In a world where people can engage with each other at the click of a mouse, or tap of a Smartphone, engagement has become a huge factor when it comes to the success of a business. So how do you make sure you’re engaging your customers at the best of your ability? Continue reading
If you’re a brand new small business owner just bursting out of the starting block, how you decide to save money matters. Even if you’ve gotten off to a good start, and revenues are flowing in, every dollar you save goes directly to the bottom line. In order to maximize your savings, keep the following six tips in mind.
1) Score Free Office Supplies
If you typically pick up your office supplies from your local office supply retailer, understand that there are ways to score supplies for free. Enroll in the store’s rewards program and wait for 100% cash back sales. You buy the supplies at full price, then receive the amount you spent in the form of a rewards certificate, usually issued the following quarter. Common free items include printer paper, pens, notebooks, folders, staplers, and scissors.
We’re onto our next ‘B’ in our “ABCs of Small Business Industries” installment! Today’s ‘B’ is for builders (or, general contracting)! If you’ve dreamed of construction since you were organizing your building blocks as a young child, now might just be the perfect time for you to make your move. Not sure where to start? We’ll help you out. Continue reading
Welcome back to business basics! In case you’ve forgotten, every week we take a look at a basic business concept in order to try to help new business owners better understand it. This week, we are covering Return on Investment, or ROI – a fairly straightforward, but often misunderstood, part of running a business! Though you may think you know all about ROI, you could be using it incorrectly. But first…
What is ROI?
Return on Investment, or ROI, is pretty easy to grasp – heck, the definition is right in the name. It’s whatever return you get after your invest in some part of your business. So if you hire 2 new salespeople, a basic measurement of ROI will be the money they bring in, minus their wages. Continue reading
User-generated content (UGC) refers to any content that is produced by consumers or users. It can take the form of social media updates, reviews, blog posts, Q&A forums, photos or videos. Many businesses use different kinds of UGC as part of their overall marketing strategy and the benefits getting involved with UGC provides are nearly endless for your business.
- Enriched user experience – UGC allows your customers and prospects to interact with like-minded people and share their opinions – this could be through posting comments on a blog, on discussion forums or status updates.
- Enhanced understanding of your audience – User-generated content offers you an excellent opportunity to listen to your customers and be able to better understand their needs.
- Established trust – Consumers usually base their buying decisions on what other people are saying. Having positive reviews on your site enhances the chances of prospects using your service or buying your product.
- Search engine optimization – Search engines like Google rank sites based on how unique and relevant their content is. Having user-generated content on your site can play a major role in improving your search engine rankings and even make your site more visible.
- Cost effectiveness – Hiring designers and writers to create content for your business site can be very expensive, but if you work with an in-house team instead, it’ll help you save on money and time.
As we enter week four of our series, we decided to look at a slightly different industry – banking. Now, focusing on banking may seem a bit odd. After all, most people don’t consider banking as something an entrepreneur can even get into. And while there are loads a regulatory loopholes to jump through, plenty of entrepreneurs do start their own bank! And running a bank can be quite lucrative. So if you have experience in the financial industry, and are looking for a change, this could be just the post for you!
How do you start a bank?
Like any business, you need to identify a need. Most communities are served by big-name banks like Chase or Bank of America, and people gravitate towards names they recognize. But even if it feels like your community is over saturated with corporate banks, there could be a place for a small, community bank, like if you decide to focus on serving a particular section or area of the community. Some people also like being able to meet face-to-face with a high-level executive to talk about loans or their account – something they’d never be able to do at a corporate bank.
If the market looks good, you then need to work on getting everything organized. Most states require banks to have multiple directors, who then put in an initial offering to get the bank started, usually around 25% of the bank’s starting capital. Since banks need a lot of capital to run, this is usually a substantial amount of money. Most banks sell off shares to raise the rest of their capital.
When your ducks are in a row, you file for a state or federal charter. Filing this form typically costs thousands of dollars, and requires a substantial amount of preparation. You’ll need to include information like feasibility studies, applications for the directors, projected costs, projected salaries – the state or federal government effectively needs to decide whether or not you’ll be successful before granting a charter. After this, you apply for deposit insurance from the FDIC, which requires banks to prove they have enough capital to cover any risk and losses. It will take a few months before the charter application is processed and, once it is approved, you normally have about a year to start the bank officially.
What business structures are best suited for banking?
Because banks are required to have directors, executives, and shareholders, a bank has to be some sort of corporation. However, in some states, a bank is an entity in itself. Though it is run in the same way a standard corporation is.
How stable is the banking industry?
Very. Because banks have to apply for a charter, an outside organization effectively reviews their business plan and target market, and determines whether or not the idea is viable. Banking costs a lot of money, but if you get a charter, you can usually bet that you’ll be successful. The rate at which banks fail has also slowed substantially as the economy has recovered.
Interested in community banking? Have any questions about the banking industry? Leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772!
Do you know what your entrepreneurial style is like? Our latest infographic is a handy flowchart to help you decide if you’re a solopreneur, mompreneur or dadpreneur, social entrepreneur, or partnership. And once you figure out the kind of ‘trep you are, check out what our panel of 75 small business experts have to say about the kind of entrepreneur they classify themselves as!
Welcome to week three of our ABCs of small business industries! Today’s focus in the series? The automotive industry! This particular industry works alongside anything involving the design, manufacturing, marketing, development, or selling of motor vehicles. What’s not included here, however, are auto repair shops or any sort of gas station.
If your dream has always been to run your own vintage car garage or design automobiles, keeping the following areas in mind to ensure a smooth start!
What do you need to get started?
The biggest hump you’ll have to get over in starting a business in the automotive industry is familiarizing yourself with all the industry rules. This industry in particular has a strict list of guidelines to abide by and follow, but, luckily, the Small Business Administration has you covered. Details on emission standards, how to become a registered motor vehicle importer, knowing the ins and outs of automobile certification, and information on the automobile federal trade commission will all come in handy to keep under your belt in such a robust industry.
Additionally, make sure you have a registered agent in place to handle all of your state mail and remind you of important deadlines, a business/operating license so you can do business where you’d like, and a federal tax ID (EIN) in place if you plan on hiring a strong team to come and join you.
What sort of entity should you form going into the automotive industry?
Though every business owner has the choice of filing whichever entity he feels best suits him and his business, it is common for business owners in the automotive industry to file as an LLC, probably largely in part to the appealing nature of the pass through taxation. This means that business owners who file as an LLC will only be taxed once, whereas with other entity forms, they could be getting taxed twice at both the company level and again at the owner. An LLC is also very easy to get started as well as easy to maintain.
How healthy is the industry?
Around the world right now, there are over 1 billion cars. According to Edmunds.com, “16.4 million car buyers are expected to continue to flock to the market, taking further advantage of more freely flowing credit to refresh the oldest vehicle fleet in history.”
Being that the automobile is the primary mode of transportation around the world, we have formed a strong sense of dependency on the automotive industry – and if you’re planning on starting a business to help out those who need extra assistance with their vehicles, now is a great time to do it!
Want to put the pedal to the metal and start your business in the automotive industry? MyCorp can help you get started! Just leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1 (877) 692-6772, and we’ll help you get your licenses, DBAs, and EINs squared away!
It can feel odd hiring a sales team after you start your business. You were probably the only salesperson for the first few years of your company’s life, and giving up such an important responsibility can be jarring. However, if you want your business to succeed, you have to learn how to delegate and grow. Actually having a sales team is very different than doing sales yourself. You need to trust them, and their skills, implicitly, even if how they sell is different from how you sold. With that in mind, when you first begin to hire and train your sales staff, remember to…
Look for personability
Friendliness and personability are two of the most important qualities of a successful salesperson. It doesn’t matter if someone has three decades of sales experience – if they’re pushy or irritating while selling, they’re going to lose clients. Sales has changed a lot over the last few years. Cold calling is a wash, and the best way to bring in customers is actually through inbound marketing. Your sales staff has to be able to connect with your customers and talk them through the sale, rather than throw pitch after pitch at them.
Social media marketing has proven itself as much more than just a passing fad. A common misconception is that when things go viral, it’s just by accident or some kind of fluke. Granted, there is a little bit of luck at play sometimes but certain firms have got it down to a science where they can really put the odds in their favor. Sometimes it’s about creating a new trend from scratch and making it go viral but other times simply jumping on a bandwagon will do more than enough to raise a lot of exposure for your campaign. Let’s take a look at some of the very best social media campaigns of 2014 (so far) and why they were so successful.
Here’s an example of a company seizing the opportunity when something goes viral by accident. If this was planned from the very start, it would have been incredibly clever and a brilliant way to get attention. Part of me wants to believe that this happened organically, but the cynic in my head says it was staged. In either case, the result is still the same.
TrekAmerica is a company that specializes in putting together adventure holiday packages. When one of their employees named Greg sent in a vacation request, he accidently CC’d every member of the company’s 3500 staff rather than just sending it to his manager. This resulted in the hashtag #GiveGregaHoliday taking off, and the company responded by giving Greg a trip to Las Vegas and including the hashtag #GregGotTheHoliday. The result here was exposure, and this campaign worked because most people can relate to wanting a little time off, and everyone loves an underdog story of an employee being treated right by their bosses.