How NOT to be a Small Business Failure Statistic

There were about 146,000 business startups a year, and an average of 12,000 business bankruptcies per year from 1994 to 2004 in Canada. A 2004 Statistics Canada study on small business failure rates “Key Small Business Statistics – January 2005: How Long Do Small Businesses Survive?” found that the first few years were critical. While almost three quarters of small business startups survive the first year, less than one third of micro companies (less than five employees) were in business after five years.These statistics by themselves may be of little value to you directly. We know how many small businesses survive and for how long, but it’s far more important to know why some survive and others do not. There are a lot of studies on small business failure. Searching “reasons for small business failure” with quotations on Google will give you almost 700 results (about 38 million without!). “Why small businesses fail” will give you almost a thousand.The 1997 study by Statistics Canada “Failing Concerns: Business Bankruptcies in Canada found major internal factors of small business failure was management deficiency, financial management problems and poor marketing.The Small Business Administration study “Financial Difficulties of Small Businesses and Reasons for Their Failure” in 1998 found several causes of small business bankruptcy: outside business conditions (38.5%), financing (28%), inside business conditions (27.1%), taxes (20%), disputes (18.8%), personal calamities and other (32.9%)There is a wealth of information on this subject, but what are the common factors? There are four basic areas:External factorsExternal factors include new competition, your major client moving out of town, poor weather if you’re a seasonal business, or economic downturns. They’re often largely out of our control, and may be unique to your particular company, but there are often ways to mitigate them. For example, if you have a seasonal business, such as a landscaping company (at least up here in the cold north it’s seasonal) you could buy a bobcat to provide income during your off-season with snow removal. The bottom line is, have a contingency plan for external factors that could have a negative impact on your small business success.Lack of managementBig companies have the luxury of being able to hire several people to get all the jobs done that need to be done, but chances are you’re going to have to do it all yourself, at least for awhile. That means you’re not only going to have to develop your product or service, you’re also going to have to make financial, accounting, legal, marketing, human resources, and purchasing decisions.You may do some of these tasks very well, but it’s unlikely that you do all these tasks well, and even if you do, you might want to contact a lawyer and an accountant at the very least. And, research, research, and research some more, and when you’re done researching, find an expert or two bounce ideas off and give you solid advice.Lack of planningSmall businesses often fail because of lack of planning. Let me make a bold statement: the single-most vital part of your business success is your business plan. Why? Simply put, your business plan specifically and concretely lists your goals for the next few years. It spells out, step by step, how you’re going to meet those goals, and gives you something to measure your performance against at the end of your business year.Finally, a complete business plan helps you get financing and includes a marketing plan, which addresses lack of marketing and insufficient financing, two more often cited reasons for small business failure.I have one more thing to say about business plans. It does very little good to write a business plan, put it in a drawer and never look at it again. That same 1997 Statistics Canada study we talked about earlier found that successful small business owners refer to and revise their business plans often.Lack of marketingMost small businesses seem to think it takes a lot of money to market their product or service effectively. That’s simply not true. There are many ways to market inexpensively. You could use direct mail marketing which is as cheap as a stamp, or email marketing, which costs nothing. The point is, you need to get your product or service “out there” somehow. You may have the best product or service out there, something completely unique from anything else, but what good does that do if nobody knows about it?So there you have it–my thoughts on the main reasons why small businesses fail, and how you can avoid becoming a small business failure statistic by developing a contingency plan, consulting with experts, and developing and using a business and marketing plan.If you are thinking of starting a small business, I’m most certainly not trying to discourage you. I sincerely believe being in business for yourself may possibly be the most rewarding career there is, but a little knowledge can go a long way towards arming you against small business failure.

