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Business Directory Listing As a Marketing Strategy

When a business is starting out, it needs valuable publicity and to form relationships, so every little marketing opportunity taken or passed up can make or break the new venture. Getting the company name into a business directory is an important step in spreading the word that a business is open, here to stay and will provide the local area with top-notch products and services. A local listing helps, especially these days, when all eco-friendly citizens are encouraged to buy and sell in their locale. It also shows the community that the business is serving its own people and wants to be considered part of the neighborhood.

Business directories also show the industry that it has a new member. When the business wants recommendations from the local small business association or the Better Business Bureau, they need to be listed in a directory that shows they can serve the local customers. When customers are looking up a number for their favorite provider, they may be open to using a new company to serve their needs, especially if a new business listing gives a quick deal for first time callers or visitors. Also, a business needs to be visible for people new to the neighborhood or town, or for someone from out of town, who will generally look in a business directory to find what they need.

For online purposes, business directories serve a valuable marketing need. People do online searches for businesses in certain areas for research, statistics, information, price comparisons and national studies. They go straight to the entries in the part of the business directory that has what they need, and are most likely to only feature the ones they require for their purposes.

A small business, especially a new one, needs to be in any kind of national study, both for obvious publicity reasons on a larger scale, and for the benefits that could come from a study. Some studies are done to find small businesses across the country to be potential recipients of local or national funds, or even tax breaks. Being involved could lead to being the subject of a focus segment or article that goes in to great detail, with a profile and interviews that will push online and in person sales through the roof. All of this is at no cost to the business owner, except the original directory listing fee, which will be well worth it for this kind of magnifying glass on the business.

For Google and other large search engines, finding a small, local, or highly specified business can be very difficult. Large national retailers or businesses with branches nationwide can advertise and publicize their services on a grand level and have people manage their social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook. Small businesses have a better chance of getting into search engines by maximizing their keyword density and putting a listing in every business directory they can afford. A large number of different sources of keywords in close proximity to the business’ name will increase the profitability of searches. It is completely logical. The more times a name occurs on different sites, the more searchable it is. So, the more searchable it is, the more Google will feature it as a result.

Being listed in business directories will help the venture get more ‘backlinks’ too, which is also a calculation tool used by search engines. One of the best ways to position backlinks is to be in a directory that is aimed only at the industry the business is in and not just in general business directories. As a professional and segmented listing, it is weighed even more heavily by the search engines and the industry competitors. Once a business is listed with their more established competitors, they gain an amount of respect equal to an accepted member of the business community.

How to Know and Chose the Business That Is Right for You and the Business Medium

Entrepreneurship has played a critical role in the economic development of countries such as the United States where 60 % of new employment opportunities are created by small business enterprises. In Nigeria, it is becoming difficult for university graduates to get employment opportunities. Recent figures by the Education ministry showed that at least 70 % of university graduates and those from tertiary colleges are finding it hard to get employment upon graduation. With the high poverty levels and unemployment rate currently at 6% and growing, entrepreneurship is seen as the only key that will transform Nigeria into an economic powerhouse and help the country achieve its vision2020.

* High Business Failure Rate

Many talented individuals who get into entrepreneurship for the first time fail to make an impact because they lack the necessary skills and are often unprepared to face the challenges they encounter in their operations. Statistics show that the business failure rate in Nigeria for new businesses is between 75% and 90% in their first 10 years. For the case of dot com enterprises, only one in every 10 ventures makes it to the third year. This high rate of business failure can be reduced or eliminated if we take time and do a thorough research prior to going into business.

* Know the Right Business

The purpose and goal of every entrepreneur is all about being independent and providing competitive products or services that are not offered in the market. Even if those services are already being offered, as an entrepreneur, you should strive to offer that service in a better and efficient way compared to the already existing businesses. There are many questions that Nigerian entrepreneurs must answer when deciding which business to form. Should you turn your hobbies into moneymaking ventures? Buy existing businesses or start from scratch? Buy a Franchise and benefit from the franchisors well-known brand? Selecting the right business is a life changing decision one that has long-term effects and thus careful planning must be taken into account.

* Well-Suited Ventures

A large portion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are born out of passion. One costly mistake made by emerging entrepreneurs is that they tend to replicate what other established businesses are providing without first knowing what they are good at. Those entrepreneurs who do not have a clear passion or do not enjoy what they are doing are likely to give up when challenges start to arise. Even if entrepreneurs are certain about what they love or want to do, finding the appropriate business that fully utilizes their skills and abilities must be carefully considered. For instance, if one has a passion for art, there are wide varieties of businesses that they can choose. They can decide to be artists, open an art school or do restorations among other options. The essential key is for MSMEs to choose ventures they are well- suited for and that will fully utilize their abilities.

* Write Clear Personal Goals

All Nigerian entrepreneurs need more than just passion or talent if they want their businesses to succeed. One major reason that many small enterprises in Nigeria fail is because they lack clearly defined goals. For start up businesses, we should direct more effort towards short-term goals since new business ventures must always pass through a time of research and development before their long-term profitability can be predicted accurately. A businesses short-term goal should be between 6 to 12 months, while its long-term goals can be for a period of 2 to 5 years.

* Create a niche for the Business

Small and medium enterprises tend to copy each other and provide the same services offered by existing businesses. This has the effect of overcrowding the market and is the number one major reason why new ventures find it hard to survive. For emerging MSMEs to guarantee their survival, we have to develop policies capable of helping our entrepreneurs create a niche for themselves by offering products and services that are unique and that enable them to take advantage of the market. Studies done indicate that most businesses get 80 % of their sales from just 20 % of their clients. By clear identification of the target market, we can be able to direct most of their energy and time to customers who are important.

Though most of our entrepreneurs set up their own businesses from scratch, those who find it hard to build their own businesses can opt to buy already existing ones. Such entrepreneurs benefit from the already existing record of accomplishment of the company and not much time is spent on market research since the business already has a dependable customer base. The other alternative to business ownership can be franchising. Statistics indicate that more than 50% of retail sales in the United States are generated by franchise chains, which in total employ more than 7.1 million workers. This is seen as an indication of the potential of such businesses in Nigeria.

* Success of Franchises

Compared to other business models, a franchise has many benefits besides being cheaper to set up. A franchise has a good track record and is easier to set up since it has an existing business model, brand name and has established and working guidelines on how to run the business. In addition to all these benefits, the failure rate of franchises is lower compared to new businesses. For instance, the rate of failure of franchises is less than 5% making them more suitable for emerging entrepreneurs. Over the last couple of years, Nigeria has seen an increase in the number of franchises being set up mostly by South African investors in retail, food and environment sectors. This is a clear indication of the benefits that can be gained through franchising.

Nigeria’s ambition of being an industrialized country by the year 2020 can only be achieved with the help of the private sector. We need to diversify from our reliance on oil, which accounts for more than 65 % its budgetary revenues and more than 85% of foreign exchange earnings. For this to become a reality, our entrepreneurs need to have the necessary skills and knowledge needed to run successful businesses and transform Nigeria towards economic development.

Business Credit – Tips For Building Yours

You want to start or expand your own home based online business. However, you need to have business credit so you can apply for a loan. Very often you don’t want to have to use personal credit or assets to fund your business.

There are credit reporting agencies that can provide you with a business FICO score that is based on your business risk and your personal credit score. There are instances where personal credit and business credit are linked, but it is best if you can keep them separate. By keeping your business and personal credit and assets separate, you lower your risk.

Be aware that building business credit is not the same as building personal credit. Also know that the credit protection laws are different for personal credit and for your home based company. Below are three things you can do to ensure that your business credit is off to a good and promising start.

1. Make sure you are setting the proper foundation for your business and giving yourself a good reputation with the credit agencies. If you need occupational licenses, get them. Establish a corporate structure, as well as a business credit profile. A profile is very important so that you can build a solid credit history without having to use personal credit. There are other benefits such as having cash for your ongoing expenses and being able to buy what you need. You also add a layer of protection to your personal accounts and protect yourself from personal liability should a problem arise in your business. A profile also prepares you when you need to borrow money for your business in the future.

2. Consider buying products, supplies and services from establishments that will report your credit history to the major business credit bureaus like Experian and Dunn & Bradstreet. Be aware that your business income and income potential is a major part in a business credit score. Large, stable businesses have high FICO scores. Don’t lose heart if your business FICO score is low. It will go up as your business grows and you employ the right methods of building an excellent rating.

3. To enter the business credit market, you have to complete a credit assessment. This will determine if your business complies with the requirements put up by lenders and credit bureaus. Find companies that will extend your credit without checking your business credit or personal credit. Begin your business transactions on this credit with other vendors to build your profile with the credit reporting bureaus.

Many states have non-profit or government agencies that can help you get started on building your credit. In many cases, loans and government grants are available for start-up businesses. Check your state government’s website for a list of these non-profit and government agencies. There are also veterans in the world of business who may be willing to take you in as an apprentice and show you the ropes. Do your research and know what options are available to you so you will be successful in building your business credit properly.