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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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.

Rest in Time of Need

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Today I woke up really tired. I was tired and needed a break from work.  I thought to myself, I consciously took some time off before and after Christmas. Surely I do not need another break.  After some soul-searching I discovered that my tiredness was not physical, it was more mental. I needed a break from thinking business strategies, business opportunities and business growth. I just wanted to BE!!!

So luckily since I work from home, I decided to take a break. After all, one of the reasons why I am self-employed is so I can be flexible enough to do things my way. So my way today is to mute the phones, turn off the laptop and have some meditation time with God followed by a power nap. I felt so much better an hour or so later.

My action today reminded me that first, I must always recognise when I need a break.  Understandably if you don’t work your business, some things simply won’t work. But your business can’t work if you are unable to work.

Second, we need to put certain things in place so our businesses can still run if we need to take a break.  My task to you and I is to evaluate the dynamics of our businesses and how they work.  Can it survive without you or will it die when you can’t be there? This goes especially for service-based industry

This year I intend to work on making sure my business is not solely reliant on me being at a desk all day, every day (and night). So I better check my sales funnel again. Do you intend to do the same?

Got some business tricks up your sleeve? Drop me a line or comment below.

I wish that you prosper as your soul prospers.

Temi

Need help starting your business?   Visit Business First Steps for more information and support to get your show on the road.

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.

The Silent Treatment

Prospects giving you the silent treatment lately?  I know how you feel as we all get that sometimes.  You draft the perfect email or rehearse your sales pitch for when you make the call and afterwards silence!!

You may even just be starting out in business and everyone is excited about the new idea. Then suddenly everything stops as apprehension and uncertainly sets in; now you consider if sales will match up to expectation.  Even big companies’ experiences the “silent treatment” so do not think it is peculiar to your business alone.

There is a pressure free way to re-establish communication when your prospects give you the “cold shoulder”.

  • So what can you do to bring negotiation back to the table?
  • So what to do when you get the ‘silent treatment’ from a prospective client, after all everything was going on fine and the deal was almost in the bag then nothing?

Hanging on to Hope

We all get caught up in trying to make a sale because all our hopes and desires are caught up in getting that deal signed. Before you start barging your prospects with emails and phone calls, it is wise to find out what brought about the silence.

When we consider our products and services and how to make a sale, we play out the outcome in our minds and fail to see an alternative route.  In an ideal world this should just happen but it is never so.  If our prospect then fails to act according to our expectations, confusion and frustration sets in and we may even feel betrayed, after all you spent time and money trying to make that sale.

So What Can We Do to Reconnect with Silent Clients?

Well a good way to solve the mystery of the ‘silent treatment’ is to properly diagnose the problem. You may huff and puff right here and say “if someone is unwilling to get in touch, how would I know their thoughts”.  Well, first things first; let go of the sale pressure in your communication with the unyielding client.

This scenario happened to me recently when I was chasing a prospective client. After much ado, I decided to ask “how can I help with your business” rather than the usual talk about my business offerings.  Luckily he was quick to point out where he was struggling and I was able to offer my assistance and the sale was done!

So simply put – when you get the cold shoulder, don’t despair, try to find out an alternative route and rectify the problem.

Sales confidence is an important aspect of business and if your prospects are not responding to your sales tactics this can dent your confidence and seriously affect your business.  You may blame yourself for a bad pitch, poor materials or ineffective emails strategies.  The truth may be the prospective client just doesn’t need what you sell right now.

Gain Focus – if you know what your prospects want, you can focus on what to offer them. Research can help you accomplish this and let go of some of those prospects you have been targeting for a while.  Letting go gives you time to go in search of prospects that are a better fit for your business.  Now you will start working efficiently and spend less time with dead-end prospects.

Know the Truth – once you are able to identify your prospects ‘pain’ and ‘truth’, you let go of what I call “stress of the unknown”.   You can let go of those open-ended conversations or emails that lead to nowhere.  I should mention though that some prospects might need you in the future but so don’t burn all your bridges.

The more relaxed we are with our potential clients, the easier and more open they will be with you which helps you identify their needs.

Reconnect with ‘Silent Clients’

Get in touch, preferably call them and let them know there is no sales pressure behind your call.  Ask them for feedback about your website, your products or services, your emails or newsletter.  Let them know how much you value their feedback.  Stress the important of their views being an essential part of your business growth to help you improve your services.

If you go about the silent treatment this way, you may be pleasantly surprised at your clients’ responses.  You get a better perspective of their ‘why’ and you will stop being frustrated and increase your productivity.

