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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Why Redundancy Can Be A Good Thing

My Employment Journey

610632_menu djayoI was an accounting professional and privileged to work in a stable government agency for many years and even had the opportunity to travel abroad (which I didn’t take up regrettably).  Anyway years went by and I got better at my job, more confident and transferred to another agency which (unknown to me) was going to be my last.  The job was like sitting in an easy chair – the route to work, my hours, the tasks were all predictable and became less of a challenge. But a regular salary was my comfort blanket, especially with another baby on the way.

Fast-Forward 2009 – Post Baby Number 2

In 2009, redundancy struck and pushed me way out of my comfort zone. I was hurt, resentful and I panicked. Who will employ a mother of two young kids in a busy accounting department? What happens when the baby is unwell and I can’t come to work, what will happen if my train is delayed and I can’t pick up my babies?  I struggled to find a job that will fit round my family life and was partly depressed for a while.  I wanted to be available for my family but at the same time enjoy a fulfilling career.  My situation forced me to look inward at the skills and talents I have been ignoring for so long.  My situation forced me to ‘SWOT’ myself and that is what gave birth to Write2Explain then Business First Steps, Business Next Step and Business Start-up 4 Girls.  I marvel at the things I do now – who knew that I had all that within me, my ex-colleagues are equally amazed too!

The Route to Now

The journey may not have been smooth all the way.  But like any task in life I have learnt to jump over the hurdles and challenge myself to achieve better results.  One of my favourite scriptures from the bible that always gives me comfort is “God makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places.” Psalm 18:33 Amplified.  I have also been privileged to meet some amazing people and mentors on my journey who challenge and encourage me to reach for the stars.

I read this comment in a book I was studying a while back –

“Do not get drawn into the “result trap” – focusing entirely on the destination and losing sight of the flow of the journey.”  There is so much to learn on the journey and if we do not stop once in a while and look around, we will miss out on the lessons we need to learn along the way.

What’s Your Story?

1319069_the_door ilcoAre you facing redundancy and like me, panicking about the next step? Do not be afraid to look inward and locate all those hidden talents within you.  If you decide to go into another job, at least start by being true to yourself and your core values – this will enable you to perform to the best of your ability.  If you decide like me that entrepreneurship is the way forward, ‘Do it even if you are afraid!’  I wake up most mornings asking myself “why” and go to bed at night knowing exactly the reason “why”.  That is what fulfilment is all about.

So when next a circular goes round the office, do not panic – focus on the opportunities that lie within the change.

Support makes the transition from employment to self-employment a lot easier. If you need a sounding board, Business First Steps can provide the support and services you need to make the transition as smooth as possible.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

If you need the SWOT analysis worksheet and other tools to help you identify your core values, your strengths, weaknesses and your passion then click here

Photos courtesy of sxc.hu ilco and djayo.

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.

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.

 

Rest in Time of Need

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Today I woke up really tired. I was tired and needed a break from work.  I thought to myself, I consciously took some time off before and after Christmas. Surely I do not need another break.  After some soul-searching I discovered that my tiredness was not physical, it was more mental. I needed a break from thinking business strategies, business opportunities and business growth. I just wanted to BE!!!

So luckily since I work from home, I decided to take a break. After all, one of the reasons why I am self-employed is so I can be flexible enough to do things my way. So my way today is to mute the phones, turn off the laptop and have some meditation time with God followed by a power nap. I felt so much better an hour or so later.

My action today reminded me that first, I must always recognise when I need a break.  Understandably if you don’t work your business, some things simply won’t work. But your business can’t work if you are unable to work.

Second, we need to put certain things in place so our businesses can still run if we need to take a break.  My task to you and I is to evaluate the dynamics of our businesses and how they work.  Can it survive without you or will it die when you can’t be there? This goes especially for service-based industry

This year I intend to work on making sure my business is not solely reliant on me being at a desk all day, every day (and night). So I better check my sales funnel again. Do you intend to do the same?

Got some business tricks up your sleeve? Drop me a line or comment below.

I wish that you prosper as your soul prospers.

Temi

Need help starting your business?   Visit Business First Steps for more information and support to get your show on the road.

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

The Potential of your Passion

Ideas are a dime a dozen!! Yes that may be true, but I also believe that what makes an idea unique is the person driving it forward.  Two people can set off from similar or same business idea paths and end up in two completely different destinations.  The determining factor is the passion, personality and fortitude of the person who holds the potential of the idea in his/her hand.

The Old Vs The New      

I was browsing the internet recently when I came across this simple and lovely idea of fruit delivery to offices http://www.fruitfortheoffice.co.uk/.   Now I don’t know the owner of the business but I read the story of how the business came about and I was well impressed.  What separates this business from the fruit stall at the corner of your office block is the boldness and audacity of one business owner to flow with changing times.

We all remember the fruit stalls that are usually situated at the entrance to the train station.  On a good day when you get out of your house early enough, you stop by to get some fruit so you can fulfil part of your 5-a-day intake.   The stall owner’s luck changes when the weather is not so favourable.  You hurry by to get to the safe haven of the four walls of your office; bad weather equals loss of sales to the fruit stall owner.

So when someone like Fruit for the Office comes along, I doubt if you will stop by the train station any longer when fresh fruit is now waiting for you in the office – most likely provided by your employer.

Use your Creative Juices

The same brainwave can happen to your business idea if you take time to research what you have, what you know and what you can offer.  Your passion or business idea has the potential to grow if you are willing to do the ground work and build a solid foundation for it to stand upon. Don’t just look at what has been done, think of the potential of what can be.

Start With Questions

What have you been musing about all this while?

What idea has been bugging you for weeks without end?

Is it time to give that idea life?

There are many routes to develop your business idea but the first step is to own it and identify its potential.  Take some time out and consider what you can do with the ideas floating in your head.

What is your idea? Who is it for? Why do they need it? How will it work? Where can they buy it? When can you launch it? These are some of the questions you should consider before you set off on your business path.

Research plays a key factor in the idea development stage. Once you identify and test the potential of your idea, then give it LIFE with a business plan.

Business First Steps is passionate about defining passion, developing viable business ideas and business start.  Stop by at www.businessfirststeps.co.uk we will love to help you bring your business idea to life.  Our workshops to help you discover your passion and develop your business ideas are coming soon.

Regards,

Temi

Photos courtesy of sxc.hu Michaelaw and Svile001.