A Business Start-up Poem

To start your own business is like a long test

Never the same scenario because people have their uniqueness

It always starts from an inkling idea then grows

Like a baby it needs incubation, everyone knows

Passion plays a really great part

and will help once your courage starts

You can never ever get too much information

It’s out there so do the necessary collation

Of course there’s those who can help you pass the test

Such as one called Business First Steps

by Lufem Black © 2012

BFS www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Personalised and Practical Business Start-up Services

What is in Your Warehouse?

I had the glimpse of Asda’s depot recently. I was amazed at the number of activities that go on behind the scene, whilst we innocently shop for our daily needs.  There were boxes and crates everywhere, people unpacking, packing, moving, checking, listing, scanning, noting and buzzing.  There were just so many people involved in getting the stock from suppliers to shelves.

If deliveries were dumped all over the Asda depot floor without being checked in, left unpacked for days then delivered late to the shop floor.  The innocent people who come in to the store just to pick up a few groceries will probably not be able to do so.

Your Personal Warehouse Stacked to the Roofbigstock-Full-warehouse-with-forklifts--16555610As you may have noticed from my previous posts, everyday life always gets me thinking. What came to mind as I observed this depot was the bare truth that we are all custodians of personal warehouses.

The same delivery process is applicable to what is occupying the space in our personal warehouses.  Many of us have got huge skills, talents, gifts, experiences, services, products etc that should be accessible via the ‘shop floor’ so the numerous people who need what we have can gain access to them.  But for reasons best known to us, our depot is littered with unopened boxes that are yet to be shipped to the right location or arranged on the appropriate shelves.

I am also guilty of this syndrome.  I started analysing our exhibition at the recent business show, I was truly amazed at the number of people who need the services we provide.  Whether Business First Steps went to the show or not, it will have taken place. The only difference being many people may not be able to access BFS’ warehouse to pick up the services they need.

The same goes for those thinking of starting businesses, community groups, social enterprise or new career – what you have is the solution to someone’s problem or the answer to someone’s question. The question is, are your goods on the shelves where they can be accessed?   If you are already running a business, are you maximizing the products or services you offer?  Are you constantly restocking your shelves?

Who is Taking Stock of Your Stock?

Many of us are probably taking stock of what we have done over the past 10-11 months. I try as much as I can not to be swept away by the “what have you achieved this year” syndrome. It doesn’t matter to me if you set goals in April, June or November. The most important aspect is not the time you set the goals but the actions that follow the goals.

bigstock-Taking-inventory-19677038According to Wikipedia 2012 ‘Stock-taking or inventory checking is the physical verification of the quantities and condition of items held in an inventory or warehouse.

This may be done to provide an audit of existing stock valuation. It is also the source of stock discrepancy information. Stock-taking may be performed as an intensive annual check or may be done continuously by means of a cycle count.’

How often do you take stock of the resources delivered to your warehouse?  Are you using your knowledge, skills, talents and resources to add value to the lives of others and yourself?  Are you marketing the products in your warehouse to those who need it?

One of the key elements of stock taking is to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. What manpower have you got to move your stock? I am reluctantly letting go of tasks that slow me down. I now let someone else do them (and stack their own shelves) whilst I can concentrate on what matters most to me.

There are a lot of factors we need to consider when setting goals for ourselves – these include:

  • Personal and family circumstances
  • Your abilities and personality
  • Your mind-set and daily schedules
  • Available resources – including funds, knowledge, support etc.

If the task at hand is one of your pet hate why don’t you delegate it? Just imagine if Asda directors/managers decide to do the depot work themselves, rather than put people in place to move the products to the shop floor.  All those intricate details need to be taken care of and they choose to hire the manpower for it.

In one of my previous blogs I wrote about my new acronym ADO – Automate, Delegate and Outsource – this is helping me a great deal, I feel a lot lighter with less baggage. There are just so many tasks one person can get done at any given time. I have come to realise that there is no point feeling guilty about tasks you may never get done – I felt that way for a very long time. Be realistic and get help, however you can even if you have to trade by barter.  If you are thinking of starting or growing a business and you can’t navigate through the numerous steps, get help!  Do not make the mistake of convincing yourself that you will get it done and let another year come and go.

Stock taking is a necessity but the stock-taker has the power to make sure the floor is adequately stocked and meeting the needs of those who want to buy the goods.  So if you have to take stock as we approach the end of the year, do it with the mindset that you will get your goods to the ‘shop floor’ before they expire in the depot.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

http://www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Practical and Personalised Business Start-up Coaching, Services and Support.

Is Honesty Still the Best Policy in Business?

I love the internet and the infinite possibilities it offers people like us who do business online.  But I also know there is a dark side to the internet world where the bad boys reside with their friends – malware, spam and others.  An innocent click can lead you down the wrong path, taking up your time and money to put things right.

As much as the internet is an infinite world where customers may never meet supplier, I think we need to remember the basic moral value called Honesty.  A lot of people are actually internet adverse because they have been burnt a few times. Who’s to blame them?  There will always be those businesses that use scrupulous means to get a few sales. I hope you will never be one of them.

Do you need quick sales? Are you going to join the bad boys or hold on to your integrity?

A lot of businesses online are in it for a quick buck. Customer relationships means nothing to them, if they sell to you once, they believe another naïve person is just a click away.

If you are starting out in business, do not build a business on promises you cannot deliver.  If you can only offer two of your services/product deliveries a month, start with that until you are able to manage your schedule better.  Do not book ten deliveries and end up disappointing nine.  It will be harder to win them back a second time around.

I believe it is better to have one customer over time with good referrals, rather than 100 customers who never come back.  That is what gives business longevity.  I delivered a seminar recently and promised to send the presentation notes to those that were interested. After I sent the notes out, I could not believe the responses. Most of them were just surprised that I delivered what I said I would since there was no exchange of money.

Consider this, even if you do not get to see your clients face to face, still maintain honesty in your dealings with them.  Deliver on your promises and if you can’t, communicate with them and let them know. They will appreciate you for it.

Being a small business is a challenge in the fast paced world of big businesses, franchises etc.  We can’t offer the huge discounts the major chain stores can, but we can offer added value products/services supported with excellent customer service.

You job is to ensure all your products and services have the honesty tag attached to them.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo.

Pushing Beyond The ‘If Onlys’

I have had a lot of ‘if only’ moments in my life.   Sometimes those moments stretch into days, then weeks, months and even years.  If only I went to a certain school or a certain college, lived in a certain neighbourhood, had a certain friend or mentor or whoever I needed to influence me to take certain steps in the ‘right direction’.

Then came a time when I had enough of my ‘if only’ moments.  I decided that I had to rid myself of the excuses of not stepping out to do what I wanted to do for so long.  Ok I can’t change the past but I can stop wallowing in self-pity and determine my future.   Even if I had done all those things on my ‘if only’ list, I still have to work hard to make a success of my own life. Who says anything good will come easy, even if we got certain things right from the start.

So in 2009 I decided to bury my ‘if onlys’ and start Business First Steps – doing what I love.  Since I started my business, the ‘if onlys’ are fading into insignificance because God is causing all things to work together for my good, even those things that I thought were accidental.  Yes, I was scared of the unknown when I started but I did it afraid anyway.  A few years down the line and I am still surging forward – sometimes afraid.  In those few years, I have fought some really tough mind battles – the battle to stay or to quit, to fight or to give in to defeat.  Undeniably it takes a lot of courage and other traits to start a business.  It takes even more courage and the ability to win the battles of the mind to keep on doing that business.  If you can stand up to fight and win those battles, then you are surely on the right track to Success Avenue.

So if you want to take a step in the right direction today and start your own business, do what I did in 2009.  Take a moment to consider some of the successful people out there doing what they love every day of their lives. Find out how they started, did they all have an easy start…I don’t think so.   Then think of the small steps you can take to start creating your own pathway to a future with very few ‘if onlys’ in it.

If only you can step out of your comfort zone and act on your plan TODAY, you probably will be writing your own successful start-up story pretty soon.

I really wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo.

Business First Steps… Personalised and Practical Business Start up Services and Support

Social Media Opportunities

Are you a stay-at-home mum or dad looking for something to do?

Are you in between jobs and looking for a new career path or new business?

Why don’t you join in and ride on the Social Media Wave?  There are so many opportunities out there that you can maximise and also make a living too.

Some of those opportunities include:

  • Graphic designer – creating Facebook banners and twitter backgrounds
  • Social Media profile setup
  • Social Media updates
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Editors
  • Copywriters
  • Social media management and more

Your first business step is to find out about your chosen area, there is limitless information online – eBooks, videos, how-to articles etc. Assess your skill set, find out what you can or can’t do.  If you commit to developing yourself in an area within the next few months, you could be getting paid for your own gigs very soon.

Go on, give it a go!!!

Till next time

Temi

www.Businessfirststeps.co.uk

Automate, Delegate and Outsource

Are you working too hard?

I came to a conclusion a few months ago; for my business to be extra productive I have to detach myself emotionally from some tasks I hold so dear. These are task that could be handled by someone else  and do it even better. Without that move, I will not be able to focus on business development, which is a necessary requirement for business growth.

So I decided to print this sign and paste it on my wall to remind me and ensure I spend time working on my business and not just in my business.

My New Acronym ADO – stands for Automate, Delegate and Outsource

I bet some of you are probably so emotionally connected to your business and your clients, you feel no one can do the job like you. You do almost everything yourself and refuse to let anyone ‘taint’ your perfect work.  Let’s be frank, very soon you are going to burn out and leave your business with no one in the driving seat.

To prevent a standstill, I will like to examine these three words that can save your business and keep stress at bay.

Automate

Automation means – ‘The technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum’. Dictionary.com

Now I must say that nothing beats human intervention, if you’ve watched the movie called The Matrix, you know that systems can go mad.  But there are some tasks that you need to automate so you can focus on other parts of your business that can’t do without human intervention and are important for growth.

A good example is email marketing – the likes of Aweber, Mailchimp, Vistaprint and a host of others allow you to plan and distribute your emails, newsletters etc in advance.  There are also platforms that you can use to automate your social media updates. If you dedicate a day in your week to schedule some of your business tasks for a month’s distribution, then that is a good job done.

Delegate

‘To give or commit (duties, powers, etc) to another as agent or representative; depute’. Dictionary.com

Sometimes we juggle too many balls and unfortunately the most important ones end up on the floor.  You should learn to delegate some of your business tasks to those who can deliver quality output for your business. God bless Virtual Assistants, they are good for business.  If you can’t afford to employ someone on a regular basis, a virtual assistant is just what you need for those hectic days or seasons, so you can keep your balls in the air.  You may even have someone who is willing to train/volunteer under you, why not delegate some of your tasks to them.  Not only will you build your business, you will also help someone else develop some useful skills.

Outsource

‘(of a company or organization) to purchase (goods) or subcontract (services) from an outside supplier or source’. Dictionary.com

Ok, I agree there are some dodgy people out there, who promise and never deliver on a job.  But thanks to the extensive scope of the internet, you can outsource your work to someone anywhere in the UK, as far as Australia or Brazil and get good quality work in return. You can outsource your social media updates, content for your business articles or newsletters, website updates, accounting tasks etc.  The time you save outsourcing outweighs the money you think you will save if you don’t.

So there you have it, when next you feel overwhelmed just think ADO.

If you are thinking of starting a business, this is a great mindset to imbibe so you can free yourself to do the really important things for your business.

A Simple Exercise to Help you and your Business

Get a sheet of paper (or do it on a word document) and draw three lines.  At the top of each column, write Automate, Delegate and Outsource.  Now list under each title the business tasks that can be allocated to each heading i.e. what can you automate, delegate and outsource.  Test the waters in small chucks, maybe start with automation this month or for the next three months. Before you know it, you will be flying and conquering new territories for your business.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps will help you kickstart your business start-up dreams. We provide the tools and services for your business start-up and development.

Photo courtesy of BigStockPhoto.

Business Reality Check

Musing about my business tasks today and the following realities of starting and running a business came to mind.  Just what I need to remind myself of my role as a business owner.

The Time Factor

Everyday we are bombarded with the miracle cure for whatever business ailment we may have. Whether it is procrastination, low self-esteem, lack of skills or imagination.  There is something out there prescribed to help you get results in an instant. Starting and growing a business takes a lot of time and effort.  Stop buying into those lies about the next best thing for your business that could make you an instant £100,000 profit with absolutely no effort on your part.  I spent a fair amount of money on some miracle start-up remedies some years back, they got me nowhere. Now I know better – one has to dig deep foundations for a business, so that when it grows it will not topple over.  Shallow foundations and quick solutions do not provide lasting results.

However, there are some great products out there that compliment your efforts – those are the ones worth buying.  They not only help your business but also make the job of running your business a lot easier to manage.

It’s Your Job

You can hire a consultant, an accountant or even cajole your mum to help.  If you want your business to succeed, then you need to do a lot of things yourself.  Even if you eventually employ people, you cannot ignore or shy away from your role as the business owner.    Yes you can copy systems off the internet or go to numerous seminars and get all fired up, you still have to put what you learn to work.  Take ownership of your business idea and push it till it becomes your reality.

The Dark Side

As the main decision maker in your business (if you are not a partnership) you should be ready for the dark and lonely days.  The days when the weight of the business decisions will be on your shoulders alone. When people will look to you for answers and to make decisions that will benefit the business. Create the right atmosphere you will need for those dark days; surround yourself with people who can uplift and motivate you to keep moving forward.

Eat the Humble Pie

There is no doubt in my mind that when you start your business you will be humbled.  Not everyone will think you have a good idea and not everyone will think you are smart. Be ready for criticism, irate customers, competitors who will steal your ideas, oh! be ready for all sorts.  The important point to remember is not to lose the values you hold dear when you face your business struggles.

Commitment

You can’t make a success of any venture if you do not commit to it.  You get out of your business what you put into it.  If you want it to grow then you have to commit to developing your idea on a daily basis. There is no short cut to business growth, be innovative and prepared for opportunities.  Set goals for yourself and commit to achieving them within a given time frame. The more you do this, the better you become and the more tasks you mark off your to-do-list. When you look back in a few years time, you will be amazed how far you have come.

Till next time, I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo.

Get the eBook: Bring your Business Idea to life and start the business of your dreams.

Photo courtesy of Bigstockphoto.