The details that need to be attended to before opening a new business can sometimes be overwhelming. When you have a successful company, you'll see the results of making sure that everything is in order. As you work hard to put together your own company, you will find that the responsibilities continue to pile up as opening day approaches. That is why it is important to have a checklist of the things you need to do before you open your doors to make sure that you are truly prepared for opening day.
Before you even open your doors, it's integral that you are certain you're covered with business liability insurance at least. In most places, you have a legal responsibility to do so, and this will take care of any lawsuit cost that could end your business before it even gets started.
Websites like BusinessInsurance.org can be great resources when you're trying to decide which kinds of coverage are right for your particular business, how much you can afford to spend, and which companies will give you the best coverage. There are many different types of business insurance available (from property to liability), so make sure you discuss the types of risks you're prone to with your broker.
Finding the right vendors is critical to the success of any organization. If your vendors are unable to supply you the products you need on your delivery schedule, then that can impair the progress of your business.
Before you open your doors, make sure that your vendors are all ready to go. Check with each vendor to make sure that your delivery schedule is in place and that all of your payment terms have been agreed to. This is not something that should be left to the last minute. This is the first detail you attend to before opening for business.
The worst thing you can do is to try and open a business with insufficient financing on hand. You should plan on financing at least the first six months of your business and personal expenses before your company starts to show a profit. If you go into your opening day underfunded, then your company may not last very long.
Too many entrepreneurs invest in an impressive business and then forget to let people know that the business exists. With the Internet and social networking, getting your grassroots marketing started is easy.
Prior to opening your doors, you need to have all of your substantial advertising in place. Let people know what your company is all about and start advertising pricing specials that you plan to offer. Get people excited about your company before you even take your first order.
Do not cut corners on hiring staff to open your new business. If you open your doors and you are under-staffed, then you risk the chance that those first customers through your doors will not come back. You need to make sure that your company looks ready to do business by having a full staff in place on day one.
Don't forget that your staff can also act as a significant part of your marketing effort. Encourage your new employees to tell people who they work for and offer incentives to employees who help to bring customers in once the company is open.
Here is what usually happens: You give your business cards out at a networking meetup. People take it and keep it in their pockets. But when you are out of sight, most of these people throw your business card in the thrash bin.
How do you prevent that?
I like my business cards to work better than that. And so here is what I do: I make an offer on the flip side of the business card and mention a link from where people can download a free report.
This way, because people want the free report, they won’t throw the business card away.
But one free report does not fit all kinds of people I meet. So what I usually do is make a 100 new business cards before all the seminars or major networking meets I go to. And showcase a link to a free report on these cards that will best benefit the audience at these meets.
My local printer does not allow printing of just 100 business cards. He usually demands the minimum print order to be of 500 to 1000. And that’s why, I started using online print websites. You upload your pictures online they print and ship the business cards to your door step.
And because these print websites have lower overheads, even with the shipping costs, their prices come out to be cheaper!
Tring Me is a startup company that allows other coders to use their API to develop web based telephony services. Recently, at an industrial summit, they distributed their business cards which had a big "wow" effect on the audience!
Thats because their business card had the entire source code that the coders would require to make a call via Tring Me API - right at the flip side of the cards!
How much did it cost Tring Me to get such business cards made? Rs. 200 (less than $5!)
Recently, I came across a website on marketing strategy – Gentle Rain Marketing – that I want you to know about.
The website is run by Mark Satterfield. And he has developed and fine tuned a system that helps you generate more leads and attract more new clients for your business.
Mark takes an educational approach to lead generation. So if you’re running a business whose product is well known – say like a restaurant – you most probably won’t require Mark’s services. But if you are a consultant or a small business owner and provide intangible services or technical services, then Mark’s Gentle Rain Marketing system may be of tremendous help to you.
The Gentle Rain Marketing system doesn’t require you to:
Cold call prospects
Hard sell anyone
The system teaches how you to leverage free information – such as reports, videos, presentations, books - to build your credibility and become a well known authority figure in your field to sell more goods.
