Small Business Consulting Opportunities – Be Your Own Boss

Small Business Consulting Opportunities Are Endless

In reality, anyone can become a consultant. Small business consulting opportunities today are endless. If you have an area that you are extremely knowledgeable in and you have the drive and passion for excellence, you could become a consultant.

Many of the small business consulting opportunities do not require any special training. For example, if you are really good with computers, the software they use and network security, you could become an IT business consultant. Perhaps you are very creative and knowledgeable when it comes to marketing. You know how to take a product and make it sell. You could become a marketing consultant.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when browsing the small business consulting opportunities available. The first thing to consider is the qualifications that are needed. Is the area you are considering something you could call yourself an expert in? Are you familiar with the current information that is needed? For instance, when it comes to becoming an IT consultant, you would need to be knowledgeable with all of the current computer information. Technology is constantly changing and you have to know all of the up-to-date information. Another thing you need to check on is if there are any special certifications or licenses that are needed. While some companies may not require you to have a degree in a certain area, they may require you to be certified. Organization is another key factor when researching the small business consulting opportunities. You need to make sure that you are able to handle time management and be prepared when you enter into a situation.

Small business consulting opportunities are readily available to those people who are critical thinkers. A consultant is known as a problem solver and in order to solve issues effectively and efficiently, a person has to be able to demonstrate problem solving. A consultant works side by side with the business, therefore communication is important. A successful consultant must have excellent communication skills. They also need to have leadership skills. A consultant has to lead a company to success, and in order to do this, they have to lead. When a consultant comes into a company, the people there are relying on them to take their company to the top. The consultant has to take the lead and run with it, take control of the situation.

With so many small business consulting opportunities in many different areas, pricing is very important. A consultant needs to know how to set an hourly rate if their services are used by the hour. If a company uses them on a day to day basis, then the consultant needs to know how the prices for daily rates. Some companies will need a consultant to help with projects. If this is the case, a consultant needs to know how to bill their client by the project. When a company uses a consultant on a monthly basis, then the consultant would charge a monthly retainer. A small business consultant usually makes a substantial amount of money and pricing is the key element into turning those small business consulting opportunities into a success. Many consultants will require their client to pay a deposit beforehand. There will be occasions where the consultant will pay for expenses out of their own pocket. It is important for them to know how to get reimbursement from the company they are working with.

There are many areas of business, making the small business consulting opportunities endless. A great consultant has to have knowledge, passion, and understanding. There are thousands of people who have knowledge that they didn’t even know existed. Once they tap into that knowledge, educate themselves even further and put that knowledge to use by helping others, they are considered a consultant. A business consultant is the most sought after because there are companies developing all over the world.

One of the best small business consulting opportunities is being your own boss. You can set your own hours and pay, which makes you the boss. Of course you have to work certain hours, especially when helping a company with a project, but you basically are in control of that also. You just have to determine when the project needs to be done and how many hours it will take you to complete it. In reality, you have the most control over your work schedule when you become a consultant. You set the prices you are to be paid, and if you are an expert in a certain area, it is up to you to make sure your prices are set to what your time is worth. You are in complete control!

If you would like to know more about small business consulting opportunities, you can click the link below to find out more information.

Settle Your Small Business Taxes With a Peer-To-Peer Loan

Like the saying goes, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Unfortunately, small businesses know this saying all too well.

Unlike employees who look forward to their refund every April, small businesses loath the approaching spring, knowing they will have to pay Uncle Sam its share of their profits. Each year, small businesses struggling to turn a profit in an increasingly competitive business environment must pay taxes in order to keep their doors open.

With dwindling profit margins and tightened lending restrictions, however, many small business owners find themselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes time to pay the tax man. Although a business may have steady sales and revenue or thousands of dollars in inventory, banks and traditional lending institutions simply aren’t handing out small business loans like they were in year’s past, leaving small business owners with few funding options to pay their tax bill.

Thankfully, peer-to-peer lending, or social lending, has solved this growing dilemma. These modern social lending marketplaces have connected millions of borrowers with individual investors. Borrowers receive low-interest, fixed-rate loans that can be paid off in two to five years, while investors are able to benefit from decent returns in an economy with sinking bond and savings rates.

Thus, it’s a win-win situation for both small business owners in need of immediate funding and investors looking to make a small profit while helping others.

From Desperation to Exultation: One Man’s Venture into Peer-to-Peer Lending

John Mitchell is an Ohio-based small business owner who found himself in such a predicament just last year. As the owner of the only hardware store in a small town, John’s store flourished the first few years it was open.

After getting his inventory levels, pricing models, and management just right, he decided to expand his business by opening a second location in a neighboring town. John sunk all of his profits into opening his new store, which meant he was short on funds come tax time. However, knowing the success of his business, he thought he would simply get a small loan from the bank that housed his accounts and provided him with the initial loan he used to launch his business four years earlier.

Unfortunately, he witnessed first-hand the effect the recession has had on lending regulations as the banker he’s known for years denied his loan application. If he couldn’t get a loan there, where could he?

On the brink of despair, John took to the Internet to research loan options. After digging through forums and trying a few different searches, he ran across peer-to-peer lending. In less than a week after going through the quick and easy application process, he received a personal loan at a low rate for the amount he needed. A week later, John sent a check for the full amount to the IRS, and less than eight months later, he was able to pay off the loan with the profits from his new store!

If you are a small business owner who has found yourself in a similar circumstance, peer-to-peer lending can do the same for you as well, but how does peer-to-peer lending work?

How Peer-to-Peer Lending Works

A breakthrough product or service emerges every generation, and in the early 2000’s, the emerging breakthrough was social networking. From helping in the organization of overthrowing political regimes to staying in touch with friends and family members, social networking has had a profound effect on our daily lives. Now, it’s changing the small business financing landscape as well.

Peer-to-peer lending is a modern social networking solution for small businesses in search of a way of securing alternative funding. The goal of peer-to-peer lending sites, such as Prosper and Lending Club, is simply to connect individual investors with those in need of funding, and these sites are becoming an increasingly useful tool for small business owners who are unable to secure funding from traditional lenders.

Rather than jumping through endless hoops only to be denied by a bank, small businesses can receive funding via peer-to-peer lending in no time at all by following three simple steps:

Step 1: Create a Profile and Loan Listing

There are a myriad of peer-to-peer lending networks to choose from, so your first step is to research the best ones and create a profile and loan listing on the site you choose. The loan listing is essentially a cost-free ad that indicates the amount of money you need and your desired interest rate.

Step 2: Let the Bidding Process Begin

After your listing goes live, investors have the opportunity to begin bidding on your listing, providing you with the interest rate and loan amount they are willing to offer you. A major advantage of this bidding process is the fact that it can intensify as more and more lenders begin competing for your business.

When this happens, interest rates will begin dropping, potentially allowing you to obtain a much lower interest rate than you expected. It’s important to note, however, that your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio plays a role in the lending decision process.

Step 3: Funding and Paying Back the Loan

Another benefit of borrowing from peer-to-peer lenders is that you can accept several bids to receive your requested loan amount. For instance, if you ask for $10,000 in your loan listing to pay your business taxes, you can acquire the amount from collecting $2,000 from five different borrowers.

This makes it much easier for borrowers to receive the money they need. However, instead of making five separate payments, you would only make one payment, because the peer-to-peer lending site is responsible for dispersing the money to lenders until loans are repaid in full. They simply charge a small fee for this service.

With increased lending regulations, banks are tightening their purse strings more than ever before, making it much more difficult for small businesses to receive the funding they need to expand their business or even pay their taxes. Thankfully, peer-to-peer lending has proven to be a worthy competitor in the small business lending marketplace. If you are a small business owner and find yourself unable to pay your taxes as April approaches, or backed taxes for that matter, a peer-to-peer loan is an ideal option.

Bank Small Business Sales Strategies – Increase Profits by Building Your Brand

A strong brand will accelerate your bank’s small business growth. Your goal should be to develop and maintain such strong top-of-mind awareness with small business customers, prospects and referral sources that they think of you either first or second when they need banking services or products you provide.

And if you think that “branding” is an advertising concept that only your bank’s marketing department can afford or think about, think again. No organization is too small to work on effective branding strategies.

Brand = a purposeful reputation

For example, when my family wants a cake for a special occasion, we think of only one place in our town, a small bakery called La Provence. Why? Robert (he’s French, so it’s Ro-BEHR) makes a cake that is so rich, so creamy, so enthusiastically bursting with chocolate, that we have served his cakes at dozens of birthdays, graduation celebrations, and bridal showers.

Robert has developed a very strong brand with us. He has achieved top-of-mind awareness. When we think of happy occasions, we think cake – and when we think cake, we think Robert. It’s partially tangible (the cake) and partially experiential (the warm feelings associated with buying from him and eating his cakes). We will be happy consumers of many Robert cakes in the years to come – at more than $40 per cake, two to three times the standard cake price in local bakeries.

In the branding world, your brand is what is there when small business owners answer the question “What’s really special?” about a particular bank. It is what small business owners can really count on you for. It is a bookmark for the warm feelings, trust, and good experiences that small business owners associate with you, your bank’s branch,, and your bank. It is the reason they recommend you to someone else.

Many businesses in my community have developed strong brands. Swedish Motor Works? Honesty – they won’t rip you off. Evergreen Financial? Thoughtful college tuition and financial aid planning so you can send your kid to the right school. Roger’s Home Repairs? They’re fast and neat and they don’t leave a mess in your house.

Five steps to starting today

Each of these businesses backed into a brand over a period of years through their day-to-day work and their owners’ personalities. Once they figured out what was really special about themselves, they talked about it, promoted it, and delivered it every time. But you don’t have to wait 10 years to develop a reputation and a following. You can accelerate the process by working through the following five steps:

  1. Targets – Who will be your most important clients or customers? If we use Roger’s Home Repair Company as an example, this is “upwardly mobile dual middle- to upper-middle income families who don’t have the time, patience or skills to perform home repair and maintenance projects themselves or to deal with contractors.”
  2. Value – Which of their problems will you solve? What joy and beauty will you bring? This is a point on which many bankers flounder. They think in terms of their products rather than the client problems they solve. Roger’s target customers think that contractors and repair people are unreliable (in terms of showing up on time), sloppy (they leave a mess), and semi-competent (repairs are not done right). So his value is “confidence” – Roger does the job right, on time, and with no mess afterwards. And for this, he charges nearly triple the going rate. He is not the low-cost solution.
  3. Special twist – What’s special about the way you, or your team, or your bank solves the problems or brings the joy? What will you do that other banks or bankers can’t or won’t? Your answer to these questions becomes the message in your local promotion and marketing. In Roger’s case, the twist is “one-stop shop” – he saves his clients time and aggravation because he does plumbing, painting, light carpentry, and general household electrical repairs. Other local companies don’t offer all this.
  4. Messaging – How will you stand out from other bankers or banks like yours? How will you prompt people to remember you when they need what your bank offers? Fill in the blank in this sentence: “Oh, yeah, that’s the bank that ______.” Or, “She’s the banker who ______.” For example, in Roger’s case, it’s his personality (he’s from New Zealand) and one of his favorite expressions, “no worries, mate.” In my town, if you’re in the hardware stores and you hear “no worries, mate,” you know it’s Roger.
  5. Visibility – How will you make your messages visible so people can see or hear them? How will you build your recognition factor? Here, you have two key decisions to make: how and how often. Your answers will depend on your target customers – where they are, what they look at, how they like to receive information, etc. Whatever you decide, use your messaging consistently and frequently in every visibility effort. This includes written communication (letters and emails),telephone calls and voice mails, and face-to-face meetings such as Chamber events, mixers, and sales calls.

Too much time and effort?

Does this sound like a lot of work you don’t have time for? Too much analysis when you should be out there getting more business? Maybe. But instead, ask yourself how can you afford not to put in the time to do it.

As you work, remember you’re investing to accelerate your bank’s small business growth. You are thoughtfully choosing, developing and maintaining such strong top-of-mind brand awareness with your prospective small business customers and referral sources that they think of you either first or second when they need the service or product you provide. You are reducing the months or years required to establish an identity and a reputation that brings business to you. You are accelerating your growth.

You can work your way through these steps in an hour the first time, although you may need to think about your conclusions for a few days or weeks as you talk to your small business customers and small business banking team members.

Finally, remember that you must deliver whatever you’ve promised. Your customers’ experiences with you must back up your brand. Your small business banking team members must understand your answers to these five questions; you must hire, coach and teach your employees to create a customer experience that is the brand. If you do, you’ll get the best visibility and acceleration possible: word-of-mouth referrals from delighted small business customers to their friends.