Monday, August 25, 2008

Five Steps to Starting a Successful Business

I was recently interviewed by Brad Taft of Working My Way during his Career Success TeleSeminar for Mature Workers about Five Steps to Starting a Successful Business. Here are my comments.

1) Develop a Business Vision

Many businesses begin without a grand vision or end result in mind. This causes the business to meander without focus.
Some of the key questions to ask when you are creating a vision of your business 5-10 years in the future are:
· What will the business be known for? What will make you different in the market place?
· What is your role 5 – 10 years in the future? Will you always be doing the day to day business building tactics or will you be the face of the business? What will you be doing ?
· How many employees will you need and what are their roles? What key support roles do you need?
· What does your office look like? Do you need a warehouse or do you need a cutting edge loft space with wood floors and modern furniture? See in your mind what you need.
· Who are your ideal clients? What specific traits do your ideal clients have?

2) Create a Business Plan

Operating a business without a business plan is like driving a car without a steering wheel.
Some simple benefits to a business plan:
Anticipate challenges - through writing your business plan and the research you will do, you will be able to anticipate problems before they occur.
Think strategically. The act of writing a business plan forces you to think ahead and strategize for the future.
Take focused action. Your marketing plan will help you to create a marketing calendar so that you get out there and grow your business and take action

3) Create a professional brand for your business

One of the most important investments that you can make in your business is hiring a professional designer to create your brand.
The objective of your brand is to stand out from the crowd – you don’t want to look like everyone else. You want to look like a professional business owner.
You’ll need a logo, a business card, a tagline to explain the benefits of working with you, a website – and all this must be professionally designed.

4) Know your target client

One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is to target anyone and everyone. New business owners have a fear that if they target a specific segment that they won’t be able to sell to others. This is not true. You can still sell to whomever you like, but targeting allows you to be more effective in your marketing and advertising.
You will get better results with your marketing plan if you narrow down your target client.

5) Become an expert in your field

Narrow down your expertise, find a niche, and you will have clients lining up on your doorstep.
Three ways to become an expert: three simple words
Are you ready?

Read as much as you can about your industry and the marketplace. Know who the major players are and why the market is behaving the way it is. Write about your expertise. This will solidify your thoughts. Take what you write and either publish on your own website, or publish in industry publications.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs & Financial Advisors
Scottsdale, Arizona

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Find Your Drive to Succeed – Don’t Rest On Your Laurels!

Today I am going to challenge one of your assumptions.

Did you know that the vast majority of small business owners and entrepreneurs are NOT FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL? Let that sink in for a minute. Most entrepreneurs fail to create a viable, saleable business that will allow them to take time off and live a good life.

Do you know why?

Almost all business owners have some type of success at sometime in their business career, but they fail to follow a consistent pattern in their marketing and business efforts. In other words, they win a nice deal or get to the place where they are making a decent living, and then they COAST.

Or, they get lazy. They don’t want to get out of their comfort zone so they just continue to do what they have always done and they continue to get what they have always gotten: mild success.

Or they refuse to take responsibility for their success.

I want to tell you about a client who told me recently that he wanted to make more progress in our coaching journey. We had been working together for 6 months. His business provides him with low to mid six figures a year in recurring income. But he could do FAR more. His goal was to double that in 5 years.

In working with him, I tried to get him out of his comfort zone.

I said: How do you want to make yourself different from everyone else? He said: I don’t know.

I said: You are very knowledgeable. How can you take this knowledge and make a name for yourself? He said: I don’t know.

I said: You are a great public speaker but you haven’t been out there in a while. How can you use this skill to help your business? He said: I don’t know.

And so it went for six months. I could not get him to get out there!!! So I said “In the years ahead, if you go for one week without feeling butterflies in your stomach, then you are not doing enough to build your business.”

Really successful business owners are DRIVEN to succeed. They don’t rest on their laurels. They do the brave things to build their business.

Make sure that person is YOU.

Suzanne Muusers