Have you ever wondered if it takes a special gene to run a business? I have. Just reading or hearing about some entrepreneur makes me wonder if there is some distinct trait I need to possess in order to be successful. Luckily, there isn't.
Some people have natural flairs for certain things. Take artists, singers, or athletes. They grow up like everyone else and find out they have this talent and decide to pursue it. However, some people are not born with these skills but learn it and eventually become good at it.
Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.
Chip Bell, Founder Chip Bell Group
Creating loyal customers begins with first creating satisfied customers. In the early days and even after your business has matured, a considerable portion of your sales will come from existing customers and referrals. As customers to other businesses you can relate to the feeling of having your needs met and the eagerness to share your experience with others.
Entrepreneurship like any other vocation is filled with highs and lows. One moment you feel like you are going to change the world and the next you wonder why you even bother. When you first start your business, you feel empowered, engrossed, driven and highly optimistic. However as time goes by, you find yourself falling into a rot. You are no longer as interested and motivated as you used to be. It all just seems like a bore. Several factors can cause this low feeling; slow business, low sales, start-up problems, things not working out the way you planned or just life happening. Whatever the cause, you don’t have to remain in that space. If you feel deep within you that things are no longer what they used to be, then it’s time to have “the talk” with yourself. Begin by asking yourself:
With the exception of business owners who buy into franchise businesses, most entrepreneurs start off running their business on a small scale and gradually take on more responsibilities and eventually grow into having multiple locations. Whether a self-starter or a franchise owner; the ultimate goal of every business owner is to have a successful business that yields profit on a sustainable basis.
As your business continues to grow, you will reach a point of saturation where you have to make a critical decision on what next to do. If your business is profitable, expansion will naturally be the next step. The most critical element when contemplating expansion is timing.
Here are a few pointers to help you decipher if the time is right:
Miscellaneous or sundry expenses refer to small or infrequent costs that are not assigned to any accounting category. For example if you made a budget to track your monthly expenses, you will have categories like Food, Rent, Transportation costs etc. If you spent some money on a gift for a friend’s birthday or went to the cinema to watch a movie, those costs will be classified as miscellaneous expenses.
In a Small Business, sundry expenses will include; costs such as lunch for prospects, birthday gift card for a client or staff, tips etc.
Due to the sheer nature of these types of expenses, individuals and business owners seldom pay any attention to it. As a result, it can become a sink-hole in a budget. The tendency to misuse funds and accrue them to miscellaneous is higher when there is no structure in place to substantiate our actions.
Reversing this trend can save you or your business a lot of money. Although not every cost can be easily categorized, you can put in place an acceptable threshold and level of detail to explain expenses accrued as miscellaneous.
Knowing that an explanation will be demanded for an action has generally been known to make people more deliberate about what they do. So the next time you want to veer off and make that impulse buy, stop and ask yourself if it’s really necessary and how you will account for it.
Be accountable to yourself and hold others accountable too; you will be surprised at the results.
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One of the most remarkable attributes of Project Management (PM) is its versatility. With skills that can be adapted for personal as well as professional use and easily deployed in any industry; it is one cake everyone needs to get a piece of. Generally, when project management is mentioned, what comes to mind is big projects, huge budgets and lots of complicated stuff. This cannot be further from the truth. Every day as individuals and organizations, we are all involved in one project or the other and thereby practising Project Management. In a small business, tasks such as hiring a new employee, manufacturing a new product, fulfilling a customer order or designing your business brochure can all be classified as projects.
Utilizing PM skills as part of your operational process can help you achieve the following:
“In the end you should always do the right thing even if it's hard.”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song
As an individual or business owner, ethics should play a key role in what we do. Although there are variations based on culture and location of what should be considered ethical behaviour; the general consensus hinge the concept of ethics on three important principles: Honesty, Integrity and Fairness.
Year after year we hear stories of once successful people or businesses failing and losing their credibility in the public eye. One major reason behind most of these unexpected failures is the lack of ethics.
It is common to find small business owners who desire a successful and sustainable future for their business, but have no clue as to their financial state. They reckon as long as there is money in the bank account, they are doing fine. Unfortunately, a bank account balance does not tell the whole story of your finances.
In order to make a decent profit, you need to be able to control your finances. By keeping track of the financial numbers will not only help you identify problems, it will also position you to take swift action(s) to improve your business.
What numbers should you know?
Customer feedback includes the positive and negative comments, suggestions and questions you receive from customers who purchased a product/service or from prospects who have encountered your brand.
Small businesses can collect feedback by:
One of the most commonly used marketing tools is the Flyer. For most small businesses, this is usually the first and only form of marketing they engage in. When flyers are used effectively, they have a high potential of reaching many people in a short period of time. Statistics have shown that the conversion or response rate for flyers is very slim, typically 1-3% for every 1000. How then do you make sure your flyer does not get tossed along with every other one? Consider the following: