The American Dream is, and always will be, to come up with an idea, start a business and become rich from your own efforts. Based upon this motivation, thousands of businesses fail each year, due primarily to not being familiar with the basics involved in running a business.
This report will enlighten you, and give you a number of suggestions you can use to better guarantee your chances for success. This report is written with the warning that any and every business venture contains certain inherent risks, and any number of alternatives. We do not espouse that any one way is the right way or that our suggestions are the only way. On the contrary, we advise that before investing any money in a business venture, you seek counseling and help from a qualified accountant and/or attorney.
Just about the first thing you should consider before deciding to start or purchase a business is the legal form you'll be operating under. There are basically four choices: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, and/or corporation.
Each has a number of advantages and disadvantages. We'll try to enumerate some of them for you.
As much as anything else, for many people starting a business is a form of ego-gratification, and they form a corporation for some sort of prestige gain - just to say, "I own a corporation."
With just a little bit of observation, you'll find that one of the major causes of business failures is due to the founder wasting start-up capital on frills, such as an impressive store-front office, expensive furnishings, and corporate legal costs.
One of the basic traits you must develop it you're going to be successful in business, is a tight hold on your expenditures. In fact, a good rule of thumb is that anything that does not make money for you or protect your investment should not be purchased at this time. Very definitely, this applies to the expense of setting up your own corporation.
Unless you have a partnership and start your business as such, the only real advantage to forming a corporation would appear to be that a corporate structure will semi-protect the property you personally own.
As an example, you own a home and car. You form a corporation to protect these possessions from business losses. Yet, if you can be found guilty of misusing corporate funds, your business creditors can pierce the corporate shield and come after your possessions.
Basically, if you invest everything you have in your business, as most newcomers do, you don't usually need a corporation because you have nothing to protect. Your household possessions, personal belongings, generally your car, and even a portion of the equity in your home is protected by the homestead provision of the Federal Bankruptcy Act, and cannot be taken away from you.
As a sole proprietor or partner of a business you'll be paying taxes on your overall earnings, much the same as if you were holding down a salaried or hourly paid job. Whether you do or don't take out money as a salary will have no bearing on the earnings of your business and tax return.
The often advertised advantage of incorporating, that you can manipulate your salary in order to save on tax dollars, is real because of corporation laws. However, the IRS frowns on this practice. When your business is successful and making a lot of money, definitely check with your accountant on the advantages of incorporating.
As a corporation, you'll be subject to a number of other drawbacks as well: generally higher state taxes, stricter laws concerning the operation of your business, more elaborate accounting procedures, and legal papers that are required just about every time you make a major move or sign almost any contract. Thus, your legal and accounting fees will be much higher as a corporation than will those required for a sole proprietorship type of business.
As a sole proprietor or partnership, you'll find many areas require the registration of your business name. The cost however, is minimal, ranging from $5 to $100. About the best way to find out what laws apply in your area, is to call your bank and ask if they need a fictitious name registration card or certificate in order for you to open a business account.
Selecting a name for your business is quite important to you and particularly relative to advertising. Your business name should describe the product or services you offer. Fancy names such as, Linda's Clipping Service will lose potential "walk-in and passing" customers to the beauty shop across the street that calls itself, Patti's Beauty Salon or Jane's Hair Styling Shop.
The advantage of using your full name in the title of your business, such as Johnny Jones' Meat Lockers, has the advantage of making credit somewhat easier to come by - provided you pay your bills on time. But it also includes the disadvantage of confining your services to a local or at most, a regional area.
Should you buy, lease, or rent a space for your business? Think twice before you make any decision along these lines. Most businesses tend to grow quickly or they never get off the ground. There are a few exceptions, but only a very few, that tend to grow at a modified rate.
So, buying a piece of property and setting up your business on or within that property, obligates you to ownership regardless of what happens to your business.
Leases are almost always very strong contracts written by attorneys to the advantage of the property-owner. When you sign an agreement to pay someone for the use of their space over any length of time, you're "nailed in" to paying for that space regardless of what happens to your business.
In the beginning, it's wise to either get the shortest-term lease possible, or arrange to rent with an option to lease at a later date. This does not apply to a retail business, unless your particular business happens to be an untried one.
Definitely, you should open a business bank account. In selecting a bank for your business, scout around and look for one that can, and will help you. Determine what your banking needs will be, and then via telephone, interview the managers of the banks in your area. The important convenient bank to your business location.
A point to remember: the closer you can make the relationship between you and the bank manager, the better your chances are going to be for approval on loans and/or special favors you may need at a later date.
Try to become acquainted with as many of the bank employees as possible. The better you know them, the more courtesies they'll be extending especially to you in the course of your association.
Just as a doctor is a specialist in his field and you go to him for medical problems, your banker is a specialist in his field and you should go to him for your money problems. In business, you'll have to learn that everyone is an expert in his own line of work, and in your associations with other business people, refrain from acting like a "sharpie" and/or pretending that you know exactly how everything works in someone else's specialty.
Weak Attention Getters and Weak Ads - You must have a headline that screams, "Pay attention to me!" You must also work on a sub-headline to draw the reader to your offer. If you don't get attention, you will go unnoticed.
The Right Way
It's A War, Not A Battle - You cannot believe that placing the right ad once in the right place will make you set for life. It may get you a few offers, but it won't continue for too long. Be sure to taper your online ads with local advertising and obtaining FREE press coverage (make something unique about your site or offer and write a press release to as many papers as possible or use a service to do it for you, you will get a spot in the paper advertising your deal.) Advertising requires a plan including the following ten step actions: [Be sure to bookmark this page since this method will take a few days to accomplish the results you want.]
Timing and Targeting are subtle factors in determining the response of an ad. You want to make sure the ad you are circulating is appearing to your likely customers. If you have a get rich quick plan, it may not go over extremely well in a forum of religious people who have taken a vow of poverty. If you are selling fishing supplies, it is not good to show it to an audience of a women's knitting circle. Place your ads carefully where your likely customer will see it.
Then you must consider the timing of when your ad will be placed. Holidays seasons seem to be starting as early as August, but the frenzy starts in early November and peaks after Thanksgiving, so if you are selling gift items, this would be your best time to place your ad. Business opportunities are big boom all year around, but peak after the Christmas season when people realize they need to pay for all the holiday expenses. Diet and exercise plans are also big all year, but September is a good peak for those who want to lose weight before the holidays. January and Feburary are great for those who put on pounds during the holidays and are for those soon to be spring and summer brides. Recipes you sell that are related to the time of the season do well, for instance, if you are selling Watermelon punch recipes, don't do it in December.
All items can be sold if marketed correctly no matter which time of the year it is, but some products sell better at certain times than others.
For online campaigns, you need to create a web page that is your main ad which will point out all the reasons why your customer should buy and how to buy. You will also need to create classified ads and ffa link ads to direct people to see your sales page. These are merely teasers to qualify potential customers to read the full sales pitch.
Words and Design Make A Difference. Some of the things that can make a difference in an ad that encourages people to buy or even consider your offer and those that tune out and go away are in the presentation itself. By E-mail, ffa sites and classified ads, you need something to catch the reader's eye immediately. Try this list of powerful words when creating an eye catching headline.
If you are instructing the person to your web site or to open the e-mail, then you must work on the presentation of the sales pitch. Keep it short, simple and to the point. Point out what is in it for the reader when they buy your goods. Give them more value, freebies, or some incentive to buy. Make it easy to buy. On a web site, make the colors on your site easy on the eyes. Try to center your pitch and create some empty space so your message doesn't seem crowded. Use headlines and subheadlines to break up the points and use bullets to break the point down further.
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