Are You Breaking The Rules?

We all have rules we live by most of which are unwritten rules, the same principle applies in business.  We start out with ambitious business strategies to take the world by storm.  We put most of this information down in a business plan and edit as we go.  But do we actually look back after a while and ask ourselves “is it time to change the rules”?

Business development needs flexibility.  The world economics is always changing and sometimes we can be stuck with business ideas and plans that work against us.  Even though our business requires structure, we need to adapt a flexibility mode as we grow.

Tip: Do not cast your business rules in stone rather be open-minded about the endless possibilities of your business idea. 

For example: If you set out to meet the needs of mothers with young kids and you get more enquiries from fathers with young kids, you need to ask yourself if it is time to change the rules.

Emotions can get in the way of your business idea, so be careful how you analyze your aims and objectives.   Yes, I know your business dream is to always meet the needs of moms with young kids but if the market doesn’t make that demand on you, you might need to change the rules.

I started out with Business First Steps from a very different platform.  I have an idea of what I wanted to do, but could not grasp the full picture at the time. As I progressed in business, I found out soon enough that some rules had to be broken. Yes my ideas in the beginning seemed great, but holding on to them will do my business more harm than good.  Emotions had to give way to common sense and good reasoning for my business to grow.

Action Plan:

If you have your business aims and objectives written down, now is a good time to revisit them and align them with the reality of your business operations.

If your aim and objectives are in your head, please take time out this month to write them down and post them somewhere conspicuous so you can see them every day.  This will help your business tremendously as you will know when it is time to change the rules.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Business Tools and Brainstorming sessions for Business Start-up, Development and Growth.

Photo courtesy of iamwahid sxc.hu

Waiting for the Perfect Moment

I love this quote as it resonates with me in every way.  As someone with a melancholic personality, I tend to want everything to be perfect before I make a move.  Years gone by I wanted the perfect business plan, perfect location, perfect set-up etc before I could even consider launching a business. But when I started out in business, I was quick to realise that if I stay in the place of “wanting to be perfect”, I will lose my place in the queue.  Guess what? Someone, somewhere will surely come and take my place soon enough, then the idea I thought was going to be perfect will now be common!

Sometimes we need to start from where we are at so we can grow as we gain more experience.   I am not advising anyone to go out and start a business without adequate research, planning and good business advice.  But some of us just refuse to set out of the boat to check if the water is tepid or cold!

  • What business idea have you  been thinking about?
  • What expansion plans do you have for your existing business?
  • If you were going to take the first step what will it be?
  • Can talking to someone else about it help you put things in the right perspective?

One of the actions that helped me when I started out in business is getting my idea out there into the open by telling people (trustworthy ones) about what I want to do. Once it gets out there, you are somewhat committing yourself to act and do something about that idea.  You can bet the people you told will be asking you about that idea and what you are doing with it.  A few years down the line, I still follow the same process in developing new ideas for my business. This is where a business mentor or even a business consultant’s help can come in handy, it might be worth investing in one.

Write It Down, Make It Plain

You should also commit to writing down your ideas, invest in a journal or a notebook. Date your entries so you can look back over time to see how far you have come.  Write the inspirational information down as it comes to you and do not worry about format or frequency.  You can also create a mind map for yourself, with you in the middle and the potential of your ideas branching out from you like a spider web.

Take Small Steady Action

Developing an idea needs action on your part, ‘thinking it’ cannot make things happen.  There is room to daydream but you now need to progress from that place to the next room of ‘taking action’ to realise your dream.  Start a to-do-list of what you want to do with your idea. Do not develop long term goals just now as you might find it overwhelming.  Begin the process with a weekly plan, then monthly, six months, one year etc.

Go online and research the prospects of your idea/passion using various related keywords.  Check out your competitors and even patronise them if you can afford to and think of how you can differentiate your idea. Create a folder for the information you gather online/offline and bookmark useful websites.

Remember the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  If you already run a business, what are your ideas for expansion?  Starter? What ‘Business First Step’ are you going to take to develop that passion/idea lying dormant within you?

I wish you great success

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps offers a FREE exploration session in addition to business start-up packages, eCourses, eBooks, business start-up one2one program, brainstorming sessions and other services.  We are passionate about developing new and existing SMEs and will love to be a part of your success story.

Photo culled from Shoreline Neighbours FB page.

The Potential of your Passion

Ideas are a dime a dozen!! Yes that may be true, but I also believe that what makes an idea unique is the person driving it forward.  Two people can set off from similar or same business idea paths and end up in two completely different destinations.  The determining factor is the passion, personality and fortitude of the person who holds the potential of the idea in his/her hand.

The Old Vs The New      

I was browsing the internet recently when I came across this simple and lovely idea of fruit delivery to offices http://www.fruitfortheoffice.co.uk/.   Now I don’t know the owner of the business but I read the story of how the business came about and I was well impressed.  What separates this business from the fruit stall at the corner of your office block is the boldness and audacity of one business owner to flow with changing times.

We all remember the fruit stalls that are usually situated at the entrance to the train station.  On a good day when you get out of your house early enough, you stop by to get some fruit so you can fulfil part of your 5-a-day intake.   The stall owner’s luck changes when the weather is not so favourable.  You hurry by to get to the safe haven of the four walls of your office; bad weather equals loss of sales to the fruit stall owner.

So when someone like Fruit for the Office comes along, I doubt if you will stop by the train station any longer when fresh fruit is now waiting for you in the office – most likely provided by your employer.

Use your Creative Juices

The same brainwave can happen to your business idea if you take time to research what you have, what you know and what you can offer.  Your passion or business idea has the potential to grow if you are willing to do the ground work and build a solid foundation for it to stand upon. Don’t just look at what has been done, think of the potential of what can be.

Start With Questions

What have you been musing about all this while?

What idea has been bugging you for weeks without end?

Is it time to give that idea life?

There are many routes to develop your business idea but the first step is to own it and identify its potential.  Take some time out and consider what you can do with the ideas floating in your head.

What is your idea? Who is it for? Why do they need it? How will it work? Where can they buy it? When can you launch it? These are some of the questions you should consider before you set off on your business path.

Research plays a key factor in the idea development stage. Once you identify and test the potential of your idea, then give it LIFE with a business plan.

Business First Steps is passionate about defining passion, developing viable business ideas and business start.  Stop by at www.businessfirststeps.co.uk we will love to help you bring your business idea to life.  Our workshops to help you discover your passion and develop your business ideas are coming soon.

Regards,

Temi

Photos courtesy of sxc.hu Michaelaw and Svile001.

How to Start a Business Based on Passion

Many ambitious people think of starting a business at some point in their lives, but their approach determines whether their idea will succeed or fail.  If you are looking to start a business, there are a few proven steps that are essential to your business start-up.

Find your Passion

To start a successful venture, the first step is to determine what you are good at, what drives you and what is your passion.  I always say this to my family, friends and clients – “passion will keep you going when profit is not flowing.”  You need to love something enough to be able to dedicate time and effort to it. You can use your life experiences, education and skills to transform your idea into reality.  Just imagine doing what you love every working day of your life – it stops being a chore and become a lifestyle.  Some of us have peculiar gifts which will yield great fulfilment if developed and enhanced the right way.

What Do You Want From Your Passion?

Once you have been able to explore and discover your passion, you need to determine what you want from it. You must remember that not all ideas or passion are viable.  We are referring to finding fulfilment first and not necessarily turning your passion into profit.  Some people just want to help others achieve their dreams or live better lives.  Some love to impart skills or build systems that make things work better.  There are millions of ideas you can explore if you are true to your passion and strengths.

  1. Non-Profit Making Passion

Money makes the world go round and we need money to pay the bills.  So if your passion is not a profit-making business, do not despair – just don’t quit your day job.  There are many ways you can find fulfilment doing what you love and keep your  regular job.  You just need to find the right balance and sync the two to work together effectively.  If you need to dedicate a few hours in the evening twice a week towards your passion, then so be it, as long as other parts of your life do not suffer for it.  I believe if we love something enough, we will make time for it in our lives.

  1. Profit Making Passion

On the other hand if you want to earn an income from your passion, you will need to take a different route.  You should first settle in your mind that you have the skills and knowledge to run a business. Running a business is not a leisure activity and you must be prepared for the journey. Ask your family and friends to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.  Make a list of the skills and entrepreneurial traits that your business requires.  Then list the ones you already have, the ones you can develop and where you need someone else’s input to compliment your weaknesses.

What Do You Have?

So now you know you enjoy making hair accessories or providing answers to life’s questions.  The next thing you need to do is to think of how to package that passion into a product or service.  What is out there and how can you make your product or service different from others? This can unlock the key to your uniqueness and a niche market. Sometimes the difference in your products can be your customer service, packaging, a little bit extra or the additional accessory that creates a completely new market.  You need to explore the possibilities of your products and services through research and by talking to people to find out what needs are not being met.  The best way to start is to use your competitors as a guideline to discover the missing pieces or gap in the market.

We all seek fulfilment one way or another but what better way to find fulfilment doing what you love and helping others too.  Enjoy the process and I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps provides pre business start-up one-to-one sessions and workshops on How to Define your Passion and How to Develop Business Ideas.  The sessions and workshops help you discover what you love and enjoy and help you start your own business stress-free and totally motivated.  Visit the website at www.businessfirststeps.co.uk to find out more.

Click here for BFS April 2012 Newsletter and subscribe for future updates.

Photos courtesy of Lockheed & Tracynbran sxc.hu

Defining a Niche Market for your Business

Business can be a pleasure if we get things right from the start. One of the keys to being a successful business owner is the ability to identify an industry gap and your niche market.   I am sure a lot of us hear about niche markets all the time, internet marketers always advice – find your niche, know your niche!  So is all the hype really worth it?  Yes it is!

In this blog, I want to demystify how you can identify a niche for your business idea or improve on what you have.

The Wide Reach of the Web

The World Wide Web is just as it name implies, a web that collects all sort of information from all over the world.  Cyberspace is versatile and reaches the most remote parts of the earth.  So how do you compete with a business in Mongolia or another in Kenya?

You Find your Niche Market

When you decide to start out in business and if you are like me, ideas might come in drones and crowd your mind with so much information. They might overwhelm you and some people even quit at this stage…yes before they start!  The solution is not to quit but to start your quest by identifying the things that interest you.

If you are interested in motorcars, you may not be able to compete with the likes of Mercedes or Ford Motors. There is a likelihood that you can offer what customers are missing from the big competitors.  Even though they eat the cookies, there are bound to be some crumbs that may fall on the ground. Just imagine if you keep collecting the crumbs every time they get a cookie. Before you know it, you may have a cookie of your own!

Analyse Your Products and/or Services

What do you want to offer?  Is it an area you are very knowledgeable about?  Or is it something you can learn?  Your product may seem like a great idea to you, but will your customers feel the same way?

For example, your product may appeal to mothers but what kind of mothers will your products appeal to, mothers of toddlers, mothers of boys, mothers of teenagers or grandmothers?

Narrow Down your Search

Once you have been able to identify your market e.g. toys for toddler boys. You need to determine the keywords that describe your market.  You can now use the best keyword search facilities to identify how many people search for what you have to offer.  You may discover that there are many people looking specifically for what you have to offer but very little competition.  If the competition is low, you may have found your market.

Revamp a Product or Service

There might be a lot of competition for your proposed product or service, but don’t give up!  There might be nothing new under the sun (According to King Solomon of the bible) but there might be better ways of doing things.  Can your product compliment an existing one? Can you offer an extension of what is currently available?   You should study your competitors and think of how you can make your business unique.

Find the Right Description

When people ask about your business, develop a well thought out description of your niche market. For instance if you are a personal trainer, never introduce yourself as ‘just a trainer’. Introduce yourself as ‘a personal trainer with over 12 years experience of providing Thighs and Abs Training, specialist area being Abs and Thighs training for mothers who have had a C-Section’.    Now you bet people will pay attention! (this may be idea for someone out there).

Identifying a niche market for your business can help it stand out from your competitors.   Before you embark on your business there are other issues you will need to factor in as well. Using a niche market strategy in isolation may not guarantee business success.  But it will compliment your other efforts as you embark on developing your business concept.

Check out my brainstorming sessions – your virtual business partner when you need one.

I wish you good success.

Temi

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Photos courtesy of sxc.hu Spekulator and Lockheed.

How to Find A Home Business

I want to highlight some tips to help you wade through the countless offers online and offline on how to make a fortune in no time at all.  Incredible, I know!!! My first instinct when I see those proclamations now  is ‘if it’s that easy everyone will be doing it’.  It’s nice to have an additional income to support your family needs especially in this economic climate.  A word of warning, do not be desperate enough to try anything without carrying out adequate research. 

Extra Income Comes In Handy

I got burnt many years ago by a company that offers toner for printers.  I was looking for an easy to do business to support my regular income.  I got my business cards and everything else organised to start my distributorship for the low-priced toner. The company simply stopped responding after I paid my first instalment. No response to emails (obviously you can’t call them as they don’t have a number!).  I had to cancel my credit card to ensure they stop charging me for service that was never provided. 

To avoid getting burnt like I did, the following tips should help you separate the good from the bad and the outright ugly:

Information Overload

There is so much information out there especially online, it is mind-boggling!  Offers for everything from diet pills to face cream that can make you look ‘40 years younger’.  Most of them also come with a deadline – TODAY ONLY offers!!! You can get lucky and find a business you will enjoy but you aren’t sure if it is a scam.  In order to find the right home business for you, you need to do your own research. 

Once you identify a business you will like to do, find information about them via the search engines. 

Is there any information about the company apart from the one on their website? 

Are there any customer review of their products and services?

Do the people who write the reviews actually exist?

Google is God-sent as you can find almost anything that has a web-entry online. 

Is There a Need for The Products?

Are the products legitimate products or services?

Do they meet a need?  

Do you know people who will buy them?

Is there a sample available to see, feel and touch?

What makes them difference from what is in the market? 

Are they cheaper, better, bigger or simply a lie?

Hello, anyone there!!!

Contact Information

Do they have a website? (Especially those roadside claims to wealth)

Are there valid contact details on the site? 

Is there a person at the end of the phone or an automated response?

 

Guarantee and Returns

Does the company offer any guarantees and what are their return policies?  If you are buying a service returns may not apply, but find out what they are willing to offer if you are not satisfied with the service. 

What Costs Involved? 

What costs are involved in starting up?  Make sure you go through these details with a fine-tooth comb.  Read the information and look out for the catch (if any), do not be too eager and forget to read the small print. 

When you take time to research and read through the information about your choice of business, it will help you make informed decisions. Remember it is also easier to sell things you love so in your search look for products or services you can easily offer to others.   If you are not a coffee drinker like me, I am not sure you will be able to adequately sell the benefits of coffee…except you are an exceptional salesperson. 

There is no quick fix to starting a business online, more likely a quick way to get scammed. 

Carry out due diligence as often as required for every opportunity that come your way. Remember as you get smarter, so do the scammers. I hope you find the right home business for you.

 Wishing you every success…Temi

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk/brainstorming.html

The List that Matters

The dawn of a new year is upon us and many are writing their aspirations and goals for the new year. As usual I have got a question for you…what really matters to you in life? 

  • Is it a Successful Business?
  • The Profit?
  • The Acclaim?
  • The Fame?
  • The Experience?
  • Being a Person of Influence?
  • A Dominant Market Share?

 This list might be part of our Business goals for 2012, but we should not allow our drive to excel and succeed supersede the need to be there for our loved ones.  

As you write your business goals for 2012, remember to make time for those that matter in your life. I am rearranging my own priorities in 2012 too. 

Read the rest of the newsletter here

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