Archives for July 2012

Smart International Trading for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

If you run a small to medium sized business (SME) you probably already feel like you’re trying to keep a million plates spinning at once – add international trading in to this and ensuring none of them fall can seem like impossibility. When you take the step to begin trading across borders, it’s understandable to feel like you’re exposing your business to a lot of risk: what the laws of your country may protect your business against, the laws in the company you are trading with may not. Thankfully, banks such as HSBC offer a number of services, from business credit cards to important export services, designed to support SMEs as they grow their business abroad. Let’s look at those services and how they could benefit your business.
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Does Your Small Business have Local Internet Strategy

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Here is a quick question for you. Let’s say you are looking for a restaurant to go out for evening dinner with your friends or family. Where would you turn to find out? In the old days your answer would have been Yellow Pages (remember those thick books you used to keep?). Not anymore. These days more and more people are turning to web sites such as Google Places and Bing Local to uncover local businesses. These Online business listings, along with review sites such as Yelp, are becoming the new “Yellow Pages” of the Internet age.
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Why a solid Network is a Key to Small Business Success

Building and running a successful small business is a team sport. You, as an owner, will probably play the role of a coach or a quarterback; but you are going to need more players with variety of skills to build a winning team. If someone tells you he single handedly built the successful small business, he is lying.
While it is true that you are the Chief Everything Officer (CEO) of the business responsible for taking care of all aspects it doesn’t mean that you have to do all the work yourself or that you are even capable of knowing it all. The key to success is to build a solid network of people with diverse skills who complement the skills you possess. This network acts an advisory board that you can go to for advice, concerns or to simply bounce off any ideas you might have before implementing them. This board needs to be chosen carefully so that you can get the right advice even if you may not like it or agree with it. So what types of skills should you look for when building an advisory board or a network of supporters?
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A Great Employee is 10X as Valuable as Good – How to Find One

A great employee can contribute to your business that 10 good employees combined cannot do. Behind a successful business owner there is a strong lieutenant who stands by him every step of the way and is not afraid to give right advice even if it means disagreeing with the owner. If there is one thing you must do to succeed in your business it is to hire great employees, even if it means paying more, and give them freedom to do the best. The return you get from them makes it more than worth.
Of course, hiring great employees is easier said than done. But it is possible to do it and it starts with spotting the right person. You first need to understand what sets great employees apart from the mediocre ones. One hint – it all starts with attitude. I mentioned in earlier post that when hiring employees you should first look for attitude, not the skills. You can teach old dog new tricks, but you will not be able to straighten its tail, as the saying goes in India. So what skills do great employees have that are not easily found in others?
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Effective Techniques for Logo Marketing

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These days it has become increasingly difficult to escape advertising in our society. Advertisers are targeting variety of venues to put their logos. You can find them on the public buses, subway stations and even public restrooms!
Roadside billboards have long been the staple of advertising and part of American highway fabric. One place many advertisers often overlook is what I call the walking billboards. Large companies visiting the trade shows and other promotional events have long promoted their brands by putting their logos on the t-shirts. However, this has not been utilized by small business owners very well. Effective promotions on the t-shirts and other clothing accessories can generate awareness and subsequent inquiries for small business owners leading to higher sales.
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Can’t Keep Up? How to Delegate to Succeed in Small Business

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit” – Andrew Carnegie. Show me a small business owner who doesn’t like to delegate, and I will show you someone who will not be able to grow beyond a certain point. Small business owners are called Chief Everything Officers (CEO) who are required to take care of all aspects of running a business. If you do not have good time management skills you are going to run out of steam at some point.
A big part of time management skills is learning to delegate tasks to others. The problem is, not everyone feels comfortable with delegation for the fear that if they do not take care of tasks themselves they will not be completed to their satisfaction. This is a myth! From my own experience I can tell you that with proper planning it is possible to successfully delegate tasks and get them completed to your satisfaction. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day, and you have to go to sleep at some point! So what is the secret to successful delegation? Read on…
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5 Lies Marketers Tell to Small Business Owners

What good is the marketer if he cannot help you sell the “Brooklyn Bridge” that you (supposedly) own? After all, the job of the marketer is to help business owners sell their products no matter how bad the product may be! But before the marketer can sell that “Brooklyn Bridge” he needs to sell himself to you, the business owners, and convince you that he is the right person for the job. And therein lies the potential issues with hiring marketers.
The marketers will do anything to get your business, even if it means stretching the truth – commonly known as lying. There are many marketers who promise the moon to business owners and make them spend money on the programs that don’t produce any results. I have always maintained that business owners first need to focus on business fundamentals before spending money on marketing. My 5 fundamental rules of marketing highlight these points. I also showed why business owners should not waste their money by making common marketing mistakes Here I will show 5 promises (lies) marketers make that you, as a business owner, need to be wary of.
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