Can I start a business without money?

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 in Coaching, General, Professional Career Development, Project Management | Comments Off on Can I start a business without money?

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers:  105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a  business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.

Today’s question comes from a busy entrepreneur and small business owner:

      I’ve been unemployed for a few months now. Could I still start a business without money?

      I’m curious because I’ve read about it but never made a decision. So I do believe that the answer would help me.

Without knowing your talents, work experience and skills, this answer will be very general.
Starting a business without money is possible, but difficult.

Business Plan

The first step would be to create your business plan, which outlined your business goals, start-up fiscal needs, revenue expectations, resource needs, and general business strategy.

The business plan should also include how you plan to acquire the start-up and maintenance funds.  Most businesses take 3-5 years before becoming self-sustaining.  So, if you don’t have 3-5 years of funds to sustain yourself while you are building your business, you may need to attract outside investors like Angel Investors or Crowd-funding.  Or investigate getting a small business loan.

Your business plan would cover the following:

  1. Describe Your Business Idea
  2. Analyze Your Market and Challenges
  3. Assess Your Capital Needs
  4. Explore Crowd-funding Platform (or small business loan)
  5. Strategy for Networking with People
  6. Strategy for Running a Trial or Prototypes
  7. Gathering Feedback on your Business Idea

Consulting businesses have lower overhead

Depending upon your work experience and business goals, consulting is often one of the more lower-overhead businesses that you can start.  This type of business allows you to work for other businesses as a contractor until you have enough clientele and experience to branch out into a more formal Consultant Agency with additional staff.

Depending upon what type of consulting, you can often work from your home-office and conduct business meetings in rented conference rooms and offices.

Common Shared New Business Needs

Regardless of the industry of your new business, you will need a way to market and promote your new business.  Digital Marketing is one of the lower cost ways to market.

The below lists are some low overhead way to start marketing your business.

  1. Create your website
  2. Create your business Facebook page
  3. Create your LinkedIn page
  4. Continually supply valuable content on all marketing platforms
  5. Create an attractive Product Funnel that helps your interested clients move down their buyer’s journey

Once again – without understanding your specific background or industry, these are some general recommendation.  Most of these are low-cost steps, but if you are not knowledgeable about how the best way to design or implement these pieces, it may take you a long time to see results.

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

 

Questions People Forget To Ask Their Boss

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on Questions People Forget To Ask Their Boss

Questions People Forget To Ask Their Boss

Today’s question comes from a busy professional:

What are the questions you should always ask your boss? What do you need to find out, or clarify? And why?

  1. What questions should people always ask their boss, and why
    are they important to ask?
  2. Is it okay to ask your boss questions? Why might it be
    important to do so?

A company executive speaks with a woman during a business meeting.

Yes.  It is not only “okay” to ask your boss questions, it’s very important to ask your boss questions.  Questions show that you are taking control of your own career and professional development.  You are not waiting to be told the information; you are initiating and guiding the conversation with your questions.

The reason it’s important to ask questions is that you want to be able to

  • Understand what your manager expects of you
  • Be able to better anticipate his/her requests.

While these are very good questions, another important aspect is “when” to ask these questions.

Questions to ask

One of the scariest (and most important) questions to ask is “How am I doing?”  Because it’s the most difficult question to ask, we often postpone asking or avoid it altogether.  The risk of never asking this question is that (even though you may feel that you are doing a great job), your manager may feel that you are missing your mark in a few areas.

When to ask

If the only time we have a one-on-one meeting with our manager is when something goes wrong or at our performance review, we are going to be uncomfortable talking to him or her.  The more performance-related conversations you initiate, the easier the interchange will be.

Therefore, setup frequent one-on-one meetings with your manager. I recommend at least twice a month or weekly meetings.

Use these regular meetings to review status, upcoming projects, your career goals and career roadmap.

Schedule the topics

Once you have your one-on-one meetings schedule, take control of the agenda by proposing the various topics.

Example:

Topics Frequency
Status of current projects Weekly/every meeting
Current issues or challenges Weekly/every meeting
How am I doing?

·         What should I start doing?

·         What should I stop doing?

·         What should I continue doing that I do well?

 

Monthly/Every other month
What’s your biggest problem — and how can I help you solve it?

 

Monthly
Share your career goals and ask advice on how to accomplish

·         I’d love to oversee _________ in the next six months.

·         What do I need to accomplish to achieve that goal?

