Monday, March 19, 2018

Why Micro Businesses Work


micro businessesThe state of the American economy is changing, led by the creation of small micro businesses. Born from both a desire for professional fulfillment and financial reasons, the expansion of these small businesses into the marketplace is growing more significant each year.

According to the SBA, 27.9 million businesses in the US are considered small businesses. Of these, nearly 22 million are considered micro businesses. A micro business is defined as a business with 5 or less employees including the owner. Because of their flexibility and low overhead, micro and small business are more likely to grow quickly and add a tremendous amount of jobs to the workforce as the economy progresses. Some reports site that up to 93% of businesses in the US are micro businesses, considering the growing underground economy.

More and more people of every age, particularly women and minorities are starting their own micro businesses because of the upward mobility and flexibility they provide. With control of your own business, you can do things on your terms according to your skills and passions.

Difference Between Hobbies & Micro Businesses


Hobby: I knit on Sundays. 
Micro Business: I knit hats, mittens and scarves and sell them on my Etsy store, my personal website, and in several local stores. I also offer knitting classes.

Hobby: I like to write poetry. 
Micro Business: I have written three novels, have expended $7500 in expenses and have $5000 in income. This would necessitate a Schedule C. These expenses are a write off. 

You can check to see if your business meets these standards here: SBA Standards 

Support Local Micro Businesses


Here are samples of several East coast micro businesses that have found success in doing what they love. 

ReikiMasters, located in E. Kingston NH has only three employees, but two locations. Two employees work out of the NH location while one works out of a remote office in Kansas. The Kansas office specializes in animal Reiki. The owner, Rebecca Dow, and her two employees are certified Reiki Masters. 

Rhodey SUP is Rhode Island's only fully mobile stand up paddle board rental, instruction, and guide service.  SUPs are big and difficult to transport.  Rhodey SUP eliminates that problem by bringing the boards wherever the clients want to paddle. Owner Darren Rome Leo has been a SUP guide for LL Bean for the past few years, and achieved an ACA level 2 instructor certification. 

Ampersand Bakery is a custom in-house bakery in located in New Hampshire. Owners Natalie Kenney and Tim Bemis craft small batch custom cakes, cupcakes, and other yummy baked goods. They offer gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options.  Both work full time elsewhere, but their micro business feeds their passion and provides unique and stunning baked goods as well as additional income.

micro businesses


Micro Businesses & Income 


Many micro businesses are a way for employed individuals to supplement their primary income with something they enjoy. The businesses showcased in this blog receive income from  $4,200 a year to $50,000 a year and though the income is meant to be supplemental, but can often become a primary source with success and life adjustments.


Tips to get started and to succeed:


Do something you love. Follow your passion. If that is teaching art classes or building websites—do it.


Keep books. Your income and expenses need to be reported with your tax return, so be sure to record every penny in and out of your micro-business.


Show up for work. A business, regardless of the size, is a business and you need to treat it like that. Don’t show up when you feel like it. Be consistent.


Be professional. Nothing spreads faster than bad word of mouth. If a client is unhappy, do your best to remedy it.


Always use a contract with clients. Whether it is $100 or $30,000, get it in writing. Have your business attorney look over the document to ensure both parties are covered in the agreement. Keep it simple. A one-two page agreement should cover everything that needs to be done.


Have a great social media presence. This includes your website, FB, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and any other platform you use. This is how people will find you.


Networking. Get out there and share what you do with people that otherwise would not know. Bring cards. Mingle. Many networking events have opportunities for sharing, so if for example you are a micro-bakery, bring samples!


Brand your business.  Make sure you have a great logo and tagline. Use this across all platforms: Letterhead, envelopes, business cards, brochures, website, etc. This sets you apart from the others and makes people remember your business.



micro businesses

If you need advice about micro businesses, website development, printed materials, marketing, social media, media placement, ribbon cutting planning, product launch or event planning, contact Spotlight Publicity.

 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vertical VS Horizontal Business Growth



As a small business, you need to be prepared to take advantage of expansion opportunities. Essentially, business growth can be seen as horizontal or vertical. These differing approaches have their merits as well as setbacks. Monitoring measured annual growth will help to determine which direction you're heading and determine a course of action.

Horizontal business growth is focused on developing your core, while vertical business growth focuses on expanding outside of your core to take on new practices. Take an ice cream shop for example. If business is booming and it’s time to expand, you can either grow horizontally by opening a new location or acquiring other local ice cream stores, or you can take a vertical approach by implementing new business lines, such as pizza.

Horizontal Business Growth


Why grow horizontally? Take the example of a local coffee shop that’s expanded to multiple locations. Similar businesses face the same issues, so you can come up with solutions that meet the needs of every store. Workflow processes can be standardized in multiple locations. Streamlining in this manner reduces expenses and creates further opportunities.

Performance goals help your team focus on what is important to the business – achieving company sales and profit targets. With everyone focused on the same performance metrics coupled with strong leadership coaching, your team will embrace the goal.

Vertical Business Growth


It is important to go into business growth with eyes wide open. Your local market may have reached capacity. There is simply no more horizontal local growth potential to be had. If this is the case, vertical business growth tactics may be your best option for expansion.

Adding a vertical approach to your core business could involve acquisition of a complimentary company and the introduction of new products or services. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts acquired Baskin-Robbins, adding ice cream to the product line. The same can be done in small business. 

Growing vertically provides new revenue streams to increase business. For example, Spotlight Publicity grew vertically by offering a literary print press to compliment our marketing services for authors.

Research is paramount in order for vertical business growth to succeed. An improper expansion, such as implementing a vertical growth outside of your area of expertise could be detrimental and lead to business failure.

For inspiration, look at the examples of Amazon, Apple and Disney. Each of these powerhouses famously started in garages. Look at them now.


For more information, contact Spotlight Publicity for your a free consultation.