Category Archives: Mentors

How to grab attention as a small business

Getting your name out there can be hard when you are a small business, but it can be done!  Here are a few ways that can help you grab attention as a small business without exhausting all of your resources:

 

  • Use social media to your advantage.  It’s free to have a Facebook, twitter or any other social media account, so use them to attract viewers to your business.  Witty posts and pictures connecting your business to things that are already trending, like the Sochi Olympics, March Madness or Earth day, are an easy way to get followers and let people know what your business is all about.
  • Make business contacts.  Especially when your company offers a service, make friends with the “experts” in the area.  You can do this by offering a free training to a local company or by getting to know the other local specialists who work in your same field.  Then when someone asks those specialists who does the best (name of your service here) those local “experts” will be ready and willing to refer those people to you.  Having a trusted company vouch for your business makes it much easier to expand your customer base.
  • Get involved in your community. Sponsor a local baseball team, or volunteer at a local food bank a couple times a month.  By showing the community that you and your business are willing to invest in them, the community will be much more comfortable and willing to invest in your business.  It is easier to become a household name if people can connect your business to the face of someone who helped them and their community.

 

These are a few ways that you can grab customers’ attention as a small business and keep it for years to come.

About the Author

RyanW_UVU2

Ryan Westwood is the founder and CEO both of PcCareSupport and Outbox systems.
Even as a child, Ryan knew he’d be an entrepreneur.  At the age of 12, he opened his first business, a small card shop he ran out of a kiosk at Rust Coin. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to being the best by many organizations.  Recent awards include Top 250 MSP & Cloud Experts Worldwide, Top 40 Under 40 (BusinessQ and Utah Business Magazine), Inc. Hire Power, and Westwood was presented the Golden Key Award by Governor Herbert in 2013.

Ryan Westwood is also the UVU Entrepreneurship Institute’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Schedule an appointment to meet with him or learn more about Ryan.

Business Sales Channels

As a new business owner, finding appropriate sales channels is one of the most important steps you will take in preparing your business to succeed. Your business’ sales channels will define how your solution gets from you to your customers, as well as how your customers view your business, so it’s important to understand your options and how they differ. Read on to learn about three popular sales channels for new businesses.

Business sales channels

1. Online sales

Many new business owners prefer the online sales channel, because it is relatively cheap and easy to start out with. The online sales channel requires you to market your solution over the Internet, so that customers can find your business’ online presence and then initiate the transaction. Since the online sales channel usually includes no personal interaction between the customer and your business, you should plan on supplementing it with customer support resources to make sure customers can get their questions answered when needed.

2. Direct sales

With direct sales, salespeople working for your business engage directly with prospects, and attempt to convert them into paying customers. The direct sales channel can provide more of a personal touch than online sales, which makes it a good choice for high-value transactions that have longer sales cycles. However, direct sales also requires more resources to operate, which may make it an impractical choice for smaller businesses that are just starting out.

3. Affiliate sales

With affiliate sales, your business works with a partner organization that drives sales on your behalf. Your affiliate may be selling a complementary solution to the one you’re selling, which would make the scenario beneficial to both of you. Affiliate sales can be a great way to capitalize on your business network by taking advantage of other organizations’ resources. It’s also a quick way to make sales and create brand recognition without having to use your own limited marketing resources.

 

About the Author

RyanW_UVU2

Ryan Westwood is the founder and CEO both of PcCareSupport and Outbox systems.
Even as a child, Ryan knew he’d be an entrepreneur.  At the age of 12, he opened his first business, a small card shop he ran out of a kiosk at Rust Coin. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to being the best by many organizations.  Recent awards include Top 250 MSP & Cloud Experts Worldwide, Top 40 Under 40 (BusinessQ and Utah Business Magazine), Inc. Hire Power, and Westwood was presented the Golden Key Award by Governor Herbert in 2013.

Ryan Westwood is also the UVU Entrepreneurship Institute’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Schedule an appointment to meet with him or learn more about Ryan.