 

Quarterly

 

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

 

5 Lies You Tell Yourself About Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by on Jan 2, 2018 in Coaching, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on 5 Lies You Tell Yourself About Your New Year’s Resolutions

unmotivationToday’s question comes from a busy professional:

I can’t seem to stay motive past a few weeks on my New Year’s Resolutions.  How can I stay motivated in my New Year’s Resolutions?

You are not alone.  Although many of us make resolutions, only 10% of us actually keep them.

 

Some of the lies we tell ourselves are:

  1. I never follow-through with my resolutions, so why even start?
  2. I’ll start it after I get XXX done. I don’t have time/money/space right now.
  3. It won’t make any difference.
  4. The resolutions were unrealistic, to begin with.
  5. It’s too expensive.

Let’s look at some of the reasons behind these sabotaging self-talk.

Lack of Confidence

Because you have failed in the past, you may no longer believe in yourself.  That’s why it’s important to have a plan of action.

“The best resolutions are those that actually include a plan of action,” says hypnotist Michael Ellner.

And if you are someone who has a higher success rate when you have outside support, “then get a buddy,” says success coach Amy Applebaum. “This creates accountability, which is essential for success.”

 

Being too hard on yourself

Whether you get discouraged or simply lose interest, giving up too easily is a big resolution breaker. “Many people make their resolutions with a genuine belief that they can accomplish them, but come February the excitement wears off and other priorities begin to take precedence,” says Andrew Schrage, founder of MoneyCrashers.

 

Therefore, give yourself a break. Everyone goes through this. Simply take this time to re-motivate yourself. Go back to your plan. Talk to your support group.

 

According to Beverly Hills psychotherapist Barbara Neitlich, sometimes all you need to keep going is a pat on the back—from yourself. “Congratulate yourself for your progress. The problem is that many individuals have a very black and white attitude. They see it as either you have achieved your goal or you have failed, but there is a grey area,” she says.

Imaginary Dependencies

Often times we procrastinate our progress because we associated imaginary dependencies to our resolutions.

For example – I resolve to get fit

  • I will get up 2 hours earlier every day to fit in my exercise routine
  • To get up earlier, I need to go to bed by 10:00 pm – because I should get 8 hours of sleep.
  • When I get my bonus or tax refund, I will start my fitness exercise at the gym.

These may sound like reasonable resolutions, but

  1. You can’t seem to get to bed by 10:00 pm; therefore, you can’t get up in time.
  2. You don’t really need a gym membership to start getting into shape.

The time you go to sleep really has no relevancy.  Regardless of what time you go to bed, you can always set your alarm to 6:00 am.  You may be a little tired at the end of the day, but that makes it easier go to bed earlier the next day.

Walking is free; biking, hiking, various sports are very inexpensive.  You don’t have to wait until you have extra money to start on your goals.

Putting it in perspective

Put it in perspective.  While you may have the best intentions with your resolution, you could be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. “Rather than associating the New Year with resolutions or changes you need to make, consider it a time for reflection on things you wish to work on throughout the year,” Applebaum says. “Quit dwelling on what you have not accomplished and focused on what you will accomplish instead.”

Consider these new habits as life changes that you will be practicing your entire life.  Therefore, if you faltering from time to time is “no big deal” – as long as we get back on track.

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complimentary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

Reference:

https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/top-10-reasons-you-dont-stick-your-resolutions

Things to avoid saying during a salary negotiation

Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on Things to avoid saying during a salary negotiation

Today’s question comes from a busy professional:

What are some things to avoid saying during a salary negotiation? Please respond with any top tips
for mid-career people looking to negotiate a higher salary.

It’s time to ask for a raise, what are some things to avoid saying during a salary negotiation?

How to prepare

1) Do your homework by knowing the salary range of your role, duties, and responsibility (www.Salary.com gives you some salary range).

Make sure you are comparing the salary to the tasks, roles, duties, and responsibilities that you are performing (versus a job title). Often times you may be doing Senior Level responsibilities, but your official title is just Level 1
Experiment with other adjacent job titles and levels to see the ranges of those roles and responsibilities.
Investigate the difference between a role with and without certifications, higher-level degrees or licenses.

2) Show (with numbers and percentage) your individual and team contribute to the company’s bottom line.
This means you can show (with backup data) how much money you made or saved the company. Regardless of your role or company industry, companies are in the business to make money. Therefore, every action of every employee can be directly associated with money made or saved.
If you cannot see a direct correlation between your duties and the company’s margins, seek assistance from your manager, your HR representative, your mentors or your business/success coach.
If you haven’t been collecting that type of data, start now. Create a set of meaning metrics and start today.

