| The Power Of Starting Strong In Business

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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Startups are notoriously tricky business. You can never be quite sure of how likely or not a startup is to succeed in the long run, and this lack of certainty can actually cause some poor management behavior. When you work from this perspective, you are working from a losing stance, when what your business needs is to work from a position of strength. Starting strong in business means staying strong throughout – it means a firmer base on which you can build your enterprise, and much more ability to get through the tough time. So how do you make sure that you start off in the right way?

 

No Detail Too Small

A particularly useful facet of strength which is always worth exploring is that it relies on a complete analysis of the situation. To be in a truly strong position means that you know exactly your virtues and your flaws, and you are also completely aware of the possible hurdles ahead of you. Paying attention to the smallest of details in your business is therefore an extremely effective way of getting off on the right foot. No matter what it is, remember that there is no such thing as a detail too small. Take that approach, and you will be starting off in a much stronger position. See https://www.thegrocer.co.uk for more on this essential piece of wisdom.

 

No Such Thing as Too Much Money

Clearly, a business is always going to need a good deal of capital in order to get going in the right way. The more financial freedom you have the ability to practice in your enterprise, the stronger you will feel as you work through building up that organization. There have always been many options for finding decent, reliable finance in business, such as those discussed at startupbusinessloans.co. However you do it, you need to make sure you have the right amount of money – and remember that you simply cannot start off with too much. The more the merrier, as you can then grow your business much more swiftly.

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No Wrong Way to Approach Growth

Whatever decisions you are making, you should get into the habit of thinking in terms of growth. As long as what you are doing is good for the overall growth of the business, you can’t really argue that it is not the right thing to do. As long as you remain legal, moral and above board, whatever methods you can find to approach the issue of how to grow are perfectly legitimate. Don’t worry about how it appears or whether you are doing what a famous entrepreneur did. It is your business, nobody has run another business the same as it before, and it is entirely up to you how to make it successful. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy the process, and you will both get more out of it personally and see better immediate results as well.

Start strong and you can be sure that you will stay strong, so it is worth trying to bear the above in mind. With any luck, your business will remain strong for as long as it exists.

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| The Pros & Cons Of Being A Sole Trader

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

A huge number of entrepreneurs choose to go it alone; as in, they begin their business without the input of anyone else. It’s their idea; their determination; their workload they are going to be burdening.

Being a sole trader can be hugely satisfying, but it’s not without its downsides. Before you launch a business by yourself, it’s worth considering the pros and cons regarding the path you’re choosing to take.

 

PRO: You Can Make Your Own Decisions

When you’re launching a small business, you’re inevitably going to make a lot of decisions. From logo design to your pricing structure, you will spend your days deciding between two choices. If you’re the only person in the business, then you don’t have to worry about arguing at any point during the complex decision-making period — which can save you a lot of time and stress.

 

CON: There’s No One to Help Share The Workload

Any good sole trader knows when to outsource work they are not qualified to do, such as hiring out bookkeeping services or using a graphic designer to perfect your logo. For everything else, however, you have to manage it alone. This can mean that your time is always in demand, with no business partner or staff to help bear the load. You can’t outsource everything if you want to generate a profit, so sole traders have to be willing to work very hard to get their business off the ground.

 

PRO: The Profits Don’t Have To Be Divided

The whole goal of your business is to generate a profit. If you work hard, you can reap the rewards of your effort. However, with a business partner or staff, you’re going to have to divide the money you make with other people. If you choose to be a sole trader, then every penny you earn goes into your pocket. This is particularly important to remember if you’re only aiming to have a small lifestyle business; do you really want to share a small amount with another person?

 

CON: There’s No One to Bounce Ideas Off

As mentioned, launching a business means you’re going to be making a lot of decisions. Some of those decisions will be easy; some of them will be… less so. If you’re a sole trader, you have to make all those decisions based off your own instincts alone. There’s no one to talk to, no one who can guide you onto the right path. This can be isolating and make decision-making more stressful. If you’re going to go it alone, you’re going to have to be comfortable with relying on just your own instincts and feelings.

 

PRO: Selling the Business Is Easier

In the future, you might want to sell your business so you can pursue other goals. Without a doubt, this is far easier to do if you’re the sole owner. The process of selling a business is complicated by a business partner or staff. While the idea of selling might seem like a far-off thought, it’s always worth contemplating the future and the options you may wish to explore.

