Sunday, November 18, 2012

Payroll Services in Small Business

When it comes to payroll services in small businesses, these companies can often provide excellent aid. A small business owner will spend a great deal of time and money on managing the payment to employees in many instances. However, the amount of time invested is not always worth it. The problem is, tax codes are complex. The requirements to meet specific filing methods and timeframes can hinder a business owner from working to earn the money to pay the employee. In other words, getting a third party involved can reduce your risks overall.
What Options to Consider
When it comes to finding payroll services in your area, there is plenty of help available. Most companies offer a range of options you can select from or choose to obtain. In other words, it is possible to customize the service that you need and not pay for anything you do not need. Take a few minutes to consider how well these processes can add to your business's management and organization.
The company is likely to handle cutting checks, making direct deposits and handling debit card options. The company may handle the current and year-to-date register for payrolls. When it comes to taxation and income reporting, the company may be able to help with the remittal of federal and state tax withholdings as well as unemployment taxes. They may be able to handle a tax liability and deduction register. They can make new hires far easier to manage in terms of payment. They can even handle the preparation of many of the quarterly forms you need to file.
Making It Easy to Manage
Another key way that these companies can service businesses is through making taxes and reporting easy to access. For example, if you want to know how much you are spending on payrolls for a specific period, they can make it easy for you to access this information using web-based systems. You can count on the company to make processing W-2s, W-3s, and other tax requirements easy to do and within your fingertips. As a small business owner, this means you do not have to worry about complex tax forms and calculations. The company does the work for you instead.
Though a one- or two- person business may not require the use of these companies, most other small businesses will benefit from it. Payroll services in your business could mean the difference of paying fines for mistakes and not having to do so. It also means ensuring your employees get the funds they need right away. That makes you a better employer and makes your business more profitable.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Magic of Niches

Finding Your Niche
First, take a look at what the competition in your area is doing. Consider what you might have to offer that is different. For example, do you prefer working with a particlar type of dogs, such as puppies or small dogs? Is there a training issue you're particularly good at handling? Who are your ideal clients? Do you have skills from a former career or hobby that might serve as a useful complement to your training? A former school teacher might be especially adept at working with families with children. Experience in the corporate world could open doors to lunchtime or other workplace training programs. Also consider services not currently being offered that could be of use to dog owners in your area. Is there a need for specialty classes such as tricks or behavior workshops focusing on a tough behaviors like recall or loose leash walking? Does anyone offer board and train or owner-absent training options? What about boarding in your home or walking clients' dogs?
How a Niche Works
Marketing a niche gives a subsection of potential clients a reason to call you over every other service provider in your area. These clients then tell their friends and family and co-workers about you, and you begin to build your business. And you can absolutely be a generalist, too. Say you specialize in treating separation anxiety, and your marketing efforts predictably bring you clients with sep anx problems. If you help solve those problems, likelihood is the client will refer you to friends and family for any training needs they have. Even with a narrow niche focus you can expect a good half of your cases to fall outside your specialty.
Start Today
Successful dog pros find a way to make themselves stand out-what could yours be? If you're generalizing now and don't hear the phone ringing as often as you'd like, it's time to find your niche. Start brainstorming today, and seek input from friends, family, and past clients on what you do best or what is needed in your community. Once you've made a decision about your direction, amend your cards, brochures, and website, to reflect your new specialization. (If you still have a lot of good brochures, you can add a nicely printed paper insert instead of throwing them out.) Rework advertisements and fliers. And tell your colleagues, clients, and anyone you network with-vets, groomers, shelters, pet supply stores, day cares, and other businesses and contacts-about the exciting new service you're offering.
Back in the suburbs, Tina owned a successful home-based dog training and boarding business. After getting married and moving to a small place in a big city, Tina wondered how she would make board and train work. Then she noticed how many small dogs were out and about town-in bicycle baskets, in purses, at the mall, enjoying sidewalk cafes. Tina built her new business around train-&-board services for small dogs only. Her marketing plan included networking with local small dog rescue groups, groomers, and high-end doggie boutique stores. Her message of special care for the smalls hit home with small dog owners and she now maintains a wait list for her services.
Miranda was scraping by in an urban market saturated with dog trainers. Though she marketed herself as working with all kinds of obedience and problem behaviors, she found that the cases she most enjoyed were dog-dog aggression issues. She began marketing a specialty working with dog aggression and has found her schedule filling up. For one thing she's given a segment of dog owners a reason to call her over the many other trainers in her area. She also enjoys the referrals of her fellow dog trainers who do not take dog aggression cases.
Cindy burned out working as a vet tech in a high-pressure vet hospital, and decided to start her own pet sitting business. The number of people already pet sitting in her area intimidated her, but her vet tech expertise made her worries unnecessary. She directed her business at owners with older and ill pets, explaining that she would be able to care both for their emotional and physical well being, including administering medicines, IVs, and other home medical care required. She networked with veterinary offices and other pet sitters and was soon overwhelmed with referrals for clients needing special care for their elderly or infirm animals while away.
Gina found her dog training skills very useful both while preparing her young dog for the arrival of her first baby and after she brought the baby home. She noticed several of the women in her new moms' group struggled with their dogs and babies, and a niche was born. Gina changed the name of her business to Tails & Tots and began marketing to expectant and new moms through groups, pediatricians, and parenting classes at her two local hospitals. She also developed curricula for two public dog training classes, one for expectant parents and one for new parents.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Creativity, Not Cash

First, sit down with a pen and paper and construct two lists. The first will be a list of your strongest skills. What do you do well and enjoy? Are you a good public speaker? A talented small group or one-on-one teacher? How's your writing? What about your planning skills?
For your second list, note all the potential networking resources in your area. Consider your environment. What other dog-related businesses are around? Vets, groomers, supply stores and boutiques, shelters and rescue groups? Oh-and don't forget other trainers, walkers, and sitters, too! They can be a terrific networking resource. What about local activities? Are there dog parks or festivals, adult education or community classes? And what are people reading-any local dailies or weeklies or monthlies? In short, what's going on in your neighborhood?
Get Creative
As you scan your two lists, you're looking for good potential match ups between your skill sets on the one side and the resources or potential networking opportunities on the other. If you enjoy writing, perhaps the local neighborhood monthly would like to run a regular "Ask the Trainer" column? Terrific exposure, at no cost! And so much more effective than running an ad, where you're attempting to sell yourself. A column, on the other hand, establishes your expertise and credibility. You become the sought-after local expert. Or, if you specialize in helping people with puppies and new dogs, wouldn't it be great if the local shelter recommended you to all of their adopters?
Give, Don't Ask
Writing a local column and getting shelter referrals are great marketing goals-but how do you make these things happen?
The trick is to give instead of asking. The typical dog training business marketing plan includes drawing up business cards to post around other dog-oriented establishments. Often we ask the owners if we can put our cards on their bulletin boards or in a holder on their counters. If brave enough we might even introduce ourselves, talk a little about what we do, and ask for their referrals.
But why should they refer people to you? They don't know you or your abilities, they're busy, and you've given them no reason to want to help you. So rather than asking for help, consider what you might have to offer.
If you'd like to write a regular column in the neighborhood paper, first try offering one article, already written, on a dog topic of broad interest. If you would like the shelter to refer their new adopters to you, put together a free adopter's package of articles or tip handouts the shelter can give to its adopters. (Make sure your name and business information are on all the handouts, and include any of your other marketing material as well!) And maybe they would appreciate some training for their staff-a small series of talks or hands-on seminars. These offerings allow the shelter to get to know you, to come to see you as an expert, and to build loyalty to you. Sure, you can leave your cards on the front counter and hope people pick them up and call, but you'll no doubt receive many more phone calls if the shelter staff is actively and enthusiastically sending adopters your way.
Be Active, Not Passive
One reason these kinds of approaches are much more powerful marketing tools than simply placing materials around town are that they are examples of active marketing-opportunities for clients to interact with your business rather than just seeing it advertised. Instead of picking up a business card, a shelter staff person hands your materials to potential clients while telling them, "You have to call this trainer. She is amazing and can help you fix this problem." If you post a flier on a bulletin board, there is no potential for active interaction between your business and your hoped-for clients. If instead you disseminate a quarterly newsletter to the same places, the people who pick it up have a more interactive experience with your business. Rather than a flier that lists "problem behavior solving" as one of your services, an article in each newsletter can highlight an issue and tell the story of one or more dogs and clients whose lives were changed by training. In that narrative they get to "see" an example of the benefits of training and imagine themselves getting similar help, rather than just reading a bullet point.
Get Started Today
Most marketing takes time to be effective-plan to give your efforts a good six months to determine their usefulness-so make your lists right now and see how many great ideas you can create. Start marketing your business today to generate the clients who will help you spread the word tomorrow.
Hilary had been trying for some time to network with her local shelter. The shelter had good standing in the community and was viewed as a source of training and veterinary knowledge, but they did not provide private training services. She knew they were short staffed and thought both she and they could benefit from a referral service. But although the front desk staff had her cards on the counter, it seemed they were rarely given out, and she hardly ever received referrals. Then she offered to help answer the shelter behavior hotline. Together with the behavior manager, she set up a triage system for incoming calls to take pressure off the shelter staff. They determined which calls the staff could easily handle and forwarded the more difficult calls to Hilary. Hilary was careful to limit the time of each call, providing some immediately applicable management advice, then scheduling a consult with anyone interested. The hotline is now Hilary's number one source of clients.
Debbie couldn't help notice as she walked her pack of client dogs every day how messy the dog park had gotten-trash, untended piles of feces-it was unsightly and, she felt, gave dogs, dog owners, and dog professionals a bad name. Seeing an opportunity to do something for her community and her dog walking business, she worked with the parks department to co-sponsor, organize, and promote a Dog Park Clean Up Day. The park got cleaned up, her business got lots of free press, including an article in the local paper and a short spot on the local evening news, and Debbie got several new clients.
Suzanne believed that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to puppies and newly adopted dogs. She wanted to focus her business on getting people and dogs off on the right paw, but how to get the word out? The local shelter did a brisk adoption business, and Suzanne decided to start there. She offered to teach a free adopter's class at the shelter, at no cost to them. She gave the two-hour talk one evening each week, and the shelter scheduled that weeks' adopters into the lecture. Suzanne's talk covered the basics of setting up a home for a new dog, house training, and prevention of common behavior problems, and she always made sure to talk about her private training services as well. Her business grew steadily as she signed up occasional clients at the talks, and found that over time people who had attended her class called as they developed training problems, and often referred her to friends and family as well.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Navigate Toward A Financially Independent

Sustain a healthy profit margin!
Is there an outdoor extreme sport you've participated in? Stop and think for a moment about the very first time you tried it out.
I have found, without exception, that entrepreneurs are risk takers. And I suppose I'm one of them. I went on my first whitewater rafting trip in 2011. But I took a huge risk in making this trip and participating in this type of outdoor activity--you see--
* * * I don't swim. * * *
To minimize my risk, I asked to sit closest to the guide, Lee. In addition, just to double-ensure my safety, I asked my daughter to go on the trip with me, because she's a Girl Scout certified in these types of extreme outdoor sports. She was my additional safety net.
We were on the Nantahala River, a well-known Olympic training site in North Carolina. The entire run was two hours on the water, through many heart-pounding rapids, extreme moments of excitement and getting splashed and soaking wet, along with much laughter. I even sustained a hard hit from a hanging tree branch along the riverbank. Lee (our guide) tried to warn me with a "Watch out!" just two seconds before I saw it, but it was too late. Luckily I did not get knocked out of the raft.
The objectives of the trip were to navigate safely to our destination of the 9-foot Nantahala Falls, stay in the boat, enjoy the trip and have FUN!
There were many watercrafts on the river that day, some without a Lee to guide their raft, and many of those rafts got stuck on the riverbank or hopelessly stranded on the rocks sticking out of the water. I asked Lee why these boats didn't have a rafting guide like him.
"People want to save money and go down this river on their own. Unfortunately, only the experienced guides know the river well enough to maneuver and navigate toward the finish line successfully," answered Lee.
Did you know that 60% of business owners feel challenged to maintain a healthy profit margin? Yet according to my Business Value Drivers, or BVD Study, many businesses receive their company financial statement an entire three months after the fact. How can you know you're consistently maintaining a healthy profit margin without having that information at anytime?
An Asian immigrant builds a successful company by focusing on quality, customer service and satisfied employees.
Many immigrants coming to this country have entered the restaurant business, for many different reasons, such as a lack of communication skills in English, a love for their own cultural foods, or they know or have friends who are in the business and make a decent living. As a result, people here are eating more Chinese food than fast food from McDonald's. The food industry is very competitive and the majority of businesses in this industry are not scalable. However, many immigrants find it gives them a satisfactory lifestyle.
Of course the Asian restaurant trend changed, many years ago, from an offering of traditional Chinese to either a buffet or Sushi bar presentation. And as a result, my friend and client Philip Maung decided to do something entirely different, about 13 years ago. He entered the wholesale market platform of the "Sushi box" business. For many Asians, this reminds us of home--the lunch, or bento box style is a comfort food for us--yet considered very trendy here in the U.S.
Philip started this business with his wife Kristina at their kitchen table. Today, Philip employees over 400 employees and contractors across the U.S. Philip sells his sushi boxes to upscale grocery chains such as Whole Foods, to corporate, university, and hospital cafés such as Carolinas Medical Center and to airports including Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Philip's business, Hissho Sushi is one of the very few businesses in the U.S. named for three consecutive years by Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing private businesses.
Over the years of working with business owners, I've come to the conclusion there are three categories of entrepreneurs: Technician, Manager and Business Architect:
Technician--If you are a technician, your business provides you a salary of less than $100,000 a year. (Please make a note here; I said "salary" not "revenue.")
Manager--Typically, as a manager, you've managed to create a lifestyle in which the business provides you a salary of around $250,000 a year.
Business Architect--If you are a business architect, the business provides you an annual salary of greater than $250,000. There is usually also a minimum of three to five times of business value back to you as the owner.
Philip is the Business Architect that many privately owners aspire to become.
Navigating through today's turbulent business waters
Our study indicated that 67% of the business owners are in business because they want to make more money and become financially independent. So how do you begin to create equity value in your business to reward yourself for the risk you took in starting, building and maintaining your business?
Your business equity value changes due to varying factors and triggers. You must make sure all factors are working in your favor when considering a capital expansion or even cashing out.
Even if you cash out due to the need for capital to expand your business, you still must have the right guide. Why? As in my example of the whitewater rafting trip, with the right guide, I successfully reached my destination safely and claimed my reward for the day-- which in this case--was simply FUN.
Yes, think of the equity value in your business as your reward. Claim that reward and compensate yourself for the risk you took in creating and running your business. Don't wait too long or you could be faced with the triggers that might potentially decrease the equity value of your business.
In my BVD study, there are specific value creation methods that help owners gain insights on how to avoid unfavorable triggers. It helps owners proactively and intentionally build their business in equity value. It means knowing what investors and buyers are looking for. Then, you can build your business in value to create a win-win situation for you and all concerned parties.
Do yourself a favor--set a goal to be able to claim your reward anytime! Profitably! Make it a win-win for you, your families and your investors or buyers. Get the right guide on your team to navigate through today's turbulent business waters.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Marketing Your Business on a Tight Budget

If no one knows who you are, how will they know to buy your products or services? There are ways to reduce the costs, but you cannot survive as a company without spending a little. Marketing budgets are the most important part of doing business.
Critical must haves for marketing: The age old saying about it takes money to make money. The saying refers to the cost of doing business to spread the word that you are in business - Marketing!
• Logo creation - do not cut corners. There is a huge difference in image types. Vector logos will not loose resolution as they are enlarged for large marketing pieces. Raster images will be blurry when enlarged. If the graphic artist or marketing company has no idea how to create a vector image, run like the wind. You can expect to pay around $50 to $200 for an individual artist vs. $800 to $3000 with a marketing firm. Here are few resources to find graphic artists and marketing companies:,, and
• Business cards - do not cut corners. This will be the first printed marketing material that is handed to a potential customer. You don't have to spend $50 to $100 on business cards. You can get 250 for free plus the cost of shipping which can be as low as $6. That means that each card cost you.02 cents! You can't print business cards at home for that cost. is an online resource for all printing material needed for business. Be careful of the extras you may not need right now.
• Websites - Do not over spend, but don't let your neighbor or high school student design your website for next to nothing. You can't expect to get a professional website for around $200. You don't have to spend $30 for a domain name each year. offers names of all kinds for as little as $12. It is even cheaper if you buy hosting from them as well. Hosting is as low as $5 a month. offers a similar package on hosting. offers unlimited everything for about $9 a month.
• SEO - Do not over spend, but do set up a fixed amount to spend each month. You have a choice, time or money. There are some really great SEO marketing companies out there that will get your company and site noticed. They don't come cheap! You can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 a month for services. Software is out there that can do some of it for you and its worth the money spent if the software will submit your site to search engines; otherwise don't bother with it. offers iBusiness Promoter software. It caters to Google's search algorithms in order to help you get your site ranked in a good position which is the first page. If you follow the rules and make the changes, your site will rank high. Pay per click (PPC) campaigns are worth it if you know the right keywords so you aren't spending too much on a keyword and not really getting the right kind of traffic. For example: Your business deals in vacuums. One of your keywords is vacuums. You will pay more for that one word and get all kinds of traffic that may not be in your area. If you are located in New York, you want to market to people who are local and will visit your store. The key words New York vacuums will cost you less as now you are competing with only people in New York that own vacuum stores.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Entrepreneurs Maximize Income by Investing in Knowledge

When you start a business, your chances of succeeding in that business depend heavily on your sincere commitment to continuous learning and innovation. Many smart entrepreneurs know this. They also know that we all live and work in a world that is rapidly changing. Because many economies are becoming increasingly information-based, knowledge has become king. Market competition is now outrageously fierce. It is only those who have the knowledge and are well-informed that survive in the market place these days. They are able to survive because they habitually invest in the acquisition of relevant knowledge to their businesses. They as a result are able to maximize their earnings. These are the smart entrepreneurs now making waves all over the world.
The core knowledge about any business is extremely valuable to that business. In some cases it is this knowledge that gives any business its major competitive advantage over its rivals. Entrepreneurs who know how to learn and to use what they learn to improve on their products or services stand at an advantage over others. If they are able to deploy that knowledge to create highly marketable products or services, they get the largest chunk of the market share. They tend to make most of the money as a result. Those who are unable to learn and use what they learn to improve their businesses quickly find themselves broke and many soon go out of business. That is how important knowledge is in the day-to-day running of any business.
There are always many areas in a business an entrepreneur may choose to continually invest in. The best of these areas is always on the entrepreneur herself. That investment is in the form of knowledge and continuous learning. Any investment on the entrepreneur apart from being the best investment is usually the most valuable. In today's fast-paced business world, it is investment in knowledge that is about the only investment which is capable of making returns in perpetuity. It is the only investment you can never lose. A business is what the owners know and are able to use to meet customer satisfaction. Entrepreneurs who succeed to make money never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their businesses. They always strive to keep up with the trends in their chosen businesses. That is how they get to acquire a larger market share and as a consequence make more money.
Smart entrepreneurs know the importance of knowledge and continuous learning to their businesses. That is the main reason why many spend some good chunk of their annual investment budgets training themselves and their employees. When you examine the books of such businesses at the end of each accounting year, what you normally find is that the money spent for additional training pales into insignificance when compared to the volume of additional business the entrepreneur is able to accomplish within the same period. Some entrepreneurs are at times wiped-out completely within the year when they fail to learn from trends. Some may barely break-even. While some others who studied and went with the trends may end up making all the money. It is for this reason that investment in knowledge is an extremely wise, desirable and economical thing to do in the course of any business. It is through the continuous investment in and acquisition of relevant knowledge that smart entrepreneurs manage to maximize their incomes continually.
Sule Yesufu, a Certified Speaking Professional, is a Strategic Partner in S D Y Management Consult, a firm of Investment, Small Business and Entrepreneurial Consultants. An expert in Small Business and Personal Development, he focuses on communicating his ideas and thoughts mostly through his Training Seminars and popular free blog. He offers useful tips on Self-Improvement, Personal Finance, Entrepreneurship, Current News, Politics and Business in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Choose the Best Bulb for Your Car

If you love to go on long drives during the night, then you definitely need to take care of your car's headlights. A burnt headlight not only affects the appearance of your vehicle, but it also makes your ride unsafe. If there is even a slight doubt about headlight's health, replacing it is a wiser choice. Light bulb replacement is always a recommended way to avoid unwanted mishaps. When it comes to light bulb replacement, the most important thing you need to look for is the size and the type of it. For this, you can read the model number written at the bottom of the their base. A large number of these bulbs are available in the market so that you can choose an apt one for your vehicle.
Xenon bulbs are the most popular and highly preferred by majority of the car owners. Filled with xenon gas, they are much brighter than normal headlight bulbs. These are identical to other halogen bulbs but the only difference is of the gas that is filled in the former. These have the capability to project beam up to a distance of 30m. Furthermore, these are extremely stylish and let you enjoy the riding experience in a brighter manner. Along with this, these are considered legal for use in the headlight.
LED bulbs are also considered as a good choice for light bulb replacement as it produces less heat than other ones. While purchasing LED bulbs, always make sure to check its lumen power. They never run out or rarely needs replacement and thus can be used for a long period of time. Along with vehicles, you can also use these types in case of a power outage in your home. You can also carry them in a console or glove box.
The process of light bulb replacement is quite easy and you can do it on your own as well. Also, you don't need any specific tool to do it. You just need to check at the back of the headlight and locate the bulb holder. It comprises of three wires extended out coming out of the bulb and attached to a plug. This plug is further attached to a metal clip, plastic catch as well as a screw cap. Take out the headlight assemble out from the car. Lastly, replace the burnt one by the newer one and reinstall the congregation. You can also refer the manual for getting complete information regarding this process. If needed, you can also take the help of a professional.