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Starting A Business in A Challenging Economic Climate, Part 2 (Limiting Risk)

Starting A Business in A Challenging Economic Climate, Part 2 (Limiting Risk)

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    In Part 1 of this series, I talked about why now is a good time to start a business. But without Part 2, Limiting Your Risk, you may be setting yourself up for problems. Now is a great time to start a business, but part of starting a business in this kind of economy is playing it smart.

    How You Can Limit Your Risk:

    When you start a business in challenging economic times, you’ll want to limit your risk as much as possible. There are several ways to go about this, but here are my top recommendations:

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    Get it right at the beginning. A lot of budding business owners skip crucial steps on their way to a business launch. I can’t tell you how many clients have come to me, a year or two into their businesses, without having set up their companies with the Secretary of State, the IRS, or having met with an attorney to help them set up their operating agreements. These are things that could get you in a lot of trouble if you don’t do them the right way.

    There are other steps that won’t necessarily get you into trouble, but may cause some headaches if you don’t get them right. Branding is an excellent example of one of the most-missed (and most misunderstood) steps in entrepreneurialism. It’s also one of the things that can make or break your company.  Choose a generic business name like “ABC Consulting” or create a brand that doesn’t intrigue your target market and you’ll start your business heading down the wrong path.

    Choose an industry that’s hot or one that’s a “need.” Generally, you want to go with the industry you know best, but at the same time, you can’t ignore what most business experts define as the wave of the new future. Currently, the hottest trends are green businesses, health care, natural beauty, discount retail and luxury, credit and debt management, and technology. If you can find a way to spin what you already know into one of these hot business areas, you’ll take advantage of the coming upsurge in these industries.

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    On the other hand, I also believe in going after the “needs” of your consumers. For example, I once worked with a guy who was a chimney sweep in the winter (something people need) and a custom SUV builder in the summer (a luxury people want). His winter need-based business was one that provided enough income for the whole year, just in case his want-based business waned in the summer.

    Start with a low-risk business model. When I work with a client to design a new business, we typically use what I call a “leap-frogging” or “dovetailing” approach. This is where you start your business using a low-risk business model and build from there, using the income from the first model to fund expansion and growth into more complex business models. This approach almost always allows my clients to start their own businesses without seeking any type of funding from lending institutions, venture capitalists, or other investors.

    Plan ahead. If you lose your job, there isn’t much you can do about that. And in this economy, you’d have to work a part-time job in addition to your regular full-time job to save up enough for the six to twelve months of living expenses I generally recommend when clients want to start a business they can work full-time from the beginning. But if you can keep your job and start your business part-time, you’ll reduce your risk substantially. This allows you to maintain a steady income while you’re building your business, and eventually, you can make the transition to being self-employed, full-time.

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    Market research can save you a lot of time and heartache. Before you head into any business startup, you want to know your market inside out. More than that, you want to know your target market. There are lots of ways to do the research. You can do your own research (called “primary research”) or you can use information compiled by others (“secondary research”). Both have their pros and cons, but the questions you want to answer are:

    • Who is my target market?
    • What do they want?
    • Can I deliver it to them?
    • If I deliver what they want, will they buy it?

    Leverage free and inexpensive marketing methods to build your business. A lot of new entrepreneurs develop complicated, expensive marketing campaigns before realizing how many ways there are to get the word out about their businesses without spending a fortune. And with the power of the Internet literally at our fingertips, it’s easier now than ever to build awareness for your brand. However, that doesn’t mean you should go out and build a giant Twitter following. There are so many online options, but all of them may not be appropriate for your target market.

    Get the right help. Before you launch a company, you want to find professionals who can help you start on the right foot. There are countless people out there calling themselves “consultants” and you have to be careful who you choose. The ideal business consultant for you is someone who understands a lot of different business models, especially the low-risk ones, and who can help you figure out the model that suits you best. You want someone you find personable, someone who knows what they’re doing, and someone you can trust.

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    In addition, make sure they don’t make promises that are too good to be true. A lot of business “experts” I’ve seen lately offer what amounts to “get rich quick schemes,” while others offer such vague information that you’re compelled to keep buying more books and products to get to the “real” information….which never actually comes. Instead of wasting your time on these folks, find someone genuine, real, and honest, who may not promise you the sun, moon and stars super-fast, but who can help you build a solid, stable income with real growth potential.  Work one-on-one with them to develop a sound business model and a strong brand with a viable marketing strategy that you can easily implement. A good business consultant will know how to work with whatever budget you have and tailor solutions to your needs. Plus, they should have an army of other professionals who can also work within your budget, but still offer high quality work.

    Build your team. Speaking of other professionals, you will need your own little army. In addition to a business consultant, you’ll also want an accountant, an attorney, a graphic designer and a web designer, and you may also want a virtual assistant and some other consultants, most of whom your business consultant probably has access to.

    Starting a business in an uncertain economy can feel risky, and it certainly has stopped a lot of people from moving forward with great ideas. But if you look at history and remember that some of the most solid businesses today were started in just such an economy, mitigate your risk factors and hire the right professionals from the start, you’ll give yourself a fantastic leg up on your competition, and set yourself up for success.

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    Susan Baroncini-Moe

    Susan Baroncini-Moe is an executive coach and business leader with over sixteen years’ experience.

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    Published on August 4, 2020

    36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs)

    36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs)

    Most jobs require specialized skills. At the same time, there are a lot of resume skills that apply across the board.

    If you’re on the hunt for a new job, give your resume a refresh. Employers want to know: Can you communicate effectively? Are you easy to get along with? Can you manage your time effectively?

    Remember, you may not get a second look. Use your resume to make a great first impression.

    Holistic ability is what employers want to see when hiring. These resume skills can make you a top pick regardless of what role you’re applying for.

    Communication

    Being properly understood is critical. On any team, you must be able to relay and interpret messages with speed and precision. How you describe yourself, the concision of your phrasings, and the layout of your resume are great ways to showcase these skills.

    1. Writing

    Whether it’s emails or official documents, writing skills are essential for candidates in any industry. Clear, concise phrasings minimize misunderstandings and save the recipient time. This is probably one of the most important resume skills.

    2. Verbal Communication

    Speaking clearly and eloquently is one of the first things a hiring manager will note in an interview. Communicating over the phone is commonplace in business. Outline this skill on your resume, and they’ll invite you in to listen for themselves. This is easily one of the most important resume skills in most industries.

    3. Presentation

    Sales pitches and company meetings may include presentations, which require special communication skills. Being able to spearhead and properly carry out a presentation shows organization and resolve.

    4. Multilingualism

    Knowing more than one language can open doors for you and the business you represent.[1] Being able to speak another language allows your company to serve a whole new demographic.

    5. Reading Comprehension

    At any job, employee handbooks, company newsletters, and emails will come your way. Being able to decipher them quickly and effectively is an important resume skill. This goes hand in hand with having excellent writing skills.

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    Tech Savvy

    Technology is evolving rapidly, especially in the business world. Be sure to mention the technologies you’re familiar with on your resume, even if you don’t expect to use them daily.

    6. Social Media

    Almost everyone has some form of social media these days. Companies use platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to reach new audiences, provide customer service, and build brand loyalty.

    7. Operating Systems

    Can you use a Mac? What about a PC? Most jobs today require the use of a computer. Prior experience navigating common operating systems will help you acclimate much more quickly. This has become an important resume skill ever since the start of the information age.

    8. Microsoft Office

    Of all the software in the world, Microsoft’s Office suite might be the most popular. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook are widely used in the business world. Having this as part of your resume skills is very helpful especially in certain industries.

    9. Job-Specific Programs

    Did you get the hang of HubSpot in your last role? Is Slack something you’ve mastered? Be sure to mention them on your list of resume skills. These demonstrate that you can pick up new tools quickly.

    Interpersonal Skills

    Despite the rise in technology, businesses are run by people. Working with and for people means you need to be able to handle yourself with poise in different social settings. Highlight roles and situations on your resume that involved tricky conversations.

    10. Customer Service

    No company can succeed without its customers. Being able to treat customers with respect and attention is an absolute must for any applicant. Specific industries regard this as the most important resume skill their prospective employees should have.

    11. Active Listening

    Listening is an underrated skill, especially for leaders.[2] If you can’t listen to other people, you’ll struggle to work as part of a team.

    12. Sense of Humor

    You might wonder why having a sense of humor is a part of your resume skills. Humor is important for building rapport, but getting it right in the workplace can be tough. Everyone loves someone who is entertaining and can lighten the mood. On the other hand, people are turned off by immaturity and inappropriate jokes.

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    13. Conflict Resolution

    A customer stomps up to your desk and starts yelling about a problem he or she is having – how do you handle this situation? The right approach is to work to resolve the situation, not to escalate or avoid it.

    Teamwork

    One of the best parts of any job is the bonds you build with your co-workers. Fostering healthy relationships can make the workspace more enjoyable for everyone.

    14. Collaboration

    Whatever your line of work, chances are good that you’ll be working with others. Being able to collaborate effectively with them is critical if the whole team is to hit its goals. You can use various apps and tools available to help you collaborate with your team.

    15. Leadership

    Even if the title of the job you’re applying to isn’t “manager” or “executive,” there will still be moments when it’s your turn to lead. Prove that you’re up to the challenge, and you’ll be looked at as a long-term asset. Listing this as one of your resume skills is certainly an eye-catcher for most.

    16. Reliability

    Work isn’t always easy or fun. You have to be willing to pull your weight, even when times are hard. Otherwise, your co-workers won’t feel as if they can count on you. Reliability is important in maintaining the cohesion of a team. You should let people know that they can rely on you.

    17. Transparency

    To work as a team, members must be willing to share information with each other. Are you willing to own up to your mistakes, share your challenges, and accept consequences like an adult? Let them know that you’re transparent and reliable.

    Personal Traits

    Your resume is about selling yourself, not just your education and work history. The good news is, your “soft” skills are a great opportunity to differentiate yourself. Use bullets beneath your past experiences to prove you have them.

    18. Adaptability

    In any role, you’ll need to adjust to new procedures, rules, and work environments. Remember, these are always subject to change. Being able to adapt ensures every transition goes smoothly.

    19. Proactivity

    An autonomous employee can get work done without being instructed every step of the way. Orientation is one thing; taking on challenges of your own accord is another. Being proactive is an essential resume skill, especially if you’re eyeing for managerial roles in the future.

    20. Problem-Solving

    When problems arise, can you come up with appropriate solutions? Being able to address your own problems makes your manager’s life easier and minimizes micro-management. Problem-solving is an important yet often overlooked resume skill.

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    21. Creativity

    Can you think outside of the box? Even roles that aren’t “creative,” strictly speaking, require creative thinking. Creativity also helps in your ability to solve problems.

    22. Organization

    Staying organized makes you more efficient and reduces the risk of mistakes. Organization skills make life easier not just for you, but also for other members of your team. This makes it an important skill to put in your list of resume skills.

    23. Work Ethic

    Every company wants hard workers on its team. You’re applying for employment after all, not a place to lounge around. Putting this on your list of resume skills is just as important as actually exhibiting it in the workplace once you’re hired.

    24. Stress Management

    How well do you work under stress? If you’ll be required to meet tight deadlines, you’ll have to prove you can handle the heat.

    25. Attention Management

    Whether you’re developing a partnership or writing a blog post, attention to detail makes all the difference. People who sweat the details do better work and tend to spot problems before they arise. Use Maura Thomas’s 4 Quadrants of Attention Management as a guide to managing attention.[3]

    26. Time Management

    Time is money. The better you are at using company time, the more valuable you’ll be. Show that you can make every second count. Managing your time also means being punctual. No employer wants to deal with a team member who’s constantly tardy. This is commonly included in most people’s resume skills, but not everyone lives up to it.

    27. Patience

    Things won’t always go your way. Can you calmly work through tough situations? If not, you’ll struggle with everything from sales to customer service to engineering.

    28. Gratitude

    When things do go your way, are you gracious? Simply being grateful can help you build real relationships.[4] This also helps foster a better team atmosphere.

    29. Learning

    Employers want to invest in people who are looking to grow. Whether you love to take online courses, read, or experiment with hobbies, make sure you show you’re willing to try new things.

    30. Physical Capability

    Many job postings have the classic line, “must be able to lift X amount of pounds” or “must be able to stand for X hours per day.” Play up past positions that required you to do physical labor.

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    31. Research

    How easily can you dig up new details about a concept? Research skills are critical for marketing, business analysis, writing, account management, and more.

    32. Money Handling

    Being able to count bills quickly and accurately is important at any company with a brick-and-mortar storefront. Integrity and honesty are key when you’re running the cash register or reconciling bank statements.

    Commitment

    To employers, every new hire represents an investment. Are you worth investing in? Prove it. Employers need to see signs of commitment before they bring you on board.

    33. Longevity

    Hiring managers love to see long tenures on your resume. This suggests that you’re in it for the long haul, not just passing through for a quick buck.

    34. Fidelity

    For an employer-employee relationship to work, there has to be trust. Employers tend to find out when someone is hiding side gig or sharing information they shouldn’t be. References from past employers can prove that you’re loyal to companies that hire you.

    35. Obedience

    You won’t agree with every choice your employer makes. With that said, you have to respect your role as an employee. Obedience is about doing what your leader decides is best, even if you have a different perspective.

    36. Flexibility

    Life is full of surprises. A month into your new job, your role could change entirely. Flexible people can roll with the punches.

    Final Words

    Perform a self-audit: Which of these skills will your potential employer want to see? Add them to your resume strategically, and you’ll be that much closer to your dream job.

    Tips on How to Create a Great Resume

    Featured photo credit: Van Tay Media via unsplash.com

    Reference

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