If You Want to Start A Business While Working, Read This.

Starting your business while still having a full-time job is possible.

You’ve heard about successful stories of entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs as they started their business from scratch. These people know and understand the importance of having a stable source of income in order to have the courage to work on building one’s business.

If you are keen on starting your own business, these tips below could help you before you finally hand in that resignation letter:

1.    Throw away your business plan.

When thinking about starting a business, one of the essential things that will come to mind is to come up with a business plan. Yes, it is essential, but the reality of the startup world is that business plans are obsolete only moments after you write them. The extensive market research doesn’t really help you come up with a great product that customers will love. Even a detailed financial plan will also turn out wrong as soon as you change the price point, or even your marketing channels, or the features.

It doesn’t mean that planning your business is wrong or has no value. It only means that your product’s value proposition and how you’re going to sell it is going to change significantly after you start building and getting real customer feedback. Hence, instead of a business plan, you can start by listing down your assumptions about the business. There are a number of templates out there to help you do this in an organized fashion.

You can write down your most important assumptions like the ones below:

  • What problems does your products solve?
  • What is your product?
  • Who are your target customers?
  • What is really unique about it?
  • How are you planning to distribute your product to customers?
  • Where will your revenue come from?
  • What are your major costs?

Listing down your assumptions is better than creating a business plan especially if you are working a regular day job since it takes a lot less time than an old style business plan.

2.    Don’t cross your current employer.

Before you take on the plunge, make sure that you are on solid legal ground so your employer can’t come after you when your startup becomes successful. To avoid any problems with your employer, make sure that the business you are planning is unrelated to the business of your employer. Check your employment contract and look through your non-disclosure and other employment agreements to see what your company’s policies are. Moreover, you need to ensure that you will work on it on your own time and with your own equipment.

3.    Check if you need to have a business partner.

There may be less pressure if you start your business alone, but it could be tough also. If you have a co-founder, it increases your chances of success and they can also add to your company’s skills. Moreover, your business partners can also share the workload and improve the company productivity.

When choosing a partner, look for someone you are compatible working with – preferably someone you have already worked with before. If it’s not possible, you can try an arrangement where you will first try to test the water. If it works between you and your business partner, then it’s good to go.

If ever you can’t find a co-founder, you still push through with your plan. Don’t delay starting your company because you can’t find a partner.

4.    See how your ideas go.

Not because you have a great business idea, it already means the market is going to agree to that. Check first if your idea is going to hit with your target audience. Testing your idea is the best way to reduce startup risks. It is quite taxing to do it while you are still working your full time job, that’s why you need to think and plan about it carefully.

You can start by doing customer interviews. You can ask random people and see how they would use your product or service.

Another step you can do is to have prototypes so you can deliver the bare minimum product that meets the highest pain point of your customer. Make sure that when you introduce a prototype, it is inexpensive because your goal here is to get user feedback so you can change the product if needed.

A survey is also a good way to get customer’s opinions on your business idea. You can use online tools like Survey Monkey, which makes it easier to run a survey and get an analysis of the results.

You can also use the interactivity and reach of the Internet by setting up a basic website and testing your concept inexpensively on real live prospects. You can use inexpensive products like LeadPages to set up a few descriptions and see which ones the customers will like. You can also use Google AdWords to see if people are using Google to search for answers related to your startup. This is a good sign because it means there are customers out there for you. You can test advertising on Google Ads or Facebook to see if you can get consumers to click. This can be a good proxy for how much it’s going to cost you to get new customers.

5.    Make it a real business.

If you want to turn your idea into a thriving business, you need to set goals for your startup and make yourself accountable to them. Treat it like you are actually starting your own empire. Plan you next steps with dates and specifics as best as you can.

6.    Don’t be a cheapskate.

If you want your business to flourish and you believe in it, don’t be a scrooge. Invest in your startup. Spend money on Google Adwords and start building an email list. You can also get some inventory on your new product. Make sure that you will also have your own business cards to give to people you will meet when you attend networking events. You will also need to hire a virtual administrator to help you with day-to-day tasks since you still have your full time job.

Small investments to get your business moving faster are good investments. These include generating more revenue, building your network, getting good legal counsel or patent protection, setting the stage for your business to be viable.

7.    Start generating revenue.

If you followed the previous tips, you will eventually find customers who will be willing to pay for your prototype or a variant of it. Once you have paying customers, you can ramp up marketing and sales by looking for more like them. You can also use customer reviews and testimonials so people will trust your product.

8.    Network like crazy.

In this part, you can use your full-time job as an advantage to network like crazy. Since you have a job, you can interact regularly with other employees, customers, vendors, and even competitors.

Try to meet people who can be potential employees, customers, contractors, advisors, mentors, and even potential investors. These connections are all potentially valuable.

9.    The secret to why you don’t want investors.

While it is good to have investors, it is not the time yet for your startup business since you are still in the early stage and you still have full time job. Most investors almost always want to see you working full time on the business so they think you are maximizing their chance to get a return on their investment. Even if you could get investors interested, your lack of traction would put a very low value on your company at this point.

10. Make your nights and your weekends count.

It will be very busy and exhausting at first since you are doing double jobs, but if you are determined to push through with your startup business, you need to endure it. Your time is your most valuable resource right now so you better use it wisely. While starting, you may have to bid your other weekend routines goodbye like going out with your friends or your weekly soccer game.

Starting a business may be difficult at first and you will surely meet a lot of obstacles along the way. That’s why you need to have enough determination if you want to push through with it so you can see it through. A little sacrifice will definitely do you good in the long run. Achieving your dreams requires work. It will take time, energy, dedication, and courage.

How to Start a Small Business at Home

If you’re tired of your nine-to-five job and you’ve been thinking about putting up your own business, this article could be of help to you.

Putting up your own business is no easy feat. It requires money and resources to be able to do so. However, don’t be discouraged if your savings is not enough to build an empire yet. You can start by having a home-based business. It creates more flexibility in how you spend your time and your money. This is not a quick process or a guarantee of financial success immediately but it’s a good start. It requires a long-term commitment and a clear understanding of the work involved.

Below are the tips you can to consider before you start your own home-based business:

1.     Identify your small business idea.

In the previous article, we’ve listed down some small business ideas you can choose from. It’s a vast selection but if you think those are not for you, you are free to come up with your own business idea. Just make sure that you have the right experience, training, and skills necessary to be successful in your choice of business. It is important that you have enough knowledge of the business you want to enter in before actually taking the plunge. Spend time conducting research to learn whether this is really the right fit for your experience and interests.

2.     Start as a side business or a hobby.

It is advisable that before you completely resign from work and focus on your business, you have already tried running the business first on a sideline basis. Perhaps you can do it during weekends when you don’t go to the office. This allows you to make some mistakes, test the market, and understand whether your ideas have legs before you say goodbye to your day job and lose your primary income.

3.     Decide on your software.

One of the essential things you need to do is to decide on the software you will use to help you be more efficient in your business. Every business is different, but almost all companies can use software to help with analytics, project management, accounting, bookkeeping, email marketing, and other basic day-to-day tasks. You can utilize a free CRM or customer relationship management tool to keep track of important customer information in one central database. It will help align your team and make sure that you stay organized as your business grows.

4.     Create a business plan.

Once you have decided on what business you will undertake, you can now start building your business plan. There are available business plan template online that you can use. Your business plan must include the following elements:

  • Executive summary – A high level overview of your company and market placement.
  • Business model – It is the outline of what your business does, who your business serves, and how your business is structured. You should include a description of what products and services you offer and how they meet the needs of the customers.
  • Market condition – It is a summary of pertinent competitor information. It determines the strengths and weaknesses of your closest competitors.
  • Products and services – Use this section to describe your products and services in detail, and outline what differentiates your product from others in the market.
  • Operations and management – Outline your business’ organization structure, key roles, and responsibilities.
  • Marketing and sales strategy – This section describes how you will market and sell your product. It includes information on your ideal customer, how you plan to position your offering, and your sales strategy.
  • Financial plan – It is a detailed outline of your business financials. It includes your start-up costs, your financial productions, and how you anticipate generating funding.
  • Appendix – Once the above pieces are complete, end the document with an appendix summarizing your business plan.

Take note that your business plans should identify what makes your offering different from competitors. They should also be short and feasible. Most importantly, your business plan should evolve with your business.

5.     Decide whether it’ll be a corporation or sole proprietorship.

There are two common legal structures for small business – the limited liability corporations (LLCs) and the sole proprietorships.

The LLC is more complex than the sole proprietorship and it includes individuals, corporations and other LLC members. Moreover, it is not subject to a separate level of tax and offer the business owner liability protection and tax advantages. LLCs are formed on a state-by-state basis.

The sole proprietorship, on the other hand, is a business owned by one person and is not identified as a separate entity from the owner by the government. While it is the simplest business structure, sole proprietors are personally liable for their business.

6.     Create a business bank account.

It is advisable that you open a separate bank account for your business. It is essential for keeping your personal and business finances separate which can help you gain an accurate picture of your business’ cash flow and financial health. It also helps in bookkeeping and tax preparation.

7.     Determine if your business idea works well from home.

It is important that the business you choose works well in a home-office set-up. Some businesses are not suited to being based from home.

8.     Set up an office.

Even if your business is just home-based, make sure that you set-up a designated work space for that at home. You can consider setting aside a corner in your living room or putting a desk in your bedroom for a space that inspires you and creates the condition for success. This also looks professional for your future clients.

9.     Get to work.

It is not easy putting up your own business, but most entrepreneurs will agree that it’s worth it. The payoff of being your own boss, making your own hours, and working on projects you are passionate about will pay dividends for the rest of your life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help throughout this process — and remember to have a little fun while you’re putting in the work.

Small Business Ideas for Newbies in the Business

Do you want to be your own boss?

Work can be tiresome and tedious. At some point, most of us wished to leave our daily jobs and just start our own business. Imagine clocking out of your nine-to-five job for the last time and becoming your own boss. A lovely dream, isn’t it?

Now, if you’re part of the fraction who dreams of having their own business, we’ve got some business ideas for you to start on. You can weigh the pros and cons and see which one will both suit your passion and your starting capital. You can definitely turn that dream into reality if you start working on it now.

1.    Handyman

If you’re the type who likes fixing stuff in the house, then this business may work well for you. You can start by putting together a website to showcase your services. Figure out what your time and expertise is worth and start asking your friends for referrals.

2. Woodworker

If you have a passion for crafting lovely furniture or other wooden items in the house, then this one might be a good business startup for you. You can start by listing your finished work and samples on commercial sites and online listing sites such as Ebay, Etsy, or Craigslist and start building your followers. Once you already have a good following, you can start putting together a website to make your business look more professional.

3. Sewing and alteration specialist

If you are skillful in hemming clothing and mending buttons or sewing stylish clothes, this could be the business for you. If you love sewing, you can start by sewing casual clothes that you can sell online or among your friends. Eventually, you will be able to build your customer base.

4. Freelance developer

With almost everything done digitally nowadays, web development business is a good idea. You can start by building websites for small businesses to providing technical support for certain projects. Make sure that you can describe what you do and how you will do it in easy-to-understand language.

5. Personal trainer

If you’re into health and fitness, you can try offering in-home consultations, personalized nutrition, and exercise regimens to your friends and network. Make sure to populate your Instagram feed with inspirational quotes, free exercise videos, and healthy snacks to build your brand.

6. Freelance graphic designer

If you have that creative eye, you can start doing graphic designing projects for your network. A lot of companies are looking for graphic designers for their projects but not all of them would like to hire a full time designer since not all the time there’s a project that needs graphic designing. Hence you will have a good chance to build your network and client portfolio since there will be a number of companies and even individuals who may be needing your talent and service.

7. Life career/coach

If you have some experience under your belt, you can use it to inspire and motivate others by being a life or career coach. There are some individuals who need guidance in their careers. Mentors don’t come cheap, but they are able to offer clients the intense and hands-on-training and advice they need to make serious moves in their personal and professional lives.

8. Resume writer

You think creating a resume is easy? Well not for all. There are people who need help in creating their resume, cover letter, and even portfolio for a new job, and thus, they need the help of a resume writer. You can assist clients with tailored resumes, cover letters and carefully crafted portfolios that will impress employers.

9. Freelance writer

If you have a way with words, you can start earning from that by being a freelance writer. You can write blogs, magazine articles, even website copies. A lot of companies are in need of writers for their website so it’s a good start.

10. Translator

If you speak a foreign language, you can start your own translation service. You can consider specializing in a specific genre of translation like medical or financial translation.

11. Garden designer

A lot of people like to have a lovely garden at home but not everyone has the talent to design a backyard space. If you’ve got that talent, you can start drawing up designs for your clients’ outdoor spaces and let them do the actual digging – or you can offer that, too for additional fee.

12. E-commerce store owner

If you have a knack for collecting or curating stuff, then you can consider starting an e-commerce store and turning your hobby into a full-time job. You can collect stuff and then re-sell them to earn money and pursue your passion at the same time.

13. Landscaper

If you know how to mow, trim a tree or decorate a garden, you can start offering this service to your neighbors and your friends. If you have the equipment, a landscaping business can be a lucrative affair.

14. Videographer

You may need to invest in quality equipment for this type of service but videography service is very lucrative. There are a lot of weddings, birthdays, and many special events you can offer your service to. Just make sure you have a reel of your work to share or create a website with several selections of your work for your clients to see.

15. Photographer

If you have the talent in photography, you can start conducting photo shoots for your family and friends. This type of business often grow by word of mouth so you can start creating your Facebook page and tag your clients so it can show in their friends’ newsfeeds as well.

16. Travel planner

If you love travelling and planning for trips, this business could be a good idea for you. You can start planning the perfect vacation for your family and friends so they could have a worry-free vacation. You book a hotel for them, look for ideal location, and a list of delicious restaurants lined up for every meal. Not everyone has the patient to go over these things when planning for a trip so this business can work.

17. Car-detailing specialist

Car-detailing services that go to the client are in high demand. Just make sure to have the flexibility, transportation, and equipment to take your business on the road.

18. Home inspector

This type of service require a great deal of expertise and certification, but it can give you the flexibility and pay you’ve always dreamed of. Confirm the licensing requirements in your city and take a few courses to further build your knowledge, authority, and expertise on this.

19. Personal chef

If you have the knack for cooking, you can start offering your service to family and friends as their personal chef. You can also advertise your services to local families and businesses alike. You can categorize your dish also to attend to special group of people, like vegetarians, so you can cook larger quantities of the same dish for them.

20. Property manager

A lot of property owners don’t really have the luxury of time to look after their properties or they are based in other cities or states. A property manager could be a good business if you want to help property owners to ensure their properties are being well taken-cared of. You can handle small fixes and maintain the house and you can also serve as liaison officers to renters.

21. Packing services facilitator

This is a good business idea especially that people move houses or apartments every now and then. Moving is such a tiring activity with all the packing and unpacking to do. Hence, if you can offer them your packing service, it will lift a lot of burden off their backs. You can also partner with a local moving service who can refer new clients to you.

22. Massage therapist

A lot of people avail of home massage service nowadays because they want to relieve the stress off their bodies but they are too tired and lazy to go out to the spa. You can either offer a home massage service or have a massage service offered at your own place. Look into training and certification courses in your city and invest in a portable bed to take on client visits.

23. Hairdressing or make-up artist

This business is huge especially there are a lot of events happening in a year. You can offer hair and make-up services to weddings, birthdays, even special occasions.

24. Bed and breakfast owner

Do you have a property you aren’t using that you want to turn into money, consider building a bed and breakfast. You can create special packages and themed stays for your guests to coincide with their interests in your locale. Just make sure to research the correct licensure from your city before you embark on this business.

25. Interior designer

If you like styling and decorating houses or spaces, this business is for you. It might take some time to build your portfolio but documenting your projects and sharing them online can build a fan base.

26. Tour guide

If you love the history of your city, you can consider becoming a tour guide. You will need a lot of research before doing this so you can do your job well, but it’s worth it. You can set yourself apart by offering tours that speak to a specific niche. You can offer historical walking tours of the most haunted spots or even food tours.

27. Tutoring service

If you love teaching but you don’t want to work full time in a school, this could be the business for you. You can offer tutorial services to kids in your neighborhood. There is always someone who will need a tutor in specific subjects so this can be lucrative business for you.

28. Consultant

If you have significant experience in or knowledge of a specific subject, consider becoming a consultant. You may be an expert at hiring practices, have a knack for SEO, or have led multiple sales team to six-figure success. If you’re good at it, market yourself as a consultant and charge the going rate.

29. Clothing boutique owner

If building a fashion empire is your dream, you can start with putting up a local boutique shop. Make sure you have attractive window displays and you promote your shop online to spread the word.

30. Event planner

If you love organizing events, this one’s for you. You can choose to specialize in a specific type of event like weddings or company meetings. You just need to be highly organized with this one and be keen on every details to make sure that even flows smoothly.

31. Specialty food store owner

If you are fond of gourmet food, cheese, sake, wine, etc, you can start putting a food store for it. Open a store that offers the kind of expertise and selection that your market couldn’t get from other local stores.

32. Food truck owner

If you want to have your own restaurant but you don’t have enough budget yet to build your own, you can start by putting up a food truck. Here, there’s no need to rent a space or establishment since you will sell food right in your truck. Just make sure you get the necessary permit from your city on where you will place your food truck.

33. Consignment shop owner

If you have an eye for style but don’t want to invest in the inventory of a brand new boutique, consider going consignment. It will allow you to curate a collection of clothing that matches your goals and aesthetics without the overhead of a boutique.

34. Caterer

If you like cooking for big events, consider opening a catering business. Pick your projects, work fewer but larger events, and get really good at time management.

35. Gym owner

If you’re a health buff and you love going to the gym, why not put up a gym and make a business out of your passion? Turn your passion for fitness into a community for others by opening your own gym.

36. Day care owner

With both moms and dads working nowadays, there is a high demand for day care services. You can fill a need in your neighborhood by opening your own day care. Just make sure to comply with your city’s licensure, insurance, and inspection requirements.

37. Coffee shop

Love coffee? Turn that addiction into something more lucrative. You can either franchise a famous coffee shop brand or build your own small coffee shop. Starting a coffee shop from scratch requires a little more planning and a lot more work, but it helps maximize your earning potential in the future.

These are just some ideas you can start with if you are thinking of putting up your own business. It will not be easy at first, but it will be worth it in the end. There’s no need to take orders from the boss anymore, because now, you are your own boss.

How to Convert Leads Into Sales

One of the biggest challenges most businesses face these days is lead generation. Many business owners think that all they have to do is build a website and the customers will come rushing in. However, in today’s digital world, converting leads to sales is a lot more complicated than that. The ever-changing technology, increased competition, and sophisticated buyers have made it much more challenging to achieve the results they are looking for.

Turn that inquiry into sales!

Generating leads is one thing and converting them into sales is another thing. You can do step 1 and forget about step 2. You need to focus on both lead generation and lead conversion.

With the stiff competition nowadays, how are you going to set your business apart? What techniques do you need to apply to make converting leads easier for you and your team?

The online experience

There are many conversion rates you can dissect but we can start with the website. The average website conversion rate across multiple industries is 3%. This simply means that 3% of people visiting your website will convert into sales.

Whether your prospects find you on their mobile or desktop, you must offer them a seamless and positive experience. Your website is your initial sales pitch. Sending your team outside to talk and present your sales pitch to every prospective client is not feasible enough. Your website is where you can tell them what your company is about and what you are offering. Thus, it is important that when they visit your website, they will have an engaging experience.

If you want your website visits to turn into sales, you can try employing these ideas:

Design

Your website’s design sets the tone for your conversation with the visitor. Remember that your website is your initial sales pitch so your visitors should have a good impression of your site. If your website is designed poorly, likely, your visitors will not come back again and they won’t find your brand trustworthy enough. Hence, your website must be creatively designed and easy for the users to navigate through. Your landing page must be catchy enough to tickle their curious minds. Furthermore, make sure that your call-to-actions are also targeted. If you can’t customize your CTA, just make sure that you keep it short but with command. The shorter the CTA copy, the better.  

Conversion Methods

The conversion methods you offer on your page should not be presumptuous but rather offers value to your visitor. If you invest in user experience, those visits will most likely turn into sales. You must update your Contact Us page and keep the contact form as short as possible so the users won’t find it tedious to fill-up the form. Make sure that you utilize the checkout form as well. You can avoid the abandonment at the checkout by curbing the surprise of extra costs. If they’re too high on the cart page – shipping, taxes, fees, etc.—the prospects will leave.

Content

One important factor that makes the visitors engaged in your website is your content. You must have a strategy that accounts for your blog, product pages, and even external assets such as Google My Business listing. Understanding Search Engine Optimization is essential as well as knowing your ranking with Google search results and how your reviews can boost your visibility.

You can also utilize the power of customer reviews and testimonials on your site. By adding customer stories or quotes to your site, you’re adding more credibility to your brand. Moreover, 72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business.

You can also make your content more engaging and cutting-edge by adding video productions. Watching a product video increases the confidence of 52% of consumers in their online purchase decisions.

The in-person experience

This is the opportunity to close the sale. The in-person experience is similar to the online experience – you should still plan for clear, simple CTAs, no surprises at checkout, and an aesthetic that fits your brand. It is important to consider these three areas if you want a positive in-person experience:

  • Customer engagement 

Make sure that you attend to the customer at a speedy level so they won’t have to wait for long and you or your staff should have that friendly, positive vibe so your customers won’t feel intimidated or taken for granted. Their convenience is your top priority.

  • Merchandising

Arrange your products in such a way that it is easy for the customers to locate what they need. You can also upgrade your store layout to make it more engaging for the customers.

  • Promotions

-Consumers love discounts and promotions. Whether you offer promotions to your email list and encourage in-person sales or invest in signage for your store, promotions are an expected part of a buyer’s journey. You can utilize opt-in texting as the perfect channel to suggest offers and convert leads.

There are a lot of conversion techniques you can use and employ if you want to convert your leads into sales. It is important to narrow down the options to fit your business needs. Prioritize few techniques, test them if work and implement a plan on those techniques. You can eventually add in additional options as you get comfortable.