Saturday, November 21, 2009

7 Essential Steps to Starting Your Own Business

Step 1: Let's begin...

The beginning is a good place to start I think... This may sound silly, but many neglect the importance of the start, and I think that's perhaps why 86% of startup businesses fail in the first year... Every year, almost 500,000 people take the plunge and start their own business and only 60,000 make it. My aim is to help you be in that 60,000. I want you to succeed so that you can tell others about me and what I have to offer through my company - That's my success!

So let's begin... You probably wouldn't turn up at an airport without first of all preparing where it is you want to go, working out the best journey and booking the right ticket, just as you wouldn't start a business without knowing what that business really is.

So the first thing I want you to do is put pen to paper and answer the following questions. These questions are designed to quiz your unconscious mind and the answers can be useful when you are asked "What is your business anyway?":

1. What specifically is your business?
2. Who specifically is your business for?
3. What products and services are you going to offer?
4. What evidence do you have to show that people need & want this?
5. Who are your competitors?
6. What is the price?
7. What is your first target?
8. Where are you now in relation to achieving this target?
9. When will you have achieved this target?
10. What will this business allow you to do?
11. What resources are needed?
12. Is your business ecological for you, your family and the world?

Step 2: The Disney Pattern...

Walt Disney was an American inspiration, not only for his film productions and animations, but also for his vision and entrepreneurialism. Disney had a great all-purpose strategy for creative thinking and I have found it amazingly effective when planning any new business. I like to dream of big things when it comes to my businesses, and sometimes this can result in me missing the small details that could throw my plans into turmoil. The following Disney strategy was modelled by Robert Dilts, a popular NLP trainer in America, and has saved me from dreaming big and neglecting reality. Go through the following steps by yourself or with a friend before you move on to the next stage of your business preparation.

Think of your potential business. The Disney strategy works well for any situation where you need to come up with a specific plan.

Choose 3 different spaces on the floor for you to move to and give each space one of the following labels:

Space 1: The Dreamer
Space 2: The Realist
Space 3: The Critic

Start by standing in the Dreamer position.
This is where you create possibilities. Here you are a visionary, seeing the big picture. Be creative without restraint. The dreamer position mostly uses the visual representation system. Ask yourself, 'What do I want?' 'What would it look like?' Write down your thoughts.

Shake those thoughts off by shaking your body or jumping up and down.

Then, move into the Realist position.
This is where you organise your plans, evaluate what is realistically possible, think constructively and devise a step-by-step action plan. The realist position mostly uses the kinesthetic (feelings) representation system. Ask yourself 'What will I do to make these plans a reality?', 'How will it feel?'

Shake those thoughts off by shaking your body or jumping up and down.

Finally, move to the Critic position.
This is the position where you test your plan. You are looking for problems, difficulties and unintended consequences. Think of what could go wrong, what is missing and what the payoffs will be. The critic position mostly uses the auditory representation system or your own internal dialogue. Ask yourself "What could go wrong?"

Step 3: Doing the necessaries

You should now have a list of answers to my questions, and have three different view points on your business from the Disney pattern. With these in place, I think you should be ready to do one of two things:

Go through the final checks below, then if you are sure you want to start your own business, carry on to the next stage.


Go back to your day job. It's better to know now whether your business is going to fulfil your dreams or not. Ploughing in lot's of money into a business that will never succeed is a fools game. If you have doubts at this stage, call us. We are here to help and will offer our honest advice - running your own business isn't an easy option and sometimes it's just not worth it. Make sure at this point that you have the drive, determination and the right mindset to take the plunge. Once you do, there's no going back - the rewards are too great...

The necessaries:
Take half an hour to visit Companies House (type this into Google) and have a good look around. There are a number of ways to set up a company. You can set up as a 'sole trader', form a 'partnership', open a 'limited company' or even become a 'Franchisee'. We offer advice to our members, or you can call Companies House and they will be able to help.

Find the right Accountant. Again, we offer accountancy services through our partner companies to our members, or you can check out icaew (type this into Google) to find a list of Chartered Accountants. My advice would be to get a good accountant and by good, I don't necessarily mean the most expensive, but a good accountant should be able to save you more money on expenses and tax than you pay to them. They will also help you in running an ethical business and set you on your path to business enlightenment.

If you are looking for Finance. Visit the Princes Trust. They also offer advice and support for young people looking to create business.

Check out the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). They have over 185,000 members and can help with all sorts of contracts, legal issues, banking arrangements etc.

The government also runs a Business Link in England and the equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They have a great website with lots of resources (type this into Google)

For a free intellectual property resources centre visit own-it. (type this into Google)

For free legal guidance and help visit freelawyer (type this into Google) or for Internet law in UK visit weblaw (type this into Google)

If you have made it to this page, I'm guessing you're up for the challenge of creating business for yourself... You have chosen a challenging path, but one that is so rewarding and freeing too. I've been in business since I was 9 years old, and it's all I have ever wanted to do. I tried working for others, but to be honest, I wasn't very good at it, and since creating businesses in my 20's & 30's, I'll never go back to working for someone else. The rewards, both financially and for my lifestyle are far too great.

So now that we have our business in mind, what is it going to be called?

Step 4: Creating your name...

Most new business owners spend a great deal of time thinking of catchy names for their businesses. I remember hearing about Greg Steven's who set up his business selling sofas and furniture. He was a huge Elvis fan and called himself 'The King'. After some debate, he decided to call himself 'The Sofa King'. On his vans he had 'We are Sofa King Great' printed. Read out-loud, the catch phrase can raise some eyebrows but it manages to stick in your memory - and that's what branding is all about...

So I'm going to make this chapter easy for you... Unless you are prepared to go as far as Greg to attract your customers, I recommend calling your company name 'You'... You are your business and your personal branding lets you control how other people perceive you. That's far more powerful than calling yourself 'Living Inspiration' or 'The Creative Life Company' like everyone else in business. My only exception to this rule is if you are setting up a membership organisation. You are usually selling a collection of people and benefits through a membership organisation. Outside of this though, your clients will choose you, not because you have a cool business card or snazzy office, but because something about you engenders trust and makes them decide to do business with you. People buy from people, not businesses... Personal branding is without doubt the most powerful way to get your name out there and it won't cost you anywhere near as much as trying to market a large company name. Start branding and marketing you, not a company you work for. For further details, I can really recommend a book by a guy called 'Peter Montoya' - It's called 'The Brand Called You'.

Step 5: Know who you are...

The Dalai Lama said that "Self-knowledge is a vital stage on the path towards enlightenment..."
I think knowing who you are is essential for your business. People buy from people and every projection you put out there in relation to your business will be received by others. Make sure you are the model of excellence you want in your business.

The following model helps me on my path to learning about myself. I think it's also helpful when thinking about your business. It has been created by Robert Dilts from the work done by Gregory Bateson. I refer to this model on a daily basis to make sure I am aligned on each level both in business and my personal life. To get closer to becoming an Enlightened Entrepreneur, you should have alignment and congruency on each of the levels starting with your environment...

Level 1: Your Environment
Level 2: Your Behaviour
Level 3: Your Skills & Capabilities
Level 4: Your Values & Beliefs
Level 5: Your Identity
Level 6: Your purpose & connection to the planet

As you get down the levels, you get closer to finding who you really are and at the very end, beyond who you are, you find your purpose in life and what connection you have to the world.

An all important question to ask yourself before you go into business is: Who am I when the lights are off?
If your answer is different to when the lights are on, or when you are selling, when you are with your family, when you are with friends or when you are alone, then you will have some misalignment on one of the different levels.

Check in with each level and ask yourself the following questions:
Environment: The where & when. Are you in the right place? Is this the right time? Who else is involved and effected by your business?

