Refresh Your Motivation — Ideas for Entrepreneurs

When you are running a business, it’s incredibly easy to find yourself caught up in the mundane; in the daily “to-do” minutiae that demand so much of your time. When you expend so much energy on the basics, you can often find yourself running at a deficit on the enthusiasm you need to propel your business forward.

If the above sounds familiar, you’ll be pleased to know there are a few solutions that can reinvigorate your excitement and get your creative juices flowing once again. If you’re struggling for enthusiasm, then one of the options below should be able to get you back to your best.

1) Attend A Tradeshow or Conference

Sometimes, all you need to supercharge your thinking is to do something different. Rather than spending your days in the office, crunching through numbers and dry statistics, get out and about and head to your nearest trade show or business conference.

Being out of the office will be beneficial in and of itself, but you’re also going to be surrounded by businesses and ideas that are relevant to your industry. You can glance through the innovations that your competitors are producing and, before you know it, your mind will be humming with ideas regarding how you can match and then exceed what they are offering.

2) Explore Motivational Speaking

You can’t always be your own motivational speaker and life coach. While it’s great if you have a regular routine of affirmations and try to work on your growth as a business person, when you’re under stress, this becomes all the more difficult.

It therefore makes sense to look for your options from professional motivational speakers; those who have a reputation of helping encourage people to find the best in themselves. There’s no need to spend a fortune, either; you can find Tony Robbins 10% off promo codes relatively simply, and Robbins has a reputation as one of the most trusted motivational experts in the business. A little expense in exchange for a boost to your innovative abilities is a worthy exchange that you may want to consider.

3) Unplug For A Day

For any entrepreneur, the idea of unplugging — forgoing the use of electronic devices for an entire day — sounds rather daunting. However, it might be just what you need to help kick your inspiration and motivation into another gear.

The benefits of unplugging are myriad, especially if you are the kind of person who is usually attached to your phone. With your mind free of distractions, it may surprise you just how quickly your motivation begins to seep back. You may find yourself desperate to get back to work and action all of the ideas that have popped into your mind. There are plenty of other health benefits to consider also, so this is definitely an option you may want to explore.

The daily grind of running a business can exhaust your creative reserves and sap your motivation. However, by exploring the above, you can reignite your passion and inspire yourself to push your business growth to the next level.

Avoid Getting into Trouble with the Law with These Online Sales Tips

Every 30 seconds, more than $1.2 million of transactions are made online in the United States. It’s fair to say that online shopping has become well and truly mainstream and this presents an excellent opportunity to you entrepreneurs out there.

If you have a good idea, a great product(s) to sell and you take the time to bone up on the best internet marketing techniques, you could set up an amazingly successful startup. However, if you want to stay on the right side of the law, there are a few things you will need to be aware of.

Transactions Should be Simple

If you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law with your new venture, you need to ensure that your transactions are as simple as possible. When a customer makes an order on your website, you will need to supply their goods within the timeframe stipulated. Of course, there can always be issues with carriers, but for the main part, you should deliver, and you should not be tempted to shave a few days off your delivery times if you want to keep customers happy.

Image Credit: PayAnywhere

Terms and Conditions Should be Included

You should always, preferably with the help of a good business lawyer from a law firm that specializes in this stuff, create comprehensive terms and conditions for your ecommerce site, Your terms and conditions should make it clear to your customers that when they make a purchase, they are agreeing to enter into a contract with you.

You should also lay out details of your shipping, payment and refunds policy, as well as any pertinent liability information for your company. You will need to ensure that these terms comply with the law in your business’ jurisdiction if you want to avoid any issues.

Be Honest

You should never, even for one second, think about ‘bigging up’ your products and services, telling what you consider to be little white lies to make more sales. Some customers might be fooled, but many won’t, and you could find yourself at the center of a fraud suit!

Offer a Cooling Off Period

If your business is based in the UK or Europe, then distance selling regulations stipulate that you must give your customers a 30-day cooling off period in which they can return any goods no questions asked. Obviously, if you aren’t doing business in these markets, this won’t apply, and many other markets are a lot more lenient in this respect, but you still need to find out what, if anything is required of you.

Even if you aren’t legally compelled to offer a cooling off period, it is a good gesture to make, which shows your customers that you are a kind, caring and legitimate company, so it’s worth considering.

Don’t Spam

If you want to stay on the right side of the law, it’s always best not to spam random people with your marketing emails. You should endeavor to only ever contact people who have agreed to be contacted just to be on the safe side. Behaving ethically will also help to boost your brand image.

When it comes to staying on the right side of the law in the ecommerce industry, this post has only scratched the surface, and highly recommend that you do lots of research and seek expert advice before proceeding. Good luck!

Showing You’re Proof Positive of a Good Investment

Many business owners go out on a limb to startup their own business. For almost all entrepreneurs, their ethos is that they’ll do anything to make their dream come true of owning their own business and brand. However, personal funds can only get you so far, and especially when you want to expand so, you’re out of that learner’s stage. When you have a viable business plan, you’re more likely to gain a loan from a bank.

If you want an investor to come on board, you need to show a proven track record of success. This is a scary yet exciting moment in any business’s life as you’re trying to impress a total stranger, yet someone who is quite rightfully, inspecting you and your small business. There many routes you could take to show you’re worthy of a significant investment and find the right type of funding.

Image Credit: Pixabay

A Powerful Vision

Investors have to be taken in by your passion, but most of all, they need to believe your vision. You can demonstrate your competitiveness by displaying detailed growth patterns, that have been measured both monthly and in line with the global economy; i.e. every financial quarter. Your vision should be, of course, inside the realm of possibility.

You must also calculate the liquidity of your business, so as to offer any collateral to the investor. Factor in any and all assets that you own that might be able to be used as a safety net, should profits not correlate in tune with your vision. A positive vision also examines the possibility of shortcomings, and investors would rather have the truth than it be sugar-coated.

Where’s the Proof

It’s brilliant if you can show the investor hard copy evidence of your recent business history. You should not give anyone outside the business, access to your online folders with precious documents in, however with document storage services, you can bank all your contracts, tax reports, and profit margins.

Your annual revenue can be proved by and believed more when the investor has an official hard copy in their hands, signed off by the relevant authorities. Having a storage service at your disposal also gives the investor more confidence that your records are safe from harm.

Online data is regularly stolen or corrupted by malware, but if you have the inner workings of your business, in a real-world form, you’re more reliable for the request of valuable records.

Image Credit: Pexels

Forecasts and Figures

It’s all well and good to show evidence of your past and the goals you’ve hit. However, investors want to see what the future holds. Based on the evidence, you should conduct research to create a forecast of the growth you expect your business to achieve.

Therefore, when you arrive at requesting a figure of investment money, you show what the investor stands to make. Include in your forecasts, the prediction of how well new services and products might are likely met, while going off of customer research findings and surveys of your customers.

Every business wants to grow, but as a small business, you have to forge a reputation. Presenting your case to potential investors can be nerve-wracking, but if you have all the right figures, forecasts and evidence of your business and the success it has achieved, you’re more serious.

Be SMART with SMART Targets

As a business professional, you will have probably already heard lots about SMART targets. They have been a buzzword in the corporate world for a few years already, and for very good reasons! However, not many entrepreneurs and company leaders are utilising them as they should.

Not too sure what I’m talking about? Let’s get back to business with SMART targets. Here’s what it all stands for:

S: Specific

M: Measurable

A: Agreed Upon

R: Reasonable

T: Time-Based

It’s basically a way of setting you and your team realistic targets that are achievable, though challenging. And the companies that are setting them for their employees and whole departments are finding that they can really make a difference. Still not convinced why you should use SMART targets? Here are some great reasons why.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Gives You Something To Focus On

Rather than having a few different targets to focus on, you will just concentrate on one SMART target. One great advantage of SMART targets over others is that they can be quite big and encompass a few different areas.

For instance, you might want to create one that ties in incorporating the current trends in Content Marketing to increase your customer base and sales. So, once you do create a SMART target for your team, you will find that there will be little to distract them.

Makes Your End Goal Easier To Envision

Sometimes, it can be incredibly difficult to see exactly what we want all our various goals and targets to achieve. But SMART targets places the end results very clearly in view. As part of creating your SMART target, you will need to write down the exact results you want to see happen.

The result and goal won’t be quite so ambiguous anymore, and you will know exactly when you have achieved it.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Creates a Sense of Self-Discipline

Do you lack a clear sense of self-discipline that is needed to work towards certain goals and targets? Or do some of your employees seem to be procrastinating when they have certain things to work towards? If so, you will find that SMART goals can quickly remove any temptations that might make it all too easy to procrastinate.

That’s because SMART targets can create a sense of self-discipline. If the motivation of having a goal alone doesn’t help you clear your mind and improve your productivity, you can write in some mini goals that you can work towards. Overall, achieving these mini goals will help you get closer and closer to your main target. You won’t be tempted away by any procrastination!

Improves Organisation

SMART goals and targets are meant to be achievable within a certain period of time. It doesn’t matter how long this period is — it’s something you can decide on when you start to plan your target. Once you start to work towards your target, you will find that you and your whole team start to get a lot more organised than what you were before. And it’s all because you have a deadline by which you need to meet your SMART target! Look at the time – it’s time to get to work on your goal!

Image Credit: Pixabay

They Are Achievable

SMART targets are meant to be attainable. Sure, they should be challenging, but they shouldn’t be completely out of reach for you and your team. Once you start to achieve all the SMART targets that you set, you will find that your team gets a whole lot more motivated and productive.

That’s because they will realise that goals and targets are totally achievable, and this will push them to succeed further. They’ll have a great incentive to get working!

There’s Something to Look Forward to

Once you do achieve all your SMART targets, it’s a good idea to celebrate with your whole team. You might want to treat them all to a lunch out or head out for some Friday night drinks together. As there is something to look forward to once a target has been achieved, you will find that your employees will be a lot more productive and motivated in their work. Not only that, though, but their whole morale will be boosted.

So, don’t just dish out meaningless targets to your team – they need to be SMART! You will find that they are great tools to help you, your company, and all your employees really make some magic in the corporate world. What are you waiting for? Set some SMART targets today!

Getting Started In Hospitality — What You Need To Do First

If you’ve got passion and drive to start a business in the hospitality industry, then why not get started? Many entrepreneurs target this type of business because it is customer facing. You can immediately identify what is working and pleasing to the customer. You can also see immediately what isn’t working. Best of all you get feedback face to face. While this kind of work is ideally suited to a ‘people person’, anyone can get started and make it work. Of course, there are a few things you need to do before that all-important launch:

The Big Idea

Hospitality is a huge industry and is worth billions of dollars. Where will you fit in? What is your big idea? You might choose to produce and sell smoothies. But where will you sell them? Are you going to be a street vendor or will you have a smoothie bar in the city center? The logistics of your business idea might determine the premises required. After all, you’ll need to power your ice machine and your blender. If you sell hot food, you’ll need power for the oven or stove. And food will need to be stored safely in a refrigerator.

Image Credit: Pexels

Jot down all of your ideas, and try to narrow them down to three or four that really interest you. Consider the working conditions, and the initial outlay for equipment, vans, or premises. Now you need to do your research. Find out who is already in your local area providing a similar service. Is there a gap in the market you can fill by choosing different products, or a different place to market? Once you refined your business proposition, you’re ready to start figuring out the finer details.

Certify

Make sure you are qualified to work in the food and drinks industry. There are many food hygiene, health and safety, and alcohol permits to apply for. The easiest way to find out what you need is to talk to your local government office. They will be able to steer toward the right department to manage your applications. The certification you need will vary from place to place. Make sure you have the right licenses for your local area.

Image Credit: Pexels

Investment

If you’re new to the business world, you might find it quite difficult to raise funds from a lender like a bank. You can try crowdfunding a product (via Kickstarter or Indiegogo) that would benefit the type of people who often visit those kinds of websites. You might also be able to find business partners willing to take a share of your business. In all of these cases, you must have a detailed business plan and proposal. You must prove your qualification and experience is relevant to make this business work.

Premises and Equipment

The hospitality industry relies on fit for purposes premises that attract the type of customer you’re catering for. If you want to sell home-made ice-cream, your customers will need a family-friendly diner-style venue. You might need to consider how the kids that come in can be entertained while they’re there. Of course, if you’re producing and selling ales and beers, then an adults-only bar with music and sports screens might be more appropriate.

Of course, you will also need the equipment to produce the food and drink you are selling. All of this needs to be in place and working before you can launch. It might also need to be inspected by your local authority, so allow time for this. Training for use may also be required for your employees. Finally, you need to put your brand on the door. Your business name is only half of it. The rest is in the font, colors, and other design elements.

Image Credit: Pexels

Marketing

You should have a website up and running before your launch event. This is the first thing people will look for when they receive their invitation or opening notification. Set up your social media pages, and start posting to your website every day. If you’re selling pizzas, talk about the health benefits of some of the toppings. If you’re opening a milkshake bar, talk about the farms where you source the milk. There are plenty of relevant topics you can choose from.

Remember, you’re in the hospitality business. Your bar or restaurant should be about a pleasant experience as much as good food or drink. Make sure that brand message is present in all your adverts and campaigns. Make people feel welcome from the moment you open your doors. Don’t forget to offer customers a great reason to come back again soon.

Katia-Beauchamp-of-Birchbox-poses-with-product

Insight from 7 Influential E-commerce Founders to Transform You into a Creative Entrepreneur [Infographic]

Entrepreneurs are creative by nature. However, there are things you can do if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, but are failing to come up with any incredible ideas. If you want to turn into a more creative person who comes up with ideas like a machine, these ideas can help you:

Treat Life Like a Creative Exercise

Treat your entire life like a creative exercise. How can you show the most creativity and enthusiasm in whatever you’re doing right now? It might be cleaning the house, writing a social media bio, or shopping for a new dress. Have fun with life and expand your imagination as you do so.

Get Outside

Some of the most successful people in the world claim that spending time in nature helps them to focus and become more creative. It might sound a little crazy, but some people believe that their ideas actually come from the plants and natural elements around them! Regardless of what you believe, simply walking in nature can actually have a positive impact on your creative thinking process.

Spend Time in the Right Environment

Create the perfect environment for you to get creative in. Make sure you include the right lighting, noise levels, scents, motivational pictures, and anything else that could inspire you. You might find that using things like aromatherapy in your environment, and playing nature sounds help you to concentrate. Others might be at their best creative selves when listening to Katia Beauchamp rock ‘n’ roll!

Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you. The influencers below have some great tips and insight for you too.

Take a look!  


Infographic Credit: Red Stag Fulfillment

The Handbook for Millennial Entrepreneurs

There are more self-employed people now than ever before, which means there are more entrepreneurs than ever before too. That is partly because millennials don’t want to work there way up a corporate ladder for 40 years and then retire, and partly because the technological age we live in has allowed people to take advantage of their ideas in a way that was never before achievable.

However, before you start working toward your first solo business success, there are few things that every young entrepreneur should know about first.

Image Credit: Pexels

Don’t Launch Too Early, Or Too Late

This is such a common error among both young entrepreneurs and young creatives. Go and speak to any successful writer about the mistakes they made when they were starting out and they will all tell you about perfection. They will tell you that perfection doesn’t exist and that your focus should simply be with finishing something. As a rule, as long as your product is capable of offering value to your customers then it is ready to launch. That is the benchmark you should be working with. Get your business up and running – get your product or service out there – and improve along the way.

Image Credit: Pexels

Make Yourself Seen

If there is one thing the technological world has brought with it, it is white noise. There is so much information out there that it is almost impossible to make any sense of it. There is also so much information out there that never gets seen. A question that the experts at SEOJet.net often ask their clients to ask themselves is, when was the last time they went past the first page of Google? Exactly. That is why it is important you understand how to maximize your SEO strategy, and knowing how to integrate it within your other methods to get the most out of it and ensure your business is seen. Invisibility in not an attractive superpower for any business.

Business Plans Aren’t The Be All And End All

Yes, there was once an age where businesses couldn’t succeed without a 200-page business plan and a rigid on at that. But these days are gone, and the age of running with a small idea is here. That doesn’t mean you should go with the wind and just hope for the best, it just means you should be prepared to be flexible. Have an idea of where you want your business to get to and how. Have an understanding of how you want to function, what brand image you would like to give off, what you will need help with, what you don’t understand and what you don’t want to be bogged down with. These are not specifics, these are broad guidelines, but important ones to consider.

Image Credit: Pexels

Reinvest In Yourself ASAP

The first few months to a year require you to be seriously money-savvy and lean. That is because you will need to have enough money to keep your business going and enough money to support yourself. That is where reinvesting in your business comes in, because reinvesting allows growth, and that growth will be the thing that supports a healthy level of self-sufficiency. It doesn’t mean growing as quick as possible. According to Entrepreneur.com, it just means investing half of what you earn as a means to grow where you see a need for it, such as your marketing strategies, employee engagement, the need to outsource, developing your business operations or even expanding your product line.

Small Business, Big Profits: The Holy Trinity For Greater Success

Quick exercise: think of three successful entrepreneurs whose footsteps you’d like to follow.

It doesn’t really matter which three you picked. They all share a common theme: they all started from nothing. Those success stories shouldn’t just serve as your inspiration, though. They should also make you realise that you’ve no excuse for failure. Even as a small business, you are capable of achieving greatness.

So let’s dive into the business bible to take a closer look at the three key elements to drive your venture to the promised land. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started.

dyson_01

Products & Services

The quality of your products isn’t the only key factor that will determine how well your business performs. Nevertheless, if you are lacking in this area of the operation, you cannot expect to see positive results. So the real question is what makes a winning product or service?

Competition in the modern business world is particularly fierce. Quite frankly, if yours are going to stand out from the crowd, they need to be unique. Following trends isn’t enough; you have to set them. Using Sir James Dyson as an example, producing something that blows minds is the only answer.

That sense of individuality won’t only help you establish your place in the market. Once you’ve cemented your place as the market leader, your competitors will be left to play catch up. From this position, you cannot fail.

Productivity

Business success essentially boils down to money. As such, it’s not all about creating great products. You also need to make the most of your resources, with time and money being the key ingredients. Being a small business will erect a few obstacles, but you can overcome them.

You only need to look at the stories of Mark Zuckerberg or Tom Anderson to see the benefits of resourcefulness in full flow. If you are operating from a small office, external IT support can save you space, time, and money. Likewise, outsourcing certain jobs can have a telling impact.

Efficiency is the target. Your job as an entrepreneur is to become a problem solver. Quite frankly, the method of achieving those goals isn’t important. As long as it’s the option that offers the fastest growth, it is the perfect answer.

starbucks-coffee-cups-table

Customer Interactions

The importance of branding and marketing cannot be underestimated for a second. Take a Starbucks coffee as the perfect example, and it’s not hard to see that these factors influence everything. Creating a name that can be trusted can increase the sales price along with the sales volume. But it’s not all about the brand itself.

People buy from people, which is why you must invest in better interactions. Whether it’s human conversations or through social media, this will increase the trust. The added insight into the personalities behind your company can actively encourage increased sales.

Every successful brand you can think of has made customers believe that their lives will be improved by interacting with the brand. Achieve this golden reaction, and your dreams will become a reality in no time.

Here Today; Here Tomorrow: The Vitals For Giving Your Business Longevity

Nostalgia is the one thing that never goes out of fashion. Pick up a local newspaper and look in its entertainment section. Chances are, there are ads for a local 80s or 90s theme night. Fashions, songs and even drinks that we remember from 20 or 30 years ago. If they’re done right, they rake in money.

neon-1155438_960_720
Image Credit: Pixabay

Do you know what was big in the 90s? 60s and 70s theme nights. And in 2036, there will be DJs playing the hits of today. That’s the thing about nostalgia. We don’t have it for things that are still around. You don’t need to make a comeback if you never went away.

Having success is one thing, and a lot of people and businesses (small and large) can do it in the short term. But if you want to really make it, you need to stick. Do you know why 90s artists are playing the comeback trail now? Because they need the money. Short-term success doesn’t sustain an expensive lifestyle. You need always to be looking for ways not to be forgotten.

Do You Want To Be Cameo Or Aretha Franklin?

There is a difference between being known and being remembered. And perhaps the biggest part of that difference is being set to transmit and receive at the same time. If you just put a message out there, you’ll gain some traction. But if you put the word out, hear what comes back and adapt, you’ll keep climbing the ladder.

You see it in the difference between a normal blog post and interactive content marketing. People who feel they are being sold to might buy, once. Individuals who believe they are part of a conversation will become customers.

Identity Is Everything
twitter-292994_960_720
Image Credit: Pixabay

Harking back to the 90s again, do you remember how every new group, singer, actor or show was referred to as “the new” something? That’s effective in marketing for as long as it takes not to be new anymore. If a band was the “new Beatles,” then once the initial novelty wore off, people would just listen to the Beatles instead. You have to carve your identity, and that can only happen by speaking to your public. Be social, use Twitter, use Instagram, but do it right.

Some major brands have already embraced this, bringing them bang up to date even if the brand has many years on the clock. For example, Coke have existed since the 20th century, but their modernity is guaranteed with their social network use. They have created an entire “Hub Network” to make sure they stay on pace with trends.

Understand What You’re Working With
social-1148035_960_720
Image Credit: Pixabay

Entrepreneurs today have more tools than ever before to work with, and to establish a business. The ones who do it successfully are the people who know how to use it. It’s not enough to get your business a Twitter account. Are you just reposting your blog posts on there? Then you’re not building a conversation. These days, everything happens on social networks. Be on there reacting to things and engaging. That’s how you establish your voice, but be careful. The list of brands who have made horrible errors in social media engagement doesn’t need another to add to the list.

The phrase “here today, gone tomorrow” can apply to you very quickly if you’re not in control of your story. Don’t be the new anything – be the one and only you. Stay visible and adapt – that way you can be here today, and tomorrow, and the day after too.

Entrepreneurs Have To Climb A “Wall Of Worry” Before They Make It To The Top

Financial investors know all too well about climbing the “wall of worry.” Stocks keep rising and investors keep spending, even when the fundamentals are weak. Entrepreneurs have to climb their own wall of worry. But their wall is an entirely different animal to your wall. For an entrepreneur, the fear is at the center of everything that they do.

Take Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, for instance. Musk is often asked how he manages to make such daring decisions with vast sums of money. eBay acquired PayPal in October 2002 [for $1.5 billion in stock], earning Musk $165 million. But instead of going and spending the rest of his life on a beach, he reinvested it in two risky business ventures. One of those ventures was an electric car company – madness back in 2004. And the other was a space company – again, complete madness. Commentators assumed that Musk must be made of sterner stuff. He must just have an affinity for taking risks. But in interviews, Musk frequently talks about his intense fear of the unknown and how he nearly lost it all. The moral of the story? Taking risks is difficult, even for the best entrepreneurs in the world.

Here, we’re going to look at some of the major fears held by entrepreneurs and what they can do about them.

fear-art-installation-flickr-jpg
Image Credit: Flickr
Not Knowing How To Start

Entrepreneurs tend to have great ideas. But the difficulty in entrepreneurship isn’t the idea itself: it’s getting to the final destination. Most entrepreneurs don’t have a clue how to even begin, even if they’re masters of their own product. Here’s a tip: start by looking for local business groups in your area. Sometimes the local government will put on free seminars for startups. And often, business banks will put you in contact with networks and network events where you can find mentors. Find somebody else who did it, and get them to set you off in the right direction.

Not Earning Enough To Keep Cash Flow Positive
british-20-gbp-notes-jpg
Image Credit: Pixabay

The irony of startups is that they have to spend money like mad while not getting any money in. Marketing, SEO, insurance: it all costs a small fortune. Often the problem is the gap between selling the service and getting the payment. Startups don’t usually have their own credit card reader. Instead, they have to wait days, even weeks, for money to come through via invoice. In the meantime, they can often dip very close to the red.

This is a perennial problem of running a startup, and there aren’t any hard and fast solutions. The best approach here is probably to focus on your own wellbeing so you can continue to drive the business forward. Grab a mentor, and get their emotional support to see you through, even if it all ends in financial ruin.

Not Attracting Customers

The first few weeks and months of running a startup can be a lonely experience. There you are, spending all this time and money on building a business, and the phone is silent. After a few weeks go by, you start wondering whether anybody is ever going to ring.

The trick here is patience and an infectious enthusiasm for what you’re doing. Consistently delivering your business’s message through multiple channels is what will win the day.