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From An Entrepreneur Dream To Dynasty In 10 Easy Steps

From An Entrepreneur Dream To Dynasty In 10 Easy Steps

As an entrepreneur with multiple successful ventures under my belt, I get a ton of questions from potential entrepreneurs wondering how to go from the idea phase to an actual business. If you’re looking to start a business, here’s what I’d tell you.

1. Ruminate on the Possibilities

All businesses — small or large — must start somewhere. Before there is a vision, plan, or management plan, there’s an idea. They generally come about in one of two ways. Either a) you’re pondering a solution to a pressing but unresolved problem or b) you’re evaluating your life and arrive at the realization that you’ve been running from your dream instead of running to it. Whatever the case, don’t take this seemingly trivial step for granted, as everything that follows rests on your founding premise.

After you’ve had an opportunity to reflect upon this central concept or solution thoroughly, it’s time to turn to the market and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the competition. Doing so will give you a good idea of where your product or service could fit into the market.

2. Evaluate Your Tolerance for Risk

Evaluate Your Tolerance for Risk

    It would be good if you could start the process by determining how comfortable you are with taking risks — if you don’t make it past this point, there’s no “pass go.” Unfortunately, that’s just not the way it works. Likewise, it would be nice if you could pretend that your entire entrepreneurial journey will be free of threats, but we know that’s not the case, right?

    By its very nature, entrepreneurship is fraught with uncertainty. Just the amount of action that you must take to start your part entails risk — that doesn’t include what you will inevitably face after getting your venture off the ground.

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    There’s always the chance that any one of these actions could result in a problem of some sort. And while there’s a certain amount of ambiguity associated with punching a clock every day, the risks are much more predictable. So if the thought of facing the unknown causes you undue stress, it may be best to put your ideas on pause until you’ve found a way to resolve your fear of uncertainty.

    3. Don’t Just Think About Your Vision, Write It Down

    After you’ve settled on an idea and decided that you’re comfortable with the possibility of things going wrong, it’s time to hone in on your vision. This entails visualizing what you’d like your business to look like in the future. If you experience difficulty with this step, all you have to do is ask yourself this: “Where do I see my business in 5, 10, or 15 years?”

    But remember, it’s not enough to merely know your vision. You’ve got to internalize it, which requires going a step further and writing it down. There’s just something about seeing your vision on paper that makes it more real. And if you think this is all too much, consider that when all else fails, it’s your vision that will compel you to get out of the bed at 5 o’clock in the morning to see your dreams through.

    4. Do Your Homework

    Do your home work

      If finding a solution to a market-driven problem or putting your grand vision into action is sexy, then market research is probably no different than taking a hundred free throws, one right after the other. But guess what? If he hadn’t put in the work, where would Jordan be today? So it is with researching the market.

      Market research dictates pricing, messaging, advertising, staffing, and so much more. Do yourself a favor and put all that you have into learning your market. When you’re done, you should have a clear understanding of who your customers are, but you should also know what they like or don’t like about your competitors. Armed with this information, you can continue the march to your empire.

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      In addition to market research, you’d be doing yourself a favor by doing some operational research. Familiarize yourself with industry best practices; doing so will allow you to build an efficient business.

      5. Draft a Business Plan

      You’ve got your idea, vision, and research in hand. Now it’s time to turn these abstract ideas into something tangible — a plan of action, also known as a business plan. Your business plan is a roadmap designed to help you arrive at your destination. And if you ever get lost, like a GPS your plan can help you get back on track.

      Your business plan should address questions like the following:

      • How will I reach my customers?
      • How much will it take to start and run my business?
      • What types of personnel should I hire?
      • Who is my target audience?
      • Who are my competitors?
      • When will I see a profit?

      While from time to time you may run into questions that you don’t have the answers to, your business plan should address the most pertinent issues.

      6. Review Your Finances

      Whether you’re starting your business on a shoestring budget or purchasing an existing business, there are always financial considerations associated with beginning a new venture. Identify these costs upfront and determine how you’re going to pay for these items.

      For example, maybe you’ve already built a sizeable nest egg and plan to use some or all of it as collateral, or perhaps you have a colleague who’s agreed to make a financial investment in your business. Whatever the case, knowing what you’re getting yourself into from the start can make all of the difference in the world.

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      7. Determine How to Structure Your Business

      There are several different ways to structure your business entity. In fact, you may already be aware of several. For instance, you can organize as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, etc. However, understand that each legal structure comes with certain pros and cons.

      As a point of comparison, if you want to shield yourself or your family from liability, assuming one of the various corporate structures may be in order. Alternatively, if you plan to keep things simple while “testing the waters,” exposing yourself to greater risk as a proprietorship could be a more suitable option. Of course, you won’t know until giving it serious consideration. It might also be prudent to consult your local attorney or CPA, as whichever decision you make will entail a different set of legal and financial ramifications.

      8. Build a Company Website

      Regardless of the type of business you plan to launch, one thing is unavoidable — you will need a website. It doesn’t matter if your customers prefer to do business in person — not having a web presence is just plain irresponsible in this day and age. So please, do yourself a huge favor and invest in a solid site.

      It doesn’t have to be extravagant. In fact, if you have financial constraints you can even set one up yourself. Just visit Wix, Weebly, or any of the other site builders available and use the templates that they give you and you’ll be well on your way.

      Of course, you can always upgrade when finances permit, but the important thing when it comes to establishing yourself online is to start somewhere.

      9. Set Up Your Taxes and Federal Registration

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      Set Up Your Taxes and Federal Registration

        By this point, you may already have a business license and articles of incorporation. However, to be recognized as an official entity, you will need to file your documents with the federal government. While it may sound complicated, it’s probably easier than you think.

        Upon completing your business registration, you’ll also need to go to the IRS website and apply for an employer recognition number (EIN). Doing so will allow you to handle payroll and employee taxes. If you’re organized as a sole proprietorship, you may be able to skip this step, but this is something that your lawyer or accountant can help you determine.

        10. Build Your Brand

        So you’ve got yourself a business that’s capable of changing the world. But guess what? Without customers, you’re dancing in the dark. Of course, if you’ve completed the marketing section of your business plan, the next step is just a matter of executing your plan. The good news is that there’s a proven method of building and promoting your brand.

        Namely, marketing your business is a matter of informing your audience as to what makes your offering unique, learning where to find your customers, and making sure that your brand is just within your audience’s vicinity so that when they have a need, they know to check with you first.

        In a nutshell, that’s it. I hope that everything made sense to you. But if you have questions, I’m here to help. Drop me a line!

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        Last Updated on April 19, 2021

        The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

        The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

        Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

        The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

        Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

        In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

        When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

        Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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        1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

        When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

        As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

        That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

        The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

        What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

        Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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        There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

        So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

        2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

        When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

        No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

        3. Move Your Body

        A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

        It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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        So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

        4. Connect With Another Person

        Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

        One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

        Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

        5. Use Your Imagination

        When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

        That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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        And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

        Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

        Final Thoughts

        Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

        Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

        More on the Importance of Taking a Break

        Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

        Reference

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