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50 Tips for Starting Your Own Company

By John Rampton

Starting your own business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s stressful and pretty much demands your complete focus. On the plus side, it can also be a fulfilling experience professionally and personally.

Here are 50 tips on how to make your business come to life:

1. Do a self-inventory.

Not everyone has what it takes to start a company. That’s not to say that your idea is not brilliant, but are you ready for all the chores that come with it, like cold calling prospects and invoicing them until you’re paid when you start getting clients? It just means that you may not have the personality traits to handle launching a company of your own.

Before investing any time or resources, evaluate yourself and see if you have some the typical traits of an entrepreneur. Are you motivated, able to adapt and confident? Are you resilient?

2. Develop an idea.

Don’t just start a business because something is in vogue and you think commercializing it will make money. Develop a business concept that you’re passionate about related to something that you have experience with. From there, come up with a product or service that you believe can enhance the people’s lives.

3. Test the plausibility.

Once you’ve settled on an idea, figure out how you can make it become a reality. Is the product or service something that people want or need? Can you make a profit selling it? Does the product work?

Related: The 15 Most Popular Online Payment Solutions

4. Write a business plan.

A solid business plan will guide you going forward, even if your plan is to be just a solopreneur or freelancer. It’s also needed for presenting your idea to potential investors. Your business plan should include a mission statement, a company summary, an executive summary, a service or product offerings, a description of a target market, financial projections and the cost of the operation. Learn about how to write a business plan at SBA.gov.

5. Identify your market.

Even though you may have detected some interest in your business, you need to do more homework. Assess the market, targeting the customers most likely to make a purchase. Perform a competitive assessment.

6. Determine the costs.

Do additional research and find out the standard cost factors within this industry. Not only will this help you manage your business more effectively, investors will want to know this.

7. Establish a budget.

Once you determine how much money you’ll have to work with, figure out how much it will take to develop your product or service and create a marketing plan.

Related: Founders Are From Mars, Capital Providers From Venus

8. Find the right investors.

You’re going to need some sort of funding to start off, whether from your savings, credit cards, loans, grants or venture capitalists. Find an investor who shares your passion, someone you believe you can work with.

9. Listen to investors.

Whether you like it, investors do have a say in your company. And you need to listen to their advice or suggestion. But that doesn’t mean you have to do what they tell you.

10. Set up a great support system.

You’re going to be investing a lot of time and resources into your new business venture. Be certain that your family is on board. They must be aware that this process will be challenging financially and emotionally.

11. Determine the legal structure.

Settle on which form of ownership is best for you: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, an S corporation, a nonprofit or a cooperative. Find out more at SBA.gov.

Related: Name That Company to Dazzling Success

12. Select a business name.

Decide on a name that best suits your business. Then check to see if the domain name is available online, as well as if it’s free to use in your county, state and in the country.

13. Register your business name.

If your proposed business name is available, register it with the county clerk, have it trademarked at the state and federal levels and secure a domain name.

14. Take advantage of free resources.

Numerous free resources can offer advice, training and assistance. SBA.gov is a great place to look at to find local resources.

15. Determine tax obligations.

Now it’s time to wrestle with the tax obligations. In the United States, four basic types of business taxes arise: income, self-employment, taxes for employees and excise taxes.

16. Secure permits and licenses.

According to NOLO, you’ll have to pick up a federal employment identification number (unless the company is a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company without employees.) Apply for state licenses. Pick up a local tax registration certificate. File for local permits, if required, such as a conditional use permit or zoning variance.

17. Buy insurance.

Make sure that you arrange for the proper insurance for your business. This will vary according to the type of business. If you’re working from home be sure that your homeowner’s insurance covers theft or damage to business assets, as well as liability for any business-related injuries.

18. Set up the books.

Figure out if you’re using a cash or accrual system, determine the fiscal year for the business and set up a recordkeeping system.

19. Choose a business location.

Select a location that best fits the needs of your business, one that offers an opportunity for growth, the right level of competition and proximity to suppliers. It should also be accessible to customers.

Related: Office Space à la Carte Is on the Menu for Some Entrepreneurs

20. Don’t worry about an office.

If you’re not making any revenue, then don’t concern yourself with an office or warehouse ust yet.

21. A patent can wait.

Patents can cost thousands of dollars. Wait to pursue this route until you have a few customers paying the bills. A patent is less useful if you can’t enforce it or have the money to see it through.

22. Be flexible.

Chances are that your original idea will have to be modified. Being able to pivot and adapt to create what customers want will determine if your business will fail or succeed.

23. Share your ideas with friends and family.

Your nearest and dearest will most likely be the most honest with you about your business. Don’t hesitate to seek their advice and suggestions.

24. Ignore the naysayers.

At the same time, there’s a difference between constructive criticism and someone’s quick jab projecting that your business will fail. Follow the example of French Internet mogul Xavier Niel and ignore them.

Related: When Angel Investors Reject Your Plan

25. Don’t become angry.

If your idea is rejected by customers or investors, don’t just succumb to anger. Find out what they didn’t like, make adjustments and go back to them when you’ve made the changes. There’s the possibility that the timing was wrong as well.

26. Deliver the product or service fast.

Your business is a work in progress and if you launch your product or service quickly, you will be able to build a community of customers who can provide valuable feedback that can help you improve the offerings. In the words of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, “If you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released too late

27. Offer new products or services.

If you already have customers, be sure to hold on to them by providing new products or services.

28. Be patient.

Always keep in mind that success won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take some time before you make a profit.

29. Overdeliver at first.

Once you land a new client, be sure to go above and beyond the call of duty for at least the first month. You’ll have this customer hooked from then on.

Related: The Web Is a Content War. Here’s How to Win. (Infographic)

30. Blog all the time.

Don’t be ashamed to share both your triumphs and struggles. Customers will enjoy your honesty.

31. Avoid fights with partners

If you have disagreements with partners, then sever ties as soon as possible. In-house bickering will prevent you from focusing on growing the business.

32. Don’t worry about dilution.

So an investor has required a stake in the company. Recognize the fact that eventually at one point or another you’ll have to give up some control of the business. Accept it and move on.

33. Hire a copywriter.

Unless you’re an excellent writer, hire a copywriter to compose emails for highly targeted customers. A copywriter will also prove handy for press releases and other pieces to spread brand awareness or provide business updates.

Related: 7 Taboos of Business Pitching

34. Prepare for meetings.

When preparing for a meeting with a client, read up on everything that’s available, steeping yourself in information about the industry, that firm’s employees and its competition.

35. Don’t fear the competition.

Don’t bad-mouth the competition when talking to investors or customers. There’s no need to become an object of pity. In fact, talking in this manner might even point customers to a competitor who may offer a product or service that you don’t. Remember, when competition exists, there’s a market for your business. Use that knowledge as inspiration to outperform a rival.

36. Benefit from word-of-mouth.

Nothing beats some good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing. Let friends, family members and influencers in your field spread the word about your product or service.

Related: Where the Real Deals Are Ignited at Conferences — the Bar

37. Network.

Don’t be afraid to get out there and show your face to the public, whether at a conference or just being out and about with friend on a Friday night. But try to stay local because travel can dwindle your budget.

38. Provide outstanding customer service.

Interacting with people is a big part of the job. Your business may gain new customers because you made them feel important. For example, Zappos wasn’t the first online store to sell shoes, but the company perfected its customer-service department and won over shoppers.

39. Be sure your website functions.

Potential customers want to know as much about your business as possible and they should be able to quickly access that kind of information on your website.

40. Don’t be overly concerned by the economy.

Some of the best businesses have launched during a recession. In fact, half of the Fortune 500 companies listed in 2009 were founded during such times, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

41. Make sure clients pay their bills.

Always be certain to receive payment for your products or services. Instead of being taken advantage of of, establish a time frame for payment. It also wouldn’t hurt to accept credit cards and have an online payment system set up.

Related: 9 Questions to Ask Candidates’ References

42. Find the right employees.

Hire the right people for the job. Even though it’s your business, you won’t be skilled at every task, which is why you need qualified people to complete the work.

43. Assign responsibilities.

Eelegate attainable tasks to employees. This is all about effective management.

44. Know that honesty is the best policy.

If any issues with employees emerge, be sure that they are addressed. No one enjoys being talked about behind their back.

45. Remember that opposites attract.

Hire people with skills and personalities that are the opposite to yours. They’ll challenge you and will bring different skills and talents to the business that you don’t.

Related: Does a Work-Life Balance Exist for Entrepreneurs? Not Really.

46. Say goodbye to your social life.

You’re going to spend a lot of time devoted to the business. Even if you plan a night out, you may leave early because a lightbulb just went off. Hopefully those closest in your life will understand.

47. Recognize that you’ll be the final person to be paid.

As the CEO, you’re the last to collect a check. That’s just how it works until there’s adequate revenue.

48. Arrive at a useful definition of success.

Just because your business hasn’t made you a millionaire (yet) doesn’t mean that your enterprise is a failure. If you’re able to make some sort of profit doing something that you’re passionate about, isn’t that a success story?

49. Realize when it’s time to move on.

Failure is inevitable. If things aren’t working out and you’ve done all you can, then put aside your pride and close up shop. Something like this is not easy to accept. But it’s for the best.

50. Don’t just rely on the advice of others.

Despite my offering up all of these tips for you, perhaps the most important piece of advice is something learned the hard way: While many people may offer a startup assiistance, recognize that in the end you’re the person running the show and the one responsible for the company’s success and failure. If you understand what worked and what didn’t, you’ll burnish the skills and knowledge to run your business.

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50 Tips for Starting Your Own businessSource: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235903?utm_source=HowTo&utm_medium=site&utm_campaign=iScroll

 

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6 Things Your Small Business Needs to Spend More Money On

By Sarah Landrum

Businesses are incredibly difficult ventures to start. More than half of all businesses fail within five years of starting, according to statistics gathered in 2016. While this is far better than the traditional belief that half fail within a single year of starting, it is still clearly a challenge to start and continue running a small business.

Related: 10 Unique Ways to Get Your Name Out There

The reasons for this consistent failure can be difficult to pinpoint, especially because there are so many different factors that can affect it. However, one consistent failure of small businesses is a lack of capital, and by extension, a lack of investment. If you don’t have enough money to spend, then your business is likely to fail in the near future.

Here are six things you need to invest enough money into if you want your small business to be a success.

1. Design

Investment in design across your business is really necessary if you want to succeed. Most small businesses under invest in their design, especially graphic design for their products, because they believe that it is not important. This just isn’t true. In fact, a customer will pay the most attention to your logo, according to research completed by Missouri University of Science and Technology.

You can do this by investing in the services of a reputable and well-known design company, not just asking your Uncle John to whip something up in Microsoft Paint.

This involves your logo, business cards, cellphone application and the general branding of your company. All these things require solid investment if you want your small business to be successful and have a good reputation with your clients and other businesses as a stand-out professional organization.

2. Marketing

Linked in tightly to design, marketing your business is another aspect you need to properly invest in. Don’t try and do it yourself if you aren’t qualified or skilled. Don’t hire your friend for $20 mates-rates. Marketing is essential to your small business’s success, especially if you are working in a field that is already filled with other businesses offering a similar service to you.

Marketing includes knowing your product’s target audience, ensuring that advertising is relevant and accessible for that target audience, and making sure your product is coherent and consistent in its tone and advertising. These actions will maximize your business’s sales, and give your design team a focus behind what they are achieving.

3. Technology

Technology is another valuable investment you should make in your small business. Everybody knows how important technology is to modern life. However, many people do not know how important technology is to business. You need to spend money on your technology, otherwise your reputation and revenue will be negligible until your business is dead.

Related: 5 Tips for Leaving Your Stress at Work

This includes lots of different things for your business. Programs like instant messaging systems, document organization systems and content management system, are likely to have an instant effect on the productivity of your workforce. However, two other aspects of technology are vitally important to your customers:

  1. Cell service/coverage: You will need a long reaching cell coverage that can cover your entire office, ensuring no important phone calls are missed purely because someone was standing in the wrong place.
  2. Your website not only needs to be designed to be pleasing to the eye, but it also must contain the most essential information about your company. If your website fails at either of these things, then you will lose customers and reputation.

Simply put, don’t save your money when it comes to technology. You and your business will regret the decision.

4. Legal advice

Many small businesses fail to retain a legal adviser, calling it an unnecessary expense. Well, legal advice is actually pretty necessary to your business’s success. By using a reputable law firm, you can protect yourself from potential legal issues. This includes writing and reviewing legal contracts, ensuring you have not violated any laws in your business and mediation in case of disputes.

In short, you need to get legal advice, or even a retained lawyer if you can afford it, if you want your business to be a success. Without this, you open yourself up to potential legal action being taken against you and even possibly shutting down your business before it has the chance to become successful.

5. Accounting service

Accounting is another thing you need to spend your money on, especially if you are currently lacking in capital. By hiring an accounting firm, you can optimize your business and reduce the wastage and inefficiencies that are limiting your business’s growth.

This includes creating invoices for your employees, decreasing time wastage on duties that an accountant will cover for you and controlling the potentially spiraling costs that often paralyze small businesses. If you fail to make this investment, you are likely to have an inefficient and ineffective business that will waste money you could use for reinvestment in other aspects listed here.

6. Insurance

While this one may seem obvious to you, you need to invest your money in good insurance coverage for your small business. Many people scoff at the suggestion of insurance, arguing that it is not needed unless you are making serious money with your business. Honestly, this may be true for some small businesses. If you are an eBay reseller or small-time product designer, then insurance may not be for you.

Related: 10 Tips for Planning a Successful Company Conference

However, if you want your business to grow, you need to spend money on insurance. Disaster could strike at any time, and if you don’t have insurance, you aren’t really prepared for it. Whether this is a natural disaster like a flash flood, fire or hurricane or a human disaster like theft, injury or illness, you need the support insurance gives.

Without that support, any of these disasters are likely to undermine your reputation as a business and potentially destroy your revenue. Your small business cannot afford either of these consequences, so you need to properly invest in a good insurance coverage with a reputable company.

Overall, you need to make investments if you want your business to be successful. Without the proper investment of money, you will appear unprofessional and lose business through inefficiencies and lack of reputation. If you can’t make these necessary investments, then you probably need to reevaluate your business’s chances of success.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/298318

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12 Popular Free WordPress Hosting Companies For 2017

Free hosting aren’t good enough for you to create a WordPress blog, but if you want to do practical you can use free hosting with free domain.

Here’s a list of the more reliable free WordPress hosting service providers:

WordPress.com

What better home for your free WordPress site than WordPress.com. It comes from Automatic, the team behind WordPress. With a free account, you get 3GB storage space and a WordPress.com sub domain. You’re free to choose from the hundreds of free themes and plugins, and indulge in some basic design customization. Not only that, all the essential features of the powerful Jetpack plugin are packed into the free plan.

Free WordPress Hosting WordPress.com

A website on WordPress.com enjoys a great degree of security with anti spam protection built into every website. The step-by-step guide will also steer you while building your own website or blog.

Most free hosting plans generally lack in technical support. With WordPress.com, you’ll find support in the vast WordPress community. And if at any stage, you need advanced customization features, you can always upgrade to their premium plans. As a bonus, WordPress.com has a wide reader base that you can tap into.

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AwardSpace

AwardSpace offers free WordPress hosting which includes one domain and 3 sub domains. This is a good fit for blogs, and small or temporary websites. Their free plan is feature rich, packing in 1GB disk space, 1 MySQL v.5 database and one email with spam filter. It uses Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and allows FTP access. Moreover, it does not place annoying advertisements on your website.

AwardSpace

The free Zacky website builder will help you design the website you want. Though traffic is restricted to 5GB per month, free users enjoy the same high speed connectivity as the paying customers. For the first year, you can also consider their Basic plan which is not too expensive at $0.14 per month (payable annually). But before your throw your hands up in joy, be aware that the prices are different upon renewal.

With AwardSpace, you can enjoy your free hosting account for life without being forced to upgrade. The user friendly control panel, customizable dashboard where you can rearrange features, and firewall and spam protection are additional features that make this hosting option attractive.  It’s powered by MySQL 5 and PHP 5. And, to top it all, 24×7 customer support is available to free customers as well. The detailed FAQ section, WordPress tutorials and video tutorials can help you along in building and maintaining your website.

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Freehostia

Freehostia is actually a cluster of servers that’s load balanced to function as one. It offers 250MB of disk space where you can install WordPress using their one click Applications installer.

Freehostia

Besides, you get 5 hosted domains and 10MB MySQL storage. The free Chocolate plan allows you to set up 3 email accounts and permits website traffic up to 6GB every month. It packs in a MySQL v.5 database and free website templates to help you get started with building your website. They promise 99.9% uptime and do not demand any set-up fee at all.

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x10 Hosting

Besides webspace and bandwidth, x10 Hosting offers a whole range of features to build a great website. This includes a website builder that helps account holders to get started with building their website and an auto installer that installs over 200 scripts, including WordPress.

x10Hosting

The optimized cloud platform with SSD servers ensures speedy loading and reliable performance. x10Hosting also offers the latest version of PHP, MySQL and cPanel to manage your website related matters easily. The powerful control panel gives you control over your website.

The major advantage with x10 hosting is the unmetered bandwidth and disk space which allows your website to grow in an unfettered manner. Moreover, you can always reach out to the 750,000+ community members when you need support.

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Free Hosting No Ads

As the name indicates, Free Hosting No Ads is a free web hosting service that’s totally ad free. With 20 GB disk space and 200 GB traffic, it includes a free installer that can automatically install WordPress on your server. If you need help with building your website, the free website builder with sample templates will prove useful.

Free Hosting No Ads

The free service includes password protected directories and sub folders, website statistics and 3 PHP versions to ensure that there are no compatibility issues. Other cool features include control panel for account management, phpMyAdmin for managing MySQL database, webmail to access your email and more. And they promise not to delete your site so long as you comply with their terms of service.

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Byethost

Byethost offers ad free balanced web hosting based out of a network of interconnected servers. The Softaculous script installer, is included in the hosting control panel of each free account. This script installer helps to install 330+ scripts including WordPress, and deploys your files in no time at all.

Byet Hosting

The free hosting also includes FTP, PHP 5 and MySQL. You can avail 1000 MB disk space, 5 parked domains, 5 add-on domains and automatic HTTPS SSL on all domains. There’s also 5 MySQL databases with unmetered MySQL space, 5 email addresses, free webmail and statistics relating to disk space, bandwidth and error.

The powerful Vista Panel helps in managing your website and domains. It allows you to add extra domains or sub-domains, create databases, run queries and import/ export data. With the help of the integrated file manager or the dedicated FTP account, you can upload files via the Vista Panel. And if you need help, you can reach out to the 24×7 free support.

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HostAwesome

HostAwesome offers a range of plans to suit different types of users such as web designers, teachers and affiliates. They also offer free WordPress hosting that includes 1000MB storage, cPanel access and SSL integration. WordPress installation is easy with the automatic installation option.

Host Awesome

On their free hosting page, you can choose to register a new domain or transfer your existing domain. In case, you want to stay with the existing domain, you simply have to update the existing name servers. However, the icing on the cake is the promise of 99.9% uptime and awesome support.

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Hostinger

Another fine option for free WordPress hosting is Hostinger. It gives you 2000MB disk space, 100GB bandwidth and 2 MySQL databases. You can manage databases via phpMyAdmin and switch between PHP versions with just a single click. The autoinstaller helps to set up WordPress in minutes and the website builder can help to create your website.

Hostinger

In addition, it password protects directories, allows domain redirects and custom error pages. You can also back up and restore your website and databases on their server. Though the service is free, it does not annoy you with popups, banners, text links or obligatory forum posting.

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Accuwebhosting

Accuwebhosting is yet another free WordPress hosting option that’s advertisement free and banner free. It’s highly secure with multiple layers of DDoS protection. Moreover, it’s well optimized for WordPress. You do not have to worry about installing or updating WordPress, as it’s done for you. In case it happens that you need help with WordPress, you can refer to the helpful video tutorials on their webpage.

Accuwebhosting

Furthermore, your visitors will appreciate the fast loading sites that’s possible with the use of pure SSD drives and hyper caching plugin. This ad free service also packs in a custom domain name, a complementary backup of your site and control via a cPanel.

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100 WebSpace

If you don’t mind a small banner on each page of your website, you can consider 100WebSpace. They offer you free service that includes 100MB disk space and 3GB monthly traffic. What’s more, you get a multilingual control panel from where you can manage your account.

100 WebSpace

A single hosted domain, a one click applications installer and 24×7 support also form part of the package. The free website templates and instant activation make this service ideal for small websites that want to be up and running in just a little time.

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Free Hosting

The name Free Hosting is inadequate to describe this service as it bundles in much more, besides free hosting. This totally ad free service offers free domain hosting, bandwidth, storage space, email and fully functional hosting accounts. That’s not all, they allow you to stream audio / video, Shockwave and Flash.

Free Hosting

You also get a full range of tools to build your website, including 330 ready-to-use personal or business website templates. Other features include no limit on file upload size, no setup fee, FTP access, maximum uptime and 24×7 support.

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Biz.nf

Biz.nf is a great ad free hosting option to experiment with. It offers 1000MB web space, 5000MB for data transfer, webmail, FTP access and MySQL version5.

Biz.nf

It’s easy to manage the account via control panel. The web site builder and instant account activation makes it a suitable option when you want to set up a website in a hurry. You also get 24×7 support, the same as for paying customers , in case you face any issue.

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How To Get Free Data On 9mobile

9mobile newly introduced 9mobile free data, it’s again, 9mobile is offering free data for it users.  Recently they changed from etisalat to 9mobile, this is their first free data they will offer since they have changed to 9mobile.

How To Get Free Data On 9mobile

How it works

This bonus works perfectly when you get get a new smartphone and activate 9mobile network. First activation gives you instant 1.5GB data valid for 30 days plus 100% data bonus on any monthly data plans you purchase for the first 6months and 50% data bonus on any monthly data plans you purchase for the second 6months.

Eligibility

This bonus can be enjoyed by existing and new 9mobile users. You can insert old or new 9mobile sim and still get the data bonus from the newly purchased smartphone.

How to Activate the Free 1 year bonus

Get a new smartphone and open the phone box, you would found a PIN which you will send as SMS to 8186 or better still, dial it in a form of USSD code*8186*PIN#.

Immediately, the data bonus will be activated on your SIM and the two data bonus will valid for 12months which is of course, a year. You can always check your data bonus by dialing *228#.

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