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Advice from Outside the Square

The Square Orange Blog

How To Explain Your Business Plan To Your Team

So, you've completed your Business Plan? Whatever it is, apart from starting to implement it – do you know what’s the most important thing for you to do now?

Explain it!

Who do you have to explain it to? Well, it depends – if you have a team of employees, you need to explain it to them. If you are work on your own but you use contractors, virtual assistants or friends to help you in your business – you need to explain your plan to them. Even if you work totally alone – you need to explain your plan to at least your spouse and family, if not your bank or other people involved in helping you. These are your “stakeholders” and you need to explain your big new plan to them because people hate change, and a plan represents change. If your plan affects them (how could it not?) you need to explain it to them. You also need to ensure that the people involved know about your plan - and especially the parts that they have to play - so that they can help you as required. You want them enthusiastic about the new ideas and the direction you...
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Are You Starting Your First Business? Get These 6 Things Right!

Are you starting your first business? If you are like most people who want to start their own business people, you probably decided to do so because you are an expert in what you do, you believe you can do it better as your own boss, and you want your independence and ability to do it your own way. Today, this seems even more possible due to the technology that you can use from home or a shared space that allows you to keep costs down when you start up. While there are even government websites encouraging you (there’s one that has a header “Open for Business: Simple, Fast, Easy) headlines still exist that shout out nearly 80% of businesses close within 18 months of starting – and you can bet most of these are micro, small, and "kitchen table" businesses. Nevertheless, our enthusiasm as human beings for the life of freedom is boundless, and once you conquer the fear of failure, most of us grasp the chance and plunge in. The question is not “will you start your own business” but “how will you start your business with least risk of failure”. So here are the 6 things I believe you need, gleaned from...
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4 Keys To A Successful Direct Marketing Campaign

In tight economic times, small business owners can be tempted to retreat into their shell. To get through tough times, small business owners look at cost savings, financial controls and cutting expenditure. However if this is done in isolation, that is, if you rush to control costs without also looking at the top line, your bottom line will shrink anyway! Counter-intuitive as it is for small business owners in a period of financial slow-down, small businesses must continue marketing efforts and not look to cut these as if they were discretionary costs. “Marketing” is not just “advertising” which is what small business owners think when they think of marketing. In fact, advertising may be your least effective marketing cost in a shrinking economy. The important thing is to get a good rate of return for your marketing dollar and you get this by implementing effective marketing techniques. Effective marketing is the type of marketing that gets your name out there with its “brand” attached in the most cost-effective way. This can be added-value service, it can be increased contact with customers – this type of marketing can include less-cost or no-cost vehicles. Direct marketing is not necessarily no-cost but a large part of the effort can be...
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12 Strategies To Survive Any Downturn

As a small business, we feel the downturn in the economy much more keenly than any large business. Generally, small businesses have less capital behind them, less reserves. Small businesses find it hard to "hang on" until the upturn because their volumes and margins are tighter. But it is possible for any small business to survive any downturn if they follow a series of common sense business strategies. These strategies are common sense strategies that you should be using no matter what the economic climate, but sadly when times are good businesses allow themselves to get “fat” and some of these every-day disciplines are allowed to slacken. The strategies are both defensive and "offensive" strategies. When times are tight and profit and cash performance are poor, it is difficult not to panic and look to tighten all the hatches defensively.  However, you can tighten activity too much and turn defensive strategies into a downward spiral for the business.  While it is natural to concentrate on the defensive strategies such as cutting costs, it is important to keep in mind what I call "offensive" strategies – initiatives that your business should undertake to ensure that you are the one that keeps selling when others are closing...
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