Lessons In Business – Know Your Product – Don’t Get Scammed

If you’re new to selling and marketing, this will be very important to you. If you’re a seasoned veteran its always good to take a step back and cover the basics from time to time.

Do your homework!

A lot of people get involved in network marketing because they believe the outrageous promises of wealth. There are a lot of devious and unscrupulous people hiding behind their computer screens just waiting for an inexperienced, naive person to take the get-rich-quick bait.

I’ll admit it. I’ve been suckered into paying money for useless information and promises of vast amounts of money. I fell for it. If you’ve done it too, its ok. We all make mistakes.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

If you’re going to advertise a product or a service make sure its legitimate. Contact the company that you’re going to be working with. Email them, or phone them up. Ask them about their payment plans, ask them how long it takes to get paid, ask them how long they’ve been trading online, ask about their products. If you don’t get the response you were expecting, assume they’re not serious about their business. I usually give companies 48 hours to respond to an email.

You need to make sure that the product your selling offers real value to your customers. Great products don’t need to be dressed up. If its a great product it will sell.

Once you’ve chosen a company to work with, the real work begins. You need to understand your business inside and out.

Customers will want to know why your product is better than the competition. You need to know how it works, and what the increased value is to your customers. If you feel secure and happy about the company and the product, you’ll be able to explain this to them. Imagine yourself as a customer, what would you ask before you’re happy to hand over your hard earned money? If you can answer their questions with confidence, they’ll trust you. More confidence means more sales.

If you want to recruit other people to your business opportunity you need to think of them as being customers. Affiliate marketing only works if affiliates are as happy as potential customers. Learn the payment scheme inside out. Be ready to answer questions about payment, the product and the growth of the business.

If you’re new to the business, keep notes, and don’t be afraid to refer to them. Its important that you can answer questions. Starting out in business is a learning curve. At times it will be difficult, but you’ll learn from your mistakes. Don’t give up just because you’ve had a bad day.

The Benefit Of A Good Business Education

Find out how a good education can help you succeed much faster.

Your business needs help to grow. All businesses need help to grow. This can be in the form of business advice, technical advice or financial advice. There are many organisations that advertise their experience in such matters and invite you to approach them. Each will have their specialist knowledge and they will all claim to want to know about your business. But how many have you approached that really just want to sell you their business? They give you generic advice rather than specifics and they try to make your business model fit around their advice or expertise rather than the other way around. There is something different out there though. Let me explain…

It’s all about you!

Imagine working with a company that knows your business inside out because they helped you to set it up, market it and grow it. Imagine being able to get specific information about how to finance it, where to market it and who to. Imagine having a mentor that was available to you to show you how to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that you would have invariably made if you had tried it on your own. Imagine working with a company that offered you all the above plus an amazing education package into the bargain. Sound good? Well these are just some of the benefits of belonging to a group or organisation, and getting educated by people who have already done what you are trying to do.

Getting the right information about something is always useful and business is no different. If you pay someone to show you how to do your accounts then you are not having to outlay the cost of a wage for someone else to do it for you each month when all it needs to take is an hour or so. If you want to know the best place to advertise and how to do this then you can spend lots of money trying to figure this out yourself, or you can spend less on getting someone to show you and thus saving the money on costly mistakes or ineffective sales copy.

Being taught what not to do is invaluable. Why go out and repeat someone else’s mistakes when you don’t have to? Why waste money on things that don’t work when you don’t need to? If you had decided to become a Doctor you wouldn’t have just figured things out yourself by trial and error would you? You would have spent a lot of money and time getting yourself educated properly to expedite the process and so that when you eventually became a Doctor you would be proficient and professional. Why then would you not do the same for your own business?

It doesn’t have to delay your start date

Yet another benefit of education is that you can earn while you learn. People don’t want to have to wait months going through training courses and attending seminars before they can get their business up and running. It is understandable that people just want to get on with the task of making money to pay back their investment. With the right guidance and support though, you can try things out with much more confidence and much less risk. You can ask for advice as you go along or get someone to have a look at what you are currently doing and get their feedback. This means you can start your business right away, but are not going to fall into the traps that many other new business owners find themselves in.

Most very successful people today have coaches or mentors. They rely on someone to help them to become the best they can, and they want them to be able to do this quickly. Sports people need to be at the top of their game this season not next. Politicians need to be able to get peoples votes for this election not the next and businessmen want to be able to stay ahead of the competition right now. Your business deserves no less. A mentor or coach would be a great investment and a good one will make their fees back many times over.

Tool up!

Education then, in my estimation, is most definitely the key to success no matter what it is that you are doing in life and should never be overlooked or undervalued. Get all the help you can with the latest techniques, strategies and methods and learn what not to do that will waste your money. Learn as many of the tools of the trade as you can from wherever you can and use them. If you do this then you will spend less, be more successful much quicker and have a lot less stress in your life.

Should I Establish An S-Corporation For My Business?

