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How to Grow (or Not Grow) Your Small Business - dummies. By Steven D. Peterson, Peter E. Jaret, Barbara Findlay Schenck Many small businesses want to and always will remain small. Other businesses start small with the dream of growing big — sometimes very big. Behind that growth is a well-thought-out business plan along with the drive and the resources to get there. An entrepreneur who started a stereo shop in a small Illinois college town created just the kind of friendly, cluttered, slightly disorganized atmosphere you’d expect to see in such a place. The unbeatable combination of quality, service, and price soon made the store a huge success — and the owner began to dream about expanding into a chain of stores throughout the Midwest. We’d like to say that this idea sounded good on paper, but the owner never even put his business plan in writing. The laid-back, disorganized style worked fine for a single store with a garage-worth of inventory, but it turned out to be a disaster for the small chain.

The challenges of growing a business - and how to meet them. Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions - what worked a year ago might now be not the best approach. All too often, avoidable mistakes turn what could have been a great business into an also-ran. Recognising and overcoming the common pitfalls associated with growth is essential if your business is to continue to grow and thrive.

Crucially, you need to ensure that the steps you take today don't themselves create additional problems for the future. Effective leadership will help you make the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future. This guide highlights the particular risks and mistakes that most commonly affect growing businesses and outlines what you can do about them.

Keeping up with the market Market research isn't something you do as a one-off when you launch your business. The more you succeed, the more competitors notice - and react to - what you are doing. 10 Ways to Grow Your Business. When you first started your business, you probably did a lot of research. You may have sought help from advisors; you may have gotten information from books, magazines and other readily available sources. You invested a lot-in terms of money, time and sweat equity-to get your business off the ground. So...now what? For those of you who have survived startup and built successful businesses, you may be wondering how to take the next step and grow your business beyond its current status. There are numerous possibilities, 10 of which we'll outline here. Choosing the proper one (or ones) for your business will depend on the type of business you own, your available resources, and how much money, time and sweat equity you're willing to invest all over again. 1. 2.

"We chose franchising as the vehicle for expansion because we wanted an operating system that would allow ownership on the part of the staff operating Young Rembrandts locations in markets outside our home territory," says Bette. 3. Compare Intellectual Property Protections - Copyright, Trademark, Utility Patent, Design Patent. Who typically seeks this protection? What does it protect?

What benefits does registration/filing include? How long does it last? Who typically seeks this protection? Authors, artists, choreographers, architects, and other creative professionals. What does it protect? Original works of authorship, including books, articles, plays, songs, photographs, sculptures, choreography, architectural works, sound recordings, motion pictures, and other creative works. What benefits does registration/filing include?

Copyright registration greatly enhances one's rights by providing legal evidence and public notice of ownership, and by allowing the copyright holder to bring suit in federal court in cases of infringement. How long does it last? A copyright typically lasts the author's lifetime, plus an additional 70 years. Business and product owners. Any name, word, slogan, symbol, design, and/or image that identifies a business or brand and distinguishes it from others. Inventors. Inventors and designers. The tech companies with the most patents in 2014. Patents are the lifeblood of the tech industry—and if last year’s numbers are any indication, that sector is performing with vigor. More than 300,000 utility patents—those are the ones for inventions, rather than designs—were issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office last year, a record high.

Such patents allow companies to put their inventions on lockdown for up to two decades, reaping rewards for significant R&D investments. And there’s another incentive: allowing businesses to stock up their intellectual property warchests and fortify their legal defenses. “If you’re a bully you’re not going to pick on the big kids,” says Larry Cady, vice president of marketing and senior patent analyst at IFI Claims Patent Services, a firm that maintains a database of patents. “You’re going to pick on the pipsqueaks.” So which companies are the head honchos? Well, we dug in anyway. Here’s what we found. Difference Between Copyrights & Patents. Intellectual Property - Small Business Encyclopedia.

