Are You Charging What You Are Worth?

I know we can’t place a value on our lives – after all life is priceless, but we can place a value on our time and what we do with it.   If your best friend asks you to run an errand on their behalf and you have a job to complete, which one will you rather pay attention to?  Will you prefer to delegate the errand and pay attention to your work or run the errand for friendship’s sake?

The way we view and use our time is an indication of what we think our time is worth.  I’m privileged to work with a number of wonderful people via Business First Steps with great business ideas.  I noticed that some are sceptical to charge a reasonable price for their products and services, even though they put a lot of time and effort into it.

Business profit concept

The first thing you need to decide if you want to start a business is, are you are going to be a profit or non-profit making organisation?   A non-profit organisation means you inject proceeds from the business back into the business.

If you want to earn profit from your business then stop operating like a social enterprise or not-for-profit organisation.  If your business is not breaking even but you spend endless hours trying to meet customers’ demand, then you need to go back to the drawing board and revisit your operation, prices and business values.

Below are some questions to help you with your pricing strategy:

  • What are my business values?
  • What is the objective of my business, product or service?
  • What are my competitors charging?
  • What pricing strategy do I want to employ?
  • Do I want to undercut them, match them or charge much more and offer a better service?
  • How much time do I invest in each order?
  • What is the cost of sales?
  • What other variable costs do I have to take account of?
  • How much do I want to earn per hour?
  • What are my personal expenses and how much do I need each month?
  • How much can I earn from my business each month and still pay business expenses including taxes?
  • What are my monthly fixed costs?
  • What is my profit margin on each product/service?

The list is not exhaustive but you can use it as a starting point to develop your prices.  If your product is of low value, you must take into consideration that you need to sell more to make a profit.  If you are a sole trader do you have the capacity to produce the quantity required? Will you need more resources and more staff?  If you take on premises, can your business sustain the costs?

It can be quite tricky to price services, a lot of people tend to use the ‘pay per hour’ model i.e. they charge based on the number of hours it takes them to complete a job.  So if they charge £25 per hour and each job takes 4 hours to complete that means they charge £100 per job.  Watch out! If you charge £1000 for your service and you do not get a single client in 4 months, you need to revisit the plan.

These are part of the steps you need to take to run a viable business that brings you joy and credits your account with a monthly income too. Get your pricing and product offering right then you are on your way to enjoy the proceeds from a successful business.

I wish you good success

Temi Koleowo

Need help with your pricing strategy? Why not get the eBook ‘Pricing Your Service for Maximum Profit’ and checklist via our Resource page. At Business First Steps, we help you bring your business idea to life and support you through the early stages of your business journey.  Visit our website Business First Steps and find us on Facebook.

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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.

Business And Your Beliefs

Do You Believe In What You  Have To Offer?

There are some things you need to believe in if you want to succeed in life and in business. The list is quite simple really as these are some of the things we take for granted all the time.

Believe in Yourself

“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

1158792_big_step_to_success_3 svilen001For a very long time I had very little belief in my abilities. I was always looking for someone else to validate whatever I do and when the validation didn’t come, despondence sets in. Somewhere along my journey I woke up to the reality of this Nigerian proverb “people will call whatever you display what you choose to call it”.

In the context of this blog it means people will call you/believe in whatever you choose to call yourself. That proverb struck a chord in me and I decided to step out of that limitation. Starting a business made me realise that I have to believe in myself before people believe in my abilities and my business.  I realised that as I aspire for more, something or someone will always try and point out my inadequacies. Believe that you have the ability to fight and win each and every one of those mind battles. Believe in your strengths, your experiences, your skills, your talent, your knowledge and your passion and take action without looking back.

Believe in Your Offerings

1133804_sign_success_and_failure cobrasoftWhether you offer a helping hand, beauty products, computer components, personalised clothing, friendship, counselling, other products or services – you must believe in what you have to offer. If a customer senses your unbelief – it will be very difficult to make a sale. Your branding, sales pitch, website, flyers, marketing channels must tell everyone that your product or service is worth their money.