If, for you, the benefits of being a sole trader outweigh the cons, then that’s fine — at least you now know the areas you will need to be aware of to ensure your solo business can shine.

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| Let’s Get Physical

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re living in the future. The sci-fi films of ten years ago may have seemed far-fetched, but we’re not far off. And, this futuristic vibe hasn’t changed anything quite so much as it has the face of business. With ecommerce ever growing in popularity, finding success is a completely different beast in the current climate.

In many ways, this is good news. Startup costs are lower, and success is easier to reach. But, is our focus on technology making us neglect other, equally important aspects of businesses? While the future does lie in ecommerce, it’s essential we don’t neglect our physical business spaces. Even if we operate entirely online, these will remain crucial to our success.

Do you lift your head from your computer screen and see mayhem all around? If yes, it’s time to turn your attention to the following areas.

Keep Things Clean
Keeping your business space clean is just as important now as ever. But, when you’re focusing on computer screens, it’s easy to let this slide. Sweet wrappers build, dust gathers, and before you know it, you’re at risk of disappearing under the rubbish. And,  this can be a real health hazard for your employees.

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Of course, it’s unlikely you have the time to tackle the issue yourself, and that’s good news. Being busy is, after all, what all business owners want. And, lucky for you, there’s a way to tackle this problem without tearing yourself away from technology. By hiring janitorial services, you can rest easy that the cleaning issue won’t sneak up on you. You’ll be free to get stuck in the web all day this way.

 

Is Your Face Missing From the Company?

Many companies now interact with customers via social media. It’s quick, easy, and convenient for both parties the majority of the time. But, that doesn’t mean your face should completely disappear from your physical business. As it stands, technology isn’t the best for producing personal connections. You don’t get the eye contact or the general chatter which gets customers returning time and again. So, now and then, you should make a face to face appearance. Depending on your company, this could mean doing a shift in the shop or hitting the streets to let people who you are. Either way, doing this once a week will take you far.
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Are You Offering Employee Support?
Another crucial reason for taking your head out of that web is employee wellbeing. As a boss, you have a responsibility to talk to and care about your staff members. But, if you’re always glued to the computer screen, they may find you unapproachable.

As such, it’s worth having a wander around the office at least every few hours, and chatting with your staff. Don’t do this to check up on them; else they’ll come to dread the walk rounds. Instead, use this as a chance to let them know that you’re there, and willing to talk if they need you.

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| Double Take: The Art Of Visual Sales

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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Like most animals, how we perceive our surroundings and environment are largely based on the senses we have. A blind mole, for example, will experience the world very differently to a creature which can see, relying on their senses of smell and hearing to help them. As your subject becomes more intelligent, like humans, the impact of senses can be felt on more than just perceptions of the world; but also the way people feel and the decisions they make. To turn this in favor of your business, this post will be going through some of the different ways you can start using visual sales techniques for your products, making the most of people’s eyes.

Before you can begin with something like this, you first need to understand the sort of approach you’ll need to take. To begin, as this area is new to you, you’ll need to do some learning and research to make sure you don’t miss anything out. Along with this, you should also make sure that you address each of your products on their own. The way that you use visuals to sell a product will depend on what the product itself looks like.

With your product in mind, you can begin to think about the colors and materials you will have surrounding it. This sort of decision has to be heavily based on the product and will be used to enhance its existing looks. For example, books and other rustic items look great with wood, and it should be nice and easy to create a style which works with them. More modern items, though, will need more work. Sites like http://www.fireflystoresolutions.com/c-1246-display-hooks.aspx can help you to find display items and other visual sales tools, making it easy to get this job done. Along with this, though, you should also consider creativity when you’re working like this.

Along with the colors and materials surrounding your product, you can also think about other items which might enhance your customer’s experience. For example, if you sell CDs or other music-related items, old instruments or record players could be great accent pieces for your products. Of course, though, you have to be careful. Items which are very detailed or intricate will look bad surrounded by items with similar qualities. But, likewise, plain items will look boring without the right compliments. This part of your visual sales process will be hard, so it’s worth doing some research at this stage.

Finally, and possibly the most important aspect of this effort is the level of uniqueness found in your displays. There’s not much point in copying or using a similar idea to another company. This will make your displays feel boring, and some customers may even recognize that you’ve ripped someone else off. To solve this issue, websites like https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/How-to-Make-a-New-Product-Unique?gko=2428c can help you to make your displays unique to your company. To achieve this goal, you’ll need to set up a strict set of styles which your business will follow for each display.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start focusing more on the visual sales techniques you use in your business. A lot of people don’t consider this sort of area. But, with the right work, it should be nice and easy to start selling based on looks alone.

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| Read This And More Clients For Your Law Firm Are Guaranteed

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Marketing in law markets is completely different to marketing in other markets. One of the worst things you could do in the law industry is market as if it’s the same. Chances are, you’ll get mediocre results at best – sometimes nothing to show for your efforts. It doesn’t matter how many areas of expertise you have, or how many years you have been in the industry; if you’re marketing the wrong way, you won’t get the results you want. Plain and simple!

However, if you read on, you’ll be able to get more clients for your law firm. It’s pretty much guaranteed. Find out how…

 

Realize Nobody Cares About You

This might sound harsh, but really, nobody cares about you. They don’t care about the areas you specialize in, and they don’t care about how long you have been in the industry. Trying to gain clients by marketing yourself like this will usually fail. This is what many law firms currently do, so if you can break away from this then you’re immediately going to have an edge over your competitors.

You need to remember that people are very self-centered; they care about themselves and their problems and they will struggle to see past this. They won’t click on your ad if you say you have 17 areas of expertise and 20 years’ experience. They want to see you specifically talking about their problems.

You can start by picking an area you specialize in – like family law, and then think of all of the problems people can face in this area instead.

Things like adopting, child support, divorce and more. List the problems you can solve. This is what people want to see, and what will make people stop what they’re doing and come to you for help.

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Focus Solely On Solving a Problem

When you have a list of the problems you can solve, you need to focus solely on these things. Make sure everyone knows you can solve the problems, and how. Talk about them in depth, so that they see you are an expert at solving issues like this. Don’t simply say you are an expert in family law – talk about the issues and how you will help. This is where the success lies.

You can do this with your ads, blogs, Facebook posts, and so much more. Focusing on the problems you can help people with is the key to getting the amount of clients you want. Bear in mind that once you have the interest of a person, it doesn’t mean you have them as a client. You need to make sure you keep them interested if they are going to hire you.

 

Find the Perfect Prospects

Once you know what problems you can solve, you need to take the steps to find the perfect prospects. Your landing page is very important, and will either draw people in or send them away. Make sure everything is placed correctly and that you’re using the correct words and techniques here – you can even find techniques online to help you.

You can also find the right people by focusing your Google ads towards the problems people are having. Be as specific as possible here. If somebody sees an ad for an ‘experienced lawyer’ they aren’t likely to click. However, if they see an ad for a lawyer who specialized in getting people child support, helping them get the results they want in a divorce, or something similar, they are going to click. You need to bear in mind all throughout your marketing that people struggle to see past their own issues, so you need to spell it out for them.

Many people think that the best place to be is spot 1. However, this isn’t always the case. You could be in spot 3, and you will likely get same number of clicks but pay a lot less with the right copy and focus.

 

Write Blogs Focused On Problems

By writing blogs focused on the problems people are having, you can help to get more clients for your law firm. For example, ‘5 things you should know about DUIs’ or something to that effect. This is going to bring people back to your website, solidify your reputation as an expert, and even help your Google listings. Just make sure you are consistent and that your postings are helpful and high quality for the best results.

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Managing Your Time

Managing your time properly is key to getting more clients for your law firm, dealing with current clients, and getting everything else you can think of done. Finding those experienced in law firm marketing can cost more but you will save plenty of time and stress trying to figure it all out. If you want more clients but you also want to ensure you’re not snowed under, this could be the way to do it.

 

Gaining Online Reviews

If studies and stats can tell us anything, it’s that online reviews are one of the most effective ways to get the trust of potential clients. People tend to trust these as much as a personal recommendation from a friend, so it’ll be in your best interests to get as many as you can.

They will be a powerful asset to your business, and may even have a significant influence on Google’s search results. Whatever you do, do not be tempted to pay for reviews that are not genuine. People will see through these. You must work hard to get genuine reviews!

