Friday, September 28, 2012

6 Easy Ways to Revive Your Business & Your Passion

By Ali Brown



Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that to stay passionate about your work, you must infuse new life and purpose into your business on a daily basis. It's not always about throwing out your old ways of doing things. Sometimes, all it takes are a few small changes.

Read on for six ways you can revive your passion and purpose in your business.

  1. Appreciate your peeps. Take a break from number-crunching and ground yourself in an equally valuable and tangible asset: your clients and customers. Think of ways you can show them you value them, whether it be a gracious Tweet, a customer appreciation sale or a coupon to your loyal clients. You'd be surprised how your mood will change when you acknowledge what you DO have in your life.
  2. Get your team excited. It's important for you to be excited about your business, but your employees should also be equally invested and excited in the future of the company. Share often with your employees about new developments, where the company is going and what can be done to get there. Make your team feel like an active part of company culture and lead by example. To keep your team engaged, try to uncover hidden strengths by matching employees to new projects out of their usual roles. 
  3. Take a risk. Yes, it can be scary to break away from a model that has proven successful, but you have to realize something important: It's your own passion for business, rather than any particular model, that drives its success. You don't have to throw out your #1 revenue generator, but think of some add-ons you can create to enhance your current offerings or new ways to package your services or products. The bottom line is, when things are getting a little dull, don't be afraid to shake things up!
  4. Invest in yourself as you would your business. Many business owners forget to take care of themselves because they spend so much time taking care of their business. But, if you aren't feeling your best, how can your business be expected to grow and thrive? Take the time to feed yourself with daily exercise, proper nutrition and plenty of sleep. You'll be ready and able to approach your business with the necessary passion and commitment each day.
  5. Get networking! There are few better ways to get excited about your business than by forming new business relationships or simply meeting fellow entrepreneurs in your local community. Join a local nonprofit, attend a conference, or go to a networking event in your town. Talking about your business to others might help revive your spirit, and you might learn some new strategies from your new connections (not to mention potential clients or leads).
  6. Look to the future. When you get bogged down in the day-to-day details of running a successful business, it's all too easy to lose sight of the big picture. Learn to look past the present obstacles and see what the future holds. Ask yourself if your business strategy is centered around your personal business values and mission statement. Visualize the future you'd like to see for your company, and map out the action plan you need to get there. It might not happen overnight, or exactly the way you planned, but your persistence will pay off, as long as you stay the course. 


Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD "Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women" at www.AliBrown.com.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Motivational Monday - 9.24.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Goals. There's no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them."

- Jim Rohn

Friday, September 21, 2012

What Does Your Business Need to Succeed in 2013?

By LaKesha Womack


2013?!?

Yes, you read that correctly...2013.

Now that September is in full swing, most business owners know that this year is virtually over. If you don't already have a strategy for the holiday season and a roadmap of what you will be doing for the fourth quarter, then you are really behind the eight ball.

For those of you who understand the importance of business planning, which is not the same as writing a business plan, you know that now is the time to start making some assessments about what your business is going to need in 2013. This is the time of the year to start reflecting on what you have achieved in 2012, what you wish you could have or should have done differently and to start creating some goals for next year.

"Why so soon?" some of you may be asking...

Business planning takes time. It should not be something that you jump up today and say, "I want to add a new product to my mix," or "I want to start offering xyz service." If you are going to make changes to your business then you need to think about how those changes will be integrated with your current offering. You need to have an idea of how it will generate revenue, if it will be profitable and how you will market to your customers.

What are some things to consider when planning for 2013?


  1. Human Resource needs - Do you need to add or remove any team members? Are there roles that need to be redefined in order to make your business more efficient? Are there resources such as a policy manual or code of conduct that needs to be drafted? The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to put such changes in effect because it allows you to start the new year fresh and with a clean slate. Rather than hastily try to implement these changes during the holidays, which, for must of us, will be extremely busy or our downtime, spend the next few months crafting your plan and be prepared to execute on January 1, 2013.
  2. Marketing Strategy - I know you did some things really well this year in terms of getting the word out about your business, but I am sure there are some things that you wish you had done better. Take an honest look at your marketing plan from 2012, the strategies that you were able to execute and contrast them with the results. Where did most of your business come from in 2012? Is this consistent with where your marketing efforts were focused? The answer to those two questions should give you some idea of what you can do to improve next year as well as what you should continue and/or ramp up. It's great to create a laundry list of things we would like to do to promote our businesses, but we have to be realistic and focus on the things that are generating revenue and building our brand.
  3. Cash Flow Projections. You should be tracking your monthly cash flow so that you know exactly how much money is coming into your business and going out each month. Based on that information, you should be able to identify some trends. Which months were more robust? Which months were slower? Which months did you spend more money? Which months did you spend less? Take those numbers and create some projections for 2013. Consider some things that you can do to increase revenue during the months that sales were low (take into consideration that the strategy should be implemented at least one to two months prior to the month that you want to see the results). Cash flow projections differ from budgets because they are usually drafted on a month-by-month basis. Your revenue and expenses are probably not consistent each month, and you should be aware of those trends.
  4. Networking - There were a lot of events that I wanted to attend this year. I was able to attend some and missed quite a few. Each year, I create a wish list of conferences and events to attend along with a budget of how much it will cost, including registration, hotel, travel and entertainment/food. As the event draws near, I assess my budget to see if it is feasible for me to attend. In some cases, it is not, but in many cases, it is. Having this type of plan for 2013 will help you to assess the opportunities in advance rather than waiting until the last minute and wasting money on an advance registration to an event that you may not be able to attend or attempting to spend money that you don't have. Make sure you have identified at least three organizations that you want to be involved with - whether locally or nationally - and focus your efforts on building relationships with those groups rather than trying to be all over the place and not cultivating any relationships. Networking offline is vital to the success of your business. Many people want to put a face with a brand. 
  5. Processes and Systems - Take a step back and look at how your business is operating. What are some things that you can do to become efficient? Do you need a scheduling assistant to better manage your time? Do you need to spend more or less time on social media? Do you need a better system to manage your leads? Whatever those things are, you should spend the next few months making some assessments and then creating a strategy for implementation. This includes adding or subtracting products/services. Create a timeline of the product/service roll out and make sure that it is consistent with your marketing and cash flow projections while ensuring that you have the team members available to make it a success.

The end of September marks the end of the third quarter of 2012. At this point, you should be preparing to implement your fourth quarter strategy and creating a plan for 2013. If you feel overwhelmed or as if you need some help, contact me for a complimentary consultation to help get your business on track in 2013.

LaKesha Womack is the author of My Money Matters, Success Secrets for the Young & Fabulous, Building a Brand without Spending a Bundle and Is She The ONE; host of The Lakesha Womack Show; and business consultant with Womack Consulting Group. 

She has over 10 years of management, training and consulting experience in a variety of industries, including financial services, publishing, retail and real estate. Womack Consulting Group is your one-stop source for business development and marketing services. Their professional and friendly team helps individuals start businesses, grow an exisiting business and/or create an easily identifiable brand that enhances your visibility and profitability. Contact WCG today for a complimentary consultation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Motivational Monday - 9.17.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat and despair and are the tools God uses to show us the way."

- Paulo Coelho

Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivational Monday - 9.10.12

Motivational thoughts to inspire you!

"Even if things don't unfold the way you expected, don't be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end."

- Daisaku Ikeda 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chunk-Down that Goal

By Jack Canfield



Sometimes, our biggest life goals seem so overwhelming.

We rarely see them as a series of small, achievable tasks, but in reality, breaking down a large goal into smaller tasks -- and accomplishing them one at a time -- is exactly how any big goal gets achieved.

After you have decided what you really want, with specific deadlines, the next step is to determine all of the individual action steps you will need to take to accomplish your goal.

How to Chunk it Down
There are several ways to figure out the action steps you will need to take to accomplish any goal. One is to consult with people who have already done what you want to do and ask what steps they took. From their experience, they can give you all of the necessary steps as well as advice on what pitfalls to avoid.

Another way is to purchase a book or manual that outlines the process.

Yet another way is to start from the end and look backward. You simply close your eyes and imagine that it is now the future and you have already achieved your goal. Then just look back and see what you had to do to get to where you now are. What was the last thing you did? And then the thing before that, and then the thing before that, until you arrive at the first action you had to start with.

Remember that it is okay not to know how to do something.

It's okay to ask for guidance and advice from those who do know. Sometimes you can get it free, and sometimes you have to pay for it. Get used to asking, "Can you tell me how to go about...?" and "What would I have to do to...?" and "How did you...?"

Keep researching and asking until you can create a realistic action plan that will get you from where you are to where you want to go.

What will you need to do? How much money will you need to save or raise? What new skills will you need to learn? What resources will you need to mobilize? Who will you need to enroll in your vision? Who will you need to ask for assistance? What new disciplines or habits will you need to build into your life?

Another valuable technique for creating an action plan for your goals is called mind mapping.

How to Use Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a simple but powerful process for creating a detailed to-do list for achieving your goal. It lets you determine what information you'll need to gather, who you'll need to talk to, what small steps you'll need to take, how much money you'll need to earn or raise, which deadlines you'll need to meet and so on -- for each and every goal.

When I began creating my first educational audio program -- a breakthrough goal that led to extraordinary gains for me and my business -- I used mind mapping to help me "chunk down" that very large goal into all the individual tasks I would need to complete to produce a finished product.

To mind-map your own goals, follow these steps as illustrated in the example:

  1. Center circle: In the center, jot down the name of your stated goal -- in this case, Create an Audio Educational Program.
  2. Outside circles: Next, divide the goal into the major categories of tasks you'll need to accomplish to achieve the greater goal -- in this case, Title, Studio, Topics, Audience and so on.
  3. Spokes: Then, draw spokes radiating outward from each mini-circle and label each one (such as Write Copy, Color Picture for Back Cover and Arrange Lunch).


On a separate line connected to the mini-circle, write every single step you'll need to take. Break down each one of the more detailed task spokes with action items to help you create your master to-do list.

Next, Make a Daily To-Do List
Once you've completed a mind map of your goal, convert all of the to-do items into daily action items by listing each one on your daily to-do lists and committing to a completion date for each one. Then schedule them in the appropriate order into your calendar, and do whatever it takes to stay on schedule.

Do First Things First
The goal is to stay on schedule and complete the most important item first. In his excellent book, Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, Brian Tracy reveals not just how to conquer procrastination but also how to prioritize and complete all of your action items.

In his unique system, Brian advises goal setters to identify the one to five things you must accomplish on any given day, and then pick the one you absolutely must do first. This becomes your biggest and ugliest frog.

He then suggests you accomplish that task first -- in essence, eat that frog first -- and by doing so, make the rest of your day much, much easier. It's a great strategy. But unfortunately, most of us leave the biggest and ugliest frog for last, hoping it will go away or somehow become easier. It never does. However, when you accomplish your toughest task early in the day, it sets the tone for the rest of your day.

By chunking down your goals, and then taking daily action on them, you create momentum and build your confidence, both of which move you farther and faster toward the achievement of your goals. 

Now go take some action!

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul (c) and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Monday, September 3, 2012

Motivational Monday - 9.3.12

Motivational thoughts to inspire you

"Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit."

- Conrad Hilton
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