Web Site Promotion Internet Marketing

In the global economy, boundaries cease to exist between the countries for selling goods and services. Facing an indefinite number of competitors with unknown or greater strengths is a constant hurdle in order to hold even a small share in the existing markets. With the advent of the Internet and e-commerce, revolutionary changes are brought into the information management and systems. This necessitates reengineering of the operational/value chain of various commercial trading activities.Web site promotion is an emerging concept that has been redefining the promotional methods practiced by enterprises great and small. There are frequent shifts in customer loyalty from one brand to another and shortened life cycles of products due to technological advancements. It becomes essential for an entrepreneur to reach out to the maximum prospective customers within a short time, to get new business, and adapt quickly to a rapidly changing marketplace. The one and only solution is to promote one’s products through electronic media.Web site promotion means a company having its own web site that provides the information on its portfolio, products or services offered, and contact information. It may feature additional information such as accreditations, partnership/dealer networks, documentation/product literature, demo packages for test trial or free down loads, product delivery services, online order processing, and interactive query line.A well designed and well developed web site with efficient information processing and interactive features should be incorporated. A top slot in important search engines would help the entrepreneur to gain visibility over the market, gather prospective leads and ultimately build a successful business. A powerful online presence aids in reaching out to highly targeted clients effectively. Web sites help to build brands. They provide product information to drive sales, and advertising and sell products directly over the Internet. Finally web sites help customers to study relative features of similar products and their delivery services, so as to seek the right ones.

How Much Is “Information Technology Debt” Hurting Your Bottom-Line?

Information Technology (IT) debt is basically the cost of maintenance needed to bring all applications up to date.Shockingly, global “Information Technology (IT) debt” will reach $500 billion this year and could rise to $1 trillion by 2015!But why should you take IT debt seriously and begin to take steps to eliminate this issue from your business?According to Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company…It will cost businesses world-wide 500 billion dollars to “clear the backlog of maintenance” and reach a fully supported current technology environment.Gartner summarizes the problem best:”The IT management team is simply never aware of the time scale of the problem.This problem, hidden from sight, is getting bigger every year and more difficult to deal with every year.”The true danger is that systems get out of date which leads to all kinds of costly software and hardware inefficiencies.Your tech support provider can most likely do a better job at staying current with your computer and network environment.Have them start today by documenting the following:The number of applications in use
The number purchased
The number failed
The current and projected costs of both operating and improving their reliabilityAre you using this powerful formula to control your technology?There’s a powerful formula I’ll share with you in a moment that will help you adopt new technology faster in your business.In business, technology encompasses Information Technology (IT), Phone Systems and Web Development.These three layers of technology form the backbone of your business’s technology environment. Why is technology adoption so important?Without new technology adoption it’s impossible for businesses to be competitive in this economy. A major role of technology is to help businesses scale, design systems, and automate processes.Studies recently have shown that adopting technology keeps businesses leaner because entrepreneurs can do more with less.There’s evidence that new business start-ups are doing so with nearly half as many workers as they did a decade ago.For example, Wall Street Journal’s Angus Loten reported that today’s start-ups are now being launched with an average of 4.9 employees.Down from 7.5 in the 1990s, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City Research group.In other words, technology allows businesses to expand quickly with less.Researchers at Brandeirs University found that technology driven service businesses added jobs at a rate of 5.1% from 2001 to 2009; while employment overall dwindled by.5%.These businesses save money, expand, and create jobs by adopting new technologies.Are you adopting new technologies fast in your business?Speed of technology adoption is critical to your business success.Technology is changing the speed of business; now a whole industry might expand, mature, and die in months… not years.There’s one formula that illustrates this marriage between adopting technology and business success the best… and that’s the “Optimal Technology Equation.”I recommend you adopt this powerful “Optimal Technology Equation” in your business:• Maintenance + Planning + Innovation (Adoption)=
• Enhanced Technology Capabilities=
• Reduced Costs + Increased Production=
• Increased Profitability.Of course, this is only a brief explanation of this invaluable formula. Be one step ahead of the competition.

Site Promotion – Can You Really Do it For Free?

