Our First-Time Visitors

A Serial Entrepreneur Becomes A Millionaire From An Accidental Startup

Monis Rahman, serial entrepreneur, accidentally launched Rozee.pk when he needed to find more programmers for his startup.

Getting A Mentor

I had a strategy session with a business start-up owner a few months ago. She was six months into her start-up and needed some ideas during her development stage.

Simple Steps To Creating Your First Website

When you make that decision to start a business, you immediately become a multi-tasking maniac. Let's face it, you will have a lot of work on your hands.

Why 'Core Competency' Is Important To A Startup

Well, I like the answer that Norm Brodsky gives in his book, The Knack: "It was the one thing we had that our competitors couldn't offer, and by the time they caught up, we had a foothold in the market and were known for providing that service."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DOES YOUR BUSINESS IDEA MAKE SENSE?

Discussion continued from previous topic...

So, now that you have figured out that you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur and you have analyzed your strengths and weaknesses, you would need to ask yourself this question: Does your business idea make sense? Is the concept framed in such a way that it targets a specific audience, it serves a need within your market area and it has the potential to be developed profitably?

Planning is the most important stage of a start-up venture and it is one of the leading causes of business failure. At this stage of your business, you may want to conduct a feasibility study: this will show you if you have what it takes to succeed and if your idea meets some basic requirements for a successful project. Throughout this process, you will learn the vital facts about your target market, the successes and failures of your predecessors and competitors, and how you must position yourself in order to succeed.

If your analysis concludes that this is indeed a viable venture, then you want to start the work on your business plan. So far, everything you've jotted down in your journal will now have to be formulated in clear and concise figures.

We will visit the discussion of a business plan in your next topic...Questions, Comments? Post here...


Cheryl Isaac is the Chief Executive Officer of Isaac Business Services, LLC and can be reached at
http://www.isaacbusinessservices.com/ or 614-944-5215

Saturday, April 26, 2008

YOUR JOB & YOUR BUSINESS

The dilemma--a lot of people want to start a business but are either afraid to quit their jobs or know that they can't afford to.

In the months to come, I will talk about the successes of some of my clients (while keeping their names anonymous of course) and we will reflect on their industry and the steps they took to create their "exit strategy" from their careers.

When I decided to start this business, this too was my dilemma, "how can I accomplish this and work? And how can I afford to quit my job?" I was in the process of saving up for a wedding and a business, my husband and I (my fiancee at the time) were both aspiring entrepreneurs; and so we knew that we would both be starting risky ventures together. So we asked ourselves, how do we accomplish these goals? Well, in a series of blogs to come, I will be outlining some of our methods but here is one to start:

We started to focus on the strategic planning. The first issue: how could we intertwine our real world marriage and our business marriage? We often refer to each other as the "brains and brawn--me being the brains and he the brawn." My strong point happens to be planning and vision and his is implementation and a sense of urgency. We began to capitalize on each other's strengths and strengthen each other's weaknesses. Secondly, we focused on work during certain hours and promised each other that we would try to not let our business decisions affect our home and the decisions we made there. We then relied on each other's expertise and advice as we would any other business partner. Then, we began some serious planning and brainstorming.

So I would advise that these be your first steps: Take a notebook and start planning your business while you're at home reading the newspaper or making breakfast. Take your journal to work and use it on your break and during your lunch hour. Talk to your significant other even if they are not an entrepreneur at heart; just involve them in your venture. Be honest with yourself and find your strength and passion first! Then acknowledge your weaknesses and start brainstorming ways to overcome them. This is the first major step. Then there are the underlying details to go with this step and I will be addressing them in a series of topics to follow...Stay tuned...


Questions? Comments? You can post here or....


Cheryl Isaac is the Owner of Isaac Business Services and can be reached at
[email protected]
or
www.IsaacBusinessServices.com

Thursday, April 17, 2008

DO WOMEN LACK AMBITION???

A 2007 survey from the SBA revealed that less than 2% of U.S. women-owned businesses have revenue exceeding $1 million per year and that women lag behind men in willingness to seek bank and venture capital financing.

Overall, it seems that female entrepreneurs are less likely to take big risks. Some studies have shown that this is because women are so busy multi-tasking while taking care of their families, they tend to forget what they want and aspire to be. So, NO I don't think that women lack ambition. I think that we sometimes find it difficult to see the "end view" and to take the risks necessary to accomplish that goal. I have seen this difficulty take shape in my meetings with clients.

As a female entrepreneur, I understand the validity found within such statements and studies. I can admit that I too, have found myself at crossroads at some point during my business venture. I have asked myself questions like: "do I take the big steps now or wait until later after "this life event" or "that planned event" has been accomplished"? There's always what I like to call the "wait factor" with most women. We want to wait for the right time or the right venture--after the kids have reached a certain level in school, or after the husband has obtained a certain career status, or after the house has been remodeled. And sometimes, no one really expects us to wait, not even our significant others.

So, every time I think about waiting, I bring my thoughts to a halt because I realize something. I realize that I am an entrepreneur and that one of the reasons I became an entrepreneur is so I can think BIG, think "outside-of-the-box" and have freedom! This means that I can plan my business stages around certain life events and I can adjust my schedule on certain days if I need to attend to family matters. Most importantly, I realized that since I am involved in my spouse's life and his dreams, that I can include him in what I do as well.

How can you change your thoughts to shape your business or career the way you wish? How can you come up with creative ways to support your family and still achieve your dreams? How can you think BIG so that your business or career becomes BIG and you take the necessary risks needed?


Cheryl Isaac is the CEO of Isaac Business Services, LLC and can be reached at:
www.IsaacBusinessServices.com
or
[email protected]es.com

Monday, April 14, 2008

SO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS IDEA...NOW WHAT???

Remember, structure your business idea so that you make your customers want to buy what you have; don't just focus on selling what you want to offer. Make sense? For example, maybe you have thought about creating an elegant office chair that includes massage elements and head rests that extend from within. Well, instead of first trying to get businesses or employees to buy such a chair, find out what would make them want to buy it. In other words, do your research! Maybe they would want such a chair but only if the massage elements were quiet, or maybe they would want one that has a flat recliner, or perhaps, they might want the chair with all the characteristics you propose, but they jut don't want an elegant look!! Once you understand what would make sales of your product easier, you can now construct a business plan that is tailored to your target market and their needs.

The authors of "Business Plans Kit For Dummies" wrote, "To get your business where you want it to go, you need a map to follow...it starts with a description of your current situation, ...your future plans...details the financial, operational, marketing and organizational strategies you'll follow to achieve success."

This is the most simple and accurate definition of a business plan--YOUR BUSINESS PLAN! Try to focus on getting your ideas and hopes on paper and do not let anyone discourage you from doing so because not creating a plan is the most critical mistake that most start-up business owners make. What do you think would happen if your doctor did not write reports on your visits or take notes while you visited? Obviously, there would be details lost or forgotten, there would be no tests arranged, during your next visit you would have to start from the beginning to explain your story, your doctor would not have established "next-steps" and if you have a second physician, they would have to fully rely on your verbal admissions and if this physician did not take notes, well...I believe you know where I'm going with this.

Remember: hire consultants for advice, establish clearly drafted plans for your business and follow them, and get a business coach as an accountability partner if necessary!!


Contact us if you need assistance or have questions: www.IsaacBusinessServices.com


Cheryl Isaac is the Chief Executive Officer of IBS and is also a Start-up Business Advisor. She can be reached at: [email protected]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

SAYING "I DO" TO YOUR BUSINESS PARTNER??

If you are getting ready to say yes to a business partnership, keep in mind that you are entering a business marriage!!! Have you done your homework?

I have seen a few partnerships end in disaster because the appropriate research was not done. So, my suggestions to you are:
  • Know your partner
  • Analyze his/her strengths as compared to yours
  • Analyze your partner's value to be added to the business
  • Please have a written partnership agreement!!!

Learning About Your Partner: Is he or she financially stable? Do they manage their own finances well and how are their spending habits? What characteristics about this person do you admire or detest? If this person is a frivolous spender who frequently bounces checks or has negative accounts, is always in search of a new job to help support their spending habits or excessive bills, you might want to reconsider this business marriage!

Analyzing your partner's strengths: how do they compare to yours and do both your strengths compliment each other? If you are analytical and detailed-oriented, love planning events and your partner is a not-so-neat creative thinker who loves working with people and bringing in new relationships, then I say that he or she is a keeper!!

Value added to the business: how does your business benefit in the long-run? Will your business benefit with this addition or will you fare better if you attempt things alone? If you might end up doing all the work and having to "follow-up" with your partner, you are most likely able to accomplish the task alone!!

Partnership agreement: If you are starting a LLC, this may be referred to as an Operating Agreement. This is your "business will." This agreement outlines ownership percentages, management duties of each partner, allocation of profit, and what happens in the occurrence of "........"So, PLEASE, promise that if you have a partner, you will have an agreement in place!!"

Remember, getting a business partner is similar to entering marriage. Do your Research and Know Your Partner!!!

Cheryl Isaac is the Owner of Isaac Business Services; a start-up business consultancy firm and she can be reached at: www.IsaacBusinessServices.com or [email protected]

Sunday, April 6, 2008

GET ACCUSTOMED TO HEARING, "NO!"

At the risk of sounding boastful, I must say, I have never heard the word no on such a consistent basis as I have upon becoming an entrepreneur. To be even more truthful, I should add that I have heard the word uttered a few times before, but I usually was not on the receiving end (if you can get my drift).

One of the challenges of being an entrepreneur is that I have become accustomed to the emotional toll that "no" can take on a person. I have heard the word no from prospective clients, prospective centers of influence, insitutions, potential investors etc. For a short period of time at the beginning stages of starting my business model, I fouund myself sometimes avoiding the "inevitable" by skipping a certain networking session or simply not lingering afterwards for fear of "no". I was taking frequent bathroom or snack breaks during my scheduled time for "cold-calling," and sometimes, I chose to do other "busy work" when I could have been prospecting for new clients. All because of the fear of "no."

"If you want to be a success, you have to get used to frequently hearing the word no and ignoring it," this statement was made by Bill Zanker after his study of some of the most successful people in America and the common struggles that they have faced. I agree that we have to learn to ignore the word, but most importantly, I think we need to learn to deal with it. If someone says no, it doesn't mean that it is a personal attack on you or your business proposition. It could simply be their feeling at that particular point in time--at least that is how I choose to view it.

So, how do you deal with "no?" I have thought of the people who were once on the receiving end of my "no" and how they somehow managed to hear the opposite. They were the persistent ones. Persistency is one characteristic I learned and appreciated throughout my banking career and it is the same characteristic that helped me achieve the status of, "top-ten-percentile-banker-in-the-entire-company" and "#1 banker-in-the-region" from my previous employer. I learned to never become satisfied with the word no and to keep trying until I heard the word yes! So today, I keep contacts long after they have told me "no" and revisit our last discussion point months after until I hear "yes". I had someone who I consider a network center of influence tell me "no" months ago by simply ignoring me and my request and I revisited the issue again twice until finally, I heard "YES!"

So, my advice is get used to hearing the word no, don't let the word cause emotional distress, be tenancious in your effort to turn your "no" into "yes" and NEVER GIVE UP!!



Cheryl Isaac can be reached at: www.isaacbusinessservices.com or by email: [email protected]

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Small Business & Public Relations

How are you presenting your business to the public?

Public Relations (PR) to the small business owner simply means: how you present your business to the world in the most appealing way.

PR is usually seen as a "corporation thing" or a "governmental agency thing" but in actuality, it should be the focus of all entrepreneurs.

SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business, lists the three biggest PR mistakes that small business owners make:

  1. Regarding PR as a short-term fix
  2. Thinking PR can replace good business practices
  3. Not doing homework

As a small business owner, we have to view PR as an aide in exposing our business and developing a client base in the future. PR can help us get introduced to city and state governments and big businesses. It can also help keep us focused within our communities.

Oftentimes, we are scrutinized and tested before our prospective clients trust us enough to do business with us. So, that magazine article that A-listed you and your business or that name recognition at a conference, may not prove to be fruitful in the interim until the long-run. We also have to "back our brands" by establishing and keeping the good practices that we publicize. For example, you can't be a deli owner who publicizes fresh fruit without having a wholesale practice established to ensure that the fruits are always fresh. Lastly, we have to do our research!! If I am thinking about entering the retail shoes industry and I want to start a PR campaign with department stores and retail media, I have to stop and think, what would make them want to listen to me as opposed to the thousands of shoes boutiques??

What is so different about your idea that makes it fresh and promising?? What is the struggle you face in framing your idea in this way??? Leave a comment, we would love to hear from you.

Cheryl Isaac is the Chief Executive Officer of Isaac Business Services, LLC and can be reached at: www.isaacbusinessservices.com

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