As you work on your business, one of the best things you can do is to make a business arrangement. Your strategy for success is a guide that can control you as you advance. A decent arrangement permits you to center your considerations and your endeavors, distinguish what’s crucial and make sense of how to gauge your advancement. Regardless of the possibility that you’re a solopreneur it’s a smart thought to make a business arrangement.
# Executive Summary
Interestingly, this is the last thing you will write for your business plan, even though it is placed right after the title page of your plan document. Creating the executive summary last is a good idea because the point of this section is to sum up the entire plan, including what you want to accomplish and what sort of financing you are looking for.
# Business Description
This is the area you use to describe the point of your business, as well as provide an overview of the industry as a whole. You should be clear about what your business is meant to accomplish, where it fits in the industry and whether or not you expect it to grow. This section can also include a problem statement, which allows you to describe why your business is useful and how it can solve a particular issue.
# Analyze the Competition
It’s important to be aware of your competition when you make a business plan and put it into action. Your business plan should be honest about what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. You also need to show that you have thought about how to gain an advantage over your competitors, and what makes you different.
# Marketing Plan
You need to have a solid idea of how you will market your product or service. This includes online strategies you plan to use to reach different target markets. Your marketing plan is a great exercise when you make a business plan because it will force you to think about your demographic and the steps you need to take in order to reach the most important players in your market. This section should also include the milestones you plan to use in order to measure success.
# Product/Service Description
This is where you go into the nitty-gritty details of what you offer. If you are asking for financing from someone, then you need to be able to show how the product is made so the reader understands the production process. For a service, you need to show how your service is offered and how the delivery process is managed.
Even if you make a business plan just for yourself, this section can be helpful since it will force you to think through the logistics of your offering.
# Management and Operations
You need to figure out how the business will function moving forward. This includes describing the management team and member responsibilities. If you have a larger company, you will need to describe departments and what each handles. You can also use this section to talk about possibilities of scaling up operations and what you need in order to expand your team and your business.
The last part of your business plan should be about the finances. You need to talk about the costs associated with your business, and how long you expect it to take until you are profitable.
If you are asking for funding from an outside source, you might need to include information about principal owner assets and what you are bringing to the table.
Once you make a business plan, you will find that it’s a little easier to know what you should do next and you have a clearer way forward for your company.
Accomplishment in business enterprise isn’t just about your thought or your cash. A lot of individuals have fascinating thoughts or a ton of money to toss around — and they never entirely figure out how to discover accomplishment in their endeavors. On the off chance that you need to be a business visionary, step back and assess regardless of whether you have the accompanying attributes.
# Understand What You Offer
As an entrepreneur, you need to know what you offer, and how it fits into the market. Whether it’s a product or a service, you need to know where you fit in. That means you need to know when it’s time to tweak things a little bit. This also includes knowing whether you are high end, middle of the road or bargain. Being able to position yourself and then adjust as needed is an important part of entrepreneurship.
# Take Risks
Successful entrepreneurs know that sometimes it’s important to take risks. Playing it safe almost never leads to success as a business owner. It’s not about taking just any risk, though. Understanding calculated risks that are more likely to pay off is an important part of being an entrepreneur. You’ll need to be willing to take a few risks to succeed.
# Know How to Network
Knowing how to network is an important part of entrepreneurship. Sometimes who you know is an important part of success. Being able to connect with others and recognize partnership opportunities can take you a long way as a business owner. Figure out where to go for networking opportunities and make it a point to learn how to be effective.
# Basic Money Management Skills and Knowledge
We often think of successful entrepreneurs as “big picture” people who don’t worry so much about managing the day to day. And it’s true that you might have an accountant or other team members to help you manage the business. However, if you want to be successful, you should still have basic money management skills and knowledge. Understand how money works so that you know where you stand, and so that you run your business on sound principles.
To a certain degree, you need to be flexible as an entrepreneur. Be willing to change as needed. Stay on top of your industry and be ready to adopt changes in processes and product as they are needed. Sometimes, you also need flexibility in your thinking. This is an essential part of problem-solving. You want to be able find unique and effective solutions to issues.
Finally, successful entrepreneurs are passionate. They feel deeply about their product or service or mission. Passion is what will help you find motivation when you are discouraged and it will drive your forward. Passion is fuel for successful entrepreneurship. If you find yourself losing your passion, that might be the clue that it’s time to move on to something else (that stokes your passion). There are many serial entrepreneurs that create successful businesses, sell them, and then create something else.
As you consider your characteristics, think about how to better develop them to help you become a better entrepreneur.
