Starting your own business is an achievement in itself that you should be excited about but it is only the starting point. The next thing you must do is find a way to make it stand out from the crowd. Ask yourself what is different about your business and what you can do to make it remarkable. A truly remarkable business must be your aim! We will explore some tips and ideas for making your business stand out from the crowd. We will also look at how to bring the WOW factor to your business. This will in turn give you an edge over your competition. Are you ready to get started?Let us look at the concept of the “Purple Cow”. After you have been looking at cows for a while they all basically look the same. They all become common, ordinary and needless to say, dull and boring. But a purple cow is something that would be very different and indeed quite remarkable. A purple cow would attract attention; it would be the start of many conversations and it would be a draw for people everywhere. It would not be forgotten almost immediately. That is what you need to stand out from the crowd and rise above the rest- your own version of the purple cow.The purple cow gives rise to remarkable marketing. It is the art of building something into the product or service that you sell that will be taken notice of by customers. How you market your product is not enough. You can use the fanciest advertising you can think of but without a purple cow it will remain invisible. You need to color it purple to get it to jump out and say “HERE I AM!”Many business owners do not put the principle of the remarkable purple cow to work in their businesses because they do not know how to come up with that really magnificent idea that will blow everyone away. This takes work and a few people putting their heads together and coming up with some ideas.Another reason that you see so few purple cows in the marketplace is because people fear criticism, success and being disliked by others. If you are remarkable then you will receive criticism and it will hurt. There will also be whispers behind your back and you will not be liked by everybody. But really who is anyway? Those who stand out in any manner are always more open to ridicule and scrutiny. It is the price you pay to be truly remarkable.However, looking at the concept of the purple cow, these things stand out. “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing.” and “In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” Being invisible may be safe but it will not lead to you reaching the top of the mountain. If you want to take a stab at true greatness and excellence then you must resist the urge to play by the rules and be safe. You must be brave, be bold and not be afraid to be unique. Remember the saying, “No guts, no glory”? It is right on the money!To stand out from the crowd and be a little bit taller than your competitors you need to figure out what makes you different. From there you focus on that and find ways to celebrate it. Your differences will then be the foundation for your unique selling point. To figure this out you must have a vision for your company. To brand your business it is essential that you are as clear as possible about what your vision is. Ask yourself what is different about your products or services? Once you know what that is you can then find ways to package your products in a different manner that makes other people say WOW!Your business plan must include a way to be remarkable. Every business has the ability to do this. Don’t be lazy or make excuses- put work and plenty of forethought into this. After all, practically anyone can open a business or offer a service but you must go one step further. You need to go the extra mile and put in the extra effort. Don’t put in 100 percent effort but 200 percent. Find your niche and then take the initiative to be you but a you that is different from everyone else. You can sell the same products as 50 other businesses but you will have the hook that draws customers in.You are the business owner but are you recognizable to the patrons you serve? Do people know who you are? Are you hands on in your business or are you rarely around? Do you offer a unique personal touch that cannot be found elsewhere? Personal connection is important.People like to feel that their business matters and that they matter when they walk through the door. Cathy and Joe can go anywhere for their Sunday morning coffee and bagel. However, if you are visible in your coffee shop, and are there to greet customers and learn their names then you will set yourself apart for having that extra special touch that makes them want to come back again and again.Many customers also like comfortable predictability. They like to know what to expect and they like consistency. You need to put yourself in your own business and to show your customers that they make a difference. Don’t hide away in your office because that will not endear anyone to you and will not make your business remarkable in any way. You are the heart of the business so give it the beating heart it deserves.The WOW factor is the quality that makes something surprising, impressive, or amazing. To have the WOW factor in your business you do not have to break the bank or do something totally outrageous. Your aim is to provide your customers with a fantastic experience that will make them exclaim, “WOW!” This will then bring them back time and time again and it will encourage them to tell others about their utterly amazing WOW experience at your place of business. Kudos for you!The WOW factor does not have to be huge nor does it have to involve constant or extreme change. It could be as simple as offering your customers a delicious treat to enjoy while they browse through your business. It could be returning telephone calls faster than other businesses do. It could be free offers, contests or raffles. It could be handing out flowers to mothers on Mother’s Day or candy canes (or hand wrapped chocolates) at Christmas time. To get the attention of your demographic you need to find a way to wow people.Use your imagination. Ask