Building Your Business Success – Part 2

11 01 2011

Last week we began a brief discussion of how to build your business success

Key to Business Success

for 2011.  We reviewed the concept of what Commitment means to your small business success and that you personally are responsible for your small business success.  This week we are going to finish the discussion on Building your Business Success for 2011.

Actually anybody who starts a small business can be successful.  The differentiating factor is, how LONG will your business be successful.  Again, it does partially go back to that commitment thing.  You may be successful when you first start your business, but you must remain committed to your business success.  True business success is also founded on solid business basics.  If you do not have a good grasp of business basics, it would be wise, even before starting your own business, to take a class or two, or take a seminar to learn and master the basics of business.  Without business basics, you may be successful for a little while, but your lack of basic business knowledge will most likely get you in more trouble and could ultimately contribute to your lack of long-term business success.

We must all continue practicing and reviewing and mastering the basics of business.  Without a well established / thought-out business foundation, everything you build, will most likely not stand the tests of time.  Keep up on your basics.  If you don’t know, be sure to ask a trusted source that will help you master your business foundation.  With a strong business foundation, all the work you do for your business will be successful.

Focus on Continuous Growth

Another key to building your business success (and not just making a New Year’s Resolution) is to focus on growing throughout the year, and ultimately growing for the next several years.  Do not just focus on growing your business for this month or the next.  You need to have a long-term view of where you want your business to go if you want your business to grow.  Focusing only on the month-to-month growth will not provide you with enough time to really refine and define what direction you want your business to grow in the years to come.  If you focus 2-, 3-, 5- and even 10-years in the future, then the short-term setbacks will not be so difficult to resolve.  By looking at the long-term, you can look past the immediate obstacles and focus on how to obtain that long-term goal.  By having long goals, you will find it is much easier to get past the little stuff.  If you only look from month-to-month, the problems that may crop up will most likely appear much larger than they actually are.

Lastly, it is never too late to make your business successful.  You may have had a really bad year in 2010, but that doesn’t mean you will have a bad year going forward.  Review your business plan, identify what went wrong and more importantly, look for WHY you did not follow your business plan or why you were not successful last year.  If you can identify WHY things didn’t occur (this is different from placing blame) then you can identify what you need to do to avoid that obstacle going forward.  Even if you had a decent year last year, it is not too late to revisit your business plan and adjust for any new plans or ideas you may have.  Again, be sure to keep the long-term view when reworking your plans.  When in doubt, enlist the assistance of other experts in  your field of business, to help review what you have and where you want to go.

Here is to your continued business success in the new year.

If you are looking for a second income opportunity, or are looking for some type of small, home based business to get involved with, we may have something that would interest you.  We offer a wide variety of business opportunities, from Pre-Paid Legal Services, to Stem Cell Nutritional Products, to Waterless Cleaning Products.  If we don’t have exactly what you are looking for, we may know where you can find it.  Good luck and let’s all see our businesses grow in 2011.

Until next week…

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Failure to Plan

31 08 2010

As the economy continues to decline and more people find themselves out of a regular job, many people look to alternative methods for earning an income.  Many great business opportunities are born in hard economic times, but on the flip side, there are many people out there who would take advantage of desperate people looking to earn a living.  If you have the drive and ambition, now is a great time to get into your own home based business, but one of the largest problems many of these new entrepreneurs face is a failure to plan.

Just because you find this fantastic business opportunity and someone tells you that you can earn millions at it does not mean you do not plan your new business venture.  Do not allow anyone to tell you that planning is not necessary, that all you have to do is to follow their example.  Someone, at some point in time made a plan for that particular business opportunity and you should make a plan for yours also.  In prior posts we talked at length about developing and implementing your business plan, and that is absolutely critical, even if you are entering a business opportunity that others have succeeded in.  If you did create a business plan, in order to be truly successful, you must follow that plan. Why did you go through the exercise of creating a business plan, doing all that strategic planning, if you had no intention of following what you developed?

There are several reasons why some business opportunities may never come to fruition, one, which seems to be a favorite of many who start a home-based business, is taking a dart-board approach to generating sales.  Many people who start home based business opportunities will not have a specific plan on how to generate the sales in order to obtain the income they desire.  They will try one approach, try another, and continue trying without any specific rhyme or reason to why they tried and discarded the plans.  This will not only kill any enthusiasm you may have, but it will also undermine your belief that the business opportunity you entered into was a sound idea.  Heck, they may not even have identified a specific sales amount to achieve.   If you begin one sales approach, make sure it was one that you have outlined in your business plan, and then, if it is not productive, review why it did not produce the results you desired and identify possible adjustments to the plan before discarding it and starting on another plan.

When you built your business plan, you should have identified several programs for generating sales.  Those programs you identified should have had specific and measurable goals so that once implemented, you could identify where the failures occurred.  Jumping from one plan to another in a willy-nilly fashion will not allow you to build sales momentum, nor will it be repeatable for any other people you would want involved in the sales process.  If you quickly start and discard sales plans without any specific road-map, you are doing both yourself and your customer a major disservice.

By not planning your sales process, you will have no idea why certain ideas did or didn’t work.  Without measurable and strategic goals, you will never know if the sales process was successful.  For example, I had worked for a company that believed their customers were dissatisfied with a particular segment of the sales process.  There was no real basis for this belief other than a few stray comments and a “gut feeling”.  Before we changed the sales process, we implemented some strategic measurements and sent out a set of standardized questions to our existing customer base.  What we discovered is that the initial process was not broken, but another step along the sales plan was definitely not working properly.

If we had immediately changed what we believed to be wrong, just based on a gut instinct, we would have further alienated our customer base and not corrected the true sales problem.  The key is to plan your process, make the process measurable, identify benchmarks, and most importantly follow and review the plan regularly.  A failure to plan on your part could very easily put your whole business in jeopardy.

Next week we will continue this discussion and review some other pitfalls in strategic planning.

If you are looking for a business opportunity to provide you a second or additional income, please feel free to check out our website.  We may have an opportunity that meets your needs.  If you have questions regarding building your business plan, please feel free to contact me, I am more than willing to assist and provide some alternate solutions.

Until next week…





What is your passion?

2 08 2010

Working in your own business can be an exhausting endeavor.   Just because you are working your own business, be it a small store, or a home-based business, there is a tremendous amount of work involved to get it going and keep it going.  We have reviewed the use of business plans to help keep you on track, but if you are tired, where do you find the energy to keep your business going each and every day?  Being in business or even starting up a business is no easy task.  In order to keep going during the rough times, and yes, you will have rough times, you need to ask yourself, what is your passion?

What a balanced home based business can look like

This quote from Viktor Frankl puts it in perspective:  “Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.”  If you think about it, if you are not passionate about what you are doing – even if you are not in business for yourself – then you will always feel tired.  Have you ever tried to push a rope?  It is so much easier to pull something along than it is to push it.  The same goes for business.  If you are not passionate about your business, then you are facing a tough battle.  You may find that you are feeling very tired, frustrated, like you have no control over your time or even burned-out.

If this describes how you have been feeling for some time, (not just a day or two, because we all have days like that), here are some tips that may help to rekindle your enthusiasm and passion for your business.

Even though you already have a business plan in place, write down all the reasons why you love your business and what you are offering your customers.  If you are not enthusiastic about the products or services you are offering your customers, how can they in turn get excited about them?

You may also review your business plan and imagine what your business will look like in five years.  Start dreaming about where you plan on being, what you are doing, how fast your products and services are selling.  Heck, you can be unrealistic, but it can be fun and it may inspire you to re-energize your products and services.  You may want to story-board some of these dreams, so you have pictures of what you would like to be and where you would like to live in 5 years.  Pictures work great for inspiration.

Thinking of something relaxing

Most importantly, you need to take time out for yourself.  Running your own business is tough, and because it is your business, you may feel obligated to work it 24/7 but that is not good business.  All you will do is run yourself into the ground and not have the energy to continue working.  You need to take time out and take a break from your business.  When you are away from your business, don’t continue talking about it.  You need both a mental and physical break from your plans.  I know that may be very difficult, but you will find that if you even take one day off from thinking about work, when you do get back to your business, it will be with renewed passion and energy.

Your body is like a battery, it does need recharging too.  So don’t forget to take care of your most important business asset, yourself.  If you don’t take care of your body, nobody else will either.

I will close with this quote from Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s), “If you work for just the money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing, and always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

Be passionate, have fun, but also take care of yourself and your customers.  You and your customers will enjoy it and your business will thrive.

Until next week…





Consequences of Not Following Your Business Plan

19 07 2010

Last week we talked about not forcing yourself to review your business plan on a regular basis.  After a while you believe that you know the plan so well that you don’t need to refer to it anymore.  This week we are going to continue to review the consequences of not following your business plan and how to rectify those consequences.  By year 3 we started adding other products and services to our business without cross-referencing with our original business plan.  Since we had been reviewing the business plan so much, we figured we didn’t have to keep reviewing it. 

Diversification is a good thing, but you need to do it and still keep it within the confines of your business plan.  If you add more products and services, you really do need to go back to your original business plan and modify the plan to include the changes.  Not only do you need to include the additional products, but you should be doing more market research and then taking a step back to determine if what you have added to your product line will enhance your overall business position and help you to move your company forward.  You need to validate that you have not picked up additional products that do not complement your core competency. 

Diversification can be good for your business, but diversification, like change, for change sake may not be a good thing for your business.  You don’t make changes “just because”.  Any changes or diversification you do should remain in line with your overall business plan and goals.  By the end of year 3 and into the beginning of year 4, we had focused so much on diversifying that we lost sight of who we were and what we stood for. 

We looked at our business plan, finally, and discovered that we were so far away from what we had originally planned, that we did not recognize the business we were working anymore.  Our profits showed the same loss of focus too.  We were profitable, but we were working harder for those same profits and we didn’t feel the same sense of accomplishment as we had when we first started out.  In year 4 we discovered that we had to go back to basics and re-work our business plan

By now, all of the original plans and backup plans were defunct.  We pretty much had to start the process of writing a business plan all over again.  The good news is that we had the original template, so now all we had to do was to review where we were and confirm where we wanted to go.  Then we needed to write a business plan that would get us back on track and back to growing and developing the business.  At this point we had almost lost our business identity.  Our loyal customers had been trying to warn us, they would periodically ask what we had in mind for our business.  It took one customer asking us what our business focus was.  He said our business looked like a mish-mash of everything and nothing in particular.  That comment stopped us short.

After that wake-up call, we went back to the drawing board and started asking the hard questions.  We went to our business plan and re-confirmed our goals and strategy and reiterated who we were as a business.  We spent the remainder of the year striving to regain control of our business and to get it back on track with our business plan.  It is amazing how hard it is, once you lose sight of your business plans and goals, to get your business back on track.  Part of our challenge was the re-aligning of our business coincided with the downturn in the economy.  The downturn in the economy helped us to streamline our business processes and really focus on what we wanted for the business.  We are coming out of this stronger and better prepared than we had ever originally envisioned.  

We have now included an annual review of our business plan, whether we need it or not so that we do not fall into the same rut we did.  It is a good idea to review your business plan after the end of your fiscal year anyway, most large corporations do that, so there is no reason why, as a small entrepreneur we should not do the same.  It is an excellent habit to get into and you should then not experience the same challenges that we did when we lost sight of our business plan.  Never assume that you know your plan inside and out.  It will always change as your business and the external environment changes.  Always remember to follow your business plan, no matter how well you think you know it.

If you are interested  in starting your own business, please feel free to visit our website at www.hawgwash.net.  We may have a business opportunity that would fit your lifestyle.

 Until next week…





Not Following Your Business Plan

12 07 2010

Last week we had continued our discussion about implementing your business plan.   We talked about the challenges of discovering what actually will happen when you move from a business plan on paper to physically acting on the plan.  This week we are going to talk about what happens when you take your eye off the ball and you find you are not following your business plan

One of our booth configurationsIf you read last weeks post, as our rallys progressed, we did continue to touch base with our business plan to be sure we were on track.  By the end of the year, we felt we had become very proficient in working our business plan.  Each rally we attended we performed better at, our booth displays became eye-catching and we kept drawing more people to come and talk with us about what we had to offer, both with products, services and business opportunities.    By the end of our first fiscal year (and the end of the rally year) we were already planning on which rallies we were going to attend in the following year. 

During second year we performed even better than our first year, partly because now the same people who saw us the first year saw us again and realized that we were in the game for the long haul.  We continued to adjust our displays to appeal to the specific crowds and we continued to grow the business.  By the end of the second year though, attendance at the rallys were beginning to slow down, and sales were not as robust as they had been.  When referring to our business plan, our third and fourth backup plans had also fallen apart, but at the time we were not overly concerned since our primary model had been working so well.

At the end of the second year, we started talking to other vendors and were strongly encouraged to diversify our product line in order to capture more of the market.  This is when we began to loose sight of our focus and were not following our business plan.  As we explored other items to bring to rallies, we did not adjust our business plan accordingly.  Why should we?  We had been successful with the business plan for the last two years, we knew the plan, why should we continue to review and physically revise our business plan?  It seemed like a waste of time since we knew what we were doing.

What had we become?

Boy, was that a big mistake.  Once you are not following your business plan, you start losing focus altogether of where you want to grow your business.  Somehow between year 3 and year 4 we began focusing on just selling products and services and not watching our overall strategy of where we wanted to grow our business, or even how we planned on growing our business.  Focusing on selling is not a bad thing, please don’t get me wrong, but selling for selling’s sake is not what our original business plan called for.  Just selling turned us into a retail type of business, and nothing more.  We lost sight of what we wanted out of the business and how we planned to leverage our business down the road. 

We picked up products to sell that would be almost like an impulse purchase.  That is good, but again, it was not originally part of the business plan.  Those product types did nothing to help us grow our business and move it forward.  By the end of the third year, we discovered that with all the selling we had done, we had not performed much better than we did in year 2.  We had added so many different products without measuring and balancing against the original business plan that we ended up having a business that was almost not recognizable from its original state.  We had completely lost focus on who we were and what our business represented. 

Next week we will finish this thought and talk about what we are doing now with our Business Plan and how we plan to not lose sight of it again. 

If you are interested  in starting your own business, please feel free to visit our website at www.hawgwash.net.  We may have a business opportunity that would fit your lifestyle.

Until next week…





Implementing Your Business Plan

5 07 2010

Last week we continued talking about turning your Business Plan into an Action Plan.  I had identified that you need more than one plan before you actually go into business, because there is a high likelihood that your first plan will not go exactly as anticipated.  This week we are continuing the discussion on implementing your business plan

Implementing your Business Plan is critical to a strong, successful start to a new home-based business.  Why would you want to take the time to write-up a Business Plan if you had no intention of following it?  Your Business Plan is your initial map for growing your business.  It is always important to refer to your Business Plan, but you should include in your Business plan several alternate plans.  I am often reminded of the shortened quote from a poem by Robert Burns, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, and that does seem to be very much the truth when working your own business. 

With all of that in mind, Steve and I developed a back-up Business Plan, and a back-up to the backup plan.  By the time I had submitted my resignation to my “regular” job, we had what we believed many of the bases covered.  Then it all boiled down to scheduling the events, being realistic about which events would be good, and then proceeding to the events.   

In the beginning, we started events with a 10×10 booth space and one table.  As we participated in rallies, we started playing around with our displays so that they became more eye-catching and interesting for people to stop by and look at.  In a rally or really any event, you have to be able to catch a person’s imagination very quickly as they walk by.  If your display is a basic table with some product on top, what is going to cause the potential customer to stop and look at what you have to offer?  This is where marketing really comes into play, which is part of your Business Plan. 

At the various rallies that first year, we kept requesting people’s opinion about our booth and asking them what they were interested in.  The key to successfully growing your business is to identify what your potential customer wants, not what you want to offer your customer.  You have to very quickly let your customer know that you can help them with a particular problem that they are wrestling with.  You do not want them thinking that you are going to force them to purchase the latest and greatest gadget that they will never use.

We did make many mistakes in setting up the displays for the first few months.  We had not gone into detail in the Business Plan what a good display would entail.  Steve and I had different ways to approach customers.  Again, we did not originally include that in our Business Plan.   In the beginning, I had more problems talking with potential customers because I was shy (you wouldn’t know that now, but in the beginning I was terrified to talk to potential customers).  I understood what the products could do to help people, but I was unsure and uncomfortable in effectively presenting that information to the customer.  I stumbled over my tongue a bunch of times.  Initially, Steve had to poke me often to make me talk to people, I was so nervous.  I quickly learned to listen to what customers wanted instead of telling them what I thought they wanted.  After that, it was much easier for me to talk to complete strangers.  I was no longer making a sales pitch, I was offering a solution to a customer’s problem.

We kept referring to our Business Plan before and after each rally, comparing what we had anticipated to what actually occurred and we adjusted the Business Plan accordingly.  By the end of the year, our Business Plan had changed, but we remained successful and continued growing our new business. 

Next week we will talk about what happens when you lose sight of your business plan while working your business…

If you are interested  in starting your own business, please feel free to visit our website at www.hawgwash.net.  We may have a business opportunity that would fit your lifestyle.

Until next week…





Turning Business Plans into Action Plans-Part 2

28 06 2010

Last week we continued talking about moving from a Business Plan to an Action Plan.  We talked about how I went from researching the Waterless Technology business opportunity to working the opportunity for income and profit.  This was one of the most exciting and frightening times of my life.  Here I was planning on quitting my job, one I had been working at for over 12 years and going into a business for myself, but not by myself.  I was scared beyond belief, but also looking forward to the challenge of turning all the business theories into action. 

We did not just have one plan of attack on working the Waterless Business once I quit my job.  We had identified several options on where the business would go once I started working it full-time.  Our primary plan was to travel the country, following the motorcycle rally circuit most of the year in order to demonstrate the product, detail motorcycles and promote the business. 

Booth at Arkansas HOG Rally

This basic Business Plan had worked for Steve for several years, and our plan was to develop the rally schedule and include larger rallies along with larger booth space in order to gain a bigger foot-print and better profits.  We created a basic budget for maximum amounts to spend on booth space at a rally and also factored in the costs of getting to and from the rallies.  As we were growing, we identified how many individual units of product we must sell before we cleared our booth and travel expenses.  We also started looking at numbers of attendees and started some statistical tracking of the various events to determine if they were a reasonable risk.

We made sure to identify in both the Business and Action Plans that all rallies are risky.  You can predict several items, like attendance, but you cannot predict weather, or local economic conditions.  You can guesstimate rally attendance based on past rally performances; you can talk to other vendors to determine if they have participated in this particular event in the past and if it was profitable for them.  Not all, actually, many will not give you a straight answer so the next best question if you are unsure if this particular rally will be good for you is to find out how many vendors there will be and how many are there for the first time.  We get nervous if we found a rally where the majority of vendors were there for the first time.  Unless it is the first year for a particular rally, you should not have more than 25% new vendors.  If you have more than that number of new vendors, you need to start asking serious questions about why there are so few returning vendors or why there are so many new vendors.  There may be legitimate reasons for both, but these are questions that need to be asked of the promoter or any vendors if you can contact them.  Another very important question to ask is how many vendors will be at the event and if any of them are offer the same type of products and services you have to offer. 

There is no greater disappointment and frustration as arriving at a rally to discover that there are several other vendors who also offer similar or identical products or services as you.  Unless the rally or event pulls in hundreds of thousands of participants, there is a high likelihood that your profits will suffer as duplication of products and services increases.   Luckily, not many people are involved in promoting Waterless Technology Cleaning products at many motorcycle rallies

Until next week…