10 Steps To Create Systems In Your Small Business
Feb 07, 2010     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

By: Joan Nowak

Are you ready to start putting the power of systems to work in your business — to build consistency, efficiency, productivity and profits?  Congratulations, your commitment to do so is an important first step!

So as you get started, here is the best advice I can give you – and it has worked over the years with my clients – Start Small.  Do not set a goal to complete a ‘How To’ (or policies and procedures) Manual – even though you will eventually end up with one.  The reason, it’s too overwhelming!  Instead, set a goal to document, implement and monitor one process a week (or some other variation that works for you).  This approach is far more do-able for small business owners, keeps you focused on small steps, allows you to implement changes as you go, and will get you results faster!

Here’s the 10-step approach you can use to create systems that are effective for your small business:

Get Organized. Before you jump in, purchase some folders and a binder with 12-15 tabs to help you organize your work.  Also, create a folder on your computer documents to ‘hold’ your documented processes, so they are easy to find and update.

Most people find it easiest to organize their ‘how-to’ processes into functional groups, such as business management, finance & accounting, sales & marketing, operations (service delivery), customer care or service, personnel (staff) management, IT computer systems, safety and security.  There’s no right or wrong way – so choose whichever works best for you.

Identify Events. Most processes are triggered from events that occur in your business.  Some examples include you get a lead (or prospect), you get a new customer, you receive a bill, you need to hire a new employee, you receive inventory or stock, you need to invoice or bill a customer, you get a customer complaint or need to prepare a quote.  So make a list of all the different ‘events’ in your business.

Prioritize the List. When it comes to documenting your processes, start with the ones that are most important to you – those that make you money, free up your time, are currently causing poor customer service or duplication of effort among your team.  Often people believe they need to pick a group, like finance & accounting, and do all the processes in the section.  This is one approach, but you will benefit more by focusing on the processes that need fixing or that cost you money.   So make a list and prioritize it

Determine Who Is Responsible. If you operate solo, you may be the one responsible for doing many of the tasks; but if you have others working with you, the responsibility rests on others.  When you prepare to document a system, identify who is responsible and get them involved or doing.

Write Down How It Gets Done. Once you select the process you wish to document, pull together any forms, information or checklists you currently use to complete the tasks.  For example, you might use a customer contact sheet when prospects call or scripts when making collection calls.  For some, these may be scattered all over – but do the best you can to pull the information together.  With this in hand, simply write down step-by-step what you actually do.  Keep it simple and reference forms or checklists as appropriate.  Don’t try to make changes – that comes later.  For now, simply document what you do.

Refine Your Process. The goal with documented processes is to create consistency and repeatability, regardless of who performs the task.  Often initial attempts contain missing or unclear steps, so others cannot easily replicate the task.  I recommend you give the written process to someone unfamiliar with the task – and ask him/her to attempt to perform it based only on what you wrote down.  You will then find the gaps and can fix them.  Once you do, repeat this step until the task is completed with only the written instructions.  Now you have a process that others can easily follow.

Determine How You Will Measure Success. How will you know if your procedure is delivering the quality or performance results you want?  You won’t unless you measure it.  So each process should have some metric or key performance indicator associated with it.  Now don’t let this scare you — it shouldn’t be complicated and can be a simple feedback survey or something you measure in the business already.  For example, one of the metrics to evaluate your sales process might be your sales conversion rate, a customer satisfaction survey or client retention scores may be helpful in evaluating your customer service.  If you want to improve your business, don’t ignore this piece – because what we measure we can improve.

Type and Binder. Once you have it finished, type it up and save it in the computer folder for your processes.  Then print it off and place a copy in your master binder under the appropriate group tab.  Include any supporting forms or checklists. Don’t worry yet about codes, the order or the page numbers — this will get done later.

Communicate & Implement. No need to wait until all the processes are complete to start implementing.  In fact, it is often easier to implement one at a time instead of trying to make a lot of changes at once.  So make copies for all those responsible for doing the task, review the procedure and how you will measure success with your team, if applicable, and start doing.  Remember to encourage feedback and get others to look for new and better ways to get things done.

Monitor & Modify. This is where the opportunity for improvement will come from.  Most of us can do things better, but we rarely think about it.  So use the feedback, metrics and other information to look for ways to improve and be willing to modify your procedures when you uncover them.

Now it’s time to move to the next process!  Remember, take it one at a time and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

About the Author

Joan Nowak, Business Coach, Speaker and Trainer, helps small business owners and solo professionals, create a business that is Simple, Fun and Profitable – so they get the income and lifestyle they want. Getting results quickly and breaking down complex issues into simple, easy to implement strategies for small business owners, is a hallmark for my business and personal reputation. For more information, or to learn how we can work together to help you grow or transform your business, visit www.HybridBizAdvisors.com or call me at (856) 533-2344.

(ArticlesBase SC #1826569)

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/10 Steps To Create Systems In Your Small Business



Best Start-Up Business For Under $10K
Feb 03, 2010     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

It seems that an ever increasing number of people are considering the idea of starting their own business. Not everyone however has a huge amount of free and clear cash to spend for that purpose which raises the question: what business can be started for an investment of under ten thousand dollars?

The straight answer is, not all that many. Buying an existing business requires large amounts of capital. Getting into a franchise opportunity can be very expensive as well depending upon what one is looking to do. There are some franchises that can be bought for under ten thousand dollars but that is just the franchise fee alone. The business start-up costs must be added in on top of that, leaving that under $10k guideline far behind.

The fact is that most business opportunities require that the interested party take the full plunge into the shark infested waters of beginning a business. There are few chances to wade into the water a step at a time so that current income streams can be maintained until the new business generates enough revenue to support the owner.

Additionally, starting a business can be a complicated venture. There is a seemingly endless line of tasks and arrangements that must be made before getting started, let alone before a new operation will actually generate income. Worse yet, it is very likely that it will take at least a year or often even longer to generate even the smallest of profits.

After all, the open market place is a very competitive environment, even when everyone plays by the rules. The fact is, there is no free lunch and starting a business requires lots of time and sweat equity. Free markets by their nature offer anyone the opportunity to do business. But at the same time, those same free markets are loaded with others seeking to make a profit as well. Lots of them will be in the industry and the business sector that you choose.

All of which brings us to the point of considering what kind of business can be done for less than ten grand, offers a chance to wade into the water rather than make the all out leap and can turn a profit, even with plenty of competition, sometime within the first six months of operation.

When you know what to look for, those kinds of opportunities are not only possible but they are immediately available. The key is to identify the business characteristics that fit. What follows are a few to keep an eye out for when searching for prospects.

Obviously, look for low cost ventures. There is no need to break the bank to get started.

Get into something that is an established niche and not some off the wall idea or some total scam.

Find a business with a track record of success that includes valid documentation of real and honest results.

Notably, avoid anything that leaves you stranded on a desert island. If there is no training or support available, steer clear. Being the lone ranger when starting a business makes zero sense. Help at the beginning is critical, especially without established expertise on hand.

To maximize profit potential, you need to do something that addresses a very large market segment. Appealing to a small audience, particularly when there is already established competition in place, is a recipe for unnecessary hardship if not failure.

If your choices require that everything you are doing now must be left behind, be very careful. It is far better for your fiscal, not to mention mental, health to be able to maintain current income levels in the short run as you build your business so that your back is not forced against the survival wall before having a reasonable chance to succeed. In other words get into a business that allows you to wade in gradually.

Is it actually possible to find a business that meets all of these criteria? Absolutely and without doubt. A link is provide below to one such business that will give you the desired profile.

Keep in mind that the sooner you find the right opportunity and get started, the better established you will be as others decide to catch this wave. It never hurts to take advantage of an advantage.



Tips To Find Wholesale Items To Sell On Ebay So You Make Some Quick Dollars Safely
Feb 02, 2010     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

The way things are today, means that there are many people who are trying to figure out how to find wholesale items to sell on eBay so they can make some well needed money. No longer is eBay the preserve of the hobby seller, it is now a place where those who are trying to carve out a way to make a solid living are going.

What is true though, is that 90% of those people will fail simply because they either end up selling the wrong items or they have no legitimate source to buy the stock that will sell.

If you want to be in the 10% that does end up making some money, then you need to find out what ALWAYS sells on eBay and just where you can find these items.

Evergreen Items

The items that are always a sure bet are called ‘evergreen’ – come what may buyers are looking for these items and so these are the items you should look to be selling.

These items include wholesale brand name clothing, designer handbags, electronic gadgets such as cell phones and iPods, jewelery, games consoles, children’s toys and Nike shoes. Get a great supply of any of these items and you will be guaranteed to make money selling on eBay.

How to Find Wholesale Items

To find these evergreen wholesale items to sell on eBay, you need to find a legitimate source. For some items it is going to be more straightforward than others.

The tricky items to find are going to be the designer items, games consoles and cell phones. These are not going to be easy to source on your own, simply because they are so exclusive.

What you mustn’t do is to go to any old website and start buying because chances are you will end up being conned out of your money. If you do get sent anything from a website you’ve found on your own, chances are you will be sent counterfeit items which will get you into serious trouble with the authorities if you get caught.

Many of the websites that you will find on your own are set up to catch unsuspecting buyers who are new to trying to to find wholesale items to sell on eBay. Once they have your money, you will never get back.

Your best bet, particularly for the more exclusive wholesale items, is to use a wholesale directory. These directories have lists and information on legitimate wholesalers, manufacturers, drop-shippers and liquidators that you can do business with.

If you use one of the better directories
, you can rest assured that all the security checks that you need to get legitimate items have already been done for you.

That means the wholesalers offer secure payments, offer refunds, sell legitimate items that won’t get you in trouble with the law and for many are the safest way to grow their businesses.

Without a doubt, if you’re serious about selling on eBay and more importantly making a success of selling on eBay, you really do need to find wholesale sources that are going to deliver for you and deliver in a reliable way.

Without a doubt the best Wholesale Directory is SaleHoo. These directories are needed because unless you’re on the inside with inside knowledge, then it is just too difficult to get on the inside all by yourself. To be safe and to grow your business, you need help.



Tax Saving Tips for Online Business Owners
Jan 21, 2010     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

If you are an online business owner, you cannot simply escape the hands of law, especially the IRS for tax matters. As in case of regular business, there are several tax loop holes that may come in handy to minimize the taxes you are liable to. However, trying to hide any of the online revenues from the IRS may be a direct ticket to hell. The online transactions get noticed by IRS officials far quickly than the regular transactions.

This simply means even if you try to hide an extra $2,000 income that you received online from one of your clients may cause a world of trouble, while not declaring an interest of $1,000 earned by your money making account may not be treated that seriously by the IRS.

One of the best ways to save a whole lot of money from being taxed is to declare your business as home-based business. This may however involve some criteria to be satisfied. For instance, if you declare your dining room to be an office room, you cannot be taking dinner during night at the same place.

To be classified as an office, a particular portion of the property must be used solely for business purpose 24×7, 365 days a year. However, you are free to declare that you are using a room 25%-75% for personal and business purposes, and this will save you from several potential IRS problems.

It is advisable not to try out anything that may raise an IRS audit flag to be raised against you. For instance, trying to cover 100% of your home rent as office rent, or 100% portion of your home as office sounds very much unreal even to a normal person, and an IRS official is bound to notice such irregularities right away.

Remember, you have got plethora of options to save yourself from tax, while running an online business. You can make up for travel expenses, maintenance costs, internet bills, telephone bills, food allowance and much more, and bring down the net taxable income to a great extent.

It is noteworthy to keep all your records up to date to avoid an IRS flag to be raised against your business, because IRS very well knows that none of the businesses are stagnant, be it online or offline.

Therefore, it is all about declaring your net income in a way that does not invite trouble and save as much as possible without involving any IRS issues. When you know what to do, in order to save maximum money, there is nothing more you need than a good strategy to declare low net profits.

You can save money on business related education, insurance, rent expense, retirement plans, and interest.

You should not try to declare losses in your online business, but rather think of showing lot of miscellaneous expenses. It is however very much acceptable to declare even zero net profit, though this may again be a question mark in the eyes of the IRS.



Making Money with Articles: Article Directories
Jan 10, 2010     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

Article directories are websites that house free articles. These articles are usually put there by whoever owns the copyright to them as a promotion method. Each article has the owners byline placed under it so that those who eventually read the article will know who wrote it (or at least who owns it) and will be able to get in contact with or visit their website for further information.

Articles directories are a great place to put your articles so that they will make you money. By using this method, people who are interested in your product or service will see your article, view you as an expert in the subject, and will visit your website. Even if you cannot write or do not have any knowledge on the subject on which you are promoting (for example for you run an affiliate website), you can always hire a writer to do the work for you. Getting quality articles written will be expensive up front, but they will pay for themselves in no time, either through affiliate sales or selling your own services, and everything from then on is pure profit.

Let’s take a real life example. Imagine that you are an accountant working from home. You write an article on an accounting topic and place it on various article directories. Those who are looking for the subject you wrote about will read your article, see that you have the knowledge and skill that is needed to do a job for them, and visit your website or contact you via e-mail. Your article just gained you a new client who may use your services regularly, but will definitely give you a nice profit at least once.

Furthermore, since you have posted it on a free article directory, others who have affiliate websites about accounting will inevitably use your article for their website. Since they must attach your byline to it, this will bring you even more exposure for every website that re-posts your article. This because you will be benefiting of off the traffic that they get to their website.

There are numerous article directories out there for you to utilize. Your bet best is to put a copy of each of your articles on every one for maximum exposure. It will eventually help to bring more traffic and customers to your website, which will lead to new orders and more profit.



Older Posts

Subscribe to RSS

Featured Sites: