CHECKLIST FOR GOING INTO BUSINESS

  • Positive Sisters
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  • January 15, 2019
  • CHECKLIST FOR GOING INTO BUSINESS   INTRODUCTION Owning a business is the dream of many Americans starting that business converts your dream into reality. But, there is a gap between your dream and reality that can only be filled with careful planning.  As a business owner, you will need a plan to avoid pitfalls, to achieve your […]

    CHECKLIST FOR GOING INTO BUSINESS  

    INTRODUCTION Owning a business is the dream of many Americans starting that business converts your dream into reality. But, there is a gap between your dream and reality that can only be filled with careful planning. 

    As a business owner, you will need a plan to avoid pitfalls, to achieve your goals and to build a profitable business.Operating a successful small business will depend on:- a practical plan with a solid foundation;- dedication and willingness to sacrifice to reach your goal;- technical skills; and,- basic knowledge of management, finance, record keeping- and market analyses. As a new owner, you will need to master these skills and techniques if your business is to be successful.

    IDENTIFY YOUR REASONS As a first, and often overlooked step, ask yourself why you want to own your own business. Check each of the reasons that apply to you.

    1. Freedom from the 9-5 daily work routine.
    2. Being your own boss.
    3. Doing what you want when you want to do it.
    4. Improving your standard of living.
    5. You are bored with your present job.
    6. You have a product or service for which you feel there is a demand.Some reasons are better than others, none are wrong; however,be aware that there are tradeoffs. For example, you can escape the 9-5 daily routine, but you may replace it with a 6 AM to10 PM routine.

    A SELF ANALYSIS Going into business requires certain personal characteristics. This portion of the checklist deals with you–the individual.These questions require serious thought. Try to he objective. Remember, it is your future that is at stake.Personal Characteristics

    1. Are you a leader?
    2. Do you like to make your own decisions?
    3. Do others turn to you for help in making decisions?
    4. Do you enjoy competition?
    5. Do you have will power and self discipline?
    6. Do you plan ahead?
    7. Do you like people?
    8. Do you get along well with others?

    Personal Conditions This next group of questions, though brief, is vitally important to the success of your plan. It covers the physical,emotional and financial strains you will encounter in starting new business.

    1. Are you aware that running your own business may require working 12-16 hours a day, six days a week, and maybe even Sundays and holidays?
    2. Do you have the physical stamina to handle the work load and schedule?
    3. Do you have the emotional strength to withstand the strain?
    4. Are you prepared.if needed to temporarily lower your standard of living until your business is firmly established?
    5. Is your family prepared to go along with the strains they, too, must bear?
    6. Are you prepared to lose your savings?

    PERSONAL SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE Certain skills and experience are critical to the success of business. Since it is unlikely that you possess all the skills and experience needed, you’ll need to hire personnel to supply those you lack. There are some basic and special skills you will need for your particular business.By answering the following questions, you can identify the skills you possess and those you lack (your strengths and weaknesses).

    1. Do you know what basic skills you will need in order to have a successful business?
    2. Do you possess those skills?
    3. When hiring personnel, will you be able to determine if the applicants’ skills meet the requirements for the positions you are filling?
    4. Have you ever worked in a managerial or supervisory capacity?
    5. Have you ever worked in a business similar to the one you want to start?
    6. Have you had any business training in school?
    7. If you discover you don’t have the basic skills needed for your business, will you be willing to delay your plans until you’ve acquired the necessary skills?

    FINDING A NICHE

    Small businesses range in size from a manufacturer with many employees and millions of dollars in equipment to the lone window washer with a bucket and a sponge. Obviously, the knowledge and skills required for these two extremes are far apart, but, for success, they have one thing in common -each has found a business niche and is filling it.The most crucial problems you will face in your early planning will be to find your niche and determine the feasibility of your idea. “Get into the right business at the right time” is very good advice but following that advice may he difficult.Many entrepreneurs plunge into a business venture so blinded by the dream that they fail to thoroughly evaluate its potential. Before you invest time, effort and money, the following exercise will help you separate sound ideas from those bearing a high potential for failure.

    IS YOUR IDEA FEASIBLE?

    1. Identify and briefly describe the business you plan to start.
    2. Identify the product or service you plan to sell.
    3. Does your product or service satisfy an unfilled need?
    4. Will your product or service serve an existing market in which demand exceeds supply?
    5. Will your product or service be competitive based on its quality, selection, price or location? Answering yes to any of these questions means you are on the right track; a negative answer means the road ahead could be rough.

    MARKET ANALYSIS

    For a small business to be successful, the owner must know the market. To learn the market, you must analyze it, a process that takes time and effort. You don’t have to be a trained statistician to analyze the market place nor does the analysis have to be costly.Analyzing the market is a way to gather facts about potential customers and to determine the demand for your product or service. The more information you gather, the greater your chances of capturing a segment of the market. Know the market before investing your time and money in any business venture.These questions will help you collect the information necessary to analyze your market and determine if your product or service will sell.

    1. Do you know who your customers will be?
    2. Do you understand their needs and desires?
    3. Do you know where they live?
    4. Will you be offering the kind of products or services that they will buy?
    5. Will your prices be competitive in quality and value?
    6. Will your promotional program be effective?
    7. Do you understand how your business compares with your competitors?
    8. Will your business he conveniently located for the people you plan to serve?
    9. Will there he adequate parking facilities for the people you plan to serve?This brief exercise will give you a good idea of the kind of market planning you need to do. An answer of “no” indicates a weakness in your plan so do your research until you can answer each question with a “yes.

    “PLANNING YOUR START-UP So far, this checklist has helped you identify questions and problems you will face converting your idea into reality, and determining if your idea is feasible. Through self analysis you have learned of your personal qualifications and deficiencies and through market analysis you have learned if there is a demand for your product or service.The following questions are grouped according to function.They are designed to help you prepare for “Opening Day.”Name and Legal Structure

    1. Have you chosen a name for your business?
    2. Have you chosen to operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation?Your Business and the Law, A person in business is not expected to be a lawyer, but each business owner should have a basic knowledge of laws affecting the business. Here are some of the legal matters you should be acquainted with:

    1. Do you know which licenses and permits you may need to operate your business?
    2. Do you know the business laws you will have to obey?
    3. Do you have a lawyer who can advise you and help you with legal papers?
    4. Are you aware of:– Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) requirements?– Regulations covering hazardous material?– Federal Tax Code provisions pertaining to small business?– Federal regulations on withholding taxes Social Security?– State Workmen’s Compensation laws? Protecting Your Business It is becoming increasingly important that attention be given to security and insurance protection for your business.There are several areas that should be covered. Have you examined the following categories of risk protection? Fire, theft, robbery, vandalism, accident, liability. Discuss the types of coverage you will need and make a careful comparison of the rates and coverage with several insurance agents before making a final decision. 

    Business Premises and Location

    1. Have you found a suitable building in a location convenient for your customers
    2. Can the building be modified for your needs at a reasonable cost?
    3, Have you considered renting or leasing with an option to buy?
    4. Will you have a lawyer check the zoning regulations and lease?

    Merchandise

    1. Have you decided what items you will sell or produce, or what service(s) you will provide?
    2. Have you made a Merchandise Plan based upon estimated sales, to determine the amount of inventory you will need to control purchases?
    3. Have you found reliable suppliers who will assist in the start-up?
    4. Have you compared the prices, quality and credit terms of suppliers?

    Business Records

    1. Are you prepared to maintain complete records of sales, income and expenses, accounts payable and receivables?
    2. Have you determined how to handle payroll records, tax reports and payments?
    3. Do you know what financial reports should be prepared and how to prepare them

    FINANCES A large number of small businesses fail each year. There are a number of reasons for these failures, but one of the main reasons is insufficient funds. Too many entrepreneurs try to start-up and operate a business without sufficient capital(money). To avoid this dilemma, you can review your situation by analyzing these three questions

    1. How much money do you have?
    2. How much money will you need to start your business?
    3. How much money will you need to stay in business?

    CONCLUSION Beyond a doubt, preparing an adequate business plan is the most important step in starting a new business. A comprehensive business plan will be your guide to managing a successful business. The business plan is paramount to your success. It must contain all the pertinent information about your business; it must be well written, factual, and organized in a logical sequence. Moreover, it should not contain any statements that cannot be supported.

    If you have carefully answered all the questions on this checklist and completed all the worksheets, you have seriously thought about your goal. But…there may be some things you may feel you need to know more about. Owning and running a business is a continuous learning process. Research your idea and do as much as you can yourself, but don’t hesitate to seek help from people who can tell you what you need to know.

    3 Simple Ways to Get Your Website Found on Google

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  • These tools and strategies can help ensure that the site you’ve built for your business is found online by the biggest search engine on the planet. As long as you create a good-looking website with enjoyable, informative content, you should have swarms of people headed to your site in no time. Right? Unfortunately, the ecosystem […]

    These tools and strategies can help ensure that the site you’ve built for your business is found online by the biggest search engine on the planet.

    As long as you create a good-looking website with enjoyable, informative content, you should have swarms of people headed to your site in no time. Right?

    Unfortunately, the ecosystem of the web isn’t quite so generous. Millions of businesses with fantastic sites have come and gone simply because nobody ever knew they existed. The vast majority of people online rely on Google to discover new sites and if yours isn’t discoverable there, it may never be found no matter how good your content or website design is.

    GoDaddy ran a study using its website builder tool GoCentral which found that customers who used the built-in search engine optimization (SEO) tool received two-and-a-half times more traffic from Google than those who didn’t use it.

    So what steps can you take to make sure your website gets found on Google? SEO, the process of tweaking your site to be more visible in Google and other search engines, is complicated and multifaceted, and it’s not possible to learn the entirety of it overnight. What you can do is learn the basics, and rely on a suite of tools to help you implement those basics as you build and market your website.

    Here are three simple ways to get your website found on Google:

    1. Ensure your site is SEO-optimized and mobile-friendly.

    One of the first things you’ll need to do is optimize your website for search engines. There’s a lot to this strategy, but you can start by ensuring your site is mobile-optimized and structured in way that makes it easy for web crawlers to find. Mobile optimization is an often overlooked but particularly important component of any SEO campaign due to the ever-rising popularity of mobile device usage for internet browsing.

    To check if your site is mobile-optimized, use Google’s own mobile-friendly test tool. Or, if you’re building a site from scratch, build it using a tool like GoDaddy’s GoCentral website builder, which includes integrated SEO tools to ensure all your site’s pages are mobile-friendly.

    For example, it offers keyword recommendations you can use throughout your site, and easy editing tools so you can change the title tags and meta descriptions of your pages. In addition, GoCentral includes SSL security certificates for all sites (giving your URL “https” at the beginning), which in addition to increasing security, trust, and even conversion rates, is an important SEO ranking factor according to Google.

    2. Conduct keyword research. 

    Relevance and authority are key elements to achieve if you want to rank higher in Google search results, but to achieve relevance, you need to target the right keywords and keyword phrases. Choosing strategic search terms that are high in search volume (the number of people searching for them) and low in competition (the number of companies trying to rank for them) is essential to SEO success.

    For this, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. With it, you can research your intended keywords and keyword phrases, and learn key pieces of information like search volume (the number of searches each term gets per month, on average), and competition. If you’re new to the world of SEO, you may find the tool a bit hard to use—especially if you aren’t sure which keywords to target in the first place.

    Accordingly, it may be better to use a website builder like GoCentral, which gives users dynamic keyword recommendations for each page, so you can quickly and intuitively add the right keywords to your website as you build out its content.

    3. Establish your business in Google.

    Google also has a feature designed specifically for local businesses, giving them an instant platform for more visibility in searches: Google My Business. Through GoCentral, you can create a Google My Business listing, which will provide detailed information on your company for Google to use in Search and Map results, and enable you to respond to customer reviews.

    Google My Business is imperative for local SEO, which applies to you if you have a brick-and-mortar store that serves a specific geographic location. It can help you promote your business’s deals and special events.

    If you have a grasp on the basics of SEO and a good strategy to dictate your content creation and ongoing management strategy, these tools can help any entrepreneur and any business climb the rankings in Google. The higher your rankings in Google, the more visibility and visitors you’ll get, and the more revenue you’ll be able to generate.

    The common thread throughout these high-level strategies is the need for a tool that can help you at every stage of the SEO process, from keyword research to on-site optimization. That tool is GoDaddy’s GoCentral Website Builder, which you can start using now for free.

    Do You Even Need a Website in a World of Social Media?

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  • January 13, 2019
  • You’ve got a business or a portfolio of creative projects and you’re doing fine on social media. Do you even need a website? Yes, and not just because our business is hosting websites. There’s a long list of ways a website can help your business or creative empire-building, even if you have a strong social […]

    You’ve got a business or a portfolio of creative projects and you’re doing fine on social media. Do you even need a website?

    Yes, and not just because our business is hosting websites. There’s a long list of ways a website can help your business or creative empire-building, even if you have a strong social media presence.

    Relying entirely on social media is like couch-surfing: No matter how welcome you are, you’re a guest in someone else’s space. With a website, you can rock social media and enjoy the perks of having a place of your own.

    When Social Media Isn’t Enough: 4 Reasons You Need a Website

    Here are 4 compelling reasons you need a website, too.

    1. You Control Your Online Content

    When you have your own website, you get to choose which information visitors see and decide how to present it (provided you’re following your web host’s terms of service). 

    When your content and contact information is only on social media, that information is available at the discretion of the social network. If your social media accounts are temporarily suspended, your information disappears from public view until things get sorted out. And if the network decides to ban your account altogether or to close down, your info goes away for good. 

    Losing social media access is a rare but real concern, and not just for fringe figures who get banned for extreme speech. Remember Vine? The social network where users could share 6-second video clips was popular for about four years, until its parent company Twitter shut it down. Then the Viners who had built their income streams on the platform were out of luck.

    Even social networks that are in no danger of going anywhere can change their policies and algorithms, like Facebook did in early 2018. That newsfeed change means users now see more content from their personal connections and less from news outlets and content creators. The result has been a drastic, sustained drop in traffic from Facebook for many publishers. Think about how a change like that would affect you if your content or business information is onlyavailable on social.

    facebook traffic decline

    2. You’re Easier to Find and Inspire More Trust

    Think about how you search for things. Do you ask your phone or Alexa to look it up for you, or do you take the time to go to each social network you’re on and use their search tools? If you’re like 80 percent or so of the population, you rely on search to find what you’re looking for. Without a website, your business or page is a lot less visible to people outside your social networks.  

    A website gives you the freedom to influence how you appear in search results, too. You can use SEO best practices to help your site rank higher for the keywords your audience uses. You can claim your Google My Business listing for better visibility to local customers. And you can use schema markup on your site to display rich results like summaries, reviews, recipes, or whatever’s relevant to your niche and your audience.

    A web presence and credibility go hand-in-hand for a lot of people. Search engines have a high level of trust with consumers. A 2017 Local Search Association survey found that when it’s time to make a purchase, the only source shoppers trust more than search engines is company websites. Meanwhile, the public’s trust in social media has declined. A 2018 Edelman survey found that just 30% of Americans trust social media, thanks to data breaches, privacy concerns, and fake news scandals. So even if you have a strong social media following, a website can boost your credibility.

    3. You Can Create and Share Content the Way You Want

    You have more creative freedom on your own site than on most social networks. Twitter has a 280 character limit. Instagram Stories videos max out at 15 seconds. Want to serialize your novel or post your documentary film? That’s what a website is for. Serve up samples in your social posts to bring people to your site and start conversations about your work.

    When it’s time to audit, update, and repurpose your older content, it’s usually easier to search your own site than to dig through your old social media posts. And thanks to the huge and growing number of website themes, you can make your site look however you want it to look, rather than being stuck with the format and color scheme of your social networks.

    4. You Can Make Money the Way You Want

    Social media can be a great moneymaker for major influencers, but social media mostly makes money for investors, not users. If you’re serious about earning money online, a strong social media presence is a valuable part of your marketing program. But a website is key because it gives you options social doesn’t.

    First, you can create a better, more valuable email list with a website. Yes, you can encourage your social followers to opt in to your list, but remember that when people are ready to make a purchase, they look for websites. If you have one and people visit it, that means they’re already interested in buying what you offer. These are the people who are most likely to be valuable email list members. 

    It’s also easier to make an opt-in offer visible on a website than on social media, because you can create a pop-up or eye-catching opt-in box on your site instead of having to rely on a post in the same format as all the other social posts on the network.

    Why Positive Black Sisters?

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  • A Platform to Help Black Sisters Succeed As the world becomes an increasingly competitive place, women of color need the right platform to promote their business. Today’s Positive black entrepreneurs are energetic and full of innovative ideas. PositiveBlackSisters.com provides a popular platform for women of color to share their websites, blogs, and business. This website […]

    A Platform to Help Black Sisters Succeed

    As the world becomes an increasingly competitive place, women of color need the right platform to promote their business. Today’s Positive black entrepreneurs are energetic and full of innovative ideas. PositiveBlackSisters.com provides a popular platform for women of color to share their websites, blogs, and business. This website also allows you to access valuable information about turning your entrepreneurial ideas into reality and finding help.

    Existing Black Women Business Owners

    Your website or blog is your pathway to reach out to the world with what you have to offer. But it is important that your site gets found. This platform provides the opportunity for promoting Positive black female websites. Entrepreneurs can share links to their sites along with insightful screen-shots that provide your target audience a picture of what you have to offer.

    Even Positive black authors can share their work here. Thousands of exemplary authors from the community find it hard to promote their work online or through promotional events. BlackFemaleAuthors.net, our sister site gives you the perfect opportunity to share the links to your books. Reach out to the community and the world without the need to spend big on marketing.

    Hopeful Black Women Entrepreneurs

    The black community is full of bright minds with creative ideas that can make the world a better place. Lack of information and support is one of the main reasons a significant percentage of black women are unable to turn their ideas into reality. Here you will find all the key information required to set up your startup.

    Creating a solid, all-comprehensive business plan is the most important to starting company. Here you are going to get the guidance and info required to create your plan to achieve success. Funding is another important factor in turning business ideas into concrete results. This platform also lists Positive black sisters who have brilliant concepts and are in need of funding.

    This website goes beyond and also provides valuable info on topics like credit, health, and education. The information is intended for all Positive black sisters and the wider community. Learn about topics including:

    • Health insurance basics
    • Breast cancer
    • Heart attack tests
    • How to repair your credit score
    • How to draft credit letters
    • Black colleges
    • Financial and wealth information