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7 Things People Starting Their Own Business Should Know

7 Things People Starting Their Own Business Should Know

Gone are the days where the most viable option for most citizens to get an income was to get the regular 9 to 5 job. We live in an era where, through the power of the internet, the possibilities are endless—all it takes is for you to reach out and grab one.

A popular alternative option is entrepreneurship. What’s not to like about starting your own business? You get to be your own boss, plus you get to create, develop, and sustain something that you are passionate about. Starting your own business is no walk in the park, but it is one of the most amazing experiences that would reward you with a great life.

Ready to take on this journey and be part of the entrepreneur movement? Read on to learn the seven things that people who are starting their own business should know.

1. You must evaluate yourself.

Taking note of your expectations from the very start will make the path to building your business easier. You have to evaluate your reason for starting a business, your current skills and capacities, and any other relevant realizations that would aid the backbone of your business. It may seem daunting, but by knowing who you are, what you can offer, and what you expect to happen, you will ultimately determine how to go about things. No matter what happens, your personal aspirations will keep your morale up in the long haul.

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2. Your business starts with a great idea.

Ideas are the seeds that grow forth to become the great things we now experience in this world. You have to put great thought into coming up with one that fuels your passion because your business will be taking up a lot of your time, money, and energy. It needs to be more than an idea that nourishes you, it must also fulfill the laws of business: supply and demand.

Think about an idea that other people will believe and buy into. As much as possible, make sure that it’s unique so you stand out. Don’t be discouraged that just because there are plenty of cool things around for us to consume, that there might be fewer ideas to jump on. Everything we have now wasn’t present a few years back, and look at all the stuff we’re enjoying now. Your great idea is out there. Get inspired and then develop your plan. Bootstrap it to facilitate the idea into reality, starting with the most basic operations first.

3. Your excitement and stress will overwhelm you during the planning stage.

Now that you’re armed with a great idea, the next important thing to have is your business plan. This will be your roadmap, outlining the things you need to do, the cost of the entire operation, the strategies and tactics you have for execution, and the milestones to chart your business’ progress. Business plans are primarily seen as something to entice investors and banks with. But here’s a tip. More than its necessity for financing, think of your business plan as a means of formalizing your intentions.

For those people who didn’t take any business related course, you might be scared off by creating a business plan. Don’t fret! Everything can always be learned! There are so many resources that you can tap to help you create your business plan—case in point: the Internet.

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4. You will (more often than not) be forced to learn how to ask for money from everyone.

Businesses don’t magically pop out every time someone has a great idea. Ideas live in your head, but it is financing that brings it to reality. If you aren’t blessed lots of money in your bank account, this is the lesson that you will have to learn and not be shy about: Learn how to ask for money from everyone. There are many that you can approach to help you finance your business. You can file for a business start-up loan with your local bank, look into local investors that would be interested in your business, seek venture capitalists, use crowdfunding to help you raise the money, and the ever reliant approaching of family and friends. Looking for financing is always difficult; you could be rejected for a loan and might not be able to find interested investors.

But think of this as your training ground as a salesperson. To get investors, you have to learn how to sell your product. How will you learn to sell to consumers if you don’t know how to sell your business idea to people who could finance it? With this training, if you get investors to believe in you, then it is highly likely that you will get customers who will too.

5. Your office will be the second home that you will pour your heart and soul to.

When you have the financing to back your business, it is now time to set up shop. In business, just like real estate, this mantra is very important: Location, location, location. Whatever your business is, may it be a service where you would be needing an office, or a product where you would be needing a store, you must know where to place it. You want it to be accessible and appealing to attract more customers.

More than just the location, you also have to work on the atmosphere of your office/store and make sure it ties back to the brand of the business. Needless to say, you’ll be working on the aesthetics, buying supplies, getting necessary items installed, have your business cards printed, hiring your staff, basically building your second home. It will be exhausting, but also exciting at the same time.

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The beginning is always difficult, but isn’t it unbelievable exciting? We set up the success of our business by its origins, so make sure that in every step of this stage, you give it thorough thought.

6. You have to be creative when building your business’s customer base.

The magic phrase that will get your business its customer base is PR and Marketing. You have to build your brand, and then create a creative strategy to attract customers. It’s best to hire an expert in this field, to make sure that you’re getting a well thought of strategy that your brand will follow in years to come. Nowadays, there are so many creative ways to get your brand’s name and product out there. To be competitive, you need to come up with out of the box ideas on how to market your brand and keep the people coming back to your business.

Have you ever checked into a hotel or dined in a restaurant where you were given great service by people who were happy to assist you and made sure your experience there was pleasant? Treat this as a “never forget” in business: great customer service skills also go hand in hand with the right PR and Marketing. Make customers happy by addressing their needs and you will find yourself retaining and growing your customer base.

7. You will flourish with trial and error.

If you ask any entrepreneur, from the small time internet shop to the big time CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, they will always tell you that the road to building their business was/is never perfect. There is no easy formula to follow that will guarantee your success in business. “You will flourish with trial and error”, as shared by Sagar Babber, CEO of Snyxius, who relocated to Austin to kickstart his web and mobile app development company and now serves clients from over 10 different countries.

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There’s no harm in creating mistakes because it is with mistakes that we learn best. And when we learn, we are able to find ways on how to make the situation better the next time. So don’t be afraid to stumble and bumble once in a while, because if you take it in stride, these mistakes will be what ultimately lead you to your success.

Starting your own business is undeniably one of the biggest risks that any individual could take. With the right mindset, the right idea, and the right work ethics, any business can thrive. You will be tempted to quit when faced with the frustration, rejection and hardships that happen in the beginning, but the one secret that you should remember is this — don’t stop. Great businesspeople never stop when hit with setbacks. If that happened, then we would never have Apple, Ferrari, Paramount, or your favourite restaurant, favourite salon and all the other things that we enjoy now.

Starting your own business is never easy, but then again, aren’t the difficult things to come by the ones that you enjoy more in the end?

Featured photo credit: Steven Depolo via flic.kr

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Jonha Revesencio

Jonha Revesencio is a Business Strategist with years of experience developing digital media strategies.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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