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

Do you Love your Business?

It is always a good idea to evaluate our lives and motives at regular intervals, asking ourselves questions such as:

  • Are you in love with your job or business?
  • Is it serving the right purpose or is it just something to get by?
  • How do you know what you love to do and do what you love?

These are questions a lot of us do not actually want to answer, especially if you have been in the same role for many years doing the same job or running the same unprofitable business.

On another spectrum, there are some people out there, who wake up with exhilarating excitement to face every day. They are those who are fortunate enough to have found something they love to do.

Stopping the Same Old Thing

If every morning fills you with dread and you wonder how you will get through the day, it might be worth your while to take a step back and evaluate your life. It is of vital importance that you love your business and not love just the money you get from the business. Money is easy to love, but it is not so easy to sustain that love when things are not working.

If there is no true joy and passion for what you do, need for growth and improvement will be on the back burner. You will have no desire to expand or grow your business, eventually the aspiration starts to wane and the business might collapse.

True Business Love

When you are involved in a business you love, you are keen to develop that business and always taking steps to make it work. You are passionately engulfed in business activities that will ensure your venture grows. There is the urgency to provide solutions and solve problems to push your project to the next stage. You are also always in a constant state of productive and proactive change, and you are most of the time invigorated and excited.

The passion and fervency you use to run your business is what turns into sustained profits. The challenges that might occur along the way are seen as the chance to climb higher. You are open to opportunities, in tune with your inner self and able to spot channels that will accelerate your business growth. The core element of an entrepreneurial mindset is PASSION, something which cannot be developed doing what you do not love or enjoy.

Finding something you enjoy and love will take a conscious effort on your path. It is an envious place to be when you are doing what you love and getting results. Once you discover your passion for the right business, your natural instinct kicks in and drives you to success.

There are ways in which you can discover and embrace something that interests you and find the business of your dreams. Visit http://www.businessideabooster.com to learn more about how to discover your passion and start a journey to a more fulfilling life.  Alternatively sign up for the one-2-one Passion Definition, Business Idea Development or Brainstorming Sessions.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6424651 Picture by Nellart sxc.hu.

Emails and Time Management

If you have a work inbox, you most likely will get emails everyday. Some from your clients, your suppliers,  email listings and some unwanted.  So how exactly are you suppose to deal with your inbox on a daily basis so it doesn’t take over your business life?

Choose a Time Slot

Find a time slot in the day when you choose to open your emails.  If you are easily distracted, do not make it the first task in the morning as it may spiral out of control if something catches your fancy.  I choose to open my emails first thing as it helps set my mind for the day, especially information from my clients and email subscriptions.   Allocate a specific amount of time to deal with your emails, mine is twenty minutes maximum. 

Filter Your Emails

Some of your email will be urgent, some will be for further reference and some are meant for trash or junk mail.  Try to read through the important ones rather than save them for later.  Reduce the mail in your inbox as you go along – do not be afraid to hit the delete button.  Compartmentalized them into folders such as resources, email subscriptions, junk etc.  Make sure that your ‘read later’ pile is kept to a minimum and do ‘read them later’.

No Entry – Friends and Family  

                                                

Politely ask your family and friends not to send personal emails to your work inbox.  Less mail from loved ones can drastically reduce your workload and sifting process.  If they must send one (for business), ask them to make it short and to the point. 

 

Reply in a Jiffy

If you need to reply to an email, summarise your points  and do not go into an elaborate write-up. 

Maintain Good Practice

  • Once an email is read, remove it from your inbox either into another folder for reference or delete it. 
  • Try to keep your inbox as clear as possible, if an email is lingering there for too long – maybe you do not need it after all. 
  • Unsubscribe from email listings you no longer find useful and keep subscriptions to  a manageable level.
  • Make it a habit to junk the mail you did not solicit for or need.  
  • Keep your work inbox for work and not for leisure activities, if necessary create a mail box for that purpose and make sure you notify people to use it for your personal emails.   
  • Shift through your inbox once a week to weed out emails that have been lingering unread for days. 
  • Show junk and spam mail no mercy as they are major time-wasters. 
  • Do not visit your inbox too many times during the day, I visit mine thrice a day morning, lunchtime and before I close shop for the day. 
  • If you are expecting an important mail, then be strict with yourself to check in and check out without loitering!

Don’t forget to glance through your junk mail as some important mail might slip through the net.  As you tackle your inbox this week, be firm so you can spend your time doing what matters. 

Wishing you every success.

Temi

www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Coming soon to a site near you – Time Management Tips for a More Effective You.

Photo courtesy of sxc.hu Kveselyte, WR-fife

Customers and Constant Communication

Hello Business Owner,

I hope your business is doing what you want it to do. Are you developing better relationship with your customers which can translate into more sales?

Just one question for you though, how often do you communicate with your customers? 

  • Is it daily, weekly, monthly or never?
  • Once they contact your business or buy from you, is it bye-bye and chapter closed? 
  • Or is it – make sure you keep in touch so we can benefit from each other in the future?

Constant Communication

This is a key component in our world where we are bombarded on a daily basis with so much information.  You might say people receive so much information and I do not want to become part of the noise.  But it is the noisemakers that get the attention. 

Simple Scenario

Just follow me on this – You open your inbox to check your mail. All day you have been thinking of getting a fish tank. Though you remember asking for some information about fish tanks 8 months ago, you weren’t ready then and did not follow it up.  Now that you are ready, you are online anyway and Google is winking at you.  You type in fish tanks and tons of businesses compete for your attention. The company you got some information from is nowhere to be found. Customer Lost!

Just imagine if that company had been sending information about new fish tanks and special offers every month!!!

Let’s face it; it is hard to compete with every business online. There are the big guys with big budgets who are able to muscle their way into people’s hearts with fancy marketing gimmicks. 

So What Can I do?

If you provide your customers with exceptional service, they should come back to you for more.  But hey, you need to remind them that they need you and let them know how you can be of help.  You can do this through Constant Communication .

Keep in touch with your customers – it is that simply!  New Technology has made the job a lot easier so you do not have to sit in front of your computer all day typing email addresses every time you need to send information through. 

The format of your communication can be varied and equally interesting. You can write about your industry news, new inventions, new legislation, special offers, tips, benefits, how to look after products, what your services can do for your clients – the list is endless.

Use fancy emails, newsletters, blogs, one line statements, articles or even traditional emails.  Once you have got the information to hand, you can choose one of the following email marketing companies to do the hard work for you:

http://www.getresponse.com 

http://www.constantcontact.com

http://www.aweber.com

http://www.vistaprint.co.uk

I specifically choose these ones as most of the emails I receive from reputable businesses and Internet marketers use one of these three, that says a lot about them. 

So what’s next – fit weekly, fortnightly or monthly communication into your business schedule and see how things change for your business.

Our May Newsletter provides more tips on keeping in touch with your clients – Business First Steps May 2011 Newsletter

I wish you every success…Temi.

Photos courtesy of OmirOnia and Djayo – Sxc.hu.

Before the Business Plan

In the Beginning of Business Start-up

At the start of the year you probably decided you wanted to start your own venture.  After contributing to your employer for so long and not being fulfilled, you are about to take a leap into the world of self-employment.

 As stated by the Prime Minister and the Start-up Britain initiative, http://www.startupbritain.org/ this might be the best time to start a business. This is good news, at least there is a guarantee you are not alone on this quest for self –expression.   

So pardon me as I jolt you out of your entrepreneurial dream for a short while and ask you these two important questions:  

Can You Cope Without A Regular Income?

If you intend to say goodbye to your employer, be ready to say goodbye to a regular income – ok maybe for a short while.  Before the money starts rolling in there is a lot of ground work that might be required as well as many sacrifices – including financial ones. 

You certainly can’t continue to spend money like you used to after all it is now about effort in = profit out.  So if you have got some savings stashed away somewhere, now might be a good time to revisit your household budget and find out how you can survive for the next 6 months or so.

How Much Time Can You Dedicate To This Venture?

If you are serious about growing a business, you can be rest assured that your time will no longer be your own. If you have a family there is every possibility that you will be torn between two parties – trying to meet your family obligations and spending time developing your concept.                        

Starting off a new venture can be tough in the beginning as you try to get off to a successful start.  You should be realistic about your commitments, explain to your nearest and dearest how your life will change.  Rearrange your schedule so your building process does not impinge so much on other commitments.

We won’t discuss social engagements as they may be non-existent for a while!

 

Despair or Inspire

If the above questions have not been able to dissolve your resolve, maybe just maybe you have what it takes for such a huge leap!

Don’t despair if this sounds daunting, if you do your homework properly the initial drought season might not last long though it may occur again at some point during the life span of your business.  Once you conclude that you intend to make the business work, you will find the determination and strength to push through every obstacle.  

The good news is if you work really hard, the money you earn is not to pay someone else’s salary.  It’s for you to decide what you want to do with it – even reinvest it in your business.

Maybe now I have got you thinking a little bit deeper or help you banish the doubts and the fears (ok maybe temporarily!).  Next stop… let’s think about the viability of your business idea.

At www.businessfirststeps.co.uk, we are passionate about concept development and business start-ups.