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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 February 15, 2019

        7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

        7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

        There’s nothing more fulfilling than the sense of accomplishment you get by achieving your business goals.

        Gone are the days when you used pen and paper to take notes and manage your work day. As millennials are relying heavily on technology to manage almost everything from finances to their personal fitness, goal tracking apps are also becoming increasingly popular.[1]

        In this piece, we will shed some light on 7 such goal tracking apps that you can use to streamline your operations.

        I have handpicked these apps from a software rating web services site Best Online Reviews. Industry experts review software on these websites and help businesses to find the right solutions to meet their various, unique business requirements.

        1. Aha!

          Aha! is a California-based roadmap software provider and offers excellent goal tracking app that lets you define goals and objectives for projects. The app also lets you list out primary tasks and allows you to focus on them.

          Hosted securely on the cloud, the app offers enhanced communication tools for sharing updates through emails with select colleagues or the entire organization.

          Aha! is available on multiple platforms such as the web, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and starts from $59 per month per user.

          Available for Web

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          2. Asana

            Asana is one of the more popular project management apps available for businesses. It lets you organize all your team’s work, such as setting up and tracking goals, creating tasks, sharing files and notes, etc.

            Asana also allows your team to organize all their tasks and focus on urgent priorities. Moreover, the app offers a delightful user experience that makes task management simple and easy.

            Asana is available on multiple platforms from PCs and Mac to iOS and Android. Multi-channel adaptability makes Asana the perfect choice to track your goals anytime, from anywhere.

            Available for iOS | Android | Web

            3. Basecamp

              Basecamp is an excellent tool to manage all your team’s projects and keep your activities organized. It opens a new thread for every task and that task is visible by the whole team.

              With Basecamp, you can schedule tasks, add to-dos, discuss tasks by adding comments, add files and attachments, and much more.

              The app is available on both mobile and desktop platforms and costs $99 per month. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS platforms and offers excellent multi-channel access.

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              Available for iOS | Android | Web

              4. Forecast

                An efficient tool for successful task management, Forecast is also a popular goal tracking app. Apart from effective milestone tracking, the app also offers convenient status reporting.

                Forecast uses project history to let you know the status of your current work. Moreover, it uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality assistance. It is a robust app for small teams to track goals and time.

                Forecast is available for free and comes with Android and iOS app support. The premium version of the app starts from $19 per month per user.

                Available for Web

                5. Wrike

                  Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management app that successfully manages projects from start to finish. It lets you create tasks, track work progress and retrieve reports with ease.

                  The app also gives real-time work updates and helps team members to understand their work priorities. A custom report builder helps you to generate in-depth reporting.

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                  Wrike’s premium version is available from $9.80 per month per user and is available on multiple platforms.

                  Available for iOS | Android | Web

                  6. Todo.vu

                    Todo.vu is a unique platform that delivers enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), task management, time tracking, and billing functionality in a single app.

                    According to Capterra, it’s an ideal app for freelancers and consultants, who are looking for tools to improve efficiency and transparency.

                    Although the app is free to use with basic features, the premium plan starts from $5 per month per user. The app also comes with calendar sync and task reminder functionality to keep you on track, always.

                    Available for Web

                    7. Flock

                      Looking for a tool to simplify task management? Try out Flock.

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                      Flock comes with enhanced goal tracking and additional features like instant messaging.

                      Moreover, Flock offers tons of integrations with tools such as Google, MailChimp, Jira, Dropbox, etc. It is a powerful tool that’s packed with robust features such as reminders, notes, polls and to-dos.

                      Even though you can use the tool for free, the paid version of Flock is available from $4.50 per month per user.

                      Available for iOS | Android | Web

                      Conclusion

                      Businesses need high-quality project management tools to streamline collaboration and operations. Enhanced goal tracking apps make it easy for your team to improve productivity by keeping its tasks organized.

                      But it’s essential that you choose an app that meets your unique business requirements. You can choose from the above-mentioned apps to streamline operations and improve the productivity of your team.

                      Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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