You don’t have to be a fortune 500 (or even a fortune 500,000) company to take advantage of these tips for good business practice. In fact, some of the best small businesses have evolved and succeeded by implementing some of these principles.
# Know-How is Not Enough
Just because you’re an expert in your field doesn’t mean that you have what it takes to be a business owner. When you hang out that open sign on day one, it is unlikely that customers will flock to you right away just because you know what you’re doing. You’ll need marketing and administration (at the very least) to grease the wheels of your company.
# Hiring/Promoting From Within isn’t Always Good
Although promoting from within encourages staff to “reach for the stars” and gives certain personality types something to work for, it isn’t a good idea to categorically hire from within. Sometimes the skill sets just aren’t there within the existing employee base.
# Good Business is in Consistency
This could be the very key itself to good business practice. If you do nothing else, be consistent. E-Myth is an excellent book by Michael Gerber centered around this crucial concept.
Consistency is what franchises are built around. McDonald’s pioneered and epitomizes this idea. When you walk into a McDonald’s anywhere in the world, you know exactly what you are going to get when you order a quarter pounder, right down to the exact ingredients, quantities, and order of toppings.
# Hire the Right People
If you are technically proficient in your field but lack marketing knowledge and expertise for example, then be prepared to hire the right people to fill in the blanks. This will start the trend of people beating a path to your door. The next trick is to keep them coming back and referring their friends.
# Don’t Hire your Friends!
This may seem obvious to some, yet I’ve seen it done over and over again. Not only can it compromise (and in some cases destroy) a perfectly good friendship, but it can do the same to the business.
Sometimes, it works. But hire with caution, and a heck of a lot of communication (both in the friendship and business). Be prepared to wear different hats while at work and after work.
With consistency, professionalism, proper planning of strategies, and alignments with the experts, you can run a top-notch successful business. Don’t reinvent the wheel, or ever find yourself saying “my business is different, I don’t have to follow that rule”. Because the wheel is pretty darn efficient, and I’m sorry to say, your business just isn’t that different. Good business management equals good business. Period.
When you see somebody who is viewed as a success, it’s anything but difficult to end up debilitated. Frequently, it appears as if that individual has succeeded overnight, and “has everything in perfect order.”
Because you’ve fizzled at something or experienced debilitation, it doesn’t imply that you can’t eventually succeed. Truth be told, on the off chance that you really need to succeed, you have to grasp disappointment. It appears to be strange, yet disappointment truly is the best approach to set up the route for accomplishment later on.
# Failure as a Starting Point
It can be discouraging to work so hard for so long, only to experience failure. The truth is that hard work doesn’t always mean success. However, your current failure doesn’t have to be the end. You can view it as a starting point. Take your failure, learn from it, and then build on it. Use your failure as a new beginning. While you might leave behind something that doesn’t work, now you have something new to try. Take what does work (or even start from scratch), using your failure as a jumping off point.
While you don’t want to intentionally fail at something, you do need to embrace the reality of failure. Don’t dwell on your disappointments. Instead, learn from them, grow and move forward as a stronger entrepreneur with a stronger business.
# Calculated Risks Grow Businesses
The best entrepreneurs know that calculated risks can help you grow your business. True success won’t come unless you put yourself out there. Sometimes, you need to go out on a limb. While you might do “just fine” without taking any risks, you won’t shine unless you are willing to get out there and face uncertainty — and embrace failure as a possibility.
In many cases, it’s the risk that pays off. But you’ll never know if you don’t take that leap. If you settle for mediocrity and safety, you’ll never realize what might have been.
Whenever you take a risk, you run into the chance of failure. Be willing to accept that. Even if you do fail, if you’ve taken the risk, you now know what works and what doesn’t — and at the very least you’ve stretched yourself in a new direction. You’ll be ready to move on to what’s next in your life, and you can take the lessons learned from failure into your next attempt.
# Personal Growth from Failure
Not only can risks — and the possible failure — lead to better results when something pans out, but you also experience personal growth.
Someone who has never had opposition, and who has never experienced the difficulties that come with failure, doesn’t really have the opportunity for growth. Failure builds character, and it shows you what you’re made of. The way you embrace failure and deal with disappointment determines the way you achieve success, as well as how well you grow as a person.
Great entrepreneurs have personal growth stories. They’ve been through difficult times, and they understand how to overcome adversity. Giving up at the first sign of trouble will never allow you to develop strength as a person, and it certainly won’t provide you with the stamina to make it as an entrepreneur. Failure tests you and strengthens you and turns you into the person and the entrepreneur you want to be.
A significant number of us have longs for working for ourselves or getting to be business people. While this can be an incredible approach to make the way of life you need, actually enterprise isn’t for everybody. Effective enterprise takes devotion and work, and there are difficulties and penances that numerous entrepreneurs face, particularly toward the start of the trip.
Before you choose that enterprise is your inclination, consider the accompanying genuine difficulties regularly confronted by the individuals who might claim their own particular organizations:
# Time Spent Working
Most entrepreneurs have stories of long hours working for success. In fact, many business owners point out that – at least at first – they work more than they ever did while holding down a “traditional” job. While you might be able to eventually back off with the work as you become more productive, as your success grows and as other are delegated to, be prepared to work very hard at first. The ease of choosing your own hours and enjoying the fruits of your labor aren’t likely until you’ve put in the work for some years.
# Lack of Benefits
One of biggest difficulties faced by those just starting their own businesses is the lack of benefits. When you work for “the man,” you have access to a number of benefits and perks, including health insurance. Before you decide to quit your job in search of self-employment, make sure you understand the costs. Health insurance, life insurance, paid vacation days and other perks like gym membership and childcare might be worth more than you know.
Many entrepreneurs do just fine without these benefits from an employer, and they are successful enough to be willing to pay the expenses on their own. Be sure you are able to manage as well.
# Where’s Your Support System?
Another concern has to do with your support system. When you first start out, you might have trouble convincing your family and friends to get on board with your goals and your business. At first they might be enthusiastic, but as time wears on, it can be difficult to be supportive as your time and life are swallowed up by your pursuit of entrepreneurial success. Be sure that your support system understands the sacrifice before you begin, and perhaps try to include them in your efforts so that they feel a part of the journey — and more willing to help out.
# You Might Have More Bosses Than You Thought
One of the reasons that many people become entrepreneurs or business owners is that they want toavoid being subject to a boss. However, being self-employed doesn’t always meant that you don’t have a boss. Instead, you might actually have several bosses. If you have clients that you need to cater to, you still have someone to answer to — and you might have more someones to answer to than you thought. Before you start a business, make sure you understand the implications and realize that you might still have to answer to someone in some way.
# Determination and Dedication
Sticking to your efforts can be one of the most challenging aspects of entrepreneurship. Often, as humans, we like to see immediate results for our efforts. We want to see the rewards of our sacrifices early on. However, this isn’t always possible. Sometimes, entrepreneurship requires determination and dedication in the face of failure. You might need to tweak your plan, or even start over from scratch. Your willingness to keep at it, even when it appears that you could lose out, is what is likely to lead to eventual success. But, in between, it can be hard to keep pushing. Being able to do so is what will ultimately lead to the desired outcome.
If you can be realistic about the challenges of entrepreneurship, and be willing to brave them regardless, then you are probably ready to move forward.
Little business can in some cases feel gulped by much bigger organizations, particularly on a neighborhood level. By what method can a neighborhood burger joint contend with a chain eatery that moves in over the road? In what capacity can little boutiques draw clients far from the comfort of acquiring a thing online and having it conveyed two or after three days?
Indeed, even during a time when comfort rules the client market, little organizations can win clients. Truth be told, the drive toward web shopping can work in a little business’ support, particularly if that business is a block and-mortar shop. There are advantages to the in-individual shopping knowledge that online retailers can’t copy, in spite of their endeavors to do as such. Here are seven ways your image can exploit those advantages and win clients far from bigger organizations.
# Know Your Customers Personally
One of the biggest frustrations customers have with big business is that when they need help, they often have to go through miles of red tape to get it. They call customer support hotlines, only to be put on hold for extended periods of time in order to finally speak to an indifferent customer service representative. Over time, customers long to frequent a business that treats them like people rather than numbers.
To give yourself an edge over the competition, focus on personalizing the experience for each of your customers. Learn your customers’ names and shopping preferences and put that information to use. If you see a product you know one of your customers will like, purchase it and let your customer know you have something in stock they might want to see. Those small extra touches will create a brand loyalty that will continue for many years.
The first place to start differentiating yourself is in the products you sell or the services you provide. If you’re a local shop, carry items your customers can’t easily find somewhere else. A local boutique may sell a collection of unique items its owner finds while shopping around with distributors, combined with items made by local artisans or bakers. This not only has the benefit of giving your customers something they can’t get elsewhere, it supports local artists and bankers, pumping money back into the local economy.
If you’re a service provider, you’ll have to bring an extra touch to compete with bigger brands. Often customers choose local providers due to word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews. You’ll have to work hard to keep customers happy so that the word will spread about the service you provide. For small restaurants, cafés, and diners, the food usually brings customers in above all else. You’ll have to work hard to ensure every customer has a consistently good experience in your restaurant to avoid scaring potential customers away.
# Price Competitively
Larger companies often win customers simply by virtue of being cheaper. As a small business, this means you must remain aware of the going rates for the products you’re providing and price your items either at that point or below. You can do this pricing comparison online usually, since many brands now put their prices on their websites for customers to see.
Service-based businesses should make it easy for customers to pay. This may mean an invoicing processthat incorporates one-click online payment. Often, however, it means setting it up so that your service team can accept credit card payments while on the go. Mobile card readers are a great option for growing businesses, since they allow employees to accept payments using their existing smartphones or tablets.
# Take Risks
One of the biggest benefits of being small is the flexibility you have from one year to the next. A large business often has difficulty battling its momentum. Even the smallest change takes so much work to implement, it can take months or years.
As a smaller business, you can make changes to your business model without major disruptions. While it’s important to operate consistently so that customers will know what to expect, you can make small changes like selling a new product or starting up a food truck to handle your catering or participate in special events. Don’t be afraid to take risks as a business. Those risks will be the thing that pushes you from small startup to mid-sized business.
# Capture Contact Information
You’ll likely see numerous one-time customers passing through your business over the years. Instead of allowing them to leave, try to capture their contact information to send future offers and discounts. Give them the option of signing up or declining and set up a marketing plan to reach out to them.
Once you have the information, use it responsibly. Over marketing will merely send customers scrambling for the unsubscribe button. Use the latest tools to personalize each marketing message based on customers’ previous interactions with your business. If a customer is getting emails that meet his own personal interests, they’re not only likely to seem less spammy, they’re more likely to lead that customer to take action.
# Use Tech Tools
Business intelligence solutions are not just for enterprise businesses anymore. There are marketing systems priced from $30 to $1200 a month. Drag-and-drop tools that sync multiple databases to easily visualize data in different ways are available for under $300 a month. Small business owners and managers can now easily analyze business data without needing an IT staff to do it.
Today’s small businesses have the advantage of operating in an era where technology can make even a small business seem large. Cloud tools like accounting software, CRM applications, and business intelligence platforms can give an entrepreneur easy oversight of each aspect of his operations.
For best results, shop several different packages before making a choice. Some software manufacturers gear their offerings specifically to small businesses. You’ll find the pricing and features more in line with what you need. Your larger competitors may be using a complex piece of software like Salesforce, for instance, but is that the best option for your business?
# Partner Up
One way for small, local businesses to compete is to join forces. Two businesses located close to each other could team up for a promotion that pulls customers into both places at once. Or they could work together to pay for something they might not have been able to afford separately.
Often small businesses benefit from the support of the local community. Your Chamber of Commerce and community organizations usually seek out ways to promote and help locally-owned businesses. Participate in events specific to this and be active within your local community. This will give you a level of exposure big businesses don’t normally have.
Small businesses are the heart and soul of a local community. By creating a unique, personalized experience for your customers, you’ll offer something your much bigger competitors never can. Local businesses and small startups must realize that they can comfortably coexist with big businesses if they fulfill a completely separate consumer need.
As a little entrepreneur, you confront a specific measure of risk. Without setting up the best possible insurances, you could put your business and/or individual records in risk. One claim could wipe out all that you’ve worked for a considerable length of time to assemble, whether that legitimate activity is identified with an individual harm in your store or a job separation claim put by an occupation hopeful. Before you continue one more day in your business, here are a couple sorts of protection accessible to you.
# Employment Practices Insurance
Once you’ve hired your first employee, you elevate your business to a new level of liability. In addition to customers and on-property visitors, you now must take on a risk that one of your workers will file a claim against you. For that reason, employment practices insurance is recommended for any business that staffs workers. If you manage workers, you should consider:
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)—Once you realize all of the different types of legal action you could face as an employer, you’ll see the importance of EPLI. Ensure the policy you take out covers you for sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of employment contract, failure to employ or promote, emotional distress, and mismanagement of benefits. Even if you feel that you would never engage in any of these activities as an employer, you should have protection in place.
- Workers’ Compensation—This type of insurance is likely required as a part of doing business in your state. If an employee becomes ill or injured while working for you, this insurance will cover the workers’ compensation they receive to cover injuries and loss of income. It will also protect you against lawsuits that claim your workplace conditions contributed to the injury or illness.
