Archives: Business

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.

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. 

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!

Adding Value

How are you adding value to the world?

With every word that you say, every action that you make, how are you adding value?

With this blog, adding value is key to its success, but also adding an element of speed, is key. Shorter blog posts packed with sometimes just two lines of the value bomb. Longer isn’t better, I’ve learned.

Focus on adding value, refine your ideas, find the points which will make it more successful and build it.

Success is attainable for anyone who’s brave enough to put their mind to it.

Relax! Not everyone wants to be a business owner… 

Relax! Not everyone wants to be a business owner… 

Have you ever had an idea that you wanted to discuss but you were SO afraid of someone stealing it that you said nothing, and nothing ever came of that idea?

We have ALL had ideas like those. And the bullet to the chest is when you see someone else, totally unrelated to you, execute your idea… better.

Unfortunately, what most people don’t understand is that ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s the execution that counts. I’m actually not afraid of talking about ideas, and here is why:

Not everyone wants to be a business owner… 

90% of the time, when I ask someone why they don’t want to talk about their business ideas, it’s because of potential intellectual theft. Yes, we live in a very disloyal community, but that should not stop you from bouncing your ideas off of your potential consumers.

You have to ask yourself, do these people have what it takes to open the exact company, complete with your vision and execute it to become a sustainable competitive company? Are these people ready to make the same sacrifices you’re willing to make in order to take this idea and build it into a company? Probably not. 

I’ve heard a common local story, about a man who thought about bottling water and discussed the idea among colleagues because he was looking for funding, but one of the people in his audience decided that they liked the idea too and had access to the capital, so they opened their very own bottled water company. While I get the moral of that particular story, it leaves me asking what became of the entrepreneur looking for funding, and how much detail did he actually spill at that discussion? It’s up to you to be able to ascertain who can and cannot be trusted. (This is where your gut comes in handy!)

Business is about opportunity; has always been like that and will remain so. You will have those who are honest and like to see others succeed, and those who are like thieves, lurking in the shadows.

One way to look at this is while discussing your ideas (leaving out the secret details of course!), someone might just like your passion about the project and decide to invest, which can either make or break a venture.

So here are some pointers:

  • Do be careful about who you’re talking to, and what you’re talking about.
  • Do not disclose any information about your project which can arm a competitor or create one!
  • Do not be afraid of discussing your basic idea, as you will garner valuable feedback

[Side note: if you don’t agree with the above, that’s fine. Most people choose to hold their ideas very close to heart for obvious reasons and nothing is wrong with that. This is just a different perspective of a topic rarely discussed among young local business owners.]

17 Tips on Facebook Algorithm Changes from the Experts

17 Tips on Facebook Algorithm Changes from the Experts

This article was originally published on Business2Community

As many of you know, Facebook announced a major change last year that will give promotional organic posts less visibility, starting in January of 2015.

Well, it’s already 2015. So what should do marketers do (other than panic)? We decided to ask 17 Facebook marketing experts to tell us how to deal with this latest algorithm change. Here’s what the experts think you should do.

Get your Facebook Fans onto an email list

7D7BBB02-306C-4CA9-855F-C36F7D2B5A60With Facebook’s algorithm change it’s more important than ever to focus on getting your Fans and targeted Facebook users onto your e-mail list so that you can deepen your connection through e-mail. Use a valuable piece of content such as a free webinar, a free e-book, coupon, a mini-course, or something similar to entice your Fans to optin to your list. You can also use Facebook ads to target your perfect customer to optin to your freebie as well. Then make sure you continue to deliver value through your e-mail updates when you continue to connect with your subscribers.

Another recommendation for the change in Facebook’s algorithm is to focus more heavily on high-value posts rather than posting more often. Watch what types of content get shared more regularly and post more of that type of content and consider using Facebook Ads to boost the content so that you are amplifying it on Facebook. Using tools like Facebook Insights and Buzzsumo will help you find that perfect content to share.

– Andrea Vahl, Co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies

Practice storytelling with each Facebook post

FBB33117-1A6F-4087-8E89-F0675ADAB64DThe main thing to keep in mind is that the algorithm change is not a form of punishment on Facebook’s part; rather, it’s an extra reminder for brands to produce engaging, innovative material for their social media audience. Think of a user’s News Feed as a noisy conference room, with many people who have something to say and wish to be heard—so your brand’s presence should command attention. There are three ways to do this without being overly promotional: share timely content; use media-rich messaging; and let each post tell a story.

Discussing trending topics can add value to your brand’s product or service by placing them in a broader context—just remember to do this tastefully, and avoid forcing a connection to your brand or field if there isn’t an obvious one. High-quality images or videos increase the post’s visibility; if you have a call to action in the post, avoid using promotional phrases such as “buy now,” and place all your links in the correct link format in the post. Finally, practice storytelling with each post—for example, by highlighting how the latest product fits into your brand history.

We have a few resources addressing the recent algorithm change, please choose whichever you see as most fitting for your article:

How to adapt your Facebook strategy to the coming News Feed changes (this would be my top choice)
Facebook marketing is changing—is your brand ready?
How blogging can remedy decreased organic reach on Facebook

– Olsy Sorokina, Blog Writer & Coordinator at Hootsuite

Understand what excites your audience

92F17C26-B4E3-4D4C-A590-D377E780BDE0My advice to marketers remains the same as before the changes. Know your audience – specifically what gets them excited. To do this, you really need to pay attention to what’s working by checking your post reach regularly. Be diligent and ruthless about what makes it onto your page. At the same time, don’t be afraid to test things.We’ve been surprised time and time again by the type of content that takes off on Facebook. Figure out what your audience is craving and really cater to it.

Also, be sure to respond to comments on your Facebook page. Every successful post we’ve done recently has had a healthy amount of conversation. Nothing promotes conversation quite like the brand chiming in.

– Andy Au, Paid Social Media Lead at Hootsuite

Make sure your content has context to the reader

CCF6DCD4-310D-4C56-A859-71AF450D83C6In light of the Facebook changes that are coming in January, 2015, I think it is more important than ever that your content has context to the viewer. For example, take a look at both of these examples and ask yourself, which one you are more likely to respond to and specifically, which one would YOU buy from?

“Click the link below to buy my new eBook! It’s going to save you tons of time and I just know you are going to love it! Only $19.99! Buy now!”

or

“A major challenge many small business owners face today is how to find new customers. You know…when I was first starting out, I figure it took hours and hours of work just to land one new client! This is the primary reason that I have put together this step-by-step guide that helps new small business owners find new customers quickly and easily.”

Your results with a post that is structured with a “how will this solve a pain for them” mentality instead of what’s in it for you, will get much higher results and keep your posts showing up in your fans newsfeed!

– Kim Garst, Keynote Speaker and CEO of BoomSocial

Have a friendly and relaxed approach when posting

FA90A4A0-8E69-406F-8DAC-DE8F858DEF05Facebook has always been changing their algorithm on a regular basis, so the first thing marketers should do is stop chasing it. It’s a lost battle.

Rather than getting upset over ‘what Facebook has done this time’, they should try understanding ‘Why they’ve done it’, and adapt their strategy to follow the same logic.

In this latest iteration, Facebook aims at making users feel more comfortable with their News Feeds, feeding them content that resonates more with what they expect to receive, so they will use the social network more often. After all, without users Facebook would not exist; and more traffic means more advertising opportunities for Pages, thus more potential revenue.

And what most users expect is a friendly and relaxed approach, something similar to the type of conversation you could get when you go to a bar with some friends. This is the type of content that works best on Facebook: ask for opinions, engage in conversations, make users feel you value them as a friend, rather than as a source of revenue.

Don’t say ‘Buy our new product’ but rather ‘What do you think of our new product?’ Leave the pricing and promotional message for advertising campaigns – where this latest algorithm change does not apply.

– Antonio Calero, Consultant, Multilingual Keynote Speaker, and Blogger

Use Facebook for lead generation but convert on your own site

548B2778-7083-4E6F-8314-496015CE3E02The thing that keeps me ahead of Facebook changes is this: I see Facebook as a tool. Like a hammer. Would I build at house ON a hammer?

No, I would build a house (or table, whatever) WITH a hammer, not on it. Facebook is a tool, so I build with the tool not ON it. Therefore from the very first time I used Facebook, I leveraged it for the ability to send me people I would then convert elsewhere.

For that reason, them changing the algorithm to prevent me from getting free ads isn’t a problem. If you didn’t start out that way, my tip is to shift your strategy to use organic Facebook tools for lead generation and convert on your site. So you can still share things on their platform. Just move the conversion part of the conversation to your own web properties that you own and control, rather than those you are “leasing”.

– Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Founder of Chief Visibility Officer of Leveraged Promotion

Learn how to be more relevant to your customers’ lives

2FDE56B3-4227-4294-85C6-0CD18EB80A61The new Facebook algorithm alterations to suppress overly promotional organic posts changes nothing for brands that have been paying attention. It will only hurt the most stubborn brands, and those that just don’t “get it.” What do you need to “get”? Facebook is about you engaging your audience with content that they at least like, if not love. If you want to just promote products or push more aggressively in social media, you will have to pay to play. Advertisements are an important and healthy part of the social media ecosystem, and the Facebook ad system is the most powerful tool marketers have ever had access to. But there’s no free “organic visibility” ride for companies that merely promote themselves. Why? Not because Facebook is bad or greedy. Because of what regular Facebook users want. We want interesting, meaningful, fun, amazing posts.

My Contagious Content ebook revealed that one of the surest ways to dampen social media users’ enthusiasm is to talk about yourself. Just like you would ignore the narcissistic person at a party, users will ignore your brand unless you think more about them. If you, as a brand, want to learn to do that, then welcome! Contribute! If not, you will only be able to advertise, and you will miss out on the power of affecting your audience, bonding with them, and laying a solid foundation of loyalty (which hopefully you will win with a great offering and customer service). My hope is that you will embrace content marketing by learning how your company can be more relevant to your potential customers’ lives.

– Brian Carter, Author, Speaker, and Consultant

Empower your employees to scale your content

FA702D65-8600-4570-B217-ECA866AED3C1To get people to visit your Facebook page more often, you have to give them a reason to be there by adding value in one form or another, by interacting and engaging with those who visit, and by building relationships. Empower your employees to help you scale your content and conversation, and for heaven’s sake, make it a requirement for, or incentivize, as many employees as possible, especially those in the marketing department, to visit the pages of your fans, get inside their heads a bit, and report back about what they’re talking about and what’s of interest to them. Do this with your competitors as well.

Have employees link to your Facebook page in the “About” section of their own Facebook profiles. Seek out groups that fit your company niche and encourage employees to join. You’re doing this not to spam others with your messaging but to find ways to contribute, answer questions, share expertise and learn.

I’ve been asked by a lot of people how they can be more successful in building relationships on social channels and on Facebook in particular, especially with the changes to the algorithm that favors those who do the work, engage, interact, and do the work. And the one thing that keeps coming to the surface is the importance of being “present” when you’re being “social.”

You know how it is when you meet someone at a conference or in a networking situation and they’re constantly looking around the room to see who else is there, or they’re looking at their device—basically looking anywhere except at you? Those signals mean they aren’t really “present” in the conversation, so there is no true connection.

The same principles apply to online social relationships, so I’m a big proponent of doing what I call “looking people in the eye digitally.” To get the most out of Facebook requires the same personal attention as the human touch and eye contact in a physical relationship.

So participate by actively engaging on your followers’ pages, not just on yours, and show real interest. Look your audience in the eye digitally, and let them know you’re interested.

– Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist, and Keynote Speaker

Simply stop writing promotional posts

29DF661A-9F43-4CEE-BFDA-6EAAB453FE12It seems like businesses sometimes brush off social media algorithm changes (or they don’t hear about them because they don’t get as much publicity as a Google update), but acting fast is incredibly important. Not only are more and more consumers searching for businesses via social media sites, but social sites are starting to make more appearances in the Google SERPs.

My advice for dealing with the latest algorithm change, therefore, would simply be to listen to it. If it says that promotional status updates will be given less distribution on the platform, then avoid them at all costs. You don’t need promotional status updates to succeed on social media. In fact, most consumers would probably agree that they are more likely to click on an engaging and interesting status update that doesn’t have to do with something the company is offering. Start writing status’s about the latest news in your industry, posting funny images and quotes, and asking your readers for feedback.

– Amanda DiSilvestro, Higher Visiblility

Focus on building relevant, high quality content

37D8BF5C-E371-4635-9E49-793C4A59AEE8With Facebook you can always guarantee one constant – change! Here are some tips that may help business owners to thrive in spite of the next round of changes to Facebook’s algorithm.

On Facebook

– Focus on relevant, high quality content that is useful to your target audience – including quality visual content, link posts and original video uploaded directly to Facebook. Post native content that fans love to see and post themselves on Facebook.

– Start experimenting with Facebook Ads – Facebook still has some of the most targeted ads around, allowing you to hyper-target who you promote to. If you want to be successful on Facebook moving forward, “paying to play” is inevitable, so start playing with ads now.

– Have a clear content and sales funnel – Don’t expect to “sell” on Facebook but do guide fans into your funnel for more great value and the option to subscribe and buy outside of Facebook. Know what you want them to do with your content at any point and have a clear call to action.

Off Facebook

– Build your content castle on your website or blog – be sure to post your best content on the real estate you own.

– Grow your subscriber community – empower your community and your fans to share your content. Fans sharing content is how organic reach and engagement happens… regardless of “algorithms”.

– Build your community/following on other platforms that resonate with you and where you know your audience is hanging out. Now is the time to explore Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, or Google+ – all of which can bring significant results and drive traffic to your website.

– Donna Moritz, Socially Sorted

Focus on providing value

F3458E75-0513-436C-93A1-F22E0B3123F6I’ve always said that Facebook is not a place to sell but a place to engage with existing and potential clients and to share valuable information. I believe the latest algorithm changes support this even more. If marketers don’t want to pay-to-play they’ll have to double down their efforts and refocus on content that is valuable and not promotional. My team recently wrote a blog post about these changes and they mentioned six alternatives to the most common Facebook marketing tactics. They include things like utilizing email marketing, adding traditional media into your promotion strategy and exploring other social networks. If you currently do use Facebook for a lot of promotional strategies that article can help you redirect some of those strategies outside of Facebook. However, the biggest change businesses will need to make is a focus on value and not just posting to post. Include a mix of original and shared content that is interesting to your fans and your page won’t see a hit from these changes.

– Jim Belosic, CEO of ShortStack

Analyze what’s working and produce more of that

B6B1DBB2-FB1D-43E6-8AE4-888738676E4EThe recent Facebook algorithm change that promises to punish promotional organic content basically offers marketers two options: invest more in ads or determine how Facebook defines promotional content and avoid it. Obviously, blatant calls to action will not be tolerated. However, there are creative ways to encourage people to buy, such as asking them to “swing on over to our place and have a look.”

If you trust Facebook and believe their goal is to “show people the things they want to see” in their News Feed, then the challenge is to seriously analyze what’s working and strategically focus on providing more of that contextual content. Presumably, this will include relevant stories, images, videos, and graphics. The truth is this will only make us all better social media marketers.

– Jeff Korhan, Keynote Speaker

Create more video content

6206D033-BD7C-4341-A174-7D971D708507I think it is kinda sad on one hand that Facebook is only providing a paid option for what it deems as promotional posts by radically reducing the news feed exposure for those posts. On the other hand, we typically pay for our promotional posts to our events already anyway. We find that using video is a great way to get exposure into the newsfeed and have been producing weekly videos with great success. However, in the end the big question of the day is what exactly is promotional? Is promoting an educational blog post on your own blog promotional? Let’s hope not!

– Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner

Know more about your potential buyers

69875AEA-ADC1-43B8-B1E6-0F058C55CFF9With the new Facebook algorithm marketers are going to have to work hard to produce content that is genuinely interesting to their potential buyers, simply because when they do this those who are most engaged will have a higher chance of seeing the promotional posts, clicking, and buying.

I make the distinction between potential buyers and fans because they can be different personas at different stages of the buying cycle. I might like Apple, but if I can’t afford their products, I’m not a potential buyer. Or I might like animals, but I’m not about to go adopt a few more right now.

Knowing more about these potential buyers gives you the knowledge to run highly targeted ads. Specific targeting like this causes the CPC to be low and hopefully cost effective for small businesses.

I wouldn’t encourage marketers to try to game the algorithm, which I think will be based on the contents of the post, and certain flag keywords adding up to a higher promotional score, causing it to lose reach. Think of this as a downward slope on a graph. Gaming it in anyway will help it to evolve over time and cause the same loss of reach after each ‘trick’ is exposed.

We recently took to discussing what marketers are going to do as a result of the new change on Inbound.org. It’s interesting to see that many of the respondents (though few in number) will spend less on future ads, when Facebook is trying to get people to spend more.

– Mary Green, Content & Community Manager at Inbound.org

Know what works for your audience

F274C212-EF8E-4DD6-ADF4-0D3D90D42175I always advise bloggers to get to know what works for their audience. It might all be well and good to read the current advice, but that won’t work if that advice says to post at a certain time and you know your readers aren’t on Facebook then. Plumb your own Insights – when is your audience online? What posts do they respond the most favourably to? (mine are actually backwards – plain status posts are the least popular, which goes against convention). Look more closely at targeting, and cater your content to reader needs. You are the one who can experiment and gather your own data – use that valuable information to work Facebook to your best ability.

– Stacey Roberts, ProBlogger

Remove or adapt your promotional posts

02DCCD05-9834-44F6-AFC4-3B4C4AC2775AFacebook’s news didn’t catch me by surprise. If there’s one thing I learned from marketing on Facebook, it’s that they have always moved in the direction that’d primarily benefit and satisfy users. That is good news for brands for two reasons:

1. We’ll be able to continue taking advantage of Facebook’s platform to reach our target audiences in more targeted ways than any other media.
2. Users continue to stick to Facebook and use it in varied ways. For one, visually attractive images have turned from a winning tool to a minimum requirement to get users’ attention in the newsfeed, while videos seem to be the “in” thing right now. Continued changes in the newsfeed landscape allows new businesses with small communities and new businesses on Facebook a chance to win and gain visibility against the juggernauts.

In short, my advice is to remove and adapt previously promotional copies and focus more on what you’re posting, how you’re engaging, and most importantly, the results you’re getting out from Facebook’s platform. Using Facebook to drive leads to your website and nurture them separately is one good idea.

– Jason How, Blogger and Marketer

Diversify your social media platforms

D20DB624-635A-4363-9E00-42555CDCE348Marketers should expect that Facebook and other social media platforms will continue to change and tweak their algorithms over time just as Google, Bing and other search engines do. The digital marketplace is dynamic. Therefore, whatever currently works may not continue to yield the same results into the future.

To minimize the impact of any one specific change by a third party social media platform, marketers should do the following:

1. Create a social media marketing strategy aligned with their business goals and target audience needs that can be measured back to these objectives.

2. Build owned social media outposts in the form of a blog and house email file.

3. Diversify social media platform use, specifically select a mix of networks to maximize your reach despite changes in the social media ecosystem.

– Heidi Cohen, Marketer, Professor, Journalist, and Speaker.

Become indispensable to your audience

76CB03C5-DDA7-4681-8095-28017F0501A1Smart Facebook marketers should focus on becoming indispensable to their audience. When you publish Facebook updates you should ask, how is this useful? How is this entertaining? And most importantly, how does this content differentiate us from our competition?

– John Haydon, Digital Marketing and Fundraising Expert for nonprofits

How to become a Successful Entrepreneur

How to become a Successful Entrepreneur

Every entrepreneur is different; some colour in the lines, some out; some seem tense, some are always relaxed; the bottom line is, no two entrepreneurs are the same. However, there are some overlapping qualities and habits which overlap the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.

Dan Rosenberg wrote an article for Business 2 Community on the 10 most important habits of the world’s best entrepreneurs and I do not think anyone can write this more eloquently. So I’ve kept the original piece, in its entirety.

The 10 characteristics of successful entrepreneurs are: business focus, confidence, creative thinker, delegator, determination, independent, knowledge-seeker, promoter, relationship-builder and risk-taker.

So as you aspire to be successful, what can you do to improve your own business talents and in turn, make your business thrive? Here are 10 habits that’ll surely help you get on track.

Relationship-builder: Working your connections, tactfully and effectively.

Growing up, ‘networking’ was just about the dirtiest word in my vocabulary. There was nothing that screamed ‘phony’ to me more than utilizing your connections for personal gain. However, as I’ve gotten older and decidedly more realistic, I’ve realized the importance of networking to propel you in the business world. It’s all about keeping active in your community; keeping open contact with your current contacts while actively pursuing new ones as well.

With social media sites like Linkedin, networking has never been more convenient, but still, we could all use some common sense reminders from one of the entrepreneurial greats. Carnegie’s first chapter of his excellent book How to Win Friends and Influence People discusses how to engage people without being overly critical. The underlying theme is to not burn bridges, because who knows, you might need to work with that person again someday.

Business focus: Setting and surpassing targets.

Setting targets, both financial and non-financial can keep your goals in perspective and can really motivate you to achieve. Just keep the big picture in mind, being completely goal oriented could potentially hurt your performance in the long-run. After all, a cut-throat mentality could lead to decrease in team morale.

Confidence: Don’t fret; you too can be a confidence man or confidence woman.

While confidence seems to be inherent in some, and lacking in others, there are ways to improve your own self-confidence. For example, thought reconditioning is an essential tool in confidence boosting. Let’s be realistic, no one’s perfect. Know your strengths, and be proud of them.

It’s even more important however to understand your weaknesses, so you can address and manage them. There’s no better way to improve one’s confidence than giving you more reason to be confident through learning, knowledge and training (more on that later-on).

Creative-thinker

Being aware of your senses can help fine-tune your creative juices. Studies have shown that certain types of music promote productivity and even creativity. Additionally, journaling can really help put your ideas into action. Since brainstorming can occur at anytime, try keeping a pocket-sized notebook with you.

Delegator: Delegate, don’t micromanage.

While few business owners appreciated President Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark in 2012, it is true that collaboration is essential in a successful business. At some point you just have to realize you can’t do everything yourself.

Foregoing some control in decision-making and allowing your team-members to personalize a project gives them ownership, which in turn increases their enthusiasm and motivation to complete the requested task effectively.

Determination: Keep your goals in mind and in sight

Constantly remind yourself why you’re in business in the way of short-term and long-term goals and convey these to your team members. Stress can interfere with your determination levels so make sure you manage a good life and work balance to keep it in check.

Independent: Be a jack of all trades

When first setting up a business it’s inevitable, you’ll be putting on many different hats and taking on a variety of tasks. Even after becoming established, maintaining this versatility is advantageous because it gives you a good perspective on all facets of your business. Besides, being an independent businessman or businesswoman will increase your confidence as an autonomous being.

Knowledge-seeker: Read voraciously. Rinse, repeat.

As an entrepreneur you should know the ins and outs of the business environment you’re in and because the conditions are constantly changing, you should never stop learning. While formal class-work can help (see college level studies and/or local business/management/entrepreneurial workshops), due to your busy work schedule, it’s easy to substitute time wasted in front of the television with internet research or reading time to improve your breadth of knowledge.

Promoter: Use 21st gen tech to your advantage.

In this day and age being active on a variety of social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and blogs) can be a sure-fire way to get noticed. Not all attention is good however so keep it classy-you may think those cheeky shots of tequila are a fun way to spend a Friday night, but your potential clientele may not.

Risk-taker: Take risks but don’t be reckless.

As a proprietor you’re naturally very familiar with risk-taking. But keep the gambling at the casino, all risk-taking in the entrepreneurial world should be calculated and well-thought out. When addressing a potentially risky decision think of the potential payoffs and consequences, then imagine the best case and worst case scenarios. Is the best-case scenario worth the potential risks you’re facing? If faced with your worst-case scenario how difficult would it be to accommodate for the setback?

What traits do you possess and which are you lacking in? Write to me (click the link in the menu!)
Back to top