Business and Cobwebs

I don’t know about you but I have seen so many spiders this year than I have in the last few years gone by.  I am not sure if I have heightened spider sense (too many spiderman movies I guess) or I am just getting older.  Anyway since I am no longer afraid of them, I can deal with them quite easily.

Have You Got Cobwebs in Your Content?

I browse the internet a lot to read articles, blogs and other publications from a wide range of industries.  I do this to keep abreast of what is happening in other businesses for the benefit of my clients.  This way we can find gaps in the industry and set our businesses apart. Whilst browsing I came across so many dead links on great articles, blog posts and other publications that take you nowhere.  I must have come across at least 20 dead links in the last few days which is a real shame as I would have loved to find out more about the people/businesses behind the posts.

This is what got me thinking of cobwebs (I tried to make a joke out of this i.e. Websites and Cobwebs but drew a blank).  But the similarity between the two is uncanning.  This is the way I see it:

Spring Cleaning – If you do not dust your home regularly, there is a tendency that spiders will build a lot of cobwebs in every nook and cranny they can find which can be quite unsightly.

Website Cleaning – The same goes for our websites too.  If we don’t look after our websites and carry out regular housekeeping, visitors to your website or those who read your articles and other publications will end up clicking on dead links.  Most small businesses might not be able to afford the cost of paying someone to maintain their websites all year but these simple chores can be done in-house.  So rid your site of dead links as you know that no information = no customers = no sale.

The Cobwebs Cleaner

One of the solutions I will suggest is to link your articles, posts etc to your homepage. The likelihood of your homepage URL changing over time (except you close down your business) is unlikely.  If you are promoting a temporary offer, why don’t you add the details to your homepage too.  At least people will be able to find it via one or two clicks.  This helps avoid the dead-link syndrome after the promotion is done and showcases your attention to detail, care for your business and visitors alike.

You should also make it a habit to check your website links regularly especially the pages that are linked to your home page. Click on the links, check where they lead to and fix the dud ones.

Business Start-up!  If you are a new business, I know we all get excited of what is to come.  But try not to succumb to the desire to show off your website URL until it is operational.  It is quite disappointing to click on a hyped link and find nothing, so let the first click lead to an inspirational experience and not a deflating one.

So have you got a system in place to check your website links regularly?  If you do please share as a comment below.  I better get my spring cleaning hat on and carry out my maintenance routine too.

Till next time, don’t stop dusting.

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps provides a range of tools and services for your business start-up and development.  Affordable, practical and result-driven services is what we offer.

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.

Is Self Employment an Easier Option?

I must confess that working as an employee I never enjoyed waking up early. I played it by the ear until I started having babies and had to do school and nursery runs.  I developed a fine art of getting ready in little or no time at all, just because I had the morning blues (most days).  Well now I am self-employed and I am sure you will like to know if I get a lie in once in a while.  The answer is rarely, too many opportunities to maximise!!!

The Reality of Self Employment

A lot of us think of self-employment as an escape route from taking orders from a boss who towers over us and watches our every move.  We want to do our own thing, work at our own pace and in our own time.  With self-employment, you get very little ‘me’ time – especially at the early development stages.  In the first few years of starting your business, you have to work really hard to get it off the ground, build a trusting reputation and keep it afloat.  I strongly believe that starting a business is neither for the faint hearted nor the work-shy.  A new business will place unimaginable demands on you and most of these demands you cannot delegate as no one else knows the plan like you do. Even if you employ freelancers or consultants, you still need to drive the business forward because your reputation is at stake.  Remember input = output.

Do I Carry It All?

I contract some of my work out to freelancers when I get really busy but quality control is a very important aspect I need keep in check.  If my freelancer does a shoddy job, I can’t point fingers at anyone. To my client the work was done by Business First Steps and my reputation and quality of work is very important to me.  I have been burnt a few times and I do not intend to let that happen again.  So when contracting out make sure you get valid references, check their work and sign a proper agreement to cover amendments and cancellations.

Accept the Facts

If you are considering starting a business, you must be ready for the rigour of the first few years.  You will be climbing mountains and pulling yourself out of valleys sometimes. Accept the fact that there is hard work to get through to get the rewards business ownership offers.  There is going to be late nights and early morning rises, emotional highs, lows and in between moments.  Set your mind on the goal you want to achieve and get your priorities in order so your life is well-balanced.

Be Flexible

You also need to be flexible and know when to re-route and change direction. Your initial starting point might not be the best option after all. If you fail the first time but you know you are built for entrepreneurship,  don’t be discouraged, take a step back, recharge and try another route.  My pilgrimage to my present destination took me through a variety of business options including toner supplies – a far cry from where I am now.

Do not believe all the get rich quick gimmicks out there that claim you can make £100,000 in 30 days.  People that succeed legally will tell you how much effort they had to put into their business to get it to the stage it is currently at.

You will get some time off for good behaviour, but in the initial stages they may be far in-between.  So get your mind prepared for the journey ahead, get help where you can and start your journey rearing to go.

My advice is if you want to join the elite group of business owners, count the cost before you commit to that business.

At Business First Steps we can help you turn your start-up into a success!

Enjoy the process….Temi.

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

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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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

Business Entrepreneurs and Perseverance

What is Perseverance?

Perseverance is an important skill every entrepreneur should possess in order to achieve success in their business venture. Without this important skill, it is so easy to seek the way out when business challenges come up.

According to the Collins English dictionary perseverance is defined as ‘continued steady belief or efforts’. This is an approach that should be consistent in entrepreneurs despite the obstacles, discouragement and disappointments they face daily.

Without perseverance in an entrepreneur’s mind, efforts become lukewarm and results unachievable. Perseverance can be difficult to discover and sustain as obstacles can become tiring and insurmountable – emotions we all need to watch out for and overcome. These feelings are common especially to new entrepreneurs who are trying to find their feet in the business world.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Successful entrepreneurs usually possess an uncompromising focus which enables them to achieve their business dreams. They forgo feelings of inadequacies, negative emotions and the “I can’t do it” attitude. Their lives are centered on their business goals and persevere until the goal is achieved.  These high achievers are motivated to reach the pinnacles of business success; they are never tuned into the negative words of “it’s not going to work”. Their focus is on one thing… the goal of success.

To feel this way, you must truly enjoy what you do and be passionate about your business. When you possess the passion for what you do, the other skill sets including perseverance will come naturally over time.

How to Develop Perseverance

Find your Passion

Collins Dictionary defines passion as a strong enthusiasm for something. Perseverance goes hand in hand with passion. Analyse yourself by asking the following questions:

    • What part of your business excites you?
    • Have you deviated from your primary business vision or are you still on track?

    Sometimes being an entrepreneur can feel like a circus juggler – with business administration, marketing, customer relations and more all crying out for your time. The initial vision can become obscured and frustration can easily set in. Take control by revisiting your vision and find your passion once again.

Make Time for the Task you Love

Sometimes the mundane business tasks take so much of your time; you struggle to find time to do the things you love about your business. Do not lose sight of what made you start out in business, find time to do those things as regularly as you can. If possible incorporate it into your daily activities, as this will be the booster that helps you persevere in hard times. For example if you love graphic designs, do not get carried away with marketing and book-keeping and stop designing – create time for your passion!

Practice Perseverance

Perseverance is not developed in a day; it takes time to acquire and this comes by regular practice. When you set a task for yourself make sure you complete it before you move on to another task. Stay focused on each task you embark upon and reward yourself with little treats for a job well done and for getting closer to your overall goal.

When you find something you are passionate about, it is so much easier to find the fortitude and perseverance to wade through the challenges. This is what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the ones that consistently struggle – which one will you rather be?

A lot of us wander through life with unfulfilled dreams. To take charge of your life, visit http://www.businessfirststeps.co.uk and www.businessideabooster.com for help in finding the key to your passion. In no time, you can start doing what you love and enhance your entrepreneurial mindset.

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Photos courtesy of Barunpaho, 195617 & Wia-Trol sxc.hu