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Posts Tagged ‘Small Business’

I’m going to quit my job and start my life.

Jon Acuff wrote a fantastic book.  Quitter.  I highly recommend it if you are thinking about starting your own businesses.  The highlights of this quick read focus on settling on the fact that you are going to transition from your current job while progressively moving towards your “dream” job.  This is a method, a technique that ensures you won’t starve on your path ahead.  

You shouldn’t feel like this at your job.

This path is not for everyone and I’m here to tell you that it’s a challenging path.  I embarked on a two-year journey that started with an idea, slowly birthed over time and grew a day at a time, sometimes painfully slow.  Here I sit writing this to you as I am about to step fulltime into my new life.  During this time my wife and I had a baby, wrangled a total of fours kids and we endured businesses losses and business gains.  At this point the gains far outweighed any losses.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and my wife during this transition.  The biggest is that I’m a pretty lucky guy.  I often worked a 40 hour week and then an additional 10 to 20 hours on the business and she put up with that… while keeping me grounded.

The new business isn’t perfect and it has its liabilities but my two-year semi-paid internship in my new business has taught me a lot and I feel that moving forward I can keep it growing and thriving.

All this might sound exciting but it’s not all pageantry and successes.  While mentally enduring the thoughts of failure and self-doubt crept in a bit too often.  Even though I’d consider myself a planner, I can only account for so many unexpected occurrences.  I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that, I can’t out-plan the unplannable.  Life happens.  It’s just how we chose to deal with it.  With the help of my wife, we’re just going to deal with it. 

My wife has also been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and has not one but two ventures that are already starting to roll.  She’s making it look easy too!  Good for her. 

As you move forward in your life, are you doing what you want to do?  Who or what controls and owns your time?  Is this how you planned your life?  If not, you’re the only one who can change it.  If you are, you’re the one who can keep it right where you want it.

Self doubt and how to recognize it

June 21, 2011 5 comments

You know what? You don’t know what you’re doing.  Seriously, you’re no expert.  You probably aren’t even sure what your next move is going to be.  What makes you an expert?  Did you go to school to get your information or read a book or something?  Quit fooling yourself, you know you’re in over your head

Which one do you listen to?

That’s doubt.  Know what it looks and sounds like.  Know how it makes you feel and don’t you ever forget.  Doubt can destroy your confidence when you hit a bump in the road.  Know the difference between doubt and fact.  You’d be surprised, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two when you are having a debate in your brain moderated by your Self Esteem. 

Take a step back and separate your doubt from actual facts.  The devastating or embarrassing end to your project or business venture probably won’t happen.  It’s only playing out in your head, which IS NOT reality.  It’s not.  Keep going, keep working and keep pushing forward.  It’ll be okay.  Focus on the positive and all the good you are doing.

The wisdom of a seven year old

June 15, 2011 2 comments

Sometimes the wisdom and clarity of a seven year old makes me stop and think.  My daughter and I were talking about her future and what she wanted to be when she grows up this past weekend.

I too was surprised

She mentioned that she wanted to open a book store.  Her love of reading has blossomed over the past year and she reads everything she can get her hands on right now.  She is currently reading Stuart Little and a Star Wars trivia book.  She can thank her Dad for having both of those lying around.

As the discussion progressed I stated in all of my wisdom that a bookstore might not be the best business to open in the future.  Large books stores like Border and Barnes and Noble are currently going through some tough times and are failing.  I also added that most people may read books on an electronic device in the future like a Kindle or Nook.

She thought about my genius laden insights for a second and simply said, “Kids probably won’t have a Kindle.  They’ll still need books.”  She’s right.  She’s absolutely right.  It’s going to be hard to replace children’s books because kids need those thick, colorful pages to gnaw on and have read to them at night.  Children will still need books.

What glaringly obvious facts are you overlooking in your everyday life?  If you’d like to know, my daughter will be available for a consultation.  It won’t be cheap.  Bring your check book.

Marketing and other voodoo

June 13, 2011 3 comments

“I just don’t know what is working and what isn’t working.”  Have you ever thought or said that about your business marketing strategy?  Do you have a strategy?  Is it the radio ads that are working?  Is it the Google ads?  Is it organic search?  Is it word of mouth and referrals?  I don’t know.  Even when a customer says “We found you on the internet” what does that even mean?  You’re probably listed on sites you didn’t even know you were listed on.

Lost at sea or headed toward land?

What do you do if you can’t put your finger on it?  I’m a bit of a stickler for details and the details are eluding me.  The good thing, is that something seems to be working.  Are your customers still coming in?    Mine are.  I’m just not sure exactly why.  I’ve blogged about this very issue before and yet I’m still unable to collect the data in a fashion that tells me what is working.

I’ve been told that a potential customer who actually needs your service needs to see your advertising between seven and twelve times just to “maybe” think about using your service.  Maybe.  So maybe, just maybe (that’s a lot of maybes) the equations is the sum of all parts equals one customer.  I really don’t know just yet but you can be sure I’m going to find out.

Here’s what I know so far.  Marketing that does not give direct feedback is sort of like magic to me.  Radio for example, I have no idea who is hearing my message.  I only get a report saying that the ad played.  Whoopee.  I knew that going in.  I even have a specific phone number to track calls but that is not even a fool proof method.  What does work is talking to people directly.  I like that.  I like the feedback.

So I am paddling in the lake of marketing uncertainty only really knowing that I’m exerting effort but the tide seems to be sloshing me all around without a discernible course.

What’s worked for you?

Our new normal

June 6, 2011 12 comments

Ahh the good ole days!  They were great.  Just about everyone drove shiny new car, had a job that paid very well with benefits, stocks and other investments normally grew at a reasonable pace and life was easy and predictable. 

The good ole days aren’t coming back folks.  Now is the time of Our New Normal.  Brace yourself.  

Will work for silver.

For those that will wallow and be victims of the new normal, this blog is not for you.  You can’t go back in time, you probably can’t even re-create it because the conditions surrounding the good ole days are gone. 

So what’s the new normal?  The USA isn’t the THE superpower in the world anymore.  The dollar in your pocket is on par with our Canadian neighbors to the north and unemployment is going to stay about 9% for the foreseeable future just has it has for the recent past.  Also your house isn’t worth squat.  This is the new normal. 

What else is new?  College degrees are over priced and carry less and less value.  For the college graduate, what awaits them isn’t much different from what they left five years earlier, their bedroom at Mom and Pops.  But now they are burdened by a heavy debt load that they were ill prepared to handle and currently unable to afford.  You can’t sell your degree either.  That paper your degree is printed on isn’t worth the $40 to $75 grand that you financed.  Bummer.  The new normal.

For those that don’t go to college high paying manufacturing jobs are not around like they were 20 years ago.  Getting an entry-level job at the big three in Detroit pays about $14 an hour these days.  I hope you know something about computers or the internet.

So what do you do with this information?  The new normal doesn’t sound so good does it?  Ahh but all these facts I’ve laid out are just random bits of information.  People are living their dream outside of the doom and gloom news reports because when it boils right down to it we are not statistics.  We are hopes and dreams wrapped up in these terrestrial bodies and yet our energy to create is limitless and cannot be contained.  Now is the time to embrace the dreams you hold in your heart.  It’ll never be cheaper to create, hire and build your dreams as it is today.

Behold the power of the new normal.  The new normal is the internet, smart phones, twitter, interconnectedness, opportunity, low costs, low risk and the ability to build your own dreams all with just a spark of inspiration from your brain.

The value of a hand shake

March 17, 2011 2 comments

There is no substitute for a hand shake and a smile.  Making connections is what people remember.  Webpage’s, blogs and Google searches are all cold and sterile and don’t transmit the personality of the seller to the customer.  

Here’s a little something I found that has rung true for me.

“The impact of in-person meetings that I experienced personally this week has been studied in some depth by the fine minds at the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. In a 2009 global survey of 2,211 Harvard Business Review subscribers, 95 percent of respondents viewed in-person meetings as a key to success in building long-term relationships. Specifically, face-to-face meetings were seen as most effective for:

This says a lot about you

  Read more…

5 steps to go from Dreamer to Do-er

March 8, 2011 2 comments

You need to dream big.  I’m not here to squash your dreams.  If you’ve read half a dozen of my blog posts you’ll see that you need to have dreams.  You are only limited by your own fear.  Conquer that fear.  Visualize your success.  This is a very powerful exercise.  See yourself being successful and you will start to believe that you can achieve greatness.

What are you going to do with that idea?

Read more…

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