Why Redundancy Can Be A Good Thing

My Employment Journey

610632_menu djayoI was an accounting professional and privileged to work in a stable government agency for many years and even had the opportunity to travel abroad (which I didn’t take up regrettably).  Anyway years went by and I got better at my job, more confident and transferred to another agency which (unknown to me) was going to be my last.  The job was like sitting in an easy chair – the route to work, my hours, the tasks were all predictable and became less of a challenge. But a regular salary was my comfort blanket, especially with another baby on the way.

Fast-Forward 2009 – Post Baby Number 2

In 2009, redundancy struck and pushed me way out of my comfort zone. I was hurt, resentful and I panicked. Who will employ a mother of two young kids in a busy accounting department? What happens when the baby is unwell and I can’t come to work, what will happen if my train is delayed and I can’t pick up my babies?  I struggled to find a job that will fit round my family life and was partly depressed for a while.  I wanted to be available for my family but at the same time enjoy a fulfilling career.  My situation forced me to look inward at the skills and talents I have been ignoring for so long.  My situation forced me to ‘SWOT’ myself and that is what gave birth to Write2Explain then Business First Steps, Business Next Step and Business Start-up 4 Girls.  I marvel at the things I do now – who knew that I had all that within me, my ex-colleagues are equally amazed too!

The Route to Now

The journey may not have been smooth all the way.  But like any task in life I have learnt to jump over the hurdles and challenge myself to achieve better results.  One of my favourite scriptures from the bible that always gives me comfort is “God makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places.” Psalm 18:33 Amplified.  I have also been privileged to meet some amazing people and mentors on my journey who challenge and encourage me to reach for the stars.

I read this comment in a book I was studying a while back –

“Do not get drawn into the “result trap” – focusing entirely on the destination and losing sight of the flow of the journey.”  There is so much to learn on the journey and if we do not stop once in a while and look around, we will miss out on the lessons we need to learn along the way.

What’s Your Story?

1319069_the_door ilcoAre you facing redundancy and like me, panicking about the next step? Do not be afraid to look inward and locate all those hidden talents within you.  If you decide to go into another job, at least start by being true to yourself and your core values – this will enable you to perform to the best of your ability.  If you decide like me that entrepreneurship is the way forward, ‘Do it even if you are afraid!’  I wake up most mornings asking myself “why” and go to bed at night knowing exactly the reason “why”.  That is what fulfilment is all about.

So when next a circular goes round the office, do not panic – focus on the opportunities that lie within the change.

Support makes the transition from employment to self-employment a lot easier. If you need a sounding board, Business First Steps can provide the support and services you need to make the transition as smooth as possible.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

If you need the SWOT analysis worksheet and other tools to help you identify your core values, your strengths, weaknesses and your passion then click here

Photos courtesy of sxc.hu ilco and djayo.

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Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Passion

Are you are passionate about football, fast cars, cooking, shopping, eating out, fashion, outer space, aliens or ancient Egypt? Do you know that there are more ways than one to express that passion? Why limit yourself and follow the trend that has been set before you. Do you know that every idea you birth will have its own unique twist? Why you may ask? Because you are unique and you are bound to put your unique twist on everything you do, which makes the outcome extra special.

1272912_padlock_of_the_love 195617So what can you do with your passion once you discover it?

If you are still digging to find yours then you should get the “How to Unlock the Potential of Your Passion Audio Workshop and Worksheets” Listen and read this first so you can have a clear understanding of what your passion is and how to maximise it.

Your passion can have as many expressions as you allow it, as long as you are brave and bold enough to let it shine. Be careful of overwhelm though because once you allow your imagination to go for a stroll, you can be guaranteed that it will grab a shopping trolley and pile it high with ideas.  Check out my post 8 Questions to ask your business idea to help you weed through your pile of ideas.

So let us look at what you can do with your passion:

  1. Write About It – if you love fashion for example and you do not want to trade in it, you can write about the subject and get as much kick as if you are wearing or selling it.
  2. Teach It – some people just love to impart knowledge to others. This can be your niche, and another way to express your passion.
  3. Make It – can you make life easier for a particular demographic by developing a new product or service? They might just be waiting for what you can bring to the table.
  4. Sell It – do you want others to enjoy your passion? If access to your passion is limited, you can become the middleman between that passion and others that share your enthusiasm.
  5. Share It – if you have got a great network of friends and are good in gathering people together, why don’t you create a group to share your passion with.
  6. Advice It – I am passionate about people maximising their passion and turning them into great business ideas.  Are you that way inclined about a subject matter? Then might be your way of expressing your passion too.
  7. Invest In It – investment is another good way to get involved in what you enjoy. You do not have to start the business but you can be a part of it by investing in the concept financially or in other ways – just like football club owners!
  8. Combine It – you do not have to express your passion in just one way; you can combine sharing your passion with writing about it or advice on it etc. Whatever you choose to do, do not let it lie fallow and grow weeds.

