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Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur

business successAs a small business advocate always on the lookout for new advice for how to start and run a successful small business, I have found several “formulas” and “checklists” that promise the budding entrepreneur success and financial rewards.

However, there is no set path to financial freedom. Small business owners need to be creative, put pressure on the guidelines, and strive to be different from competitors.

I found an article on PowerHomeBiz that describes some survival tips for entrepreneurship, here are a few of the ones from the article I found to be the most helpful:

1. Follow Opportunity Instead of Savoring Security.

This is the hardest one of all. Most of us were brought up to seek out and cling to the security of the 9-5 job. What happens when you mention to your family that you want to leave the security of your pension and go out on your own. They will probably advise you to be sure, to step carefully, to take your time. Some may even advise you against it completely. Are they financially independent? Did they have what it takes to go out on their own?

Are they living the life that they want? One way to avoid getting caught up in this security trap is to set a confirmed time that you will leave your job. Real worth and wealth is generated from within you. It comes from being prepared, knowing how to spot, act upon and capitalize from opportunities.

2. Making a Profit, Not a Living.

If you are still an employee, you probably know how much you will be bringing home next week. But with your own business, you have to remember to focus on making a profit and that means high sales and low overhead. No one signs your check now. To survive you must be focused on how you will make a profit today, tomorrow and next week. You must find ways to keep costs down to the exception of affecting your profit making capabilities.

3. Look For Opportunity, Not Mistakes.

Success is the result of making good decisions. Good decisions are made from good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad decisions. This doesn’t mean you should try to make mistakes for experience. The key is to gain experience from the mistakes and success of others. Seek out others in your field. Study and understand why they are succeeding or failing. Don’t expect to make all the right decisions and don’t let the fear of making mistakes inhibit you from pursuing new opportunities. Those who never make mistakes are probably working for those who weren’t afraid of making them.

4. Know What People Want, Instead of Wanting What You Know.

What it all comes down to. Knowing the who, what, where and why of your target customers. The success of your business is not the sum total of the knowledge you have gained, it still is and always will be, the “sale”. Success is determined by what products sell and how well they sell. It isn’t what you know that counts, it’s what your customers want. If you lose sight of this fact, you are doomed to failure. Never lose sight of the fact that marketing your customers’ wants is your number one priority.

e-commerceIf you are a small business owner or budding entrepreneur, you probably already know how imperative it is to have a professional online presence. People generally see the Internet as a primary resource when researching information about products and services.

Research on the Internet is also transforming, it is transitioning from personal research to consultation with peers via social media networks. So how does this apply to you as a small business owner with a website? You need a website that promotes your product in the most effective ways.

Below are a few ideas to help your web development:

Sell Products People Want

Selling personal and customizable products is generally the smartest approach when entering the small business world. This will enable you to have control over the trademarks and copyrights. If not, be sure to research the most reliable wholesalers available. Buying wholesale from reliable companies is critical for your business success.

Research your target market and have a clear understanding of what your consumers are looking for.

Purchase a Domain Name

Your URL should always relate to your business. You will get buried in search engine rankings if your URL is something overcomplicated, and does not include the keywords associated with the product you sell. Search engines generally rank .com sites higher than .org or .net, if possible, purchase all three domain names and redirect the .org and .net pages to your .com site.

You should generally purchase a 5-year reservation. Search engines tend to rank veteran websites higher than newer ones. Having an effective URL will automatically boost your search engine optimization.

Build an Effective Website

Your content should be persuasive, credible, and concise. The website should be easy to navigate, easy to find, and easy to purchase from. Have real contact information and as much personal touch as possible. Use social media marketing by having a Social Media Platform in order to gain exposure online and event cut marketing costs.

Have Online Purchase Power

The fastest and easiest way to set up an online payment program is to use Pay Pal. Any individual with an email address can securely and easily send and receive payments online. Pay Pal has a well-known reputation of having a solid fraud prevention system.

