Running a business is really like running a marathon. You need to plan, train and then pace yourself in order to have a successful finish.
How do you "pace" yourself you ask? Very carefully!
Many times the idea or concept takes us running out of the gate, full of enthusiasm and pep. That is all good because that energy is what is going to get you to the finish line, however, pacing yourself in your execution, strategy and growth can mean the difference between making or breaking that strong finish.
The flip side of the obvious quick start is the paralyzing, procrastinated fear of actually launching. You may be shaking your head right now and thinking, "really, people get scared into immobility?".. The answer is, quite simply yes.
Many entrepreneurs either find themselves hitting that wall at the very beginning of their concept, before it has even evolved into a full fledged business plan. I have a friend who is talented beyond belief, full of potential and yet she balks a the idea of actually executing her plan for fear of failure, fear of making a mistake and fear of fear itself. Secondary to that would be the successful business owner that has already launched but has hit a plateau whether it's valid and just a growth block or perhaps they hit a very deep pothole. The fear is still there and still very real.
In either of those situations, you need to force yourself make a list and make your "why and why nots" very tangible. What are you afraid of, drill down form that first answer. If you cannot do it on your own, grab a supportive friend, or hire Life/Business Coach or business consultant!.
(*Here is a shameless plug for my olympic medal wearing, straight shooting, Life Coach, Jeff Pain; whom I thank for kicking me in the ass when I needed it!)
Ask yourself, are you afraid of failure for money reasons or lack of support from family members? Is it more confidence related? Start your short list, then drill it down. What is the worst thing that can happen? What is the consequence of that action or more importantly, the inaction? Then take your list on the upswing, what would happen if you DID succeed? What would that feel like? What would THAT fallout look like?
Regardless of your reasons for faltering, force yourself to view it from all angles. There is a pretty good chance that what you fear isn't as big as the fear itself. Take that first step and OWN it!
Now go be amazing!!
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Serial entrepreneurs have no shortage of ideas and often, they are running off with their great idea before actually getting properly prepared to run with it! Here are 5 tips for any start-up or new business owner to consider BEFORE galloping off into the successful sunset! Ready - Set - Go!
5 Business Start-Up Tips:
1. Research your business name THOROUGHLY. This means your business name at the registry office, your trade name, DBA (short for "doing business as") or your proposed operating name. Then check the trademark databases in your country to make sure the name is not already in use or possibly something too similar. But don't stop there; you will need to make sure the corresponding domain name is available as well as Twitter handle and Facebook! Yes! Your name matters, research it well and cover ALL your bases.
2. Talk to an Accountant. They can help you prepare your filing system for receipts, month end preparation as well as give you advice on tax breaks/cuts you may not have realized you could use. You will want to understand the difference between being a Sole Proprietor or being Incorporated etc. Let them help your startup launch on a clear, planned and strong base.
3. Invest in your brand from day one. Having a business name is one thing, having an identity is another. Plan on hiring a graphic designer and other professional to help you formulate your brand image, from logo concept, corporate colours to social media icons and online personality. You have only a few seconds to make a first impression, regardless if it is online, in an office or a brick and mortar store; make it count!
4. Hire professionals where and when you need them. All startups need to invest in their social media. Companies are being made and broken online every day; knowing your brand and being able to successfully take it to market and bundle it up for social media is crucial. Do not make the mistake of assuming you can do it all yourself if you are brand new to the world of social media; the learning curve will leave you in the dust of your competitors with no guarantees of ever catching up. Launch strongly, clearly and with a strategy in place.
5. Research your market and competition VERY thoroughly. Many people assume that their idea or concept is better than anything in the marketplace and blindly run to production or execution mode only to find that a competitor has already launched a bigger, better version at a much friendlier price! Knowing your competing products or businesses inside and out will always put you at a vantage point. Don't skimp on knowledge!
5 Tips To Avoid Self-Sabataging Behaviour!
#1: F.I.T– At the beginning of your work week, start with the "F.I.T" mentality. "F" is for Focus, "I" is for intently and "T" is for TODAY! Take the time to plan your tasks for the week, lay them out into your timetable/calendar and then stick to it. No room for procrastination!
#2: Plan to Prioritize– Your inner procrastinator will want to jump to the tasks that are fun and rewarding, stick to your FIT schedule and if needed, prioritize your must-do tasks as Level 1, 2 or 3... and do not skip them when they come up. Success is built on creating good habits and prioritization is mandatory.
#3: Know Thyself!– If you know your bad habits and distractions, figure out how to block them out during your work time, or conversely, figure out to work them IN. If you know you start to fade at 3pm every day, plan your coffee run into your schedule; no guilt! If the hot UPS guy is coming at 11am every day and you cannot concentrate afterwards, acknowledge your weakness but perhaps find somethig else to do at 11am each day?? (to my male readers this is tongue in cheek!)
#4: Social Media Sifting – Do not use Social Media as a valid excuse to avoid tasks. Plan your social media time just like anything else and stick to your schedule. No facebook or aimless surfing allowed outside of alotted time block.
#5: Plan To Win– No matter how busy you are, any business owner needs to make short-term and long term planning as a serious goal. Failing to plan is like planning to fail. It is inevitable. Acknowledge your weaknesses, work with and around them and you will come out on top!
How do you learn everything it takes to launch a successful business if you have never done it before? How much do you do on your own; how much do you leave to fate and how much do you trust to your friends and family in terms of feedback, support and validation?
If you want to be in business AND make money; you leave nothing to chance, no stone unturned and you NEVER rely on friends and family for honest feedback and product viability comments! They love you too much!
The first step in developing your product idea is to research WHO and WHAT you want this product be. What need in the marketplace is it answering? Why is a mom going to reach for your product on the shelf as opposed to the next competing product? This may seem very basic but it is an important step in developing your game plan and entry strategy later on.Let’s say for example, you love to sew and you want to develop a new line of baby bibs. You maybe have a design background or maybe you just think you can do it better. My first question to you as a consultant will be, the why factor?
It makes sense to me that when developing a new concept; you must understand it intrinsically from the ground up. Good ideas are born every day! What makes the difference is WHAT you do with that great idea and how thoroughly you groom and nurture it.
I have been proudly nominated again for this award and want to make sure that other successful women, entrepreneurs are aware of it as well.
Last Chance to Nominate Outstanding WomenEncouraging and Cultivating Women EntrepreneursRecognizing Canadian women entrepreneurs, whose successful businesses and achievements contribute so much to the Canadian and global economies as well as to their communities. Nominate an extraordinary woman today!
Do you know a woman...
• with a profitable business?
• who owns or operates a business that positively impacts her community?
• whose business succeeds in challenging markets with innovative ideas?
• whose business leads the way for others to follow?
• whose business generates an uncommon amount of economic growth and social change?
• who deserves to be recognized among the best and brightest?
All of these are outstanding women who should be recognized for their contribution to entrepreneurship. Nominate today!
Awards are presented in
•The Deloitte Start-up Award
•The HKMB Hub Impact Award
•The RBC Momentum Award
•The TPH Sustainability Award
•The Bell Trailblazer Award
•The PROFIT Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship To Nominate
Download a Nomination Form
Call 416-923-1688 or
Toll Free 1-800-354-3303
Deadline for Nominations: June 16, 2011, TODAY!
Leah Chevallier, serial entrepreneur in the Juvenile Industry sharing insight, success and 18 years of award winning retail experience! Took $2000 Micro-credit loan and turned it into $30 million!