Business Startup

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You Will Start Somewhere

Della worked as a maid for ten years and knew every technique and trick to cleaning homes. She had a minimal education and had dropped out of school before graduation. She made a good hourly rate in her day job, but she just was not getting her income up where she could start saving for a down payment on a house.

One of Della’s friends did hotel maid cleaning and called Della one afternoon when another employee called in sick. Della filled in and made $50, which she stuffed into a jar to start saving. The word spread that Della could fill in when a call-out happened as long as she had an hour or two of notice.

Some weeks for Della were straight forty hours and then another twenty in under-the-table work. Her savings started to grow. But she was working too many hours and was getting close to exhaustion.

In Della’s neighborhood there lived several families with people who needed jobs but couldn’t find any because they had no experience. Over coffee one afternoon, Della’s light bulb gleamed brightly, and she started digging through her junk mail box. Based on those flyers, letters, and brochures, she easily put together a four-hour course to train people to clean houses.

The first class was ten people who were just looking for another hourly job to make a few bucks. Della whipped up three handouts, two checklists, and three quick, five-minute videos on house cleaning. She even created a certificate of completion to give out when attendees completed the afternoon course. The price for the course? $25.
The following day Della’s phone rang off the hook when word about her course spread like wildfire. Could she put on a course Sunday night so they could go get jobs on Monday morning? It was Della’s day off, and at first she balked at working that day. The longer she thought about it, the more empathy she had for the people desperate to find jobs. At 6:30 p.m. that night, twenty-two people crowded into her garage, and every one of them walked out with a certificate at 11:00 p.m.

Then, an interesting incident happened. One of the attendees had applied at a nationwide chain with a local franchisee. The manager called to Della to find out if Della could come in and do a training onsite, as he wanted to grow his own team of cleaners. Della nearly fainted, and the thought of the work overwhelmed her. Disbelief.
It took a few minutes to negotiate a training price, and the following Friday, Della showed up and ran everyone through the training. Della emptied out her little glass jar, opened up a credit union account, and got serious about saving for her house.

You can do this, too. Inside you is a talent and a skill you don’t give value to. You’ve done dirty and difficult tasks in the past and were thankful when they were completed.
Examine what you know how to do. Explore your knowledge, even if it is something that you don’t particularly enjoy. There is value in it, and you can get value out of it.
It might be difficult to think about making this change or adjustment. You have to try. You want to look back and tell yourself that you tried. It won’t matter to you any longer about what they think. It will only matter what you think and know.

Answers About What to Do

It can be brutal, overwhelming, and downright scary to try to figure yourself out while you start a business. With every cry for help comes twenty differing opinions that snark your brain further.

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Making yourself more confident, knowledgeable and flexible creates a smoother you and a better business experience for your customer.  Answers About What to Do.

The creative hustler, the resourceful college student and the retired grandmother with time on her hands show you what can be accomplished with a bit of ingenuity. Answers About What to Do.

The goal is simple: get you unstuck from the quicksand, drag you off the traffic median, and get you moving on the path to prosperity. Answers About What to Do.

 

Looking to turn that hobby into a small business?  I’ve got some ideas for you. Answers About What to Do.

Figure out how to do customer service before that phone rings. Answers About What to Do.

Stop wrestling with a hiring decision. Figure out if you should bring on a W-2 employee or hire a 1099 subcontractor. Answers About What to Do.

A thousand places to market. A thousand marketing messages. This will make you pull your hair out if you don’t know what works and what doesn’t.  Answers About What to Do.

Your products and services won’t speak for themselves. You must. Pick five sentences and practice them. Learn to sell. Answers About What to Do.

Basic small policies help you answer the questions about how you conduct your new and small business. Answers About What to Do.

If you are close to a decision to strike out on your own and start a new business, consider the experience of those who have gone before.  Skip the quicksand, the speed bumps and potholes on your way to your first million. Answers About What to Do.

TABLE OF SECTIONS

SECTION 1 OPERATIONS

 

These are the moving parts of business. You might see yourself here in the examples and see a couple of tips and tricks to get past an obstacle.

Here you will find insights, tools, and the stories of people who have been battered and bruised in their quest to start up their small business.

This is where you will set up the building blocks and construct the foundation for your business venture. I help you see what it looks like and what it feels like to face fears, get around barriers, and develop that intuition.

 

SECTION 2 CLIENT AND CUSTOMER SERVICE

You will need to communicate with your customer using every communication device known to man. That means you must have a phone, fax, email, physical mailing address, and website.

If your customer needs something or has a question, get back to him as fast as you can. Apologize to your customer for not being immediately accessible. People want answers and they want them right now.

One-time buyers can become long-term customers simply because of responsive customer service. This might be what the customer service horizon could look like and offers solutions for your toolbox.

