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Is Your Business Running You?

Posted by on 6:24 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business | 0 comments

Do you remember how good it felt to start your own business? You manage your own time, you are the boss, and you only answer to yourself, right? Have your dreams of playing golf at the 3 o’clock in the afternoon disappeared under the pressure of answering client calls, emails, business meetings, and actually doing your work? If you have been transformed from the master of your destiny to a slave of the trade, then something is very wrong. Your existing business processes are shackling you rather than serving you. It’s time to stop, analyze, and intelligently systemize your business. Make The Time You can scream, shout, and kick that you don’t have time to do this, but in the end, you are only hurting yourself. First, lack of enjoyment in your work is a fast track to stress. Secondly, is this why you started your own business, so you can slave drive yourself? No, this isn’t how it was supposed to be and it can change. You owe it to yourself. Besides, it’s easier than you think. Step 1: Document Your Processes While this step isn’t necessarily difficult, it can be time consuming. There is no way around it; you have to know what you are doing so you can a) improve what you are doing and b) teach someone else to do it. There are a lot of fancy process mapping techniques and software programs. A Google search will put dozens of them at your fingertips. You can use any one of these that feel comfortable to you, or you can keep it simple and document your processes in numbered steps or hand drawn flowcharts. To save time, you could ask one of your employees to document your processes, or hire a college student or temporary personnel to help you. Step 2: Improve Your Processes Once you have documented all your processes, study them carefully. Look for those following issues that can flag areas that need improvement: Is there duplication of efforts? Are there bottlenecks? Are there delays? Is there only one person who knows how to complete a certain process? Is it a purely manual process? Is there a customer-impacting issue? If there are issues with any process that negatively impact the quality of your customer’s experience, fix that issue first. Then tackle the “low-hanging fruit.” These are issues that are fairly simple to resolve and add time back into your day. Move on to tougher issues and continuously improve the issues you’ve identified. Pay particular attention to processes that are currently only done by one person. What if that person quits without notice? Redundancy is critical to business continuity. May sure at least two people know how to perform every process in your business, or that the process is so well documented, that someone else can do it well by following the written instructions. Step 3: Automation, Automation, Automation Location is the key to real estate success, but the key to process improvement is intelligent automation. What is being done manually that you know can be automated? For example: payroll, inventory, customer contacts, invoicing, staff scheduling, etc? There are many free and low cost automated software solutions to tedious, time consuming work processes. List your manual processes in order of priority and begin automating the...

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Have you met your goals for the first half of the year?

Posted by on 7:02 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business | 0 comments

It’s hard to believe that we are halfway into the year. Where did the first half go? Now is the perfect time to take an honest look at your business, see how much progress you’ve made, and develop your plan for the rest of 2014. I typically review my annual goals each quarter with a particular focus at the mid-year point. Generally, I do this right after the July 4th holiday weekend.  I find this a good time of year for reviewing my annual goals and measuring my current performance. Look at your goals and ask yourself, have I achieved them? Are they still viable and important? If not, get rid of them. If they are still viable, identify a handful of actions to execute over the summer months to bring you closer to your goals. Also, reflect to see if your goals have changed and to see if new goals are needed. The only one that can make you accountable is yourself. You need to measure how you want to achieve the success you want in your life. Think about this question: what must I accomplish in the next 6 months to make 2014 a great year? Use this question as a guide in documenting your goals for the next 6 months and detailing your plans for how you will achieve them. Remember, you still have half the year left. So even if you didn’t achieve enough in the first six months, there’s plenty of time left to make 2014 a banner year. But importantly, make sure you set goals for the rest of the year, and have a way to measure your progress on them. If you don’t, as some of you unfortunately just learned over the last six months, you won’t achieve the success you desire. Best of luck to you! Get your FREE Sales and Marketing Audit...

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Help on getting rid of those Monday Blues

Posted by on 8:20 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business | 0 comments

I was talking to one of my clients on a Monday morning at our weekly scheduled time and being that it was Monday we usually discuss how our weekends went. We have been working together for quite some time now and have an excellent business relationship. We both agreed that if your Monday doesn’t go well, the rest of the week is shot and usually isn’t productive. I asked him what do you do to start Monday with a positive attitude so your workweek is positive and productive. He said if I figured it out to let him know! After we finished our call, it got me thinking. How do you have a happy Monday instead of a blue Monday? On this particular Monday I was feeling very excited and positive about the week and why was that? Start your week with a plan. A plan that starts on the Friday before. Determine what you need to do and make a list. Time block for each activity for the entire week so nothing falls through the cracks. This way, all you have to do each day is to react every day to your task list. Schedule a call every Monday with a business partner or associate that always produces a positive outcome. I started my day talking to a business associate that I really enjoy talking to. He’s so smart and he has a wicked sense of humor. We have had great momentum with his business; which makes me happy because that means I am doing my job well. We brainstorm well together and have fun doing it. I always feel productive and inspired after our calls and it is a great start to the week. I had a lunch scheduled with a business associate that day that always produces positive results so we started meeting every Monday. I always leave those lunches with m adrenaline flowing with great ideas. We always meet at a fun restaurant with great food and we talk about how we can help each other with our businesses. The result of those lunches has turned into a great partnership. Maybe you have lunch with a friend or business associate usually on a Friday? Why not try having lunch on Monday? Reward yourself in the beginning of the week instead of the end of the week with lunch with someone that always produces positive results. Live like a European. After living in Paris and London for a year I learned how to live like a European. Instead of working 9 to 5 maybe you work 10 to 12 hour days Monday thru Thursday and take every Friday off.  Have you noticed how after a long weekend how much more refreshed and energized you are to start the workweek? Memorial weekend reminded me of that feeling. Ok, maybe you can’t do it every week, but why not strive for every other week? Us Americans are born work alcoholics and we always overdue it. Being burnt out is not productive. Down time refreshes your brain and allows it to breath new life into it. You’ll be amazed how many great business ideas will come out of it.  So if you haven’t figured it out by now, here’s the bottom line: surround yourself with positive and productive people...

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Are you willing to accept you’ve made a mistake?

Posted by on 8:21 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business | 0 comments

I like to tell people I’ve made so many mistakes as an entrepreneur that I can’t help but succeed from this point on. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. No matter how many mistakes one makes as an entrepreneur, there are more ways to fail than can fit into a lifetime. While failure may be overrated, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from it when it happens. Wouldn’t it be better if you could learn from the mistakes someone else has made, rather than having to make them yourself. Here are some mistakes I have made and have watched other people close to me make; I hope you learn from these mistakes rather than repeating them. Here are five of the larger ones: Ignoring wise advice I’ve had some great mentors over the years. The best one was and still is my husband. It’s a pity that when I most needed to heed his advice, I ignored it. I know it pained him to see me make mistakes he had told me how to avoid but I was stubborn and thought I knew better. If you don’t have a mentor who tells you when you’re wrong — get one, and listen to him or her. Lying to yourself Have you brought on the wrong partner or started a business that you begin to realize has no chance of success? I have watched people bring on business partners that are clearly not the right ones. Make sure you take your time to vet out your partner in business just like you do before deciding to get married. Don’t keep lying to yourself and hope your partner will change; realize you have made a mistake and move on. Not learning to do things on your own Never phone it in. Nobody is going to do it for you. Don’t bury your head in the sand and expect someone else to do your work because you don’t know how to do it and they can do it with their eyes closed. Rather than relying on your partner to make necessary changes to a spreadsheet or changes to your website because it’s so easy for them to do it learn how to do it yourself. I’m not saying that you can’t rely on your partner but there are times where something is going to need immediate attention and your partner might not have the time to do it. Don’t sit there with that pit in your stomach hoping that it magically gets done; learn how to do it yourself. Trust me, it will empower you. My best advice is just to Youtube it. It’s amazing what you can learn how to do. Being too easily satisfied If you’re not growing, you’re dying. If you ever become satisfied with where you are, you either need to set loftier goals or change your line of work. Don’t become too easily satisfied and take a break. Your business will never get past a certain point.   Not time blocking It’s human nature of an entrepreneur to strive towards something better and not feel complacent; but sometimes we become to reactionary and start the day by taking care of what is immediately in front of us. It is essential to time block your day. The first part of your day...

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Do you have a Failure to Launch?

Posted by on 7:17 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business, Sales and Marketing | 0 comments

Don’t let a fear of failure stop you from doing anything whether it’s starting a small business, rolling out a new marketing campaign that will grow your business or ending a bad personal or business relationship. When I get the chance to ask what’s holding you back from what you want to do? People often they respond that they’re afraid of failing – they don’t actually say it in so many words in so many words, but that’s what it boils down to: They say things such as “I’d like to start a small business but I’m not very good at selling” or  “I’d like to launch a new website and marketing campaign but it’s not perfect yet. ”Or even, “I’m not happy in my relationship but I’m afraid of being alone.” Get it? The obstacle to starting a small business, launching a new marketing campaign or ending a relationship is not actually about selling or making more money or being alone – it’s fear. Not the fear that saves you from physical harm, such as the fear you feel when you see a huge slavering dog standing in your path or the fear that prevents most of us from shooting over Niagara Falls in a barrel, is a healthy thing. But the kind of fear that prevents you from doing things that you want to do that will enrich you is not a healthy fear. If fear of failure is what is preventing you from starting a small business, or launching a new marketing campaign that will bring you more business, you have to get around it and forge ahead. How can you break your paralysis by analysis? You have to do two things: Prepare to succeed Change your attitude to failure 1) Prepare to Succeed The first thing you need to do to prepare to succeed is to learn how to do it. You already know how to fail. You can fail by doing nothing or you can fail by doing stupid things. But how do you succeed? By finding out exactly what you would need to be successful and ensuring that those needs are met. For instance, suppose that I want to start a small business selling herbal soaps and bath products. For this business to be successful, I need to have essentially three things: Enough people who want to buy the soaps and bath products I’m selling A product whose quality and price is competitive enough that people want to buy it A way to bring the two of these (people and product) together So there are the basic needs. Now all I have to do is figure out how to meet these needs. The best way to do this is to work through a business plan, a business plan outline will lead you through the process of writing a business plan of your own. Working through a business plan will fill in the gaps in your knowledge and provide the details of how you’re going to do what needs to be done to start and run a particular small business successfully. Your business plan will be, in effect, your blueprint for success. 2) Change Your Attitude Towards Failure Why are you afraid of failure? Most people fear failure for one of these two reasons: Failure...

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Startup tips for your business that can help avoid failure

Posted by on 9:48 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business | 0 comments

Starting a business involves quite a few things and can get complex. Therefore, it is essential for you to improve your knowledge base. This is going to help you in taking the right steps towards starting and developing a successful business. However, it is not at all easy to finance your business. Listening to all of these may have resulted in doubts within your mind, if you have been thinking about starting a business of your own. Yes, it is true that starting a business is not easy but does that mean you will give up your dreams of starting a business? No, definitely not for if you take no risks, it wouldn’t be possible for you to gain anything. Starting your own business In order to start your own business and that too a successful one, you will be required to: 1.  Learn the basics about business – The very first thing which you will have to learn about is the basics of a business. the basics will remain the same, irrespective of the niche you are going to choose. So, research well and improve your knowledge on business. 2. Determine your potential – Determine your potential and never make the mistake of underestimating the same. 3.  Decide on the niche – You will have to decide on the niche. The best thing to do in this regard would be to choose one from the line of your interest. That way, you may easily be able to find more interest in the same. 4.  Understand more about sell – If you want to succeed with your business, one of the most important things which you need to have a clear idea about is the sells. Even before you can start a business, you will have to understand the nuances of choosing a particular product and if it is going to sell well. 5.  Plan from the beginning – You need to plan from the beginning as to which process you are going to follow for starting your business, and maintaining it too. If you do not make a plan, it may never be possible for you to attain success in anything. 6.  Understand more about financing – You cannot use up all the cash you have for starting your business. Thus, it would be better to finance the same. There are various financing options like that of debt financing and equity financing. Debt financing is nothing but borrowing in order to start the business. Equity financing is when others invest in your business. 7.  Watch what you spend – You need to watch what you are spending so that you can save up more than before. You will then be able to use that money towards business startup. It may not always be possible to get enough money through equity financing and so if you can save some money, it may help you in starting and also maintaining the business. 8.  Know that unexpected can occur – It is always wise to keep in mind that life is uncertain and so the unexpected can happen anytime and anywhere. Therefore, it would be better to keep yourself braced against such unexpected. In case of your business too, it would be important to consider this important fact. In addition to the...

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How Your Website Can Get You More Business

Posted by on 8:29 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business, Sales and Marketing | 0 comments

1. Get to the Point as Quick as Possible Web pages must be designed to facilitate the ease of reading content through the effective use of colors, typography, spacing, etc. What you can do: Get to the point as quickly as possible. Cut out unnecessary information. Use easy-to-understand, shorter, common words and phrases. Avoid long paragraphs and sentences. Use time saving and attention grabbing writing techniques, such using numbers instead of spelling them out. Use “1,000” as opposed to “one thousand,” which facilitates scanning and skimming. 2. Use Headings to Break Up Long Articles Internet readers inspect web pages in blocks and sections, or which is called “block reading.” That is, when we look at a webpage, we tend to see it not as a whole, but rather as compartmentalized chunks of information. We tend to read in blocks, going directly to items that seem to match what we’re actively looking for. What you can do: Before writing a post, consider organizing your thoughts in logical chunks by first outlining what you’ll write. Use simple and concise headings. Use keyword-rich headings to aid skimming, as well as those that use their browser’s search feature (Ctrl + F on Windows, Command + F on Mac). 3. Help Readers Scan Your Web Pages Quickly Web users tend to skim content, so designing and structuring your web pages with skimming in mind can improve usability (as much as 47% according to research). What you can do: Make the first two words count because users tend to read the first few words of headings, titles and links when they’re scanning a webpage. Front-load keywords in webpage titles, headings and links by using the passive voice as an effective writing device. Place important information at the top of your articles. 4. Use Bulleted Lists and Text Formatting Users fixate longer on bulleted lists and text formatting (such as bolding and italics). These text-styling tools can garner attention because of their distinctive appearance as well as help speed up reading by way of breaking down information into discrete parts and highlighting important keywords and phrases. What you can do: Consider breaking up a paragraph into bulleted points. Highlight important information in bold and italics.  5. Use Visuals Strategically Photos, charts and graphs are worth a thousand words. Using visuals effectively can enhance readability when they replace or reinforce long blocks of textual content. Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information. What you can do: Make sure images you use aid or support textual content. Avoid stock photos and meaningless visuals. Get your FREE Sales and Marketing Audit...

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Top 4 Mistakes NOT to Make on LinkedIn

Posted by on 8:20 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business, Sales and Marketing | 0 comments

The Top 4 Mistakes NOT to Make on LinkedIn Compared to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, LinkedIn really has a special designation: professional networking. And there is a difference between professional and personal networking, I see the same mistakes over and over! And, on LinkedIn, those faux pas can damage your career. In fact, data shows that LinkedIn is especially helpful when it comes to landing higher-paying jobs—”informal recruitment” is a favorite of hiring managers aiming to fill positions up there on the pay-scale. So whether you’re hunting for a new job, making the most of the one you have or just looking to learn about professional possibilities, avoid these four big LinkedIn mistakes: 1. Not Using a Picture One of the biggest mistakes I see is no photo. Do you know that you are seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one? Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.If you leave a networking event with a handful of business cards, intending to follow up on LinkedIn, it’s much harder for you to remember who’s who without pictures. A missing photo can easily lead to missed connections. 2. Putting Up the Wrong Picture No dog, no husband, no baby! Your photo is meant to show you at your professional—not personal—best. Especially for mothers getting back into the workforce, a picture of their child doesn’t convey that they’re ready for a full-time job. 3. Another photo blunder Misrepresenting your appearance. I see older people who are worried about age discrimination use a photo of themselves in their 30s, but an interviewer wasn’t expecting them to look so different. And instead of listening to your answers, the interviewer will think you’re deceptive. Unless you’re getting hired for a modeling gig, people are just looking for energy, which you can communicate through great posture, open eyes and a smile. In fact, HSN Beauty found that, when paging through LinkedIn profiles, 19% of recruiters look only at your profile picture. 4. Skipping the Status Between Twitter and Facebook, people have a pretty good idea of what you’re up to socially. But your LinkedIn status is the right place to update your network about your professional accomplishments and progress. You could be updating about a colleague getting a promotion or sharing a great article you wrote. Every few days, put something in your status to keep it fresh, and show you’re active and engaged—no one will know what you’ve done if you’re not showing it...

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Powerful Words in Marketing

Posted by on 4:19 pm in From Find the Capital, Running Your Business, Sales and Marketing | 0 comments

Words are powerful, Article by Lisa Virkus They can move us, engage our emotions in ways we don’t even realize and persuade us to take a course of action we may not have ordinarily taken. That is why the words you use to help you tell the story of your products and services are so important. They can be the difference between telling and selling, and someone browsing or buying. Fortunately, there are some words and phrases that have been tried and tested to help boost engagement and conversions regardless of your industry. So to help you, here are seven words I’ve found to be extremely effective, regardless of who or what I’m writing about. 1. “You” No word in marketing is, or ever will be, as powerful as the word “you”. The more you can make your marketing about your target audience, and their needs, their problems, their desires and their frustrations the more effective it will be. Remember your potential customer doesn’t care about you – at first anyway, they want to know what is in it for them and how you can solve their challenges and meet their needs like no one else can. With this in mind, one of your main objectives when writing your marketing material should be to use the word “you” as many times as possible. Customer focused words like “you” should appear at least twice as many times as self-focused words like your business name, “we”, “us”, “ours”, “me” or “I”. 2. “Guarantee” When you are willing to back your own product or service with a guarantee, particularly a 100% money back guarantee, you minimize the risk for your customer and give them a sense of safety and security at the time of purchase. Offering a guarantee can also help you persuade your potential customer into feeling like they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by buying from you. 3. “Free” While some marketers over the years have questioned whether the word “free” is still effective in marketing, the fact remains that we all love freebies. The impact of the word, however, depends greatly on what it is linked to. “A free quote” for instance, isn’t a good “free” incentive. Let’s be honest, would you pay someone to come and give you a quote for a job if a quote was all they were giving? I know I wouldn’t, it’s just something we do in order to generate business. The key is to offer something that is relevant and of value to your audience. So if you were looking at offering the ever popular “free consultation”, instead of leaving it at that, articulate what value they will receive in a consultation with you (and FYI a sales presentation or the opportunity to come and “find out how we can help you” isn’t value). What will you give them, or talk about in the consultation? What will they have or be able to do by the end of it? When you start approaching your free offers like this, you will start to see just how powerful the word “free” can be in your marketing. 4. “Instant” Let’s face it, given our lifestyle, most people you market to will have a short attention span, little patience and a growing desire for instant gratification....

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Top Ten Fastest Growing Residential Markets in the U.S. – You May Be Surprised…

Posted by on 8:26 pm in From Find the Capital, Personal Investing | 0 comments

Top Ten Fastest Growing Residential Markets in the U.S. – You May Be Surprised…

Article by, Brent Virkus of Find the Capital and TRiTON Capital Advisory We all know the housing market has made a reversal and is starting a vary significant uptrend. We ran across an interesting article on Market Watch that highlighted the Top 10 Fastest Growing Residential Markets in the Country. You may be surprised at the results. Pay special attention to number 7…. Oakland California Orange Country California Santa Barbara California San Jose California Seattle Washington Los Angeles California Detroit Michigan Portland Oregon San Diego California Reno Nevada You probably know that I’m a Detroit Native so I can’t tell you how proud I am to see Detroit on the list. We are always on the “other” list… Either way it does show you the incredible rebound Detroit is making and the amazing opportunity it presents to investors looking for solid returns in real estate. A few other articles you may want to check out are as follows: Hottest Real Estate Submarkets of Detroit Michigan Find the Capital’s Seven Keys to Flipping Houses The Best Ways to Make Money When Flipping Houses in Detroit Michigan If you’d like to learn more about how Find the Capital can help you get into the house flipping business simply click here and let us know. We’d enjoy the opportunity to help! For the full article click the following link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-10-hottest-housing-markets-2013-08-14   “It’s Official…The REAL ESTATE recovery has begun!” So how does the every day investor take advantage of one of the greatest investment opportunities of a lifetime? Check out this FREE Video on The Individual Investors Guide to Investing in Commercial Real Estate! Don’t Be Left Behind…..!  ...

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