Categorybusiness

7 Types of People You Should Avoid When Starting Your Business

Do you know that starting a business is one of the most, if not the most challenging tasks any individual can embark upon? Why is this the case, you might ask?

First of all, consider that you are about venturing into a world of uncertainty. Now you may have carried out your feasibility studies, obtained the training and expertise needed to run a business as well as gather all the resources to hit the road running; but remember that the business world offers no guarantees.

There are no guarantees that there will be no change in fiscal and monetary policy that will effectively shut down the operations of your business.

There are no guarantees that your target market may acquire new tastes and needs, hence rendering your product/service redundant.

There are no guarantees that a competitor will not emerge down the line and cut into your market share and hence cut down your profits.

Indeed, starting a business means you will need to be a self-starter and have loads of determination and optimism to succeed. Therefore, it becomes imperative that you surround yourself with the people that have the same attitude and hunger as you do.

In the same vein, it is just as important that you avoid certain categories of people when you begin your entrepreneurial journey.

These categories of people have the capacity to derail your vision in business; they can also impair your views about life in general. These categories of people to avoid include the following:

1. Avoid People who seem to Know It All

Businesses thrive and flourish when their owners are constantly in the search for more knowledge; better ways of offering a product or service to their customers. It is what has kept businesses like Apple and Facebook relevant; posting impressive profits because they continue to research, innovate and seek knowledge. You cannot perform below this standard.

Therefore, it is important that you get rid of people who feel that they have all the knowledge and do not see the need to better themselves.

You must shun these people simply because your business needs you to constantly be on the lookout for new and better ways of solving the needs and want of your customers.

2. Avoid People who Nag and Complain a lot

Starting a business will require that you possess loads of determination and focus. Why is this the case? It is simply because there will be times when you will face challenges and setbacks that will question the very basis of why you started the business in the first place. It is during those periods that you should be thankful for the little victories that you may have garnered up until that time.

If you surround yourself with people who are never grateful for what they have accomplished, even if small but would rather throw tantrums and whine about how things can be better, you may end up assuming such a disposition to your business and life in general.

3. Avoid People Who Massage your Ego

You have begun your entrepreneurial journey and the time has come to bring on staff and advisers that will help propel your venture forward.

It is pertinent to note the person who always sings your praises, always demurs to your every whim and tells you that you can do no wrong. Run away from people who cozy up to you in this way.

What you and your business need are people who will be bold enough to push for what they believe is the way to go in your business, even if their opinion is at odds with yours.

4. Avoid People who are Overly Pessimistic

There are certain people who will always envision the worst possible outcome for any plan or project. If such people had their ways, they would not even get out of bed in the mornings.

If you surround yourself with these kinds of people, you run the risk of viewing every potential business action or project through the lens of it failing or worse.

You must realize that starting a business itself is a risk but a calculated one when you are able to plan and prepare adequately.

5. Avoid People who want to Always receive all the Credit

In starting a business, you will be deploying both human and non-human resources in meeting the demands/needs of your target market.

This will mean that you will lead and be a part of a team that will implement the objectives of your business.

It is important that you avoid recruiting people who are self-centered and are not team players.

They usually want to be in the limelight and receive praise for accomplishments whether or not it is directly from their efforts or not.

Such people have the potential to disrupt team synergy and cohesion and could engender an unproductive atmosphere in the business.

6. Avoid People who try to Cut Corners

You will do yourself and your business a world of good when you shun individuals who are in a hurry to earn a buck or seal a transaction. This should not be confused with employees who go the extra mile in making sales and getting new markets. People who cut corners, on the other hand, will try even illegal ways and means to get something done.

Their actions have the potential of not only corrupting other members of your business team, but they could also put your operations in trouble with the laws of the land.

7. Avoid People Who Sow Discord

There are people who get a thrill from fanning the embers of business place gossip and hearsay, while at the same time smearing the reputation of others, in order to advance their own causes.

You will do well to shun people who seek to get ahead in your organization be resorting to creating conflicts and standoffs in order to lay the blame unfairly at the feet of others.

6 Tips for Growing a Small Business

To succeed with growing a small business, it is essential to have great organizational and planning skills, as well as having a flexible approach to work. Before starting a new business venture, it is important to put in the time for initial planning before opening the doors. Here are a few things to consider for the greater likelihood of success in the future:

Get organized

In order to set up and grow the business it helps to be very organized. An organized person is that much better at staying on top of things and completing tasks. A simple strategy to achieve this is a to-do list. This can be updated daily to give a complete overview of what needs to be done on any given day. Also, this is a great way to avoid forgetting tasks or leaving things until the last-minute.

