10 Keys That Every Home Based Business Owner Should Implement For Success

1) Attitude–

One very important factor in running a business is your attitude towards it. You should treat your business like a business.

This is very important whether you work your business full-time, or part-time. A very close friend of mine, who is also a colleague, is a mother of 4 who works her home business around her family. In this case, she has put her family first, and at the same time, still been able to develop her business. She works part-time, but she has a full-time attitude. To put it another way, if you have a lacking attitude, you’ll have a lacking income. However, if you have a business attitude, you’ll have a business income.

Keeping your attitude in mind while running your business is one of the first steps to ensuring your success.

Being successful working part-time on your business, or working full-time, is more than achievable. However in saying that, it is highly unlikely that working in your “spare time” will achieve you success.

2) The Environment In Which You Work–

Keeping with the attitude principles discussed above, it is necessary to remember that while you are working from home, you should make sure that you have a space to call your own; your own “business at home” office, free from distractions.

Keep the theme going with a comfortable office chair, and a well laid-out and organized desk. Stationery supplies will also be of assistance, so be sure to include the following in your “home office”:

– Pens
– Highlighter
– Hole Punch
– Stapler
– Sticky Tape
– Note Book(s)
– A system which will enable you to easily and efficiently store your physical files and documents.
– Ring Binders
– Manila Folders

Do you have a fast internet connection? If not, consider the use of a broadband internet connection. Anything you do will take a certain amount of time, and your time is a very valuable asset. Faster internet means you will have more time for other things.

3) Schedule–

Dividing up your spare time between your business, your family, or your “significant others” will require a carefully planned schedule. Just like office hours in which you would work, when you allocate time for work, make sure that you work during this time. Equally important is to make sure you have time for other commitments – time with your family, exercising, education, and leisure time are all equally important factors in your life. Its also a good idea to keep in mind why you are doing what you are doing. For example, if you are starting your home business to spend more time with your family, you don’t want your work time consuming valuable family time.

With a home business, the only “boss” you have is yourself and your schedule. Lets say for instance that you are working during your allocated work time, and you have unexpected visitors, or people calling you. You have to make a choice; are you really committed to running your own business? Are you committed to business success? Your choices in these types of situations will govern whether or not you have a “business attitude”, or a “hobby attitude”.

However, you may need to adjust the way you make your choices. This is especially true in a family environment. In this instance, it may be necessary to discuss with your partner and/or children an agreed period of time which is classed as business time, in which you will not be interrupted. It may also help to print or write down this schedule and place it somewhere prominent so as to inform all family members of your work schedule.

4) Describing Your Business–

Make sure that when asked about your business, you are able to describe it concisely; a strong and powerful one or two sentence about your business that someone can repeat easily about describing your business to others. A company slogan or “tag line” can also be invaluable for promoting your business; take the time to create a unique and memorable tag line or slogan.

5) Knowledge Of Your Services Or Products–

You now have your product and your service in which you sell, whether or not you actually use your product or service you sell, it is a wise decision to make sure that your knowledge of your product or service is intimate and well-founded. For instance, if you sell eBooks, then ensure you know the content and the value in which it holds; if you sell software, ensure that you know how it works, “inside and out”. In doing so, your reputation will develop as someone who provides quality information about a product or service, and because of this knowledge, you yourself can become a preferred supplier.

However, it may not always be practical to use certain products (as an example, a man may choose to sell wedding dresses), in which case the seller wouldn’t be a product or service user, though in saying that, the seller can still have extensive knowledge of the product or services benefits and features.

6) Administration–

It is essential to implement good record keeping practices.

This can include tasks such as consulting a tax advisor who can advise you on the best and most optimal way to set up and store your financial records, as well as which records need to be kept. In addition, your advisor could also recommend record keeping systems which can help you in achieving a more efficient and simpler means of organizing this aspect of your business.

You may also be told advice on the most effective arrangements and set ups for your banking necessities. In doing so, you will most likely be advised to seek out separate bank accounts for your business.

If you use various logins, passwords, and usernames, it would be a wise decision to keep track and store this various information.

The tools and methods in which you track these are varied; from a simple paper notebook to free and commercial software.

7) Protection For Your Computer–

Your computer houses all your important business data, and is also the lifeline of your business dealings. In saying this, it is vital that you protect your computer.

Pieces of software such as virus scanners, personal firewalls, anti-spyware and adware, and even an email scanner, should all be implemented to help with the protection of your computer.

8) Obtaining A Domain Name–

For any home-based, online business, it is more than just essential to have a domain name for your business, it is vital. There are many domain registrar companies out there. Take your pick.

9) Processing Of Your Payments–

Any online business will need to the ability to accept payments. Payment processors such as PayPal, 2Checkout, and Clickbank, all offer multiple ways to accept payment, including the ability to accept credit card payments online.

As an online business just starting out, this is the most effective, efficient, and economical way to get started in accepting online payments. As your business starts to grow and develop, it may be necessary to look into obtaining your own merchant account for transactions.

Also, it may be worth while taking into account other forms of currency online, such as eGold.

10) Email Accounts–

The more professional and trusted your online home business appears, the more likely your customers are going to do business with you. One of the most easiest and simplest ways to do this, is to use an associated email account. After obtaining your own domain, it is possible to create your very own associated email account.

Final Comments–

In finishing, I’d like to leave you with the following comments regarding the running and owning of your internet business. Conduct your business ethically, ensure that your customers receive the best service, and be proud to put your name to the products and/or services that you sell, and you will soon seen the fruits of your efforts. Taking into account this last statement, and the above 10 key points, you’ll find yourself on track to developing a trusted, professional, and sustainable long term internet business.

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3 Essential Boundaries for Mom Entrepreneurs and Their Husbands

In the beginning, I thought it was going to be a breeze when my husband, Terry, joined me working full-time in my business. If anyone could do it, we could! We already had a healthy relationship built on trust and respect. We communicated well. We both strongly believed in what we were doing. We understood the need to help each other with the children, keeping the house, and with the business. We planned to allow for fluctuations in income to keep stresses over money to a minimum. Yet I still wasn’t prepared.

For anyone considering working with your spouse, here are 3 Essential Boundaries for Entrepreneurial Couples to help to ease your transition:

1. Clarify expectations for work/home.
Nothing can prepare you for the blurring of boundaries and turf that occur as you transition into working together. When you join together with your spouse, most likely, both of you have experienced success throughout your careers, and have developed your own working style. Suddenly you have a whole new dynamic in your relationship with your spouse you must learn to work through. I always knew that we had different gifts and talents: Terry is very techie and he loves to write, and I am a people person who is an administrative whiz. Even though I should have probably seen it coming, I was still surprised at the difference in our work styles. I multi-task all day long, and he prefers to work on one project at a time. Just like being newlyweds all over again, we had to put some effort into getting to know each other on a whole new level to be able to work well together.

Beth Butler, creator of the Boca Beth Program has some helpful tips for clarifying expectations with your spouse. “I make us lunch each day and we try to talk about BOCA BETH items that are pressing. It’s our time to reconnect – he works from home for the wine company he represents and I work from home sharing my passion for second language learning with young children. A funny mix, but it works! We talk about what each of us has planned the next day so there are no surprises – and I use that time to ask for his help. I can’t expect him to guess what I need so I have learned to be very specific.”

2. Schedule time for love.
Most entrepreneurial couples complain they have less time together than before. It is possible to work beside your spouse in the same office all day long and barely speak on a personal level. How difficult is it to turn off your cell phone and talk a walk with your love? It is imperative to make it a point to schedule time for your relationship so that the business does not overtake it. Terry and I plan ahead to sneak away for lunch or to take a break at Starbucks. We have found if we don’t take the time to schedule in these lunch or coffee dates, then they are less likely to happen as we work to meet deadlines or get a project done. We haven’t yet been able to master scheduling “regular dates”, but its next on our list of priorities in order to help keep our close relationship.

3. Schedule time for yourself.
It can be a shock when you suddenly have so much time with your spouse. In your previous life, they left at 7 AM and came home at 6 PM, and then you discussed your day during dinner. Now you spend most (if not all) of the day with them, and during dinner, there is nothing new to discuss. Where is the time for you? Karyn Fagan, Founder of Team Women, tells “We both have hobbies that we love outside of the house so we have that important away time.”

Terry and I certainly have a long way to go as an Entrepreneurial Couple, but we have made it through our entrepreneurial “honeymoon” period. Each day, we work together to reach our goals and dreams. We understand when we help each other we will reach our dreams sooner, so we help each wherever its needed!

 

2 Ways To Eliminate Your Competition – It’s Easy!

Eliminating your competition is the easiest way to increase your chances of business success. And I don’t mean literally eliminate them, in the sense of doing something “bad” to them.

When I say eliminate, I mean … take them out of your prospect’s consideration set for your product or service category. Make it so your prospects ONLY think of your business, product or service when they are contemplating making a purchase. That way you get their business, instead of your competition making the sale.

What this means is if you sell widgets, you want your prospects to only think of your widgets when they are thinking of buying widgets. This is pretty easy to do if your business is not in a competitive industry.

But let’s suppose there are all kinds of businesses selling what you are selling, or filling the same consumer or business need you are filling.

How can you make sure your prospects ONLY think of you — and therefore only BUY from you — and not all those other companies?

Answer: By thoroughly understanding those competing businesses and then doing one of two things:

(1) Finding a position in the category you can own.

This will separate you from all the other businesses and will make you uniquely qualified in the eyes of your prospect to fill their need.

This usually requires finding a specific market niche you can focus on, or finding a specific product or service attribute or benefit, that is of value to your prospects, that none of your competitors can claim or are currently promoting.

This puts you in a class of your own and virtually eliminates the competition. No one does exactly what you do. Or in the quite the way you do it.

(2) By turning your competitors into “co-opitors.”

What the heck is a “co-opitor?” It is a competitor that you turn into a partner or a cooperator. Are there businesses or individuals with whom you could partner, with the idea of referring business to each other?

For example, a wellness coach could partner with a weight watchers clinic or a health club or a massage therapist. All of these practitioners are selling improved health and well being, but they can also be positioned as complementary services.

Or, let’s say you are a web site designer and you decide to focus primarily on working with small businesses (a market niche). You could create a partnership with another web site designer who has decided to focus on large corporations.

If you both agree to only take on business that fits your identified niche, and to refer business outside your niche to the partner, you both win.

You can partner with other businesses in your exact business in this manner, by identifying niches, by geographic area served, or by size or type of clients served.

And you can partner with businesses in different categories that fill a similar customer need by agreeing to work together to help each other get customers.

There is not a business out there that cannot effectively use one of these two strategies to significantly reduce their competition. So figure out which strategy fits your business best, and make it a priority to eliminate your competition this year.

(c) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa, 10stepmarketing

Reading Your Financial Statements: What Every Entrepreneur Must Know

As you consider which legal entity or entities–corporation, limited liability company, or limited partnership–you want to use for your business structure, the decisions you make will depend heavily on your current financial situation, both personal and professional.
But do you know how to read a financial statement on your own? Do you know how to read your own personal and business financial statements?
Knowing how to do this is an essential skill not just for entrepreneurs but for everyone. However, for the entrepreneur having this skill can mean the difference between having a thriving business that continues to thrive and winding up in bankruptcy. The annals of the bankruptcy courts are strewn with cases of entrepreneurs who entrusted their accounting to others and, not knowing how to read the financial statements of their own businesses, were surprised when they found that the business was ultimately unsustainable. The purpose of this article is to help prevent this from happening to you–and to arm you with the skills you need to structure your business to your benefit from the outset.
Your Two Major Financial Statements
There are two major financial statements that every entrepreneur should know how to read and (ideally) prepare or have prepared in their financial software (we recommend QuickBooks):
The Income Statement
The Income Statement (also known as the P&L or Profit and Loss Statement) offers a dynamic picture of the ebb and flow of your finances. Briefly, income statement shows first: A. Your various sources of income Then subtracts from that, B. Your expenses To give you the net result: Net Profit or Loss Typically, it is the result shown on this statement that is the basis for your taxation by state and federal authorities at the end of the year. The net income or loss (revenue outgo) is carried over onto your second major financial statement: The Balance Sheet.
The Balance Sheet
Offers you a snapshot of cumulative results of your financial activities. It is made up of two columns:
On the left side you have your Assets
On the right are listed your Liabilities and Owners/Shareholders Equity (or ownership in the business).
The two columns must be in balance, which is why this is called a Balance Sheet.
Assets=Liabilities + Equity
It’s really quite logical how the Income Statement and Balance Sheet relate to one another.
If you have to use current or long-term assets to pay ongoing expenses during the current year, at the end of the year, the amount of your assets will be reduced by the amount of net loss. On the right hand side, your Equity has gone down too. If you borrowed, say R10,000 to pay current operating expenses, at year end, your assets remain the same, but your liabilities have increased by R10,000, lowering your net Equity or ownership in the company by that same R10,000.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you continue on this path, you will quickly be in a very painful situation, because Liabilities carry their own cost. The cost of borrowing money is Interest, and if you are fortunate enough to borrow at only 10% interest (on unsecured debt) today, a year from now, you will have to pay R11,000 to pay off the original R10,000 debt. This reduces your equity still further–unless you have used the borrowed funds to create more assets that increase in value at the same rate as the interest on your debt or, better yet–at a higher rate.
More to the point for deciding which business entities to use is that you need to work out both your personal financial statements and those of your business(es). If you find, for example, that that you have significant salary or wage income in your personal financial statements that is causing you to pay out high taxes (as reflected in your balance sheet), and you expect that your business will generate some significant losses for the first several years, it would be advantageous to you to use a business entity that is a flow-through entity. Losses incurred by your S-Corporation (or, if you prefer, your Limited Partnership or your Limited Liability Company) will flow onto your personal balance sheet to offset the salary or wage income and thus reduce your tax liability.
Moreover, in general, if you want to draw up a roadmap to getting where you want to go, you need to know your point of departure. Thus, preparing and understanding your personal and business financial statements is an indispensable first step for your business planning.

Small Business Success Secret

The real secret to small business success has nothing to do with technology tools, the internet or anything like that.  In fact, it isn’t even a real secret.  It has been around since man started to communicate. It’s WORDS!
Words carry enormous power.  They can make you laugh hysterically, or destroy a relationship or friendship.  Words have more power in them than any other tool at your disposal.
Effective use of words, especially in business, means skyrocketing sales, satisfied clients, happy employees, and a profitable and secure future.  Yet, less than 1% of small entrepreneur businesses use words with full power.
The power of words can be learned and used effectively by anyone, and when this power is harnessed there’s nothing on this earth that can stop you.  This art of using words is what is called copy writing.  It makes or breaks your sales and advertising material.
One of the ways an “amateur” copywriter who is writing for his own product or business can beat the experienced pro is by infusing the sales letter or ad with his own, honest, intense enthusiasm.  When doing selling in print, enthusiasm is just as important as in face-to-face selling.
This is why you can’t just sit down and write an ad “on command”, like you can sit down and do bookkeeping.  You have to work up some enthusiasm for the job and the proposition you’re putting across.
If I’m going to write an ad or some other sales material the first thing in the morning, as I often do, I try to set my subconscious mind working on that job before I go to bed the night before.  Sometimes I wake up with the “big idea” that I need, other times I at least wake up with ideas and a readiness to write them and pick and choose.
Don’t force yourself to “grind out” direct-response copy when you really don’t feel like it because the result will be flat and mechanical.  It may be technically correct with a headline, subheads, bullet points, an offer, etc., but it will lack spirit and enthusiasm.
The person who is genuinely enthusiastic about what he/she is selling definitely has an advantage.  That’s why the freelance pro copywriter should always download as much of the pitch from the product’s most enthusiastic salesperson as possible. Then transfer it to paper and shape and mold it to perfection.
Over the years, the work I’ve done for clients and ad agencies has proven that the most successful work was for clients that were passionate and enthusiastic about what they sell.  So before you tackle that next ad for your business, make sure you’re as enthusiastic about it as you want your clients to be.

Benefits of Virtual Bookkeeping Assistance

A virtual bookkeeper assistant is an individual or business who provides bookkeeping services to other professionals.  They’re considered virtual because they perform their services from a remote location.  Communications with their clients take place through telephone, fax, email, and snail mail.  As a business owner, you can save time, money, and energy by hiring a virtual assistant.  Best of all, you’ll have more time to do what you do best – running a business!

1.    You do not need to provide a physical workspace.  A virtual bookkeeper assistant works from their own home or office.  This is especially convenient if you are running a business from home or if you have limited space at your own office.

2.    You do not need to provide costly equipment.  Virtual bookkeeper assistants use their own equipment to provide services to you.  This can result is tremendous savings especially if the virtual assistant has access to equipment that you don’t already own.  Also, you don’t have the worries of dealing with the maintenance and upkeep of office equipment.

3.    You save valuable time not performing tasks you don’t have time for or are not able to do.  As a business owner, the highest and best use of your time is to work in your business.  Delegating important and necessary administrative tasks like web design and maintenance, bookkeeping, writing, shopping cart setup, and other tasks will allow you to spend time developing your business and building relationships with your customers or clients.

