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Self Employment: The Hardest Way to Make Easy Money

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I heard this comment at a National Speaker’s Association meeting recently: “Being your own boss is the hardest way to make easy money.” Boy, that is the truth!

I speak with people all the time who dream of becoming self employed and starting their own small business. Don’t get me wrong: being self employed is the best lifestyle I know. It has a huge range of rewards, from flexibility to independence to self-responsibility. I’m completely in love with being self employed and wouldn’t exchange it for a corporate job for a million dollars! (Okay, truthfully, if you want to offer me a million dollars a year in salary, I’m willing to entertain a discussion.)

But it is hard work, plain and simple. After carefully studying and working with people who start their own businesses, my best estimate is that it takes at least a year to make a serious profit, and often it’s more like two years. I have yet to see a “quick fix” for small business marketing that will land a lot of cash in your pocket in 30 days.

If your business structure and administrative process are not firmly in place, you’ll crash and burn eventually. If your business strategy and plan are not fine-tuned, you’ll spend an extraordinary amount of time running in circles trying to find the right customer and the right product or service to sell them.

So why do people look for (and purchase) products and services that promise a quick fix to their ailing small business? In the question lays the answer: they want a quick fix to the pain. Don’t we all?

Running your own small business is a marathon, not a sprint. Stop trying to sprint your way to your first million without a firm foundation under you. Remember, marathoners train all year long for just one marathon; they don’t wait until the month before to begin preparing.

Things to consider:

  1. Make sure you have the personality to be self employed (more on that here in my post “Are You Cut Out To Be Your Own Boss?”).
  2. Make sure you have enough money to finance your dreams, and a good financial plan that tells you when you’ll actually start making a profit.
  3. Invest money and time in sound, effective marketing strategies and do them every month, rain or shine.
  4. Have a written business plan and a business strategy, even if it’s only three pages long.
  5. Test your marketing ideas, your product ideas and your service ideas to make sure you’ve got everything on target.

And finally, have a marathoner’s attitude: the finish line does exist, just over the next hill. Believe that you will make it to the finish line, as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other and maintain a positive attitude.

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Success by Berton Braley

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If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it

If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry and cheap for it

If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,

If gladly you’ll sweat for it,
Fret for it,
Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,

If you’ll simply go after that thing that you want.
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,

If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,

If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You’ll get it!

–by Berton Braley, 1916

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

If You’re Feeling Like Your Business Needs Redesigning, You’ve Come to the Right Place

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Does this sound familiar?

  • You’re feeling restless. You yearn for “something new” for your business, but you’re not sure what that something is yet.
  • You know you have untapped potential in your, and you’re ready to tap it — big time.
  • You’re thinking, “My business model isn’t working for me anymore. What’s next for me and my business?”
  • You’re frustrated, because you’re ready to take action, if only you knew what the right action was to take.
  • You can feel change is coming — you just know it — and you’re excited about it. And maybe just a little scared.
  • You need a crystal clear vision for the future of your business. (Oh, and an action plan for implementing it would be nice, too.)
  • You’ve run a successful business before, but your goals and values have changed, and you need a business model that mirrors those changes.
  • You have bits & pieces of the picture for your new business model, but not a complete picture. You need to put the pieces together, but in an entirely different way than your current business model.
  • You want to grow personally and professionally and you want to design a business that will challenge you and help you grow.

Business redesign is a journey of discovery.

Business redesign isn’t about tweaking one marketing technique or hiring one employee. It’s about rethinking your whole business model.

  • Maybe you’ll serve a whole new audience with your existing products and services.
  • Maybe you’ll stop offering a specific services and begin offering a new, better one.
  • Maybe you’ll bring on more staff, or outsource more, or reduce staffing.
  • Maybe you’ll change your pricing, revenue and expense models.
  • Maybe you’ll take advantage of new technology to make big shifts.

