Starting a Business For the Wrong Reasons

Statistics has it that 95% of businesses fail within it’s first 5 years, and 80% of businesses that survive pass the 5 years period will eventually fail.

Why do businesses fail (and this include online businesses such as a website/blog like this one)? One reason is because most entrepreneurs start their business for all the wrong reasons. It is nice to think that once you open the doors to your business, that you’re soon going to get rich. But it’d never work that way for anyone. Are these the reasons why you want to start a business:

To make a lot of money and never have to work again.
So you can have more time with your family and friends.
You are your own boss and no one can tell you what to do.

If these are the reasons why you want to start a business, you are not wrong, but this is what everyone else wants out of their business and most of them have failed again and again. So, try to consider the follow reasons why you should start business, and I hope this can solve some entrepreneurs’ headache:

1. You Believe in Your Business – This phrases is talked about many times, but most people only start a business because they saw someone else start the same business and gain success. They don’t believe in what they’re doing. All they want is to get rich as quickly as possible, so they can sell their business and be done with it. I know, because I was like that before, and still somewhat like that now. It is a poison that will kill any business. It is alright if the business your passionate about is already done by so many people; for example, I like network marketing, so even after I’ve been told many times not to start a “network marketing” website because there are already so many “network marketing” websites out there, I still do. Just make sure that you love what you’re doing and based on educated investigation, have strong believe that your business will fulfill a “real need” in the marketplace.

2. You Are a Leader – You have the skill and courage to take charge when an intelligent solution is needed. You are the tribal leader and everyone wants to follow your lead. You are most knowledgeable when the situation gets tough. You care about your fellow man and show this in your honesty and integrity. You get along with and can deal with difficult individuals.

3. You’re in Good Health – You exercise regularly and have the mental stamina to withstand challenges that might cause your business to fail. It is often overlooked, but health issues is the cause of many business failures. The reason is quite simple, if you’re running a small business and you’re in the hospital for sometime, who else will look over your business for you. Family members and friends? Can you really trust them with your business? Do they know how to operate the business in an effective way? Also, you can lose business deals if the companies you’re partnering with know that your incapable of watching over your business because of your poor health issue.

4. You Have a Strong Will – Failures can’t defeat you because you will just get up and start again. Many businessmen and businesswomen fail horribly, but they just get back on their feet and start again after learning from their mistakes. For example, Donald Trump was once in debt 900mil dollars and his businesses nearly went bankrupt, but he never backed down, and evidently he made it back to the top. He’d paid off all his debt and now he’s a multi-billionaire. So, even if you fail, learn from your mistakes and use those lessons the next time around. You have the drive, determination, patience and a positive attitude to succeed.

Facebook Etiquette for Business

Your personal Facebook and Facebook business pages should remain separate, with no crossover. There are different etiquette standards for each. Of course, there will be times when you have a Facebook friend who is also a Facebook fan.

Many business owners (the same business owners who initially only considered Facebook to be a social media site that they forbid their employees from using during work hours) have discovered its potential for extremely effective selling and business relationship building.

Your content in the two different types of Facebook accounts should be different and the communications that you have with that person should be different as your fan than as your friend.

Should you build your social media marketing campaign through your personal Facebook or your Facebook business page? When it comes to social media, there is a great deal of subjectivity; however, some of the options will be presented to you here so that you can make an intelligent and informed decision when it comes to social media and what is most appropriate for your particular business.

The benefits of a Facebook business page

If you publish content on your Facebook business page, you have a good chance that it will be included in search engine results, which may, in turn, strengthen your chances of good search engine optimization (SEO).

Facebook Insights (analytics) allows you to measure and monitor your effectiveness on Facebook. For example, if you notice that your postings are being hidden from the newsfeeds of one of your fans, your content is not effective.

If a person wants to become your fan on a Facebook business page, he or she does not have to display his or her personal profile to be able to connect with your business. This eliminates the privacy concerns that many people have.

There are many things that you should do when you have a Facebook business page to generate more business. There are also things that you should not do when you have a professional page because it isn’t polite and will not produce any positive results.

Dos

Promote your upcoming events: If you are holding an event (in a physical location), make sure that you let your Facebook professional connections know about it. Give them as many details as possible so that they will want to attend the event. Chances are very good that if your professional connections are able to attend your event, they are local people. They may encourage some of their business connections to come along also. The more attendance your event gets, the better it is for your business. You have a great chance of continuing the relationships with those business connections if you have been able to interact with them at your event first. You will see that they will keep coming back to you to do business.

Offer online coupons: A good way to entice people to buy what you are selling is to post “online only” coupons on your wall for your products. The coupons should offer some appealing discount or bonus offer and the incentive will be that anyone who orders from your business’s Facebook page will be able to take advantage of the promotion. This will go a long way toward turning regular customers into loyal customers. You are expressing gratitude toward them for going above and beyond when it comes to following you. The strategy will strengthen the bond in your relationship.

Product research: The customers who target your business and become your fan on Facebook are probably much more interested in your business than average customers. Those people will be more than happy to provide you with feedback for your business that is valuable for your business. If you are thinking about either improving your existing products or investing in new products, you should think about sending a survey to your most dedicated fans to learn their opinions about it. This will give you very valuable insight into what your customers are thinking and what they would like your business to offer and it will also clearly communicate to them that their opinions, feelings and ideas are valued by you and your business.

Don’ts

There are certain etiquette rules that you must follow no matter which type of page you choose.

Don’t post on your wall numerous times a day: No matter what you are trying to market, don’t post numerous times on your wall. This will definitely annoy people more than intrigue them.

