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

Products or Services Development Tip 1

They say ideas are a dime a dozen but how do you get that idea that is bound to create a storm in the market place.  Understandably, you want to follow your passion and create a business you can run whilst also having some fun.  Let’s be honest if you follow your passion and your bills never get paid, it is a matter of time before you pack it in.  I am a firm believer of maximising passion to make a living but in the same light you have to ensure there is a demand for what you want to offer.

So what are the things you can do to check if your product or service idea is a viable one?  The following tips can help you develop an idea around your passion:

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What Group of People Engage and Interest You?

This thought might never have occurred to you, but we are all more comfortable with certain groups of people than others. Some love being around mothers, students, football enthusiasts, foodies, professionals, women, men or techy people.   The people you like to hang out with and things that interest you might be an indication of who you can be selling your products or services to.

Facebook Founder

Take for instance the story of Facebook founder Mark Elliot Zuckerberg.  He launched Facebook from his dormitory room. With the help of friends, he took Facebook to other campuses nationwide and soon after moved to Palo Alto, California. By 2007, Facebook had made him a billionaire at the age of 23. By 2010, Facebook had an estimated 500 million users worldwide and reached 1 billion in 2012.  Wikipedia 2013.

That is a simple indication of how the people you hang out with can become your target market.  So get those magnifying glass and look at them closely.

My Mini Story

There are many people with similar stories who built their businesses based on the needs of people around them.  Due to my analytical ability, my family and close friends used to approach me when they are contemplating a business decision – initially I wasn’t sure why.   After many years of writing business plans for free, it dawned on me that I can actually make a living doing this albeit in a professional way.  My first few customers were my family and friends and I am grateful for their trust in me.  Now that my company accommodates people from all walks of life, it is amazing to think that this was something that was always a part of me.

Taking the First Step

So if you want to start a business on a part time, full time or as an additional income to your current career – look closely at the people that interest you.   It could be your work colleagues, your jogging buddy or your lunchtime/church group.  Do not start looking at them on the basis of money but on the basis of meeting their needs.  It is easier to sell to people you know to start off and grow from there.  Study them and start jotting down in a notebook what you think they need that you can provide.

Till Next Time…Don’t Stop the Process of Your Business Start-up.  Keep Moving!

Temi

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk – personalised and practical business set-up and start-up services.

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.

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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.

 

A Business Start-up Poem

To start your own business is like a long test

Never the same scenario because people have their uniqueness

It always starts from an inkling idea then grows

Like a baby it needs incubation, everyone knows

Passion plays a really great part

and will help once your courage starts

You can never ever get too much information

It’s out there so do the necessary collation

Of course there’s those who can help you pass the test

Such as one called Business First Steps

by Lufem Black © 2012

BFS www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Personalised and Practical Business Start-up Services

What is in Your Warehouse?

I had the glimpse of Asda’s depot recently. I was amazed at the number of activities that go on behind the scene, whilst we innocently shop for our daily needs.  There were boxes and crates everywhere, people unpacking, packing, moving, checking, listing, scanning, noting and buzzing.  There were just so many people involved in getting the stock from suppliers to shelves.

If deliveries were dumped all over the Asda depot floor without being checked in, left unpacked for days then delivered late to the shop floor.  The innocent people who come in to the store just to pick up a few groceries will probably not be able to do so.

Your Personal Warehouse Stacked to the Roofbigstock-Full-warehouse-with-forklifts--16555610As you may have noticed from my previous posts, everyday life always gets me thinking. What came to mind as I observed this depot was the bare truth that we are all custodians of personal warehouses.

The same delivery process is applicable to what is occupying the space in our personal warehouses.  Many of us have got huge skills, talents, gifts, experiences, services, products etc that should be accessible via the ‘shop floor’ so the numerous people who need what we have can gain access to them.  But for reasons best known to us, our depot is littered with unopened boxes that are yet to be shipped to the right location or arranged on the appropriate shelves.

I am also guilty of this syndrome.  I started analysing our exhibition at the recent business show, I was truly amazed at the number of people who need the services we provide.  Whether Business First Steps went to the show or not, it will have taken place. The only difference being many people may not be able to access BFS’ warehouse to pick up the services they need.

The same goes for those thinking of starting businesses, community groups, social enterprise or new career – what you have is the solution to someone’s problem or the answer to someone’s question. The question is, are your goods on the shelves where they can be accessed?   If you are already running a business, are you maximizing the products or services you offer?  Are you constantly restocking your shelves?

Who is Taking Stock of Your Stock?

Many of us are probably taking stock of what we have done over the past 10-11 months. I try as much as I can not to be swept away by the “what have you achieved this year” syndrome. It doesn’t matter to me if you set goals in April, June or November. The most important aspect is not the time you set the goals but the actions that follow the goals.

bigstock-Taking-inventory-19677038According to Wikipedia 2012 ‘Stock-taking or inventory checking is the physical verification of the quantities and condition of items held in an inventory or warehouse.

This may be done to provide an audit of existing stock valuation. It is also the source of stock discrepancy information. Stock-taking may be performed as an intensive annual check or may be done continuously by means of a cycle count.’

How often do you take stock of the resources delivered to your warehouse?  Are you using your knowledge, skills, talents and resources to add value to the lives of others and yourself?  Are you marketing the products in your warehouse to those who need it?

One of the key elements of stock taking is to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. What manpower have you got to move your stock? I am reluctantly letting go of tasks that slow me down. I now let someone else do them (and stack their own shelves) whilst I can concentrate on what matters most to me.

There are a lot of factors we need to consider when setting goals for ourselves – these include:

  • Personal and family circumstances
  • Your abilities and personality
  • Your mind-set and daily schedules
  • Available resources – including funds, knowledge, support etc.

If the task at hand is one of your pet hate why don’t you delegate it? Just imagine if Asda directors/managers decide to do the depot work themselves, rather than put people in place to move the products to the shop floor.  All those intricate details need to be taken care of and they choose to hire the manpower for it.

In one of my previous blogs I wrote about my new acronym ADO – Automate, Delegate and Outsource – this is helping me a great deal, I feel a lot lighter with less baggage. There are just so many tasks one person can get done at any given time. I have come to realise that there is no point feeling guilty about tasks you may never get done – I felt that way for a very long time. Be realistic and get help, however you can even if you have to trade by barter.  If you are thinking of starting or growing a business and you can’t navigate through the numerous steps, get help!  Do not make the mistake of convincing yourself that you will get it done and let another year come and go.

Stock taking is a necessity but the stock-taker has the power to make sure the floor is adequately stocked and meeting the needs of those who want to buy the goods.  So if you have to take stock as we approach the end of the year, do it with the mindset that you will get your goods to the ‘shop floor’ before they expire in the depot.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

http://www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Practical and Personalised Business Start-up Coaching, Services and Support.

Free Two Hours Parking

I know this might sound strange but I always dread parking in those free two-hour parking bays.  Some of them will state free two hours parking limit, no return within three hours.  I question if I return later than two hours whether I will be booked for my tardiness? Does anyone actually set the timer for cars parked in two-hour limit free parking bays?  I really will love to know the answer but not at the expense of a parking fine.

The parking sign got me thinking (as I do) about business start-up and development.  A lot of us park in these bays with the notion of just staying for two hours and we end up staying there for much longer than we anticipated.  Ok, we probably will not get a physical parking ticket for hanging out in our ‘comfort zone’ bay longer than we want.  But life does pay back to those that do take action and those that don’t – in the long-term.  The question is what payment will you prefer?

  • You may be in a job or career with five years’ time limit
  • Your business idea may still be on the ‘two year limit’ back burner
  • You may have even started a business but there is no noticeable growth to show for your efforts.
  • The number of your customers are still the same after so many years.
  • Products or services are still the same range.
  • Someone else has done something similar to that business idea you have been nursing for a while.

My question is “have you exceeded your parking limit” in your current bay.  What happened to the goals you set at the beginning of the year about the things you wanted to do with your idea or your business?

Have you moved from the parking bay, drove around for a while and ‘returned after three hours?

Ok so the first business idea or new product didn’t work out after putting in so much effort, time and resources. I understand the disappointment but please do not return to the same old bay.  Why don’t you explore other parking (business) opportunities instead, for all you know you might get a better spot with little or no restrictions.

I know what it’s like to be charged up momentarily, ready to face the world but feel dejected when challenges crop up forcing you to go back to your old bay.  It is so easy to get caught up with life and what it brings, but to succeed we just have to fight to achieve our goals or we will never get to the right destination.   No successful business owner will tell you that running a business is an easy feat.  To excel and go beyond the thought stage of your idea, business, products or services, we must push beyond the barriers.  We need to set realistic goals and achieve them through consistent and persistent actions.

Find a Better Parking Space

If you have been working on a new product or service for your business, how can you accelerate the process?  Do you need to set realistic goals and deadlines, get help or a mentor, get more resources or gain more knowledge?  Do you need to set time aside, reduce your workload so you can work on your business rather than in your business?

Are you a start-up?  Consider what you need to do to actualise your business idea.  Make a list of the things you need to change and start taking action to make headway with your idea.  What are your roadblocks? Identify the actions that are keeping you in that parking bay and work toward eliminating them.

Be uncomfortable in your ‘comfort zone’ and choose to make conscious efforts to grow – it offers great dividends and rewards in the long run.

Till next time

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps – personalised and practical business start-up services

Photos courtesy of bigstockphoto and johnridley sxc.hu

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