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By James Pruitt – Senior Staff Writer

Newcomers Should Consider Breadth as well as Depth. In Fact, They Should Emphasize It!

Before broadening your scope, a Veteran Business Owner should develop a name for themselves in a niche field after finding demand for their services. A specific niche in the economy can ensure a minimum stream of income before the business slowly diversifies.

Remember, large online stores can suck the life out of smaller companies.  However, newcomers often have the flexibility to develop a neglected market share that the Goliaths simply don’t bother with.  These stores often miss out on the market for specialists and hobbyists.   These segments can often give entrepreneurs a foot in the door to short-term profits as well as better things to come.

Find the Right Forums

What is the key to finding the right niche? Business owners should find the right place to familiarize themselves with their audience. 

To get their foot in the door, beginning marketers should do two things. First, narrow down your focus as much as possible. Two, make sure you are part of a community of fellow travelers.

Even for eCommerce, brick-and-mortar venues still matter. Perhaps a sports league or school group may break the ice of a frosty reception and lead to promising business relationships.

Remember the importance of finding the right clients early on. These clients may provide crucial positive feedback and referrals to help your business grow.

Use the Internet to its Full Potential

Social media often provides fertile ground for new connections. Unfortunately for marketers, some people simply aren’t that active on social media. 

However, remember that the online world is full of workarounds. Some business owners simply may not use social media extensively. In such a case, the best option really is to get your start setting up social media accounts specifically for your business. 

Remember, the first customers often have the most to offer the business, in terms of feedback, referrals, and repeat patronage. The initial cultivation of these initial relationships can lead to the growth of your new social media sites.

Additionally, some of your best potential customers may avoid social media. Such clients may turn up on special interest and hobby sites. New business owners may benefit from engagement on these specialty sites. Never spam, of course, but developing relationships with fellow travelers could mean big business later. Here, the new business owner’s depth of engagement with that special interest may come in handy. 

Develop Your Company in Phases

Starting a new business occurs step by step.  In the initial excitement, the grandest ambitions may distract even the most level-headed entrepreneur. However, no one gains from pouring resources into lofty goals before establishing a proper foundation.

Remember the value of initial marketing efforts. These measures set the stage for planning the scope of the enterprise, as well as the necessary operations procedures that may become the everyday life of the business.

The subsequent phases could refine the company’s style of professionalism after its personality has been established. Here is the time to refine the culture and aesthetics to reflect the life of the company after it has already begun. 

Prioritize

On a related note, while it’s true that the devil may be in the details, the perfectionist in us may lose sight of the “here-and-now” issues that really matter. Minor tweaks in website design matter less than, for example, procuring those crucial initial contracts and finding the right supply chains.

For example, changing the font on a website shouldn’t take too much time when bigger work needs to be done. An office in its first few months can do with less than perfect décor. Sometimes, the best plan is to delay the little things, perhaps even until more specified expertise becomes available.

Summary 

Basically, new business owners should put first things first. A good business plan should come before a snazzy website, and an involved client base should precede expansion into unknown territory. The early stages of a business are an easy place to lose focus and shift in the wrong direction. These wayward shifts can waste time, and money, and in some cases even destroy the enterprise.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

Strategies for an Exceptional Business Website

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Remember the Importance of Standing Out from the Crowd

A distinctive online presence can attract new prospects. A flashy website should never occupy too much time or too many resources. However, always remember that first impressions are very important and matter. The sloppy online presentation does not do Veteran Business Owners any favors.

White Backgrounds are a Cross-Industry Staple for a Reason.

White backgrounds lend clarity, elegance, and professionalism. For this reason, eCommerce sites rarely deviate from this standard. Such a background creates the perfect backdrop for memorable, distinctive content. 

Web designers should take full advantage of the “blank slate” provided by a white background. In other words, remember to keep plenty of white space around any content you choose to highlight. Plenty of white space prevents clutter and draws attention to the important parts of your presentation.

The Layout Should Spark “Friendships” with Possible Customers.

Websites should introduce your customers to the enterprise’s personality. Angles may include the company’s values, the company’s history, and the company’s inspiration.

Strategies may include photos, biographies, and videos. Essentially, business owners should make their brand relatable. The personality of your business should be the first thing prospective customers think of when considering their buying needs.  The idea is to tell your story and keep your audience and customers engaged.

Finally, badges and awards signaling special recognition should be prominently displayed.

Make those Photos Top-Notch or even Professional.

Photos can provide a link between a prospect’s world and that of your company. Owners should place great care in making them not only good but spellbinding if possible.

Due to legal restrictions, beware of stock photos or unlicensed material. Good websites keep the pictorial content original. For example, some businesses produce their own pictures, and others hire professional photographers. The investment can really pay off.

Keep Your Website Dynamic: Add a Blog Section.

