Monthly Archives: June 2017

Tips for Doing Your Own Small Business

This November will be my sixteenth-year anniversary of starting my own human resources consulting business. As I look back on the years, I am amazed at what I accomplished and learned. If you are thinking about starting a business, read on!

I always dreamed about having my own business, talked to friends about it, and imagined how it might be. But it was only after two women gave me a push, that I started doing instead of dreaming. First, my former boss said to me, when we were both thinking about moving on, “I never looked for a job, I always went out and created my own.” Given her advice, I hired a business coach to help me map out my next career steps. My coach saw my entrepreneurial spirit and encouraged me to start a business. So I moved from dreaming to doing.

The first few months of my business I spent setting up a legal structure, registering the business name, implementing an easy accounting system, setting up a business checking account, establishing a line of credit and obtaining business insurance. Each item was time consuming but not difficult. The more difficult work was writing my business plan and marketing plan. I talked to professional colleagues and volunteers at the Small Business Administration and SCORE, and read books on marketing. The process was slow because I was learning along the way, but I now use both business and marketing plans as daily roadmaps to guide my actions. One of the easier and fun parts of the first few months – for me, was working with a designer to create a logo, business cards, stationery, brochure and Web site.

I also started networking – an activity that never ceases. There are many organizations to join. The trick is figuring out which ones to choose. I finally decided on being involved with a half a dozen organizations, which can either bring me business or help me learn more about building my business or both.

One of the activities I worked on for months was my “elevator pitch,” which is answering the question, “What do you do?” so the listener understands and is interested. Now when people ask, I say, “I help people build great careers and help leaders build great companies.”

I also spent a lot of time creating processes to make my business run like a well-oiled machine. I have processes for making sales calls, following up, writing proposals and evaluating the results of the work I do.

In addition, three college students contacted me, and wanted to work with me as interns to learn my business and to help them with their careers. Having interns adds supervisory and coaching time, but their ideas and enthusiasm has paid off. In fact, my business tag line, Know-how. Right now, came out of a meeting in which we reviewed my marketing plan.

At a networking meeting, a colleague suggested that I consider joining the Women’s Business Development Center. After looking into it, I had my business certified as a women’s business enterprise. In addition to meeting other women business owners, I gained access to a member directory of businesses that are interested in doing business with women business owners.

For me, the biggest risk of starting my own business was financial. I went from a steady paycheck to a roller coaster ride of payments. Before starting my business, I sat down with my family and asked for their support to ride out the slow months. My husband and youngest child were supportive; my teenager who loved new clothes and CDs, etc, needed convincing. But since my oldest child has graduated from college and is making her own career decisions, I see my move as a way to show her how to live her dreams.

5 Things Makes You Successful to have a Small Business

If you’re stuck wondering how to be a successful small business owner, know this: running a small business often simply means making good use of successful small business ideas. Successful small business owners face many ups and downs throughout their work. They know that small business ideas cannot turn out successful unless they use the proper approach and strategies.

If you want to be one of the few successful small business owners, remember that having a good strategy is crucial. Without the right strategy and a proper approach, you are not likely to achieve your goal.

Some small business owners manage to overcome their everyday challenges, while others seem to give up after a while. So, let’s find out what successful small business owners do differently from the unsuccessful ones. Let’s turn their experience into your success through your small business ideas.

1. MAKE ANNUAL REVISIONS OF YOUR BUSINESS PLAN AND BUDGET

Every business goes through changes every now and then, including your small business. For this reason, your business plan and budget should be somewhat flexible to bear such changes along with your business goals. Without revising your business plan and budget, you shouldn’t expect your business to flourish and expand.

The flexibility of your business plan will help you avoid and overcome the eventual unpleasant surprises on the market. Also, such flexibility will give you some time to adjust to certain changes you may experience on your way.

Every business experiences both success and failure points each year. In order to detect and estimate these points, you should revise your budget and business plan every year. While revising, you should check if you are still going in the right direction. If not, you may need to make some changes and adjustments to achieve better results in the upcoming period.

Successful small business owners don’t hesitate to reallocate funds, if that is what it takes to achieve success. In order to increase profits, after they conduct a business revision, smart business owners define and implement the necessary changes immediately.

2. UPDATE YOUR OFFER AND ADD VALUE TO IT

People change, as do their needs and habits. As soon as you notice that you aren’t selling as much as you used to sell before, it is time to make changes. If people aren’t purchasing what you currently have to offer, that’s a clear hint that something needs to be done.

A simple price cut may be the first thing that comes to your mind. As much as lower prices may seem more appealing to your customers, they also point to a devaluation of what you offer. Devaluation of your products or services is never a good thing, so try doing just the opposite – add value to your offers.

The best way to update and add value to your products and services is by developing new offers. If possible, try to offer something completely new to your customers. You could offer product bundles, training programs and workshops, and so on.

3. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

Most successful small business owners believe in daring to be different. They know their target consumers. Trying to target everyone and anyone as a consumer will get you nowhere fast. Instead of trying to make products for the masses, focus on a clearly targeted community and grow with it. Once you target your consumers, it is easy to understand their needs.

Understanding your consumers is the secret to a successful business. When you know their needs, you can modify your products and services in order to satisfy them. Satisfied consumers will not only become your regulars, but they will also spread the word about what you offer. This may become the best marketing strategy for your business.

Spreading the word about your products or services is called a referral marketing strategy. It’s been proven that most of the faster growing small businesses turn to this kind of marketing rather than relying on traditional advertising.

4. KNOW YOUR COMPETITION

Successful small business owners know their competition. They know that keeping an eye on the competitors and understanding their policy and pricing is crucial to the business. It is wise to consider your direct competitors in your area, as well as indirect competitors.

A direct competitor offers the same primary services to the same target group as you, and they are easy to follow on the market. However, an indirect competitor company offers the same or similar products as a segment of a wider product or service offering.

In some cases, the indirect competitor may offer a product that is an applicable substitute for the original product. Successful small business owners know how to position their company against the indirect competitors. They take both types of competing companies seriously and they account for them in their annual business plan.

5. HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE

Even though hiring the right people for your business sounds obvious, it can be a really tough job for small business owners. Also, not hiring the right people could be a huge downfall for a small company. People who don’t share the concept of your business approach and goals are not the type of people you want to engage in your business.

Candidates who don’t have the right temperament, skills, or talent for the job position that you offer can be too pricey for your company. Having the right people in the right job positions can make your company outstanding. Exceptional companies recruit exceptional people.

Your Considerations For Starting A Home Based Business

Home-based business owners are increasing every year. They are CEOs, presidents, the board-of-directors, simply put, “the boss” of their businesses all-in-one. Unlike employers of other companies, every action they take affects their business in particular, the bottom line or ROI. That includes investment of time, money, family responsibility and business sustainability, which includes financing, budget, marketing, advertising, customer relationship and suppliers; maintaining production of services and products and keeping accurate records.

Running a home-based business can become overwhelming, and many aspiring business owners go out of business in less than a year. Does the prospect of working from home sound too good to be true? Well, it shouldn’t. Almost everyone can restructure or change their working life so that they can work at home, either full or part time, for employer, freelancer, affiliate, or independent.

This major life change may take patience, creativity, and a little sacrifice, but before long, you could be commuting from the kitchen to your office, a cup of coffee in your hand and the sun shining through your window.

What considerations or profile is needed to start a home-based business:

  • Description of the business – describe activities involved in conducting the business task
  • Start up costs and financing sources – estimates what it will cost to get a business going and suggests financing options
  • Marketing and advertising methods – the degree of success you enjoy in business is directly related to your ability to continually attract new customers and keep existing customers
  • Essential equipment – list the basic materials you need to start and run your business, such as computers, internet service, printers, ergonomic furniture, etc.
  • Skills, training and experience needed – describe the knowledge or background needed, experience and skills you may possess for the business and those skills you need to acquire
  • Type of business – lists whether it’s an in-home or out of home (meaning you have a home office, you work away from home) business.

People work from their homes for many reasons: unemployment, low salary, high cost of day care, difficulty finding a job, both spouses work to maintain a medium standard of living, single mom, no control over work schedule, etc.

Make a plan; it’s your key for success to achieve your goal. Your road to success requires planning. You must make plans, think about them, and act on them. Action is essential to success as a motor and fuel are to an automobile. A major purpose well-stated is half-achieved, restate your major purpose in the progressive tense, action seals the habit of succeeding and eliminates:

  • Inability to concentrate on what is important
  • Loss of faith in yourself
  • Clinging to the status quo
  • Lack of organization
  • Stagnant mind set – custom is king (though it shouldn’t be)
  • Failure to evaluate yourself

The ultimate formula for home businesses or any business to succeed is really quite simple. What is that? A marketing system for autopilot lead generation ensures long-term success. Here are six reasons why:

  1. Generate quality leads consistently and economically
  2. Convert as many of those leads as possible into sales
  3. Ensure that you delight your customers so they’ll be pre-disposed to buy from you again and recommend your business to others
  4. Repeatedly sell refills, replacements and other products to your family of existing customers
  5. Ask customers to refer you to others who may want the same benefits
  6. Keep going back to step #1 and repeat the pattern again

Though a home-based business may lead to a more hectic home life, home-based businesses have the important element of flexibility not usually found in a 9-5 job. Home-based business owners can tailor businesses to fit the needs of customers as well as their family needs. Truth is, many home-based businesses are mobile in recreational vehicle offices on the scenic routes making hundreds, thousands, and millions of dollars a year. They have the freedom to work in their offices at any hour; run their businesses according to their philosophies; and pursue any opportunity or destination they prefer. A Chinese proverb says, “Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” But in what direction? Plan your direction.

When the goal is clear, the purpose is strong; the steps will be decisive, assertive and forceful. Direction and determination decide destiny. Before you open for business or begin to advertise, check with your local authorities about having a home business, your state regulations and licensing requirements. Your regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will also have information about your state’s business regulations.

How to Have Great Confidence in Starting a Business

There are three facets to belief. If you are a Christian business owner, you must take these three things seriously in order to truly be successful in business and in life. These are foundational to who we are as Christians and as entrepreneurs.

Belief comes from an old German word that means “to hold dear, esteem and trust.” There is a lot of power in belief if we understand the belief pyramid. The three kinds of belief for Christian business owners are: belief in God, believe in self and belief in business.

Belief in God

I was talking to a multi-millionaire this weekend. We started talking about faith and he shared a great concept with me. He said, “I don’t know how people do it without faith. They have nothing above them to keep them from being dishonest.” He went on to explain that when people don’t have some sort of faith, they can do whatever they want. In business, that could mean taking advantage of others and running a business with little or no ethics. (It happens!)

Starting with a foundation that there is a God and He is bigger than us helps us get perspective about our place in the universe. We are part of something God is doing here on earth, and because of that, we want to help people and honor God with all of our decisions.

Belief in self

After we have a strong foundation in God, we must have a strong belief in ourselves. This one may be harder for some of us depending on what kind of family we come from. See, if we have been told we are worthless or that we will never amount to anything, those seeds of doubt can still grow even when our business is successful.

We must look at the belief in God first and build who we are based on what He says about our lives. Think about it for a moment. You may have had someone in your life tell you that you are not good enough, but our value does not come from people. Our value comes from God.

God calls us His children. He sent Jesus to earth for us. He loves us even when we were stuck in stupidity and sin. That means the God of the universe, who created us and everything in it, says we are good enough. We should revel in the fact that we are more than good enough for this world.

Belief in business

I know a lot of articles that would start with the belief in business, but I have found that other two must be foundational to what we do as Christian entrepreneurs. We must have a strong belief in God, which tells us who we are in this world, which informs what we do for our business.

In business, we are here to help others. We find a product or service that can benefit another person and offer it to them at a valuable price. Business is that simple. Yet, at the core of what we do in business, we must think about how God wants to impact the world and how our lives touches others.

Putting our beliefs together

I have talked to many people who want to start a certain business ‘because it will make good money.’ They jump on the bandwagon only to find it is a lot harder than they think and since they are focused on the money, they are never fulfilled in their business. They jump from business to business never really finding their place in the world.

I don’t want that to happen to you. I want you to have a strong core belief that God wants you to be in business. I want you to see that God created you with a strong purpose in this world to touch lives. And, God, the creator of everything, gave you the blessings and opportunities to be in business for Him.

Taking action

Do a quick evaluation for your life.

Start with God. What is your core belief in God? Is it based on a strong knowledge of scripture? If so, keep it up. If not, jump into some biblical studies and dig into God’s word.

Check on self. What is your purpose? Do you really believe that God put you on earth for a purpose? He did! If you are having trouble with your identity find a good friend, pastor or counselor. Really dig into who you are and find the truth of who God created you to be.

Evaluate your business. Why did God put you in your business? How does God want you to impact the world and share His love through your business? If you are not sure, dig into scriptures, join a Christian entrepreneur group, or just talk to a solid Christian mentor in your life.