A Definitive How-to Guide for the Business Owners

Do you own a business? Owning a business is an overwhelming task. As a business owner, you are required to consider several factors that play a major role in determining the overall success of your business. The journey is not an easy one. Starting a business of your own requires a lot of time, hard work, and efforts. As such, even after starting out, most of the fresh entrepreneurs give up. However, if you are able to sustain your business in the given competitive era, all your efforts are worth the challenges that you face in the long run.

Here are some of the important points that you must consider on your journey of becoming a successful businessman:

  • Focus: Most of the first-time entrepreneurs might feel the need for jumping at the first opportunity that comes their way. However, most of the times, the opportunities might end you up in more troubles in the long run. As such, instead of paying attention to multiple opportunities and transactions simultaneously, you must aim at focusing on a single aspect of your business –at a time.

 

  • Refine the Idea: When you are thinking about starting a business, most likely you might have a proper idea of what you wish to deliver. Therefore, you can consider refining the idea to ensure the overall success. Research for the existing competition in the given industry. Learn about what the competitive brands out there are doing to succeed, and figure out how you can deliver the same effectively.

 

  • Write a Proper Business Plan: Once you have a proper business idea in place, the next step is to come across a proper business plan. Ask yourself relevant questions: What is the aim of your business? What are your end goals? All of these questions can be easily answered with the help of a well-defined business plan. A business plan can help you in figuring out where your business is going and how you can overcome the challenges that come across your way.

 

  • Assess the Finances: There is no denying the fact that starting any business venture would come at a price. How are you going to cover the entire costs? Therefore, you must aim at assessing the finances that can help you in managing the day-to-day activities of the business, while remaining profitable at the same time.

 

Ensure the best for your business!

Top Restaurant Trends Consumers Need to Know About

Below are the top restaurant trends that consumers need to know about.  It’s important to understand them so you know what you’re getting yourself into prior to starting a business.

While the restaurant business continues getting competitive on the global edge, it is high time that you know about some of the important restaurant trends that you must adapt to remain ahead in the competition. Every year, the restaurant trends keep changing from time to time.

The restaurants out there can analyze the changing trends in the restaurant industry to ensure maximum success & profits. Here are some of the famous restaurant trends that restaurant-owners must know about:

  • Ghost Restaurants, Delivery, and Takeout: It is difficult to run a restaurant business without analyzing the overall importance of consumer preference over the conventional means of on-premise eating. In modern times, the consumers are becoming highly digital-friendly and thus, look forward to harnessing the digital media to access the wide range of restaurant services.

 

The restaurateurs across the globe are nowadays shifting to accommodating the increasing consumer preferences with respect to ensuring takeout and delivery options. Moreover, the concept of “ghost” restaurants are aimed at entirely focusing on takeout and/or delivery services is also gaining impetus in recent times.

 

  • Recycling & Sustainability: The millennials are getting more environmentally-conscious. As such, they look forward to availing services from the restaurant businesses that promote the concepts of sustainability & recycling. For instance, the restaurants that aim at conserving water and energy or promote the idea of reduced food wastage are gaining popularity amongst modern Donating surplus restaurant food items to the food banks also helps the diners in feeling good about the overall value of their money.

 

  • Offering Experiential Events: In modern times, there is no denying the fact that customers nowadays are looking forward to receiving much more than just a meal when they select a particular restaurant. They want a complete range of restaurant experience. This might include eating at some pop-up, dining delicious al fresco at some unusual location, enjoying live music or comedy while dining, eating in the dark, and so more. The customers in modern times are looking forward to paying for experiencing a premium dining feel throughout.

 

  • Optimizing the Table Turnover: As per a recent report by the State of the Industry Report 2018, when the restaurants aim for the typical 40-minute table turnover time, it will most likely increase the overall revenue & tips of the restaurants.

Call a Business and Refer Customers

Here comes the fun part after starting your online business with almost no money.  You get to call a business and refer customers.  I should change that a little.  You’ll likely have to call a bunch of businesses, but it’ll be relatively easy because you’re not really selling them on anything. Instead, you’re offering something free!

The only resistance you’ll likely have to put up with is skepticism that it’s legit, which is why we’re giving them a referral as proof.  Once you do it a few times, they’ll be happy to hear you out as you actually sell them on what you can do for them in terms of lead generation.

First thing to do is a quick google search.  Type in your keyword + city and search for a business on page 2 or further back.  Businesses who are running ads who are not on page 1 are good too.  Why?  Because the businesses on page 1 think they have enough business already, and who knows, they may.  You don’t want to give referrals to the company who’s got customers scheduled two months out because they don’t need you.  You lose your leverage.

The company you need is the one who’s looking to grow.  They’re not on page 1, but they want to be there.  That’s your sweet spot.  And, you may have to call a few companies to find people who have a good reputation and also want to grow.  Some people are crappy business owners or they’re happy with their current size.  Neither are good for you.

When your first customer call comes in from your ads, answer the phone as the pretend company you made, take down the customer’s information, and say you’ll have one of you guys give them a call back in 15 minutes.  Then, hop on the phone and provide that information to the company on page 2 that you’ve selected.

Your phone call is simple.  “Hi, do you serve this city?”  “Great, I have a referral for you.”

When the company contact asks where you got the information, you can say that you build websites and they found you online. You can either go with honesty and say that you’re a marketer and you doing some lead generation so you’re happy to give them this free lead.  Or, you can say that your business doesn’t have the capacity for this lead at the moment.

Personally, I like the honesty approach because it’s easier to keep your story straight (since it’s true).

Most business owners are happy to receive a free customer lead and excited that you found them in the first place.  And once they call the customer and see that the lead is in deed a real person and the request was legit, your credibility gets a huge boost.

Now, when you call back a second time with another lead, the company contact feels like they owe you and will be much more gracious.  They also may ask how you’re doing this or if you can keep doing it for them.

Bingo.  That’s when you have the conversation to either run Google Ads for them or build them a website and do SEO.  The great thing is that all you really need to do is have the conversation.  Your guys can handle.

What guys am I talking about?

The people you outsource this client to after you pick them up.

Imagine this example:

You charge the client $1,000 a month for Google ads + ad spend.  You then outsource the ads to a consultant you found online at $200/month.  You’re now making $800 a month doing nothing.  Welcome to true residual income.  All you do now is monitor the consultant and check in with your company once in a while.

See. Wasn’t it easy to call a business and refer customers?

Use Google AdWords to Generate Leads

The next step for how to start a business with almost no money is to use Google AdWords to generate leads.  This is slightly time consuming, but it’s worth it.  I promise you that.

First things first though, we’re going to make sure you don’t have to pay much for the Google Ads.

Hop on Fiverr.com and look for “google adwords coupons”.  If you type in that search, there will be a ton of sellers you can get one from.  For $5, they’ll give you a coupon that’s good for $100 of free Google Ads.  You’re going to use that free money to generate customers for whatever niche you chose.  You’ll then answer the calls as they come in, jot down the info, and pass it off to a real business. Welcome to the world of lead generation.

With your coupon handy, you now spent a total of $65 on your business.  Not too shabby.

Create you Google AdWords account and choose the custom option for AdWords.  DO NOT use AdWords express.  That is the easiest way to lose the little money you have in a flash.  Why?  Because it targets every possible keyword known to man, many of which are not related.  We’ll get into that in a second.

With your custom campaign, your going to build one ad for each keyword you want to target. So for our niche of paving, we’re going to build around 10 ads.

Each ad has a two row title, a description, and a bunch of extras that you can add on, such as phone number.  Basically, all the same information from the website.  We’ll be using all of it.

Just like when you were researching landing pages, you can look at what other competitors have up in order to see what to do.

Here’s an example:

Albany Paving Services
Top-Rated New York’s Asphalt Repair
Call (###) ###-####for a Free Estimate

Each ad should use the target keyword in the title (first line).

Another example:

Albany’s Premier Paving Contractors
Fix the Holes in Your Driveway Now
Call (###) ###-####for a Free Quote

Next, we tack on all the additional information.  YouTube how to use Google AdWords if you need help with it because I don’t have time to add it here at the moment.  But, add phone number and city/state to the ad.

Now, comes the most crucial part – keywords.

Keywords have different types:

Match Type Symbols Matches To Example Keyword Matches To
Broad example misspellings, synonyms, related searches, variations car service auto rental
Broad Match Modifier +example searches related to words after the + +car +service vehicle shop
Phrase “example” searches that include the phrase in quotes “car service” local car service
Exact [example] only searches that are exactly this [car service] car service

Again, look up on YouTube how to do it, but we’re going to add everything but broad match for each keyword.

So it would look like this:

 

example keyword adwords setup

Notice that each keyword uses all of the types except for “broad.”

Select a radius of 20 miles from the target city and publish the ad.

The ad will be reviewed before they let it go live.  Add you credit card to the file and set a budget limit of $100.

Once the first hundred is spent, your free $100 from the coupon will kick in.

However, because of our awesome ad setup, you’ll be getting a good amount of leads without spending as much money as any other local businesses attempting to use Google AdWords to generate leads.

In the next article, we’ll discuss what to do when customers start calling in.

Build a Landing Page Website

The 3rd step in starting your online business with almost no money is to build a landing page website.

The niche we selected was asphalt paving, so what would a website look like?  The best advice I can give is to type in the city and the niche to see what competitors in the area are doing.

We chose Albany, so my search would be “asphalt paving albany ny”.  That term would pull up numerous Albany-based paving contractors whose websites you could browse.

Click on each of the Google Ads at the top of the page and go to the business website to see what each paving company includes.  Most likely, they’ll have their company name, address, phone number, a brief description of the type of work they do, whether it’s commercial or residential paving.

Try to get a general idea of how they present their businesses, what information they provide, and the web address they use for their domain name.  All of the information is crucial to creating your own landing page because it adds to the relevance of the search (explained later).

The first step is to choose a domain name that tells your customers who you are and what you do.  Long term businesses typically use a brand name because it’s their company and they’re building local awareness.  Since you don’t have that kind of time and you want results fast, you’ll be better off choosing a name that’s describes your service.  As an asphalt paving service in Albany, www.albanypavingnearme.com is perfect landing page website name because it tells potential customers the type of work you do.  The address gives your location in New York, and it states that you do paving in the local area.  If you’re able to show up among the other paving contractors, your business will fit right in.

The domain name can be purchased from any number of providers, from GoDaddy to Name.com.  Personally, I recommend Name Silo because they’re cheap, easy-to-use, and they update fast. Order your website name and then continue below.  It won’t cost more than $10 for a year.

Once you’ve ordered your domain name, we have to host it.  Use a website like Wix or Weebly to do so because they have simple drag and drop website builders that will let you build a landing page website fast.  Weebly is my personal recommendation here because their “connect” paid-plan is around $50.  Call technical support and they’ll help you connect your domain name to the website you’re about to build.

Next, select a website template to start from. If “blank” is an option, use it.  However, it doesn’t really matter that much what you pick because you’re going to change it all anyways.

The key elements of a good landing page are:

  1. Business Name
  2. Phone
  3. Address
  4. What you do
  5. Call-to-Action

So, your business name should be generic.  Let’s call you Albany Paving Services.  Make sure it’s not an actual area business before you name it that though.  A simple LLC search in the local area can tell you whether anyone has that name.

For the phone number, there are some options.  If you’re already out of money ($60 spent so far), then use a Google Voice.  It’s free, it’s local, and you can have calls forwarded to your cell phone.  If you still have a few dollars, get a call tracking system, like Call Rail.  You can pay for their monthly plan ($30/month) and it will not only forward calls wherever you want them to go, but it’ll record them as well.  That will be useful in the future, so you’re not writing down customer information for years.

Ideally, you want to remove yourself from the process as much as possible so you have both time and money, not just one or the other.

For now, let’s stick with Google Voice.  Get a free local phone number using your gmail account to sign up. Enter the phone number on the page and make it clickable.  If you don’t know how to do that, search “clickable website phone number weebly” in Google.

Address is tricky because you probably don’t want to use your home address, so just put “city, state”.  So in this case, “Albany, NY”.

Next, write a quick description of what you do.  You can paraphrase what a few other companies have said in the area, but do make sure all the different variations of your keywords for that niche are in there, such as paving, paving contractor, paving service, paving company, and so on.

Don’t write like a robot.  Just write a paragraph or two and try to work the keywords into customer-focused sentences.  Remember, you can always look at other businesses descriptions for ideas.

Lastly, put a call-to-action.  For example:

Call Albany Paving Services now for a free quote at (###) ###-####!

If you need inspiration for the complete look of a landing page, here’s one to check out:

 

paving company landing page

Although very basic, it will make the search engine happy because it has all the key elements, and customers will call the phone number if you do the ads correctly, which we’ll discuss in the next article.

 

 

 

Research and Choose Your Niche

Step 2 to starting a business online with almost no money is to research and choose your niche wisely. Let’s dive in.

If you read the last article, we were identifying potential businesses niches to work in by looking through the business section of the phone book.  Angie’s List and the Yellow Pages work too if you’re looking for an Internet-based niche listing.

For the sake of ease, I’m going to use the example of a paving company that does asphalt repair.  Why did I select a paving contractor?

Because there’s a lot of money in milling down roads, resurfacing blacktop, and paving driveways.  Have you ever called one of those companies for a quote?  Asphalt companies charge thousands of dollars just to repair your driveway.  In my neighborhood, just outside of Albany, New York, asphalt contractors were charging $4.50 per square foot.  That’s a lot, but it’s perfect from a business perspective.

The driveways around our culdesac ranged in price from $4,000 to $10,000 (which happened to be my house because of our ridiculously long driveway).  I wasn’t happy paying that, but I did because I needed it.  Knowing those prices, imagine the amount of money they can command for a larger job like a mall parking lot.