A blog section can make a site more interesting by providing information relevant to your industry. Frequent updates can hold the interest of regular customers. Thusly, Veteran Business Owners can show off their expertise and qualifications. In this way, a business owner can impress readers with their ability to meet customers’ needs.

Use the Website to Spread the Word. Promotions and Special Deals Matter.

One strategy is to “wow” potential customers with special deals. Consider any bonus inventory in your lot that may supply a catchy new sales campaign. A prominent display on your home page can distinguish you from other merchants.

Similarly, remember that small things count. A small gift or even a “thank you” at the end can go a long way in establishing goodwill between yourself and the customer. 

Conclusion

From the smallest gestures to the most outrageous deals, the content of your website should take center stage. The aesthetics should primarily function to highlight that content. 

Obviously, your operations should come first even for a web-based business. Simplicity is key, but a wisely put-together site can complement effective operations and draw new customers into your spell. 

Veteran Business Owners should always keep their priorities straight. A website should integrate with your everyday activities. No one needs distracting bells and whistles, but customers can sense your competence with a first impression that effectively and professionally displays what you have to offer. 

 

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Common Mistakes of New Internet-Based Entrepreneurs

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Choosing the Wrong Metrics of Success

Consider the industry and market. Many businesses are seasonal, especially in the eCommerce field. Short-term measurements may hold limited relevance for long-term success. In addition to sales revenue, important considerations may include customer satisfaction, customer turnover, customer engagement, as well as the cost of acquiring new clients. Feedback from customers may prove just as useful and important input for long-term growth as raw numbers reflecting factors such as sales revenue.

Remember the bottom line. Metrics such as site views are a good sign, but don’t let your head puff up until you’ve seen the end rewards. Beyond tactics such as “search engine optimization,” businesses should flesh out their intelligence with a multidimensional approach that provides multiple perspectives and can better develop strategies for the future.

Plan for a Reasonable Balance Between Supply and Demand

In the initial excitement of contract negotiation, business owners might overestimate demand for their projects. Wise entrepreneurs take baby steps while wading through the planning phase. The time for a deeper plunge is after a realistic assessment of product demand. Only after meeting demand becomes a challenge in itself should a new business expand its initial investment.

Too much product at the outset complicates a website, adds to maintenance costs, and wastes the original investment.  There is something to be said for keeping it simple.

Work Out Sales Promotion Strategies in the Early Stages

New business owners can also go overboard with their initial advertising. Remember to carefully ponder sales promotions, and tailor them to your company’s goals. Some business managers can dump money into advertising that can misfire, even harming brand image or simply wasting resources.

A tasteless, spammy, or annoying sales promotion does no one favors. Neither do wasteful practices such as carelessly executed free sample campaigns. Remember that ads should take advantage of the right time, place, and style to effectively influence potential clientele.

Prioritize Wise Contract Negotiation

Irrational optimism can doom new companies. Small business owners need to put together contracts with the worst possible outcomes in mind. Human nature tends to assume everything will go smoothly, but the inevitable snags often pop up unexpectedly. Veteran business owners should pour over contracts with a fine-tooth comb with an eye toward the life of a contract rather than the bare minimums and the foreseeable future.

Careless Choice of Advertising Partners

Remember that you have as much of a right to choose your advertisers as they do to choose you. Advertisers need to stay relevant, ethical, and lucrative. Advertisements should stay interesting and tasteful. In other words, new business owners should maintain self-respect and not get carried away in the excitement of finally receiving sponsorship.

Consider Effective Customer Contact Strategies

Email lists can provide a free method to reach prospects on demand. Remember to form these lists quickly, efficiently, and ethically. When soliciting contact information, make sure to obtain a full profile of the customer’s interests, goals, and potential. Effective customer contact lists can save a fortune in advertising later.

Conclusion

Ecommerce presents its own set of risks. Without careful contemplation, Veteran Business Owners can go overboard in the wrong direction at the outset, in ways that can quickly deplete resources. The remote nature of the online customer relationship amplifies these. Careful, realistic, and multidimensional feedback and planning can effectively prepare for success in the modern, largely internet-based economy.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Can Same-Day Pay Help a Labor Shortage?

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

“Same-day pay” saw a redefinition in recent years. The past stigma associated with same-day pay has worn down in the face of current needs. In the past, observers have associated same-day pay schemes with agencies and employers that sometimes exploit those desperate for money. However, despite the stigma, economic developments and technological advances could make these relationships more workable.

  1. Same Day Pay in the Past Historically Has been Associated with Exploitation

Some temporary agencies have always used “same-day pay” to fill labor shortages. Often, these agencies use people who may need the money more than the companies need labor. Sometimes, the agencies and their clients “fudged” the labor factor to compensate. In other words, the workers have ended up doing harder work than they bargained for. 

Developments in technology and in the economy might sand out some of the inefficiencies that prevent more streamlined processes. Remember, the “same-day work economy” keeps many workers active. Such workers may include college students, caregivers, retired people, those in difficult straits, and any number of other people who just plain have labor to provide.

On the management front, managers often struggle to find the right labor at the right moment. Companies make do with what they have, and sometimes lack the flexibility to adapt to sudden changes in the market. 

“Same day pay” can provide an incentive to bring workers on board with short notice. Sometimes companies need labor now, and in exchange can tap into any supply of people who need money today. However, small companies may have trouble developing an equitable synergy between management and worker in these circumstances.

  1. Finding People and Keeping People

The “neglected labor pool” is diverse. Often, those outside the traditional labor market need short-term gigs. In addition, many competent people have idled for years, due to the prejudice against “gaps in employment.”  

Simultaneously, many smaller businesses need good help. As these companies and these people “find each other,” the businesses and the people can grow together. The employment role can grow as the relationship grows, and the business can grow as a result.

In other words, short-term labor and same-day pay can be a blessing for workers and managers. The right strategies and processes can separate the most exploitative practices from that synergy.

  1. Payroll Service Providers Have Advanced Technologically. Fees Are No Longer as Burdensome to Business Owners or Workers.

In the past, payroll service companies charged larger fees for the processing of quick paychecks. For example, cutting a check for a same-day worker may have cost a pretty penny. Smaller businesses sometimes paid in cash, which may have prevented the best possible record-keeping.

These days, technological advances have facilitated these short-term employment relationships. Expenses for cutting a same-day check, direct deposit, or even cold, hard, cash, have relaxed. Veteran Business Owners can thank technological advances for a decreased burden in the recordkeeping department, and increased efficiency in processing their workforce payroll issues.

  1. Bottom Line

The recent labor shortage has caused burdens throughout different sectors of the economy. However, advances in the “short-term economy” could facilitate a new synergy between small business owners and even some parts of the neglected workforce. Many companies have adopted a novel practice of providing half the pay on the same day, and the balance during the payroll period. 

In general, same-day pay has become more workable with technological advances, which can help both workers and employers with their record-keeping and avoid fees. Veteran Business Owners should always consider the exploitation factor, but also consider the benefits to all parties when determining employment relationships.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

How Small Businesses Can Minimize Tax Liability in 2022

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

  1. Registering your corporation has Benefits. . . and Liabilities

One important consideration during tax season is your company’s organization, including any registration with government bodies.

Many small businesses outgrow their initial registration types. As a small organization grows, often the ownership needs to choose different organizational strategies.

Each business structure has its own “fit.” The simplest corporate structures retain the status of pass-through businesses. This category includes sole proprietorships, LLCs (limited liability corporations), and S corporations. Some of these business structures may not pay a corporate income tax.

On the other hand, these companies may lose out on other benefits. For example, companies that pay corporate taxes may receive asset protection against creditors, such as when a natural disaster forces bankruptcy and the ownership justifiably seek to keep their private assets separate from those of their enterprise.

Consider a balance of the different considerations at each stage of the development of your business. A sole proprietorship or home business almost never requires any kind of registration. Such a measure would only bring tax liabilities and nothing else. As a business grows in complexity, perhaps the benefits of registration may outweigh the tax liabilities.

  1. Charity Work Can Provide Low-Cost Marketing While Freeing You from the Taxman

As described in other posts, involvement in the community can market your ideas, services, and products. Never forget the importance of tax breaks as well. The advantages of community engagement can lift hearts and spread the message of your company far and wide, but never forget the tax advantages. Charitable contributions are deductible, as are expenses in the pursuit of community enterprises.

  1. Consider How you Treat your Employees: Tax Benefits can Arise

The IRS provides many incentives to treat employees well. For example, retirement benefits can not only improve employee retention but can also help pinch pennies when tax time comes.

For example, a 401(k) account for your employees, or even for yourself, can allow deductions in the amount of any contributions you make. As an alternative, a SEP may provide some of the same benefits to employers

More importantly, especially considering the coronavirus pandemic, several plans allow credits for employers who work to minimize the impact on their employees during the pandemic. Consider the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

Without going into too much detail about each of these Pandemic-era legislation measures, this legislation applies to employers who paid their workers during periods of lockdown, who provided benefits to such employees, and who allowed paid time off for the purpose of getting vaccinations.

The Bottom Line

Some changes may provide increased opportunities for Veteran Small Business Owners during the 2022 tax season, not least due to the pandemic. Overall, the best strategies for minimizing tax liability may arise from investigating the right organizational strategies. Remember to apply a holistic approach to balance the right strategies not only to avoid the worst tax liabilities, but to maximize benefits to yourself, your employees, and your community as well.   This article addresses generalities, and we highly recommend that you consult a tax professional with your specific questions.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/

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