Posted tagged ‘Entrepreneur’

Doing It Your Way – Starting a Business, That Is

November 17, 2016

image-vision-planetc-1616237_1280Starting your own business especially after you have already been in a job or career, can be daunting, but if you have the irresistible pull in the direction of entrepreneurship, don’t squash it. You are not alone. For many it is just not enough to work for someone else, build someone else’s dream.  If you continue to feel you have a product or service to provide, you should answer the call by becoming an entrepreneur – starting your own business.

What does it take to start and sustain your own business? There are many directions this answer could take, with just as many opinions about it, but in my opinion, there is a core to what it takes:

Start with acknowledging what excites you and where you excel. Often the two are the same. If you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, look at where you put your energy in your current job. For example, do you spend a lot of your time volunteering to plan company events and get-togethers? Explore what it takes to be an event planner. Are you especially adept at organizing?Individuals and companies need this type of expertise to organize their space. Do you have ideas, can spot trends? You may have the next hot product. The point is, you should exploit what you love to do and are good at. Remember, when you start a business you are going to be the only one that prods you to get up each day.

Do your research to determine the demand for your business and where it will be sustainable enough to provide the lifestyle you want for you and your family. After all, having a business, even one that you love, won’t keep the lights on or a roof over your head if it’s not something others want to buy over the long term. Just because you love it, doesn’t mean others will.

Develop a vision followed by a plan. Your new business may need to start off as a side hustle and that’s ok. In addition to helping you gain experience and customers, a side hustle can help you determine if what you offer really is a product or service that is in demand. You can’t rely on your gut instinct alone nor can you rely on the hope that it “happens” when you are starting your own business.

Seek help; look for others who are already successful. Learn from their experiences. Join a Mastermind group or seek a mentor. Don’t overlook joining associations that are related to your new business.

Be very focused on doing what it takes to grow your business. Invest the time. Invest in education. Invest in networking. Success will not happen overnight, without effort.

Explore funding options for your new business. There are many ways to fund a business today, including crowdfunding. This is where your use of social media will come in handy as well.

Be cognizant of when you need to increase your staff and then do it. Stretch when it’s needed. You want continued growth and sometimes that means strategically increasing your staff, even if only on a contractual basis.

Outsource projects; don’t hesitate to use outside resources as you need them. Companies like Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions exist to help you with activities you don’t have the time or the expertise to complete. As a new entrepreneur, you can’t do it all.

We would love to hear about your experiences as an entrepreneur or new business owner. Fell free to leave a comment.

Audrey Dixon is the Founder and CEO of Exceptional Transcriptions and Business Solutions and has been helping new and existing businesses succeed for over 20 years.

Do You have a Business Mindset?

September 28, 2015

business team ID-10066165In order to succeed as an  entrepreneur you must have a business mindset. You can have all the schooling in the world, but if you are still clinging to a nine-to-five mentality, success in the business arena will be elusive.

Having a business mindset is often manifests as an innate quality that cannot be ignored. That is the reason so many individuals go into business from the start, bypassing the nine-to-five career. You know who you are: you had a lemonade stand as an eight year old; you pestered your neighbors for odd jobs like taking out their trash, shoveling their snow or babysitting; you delivered newspapers or pizzas.  You demonstrated that you were not afraid to think of ways to make money.

There are probably just as many of you who developed or discovered your business mindset after experiencing working for others and believing there was another way to create success.

Sometimes the business mindset is instilled as we watch others around us. In my case, it was in watching my father. I worked in corporate world, but ultimately I realized my greatest satisfaction was going to come from the framework of helping others through a business that I owned, just as my father had done.

Although it wasn’t necessary for me to shift my thinking in any large degree in order to adopt the mindset, I still needed a shift in thinking for a business mindset to fully emerge. I compiled a few of the ways that it was important for me to adopt/develop my entrepreneurial spirit and business mindset:

  • Absolutely have a purpose and a vision. You must have some idea of what you want from life and what you have to offer to life in order to make your vision a reality.
  • Focus your ideas not on making money, but on service to others. In other words, how can you help to make another’s business better or another’s life better? Build on that.
  • You should expect challenges and be prepared to tackle them.
  • Take risks. Without risks, there is little new that will come about and it will certainly be difficult to take action on your goals.
  • Don’t skimp on your education. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pursue the four year college education, but it does mean take advantage of all education that you can garner from a variety of sources, including mentors, and that you should never stop learning. Today’s world changes too rapidly. As an entrepreneur you cannot remain stagnant.
  • Approach your enterprise with a sense of gratitude which will automatically put you in a positive mindset.
  • Don’t let failures derail you. Often success is that much sweeter when there have been failures and mistakes.
  • Make every effort to be around others that think the way that you do, whenever you can, in order to avoid the risk of having others negatively influence your thinking.
  • Believe in your enterprise, whether you are a solo entrepreneur or you are on your way to employing hundreds or thousands. If you don’t genuinely believe in yourself and what you have to offer – you’ve heard it many times before – no one else will.

