How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur in Five Steps

cff4If you are an entrepreneur, or would like to become one, chances are, you want to be successful at it. And though, the entrepreneur spirit isn’t in everyone, there are tips that those bitten by the bug can use to help ensure success in their endeavors.

Tip #1: Stick to What You Know

When you have a deep passion or knowledge for what you do, it shows in your work. In other words, typically, these are the individuals who go above and beyond their duties to ensure the job is done right, therefore, your customers benefit. Likewise, if you lack interest or passion for what you do, it also shows in your work ethic. So, when investing in a business, it is strongly recommended that you stick to what you know or have a deep interest in, in order to present customers with the best possible results. Once you have discovered your knack, steer clear of trends and instead develop your knowledge and skills in your particular area, then branch out to other avenues only if you feel comfortable, and your customers will thank you.

Tip #2: Decide If a Home Based Business or a Brick and Mortar Business is For You

While some people are more effective at managing and organizing large groups of people, supplies and equipment etc., the skills needed to operate a brick and mortar business, others may find that they are self starters, able to manage themselves and perform better on a smaller scale, which is usually the case with home based businesses. Determine which you are most effective at, then plan your business accordingly.

Tip#3: Receive the Proper Training

Whether your business is home based or a brick and mortar business, it is important to be professional. Enroll in an educational course, whether its a certificate course at your local library, business classes at your local area college, online classes or attending business conferences, to show that you are serious about what you do.

Tip#4: Financing Your Business

While some have spent years building and saving for their dreams, others may require financial assistance to fund their start-up, which may be in the form a small business loan. Or, perhaps your small business has encountered a crisis that you were not prepared for and you require financial assistance. In either case, there are a number of financial institutions, such as Crest Financial, that offer funding for small businesses. To apply for a small business loan for a start-up, you will need a well constructed business plan. For small businesses with a history, the lender may require a trail of sound financial records to approve your loan.

Tip #5: Understand the Bottom Line

Going into business should never be about yourself. It’s not about prestige or self your image, but rather, how your particular gifts or talents can be used to help customers solve their problems. However, the more successful you are at solving your customers problems, the more likely you are to benefit financially.

Crest Financial believes in entrepreneurs and have been helping support their dreams for years trough a a variety of loans. If you would like to see your business grow from just an idea to a reality, please contact us today.

Print Advertising

print_marketingFor years the advertising industry has sent out fliers to prospective customers as they try to generate new business. With the Internet taking over the way we communicate, print advertising ended up taking a back seat to social media, search engine optimization and mass emails. With technology in the driver’s seat, many advertisers are naturally being drawn to it and onlookers are thinking that print advertising may be a thing of the past, or is it?

For any business thinking about an advertising strategy, here are a few reasons why your marketing representative should include Print Marketing as part of the game plan. First of all, when you choose print as an option you will have tighter control of where your marketing attempts end up. What that means is simple, the money you spend on marketing will be better utilized, giving you greater bang for your buck!

Technology gives as good as it gets but it can’t be compared to printed materials as far as making people take you serious. When you think about an email in your in-box, it is very easy to hit the delete key. On the other hand, print advertising will probably hang around for a lot longer in your home, your counters and with the rest of your mail before it makes it to the trash can, if it does.

Another great reason for choosing to advertise with print media is because the competition just got smaller. Consider the facts, there was once a time when potential customers would be so inundated with promotional materials that they would not even look at it. As fast as they opened their mailbox and saw it stuffed with print materials, they all went into the trash, similar to the way we discard the emails that we get today.

It is difficult to get an advertising email to catch someone’s eye long enough for them to read it. More often than not the computer user has to move their screen around in order to benefit from the whole email. With Print Marketing that is hardly necessary, in fact, in most cases the advertiser can make the flier as big or as small as they want and still benefit from the way the customer perceives it.

With so many advertisers changing the way they focus on marketing, the possibilities of getting a message to the prospective customers actually got a whole lot easier. Recipients of print advertising, especially in magazines can walk away from the computer, sit on a comfortable sofa or the toilet and take their time looking over the merchandise. The fact of the matter is that print advertising is not going anywhere, the only question is whether or not you will be using it.

Business Casual Dress

Business Casual DressOften we are unsure of how to dress for work. Also depending on your chosen career there are a lot of different acceptable options. For instance if you are an attorney you need to be professional typically in a suit, but on the other hand, if you are a teacher in a elementary school you will probably be less formal but still look nice and put together. There are typically two main categories of work attire dress code; business formal and business casual. Business formal is pretty easy to figure out since it probably requires suits for men and suits or dress skirts for women. Most often black or dark grey is worn to show a lot of conservatism as well as professionalism. For instance, when I worked for a law firm, it was very professional and I was dressed up every day. Meeting with clients and going to court required very precise dress and professionalism. My jobs since then have been more casual meaning I could wear slacks, and one job even allowed me to wear jeans. Even though I wore jeans I wore a dressy top to make sure I looked nice and the jeans didn’t show sloppiness. You can still look nice and put together without being so dressy. So I have experience going from both ends of the spectrum when it comes to work attire.

The best bet for knowing what is expected of you in terms of clothing for the workplace is to ask your boss although; sometimes dress code won’t be explicitly stated. So look around you and try to blend in with your other coworkers in the office. Being conservative and modest are always good bets. Typically business casual would still mean women wear skirts, but they might not always have to be part of a suit or pencil skirts. Since it is business casual you could get away with more variety and colors in your skirts. Overall however I’m sure you want to be conservative and make sure you are modest. Another option for women would be dress pants or khakis. You obviously have a lot more freedom when it is business casual to somewhat incorporate work appropriate style into your dress. When it comes to tops, more casual blouses and polos might be perfectly acceptable. Wear long sleeves in the Winter and more t-shirt length sleeves in the Summer. You can buy polo shirts here if that is something that you are interested in.

The following are some general guidelines for women to follow regarding business casual in the workplace. First rule of thumb is to keep it covered. Wear long skirts, pants and high necks to avoid any showiness. Second rule of thumb is to keep it neutral. For your main pieces wear more neutral colors and spice things up with color accessories. This doesn’t by any extreme mean you need to look drab. Third rule of thumb is to keep it classic. By wearing what has been tried and true and adding some of your personality to it will go a long way. So try to not get overwhelmed or anxious when you start a new job and the dress code is business casual. Although the option are more loose, stick to your instincts and you’ll do just fine.  


Small Biz Advertising

As a small business entrepreneur, you know very well how limited it is to advertise. Small businesses do not command huge advertising budgets like the multinational giants. On the other hand, the needs of these two types of entities differ. Even though word of mouth makes for excellent advertising, it is very slow in bringing tangible results. Nonetheless, a small online business can take advantage of available advertising forums and still reach out to its target market. The following ideas will come in handy:

Social media networks

Advertising on most social media networks is free. All you need to do is sign up and create a business page. Provide some incentives to attract people to either follow or like your page. Keep your presence consistent, entertain and inform your prospects.

Buy newspaper advertising space

Once in a while, pay for an ad space in one of the local dailies. If you find this a little cumbersome, you can take advantage of advertising features that run from time to time. During this time, you can advertise at discounted rates.

Business cards

This can be an inexpensive way of advertising. Create a customized card using one of the many templates available online. You can then send the artwork to one of the locally based printers. Alternatively, approach the same business printing firms and have a graphic designer create a card for you. There are some affordable printing firms that you can approach for this. Once they are done, hand them out to friends and the people you meet at business forums and seminars.

Join a professional association

Professional associations offer advertising incentives to members. Take advantage of this opportunity. You can either have an ad placed on the organization’s website or at a special section on a newspaper. Joining business associations is also a way of advertising by itself.

Sponsor a charitable event

You do not necessarily have to sponsor the entire event. You can co-sponsor and have your business name printed on the advertisers’ banner. Doing so not only builds your goodwill in the community, it also makes your business known to potential clients. Giving back to the community portrays your business as one that cares.

Offer discount coupons

Fortunately, the internet provides a wide opportunity to create digital coupons that customers can use to buy products from you at a discount. Doing this helps create awareness about your business. People who look out for coupons will stumble upon yours and utilize the chance.

Yellow page advertising

In as much as this form of advertising is rapidly declining, there are still a large group of people that rely on it. Besides, there is a shift from hard copy yellow pages to virtual online platforms. Either way, get an affordable space and pay for it.

You should always remember that no business advertising technique works in isolation.

Top 4 Tips for Stretching Your Marketing Budget

Top 4 Tips for Stretching Your Marketing Budget picDo you feel like your marketing budget is holding you back? Is there just not enough room in your budget to do all of the things that you would like to do? You cannot increase revenue without marketing and making more sales, so you have to find some way to stretch that budget out and still get the results that you are looking for. There are a few different things that you can do.



Analyze Your Tactics and Cut What Is Not Working


Take some time to pour over all of your marketing tactics and find out what has the highest conversion rates. Do you get more results from working in print marketing or from an internet based veterinary marketing service? How does cold calling work when compared to sending out material in the mail? Keep the things with high conversion rates and do away with anything that is costing you time and money for minimal results.



Do It Yourself


You might be tempted to run out and hire a professional for every part of the job, but you don’t always have to do so. Need a new picture taken of an upcoming product? You could pay someone for press shots, or you could take the pictures and run them through post-production on your computer. Be careful with this, though; you don’t want to spend so much time doing it yourself that you cut into what you are actually supposed to be doing in your position.



Take Advantage of Bulk Pricing


Let’s say that you are going to be sending out postcards to all of your prior customers so that you stay fresh in their minds. It’s a great idea to do this around the holidays; but it often costs much more per item to order multiple small batches than it costs to order one bulk shipment. You can get more for less.



Reduce Turnaround Time on Materials


The sooner you get your materials to the public, the sooner you are going to see results. Try to increase your speed as much as possible so that you can see some related income, helping to supplement that budget. Check into your distribution processes. Are there any parts that could be eliminated or simplified? Making such small adjustments along the supply-chain can lead to large time savings.



You don’t have to give up on marketing just because you have a small budget; you just have to be smarter about how you use what you have. If you spread your resources wisely, you could end up getting the same results without so much wasted capital.

Software that Kills Office Politics Improves Employee Workflow

Work assignments should be assigned to the employees best able to do the work. Project updates should be communicated effectively and professionally. Recently employees were polled to find what causes them to dread going to work. 34% of employees report their worst hell is office politics. Savvy executives find they can eliminate office politics by being engaged and informed without biased reporting. The solution to avoiding second-hand information, is using the software that allows top management to check in for project status at-a-glance and give input to any employee regarding their work without interrupting the work process. Check out this infographic to see find employee workflow solutions.

How Chargify Can Help You Manage Your Growing Business

As a business grows, so does the many responsibilities that tend to overwhelm a staffs minimal capabilities. When this happens, having a company behind you who is capable of pulling in the slack and providing tools that can greatly assist in each of the areas that a business is lacking in can be a sight for sore eyes. This is where Chargify comes in extremely handy.

The tools provided by a company who will be responsible for managing your everyday customer transactions and communications should be able to handle the job no matter how big or how small the business might be. The first thing that a business will notice when deciding to work with a company like this is that they do provide the services to assist with all business sizes. Small businesses aren’t forced to pay for and utilize the tools that big corporations would need to use on a daily basis and the opposite holds just as true. Big corporations aren’t limited to the tools that small growing businesses need to have available on a daily basis either.

Management tools play a very big role in how a growing business functions from day to day. A businesses ability to offer safe reliable payment options, along with clear concise communications, to their customers is vital if a business is to continue to grow. There are a number of different payment scenarios that a business can be faced with and being backed by a company who can provide for them all is always a wonderful thing. Whether you need to offer your customers one-time payment options, recurring payment options, flat-rate pricing, or metered pricing makes no difference whatsoever because they are all features offered by the only company you will ever need standing by your side as your business continues to grow.

There are times when a business finds a need to offer their customers coupons, or trial periods to test a product, and these are critical in attracting new customers and keeping existing customers happy. The ability to attract new customers, and keep existing customers happy, is the only way that a business will experience the continued growth that all businesses hope to see as time passes by. These are tools that can be utilized when a business begins working with the best business management company available today.

The ability to keep up with all of the different email communications that must go out to different customers on a daily basis can become difficult to manage when left to manage them alone. Another wonderful feature that is included in the business management package is automatic emails sent to customers for different situations (like failed payments). Emails can be edited and customized to read exactly how a business wants them to read for each individual situation and that is as convenient as convenient can get.

There are a number of additional ways in which Chargify can help manage a growing business and each of them have been set in place for the purpose of completely simplifying a businesses day to day management capabilities.