Do you have business cards? Make sure that each place you go you hand out a few. I used to feel funny about giving out my cards. One thing is for sure….you cannot be timid when it comes to getting the word out. Having an online presence is important but also the face to face contact can make a difference.
When you are in line with someone at the store or you head off to a parent event, have some cards. I even leave a few behind where I go **hehe**. I will leave them at the mall or at the doctor’s office. I just leave them behind on the table or anywhere it makes sense. You never know who will pick them up and give you a call. And then you are off to the races from there.
You can also use business cards as a networking tool. Grab the person’s card that you are talking to and hand them yours. You can also have certain cards for certain people. Only you can determine what that is. You may have “ok” ones you leave out and the nicer ones you leave in person.
I think of it as a way to leave my business behind and talk for me when I’m not there. It’s sort of a reminder of your conversation. How do you use business cards?
How many of us has jumped up and down because something didn’t go according to plan? In my mind I have done this. You know what they say about the best laid plans.
When you are in business you must be able to be flexible. Things change and of course we are all human so things do not always go according to the way you want them too.
I had an opportunity to do a interview with a great Mom. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. There were 3 stores with the same name in her area, she arrived late because of her obligations, camera guy left early, blah blah blah. Long story short our sweeps story didn’t happen
But I did get a chance to show her what I do. I could have been mad that it wasn’t going to air this week or mad at myself because it took me 3 times to get to the right store.
The moral of this story is that you have to make lemonade out of lemons. She will watch the weekly show for tips and most likely become a subscriber. Don’t let a bad attitude or a bad interaction become the last thing that someone thinks about you.
Flexibility is key and your business must be very flexible in our economic climate.
You have a great idea for a business. It’s going to be a business that no one else has thought about and really hits a niche market. Once you have your ideas down in black and white it’s time to formulate a business plan. Each small business should have a business plan. Even if you have been in business for a period of time, tweak your business plan and adjust it in order to maintain a clear snapshot of your business currently.
But what’s in a business plan? Today there is no clear and cut business plan. You can be as unique and modern as your business. Here are a few things that should be included in your business plan.
What does your management team look like? What is there experience level with this type of business and overall. As you begin to look for capital for your business, it will become quite clear that your team is just as important as your business idea. The plan should also include information about your advisory board, directors and any current funding that you have.
Your strategy to move your business forward is a key component of your business plan. Venture capitalists will want to know if you are a forward thinker and that you can move your business forward. All businesses have cycles so they will look for your ability to adjust your business as the economy cycles. What are you strategies for gaining business through Marketing and Advertising?
As you can imagine, finances and how you will manage them is a huge component of the plan. How much is needed for working capital? What is your timetable to begin to operate in profit? Great ideas are just that. But you will need to prove that you can turn that idea into a money making business over a period of time.
If you are not able to write your business plan seek help. It’s a very important step for your small business. Take the time to research to write it yourself or hire someone. Having a business plan will also force you to think long term which is a great place to be for your small business.
When you are in business for yourself, especially a start up or a small business you can feel apprehensive about sharing the information with others. You don’t want to feel pushy and you don’t want people to try to avoid you so you decide not to say anything at all. That is the worst thing that you can possibly do. Never skip an opportunity to present your business and market to others.
Even if you just pass out a business card of strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know once a day that can help your business grow. Just think of the alternative – no business at all. If you just push yourself to make one or two interactions each day it will get easier. Think of it as practice marketing for your business. It will make all the difference in the world.
Use that same approach in social media. Reach out and make conversation with those you do not know well on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Even if they cannot use your product, they will remember your conversation and perhaps share it with their friends.
Never be afraid to get your business out there. You will be surprised by the response in a most positive way.
When you go into business for yourself you have to pitch your idea. You may not think of it like that but everytime you mention you are in business, you should have prepared a 15 second speech that will peak the interest of the person you are speaking to.
If you make it any longer you may lose them. Sometimes I am guilty of making sure I get everything out that I want to say. Pay attention to the body language. Did they start by looking directly at you but ended up with their body turned or eyes looking another way? Chances are good that your 15 seconds didn’t sell them.
Practice what you are going to say before you say it. If you are not good at ‘wingin’ it don’t do it. Please! Don’t ad lib because you may leave something out important. Have you ever had that time when you say “Oh I should have said this?” Practice is the key to making sure you hit the high notes.
Is the person engaging with you? Chances are good that they are at least a little interested or just very nice. It’s time to ask some questions. Get them to start talking about how they feel about the service or product and what they would use it for. We are all human. We like to think that we use our feelings to determine whether something is for us or against us.
Marsha, Marsha, Marsha
Don’t compare yourself to someone else. You have the idea that is different from everyone elses. Your business is unique even if you are in the same niche as the next person. Comparing yourself will set you up for failure. And don’t rely totally on the product or service that you have. It may be pretty and neat but will people spend money on it? If the answer is no after you have mentioned it a few times, its the business or your pitch.
When you are in business, one of the most important things to do is to manage the flow of money. You need money to buy items for your business to make it run efficiently but you also need to pay your employees and of course yourself. If you don’t have the right processes in place you could find yourself in a bind. No one wants to really focus on the money part. You want to be able to focus on making more business for your company.Here are a few tips to consider when it comes to small business accounting.
Good accounting software is crucial if you are doing it yourself. If you are unsure, its definitely time to hire an accountant. There are several types of software on the market. Make sure that the one you choose has the reports you are looking for. Perhaps you will run a report on your accounts receivable that will tell you who is just 10 days shy of your net 30 days terms. You may use this list and offer an incentive to those companies to pay now by offering a 10% discount. The important thing is consistency when it comes to managing small business finances. This helps you show the strength of your company.
It’s hard to imagine that we are approaching the end of the year. As you continue to look for ways to make your ezine or newsletter stand out from your competition, you may decide to add some days of interest to the document. By doing so, you draw your readers in to the document to read it. If your readers enjoy the ezine or newsletter, they are more likely to share it with others which give you more of an opportunity to increase your customer base.
September 5th is “Be Late for Something Day.” You can use this within your ezine or newsletter. Maybe it comes a little late and arrives with a special coupon or offer because of celebrating the day. Marketing can be out of the box and in fact, it is appreciated. Just mentioning the name of a business doesn’t necessarily get you new customers. You have to wow them and get their attention. Here are a few more days to add:
• Feel the Love Day – September 7th
• Pardon Day – September 8th
• Bald is Beautiful Day – September 13th
• National Cheeseburger Day – September 18th
• National Comic Book Day – September 25th
• National Coffee Day – September 29th
Using unique days to add to your newsletter gives you the shock factor. It is something unexpected and can add a little humor to your product where there typically is none. Sometimes the information you deliver needs to be lightened just a bit and unique days can do that for you. There is no need to focus entirely on them. It helps to get something interesting into the ezine or newsletter that is a little different from what the readers see.
I had a great conversation with one of my collegues today and I began to ponder this question? Where does the drive to entrepreneurship come from? Most of the people I know have a certain drive that propels them into wanting to run their own business. We talk at great length about our businesses and strategize about how to overcome hurdles that come your way as a small business owner. But is entrepreneurship born in the person or does it come as a result of being introduced to positive experiences?
I would venture to say that it’s both. I think some people are born showing skills that make them great leaders and the skill of creating a vision. But I think the percentage is greater for those people who are introduced to owning their own piece of the pie through someone close to them. It doesn’t have to be their parents but it could be someone in their family. I also know that there are many programs out there that expose teens to the very idea of owning their own business. Sometimes that is all it takes to create the spark and the rest will come.
Where did you receive your entrepreneur spark?
It’s summer and time for vacation, only because you are a small business owner you don’t feel like you can walk away. Maybe you just began your small business or do not have key people in place yet so that you are comfortable enough to go on holiday. Here’s how to make it happen.
- Hire temporary help. Decide what tasks have to happen while you are away and hire an business manager to do them while you are away.
- Look into adding a virtual assistant who can keep track of things while you are gone. That person would also be well versed in your business (through training) and will be able to notify you if something goes astray.
- Notify clients that you will be gone on a vacation. This will help cut down the amount of fires to put out. Typically you will only get a call if something is urgent.
- Check your cell phone/laptop in the early morning/late evening hours. In between that time enjoy your vacation. Being a business owner means you do have some obligations but you can enjoy some fun in the sun.
- Set follow ups for the night when you return from vacation. You can get ahead of the game before you go back to work the next day.
Being in business for yourself means that there are some sacrifices but you can enjoy a few hours in the sun before the weather changes. Have fun and continue to make sure your small business keeps being successful.
I was able to attend Blogher11 and I have to say it was my very first one. As a small business owner and blogger I was amazed at the women there. Each woman had their business cards and their speech ready for anyone who would ask. There was a lot of information shared in the break out rooms but I think the real networking happened everywhere else.
We sort of took over the downtown San Diego area. There were a lot of opportunities to talk about your business with other people. It was most interesting to hear the pitches. I spoke with a young lady who was just getting her business up and running but it had to do with saving the water and ecology. How neat!! Totally unexpected for this event but oh so interesting. I was drawn into her passion for this and her story. And that was at the breakfast table.
There were many more stories like that one. It was sort of one stop shop for all things related to women businesses. I would love to have all of the names and a short paragraph from everyone there. I think it would surprise you with the varied interests.
It was my first BlogHer but certainly not my last. BlogHer12 here I come! I’m putting you on the calendar right now!