Mark walks the talk. You can download a free report that educates you further on his system, on his website. You should check it out and deconstruct his entire setup.
Mark is also a marketing coach and provides personal one-on-one consulting and training.
The only bad part about the website is: it starts a video as soon as the web page loads, without your clicking the play button. But don’t worry, the video is not too long to be unbearable.
Starbucks annual sales revenue may be in the doldrums. But some of their recent marketing activities is worth paying attention to.
People who have a registered Starbucks card received the following email:
Subject: Psst. Save on an afternoon treat at Starbucks
Today's morning receipt is your ticket to an afternoon treat.
Hot days are here. So as a card rewards member, we thought you should know about a cold, delicious way to get away.
Starting today, we'll be serving your favorite Grande (16 fl oz) cold drink for only $2.
Just visit any participating Starbucks location after 2 p.m. with that day's morning receipt. And start looking forward to a cool, afternoon break.
Find a Store: http://www.starbucks.com/retail/find/default.aspx
Make a purchase at Starbucks before 2 p.m. and then bring your receipt back to any participating Starbucks the same day, after 2 p.m., to get one Grande (16 fl oz) cold drink for $2 plus tax, if applicable. Limit one drink per receipt. Offer subject to change. Cannot be combined with any offers or discounts. Void where prohibited. Limited time offer. Program date 8/5/08 to 9/2/08. Offer not valid at Barnes and Noble Cafes.
Uday Dutt is someone you should keep an eye on. And here is why: Because he is a genius investment banker. And he has had an extremely flourishing career.
Uday Dutt Career History:
He started his career way back in 1982. Uday joined American Express.
Soon Uday was awarded the manager of the year not once, not twice, but three times consecutively.
After American Express, Uday Dutt joined Citibank. This was in 1986.
While there, Uday was instrumental in aquiring Diner’s Club.
Later on, he worked at Billimoria and other such companies as a consultant. Where he advised a lot of MNCs and Indian corporate companies and finance and strategic issues.
Recently, Uday Dutt is working as the managing partner of a company known as Investor’s Trust – which is a boutique investment bank in India. The company is growing quite well with a slew of other smart people such as Hemant Bohra who is an investors relation consultant and Srinivas Reddy who heads a team of research analysts.
Uday is an expert in corporate restructuring and fund raising. He has also been instrumental in various private equity investments in the country (India).
Uday Dutt Online:
Uday Dutt’s Blog – Here he posts infrequently about what he is up to and how the finance and investment banking industry is changing and evolving.
Uday Dutt’s Twitter account: Twitter is a micro blogging platform and Uday publishes short 140 letter posts on his activities on his twitter account.
Uday Dutt’s Sulekha Profile – Sulekha is a portal website and Uday has an account with them although he doesn’t use it very frequently.
How much popcorn can you eat if its served to you in a big tub?
Two food statistics for you:
Container size influences how much we eat: Moviegoers given five-day-old stale popcorn still ate 53% more if it was served in a big bucket than a small bucket.
We eat more if the evidence is removed: In a study of chicken-wing eaters, waitresses removed the bones from half the tables while letting them stack up on the other half. The diners who still had piles of bones on their plates ate 28% less.
A sneaky way of increasing your sales is by simply providing shoppers with larger shopping carts.
A huge department store near my house has a very unique policy - no shopping carts. You evaluate/try on the products and ask the salesperson that you would like to buy it. The salesperson keeps that product aside and gives you a receipt. At the end, while checking out, you get your products when you make the payment. People usually end up buying more than they would have - because they don't have to carry the products around.
Which Deep Clean product would you buy - when they all look the same?
Branding Alchemist Steven Diebold recently made a post on his blog about his experience at the supermarket. He was looking to buy a skin care product. Came to the Neutrogena aisle and spent the next 10 minutes getting totally confused.
He ound five different Neutrogena products - but they all looked the same! He checked the ingredients on the package. But the only difference between the more expensive $6.39 product and the $4.79 less expensive one was something called - Beta Hydroxy. Like me and you, Steven had no clue what that ingredient did either!
So what did he do? He ended up buying the lower priced $4.79 product!
Who can guess how much money Neutrogena's lost because of bad packaging?! The rules for good packaging are simple, yet most companies screw it up. They spend all their time in making the product better. And lose all the clients because of poor product packaging,
Three Rules of Product Packaging
1. Make Your Product "Look" Different & Attractive.
The key idea: make good use of colours. Colours can visually diferentiate your product from others. If you have 5 different products, give them 5 different colours.
Companies like Herbal Essences have got this part right.
Another thing you could do is try some whacky visual ideas.
A sunglasses manufacturer went after the sports market by packaging his sunglasses in tennis ball cans! Seth Godin packaged his book in milk cartons!
Such outrageously different packaging can not only set your product apart from others but also help you create a buzz.
2. Use the Right Words
You'll be surprised to know how many people pick up the product and read the packaging before they decide whether they should buy it or not. And two things inluence their buying decisions:
a. What's in it for them?
Why should they buy your product? How is your product better than other products? What is your unique selling feature?
An easy way to answer this question:
i. Mention your offer / benefits ii. Mention how you take care of the downside (if you offer any sort of guarantee) iii. Don't mention anything else
For eg: Rejuvinate your dry hair with just 2 drops of sunflower oil
b. Ingredients / How to Use Information
Ingredients read like a whole other language. If you make it easy for people to understand why the ingredients you use are good for them, they'll buy.
Vitamin Water is a good example of explaining the ingredients to make the sale.
A chewing gum company in Holland known as SportLife projected moving pictures of a skateboarder on outer walls of buildings in various cities in Netherland!
They placed the projector in a van and drove the van through the streets - while the projector showed a person skateboarding on the walls. Their campaign received a lot of attention from pedestrians and other drivers.
You can watch a 44 second video of the campaign on youtube
This holiday season, Circuit City came up with a new generation gift cards.
The card has a traditional rectangle shape - but drop it in the computer's disk drive tray and it works as a DVD.
"It includes a snowball-fight video game in which your character gives up and makes snow angels when it loses, as well as an offer for 50 free downloads from eMusic, holiday screensavers, wallpaper and printable gift labels."
New Technology is finally allowing marketes use the power of smell to sell more products.
1. Scent in an ice cream shop
Emack & Bolio's - an ice cream chain - experimented by using the scent of waffle-cones in one of their outlets. Their sales jumped by 33%!
They used ScentAir.com's $100 a month equipment to spread the scent all around their shop.
2. Scent at the bus stop
Via TrendHunter: "Familiar with the “Got Milk?” ads? The people at Arcade Marketing just took the ad campaign to a new level. Using a new technology called “Magniscent” they made scented bus shelters. “what goes better with chocolate chip cookies than a big glass of cold milk?” The idea was to attract people’s attention using the scent which is emitted from a special adhesive strips that has the aroma of chocolate chip cookies. Great smelling bus shelters are the new trend!"
I've heard it a 1001 times. All the entrepreneurial "start-a-business" books talk about it.
"Start your own business by identifying your passion in life." "You'll only succeed if you are passionate about your business and its purpose." "Don't start a business on a topic you are not passionate about, or you'll never be happy. "
My view? I think people have it upside down.
Passion shouldn't be the cause of your business. It should be the effect.
Let me explain.
People don't get passionate about a sport or a team and then start watching it. No. They first start watching the sport and then they get passionate about it.
I remember going to my first football game in America a few years back. I didn't go to watch the game because I was passionate about it. Heck - I didn't even know all the rules of the game. But you should have seen me cheering and shouting in the stadium. I was as excited in the crowd as everyone else. Because I went to see the game, I got passionate.
Passion stems from commitment.
Ask any writer.
If a writer waited for passion and inspiration to come before she starts writing, she'll never finish her book.
But once she sits down and commits herself to write, passion and inspiration comes on its own.
If you wait for passion to show up before you act, you'll never move far. If you are committed enough to a business or a cause, passion will come automatically.
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