This is not just about a minor face lift – it’s about rethinking your business model and strategically choosing the future direction of your business with complete clarity of purpose and a strong action plan.

When you redesign and transform your business model, you are an explorer in a new territory. In this series of Business Redesign blog posts, I talk about the different phases of this business reinvention journey, but in essence the journey begins with exploring two important pieces: You, and Your Business Goals.

Transform your business with a step-by-step process.

Business redesign isn’t about throwing the whole thing away and starting from scratch (though you can, if you really want to). You take all your knowledge and experience and assets with you on this journey. Read What Does Business Redesign Really Mean? to get a better idea of my definition — it may help some of the pieces fall in place for you.

Many people have been on the reinvention journey before you and there’s a process to transforming your business. In the blog series, I’ll share the milestones and roadblocks I’ve discovered on my own journey, as well as Redesign Stories from others, so that you can learn from my experience and the experiences of other small biz owners just like you.

In the final analysis, it’s about having a roadmap and a compass to help you on your journey to business reinvention.

Start your business redesign journey here>>>

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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Motivational Minute: Your Eyes Will Adjust with Iyanla Vanzant

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLZi9aesxqw

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Weather Emergency? Tips on Running Your Business Offline

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I wrote this blog post years ago, when Hurricane Sandy was upon us, and updated it for Katrina, then Matthew and Harvey. Now we have a new one coming our way: Irma. So I figured this was the perfect time to re-post this!

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Our offices are right in the cross-hairs of Hurricane Sandy. Here are some tips for running your office “offline” in case you lose electric or access to the internet, from all my wonderful Facebook Friends!

 

Karyn Greenstreet First tip would be: Contact clients and students to tell them the office might be closed.

 

Suzanne Hiscock This is a preventative tip:  Don’t skimp on webhosting/servers if you have an online business.

 

Shannon Cherry Power up everything you can before hand. If you have my-fi, know how to use it. Power up meaning- fully charge!

 

Maureen Flatley Back up batteries, camp stove for coffee, battery operated lanterns, drinking water, lots of simple snacks…….this is our approach.

 

Suzanne Hiscock Another prepare ahead tip:  get a hand-crank phone charger.

 

Christine Clifton be aware of what you access ‘in the cloud’ and take steps to backup files/data on your hard drive/a toast drive – so you can work ‘offline’

 

Suzanne Hiscock Oh, and make backups of your entire site if your website is hosted in the storm’s path.

 

Karyn Greenstreet Print out important files, so you can work offline even if your computer isn’t available. Include all important email addresses and phone numbers.

 

Maureen Flatley Internet based email has been a godsend too.  We live on the water, north of Boston and have a lot of flooding and power outages.  You can’t plan for everything but there are some basics.  When we have lost power for more than 24 hours and couldn’t access our technology it reminded us that you can’t completely eschew paper records and that we lived for years w/ out email or texting.

 

Christine Clifton set an out of office message on your cell/email, letting people know what’s going on and you may be offline.

 

Maureen Flatley I put all of my important documents into email so I can access them from anywhere for any reason.  So if I’m in midstream w/ something – which I am today – I can get to it if I decamp to another location.

 

Karyn Greenstreet That reminds me, Maureen…I use Evernote for the same purpose. I have Evernote on everthing so that no matter where I am, and what machine I’m using, I have everything at my fingertips.

 

Donna Soffen take care of any (in this case) end of the month autoship changes or additions before you lose power. and contact anyone in your upline/downline that isnt in the storms potential path & ask them to help take care of any customers/new recruits that might enroll or purchase from your site that they can see from their backoffice- on your behalf.

 

Karyn Greenstreet Another tip: get a blank journal. If your power is out for 5 days (like ours was last year), there’s nothing so scrumptious as writing “by hand” again.  🙂:)

 

Kathy Milici Have plenty of chocolate on hand! 🙂:)

 

Angie Robinson Keep a list of your nearest Starbucks – coffee, outlets, and wi-fi

 

Karyn Greenstreet Good idea, Angie, and Panera Bread has wifi and outlets, too … as does our local library.

 

Marlene Hielema Pen and lined paper to write with so that if your computer runs out of battery power, you can still jot stuff down. Books to read. Deck of cards to play manual solitaire. Scrabble game.

 

Karyn Greenstreet Another tip: backup all your files, preferably to an online backup service like Mozy, Carbonite or iDrive. That way you can access everything from a new computer, if yours gets damaged in the storm.

 

Sherice Jacob Invest in a UPS in case the power goes out, you’ll have a few minutes to save everything.

 

Carole Sevilla Brown I’m with Sherice. My power back-up gives me about an hour and a half reserve power. This is a good reminder that it would be a good thing to have a few evergreen posts in reserve for times like this. And I’ve got lots of batteries for my digital voice recorder because I do a lot of “writing” that way.

 

Lisa Wood have a car charger on hand to charge your phone, plus an adapter to charge other electronics

 

C.J. Hayden Give your clients and team members a backup email to reach you in case your usual one goes down. Has happened to me more than once with natural disasters and regional power outages.

 

Terri McMahon Zwierzynski Thanks for reminding me to backup my website (every Monday!) Honestly, I’d find it hard to focus on work, with kids and dogs and the whole differentness of the situation. So I’d go with a good book, candles/lanterns, a deck of cards and a few boardgames.

 

C.J. Hayden Oh, and if your phone service is a landline, make sure you have an old-fashioned handset that requires no power to operate. You may keep phone service but lose power. Happened to us in the ’89 San Francisco quake.

 

Would YOU add anything to this list?

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

28 Ways to Say No

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Would you babysit my pet tarantula next week? No.

Is it okay if I bring my twelve cousins to your birthday party? No.

Can we extend our contract for six months but not increase the price? No.

Sometimes saying No is easy!

Finding the right words to say No can trip us up. And without the right words, we sometimes say Yes when we don’t mean it, causing stress, frustration and bad feelings.

In one of my mastermind groups, we brainstormed a lot of ways to say No, depending on the given circumstances and what type of No we wanted to give.

Here are 28 ways to say No. While these are business-related, you can modify them for personal use as well:

When No means: No

  1. I can’t take on your project at this time
  2. I’m not accepting any new clients
  3. I’m not comfortable doing what you’re asking
  4. I’m not willing to do what you’re asking
  5. I’m not the right person for the job
  6. I have other commitments that prevent me from doing this
  7. We have a policy in our business that we don’t do that
  8. My schedule is so busy and I’m committed to work/life balance
  9. Right now my priority is X and everything else I’m declining
  10. I’m not able to take on that type of responsibility
  11. Our original agreement was for X; I’m not willing to change that agreement mid-stream
  12. I have an appointment that I can’t reschedule
  13. I want to spend more time doing (fill in the blank)
  14. I don’t enjoy that work
  15. My decision is final
  16. I won’t go

When No means: I can’t do X, but I can offer Y instead

  1. I’m not comfortable doing X, but I’m available to do Y within certain parameters
  2. I’m not really qualified to do this work, but I can recommend an excellent person who might be able to help you
  3. I’d rather work on Y
  4. I’d rather do it this way than the way you are suggesting
  5. I can’t do this myself, but I can ask my assistant to do it for you as long as it only takes 30 minutes like you promised
  6. That’s too little money for this type of work, how about Y?

When No means: I can’t do it now, but I can do it later

  1. I’m not accepting any new clients until September
  2. Can we schedule this for next week instead?
  3. I’m booked solid for August
  4. This Wednesday is really bad for me
  5. I don’t work on Fridays
  6. I need to leave work by 5:00

And, of course, there’s the always-useful, plain old fashioned No. As in, Just Say No. Without preamble, without excuses, without guilt.

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

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