The Top 6 Benefits of Blogging for Business

Blogging helps drive traffic to your website

Blogging takes too much time!

Blogging for Business works!That is the biggest complaint I get when I tell people that they need to blog 1-3 times a week for it to be effective.

However, if you don’t blog regularly, you risk having Google, the search engine completely ignore your website. Google wants fresh, relevant content written for the human reader.

Here are the Top 5 Benefits of Blogging for Business:

  1. Helps establish credibility and you can show off your expertise and knowledge
  2. Promote yourself or your business, product or service – build brand awareness
  3. Build a platform & a following – sharing your blog posts on social media gives people a reason to follow you
  4. Share opinions, how-to, reviews, advice – help solve peoples’ problems
  5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – it’s the fresh content that Google is looking for
  6. Drive traffic to your website which in turn helps build your email list and generate qualified leads

Blogging regularly continues to be a proven results-maker. Here’s what you need to do to get started:Blogging helps you grow a following

  1. Really get to know your target audience and give them the information that they need
  2. Set goals – how many visitors do you want to your site a month? How many conversions?
  3. Develop a strategic plan – how will you meet your goals?
  4. Develop a tactical plan – how will you implement the strategy? Use an editorial calendar.
  5. Get set-up properly with a website that has a blog integrated in it that’s yours and not on a “borrowed” platform. I recommend WordPress.
  6. Learn how to use the tools properly and effectively
  7. Implement – just do it!
  8. Monitor and measure – check your website statistics monthly to see what’s working and not working

What are you waiting for? Start blogging!

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing specialist & trainer helping business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official social media, newsletter and blog manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and teaches once a month at SCORE. Join her on Wednesdays with the Wiz on Facebook Live at 4 pm MST every Wednesday.

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19 Profit-Watching Tips for Restaurateurs

A Checklist for RestaurateursIn the last of our series on Starting Your Own Restaurant, especially for budding restaurateurs, we pull everything together in a checklist.

Making a profit is the most important some might say this is the only objective of a business. Profit measures success. It can be defined simply: revenues less expenses = profit. So, to increase profits, you must raise revenues, lower expenses, or both. To make improvements, you must know what’s going on financially at all times.

Secrets of Success for Restaurateurs

  • CONTROL (168 hrs./week)
  • KISS – keep it simple stupid (menu / concept / etc)
  • WORKING CAPITAL / CASH FLOW

Here’s the checklist:

  1. Plan no profit first year – caveat debt service
  2. Initially request credit – negotiate for 7-30 days
  3. Try to avoid signing personally – especially not for ongoing product and supplies
  4. Negotiate all prices –insist on credit for spoiled food not seen on delivery or goes bad
  5. Good accounting system important (QuickBooks – we hold regular classes on using Quickbooks. Check out the schedule here.)
  6. Sandwich shops belong in industrial / commercial area
  7. Take out food service important potential source of income.
  8. Caveat location / competition / competitive advantage
  9. Should change menu every three months if possible
  10. Permit / license consultants available
  11. County courses available for bar employees re. Dram Act responsibilities / liabilities
  12. Employee food – 50% discount (on selected items) or special separate food free
  13. Caveat theft and waste / use of leftovers
  14. Portion control (advanced preparation) particularly for sandwiches (Subway model)
  15. Request credit on bad food
  16. Weigh / check in all food delivery – especially produce (check bottom layer of box)
  17. Caveat Health Dept. (utilize former Health Dept. employee to ensure up to code)
  18. Remember food handler’s card
  19. Advertising Resources – ValPak, local/weekly papers, Guerilla Marketing, social media, videos

 

If you’re thinking of start a restaurant or any type of business, get FREE Business Mentoring at a convenient location in the Phoenix Valley.

About the Author:

Roger_RobinsonRoger Robinson, PhD has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger here. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

 

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3 Ways to Make Money with Your Business Blog

3 ways to monetize your business blogDo you run a blog for your small business? Blogs are a great way to humanize your company while drawing in new customers, engaging with returning clientele, and offering need-to-know details about your products or services. But what else can your business blog do for you?

Blogging can be a great source of additional income. Even if you aren’t familiar with writing for profit, you can still monetize your blog in a way that speaks to your brand. Here are three ways to stir up funds while still staying true to your audience.

  1. Write for your niche.

They say the best writers start by writing what they know — and the same should go for your business blog. If you’re a printing shop that focuses on creating custom T-shirt designs, you wouldn’t blog about the scrumptious lava cake recipe you found on Pinterest. Why? Because your followers aren’t looking to you for baking advice. They want the latest trends in printing and screening, where to buy new clothing, or tips for creating a fun and unique design.

Pro tip: Stay true to your business and keep your audience in mind — once you find your niche, you can create content that boosts engagement and leads to profit.

Take the time to flesh out every concept. One topic about T-shirts could turn into 20 posts about where to buy, how to shop, and best practices for custom graphics. This type of hyper-specific content is profitable because it speaks to your audience directly. You can link to individual products or services, driving your readers down appropriate marketing channels and boosting revenue.

  1. Secure sponsored posts.

Once you have an established presence online, you might be asked to write guest articles for outside sites (or you can even approach businesses of your own volition). Sponsored posts are a great way to earn extra income while still promoting your company or brand.

If you already have an established business presence, you’ll bring loads of knowledge and accountability to the table — not to mention a strong potential for followers. When it comes to blogging, making connections across the board is vital.

Pro tip: Take the time to develop and foster relationships with others in your industry, and seed your interests over time.

Don’t randomly approach someone with no prior affiliation — they’ll likely turn you down. But if you work toward a solid relationship and create content specific to your target audience, you’ll be in a position to successfully pitch your articles to those around you. And don’t forget to link back to your site!

  1. Don’t be afraid of ads.

Ads are a sticky topic. Most business owners don’t want to bog down their sites with advertisements that could potentially detract from the authenticity of the content. I get that. But in all reality, it’s your site. Your blog. You are the one in control of your content and layout. If you feel like there are too many ads, then scale it back a bit. But don’t avoid them entirely.

Pro tip: You might not know when your blog traffic is going to spike — but if it does and you don’t have ads in place, you’ll miss out on some serious cash.

Pick and choose ads to your liking. Align yourself with other small businesses or companies that you feel speak to your brand. There’s no hard-fast rule saying you have to use one ad over the other, so continue to control your space by being selective. That way, you’re not distracting your readers from the purpose of your blog while still giving yourself the opportunity to make a little extra. Next time a big traffic spike hits, your bank account will thank you.

Taking some money home

There are plenty of ways to engage your customers while monetizing your business blog. And when you’re a small business owner looking for extra ways to bring in a little cash, turning your thoughts into profit is a good way to go. Don’t have a blog yet? No worries — they’re pretty easy to start. And if you’ve got a blog in the works but need a little help boosting your traffic, you can check out these tips to get your business booming. Happy blogging!

About the Author:

Maxym Martineau Maxym Martineau is a content writer for Professional Web Services at GoDaddy and a freelance writer based out of Arizona. She’s an avid reader with a love for social media and blogging. Connect with Maxym on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.

 

 

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A Building Guide for a Successful New Restaurant

We at SCORE are dedicated to helping you get started and become successful business owners. As we continue with the “So You Want to Start a New Restaurant” series, we deal with construction. Construction is always a challenge — not matter what you’re building!

Building Your New Restaurant

Construction

Building your new restaurantIf you are going to build or remodel a restaurant, your general contractor will need a set of scaled construction documents, often called “working drawings” for submittal to your local building and health department.

Typical drawings

Here is a list of typical drawings you’ll need for your contractor:

  • Cover Sheet with site and project information
  • Demolition Plan, if applicable
  • Store Front Elevations, if applicable
  • Partition/Construction Plan
  • Floor Plan with FF&E (Furniture, fixtures and equipment)
  • Environmental Plans for Health Department
  • Finish Plans and Schedules
  • Kitchen Equipment Elevations
  • Wall Elevations
  • Exhaust and Make-up Air Plan
  • Refrigeration and Curb Plans
  • Plumbing and Electrical Rough in Plans
  • Detail Drawings for custom cabinetry and fixtures
  • Furniture and Equipment Specifications
  • Reflected Ceiling Plan
  • Electrical and Telephone plans
  • Mechanical Plan/ HVAC Plan
  • Door, Window and Ceiling Details
  • Other

Building Codes

All your plans, drawings and specifications must be in compliance with the building and health codes that are applicable to your location and be approved by the following regulatory agencies.

  • County Health Department
  • Department of Building and Safety
  • Fire Marshall

Most restaurants must comply with the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (Mossier)

Construction Costs

  • Build out cost for a new restaurant +/- $80-150 per sq.ft
  • Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment +/- $20-30 per sq.ft. , consider used.
  • New, hot location rents = $28-38 per sq.ft.
  • Tenant Improvement allowance (TI) allowance (negotiable) up to of 20% rent.
  • Build Cost should not exceed 25% projected sales
  • Caveat gray vs. vanilla shell (gray totally unfinished) as well as allowance issues.
  • Caveat concept impulse (requires high traffic) vs. destination.
  • To project income calculate number of seats ( 2800 sq. ft. -> 100 seats incl. kitchen – total build out costs & fixtures = +/-_ 450k or $160/ft. furniture & equipment = 20-22% of total)
  • Remember parking safety and accessibility.

About the Author:

Roger_RobinsonRoger Robinson, PhD has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger here. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

 

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How to Start a Business with No Money

How to Start a Business with No Money

By David Spindell, Certified SCORE Business Mentor

How to Start a Business with No MoneyI was born in Brooklyn, New York. My neighborhood was the slum of Brooklyn. In my school they were trying a new system of education. They were going to let the students learn at their own pace — in other words, not to follow any school curriculum. I was learning how to go from writing print to script.

We moved to a new neighborhood and a new school. The students were reading a book a week, and doing a book report. I became the dumbest student in the school. I had to work extra hard to move ahead in life. My father was a Local 3 Union electrician. So I got into the union because it was a father and son union.

Life was extra hard for me. I was saved by my business smarts. Which I want to share with you.

I was a successful electrical contractor who ran a multi-million dollar electrical company for 35 years. I’ve had a plumbing business, a bar, a bagel store, a jewelry store and a pawn shop. I am a very diversified entrepreneur.

I was very lucky to learn all bout business, from my first partner and I want to share with you what he shared with me that made me very successful ,

And show you where you can find a partner like I had. I want to teach you how you will know to find the right answers to all your business questions. I want to give you the confidence, to know that you can be successful at any business you go in to.

You are a very bright person, you can over come any obstacle. From my experience you will learn all you need to know to become successful.

I will teach you:

  • How to find a business
  • How to fund a business
  • How to run a business
  • How to start a business with very little money,even no money
  • How to go from the dumbest student to the smartest
  • How a billionaire made all his money with out paying any taxes – Legally
  • How to get a amazing partner like I did
  • How to do the right thing
  • How to continue your success

Confidence is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. If you have the confidence nothing can stop you. You know how to handle any situation that could come up. I want to give you the confidence. And watch you grow into the business giant you could be.

If you want to run your own business you have to look at the good:

  • You control your own destiny
  • You can make a lot of money.
  • You are respected by your peers.
  • You have full control if your life.
  • You can help others

Hopefully, you will become a very confident human being!

Sign up for David’s class on August 18, 2016, $25.

 

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Menus to Pricing: What a Restaurant needs to be Successful

money on a plate

As we continue our series that started with “So You Want to Open a Restaurant?” — here we get into the nitty-gritty of the restaurant business.

Restaurant Processes and Checklists

Develop detailed process flows and checklists that document the steps of how you do business. This is the first step in building a restaurant capable of producing consistent products efficiently with the financial results expected. These processes and checklists should be designed to use as a guide in deciding what the restaurant should be doing in the following key operational areas:

  • Manager’s opening
  • Manager’s shift change
  • Manager’s closing
  • Customer Service
  • Purchasing
  • Receiving
  • Storage
  • Preparations
  • Cleaning
  • Training

Preparing Menus and Setting the Right Price

Menus to Pricing: What a restaurant needs to be successfulPlan your menu carefully.

Know what items your customers prefer and how they like them prepared. Provide variety while maintaining stable cost averages.

Menu prices are a combination of food costs and what is needed to meet expenses and realize a profit. Generally, the price of an item is approximately more then three times the food costs, depending on restaurant type, operating expenses and competitors’ prices.

To establish pricing:

  • Estimate your sales—counter-balance higher cost items tagged with lower mark-up, with higher mark-ups on lower cost items;
  • Maintain a desired overall food cost percentage including waste and shrinkage, usually 30% or less of gross sales to obtain a normal margin of profit;
  • Balance items ranging in popularity—monitor high demand items which can determine your success.

Cost Control

In the restaurant business, you must have procedures for controlling inventory and costs. Ask people in the industry for information about procedures for:

  • Purchasing and Inventory Control. Develop centralized control over all buying and physical inventory that is easily defined and integral to the profit and expense control process. Know exactly what minimum inventory exists and needs to be maintained. This capability can be obtained with QuickBooks and other equivalent software programs – but it must be kept current to be effective.
  • Most of the time, purchasing is done over the telephone, by fax, or online. Often no contract is signed between the purchaser and the supplier; therefore, it is essential that you choose your supplier carefully.
    Develop specifications on food brand names, size, quantity, grade/weight, delivery time/place, emergency deliveries, availability and policies for substitutes or damaged goods. Entertain bids from multiple sources and get the best product for the lowest price. Use a Purchasing and Receiving Form.
  • Receiving. Check all deliveries against the Purchasing and Receiving Form, focusing on three things: quantity, price and quality (i.e., temperature: frozen goods must be frozen); packaging should be intact. Make sure specifications are met. Careful recording will show short shipments, price variations and weight differences.
  • Budgeting and Projecting. Establish a cash budget and maintain cash flow projections on a continual basis.
  • Calculating Monthly Food Costs. Determine the actual cost of food consumed and the actual cost of food sold. This is a combination of opening inventories, purchases, adjustments and closing inventories. This ratio should remain relatively constant.
  • Calculating Beverage Costs. Record all bottle deliveries and purchases.
  • Preparing Food. Make sure staff understand portion sizes (photograph entrees or give written instructions) and set up a recipe reference file to list dishes, portions and supplies needed.
  • Ensure refrigerated and frozen products are quickly placed in a cold storage – storage temperature for dry goods (between 10-21 C) and frozen goods (-18 C or less).  Rotate your stock to ensure that oldest items are used first before the new stock.

Check our upcoming classes as we hold Quickbooks classes often

 Thinking of starting a business? How about running the idea by someone who’s been there and done that? A SCORE mentor can help you for free! There are over 70 mentors in the Greater Phoenix Valley. Schedule your free session now!

About the Author:

Roger_RobinsonRoger Robinson, PhD has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger here. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

 

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