Tricks To Try New Business

Keeping up with all of the new tools promising to make our business lives better, more successful, easier, and do it all or less than the other guy’s new thing is impossible. I Googled “new tools for business” and the G-ster returned 863,000,000 entries. Now let’s say that 99% of those are not high quality offers, not from a reliable resource, or simply not a match to my needs. The remaining 1% is many thousands more than I care to read.

My search was not specific enough it’s true, just like most days in the life of an entrepreneur. Most days we don’t go looking for a new app or platform, but between emails from people I like suggesting their favorites, FB ads, and promotional emails from partners; stuff finds us, right?

You know how you go to a new store for one thing and you end up with a cart full of things you didn’t know you “needed?”

Since part of my job is to stay on top of what makes business and marketing more effective and easier, down the rabbit holes of research I go so I can recommend and be up to date on what’s worthwhile.

One of the downsides of research as you probably know is that it is a bottomless pit into which we gladly throw our time. Not only does it serve to educate and entertain us it is an important diversion from the work we don’t like to do.

I wish I were kidding and you know exactly what I mean.

Back to the subject at hand. There are times when a promo for a tool or new software wasn’t something we were actively looking for but does remind us of a problem we have that we’ve been meaning to do something about. Taking out the credit card could be warranted and a smart idea sometimes and others where you are advised to step away from the buy button.

Here are a few questions to ask before you click “buy now.”

  1. What problem are you looking to solve?
  2. Is this the right tool for the job?
  3. Is buying a tool the right answer or is it time to hire a human?
  4. What is the ROI you want from your investment?
  5. Is it the right expense right now?

Question 1 is the most important thing to get clear on, and the trickster of retail therapy wants you to get it wrong. Let’s say you get a promo for social media scheduling software and you think “This is it. I’m going to finally get out there and be consistent with my social marketing.” Not so fast. Platforms like Hootsuite, Social Queue, Buffer, and the rest are only as good at getting you consistent as you are with filling the pipeline. If you aren’t willing to invest an hour or two per week to load the system up, you’ll be paying for something you don’t use.The question of the right tool can be simplified by knowing how you like to work. I need an interface that’s pleasing and easy to navigate. Drag and drop suits me fine and I need direction. (This is why I cannot for the life of me figure out Asana.) Customer service is also high on my list of requirements. Do you care if you only get email support within 48 hours, or do you at least want chat at least during business hours?

The answer to #3 might just be a person. It will probably cost you more money, but money shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when you make business decisions. Is the thing you “don’t have” the money for the thing that will allow you to get more clients or do something in half the time? Never make a decision only based on money.

#4 – Will investing in this tool pay you back so the expense is warranted? You have to think about your return on investment whether you are investing money or time in every aspect of running your business. If the software costs you $20 a month but it gets you 5 new leads or saves you 5 hours because you are automating, that’s great ROI.

And finally, is this expense – even if it’s “only” $20/month – the right one right now, or do you need to conserve cash for something down the road with a bigger impact? Resources are precious in our businesses and we can always find a way to spend them. Weigh every expense against the long-term goals you have.

There is no way to keep up with all the cool new apps, software, and platforms that promise to help us be seen. And many of them offer a free trial or don’t have yearly contracts so you can test them with little out of pocket. Before you even start trying things, get clear on the problem that needs solving. There is no use playing with social scheduling software if you have a bookkeeping problem. And, no reason to play with a tool that requires time you don’t have to get the desired result.

Do some homework around your pain points and plans for your business before setting off down that rabbit hole of research and I promise you’ll have more time for the things you love about your business – and some left over for that stuff you don’t.

Between Profit And Small Business

What was the most recent net profit margin of your business? Were revenue and profit projections achieved? Is your venture comfortably able to manage its accounts payable? Were you, the owner, able to provide comprehensive medical and dental insurance to yourself and any employees? Were you able to substantively fund your retirement account last year? Were you able to afford a vacation?

If the answer to two or more of those questions is no, I respectfully suggest that you evaluate the future viability of your enterprise. More than a business model tweak or a pivot, you may need to explore another kind of business altogether, one with greater profit-making potential.

Take heed—Sageworks, a financial data services company located in Raleigh, NC, analyzed the net profit margins of 16,000 small businesses that earned less than $5 million between October 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017. The average net profit across all industries in that time period was 8.4 %.

Note that the list of top performers consists almost entirely of Solopreneur-friendly service industries. Despite the challenges of selling services, especially intangible services, to either B2B or B2C clients, Sagework’s list demonstrates that it is possible to make money as a self-employed service provider.

Some industries are more Soloprenuer-friendly than others. Accountants and bookkeepers, real estate sellers, attorneys, landlords and certain healthcare practitioners are all able to operate a one-person shop quite well, perhaps with a single employee to provide administrative help.

Educational requirements and professional credentials pose a formidable barrier to entry for several of these high-yield business opportunities, most notably dentistry, chiropractic, law and accounting (CPA or certified financial analyst). In contrast, real estate sales requires only a license to do business, the right relationships and no real selling skills if you are in a hot market. If someone with a broker’s license brings you into the business, you can work under the umbrella of that person’s credentials.

I look askance at the stated prospects for attorneys, however. There have been many mergers between big law firms and as a result, many lay-offs. From a former employee of a very prestigious law firm who was let go six or seven years ago and eventually started her own boutique firm, those who venture out on their own can encounter stiff competition in certain legal specialties. Welcome to the new normal. Below are the small businesses that on average have the healthiest profit margins.

Business Net profit margin

Accounting / Bookkeeping 18.4%a

Landlords 17.9 %

Legal services 17.4 %

Management of companies 16.0 %

Real estate sales 14.9 %

Dentist’s office 14.8 %

Health practitioners (chiropractors, etc) 13.0 %

Medical & diagnostic laboratories 12.1 %

Automotive equipment rental or leasing 12.0 %

Graphic and industrial design 11.4%

Warehousing & storage 11.0 %

Management, scientific, or technical consulting 10.3 %

Tips To Making New Business

(A Business Development Manager’s Point of View)

So you want to develop a business, huh? Well, you’re just in luck. This article will help you whether you are planning to start up new or have an existing business that you would like to expand. This is a step by step guide on how to start, improve, and expand a business while minimizing loss on your part. If you are starting new, please read this article carefully from the very beginning. For those, who already have an existing business and would like to improve or expand, the latter part of the article will be more useful.

Every business starts with an idea. You will find that throughout the article, I have emphasized the mental aspects of people rather than physical or financial aspects. Call me philosophical, but the mind is where everything happens. I have seen and experienced it time and time. When your mind is fully committed, there is literally nothing that you cannot do. Let’s begin.

Step 01: Find Your Passion

To start a business, you need to find out what it is that you are truly passionate about. “Why is that important”, you say? The answer is simple. You really do not want to get yourself stuck into a kind of work that you hate. There are plenty of planning and executing involved in a brand new business and if you are passionate about it, they would not feel like work at all compared to a kind of business you do not care for. After all, happiness is the end result of anything that we do in life. Why not choose a business that would make you happy while doing it?

“When your vacation becomes your vocation, you have succeeded in life”.

Step 02: How to Sell It

Now that you have found your passion, let us figure out how to use it to bill people who are in need of the kind of service you can provide. Even though yours is the most ridiculous passion ever, believe me, there are millions of people who would be glad to have your services. As a matter of fact the stranger and more unique your passion is, the more likely you are to succeed simply because that type of business doesn’t exist yet. That also doesn’t mean that if your passion is something common or usual, you shouldn’t do it. Even if it is something common, if you really love it, you will always find ways to do things differently than the others and that itself is the winner.

Let’s say that you are passionate about cars. You are more likely to succeed in an auto shop, auto parts shop, or a repair and modification shop. Sure, there are plenty of those out there, but if you love it, it is going to be one of a kind. Maybe your shop has a nice waiting area where your customers can have a seat and a free beverage when they come to drop off or pick up a car, or you may have free stickers complementary to having their breaks fixed. Once you’re in the business, you’ll figure that out.

Step 03: The Planning

Write down your unique ideas and prepare a presentation. Take some time to do it. You should not rush this part. If a new idea comes while you are in the middle of the planning stage, do not hesitate to change. Edit and modify until you are fully satisfied and you can see a clear mental picture of your business. I cannot emphasize how important this is. You have to be absolutely clear and certain. If there are parts that are hazy, leave for a while, do something else, and come back to the planning table again when your mind is clear. You will see later how we will reuse this step over and over again.

A thing to remember here is that I am not talking about the “Hows”. At this point, you’re not thinking how you will start the business. That will come later. Your focus at this stage is the “Whats”. If you start thinking about the “Hows”, you will ruin your plan because you will start to think about things such as “How do I get the capital”, “How am I going to find an ideal place” etc. The “Hows” will show up later when you are clear about the “Whats”.

Step 04: Visualize Your Success

Now that you have had the clear picture of your business, visualize how it would look and feel when it is fully operational and successful. You must be able to taste the success. This again is another important stage. Why-you ask? There will be obstacles on your way to success. This is the picture that will keep you going. It will also help keep your team motivated in the future should you need to inspire them in times of hardship. You, the leader, must have that picture of success handy at all times.

Step 05: The Needs

You are clear about what your business will be and you have a clear picture of success. By now, you are mentally ready, so let’s get physical. The physical needs of the business include 3 things: infrastructure, personnel, and finance.

Infrastructure: If your business is local such as an auto repair shop, you will need a space, an office, a storage area, and some furniture. If your business is virtual, you will need a website or other computer based applications. In any case, you have the clear picture (Step 03), so you can create a list of infrastructural needs.

Personnel: If it is a kind of business that you can do totally on your own, then you are it. If not, you are going to need assistance. Use Step 03, and find out how many people you will need and what their jobs and qualifications should be. You may also look among your friends, relatives and acquaintances that may have those qualifications and would be happy to help you in the beginning. Having a good friend or partner at this stage is very helpful. If you have a friend who shares almost the same vision as you, you have hit the jackpot. Things are a lot easier with a good friend beside.

Finance: This part is slightly uncomfortable for a lot of people. For this reason, a lot of great ideas never see the light of the day. Many would give up at this sector because they believe there is no money. If you feel that, please remember that the financial industry was built on great ideas. It is their purpose to invest. How else do you think the Empire State Building was built? One person didn’t put all his money into it. The idea was great and was simply backed by several financial institutions. The truth is there are numerous banks, lending agencies, and investors who are looking for a great idea to invest in.

However, ideally you, as the owner of the business, should have at least half the initial capital you need. If you are currently in a job, you can start saving up. If you already have the money, begin at once. If you do not have anything, use your Step 03 presentation to attract a wealthy relative, friend or an investor.

I have mentioned in the beginning of the article how important the mental aspects of the people are. I would like to elaborate on this a little bit more since finance is a huge issue. Fear is your only true enemy here. This is the only one thing that you have to overcome, and you have to face it no matter what. I will help you with a few tips on how to do it, but you have to walk this path.

First of all, it is okay to be afraid. It is a part of who we are. Just remember that “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is having fear and still doing the thing you are afraid of”. In other words, FACE IT. After all, “At the end of our lives, we only regret things we haven’t done or chances we haven’t taken”. What is the worst that could happen? We all die, and it is better to die quickly doing something we love than live a long boring life doing things that are safe and comfortable. Use Step 04 and have that taste of success, and get out there. Here are a few types of fear that you may have and how to overcome them:

Fear of Rejection: Yes, you will be rejected. Not a lot of people would understand what it is you are trying to do, so do not take it personally, and move on to the next. When you do your presentation, prepare your best and do it with passion. People invest in sincerity. I know I would. I would invest my own money if I saw a person who was genuinely passionate about a project even though I didn’t understand the business. Why? Because he would not give up on this until successful, so it pays to have your Step 01.

Fear of Loss: There is always a possibility of loss. After all, it is a new business and you do not know all the pits and falls. Trust in yourself that if you make a mistake and have a loss, you will also know how to get out of it. It is your idea, and you know best. Loss will happen when it happens, and you will know what to do then- no need to worry now.

Fear of Embarrassment: Yes, there are those who would always have something to say especially when you are having a hard time. You will be ridiculed and laughed at. However, wouldn’t that be sweeter when you come around triumphant? How could you win if you have never been defeated? Prepare to take the embarrassment and defeat, use Step 04 through these times, and come back a winner. People remember a hero- not an average person.

I hope the tips on fear would help you overcome it. Now that you have found the capital provider/s, there is one thing you should consider. Find an investor who is willing to wait for the business to properly run, which is ideally 6 to 8 months. There are investors, banks or lending agencies that would loan you the money but would want their interests or return of investment (ROI) almost immediately. This is short sighted. A wise investor knows that if the business isn’t fully operational and he starts to claim his money, neither will the business succeed nor will he get his money back. Therefore, choose someone who will wait. That way, the business is safe and the investor gets his full ROI.

Step 06: Start

Find your place, find your personnel, and go for it. Use your partner as a right hand man and divide jobs. One can find a place and buy the furniture and the other can do the hiring. Hire the best quality people you can. Keep in mind that the first set of employees will be your core team, and you must be comfortable working with them. Remember Step 03, so you will know how many people you need and what qualifications they must have.

Step 07: Employees

Make sure everyone knows clearly what they are doing. Create a fair employment policy where good jobs are rewarded. Also, make sure that employees that are not really up to the job are given chances and training before you let them go. It sometimes helps to pair up one good employee with another bad one so that the bad one can learn from the good. You may also create a profit sharing plan. This makes employees take care of your business as if it is their own.

Step 08: Market

Market your business and do it professionally. Once you have established your business, you must reach as many customers as possible. You may ask a professional photographer to take pictures of your facility, and ask a graphic designer to create brochures.

Online presence is also important. Create a good website. It is easy nowadays, but if you have the means, give it to an IT professional. See if you can create an app for smartphones for the services you provide. Offer promotions and discounts on your brochures and website.

Regularly meet your core team to discuss how to improve services or reach more customers. Have an open mind, take all their ideas and pick the ones that best suit you, and execute. These are several ways to market your business: Door to Door Marketing, Telemarketing, SEO, API (Create an app), Advertising.

On my next article, I will solely focus on Marketing Strategies.

Step 09: Expand

Expand your business. You already have one business model now, so all you have to do is copy and paste, so do not refuse a chance to expand. If it is a local business that serves only the local customers, open another branch or start franchising it to other cities. At this point, financing should not be a problem. Plenty of investors and financers will gladly give you the money. If it is an online business, expand your SEO or Customer Support team, and the whole world will be your market.

Step 10: Balance

Last but not least, create balance in everything you do. From the very first step to the last, balance is the key. The lesson on balance is huge, but I will discuss it briefly.

Too much of anything is bad. Do not work so hard that you lose your family, friends or health. After all, money is no good if you cannot share it with people you love, or if you have to spend most of your money in the hospitals. You have to keep the balance between your business and personal life. Also, no good idea can come out of you if you are overworked and tired all the times. When you feel stuck, get away for a while and come back later. You will find a solution.

There are ups and downs in life as well as in business. The lesson on balance also tells us that you should be cautious when you are succeeding and patient when you are failing. When you are succeeding, do not spend money unnecessarily on things you don’t need. Also, when you are failing, do not give up because success is just around the corner. It is the darkest before dawn, so “This too shall pass”.

You must also create a balance between you and your employees. You are their leader. If you are too hard on them, they will quit or even worse sabotage the business. If you are too soft, they will play more than work.

At the end, all businesses are about people. From your employees to your investors to your customers, balance all relationships. Share and enjoy your success.

Conclusion

I have gathered the information for this article from different life coaches, motivational speakers, and my own life experiences as a business developer. I hope it helps. Dream big and go for it.

How To Get Motivate Doing Business

Even disciplined people say they can’t do discipline well! What is it about self discipline that’s so scary?

Entrepreneurs tend to be motivated at least partially by self-determination, our ability to decide how our time and energy will be used. That’s a premium level perk of entrepreneurship for me. And I suspect for you too. Discipline can feel like somebody making you do something when you don’t want to.

Discipline can suggest a rigidity that is the antithesis of creativity. Where will we get our great ideas if we’re not following that shiny object?

Being free-flowing and responsive to opportunity is a good thing, but for anything to really change, for anyone to change, commitment followed by consistency of action, that is, discipline, is essential.

You probably knew that. You have probably experienced it. A time when you applied real discipline, and the results were dramatic.

So what is it about discipline that we resist?

Automaton precision comes to mind, a military-style adherence with no say in what happens. But that’s not you, is it? You get to decide what you’re disciplined about, and how.

Discipline is often confused with a lack of freedom. If anything, the opposite is true. If we’re the prisoners of our momentary whims, they are what are calling the shots, not you. Discipline is a way to create order in what can be a chaotic world.

If the D word freaks you out, think of it as a focus on what’s needed. With one of my clients (let’s call her Pat), we call it ‘focus on the basics’ instead. When Pat views it that way, she actually gets a lot done. It’s a needed change in perspective for her. Would calling it something else help you apply discipline?

Whatever you call it, discipline is a hallmark of a successful entrepreneur. Create yourself a corral, i.e., the boundaries that you’ll use to define what you will and will not do, and you can gallop around all you want inside of it. It doesn’t mean you need to create a 10 foot high wall. It just needs to be high enough to contain your wanderings, so you get done what you want to do. And you can move the corral anytime you want to find greener pastures.

One truth about discipline: The more discipline you have, the more consistent action you take, the more impact you have. You don’t get derailed easily. You make the most of the time you have.

I grew up in a German household where, as you can imagine, discipline was revered. It didn’t leave a lot of room for spontaneity, though. When I became an entrepreneur, I reveled in breaking free of all that structure. Later, though, the skills of discipline learned at my mother’s knee became useful again. I was able to get a lot done and meet deadlines, which many of my competitors didn’t do. Instant competitive advantage!

So the D word isn’t all bad. Like so many things, it’s all in how you apply it.

Overdo it, and it becomes a shackle. Under-do it, and you can start going in circles, for all your perceived freedom. Like Goldilocks and the three bears, your discipline can be just right, a harmony between focused, consistent action and the ability to adjust as needed. That kind of discipline has big rewards.

What’s your relationship with the D word? Arms-length, or a useful tool to have impact and income? As always, you get to decide.