Monthly Archives: October, 2017

Why You Should Take Time Out From Your Business

October 25th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Taking a break won’t be the death of your business – Jess Van Den

 

We understand, you’re starting to get going and your business is seeing success. With every day, a new challenge arises and you have customers relying on your products or services. As time goes on, we’re so eager to please that we forget to take days away and we end up working for weeks straight. If it hasn’t already happened, however, one day you’re going to get sick of your business and lose your passion.

 

Although you love what you do (you wouldn’t have started the business otherwise!), taking a break and days away might just be the factor that separates success from failure. No matter how much we love something, we need time away to recharge the batteries and regain our passion. Not only does this apply to our business, it applies to relationships with partners and family members, your favorite hobbies, book series’, restaurants, sports, and more. If something you love becomes too easily accessible, we soon grow tired.

Sadly, many businesses have failed because the owner wasn’t willing to trust others, or they were scared of losing customers, but this is no way to run a business. In life, we need a balance. As you can see from the quote at the top, taking a break WILL NOT be the death of your business. Instead, it has the following benefits;

 

Recharge the Batteries – Wouldn’t it be great to wake up knowing you have no responsibility for the day ahead? Sometimes, our brain needs this downtime to recover after weeks of working late nights and burning out. As you read, watch TV, go for a bike ride, spend time with family, or whatever you do, you’re doing things because you want to do them and not because you need to do them for your business.

 

Regain Your Focus – Have you ever stared at a problem for so long that even the question becomes confusing (let alone finding an answer!)? If so, this is because you’re too close and you’ve spent too much time with your brain in ‘overload’ mode. With even one day away from your business, you’ll be surprised at how different the same problem looks when you return. In fact, you might even come up with the solution on your day off when you’re not even thinking about work.

 

Make an Assessment – With time away from the day-to-day responsibilities, you can have a day or week of reflection; how far your business has come and where you’re going in the future. When you return, you’ll have a clear idea in your mind and all decisions will be made with this in mind.

 

Work/Life – Finally, we’re going to finish on a personal note because many relationships and families have been destroyed by overworking husbands and wives. When you take time away from your business, you find the work/life balance and this allows you to spend time with loved ones. Rather than making promises you can’t keep, you spend time with your family and friends. Out of everything we’ve discussed, this might just be the most important of all because our relationships are the most valuable things we have; everything else is material. With the right work/life balance, you can excel in both and leave your children with brilliant memories in addition to a successful business!

Important Characteristics Every Entrepreneur Must Have

October 18th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Are you planning to start and run your own business? Do you know the right qualifications and characteristics an entrepreneur must have to succeed? Does your profile match that of a successful entrepreneur? In this article, we will explore and discuss the essential characteristics that every entrepreneur must have. There are several important traits and values that are common among successful entrepreneurs.

Before you go and start your enterprise, it will be very helpful to think and reflect whether you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. If not, you can also start developing these character traits.

Successful Entrepreneurs are Self-Confident – to succeed in the highly competitive business world, confidence and trust in oneself is an indispensable trait. Self-confidence means trusting your own powers and capabilities. The world of entrepreneurship is not without failure and disappointment. To survive in such a cutthroat world, an entrepreneur must have the ability to look within himself and find the drive and persistence to pursue his dreams. An entrepreneur must have the gumption to face any adversity and tackle any problems that may be encountered in the world of business.

It may take time for your idea to take root. You will encounter plenty of people who will discourage you. They may even challenge your character for even “thinking such a thing” (as your idea). Having self-confidence can protect you from much of the negative energy that may come your way.

Successful Entrepreneurs are Risk-takers – being an entrepreneur means having the ability to trust your hunches and acting on them. Great business ideas sometimes start as a hunch which enterprising individuals act upon. There is always the risk of loss in any endeavor, and entrepreneurs have just the right confidence to take calculated risks to achieve their objective. However, an entrepreneur’s risk-taking does not depend on luck, but on sheer effort and hard work.

Risk must be measured against reward. There is no need to be a dare-devil. But there is a good reason to accept some amount of risk in order to achieve your goals.

Successful Entrepreneurs know the value of money and are careful about their finances – to succeed in any business; an entrepreneur must understand the value of money and the cost of things. Typically, successful entrepreneurs learned how to earn and value money at a young age. Most of them started out by earning loose change as teenagers mowing lawns, doing groceries, babysitting for neighbors, etc.

 

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Successful entrepreneurs have the so-called head for business – many entrepreneurs are gifted with intuition: they know what product or service is going to ‘click’ next. However, this ability does not involve clairvoyance or extrasensory powers of some sort, but rather, keen observation and understanding of what is going on around him. A good entrepreneur is always on the lookout for new ideas and new ways to make money.

Sometimes though, the entrepreneurial idea is not enough to win success. You need counsel for things you may not know about running a business. It is often said many start-up founders don’t know what they don’t know. Seeking out a reliable mentor is a good practice for helping to shorten the learning curve. Making early mistakes can be costly, if not fatal to your business. Surrounding yourself with trusted advisers can create a safety net.

Successful Entrepreneurs are competitive – the world of business is a very competitive environment. An entrepreneur must be aggressive enough to pursue his goal despite having many rivals and competitors. An entrepreneur must know how to stay ahead of his competitors, either by introducing new ideas and exploring new ventures, all in the spirit of expanding his business.

There is a big difference between being competitive and arrogant. A strong will to win is fine, but should not bleed over into an egotistical arrogance. Ego will block the ability to take feedback and input from those who want you to win. Be competitive, but be sensitive to the temptation to get carried away with the attitude.

Successful Entrepreneurs are honorable and have a good work ethic – although it is a fact that the business world is ruthless, the successful entrepreneur will strive to make every business deal honorable. The mark of a successful entrepreneur lies in a good personal work ethic that ultimately leads to good business practices, excellent reputation and good association with industry peers and business partners.

Becoming a business owner people can trust carries a great long-term value. The reputation you build is as important as the earnings you gather along the way. Your reputation will allow you to build other businesses at a later stage.

Successful Entrepreneurs know the importance of leisure time – hard work and determination are very important values every entrepreneur must have. However, a good entrepreneur knows when it’s time to take a step back from all the rigors of business and enjoy some downtime with their family. Besides, we all do need a little relaxation to refresh the body and mind before plunging back into the challenging (and stressful) world of business.

I like to call this time “re-calibration”. The stress and pressure of the daily grind demand periods of rest and recovery. Miss this and your endurance will suffer, if not your health.

SUMMARY

These are just seven of the most important characteristics of an entrepreneur. Of course, the characteristics every entrepreneur must have are not limited to the ones mentioned here. Having these characteristics is not a guarantee that an entrepreneur will be successful. Yet with these characteristics, an entrepreneur has just the right ingredients for success. All one needs to do is to find the right mix of these values, excellent timing, perhaps a bit of luck and, of course, faith in oneself.

So, do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? Go over these characteristics and values again. Ask yourself if you are ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge.

 

Article reproduced with permission from Doug Thorpe. Read the original article here.

5 Tips for Growing Your Business When It’s Just You

October 11th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

With technology and increased opportunities, more people are starting their own business than ever before. This being said, the same old problem is still arising and it’s causing many new businesses to shut down every year; managing growth. With small business growth, it can be hard to navigate because you’re alone, you don’t know how to make the jump, and you can sometimes get too comfortable with being a small business.

While managing the day-to-day tasks, it can be tough to even think about getting bigger and handling the requests that come your way. Today, we’re going to address small business growth and how you can create a strategy to enjoy the wave rather than fighting against it.

 

Plan, Plan, Plan – Although this seems obvious, not enough people sit down and plan these days. If your business were to grow, what systems would need updating, where would you need help, what could you do alone, and how could you manage your time most effectively? Within your plan, you can see your budget, the resources you have available, and make an assessment of your facilities. At this point, you should know exactly where your money goes so there aren’t huge leaks as you expand.

 

Remove Administration – At the moment, you’re probably citing paperwork as the main reason you can’t expand; how are you supposed to deal with customers and do all the paperwork that comes with it? Well, nowadays there’s some fantastic technology around that’ll help to achieve your goal. With an automated administration program, you can spend your time on the most important tasks of your business rather than wasting it on simple tasks.

For example, bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll is a major inefficiency for most small businesses. By automating the whole system, even if it’s just you, everything is done through a computer system rather than doing it manually. What’s more, you could automate your invoicing and receipt system. Once you’ve created your invoice from a template online, it’ll be sent directly to the customer to take the weight from your shoulders.

 

Outsource – With small business growth, there are always services waiting to help and you need to remember this. As you grow, you might not be ready to hire just yet so you can turn to outsourcing instead. Nowadays, there are more freelancers than ever before so allow them to help with customer service (answering calls and replying to emails remotely), simple administration tasks, keeping social media updated, and more. What to learn more about outsourcing? Read our recent blog on the topic here.

 

Don’t Push Back – When more growth comes, look to find solutions, as opposed to reasons why it’s a problem. Whether the solution comes from more outsourcing, extending the delivery time of your service, or adding a new automated solution, don’t stop the growth that comes your way because thousands of businesses would love to be in your position and, let’s not forget, this is what you dreamed at the start!

 

Hire – Finally, as long as you’ve optimized your business and administrative tasks, you will eventually need help with the actual work and this is when you need to start hiring. Rather than hiring too early, reaching this point suggests you’re no longer a startup but instead enjoying the fruits of your labor. As long as you hire carefully, you can move forward with confidence knowing the basics have been automated, outsourced, and optimized; this prevents hiring just for paperwork and basic tasks.

 

If you’re experiencing small business growth, we wish you the best! Don’t forget, as a Bartercard member, your Trade Broker is an excellent resource for ideas of how to use Bartercard and save you cash as you grow.

Tips to Use Referrals to Boost Your Business

October 4th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

In recent years, technology and the internet seems to have taken over the world. However, we cannot underestimate the word-of-mouth as this has always been the most powerful free form of marketing around. Since we trust the word of our friends and family, we’re more than happy to try a restaurant (for example) they suggest. Of course, we also have word-of-mouth online now with social media and review websites such as Yelp but how you do use this knowledge wisely?

Considering referrals are the cheaper and (arguably) most effective form of advertisement, we have some tips you can use to make the most of this resource. With your customers having direct access to more people in your target market, it’s time to take advantage.

Incentives

For customers to refer your new business to friends and family, they need to have a motivation and this could come from vouchers, gifts, or any other reward. As well as both parties benefiting from the referral, you’re saying ‘thank you’ to an existing customer while welcoming a new customer for the years ahead.

Ask

Often, we see businesses not knowing how to ask their customers for referrals when the easiest thing in the world would be to just ask them directly. As a restaurant, for example, you could ask whether the customer has anyone who would enjoy the food. As an IT solutions company helping businesses, you could ask whether they have a sister company or any other business who could benefit from the service.

If you have a range of services and your existing customers only uses one portion of your offering, make sure they’re aware of the whole range. This way, they’ll keep people in mind who could use the services even if they can’t themselves.

Emails

Do you send regular emails to your existing customers? If so, there’s nothing wrong with utilizing this opportunity and adding a line about referrals at the bottom. Whether it’s ‘referrals appreciated’ or ‘referrals rewarded’, you should see a reaction so long as the line is clearly shown rather than being hidden. With this line alone, they’re likely to think of their friends and family to see whether you could help them.

In the past, we’ve seen businesses adding paragraphs regarding referrals but we don’t think this is necessary. The longer the message, the less likely people are to read it because it’s not a part of the main email. With a short and sweet two-worded message, your existing customers keep it in mind for the future.

Networking

In case you didn’t notice, there are new businesses all around the world (and just around the corner!) in the exact same position as you. Why not get in contact with them and create a referral system? Of course, we aren’t talking about your competitors because you’re looking for the same customers. Instead, we recommend a complementary service.

For example, a car mechanic who specializes in everything performance-related such as engine, brakes, exhaust, and more. If they were to start networking with a bodywork expert, the two could refer work whenever the opportunity arises. Similarly, a hairdresser might have a relationship with a nail bar where work can be referred. For the customer, your two services might actually become more attractive as a package than alone, so the networking could be a great move.

Extras

Even after these superb referral tips, you could conduct surveys of how people found your business, ask followers to share your valuable content, and run competitions on social media with the hopes your customers will inform their friends, family, and colleagues.

As you can see, there are several ways to use referrals. Use these tips to start creating more referrals for your business today!