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."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My New York Zen Moment

Last week I had a zen moment while in New York. You see, the word zen was derived from the Japanese and means "waking up to the present moment...perceiving the moment exactly as it is, rather than through the filter of our own ideas, opinions, etc."

I moved to Columbus from New York City and make frequent trips back to visit family and conduct business, so I still consider myself a New York City girl. Sometimes. On my recent trip, I got my zen moment while driving to Staten Island. We stopped for a moment to get some gas and the picture above is what awaited us. You wouldn't have believed that you could get such peaceful scenery in the middle of it all, had you seen the environment.

Despite the hustle and bustle of the city, despite the fact that this was a tiny and old convenience-store-turned-gas-station, despite the traffic and narrow streets that awaited us, this is the scenic and peaceful sight that greeted me once I parked the car to grab a bottle of water. I immediately gained a sense of calm, took a deep breath, and took the moment for what it was (if I told you about everything that had transpired before that moment, you too would appreciate my moment. But it's a long story).

My New York Zen moment.

I was reading the other day about how Alex Witt, MSNBC anchor found her Zen moment. It was on a drive along the Santa Monica freeway, where it connects to the Pacific Coast Highway. She describes the feeling of going through a tiny tunnel and then all of a sudden being met with an extensive coastline that stretched north. That was her California Zen moment.

Goes to show, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, you can always find your zen moment.

About the Author: Cheryl Isaac is a Startup Business Planner & Owner of Isaac Business Services, The Business Startup Company. She is also the creator of The 12MonthBizPlan.com; an online business planning center where business owners can work with a personal advisor; for up to a year, to plan their new business.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From Employee to Employer; Complimentary Tip E-Book

How do you make the transition? Once you've decided that you not only want to become a business owner, but you want to also be an employer. You want to shed your "can't do it" hat for the "jack of all trades hat." You want to give someone else a job opportunity that they may have not otherwise had. You know, like name a young employee director, executive, or have an inexperienced person completing a task that a bigger company would not have allowed.

After working with startup companies and with employees making the transition, after some careful research and my own personal experiences, I have worked on what I like to call a Tip E-Book, with tons of tips to share with my readers. First, I would like to share three with you:

Start a business that compliments your job. This will help you build a client base while you work. Your new business must not in any way, compete with your employer's. I repeat, do not use your employer for their money and then steal their tricks. Think: Karma! Building a client base while you work gives you the opportunity to test your product or service, see how much potential your business model has, and it gives your future employees customers. A client of mine started his IT company while working for a graphic design company. He was working with a lot of small businesses and learned that IT companies were ignoring small businesses through their selling methods and prices. So he started to service his current bosses' clients. Since he felt okay with telling his boss about his business, the boss finally noticed the opportunity, the list of 50 clients he had acquired, and the boss became an investor in the business. Test yourself to see whether your business compliments your job: Are you comfortable talking to your boss about it?

Form a Sales Process now. Don't wait until later. Do it now. It doesn't matter if you only have one client. The process will be edited as you go along. Just form one. A sales process will include: a) Client shows some interest in your business. What do you do? b) If you set up a meeting, what is the next step? How do you relay that next step to the client? c) What materials, information do you give to the client to make them feel comfortable? d) What does your presentation sound like? e) How do you collect data from the client, and how do you make a recommendation? f) When/how do you ask for the sale and what method do you use to remind yourself to ask for the sale? What ways/methods of collecting payment do you have? By forming a sales process while you work, you put the foundations in place for your future business and employees. Now you can go over the same steps you practice, but most importantly, you make it easier for an assistant or employee to help you increase sales for your new business. Plus, you get more clients. If the client has to offer a next step or think too much, guess what? They won't buy. People need an "easy" process.

Start creating your personal plan. Sounds strange? A lot of people skip this very important step. The first step to doing this is having the I want to start my own business talk with the family. After the arguments and discussion, once you have acquiescence, you will want to take a notebook and a pencil. Jot down your 1) variable household expenses v. 2) fixed household expenses. My husband and I did this and he hated this process. Warning: this is when you become a salesperson because this will be a grueling task. It is your chance to show your loved ones how you have thought things out. So the car payment, the mortgage, utility bills, and loan payments are things that you can't avoid. However, the every-day takeouts, purchase of clothes on a whim, weekly spa dates, are things that you can avoid or minimize. Forget your variable costs for a moment and add your fixed costs. The total of your fixed costs is what you want to concentrate on when making the transition. By this time you should also have some savings money to help you in this process; at least for a few months. So, having enough money coming in to cover business bills plus your personal fixed costs, will elevate you to the level you will need to concentrate on only your business. Concentrate on making sure the startup can cover your portion of the household bills and then some. If you're thinking of keeping your savings intact while you start your business, forget about it. Just being honest. Entrepreneurs follow a different rule book. Savings is good but don't focus on it during the startup stage. Your business will literally take everything you've got for the first couple of years; but it's okay. It will bring back triple what you gave it if you work hard at it.

I have more than 20 Tips, with references, in my complimentary Tip E-Book, From Employee to Employer; that I'm currently completing. I would love to give you access to this information. If you would like a copy of my Tip E-book, simply give me your name and email where it says, email newsletter; to the right of this blog, and I will send it to your email. I will also keep you updated with more business information and tips. You can also join my group on the right where it says "blog followers" or simply click the "subscribe to this link" button you see on the top right. This way, you keep up with special offers I will have from time to time.

I wish you well and Cheers to Business! Remember, regardless of what others may say, your business survival lies within you.

Cheryl Isaac is a business start-up strategist to service businesses going online. She contributes to Forbes here and blogs about Making Business Personal here.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Turn on your TV--Online!

Every week I tune in to these online channels that provide a wealth of information for small business; and I wanted to share their resources with you. As a start-up or aspiring entrepreneur, business education is vital to your success. These two websites understand that small business owners don't have the time to tune in to regular TV, and that when they do, there are few channels dedicated to small business.

Here are two internet-based educational formats that will help you learn more about business, and keep you tuned in with other entrepreneurs:
  1. SBTV.com (Small Business Television) : Consider SBTV to be television made with small business in mind; only difference is that it operates solely online. You can expect to find daily news, success stories from other entrepreneurs, information on SBA trends, and education for your small business.
  2. YourBusinessatMSNBC.com: A new feature of MSNBC, this online video podcast formatted site provides information for start-ups and small business owners. They also host a Sunday show that features success stories and experts from various entrepreneurial backgrounds. They also travel to the site of small businesses and report their stories.

About the Author: Cheryl Isaac is a Startup Business Planner & Owner of Isaac Business Services, The Business Startup Company. She is also the creator of The 12MonthBizPlan.com; an online business planning center where business owners can work with a personal advisor; for up to a year, to plan their new business plan

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