3) Investigate the employment climate regarding your role.
This means that you have met with external recruiters to verify that your position is still very relevant, sustainable and valued in the current economy. It’s risky to ask for a raise without doing this level of homework. You need to understand the market trends and technical climate.

What if your platform or role is being phased out in place of the next “hot” trend? Then asking for a raise would be useless.
If you find that your skills are becoming obsolete – develop new skills, training, certification in a more relevant but adjacent role. An adjacent role is one that takes advantage of those same transferable skill sets.

4) Outline the additional certifications, licenses, continuing education and training that you have received since your last salary increase.
Quantifiably and tangibly show (with numbers and percentage) how those additional skills, experience, and competence increased your productivity, proficiency, and performance.
Keep a Professional and Career Press Kit of all your accomplishments as you go along. This would include any awards, accommodations, client recognition, and letters of recommendations.

5) Be prepared to ask for a promotion.
One of the best ways to ask for a raise is to be actually performing at the next performance level. If you can tangibly show that you are already working at the next performance level (next promotion level) and are making significant monetary contributions to the companies’ bottom line, it makes the salary increase discussion much easier.

Your job is to line up things so that they can’t help but not give you the raise.

Alternatives

An alternative to asking for a raise is to focus on your next promotion level.
• Meet with your manager to outline exactly what you need to accomplish and deliver to achieve your next promotion (or raise)
• Create an Individual Development Plan and a Professional Business Commitment plan that explicitly outline your manager’s expectations and how you plan to acquire those skills and experience.
• By making your manager your co-conspirator in your career development, you will have a less stressful salary and performance discussions. It will go from “feeling like you are bragging” — to “checking off your agreed upon list”.

The main thing is to be confident in your negotiations. The best way to build confidence is to believe that you actually deserve the increase. These above preparation tips build that confidence whether you decide to stay at this company or move elsewhere.

Marketing with Customer Satisfaction in Mind

Posted by on Nov 7, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on Marketing with Customer Satisfaction in Mind

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers:  105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a  business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.

 

Today’s question comes from a busy professional:

When does marketing meet customer service?

If your marketing and customer service strategies do not meet somewhere, your customers will fall through the gap. Having an understanding of how these two departments come together for the customer experience is critical to delighting your customer throughout their relationship with your company. After all, the customer will look at these functions as coming from the company as a whole, and as independent departments.

With marketing’s job being the first contact with a customer and customer service happening much further down the customer life cycle, these two departments seemingly have no overlapping strategy. But, we know this is simply not true based on research which indicates that the customer expectations set by marketing in the beginning have a significant impact on customer service’s ability to please a customer later on.

 

Thank you so much for your well-thought out question.  Although the answer may be slightly different depending upon the specific market or industry, a good market plan normally starts with two pieces:

  • Marketing with the client in mind
  • Marketing with the product/service in mind

 

Marketing with the client in mind

The market plan begins with the target customer in mind.

  • Define your product/service/company’s differential or niche.
  • Define your target market or specific customer that needs or wants your product and service.
  • Imagine what will attract your target customer base and then create effective campaigns that will attract that customer base.

So – in essence, the entire market campaign is centered on attracting that perfect client.

Marketing with the product or service in mind

You also need to keep your product or service in mind while marketing.   You very well cannot market an automobile when you are selling a cat.  At the same time, some marketing campaigns over sell the product to get that signature on that dotted line.

This is the situation that sets the improper customer expectations. This is the situations that will impact your over customer satisfaction ratings and increase your customer service calls.

Money is in the balance

Customer and Company satisfaction occurs when customer and marketing expectations match.

  • The company makes money when the purchase price of the product outweighs the cost of making the product.
  • The company makes money when the client returns and refers other customers.
  • The client returns (and refers) when their expectations of value have been met or exceeded.

If marketing consistently over-promises to make a “sell”, they run the risk of eventually:

  • Overrunning the budget of time, materials, and resources to complete the task (costing the company more money than they would receive for the project)
  • Missing over-promised deadlines and product features to the client (costing the company the client’s return visits and referrals)

Even if the sales and marketing teams do succeed in this client contract, it’s unlikely that the client will return.

Ensuring Balance

To ensure balance, the marketing sales account manager work together with their production or creating services teams, from the start.

