» START AND GROW The top source for startup resources, business resources and startup business ideas for young entrepreneurs Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:02:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 15 Things to Start Doing for Yourself…Starting Now Mon, 21 Apr 2014 17:46:29 +0000 Don’t stand in your own way. The choices you make today will determine what you become tomorrow. The time to reinvent yourself and be yourself is now.

Here is your positive ‘to-do’ list for the year, make it count and be there for yourself….for once.

1. Start spending time with the right people.

These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.

2. Start facing your problems head on.

It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them.  Problems will not disappear unless you take action.  Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done.  It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch.  These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.

3. Start being honest with yourself about everything.

Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become.  Be honest with every aspect of your life, always.  Because you are the one person you can forever count on.  Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are.  Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there.

4. Start making your own happiness a priority.

Your needs matter.  If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself.  Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you.  And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.

5.  Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly.

Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

6. Start noticing and living in the present.

Right now is a miracle.  Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future.  Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past.  Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening.  Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.

7.  Start being more polite to yourself.

If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?  The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.  You must love who you are or no one else will.

8. Start enjoying the things you already have.

The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life – a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc.  Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you’ll likely have a new destination in mind.

You’ll end up spending your whole life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy the things you have now.  So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.

9. Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance.

In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.

10. Start believing that you’re ready for the next step.

You are ready!  Think about it.  You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward.  So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges – they’re gifts that will help you to grow.

11. Start competing against an earlier version of yourself.

Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  Aim to break your own personal records.

12. Start listening to your own inner voice.

If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition.  Be true to yourself.  Say what you need to say.  Do what you know in your heart is right.

13.  Start working toward your goals every single day.

Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen.  Get out there and DO something!  The harder you work the luckier you will become.

While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By ‘working on it,’ I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result.

14. Start taking full accountability for your own life.

Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.  Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.

You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy.  Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them.  But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.

15.  Start concentrating on the things you can control.

You can’t change everything, but you can always change something.  Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.

Originally shared on

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[Infographic] What Does It Really Cost To Commute In The UK? Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:32:35 +0000 It’s certainly been a case of “when it rains, it pours” for the poor London commuter recently. A tube strike, a concrete-flooded control room and many, many delays have resulted in workers forced to seek out alternative modes of transport to get them to and from the office.The recent 48-hour walkout, which was the result of an ongoing dispute between the TUC and London Underground bosses, has seen further disruption to companies that are hoping 2014 will be the year of the Great British economic revival.

According to this recent infographic from Buzz Conferencing, train delays cost UK businesses £1 billion every year. Quite shocking, when you consider TUC figures that suggest taxpayers in the UK are already paying annual costs of around £1.2 billion to try to ensure the privatised system keeps to its schedules. When will it end? The answer to that question is down to you. If you’re fed up of being held to ransom by the unreliability of the capital’s public transport network, then the simplest solution would be to stop relying on it.

Instead, cut out the commute and work from home. Teleconferencing can make a massive difference when it comes to achieving this, allowing workers to participate in meetings and communicate with colleagues as if they were still in the office. So next time the Victoria line is closed for unforeseen reasons, the Circle line grinds to a halt or Piccadilly Circus descends into chaos, do something about it. It could be the best decision you ever make.



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Habits You Need To Boost Your Emotional Intelligence Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:44:07 +0000 Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.  Our emotional intelligence — the way we manage emotions, both our own and those of others — can play a critical role in determining our happiness and success (Daniel Goleman).

Habits of emotionally intelligent people

1. Emotionally intelligent people tend to notice more.

They have a candid and realistic understanding of themselves. It’s not just about knowing what to say and when to say it. Anybody can learn social skills, which are centered around acting and don’t require the actor to mean what they say. It takes more effort, bravery, and personal development to become emotionally intelligent.

2. They keep the end goal in mind.

Those who succeed in life and business keep an eye on the big picture. This means letting go of petty perceived slights and road bumps that present themselves each and every day. When you keep the end goal at the top of your mind, it is easier to negotiate with a difficult client, create successful, win-win partnerships, and focus your energy on what is most important — not getting sidetracked by petty annoyances and putting out little fires.

That goes for relationships, too. If a long-term committed partnership with your spouse is your top priority, then you are less likely to focus on the proverbial toothpaste cap conundrums that trip up so many couples. Even bigger issues such as differences in money management or raising kids are more easily negotiated when you are both focused on lifelong collaboration.

3. Emotionally intelligent people have genuine introspection

People who who seem to display high levels of emotional intelligence also appear to be the most gentle, reserved, kind, and genuine people. They appear to be wise beyond their years. People are not born this way; it takes a certain amount of introspection (and often adversity) to develop a deep sensitivity and awareness of yourself and the world around you.

Genuine introspection and truly knowing oneself, then consciously using that information to develop awareness, compassion, and understanding is what sets emotional intelligence apart from social awareness.

Daniel Goleman, Author -Emotional Intelligence and FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence on developing emotional intelligence

1. First, get committed. Mobilize the motivating power in the left prefrontal areas. If you’re a coach, you’ve got to engage the person, get them enthused about achieving the goal of change. Here it helps to draw on their dreams, their vision for themselves, where they want to be in the future. Then work from where they are now on what they might improve to help them get where they want to go in life.

2. Next, get practical. Don’t take on trying to learn too much all at once. Manage your goal at the level of a specific behavior. Make it practical, so you know exactly what to do and when. For example, say someone has “smartphone syndrome”. You have to break the habit of multi-tasking. Make up an intentional learning plan.

When you start to form the new, better habit you are essentially creating new circuitry that competes with your old habit in a kind of neural Darwinism. To make the new habit strong enough, you’re got to use the power of neuroplasticity – you have to do it over and over again.

If you persist in the better habit, that new circuitry will connect and become more and more powerful, until one day you’ll do the right thing in the right way without a second thought. That means the circuitry has become so connected and thick that this is the brain’s new default option. With that change in the brain, the better habit will become your automatic choice.

How to create a greater sense of emotional intelligence

1. Awareness. Recognising individual emotions as they occur, understanding why they occur, and understanding the effects (both good and bad) they have on you.

2. Control. Resisting impulses and urges (delaying gratification), remaining calm even as chaos ensues, and always thinking clearly when those around you can’t.

3. Assessment. Knowing strengths and weaknesses, learning from mistakes, and constantly striving to build on what you have in an attempt to make yourself better.

4. Vision. Creating a sense of direction in your life, having the foresight to anticipate problems/needs before they arise, and paying attention to the details.

5. Creativity. Thinking outside the box, developing a tolerance for ambiguity, and maintaining an openness to change.

6. Innovation. Seeking out unconventional solutions to problems, keeping an open mind to novelty in the world, and applying creativity in practical ways.

7. Ambition. Setting tough but attainable goals, constantly raising the bar in pursuit of excellence, and feeding the need for achievement whenever you can.

8. Initiative. Taking the first step when opportunity arises, never sitting back because it’s not in your “job description”, and bending the rules (occasionally) when it comes to making progress.

9. Conscientiousness. Accepting responsibility for personal performance, adopting a focused approach in your work, and understanding that nobody else is to blame for your shortcomings.

10. Adaptability. Admitting when you’ve failed, remaining flexible in the face of obstacles, and never being too stubborn to change.

11. Independence. Living with an unshakable sense of who you are, making your own decisions in the face of peer pressure, and acting despite tremendous risk and doubt.

12. Optimism. Understanding we all make mistakes, choosing to persist no matter how many times you’ve failed, and always remaining hopeful that success is just around the corner.

–Twelve aspects of creating emotional intelligence originally shared on Zenhabits

As long as you take the time to really imprint your new behaviours in your mind they’re bound to stick and you’re bound to feel the difference.

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Regeneration Aiding New Startups Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:41:19 +0000 The stormy weather and in particular the floods caused all sorts of expensive damages and wreaked havoc amongst small communities where local residents rely on tourism for the income. However it is not all doom and gloom as the government offered up a pot of £2 million to help refurbish and renovate the worst hit areas promising bespoke advertising campaigns to ignite interest in the area and help regenerate the businesses.

And if you are thinking of setting up a new business, during a time of regeneration is the perfect opportunity. So if you’re considering a new start up then read on for some top tips on making those first few steps.

Clear and Concise

Before you start making any physical or practical arrangements you first need to be totally clear in your own mind as to exactly what it is that you are trying to set up. The best way to achieve a concise explanation that can be rolled out to potential funders, partners and clients is by creating a thorough business plan with clear aims and objectives that outline short and long term goals.


Next consider the practicalities of your business to ensure that it is in fact a feasible opportunity and that you are covered in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. Thinks to consider include business banking which is generally seen as a separate strand of banking to personal banking and as such will need separate research. Don’t just go with your existing bank because they are good with your personal accounts, shop around for the best deals and most appropriate type of banking for your business.

Don’t discount the importance of the different types of insurance you may need as a business such as property and contents, vehicle and life insurance as well as public liability, professional indemnity and employers insurance. If you are unsure about what your insurance needs are then talk to the experts. Internet Insurance Services Ltd can give you a number of quotes based on different packages and will ensure that you are covered.


Next comes the hardest bit, after the research is done, the funds are in place and the business plan is set out comes the grin and bear it bit where you simply have to get stuck in. Often this is the point where people leave their current employment to jump in feet first to entrepreneurship.

This phase generally takes a few months of hard work, stress and little income as everything is put into place. However, stay focused, draw on any support that you are offered and stick at it for soon you will be the proud owner of a flourishing new start up business.

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4 Great Places To Get Content For Your Blog Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:50:51 +0000 Your blog is the lynch pin of your marketing strategy, but constant updates may be more difficult than you thought when you started. While guest posts from other bloggers may help to fill in the gaps on those days when you have nothing to post, they may be a tall order on short notice.

However, there are for websites on the internet that have a large staff of writers ready and willing to generate a post for your blog within a few hours for a price you can afford. Check out these four great places to get content for your blog.

1. Blogmutt

Blogmutt specializes in blog entries and is perhaps the best place to go if you want articles in bulk. You have the freedom to select the topic as well as set a series of sliders to determine what you are looking for in your blog entries (newsy vs evergreen, topical vs promotional etc). You pay a flat monthly rate for set number of blog entries.

Writers are paid a flat rate and submit work to you based on the set of topics and guidelines that you post to your dashboard. You may receive a hundred submissions but you can only buy as many as your plan allows for (from 1-5 posts a week) and the remainder go into a queue that you can pull from in subsequent weeks.

You are free to request revisions, reject inappropriate work, or move posts up/down the queue as you see fit. Blogmutt is a great place to build an inventory of potential blog posts to fill in the gaps in your posting schedule.

2. Interact Media

Interact Media is a website that employs a number of writers on its Zerys platform. Unlike Blogmutt it doesn’t offer a casting call system but rather a job board where freelancers can accept your assignment. This is a more efficient way to get time-sensitive content, as one particular writer will be working on your assignment based upon your deadline.

Their smartpost system lets you customize how much you offer for the article on a cent per-word basis, and this will slowly increase up to the maximum price per work you are willing to pay. Most assignments are accepted well before they achieve the maximum price per word.

All writers on the platform have a star rating that is determined by the work that they have submitted to clients, and you are able to select favorite writers and request direct assignments from them if you think that they perform quality work.

3. Copify is a site that offers more flexibility and transparency than the other services. One of the biggest selling points is that you will know who is doing the work for you and be able to review their online reputation through their profile.

Many services keep their writers anonymous but Copify has an open copywriter directory so that you can see not only the ratings of the writer who will be working on your assignment but also the comments of those who they have worked for in the past.

You are free to order content one post at a time or place a bulk order as is appropriate to your situation, and these will go out to the Copify writing pool for the price you determine. The rate is based upon two tiers of writers: standard writers and professional writers and you will need to compose a brief detailing what you require for your blog post.

4. Textbroker

Textbroker is another option that is very similar to Interact Media, but there are distinct differences. It has a large stable of writers and may be the best place to form a team of writers that you want to work with regularly. You can submit open orders to the job board and determine if you want to have the job open to star ratings of 1-5 star writers, but the higher the star rating you ask for the more difficult it will be to fulfill the assignment.

Unlike Interact Media or Copify writer quality is not determined by client satisfaction with their work. The star rating is determined by a team of editors that review the work long after the fact, and while there is a large number of 2-3 star writers 4-5 star writers are in much shorter supply. This is why it is a good idea to form writer teams of 4-5 star writers and submit your requests as team orders or direct orders.

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The Smartest Product Launch Strategy You Should Be Using Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:28:58 +0000 Your startup launch is the first day you will show your “indoor project” to the  world. A good launch can do great things to your brand & build enough momentum to cut marketing & sales expenditure drastically. The best launch strategy is to build a product people actually want (half the job is done when you are solving a real problem).

6 Months before Launch

1. Get started on Twitter – know the influencers in your area and connect with them. Post content related to your field and build reputation.

2. Get active on forums, Quora on topics related to your product. Answer questions and be a good samaritan.

3. Set up your blog and post interesting content related to your product. Post the broad issues faced etc. Include media to display the human side of your company – photos of your team, office, videos of fun events, etc. Learn the tips for business blogging.

4. Get a good brand name (after some kind of brainstorming) and register your site.

5. Create a splash page – you could use Launchrock – with a signup form.

6. From your small network created in the previous steps, get a few target users to sign up for the alpha/beta.

Goal now: Work on the right product idea that excites your beta customers

3 Months Before Launch

1. Spend some time to design a smart business card that stands out and use the back of the card with a 3 point pitch about your startup.

2. Cultivate relationship with bloggers and media persons in your field. Here are some tips to cultivating the blogger relationships. If you could get bloggers like Robert Scoble and other influencers to get interested, the idea could spread like wildfire.

3. Start attending started related events – keep building networks & exchange business cards. Make your brand – YOU- known.

4. List your startup in Angel List,, CrunchBase, Listio  etc.

Goal now: Build a kick-ass product that people will love

1 Week Before the Launch

1. Build a great landing page that has a clear call to action – signup/phone number to contact/buy the product etc.

2. Optimize your site well as new customers might not be too patient for the site to load.

3. Do basic SEO for your site to bring customers through search.

4. Test your product well – a lot of times people don’t give a second chance. After internal testing you could use services like 99tests to find out critical bugs and scalability issues.

5. Setup Google Analytics in your site and monitor your site daily. Track visits, bounce rate, traffic sources, time spent on site etc.

6. Learn to use social monitoring tools to track your brand across the social media.

7. Write a good press release. A press release is a content that a media could use directly for their story. It is written in third person and talks about your product, team and advantages of your product. Learn to how to write press release and here are tips to write your press release.

8. Setup your Facebook page. Get your friends and contacts to join it. You might want to use Facebook ads to kickstart the fan building process.

8. Create viral content – emotive stories, videos and pictures that people could share in social media easily.

9. Create interesting infographics and slides on content related to your product (stats, benefits, user demographics, comparison to existing products) to post in your blog. You might be able to use the newly launched to create the infographics if you don’t have a create artist.

10. Tease your twitter followers with tweets that gives them a preview of the product in a fun & entertaining way. Without going overboard, give a bikini –reveal enough to keep it interesting without exposing everything.

11. Create fun contests (quizzes, social games, etc) for your twitter & Facebook fans – throw away a few freebies

12. Write personally to bloggers – give exclusives for the big ones- give them a compelling story. Bloggers like to write interesting content and make your story a coherent and a powerful one. Request them not to leak the story till your launch day.

13. Collect a list of all email contacts you and your team knows. Keep these in your CRM or at the least in a single CSV file.

14. Prepare a video demo of your product and record interviews with the team and your initial customers – post them on your youtube channel. Keep it short and fun.

15. Create a kick-ass presentation of your product covering the problem, your solution, benefits etc – post them on your blog and send it over to any blogger who shows interest in your product.

Goal now: Choose the right launch date – ideally in the middle of the week without any impending holidays and other major product launches.

Launch Day

1. Post the howtos, presentation, videos, any testimonial you received from your beta users in your blog. Make your blog the central repository of everything related to your product.

2. Schedule two dozen tweets (you could use tools like Hootsuite for scheduling) to go every hour – each covering a facet of your product – with an appropriate URL in your site

3. Start mailing to all your email contacts. Use a tool like Mailchimp or Aweber to send and track the emails.

4. If you are an internet startup, post your site link on startup directories.

5. Get your team tuned to the social media and be alert to receive feedback. Monitor your site metrics – traffic, load etc.

6. Respond to email queries as fast as possible.

Goal now: Keep listening & responding to feedback, tracking the results, and be agile in enacting changes

Post Launch

1. Thank any blogger who has covered your event.

2. Be active on social media and engage customers who mention your product and collect their feedback. Take their negative feedback without being defensive.

3. Fix the bugs and work on feature requests if they make sense

4. Write tutorials to help your customer use your features better.

5. Keep looking out for events to demo your product.

6. Put your domain name in your business cards, email signature, presentations and any other relevant communication.

Originally shared on Quora

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6 Important Tips for Hiring Your Next Online Freelancer Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:49:39 +0000 The freelance economy has grown considerably in the last half decade or less and according to some studies in the USA; freelancers are estimated will be half of the workforce by 2020.

Needless to say, it’s understandable why this is the case; the freelance economy is a fantastic alternative for businesses hoping to leverage their contingent workforce. Statistics from the Staffing Industry Association saw online staffing increase by 60% in 2012 – a remarkable increase.

The reason a lot of businesses are still wary of the getting involved in the freelance economy is based on it being something of an unknown to them. Luckily for businesses, there are a number of websites out there, including PeopleperHour that do a great job showcasing the freelancer’s job history, portfolio, previous work and a whole lot more.

However, with hiring freelancers becoming incredibly common and a range of great transparent options that showcase freelancer’s talents clearly online very prominent, it can be considered a safe bet. So, to ease you toward considering hiring online freelancers, here are some tips and advice on how to do so.

1. The Description

For businesses hoping to hire a quality freelancer, the job description is everything. You want the people applying for your position or job to be completely clear with what’s involved before sending a proposal.

If you create clarity from the off, you’ll be far more inclined to see clear responses and proposals in return. So, create a detailed, clear description of what you need and when you need it by, making sure that you point out any specific needs or focuses.

2. Portfolio of Work

Talking the talk is good and well, but walking the walk is incredibly important. You need to know that the proposal sent matches up the delivery and the best way to do this is to take a look at a portfolio of work.

That said if you feel the need to ask a freelancer something, then just go right ahead and do so. Always ask anything you need clarified or aren’t sure of, check for previous work and take heed of their reviews – all of these are great for evaluating the quality of the freelancer.

3. Communication

A good freelance relationship is based on good communication and setting the ground rules for keeping contact is very important.

Ideally, set up a means of communication, time of contact and when and how regular contact should be. If you deal with freelancers from a different country then it’s often best to use messaging systems for communication as time differences may not make such a method simple.

4. Price isn’t everything

Remember that you often pay for what you get, so use some discretion regards pricing when deciding on someone to work for you. Even though there are plenty of great low cost contractors out there, it’s often a good idea to examine other factors besides price before choosing.

Remember that freelance marketplaces tend to push prices down to a degree, so you’ll probably get good value anyhow. Also, remember that the value of some jobs may be less or more depending on geographic location.

5. Manage Expectations

If a project tends to miss out on milestones again and again it can be a big problem. Sorting out expectations beforehand can prevent this being a problem. So, provide clear details as regards these expectations and be organised and provide a clear framework for the job. This will greatly ensure your project works on time and to schedule.

6. Payment Terms

Payment terms can work in conjunction with the milestones and paying as certain goals are reached can be a reasonable way to work with freelancers. Most freelancing websites will keep money in Escrow until it’s required and offer a safe and secure way for the freelancer and the buyer to work together.

These tips will ensure you and your freelancer has a smooth, fruitful and hopefully long relationship together.

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What You Need To Launch A Transport Business Thu, 10 Apr 2014 16:54:24 +0000 A transportation business like any other business requires the right skill to successfully pull it off. People will always need a means of transport to travel from place to place and if you can do a good job at delivering a good service, you can earn people’s trust and win their business whenever they need a means of transport.

Deciding on the type of transport business is the most important decision you should be looking into for a successful launch. Here are some tips on how to get started. Your options include a limousine or taxi service, health transport services, courier service, auto transport business and charter/bus company.

Every transport business has its own challenges and benefits but once you are clear about what exactly you want, you can dive in on the necessary logistics and permits you need to start your transport service without problems.

Once you know what you want or the kind of service you want to run, its crucial to get int touch with your local transport authorities about getting a permit and license and registering the business.

Obviously, the vehicles you will need to start your transport business is a basic requirement hence the need to do everything in your power to make sure that you get the right fleet of cars at the right price from the right auto dealers.

Get the right people with industry knowledge on board. The basic assumption is that you personally have some kind of skills on the transportation industry. But you also need help from experienced personnel. Some of the areas you need to understand include the Traffic Act, operating cost estimates, licence fees, toll fees, maintenance and the escalation of fuel and other costs.


And there are vehicle schedules, staff duty rosters, maintenance programmes to worry about. Your staff also require the right skills to handle your vehicles. You can recommend particular driving courses depending on your transport sector. Check out suitable courses for some of your drivers here:

Get hold of your initial costs. Understand your costs before and during operation as a business. Don’t take short cuts and remember quality controls and stringent maintenance to vehicles is crucial at all times. Don’t skip quality control measures, they are the lifeline of any transport business.

Your are better off with a few clients before you transportation business hits the road. Seek out customers and contracts before you start the business because transport contracts could take time to seal.

Generally these are some of the expenses you should consider and plan for before you even think about going into the business. Garage or other facilities for vehicles stored at business premises, security features – e.g. tracking equipment, routine servicing and maintenance of vehicles, repairs for scratches, wear and tear (tyres) or accident damage, fuel costs, cleaning and accounting/invoicing costs a few things you should be thinking about.

Once you sure about all the operational costs and are convinced about starting your business, get to work on getting the word out. Try advertising in the local newspaper, or listing in the classified section of community newspapers, join transport associations or the local chambers of commerce and be sure to apply your business name, logo and contact details on  your vehicles. Make contact with manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers (for future contracts).

Some of the biggest challenges facing the transport businesses are not just congested roads/highways, traffic fatalities and injuries but financial problems right from the beginning. Don’t over in-debt yourself. Transport services are capital intensive, you need to have funds upfront to get it started. Wherever you are getting your funds from, make sure you are striking a good deal to prevent future costs and interests that could cripple your business.

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What You Need To Know About Investing In Your Own Business Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:16:26 +0000 When it comes to investing in one’s business, sacrifice are made in terms of time and money. Before and during the investment process some research needs to be considered bearing in mind the trends of the industry. You want to take into consideration your target demographics that you sell your product or service to. Then you want to invest in your company and innovate your product or service based upon the changes on the demographic groups that purchase the goods of your company.

Founders of some of the most successful businesses invested back into their businesses to make sure their businesses thrive in the midst of challenges. Bill Gates of Microsoft and Frank Vandersloot CEO of Melaleuca repeatedly invested in their companies to ensure their continual growth and prosperity. And when it comes to technology, there is usually a period of training that needs to be accounted for.

For those looking to invest in their companies, the areas that should be considered are: Technology, Research and Development and Cross Training

–Know when to embrace new technology

Finding new and innovative technology is important. It can help companies innovate and improve their products or services, but some companies over-invest in new technologies and lose site of their original mission and vision. Know when to use new media to improve and promote your business. Measure their impact on your business and stick to what works for various departments.

Staying current with new technology is important, but not all products and services will benefit every business equally. For example, the average landscaping business does not need a very sophisticated computer and printer, and can get away with using Excel over QuickBooks. However, a pharmaceutical company needs much more sophisticated equipment, especially for internal use.

In other words, if you are a business owner, only go after the innovative technology that you actually need to improve your business. If there are technologies that are overly expensive and your business can get by with out it, then it is most likely the wise thing not to invest in it.

–Allocating R&D Funds

Whether a company is on the top of its game or floundering toward the bottom, there is an equal need to be innovating, even if it’s only 1% of the budget. An example of this can be found in the cautionary tale of The Fish That Swallowed the Whale, by Richard Cohen, about the banana business. Until the 1960′s the world’s most popular banana was The Big Mike, a large and hardy fruit with a thick skin. People loved The Big Mike, but it was susceptible to disease.

The United Fruit Company, then the biggest fruit company in the world, hired scientists to combat this. Meanwhile, Dole began growing other varieties of bananas that were not as big or tough, but also not susceptible to disease.

United Fruit ended up following in Dole’s footsteps, but found that the new bananas bruised easily. Dole solved this problem by inventing the banana box, and it wasn’t long before Dole became #1, and United Fruit fell far to the bottom of the corporate chain.

The lesson to be learned here is that companies need to be constantly researching their own products and how they can become more innovative. It often costs money and time to do this kind of research, but the business world is very competitive and this is really the only way that companies can keep up. So whether you are selling a product or a service, it is a good practice to be innovative and try new things to get ahead of your competition.

–Cross training can prevent major disruptions

One of the major lessons that can be taken from United Fruit was that Sam Zemurray, who saved the company in the 1930′s, never mentored anyone to run it as well as he did.

Cross-training is incredibly important, be it for the position of CEO, customer service, purchasing, or shipping. If a person leaves and no one can fill his spot easily, there can be major disruptions. It is always easier to hire employees to a new or higher position because they have been cross-trained than it is to hire a completely new employee who has little to no experience in that particular position.

By investing the proper amount of time and money, businesses can thrive. Investing in your own company will help keep you competitive with other companies that may sell similar products and services. As investments are forgone, the company will slowly sink, appearing buoyant at first, but eventually succumbing to the inevitable.

Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she  studied communications. Lizzie enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3 years ­old husky Snowball.

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Why Your Business Should Consider Video Marketing Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:23:10 +0000 Many businesses are having their own corporate videos created by production companies because it is the best way for you to communicate a message to your target audience. These videos can be very engaging and entertaining, and they can also be used for a wide variety of purposes as well.

The best way to engage somebody and to communicate a message is through a video, as this uses both audio and video to create a narrative. This will automatically grab somebody’s attention, making it a very powerful tool for businesses to use if they feel they should and, take it from us, they should.

Corporations can have their own business video produced, and these can be used to advertise, promote and raise awareness about your brands, products and services, events and plenty more. Other media forms like print advertising, radio and other are still valuable, but it is through video that you will be able to communicate effectively and attract new customers and clients to your business.

Businesses in all different industries can benefit from having their own videos produced, and these videos can be hosted, shared and uploaded across a variety of channels so that as many people as possible see them and take on their message. You will be surprised at just how effective this can be, and it could make a huge difference to your company and help you to be more successful.

As well as this, having a corporate video produced will also help to boost your reputation. This is because people will see that you understand how to communicate effectively and use modern techniques to get messages across to your target audience.

The quality of the video will need to be of the highest standard because people are very perceptive to how well a film is put together these days with so many films, shows and adverts being consumed on a daily basis. Knowing how to create a video which is effective, engaging, interesting and professional-looking is something that most people don’t know how to do.

This means that you will need to turn to a company that offers video production services, and ideally one that has experience in creating corporate videos. This way you know that they are capable of communicating your message to your target audience through video.

They will then use their expertise to create a sleek, stylish video which is engaging and entertaining. You can then use this video how you wish, and by getting as many people to see it as possible it will soon have a positive impact and you will have an improved reputation. People will be instantly drawn to your video and take everything on board because it is well-produced – this is the best way in which you can communicate to potential and existing customers and clients.

The content on the video will depend on what you are trying to get across, but these videos are used for a huge range of purposes and also by businesses in almost every industry as well. This means that you can certainly benefit from having your own one created, but you will need to ensure that it is created by an established, talented and experienced video production company.

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