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.

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Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Passion

Are you are passionate about football, fast cars, cooking, shopping, eating out, fashion, outer space, aliens or ancient Egypt? Do you know that there are more ways than one to express that passion? Why limit yourself and follow the trend that has been set before you. Do you know that every idea you birth will have its own unique twist? Why you may ask? Because you are unique and you are bound to put your unique twist on everything you do, which makes the outcome extra special.

1272912_padlock_of_the_love 195617So what can you do with your passion once you discover it?

If you are still digging to find yours then you should get the “How to Unlock the Potential of Your Passion Audio Workshop and Worksheets” Listen and read this first so you can have a clear understanding of what your passion is and how to maximise it.

Your passion can have as many expressions as you allow it, as long as you are brave and bold enough to let it shine. Be careful of overwhelm though because once you allow your imagination to go for a stroll, you can be guaranteed that it will grab a shopping trolley and pile it high with ideas.  Check out my post 8 Questions to ask your business idea to help you weed through your pile of ideas.

So let us look at what you can do with your passion:

  1. Write About It – if you love fashion for example and you do not want to trade in it, you can write about the subject and get as much kick as if you are wearing or selling it.
  2. Teach It – some people just love to impart knowledge to others. This can be your niche, and another way to express your passion.
  3. Make It – can you make life easier for a particular demographic by developing a new product or service? They might just be waiting for what you can bring to the table.
  4. Sell It – do you want others to enjoy your passion? If access to your passion is limited, you can become the middleman between that passion and others that share your enthusiasm.
  5. Share It – if you have got a great network of friends and are good in gathering people together, why don’t you create a group to share your passion with.
  6. Advice It – I am passionate about people maximising their passion and turning them into great business ideas.  Are you that way inclined about a subject matter? Then might be your way of expressing your passion too.
  7. Invest In It – investment is another good way to get involved in what you enjoy. You do not have to start the business but you can be a part of it by investing in the concept financially or in other ways – just like football club owners!
  8. Combine It – you do not have to express your passion in just one way; you can combine sharing your passion with writing about it or advice on it etc. Whatever you choose to do, do not let it lie fallow and grow weeds.

Medium-Size-Ebook-JPGThere are so many ways you can express your passion but these are just a few to get you started.  If you are a firm believer like me that your passion has purpose i.e. to add value to your life and the lives of others, then you will be uncomfortable sitting on probably “the next best thing”.  Need help; start listing where your passion fits in the list above. Then get the Audio workshop and worksheets on How to Maximise the Potential of your Passion and give your passion a chance to bloom.

Has this post got your brain juices flowing?  Comment below or send me an email at ask@businessfirststeps.co.uk.  I will love to know your point of view.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo.

Business First Steps – Turning Passion into Profit with Purpose.

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

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

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