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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."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't Be Fooled-There Are Simple Ways to Plan A New Business

"How would you like to go into the shrimping business with me?" Bubba asks Forrest in the movie Forrest Gump. Bubba goes on to tell Forrest that he can find a way for them to use a boat without paying rent. Then he goes on to mention low overhead costs and how the management of the operation will be run.

Forrest agrees to become Bubba's partner in this shrimp start-up business. Unfortunately, Bubba dies in the Vietnam War and Forrest is left to figure out the business for himself.

With $25,000 in business start-up costs, he buys a boat and goes out to sea. On his first few tries at "shrimping," he quickly realizes that this is a hard business. He is having a hard time catching shrimp and he realizes just how clueless he is in the business.

Then along comes a hurricane. It is one of the deadliest hurricanes. It takes with it many lives and boats. The shrimping industry is devastated by this hurricane. Yet, Forrest's boat is the only one standing. According to Forrest, "shrimping was easy after that."

Forrest's business start-up story can be classified as tough luck. He was also starting without a business plan, but trying to keep a promise to his friend. Although times have changed now and business plans and business planning are more accessible, they're still not being used by some.

One of the reasons is that some people complicate things. They make business plans and business planning look scary.

Well, take this from a business plan writer--there are various forms of business plans. However, YOUR plan is all about YOUR style. You have to follow the business plan road map,but you don't have to stop at every highlighted gas station. Be the force YOU want to be in business, create your business plan in a way that's comfortable for you.

This is exactly why I've started my 48Hour Business Plan Challenge. Give me 2-Days to help you fall in love with business planning, and I'll show you a simple way to create your business plan, and your new business planning strategy. Bring your laptop, leave with a business plan, sales, marketing and other business tools.

Let's plan new-day businesses in a new way! Sign up for The 48Hour Business Plan Challenge now.

Cheryl Isaac is a business planner who helps make business planning simple for new businesses and small businesses starting something new in business. She is an entrepreneur and the author of the book, A Different Business and the creator of the business planning bootcamp, The 48Hour Business Plan Challenge

Friday, August 27, 2010

Start-Up Business Tip For The Week: A Website With Answers

The tons of questions you sometimes have, can most likely be answered by going to this website:
This is a great tool for a number of reasons:

  • It gives you a link to federal mandates and/or resources for small businesses
  • It provides you with state requirements for your business. If you were to go to the top right of the page and type in your state, you would be able to pull up information from your state.
  • Everything you need for employees is here: If hiring employees and you need assistance, you could print out the Labor laws poster requirements from this site (you know, the stuff you're required to have in your break room) you could find out what to do regarding unemployment, workers' compensation policies, etc.
  • It provides you with grant and funding information.
And a host of other resources...

I will admit that maneuvering this website for the exact information you need is hard at times. However this is a good start to help you follow the proper procedures for your small business. 

Cheryl Isaac is a business planner who helps make business planning simple for new businesses and small businesses starting something new in business. She is an entrepreneur and the author of the book, A Different Business and the creator of the business planning bootcamp, The 48Hour Business Plan Challenge

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why Do We Listen To Everybody?

You're starting a new business. Your first instinct is to listen to everyone. You call up Mary, Peter, Paul, doctor, lawyer, repair man, uncle, mom, everybody! 

Here's the problem: most of these folks are not entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs dance to the beat of a different drum. It's akin to considering joining the military. For instance, what's YOUR first instinct when someone tells you that she will be joining the army? You freak out. Then you try to be calm and caution her. Your caution either frightens her or scares her away. This is because if you haven't been in the military or had a military family, you don't think of risks in the same way they do. 

A similar scenario takes place when you ask for entrepreneurship advice from non-entrepreneurs.

So if you try to reach out for advice other than legal advice from a lawyer, find out whether this lawyer is an entrepreneur. Lawyers could be employees too with no clue about what it takes to actually run a business. Before you reach out to a financial planner to ask about possibly using some of your funds for a start-up, consider whether that planner is also a part owner or business owner. Then consider the fees they get for tying up your money. Think it through. They should want to keep you safe, but there is a thin line.

Let's also discuss the business advisor you have. Is this person an employee or business owner? What about the blog that you love taking advice from? Is the writer an actual entrepreneur, or an employee who sits at their comfy office desk and happens to be an "entrepreneur expert?" 

As for the friends and family members you lean on for advice, ask yourself whether they could ever appreciate your dream like you do? At the end of the day, it is up to you to prove that you can be a business owner. We can't expect family members to help us seal the deal. What ends up happening is that they end up talking us out of our dreams.

I'm not advocating that you don't listen to people. Instead, I'm advising that in most cases (especially those that can make or break your entrepreneurial deal) look for experts who are also entrepreneurs. They will tell you the real deal. 

What I've seen is that most entrepreneurs won't advise you to dive into entrepreneurship. Instead, they might tell you the good, the bad, and the dirty. Then they let you decide for yourself. 

Bottom line is this: If someone else doesn't have the guts to start their own business, what makes you think that they will advice you to do the same? Stop listening to just anybody!

Cheryl Isaac is a business planner who helps make business planning simple for new businesses and small businesses starting something new in business. She is an entrepreneur and the author of the book, A Different Business

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What Not To Do During Your First 6 Months In Business

1. Don't Listen To Everybody. Take business advice with a "grain of salt." Everyone will want to be your advisor and counselor--especially if you're acting like you need one. Most people have the best of intentions, but they feed off your vulnerability. People want to help, and when you walk around like a scaredy cat, their first instinct is to lick your wounds or become your protector. Most times, the information you receive is so conflicting, it scares and confuses you. So this is what you want to do: Seek out the right people with the right backgrounds--people who are experts within their field. It could be a fifteen-year old or a fifty-year old--if they've had experiences helping a few people with your dilemma, they're an expert. Talk to about 3-5 of these people. Take their advice and then filter it. If two or three people give you the same kind of advice, then perhaps you had better listen.

2. Don't Hang With The Wrong People. I'm not saying don't be friends with people, just don't hang with them. The wrong friend could become a distraction. Seriously. If you traced the reason for most business disputes, it would go back to hanging with the wrong people. If you have a different mindset than a friend you work with daily, the conflict may show up in your work and hinder your real potential. You can remain friends with entrepreneurs who share different goals and have different mindsets; just don't share a desk or business opportunity with them.

3. Don't Fall For Temptation. You're sitting in a crowded cafe one day, contemplating your next move for your new business. Times are tough and you need to figure out the right direction for business. How do you test out your theory? Do you go with Plan A or Plan B? As you brainstorm a potential business re-model, someone calls you. There is a great chance to make some money as a contractor for some big entity, doing something that does not relate to your business or the reason you're in business. But it's money. It's a chance. It may take you off track for a few months but it's money. You dance to the beat of their drum and a few months later, you find your business closed because you've lost your enthusiasm. Watch out for temptation, it comes dressed in green.

4. Don't Start a Few Different Entities. I know, I know...it's tricky. You've been told to refrain from putting all your eggs into one basket. So listen carefully. Instead of starting different entities, how about you start different offerings under ONE entity? I'm the queen of this tactic and it works well for me. You still have to be cognizant of what you're doing and avoid straying, but this could work for you. Instead of looking like a person with a screw loose, avoid the heart attack and the competing companies all vying for your time. Instead, focus on a model that can house all of your different offerings under one roof--one business purpose. 

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.  

Monday, August 9, 2010

Start-Up Focus

New York City is such a good example for startup business focus. When you walk by a restaurant in Mid-Town East, you know which dish is the focus of the day. There are huge signs in the windows, walking billboards on the streets, and mock plates and tables set on the sidewalk.

You know which shows are going on that week by the information distributed on the streets.

My point is that they don't give you choices. They probably understand that giving you a few choices, a few dates and locations, may be confusing for you. So, they choose to make the decision easier for you by using focus.

One item a day, one event a week, and so on...

Imagine if a startup business owner could do that for his/her new business. It's a difficult task because you wear so many hats, but if you've tried it before, you know it's worth it!

I heard some announcers discuss Tiger Woods on ESPN this morning. Apparently, in the midst of his personal dibbacle, Tiger has missed more short putts in 2 months than he has in 2 years. Ouch!

When asked, a frustrated Tiger said, "It's been a long year." The consensus was that there was so much going on, that the best golf player had lost his focus.

Even George Foreman in his book, "God In My Corner," is candid about his focus-grabbing tactics. While he prepped for a match, the former heavy weight champion would enter seclusion in order to find focus. His family knew that only emergency calls were acceptable.

What could YOU do better with focus? Your startup needs your focus and energy. Take a task and focus your time and energy on it for a specified period. You'd be surprised at the result.

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