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Developing Attitude and Knowledge

It seems that everyone is seeking the magic potion that will open doors to wealth, success and happiness for their fledgling business and ultimately, for themselves. In this challenging economy, who can fault them? But what is the real key to making your mark in business – today or any day? And what are your greatest challenges? You might be surprised.

Gaze into a mirror and consider the image reflected back to you. This is your greatest advocate; the one you can truly rely upon to make your business work. This is your greatest asset; the one whose knowledge and experience will navigate the tumultuous waters ahead. But most importantly, this is your greatest hurdle; the critical factor that will determine whether your business will succeed or fail.

For many, their enthusiasm to achieve their delicious vision of wealth and freedom encourages them to gloss over the challenges that mark the path ahead. They might even give in to the temptation to overestimate their abilities in an effort to walk the path to abundance. But enthusiasm withers in overwhelm and the struggling new business crumbles as they implement a highly successful strategy to sabotage their own success: missing deadlines and withdrawing from communication, ultimately destroying their business from the inside out.

So what, then, is the best strategy to build and grow a successful business? It’s the same strategy needed to advance in the conventional business world: knowledge, skill, dedication and a winning attitude.

Most entrepreneurial businesses are launched on a shoestring and the business owner does it all. Since you, the business owner, are an employee of the company, you must first assess whether you possess the knowledge and experience to undertake the responsibilities you will assume.

Fill out a job application for your business. Include your education, your interests and what makes you the right person for the job. Be completely honest and do your best job to sell yourself to your prospective employer, you. Set the application aside for a few days and schedule a time for the “interview.”

Undertake the interview just as you would for a second party applicant. Be critical of your qualifications. Do you have the right education and practical experience? How about attitude… is this the right face, voice and personality to promote your new business? Take note of those areas that you had to “fluff” or where your training and experience are obviously deficient and devise a program to obtain that knowledge.

Consider devoting several days or weeks to avid internet research and combing the tomes of your local library. This form of self-improvement allows you to work at your own pace and at little or no cost. You might even find an online group that offers networking opportunities for practical application of theoretic principals It is a valuable educational opportunity for the fledgling business owner and could open doors to future expansion.

Local colleges offer affordable classes in a conventional setting. Many night and weekend classes are available to accommodate the busy professional. One of the most valuable aspects of pursuing college courses is the ability to network with others who are pursuing higher education. Instructors and classmates can even become business counselors, potential partners and employees once your business gets off the ground.

Many colleges also provide intensive training sessions over two or three weekends that teach bookkeeping, computer applications and other common business skills. These courses target the working professional and small business owner, and instructors are sometimes professionals working in the local business arena. This is another excellent networking opportunity to find a mentor or collaborative voice in your new venture.

Bookstores and the internet are laden with self-study opportunities, many of which are offered with a money-back guarantee. With these materials you can learn computer applications, pursue grant opportunities, and even hone sales, marketing and a wide array of other valuable business skills. These sources allow you to study at your own pace in the convenience of your own home.

How are you at multitasking? Entrepreneurs must multitask, performing fiscal, sales, marketing and public relations duties as well as developing product and fulfilling orders in a timely fashion. It is a daunting undertaking! Are you well financed or able to bring in a partner? Can you afford to hire and direct a qualified person to fill the voids? If the answer is “no,” does this mean you should abandon your plan altogether? Not at all!

To succeed in business – as in life – you must believe in yourself. Consider some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs such as Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and Larry Ellison. These individuals have invested years to develop the knowledge, skill and attitude to succeed in business. They’ve weathered setbacks and applied the lessons to avoid pitfalls as they rebuilt their empires.

The common thread in all of these and other renowned professionals is their unwavering belief in themselves. These people understand the psychology of business, believe wholeheartedly in their product or service, and convince their target audience that their lives will be richer as a result of the association.

Knowledge and attitude are critical to success. Believe in yourself, believe in your product and believe that you are the best at what you do. If you can convince yourself, you can surely convince the rest of the world.

Do You Know What Your Business Cards REALLY Say? (Part One)

Did you know that a significant key to your success could be as easy to find as your business cards?

Actually, what I’m referring to more specifically is what’s printed ON your business cards.

I’ve heard branding experts say that the least expensive form of advertising is a business card, yet most professionals don’t see their card as advertising and therefore they skimp on it by creating a home-made card and/or using one that is very generic that does not set them apart from the hundreds or thousands of professionals in the same field. This can actually damage their credibility. I have to say that I completely agree with this statement.

Let me explain.

I go to a lot of networking meetings. I believe they are critical to my business. Even when I’m not at a meeting, I’m always in networking mode and never go anywhere without my business cards. In addition, I ask for the cards of others whom I meet whether I’m at a networking meeting or simply out and about. The truth is that there is never a time when we are not “on duty” where our businesses are concerned. You might meet that next important contact at a meeting you attend or perhaps through a casual conversation you have with someone while running errands.

So, needless to say, I collect TONS of cards in a very short period of time on a regular basis and this requires a frequent effort to sort and organize these cards. The sad thing is that every time I sit down to go through my recently accumulated cards, I end up throwing away many of them!

One reason for this is a lack of identity on these cards.

The most common mistake that most people make about their business card is that they don’t create their own identity.

It’s amazing to me how many people THINK they are running a serious business and yet are not marketing themselves properly using the least expensive, most used and most circulated tool that they have available to them. When I see a business card where someone has created an identity using AOL, Yahoo or Google instead of using their business as their identity and that has no website listed, I become very curious.

I wonder if this entrepreneur has any idea about the importance of branding; I wonder if this entrepreneur is aware that they can easily and inexpensively get a domain name. I also wonder if they are serious about their business or if it’s simply more of a hobby for them. The question about a hobby versus a business is a critical one because it’s basically asking whether the business is credible or not and if they take their business seriously enough for me to invest my time and money into it.

This question alone can make or break a business; if too many people feel this way, they won’t buy from you or desire your services and therefore your business will struggle to bring in revenue.

There is a concept of branding that I see many entrepreneurs overlook or perhaps simply don’t understand and that is how branding helps to create our uniqueness. If you are trying to differentiate yourself from others, you absolutely need to have a look that identifies YOU, not a template that hundreds of others–even others in a completely different industry are using.

Your Action Plan For The Week:
1.Pick up a domain name! You can use my affiliate link here if you do not already have an account with someone.
2. Create an email account for your new domain name
3. If you already have a domain name and are using it, stay tuned for next week’s article on the second biggest mistake that people make when it comes to their business card!

Make SURE that one side of your business card clearly shows your website (if you don’t have one, then you have another critical task to complete) and that your email address is listed as your name @ your business.com.

We’re here to help you focus on the best way to market yourself, call for a free discovery session and see how! If you need a referral to a branding expert, contact us through our website CamposCoaching.com and we can give you some names to some great branding experts!

Business Success: It’s Not All About Finding Your Niche and Growing Your List

This past weekend I was involved in a hit and run car accident. As witnesses pulled around me to continue on their day, I started thinking about personal responsibility.

Obviously the person who hit me wasn’t taking any.

Then a flashback to a call with a potential client a few weeks ago (yep, I’d moved the car out of the road by this point) where she said “none of my previous coaches know how to teach and that’s why [her] business isn’t succeeding”.

And on to several business owners who have said, and continue to say, something to the effect of:

  • “I don’t have time to connect with my clients each week”
  • “I don’t have time to read and comment on industry blogs”
  • “I hear your 30-day training is great, but I’m too busy to sign up, read each daily message and take action on it”
  • “Sounds like a great book, but I don’t have time to read it”
  • “I didn’t have time to follow-up with those I met at the event – I’ll do it next week” (note: “next week” never comes)
  • “I’m too busy trying to get clients to create a plan”

You get the idea. Excuse after excuse after excuse. And usually wondering why things aren’t going the way they hoped.

Reality:

  • We’re ALL busy. And most of us think we’re busier than we are
  • Our clients are busy. Our vendors are busy. Our colleagues are busy. Those who succeed learn to manage their time and focus on those activities which will best serve their goals
  • As a business owner, even the owner of a lifestyle business, we occasionally need to make sacrifices – get up an hour earlier, work on a Saturday morning/evening, whatever to finish something we committed to

It’s tough to stay on top of all things, all the time – especially when we combine business with a personal life.

I know this and experience the same and when I’m tempted to make an excuse, I remember something my Dad said long ago: “whatever you accept, you get more of” – start accepting excuses (even from yourself) and you’ll get more of them.

As the market becomes more competitive and clients become more discerning about where they invest their money, you want to ensure that you’re known for the *right* things: providing value and doing what you say you will…in addition to the *what* of what you do.

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My Request to You:

Before we can move forward, let’s clean up anything that needs attention:

  1. Grab your “to do” (or “Action”) list. You know…the *big* one.
  2. Look over it and put stars or highlight anything that “should” have been done by now – starting with things that are owed to clients, colleagues, vendors, etc.
  3. Make a commitment to yourself right now that you’ll assume personal responsibility in all things going forward, knowing that it means you’ll have to say “no” to things which don’t fit or you don’t have time for.
  4. Set aside a day this week to catch up on those things which need catching up on (delegate what you can, do the rest).
  5. Smile and give yourself a reward for getting caught up.

Moving forward…

  • Take time to identify your personal and business values.
  • Each morning think about your top 5 values and act with intent throughout the day.

Taking consistent action and living your life/managing your business according to your values will ensure that you’re on track for a life on your terms. And if those values include integrity, personal responsibility, value, Extreme Client Careā„¢ and constant learning, you’re well on your way to success and the life you envision.

It’s the millions of little things we do and choices we make, every day, which determines our business success or failure.