Archive for

The 6 Essential Small Business Recession Survival Questions

Profits for many businesses have taken a big hit…

And unfortunately, some are facing a profit death spiral that brings everything into question — and throws all traditional business planning into the wastebasket.

Many business owners keep their business operating at levels beyond what’s called for by circumstances — often for extended periods of time while they are understaffed and overextended — by going into debt and hoping that the profitable business they’ve experienced in the past will come back to them (sometimes it will… but, this time might not be one of them).

After a certain point, that’s not possible — and a drastic cut in expenses is the only option. And, if you have to cut to the point where you lose key people who handle essential functions of your business — then you’re faced with a business that isn’t possible to be run at the same level — or that can’t produce the profits you were getting previously.

This is a classic example of where strategy… rather than tactics… can possibly be the best solution. You simply can no longer continue doing the things you used to do — since they are one of the reasons you’re in the mess you’re in now. It’s time to completely re-assess and re-evaluate everything you do — and be very clear about where your profits are coming from.

Profits are what’s important… profits are what pays you… profits are the reason for having a business. Because, without ample profits to comfortably cover your costs each month (not cashflow or gross receipts) — with room to spare — your only option at some point will be to shut down your operations.

Hopefully things aren’t that dire for you… and never will be… and you can use these suggestions while your business is comfortably in the black — to re-examine your business and further improve your prospects. But, if you’re experiencing a profit crunch… knowing the answers to the following six questions are critically important to your business’s future.

Start by getting Very Clear

Take out paper and pen to write down your answers… while you ask yourself the following six essential small business recession survival questions:

1) “What are my most profitable business activities right now — that are likely to remain consistent and keep producing in the current environment?”

(Consider if, in the best case scenario… doing only the most profitable business… will that be enough to support you?)

2) “Do these activities produce enough profit to warrant a business to support them?”

(This is important… just because you’ve been in a business or you want to be in a business… is not enough of a reason for the business to exist.)

3) “What activities are least profitable — that I can no longer afford to do?”

(Don’t delude yourself. If an activity produces below average returns on your investment of time, money, energy, or resources — dump it. Don’t wait.)

4) “What are my EXACT costs each month — and what can I do without?”

(You must know to the penny… no kidding. How can you possibly know what you’re aiming for unless you have your exact monthly target in mind. No guessing allowed.)

5) “How can I sub-contract and hand off all work that doesn’t directly produce a profit”

(You must overcome the loss of your help by not consuming your time with administrative tasks such as doing paperwork, sales tax, accounts receivable, accounts payable, etc. — that can easily be done by other professionals and specialists “as needed.”) … And,

6) “How can I leverage my tangible and intangible assets to profit in different ways?”

(Here’s where you can start to get creative — and harness your business in ways you might not have considered before. We’ll go into this a bit more, below.)

One Profitable Business Alternative

First, a couple of observations about profitable businesses:

Sometimes what seems like good business because it causes larger amounts of revenue, really turns out to be a lot of trading dollars once you take a closer look at it. If your employees were putting out work for you at low margins… then anything less than ideal circumstances for your business will cause a strain.

Whether you have employees now or not, you should constantly be looking for ways to upgrade the work you do to be more profitable business — preferably ahead of any slowdowns.

Also, your ability to make a profit in your field is often unrelated to you actually doing the work yourself or in-house.

Let me explain…

Often the best resource you have… the main thing that really produces the most profits for you… is your ability to attract, sell, keep, and re-sell your customers/clients.

The real profit-generating assets of your business consist of your customer list, the brand you’ve built, the reputation you have in the marketplace, the contacts you have in your field, and your ability to conduct business and sell. None of this has anything to do with actually doing the work in your business that turns out the goods or services.

If you have people who are buying from you — and who you expect to continue as customers — what’s to stop you from sub-contracting out the work related to the manufacturing… and setting yourself up as a broker for the deals with your customers?

You may even be able to have a friendly competitor take over your “physical assets” (or otherwise liquidate your support of those operations) — while you maintain and keep your ability to conduct business with your clientele.

You have the knowledge about your business… you have the relationships with your customers/clients. Give some deep thought to how you can continue to transact business without supporting the facilities and operations connected with your business — and you may be able to discover something that will work better to produce profits than you might now imagine.

Copyright 2009, Guerrilla Profits International

Starting a Home Business – Things to Consider

With all the constant attention and focus on what is going on in the world economy, it is no surprise to find people who are searching for other options to supplement their income rather than just relying on their job as a primary source of income. There are a number of things one should look into when considering starting a home business. This article aims to outline some of the reasons why working from home or starting a home business is something that can make a positive difference in your life.

If you are in a situation where you looking for additional income, wanting to have more time for yourself or with your family and loved ones, are frustrated with having to trade your precious time for money or are concerned with they way the economy is with job losses or downsizing, then you should explore the option of starting a home-based business.

Running a business from home is a cost-effective option for a start-up business. With the advent of the internet, there are many people who have given up the corporate grind and have set up successful businesses working from the comfort of their own home. This is increasingly becoming the preferred option as people can create multiple sources of income through affiliate marketing, niche marketing, pay per click advertizing all from their living room or bedroom without the hassles of being stuck in traffic, listening the moaning or griping of fellow colleagues or putting up with a demanding boss.

If the thought of being your own boss and having greater flexibility during your day appeals to you, then starting a home business may be a good option for you. While the ultimate aim of running a business is for it to provide you with the means to enjoy the life you choose, mainly the financial rewards, other intangible benefits are just as important. These include reducing in travel expenses and virtually eliminating travel time, and tax benefits as you will be able to claim a lot more expenses operating as a business than you would if you worked as an individual. A home business will also offer you the benefit of being able to share in the little things like having breakfast with you family in the morning or seeing off you children to school and scheduling your day the way you want to.

When considering starting a home business, the two main benefits are easy to start, and low set-up and operating costs. When you are deciding which business to start, it can be a time-consuming process as there are so many opportunities available today. It is very important that you do your due diligence and invest the time during the planning phase. During the planning and deciding phase you may want to consider the following:

1. What am I passionate about that I can fulfill a need in the marketplace?
2. What are my skills, strengths and characteristics?
3. Do I want to provide a product or a service?
4. Do I have the capital I need to start or will I need financial partner or investor?
5. What would I like to achieve from my business and why do I want it?

More than anything else, the mindset required for success in a home business is far different than when you are working in traditional job. While the thought of being able to provide for yourself and your family may be of concern to you, recognize that the rewards of running a successful home business far exceeds any disadvantages you may encounter. All successful business owners will have one thing in common and that is the desire and will to win. If you eliminate any thoughts of failure from your mind and focus all your attention and energy on being successful, then you are more than halfway towards having a successful home business. The rest of your success will depend on your understanding of business fundamentals and the application or implementation of relevant success principles and strategies.

Like with all things in life, success is possible and can be guaranteed if you follow what others have done to achieve success in their field. That’s where the saying comes from, “If I can do it, you can do it!” To be a successful home-business owner, you need to understand that you must be self motivated and be willing to put in the work to ensure your success. You won’t have a boss checking up on you – it will be totally up to you to manage your daily activities and have a system in place that will support you in grow your home business.

That leads to an important point when deciding which business to start. The home business you get involved with must have a marketing system in place so you don’t have to get concerned about what to do and how to do it. You also need to ensure that you have a marketing budget and your initial business revenue should be reinvested in more marketing schemes. Other factors to consider are whether you get a website to begin marketing immediately, if there is any automated system available to stay in regular contact with your potential clients, and the training system that is in place.

As more and more people are entering the home business market, now is a great time to get involved in running your own business from home. Studies will show that people who have set up successful home businesses are happier, wealthier and more fulfilled in life. You now have the opportunity to investigate a home business opportunity in one of the fastest growing industries in the world. For your free one-on-one business strategy session, please visit The Awaken Academy website below.

Simple Online Business Plan

I just love simple. Don’t you. I’m not talking about those simple get rich quick schemes built in to a so-called business plan. I am talking about a simple online business plan that will give you the full details of the necessary step by step instructions.

I have known degree physicists that have previously failed on the Internet because they thought a good online business plan had to be more than simple. I have seen people with 6th grade educations become successful when all they followed was a simple online business plan that is easy to read and follow.

Below I give you 5 major steps that are part of any successful simple online business plan. A simple online business plan that keeps you at a realistic pace so time of completion is not the important factor. What is important is the thorough completion of each step so your business success is assured.

Some of the steps in my simple business plan may seem not even to be part of a true business plan. But with 10 years experience on the Internet each step has worked for me.

Outline of the Simple Online Business Plan Steps

  1. Sit down in front of your computer. Bare with me on this one. You are looking at your monitor. Ask yourself this question: can you be focused enough that when you are at your computer (whether it be an hour or 8 hours a day) you will be 100% focused on business. I am not talking about those occasional family or friend interruptions. I am talking about playing solitaire or surfing the net.
  2. Decide what you want to sell. This applies to both the new online business person as well as those who have been online for a while. You may have an idea for a product. Or you may decide to sell someone else’s product(s). The next step is to do research to find out if people are buying the same or similar product on the Internet. Or you will definitely need to find a source that has already found the successful markets (niche) on the Internet and can provide you with a proven formula to determine whether or not any product can be successfully promoted. Side note: If you have an idea, before you go running around asking people’s opinion do what I tell people who call or email me to get my opinion about their ideas. Write down your idea on a piece of paper. If you have photos or a drawing of it , that’s great. Then mail the idea description and anything else to yourself. Keep the envelop sealed. This will help you prove it was your idea if anyone tries to steal it.
  3. Decide on a domain name and web hosting. Skip free hosting services. They have more drawbacks than I can write in this short article. Here are a few drawbacks: they have other people’s advertising when someone visits your site, pop up and pop under advertising, reliability of up time on the Internet, and are not popular with search engines.
  4. Setting up how you are going to sell your product.. Most hosting services offer what they call a cPanel. Included will be a service called Fantastico that offers such things as free shopping carts, guest books, free blog software, and more. Then decide if you want to apply for a merchant account to accept credit cards. Or you could find many services on the Internet that will offer to process the credit cards for you for a fee. Make sure you investigate at least 8 of these services. You will find the service fees vary widely.
  5. Get a proven and thorough simple online business plan. I am not talking about one that is specifically listed as designed for the type of business you plan on starting. And I am not talking about one that is complicated. Remember the title of this article: “Simple Online Business Plan”. You want a business plan that comes with manual(s), both video and audio discs (so you can listen while you drive). Look for a business plan that gives you the option of hard copy (as I call it) shipped to you or for a less cost an area where you can download everything and print and copy to disc yourself. Once you get the business plan make sure it has some type of checklist. A checklist will help keep you focused. A simple online business plan checklist will make sure you follow the steps in the proper order. Proper order completion is a key to your success. This is not picking up a new mystery novel and first reading the last chapter to see who did it.

My Final Advice

I could have just provided a just a list what I consider the complete steps to a simple online business plan above. But in my experience people who look for business plans that are just major headings miss the necessary ingredients (explanation and sub-steps) that make each step simple and successful. Simple headlines or bullet points are just too simple and incomplete.

Money Guidelines

To accomplish the above steps it should cost you around $100 to $500 (domain, hosting, business plan). If you ever think of going over $500 my suggest is: cut up your credit cards before you spend another dime. I have seen business plans, by themselves, that cost well over a $1,000. I find them filled with material that has nothing to do with setting up a online business. A simple online business plan means you could take that same business plan and set up any type of online business you choose. And come with simple, easy to read complete explanation of what you need to know.

Now that is simple.

May the “force” (of success) be with you.