Washington, D.C. — Make 2010 a small business year for growth and profits with success secrets from SCORE. The experts at SCORE are dedicated to supporting America’s engine for economic growth—small business. SCORE provides mentoring, coaching, training and resources. Every day, SCORE mentors are helping small businesses succeed. Learn more at www.score.org.
SCORE CEO Ken Yancey says, “When it comes to getting ahead in business, it’s all about making the rights moves at the right times. At SCORE, we share secrets for success, based on having helped more than 8.5 million entrepreneurs. This year, we’ve come up with our top 10 list to make 2010 a profitable year for America’s small businesses.”
SCORE’s Top 10 Secrets for Small Business Success in 2010
Grow your customer base. Understand your customer demographics and why they buy your products and services. Win clients over with new and diversified products. Offer multiple price points and create packages or customizable plans, which give your customers greater freedom and flexibility.
Expand low budget marketing. Promote your business for free on Twitter, and set up a Facebook fan page. Start a blog and comment on other blogs. Take this opportunity to communicate with customers about your business. Go viral.
Surround yourself with experts.Get feedback from advisors you trust. Entrepreneurs count on SCORE for free and confidential business mentoring. Use a mentor to test ideas, map a sales plan and focus on success. Ask SCORE for advice and meet with a SCORE mentor.
Add ecommerce through a web site. Your business needs a web site to stay competitive. Secure all variations on your company’s domain name. Use online forms to encourage interaction. Add a shopping cart to sell your products, not just promote the brand.
Free up time to sharpen your focus. Organize for success. Set a time each week to handle routine tasks. Use a PDA to keep track of phone numbers, dates, appointments and meetings. Take short breaks to refresh and recharge.
Create experience events to draw in customers. Host special events like demonstrations, trunk shows and classes. Offer rebate programs to encourage repeat purchases. Rearrange merchandise to make it appear fresh and provide a fresh customer experience.
Network to build buzz and referrals. Join groups that represent your clients. If you don’t have the money to join an association, offer to donate your services. Take advantage of social gatherings, committee appointments, membership meetings and networking events. Each meeting is an opportunity for referrals.
Track your cash flow. The one thing all businesses need is cash. Ensure that you collect receivables within 30 days. Monitor invoices. Pay early when you get a discount. Always keep an eye on your cash. Prepare cash flow reports so you understand your cash needs.
Plan for financing success. Even if you’re in business, you should have a business plan ready to submit to potential lenders. Know how additional funding will help you grow your business, and demonstrate your ability to re-pay the loan.
Consider an LLC.As a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for the debts and liabilities of your business. A corporation or limited liability corporation (LLC) protects your personal assets and property. You can register your business as a separate legal entity.
SCORE has 364 offices nationwide with experts who offer free and confidential advice to small business owners. SCORE mentors have experience in finance, accounting, management, marketing, sales prospecting, strategic planning and more.
Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 8.5 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and workshops. More than 12,400 volunteer business counselors in 364 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.