How to Build A Successful Business?
Starting a business and becoming successful is often part of the American Dream. But there is a difference between starting a business and building a successful business. Many businesses fail within the first few years of existence due to the lack of planning for the long-term. There is not enough vision and there is not enough done to strengthen the business properly from the ground up.
If you want to start a business there is an easy way to get a better understanding of why some businesses fail and others don’t. When starting a business think about it similar to building a house. If done right it is protecting you against any kind of storm or danger of the outside world and will last for a long time. It offers shelter and protection. For you and your business that could be translated to that you want to have a business that is able to weather economical ups and downs (=storm) and that will provide income to pay the bills (shelter and protection).
When building a house there are several different steps you need to follow to have the house build. You know you want a house, but you got to pick a location and get an architect to plan everything out. In the business world that would be: you know you want to start a business, but you have to come up with a business idea and work out a business plan. The next thing for the house would be to build the foundation (and eventually the basement) for the house. In the business world – you got to build the initial infrastructure (example: connecting with vendors, find a manufacturer for your product, create a sales team, rent office space, get a delivery truck, etc.). Once that is in place you able to actually do business and earn some money. But you are not completely done yet. You need to build a frame, put in windows and you also need a roof on house. For your business this means that you pay off debt, improve business processes and get professional help when needed (example: find a tax accountant, select a payroll service, etc.).
Once the house is build you probably want to fill it with furniture and make it livable for the future. Nobody wants to sleep on the floor, right. Again translating this to the business world it could mean that you invest money you earned back into your business. You buy machinery instead of leasing it. Eventually you buy a building, hire more staff, develop more products, move into new markets, build up a high cash reserve, and buy other businesses and so forth. This is often the step where winners and losers separate. Re-investing money into the business is a key factor for success. If you go and spend all the money on your own salary to buy things you have nothing to go back to when the economy slips into a recession or if disaster strikes.
The successful business owner has build up a cash reserve or can borrow money from bank – securing loans with the assets of the business. Going back to building a house this pretty much matches the same efforts. You pay off your mortgage and have equity available to eventually borrow against when emergency arises. Emergencies do not include paying off credit cards to use them again or to buy a car. Financially responsible you should be looking at the long term and not finance short-term goods with long-term debt.
April 15th The Day of Reckoning! Every year, millions of Americans get ready to pay taxes to Uncle Sam, or get ready to collect a tax refund from Uncle Sam; when did this become the great day that it is for taxpayers, and when are we actually required to file a income tax return? Lets take a look at the beginnings of the income tax date of April 15 and why it was chosen?
The first known income tax that Americans were legally required to pay was enacted during the early 1860s, and the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The Civil War was proving very costly to finance, and the President and Congress created the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted a law requiring citizens to pay federal income tax. This could be considered the start of our modern day income tax. This income tax was based on principles of graduated or progressive taxation and of withholding income at the source. The commissioner was given authority to assess, levy and collect federal income taxes. The authority to enforce tax laws by seizure of property and income and by prosecution.
Originally, the deadline for completing and filing your individual income tax was not April 15th. In the beginning, it was first set for March 1st. Then, during 1918, Congress pushed the date out to March 15th. Then, in the great overhaul of 1954, the date was once again moved forward to April 15th, and this is where it remains today. Why April 15th? The main thought from most scholars say the reasoning is that the date gives the IRS more time to handle the work load and more time to hang on to your money before offering a tax refund. This date has only been set this way for a little over 50 years. Thats not very long, in historical terms, and it could possibly be changed again.
If you are an individual taxpayer, you are required to file either a return or an extension of time to file (Form 4868) by April 15th. Corporate and other legal entities are required to file their federal income tax return by March 15th, and if not, they also must file an extension of time to file. What this extension does not do, is to extend the amount of time you have to pay any taxes due the government. So, if you are unable to ready your personal or business financial information in a timely manner, and have no reasonable estimate as to the amount of tax you may owe, you can expect to pay some form of penalty.
In the years following WWII, the burden of tax responsibility was shared fairly equally by the corporate world and the individual taxpayer. Today, however, the shift has been toward more responsibility on the part of the individual, and less on the business backs. To demonstrate how special interests have begun to overtake American politics, during 1867, public opinion was so strong, and the outcry of the general public so loud, that the President and Congress abolished the income tax law in 1872, and from 1872 until 1913 almost all of the revenue for government operation came from the sale of liquor, beer, wine, and tobacco. Although the income tax did make a small come back in 1894, it was found unconstitutional in 1895 by the U.S. Supreme Court because it was not apportioned among the states in conformity with the Constitution.
An interesting time during the formation and eventual taxation of America occurred during 1918. Until that point in time, the vast majority of tax revenue for government funding came from alcoholic beverage sales and high tariffs. In 1919, Congress passed an amendment to the Constitution that made it illegal to manufacture or sell alcohol; what would replace the revenue? American federal income tax was the proposed solution, and weve been paying since. Although during the great years known as Prohibition, many revenue agents spent their days tracking down moon shiners not tax evaders, the American citizen, the individual taxpayer took on the heavy burden of supporting government revenue, and it has become heavier with each passing year. On a side note, although moon shining was illegal, the moon shiners still had to pay taxes on the moon shine so they were incarcerated for tax evasion and not moon shining. Taxes seem to always come into play when looking for a way to prosecute someone.
Then, during 1942, the Revenue Act of 1942 was passed and the New Deal era was begun. Since that point in time, government control, power, and expenditures has continued to increase at a phenomenal rate, and today the American taxpayer supports a trillion dollar giant known as the United States government. This ravenous beast consumes more than 10% of our earned income each year, and if the Social Security Administration has their way, will continue to consume even more of our weekly earnings. We can foresee no other relief in sight.
Currently, all the tax regulations for this country are the responsibility of the Internal Revenue Service, and there are four major divisions of this government office: the Wage and Investment, Small/Business Self-Employed, the Large and Midsize Business and the Tax Exempt and Government Entities. Each division has responsibilities as they pertain to their individual specialty.
There continues to be talk on the hill to change the way taxes are calculated and collected. The most common themes are the flat tax and the national sales tax. Until Congress actually has the courage to step up to the plate and change it, taxes will remain as cumbersome as always.
Entrepreneurs: You've Got Help!
What is a Blunder?
Definition of Blunder:
Main Entry: 1blun·der
1: to move unsteadily or confusedly
2: to make a mistake through stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness transitive senses
3: to utter stupidly, confusedly, or thoughtlessly
4: to make a stupid, careless, or thoughtless mistake in
- blun·der·er / noun
- blun·der·ing·ly / adverb
Source: Merriam Webster
First, why even focus on the blunders? Isn't that kind of a negative focus?
The reality is that we all make mistakes. Most of us don't like to re-live the mistake so we try our best to forget what happened. Worse yet, we sometimes blame our clients (bad client, bad, bad client).
But that same coaching blunder can be used to sharpen our coaching skills. The very thing that we worry will be the end of us (a blunder) can actually catapult us to a very different level of performance.
Learning to recognize and embrace our coaching blunders is the path to better coaching. We will continue to blunder, so let's take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves!
What are some reasons to focus on the blunders?
Here are 8 compelling reasons to embrace your mistakes and use them to your advantage:
1. Become a more (polished) (sophisticated) (evolved) coach.
2. Eliminate your rough edges while refining the sharpness with which you coach.
3. Replace repetitive blunders with a stealth form of uber-coaching.
4. Give your clients the gift of effective coaching on every call.
5. Begin to learn the real reasons your clients leave (fire) you and what to do to turn that around. Coaches often have clients for 2-3 months and then they fade away. Now you can begin to learn why clients leave you.
6. Discover how to love being rated by your clients in performance reviews.
7. Learn how to self-assess, and self-coach, with honesty and compassion.
8. Discover real time solutions for when you get stuck (and who doesn't at one time or another).
What kind of Blunders do coaches make?
In the Coaching Blunders Series, available in audio with a workbook, we discuss different types of blunders and their value to us:
1. Administrative Blunders
2. Fearful Blunders
3. Avoidance Blunders
4. Communication Blunders
5. Power and Empowerment Blunders
6. Benefits of Blunders
What are the Top 10 Blunders that you see coaches make?
Although we identified close to 100 coaching blunders I feel that the Top 10 Coaching Blunders are:
1. Waiting until you are ready to coach (new coaches) or waiting to coach the more challenging clients (experienced coaches).
Get clients now! Your coaching education will make more sense if you're coaching. You're never going to "have it" if you don't "do it". I highly recommend that you "dive in and get both feet wet".
2. Taking your client at face value.
This may sound shocking but the reality is that clients come to us because they are here, and want to get there. If they could do it on their own, they wouldn't' need us. Often, what a client says to us has to do with the client's current paradigms and attitudes. If we take their goals and ideas at face value, we may be missing huge goals that they want to tap into but don't yet know how to express. They are hiring us so we can tap into the goals with them.
3. Going into solution mode.
Most coaches, particularly new ones, will jump right away to finding solutions and solving problems. Why do we tend to go to solution mode? What's our motivation? We do this because we think it will justify our fees and prove our value as a coach. This is very limited thinking on the part of the coach.
4. Not knowing your client.
a. Do a thorough pre-hire interview. If you want to know how to do this successfully consider getting the eBook Ten Step Buying Process: Converting Prospects to Clients at http://discninja.com/products.htm.
b. Have a complete intake form for your clients to complete.
c. Use assessments. My favorite is the DISC Personal Profile System. To see a number of valuable coaching assessments visit www.InternetAssessments.com.
I prefer to have a complimentary collaborative interview with a potential new client instead of offering a complimentary free session. This way I get a clear understanding of the potential client. By using the DISC assessment, it helps me stay out of "solution mode" because I can deal with client behaviors and discover their motivations from there.
5. Avoiding difficult or touchy subjects. Allowing client to avoid issues that are "hot" (and avoid they will).
Sometimes coaches inadvertently allow clients to avoid the touchy subjects. We have to be very watchful to know what the touchy subjects are for each client. If the client keeps avoiding a certain topic, it's a blunder on the coach's part to allow that to happen. Once you notice a client avoiding a touchy subject then bring this up in session. For instance, Every time, I begin to ask you about this topic, you change the topic. I'd like us to take a few minutes and see what's here.
6. Not having a system in place for the administration of our clients.
a. Keeps us from serving our clients and growing our business.
b. Client Compass software is a great administrative environment.
i. E-Caps that can be sent to your client directly after each call.
ii. Invoicing - Failing to manage the money and/or get paid on time. Payment can be handled directly through the premium version of Client Compass.
iii. Keeping track of paid and volunteer time
iv. For more info visit http://www.clientcompass.com
c. Not having a well-written coaching policy that sets clear client expectations. If you would like to see my coaching package it is available as a part of the www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com as lesson #41. For your quick reference it is available at this link: www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com/coachingpackage.pdf.
If you set up systems, then tasks can be done automatically and you can spend more time coaching and earning a living and less time on administrivia.
7. Not building an environment that allows more people to know about you as a coach. In the www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com program, we create just such an environment for you.
a. Selling people or talking people into coaching. Once again, I recommend reviewing the Ten Step Buying Process: Converting Prospects to Clients (see #4 above)
b. Coaching any one other than your "ideal" client.
c. Not letting enough people get to know you.
A lot of coaches love to coach, but they don't love to market. If you're not marketing and people don't know about you, you won't have the business you want. Consider joining the www.90DayMarketingMarathoncom. It will help you be clear on your ideal client. And I guarantee that you will be a much better coach when you are coaching your ideal client.
8. Coaching around topics we should avoid
We know this and yet it's so easy to get sucked into it. Hold clear boundaries and coach your clients to contact the appropriate contacts such as their employee assistance program (EAP), therapist, attorney, etc. Our job as coaches is to not get sucked into it but to have strong and clear boundaries and to hold the right space for coaching our clients.
9. Constantly asking questions and/or not allowing clients to answer before asking a new question.
Silence tends to make most of us very uncomfortable. So, if the coach becomes uncomfortable we often ask new questions before the previous one was answered. This is a serious blunder. That same silence can also put your client into a certain discomfort, which can be a good thing. It teases something deeper out of them. Don't let clients "off the hook" because of your discomfort!
10. Raising fees before we are ready.
If we don't feel worthy, it will not work. Clients will sense this like dogs sense fear!
One option is to create coaching programs with a specific focus as well as a beginning, middle and end. There is less risk for the prospect or client in both time and money. And, you can often convert people who have taken one of your coaching programs into a one-on-one client.
This is because they have had a chance to get to know you and trust you. You have developed a relationship with them and they will feel more confident in working with you.
You can create your own program or purchase a license for a coaching program from a third party such as CoachVille. I am also offering several licensing programs so feel free to contact me for more information.
Parting Words of Wisdom:
The key is to embrace your own blunderella or blunderfella. Embrace them and you will learn much more quickly than when you are in resistance.
© Copyright 2005 Alicia Smith
Permission to reproduce granted if all attribution & contact information is included.
Entrepreneurs - Top 10 Essential Entrepreneurial Traits
Successful Entrepreneurs Are...
They see beyond obstacles. They focus on possibilities rather than
dwelling on limitations.
We hear many stories of men and women who have created great
enterprises from ideas others had rejected or said will never work. We are
inspired the most by stories of those who succeeded against all odds. As
an entrepreneur, you have the need to create, to start something that never
was or to improve upon an exciting product or concept. To bring forth
something new does not come without challenges.
Choose not to dwell on what you dont have (lack of money, time, support
or other resources). Make a choice to focus on what needs to be done to
manifest your idea and then make it happen! No more excuses! Stop
blaming others, your circumstances or yourself for why things dont turn
out as you thought they would. When we choose to focus on abundance
rather than lack, we harness the power to create and attract what we need
to achieve success. Those with sight see what is, but those with vision see
what can be. What are the possibilities in your life, what are the
possibilities for your business?
They plan well, and execute effectively.
Sun Tzu, in his book, The Art of War he wrote, the art of war is a
matter of life and death, a road to either safety or to ruin. The art of war is
governed by five critical factors. These are the way, the weather, the
terrain, the leadership and the discipline." Without a solid business
strategy, you become, by default, reactive rather than proactive. Reactive
businesses cannot grow into sustainable and competitive enterprises
because there is no roadmap to do so. Sun Tzu's five critical factors apply to contemporary business strategy as much as they do to historical military operations. To drive your business
using the art of strategy, it is essential to establish or clarify the overall
vision and goals of the organization (the way); understand the operating
environment facing the business (the terrain); develop objectives and
specific strategies for the organization to address (the weather); ensure
strong management to guide and motivate staff and to implement the
strategies in a timely manner (the leadership); and develop a robust
organizational structure, effective supply chain management and ensure
that performance is monitored against the stated objectives (the
Entrepreneurs often have great ideas, but in a zest to make it a reality, fail
to plan properly. This failure to plan can sink even the best of ideas.
Address the 5 critical factors as soon as possible by creating your strategic
plan if you havent already done so. If you have already created your
strategic plan, it doesnt hurt to give it the once over to ensure all the
critical factors have been addressed.
3. Problem - Solvers
They see a problem as an opportunity for growth and strategically seek
Are you solutions-oriented? How do you react when faced with a business
problem? Problems are just opportunities for growth and development in
disguise. Problems test you; they challenge you to change the way that
you think. There are thousands, if not millions of great inventions born
from perceived problems or accidents.
George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, returned from a walk one day in
1948 and found some cockleburs clinging to his cloth jacket. When de
Mestral loosened them, he examined one under his microscope. The
cocklebur is a maze of thin strands with burrs (or hooks) on the ends that
cling to fabrics or animal fur. By the accident of the cockleburs sticking to
his jacket, George de Mestral recognized the potential for a practical new
fastener. It took eight years to experiment, develop, and perfect the
invention, which consists of two strips of nylon fabric. VELCRO, the
name de Mestral gave his product, is the brand most people in the United
States know. It is strong, easily separated, lightweight, durable, and
washable, comes in a variety of colors, and wont jam.2
Learn from George. Begin to look forward to your next problem; if you
look carefully enough, it may be a great blessing in disguise. What
creative and/or strategic solutions can you come up with and implement?
4. Risk -Takers
They are not afraid to challenge the status quo nor, are they afraid to take
the road less traveled.
The great people of this world are not the ones who did what had always
been done, they are the ones who stood up and said, how I can do this
differently? Great people are bold, they dare to dream, and they are
courageous in their endeavors. Little people are timid; they are scared to
dream and to avoid disappointment they refrain from great endeavors. It is
better to try and risk not reaching the desired end, than never to try and
never know what could have been. The level of success you may desire to
achieve may not have been paved by any before you. You may not be only
taking the road less traveled, but a road never traveled.
In order to succeed, sometimes you have to break the cycle of what
everyone says is fact and believe in what you know to be true. Christopher
Columbus knew the truth that the world was round even when the facts of
his age said it was flat. What would have happened if Columbus accepted
the norm and didnt challenge the status quo? This is not to say do not
heed good advice, as a matter of fact it is wise to seek good counsel. But
there are times when we have to make choices, small ones and big ones
alike that are contrary to popular opinion. These are the times when you
must separate the facts from the truth. The fact may be that you have a
great business idea, but no money to get it off the ground; however, the
truth is that you live surrounded by an abundance of all you need to get
your business off the ground but you have to learn how to tap into it. This
is where you must be creative, do something that you have never done
before; boldly seek partnerships, mentors and coaches to help you. Are
you afraid to take bold risks? Will you be content with playing it safe and
spending the rest of your life wondering what could have been?
They realize serving precedes leading.
A servant leader does not just focus on the bottom line but focuses on how
she can be of service to others. A servant leadership model is an inverted
pyramid in which the president of an organization is at the lowest point of
the triangle and the customer is at the broadest edge as opposed to your
traditional leader on top of the organization model.
Robert Greenleaf is credited with the term servant leader. In his book,
Servant Leadership, Greenleaf noticed that the most successful
managers led in a very different way - they led through service rather than
through positional authority.
Resolve today that your leadership, as an entrepreneur, is not purely self-
satisifying and profit motivating. Leadership is not about control and
manipulation, as it is only in service that one becomes great. Resolve to
be of service to your employees, shareholders, clients, suppliers and all
those you come in contact with.
If you are interested in learning more about servant leadership many
universities even community programs offer courses on the subject.
It is a worthwhile investment.
They don't quit. Instead, they fail forward to success.
Your first business venture may not work out as planned. Maybe neither
will your second venture or third. It is important to know that because
things dont always turn out as planned, it does not mean you are a failure.
Your business may have failed, but you have not! Smart entrepreneurs
learn from what didnt work instead of throwing in the towel all together.
Robert Kiyosaki actually said in one of his books that, unlike employees
entrepreneurs get paid to fail. What a strange statement, but it is true!
Entrepreneurs learn something valuable every time things go awry. As
humans we are programmed to learn by our mistakes more than our
successes. Did you know how to ride a bike the first time you got on one?
Could you use chopsticks as effortlessly as you can now? No! You learned
from your mistakes and eventually, you got it right.
By giving up, you throw away the opportunity to ever succeed. Every
time you stumble or fall in your entrepreneurial undertakings, rejoice, as
you are one step closer to success! You may have to change what you are
doing slightly or dramatically but whatever you do, don't quit!
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