Business First Steps is passionate about business start-up and development.  Our brainstorming sessions at intervals to suit you will help you gain a new perspective of your business goals and objectives.  Each session is unique to you and your business and personalised to address your own needs with solutions that work and grow your business.  From start-up to up-and-running businesses, we care for them all.

What is your Business Mode of Transportation?

Hello fellow business owners,  I hope things are working out well for you this week. 

I have been doing a lot of thinking and assessing lately.  Every now and then, I get the urge to reassess my business, my vision, my achievements etc.  What has been coming to me lately is how to streamline what I do, so I can be more effective and provide a better service to my clients. Being able to critically analyse the present state of my business will enable me to choose the right mode of transportation to move my business forward.

Now I understand that many of us like to dabble into a little bit of this and that which is quite common with start-ups.  This might happen for a while as you try to find a good fit for you and your business.  But the time comes when you have to sit back and analyse the past few months of running your business.

What has been good, what has failed, what can you improve?   

These questions will help you decide on the mode of transportation you want to travel in to get to your next business destination. Whatever you do, don’t pay the fare until you are sure of where you want to go. 

Modes of Transportation

Now I have used the various modes of transportation in my business, some have worked well, and some have been a near disaster!

Aeroplanes

We all love to fly so we can arrive at our destination as early as humanly possible.  There is nothing wrong with that if you know exactly where you are going. But think of a pilot in front of a plane who is yet to master his navigation system – a recipe for disaster. There might come a time where you and your business can board or even fly a plane, just make sure you board with your pilot licence i.e. your business growth has been constant and you are ready to step up to the next business level.  . 

Trains                                                                                                                                                                                           This is another mode of transportation we can use as business owners to propel our business vision.  Trains are not as fast as planes – well if you are not on the Eurostar. This may be a better option for those who are somewhat sure of the direction in which their business needs to travel.   There are tracks laid out ahead of you (better understanding of your business), so navigation is a lot easier. Get on this mode of transportation knowing that the stations and stops are far in between (established competitors don’t disembark often).  You may not get as many chances to make amends quick enough, so you must be able to match business demands with supply.  

Bus: With buses, you know as long as you pay the right fare, you will get a reasonable good ride and a cheaper mode of transportation too!  You may not find a seat immediately but as people get off (competitors exit), there are more chances of you been able to sit down.  The same applies to business start-ups – when you get on the entrepreneurial bus, initially the journey starts slowly, and then you can speed up as you encounter bus lanes – these are dedicated routes for your industry.  

The bus may seem rather rowdy initially but if you persevere, you could get a good seat for you and your business (once you know your target market).  But don’t get too comfortable though, due to the frequency of the stops, people will be getting on and off the bus.  Some of these people (competitors) are going to the same destination as you.  You must think of ways to keep your seat on that bus until you are ready to get off and get on a train. 

A good business idea has the potential to grow as long as the owner takes small steady steps in the right direction.  Do not be hasty to get on an aeroplane straight away, travel on a bus to get a good feel of what you business is about. As you do that, enjoy the ride!

Till next time, I wish you good success.

Temi. 

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Tips to Help your Work Life Balance

My days and weeks have been rolling into each other lately.  I have decided to call myself to order because as a self-employed consultant no one else will.  If you are an employee when your output dips, your line manager will be there to remind you of your responsibilities – you might even be recommended for some time off work.  But as a solopreneur, you need to find your own balance.

Balance to me means being able to function at work and outside of work.  If you are starting out in business, it is quite easy to obscure the lines between the two. A conscious effort is required on our part to make sure we do what is required to function well in all areas of our lives.

The following tips should help you a good work life balance:

  • Take some time to evaluate your life. Do you feel you pay attention to one part of your life than others? If your answer is yes, then your life is out of balance. 
  • Think of what you can do to change your unbalanced lifestyle
  • Review how you spend your time on a daily basis.
  • Delegate some of your business tasks if you can afford to do so.
  • Plan to take time off at least every three months. These days off do not have to be of equal length of time; you could take a weekend off during one-quarter in the year and a fortnight during another quarter. 
  • Prioritize your time, make sure you do the things that will benefit and grow your business.
  • Rid your life of unimportant and unnecessary tasks. As written above, if you can afford to delegate do so.
  • Plan some time off. Create a list of the things you love to do, add them to your to-do-list and do them.
  • Learn to say no, if it means bending backwards to offset other plans.

I hope this helps you find the right balance between your work, home commitment and social activities.  Each plays an important part in making you the success you are meant to be. 

The good book says “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.  Find time for passion and pleasure. 

I wish you good success,

Temi

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk