In an online forum that I’m in, the questions was asked ‘What’s
the best piece of advice you would give to a new entrepreneur today?’
There were some great answers, so I picked out a few to share with
Don’t work without a contract, especially if you know them.
Yes! This was a hot
topic in a recent event that I hosted.
We can tend to work on trust with people we know such as family and friends
but this is invariably where things go wrong.
We never know what is around the corner and without a contract, long
standing relationships can be torn apart.
Invest in your business. Do not rely on free ANYTHING to grow your business
Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say not rely on free anything,
but yes, if you are serious about your business, you are going to need to
invest. If you rely on free everything,
it is going to take forever to get where you want to be.
Stay consistent and remember to always take a break when you are feeling overwhelmed
Yep! Couldn’t agree
more. Consistency and persistency are
key. Too many give up too early after
trying a new tactic for a week or so without results. It takes time to build your visibility and
And, yes, it is so important to take a break to rest, reflect
and recharge, particularly when we are feeling overwhelmed.
Take action sooner. Do not get stuck in a learning loop
How many courses and books have you studied but never fully
actioned? Far too many I suspect. Don’t fool yourself you are learning
more. There is no point learning
anything if you don’t take what you have learned and put it into action. I’ve read a book how to get a six pack but
still don’t have one because I don’t do the exercises!!
Have set time to work your business. It cannot be a hobby.
If you work ad hoc as and when you feel like it, don’t be
surprised when you get ad hoc results. Schedule
work time, get disciplined and work!
Never give up. And don’t take anything on board from people who want to
steal your dream. Associate with people who have drive and are positive in
Oh, those dream stealers! They all want to quash your dream because they don’t have the courage to do what you are doing. They say you will act and become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose people wisely.
Schedule your free time first and always be firm about it. — Work will take
up as much time as you give it. So, schedule your free time first and then make
the space for work around that.
When you’re on your death bed, (sorry to bring morbidity
into this) I doubt you will say you wish you had spent more time at work. Get your priorities right. Block out time for friends and family and be
present with them 100%. You can always
make more money. You can’t get more
Do your accounting and get everything setup correctly from the start!
Cash is king and is the one deciding factor on your business
success or failure. You must get a grip
on the finances. Very simply, you need
to know what money is coming in, what is going out and what is left. Profit determines success.
Be authentically you, don’t fall for the fake stats and trust your gut. You
got it…even when you doubt your ability…Keep on Pushing!
Yes, be you. You are
your business. There is no point trying
to be something you’re not as people will see through you as being fake.
You don’t need your website, business cards or a perfect branding strategy
before you start. You need to get started and keep showing up.
True! Yes, a website
and branding can help grow your business but to start with, just get out there
and start selling. There is the danger
of trying to get everything perfect before launching but this can take far too
long and cause you to miss valuable sales.
Every day do a little something to get you closer to your goal.
This is one of my favourites. If you take just one step each day, you will eventually be guaranteed to complete a marathon. Trying to do everything can seem overwhelming and so we end up doing nothing. Focus on one small thing each day and don’t give up.
Do you have something to add? Leave your comment below.
With being successful comes new responsibilities. And with this comes the panic of how we will
cope, how will we fit everything in? etc.
If we are truly going to be successful we are going to have to step
outside our comfort zone and step up to the plate.
Maybe this has happened to you. You are in a comfortable place right now where everything is manageable. You can choose exactly what you want to do each day and it’s all a bit cosy. And the thought of taking your business to the next level scares you.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to decide if you really want to take your business to the next level.
You need to go back to the beginning and decide what you really want in life. What is your end dream? Is it with a bigger business, having someone help with the organisation and admin and with a bigger income? Or is it staying at a comfortable level working alone a few hours each week.
How do both of the scenarios make you feel?
If you want the big bucks but it makes you scared, you are
going to have to learn how to step out of your comfort zone. The first thing is
to plan. How are you going to scale up
and cope with more clients? What hours
are you going to work? What help will
By having a plan you start to take control. The fear of success usually comes from a
feeling of being out of control and your business running away from you.
You may also be feeling aware that as your business
grows, you become more visible and
people expect more from you. Your
responsibilities grow. This is why it’s
important to plan your business growth and to take it slowly so you don’t
suddenly have a shock to the system which you can’t cope with.
Think of famous people who have suddenly become overnight
successes who simply weren’t ready for it.
They didn’t last long as they weren’t prepared. They weren’t ready for the increased public
scrutiny, the lack of privacy and lifestyle change.
Think about what you fear if you really hit those heights of
success. How are they going to impact
your life and then think about how you can cope with these? What plans can you put in place along the way
to deal with these changes? Would you
take on an assistant to help you with planning retreats and organising your
diary? Would you collaborate with
someone else in your field to take some of the pressure of yourself? Would you hire a childminder to help with the
Take time to think all these areas through so, as I’ve said
previously, you are prepared and have a plan in place to deal with each thing
as it comes along.
Also, make sure you surround yourself with positive people
and those who have already gone through what you are facing. Use them as a sounding board and to get
advice. Keep in mind the incredible
talent you have and how you are helping so many more people by growing your
business and use this to get excited.
The fear of success is all part of the journey. Embrace it, learn from it and enjoy it.
Take a look at the process of transition chart below. I bet you can immediately identify which stage you are at. Know that this is a natural part of the process, be prepared for the next stages but keep your eye on the end destination.
Everyone tells you to visualise and focus on what you want to achieve and it will come but try as you may, when the chips are down and you don’t know how you are going to pay the mortgage this month, staying positive and seeing a wealthy future is nigh on impossible.
You try to focus but every thought is consumed by the blinding panic of knowing the money has run out. Your chest feels like it is being crushed and you struggle to control the rising panic.
But it will be ok. Just read another self-help book and manifest the money.
Here’s the flaw in the plan.
Manifestation gurus tell you what to do but then also include their disclaimer that things don’t happen overnight. But you need the money now!! You don’t have time to let the manifestation work its magic. Time has run out.
What can you do to stem the rising panic that is threatening to engulf you and suck you in into its dark depths forever, never to return?
Get some perspective.
This will not kill you. There are others who have gone before you and will follow. They have survived and will continue to do so.
Sit down and look at your exact financial situation. Do a cash flow spreadsheet. You now know exactly where you are and can now plan to bridge the gap of where you need to be.
Look at your cash flow and cut out the luxuries. Don’t despair. This is a short term solution until you are back on track. Cancel sky tv. Change your mobile contract to the cheapest available. Cancel subscriptions. You can survive without all these things. Just take a look at those in third world countries. Life doesn’t end when you don’t have 100 tv channels to choose from. And you may just find your life feels freer without them.
Can you take a part time job. Sod losing face. This is about survival! What can you sell? All those clothes you have sat at the back of the wardrobe .. sell them on eBay. Do you have a spare room? List it on Air B&B.
Talk to someone.
One of the worst things is trying to remain looking super successful to the outside world and bottling everything up inside. This is like a pressure cooker. You will explode. Find someone to confide in. Someone you can be honest with and have a breakdown in front of. Sometimes jut having a bloody good cry and letting it all out can work wonders. It lets off all that steam and allows you to see clearly again
Whatever you do, don’t just bury your head in the sand. Take control and get the help you need.
Starting your own home business can be exciting, exhilarating and full of hope. But what happens if the enthusiasm starts to wane when the money does not come rolling in as expected?
All too often, women who start their own home business find them under stress from not knowing when the money is going to start coming in and finding they are having to scrabble around to find funds to pay the household bills. On top of this comes the added pressure from spouses or partners who may start to ask when you are going to get a proper job and start to contribute to the household expenses.
The initial passion and enthusiasm have been lost and you spend many sleepless nights worrying about the future.
Sound familiar? If this is happening to you, then I truly am sorry. I wish I could tell you to hang on in there and not give up but at some point, you will ultimately have to find a way to earn some immediate cash if customers are just not coming forward as expected.
I see this all too often and the pressure starts to build causing excess strain both on your mindset for the future running of your business and also on that of your personal relationships.
Is it time to call it a day, or is there an alternative?
Firstly, a bit of soul searching may be required. Do you remember why you started your own business? Do you still have the underlying passion for it and believe in it long-term, or has it become an all too heavy burden that you are seriously regretting having started?
If you think you can regain the passion and truly believe (and have done the research to prove it) that long term the business can be a success, maybe it is just time to have a rethink. Is there any way of generating immediate income by offering a complementary product or service alongside your existing business? Do you need to adapt your offering in some way?
Offer complementary services
Perhaps if you offer one to one services you could adapt these to group sessions whereby it becomes more affordable to your clients but you still earn an income. A make-up artist or beautician could offer classes in how to apply makeup or look after their skin. A photographer could offer a group session on how to use a smartphone camera to best effect. If you sell handmade soft furnishings, how about running a basic sewing class?
Find other ways to generate income
Do you have things that you could sell on eBay or do you know of someone who is looking for a cleaner or ironing service? Is there a local business that is looking for some ad hoc help whilst they have staff on holiday or off sick? These are things that can easily be run alongside a home business and can create some much-needed income in the short term.
Take part-time work
Or if necessary, could you continue to run the business on a part-time basis whilst taking part-time employed work?
There is nothing wrong about taking on other work whilst you continue to build your business in the background. It will take longer than you may have hoped but the extra income will help take the pressure off and may just give you renewed vigour to keep going.
One thing that I hear when I present this option to women I work with is that they will lose face and be seen to be failing at their business. They worry so much as to what others will think of them. But there is a saying:
“If you’re worried about what people will think, you’ll be surprised at how little they care”
It is far better to face up to the reality that things are not working as you expected and take action than to try and save face and end up losing both your business and possibly your relationship.
If you feel you are between a rock and a hard place at the moment and are struggling to know if it is time to give or not, take 24 hours out. Go talk to a friend you trust and throw some ideas around. Think long and hard about whether you want to, and should, continue with your business, or whether there is a workaround in the short term.
And if the decision is made to close your business, just remember, you haven’t failed. You have just learnt a valuable lesson for the future in what not to do.
Why is it that two businesses in the same industry can both differ so differently when it comes to being successful or not? Take two hairdressers. One is booked up weeks in advance whilst the other struggles to fill appointments. Why is this? It can quite simply be down to a few simple rules that can dictate the difference between success and failure. Follow these Top 10 tips to a successful business and make sure your business succeeds
Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell.
Just because you love your product or service, doesn’t mean that your customer will. You may think that blue umbrellas are the best thing since sliced bread so, therefore there is a market to sell them, but others may not agree.
You need to listen to what your customer wants to buy and supply that. Don’t try to force sell them your own personal preferences.
Jumpstart the cash flow into your business
Cash is King and you want to get it coming into your business as quickly as possible. The early months of starting a business can be the most difficult when it comes to income so think of ways to get that cash flowing into the business asap.
Where possible, ask for deposits up front. If that is not possible, ask for cash on delivery to avoid long credit terms and late payers.
Find new ways to keep costs low
So many small businesses start up and overspend on things they really don’t need to. They think they need to go out and buy all the latest gadgetry and office equipment. Try leasing or buying second hand instead. Ask suppliers for a discount for an upfront payment.
Do you really need that swish office premises? Could you not create an office at home. I once saved a company £12,000 by helping him set up a home office in his garden rather than paying a premium rent for an office he used to meet clients only on odd occasions.
Overestimate expenses and underestimate income.
When you are planning your business and preparing your cash flow, after you have done the first draft, go back and double your expenses and half your income. How does it look now? Scary? Well, this may well be nearer to the truth in the early days than everything going to plan and the world being rosy.
Be prepared for the unexpected expenses and for the sales that never come to fruition. If you can prepare for this, you will be far more prepared if this worst-case scenario happens than if you rely on healthy sales and low costs which turn out to be further than the truth than you were expecting.
Focus on marketing and sales
You know all about your product and service and how wonderful it is, but your target market won’t until you make them aware of it. So get out there and tell them. And then ask them for the sale. Until you start getting sales, you are not running a successful business, you are running a hobby.
Too many startup businesses focus on getting all the detail perfect or their brand such as their logo, website, business cards etc when they should just be getting out there and going after the sales. Your perfect business logo can be finished at a later date. After all, when did you make a purchase just because of the perfect colour scheme on a business card? A name and number will do to start with.
Find ways to upsell
When you make a sale, is there a way to upsell to your customer and thereby increase your income? All the big businesses do it. When you go to get a burger and fries at your local drive-through I bet you are asked if you would like a large fries for just a small amount more. When you buy cards at your stationers, do they ask if you would like to buy a book of stamps?
So think how you can upsell to your customers. If you sell a service such as coaching can you charge a little extra for a written summary of your session? If you sell a product, offer an add-on product to enhance the original purchase. Do you make special occasion cakes? Offer a photograph of the cake with a gift card for the recipient to remember the occasion by. Get creative and see what you can come up.
Measure your marketing
In order to know if something is working properly, you have to test and measure it. The same goes for your marketing. Too often small businesses start up and run a marketing campaign and then just keep it running. They don’t actually stop to take time out to see if it is working or not.
Add codes to specific marketing campaigns and ask customers to quote this when getting in contact to receive a free gift. Make sure you look at the online analytics of any social media or web campaign. If you fail to do this, you could just be throwing hard earned money down the drain.
Learning more means earning more
You really can never stop learning. Keep your industry knowledge up to date to stay ahead, or at least in line with the competition. Learn new skills to help you get ahead in your business, whether how to close sales better or how to increase visitors to your website. There is so much learning material out there including the member’s club resources on this site so there really is no excuse not to keep improving your knowledge.
It is also widely acknowledged that all the most successful entrepreneurs spend at least 30 minutes per day listening to or reading motivational and inspirational books and audios. If you want to follow in their footsteps of success, try following this one habit of theirs.
Don’t discount, add value
Too many small businesses fall into the age-old trap of discounting their products or services to try to increase sales. You may make more sales initially but you will decrease your profits and as happened to a business I was called in to help, customers became all too aware of their constant sales and so stopped buying at the retail price altogether to just wait for the next sale to come around.
So rather than offering a discount, find something of a low cost to you but of value to the client that you can add to the sale to encourage customers to spend with you. It could be an extra 10 minutes for a head massage if you are a hairdresser. Or free gift wrapping with a product.
Get a coach
I have said many times in articles, that having an experienced mentor or coach when starting up can have a significant impact on how the business survives in the early months and even years. Having someone that you can use an objective sounding board for ideas and who can look at your business without the emotional ties, can be invaluable.
A professional coach, mentor or advisor should be able to help in the areas in which you are weaker and can help push you when you need it to stop you procrastinating and delaying your business success.
Now you have your Top 10 tips to a successful business, I wish you all the very best in starting up your business. Do come on over to the Facebook group to let me know how you are getting on.
Harsh words coming up ladies. Take a seat if you need to.
I have spoken with a number of ladies this month who haven’t completed tasks that have been set as part of their 1:1 coaching with me. This has left me somewhat surprised as I always check their commitment at each call and never leave them without them being confident they can do what I have suggested.
But this month, I have had clients tell me they are going to leave it to the universe to tell them when the right time is to move forward.
Well here’s some breaking news.
This is just a sad excuse for not getting out of your comfort zone and doing some work. The universe wants you to get off your arses and sort your problems out yourself!!
Too many of you are using the universe scenario to stay in your comfort zones and not do any real money-making activity. Yes, use visualisation (it works), work on your inner self (so important) but you must take physical action also.
The universe isn’t going to pay your bills and your comfort zone is going to get bloody well uncomfortable when you start to get final reminders through the post.
If you want success badly enough, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse.
It’s up to you to take responsibility for yourself and your success.
I can hear the offence taken by many of you already and if you don’t like my straight talking, I’m not going to apologise. I don’t sugar coat things. I tell you how it is. Now it’s up to you.
How badly do you really want success?
Here’s an exercise for you to help you decide.
Take a seat, close your eyes and take the time to imagine the following scenarios:
12 months from now, you have shied away from fully promoting yourself. You have no bookings and no income. You are no further forward with your business than you are today.
Your friends and family ask you how your business is going. You feel sick to the stomach. You regret that you didn’t plan and block out time to work properly in your business. You regret you didn’t stay focused and just worked ad hoc over the last 12 months.
There is no money in the bank account and you know your partner is getting fed up of hearing the same story that next month you will have new clients. You know you won’t as you don’t really believe in yourself.
12 months from now you are sat looking at your bank balance. You have a regular income that covers all your bills and provides for all those extra luxuries in life that you enjoy.
You open your emails and see a number of testimonies from happy clients and who say they are recommending you to everyone they know. Oh, look!! Two new bookings have just popped up in your inbox!
Your partner asks you how your business is. You beam with pride and tell them you are treating them to a weekend away as you are doing so well.
Really sit and visualise both these scenarios. Which one do you want in 12 months? Number 2? Then focus on this. Bottle the feeling of scenario 2. Think this scenario through before you go to sleep at night and when you wake up every morning.
It’s your choice. If you want it badly enough, you will do what it takes. You will take action. You will plan. You will get focused. And you will do one thing every single day to take you closer to your goal. You WON’T give up.
If you don’t really want it, you will make excuses.
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