BiGAUSTIN Events – August 2015

BiGAUSTIN provides comprehensive workshops that will help entrepreneurs build healthy, thriving small businesses across Central Texas. Please review the list of our August courses below, and check back regularly, as the list will grow daily. If you have any questions, please call us at 512-928-8010.

MBAPersonal

MBA of Personal & Business Finance

August 5, 2015 // 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

It’s easy for both new and established small business owners to become overwhelmed with maintaining the financial health of their businesses as well as their personal finances. This three-part series will teach small business owners how to find balance and move forward successfully.

Register here: http://bit.ly/1II09iV

Business Law Basics

Business Law Basics

August 7, 2015 // 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

This class is taught by licensed attorneys who understand the complex legal issues small business owners face. If you own a small business and don’t have a strong grasp of what your rights and responsibilities are as a small business owner, then this class is for you.

Register here: http://bit.ly/1SX6B72

Borrowing Basics

Borrowing Basics

August 11, 2015 // 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.

Getting a business started means raising capital to get your dream off of the ground. Borrowing Basics will help you make the right moves when looking to finance your small business.

Register here: http://bit.ly/1II0i5X

How to Start a Business in 10 Easy Steps: Step Five

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Now that you have a business plan, you know the legal structure of your business, and you have a good understanding of your demographics, you are ready to assess your finances and what your limitations are. It is very important to know where you stand financially and what exactly your business requires in terms of money. Is your business something that you can start out of your home? Or, does your business require a larger financial investment, like a manufacturing company? I must admit that I have never been a big numbers person and personally hate dealing with finances. So, for me, this step was difficult.

Realistically evaluating your finances is a difficult step for most people, it can also be kind of depressing (depending on how large or small your bank account is). Unless, of course, you are Bill Gates, in which case you can pay someone to do this step for you. Some people will want to skip this step simply because it can be difficult to be honest with yourself about where you are at financially. No matter how difficult that may be, it is absolutely essential that you determine what you can afford for you business and what you can’t. This can help prevent you from taking on too big of a loan or investing too much too soon.

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Figure out what your business NEEDS (notice, needs and wants are very different) to get started. Don’t go out and buy yourself a brand new van when you could buy a used one off Craigslist, don’t go rent a shiny new office downtown when you could work out of your home. You want to try to start your business with as little investment as possible, that way if you do fail (that’s a big IF), you haven’t just lost every penny you ever saved on some $40,000 van that you can now only sell for $30,000.

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Remember, finances don’t just include how much money you have and how much you need. This also includes your time. You need to assess how much time you are realistically able to spend on your business. After all, time is money. How much is your time worth? Don’t sell yourself short, you deserve to paid what you want to be paid. So, make sure you set up your products/services in a way that pays you no less than what you value your time at. If you want to be paid at least $25/hour, don’t go clean people’s houses with your own van and cleaning supplies for $15/hour. Factor in cost of production, materials, time getting to and from different locations, and time spent on administrative tasks. Even if you charge $25/hour, but are still using all your own equipment, you aren’t getting paid $25/hour. Take your minimum pay + all expenses and that is what you should charge, whether it be by the hour or by the service.

Remember, always pay yourself first. My fiance always says, “Find a way to make your money work for you.”

How to Start a Business in 10 Easy Steps: Step Three

After you have completed your market research, you have successfully identified your competitors and know what your demographic wants from your product then you are ready to begin the third step. The third step is fairly easy, but it requires some thought about what the future looks like for your company and where you see yourself. You need to figure out what the legal structure of your business is going to be.

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The type of legal structure you choose for you business will affect your taxes, how you pay them and how much you pay. There are several types of different legal structures to choose from, you should know the advantages and disadvantages to them all before you decide. The different types are as follows:

Sole Proprietorship

Partnership

Corporation

S Corporation

Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

This step is definitely not difficult, but it is something that you need to think about before you begin moving forward with financing and other logistical things.

How to Start a Business in 10 Easy Steps: Step Two

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So, you’ve identified your business idea and have somewhat narrowed down who your demographic is going to be and the services/products that you will offer. Now you need to do some extensive research. You might be thinking, “RESEARCH?!?! That is WAY too complicated!” But, wait! It really is not as hard as you think, especially since now you can utilize my BFF Google for pretty much everything you need to know.

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Before writing a business plan it is best to do some research on the market. Think about questions like, who is doing what you want to do? How do they differ from what you will be doing? Will they be an ally or competition? What are they doing well and what could be improved? Who is their demographic and how does that compare to yours? This will allow you to get a good idea about what is happening in the environment, what businesses already exist, and what you can do to set yourself apart from the competition. This does not need to be enough research to write a dissertation about your particular industry, spend 15-20 minutes a day for about a week and you will have a pretty good idea of what’s going on locally and nationally.

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The second step of step two is to do some more research!! You have to find out more information about what your demographic wants and how they think. If you are targeting teenage girls, you will want to do some research to figure out the latest trends, what they are interested in, and how they think. You are not expected to understand every little detail about how your demographic feels, but you should have a good understanding of how to reach them and how to get them purchase your service/product. For example, it would be very difficult to sell a 401(k) policy to a teenage girl, she just has no interest nor is she worried about retirement at this point in her life. Instead think of where teenage girls hang out and when, like how long do they spend on Instagram and what times are they most likely to be online. See below for some ideas about education, income, gender, etc.

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Now you have an outline of who your competitors are, how your demographic thinks and what they’re interested in, and a good understanding of the local market. You can use this information to revise your business idea, add new products/services, or maybe you decide to change your idea altogether. The important thing is that you now understand what your customers want and how they want it, which makes marketing that much easier. It’s always good to meet people within your industry and talk to professionals, network, and ask one or two of them to be your mentor. This way you have a professional who you can contact with questions or concerns regarding your business.

How to Start a Business in 10 Easy Steps: Step One

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Want some concrete, tangible steps that you can take today to get your business off the ground and running? Then keep reading because you are not going to want to miss this. This blog series is not just another random list of things that every other blog talks about for how to start a business. I am going to outline a task list for those of you who have an idea, but you just don’t know how to put that idea into action. These are easy steps that you can take while working a full time job, taking care of your kids, or whatever else you might be doing throughout the day. Remember, no one else will start your business for you, so get off the couch and do something for your future.

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Step One:

Identify your idea, think about what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Write it down, make a list of products and services you will offer. Don’t forget to make a list of things you won’t do, for example, if you want to be a graphic designer will you do print and web or only one? Will you do logos or design websites? Once you know exactly what you will and won’t do, you can more easily do your research to find out information about the industry. Also, when a customer comes to you wanting you to redesign their logo you can easily say if that is a service you offer and exactly what you charge for it. This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list of every product or service you will ever offer, this is just a starting point for you to really think about what your business will look like and any tools you may need to get started.

Poochie Trends: The Best Baked Biscuits for Your Favorite Poochie

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Everyone knows that many dogs in America live a life of plush beds, organic treats, and cashmere sweaters.  Okay, maybe not cashmere but, they are wearing anything from sweaters to life jackets.  The point is, there are plenty of dog lovers out there who care about their pet as if they were a human because face it, they are like children.  Being an avid dog lover myself, I like to do anything that will make my poochie happy.  Including buying homemade, organic doggy treats.

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Poochie Trends Pet Boutique and Bakery is a local business that bakes fresh dog treats daily.  This mother-daughter duo creates treats that your dog couldn’t have ever dreamed of!  They have everything from Wheat Free Apple Bacon Bites to Peanut Butter and Carrot Treats.  In addition, they have a Yappy Hour and even host Paw Parties, just in case you wanted to throw an official birthday party for your special pooch.

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Recently Poochie Trends participated in the retirement of a special officer who served his country and the Austin Police Department for over 12 years.  His name is Rocky and he is a black retriever mix who was born in the U.S in 2002, shortly after he received extensive training in the U.S Air Force.  After that he trained with military K9 Handlers and then was adopted by the Austin Police Department.  He spent his time with APD working in narcotics detection and was very active in the community.  APD held a retirement party for him where Poochie Trends made homemade treat bags and pup cakes.

Read the article here

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One of the great things about local businesses is that they really care about what is going on around the community.  Rocky served his country and Austin working to protect the citizens of this great nation and couldn’t have asked for better party favors than those of the flavorful organic, treats.  Poochie Trends really made his retirement party a success and has shown their appreciation for what he has done for our community.  Local businesses tend to help local initiatives and Poochie Trends is no exception.

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Here at BiGAUSTIN we are proud to say that we support these local entrepreneurs and that Poochie Trends is a loyal client of ours.

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Client of the Month: Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More

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We are excited to announce our Client of the Month is Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More!  Dwight Miles opened their doors three years ago on August 9, 2011 and since then has continued to grow and add more services.  Not only do they have a hip and trendy store, they make sure they are having fun while providing outstanding customer service.  They offer 24 hour turnaround on in-stock items, volume discounts, free design and setup, and unlimited colors!  Seriously, how can you beat FREE design and setup?  If you are anything like me, designing a t-shirt does not come easily!

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Owner Dwight Miles found out about BiGAUSTIN from a friend of the family and after over 20 years working in the corporate world he decided to make the jump into entrepreneurship.  Dwight contacted us and came to BiGAUSTIN for technical assistance classes where we worked one-on-one with him to create a business plan that incorporated his experience in retail and large corporations like General Mills and Kraft.  Coming from these wildly successful corporations, Dwight knew he had the experience and knowledge to create a plan that would be prosperous.  It was the HOW that he wasn’t quite sure about.  That’s where BiGAUSTIN came in.

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After creating a business plan with our talented experts, Dwight applied and was given a loan to open the doors to a new future.  He said it was difficult at first because you are so used to spending other people’s money in the corporate world and now you are spending your own.  This has been a challenge for him but, he said they have fun and are continuing to grow and learn as they go.

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Dwight says, “I cam across BiGAUSTIN at the right time.  Being a small business owner is challenging to say the least.  One of the greatest challenges you will face is gearing up for growth.  BiGAUSTIN has incredible resources that have helped me to take my growth curve to a whole new level.”

He sure has reached a whole new level!  Sales are up, customers are pouring in, and the orders are coming in faster than they can blink their eyes!  Being busy at work can sometimes be a stressful time but, Dwight seems content with their progress and expects them to only become more busy.  Maybe he’ll open up a second location…?  You just never know with these entrepreneurs, they get an idea and off they go to take on a new adventure.  Wherever the future may lead them, there will be tons of fun and awesome t-shirts involved!

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Here at BiGAUSTIN we are excited to see Dwight succeed and hope that he’ll give us a good discount on some one of a kind t-shirts (haha, just kidding!)  But seriously, we are so delighted with their success.  When our clients are successful, so are we!  So, if you ever need a t-shirt made for your volleyball league, your kids soccer team, or for that 5K you’ve been training for, give Dwight a call over at Big Frog and he’ll hook you up with some great deals and styles.

Congratulations Dwight and Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More!

Check Them Out on Yelp!

Big Frog Website

Shop!

Social Media for Nonprofits

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Nonprofits notoriously don’t have any money to put towards their social media marketing strategies.  Recently I attended a Social Media for Nonprofits conference specifically talking about how to maximize your social media without breaking the bank.  Everyone knows that to survive on Facebook you have to pay to play, now it’s increasingly more difficult to get your posts seen and business noticed.  Facebook does let you do some pretty cool stuff though, for free even!  For example, you can import all your contacts into their Invite Email Contacts page and they will invite your contacts to Like your business page.  This is a really easy way to get existing people who support your cause to Like your page.  If you already have a relationship with them, they are more likely to Like your page however, if you never ask they won’t do it.  

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One thing that has been difficult for me is ASKING.  There is tons of research out there that show the power of asking, if you never ask someone to do something how will they know to do it?  It can be hard at times to ask, you don’t want to come off too strong pushing someone to do what you want.  We have all been in that position where you have a pushy salesperson who just won’t let you shop in peace!  Don’t be that person!!  

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It’s easy to step over that line between someone who is posting about their products and services all the time and someone who genuinely takes the time to come up with interesting, educational information.  We can only read so much about your sale for last minute Mary Kay items or what dodgy venue you’re band is playing at on Friday night.  After about the third post in three hours you will soon be unsubscribed to or simply unfriended.  Being unfriended is like the END of your Facebook reputation and all is lost after that.  But, what if there was a way to promote your products or services without being overly annoying and bombarding people?

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Fortunately, there is!  Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  80% of posts should be educational, informative, and engaging content that people can actually relate to.  20% of posts should be related to your products, services, and how you can solve a problem for them.  This way you can tell people about what you’re doing while keeping them reading and engaged on your page.  This is obviously not meant to be an exact science calculated down to the percentage of posts you should make one way or the other but, it is meant to be a rough guide to keep yourself in check and your readers still reading.  

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Just by making sure you are writing relevant content and posting about stuff your readers would be interested can go a long way.  Maybe you only have $20 a month to spend on Facebook Ads, that’s totally fine.  Keep your budget in mind and utilize some of the free advertising methods that Facebook offers (if you aren’t using hashtags it’s time to start.)  Also, remember that everyone struggles to come up with interesting, unique content.  You are not alone on that one!

What challenges does your nonprofit face in regards to social media?

Is There a “Right Path”?

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As Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich gave the commencement speech to the class of 2014 at Clark University he talked to students about the path he chose and how it wasn’t necessarily the “right path”.  

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He asks the graduating class, “What really matters in creating a successful career and a successful life?”  If you were asked this question by a coworker, friend, or family member right now, do you know what you would say?  

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Ron Shaich goes on to tell three different stories about learning how to define what truly matters to reach your goals of success.  If you are able to define what it means to be successful and what that looks like, you have increased your odds for success.  We don’t always know where we are going or what will be on the other side of that hill but, if we know what our passion is then no matter what path we take, it’ll be right.  Read his entire speech Here.

So, how exactly do you figure out what brings you joy and ignites your passion?  Look around you, look to the people whom you love, look inside yourself and quietly listen to your heart beat.  Listen to your soul and your passion will come.  Don’t ask yourself, “What am I good at” instead, ask yourself what gets me fired up, what makes me feel better about myself, and how can I make a difference in the world? 

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Mr. Shaich suggests that instead of doing a post-mortem near the end of life where we analyze our decisions and try to make sense of the choices we’ve made, do a pre-mortem.  This is where we look into the future and imagine ourselves looking back on our lives, evaluating our decisions and what was most important to us.  In most cases, it won’t be money or objects.  

Ask yourself today, what can I do to be successful in life (personal and professional)?  I suspect you are already on the way there, more so than you would think.  

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