Ideas for Year End Planning Easy Way

Recognize What Has Gotten You This Far.

In life we mark certain periods of time with some type of commemoration. After you’ve completed your first twelve years of school in the United States, you graduate with a high school diploma and in college you graduate with a degree in whatever major you have declared. Whenever you are ending a period of time in your business, it’s important to acknowledge how you got to wherever you ended up. Whether your success has been achieved with the help of people, places or things, you must stop to assess what has helped you to accomplish the goals you have reached.

If you’re a small business owner, chances are you did not accomplish everything in your business without help. With that said, who do you need to show acknowledgement and or appreciation to? What team accomplishments should you commemorate? Make sure to show your team that you recognize and appreciate their efforts. This simple act of recognizing them and even rewarding them, will assist in employee loyalty and retention.

If you’re a solo practitioner without a team, think about the marketing efforts and business tools or resources you’ve used to get you as far as you’ve come. What do you need to do more of? What can you eliminate? It’s important to reflect and recognize what is helping you and what isn’t. This one simple idea will help you understand the past as well as prepare for the future.

Get Inspired.

There is a lot to be said for people who are self inspired and motivated. However, many folks need a boost in this area. Whether you need to inspire yourself or your team, it doesn’t hurt to get refreshed and energized about what is possible. Make a point to review your goals and show the vision of where you’re headed and paint the picture with your team so that everyone is on the same page. Without a vision of the overall company goals, your team will not feel like they are on a team. You’ve heard the saying: “teamwork makes the dream work”. So show your team what your dream is so they can get inspired to help you achieve it.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments.

Who doesn’t like to celebrate? It’s important to take some time to celebrate what worked and relish in doing a job well done. Every human being on the planet wants to occasionally hear the words; “thank you” or “good job” so stop and create an event or a platform to celebrate everything you’ve done as a company to achieve your goals. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you can still celebrate by creating a press release to mention your milestones and share it on social media. Remember, celebrating your success will give you momentum to keep it going. And of course, all work and no play makes for a very dull work environment.

Plan for What’s Next.

It wouldn’t be smart to end any period of time without planning for the next phase. A critical step in climbing the ladder of success is planning each step as you go. Take some time out of your busy schedule to plan for your next project, the next year the next phase, the next whatever. The bottom lime is, failing to plan means you are planning to fail. So whatever you do, be intentional about the next phase of your life and your business and create a plan of action.

Small Business Marketing Materials

Marketing materials are designed carefully since they reflect the quality and credibility of the business concern. A small business is always in search of unique marketing materials to withstand the severe competition in the market. The text in the material must compel the consumer with a new offer or information. Small business marketing materials must be standout pieces, highlighting the product.

Small business marketing materials should also be cost effective, since the marketing budget is limited for a small concern. The appearance of the material is important. All the materials of a concern must maintain a unique family look. They are designed according to the strategy of the business. Professional designing is preferred to harness technological advancements in this field. It utilizes different combinations of colors and graphics to make the material more attractive. In technical materials, the possibilities of animation are also exploited. Good quality photographs of the product are included to detail the parts and their purpose. Marketing tips remind us to use effective design without extravagant splashes of color.

Small business marketing collaterals comprise printed materials such as brochures, logos, newsletters and business cards. Advertisings such as banner ads, sign boards, trade show handouts, magazine and directory ads are also marketing materials. Technological advancement has now introduced a wide scenario of web marketing. Websites and email alerts are potential marketing tools. Email alerts and affiliate marketing sites form effective marketing materials. Complimentary gifts such as shirts, caps, pens and curios with the company logo are marketing materials that appeal to the public.

The design of small business marketing materials is usually entrusted to advertising firms. Professionals with technical excellence and creative experience are essential for good designs. The material design must be consistent to avoid confusion among consumers. Guidelines and templates for designs are available on Internet sites.

Systems Help Startups to Grow

Systems allow the business to take on more work and process it efficiently with marginal incremental costs. As you develop your business, you determine strategies for product development, manufacturing, service delivery, logistics, marketing, distribution and many more. In addition, consider systems for administrative and financial management, human resource management, regulatory compliance and reporting.

Relying too heavily on people to conduct most of the work in your business, you are likely to discover cost of that approach. Hiring individuals can be costly and time consuming. People have limited time capacity so the incremental investment is higher. People need training; they are more prone to errors and they tend to need time off frequently. People are typically the highest expense item on most income statements. Well-designed operating systems can defer much of this expense while providing an efficient growth platform.

This does not mean to suggest that you never hire people in your business. People must run businesses and successful business relationships depend on the people who establish them. People can ingeniously solve problems, invent new products, serve and support customers and generally improve the operation of your business in ways that automated systems cannot. The emphasis here is on repetitive work performed reliably, accurately, and in high volume without requiring intervention to the processes themselves.

A system does not have to be a computerized business process. A simple “How To” handbook on essential tasks around the office saves people time and assures consistency. It also allows new team members to follow the correct procedures from the start. Such manuals or guides should change as the business evolves and processes develop and grow. As certain work categories become repetitious and require processing of large volumes of work, computer automation becomes essential.

Industry associations or standards bodies may have produced industry standard best practices for your area of business. Adopting relevant standards can significantly enhance your operation by streamlining processes to enhance your ability to relate to suppliers, partners, and customers. Many such standards are developed on the experience and knowledge of large corporations with years of experience and large teams of engineers.

Another important area where systems are helpful is in the area of regulatory compliance. Systems provide standardized methods for complying with regulations to protect your company from liability from violations or questionable practices. Some areas, like accounting, are essentially the same across all businesses, whereas security and privacy and government reporting may be more specific to an industry. Seek advice of legal, accounting, and IT experts in the pertinent regulatory area.

Start the business with a bias toward understanding the work that may be managed more effectively by a system. Perform an assessment before you hire a new person to be sure that a system could not handle the work better. This may not eliminate the need to hire someone, but it will make the business more productive. As the business grows, this attitude will produce significant returns as more work is performed efficiently by systems you established along the way.

Remain Positive As An Entrepreneur

  • Get Ride Of Your Addiction To The Outcome:
    This is probably the most important mindset change you can make. It doesn’t matter what kind of business strategy you are using, when you are no longer dependent on the outcome, you can become more positive. This gives you the appearance of a leader in the eyes of your prospects and is exactly what other people are looking for.
  • Actively Work On Your MindSet:
    How you do this is personal to you. You may find it by reading or listening to motivational books, meditating, yoga or exercise. Maybe you feel more positive when you talk to certain people in your life on a regular basis, or it may be a combination of many things. Whatever helps you remain positive, do it on a consistent, regular basis. This is something every successful leader works on all the time.
  • Stop Comparing:
    Most everyone is guilty of this. Remember that everyone starts from the beginning. Every successful person goes through their own struggles. If you compare yourself with others, it will hold you back.
  • Keep Focused On Who You Want To Become:
    This is slightly different from your why. Keep doing the daily activities that will get you where you want to go.
  • Learn How To Become A Happier Person:
    No matter what, if you are generally feeling unhappy, it is impossible to have that positive feeling. You actually can become a happier person in general by developing strategies to overcome this. Learn to see things from another point of view and give up the need to be right all the time.
  • Quit Holding On To The Past:
    Accept what has happened in your life and move on. Move forward. Things are going to happen and you must learn to simply move on. Learn to separate your business success from whatever is holding you back.
  • Smile! Laugh! Relax!
    Give yourself a much-needed break from time to time. Have some down time and reward yourself when you reach small goals you have set for yourself.

Business Entities

A sole proprietorship is the most used and inexpensive type of business entity. Most businesses start in this form because of the low cost and ease of formation. All it takes is a trip to the county clerk’s office and less than twenty bucks and you are in business. A sole proprietorship is a business that is owned and operated by one person. Typically identified as an “assumed name,” it is a way of operating a business under a different name other than the business owner. If you have a low risk business or intend to keep the business as small or part time operation, this could be a viable option.

The best thing about a sole proprietorship is the ability to have control and make decisions by yourself. You are the business and the business is you. There is no separation between the two. There are no requirements to maintain minutes or other formalities. You may file your personal tax return form 1040 and simply add a schedule C. Depending on the amount of income you make by running the business this can be simple and inexpensive option.

The same benefits of operating as a sole proprietorship also act as serious liability traps. Because there are no distinctions between the owner and the business, the owner’s personal assets are at risk along with the business’ assets. This means that if there is ever any liability that is associated with the business, it will be associated with you as well. Moreover, you will be taxed on your individual tax level, which means that if you have a lot of personal income (i.e. salary from other employment) and are in a higher income bracket, you will have to pay taxes in that higher bracket.

If you are operating a business with high risk you should not operate as a sole proprietorship. Furthermore, you have a lot of personal assets or your business acquires a lot of income a sole proprietorship should not be your entity of choice.

Ideally, if you are going to enter into a partnership, you should have a written agreement which is drafted to accurately reflect the agreement. Sadly, many perspective partners fail to focus on this issue. Sometimes the partners are friends and/or family and believe that there will never be any disagreement. However, it is my experience (as well as most business attorneys) that this belief often leads to disaster. It is always prudent to spend the time and money on a proper partnership agreement that will guide the partners through the good and bad times. A properly drawn partnership agreement will prevent disagreements from getting out of hand and will cut down (if not prevent) costly litigation costs in the end. The time and money that you are willing to spend properly drafting an agreement will well worth it.

General Partnerships are formed by either an oral or written agreement. Based on the foregoing paragraph you already know which I think is best. This entity is relatively inexpensive to form because there is no requirement to file documents on the state level. The partners will have to file an assumed name certificate with the county clerk’s office in the county which it operates business. Much like the sole proprietorship, there is generally no distinction between the partners and the business. Unless there is a written agreement to the contrary, each partner has equal management rights and equal opportunity to run the business. Partners are accountable to each other and to the business. General Partners are equally and severally liable for the debts of the business. This means that there is no distinction between the partners, their personal assets and the business. Everyone is accountable for the business.

Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) require written agreements. LLPs are filed on the state level and require annual filings with the state. LLPs are good entities for professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors. An LLP will limit liability for each individual partner to the extent that he/she is not personally liable. This means that if one partner commits malpractice, the other individual partners will not be held liable. Furthermore, if the partnership is sued and does not have sufficient assets, the individual partners (in most circumstances) will not be held liable. LLPs are expensive to create and require insurance before the filing can take place.

Limited Partnerships (LP) are good entities to bring in investors. Most commonly identified by laymen as “silent partnerships,” a LP will allow a partner to invest money without incurring liability for the company debts. The LP must have at least one general partner that will assume the liability for the partnership. This partner will be responsible for the day to day operations of the company and are solely responsible for the decision making. By contrast, the limited partner cannot be involved in the day to day operations of the company if it seeks to protect its limited liability. The limited partner will be entitled to profits and to be informed regarding the financial position of the LP. The LP is also required to file documents on the state level and requires a written agreement.

The most common and well known business entity is the corporation. Usually most entrepreneurs choose this entity because this is all they know. While it is not a bad choice making this choice comes with much responsibility. Incorporating your business requires a filing with the Secretary of State. Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Employer Identification Number, and meeting Minutes are all mandatory documents. A corporation usually has what I would like to call a “three tiered management system.” Shareholders are the owners of the corporation and elect the Board of Directors; the Board of Directors oversee the overall direction of the company and elect the officers; the Officers run the day to day operations of the business.

In a traditional corporation, the shareholders do not run the business but only receive income from it. Shareholders are shielded from the liability of the corporation. A Corporation has its own legal identity, separate from its owners. It exists separate and apart from the people, who own, manage, control and operate it. The Corporation issues stock of its own as evidence of ownership. The persons who own the stock are the owners of the Corporation, and are entitled to any dividends the Corporation may pay and to receive all the Corporation’s asses after all creditors have been paid if the Corporation is liquidated.

Board of Directors and Officers generally manage the Corporation. The shareholders, Board of Directors, and Officers must hold annual meetings and keep records of each. This can become relatively expensive if there are a large number of shareholders who do not live in the same area. The Bylaws govern the rules and regulations of a particular corporation. Board of Directors makes decisions, officers carry them out.

Another popular choice is a Limited Liability Company (LLC). A LLC is an unincorporated business entity that shares some aspects of the “s” corporation. The LLC provides its members with limited liability and pass-through tax advantages without the restrictions imposed on “s” corporations and limited partnerships. The LLC is owned by member and may elect managers to run the company. The management and operation of the LLC is governed by its regulations, which are similar to corporate bylaws. Members of an LLC are agents of the LLC to the extent the articles reserve management in the members. If management is vested in managers, then they are the agents of the LLC to the extent the articles vest management in them. An agent of the LLC has power to bind the LLC by an action apparently for carrying on in the usual way the business of the LLC.

Members of an LLC are not liable for the debts of the LLC except with respect to make the contributions to the LLC that they agree to make and with respect to the distributions received by the members when they knew the distribution caused the LLC’s liabilities to exceed the fair market value of its assets.

Real Business Requirements

Real Business Requirements. If you were to open a restaurant, you would do so understanding that you will need to put a lot of work into it. You will need to invest both time and money. You will need to advertise. You will make sure that you learn what you need to in order to run a successful restaurant. All of this is the same if you open an internet based business. Thankfully, you can start, and run a highly successful business on the internet without the incredible overhead that a typical brick and mortar business costs.

Building an online business. For starters, it is important to find a profitable, proven opportunity. Once you know what opportunity you are going to invest in, it is time to get started. The first tool that you will need is a web host. This will allow you to set up you own website. They range greatly in price and features. Many companies will provide you with a company site, but it is really a good idea to set up something of your own.

Auto-responders. This is one of the most helpful tools for both online and brick and mortar businesses. There are many ways that they can be used. For starters, they are the biggest tool you can have for building your list of prospects. They allow you to create information boxes, in which people can enter their name and email to receive information from you. From there, you have the ability to send out mass emails to everyone who has opted in to receive your information. This allows you to keep them up to date on news, special offers, anything that you feel can be helpful.

Education. Trying to build a business using the trial and error method is simply not necessary. If you look at the people with highly successful businesses, know that they already made the mistakes, and have learned the hard lessons. I know, I have been there myself. Learn from those who have been through the struggles, and who have come out on top.If you really want the real business requirements, you can not leave out your education.

Power Of An Internet Business

Not only are these people able to work at home just by using the Internet most of them are earning six figure incomes doing it. The Internet is a very powerful tool that if you used correctly, and you can understand just how it works and how people use it you can make an extreme amount of money.

So just how do you go about handling the power of the Internet, and open up shop? First you must turn it into a business. You will have to start all the way at the bottom of the ladder and work your way to the top just like you would if you worked for a large company. This is what most people fail to do. They want their success to happen over night, and that will never happen no matter what business you are in.

Once you open up your new business on the Internet the next thing you must do is make a name for yourself, and this will be very hard. Working on the Internet you will be competing with millions of other businesses. That’s why people find most of their success in a niche business. A niche is something where there is little competition, and a high demand for something.

Even still though that does not mean you will not have to work hard for your money. As with any Internet business you are going to have expenses such as advertising, hosting, website fees, and you might even have to pay a few employees to work for you. This is just all part of owning your own business.

Now once you are live and you have everything set up, and you have traffic coming to your new Internet business you must have a support system in place ready to handle your customers questions. Without any type of support system your new business can fail as quickly as it was started.

Roadmap To Success

If you are unaware of the purpose of a business plan or wondering the different topics usually covered in the document, turn to a variety of sources for answers but just remember that a traditional business plan is made of up a number of topics such as, the executive summary, company fact sheet, company overview, market overview, target market, competitive research, a marketing plan, financial projections, break-even analysis. In addition, a stand-alone Executive Summary should include summaries of each essential elements of the business plan. A solid business plan, a strategic marketing and a complete continuity plan are essential elements to your long-term success and peace of mind.

You have two options when writing your business plan: you can either do it yourself or hire somebody.If you are seeking capital of less than $200,000, consider creating the plan yourself after taking a class or reading some books or getting some coaching for someone who has written successful business plans.Now if you consider hiring somebody to write your business plan for you (and this is the ideal way of doing it), it will usually cost you between five or ten thousand dollars.

If the above options are not affordable to you time wise or money wise, you could also make a small investment in some business planning software. Whatever the case, if you decide to go out and raise money to buy or start a business and do not put together a business plan, the chances of you getting the money is zero and none.

Entrepreneur Coaching

They go on to tell me how excited they were when they first started because there were finally so many options. They could do it any way they wanted to.

You’re probably thinking, well that was the point, wasn’t it?

It’s shortly after they find themselves in that place of freedom things start to get strange.

I was speaking with a client of mine; he was incredibly frustrated because his business was not growing and he wasn’t finding any clients. His marketing and messaging were all over the place. He wasn’t enjoying himself or his business. He was concerned that what he was doing was not sustainable and he’d have to get a job.

I asked him what direction he wanted to go in, and he shared ten different ideas that all appealed to him. He wasn’t sure which made the most sense.

He had gone into his own business for control and yet, here he was in a position of power, in the exact spot he wanted to be in, and was unwilling to be his own boss, to take control, to do the very thing he wanted to do.

So what’s happening?

Starting your own business is very exciting. There is a tendency to want to jump in with both feet and throw caution to the wind. You want to charge full steam ahead.

It’s true that without a level of excitement and fearlessness nothing would ever get done and yet, at the same time, I have seen many small business owners left paralyzed, or floundering about trying to go in many directions at the same time.

You want to take control, you need to take control; and yet, taking control is scary. When you take control you have to say no to things. When you take control you commit to following a path. When you take control you risk being wrong. When you take control you expose yourself to criticism.

The funny thing about control is that until you take control, nothing will happen, well at least not what you want to happen.

Until you take control, there will be a void that someone, or something else, will fill.

Think about your potential clients. They are actively looking for help today. Until you decide how to reach them, what to sell them, and ask them to work with you, someone else will.

You will once again find yourself reacting to what other people are doing. You will find yourself trying to defend your decisions, or lack of decisions, to a boss. Only now it’s your friends, partners, spouses and, of course, yourself. Ultimately, you will find yourself out of business.

I will caution you about one thing. There are some things that you cannot control. There are some details best left to others and their expertise.

You went into business for control. Go ahead. Make a decision. Choose a path. The worst thing that will happen is that you will be wrong and if you are – well, take control once again and make a different decision.

Content Marketing

  • Have a Blog
    Do not however assume that all blogs are created equal. Do not settle for one of the free blogs, there may be too many conditions on them to actually create something that makes you any money. So, invest in a great domain name and hosting and have your own website. Again, do not assume that it stops here. Make sure you keep your blog regularly updated. If you consider yourself a writer then generate 300 word plus articles yourself each day to put on the site and promote it everywhere you can think of. If you are not a writer then it is easy to get others to generate content for you by paying for it on outsourcing sites like hiremymom.com or fiverr.com or you could also put the word out that you are looking for guest posts on your blog and you may get some uptake though, a new blog is unlikely to attract anyone other than the more novice business owners. However, we all have to start somewhere.
  • Do Podcasts
    It may seem complicated but it really is not. Just record yourself reading your daily blogs into your smartphone’s voice recorder and upload it to soundcloud and there you go, you have another post for someone to find. Be active on sites like soundcloud and follow other people to get people tuning in to your audio content.
  • Do Videos
    You might be getting the idea here. Take your daily post and either sit in front of your computer, using your webcam to record yourself reading it out while elaborating on it using your own mannerisms (This builds a sense that people know you) Or put it on a slideshow presentation and record your screen as you talk over it. Then upload this video to YouTube and again, share it with everyone you know. And there you have another piece of content.