Kissing Frogs

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince.” 

Some of us might be familiar with the story of the Frog Prince – the spoilt princess who befriended a frog which eventually turned into a handsome prince…lucky her.  Business can be like that sometimes, you nurture a seemingly insignificant idea, you tend it, nurture it and it eventually turns into your very own ‘beautiful prince or princess.’

Beautiful woman with frog prince

The Mucky Pond is Where to Start

Just consider the thoughts of going into the mucky waters to grab a slimy frog who eventually shares your pillow.  I bet most of us will not sleep a wink, whilst the little creature croaks away.  Your idea could be that slimy frog. You pick it up from a muddy pond and it looks a right state. You do not know what to make of it, but you are determined to get results.  So you clean it, look after it, find a baby sitter when required and think about it often.  Your first frog might even hop away when you aren’t looking and you are forced to visit the mucky pond again.

I meet a variety of people on a daily basis through my business with amazing gifts and talents. We all have mucky frogs (undeveloped talent) in our lives that needs a lot of kisses.  Some of us are quick to realise these gifts, whilst some take a while to grow into theirs.  Whatever stage you are at, I will advise you to take a close look at your slimy frog and pucker up.

Frogs Can Change

In the business world, the same thing happens – you will probably have to kiss a few frogs before it all comes together. For example – you start out in business wanting to sell cakes and you end up training would-be bakers.  What completes any business equation is the ability to start, the grace to be consistent and persistence to get results.  You do not know which one will turn into a frog – so don’t stop kissing.  You might have read my story – how I started my business with copywriting and now I work full time as a business consultant.  Boy, did I kiss some slimy frogs!!!  I still shudder when I think of some of the business mistakes I made. I could have given up (the thought happens often), but I am  determined to make Business First Steps and Business Startup 4 Girls work and haven’t stop kissing frogs since.

So when next you see a business idea covered in slim (hard work), do not disregard the idea, clean it up and see what comes out of it.  Do not stop kissing those frogs and you might even end up with tadpoles (more business) too.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

I am a midwife who births business ideas and dreams through www.businessfirststeps.co.uk.  I can help you bring your idea to life if you are willing to work with me.  I will offer support throughout incubation and when the business contractions start.  I will be by your side cheering you on until you give birth to that dream. Then you can enjoy the accolade when you present your idea to the world.

Join me on Facebook – BusinessFirststeps and Twitter @Business1ststep

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Business And Your Beliefs

Do You Believe In What You  Have To Offer?

There are some things you need to believe in if you want to succeed in life and in business. The list is quite simple really as these are some of the things we take for granted all the time.

Believe in Yourself

“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

1158792_big_step_to_success_3 svilen001For a very long time I had very little belief in my abilities. I was always looking for someone else to validate whatever I do and when the validation didn’t come, despondence sets in. Somewhere along my journey I woke up to the reality of this Nigerian proverb “people will call whatever you display what you choose to call it”.

In the context of this blog it means people will call you/believe in whatever you choose to call yourself. That proverb struck a chord in me and I decided to step out of that limitation. Starting a business made me realise that I have to believe in myself before people believe in my abilities and my business.  I realised that as I aspire for more, something or someone will always try and point out my inadequacies. Believe that you have the ability to fight and win each and every one of those mind battles. Believe in your strengths, your experiences, your skills, your talent, your knowledge and your passion and take action without looking back.

Believe in Your Offerings

1133804_sign_success_and_failure cobrasoftWhether you offer a helping hand, beauty products, computer components, personalised clothing, friendship, counselling, other products or services – you must believe in what you have to offer. If a customer senses your unbelief – it will be very difficult to make a sale. Your branding, sales pitch, website, flyers, marketing channels must tell everyone that your product or service is worth their money.

Do not be apologetic about what you have to offer. If you feel your product or service is not up to the right standard – then make it attain the required standard. Do not offer it at bargain bottom prices or sell yourself cheap because you feel inadequate.  Fight the inadequacies by investing time and effort into perfecting your product or services. Charge what your time, products and services are worth. If they are good enough, your customers will buy them.

If you don’t believe in your product or service, is there any point in offering them? Its okay to charge a small fee if you are testing the market but do not let that be an excuse to sell sub-standard products or services perpetually. Raise your game so you can raise your prices and reputation as your business grows.

Believe in Your Success

1185569_collection_business_3 arte ramDo you believe you are entitled to success? Do you think your hard work should be rewarded? Success is a reward for hard work and it is what you should aim for and nothing less.  If you believe in the success of your concept, then you should put all your effort into making sure it excels.

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Peter Drucker

If you start a business, a hobby or even a career with a defeatist mentality, you should expect nothing to come out of it.  Without you believing in the success of your venture, failure is inevitable.  Success can be quite evasive and that is why a lot of people give up too soon. All you can do is put your hand to work and don’t look back – it will come to you if you do not give up. Keep pushing personal barriers and surpass your own goals until you reach that finish line.

Take Action: Grab a sheet of paper and write down your own personal belief system for success. First one on my list will be God as without Him I just can’t do this on my own, followed by the list above. Once you come up with your list, stick it on your wall so you are reminded of it every day.  Don’t falter and don’t let personal inadequacies rob you of your chance to succeed. Persevere until you successfully achieve your goals.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps – Tools and Support to help you set up and start a business

Photos courtesy of Arteran, Svilen001 and Cobras sxc.hu.

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.

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?”

1415055_business_graph sheela2010

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

Persistence, Snowflakes and Starting a Business

I was fascinated as I watched the snow fall over the weekend.   I watched it fall way back from my window so I was unaware of the effect it had on the ground.  It was obvious that the snow was light – you know those flakes that you think will never settle.  I thought that the snow will probably clear out in a few hours so we can go out the next day.

20130121_091412 snow2

But how wrong was I! Due to the consistency of the snowflakes that kept on falling, it became quite obvious that it was going to be the traffic-stopping, school-closing kind of snow.  I was taken aback when I ventured out and surveyed what had happened. Alas, the whole place was covered in snow…it was breathtakingly beautiful and a snow fight with the kids was imminent.

My Business First Steps

You may wonder why I’m going on about the weather, isn’t this suppose to be a business blog. Well the snow reminded me of when I started out in business.   It was challenging to get any client initially and I was overjoyed if anyone even agreed to work with me for a small fee. Clients came in trickles, sometimes one or two in a few months interval.   I had to constantly remind myself that small steps lead to giant strides and I was learning a lot as I went along.  Today I can gladly say I now get a regular flow of clients every month.   It has taken hard work (even when I don’t feel like it) mixed with consistent and persistent actions to get this far and I am not even near where I want to be yet.

1411773_winter_landscape_with_trees_and_snow lewyzThe journey can be rough when you start out in business, but it doesn’t stay rough forever.   You develop new knowledge, skills and a better coping mechanism to deal with whatever comes your way.

But you will never grow if you do not start or if you keep starting and stopping every time you hit a roadblock.   

A few flakes of snow for a few minutes cannot make much difference, but a few flakes that continue to fall over time can have a snowball effect.

Find Your Starting Block

If you want your passion, idea, concept, community group or social enterprise to make a difference, you need to commit to being consistent and persistent.

Three very important steps to help you get over the first few hurdles of starting a business:

  1. Find your starting line – define your passion, aims and objective.
  2. Get on your marks – put things in place to prepare you for the journey and stay focused.
  3. Then GO!  Push forward in the right gear and with all that you’ve got and never look back. 

Starting and running your own passion-based business is a fulfilling and rewarding option. Whether you want to do it full-time or in addition to your current job or family life, you deserve the chance to give it a go.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo.

Get in touch if you find the business start-up journey rather hazy.  I am passionate about helping people package their passion, ideas or concept into something fulfilling and enjoyable. www.businessfirststeps.co.uk – personalised and practical business start-up coaching, brainstorming, resources and support.