SECTION 3 IMPROVING YOU

Better time management. How to recognize if you are straining the budget. How to decide if you should get a power nap or knock on three more doors. If you don’t know where to improve yourself, you’ll get lost.

Stop being comfortable in your “as-is” life and get busy developing those skills and talents. Stop settling for just being good enough.  If you don’t know what it is you should be trying, you will spin your wheels. Improve your mind, attitude, body, and business muscles.

This section contains a few simple steps that require little or no financial investment and can be done on your own in the privacy of your own garage. Some of the more complex improvements will need your rapt attention.

SECTION 4 RECRUITING, HIRING AND STAFFING

 

There will come a day when you need to hire someone to help you grow your business. It can be a long and strenuous ordeal or it can be done easily and smoothly. Hiring the wrong person can cost money, time delays, and make you tear your hair out.

This is where you focus on investing time, money, and energy in bringing someone on board. Wages, taxes, benefits, and equipment add up fast when the new man arrives. You have expectations that govern how you operate. How to recognize that “not a good fit” applicant.

This section shows you how to identify competency and who might be a good team player and producer. It also tells what certain candidate behaviors might mean and what to watch out for. You’ll learn how to avoid hiring somebody that is lacking the right skills or experiences or has deficient knowledge for the job.

SECTION 5 MARKETING OUTREACH

 

When you tell interested people about what you are doing in your products and services, that is called marketing outreach. Instead of the thirty-second elevator speech, you now have fifteen minutes to take someone along with you. It is not your business selling to another business; it is you making that one-on-one connection with another person.

This section helps you understand and ramp up the system of looking for individuals that have a concerted interest in your products and services. These pages will describe and lay out a roadmap for finding that target audience and the tools needed to inspire their fascination for everything you.

I hope you find tips and tricks here on how to deliver your marketing message right into the hands of your customers. Tuck these reusable strategies and tactics into your business toolbox.

SECTION 6 SALES, SALES, AND MORE SALES

 

Where do I find more customers?  How do I sell more? Nobody is buying. What do I do? It is a never ending chant from anyone selling something.

If you are banging your head against the garage floor over prospecting, nurturing leads, and closing the sale, read on. You have finessed your product or service until it shines. Everyone smiles politely and exclaims how beautiful but nobody buys.

It might mean that it is you that has to change. Specialized sales training. An attitude shift. Strip out the fluff from your life and change your focus to the meat of making sales. Something has to give in order for you to keep moving sales and growing.

It is not what you can sell to the customer. It is how you can help the customer with his challenges, fears, problems, and goals. It starts out with fist-clenching patience, jaw-clenching sensitivity, and people skills that might not come naturally to you.

This section offers you resources to help you understand yourself, your sales, and how your business sits next to the competition. Read through it and see what you can use now. Reserve the rest for when you grow and need a new piece of help.

It is my hope that these strategies and tactics can be easily implemented without a big cash expense or time commitment and your sales fire up. I get that the budget is tight and time is non-existent. Be a trying person and try these out.

SECTION 7 YOUR BUSINESS POLICIES

Written policies and procedures describe the right way to do things in your business. They describe what it means to do things the right way. By following policies and procedures, your business will move along smoother and you will do the right things to keep your integrity in place and quality foremost.

Why do you create your product the way you do? Why do you deliver your services the way you do? Your policies and procedures demand the work be done in a certain way. Excellent customer service is in the details. Excellent customer service institutes a great service experience.

In this section you will read about how policies can provide a course of action which will guide you towards your desired business outcome. The procedures are the actions taken to put the policy into effect. Procedures are the instructions for assembling the widgets and prevent the possibility of it turning out as a blender.

It is my hope that by having a good set of policies and procedures, the burden of growing your business is lessened. Knowing what to do and when to do it can be effective management, which can lead to a streamlined business process.

SECTION 8 ENTREPRENEURSHIP RISKS TO CONSIDER

Are you brave enough to start your own business?  Do you have what it takes not just to go it alone, but to step off the ledge? It can feel like a free-fall into the unknown, and while it is scary, the exhilaration and fulfillment vastly outweigh the trepidation.

Stop thinking that this will be freedom, fun and games, and sleeping in till noon every day. You are about to have a huge time and cash crunch, so prepare yourself. You are about to have one heck of a ride and become addicted to the passion that is entrepreneurship.

This section goes into several tactics you will need before you walk out of your employer’s door. Think over that business plan one more time. Make sure you have emptied out the change in the couch cushions because you are going to need it. Get a big bottle of eye drops in case you get blinded by the excitement of being your own boss.

It is my hope that you recognize the challenge ahead before you quit your main employment. I want you to do all the background stuff to explore your business idea. What comes ahead is beyond intoxicating so brace yourself and get prepared.