Only you can measure what true success means to you and only you can develop your business mindset to achieve that success.

I would like to know when and how you discovered that you have a business mindset?

Until next time…

Be Exceptional!

Audrey

CEO/Founder Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions

Success Tools of the Small Business Owner and Entrepreneur

March 30, 2015

assorted_toolsWhen you decide to become an entrepreneur, you have taken an important step in bringing a product or service that you are passionate about to others. When take the leap and start your business, there are a few tools that are important for the small business and the entrepreneur to succeed. Many of these tools come in the form of apps or software that makes being in business, even as a solo entrepreneur, so much more feasible and definitely easier than ever before. I’ve listed a few must haves. Take a look and see if you are missing any of the essential tools for your business.

Smartphone. Okay, I know what you are saying, “Who doesn’t have a Smartphone?” You would be surprised at comments I’ve heard from those who are resistant to buying a smartphone. If they are in business, working away from their desks and desktop computer is that much more difficult when they don’t have a smartphone. If travel is a part of your business, the smartphone is an essential must have. Whether they choose android or a OS device, in truth, I wonder how much they are willing to really invest in the success of their business if they opt not to own a smartphone.

An email marketing provider. Marketing is at the heart of any successful business and email marketing is practically a must. At Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions we uses Constant Contact to build out and send wonderful emails and email newsletters to keep my customers informed. Another is Canva which allows you to create personalized emails or marketing materials, even personalized cards to stay in touch with your customers. There are others. Explore the best for your business.

Cloud storage. It is essential for you to find a safe and efficient means of storing your data. Gone are the days when you are held hostage by crashed computers and software meltdowns. Cloud storage is data storage spanning multiple servers which are typically managed and hosted by a hosting company. There are many different hosting companies for your business and personal cloud storage. There is going to be one for your business.

Accounting/payroll software. This needs no explanation. There are many different types of software available, some free. It is best to find the one works for your business.

Scheduling and calendar management. There are a variety of apps that are available for managing your calendar. Google calendar integrates with emails and texts. There are other calendars, such as iCalendar, that work just as well. It’s a matter of what fits your business best.

While we’re talking Google, some of the products Google offers can enhance your business. Google+ is a social community that is a very effective marketing tool that can be used to let the world know about your products and services. Google Drive is also a cloud storage and document sharing product. We’ve already mentioned Google calendars, but Google also has a blog site where, again, you can market your business and help you attract more clients and customers.

Paid or free, there is a host of products and options for tools to grow your business. Get in front of your computer and search out other tools that have been tried and recommended as business tools.

What tools, including apps, do you typically use for your business? Leave a comment about what works for you.

Did You Have a Banner Year?

January 9, 2015

Banner Year CelebrationWhen we hear business owners and entrepreneurs talk of “banner years,” it  is often referencing the positives of the year, but banner years are also marked by the challenges and misfortunes of the year. The years should be more accurately labeled eventful years, because not only are the positives worth mentioning, the negatives are worth noting because they can also teach us something.

As you evaluate the past year and prepare for the new year, examine what impacted the successes and the challenges of your business. Did anything make it a banner year and did you celebrate the outstanding?

If there were negatives that stood out above all else, did you take a close look? Some are found in many other businesses. Here are common culprits. Do they look familiar?

1.  Cash flow failed to meet expectations. This will often happen if your business is new and you have no history to point to the past cash flow.. More often than not, entrepreneurs and business owners fail to closely follow the revenue and expenditures on a timely basis and reach the end of the year only to be shocked at how much the company did not make over the year. Of course you may encounter the reverse. Either way, there is the failure to routinely monitor the cash flow, in or out.

2.  Technology bloopers. By this I mean that you did not take advantage of the many ways technology could have benefited your company during the past year, either because you were unaware or because you were unwilling to spend the money. For the new year, be sure to include keeping up with the technology that may be available to move your company forward. Consider the services of a consultant and definitely stay on the lookout for conferences, webinars and teleseminars that will keep you abreast of new tech advances related to your business.

3.  Regulation hiccups. Like technology, you must stay abreast of any changes in regulation that may affect your business. It doesn’t hurt to stay in touch with your elected officials and certainly consider becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. You will have a better opportunity to learn about any new regulations that might be coming down the pipeline.

3.  New business competitors. Let’s face it, while we all know there is plenty of business to go around, some of us will snare the bulk of it. Did you do your homework on any new competition and threats to your business? You must keep a competitive edge in order to be the company that your potential customer turns to. That requires marketing to your potential customer and developing the relationships with them.

4.   Staffing challenges. Did you grow your staff or are you still carrying the load of work for your small business? You certainly want to shift much of the “grunt work” to others so that you can step more fully into your role as the CEO and visionary of your company. You must trust others to do some of the work and you must hire accordingly.

I’m sure your business had a banner year, full of success, but the challenges may have been there as well. It is up to you to examine them and to make adjustments to your company so that you remain solvent and viable. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then a consultant from a business like Exceptional may be able to help you wade through the challenges.

Let us know about your banner year.

Don’t hesitate to call Exceptional for assistance with transcribing needs, accounting needs, or other business needs. We have the solution.

Read more about how to grow your business. Archives are available.

Until next time,

Audrey

CEO/Founder Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions, Inc.

The Healthy Entrepreneur

November 24, 2014

Picpersonwithoutstretchedarmsfile3751334604150When you are your own boss, it is imperative that you are a healthy entrepreneur, but it can sometimes seem like an oxymoron. After all, a lot of what you may be doing to build and run your business is at odds with what you need to do to be healthy. Bad eating habits paired with long hours, not to mention the stress you may be carrying, all these things tend to wear you down and potentially ruin your health.

It is up to you to protect your health, especially as you work on making your dreams come true. Here are a few suggestions for ensuring that you are taking care of your health:

  • Set regular hours. Unless you have some last minute deadline you have to make (they do happen), set reasonable business hours and stick to them.
  • Set regular breaks throughout the day. You must determine what makes sense for you, but regular breaks keep you refreshed. The same goes for regular breaks throughout the year.
  • Include a meditation break. Take a moment to be still and accept whatever flows into you. It may sound “woowoo,” but it is a real refresher. In fact, science today goes even further and recommends that you take a short 20-30 minute nap. It can improve your alertness.
  • See your health care provider yearly (or more often, if that is prescribed). Don’t let potential health issues sneak up on you because you were too busy to take care of regular appointments.
  • Eat right. Watch out for those sneaky snacks of chips, cookies or other unhealthy foods. Avoid the sugary, calorie loaded carbonated drinks. Choose diluted fruit juices or smoothies. Snack on fruit and raw veggies. Be cautious, too, of what you eat and drink at power lunches and at those essential networking events. Your body will thank you.
  • Eat regularly. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Don’’t skip it. But don’t eat after 8:00 pm. It is harder for your body to digest food once you have gone to bed, which will contribute to difficulty sleeping.
  • Exercise regularly. Make one of your breaks an exercise break or start/end your day with exercise. Always remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine and remember not to exercise after 8:00 p.m. You will be to wound up to sleep if you do that.
  • Consider taking supplements. Consult with your health care provider on whether this is something you need.
  • Get enough regular, uninterrupted sleep. This goes hand in hand with keeping reasonable, regular work hours. According to the Center for Disease Control, 50 to 70 million adults don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep increases health problems like diabetes, weight gain, depression, and even cardiovascular disease. Sleep deprivation is as unhealthy as it is draining. The recommended amount? At least seven hours.
  • Drink water throughout the day. Many people don’t understand just how vital it is to drink at  water daily. It keeps the organs, skin, joints and brain lubricated. Water also eliminates wast and keeps your body temperature normal. There are ways to calculate what is enough for you if you no existing health issues. The thing is, don’t skimp.
  • Stay socially connected. Cultivating and keeping friends is just as important to your health, if not more so, as cultivating and keeping customers is to your business. And it goes without saying, that you must stay connected to family.
  • Have other outlets. You love your business, it’s your passion, but don’t let it be your only activity. “All work and no play…” You know the drill.

As we are ending the year and looking toward the new one, make a New Year’s resolutions to be a healthy entrepreneur. Better yet, make being a healthy entrepreneur a part of your Annual Business Strategy, including specific goals and tasks for staying that way. This is one of the most important parts of the business solutions for your continued growth as an entrepreneur. You can’t steer the ship if you’re too sick to run it.

Until next time…

Be Exceptional

Audrey, CEO/Founder of Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions

 

Give Yourself a Break

February 25, 2014
Visit a museum.

Visit a museum.

In my January newsletter I wrote about the importance of taking a break from your business, from being an entrepreneur.  I urged my readers to make that “down time” a part of their planning for the year.

Well, I decided to act on my own advice. Seeing where there is a break in my calendar during the year, I have scheduled a few days of time to just…well, just exhale!

I love what I do. Most entrepreneurs love what they do. While your work is often a labor of love, the work can be consuming and draining as you as you give 100% and more to your customers and to growing your business. This can feel like it’s happening 24/7. Sometimes you don’t even realize just how immersed in your business you actually are. That is, until you take a break.

If you’re wondering what to do with your time on that break, let’s explore together some things you can do when you decide a short break is just what your routine needs:

  1. Visit a spa. Get the works. This goes for guys, as well. Few things can relax you like a facial or a massage. When your body is relaxed, so is your mind and you make room for more creative thought.
  2. Visit a museum. Don’t take the guided tour. Simply wander through the exhibits, stopping where you want. Do some people watching while you’re there. Little peeks into the lives of others is always interesting.
  3. Read a book unrelated to what you do. Curl up in a comfortable chair with your favorite drink and simply read until you nod off, then wake up and read some more. Indulge yourself. Finish that book in one or two sittings.
  4. Immerse yourself in a series. There are plenty of good ones on Netflix and on TV. Choose one that is already completed so that you can finish the series during your break.
  5. Spend the day at your child’s school or day care. Really get a sense of what their day is like. They will remember your day spent together in the years to come.
  6. Take a trip to the mountains, the beach or the city. Change your environment completely for at least a couple of days. Don’t plan anything. Let the days plan themselves or, why not let the kids plan the days.

This is by no means a complete list. This is just to get you thinking. There are so many more things you can do when you give your self permission to have some time off. Be lazy or be busy, it’s up to you, but definitely do something different. Let your brain make different pathway connections. That is the secret to staying charged for your business. It’s in my planner for 2014. In fact, I’ve scheduled more than one. That’s how valuable I think recharging is. You should do the same. It’t not too late for you to add this to your business plan for the year. Give yourself a break.

Be Exceptional!

Audrey

10 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Succeed Working from Home

January 24, 2014
PicCarsTrafficJamfile4061340639362

Entrepreneurs working from home don’t often face traffic jams.

Succeed Working from Home

As I was recently speaking with one of my clients regarding their business needs, it occurred to me that a number of my clients are entrepreneurs successfully working from home.

Statistics from 2013 indicated that 543,00 new businesses were started each month in the US. Not surprisingly, a huge number  of those new businesses were solo entrepreneurs. A significant  number of them are home based businesses. Again, not surprising. Some entrepreneurs intend to remain home based, while others anticipate moving from the home to larger quarters. Not an unheard of model. Think Apple and Dell computers.

The most recent U. S. Census data indicated that 25% of the work force was self-employed and worked exclusively from home. Contrary to the myth, these individuals were well educated with a median family income of $63,648.00. That’s higher than the median family income of a little over $45,000.00 per year.

The individuals most likely to have home based businesses include accountants, lawyers, consultants, speakers, coaches, and some medical professionals.

However, working from home takes dedication and determination to succeed because the distractions, external and internal, can seem endless.

Here are a few tips that you should consider if you want to succeed at working from home:

  1. Establish boundaries, physical and mental, between work and personal life. This is huge and you will  see that many of the next few tips involve boundaries.
  2. Create a job description for yourself as the CEO of your company, so that you aren’t tempted to wander outside your “zone of expertise.”
  3. Set very specific work hours, post them and stick to them. You  are much more likely to stay on task when you know your beginning, and can plan for the end of your day. It also keeps family members from intruding when you are “on the clock.”
  4. Dress for work each work day. This is psychologically important. You are much less likely to succumb to the urge to take a nap or fix a leaky faucet when you are dressed for working.
  5. Have a dedicated office or work space. This could be a segregated corner of your bedroom if you are a freelance writer or your entire garage if you build furniture.
  6. Invest in the right equipment. Buy the best you can afford.
  7. Remember that you are now responsible for ordering your supplies and keeping your workspace tidy. Set aside specific times to replenish your inventory and to clean the work area. Don’t lose valuable work time with pop up trips to the office supply store or searching through unfiled papers for information.
  8. If you work from home and you are a  solo entrepreneur, you cannot do it all.  It is still important that you build an essential power team for both your personal life and your business. For example, have an accountant, a lawyer, a virtual assistant and a business solutions company on your team. Have a reliable babysitter or day care on speed dial for those spur-of-the-moment business meetings.
  9. Close the door to your home office. No one should know that you are working from home unless you want them to. A closed door will keep out noise and unwanted interruptions.
  10. Don’t forget to take routine breaks! Eat lunch, get a snack, take a short walk.

These tips are just a few of the suggestions that you can follow in order to succeed at working from home. Working from home can be a challenge, but your reward is a thriving business that you build for yourself and for your family.

I encourage you to leave suggestions on the techniques and tips you have found useful for succeeding as an entrepreneur working from home.

Be Exceptional!

Audrey