Small Biz Forward Exploring the Entrepreneurial World of Today Vol. 20. N0. 4
THE PLACE WHERE BUSINESSES BUSI NESSES COME TO CONNECT, COLLABORATE AND SUCCEED
Table of Contents Small Biz Forward is published monthly by Celebrate Business Publishing: Nancy Becher.
I’m in Business...Now WHAT? ............................................ 6 OMG I’m Outside My Comfort Zone .................................... 8 Benefits of Telecommuting................................................... 9
CONTRIBUTORS Ed Becher Nancy Becher Liz LaClair Gail Turluck
ENTREPRENEURS:Your Break Time Routine ......................... 11 Security and the Entrepreneur ............................................. 13 What’s Driving Your Business? ............................................. 14 Is Your Flight Plan Ready for Your Small Business ....................... 15 Hibernation Time is OVER — Let’s Wake Up and Get Going ....... 19
Dan Neumann Jerry Sarno Greg Olson
Celebrate Business and Business Success Unlimited 701 Prairie Street Sturgis, MI 49091 269-651-3555 h)p://success4biz.biz Nancy Becher, Publisher
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April 18, May 2, 16, and June 6, 20 9-11am online You've been working hard and have your dream business started. Where do you go from here? How do you let people know that you're available? Wouldn't it be great to get a loan to help you buy new products or support the business? Want to be part of a group with other people who are also looking for ways to grow their business? Why not spend some /me ON your business, learning, improving, adding or just sharing with others things that are guaranteed to help you go from where you are to where you want to be.
Held on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, this mastermind teleconference brings 10-12 business owners together to discuss ways to grow their business. If you want to keep your business going and growing for the long-haul, you need to be part of this program. You can register at:
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Give ‘Em a Pickle April 16 National College, South Bend, IN While we all know that we give our customers GREAT customer service, there is a diﬀerence between a sa/sﬁed customer and a RAVING Fan! Come learn how to create that fan by "giving 'em a pickle!" $35 a person or 3 for the price of 2.
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You also get the opportunity to submit an article to the magazine Small Business Forward for possible inclusion. Mentoring Projects, Entrepreneurial Forums, Talk Radio, Business Abundance Networking, Lunchtime Learners (Lunchtime Learners Book Club is FREE; Mentoring Project [Mastermind] is $25 for 3 months; Entrepreneurial Forums are $10; Talk Radio will be FREE; Abundance Networking will be FREE) Member to Member Discounts (at least 10%) Job Listings, Referrals, Authors & Publishers, Events Tradeshows and EXPO’s (Annual conference in October. Vendors booth will be $75 or just attendance will be $45. Other events as they come up Plus, other highly customized programs If you’re ready to build a strong referral network, then JOIN THE CLUB! We’re here to support you and help make your connections count! As our community grows, we will add valuable enhancements to this site with new features and benefits for all our members. This business club creates unique opportunities to connect with other professionals.
Dear Readers, This is our third addition of Small Biz Forward for 2013, and I’m really excited to see it beginning to take shape and form the magazine of my dreams. For many years I’ve provided articles of interest to entrepreneurs, but now I want to do something that REALLY supports you all. I love magazines like Success and Entrepreneur, and while they provide wonderful content for businesses both big and little, my goals are to really help you — the mom and pop, small business, who may be struggling with the day-to-day “How Do I DO THIS?” questions that we all have. In business for over 30 years, I know the feelings of “If I can just make it through one more day, then tomorrow I’ll be a success.” In both good times and in those frustrating days of should I just give up? I’ve been right there with you, and I’m here to tell you that I have survived because, in large part, of the wonderful mentors I’ve had, and the on the ground learning experiences that I’ve been given. This magazine is my attempt to give back, to say thank you to those mentors, and to support YOU in your dreams to become successful in your business. I have two favorite quotes — both from a wonderfully innovative and successful business man — Walt Disney.
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. "Nothing's impossible." - Doorknob from Alice in Wonderland I share them with you in the hopes that you take them as your own and become YOUR dream!
