Sunday, August 01, 1999

SMALL-BUSINESS DIARY


Bigger ought to be better, too

        So, you're looking to expand that business of yours? Tired of doing everything by the seat of your pants? It's time to devise an expansion plan.

        Here's what experts say you must consider:

        • Do what you're doing now, only more of it. This is what we usually think of when we talk about “growth.” But before leaping, consider two things: the market and the competition.

        • Add markets for your same product/services. The first thought would be to look at neighboring communities you could serve fairly easily from your present location. But you also could target new industries, demographic groups, types of customers. If your computer training service targets mostly young adults, how about expanding to seniors?

        • Create new markets or increase the size of the market. Most of the time, companies compete for a share of an existing But sometimes — rarely — you can make the market bigger. When Apple first made computers easier to use, it created a huge new market.

        • Extend your product or service line. Finding ways to serve your existing customers better is a great way to grow. By adding products or services, you can substantially increase profit margins because you've already spent the money to acquire the customer.

"Yes Corps' answer to world Y2K worry
        Howard A. Rubin knew that developing countries were lagging in Year 2000 computer preparations well before the United Nations convened the first international gathering on the challenge in December. But the chairman of the Department of Computer Science at Hunter College in New York was surprised to learn that many nations had done virtually nothing.

        As Mr. Rubin, 50, fretted with others at the meeting, the idea of an Internet-based volunteer network for such nations was formed. That network became a reality this spring as the “Yes Corps,” with Mr. Rubin as chairman.

Success stories on a shoestring
        We asked some successful bootstrappers how they were able to build their companies on a shoestring budget, with no outside start-up money. Here are some of their tips:

        • Train employees to be experts — don't buy outside expertise unless you have no other option.

        • Entice potential employees with performance-based compensation plans and bonuses rather than high salaries.

        • When at all possible, don't outsource what you can do yourself, even if it means jumping on your bike rather than calling a courier service.

        • Tap into the mom-dad market. Stay-at-home moms are a great part-time labor pool.

        • Tell your customers your policy is to collect at least partial payment up front, and that you will give them undermarket prices because of this policy.

        — Enquirer news services

       



Training on the Net takes off
Internal networks popular, too
P&G changes its world
Ad agencies' pay linked to sales, not billings
Net selling no reducer of payrolls
Times catch up with light recycler
- SMALL-BUSINESS DIARY
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Y2K fears boost sales of solar-power systems
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