The type of finance you choose will depend on what sort of business you are setting up, how much capital you need and what you will use it for. For example, you could:
Use your own savings or personal borrowings to get the business underway, especially if you can’t get finance or investment from external sources.
Borrow money from family or friends. But be careful. It is often hard for them to say no, but what happens if the business fails? How would you pay back their money? What strain would that put on your relationship. Are they ending you the money, or investing in a share of your business? Remember to put things in writing.
Borrow from a bank if you have a credible business plan and can offer some security. If your business is seasonal in its cash flow, it’s essential to be able to clearly illustrate these to your bank so you can plan an overdraft. Many businesses use overdrafts for day-to-day borrowing and to manage cash flow, and loans for long-. You may want to use funding to finance large purchases such as equipment. When considering bank finance, it is generally a good idea to take professional advice from your accountant or business adviser.
Can you secure outside investors? Perhaps you are willing to sell shares to business angels or venture capitalists. This can provide short-term finance without the need for repayment. Having investors can also bring in additional business expertise. When you hand over shares to investors it is likely that they may want some control over its management.
Do you qualify for a grant? Grants or government supports can offer cheap financing, and often come with business advice or consultancy. However, there is usually a lot of competition for grant schemes, and you will invariably need to meet various criteria first.
For those unable to get bank finance, you could consider commercial lenders – such as insurance companies and building societies. These tend to have lower interest rates. However, commercial lenders are also subject to fewer regulations than banks and so you may have to provide some security in order to obtain funding.
Consider crowd funding – also known as crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, or hyper funding) describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources to support efforts initiated by other people or companies. Crowdfunding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, support of artists by fans, political campaigns, start-up company funding, or free software development, inventions development and scientific research. Crowdfunding can also refer to the financing of a company by selling small amounts of shares to many investors.
Most businesses use a mixture of finance sources. For example, you might invest your own money to cover market research, bring in outside investors to share the risk and borrow from the bank to purchase equipment and machinery.
All of this can be confusing and overwhelming, so it is advisable to speak to a business consultant first. Our Romford-based team at RBSS Consulting can be reached on 0333 355 1696 or by email at email@example.com.
Customers are the heart of all small businesses and without them the business is sure to fail. Therefore, it important that they are treated properly and you strive to build a relationship with them, to ensure you gain a loyal customer.
Here are six essential steps to consider when building a strong client base;
Whether it is via email, text, phone, newsletters, websites, social media or face-to-face it is vital that you are letting people know you exist. Let them know what your business is about and how customers can get your services or products. Why should they get them from you and not somebody else? A good tip is to share some knowledge or useful tips and tricks. Communication is also important in the aspect of replying quickly and professionally.
2. Customer Service
Go the extra mile for your clients and make their experience personal. Customers will always remember the companies that treated them well and those that treated them badly. Ensure you deliver good customer service by ensuring staff are well trained, customers are listened to and not rushed. Reply to queries complaints or emails as soon as you can. This will ensure that they will come back if they need your services again and they will recommend you to anyone they may know who needs those services; therefore, building up your client base.
3. Customer incentives
Incentives give customers a reason to come back to you rather than go to another company. This a good way to start building a client base from nothing, especially if your services are something new and not well-known yet. Having incentives like a free consultation or loyalty rewards can influence people to use your services over another companies; as they know what they are getting before they pay for the product or services. This allows them to make a decision based on what they want rather than what people have told them.
This is a great quality to have for customers. People have very busy lives these days, so it is essential that deadlines and agreements are met on time and up to standard. For example, someone may own a small office supplies company and an office may order some ink and the delivery date is next Monday but it doesn’t arrive until the Wednesday and they had ran out of ink between the date in which it was supposed to be delivered by and the actual delivery date. This could cause a customer not to want to come back to your business. The client may write a bad review online about the business, which may cause other people not to try your business. So ensure when discussing deadlines and deliveries that enough time is left for these to be met and communicate with the customer throughout to see if it suits them or if suddenly a deadline can’t be met.
