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Gain a Successful Education in a Small Business Online

Education in a small business is essential for gaining the training that will prepare an individual to be successful in their business endeavors. From degrees to courses individuals have a wide range of online options to choose from. For the small business owner who can’t take time away from running their business, online classes are the perfect solution. Many colleges offer online degree distinctions and specific courses to make an entrepreneur ready for the professional field.

Running a small business is exciting and rewarding if individuals have the background in schooling. Being educated in the many avenues of business ownership can make the owner more successful by enabling them to implement correct use of business practices. Individuals can choose the method of learning that fits into their lifestyle. Separate courses can be taken to brush up on new business skills, business degrees can be looked at, and degrees in entrepreneurship can be obtained.

An entrepreneur is an individual who creates a business and takes on the responsibility of their business. This definition makes up the overall demographic of small business owners. Without proper education many businesses can fail because of bad planning, limited knowledge, and false expectations about earning money. Gaining an accredited online degree in entrepreneurship will prepare students to make money with their business by giving them sound principles and procedures to follow. Online entrepreneurship degrees range from an associates to a masters. Each level of education will prepare students by furthering their understanding and giving them the necessary skills to help them in their career.

An associate’s degree will help students build a strong foundation on how to manage others, promote a product, and remain in business when the company changes. Skills obtained will have the new business owner able to decide on a business, find financing, and help them research the marketplace. A bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship will give students the knowledge to make them successful through case studies, projects, Internet use, and web design. The goal in Internet use is to promote the business better. Some schools will give students who run their own business credit for their experience. Earning a degree online will allow these students to keep working while they prepare to enhance their business.

For the individuals who have established their business and are successful, a master’s is available in entrepreneurship. This degree distinction is a more rigorous course load experience. Courses are for individuals who are in the middle of their careers. The advanced concepts of the courses will prepare small business owners to accomplish the next phase in their business, building a company.

Specific courses are a good option for individuals who need to gain new understanding in one area or brush up on new techniques. Separate courses take a practical approach to small business practices. Courses can be taken that cover business contracts, event planning, consumer protection, accounting, and much more. Students will find what they are looking for online. Courses and degrees will prepare the dedicated small business owner with the necessary skills to accomplish and sustain a successful business.

Small businesses make up more than half of businesses in the private sector. Small business owners provide 60 to 80 percent of new jobs annually and with proper education their business will thrive. If you’re thinking about starting your own business or already have one seek out accredited degrees and courses that fit your schedule and can help make your business the best it can be.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at

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How to Write a Business or Marketing Plan

What is a business or marketing plan? Why do you need one? In a nutshell, a business and/or marketing plan is an essential mix of documents to help you create a clear picture of what your business is about, where you plan to go, and how you will get there. These plans will paint a picture in steps or form a map of your business – your goals, values, strengths, areas for development, finance and ways to market etc

When you start out you will have an idea in your mind as to how you see your business moving forward. This is a positive beginning however unless you get your thoughts and ideas on paper you will have nothing to reflect on as your business progresses. Successful business growth is about planning and this is a critical stage.

It is important to remember that your business or marketing plan is not designed to be set in stone. You will establish goals and objectives however be mindful that the growth of your business will be an evolution. Keep your options open and be fluid in your approach as you and your business learn, adapt, change and evolve.

First we’ll take a look at a business plan and what is involved.

As a start-up, keep your business and marketing plans simple.

Your business plan can include:

  • An Executive Summary: A list of the main highlights of your business.
  • A Company Description: How you started, what type of business you are i.e. sole trader/limited company, and what your plans are.
  • Your Product or Service: What are you selling? Concentrate on the key benefits for your customer.
  • A Market Analysis: Who is your market? What are your customers looking for? Who are your competitors? How will you target your audience? etc
  • Your Strategy and Implementation: Specify your responsibilities including target dates and costs. This will help you track your results.
  • A Web Plan Summary: What is the purpose of your website? What is the cost to build & maintain etc? How will you market your website?
  • Who’s Who in your Team?: How does your organization work? Roles & responsibilities? Who reports to whom?
  • Your Financial Analysis: How will you manage your expenses and costs? Include projected Profit and Loss and Cash Flow tables.

As your business develops you can always elaborate your process particularly if you apply for funding from investors or a bank.

Now onto your marketing plan. This plan involves how you will sell your product or service to your target audience. Like a business plan, your marketing plan will provide a map of your business, however with a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) you will gain a better insight into the market potential of your new business.

Your marketing plan can include:

  • A Situation Analysis: Analyse your market using a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). Include in your analysis a current market forecast, information about your customer sector, and your market needs.
  • Your Marketing Strategy: Outline your business philosophy and values i.e. your mission statement. What are your objectives, your plan to market and how you can best position yourself?
  • A Sales Forecast: How will you create opportunities to meet your customer, track monthly sales, and follow-up with your customers? Breakdown the elements of your business i.e. sales by your product, area or market segment etc. A forecast provides a strong focus for your business.
  • An Expense Budget: How will you manage your expenses/profits? Preparing a thorough budget allows you to maintain a positive cash flow.

You will notice that there are cross over elements for both types of plan. If you choose to write both a business plan and a marketing plan you will give yourself a very powerful insight into the potential of your business, as you will create a visual representation which you can revisit and reflect on as you progress.

Business and marketing plan templates can be found online if you add “business plans” or “marketing plans” to your search engine.

Small Business Lending – Where Manufacturers Should Go When the Banks Say “No”

The good news: Most manufacturing companies expect growth opportunities in the coming 12 months. According to the 2010 CFO Outlook, published by Bank of America, 69% of manufacturing company CFOs are considering financing in 2010, up significantly from last year. The top two reasons for small business financing are working capital and capital expenditures.

The bad news: Two years ago, getting six-figure traditional financing for a smaller manufacturing business was fairly straightforward. Today, it remains about as difficult as when the financial crisis first began to unfold. Banks are as reluctant as ever to finance small businesses, as they continue trying to limit their risk amid the economic turmoil. According to the FDIC, the volume of bank loans dropped in 2009 by $587.3 billion, or 7.5%, from 2008-the biggest full-year decline since World War II.

The result: Many small manufacturing companies are either struggling to stay afloat or finding it difficult to capitalize on upcoming commercial growth opportunities. According to the 2009 Year-End Economic Report published by the National Small Business Association, 39% of small businesses report they are unable to get adequate financing for their business. No doubt many of these are manufacturing companies.

So where should smaller manufacturing companies go to get the financing they need? The answer is to the most experienced and competitive private banks and alternative lending groups for small businesses.

Alternative Financing Options: Unlocking the value of your assets

If you’re a manufacturing company, there is simply no need to let your business be held hostage to the ongoing credit crisis. This is because there is already a well-developed market for alternative lending that can provide working capital for small businesses with assets. Loans can be secured against cash flow, accounts receivable, inventory, purchase orders, premises, machinery and equipment, and even the intellectual property associated with a brand or patent.

What many businesses don’t realize is the extent to which they can leverage their business assets to secure funding. Help for small business lending is not on the way: it’s already here. Alternative financing options can help many businesses get the backing they need when the banks say “No.” Best of all, this type of financing is now affordable. Loans from the most competitive private banks and small business lenders are priced at bank-like rates upwards, depending on the level of risk of the business being financed.

Securing traditional financing through banks and other financial organizations has now become highly challenging. As banks pull back more traditional commercial-and-industrial lending, they are no longer willing to lend even to small businesses with solid financials. Their security demands have also increased. This has pushed some companies to distress. It is preventing many others from taking advantage of commercial growth opportunities that lie ahead.

Unsurprisingly, businesses are increasingly turning to suitable private banks and other alternative lenders for small businesses. According to Bank of America Business Capital, 49% of manufacturing firms expect to use asset-based lines of credit in 2010, up from 42% last year. This type of alternative financing, once considered a last-resort option, is now regarded as a fundamental financing solution. Since alternative lenders in this space generally focus on collateral rather than credit-worthiness, they are able to do deals that more traditional lenders shy away from.

Getting the financing you need

When times are difficult, unlocking the inherent value of your assets, especially intangible assets, is attractive. Today, small business financing is affordable, offers flexible loan structures, and can provide the borrowing power that cash-flow lending alone may no longer be able to supply. With alternative financing solutions, businesses can borrow money using their liquid, current assets or their fixed assets as collateral. These small business loans may be priced competitively with cash-flow loans, and may come with fewer financial covenants. They can be used to secure working capital, but also to finance growth or acquisitions.

Getting the right financing can make all the difference for a small manufacturing business. It is important that your small business lender is able to provide you with service that matches your company’s specific needs to appropriately priced capital. It can also be helpful and cost-effective to work with a firm that not only arranges asset-based financing for small businesses, but is also able to offer funding-especially in situations where they can provide additional sources of capital from their own fund to “fill the gap” in your required capital.

If your manufacturing company is struggling to stay afloat or finding it difficult to capitalize on upcoming commercial growth opportunities, know that there is new and affordable financing available despite these tough times for small business lending.

If you would like to know more about how your business can secure the funding it needs, visit or call (415) 882-7160.