Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sieze the Day!

I could sit here all night and list the pros and cons of being your own boss and owning your own business. There are many for both sides of that coin but at the end of the day, you either have the desire and the belief in yourself and your ideas or you don't.

I think too often we allow others to dictate what it is we believe we can accomplish. By that I mean there are thousands of people each day with great ideas and dreams that will never take the first step towards their goals because someone else has told them it can't be done.

Today I am reaching out to all that will listen, if you have a dream and the fortitude to see it through to reality, nothing is impossible. Seize the day! Let the people that are too weak minded in their own abilities say whatever they want today, they don't matter and their words can not define you. You alone are responsible for what you become or what you do with your life. You can choose to believe the haters and get no further than them in life or you can blaze your own path to success.

Life's too short to sit on the sidelines...Take what you can, Give nothing back!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Be Prepared for Any Situation

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and I am finding that to be more true daily. My health recently turned bad making it all but impossible for me to continue to effectively run my company. I had already begun to implement an exit strategy that would allow me to step down on April 15th and move onto other projects as my business continued to net me profit under someone else's guidance.Now I see a need to step down sooner and limitations being placed on what, if any, future projects I will be able to head.

This has become both disheartening and a blessing in disguise at the same time.It forces me to do what I would have never considered before by structuring future projects to run without me from the very start. I must admit I do love to be in charge but I must also admit there will be times when I simply can not be. The lesson I am learning the hard way could be utilized by any entrepreneur that simply pays attention to my own flawed business plan.

My advice to all entrepreneurs at this point would have to be not only to build your business with an exit strategy in mind but to also account for an emergency exit strategy should the need arise. I will continue to build more companies and to watch each of them grow with the same enthusiasm as I would my children, I will just do so with a plan in place should I be forced to step down earlier than my original business plan calls for.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Where Does It End?

Sitting here remembering the hard early days of my company I am faced with the realization that I made it. I built something out of nothing and of that I am extremely proud. However those same thoughts also produce the question Is this as far as I want to go?

From the early days of banging on doors, looking for clients, and very often getting those same doors slammed in my face to having a city on lock down to the point that very little gets done there that involves my line of work that my company name isn't attached to. Many would say that I am successful and in some aspects they would be correct. Me , I look at all I have built, I see it for what it is. It is an every expanding empire with very humble beginnings. I can now rest on my laurels and be satisfied with it or I can choose to view it as just the beginning. I choose the latter.

Yesterday is gone never to return so I while I have celebrated yesterdays success I will not quit pushing forward. Where this ends I don't know but I do know that where there is determination and a dream, anything is possible and we are only limited in what we can do by our own minds.

Eminem-Welcome To Detroit City

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Small Business Cents

There are so many things to consider when starting a business that it can often get scary. Many people will never get past the idea stage because they allow this fear to freeze them in place. Many others will leap before looking and fall flat on their faces. How do you know when to be cautious and when to push forward?

There is no one answer that fits every business idea. What works in Podunk,Arkansas may not work in Los Angelas so my suggestion would be to really pay attention to your research about what sells well where you intend to place your business. What does that area need? While proper research will not remove all risk associated with opening a small business of any type, it can reduce risk drastically.

You must also be realistic with your expectations at the start. Owning your own business can be the hardest yet most rewarding thing you ever undertake as long as you are not expecting overnight wealth. Work first on developing a good reputation in your community by delivering a quality product at a fair price. Slow and steady wins the race.

Cashflow is key! You must be prepared at the start of your business to have to struggle. This preperation can come simply by paying very close attention to what you are spending each month on business expenses as well as what profit you are seeing return to the business. Reinvestment of funds to help the business grow can often be the difference in whether or not a business becomes more than just a job you have created for yourself. If you pay attention to the math you may be able to sidestep small obstacles before they become huge problems.

Each businessmans goal should be to expand and grow their business to the point of it becoming an asset capable of supplying the owner with passive income. It's not always easy nor is it as hard as some would have you believe. A little self discipline can go a long way.

At the end of the day, your businesses success or failure, like any relationship, depend on nothing more that what you did that day to protect and nurture it's growth.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Have a Business License...Now What?

This post is meant for people that have taken the first step already and started their own business but are not sure what to do next. In many cases the answer is as simple as look at what your competition is doing. If you have a successful competitor then don't waste time trying to reinvent the wheel, instead copy the way they do business because you can bet they didn't get to be successful by not knowing something. Microsoft has been using this method for their products for years and look where they are at now.

Remember as someone once said "Lesser Artists Borrow, Great Ones Steal." The same can be said for business marketing ideas.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Building Your Exit Strategy

When most people start a business they are full of hopes and dreams of watching it grow. They may have taken the time to create a business plan devoid of all faults except one. Few people think far enough ahead to plan an exit strategy. That is the point I am at right now. It was never my intention to work in my business forever yet I, like so many others have failed to plan a proper exit strategy.

My choices are simple really, I can contact a business broker and place my business up for sale which isn't even an option in my eyes. It would be too much like having a child, teaching it to walk, talk, run, ride a bike, and then just when it learned how to coast down the big it up for adoption.

My next choice and the most likely to occur is to hire someone to manage my business while I accept the fact that it has grown large enough to try on big boy pants. This is equivalent to hiring a baby sitter. Just as you wouldn't trust just anyone to watch your child, taking a step back and allowing someone else control over your business can be just as big a challenge.

Still, I know that the time has come. Faster than I had hoped, but it is here. In a way it is sad yet in another it is a tremendous feeling of pride in what I have built. Three years ago I had $500 and a dream, now that dream is a reality capable of financing future dreams and yes there are future dreams.

I have so many other projects I want to do that I know I will never get a chance to do them all, at least not in the way this business was built, with me at the helm and overseeing everything from start to finish. I started knowing absolutely nothing about building or running a business and yet I am still here and my business is still thriving. I took a lot of hits along the way, each teaching me something new and I will use this knowledge in future endeavors.

I am proof that you can do anything you set your mind to, the only limits are those you place upon yourself!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July

To Everyone that subscribes to my blog, I have to apologize for the lack of recent posts. June is actually a very busy month for my business and I have been too swamped making sure things got done to post. It is now July, hope everyone had a great July 4th holiday and I can assure you all that new posts are coming soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I was watching this kid on T.V today that has no legs and yet here he is winning medals for swimming. He also runs daily on his prosthetic legs and that got me thinking. How many of us fail to achieve our true potential by simply uttering the words "I Can't"?

What I want each of my readers to do is to remove the words "I Can't" from their vocabulary and instead substitute the question "How can I...?"

This works for most anything. How can I lose weight? How can I become debt free? How can I learn another language? You get the point.

By asking that one simple question, your mind will be forced to think of your goal as an actual possibility and will begin to provide you with the answers or at the very least a general idea as to where to find the answers that will lead you to your goal.

The next thing I want my readers to do is this. Once you have your answer, take out a piece of paper and clearly trace out all the steps that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be. What do you need to do to achieve your goal?

Next, and this is the hard part, take a step in the direction of your goal. It can be a small step but all journeys start with a first step. Your journey to fulfilling your goal is the same. This is not the time for excuses, you can no longer say "I Can't". Your path is clearly marked by you, all you have to do is start.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tweet This Contest

I know June isn't here yet but I wanted to create a contest to help me spend all these Entrecard Credits so here is what I have come up with. I am going to be giving away 1000 EC credits on June 30th to one lucky reader.

The only thing you have to do is send out a Tweet announcing this contest to other Twitter members. Simple enough, right? After you Tweet this contest please leave a comment in this post so that I may go view the Tweet and enter you for your chance to win.

I will randomly draw a name from all entrants on June 30th and that winner will receive his or her EC credits on the same day.

Good Luck to All Entrants!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

7 Common Marketing Mistakes

Mistakes - anyone that has ever started their own business has made them and it does not matter how much education you have or what you think you know some things that sound great in theory just do not work when you try to implement them.

I want to discuss a few common mistakes that a new business owner can make when marketing their business.

1. Marketing to the wrong people - this one is very easy to do and often results in not only lost time but lost money as well so before you spend one dime on marketing be sure you know who your customers will be.

2. Not believing in your product or service - If you aren't convinced what you have to provide a customer is needed then you will never be able to convince anyone else to purchase it.

3. Cold Calling - Many people will swear by this practice, I myself am against it as I view it as nothing more than telemarketing and you can actually find yourself being fined if the persons you decide to cold call are listed on the do not call registry.

4. Failure to do your homework - This pertains to many things really, everything from knowing who your target customers are to knowing how to effectively price your service or product at a competitive rate and still turn a profit.

5. Failure to create opportunities - this is another very general statement. Creating opportunities can be anything from attending local business networking functions to targeting other businesses in a similar field and going out of your way to meet someone from these other companies. I have found that even when I was unable to achieve a sale I often was given another contacts name of who might be interested. I also have clients that said "no" only to later say "yes" as their own situations changed. Remember a "no" does not mean no, it means "not at this time" or "not under those terms".

6. Failure to follow up with a contact - people get busy, that's a fact of life so you can not expect Mr. X from such and such company to remember to call you about the product or service you spoke of. Get off your butt and call him.

7. Failure to have a business card handy - I can not count the times when I have been introduced to a potential new customer and the one question they always ask is "do you have a business card?" You can not expect to be taken seriously in the business world if you have to ask them to write your number down and you can expect that if you do, your number will be trashed before you are out of sight as will any hope you had of doing business with that individual.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Snakes In The Grass

Watching my business grow these last three years has been amazing, it has had it's ups and downs but somewhere along the way I have managed to overcome every obstacle that has entered my path. I am reminded of this fact almost daily by both well wishers and haters alike. The haters still wishing I would fall while the well wishers are betting I won't even when I doubt myself.

I have tried to help out others along the way but some people can't understand that biting the hand that feeds you often results in you losing your next meal. This happened recently when I discovered one of my employees trying to go behind my back and steal my customers. In situations like this I choose to treat the offender like a snake in the grass and cut their head off. I have in the past and will continue to defend what I have worked so hard to build.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When Should You Hire?

How do you know when it's time to hire people to help your business grow? That can be a very important question you need to know the answer to when growing a business. If you hire too early your profit suffers and if you hire too late your reputation does. For me, I have tried to involve myself in every aspect of my business including getting my hands dirty doing manual labor. I have tried to always operate with the minimal amount of employees to perform the work load and stay on schedule and under budget.

This last month has shown me an increase in the work load to the point that once again I have to hire more help or my companies reputation suffers and I do not forsee a slowdown in business happening anytime soon.

What does this all mean? It means several things, first and foremost it means that I am obviously doing something right. It also means that while other companies are struggling to stay afloat, I am struggling to stay caught up. Between being on the job sites insuring the work is done to company standards and handling the majority of the administration work such as payroll and billing of clients, I am wearing myself down. This is a very good indicator of the need to hire more people.

As business owners we have to be prepared to recognize fluctuations in business for what they are, some are seasonal and will go away almost as fast as they appear based upon the business service or product while others are more stable and apt to hang around longer. Only time and experience will help you learn the difference but once you do, you will know when it is time to hire and when it is not.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Looking Into Expanding My Business

Driving through Norfolk the other day I came to a realization that three years ago I couldn't seem to get my foot in the door at any of the offices I wanted to provide services for; Now just three years later, not much is done in this city that I don't have my business name attached to. I knocked on a lot of doors and got turned down every way possible before I ever got my first client but I never gave up, that just wasn't an option. Today I can be proud of what I have built...Still it isn't enough.

I live in an area known as the 7 cities due to the close proximity of 7 fairly large cities and my company currently provides service to 6 of the cities. The last city has been all but impossible to touch so I had just given up on it, that time has now passed and starting on Monday I will begin targeting that city hard with marketing knowing my business now has a solid reputation to lead my attack.

The time to expand is now!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Naming Your Business

Whats in a name?If you were to believe Shakespeare, a name has very little to do with anything but he did not live in modern times where a business name must not only tell your customer what it is you offer but also has to be memorable.

The right name can help open doors for a new company that ordinarily would be closed. It can be a major factor when it comes time to brand your business. The easier it is to identify your business name, business logo and business slogan with what it is your company offers, the greater your chance of survival and in today's recession, survival is not an option for many people embarking on their entrepreneur journey that they hope will lead to financial stability.

With business booming at my first company I am now heading the launch of another and to be quite honest, the right name just has not come to me yet. I have the finances, the research and a solid plan of action as well as the connections to almost guarantee success however until the right name presents itself, I will not move forward.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Women Roles In Entrepreneurship

Remember when being a nurse was primarily a females job? Now male nurses are in every hospital in the U.S.A. and just as gender roles have changed in that as well as many other occupations, being an entrepreneur was bound to follow suit.

Many of the most respected and successful entrepreneurs in today's society are women which goes to prove that a persons limitations are only defined by that persons drive to succeed. I personally know a female that is owner of no less than five very successful businesses.

I believe that as this economy worsens we will begin to see many more women owned businesses popping up as the need to create income from nothing continues to become a major factor in many American homes. There may soon come a day when you find yourself working for a business that is female owned just as the U.S.A is now for the first time in history run by a mulatto president. Not all will succeed but those that do will usher in a new era where women are no longer considered to be the weaker gender.

As women once entered the workforce and now dominate it, male run companies had better step their game up and learn to compete in a world where women will no longer belong in the kitchen and no longer accept that as their role in life.

Welcome to the 21st century, America.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Re-Value The Dollar

Recently, President Obama has decided to cut federal spending in two ways that I just find so asinine I am in utter disbelief.

Guantanamo Navel Base will be closing and I can not for the life of me understand how this will help, The U.S.A. had it under lease for 99 years at the very large price tag of $1 per year. I myself would have gladly paid that. Russia and China are both bidding for the lease.Cuba is 90 miles from the U.S. , President Kennedy once took us to the brink of war to not allow them to place missiles that close to our borders which in turn would enable them a first strike capability we just can not allow.

Next, President Obama has proposed cutting prolonged health insurance coverage for wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. In short he hopes to save money by allowing these brave men and women to suffer not only their physical wounds but also a financial burden. This is unacceptable in my eyes and any politician that votes yes on this should be immediatly impeached.

Now I would like to mention a few key areas where I see funding should be cut in order to strengthen the economy and decrease the U.S. deficit.

1. End the war in Iraq - It has already cost the U.S. 607 Billion Dollars. About 80% of the soldiers deployed there are single, the act of bringing them home alone would mean mass flow of new money into the U.S. economy every 2 weeks while much of that is currently being banked or spent overseas. As a former Marine I can tell you there is a big boom in car sales each and every time the troops come home which in turn helps out the auto industry as well as the banks who finance the cars. Both of those institutions just recently requested and got approved for bail outs at taxpayers expense.

2. Welfare - Set a 6 month limitation on all government allocated welfare programs. There are families that have lived on the welfare system for years already and will continue to do so until forced to do otherwise. 6 months is sufficient time for anyone that is trying to get back on their feet. In colonial times if you didn't work you didn't eat, they built a great nation by not coddling those too lazy to work.

3. Disability - restructure the criteria for eligibility. There are some very deserving people that are really diabled to the point that they can not work but there are also hundreds of thousands of families recieving checks monthly because their children are diagnosed with ADHD. Years ago ADHD was nothing more than saying the child was a brat and needed discipline at home, parents of unruly children did not get awarded free money for it. ADHD checks should be cut completely.

4. Oil Dependence - The U.S.A. is the largest importer and user of all the worlds oil. As recently as last year OPEC consistently raised the price of a barrel of oil and we all saw gas prices soar. The worst part is that we own the Alaska pipeline and have never used any of the oil it produced. It has been stockpiled in for federal emergencies (W.W. III) Right before President Bush left office he passed a bill to allow the United States to start selling that oil to Japan. Any of President Obamas accountants should be able to sit down with him and explain supply and demand. OPEC raised the prices because we were at war in both Iraq and Afghanistan and war machines demand oil to run. If we simply used the oil we already own and have stockpiled since 1977, we can remove the demand and since we are the largest importer, OPEC would drop prices to whatever we wanted to pay versus what they feel they can get. Any Wal Mart executive could have done a better job on that one.

5.Katrina - So many years and New Orleans is still not rebuilt, focus government spending there. It will not only bring back one of our most historic cities, rebuilding it will means jobs for so many construction workers which in turn lowers the unemployment rate but also strengthens the economy as these workers start spending their paychecks. Its not just the construction workers that benefit either, lumber mills would have to increase production to meet the supply of materials, the same with door shops, window plants, concrete suppliers...the list goes on. Any item purchased with money earned from these new jobs also has to be made someplace and shipped. Everything is like a set of dominoes where the first effects the next.

6. N.A.F.T.A - This was a stupid idea from the start, in the old days a company that imported a product to the U.S.A. was taxed heavily on the product before it could be sold on U.S. soil. N.A.F.T.A. allowes these companies to import these products for free so in turn U.S. companies started moving their factories and plants overseas and into Mexico as a way of obtaining cheaper labor. When the products are brought back into the U.S. the prices are still the same as what they were had the products been made here. In theory the companies figured a cheaper cost to produce yet can still be sold for normal prices = winning. Wrong Answer! More and more companies fell for this way of thinking and more and more Americans lost their jobs that were now being outsourced, hence less people able to afford the products when they arrive back in the U.S.A. The simple act of withdrawing from the N.A.F.T.A. treaty will force these companies to return jobs to U.S. soil or face strict taxes for failure to do so and let's face it, If we can decrease unemployment the economy gets stronger as this new money is spent.

There are 6 simple solutions that would help strengthen our economy. If given a few days to write this post I could have named 60 more. It is time to take our heads out our asses and look at the big picture Mr. President. Every action will influence our economy and saving $1 a year for 99 years is not the solution.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Want My Bail Out Mr. President

Freddie and Fannie, Banks, Auto Dealerships, and now AIG? Can anyone explain to me just wtf is going on when our leaders that are supposed to be looking after the interest of our nation so readily fund billions of dollars for people that have already proven they have no idea how to handle money?

As a small business owner I find it an insane practice. If I go screw up my money I would be forced to close my business and either get a real job or simply do without yet if a company is making and throwing away billions through bad money management they can now simply request a do-over from congress. I understand that President Obama and congress as a whole are struggling with finding a way to balance our budget. I understand that if many of these businesses closed it could be a devastating blow to America as a whole with jobs being lost by the tens of thousands. That much I get.

What I dont get is why we so readily hand over billions in taxpayers money to these same people that have already shown either a lack of common sense when it comes to spending or a general inability to control their habits. God forbid they not be allowed to take their private jets everyplace they go or have to cancel their monthly visit to the Virgin Islands. I say before another bail out is allowed to take place our leaders must institute some kind of check and balance system to account for where and how the money will be spent. Any company that requests a bail out should immediately be placed under financial control of the government, all of their company officers and board of directors removed from any decision making power and their personal salaries adjusted accordingly.

Just as I will not give my hard earned money to the alcoholic standing next to the outside of a convenience store (I will buy him food if he asks), America should not expect taxpayers to fund unregulated bail outs of the super rich and their out of control spending habits. Save the companies? Yes, Their collapse affects too many american jobs. Support the habit? Hell No!

It's time we as Americans inform congress that continued misuse and misappropriations of taxpayers funds will not be tolerated. I urge you all to write your congressman and if necessary next election vote someone new into office.

Oh and Mr. President, in case you somehow stumble upon this blog, I am serious about a bail out. As a small business owner, I think a few million will suffice. I will even give to your re-election fund if you can grant that.

Tune in next post as I explain to the powers that be my own plan to balance the budget.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Views On Todays Economy

As more and more people are finding themselves laid off as America's economy continues to slide, we see more and more of the entrepreneur spirit coming out of people. Necessity being the mother of invention, people are now finding that when they can no longer find employment, they must invent ways to earn cash. Some do this through odd jobs while others have embraced the internet as a way to make and sell everything from their own thoughts in ebooks to home made jewelry.

It does not appear that President Obama is the savior he has been perceived as and things will get worse before they ever get better. While I do not blame the President for this, I do recognize that he was hyped up way beyond what any single man can accomplish and has a hard row to hoe to bring America through this crisis. He will make some mistakes, hopefully not too many. We as a people must learn what is within each of us to invent our own hustle just to survive and not be dependent upon our government to bail us out as if we were Freddie and Fannie.

When all is said and done I personally believe that a shift of economic power will happen mainly because the rich do not know how to "do poor" making the poor and middle class better able to handle the current crisis through our own survival methods of inventing the hustle. Just like the collapse of the stock market in 1929, the rich are more inclined to commit suicide than to face life where they may actually have to work.

Respect The Hustle!

Why Education In America Sucks!

If I had to speak on education in America I would call it mediocre at best. Sure, school taught me to read and write, add and subtract. It also taught me how to follow a structured societies rules and regulations to the point of changing classes when a bell rang. In this sense school in America prepares us all for corporate America and working a 9-5 job.

Continued education is not much better, it teaches college kids to do well and be competitive so that they can take their degrees and move into better paying jobs with fortune 500 companies but still how to become a slave to the system.

School does not foster free thinking that is a necessity in the entrepreneur world, it merely teaches our students to all think alike and the person with the most correct answers in the test of life will get the better paying jobs.

As an entrepreneur, I find that I think outside the box and this works for me as I am happier creating my own goals and dreams than in following those set before me by society as being what I can achieve given my high school diploma and average grades I attained during high school (I partied a lot, sue me).

When I first tasted success as a business man I used to wonder when business would top out, according to society and school standards I am not supposed to be doing this well or earning this much money. I have since learned the answer to that, contrary to what I learned in school, I control what I can achieve, I set my own limits and I do not see an end to what I can accomplish.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Social Networking Site for Entrepreneurs

Any budding entrepreneurs should go check out Venture Biz Kid and watch the videos about how some millionaire teens made their money. It is very interesting to say the least.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Budgeting for an Emergency

Whether you are a small business owner or just the average housewife in Ks. trying to budget a household, this post may help get you motivated towards living a more frugal lifestyle. In either situation, you will face unexpected expenses from time to time and the better you prepare yourself for these things from a financial point, the faster you will be able to recover from them.

This starts with your emergency fund or as I like to call it the cushion of comfort as it is what you will rely on to catch you when life tries to knock you down. The emergency fund is often the hardest thing to set up when budgeting as many questions often accompany the very act of starting it. I am going to answer some of these questions to the best of my ability right now.

How much should you set aside?

It doesn't matter if you set aside $10 a week or $100 a week as long as you continue doing so until you have at least 3 months salary.

When is your emergency fund large enough?

As mentioned above, you will want at least 3 months salary, more is better, it all depends on how large a cushion of comfort you want.

What constitutes an emergency?

An emergency is a situation in which you or your family would suffer. It can be a health issue, vehicle problems, natural disaster, anything that is both unplanned and at the same time something you just can not live without. It should not be confused with everyday wants and desires.

What do I do if I have a genuine emergency and simply must go into my emergency fund?

As soon as is feasible, you should treat the emergency as you would any other bill, turn it into a loan that has to be paid back. Make your payments both realistic as well as timely while continuing to contribute however much you normally would have. I would never suggest robbing Peter to pay Paul so do not let other bills slide to do this. Instead I suggest looking for things around you that you can eliminate that are not needed. If you rent movies every Friday, cut back to every other Friday. If you have Starbucks every morning, buy a coffee pot and make your own coffee. Who needs to spend $8 on a coffee anyway?

The Debt Free Life

I have a very good friend that has just entered debt free status after 6 long years of working on it.

First, congrats go out to her, I knew she could do it. For others still struggling to reach that point, I want to send out encouragement, it isn't always easy to do and for some people it is harder since we don't all have the same bills however with the right amount of time and discipline, Anything Is Possible.

To anyone just starting on the journey towards being debt free, know it can be done, even in today's recession. You just have to set your goal and stay focused.There will be set backs along the way, that's just life happening. Don't allow a set back to make you give up. In need of more encouragement? There are a ton of blogs dedicated to this very niche, just remember the best ones are the ones you don't have to buy information from (usually in the form of an over-priced E-book).

If you are on your way to being debt free or have already reached your goal, please feel free to drop a comment sharing your story or a link to it.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

...And the Winner Is

I would like to extend special Congratulations and Thanks, not to mention 1000 EC credits to Dallas Marketing Services for winning my contest for most drops to this blog for February. The 1000 EC credits have been sent . Special Recognition also goes out to Raging Rev and Moshi and Kibo's Dog Blog who also did not miss a drop all month.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Invest In Yourself

Recently a friend of mine called me up asking me to lend a few minutes of my time to another area small business owner. I agreed simply because I saw it as another potential contact so a meeting was arranged at a local restaurant.

Upon arriving I saw that this gentleman had arrived 20 minutes early.Introductions were made and the conversation quickly turned to business or more to his lack of business. He had purchased an already built business with the understanding that the seller would be turning over all contracts and clients to him. The seller had quickly disappeared before the client information was ever exchanged leaving this man trying to tread water in the deep end of the pool where the big boys swim.

He was ready to give up completely after having tried cold calling had led to no sales. I quickly started explaining to him techniques such as the importance of having professional business cards and a website and explaining to him techniques I had used when I first started out, what had worked and what didn't. I explained to him the importance of having insurance, being bonded, and carrying workmans compensation insurance. The following is briefly how our conversation went from that point.

Him: A lot of what you are suggesting costs money

Me: Let me ask you this, can you do the job ?

Him: Yes

Me : are others making money in this area doing the same job?

Him: Yes

Me: Whats the difference between you and them?

Him: They have customers

Me: If you were to hire a company to do the same job for you, would you go with the one that had all his insurances and bonding or with the other guy that didn't?

Him: I suppose I would want the insured guy in case something happened

Me: Do you see where I'm going with this?

In the business world you have to be willing to invest in yourself, business is not exactly rocket science in most cases. If spending a few extra hundred dollars a month will enable you to make a few thousand extra that you would have not been able to had you not spent it, the worth outweighs the cost. If the cost does not outweigh the worth then by all means pass on it. See not rocket science at all, just common sense.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Quit Wasting Money On E-Books

Awhile back, I posted a list of Successful Men That Didn't Complete College and I had hoped it would inspire many of my readers to chase their dreams and to realize that anything in life is possible if you believe in yourself and your idea,vision,whatever you decide to call it.

Watching my own small business grow larger each day has been great and I still have no college degree. That is not to say that I don't believe in education. Knowledge truly is power, I just choose to get my knowledge from books and real world experience. I am not talking about those make $10,000 a day by doing nothing ebooks that are always for sale, as long as you beat the deadline, either.

I choose to read the books written by the men that can truly inspire you to success and do not promise you anything but hard work and the knowledge that it can be done.These books can be bought at any bookstore or found in most any library so there also is no $49.95 fee associated with them either. That money is best used for your business.

Some Books I recommend are below:

Losing My Virginity - Richard Branson (or any book by him for that matter)
Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill
Way to the Top - Donald Trump

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Great Minds Think Alike - Tips on Building Your Dream Team

"Great minds think alike"...We have all heard these words but how exactly do they pertain to business?

In the business world it is very important to surround yourself with like minded individuals, what good is a plan if the people working for you do not understand it enough to see the big picture? If you have built your business with a solid foundation of people that can not only see the bigger picture but are also as hungry as you are for success, your odds of survival increase drastically.

The hiring process is where building that strong foundation starts. Not every person you know will be cut out to be a part of your team and recognizing this early in is key. If you hire anyone and everyone that needs a job, you will get what you pay for. Seek out qualified people to work for you just as you would seek out a qualified doctor to heal you.

Positive energy creates positive results, unfortunately anyone can fake positive energy for a 30 minute job interview. As a business owner you must learn to recognize when that 30 minutes is up and must also learn how to cut the slackers from your team before they infect not only your other workers but your clients as well.

Listen to your employees ideas on how to better the business, if you don't feel as if they are capable of coming up with some really great ideas, perhaps their 30 minutes have already expired because you just can't fix stupid.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Initiating Contact With a Prospective Client

Today I spoke with another small business owner friend of mine and the recession and how it was affecting sales came up. He was complaining that he had no idea why his salespeople just couldn't seal the deal so I asked him what their method of making contacts was. I was not very surprised to hear him say that they were making initial contact via telephone and then actively pursuing all interested potential clients with a face to face meeting.

Let's stop and think about that for a second...who are some of the most hated people anyplace? Telemarketers...With that being known, I would never attempt to make initial contact with a potential client over the phone.

I initiate contact with a visit to the clients office where I request a meeting with the person that makes the decisions. If I have done my homework beforehand, I already know this individuals name. I may or may not get the meeting depending on how much of a power trip the secretary (henceforth known as the gatekeeper) is on.

Quick Tip on bypassing the gatekeepers: Dress for success and carry yourself in a professional manner. Gatekeepers are less likely to turn you away if they think you are somebody important.

Once you have managed to get a meeting, keep your business presentation between 3 and 5 minutes. If after your meeting, you are met with a "No" do not accept that as a final answer. Ask what the objection to doing business with your company is, perhaps it is something as minute as the price isn't right. Look for a viable solution to satisfy the objection and still land the deal but...and here is the important not agree to any deal that puts your company in a situation you do not feel comfortable with. If you have to make a certain amount of money per job just to turn a profit, refuse to negotiate yourself into a bad deal. You will save yourself a lot of trouble later by standing your ground.

This method will not magically help you seal every deal but I guarantee you will get further through face to face meetings than you ever will over the phone.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Quote of the Day

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Thomas A. Edison

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Feel Bad Hurts

It's official... I am sick.I won't go into details but will instead use this post to address a problem many small businesses fail to prepare for. If you are like me, in the early days you structured your business to run long as you were at the helm. What happens when you are incapable of being there? Do you have a back-up chain of command ready to step in and get the job done?

The last thing a customer or client wants to hear is that your illness delays their plans, an illness that inconveniences you for a few days could potentially cost your company tens of thousands in future sales. I learned this lesson awhile back and have since put together a contingency plan that allows my business to continue running without me.

Today's lesson is that nobody is invincible, build your business to withstand the unexpected.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Win 1000 Entrecard Credits

This month I will be holding a contest, participation is very easy. To enter to win 1000 Entrecard credits you have to simply drop your card on my site. On February 28th, the dropper with the most cards dropped on my site will be awarded 1000 Entrecard credits.

In the event of a tie, the winner will be chosen through a random drawing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Un-Art of Procrastination

Un-Art...Is that even a word? Who Cares? Lets talk about procrastination. We have all been guilty of it from time to time and I am sure we have all learned along the way it will get us nowhere. I personally know people that are going to start their own business...when they get around to it. Others are going to fix their spouses car...when they get around to it...Still more are going to start saving an emergency fund...when they get around to it. Do we see where this is going? Nowhere fast!

Procrastination is a very easy habit to slip into and a very hard habit to break but it can be broken, you simply have to decide to no longer look for excuses as to why you can't go do something and instead focus on the reasons why you should do something. If the end result is appealing to you, quit worrying about why you shouldn't do something now and just do it already. You will reach your goal quicker than if you do nothing.

Remember: Tomorrow never comes...Yesterday never was...Today always is! Seize the Day!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ryan Wins It

Anyone that watched the reality t.v. show "Money and the Power" should already know that Ryan Mayberry walked away with the $100,000 prize and a chance to turn his dream into a reality. First, I would like to wish Ryan and all the best, the idea works in theory, now go make it happen.

I think after watching the episode, Ryan pretty much summed up the entrepreneur spirit with the words "There is no plan B". A true entrepreneur will realize early on that it is ok to hear the word no, it is not ok to accept that as a final answer. Whether you endeavor to build an online empire or something more tangible such as a brick and mortar store, you are the only one that can make or break your dream.

Failure is never considered an option in the eyes of a true entrepreneur and while he or she may adjust their business plan along the way, they will learn to roll with the punches and know that the difference between being successful and being a failure is just the ability to get up one more time than you get knocked down.

Congrats again to Ryan.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Business Branding

For anyone that has never heard of Business Branding I will attempt to explain. Business Branding is nothing more than building an image that is immediately thought of whenever people see your logo, hear your slogan, or even just hear your business name.

If I were to say "Clean as a Whistle" who would not conjure up the name Irish Spring to go with it?

After spending the last 2 years growing my client base I am spending more time this year on branding my business which is not always an easy task. I want my customers as well as others to have total confidence in my business being able to deliver quality services at low prices every time. While I have not come up with a great slogan I do have my custom designed logo and will be soon requiring all of my employees to wear shirts sporting it as well as the company phone number.

I have plans to redesign my company website as well as seek outside help to come up with a slogan suitable for success.

I also welcome any other ideas my readers may have used to help brand their own businesses.

If done right, Business Branding can really pay off however one should also remember that a brand, like a companies reputation can be destroyed fast, if
anyone doubts that just ask Micheal Vick.

Off to a Good Start

As of right now, 2009 is off to a good start business wise. I have been slammed with work and the recession is showing no sign of hindering my business at all. Through nothing more than luck I have also acquired a second business complete with client base, contracts, and potential contracts in the works. This has kept me jumping to stay on top of things so neither business suffers, all clients are kept happy, and the profits continue to roll in.

To say that it hasn't taken a lot of hard work, drive and dedication to make it this far would be a flat out lie. I can remember the days when the business was first started that my business partner and myself wondered if any of it was worth it. Just building an initial client base was probably the hardest thing either of us had ever attempted. Now as I move into the third year in business I can look back at mistakes that were made and know that with every mistake came knowledge that helped me get to where I am now.

To new business owners I offer this bit of advice: Believe in yourself and whenever anyone tells you that something can't be done or that you will fail, use that to fuel your desire to succeed. Only you can kill your dream but, on the same token, only you can make your dream a reality.

Success does not come to you, you go to it!