Monday, March 24, 2008

Quit with the recession talk already! Business is GREAT!!

There are far too many stories in the media regarding the “recession” that we are supposedly in the middle of right now.

Haven’t these people read the Law of Attraction? You attract what you think about. I refuse to participate in a recession. For one, I believe it’s a slow down, not a recession. A recession is defined as two quarters of negative growth (Gross Domestic Production) in a row. We haven’t officially had one negative quarter and pundits are frothing at the mouth about so called “turmoil” and “the wounded economy”.

Why am I so optimistic? From where I sit business is GREAT! My entrepreneurial clients are all doing very well from needing to hire new employees, to signing amazing new deals, and bringing in new investible assets by the millions.

What other signs of a healthy economy exist? How about:

Low unemployment – have you seen the unemployment rate in France? It’s double what it is here. According to Russ Wiles of the Arizona Republic, the economy has lost 85,000 jobs which is far less than the 2.7 million during the last recession.

Low interest rates – the Federal Reserve has acted several times to reduce interest rates. This is good news for the entrepreneur looking for startup capital, even if it means credit card advances or home equity lines of credit.

High housing inventory – if you want to buy a house there are plenty to choose from and low interest rates to boot.

Stimulus Package – while I don’t agree that increasing the national debt is a good idea, the infusion of cash should kick us up a notch and get some money pumped back into the economy.

Let’s all refuse to participate in a recession and just go about building our businesses. Keep planning for success. Continue with a positive attitude and create your own reality.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

Friday, March 21, 2008

What does it take to Make it as an Entrepreneur?

Included here is the topic I spoke about to Club Entrepreneur on Thursday March 19th, 2008.

You might say it’s always been my dream to have my own business. And I’ve had several. My dad put me to work in his business on the island of Maui when I was 17 years old. By age 21 I was the General Manager of his business. At age 24 I started my own business on the island of Oahu selling fine jewelry to departments stores. At age 29 I started a retail business in Arizona.

I’ve found that many of us dream of owning our own business. In fact, according to a recent nationwide survey, 53 percent of respondents said they would like to own their own small business despite knowing that small businesses have a high rate of failure and bankruptcy.
I am often asked for Tips on how to "Make it" as an entrepreneur.
So, what does it take to be successful in your own business?

As a business coach I like to teach people to think for themselves. So I’ve listed some TRUE or FALSE statements about being an entrepreneur.

You’ll get rich overnight with your own business. FALSE.
You should be willing to work long hours for little profit for the first two to three years. I’m sorry to burst your bubble if you think you can hit the ground running with a six figure income the first year. The truth is unless you’re plugged into a referral engine right off the bat, you will have to build your business through hard work.

You can Bootstrap Your Way through slow cash flow. FALSE.
One of the main causes of business failure is underfunding. This is a no-brainer. You will need a cash reserve to see you through the tough times. You’ll need savings or a part time job to make ends meet for at least the first year.

You’ll have freedom when you have your own business. TRUE.
My father taught me that there is nothing better in life than having your own business. I learned that one of the great benefits of self employment is freedom. The freedom to set your own rules, control your own future, and decide what it is you want to create in your life. Ironically, you have the freedom to be successful and the freedom to mess it all up.

Freedom is a double-edged sword

You need to learn new skills to grow your business. TRUE.
Commit to lifelong learning. You will be much more likely to succeed if you are continually improving yourself. I like to say that “Readers are Leaders”. What do you need to learn to succeed? What books and magazines do you need to read? What conferences do you need to attend?

You can work 7 days a week to make the business profitable sooner. FALSE.
I have seen many clients burnout from overwork. Avoid burn out by taking at least one full day off per week. My husband and I call Sunday, Funday. If we’re not doing something fun on Funday, then what’s the point of having your own business?

You don’t need a business plan. FALSE.
A business plan gives the business owner direction and more importantly, MOTIVATION. If you’ve worked on a grand VISION of where you want your business to be in five to ten years and you base your business plan on achieving that vision, you are much more likely to succeed. It’s the business owner who has no vision that wanders aimlessly. For a great business plan template see my Entrepreneur’s Shop for the Two Page Mini Business Plan. It’s a great SYSTEM to keep you organized and on track.

You don’t need to do research to support your business idea. FALSE.
You need to ensure that the free market can support your idea. My clients are all over the united states. Recently I got a call from a woman in New Jersey. She wants to start a line of organic fragrances. When I asked her if she had done research to see if there was a market for her product she said she hadn’t thought to do that. You should be willing to create a focus group and test your idea before investing and taking it to market.

You can do this on your own without the support of friends and family. FALSE.
Surround yourself with supportive, successful people who care about your journey to entrepreneurship. If there’s someone who is not supportive, you may need to avoid them. You need a positive attitude to make this work. Get yourself a mentor or a coach who can help you stay on track.

