People who wish to open a business can do so through three (3) different forms – sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporations. Each holds its distinct advantage over the other as well as their corresponding disadvantages. The choice of what form to take would depend on the business goals set at the beginning. It is possible for a business to initially adapt one form and change to another in the course of operation to accommodate developments that come with time.
A sole proprietorship is the easiest form among the three because of lesser documentary requirements and the absence of the need to consult several people when making business decisions. The start-up cost is lower and no payroll will be required to be set up in businesses having no employees. It is however fit for smaller scale businesses since the owner represent the company fully and legally. This means that the owner is personally liable for all actions of the company, including debts that may be incurred during operation. The ability to raise capital is very limited in this form of business.
Partnerships are arrangements between two or more people or business entities where they agree to work together for their common interests. This includes contributing money and/or industry to a common fund having the intention of dividing the profits among the partners. A partnership has a separate juridical identity from individual partners where liability can be unlimited or limited. It is dissolved when a partner dies or leaves the partnership.
The most preferred form of large businesses is the corporation. It provides the most effective business organization required in having several shareholders owning the company. That said, it is still the most difficult to create, manage, and organize due to the standard requirements to start and operate one. However, corporations usually have the advantage of having accounting, consulting, and legal professionals do the work. Shareholders of corporations are only liable to the extent of their investment in relation to the debts and obligations of the corporation.
In your attempt to start your own small business, you might find yourself meeting bumps along the way. Though I am sure that you can handle things in your own way and time, why donâ€™t you consider looking for a mentor? In a sense, the fact that you are reading this post (and you are probably reading other materials as well) means that you are seeking some guidance in your endeavor.
So what is mentoring? Smallbusiness.co.uk has this to say:
Mentoring provides a second opinion, offering constructive feedback from an individual experienced in either running a business or in your specific field of interest. The idea is that their support will advise and encourage you in your role as decision maker for the company. A mentor gives you access to a different perspective on events or issues that arise within your business, offering impartial advice.
You have to realize, however, that having a mentor does not mean that you have someone to do all the work for you.
Your mentor is not someone who will do all the work for you or try to take over. Remember that they are not an employee, but are there to help. Mentoring is not business consultancy in disguise and your mentor will most certainly not be running the business for you. Instead they can share their experience and, with you at the helm, help guide your business to success.
Think of a mentor as a teacher, a guide. Thatâ€™s it. You consult but you still do the work. So what do you think of getting a mentor?
There are so many things that a small business owner has to remember. While it may be relatively easy to start up a small business and to run it, making the business successful and efficient is another story altogether. Here are some of the most essential tips that a small business owner must bear in mind with regard to how he runs his business.
Walk the talk
Small business owners are much closer to their employees that those who run mega corporations. It does not take a rocket scientist to see this. What some small business owners forget, however, is that their employees follow their lead, down to the smallest detail. Say you like coming in late. Why canâ€™t your employees? You shout and scream at your people at the slightest mistake. Why shouldnâ€™t they as well? The idea is to set a good example by behaving as you would want others to. Never mind that you have a great employee handbook. That might not mean anything unless you show them you follow it as well.
Admit your mistakes
No one is perfect, not even the boss. Your best bet would be to admit it when you slip up and not try to whitewash things. If you opt to go the whitewashing way, guess what your employees would think of you? Guess how much they will respect you?
Deal with honest people
I am talking about your business deals. You may be tempted to sign a business deal that is so lucrative but have you checked on the other party? Are you sure they are above board? Your business deal is only as good as the participating parties. The last thing you want is to be associated with some shady entities.
In the last post, we talked about how important it is to befriend other bloggers. We talked about the importance of building your own social network of bloggers. For this post, letâ€™s look at some details on how you can achieve this.
This is important in most any undertaking, but most especially when it comes to building your own social network. Bloggers always welcome comments. When you do get comments, however, do not just sit there and enjoy them. Make sure that you reply to these comments. You can do this in two ways â€“ either e-mail or reply to the comment through the blog. You can even go one step further by writing a post on the comment. The important thing is that you make your readers know that you appreciate and value their comments.
Link, link, link
I am sure you browse other blogs a lot. If you stumble upon a blog that catches your interest and is, at the same, relevant to your own business blog, link! This will encourage to link to your blog as well.
List â€˜em down
Actively look for blogs that are relevant to your own business blog. Do this on purpose â€“ aimlessly surfing the Net is not the way to do it. Search for specific topics and then list down the blogs that you want to link up with. Make sure you visit them regularly and be active as well. Post comments, interact with the bloggers, and build relationships.
Who do you think your main readers are? If you answer is your customers, you just might be right. After all, that is your target, is it not? You want to reach out to your customers â€“ both potential and existing â€“ in order for them to know more about your company, your services or your products.
Yet have you thought about reaching out to a specific group â€“ not in terms of whether or not they are customers or not? I am talking about the countless other bloggers â€“ business, corporate, or otherwise.
The fact is that bloggers are one of the biggest groups that patronize other blogs. They know how it is like to maintain and promote a blog. They know what blogs contain and what their general goals are. As such, you should not isolate yourself from other bloggers.
In fact, it would be to the benefit of your blog â€“ and thus your company â€“ to establish relationships with other bloggers out there. This is what is called networking. You may call it what you like but the fact remains that your aim is to connect with other people who have other connections and so on.
This is what blogging is all about â€“ getting the word out on your blog and getting the juice on other peopleâ€™s blogs as well. If you do not communicate with them, then the chances are that your blog will die out â€“ either slowly or quickly, but the end result is the same.
How do you make â€“ and keep – other bloggers interested? Letâ€™s look at these things in the next post.
Aside from the reputation, commission, costumer base, and statistics other factors that you should consider when joining affiliate programs include:
- Availability of New Products – Some affiliate programs offer a limited number of products. It is more desirable to join a program with a good product line and that updates its product line frequently enough. If the affiliate program you belong to does not offer new products your regular visitors will not have anything new to buy. Looking at the big picture it just won’t work. You might make hefty profit at the outset but your income will peter out towards the end. What you want to join is something that will prove to be sustainable in the long run. Make sure though that they also have very good quality control and that the new products they offer continue to be of good quality.
- Program Reward Schemes – Find out the other ways you can increase you income when you joining that affiliate program. More often than not the good affiliate programs pay you not just the flat commission but added commission for traffic sent by your referrals. Find out how good their referral program is as well.
- Payout Details – Before signing up learn about their payment scheme. How often will they send you money? What are the withdrawal options? How much are the fees associated with these options? How long does it take to process withdrawals?
And last but not the least when it comes to anything about money make sure you always read the fine print. If you miss something important you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself.
Joining affiliate programs was once the most popular way of making an incoming through blogging, until targeted ads came along. Now affiliate ads are still very much widely used as is just as profitable, if you join the right program and get the traffic you need to make a profit.
When choosing an affiliate program to join here are some factors you should always take into consideration:
- Reputation – What is the reputation of the affiliate program you are considering to join? There are plenty of affiliate programs boasting an incredible amount of revenue but if they are not reputable then don’t believe their promises. The amount they are stating is not incredible but incredulous.
- Commission – After weeding out the non-reputable ones it is time to look at the figures. Which program offers a good commission rate? Compare the commission rates and compute how much you are likely to make in each program.
- Costumer Base – Sure the commission rates may be high but if their target customers is different from your readers then more likely than not you won’t be making any money for them or for you. Some affiliate programs have a variety of products and different commission rates depending on the product you help them sell. Compare the commission you get with the kind of readers you have in mind.
- Statistics – Checkout the statistics they provide. Opt for an affiliate program that gives you the actual numbers. Not only will the statistics provide you with more information as to the probability of success with that affiliate program but it also shows that they do know what they are doing.
to be continued…
If the thought of forming a corporation is overwhelming, but you are concerned about protecting some of your personal assets, you may want to start a limited liability company, affectionately known as a LLC. (When I first looked into starting a LLC, I called my state government to find out what I needed to do and made the mistake of calling it a limited liability corporation. Donâ€™t make the same mistake I did. Apparently, it really upsets some people. The woman I was talking to literally yelled â€œNo!? into the phone. It took me a minute to figure out that her loud response was to the use of the word corporation.)
A LLC requires very little paperwork and, with a bit of patience, you can file it yourself. However, as with anything that has any legal ramifications, you should take a minute to call your lawyer to be sure this is the right thing for you and your business. Most LLCâ€™s can be formed cheaply, but don’t forget to find out about the cost of maintaining the company. In Maryland, you will need to pay three times the amount of your filing fee each year to keep your LLC active. Iâ€™d say itâ€™s a good idea to ask for a breakdown of what you will need to pay to establish the company and what fees are required next year so you donâ€™t end up with any nasty surprises.
If you file your own taxes, you’ll really appreciate one benefit of the LLC each April – you can still file as a sole proprietorship using form 1065. Just don’t forget to make your quarterly tax payments, too.
Insurance Ensures Protection
Before you make a final decision, you should be aware that an LLC does not protect you from personal injury lawsuits. If someone falls on the banana peel you tossed by the trash can, they can sue you personally. To protect your property, you should take out business liability insurance.
Office politics will always be present in any organization that most of us work for. The choice? Well, you can either avoid it or play along. In such working environments, being in this bind is really frustrating and can really get on your nerves. Most of the time, these contribute in bringing the morale of any person down. Something like locating for a need to be able push them to work hard or finding ways to fit in so that they can grow with the company as well.
No question about it, people cannot avoid this. Culture, nature, clans, you name it; there will always be some type of politics in the work place. This is to be expected at any moment, and while the duties for any employee to undertake is very much just the tip of the iceberg. Trying to co-exist to an extent and earn a decent living with these factors around, will truly make life miserable and stressful for any person caught up in this scenario.
Culture shock may be the best way to call it, especially for people who are entering a company for the very first time. However, it has been said that most companies count the working experience as well. Maybe along with these outside the professional aspect, human relationships and ability to work with the peers are among the things that are expected for a person to be cost-effective and considered an asset for any company.
Much has been said about product or service branding but personal branding is important as well. The best way to address this is to look at actors who market themselves prior to becoming well known artists on and off the screen. It may be funny to note but the surrounding tags attached to them are the actual brands that they project. Taking this into account, it is not only image but how a person is foreseen to be. Nicknames such as â€œthe wormï¿½?, the â€œbig differenceï¿½?, the â€œtotal packageï¿½? and so on are common tags that are easily connected to a person. Branding is how people see these attachments in relation to how they are known. A distinction is more of a closer attachment to determine how well a person can recall, or in marketing terms, â€œBrand Recallï¿½?, a thing, person, place or service. This is built on how they were able to let people remember them by.
Incidentally, we all make our own branding prowess as well. A clear example is when we apply for a job. Definitely, our strong points are what we would usually market towards organizations. Effectively selling ourselves and convincing the recruitment department and the department that we are aiming for should be in line with their requirements for the person they are looking for. People wanting to be in that position can be easily spotted, and assuming to be something we are not can easily be spotted, self confidence and belief of which are the telling factors for such.