# Liability Insurance
The primary protection you’ll need in place is liability insurance. Most business owners wouldn’t think of operating without at least general liability in place, but here are three types of insurance you should consider taking out immediately to protect yourself:
- General—General liability insurance covers a business against injuries and property damage that can happen to a business. As you seek funding and work with certain clients, you may find you’re required to carry general liability insurance the protects you and, as a result, them. However, general liability policies have limitations, so many businesses add product or professional insurance policies for additional protection.
- Product—Businesses that sell products can face a liability if their products should cause harm. A food manufacturer could cause food poisoning or unexpected allergic reactions, while a toy manufacturer could unknowingly ship a product that causes injury to children. Businesses can tailor product liability insurance to their specific needs for more coverage.
- Professional—If you provide professional or personal services to customers, professional liability insurance can protect you from legal action. This type of insurance can sometimes be referred to as errors and omissions insurance, since it is designed to protect businesses against legal action that arise as a result of accidentally leaving something out of a contract or agreement.
- Premises—Anytime someone steps onto your business’s property, you risk a liability, even if your business doesn’t regularly welcome customers. If a delivery person slips and falls on a patch of ice while navigating to your front door, you could face legal action. Premises liability protects you against an injury that occurs on your business property.
# Business Auto Coverage
If you run a business, you’re likely using your personal car for travel and claiming the mileage as an expense on your taxes. If so, you should check your auto insurance policy to see what stipulations apply to business travel. You may not be covered for business use of your personal vehicle. In some cases, you’ll need to switch to a commercial auto policy to cover your extensive business use. Even if your personal policy covers your current business usage, be sure you revisit it often to account for any changes.
# Property Insurance Coverage
Imagine all that you would lose if a fire broke out in your office or home? Of course, you’d have personal belongings that couldn’t be easily replaced, but consider the business items you’d lose, as well. Property insurance not only protects your business against property loss, but also lost wages that occur as a result of being closed due to your space being uninhabitable. If you own or lease space for your business, you’ll need commercial property insurance to cover the loss of property. This includes any retail space you lease or own, any warehousing or manufacturing space, and the items you house within those buildings.
Even if your business operates out of a home office, you’ll likely assume that your homeowners insurance policy will cover all of its contents. While your policy may cover your business property, there are often limits on how much of a home office your personal policy will cover. Check the amounts and determine if you need to purchase a separate policy to cover the belongings you use to run your business every day. You’ll also need to check to see whether your policy will help you with the loss of business use while you get your business running again.
# Business Interruption Insurance
Natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods can put a business out of commission for months at a time. Many businesses can’t survive such a shutdown, especially if they rely on a physical location to serve customers. Business interruption insurance can cover the financial loss that hits your business if such an event should occur.
You’ve worked hard to build your business and all of that hard work can be wiped out by a disaster or legal action. The right insurance policy can keep your assets safe. Choose the right policy to fit your needs and price around to make sure you’re getting the best deal available for a business of your type.
# Set Attainable Goals
In order to achieve your goals, you must first have them in place. Help your team break those goals down into daily achievable tasks that add up to the end result on the last day of the month. It’s important to set reachable goals initially to help team members feel empowered when they are able to check several major accomplishments off their lists each week.
# Reduce Paperwork
Sales teams spend hours each week on paperwork. There are proposals, quotes, and contracts, all of which must be top quality in order to win the sale. The problem is, the more time your team spends in front of their computers, the less time they’ll have to track down leads and bring in sales. Through automation, you can improve this process while still having the documents you need.
# Personalize Each Presentation
Many sales teams today demonstrate their product’s benefits through software-based presentations, whether in person in a prospect’s meeting room or remotely, through a webinar. If your team uses the same stock presentation for every meeting, you’re missing a great opportunity to connect with clients directly. Instead, your team should personalize each presentation to the client who will be watching it. Incorporate screenshots from the client’s own website or add in statistics based on his specific client base. That personal touch will impress those viewing it, making them feel as though the entire presentation was put together specifically for them (which it was!).
# Be a Conversationalist
Truly talented salespeople have the ability to make a connection with potential customers. This goes beyond simply discussing the product. Each of your sales team members should be able to win clients over from the time the meeting starts, including through the small talk that happens at the outset. Advise your team members to keep up with the topics each day that have everyone talking, through watching and reading the news and paying attention to social media posts. Something they see on the morning news could be a crucial part of landing a sale that afternoon.
