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IT support in micro businesses is usually done by volunteers or very inexpensive providers. Micro small businesses can be good stepping stones, but they are not the ideal long-term clients for IT support.

IT Support: Where Do Micro Small Businesses Get Theirs?

IT Support: Where Do Micro Small Businesses Get Theirs?Before you even print up your business card or pick your company name, you need to know where you fit into the whole competitive marketplace of IT support. You dont want to make a lot of expensive mistakes so you dont take up a lot of money and time to fix later on.Where do Micro Small Businesses Get Their IT Support?Micro small businesses have 1-10 PC, anywhere from 100,000 to a million dollars US annual revenue. Where do they get their "IT support" , number one answer: internal gurus.Also, on that list are independent hotlines, 1-800 numbers, 900 numbers, from different hardware vendors, software vendors, ISPs as well as independent vendors.Thats where you will see services that charge anywhere from $1.99 to 2.99, 3.99 a minute whatever it is there. They go to a lot of different websites and forums. Both vendor website forums, as well as independent website forums looking for help. Micro Small Businesses Use Volunteers for IT SupportThe huge thing about micro small businesses is that they depend on volunteers. These businesses have a PC-savvy friend or family member, who does their IT support for free. They may be annoyed that the brother-in-law that happens to know about computers can't get there until a week from Saturday, but heck, its free. He works for beer, pizza and donuts.How Do You Compete With Free? Well, Its hard. But you can use micro small businesses as stepping stones. Micro small businesses get their IT support from the system builders, too. White boxes system assemblers basically put the system together out of brand name parts and assemblies.Sometimes theyll get support from retail store clerks 6-$10 an hour store clerks who work in consumer electronic stores, supply stores as well as telesales reps for basically the mail order equalivant of those companies. Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consultants Secrets. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Getting noticed on the Internet - Digital Marketing for Small Business

Getting noticed on the Internet - Digital Marketing for Small Business

The Internet has grown from a small network of academics needing a way to trade research into a world-spanning, ubiquitous marketplace and repository for nearly every possible kind of information and knowledge. How does a small business avoid being washed away in the constant tide of buying, selling and marketers hawking every conceivable item (and some difficult to conceive...)? The Internet provides advantages for both customer and proprietor in that one can search for exactly what is desired, without the bother of endless phone calls, driving to malls, or poring over mail-order catalogs. A quick keyword or 3, and hundreds of results vie for attention on the screen. Making sure your company is one of those results near the top is a combination of factors: specificity in product offerings, Search Engine Optimization of web content and linking to and from related topics and sites. The only way to get noticed on the Internet is to have a listing or presence, whether a dedicated website, ads on relevant sites, or by word-of-mouth. Oftentimes ads on online journals, informative sites, or e-zines (online magazines) are cheaper than space in a print publication, as well as being available to a wider audience than a dedicated website may be. Rates are often available for daily, weekly, or monthly terms, increasing flexibility and allowing a tight budget more leeway. Word-of-mouth advertising can be very cheap, but the returns may be difficult to quantify. Sponsoring web shows such as podcasts or webcasts can be a great and cheap way to gain word-of-mouth exposure. Many times, a podcaster will be so thrilled to gain sponsorship that rates can be negotiated for very little, but make sure to approach a podcaster that has a show related somehow to your business. Don't overlook resources like Google's Adwords either, as they can be slightly pricier than similar options like banner ads, but they are shown to be far more effective than pop-ups, banners, or pay-per-click ads due to their specific targeting.When a potential customer decides to look up a product that you sell, is he or she going to find your site or listing? Being specific in the terms used on your site or listing is key, as keywords are what drive the search engines like Google and Yahoo. If your company sells shoes, it's not enough to put the word "shoes" on your site--it has to be anticipatory to the searches that potential customers are doing. Most customers have an idea of what they are looking for when doing a search, so instead of "shoes," a customer will search for "imported Italian leather shoes." Specific focusing of terminology and product listings are involved in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as SEO is driven by specific keywords and their repetition or location on a page. If the term "Italian Leather Shoes" is used 15 times on a website, it will pop up higher on the rating listings than one with the same words, but only as a page heading or title. It would be easy to go overboard on this if it were the only criteria, but it is only one of many different methods search engines use to list websites by relevance. Our article on Search Engine Optimization, located here, is a great reference to optimizing your site for maximum Search Engine Performance.With a clear idea of where you want to go with Internet marketing, it can be a valuable tool to expand your business into the digital realm, but be careful not to go overboard, as all marketing eventually crosses into the zone of limited return. Customers are looking for what they want--it's up to you to make sure they run into you, and the only way they will is for you to make sure your business is at the places they are going to go. 2005, Wholesale Pages UK. All rights reserved.

The Primary Cause Of Business Financing Frustration

The Primary Cause Of Business Financing Frustration

Finding proper business financing is not easy at the best of times for most small and medium sized business owners and managers. There are a number of reasons that collectively explain why the "business financing" market can be so difficult to understand and navigate. But probably the single biggest reason is the lack of useful information about how the business financing market actually works. Business financing information and education sources predominantly come in two forms: 1) institutional education material; 2) major bank advertising. If you've ever read through a educational finance text book or taken a business finance course, you already know how difficult it can be to apply the theories, principles, and strategies to a small or medium sized business scale. From a formal educational point of view, there is very little useful information provided as to how the market place works, how to plan for financing requirements, how to manage periods of growth, decline, transition, start up, etc. Sure academic books and courses can go through all these areas in great detail, but is the information practical, real world, something you can relate to and apply yourself as a manager or owner of a small or medium sized business? In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO. Most finance text books speak to big business financing dynamics that are not easily transferable to small and medium sized business scenarios. Outside of the formal education system, the next great source of business financing information is the information provided by the major banks, which they tend to make available to you by the boat load through there broad based marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, the information by itself seldom helps you determine if a particular institution would be able to provide you with financing, or what would be required to qualify for a loan. The massive brand advertising campaigns run by the major banks have told us for years that these institutions will take care of all our banking needs, and that basically all we have to do is show up on their door step and theyll take care of the rest. Depending on whose numbers you look at, in reality major banks provide less than 30% of the financing required by small and medium sized businesses and this number is on the decline. So, when equipped with little or no useful information, the average business owner or manager for a small or medium sized business will first approach their existing bank for financing. After all, you just need to show up at the door step of a major bank and they will take care of your needs, especially if you are a long time customer, right? Despite the branded messages to the contrary, major banks tend to be very selective when providing business financing to small and medium sized businesses. So, if your bank can't provide you with the business financing you require, what is your alternative? The good news is that business financing sources continue to grow in numbers as more and more lenders carve out a particular piece of the market to service. In order to take advantage of these alternatives, you need to have a solid approach in place when seeking business financing. Here's a short list of things to consider >>> Develop a thorough understanding of both your personal and business assets, income, and cash flow. Regardless of financing model, these elements will always come into play to some degree. A good practice to follow is to maintain a personal net worth statement and update it at least quarterly so that when you do need to access this information you don't have to dig through stock certificates, pension statements, life insurance policies, etc., to come up with a current value for the assets you own and the debts you owe. Your knowledge of your own business financials is also an indication of your ability to manage your business. >>> Monitor and manage your personal and business credit. Small and medium sized [*_*] is focused on both personal and business credit histories. Regular reviews of both personal and business credit reports from the credit reporting agencies are important to avoid errors and credit practices that can severly damage your borrowing power. >>> Develop your marketing position. Yes, seeking [*_*] is a marketing exercise. When applying for [*_*], you are marketing your business to lending sources. In order for them to seriously consider your application, they need to know what's in it for them. What will they make as a return? What is the risk of you not paying the money back? What are the business risks and how do you intend to manage them? When will they get their money back? How will you secure the loan, and so on. >>> Research Lending Sources Your goal when seeking [*_*] is to locate the amount of capital you require to accomplish a specific purpose from a financing source that meets your business needs. Again, there are lots of [*_*] sources. But there is also lots of variation in the types of business applications each one can consider. Broad based lenders reply on credit history and net worth. As you get more specific in terms of financing application and industry, lender applications become more narrow and can be harder to locate. Financing consulants and business loan brokers can be an excellent source of information. >>> Qualify The Lender Before you make a formal application, find out if the lender has the programs and lending track record to meet your specific needs. Too often, only the lender does any amount of qualification. Both sides should get comfortable with what each can offer the other before proceeding with a formal application process. >>> Compare your options Depending on the scenario, there can be several financing strategies that could work for your business. Make sure you take the time to compare before making a decision. The extra time spent could save you considerable time and money in the long run. >>> Start Today Regardless of what your [*_*] needs are right now, you should regularly invest time in staying on top of your business's financials and researching financing sources that fit your industry and potential future applications. When the time comes to acquire additional capital, your proactive efforts can make all the difference in getting the capital you require, when you need it, for terms that are acceptable to your business.

Best Small Business Idea -- Get Focused And Get Going

Best Small Business Idea -- Get Focused And Get Going

I used to give a talk titled, 10 Ways to Overcome Overwhelm in Business and In Life. It was an excellent resource for getting into action and taking charge of your business. If youd like a copy, just email me and Ill send it to you. After Id given this talk for awhile, I realized that getting out of overwhelm was even simpler. You dont need 10 ideas. Thats overwhelming in itself. You just need one essential key. If you can master this one key, you can pretty much get whatever you want out of your business and your life. Here it is. Dont blink or youll miss it. Focus. Thats right, focus. When you are entirely focused on what you are doing in the moment, you dont have any attention left for being in overwhelm. Focus and overwhelm are opposites. Think about it. You are overwhelmed because you are thinking about all the things youve got to get done today, tomorrow, and the day after. You arent solidly focused in the present moment doing whats in front of you. But when you are stuck in overwhelm, its really hard to get focused. So what can you do?Its actually very simple. Get back to basics. Go back to your core values, your mission statement, your vision. Stop right now and think about the vision you had for your business when you first started it. What did you want to accomplish? Why did you want to do it? Were you looking for freedom? Did you have a better way of helping people? Completely let yourself be absorbed in the dream you had. Feel how it was when you started. Now you are focused. Take this vision and write it down again. Go into detail about what you really want to do with your business. Now from this focused state, get into action. It should be much more clear to you now what the most important tasks are. Focus your energy on those and get going. Any time you start feeling overwhelmed, stop and go back to your dream, your vision. Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing. Really feel it and then start again. I guarantee you this will get you focused and get you out of overwhelm. Now you can get what you really wanted out of your business.

Small Business Insurance: Do You and Your Subcontractors Need It?

Of course, you need to check with an accountant or lawyer for specific information, but in this article, you'll learn what small business insurance has worked for our computer consultants and customers in the past.What Type of Small Business Insurance Do You Need?You should definitely have both a general liability as well as a professional liability policy for your services. That professional liability should have the errors and omissions insurance rider folded into it as part of your "small business insurance" coverage. How Much Will It Cost You?This insurance will range in cost, but $3500 is about average. Typically, small business insurance companies will base your price on your size, in terms of employees, the sales volume youre doing, and how they characterize you by risks.Take time to carefully explain and look at the categories with your agent before they lump you into something that youre not. A lot of times they might classify you into software developers which could be a very different risk category than network installers or resellers.Do Your Subcontractors Need Small Business Insurance?Yes, each of your subcontractors should definitely have general and professional liability and errors and omissions insurance. You should not be covering them. Otherwise what youre doing is probably providing benefits that are more like what you would do for an employee as opposed to a contractor.What's The Next Step With Your Small Business Insurance?Talk to your attorney and talk to your insurance agent. If you have an insurance agent that takes care of your property and contents insurance needs, you should definitely sit down and talk with them. You might want to ask this question of your accountant also because they have a relatively similar business model in your same area.Copyright MMI-MMVI, Small Biz Tech Talk. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Promoting Independent Businesses

If you own your own independent business, there are two organizations that hopefully your are already aware of. They are doing great work promoting small, locally owned independents by promoting community and government involvement. It takes all of us, working together, to improve our communities and the local business environment.The National Federation of Independent Businesses helps individual business owners with planning, taxes, and legislative matters. They have representatives in all 50 states and in D.C. I visit their site often for advice and articles. I guarantee that you will find several useful items of information within their site.The American Independent Business Alliance, based in Bozeman, MT, promotes independents buy helping business owners form IBAs, or Independent Business Alliances. These alliances in turn promote community involvement, the best example being the annual America Unchained Day, which takes place every November, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. They show their communites the power of "putting your money where your house is".I urge all independent business owners to join NFIB and look into starting an IBA. I am in the process of doing both. We need to team up for our communities and independent business owners.Make a difference as a consumer as well. You do have choices. A good place to start is by watching Independent America, a documentary about a married couple searching for Independent America and filming the results. It's a real eye-opener.

Summary

IT support in micro businesses is usually done by volunteers or very inexpensive providers. Micro small businesses can be good stepping stones, but they are not the ideal long-term clients for IT support.