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There are many good reasons to pursue your dream of owning a successful franchise. For starters when you buy a franchise you are buying a proven system.

Buying A Franchise

Buying A FranchiseBuying a franchise can be a life changing experience. There are many good reasons to pursue your dream of owning a successful franchise. For starters when you buy a franchise you are buying a proven system. Buying a franchise comes with the advantage of knowing that the business has been successful in other locations. The idea and process of running this business has already been proven. Therefore the learning curve in operating the business can be virtually eliminated.When you are buying a franchise your are also buying an established customer base or brand name. Most franchises are already recognizable to consumers. The brand awareness provides security and trust to the customer who expects uniform quality to be provided. Therefore a customer base is already established.You can also benefit from any advertising or promotion that the franchiser (owner of the franchise) does at the national or local level, without absorbing the cost. The franchiser can also provide input to the franchisee on a local marketing plan.If you buy a franchise you also receive ongoing support. Training and support is usually always part of the deal. Since the franchise company has a vested interest in how well you do, ongoing training, system upgrades, product enhancements, and question and answer resources are provided. The franchiser offers experience to franchisee in such areas as accounting procedures, personnel and facility management, and business planning.Also, many times obtaining financing for buying a franchise is easier since the franchise name and reputation are usually recognized by the lenders. Therefore, banks are more likely to fund the franchisee. In addition, relationships with suppliers are already established; affording the opportunity to buy in bulk, enabling a great deal of savings for the business.The first step when buying a franchise is choosing an industry you are interested in or have prior experience in. There are many great franchises out there to choose from. Auto franchises and coffee franchises are very popular franchises but it is important to research the each opportunity before investing. It is recommended you sit down with a Franchise Consultant and decide if buying a franchise is right for you.

Strange and Innovative Ideas

Strange and Innovative Ideas

People seem to be coming upwith strange and very innovative ideas to promote their sites and also come up with sites to promote businesses and their brand names. Just a few months back, we had this euphoria where a student got a website up and was selling pixels on his website at the rate of $1 per pixel. Many rip-offs followed this and they too proved quite a bit successful thus making everyone associated with the site very happy. The businesses which put their ads on the site, however invisible they seemed to be in the muddle of ads, also seemed to be happy with the visibility that they got.Now a slightly different and improved version seems to be doing the rounds on the net. It is called the 'One in hundred thousand' website and it can be found at http://oneinhundredthousand.com.This site is based on the concept that they get your name on the internet (rather, on this site) for $3. The name can be that of an individual or that of a business. And they also link to your homepage (if you have one) as part of the name. To maintain some exclusivity (after all, they cant get the names of 6 billion people on to the site), they have restricted themselves to only 50,000 names and promises to be up for 5 years.This site seems to have been started by a young man and though it seems a bit similar to the million dollar home page idea, it has its own uniqueness and its advantages. For businesses, it is like having an ad on the net, that too at a place with high number of visitors and for individuals, its just a chance to get the thrill of seeing their name on a website and to see their name when they do a search on google.The webmaster asks us to view this as another home, a home on the internet for our name and which would be well maintained by him for the next five years. Its a strange idea but it is indeed something that might catch on in due course of time.People, especially young ones, seem to be coming up with strange and innvovative ideas to keep themselves and help others keep ahead of the competition. Things are sure getting interesting. So what next? A website on the moon??

How to Find a Niche Market for Work at Home Moms

How to Find a Niche Market for Work at Home Moms

Being a Mom is one of the most rewarding and wonderful years of a woman's life, so it can be hard for a mom when faced with the thought of having to go out and find a job, to bring in extra money. There are options out there for Moms who want to work from home in their own hours, so they can still enjoy the most important things in life- their children. Below are some solid informational tips for stay at home moms on starting their home based business in 30 minutes a day. The idea is to create a niche market, or find a market that is missing something that you can provide, and market this over the internet. To begin with you should consider some things like, what are you really good at? What would you love to do for a full time job? These two questions are really important to finding your niche market, if you don't like what you do, you might as well not bother doing it, look for something that you love doing, like talking about your kids? What ever it is research it, find out what your industry is missing, it could be anything, lack of information? When you have determined this you have found your niche. Write down ideas as you get them about you niche market, it doesn't matter what they are, just write them down so you don't forget them, then you can ponder them later. Here are some more ideas for finding your niche market: Improving an Existing Market
Improving an existing market, is there a product that you could make better, for example imagine baby food, if you could make baby food that tasted good, had all of the nutrients and minerals in to help babies grow up healthy, and you could produce this at a competitive price, you would really be on to something! Adapt an Existing Market
Adapt an existing market, or change something about a product to make it more marketable, an ideal example of this is making a fat free chocolate cake that tastes just as good as a regular chocolate cake and market it to people wanting to loose weight? Although this has been done before, it was a good idea when it was new. Repackage a Product
Repackage a product, this can be good, but competition is fierce, as a lot of people are already doing this, a good idea is not to limit yourself to just one product, offer a few repackaged items, for example e-books to your niche market. Solve a Problem
Solve a problem, Find out what people are talking about in your niche market, find out problems that people are having, or what is missing in the industry and develop a service or product that will fill the need. A good way to find out this sort of information is to visit related message boards, forums and blogs to see what people are talking about. Tap into a Trend
Tap into a trend, keep an eye out for what's hot, what are people interested in, there are trends started every day, all that you need to do is tap into them, and you have a ready market or a demand, begging for a product or service. Once you have found your niche market, and found which angle you are going to market it from, it is time to start work on how to get your new niche market internet business off of the ground.

