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Startup Tips For New Entrepreneurs

There is a little more structure to being an entrepreneur as well, and it’s not all ‘flying loose and free… ‘ The name of the game is having a goal, seeing the big picture, developing a plan, learning and re-assessing constantly, being adaptable, and following through.

This article offers up a few tips and some practical help to guide you on the start of your enterprise.

1. If you’ve got a job, don’t quit straight away!

This is something which I did myself, and it really was the best thing to get me started. It allowed for me to start up allocating the time and finances I could afford to invest in the new venture, while maintaining a level of stability. It bought me the time to be able to make a few mistakes, learn the ropes, and become confident enough with the direction that things were moving in, to be comfortable with giving up the day job without going into a state of panic.

It can generally take around six months to a year, (if not more), to get a business going, and where it’s possible to develop this while benefiting from the regular income of a nine-to-five… I’d recommend you do just that!

2. Discover your ‘Thing!’

‘Sameness’ will get you nowhere… in a time where prospects have an incredible range of choice, and can look for the best deals available almost instantly, you really need to set yourself apart to get ahead. Consider how it might be possible to specialize… Find out what people need, and offer it in a way that others, (especially larger companies, who are more likely to be able to beat you on price), can’t or don’t!

3. Increase your Visibility

Consider all the ways in which you can create brand awareness and brand recognition. Aside from promoting yourself and your business in person, and locally, (offline), it is essential that you develop an online profile. It doesn’t matter if you don’t trade online, the internet is still a valuable tool allowing for you to extend your reach dramatically and rapidly. Draw up a list of every avenue you can use to promote yourself, and then devise a plan to utilise as many as possible of these. Remember to capitalise on free advertising avenues too.

4. Adapt & Stick with It!

In order to succeed you need to be creative, maintain a level of energy and stay motivated even when you hit obstacles and delays. Reflect on all that does not go to plan, learn, regroup, adapt, and persevere. Remember that a majority of the most successful people in business didn’t become overnight successes… it took time, effort and determination. With this mind-set, you’re in good stead for success!

What You Need To Do To Make Your Startup A Success

If you plan on striking out on your own to start a new company, you’ll find that there are ample resources that are designed to guide entrepreneurs through this process. Starting a company is cheaper and easier than ever before given the ability to leverage the Internet in order to effectively connect with people while minimising your operational and outreach costs. There are, however, a few important things you have to do to ensure that your startup is a success.

Although starting a business is currently cheaper and easier than ever before, it is still important for business owners to have a secondary and steady source of income throughout their first year of operation. This will take the pressure off of your company to succeed immediately. You will have sufficient funds for covering your ongoing operating costs and your basic living expenses and will not have to function in a constant state of panic.

Establish a solid working schedule so that you are devoting an appropriate amount of time to your new organisation. A lot of new business owners expect that they can earn massive sums of money overnight, without having to invest a whole lot of time or effort. In reality, however, must successful entrepreneurs work long days and nights, particularly during the earliest stages of business development.

Make sure that you have a functional and attractive website for connecting with your prospects and customers. This will likely serve as your primary sales platform unless you will be maintaining a blog to sell affiliate products, using third-party classified or auction sites to host your wares or opening up a brick and mortar store that people can visit in person.

Get help with the web design process so that your pages are both viable and accessible on a broad range of devices. You want people to be able to connect with you irrespective of the tools that they are using to search the web. Professional web development will also make it easier for you to optimise your pages for search engines.

Create a solid business plan that will serve as your guide during the most formative stages of your endeavors. It is important to have a clear strategy for how you will get things done and a cohesive outline of what you hope to accomplish. This will make it easier to properly allocate both your business development monies and your time for optimal returns.

Seek help when you need it but avoid over-staffing your company so you don’t run into any serious financial troubles before your profits become consistent. It is a good idea to work with people who are skilled in the areas you are not. It is also prudent to limit the number of financial obligations you take on, until you have sufficient money in savings for covering your operating expenses during slow periods.

Take the time to get the training you need in various technical areas in order to run your office efficiently and according to the requirements of your chosen industry. These can include Microsoft Office courses, training in human resource management and instruction for receiving any professional licensing your company requires. The more skilled you become, the less trained talent you will require to hire in order to establish a fully-functional organisation.

How to Work Smarter Instead of Harder

“What we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Smart or Hard?

Hard work is important. Those who work hard and are consistent with their work are much more likely to achieve the things that they want.

However, working hard doesn’t necessarily mean that the work you are producing is of value and good quality. Other times working too hard may cause stress that leads to producing work that is of lower quality.

I believe that we must put more emphasis on working smarter. Let’s look at 5 ways on How to Work Smarter Instead of Harder.

Time. The first thing that you should be aware of is how you spend your time working. It’s a good idea to make a plan of what you will be working on, how you will carry out your work and also to decide how long you need to spend working on each task. This way you will learn how to use your time in a smart way so that you can reduce your working hours while being more productive.

Standards. Having standards are different that having goals. Standards mean that you have to obey to them because that is how your mind is conditioned. Setting higher standards mean that you are conditioning your mind to achieve things that you haven’t achieved before.

Reflect. A great way to monitor your work is to reflect on the goals that you have achieved and the ones that you fell short on. This way you can understand what works and what doesn’t, so next time you can set new goals applying the things that do work.

Distractions. Staying away from distractions will keep you focused while you are working. The main distractions to be aware of are smartphones, emails, social media and music. While working avoid these unless they are necessary in your work. Working without distractions is a great way to work smart and have more time in your day to do other things.

Downtime. Lastly, it is important to know that you shouldn’t work for long periods without giving yourself breaks. A nice routine is to work for 45 minutes with 10 minute breaks in-between. Furthermore, you should leave yourself time in the day to be enjoying the things you like to do and spending time with family and friends, after all that is more important than your work.

Remember to work smart alongside working hard. Use your time effectively and plan out your days. Create standards to achieve greater things. Reflect on your goals to find out what is working for you. Avoid distractions that use up your time and prevent you from working smart. And leave room for breaks to enjoy the things that you like to do.

How to Have Belief in Business

There are three facets to belief. If you are a Christian business owner, you must take these three things seriously in order to truly be successful in business and in life. These are foundational to who we are as Christians and as entrepreneurs.

Belief comes from an old German word that means “to hold dear, esteem and trust.” There is a lot of power in belief if we understand the belief pyramid. The three kinds of belief for Christian business owners are: belief in God, believe in self and belief in business.

Belief in God

I was talking to a multi-millionaire this weekend. We started talking about faith and he shared a great concept with me. He said, “I don’t know how people do it without faith. They have nothing above them to keep them from being dishonest.” He went on to explain that when people don’t have some sort of faith, they can do whatever they want. In business, that could mean taking advantage of others and running a business with little or no ethics. (It happens!)

Starting with a foundation that there is a God and He is bigger than us helps us get perspective about our place in the universe. We are part of something God is doing here on earth, and because of that, we want to help people and honor God with all of our decisions.

Belief in self

After we have a strong foundation in God, we must have a strong belief in ourselves. This one may be harder for some of us depending on what kind of family we come from. See, if we have been told we are worthless or that we will never amount to anything, those seeds of doubt can still grow even when our business is successful.

We must look at the belief in God first and build who we are based on what He says about our lives. Think about it for a moment. You may have had someone in your life tell you that you are not good enough, but our value does not come from people. Our value comes from God.

God calls us His children. He sent Jesus to earth for us. He loves us even when we were stuck in stupidity and sin. That means the God of the universe, who created us and everything in it, says we are good enough. We should revel in the fact that we are more than good enough for this world.

Belief in business

I know a lot of articles that would start with the belief in business, but I have found that other two must be foundational to what we do as Christian entrepreneurs. We must have a strong belief in God, which tells us who we are in this world, which informs what we do for our business.

In business, we are here to help others. We find a product or service that can benefit another person and offer it to them at a valuable price. Business is that simple. Yet, at the core of what we do in business, we must think about how God wants to impact the world and how our lives touches others.

Putting our beliefs together

I have talked to many people who want to start a certain business ‘because it will make good money.’ They jump on the bandwagon only to find it is a lot harder than they think and since they are focused on the money, they are never fulfilled in their business. They jump from business to business never really finding their place in the world.

I don’t want that to happen to you. I want you to have a strong core belief that God wants you to be in business. I want you to see that God created you with a strong purpose in this world to touch lives. And, God, the creator of everything, gave you the blessings and opportunities to be in business for Him.

Taking action

Do a quick evaluation for your life.

Start with God. What is your core belief in God? Is it based on a strong knowledge of scripture? If so, keep it up. If not, jump into some biblical studies and dig into God’s word.

Check on self. What is your purpose? Do you really believe that God put you on earth for a purpose? He did! If you are having trouble with your identity find a good friend, pastor or counselor. Really dig into who you are and find the truth of who God created you to be.

Evaluate your business. Why did God put you in your business? How does God want you to impact the world and share His love through your business? If you are not sure, dig into scriptures, join a Christian entrepreneur group, or just talk to a solid Christian mentor in your life.

Conclusion

I could write thousands of words, but none of it means anything if we don’t take action on our beliefs. We must take action on our belief in God, self and business if we truly want to be successful. God has placed His hand on your life, I know because you are reading these words and I am praying for you. You are called to be in business and you did not find this article by accident.

Pillars of a Successful Business Partnership

My first business venture was a partnership. Working with another person with similar dreams was the only way I was able to get started as a business owner. We coupled my general business skills and money, along with his expertise and time. We operated three units of a local pizza restaurant franchise throughout the 1990’s. I kept my day job, and my partner took care of the day-to-day operations of the business.

I’ve gone on to experience less rewarding partnerships, and fortunately, much more fruitful ones as well. I now understand more clearly why I prefer working in teams, and how I am typically more productive combining my skills and energy with my partners’. Starting with that first successful teaming, I have come to understand and appreciate that at the foundation of a strong business partnership are the three pillars of trust, respect and agreement.

1. Trust

Before there can be anything meaningful and lasting in a relationship, there must be a mutual level of trust. Trust, however, takes time to develop.

I have known David Begin, my current partner in various ventures, since 1991. We met when we both worked for a large software company, and have remained friends over the years. Our families have travelled together, and we have developed a close bond over time. When the opportunity first arose for us to partner on a business, we had already developed a deep trust at a personal level. This trust has been the basis of our business relationship. We rely on the fact, as good partners must, that we have each other’s interests in mind – we have each other’s backs in any situation. We try to consider what’s best for the other person, and what’s makes most sense for the business overall.

If you have the advantage of considering a partnership with someone with whom you have a long-term relationship, then trust should already be established. But what if you have recently met the person you are considering going into business with? How do you develop trust in a short period of time?

In my opinion and experience, it’s difficult if not impossible to rush the development of personal trust. There are, however, techniques we can use to accelerate the development of trust in a business environment. It requires careful and calculated observation, applied techniques, and lots of intuition.

In his book “The Trusted Advisor”, author David Maister explains that in business relationships you can quickly improve your “trust factor” by increasing credibility, reliability and intimacy while reducing self-orientation. The “trust factor” is a measure of trust, from the perspective of the other person with whom you are conducting business.

When it comes to measuring the evolving trust you have in a new partner, it’s applicable to consider those same factors. If the person is potentially trustworthy, they will likely demonstrate credibility (they tend to be accurate, complete, and don’t tend to exaggerate their knowledge), reliability (they follow through on their promises and are consistent in their actions and behavior), and intimacy (they are candid, genuine, and emotionally open). Low self-orientation (meaning that they are not always focused on themselves, they are good listeners, and don’t exhibit a need to always be right and win at all costs) is the other important clue to help you judge the character of your potential partners. It’s often most effective to watch for these indicators during the most casual of situations, like during a meal at a restaurant when the other person may reveal more of their true self.

Partnerships may not be a fit for people who do not like to seek advice from others, who do not prefer to share success or blame, and if they don’t see value in the opinions of others. As you are getting to know your potential partner, be sure to listen and observe carefully to identify these characteristics.

It’s also probably not a good idea to partner just for financial reasons. Overlooking a mismatch in personalities and vision in the short-term because that person has the money you need may eventually result in a negative relationship.

2. Respect

An effective business partnership also depends upon mutual respect. Ideally, your partners bring complimentary skills and abilities to the team. Combined with each partner’s perspective and experience, the group is considerably stronger and more effective than any one person could ever be by themselves. Team members must have a level of respect for each other, which fosters a positive and productive business environment.

Recognition and positive feedback are important for showing and feeling respect. We must take the time to recognize and appreciate the efforts and input that all partners bring to the collaboration. We all naturally want to be recognized and respected for our individual contributions, even if those contributions are never implemented. You demonstrate respect for your partner when you value or simply acknowledge their input, ideas and perspectives.

Of course, to gain respect, you must be worthy of being respected. Earning respect is in large part based on being a good person and partner (are you someone who looks for the best in others and who follows through on your promises and commitments to the team?) telling the truth and being transparent, and genuinely caring about your teammates. Respect the people you work with, and they should respect you in return.

3. Agreement

There can be complete trust and honest respect in a business relationship, but it can all come tumbling down with one seemingly simple misunderstanding. “I thought you were going to do this?” “No, I assumed that you would do that!”

During the honeymoon phase of the relationship, when we are caught up in the excitement of the new business, we may be quick to make assumptions and avoid difficult conversations. Dodging critical questions and assuming that things will always be great often leads to ruinous arguments later.

It’s critical that you clearly define upfront who will do what and how much time each partner will invest in the business. You also have to discuss and agree on many other points including the terms of a future buy-out – either because one of the partners wants out, or there is a death.

My business partner and I benefit from, and prefer, what we refer to as “active partnerships”. These are partnerships where all members are contributing fairly equally. It provides us the financial benefit of spreading the risk, but also sharing the burden and responsibility of building and growing our small businesses. It often makes sense to bring in investors, however, who are not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.

Legal written partnership agreements are a must for any partnership. This typically includes an Operating Agreement and a Buy-Sell Agreement which is drafted by an attorney. The legal agreement defines all of the parameters and terms of the business, including who is the Managing Member, what capital is contributed by each member, and what happens when a member of the partnership wants to exit or can no longer perform their duties.

We recommend that you start with a Memo of Understanding. This is simply an outline that documents most of the terms of the partnership. Then you consult with an attorney to finalize the details and create the legal Operating Agreement. The key is to discuss and agree upfront on the terms of the partnership, and avoid the misunderstandings and resentment that can otherwise develop later.

There are many reasons why partnering may make best sense for your business venture, including funding (one partner or a “silent partner” provides the money for start-up), expertise (one partner has the expertise in the industry or business you are starting), and the desire to build a company with friends and family (although we always caution that you be careful when partnering with your friends and family as it may end badly). If you are like me, you may simply prefer, and be significantly more productive, when you combine your efforts with a partner. Regardless of the reasons, always consider the three pillars of trust, respect and agreement upon which successful business partnerships are usually based.

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