Do not be apologetic about what you have to offer. If you feel your product or service is not up to the right standard – then make it attain the required standard. Do not offer it at bargain bottom prices or sell yourself cheap because you feel inadequate.  Fight the inadequacies by investing time and effort into perfecting your product or services. Charge what your time, products and services are worth. If they are good enough, your customers will buy them.

If you don’t believe in your product or service, is there any point in offering them? Its okay to charge a small fee if you are testing the market but do not let that be an excuse to sell sub-standard products or services perpetually. Raise your game so you can raise your prices and reputation as your business grows.

Believe in Your Success

1185569_collection_business_3 arte ramDo you believe you are entitled to success? Do you think your hard work should be rewarded? Success is a reward for hard work and it is what you should aim for and nothing less.  If you believe in the success of your concept, then you should put all your effort into making sure it excels.

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Peter Drucker

If you start a business, a hobby or even a career with a defeatist mentality, you should expect nothing to come out of it.  Without you believing in the success of your venture, failure is inevitable.  Success can be quite evasive and that is why a lot of people give up too soon. All you can do is put your hand to work and don’t look back – it will come to you if you do not give up. Keep pushing personal barriers and surpass your own goals until you reach that finish line.

Take Action: Grab a sheet of paper and write down your own personal belief system for success. First one on my list will be God as without Him I just can’t do this on my own, followed by the list above. Once you come up with your list, stick it on your wall so you are reminded of it every day.  Don’t falter and don’t let personal inadequacies rob you of your chance to succeed. Persevere until you successfully achieve your goals.

I wish you good success.

Temi Koleowo

Business First Steps – Tools and Support to help you set up and start a business

Photos courtesy of Arteran, Svilen001 and Cobras sxc.hu.

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.

8 Questions to ask your Business Idea

Its official…2013 is the year of the entrepreneur. If no one else is declaring it, I am. I meet so many people courtesy of my job who are no longer satisfied with just answering to their line manager or following a strict job description. More people want to express themselves doing what they love and enjoy.

So if you are thinking of taking a step towards maximizing your passion or start a business. I have got a few questions you should ask your idea?

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 1. Does your product or service add value?
More people can now see beyond a good idea. If you want to compete with others in the marketplace, then you will need more than nice packaging and a good website. Your product or service should add value to the lives of your target market and readily make a difference once they make a purchase.

 2. Who will buy your product or service?
I made this mistake a few times when I started out in business. As soon as I thought of a good idea, I plunged it right on my website. When people did not buy the service, I got a hump. What I failed to see then was that a good business idea in my eye won’t translate to sales if my target market don’t need it. Take time to discover your target market and their needs. Then develop products and services that meet their specific needs – you will have a better chance of making a sale.

 3. Is your industry a saturated market?
If you are considering a product or service in a highly saturated market, you should be ready to fight to survive. You will also need more that a Unique Selling Point as you can be sure as day that as soon as you launch your idea, someone is going to be on your heel. So analyse your product’s benefits in-depth and find specific and unusual ways to make it stand out.

4. Is there a rise or decline in demand for your product or service?
Is there really any point in bringing to the market a product that is on the decline? If your idea has been waiting on the back burner for many years, is now the time to finally ‘Bring it to Life’? I believe in passion but passion and good business sense go hand in hand. You might need to go back to the drawing board and redesign or redefine your products or services.

5. How will technology advancement or other factors affect your business?
Sadly many businesses have gone into administration recently, I am sure they tried to move with the times but some are not just fast-paced enough to catch up. With the speed of technology development nowadays, the adage “you snooze, you lose” is so appropriate. How long can your products/services last on the market before something new comes along? What are your plans to keep up demands for products or services? Good questions to ask yourself if you are considering a long-term business.

6. Is there room for development or modification to meet new demands?
If you are designing a product or service, you should factor in room for improvement. In five years time, what modifications can you add to your products or what further benefits can your services provide? Have you got another version/better specification model to follow? It is important that you design your products/services with the future in mind so you can keep supplying those who need what you offer.

 7. What are the established businesses in your proposed market doing?
Carry out some research to find out what the big players in your industry have got up their sleeves. What is their next business step, what products do they have in the pipeline? Preempt their next moves and brainstorm their ideas to see if they can give birth to new ideas for your business?

This is totally random but I love this post on Entrepreneur.com ‘The secret of what makes a product go viral’ 

 8. How do you see your product or service developing in the next five years?
Even though most business owners would say they have a five-year plan, the plan can only be at the very best – a plan. If all the variables remain constant, maybe then maybe we can achieve our five years goals. You should always consider various options for your business development at any given time including an exit strategy.

Maybe now is the time to get your business idea or product development off the back-burner and start taking actions to bring it to market. But before you sign the office lease, send out the new product flyers and order the equipment, in-depth market research can never go amiss before a start-up/new development. Consider your options, analyse your answers, if you need to change your game plan, by all means do that but do not stand on the sideline and watch the world go by.

Get a bit of the action! The world is waiting for your business idea to blossom.

Need help discovering your passion, developing your idea, setting up your own business or brainstorming roadblocks in your existing business? Then contact me and let’s explore your options together.

I wish you good success.
Temi Koleowo

Fear – A Business Startup Roadblock

Have you been trying to start a business for a while? You have got the idea, you know your target market but somehow you haven’t been able to step out and just do it.

JUST DO IT
I know ‘just do it’ is a clique we have all heard so many times especially since Nike made it such a famous slogan. This is one of the tools I use for my own mind battles. When I see that I am starting to flag in certain areas, I tell myself “Just Do It!”
It is important that you take time to identify what is stopping you from starting out. Find out what your roadblocks are so you can find ways to get rid of them. In this blog, I want to highlight one of the roadblocks I had to battle to start my business a few years ago.

1078872_word_fear_on_the_dices hisks

FEAR
Yes, I said it… FEAR!!!!. Fear is a huge factor to battle when it comes to starting something new. There is always a nagging thought at the back of one’s mind telling you that you are bound to fail. Fear of failure plagues even the most successful business owners, they just learn to push pass it and do it anyway. If you are a master planner like I used to be, who likes a predictable life then it can be such an uphill struggle to launch into the unknown.  I had a constant tug-of-war with fear which I eventually won and was able to do what I wanted to do.

One of my favourite quotes is by Ambrose Redmoon which states “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”  If I do not maximise my passion now, then when?

1092344_fear zithericaFEAR is a natural emotion and you are permitted to feel fear, but it is what you do with the feeling that makes all the difference. I have stood on podiums to deliver workshops with fear. I have approached clients that I thought were way out of my league with fear. In these circumstances I have won both my internal and external battles by learning to feel the fear and do it anyway!

MAKE A LIST
I want you to think of what you are afraid of. Make a list of the things that scare you about starting your own business. Do you think you will not be able to pull it through, is it lack of knowledge, losing a source of income, lack of self-confidence or self-belief?
Then ask yourself “what is the worst that can happen?” Once you know that, find ways to minimise those risks and take action.

 FACE YOUR FEAR
Once you can identify what you are afraid of then you are half way there. Let’s look at ways to deal with them. Unfortunately unlike traffic cones that cause roadblocks in the middle of the road, you can’t just lift and discard them. You have to think of ways to minimise the effect of the fear by seeking its antidote.

For example: If your fear is lack of knowledge in a business area, research on how you can increase your knowledge. Will dedicated learning about your industry one hour a day, three times a week boost your confidence? If you can find a mentor in that industry, will it make a difference?
If you need a regular source of income to survive, don’t quit your job just yet. Start gradually – moonlight if you have to, to get things off the ground. Then once you establish your business with regular revenue, you can start writing your own pay cheques.

Rather than allow fear to paralyse you into inactivity, remove the cobwebs that hold you bound and take small steps to begin to eliminate the NOs in your life.

I wish you good success mixed with God’s blessings

Temi Koleowo.

I am here to help you unlock the potential of your passion, develop your idea into a concept you will love and enjoy.  Visit us at www.businessfirststeps.co.uk

Photos from sxc.hu.

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?”

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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