The Complete Idiot Guide to Small Businesss
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1 So You Want to Run Your Own Business?
Many of us would rather earn a living by working for ourselves than by working for someone else. If you would like to pursue the self-employed option, think about what you will be getting into. Is it really the right thing for you?
2 The Family That Works Together Sometimes Works
Some small businesses are really extensions of the family. As a result, family things like computers and furniture, money, and even people are used for business and family purposes. This arrangement can work well for suitable families.
3 What Can You Sell?
Like it or not, when you run a business you have to sell something to someone. From the almost limitless number of choices available, what can you sell?
4 Do You Start from Scratch...or Buy a Business?
Starting your own business from scratch is not your only option. If you have the money, you can buy an existing business or even buy the know-how.
5 Keeping It Legal
Warning! Running your own business can be dangerous to your legal well being. Maybe you need a lawyer to help protect you.
6 Preparation for Your Business
Setting up a business is like setting up a new home: You get to buy all sorts of neat things. And the best part is that some or all of these purchases are tax deductible!
7 Plan to Succeed
If you build it they will come...maybe! But first you have to plan what you are going to build and how you are going to build it.
8 Where Will the Money Come From?
It takes money to make money. Don’t count on winning a lottery to start your business. Where will you get the money to buy all the neat things you think you need to start your business? The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Small Business for Canadians
9 Making Sense of Financial Statements
Think of your financial statements as storybooks using numbers instead of words. If you don’t know how to read them, you won’t know if your story has a happy ending.
10 Don’t Take Risks—Manage Them!
Life can be risky, but running a business need not be. You can manage some risks, and for others...there might be insurance.
Growing Your Business
11 Marketing Is More Than Advertising and Selling
Forget the slick television advertising campaigns. Marketing is whatever you do to get more business for your business.
12 Plan to Market
Even if you do have a better mousetrap, don’t count on the world beating a path to your door. You can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen—you have to make things happen. In marketing, good things don’t happen to those who wait.
13 What Do Your Customers Need and Want from You?
Try as you may, you simply cannot run a business without customers. So don’t ignore them. Get to know them as well as possible and treat them so well that they will want to keep coming back to you.
14 How to Distinguish Your Business from the Competition
You are unique. There is no one else in the world just like you. So why should your business be like anyone else’s? Make your business as unique as you are. It’s the best way of distinguishing yourself from the competition.
15 Quality Service: Your Best Competitive Advantage
Regardless of the specifics of what your customers say they are looking for, they all demand quality service. As long as you provide better quality service than the competition, your customers will keep coming back.
16 Ensuring Your Customers Are Happy
Happy customers are good for business. Not only are they likely to return, they might even tell others how much they like you. How much do your customers like you? Ask them; you might be surprised.
17 How to Promote Your Business...Your Way
So how do you tell the world about your better mousetrap? There are many ways of doing it. But make sure that your message is not lost among the thousands of others competing for your customers’ attention.
18 Wired Marketing...Using the Internet
The Internet is not an orderly arrangement of information as we have been told. It is more like a vast poorly indexed swamp of information, some of which can be quite helpful. Regardless of what you call it, using the Internet for marketing can be useful. But don’t even think of going there without having considered carefully what you want to do.
19 How to Obtain More Business for Your Business
Forget about those unfortunates who are not yet customers of yours. Concentrate on those wise people who have seen the light and chosen to do business with you. They can help you generate more business for your business. Maybe they can even help those poor lost souls who are not yet clients see the light and choose to do business with you.
Expanding Your Business
20 Referrals Are Win-Win-Win Scenarios
You can’t do it all, but you can do a lot. Especially with a little help from your friends. Don’t try to do more if you know you can’t. Refer the work to others—everyone wins!
21 You Can Accomplish More by Subcontracting Some Work to Others
If you like control—and what business owner doesn’t?—you will love subcontracting. Somebody else does the work and you get to supervise and, what’s even better, get paid for it.
22 Hiring an Employee—The Traditional First Expansion Step
Hiring an employee can give you more than an extra pair of hands. Between the added hassle of government regulations, your employee’s wrongful acts, and who knows what else, having one or more employee can add big-time stress to your business life.
23 A Joint Venture Is Like Living Common Law
How would you like to join forces with a compatible business to be able to offer more to your customers? Try a joint venture—it is like trying out a merger before making a commitment.
24 A Merger Is a Marriage of Two Businesses
The fastest way to expand your business to offer more to your customers is to take over another business. Merger is one business strategy that can work as well for small businesses as it does for big businesses. Keeping Your Business Going or Selling It
25 Keep Fit for a Healthy Business
What would happen to your business if you suddenly suffered but survived a serious heart attack? Heart attacks and many other health problems can be prevented. Don’t allow your own poor health to jeopardize the well being of your business.
26 To Survive, Your Business Needs Cash Flow
If you look after the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. How well are you managing your pennies? Are there enough of them coming in to make up for those that escape? There had better be!
27 Transform Your Business to Cope with a Changing World
Death and taxes used to be the only two things that were inevitable. Now, change is also inevitable. Just because some changes are beyond your control, it doesn’t mean that you idly stand by and let them happen. You can always do something.
28 You’ll Need a Plan to Get Out of Your Business
All good things come to an end—even running your own business. Your challenge is to get out of your business while at the same time keeping as much of your sanity and money as possible.