So, You Want to Be Your Own Boss? Take These Steps to Succeed

It’s 2018, and the climate is perfect for entrepreneurs of all sorts, hence the growing number of people who are starting their own businesses, and successfully so. From stay-at-home parents, students, digital wizards, all the way to fully-developed remote companies, there’s a whole range of profitable careers you can tap into directly from your sofa.

And what makes it even more appealing is the fact that nothing prevents you from growing your business globally. However, as dreamy and perfect as all of this sounds, there are several key steps you need to take in order to make your way through the crowd of home-grown businesses.

Do what you love

And what you are brilliant at, since being average in this day and age will not get you too far, especially if you have to cover your own business expenses for the time being. The same goes for a business started out of passion, but without a clear idea of whether or not your product or services are actually needed, so you need to consider if there is a gap in the market for what you are offering.

Spend some time (but not forever) thinking about and brainstorming on everything you could see yourself doing for hours on end, with enthusiasm and vigor, and assess whether or not you are actually good at it enough to make your business attractive and stand out in the market. Love is where it starts, but skill and need are also essential.

Create a business plan

Now that you have established your ideal profession and analyzed the market to learn that it’s actually needed, you need to put it all in perspective. A business plan should include every single branding, marketing, communication, production, advertising strategy for the next year (or more), along with measurable metrics, milestones to track your progress and alternative routes for added flexibility.

A detailed business plan still makes room for adjustments on the go, because you can never fully anticipate market fluctuations or prevent slumps in your marketing campaign performance. You need contingency plans that will help you run your business even when things are slow or you come across an unexpected obstacle.

License and registration, please

Of course, before you start working on developing your business for the customer, you need to cover the legal bases that will make your company a recognizable legal entity in your country (or the entire world). From obtaining a federal tax number, completing company registration forms for your business, getting the needed licenses and certifications, to deciding on bookkeeping systems, it can take some time to make your company come to life from a legal perspective.

It’s unwise to do both the legal and the creative aspect simultaneously, since you might find yourself overwhelmed with work, and the complexity of each task may vary from one profession to another. Getting to know your country’s laws and regulations is a must for a business that wants to have a long and prosperous life.

Learn about your target customers

Who is your product or service intended for? How do you envision your ideal customer? Where can you find them, where do they spend their time? What sort of communication channels do they prefer and what language can they relate to? What’s their average age, most common occupations and anything else that makes them who they are?

Understanding your future clients means that you have shifted your view from your product itself to the person for whom you are creating the brand. This information and analysis of it may lead to adapting your product or its presentation to make it more appealing, or completely rethinking your brand identity to have a better chance at establishing trust and offering value to your customers.

Keep learning

Even if you are starting your business with a decade of experience in the field, it’s crucial that you stay open-minded to new ideas, concepts and discoveries emerging every day. As you develop your company, you will need to keep up with the trends in your profession, so that you can stay in the forefront and offer more quality than your competitors.

Do your best to take online seminars, attend networking events, take up additional courses and education whenever possible. These added skills and certificates will only add more value to your brand and give you more skills with which you can keep your company strong.

Control your environment

A seemingly insignificant factor that has brought many a home business to its knees is the mere atmosphere of where you do your work. Just like you put so much time into defining your talents and your business, you should adapt your home to have a designated work area.

It doesn’t have to be an entire room, as long as you know how to steer clear of distractions such as your TV, private social media profiles and other irrelevant notifications. Create a work area that will inspire you to work, create and devote yourself to your work, and be mindful of the time you spend growing your business – although it may be a pivotal segment of your life, don’t let it consume all of your time. Make sure you stay healthy, lead a social life and expand your horizons, because you never know from where your next favorite project may come!

 

Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. Alex is a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

 

 

Are You #CEO Material?

Developing a career that takes you all the way to top is a priority for many of us. If you’re creative and driven, chances are you want your career to take you to the very top. Running a business and having the final say on key decisions isn’t for the faint hearted. Many people have got there though, and not all of them came from an entrepreneurial background.

Developing your career means you need to develop yourself. Education and experience are essential ingredients for the successful CEO. It’s not a role you can walk into. In fact, most companies are organized with a board of people that will vote to determine your effectiveness in that role. That means your background must be impressive, just to be considered.

Start by addressing any shortfalls in your education. If you don’t have an MBA, consider acquiring one. This is a standard qualification for any senior management position. MBA online accredited programs can be ideal if you’re keen to continue working full time as you study. It’s more practical too, as you can apply your project work directly to real life business scenarios. The MBA program will offer you insights into the strategic management of marketing, economics, and statistics. Any CEO needs these essential skills in order to make informed business decisions.

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CEOs need to have confidence and tenacity in their role. These are skills that can be learned, but they must be practiced too. Spend time in challenging situations. Work with people that can push your limits and develop methods to manage even outside of your comfort zones. Drive and determination can sometimes mean sacrifices in your personal or home life. Long hours come with the role. Are you ready to set yourself apart

Networking is, of course, essential if you want to be headhunted for roles in business management. Use online networking as much as possible. Services like LinkedIn can offer you the chance to meet people in your industry. Join in with groups and forums and take opportunities to get involved or offer opinion and advice. This helps you to make a name for yourself. Encourage those you work with to leave recommendations and positive comments whenever possible.

Networking at conferences, events, and seminars is also essential. Develop an easy-to-approach style and make an effort to remember names and details. Follow up with emails or calls when you meet someone new. Offer to help when you can. If you show an interest in others, they might be more willing to help you in the future. That could result in a job interview. Now all you need to do is check your resume proves you really are CEO material.

Statistics and figures read very well on resumes. How much money did you save your department? By what percentage did sales increase that year? What projects did you head up to great success? Simple one-liners with bottom-line figures work best. If you don’t have these amazing figures just yet, then what are you waiting for? Get out there and become the CEO you want to be.

10 Powerful Habits Every Successful Entrepreneur Should Adopt

Regardless of the niche that you want to focus your efforts on, you will face many obstacles, uncertainties and risks with your new venture. While each situation is unique, the most successful entrepreneurs often share several factors in common. For example, they may have profound experience in their industry and refined personality traits. More than that, they also usually have exceptional habits that guide them to success. These are some of the habits that you can cultivate to increase your chances of success with your next venture.

1. Pay Attention to Customers

You may think that you would need to aggressively market your products and services or refine a high-pressure sales pitch to be successful, but this is not the case. The most successful individuals are focused on improving their customers’ experiences with the company. Consider your own past experiences with different ventures. If you had a great experience, you are more likely to do business with the company again and to tell others about your experience. Successful entrepreneurs incorporate customer service into their activities because they understand this critical element.

2. Show a Positive Attitude

Whether you are drafting an email, presenting a seminar or hosting a meeting in your office, you must always communicate with others in a positive way. Regardless of how tired, unhappy or stressed you may actually be feeling, you must always present yourself positively. Learn to control your emotions so that you never yell or pout when you are unhappy with a situation.

3. Behave Respectfully

Regardless of whether you are speaking with the janitor in your office or a high-powered executive who you are trying to woo, you must always treat others with dignity and respect. The most successful entrepreneurs understand the inherent contributions that each person makes, and they know the value of these contributions. Verbal and non-verbal communication should always indicate respect, so keep that in mind.

4. Socialize with Successful People

If you want to be successful in life, you must surround yourself by successful people. When you do this, you will also surround yourself by their positive energy and can-do mentality. And before you know it, you will absorb such a mindset. They may also inspire you, offer helpful tidbits, or even support you in your endeavors. On the other hand, steer clear of people who drain your energy and detract you from your goals.

5. Don’t Be Late

Punctuality is one of the most significant non-verbal signs of respect that you can show someone. It shows that you value their time and that you understand that they have important tasks to complete throughout the day as well. More than that, when you are prompt and punctual, you prove to others that you are responsible and dependable. Some people avoid working with people who are continuously late because of how unprofessional or ill-prepared they may seem. Do not let this happen to you. Get in the habit of leaving early so that you can always arrive early or on time.

6. Constantly Set Goals

Successful entrepreneurs never settle for less. They are constantly setting new goals for themselves that push the limits in different ways. These are highly motivated individuals who strive to move forward and who are unhappy with the status quo. They may evaluate programs, analyze progress, set new goals and work daily to achieve them until those goals are accomplished and new ones can be set. Be a goal-setter and success will follow!

7. Gain New Experiences

If you want to emulate the success of top entrepreneurs, focus on exposing yourself to new things. Avoid monotony, and shake things up in both small and large ways. For example, try new meals at restaurants, rearrange your office furniture periodically, take an exotic vacation to a new destination, attend a professional seminar and more. By doing so, you can bolster creativity, meet new people, and constantly keep your mind active and inspired.

8. Commit to Lifelong Learning

Entrepreneurs do not see education as something that is attained or completed. Instead, they see it is a lifelong effort. They are always curious, and they read books, watch documentaries, or attend seminars and trade shows to learn about different things. They may also sign up for podcasts or webinars, take an online course, or download an educational app ─ today, educational technology offers almost limitless possibilities. So, remember to keep your mind open and always strive to learn more.

9. Take Care of Your Health

The most successful individuals understand that mental aptitude is linked to physical wellness, and both are necessary for success and profitability. Avoid working nonstop as this can lead to burnout and fatigue. Instead, leave plenty of time in your week for downtime, such as yoga and meditation to de-stress. Also, focus on favorite hobbies, exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet that gives you the energy and nutrients necessary for productivity.

10. Be Persistent

Perhaps one of the most important habits that entrepreneurs develop over time is persistence. While there may be a time and a place to throw in the towel knowledgeably, such as when cutting losses, entrepreneurs do not give up simply because the going gets tough. Instead, they dig down into the trenches, avoid feeling discouraged and keep their eye on the prize.

Final Words
As you can see, there is far more involved to being successful than simply getting a good degree at a top school. You also must adopt the right habits. Did you notice that the first five habits listed here are people-oriented and that the second five habits are self-oriented? Both are critical if you want to be as successful as possible in life. So, don’t waste another minute and start adopting these habits today!

 

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BIO: Helen Eagleton, a freelance blogger from Boston, follows topics in the realm of education, technology, digital marketing, and business in general. When she’s not researching for her next article, she enjoys watching documentaries and exploring the nature. Reach her @eagleton_helen

The Characteristics Many Successful Businesspeople Share

Successful entrepreneurs like to plan. They don’t like to go into a meeting blind or launch a product without making absolutely certain that they have done everything they can to make it great and to launch it at the perfect time. If you want to be successful, you can’t just go with the flow; you need to set out and follow a roadmap for success.

They’re Natural Leaders

If you want to create a business that does well, you’re going to need to have direction, and you must be able to lead others in that direction with you. All of the best-known business people, who’ve experienced great success have done so because they’ve been able to get the best out of their employees. That’s why so many entrepreneurs are now enrolling on leadership masters programs or taking leadership and communication classes locally. No matter how determined you are or how good your business idea is, if you can’t lead your team, you’re unlikely to reach the top of your game.

They Know How to Manage Money

Money is the lifeblood of business. You need to know how to invest money wisely, when to cut it off and how to streamline your cash flow for the best results. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that successful business-people are almost always great with figures. If you aren’t exactly up to speed with all things financial, it might, therefore, be worth taking a class or two to get you up to speed.

They’re Confident

When you run a business, you have to be confident in your abilities, and you need to be able to get up and sell your products and services to others. If you’re a shrinking violet, you won’t impress investors, customers or, well anyone really and that won’t help you gain success.

3 Everyday Habits Of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

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There are all kinds of things that go into building a successful business, and every entrepreneur will have a slightly different approach to kindling and expanding their operation. Having said that, there are certain universal habits that all business owners can benefit from, regardless of their background or niche. Here are just a few you should be trying to develop…

Take Your Emotions Out of the Picture

 Far too many start-up owners allow their emotions to get in the way of their business, getting caught up with grandiose dreams for the future and regrets from the past, when they should be concentrating on the task at hand. Everyone faces failures in business, whether it’s one little slip up with a marketing campaign, or a blunder that drives the whole operation into a financial nosedive. However, pointing fingers, feeling sorry for yourself, and losing confidence won’t get you anywhere, and will in fact slow you down when you need to be the strongest and most resilient version of yourself more than ever. Money isn’t influenced by emotions, and as such, your business needs to be handled with a fitting level of objective, detached logic. The less you allow yourself to get caught up in your emotions, the more time you’ll have for developing your business.

Keep on Learning

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You may have an excellent track record of experience in your field, but no industry sits still, and with this in mind, you need to get into the habit of constantly developing your knowledge and experience, ensuring that you keep your skills and mindset up to a standard needed to succeed in the modern business arena. Make a point of investing in yourself, and making room for learning, no matter how jam-packed your schedule happens to be. With all the online distance learning companies like Maryville University out there, there’s really no excuse for letting your knowledge and experience stagnate. Even if you only spend ten minutes reading an industry journal in the morning, every little bit of self-education you can fit in will help you become the leader your business needs, and keep your whole organization one step ahead of your closest competitors.

Schedule Everything

 By everything, we mean everything. One of the most valuable habits you can develop as an entrepreneur is buying yourself more free time through a strict schedule. A lot of naïve start-up owners tend to waste a lot of time by procrastinating between different activities, and sleeping too little. Set healthy times for going to bed and getting up every day, along with a schedule of the tasks that you’ll complete one after the other with as little distraction as possible. Limit frivolous things like checking social media accounts to as little time as possible, and make a commitment to work first, and play later. Sure, you might be making progress by developing your business in a disorganized timetable, but when you set yourself a schedule that works and then stick to it, you’ll achieve much more in a much shorter space of time.

 

Why CEOs Need To Be More Invested In The Upcoming Digital Transformation

The pace of digital technologies is speeding up. CEOs no longer have the time to take a back seat, watch a particular technology, and then make their mind up about whether they want to adopt it or not. Doing so would be suicide, and could potentially lead to a massive loss of market share.

A few CEOs have sensed the way the wind is blowing and have developed formal early adoption policies in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve and avoid declines in their core business – the sort of declines we’ve seen over and over in companies like Kodak, AOL and, yes, Twitter.

To be effective stewards of their enterprises, modern CEOs need to be aware of the way that digital innovation is changing business. They must be invested in new technology, right from the outset, no matter how far-fetched it might seem. We don’t know how far things like VR will go, but there’s a good chance that they’ll be as game changing as mobile, perhaps more so.

Here’s why you need to focus on the upcoming digital transformation.

The Fear Of Being Disrupted

The word “disrupted” gets thrown around a lot in business today, but there’s a reason for that. The old-guard in the music industry and the media have been smashed by the internet. Now utterly new models of media and entertainment distribution exist – models that were completely unthinkable just a decade before they arrived.

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Now digital technology is seeping out into more and more areas of economic life. Manufacturers, companies well and truly operating in the physical world, could see digital technology utterly transform their business models. Just at Davos last week, leading business people were discussing how additive manufacturing had the capacity to remove the need for mass production, or even the production line itself. Such fundamental disruptions will annihilate old business models once they can no longer compete with the low prices and flexibility of additive methods.

The Fear Of Losing Customers And Data

In today’s data-driven world, companies are becoming more and more focused on the integrity of their data. The rise in data recovery services all over the world is a testament to this fact, as is the growth in cloud computing. Data isn’t just something that is being implemented in the tech industry. It is something that is now being used widely across a vast range of industries, including mortgages, mattresses, recycling, and banking.

Companies that don’t keep up with the latest trends in data will lose out to their competitors who leverage it effectively. Proper use of data helps to predict things like customer demand, inventory stock and returns to various marketing channels.

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The threat of losing customers is real. According to data collected by Dell, 78 percent of incumbent business leaders believe that startups represent a real threat to the survival of their organizations.

But while most companies are pursuing some form of digitization, studies indicate that the majority of CEOs aren’t personally invested in making it happen. It’s hard to have a transformative impact when your heart’s not in it.

 

 

What Does Your Office Say About You?

Your office is supposed to be a symbol of your success and achievements. It’s a pedestal from which you exert your power over the minions below you.

Or so you think.

The problem is that your office isn’t exactly looking great. You’ve overlooked several important features that can have a pivotal role in how you’re perceived. That’s got to change.

Here, we’re going to investigate what your office says about you as a leader. Are you missing a trick?

Are You An Interrogator, Or An Equal Partner?

Have you ever noticed the type of setup that interrogators have got going on? They sit up high in some comfortable chair, while the person that they are interrogating sits down low. They have the freedom to roam around, ask questions and generally get comfortable with their surroundings. The person being interrogated is fixed to the spot, unable to move comfortably, and generally diminutive.

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This difference in posture has a psychological effect. The interrogator is seen as powerful and authoritative. The person in the lower fixed chair is perceived as vulnerable. Does this sound at all like your office?

Of course, whether this is good or not depends on the type of business you’re trying to run. If you run a boot camp, then maybe it’s a good setup. But if you’re interested in becoming connected to your staff, then maybe it’s not such a good idea. If it’s trust and support you want to give, maybe stick to comfortable office chairs and generous sitting space.

Is Your Office Visitor-Friendly?

How friendly your office is for visitors has a significant impact on how you’re perceived. The first step is to make sure that your office is accessible. You can get ADA compliant door operators from outlets like Qualified Hardware to help with disabled access. And you can invest in things like ramps, push buttons and special bathroom facilities.

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The next step is to make sure that you have a place where you can easily and effectively meet with visitors. Many visitors won’t want to do business straight away and cutting to the chase might not be effective. Instead, they’ll need to be warmed up. A good rule of thumb is to do something that you can both share in, like a cup of coffee. Make your client a drink so that it doesn’t feel like a “them against you” situation. This helps to make them feel that you are on their side.

Does Your Office Send Mixed Messages About Your Mission?

CEOs are proud of what their companies have achieved and their own professional awards. So much so, in fact, that many take to putting up their awards on their walls. After all, they took a lifetime of work to achieve. But all too often, these displays conflict with the culture of the company. Businesses that emphasize teamwork should showcase the achievements of all members of the firm, not just the CEO. Is your business a bit like this? Does your office claim to be about teamwork but only celebrate the achievements of a few? Perhaps it’s time to change tack.