Reduce Financial Risk

Reducing Financial Risk As An Entrepreneur

There’s no doubt that starting a new business has risks. If you’re an entrepreneur considering starting a new business, you’re probably already thinking what can be done to make sure you survive the first few years? Specifically, how can you reduce any potential financial risks? Here are some things to consider:

 

Develop a Solid Business Plan

This must be the first step to help entrepreneurs reduce financial risks. Before jumping in with both feet, you should know how much time and capital you are going to be investing in your new business. Market research must be done; this gives you an idea of whether your business has a chance at success or if it may fail.

 

Keep Good Records

Establish an organized record keeping system that works from the very beginning. This can save you both time and money when it comes time to pay your bills or file taxes.

 

Limit Your Loan Amount

If you must start out with a business loan, try to make it as low as you can comfortably manage. If it is possible to fund your business without loans, that would be ideal to reduce your financial risk as much as possible.

 

Buy Insurance

Be sure to purchase insurance against the unforeseen.  Disaster, accidents, lawsuits, and any other thing you can think of that could potentially jeopardize your business. The peace of mind of knowing that you have protected your business from such risks, is well worth the money spent.

 

Save Money

When you can, save as much as you can. Build up some cushion as a “safety net” in case of a turn in the economy or other circumstances beyond your control. To do this, you may have to focus on improving your personal finances and having your own personal emergency fund before starting a business.

 

You can’t 100% guarantee that your own success will succeed, however, you can take the proper steps ahead of time to help reduce the financial risks of starting your new business, giving it a greater chance of being a success!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

When Business Is Slow

 

Anyone who runs a business knows that there will inevitably be slowdowns that occur from time to time.  Whether it’s a seasonal slowdown or an overall economic decline: sometimes customers disappear, sales go down, and overall business drops. Don’t panic, it may be a blessing in disguise. It’s the perfect time to evaluate what’s working for your business and what isn’t. There are 3 key areas business owners should focus on when business slows down:

 

Networking

These events are often a great source for sales opportunities and you just never know what kind of relationships you can form with other like-minded people. While networking may not be what you want to do when you’re already stressed over business being slow, these events may be a great opportunity.  It’s not difficult, it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there, you never know who you might meet.

 

Marketing

This should always be high up on your priority list. Marketing doesn’t only keep your business visible to your consumers, but it forces you to constantly think about the benefits and positives associated with your business; something that can help any business owner through tough times!  It may not be possible at the time to allocate large funds to marketing, but there are always inexpensive and creative ways to stay in touch with your audience.

 

Social Media

This is the most inexpensive way to connect with a much larger audience than would normally be available through traditional media. Just like marketing and networking, social media is an excellent area to focus your attention. It’s all about engagement and content. Customers today want an interactive experience with the brands they’re supporting, by giving them unique and informative content; you can turn shoppers into loyal customers.

 

There are multiple things that you can do when business is slow to help raise brand awareness and keep your consumers engaged. These will ensure that when consumers are once again ready to part with their hard earned dollars, your business will be first in mind.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Tax Refund Opportunities

 

Tax Season Opportunities

Tax season is upon us and if your business played its cards right throughout the year you may have a big refund coming your way. Rather than waste it on short-term fun, think about how you can invest back into your business for a long-term gain. Here are a few ideas on how to use the money to benefit your business:

 

Improve Your Website

This is generally your first impression to consumers, if you’re trying to run a successful business, you need a website that looks the part. Think about your number one goal when someone lands on your website, then design your site’s user experience around that goal.

 

Attend a Conference

Conferences are a huge opportunity.  They can be pivotal to any business — especially entrepreneurs.  Hanging out with people in the same industry can be a big boon to your mental state, plus you can learn a lot to improve your business at the same time.

 

Upgrade Your Branding

Make your brand stand out.  First impressions mean a lot and research shows people derive an impression of you in as little as 1/10th of a second!  If you have never put thought into your branding, consider investing in a new logo design or branding package that you can use on your website, social media, business cards, and anywhere else you are working to get the word out.

 

Outsource Bottleneck Tasks

Are you a bottleneck?  If so, you’re probably causing inefficiencies and costing your business money.  It is important to recognize this and alleviate it. Create processes to improve your productivity, and outsource the where possible. There are many sites that can quickly send projects to remote workers, like UpWork and Freelancer.com.

 

You may be tempted to spend that refund on new shoes, a vacation, or something else but take a moment to consider how you can leverage those dollars to earn even more down the road. You only get a tax refund once a year so be sure to use it wisely!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

St. Patrick’s Day 2017

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on March 17th, honoring the Irish patron saint, St. Patrick. This holiday was first celebrated in American in 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, including a feast and religious service. It is largely Irish culture themed and typically consists of wearing the colour green, big parades and of course, drinking green beer. Churches may also sometimes hold religious services.

 

All over the world people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, especially places with large Irish-American communities. Parades and wearing green have always been a traditional part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but if you’re looking to attend the biggest events on this day, these are the places you’ll want to be: Boston, New York, Scranton, Chicago, New Orleans and of course Ireland.

 

There are many legends associated with St. Patrick. The symbol of the shamrock (no, not the shamrock shake at McDonalds) comes from the story of St. Patrick using the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity. The three-leafed plant coincided with the Pagen religion’s sanctity of the number 3 and is the root of the green color theme.

 

Feasting on the day features traditional Irish food, which can include corned beef, corned cabbage, coffee, soda bread, potatoes, and shepherd’s pie! But the Irish themed breakfast is the best part, sausage, black and white pudding, fried eggs, and fried tomatoes.  So today is the day everyone, put on your green t-shirt and go out and celebrate responsibly!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Quick Tips For Starting A Business


What is the most important technique or approach most small business owners use for success? There isn’t one! There are some essential key skills that go into building almost every successful business however.  Here are just a few

 

You Don’t Know What People Can Do, Till You Let Them Try
Empowerment is the key to running a successful business
. Whatever your business, you need to find ways to empower yourself and your team.  Make sure you are as informed as possible when making decisions and delegate to your team — groom them and grow them.  You’ll appreciate the extra seconds and they’ll appreciate the experience and career growth.

 

YOU Own Marketing
Remember – it’s your business.  It’s all too easy and tempting to outsource marketing to an agency, but never forget who owns marketing.  No one knows your value proposition or brand better than you, so nobody is in a better position to channel that and tell your story in a clear and vibrant manner.  Marketing can be a lot of fun, but effective marketing requires a deep understanding of the customer and the most effective tactics.

 

Have A Mobile Strategy
In 2017, having a mobile strategy is not optional. From having a mobile friendly-site to having a mobile app, it is key to always consider how you can make it easier for customers to be made aware of you and access you from a smartphone or tablet.

 

Plan the Work & Work the Plan
Deadlines are essential for businesses to function properly.
You can’t expect your business to grow if you haven’t figured out a RoadMap for at least 3 – 5 years.  It’s like heading out to the airport for a vacation without a planned destination.  Help your team stay on track with deadlines by setting up tasks, tracking progress and measuring against plan.

 

Get Some Perspective

Challenges and dilemmas are going to be a part of running any small business. With some networking however you will often find you are not alone.  Participating in CEO or Entrepreneur peer groups is a great way to get some mentorship and occasionally some comforting perspective – regardless of how tough the day has been, the sun will rise tomorrow!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Women’s Day 2017

 

Today is International Women’s Day! This global celebration of women began more than 100 years ago, per the United Nations. It started to build support for the women’s rights movements in the early 1900s. It played a part in women gaining the right to vote, and as you may know, it continues to support women in political and economic endeavors today.

 

So, what can you do to show your support for other women, as the UN says, “without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political’? So much!

 

Hang with The Girls

It’s Wednesday, a.k.a a perfect day for a happy hour with your girlfriends. Get together and talk about all your amazing accomplishments in all areas of your life. That’s what today is all about.

 

Donate

It can be easy to feel like we don’t make a difference or aren’t being heard. But donating to organizations that can put your dollars to good use is a great way to get involved and make your mark.

 

Take Action

When was the last time you called your government representatives and told them how much women’s rights matter to you? Today is a great day to tell someone in a position of authority how much you care. No time to call? Emails are good, too!

 

Be the Change

All you have to do all day to celebrate women is to be the amazing woman you are. By simply being yourself, getting through your surely crazy day, appreciating the challenges you have overcome as well as those other amazing women have overcome, you are celebrating in the best way possible. Show your support however you want on the outside, but don’t forget to show your support on the inside, too. Take time to appreciate yourself. And take time to appreciate the women who have come before us and how far we’ve all come as a group. Because that’s what we are — a group. We’re all in this together.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Skills for The Digital Age


In 2017 it’s essential for entrepreneurs to have technical knowledge and skills as well.  At times it can be a bit intimidating, but the great thing about these times is that there is an abundance of information and assistance available at your finger tips.  Here are just a few examples:

 

Project Management

While project management still requires you to oversee and manage activities, there are numerous online apps and programs available to help you manage projects.  Many offer free trial copies of their software.  Often simply testing them out is the best method to find which one works best for you.

 

Social Media

Every business needs to have social media accounts because it helps you grow your business reach to an audience that wouldn’t have known you otherwise. You don’t have to be knowledgeable about every platform, but it is helpful to at least have an account and presence with the major ones. Find where your target audience is, and build your accounts on the site they are using.

 

Website Development

You don’t have to be a programmer or know how to write HTML or JavaScript. However, you should know how to put a basic website together, even if it’s as simple as a drag-and-drop template. Having a website shows you are serious about your business in the digital world. The potential possibilities are endless.

 

Email Marketing

Keeping your audience coming back is important as a business owner. Having email marketing skills means that you’ll have a platform you can use to connect with your readers or customers and tell them about your sales, news, and updates. Platforms such MailChimp and Constant Contact are excellent tools to help you manage email subscribers and your campaigns.

 

Ultimately, it’s important to continuously learn new skills as a business owner, and setting a goal every few months to learn a new skill and grow your business can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Is Your Personality Affecting Your Business?

Have you ever witnessed a disturbance between a business owner and a customer? Whether intentional or not, it’s an unfortunate occurrence typically resulting in the loss of a customer and causing them to speak to others about the disappointing experience.

 

No business owner wants to come off as rude, providing poor customer service or making their customers uncomfortable so to avoid it all, business owners must pay attention to how their personalities could be affecting their business. It could mean the difference between a success or a failure to your business.

 

The Extrovert

Extroverts are great at customer service, but don’t usually do well in confined areas. They also don’t thrive in jobs where there is little to no interaction with other people. As an extrovert, you like to talk through problems. Plus, you usually do well working in high energy atmospheres as well as situations where you can work with others. Extroverts make great fitness club managers.

 

The Introvert

Opposite of the extrovert, introverts tend to think about problems and solutions themselves before talking about it with others. Most introverts would rather work alone then in a group, also not sharing what they are thinking unless they are asked.  Introverts make excellent software developers.

 

Detail Oriented

Well organized, good at keeping records of things and you tend to solve problems down to the tiniest of details. However, detail oriented people may have trouble envisioning the bigger picture sometimes and solve problems using a step-by-step or analytical approach.  These types of people are terrific accountants.

 

Hands-On Manager

This necessarily isn’t a bad thing, it means you are willing to do the same jobs as your employees, showing that you are a team player and are not above working in the ranks. However, be careful that you are not displaying a lack of trust in your employees by doing things yourself rather than trusting them to do it themselves. You must let them do their jobs, make mistakes, correct them, and learn.

 

Hands-Off Manager

Obviously, this type of manager is on the other end of the scale from the hands-on manager. If you take the hands-off approach to management, you are willing to stay focused on the larger picture and let someone else handle the fine details. This can be problematic however, if you don’t have people working with you who can handle this type of environment.

 

The good news is none of these personality traits are right or wrong! It’s valuable however to consider your personality in the context of your business to figure out which situations or issues you are best suited to handle and which ones are best left to others.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

NAFTA Tweaks And Your Business

As a small business owner, NAFTA is likely coming up more and more often in your thoughts these days.  What is it about?  What does it mean to Canada and what does it mean to your business?  In particular, how would a “tweak” affect you and your business?

 

What is NAFTA?

NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement which was signed over 20 years ago – well before many entrepreneurs were old enough to care or recognize it as relating to their business.  In the first 5 years of NAFTA’s existence, the agreement had helped produce over 1.8 million new jobs for Canadians

 

 

What Does it Do?

While there was some controversy at the time, since its enactment, NAFTA has positively affected Canada by bringing strong economic growth, job creation, better prices and better selection in consumer goods through the reduction of tariffs and duties on products and services which flow across the Canada, U.S. and Mexican border.  In fact 1 in 5 jobs in Canada are linked to international trade.

 

How Does NAFTA Impact My Business?

Canada has benefited more than any other nation from NAFTA.  Canada’s GDP has grown at a faster rate than either Mexico’s or the U.S since 1994.  If you export and import goods across any of the North American borders, you currently benefit from minimal tariffs and duties being assigned to your goods and services.  If NAFTA was not in effect, or were to be “tweaked” too much, there could be tariffs on products imported and exported.

 

How Could A Tweak Affect My Business?

NAFTA’s major goal was to eliminate tariffs and barriers that would help reduce the taxes that are put on imported and exported goods.  Canadian businesses take full advantage of the tariff elimination because they’re typically able to produce more for less.  If NAFTA goes through any changes which result in increased tariffs or duties to Canadian goods and services going in and out of the U.S., there could be downstream impacts to small business and the Canadian economy and the U.S.

 

Free trade across North America has been extremely beneficial to all countries involved in the enactment of NAFTA. Therefore it stands to reason, that any tweaks will do more to improve the flow of goods and services and further reduce barriers to doing business across North America.  While it may seem like an uncertain time for small business, history strongly favors Canadian businesses having the ability face challenges and thrive.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

5 Things Your Business Doesn’t Need

“You have to spend money to make money” seems to be a quote that many business people are fond of saying.  While it’s often true, a lot of small business owners saying this are often stretching their budget needlessly.  Whether you’re just starting your small business, or things are humming along, it’s important to allocate money wisely. You may not realize it, but you probably don’t need to be spending your money on certain items:

 

All New Stuff

When you’re in the beginning stages of starting a business, it’s tempting to purchase new furniture, clothes or maybe even a new computer. Be patient, use the equipment you already have and set your concentration on marketing and developing great products first.

 

Advertising

Advertising is something every small business feels the need to do. Often however, entrepreneurs become enamoured with their own marketing ideas when a more measure, strategic approach is needed.  Be sure not to fall into this trap by thoroughly researching what is driving sales and making sure that informs your marketing strategy.

 

Expedited Shipping

Let’s be honest, you can probably afford to wait another day or two for that box of inventory and supplies. Think about the money you’ll save by avoiding high shipping charges when you just wait an extra 48 hours. Unless you absolutely need them the next day, pocket your money on this one.

 

Buying or Renting Space You Don’t Need

If you can work from a desk in your basement, do it. It may not be glamorous but just think of the money you’ll save on rent!

 

Promotional Items That Don’t Translate into Sales

Personalized t-shirts are cute, but will they sell and make a good profit? Will they convince your customers to buy more of your products now that they have a t-shirt with your business on it? Promotional items can work, but you must select the item(s) carefully, be mindful of your budget limits and have a plan for placement and distribution, even if it’s just on your website.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Page 3 of 812345...Last »