The 7 Essential Lists Successful Businesses Must Have
By Loretta Love Huff
Running a successful business requires more than a good idea. It requires structure and processes to keep things and money flowing.
1. Long-term goals list
If you've been following me for any time, you'll undoubtedly heard me talk about the importance of goals. Goals that stretch beyond today or this week, will help you prioritize your time in the most productive manner possible. They will motivate you and your staff. They will keep on focused on what's truly important.
2. Daily to-do action items list
Just as important as knowing where you're going long term, is knowing (and doing) what's most important RIGHT NOW. Sometimes unforeseen emergencies have to be dealt with. But more importantly, you need to decide each day what the most productive use of your time will be.
I always have a to-do list and never get through everything on the list on any given day. I do always decide what the priorities are for the day and then get to work on them. Last week, I lost my list and I was lost without it! Thank God I found it a couple of days later. I remembered some of the critical items, but had forgotten one that needed to be addressed.
3. Prospect list
This is one of the biggest mistakes business owners make. If you don't have a list of potential prospects, you're definitely leaving money on the table. If you're a retail establishment, people make a purchase the very first time they discover you. However, if you don't and you haven't captured their contact info, you may never hear from them again.
You'll increase your chances of doing business with them if you're able to proactively reach out and remind them that you exist. So if you aren't already capturing either a physical address or email address from your store or website visitors, start that now! You'll probably need to give them some sort of incentive (not just an offer for your newsletter) in order for them to part with their contact info. But capturing that valuable data must be your goal.
4. Customer list
Just as important as a prospect list is a list of your customers. These are people who have demonstrated interest in your product or service by making a purchase. It takes more time and energy to make a sale to a stranger or prospect than to someone who has already bought from you and been satisfied. Treat these people well, but don't neglect offering them the next thing you offer that can help solve their problems.
5. Process list
Every business needs a set of processes that help the business run efficiently. You probably have them even if they aren't documented. You need to document them.
Start by making a list of all of the "Here's how we do things around here" topics in a variety of areas such as answering the phone, identifying prospects, converting prospects to clients, taking on a new client, invoicing clients, processing payments, asking for a referral, publishing our newsletter, paying the bills, making minor changes to your website, etc. Then write out the steps involved in each process.
This compilation will be an invaluable tool in defining roles and responsibilities, delegating tasks and training new employees.
6. Resource list
This list includes the tools and systems you use to run your business and make your life easier. It's slightly different than the Process List which may reference certain resources: things like your accounting system, your website host, tools on your blog, new tools you plan to invest in, an employment agency or temp service, online portals for which you have memberships or accounts.
Having a list in a binder along with a brief description and access (login) or contact info will save you countless hours of trying find the information when you desperately need it.
7. Diversions list
After all of this work, you must take time to relax and enjoy life. It's challenging for some business owners to 'work in' time for play, but this list is essential as well.
Your list should include things you enjoy doing, that bring you peace of mind, that obliterate your stress. Possible candidates are listening to a certain kind of music, playing music, painting, playing with your pets, children, spouse and friends.
Make sure you know which kind of 'play' you thirst for. Is it board games, exercise, meditation, video games, outdoor sports, movies, ballet, opera, cards, TV, dancing, vacations, weekend getaways?
Whatever 'floats you boat', schedule it. That may sound weird but if these activities aren't on your calendar or at least on a list you review regularly, they will get trumped by those emergencies and daily tasks.
Creating and using these lists will improve your productivity, keep your business soaring and maintain your sanity.
Loretta Love Huff, the Dream Leader for Business�, is an award-winning business and executive coach. She helps entrepreneurs leverage their ideas and dreams into profitable & fulfilling businesses.
Visit http://www.IWantMoreClientsNow.com to grab your two free audio series titled "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Service Professionals Make in their Marketing" and "The 7 Secrets for Sales Success".
(c) 2010 Emerald Fiji Management
How to Start a Business
By Robert McMurtrie
Most new business start ups will fail within three years!
The main reason a new business will fail is the initial lack of proper research, to see if it will be viable. Proper advice on how to start a business would probably not have been sought.
Many people will have some business idea of what to sell. But instead of doing market research on their products, their business will be set up as quickly as possible. Act in haste and repent at leisure will then become a reality. Because their new business will eventually fail, if proper initial market research has not been done.
A business problem with most new start ups is knowing what to sell. Most people will eventually see some product that looks nice, or feel it could make them appear important, and decide to sell it at the onset. Without having researched the market to see if there would be lots of potential customers. Without demand for your products your business will not be viable.
There are basically three different types of business you can start.
1. You can start a land based business. You will obviously need a reasonable amount of money or capital to start a land based business. If you are wise, you will also have a website connected to your land based business.
2. You can start an online business. You will not need a lot of money to start an online business. But you will need some money. With an online business you can either sell your own products, or become an affiliate, or do both. As an affiliate, you will market other peoples business products on your own website. When someone buys a product via your website, you will get a share of the profits. As an affiliate you do not buy any products, but you can generate a high income from your share of the products sold.
3. You can sell products from your website via dropshipping. Dropshipping can be an excellent way to start a business online. Dropshipping is also an excellent way to start work from home. First, you find a business willing to send their products direct to customers buying from your website. A customer will then buy a product via your website and pay you direct by credit card or PayPal. You will then order that product from the dropshipper and pay for it, which you already have been paid for. When the customer purchased via your website, you will have added an additional sum to the dropshipped product to cover your own profit. Probably about 20% to 30%. The drop shipped product will arrive at the customer, with your business name and address on it. The customer will not know it came direct from the dropship company. You can also sell dropshipped products on auction sites like eBay, and you do not need a website.
No matter what type of business you decide to start, you will need to market research lots of products. The best method is to research keywords using business software. Keyword research let you know what products are in demand and which products are a waste of time.
You want one keyword research software for your business that can do the following:
The business software should have several options for building your keyword list.
The software should return anything from 100 to 10,000 keywords.
After you have purchased the software, there should be no additional monthly payments. You should receive free lifetime upgrades.
You should be able to do more advanced text editing to all of your business keywords.
Your software should create a Google AdWords Ad group.
The keyword software should be able to view Google AdWords advertisers. Viewing successful business ads can give you ideas for writing your own ad.
Your software should upload your business ad directly to your Google AdWords account.
The software should be able to create Google AdSense website pages. Software should include AdSense templates.
Keyword research software should create new projects, save and edit all projects.
The research software should analyze each individual keyword. That includes analyzing a keyword on top pay per click search engines like Google and Yahoo. After a keyword on those search engines has been analyzed, you should receive a special criteria report giving: KEI, Top Bids, Title Results, Anchor Results, Text Results.
The top bids report will show you what the top ranked websites are paying to advertise a particular keyword in the like of Google and Yahoo.
Keyword research software should allow you to spy on AdWords competition. Once you know what keywords your business competitors are bidding on, you can monitor those. You can then find out what business keywords are producing a profit.
Once you have analyzed all of the above, you then know what types of products are worth selling, whether for yourself or as an affiliate. You then get a better awareness of what type of business or businesses to set up.
Before you start a business you should purchase the best keyword research software that can do all of the above mentioned analysis. you will then vastly increase your chances of your business not failing within the first three to five years.
How To Start A Business [http://www.startmoneybusiness.com/] by Robert McMurtrie of StartMoneyBusiness.com