Don’t Make Starting a Business Harder Than It Has To Be

Often you see businesses closing their doors for the same basic reason that they have started the wrong business in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Here are the top 10 business mistakes you don’t want to make when starting a new business:

  1. Not making a business plan

The main purpose of a business plan is to know whether your idea can be transformed into a successful business. This is essential tool to help test the feasibility and give you the best chance of success with your business. It is time-consuming and takes a lot of research, but investing your time now will save you time and money later down the road.

  1. Doing what you love

Doing something you love may seem like a good idea but there are a lot of people who love things they are not good at. Choose something related to your interests and something that people will pay you for to insure you have a successful profitable business.

  1. Not doing market research

Without any research, you have no idea if there is a market for your business. Test your product or service before you start to be sure

  1. Ignoring the competition

Ignoring the competition won’t make them go away. Who is going to buy your product if Joe sells the same product for 10% less and what if his look/smell/feel better than yours? You also need to keep in mind market saturation. Is there any room in your area for another business that already exists?

  1. Not considering your strengths and weaknesses

Sometimes our strengths or weaknesses don’t fit well with the business model we want to use. For example, if you are not an outgoing person with good people skills, maybe retail isn’t the right business for you.

  1. Not understanding what you sell

You need to know what you are actually selling and create a Unique Selling Proposition accordingly if you want your new business to be successful.

  1. Not making sure you have enough money

The majority of new businesses will not make money when they open, some may not make significant money for the first few years. You have to have enough money to live while your business is getting established and enough money for your business to survive and continue to grow.

  1. Not investing in marketing

No one will know your business exists without some effective marketing. Most marketing strategies like referrals and social media take time to become effective but if you want your business to be successful it is important to take the time.

Remember that starting a business is a process, not an event. Take the time to do the thinking and the research to increase the likelihood of your new business succeeding.

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Big Tax Filing Mistakes in Small Business  

Read through these common mistakes small business owners make when filing their taxes.

  1. Not filing or paying taxes on time

Make sure you file your taxes and make your payment on time; the penalties are severe. If you miss the tax deadline, your business will be assessed a 5% per month penalty by Revenue Canada that will continue to increase until the return is filed.

  1. Not paying estimated taxes during the year

If you are filing as a sole proprietor, partner, and/or a self-employed individual, you have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe $1,000 or more when you file your return.

  1. Not applying the right business deductions

Business deductions are the way to go if you don’t want to pay more than you actually owe on your taxes. Office furniture and supplies, advertising, licenses, equipment, start-up expenses are some of the many deductions your business may qualify for.

  1. Not tracking expenses accurately

It is very difficult to take any tax deductions if you don’t have a record of incurring those expenses. You have to be very detailed with your business records, save receipts, keep a travel log for mileage, and track and categorize your expenses.

  1. Not separating business and personal expenses

Separate your business and personal expenses by maintaining separate bank and credit card accounts, keeping receipts separate, and paying yourself a salary instead of drawing directly from your business accounts.

  1. Not using an accountant

It can be tempting to go the less expensive route and do your business taxes yourself, but you run the risk of misfiling your return and also missing a few major tax deductions.

Avoiding the mistakes listed here will help make filing your business taxes a much less painful process.

 

 

 

 

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Laws of Social Media

Social media marketing can help elevate your audience and customer base but without any previous experience, getting started could be challenging.

Here are social media marketing fundamentals that will help build a foundation that will serve your customers, your brand and your bottom line.

  1. Law of Listening

Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions. This will help you create content and conversation that is valuable to your customers.

  1. Law of Focus

You will have a better chance of success if you build a strong brand rather than a broad strategy that attempts to attract and please everyone.

  1. Law of Quality

It is better to have 500 online connections that read and share your content with their audiences than 5,000 connections that only connect with you once.

  1. Law of Patience

Social media marketing success doesn’t happen overnight, commit to the long run to achieve your goals.

  1. Law of Compounding

Your audience will share your content with their own audiences if you are publishing quality content and work to build your online audience.

  1. Law of Influence

Find online influencers in your market who have quality audiences and would be interested in your product or service.

  1. Law of Value

Focus on adding value to the conversation, creating amazing content and developing relationships with online influencers.

  1. Law of Acknowledgement

Building relationships is an important part of social media marketing success, so always acknowledge everyone that reaches out to you.

  1. Law of Accessibility

Be available to your audience. Publish content consistently and participate in conversations.

  1. Law of Reciprocity

It is important to spend some time sharing and talking about content published by others in hopes of getting the same in return.

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Email Marketing List       

Email marketing is a great way to promote your business, keeping your business on the minds of your customers and potential customers.

The first step to build a well-organized and efficient email list is to collect addresses, either through a sign-up form in store or online, through social media or another manner.