Medium-Size-Ebook-JPGThere are so many ways you can express your passion but these are just a few to get you started.  If you are a firm believer like me that your passion has purpose i.e. to add value to your life and the lives of others, then you will be uncomfortable sitting on probably “the next best thing”.  Need help; start listing where your passion fits in the list above. Then get the Audio workshop and worksheets on How to Maximise the Potential of your Passion and give your passion a chance to bloom.

Has this post got your brain juices flowing?  Comment below or send me an email at ask@businessfirststeps.co.uk.  I will love to know your point of view.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo.

Business First Steps – Turning Passion into Profit with Purpose.

8 Questions to ask your Business Idea

Its official…2013 is the year of the entrepreneur. If no one else is declaring it, I am. I meet so many people courtesy of my job who are no longer satisfied with just answering to their line manager or following a strict job description. More people want to express themselves doing what they love and enjoy.

So if you are thinking of taking a step towards maximizing your passion or start a business. I have got a few questions you should ask your idea?

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 1. Does your product or service add value?
More people can now see beyond a good idea. If you want to compete with others in the marketplace, then you will need more than nice packaging and a good website. Your product or service should add value to the lives of your target market and readily make a difference once they make a purchase.

 2. Who will buy your product or service?
I made this mistake a few times when I started out in business. As soon as I thought of a good idea, I plunged it right on my website. When people did not buy the service, I got a hump. What I failed to see then was that a good business idea in my eye won’t translate to sales if my target market don’t need it. Take time to discover your target market and their needs. Then develop products and services that meet their specific needs – you will have a better chance of making a sale.

 3. Is your industry a saturated market?
If you are considering a product or service in a highly saturated market, you should be ready to fight to survive. You will also need more that a Unique Selling Point as you can be sure as day that as soon as you launch your idea, someone is going to be on your heel. So analyse your product’s benefits in-depth and find specific and unusual ways to make it stand out.

4. Is there a rise or decline in demand for your product or service?
Is there really any point in bringing to the market a product that is on the decline? If your idea has been waiting on the back burner for many years, is now the time to finally ‘Bring it to Life’? I believe in passion but passion and good business sense go hand in hand. You might need to go back to the drawing board and redesign or redefine your products or services.

5. How will technology advancement or other factors affect your business?
Sadly many businesses have gone into administration recently, I am sure they tried to move with the times but some are not just fast-paced enough to catch up. With the speed of technology development nowadays, the adage “you snooze, you lose” is so appropriate. How long can your products/services last on the market before something new comes along? What are your plans to keep up demands for products or services? Good questions to ask yourself if you are considering a long-term business.

6. Is there room for development or modification to meet new demands?
If you are designing a product or service, you should factor in room for improvement. In five years time, what modifications can you add to your products or what further benefits can your services provide? Have you got another version/better specification model to follow? It is important that you design your products/services with the future in mind so you can keep supplying those who need what you offer.

 7. What are the established businesses in your proposed market doing?
Carry out some research to find out what the big players in your industry have got up their sleeves. What is their next business step, what products do they have in the pipeline? Preempt their next moves and brainstorm their ideas to see if they can give birth to new ideas for your business?

This is totally random but I love this post on Entrepreneur.com ‘The secret of what makes a product go viral’ 

 8. How do you see your product or service developing in the next five years?
Even though most business owners would say they have a five-year plan, the plan can only be at the very best – a plan. If all the variables remain constant, maybe then maybe we can achieve our five years goals. You should always consider various options for your business development at any given time including an exit strategy.

Maybe now is the time to get your business idea or product development off the back-burner and start taking actions to bring it to market. But before you sign the office lease, send out the new product flyers and order the equipment, in-depth market research can never go amiss before a start-up/new development. Consider your options, analyse your answers, if you need to change your game plan, by all means do that but do not stand on the sideline and watch the world go by.

Get a bit of the action! The world is waiting for your business idea to blossom.

Need help discovering your passion, developing your idea, setting up your own business or brainstorming roadblocks in your existing business? Then contact me and let’s explore your options together.

I wish you good success.
Temi Koleowo

Fear – A Business Startup Roadblock

Have you been trying to start a business for a while? You have got the idea, you know your target market but somehow you haven’t been able to step out and just do it.

JUST DO IT
I know ‘just do it’ is a clique we have all heard so many times especially since Nike made it such a famous slogan. This is one of the tools I use for my own mind battles. When I see that I am starting to flag in certain areas, I tell myself “Just Do It!”
It is important that you take time to identify what is stopping you from starting out. Find out what your roadblocks are so you can find ways to get rid of them. In this blog, I want to highlight one of the roadblocks I had to battle to start my business a few years ago.

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FEAR
Yes, I said it… FEAR!!!!. Fear is a huge factor to battle when it comes to starting something new. There is always a nagging thought at the back of one’s mind telling you that you are bound to fail. Fear of failure plagues even the most successful business owners, they just learn to push pass it and do it anyway. If you are a master planner like I used to be, who likes a predictable life then it can be such an uphill struggle to launch into the unknown.  I had a constant tug-of-war with fear which I eventually won and was able to do what I wanted to do.

One of my favourite quotes is by Ambrose Redmoon which states “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”  If I do not maximise my passion now, then when?

1092344_fear zithericaFEAR is a natural emotion and you are permitted to feel fear, but it is what you do with the feeling that makes all the difference. I have stood on podiums to deliver workshops with fear. I have approached clients that I thought were way out of my league with fear. In these circumstances I have won both my internal and external battles by learning to feel the fear and do it anyway!

MAKE A LIST
I want you to think of what you are afraid of. Make a list of the things that scare you about starting your own business. Do you think you will not be able to pull it through, is it lack of knowledge, losing a source of income, lack of self-confidence or self-belief?
Then ask yourself “what is the worst that can happen?” Once you know that, find ways to minimise those risks and take action.

 FACE YOUR FEAR
Once you can identify what you are afraid of then you are half way there. Let’s look at ways to deal with them. Unfortunately unlike traffic cones that cause roadblocks in the middle of the road, you can’t just lift and discard them. You have to think of ways to minimise the effect of the fear by seeking its antidote.

For example: If your fear is lack of knowledge in a business area, research on how you can increase your knowledge. Will dedicated learning about your industry one hour a day, three times a week boost your confidence? If you can find a mentor in that industry, will it make a difference?
If you need a regular source of income to survive, don’t quit your job just yet. Start gradually – moonlight if you have to, to get things off the ground. Then once you establish your business with regular revenue, you can start writing your own pay cheques.

Rather than allow fear to paralyse you into inactivity, remove the cobwebs that hold you bound and take small steps to begin to eliminate the NOs in your life.

I wish you good success mixed with God’s blessings

Temi Koleowo.

I am here to help you unlock the potential of your passion, develop your idea into a concept you will love and enjoy.  Visit us at www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Photos from sxc.hu.

The Potential of Your Passion

“Begin to free yourself at once by doing all that is possible with the means you have, and as you proceed in this spirit the way will open for you to do more.” Robert Collier

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When we seek to discover the potential of our passion, it means we stop thinking of just ourselves. It is no longer business as usual. Our focus stops being about self, it is now what we can do to help others and make a difference.  Don’t misconstrue this, not everyone needs a handout from us. Some people just need motivation to help find and fix their own part of the jigsaw puzzle of life. Whilst some just need the answers/solutions in us for the questions/problems in them.

There are people out there whose destiny is linked to ours in ways we just can’t fathom. I love Kevin Bacon’s EE Ad which shows interlinks between so many people.  Check out the Ad hereThat is the way the universe is made, someone somewhere is linked to you by virtue of what is on the inside of you.

My only concern is as long as that talent, passion, knowledge, experience, or skill is locked up in us, there is very little possibility of being able to reach the person who needs us.  But of course someone else will step up to do the job if we lose our place in the queue.

Why lose the opportunity to be the game changer when the ingredients are already there? 

The dynamics of the world is changing; many are becoming lovers of self. For the sake of the next generation, we need to stand up and be counted as those who refuse to sell out to a selfish world. Rather choose to use your gifts and talents to provide the solution or answer that makes a difference and puts a smile on someone else’s face.  You never know how far the effect of that feel-good factor can go.

You need knowledge backed with persistent action to unlock the power and the potential of the passion within you.

Click the link to join my online workshop on the 12th of March 2013 12:00 noon and discover how to unlock those precious gems within you.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps – personalised and practical Business Set-up and Start-up

How Do You Measure Success?

I delivered a workshop at a Youth Entrepreneur Conference on the 24th of February 2013 on “How to Bring your Business Idea to Life”. It was a great conference with so much “Can-Do” energy. I was intrigued by a question a young man asked me. He asked “what is your definition of success?”

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That question got me thinking for a while about what success truly is. Most of us want the finer things in life – in varying quantities. Are we willing to sacrifice that inner deep emotional need for fulfilment for these other things money can buy? My answer to this young man was “success means different things to different people”.  To some of us helping more people however we can is our definition of success. The good news is money is normally a by-product of doing what you love – if done the right way. Even Sir Richard Branson testifies to this.

Monetary Value

Some people measure success by monetary values, how much money we have in the bank or coming into our businesses? To some, whether things work out outside of the process of making money doesn’t matter. Money is a defence according to the bible so it’s therefore a necessity for daily life. If money is the true measurement of success, why do some rich people still end up miserable? This is a good indication that money is not the only measurement of success.

Adding Value

Like me, some people’s success is linked to the number of people we can help or add value to their lives. This can be through the products or services that we sell. It can also be the assistance we render through compassion for others, charitable deeds, social enterprise or a community group.  It can also be through motivating, inspiring, teaching or uplifting others.  In the process of adding value to the lives of others, the life of the giver is also enriched.

Fulfilment

1181306_jumping_couple_2 lusiFulfilment in doing what they love and enjoy is all that matters to some people. They may have a job that pays the bills, but their spare time is spent doing what they truly enjoy with no cognition of time, money or effort. To this group of people finding fulfilment is their own definition of success. At Business First Steps we believe what you do should be a lifestyle and not a chore.

Define Your Success Parameters

As business owners or start-up it is important that we set the right objectives for starting and developing a business from the onset. You do not want to get halfway through your business journey and throw in the towel because you aren’t fulfilled. The problem when things fail in most cases is not just the business model, but also unrealistic expectations, incorrect definition and measurement of success.

Knowing what you expect from your business when you start out will give you a good way of gauging your progress and success. For example, your aim could be to help 10 women set and achieve their short-term goals in one year.  This can be done voluntarily or for a fee.  The measurement of success is not how much money you make in the process, but how many women actually fulfil their short-term goals in a year.

The definition of success is determined by you. So spend some time questioning yourself to find out what you use to measure success in all your endeavours.  Once you have got your answers set goals, take action and aim for the sky.

What does success mean to you? How do you quantify success in your life?  I will love to hear from you so please comment below.

Your Partner in Business

Temi Koleowo

We love to help people define their passion and do what they love and enjoy. If you are still searching then get in touch and let’s dig and discover together. Business First Steps

Photo by Lusi & Sheela2010 sxc.hu

Products or Services Development Tip 1

They say ideas are a dime a dozen but how do you get that idea that is bound to create a storm in the market place.  Understandably, you want to follow your passion and create a business you can run whilst also having some fun.  Let’s be honest if you follow your passion and your bills never get paid, it is a matter of time before you pack it in.  I am a firm believer of maximising passion to make a living but in the same light you have to ensure there is a demand for what you want to offer.

So what are the things you can do to check if your product or service idea is a viable one?  The following tips can help you develop an idea around your passion:

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What Group of People Engage and Interest You?

This thought might never have occurred to you, but we are all more comfortable with certain groups of people than others. Some love being around mothers, students, football enthusiasts, foodies, professionals, women, men or techy people.   The people you like to hang out with and things that interest you might be an indication of who you can be selling your products or services to.

Facebook Founder

Take for instance the story of Facebook founder Mark Elliot Zuckerberg.  He launched Facebook from his dormitory room. With the help of friends, he took Facebook to other campuses nationwide and soon after moved to Palo Alto, California. By 2007, Facebook had made him a billionaire at the age of 23. By 2010, Facebook had an estimated 500 million users worldwide and reached 1 billion in 2012.  Wikipedia 2013.

That is a simple indication of how the people you hang out with can become your target market.  So get those magnifying glass and look at them closely.

My Mini Story

There are many people with similar stories who built their businesses based on the needs of people around them.  Due to my analytical ability, my family and close friends used to approach me when they are contemplating a business decision – initially I wasn’t sure why.   After many years of writing business plans for free, it dawned on me that I can actually make a living doing this albeit in a professional way.  My first few customers were my family and friends and I am grateful for their trust in me.  Now that my company accommodates people from all walks of life, it is amazing to think that this was something that was always a part of me.

Taking the First Step

So if you want to start a business on a part time, full time or as an additional income to your current career – look closely at the people that interest you.   It could be your work colleagues, your jogging buddy or your lunchtime/church group.  Do not start looking at them on the basis of money but on the basis of meeting their needs.  It is easier to sell to people you know to start off and grow from there.  Study them and start jotting down in a notebook what you think they need that you can provide.

Till Next Time…Don’t Stop the Process of Your Business Start-up.  Keep Moving!

Temi

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk – personalised and practical business set-up and start-up services.