Many small businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find quality help at costs that allow them to actually make money each year. The good news, however, is that many workers are shifting emphasis to their quality of life, rather than just the money they make. In small to mid-size businesses, this can work to your advantage. With this increasing trend, you can offer nontraditional benefits that workers will appreciate (and that can help you hire quality help), but that cost very little in the way of overhead costs to your company.

Nontraditional benefits tell your employees that you care about their general wellbeing. Additionally, they allow you to present a competitive benefits package that can help you recruit and keep good employees. The costs of an incompetent, lazy, dishonest employee to a business can be very high. Additionally, training new workers to replace good employees who move on can also be costly and annoying, as the learning curve prevents them from doing as good a job. Good nontraditional benefits sweeten the pot, allowing you to keep quality people, even if you are paying them $3,000 to $6,000 less per year than another company might pay.

 

Paternity Leave.

 

More fathers are expressing an interest in spending time at home after a baby is born. It gives them a chance to help their wives and to take a more active “daddy” role. In the corporate world, paternity leave is becoming a standard. A small or mid-size business can set itself apart by offering this benefit. Not all employers offer paid paternity leave, but even if it is not paid, the option exists and this lets your workers know that you understand how important it is for them to be good husbands and fathers.

 

Optional Unpaid Leave.

 

Optional unpaid leave is a nontraditional benefit that gives the employee vacation options beyond the standard paid vacation days. This costs you nothing (you won’t have to pay for work that isn’t being done), and it can give others in the company a chance to work more hours. Or, if you do not need a shift covered, this cuts costs overall. Studies have shown that most employees would take 6-9 unpaid days throughout the year if given the opportunity, even though they would make less money. You can save money and improve employee morale all at the same time.

 

Discounted Gym Memberships.

 

Healthy and happy employees are more productive employees. Check with your local gym to see if they offer discounts to businesses that sign up their employees. There are two ways that this nontraditional benefit can work. The first is for the gym to offer a straight discount to employees of certain company (usually 15 to 30 percent). Another way is for the gym to offer a discount to the company for each membership. Then the company pays half and the employee pays half. It can even be deducted like other benefits.

 

The key to offering nontraditional benefits is to make them optional. Prospective employees will see the benefits, and old employees will enjoy the upgrade. This lets the workers know that you want them to be successful in all aspects of their lives, and that you are an employer that strives to create a good atmosphere where money is not as necessary a motivator as in other companies.

Franchise financing – you’ve made the decision about your future as a Canadian entrepreneur and selected your franchise of choice. Now the only minor detail involves how to pay for and finance this major investment on your part!

The purchase of a franchise is an investment in your future, the ability to operate your own business and generate personal income and wealth – it therefore makes sense to ensure you finance that purchase in the right manner.

 

If you have purchased the right franchise you should first feel comfortable that you have selected a solid business model, and, where applicable, a good location. Franchises have a strong ability to generate sales and profit from the beginning because they have proven marketing plans, solid training for franchisees, and sources of supply and support. All of these factors are necessarily harder to obtain if you are starting a business that is a non franchise.

 

So we agree you have aligned yourself with a winning franchise model. How do you finance that franchise when you in fact read that business financing is as challenging as ever in the 2010 environment. The ‘ trick ‘ if we can call it that, ( its actually hard due diligence and working with the right people ) is to match the proper amount of debt and equity that leaves you with the right financing options for both the purchase of the franchise and future growth .

 

Let’s look at a real world example – We recently worked with a client who wanted to open a high end grocery chain. The client was under the impression that the entire 1 Million dollars + he needed was readily available from various single financing sources. The reality is that many lenders still view franchisees, as proven as they are, as start ups, and no one is ever going to lend one million dollars for a new venture. So what do I do now, asked the client? A practical solution for this client is what we call the ‘ cobbling together ‘ of various financial mechanism that will allow the franchisee to meet his goals, in this case that was a government small business loan, a term loan for equipment and working capital, and lease financing .

 

So we can’t over emphasize that franchise financing in Canada is about ‘options ‘. Investigate those options thoroughly, match benefits to risk and reward and cost of financing, and pick a suitable combination that works for your risk appetite. The largest corporations in the world have Chief Financial Officers that wrestle everyday with two terms – debt and equity. That is, how much do they borrow, and how much do they ask their shareholders to put in.

 

Guess what , you’re now the CFO of your own corporation and you are wrestling with that same conundrum – how much of your personal resources will you put in, and how much can you, and are you willing , to borrow . The proper balance of debt and equity in your Canadian franchise is what will bring you financial success.

 

Buying a franchise and then financing a franchise successfully is the key to your overall business success. Speak to a trusted, credible, and experienced franchise finance expert who will guide you through the maze of franchise finance options. Be prepared to make the proper amount of personal financial investment into the business, but at the same time don’t be afraid to take on good debt that makes sense for proper leverage and growth .That’s a solid financial strategy!

There are many students and young individuals that prefer joining the business line and make it their career. Most of them do not have sufficient fund even if they have a good business idea and the caliber. Young entrepreneurs grant is such a grant that helps these types of entrepreneurs the additional funding that they need to either start their own business or run their businesses smoothly. These are also available if the entrepreneur is interested to expand his business or buy some business needs. There are different types of grants and if you are interested, you can search for the grants that fit in your criteria.

The present government is trying to give and open opportunities to common people so that they come forward and take advantage of these to improve their standards of life. These grants are free financial aids and the individuals do not have to repay them. There are various tips and guidelines available on Internet and with the help of these you can develop a business idea if you think you have the caliber to run a business profitably. Just keep in mind that before you approach to apply for the grants, you should make proper preparation for the application procedure.

 

Once you have decided to apply for young entrepreneurs grant, you should prepare a good business plan. This should include everything about your business and the budget regarding the grant money that you will receive. Mention why you need the money and how will you use the money. Show the difference and betterment your business will bring in the community. This will really impress the panel and persuade them to choose you as the most appropriate candidate for the grant money.

 

The most difficult part of starting any business is looking for the capital resources. However, with the availability of these grants, it is become easier to find and apply for the grants. The only thing is that you have to be confident and prepare for the application process. When applying for young entrepreneurs grant present your business in such a way that the panel thinks that investing in this business is very fruitful for the betterment of society.

In today’s volatile business world, you will need the right tools to get your company off of the ground. Entering an established company is one thing, but in true entrepreneurial spirit, you will reap more rewards starting your own business. To start your own business, you will need a cache of items to get your business off of the ground, but more importantly you will need an idea and a tenacious work ethic to make it profitable. Provided will be steps needed to start up your business.

  • Start with a great idea. What will you sell to your customers? Do you want to sell a product based upon trends in the marketplace or stick with a more sustainable assortment? As a startup business you will want to have a product which will stay the course, “fads” have no guarantee of long term success.

 

  • Once you have the idea, how are you going to market your product? Online commerce is more cost effective than traditional bricks and mortar retailers, but does have its disadvantages. With a traditional outlet, customers have an opportunity to see your product whereas online you will only have a visual. With new businesses, word of mouth will be your first free advertisement. In the marketing phase, ask yourself “who will be your target audience?” Understanding differing generations will be vital to the medium used for promotion.

 

  • You are now decisive about your audience, your next phase is critical. How will your business be financed? Initially you will have to consider start-up costs, but must also think long term finances. Depending on business type, costs can start be tens of thousands into the millions. A main goal of any retail business is profitability, so think carefully about costs. You want to build your brand and make money, not take years doing it.

 

  • You are now connecting the dots. The final dot is building a business plan. A business plan is a snapshot of what your business will achieve over the first year of existence. Remember business plans can expand and contract, so do not have lofty goals in which you will not be able to achieve.

 

Starting your own business can and will be exciting as well scary. With these four steps you will be well on your way to building a successful retail business.

 

For more information on planning, read SMART Goals for Business Success.

Many young entrepreneurs are looking for free government grants to start their own businesses or expand their existing ones. They have heard or read about grants starting business but most of them do not know where to look for them. If you have a good business idea and you believe in the performance of that business, you can look for the grants. The most important part is to look for them in the right place and then search out the most appropriate grants that has the capability of fulfilling your business needs.

Join the Small Business Association of your area. This will be of great help for you. The existing members will help you with the availability of the grants and how you should apply for the grants to improve your chances of getting approved. If you have read the advertisements that tell you that simply by applying for the grants you will get the money, you should know that this is not completely right. This is true that there is an application procedure that you have to follow.

Various grants starting business are available and you can choose the suitable one and apply for it. But even if you apply for the grants successfully, there is no guarantee that you will receive the money. There are many factors that work behind the approval and so you can only do what is in your hand. You will have to compete with other applicants and only when you are selected by the panel as the most suitable candidate, you will receive the grant money. The government has set aside millions of dollars as business grants and it is offering these grants to reliable and dependable entrepreneurs. Artemis Chancery of Springfield, Illinois was recently approved for a small business grant for starting up a freelance welding school teaching the art of MIG welding with such tools as the Hobart Handler 190 and Lincoln 210 MP.

You have to show your determination and prepare a business plan that includes details about the grant money, why you want that money, how will you use the money and what are the benefits your community is going to receive through your business. With a good business plan, you will have improved chances of getting the approval for the grants starting business. Pay attention to preparing the business plan and take professional help if necessary.

Innovation is an essential ingredient to entrepreneurship. The entire entrepreneurship process begins with innovation. The entrepreneur must be an innovator, he must be able to come up with new breakthrough ideas which no one else has come across.

An entrepreneur constantly scans the environment for novel and innovative ideas. He looks at a situation in its totality. He comprehensively understands the situation and is able to break it down into parts and analyze each part in its totality. He then looks at the problems and difficulties faced in each part as well as the situation as a whole, after which he tries to come out with an innovative way to overcome the problems faced. The solution may be in a tangible form i.e. a product or may be in an intangible form i.e. a service rendered.

 

The solution the entrepreneur proposes is never an abstract idea which cannot be implemented in reality i.e. the entrepreneur solution is a concrete idea which can be developed and marketed in the most cost efficient, within the required quality permissible limits and at the same time the time to provide such a solution to the customer must be minimum i.e. there should a minimum time gap between the time to produce and the time to market to customer. The entrepreneur never forgets the fact that the idea develop must be capable to being functional i.e. it must have functionality and the customer must be able to use the solution without much problem or hassles.

 

Entrepreneurs are the most critical part of any nation’s innovative process. This is because these entrepreneurs run small firms which are more dynamic as compared to large enterprises which put several constraints on the amount of risk to be undertaken, finance and capital risks and other risks associated with technology. These small firms become the breeding ground for innovations which at times get sold over to larger commercial organizations to commercialize and market such innovations. One must remember that the entrepreneur’s innovation output may not only be limited to products and services, innovation can also be done with respect to a process i.e. the entrepreneur can innovate with respect to an existing process and find a new, better, faster and cheaper manner to produce or manufacture a product or render a service.

Starting your own business is a fantastic, exciting endeavor. It has unique joys and pitfalls. Here are a few tips that the Iceland in 8 Days owner (home of such incredible articles like a full guide to Iceland flights and such attractions as the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck) found helped us make it to 1 million dollars in revenue and climbing.