Friend requests and then some: You shouldn’t send out a friend request accompanied by information on your business. You should always keep your personal connections and your business connections separate.

Don’t ignore your fans: It is essential that people feel that you and your business are approachable and that feedback is welcomed and will be taken seriously. However, you need to be discriminating when it comes to responding to feedback. There is definitely a balance that you need to achieve when it comes to feedback response. You don’t want to ignore all of the comments that you receive. If you do that, before very long, people will stop paying attention to you and your business. You should consider which comments will help you to strengthen your reputation and exposure as a business owner and share your thoughts with others by responding to those comments. Your responses to feedback will generate content on your website (through discussions) and other people will respond to you. The more discussions occur, the more content will be generated and the more people will pay attention to you and your business.

Using a personal Facebook account for business

Some people see advantages in using a personal Facebook account for business. Here are some of the advantages:

You and your business will appear in people’s “Friend” lists instead of on the info tab under “Likes and interests.” This can potentially give you more opportunities to do business.

The personal Facebook account makes you appear more human and less business like. There are many people who will find this extremely appealing and will be more inclined to interact with you.

Conclusion

Whether you are more comfortable interacting through your personal Facebook account or your Facebook business page, it is very important to follow the appropriate rules of etiquette. You should state, up front, what your intentions are when you approach someone about connecting with them. In this world of social media, it doesn’t take a very long time or a great deal of effort for people to get annoyed by your interacting with them if you do it too frequently or too aggressively. You need to make sure that you are always sensitive to other people and that you are providing them with helpful and informative information that gives them exactly what they need and want in the quantity that is good and comfortable for them.

The Engineering Business Plan and the Business Model

Separate from a Business Plan is the Business Model. The Business Model is nothing more then a description of the means and methods the firm will employ to earn revenues projected by the Business Plan. The Business Plan describes what the business wants to accomplish and what resources it will use to reach those objectives. The model represents the business as a system of a series of steps (actions) to generate revenue and make a profit. The model includes the components and functions of the business, as well as the revenues it will generate and the expenses it incurs.

The traditional Civil Engineering Business Model is as simple as the engineering company and the customers within a key market like Land Development. The engineering company provides the services that the customer needs and wants, and in return the client pays a fess for those services. Once the engineering company has paid all of its expenses including salaries, the company is left with its profit.

This model although simplistic works well if there is very little or no competition and there is plenty of demand for your services. But rarely is this the situation especially in a declining market. The model in most cases needs to be more robust. One needs to see the “bigger picture.” In order to support the Business Plan the Model needs to address the four main components of the business; Framework, Financial, Client, and the Offer.

Business Framework (Infrastructure):

Key Resources – What are the company’s capabilities necessary to make the Business Plan possible?
Key Activities – What company activities are necessary to implement the Business Plan?
Key Partners – What company partners are motivated to participate in the Business Plan?

Client (Current and Prospective Clients):

Segment(s) of Clients – What is (are) the targeted audience for the company’s products and services?
Communication and Distribution Channels (Marketing) – What are the means the company will utilize to reach the customer and offer them those products and services? What marketing campaigns will the company utilize to reach its targeted clients?
Client Relationship – What are the processes the company will establish to maintain its relationship with the clients?

Business Financial:

Revenue Streams – What are the company’s sources that will generate funds to support the Business Plan?
Cost Structure – What costs will result from engaging in the Business Plan? What will be the company’s expenses?

Value Proposition (The Offer):

What are the company’s products and services being offered to the market?

To sum up the Business Model – The business resources of technical staff and equipment complemented by business partners are able to offer a wide range of products and services with a particular billing rate to potential and existing clients, which are obtained through on-going marketing efforts of the company’s staff with an ultimate goal of presenting a proposal and an agreement between the client and the business to provide certain services and products for revenues.

There are multitude of schematics that are used to represent the Business Model, but they all include the four components; the Business Infrastructure, Financial Strategies, Clients, and the Offer or Proposition. In order to get to the end result, revenues, each of these four components of the Business Model must be operating at the best level of efficiency in order to obtain the most revenues. Failure in any step will either reduce the amount of revenue or completely run your business out of business.

It would be difficult to provide services or products to your clients if the resources necessary were inadequate. Imagine if your firm was contracted to provide a Technical Drainage Study for a 200 acre site, but you were not capable of analyzing a proposed open channel using any of the available commercial software. You then have to sub-contract this work out, hopefully to one of your partner companies, to assist you in this area of expertise. Otherwise, you will not be able to provide the service you were contacted to perform.

The same is true if your firm has all of the necessary engineering design expertise it requires and has also contracted with other sub-consultants to provide surveying services, but you have no marketing expertise. Although there are a number of needy clients in your local market, you have no way of contacting them nor do you even know how to identify your potential clients. The chain is broken because there is no way for you to contract with clients to provide the services you have available. Of course, we you have no clients you have no revenues, and when you have no revenues you have no business.

Even if you have an excellent infrastructure and business partners, and you have a huge pipeline of clients that you obtained through marketing, all will be for not if your proposals do not provide your clients with the necessary services they need at a fair price.

The Engineering Business Model a tool that assists the company to implement the Business Plan. A properly prepared Business Plan and a well designed Business Model will focus your company on the task at hand, which is to obtain contracts and clients and to produce profits. If you have not already done so, now is the time to either put together your first business plan or update an existing one. Once completed, the plan is a resource with a great deal of information. It will make you well of aware of competition, the market, and your company’s capabilities. Updating the plan regularly will keep you well informed on what is happening in your business.