20 Free Tools Your Small Business Should Be Using Today

Come by June 10th and find out How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 1. This is a small business series.

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Although your small business needs a healthy amount of software to conduct operations, it’s not necessary for you to spend a fortune on web-based products. In our comprehensive testing of business and consumer software, we’ve come across dozens of incredible and free solutions that can help you get the job done. We’ve tested free tools in almost all facets of business — from email marketing to endpoint protection to project management.

To find out what these 20 free tools are, click here.

Reviewing Your Successes

Success

Do you ever go back and review your past successes? I was looking through my notebook this morning and was looking at what I wrote for my past experiences to see where I am and can go within my business. I have, Some College, which basically means I quit, I gained much business and networking experience through the Britt Worldwide Education System I joined through AmWay, but most of all my greatest experience is I make it through all the tough times that life tries to throw at me. I have learned through that I can accomplish anything I put my mind and heart to. I believe we should look at what we have gone through to get where we are today to give us the encouragement to go to the next level in our lives.

I was speaking with a friend last night who is an event planner and she was telling me on Wednesday she was thinking her week was a bit slow and she needed some new events to come in. Thursday showed up and she received two new clients, both referrals. Like I always tell her when she starts getting discouraged is that she always makes it work and always succeeds.

Just remember all that you have accomplished. Look back at the trials life has tried to bring you down with, then look at where you are today. You made it. If you can make it then you can make it now.

 

Have a blessed day.

Jacqueline H. Waller
www.connectingatlanta.net
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Recurring Revenue and Week Over Week Growth

David Cummings on Startups

Recurring revenue is incredibly powerful for startups. On the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) front, recurring revenue gets combined with strong gross margins, strong renewal rates (hopefully!), and strong predictability. Only, it’s incredibly difficult to get the engine going. Paul Graham says growth of 5-7% per week is good (see his Growth essay).

Let’s look at how a 5% per week revenue growth rate looks from a base of $5,000:

  • End Year 1 – $63,000 (based on 5,000*1.05^52)
  • End Year 2 – $800,000 (based on 63,000*1.05^52)
  • End Year 3 – $10,100,000 (based on 800,000*1.05^52)

As an example, Pardot’s revenue growth rate was solid, but no where near those numbers. Is 5% per week growth great? Absolutely. Is it realistic after the first year or two? Not likely. Over time the law of large numbers kicks in and growing 5% per week becomes nearly impossible.

Another way to look at it would be start with 5% per…

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23 Corporate Culture Ideas for Entrepreneurs

David Cummings on Startups

Now that we have the 3 Must Read Culture Guides for Entrepreneurs, let’s summarize the most important ideas that every entrepreneur needs to know. Some are common sense, some don’t make sense until you’ve experienced it, and some fluctuate with time. Regardless, culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage for an entrepreneur and needs to nurtured and worked on just like anything else in a high performing startup.

Here are 23 corporate culture ideas for entrepreneurs:

  1. Culture is the collective of people
  2. Culture’s influence permeates outside the organization
  3. Culture is the only thing completely within the control of the entrepreneur
  4. Culture starts with the entrepreneur
  5. Culture must be intentional
  6. Culture is different for every startup
  7. Culture that works at one company isn’t guaranteed to work at another
  8. Culture must be defined and nourished
  9. Cultures can be completely different between two startups and still be effective for both
  10. Culture isn’t…

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One Way Government Can Help the Startup Community

David Cummings on Startups

One of the regularly debated topics is government’s role in the startup community. According to the Bolder Thesis, successful startup communities have to be entrepreneur-led, and not government- or nonprofit-led. A common government initiative is to try and help with capital (see the Invest Georgia Fund). Except more capital doesn’t create more investable opportunities. More successful startups creates more investable opportunities.

There’s one immediate way government can help the startup community: connecting local businesses with entrepreneurs. Customer acquisition is the number one challenge for startups. Local businesses, especially larger employers, actively work to maintain strong ties with the government to help keep the region moving forward. These relationships between government and influential employers are perfect to parlay into a “Buy Local” campaign.

Imagine events similar to the ATDC Industry Connect whereby select businesses are assembled to hear pitches from a curated group of startups. Much like Y Combinator’s Demo Day

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HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Business Plan

” When you make the decision to go into business for yourself, which is an awesome decision, however it encompasses a lot. One of the first things to do is start developing your business plan.

The first step in writing a business plan is to gather your thoughts as to why you want to own your own business, then write them out in as much detail as possible this is very important, even the Bible states (write it out, be clear, so that those that read it, can understand and help) paraphrased Habakkuk 2:2. This is key in developing a Strategic Plan, which will allow you to develop a solid overall business plan.

It is important to understand that a business is always evolving, it is also important to document every aspect of your business as you enter the Start Up phase which is generally the 1st 18mos to 2 years of actual business operations.”

Some of the key components in developing a Business Plan:

  • Company Name and Address
  • Vision, Mission, and or Purpose Statement
  • Company and Leadership Background
  • Product Description
  • Marketing Plan
  • Day to Day Operations Plan
  • S.W.O.T. (Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats. ) Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Capital Requirements (Financial and or Equipment)
  • Financial Statements
  • Confidentiality Statements

Article Contributed by Darryl A. Walker Sr.
C.E.O. Roundtable Consulting Group
“At this Roundtable We don’t do business as usual but with Excellence
Please visit them online at rcgconsultllc.com

Watch us Live 7/31 at 6PM Est

 

How To Start A Business With Only $100 In The Bank

100 bill

Chris Guillebeau is a writer, entrepreneur, and traveler. His latest book, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, is now a New York Times bestseller. During a lifetime of self-employment and ventures ranging from online publishing to volunteer work in West Africa, he has visited nearly every country on earth before the age of 35. Host of the World Domination Summit, an international gathering of creative people, Chris is focused on encouraging individual quests while also “giving back.” His main website, ChrisGuillebeau.com, is visited by more than 300,000 people a month.

What are your top three tips for a $100 startup to get off the ground?

  1. Turn your general idea into a specific idea. What’s the product or service? Who is going to buy it? How will you get paid? Again, be as specific as possible.
  2. Don’t wait to get going. Aim for 30 days or less to actual startup time. Do whatever it takes to make that happen — get a free website fromWordPress.com, sign up for a PayPal account if you don’t have one, and put your offer out to the world even if you don’t think everything is 100% ready.
  3. Tell everyone you know about what you’re doing. Don’t spam people, but do contact your friends to say, “Hey, I’m doing this thing — want to help? Can you spread the word?”

Click on the Forbes link for the full article and to get the 4th Bonus Tip!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2012/05/31/how-to-start-a-business-with-only-100-in-the-bank/

Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites For Fundraising

Crowdfunding

Testimony

This is what Askchazzellis had to say about his experience with #CrowdFunding:

“The thing that I love the most about crowd funding is that it allows the people to have a chance to choose what they want while allowing the creator to connect with his or her fans. I got into crowd funding earlier this year and although it was stressful at times, I felt that it gave me much more control over my own destiny than waiting for a corporate person to take interest and fund my project. Crowd funding can be difficult because getting several people to be interested and want to support a project can be tough. You end up trying different things so that you can find out what works. I started my project expecting to get most of my money from#family members and they actually participated less than anyone. I realized that#fans and people that I have come in contact with in the business are more likely to understand my vision and want to be a part of it. Crowd funding is a great way to find your core audience and know who to direct you efforts towards. You also learn who your friends are in the industry and which relationships you really need to cultivate and which ones aren’t as important as you may have thought. Right now I am working on a campaign called Askchazzellis presents the Game Plan on Indiegogo.com and its starting slowly as the first one did but I am going to keep working it until the last day because that’s the other thing about crowd funding: you never know when people are going to show up for you.” (Please support the positive things he is doing in the dating world.

Follow this link and contribute. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/askchazzellis-presents-the-gameplan-atlanta

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I was doing some research on Crowdfunding and found this great article. Here is what I found:

Which begs the question… what crowdfunding site is best for you?

As a crowdfunding industry insider, I thought I’d give you an easy guide for which site to go to for your crowdfunding needs.

I’ll start with a tiny overview of the industry, a short primer on the different types of crowdfunding so you know what you’re looking for, and then I’ll get to specific recommendations for you.

The Crowdfunding Industry
Collaboration on the web is an area of exponential growth. Crowdfunding, or collaborative funding via the web, is one of the standouts for growth in this evolving collaborative economy.

The Crowdfunding Industry Report by Massolution put out data showing the overall crowdfunding industry has raised $2.7 billion in 2012, across more than 1 million individual campaigns globally. In 2013 the industry is projected to grow to $5.1 billion.

Some of the most interesting developments in crowdfunding, which are expected to grow in the months and years ahead, include: investment crowdfunding (becoming a shareholder in a company), localization (funding focused on participants in specific cities and neighborhoods), mobile solutions, and group-based approaches.

The JOBS Act that was passed in April of 2012 paved the way to investment crowdfunding, but the JOBS Act Rulings by the SEC have yet to be fully implemented to formally kick the market off. Expect big movement and activity in this area in 2013 and 2014.

Crowdfunding Models
There are 2 main models or types of crowdfunding. The first is what’s called donation-based funding. The birth of crowdfunding has come through this model, where funders donate via a collaborative goal based process in return for products, perks or rewards.

The second and more recent model is investment crowdfunding, where businesses seeking capital sell ownership stakes online in the form of equity or debt. In this model, individuals who fund become owners or shareholders and have a potential for financial return, unlike in the donation model.

Crowdfunding Sites To Choose From

Business owners are using different crowdfunding sites than musicians. Musicians are using different sites from causes and charities. Below is a list of crowdfunding sites that have different models and focuses. This list can help you find the right place for your crowdfunding goals and needs.

To see all 10 Crowdfunding Sites click here

Article pulled from
http://www.forbes.com/sites/chancebarnett/2013/05/08/top-10-crowdfunding-sites-for-fundraising/

Written by:
Chance Barnett
Contributor

How to Create a Fan Page

Here are some tips on creating a Facebook Fan Page

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Creating Positive Cash Flow

cashflow

For many years this was a huge challenge for me, I was that person who lived paycheck to paycheck, and even though I know I was earning enough, it just never seemed to turnout that way. Although, this will continually be a learning process for me, who am I kidding, a submitting process for me, I found a great article that can help us all. Once you have positive financial health then you give your business room to grow and flourish.

Get Rich Slowly

Cash flow basics

To gain wealth, you must spend less than you earn. This is the fundamental law of money. Framed in terms of a mathematical equation:

[WEALTH] = [WHAT YOU EARN] – [WHAT YOU SPEND]
This formula tells us two things:

  • If you spend more than you earn, you are losing wealth — you have a negative cash flow.
  • If you spend less than you earn, you are accumulating wealth — you have a positive cash flow.

The greater the gap between earning and spending, the faster you lose (or accumulate) wealth. There are only two things you can do to increase your cash flow: spend less or earn more. (Or both!) This seems obvious, I know, but smart personal finance really is this simple. Everything else — paying yourself first, investing ten percent of what you make, building an emergency fund — is done in support of this fundamental law.

To read the full article please click on the link.
http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/02/05/the-power-of-positive-cash-flow/