I’m In Business … Now What?
Our business is open. How do we get the phones to ring?
NANCY BECHER recently talked with a gentleman who had opened a small business in his home, as an accountant, and was really excited about all the potential there was for income. He printed business cards, brochures and set up an “identi-ring” that he would only use for his company calls. He sharpened his pencils, bought a six pack of legal pads and made sure his calculator was working. Then he waited … and waited. With his college diploma hanging on the wall telling everyone that he was highly qualified for this job, he couldn’t understand why no one called, or walked in. After all, it WAS tax time.
What was he missing?
There are three things right away that I can think of that this gentleman needed. 1. Who knew he was there and open for business? Marketing is Really Important. 6 · Small Biz Forward
Had he done anything to let people know that XYZ Accounting Services was at the ready to help with last minute income tax returns? People need to know you’re there and what you do in order to know if its something they need to be thinking about. What was this gentleman’s specialty: corporations, small business, personal? Who was his target market and where did they “hang out”? He needed to know who would use his services and how to tell them how he could support them was a very important part of getting people to walk in the door. Those business cards and brochures he had made were great but unless they were in the hands of his potential clients, they were not doing him any good. Was there a local newspaper? Maybe he could get an article written about his new service business opening. All he had to do was call the news department and let them know that he was
Cont., 6 running a first time discount on Schedule Cs (along with a full return) for new clients. This would be a great way to let people know he was there.
2. Local Newspapers and other print ads are not the only media available Yes, traditional media such as radio, television, newspapers are good ways to market, but they may be a bit expensive for relatively new businesses. However, anyone who is in business should have a website with an email address connected to that domain. Using email addresses that end in yahoo, or gmail, or some of these other generic Internet providers is great for personal email, but if you want to show someone that you are a serious business, it costs somewhere in the vicinity of $14 a year to have your own domain. And it’s THAT important. I would also recommend getting online with a business page on Facebook, joining LinkedIn and some of the other social media sites, and then becoming active. Talk on them, share on them, get to know others both in your industry and those who could be potential clients. It’s all about creating a relationship and letting people know who you are and why you are the best person for their job.
3. Networking This final category is probably the most costly of the three, but it is highly recommended. Find groups in your community such as the Chamber of Commerce, or business networking groups, educational programs such as Business Success Unlimited where you can meet other business people (for lack of a better wording “like-minded” people). This helps spread the word, but you will also find that you can connect with others. You will learn that others have similar views, may also need support, are willing to
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help you, and more. Networking is a great way to get yourself out there and into the fray. However, I can only STRESS, do NOT go with the idea that you will come away with hundreds of business leads. You might find a few, but more likely you’ll find others who are also looking for leads. A much better way to network is to talk with a few, sharing what you do, and finding out more about what they do as well. By getting to know others, you can begin to think about ways to help them, as they think about ways to help you. It’s a win-win situation, and will in the long-run get you more business, and more success. By focusing on these three areas, our accountant will be able to start bringing in business and before you know it, his phone will be ringing and he’ll be using those legal pads for more than tic-tac-toe. Passionate about suppor/ng “mom and pop” businesses, Nancy Becher is the Chief Everything Oﬃcer of Business Success Unlimited, an educa/onal training program and success mentor for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Nancy is privileged to have worked with such organiza/ons since 1990 when she realized that there were a great many solopreneurs and homebased businesses that were looking for ways to share in networking, knowledge and training but didn’t know where to go. Hearing “I’m so alone, I don’t know where to turn”, she felt that it was /me to create a program that not only brought people together so that they weren’t so alone, but to help guide them through training and educa/on that brought out hands-on, “been there, done that” experiences, led by experts in their ﬁelds.
OMG I’M Outside My Comfort Zone Liz LaClair is the owner of Virtually Helps a virtual assistant company. She’s PASSIONATE about helping her clients. I’ll be honest with you, I’m almost always outside my comfort zone. I was comfortable working all those years in the corporate world. Someone else was in charge and made all the decisions. All I had to do was show up for work, and do what I was suppose to do. I liked doing that – I enjoyed many of the things I did. Now? Well now my business is that of a virtual assistant and doing many of the things I used to do along with some new things I’ve learned. This is my joy and bliss. But there’s all the other business things that have to be done:
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1. 2. 3. 4.
Getting/retaining clients Paying bills Getting noticed Marketing (wait that’s part of the getting noticed thing) – working on my own newsletter and blog page. Oh, let’s not forget the email advertizing (crud – that’s part of steps 3 & 4)
Whew! That’s a lot of stuff for someone to have to do – and I’m only scratching the surface. Talk about being waaay outside my comfort zone! But, even though there are days when I get scared and wonder why it was I started a business in the first place, I think of the phrase “put on your big girl panties and get on with it.” When I have projects for clients I think about how much I enjoy what I’m doing – a sense of peace sort of washes over me. During this time I think WOW, this is why I have my business! Then there are the times when I don’t have any client work – the slow times. We all have them. This is when panic sets in and I get nervous. I’m back outside my comfort zone. Yes, the day will come with my business that I’ll have staff to do the things I don’t like to do. At least one person will be in charge of keeping me visible and getting new clients interested. The rest (for this particular stage) is fairly easy for me to handle. But then again, once I get staff, I’ll need to put my accountant to work! But, until my dream becomes reality I need to be the one to do all of the things that need to be done. I need to learn to be comfortable stepping out of my
comfort zone. How else am I going to create my empire?
Telecommuting skyrocketed 73 percent from 2005 to 2011.
Today’s technology means just about everything in life can be done remotely, from turning on your lights before you arrive home to dating someone on the other side of the globe. It’s not surprising that modern conveniences have paved the way for employees to spend their days working from home instead of punching a clock at company headquarters.
The freedom to telecommute can be a powerful recruitment and retention tool and many employees who work from home report higher job satisfaction and reduced stress, especially when a long daily commute to the office is eliminated. In turn, that boosts productivity and reduces turnover rates.
principle, coupled with hard data from the company’s virtual private network that showed workers weren’t spending enough time on their assignments. Some businesses are even sharing space with other unrelated companies for the benefit it brings, not only for effective use of resources, but for idea generation and creative socialization. It’s been proven that we are motivated and inspired by the people we interact with on a daily basis.
Allowing staff to work from home has Allowing telecommuting can benefit had a positive outcome for many the bottom line, leading to savings in companies, but has been a hindrance everything from office supplies to real for others. Examine each estate costs. But that’s not to say that circumstance on its own merits. allowing your employees to work Consider if the position is a good fit from home automatically means they for telecommuting, whether the will cover all associated costs or that individual is well-suited to work from The telecommuting trend doesn’t you’ll be off the hook when it comes home, and if the concept meshes with seem to be slowing. Telework to liability. your company culture. Research Network figures state the Telecommuting can be a mutually number of people opting to Employers are still liable for health beneficial work arrangement, but it’s telecommute skyrocketed 73 per cent and safety issues, including a decision best made on a case-byfrom 2005 to 2011. Over three million ergonomics, when working from case basis. Americans – not counting the selfhome and proper equipment security employed – considered their home to can be worrisome in the residential Jerry Sarno is a be their primary workplace in 2011. environment. Of particular concern is Strategic Partner the documentation of hours – not only The decision to allow your employees to ensure optimal productivity, but to with Schooley to telecommute, or to begin protect the company against future Mitchell Telecom telecommuting yourself, has some claims of unpaid overtime and other Consultants, North major pros and its share of cons. More labor violations. America’s largest companies are extending the Perhaps the biggest reason many independent telecom consul/ng alternative arrangement to staff, while companies are no longer encouraging company. at the same time others that have telecommuting is its effect on the Jerry.Sarno@schooleymitchell.com embraced the work-at-home model for culture of collaboration. The decision years are discontinuing the practice. by Yahoo to have all employees 269-408-8679. return to the office was based on this 9 - Small Biz Forward
Give me three good reasons to come to Business Success Unlimited! â€Ś
How about FIVE!
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Entrepreneurs: Your Break Time Routine GAIL M. TURLUCK
olo entrepreneurs need a morning and
for a five minute walk. Stretch. Make a phone call
afternoon break just the same as their office
to take care of a nagging chore. Clean out your
and factory working friends, but often fail to
briefcase or purse.
take them. A few simple tweaks to the day can
The trick is to limit your break to no less than 10
make your breaks a reality and result in a more
and no more than 15 minutes. If you are away
longer than 15 minutes, you are late returning from
When making up your daily calendar, set the
break. Put a $1 bill into a jar for your late penalty.
time for your morning break, your afternoon break,
Set a time for your daily lunch break. Take
and your lunch break. These times
lunch at the same time, every day.
are sacred and may only be set
Take a full hour for your lunch
aside for family emergencies.
break. Have a healthy lunch: a
Next, set an alarm in your phone,
salad or some soup with a half
computer, or watch to go off at the
sandwich, and a piece of fruit.
same time every business day.
Take a 10 minute walk, at a
Just as the hourly worker does,
minimum. The physical exercise
when the alarm goes off (can be
gets your blood flowing better,
visual), make a note of where you
clears your lungs, and starts your
are leaving off and step away from
mind back up refreshed. You can
what you are doing, immediately.
run errands over your lunch break,
This is important to do.
too. Just remember, it is one hour long, 60 minutes, and no more. If
The next 10-15 minutes are
you are gone longer, you are late
your personal time. They are not for work. Make a cup of tea, freshen your coffee, have a piece of fruit or a protein-based snack. Go 11 路 Small Biz Forward
returning from lunch. Put $1 into your late penalty jar.
Cont., 11 By the end of the year you likely will have some funds in your penalty jar. Come December 30, you will need to choose a charity. Donate your penalty jar funds to that charity as your business' philanthropic beneficiary. Whether it's $5 or $100, the charity will be glad recipients, you will have been more productive and you will have learned how to discipline yourself with strong time management.
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Want to see more money in your pocket at the end of the day, but just NOT SURE how to accomplish it? Would you like to have several businesses focused on YOU, ready to help with ideas, knowledge, experience?
Make your dreams big enough to fuel your passion. Remember, never ever give up because the only thing standing in the way of your dreams is YOU. Taking advantage of the wisdom and experience of mentors will help you to reach your goal faster!
Join the Small Business Forward Club at BSU , “water” your business through networking, training, and FUN, and you’ll see it GROW!
h)p://success4biz.biz * h)p://facebook.com/bsuconnector
12 · Small Biz Forward
How do we, as home-based business owners, handle security?
Security and the Entrepreneur By Edward G. Becher, PPS your home address off that phone number and guess For many of us owning our what….knock knock. Go out and own business has always been a purchase either a second unlisted dream and for some having a home phone number or a second cell and based business is even better. But use that number exclusively for how do we as home based business your business. owners handle security? You need Client meetings should never to keep in mind that being home occur at your home unless this based, it is not only your business client is well known to you. You you need to keep secure, but your do not permit strangers in your family and home as well. house normally, why start with an Let’s talk about one item that many of us pass out at every networking event we attend...the business card. What address and phone number do you have on that card? Home address and phone number? I hope not. If you’re running a home based business there are many places such as Mail Boxes, Etc. that you can use as a business mailing address. Yes, it may be a hassle to pick up mail there, but do you want a potential client showing up at the front door at 9pm asking about a product or service you offer? Now for phone, it is easy to do a reverse phone number lookup and voila, I have
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unknown client. Meet at a spot out in public, such as a coffee shop, restaurant or even better a cowork center. How much do you really know about this new potential customer? Another key area to keep in mind is computer and internet safety. Many of us run wireless connections at home: is that connection a secure connection? There are people who will troll for those unsecured networks then basically take a peek at what you have on your network. Is access to your checking account on your computer? How about other
business or family financial information? Smart Phones; (IPhones and Andriods) can be another security issue. Is the location application on your phone turned on or off? A capable and knowledgeable stalker can locate you and track you through what you put up on the web, on sites like Facebook, FourSquare, Twitter and even Flickr. So use caution on what and where you post personal information. Remember as a home based business you have a responsibility to keep not only your business safe and secure but your home and family as well.
Ed Becher PPS is the Owner and Director of Training for The BodyGuard Academy located in Sturgis, MI. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling his office at 269-6513355 to discuss your security concerns.
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MI Security Training/Bodyguard Academy Providing quality training for those working in the private security industry in Michigan
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Dan Neumann is an Agile coach and trainer at NeuManagement, LLC. Dan is also an entrepreneur. Having seen a need for a different style of office space and coworking in South Bend, Indiana, he is currently working to open a new space in the heart of downtown. Watch for The Branch to open this spring.
Cover via Amazon
What’s Driving Your Business? What really motivates your team? And, what does traditional management believe motivates people? How well aligned is the traditional belief about motivation and the reality of the situation? These questions are explored in Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Daniel traces the evolution of motivation from its biological roots in self-preservation (dubbed "Motivation 1.0") to the carrotand-stick incentives of seeking reward and avoiding punishment
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("Motivation 2.0"), to what research is finding to be a higher motivation, labeled "Motivation 3.0". Earlier versions of motivation were responses to external forces. Unlike those earlier revisions of motivation, Motivation 3.0 is characterized by a human desire for a sense of autonomy, a chance to become masters of our particular craft, and to be driven by a purpose that is beyond ourselves. The book progresses from sharing studies that have indicated that "carrot and stick" motivation only yields its desired results for a subset of repetitive, non-creative activities, to a discussion of intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivation. For people who are intrinsically motivated, their motivation is fostered by their sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy can be expressed in various aspects of our work:
Cont., 15 1. The task itself, 2. The time in which we do it, 3. The technique we apply to the work, 4. The team with which we work Different people will value autonomy over various aspects of their work more than others. For example, I may most value autonomy over technique, and you may value autonomy over the time in which you elect to do the work most. A couple of items in this discussion resonated with me: 1. You can have autonomy, yet still be interdependent. 2. Accountability still exists, even when there is autonomy. Mastery is all about working toward a high level of execution. 1. Mastery is a mindset: It requires a dedication to performing activities that will help us become better. 2. Mastery is a pain: Becoming a master requires repetition over a long duration. 3. Mastery is asymptotic: You can get closer and closer to mastery, but never be truly perfect. Purpose is all about having a cause that goes beyond ourselves. Author and consultant Esther Derby, who has spent the last twenty-five years helping companies design their environment, culture, and human dynamics for optimum success, identifies purpose as being critical to a team’s success. First, an effectively stated goal “focuses the attention and effort of the team. When the team has a shared understanding of what their task is, they pull in the same direction.” Without an effective goal, lots of waste and confusion can ensue. Second, she says “a well-formed goal engages the team in a meaningful challenge. An effective goal provides a sense of purpose to the teams work.” When working on your business, consider ways in which you can apply the lessons from Drive. If you believe as Norm Kerth states, “….that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand,” you can safely explore what facets of autonomy, mastery, and purpose are absent. Working to create an environment where those elements are more present will yield lasting results for your team and your business.
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Is Your Flight Plan Ready for Your Small Business? Reprinted with permission from Greg Olson at Delightability, LLC. Visit www.delightability.com/blog for the original post or to download the delight ﬂight plan tool.
hat, why do I need a flight plan you say? Because more than half of the pilots involved in mishaps did not file a flight plan before the accident flight. You might not fly a small aircraft but, if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, you need the equivalent of a flight plan too. Otherwise you may be an accident waiting to happen.
Flight plans for small craft pilots are filed with the FAA so there is a record of where the pilot intends to go. If the pilot doesn’t arrive within a window of time then a search is initiated. The lack of a flight plan has led pilots and their craft to go missing for days. If you want the benefits of a search and rescue party, you’ll need to file a flight plan.
So what does this have to do with running a small business? Well, you too, should be prepared and know where you are going each and every day. How long will you fritter about before you get down to business? Will you be distracted by social media, the next phone call, and the insurmountable email inbox? If you are an emergency room doctor or a first responder your plan might be to respond and react. But, if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner wanting to grow your business, 17 · Small Biz Forward
you’ll need to cut through the noise and be more proactive. You’ll also want to identify the people that can help you – your small business search and rescue; these might be customers, partners, or vendors. Like most entrepreneurs and small business owners, you likely have a long list of things that get shoved off to the back burner waiting for another day when there is more time. But more time never actually does come right?
“Today is no different than yesterday and tomorrow will look much the same. You only have 24 hours in a day. When it comes to time, there is no aristocracy of wealth. genius or laziness is not rewarded or punished with any more time.” So, to make the most of what little time you have you must make a daily plan. At Delightability, I use the delight flight plan. It’s a free download; you can use it too. Visit http://www.delightability.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/03/Delight-Flight-Plan-Marthrough-May-2013.pdf to download. Check back later for future versions as calendars change.
The 3 legged stool
There are a few visual indicators at the top of the flight plan that serve as reminders. The first is the 3 legged stool. Any small business owner struggles with balancing between running a smooth operation, delivering on whatever their product or service is, and performing the sales/marketing/business development function. Even if you are good at all three, you’ll struggle with the limited time available in a day. With the 3 legs being all consuming there isn’t much time for personal life – that should be you sitting atop the well balanced 3 legged stool. But, get out of balance and you and your personal life topple to the floor.
The 3 funnels The 3 funnels visual is a reminder that no matter what business we’re in we have customers to serve. Those customers didn’t start out as customers, they started out as prospects. And hopefully, they’ll move beyond being customers to become loyal advocates. So, the 3 funnels are the exposure funnel where you turn suspects into prospects, the adoption funnel where you turn prospects into customers that are using your product or service, and the retention funnel where you turn customers into loyal advocates. For a bit more read this previous post.
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Touchpoints The other visual reminder are touchpoints reminding us that we can affect the quality of the interactions that our customers have with us. Exceed the customer expectation at a touchpoint and you have the recipe for delight. Check out the previous issue of the What’s Next newsletter to learn more about the Delight-O-Meter model and see a couple of examples. See it here: http:// delightability.createsend.com/t/ViewEmailArchive/ r/36EFED44B1030958/C67FD2F38AC4859C/
Week numbers Other items on the delight flight plan that can help you get about your business are the weekly calendar that goes 3 months at a time and the Guiding Principles. You don’t want your business to end up like the small craft pilot that landed with his gear up. So, download your flight plan, use it daily, and check it frequently. Use it to note the people you’ll reach out to whether they are customers or consultants. You might not get any more time in the day but you’ll make the most of the time you have available and make a bigger impact along the way. Greg founded Delightability with the belief that we all have the poten/al to do be)er. He brings his experiences across marke/ng, sales, engineering, services, and opera/ons to help leaders and organiza/ons make a bigger impact. His educa/on includes a BSEE, and MBA from Sea)le University while his informal and ongoing educa/on is about how humans think and interact with brands and the world at large. An entrepreneur, business coach, consultant, speaker, facilitator, and author he serves as a volunteer Board member for Oikocredit Northwest and an advisory board member for Sea)le University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Reach him at email@example.com or on
h)p://www.twi)er.com/fordoers, h)p://www.linkedin.com/in/olsong, h)p:// www.facebook.com/thebigideatoolkit, and h)p:// ww.facebook.com/delightability
Hibernation Time is OVER – Let’s Wake Up and Get Going! Nancy Becher I’m so happy to see the sun shine and the warming temperatures. It feels like it’s time to get moving. I have been waiting to get out and start walking – it’s when I do my best business thinking. Yesterday was it. And it gave me time to think about what we all think about – how we are going to run our business over the next few months. I’ll be the first to admit that running a business can be tough work. I’ll bet I’m not the only one that has thought, “let’s just forget it. I’m going back to the 9 to 5. At least I can call my life my own at that point.” There are lots of good points to being an employee (like a paycheck, regular hours, and a split between work and personal). There are also lots of reasons to be in business for yourself (creating your own work schedule, answering to no one but yourself, and more). Why not use these charts to see where you’re at in your business dreams.
PROs and CONs of Business Ownership Think about your goals for business ownership. Dream about what the PERFECT business would mean to you. Take a few minutes and write them down here so that you can refer back to them. SEE them, taste them, really feel what it would be like to be a business owner.
Now, do the same for the potential problems you could have being a sole proprietor in business for yourself. Make this REAL as well; get a feel for what it will be like if you do start that business for yourself. (Or get energized into putting your ALL into your already existing business)
19 · Small Biz Forward
Cont., 19 Jumpstart Your Business
One of the first things we all need for our companies, regardless of what industry or structure, is customers. A lack of customers is one of the most common reasons small businesses fail. Without people coming “in” to buy (whether online or off), your business will not survive. But don’t fear, there are some relatively easy ways to direct traffic to you. They don’t need to be expensive, but they need to be creative. You can do it, I’m sure. Here are a few examples: Can you put together a marketing campaign that involves giving away something for free? Use something that people will like, but that does not cost you a great deal of money to provide. A coupon for a 25% discount? Isn’t it better to get 75% of the cost than 0%? Generally, this coupon is used for an add-on service or product that goes along with an item that you are NOT discounting. Does your business lend itself to gift bags? A business card, a brochure, the coupon, a tchotchke of some kind that has pertinence to your business. I used to buy chocolate business cards and hand them out to everyone I met. Huh? A chocolate business card is a mold of your own personal business card made out of chocolate. Many of the people I gave them to liked them so much they refused to eat them, but rather kept them around to look at and show others. What great marketing is that? What can you think of to put in a gift bag? When you provide these relatively inexpensive materials it does several things for you: Often, you can deliver these to people in person so they get to see you, shake your hand, and know that you are a REAL, breathing person, someone they can remember. Another great tool I used when I first moved into a new office space years ago, was to bake chocolate chip cookies (do you see a theme here – chocolate?). I wrapped colored paper plates filled with cookies in bright colored cellophane and tied them with a bow which included a business card and brochure. I then personally delivered these goodies to every office in the building and introduced myself. Within days I had people calling me and asking me what I did and how I could help them. Does this bring any ideas to mind that you can use for your business? I can’t end this article without talking about one of my passions, however: relationship building. I know we’re all hungry for business and need to get those customers coming in the door. But, we also need to keep in mind that people buy from those they know, like and trust. Without those three things, a person may buy something once in a while, but a loyal, Raving Fan, customer they won’t be. You need to make sure that you are appreciating those clients that you already have, in ways that make them say, “I’ll never go anywhere else.” Send them a thank you, buy them a coffee, ask their opinion, listen to their thoughts. These are, again, all relatively inexpensive ways to treat your customer like family. When you create an environment that says “we appreciate you and your business” – not just the words, but in reality – then you will start to see repeat business, new customers, and your bank account growing bigger for your business’ success. 20 · Small Biz Forward
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We’d love for you to connect with us on any of these sites, give us sugges/ons for future ar/cles, let us know how we might make upcoming issues that much be)er, and just start conversa/ons. I believe very strongly that for any of us to grow our businesses, we need to be in rela/onship with our clients, or compe/tors and our staﬀ. If we don’t know who’s out there, how can we do business with them? And if we don’t know what services or products you provide, we can’t know how much we want and need them. So, let’s get connec/ng!