 

Commitment to Good Service

As part of my decision to Automate, Delegate and Outsource, I decided to outsource my laundry load to a laundry service.  My first trial went very well, even though I did not know much about how they operate.  I wasn’t sure if I should count the number of items I send it, check it afterwards etc.  Anyway the service has been going very well untill the last weekend when I discovered some clothes were missing.  I wasn’t sure of what could have happened as I expect them to take an inventory before and after washing them.  Anyway I stopped by on Monday to find out if the remaining clothes had been discovered and luckily they were.

What I learnt today as well was that there were four ladies who provide the laundry service on a shift basis.  The lady who attended to me today is always in high demand and I also learnt that people specifically wait for her shift before they bring their laundry in.  Now that got me thinking….even as a laundry lady, you can distinguish your service from others through dedication and perfection of your skills.

Lady A – her customer service was impeccable, I was quite impressed with how attentive she was when I came in for the first time.  She educated me about her services and what they offer.

Lady B – she is just superb, she is not only friendly but also shows you what she has done when you come to pick up your laundry load.  She pays attention to detail and this is evident in the way she handles the clothes.  She folds the clothes with such care, making them wardrobe ready. I was so impressed with her skills.

Lady C – not very attentive and haphazard with her work.  Forgot to pack some of the clothes for pick-up.  Quite careless with her folding and packing.

Lady D – never met her.

So the question I will like to ask you is which one of the ladies are you?  I never thought there was anything extraordinary about a laundry service until last week.  It reminded me that you can distinguish yourself by the service you provide or the products you sell, if you commit to mastering your skills and going the extra mile.

You never know who is watching – so always keep your game on and treat each and every customer like your first.

Enjoy your day.

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps

The Gear Stick

I remember when I was learning how to drive and the thought of changing gears used to fill me with dread. I prayed to God that the traffic lights will always be green so I could avoid the notorious biting-point when moving on. Oh the pain of learning how to drive! I was so elated when I passed my driving test. Guess what! I was also quick to forget my driving fear, the neck pain and throbbing headaches from concentrating so hard.

How do I go from Gear One to Six? 

Getting the kids ready to go back to school today got me thinking of why I need to change my business gear too.  Every now and then I get restless with my business goals and it is always an indication that I need to do more to grow my business.

Lately it seems I have been stuck in gear three for a while, business is not slow but my speed is limited to a certain level on the speedometer. You might be familiar with this – getting enough clients to keep you motivated but not enough to stretch you. I had my reasons for travelling at that speed, one being family commitments but that excuse is fading fast  as my little one starts school this week.

My driving instructor once told me that if I keep travelling in gears 1,2 and 3 only, I will do some damage to my car. The same goes for any business stuck in slow.  So I got my pen and paper out to consider what I need to do to raise the bar and travel in gear six. After all there is no way I can travel in gear six if I move at 20mph.

If I want to grow my business and make it as big as it can be, I better get ready to travel fast.  So as I write my list, I will implore you to do the same.

So what controls do you need to put in place to grow your business?

  • Do you need to wake up a bit earlier in the morning or add more hours at night?
  • Watch less TV?
  • Reduce the number of personal phone calls you answer during the day?
  • Read more books or publications about your industry?
  • Get qualified or training?
  • Take your to-do-list seriously?
  • Find a mentor, a consultant or someone you can share your ideas and brainstorm?
  • Exercise more to be fitter so you can think better?

If your business is stalling because you are stuck in gear one, isn’t it time you change gear so you can accelerate and reach your destination faster?  It is going to be a gradual process to travel at 80mph and beyond. But first thing is to gain control of your vehicle so you can at least increase your speed.  Once you can establish how to do that, then press down those pedals and change that gear stick. It is amazing how the car/business responds to that.

That is my plan for the next few months. I am going to get my head down and improve my business systems so I am more effective and efficient thereby producing more profitable results.  I hope you do the same and if you have other ideas of how we can accelerate to 100mph, do share.

If you need help with your business start-up or development, I can help you make sense of your ideas with my Business Brainstorming Sessions and other services.  Get in touch for more details.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Photos by runrunrun and buryosiol