In regard to call volume, it generates a medium level of calls because it’s something that needs to be done every few years.  Especially in areas like New York State, with its harsh weather conditions and recurring freeze-thaw patterns, asphalt cracks and degrades quickly. That leads to more customers call in to get their home driveways fixed.  Commercial paving jobs come in constantly as well.  Crossgates Mall in Albany can’t have potholes or ruts in their parking lot because it could damage a customer vehicle and cause a major insurance problem.  So, instead of taking the risk, the management team calls a local Albany-based contractor to repair the asphalt.

So there you have it.  Research and choose your niche effectively by narrowing your options. The next article discusses how to build a website for that niche.

Identify Potential Niches

Starting an internet business with almost no money isn’t that bad IF you identify potential niches correctly, so let’s discuss how to do that.

There’s a couple ways to do this.

First, you can consider the previous experience of your friends, family, and yourself to identify a niche you may feel comfortable generating leads in.

Second, you can choose a niche that makes the most money with the least amount of effort.

Does that sound relatively simple?

It’s allowed me to generate enough money to say goodbye to my six figure job in Manhattan that was sucking the life out of me. If you like the idea so far, keep on reading. I’m going to type this out like the Twilight saga, in a series.

I don’t want to sway your opinion here because it’s your life, but I chose option 2.

Lead generation can literally help every single business on the planet. Every business needs customers to survive, but the ease of generating those customers may vary.

The first tip I can offer in choosing your ideal niche is to open the phone book (if you even have one). I know it’s unlikely that you do at this point, so find one at the local grocery store if you need to or borrow one from an older neighbor because they certainly have one.

Then, flip to the business section and scroll through the massive A to Z list of businesses.  There are a ton, so it’s going to take a while.

Mark down at least 10 business types that strike your fancy.  I’m going to show you how to narrow them down in a second.

Think about every service person you’ve ever had to call to schedule something, fix something in your home, or help you with anything.  That’s a good place to start.

Here are some niche examples:

  • Pool repair
  • Towing
  • Limo
  • Taxi
  • Car service
  • Asphalt repair
  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Tree service
  • Diamond broker
  • HVAC contractor

Shoot for 10. If you want to do more, go right ahead.  Once you’ve got a healthy list, mark down next to each service the volume of calls and the price of the job using the scale low, medium, or high.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Assuming you chose the make the most money with least work route like I did, your next step is to rank that list in order by what makes the most money with the most calls.

Think about it logically.  Taxis are high volume, but each taxi ride isn’t worth much.  On the opposite side of the spectrum is a diamond broker.  Each transaction is huge, but they’re definitely not getting many calls.  And if they are, you don’t want to help them anyways.

Your goal is to choose a niche that gets a reasonable amount of calls and charges a good amount for each closed customer.  That guarantees that you’ll have more chances to make money and gives you a much higher success rate, even if you’re terrible at the little bit of sales you’ll need to do.  Don’t worry – we’ll cover that soon. Back to how to identify potential niches correctly.

Select your top 3 niches and we’re going to dive into the detail to see if you actually want to go with it.  Stay tuned for the next article where we discuss how to select the best niche for you.

How to Start an Internet Business with Almost No Money

Let’s be honest, the Internet is where it’s at business-wise.  There is no other medium where you can sit on your ass in your boxers in the middle of the day and make money by clicking around on the computer and making occasional friendly phone calls.  If you know of a way, do tell, for all of us.  Assuming that there isn’t though, here’s how to start an Internet business with almost no money.

I promise the investment is minimal, but the business plan is genius.  Feel free to use it.  I have, and it’s allowed me to replace a $103,000 job in human resources that I used to have to travel to Manhattan to do.  No longer.  Now I sit in front of my computer at home instead.  I’m not sure what feels better – knowing I don’t have to report to a boss ever again, or knowing that I don’t have to take the crammed, delay-ridden subway anywhere unless I want to.  So, let’s jump in.

First, let’s summarize what you’re going to do.  Then, you can see if you even like the idea at all.

Here are the steps for how to start an internet business with almost no money:

  1. Identify potential niches
  2. Research and choose your ideal niche
  3. Build a one-page website to generate customer leads
  4. Use Google AdWords to Generate Customer Leads
  5. Call an actual business and give them the referrals that come in
  6. Structure a deal with the business where they pay you to do it some more

Does that sound relatively simple?  It’s allowed me to generate enough money to say goodbye to my six figure job in Manhattan that was sucking the life out of me.  If you like the idea so far, keep on reading.  I’m going to type this out like the Twilight saga, in a series.

Each step will have an article dedicated to it.  Keep an eye on the blog for the next step.