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Business Success or Expensive Hobby?

We have been programmed for decades to go to college, get a 4-year degree and land a job with a long term career path.  It was frowned upon if you change jobs too often because you may look like a “job hopper”.  Also, changing careers looked like you were unstable and doomed to fail.  

Things are a lot different now.  It is socially acceptable and a sign of “personal growth” to change jobs every 3 to 5 years.  Doing so demonstrates how you increased your value because you have experienced many environments and pursued your “passions”.

There is another large group who are leaving their “secure” jobs, changing career paths and becoming an entrepreneur.  

These “solo-preneurs” fly under the radar of many statistics that would say start-ups are down and failure rates remain at 50% by the 4th year of business.   The source of these numbers is focused on companies that are creating new jobs.

When you peel back the cover, you find that “solo-preneur” is the new business structure of choice.  In this environment, the entrepreneur has no employees.  They choose to run a smaller and more targeted business, capitalizing on a technical skill or new product idea.  They tend to outsource for needs or share the opportunity with others who have complimenting skills.

Entrepreneurs seek to be their own boss, make more money or have more “free” time.  The risk is not a concern to most.  Those who have these aspirations soon find out it is a lot different once they open the door to their new business.  Conducting proper planning rarely occurs. They soon find out that they work more hours than before.  The income is inconsistent and it takes more money to operate than predicted.

If you are an entrepreneur, you will have challenges you have never faced.  The primary reason for the failure of a small business is incompetence and lacking the basic skills to run a business.  You will need to learn new skills in order to succeed.

Do not let the lack of skills or inexperience kill your dream.  Reach out and seek proper resources.  Find someone who has been in your situation, is a mentor and has been trained to help you reach your full potential.

Consider these questions:

Do you have some new business or an “idea”?

Have you been in business for some time and find that it is a struggle to master all the skills required to make your business work?  

Are you building a business or is it failing like it is an expensive hobby?

If your path to success as an entrepreneur is revealing potholes, seek the support of an entrepreneur coach.  Learn how combining coaching, education and creating the game plan will provide you with a greater chance of success.  You might even find that having a coach cost you nothing!

Talk to the coach – schedule a time here.

 

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Working on YOU …

Working on YOU FIRST assures greater chance of your business success.

One of my favorite business books that I first read over 20 years ago is “The E Myth, Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it” by Michael Gerber.  In Gerber’s book, he  emphasizes the importance of routinely getting away and assess your business to get a clear picture.  It is hard to get a proper perspective and think clearly when you are walking the same halls or sitting in the same chair day in and day out.

Find a place to go that is away from phones, email and people taking your “band width”.  Get you a pad of paper or your laptop and start putting your thoughts down.

For years I have had a journal that I write in.  You will be amazed how many things that have accomplished when looking back over time.

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Without adequate information – you will FAIL

Have you ever used your debit card or written a check to find there was not enough money to cover the purchase?  It was embarrassing wasn’t it?  Made you mad probably.  “How could I have forgotten to record that last check I wrote” or “Did my wife write a check and not tell me”?

Well, the problem is much more extensive in a business.  Keeping track of vendor bills, customer deposits and invoices and customer commitments is critical.

In business circles they refer to this information as Business Process and Systems.  Are you using your computer for no than more a word processor or an email device?

It does not cost near as much developing systems and processes as it does to see all your effort of building your business go down the tubes because you avoided this basic task.

Here is a challenge – while away from your desk (at home or quiet place) write down 10 issues that occurred this week that could have been avoided if you had the information to handle it.  It might have been a lost customer order, vendor expecting payment you did not know of or something as simple as a missing customer phone number or email address.

Use your computer as a tool.  Get the right software to manage your business.  In the end, you will be more efficient, productive and profitable.

I have personally helped 1,000’s of companies with evaluating process, systems and helping select the right one(s) for their business.

Contact me, Keith at coach@makenewrules.com

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Don’t copy the competition ..

Over the last 35 plus years as an entrepreneur and business owner, I have seen so many organizations come and too many go because they fail to adapt.  To succeed, a manager or owner must always be looking outside the box and observe what the competition is doing and what the trends are among successful companies.  You do not have to be like everyone else, but it sure is a good idea to see what others are doing in the areas of marketing and branding practices.

About three years ago, I started service business.  When I decided to do this, I immediately looked at the competition and saw a lot of opportunities to excel where they were not.  To start with, I looked at how the business were establishing their identity (brand).  This included looking at their locations, reviewing their websites,  and their advertising methods and messages.  The first thing I noticed was most of their websites to be no better than what my seven old year grandson could do.  Their advertising was very traditional.  Advertising included thousand dollar a month ads in the phone book, expensive television and radio ads.

The first thing I did was setup a website with a creative URL (web address).  I did a lot of work with SEO (search engine optimization )so that we could easily be found on Google, Yahoo and Bing(among 100’s of other search sites).  Customer testimonials and quoting online I felt was important, so I added them as well.  Our rankings quickly shot up to number one and have stayed that way for four years now.

I knew that advertising was necessary for a start up, so I immediately attacked this task by committing to a ninety day blitz on TV, Radio and the phone books (just like our competition).   Note: We started the business in 2008 right about the time the economy started going bust.  Guess what happened .. my expenses where greater than my income for at least the first 6 months of business.  It just about sunk us!  To top everything else, the cheapest and most effective advertising was my website that I did my self for almost nothing.  The traditional advertising methods of TV, Radio and phone book proved to ineffective and expensive to boot.

The cell phone ah the cell phone.  I kept reading and hearing about how people are going to start using cell phones to find products and services.  Even the laptop or home computer is becoming less of a tool for managing day-to-day activities.  So, what I did next was to get a mobi URL (Mobile or smart phone compatible version of our website).  The project cost me a whole $10 to setup.  Guess what, it is now our number one source of hits on our website.  I gave the customers a scaled down, no frills bit of information like our phone number, map of our location and email address.  This is all they need to find us.  If they want more information, they simply go to our primary site on their home computer or laptop.

In summation, our business has grown 40% per year since I started my marketing through the web.  My advertising cost is approximately 1.5% of my gross profit.  How is that for growing on a dime?

If you want to learn more about how The Business Coach can help you, drop me an email at coach@makenewrules.com.