The Art Of Selling Your Business

There is only one thing as satisfying and complicated as starting your very own business and that is selling your very own business and that’s because more to it than just dotting I’s and crossing T’s. Girl, we’re talking about the financial and emotional considerations that crop up during a sale.

The reason for this is simple: no one starts a company with the intention of selling it. You start a company to solve a problem you came across, to make a difference, improve your lot and do something cool. The idea to sell is one that comes out of nowhere, possibly because the market makes for that environment or because an outside offer landed on your door.

Whatever it is, though, there is a lot of planning that needs to take place, and that’s what we’re here to help with.

  1. Patience Is Key During A Sale

While most companies are sold to key employees because these people a) have a passion for the industry and b) know exactly how the business works, there is still a need for patience on your part. The reason we say this is because the length of time a sale takes hinges on who the buyer is. That said, whether it’s an internal buyer, a competitor in your area of a massive corporation wanting to take you on, the process always takes longer than people expect.

  1. Preparation Is The Secret Of Perfection

If you want to get the perfect deal, you need to be prepared and that means knowing the real value of your business. The best way to do this is to arm yourself with a legal expert, someone like Dickson Frohlich Law Firm, and multiple valuations depending on who the buyer is, the nature of the business, and the deal being proposed. The other thing that you will want to do os have all your financials at the ready, dating as far back as four years if needs be.

  1. Haggle With Your Responsibilities

One of the things the new owners will ask for is you be there to help shepherd your old employees into the new system. This is not uncommon, but it is worth negotiating what this request entails. That means the length of the commitment, what expectations they have for you and how this might affect your future plans. It’s also worth knowing what the ramifications of any refusal to do so are, of which the big hit will be the money offered as part of the deal.

  1. Know What Happens Next

Life after you sell is another huge area you need to look at. You will want to have some idea of what you do with your time, how you will spend your money and how you want your life to look. The reason for this is as much for your own sanity, as well as understanding whether a non-compete clause is something you are happy to sign. After all, this is a change of careers in a way.. The point is: do some analysis into life after the sale. It will help you out both personally and professionally.

5 Key Areas That You Should Always Look To Outsource

In business, everyone will always have their own way of doing things. Some prefer to micromanage, others want to take a step back, and some will prefer to only keep their toes in what’s going on. And whatever works out for each business the best, is often the greatest solution for them. However, from here, there’s also the great debate of working out where you sit when it comes to the idea of hiring in-house or outsourcing. Both options come with their ups and downs, but when you look at outsourcing, it’s hard not to be impressed by the benefits. Because when you outsource a certain function or area of the business, you’re going to save yourself time and money. And the best part is that you’ve got experts working on it, so you know that it’s going to be done properly. So let’s take a look at the five key areas you should consider outsourcing.

Customer Service

First of all, you have your customer service. And this is always the first thing to think about outsourcing. But we’re not just talking about sending it off to some company that can just take it off of your hands. Instead, you need a dedicated company that is going to be able to do a much better job than you can. Because keeping your customers happy should be at the core of everything that you do. So you need a service that will be able to talk to your customers from all angles and really ensure that their needs are met and queries are taken care of.

HR

When it comes to HR, there’s often a lot that you need to cover off. And it can be overwhelming. There are a lot of rules and regulations that you need to, and making mistakes is not something that any of us wants to do. But when you outsource to a specialist company, you don’t have to worry about it. You know that the team will be taking care of everything, keeping you legal, and ensure that your staff are looked after.

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IT

When you’re busy, you do not want to be dealing with computer issues. So this is where IT support comes in. By hiring the right support company, you don’t have to worry about downtime or having to deal with issues yourself. It will all be taken care of for you.

Finance

Next, you’ve got finance. And this one can be debatable, but unless you want to bring a full team in to take care of things, outsourcing your finance department could be what you need. After all, you need to keep your eye on the prize, so things need to be taken care of expertly.

Sales

And finally, you’ve also got your sales department too. If you know that you’re not great at making sales, and you really don’t have the time to take this on, then bringing in a specialist sales or business development company will not only save you time, but it will be in the best interest of your business.

Tips for a Successful Startup: The Importance of Market Analysis

Let’s be perfectly honest with each other. Market analysis is essential for any startup and while some newcomers to the world of startups may be skeptical of this claim, more experienced entrepreneurs testify to the significance of market analysis.

Research the competition

Once you step into the arena of entrepreneurs, you have to know who you’re dealing with. You are more likely to anticipate your competitors’ next move if you learn how to keep track of their actions. This gives you the leverage to go one step further. Digging deeper than just their web pages is always a good thing. Luckily, there are so many tracking tools which will reveal who, when, and where mentions your competition. In addition to this, some of them will simply pinpoint the trends in social media regarding your specific niche.

Customer insights

Obtaining valuable information straight from the horse’s mouth is crucial in this business. Tapping into your customer base will yield results because you will find out about their preferences and needs. Although you may think that your idea is likely to meet their demands, the analysis will show if you’re right or wrong.

You can see if your idea resonates with their needs by conducting paid surveys on specialized sites or simply creating questionnaires on social media. People tend to be rather honest in these surveys because they are usually done anonymously. And if you decide on conducting a survey, try to be concise and insightful with the questions because it is the only way to obtain relevant answers.

Is there a market for your idea?

This is possibly the biggest question. But how and where do you get the answer? Analyzing the numbers which indicate the revenues in the local, regional, and national market can help determine if people spend money on similar services. What’s more, you can see if the market is already saturated or it is growing at a fast pace. This is also a great moment to perform primary market research which comprises data that is exploratory or specific.  Exploratory research involves revealing previously unknown problems. As such, it procures general information to be used in more specific research.

Identifying lead users

Demand validation is likely to happen if you know how to generate the leads for your new product or service. The main reason all startups need to validate their idea before launching it is its relative instability. You may have a brilliant idea but it only exists as an educated guess in your mind. The reality is that it may flunk with customers before you even know it.

After you have identified your focus group, you have to turn them into your leads. This can be done through a unique selling proposition. The customers have a problem and through this value statement, you are offering a solution. At this stage of your market analysis, you can even try and offer your product free of charge.

The components of market analysis

To sum it up, a market analysis has to contain first and foremost a niche description. The industry you are starting in has to be thoroughly outlined. This includes metrics which will show the trends, scope, life cycle, and volatility of your target industry. This point is extremely important if you’re not a sole proprietor but looking for the ways of finding investors or taking bank loans. It shows that take your business idea seriously. Next comes your target market. Just because your product or service is used by almost anyone doesn’t have to mean everyone will buy it from you. This is why narrowing down your target market will show you where to direct your marketing efforts.

Then we come to direct vs. indirect competition. You have to learn and leverage the difference between those businesses that offer almost identical services as you and those who simply offer alternate solutions. And finally, forecasting. The projections of future trends in the industry are essential in order to determine how market share and pricing will evolve during a certain period and what trends they might assume in the future.

Whatever your idea is, never skip market analysis. Not only will it indicate the viability of your business but it will also help you prioritize some aspects of your business you deemed irrelevant.

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Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

So, You Want to Be Your Own Boss? Take These Steps to Succeed

It’s 2018, and the climate is perfect for entrepreneurs of all sorts, hence the growing number of people who are starting their own businesses, and successfully so. From stay-at-home parents, students, digital wizards, all the way to fully-developed remote companies, there’s a whole range of profitable careers you can tap into directly from your sofa.

And what makes it even more appealing is the fact that nothing prevents you from growing your business globally. However, as dreamy and perfect as all of this sounds, there are several key steps you need to take in order to make your way through the crowd of home-grown businesses.

Do what you love

And what you are brilliant at, since being average in this day and age will not get you too far, especially if you have to cover your own business expenses for the time being. The same goes for a business started out of passion, but without a clear idea of whether or not your product or services are actually needed, so you need to consider if there is a gap in the market for what you are offering.

Spend some time (but not forever) thinking about and brainstorming on everything you could see yourself doing for hours on end, with enthusiasm and vigor, and assess whether or not you are actually good at it enough to make your business attractive and stand out in the market. Love is where it starts, but skill and need are also essential.

Create a business plan

Now that you have established your ideal profession and analyzed the market to learn that it’s actually needed, you need to put it all in perspective. A business plan should include every single branding, marketing, communication, production, advertising strategy for the next year (or more), along with measurable metrics, milestones to track your progress and alternative routes for added flexibility.

A detailed business plan still makes room for adjustments on the go, because you can never fully anticipate market fluctuations or prevent slumps in your marketing campaign performance. You need contingency plans that will help you run your business even when things are slow or you come across an unexpected obstacle.

License and registration, please

Of course, before you start working on developing your business for the customer, you need to cover the legal bases that will make your company a recognizable legal entity in your country (or the entire world). From obtaining a federal tax number, completing company registration forms for your business, getting the needed licenses and certifications, to deciding on bookkeeping systems, it can take some time to make your company come to life from a legal perspective.

It’s unwise to do both the legal and the creative aspect simultaneously, since you might find yourself overwhelmed with work, and the complexity of each task may vary from one profession to another. Getting to know your country’s laws and regulations is a must for a business that wants to have a long and prosperous life.

Learn about your target customers

Who is your product or service intended for? How do you envision your ideal customer? Where can you find them, where do they spend their time? What sort of communication channels do they prefer and what language can they relate to? What’s their average age, most common occupations and anything else that makes them who they are?

Understanding your future clients means that you have shifted your view from your product itself to the person for whom you are creating the brand. This information and analysis of it may lead to adapting your product or its presentation to make it more appealing, or completely rethinking your brand identity to have a better chance at establishing trust and offering value to your customers.

Keep learning

Even if you are starting your business with a decade of experience in the field, it’s crucial that you stay open-minded to new ideas, concepts and discoveries emerging every day. As you develop your company, you will need to keep up with the trends in your profession, so that you can stay in the forefront and offer more quality than your competitors.

Do your best to take online seminars, attend networking events, take up additional courses and education whenever possible. These added skills and certificates will only add more value to your brand and give you more skills with which you can keep your company strong.

Control your environment

A seemingly insignificant factor that has brought many a home business to its knees is the mere atmosphere of where you do your work. Just like you put so much time into defining your talents and your business, you should adapt your home to have a designated work area.

It doesn’t have to be an entire room, as long as you know how to steer clear of distractions such as your TV, private social media profiles and other irrelevant notifications. Create a work area that will inspire you to work, create and devote yourself to your work, and be mindful of the time you spend growing your business – although it may be a pivotal segment of your life, don’t let it consume all of your time. Make sure you stay healthy, lead a social life and expand your horizons, because you never know from where your next favorite project may come!

 

Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. Alex is a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

 

 

7 Ways To Make Your Site More Exciting

If you’ve recently started to look at your website and think that it just seems so boring, then it may be time for a change. On the one hand, this may be because you’ve just gotten used to it. So you’re more bored with it than anything else. But, it may also be because the website itself is actually boring. And when that’s the case, you may have to worry. Because if you’re finding it boring, the what are your customers thinking? Either way, you don’t have to just leave your website as it is now – you can really change things around and make it so much more exciting.

Sometimes, you just have to get yourself into a position where you’re bored with your website to then be able to change it. Because you’re not always going to be able to see what’s wrong when you’re not looking at the same old things. But, even when you know that something isn’t quite right, you don’t always know what will make it better. And that’s where this post comes in. Even if you quite like your site as it is now, you may take something away from this that can take it to the next level. Because we’re going to walk through seven different ways that you can make your website more exciting.

Do A Complete Redesign

Of course, the very first option you’re always going to have is to do a complete redesign of your site. Because when you think that the site is boring, or it’s just not really giving you the results that you want, you need to shake things up. A great way to do this is to make sure that you’re taking your analytics and really honing in on the elements that need improving. When you do, you should find that the end result not only looks great, but it much more suitable to what your customers want functionality wise too.

Change Your Branding

Sometimes, you’re not going to have to go to such drastic measures to make your site more exciting. If you love the layout and the functionality is perfect, maybe it’s just the branding that needs to be changed. From your logo to the fonts and colors used, sometimes you just need to shake up the visuals you have to make them more suited to your brand identity.

Start A Blog

From here, you’re then going to want to think about starting a blog on site too. If you have a blog already, then maybe you need to refresh your content or start a new series – both can be incredibly influential to your customers and viewers. This should also become a huge part of your marketing too. It can be a lot of extra work, but if you put the effort it, it will pay off.

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Launch An App

How are you doing on the mobile front? If you’re not optimized for mobile at all, then this should be your first change. Even if you don’t know an awful lot about it, you can work with the software companies that do. By launching an app, you’re going to be adding a new dimension to your offering and even be able to target a new segment of customers too.

Use Video

Next up, you should give video some thought too. A lot of customers prefer video to imagery or written content. It can often get information across in a much more engaging way. So definitely think about what you can do with YouTube or onsite content going forward.

Create A Members Area

If your feel like your site is just the same, and that it’s not really offering anything exciting to your customers, you’re going to want to up your game with a member’s area. Not only is this exciting for your customers, it gives off an air of exclusivity. It’s somewhere that you can engage your customers more, and interact with them more – which has a huge benefit to both parties.

Focus On Interaction

Finally, you’re also going to want to make sure that you’re interacting with your customers as well as possible too. And you can definitely use your website to do that. With a great live chat offering, you can often add to the customer experience and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your customers happy, and even improve your conversion rate too. It’s a great way to not only get feedback, but stop customers from dropping off through the sales funnel too.

Turn Your Online Business Into A Fortress

The internet has made it possible for so many people to build businesses from their own home; it saves them on paying rent for a premises, it makes it cheaper for them to advertise their products and services, and it gives them a wider customer base to buy their products. Unfortunately, no one really considers that online businesses have a few vulnerabilities that aren’t usually seen in physical stores. Whether you’re conducting your business part-time, or you depend on it as your sole source of income, here are a few vulnerabilities that could affect your business, and how you can protect it like a fortress.

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Cyber safety

Since 2016, there has been an increase in reports of online businesses being targeted and held to ransom by cyber-criminals. Experts are warning that small businesses are fast becoming their favorite target because most of them are woefully unprepared for hacks to their online domain. Don’t make your business a weak target for cyber-criminals – this is your livelihood, so protect it like a fortress. Invest in antivirus and encryption software that automatically updates to patch vulnerable spots in your security, blocks spam, and detects spyware. Companies that sell this type of software include McAfee, Norton, AVG and Avira. Cyber criminals also look for exploits in WordPress and popular plugins, so it’s vital you keep them up to date if you’re using this to host your website.

Get insurance

Depending on the kind of service you offer, you might want to consider professional indemnity insurance; this will protect you if a client accuses you of providing  inadequate advice, services or designs that resulted in a financial loss. You can get professional indemnity insurance to cover both defence costs and any liability found owing in the event of a claim up to the limit of indemnity. There are different kinds of insurance for different services, so make sure you do your research to ensure you’re properly covered.

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Secure payments

If you’re selling something online, enabling mobile payments such as PayPal can increase your sales by allowing more impulsive purchases. You’ll also receive prompt payments rather than dealing with a billing or invoicing system. A good merchant service provider can sort you out with an online payment system for your eCommerce store. But more importantly, they can help you set up secure payments. The minute your customers enter their card details into your system, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks. You need excellent encryption software and top of the line credit card security to keep these details safe from cyber thieves. No one will use your store again if they’re worried about their details being stolen.

Reputation

The best kind of protection you can provide for your business is building up a solid reputation. Establish yourself as a reliable salesperson, a provider of good quality products, and someone who responds well to customer feedback. Customers are usually very trusting of online businesses, but once they hear of any hacking incidents or lawsuits, they are less likely to return.

10 Non-Verbal Gestures and Movements That Can Make or Break a Sale

There’s the old saying that first impressions are everything. But have you ever thought that what you don’t say to people is as important as what you do say? Verbal gestures can convey a number of different things—some good, some bad—that become important to relationships with new or returning clients.

The handshake, of course, is something that might come to mind for many people. Firm, but not too firm, direct, and with an eye gaze—all help to convey confidence and positivity. In fact, most of the little gestures that matter are so small that they become a problem when they’re missing: When they’re performed as we expect, we don’t even notice they’re there. That includes slouching or even directing your gaze away from the person that’s talking or that’s your prospect. All convey disinterest and lack of respect.

Need a refresher course on non-verbals? Use this graphic.

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