How to Get to the Top of Your Game by Networking Your Small Business

If you have a small business and you are trying to move it to the next level then networking is the way to go. You get the best of everything with a network without having to pay for any of it. Read on to find out how to get mentorship, qualified leads, and a ton of free products and services all through networking.

A network is a system where a group of non-competing, complimentary businesses get together and agree to help each other. The mastermind that a network generates can solve unbelievable problems for the members’ businesses, problems that could NEVER be solved alone. The goal is that you all agree to help each other, using your individual skills to benefit anyone else that may run into a problem where you excel.

In addition to the problem-solving mastermind, you will also gain the benefit of bartering. Here, you can swap products and services in exchange for the work that you perform. For example, if you are an accountant, you could get free legal work done in exchange for a tax return. This process alone can be worth thousands of dollars, well worth the time of admission into the network.

Lastly, there is the referral process. When you get customers into the network and they need a service that your business cannot provide, you will refer then to another member. This keeps the business inside the network, and you also look very professional, because you are recommending someone you know and the customer will see that you are just helping them, not making a dime off the transaction.

The 3 parts of a network are so valuable that any business which belongs to a network is at a much greater advantage than those that are not. You will have a huge support system when times get tough, and they will get tough. You will have a potential source of loans if you need money quickly. You will have a mentor. You will have a huge arsenal or service at your fingertips that you can barter with for free. Most of all, you will end up with a steady stream of customers flowing through your business. If your network is large enough, you may be able to generate more work than you can handle. Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have? If that is the case you could even expand the network into multiple businesses in the same category. Networks are very flexible and definitely worth the effort if the right members are chosen carefully.

The 3 Essential Documents Needed to Start Any Business

Starting a business can be a risky undertaking. They can be full of missteps, starts and stops and disappointments. To ensure that you start off on the right footing, there are three documents that will create your ventures foundation. Without them, it will be hard to be successful. These three pieces will take some time to get right. Iterating on them will codify your idea. This creation and iteration process will make your venture much more likely to succeed.

Step 1: The Pitch

The first document is your pitch. This is usually done in some presentation tool like NeoOffice or Keynote or Powerpoint. It should be the first document you create since it outlines your venture.

The importance of the pitch is that it allows you craft a story for your business. It’s what Angels and Venture Capitalists will want to see when they meet you. A good pitch is not a wordy, 12 point font business plan in Power Point but a high level vision of what you want to do. Refining your pitch will strengthen your story. Refining your pitch delivery will make your idea come alive.

Step 2: The Financial Model

Once you have outlined your idea, you need to figure out if it will actually make money. I know, sounds shallow and all corporate but it’s the truth. There is no point in spending a ton of time on your business idea unless it feeds you.

The financial model is meant to cull through your assumptions about income and expenses. Getting these all down will help you refine your pitch and executive summary. Since this is an iterative process, don’t worry about getting everything perfect right away. Just get something down you can play with. If you are unsure about an expense, put it in anyway. It’s much better to over estimate a little than to undershoot. The same applies for income (or sales).

Step 3: The Executive Summary

The executive summary is critical to getting that first meeting with investors. It’s the first thing they will ask for (the pitch might be second). It needs to stand-a-lone as the best possible high level overview of what you do. Each word, each phrase and each number has to do useful work. It has to be clear, concise and easy to read. Think of it as your ventures infomercial.

Step 4: Iterate

Getting all three pieces right will take some iteration. These iterations will anneal all three into a cohesive set. The best way to iterate is to practice your pitch in front of your team and others you trust. Have them act as investors and critique your delivery and message. These sessions will show you where your idea needs more work. Any area where you have to give long explanations or stumble over words, needs to be refined. Stumbles during the warm-up will tend to get worst when nerves get the best of you when in front of investors. Practicing will make that a whole lot better.

What About A Business Plan?

Business plans are an important component of your venture but not the end all, be all. Solid business plans start with the three documents above. They lay the foundation for how your plan will be structured. It’s important to flush out the high level idea before you dive into the business plan details. In most cases, your original idea will morph into something different. Waiting for the morphing to stop will save you time and effort.

Some funding sources don’t even want to see a business plan (Ventures and Angels). What they will want is a verbal description of your venture along with specific plans (like technology road maps or market roll out). Just because you don’t do a formal plan does not mean you don’t have to do the work. Knowing your business inside and out will instill in the investor that you are the right person to make it successful. Skimping on that will never get you funded.

Online Network Marketing – Home Business For Baby Boomers

The time is right for baby boomers to embrace their new home business. The baby boomers have been a major force to be reckoned with ever since the first one was born in 1946 and until the last one came along in 1964. If you were born during this time period, then you are a baby boomer. There are about 80 million of us and we represent about one third of the U.S. population. It’s estimated that we control 65% of the money.

If you were in the right industry (or picked the right stock) as the wave of boomers grew, then you could have enjoyed a ripe harvest. While the first wave may be retiring, the rest of us need to make sure that we are positioned correctly to enjoy our turn when the time comes.

Year of the Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur magazine says that 2010 is the year of the entrepreneur. And I want to challenge you to claim your spot as a new home business owner. Are you ready to stretch and grow into a business model that’s a perfect fit? We have tons of experience and a lot to offer. Have you ever thought about starting your own business? If you genuinely want to help people, a home based business works well because you can start it part-time with less than $1,000.

What would it be like being the boss? Would you work harder for yourself than you have for your employer? Are you ready to start building the life you see when you close your eyes and dream? We were taught to go to school, get a good job, work hard, and then retire to do the things we always wanted to do. How is that working out for you? The old way is broken and doesn’t work anymore. Putting your future in your boss’ hands just doesn’t make sense – emotionally or financially.

Four Keys to the Right Business

But how do you decide to start a business? What should you consider before you begin your new enterprise? Let me give you four essential keys to help put the odds in your favor. There’s nothing fancy or mysterious about them. They are just common sense.

1. The first key is to look for a market that is growing. Being part of the baby boom generation, you’ve had a huge impact on markets throughout your life. Ask yourself, ‘What is important in your life, right now?’ What kinds of products and services will you be looking for and buying over the next ten to fifteen years?
2. The second key is to look for something that is purchased over and over again. If you market a product or service that is used rarely or doesn’t run out, then your next paycheck will depend on finding a new customer. If you offer a widget that gets used up on a regular basis, you will build up a steady clientele that will buy from you on a consistent basis. Which would you rather have?
3. The third key is finding a product that cannot be purchased just anywhere. Most commonly available products are purchased on either convenience or price. People will pay more for something if it’s something they need right away and they don’t want to run all over town to get it (e.g., convenience stores). If price is important to them, then they will buy what they need at the lowest cost (e.g., Walmart). You want to make sure that you are not competing on either of these levels.
4. The fourth key is to find a business model that allows you to leverage the efforts of other people. There are only so many hours in each day. If you are the sole worker in your business, then your business will grow only as fast as eight hours each day will allow. However, if you train others to build their business inside of yours, then you will benefit from the efforts of others in addition to your own.

Carpe Diem

The time is now. It’s important to understand the four keys to choosing the right business in order to set yourself up for success. Decide today that this will be your year. Isn’t it time for you and your family to win? Seize the day and create long lasting prosperity in your home business today.

How To Start A Website Business For The Beginner

Mostly because of the poor economy, it seems as though everyone is jumping on the internet to either help make ends meet or to obtain untold wealth. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams online and too many people get sucked-up into the “Riches Without Work” scams that promise that with the flip of a switch, or a push of a button, you’ll receive scads of orders filling your pay pal account. Sorry… It just does not work that way. If you want to learn how to start a website business, then you need to stay as far away from the scam type sights as you can.

As the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The very first thing you need to do to start a successful web business is to learn about the business and exactly how it works. You’ll need to learn some skills before you do anything. The good news is skills can be learned, just like driving a car or lacing your shoes. Everything looks daunting until you understand it…then it’s easy. So, before you waste your money on get rich quick scams, learn how the business really works. You can do this by learning, step-by-step, how to build your own website and then how to market your site to your prospects. The best way to learn this business, inside and out, is to team up with a mentor that can guide you through this maze called the internet. A personal mentor will cost you the farm so you don’t want to do that, unless you have lots of money saved up.

The best way to learn the business is to hook-up with a service that will teach you how to start a website business via the internet. A service will teach you how to build a website of your own, how to market your products and exactly how the web business works. In other words, you must build your skill sets first, then you’ll have the necessary know-how to be successful in this industry. Warning: Be careful of the insidious monster called information overload. That’s trying to do to many things at once…like promoting 3-4 businesses at once.

My advice is to find a internet mentor and then stick with him until you learn the basics of this tremendous industry.