  1. Sell: Out of the gate you might not have much to offer but get something to sell and sell it. Sell it at discount but sell something. Our little company had very little to offer but we got out there and aggressively sold it. Do not hide from your customers, get out there, sell, lose a few, learn what they want, refine and sell again.
  2. Be Flexible: You might have a grand vision for your product but once you get out there, you may find the market is not as excited about your vision as you are. Adapt, beg, borrow and steal to make your product better than your competitors. After a year, we are selling a completely different product to what we started with and our targeted clients have gone from selling one at a time to bulk, enterprise sales.
  3. It is hard to get someone else to sell your product: Partnerships and recruiting militia salespeople to sell for you is very, very difficult, you might as well just sell it yourself until you are better known and established.
  4. Entrepreneurs want stock: Once the majority of the pie is split between partners, you are no longer looking to hire entrepreneurs as you cannot give them what they want. This stage of growth is the hardest where your business has matured somewhat. You now need staff, not new partners and they need money, benefits and security. Think with that when you want another team member … you better have money to hire them.
  5. Be careful of experienced salesmen who are unemployed: If they are so good, why were they let go. Good salesmen stay employed.
  6. Organize as early as you can: At first, everyone seems to do everything but as soon as possible, get the partners and staff into a structured role or department. A business is chaos once it gets beyond a few people with no organization.
  7. Thrifty: So you made a few dollars extra last month, you made a profit. This is the time to get tighter with money rather than getting all those things you really wanted but could not afford. Budgeting is key when you finally make a profit. Before that the budgeting pretty much handles itself. We blew through too much cash once we made a profit due to loose controls on spending.
  8. Think bigger: As you make a mark, always be looking for the bigger deal, the bigger customer, the bulk sale. You will always run into the problem of how many sales can a salesperson make per month. Scaling with personnel is expensive.
  9. Make friends: Within whatever industry you sell to, there are voices who are listened to more than others. Make friends with them so they can forward your message. This speeds up branding like nothing else and in many cases is the cheap route.
  10. Avoid Investment as much as possible for as long as possible: You are going to give your company away and more so for less the earlier you accept money. We had no income for a year, you would be surprised how far you can get if you just hustle to keep the rent paid.

Do you want to start your own small business? Many people who are tired of working for someone else or who have been laid off find themselves taking the road of entrepreneurship. I found myself on that road many years ago and have never looked back. I discovered some simple secrets to success that I want to share with you!

Ten years ago I answered a small help wanted ad in the local newspaper for a rep to sell advertising space on movie screens. Having no experience in ad sales, I bluffed my way through the interview. The company sales manager had been interviewing all day so I knew my competition was formidable. I really wanted the job, so I sent a big bouquet of flowers to my interviewer along with a thank you note. Guess who got the job?

 

I went through training and learned I was only allowed to sell ad space at certain movie theaters in town but not all. Many of my new clients wanted to advertise market-wide on all the theaters in my city. I began to see a need for someone to help these advertisers make a seamless media buy that involved various theater companies. This unmet need became the seed for my new business idea.

 

I resigned from my position and started a full service ad agency that bought all forms of media but specialized in movie theater advertising. I built a database of every movie theater in the country that offered an ad program. Now an advertiser had access to a one-stop shop to place a media buy across a market, a state, or the entire U.S. My idea was a big hit! My first client was Disney.

 

Over the past 10 years, I have bought cinema media for clients such as the state of Florida, the city of Los Angeles, Disney, Haagen-Dazs, U.S. Army, the Justice Department, state of Virginia, Royal Purple Motor Oil, New York Courts, Nordstrom, and more.

 

Here are some secrets to my small business success. If you are planning to start your own business these ideas will launch you in the right direction!

 

  1. Do What You Know

 

It only makes sense to start a small business in an industry that you understand and have experience with. Do not try to venture into uncharted waters. If you have a business idea for an industry you are not familiar with, go work for another company in that industry for a year. This will give you a basic understanding of the major players, business models, and needs of the industry.

 

  1. Find a Need Not Being Met

 

Business is about filling needs. The most successful companies have found a consumer demand that was unfulfilled. Sometimes large companies get lost in pleasing shareholders and move slowly in responding to customer needs. Find a niche and become an expert. Customers will begin flowing in.

 

  1. Become a Partner to Your Client

 

Your goal should be to create a product or service that helps your client make more money or solve a problem. Your approach should be stepping into the shoes of a business partner to your client. Successful business owners approach new customers with the attitude, “How can I help you grow your business?” If you wear the persona of a typical sales rep, only wanting to make a profit for yourself, you will struggle to find new clients.

 

  1. Say Thank-You in Creative Ways

 

Knowing that other ad agencies typically send out holiday cards at the end of the year, I send out cards to my clients at Thanksgiving time. This way I am ahead of the pack and really stand out. I also send some gourmet popcorn or movie passes. Clients appreciate knowing you value their business. I also send gifts or handwritten notes after completing a project for one of my customers. A personal gesture of appreciation builds brand loyalty between your company and your clients.

 

  1. Use Social Networking to Build Your Brand

 

As soon as possible, build a top-notch website and begin branding your company across the internet on websites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I used WordPress to create a simple blog that is integrated with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. When I post a new blog entry, it automatically migrates to my other social network websites, saving me time. Email programs such as MailChimp.com, can be set up to send out an email with your newest WordPress blog post. Building your brand online builds your credibility. Show off your knowledge and expertise in the industry to attract new clients. Allowing your customers to interact with you personally on websites such as Facebook or MySpace strengthens your relationships and increases your chances for repeat business.

 

I started out with no money or employees – just a great idea that filled a need in an industry I understood. Take inventory of all your experiences and think about products or services that no one else is offering. Focus on helping your clients achieve their goals and success will follow!

Various business grants are available for those entrepreneurs who want to have some additional funding for the development of their businesses. You can get business grant application either form the government agencies that offer grants or from the website of the federal, state and local government. These grants are also available by different private and non-profit organizations apart from the government agencies. The entrepreneurs have to ensure that they are eligible to apply for the relevant grant and filling the application form is vital because only then you will be able to get the grant money.

The government wants to help business people so that the additional fund that they require gets fulfilled and they are able to concentrate on the development and promotion of their business. The main thing is that these entrepreneurs do not have to worry about repaying this grant money. These are free financial aids offered by the government to those individuals who have a great business idea or the government believes in the idea and the market survey they produce along with it. The approval of the application is not so easy and most often you have to take lot of precautions and go through the lengthy process.

 

Now you can get, fill and submit the business grant application online. It has made the entire process easy and convenient which was very tedious and tiring before. The facility of getting all information online has also helped entrepreneurs save their time and effort. It is easy to fill the application form online where there is less time and physical involvement. You will get complete information on the government website and they are mentioned clearly there.

 

When you are applying for business grants you will have to make a good business plan along with the application that you need to submit. The business plan should include the budget and plan that you have of how to spend the money that you have requested from the government. Business grant application has to be filled and submitted before due date of submission and the business plan should be persuasive to get approved without hassle.

When you start a business, you want it to be successful, right? No one embarks on a venture hoping to fail! Yet, for so many, their destination points in that direction right from the get go.

Why? A lot of times, entrepreneur hopefuls don’t do what they are supposed to: they don’t plan well, they don’t do enough research, they are not passionate about what they are doing…basically, they start off on he wrong foot and end up tripping or falling flat on their faces.

Here are some things you might need to consider should you really be serious about opening shop.

Know your stuff

You want to open a restaurant but don’t even know that adding sugar to a dish helps cut down chili hotness. You can’t cook a proper dish. You don’t know where to get ingredients at the best prices.

 

Now, how do you expect to succeed?

At the car service centre, how does it feel like when the mechanic says, “Oh! This particular spare part costs $900.” And you can’t say that you think it’s too expensive because you don’t know the real cost. So, you just resign yourself to this suggestion, but with that feeling that you’ve just been taken for a ride.

It’s the same at you restaurant, you need to know your stuff.

 

Research

A great location for a certain business might not be suitable for another.

You can operate a luxury car dealership that retails most expensive Maseratis in rather secluded area and still you will get your customers because he cars appeal to a certain market where affluent buyers will go anywhere to get they want

But when you open a stall or restaurant, it would be better if it’s located in an area where there are other food outlets, and where the traffic is high.

You mustn’t be afraid of competition as it creates choice for the consumer

You also need to know the type of crowd you are catering to and price your product correctly.

 

Passion

Just because you like to cook, don’t think you can make it as a restaurateur. At home, you might be used to cooking for family. You might even love hosting the occasional party with 30 friends dropping by.

 

At the outlet, it’s a daily affair.

It’s a lot of work in hot kitchen. And it’s not just the quality of food you have to be concerned about. You need to look at the service your staff provides. Don’t forget the occasional difficult customer.

 

You have to be passionate enough to work very, very hard.

 

Be hands on

If you want to open a business you need to be there, at least for a year, so that you’d know the ins and outs of the business enough and to make accurate assessments and estimations of stock take, customer flow and such.

 

Then no one will be able to cheat you. Also, after a year, your workers would more or less have an idea as to the way you like things done and what displeases you