Eight Mistakes Business Owners Make Their First Year.

business planThis article is contributed by Brian Smith.

The first year of small business ownership can be challenging to say the least. The learning curve is steep, the hours long and the odds  very much against you. It’s therefore hardly surprising that many don’t make it through. Continue reading

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6 Things Successful Business Owners Do That You Don’t

successful business owner

This article is contributed by Anthony Davis.

Successful business owners don’t wake up one morning and have a huge bank balance. You aren’t born with the skills needed to start a business and reach levels only a tiny percentage of people ever accomplish. When you’re starting out or struggling to take your business to the next level, the successful business owners are the people you need to emulate. It’s only then that you will get to the stage you dream about every night. People may also pick up a few things along the way from other people. Maybe you don’t have those connections, so let’s look at some great qualities you should have if you want your business to become a huge success. Continue reading

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3 Essential Keys To Small Business Startup Success

small business startup success

This article is contributed by William Anderson.

You could start a business now and it could take off before you even know what’s happening. Some people say there’s no such thing as instant riches. Now I agree with that and nothing is ever instant, but there’s no denying that some people do seem to get very lucky. It’s almost like they start a business and they’re sipping cocktails from a coconut within a few years. This only happens to a tiny proportion of people. It’s more luck that anything else, but all of them have one thing is common: they start out with the right keys. Continue reading

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Top Ten Tips for Success in Business

This article is contributed by Bill Mosby.

Success in business is a lot like success in life, it takes hard work, determination and a little bit of luck. Unfortunately however, working hard and being determined are a lot easier said than done. And luck tends to have a mind of its own. Continue reading

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Top Ten Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

This article is contributed by Lily Scherbatsky.

Those considering opening their own business often wonder whether or not they have what it takes. After all, just about anyone can start a business but not everyone can end up with a successful one. And as anyone who has failed will testify, failure is usually pretty expensive. Continue reading

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Marketing Right Now For Winners

marketing right now for winners cover

There is a new book available that every entrepreneur and SoHo (Small office home office) owner should read.    It is called Marketing Right Now.

You should not confuse it with the book featured on the right.  That book may never be on the shelves of your local bookstore, although there is an undoubted need for such a book.  What we are talking about here is an e-book.

The correct title does not include that last For Winners phrase, but be assured that what is included can make your business a winner.  The e-book is available as a free download. 

Although it naturally deals with how to do business on the Internet, the most interesting sections deal with the important steps you should take before you get close to creating a Web page.  If you are to succeed, then you must have a clear strategy.

Some people treat the concept of strategy in a somewhat cavalier fashion. Perhaps without realizing it, you are one of these people.  You can easily check whether you have a clear strategy by answering the following three questions:

  1. What marketing niche will my product or service target?  (What does a typical prospect of look like?)
  2. Who are the strongest competitors going after these same prospects?
  3. How will my product or service offer a superior experience to my target prospects?

Do not feel bad if any of these three questions stump you.  There are a significant number of businesses owners who would be similarly stumped.

Oprah Winfrey Recommends Marketing Right Now

As you may note, the concepts discussed here seem to be getting attention from some very important commentators.  Strategy is challenging because it defines what you will put efforts and resources into and what you will not allow yourself to be diverted by.  This single-minded focus is not easy to achieve and many people almost goof-off in doing whatever comes to mind as they try to grow their business.

This e-book puts the emphasis on this first step of strategy.  That starts with the potential customers you feel your business might serve.  You must be capable of creating a product or service that they will find superior to what the competition is offering.

You can of course sometimes make a reasonable living by having a me-too product or service.  However the Internet is a real threat to such merely adequate suppliers.  Buyers can explore what is available and they will undoubtedly go for the best they can find.

Two important operational details are also emphasized.  If you put Time as Job One, then this can give you an almost instant competitive advantage.  You must also have good communications with your prospects and clients on a continuing basis.  That implies an effective blog.  Without it your business will be hard pressed to grow as it should.

free download of marketing right now

Since the e-book is a free download, it is almost a no-brainer to check it out for yourself.  The e-book itself is a one megabyte PDF file so please be patient when you get to that step.

We welcome feedback on the e-book since this would allow a revision of the contents at some time in the future.  Please add your comments here.  They will be most welcome.

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Entrepreneur Insecurity

Entrepreneurs are always feeling insecure according to  Rick Spence.

He is commenting on a list of entrepreneurs’ top three fears as published by marketing specialist Warrillow & Co.  What really scares business owners are not the day-to-day aches and pains, such as sales, rising taxes or increasing competition; the real fears spring from deep in the entrepreneur’s insecure soul.  These fears are:

  • Fear of not marketing effectively (38%).
  • Fear of never being able to retire (33%).
  • Fear that they’re not staying abreast of new technology (20%).

Spence has some useful tips to help remove or alleviate these feelings of insecurity.  However perhaps insecurity is part of the drive that propels entrepreneurs to make it happen.

That is the view of an expert quoted by Leslie Whitaker in an item on Entrepreneur or Employee?  Fernando Trias de Bes is the author of The Little Black Book of Entrepreneurship and the owner of a marketing firm in Spain.  

Trias de Bes believes that one common mistake is failing to distinguish between being spurred by a “motive” (I lost my job, or I hate my boss) and having the “motivation” to be an entrepreneur. The latter means being someone who “enjoys the uncertainty and insecurity of not knowing what will come tomorrow.” . He also suggests that you need “enormous, colossal and infinite enthusiasm” to drive away thoughts of failure.  A third characteristic, tenacity, is also necessary to make up for deficits in the other two. No matter how solid your entrepreneurial spirit, you need persistence to succeed.

As an entrepreneur, one can never completely remove insecurity and perhaps that is a necessary stimulus to ensure complacency does not set in.  At the least, you always have to be watchful of the external influences such as competitors and governments and be ready when the unexpected happens, as it surely will. Whether you call that insecurity or alertness, it’s a necessary activity for the successful entrepreneur.

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The Best (and Worst) In Customer Service

The Wall Street Journal blog, Independent Street, has news, trends, tidbits and tools for and about entrepreneurs. It features some listings on customer service from Angie’s List, which are most thought-provoking.  Angie’s List provides consumer ratings for service businesses, based on a survey of its more than 750,000 members. Ratings are based on overall experience, price, quality, responsiveness and punctuality.

The following lists the best and worst service companies for 2008:

The Best

  1. Piano Tuning
  2. Music Instruction
  3. Lamp Repair
  4. Dryer Vent Cleaning
  5. Mailbox Repair
  6. Home and Garage Organization
  7. Party Rentals
  8. Roof Cleaning
  9. Upholstery Cleaning
  10. Animal and House Sitting

The Worst

  1. Home-Warranty Companies
  2. Home Builders
  3. Landline-Phone Service
  4. Cable-TV Service
  5. Satellite-TV Service
  6. Internet Service
  7. Cellular-Phone Service
  8. Furniture Sales
  9. Computer Sales
  10. Bridal Shops

“It never ceases to amaze me that most of the problems cited – across the board – could have been resolved had the companies only worked harder to listen and respond to their customers’ needs,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, in a statement. “In today’s economy, no business can afford to push their customers out the door, but that’s what a lot of these poorly graded companies are doing.”

The other lesson to be drawn from these lists seems to be that bigger companies appear more often in The Worst list, rather than in The Best list.  Perhaps smaller companies are more aware of the realities of survival in these recessionary times.

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