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

Social Media Opportunities

Are you a stay-at-home mum or dad looking for something to do?

Are you in between jobs and looking for a new career path or new business?

Why don’t you join in and ride on the Social Media Wave?  There are so many opportunities out there that you can maximise and also make a living too.

Some of those opportunities include:

  • Graphic designer – creating Facebook banners and twitter backgrounds
  • Social Media profile setup
  • Social Media updates
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Editors
  • Copywriters
  • Social media management and more

Your first business step is to find out about your chosen area, there is limitless information online – eBooks, videos, how-to articles etc. Assess your skill set, find out what you can or can’t do.  If you commit to developing yourself in an area within the next few months, you could be getting paid for your own gigs very soon.

Go on, give it a go!!!

Till next time

Temi

www.Businessfirststeps.co.uk

Business Reality Check

Musing about my business tasks today and the following realities of starting and running a business came to mind.  Just what I need to remind myself of my role as a business owner.

The Time Factor

Everyday we are bombarded with the miracle cure for whatever business ailment we may have. Whether it is procrastination, low self-esteem, lack of skills or imagination.  There is something out there prescribed to help you get results in an instant. Starting and growing a business takes a lot of time and effort.  Stop buying into those lies about the next best thing for your business that could make you an instant £100,000 profit with absolutely no effort on your part.  I spent a fair amount of money on some miracle start-up remedies some years back, they got me nowhere. Now I know better – one has to dig deep foundations for a business, so that when it grows it will not topple over.  Shallow foundations and quick solutions do not provide lasting results.

However, there are some great products out there that compliment your efforts – those are the ones worth buying.  They not only help your business but also make the job of running your business a lot easier to manage.

It’s Your Job

You can hire a consultant, an accountant or even cajole your mum to help.  If you want your business to succeed, then you need to do a lot of things yourself.  Even if you eventually employ people, you cannot ignore or shy away from your role as the business owner.    Yes you can copy systems off the internet or go to numerous seminars and get all fired up, you still have to put what you learn to work.  Take ownership of your business idea and push it till it becomes your reality.

The Dark Side

As the main decision maker in your business (if you are not a partnership) you should be ready for the dark and lonely days.  The days when the weight of the business decisions will be on your shoulders alone. When people will look to you for answers and to make decisions that will benefit the business. Create the right atmosphere you will need for those dark days; surround yourself with people who can uplift and motivate you to keep moving forward.

Eat the Humble Pie

There is no doubt in my mind that when you start your business you will be humbled.  Not everyone will think you have a good idea and not everyone will think you are smart. Be ready for criticism, irate customers, competitors who will steal your ideas, oh! be ready for all sorts.  The important point to remember is not to lose the values you hold dear when you face your business struggles.

Commitment

You can’t make a success of any venture if you do not commit to it.  You get out of your business what you put into it.  If you want it to grow then you have to commit to developing your idea on a daily basis. There is no short cut to business growth, be innovative and prepared for opportunities.  Set goals for yourself and commit to achieving them within a given time frame. The more you do this, the better you become and the more tasks you mark off your to-do-list. When you look back in a few years time, you will be amazed how far you have come.

Till next time, I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo.

Get the eBook: Bring your Business Idea to life and start the business of your dreams.

Photo courtesy of Bigstockphoto.

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.

The Gear Stick

I remember when I was learning how to drive and the thought of changing gears used to fill me with dread. I prayed to God that the traffic lights will always be green so I could avoid the notorious biting-point when moving on. Oh the pain of learning how to drive! I was so elated when I passed my driving test. Guess what! I was also quick to forget my driving fear, the neck pain and throbbing headaches from concentrating so hard.

How do I go from Gear One to Six? 

Getting the kids ready to go back to school today got me thinking of why I need to change my business gear too.  Every now and then I get restless with my business goals and it is always an indication that I need to do more to grow my business.

Lately it seems I have been stuck in gear three for a while, business is not slow but my speed is limited to a certain level on the speedometer. You might be familiar with this – getting enough clients to keep you motivated but not enough to stretch you. I had my reasons for travelling at that speed, one being family commitments but that excuse is fading fast  as my little one starts school this week.

My driving instructor once told me that if I keep travelling in gears 1,2 and 3 only, I will do some damage to my car. The same goes for any business stuck in slow.  So I got my pen and paper out to consider what I need to do to raise the bar and travel in gear six. After all there is no way I can travel in gear six if I move at 20mph.

If I want to grow my business and make it as big as it can be, I better get ready to travel fast.  So as I write my list, I will implore you to do the same.

So what controls do you need to put in place to grow your business?

  • Do you need to wake up a bit earlier in the morning or add more hours at night?
  • Watch less TV?
  • Reduce the number of personal phone calls you answer during the day?
  • Read more books or publications about your industry?
  • Get qualified or training?
  • Take your to-do-list seriously?
  • Find a mentor, a consultant or someone you can share your ideas and brainstorm?
  • Exercise more to be fitter so you can think better?

If your business is stalling because you are stuck in gear one, isn’t it time you change gear so you can accelerate and reach your destination faster?  It is going to be a gradual process to travel at 80mph and beyond. But first thing is to gain control of your vehicle so you can at least increase your speed.  Once you can establish how to do that, then press down those pedals and change that gear stick. It is amazing how the car/business responds to that.

That is my plan for the next few months. I am going to get my head down and improve my business systems so I am more effective and efficient thereby producing more profitable results.  I hope you do the same and if you have other ideas of how we can accelerate to 100mph, do share.

If you need help with your business start-up or development, I can help you make sense of your ideas with my Business Brainstorming Sessions and other services.  Get in touch for more details.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Photos by runrunrun and buryosiol

The Silent Treatment

Prospects giving you the silent treatment lately?  I know how you feel as we all get that sometimes.  You draft the perfect email or rehearse your sales pitch for when you make the call and afterwards silence!!

You may even just be starting out in business and everyone is excited about the new idea. Then suddenly everything stops as apprehension and uncertainly sets in; now you consider if sales will match up to expectation.  Even big companies’ experiences the “silent treatment” so do not think it is peculiar to your business alone.

There is a pressure free way to re-establish communication when your prospects give you the “cold shoulder”.

  • So what can you do to bring negotiation back to the table?
  • So what to do when you get the ‘silent treatment’ from a prospective client, after all everything was going on fine and the deal was almost in the bag then nothing?

Hanging on to Hope

We all get caught up in trying to make a sale because all our hopes and desires are caught up in getting that deal signed. Before you start barging your prospects with emails and phone calls, it is wise to find out what brought about the silence.

When we consider our products and services and how to make a sale, we play out the outcome in our minds and fail to see an alternative route.  In an ideal world this should just happen but it is never so.  If our prospect then fails to act according to our expectations, confusion and frustration sets in and we may even feel betrayed, after all you spent time and money trying to make that sale.

So What Can We Do to Reconnect with Silent Clients?

Well a good way to solve the mystery of the ‘silent treatment’ is to properly diagnose the problem. You may huff and puff right here and say “if someone is unwilling to get in touch, how would I know their thoughts”.  Well, first things first; let go of the sale pressure in your communication with the unyielding client.

This scenario happened to me recently when I was chasing a prospective client. After much ado, I decided to ask “how can I help with your business” rather than the usual talk about my business offerings.  Luckily he was quick to point out where he was struggling and I was able to offer my assistance and the sale was done!

So simply put – when you get the cold shoulder, don’t despair, try to find out an alternative route and rectify the problem.

Sales confidence is an important aspect of business and if your prospects are not responding to your sales tactics this can dent your confidence and seriously affect your business.  You may blame yourself for a bad pitch, poor materials or ineffective emails strategies.  The truth may be the prospective client just doesn’t need what you sell right now.

Gain Focus – if you know what your prospects want, you can focus on what to offer them. Research can help you accomplish this and let go of some of those prospects you have been targeting for a while.  Letting go gives you time to go in search of prospects that are a better fit for your business.  Now you will start working efficiently and spend less time with dead-end prospects.

Know the Truth – once you are able to identify your prospects ‘pain’ and ‘truth’, you let go of what I call “stress of the unknown”.   You can let go of those open-ended conversations or emails that lead to nowhere.  I should mention though that some prospects might need you in the future but so don’t burn all your bridges.

The more relaxed we are with our potential clients, the easier and more open they will be with you which helps you identify their needs.

Reconnect with ‘Silent Clients’

Get in touch, preferably call them and let them know there is no sales pressure behind your call.  Ask them for feedback about your website, your products or services, your emails or newsletter.  Let them know how much you value their feedback.  Stress the important of their views being an essential part of your business growth to help you improve your services.

If you go about the silent treatment this way, you may be pleasantly surprised at your clients’ responses.  You get a better perspective of their ‘why’ and you will stop being frustrated and increase your productivity.

Business First Steps is passionate about business start-up and development.  Our brainstorming sessions at intervals to suit you will help you gain a new perspective of your business goals and objectives.  Each session is unique to you and your business and personalised to address your own needs with solutions that work and grow your business.  From start-up to up-and-running businesses, we care for them all.

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