Thursday, January 14, 2010

5 Tips for Small Business Owners in 2010

Since we are all considered small business owners, I thought it might be a good idea to grab a few good tips from the many articles that are out there on the web and put them here in ConcessionCentral (with proper citation and links of course). As I'm sure you're fully aware, there is a ton of information on the Internet on just about every subject possible. For many of us, it can be a daunting task to wade through it all to find a few good nuggets of helpful information.

With the year just getting underway, this seems to be a good time to review and refine some business practices for most of us. If your business is seasonal, this is a great time because it's cold out there and most seasonal business are closed.

So, from one small business owner to another, here's what I have found so far that I felt like passing on to you:

1. Offer Good Quality at a Fair Price
The second principle for business success with any product or service is that it must be of good quality at a fair price. If it's in competition with other similar products or services, it must have what's called a Unique Selling Proposition—one or more features or benefits that make it unique, different and superior to any competitive product or service.

This area of uniqueness is central to success in business. No product or service can succeed unless it's somehow unique and superior to any other product or service that competes with it. There's seldom any opportunity to build a business around a "me too" product—a product or service that's just the same as all the others, where the only difference is that it's you who happens to be selling it.

The safest business strategy is to start off with an accepted product that already has a widespread market and then find a way to improve upon it in some way. Deliver it faster, make it better or of higher quality, or lower the price of the product or service in some way. Instead of trying to invent a new business or industry, start off with a product or service that people are already using and find some way to make it more desirable. Courtesy of

2. Cut Personal Expenses: Find ways to cut costs outside of the business, because you’ll likely have to take home less pay and even go into your savings: 69 percent of small business owners say that current economic conditions are forcing them to reduce the amount of money they take home from their businesses, and 61 percent think they are very or somewhat likely to use their personal assets in the next year to keep their businesses afloat. Courtesy of Yahoo! Finance.

3. Create a social media policy: Social media is not a fad any more. It’s time to stop experimenting and start managing your social media strategy. Create a policy around social media, even if you’re only a one-person operation. Your social media policy should include your objectives for each site and any rules you have around posts, articles, pictures, etc. Creating this policy will eliminate employee confusion, problems and PR and potential digital reputation management nightmares. Courtesy of American Express Small Business Open Forum

4. Keep all documents.
When it comes to your taxes, it’s a good idea to be a pack rat. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you can produce any document at anytime, no matter what questions may come up. Always organize and carefully file away:

Credit card bills and receipts
Old checkbooks
Bills and invoices
Mileage logs and documentations
Canceled checks or proofs of payment (VERY important)
Any evidence that supports deductions and credit claims on your tax returns
Courtesy of ESB Journal

5. Put all agreements in writing.

The laws of your state require you to put some contracts and agreements in writing:
Contracts that will last longer than a year.
Contracts that involve the sale of goods worth $500 or more.
Contracts that transfer the ownership of copyrights or real estate.
Even if not legally required, it's wise to put almost everything in writing, because oral agreements can be difficult or impossible to prove. This includes leases or rental agreements, storage agreements, contracts for services (such as consulting or electrical work), purchase orders or contracts for goods worth more than a couple hundred dollars, offer letters of employment, and employment policies. Get in the habit of getting and giving receipts for all goods, services, and deposits, regardless of how much. Courtesy of Yahoo! Small Business

As you can see, I have pulled one tip from each of these sites. I would encourage you to go back and read each of these articles. They contain a lot of great information for business owners. Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned business owner, there are some great tips in these articles that will help you make your business more successful and profitable.

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