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Tips for Finding a Competitive Edge for your Small Business

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By Debbie Gregory.

As a small business owner, you want to take advantage of every opportunity that will help you start or maintain your business. One tip is to periodically check in with your audience, so that you don’t leave potential business or revenue on the table.

One of the ways to monitor your audience is with: Market Research.  This is a handy tool that blends consumer behavior and economic trends to give you a insight into your prospect’s and/or client’s thought processes.

Benefits of market research include:

  • Developing compelling marketing materials
  • Getting ideas for expanding your products and services
  • Identifying trends before they become widespread, giving you a jump on the competition
  • Reducing risks

Once you have identified the demographic information (age, wealth, interests, etc.) of your target customers, you will want to ask questions such as: where are my prospects located, how will they find my business, how much competition do I have, what do I have to offer that puts me above the competition, and how much of a need or demand is there for what I am offering?

One of the best and most cost effective ways to gather this information is via your social media following, such as with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and even LinkedIn. You can ask for feedback, with survey participation or questionnaires to be filled out. You can vastly increase the number of responses by offering something in return, such as a discount, free shipping, etc.

Just as important as market research is competitive analysis, this is where you identify your competition by product line or service and market segment. You will want to look at your competitor’s market share, strengths and weaknesses. Is this an advantageous time to go head-to-head with a company that has been doing what you’re doing? Are you doing it differently?

Remember, even if you’re selling widgets, there is more than one place selling widgets, you just have to do it better, have more value, or a more compelling offer or a superior widget or all of the above! What shape does your planning take in order to win a greater market share?

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

VAMBOA TipsOwning and operating a small business is one of the most demanding career choices that Veterans can make. Starting a new business is not a get rich quick scheme. Most newly-minted small business owners may have to put in a lot of hours and hard work in the beginning, but it pays off in the long run. Here are some tips provided by Veteran business owners that new small business owners might find useful:

Set the standard: As the owner, your employees will do as you do. Therefore, you need to lead by example. Whether its customer service, personal grooming, keeping your business clean or any other function specific to your company, hold yourself to the highest standard, one your employees can proudly emulate.

Put customer satisfaction before profits: When your customers are thrilled with the products and service that your company provides, they will return again and again, giving you repeat business. If, as an owner, you are more concerned with profits than your customers, it will show, and customers may not do business with you in the future. Customers are what generate profits.

Don’t neglect to pay yourself. You and none of your employees should ever go without pay. If your personal finances are a mess, it will distract you from what you need to do to help your business grow.

Learn from your mistakes: Small business ownership is not an exact science. There is not one book with all of the definitive answers containing the hidden secrets that your business can use to guarantee success. Small business ownership is all about learning your customer base, the community, and how to bring your business to them. Be aware of the risks, make bold decisions, and then learn from them.

Employees are your business’ most effective resource: Learn how to delegate, and don’t micromanage. Start by hiring the right individuals to work for you, and then, let them do their jobs with you as their confident, but not stifling leader. This ties in with customer satisfaction; customers who want good service know when they are dealing with employees who truly understand their job and do it to the best of their ability, and when an employee is handcuffed by micromanagement. No customer wants to repeat business with a firm whose employees aren’t capable of providing good service.

Show up: There will be days when you won’t feel like going to work. And as the boss, it would be easy to just take the day off. But don’t let the temptation to slack off a little ruin your business… because it will, if you let it.

Keep your integrity intact: At the toughest times, it may seem conceivable to shortchange a customer or employee, or hide a receipt from the taxman. But taking ethical shortcuts will always cost you in the long run. Besides, would you do business with someone who acted unscrupulously? Others might feel the same way.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Tips from Veteran Small Biz Owners: By Debbie Gregory

NSBW SBA

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is always ready to express gratitude to the men and women who have served their country. This gratitude is expressed to those who are now braving the entrepreneurial path by connecting them with resources and benefits to start or grow their business. This week, more than ever, VAMBOA would like to offer a special salute to all Veteran business owners during National Small Business Week 2014.

President Obama proclaimed May 12-16 2014 as National Small Business Week in order to recognize entrepreneurs and small business owners as the “lifeblood” of our nation’s economy. Small businesses employ more than half of America’s workforce, and are responsible for creating almost two out of every three new jobs each year.

Each year, National Small Business Week is hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This year’s events kicked off on May 13th at Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco, CA. There are also scheduled events for this year’s festivities at Burns and McDonnell headquarters in Kansas City, MO; the Microsoft New England R&D Center in Boston, MA; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

VAMBOA is a non-profit Veteran business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. VAMBOA recognizes the special skill-set and experience with leadership that these individuals bring to their businesses and to our local, state, national and global economies. With the right resources, Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners are highly qualified to build successful businesses.

VAMBOA is here to serve as a conduit to those Veteran business owners and the resources they need to thrive.

VAMBOA advises all Veteran business owners to take advantage of the events and discussions taking place this week as part of National Small Business Week. Business owners should also be made aware that the SBA will be conducting webinars and other live-streamed events. Interested individuals can register online at www.sba.gov/smallbusinessweek. For more information about National Small Business week visit the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov.

VAMBOA: National Small Business Week Commences: By Debbie Gregory

In Recognition of Military Veterans Appreciation Month

The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

HUD Veterans Affinity Group

hosts Veterans Small Business Forum

‘Overcoming Barriers to Becoming a Successful Veteran Entrepreneur in the Federal Marketplace’

 

Keynote Speaker

Jennifer Carroll

Former Lieutenant Governor Florida

Naval Officer (Ret)

 

Monday, May 12, 2014

9 am – 1 pm

 

HUD Brooke – Mondale Auditorium

451 7th Street, S.W.

South Visitors Entrance

Washington, DC 20410

All are Welcomed to Attend

You Must Register not later than May 7th

 

If Participating by Phone

Send email to Keyvi.Boyer@gmail.com

(805) 399-1200

Code 877589#

(Call in lines will open up at 945 am following onsite reception)

Please be mindful to mute your phone using *6 when listening then you may press *6 again to unmute when you are speaking.  Thank You!

Small Business Week May 12

Each year since 1963, the president of the United States has issued a proclamation that calls for a National Small Business Week. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) promotes National Small Business Week as a way to bring into the limelight the impact that outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and others have had on the nation’s economy. These men and women strive to grow small businesses, which in turn helps to create jobs, drive innovation, and increase the nation’s economic competitiveness.

For this year’s National Small Business Week, the SBA has planned several events that will take place across the country in order to engage the small business community and emphasize their importance to America’s economy. These events will include activities designed to engage attendees, including panels and forums that will discuss small business trends, networking events, award ceremonies and informational seminars.

The planned events are scheduled for the following cities:

May 12- San Francisco, CA:

This event will involve speakers from the small business, government, consumer and high-tech communities. The event will be held at Twitter’s headquarters and will include instruction on how to utilize social media to help drive your business growth. Click here for more information or to register for the San Francisco event.

 

May 13- Kansas City, MO:

This event will include networking opportunities, discussion panels and information sessions. It will be held at the Burns and McDonnell headquarters. Click here for more information or to register for the Kansas City event.

 

May 15- Boston, MA:

This event will include discussion panels, matchmaking sessions and information sessions. It will be held at the Microsoft New England R&D Center. Click here for more information or to register for the Boston event.

 

May 15- Washington DC:

This event will include networking sessions, discussion panels and guest speakers. It will be held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

 

May 16- Washington DC:

This event will include an awards breakfast, networking sessions, resource expo, awards luncheon and information sessions. It will be held at the FHI360 Conference Center. Click here for more information or to register for either day of the Washington D.C. events.

 

Throughout National Small Business Week, there will also be webinars and other live-streamed events.  Interested individuals can register online at www.sba.gov/smallbusinessweek. For more information about National Small Business week visit the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov

VAMBOA: National Small Business Week May 12-16, 2014

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