Get Back To Building Your Dreams

So you started your own business because you wanted more flexibility. You wanted to be your own boss. Maybe you wanted to change the world.IMG_0229

Many individuals dream of starting their own business, but few take the leap. After they start their businesses, many find themselves working even harder than they did before. Flexibility turns into 14 hour days. And time with the family is overcome by multiple business calls. Stop getting bogged down in the day-to-day. Streamline your processes and regain your focus.

Ask yourself:

  1. What is the overall big dream you have for your life and your business?
  2. What do you really want professionally and personally in your life?
  3. What support do you need in your life to make your big dreams come true?

It’s okay if your dream is different or has changed since you started down your path. Record the answers to the above questions and strategize how you are going to get back on track to achieving your dreams.

 

Play It Safe With Job Postings

     Did you know that using the wrong words in your help wanted ad can land a company in legal trouble. Any job requirement that discriminates against applicants based on a personal characteristic protected by law violates federal law. Most managers know that ads cannot state obvious, protected topics, but managers and business owners can get into trouble for posting help wanted ads with more subtle discrimination without intending to do so.help wanted

     Words a subtle as “salesman”, “handyman”, or “waiter” may imply that you are only looking for males to fill the job position. When creating your hiring advertisement, be sure to focus on essential requirements of the job and pay attention to different ways your words can be interpreted.

     For example, putting “must be able to lift 50 lbs.” in your advertisement may give the impression that one must do this on a regular basis. If lifting is only required on occasion, remove this statement. It may give the impression that lifting heavier objects is a regular duty and thus precludes many women from applying.

Brainstorming Your Business Name

Once again, we are revisiting brainstorming to crBrainstorm Pictureeate the winning business name for you and your organization. After doing this exercise, you will probably be able to look around your community and determine which entities took the time to really think out their business name.

Today, branding is the hot topic. The concept is to create a marketing strategy and name for your business that encompasses you, your products, and/or services. For example, when you see Bubba’s Garage you don’t envision an engineering firm. Another example is Tammy’s Cleaning. This is not a typical name for a business that is vying for million dollar government contracts. It’s not that you won’t be successful if you don’t take the time to choose the perfect name, but as you will see, working with a business name that stands out and portrays the image you want it to makes marketing, advertising, and sales go a lot smoother.

Here, we have provided an example brainstorming worksheet for a residential cleaning company. At the bottom of the article, we have provided a template you can print off and use. Again, this is an important process and may take more than a minute.

Brainstorming Worksheet Business Name Example

After you think you have the name you want, you may want to take a moment and envision how that name will look on signs, business cards, and other marketing material.

Brainstorming Worksheet

Components of a Business Plan

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If you’ve been cruising the web-sphere for business ideas and think you are ready to tackle your business plan, here are many of the common components, or page headings for your document called the Business Plan. If you’re a little nervous about creating your own business plan, check out the World Wide Web for FREE templates to get you started. Some websites even have one-page business plans.

I’m not yet sure how I feel about a one-page business plan. While I feel that it is possible for a select group of businesses, I’m just not sure that you can have a well thought out plan for business, let alone an all-inclusive document in just one single page.

Please note that your business plan is not required to have all of the following sections, but it wouldn’t hurt to dedicate some time to contemplating whether a particular section is important to your plan. However, if you are planning on presenting your business plan to a bank or potential investors, you may want to over-include rather than not have a section one of your potential investors feels is important.

There is nothing wrong with being over-prepared. Over-prepared means you though too much about something. It’s under-prepared that looks bad!

  • Cover Page- Include Business Name, pictures if you have them, and the names of the individuals forming the entity
  • Executive summary- A succinct paragraph of what your business is. If you are not sure, search executive summaries on the Internet. Find 3-4 that you like and use them to brainstorm your customized summary.
  • Vision and Mission Statement- Some companies have both a vision and mission statement or one or the other. The vision statement is how you see or want others to see your business as. The mission statement is what your business does. Again, find 3-4 vision and mission statements to get an idea of the format you like and create a custom vision and mission for the organization.
  • Company Description- this section can be more than one paragraph and more detailed than the summary.
  • Products and/or services- For micro- or super-small businesses, focus on one or two main products or services. Larger organizations will have divisions or possibly product lines.
  • Market Analysis- What did you find out about the market for your product or service. Include competitor information. Is the market ready for- or can the market handle your product or service. Why?
  • Marketing and Sales- Some business plans include a completely separate marketing plan. How do you plan to get the public to know about your product or service? Additionally, who and how will you sell it?
  • Operations Plan- Business Structure, org chart, and responsibilities.
  • Staff- Key employees and managers
  • Financial Plan- Start-up budget, 12-month, 2 year, and 5 year projections
  • Potential Funding/Investors
  • Appendices- supporting documents and information, and competitor examples

 

10 Super-Small Businesses for People with Farms

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Are you looking for a super simple business idea? What about a business that allows you to use your land? Here are 10 business ideas for people in rural areas or that have land with their property.

  1. Caning Specialist

  2. Cooking Class Instructor

  3. Farmsitting

  4. Herb/Flower Grower

  5. Flowerscaper/landscaper

  6. Gardening Consultant

  7. Firewood Service

  8. Herbal/ Home Remedy Products

  9. Outdoor Activities/Adventures on your Land

  10. Animal Boarding

10 Super-Small Businesses for Planners

Are you super-organized and always want to know what’s happening weeks in advance. Your skills may fit well with the following 10 business ideas for people that like to plan.

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  1. Farmer’s Market

  2. Spicy Food Festival

  3. Arts and Crafts Show

  4. Bridal Show

  5. Wedding Planner

  6. Professional Office Party Planning

  7. Children’s Birthday Party Planning

  8. Family/High School Reunion Planning

  9. Flea Market Organizer

  10. Travel Consultant

Being in Balance by Delegating Duties

Being in Balance by Delegating Duties

We often get caught up in building and growing our businesses. It is essential to success that we create balance along the way. A key principle created to reduce stress and guilt has been touted as the magnificent work/life balance.

According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, stress doesn’t really exist. He expressed in his book, Being in Balance, “the key to balancing your desire to be at peace with your need to achieve, perform, and earn a living is in recognizing that there’s no such thing as stress; there are only people thinking stressful thoughts…” (p. 21).

In his book, Dr. Dyer goes on to say that stress is inside. It does not exist in physical form, yet millions of people suffer from stress-related illness every day. Now, the first thing I have to say, is why didn’t I stumble upon Dr. Dyer’s book in law school. It would have been nice to discover that stress didn’t exist while dealing with 100 page nightly reading assignments, case briefing, and class prep.

As a business owner, you are not only the founder or the decision maker, but also the marketing director, janitor, and bookkeeper in many cases. It is important for small business owners to revisit work/life balance several times throughout the year to avoid burning out or getting overwhelmed with all the plates one is twirling.

 

Below is a list of tips I put together over my years as a business owner as a way to make sure I am balancing the demands of work and home. No matter what kind of business you are in, manufacturing, product-oriented, or service business, the basic principle of work/life balance is essential to continued growth and success.

I usually revisit this list of steps quarterly, or every six months on my calendar to make sure I am still on track and optimizing my potential.

The steps I use are as follows:

  1. Write down simple actions you find yourself doing daily or weekly that seem to be taking up your time. For example, volunteer situations that have come up, cooking, 3 lunch dates per week.
  2. Categorize things that are optional, others can do, and you must do.
  3. Brainstorm on other ways to accomplish the same thing with less work or accomplish more of it in less time. For example, turn 3 lunch dates per week with one person to – lunch with 4 friends, networking, and a seminar. This way you use the same amount of time, 3 lunches, and get to connect with fifteen or twenty people per week.
  4. Streamline your processes for activities you must do. For example, if you feel the need to do all the cooking, streamline the process with weekend prep sessions, or crockpot dinners during the week.
  5. Determine which of the optional things you are doing are really helping you. Possible solutions are to make sure your optional activities are in line with your overall goals. For example, if coaching your son’s soccer team is necessary, maybe this is a great way to connect with potential customers, or sponsoring the team will help with your advertising in your community.
  6. Delegate as many tasks as possible that others can do. If you’re spending 1 day a week on bookkeeping tasks, it may be time to get a part-time office assistant. Essentially, if your efforts would be better off doing more money making tasks, you can pay someone to do your other tasks.
  7. Finally, look through the tasks you think or feel can only be done by you. If needed, map out the process or procedure and teach another to do the task the way you want it done.

Ideally your end result will be to delegate more tasks to others opening your plate for more effective use of your time.

You may want to add or delete steps, but I have come to use these steps in both my work and home tasks.IMG_0268

References

Dyer, W. W. (2006). Being In balance: 9 Principles for creating Habits to match your desires. Hays House, Inc.: Carlsbad, CA).

Brainstorming Your Business Idea

Brainstorming Worksheet example

If you’ve looked around at business websites or books at your local bookstore, you probably have heard about the
importance of a business plan. Except for a very few business experts, most individuals that have spent any time in the industry of business start-ups and entrepreneurship scream the importance of a business plan for new start-ups. I am among the many that feel a business plan is essential to future success. If not for its way of predicting the exact path you will take, a business plan is essential for the brainstorming process. Taking the time to work through the ideas in your head and get them into concrete elements on paper allows you to evaluate each part of your meetingupcoming business.

Here, we are using brainstorming to determine the business we want to start. Our Brainstorming Worksheet shows larger circles in which to put your potential businesses. Use the smaller attached circles to write down reasons why you think that business is the one for you. Additionally, you could attach bright boxes to distinguish negatives of embarking on that type of business.

In our example worksheet, we have a landscaping business with elements a potential owner feels are essential to enjoying their business. Individuals can use various elements such as home-based, no employees needed, or no contact with customers as important elements. Additionally, an individual that is more flexible about the type of business they wish to embark but knows they must have a business that meets another one of their needs can use the worksheet starting with that element. For example, no customer contact may be essential. Start with this element and look at potential businesses that fit your needs.

This process can be as in depth or as quick as you need it to be. If you have already decided on a type of business, the brainstorming exercise can be used to map out other things about your upcoming endeavor.

Brainstorming Worksheet

10 Super-Small Businesses for Working With Kids

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Are you looking for a business and love working with kids? An even better question is do you have kids and want to be able to incorporate or include your kids in your every day operations. Here are 10 super simple business ideas with kids you can start today!

  1. Dance/Cheer Instructor

  2. Children’s Party Planner

  3. Storyteller

  4. Childcare Provider

  5. Magician

  6. Private Tutor

  7. Fitness Coach

  8. Party Clown

  9. Recreation Activities Coach

  10. Children’s Room Decorator/Painter