  • Both teams review the client contract or Statement of Work (which the production team is expected to fulfill).
  • Both teams are required to approve and sign-off on the features and delivery commitments.
  • The account manager then meets with the client to explain any changes to the feature list or delivery schedule.
  • The production team can also be available to answer any technical questions regarding the changes.

Once the contract or SOW is signed by the client, the product team can get started on the product or service.

It is also important to note that the account manager owns that customer relationship.  Therefore, once the product or service is completed, the account manager meets with the client to deliver the product, review the changes, explain its usage, review the original contract to illustrate all commitments have been met and get a feel for the client’s satisfaction.

the Main Event isn’t the Sell

Keeping both the company and client expectations in mind – upfront – can lead you to a successful conclusion.  A sell isn’t the main event.  The company is in the business of making money.  Therefore, you must always consider the cost of making that sell.

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

Building an all-star team of employees at a small business

Posted by on Oct 26, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap | Comments Off on Building an all-star team of employees at a small business

What do you look for when you’re building an all-star team of employees?

Do you seek out those who fit into your company culture, focus on skill sets, or look for enthusiasm? (Or maybe all of the above!) We’re a small business and entrepreneurs looking for tips when hiring team players.

Executives discussing documents at meeting

What makes this a difficult situation is that you are a small business.  You don’t have the time to invest in training someone green.  At the same time, you may not have the money to match the salary requirements of the more experienced candidates.

I’ve met with several entrepreneurs that focused on enthusiasm and personalities, with the hope that the new hire would grow into the position.  The problem is that as busy entrepreneurs and small business owners – you don’t have the time to train the new hire.  What eventually happens is that the new hire never meets expectations, because they are never given the training that they were expecting.

  • The small business owners still does many of the jobs that the new person was hired to do AND pay the new hire her salary.
  • The new hire is frustrated because she can’t get the proper training AND gets reprimanded because she isn’t doing the job correctly.

Breaking the Cycle

There are a few ways to break this cycle.

  • Contract those duties or tasks to freelance talent
  • Hire a training consultant for the new employee
  • Hire an experienced, older employee on a sliding scale

 

Contract or freelance talent

The advantage of hiring contract or freelance talent is that you only hire when you need that particular talent or task completed.  It depends on the task that is required, of course.

For simple administration and executive assistant duties, you can call upon Virtual Assistants services.  This is great if your needs are a few hours or days a week.

There are also several freelance services for graphics, audio, video, copy-writing, social media and marketing.

The assumption with these contract services is that there is little training required, and if you are not satisfied with their work, you can change resources at the end of the short-term contract.

 

Training consultant

If you need full-time, in-house staff consider hiring a training consultant to create your orientation materials, your employee handbooks, document your desired procedures and then train your new hires.

This allows you to hire younger, less experienced staff (at lower rates), give them the training and orientation attention they deserve, without adding to your already overflowing plate.

 

Hiring experience, older employees

 

The last possibility is to look at experienced but older candidates.  Often times, older candidates have less expenses.  Their children are grown; they own their own home with no mortgage; and they have little debt.  They may even understand the difficult situation of the small business owner.

Therefore; they may be open to sliding salary scale (a lower starting salary with regular review for increases based on the success of the company).

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

How can we tackle multiple language issues within our portal?

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on How can we tackle multiple language issues within our portal?

Today’s question comes from a busy entrepreneur:

How can we tackle multiple language issues within our portal?

I am currently involved in the management of a B2B platform, eWorldTrade. The problem is that we cannot hire thousands of customer service representatives to deal with the huge number of clients registering everyday belonging to different countries.

The problem with most of the countries is that they prefer to speak a language other than English and we cannot hire that many people to tackle this issue. How do you handle such a problem?

Congratulations for fully embracing the global trade environment. As you know, the language and time zone obstacles are just a few of the challengers you are experiencing.  Staffing for every language is a daunting.

First – don’t assume that all customers need the same level of support.

Here are a few things to consider before hiring.

Know your customers

Find out exactly where your clients are, the language they speak, and their communication preference.  Even though you may have a large percentage of clients in a specific country – many of those clients may prefer to communicate via email or “not at all”.  They may prefer getting their information via whitepapers, videos, or other means.

You can log and track their preferences quickly through a registration form.  A simple questionnaire on their communication and language preference will manage this piece.  Also ask if they understand English (or whatever your primary language for your company will be).

Update your CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) with this information.

Update your List Management server to create groups or segment based on communication preferences.

Hire multilingual customer support staff

With the above information, determine which will be your top 3 primary languages and staff a few multilingual customer support staff members. These multilingual employees should be placed as 2nd-line help support staff.  The first-line help support staff will initially handle the customer calls, and will pass to the 2nd-line when they have hit an issue they cannot solve.

Placing the multilingual employees as the 2nd-line of help, allows you to handle many more language issues (versus placing the multilingual employee on the actual help line).  These 2nd-line support employees will also be responsible for translating alternative support documents (more about this in the next section).

Supplement with alternative support information

Create and translate a series of alternative customer support materials:

  • Create an FAQ document that you continually add
  • Include tutorials and other informational/educational documents
  • Add closed captions/annotation to videos in the various languages
  • Translate your regularly scheduled emails or newsletters

Tying it together

This method allows you to provide various customer solutions in multiple languages with limited resources.  Since you have already employed multilingual 2nd-line support staff, you already have in-house translators.

Because your CRM will include your client’s language preference, you can forward the appropriate documents in the appropriate language to your clients.  You will also understand which languages you need.

Because your List Management system is already segmented into client communication preferences, you can easily mail your newsletters/emails in different languages to the appropriate sub-lists, groups or segments.

Hope this helps a little.

 

How to best leave your current job

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on How to best leave your current job

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers:  105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a  business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.

Today’s question comes from a busy professional:

I’m searching for career expert that will answer this question: “When someone has accepted another position and preparing to leave their current job, what is the best advice you’d give them?”

There are several ways or reasons to leave your current job:

  • New job at same company but different department or location
  • New job at a different company
  • Starting your own business
  • Retiring

Remain Professional

In all cases, my best advice is to always remain professional.  This means:

  • Document all your projects and make all your notes available – so that others can pick up exactly where you left off.
  • Leave your number in case they need to consult with you on some things after you leave.  (People rarely will take you up on that offer – but it’s really the thought/offer that counts)
  • OFFER to contact your clients and introduce them to the person taking over for you  This provides your clients a smooth continuity to the new person as well as lets them know what’s going on.
  • OFFER to meet with the person taking over for you – to review all your documents, notes and answer questions about clients, etc
  • Give 2 weeks’ notice – so that you can do the above transition

The Handoff

Regardless of why you leave, you want to be seen as a valuable contributor – even as you walk out the door.  One way to illustrate your value is the handoff.   This is where you outline all your tasks, procedures and assets used to do your role.

Unfortunately, more times than not, you will not have an actually “person” to train or prepare for your departure.  Many employers fail to identify a replacement until you are long gone.  This means you need to be document everything of significance.  I recommend you document all the time, while you are in the current job.  There may be times when you are on vacation, out sick, or considered for a larger position.  Having your hand-off documentation always available allows you to either temporarily or permanently walk away with the confidence that everything will still run smoothly because of your preparedness.

Client Handoff

Contacting your clients and introducing them to the “new person” is another hand-off item.  Make sure to check with your supervisors before contacting your clients because some employees prefer to handle that piece differently.  But you should always offer because it:

  • Illustrates your commitment to your clients
  • Put the client notification on the employee’s radar as an important aspect of the hand-off

Giving Notice

Giving 2 weeks’ notice is not as common as in the past.  Depending upon the reason for your departure, your employer may choose to release you sooner.  But I still recommend it.  A 2-week’s notice gives you the time to execute a professional hand-off to co-workers, clients and other assets.

Life is full of twists and turns. You will never know when your paths are going to cross again.  Therefore, you want to be professional at all times.

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

 

What stops people from starting a business?

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on What stops people from starting a business?

A busy professional has this question regarding to starting a new business.

What is stopping people from starting a business when they have a good idea?

We all have ideas, skills, knowledge, and experiences learned throughout our lives. We all have thought about our ideas and what we can do with them. From the things we see, hear, and buy, we think about how we can make them better or how we can make something completely new. But what stops people from doing something about it?

Like many things, it is both a combination of things and different for everyone.

Starting a business is scary.

Besides “a good idea”, it takes time, talent, determination, and finances.

Most people are more comfortable with a consistent and reliable income.  After all, the bills will continue to come whether you work for someone or start a new business. Leaving a good paying job with a stable income to jump into a new venture with an unknown income is daunting.

It usually takes a new business about 5 years to become both profitable and consistent.  Most businesses fail within the first two years, because they don’t have the finances to sustain the start-up cost or the time for the product to attract customers.

If you are serious about starting a new business, consider these first steps.

Conduct market research

Even if it’s a good idea or improves a current product, there are lots of things to be considered.

  • Is there a large enough market for this product or improvement to sustain a business?
  • Does it really answer a need that can’t be solved by any other product or service?
  • Are consumers willing to pay a price that not only covers your manufacturing cost but leaves you with a profit?
  • How easy would it be for a competitor to duplicate your product? Is it patentable? Novel? And defendable?
  • Is idea really a business or just a one-hit novelty item?

This requires market research.  You need to investigate the current market need, the competitors, the price people are willing to sustain, how saturated the market is with similar products, etc.  This takes time and money to properly research.

Create a business plan

Successful business owners create a feasibility study and business plan to determine if they should even take this step.   The business plan contains your mission, vision and business goals.  It outlines the required finances.   It not only identifies the start-up costs, but how long it will realistically take to produce a steady income.

It identifies the target market, their demographics, spending habits, need for the product, etc.  I should also include a marketing plan to attract the right clients (those interested in purchasing your product/service at the price you want to command).

Staffing

Then there’s the staffing issue.  Even though it may be your idea, you may not have all the expertise to design, manufacture, market, brand, create the appropriate on-line/offline presence, design the packaging and promote yourself or your product.  There’s also accounting, legal, and competitive analysis.

You will need assistance in many of these areas.  Make sure you have a majority of these activities covered in your business plan.

Finances

Make sure you have the finances to cover the manufacturing, staffing needs and your salary for the next 5 years.  Financing can be acquired through loans, investors, savings, partners, etc.

Make sure you have these finance issues covered in your business plan.

Doing these things before you start your business with accomplish two things:

  • Help decide if your idea is a viable business
  • Increase the likelihood of success

 

Hope this helps a little.

 

As a manager, how can you save your company from going bankrupt?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on As a manager, how can you save your company from going bankrupt?

A busy professional has this question regarding his professional career.

As a manager, how can you save your company from going bankrupt?

I want to know how you would manage a company that is going to fail. Should I give up or should I continue? 

Firstly, I would like to commend you on your desire to assist with the success of the company.  Too many of us see our positions as merely marking the work day time.  We strive to stay in our role and not venture into other areas that can assist in the success of the company (and therefore the success of the whole).

Unfortunately, without knowing your current position/department or relationship with the owners, I can only speak in generalities.  For instance – if you are the manager and NOT the owner, your influence over the company’s success is directly proportionate to your influence over the owners.

Also, sales drive the business bus.  If you are in a direct position to assist with sales, you have a better opportunity to affect revenue.

How much influence do you have

Therefore, the first step is to assess how much influence do you have with the executive branch.

  • If you are manager, are you a lower level manager or do you have direct and regular access to the executive brand?
  • Have the executive brand regularly taken your advice and counsel previously? If they haven’t in the past, they are unlikely to do so in crises.
  • Are you in a position to bring direct change in revenue? Can you bring in immediate sales leads, convert leads into sales quickly, influence current clients to successfully refer your company’s services to others, and not only retain current clients but continually up-sale them to higher priced services.

How much effort do you want to put in

If you have that much insecurity in the success or failure of the venture, do you really want to be the one turning off the lights?  First and foremost, you need to decide what is best for you.

Regardless whether you stay at this company or move on, your goal should continually be to search out what it best for you.

You and your talent are valuable.  So, decide what you want from your effort.

For example:

  • Are you willing to invest money into this company and become an executive partner to save the company?
  • Are you willing to reach out to your family, friends, and business network to locate venture capital, investors or sponsors to save this company? If you decide to do this, make sure the company is worthy of your network and reputation.
  • Are you willing to put your reputation on the line for the success of this company?
  • Are you willing to put in 60-80 hours to make someone else’s company successful?

Should you move on

Decide what you are getting out of this company (both professionally and personally).  If what you are getting out of the company is equal (or better) than what you are putting in – we should chat regarding your specific situation.  With a few more details about the company and your background, I would be able to give additional recommendations specific to your situation.

If it is less, then we should chat regarding your next steps.

It’s a business

At the end of the day, the company will make business decisions.  Many employees will stay loyal to their employers longer than the company can support that loyalty.  Therefore, make the decisions that are best for you and your career.

Hope this helps a little.

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