Definition: The ownership of ideas. Unlike tangible assets to your business such as computers or your office, intellectual property is a collection of ideas and concepts. . There are only three ways to protect intellectual property in the United States: through the use patents, trademarks or copyrights. A patent applies to a specific product design; a trademark to a name, phrase or symbol; and a copyright to a written document. All three methods have limitations--there's no one perfect way to protect an idea. Copyright Protection A copyright will protect the following categories of works: literary worksmusical works, including any accompanying wordsdramatic works, including any accompanying musicpantomimes and choreographic workspictorial, graphic and sculptural worksmotion pictures and other audiovisual workssound recordingsarchitectural workscomputer programs (sometimes the graphical user interface) and websites Ideas or concepts do not have copyright protection.

Patents Trademarks. 6 Reasons All Business Owners Should Register Trademarks | BusinessCollective. Many business owners and entrepreneurs wonder whether they should trademark their company name. I was one of those people, but once I began researching the pros and cons, the answer was crystal clear. It shouldn’t even be a question for anyone who also wants to protect their company. First, some background: in early 2015, after we changed our name from AQB to Fourlane®, we promptly applied for a trademark on Fourlane and our sister company, POSWarehouse®. Both names now have approved trademarks, or in this case, “service marks.” A trademark and a service mark really aren’t different. It just depends whether you have a product or service. A trademark — designated as ™ — is used for words, phrases, symbols or designs to identify and distinguish the source of the goods of one party from others.

It protects against impostors and copycats. What is a Trade Secret? Broadly speaking, any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. Trade secrets encompass manufacturing or industrial secrets and commercial secrets. The unauthorized use of such information by persons other than the holder is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret. Depending on the legal system, the protection of trade secrets forms part of the general concept of protection against unfair competition or is based on specific provisions or case law on the protection of confidential information. The subject matter of trade secrets is usually defined in broad terms and includes sales methods, distribution methods, consumer profiles, advertising strategies, lists of suppliers and clients, and manufacturing processes.

Forbes Welcome. Market Positioning Strategy | Complete Guide | Smartling. Next, you want to conduct a thorough competitor analysis to understand who they are, what strategies they use or may have planned, how they may react to your strategic actions, and how your actions may influence their behavior to your advantage. Some of the data you’ll need is easy to find. Some will take time and effort to gather and analyze. As long as you understand that this process will aid the development of your own marketing strategies – and help locate needs in the market that aren’t being met – then maintaining the motivation to see the process through shouldn’t be a problem. A thorough competitor analysis can be broken down into four subcategories. Competitor Objectives — These aren’t necessarily financial objectives, and may instead relate to market share or growth rate.

Competitor Positioning Analysis Supplier Power — How easy is it for suppliers to raise prices? Competitor Compare and Contrast Develop a Unique Positioning Idea Drafting a Positioning Statement Amazon.com. How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales. 7 Ways to Boost Your Small Business’ Sales on a Tight Budget. No matter your budget, there are always ways to increase your sales and grow your business. But one of the trickiest aspects is increasing your sales when your budget is tight. Whatever the reasons are, it could be challenging to increase your sales while keeping your marketing and advertising dollars under control. Below are seven ways you can boost your small business sales even if you’re working with a tight budget. 1.

Talk to Your Current Customers Your current customers are one of your best resources for increased revenue. If you’ve built a relationship with your clients, and they consider you a trusted partner, then they are likely willing to share current challenges they are facing. 2. Many small businesses have found success by selling bundled products and services as a package rather than individual offerings. 3.

Your current customers are also a great asset in providing you with client referrals. 4. 5. 6. The Four Ps of Marketing. Marketing Mix, a term coined by Neil Borden, are the ingredients that combine to capture and promote a brand or product’s unique selling points, those that differentiate it from it’s competitors. The ideas behind Borden’s model were refined over the years until E. Jerome McCarthy reduced them to 4 elements called “The Four Ps.” This proposed classification has been used by marketing companies, branding agencies and web design companies throughout the world.

The Four Ps Model Product – The first of the Four Ps of marketing is product. How to Use the Four Ps of Marketing? We have developed a dedicated marketing process often used with our Cleveland web design and marketing clients. What do consumers want from your product or service? Of course the list we use is more complete, but we hope the few questions listed above can give you a good starting point in understanding the four Ps.

Final Words. Should You Give Up Equity for the Sake of Growth? Sustainable, growing businesses, especially those in the middle market (typically $20 million to $1 billion in revenue), are in the best position to grow further. They have strategic assets they can leverage, they have the organization and tools to sustain growth, they are more nimble than their larger competitors, and they have more strategic choices in front of them than small or large businesses. Often, however, midmarket businesses are capital constrained. So how do you capture these growth opportunities? The default choice is to live within your means and only pursue growth that can be funded from within the business. That means that instead of expanding to 10 new cities this year, you must limit yourself to one.

Is growth from existing cash flows the right choice? In most cases, it is, despite the risk of forgoing profitable growth. 1. The most important factor in raising equity is a proven business model. 2. 3. 4. 5. It's not enough to have an investor who has the cash. 6. Small Business Financing: Debt Or Equity? Small businesses often need money. This is especially true for companies in the beginning stages of development. Finding that money can be difficult. Tighter lending standards and venture capitalists still recovering from the recessionary fallout are producing an environment in which funding is a challenge. There are two basic types of funding available to small businesses - debt financing and equity financing.

As a small business owner, which is best for you? Debt FinancingPurchasing a home, a car or using a credit card are all forms of debt financing. You are taking a loan from a person or business and making a pledge to pay it back with interest. The advantages of debt financing are numerous. The downside to debt financing is very real to anybody who has debt.

Finally, although you may be an LLC or other business entity that provides some separation between company and personal funds, the lender may still require you to guarantee the loan with your family's financial assets. 12 pros and cons of raising money vs. bootstrapping. For startup founders, it's an age-old question: is it better to bootstrap or to raise funding? It certainly depends on your goals and your industry to some extent. But if you're new to the startup world, what variables should you look at to determine which is better for your company in the long run? To find out, I asked 12 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) when it's necessary to involve outside investors. Their answers are below. 1. While the answer depends on the type of business and business model, it's often critical to raise money instead of bootstrapping if you really need to accelerate growth or invest in product development.

Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc. 2. That being said, some of our happiest clients never took on third party financing. Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC 3. If you're in a space where the first to market will have a massive moat that will be hard to compete against, raising funds will be necessary for success. Brennan White, Cortex 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. J.R. 9. 6 Tips for a Successful Private Lending Practice | Pacific Private Money Loans. 2012 was our fourth full year in the private money/hard money lending business. Last year we originated 165 loans, making our four year total surpass 450 privately-funded loans.

There are tremendous opportunities today for private money loan brokers. We found the following disciplines helped tremendously in growing a thriving private lending brokerage. Stay local. The private lending business model is most successful when you focus locally. Most of your loans should be within 100 miles of your office. 5 Real World Examples of Forecasting a New Product. Monitoring the financial performance of your business. 10 Metrics Every Growing Business Must Keep An Eye On. 7 Seed-Stage Funding Sources That Might Finance Your Startup. How to Forecast Revenue and Growth. Differences in Business Entities. Five Reasons Why a Small Business Should Incorporate. How to Establish a Sole Proprietorship in Florida.

Choose Your Business Structure. Form an LLC in Florida | How to Start an LLC. How to Do industry Analysis, Examples, Steps, Porter Model. PEST and SWOT Analysis for Business Industry & Competitive Analysis. Industry Analysis. • Industry Reports | Statista. Keep Up With Industry Trends to Stay Relevant | The Fast Track. Business Plan vs Business Model Canvas. Business Model Canvas Tutorial. Why the Lean Start-up Has Serious Flaws. The Beginner's Guide to Lean Startup. What is Customer Development? Crowdfunding for small businesses explained. How to Raise Money for Your Business. Ivyexec. Forbes Welcome. Four simple steps to defining and reaching your target market. 10 Businesses That Failed to Adapt. Five Steps To Business Creativity. Why Companies Fail—and How Their Founders Can Bounce Back - HBS Working Knowledge - Harvard Business School. What Makes a Good Opportunity?, Starting a Business Article. How The Most Creative People In Business Generate New Ideas.

Introducing the Happy Startup Canvas – The Happy Startup School – Medium. 6 Stories of Super Successes Who Overcame Failure. Why do people become entrepreneurs? 10 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs. Forbes Welcome. 19 Books Every Creative Entrepreneur Should Read This Year. Forbes Welcome. 5 Signs You Have What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur. 12 Habits Of Successful Young Entrepreneurs. The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs.