Why you shouldn’t use free websites

10 Reasons Not To Use A Free Website Builder

Joseph PoirierNovember 17, 2017SEO, Websites

Why using a free website builder is simply a bad idea. 

Believe me folks, I understand – the idea of creating a “free” website is tempting – especially to a small business owner.  With so many companies out there today offering simple ‘drag and drop’ website building platforms, and the seemingly high cost of hiring a professional to custom build your website, it seems like a good alternative.  “Free” website builders come in many forms. In addition to Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc., each industry has its own version of low priced website building platforms that seem too good to be true.

Free Website Builders

Reasons to avoid the “free” website builder you ask? Let me count the ways…. 

1. You don’t own your own website. 

Personally, I feel this is of huge importance, and a major reason I’d stay away from Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, godaddy, Shopify, Yahoo, etc. The website files and code belong to them, not you.  When you run into some of the issues listed herein, or you’d like to increase the capabilities/functionalities of your website, and decide to upgrade your website – all the work that you’ve done so far is for not. There’s no way to migrate your website off of their platform – you don’t have access to site files, backend, CSS, (custom style sheets) code, etc. Therefore, all of your time/effort is lost, and you’re starting all over again from ground zero. 

If you build your website on an open source CMS (content management system) like WordPress or Joomla – you own it all. Everything you invest in your website (time, effort, money, SEO) will always be yours, and pay ongoing dividends.

2. SEO Shortcomings 

While each website builder provides you with what they refer to as “SEO tools”, they all are lacking in what they offer. True SEO (search engine optimization) requires access to make file customizations and modify/optimize settings on your server – but you have no access to your server with these website building platforms. Different site builders have different shortcomings – some will give you access to meta descriptions, headings, and alt attributes on the home page, but not internal pages, product pages, or blog posts (which is crucial).  

Here’s a real-world scenario. We started working for an attorney’s office in July, of 2016. They had spent over four years doing everything they could to optimize their website for organic traffic. The knowledge base from their website builder gave them hope that they would be able to compete for traffic. They utilized a keyword planner, built an SEO strategy, started blogging, added every heading, alt tag, and attribute they had access to. Quite honestly – it was the best, and most optimized website I’ve ever seen on one of these site building platforms. But alas – their traffic was ‘flat lining’ without regular increases; they could not ‘out do’ their competition, and show up in search results. The countless hours (attorney hours, mind you) spent on “SEO” would all be lost. As stated in #1 above, there’s no migration tools to bring them over to an open source CMS. Long story short – here’s a screen shot of their organic traffic. 

Google Analytics monthly traffic

From January 2016 through July 2016, they were averaging about 50 monthly visitors to their website from organic traffic. After moving over to WordPress in late July, we aggressively implemented our SEO strategy. Honestly – our strategy was eerily similar with what the client had done over four years on their previous website builder – so they were weary/skeptical of the results. As a result of their efforts, in October of 2017, they are dominating the SERP (search engine results page) – with over 1,300 organic website sessions monthly. Free website building platforms simply cannot compete SEO-wise. (And by the way…their practice is quickly growing and expanding after joining with us). 

3. Customer Support 

Customer support in so many industries is atrocious today – especially in this industry. I have a big problem with a provider when I can’t pick up the phone and talk to someone directly. Every “free” website builder company I’ve seen has email support only. What happens when your site goes down and you need timely or immediate assistance?  If you can get someone on the phone using their support systems – it will be an overseas office that can offer no immediate assistance. Consequently, you’ll find hundreds of complaints and horror stories on the Better Business Bureau website.

4. What’s “The Catch” with free website builders 

You’ve probably noticed I’ve consistently put “free” in quotation marks. That’s because most “free” websites are not free at all. Keep in mind – they run a business; you’ll have to start paying eventually in some shape or form. Yes, there’s typically a free trial, but most users find that they need to quickly ‘upgrade’ their account (the goal of the platform) for certain services; they suddenly find the need to pay for an app integrator, then some tool, more storage, a scheduler, tax calculator, ftp access, image hosting, email accounts, and on and on. 

As a rule of thumb – If you’re not paying for it, then you are the product. They need to make money from you somehow, and they’re protected by the terms/conditions to do as they wish with your info, so selling your information (email address, etc.) is a common practice.

Other quick thoughts…. 

5. Lack of customization 

Limited tools, fonts, templates and a lack of custom code result in bland, every day, cookie-cutter websites. The ‘average Joe’ is able to identify free websites – typically not a great first impression of your company. 

6. Lack of Speed 

Your website will be on a shared server with hundreds of other sites. Limited bandwidth and no access to server settings mean your website will load slowly. The average visitor will leave your site if it’s not fully loaded (desktop or mobile) in 3 seconds or less. And don’t judge your page speed for how well it loads for you and your devices (cached for quick loading) – utilize your analytics account for page speed insights of your visitors. 

7. Lack of Security 

The shared server mentioned above leads to security concerns. If one of the sites on your server gets hacked, it leaves the rest very vulnerable. Monthly, we receive multiple inquiries from people whose websites have been hacked – come to find out, they’re typically on the same server.

8. Limited Functionality 

Their applications are limited to the tools developed by that one web builder platform. Compare them to an open source CMS like WordPress which, at the time of this writing, has 52,900 plugins that allow amazing customization for businesses of any size and industry. No wonder WordPress dominates the CMS industry with nearly 60% market share. (Wix, GoDaddy, Weebly average 0.8%)  Source: https://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all

9. The Future 

As previously stated – Free Website builders do not transfer to Content Management Systems, or other free website builders. What happens if/when one of these companies close down? (Happens every day) Your site, its files and assets will all simply be gone.

10. Personal Experience

Listen – can you make a website on one of these free website builders look good and be appealing to your eye? Absolutely. As with our lawyer client above – they updated the site constantly, added great content, and made it very appealing. But the sheer number of hours invested by their team was astounding – time invested in a website that they didn’t own, and never produced results. Had they invested in a custom, state-of-the-art website with a solid SEO foundation, they would have spent less in the long run, and been on top of the SERP (Search engine results page) years earlier. 

If you must…. 

There are times that Free Website Builders are your only choice, and I totally understand that. I just want people to be aware and informed. I’d rather have this type of discussion with someone now – rather than years later – after the countless hours are invested, and they have to start all over again. So – if you’re going the “Free” website route, I’ve found that Squarespace offers the best design elements and the results look more professional than the others. Limit your hours/expenses/investment, do it yourself, and don’t pay a “web developer” in this scenario. Be weary of someone that calls themselves a web developer and uses free platforms.
See also: Questions to ask your web developer.


Select a program here to have Saafenet develop an online presence for you



How The Saafenet Corporation helps you

The Saafenet system is made up of a series of websites dedicated to providing information and tools aimed at helping small businesses to succeed. This help is most useful when the business owner uses those information and tools to move his business forward. We won’t run your business for you.

We help you prepare any document needed to start or keep your business in compliance with the law. You can then graduate to our site offering both instruction and tools to give your company an online and offline presence. Should you join our movement we will then include the details for your company in our promotional site which is promoted to the top 2,000 companies in America.

Business owners can use our document processing services to start and continue their statuary requirements for document submissions. Where necessary the business owner can make us responsible to ensure they remain in compliance. We develop a customized online presence for you and offer instruction on how to promote your company offline. However it is up to the business owner to keep those presentations current and efficiently use them to get new business. We will promote your company but it’s up to the business owner to be prepared to close the deal when a lead contacts them.

Starting a business is more than putting the tools or inventory for resale required to serve the consuming public. If no one knows you exist you won’t make sales. We help you make your business legal, give you the tools to promote and make potential customers aware of your existence. We set you up but you have to keep it going. And we do it for less than anyone online.


How to get a business Loan even with bad credit

Every business needs to borrow money at some point

One of the first recommendations you’ll get from the Saafenet Corporation is to straighten out your credit if you’re considering opening a business. Though our training manual will help you to raise the money to get started in many small businesses, at some point that money will be exhausted. No matter what type of business you plan to open at some point you’ll need a loan to cover payroll, for operating capital, or for dozens of other reasons.  However, if you have weak or poor credit, you will either get disapproved or pay unreasonable interest rates.

What Is a Bad Credit Score?

Lenders look at a borrower’s credit score to evaluate the likelihood of repayment. The higher the credit score is, the more likely a borrower will pay his loan. The lower the credit score is lenders have to make a decision to either disapprove the loan or to charge high interest to cover their risks.

The difference between good and bad credit rating vary widely depending on the lender. Some lenders won’t even look at you if you have a credit score that’s below 650 while others may still consider your application.

Here’s the general assessment of credit scores:

  • 760-850 – Excellent
  • 700-759 – Very good
  • 660-699 – Good
  • 620-659 – Poor
  • Below 620 – Very poor

Borrowers who have good to excellent credit ratings generally receive the best loan terms. Those that belong to the poor and very poor categories end up with high rates, if they’re approved at all.

There are steps you can take to get a loan even when you have bad credit. But the most sensible course of action is to improve your credit. Complete instructions for improving your credit free without the expense of a credit counselor are available on the front page of this website free of charge.

Improving your credit score:

If you follow our guidance, you can dramatically improve your credit score within three (3) calendar quarters. And it’s a smart move to improve your credit score before applying for a loan. This doesn’t mean you should wait to start your business but improving your credit score must be a high priority. Using our fundraising methods you may not need a loan to get started. Which would be hard to get anyway. But at some point all businesses need a loan. So reducing your debt, using secured credit cards and making on-time payments must be a part of your plan.

Get a co-signor:

A co-signor is someone willing to agree to paying off your loan if you default. Of course the co-signor must have good credit to qualify. And, it’s important for you to make every effort to pay off the loan or you will cause the co-signer to have to pay for your debt. Try to use this as a last resort.

Apply for a bad credit loan:

Only use this option if you are in dire need of borrowed funds. There are lenders that have special programs for borrowers with poor credit. The interest rates and terms will typically be poor. So in the long run,it’s always better to work to improve your credit score.

Last minute issues before considering starting a business

15 ways to improve your chances at succeeding in business

Becoming your own boss, along with the possibility of earning many times what you could earn as an employee is hard for most people to resist. However, more often than not, the odds will be stacked against you and that’s why 9 out of 10 startups fail, according to Fortune.

But  1 out of 10 succeed. Although there’s no sure fire way to become a successful entrepreneur, most successful entrepreneurs have achieved the 15 goals cited below:

1. Identify your goals

Goal-setting may not be the most sexy-sounding task, but it’s one that’s crucial to your success. Just think, if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to know when you get there?

Setting goals can take a few basic forms for aspiring entrepreneurs:

Income goals

Your income is one of the first few and most important considerations when it comes to running a business because more often than not, you’ll need to give up something else to find time to delve into entrepreneurship.

Are you looking to become a millionaire in a few short years? Or are you gunning for a spot next to billionaires like Mark Zuckerburg and Warren Buffett?

Knowing upfront what your income expectations are will keep you accountable to yourself and other stakeholders in your company or your family back home.

With that being said, however, being overly focused on revenue can affect the way you run your business in negative ways. Be sure to do regular reviews to see if you’re on track.

Lifestyle goals

Entrepreneurship is not a 9-5 job. In most cases, there aren’t any fixed hours and you’ll typically end up working harder than you have ever worked before. The faster you realize that the better, so you can evaluate whether this may or may not be the lifestyle you want to live in the long term.

Various entrepreneurs instead decide to run lifestyle businesses where they work remotely from any location and are selective with the work they decide to accept.

If you intend to work remotely with a four-hour work week, the business that you decide to do will have to enable you to do that. At the same time, by balancing out projections with your income goals, you’ll get a much better idea of whether your decision is a feasible one.

2. Outsource tedious tasks

As an entrepreneur, you’ll likely be starved for time on a regular basis. Dedicating your time solely to high value tasks and outsourcing the rest will help you reclaim your sanity and grow your business faster.

A good temporary option is to consider hiring interns. This can be very beneficial for startups that are strapped for cash.

Typically, internships are meant to give interns real-world working experience at a more conservative allowance. This lets interns learn the ropes without long-term commitment whilst business owners get to save a little bit of cash at the start.

Otherwise, you can also try hiring freelancers from Fiverr to help you in the areas that you do not specialise in. This can mean writing, designing or even video editing.

Although it may not be tedious per say, it does help you manage your time more efficiently by letting you work on your strengths.

3. Automate processes with technology

We live in an age where we can automate most processes using software and algorithms. Not only that, automation is fundamental in scaling a company’s marketing and also drives revenue – 60% of which are B2B buying process done online according to Forbes.[2]

A low-hanging function for automation is marketing. Email marketing software like MailChimp lets you configure autoresponders to send sequences of mails without any additional involvement after the first setup.

Automating processes is also extremely efficient as it helps handle repetitive tasks that can be too time consuming. What you want is to let your staff maximise their time spent working on more useful things.

Another example is a software program called ‘Rosie the Robot’, developed by the West Monroe Partners (WMP).[3]

This software program takes on cumbersome and manual tasks off, including the hiring system – where it uploads names, addresses, dates of birth and other employee information into several systems such as travel and expense, payroll and insurance.

This cuts down the process time taken – whereby a person takes half an hour to settle this task, it takes only five minutes for the software to do so.

4. Invest in design sparingly

Investing in branding and design might seem like an action that is reserved for much bigger companies or more season entrepreneurs, but it can increase profits exponentially when done right – even for smaller businesses.

A professional visual identity not only helps you appear more professional, but in the long run, new customers will find you more trustworthy and at times premium.

Naturally, you don’t want to go all out on branding by spending thousands when you first start. Instead, try using free online tools like LogoJoy or developing a single-page brand guideline[4] for the time being.

If you need to develop collateral, try using some free icons available online for your projects instead of paying for expensive stock imagery.

5. Get online, or be forgotten

In today’s digital market, if you’re not online, you don’t exist. Even traditional businesses can benefit greatly from leveraging digital marketing and developing a strong online presence.

Start by getting yourself a hosting account for your company’s website domain, register all the name-brand social handles before they get snapped up by others and begin to populate these platforms with content.

What made a real difference for me in the early stages of developing my business was purchasing my own domain from platforms like Host Gator or Go Daddy. This provided a contact point for interested customers or collaborators to reach out to me directly via a simple contact form.


6.Use videos to market your business

Almost 5 billion Youtube videos are watched everyday. Aside from that, we’re seeing a rise in video productions used on a variet y of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and more. Research has also shown that videos have been proven to increase retention by 80% when used correctly.[5]

If you aren’t yet leveraging on videos for your business, some ways you can consider are:

  1. Informational videos that educate your target audience to help them get what they want.
  2. Product-specific videos to expound on the benefits of your services or offerings.
  3. Timely statistical videos that piggyback on current news for relevance.

7. Conduct an Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

This might not apply to every business, but if you’re working with a strong technical team with blockchain ambitions, this could be a worthy consideration.

Initial Coin Offerings are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to raise funding rivalling even venture capital. It’s quick, loosely regulated (as at 2018) and can potentially solve your cash problems.

The only drawback is that you’ll only be able to receive funds in cryptocurrency which you’ll then need to convert into fiat.

8. Write a blog

Starting and writing a blog is one of the easiest ways to get noticed online. Regularly sharing useful and valuable information to your prospective customers via your blog can potentially increase traffic to your site as well as aid in building authority for your brand.

A popular strategy that involves writing for blogs known as ‘guest posting’ is not only a great way to drive traffic to your blog from other platforms, it also helps you rank on Google’s search rankings. The only catch is that you’ll have to earn a spot by pitching your own stories.

At the same time, there are other platforms like Medium and Linkedin with their own pool of users where anyone can publish content. Consider syndicating content from your blog on these platforms in the early stages to build a following and take your content much further.

With the rising popularity and efficacy of content marketing as a strategy, its no wonder thousands of business owners have benefitted from it as a long-term strategy.

9. Build an email list

Any seasoned business owner will tell you that your list or database of contacts is one of the most valuable assets you can have. It’s important that you store the contact information of qualified individuals that might be interested in your products and services.

This is so you can reach out to them consistently using email marketing software like MailChimp, which can keep your sales pipeline full and your income steady.

Developing a nurturing cycle – a series of emails for new subscribers that opt-in to your email list will increase your chances of converting them into paying customers by maintaining top-of-mind presence and developing deeper relationships.

10. Try networking

They say your network is your ‘net worth’. Networking is a give-and-take exercise that requires you to be authentic, sometimes daring but most importantly, always resourceful.

Getting connected to prolific individuals or magnates in adjacent industries can accelerate the growth of your business with opportunities that you may not have gotten, if you had not put yourself out there to meet new people.

Try heading to your local casual networking meetups or to a more formal conference with a purpose: meeting people that you can help and the ones that can help you.

11. Develop a personal brand

If you are the face of your business, you’ll do well by investing in developing a personal brand. This means that if people trust you, they’ll by association, trust the business.

A great example of someone who’s successfully done so is Neil Patel – someone who’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on growing his personal brand. He has built a strong audience, consistently writes contrarian thought pieces and has also delivered massive value to his followers.

Although it can be a daunting experience when it comes to building a personal brand starting from ground zero, here are some simple yet helpful tips to make your journey as seamless as possible:

  • Decide what you stand for as a brand.
  • Decide what you don’t stand for as a brand.
  • Develop content for your social channels that are helpful to your audience but also communicate your stance on topics related to your expertise.

12. Model after your competitors or differentiate

This might sound counter intuitive but your competitors with a longstanding business can be useful references for the way you run yours.

Take a leaf from their strategies to acquire more customers and grow your bottom-line. More often than not, you’ll find that they’ve made all the mistakes that you can avoid to get to their current method of operation. Consider:

  • How they do marketing – how do they gain awareness and more customers?
  • Their brand messaging and how they communicate to the public
  • The way they price their services

Naturally, there may also be a lot of things your competitors are doing wrong. Do well to avoid those pitfalls –with the benefit of hindsight– and you’ll get ahead of them one day.

13. Form strategic partnerships

Partnerships are one of the fastest ways to grow your business without using too much of your own resources. The best partnerships are ones where partners have similar target audiences but don’t directly compete with each other.

These strategic partnerships could come in the form of co-marketing efforts where you organise campaigns together, ultimately sharing cost and contact database for promotion.

Another basic way to collaborate with partners is to develop referral programs – if your partner refers a successful sale, they’ll get a kickback commission and vice versa.

14. Improve your public speaking

Public Speaking is a skill that legendary investor Warren Buffett advocates for people to learn in order to boost their careers and success in life – and it is with good reason.

Being able to speak well and articulate confidently on stage can mean increased trust and visibility for your business on the right platforms.

Try offering an educational session at a local business association full of your target audiences. You’ll be surprised at how much traction you can get when attendees start to recognise you as a thought-leader on your subject.

You can also take a look at my detailed guide about public speaking to learn more tips:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

15. Manage your cash flow

One of the biggest killers of businesses is badly managed cash flow, where customers don’t pay on time coupled with high regular expenses in your business.

Work with an accountant to forecast spending and keep a close eye on your accounts receivables. That way, you’ll get to avoid a messy time where you’re short on cash not because you don’t have the business, but because you failed to collect payment on time.

The bottom line

These tips should be enough to get you started, but growing a company is a big undertaking not meant for the faint of heart. As you grow nearer to startng your own business consider how you’ll address these 15 points.


Qualify for HUB Zone Certification

Become HUB Zone Certified

The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses in historically underutilized business zones (HUB Zones). It also gives preferential consideration to those businesses in full and open competition. Joining the HUB Zone program makes your business eligible to compete for the program’s set aside programs much like the 8(a) set aside program. HUB Zone-certified businesses also get a 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions. HUB Zone-certified businesses can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs they qualify for. Before continuing, ensure your company is located in a HUB Zone by accessing this map: HUB Zone Map. Hit the back button to return to the Saafenet website.

To qualify for the HUB Zone program, your business must:

  • Be a small Business as defined by SBA size standards
  • Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, a Native Hawaiian organization, or an Indian tribe
  • Have its principal office located in a HUB Zone
  • Have at least 35 percent of its employees live in a HUB Zone

To apply for HUB Zone Certification you must meet these criteria:

  1. Make sure you have a SAM.gov account.
  2. Make sure you have a General Login System account.
  3. Apply for HUBZone certification using the General Login System. Log in, select “Access” and then “HUBZone” before completing the prompts.
  4. Check your email for time-sensitive instructions to electronically verify your application within 10 business days.
  5. Submit any requested supporting documentation within 10 business days.
  6. Update your SAM.gov profile to indicate you are a HUBZone business after you get an email confirmation from the SBA.

The mission of the Saafenet Corporation

We assist businesses both large and small in achieving their business goals with their web presence and productivity solutions. Saafenet is the largest business development company on the east coast, dedicated to offering businesses the 360 degrees of support necessary to help them succeed. Your success is our success. The mission of the Saafenet Corporation is to help new and young businesses beat the national averages for survival in business. If your company has no website, we explain the importance of having one, and demonstrate how it will improve your profitability. Then we develop a customized website for less than 1/5 the cost most website developers will put a website together for you. But, in addition we also give you business cards, stationary and envelopes to help give you the look of an established company. These features alone can help to improve your profitability, but we go a lot further.

Once we’ve given your company a professional appearance, our sales staff will review available offerings to locate possible new work for your company. Rather than spend money on promotions that work better when you have the proper foundation, we make certain you have a foundation from which you can grow. Listings in directories don’t work if you send interested parties to a poorly designed website that speaks poorly of your company. We make sure you have a website that encourages sales and makes more money for you. Using services to ensure your listings are consistent on the Internet are worthless if interested parties visit a website that fails to encourage sales.

But, we also give you back office support so you don’t have to spend money for salaries for support staff who don’t earn a dime for your company. Saafenet truly offers the only one stop business support service online that every new or young company should avail themselves to.

We help you make it work and no company that has worked with us has seen less than a 50% increase in sales. Some have realized as much as a 300% increase in sales. Stop working yourself to death for ordinary earnings and join the Saafenet Revolution to make going into business the right choice for you. We help you catch that elusive quality most business have trouble achieving, Success.

10 Reasons why all businesses need a website

97% of consumers shop online but 49% of small businesses don’t have a website

websiteNo matter what size your business is you should have a website, because it may be the first place a potential customer has contact with your company. A primary concern of any business person should be to create every means possible for customers and potential customers to spend money with their companies. A website can be one of those means. And, we give you far more than just a website with our three (3) pronged approach to growing your business. But, there are other reasons every business should have a website. Ten (10) important reasons are listed below.


Ten important reasons for your company to invest in a website

The first five reasons

  1. A website is a tool that can be used to sell your products or services. If you hope a part of the growth of your company will include the satisfaction of your customers due to their ability to order your products without having to make a trip to your shop or to have you come to them, then you need a website. But just having a website is only the beginning. You need a way to attract people to your website. Several presences on social media can be useful. Email marketing is very useful. but you must also be able to measure visitor behavior and website health as a material part of maximizing the utility of your website. Saafenet gives you all of that.
  2. A website allows you to conduct business 24 hours a day. That’s right, your shop or office doesn’t have to be open for customers to order your products even after hours. If you sell a physical product, customers may place orders after hours and you can fill them the next morning when you open. If you sell a service, customers can set appointments to see you or be seen by you. Properly used a website can become another revenue stream for your company.
  3. You can attract business outside the geographical territory of your brick and mortar business serves. Or outside the territory you are willing to travel to. If you have a product or service with world wide appeal, that you can deliver world wide, the entire planet can become your territory. Your staff  can eliminate territorial boundaries with a website and the sky is your limit with a properly used and promoted website.
  4. Your clients and customers expect you to be online. Recent studies reveal customers are more likely to contact and do business with companies with an online presence. You could be missing an entire revenue stream if you can’t be found online.
  5. You can use your website to educate potential customers about your company. And properly done you attract business you may not have gotten without a website.

Five additional reasons you must have a website

  1.  A website can help build the credibility of your company and help convince customers of your legitimacy.
  2.   A website allows you to showcase the products and services you sell and even provide proof in the way of testimonials of the satisfaction of previous customers.
  3.   Typical customer questions about your company and its products or services may be answered at your website. This can be a time saver when it reduces or eliminates the probability potential customers will call you during the workday for additional information about your company and/or its offerings.
  4.   You can improve customer support by simply adding a chat feature to your website so customers in need of aftermarket support can access it without making a trip to your shop or office.
  5.  Your website can save you money, because anything you would have paid to have printed can be put on your website free. An expensive catalog can cost hundreds of dollars to have printed and will have the additional cost of distribution to your customers. With a website, you can have your catalog online. When you want to announce a sale or a special, you can do so on your website and even include printable discount coupons without incurring printing costs.

Plan to earn money as early as possible

When preparing your business plan it must include sections on how you’ll earn money as early as possible

earn money earlyEarn money early by developing a means to perform more work than you can do alone. People don’t open businesses to work eighteen (18) hours a day; give up the benefits they had when working; or to earn less money than they made on a job. However, if you don’t plan on how you’ll make money, it’s easy to get stuck in a situation where you may be working alone and almost killing yourself trying to make something happen.

Even if you’re an accountant, you shouldn’t look forward to coming back to your home or office to do your own accounting, financial statement analysis, market research, and other administrative chores which must be done by all businesses. A great first step is to understand you can’t earn a lot of money on yourself. Once you understand that philosophy, you must plan on what you’re willing to do and what things make the most sense to hire a professional to do for you.

These facts must become critical parts of your business plan. Because as early as possible, ideally before you open for business, you must have an idea of what your work day will look like. Make no mistake, no matter how well you plan, you’ll run into surprises. In many cases addressing those surprises may add additional tasks to your day you hadn’t planned for. And, this might cause you have to do more work than you’d planned just to earn a living.

No matter what type of profession you choose to build a company around, it will require more than just practicing your profession to make the business work

It goes without saying, you’ll need to practice the profession around which you started your business. But in addition, all companies have administrative work that must be performed like accounting, strategy development, website maintenance, tax planning and compliance. None of these things earns you a dime, but must be done for your business to operate efficiently, or at all. And, that’s just the beginning. You must market to get new clients and You must take actions to stay in constant contact with any existing clients. None of these actions pay you anything and in situations where small amounts of money may be earned on promotions, they never pay what you could have earned on hourly fees for performing the work you established the business for.

When you open any type of service business a good way to start may be to use subcontractors

Along with all the other advice we’ve tried to offer, the use of subcontractors may be the sign you’ve been looking for. However, their use will change the ideas you may have had about doing as much as you could to try to earn your small fortune alone. It may require you spend more time selling your service and less time buried under a stack of work you’ve been able to get. If you hold professional credentials, you may have convinced yourself you don’t need help. But, without it, you create a ceiling on your earnings capacity. Many people believe they can overcome this problem by dropping huge sums into getting started. I absolutely disagree with that approach.

You should be able to start your business for a few hundred dollars or no more than a few thousand. When you work alone, you may find yourself putting money into your business just to keep it open. This is one situation where you have to put your ego to the side. Your goal must be more than just making your company self sufficient. Your goal must be to earn enough to pay yourself attractive earnings, with a strategy for increasing profits often.

Subcontracting may offer you that possibility. Few people would question the reality that getting your first clients is tough. If you’re marketing properly, you’ll find some of the business you couldn’t accept was because it was outside your area. Some work may require more manpower than you could provide alone.  In other cases you may have to turn down work simply because you simply couldn’t handle any more work alone. And, this is where subcontracting can make a difference for you.

Subcontracting will help get your business to do what you set it up for

Many business people believe the only way to grow or expand is to hire employees or open another location. Either of these options would require additional expenses. The last thing you need is to incur additional expense for a new business. Or, to dramatically increase expenses for an existing business, especially if it means having to pay yourself less. An even worse option would be to attempt to engage in either of these options before your company becomes profitable. In situations where you’re working alone, the business model requires the business owner do everything. Since you can’t be in two places simultaneously, either your administration, or your work that generates fees must suffer. This can lead to working long hours to get everything done. Or, the creation of an earnings ceiling, or even worse borrowing to get your business started and keep it moving.

Subcontracting will help get your business to do what you set it up for. To produce substantial earnings and to give you more free time than you’d have on a 40 hour a week job. And remember, if you’re working in the professions, you’ll seldom work just 40 hours.  And if you’re working as a wage earner you likely have to work a part time job to make ends meet. So you never have much free time. To make the best use of subcontracting you must determine what strength you have that would make your business a success. Your strength could be the ability to focus on outstanding task, ensuring they get done. Some people are great at reviewing work and defining ways to make it better. Others may be able to sell successfully. Any of these skills and more can make you a great candidate to use subcontracting.

What your business plan must include to prepare for subcontracting

Having decided your strength(s), you must determine how you’ll use them. First you have to design or have designed subcontracting agreements. Many such agreements may be found online free or for very low cost. If you have a lot of money to work with, it is sometimes best to use an attorney to design your agreements. Accomplishing these tasks must be reduced to writing in your business plan. Next, you must identify several potential subcontractors you’d like to approach. No matter what your field, you’ll find most people just want to do the work. Marketing for most of them is a necessary and expensive evil. Thus, should you approach them with the possibility of bringing in additional work, most will be receptive.

Your agreements and the results of meetings with them should clearly indicate you plan to white paper their services. Meaning you’ll be representing this is the work of your company. Since they’ll receive business in excess of what they had to market for, and would not have to package the end product, they should be willing to offer you a discount on the work. This discount is what you’d earn on any work performed for you by subcontractors. You would now be getting paid just to bring in new work to them.

At the same time, you would pick out some of the higher paying work you generated and keep it for yourself. This would keep you in the loop if you plan to review the work of your subcontractors. If your strength is focusing on your outstanding tasks, you shouldn’t mind packaging your subcontractors work, in your packaging, and being able to discuss it with clients who believe this work was done by your company. If your strength is sales, I don’t think I need to tell you how well you could do. The use of subcontractors gives your company a look of depth. Though you may be initially working on your kitchen table, this can put you on a faster track to working on the board table of your successful company.








Why it’s important to start your business with the right foundation

Why the right foundation can increase the probability of your survival.

foundationIf you’ve decided you want to start a business, it’s critical you understand the statistics on new business survival. Understanding only 5% of businesses started just three (3) years earlier, will have closed, should not stop you. Understanding the survival rate for Internet businesses may even be worse, should only lead to investing as much research as is necessary to increase your chances of survival and profitability.  

Most businesses fail because the business owner failed to invest the time necessary to ensure he had the right product to sell, had chosen a market hungry buy it, and a had developed a means to communicate effectively with them.

These issues must be addressed by anyone looking to succeed in business. They’re critical parts of developing a foundation for your business, giving it a chance of beating the odds. Starting a business now is easier than it has ever been if you have the right strategy. Looking to get rich quick, should not be a part of your strategy. If you don’t plan to offer your customers value, maybe going into business isn’t for you. A good rule of thumb would be to use the 1/3/5 rule when planning to start a business. It typically takes one (1) year for customers to even know you exist. It typically takes three (3) years to earn more than you could make working a job. And it usually takes five years to have the confidence to consider expansion, or the possibility of earning big money. If you aren’t prepared to deal with those realities it may be best if you look for ways to advance in your career.

Develop a realistic plan before investing money or time

 A first and critical element of starting any business is to have a plan. You must plan how you’ll make money. A material part of that is determining who your potential customers will be, and how your offering will address a need they have. You have to determine if you’ll have enough money in reserve to execute the plan you develop. We all have dreams, but starting a business without a plan, can become a nightmare. Then you must have a plan to communicate with your target market. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling if no one knows you have it. A terrible philosophy many failed business owners have undertaken is to write a one or two page business plan then spending the time you would have spent writing a comprehensive plan to learn as you go. It may have worked in some obscure situations, but I have never heard of it working at all.

Developing a detailed business plan requires you research the market you plan to serve. It helps you develop possible contingencies you may have to employ when a section of your plan isn’t functioning as you’d hoped. In many ways it’s like the paper trading investors do before trying it with their money. Properly prepared, business plans help you determine if you’ve met benchmarks you set for your excursion into the jungle called owning a business. Business plans alone can increase the probability of your survival by four (4) to five (5) times.

Not until you’ve invested the time and research into developing a personalized business plan should you consider spending money to develop a foundation for your planned company

Even with a business plan, some business owners make a mistake of investing all their available resources in buying inventory for resale or buying the literature, Internet access and other tools necessary to sell services to customers or clients. Using that approach may not prepare you to even cover your costs. Only a few people will know you exist and you may spend years trying to brand your company and get it known.

Many people think a material part of that implementation should be a website. Unfortunately they’re only half right. It goes without saying a sticky website that keeps visitors engaged in the technological world we live in is a must. But, you must have a means of getting visitors to your website to realize the value it can provide. Most developers charge hundreds if not thousands for a website, which does little by itself. You need a domain, and hosting, e-mail marketing, a presence on social networks, a means to analyze visitor behavior at your website and to analyze website health. you can get those things from Saafenet for a few hundred dollars and the resultant increase in sales can make it seem like it was free.

Professional help is another cost few new business people factor into their calculation of cost to open a business. Even with days or weeks of rigorous research, some important steps may be overlooked. Plans on dealing with an unexpected contingency may not have been made. Or, conclusions developed may have been insufficient to deal with it. Due to some commonalities in all businesses, advice may be sought from the volunteers of Score.  However these executives typically were employed by large companies. They may never had to deal with issues as simple as how to get their first clients. Small business expertise is what’s needed. The advice available through Saafenet is more targeted to small business. And, may address issues an executive from a huge corporation may never have had to address. He may offer theory, but you need the advice of someone with actual experience. The customer service engineers at Saafenet have that kind of exposure and can keep you from making mistakes that destroy small businesses every day. Their advice could easily make the difference between success and failure for a small business.

Having hopefully reinforced the need for planning read the next post to see the minimum paperwork necessary before you can even apply to have your business licensed.


Understand the rules of government contracting before you invest time and money into trying it

government contractorThe first step toward becoming a government contractor is to be certain you sell something the government buys. And, whatever you’re selling needs to be sold at competitive or market prices. Forget any stories you’ve heard about the government buying $900 hammers and paying outrageous prices for goods and services. It has happened, but safeguards are now in place to prevent it. Getting caught even once trying to do that can eliminate the possibility of you ever getting government contracts.

A good second step would be to have an existing business with a track record of delivering goods or services on time.   The procurement process for getting government contracts is extremely long as compared to private industry. And, it’s a good idea to be able to pay your mortgage or rent, eat, buy an occasional outfit, and see a little entertainment sometimes. Before beginning your quest to add government contracting to your revenue streams. Because, getting your first government contract can easily take two years.


Take a serious look at your company or the one you plan to open. Unfortunately, the award of government contracts is not made because someone feels sorry for you or they want to help you get your business going. They’re made to companies known to deliver on their promisses. And, the only way to prove you’ll deliver is to build a track record of having done so. Depending on your offering, you must attempt to build a business without the government. Unless you have an offering that’s used exclusively by the government. If your offer sells well to the general public, identify a niche within that group and try to sell to that niche first. If you have a specialty offering, identify who would most benefit with it’s use, and try to sell to them. No company can be built by trying to sell to everyone. And, the government is not designed to help you start a company.

The award of government contracts in set aside programs is designed to be a helping hand not a hand out, to existing businesses. Should you choose to become a government contractor, it must be viewed as something you are aiming to become in the  future. YouR primary objective must be to build a company the government is willing to make purchases from. Too often, people are disappointed to find, that business cannot be developed through sales to the government. Regulations dealing with government contracting programs for small businesses are outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations. The government’s purchasing process is governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulations. These regulations stipulate that contracts cannot be awarded to individuals or companies that aren’t in compliance with their requirements.

If government contracting is in your future, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the major points of these regulations. Then, with your existing company to ensure you’re prepared to comply with government labor standards statutes. This process could take some time when you’re starting a business alone or with a small group. But, it’s best, if you plan to become a government contractor, to aim to reach that goal as a material part of your business strategy. For more information on determining if you qualify to be a government contractor and helpful hints on getting contracts once you become a part of one of their set aside programs, view our section on Government Contracting Advice.


The largest government-wide contracts are procured through the General Services Administration (GSA). GSA Schedules are extremely helpful when a business has their goods and services placed on the GSA list of approved vendors. In fact, 10% of all federal procurement in the United States is done through GSA Schedules. The GSA has produced over 19,000 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Each year the federal government spends $30 to $40 billion on GSA Schedules, which is roughly 9% of the total spent on government contracts. Procurement Officers enjoy using GSA Schedules to award contracts because it is convenient for them to purchase your goods or services. The process works as an online shopping directory where procurement officers can simply order and purchase. The award of GSA schedules may be made to small companies but you will competing with large companies known to deliver what they promise. If you have decided to apply for inclusion on the list of approved vendors be certain you’re prepared to make on time deliveries of products or services requested by government procurement officers. Being listed in one of the schedules may help you get the large awards that have the capacity to grow your company rapidly.