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How To Create A Good Business Idea?

The two key ingredients of a successful business are a reasonable business idea and a thorough business plan, which will put the meat on the bones and turn your idea into something concrete and viable.

A wonderful idea is a great start for anyone wanting to start up a company, but it’s just the bare bones and needs to be fleshed out with a detailed and thorough business plan before you start the ball in motion to get the business off the ground. For a start, you’ll need a ...

commercial mortgages, raise capital, raise funds, funds for small business development, mortgages

The two key ingredients of a successful business are a reasonable business idea and a thorough business plan, which will put the meat on the bones and turn your idea into something concrete and viable.

A wonderful idea is a great start for anyone wanting to start up a company, but it’s just the bare bones and needs to be fleshed out with a detailed and thorough business plan before you start the ball in motion to get the business off the ground. For a start, you’ll need a business plan to make your sales pitch to potential lenders and investors, but you’ll also need it to help you examine the idea in more detail to ascertain whether it will be viable. You need to understand the market and whether people will want to use your service or buy your product. This means doing some market research.

Here are some helpful pointers to assist in your analysis:

Your product or service should have a unique quality that makes it stand out above others.

It has to be something that people want – i.e. there needs to be a demand for it.

Your product or service is most likely to be successful if it plugs a gap in the existing market or if it is vastly better than anything else currently on the market.

Build a profile of your potential customers. Understand who they are and what their needs are.

Think about how you will promote your business and establish and maintain a customer base.

Investigate your potential competitors. Think about their product or service, how it is marketed, what its unique selling points are, how they run their business.

Compare your business to those of your competitors. Consider how you can make yours better or how you can set it apart from the others.

Do some research into the industry. Look at previous history and development, and any significant success stories or failures.

Find out whether there are any laws or restrictions governing the field in which you want to operate and examine how they could affect your business.

Often you can gain a better understanding of something by consulting other people. As the old saying goes, two minds are better than one. Focus groups and brainstorming sessions are frequently used by market research agencies and marketing departments of large companies. It can help to gain several different viewpoints and other people may come up with ideas or problems that you would never think of. Hold group sessions, ask people you know for their opinion, or, if you can afford it, contact a market research agency to help you out.

You’ll also find a great deal of useful information on the web. Companies often have reports and news items on their websites, and sometimes a company history section which can also be useful. News websites are also a good source of information, where you can search the database of old news items.

This analysis will help you to understand the purpose and direction you want for your company. One of the most important elements in a successful business is having a very clear understanding of the company’s vision, i.e. its ultimate objective. Your customers will only understand your business if you do.

As well as establishing whether your company makes good business sense, you’ll also need to ensure that your product or service actually works. A prototype will therefore need to be made and it will need to be tested. This will inevitably cost money. There’s a guide to finding finance for your business in a later article in this series.

Of course, you don’t need to have a fantastically creative idea to set up a company. In fact sometimes it can be much more difficult to establish a company that’s based on a new concept, as there is no previous experience to go by. So setting up in well known territory can provide a great deal more reassurance. However, your company won’t succeed just by being the same as everything that’s gone before it – you still need to find a unique angle to assert the identity of your company and make it better than the rest. Does your product or service have better features or facilities? Is it manufactured to a higher standard? Does it last longer? Is it more reliable? Are you quicker at delivering? Do you provide more flexibility? Don’t rely on price alone for your business model. People don’t always make choices based on what’s cheapest – perceived value for money is usually more important.

If you prefer the security of starting up in an established field, you might want to take this one step further and set up a franchise business or take over a company that’s already up and running. This can provide you with more security and peace of mind, although it does have its pitfalls. In a franchise business, you will be bound by the rules and regulations of the parent company and may not have complete control. You also may not have as great a capacity for making profit. If you’re thinking of buying out a company, you’ll need to do your homework to ensure that it’s a secure proposition. Find out how the business works, who its customers are, why it’s being sold and its history.

 

How To Create A Good Business Plan?

Once you’ve got a good idea of whether your business is viable and you’ve analysed the market, it’s time to draw up a business plan.

What is a business plan? It’s a detailed analysis of your business, including its objectives and its finances. It provides an insight into the purpose and vision for the company and how its goals will be achieved, and sets out the financial requirements for the company as well as its projected earnings potential.

Use it as a reference guid...

commercial mortgages, raise capital, raise funds, funds for small business development, mortgages

Once you’ve got a good idea of whether your business is viable and you’ve analysed the market, it’s time to draw up a business plan.

What is a business plan? It’s a detailed analysis of your business, including its objectives and its finances. It provides an insight into the purpose and vision for the company and how its goals will be achieved, and sets out the financial requirements for the company as well as its projected earnings potential.

Use it as a reference guide, which you can refer to at regular intervals to help you stay on the right lines. Don’t treat it as gospel though – business needs change over time and therefore so will the business plan. If you keep on top of this and amend your plan accordingly, it will help to ensure your business continues in the right direction.

There are two main uses for the business plan. The first is as a sales tool to help you present your case to lenders, investors and potential business partners. The second is for your own internal use, as a gauge against which you can measure your company’s development and progress towards its objectives.

Your business plan therefore needs to be a compelling document that will impress people and convince them of your ability and the viability of your company. To make it credible, you’ll have to back it up with detailed research and accurate financial forecasts. Be careful not to make it flat and lifeless though. Don’t just present the facts and figures – turn them into a meaningful and exciting business case. A word of warning though: keep your feet on the ground at all times and ensure that your analysis is truthful and realistic. Investors and lenders will see right through the hype if you overdo it. Also, it is in nobody’s interest to create a misleading impression. On the other hand, though, don’t aim too low. Objectives and financial forecasts that seem far too easy and conservative will not impress and will not provide you with any challenge or incentive to reach your company’s full potential.

You need to make your report balanced. Be upfront about both strengths and weaknesses. Put a positive spin on the weaknesses, though – demonstrate what you will do to overcome them.

Your true excitement and confidence in the business will only come across if you write the business plan yourself. It will also help you to develop an even deeper understanding of your business and what you are trying to achieve. There’s no harm in asking experts for help with some of the tricky areas, though, such as the financial projections. It’s also a good idea to get someone to look over it for you after you’ve completed it to make sure it flows, makes sense and forms a coherent whole.

The basic structure of a good business plan is as follows:

Summary – a concise synopsis of your company and the plan. This may be the only part of your report that a potential investor or lender will read – they are often inundated with similar reports and documents and can make snap judgements on whether something is worth further consideration based on reading these crucial couple of pages. Always write the summary once you’ve finished your plan to make sure you don’t miss anything out. Make it confident and attention-catching.

Company information – provide some context by outlining what your company is all about. Include the structure of the organisation, its history, information on the industry, an analysis of the customer base, a description of the products or services offered. You’ll need to give all the facts to help the reader understand what your company does, but provide more than this. Don’t just describe what your company does, but also what makes it stand out – its benefits and key selling points.

The team – outline a brief CV for each of the members of your senior team. Also include any external consultants whose services you employ. Make it clear what they can bring to the company. Then outline the structure of the rest of your company, perhaps using an organisational chart. Show the different departments if relevant and explain what types of positions will be held in each of these areas. Provide a plan as to how you will recruit, train and manage your workforce.

Promotion and sales – here’s where you should include all of your market research. Show that you fully understand your intended customers and your competitors. Outline how you will deal with competition in the market. Explain your plans for advertising your business and promoting your products and services.

Operations – how will your business work? Provide details of where your company will be located, whether it will own or rent its premises, what materials and equipment you will need, what IT and other systems you will use, and who your suppliers will be.

Financial analysis – Summarise the figures at the beginning of the section to outline the main messages – numbers and graphs aren’t always easy to interpret. Include costs for every area of your business and do an in-depth projection of the financial outlook for the company for the next year, as well as an outline sketch of the likely financial future over the next five years or so. You should include profit and loss accounts, cash flow, sales projections etc. Also outline how you arrived at these estimates – the reader will want to be reassured that they weren’t just plucked out of thin air. Also, as you’re likely to need to borrow in order to start up your company, your financial analysis should include details of the amount of money you require, how it will be used and where you intend to obtain funding. Think of your business plan as an application form for loans or investors – anyone who is considering backing you will want to see it.

Objectives – be clear about where your company is going and what you hope to achieve in the form of solid objectives. As always, objectives should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound – in order to be meaningful and helpful. The objectives will give a clear indication of how you intend to achieve what you want for your business. To wrap up your plan, you could also include a more general future vision for your company, to give lenders or investors an impression of how your company will shape up and what financial returns they might receive from it.

 

How to Set up Your Business to Accept Credit Cards?

Accepting credit cards is a big convenience for your clients and customers but it can seem like a big pain for you. Here are some things to think about as you start accepting credit cards.

accept credit cards, payment processing, merchant account

So you've decided to start accepting credit cards. Congratulations! Accepting credit cards is a great way to increase your sales and to get payments much more quickly than you would have if you were sending invoices to clients.

But your work doesn't end with the decision to accept credit cards--here's what you need to know about how credit card payment processing works.

There are basically three ways to set your company up to accept credit cards: through a bank, through an independent sales organization, sometimes called a credit card broker, or, in the case of Discover and American Express, with the credit card company directly.

If you're a very small business you might first talk to the bank that has your business account and see if they can make you a deal. Banks are sometimes picky about who they will give merchant accounts to, however, and you'll probably get a better deal from an independent sales organization.

Costs for setup and regular fees for payment processing vary widely depending on the service provider and the amount and value of sales you are making. The rate you pay per transaction is known as the discount rate, and it can usually range from 1.5 percent to 3 percent, depending on how the charge was made. There's also a per-use fee that's usually not more than 20 cents that's tacked on to each transaction.

All of this sound like it is costing you a lot of money to accept credit cards. Shopping around for the best rate and lowest fees you can find is certainly in your best interest.

You'll also want to check on any additional fees you might incur such as an application fee, annual usage fee, statement fees, Internet processing fees...the list of potential fees you might get socked with goes on and on.

It is vital that you do your homework and make sure you understand all the fees you will be assessed and what they are for before you sign up with a company.

And since you're giving them your hard-earned money, see if you get anything from them. Some companies have free equipment programs so that you can get your credit card processing machines at no cost, which is certainly an advantage.

There are a lot of things to think about when you begin to accept credit cards. Learn all you can about the companies you are considering working with so you can make an informed decision.




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