed to recognise the signs. If things don’t work out as you’d hoped, it’s time to face up to the truth and change your course – either to a new creative endeavor which works out better, or to something else altogether.
Starting up on your own can sometimes seem like a scary business, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. By following our top tips for creative business success, you too can join the ranks of people who are developing a side hustle or a full-time project of their own. Where will your powers of creative entrepreneurship take you next?
You might think of photographers as people who take pictures at weddings and schools or as part of an elite, jetting around the world photographing catwalk models and media stars. Then there’s the paparazzi, lurking about wherever they might get a juicy snap of a celeb in a compromising situation. There is in fact far more to being a photographer, and there are many niches that it is possible to specialize in. With the rising demand in picture media for advertising and the internet, the prospects of being able to make a living out of photographing your favorite things are very good.
Sport photography could be considered a niche in itself, but a lot of photographers concentrate on one type of sport, such as ball games, swimming or equestrian sports or even exclusively on one individual sport. Live action shots are always popular, but there’s plenty of scope for mood shots, training, views of sports fans, the stadium or location of the event, family members and friends, famous visitors and so on. Having an understanding of the game and what will be of most interest to people is a necessary attribute of the sports photographer. A food photographer doesn’t need to be a chef in order to take stunning pictures, but for sports, the photographer needs to be familiar with the rules, tactics, and participants to take the best photos.
Publishers are always in need of expertly shot food pictures, given the popularity of cookbooks and the proliferation of food-related websites. Good quality, well-structured photos that make the food look mouth-wateringly delicious are key to capturing peoples’ attention. Some food looks and sounds so good it is a joy to photograph, like the blueberry pancakes at Pocket Change Gourmet. Other dishes can be a little more challenging, for example, there is a huge appetite across the world for insects as food, but how would you photograph dishes made from crickets or mealworms to make them look appealing to a Western audience?
The travel industry is a massive business, and it’s expanding all the time. Travelers are looking for new and exciting places to visit, cityscapes are changing all the time, new hotels and resorts are being built, and alternative styles of vacation are being launched on a regular basis. Then there are the activities, facilities, restaurants, native flora and fauna, local people, tourist landmarks that can be taken as travel photography. All these aspects need to be photographed for websites and brochures, and regularly updated to reflect the most current appearance of a location. There is also the transport side of travel; airlines, cruise ships, car rentals. The list of associated opportunities is long and varied.
If you have a passion for a subject and some knowledge to match, then using your photographic skills to capture the action and take photos that inspire and move people can be a very rewarding career. Whether your passion is for archaeology, rare mammals or car engines, there will be someone who needs photos of those things, and if you have specialist skills, your work could be very valuable.
The internet has provided a convenient and easy to use platform for sharing content and making money. Just about anything can be monetized if there is a willing audience. Content creators have constantly found new opportunities for making money from platforms such as YouTube. Most people are aware that there are now individuals who have become millionaires on the backs of their YouTube videos, but how exactly are these videos turned into cold, hard cash?
Making money on YouTube sounds easy and straightforward. You post some videos, attract millions of viewers, and cash out on the huge ad revenue. The actual process is a little bit more complicated than this and it isn’t nearly so simple and painless. If it really were that simple, everyone would be making their money on YouTube! The reality is that YouTube isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme and you will need time for your channel to gain subscribers.
Advertisers are certainly willing to pay a decent amount of money to promote their products and services through YouTube, but even so, only a portion of the money that they spend will go directly to the content creators. The majority of the funds will be taken by YouTube themselves. Because of this, if you want YouTube to become the source of a full-time wage for you, then you will need to be one of the most viewed channels on there. Fortunately, however, advertising revenue isn’t the only way of making money from YouTube.
YouTube is a powerful marketing platform, especially for small businesses, and it provides an excellent way to sell your products and services to an audience. It is now incredibly easy to set up an e-commerce website. In fact, it requires absolutely no prior knowledge of web design or coding. There are now a number of services, such as Etsy and Shopify, which allow anyone to easily sell their products over the internet.
By using your YouTube videos as a means to advertise your products to consumers, as well as giving them first-hand demonstrations of them, then it is easy to use the site to drive up your own sales.
Just as you can now easily sell products on the internet, it is also easy to sell on-demand media content such as videos. Using these services, it is possible for content creators to make money directly from their videos and to not have to depend on indirect methods such as advertising through YouTube. YouTube videos can be a very effective means of building up your brand’s reputation. Once you have made an impression on YouTube, you can then direct viewers to visit your main site or store.
If you are planning on selling videos, then they need to be of superb technical quality. Check out indreviews.com for reviews of webcams and other tools necessary to YouTubers success.
Making money from YouTube is far from easy, especially if you are hoping for the kind of revenue that will replace a normal, full-salaried job. However, it is definitely possible to make money directly through YouTube, as well as taking advantage of the possibilities that it offers such as, being able to travel and work, as a way of promoting other businesses and interests that you might have.
Travelling is a passion and every traveller understands the importance of capturing the precious moments and framing them forever. When you are back from a trip, all you have are the images of various places, person, food and every single thing you have experienced.
And then, it is time to showcase them for the rest of the world so that they take on a similar journey through your images.