The sub-chapter S corporation was originally created in 1958 to provide the benefits of operating a business inside a corporation, with the liability protection of a corporation but it has many similarities to a partnership.

If a business is incorporated, the corporation will pay the taxes as a C corporation unless you elect to be taxed as an S corporation. The owners of the corporation must file an S corporation election on form 2553. It may be filed anytime during the year prior to election as an S corporation or up to the 15th day of the third month after the beginning of the year. In community property states the spouse of the shareholder must also sign. Basically, this is consent by the owners to have the profits flow through to them as individuals and not be taxed at the corporate level.

Normally S-Corporations must operate on a calendar year.

There are some limitations on who can be an owner of an S-corporation. A C corporation cannot be a shareholder, nor can a nonresident alien. The S-corporation must have 100 or fewer shareholders. There can be only one class of stock. Shareholder debt convertible into stock can be a trap and invalidate the S-election. If one shareholder sells so much as one share of stock to an ineligible shareholder it will terminate the election and the S-Corporation is not allowed to reelect for five years.

The income or losses, of the corporation are taxed to the owners, in the same percentage as they own stock in the corporation. If they own 20% of the business they are taxed on 20% of the profits, 100% ownership taxes 100% of the profits. This is reported on schedule E of their personal income tax return, form 1040.

It should be noted that an owner is not allowed to take a loss from a corporation if that loss exceeds his basis in the S-corporation. Basis is the amount the shareholder has invested in the company, including both stock and loans. It is a very important point to remember that a bank loan to an S corporation even though guaranteed by the owner does not create basis. Should the S corporation have a loss exceeding the investment by the owner, it would not be deductible by the shareholder even if covered by the bank loan the shareholder has guaranteed.

The corporation is required to pay out reasonable salaries. Much litigation has taken place on what is a reasonable salary. Wages and salaries of owners are subject to payroll taxes. Profits beyond salary can be paid out as dividends. There is a tax advantage to this. Dividends are not subject to self-employment tax. This can be a huge savings over a sole proprietor.

The IRS position on dividends seems to hold that profit in an S-Corporation needs to be generated by something other than the efforts of the owner in order for dividends to be paid and not be subject to employment tax. Realtors are a case in point. If all their income is generated by their own efforts, there is little rationale, according to the IRS, for paying out profits as dividends.

There is a fringe benefit problem with an S-Corporation. If getting health insurance and certain other fringe benefits are an issue to the owners, they should be wary of an S-corporation. Health benefits are passed through to an owner as though he received the income and paid for them himself. He is allowed to deduct them on schedule A of his personal return, but oftentimes with income limitations on personal medical deductions that does him little good.

S-elections of existing C Corporation can have tricky tax consequences. That is beyond the scope of this article. Look carefully before you leap.

Liquidation of an S-corporation is less difficult than a C corporation. The basis of the stock is usually roughly equal to the basis inside the corporation, so there is usually no gain on liquidation.

As with all corporations it is wise upon forming a corporation to file articles of incorporation and create bylaws with corporate minutes. Jump through all the legal hoops. A federal corporate identification number is required for payroll, depending on the state, a state number for payroll and corporation tax or sales tax will normally be necessary. Attorneys currently often favor forming an LLC and then filing an S-election. This will work. Some attorneys feel there is a slight advantage in doing so.

There is no magic, if you incorporate your business. Generally with very few exceptions, you are not able to deduct any expenses, which you could not deduct as a sole proprietor, partnership or other form of business organization. The standard for allowing a deduction is that it must be an ordinary and necessary business expense.

One final piece of business advice. The lawyers are quick to make the argument for incorporation as a protection of personal assets from business liability. Each case must be examined separately, because circumstances vary. However more than 30 years of business experience have convinced me the best protection is to carry adequate insurance coverage.

S-Corporations are complicated. The above gives the general rules, but the tax law, and life are riddled with exceptions. Setting up an S-Corporation is not a do it yourself project.

How to Write a Green or Environmental Business Proposal

Does your business promote energy efficiency or protect or clean up the environment? These days, working in an environmentally related business can mean a lot of things. You might be running a janitorial service or a construction cleanup business, where you need to safely handle and dispose of all kinds of waste. Or maybe you’re promoting green energy, like solar and wind power and alternative fuels. Or retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency. Or managing an environmentally friendly recycling program. The list of environmentally related business situations is long.

You know your business inside and out. You know your capabilities and what your clients need from you. You’re also looking for new clients and more business or an investor for the next revolutionary green product. So are all your competitors; these days all businesses are clamoring for attention. Sending out a form letter or posting an ad in the local yellow pages is not usually the best way to stand out in the crowd. The best way to succeed in growing your client list and landing more jobs is to master writing a business proposal.

Never written a proposal before? Don’t sweat it. Basically, all you need to do in a business proposal is:
1) introduce yourself,
2) show that you understand your prospective client’s needs,
3) highlight your goods and services and present your costs and
4) persuade the client that your organization is right for the job. Using pre-designed templates and samples along with some automation software can help you write your proposal quickly and efficiently.

Writing a business proposal for an environmentally related business is actually pretty straightforward. That’s because, no matter what your business is, all proposals follow the basic four-part structure listed in the previous paragraph.

The length of your proposal will vary depending on the size and needs of the client as well as your type of business. The average proposal is five to ten pages long, but a complex proposal could have dozens of pages, and a very short one might include only an introductory Cover Letter, a Work Order, and a Price List. A government RFP response could be 30 pages long or more.

The key to a successful proposal is to tailor it to the party who will receive it. Put yourself in the other party’s shoes. If you don’t know them well, you may need to do some research about their business and history, but this effort will pay off in creating a customized proposal that is much more likely to succeed than any form letter or price list.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t reuse a lot of the same pages for multiple proposals; it simply means that you need to target each proposal to the specific client’s needs. A proposal is a sales document meant to persuade potential clients to give you their business. To do that, you must instill trust that you can deliver the goods, research or services they need.

So, following the general order described above, you should start your proposal by introducing yourself with a Cover Letter and Title Page. The Cover Letter should be a brief; just explain who you are and include your company contact information. You should print your Cover Letter on your company letterhead. The Title Page is exactly what it sounds like: a page that introduces your proposal and names the specific project you are discussing. Some examples might be “Cleanup Services for the Ryleston Building Construction Project”, “Proposal to Construct Wind Turbines in the North Valley”, “Proposed Conversion of Corporate Fleet to Alternative Fuels”, and so forth.

After the introduction comes the client-centered section. Add topics that show that you understand the needs of your client. Depending on the complexity of the project you are proposing, you may or may not need to start off with a detailed summary (called an Executive Summary for corporate clients, or a Client Summary for a less formal project). In this client-centered section, demonstrate that you understand the prospective client’s requirements, needs, and concerns. For example, you might want to include pages that discuss issues generated by the specific project workspace or by the hazardous materials to be handled. This is not yet the place where you talk about your goods or services. The client’s concerns come first.

After the client-centered section comes your turn to shine. Add pages that describe how you can provide solutions for the client with your goods or services. You’ll add pages with titles like Products, Services Provided, Benefits, Price List, Services Cost Summary, Warranty, Guarantee and so forth-include all topics you need to describe exactly what you will provide and how much it will cost.

Depending on your business or the project you’re proposing, you may need specialized topics, such as pages that address specific concerns such as your employees’ training in safety or hazardous waste handling, etc. Add pages with details the client will want to know, such as descriptions of your Personnel, Training Plan, Safety Plan, Insurance, Equipment, Security, Quality Control, Certifications, Environmental issues, and so on.

A building retrofitting company may have to deal with many different topics at once, such as selling both services and products as well as servicing multiple locations for a client, along with all the associated equipment and logistical needs.

A recycling company may need to discuss Transportation and Facilities issues as well as Handing input, output, and waste.

Specialized cleaning services such as accident, crime scene, fire, or flood cleanup companies should include topics to discuss hazardous or biological waste handling and environmental protection issues.

A company selling “green” products may want to list materials or describe special features of their products, certifications, discuss how their products compare to competitors, or list special bundling deals or volume discounts.

After you’ve described what you are proposing to do comes the final section, where you provide your company details. Your goal is to conclude your proposal by convincing your client that you can be trusted to deliver the goods or services you have promised. Here, you’ll add pages like Testimonials, References, Awards, About Us / Company History, Capabilities, Qualifications, Our Clients, Customer Service, and so forth-all the topics you need to persuade the client that you have credibility and can be trusted.

There! You’ve written a proposal. But you’re not quite finished. Take a little time to make your proposal visually appealing; remember, you want to stand out from competing proposals. Add color and graphics by incorporating your company logo, using colored borders, and/or selecting custom bullet points and fonts that match your business’s style.

Carefully proofread and spell-check all the pages. It’s difficult to catch errors in your own work, so it’s always a good idea to have someone who is unfamiliar with your proposal do a final proof. Spell check will not catch correctly spelled but misused words.

Save your proposal as a PDF file or print it, and then deliver it to your potential client. Emailing PDF files to clients is very common; however, keep in mind that a printed, signed, and hand-delivered proposal may impress the client more. If the new business is especially valuable to you and your competition is tight, you should put more personal effort into the proposal and delivery.

As you can see, a proposal for an environmentally related business will mean something different to everyone who needs to write one. Each organization’s specific proposal pages will be different, and for maximum success, each proposal should be customized for the party receiving it.

The good news is that all proposals follow a similar format and structure, and you don’t need to start from scratch-you can find templates for all the pages mentioned in this article in Proposal Kit. The templates include instructions and examples of information that should be included on each page. The product also includes a wide variety of sample proposals, including samples for all sorts of environmentally related businesses. Using the templates and studying these samples will spark your imagination and make it easy to create your own winning business proposal.