Posts tagged Business Advice
Market Research: Where To Start

Market research will give you valuable insight into your target market and potential customers, allowing you to evaluate the market need, market size and competition. When starting the market research section of your business plan, you can request valuable market information from Canada Business Network and from the Economic Development unit with the City of St. John's. In addition to this secondary data, entrepreneurs should also gather quantitative data through methods such as customer surveys, and qualitatively data through focus groups and in-depth interviews.

Financing: Personal Equity

Contributing equity shows that you are personally vested in your business. Lack of personal equity is a red flag for lenders, who want to see that potential clients believe in their venture and are willing to invest their own personal finances to help the success of their business. If you’re lacking personal funds to invest into your business, consider MBO’s Impact loan program. As a government-backed loan, Impact is considered personal equity when other lenders evaluate your business for financing.

Solutions: Hiring a Consultant

Before working with a consultant, ensure you have a firm plan of action prior to signing a contract. All parties should know upfront the scope of work to be evaluated. You must also ensure that confidentially is discussed before, during, and at the conclusion of the project.

In order for an external consultant to fully understand your business, they must have a complete picture – the good, the bad, the financial issues, etc. Do not hide negative aspects of your business, as the consultant will need full knowledge for their work to be successful. Give them the freedom to discover the underlying issues in your business, so that they can use their skills and knowledge to help your face its challenges.

Marketing: Content Marketing
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Step back from the sales pitch! Build your social media audience with valuable content – entertaining posts, educational tips, and interesting information. Keep it on brand and appealing to your audience by making sure your content aligns with your business vision. However, make sure to include a Call to Action so your content can convert your followers into customers!

Competitive Analysis: Entering the Market

When preparing to enter the market with a new product or service, you must take note of the evolving opportunities and threats that can arise. By completing a SWOT analysis as part of your business plan, you can relate these external opportunities and threats to your businesses’ own strengths and weaknesses. Completing this exercise can help you determine the best time to enter the market, or even help evaluate the attractiveness of a particular market.

Business Planning: SWOT Analysis

A powerful tool to use while developing your business plan is a SWOT Analysis. Short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, conducting a SWOT analysis forces you to examine internal factors – strengths and weaknesses – and identify external factors that could affect your business– opportunities and threats. From this exercise, you can uncover unique opportunities due to your strengths, and address your weaknesses to mitigate external threats.

A SWOT analysis most often examines overall business strategy. However, it can also focus on a particular aspect of your business: human resources, brand image, marketing activities, competition, new markets, product, industry, and more.

Financing: Managing Debt

Managing your business debt and loan repayments can seem daunting, especially when you are repaying various sources of financing. Entrepreneurs should maintain an open and honest relationship with their lenders, even during financially challenging times. It is also good practice for business owners to be stay involved in managing their finances, and not rely solely on their accountants for updates on their financial situation.

Marketing: Online Branding
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Before launching your business online, brainstorm several potential handles and check their availability as domain names and social media accounts. You should choose a handle that can be used on every platform. Secure these accounts/domains even if you don’t plan on using them immediately. Having a consistent online handle will make it much easier for fans, followers and customers to find you!

Business Planning: A Road Map

A business plan is a road map for your venture, showing where you are and where you want to go. It answers important questions such as market size, product price, and break-even point. It forces entrepreneurs to ask the hard questions, ensuring they are fully prepared to operate the business. It also aligns the entrepreneur’s vision for their business with the reality of the business environment.