Balancing Business and Life; Making Sure You’re Seeing the Big Picture

Far too often, new entrepreneurs become preoccupied with making sure every last aspect of their business is completely perfect. Of course, it is important to work hard in order to achieve the goals you set for your business, but it’s even more important for you to have a concrete idea of what those goals really are. When you’ve got your head down working all the time, it can be easy to forget why it is you do the things you do, and if you don’t know that, you’ll never be truly successful.

So, why not try stepping away to think about the big picture for a little while? It only takes a couple minutes of your time, and with the insights it can give you, you’ll be in a much better position to make your business successful on your own terms.

Every entrepreneur would say that they want their business to be successful, but if you ask a hundred different entrepreneurs what it means to be successful, you’re likely to end up with a hundred different definitions. That’s why big picture thinking can be so helpful for entrepreneurs: if you get caught up on someone else’s idea of what success is, your business won’t make you happy no matter how much work you put into it.

Keep in mind that your business should only play a certain role in your life. Being successful as an entrepreneur also requires knowing what’s important in your personal life, knowing why it’s important, and knowing how you can balance those important things with your professional life. For instance, if it’s important for you to be able to spend time with your family, then that might mean you’ll end up doing less business than your competitors who work 16-hour days. That’s perfectly fine, as long as it fits in to your own personal definition of what success is.

So, as hard as it can be for dedicated entrepreneurs to tear themselves away from their work, try to step back and take a big-picture approach to the work you’re doing every now and then. You may be surprised about what you find out out.

About the Author

RyanW_UVU2

Ryan Westwood is the founder and CEO both of PcCareSupport and Outbox systems.
Even as a child, Ryan knew he’d be an entrepreneur.  At the age of 12, he opened his first business, a small card shop he ran out of a kiosk at Rust Coin. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to being the best by many organizations.  Recent awards include Top 250 MSP & Cloud Experts Worldwide, Top 40 Under 40 (BusinessQ and Utah Business Magazine), Inc. Hire Power, and Westwood was presented the Golden Key Award by Governor Herbert in 2013.

Ryan Westwood is also the UVU Entrepreneurship Institute’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Schedule an appointment to meet with him or learn more about Ryan.

Managing Cash Flow for Small Businesses- By Ryan Westwood

If you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur, it’s no exaggeration to say that understanding how to manage your cash flow is one of the most important skills you need to learn in order to be successful.Your business can’t continue to operate without a steady cash flow, so take a look at these tips, and try to employ them in your business as much as possible.

1. Make a cash flow chart

It’s important that you have a realistic expectation of how much money you need to get started with your business, how many ongoing monthly expenses you need to pay just to keep the lights on, and how much you need to sell in order to cover both one-time and ongoing expenses. If you don’t know exactly what your expenses are going to be, then you won’t have a target in mind for how much money you need to make to stay in business. In addition, if your chart shows that you’ll have to make an unusually high amount of sales just to cover your expenses, that’s a sure sign that you need to revisit your business model and try to reduce your expenses.

2. Make sure to get paid as quickly as possible

Finding customers who consistently pay on time is one of the greatest challenges many small businesses face. If you have customers who take a long time to respond to invoices, you might offer them a small discount as incentive for timely payment, or just continue to follow up with them until they pay. Neither option is ideal, but until you build a stable group of customers you know you can trust, you have no other option.

3. Protect your credit

Credit is extremely hard for small businesses to get, so make sure that you don’t take it for granted if you are able to get credit. If your credit lines do end up getting cut, your only option will be to pay cash for everything until you can re-establish credit.

About the Author

RyanW_UVU2

Ryan Westwood is the founder and CEO both of PcCareSupport and Outbox systems.
Even as a child, Ryan knew he’d be an entrepreneur.  At the age of 12, he opened his first business, a small card shop he ran out of a kiosk at Rust Coin. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to being the best by many organizations.  Recent awards include Top 250 MSP & Cloud Experts Worldwide, Top 40 Under 40 (BusinessQ and Utah Business Magazine), Inc. Hire Power, and Westwood was presented the Golden Key Award by Governor Herbert in 2013.

Ryan Westwood is also the UVU Entrepreneurship Institute’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Schedule an appointment to meet with him or learn more about Ryan.

Creating a Solid Vision for your Business- By Ryan Westwood

Creating a vision for your business is an important part of obtaining business success. After all, you can’t give someone directions if you don’t know where they’re going. In the same way, it’s impossible for you to guide your business if you don’t have a clear idea in mind of what you want the business to accomplish. Follow these guidelines to create a solid vision for your business:

1. Keep it simple.

The one thing that makes all great vision plans alike is that they can be summed up in a few short paragraphs. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one that’s going to be reading your vision plan. An important part of your business vision is giving your employees guidance, and helping them understand what role they play in helping your company achieve success.

If you provide your employees with a book of complicated guidelines that would take them hours to read, it’s highly likely that they’ll never get through the whole thing, and this defeats the whole purpose of having a business vision in the first place.

2. Set goals, and be specific.

When you’re trying to set goals for your business, it doesn’t do any good to be vague. Your goals should be specific, and they should be quantifiable: How many new customers do you want to add? How much new profit do you want to generate? How long will it take you to achieve your goals? Once you have quantifiable goals in place, it will help you define your success or failure in real terms.

3. Get feedback.

Your employees will be the ones who actually have to implement your business vision, so you’ll want to share your ideas with them, and make revisions as needed. Involving your employees in the process of creating the business vision will make them feel invested in the process, and make them more likely to actually take the vision seriously once it’s implemented.

About the Author

RyanW_UVU2

Ryan Westwood is the founder and CEO both of PcCareSupport and Outbox systems.
Even as a child, Ryan knew he’d be an entrepreneur.  At the age of 12, he opened his first business, a small card shop he ran out of a kiosk at Rust Coin. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to being the best by many organizations.  Recent awards include Top 250 MSP & Cloud Experts Worldwide, Top 40 Under 40 (BusinessQ and Utah Business Magazine), Inc. Hire Power, and Westwood was presented the Golden Key Award by Governor Herbert in 2013.

Ryan Westwood is also the UVU Entrepreneurship Institute’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Schedule an appointment to meet with him or learn more about Ryan.

Entrepreneurship in Utah- By Ryan Westwood

In our capitalist society, people tend to pay a lot of attention to the very large companies that dominate the economic news every day. While those companies are certainly important, entrepreneurs and small businesses also play an extremely important role in introducing new and innovative technologies, creating job opportunities, and moving our economy forward.

Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy, and there are a lot of risks involved. However, if you have the right personality, keep a positive attitude, and aren’t afraid to work hard to make your dreams a reality, the entrepreneurship could end up being the most exciting—and rewarding—adventure you ever embark on.

What does it take to be successful as an entrepreneur? Read on for a few key tips to get you started.

1. Use what you already know

A common misconception is that most successful entrepreneurs are mavericks who come up with a completely unique idea out of nowhere. In reality, knowledge and experience in a particular field is usually an important part of being a successful entrepreneur. Think about the jobs you’ve had in the past, and try to determine who you can parlay that experience into your own entrepreneurial venture.

2. Get the support you need

Being successful as an entrepreneur requires a lot of work, and that work may not be worth it if it interferes with your personal life too much. Make sure your friends and family members understand your reasons for wanting to be an entrepreneur. If you have their support and understanding from the start, it will make the entire process much easier.

3. Get a good mentor

The UVU Mentors Utah program can put you in touch with mentors who understand the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, and can help point you in the right direction to overcome those challenges. Everything is easier when you learn from people who have been their before. A mentor can be an incredibly valuable resource, so make sure to take advantage of it!

 

About the Author

RyanW_UVU2

Ryan Westwood is the founder and CEO both of PcCareSupport and Outbox systems.
Even as a child, Ryan knew he’d be an entrepreneur.  At the age of 12, he opened his first business, a small card shop he ran out of a kiosk at Rust Coin. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and his commitment to being the best by many organizations.  Recent awards include Top 250 MSP & Cloud Experts Worldwide, Top 40 Under 40 (BusinessQ and Utah Business Magazine), Inc. Hire Power, and Westwood was presented the Golden Key Award by Governor Herbert in 2013.

Ryan Westwood is also the UVU Entrepreneurship Institute’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Schedule an appointment to meet with him or learn more about Ryan.