Making the Jump to Start Your Own Business

Dec 28, 2018

Many people who aspire to open their own business either delay the process or never end up making the move. The biggest reason is because they have fear, self-doubt, and are worried about things going wrong or failing. These mixed feelings are completely normal because no matter how much experience you have, these feelings don’t go away. It’s difficult for people to imagine leaving their steady jobs to pursue something that may not be as steady and take time to make a profit.

Other things that prevent people from making the jump to start their own business is the financial cost and amount of time it takes. Starting a business is time consuming and does have its costs, but it may not be as much as you think. If you worry that you do not have enough time, start it off as a side job. Set aside a bit of time for it during the day or on the weekends. As for cost, there are other ways to obtain money for your small business.

It’s important to look beyond these hurdles and understand that your full potential could be utilized in running your own business. Many small business owners have said that even though it was a big risk, they are much happier and the only regret they have is not opening their business earlier.

Evaluating Yourself

Before you can even start a business, you must analyze and evaluate yourself. Being an entrepreneur requires one to be a strong leader. You should have the ability to educate, delegate, motivate and solve problems. As your business grows you will have to a lot more responsibilities, therefore, you need to be aware of how much you can handle. Once you have been able to discover your strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to manage your business better.

Creating a Plan

If you have an idea for your business, you have already saved yourself a step. If you don’t have one in mind think of something that serves a purpose. Was there ever a time when you had a difficulty doing something or dealt with an inconvenience? Think of things that could benefit you and others. Once you have your business idea, you can begin planning. Start of by doing research on the market and industry. It will serve as a guide and will give you insight on the future of the market. If the market is weak or declining, maybe go for something different or bring something innovative to the market. The research will help you in terms of pricing, knowing your competitors, and what your businesses strengths and weaknesses are. Draft a plan on how you want to market your product, then choose where you want to place it, and how you want your business to be portrayed. Then make a plan for your business, where do you see your business in five years? How much do have to spend,? What is the timeline of expansion?

When this is completed, draft your product or service. Allow friends and family to offer feedback, advice, and opinions. At this point it should be something that you are completely confident in before establishing it.

Establishing your Product or Service

Once you have a finalized product, the next thing to do is make it official. To make it official, you’ll want to make sure that you handle all the legal things as soon as you can. This will allow you to make sure that no one has the same business name as you or that no one copies your products/service. You should hire a lawyer to help you in making sure that all information is right and complete. The lawyer will help you register your business, the structure of your business, federal and state IDs, licenses/permits, and trademark/copyrights.

Financing your Business

Start off by saving up money, even a little bit at a time can add up. Find areas where you can budget and put money aside. During this time, it’s also great for you to find investors for your business. Network with people who you think could contribute to the growth of your business. If you save money and network, but still feel like you are not able to cover costs there are other financial alternatives available to you. These alternatives can be a small business loan or a merchant cash advance.

Find a Location

Once you have the money for your business, next is deciding where to sell it. Will your products be sold online only or will you have a retail store? Deciding on the location of your retail store has a lot of factors such as cost, space, and population. You will want to pick a space that has enough room for you and your employees.

Building a Team

Once you have a location, you can now begin to hire people to work for your business. The first type of position you should hire is sales. These people will pitch your product to consumers and bring in the money for your company. Next, you should hire someone in marketing to help market your product and build out your website and social media. Allowing them to market your business in a creative and unique way will make it stand out.

Finding a Mentor

A great way to stay motivated is by finding a mentor for your business. Get to know these people on a personal level, if possible. Go to them for advice and allow them to offer direction. If you still feel stuck in managing your business, there are small business counseling centers that offer help and you may even find your mentor there.

Continue to Grow

Over time, your business will continue to grow. The best way to keep this success is by understanding your customers wants and needs. As you identify these needs, you can implement them to retain customers. Developing brand loyalty is important for your business because it keeps it steady and will increase your return on investments.

How to Make 2019 a Great Year

Dec 28, 2018

The new year is an exciting time for businesses because it gives the opportunity of a fresh start, one that is sure to be filled with new opportunities and challenges. As you bring in the new year, you will also bring in changes both big and small. Each change you make will have an impact on where your company will end up in the future. We’ve made a list of changes you can initiate to help make 2019 the best year yet!

A small change to start this off with is instead of referring to them as goals, objectives, and targets refer to them as commitments. When you call them a commitment, it means that you are set on achieving them. If you consider them something you aim for you might find yourself being too flexible or not taking them seriously enough. As with a commitment it’s something that you are not willing to break.

The way you set your goals has a huge influence on whether or not they will be accomplished. If you have not been making SMART goals in the past making this change will be beneficial. SMART is the acronym for:

S-specific-A goal should be specific, the more precise the goal is the better chance you have of achieving it. If your goal is too broad, it will take a longer amount of time to achieve it due to the fact that there is no clear direction.

M-measurable-In order to see how well you are doing, you should to have something to look as a measurement. This can be anything from an increase in leads and sales to hiring more employees. It will also identify the changes that should be made to achieve those metrics.

A-attainable-It’s great to strive for goals that you may find to be challenging but setting goals that are impossible is setting yourself up for failure. When developing goals make sure that they are realistic, so that you can actually achieve them.

R-relevant-It’s understandable that your goals should be relevant to your business. If they aren’t, you’ll probably have less direction; making them more difficult to achieve.

T-timely-Each goal should have a time period by when it should be reached. Within this goal, set times for when each milestone should be met, it will allow you stay on track.

Spend more time and money on marketing. Business often underestimate marketing but it serves as both a sales and customer service tool all while promoting your brand. Make sure that your marketing efforts align with your company's goals and objectives. As for 2019, one of the efficient and effective marketing efforts is online video. If you have not already make the change and incorporate it onto your social media platforms and website.

Complete the most boring and tedious task as early as possible. The worst thing to do is to procrastinate it and have it in the back of your mind all day. Not only will it make your mood better but you will feel more productive during the day.

Traits of Success

Dec 28, 2018

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey...you may recognize these people to be some of the most successful entrepreneurs we know to date. Each of these people, at one point or another have admitted to embracing a similar set of concepts, traits and ideologies that have helped bring them to success.

A Positive Mindset:

As an entrepreneur, there is no doubt you’ll have to take risks. Risks are unpredictable (hence why they're risks) and you may fail along the way but it’s important not to let those struggles hinder your progress. One of the most important things to remember is that success comes hand-in-hand with failure. The way you deal with this failure determines how successful you will become.

Ability to Embrace Shortcomings:

So you’ll fail and find your shortcomings, as does everyone. Don’t be embarrassed and bury these failures and mistakes. Allow them to be and share them with others so they too can learn. Although Steve Jobs left the legacy of Apple, there was once a time when he was terminated from his own company but later came back. He embraced that failure and returned to make Apple better than it was before.

Practices Careful Listening:

Sure, entrepreneurs do a fair share of speaking but one of the most important traits that they have is that they’re good listeners. This doesn’t mean that they just listen but they also absorb information, ask questions, and use the voices of others in decision making.

Always Curious:

They never stopped asking questions because they were always eager to learn more. One of the most important questions was, “what if…”. The greatest inventions came from those who continued to push boundaries and explore the unknown. These entrepreneurs were also never afraid to admit that they didn’t know something. When they did face this, they were always curious to find out the answer and solve it.

Passionate:

These entrepreneurs are so passionate and devoted that they dedicated their life to their work. Oprah often spoke about how important it is to have a passion for what you do in life. If you have a true passion for it then it won’t ever really feel like work.

Team Member

Each entrepreneur didn’t just build a company completely on their own but did so with the help of a team. They understood and knew that their work could not grow to its fullest potential without the help of others. They were able to build strong teams through finding like-minded individuals. As Bill Gates said: “Teams should be able to act with the same unity of purpose and focus as a well-motivated individual.” (https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/opinion/creating-high-performing-and-effective-teams)

The Best Apps that Makes Small Business Owner's Lives a Little Easier

Nov 30, 2018

For Hiring Employees:

Hiring employees is one of the most difficult things for small business owners. It’s a process that is time consuming and takes a lot of effort, and can cost a business unecessary dollars if they're not sure what they're doing. Wasting hours going through unqualified resumes, or applications through a site that just isn't capturing the right people is frustrating. To save time and energy, business owners rely most on these trusted brands for their hiring needs:

  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Glassdoor
  • For Effective Email Marketing:

    Email marketing has become essential for businesses, as it truly is one of the biggest ways to communicate with your potential customer. It’s a marketing effort that is effective in driving results and isn’t costly. These brands make email marketing easier with great layouts and a user-friendly interface.

  • Hubspot
  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • Effective Payment Methods:

    The payment strategy and the ways you accept payment is so important to a business. Most people usually pay through a debit or credit card, so you want the most trustful and smooth-operating transaction service that makes a good experience for you, and for the consumer. Each of these brands has different offers, so be sure to do your research and pick the best one for your business:

  • Paypal
  • Stripe
  • Apple Pay
  • Ecommerce:

  • Online sales is the way that most of retail businesses are making money. Layout, product viewing, purchase paths and usability are factor into securing a sale, so you want to make sure that youre using a great site or service that helps you capture that sale.
  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • Bigcommerce
  • Customer Relationship Management:

    The relationship you have with your consumers determines how successful your business will be. That’s why it’s so important that you have a database that organizes customer information and keeps it safe. These are some of the most trusted sites for relationship building:

  • Hubspot
  • Salesforce
  • Zoho
  • Website:

    As a business owner you know how important your website is in gaining traffic and sales. You want to make sure that your website is easily accessible and appealing. For some of these sites, you don’t even have to know coding to create a website anymore because there are plenty of website management services that can help you build out the perfect website. The ones most used by business owners are:

  • Wix
  • WordPress
  • GoDaddy
  • Shipping:

    Shipping out products to customers and vendors is important to your business. When people shop online typical one of the things that they look at the most is shipping and handling service. They consider things like cost, time, and reliability. As for business owners, they need to trust these company to deliver these goods in tact and on time. The most trusted shipping brands are:

  • FedEx
  • UPS
  • USPS
  • The End-of-Year Health Check for Your Business

    Nov 30, 2018

    You have made it through another year in business, that’s a great accomplishment! Now you’re ready to start a planning for 2019. Before you dive in, make sure to close out this year with the highest possible sales, clients or profits. The best way to do this is by getting organized, reviewing your businesses performance, and coming up with strategies to capture, improve and increase business.

    Sort Documents

    Now is a good time to organize business documents. This is the time to make sure you have all your business and tax forms in order and to get rid of any unnecessary cluttered piles of paperwork that you have. If you don’t have one already, you should get a tax advisor to help you out. They will be helpful in making sure to sort out anything that could be alarming to the IRS and useful in making sure that you’ve accounted for all deductions.

    Feedback

    The feedback you give and receive from your employees will give you a better understanding of how your business is doing. Although getting feedback from your employees is beneficial, it’s not always easy since some people don’t feel completely comfortable giving their honest opinions. A few ways you can get their anonymous opinions is through surveys or a suggestion box. Providing feedback is just as important receiving it. If you don’t provide it, your employees won’t know how they are doing in their role. If they are not aware then they can not make improvements that could potentially really help the business.

    Say Thank You

    Remember to thank those who are keeping your business in business, especially those who have given a referral. The best way to do this is by doing something personal such as writing them a card, giving loyalty cards, or offer a discount.

    Review Inventory

    Make sure you have accounted for all the inventory that you ordered and sold. If you have a lot of inventory you can plan for markdowns and/or promotions.

    Review Client List

    It’s time to go through your client list and organize it into leads, clients, past clients, and those who are uninterested. Organizing this client list into what they are will allow you get a better understand of how your business is doing, and what kind of marketing is working best for you. The worst thing you can do is waste your efforts on a tactic that unbeknownst to you, isn't working.

    Analyze and Set Goals

    As you look back on the year, did you achieve everything you wanted? Analyzing your past will help you form goals for the future. Look at what your business strengthens were this year and where you fell short. Take the time to also reflect on your mission and vision statement and determine whether you are heading in the right.

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