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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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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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