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 4 Pillars of a Home Based Business

Starting a home based business is a good option for those who want to have a great work life balance. Care should be taken to make sure money is not poured down the drain in the name of starting a business. People preach the many pitfalls that can be avoided and the wise do take heed and tread with caution.

Is it all Doom and Gloom?

The fragile world economy features in the news everyday and so does how things are expected to get even tougher. A lot of people are anxious about how to support a decent lifestyle. For most families it is almost impossible to cover expenses on two salaries with increase in food costs, household bills and other basic needs. A home based business is a great consideration for anyone who wants to supplement their income or create flexible working hours to meet family demands, get rid of unemployment or solve other issues.

Working from home is a great way to earn some extra income and for some people their entire income comes from their home business. The best thing about this type of set-up is the low start-up costs. A home based business is not as easy as it sounds though; it requires a lot of planning with the right knowledge and skills.

Pillar 1 – If It Is Too Good To Be True It Probably Is

You probably have seen a lot of adverts online about how someone made £10,000 in one day. We will all like to strike it lucky and find that deal of a lifetime. But beware, if you are thinking of working from home, do not get sucked into these false claims of making millions in a few months. There are businesses that generate a healthy profit but think about it, if those claims were true everyone will be doing it. Consider the risks involved before you take up any offer for a home based business. Carry out adequate research about the business before you commit funds to it. Search yourself, if this is what you really want to do or if you are doing it for the love of money. Remember the love of money can only satisfy temporarily.

Pillar 2 – Start With Minimal Cost

Starting a home based business should not cost the earth. Just because you are not renting an office space, does not mean you should blow your budget on a state of the art computer system, an executive desk and a recliner chair with a built in massage service. Manage your budget effectively especially when starting off as money may not come in immediately but bills still need to be paid. Beware of the stationery habit; it can spiral out of control especially for those who work from home.

Pillar 3 – Dream Big Start Small

Don’t bite off more than you can chew when starting a business from home. Consider your working hours, family schedule, space within your home and other important factors before you commit to your customers. Do you have the space to store the raw materials for your products? Can you manage more than 10 clients a month without impinging on family time? These are some of the important factors you need to consider when you start your home based business. Remember your business reputation is at stake if you do not deliver on your promise.

Pillar 4 – Easy Maintenance

Many people who choose to work from home are probably tired of the status quo. So why complicate things even further by setting up a home based business that is too complicated to run. This opportunity should give you the chance to follow your passion and run a business too. Working from home should be a pleasure not another daunting task you hate to wake up to. You should set things on your own terms and within certain guidelines. If you intend to laze about the house and pretend to be working, you might as well stay in your current job. It takes a lot of dedicated hard work to get any business off the ground – a home based business is no exception.

All these pillars might sound like child’s play when it comes to starting a home-based business, but one wrong turn can lead to a frustrating experience. Make sure you follow your passion when starting a home based business and understand the basics of running a business. Consider the 4 pillars stated above in addition to other relevant information when starting out to help you stay on the right track and enjoy the process.

I wish you good success in your chosen endeavours….Temi. 

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk we are passionate about adding value to your passion.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Temi_Koleowo

Photos by Ifonono and Lewy2005 sxc.hu.

Analyse Your Business Plan

Hello Fellow Business Owners,

It is always a privilege to be able to write to you.  I enjoy sharing my thoughts and what I have learnt in the world of business start up and development over the weeks and months gone by. 

This week let’s talk about your business plan.  To a lot of people, this is a daunting task that requires many sleepless nights, toiling over what to write about your mission, passion and vision.  Starting and running a business requires constant analysing, planning, changing and adapting.  A business plan however informal is a good place to start your business concept.  Starting a business without a business plan is like going to a new place without a map – surely one is bound to get lost. 

Your first business plan is your perception of what you expect your business to be.  It forms the basis on which you launch out into the business world.  It might contain a lot of expectations, hypothesis and forecast.  When you start your business some of these assumptions will change, reality sets in and you now have to adjust the plan. 

Don’t be discouraged if your business doesn’t go according to plan, pat yourself on the back for crossing the biggest hurdle of starting off!!! Now you need to focus on what works and enhance it. 

Analyse the Plan

At least after the first three months of business you should review your initial business plan, take a critical look, alter what needs to be changed and set a new plan.   

Sales Forecast

What was the initial sales forecast?

 Is the business meeting up? 

If things are not working to plan, do not let it get you down.   You should look at other sources of income for your business.  What commitments can you let go of?  Think of how you can reduce your expenses whilst you work hard to increase business awareness and hopefully more sales.  

Products

If your products are not bringing the expected income for your business,  then think of what you can add to enhance these products so they no longer stand alone.  What will people need in addition to what you provide?  For instance if you have a nail bar, will your clients like a neck or head massage whilst they get their nails done?  Do you have a fast track service (at an extra cost) for those who can’t wait? 

Customers

Are you targeting the right customers?  Sometimes the people we think will buy our products are not actually those who need them.  Look closely at the people that patronise you, what are their needs, what other services do they ask for?  Studying your customers and adapting your products and services to meet their needs is the best route to customer satisfaction and repeat purchase.

There are many aspects of your business plan that needs to be reviewed after the first few months of trading.  Go through the whole plan and ask yourself what should change and what should go.  There are other aspects of the business plan that are worth your consideration and these we will address in another blog entry.  Until then, I pray you are able to rise above the current economic situation and make a success of your venture. 

BusinessFirstSteps provides business plan writing and review service to help you navigate the first steps of the business world. Have a look round our website, we will be glad to be of help. 

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

What is your Business Mode of Transportation?

Hello fellow business owners,  I hope things are working out well for you this week. 

I have been doing a lot of thinking and assessing lately.  Every now and then, I get the urge to reassess my business, my vision, my achievements etc.  What has been coming to me lately is how to streamline what I do, so I can be more effective and provide a better service to my clients. Being able to critically analyse the present state of my business will enable me to choose the right mode of transportation to move my business forward.

Now I understand that many of us like to dabble into a little bit of this and that which is quite common with start-ups.  This might happen for a while as you try to find a good fit for you and your business.  But the time comes when you have to sit back and analyse the past few months of running your business.

What has been good, what has failed, what can you improve?   

These questions will help you decide on the mode of transportation you want to travel in to get to your next business destination. Whatever you do, don’t pay the fare until you are sure of where you want to go. 

Modes of Transportation

Now I have used the various modes of transportation in my business, some have worked well, and some have been a near disaster!

Aeroplanes

We all love to fly so we can arrive at our destination as early as humanly possible.  There is nothing wrong with that if you know exactly where you are going. But think of a pilot in front of a plane who is yet to master his navigation system – a recipe for disaster. There might come a time where you and your business can board or even fly a plane, just make sure you board with your pilot licence i.e. your business growth has been constant and you are ready to step up to the next business level.  . 

Trains                                                                                                                                                                                           This is another mode of transportation we can use as business owners to propel our business vision.  Trains are not as fast as planes – well if you are not on the Eurostar. This may be a better option for those who are somewhat sure of the direction in which their business needs to travel.   There are tracks laid out ahead of you (better understanding of your business), so navigation is a lot easier. Get on this mode of transportation knowing that the stations and stops are far in between (established competitors don’t disembark often).  You may not get as many chances to make amends quick enough, so you must be able to match business demands with supply.  

Bus: With buses, you know as long as you pay the right fare, you will get a reasonable good ride and a cheaper mode of transportation too!  You may not find a seat immediately but as people get off (competitors exit), there are more chances of you been able to sit down.  The same applies to business start-ups – when you get on the entrepreneurial bus, initially the journey starts slowly, and then you can speed up as you encounter bus lanes – these are dedicated routes for your industry.  

The bus may seem rather rowdy initially but if you persevere, you could get a good seat for you and your business (once you know your target market).  But don’t get too comfortable though, due to the frequency of the stops, people will be getting on and off the bus.  Some of these people (competitors) are going to the same destination as you.  You must think of ways to keep your seat on that bus until you are ready to get off and get on a train. 

A good business idea has the potential to grow as long as the owner takes small steady steps in the right direction.  Do not be hasty to get on an aeroplane straight away, travel on a bus to get a good feel of what you business is about. As you do that, enjoy the ride!

Till next time, I wish you good success.

Temi. 

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

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.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6465793

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