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.
I believe the spiritual aspect of life, especially to entrepreneurs, is very important. While business may be the focal point for an entrepreneur's life, it's your outlook on life that shapes what kind of person you are.
Having a strong sense of self can benefit your business in many ways. The down periods and business 'tragedies' are not so bad for the entrepreneur that is spiritually centred. Don't take life too seriously is a phrase that every entrepreneur should take to heart and remember during the ups and downs of business.
I just finished reading a blog post from an entrepreneur friend of mine about meditation. My friend is meditating, and he's doing it a lot, which I find quite admirable. If he isn't careful he might give up business all together and follow the path of the monk searching for enlightenment, which may not be such a bad thing and perhaps even more rewarding than business ever could be.
I've attempted meditation for many reasons but more often as a method to deal with tough times in my life. I realise the need for meditation and spirituality during all times of life but as I'm sure many of you can identify with me when I say I don't look for help when times are great, I'm too busy revelling in the excitement.
As an entrepreneur I consider myself quite a creative person. I'm not gifted in art or music but certainly as a writer and business creator/manager I feel that I am definitely more bohemian than most. I think most entrepreneurs feel the same because we are not following the same path a lot of other people take when they work a normal job. Often the thought of a 'job' is not appealing and the prospect of working 9-5 for a salary is daunting. We take a risk by being different and expose ourselves to the often adverse opinions of those that believe we are making a mistake by not seeking a standard career. It takes a person of strong character and personal convictions to stand up to what can be a barrage of negative feedback from your peers and family.
I'm also more sensitive to my environment and the people around me. I live a controlled life and make sure that I eat well, sleep plenty and by choice I don't drink any alcohol. I have nothing against drinking (in moderation), it's just a choice I've made. I don't party hard on weekends, again by choice because I prefer to get a good nights sleep so I feel good during the day. Because of this I don't get sick too often (touch wood) and I feel at the top of my game everyday. I'm not saying do what I do, it's possible to party and drink and have a good time and be a very successful entrepreneur, just remember moderation and balance and your health should always be your primary concern.
A spiritually fulfilling life can be very rewarding. It provides a strong personal framework that offers stability during tough times and allows you to keep perspective when business is booming. It's not easy to be disciplined but as usual, for those that put the effort in the rewards are there.
Santa: The Consummate Entrepreneur
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 - Want To Start A Business But Not Sure What Type?
Why should you consider refinancing real estate investments instead of selling them? Maybe you've owned a rental property for years, you've paid down the mortgage, the value is up, and you want to cash in on that equity. You will do better to refinance. Here's why.
There are two problems with selling. First, selling means paying a large capital gains tax. You can avoid this if you reinvest through a 1031 exchange, but then the point is that you want your money, right? Second, you'll be giving up your inflation-indexed retirement plan. A good rental property generates more income as rents go up.
Refinancing Real Estate Investments Is Better
If you refinance, you can get much of your gain out of the property, without paying a penny in taxes. You see, borrowing money is not a taxable event. Take your loan proceeds and spend them however you want, and still keep your rentals. Doesn't that sound better than losing a big chunk of your equity to taxes?
Now, let's look at an example. We'll suppose you have owned a small apartment building for several years. Let's say you bought it for $340,000, with a down payment of $80,000. Interest rates at the time were at 9.5%, giving you a payment of $2,106 monthly on the balance of $260,00 (30 year amortization).
The property is now worth $560,000, and you owe $220,000. Your cash flow is around $2000/month. Now, how do you get at some of that equity? If you sell, you will give up the income, AND pay a big part of the profit in taxes. What happens if you refinance?
If a bank will loan you 70% of the value, that would be $392,000. Pay off the first mortgage, and you are left with $172,000. You can spend it any way you want, and no taxes are due.
It gets even better, especially when interest rates are low. If the new interest rate is 6.5%, your new payment will be $2295. In other words, you get $172,000 to spend any way you want, and you still have over $1,800 cash flow each month, from an inflation-indexed retirement plan.
Here is an even better scenario: Spend $50,000 of the loan for high-return upgrades to the property, such as carports and a laundry room, and raise the rents. You could have $122,000 left over to spend any way you want, AND have higher cash flow than before! Isn't that sound better than selling your retirement plan? When you want that cash, consider refinancing real estate investments.
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