4.    You do not have to deal with bookkeeping.  You can hire a virtual bookkeeper assistant as an independent contractor which frees you from spending time dealing with tax filings and compliance issues.  You also have the added benefit of hiring them just for the task at hand, paying them at an hourly rate or by the project.  This is much more cost efficient than having a full time employee who you might not be able to fully utilize.

5.    You can accelerate growth by finally having the time to focus on the most important issues of your business.  The administrative tasks related to running a business are overwhelming, even for a one-person business!  The best way to grow your business fast is to concentrate your energies working on your business and leaving everything else to your virtual bookkeeper assistant.
6.    You have the freedom to work on growing and improving your business/life skills, knowledge, and relationships.  We have a vision for our business.  We are constrained by time which limits how quickly we can move towards achieving the goals which underlie that vision.  With the help of a virtual bookkeeper assistant, we’ll have more time to do the things that matter most to us, the things that will bring richness and enjoyment to our life.

7.    You are able to make better decisions by having a partner to “bounce” ideas off.  Having a bookkeeper assistant is a great benefit especially if you are a solopreneur.  Their strengths, background, and expertise can provide fresh eyes through which to view your business problems and projects.  There’s a lot of truth to the saying, “Two heads are better than one.”

8.    You have peace of mind knowing that the details are being handled.  Most business owners find themselves swimming in details.  There are so many things to handle, from paying the rent, to returning calls, from updating the customer data base, to sending out products.  There are literally dozens and dozens of details to remember and juggle which leads to mental and physical exhaustion.  By turning over these tasks to your assistant, you’ll get more done faster and with a lot less stress.
9.    You are finally able to run your business instead of it running you.  At some point during the progression of our business, we start feeling like our business is running us instead of the other way around.  Feelings of overwhelm from the countless tasks we must complete can make it difficult to do anything at all.  Partnering with a virtual assistant can help us avoid getting stuck.  Instead, we can then stay focused on our goals and in control of our business.
10.    You have flexibility to assume new, challenging opportunities.  With the administrative details handled by your virtual assistant, you’ll automatically be more open to taking on new projects that can benefit you and your business.  Your talents and creativity can really shine when you aren’t bogged down in details, overworked, or distracted by things that aren’t directly related to serving your clients.

Please contact ESM ASPIRE CONSULTANCY Today for free non obligation quote for virtual bookkeeping assistance:

Cell: +27 81 286 6367
Email: esmonlinestore@gmail.com
Website: Still under construction

4 Rules For New Entrepreneurs – Practical Tips For Starting Right

It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur—in the last decade, technology has levelled the playing field and propelled an entrepreneurial revolution. As an entrepreneur, you now have more access to information that enables you to make more intelligent choices more quickly. You have an advantage over big businesses in that you’re lighter, more flexible, and faster on your feet. You can target new markets more quickly, and you can turn on a dime.
But being a successful entrepreneur requires that you look at the big picture and follow a plan through from beginning to end. Rieva Lesonsky, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine gives some practical guidelines that can help you when beginning your own enterprise:
1.Don’t Quit Your Day Job.
Consider starting your business part-time, especially if it’s online, while you’re working and have a steady income. It usually takes six months to a year to get a business going and you don’t want your ability to make your house payment to hinge upon your company being an overnight success. Start with what you can manage, financially and time-wise, and scale up as your business grows.
2.Find Your Niche.
The days of general stores are over. Particularly online, consumers are looking for stores that specialize. You have to find a need—something a specific group of people want, but can’t get at the big chain stores—and fill it. Advises Lesonsky, “You can’t compete with the big guys, so you have to find where the big guys aren’t and go into your niches.”
3.Have an Online Presence.
Even if you’re not planning to start an online retail business, consider that the internet can still play a valuable role in your company. Having an online presence eliminates the limitations of physical location and broadens your customer base by, literally, millions. It’s also a great tool for promoting yourself and letting people, even in your own area, know that you’re there, and what you’re doing.
4.Refuse to Quit.
Successful entrepreneurship requires creativity, energy, and a drive to keep going when you fail. Few people realize that before Bill Gates created the extremely successful Microsoft 3.0, he created a Microsoft 1.0 and 2.0, both of which flopped—but he kept at it. And that determination and refusal to give up is what will separate successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones. Says Lesonsky, “Arm yourself with optimism to get beyond the ‘No’ or the trouble. There’s nothing wrong in failure—just don’t repeat the same mistake!”