It’s your job to create value, not chase revenue.

It’s your job to create value, not chase revenue.

For most, starting a business is about making money. I mean, that’s the crux of it, but should it be your main focus?

We’ve seen time and time again, especially on a local scale, how businesses with a money-only focus either fizzle out or end up perceived as corrupt or greedy, and the consumers are the ones who suffer in the long run.

What if you can have your cake AND eat it too? What if you can create a business where people want to work at, and people want to shop from, and you can make a sustainable revenue on a long-term scale? Sounds too good to be true? While some may say it’s idealistic, I call bullshit.

You love when you get great customer service, right? I do, too. I remember those places, and recommend them frequently. So build your business on that touch point of value.

People don’t buy a product for what it is, they buy because of how they value it.

When you create something that’s worth something to someone, not only yourself, you’ll find that your consumers will become brand ambassadors, and those are the people who keep your business alive. Repeat business is the most valuable business in a sustainable long-term revenue model.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s up to us to change the landscape in Trinidad in terms of value and customer service.

We always think that local items are of lower value and customer service is always crap, but what are we doing as business owners to change that? We have to add more value to our product bases and look at our offerings in a new light, putting a consumer first, not money first.

The money will come, it always does, but you have to be patient. You’ve got to run this one like a marathon, not a sprint. One of the issues here is that many small business owners are unaware of the struggles in the first two years, but I’ll get into that in another post.

Start by building something of value, something that people want, something that people will remember, with happy employees, a great company culture and fantastic customer service… You will outsell every single one of your competitors with this strategy.

When is it the right time?

When is the right time?

The right time to start a business?

The right time to start a family?

The right time to start a degree?

It’s never going to be the right time. The right time is NOW. You’ll never really know if you’re ready for that next step unless you actually take it.

So empower yourself to take that step… Now.

Getting Clients to Commit! 

Getting Clients to Commit! 

As a startup, and even as an existing business, it’s becoming seemingly harder to get clients to commit to business for a set duration. However, for some businesses, it might mean the difference between sinking, floating and sailing.

Committing clients to a five year contract for a simple service in this economy is ludicrous. Six-month and twelve-month contracts with three month trials are more favorable, and even then, termination clauses sometimes have to be penalty free from the client-side, which reeks of unfairness on the service provider’s end.

Striking a fair balance is sometimes hard, especially if a young business is providing a service to a company who has been around for some time. Negotiating termination and payment terms seem to be the biggest hurdle, but something to keep in mind is that if the client came to you, or chose you out of a pool of suppliers, you may have more weight than you think. Opening a discussion about changing the standard terms to something more fair is always a good place to start.

Working closer to your ideal arrangement with a client with every contract is also a good method to get what you need from them while providing fair terms. It will give the relationship some time to grow while you establish trust and confidence with your client.

Client contracts are key to the health of a business. Use them with as many clients as you can manage as it helps you to forecast your cash flow and protects you legally if a client does not want to pay. They should be mandatory, at least for new clients, conglomerates, or companies you’re unsure about.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer, just speaking/writing from personal experience, and there may be important details missing, such as the specific protection a contract can provide. 

The Rule of Three

The Rule of Three

The rule of three is simple.

Pick three things you want to achieve today. And focus all your efforts on those three things. 

By doing this, you end up clearing your task list much faster than you expected, you’re not as drained, and you’re more relaxed, because you only have three things to do today. The bonus is that when you’re more relaxed, your performance and output increases exponentially (there are hundreds of studies on this to prove it) and by achieving these three things every day, you’ll feel an overall satisfaction with your life.

A good idea is to make one of those three an item you’ve been procrastinating for a while. By ticking it off, you’ll be encouraged to tackle more on your list, which is always a great thing.

A bonus tip is when you’re finished with those three tasks and you have the time, don’t stop there. Tackle a fourth, or perhaps a fifth. And do keep track of your progress somehow so that you can reward yourself for all the hard work!

The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep

I’ve been seeing many entrepreneurs and business owners burning the midnight oil, night after night. I’m awake at some crazy hours (and my Twitter TL is flooded with you owls), but I somehow manage to get a solid eight hours of sleep (or sometimes a little more!)

Not getting enough sleep for an extended period isn’t something to be proud of. It shows a consistent lack of proper planning on your part. This does not include the couple of nights where you have to burn through it to get that project closed on time, or supply a client with some last-minute work (because that shit does happen for us service businesses).

What I’m talking about is the hundreds of business owners who claim to not have a good night’s sleep in over a year, or two or three years.

This is what a potential client thinks: if you have to handle my sensitive business, and you’re not functioning properly because you haven’t gotten enough sleep, then I don’t want your business.

I have heard a client talk about a supplier like that. It’s a scary position to be in, especially when they then look at you and question your sleeping habits.

So, set a regular bed time which allows at least seven hours of sleep. Stick to it.

If you need a list of the numerous health benefits, Google ‘the benefits of sleep’.

Bottom Line: you need to be at your best performance and peak brain function to keep your business healthy.

Post-Script: I am quite guilty for not getting enough sleep too. After all, this post was written at 1:44am. But I try not to do this two nights in a row and not more than once a week, and that’s important. 

We’re at TIC! Catch us at Booth #9!

We’re at TIC! Catch us at Booth #9!

I was working on a super secret project for the last couple weeks and we’re *finally* unveiling it at Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) 2016! It’s quite an exciting time for us, especially me.

May 2015 marked a significant point in my life and career; I decided to take the plunge, quit my day job, my secure salary, and start my own marketing agency. The road has not been easy, but it has been full of many lessons.

A year later and the service I started out with one year ago has niched itself into a market of its own, being the first social media dedicated agency in Trinidad and Tobago. TILT.social just does social, no websites, no press ads, no mobile apps. Just social.

We take your social media presence and analyze it, look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and then begin the process of branding it, and creating a voice of its own.

We’ve done this for some of largest brands in the country and we continue to change the industry as we move forward.

This latest change, the massive shave of our line of services, allows us to remain focused on something we’re great at and provide a service that is second to none.

I’m proud to be a part of this focused team at Elevate, and be able to usher in a new phase of social marketing to Trinidad and Tobago.

You should check out our new website: www.TILT.social and you’ll see why we’re so confident in this service offering.

The website is the hub; it has all the information you need as a client, and offers a zero-bullshit policy, quite like its founders. We believe that clients need information that’s straight to the point, with no figuring out to do. This is what we do, this is what is costs, this is what you get, and that’s IT.

We’re the best at what we do. But I’ll let you decide that when you try us out.

Register at www.TILT.social

How valuable is YOUR time?

How valuable is YOUR time?

How much do you value your time? Do you have a dollar figure per hour?

Every business has tasks that no one wants to do, but someone has to do it, right? And if no one else can do it, then you have to do it, right? Wrong.

When you, as a specifically-skilled individual, have to do a million things unrelated to your exact skill-set, you’re wasting your time. Wasted time in a business is bad for business. You’ll end up being strung out, exhausted, and unable to focus on anything, because you’re doing things you shouldn’t, and you’re not doing a good job anyway because you’re probably dragging your feet on it.

Outsourcing or hiring someone to do the smaller things will allow you to focus on your business and provide a better product and service.

Knowing what you’re worth helps you weed out unwanted clients. 

Every business knows this one… The clients that are an instant migraine. Clients who are usually unwilling to pay you for your time are usually not worth it, because they waste a whole lot of your time and theirs, most likely don’t know what they want, and you might just end up dropping them.

It’s better to just say no from the onset, than to subject yourself to that pain. Do yourself a favor and send them to a competitor! It will keep them busy, haha! #sorrynotsorry

Now that you have all this free time by hiring/outsourcing those tasks, and saying no to all those waste-of-time jobs, you can now plan your time more easily, and live your life doing things that mean something to you. Take your dog for a walk, or read a book.

It’s very tempting to accept every single request from a client, especially as a small business because that means extra revenue (which could mean an equipment upgrade, a bonus or a new employee), but you have to stop and ask yourself if that task is worth your hourly rate, and if it’s not, then don’t do it!

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