# Prospect. Don’t Blast
The most successful sales teams do their research before contacting prospects. Each piece of communication should be directly targeted to the customer being contacted, with sales pitches personalized to that specific potential client. Email blasts will waste your time and the time of all of the people receiving them. Sales CRMs like Salesforce can help you pinpoint the customers who would be interested in what your teams are selling.
# Motivate Team Members
Keep the spirit of competition alive by challenging your team to work hard each day. Keep a leaderboard in a central location in your office or use an online gamification tool to allow your team members to easily see who’s winning. It will give team members a goal to aspire to each month. As they see others beating them on the leader board, they’ll work harder to work their way up that board to number one.
# Protect Team Members
In a sales environment, things can easily turn ugly quickly. Clearly outline sales territories and make the rules clear up front about which sales qualify for which commissions. This will help prevent team members from stealing each other’s sales, while also helping team leaders resolve any disputes that arise. Protect team members from being undermined by other team members and you’ll earn long-term loyalty. If you let back stabbers win, you’ll find your best salespeople won’t stay around long.
# Measure Your Efforts
Your team’s efforts should be regularly measured, with reports on view for everyone to see. How did team members compare against each other? How do this month’s results compare to the same month a year ago? Five years ago? By tracking these numbers each month, you’ll have ongoing insight into how your efforts are working. This will also help you find areas in which your team can improve.
Experts today are always barraged with data about the cloud. It appears to be each different business is using cloud-based programming, leaving those as yet utilizing on-reason arrangements thinking about whether they, as well, ought to switch. Organizations are running to cloud arrangements on the grounds that there are numerous a larger number of advantages than there are with on-reason arrangements. Here are eight of the frequently specified reasons cloud arrangements are better.
# Access from Anywhere
Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile, working from home, hotel rooms, coffeeshops, and airports. Cloud software means that these workers can access their files wherever they are, using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. This means even while on vacation, teams can stay in touch, keeping projects moving forward through the cloud.
One of the best things about cloud solutions is that professionals no longer have to remember to take files with them when they leave the office. A presentation can be deployed directly from a user’s smartphone. Applications that handle billing, cost estimating, and project management can be accessed during meetings, allowing attendees to get the information they need without making everyone wait until the meeting is over and everyone has returned to their offices.
# No Tech Skills Required
With so many small businesses and startups in the business world today, tech support is no longer an option. An SMB usually can’t afford a full-time IT support person, let alone the high price of a server administrator. This means relying on local businesses to provide support on an as-needed basis, which can come with a hefty per-hour price tag. Because of this, the businesses that do have on-premise software will often rely on remote support, which is outsourced via the cloud.
With cloud software, tech support is usually handled by the provider, whether by phone, email, or a help desk ticket. These providers have the income base to pay the high salaries commanded by today’s top IT professionals, both at the server level and at the user support stage. Most smaller businesses simply couldn’t afford this type of expertise on a regular basis.
Every business plans to grow over time and cloud software offers the scalability required to handle that growth. When a new employee joins its staff, a business using cloud software can simply add another user to its account management. When a company maxes out its logins, a higher-tier account can usually be ordered with minimal effort on the part of the business.
Another benefit to cloud solutions is that they usually add new features on a regular basis. As customers express an interest in being able to do more with their software, providers add these features on, making them available either automatically or with an optional account change. Cloud solutions are also continually striving to work with other software applications and these integrations make it easier for businesses to handle everything in one place.
Cloud solutions providers generally charge a small monthly fee for access. This rate may be paid annually or monthly and can either be a per-user cost or a cost that includes a set range of accounts. In exchange for this fee, you’ll be able to set up accounts until you reach the maximum, managing password resets and account removals and additions using an administrative portal.
Instead of relying on CDs or a website download to install the software on each device, you’ll have software that is ready to use. Licensing fees are included in the purchase price, so your IT team will no longer have to keep up with your software licenses to make sure all of your installed software has been purchased.
# Connect External Users
If your team works with outside contractors and vendors, being able to grant access to those sources can be a huge relief. Instead of constantly sending emails to update everyone on the status of projects or payments, all parties involved can login and see the information at their own convenience.
Cloud connectivity also means teams can work collaboratively, even when they aren’t employed by the same company. Documents can be updated by everyone working on a project in real time, ensuring everyone has access to the latest version. Budgets can be reviewed and cost estimates can be approved, speeding up processes and reducing costly delays.
If you’ve ever suffered a server outage, you know how harmful it can be on a variety of levels. Your employees are forced to either linger around, waiting for the situation to be resolved, or go home for the day and leave your workplace unmanned. If this happens too often, you’ll use clients and even employees, as well as harm your hard-earned reputation as a business that has its act together.
Cloud providers consider reliability an important part of their business models. They make it their mission to ensure customers have access to the files and applications they need at all times. If an outage ever occurs, many cloud providers have built-in backups to take over, with customers never aware an issue has taken place. If such a backup doesn’t exist, a cloud provider still has access to experts who can ensure systems are up much more quickly than a SMB could with an on-premise server.
Security is an ongoing concern for businesses, with reports of breaches becoming commonplace. Cloud software promises a high level of security, including data encryption and strong password requirements. These small things will help keep a business’s data safe, reducing the risk of a breach that could cost money and harm customer trust in a company.
Businesses that store specialized information such as medical records or bank account information should search for a cloud provider that offers these protections. There are now cloud providers that specialize in HIPAA compliance, for instance, so a medical practice could benefit from the specialists on staff at one of those providers who can ensure that health data remains safe.
# Disaster Recovery
What would happen to your business if a natural disaster struck your building or data center? What if you came in one morning to find a fire had rendered your offices uninhabitable? Would you be forced to shut everything down for the duration or would your employees be able to start working immediately?
Cloud software helps disaster-proof your business, ensuring your employees can work from home or a temporary office if for some reason they can’t work in the office. Cloud providers usually have backup plans for their own servers to protect against disasters, so the software and files you use each day will be accessible even if an issue strikes one of their data centers. Before you choose a provider, feel free to ask questions about a company’s disaster provisions to make sure you’ll be worry-free.
Businesses are increasingly shifting to the cloud, whether for their entire infrastructures or select software packages. By reviewing your options and weighing the costs against the cost of purchasing hardware and software for each employee, you can determine if cloud technology is the right choice for you.
Also known as a “bill,” “statement,” or “sales invoice” an invoice is defined by Investopedia as:
“A commercial document that itemizes a transaction between a buyer and a seller. An invoice will usually include the quantity of purchase, price of goods and/or services, date, parties involved, unique invoice number, and tax information. If goods or services were purchased on credit, the invoice will usually specify the terms of the deal, and provide information on the available methods of payment.”
Invoices are non negotiable and are typically used to keep track of inventory, accounting, and tax purposes. For most organizations, an invoice is sent out after shipping a product or following the completion of a service with the expectation of it being paid in-full by a specified date. As Investopedia notes, “the total amount due becomes an account payable for the buyer and an account receivable for the seller.”
# The Origin and Evolution of Invoices
The first known use of the term “invoice” occurred in 1560. It is a modification of Middle French – the plural version of which means “dispatch of goods.”
As noted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the traditional invoicing process “has always been part of a wider set of business processes in trade.” This process includes: “placing and acceptance of an order, fulfilment of the order, delivery of goods, and the final payment.”
Until recently, invoices were paper-based. This created several drawbacks that delayed payment. Some of the concerns with paper-based invoices, according to the UNECE, include :
- creation and entry errors on both sides
- high operational costs per invoice on both sender and receiver side
- even more costs in the case of errors or disputes
- involvement of multiple systems
For the last several years, business partners have relied more frequently on electronic invoicing, also known as e-invoicing, through services like our company Due. This is simply the electronic transfer of billing and payment information between the supplier and buyer.
For suppliers, the benefits of e-invoicing include:
- faster payments
- increase in productivity
- fewer rejected invoices
- improved cash flow management
- additional finance options
For buyers, the benefits of e-invoicing include:
- reduction in costs
- faster processing and payment cycle
- improved cash flow management
- increase in accuracy
- reduction in late payment fees, fraud, and duplicate invoices
As for managers, e-invoicing will assist with any green initiatives that your organization has implemented, as well improving visibility and strengthening supplier/customer relationships.
# Types of Invoices
There are several different types of invoices businesses can create. The most common invoices used are:
- Proposal/Bid/Pro Forma. An expectation of how much a business is going to charge for goods or services. As opposed to a bill, this is a preliminary appraisal.
- Interim Invoice. Invoices that are sent out weekly or monthly during a long-term project.
- Recurring Invoices. Used for recurring customers. E-invoicing can automate these invoices.
- Past Due Invoices. Sent when an account is past due. Includes original invoice and interest accrued.
- Final Invoice. An invoice that is sent out following the completion of a project.
If a business has international buyers or suppliers, they will most likely have to create one of the following invoices.
- Commercial Invoice. This is required by customs to determine the value of imported goods for taxes and duty fees and includes information like the goods being transported, the country of origin, total declared value, and transportation/insurance costs.
- Consular Invoice. A commercial invoice that has been visaed by the consul of the importing country resident in the exporting country.
- Customs Invoice. An extended commercial invoice.
From numerous points of view, you can develop an online networking nearness by impersonating the connections that work, in actuality. Envision a systems administration occasion: would you rather talk with a man who draws in you in inviting discussion about your field, or the individual who spends each breath attempting to offer you something? By developing an inviting affinity with your group of onlookers on online networking, your business can keep clients intrigued and locked in. Having a discussion with your gathering of people, rather than simply “talking at” them, can go far.
Recall that: you’re attempting to achieve well informed clients, a significant number of whom live and inhale on online networking. Posting urgent, offer commendable substance in the suitable channels can just develop your business. What’s more, when it question, pictures of felines are likely a smart thought. It is the Internet, all things considered.
# Get Analytical
Are your messages reaching the right audience? Targeting your social media for the people most likely to become your customers is the best way to make the most of your efforts. Fortunately, there are easy ways to track your messages’ reach. As Drew Hendricks explained in Forbes, “there are also hundreds of tools to analyze your social media campaign success and failures,” and you can use them to ensure your campaign’s success.By delving into this data to create an actionable plan for reaching your target audience, you can make social media work for you in the best way. When it comes to getting your message to the right people, more data is always a good thing.
# Offer Exclusive Deals
Everyone loves a bargain, and your social media followers will likely respond well to discounts and deals. “If you give your social media followers exclusive deals and promotions, you can develop a larger audience,” entrepreneur and CEO A. J. Agrawal wrote for Inc. Your customers are more likely to stay involved with your brand when potential deals are available. Feeling like an “insider” with exclusive discounts is an added perk. For example, if you have great coupons that are only offered on your social media sites, your customers will be more inclined to hit the “Like” button. Online deals are a great way for your company to gain loyal customers with relatively little effort.
# Connect More Than Sell
While it may be tempting to make every post about your product or service, the constant advertising could turn off some customers. As CEO Ian Mills noted in the Huffington Post,“Experts recommend an 80/20 ratio, with just 20 percent of your content beingpromotional in nature and the remaining 80 percent consisting of content that really interests your audience and engages them in conversations.” This will help keep your audience engaged without exhausting their patience, leading to their dedication to your brand for the long haul. If you’re in the business of selling cookware, for instance, then posting creative recipes or cooking tips might be a great way to keep your potential customers interested.
# Create Repost-able Content
You don’t have to make every tweet worthy of a Pulitzer, but putting time and effort into your posts is worthwhile. As entrepreneur and CEO Susan Gunelius wrote in Business Insider, “The more amazing content that you publish online through your social media profiles and branded destinations, the more people will want to share it with their audiences.” If your posts are funny, insightful, or otherwise interesting reads, then there’s a better chance of your work getting shared — which is basically free exposure for your company. While you may not be able to engineer a post that goes totally viral, using attention-grabbing headlines and thoughtful content can help your posts stand out from the crowd.
# Post Properly
This may sound like a no-brainer, but understanding the basics of your social media platform and posting accordingly can go a long way toward making polished content. Knowing “how to use social content on each unique channel in order to maximize results” is a key factor in the social media marketing game, as Michelle Crawley wrote in Fortune. A long post might fare better on Facebook instead of Twitter, whereas a short video might be appropriate for both YouTube and Vine. Getting the basics of posting down can go a long way in terms of keeping your audience happy. Correctly sizing pictures, for instance, can keep your posts looking great, and making sure your links are live is a great courtesy to your audience.
# Make Comments
The social part of social media is crucial, and many small and medium-sized businesses would do well to jump in the conversation. As social media all-star Gary Vaynerchuk said inThe New York Times, “Listening is the point. That’s why I took off. I answered people’s questions, created context, etc. Then they would click on my profile and would see who I was and what I did, and that’s how I built it, slow and steady.” Your team can follow Vaynerchuk’s lead and interact with your customers online as much as possible. By commenting on their comments, for instance, or quickly responding to questions, you can help make your business feel more human and personable.
# Listen More Than You Speak
Or in this case, read more than you write. Social media marketers would do well to “read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them,” as marketing communications expert Susan Gunelius wrote in Entrepreneur.Keeping up with the news in your field, whether you’re a specialty wine store or a catering business, is a great way to stay on top of the topics that will catch your reader’s interest. You will also know what topics have been done to death, and this will make it easier for your team to produce fresh content. It’s an easy habit that will help you produce the most targeted content for your audience.