When it comes to editing photos and making them livelier, here is a list of 5 of the top software for photographers worth considering.
1. Picasa –Picasa, a product from Google, tops the list because as free editing software, it is as much loved by the pros as it is suitable for the amateurs. Apart from being a simple yet amazing photo editor, it helps in sorting, tagging and organizing your photos under categories. The built-in photo features help you fiddle with the alignment, contrast, brightness and red-eye quotient of your photos. You can also add interesting colour and blur effects using a number of filters that are available. What makes Picasa outstanding is its feature that allows creating slideshows, web publishing and sharing photos via email.
2. Lightroom 5 – The Adobe Lightroom 5 is the perfect photography editing software for photographers working with large volumes of images. Creative professionals and travel enthusiasts love this super-efficient product that makes it possible to edits to entire batches of photos at once. You can also geo-tag and group your snaps instantly using this program. The software might not be too easy to adapt for the beginners but once you get a hang of it, you will simply love working with it. The best part is that Lightroom 5 is compatible with all types of files along with multimedia slideshows.
3. PhotoPlus 6.0 – This one is an older version of the PhotoPlus family but it is free and is worth a mention because it is amazingly good and user-friendly. With several similar features as in Adobe Photoshop, it allows you to create, edit, enhance and manipulate your already brilliant travel photos. The user-interface is slightly older but extremely easy to handle even for the amateur photo editors. Downloading it might require you to provide some personal information but overall, it’s a good value for money and a photo editing software you can rely on for quick and effective outcome.
4. Elements 11 – Elements 11 is yet another product from Adobe and it comes with easy-to-navigate tutorials for beginners. It is one of the most intuitive photo editing software allowing you to learn new skills, work on retouching quickly and try hybridizing the photos in an Expert mode. If you are up for some detailed and precise editing, you are going to love the Auto-analyzer feature that automatically picks your best shots among the lot. All you need is to give it a companion program for video editing and a plug-in for RAW files and it will work just fine.
5. Gimp – An open source alternative to Photoshop, Gimp offers you with a whole range of travel photo editing features including excellent filters, cropping, resizing, layer support and so on. If you are used to Photoshop, you will be able to adapt to this software rather quickly. You can follow a few tutorials and realize the amazing ways in which you can turn a rather plain image to a beauty with the Gimp. Installation gets easy when you follow the documentation accompanied by the software itself.
So, get your hands on these advanced software products and let your travel photos shine brighter and more enriching to look at.
Whether you are an avid photographer always willing to travel around or a traveller trying to capture everything that you see in breathtaking photographs, you can do way better if you are aware of some techniques.
Photography is an art, a subject and each image that you capture has a science behind it. If you want to make each of your photographs speak a thousand words, here is a list of the top 6 world travel photography tips for you to follow.
1. Understand the Rule of Thirds – The Rule of Thirds in photography requires you to break down a prospective image into 3 parts both horizontally and vertically. When it is split into different sections, you can place the important parts in these sections and frame the overall image. By following this rule, you can enhance the quality of an image to a significant extent like placing a person in the left grid line instead of the centre. Composing using this rule can be easily done by turning on your camera’s grid feature, which displays the grids directly on the LCD screen.
2. Use Tripods – Lightweight tripods makes it possible for you to set up your camera in a particular position and thereby, making way for the perfect composition. With a tripod, you can also adjust the exposure settings, focus points or use techniques like HDR and panoramas. Tripods enable shooting lower shutter speeds without losing focus and hence, promise greater creative control over your images. So, whether you are capturing sharp landscapes, low-light images, sunrise/sunsets or flowing water, a travel tripod essentially makes a significant difference.
3. Experiment with Composition – Often, the more you experiment with a particular shot, the better is the result. After you have taken a shot standing up straight, experiment with the same one by lying on the ground for a low angle or climbing up something for a higher angle. Similarly, try shooting from different distances too. Another compositional tactic that you must use is Focal Compression. It is a technique by which you can use a zoom lens to trick the eye into thinking that the objects are closer than they really are.
4. The Human Element – Incorporating the human element in the images is always a good idea. Technically, the human element gives a better sense of scale as you can sense how huge the landscapes are. With the humans looking tiny in such massive surrounding, the image gets an overwhelming effect. A photograph becomes more powerful and narrates a story whenever the human element is incorporated into it. In fact, a human image can change the storyline of the photo entirely.
5. Learn the Tricks of Photographing Local People – Portraits of local people in a foreign country makes up for fascinating photographs. However, when you go about capturing photos of the people, it is always advisable to approach them politely and seek their permission. Some may say no while others might just show a lot of interest. Now, once they are ready to be photographed, try to make them as comfortable as possible by speaking to them about their lifestyle, habits etc so that open up without hesitation.
6. Be Patient – Last but not the least, travel photography is all about patience. Photography is about capturing what lies in front of you with your camera, eyes along with heart and mind too. Patience is the key here. You might have to wait for hours for a photogenic object to appear. For instance, if you are trying to capture the clouds, think about whether it will be in a more eye pleasing spot in the next hour or so. Basically without the patience to try, you will miss out on what could be a memorable photograph.
Keep these tricks in mind and set about exploring places and keeping them safe in your camera.