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How can your business benefit from the internet

How Can Your Business Benefit From The Internet?

Understanding how your business can benefit from embracing the Internet within its everyday operations can lead to improvements in efficiency and a strong growth in sales, provided you implement the appropriate technology to your advantage. With that in mind, it’s important to get to grips with how your business can leverage the Internet to create a competitive advantage and to give your business the opportunity to grow your market share.

There are a number of advantages to be gained by any business from the growth of the Internet. The Internet opens up whole new avenues in terms of sales and marketing, as well as increasing the efficiency of business communications. Email is great and now we have VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). With VOIP telephone systems, it’s now easier than ever for business owners to benefit from the cost savings and efficiencies when they need to communicate globally.

Another great plus point to embracing the Internet and new online business technologies lies in establishing ecommerce facilities, which can track and process orders and payments from your customers. By integrating this within your business, you can give your customers greater choice when it comes to making payment and better service from order point to final delivery.

Outsourcing can be a great way to improve efficiencies and benefit from diverse skill sets out with the normal competence of you and your employees. Outsourcing might seem initially out of reach, either technically or financially, but getting into the routine of outsourcing certain aspects of your business is a great way to cut costs overall and to benefit from specialization and a higher quality of output across outsourced areas. What’s more, any technical constraints surrounding outsourcing, even abroad, are now put to rest with the help of the Internet, making outsourcing much more possible for the average small business owner.

As a small business owner new to outsourcing, you’d be surprised at the breadth and depth of this industry, particularly the growth experienced over the last few years. You can outsource almost any functionality of your business, from customer services through to software and IT, marketing / sales and especially accounts & finance – almost every element of your business can feasibly be outsourced to some third party provider. The trick is calculating which outsourcing opportunities provide returns through increased efficiencies and save on cost against those that are merely an additional cost centre and a drain on resources.

It’s evident that the Internet has had a significant impact on the way we do business, and for small business owners, the Internet can prove to be a vital source of expansion and growth. Yet still, many managers have not properly exploited the Internet to the benefit of their business. Whether that’s improving efficiency, generating sales, outsourcing work to experts or interacting with third party suppliers more economically, the Internet can bring a whole host of benefits to any business.

Let the bailouts begin – betonmarkets weekly briefing

Let the Bailouts Begin – Betonmarkets Weekly Briefing

BetOnMarkets.com Commentary from 27th – 31th August 2007.

The Week Ahead: The mortgage industry finally received some reprieve last week when the Bank of America invested 2 billion dollars into the ailing mortgage lender Countrywide Financial.

Although this caused some upbeat momentum, it was short lived, as credit worries still continue to plague the market. On August 17th the Fed Bank cut its lending rate by .50bp, which resulted in the market jumping 230 points on the Dow Jones.

The stock market had some follow through this week, closing up or flat, for the first three days. However it seems like the moment there is any hint of credit crunch; the market gives back all gains. There is major speculation that unless the FOMC doesn’t cut rates, then as soon as the next major set of bad news comes around, the market will potentially give back everything they gained from the fed cut and then some.

Next week we are going to get a sneak peak into the consumer’s financial health. With consumer spending data being released, The Consumer Confidence report is on Tuesday and Personal Spending and Personal Income on Friday.

Both reports could possibly be market moving, as the market has been focusing its spotlight of attention on the credit of consumers. Also on Monday there is existing home sales figures, which with the credit market drying up, would probably be down. With little possibility of good news the outlook for the near future seems to be Bearish-Neutral.

A no touch play on the SP500 to the upside with 100 pts from the spot with a 20 day duration returns an 11% ROI.

How to start your own business

How to Start your Own Business

Have you ever seen an business opportunity infomercial? I saw one a while ago that was a classic. The product was set against a backdrop of cascading dollar bills (literally money flowing over the equipment). The voice over said something like “want to work less and get rich? – call now!”. In essence they were saying that if you bought their machine you could stop working for a living and easily get rich.

You’re likely not surprised to learn that it doesn’t work that way. At first, starting your own business involves more work not less, money paid out rather than taken in and a steep learning curve. In return you can look forward to earning every dime to which you are entitled, being able to direct your destiny and never having to worry about “the boss”.

I have an expression (at least I think that it’s mine) that goes “Most people want to be successful, few are willing to be successful”. If you want to work hard and sacrifice to get what you want – if you’re willing to be successful – the following will put you on the path to owning your own business.

A successful small business is built at the convergence of a market need and an ability to meet that need. In other words, you need to find something that you do well (and hopefully enjoy doing) that others are willing to buy. Two simple steps to do that, the first:

1. Identify a product or service that you can produce. You may have a business in mind. If so, skip this step. If not, ask yourself the following questions:

a. Do your present job skills lend themselves to “side work”. If yes, you can start by developing a business “on the side” while still collecting a regular paycheck. If not;

b. Can your present line of work (or one that you want to be in) be produced by a small business? If not;

c. Do you have capital to invest? If yes, you can look for a franchise to purchase. Franchisors are in the business of starting and guiding small businesses. Entrepreneur Magazine publishes an annual list of the “Top 500″ franchisors, it is available online: 500 Franchisors.

If not:

d. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left list anything that you can do (as ordinary as “mowing lawns” to as complex as “designing rocket motors”) and anything that you would like to learn to do. Obviously, only list those things that is or could be a saleable skill. On the right side put the types of businesses that use the skills from the left side of the sheet. The right side of the sheet is your “universe” of potential businesses.

Once you’ve identified something that you want to do you need to identify whether it is something that you can reasonably expect to do profitably. The old saw “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” was never more true than when starting a business. Success demands a clear and articulated vision of the challenges and opportunities to come. Common sense dictates that you understand the ingredients for success before you commit time and money to your project. Lenders, investors and other stakeholders depend on your ability to chart the course to victory and they’ll want to see your proposed course in writing. Step two:

2. Create a business plan. A business plan is a written proposal. It describes your business and it’s environment and forecasts it’s future. More importantly, the process of creating a business plan identifies the challenges and opportunities to come and details the key result areas for success. It determines how much money you’ll need and where it will be found. With a business plan you are prepared to win. Without one, you are “flying blind”.

While there are many ways to create a business plan, we think that the best way is to use our business plan software, FundablePlans. It walks you through the process, does all of the financial calculations, compiles the plan for you, allows you to include graphics and includes both online help with your plan as well as help from our consultants (not customer service reps, people who write business plans professionally). It costs $40, more information, here.

Starting your own business can be exciting, challenging and rewarding. Finding the place where market need intersects with your abilities is the first step towards success. A business plan is the tool to help you take that first step.