Now is the best time to start your business

There is always a discussion around what age is the best for starting up a business, and a recent article shows that for some it might be around 40. Another article looks at the argument of whether there is a link between age and business success, which really shows it is a moving scorecard of pluses and minuses.

In some ways it is academic, you can be 15 or 51 (or 61 or more) and if you have a business in mind the opportunity is still there for you. Here in the UK we have specific business support for young people (equally useful for those more mature), as well as the older generation . While some businesses have self-defining age limits or restrictions, I agree with the view in the first entrepreneur article that suggests “timing is everything”. Continue reading

Helping hands

You can expect that an entrepreneur has all the acumen and drive to succeed. But everyone benefits from guidance, help, training and insight. And for those entrepreneurs who have already succeeded, it is good to see them putting something back. Some recent developments must surely be welcome in helping more entrepreneurs get started or in developing further. The Hip-hop star Dr Dre along with music industry aficionado Jimmy Iovine have donated $70 million to the University of Southern California (USC). The USC newly created academy will provide a four year programme for undergraduates in areas of marketing, computer science and the arts. It will also include 1-1 mentoring and interaction with names from the entertainment industry. Continue reading

Setting a marketing budget

Last month Joe explained that setting a budget is essential before preparing a marketing plan. But how do you set a budget? What is a realistic spend on marketing?

For those of us working for others usually our budgets are set, or increase year-on-year, or based upon a calculation that says “it will cost you XX to do this so we will give you XX plus a bit more” (or more likely a bit less). But if you have a blank sheet of paper then how do you calculate a suitable budget? Continue reading

Slow Start – the cautious approach also works

For many people the risk of starting their own business may stall their attempts – But there is another approach that sees many people start small and grow. For such people working full-time while spending the rest of their time developing their business does work. Really it’s a logical next step from developing an initial business idea which probably developed over days at work and working out the details in the evenings and weekends. By taking this start small approach it allows the business to be almost self-funding and takes away many of the risks associated with launching a brand new business. This model does make economic sense as well – big companies like Apple may introduce brand new products to the market, but they don’t stop doing what they are doing while doing this. Continue reading

Speak with your prospects

What’s the best way to reach new prospects? Any way that works is the short answer. Big business talks a lot about the customer experience, multi-channel integrated marketing, open rates, conversion rates, sales pipeline and Return-On-Investment (ROI). The traditional view is that you do direct marketing, and then build on that with telemarketing. For many small-medium businesses it can be worth talking to the experts and fine tuning to obtain the best possible results – But what do you do if you are a really small business or a start-up? – what have been termed micro business – You don’t have a marketing department, you don’t even have a marketing budget, you don’t have people who know how to design an email that won’t be seen as spam or take people to a design-rich landing page that tracks unique customer ID’s and works on mobile devices as well as computers. Your six year old daughter can probably design better marketing posters that you can, and your idea of high value prospects is the telephone list in front of you. Continue reading