Rules for Working at Home

  • If it is easy, it won’t work. If you love what you do, you are more likely to be able to do the work that a small business requires, but it is still work. You have to learn about your business, set it up, and promote it, no matter what it is. You even have to do that with a distributorship or business package. If it is not work, it does not pay.
  • There are no secrets, only skills, strategies and techniques. Anyone promising to tell you Secrets, or teach you Tricks is on the shady side of integrity. There are no secrets, and there are no tricks. There is knowledge, time saving strategies, key bits of information that can transform your understanding from unworkable to workable, and techniques that make the job either simpler or more successful. You need knowledge, tools, and experience. So look for that instead of looking for something that does not exist.
  • If you want to make money you have to work every day. OK, so you don’t have to work EVERY day, but you have to work every day that you reasonably can. That means you have to FIT IT IN! It has to be your priority. If you are a weekend warrior, then you have to work the majority of the weekends. If you are a work at home mom, then you need to find time each day around your family and get in at least a few minutes of work. If you are committed to replacing a full time income with working at home, then you’ll have to put in 4-8 hours a day more days than you take off. You have to give it the same dedication that you would a standard job. You cannot just let the days drift by, and not schedule in time when you HAVE to work. Just DO it… and stop making excuses.

Working at home is very doable. It is often chaotic, frequently frustrating, and always hard work. But I do it every day. It has become part of who I am. I learn and grow in it, and I gain more understanding all the time.

Keeping Up With Online Business Reading

  • Weed it out – Anytime I find that I am not getting full value for my time from a newsletter, ezine or other informational email source, even though I may be getting some good stuff, out it goes. Chances are that I am either getting or can get the same info through another, more ROI-positive source.
  • Save it for a specific time – I used to waste hours a day stopping to read business-related newsletters and ezines as they came in or as I ran across them. Now, I put aside one day to read it all. This day is set aside solely for reading informational business mail (not client mail) and for a few other business activities that need focused attention. I don’t schedule other business on this day, unless it is unavoidable. This way, I can get caught up and handle all necessary responses without feeling like I’m neglecting my “real” work.
  • Scan, cram and scram – This is the biggie for saving time. Learn to read for overall content and not for word-by-word absorption. This isn’t deathless prose, folks, so there’s no need to suck it in like some unearthed lost volume of Hemingway. Scan any headings or sub-titles, ignoring completely what you don’t need to know, and then scan-read the content of what you do need quickly to get the gist of the message. Only spend time on intense focused reading if the concept/content is difficult (yet vital) or supremely interesting and important. (If it’s just interesting, but not important, you can always read it some other time when you have a few minutes free.) Once you’ve gotten what you need, save only the emails that you absolutely need for reference in an email folder and delete all the rest.

Hidden Value of Customer Co-Creation

What if I told you there’s a better way? The lines between creator and consumer, buyer and seller, author and reader have blurred. If you invite the consumer, buyer, or reader into the creation process it incites ownership.

We all take pride in the work that we do. We want it to be the best that we are capable of and we are rewarded both intrinsically and extrinsically when we have a sense of ownership. Customer co-creation not only incites ownership, but generates a greater “ownership mentality” in your clients. That’s a big win. People proudly display their kid’s “artwork” on their refrigerators. They don’t display the work of the neighbor’s kids. But, if your kid and the neighbor’s kid co-created a finger painting masterpiece you now have two families anxious to display it.

You share context. Each of us has a limited well of experience to draw from. When we share context with others it gives our solutions depth and richness far beyond what anyone is capable of doing in isolation. Diversity of thinking and inputs yields better outcomes. That’s another win.

Co-creation makes for stronger content. When we combine your chocolate with my peanut butter the result is a far more creative solution.

We live in a world where we all want to participate. Teachers don’t just have students memorize state capitals anymore; they have kids create maps and globes and 3D representations. Which method do you think generates higher learning retention?

How can you involve your followers and clients in the creation process? I think it’s often as simple as just asking them. You need to maintain your position as the expert but you do so in a way that invites them to participate in the sculpting of a solution. Their input matters; it makes the solution stickier, more relevant, and more effective. They will now be your biggest advocate and internal sales team because they too will have the pride of ownership.

My advice is to look for an opportunity to experiment. Customer co-creation isn’t for every situation; there are times where you need to be the expert and do what you do. I wouldn’t want my plumber to allow me to co-create a plumbing solution given that I have little interest, passion, or insight in that area. However, there are opportunities where you can manage an engagement that has a co-creation element to it. You’ll wind up with a better, richer client; a more engaged, satisfied client; and the experience itself is refreshing and intellectually gratifying for everyone.

About Mowing and Landscaping Are Good Business Ideas

Mowing and landscaping are good business ideas when you want to make some extra money. Of course, there are a few things to take into account.

Our economy is not good. But, there are people who still do not enjoy the chores of spring and summer. If you are going to mow, it is essential to have a good running mower. You will need to make accommodations for the upkeep and gas and oil prices.

You will need to find work by either placing fliers around town or going door to door and speak with people. Mind you though, people truly do not like having their privacy bothered. So, it is probably better to put fliers on store fronts around town. You can make some colorful fliers with your capabilities and phone number. Do not quote prices until you have seen the job and have it in writing.

Your landscaping talents do not need to be extensive. When it comes to mowing, many people will hire professional ground keepers. But, you may be asked to remove or plant rosebushes, or trees. In this case, always remember to have everything in a contract so, that no misunderstandings occur. You do not want to do work for which you will not receive payment.

Remember to keep your blades sharpened. It is imperative to keep your tools in perfect working order. Always clean your mower, and any other tools as soon as you get home. Keep the oil chamber filled and the gas in an approved container. If you use a trailer to haul your equipment, take care of it, too.

Do not stretch yourself thin. Try to keep all jobs in a certain area on the same day. Keep a list of the times you are required to be at your destinations. If you are running late because of some misfortune, call your customers to let them know. If you notice anything askew on the grounds, report them immediately to your customer.

Guide to Small Business Factoring

How does factoring work? It is easy and yet complicated all at the same time. The factor will generally manage your sales ledger for you while also providing you with colletion services for all outstanding invoices. Typically you will be loaned 80% to 90% of the total amount of the invoice. You will generally receive the money within 24 hours of agreeing to the services of the factor.

Factoring for a small business does cost money, though. Usually there are a couple of different costs you have to consider. A service chare will usually cover the management of your sales and collections. The other charge is a percentage of sales factored as well as an interest charge of some sort on the cash advance the factor is giving you. The interest rates, obviously, will depend on your company’s credit, the credit of the invoiced companies, and the institution you factor through.

No guide to small business factoring would be complete without telling you want to look for in a factoring company. Obviously you should look for a stable financial institution that will be able to support the business. You should also look for good terms and a company you are comfortable working with since there will be plenty of interaction. Finally, you may want to consider a company that will give you internet access to your accounts. You can easily track the ledger, sales, collections, and your factored amounts that way.

It is also important to understand that no two factoring companies are completely alike. While much of what this guide to small business factoring has explained is typical, there are exceptions to most every situation. The best thing you can do for your business with regards to factoring is research the companies you are considering. Think about what you need and what you want and what everyone is offering you.

A guide to small business factoring can never be complete. There are too many ins and outs when it comes to almost any financial transaction. There are also a number of variables involved like current interest rates, your credit rating, reliability of your invoiced companies, and many other things as well. Before you ever agree to a factoring relationship, make sure you understand all terms as well as how long the contract is for and what renewal terms are. Protect yourself and do your homework and you can use factoring as a way to keep your cash flowing.

Creating Repeatable Business Growth

Define What You Want

Starting at the top, do you know what you want? Are you looking for awareness, prospects, referrals, authority, respect, recognition, local networking, open doors, branding, more sales, retention, upselling, or something else?

Be sure you know exactly what YOU need. Specifically, what is it that will boost your business to the next level? What is it that will cause the exponential growth you seek? What exactly did you want to “go viral” and how would that have helped you?

Once you know what your business needs, the next step is figuring out how to get it.

Figure Out How to Get What You Want

Mike had one pressing need: RETENTION. Together, we created a book (print cost was less than $1/bk) that was given to his customers. The book explained the benefits of the nutritional supplements that Mike’s company created and sold. Each supplement order included the small book, which increased retention as people became more knowledge about the product. As a result, the company’s profits went up by $100,000-$200,000 per month because customers stayed on the product for 2-3 additional months.

Dave wanted one thing: more SALES of his core product (a $2,000 leadership program). We created a book (less than $1/bk to print) that was sold to his franchise sales reps (for $3/bk) who in turn gave the books to their prospects. Business soared! The leadership program sold faster than ever. Dave promptly reprinted 5,000 more books and repeated the process.

Beth wanted more BUSINESS. As a commercial architect, she was always looking for more jobs, leads, and referrals. We created a children’s book, full color with a glossy hard cover, that cost around $5/book to print. Every person she did business with received a copy. And when the clients went home and read her book to their children, they could not help but remember Beth! And recommend her! And her business grew.

Chris needed a JOB. We created a small book (at about $4/bk to print) that turned 8 job interviews into 8 job offers! His challenge became which job to choose.

Bill wanted REFERRALS. As a home inspector, he wanted as much business as he could handle. He bought a DIY home-maintenance book (for around $10) and gave it to his customers as a small “thank you for your business.” One customer referred Bill to everyone he knew who was selling or buying a home. One $10 book turned into countless referrals!

The stories are endless, but each of these real examples show the incredible power of repeatable business growth. To get more retention, sales, business, jobs, or referrals, all these individuals need to do us push their own REPEAT button!

They know what they want and they know how to get it. Their growth is repeatable!

Then Do It

When you know exactly what you need to grow your core business, and you have a proven way to get the growth you want, the only thing left is to do it. And then you can do it as many times as you want. REPEAT… REPEAT… REPEAT is now at your fingertips!

This is far better than any “viral” success because you are the one who controls it. You created it, and that means you are in charge. You can tweak it and refine it. And you can do it again and again.

Business Advice

There is truth in statement that many businesses are good at their profession but not at business. It could be for this reason that a huge chunk of businesses will fail in their first year. What may be true as well is that businessmen or women who have studied business but do not have a profession are more likely to be successful by hiring the right staff for the skill base, while they do what they know, running a business. Did Richard Branson know how to fly a plane when he went into the airline business? He decide what he wanted, then hired the right people to do the job that he couldn’t do.

Hopefully you are getting the message here in that if you want to be successful with your business and survive the first few years of ownership you need to know about certain business subjects before you go into business. If you don’t then you need to get help from those who do know and have actually run successful businesses. When choosing a business advisor make sure he or she has been in business before and hasn’t just read the right books and knows all the latest phrases.

Ask them personally rather than looking at their CV. CVs can be made to look more impressive than the actual experience they have. However getting the right person to work with you can make the difference from success or failure. The actual cost is less of a factor than receiving more back than your costs in savings and or extra sales. The last thing to look for is commitment to your cause and someone who cares about their reputation. Most business advisors get their business from referrals, if you fail they fail. If you are about to go into business then good luck and if you already are, take time out to review if you are where you though you would be. If you are, fantastic but if you are not then maybe its time for some hands on experience and advice.

Small Business Consulting

A plan of action is basically a method for getting every one of the thoughts which go into the making of your business down on paper. It helps you to sort out your considerations, and introduces all the data in an unmistakable and intelligent way. This not just helps you to see your business all the more plainly, additionally makes it less demanding for potential financial specialists and others, to rapidly comprehend your business. For the most part, a plan of action will cover some unique regions: Infrastructure, Offering, Customers, and Finances.

Foundation

Center: What are the things that are vital, all together for your business to do what your business does?

Accomplices: What other individuals or organizations would you say you are working with to direct your ordinary business?

Values: What are those things which make the business something bravo to do, and what makes it something useful for your clients?

Advertising

What are the business’ items and administrations? Why would it be a good idea for someone to go to your business for those items and administrations, instead of get them from another business?

Clients

Who is the objective client of your business?

By what means will your business convey your items and administrations to your clients? What is the business system behind your circulation channel?

What things will you do, and what procedures will you use, to build up an association with your clients?

Accounts

Taken a toll: What are the aggregate expenses to your business, in the event that you effectively take after your plan of action to direct business?

Salary: What are all the diverse ways your business will profit?

Your Small Business Consulting Model

The genuine formation of your plan of action, is to give however much itemized data as could be expected in noting the inquiries in those four zones. As you keep on creating your plan of action, you can begin to get a feeling of how these zones will relate with each other inside the structure of you business.

For an independent company counseling business, all you have to do to make a plan of action, is to investigate your counseling business, and answer each of the plan of action inquiries for yourself.

Clearly, I can’t give all of you the points of interest for your own independent company counseling business. The subtle elements will be one of a kind to you, based upon your particular circumstance. I will give you a couple general things to consider. You can utilize these as beginning stages, when thinking of your own particular answers, for making your plan of action.

To begin with, take a gander at all the different ways you will approach reaching potential clients. Attempt to realize totally new possibilities. Remember that numerous customary strategies for showcasing and publicizing may not be as successful in creating leads for your counseling business.

Next, attempt to choose at this moment what process or strategies you can establish, so you will be prepared to extend your business the minute you can legitimize doing as such. What enlisting or preparing would you be able to do now, with a specific end goal to get ready for your prosperity?

A thought which takes after close on the heels of get ready for your possible extension at this moment, is to hold your expenses within proper limits. Do your arranging at this moment so you will be readied when the day comes. In any case, measure the choice precisely before you really put any cash into that planning.

Critical Business Thinking

Whether you realise it or not, our thoughts are so powerful… powerful enough to start the creation of new products or services. In fact everything that has ever been made or devised once was a thought in someone’s mind before it was brought into reality. It’s crazy to think that once the technology you are reading this on was once a figment in someone’s imagination…

But however good thoughts are, things wouldn’t materialise into actual products or services without action being taken to make those thoughts a reality.

So that brings about an interesting question… if everyone is having thoughts and crazy ideas about what can and cannot be done, why doesn’t every idea materialise into reality?

Well, it all comes down to action. Thoughts and visualising are fantastic tools. But they must be followed by action if they are to make a difference. So that creates two kinds of people..those who bring their thought inventions into life for the world to benefit from… and those who let their thoughts disappear into the ether never to be materialised.

The first group of people are those who take action and are generally successful. They are doers. They follow through on their thoughts with action and plans. They are optimists and generally expect to be able to make things happen. The second group are mediocre by comparison and have much more passive personalities. This second group of people either don’t believe in their own abilities, or worst still believe but postpone any action… waiting for tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes. And the world never benefits from their ideas.

Generally, everyone wants to be in the first group, because when people take action and follow their dreams and inspiration they gain confidence, they develop a deep sense of self-reliance and inner security. Whereas the people in the second group find their confidence is whittled away over time and they end up settling for mediocrity.

So how does our thinking affect our businesses? Well, it all comes back to Henry Ford’s saying, “whether we think we can, or think we can’t, either way we are right.” If we have an active personality and set of beliefs we will look for opportunities and take advantage of them when they come along. But if we have a passive set of beliefs we will hold back, unsure of ourselves and our abilities, and in doing so will inadvertently hold the business back.

Small Business Structure

I knew from setting up my own company about the various structures Canadian small businesses can use. I thought his choices would be limited to sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporation. There’s also a co-operative, but that doesn’t apply to my client. I guessed that the best way to help him out would be to define and give him the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Sole proprietorships are owned by one individual, and are legally considered an extension of yourself. That means that any liability or obligation your business incurs is also a personal liability or obligation. So, if your sole proprietorship fails, your personal assets can be seized to pay for that liability of obligation. I’d say that’s a pretty big disadvantage. On the plus side though, sole proprietorships are the easiest to set up and, and don’t even have to be registered if its name is exactly the same as your own.

A partnership is an agreement between two or more persons to carry on business together. Partnerships are a separate legal entity from you, and must have at least one general partner. All partners can be general, but there must be at least one general partner. Partnerships are relatively easy to set up, but although not a requirement, the parties should have a contract between themselves outlining responsibilities and obligations.

A general partner is responsible for business decisions, running the company and acting on its behalf. Each general partner is jointly and severally liable for partnership debts. This means one partner can be held responsible for the decisions, debts and obligations of another partner. Strike one against general partnerships, I’d say.

So what about a limited partner then? Limited partners are not involved in decision-making or in the day-to-day running of the business. Usually, a limited partner’s contribution is financial, and their liability is limited to the amount they invested in the firm. What that means is you basically have no say over how the money you invested is used, which means you have zero power. And, the moment a limited partner becomes involved in running the business or acts on behalf of the business, they become a general partner.

A corporation is a separate entity from yourself, which means you don’t have personal liability for debts, obligations or even acts of the company. You’re not personally responsible for any decisions someone else in the corporation makes, and you’re only liable up to the amount of unpaid portion of shares you own. Sounds pretty good so far.

Limited liability is a big advantage over other forms of small business structure. And there are more advantages. Corporations continue to exist after their shareholders die and can be passed on to family or friends. Raising money is easier for a corporation than either sole proprietorship or partnerships. There can also be tax advantages.

So what are the disadvantages? Well, there’s more paperwork because you’re required to keep records and you have to file a separate tax return. It costs more to register a corporation than setting up a sole proprietorship or a partnership. And, if you give a personal guarantee, which banks often ask for, you may be liable for that amount even if your company ceases to exist.

I thought my client’s choice would be limited to those three choices, but further research showed I was wrong. There is another one: joint venture. A joint venture is like a partnership because it’s an agreement between two or more people or small businesses, but there are important differences. In a joint venture, two or more people contribute goods, services or capital to one business enterprise. To date, Canada does not have specific laws governing joint ventures, as it does with all the other small business forms.

A joint venture agreement outlines joint venture terms, contributions of each party, management structure and how the profits will be divided. Joint ventures avoid the partnership disadvantage of joint and several liability, and also allows each joint venturer to regulate their own tax deductions. That’s a big advantage for joint ventures.

However, a joint venture has sometimes been defined by the absence of key partnership elements. This means small businesses intending to enter into a joint venture agreement must thoroughly understand partnership elements and avoid using them in order to avoid being deemed a partnership rather than a joint venture. What might have started out being a joint venture could lose its joint venture advantage by being deemed a partnership, and inherit the disadvantages of a partnership instead.