Good Business Ideas for 2012

Will 2012 be your best business year yet? To get you started I’d like to share some good business ideas with you. I hope that the tips here will help you achieve your dreams for the New Year.
Start with your Goals
Setting measurable goals for your business is critical. Until you know exactly what you want to achieve and how you plan to go about achieving it, your chance of business success in 2012 will be dismal. Having coached many small business owners I have found that the lack of clear and measurable goal is the most consistent factor for business failure. The formula that I give in my small business course is:
“I am going to achieve Goal ‘A’ on this date by practising that initiative”
Without setting and following up on measurable goals you will not be able to see if what you believe are good ideas can be turned into actual profitable business ideas. This point is important for any business but it is absolutely critical if your are still at the stage of working with your startup business ideas.
Test your customer’s needs.
Regardless of what your business is, product, service or information your objective should be to solve a problem that faces your customers. You test this by using surveys, marketing software or a simple face to face chat. The latter is usually the best way if you have on offline business. For example, when I started a hospitality business I had found an ideal location but it wasn’t until I started asking my customers for feedback that I realised what was missing in what I had to offer. Once I saw a trend it was easy enough to introduce some changes that served my customers’ need and as a result my occupation rates improve dramatically. The main thing to remember is that customer’s needs change and getting continual feedback is a must.
Create a strong message.
Once you know what your customers’ needs are and how your product or service will fill the gap you need to create a strong message that communicates the benefits of your solution. If you have a logo or banner that you are currently using, check that it conveys the right message. The most important thing to remember here is that your message must at first glance convey the immediate benefits of what you have to offer. That first impression is the one that can make or break your business. This principle applies to both online and offline businesses.
If your business is online, the banner of your blog or web page should include a meaningful logo and an encapsulation of the benefits of what you have to offer should be above the fold of your landing page. There are similar requirements for a strong message for an offline business. The logo on your business card, in your shop window or on your brochures is the first thing that potential customers will notice. If it’s not meaningful you already lose a large percentage of your audience immediately. The text on any physical advertising material should follow the same “above the fold” principle as the website for an online business. Your customers will only look at the first few lines, usually no more than 10 centimetres of text, to decide subconsciously if what they’ve read so far is interesting enough to warrant further reading. And of course, don’t forget that all important picture! People love pictures and a few eye-catching ones scattered throughout your message will keep the interest going for much longer than something that is just dull and boring text.
Keep in touch.
Keeping in touch with your customers without being seen to be pushy is one of the main factors in achieving ongoing business success. Make sure that you collect email addresses for both actual and potential customers and communicate on a regular basis. This could take the form of a simple email announcing product or service upgrades, a newsletter with interesting topics relating the your products and services, announcements of special deals, etc. It is important though that this type of communication should be at least 80% information and no more than 20% sales. Keep your customers’ attention by giving them regular useful information and they will also most likely look at your sales communications. Overdo it with the sales spiel and you’ll soon get a large number of unsubscribe requests.
Most businesses that work online are aware of this and are practising this at least up to a reasonable level. Many offline businesses however fail miserably on this score. Let’s face it, when was the last time that you received an email from your local restaurant telling you about some terrific new menus or flavours that have been introduced? I’m certain that if you ever did receive a communication of this nature you would be far more inclined to visit the restaurant and you would also be much more likely to tell your friends about it. Why don’t many restaurant owners do this? Habit! Suggesting to guests that they might like to leave their email address so they can get information such as menu changes or special recipes simply doesn’t cross their minds. Quite a few offline businesses now have blogs or Facebook pages but remember, if that is your only marketing approach, you a are just one of many. Keeping in touch with your customers on a personal basis tends to be far more effective.
Monitor and Adjust.
Once you have implemented the first 4 steps at the beginning of the year, don’t forget to monitor your progress. Are you staying on target with your goals? Letting this slip is one of the worst mistakes that any business owner can make. You can always adjust your goals on the proviso that you have been monitoring your progress regularly and that the reasons for the changes are valid ones that will benefit your business success.REMEMBER, transforming your 2012 dreams into good business ideas and making this your best year yet is easily achievable if you use the right building blocks to step up to business success!

5 Tips When Selling A Business

A business that is available for sale is often handled like selling a residential property or house – except they are totally different. In some states in the United States, for a professional third party or a broker to represent the seller of the house they are required to have a real estate license. That real estate license allows that person to sell a house, a commercial property, and in some cases, provide mortgage loans and assist in the transaction of selling a business.As I mentioned above, however, all have similarities but there are major differences. When selling a house both seller and their broker want everyone to know the house is for sale whereas with a business, the sale is kept confidential to protect the business, the employees and other parties.Here are 5 tips to help an owner thinking of selling their business.First, most businesses rent their facility. However, if the business includes commercial real estate it should have a separate value and not be included in the purchase price of the business. It doesn’t mean the same buyer cannot buy both, it means that a separate value should be struck for the real estate in its own right and a separate value done for the business taking into account the fair market value of renting or leasing the real estate. It is wrong logic to value the real estate, value the business and not allow for fair market rent and then add both together to arrive at one listing price for everything.Second, bring together a team of advisors or at least have them identified in case they are needed. The team should include an accountant and attorney while there is room for a personal financial planner.Third, the most important components to a buyer are cash flow and potential. If the business doesn’t have a cash flow, the buyer may as well start the business from scratch and do things their way. The exception would be where the assets of the business are already in place such as for a restaurant, manufacturing site or other asset dependent business.Fourth, an extension of the above point is to make sure that whatever price is asked, it has been properly valued. Most businesses being sold by the business owner are overpriced. A business owner becomes attached to the business and what it took to get it where it is. They therefore think it’s worth more than it is. The best approach is to have the business or its assets valued by a professional independent third party. There are different professional appraisers for different types of valuation. For example, there are different appraisers that specialize in valuing a business as opposed to valuing hard assets such as machinery and equipment versus someone who appraises intellectual property or commercial real estate.Fifth and finally, make sure it’s clear who the buyer is and any down payment they are bringing. If the buyer says they are buying the business and have an investor, the first thing to do is ask to meet the investor. As a matter of course, it should be the investor making the inquiry as they have the money and will therefore make any final decision. Be careful how much you share until its clear the buyer has the potential to buy the business; not just dream about it.Selling a business comes with complications. It is rarely a simple and straight forward process. One of the most important things to do is for the seller to put themselves in the shoes of the buyer. Being able to do this will greatly improve the chances of success in selling the business.

Aquaponics Systems, Part 1: The Anatomy of a System

Aquaponics SystemsDo you know where aquatic animals and vegetables come from? If not, this is your chance to understand the concepts of aquaponics systems. Aquaponics systems are the symbiotic methods of feeding a plant using the waste water of a fish tank. It means that they are using the same water supply to sustain both plant gardens and aquatic animals.Aquaponics systems provide healthier fish and greater plant yields. With these methods, the fish supplies the plants with a sufficient amount of nutrients to grow. Therefore, both fishes and plants take care of each other and that guarantees an ultimate growth. Aquaponics systems are divided into two parts and here they are:Aquaculture This type is also known as aqua farming. This is not just about farming of aquatic organisms such as crustaceans, fishes, mollusks and aquatic plants. It also involves the cultivation of saltwater and freshwater organisms under controlled conditions. The aquaculture component often consists of a tank filled with water were the fishes are keep.Hydroponics It is a process of growing plants without the use of soil. Instead, people prefer to use mineral nutrient solutions. Just like soils, these solutions provide these nutrients and minerals to the plants. The hydroponic system involves six fundamental types and these are the following:Wick System – Another term for this type is the passive system. This is considered as the easiest types of hydroponic system. This type doesn’t include any movement of parts.
Water Culture System – The system utilizes a floating raft that is made of floats and Styrofoam with holes for the pots. These allow the plants to sit firmly and enable the roots to absorb water.
EBB and Flow – It is known for its reliability and simplicity of operation. It also includes initial investment cost. In this system, the pots are filled with an inert medium which anchors the roots as a solvent mineral nutrients and temporary reserve of water.
Drip System – It is also known as trickle system. This system was managed by a timer in a submersed pump.
Nutrient Film Technique – This can be used on either commercial or backyard system. In this system, plats are placed in the pots and small have a small amount of water drips from the base.
Aeroponic System – This is the modern type of hydroponic system. In this system, the timer controls the nutrient pump.Aquaponics systems provide multiple benefits. Compared to other methods, these systems use a fraction of the water than a traditional garden or farm uses. These systems also don’t need for fertilizer. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about your expenses. You can save not just time and effort, but huge money as well.In addition, aquaponics systems don’t require soil and provide a well-rounded diet. Other benefits of these systems include drought proof, higher crop yield per plant area, no waste produced, no harmful chemicals needed and provides food security.With various benefits of aquaponics systems, you are probably tempted to build one. Using your knowledge about this topic, it is easy for you to have these systems. So, start producing aquatic animals and plants and see how much you can yield about of these methods now!