Where Businesses Fall Short

Where Businesses Fall Short

1. No vision. Successful businesses have a clear vision or picture of their business purpose and mission. Your vision serves as a roadmap to help you see where you are today in relationship to where you want to be tomorrow. Your business plan serves as the mechanism that will help you to bridge the gap. When you don't have a clear vision as to why you're in business or where you intend to take your business, it's like taking a road trip without a map. When you don't know where you're going, you'll waste a lot of time, money, and energy trying to find the right road leading to your destination. A well-defined vision will help you stay focused and on track.2. No niche. One of the most common reasons for business failure stems from having a poorly defined niche. A niche can refer to a target market or to an area of specialization. When businesses fail to target a specific group of consumers, they risk being attractive to no one. Perhaps it has its underpinnings in the saying, You can't please everyone. The more narrowly you market your business, the better your chances of generating new business. Market yourself as an expert in a specialty, while showcasing yourself to a narrow market that you can most benefit.3. No business plan. Your business plan is your strategy. It includes many important items like defining your business niche and target market, your marketing plan, financial projections, staffing, investments, as well as the benefits and features of your products and services. Referring back to your vision for your business, it is your business plan that provides the strategies to move you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. If you don't have a business plan to follow, your chances of achieving success are greatly diminished. Plans have a way of becoming reality. Craft your plan carefully and use it to guide your progress forward.4. No marketing plan. A marketing plan outlines the steps you intend to take to sell your product or service. As one component of the overall business plan, it identifies your niche, your product or service benefits, the strategies you'll employ to reach your target market, as well as how much you intend to spend. Marketing is fundamental to your company's success. Without it, you won't have any customers or clients. For this reason, it's critical to spend the extra effort to develop one. 5. No marketing calendar. This item is a subset of the overall marketing plan. It is critical to any marketing effort in that it schedules when you intend to implement various marketing strategies. By having a calendar, you'll be more organized about how you go about marketing. Also, it provides a way to track what you've done and the results of your efforts. Marketing is not a one-time effort, but rather something that must be done consistently over time. A calendar is critical to staying on target and on track with your marketing plan.6. No action. Taking action is the foundation of progress. Without it you will have no clients and ultimately no business. Sometimes business owners get caught up in process so that they are unable to make decisions. Other times they suffer from being perfectionists and don't implement ideas because they don't think they are good enough. Anything that prevents you from moving forward will lead you down the path to failure. Until decisions are made, flow is stopped and that usually means your business is blocked as well. Until you put your products or services out there, you're never going to make sales. It's better to take some action, risking an outcome you might not desire, than to stop and stagnate.7. No customer service program. You're in business only because you have customers or clients. In order to get business and to maintain it, it's important to have a "customer service" program. A program can include anything from the methods you use to gain new clients, to how you service them once they are your clients. It includes follow up visits or calls, providing information to them about current or new products and services, and, most importantly, kind, courteous, and prompt service when they have a problem or issue. It's expensive to get new clients. It's better and easier to retain the one's you have by employing an outstanding customer service program.8. No strategic partners. Successful business owners don't go it alone. They associate, partner, and network with other highly successful and exceptional people. Partnering with others is a way to quickly expand the reach of your own business. There's a wonderful synergy that comes with doing things with others. There are more ideas, more knowledge, and more resources to create products and services. While you can be successful on your own, you can do more and do it more quickly when you work with others. 9. No ways of monitoring progress. You cannot manage what you cannot monitor or measure. Every business needs to identify its key success factors. It might be the number of products sold, the number of service hours provided, the number of signups generated from an email campaign, or even the perception of your business in the local community. The only way you can improve your business and attain the success you desire, is by measuring the results of your actions. You'll be able to identify what is working and also where the shortfalls exist. You can use any number of methods including internal operating checklists, customer surveys, and even peer reviews - feedback from your alliance partners or competitors. This valuable feedback will be extremely useful in realigning your business efforts in the direction that maximizes success.10. No professional approach. Successful businesses develop systems to deal with all aspects of business operations. Whether it's a system for marketing products or services, or a system for dealing with customer orders or complaints, policies and procedures serve to make business run more smoothly. Your systems will cultivate a sense of confidence and trust in the hearts and minds of prospects and current customers that they will be dealt with in a consistent and professional manner. 11. No commitment to learning. There is no place for complacency when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Successful business owners search constantly for new and better ways to get clients as well as to serve the ones they already have. They are aware of the latest trends and ideas so they can create products and services which best serve the changing needs of their target market. They learn about and implement processes that increase the effectiveness of their day-to-day operations. By committing yourself to learning and to implementing what you learn, you're committing yourself to success in all parts of your business.12. No follow up. Business owners that don't follow up with clients and customers are perceived as inattentive, uncaring, and unprofessional. Lack of follow up is a surefire way to lose clients and to ensure that you won't be referred any new ones. Whether it's returning phone calls, following up with emails, or delivering a product or service to the client as promised, make sure that you complete these tasks. Following up is fundamental to creating great, long-term customer relationships. Not only does it show that you respect your clients, it is a standard of excellence among business professionals.13. No consistency. Consistent action is one of the most important habits to cultivate if you truly desire business success. First, you must be committed to the long-term - that it will take time to build up your business. But more importantly, you must be committed to taking consistent action - taking the steps to market yourself on a regular basis. The only way to be heard above the noise' of thousands of other marketing messages is for potential customers to see and hear about you on a regular basis. Each day, commit yourself to taking one action that will increase your visibility or credibility. You'll be surprised at how quickly these little steps build into much larger successes.14. No way to monitor website activity. The success of your website is dependent on multiple visits and repeat visits to your website. In order to determine the effectiveness of your website, it's important to monitor which parts of your website are attracting the most traffic. Successful companies use various tracking software programs to see which pages are visited most often and which links are clicked most frequently. This valuable information will tell you what is and is not working. If something isn't drawing the attention you desire, it's important to make changes and quickly. Making changes to your website is one of the easiest things to do to keep your business moving forward.15. Not willing to ask for the sale. Without sales, you won't be in business. No matter how skillful you are with running the day-to-day business operations, if you don't sell your products or services, you won't need to worry about running a business for long. All of the marketing efforts in the world won't create customers who are beating down your door to buy from you. Your marketing effort must extend beyond the regularly scheduled activities on your marketing calendar. Being confident in what you are selling, being skillful in conveying benefits and features, and managing objections are key to making sales. The most important action to take, however, is simply to ask for the sale. Copyright 2004 by Alicia Smith

IT Consultants: What Do You Need to Know?