Here are some things to keep in mind;

  • Service

Get started by selecting an email marketing service that will help you collect addresses, manage your list, and makes it easy to send messages out to your list. Selecting the right provider the first time is important because it is not easy to change providers once you have started your list.

  • Make it easy

Signing up for your list should take a few seconds. The easier it is, the quicker your list will grow. Be sure to put your sign-up form where it will be seen. Make it visible on your website, checkout counter, and even put it on your receipts.

  • Follow the rules

There are rules about how you can add email addresses to your list and how you can use your list. You may have hundreds of contacts in your personal address book, but it would be inappropriate to send them emails without subscribing or consent.

  • Privacy

When clients sign up include a statement on the form that you will not share their information or use it for any purpose other than mailing. You should also let subscribers know how often they should expect to receive emails from you when they sign-up.

  • Incentive

Provide the subscriber with something for free when they sign up. A discount, contest or sweepstakes will attract customers to subscribe. Make it clear that in requesting the incentive, they are signing up for your mailing list.

Remember that it takes time to cultivate an email list of customers that are interested in receiving information about your products or services. These tips will help you develop a long-term tool for promoting your business.

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Inspiring Quotes

Being a small business owner can be rewarding, but it can also be a challenge. Are you feeling a little overwhelmed or stressed? Why not take a look through these inspiring quotes that highlight what it means to be successful. You may be able to relate to one or two and it may be just enough to relieve a little stress as you realize that other entrepreneurs experience some of the same things you do !

“If you’re going to run a small business, you need to know what everyone is doing, be the first one in and the last one out.” – Glen Mazzara

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative efforts.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Ideas in secret die. They need light and air or they starve to death.” – Seth Godin

“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” – Nolan Bushnell

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi

“Strive not to be a success, but rather be of value.” – Albert Einstein

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” – Edward de Bono

“The only place success comes before work, is in the dictionary.” – unknown

“The Golden Rule for every business is this:  put yourself in your customers place.” – Orison Swett Marden

“The only way to do great work, is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”  – Milton Berle

“Handle your business without people knowing your business.” – unknown

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford

Feeling more inspired? Good. Now you can get back to building your bigger, stronger, more successful small business!

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Marketing Audit for your Small Business

A marketing audit is a thorough review of your marketing plan, objectives, strategies, and current activities being executed in your small business. The goal is to pinpoint your marketing strengths and weaknesses to identify areas for improvement.

Here are some reasons to consider doing a marketing audit for your small business.

  • Realign your marketing activities with your goals.

Most business owners are caught up with daily responsibilities that they lose focus of their long-term goals. A marketing audit is a way to return to your business plan and your marketing plan to ensure that your daily tasks are executing support for your business goals.

  • What isn’t working for your business.

A marketing audit helps owners explore marketing activities being implemented, while determining if those activities are successful. This is a time to make judgement calls on marketing areas where your business is underperforming. Then make the decision of how to improve activities to achieve greater success.

  • New ideas and different strategies.

Conducting a marketing audit requires a significant amount of research into your business. The research process is an excellent way to discover new ideas to try in your business. This will help you develop new marketing activities that have potential.

  • In-depth insight in your competition.

Successful marketing requires in-depth understanding of your market, your target audience, and your competition. A marketing audit is a great way to find who your competition is. Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of your competition can improve the way you approach your audience.

  • Save you money in the long run.

Conducting a marketing audit on a regular basis helps maximize your marketing investment, helping you focus on the activities that work best for your business. If you don’t check this often, you may be wasting time and money on marketing activities that aren’t producing results.

 

 

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Turning a Hobby into a Business

There are many factors that go into the success of a small business, one being the passion an entrepreneur has for their business idea. The more interested you are in your business, the easier it is to manage the challenges and put in the necessary time to become successful.

Consider the following questions to determine if your hobby has the potential to become a successful business.

  1. What is the actual product or service you sell?

Keep an open mind and think beyond the obvious when you are considering what product or service you will sell that builds on your hobby. For example, if you were selling jewellery, offer a class that teaches others how to make jewellery.

  1. Is there a market for what you are selling?

Now that you know what your will be selling, you need to determine if there is a market for your hobby-turned-business idea and if it has a solid chance for success.

  1. What are the financial implications of starting your business?

Starting a business requires financial investment up front, plus the costs to keep the business running while you start to make profit. Do your research to find an accurate idea of what it will cost to get the business started and create a plan for getting necessary capital.

  1. Can you start the business on a part-time basis?

It can be difficult to determine if a business idea has potential. Working at it slowly part-time has many benefits. It gives you a chance to explore being a business owner without losing financial security, minimizes mistakes, and allows you to avoid some pressure.

Once you have considered each of these questions and you are ready to turn your hobby into a small business, take the steps to officially launch your business.

 

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