By simply taking a different approach to your law firm marketing you could draw more people to you in a matter of weeks. In a few months, you could have hundreds, if not thousands of leads. All you need to do is focus on helping people to solve their problems, and let them know that you’re the law firm to do it.

What do you think of these pointers? Will you be using any in your future marketing techniques? Leave a comment below!

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| How To Start A Manufacturing Business

Posted in Start-up Ventures at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

The manufacturing business may be seen as something that happens to be a dwindling business empire to be part of, but it still forms a huge backbone of the economy and definitely should be something to consider being involved in. Of course, many companies may be looking to lower their manufacturing costs and seek workmanship in other countries, but building up a reputation and the quality of work you can produce will often outshine the cost if it is done right.

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However, there is much involved when considering starting up your own manufacturing business. It definitely requires a lot of thought and work, which is why we thought we would share with you exactly what you should be thinking about if this is a business you want to start yourself. I hope this guide helps you to feel more informed about the necessary steps.

 

Think About the Location

There two parts to the decision-making process when considering a location for your manufacturing business. You need to know where your product will be made and where and how it will be sold. Sometimes, in certain circumstances, if you know you will require certain machinery or larger items to manufacture the products, then a larger premise with the required space should also form part of the decision-making process. Prices vary for locations to do business from and can be decided upon the actual location and where you want to work within the country. There are cheaper areas than others, but of course, this decision will be made based on the product itself.

In regards to selling, this shouldn’t be too limiting. You have the expansion that is the World Wide Web with many platforms online that you can take advantage of so it may be foolish to limit yourself to an area or a chain of shops. However, combining the two could work really well.

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The Day To Day Running

The day to day job will vary, dependent on how much work is on and where your skills best lie. But being involved in all aspects can be an essential part of running your manufacturing business. Starting out on your own requires you to be the entrepreneur, the salesperson, the accountant and the HR expert. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this will be easy.

 

The Machinery You Will Need

Certain products will need specific manufacturing equipment. Not only will you need to think about what sort of production line you will have, but you also need to think about The machines, like a vibratory feeder, that feed the parts into the production line in order for it to be produced. This is when websites like https://www.goughecon.com/product-details/electromagnetic-feeders-screeners/ could prove useful. Considering the machinery will be vital before making the decision on the location, as you need to ensure you have enough space for the production line you need.

 

Training and Staff Requirements

As a manufacturer, you will need to be able to produce the product to the highest of standards, and this is when training and staff requirements will become a high priority and focus for you. Of course, if you have some financial backing then you can afford to recruit the level of expertise you require, but you may also need to consider other options in order to get the right people in. A reduction in waste through the production line is also an area that could help save hundreds and even thousands, which in turn could help you recruit the right people for the job.

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The Financial Side Of Things

Launching a manufacturing company will need some form of investment or financial backing to get you up and running. So this is when a business plan will be an essential part of your business start up. The business plan can then be put forward to potential investors or even the bank, who would, in turn, analyze your business venture and hopefully offer up the investment needed to make the company a possibility. Here is a quick guide to help creating one yourself https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247574. A quick tip would be to ensure you include all financial aspects and costs of the business so that you are transparent with a potential investor.

 

Starting Up

Starting out may be exciting, but without the necessary time taken to create a business plan or even spent time focusing on the growth of your business you may find that you will fail at the first hurdle. You need to memorize the reasons as to why your product will be a success, because this is what you will need to look back on whenever you are in a tight spot. You need to know how long it will take before you start to turn a profit and deciding on all aspects of the business early on, including your sales avenues.

 

The Selling Aspect of the Service And Product You Provide

The selling of your product will be the most significant and important aspect of your manufacturing company. After all, what use is the manufacturing company if the product it produces does not sell? This is when you need to explore the sales avenues you have available. Creating your own brand and website is an option, or utilizing selling platforms like www.ebay.com or www.etsy.com. Of course, it all depends on the type of product it is. You could consider trying to get into local shops or chain stores, which could provide you with a bigger order intake and volume in one hit.

 

The Common Pitfalls to Look Out For

Finally, there are some common pitfalls any of the best entrepreneurs can be victim to. One of which is underestimating how much time it will take to build the manufacturing company and get things moving. You may also need to understand that in most cases, investment is vital for the success of a manufacturing business. Of course, hard work and dedication are other key factors, but most entrepreneurs have the drive and passion to do what it takes to make a business a success.

I hope that these steps enable you to start up your own manufacturing business.

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| Pension Plan Or Pension Pan? Why Small Business Owners Should Consider Paying Out

Posted in Staffing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

We all know that running a business isn’t easy. If you’re just starting out, you’re probably fed of up of the considerations which keep cropping up. We’ve all been there, and most of us remember what a hard time it can be!
To make things easier, you need to look as far into the future as possible. Many entrepreneurs only overcome the obstacles they face, and hence crumble under the pressure in no time at all. But, if you plan for the future of your enterprise, there’s no reason you can’t make this work.
That’s not to say you can forget about the here and now, of course. What happens now will make a huge difference to your success in the future. But, you also need to look forward and plan ahead. For example, you need to spend some time considering how you’ll lead a team when you get one. What wages would you offer, and what benefits package would you include? It may seem a little preemptive, but you’ll be glad you considered all this when the time comes.
And, when you’re considering that benefit package, the question of pensions will crop up. Namely, should you offer one? As a new employer, your gut reaction may be to opt out, but here’s why it might be worth considering.

It might not cost as much as you think
Because you’ve thought about this from the off, it’s possible paying into a pension won’t cost as much as you think. As a sole trader, you will have to pay into that pension from tax-deducted profits. But, if you set up as a limited liability company, you may be able to make higher tax relievable pension payments. Plus, the payment will fall on your company, rather that you alone. So, find out how to start an llc, and consider whether it’s for you. With tax benefits in other areas, too, this may be worth considering.

It’ll attract the best staff
When it comes to hiring, we often think that, as the employer, we’re in control. But, that’s far from the reality. In fact, the applicants hold all the cards. You want the best team possible, and they have a variety of similar companies to choose from.

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When you consider it that way, you want to make every effort to make yourself stand out as the best option. As such, having a competitive benefits package will help you in the long run. If you don’t offer a pension, and you’re up against someone who does, you don’t stand a chance.

A fantastic sign of commitment
Along the same vein, offering a pension is a fantastic way to create a lasting work team. By investing in their future, you’re opening the doors to a long working relationship. As such, staff members are more likely to stick around for the long haul. Of course, pensions are transferable, but your commitment is likely to see a similar one in return. Or, that’s the plan, at least!

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| Building Your Own Commercial Property

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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As a business owner looking for a new base for your commercial operations, you have three choices; you can rent a building, buy a building or construct your own building. If you have the capital to do it, I would argue that there are many advantages to building your own commercial property that you just don’t get with the first two options.
Here are just some of the benefits that come with building your own commercial property, which are, at the very least, worth considering:

Complete Control
It goes without saying, but when you choose to build your own commercial property, barring regulations in your area, you can pretty much do whatever you like with the place. You can custom design your building so that it meets your company’s every need. For instance, if you operate a lot of heavy machinery, you could specify that your contractor use a stone column foundation, which is much better at bearing heavy loads, or if you run a design company, you can have an architect design a quirky building which will act as a form of branding for your company – the options are quite literally endless. When you build you own building, compromising is almost never necessary.

Creating an Asset
When you build your own commercial property, you create a valuable asset, which makes your business more valuable. Sure, it could be argued that the same applies to buying a building, but if you create a unique and interesting new building, it’s probably going to be worth more than the average properties that surround it.

Increased Energy Efficiency
It’s almost universally true that new-builds are much more energy efficient than older buildings, which may have older wiring and heating systems, as well as problems with insulation. So, buy investing in your own commercial building, you can save money on the cost of utility bills in the future, and ensure that your building is as high performance as it can possibly be.

Lifetime Warranties
Many construction companies offer long or even lifetime warranties on their work, which means that, should you choose to build your own commercial building rather than rent or buy it, should something go wrong, it is unlikely that you will have to pay to put it right. If you simply buy a business, you are automatically responsible for any structural issues that arise, and since problems with commercial buildings can be expensive to put right, this could conceivably put you out of business altogether.

Location, Location, Location
When you opt to buy or rent your business premises, you are somewhat hampered by what is already available, and if there’s a location you like, but there are no suitable buildings in the vicinity, you’re forced to look elsewhere.
When you opt to build your property, this is much less of an issue because the only thing that could hold you back from working in the location you like are building regs, and these are rarely a big issue unless you’re trying to build on a local beauty spot or something equally as foolish.
Being able to choose your own location also means that you can choose a place that has beautiful views or which is in keeping with your company image, which is always a bonus that’s likely to impress the clients and keep the employees happy.

Tips for Building Your Own Commercial Property
If, after reading about the benefits of building your own commercial property, you think you would like to proceed, here are a few tips to ensure that your new project is a success:

Have a Plan
You can’t just decide to build a commercial property, go out there and hire a contractor and get to it – if you want your project to be a success, you need to have a plan. You need to assess the affordability of the build (preferably with a bank advisor), work out what kind of building you want to create and ensure you know how the mortgage is going to be paid. If you can determine those things, then you should be okay to proceed.

Get a Building Permit Early On
As soon as you’ve decided to build and you know how you’re going to proceed, you need to research the local building rules, so that you can do everything you need to in order to get a permit. You need to do this quickly because, without a permit, you simply cannot proceed and satisfying the requirements may mean a few changes to your plans.

Hire a Great Architect and Interior Designer
If you want your commercial property to be a real asset to your business, you need to hire a really good architect and interior designer to ensure that your vision is brought to life in the best possible way. Sure, you could save money by hiring the cheapest option, but you’re likely to end up with an uninspiring box rather than a state-of-the-art design you can be proud of. Not only that, but a good interior designer will know how to arrange and decorate the space to boost productivity and increase employee happiness – two things that every business should be concerned with.

Let the Professional Get on with It
When you’re investing your money in creating a fantastic new building for your business, it’s only natural that you’ll want to get involved, but spending too much time overseeing every little aspect of the project is only going to take you away from actually running your business. It’s really not uncommon for companies to lose revenue when a new building is being constructed for exactly this reason, and it’s something you should try to avoid.

Have a Contingency Plan
If you’re building anything, let alone a new commercial property, you should always have a contingency plan in place because the average project will go between 5-10 percent over estimate.
Building a commercial property certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you have the time, money and drive to create a brilliant new business asset to enhance your company, it is very much worth the effort.

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| The Digital Tools Your Small Business Can’t Do Without

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

These days, you need to have a strong understanding of the Web if you want your small business to see success. Many entrepreneurs fail to really do this well enough, and more often than not it means the death of their business is not far away. What’s important is how you use the Internet, and a big part of that is knowing which tools to make use of. There are more digital tools than you can count these days, so sifting through them for the best can be tough. That’s why we’ve done it for you.

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Calendar Management

How’s your timekeeping? Many entrepreneurs are simply too busy much of the time, and it can be surprising how easily this ekes into their business. If you are starting to feel that your own timekeeping is affecting the business itself, then you might want to find a digital tool to help you with that. Fortunately, there are a huge amount of such tools available. A good example is Schedule Once, which is completely free of charge and yet incredibly useful and effective to use. Get this software set up, and you will be able to make much more sensible decisions as to when to have a meeting, and when it’s time to call lunch instead.

 

Website Analytics

If you want to get ahead, you need to have a website. These days, you just can’t ignore that. And if you have a website, you need to make sure that you have some way of analyzing the traffic flow coming in and out of that site. The more you understand about that, the better you can draw more people into your site, and that alone is huge these days. The best for this is still Google Analytics, as it is free of charge and has the widest range of tools for this purpose anywhere. However, if you outsource to Kurnol Kalamazoo SEO, they will be able to draw traffic into your website much more effectively than just you alone.

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Payment Systems

If your business needs to take payments online, you will need to go out of your way to find a decent e-commerce payment tool. You would be surprised how hard to come by these actually are. A decent payment system needs to be safe, secure and give your customer the benefit of the doubt. They need to be able to trust it with their most important possession – their data – so it is vital you find the right one. You have a lot of options here, but one of the best has to be Gumroad. This software installs easily on any website, and makes the whole checkout process one unified procedure. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes when it is all one process.

With the right tools on board, there is no limit to what your small business can achieve. Finding good digital tools can be hard, but you don’t need to dedicate too much time to it. Once you find one that works and which you trust, stick to it. Until something better comes along, that is.

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| Building A Second Location Isn’t As Easy As You Think

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Unless you provide some kind of really niche service only applicable at a particular location, there will likely come a time when you want to expand your operations. But going from a single location to a second can be a challenge. Often, it’s hard to know ahead of time whether the risk is worth taking.

The history of business is littered with examples of companies that lost a lot of money, trying to expand into markets in which they never stood a chance of success. But then again, there are dozens of other companies which grew and grew until they covered the face of the planet.

So what do you need to consider before building a second location?

 

Can Your Business Model Be Duplicated?

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Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the most important factor to consider is whether or not your business model can actually be duplicated. If your company depends on you, and you alone, for a lot of important tasks, then the chances are that you’re not ready to expand just yet. Either you need to find a way to be in two places at once (which is the difficult option), or you need somebody who can perform the roles that you do in your stead.

Take some time to figure out whether there is anybody on your team already who could run a second location to the same high standard that you’ve run the first. Also, figure out ahead of time whether your clients want to work with just you, or whether they’d be willing to go to a surrogate. If they don’t mind the surrogate, then you’re a prime candidate for expansion.

 

Fully Research the New Location

You might be experiencing high demand at your current location, but when you build your new one, a similarly high level of demand may never materialize. That’s why it’s so important to do plenty of research well in advance to identify target markets and assess their potential. You’ll need to take into account a whole host of different factors, such as local income, unemployment, and age. You’ll also have to get smart and think of ways to measure local people’s tastes and preferences. Even if they’re poor, they still might make excellent customers if they really want your product.

To test the waters and gauge demand, start off with a test sale of your products in the new area. It may be the case that there is a lot of latent demand for your product, especially if your product is something that people in the local markets haven’t seen before. For instance, companies like Uber struggled to expand into new cities to start with because people didn’t understand the business model. It was so new. But over time, customers learned how it could benefit them, and since then, uptake has been dramatic.

 

Consider Whether It’s Best To Build or Rent

Building a new premise will add to your existing capital stock. But it’ll also cost a lot of money up front. Renting will cost less initially, but it means that you’ll never build up your business equity. Thus figuring out which you would rather pursue in advance is essential.

The good news is that with plant equipment hire and the right construction manager, building new premises in the style of the first is relatively straightforward. This is something that fast-food restaurants and car dealerships do on a regular basis. Plus, you can customize your second location to your precise needs, making it large enough for expected customer demand, and avoiding paying a penny more than you need to. You may not be able to find the perfect premises on the rental market.

Renting, however, is probably better for owners who are less sure about whether opening a second location will really make them more money. Although rental contracts on business premises are usually signed for several years at a time, it’s easier to back out of a rental agreement than it is to sell business premises.

 

Ask Yourself Whether You Could Make More Money without Building a Second Location

Building a second location involves taking some considerable risks, not least that your initial investment will end up being worthless. In the past, there were often positive outcomes, but today, there are some alternatives too.

Rather than expanding your physical presence, you could try growing digitally instead. Investing several thousand dollars into SEO and marketing for your website, for instance, could yield a higher return than investing in a new location, while eschewing many of the risks. For starters, you wouldn’t have to part with a large deposit, not knowing whether your business plans would be successful. Rather, you could simply try spending a bit here and a bit there on things like PPC and content marketing, and see whether doing so made a difference to your sales. Online, you can monitor the effects of tiny investments and decide whether it’s worth pouring more money in or not.

Remember, unlike many physical locations, the internet is a constantly growing market. Not only are more and more people hooking up to it, but they’re also, as a group, getting wealthier.

 

Gather Adequate Sources of Funding

Most entrepreneurs estimate that it costs around $100,000 to set up a restaurant. In truth, however, the figure is more like $500,000, all things considered. Thus business owners have a tendency to underestimate the cost of opening a second location, driven by their optimism and desire for success. Unfortunately, by failing to factor in the actual costs of doubling the size of your business, you could be setting yourself up for financial trouble in the future.

Before jumping in and building a second location, ask yourself whether you have enough funding from investors. If there’s a small gap, perhaps income from your first business can plug it, but don’t count on it. In fact, doing so is usually considered bad business practice, especially in the long term, since it proves that the new location just isn’t profitable. Always think of your second business location as a brand new business venture and evaluate it on its own merits.

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