Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing for Business

Social Media

In the last decade, social media grew exponentially from being a digital channel for interacting with others into a powerful digital marketing tool for businesses.

With over 3.5 billion daily active social media users, there’s really no limit to how far you can go with it. Just imagine how many of them can eventually become your customers!

But, as you jump on the bandwagon of Social Media Marketing (SMM), you have to properly plan and assess the impact and effectiveness of SMM for your brand. This is because, just like with most things, there are two sides to the coin of social media marketing.

If done efficiently, one side promises success, while the other side can be detrimental to your business. While on the one hand, there are businesses who owe a great percentage of their success to social media, there have also been brand disasters, thanks (but, no thanks) to social media. So, in this post, we’ll be discussing some of the Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing to enable you make informed decisions that will set the pace for profitable digital marketing. Let’s Dive in!

The Pros of Social Media Marketing

Business owners and marketers are going gaga over social media these days. Well, you can’t really blame them. Social Media Marketing comes with a lot of perks, and let’s talk about some of these:

Low-Cost Strategy

Compared to other marketing tactics, social media is significantly low cost, and this makes it very appealing. The most popular social media platforms are available to join for free, and all interaction tools are also free.

However, to get the most out of social media, some businesses are investing full time in SMM strategies such as content generation, digital design, page setups, influencers, and maintenance. On average, all these cost between $4000 to $7000 monthly.

But do you know what? This is relatively more cost-effective than the average of 11.1% of revenues spent on traditional marketing. SMM gives you excellent ROI for less financial investment!

Larger Audiences

Do you want to gain traction in your industry? If Yes, then social media is a powerful tool to use in achieving this. And this is one of the main benefits SMM has over traditional marketing.

While traditional media marketing only caters to fixed audiences (TV viewers, magazine readers, etc.), SMM allows you to reach out to a global audience that is unlimited in reach and scope.

Social Media is an open marketplace. With SMM, you are reaching out to a market space filled with both your existing and potential buyers who need a little push from you to decide whether or not to buy from you.

No Demographic Restriction

What’s more, social media marketing is not restricted by demographics such as sex, social status, and age. Current statistics show that 90.4% of millennials, 77.5% Gen-Z, and 48.2 baby boomers are active social media users.

So, you can have a big market for the age group you are targeting for your products and services. It’s even more impressive that SMM can pass your targeted demographic market and pave new channels for leads generation and sales.

Go International

Before we move on to the next advantage, we should also mention that SMM helps businesses that are struggling to get into the international market.

Thanks to the vast worldwide reach of social media, it becomes effortless for you to reach new potentials outside your suburb, city, or country. Facebook, in particular, has over 89% monthly active users who live outside the US. The audience potential of SMM is huge!

Brand Loyalty

It’s one thing to have customers, and it’s another thing to have a group of returning customers who are fans of your brand. This should be your goal, and social media can help you achieve this.

How?

Well, with social media, you can demonstrate your personality to customers and also tell your brand story. It helps you interact with customers, build relationships, show them that you care, and boost your reputation. This will, in turn, foster long-term loyalty.

Reports from Social Media Today show that;

  • Almost 70% of consumers have used social media for customer service-related issues at least once
  • Customers spend 20% to 40% more with companies that respond through social media

Market place Insights

Another plus of listening and engaging with customers in online conversations is that it will help you find out more about their problems, preferences, needs, likes, and dislikes.

These insights are crucial to the success of any business. They give you information on areas to improve turnouts and get ahead of your competitors.

The Cons of Social Media Marketing

For all the advantages of social media, it is not 100% perfect. There are some cons to Marketing that can lead to undesirable impacts on your brand.

Time Consuming

If you’re already into SMM, then you’d agree how much time it consumes. According to industry reports, 64% of digital marketers spend a minimum of 6 hours on Social Media Marketing.

And that’s not even the worse of it. The other 37% spend an average of 11 hours on SMM. Most business owners who want to get tangible results from their SMM efforts find this time-consuming.

Even more frustrating, if your time spent on SMM isn’t done correctly, it will lead to zero results or traffic that don’t convert into leads or sales.

Hard to Measure ROI

It is hard to define the ROI from social network marketing. A recent study indicates that 89% of digital marketers would want to know the exact ROI of their efforts on social network platforms.

Only 37% have a handle on defining the results of their SMM efforts; 35% say they aren’t sure they are correctly measuring ROI; 28% say they don’t know how to measure at all.

What’s more, it can take a long time – months, or even years before your SMM efforts start yielding sales and customer loyalty.

Loss of Control

The worldwide reach of social network means it attracts all kinds of users, including negative and malicious persons. Anything you post online is subject to comments and criticism. Providing a medium for people to publish damaging comments about your brand is literally the stuff of nightmares.

We should also mention that these negative people include scammers, spammers, trolls, hackers, and all other sorts who want to harm your online credibility.

Bottomline

From all the salient points we have discussed above, we can see that marketing really does deliver favorable results for your business.

