Archive for December 26, 2013

10 Great Resources to Help Entrepreneurs

So, you are planning to start a business – where do you go to get advice and tools? Do you know what tools can help you start and run a business? There are plenty of tools out there but it is difficult to choose the right ones from the lot. Here is a list of 15 selected resources for entrepreneurs:

Small Business Administration: Entrepreneurs should visit this site to get information, links and resources to help their business grow. SBA also provides financial assistance including loans and grants to entrepreneurs.

SCORE: It is a non-profit organization that provides free business mentoring for entrepreneurs. Mentoring is usually provided by both active and retired business executives and entrepreneurs. It is also a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Small Business Development Centers: SBDC provides an array of technical assistance to small businesses and new entrepreneurs. Contact your nearest SBDC and they will help with all the aspects of starting and growing a business for free.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Bloomberg Businessweek talks about the general trends in the business world. It provides valuable insight on small businesses, policies, business schools, world economy and more.

Microsoft Office 2010: This is one of the most important business suites to help you right from day one. You may want to integrate it with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 for file sharing, collaboration and remote data access.

The Company Corporation: The Company Corporation provides traditional corporation and LLC formation services to entrepreneurs and small businesses. The site handles all the filing and paperwork required for a business.

Forbes: Forbes needs no introduction. It talks about rich and successful people around the world and also provides information about global trends, leadership ideas and human resource needs. Forbes also contains insightful articles written by industry experts.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Need to file a patent, a copyright or a trademark for your business? This site has the right resources and tools to help you.

Marketing Profs: This site offers everything an entrepreneur needs to learn about marketing through articles and guides. You can find out everything here – from creating compelling ad copy to attending trade shows.

WordofMouth: WordofMouth.org is a great resource for entrepreneurs to understand what their customers are saying about their products/services. It is a great tool for those entrepreneurs who wish to build a strong relationship with customers.

 

What other resources  would you add to this list to help entrepreneurs? We are eager to hear back from you at Facebook and @Twitter.

Merry Christmas to all our Customers and Readers!

The iTeleCenter team wishes all of our customers and readers a Merry Christmas! As the Holiday season is upon us, we find this to be the perfect time to look back at our achievements during the year and thank those who helped us shape our business.  We value your relationship with us and look forward to working with you in the years to come.

Christmas is the time for joy, hope, happiness, fun and celebration. But, unfortunately, not for all! We understand there are people who are forced to spend the holiday away from their families. iTeleCenter’s Conference Bridge can help them spend time together “virtually”. iTeleCenter includes a private 25 line conference calling bridge available anytime 24×7. You do not need to schedule your call – it’s your bridge to use anytime. The bridge has a dial-in number, a PIN for participants and also an optional host PIN that allows you to control the call.

To access your dial-in number and PIN, go to Conference Bridge under the Power Tools tab in your back office.

Celebrate this Christmas with your family and with iTeleCenter.

iTeleCenter wishes everyone a safe and wonderful Christmas!

Join us on Facebook and @Twitter to celebrate this Christmas

Entrepreneurs Must be Ready to Embrace Change

You have achieved some success in your start-up, but what’s next? How do you plan to grow? To grow your business and sustain its success, it is important that you understand and respond to change. Darwin’s evolutionary theory of “survival of the fittest” holds true even for entrepreneurs.  A business needs to understand and cope with the changing customer needs, behavior and with changing technology. An entrepreneur must be flexible and be able to alter his strategies. A successful start-up must use all kinds of strategies to stay ahead of its changing customer needs and evolving technologies.

But to respond to “change” an entrepreneur must first understand what has changed and respond to it. Though it sounds easy, understanding and responding to a ‘change’ is not an easy process in reality. An entrepreneur needs to have a well defined process to understand change. Below is a six-step process that an entrepreneur can build on to understand changes going around him:

Make feedback programs more effective

Try making your customer feedback program more effective. Ask specific questions to customers about your product/service and then ask them to rate you. Also remember to ask for their suggestions to improve customer service at the end of each feedback program.

Meet your suppliers

Create a team consisting of some key functional figures like the head of your customer satisfaction team and a few selected suppliers. Try to meet with them at least once in a month to learn what’s latest in the market and also about customer satisfaction. You must also try to meet some of your customers and check with them personally to see how they feel about your product/service.

Create a team of market researchers

Create a team of market researchers or industry specialists who will monitor the market and will keep track of what is happening in the market. For example, this team must be able to tell you what the fastest growing product/service in your business domain is, what products your competitors are launching, who is your fastest growing competitor, and which customer segment seems to be adopting your product/service the most.

Building new business strategies

It is also the responsibility of this team to generate new business ideas based on their analysis. This team must be able to tell you how you might need to change your business strategy like adding new product features or revising your pricing or distribution channel.

Test your new strategy

Once you have adopted a change try to launch it as quickly and inexpensively as possible. If you get positive customer feedback, you can adapt and make bigger changes later.

Keep space for growth

You should also have space to refine a new strategy according to customer feedback.

What more should an entrepreneur do to stay ahead in business and sustain his success? Let us know on Facebook and @Twitter.

Order your 844 Vanity Numbers via iTeleCenter!

It’s that time of the year when everybody is looking for gifts and anticipating holiday celebrations. This year, the FCC decided to make this time even more special by releasing the latest toll free prefix – 844. This gives entrepreneurs and small business owners one more reason to celebrate the spirit of the season. Entrepreneurs know how important it is to get a custom toll free number for their business and if they happen to grab an easy to remember vanity toll free number for their business – that’s a bonus.

Why use a vanity number?

Vanity numbers are alphanumeric phone numbers that spell the name of a company, product or service. These are memorable phone numbers that give a business better visibility. You can now order an 844 custom vanity number for your business via the iTeleCenter website. iTeleCenter has also made vanity sequential numbers available to its customers. Sequential numbers are also a great way to make a phone number memorable. You can choose a sequential number like: 844 123 1234 as your business contact number.

Make this season memorable with an 844 vanity number.

Sign up now on iTeleCenter to order the number of your choice before somebody else picks it up!

 

Get an 844 vanity number now and tell us on Facebook and @Twitter how it changes the way your business performs.

5 Must Read Books for Entrepreneurs

Starting a business is often an incredible but exhausting experience. Operations of a start-up business are often chaotic. Being the owner of the business you need to be fast, energetic and prompt to keep your business in order and to grow it. We understand that a business owner also needs inspiration to keep his flame of entrepreneurship burning.

Below is a list of 5 awesome reads for entrepreneurs to boost their energy and keep them in action. Although many of these books were written years – or even decades – ago, their wisdom can still be applied today.

1. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Ogilvy on Advertising was first published in 1983. In his book, Ogilvy outlines the basic principles of advertising and recommends creating advertisements that are not only creative but that also sell. An entrepreneur can partner with an ad agency to advertise his business, but at the same time, it’s important that he should have some knowledge about advertising. This is why Ogilvy’s book is a must read for an entrepreneur.

David Ogilvy is widely regarded as the “The Father of Advertising.” In 1962, “TIME” called him “the most sought after wizard in today’s advertising industry.”

2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon was first published in 1926. It is regarded as one of the greatest finance books of all times. The book dispenses financial advice to entrepreneurs through parables set in ancient Babylon. Financial matters are obviously a matter of concern for entrepreneurs. This book helps entrepreneurs become good money managers and gain better control over their financial goals.

The book was originally published as a series of pamphlets on how to achieve financial success and was distributed by banks and insurance companies. Later the pamphlets were complied into a book and published in 1926.

3. The Strategy Paradox by Michael E. Raynor

The Strategy Paradox was first published in 2007. In this book, Raynor shows that strategies are ubiquitous but are unknown trade-offs.  The real world is full of unknowns. A particular strategy that has proven to be highly successful for a business might carry the greatest risk of failure for a particular project. In this book, Raynor argues that businesses must be able “to pursue alternative strategies…depending on how key uncertainties are resolved.” If you aspire to become a successful entrepreneur, you must read this book before you formulate strategies for your business.

The book was named among top ten books of 2007 by BusinessWeek and a top five strategy book of 2007 by Strategy+Business.

4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

The Magic of Thinking Big was first published in 1959. This is a self-help book by Dr. David Schwartz. In this book, Schwartz argues that the main thing that is holding most of the people back is the relative smallness of their thoughts. He begins the book by describing a story of a salesperson who sells more than his colleagues. Schwartz shows that he can sell more because he expects to sell more.  The book provides the right dose of motivation and inspiration for entrepreneurs to think big.

Over 4 million copies of the book have been sold. The book analyzes the effect of positive thinking and setting high goals.

5. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris

The 4-Hour Workweek was published in 2007. This is a self-help book by Timothy Ferris, an American writer, educational activist and entrepreneur. In the book, Ferris use the acronym “DEAL” for the four main chapters – D stands for definition, E stands for elimination, A stands for Automation and L stands for Liberation. In his book Ferris shows how entrepreneurs can use technology like email, instant messaging (IM) to automate part of their work; eliminate unnecessary waste of time and liberate more free time for themselves.

The book was on The New York Best Seller List for more than 4 years. The book has been translated into 35 other languages and has sold more than 1,350,000 copies worldwide.

 

What are other books you would suggest for entrepreneurs? Share with us on Facebook and @Twitter.