Are You Charging What You Are Worth?

I know we can’t place a value on our lives – after all life is priceless, but we can place a value on our time and what we do with it.   If your best friend asks you to run an errand on their behalf and you have a job to complete, which one will you rather pay attention to?  Will you prefer to delegate the errand and pay attention to your work or run the errand for friendship’s sake?

The way we view and use our time is an indication of what we think our time is worth.  I’m privileged to work with a number of wonderful people via Business First Steps with great business ideas.  I noticed that some are sceptical to charge a reasonable price for their products and services, even though they put a lot of time and effort into it.

Business profit concept

The first thing you need to decide if you want to start a business is, are you are going to be a profit or non-profit making organisation?   A non-profit organisation means you inject proceeds from the business back into the business.

If you want to earn profit from your business then stop operating like a social enterprise or not-for-profit organisation.  If your business is not breaking even but you spend endless hours trying to meet customers’ demand, then you need to go back to the drawing board and revisit your operation, prices and business values.

Below are some questions to help you with your pricing strategy:

  • What are my business values?
  • What is the objective of my business, product or service?
  • What are my competitors charging?
  • What pricing strategy do I want to employ?
  • Do I want to undercut them, match them or charge much more and offer a better service?
  • How much time do I invest in each order?
  • What is the cost of sales?
  • What other variable costs do I have to take account of?
  • How much do I want to earn per hour?
  • What are my personal expenses and how much do I need each month?
  • How much can I earn from my business each month and still pay business expenses including taxes?
  • What are my monthly fixed costs?
  • What is my profit margin on each product/service?

The list is not exhaustive but you can use it as a starting point to develop your prices.  If your product is of low value, you must take into consideration that you need to sell more to make a profit.  If you are a sole trader do you have the capacity to produce the quantity required? Will you need more resources and more staff?  If you take on premises, can your business sustain the costs?

It can be quite tricky to price services, a lot of people tend to use the ‘pay per hour’ model i.e. they charge based on the number of hours it takes them to complete a job.  So if they charge £25 per hour and each job takes 4 hours to complete that means they charge £100 per job.  Watch out! If you charge £1000 for your service and you do not get a single client in 4 months, you need to revisit the plan.

These are part of the steps you need to take to run a viable business that brings you joy and credits your account with a monthly income too. Get your pricing and product offering right then you are on your way to enjoy the proceeds from a successful business.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

Need help with your pricing strategy? Why not get the eBook ‘Pricing Your Service for Maximum Profit’ and checklist via our Resource page. At Business First Steps, we help you bring your business idea to life and support you through the early stages of your business journey.  Visit our website Business First Steps and find us on Facebook.

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Free Promotion for your Business

When I started my business after I was made redundant, I was broke with very little capital to get anything done. One of the things I diligently sought after in those early days was free opportunities to promote my business. This month, I will like to share with you some of the ways I was able to promote my business without breaking the bank.

Article Writing

1156284_innovation raja4uThis was one of the first promotion techniques I learnt when I started my business. Well I cheated a bit as I started as a copywriter and article writing was one of the services I provided. You can use article writing to promote your expertise on a particular subject matter. Distribution of articles to many directories is free, so it might be worth your while to delve into the art of writing. You can write articles for newspapers, magazines and other publications related to your industry. If you can’t do it yourself, why not get someone else to write them for you. Find some tips on how to write good articles here

Blogging

blog-icon-200This is not only good for your business but also a great way to introduce your knowledge and expertise to the world. I recommend blogging to many of my clients who are not sure of where to start with their passion. Even though many profess that they can’t write, I’ve discovered that if you write about your passion it tends to flow naturally. You can always work on your writing style and everything else as you go along. Check out this free blogging course from one of the experts in that field.

Newsletters & Email Marketing

1159730_yell YodesignerI read it in someone’s newsletter recently that some potential customers need to see your message up to 27 times before they buy from you. There you have it, so don’t quit on potential customers after the first phone call or email.  It’s like starting a 5K race and quitting just before you reach the finish line. Your newsletter or email does not have to be huge but it has to be full of useful information that your target market will like to read. Business Next Step can help you with your newsletters  if you need some hand-holding. You can start with a quarterly, bi-monthly or monthly interval, just be consistent.

Collaboration

671413_handshake ngouldThey say “no man is an island.” That is also true in the business world. You need people as much as people need you, do not run your business in isolation. Collaborate with businesses that compliment what you do. If you sell flowers, why not collaborate with a venue decorator. Find a mutual way to reward each other for promoting your businesses. List other business services on your website or newsletter and let them do the same for you.

Social Media

social_media_icons_20Many people turn up their nose at social media for business. I have met some amazing clients and people through social media platforms. I have been invited to speak, run seminars and deliver workshops via social media. If you run a business and do not use social media to promote your business, then you are certainly not making use of the free resources you have at your disposal. All it will cost you is time and effort – but the rewards can be great.

There are other free and affordable ways you can promote your business. Get your thinking cap on and make a list of the techniques you are going to use in June and beyond. Start today, you can do this!!!

Connect with me via Facebook and Twitter and make sure you enjoy your business journey.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps – tools that bring ideas to life.

Get Your Umbrella Out!!!

I love writing about my business journey as it reminds me of where and when I started.  When I consider my start-up route, I am also reminded of the need to ensure our mindsets are in the right gear to start and run successful businesses.

I shared this quote by Dolly Parton on my status update recently – “There is no rainbow without rain”.

That has now become my favourite quote. When we write our business plans, we expect most if not all conditions to be favourable. We expect sunshine every day and exclude ‘the element of risk’ which is an important factor in business engagement.  Well, you can’t be more risk-adverse than I used to be.  I carry an umbrella in my handbag 365 days a year just in case it might rain even when the temperature hits late 20s.

Well the truth is,  the road to business success is never a straightforward one – like the British weather actually. As I write this blog, I reflect on how the weather has been quite unpredictable over the past few weeks. I went into a shop recently when it was sunny and came out in need of cover from the rain. Can’t seem to know how to dress the kids for school, should we have jumpers, coats or just t-shirts? A business works the same way, you might not get sunshine every day, but when you do it is so beautiful and rewarding.

My advice to anyone starting or running a business is ‘be prepared for all kinds of weather.’  To avoid frustration and despair, know that business does not flow in a straight line. There will be dips and curves, ups and downs, summer and winter. Just be sure you have got a good and viable business idea in your hands.  The good news is, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.   Be conversant with your business seasons, maximise the summer months and store away for winter. It’ll make it much easier to deal with successes and failures and get through every time.

So get your umbrella and wellies out and be ready to dance in the rain.  Don’t let adverse conditions deter you from enjoying your business journey.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps – tools that bring ideas to life.

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

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