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Good Staff Recruitment for Small Business Owners: Shortcuts in Recruitment and Selection Lead to Staff Problems Later.

Good Staff Recruitment for Small Business Owners: Shortcuts in Recruitment and Selection Lead to Staff Problems Later.

Big business and government bodies have a personnel management section, middle-sized companies often rely on recruitment agencies, but small business owners, corner shopkeepers, sole operators and tradesmen usually go it alone when the time comes to find good staff. Small Business Owners’ Reluctance to Interview […]

Internet Economy has Created Several New Businesses

Internet Economy has Created Several New Businesses

Internet commerce needs infrastructure like an Internet backbone and Internet Service Providers (ISPS); applications like shopping cart software and payment gateways; online stores that sell over the Web; and intermediaries who facilitate Internet businesses. Major Components of the Internet Economy A University of Minnesota online […]

Advice to Small Businesses – Protect Data: Losing a Computer or Computer Data Costs Profit and More

Advice to Small Businesses – Protect Data: Losing a Computer or Computer Data Costs Profit and More

Losing a computer either physically or virtually through data loss can be catastrophic to one’s business. Think about the business financial records, client data, and personal information stored on most worker’s computers. A business is severely handicapped if that data is irretrievably lost for whatever reason. A business needs onsite or offsite storage as well as a disaster recovery plan to protect data.

Large companies have been protecting one of their most valuable assets for years with tape backup, off-site storage, and web-based storage. They know they cannot afford to have their operations down because of data access problems. However small and home-based businesses have been less diligent in taking care of their data and computers.

Data Storage Options for Small Businesses

Besides having a computer lost or stolen, the most common reason for data loss is hardware failure. Hardware failure may occur because of power surges, aging equipment, motherboard failures, or even an accidental spill. Data can also be lost because of software failures or virus attacks. To prevent a serious loss of data, a small or home-based business has several data storage options: onsite backup, off-site backup, and internet backup.

Onsite backup should be done routinely either daily or weekly. This involves creating a disk or tape backup of key data. External hard-drives that can hold 160 to 250 gigabytes of data are relatively inexpensive. After the data is backed-up, the device is removed from the computer and stored. Even computer novices can use these backup options that require only a plug into a USB port. The device acts like a hard drive accessible by the computer’s file list (found in Explorer on Windows machines).

Another onsite storage capability is available to those businesses with a server. Servers have automated backup software that copies network files. Neither hard-disk type nor server backup saves program executable files. So a small business owner must always have the original software available for re-building the computer’s configuration if necessary.

Off-site backup takes existing backup either from an external hard drive or server tape and stores that in a safe location away from the primary business.

Online or remote backup uses an internet based storage service. Two online data service companies that have helped many small and home-based businesses are Mozy and Carbonite. Most online data-backup services allow manual file selection and will schedule a full backup at specific times. It is also possible to setup incremental backups that detect and backup a file when it is changed.

To use remote data backup services, there is usually a monthly or annual fee. Software from the company is then loaded onto the business computers and begins providing a data safety net. The costs between these two services are comparable. As of September 2017, Mozy was $4.95 per week and Carbonite was $55.00 per year.

Components of a Disaster Recovery Plan for Small Businesses

In addition to data backup plans, a small business should create a full disaster recovery plan. Sensible Computer Help provides an excellent checklist of business critical data and questions a small business owner should ask to make sure that his disaster recovery plan meets all potential problems that might affect business operations. The Small Business Administration also has a downloadable guide on disaster recovery planning.

Be prepared. Do not learn the lesson of what-to-do-if-data-is-lost after it has happened. Taking precautions and creating data backup and disaster plans is just smart business.

Small Business Plan Template For Strategic Planning Management

Small Business Plan Template For Strategic Planning Management

A small business plan template, provided by the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) can be extremely helpful for an established business that is in need of strategic planning and management for a new project. This business plan sample includes an executive summary and financial […]

Small Business Using Internet as Road to Economic Recovery

Small Business Using Internet as Road to Economic Recovery

The Internet is providing a lifeline to small businesses, with 79 per cent of those questioned saying that it is making the road to recovery easier this time round than in previous recessions according to a new report released by internet service provider, Easynet Connect. […]

Every Small Business Needs a Business Plan: Establish Goals and How to Reach Them with a Detailed Business Plan

Every Small Business Needs a Business Plan: Establish Goals and How to Reach Them with a Detailed Business Plan

No matter what the business, product or service, a business plan is essential for any small business. A business plan helps determine strengths, weaknesses, competitive edge, growth objectives and financing. Every small business needs a plan.

Start with a Business Plan Summary

In two to three sentences, determine what the small business is about, what it offers and to whom. The summary is essentially the 30-second elevator speech. The summary will help determine exactly what the business is and isn’t.

Small Business Plan — Business Profile

The business profile includes all of the business basics, such as the business name, how the business is organized (corporation, limited liability corporation (LLC), sole proprietorship, etc.), who the business owners are, and outlines the product or services.

Small Business Plan — Product/Service Overview

What are the product or service offerings? Provide a detailed description of how the product or service helps customers. What sets it apart from similar products or services? Having a clear understanding of the offering will make it easier to sell and market. In the overview, include the cost. If it’s a product, what does it cost to produce the product? Be sure to include the wholesale cost (just double the production cost) and the retail cost (just double the wholesale cost) as well.

Small Business Plan – SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis helps business owners determine a small business’ strengths and weaknesses, which may include how the business is run (e.g., online versus brick and mortar) or the product and service offerings. A detailed SWOT analysis will help identify strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T). Create a grid with four quadrants. Each SWOT item gets its own box. Brainstorm all of the possible strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats the business may have. Then begin to think about how to overcome the weaknesses and threats while leveraging the strengths and opportunities.

Who is the Business’ Ideal Customer?

Small business owners should determine what their customer market looks like, including demographics. Begin to think about what a typical customer of the business looks like and acts like. For example, the market could be for 40-something stay-at-home moms who like to shop at malls. Another example is avid male runners, aged 40-60 who spend $1,000+ per year on sports equipment that live in the Northeast. The more specific the customer market, the more precisely a business can sell and market to those individuals.

Determine Competitors With a Market Analysis

Who are the business’ key competitors? How are the competitions’ offerings different? As business owners identify their ideal customer, simultaneously, identifying competitors will help uncover strengths and weaknesses — both in the business and the competition.

The market analysis should also include geographies the business will target. Is it a global business, domestic or geography specific?

Small Business Plan – Operations

The operating plan is just that, how the small business will operate on a daily basis, and it should include details such as hours of operation, staff members (current and projected), the business’ organizational structure and how it may change as the business grows.

Are there any core processes that must be followed in order for the business to be successful? Those would also be included in the operating plan.

Small Business Plan — Finances

The next step is developing a financial plan. How will the business be funded, and how will revenue be generated? It’s important to consider all of the expenses involved, from a website and employee salaries, to inventory and rent. Create a budget of all of the necessary expenses to get the business up and running, as well as expenses that could be incurred down the road (i.e., cost of expanding the business).

The financial plan should also outline how the business will be financed. Is there cash available from a savings account? Will there be investors? Will credit cards be used to finance the business? Will a business loan be obtained? Obviously, cash is king and the most minimal expenses are the best way to start a business, but that isn’t always an option.

Small Business Plan Revisions

A small business plan isn’t set in stone. Things may change and the business plan may evolve over the times. The most important thing is to have a plan. It’s difficult to get from point A to point B without a map. Business is the same way. Understanding the purpose of the business, its key differentiators and how it will operate are essential to its success.

Get started on a small business plan today!

Patrick G. Mackaronis Presents: Online Services for Small Businesses, Use the Web to Manage Operations and Administrative Tasks

Patrick G. Mackaronis Presents: Online Services for Small Businesses, Use the Web to Manage Operations and Administrative Tasks

The following is a guest post to D. Hooge School from Patrick G. Mackaronis. Patrick is the Director of Business Development for New York City-based social network Brabble. In this post, Patrick presents how online services for small business can assist small business to reach […]

Free Small Business Software: Make Running a Business Easier With No Cost Software Options

Free Small Business Software: Make Running a Business Easier With No Cost Software Options

When a small business is just starting out, the expenses can seem overwhelming. As the business owners shops for one thing after another, the start up budget shrinks so fast. Luckily, there is one spot where home businesses or small businesses can save quite a […]