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From An Entrepreneur Dream To Dynasty In 10 Easy Steps

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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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        Published on September 21, 2021

        How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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        How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

        The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

        In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

        1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

        Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

        But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

        Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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        Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

        Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

        While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

        Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

        2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

        At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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        Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

        Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

        Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

        McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

        From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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        3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

        An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

        McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

        Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

        Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

        Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

        So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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        The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

        If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

        Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

        Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

        Reference

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