Employ Search Engine Optimization

Relevant keywords are critical for your search engine optimization, or your page rank within search engines. Try Google Adwords or other keyword testing programs to see what kind of results you might get on search engines with the keywords you have in mind. Google your own company or product and see what kind of words show up the most often.

small business ownerAs I mentioned in 5 Tips for the New Business Owner – Part 1, any new entrepreneur or small business owner needs as much advice as he or she can get. The lack of resources available for starting entrepreneurs and business owners can be a frustrating and difficult obstacle to overcome.

Here is the second half of the 10 tips to follow when launching your first startup business, as according to Scott Gerber, a writer for the Young Entrepreneurs column in Entrepreneur.com.

6. Learn under fire.

No business book or business plan can predict the future or fully prepare you to become a successful entrepreneur. There is no such thing as the perfect plan. There is no perfect road or one less traveled. Never jump right into a new business without any thought or planning, but don’t spend months or years waiting to execute. You will become a well-rounded entrepreneur when tested under fire. The most important thing you can do is learn from your mistakes-and never make the same mistake twice.

7. No one will give you money.

There, I said it. No one will invest in you. If you need large sums of capital to launch your venture, go back to the drawing board. Find a starting point instead of an end point. Scale down pricey plans and grandiose expenditures. Simplify the idea until it’s manageable as an early stage venture. Find ways to prove your business model on a shoestring budget. Demonstrate your worth before seeking investment. If your concept is successful, your chances of raising capital from investors will dramatically improve.

8. Be healthy.

No, I’m not your mother. However, I promise that you will be much more productive when you take better care of yourself. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, not a 9-to-5 profession. Working to the point of exhaustion will burn you out and make you less productive. Don’t make excuses. Eat right, exercise and find time for yourself.

9. Don’t fall victim to your own B.S.

Don’t talk the talk unless you can walk the walk. Impress with action not conversation. Endorse your business enthusiastically, yet tastefully. Avoid exaggerating truths and touting far reaching goals as certainties. In short, put up or shut up.

10. Know when to call it quits.

Contrary to popular belief, a smart captain does not go down with the ship. Don’t go on a fool’s errand for the sake of ego. Know when it’s time to walk away. If your idea doesn’t pan out, reflect on what went wrong and the mistakes that were made. Assess what you would have done differently. Determine how you will utilize these hard-learned lessons to better yourself and your future entrepreneurial endeavors. Failure is inevitable, but a true entrepreneur will prevail over adversity.

Your small business has a great chance in succeeding. By following the tips from this post and the previous five tips, you will give yourself the best chance to jump start your new venture.

start your own businessFor those of you who are just beginning to start up your own small business, you may be feeling entirely overwhelmed. There are very limited resources for young, new entrepreneurs. However, there are a few ideas to help you get started in the right direction and nurture your small business.

Scott Gerber, a writer for the Young Entrepreneurs column in Entrepreneur.com recently posted a great article about 10 tips to follow when launching your first startup business. I have included the first five below, and will post the next five tips very soon.

1. Focus. Focus. Focus.

Many first-time entrepreneurs feel the need to jump at every “opportunity” they come across. Opportunities are often wolves in sheep’s clothing. Avoid getting side-tracked. Juggling multiple ventures will spread you thin and limit both your effectiveness and productivity. Do one thing perfectly, not 10 things poorly. If you feel the need to jump onto another project, that might mean something about your original concept.

2. Know what you do. Do what you know.

Don’t start a business simply because it seems sexy or boasts large hypothetical profit margins and returns. Do what you love. Businesses built around your strengths and talents will have a greater chance of success. It’s not only important to create a profitable business, it’s also important that you’re happy managing and growing it day in and day out. If your heart isn’t in it, you will not be successful.

3. Say it in 30 seconds or don’t say it at all.

From a chance encounter with an investor to a curious customer, always be ready to pitch your business. State your mission, service and goals in a clear and concise manner. Fit the pitch to the person. Less is always more.

4. Know what you know, what you don’t know and who knows what you don’t.

No one knows everything, so don’t come off as a know-it-all. Surround yourself with advisors and mentors who will nurture you to become a better leader and businessman. Find successful, knowledgeable individuals with whom you share common interests and mutual business goals that see value in working with you for the long-term.

5. Act like a startup

Forget about fancy offices, fast cars and fat expense accounts. Your wallet is your company’s life-blood. Practice and perfect the art of being frugal. Watch every dollar and triple-check every expense. Maintain a low overhead and manage your cash flow effectively.

Starting your own business can be exciting, frustrating, and overwhelming. Follow these tips to jump start your new venture and watch your small business succeed and prosper.

business ideasFor those of you venturing into the world of entrepreneurship, finding a successful idea for your small business can be challenging. First off, you need a product or service you will be successful at selling. Secondly, it must be a product that can be marketed and advertised towards a reachable audience.

Noobpreneur.com, a resource website for small business owners and entrepreneurs, recently published an article about the top 10 small business ideas for 2010.

If you are interested in starting up your own business, being your own boss, and seeing results, here are the top 10 ideas for you to consider and learn from, according to Noobpreneur:

1. Online business (and make money online)

I heard and read too many real life success stories of people who have gone from zero to hero making money online. I also heard and read too much opportunities online that are still pretty much low in competition but high in demand – every entrepreneur’s dream. For those reasons, I cannot see why online business should not be the #1 business idea of all.

2. Green consultancy

As more and more businesses are going green today, starting up a business helping other businesses to go green – e.g. implementing green practices, reducing inefficiency in energy consumption, etc. – is not only a smart business move, but also a socially-responsible one.

3. Outsourcing

Nothing new here, but outsourcing is indeed increased in demand and importance. As businesses cut costs, outsourcing service providers are well-sought after. Related to #1 (online business – make money online,) doing business operations (or errands) can be astonishingly profitable. A tip: Instead of going solo, hire a team to do tasks – Your main job: Cash in the opportunity, as the opportunity is (still) wide open to explore.

4. Everything organic

Organic clothing, organic food, and others are the type of products that continually grow in demand. Offering organic version of something niche – e.g. organic chewable pet toys – can offer you a great chance of success.

5. Internet-related services

Thousands of sites are established every day on the Net – most of those site needs domain names and web hosting services – Why don’t you start one? Starting up a web hosting company won’t take more than $500 (if you are on a reseller plan of a web hosting provider) but can make you $2000 per month – Yes, Internet-related businesses are HUGE in potential. Some other ideas: starting up a web design/development business, an SEO/link building services, a social media marketing business, etc. can help site owners to do well online.

6. Green construction

Green homes and buildings are in demand and start gaining momentum in construction business trends – why? Because they use less resources, create less waste and promote healthy living for those who live inside.

7. DIY green energy

Green living dominates this list, indeed – This time, Do-it-yourself green energy, which is essentially self-made green energy generator, commonly using either solar or wind energy. Supporting those who are interested in DIY green energy by providing how-to guides, materials, and/or accessories can make a great and sustainable business idea.

8. White label fundraising

There are times when you are really want to make a difference by running your own charity, but don’t know how. There are white label fundraising companies that, in essence, partner with non-profit organisations and charities to provide a chance for someone to raise funds for his/her favourite charities or non-profits without all the hassle of resource management and reporting. Even better, he/she will receive good income to cover the fundraising activities by receiving a percentage of the raised funds. A win-win solution for all and being the one who meet the organisations with independent fundraisers makes a good business idea.

9. Freemium-based

Freemium is a business model (usually online business) that allows free but limited access to a product or service, in which a premium is charged if you want a full-featured access. Twitter will do it, Flickr has done it, and you should join the bandwagon. The premise: free is what attract people, and getting 1% of those people to pay for the premium should boom your business – think about it: you can create revenue offering something for free, with no obligation or any hidden policies.

10. Personalised products and/or services

People enjoy personalised products and/or services that are made specifically to their specifications. With growing interest in everything custom and personalised, starting a business offering design-your-own, make-your-own or choose-your-own products and/or services is a smart move. A couple of examples: Tutti Frutti fro-yo (off line) and Custom Ink custom t-shirts(online)

Whatever you choose, your business needs a successful online presence. The three most important components of having a successful website it an easy to use content management system, a social media marketing strategy, and effective search engine optimization methods.

mind of an entrepreneurMany people are diving into the world of small business ownership. Whether this has to do with the state of the economy and job market, or the innate desire to “be your own boss,” the result is a boom in people wanting to own their own business.

There is a difference between a small business owner and an entrepreneur. Steve Smith, a mentor for small business owners and entrepreneurs for the consulting team OneCoach International, wrote an informative brief on Focus.com

The brief discusses the qualities that separate small business owners from entrepreneurs. Read the excerpt below and learn how to transcend the booming market of small business ownership and dive into the world of entrepreneurship:

The term entrepreneur simply means: one who has an idea and takes the financial risk and accountability for the outcome of their pursuits. The real meaning can be better understood in the characteristics an entrepreneur should possess in order to achieve the results they desire.

Desire to succeed

The true entrepreneur never gives up in their quest to reach the benchmark of success they have set for themselves. The real test is not in being successful but in being willing to do it again if the 1st, 2nd or 3rd attempts fail.

Determination & work ethic

Their relentless desire to succeed is fueled by a ‘dogged’ work ethic. They think nothing of putting in 15+ hours a day pursuing every aspect of their idea. While this level of determination is all but a requirement in the early phase of getting your idea off the ground, it can also be a blind spot in terms of being able to set priorities and stay focused on specific activities that drive accomplishment.

Having an innovative mindset

Few business ideas today are truly revolutionary. Most are an adaptation of an existing idea. The entrepreneur will frequently borrow an existing business model and make significant improvements to it in order to create a niche that they can grow. They are constantly looking for ways to realize their dreams by innovating what’s already in play, even when they’re not sure that the market is ready for it.

Willingness to go it alone

Entrepreneurs see opportunities differently than most people and will pursue a course of action that maybe unclear to close friends or family members. Frequently, their community will question their motives, ambitions or even sanity in an attempt to keep them from being hurt by their unshakable quest to see the venture to completion. The true entrepreneur understands this level of ‘loving scrutiny’ and presses forward despite the lack of perceived support for what they see very clearly as their road to financial freedom

Acting on creative ideas and solutions

This is one of the key factors that separate entrepreneurs from all other well intentioned business people. Entrepreneurs have an ability to find creative solution to situations that appear daunting and take action on them; sooner rather than later. Their ability to see unique approaches to the opportunities they take on enables them to act on decisions that are critical to the project’s continued momentum. The downside of this ‘go-getter’ mentality can be a pattern of frequent and unneeded ‘trial & error’ because not enough consideration is taken to research and test an idea before jumping into it with all four feet.

Making decisions in the absence of complete information or solid data

At the beginning of an idea, there may not be enough information available to comfortably decide on a particular course of action. The entrepreneur knows this and is confident in making decisions under these circumstances. They recognize that intuitive thinking or ‘gut feelings’ play a role in forging ahead into the unknown and see this as exhilarating as pursuing the idea itself. The entrepreneur knows that there is no better way to kill a promising idea in the early stages than to become paralyzed in the decision making process.

Jack of all trades

The entrepreneur knows how to do many things. They also know how to improvise and find others who can fill in their knowledge or skill gap with whatever is needed to keep moving forward. And while this ability to juggle and assimilate to a variety of situations enables to entrepreneur to keep things in motion, the downside is often an inability to accurately assess a true area requiring expertise outside the entrepreneur’s capabilities. In some cases, critical decisions may be made hastily or incorrectly causing unintended setbacks.

entrepreneur successIf you are an entrepreneur starting your own business, there are a few traits you must possess in order to succeed. The global economy is changing, and so is the small business market.

Hone in on the 6 traits listed and explained below and you are well on your way into succeeding as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Have a plan

If you start a business without a specific, detailed plan, you are most definitely planning to fail. When designing your business plan, have realistic, attainable goals. While setting goals is important, it is even more important to outline exactly how you plan to get there.

Have discipline

As an entrepreneur, you have nothing but hard work ahead of you. By disciplining yourself and persevering through the difficult times (as there most certainly will be difficult times), you will be able to build yourself up. You are working for yourself, there are no hourly workdays, you need to spend as much time as possible focused on your tasks and finishing them.

Be frugal

Your budget in the beginning is extremely important. Breaking even should not be your goal. Your goal should be profiting. By saving as much money as possible when you can, you will avoid the risk of drowning in your own cost.

Have sales sense

Your biggest asset when you start your own business is your tactful marketing strategies. If you are selling a relatively new product or offering a new service, your biggest priority is to market it and make it available. Creating connections will be the best way to launch a marketing strategy. Invest time in establishing yourself through social media networks.

Know your priorities

Your true priority is your customer. Cultivate relationships with your customers and spend most of your time nurturing leads and following up with prospects.

Maintain your image

Have a professional looking business website. Always be professionally dressed when meeting with potential clients or partners. Have professional and clean business cards. All of these things may seem like common sense, but paying attention to these little details can go a long way.

small businessIsabel Isidoro, an editor for PowerHomeBiz, wrote a great article on what it takes to be an entrepreneur. There are only a few things that separate successful business owners and business owners who fail.

Below are key points for any small business owner to follow in order to succeed and stand out amongst competition. Be a small company that competes with big businesses.

1. Find a Niche.

For small businesses, it is best to find a niche. A small company with limited resources can efficiently serve niche markets. Concentrate your efforts on a fairly narrow market offering. This entails sticking to what you do best, and becoming an expert in that field.

2. Be small, yet think big.

The most common question of small business
start-ups is “How can I compete with my big competitors?“ Small businesses have inherent advantages over big businesses, including flexibility, ability to respond quickly, able to provide a more personalized service. Make sure that your business takes maximum advantage of those areas that represent the strengths of small companies.

3. Differentiate your products.

Present the benefits of your products and services to your customers, highlighting the unique solutions it offers to their problems. Avoid being a copycat; rarely do imitators succeed in the market. Study, but do not copy your competitors, and package your products distinctly.

4. First impression counts.

Strive for accuracy and quality the first time around. You often do not have a second chance to make a good first impression. This entails a well-laid out store, courteous staff, and personable voice over the phone, etc. However, if you are a one-person business working in a home office, remember that you are the center of your business and marketing efforts

5. Good reputation.

Your business hinges on its reputation. It is imperative that you build a good reputation for the quality of your products and support services. Remember that two things guarantee success: high quality goods and superior service. Always aim for quality. If you are a tax consultant, strive to prepare a totally accurate, perfectly done tax returns for your clients.

6. Constant improvement.

Entrepreneurs know that they should not be rigid in their ways of thinking in their quest to improve their best products and services. You risk being left behind by the fast-paced competition if you cling to the “this is how we’ve always done it” kind of thinking. The business environment today demands that you need to come up with new solutions fast!

7. Listen to your customers.

Be market driven: listen and react to your customer’s needs. Customers need to feel that they are important to you ¬ because they are! When you focus on your customers and gain their trust, they will not only recommend you but they will also remain loyal to you. Remember, personal recommendation and word-of-mouth are the least costly yet most effective marketing strategy for your business.

8. Plan for success.

An entrepreneur should understand the power of planning. A good plan helps you increase your chances of succeeding and can help you define your business concepts, estimate costs, predict sales and control your risks. It tells you where you are going and how to get there. Going into business without a plan is like driving into a foreign land without a road map.

competitionFor every product or service out there, there are numerous companies that offer each one. How does a consumer choose between so many competitors for a single product? There are a few ways for your brand and your business to stand out in the marketplace.

Choose the Right Product

Be sure to choose a product that is as unique as possible. It is difficult to gain entry into an industry that is already popular and in demand. Or, can you extend a product and offer a valuable service to make the product more useful to the customer.

Provide Service 

The service of a company is a serious concern for consumers. Because consumers have the power in today’s market, your company should be known above all else for excellent service. Retaining a strong customer base comes solely from your networking strategies and service methods.

Target a Niche

Choose an industry or two and become a dominant company. When you specialize in a single industry you can eventually raise your prices.

Make an Offer

Make an offer that is the substance of your reputation. Offer a lifetime warranty. Offer a 100% refund if your customer is dissatisfied.

Solve a Problem

Your consumers have a problem. Your job as a company is to solve them. Turn obstacles into advantages by solving problems consumers approach you with about the product.

Message of Value

Many times there are things that you do that don’t get communicated. Extras that you provide or services you think should be included. Your positioning might just rest in more effectively communicating what you do. Have a message that makes your business. If you are an office supply store, your message is to make businesses valuable and efficient.

Customer Service

Everyone knows the story of over the top customer service provided by Nordstrom’s Create your own over the top customer response system and word of mouth advertising will flow liberally. One of the greatest ways to kick this off is to over deliver on your first customer contact. Give them something more than you promised, give them a gift, give them a related service for free.

Against the competition

Many times you can create your category niche by looking for holes in the offerings of your competitors. If every one in industry fails to address a certain problem, boldly grab on to solving that problem and use your competition as the point of difference.

Once you find your chosen strategy or combination of strategies to differentiate your business, all of your advertising and promotion should be focused on communicating about that difference.

successful business ownerIf you are a business owner and you’ve seen your business grow to a level where you can manage a team to help steer the business towards profit, you may be at a turning point. Management techniques should always be adapting with time. Many small businesses may reach the level of $1-3 million in annual sales, or 5-15 employees. This is the perfect time to revamp your management techniques.

A manager of a business must evolve from technical thinking and expertise to a manager of people and strategy. It is critical to learn how to manage your company in a way that will grow long-term.

There are 3 aspects of successful business owners listed below that will help you succeed in business, in relationships, in life, and in whatever you choose to put effort into.

Positivity, Persistence, and Patience

Successful business owners have a level of commitment to their goals that is difficult to find many places. The dedication it takes to nurture your projects will not just be handed to you, it must be earned. Entrepreneurs are one breed of a few that understand there is not too much of a difference between an obstacle and an opportunity. Successful entrepreneurs know how to turn both to their advantage.

Strategic Business Plan

Having a business plan is great, sticking to it is even better. Many of you reading this post will feel reassured; of course you have a business plan. However, when was the last time you updated it? Obviously if you are going to change your managerial tactics, your whole business strategy needs to be updated with the times as well. Stagnant businesses are the ones who fail.

Organized Company Structure

According to Robert A. Normand, a writer for Business Know-How this system should have policies and procedures that encourage all associates to perform to their utmost capabilities. It should reward those who excel in proportion to their contributions. It also disciplines those who deviate from acceptable behavior. Positions, tasks, duties and responsibilities are defined and communicated and performance is routinely measured. Training, job enrichment programs and incentive compensation plans are designed to encourage each associate to excel. Successful owners view their associates as their most valuable asset and resource.

In conclusions, successful business owners have a positive outlook on their business and their lives that helps them stay persistent, committed, and patient. They have a living strategic business plan that they stick to, and update as times change. They also have an organized company structure that helps their associates perform and excel, all in the best interest of the business.


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