In fact, consumers expect all brands to have a social network presence – as much as 63% of them. And 90% of social network users communicate with a brand using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.

So, it is crucial for you to up your game and remain conscious of sticking to the best practices. This will allow you to get the most out of Social Media Marketing.

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How to Calculate Free Cash Flow for your Business Health

free

Free cash flow is one of the key indicators used to show the health of the business, particularly its profitability. Typically, it demonstrates the amount of money any business for other purposes after all the capital expenditures that may include equipment, buildings and various other necessary expenses that help businesses sustain their operations.

Although calculating cash flow is a complicated process, there are many ways you can do it. According to experts, it is always better to use all methods correctly. If they all generate the same result, it provides you a reliable way to cross-check your operations.

It is worth noting here that cash flow doesn’t relate to all businesses. It is precisely a measuring tool that non-financial firms use rather than professional associations and investment firms.  If you own a non-financial enterprise, you can calculate the cash flow for free with these three equations.

Equations to Calculate Free Cash Flow

1.       Free Cash flow:  Subtract operation taxes and costs from Sales revenues then subtract required investments for operation capital

The equation is one of the easiest ways to calculate free cash flow. Business owners take sales revenues, including taxes and operating costs from their income statement. The fixed assets show an increase when you invest in new operating capita. The balance sheet shows everything from investments and revenue details.

For example, if your business has earned revenues of $500,000, the amount is reduced to $300,000 because of taxes due and operating costs. If your business requires an investment of $150, 000, it will have the free cash flow of $30,000 to $50, 000.

2.      Free Cash flow:  Subtract net investments in operating capital from net operating profits NOPAT (after taxes)

 NOPAT refers to the same figure we used in the previous equation: subtract operating taxes and costs from sales revenues. Net investment of operating capital uses the same figure that is used in the third term of first calculations. For calculating free cash flow through this equation, it is better to use the increased fixed assets on your balance sheet.

That means, your NOPAT will remain at the same amount of $30,000. You just need to exchange the required investment of your business in operating capital for your net investments in operating capital.  If you assume the same figures, your free cash flow will remain the same.

3.      Free Cash flow:  Subtract capital expenditure from the net cash flow of operations

 You can also calculate free cash flow by subtracting the capital expenditure from the net cash flow that comes from operations.  Net cash flow in this equation comes from the cash flow statement, while capital expenditure is taken from the increase in the business’s fixed assets.  For instance, if your operation’s net cash flow is around $200,000, the figure might be reduced by your capital expenditures.

Interestingly, all these free cash flow calculation methods will give you the same answers when you work with these equations. You might feel like approaching the same information and data from three different angles.

How does Free Cash Flow Calculation Affect Your Business?

As mentioned earlier, free cash flow is useful for the health of your business. Firms with healthy free cash flow are financially stable to meet the bills and investments every month. Plus, they also have leftover funds that they usually distribute among dividends and shareholders. Man firms use this extra fund to seize opportunities to help them generate more revenues through acquisitions of innovative products.

That is to say, if your business is booming and has high free cash flow, it is an indication that it is doing well and you should consider expanding it. Conversely, if it fails to generate good free cash flow, you might need to consider restructuring it as there are remaining funds after the basic expenses.

However, it is important to understand that poor free cash flow doesn’t always indicate a failing business. It might be expected even when your business is pursuing growth. Development and acquisition of new products are temporarily subtracted from the main capital. That is the reason why most of the investors tend to work with the businesses that have high free cash flow. These businesses are generally considered healthy with bright prospects. If an investor finds a business that has rising free cash flow with an undervalued share cost, it may be a great investment bet.

How can you Benefit from the Free Cash Flow

Since you understand how positive free cash flow may benefit you by indicating the healthy financial status of your business, it is better to use this understanding to your advantage. It is always better to look beyond the figures. Know that established firms have relatively consistent and healthy free cash flow. New businesses, on the other hand, are in a state where they need to pour money into growth and stabilization.

Although it depends on the business owners how they use the free cash flow, using the funds to expand the operations, pay shareholders and dividends, invest in new products, research or to reduce debt is beneficial for the business.

Always remember that companies that have surging free cash flow due to debt elimination, dividend distributions, cost reductions, efficiency improvements, or revenue growth can reward their investors in the future.

In other scenarios, when free cash flow is shrinking, businesses fail to sustain their growth earnings. Not only this, insufficient free cash flow for growth forces a business to boost debt levels. In a worse scenario, a business without enough free cash flow may not even have the liquidity to sustain.

Final Thoughts

All in all, it is important to find an all-purpose tool that can help you test the fundamentals of your business that seem elusive. Free cash flow calculation is like a performance metric they provide entrepreneurs an opportunity to guard up if their business is not generating enough revenues.

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How to Identify Your Small Business Differentiator and Why

differentiator

When you are the owner of a small business, there are times when the scale of bigger companies can overwhelm you. At these times, you may wonder what you have that will make potential customers pick your brand over another. This particular factor is a business differentiator, and it helps consumers in the market identify you and set you apart from other brands.

Differentiating your company from the rest is an integral part in developing a brand, and it’s become even more difficult in recent years since it’s not merely enough to be just better than others; you need to be different. You may not have realized it yet, but being a small business is a differentiator on its own, you need to leverage it and market it enough. Here’s how you can identify your small business’ differentiators.

Analyze Your Competition

Finding your differentiator starts by learning what makes your competitors different. You need to maintain a neutral position and evaluate your competitor to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. What do they offer? What do they do better than you? How do they treat their customers?

Once you answer these questions, you discover their weak and strong points, as well as your own. At this point, you can decide whether you want to change the direction of your business to make it better than your competitors or market an aspect of your brand that’s already there.

Be Familiar with the Customer Experience

A benefit of being a small business owner is personally having experienced the life of an average consumer. By knowing the shortcomings of a large-scale company customer experience, you know what to develop in your own company. However, when working on differentiators, it’s time to start by scratch so you should map the various aspects of being a customer. What do they value? What dissuades them from buying?

You need to work on ways to build a consumer’s awareness of a need that your company can fulfill. It’s only after a consumer realizes that they need something that they will look towards brands that can provide them with a solution. You need to assess how your target demographic makes buying decisions, and whether your brand aligns with that thought process or not.

Another factor you should consider is how your customer will use your product and whether they will require any help with it after their purchase. Look towards your competitors and see what they offer, and see what you can provide when compared to them.

Assess Whether You Meet Customer Expectations

Once you’ve mapped out different points in a customer’s overall experience with your brand, you need to assess whether you meet expectations at each point. For instance, the first time a customer interacts with your brand, they expect a friendly approach that tries to understand their problem. Now you need to know if you come for your customer’s wallet at every encounter, or if there’s an empathetic side to you.

If you step into their shoes and see things from their point of view, you can ask yourself ‘do I want to be sold a product this way?’, ‘does this item have everything I need?’ and ‘has the brand tried to understand me and my problem?’ You need to learn whether your product motivates them to buy it.

The wrong approach is to focus solely on your product because that’s not what customers emphasize on when buying a product. The best way is to address different aspects of the customer experience and develop all of them.

Know Your Strengths

The first and foremost strength of being a small business is giving customers the attention they need. Since you’re not managing branches everywhere, you can afford to look after a minimal customer base.

Other than that, each business has its strengths when compared to other brands. It could be your amazing marketing, your customer loyalty programs, or your approach to customer service. Also, a small business operates on values, so they understand the needs and requirements of the average person.

Get Involved in the Community

The community you operate in should be your focus when expanding your reach. By making an impact on your community, your brand automatically earns a reputation among the other brands in the area. The people in your district will be in favor of supporting your brand since it will have a positive influence on their community.

The Importance of Having Differentiators

It’s true that ever brand needs differentiators that give them a competitive edge for business rivals, but your brand needs it more as a small business. That’s because large companies can already offer better prices due to cheaper manufacturing practices and access to raw materials at lower costs.

Hence, having a fixed market differentiator will help consumers pick your brand despite the difference between what you and larger brands can offer. However, having a differentiator isn’t only necessary for setting your brand apart from the rest. By knowing what you can do better than other companies can, you’ll have a clear view of what you should focus on when planning a marketing campaign.

A well-planned and targeted marketing effort will help you retain customers and increase your rates of promotion among people outside your community. Without a strong differentiator, you won’t be able to compete with others head-on.

At the same time, you need to uphold the values of honesty and transparency by refraining from overloading your brand profile. By attesting to being better than competitors at ‘everything,’ you risk losing precious customers. That’s why; you need to test all of your differentiators to see if they’re true, provable and relevant.

Only market things about your brands that you believe to be true, and to gain the audience’s trust, you have to prove it; whether through ‘look inside our workshop’ schemes or quality tests. Lastly, your differentiators need to be relevant. Customers won’t consider an aspect of your brand that they don’t care about or if it doesn’t benefit them. To conclude, you need to reflect upon your band’s personality and find something about your small business that differentiates it from the rest.

 

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How Soon Should You Start Talking About Business Idea

Idea

Some people are just itching to launch their own business. But all they have is an idea.

It is true that being passionate about your idea is critical to establish a business. But should you discuss it with your friends and family before you have anything concrete?

When is the Right Time?

Naturally, all entrepreneurs are very protective when it comes to nurturing and protecting their business idea. Every entrepreneur initially fears that someone would steal his or her idea.

For that reason, it is important that you don’t share a business idea with people around you, without translating your idea into a viable business.

But in some cases, you can’t take things any further unless you share your business proposal with an investor who can finance your business. Seasoned experts recommend that you must never share any business plan or idea without getting a confidentiality and NDA agreement signed by the other party.

These legal documents are generally drafted by attorneys and must be signed before you discuss your idea.

How to Start Talking about your Business Idea?

An idea is fragile in its infancy stages. It must be developed into an elevator pitch or a business proposal before you could share it with other people. Don’t be discouraged if your idea doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Some of the best business ideas were once turned down by giant investors and people in general.

Believe in Yourself

Did you know that Chester Carlson, who was the inventor of the Xerox machine, received a rejection letter that stated ‘Who wants to copy a document on paper?’ Most of us still don’t know that his idea was turned down by 20 companies between 1939 and 1944. Today, Rank Xerox Corporation earns millions of dollars in profits.

The problem is not that you want to share your idea with people. What’s more important is who you want to share your business proposal with. Many start-ups and entrepreneurs simply abandon their business idea if they are rejected initially. But if you have worked on producing a quick and affordable solution to your target consumers’ problems, never doubt the potential of your business idea.

Many entrepreneurs or companies have re-located to other countries where there is more demand for their products or services. Every city and town has unique government-funded business development offices. You can get free or inexpensive resources to work on your business idea and find your target market.

Connect with Positive People

While keeping your business idea to yourself initially is the best policy, sometimes it helps sharing your ideas with motivated and positive people. Self-motivated individuals offer good advice and offer the best emotional support to help you launch a promising business.

But stay away from people who always bring you down. These people not just steal your energy, but can also rob you of your incredible business ideas.

Create a Strategy

Your business idea is like a small baby that has to grow before you could introduce it other people. Many entrepreneurs have an idea of what their business ideas or products are going to do, but they fail to figure out the ‘how’ part.

Work on developing a decent product or solution, before you could pitch it to investors. Work on creating an impressive proposal that highlights the best features of your idea as well as elaborates the mechanics or the process that’s involved.

When you re-invent something, you need to show why your idea is better than the rest. There has to be something unique about your business idea or product that offers something new or inventive. Going creative saves you from disastrous pitfalls and guarantees a steady source of profits.

Work on Promotion

A solid marketing strategy offers a strong back-up for your business idea. Once you have produced a great product, marketing it right lets you reach out to a wide audience. Study and reflect on how your competitors promoted their first products and services. Did they rely more on promotion or improving their initial business idea.

Relocate to a New Location

There are many reasons why many companies and business relocate to other cities or countries. Some firms require specialized employees while other companies might need an extra and affordable place to run their business.

Ask for Help

Connect with people who listen to your business ideas without any bias or prejudice. Most entrepreneurs look up to a role model if they can’t find a mentor. A mentorship or partnership between two parties can be both formal and informal.

You can also find true strength and support from your friends and family. Reaching out to others and asking for help is never a taboo for entrepreneurs. Successful people know that they can’t do everything. In fact, some of the most lucrative businesses were never built alone.

Test your Services

If you have developed a product, test it on a sample audience to identify its best and worst features. If you are setting-up an ecommerce store, make sure your website has gone through A/B testing and does not have any glitches before you run it live.

In case you have an idea for a mobile app, make sure it goes through a meticulous Quality Assurance process to get any bugs fixed. It is not easy to fool or satisfy today’s smart consumers. Once you have materialized your business idea, you need to promote it successfully across all channels to reach out to your audience.

Final Thoughts

The best time to share your ideas with your friends and family is when you know that your idea can successfully bridge the gap between a problem and a solution. The best time to share it with investors or other companies is when you have meticulously worked on creating and testing the implementation of our ideas. Never prematurely take an idea to an investor, he will reject it. Take a product or business proposal and you have higher chances of getting an approval.

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Manage Your Fears: Six Exercises for Startup Owners

fears

At any given time, establishing a startup is never an easy task. This, however, becomes more difficult and fears for first-time entrepreneurs who do not have much background and experience in managing a company.

Because of the uncertain and ambiguous nature of most startups, would-be entrepreneurs usually find themselves facing a number of fears and misgivings about starting a business. These fears – which are often tied with the need to perform unfamiliar chores and tackle unforeseen challenges, among others – affect one’s performance and would usually lead to a rather disastrous outcome.

Fears are always present, that is the reality. And in order to overcome them, entrepreneurs should keep in mind that their goal is not to get rid it. Instead, they need to have the ability to transform the adrenaline that naturally arises from fears into an energy that can inspire them to move forward. Unmanaged, fear can be destructive. But with proper control, it could turn into a motivating force. 

In an address at the University of California at Santa Barbara, entrepreneur Seth Epstein – an owner of a popular clothing line and the Founder-CEO of broadcast design firm FUEL – talked about fear management and provided several exercises that could help entrepreneurs, first-time or not, harness their fears.

The exercises try to deal with common trepidations faced even by those who are not in entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, Epstein notes that following the suggested tasks would increase one’s chances of being a successful business owner. He said that in order to thrive and enhance their capacity to deal with problems, entrepreneurs must face and do things that they are afraid of.

Following are Epstein’s list of exercises to help startup owners manage their fears:

Go out on a date. Inviting someone to have dinner or watch a movie is one of the most common fears in town. This, therefore, should be on the top of the “face your fears” list. Unfortunately, this exercise is only for those who are still available.

Talk to strangers. People are usually afraid of conversing with unfamiliar people. This is understandable, considering the popular warning that parents often say to their children. Grown-ups, however, must keep in mind that it is important to talk to others, especially in social gatherings and other events.

Engage in an extreme challenge. A lot of people do not participate in extreme physical activities because they are afraid of falling, drowning, or simply losing control of themselves. If you want to know how to manage your fears, then start engaging in activities such as parachuting, bungee jumping, surfing, diving, etc.

Connect with our idol. Try to contact a very important person that you really admire. Look for his or her e-mail address or send a note via regular means. This does not only give you an opportunity to connect with your idol, it also prevents you from being intimidated whenever you face a high-profile person.

Go out and have an adventure. Participating in a challenging trip to an unfamiliar location will help you get used to unfamiliar circumstances and develop your resourcefulness – a very advantageous exercise for entrepreneurs.

Say yes to every opportunity for a week. People are afraid of grabbing opportunities because they are afraid that it will disrupt the status quo and will eventually lead to disasters. For a week, try to keep an open mind and say yes to every relatively safe opportunity that you come upon. This will help you discover things that you will never learn every time you say no.

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Things That a New Small Business Owner Must Expect

Business Owner

Many people dream about starting their own business, but very few are actually able to live their dreams by executing them, and even fewer make it past the first five years. This is mainly because a large number of times, some business owner don’t really know what to expect.

There are no words to describe what it feels like but in simple terms; it’s fun but scary at the same time. A large number of small businesses fail because of an inability to successfully make it past year one.

Many business gurus believe that with the right knowledge of what to expect, a new small business owner will know how to prepare for upcoming challenges. Here are a few things that any new small business owner should expect.

Be Ready to Hustle When You’re Tired

Isn’t that what being a small business owner is about? You may be thinking that as a small business owner, you can take a day off when you feel like it but that’s not the case. As the brains behind the entire operation, you need to hustle even when you feel like you’ve done enough. That’s the difference between being an employee and a business owner; you’ve never done enough.

There will always be paperwork that you need to sign, orders that you need to make and customers whom you need to talk to, especially in the first year. Just like in every other phase of life or an industry, the initial period is always make-or-break, and the end result highly depends upon how much work you put in.

You can spend each second checking and rechecking your plans and improving them, working on ideas and developing new strategies. After all, there’s so much on your plate (marketing, product development, vendor contracts and employee training)

You Can’t Make Every Customer Happy

It’s true that as a business owner, you need to retain a sense of balance in everything you do but when it comes to satisfaction, you can’t make everyone happy. As a small business owner, you’re bound to make quite a few customers unhappy and the truth is, you don’t really need to make everyone happy, either.

It’s important that you remember that the key is to have a consistent customer service policy and handling complaints carefully. If your product doesn’t impress a customer all that much, then the way you handle a complaint is sure to make them a loyal customer.

A major factor that differentiates your small business from that of a larger conglomerate’s is that you, as the owner, can give customers the attention they want, which is why they are likely to approach your brand in the first place.

Be the Master of All Trades

When you first thought of starting a business, you may have guessed that you’d only have to sign things and the wheels of your business would turn themselves. Wrong. In year one, you should expect to be able to do everything and know how every process works.

Along the way, you’ll think ‘they didn’t teach me this at business school’ as you try to find a good web hosting company for your company website or take aesthetic pictures of your products so you can post them on a social media account. You don’t learn everything about starting a business; you have to experience it hands-on.

From managing office operations during the day to writing content for your website at night, you’ll have to do most of it in the first year. You’ll be lucky to have friends or family who’ll be willing to help around but in year one, you can’t afford to hire many employees. In addition, even when you do get people on-board, you’ll have to know how to do things yourself before teaching them the basics.

Be Familiar with Laws

No this is where it gets interesting. Staring a small business will require you to be familiar with laws about hiring and taxes so that your business will genuinely be able to help people in the community by offering employment.

There are a number of regulations, laws, and licenses you need to know about before you can officially carry out operations as a business. In the beginning, you should expect to hire a lawyer for such needs because it’s impossible for you to know all the complex regulations that surround the startup of a small business.

This is crucial because no matter how hard you work on your business, it’s likely that even a small detail or legality can be held against you. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by investing in proper legal advice and obtaining all the licenses you require. Nevertheless, legal counsel isn’t cheap so you should expect to have enough financial resources.

There Will Be Some Bumps along the Road

Failure, no matter how big or small, is an inevitable part of running any business, whether big or small. You could make a product that doesn’t turn out as successful as you thought, your marketing strategy may backfire or worst-case scenario, you get a wave of negative feedback.

The first year won’t be failure-free but that doesn’t lessen your chances of reaching success. To keep yourself prepared for these situations, business experts advise that before you should quit your job, you need to have some savings. To be more specific, you should have enough money to support yourself for a year.

You need enough savings because no matter how well you plan the first year of your business, you can’t predict the future so there is always a chance that you might fail. There’s nothing wrong in preparing yourself for the worst-case scenario while planning for the best.

Conclusion

These are just some of the things that every small business owner must expect, especially during the first year after launching their business. Of course, no amount of expectation and preparedness can actually make you battle-ready to start a business but knowing a few of the most common symptoms will help you diagnose and reassure yourself that this is supposed to happen.

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How to Do Valuation of Your Small Business

Valuation

When you are looking forward to starting your own small business, you will have to familiarize yourself with a lot of new ideas. One of the important concepts that every business owner must be aware of is business valuation. So, what is business valuation, what is its importance and how do you do the valuation of a business? Read on to know.

Business Valuation

As the name clearly suggests, business valuation is the act of finding the value of your business in the market. It is just like finding the value of a house when you are about to sell it. You can use multiple methods to find the value of your business. However, it is always in your best interest that you hire a professional valuator to do it for you. They know multiple methods of valuation and will make sure that the final valuation is error-free.

The Importance of Business Valuation

The first thing you should know is that it is imperative to do the valuation of your business not for one but many reasons. The first reason that comes to mind is the selling of a business. When you want to sell your business to someone, you have to set a price for it. Sometimes, the owner of a business would want to plan succession i.e. the transferring of shares to an heir. The buy sell-agreement that they use for transferring the shares to their heirs requires them to know the value of the business.

If you have ever pitched your business to an investor, you must be aware of the fact that they always ask for business valuation. They are trying to assess a few different things based on the valuation you give them. First, they want to know how much their investment is worth. Secondly, they want to know whether or not you are fair with your investment demand if you are offering them equity for their contribution.

The Three Business Valuation Methods

Even though there are other business valuation methods as well, you will be reading about the three most common ones.

1. Valuation Based on Market Value

You also call this method the relative valuation method. It is a fairly straightforward way of knowing how much your business is worth. The valuators have to look at other businesses in the market that are similar to yours. They look at their selling prices and determine the value of your business based on those prices. Now, as simple and plain as this method sounds, it does not always work. For example, you don’t find the records of sole proprietorships that easily. So, when it comes to the valuation of a sole proprietorship business, finding records of similar businesses can pose quite a challenge.

2. Valuation Based on Business Future Earning Potential

This is an ingenious way to know the value of a business and one that helps you a great deal when it comes to obtaining investments from interested investors. This is quite a realistic approach but pitching it to investors can be a daring task.

First, you have to make sure that you have done proper calculations based on your current and past records to come up with the future earning potential of the business.

Secondly, you have to stand confidently with your decision because investors would often question you and your integrity a lot when they deem that you have valued your business much higher than you should have.

Capitalization of past earning is quite a frequently used approach to do this type of valuation wherein you look into the past financial reports of your business, smooth out any extraordinary earnings or expenses, and find the product of the normalized cash flow with a number referred to as capitalizing factor. It is not the only method used for determining the value of the business under this category. Another frequently used method is based on discounted future earnings.

3. Valuation Based on Assets

It is clear from the name that in this type of valuation you find the worth of the business based on the assets it owns. Once again, there are multiple ways to approach this valuation too. A common way to do this type of valuation takes liquidation of the business into account i.e. calculate how much money you would have if you sold every asset that your business owns and then subtract every liability from that sum. The other way is based on the ongoing status of the business wherein you look at the total value of your assets on the balance sheet and subtract your existing liabilities from them.

Once again, it is the sole proprietorship that poses challenges when it comes to doing the valuation of a business using this approach. Why the valuation of sole proprietorships is difficult using this method is because the owner in this case does not use the assets for business purposes only but personal as well.

You now know from the information given above that it is imperative for you to complete the valuation of your business. Whether it is for legal purposes or to sell your company at the right price, knowing the right value of your business is crucial. In the end, you should prepare your business financial documents regularly to help you find its value with convenience.

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10 Need To Know Things Before Starting A Business

Starting

Establishing a starting business – especially for those who do not have experience – is a very complicated and difficult task. More than once, the business owner’s lack of experience would often lead to regrettable, if not disastrous, outcomes. If you are planning to start a new business, here are ten things that you must know if you want to avoid startup failures:

1. Put everything on paper. Some people might tell you that you should avoid contracts as much as possible. Unfortunately, they are wrong. Before starting any deal – whether with a supplier or investor – work first on the terms of the agreement and put in on paper. This will assure you that you have a written documentation that might help you in case issues about the arrangement that was earlier agreed upon arise.

2. Formulate an effective business system. Businesses to tend to rely on efficient systems that ensure optimized operations. As the owner, it is your task to create, evaluate, and re-evaluate this kind of system that will guarantee quality and profitable results not just from your employees but from everyone and everything involved in the company.

3. Know your finances. Businesses rely heavily on your capital and profits. Even if you hire a professional accountant to handle your finances, it is important that you have more than just an inkling of knowledge about this aspect of your company. Know your financial limits. Likewise, have an idea on when will you receive payments. You would not want to wake up realizing that you don’t have the money to pay this month’s electricity bill.

4. Have an attorney. It might appear over the top, but having a person who will be there to offer legal assistance may be one of the best decisions that you will ever make. Keep in mind that attorneys are not just about legal suits and court trials – they can also assist in contracts and other agreements. In the end, you will realize that their worth is more than what you have paid them.

5. Decide on whether to hire an employee or get an independent contractor. The decision is up to you, really. It basically depends on the job that is needed to be done. You have to consider the risks of hiring one over the other. Employees, for instance, are good for long term tasks while contractors are the best choice if you are looking for someone who can work on specific assignments.

6. Be ready with your legal agreements. This is basically a combination of this list’s first and the fourth items. Like what was stated, contracts should be signed before the implementation of any deal. And that includes arrangements with your employees and contractors. Familiarize yourself – with the help of your attorney – with non-disclosure, intellectual property, and other forms of agreements that might come in handy.

7. Be careful with joint ventures. Teaming up with another business – especially with established ones – are very enticing for startup owners. And while this is an indication that your business in on the right track, be wary of these partnerships. Ask the question, what will you get if you sign that agreement?

8. Do not muddle up your personal and professional lives. Sure, you own the starting business. But that should not encourage you to put your personal money and your startup’s capital in a single bank account. Keep everything separated, especially with accounting. Businesses flourish if you professionally – and not personally – handle the finances.

9. Be ready for additional tax types. Taxes are part of our everyday lives. And don’t be surprised if it becomes a part of your every hour’s life once you establish your startup. Businesses tend to pay a lot of taxes, and you shouldn’t lose your mind because of this. There are tools available in the market that might help you. Or better, hire an accountant.

10. Look for the right tools. There are many services that can help you operate your business. Browse through a number of software, applications, and programs that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Establishing a starting business requires passion. But more than that, would-be entrepreneurs are also encouraged to have some knowledge on what they are about to do. It might sound difficult, but it sure is fun.

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Enterprise Turn to the Right with the Help of Angel Investors

Enterprise

You have a business enterprise, but its just not taking off the way that you planned or business has slowed down significantly after a stellar few years. Along the way though, you have been able to learn much more about what the market demands and can amend your approach with great success with the right funding. Sometimes it’s necessary to reinvent your business to fit the marketplace and take advantage of what you have learned to date through missteps or experience. It’s a sharp turn to the right that can help a business take off again and angel investors can help you turn the wheel with angel funding.

Sometimes entrepreneurs have a good idea that needs tweaking, but they don’t know it needs adjusting until they enter the marketplace. In the age of technology, customer needs can change rapidly and you must be able to accommodate those needs through innovation. Business based on excellent ideas aren’t always successful after a period of time simply because they need a new look, a new approach, a refined marketing plan or an adaptation.

All too often businesses are driven into the ground because owners refuse to acknowledge that the economy has shifted or that their market niche has changed expectations. It’s a case of stubbornness in many circumstances because it’s tough to consider changing a brand that has time, money and effort behind it. However, your brand won’t do you much good if your company dies a slow death because you failed to listen to what the market is telling you.

Turning Towards Success

Reinventing your business with the help of angel investors can change a struggling business into an adaptable one that is always one step ahead of customers. Angel investors don’t just fund brand new businesses. They also fund existing businesses ready to change course to take advantage of a changing economy or a changing marketplace. Companies reinvent themselves every day with enormous success and many are companies well recognized – Apple computers, HP, GE and others. However, you don’t have to be a major corporation to understand that market adaptability is one of the most important keys to success.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of entrepreneurs who refuse to admit they need to pivot in place and head in a new direction. The advantages of adapting is overshadowed by the fear of failing, so the business is allowed to die a slow death while reinvention ideas are left languishing in the dark. It’s not for lack of funding either. Angel investors are investors willing to accept risk for financial gain and are looking for companies that have a new idea and a new way to penetrate a changing economy. Angel investors, like venture capitalists and equity partners, embrace innovation, new approaches and new ideas.

Reinvention can take many forms.

  • Technological changes in products or processes
  • Response to competition in the form of new products or services
  • Upscale reinvention of brand
  • Change or expansion in products or services in response to changing customer base
  • Expansion in the definition of the niche market

Angel investors are more than willing to invest in companies that are ready to take a new path. In fact, you have a lot to offer angel investors right from the start because you have a business track record. The fact you are currently in business is a major benefit and selling point and often enough to get an investor’s attention sooner rather than later.

Pivoting on Core Competences

If you have a desire and need to take a sharp turn to the right in your business, the first step is developing a business plan around your core competencies. Those core competencies are the strengths of your business around which you will pivot your plans for new products or services, increased market penetration or business expansion based on a reinvention platform.  Clearly explain your new idea, track record, the problem you will solve or the market you will serve, the benefits offered to the marketplace, the revenue opportunities and how reinvention strengthens and rather than weakens your enterprise, and angel investors will have plenty of good reasons to join your efforts.

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Common Spending Mistakes in Small Businesses

easy way

There is no denying that running a business is not always easy. There are plenty of challenges that reverse growth or halt progress. Precisely, if these challenges have a direct impact on business finances, it may cause several other risks that your business needs to face. In other words, managing finances is pivotal to stay on top. And if you’re a startup, finance management becomes as important as serving existing customers or finding new leads.

But, if you are like business owners who find managing money or bookkeeping a daunting task, you must know your common spending mistakes to stay ahead in the business domain. This is one way you can mitigate not only financial risks but also monitor the cash flow of your business. In other words, by controlling your spending and cash flows, you improve success chances and your profitability also.

We have enumerated a few common spending mistakes to help you steer clear of the financial management of your business.

Common Spending Mistakes in Small Business

1.     Failure in Keeping Personal and Business Expenses Separate

This might sound trivial to you, but many business owners when entering the business world make this mistake. Remember that you are in the early phases of your business, it is vital to keep the expenses separate. Although sometimes you need to rely on the personal finances to support business expenditures, you need to ensure that you h have a separate budget for your business.  Also, relying on the personal expense to fund business may cause problems in the long-term.

Once your business is operational and starts serving the customers, separate finances by making a separate business credit card. Make sure you have a separate bank account for your business. Doing so can be extremely helpful in managing tax problems and avoiding bookkeeping confusion subsequently.   It will also empower you to evaluate potential or existing cash flow issues and overall business finances before they turn into a major problem.

2.     Not Creating a Budget

You might find easy budgeting, but you cannot deny its long-term value that outweighs all initial stress and effort.

Creating a budget means analyzing how much have you earned and how much you can invest. An organized budget helps you make informed decisions about all business matters that include everything from supplies purchasing, staffing, and training to inventory. Conversely, when you work without a budget, all these tasks become challenging and may cause you significant cash flow problems. This particularly affects your business if it works with seasonal shifts, and you need this cash flow to maintain business operations during the slow months.

Fortunately, there is a wide variety of apps such as Scoro, Centage, and Adaptive insights that can help entrepreneurs not only create but also maintain a budget. Not to mention how these budgeting apps keep track of your business expenses and send you a handy report at the end of the month or year. This allows you to do preparations for tax seasons and review performance.

3.     Failure to do Financing at the Right Time

All business owners know that working capital is an essential thing to operate the business and increase its growth. If working capital runs low, your business might face a lot of issues that not easy to resolve it right away, and that may vary from unpaid bills, mounting fees to lower credit scores.  Not only that but making payrolls also become a challenge while tackling such issues. The situation may create problems when it comes to retaining your potential employees. The problems like staff shortage, inventory, and supply management lead to decreased revenues and unsatisfactory customer services.

Ultimately, the failure to meet your business financial obligations can impact different areas of business. That is why it is important not only to identify but also address the cash flow issues and to prevent poor working capital in a easy way. It is better if you seek assistance about taking control of financial matters before they become problematic for your business.

4.     Ignoring Poor Credit Scores

Recognizing the right time to consider alternative financing options like a line of credit or loan is important. However, your due diligence will not benefit you if you fail to qualify as a borrower. That means, it is essential to be vigilant about both your personal and business credit scores.

It is also important because your credit scores impact your ability to use financing solutions with suppliers or vendors. The arrangements often help business owners easy fill the gaps in their cash flow.  Moreover, with a good business score, you can reduce the insurance premium and interest rate on your loan.

Sometimes, your credit scores contribute to secure many affordable financing terms; particularly when you opt for loans, credit cards, and line of credit.  The phenomenon is confusing for many people since they are advised to keep their personal and business financing separate as an ideal practice.  

However, it is important to understand that when you sign a lending agreement as a primary applicant,  banks use your credits to determine your eligibility, repayment terms, and interest rates.  Customers are sent an annual credit report, and it is good to use it for your advantage.  Although the business credit report is hard to obtain, you can get them through various platforms.

5.     Overspending on Startup

When starting a startup, you are naturally optimistic that your business will produce good revenues if you invest a large amount in it. This optimism sometimes leads to overspending, which is another common spending mistake. To avoid overspending, research carefully about how much inventory or staff you need to take a good start.

Final Thoughts

When running a business, you may face many financial issues, and to plan for all potential scenarios is not easy. However, when it comes to cash flow, various things can be done to avoid cash flow issues. The most important thing is to be proactive in whatever approach you use to manage your business finance.  Besides this, budgeting and healthy credit scores play an important role in keeping business finance issues at bay.

Thus, the given spending mistakes are very common when a business is in establishing phase. However, you can avoid them by planning and evaluating everything in advance.

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