4 Tips to Evaluate your Business Idea

So you’ve spent some time thinking and you’ve decided to quit your day job and start a new venture as a business owner with your great business idea! Wait a minute, let’s take a step back… Before committing to starting your business full time, it’s important to evaluate the potential of your business idea.

Here are some things to consider when testing the feasibility of your business idea.

  1. Find your target market.

A key factor in running a successful business is having customers who want to buy your product or service.  Picture your ideal customer, their age, gender, income, and location. This will give you a better idea of who you are targeting and how many are in your area.

Conduct a market analysis to determine how big the market is, how saturated it is and if there is room to add your product or service to the mix. Once you have done your research, then you can decide if it is the right target market for your business.

  1. What makes your product/service unique?

While you researched information to identify your target market, you probably found other businesses with similar products or service in your area. This doesn’t mean your business won’t work, it just means you will have to identify what makes your product or service different from the others. You can do this by creating a unique selling proposition, an effective tool that helps you define your brand and make your business more memorable.

  1. Research your competition.

Along with knowing who your ideal customer is, you also need to know who else is trying to target that same audience. Knowing who your competitors are and what they offer that’s different from your product or service is important to understand before you move forward with your business.

  1. Financial forecasting.

A big concern for most business owners is money, especially at the start. What will it cost you to get off the ground? Where will your capital come from? What are you start-up and ongoing expenses? What is your earning potential once you’re up and off the ground? These are all questions you should have answered before starting your business so you have a better chance at success.

Going through this type of evaluating may seem like a long process but it could save you time and money in the long run. Once you’ve done your research and have decided your business is feasible, the next step is to create a business plan.

For more information on business planning, contact the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre.

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Step-by-step Guide to Creating a Facebook Ad (Part 2)

Schedule

You have the option to run your ad from a specific start and end date or you can have your ad run immediately and continuously. You can also set your ad to run for specific hours and days of the week.

Optimization & Pricing

The next step is to choose whether or not you want to bid for your objective, clicks, or impressions. If you choose to do so, Facebook will control your maximum bid and your ad will be shown to people within your target audience that are more likely to complete your desired action. You also have the option for manual bidding, allowing you to have full control of how much you’re willing to pay per action completed.

Delivery

Standard delivery will show your ad throughout the day, whereas accelerated delivery will help you reach your audience quickly for time-sensitive ads. Keep in mind, this option is only available if you choose to use manual bidding.

Create your ad

If you’re looking to increase the number of clicks to your website, Facebook’s Ad Manager will prompt you to click website ad options. These options are broken down into two categories. Links ad will display a single image you can click on, and Carousel will display three to five images.

L ink ads provide the following design recommendations;

Text – 90 characters

Link Title – 25 characters

Image ratio – 1.91:1

Image size – 1200 pixels x 627 pixels

Carousel ads provide the following design recommendations;

Text – 90 characters

Headline – 40 characters

Link description – 20 characters

Image ratio – 1:1

Image size – 600 pixels x 600 pixels

Keep in mind that these are the consideration options for sending people to you website. Facebook will generate different options for your ad if you choose another objective.

Once you have selected an ad type, you will be prompted to choose how your ad will appear on Facebook. There are three options to choose from; Desktop News Feed, Mobile News Feed, and Desktop Right Column.

Once you’ve decided on how your ad will appear you are ready to run your ad live on Facebook!

 

 

 

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Step-by-step Guide to Creating a Facebook Ad (Part 1)

Here is a guide that will help ensure you are tapping into the right audience with the right ad at the right time.

The first step is to determine the most appropriate editor.

Facebook offers two different tools to create your ad; the Ads Manager and the Power Editor. Ads Manager is best for smaller companies looking to create a few ads, where as the Power Editor is best for larger companies looking to post ads often and have more control over their campaigns.

Because our blog targets small businesses, this guide will use the Ads Manager to create an ad.

Choose an objective

Before getting your ad started, Ads Manager will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign. There are 10 different objectives to choose from, including everything from sending people to your website to promoting your page to reaching people near your business.

By choosing one of these objectives, Facebook can present you with options that are best-suited for your ad. Facebook’s ad options include; page likes, click to website, local awareness, etc…

Let’s say you want this ad to drive more traffic to your website. Facebook will then prompt you to enter the URL to your website. Facebook will then give you ad options that make the most sense to achieve your objective.

Choose an audience

If you’re looking to drive traffic, focus on the type of people you know will be interested in what you have to offer. If you’re looking to build brand awareness or want to promote an offer, you should focus on a more general audience.

Facebook gives you vast options like location, age, gender, languages, generations, interests, and more to target a more specific audience. Creating a custom audience is also an option that allows you to target people on Facebook who are in your contact database.

Set a budget

Facebook ads can be set on a daily budget or a lifetime budget. Using a daily budget means that Facebook will pace your spending per day, keep in mind that the minimum is $1.00. A lifetime budget is more suitable for an ad that runs for a specific length of time, meaning that Facebook will pace your budget over that set period of time.

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Content Marketing Mistakes

By changing the type of content you are writing, you can significantly improve your company’s image, authority, and ultimately, revenue.

Here are a few content marketing errors that many entrepreneurs are making.

  1. Generic Content

The number one mistake most entrepreneurs make is publishing generic, cookie cutter content. Many online marketers like to publish broad articles that don’t offer any value to their audience. Another type of generic content is content that has been recycled or reworded from older content. Using the same content can turn off customers and reduce their trust in your brand.

  1. Filler Content

Filler content is content created purely to fill space. If you are writing articles just to fill space on your website, stop! It’s better to publish one article a week that can be valuable to your audience than 10 articles that are fluff. Your content should have a purpose, whether it is to promote a new product or to inform your audience of a certain subject.

  1. Short Content

When your audience clicks on your article, they are interested in learning more about what you have to say. If you are only writing a few words on a subject, you are selling your audience and yourself short. You need to invest time into creating content that your audience can benefit from.

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Why It’s Important to Pay Yourself First in Business

As a business owner, you have probably heard of the concept of paying yourself. Unfortunately, it’s a concept that many business owners don’t practice. A common reason being that business owners feel compelled to put everything back into their business, and they don’t track how much money they actually take out of the business.

When looking at paying yourself, it often depends on what stage your business is at. The reality is that you are going to need money to live off of. This money may be coming out of savings, however at some point you are going to need to be able to take some money out of the business.

Here are some things to consider;

Work out how much it is going to cost you to live  

You need a personal budget, and make sure that you are going to have enough money to cover your basic living expenses. Create a budget for the different stages of your business. Your first budget, taking out only what you can afford, the second budget would be for when your business is sustainable and you can take more out of the business. The third budget is when you can enjoy the lifestyle you desire as a successful entrepreneur.

Keep track of how much you pay yourself

It is strongly recommend that you keep track of the amount of money you take out of the business and how much you should be taking as a market related wage. This difference is your investment into your business. You are an investor in your business, and all good investors expect a return on their investment. Over time, as your business grows and becomes more profitable, you will be able to take more money out of your business than a market related wage.  You will feel even better knowing that you are being rewarded for your earlier efforts when you didn’t take as much from the business.

As you build your business, it will go through various stages; startup, expansion, maturity and sometimes, even a decline. Depending on the stage of your business, you can determine how much you can and should pay yourself. By having both a personal and business budget, you will be able to make better informed decisions, diversify your risk, and have a backup plan.

 

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Everyday Money Management Tips

Starting and managing a business can be difficult and money concerns usually top the list of challenges. Here are some practical day-to-day tips you can use to manage your money more effectively.

  1. Don’t mix business and personal expenses.

Resist the urge to secure your business finances with personal funds when things get tight. It will only cause more confusion later on. The best way to maintain separation of your expenses is to set a personal budget and a business budget and stick to them strictly.

  1. Negotiate with vendors.

When making purchases from vendors or contracting with supplies, try to negotiate a better deal but always keep in mind of purchase terms like late payment fees and grace periods.

  1. Pay your bills on time.

It’s very important to pay your bills on time, every time. If you aren’t diligent with credit card and loan payments late fees can cost you. There are also serious penalties when paying your taxes if you are late.

  1. Spend some time on an accounting refresher.

Being a small business owner, you should know the basics of accounting, even if you hire a bookkeeper or accountant. It’s important to know how cash moves in and out of your business.

The better you understand your business finances and cash flow, the better prepared you will be to make smart money management decisions.

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Free SEO Resources Every Business Should Use

SEO is a way to use technology to your advantage, and there are lots of resources out there to make it easier to track that information. Some are paid platforms, but there are also plenty of free options that exist.

Here are free tools that can help you plan, execute, measure, and refine your SEO strategy in an easier and more productive way.

  • Google Analytics – is the granddaddy of all free SEO tools, offered by Google itself. Managing dozens of different websites and tracking detailed information about your site’s traffic.
  • Google Webmaster Tools – is a nice complement to Google Analytics, providing you with more in-depth and technical information about your site’s performance.
  • Open Site Explorer – has a more specific function than analytics, helping you uncover and analyze all the links pointing to your business sites.
  • Google Keyword Planner – is meant for use with AdWords, but works just fine for organic keyword research as well. This tool helps you generate keywords and phrases for your target.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer, BuzzSumo, SEMRush, QuickSprout, Spider View Simulator, SERPs Rank Checker are a few other SEO tools worth checking out!

 

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