If you have a site then you know that if you do nothing, NO thing will happen. You have to take active steps to ensure you promote your site. Billions of dollars are spent annually on site promotion. Is there any thing the average Joe can do? Can you really promote a site for free?It depends on what you call free. If “free” means you do NOT have to pay out of your pocket to get the result, then it’s very possible — And is, in fact, highly encouraged if you’re new online. But if “free” means it will cost you nothing, then it’s not possible.To clarify things, let’s use video marketing as an example…If you make a good 3 minute video and upload to YouTube and other video sites, you can easily get thousands of views and hundreds of visits to your site in a matter of hours. But although you did NOT pay a dime to have your video on any of the video sites it cost you a lot to produce and upload the video.You bought a camera, got an editing tool and then spent a lot of hours learning how to use them. The camera cost you something. And unless your time is worth nothing to you, you spent a lot learning to use those tools. Furthermore, you also spent some time uploading your videos — If that’s what you call free then you can really promote your site for free.Here are other ways to start promoting your site without paying anyone…1. Write and submit useful articles to article directories.2. Post useful comments on high PR blogs.3. Participate in niche forums and make sure you add value.4. Use Myspace or other social networking sites.5. Use social bookmarking sites.Do it yourself if yours is a tight budget. You’ll achieve a lot without taking a second mortgage. But once your business begins to make you some money, you’ll do well to know the dollar value on your time and outsource what can be outsourced and automate all that can be automated even if you have to spend a few dollars.But for the time, if you have the time, you don’t need to spend a dime to start promoting your site (Pun intended).Would you like to learn how to drive massive traffic to your sites?

Entertainment Blog – Most Popular Blogs Among Youth

Entertainment blog tops the list among different categories of blogs available. As far as the internet traffic is concerned, the majority of people are found searching for entertainment over the internet. Considering their taste, most bloggers are now switching to writing more on entertainment blogs. The majority of internet users search the internet seeking news and information regarding the celebrities they like. So the bloggers stand up and fulfil their demands by serving them with entertainment. Many people have started blogging as they have realized that it is quite easy to do and moreover you can also earn through it. For many professional bloggers, blogging turns out to be their main source of income. It provides them the luxury of working at home.The trend of writing more of entertainment blogs is not surprising at all. Humans tend to search for entertainment in every stratum of society so why to leave the internet? Everyone likes to follow their favourite artist, musician, sportsperson, celebrity and entertainment blog provide them with everything they are looking for.The entertainment blog can be classified in to different categories namely sports, movies, lifestyle, gaming etc.Sports blog: Men like sports and they cannot survive without it. So to serve the demands of these sports addicts, the bloggers come up with various sports blogs providing information about their favourite sportsman, sports news and events etc.Movies blog: For all the movie freaks this category of blog provides a daily dose of entertainment. People like to read and comment about the latest released movies of each month. Discussing their experiences regarding a particular movie or event and provides them with the entertainment they were looking for.Lifestyle: This category of blog is also very popular. The internet users constantly try to improve their lifestyle so this category of blog provides them with all the necessary information that they need to know, citing examples of various celebrities.Gaming: The number of gamers has increased tremendously over the recent past and so have the gaming blogs. These blogs provide the users with the information regarding the release of various new games. These gamers discuss with each other every aspect of a particular game sharing their knowledge and information with each other. These blogs are also popular for troubleshooting. People easily solve their queries following advice of other gamers.To conclude – entertainment is something that people have been looking for since ages ago and will continue to in the coming future.

Small Business Financial Software

Starting a new business takes a lot of effort. Part of that ongoing effort will be tracking the income and expenses generated by the small business. There are many small business financial software products capable of meeting your needs. Deciding on the best solution for your small business is the goal of this article.It is important to determine the financial accounting needs of your small business when looking for software. Depending upon the type of business that you operate, the following functionality needs to be considered:
Track Customers and Sales
Invoice Customers
Manage Inventory
Process Credit Cards
Create Budgets
Perform Payroll Functions
Business Tax Reporting
Paying Bills
Most of your time will be spent entering data into your business accounting software solution. An important consideration is the bank that you do business with. Most provide data feeds, verify that their format can be uploaded into your financial accounting software. This can save you hours of effort.With hard work and determination, your business will grow over time. Pick an accounting software solution that will grow with the business and meet your needs in the future. This can be accomplished by selecting a product with an upgrade path with more options or a product that you can add modules to later.Their are accounting solutions that are available online using a web browser or by installing and using on a computer. If you will be out of the office for long periods of time, an online solution may be a better choice.Depending upon the structure of your business, taxes can take lot of time on an ongoing basis. Does the software help generate tax forms that need to be filed on a monthly or quarterly basis. At the end of year tax time, can you create an extract that can be pulled into your tax software. Or if you use an accountant, does the software allow you to create an accountant copy for the accountant? Tax time is stressful enough, these features can be a great time saver.As your business grows, it may be necessary to allow additional users to enter information or perform other tasks to bill clients etc. Does the software allow you to restrict the access for users? Some users may need access to all functions while others will only need limited functionality.Talk to people in a similar business to find out what small business financial software they use to track their business. Ask them about the features that save time, what needs improvement and if any are missing. Most likely you will not find a software solution that is perfect, but you will be able determine the software that best meets your small business needs.Some final considerations to make:
Will you need support? Check into the support options of the accounting software and estimate any additional costs that may be incurred.
Do not pay for features that will not be needed.

Free trials are the best way to check out the financial software. Trials are short and usually limited to 30 or 60 days, go through the list above to determine your needs and come up with a plan to test the functionality to decide on the best small business financial software that meets your needs.

Social Media Strategy and Branding: How Did Brand Image Create An Iconic Brand And Then Save It?

The brand image is the complete impression that a consumer has of a product. This is important because a brand cannot be created unless it has an acceptable image. People have to like the brand, they have to be comfortable with it. The brand must create the right images and impressions when a consumer hears the brand’s name. If this doesn’t happen, the consumer will not purchase the product. Image involves the integration and the entirety of all the attributes and benefits of a product. Image involves the functional and mental connections that a consumer has with the product. It is important because brand image creates how a consumer “sees” the product. Image is a critical part of branding a product because if products are not seen in a good way, they will not be purchased. Brand image is a critical concept for the social media era.Because there are so many products in the market place, it is image that sets a brand apart. A successful brand is created in social media when a friendship is created between the consumer and the product. The brand image is a major tool in creating that friendship.A brand image has created an iconic brand in sneakers. This same image saved this iconic brand in bad times. In the Social Media era the best way to understand a brand is to understand that brands have human qualities. Few people live charmed lives. Most people have things happen in their life in which they are proud of. These same people have things happen to them in which they are embarrassed. Brands are the same way. An iconic brand in sneakers were created through its image. Image also saved this brand from destruction.To understand how this happened, image must be understood. A brand is created through 4 tiers: image, identity, positioning, and differentiation. Image and identity are separate, but they are integrated and they impact one another. They are separate, but yet they are interchangeable. The best way to explain the concepts of image and identity is through a brand of sneakers that became an icon.Image is passive and identity is proactive. Image is something that is interpretive. A consumer is given a group of images and the consumer formulates a definition of what that image is. Identity is aggressive. A brand decides what it is and communicates this to the market. These two concepts are critical in understanding how a brand of sneakers became an icon, and how that brand sustained itself when things unraveled.In the 1960′s sneakers was an unimportant fashion staple. A good pair could be purchased for $5. A track coach devised a specialized shoe to assist runners. This specialization redefined the sneaker market. From this specialization on function, the brand evolved into a high style fashion shoe.The sneaker created an image: the image was now “cool” shoes. To be cool, you had to own a pair of these sneakers. The branding then developed extreme value for these sneakers. This company lost its way in the branding of their sneakers. You now had to pay for cool. The sneakers now were sold for over $200. This meant that only a certain young person could afford them. It also meant that a certain young person couldn’t afford them. Both groups of kids wanted to be cool.In the late ’80s and early ’90s, kids started killing each other for sneakers. The image of the brand was misinterpreted. The company never intended for kids to kill each other for their cool sneakers. The company had a dilemma. They had to retain their cool image, but their brand would cease to exist unless kids stopped killing one another.The brand used two methods to save their brand. They used their identity and they used their spokesman, who was an iconic basketball player. The company was started by a college professor. This professor designed a special running shoe to do one thing—to help people. This was the identity of the company—to help people. In healthy personality, an identity is created when a person defines just who they are. The company defined themselves as good people doing good things. This was the company’s identity. To survive the crisis, they had to retain their cool image but also be seen as good people doing good things. This is somewhat of a contradiction in terms. How could they do this?They did it through the use of their spokesman, a very articulate professional basketball player. This player was definition of cool. He was handsome, he was articulate, and he played on a basketball team that won 4 world championships in 5 years. He wore the shoes that created the championships. He was also a man from small town America, raised with strong family values. He was horrified that kids would kill each other for his shoes.He started going to schools and addressing kids. He made commercials pleading with kids to stop killing for sneakers. This expanded the image. The image was now that cool has values and respect. The CEO demanded the designers of the sneakers to find cool designs at a price tag within the range of all kids. The brand was preserved through image and identity reacting and integrating with one another. Through the integration of image and identity, this brand has become one of the most iconic in American history.

How to Ensure the Fruitfulness of Your Investment on Online Education?

The increasing craze for online degrees in different branches of study led to the accessibility to a number of colleges and institutions online. Students pursuing online education have various reasons behind doing so, most important out of which is certainly their desire to resume higher education without disrupting the existing work life. The online degree programs are conduced in a wide range of subjects, which is why each student is able to enrol for a degree in the choicest subject. The kind of education that one receives often plays an important role in determining the standard of life he leads later. So, it is not just for the sake of being educated and a holder of certain degrees but also enjoying a professionally successful and better life that one should invest on education. Consequently, here is an overview of the essential considerations in making a proper application of the online degrees.The choice of subject is important if you are considering pursuing online education for the sake of stepping into an interesting and lucrative field of work. Let us take into account the subject of Criminal Justice that has emerged to be a prominent branch of online courses. An online criminal justice degree equips an individual with the knowledge and the skills to occupy responsible positions like that of a police officer, a correction officer, a crime scene investigator, and many more. However, these professions require the practitioners to possess confidence, strength of mind and an inherent ability to solve puzzles. If you are devoid of these qualities and if you cannot work under extreme pressure, Criminal Justice is not your forte. Every subject is unique in itself and come with the promise of a career so it is more essential for a student to determine his capability and inclination and based on this, make the choice of subject.The college or University conducting the online degree programs is yet another crucial factor here. Though there are many, a student has to make sure getting into one that is accredited by the US Department of Education. This will indicate to the authenticity and credibility of the certificate you have gained in the employment market. Since, you are likely to have a particular goal where you want to reach by means of your degree, choose a college that helps you do so. For instance, if your ultimate aim is to work on child psychology, ensure registering yourself into an institution that offers you with an online psychology degree with a focus on child psychology.

The Revolutionary Potential of Enterprise Social Networking

Enterprise social networking has the potential to completely revolutionize the way things are done in the corporate world. That is the conclusion you come to once you get to learn what the said networking is, how it works, and the things it has potential to do.Enterprise networking is what you get when you decide to harness your networking technologies and platforms for business purposes. Now social network itself, at least in the computer-based sense we know it today, is not a very old concept. It is barely a decade old. In the early years of the Internet revolution, efforts were made to make social networking a possibility. But those were largely futile, on account of the fact that the time for it hadn’t yet come. It was not until the mid years of the first decade in this millennium (around 2004-2005) that real networking really took off – and there has never been any looking back.As would be expected, it was not very long before business people saw the opportunity to improve their business operations inherent in social networking, and as networking found more and more business applications, a new sub-type of it known as ‘enterprise social networking’ was born.Enterprise social networking has revolutionized, and still has the potential to further revolutionize, the way businesses talk to their customers. Previously, that used to be largely a one-way communication dynamic. It was the businesses talking to their customers through adverts, but without an opportunity to hear what the customers were saying in reply. But with Enterprise networking, it becomes possible to have a real, two way conversation.This new form of networking has revolutionized, and still has the potential to further revolutionize, the way businesses interact with their employees. Enterprise networking has made it possible to get rid of the barriers to communication that used to exist, between employees and their employers. Previously, employees who felt badly violated by their immediate managers would often have no one to help them. The other people who could help them would be the guys in ‘top management.’ But talking to them in a normal layered organization would have meant making use of the very same managers who were violating them. Today, many mid-level managers dare not mistreat their employees, knowing that through networking tools, those employees may have a way of directly talking with ‘top management’ without necessarily passing through them. Furthermore, Enterprise networking makes anonymous employee-employer communication possible, where that happens to be what employees need to freely ventilate about their workplace problems.Enterprise social networking has revolutionized, and still has the potential to further revolutionize, the way various actors in businesses interact. It becomes possible, for instance, for the guys in R&D to interact directly with the guys in the production lines regarding the practicality of their ideas. It further becomes possible for the folks in R&D to directly pick feedback from marketing guys (or even directly from the customers) on how their products are performing, and on how they can be improved upon.Lastly but not least, it has revolutionized, and still has the potential to further revolutionize, the way businesses (various independent businesses) interact with one another. Through Enterprise networking, collection of business intelligence becomes very easy. By keeping your ears close to the grapevine (which enterprise social networking simplifies), you get the opportunity to know what your competitors are doing/not doing, without having to furtively send spies. The ordinary sharing of notes between managers of businesses in the same industry also becomes much easier, through enterprise social networking.

Something To Know About Education

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”-Nelson MandelaIn a world where ignorance leads to suffering in innumerable ways, education is indeed the need of the hour. Defining education is a difficult task as education is often confused with literacy. The question that arises then is what is education? Is it a polished metropolitan approach to the profanities of urban life? Is it a rebellious voice raised against the socio-political atrocities committed upon us every day? Or is it, in plain and simple terms, the methodology that makes us realize the worth of things and their value in different aspects of life? But where the answer plays an elusive temptress, the questions become more and more baffling. Broadly speaking, education can be defined as an experience which makes us think, feel, decide or arrive at conclusions in a particular way. Therefore, a small incident like learning to walk to acquiring a degree in philosophy, both come under the broad umbrella of education. Education is that which teaches us facts and truths of life alike.Now that the more difficult task of defining education has been dealt with, let’s figure out the categories that education can be divided into. Education can be a formal and an informal one. Formal education is meted out to us in educational institutions whereas informal education is a self-didactic process which we continue to perform every moment of our lives.Which is more essential to us is debatable. Today’s urban standards of living ensure that all of us have some degree of formal education imparted to us in schools and colleges. But the problem is, degrees and certificates do not guarantee a good education. In that regard, education becomes more of a vanity than a necessity. Education should not only make us competent enough to curve a niche for ourselves in the whole wide world but it should also encourage independent thinking in us. It should be the mentor and the guide that helps us discover, learn and formulate. And as our dearest Sir Mandela points out, education should be the weapon to forge changes in a world of stagnant ideologies and redundant mediocrity. It should inspire us, encourage new thoughts and rejuvenate defunct lessons learnt from the past.Thus, it is good education that matters in the end, not the mode of acquiring it. Good education should therefore imply anything that helps us in doing all the above and has to be a conglomeration of formal and informal education. Our education should make us individuals who can dream of a better world and execute the ideas into reality and that is only possible when we have a balance of formal and informal education.