Vesta Digital Blog

Posts Tagged ‘management

Why You Should Own Your Own Business TodayBesides the fact that many people are reporting an improvement in the economy, there are so many reasons why you should set up your own business. There are plenty of problems in the market, if you could set up a business focusing on solving that problem, you’re good to go.

Allbusiness.com wrote a great article on the top 10 things small businesses can be thankful for, so I’m going to give you 5 of these blessings as reasons you should go into business right away.

You are your own boss.

The best part of running a small company has always been that you’re in business for yourself, not someone else. So go ahead, take Friday off — the boss won’t mind. You are a part of a team that shares a vision. You focus on innovation, motivation, achieving the same goal as your peers – rather than an administrative environment where everyone is focused on meeting deadlines and climbing their way up the ladder.

Small is the new large.

Revolutionary changes in technology — including the increasing consumerization of business tech, the rise of cloud computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) are dramatically cutting the cost of equipping a business and building a computing infrastructure. Best of all, these trends seem tailor-made for the needs of small businesses — especially startups — not saddled with the legacy systems that can hinder many older, larger companies.

The economy really is getting better.

No doubt about it, things are still tough for many people, but there are more and more positive signs out there, boding well for companies large and small. The major stock market indexes have shown surprising strength, credit card issuers report that delinquencies have slowed, and U.S. retail sales currently stand at their highest level in more than two years. That’s all good news for small businesses, especially consumer-facing firms. Even as most prices small businesses pay remain low, some small businesses are reporting that they’ve been able to increase profits by raising prices.

The Internet and social media.

From Facebook to Twitter to eBay to email marketing, the Internet‘s impact on small business is impossible to overstate. The Internet has made it possible for even the smallest companies to sell their products and services around the world, to work with suppliers and employees in remote locations, and to inexpensively market to millions (or billions) of people at once. On the Web nobody knows you’re a small business — in many ways you’re competing on a level playing field with the Fortune 500. And that’s not all. The Web also makes it easy to get the information you need to make your business successful — not to mention network with your peers for advice and support.

Great employees.

Small business owners have the privilege of leading some of the most dedicated, resourceful, productive workers in the world. And unlike large multinational corporations, small businesses often get the opportunity to work directly in cooperative teams with their employees, free of much of the bureaucracy and red tape that hobble bigger organizations.

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How To Hire Great People and Make them GreaterWho should you hire? Such a complicated question – a person you hire could mean anything from your new small business propelling forward in a new direction or your new small business chugging straight toward a dead end.

If you are a small business owner, the people on your team are so incredibly important to the success of your business. It is crucial (and also highly difficult) to hire people that will add value and substance to your business.

So how do you do it?

Share your vision

I recently attended a lecture on entrepreneurship given by William J. Rossi, a program director and professor at the University of Florida. His lecture explored the attributes and mindsets of entrepreneurs. The most important attribute Rossi discussed was the ability an entrepreneur has to share his vision with his employees, and make them feel like a part of something bigger.

The greatest entrepreneurs have a vision. They visualize and imagine a direction they will travel in that will eventually better the quality of life for consumers. So what does this have to do with hiring the right people into your business?

A truly successful entrepreneur understands the importance of motivating others. People in managerial positions give their employees deadlines, expectations, revision requirements, etc. Entrepreneurs however, trust people to do the job themselves, but it’s more than that – entrepreneurs give their employees a reason to do a good job, they are part of the vision.

“A leader focuses on motivation and inspiration. He energizes people to overcome bureaucratic, resource and political barriers because they believe in an agenda and want to accomplish it,” Rossi says.

Hiring the right person

So to tie it all together, when you hire someone who you believe to be qualified for the position, you have to take it a step further. You have to invite your employees to contribute to the overall direction, ask their opinions, take their advice, and allow them to participate in the bigger picture. This could apply to anyone, whether they work in marketing, finance, sales, manufacturing – everyone should be passionate about the “vision” you have created.

By giving people an overall sense of purpose, they are more likely to excel at individual tasks. When someone feels like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, they will undoubtedly do everything in their power to succeed.

Be a leader, not a manager.

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Why You Should Start a Business Right NowEntrepreneurship can be terrifying. Venturing off on your own can be a scary step and it’s important to be confident in what you’re doing. If you’re tired of working for someone else, the suffocating limits, and lack of moneymaking opportunities, you should seriously consider the world of entrepreneurship.

Rosalind Resnick, author of “The Vest Pocket Consultant’s Secrets of Small Business Success,” wrote a great article featured in the Small Business section of The Wall Street Journal. The article is truly inspirational and has hard facts about why entrepreneurship could be the best route for you.

Liberation at its finest

Entrepreneurship can be the key to liberating yourself from that dreaded cubicle. As a small business owner, you’re free to “unplug and work anywhere there’s WiFi reception,” Resnick says. You have the luxury of working where you please–which can increase your efficiency and ability to focus on the crucial tasks at hand.

Give yourself a raise

If you own your own business, you call the shots and you take on all the risk. There’s no limit to your salary and a raise can be dictated based on your own actions and the opportunities you create for yourself.

“While getting a business off the ground is never easy, every dollar that you put in and every hour that you work is an investment that returns profit back to you,” Resnick says.

If you still feel uneasy about the idea of taking on the world with your hands in your empty pockets, think of it this way: a “real” job may only last about four years, and you’re not getting paid enough. If you own your own business, you’re absolutely entitled to reap the benefits of your work. Answering to someone else can only stifle your true capabilities.

Write offs!

If you’re the kind of person that responds better to hard numbers rather than abstract ideals, here’s some information you might want to pay attention to. Recent changes in the tax laws make business expense deductions pretty sweet. “Under expanded bonus depreciation rules, qualified investments in fixed assets, purchased between Sept. 9, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011, can be fully written off for federal tax purposes,” according to Michael J. Goldberg of New York’s Ganer, Grossbach & Ganer LP.

All in all, starting a business isn’t about the benefits, or the adventure, it’s about you. You can use your small business as a test to show your true potential. Take some risks and see what you can do.

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How to Create a Marketing PlanThere are several ways to create a marketing plan. Once your small business is up and running, you need something concrete and on paper to refer to when reviewing your marketing efforts throughout the year. Many small businesses can get away with having just a half-dozen sheets. As long as you’re paying attention to the correct information, your marketing plan will work.

Your Marketing Plan

Have a three-ring binder with your marketing plan (on paper) in it. Leave room for monthly reports on sales and costs. Constantly updating your marketing plan is extremely important because it allows you to track your progress and adapt for the future. Many marketing plans fail because people have a tendency to stubbornly stick to a plan and attempt to carry it out even if it isn’t working.

Your plan should cover one year of marketing. Give yourself a couple months in advance to write your marketing plan, even if you only start with an outline. When writing your marketing plan, try to get feedback from as many people as possible. It is important to discuss marketing potential with the finance people in your company, the supply people, etc.

How your Marketing Plan Works with your Business plan

Your business plan is much more in depth and discusses the inner workings and ultimate goals of your entire business. Your documents must coincide. If your marketing plan starts deviating from the ultimate structure of your business plan, you need to change your business plan. It is important that the two work parallel to each other because your business plan is the backbone of your company’s functionality.

Your marketing plan should include research of your target markets, a competitive analysis, budgeting, your timeline of execution, and any other details that pertain to your marketing efforts. You should know in advance exactly what channels you intend to use, whether it be social media marketing, email marketing, or direct marketing – or all of them for that matter.

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How To Build and Maintain a Golden ReputationCustomer referrals can be one of the most powerful ways to build your company’s reputation. We all know how quickly one dissatisfied customer can contribute to a damaged reputation.

It is crucial to remember how much your brand name and credibility directly relates to your revenue flow. Companies who don’t have returning satisfied customers will suffer in comparison to companies who have a loyal customer base.

Here are a few ways to build and maintain your reputation in order to build a loyal customer base.

Never bad-mouth your competition

Of course it is beneficial to talk about your strong points with your clients, in your advertisements, or on your website, but always avoid degrading your competition. It can even be beneficial to you to compliment your competition. Say things like “they’re great companies, and I’m sure you will be happy with any of us, but I think you will be happiest with my company.”

If a client mentions a company you don’t necessarily respect, you can back out of bad-mouthing that company by saying something like “that company isn’t really a competitor of ours, but the others are pretty good competitors. I just think you would be happiest with our services.”

Be positive at all times

Even if you do lose a sale to a competitor, be able to own up to it and move on. It is understandable if losing a client to a different company angers you – but you need to be able to get over it and look towards the future. One poor reaction to the loss of a client can go a very long way. You should never take short cuts if you feel like you’re going to lose a client. It is very important to always be accommodating for difficult clients, regardless or not if you make the sale.

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Give Yourself a Chance to Succeed in the Business WorldThere is no secret formula to succeeding in business. I can’t say follow these steps and you will reach the elusive world of financial freedom. However, there are certain aspects that most successful small business owners all have in common. If you work on these aspects, you’ll certainly have a better chance at success.

1. Positive Attitude

Always have a positive attitude, no matter what. I don’t need to site any statistics about various studies that show how a positive attitude reaped better results than a negative one. It’s common sense. Your attitude affects everything you do, the people around you, and how effective you are as a leader.

2. Use Effective Marketing

You need to market to a small niche of people. Your marketing efforts should be spread out among a few different channels, and you also need to be aware that the results of marketing take time to surface. Marketing is a long-term investment. It is about building the reputation of your company name – not sales returns.

3. Always be professional

Have a professional online presence, have a website that is e-commerce capable with quality content that keeps browsers interested. Be professional when you engage with social media. Choose your words, images, and actions with discretion and care as everything you do will reflect on your business.

4. Have a call to action

Have a blog subscription available to your clients with RSS feed compatibility. Or have visitors to your site fill out their name and email addresses to receive email newsletters. While it is important to attract traffic to your website, it is even more critical to have those visitors coming back again, and eventually, refer you to others.

If you follow these tips, you will be able to see a difference. These tips may seem like common sense but it really is amazing how many people don’t spend time on marketing, or are unprofessional and turn customers off, or have everything great but don’t convert enough customers. Keep these tips in mind and you will see yourself focused, energized, and motivated to see your business flourish.

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What To Do If You Are UnderperformingDo you feel like no matter what you do you can never measure up to par? It can be frustrating to feel like all the work you do ends up going unnoticed or written off. The first step to curing underperformance is admitting it. If your work simply doesn’t cut it, you need to take the necessary actions to change.

If you are a small business owner and you just can’t seem to see results from your efforts, or if you are an employee at a larger enterprise and you seem to be written off no matter what you do, there is an answer. Amy Gallo wrote a great blog post on Harvard Business Review about what to do if you are underperforming:

Ask for help

“If you’re screwing up, you should be open with your boss,” urges Jean-François Manzoni, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development at IMD International and co-author of The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome: How Good Managers Cause Great People to Fail. Many bosses respond better to “I need help” than they do the various rationalizations and explanations that often accompany poor performance. Be concrete about what you ask for. “Others will be more open to helping you if you show them how they can help, and you show them you are taking responsibility for what’s in your control,” says Manzoni.

Involving others — peers, mentors, even direct reports — can also be helpful. Ask for feedback about how you are performing and advice on how you can improve. These discussions serve two purposes. One, they help you gain useful insight into your own behavior. Two, they also let people know you are working on the issue. If they know that, they are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt in assessing your future performance.

Decide what to focus on

J. Richard Hackman, the Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University and author of Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances, recommends using a three-part checklist to assess the underlying causes:

  1. Effort. Am I putting enough time and energy into the work?
  2. Strategy. Am I working smartly rather than relying on routine?
  3. Talent. Do I have the skills, knowledge, and capabilities to do my job well?

“Just asking one’s self those three simple questions often will surface some concrete things one can do to improve,” says Hackman. Use the answers to decide where to focus your efforts.

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Recognize what is in your control to change and what isn’t
  • Sincerely ask for advice and feedback
  • Include others in your improvement efforts so they can see and appreciate your progress

Don’t:

  • Be defensive about your underperformance and try to blame it on outside events or other people
  • Assume that just because you are improving, others recognize it
  • Stay at a job where you’ve become permanently labeled an underperformer

If you are a small business owner and you have employees that are underperforming, it is important to be understanding and offer help when you can. If you are underperforming, follow the above principles and restore your reputation. It is important to assert the effort it takes to improve for your company and for yourself.

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