Running your own business means having to wear all different types of hats. Whether it’s your marketing hat, your sales hat, or your general people skills hat, you’re going to need to know how to court sales, and on the other side of operations, you are also going to need to know how to run a balanced account and continue to grow your wealth.
Though there are many business skills that a successful entrepreneur will have, the following five skills are the ones that you absolutely need to make your business successful:
This one is a no-brainer–of course you are going to need sales skills in order to run your business! After all, marketing can drive customers in to your business, but sales are going to be what keeps them coming back and keeps putting money into your pocket. It is no wonder why most entrepreneurs actually come from a sales background!
Taking one bad step can make or break your business, especially when it is still in the early
Instagram has over 500 million monthly active users, less competition and a more engaged audience than other social media giants like Facebook or Twitter. This presents businesses with an opportunity to market their products to a more targeted and interested audience without spending an enormous amount of money on paid advertising. Whether your strategy needs an update or you’re a newcomer to this social media network, you’ll find these tips on how to use Instagram for business useful.
Instagram for business tips
1. Show what you do in a creative way
Focus on the solution you provide, not the products you sell. On Instagram, it’s essential to add value to your customers and look pretty while you do it. Never underestimate the fact that your most important asset (and downfall) on this social media network is visual content.
If your business is service-oriented, focus on showcasing the process behind providing the service. Show your company culture, share your mission with the world, or simply share some tips and how-to’s.
It’s possible to upload photos, short videos
Your writing needs to speak to your audience
If you want to communicate with people, you need to know who you’re speaking to. You need to focus on your target audience and put them first. Try to get inside their heads and understand what makes them tick. The tone of voice and the words you choose speaks volumes. So take time to make sure everything you publish is well thought through.
Everyone is a publisher these days, whether it’s a blog post, a video or an email. So it’s never been more important to ensure that the content you create is quality. Writing well is a skill, so in this guide we’ll look at what it takes to produce great written content.
Getting started – identify your target audience
As mentioned, you need to start by knowing who you are you writing for. Different audiences will respond well to different types of writing. Try to identify one or two audiences to target, as you can’t target everyone. Ask yourself:
- Who will use your product?
- What information do they need?
- What language would they use
As someone who has been called a serial entrepreneur, I’ve had more than my fair share of experience starting new enterprises, turning around underperforming enterprises or re-vamping operations.
During that time, I’ve learned a thing or two about some critical factors you absolutely need to know before you jump into the proverbial entrepreneurial waters.
In the majority of cases, start-up success or failure is all about knowing the both the how and the why of taking action, and always being clear about which steps to take next.
To help this process, here are essential things you need to know about running a successful business. Use it as a checklist to make sure your thinking and your business plan are on the right track, or if you need to get more information, strategic education or clarity for yourself on your overall vision, your market, or your product or service.
- Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. Too often, people jump into a business built around a product or service they think will be successful, rather than one that is already proven to have a market.
What do I mean?
1. Don’t Go It Alone
If you look at a list of successful startups over the last few years, you’ll notice that most have one thing in common: multiple founders. Starting a company by yourself puts you at a distinct disadvantage for several reasons. Beginning a business is a lot of work, and several important things will likely fall through the cracks if you don’t have more than one of eyes on the ball.
Furthermore, you’ll lack the companionship necessary for celebrating your successes and for brainstorming ways to overcome your mistakes. Take it from the pros: not sharing your profits isn’t worth trying to handle a brand new business by yourself.
2. You Need Lots of Money
However much money you’ve raised, it probably isn’t enough to fund a successful business. You’ll need to find more funding at some point in order to keep your bills paid and your dreams afloat. Seeking out investors is always a good idea in the beginning stages. Equity crowdfunding can also be an extremely lucrative option for startups.
3. Location Still Matters
Even though more businesses are starting out online, your physical location can
At this point you’ve accomplished the basics of getting an ongoing business concern up and running. You have a product offering that people are buying. You are selling that product at a price that lets you make a sufficient profit to continue a business, and you are now working to increase the scale of your operation to the point where you are actually running a business rather than just working on a hobby or interesting side job. Congratulations! You’re probably now working 7 days a week, 12-16 hours a day, realizing on a daily basis how much you need to learn in order to have your business grow to match your dreams, and dealing with daily setbacks and obstacles. This is probably the hardest you’ve ever worked in your life, and even though you’re loving every day, you’re not sure how you will be able to cope with this forever.
The good news is that most startups have busy periods in the beginning, and as you start to gain market share and stability your workload as the CEO, founder, sole evangelist, and creator will be eased by a staff of people who can assist and your customer
Contrary to popular belief, business plans do not generate business financing.True, there are many kinds of financing options that require a business plan, but nobody invests in a business plan.
Investors need a business plan as a document that communicates ideas and information, but they invest in a company, in a product, and in people.
Small business financing myths:
- Venture capital is a growing opportunity for funding businesses. Actually, venture capital financing is very rare. I’ll explain more later, but assume that only a very few high-growth plans with high-power management teams are venture opportunities.
- Bank loans are the most likely option for funding a new business. Actually, banks don’t finance business start-ups. I’ll have more on that later, too. Banks aren’t supposed to invest depositors’ money in new businesses.
- Business plans sell investors. Actually, they don’t—a well-written and convincing business plan (and pitch) can sell investors on your business idea, but you’re also going to have convince those investors that you are worth investing in. When it comes to investment, it’s as much about whether you’re the right person to run your business as it is about the viability of your business idea.
Saving money as a small business can be tricky—if you’re a startup especially, money might be tight already. You probably don’t have a big portion of your income that you can tuck away as savings, and you welcome opportunities to make your operations more cost-effective. We’ve compiled a list of money saving tips—ways for you to trim overhead here, and increase efficiency there, until you’re on your way to better financial health.
No matter your industry or location, you should be able to apply most of this advice, even if you need to tweak it a bit to suit your needs.
1. Go green
You’ve heard it before and it’s still true: going green saves green. Whether it’s a home business, office, storefront—whatever kind of space your business is using, the more energy efficient your space is, the lower utility costs you’re going to have. So go out and buy those compact fluorescent bulbs already—they can save you three quarters of your lighting bill per year! For more information on greening your spaces, check out Energy Star, a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
2. Use open source and
Get your invoicing right
BlueVine knows invoicing is part of good cashflow management. Once you’ve delivered a product or service, don’t wait to invoice. That can hurt your cashflow and your business. You should get into the habit of sending invoices for payment quickly.
Consider sending invoices immediately, or on a daily basis, depending on the nature of your work. If you are providing a service, think about asking for a deposit upfront, or a payment part-way through. It’s a reasonable request.
A product or service that has been delivered is the closest thing your business has to cold, hard cash. The sooner you invoice your client, the sooner you’ll receive payment.
Rules for managing your cashflow
Invoicing is only the start. To maintain a healthy cashflow, you need more than just strong revenue. You need to be able to collect that revenue too. Here are five rules for managing your cashflow and getting your invoices paid faster:
- Keep your books accurate and up to date
Your cashflow is only as good as your accounting and reporting. Don’t let this get out of hand. Make sure your accounting information is updated regularly. Then you can
- Your family will stick with you through the hard times.
- You know your family well.
- You and your family often share common goals.
- Working with family can be emotionally rewarding and satisfying.
But working with family can also get complicated. Family businesses can lead to emotional stress and arguments. They can even cause legal disputes.So if you’re thinking of expanding your business while keeping it in the family, it pays to plan ahead.
# Interviewing interested family members
You should always take the hiring process seriously. Interview each applicant – family and non-family – to find out what they can bring to your business. In particular, look for skills and experience that
Why do you need a business plan?You may be wondering why you need a plan in the first place. After all, you have a clear idea in your mind about what you want to achieve. You know the market, you have the necessary skills. So why do you need a plan?There are many good reasons. Here are just a few of them:
- To clarify your ideasWriting something down gives it structure and substance. Your ideas will be clearer on paper than in your head.
- To discover and solve problemsThe business idea you have in mind may have some holes – you might not have covered everything. This will become much more apparent when your words are on the page.
- To get feedback from othersA properly written business plan can be shared with trusted people to get their advice.
- As a formal documentBanks, investors, accountants and lawyers will want proof that you’re serious about your business. A written plan will provide that proof.
- To guide you as your business growsA good business plan will keep you on track and focused, even as day-to-day work becomes a distraction.
If you’ve never written a business plan before, it can be
When CRM systems work, they’re amazing
If sales is a big driver for your business, you’ve probably either tried a CRM system before or you’re in a hurry to get one up and running. At their best, they can:
- increase sales (some say by up to 30%)
- take away admin, so your sales people are happier and more focused
- identify opportunities to cross-sell or upsell to existing customers
- ensure customer requests don’t slip through the cracks
- consolidate and protect your institutional knowledge
The list could go on because CRM software is getting smarter all the time. These systems can do more and more to support your sales process.
But an awful lot of businesses say they use less than half of their system’s capabilities. And many say they’d give up some of those extra features if the thing was simpler to use.
When it doesn’t work, CRM software can be a roadblock
Depending on which study you read, between 25 and 50 percent of CRM projects fail. Failure can be due to a lot of things. In some cases, the system gets in the way of your sales process and reps end up
Growth isn’t always good
A lot of small business advice assumes that you intend to grow. You may be advised to hire more staff, open more stores and do more marketing to win customers.
But what if you’re happy with your current business size? Perhaps you:
- launched your business for lifestyle reasons and don’t want to take on more work
- feel you’re already at optimal business size
- have other commitments that prevent you investing more time in your business
- don’t want the stress of expanding your business
- feel it’s less risky to stay small
It’s entirely possible to maintain a smaller business size while making a healthy profit.
Advantages of a lifestyle business
Choosing stability over never-ending growth can lead to big benefits for you and your business.
- You don’t have to reinvest so much money
Growth requires investment, but sometimes revenue doesn’t grow fast enough to repay it. The resulting cashflow crunch can be stressful. Non-growth businesses don’t have to worry so much about this.
- Financial predictions will be simpler
Revenue and expenses are simpler to forecast with a smaller lifestyle business. There are fewer building
It happens all the time. When building a new online business, many entrepreneurs become scattered and distracted in both strategy and execution, trying to move in too many directions at the same time. This lack of focus ends up causing a lack of real movement for the business in any one particular direction and can ultimately lead to failure.
In this post we’ll explain exactly why focus is so important for you and your online business. You’ll also learn three critical elements of your business that you absolutely must have focus in as well as how to achieve it.
Let’s get right into it.
Why Is Focus Important?
More than likely, you understand that focus is important. You’ve probably been told that most of your life after all. However, when starting a new online business, entrepreneurs tend to forget about focus.
The problem is that a lack of focus leads to scattered resources. Devoting time, energy and money to multiple strategies and marketing channels at the same time leads to none of them being executed well. It’s just not possible. On a daily level, a lack of focus leads to wasted time. All of this in turn leads to frustration,
If I were forced to choose between using only one social networking site for my business, from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social networking sites, I would choose LinkedIn, hands down. I still love these other social networking sites, but LinkedIn is by far the most powerful for your business and career.
Why LinkedIn Is #1
With the average household income per user hitting $109,000, which is much higher than Twitter, Facebook, and the other social networking power houses, you know you are dealing with people who mean business.
Being that it is the largest business networking site in the world, there is a mindset shift when users log on to LinkedIn compared to logging on their cousin sites, Twitter or Facebook.
The mood changes, the messages are more professional. Conversations are geared toward partnerships and transactions, as opposed to how funny you looked in your birthday pictures, and everything is centered around advancing careers or building businesses.
LinkedIn Means Business
Everyone talks about the power of Facebook ads (I’m not discounting how dynamic they can be; in fact, I’ve had great success using them myself), but the LinkedIn ad platform is