Category: Business

Leadership Attributes For Business Success

Will Your Business Survive Without YouBusiness success is essentially the result of successful leadership. Contrary to the popular myth, leaders are not just born. Leadership skills can be learned and developed. A business is a distinct reflection of the leader, who may be the owner or manager. A business is never successful despite the leader, it is always successful or otherwise because of the leader.

7 LEADERSHIP ATTRIBUTES

There are 7 key attributes that a leader must develop if the business is going to succeed. A leader must have vision, must be an entrepreneur, must inspire others, must set standards, must orchestrate methods, must understand people and must measure results.

1. Vision
Vision is the attribute that drives the leader, the reason for existence and motivation behind being in the business. The vision the leader has allows him or her to clearly visualize what the business will be like when it is fully developed. If the leader is passionate about the vision and allows that passion to create an intensity or internal drive, then that drive will become an unstoppable force that drives the future of the business.

2. Entrepreneur
An entrepreneur is someone who creates a business. For the leader with intense vision, the business is a means to an end, the vehicle which allows the vision to be fulfilled. The leaders’ function is to develop the business and if the vision is intense, they will never allow themselves to become bogged down by the day to day details. The end result is always the focus.

3. Inspires Others
A strong leader affects others and inspires them to join the quest to fulfil the vision. For the leader, it is much more important that the people recruited to the cause are committed to the same vision, rather than having all the appropriate skills to do the work functions. Skills can be learned, but commitment is inherent.

4. Sets Standards
The leader sets the standards of performance in the business. If this is not done deliberately it will happen by default. The employees will automatically follow the example of the leader. It is best that the standards are clearly spelled out so there is no misunderstanding of what the leader expects.

5. Orchestrator
To the leader, the way things are done are important. The quality of service the business provides must not be left to chance. The leader takes the trouble to determine the best way for things to be done and orchestrates the methods used in the business to perform the work. This allows the business to be well organised. Quality Assurance systems are based on orchestration.

6. Understands People
The leader understands that the business must meet the needs of people, it must motivate them. It must motivate customers to buy and it must motivate employees to perform the work. In the orchestration process, the leader establishes systems that are designed to motivate both customers and employees to produce the required results.

7. Measures Results
Results is what it is all about. The leader is results oriented and measures progress towards achieving the results, which leads to fulfilling the mission. Knowing the results allows the leader to redirect employees if results are not on track and to reward employees for good performance.

Developing these leadership attributes will help you achieve greater success in business.

Tips for Home-Based Business Entrepreneurs

TIPS for Home-Based Business EntrepreneursHave you ever heard that only a small part (5%) of ‘all’ Home-Based Business entrepreneurs achieve success?

Do an online research on your favorite Search Engine
and you will understand what I mean.

In this article I’m going to show you the KEY to Home-Based
Business entrepreneurs success; you’ll find out what makes an
entrepreneur successful in the home-based business field.

Below are 5 TIPS for Home-Based Business Entrepreneurs:

1. It’s their mindset that brings success

Serious entrepreneurs have ‘programmed’ their mind to succeed no matter what. They don’t lack focus on their home-based
business and let nobody stop their plans in achieving what
they want.

They know what they want and they have the DESIRE to succeed. If you don’t know exactly what you want when it comes your
home-based business, think about it again and re-consider your
plans, what you want to achieve, a get-rick-quick or a
profitable, long term business.

2. It’s their start-up plan that brings success

Smart entrepreneurs know that it takes time to set-up and grow a profitable home-based business. They plan to succeed. They
have a start-up plan that might fail but they never give up and
start again with a better plan.

Serious entrepreneurs know that it takes discipline and
time to build a strong and solid home-based business, which delivers ongoing income through many years to come.

3. It’s their initial RESEARCH that brings success

Smart and serious entrepreneurs know the importance
of market research. They know that in order, for a home-based business to succeed, they have to research their target market (their potential customers) and study their competitors.

Research your target market and study your competitors
in order to have a long-term, profitable home-based business.

Know what your customers want and give it to them.
Keep an eye on your competitors, study their offer(s)
and make sure you come up with a better deal than
them.

4. It’s their marketing strategy that brings success

Study each successful entrepreneur in your marketing
field and you’ll notice how they market online / offline.

Each of them have their own ‘unique’ marketing strategy
but they use the same basic principles.

Don’t re-invent the wheel. Use the main marketing concepts
that are proven to work but try to improve and adjust them
to your own situation. Make them work for your home-based business. Make your offer better and unique than your competitors if you want to WIN in this business, or simply quit (I know that’s no what you really want!)

5. It’s their investment that brings success

Smart entrepreneurs know that the KEY is to work SMART, not hard. If you don’t have the required skills to develop a NEW marketing tactic for your home-based business why not hire a consultant who knows his stuff?

If you have ‘enough’ money why not invest in someone who can help you grow your home-based business and give me something to work at too?

What is more valuable to you, your time or your money?

A serious entrepreneur is ready to invest (both time and money). He knows that he will build a long-term successful business for him and the one he loves (friends, family, children, etc.)

How To Find Hot Online Business Ideas

How To Find Hot Online Business IdeasWould you like to find the key that unlocks the  door to a gold-mine of online response, sales and
results for your business?

It seems obvious that you would be able to see what  the experts do differently when locating market opportunities, finding out what people want and quickly turning that into an online business generating
truckloads of cash.

The reality is YOU CAN’T!

While the secret is massive in it’s impact, it is so  subtle – so subtle that you are sure to miss it if you
don’t know what to look for. Here’s the secret and a formula for using it right this  minute!

What is DESIRE?!

Now stay with me for just a minute.

Think about the last time you bought a magazine? Why
did you buy it? Was it to look better, fee better,
make money, save money, make your house look better,
take a step toward achieving a dream in your life?

How about the last time you purchased an ebook about
marketing? It wasn’t the desire to learn more about
marketing that led to open your wallet, it was the
DESIRE to discover something unique, something new that
would RESULT in more more money in your pocket resulting
in you being able to finally quit you job.

OK, that’s more like it. It’s all about the end result
you want to get – not about the steps, processes, formula
or information to get you there.

Information is a tool – a method of achieving an end.

It’s up to you to determine what that END result is and
continue to help your market achieve that end, without fail.

Now, let’s look at how this can help you achieve YOUR goals…

A NEW Way Of Researching Your Market!

You will hear from many online marketing experts that the
important part of researching your market is WHERE you look.

Nice try – but that’s NOT the whole story.

The real secret is How you research your market.

For instance, take a look at the headlines over at one of my
sites:

http://www.infoproductcreator.com

Now, I’ve tested over 20 headlines on this page before finding
this one that coverts at least 3X better than earlier versions.

The market for this product is aspiring online entrepreneurs,
writers, consultants and speakers who are already considering
writing infoproducts to achieve more freedom, control and
security in their lives.

So why does this page work?

First, this market is time constrained. They are struggling as
much with lack of time freedom as they are with lack of financial
freedom. Many of them have lost control in their lives, are too
dependent on one income stream and WANT to quickly solve this
problem.

Second, this market feels they have something to share and WANT
to know how to do that – they WANT the prestige and “fame” that
comes from releasing their own ebook or book.

Try reading the headline (both main heading and sub-heading).

Can you now see the main emotional “cues” that lead to the market
triggers I outline above.

Another Example!

Let’s try another market entirely!

Head over to:

Sit, Stay, Fetch right here:

http://www.sitstayfetch.net

What do you think is the biggest reason dog owners end up
paying for obedience training?

The answer is in the headline. What dog owners WANT is a way to
stop behaviour problems in their dogs. Why? Embarassment,
fear of someone getting hurt, pain of having to consider giving
up their beloved pet – all lead to a RABID desire for dog
training.

Bottom Line – Think DESIRE!

Will you do this for me?

Spend the next week looking at everything in terms of underlying
desire.

When you read the newspaper, speak with a colleague, watch TV, go
to a movie, speak with your spouse or your kids, read websites,
review ads, etc… think about the underlying desire. Why does
that communication exist as it does.

Carry a journal and quickly write down each event with it’s
corresponding, underlying desire.

3 Tips for Expanding in the New Zealand Market

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We’re used to thinking of iconic cities like New York, London, and Hong Kong when it comes to the best places to do business overseas. Historically, these are the locations that have been right at the heart of the corporate world. Yet, all successful enterprises know that change is an essential part of growth and development.

And, what’s happening in these big cities – particularly London and New York – is that opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurial magic are fast disappearing. They are being replaced by multinational conglomerates and identikit property development projects. So, a ‘brain drain’ is underway.  Smaller companies are moving out to places like Australia and New Zealand, to take advantage of a much more expansive corporate culture.

New Zealand is a particularly fertile country for overseas investors. It has a robust economy and is very friendly to startups and flexible business models. To find out how your company could benefit, read this guide to expanding into the Land of the Long White Cloud.

  1. Be Ready to Go As Soon As You Arrive

One of the biggest challenges associated with business expansion, particularly overseas, is the fact that it can take so long to prepare a new office or base. If you start from scratch, you’ve got to find a suitable office location, with an agreeable lease. You’ve got to set up a phone line and hook the place up to the internet. You’ve got to furnish it and pay lighting and heating costs. It is time-consuming and very expensive.

Fortunately, there is an easier way. You can hop on a plane, land in New Zealand, and find yourself a great virtual office space in Auckland or Wellington. These amazing facilities offer access to fully equipped suites of corporate tools. They include phone answering services, mail arrangements, IT solutions, private workspaces, coworking environments, high-speed internet, and much more. All you have to do is pay for the services that you consume.

  1. Don’t Be Intimidated By Upfront Talk

It is often said that the Kiwis are a lot like the British when it comes to character. They like to talk straight and they don’t circumnavigate the big issues. For an outsider, this can be a little jarring at first. If you’re used to lots of formality and social rules when conversing – Chinese and Japanese customs are deeply rooted in tradition, for instance – such a matter of fact attitude is a complete change of pace.

The key to getting on with the locals and forging strong corporate connections is to avoid over-thinking. Kiwis are upfront, honest, and very earnest. You don’t have to dig deep for hidden meanings because they’ll give it to you straight from the outset. This is a great way to do business, because it cuts through the ‘networking’ talk and encourages entrepreneurs to share ideas, build bridges, and identify common interests.

  1. Learn How to Adapt to a New Calendar

It is important that you learn how to adapt to New Zealand customs and habits really quickly, if you’re trying to set up a business in Auckland, Wellington, or one of the other big cities. For instance, lots of businesses actually shut down completely during December and January. This is quite common and, while you don’t have to take such a long break over the summer, you could find it tough to schedule meetings with local investors, clients, and suppliers.

These are the little details that will help you fit in with your new business environment. The corporate culture in New Zealand is very welcoming to startups and small companies. The major cities play host a number of high-profile networking and ‘startup conventions’ every year. They give overseas investors the opportunity to make valuable industry contacts and they’re full of advice on the best ways to become a dominant force within the market.

 

 

 

Should You Be in Business

Should You Be in BusinessTo be or not to be an entrepreneur!

Get a mirror, take this quiz, and find out! Your face says a lot about you, so be truthful and answer yes or no.

Do You Have the Right Features to Be in Business?

1 – Do you have high cheekbones?

2 – Do you have a cleft in your chin?

3 – Do you have long nostrils?

4 – Do you have a high domed forehead?

5 – Do you have a hook nose?

6 – Are your upper eyelids invisible?

7 – Is your face shaped round?

8 – Are your ears sticking out?

9 – Is the Area Between Your Brows Clear?

10 – Are your eyebrows angled?

11 – Is there a gap between your two front teeth?

12 – Is there a single deep wrinkle between your eyes?

You need to answer “yes” to at least 8 of the questions to qualify for a successful business. If you have a face to run successful business, YOU WON! To find out what you won e-mail Kathy Thompson, nationally recognized Face Reader, writer, speaker, profiler.

Face Reading (physiognomy) is an ancient science that reveals the personality and destiny of everyone. When you think about most of the time shows up on your face. So your face becomes a road map of your mind.

Different parts of the face have different meanings. Your Forehead indicates your thinking style. Eyebrows show how you put your thoughts out into the world. Your eyes show your outlook on life. Your nose shows how you manage money and your work style. Your mouth indicates how you express yourself. Your ear indicate your learning style.

Do You Have What it Takes to Be an Entrepreneur

Do You Have What it Takes to Be an EntrepreneurQ: I am interested in starting my own business. I have a business degree and lots of experience in my chosen field, but I don’t know if I have the necessary skills to really make it on my own. Any advice?
Marie C.

A: You’ve hit the nail on the head, Marie, because when you’re an entrepreneur it’s truly up to you to make it on your own. Sure, you may have investors and advisors and employees and friends and family helping you climb the ladder, but in the end you’re the one who walks the high wire alone.

There are a variety of skills you’ll need to succeed as an entrepreneur and chances are do not possess them all. One of the great things about being an entrepreneur is that if you lack certain skills you can always hire people with those skills to help round out your company skill set.

Here are a few of the skills you’ll need starting out and others you can build upon later. Different stages of business require different skills.

People Skills

Every budding entrepreneur should have good people skills. The ability to walk into a room and befriend everyone there is often more important to your business than an investor with deep pockets. The more you can make people like you, the more they will want to do business with you.

Networking Skills

Networking is one of the best ways to build partnerships and find new clients. Networking simply means that you go to functions that attract the people you need to know. A successful entrepreneur is also a successful schmoozer. It’s the entrepreneurial equivalent of “kissing babies and shaking hands.” Whether it’s the weekly Rotary luncheon or a Chamber function, show up with a pocketful of business cards and meet as many people as you can.

Leadership Skills

To be an entrepreneur is to be a leader. Even if you are a company of one, you must have the skills to take charge and to lead. It’s much easier to learn leadership skills when you only have yourself to manage. These skills will come in very handy as you add employees and your business grows.

Management Skills

Management skills encompass a wide variety of tasks, including managing the daily operation, growth, employees, customer relations, investor relations, and so on. Poor managers make for poor entrepreneurs.

Employee Relation Skills

Your employees are one of the most important assets your business has and it is important that as the boss, you develop a professional relationship with your employees. It is important that your employees feel appreciated and you show it financially and professionally.

Team Building Skills

As your organization grows you must have the ability to build a team that can take your business to the next level. Your team not only includes employees, but also partners, your accountant, your attorney, and investors. Anyone who has the ability to impact your bottom line and growth should be part of your team.

Marketing and Sales Skills

Until you grow your business to the point that you can justify adding a marketing person, it will be up to you to think up ways to market your business. As I’ve said before, marketing is one of the most critical areas of business as getting the word out to customers is the first step in generating revenue.

Like marketing, selling is vital to the success of your business. Starting out you will probably be the one making sales calls and closing deals for your business. You must have the ability to sit in front of a prospective client and sell them on your service or product. Many entrepreneurs find this difficult to do as sales is more art than skill. This is also why one of your first hires when able should be a good sales person.

Time Management Skills

Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day and for entrepreneurs that means we must manage our time well or inevitably some things won’t get done. I find that it helps to plan your day the night before. I know before I ever get to the office what I have to do that day. I know the order I will do things in. Of course, something always comes up to throw a monkey wrench in my plan. When the unexpected happens I try to add it to the next day’s schedule. If that’s not possible, I deal with it and then try to get back on track. That’s not always possible, but having a plan certainly helps.

Do you currently have all these skills? Probably not. Very few people possess them all even after years in business. Does a lack of these skills mean that you shouldn’t start your own business? Of course not. Entrepreneurial skills can be learned and improved over time.

Here’s to your success!

 

Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make Before They Even Start

Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make Before They Even StartSo you want to start a business. You have an idea. Lets say you want to be a carpenter. You print some brochures, some business cards, and take out an ad in the Yellow Pages. You pay $600 for a website and a domain name that tells everyone about your amazing credentials and experience. You distribute your fliers at a local grocery store. And then you wait. And wait. And wait…

Nothing happens. But, that’s what everyone does, isn’t it? Print out some brochures, tell everyone how great you are, and wait for the money to roll in.

Stop right there. You have just made the top 10 mistakes entrepreneurs make.

Mistake # 1: First, being a “carpenter” is too general. There are a million carpenters in the world, but the only successful ones have something to concentrate on. Wood carving, house renovation, specialized pieces. Like the old saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Mistake # 2: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. An idea is not a business plan, or a marketing plan, or even just a goal. It is simply an idea. Although the planning process may seem long and tedious now, it will benefit you more than you could imagine in the future. For example, when you are seeking funding, when you are joining an association of professionals, when your goals change, when your business changes, or if you take on a partner or investor. Your plan should guide you, but not constrain you. If something in your plan doesn’t fit just right, change it. Your business plan will never have a final draft.

Mistake # 3: Brochures and business cards are GARBAGE to start-up businesses! You will spend far more producing them than they will produce for you. Ignoring the high cost of printing these materials, and the costs associated in designing them if you aren’t proficient yourself, most start-up businesses change too quickly for these materials to be effective for more than a short period, sometimes as little as days. If it costs $1000 to print these the first time, and $1000 to design them the first time, imagine how much you will pay if your brochures beat statistics and last 2 months. If alterations to design cost $500, it costs $1500 every time your business changes. If your business changes every 2 months, you can expect to spend at least $9000 that year on brochures and business cards. Yes, that is NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS in lost revenue, over something that is less effective than graffiti. Don’t waste your time, or your money, on brochures and business cards until you can keep your typical sales presentation the same for at least 6 months. Otherwise, these things aren’t worth the trouble.

Mistake # 4: Okay, the Yellow Pages. Lets take a look in the Yellow Pages and see how many other trillions of carpenters there are. Which ones stand out? Definitely not the tiny ad in the corner. Probably not the one-liner. And as a start-up, that is all you would be able to afford. For the one or two clients per year this would bring you, it is better to wait until your marketing budget can afford to buy large, extravagant and eye-catching ads.

Mistake # 5: $600 for a website and domain name? A website and domain name before a marketing plan? This scenario is already causing headaches for those of you “in the know”. Best idea, design your own website for free if you can. Second best, get a friend or relative to design it for free. Third best, pay a minimal fee for the complicated stuff and the rest can be done by yourself and a relative. Only if no one in the world can help you, do you want to hire a professional to do the whole thing for you. And when you do, try and get it on 30 or 60 days post. That way, their new website will be generating money for you before you pay. If you do pay upfront, and can’t get around it, ask if they do free updates. You are guaranteed to change a thing or two, probably at least once a week as you test out your new site. If you pay $600, it had better be a good website – because your entire marketing budget just paid for it.

Mistake # 6: Wow! A carpenter who went to John B. Doe Carpentry Academy! Is that what your customers say? Most likely, they won’t even think that. Most customers think “Wow! Look at his work. It is just what I need.” And that is what you want your customers to think. Don’t promote yourself, promote your solutions. Everyone who comes to your website has a problem they need solved. If you figure out that problem, and can tell them how to solve it using your website, you have just hit a marketing gold-mine.

Mistake # 7: What is a carpenter doing at a grocery store? And why is he handing out fliers anyway? If you do hand out fliers, do it where it counts. A carpenter should hand out fliers at a lumber yard or furniture store. Even a department store that sells nails would be a better location for a carpenter when handing out fliers. Think about it.

Mistake # 8: This is probably the biggest mistake. You stopped marketing. Even if you do exactly the opposite of everything you have read so far, if you keep doing it you are bound to get at least minimal results. If you stop when you run out of new ideas, you probably won’t get much. The key to marketing is repetition. Make sure people think of your name when they have a problem. If they have only seen your name once, but your competitor just sent them a third flier, your competitor will get their business. We’ve all heard that it takes more than once for a customer to buy, and it has never been more true. With the information available to your customers today, you want your name to be in front of them as much as possible.

Mistake # 9: When nothing happened, you didn’t try again. Nothing says failure like someone who quits. Motivate yourself! Get up in the morning and say “I’m going to get hits to my website.” Or “I’m going to get a client this week!” If you build it, but nobody knows its there, nobody is going to come. You have to try, make mistakes, learn, and try again. If you try, make a mistake, and give up, you will never be the success you know you can be.

Mistake # 10: You assumed that what everyone else does will work for you. WRONG! What everyone else does took them a long time to figure out, and they have been tweaking it all that time to make it work right for them. If you copy part, but not all, of what they do, you will never get the same results. People strive for individuality, and business should too. If you copy your competitor in every aspect, your prospects might as well flip a coin. Do you want 50% of the business you could be getting? No, you want it all!

Before the Business Plan

Before the Business PlanPurveyors of conventional wisdom would have you believe that the very first thing you ought to do when setting up a new business is to create a business plan.

It doesn’t matter whether you are selling odds and ends on eBay from your living room or something larger and more complex,

Business plans are excellent and necessary. Far too few of us self-employed and freelance people use them.

They force us to spell out our objectives. We have to assign numbers to our expectations and assign a time-line to our goals. They become our roadmap keeping us on track.

But I suggest that you can’t make a business plan that is worth anything until you’ve done your homework.

And that means knowing what you want to do and how you want to do it. And determining that there is sufficient demand for your product to generate enough income to cover your costs and allow a profit.

In other words, before the business plan comes research.

If a body of knowledge already exists, it makes sense to tap into it and save yourself some work. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics and other such sources, for example, publish a great deal of demographic information. Some of it is very useful.

But it is also likely that as a creative sole-proprietor, meaningful statistics don’t exist about your specialty.

Many micro-businesses target a very specialized niche. And many owned by creative types exist to sell a product or service that don’t follow well-worn prototypes.

It is particularly difficult for such people to find meaningful published data.

If you fall into these categories, you’ll have to generate your own information.

There is more to your research than just the purely business information. You are building a life as well as a business.

Are the demands and conditions of your proposed business compatible with the life you want to create?

For example, illustrators often work on short deadlines – meaning that sometimes they have to work far into the night to complete a project on deadline. Plus, some clients are demanding and not all pay on a timely basis. After all of that, can you still “love it” enough?

Or, maybe your business is such that sales fluctuate during the year. How will you make it through the lean months? Can you handle the uncertainty?

So, how do you find information?

First, if other people provide services similar to yours, talk to them. You can gain a lot of information quickly. Their answers to your questions will save you a lot of legwork and open your eyes to factors you may not have considered.

You can find them through trade associations, schools, word-of-mouth. If the locals are reluctant to share information – perhaps because they see you as direct competition, consider finding similar people in a different locale.

Second, create the information you need.

Mimic and simplify what the ‘big boys’ do. Reduce their methods down to a level that is practical and affordable.

For example, perhaps you want to survey potential clients and customers to get feedback.

It will probably be neither affordable nor practical to commission a focus group. But you may be able to speak to potential targets informally or use direct mail to send a simple survey.

Eventually you’ll have to ‘put your toe in the water.’ Try it out in a small way – so you won’t lose much if it doesn’t work – and observe the results. Then experiment and modify as needed. Once it works to your liking you can plunge right in.

This approach, known by the technical term “trial and error” can be applied to any facet of your business.

After all, even the largest producers test market new products before rolling them out.

Put some parameters around your efforts. Decide, in advance, how much time you want to allow and how much you want to budget.

Then test, test, test.

Use trial and error for every aspect of your business. Experiment with different ways of packaging your services, different rates and prices, different types of marketing, etc.

You’ll soon find that certain approaches work better than others. Eventually your data will suggest your strategies.

And then you’ll be ready to create your business plan.

How To Start a New Business

How To Start a New BusinessWhile it is tempting to just leap into a new business because of it’s exciting possibilities, a few key planning points will vastly increase your chances of success. These steps aren’t difficult, but they’re easy to skip. Many businesses ultimately depend on a slim profit margin, so planning can really help the process. Too many restaurant patrons, for instance, assume that running a restaurant seems fun because of the many restaurants they have visited, but restaurants have an especially high failure rate.

One of the key factors in planning a business model is simply researching the demand for your product. If you are great at making kitty blankets, for instance, it’s worth checking out to see if there is a market for it. The entrepreneur may find that there are three times as many potential customers for dog blankets, and by simply adding dogs to your marketing strategy, you will increase your sales four times over. This fact would be an important one to know before all the labels, website promotion, and branding was done with the words “Kitty” instead of “Pet”!

Supply is worth researching, too. Keeping with the pet blanket approach, you may find that there are tons of different blankets available, but none that have catnip in them. Marketing two types of blankets, one for dogs and one for cats, and placing catnip in the cat blankets may dramatically increase sales. Again, this type of research is much more helpful to have before any product has been made. It would be a shame to have a room full of single-ply cat blankets that will not hold any catnip, when that is the product that is a unique niche. The brand name needs a lot of thought because once the name is out in the market, it can be very difficult to change. Picking a name, and then finding out six months later that the name is confusingly similar to a competitors would be disastrous. Finding out that the name is easily mis-spelled, hard to pronounce, or difficult to remember are all pitfalls that could have been avoided with proper planning. Apologie Clothing is now finding that web surfers are having difficulty remembering the odd spelling of their name when searching for their website, and the marketing campaign of Chevrolet Nova in Mexico failed dramatically (“no va” means “does not go” in Spanish).

Most entrepreneurs are surprised to find that once their business is successful, much more time is taken up running the business than in actually providing the service or making the product. The architect who starts his own architecture firm finds that he’s only drawing 1 hour a day – the rest is spent meeting with clients, interviewing, marketing, planning, etc. Skills such as salesmanship can be learned through courses, techniques such as accounting can be found in books, and software and outsourcing can help with payroll. But proper planning will help considerably. If a bookkeeping system is set up ahead of time, linked to the accounting software and interfacing with a business account at your local bank, this set up will save huge headaches in the future.

Documenting Partnerships in Your Business Plan

Documenting Partnerships in Your Business PlanForging partnerships to improve market penetration has become commonplace, particularly for “new economy” businesses. And, most companies proudly mention their many partnerships in their business plans.

The fact is that, regardless of whom the partnership is with, partnerships by themselves are meaningless. What are meaningful are the terms of the partnership. For instance, while it sounds great to have a partnership with a Fortune 500 company, the details of the partnership are what investors find important. For instance, investors will look poorly upon a partnership in which the Fortune 500 company earns 90% commissions on customers it refers. On the other hand, investors would look favorably upon a more equitable partnership.

As such, be sure to detail the specifics of the partnerships. This includes factors such as how the partnership will work, payment terms, contract length, minimum and/or maximum guarantees, the type of customer leads expected from each partner, timing of payments, etc. In addition, if partnerships are a key part of the business plan, expect prudent investors to interview the partners and scrutinize partnership contracts.

Partnerships can be a major factor in the success of growing companies, providing leads, sales, capital and/or other critical benefits. However, ventures should be careful not to place too much emphasis on any one partner in their business plan. Partnership agreements, like other legal agreements, can be breached, and if the venture positions any one partner as critical to its success, this will become a risk factor to investors.

Overall, partners can provide a great boost to growing ventures. Business plans should not only discuss who the partners are, but detail the terms of the partnerships and how they will benefit the company. Finally, the business plan must not place too much emphasis on any one partner in order to convince investors that the business is capable of success even without it.