List of Documents to Prepare for Business Sale

Opportunity favors those who are prepared to take advantage of it. This has been the consistent theme in the last several posts we have written on how to prepare your business for sale. We mentioned that you need to start planning for business at least one year in advance. In addition there are additional items you need to take care of as the time to list your business for sale approaches.
Your primary goal as a seller is to allay potential buyer’s biggest financial fears as well as other FUDs related to the operation of the business. It is only through proper planning and careful preparation that you can dispel buyer FUDs and make your business sale go faster and smoother. After all the longer it takes for the sale to go through the more chances of something going wrong and the sale falling through.
One of the most important aspect of getting prepared for the sale is compiling all the documents related to the business finances and operations.
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Emerging Social Media Tools Small Businesses must be Aware of

We have been looking at various social media tools that all small business owners need to consider for their marketing. With more and more customers utilizing social media; small businesses that fail to integrate these tools will lose their customers to their competitors. We view the ability to track your return on marketing spend as well as lower your marketing cost as the two significant benefits that small business owners can get from the use of social media.
We showed two of the widely used social media tools – Facebook and Twitter in an earlier post. In the previous post we talked about two other tools – YouTube and Flickr. In this post we will discuss some of the emerging social media tools that may not be as popular as the ones we discussed; but are equally helpful.
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Additional Social Media Tools Small Businesses Must Consider

In the previous post we discussed two must-have social media tools every small business needs to use to market their business. We argued that social media marketing provides perfect opportunity to get the marketing exposure without spending lot of money.
Many more social media tools beyond Facebook and Twitter have emerged recently. Some of them have the potential to become next Facebook. We want to explore those tools in this post. By jumping on some of these emerging tools small business owners can get advantage over their competitors and improve their sales and profit at a relatively low cost. They can even compete with their larger rivals by harnessing the power of these tools at an early stage.
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Social Media Tools Every Small Business Must Use

It is said that half of the money spent on marketing is wasted; you just don’t know which half! Many small business owners have misconception about marketing because of which they end up spending lot of money without getting proper return. One of the 5 fundamental rules of marketing we believe in is that good marketing techniques should not cost lot of money. Internet and social media marketing provides perfect opportunity to get the marketing exposure without spending lot of money.

The reasons for using social media marketing are numerous. [Read more…]

Improve Sales of your Small Business with Free Publicity

Most small business owners do not pay sufficient attention to public and community relations. As a result they miss out on the great opportunity to improve sales and build business brand value at low cost. Instead they are focused on marketing and advertising that cost substantial amount of money. While there are number of differences between marketing and public relations, in the simplest form, marketing can be viewed as “in your face” way of putting your business in front of customers; while publicity is a more subtle approach that doesn’t cost much and can bring equally compelling results.
Why is it important to focus your efforts on publicity in addition to traditional marketing?
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How can You Get Past Customers Back

In spite of all your efforts to hold onto existing customers you are bound to lose some of them over time. There are variety of reasons they leave. Some are under your control; while others are not. Some customers leave because they received bad service. Others become tired of same products they are getting. Still others leave because you have not been in front of them through marketing.
While you will not be able keep every single customer all the time what you can do is try to bring those customers who have left some time ago. Depending on their reasons for leaving; this may be somewhat easier to do than trying to acquire the customers who have never tried your products.
So what can you do to make this happen? Below we have highlighted several techniques you can use.
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How to Ask Customers to do Marketing of your Business

Most small business owners are at a disadvantage compared to their large competitors when it comes to marketing. After all, small businesses do not have the marketing muscle and budget of the large companies. They have to find innovative ways to do marketing and advertising that is not expensive yet is equally, if not more, effective.
Many small business owners get intimated by this challenge and think that there is no way they can succeed against Goliath in marketing. We believe that is not true. In our earlier post on 5 fundamental rules of marketing we argued that good marketing strategy does not have to cost much. We also showed how you can improve your sales in a low-cost fashion through community involvement. There is another aspect of low cost marketing that is not utilized well by small business owners. That involves seeking help from your existing customers to do the marketing for you.
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Checklist to Understand Marketing Benefits of Franchise

In the post about benefits of buying a franchise versus independent business we argued that one of the primary benefits provided by franchise is better marketing at a lower cost. By leveraging their size and expertise a franchise can create better brand and improve sales for all franchisees. Subway positioned itself as the Diet Sandwich Shop in the minds of all Americans by running the “Jared” campaign for number of years.
However, not all franchises do such a good job of marketing. A number of them waste their and franchisees’ money by spending on frivolous, useless marketing activities. That’s why it is important to understand the value provided by franchise in terms of marketing and compare it against the investment you have to make as a franchisee – in other words the return on your marketing spend.
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How to Improve Sales with Community Involvement

Many small business owners focus all their marketing effort on advertising and promotions. As we mentioned in this post on 5 Fundamental Rules of Marketing; marketing is much more than just advertising and many times costs very little to do. One of the great marketing opportunities overlooked by small business owners is getting involved with the local community.
Community involvement establishes long-lasting relationship with your customers that will keep your business on top of their mind for a long time. A typical advertising, in contrast, only has a single transaction relationship where the customer will think of your business as a result of advertising flyer or coupon for a short time.
There are several avenues you can explore to get involved with the local community.
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Do You Understand Why Customers Buy Your Products?

Guest Contributor Chris Blanton is a former serial entrepreneur and business
advisor. He is currently editor of Ingenious Business Guide, a collection of proven practical techniques to ignite business growth and profitability. He can be reached by email and tweets under the handle @cmblanton. His guests posts appear here each Sunday.

One of the most important questions business owners should be able to answer is why their customers are buying their product or services. You have to determine what benefit your customers pay for. You can employ a skilled marketing consultant to guide you in this exercise. But if you’re determined to go it alone, you can get great mileage performing a thought experiment to uncover the true benefit your client realizes buying from you.
Our consumer culture so artfully manipulates us that we are often unaware of our own motivation. For instance, examine the process of buying a new car. Why does someone buy a new car? What wants or needs does it satisfy?
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