You need to be accountable to someone in order to make it. TRUE.
Get yourself an accountability partner. You won’t do what you need to do unless someone is holding you accountable. Have weekly meetings with your partner to stay on track.

You can’t run your business without taking risks. TRUE.
Be willing to take risks. This is the most important characteristic necessary for success. If you stay safe inside your comfort zone you won’t realize near the success that‘s possible.
Back in 1990 when I moved to AZ I invested my life’s savings in a start up retail store. I got on a plane and flew halfway around the world to Asia and bought a container load of merchandise to start my retail business. Was this risky? You bet. It was terrifying. I had to meet with architects to plan my store layout. I had to sign lease agreements for 3-5 years out. I had to sign a personal guarantee that I would pay if the business failed. It was a hell of a risk. But I made it work. Does that mean I’m not afraid of risk? No. But like they say “feel the fear and do it anyway”.

So the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way” is certainly true when it comes to making it as an entrepreneur. If you’re determined to make your business work, and you make it your quest in life to succeed, you can learn to become an entrepreneur.

Thomas Edison said: “The successful person makes a habit of doing what the failing person doesn't like to do.”

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Did you work more than 40 hours this week? What’s wrong with this picture?

* Since when did it become a crime to work less and enjoy life more?

* Why does it seem that work life balance is only a pipe dream in this country?

* As business owners why do we proudly say “I’m swamped with work” or “I worked 12 hours yesterday”?

I was at a networking event and I overheard a popular entrepreneur say that she was up until midnight taking care of business matters. She said it proudly as if it proved that working long hours means she is successful. Everyone nodded agreement and provided their own horror stories.

A client mentioned to me today that last week she took Monday and Wednesday off to get needed rest. Upon returning to her practice she was asked by her office mate how she could do it - take time off during the week when she could be seeing patients. She replied that she enjoyed her time off by going hiking, going out to lunch, and getting errands done. She was able to schedule clients for other days without a problem. Her office mate replied that he should do that sometime. But will he?

Owning your business means that you are in control of your life. You have FREEDOM. You can make your own hours. Take breaks when you want to. Go to your child’s soccer game in the middle of the day. Why must we be locked into the traditional business model of “work too much” with no work life balance?

Having a business should afford the business owner a certain amount of benefits not available to salaried employees. In my opinion, a business exists to work for the business owner. You, the entrepreneur, are taking risks just by being in business. It follows that your business should give you tax breaks, flexibility, and FREEDOM.

If you are working more than forty hours a week, you may be working inefficiently. What are you doing that can be delegated to an hourly employee so that you can concentrate on being the face of your business?

How would it improve your life if you could take Friday afternoons off? How about if you only worked 4 days a week? This is all possible with time management, delegation, and work life balance.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

Monday, March 3, 2008

New Marketing Ideas for the New You!

New Marketing Ideas for the New You!

Have you ever realized that you were stuck in a rut? Doing the same things week after week. Month after month. We’ve all heard the definition of madness: doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

Well, if you haven’t tried any new marketing activities lately, you could be stuck in a rut. A good Marketing Plan has several components. You should be doing 4-5 different types of marketing and they should be not only passive, but active.

What I mean by this is if your marketing plan includes 1. Advertising 2. Website 3. Direct Mail Postcards. Each one of these activities is passive. You are not coming into contact with your target clients by engaging in these activities. You may need to shake it up a bit and try something new, preferably activities where you are actively engaged in conversation with your target clients or asking them to take some sort of action.

Here are a few ideas:
· An ecommerce website with a shopping cart
· A special free report for visitors to your website
· Autorepsonders designed to send out automated messages to your clients on a regular interval
· Pay Per Click Advertising to get visitors coming to your website
· Personalized email signature with a digital business card
· A monthly ezine for prospects
· E-books
· E-courses
· Podcasts (a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player)
· Sending a postcard and following up with a phone call ***talk to your prospects
· Give a workshop or seminar – offer a free drawing to collect prospect names – ask for permission to add them to your ezine list
· Create a Client Birthday Club – send birthday cards to clients and follow up with a “How are you?” phone call
· Send a Press Release regarding an event you are having
· Write articles that solve problems for your target client and post them at article banks. Provide a link to your website in the article.
· Call clients you haven’t seen recently and invite them for coffee
· Join Toastmasters to improve your speaking skills

It’s the year 2008, so it’s time to do something new. Get out of that rut and position your business for success!

Note: If you want to kick it up a notch with your marketing, consider being one of the first to purchase my business planning and marketing system: The Two Page Mini Business Plan™ For Entrepreneurs and Independent Professionals. The Six Step Guide to Writing a Business Plan that’s Fast, Easy, and Get’s Results. It’s coming soon!

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors