Deciding to become an entrepreneur is just the beginning. You know you want to own your own business and control your fate, but you’re not yet sure exactly what it is that you should do. Thankfully, by answering the following questions you can narrow down your choices and finally find your place in an entrepreneur world.
What are your interests?
While you don’t need to be an expert in the business you choose to start, it will help you get ahead of the game if you have some interest in it already. If you have a passion for it, all the better for you. What’s more, if you are actually an audience member for your business idea, then that’s even better because you will already have a lot of the information you need to get started.
How much starting capital do you have?
Don’t panic if you have nothing to get started, but it’s good to be accurate and know what you have. Figure out if there are things you can sell quickly to gather some money to get started. If you have a number in mind then you’ll know which business ideas are out of bounds and which ones you can truly make happen. This is not the time for pie-in-the-sky thinking; this is a time to be realistic.
What skills do you have?
Even if you’re not sure yet what you want to do, identify your skills. Do you enjoy people? If so, what kind of people do you like the most and who would you like working with the most? Often starting with your target audience is the best way to choose a business. If you can narrow down your skill level and the type of people you want to work with, you can get far in choosing a business to start.
What skills can you buy?
When you start a business it’s important to realize that you cannot (and should not) do everything. If your budget is super tight you might have to start with what you know instead of what you can buy. However, knowing what you can buy will help you imagine the future as your business grows.
What skills should you learn?
If you’ve realized you have holes in your skill level, are they skills you can learn? If something has come to mind that needs licensure, can you get it? How long will it take? What will it cost? How will you get to the class; are they online or offline?
What resources do you have?
Some of the resources you already have might be a computer, internet access, and even your skills and people that you know. Make a list of any resource, be it a person, place or thing that can help you reach your business ownership goals.
What resources do you need?
As you listed resources you have, you likely came up with some resources you do not have but need. Don’t panic; just make the list and think about listing them in order of "must have" to just "want to have."
What type of personality do you have?
Are you a loner? Do you enjoy spending long hours in front of your computer or would you like to do something that is more active? Do you like being with a certain type of person? Are you a morning person or a night person? When you identify how you work best and whom you work best with, it will help narrow down your choices.
What is your risk toleration level?
Everyone has a certain level of risk aversion. One way to look at it is to ask: how much can you stand to lose without destroying your marriage, losing your home, or giving up time with your children? If you have a low tolerance for risk, you may not want to become a day trader.
How much time do you have to devote?
If you currently have a job that you have to go to, and want to start a business part time, it’s important to still identify how much time you can realistically devote to getting a business off the ground right now. Even if it’s just two hours a night after dinner, there is something you can do to start a business. But, the amount of time, along with the other information you’ve gathered will help narrow down your choices.
Answering these questions can help you determine the area you should enter into as an entrepreneur. Giving the next steps after your self-evaluation a lot of thought and consideration as you craft a plan of action will ensure your success today and in the future.
If you're like most busy people, you're always looking for ways to increase your productivity. If you can find a way to:
You're well on your way to getting more done, but it's not always easy to get there. Well, thanks to the amazing technology we have available to us today, there are a plenty of tools out there that can help .
Here are 3 of our favorite productivity tools to help you limit distractions and stay focused.
#1: Rescue Time
Let's get the distractions out of the way first because even while technology brings us so many great productivity tools, it also brings us tremendous distractions. RescueTime helps you track your time on your computer and your mobile devices and identifies where you where you're spending (ahem often wasting) a lot of your time.
Alert you when you're spending a certain amount of time on an activity
Allow you to block distracting websites during focus time
Keep track of what you accomplished throughout the day
Identify how much time you spend on a variety of activities, including email, meetings, etc.
You can sign up for a Lite account, which is completely free or their premium service for added features.
#2: Focus Booster Pomodoro App
The Focus Booster app is based on the Pomodoro Technique, which is a long-standing productivity technique that uses a timer for focused work periods, usually 25 minutes, followed by a break of 3-5 minutes. After you complete 4 work periods, you get a break of 15-30 minutes. The idea is you stay completely focused on the task during the work period.
There are a lot of apps that can help you execute the Pomodoro Technique, but you can check out Focus Booster. The app is free for up to 20 sessions per month or you can pay a reasonable yearly fee for unlimited sessions and extra features.
The app keeps a time sheet for you and produces a report that allows you to track your productivity and identify ways to become even more productive.
#3: Focus @ Will
Now here's something very different, but scientifically proven to increase focus and productivity. And if you love music, this is going to be great news for you.
Focus@Will uses human neuroscience and music to help you focus, limit distractions, get productive and retain more information. All you do is answer a few questions and the software will determine the right music to put your brain in a flow state that makes you super productive.
There is a free 2 week trial, so you can see if it works for you.
Try these tools and let us know what you think. And hey, if you've got a productivity tool you love, can you post it in the comments below? We'd love to gather up your answers to find more great productivity tools.
When it comes to running a business, nonprofits and small businesses have a lot in common. Founders are passionate, books need to be kept, and a solid team must be in place to be successful. Like most small businesses, nonprofit organizations are born out of passion and the desire to make a difference. Even though the financial goals of nonprofits seem different on the surface, they’re actually both striving for the same thing: to generate revenue and then distribute it. There’s much to learn about running the organization like it’s a small business. Below are four key lessons to take note of.
1. Plan to Succeed
Profitable businesses begin with a business plan, and nonprofits should adopt the same strategy. It’s important to have a plan to show you have clarity in what you’re trying to do, why it’s important that you do it, and to communicate to the other stakeholders the value of what you’re doing. In the competitive world of fundraising, investors want to be sure there’s a strategy in place for thoughtfully spending what they donate.
2. By the Book
When it comes to managing any business, for-profit or nonprofit, meticulous bookkeeping is a critical component of keeping up with the bottom line. The ability to demonstrate that you can handle your books builds confidence externally for further support from donors. There are times when nonprofits can be tempted to push good bookkeeping to the back burner while handling what seems to be other issues that are more immediate. Even though the bookkeeping isn’t urgent, it’s very important because it’s much more difficult to go back in time and build a story.
3. Surround Yourself with Good People
All small business, whether they’re for-profit or nonprofit rely on a team of people to get things done. For nonprofits, that team centers around the board of directors. In the beginning, many nonprofits are run by friends of the founder, but as the nonprofit grows and evolves, the board becomes more sophisticated. In today’s business environment, it’s important to have a legal expert who can review documents, a marketing expert who can help with promotion and a board member with government expertise can be as asset as well. The bottom line is, the board wants to know where the money is going and if it’s being used for maximum impact- exactly what a donor would want to know as well.
4. Look Ahead
Nonprofits should be planning for future success by constantly evaluating the surrounding environment and remaining flexible to potential changes in the marketplace. One way to stay relevant is to partner with other nonprofits and make your mission that much more attractive to investors and donors. For example, a nonprofit that aids in providing clothes to needy children could partner with another agency that provides food to the same market. When nonprofits join forces, supporters feel good about contributing to more than one good cause at the same time.
Just like for-profit businesses, nonprofits were founded with the purpose of redistributing the money they collect. For that reason, they should be guided by a business plan, dedicated to proper accounting, run by a savvy team and managed with an eye toward the future.
Bean Counters Bookkeeping is a virtual bookkeeping team; so that you can focus on what is important, your business.
At one point, every business owner will find themselves in a troubling situation. Revenue is down. New clients are scarce. Profits are falling, and a peek at the financials is enough to bring on a full-fledged anxiety attack.
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, chances are you’ve experienced that sinking feeling of a business that’s trending downward, too. But how you handle it can mean the difference between continued success and business-killing burnout.
Here’s where a lot of small business owners get it wrong. They start to worry about money, and that worry leads to poor decisions that ultimately have a negative impact not just on finances, but—maybe more importantly—on morale, too. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
You Take On The Wrong Clients/Customers
When business is down, it can be tough to keep your ideal client avatar in mind. Instead, you jump at the chance to work with or sell to anyone who comes along. The trouble with this scenario is you can find yourself with a roster full of clients who:
You Stop Growing
And who can blame you? With profits down, you have to pull back. You can’t afford to spend time and money creating new services and/or products, so you recycle the ones you’ve already produced or stall.
Now, this would be ideal if you were repurposing with a positive intent. Turning your ebook into a group coaching course? Perfect! Adding more advanced options to your product? Ideal! Creating new dishes at your restaurant? Just the ticket. But that’s not what your fearful brain is telling you.
Your fearful self is saying, “Just re-release this same product again, so I don’t have to have to reinvent the wheel.” And while this might help bring in a bit of cash short-term, it won’t do anything for your reputation or your self-esteem.
Yikes! That’s no way to operate a business, but that’s just what a fear-based mindset can do to you. Better (much better) to hold out for that perfect client. And while you’re waiting, take what you’ve learned from your drop in sales and create the killer experience your true fans are clamoring for! The best way to do that? Outsource all tasks in your business that aren't critical to you doing them. Bookkeeping and accounting is a great example. No small business owner looking to grow should be handling the finances on their own. Ready to skyrocket your growth next year? Call The Bean Counters Bookkeeping team at 912-376-9918 and breathe a sigh of relief.