yourself what wows you. Maybe you can choose a way to wow people that has nothing to do with the products or services you sell. Perhaps the element of total surprise is what will work for you. Be original. Be creative. Think WOW and then make it a reality in your business.You don’t get points in the current marketplace for repeating a tired old idea or for being a copycat. You must develop your own unique personal style in every aspect of your business. This includes everything from the ground up. Your personal style can be your purple cow. You are unique because there is only one you in this world so take that with you and take it wherever you need it to go.Your personal style should shine through loud and clear in every way. From the design on your business cards to your letterhead to the way you dress at work to how you conduct business to how your business is laid out. Don’t look at the business down the street that is doing well and try to replicate it. Your potential customers will see right through that and will never end up becoming regular customers.You already have your own personal style in your personal life so take that and transfer it into your professional life. Be yourself and let that become evident to others. Communicate your own unique special style to everyone you deal with in your business and the good word will start to spread around. Wow people by not being afraid to be who you are. By being honest upfront with your customers they can then decide for themselves if your business is where they want to spend their money or not.Imagery is a powerful tool that can help you to keep a steady stream of customers happy. It is also a way to stand out from the crowd. Take imagery and use it in a creative and unique way. Bring it to every aspect of your business, be it online, offline or a bit of both. Use it in the creation of your business cards, your flyers and your marketing materials. Make your advertising items as fun and as appealing to the eye as possible. This will get people talking which is what you want. To be remarkable people need to know that you are out there and that you are doing things a little different than other businesses of your kind.These things all send the message that you care about your business and therefore your customers. Think of the businesses that you have enjoyed and appreciated over the years. Did they use color and design and imagery in a way that pleased you? These are the elements that stay with you. Your business can work the same.Sometimes going the extra mile for your customers makes you special. Standing out from the crowd means offering the rare treats that customers do not get anywhere else. Fads come and go but you need to strive for something that is different but offers the traditional touch. Not all restaurants offer old-fashioned milkshakes to their customers. Be the first one that does that. All of your customers will not want to drink soda pop so offer them something that they cannot get down the street.There are so many things you can do to show your customers that you value their business. Start with excellent customer service, quality products, guarantees for your products and value for the dollar. These are not fads by any means. They are traditions that you should adhere to in every way. These important elements will always be in style.In order to make your business remarkable you need to ask yourself the right questions. You need to ask new questions and come up with newer answers. You need to try new ways of doing things. You are probably tired of hearing that you need to think outside of the box. Why not redesign the box so you don’t have to think outside of it at all?If you could choose your own customers who would you choose? Identify this group and then figure out how to market to them and influence their thinking. Develop your business ideas to cater to this group. Forget the rest. Focus on this group. You also need to think of clever and innovative ways to reward this group for choosing you in return.Ask your customers for their email addresses and then think of what you could send them through email that would make them feel as special as possible. Everyone loves an offer to receive 10 or 15 percent off a purchase. Everyone also likes to feel that they are in an elite group known as your most loyal and valuable customers.The Pareto Principle (the 80:20 Rule) teaches us that it is much easier to hold onto a long-term customer than to find a new one. According to this principle, 80 percent of your business will come from 20 percent of your loyal customers. You need a combination of both. Find ways to keep surprising your customers and putting smiles on their faces!Being remarkable and standing out does not necessarily mean being the biggest or the fastest or the anything. It is about testing the limits and figuring out how much they can be pushed. It may be as simple as changing the display in your store window more often, letting your employees choose their own uniforms, launching a new brand or slashing prices. It might be doing things on a smaller scale. It may mean giving your customers more choices or being more receptive to their input. It might mean sending out a weekly or monthly newsletter or creating advertisements with larger print that are simpler to read and understand.Do your research before you burst onto the scene and seek to declare how remarkable you are. Examine the industry you are in and find out what is not taking place. What is presently absent in the industry? What does it need? Whatever is not being done is exactly what you should be doing. This will give you the edge you need to be a winner in your field. Success can only come if you do not sit on the sidelines and are not afraid to break some rules and ruffle some feathers. Your business is worth it after all.Reinvent yourself and your business as you see fit. When you need to infuse new life into your business- any aspect of it- hire professionals who can help you do that. Your business is only as good as the people in your employ so find the best and let them help you to make your business a purple cow that stands out among the brown cows.To make your business stand out from the crowd and to be a crowd pleaser at the same time you need to find the purple cow that makes your business remarkable. Once you know what that is you then must find ways to make your company different than other ones of its kind. You also must make yourself visible and recognizable to your customers. From there you must infuse the WOW factor into your business. Find out what works and make it a part of your company. Cultivate a personal style and let it loose. Use imagery to make your customers feel good in your surroundings and use a traditionalist touch in your approach as an entrepreneur as opposed to following trends.
Let’s look at some of the recent news headlines regarding small business lending:”Why Aren’t Banks Lending to Small Business? Ask Bernanke.” – The American.”Are the Big Banks Keeping Their Commitment to Small Businesses?” – The Wall Street Journal.”Banks keep lending standards tight for small firms.” – CNNMoney.So, the obvious conclusion for those starting new businesses or looking for ways to access capital to grow their existing business is that you or your small business can’t get any financing – right.Not so fast.Banks may not be lending (or are only lending to large businesses who don’t really need the capital) but banks are not and have not always been the best options for small businesses or startups.Most banks won’t touch a startup business – regardless of the economy and very few banks will fund growing businesses as most growing businesses have short-term cash flow issues (something that banks say is too risky and shy away from).Therefore, banks really don’t matter to your small business when it comes to lending.So, what can smaller firms do to gain the money they need to get off the ground or expand?The simple answer is to do what every other business has done since the start of history – find another way. So, put on your entrepreneurial hat and look into these 4 alternative sources of capital.4 Places To Find Business Capital Today1) Private Business Loans:Did you know that there are other businesses out there (big and small) that all they do is lend to small businesses? It is their business (how they make money) and they are pretty good at it.In fact, in order for these private lenders to stay in business and make profits (just like you want to do) they have to make business loans to companies just like yours – banks do not have to as they have clearly shown.You are their targeted customers and they are there for you. Private lenders have more leeway as they don’t have regulators watching their every move and as such have created more products (more business loan programs) to fit your individual needs. Plus, most decisions of these lenders are made right there on the spot – no waiting weeks or longer.How do they do this? Well they don’t look at your entire business or your overall cash flow or your overall profitability. They look to the next event in your operating cycle – where your business earns revenue.It’s all based on the conversion of assets. Your business lands a new customer, completes that job and waits to get paid. The lender knows that you will get paid and will provide your business needed working capital until that point. Then, you start the process all over again. Thus, these private lenders will lend against your outstanding accounts receivables – not based on your overall profits or the long-term cash flow prospects of your company.Or, let’s say that your business has orders coming in but doesn’t have the capital to even get those jobs started. Well, these private lenders will fund 100% of what you need to start and complete those orders or jobs allowing you to satisfy your customers and earn that all coveted profit.Now, clearly these seem like a great option for existing businesses. But, if you are a startup, you just have to work a little harder to either get yourself in that position (i.e. getting orders in hand) or use some of these other options (see below) to position your business to generate the needed accounts receivables or purchase orders required by these lenders.2) Personal Loans:Most business owners hate to use personal resources to get business capital. But, when all is said and done – money is just money after all. However, personal loans have been the catalyst for growing new businesses since the beginning of time.For a business loan, banks want business cash flow, profitability and commercial collateral. Items that most new or small businesses don’t have.However, personal loans don’t have such stringent requirements.Home loan rates are at record lows opening up the possibility to tap into home equity for money to start or grow your business. Build your business and use the business to pay off the home equity loan. No different than taking a business loan, building your business and paying the loan off. But, with a home equity loan, you get a lower interest rate and longer term for a lower payment and more flexibility. Plus, these loans are so much easier to get approved.Or, utilize your retirement funds. Roll over your 401(k) or IRA into your business. Not much difference than in investing in your business or investing your retirement funds into someone else’s business. Plus, since this is not a loan – NO interest, no terms and the ability to pay it back when it is best for you and your business and not in the best interest of the bank or lender.Lastly, use your personal income to make a business loan to your business. This means keeping your day job (or getting one) and running your business part-time until it is strong enough to support you and itself – all being funded from the money you make from your job.3) Alternative Loans:Since banks have not been lending to small businesses over the last four plus years, other lenders have been stepping up to fill some of the gap left behind.Some alternative lenders are finding new ways or better ways to provide those old tried and true methods of business financing – like Business or Merchant Cash Advances. If your business is earning revenue from customers who pay via credit or debit cards, your merchant processor can advance cash against those future customer payments. As this is now becoming one of the leading ways to finance small businesses today, many of these lenders have innovated new ways to provide these loans – programs that can meet nearly any business in any stage of development.Or, following those merchant cash advance lenders, other, new alternative loan programs have cropped up that, instead of just focusing on credit card and debit card payments from customers, they just simply look at the volume of cash that flows through your bank account. These so called bank statement loans are great for businesses that take all forms of customer payments from cash and checks to credit and debit cards.The only real requirement with these types of alternative loans is that the business has to actually be conducting business and generating some revenue. But, the business does not have to be profitable or met many of the other rigorous requirements that banks and similar lenders require.Additional alternative business loans resources to look into are micro credit loans that have programs for both startup business – up to $35,000 in loan amounts – and existing businesses – up to $50,000 in loan amounts. And, never forget about other resources that by-pass bank and traditional lenders all together like peer-to-peer social lending where other people, just like you, become your small business lender.4) Friends and Family Loans:Lastly, tap those that know you best. Most lenders or investors in small businesses don’t necessary focus on the business itself but on the people who run it. If you can demonstrate a track record – that you can run a business and make money – then you stand a better chance of getting your loan approved.But, if you don’t have the track record and cannot convince a lender about your abilities, you may still be able to convince those that know you best – like friends and family. If you believe in your business and your friends and family believe in you – then you have the perfect match – everyone wins.While personal loan resources are the number one way that most small businesses fund themselves, friends and family loans are a close second.As stated, banks are not usually the best option for new or small business when seeking capital. And, as shown here, banks are not your only option either.Business is about using the set of assets and resources that it currently has and employing them in such a way to get the biggest return from whatever opportunity that arises. Thus, if your resources are limited – you just have find new ways tackle those new opportunities with what you have at hand.You will find that in marketing your business, you will face many challenges and obstacles in getting customers in your door. In managing your business, you will face many challenges and obstacles to ensure that your business is profitable and growing. And, in financing your business, you will find many challenges and obstacles in ensuring that your business has the money it needs to succeed.To overcome all of these challenges and obstacles, you cannot always use the same old tried methods that worked for other people or businesses. You have to find your own way – and, in this market – financing your business is no different.So, if you are sure that your business cannot get a business loan from a bank – then you are probably right and should not be in business anyways. But, if you are willing to turn over every stone or look under every rock – you are already on your way to success. Start here with these 4 methods to finance your small business and see where or how far they can take you.
In India, until a few years ago, the construction industry used to be counted as one among the unorganized sectors. But, in the recent years, with the entry of leading realty players in the market, the construction industry is increasingly and rapidly turning itself into an organized sector.Being a part of the organized sector has its own advantages, one of them being access to the latest of tools and technologies that turn businesses more effective and powerful. One such tool is the constructions management software that is designed exclusively for the construction industry. The software streamlines business processes by automating the key functions of the construction business, thus turning them more performance-driven and profitable.The constructions management software simplifies work by automating the tedious and error-prone aspects of the office work, like receipt generation, document management, work scheduling, etc. This is in addition to the ability of the software to comprehensively and entirely manage a project from the start to the finish. The software is also able to manage the lease and maintenance management of a project, once its complete construction is done with.The constructions management software can also be integrated with other back office software like those of HR & payroll and financial management solutions. These automate and simplify the functions of the human resource and finance and accounting departments, which, in turn, take the excess burden off the departmental executives. The software is able to handle the functions of payroll management, employee leave management, appraisal management, bank account management, calculation of taxes, cost centre categorization, and so much more.Constructions management software is a highly secure, scalable and customizable solution, with features that enhance the functioning and performance of construction companies. The high security of the software allows only the authorized users to access the system and make changes, if any. Scalability is a software quality by virtue of which the system can readily and gracefully accept increasing amounts of data. Similarly, customization of software allows it to be tailor-made as per the needs and requirements of a company.It is, indeed, high time that construction companies deploy constructions management software for the benefit of individual companies as well as for the entire industry.