All posts in August 2007

  • How to Successfully Launch your First Business

    Some serial entrepreneurs can practically start businesses in their sleep, but for the first time business owner launching a new venture can seem like a daunting task. Starting a new business does NOT have to be scary or hard-if you go about it the smart way. Oh yeah-huge proponent of doing things the smart way here.  Go with what you know- Too many people make the mistake of starting their dream business as their first venture. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to open up a bed and breakfast or own your own bookstore. I see it done all the time. But when you are starting your first business-go with what you know! If you have been a chef all your life and your dream business is to own a restaurant-more power to you! But if you have been a hairdresser all your life and want to start a restaurant as your first venture, be careful. If you really want to build up some courage and understand how business works-Go with what you know. My first business was a tutoring service. I absolutely loved working with students, but it wasn’t my dream business. However, it did teach me a…

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  • 10 Commandments all Entrepreneurs must Follow

    I am the first to admit that having your own business is a blast but I am also the first to admit that it is often unsure terrain out there. Here are 10 commandments that may help you along. #10 – Develop Patience. There can be no denying this commandment. Clients and customers sometimes need time to make up their minds, vendors get delayed, mercury goes into retrograde and throws off your computer system. For the sake of those around you and your own piece of mind don’t let delays and distractions get you down. #9- Learn to Accept Responsibility– If you get the job, you did it! If you messed up, the credit still goes to you. Responsibility often gets a bad rep because people associate it with guilt. In reality, responsibility is all about “your ability to respond” to what happens. #8- Understand Risk– If you think business is a gamble, please think again. Entrepreneurs are natural risk takers, but that risk has to be a calculated, well thought-out, risk. #7- Take time to Recharge-Being an entrepreneur does not mean that you have to have work on your mind all the time. Take time off to recharge your…

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  • Hitting the Three year Mark in Business – Top 5 Rules to Follow

    Only 1 out of 5 businesses survives the first the three years. The majority of these businesses go under due to poor business decisions and lack of support. Once a business hits its three year mark however, the chances of it failing dramatically decrease. Here are the top 5 rules to follow if you want to get your business to the three year mark (and beyond!) 1) Commit to Commitment– Being a huge fan of the show Fraiser, I remember a particular episode where Niles advises his relationship shy brother to “Commit to Commitment.” If you are truly serious about seeing your business succeed-I suggest that you take this first rule to heart. Once you decide that you are in it for the long haul, you are much more likely to see eventual business problems as challenges to overcome. Don’t run your business with one foot in the boat and one foot on the shore. 2) Love thy numbers– I will be the first to admit that I was never a fan of math class. History and English were much more my cup of tea. However, when it comes to business-I love the numbers. There can be no way around…

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  • From Generic to Best Seller-5 Steps to Changing your Personal Brand Name (Part III)

    This post is part three of a three part series on personal branding. Here are Part I, and Part II. This article shows you how to change your personal brand name. In part I we established that just like products, people also have brand names. This is especially true if you are working with others in your business. In part 2, we discussed how you can find out what your current ‘brand name’ is. Now let’s look at how you can change it! 1) Shine the Light. You already have natural qualities. Personal branding is all about shining light on them. You don’t have to fake your personality to create a powerful personal brand. The best way is to leverage your already existing positive traits. For example, if you are an introverted business owner you don’t have to fake being an extrovert. Instead shine the light on your superior listening skills or your compassion for your customers. 2) Expand your Circle. If you want to shine the light on certain personal qualities, find others who already personify them. Let’s say that you want to build your personal brand around your keen analytical skills. In fact, you want your business to…

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  • What is your Brand?-Part II

    This post is part two of a three part series on personal branding. This article is meant to help you detect your personal brand. Your personal brand is often the same as your business brand-especially if it’s a small or micro business. The third part of this series will show you how to consciously change it. Every time you label someone a brown-noser, blondie, marketing guy, or a techie-you are (sometime inadvertently) referring to their brand name. At first look these are mere labels, but a deeper look reveals the brand these individuals have built for themselves-consciously or unconsciously. So how do you determine your own personal brand? Ask around. Ask your friends and colleagues how they would describe you. If you are feeling especially brave-ask your employees. What do they think your strengths and weaknesses are? Watch the couple of first terms they use to describe you. These are probably good cues to look at in detecting your brand name. Example-Joe asks his team member Stacey as to what she thinks of him. She instantly says, “Joe, you are brilliant with computers and I love your logical mind.” Logical and Technical are two “brand” words connected to Joe. Identify…

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  • Are you a Coca Cola or a Pepsi? The Power of Personal Branding-Part I

    This post is part one of a three part series on personal branding. This article serves to define “branding.” What comes to mind when you hear the name “Coca-cola” or “Nike” or “Microsoft?” Most of the time these words conjure up a certain image in our minds, whether it be of a refreshing drink or our desktop computer. These are some of the most trusted and well constructed brand names in their respective industries. A company’s success depends on how well they construct their brand name. Before we explore why-lets deconstruct what a brand really is. It is familiar-We immediately recognize it! Even the Bushmen of Africa know what a coke bottle looks like. Familiarity breeds…no…not contempt…but preference. It is preferable-When we are given a choice, we go with the more famous brand. A couple of years ago Pepsi conducted a “Pepsi challenge” in many cities around the United States. They did a blind taste test and it was 51 for Pepsi and 44 for Coca-Cola. Then they let the participants try the drinks with the labels on. This time it was 65 Coca-Cola, 23 Pepsi. Behold, the power of a brand name. We perceive it to be of better…

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  • After The Launch

    See Jack quit his job See Jack use his life savings to launch his own business. The business of his dreams. See Jack struggle, squirm, and try all the traditional methods after the launch. See Jack close his business and come tumbling down. I saw Jack. In fact I saw so many Jacks (and Jills) that I decided to start After the Launch-a safe haven that helps service professionals start and skyrocket their business the SMART way. The main difference between the traditional way and the smart way is best summed up by the bold quote on the top banner- “In business for yourself, not by yourself.” Only 1 out 5 businesses survives the first three years. Why? My research leads me to believe it’s because the majority don’t realize the need for structure and support until it is too late. They spend most of their time and effort launching their business (their baby!), and then have very little idea about what to do After The Launch. Most entrepreneurs are artists of the most creative kind. They sometimes forget that business is also part science. After the Launch is all about providing strategies, insights, and tools to help you master…

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