Maintain detailed records

Any successful business will keep and maintain detailed records. A major benefit of record keeping is the ability to constantly know the financial position of a business and make it easier to see potential growth options or challenges in the future. Also, if things do start to look bad, there is more time to start creating strategies to overcome those hurdles.

Analyze the competition

Healthy competition has the potential to breed the best possible results. To grow the successful business it is always worth checking the local competition to see if there is anything to learn that could help improve your business.

Be creative

Try to be creative in the process of setting up your business and think up ideas that could potentially make your business stand out from the rest. It is worth remembering that you won’t have the complete business knowledge when starting out, so you should always be open to new approaches and ideas to expand the business.

Stay focused

Even with a lot of time spent on the planning stage, there is no guarantee the business will start to earn money straightaway. It can take a little time and marketing to get a new business recognized, so it is essential to stay focused and continue to work on the short-term goals.

Understand future risks

In the early stages, it may be necessary to take one or two calculated risks in the process of growing the business. If the worst-case scenario of a particular risk isn’t too devastating it may be worth taking the risk in the hope of a tremendous reward in return.

10 Tips For Business Startup Owners

Every entrepreneur can use some advice when it comes to making sure their business startup gets off on the right foot. From the best way to run your business to following your dreams, these tips offer sound recommendations that can help your business startup maintain its operations and find success at every turn.

Sure, your business may run into challenges, and you may make some mistakes along the way, but it is how you recover that matters. Use these tips to your advantage when it comes to ensuring you avoid the pitfalls that others have fallen into as a first-time entrepreneur.

1. Be Passionate About What You Do

When it comes to business, doing what you love makes it that much easier to do well. Find a business that you can excel at and throw yourself into. You should have an underlying passion for the market, product, service, or brand that you are selling. In order for it to succeed in the market place, you need to believe in it, and then your customers will follow suit.

2. Believe In Yourself

Every entrepreneur doubts themselves at one time or another, but you need to fully believe in your capabilities and strength. Mistakes are inevitable, but understanding that you will fail at times can help you rebound and move forward with great resilience. Recognize that you have what it takes to make it and send that doubt packing as only when you truly believe in yourself and what you are doing will success come knocking at your door.

3. Listen To Advice From Others

Many others may have come before you with their own business startups. Learn from their challenges and heed their advice. They can allow you to steer clear of potential issues and make it easier for you to operate as a business startup. From finding funding to working with an angel investor, other entrepreneurs have experience that you can gain from and use to your advantage if you are willing to listen.

4. Watch Your Overhead

You need to realize that you are business startup out of the gate. This means watching your cash flow and setting up shop in that swank office building on 5th Avenue may not be a possibility at this time. Keep things simple and observe your cost structures. You may need cash down the road and being on the hook for high rents or loan commitments can make it difficult to spread your wings. You’ll get there. Have patience and watch for the right opportunity to grow. Remember that patience is a virtue.

5. Know Your Competition

Ignoring your competition as a business startup will get you nowhere. Be sure to thoroughly investigate everything there is to know about your competition and make your products and services better. Find out where your competitors are lacking and seize this opportunity to secure market share. Knowing your competition can give you that leg up your need to get ahead in the market and appeal to consumers in a new way. Do your homework and keep an eye on your competitors at all times.

6. Practice Your Pitch

You are the greatest salesperson for your business startup. Whether you are looking to secure funding from an angel investor or looking to gain more customer loyalty, you need to have a pitch on the ready to tell anyone and everyone you come in contact with. Be concise in your approach and be sure to mention your goals, values, and vision. You never know who you’ll meet, and you need to be ready with a pitch that impresses.

7. Get Out And Network

Networking is a key part of any entrepreneur’s success. Connecting with others in the industry can help you develop relationships that may come in handy for your business startup down the road. Plus, you will continue to learn from these individuals and a new opportunity with one of them may be just around the corner.

8. Ask For Help

As much as you want to do it all, there comes a time when we all need to ask for help. There is no shame in getting someone involved in your business startup to help take it to the next level. You are going to need help as time goes on to evolve your company and reaching out to someone you trust may be the best thing that you can do for your business startup. You’ll be able to offload some of the burdens and free yourself up to focus on new projects that have been sitting on the back burner.

9. Continue Learning

With the most successful CEOs reading four to five books a month, taking a page from their playbook can help extend your business startup and move it forward in new ways. Keep the door open and continue to educate yourself by learning from others. Reading books that focus on self-help, business, motivation, leadership, and communication can continue to motivate you and your company. If you keep your learning continuous, you’ll find plenty of new ideas just waiting to be realized.

10. Don’t Give Up

Above all don’t give up on yourself. Even when times get tough, and you feel like throwing in the towel. Take a step back and appreciate how far you have come. If you have the drive and motivation to succeed the potential to make it in the market is there. You need to believe that you can do it and push yourself harder than you have ever done before. With hard work comes success and you are most likely just on the cusp of winning.

These tips will help you find the recipes for success for your business startup and set you on the path to thrive in the marketplace. If you are looking to secure an angel investor for your business startup, We can help you. It offers an array of informative resources on creating business plans as well as a diverse and extensive range network of angel investors.

7 Aspects to Consider for Hiring a Commercial Cleaner

There are many benefits associated with a clean workplace. It not only preserves the assets of a building such as the tiles, carpets, equipment etc. but also boosts the productivity and health of the employees. Thus building owners or the facility managers should realize that commercial cleaning services are more of an investment than expenditure. It would fetch long-term results.

A clean workplace apart from prolonging the lifespan of a property acts as an excellent marketing tool helping the company to gain more clients. Moreover, employees like working in a clean environment and this brings out the best in them and contributes to their productivity. Now the question is, while hiring office cleaning services, what are the factors to consider?

Here are the aspects you should take into account before deciding on your commercial cleaner.

#1. Track Record: Before deciding on a commercial cleaner it is important to check the track record of the cleaning company. It is a good idea to take references from the companies who have hired the services of a specific cleaning company before. You should inquire about the performance of the company as well as find out how punctual and professional they are.

#2. Customization: This is an important aspect to consider. The company should be able to offer tailor-made cleaning programs according to your requirement. You could need cleaning on a daily basis, nightly basis or monthly basis or you may want to schedule the vacuuming of the floors of your office during the night hours. A reputed cleaning company would be able to offer customized cleaning programs according to your requirement.

#3. The Range of Services Offered: The requirements of a company can vary widely. While some require cleaning on a daily basis, others may need deep cleaning once a month. From hard cleaning of floors to power washing, cleaning of upholstery and carpet, outside and interior surfaces of buildings, floor coatings etc. are some of the cleaning requirements of companies. Thus, while looking for a commercial cleaner you must make sure it offers a personalized cleaning program tailored to the needs of your office.

#4. Well-Equipped: You would certainly hire the services of a cleaning company which has the right set of professional equipment for carrying out the task of deep cleaning of your office effectively.

#5. Cost Structure: An esteemed cleaning company would first assess the cleaning needs of your office and quote the prices for those particular tasks. They would not have a general price structure for all types of cleaning programs.

#6. Insurance: It is wise to go for the services of an insured cleaning company as it would be responsible for any kind of damage to the client’s properties as well as have a legal liability. Thus, even if you have to shell out a little more for hiring the services of an insured cleaning company, it is worth it.

#7. Experience: It is important to know the number of years a company has been into this cleaning business before hiring their services. The more experienced they are, the better their performance would be.

Small Business Success – The Top 5 Surprising Reasons Most Businesses Fail And How To Avoid Them

There is no agreement among experts on the percentages of businesses that fail. Recently, Forbes estimated that 80% of companies fail, while Fortune claims it is closer to 90%. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), about 50% fail within the first year. Of those that survive, the SBA goes on to tell us, only about 66% survive the second year.

Whatever the number indeed is, most small businesses do not survive the first couple of years. Why is the survival rate so low?

In starting many businesses myself and working with small businesses owners as clients, I’ve come across five surprising reasons why small business owners struggle and fail. In this article, I’ll point out these reasons, and by knowing them, you can avoid these pitfalls.

Reason #1 – Don’t know what product they are selling.

It is hard to believe that most business owners do not understand what product or service they are selling. They say “People come to me to buy flowers,” “I’m offering insurance,” or “I sell cupcakes.” But the truth is, they are not selling a product or a service, they are selling a feeling or emotion.

Buying habits are based on feeling and emotions and are only justified by the use of logic. Let that sink in. People buy based on feeling and emotions and then defend it with logic.

Let’s say you have a flower shop. People can buy flowers from many different sources these days. Supermarkets have flowers as do some convenience stores. Why should they buy from you?

What feelings or emotions can you promote that will set you up for success with your business?

Reason #2 – Don’t know who is their ideal customer

Many business owners will say that they don’t care who their customers are. Just as long as they have customers, they are happy. They just want to have customers.

The truth is it is essential for you to know who your ideal customers are, and there are many benefits for this. When you work with your perfect customer, you do your best work because you enjoy working with them. You will be more inspired and fulfilled by what you do. You will connect with your customer on a deeper level, and they will more likely recommend you to others.

So, who is your ideal customer?

Reason #3 – Don’t know what makes them unique.

I come across many business people who believe that they will be successful just because they open their doors, have a website, or hang a sign up that says they are open for business. They think that the product they have will sell itself. Sometimes this can happen. However, it is an infrequent occurrence.

In this increasingly confusing world, information and products are continually bombarding your customers from all sides, and you need to stand alone to stand out. To do this, you need to be unique from all the other businesses out there doing the same thing you are. By being unique, your customer will recognize you and come looking for you.

What is it that makes you unique in the market?

Reason #4 – Don’t know how to promote the business.

When a business does not know what product they are selling, what makes them unique, and who their ideal customer is, they have a difficult time promoting their business. If you are trying to please and attract everyone, your message is too broad to appeal to anyone, and you waste a lot of time and effort with your marketing.

If a business is clear on what and who it is, promotion is simpler and more straightforward. Advertising becomes more targeted, and because of this, its success rate is higher.

In light of this, how can you now promote your business?

Reason #5 – Don’t know their end goal.

So what game are you playing? Many of the businesses I come across answer this question by saying they want to be successful. But what does successful mean? The answer is different for everyone. A company that does not know what their end goal of being in business is, they do not have a direction in which to work towards, and because of this they flounder around and never achieves their goals.

Knowing what your end goal is to provide you with a direction in which to work. Is your end goal to eventually sell your business for a profit? Or maybe it is to provide a comfortable life for yourself and your family? But understand if it is the latter, what does comfortable mean to you? What salary do you want to earn? Or is it that you want to spend more time with your family? Knowing the answers to these questions gives you a direction and a goal.

So what is your end goal?

Do you want to transform your business and have all that your heart desires without all the stress and setbacks you’re currently experiencing?

To be able to do this, you’ll need to get clear on what you want, set goals and achieve them.

The quickest way to achieve your goals is not to attempt them by yourself. Even if you don’t hire me as your coach, hire a coach, all the high achievers do it. If you don’t hire a coach, at least work with a trusted friend as the path doesn’t have to be long and arduous, especially if you have someone along for the ride.

4 Useful Tips To Manage Your Small Business Finances

A small business can fail for a variety of reasons, but money related issues are one of the main concerns. Even with a high-quality service or product, you will find it difficult to achieve success without a healthy cash flow to cover business expenses. Here are a few tips to help manage the finances:

Clear targets

A simple strategy is to set the clear financial goals for the future. This should relate to both the short-term and long-term. It can be difficult to know if a small business is reaching its targets and being successful if the financial goals aren’t determined at an early point of getting setup. In the process of setting the targets, it is useful to set a worst case and best case scenario. This will give a complete picture of how successful a business is and gives more time to take appropriate action if the desired income is not achieved.

Accountancy software

The ability to maintain the finances is made that much easier with the right accountancy software in place. This type of software has a wide range of features and can help with tracking your financial picture, running reports on key metrics, and staying in touch with day-to-day expenses. The more advanced software can help to prepare tax forms or similar financial records. Plus, the accountancy software can significantly speed up the ability to manage the accounts, which means more time is available to work on other areas of the business.

Issuing invoices

A small business is certain to benefit from a system that prepares and delivers invoices as soon as a service or product is delivered. Staying on top of issuing the invoices means payments are regularly received for the work done without any extended delays. It can help to use software to speed up the process and automatically issue the invoices. Also, it is essential to chase up on any late payments to make sure a regular cash flow is maintained.

Control spending

It helps to be ruthless with spending to avoid letting the finances get out of control. It is quite easy to spend more than intended on expensive equipment or taking on too many staff being you are really ready. The best course of action is to carefully manage the growth of the business and make sure it is reaching its targets before spending high sums on purchases or extra staff.

Six Mistakes That Can Disapprove Your Business Application

When it comes to business, there is a lot to manage – from finance to trade, literally everything. This is why many entrepreneurs look for a business loan, as it helps them with both expanding the business as well as upgrading it. But, it is not always that the business loan you apply for, is approved. There can be times when this loan goes unsanctioned for some reasons.

Many-a-times, people are unaware of the things that can get their loan disapproved. However, these reasons might seem small but can result in a huge loss. Here are six barriers that can prevent you from taking a business loan:

Poor credit score:

Credit score plays a very important role – right from applying for a loan to closing it. However, a credit score can make or break the loan game. In case if you have a good credit score, the chances of getting your loan approved are more as the process is quite similar. Besides, having a bad credit score can totally reverse the situation, as the chance of getting a business loan approved is quite low. An ideal credit score lies around 750 or above. So, having a good credit score is utmost important to get your loan approved.

Limited cash flow:

When approving your business loan, the bank will check how much cash flow you have at present. The cash flow is the first thing that a lender might note. However, this decides your repayment capacity. Therefore, before applying for a loan, you must see if you can afford the loan or not.

Lack of future planning:

It is very important to have a business plan and stick with it. Financial institutions want their borrowers to be organised, as this assures them that you will pay the loan on time. At times, small business lacks future planning. In order to get the loan, it is essential that the entrepreneur at least plans his future earnings.

Disorganisation:

When approaching the lender, it is essential to have all your important papers and documents required for business loan lined up properly. In case you end up submitting wrong documents to the lender, there are chances for disapproval. Besides, make sure to recheck the document and rearrange them before submitting it to the financial institution.

Expert advice:

When it comes to financial decisions, especially related to your business, you need to seek some expert advice before diving into it. Approaching your accountant can be of good help, especially if you have a small business. This is essential, as they will know what capital amount is good for you. Rather, as they are the ones handling your fiscal account, they can be the best one to advise you. Furthermore, this can avoid a disapproval.

Apathy:

Many entrepreneurs are approaching financial institutions on day-to-day basis for a business loan. Now, in this quest, you need to prove the lender why you are the appropriate candidate. Thus, it is important to show the lender your passion towards the business and your plans relating to it.

Now that you know, the reasons for a Business Loan disapproval, you can surely try to work on it. However, the above-mentioned things might seem too little at the start but can bring you a great loss, when it comes to business. However, before taking a business loan, you need to keep these things in mind and research well about it.

Small Business Owners: The Building Blocks to Increase Profits

The foundational building blocks of every business are Processes (procedures/policy), People (employees), Customers and Resources (ideas/capital). Leaders, who strengthen and understand each of these blocks, build their business. Those who weaken or neglect these building blocks, find themselves with declines in both their top and bottom lines.

Believe it or not, organizations can sometimes forget that creating and delivering top quality products and providing excellent services is their main objective. Organizations keep ineffective processes in effect because it is comfortable, safe and familiar. Leaders must regularly set aside time to define and redefine their processes, track defects and poor service, and make improvements to solidify these (5) major building blocks.

Owner Mindset

You’ve got to make the mental shift from running your businesses as a self-employed job/good employee to building a business you can one day sell, scale or own passively to fund your retirement.

This means consistently reminding yourself that you are just a temporary producer, and that your business must eventually replace you from its day to day operations.

Be Clear in Your Mission

There’s a reason you started a business and left your job (or didn’t try to find a new one). Why are you doing this? Keep in mind that your personal mission and your company’s mission can be different, as long as they’re aligned and can co-exist. You did the mission statement in the business plan and it’s on the bookshelf collecting dust.

Network and Get a Mentor

Get a business advisor or coach. It doesn’t have to be someone professional, just someone who can share experiences to bounce ideas off of and tell you when you are losing teams, money and the mindset.

Get your Business off the Road to Nowhere

When the money gets tight and the momentum fades, you are left with day to day work of the business, this is when you learn how to make your business run. It can become grinding because sales are slow and you are learning how the business actually operates, to acquire customers, market products, understand how changing processes and products affect your financials, and every idea you have does not automatically work as you envision it to increase profits.

At some point while running a business, your likely to experience that burned out or uninspired feeling. Work-life balance is important; there is a truth, in working hard and playing hard to unwind. Reading a daily devotion and taking a daily 30 minute walk can assist in relaxing the mind, etc.

Customer

Customer acquisition is expensive in order to acquire new customers, companies must effectively target, market to and convince customers to try their product or service.

Many business owners do not take time to figure out who is their target customer. What are their target customers’ likes, dislikes, needs and wants? Which types of media do they consume? What is the cheapest way to reach them? How much is the target customer willing to pay for their products or services? Where and how should we sell our products?

Remember, it is cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire new ones.

Master the Art of Engagement

Being engaging is important in every part of your business, whether its communicating through email marketing, social media, blogs, videos and other commercial formats

Grab social Media Attention

Social media marketing plan should include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the company website to communicate with your customer. Use the same theme, pictures (banner pages) and similar products.

Understand importance of Business Logos

It is the first thing potential customers will notice about your brand, make sure it is presentable, professional and polished. Make sure the Logo connects with your customer needs and wants.

Create an experience for your Brand

Create fun and informative environment to solve your customer problems

The Right Clients are more Important than the Most clients

Most business strategy is get the cash in the door by any means necessary to get most clients in the door. Problem is you achieve all of this at the expense of quality, profit and sanity. The right clients will allow your company to do better work, build a better reputation, generate more profits and retain better employees.

Focus on Your Goal, Objectives, Theme but most of all Profitability

Don’t try to be all things to all customers. Specialize in solving your ‘target audience’ problems and have fun doing it. Even the largest companies do their best when they focus on keeping the ‘main thing the main thing’.

Operations

Processes

Are the actions and applications that executives and teams put in place to achieve desired results.

Leaders need to take a step back to review their processes-individually or in a cross-functional groupings— to eliminate inefficiencies and optimize performance, annually or as the market changes.

Systems

Systems are the reliable processes and procedures that empower your business to consistently produce an excellent result for your client and profitability for you.

Documenting automated processes can increase your company’s efficiency and reduce costly mistakes; the checklists your employees follow to ensure that all orders are shipped correctly; the orientation process for all new clients when you begin working together; and the standardized contracts you use with all your new hires and vendors.

Controls/Standards

Controls are the processes, procedures and safeguards that protect your company form uninformed or inappropriate decisions or actions by any team member. They also are your business’s way of making sure that key work is getting done on time and the right way.

There are (4) main types of business controls:

  1. Checklists/Visual Business Process Controls
  2. Scorecards/ Business Performance Measurements Metrics by Function (KPI)
  3. Embedded Internal Quality Controls— product/process quality checks
  4. Policy and Procedures— written/measured

Scalable SolutionsSystems(using excel and quickbooks), Processes and Procedures that worked for a $1million dollar a year business, are not sufficient for $10 million dollar business or a $25 million dollar business.

Scaling your business requires building it in such a way that your business model and systems can be rolled out and replicated on a much bigger playing field, based on increased product ordered/processed sales volume.

Example, choosing a database solution or a 3rd party fulfillment should be based on actual growth rates, not potential or forecasted projected sales.

Financials

Cash flow and Financial Statements are your ‘life line’.

  • Learn how you are making and losing money. Understand profit and loss statements and what processes and procedures link to improving the ‘profits’ of your business.

ResourcesThe company’s financial wherewithal additionally, the measurement tools necessary to manage and track finances and assets. Do you have the knowledge, competencies and skills necessary to use those tools to increase your profits?

Small and mid-size businesses must master the ability to manage their working capital and cash flow. Every company has access to profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements. Management is either using accounting software or someone is preparing the reports for management.

How well does senior management understand the company’s financials and it correlation to their strategy? Do these managers understand which parts of the company need investment, where cuts can be made on why?

Managers must take the time to learn the relationships and interdependencies between their tools and the reports they use to maximize their resources.

Teamwork makes DreamWorks

You can’t do it by yourself. It is critical to ensure that your business doesn’t rely on the presence of any one individual.

Even Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, needed a great team to help them execute, deliver and do everything behind the scenes to deliver their vision to customers.

Surround yourself with the best people you can find. Hire people who are smarter than you, then step back and let them do their jobs. Remember championships are won by teams, not athletes. Employees are hired either to increase revenue or to decrease expenses in order to improve profits, no other reason.

People

People are not your greatest asset; the right people are. The wrong people are your greatest catastrophe. Mediocre people are your greatest drain on resources.

Leaders must strive to create learning organizations where the organization is always pushing to improve. A organization where employees feel valued and are contributing according to their abilities.

5 Skills to Take You From Technician to Entrepreneur

Many small business owners are very good at what they do – from HVAC and automotive repairs to graphic design, IT or accounting services. They honed these skills while working for others – and at some point decided “I can do this on my own, make more money and have more time”.And yes, they can. But it takes more than technical know-how to build and sustain a successful business.

As a business owner, you need to wear a lot of hats. If you truly want to build a better business – one that works for you, here are some skills you need to develop.

Time Mastery

It’s no surprise that the biggest complaint of business owners is a lack of time. While organizing can certainly help, the best way to get back time comes from improvements in planning.

Planning and goal setting helps you prioritize and stay on track – a key to time management. Without it, everything looks important and little gets accomplished. Planning starts with a clear vision for your business. Next, incorporate your goals – what do you want to accomplish? Then, identify what you need to do to reach those goals. Whether you call them strategies, tactics or tasks, these are the actions you must take to accomplish your goals. Finally, schedule time to work on the tasks you identified.

Remember, planning is a cycle and ongoing process. Monitor your results and make adjustments as needed. Make planning and goal-setting a priority. Be the visionary and strategist your company needs.

People Mastery

You can’t do it all yourself. Whether you hire employees, sub-contract work or outsource projects and routine tasks, your small business needs others to grow and prosper. Most owners recognize the importance of getting quality people to support them and their business. But too often, they ignore the need to develop and manage them – especially when outsourcing or subcontracting work. Clear expectations, shared goals, ongoing feedback and open communication lead to high-performance teams – and a willingness to delegate to others! Be the manager and leader your company needs.

Financial Mastery

You don’t need to be a numbers guru to be successful. Whether you love them or hate them, the numbers are your friend – and a great tool for making sound business decisions and prioritizing where you put your resources. While your accountant and bookkeeper can help with planning and day-to-do record keeping, YOU own your financial performance.

Take the time the learn and understand the key financial drivers that impact profitability, cash flow, and your personal income. While key drivers may vary by business, some common ones include sales, margins, profit, accounts receivables/payables, labor, inventory management and operating efficiency.

Look at your financial reports monthly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good accountant will gladly explain — it’s how we learn. If something doesn’t look or feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t ignore the red flags. Ask questions or ask for help. Work with your accountant and be the chief financial officer your company needs.

Revenue Mastery

When you worked for someone else, keeping sales flowing was often someone else’s job. But as the owner, getting customers and repeat business is now up to you. Regardless of whether you do it yourself or get others to do it for you, generating sales is the lifeblood of your business. Have methods in place to consistently generate new sales (not just leads) and get current customers to spend more and purchase again and again. There are a lot of ways to grow and sustain revenue. You don’t need hundreds, but you do need three things:

First, a few proven methods to generate new leads. Second, a reliable sales system to convert those leads to paying customers. Finally, a dependable method to stay connected with current customers to generate repeat business. The key to success in marketing and sales is consistency. Avoid the stopping and starting or when time allows approach.Be the chief marketing and sales officer your company needs.

Systems Mastery

A business is a combination of people and systems that evolve over time as the business grows. When you are doing all the work, the quality and service are probably to your standards – even if they are inefficient. But as you bring in others to save time and money, those same standards may decline – unless you have written systems and procedures in place to guide them.

Systems aren’t complicated, but they are the key to efficiency, effectiveness, and repeatability in all areas of your business. They make hiring, training, and outsourcing easier. They make your business more efficient which translates into more profit. And most of all, they ensure you consistently deliver what you promise to customers, employees, suppliers, and others who depend on YOU.

Social Media for Small Businesses

Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Businesses of all size and shapes have started making the most of available mediums. Today we will try to anatomize tips on social media for small businesses. There are a plethora of small businesses eyeing social medium to promote their business/services. However, majorly these small businesses are failing or not being able to make optimum use of social media for their business growth. There are many theories and strategies on how to effectively use social media for established brands, but the topic social media for small businesses is seldom addressed. According to Digital state of eMarketing India 2017 Octane Research:

60% small businesses promote their business on social media. 50% focus on SEO and 35% use multichannel marketing funnel.
70% small businesses consider content strategy as their primary marketing activity.
52% business owners are using social media as to efficiently address customer engagement.
More than 20% of business owners said that they are making 50% plus profit using social media.

The primary reasons for the low turnout are uncertainty on an application of social media, calculating return on investment and persuade employees/stakeholders to clinch social media. Hence it is important to address the elephant in the room and analyze how beneficial is Social media for small businesses.

Social media for small businesses is a great way for emerging businesses to generate lead and build a reputation. If regularly updated, social media can deliver more results as compared to traditional mediums. Social media for small businesses gives brands an edge of control over the content that they want to post. Also, since social media is a two-way dialogue process, it helps businesses to instantly identify what is benefitting them. Social media for small businesses also helps generate Word of Mouth, which is one of the best tools for emerging businesses.

Social Media for small businesses | 10 Tips to effectively use Social Media

Define your Target Audience
The first and foremost important part that small businesses should focus on is to define their target audience. This helps small businesses to device their social media strategy accordingly. The target audience should be defined basis age group, sex, location, users’ online behaviors, their likes, interests, and preferences. For niche products, business owners can even target users based on their birthdays, anniversaries and important milestone. Audience targeting plays a very crucial role in the outcome of the results. For e.g.: a local shop selling footwear should not target users with interest in entertainment. The shop definitely won’t get the desired results.

Set achievable goals
Overnight success is a myth. Small businesses must understand this basic fact. Generally, when a new business starts selling on social media, there is palpable excitement is achieving more than set targeted sales. Businesses need to set goals which are upwards and forward. To achieve enormous goals, small businesses start updating social feed with multiple updates in shorter duration. This leads to user’s disinterest in the product/service. The set goals should be in sync with brand’s core capabilities and expertise. For e.g.: if a business is into selling shoes, they shouldn’t set a goal to repair maximum shoes in their area.

Choose the right medium
By now everyone knows, social media is for free. Even paid campaigns can be conducted at a relatively low cost as compared to traditional mediums. It is in this scenario, that we often see small businesses jumping the bandwagon and creating profiles on all the available platforms. Creating social profile doesn’t hamper brand image, but aggressively promoting a brand on wrong platforms can lead to brand losing its potential customers. Hence it is advisable for SME’s to first identify the right platform through which they can maximize their business. For e.g.: If a shoe selling brand tries to aggressively sell on LinkedIn, they won’t get a plausible response as compared to promotions on Facebook/Instagram.

Promote your core product/services
Since each and every business is riding in the social media wave, it is important for a them to promote their core product/services. Nowadays, we see a lot of businesses promoting their services as well as promoting peripheral products/services, which revolves around their core product/services. Majority of the times, this SME’s doesn’t have capabilities to fulfill a requirement, which can lead to a bad word of mouth for their business on social media platforms. Let us go back to our example; if a shoe seller is trying to aggressively promote socks instead of shoes, it is not going to benefit the business in the long run.

Create quality content
Now that we have covered the topics of identifying the target audience, setting achievable goals, choosing the right medium and promoting the right product/services let us now take a look at the type of content a business should promote on their social pages. A business should always focus on creating good quality content rather than not-good quantity content. Even if the business updates their page once in a day as long as it is relevant to their business, advocates about its core products send across a clear message it is considered as a good quality content. Antagonistically, if a business posts multiple updates which aren’t even relevant to the business’s products and services leads to users considering the business as fake/spam. Also, new businesses should try and refrain from promoting other businesses on their social platforms initially.

Create a content calendar
Making a small business successful on social platforms is no small task. It takes a lot of efforts for the businesses to keep up their conversion ratio. One such effort is to create a content calendar. Small businesses must anticipate important events and create a content calendar accordingly. Ideally, a content calendar must be planned a month in advance but an even weekly content calendar is highly recommended. This helps businesses to avoid any last minute hassles, strategize much more effectively and it also helps in creating curiosity amongst its loyal fans/customers.

Test and re-test
Social media is highly unpredictable. The content a business posts today, might not work for tomorrow. Hence, small businesses must always test their content before publishing it on their pages. Testing content also applies to the platform a small business chooses to promote. Small business owners must always don the consumer’s hat before posting about any product feature, updates, schemes or offers. A consumer’s perspective is the key when testing the content that has to be uploaded.

Look for inspiration
Small businesses must always look for inspiration from a competitor who is successful in the same category. Copy pasting competitors idea or content is not the answer. Small businesses must look for the kind of content its competitors are putting up and derive their own strategies subsequently. Inspiring content/stories always make a business to strive to create their own content that is appreciated by one and all. It helps in increasing brand consideration, brand visibility thereby increasing conversions for the business.

Calculate ROI
Even a small promotional budget is not justifiable if there is no mechanism to calculate its return on investment. It is more important in case of small businesses. It is very important for a small business to keep a tab on the budgets allocated to any promotions and the subsequent ROI related to it. If a certain promotion is not doing well or the business is not getting desired results, the brand custodian can always look for other platforms to generate quality conversions.

Analyze and Re-strategize
There can be umpteen instances where a particular campaign/promotion might not work for a business. That doesn’t mean that the promotion is wrong or the product/service is not good. Doing an analysis of the campaign is as important as setting the objective. This helps the business to formulate their upcoming strategies in more effective ways. At the end of every campaign, brands must note down the learning’s from that campaign and identify if the content/idea was appreciated by their fans or not. This helps businesses to skip the non-performing updates from future communications.

Final Thoughts
Social media for small businesses is definitely beneficial and fruitful. If followed correctly, small businesses can benefit tremendously from the power of social media promotions.