Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Helping small business grow

As far as arts entrepreneurship goes, the Slowdown clubin Omaha, Neb., started modestly. It was barely art, and barely entrepreneurship.
Jason Kulbel and Robb Nansel just wanted a place to hang out, drink a beer and listen to some good music in Omaha. Their neighbors learned of their plan and crowded a public hearing, furious at the idea of young people milling around, drinking and laughing late into the night. It's easy to imagine the rest: Conservative city prevents those damn kids from making a ruckus.
But that's not how it went down. What followed is so unlikely and so perfect that it could be the platonic ideal of how arts entrepreneurs can thrive by working with politicians and other businesspeople.
Some city officials learned of this fight and realized that in the 21st century what Omaha needs more than anything else is a lot of young people hanging out, having fun. As in many smaller cities and towns, the smart, young and ambitious left Omaha as soon as they could; they went to Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco--places that had the essential combination of fun things to do, fun people to do them with and fun and interesting jobs.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

how to invest in stocks

Whether you are an active investor or just looking for a place to park your retirement money, your best bet is with the stock market.  You can reasonably expect a 8-12% annual return over time.  That could end up being a lot of money if you compound those returns over a long time horizon.  You really can’t expect those types of returns from other types of investments.
It’s not difficult to learn how to invest in the stock market.  Even beginners can get started almost right away with the right investment strategy.  If you want to get started right away as you learn the basics, consider investing in a broad market index fund like the SPDR ETF, which is a vehicle that tracks the S&P 500 composite index.  You can also look at the Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund which tracks 3,000 stocks in an effort to match the broader US stock market.  Both of these index funds have historically produced the returns of 8-12% a year that I was talking about.

Finding a Financial Advisor

Before you do anything, you should find a financial advisor.  A good one will do far more than just give you investment advice about individual stocks.  They will help you create a comprehensive investing strategy that is based on your risk profile, time horizon and financial objectives.
You could go with a standard stock broker, but there are a lot of downsides to doing that if you are a beginner investor.  I would look for a fee based investment advisor that you can trust and feel comfortable with.  Some of the larger fee based advisory firms are Edward Jones and Ameriprise Financial Advisors.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

How to spot a good sales pro

Resume and interviewing skills aren't enough when it comes to figuring out whether a job candidate would make a great salesperson. Over the years, I've found that money motivation is the factor that sets apart great salespeople from the mediocre ones, or worse.
Money motivation means a salesperson lives to earn commissions and win prizes. A really money-motivated salesperson does what it takes to close the sale. To accomplish this, such salespeople become masters of strategy. They know the product, they know the competition, and they have good relationships with their customers.
It's crucial that a business owner or his or her sales department manager figures out whether a job candidate has this, because money motivation isn't a skill. It's a trait. A sales manager can add focus to a salesperson's desire to make money, but the manager can't force the salesperson to become money motivated.
I've seen companies too often focus on other factors that are less important. Expect disappointment if you're basing your hiring decision on past performance. The world is full of salespeople who caught a lucky break and were in the right place at the right time for a hot product.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Easy ways to generate leads for your business

All businesses need to be spending some time and money on generating leads, because new leads mean more sales and greater profits. The key to lead generation is using a variety of strategies at the one time. Just advertising your business in a local newspaper probably won’t generate a large number of leads for you to turn into customers – you need to be utilising a wide variety of marketing tools simultaneously to really reach your target market and draw them to your business.

This does not apply just to big businesses with large marketing budgets, because there are numerous cost-effective strategies that small businesses can use to generate leads. For example, a small local clothing shop could be combining their local newspaper advertising with a website, a newsletter, listings in various directories, building and car signage and a stall at the local markets. All of these strategies are very cost-effective and would expose a large number of potential customers to their business and products. Lead generation is not difficult, you just need to be creative and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.

Here are some lead generation strategies that you may not have thought of using for your business:
  • Networking groups

    Many business people go to networking functions for trade associations, chambers of commerce and other organizations on a regular basis. Most of them view these events as a boring hassle and do everything to avoid them. However, networking events are an excellent lead generation strategy for businesses, because the other business people that attend them are consumers too and need products and services just like the rest of us.

    So, instead of standing in the corner and counting down the minutes until you can leave, walk around and start up conversations. You can even ask the people you meet for permission to add them to your database of contacts. It is also a good idea to follow up with the people you have met after the event with a quick phone call or email to build the relationship.
  • Alliances 
    Building alliances with other businesses that target a market similar to yours is a great way to generate new leads for your business. Choose a reputable business that treats its customers well, engages in proactive marketing strategies and is open to trying new things. Once you have built a relationship with this business and have come to an agreement, you can start targeting their clients with your own marketing. 
  • Read more

Monday, 17 October 2011

10 Secrets of Successful Leaders

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” But, becoming a great leader isn’t easy. Successfully maneuvering a team through the ups and downs of starting a new business can be one of the greatest challenges a small-business owner faces.
Leadership is one of the areas that many entrepreneurs tend to overlook, according leadership coach John C. Maxwell, whose books include The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Thomas Nelson, 1998) and Developing the Leader Within You (Thomas Nelson, 1993).
“You work hard to develop your product or service. You fight to solve your financial issues. You go out and promote your business and sell your product. But you don't think enough about leading your own people and finding the best staff,” Maxwell says.
It turns out, the skills and talents necessary to guide your team in the right direction can be simple, and anyone with the determination can develop them. Here’s a list of 10 tips drawn from the secrets of successful leaders.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

How to make money on ebay

There is a lot of money to be made as a seller on eBay. Thousands and thousands of sales are made each day, resulting in a lot of income for a lot of sellers. And there is still room for you if you want to get involved – whether you want to earn some part time cash or set up a whole new full time business on the side.
But where do you get your stock from? How do you get started? And how can you build a business that gives you PowerSeller status? Relax – you’re about to find out.
It’s easy work to get started earning money on eBay. Once you’ve signed up for your free account the best way to get a feel for what selling is like is to auction off some of your personal items that you no longer want. If you are going to start buying stock to resell, you’ll do better by getting some basic selling experience first.
Featured Story: Click Here to find out how one “stay at home mom” is making $379/day working from home using eBay & Google. Read the full story here.
While we are on the subject of stock, you’ll need to decide what kind of business you are going to set up. Of course you can sell anything you like, but if you want to make a name for yourself it helps to become known for selling a specific type of product.
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean your product area needs to be a small one; on the contrary it could be quite large. You could sell toys for example – there’s plenty there to keep any seller going for months on end without selling the same thing twice. You do need to pick a popular product though, and it’s worth doing some research using eBay’s advanced search feature to find out what is selling and how much it’s selling for.
So let’s say you want to sell computer games, for example. There are hundreds of games you could buy to sell here, but if you don’t know which ones will sell you could lose a lot of money buying the wrong stock. By searching the ended listings you can see which titles consistently sell well, and which ones will produce the best profit for you.
Okay – so you know how to figure out what to buy. Now you need to know where to get it from. It stands to reason that no seller is going to tell you where they get their stock; that would be like giving away the keys to their business. In order to find the best sources for stock you need to do a bit of legwork.
We should mention here that there are two main sources for stock – wholesalers and dropshippers. Both have their pros and cons; it just depends on which method you personally prefer.
Dropshippers hold all the stock for you, so you only actually pay for an item once you’ve received payment from the customer. You may have to pay a fee to join the scheme in the first place though. If you choose to go with one or more wholesalers you will need to have the room to buy the stock, and the money to buy it in advance. This comes with more risk since you could buy stock that doesn’t sell, but with the tactic we’ve already covered for checking completed listings before you order anything, the risk here should be kept to a minimum.
So – back to where to find these sources. If you have a particular product in mind that you want to sell, the simple act of looking at the packaging can often reveal the name of the supplier. You can then check out their website to see what else they do.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

How to make money from facebook

 If you always wanted to earn online income but didn’t know where to start, why not jump on the most popular social network site and take advantage of their ad serving platform?
Believe it or not, tens of thousand of people are using Facebook every day to chat with their friends and have fun… while others are making money at the same time.
Would you like to know how to cash-it on this social phenomenon?
Would $5… $50… or $150 in additional income make you happier? What would you do with the “new found” money?
Let’s make it happen, here are three quick steps:
Step #1
Once you have signed up to Facebook your first step should be to think about how you want to present yourself. You don’t want to fake it, just be yourself and showcase your skill, your hobby or knowledge – that is what makes money from Facebook.
Don’t forget that you want to attract the attention of a specific group of people here, so that you become known as someone who is something of an expert on one particular subject. So choose wisely!
Step #2
Go for a popular niche that you personally like and have an interest in. Develop your persona in that area. If you already have something of a web presence in a particular area then you’ll use that in your advantage because — it will help you as more and more people become aware of who you, your skill/knowledge and how this can help them.
Step #3
Your first port of call, if you have anything second hand to sell which is related to your niche, is the Marketplace. It’s free to place ads in the Marketplace and there is no limit on how many you can place.
EXAMPLE: you come across a bargain lot of books on your subject on eBay or at a yard sale you can list them all individually on Facebook and sell them on for a profit.