Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Don’t Lose Sight of The Customer — Or Yourself

At the first, second, and third look, a business is in it to make money.
If it’s not making money,  then it’s an exercise in frustration and a money-sucking black hole at worst, and an expensive ‘hobby’ at best. A business provides services or products to consumers in return for money. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is the business of selling goods and providing services using an online platform, i.e the internet. That’s why you’re here.

So yes, you got into this wanting to make money . And somehow you are making money.  After keeping good records and getting updated licenses and permits and whatnot, how do you do? Do you lie awake at night worrying about how to make your mailing list grow? Do you wake up worried about making your bottom-line? Is your free time occupied with scribbling out plans with words like leverage, maximize, sales funnel, and  optimize?

When this kind of financial pressure makes you micro-focus on the numbers, you lose sight of several important things in the whole equation.
Yes, you do need to keep good records and updated permits and licenses and whatnot.
Yes, you do need to work on growing your mailing list. That’s all just good accounting and legal practice, and business sense.
But focusing on the bottom-line frames your business solely in terms of numbers. In doing so, that sort of gently moves out of focus the prime movers in the business.  And who are those? You, for one, and your customers, for another. Lose sight of either, you  can go off track.

Focusing solely on the point to get the money is missing the other points. Continue reading Don’t Lose Sight of The Customer — Or Yourself

How To Deal With Self-Doubt

Being an entrepreneur is like setting out on an adventure with no clear map, and no one right way to get to where you want to go.

Sure, there are probably books, how-to guides, videos, blogs, and related stuff available on-line —  with billions of webpages out on the internet there’s oceans of data and advice you can try trawling through — but to establish your own particular business, with you at the helm, means that you actually make your map as you progress on your journey.

  • You can study, but you have to learn on your own.
  • You can copy, until you get enough experience to make your own riff, and enough courage to put yourself and your work out there.
  • You can follow, until the times comes for you to break away and  run your business your own way.

And it can be a nerve-wracking process.

The thing is, entrepreneurs are still people, serving people.  And people? Well, we’re a messy bunch. We can be full of doubt as well as dreams, and we often wrestle with ourselves as we go after our own goals. Sometimes, we’re the one’s in our own way.

How Do You Deal With Doubt?
If you’ve seriously considered venturing out into entrepreneurship, or are already on the rough and uncertain path to building your own business, you’ll understand that it’s a frustrating and tiring journey,  to say the least. Some days it can feel like all you’re trying to to is fix one mistake or another, or backtrack and wonder how to correct your course. while anxiously looking for some signs of wheat to do next. Continue reading How To Deal With Self-Doubt

Keeping Skills Sharp: Is Online Learning for You?

You can’t ignore it. Competition is ever present in the business world, and you have to stay sharp and alert to deal with threats and to seize opportunities. To do both, you not only need information, but the understanding and discernment to use that information to check which way the wind is blowing.

One way to refine your mastery regarding your niche, your customers, and your market, is to study. Not just do research, but  using the path of deliberate, self-paced, self-directed education to promote your growth and experience inside and outside of your business,  to promote both depth and reach.

Fortunately, we have an over-abundance of choices now.  You  won’t even be strictly required to  enroll unless you think it’s the best option for you. With all the free resources available, at the most basic level, if you have stable internet access, the time, and the perseverance, you can start as soon as you want.

Things have become very much interconnected in our world today;  Even a small event happening far away can ripple out in unexpected ways. Change comes faster, and entrepreneurs are hard-pressed to keep up and manage all the shifts, side-steps, and set-backs that come from that. Continuing education is a great help in learning to use change to our advantage — but you still have to be the one to choose.  This isn’t high school any more.  No one can choose for you, and you have to do the work or it simply won’t get done. Continue reading Keeping Skills Sharp: Is Online Learning for You?

How To Power Through Unpleasant Tasks

Being an online entrepreneur is never a walk in the park.

Entrepreneurship is a tough calling. In a world still struggling with the rapid shift brought by the internet revolution, finding your way in the new  landscape being formed isn’t always done with a map, especially with the ongoing flux within mainstream thinking, plus a business culture that was formed in the industrial age . You have to make your own choices, some of which may go against what you were taught by your family, what you learned from school,  and the cultural values you absorbed growing up.

To be a successful business-owner means you need  an unflinching self acknowledgement of your  capabilities.  You are human, you have human limits, and in spite of all the tech at your fingertips you cannot do everything or know everything. Knowing what you are good at, and knowing the true value of time versus money, you can plan to optimize your strengths and have counter-balances in place to check your weak spots.  You can then outsource lower-value activities and be freed to focus on mission-critical and mission-essential issues. Continue reading How To Power Through Unpleasant Tasks

How To Protect Your Business’s Financial Health

The clear signifier that you’re running a business well is that you are making money.  What this post will discuss will cover common financial pitfalls and ways of thinking that can leave the business losing money.

Don’t bet if you can’t cover the loss — so have reserves.
When we get emotionally caught up in the moment of planning to start a business, or actually starting one, the excitement and thrill about this new venture often gets ahead of strong, coolly detached reason. There’s a lot to be said about being able to block out time to cool down and consider your decisions rationally and objectively.

Every business, bar none, has gone through the experience of lacking enough money, or will experience  that lack eventually. The lack of money can even be tracked back to the earliest days of the enterprise. Turning money over and putting it back in to keep the business operational is not the same as making a profit. There are so many potential pitfalls that can influence how you can create money streams that 100% get-rich plans can’t be a given.

Before you starts a business you need to make sure that one, there are people who are prepared to buy your products (you have a viable, healthy market present) and two, there are enough people willing to do so to provide you a steady, sustainable market population to support you. You need enough customers to not only break even, but to turn a profit. Continue reading How To Protect Your Business’s Financial Health

YOU: Taking Care Of Your Biggest Asset

Aside from the daily operations that business-owners and entrepreneurs need to handle, there are a lot of things that can interfere with the overall health and stability of your enterprise.  What this post will focus on are the business-related things that can affect you —you— personally: these are things like stress, balance, health, burn-out, and time-management.  We’ll also discuss support strategies that can help you handle these issues you and your business will gain from the positive effects.

Take care of your health.
In the start-up stage of a new business, you can easily be  pulled into a whirlwind of planning, adjusting and execution. It’s exciting. It’s challenging, and it definitely stretches your boundaries.  Once you get used to it, it can become a habit , even when the business has stabilized and is doing well.

This habit  can also let you lose sight of taking care of your own physical health as you spend the majority of your time and energy focusing on the business, and that’s a mistake you cannot afford to let slide.

If you don’t take care to rest, encourage, and replenish your reserves, the stress and exhaustion can affect your reaction time, your judgment, and the clarity you need to make good decisions. If you keep tiring yourself out, you will eventually run yourself down, and that’s not good for anyone.

Being and keeping in robust physical health enables you to stay sharp and focused, able to bear the strain longer and recover from stressful events faster, and gives you the  stamina to keep running the business. You need a clear head and a healthy attitude to lead, to work, and to carry out your vision. A healthy body helps you in keeping both. Without health, your business will be a poor consolation, and an even poorer substitute.

You are, ultimately, your best investment. The business is  an extension of you, but it’s not you, understand? Take care of  your health.

Don’t let business demands turn you into a pod-person.
It’s very easy to slide into workaholism without really noticing. A small emergency here, a  little dispute there…from putting out small fires you can slip into the mindset of 24/7 vigilance, and let the business take over all of your time. What happens next? Continue reading YOU: Taking Care Of Your Biggest Asset

The First 3 Steps To Starting An Online Business

One of the biggest obstacles to starting your own internet venture is the inability to get started. You very likely have a clear financial target in mind: You want to make money with this business, and to a secondary extent, you don’t want to lose all the money you currently have trying to get it up and running.

What can really gum up the works are all the possible solutions you can come up with as to how, what, where and why the business will succeed. The choices are endless, and their possible combinations, near-infinite. You can’t quite settle on just one or two choices to consider, you keep rating and ranking and comparing choices —right into paralysis. Why?

Because it’s easy to dream big. Dreaming is free. Joint ventures. Teleseminars. Blogging, maybe, hopefully, towards an eventual book deal. Money, fame, authority.

The images are so seductive, so shiny, that we can spend hours immersed in what-will-happen-when-I-get-rich. In the blink of an eye, we’re at the grand finish. We have a thriving, successful e-business.

And without any solid, real plans to explain how we got it.

Dreaming is free, and the problem is when you come up against the reality of the things you need to do to actually start. Faced with too many choices, we can fall into the trap of endless comparisons, cost-to-benefits ratios, etc. and never really start.

So here’s a simple plan to start an on-line business: Continue reading The First 3 Steps To Starting An Online Business

The Difference Between Professionals And Amateurs

The question is old, and the answers are too, just varying with time and culture. The Greeks preferred to live a life of leisurely exploration of the mind, looking down on labor as necessary but beneath them, while in Indian culture work belonged to the first half of life, the next half meant for pursuing generosity and enlightenment.

In the hard-hitting Western culture, work is mostly about money: earning it, going after it and making more of it. That’s why when you ask what the difference is between a pro and an amateur, the most obvious answer in America is: “One gets paid, the other works for free.”

Aside from getting paid, what else marks the difference?

  • Pros do the ground work long before they need to roll things out. They keep their skills fresh, updated and relevant to the times.
  • They focus on the bottom line because they know it’s an important marker of their effectiveness, and as the result of their labor, they want it to count for something, in both financial reward for themselves and its utility for the people it’s meant for.
  • They know the value of their work and set its price accordingly

Pros and amateurs can possess the same basic knowledge in how to do what they do, but knowledge of the process does not equate to doing the work.

Professionals do the work, which includes reading the fine print, delivering what they promised, and keeping business relationships cordial, respectful and strong.

 

The uncertain economic climate has driven hundreds of thousands into a near-permanent state of anxiety and faith in a bleak future. While we’re told to “Keep going! Take charge!” going full-steam ahead won’t take us anywhere good without a definite direction, the experience to weigh choices under stress, and the discipline to handle the unknown.

Taking control helps alleviate anxiety because this time you are choosing the consequences of your actions. It’s no longer a question of If-this, Then-maybe. It’s “I choose this, this is what I’m going for.” Professionals go for it. They take calculated risks.

 

Everybody starts out as a novice. The fastest and most basic ways to learn is to copy someone who already succeeded at doing what you want to do. When you can do that well enough and understand the reasoning (the how’s and why’s) behind the process (the skill), you push yourself to go beyond the basics.

You go beyond the guided learning stages to develop a riff of your own. That development process asks you to accept that you’ll make mistakes, and that those mistakes will grow your experience more than rote study.

The biggest difference between amateurs and people who are good at what they do is that amateurs primarily think of what’s in it for them. The professionals go beyond that simple mindset and push themselves to provide things that are unique, valuable and useful for the people and the market they’ve put themselves to serve. Professionals get out of the way of The Work. Continue reading The Difference Between Professionals And Amateurs

Promoting Yourself Into An Entrepreneur’s Life

22 October 2012, by A. Cedilla

Here’s a thought: Did you ever think that the same strengths that make you promotable might also be the ones that can help you weather the demands of of an entrepreneur’s life?

Think of it. Getting a promotion means several things must have happened: You worked hard. You were recognized for your hard work. You were credited for it. And you were rewarded with a position of higher responsibility and more pay. (Yes, yes, I know, but still, stay with me.)

1. You act promotable. Other people in your sphere see you as trustworthy, competent and good at your job. You are the go-to guy when it comes to your field, and your recommendations, advice and proposals are accepted because of that.

2. You don’t let your time get away from you. While it can’t be helped that you have days that are longer than others, you don’t waste time. You make it count on the priority matters and know how to delegate, and you maintain a balance in your own life.

3. You don’t shy away from the hard parts of work. Making hard calls, having the uncomfortable conversations that have to happen, doing what it takes to get things done…and on the other hand, having good people skills to draw the best out of your co-workers without alienating them.

Continue reading Promoting Yourself Into An Entrepreneur’s Life

Making the Leap From Employee to Entrepreneur

22 September 2012, by A. Cedilla

How do you lay the foundations for a new business — one of your very own — while you’re still employed?

  • You’ve been thinking about it for quite a while now. Especially on those days when it seems everyone in your office (and out of it) is breathing down you neck with their impatient follow-ups for Things Owed, Things Past Due, and Things They Need Right Now. When you hit your limits, you just want to shut them out, or snipe at them to shut up, and just walk away.
  • You long for the freedom to pick your own hours and sleep when you need to, instead of trying not to suffocate in traffic. You want to be happy on Mondays, not morose on Sundays because, yes, you guessed it, tomorrow’s a Monday. You don’t want to keep doing what you’re doing now. You want to make something new, do things your own way.
  • You want something more. You want to be in charge of your life and where it goes, and you believe having your own business is the way to do it. And something is just telling you it’s time to make a serious change.

And you’re making plans to do so.

On your lunch break you fill pages with scribbles about your ideas, and draw a lot of contingency plans. After work you squeeze all the free time you can into doing the research, making contacts, crunching the numbers, and preparing the paperwork. As you plan, you keep working. You know you have a great idea, but it takes time to get things up to speed, since you still need to work and save some fall-back money, and well as store up more capital for your business idea.

What else can you do to make the break easier for everyone concerned? Continue reading Making the Leap From Employee to Entrepreneur