Tips for Working As an Employee and Starting a Business At the Same Time

Tired of investing time into an organization where your value is overlooked? Is your productivity not fairly compensated with co-workers who perform less work than you? If you answer yes to either of these questions, it may be time to take a leap of faith and start a business.

Starting a business is common practice. Matter fact, 75% of business ownership in the United States is made up of sole proprietors, small businesses consisting of one or two people.

Don’t know where to start? Think of a hobby or passion such as crafting, writing, poetry, cooking, etc and determine if it can be turned into a service, product or both that can serve a consumer need.

Small business experts such as SCORE and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are excellent resources to help launch your business efforts. To supplement SCORE and SBA, the information below addresses important steps to start a business.

Build a Mind Map

Mind Maps are spider-like diagrams, commonly referred to as brainstorming. A mind map begins with a question or statement, “I want to start a business.” The goal is to identify business objectives, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Generally a vision and mission statement is outlined in the mind mapping stage.

Study the Industry Leader

No greater resource exists than companies or individuals at the pinnacle of their industry. Ask yourself, Why are they leaders? What managerial style do they employ? Competition exists in every industry, it’s the foundation of a free-enterprise economy, where consumers benefit from competing companies. Identify the leader in your industry and study them intimately.

Join Business Groups

Success, inspiration and optimism carry positive undertones, but if accompanied with pessimism, fear and depression, business success is difficult. It is essential to develop a network of individuals sharing common business interests such as growth, sustainability and profit. Build a stable of like-minded business individuals to stay motivated when challenging times emerge.

Online communities provide a gateway to individuals and companies sharing dos, don’ts and valuable business resources. Tap into them. Locate the local Chamber of Commerce that exist in every US city. Attend in-person and online business seminars to understand other challenges and opportunities business owner face.

Establish a DBA or LLC

Establish a Doing Business As (DBA) or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) to separate personal and business assets and liabilities. Contact the clerk’s office in your county for directions on how to set up a DBA or LLC. Once the DBA or LLC certificate is in hand, open a business checking account and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Lease a PO Box

Use the newly created DBA or LLC certificate to lease a post office box. Use the physical address of the post office location as your new business address, citing the box number as the suite number. For example, 619 North Haven St, Suite 845, Orange, CA, 92702.

Create a Website and Print Media

Regardless of how well your service or product is, without marketing, your business is invisible. Nearly two billion smart phones line pockets and purses of consumers, and expected to grow in years to come, thus establish an online presence with a website and optimize for mobile phone users. Invest in a freelance writer and graphic designer to create your voice and branding.

Additionally, create print-based media promotional products such as business cards, tri-fold pamphlets, car magnets and other stationary products to promote your business.

Nearly 85% of businesses fail in the first five years. This is a result of bad money management, insufficient managerial capacity and ineffective marketing campaigns to name a few. Invest time understanding what works with current business owners in your industry and implement a strategy conducive to your financial and production capabilities.

Build a strong foundation so that it remains firm as you grow.

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5 Potent Shoestring Marketing Tips

A few days ago, I was out to lunch with my friend and small business owner, Betty. Even though she runs a fairly successful small business, Betty gets bogged down with the marketing side of things. Actually, forget about “bogged down,” it’s more accurate to say that Betty’s marketing is usually at a full-fledged, screeching halt.And, her non-existent marketing campaign is the direct result of the “Busy-Betty” syndrome. Betty is hard at work running her small business and can barely keep her head afloat, much less spend time on marketing.But, Betty knows that when she doesn’t market, she can’t bring visitors to her website, create leads or make new sales. More importantly, Betty knows that if she is going to bring her small business to the next level, she absolutely must get busy marketing. So, Betty asked me to lunch because she wanted the “skinny” on my favorite marketing tips. She wasn’t interested in the long-drawn-out and expanded marketing report. Betty wanted the Reader’s Digest version of marketing.So, for all of you “Busy Betty’s” out there, here’s the abbreviated adaptation of my top five favorite Shoestring Marketing tips:

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Flaunt your uniqueness. In the marketing world it’s called your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and it’s an indispensable part of your small business. With small business competition at a premium, small business owners need to clearly differentiate themselves within their industry.Your clients and customers need a compelling reason why they are going to do business with you as opposed to everyone else out there who is clamoring for their attention. You must prove to your prospects, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are the exclusive “go-to” person in your industry.Create massive visibility.In today’s fast-paced world, your prospects need to see your marketing message up to twenty-seven times before they even notice you. That’s why it’s crucial that you create a dominant presence on a variety of marketing platforms.If your prospects read your Tweets, view your Facebook updates, read your online articles and watch your YouTube video, they can’t help but pay attention to you. You want your prospects to ask, “Wow, she is everywhere! Who in the world is she?” Once they ask themselves this question, the natural next step is for them to find out more about your small business.Create a rock-solid business foundation.Most small business owners understand the importance of a web-presence in today’s marketplace. However, small business owners who create a landing page that asks prospects to supply their name and email in exchange for an irresistible free offer are able to build a list.In today’s competitive environment, asking your prospects to sign up for your free newsletter is not appealing enough. To build a robust list of interested prospects, you need to create a tantalizing free offer that your prospects simply can’t refuse. Educate your list.Once your prospects join your “list,” you will need to nurture that relationship. A prospect needs to like, trust and ultimately learn from you before they are ready to make a purchase. So, it’s important that you send them valuable and educational tips, tools and strategies from your industry: articles, videos, podcasts, blog posts and press releases. Education is the fastest way to capture your prospects’ hearts.

