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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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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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