Need To Fire Up Your Startup

Idea

To make an idea a success, it does not always have to be brilliant. In some cases, small, petty ideas which were developed with no particular monetary motive, lead to major revolution in the business world. When Facebook was developed, money-making was never the aim. It was developed in a college dorm with the sole purpose of unifying all the communities of college via a social media platform. But as we all know, this unusual idea of online interactions is now earning billions of dollars for Mark Zuckerberg.

People

Employees are a company’s greatest asset, they are your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best, provide them with encouragement, stimulus and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission. The startups should hire experienced people who know how to do their job well and will stay with the company in times of crisis. When employees are satisfied, the productivity of the company increases. Every startup requires people who consider themselves an integral part of it and treat it as one of their own ventures.

Funding

As Garret Camp, the founder of Uber suggested that, “Stay self-funded as long as possible”. You have to keep testing, reinvesting, extending, partnering, and taking risks you hope but cannot guarantee, will pay off in order to build an organisation. Money is the building block on which the company grows. To keep the organisation running smoothly, it should have an adequate amount of funds and resourceful minds to spend it intelligently.

Mentors

Many startups feel apprehensive about finding their ideal mentor and the main reason behind this apprehension is the quality of personal coaching they would provide. Mentors are instructors who boost and motivate the companies to grow forward. These motivators play a crucial role of complementing the company’s strategies and strengths.

Be a Innovative Entrepreneur

Be Curious

You cannot be innovative unless you are curious about life, about what happens around you. Resolve to start looking at your experiences differently. Constantly questions things that happen to you. Why did it happen that like that? What would need to be done if I wanted a different outcome? What would that outcome be? How could that outcome be achieved?

Open up your eyes and your mind and start being curious.

Be Open to New Ideas

Being open to new ideas means putting yourself in situations where you can receive stimulation. You may not be seeking inspiration or a solution to problems but make sure you are regularly mixing with other business owners. Get into networking groups; seek out people who can give you fresh insights even if they are not within your sector or industry; read magazines and journals which are unrelated to your business.

Be Just Plain Weird!

Innovation rarely happens if you act within accepted norms. Deciding that something can’t be done because it has never been done will not win you any prizes. Being innovative means being prepared to act against accepted or conventional wisdom; being prepared to challenge the unchallengeable is the way innovators succeed. In a nutshell … go against the crowd and be weird

Be Ready

Innovative ideas can strike at any time of the day or night or in any place. Don’t assume that ideas will pop up when you are sitting at your desk. As we saw in the previous point y their very nature innovative ideas are weird so expect them to surface in weird places! To capture them before they fall into the recesses of your mind always carry a notebook, Dictaphone, or PDA.

However outlandish the idea may seem write it down and resolve to look at it when you are in your most innovative frame of mind!

Be Persistent

Being innovative means being persistent. Whilst you may find a solution to your problem immediately but it very rarely happens that way. Solutions are out there, it just how long you are prepared to wait for them to appear.

Be Willing to Share

Whilst an innovative idea can strike and you can immediately take action invariably it takes someone else to fill in the missing pieces. Don’t stumble around in the dark; find someone you can trust, someone who has the qualifications necessary to help move your idea forward.

Make Money Doing Almost Zero Work

You ever been, amigo?

Anyway, it’s called a “holiday” for a reason… I want to go there and really enjoy myself. And that means doing almost ZERO work.

Yet most entrepreneurs and business owners can’t go on holiday and just chill.

Why?

Because they haven’t got automated sales and marketing systems in place. If they did have, then they could happily jet off to wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted.

So how am I gonna make money these next two weeks without doing an ounce of work?

Simple:

I’ve ALREADY written the emails I’ll be sending to my email list whilst I’m away. I’ve just scheduled them to be sent at specific times over the next two weeks (with at least one email being sent every day).

If you’re a beginner when it comes to email marketing (or you don’t currently know anything about it at all), let me assure you this is very easy to do. You just need to write your emails on whichever email service provider platform you use (I decided to go with a company called Aweber) and then you schedule it to be sent on a time and a date of your choice.

It really is that simple.

And you know what?

I think this is the BIGGEST benefit of email marketing… The fact you can run a business which lets you live a great life.

This is the holy grail of business, right?

Yet so many entrepreneurs struggle to do this. Their sales and marketing consists of them wasting hours and hours on social media and/or on making cold calls. Whilst I’m not denying these methods can be effective at making sales, they certainly aren’t the most time-efficient method.

Think about it: How many hours does it take you to pick up one paying client on Facebook? And I imagine it takes even longer when cold-calling.

Yet an email can take as little as ten to twenty minutes to write. Once you hit “send”, it will be sent out to your entire email list. Depending on the size of your email list, you could potentially be sending your sales message to thousands of people at one time.

And these aren’t “cold” prospects either. These will all be people who have already opted to subscribe to your email list, meaning they’ll at least be what you’d call “warm” prospects.

In order to do this well though, you need to learn all the insider tricks, techniques and secrets that will allow you to make potentially a lot of money every single day via email marketing.

Here’s a FREE gift for you, which will help you get started:

About Keeping Score In Small Business

Imagine you are at a baseball game and the scoreboard is not working. Imagine further that neither of the managers is keeping track of balls and strikes, or outs, or runs. How would the manager decide when to bunt, swing away or steal? How would the players know which base to throw to? Further, if no records are kept, how would they know who their best hitters are? How does each hitter do against right or left handed pitching? I don’t think either of the managers of these teams would be in a position to devise an effective strategy for winning the game. If the talent of each team is roughly equal, strategy will determine the outcome of the game. In fact, the weaker the talent of any team is, the more important strategy becomes.

Of course, this does not happen in the real baseball world. But it certainly happens in the small business world.

Accounting is nothing more than keeping score. It is a virtual certainty that the failure to measure results in a timely manner will result business owners discovering what has happened after it’s too late to do anything about it.

Keep in mind that measuring results goes well beyond basic accounting activities. For instance your company may be quite profitable and successful and the owner may enjoy a flexible entrepreneurial work schedule. The company spends a significant amount of money on advertising but there is no method in place to measure the amount of business derived from each type of advertisement. As long as the company keeps making money no one is concerned. However, there may be money being wasted on advertisements that are ineffective or do not generate enough business to justify the cost. If, at some future date, it becomes necessary to reduce advertising expenditures, how will the owner know which campaigns to eliminate? It’s too late to obtain the information necessary to evaluate the alternatives.

There are many easy to use software products available that require no accounting knowledge. They will allow you to know what has happened in the past, what is happening now and, if used effectively, will allow you to know what will happen next.

About Setting Up A Bookkeeping System

Begin by labeling your folders. Common sections of your file folder may include:

  • Pending Orders (Orders that are in the process of being shipped, completed, etc.)
  • Paid Orders (Orders/Services that are completed and paid for)
  • Bills Due (Invoices for items the company owes)
  • Banking Information (includes Bank Statements)
  • Receipts/Bills Paid (All other expenses that don’t fall into the 5 categories below)
  • Vehicle Information (Mileage Logs, Vehicle Maintenance Receipts, Licensing Fees)
  • Insurance
  • Charitable Contributions
  • Advertising
  • Fixed Assets (Any receipts for equipment, furniture, computers, etc that can be depreciated)
  • Miscellaneous (For anything you just are not sure of!)
  • Review your Pending Orders folder monthly to ensure your orders are being completed and moved to Paid Orders in a timely manner. The Bills Due section of your file folder should be reviewed twice monthly to ensure payments are being made on-time. Here is a list of common business deductions to aid you in organizing your receipts:

    • Advertising
    • Bank Fees on Business Accounts
    • Business Vehicle Expenses
    • Commissions & Fees
    • Cost of Products
    • Gifts to customers, suppliers, etc.
    • Depreciation
    • Dues for Trade Associations, Business-related organizations
    • Legal & Professional Services
    • 50% of Meals & Entertainment (be sure to note date, purpose, & attendees of event)
    • Office Expenses
    • Travel Expenses
    • Rent
    • Utilities
    • Services performed by Independent contractors
    • By utilizing this simple tool, it will not only keep you organized but it will save you precious time when Tax Season rolls around.

Focus With Accountability Coach

Before you pick up the phone to call your coach, learn to stop playing the self-doubt game. Fear of uncertainty can freeze people into inaction and often counter-productive behaviors. Each time you start to say “What if… ” catch yourself, take a deep breath and immediately counter the thought with positive information and or an action. For example, “What if we can’t sell as many as we thought”, can instantly become, “We sold 200, who did we sell them to, who else can we sell to and what else can we do to sell more?” Learning to do this every time will reprogram your behavior and get you into a productive achievement-oriented mindset.

Your accountability coach may also be a business adviser focused on some specific subject area. Ideally, the coach will be an objective third party and not a spouse or significant other person with whom you have a close personal relationship. It is important to avoid coaches who may be enablers of your bad habits, or who might assume an undesired control attitude or even encourage you to move in the wrong direction. You want a coach you respect and from whom you are willing to take corrective directions to ensure the optimal productive relationship.

Your communication with your accountability coach must be honest, open and complete. Leaving out important issues or telling seemingly small white lies about progress undermines the relationship and that will only sabotage your efforts. As you establish the relationship with an accountability coach, consider the following key elements to keep you on track:

  • Commitments – Be clear on all objectives and commitments you are making. This includes both business objectives and project deliverables as well as personal and leadership development commitments. Anything that you will gauge to measure your own productivity and accomplishments are appropriate. Be sure to include behaviors or events that hinder your productivity.
  • Scheduling – Identify specific dates and intervals for the milestones associated with each commitment. Things go wrong and dates will change for a variety of reasons. Keeping the current set of dates and the adjustments in the open helps to assure correct focus and communication.
  • Relationships – Identify people that are important to the commitments and to your ability to make progress.
  • Focus – Save friendly social chatter for after accountability coaching meetings. Maintain a disciplined focus on the commitments, timing, relationships and objectives.
  • Regular – Schedule meetings with the coach on a regular and consistent basis to assure that reminders, prompts and coaching can occur in time to prevent old, or bad, habits from redeveloping.

Open a Dollar Store

There is an almost magical balance between the cost of the money that is invested in merchandise to create appropriate inventory levels on the sales floor and the required inventory levels to drive higher sales. The cost of the money invested in inventory when you open a dollar store often wins too early, thus driving sales lower. Sales immediately begin to rebound when higher, more appropriate inventory levels are established.

It is a perfectly valid argument to feel that all back-up merchandise inventory that is being kept in the back room, or the stock room is not earning money. When you open a dollar store it is valid to argue that back stock inventory is in fact is actually costing money.

However, when you open a dollar store, maintaining a fully stocked sales floor is smart business. The goal when you open a dollar store should be to have customers react with a surprised look followed by ‘WOW!’ as they enter your store. A fully stocked store is impressive to store visitors.

When you open a dollar store never allow it to look as if there is not inventory available to support sales. Customers will immediately feel that there is no need to wander the store, as there doesn’t appear to be stock on hand. Customers will also be less likely to take the time to look for the new merchandise that just arrived. Customers will even hesitate to come back as often when inventory levels are allowed to fall too low.

Entrepreneurship to Prepare for Retirement

I recently attended in our community a weekly trade fair where I viewed a number of retirees sitting at tents and behind tables selling their wares to consumers – through conversations I learned that several were doing this in an attempt to maintain at least a subsistence level of monthly income to help pay their rent, costs of prescription drugs and other basic monthly costs.

Doing some research on this recently, I learned that standard Canadian pensions (CPP and OAS) at the rough maximum a married couple can expect to receive if both people worked their lives through, nets them collectively about $22,000 per year. Now, if you were born in 1958 or later, you also don’t collect OAS until you are 67 – not 65 any longer. This contributes to the need for many of the elderly to work to later years in life in order to survive retirement financially – as the average retired middle-class couple owning their own home, require statistically, approximately $40,000 per year to live comfortably. Supporting this, a recent Bank of Montreal survey shows 59% of respondents stating that they will have to supplement their pension incomes through continuing to work after retirement.

It is difficult for many in low to mid levelled salaried positions without company pensions to expect to be comfortable in retirement unless they initiate some significant entrepreneurial action or personal savings program of their own years before retirement is reached – in fact, I wonder why we call it retirement any longer at all – it’s become just a shifting for most to other jobs. So this is my raising of the awareness part of this article – Take Action!

Build things you can sell online, become a sales affiliate for some direct selling organization, try consulting in some capacity, start an online business of some sort (YouTube content creator, shopping portal, online publishing or editing, freelance writing, website creation, etc.). There are any number of things a person can do to build that additional nest-egg one will need as one leaves the primary work-force – and your best energy years for this are now!

There are many “on the side” opportunities one can take to build a second income stream prior to retirement. The key is to do it – If you don’t try or fear to try, you will potentially be looking at some very bleak retirement years ahead. Don’t let that happen to you.

Important Part of Business Planning

Upgrading Hardware

Over time, processor speeds change and things get faster. New and innovative ways are found to interconnect everything, or to see things more clearly onscreen, or to print with better resolution and richer colours.

You don’t have to have the latest invention or the newest product. But you will find that if you don’t upgrade your equipment at the right time it becomes noticeably slower, even obsolete. It may not be able to load new software programs. It may not be able to read files written using the latest programs.

Upgrade only when your business requires. But keep up to date with latest product releases and newest innovations. How? By reading computer magazines, visiting relevant websites, browsing the information technology business press, and by visiting computer resellers and stores. A good reseller will keep you up to date and give you free demonstrations of the latest and newest innovations.

Upgrading memory is always worthwhile. You can also upgrade the CD and DVD drive and the hard drive. You can upgrade the monitor, sound, and video cards. There comes a time when it is more costly to upgrade than it is to buy the latest PC built exactly the way you want it.

Checklist for Upgrading

  • Buy only what your small business needs, when you need it.
  • Read the computer and business press for the latest advances and newest innovations, and then decide if your business really needs them.
  • Keep track of all your hardware and software, because they are important business assets and you will need the information for a variety of purposes. Consider Volume Licensing for software upgrades on five or more licenses.
  • Consider technology finance programs that can make your IT purchase easier.

Upgrading Software

As a general rule, you should buy only what your business needs, allowing you to budget sensibly and control costs effectively. Your business will change over time. So, perhaps, will what it does and the tools it uses to do it. Your software will definitely change as technology advances and new ways of getting things done are developed.

How you upgrade software may depend on how you originally purchased it and what kind of licenses you bought:

  • If you bought a full packaged product from a retailer and a new upgrade comes out, you can buy an upgrade version.
  • If the software was pre-installed on a new PC, you have a choice. You can buy a new PC with the latest software on it, or you can buy an upgrade from a retailer.
  • If you need to license more than five PCs in your business, the Microsoft Software Assurance program will give you the right to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft software for the term of your license agreement.

Taking It Slow in Starting New Business

Start by writing your business plan. If you do not know how to do this, work with a small business mentor who will give you personalised advice. if your finances do not allow for this specific help then get a limited amount of free advice from your government advisor such as the Small Business Advisor or the Princes Trust. Although the help be general it will give you a great start.

Writing your business plan will enable you to plan your business in a structured format. It will be a good exercise and help you get a good structured business together for little outlay.

Do not try to jump into a business too quickly. Plan it out carefully and test out your ideas. To the second saying, if no one wants to buy from you then you do not have a business. Start slowly and research your ideas. Pop over to those masters of sales: Amazon, eBay, etsy and fivver and see what is selling, how popular they are and what kind of money things are selling for. If your intended products are not covered here, and most B2C (business to consumer) products are, then research on the internet. You want – types of market (kinds of people that buy), where these people are, how much they tend to pay and who the big players in the market are.

Now hop over to a few forums, blogs and Facebook pages. Track through some big players on LinkedIn and get an idea of what is being asked for and provided in your market area. Try and find a niche that is not being satisfied. If people keep asking the same question and not getting an answer you have a niche.

Set up a questionnaire on a site such as surveymonkey and post it in some forums and look at the answers.

Now you should have an idea as to what can sell, at what price and to whom.

Get yourself set up legally, the last thing you want is problems with the government. So get a business account and keep the payments and costs separate from your own money. Keep financial records, most will be outgoings and could keep your tax liabilities down.

Now test the market on one of the big selling sites, it is easy enough to set up an account. Test, alter and keep testing until you get a viable and interesting product at the correct price.

Set yourself up a website and learn how to market it.

You do not need a partner to set up your company, that comes along when you can afford it. Outsource the stuff you cannot do by doing your research to find a suitable company or hopping over to elance or guru. Fivver will get you some cheap design and marketing.

Start slowly with this one, partners eat up your equity and employees take away your turnover.

Following this advice should see you with a viable company that will soon make a profit. I wish you luck.