5. Address customers by name
Make sure that you clearly communicate to customers that you respect them and make them feel important as they are by addressing them directly and taking time to know their names. Depending on which sector you’re in you will know whether to use Mrs, Ms or Mr, etc or their first name. This builds loyalty and builds a good relationship from the start. If you tell a customer your name they then know who they are speaking to and what they have discussed and can refer back to it if needed and be held accountable. Also customers are more likely to open up to you and will gain more trust to form the basis of a good long-term relationship.
6. Training staff
Training staff is essential to provide good customer service. Make sure that all staff have an overview of the business and can give customers answers for all aspects of the business, rather tah having to deal with too many departments for simple queries. Staff training allows the employees to feel more confident in their job role and motivated which allows for good work which leads to reliable and loyal customers, as well as staff retention.
If you want to talk it through how to improve your business in order to increase your customer base, give RBSS Consulting a call on 0333 355 1696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer you real business advice and solutions for start-ups and small businesses.
Is your businesses struggling to be seen? Does it have an active presence on social media, or are you like one of the many business owners who say that they don’t have time to post regularly on social media? Do you know that social media makes a difference? These social media platforms will bring awareness to your business, organically grow your business, and one of them may even make you some extra money! By not doing so you are letting opportunities pass you by.
Most of you are familiar with Facebook, so I’m focusing on three other platform that small businesses should get to know, as they could be a real boost to your business. Although they are free, time is also money and they require an investment of time. Time well spent can generate money on the short to long run. Make it part of your wider marketing strategy, be consistent and you will get results.
Use Twitter to get your businesses noticed; especially if your competitors are using it too. By using Twitter you can begin to level out the playing field and you can have equal opportunities to show your services, products and expertise.
Twitter is a quick way to get a message across to a lot of people that you don’t personally know. For example, if you are holding an event, Twitter is a great way to spread the news fast and to an audience that you didn’t necessarily have before.
‘Retweets’ show how many people shared your tweet, this is a good way to see if people like, dislike, agree or disagree with your content. This is good for seeing what you can improve and what you should carry on doing.
Instagram is great for business that can present their products and services in a visually appealing way, for example: fashion, art, food, cars, etc.
This allows your company to create a good first impression and it also gives you the opportunity to get people interested in what you do. Instagram allows potential customers to see what service or product they will be getting before they approach your company.
When you follow people on Instagram it allows you to see what kind of content they like, this allows you to see what the competition is doing and to see what kind of things attract your target audience; this gives you ideas about how to improve your business as well. Also having followers helps because it brings your page higher up on the list when people are searching for certain things.
If you post good quality photos (which you should be doing anyway) and you post regularly, then you have the ability to attract collaborations with other companies. This spreads the word about your company faster and gives you the opportunity to earn extra revenue.
On Pinterest you can post business related pictures but unlike Instagram they don’t have to be overly aesthetically pleasing. Pictures on Pinterest just have to be eye catching and informative.
On Pinterest you can link your pictures directly to your website. This means that when people click on the image they go straight to your website. If you prefer, you can simply just post the picture and put your website in a link below. This means more people visit your website and you have a higher chance of getting more customers.
Pinterest converts browsers to buyers. This means that if someone is just looking through Pinterest they could end up visiting your website or even buying something (you can buy and sell on Pinterest too).
User engagement is high. Pinterest has a wide range of ages and they are willing to post nearly anything, because that’s what Pinterest is about and Pinterest also encourages it. The more boards your picture gets pinned to the more people will see it.
When you talk to different financial and business advisors about getting access to finance, you’ll get similar but varied advice. It all depends on the business’ particular circumstances. RBSS Consulting, a business advice and consultancy firm, has helped raise funds for hundreds of small and medium size investors. The tricky, yet simple, ones are the Angel Investors.
So I put the question to a panel of professionals and these were the answers given by the panel. Similar but still different.
The most powerful thing you can do is show operating profits. If you are in the early stages, show a compelling plan, prototype and comparable companies who are already in your market. Demonstrate how much and when cash flow begins.
Remember that Angel Investors invest in people, just as much as the product or service. They are evaluating if the person who is raising the money has his/her heart and soul in the concept. Are they committed? If not, then they may turn you down. Being ‘all-in’ is the only way to be when building a company, particularly when it involves other’s money.
Assuming you are totally dedicated to making this a success, and depending on what your product is, start selling as soon as you can. There’s nothing that inspires investors more than a sales ramp. If selling you’re not good at selling, invest some money in someone who can.
And finally, don’t give up. It is likely that you will be making many presentations to angel groups before you find the right one. Don’t give up!
When approaching an Angel Investor network, I recommend that you enter the opportunity seeking to build a relationship above all. Plan your first meeting as an introduction only and follow up with a second meeting when you pitch your offer. As much as you need the investment, don’t act desperate.
If you have a partner in your business, then perhaps use them to make the pitch with you. Two people sometimes appeal more to a group of investors. Make sure you have practiced your pitch thoroughly so that you are both on the same page. Try to connect through social media networks.
Angel investors look for high quality business cases supported by financials with scenario planning – optimistic, realistic and pessimistic. They need to understand the promoters understanding of business and ability to read the unfolding environment and marketplace.
Some investors are keen to see what personal wealth has been put behind the idea and the passion displayed to go for the concept over long term.
Have a great idea. Know your numbers inside and out. Appeal to their generosity and how the business will benefit from their support. Show them why it is a great investment and why you are worth it.
The biggest mistake that businesses make when approaching investor is to spend 90% of the time talking about the product and 10% of the time on the financials. You need to reverse the percentages if you want to engage investors.
If you want to talk it through with a professional business adviser first, contact RBSS Consulting. We offer you real business advice and solutions.
For more information contact RBSS Consulting at email@example.com or 0333 355 1696.
Business is business and whatever the size of your company there are many principles that apply to all. Look at the following skills that big businesses use that small businesses can use too:
Working with other companies or individuals will not only benefit you and share the workload it will benefit the other company too. The partnerships that tend to work the best are those that share the rewards and risks. If the partnership proves successful you will gradually have more and more potential opportunities to work together. Working with others can open you up to new opportunities and offers which may otherwise not have been presented. Partnerships also increase your visibility, which then increases the chances of viability and thus profitability.
However big or small your company is branding is important. In today’s marketing, a brand is not just a name given to a product or service from a particular source. Your ‘brand’ is what your clients (or potential clients) think of when he or she hears your brand name. This is relevant for both big and small companies or products. Even if they haven’t heard of your business before they met your business, your brand becomes the impression they leave with when they have worked alongside your business. The best way to get brand exposure is through having a marketing strategy to get your product or services out there and known. The big brands do this all the time with TV and radio ads and posters, billboards and PR. Although these are expensive ways of marketing, they work. Having a marketing strategy is vital and even of you don’t have a marketing budget to speak of, there are other ways. Think of your market in terms of demographics, location, gender, etc and determine where you want to make your mark or where you want to start to grow the brand and then grow organically from there. You can put ads in local newspapers, distribute leaflets, invest in a website or use social media. These are all effective ways of marketing your brand without breaking the bank.
Listening to customers
Simple, but true. Large companies invest big bucks in research, development and marketing. This can be done by asking for feedback on social media or creating debates and discussions for their customers to take part in. Imagine if you had a restaurant, you may have some special meals for a limited time only. if people are talking about them a lot and showing a real interest you could set up a vote on social media asking whether to keep that meal or offer going on for longer. This not only gains customer loyalty as you are giving them a choice, it creates more company awareness, which could lead to even more customers. This ability to be spoken about over social media and other channels creates a buzz.
Why not take these three tips and spend time on each of these and see what changes happen in your business. If you want to talk it through with a professional. At RBSS Consulting, we offer real business advice and solutions for start-ups and small businesses that want to start right and grow profitably.
For more information contact RBSS Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0333 355 1696.