When targeting the sweet spot small businesses, IT consultants should know the company will desire someone with strong hardware skills. As an "IT consultant" , you should know about RAID and multi-port communications adapters.Background Needed "IT consultants" targeting sweet spot small businesses should be comfortable with storage-attached networks, network-attached storage, basic mid-range data back up systems, DAT, DL2, UPSs, power protection devices, routers, CSUs, VSUs, advance wi-fi hardware, and things that support roaming and management.Knowing the SystemsThe bigger part of supporting sweet spot small businesses effectively deals with networking software. An IT consultant targeting these businesses should know the software and have strong networking skills. In addition to this, you need to be extremely familiar with the server OSs. Thats a big part of what theyre hiring you for; the networking design, installation and ongoing support and maintenance. Know What Theyre UsingIT consultants should be familiar with Microsoft Windows server, Microsoft Small Business server, Novell Netware, Novell Small Business Suite and Red Hat. Also, client server messaging is huge, so platforms like Microsoft Exchange server and Novell GroupWise may be widely used in this environment.Client server accounting applications start to become big in this environment. Additionally, CRM applications, web servers like Microsoft IS, and Apache are often utilized by these small businesses. Other Tools IT consultants, targeting this environment, should be familiar with web authoring tools like Microsoft Front Page and Macromedia Dream Weaver. An IT consultant serving small businesses using Windows should be comfortable with terminal services. Network faxing, performance monitoring, virtual private networking, BPMs and RAX are pretty important as well. IT consultants dealing with small businesses should be comfortable with advanced virus protection. You should also be very familiar with security, like intrusion detection and firewalls. The Bottom Line about IT ConsultantsTo support sweet spot small businesses effectively, IT consultants should be familiar with at least 25 to 50% of the things mentioned above. It is recommended that you have a minimum of 50% of the above skills to effectively support these small businesses. Copyright MMI-MMVI, Small Biz Tech Talk. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

It's A "ME TOO" World After All

Have you ever come up with an idea for an exciting new business? If you have or if you ever do, you are going to experience the ME TOO phenomenon that is the basis of competition.What do I mean by ME TOO? Well they say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. If you create something that is successful or something specifically that makes you a lot of money, you will find that others will take a look at your business and determine that if you can do it, they can too. the sad part is that they are right!Have you ever heard of the serial entrepreneur who gets a business started, sells it and then starts another? The reason that they do this is not just about taking the profits and running away. They also realize that eventually there will be a great deal of competition in that market as everyone else watches the success and screams "ME TOO". So it seems that the best way to make money with a business is to start it and sell it.There is another way to combat ME TOOS. That is to innovate. As other people get their business started you get the race going. The ME TOO has to start running right out of the box to compete. They may jump out of the gate with lower prices or bigger servings, but as you lead the race they are kept running to catch up. In some cases the ME TOO gets tired of running and if you stay in the lead, they will eventually just drop off along the road. In some cases they might have great endurance and keep the pace with you. I have written before about knowing what it is that makes you different from your competitors. Being a constant innovator in your field can be that difference.If nothing else, the ME TOOS will force you to be creative in your business. You will have to be creative to overcome things like price, size and color options. You will have to set the pace and run the race faster and smarter to keep your business going.If you have never done this before, here is an exercise.Take a moment and write down what makes you different in your industry. Make it more than just info about your company. Get personal.If you know what it is that makes you different from the competitor, the easier it is to relate that difference to your prospect. If you can effectively relate that difference, it could be the difference between winning and losing the business and the competition race.Always be aware of innovation as your secret weapon. After you have developed your product or service, keep improving and updating it to keep ahead of the ME TOO. After you get things going you can consider selling the business and moving on to a new project. Just remember, if I am a successful business person, everybody wants to be like me.ME TOO!

Summary

There are many good reasons to pursue your dream of owning a successful franchise. For starters when you buy a franchise you are buying a proven system.