Behaviour: The what. What do you do? What thoughts and actions do you have in relation to your business plans? If you saw your behaviours from the outside, would they be aligned to the behaviours you would like to see from someone running your business?

Skills & Capabilities: The how. What skills do you have and need? How will you achieve your dreams? How will you move from employee to entrepreneur?

Beliefs & values: The why. Why is this business important to you? What do you believe about yourself? What do you value about this business? Why bother?

Identity: The who. Who are you? Who arn't you? Who is your business? Who do you want to be?

Purpose: Beyond Identity. What is your purpose on this planet? What is beyond you and your business? What is your highest intention of building this business?

If you have got this far, you should feel confident in what you are offering, and once you have registered your name, found your accountant and completed all of the logistical tasks associated to your business, you are all ready to start. The next stage is to work out who you are selling your products & services too. If you know what you're selling and who too, you are 90% of the way there...

Step 6: Finding you Niche

If you don't find a niche market the news is not good for your business. In fact, I would go as far as to say "find a niche within a niche". A niche market is composed of individuals and businesses that have similar interests and needs, which can be readily identified and that can be easily targeted and reached.

Finding a niche for your business means finding a great product or service for a highly targeted audience.
Let's imagine that you are an accountant (and you might be...). If you were interested in business coaching and went onto the internet to find a service provider, would you book with;
1. A fully qualified coach?
2. A fully qualified coach who specialises in helping accountants?

I think I've made my point. Most businesses don't niche small enough and try to be the 'jack of all trades'. I promise you, this strategy does not work.

By niching, and then niching again, you have the following advantages over your competition:
• You become specialised in your area and are therefore seen as 'The Expert' in what you do.
• The tighter the niche, the easier it is to find your clients - you know exactly who they are and therefore where they hang out.
• You will more than halve your marketing spend because you can target your marketing to specific campaigns in specific publications/websites etc.
• You will halve your competition
• You know exactly who to survey to find out exactly what they want before you produce any product or service.

Always ask your customers what they want before you produce any product or service. Many businesses create products and services that they think their clients want, without ever actually asking the client. Find out what your clients want, then produce it - it's a sure way to make more money.

Step 7: Creating your Steve...

Once you have installed your phone lines and have handed out some business cards, you are likely to receive calls from your local newspapers begging you to advertise with them. I have nothing against advertising in newspapers when it's done properly, but they usually promote their advertising by telling you that they have thousands of readers who will see your advert. The problem often is - those readers aren't interested in your product. I made the mistake of offering a free CD on NLP in the 'Express' newspaper (they had a special promotion on...). The Express goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and I worked out what 1% was and thought this was my likely take-up. I spent the whole day on the phone to people who had no idea what NLP is and asked if I could "just send the CD anyway because I collect free CDs from newspapers"... I wasted hundreds of pounds sending CDs out to clients who will never buy from me, not to mention the cost of my time.

The trick to selling anything is knowing who you are selling to and where they hang out. It also helps if they are actually wanting your product in the first place.

For every business I run now, I design my ideal client. This client is my market - the person I only need to whisper my product to and they will buy it. This means I know who they are, where they shop, what they read, even what they eat...

Let me introduce you to Steve, my ideal client for my business - perhaps he is familiar...
Steve is 30 to 45, married with 2 kids. He earns 35K to 45K and is fed up with his current work situation. He enjoys the company of his work colleages but the job doesn't satisfy him anymore. He wants to work with his partner and has often thought about setting up his own business - perhaps his partner can join him later. He likes to holiday every year and enjoys watching Channel 4, E4 and BBC news. He likes reading magazines including GQ, Mens Health and the occasional book on business and personal development. Steve enjoys surfing the web for personal development, watched YouTube and He likes to shop in Sainsburys and occasionally, when he's feeling flush, in Marks and Spencer. Somewhere inside Steve, he believes he can make it on his own and if the right opportunity comes along, he's got the guts to do it...

I feel like I know Steve like my best friend. Steve also has a female version 'Stevetta' and I target my writing, advertising, products and in fact my whole business to meet Steve and Stevetta's needs...

Now not every client is Steve or Stevetta. Some don't match their profile at all and that's OK. I don't turn people away if they don't behave like Steve, but it makes it so easy for me to know where to find my clients and focuses my mind on what I can offer to him...

Once you have your Steve, or Stevetta (or whatever you decide to call them), you know who you are marketing & selling too, you know where to find them. You can begin to create your websites, marketing and even your business cards as if you are producing them for your Steve or Stevetta. By now you should also know who you are in relation to your business, you know what your purpose is on this planet and what your business outcomes are. I think it's time for you now to take the path to becoming a enlightened entrepreneur.

You will now be able to tick off the 7 essential steps to starting your business. I hope this guide has been useful to you. Most businesses never think of these steps and I think that they are so important. You're ahead of your competitors already.

Check off the following list and feel confident in your abilities as a entrepreneur - you are 90% of the way to being successful, the rest we can put down to on the spot learning... Good luck!

Step 1: I am clear about my outcome
Step 2: I passed the Disney test
Step 3: I've done the necessaries
Step 4: I've got my business name
Step 5: I know who I am and what my purpose in life is
Step 6: I've niched, and niched again
Step 7: I've got my Steve

Helping you move from employee to entrepreneur...
The Employee To Entrepreneur University was founded to support remarkable men and women with dreams to run their own rewarding and successful businesses and provide the support to actually make it happen.

"Through monthly meetings, courses, coaching and business boosting retreats we have created a support network that eliminates the reasons most small businesses fail. In addition, we've created a culture of individuals that play life at the top."

This is not a 'earn £1million in 1 month' type of organisation. We are here to help you build your business and help that business support your lifestyle forever. Join us in creating the life that you have always wanted through the business you have always dreamed of.

By Toby McCartney for The Employee to Entrepreneur University

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How To Start A Small Risk Free Business?

It is a challenge and a big deal for starting a new business. There are countless opportunities and many more to explore. Channelising your efforts is necessary for your success. Risk is involved in your path however, with detailed planning and smart decision making you can minimize your risks and grow stronger. After all good decision making combined with positive thinking will definitely help you to be successful.

Many small Businesses fail. You can't believe this as there are many coming up every day and we see them around. For being successful one must read literature, books, do research and try to collect information from people who are successful. Try to get a mentor for yourself to shorten your learning curve. Analyze what they did and how did they make it so big. What were the obstacles that they overcame and how? This will definitely help you to get motivation and encouragement for future.

Get feedback on how to do effective advertising or marketing campaign to promote your small business. What kind of promotions did they make? How did they started promotion in the market about their business? Who all they hired with them and what task or activities they performed. You must sought answers to such questions before beginning.

I understand that each and every business case is different however we can see some key points that every famous entrepreneur can share with us to help us along our way. It is simply more effective that reading a book. This kind of information sharing is way beyond any kind of research.

Don't just consider starting a business means opening a shop and stuffing it with products or services. It isn't just a start but a long term relationship building. Once you're business is running successfully you need to think about the fund management, maintenance of accounts, advertisement, manpower etc. A substantial time and money will be invested in your endeavor. You must need to analyze your future and manage your business accordingly to overcome any obstacles etc.

My success mantra for you is to stay calm, focussed, positive and strong in your endeavor. You must offer your customers high quality products while keeping greater customer satisfaction as your key goal. if you have a good product or service people will definitely realise this and will invest in your business. So don't worry and stay focussed towards your goals.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How To Create A Successful Entrepreneur Story Online?

What will make you different? What will give you the edge? How will you succeed when those around you fail? To become a successful entrepreneur you must exhibit exceptional skills and optimism.

These are seven basic steps which will help you to create a successful entrepreneur story:

1. You must have a burning desire to succeed.

Decide how to succeed no matter what it takes and your success is inevitable. You must never give up. If your reason for success is big enough it will drive you forward even when everything seems hopeless and you feel like quitting.

2. A Step by Step Planned Strategy.

As an entrepreneur you must lay down all the steps which you need to accomplish in your successful entrepreneurship journey. You must be particular and clear as to where, by when and how you will complete your tasks.

3. Responding to Any Suggestion.

A customer or a friend might come up with a suggestion which is helpful for your business. Now it is your duty on how you will respond to the given query and in what fashion.

4. Assistance of a Mentor or Guide.

Model the thoughts of your guide or mentor and in turn learn what has made them successful. If you are able to copy successful entrepreneur and do what they have done, you will also be successful.

5. Able to take calculated risk.

The biggest asset of any entrepreneur is his ability to take risk and have full benefit of the oppurtunity which is infront of him. This risk taking ability will actually result in higher profits and better market penetration.

6. You need a system.

All successful businesses use systems that deliver duplicable results. If you get the results you want occasionally but can't duplicate it, you don't have a business. A business must be able to produce the same results over and over, that is what produces continuing profits.

7. You must have a team. Business is a team sport.

If you try to do everything yourself, you will fail. No one is good at everything. Develop the talents and strengths that you have. Spend as much time as possible doing the profit producing tasks you are best at. Find others to do the things that you are not good at, and delegate as much as possible.

Here I end my list of top seven tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Site Optimization: The Tools Of The Trade

By Richard Shell

SEO tools, which ones do you buy? I have been asked this question many times. When you have a site ranking high in the search engines you get asked these little questions. I use a whole list of tools so I can't share them all, but I will tell you some main tools you need to get started in SEO and to start moving your site up. Once you start moving you can buy more expensive tools.

The first tool you need is something to do keyword research. This becomed pretty easy. I use the Google Adwords tool, I find it gives me the data I need. All I really look for is words that do get some searches each month. From there I look at what sites rank for the words and decide if I should take a poke at getting to the top of the engines there.

The next thing you will need is some method or tool to build links. You can't get high up in the search engines without spending a lot of time building a lot of backlinks. I like to look at different tools available. There are BLOG Commenting tools, Social Bookmarking Tools, Article Submission Tools and even courses on how to build links. You need to get your hands on as many of these as you can.

The next tool that I think you will use the most is a tool that tells you where you rank in Google. I use a free tool that will tell you where you rank in Google as long as you are in the top 1000. This tool is free and it is an excellent thing because I can literally monitor where my pages are in Google and see any progress or results from search engine work I have done.

To conclude there are a lot of tools for SEO and you have to wade through the sales letters to find out if they will truly help you. Most people that sell SEO tools are SEOs and internet marketers themselves and they make money by selling their tool. Make sure the tool is of value to your methods of SEO before spending the money. Like I said earlier I really thing courses on link building are your best deal.

About the Author:

IT Careers Computer Training Compared

By Jason Kendall

Those searching for education to get in the computer industry will notice the diverse range of courses in existence. Before embarking on a course, look for a training company that has advisors, so you can be fully informed on the job roles your training will prepare you for. You could uncover job roles you hadn't previously thought of.

There's lots to choose from with these courses - starting with user skills and going up to courses for programmers, web designers, networkers etc. Get help prior to committing yourself - chat with an advisor who has knowledge of the market sector. Someone who can help you choose the right direction for you - that's both relevant to industry and something you'll enjoy.

By using modern training methods and keeping overheads low, you will start to see a new kind of organisation offering a finer level of teaching and assistance for a fraction of the prices currently charged.

Without a doubt: There really is absolutely no individual job security anymore; there's really only market or sector security - a company will let anyone go whenever it suits the company's commercial interests.

It's possible though to find market-level security, by probing for areas that have high demand, mixed with a lack of qualified workers.

Recently, a British e-Skills investigation demonstrated that 26 percent of computing and IT jobs haven't been filled as an upshot of a chronic shortage of appropriately certified professionals. Basically, we can only fill 3 out of each 4 job positions in the computer industry.

This one reality on its own highlights why the country needs considerably more trainees to enter the industry.

With the market growing at such a quick pace, it's unlikely there's any better area of industry worth considering as a retraining vehicle.

There is a tidal wave of change coming via technology as we approach the second decade of the 21st century - and it becomes more and more thrilling each day.

We've barely started to see just how technology will affect our lives in the future. Technology and the web will massively transform how we view and interrelate with the world as a whole over the coming years.

Incomes in IT are not a problem also - the typical remuneration throughout Britain for a typical person working in IT is considerably higher than in the rest of the economy. It's a good bet that you'll earn a much greater package than you'd typically expect to bring in elsewhere.

As the IT industry keeps emerging year on year, it's looking good that the need for appropriately qualified IT professionals will flourish for a good while yet.

Don't put too much store, as many people do, on the training course itself. Training for training's sake is generally pointless; this is about gaining commercial employment. Begin and continue with the end in mind.

Never let yourself become part of the group who set off on a track which looks like it could be fun - and end up with a plaque on the wall for something they'll never enjoy.

You must also consider your leanings around earning potential and career progression, and if you're ambitious or not. It makes sense to understand what will be expected of you, what exams are required and how to develop your experience.

We recommend that students take advice from an experienced industry advisor before making your final decision on some particular learning program, so you can be sure that the content of a learning package provides the skill-set required for your career choice.

Considering how a program is 'delivered' to you can often be overlooked. How many stages do they break the program into? And in what sequence and do you have a say in when you'll get each part?

Many think it logical (with training often lasting 2 or 3 years to pass all the required exams,) for your typical trainer to courier a single section at a time, as you complete each part. Although:

Sometimes the steps or stages offered by the provider doesn't suit. And what if you don't finish all the sections at the speed required?

In an ideal situation, you'd ask for every single material to be delivered immediately - so you'll have them all to return to any point - at any time you choose. This also allows you to vary the order in which you attack each section as and when something more intuitive seems right for you.

About the Author:

The Secret" Can Reveal Amazing Things

By Jenn Lawlor

Most of us in this world are aware that the human psyche is the strongest source of energy and still only a negligible number are knowledgeable about the mystery which enables us, as humans, to use this unbelievable strength. We are endowed with the ability to change our lives, and with the help of the laws of attraction, we can convert our weaknesses into our strengths and sicknesses change into perfect health.

Controlling this power is the path of a natural law called the Law of Attraction. "The Secret" is the capacity to find, for yourself, how to make use of this law by putting in to action the most potent philosophies and doctrine available. This path requires one to change the way one thinks. This can sometimes take time to really see the results for yourself and the effects it has on those around you.

Rhonda Byrne was one of the people who was able to harness this power. She did so by discovering in an ancient text a common truth about the natural laws of attraction. As alluded to above, the natural laws of attraction dictate whether or not we will enjoy the more positive things in life. Now, Rhonda Byrne shares the secret with others in her book titled "The Secret". In this text, she outlines her personal journey, and describes what other people will need in order to make their own discoveries.

"The Secret" can reveal amazing things to those who are honestly seeking a life altering change and it does it through real life stories of regular people who have done just that. This book and video also takes you on a journey throughout history and shows the accomplishments of some of the greatest people who have ever lived, such as philosophers, artists, teachers, evangelists, scientists, authors and world leaders. By studying this great secret, Rhonda Byrne has also found evidence in oral traditions, literature and in most religions.

So, considering the historical importance and far-reaching effect of the secret, you can rest assured that it is something deep and valuable for you to study as well. The video, books, and Web site give you the initial steps that you need in order to use the secret to change your life and the lives of people who you care about. You may have wished for something like "The Secret," but "The Secret" can be much more than just a wish. You can make it a reality, no matter who you are or what background you come from.

About the Author: