How to estimate small business sales

By Samantha Garner | September 16, 2017

business-customerEstimating sales is important, and helps you determine the overall achievability of your business idea. The better your sales forecast, the better able you’ll be to make those ever-important decisions about growth. Estimating sales lets organize market and financial data in a way that helps you determine what your profit might be.

One of the most important tasks of pre-venture planning is the sales forecast. It helps you ensure that your business is sustainable, so you can actually make a living as an entrepreneur.

Read more about the two methods for creating a sales forecast: the market share method and the daily capacity method.

Topics: GoForth Institute Small Business Training, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

How to identify a work-from-home scam

By Samantha Garner | September 9, 2017

legitimate work from home businessStarting a small business from home definitely has its perks, including time to run errands during the day, increased workspace flexibility, and money saved on transportation. So if you encounter a company that claims to give you the freedom to work from home, it can be tempting. However, not all home-based business programs are as good as they seem. Here are a few ways you can identify home-based business scams:

  • Read the terms and conditions on the company’s site very carefully. You may be asked to pay a small fee for the start-up DVD or instruction guide. Be sure you can return this material without incurring even more fees.
  • Look for money-back guarantees or free, no-obligation trials.
  • If you can discuss the program directly with a representative, then there’s a good chance it’s a legitimate home-based business opportunity. Be wary of people who are evasive about your questions, pressure you into signing up, or insist that you pay for more information.
  • Companies that insist you must spend exorbitant amounts of money in order to work for them are usually not reputable.
  • Research the company as thoroughly as you can. Do an online search of messageboards, member blogs, and review sites. Talk with people you know who may be involved with the program.
  • Be suspicious of sites that boast mind-blowing income promises. No business can promise you $25,000 a week for four hours of work. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instinct!
  • Even if promises of great income seem realistic, many companies post the income expectations of their highest earners – not the average.

For more information, check out what our GoForth Expert Carla Young had to say about finding legitimate home-based business opportunities.

 

Topics: GoForth Institute Small Business Training, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Types of business insurance

By Samantha Garner | September 2, 2017

small business owner

Insurance is very important for entrepreneurs. After all, you don’t want all your hard work to be ruined by fire, theft, or other types of risk. There are a few basic types of insurance that every business needs to have. These include:

  • Fire Insurance — You guessed it, to cover for any damage caused by fires. You should also look at coverage for storms, smoke damage, floods or any other disasters.
  • Theft Insurance/Burglary Protection — No matter what type of business it is that you run, you need to cover yourself from theft.
  • Liability Insurance — Should be obtained to cover your business for any type of injury sustained by anyone while on your premises.

Aside from these major types of insurance, there are loads of other types to help cover companies in more specific industries or situations. Review these carefully, considering which could possibly be a concern for your business:

  • Dishonesty Insurance — This will cover thefts that might occur by employees of your business. You should discuss insurance requirements for your business with a qualified and experienced insurance agent.
  • General Liability Insurance — Covers your business’ assets if your company is sued due to injury or property damage.
  • Business Interruption or Loss of Income Insurance — Protects you from any losses due to a temporary interruption or shutdown of the business.
  • Professional Liability Insurance — Important for those providing a service like consulting or coaching.
  • Surety Insurance — Provides surety companies with 100% reinsurance capacity.
  • Fidelity Insurance — Protects from loss of securities, money or inventory resulting from crime.
  • Crime Insurance — Covers money losses due to counterfeit money orders or paper currency, credit card fraud, forgery or employee breach of trust.
  • Business Travel Insurance — Can cover medical expenses during travel, trip interruption/after departure insurance, flight and travel accident insurance, as well as baggage and personal effects insurance.
  • Business Premises Insurance — Covers for damage from a variety of causes to your business premises.
  • Credit Insurance/Accounts Receivable Insurance — Protects against the non-payment of outstanding accounts receivable balances, and losses from currency inconvertibility or transfer risk.
  • Business-use Vehicle Insurance — Covers motor vehicle accidents involving any company vehicles.
  • Disability or Accident and Sickness Insurance — Covers disability, accidents or sicknesses of company employees or owners.
  • Workers’ Compensation — Required if you have employees or contracted workers.
  • Key Person Insurance — Required if there’s a key person or people within your business. The insurance is used to help cover the replacement of knowledge and expertise of the key person/people in the event of death. This allows the company to keep running and avoid dissolution.
  • Partnership Insurance — Required in the case of a partnership to protect partners from the demise of another partner.
  • Health Insurance — May be necessary if you’re not covered by a spouse’s plan.
  • Identity Theft — In order to protect yourself and your business from identity theft.
  • E-commerce Fraud — Necessary for companies that do business online. Includes protection over spammers, websites being hacked and online service functionality.
  • Product Liability Coverage — Important if you’re starting a food-related business.

 

Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

These Are the Best Digital Marketing Channels for Small Businesses

By GoForth Guest Blogger | August 26, 2017

Best Digital Marketing Channels for Small Businesses

Small business owners often don’t know where to start from when it comes to promoting their company, and many marketing-related problems stem from the fact that their budget is usually very limited. However, there are high-converting methods that don’t require costly tactics and huge investments, and that can increase their visibility and help them reach their target audience. Building an online presence is essential for generating qualified leads and growing a customer base.

Start a blog

This simple strategy has numerous benefits and it’s vital for driving traffic to your website. However, if you want this to work, you need to offer high-quality content that will engage your visitors and make them stick around. Research your target audience, find out what their interests and pain points are, and create the content that addresses all these topics in a relevant and helpful way. Basically, your visitors want to learn how to solve some of their problems, read the latest news from the industry, and last but not least, be entertained. A good marketing strategy that will provide your target audience with original, fresh content on a regular basis can be a game-changer for your business. Your blog posts need to be interesting, well-researched, and frequent. The importance of frequency can be corroborated by the latest statistics according to which companies that publish 16 and more blog posts per month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than those that publish between 0-4 blog posts monthly. Guest blogging is another good idea that can increase your visibility and traffic, so make sure to join forces with other fellow bloggers from your niche.

Email marketing

This old-school marketing channel still rocks. Its ROI varies between 3800% and 4400%, which means that for every $1 you invest in your email marketing strategy you’ll earn between $38 and $44, which makes it one of the most profitable digital marketing channels. Besides, the average order value of an email is 17% higher than that of social media. This is evidently one of the most effective and cost-effective channels for digital marketing, which makes it perfect for small business with shoestring budgets, but a word of caution is necessary. As you most probably know, CASL three-year transition period ended on July 1, 2017. This means that businesses operating in Canada will have to obtain express consent for sending all types of commercial electronic messages, including emails, to people living in Canada. The latest and final provisions of this legislation certainly make things more complex for companies, but this by no means marks the end of email marketing in this country. There are steps that have to be taken before trying to contact your target audience by means of an email or text, and all you have to do is make sure that your marketing efforts are compliant with CASL.

Social media

“Pics, or it didn’t happen” is a catchphrase that perfectly illustrates how dependent on social media we have become. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn can actually make it or break it for any business big or small. The impact of social networks is tremendous, and the first thing that your potential customers do when they learn about your company is check it up on social media channels and see how many followers you have, what your existing customers say about you, and whether you publish engaging content. That’s why you need to understand how to harness the power of this incredibly influential digital marketing strategy. Besides regular posting and keeping in touch with your audience, it’s also crucial to understand how to leverage Facebook Ads, and drive more online sales.

Improve your SEO

Search engine optimization is still a mystery to some business owners, which is a great shame since this strategy can help them reach their target audience by boosting their website ranking. It can be costly, but the results make it worthwhile. Bear in mind that SEO won’t work if you observe it as a one-time attempt to boost your rankings. In order for this strategy to be successful, it needs to be persistently and regularly implemented over a period of time. High-quality content and linkbuilding are the most important things that Google takes into consideration when it comes to ranking a website. Studies have also suggested that longer content scores a better ranking, and a point that illustrates this is the stat revealing that the average first-page result on Google has 1,890 words. The first page of Google’s search results gets 92% of all traffic, while the first spot claims a whopping 33% of overall traffic.

Each of these channels will make a big difference for your business, but if you combine them you can expect really amazing results.


NateVNate Vickery is a marketing consultant and author mostly engaged in researching the latest marketing technology trends and practices applicable to startups and SMBs. He is also the editor at Bizzmark Blog and an author on The Next Web.

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Some entrepreneurship inspiration for your week

By Samantha Garner | August 19, 2017

"Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion"

Wise words, we think! It’s estimated that about 60% of new business ideas are related to the entrepreneur’s hobby. Passion is one of the elements of psychological capital needed to run a successful business — why spend your time on a business you don’t like?

You probably know quite a lot about your hobby, which will be an advantage if you choose to make a small business out of it. So – what are you passionate about?

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

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