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Treat your customers like royalty. Don’t make the all too common mistake of forgetting about your current customers. Too many small business owners make the sale and mistakenly think that their job is done. Your current customers and clients are your most valuable asset. Treat them with a bit of extra TLC by paying extra attention to them, giving them special offers and discounts and rewarding those who are loyal. When you treat your customers well, up to 30% will purchase from you again and again.So, there you have it; the condensed version of my top five favorite Shoestring Marketing tips to help all you “Busy Betty’s” get busy marketing.

The Energy Healing Power of Natural Medicine

Natural medicine is a system that uses a variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. Alternative medicine is also known as traditional, naturopathic, natural or holistic medicine. Proponents of alternative medicine are not refuting the validity of discoveries in and the practical uses of conventional medicine, but are merely trying to put some things into perspective. Due to the widespread interest in natural medicine along with the disappointment and disenchantment with Western medicine, many people, especially in the United States and Europe, where conventional medicine has taken a dominant foothold, are seeking the advice and treatment from naturopathic physicians. These practitioners include herbalists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and others, who advocate preventative health measures as well as recommend wholesome foods and nutritional supplements for their patients and clients. Considering the growing popularity and effectiveness of alternative health treatments and products, certified and licensed professional practitioners of such medical practices should be given their rightful and respectful place in medical society. Natural medicine has been proven not only to be safe, but more effective than Western medicine in treating many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and many other diseases as well

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The history of Natural Medicine and its roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient cultures such as India and China. Ayurvedic (E. Indian) and Chinese medicine, along with their diagnostic and herbal systems, are still used in these countries extensively, as well as in the United States, especially in Europe, where alternative medicine is well respected. Chinese herbal medicine has a documented history of over 2500 years in China, and is now widely used by practitioners all over the world. It has been legally practiced in the United States. since the mid seventies by licensed acupuncturists. Homeopathy is also a well-known form of alternative medicine discovered in the 18th century by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, but was practically stamped out in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century by the American Medical Association. In 1938, though, the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act finally recognized homeopathic pharmacopoeia as the legal equivalent of allopathic medicine.Another more contemporary and popular form of herbal medicine, called Western herbalism, can be traced back about two hundred years in America. Samuel Thomson, born in 1769, is considered the father of Western herbalism. He discovered over sixty different medically effective native plants by clinical testing, and on the basis of these findings, devised a theory of disease and botanical drug action. Randy Kidu, D.V.M., Ph.D., writes in his articled entitled A Brief History of Alternative Medicine: “The history of herbal medicine is interesting because herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since man began roaming the earth. Coprophytic evidence (seeds and other plant part(found in preserved fecal pellets) points to herbal use by cavemen. Early herbalists practiced their trade since before recorded history in all parts of the world including China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, England, the Americas, and Europe. Many herbs are also mentioned in the Bible. Today, based on sheer numbers of folks who use one form of herbal medicine or another, it remains the most-used medicine worldwide.”Twenty-five hundred years after the advent of allopathic medicine, modern medicine is still grappling with the idea that herbal medicine could be an effective treatment, and not just quackery, although thousands of years of recorded history has proved its efficacy. A new model of understanding in medicine needs to be incorporated into the existing allopathic model. Because of the growing popularity and effectiveness of natural medicine, practitioners may eventually be given their deserved place in medical society. The incorporation of natural medical practices into the existing model of conventional Western medicine, including the training of new medical doctors, is now called Complimentary Medicine. In order to solve our health problems, this modern paradigm for treatment in medicine must be promoted. This can only truly emerge when bias, self-interest, greed and discrimination is discarded and diverse medical knowledge is promoted and shared, not only between university trained scientists and medical doctors, but among Alternative Medicine practitioners, philosophers, metaphysicians, and other intelligentsia of society as well.

Skip The Lines – Bring The Amusement Park Right To Your Own Back Yard

There’s no shortage of things to do in Atlanta. From professional sports to amusement parks, there’s something for everyone. In fact, Atlanta is proud to house some of the nations largest amusement attractions, including the ever popular Six Flags Over Georgia. Children (and adults) love the thrill and adrenaline rush of the large roller coasters. However, one thing most people don’t like about amusement parks is the long lines. By the time it’s all said and done, you can spend several hundred dollars for your family to have an afternoon of fun, and only get a few rides in. This year, instead of spending the day waiting in long lines for short rides, why not bring the fun right to your back yard? With today’s technology, you can literally do just that! One of the advantages of living in a large city like Atlanta is that we have large rental companies that can make your special event feel just like a trip to Six Flags… complete with a train and an ice cream cart!

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If you’re trying to replicate the amusement park feel, there are definitely specific items that you’ll want to be on the lookout for. As mentioned previously, ice cream carts and trackless trains help make the special event feel more like a day at Six Flags.In order to make your next special event more special, try some of the following tips:

Head online to do some research on the party rental company that has the selection your looking for. If you want an ice cream cart to complete your theme park adventure, look around until you find what you’re looking for.

Don’t settle for the first website you see. There are literally hundreds of inflatable party rental companies in Atlanta. Keep looking for a website that offers a wide variety of rental items that you’re looking for.

It’s better to rent everything from one company. Renting in bulk can help you save money. Larger companies will offer discounts for larger purchases of multiple units and rental items.

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Having a day of amusement park fun is cheaper and easier than ever before. By bringing the amusement park to your front door by using a party rental industry, you can include more people at a lower price. So next time you’re planning a special day, instead of spending tons of money for just a few people and braving the long lines of amusement parks, invite the whole neighborhood and bring the amusement park right to your own back yard!