Tag Archives: business

Do You Have the Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs?

Do you know what it takes to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs?

Do You Have the Characteristics of Successful EntrepreneursAs Score Mentors we are often asked, “what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur”?

What is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship is traditionally defined as the process of designing, launching and running a new business. It typically begins as a small business, such as a startup company, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire. The people who do so are called ‘entrepreneurs‘. They are generally identified as having the…

“…capacity and willingness to develop, organize, and manage a business venture usually with considerable initiative and risk in order to make a profit.”

Twentieth century economists such as Joseph Schumpeter define an entrepreneur as an individual willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation.

Entrepreneurship employs what Schumpeter called “the gale of creative destruction” to replace in whole or in part, inferior offerings across markets and industries, simultaneously creating new products and new business models.

Entrepreneurs, therefore, are leaders willing to take risk and exercise initiative. They take advantage of market opportunities by planning, organizing, and deploying resources often by innovating to create new or improving existing products or services.

While entrepreneurship is often associated with new, small, for-profit start-ups, entrepreneurial behavior can be seen in new and established firms and in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. These include voluntary sector groups, charitable organizations and government. For example, in the 2000s, the field of social entrepreneurship has been identified, in which entrepreneurs combine business activities with humanitarian, environmental or community goals. Entrepreneurship within an existing firm or large organization is referred to as intrapreneurship and may include corporate ventures where large entities “spin off” subsidiary organizations.

The most significant characteristic that differentiates entrepreneurs is that they are risk takers and they tolerate uncertainty. If that were all that is required for success, then it appears that you need nothing more than to be a gambler. Obviously, more is required.

While there is no simple answer, research indicates several characteristics in addition to tolerance for risk and uncertainty that are commonly found in the personalities of successful entrepreneurs.

Successful Entrepreneurs Have:

  • Self Motivation – have the ability to wake up in the morning and immediately start working. Entrepreneurs do not waste away the day doing things that have no benefit to their business. Bosses told you what needed to be done. Now as an entrepreneur, you must know what needs to be done and take action to get it done.
  • Self Confidence – be confident in yourself, your product and your business. You need to know that your product can truly help people and that you are charging prices that are both fair to you, and your clients.
  • Behave Ethically and Morally – decide what you stand for and how you will conduct your business on a daily basis. Know before you get tempted to cross some line that could jeopardize your business.
  • Manage Time – this goes hand-in-hand with Self Motivation. You need to schedule your day and stick to that schedule. Your time is valuable. Take time to educate yourself on ways to improve your business or products. [Related: Staying Productive]
  • Sales – every business needs to develop a way to handle sales. An entrepreneur’s job is to develop the types of sales that work best for your business Constant effort should be on improving your sales skills.
  • Understand Finance – this a must if you are in business for yourself. Knowing how to balance a checkbook and keeping track of numbered invoices is all most small businesses need to do when they first start out. Remember to schedule time for your financial management.
  • Study Strategies – of successful businesses already doing what you wish to do and incorporate the best strategies into your own.
  • Value Quality – quality drive sales, which leads to business growth.

 Successful Entrepreneurs also meet these Requirements:

  • Clear, succinctly stated value proposition specifying benefits
  • Know target market
  • Strategic business plan
  • Unified, connected product line or service line
  • Competition based on a dimension other than price (e.g., quality or service)
  • Early, frequent, intense and well-targeted marketing
  • Tight financial controls
  • Sufficient start-up and growth capital
  • Corporation or LLC model, not sole proprietorship
  • One or more unique competitive advantages
  • Work experience in the start-up industry
  • Full-time involvement in the new venture

A SCORE mentor can help your through this process FREE! Click here to schedule a mentoring session.

Greater Phoenix SCORE also has classes and workshops on how to a start a business. Click here for the schedule.

Here are some free resources SCORE and the SBA.

About the Author:

Roger_RobinsonRoger Robinson, PhD has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger here. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

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How to Write a Business Plan for Success

December is National Write a Business Plan Month! So it’s appropriate that we offer an article on how to write a business plan for success.

how to write a business plan for successYou might ask, why do I need a business plan?

The real purpose of a business plan is to create a well thought-out document that states, in detail, your business dream and how you plan to develop and finance this business. Your business plan is, in fact, the roadmap to your future.

Additionally, investors and lenders usually require a written business plan. Just as important, stakeholders such as suppliers, customers and potential key employees want to know who you are and what you are all about.

A Written Business Plan also Serves as a Guide for You and Your Team.

The Real Value of Business Planning lies in the Process Itself.

This focuses your thinking and keeps you on track. In other words, the key to success is going through the process. Thus, it’s the process itself that leads you to issues that are required for their resolution and your ultimate success. Planning is the structure by which you determine the key steps needed to find the information required to develop your successful business. In fact, for many situations, the planning process is actually more important then actually writing the plan.

Currently, leading experts in business planning such as Alexander Osterwalder and Steve Blank suggest the development of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) as the key to the process. From their point of view a BMC is actually a prelude, a precursor to the creation of your Business Plan.

Here is an example of a simplified BMC:

how to write a business plan for success

Fully understanding each of these questions and developing appropriate responses will lead you to a clearer, better understanding of all of the elements essential for the success of your enterprise. Note the importance of starting with the value proposition and matching this with the customer segment. Once that benefit fit has been established all else follows.

As an example, let’s create answers for a hypothetical BMC for MacDonald’s as developed by Manasota Score:

  • Value proposition -> quick, inexpensive meal
  • Customer segment -> public / seniors / families
  • Customer relationship -> personal face to face service
  • Distribution channels (paths to customers) -> in store / drive through
  • Revenue stream -> company store sales / royalties / franchise fees
  • Key activities -> training staff / marketing
  • Key resources -> employees / locations
  • Key partners -> franchisees
  • Cost structure -> staff / locations / supplies /marketing

In conclusion, the BMC guides you to focus on all the key factors necessary to create the roadmap to the attainment your dream.

Note, developing a BMC is not something done all at once. It is an iterative process by which you are systematically testing out your ideas.

A SCORE mentor can help your through this process FREE! Click here to schedule a mentoring session.

Here is a list of Free Resources with Business Plan Templates from SCORE and the SBA.

Greater Phoenix SCORE also has classes and workshops on how to write a business plan. Click here for the schedule.

About the Author:

Roger_RobinsonRoger Robinson, PhD has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger here. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

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How to Know When to Change Your Business Plan 10 Oct

How to Know When to Change Your Business Plan

Sometimes you need to stick to your business plan to make it work. Even a mediocre strategy consistently executed over time is better than a series of brilliant strategies that keep going off in different directions. Strategy often takes time.

On the other hand, there is no virtue in sticking to a plan, just for having stuck to a plan. We live with constant change.

Which brings me to the dilemma that many business owners face:

Do I stick to my plan, or change it? If I change it, then is my plan vs. actual (reality) valid? Doesn’t it take consistent execution to make strategy work?

To which I’ll add;

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”
– Chinese proverb

I’ve been dealing with this dilemma for years, as a business owner, entrepreneur, and consultant. I want to suggest some guidelines to help you decide whether to change the plan midstream, or not.

A Good Planning Process

It starts with having a plan that includes priorities, milestones, and expected results. Also, you have to track results and compare them to what you had planned or expected to see. And also, as you developed those expectations, you should have included assumptions.

Ideally you have that process going on already. Without it, there’s no plan to change, and you are managing reactively. If you don’t have a process of planning in place, start it immediately in order that you have a better planning process later on.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today. – African proverb

Stay the Course or Revise the Plan?

Take some time each month to review your plan and its results. Once you have the process established, it doesn’t take more than an hour or two to get team members together.

Start that monthly meeting with a good hard look at your underlying assumptions. Identify the key assumptions and whether or not they’ve changed. When assumptions have changed, there is no virtue whatsoever in sticking to the plan you built on top of them. Revise your plan, automatically, when key assumptions have changed.

Then look at the differences between what you planned and what actually happened. Identify key differences between the plan and actual results. Some will be better than planned, and some worse.

For each key difference you discover, and all of them combined, use your best judgment and common sense to determine whether the differences were caused by false expectations or unexpected good or bad execution. Also, consider external and internal factors that may have influenced the results.

Maybe your expectations were too conservative, or too optimistic. In that case, you revise your plan. Use your common sense. Were you wrong about the whole thing, or just about timing? Has something else happened, like market problems or disruptive technology, or competition, to change your basic assumptions?

Maybe you discover you and your team have executed better than expected, or results were better than expected. Hooray. Stick to the plan. It’s working.

And maybe you discover that your execution was wrong, poor, or flawed. If any of those reasons are the case, work on executing better and change the plan.

Do not revise your plan glibly. Remember that some of the best strategies take longer to implement. Remember also that you’re living with it every day; it is naturally going to seem old to you, and boring, long before the target audience gets it.

About the Author:Tim Berry

Tim Berry, Guest Blogger

Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and bplans.com, on twitter as @Timberry, blogging at timberry.bplans.com. His collected posts are at blog.timberry.com. Stanford MBA. Married 46 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and www.liveplan.com and books including his latest, ‘Lean Business Planning,’ 2015, Motivational Press. Contents of that book are available for web browsing free at leanplan.com .

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5 Branding Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Business 3 Oct

5 Branding Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Business

Branding is so much more than just a logo!

This video highlights the top 5 branding mistakes businesses make – no matter what size they are!

  1. Being insensitive. Some companies have taken advantage of a trending phrase on social media to promote their product, but they didn’t check to see why something was trending. It was a shooting or some other catastrophe.
  2. Brazen changes. Don’t do what Coke did! Hash out all the pros and cons before rebranding or making a major change to a proven product or service.
  3. Inconsistency between channels. If someone lands on your Facebook page or your website, they should know in seconds who you are and what you do.
  4. Ignoring the follow-up. Touch base with past clients. You never know if they might need your services again.
  5. Lack of sincerity. Honesty, openness, integrity. It’s no longer about B2B or B2C. It’s P2P – person to person.

Greater Phoenix SCORE offers many different classes including branding and marketing. Check them out here.

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blow your mind and grow your business 26 Sep

3 Ways to Blow Your Mind and Grow Your Business

This article originally appeared on Loretta Love Huff’s blog.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said,

“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.”

The challenge for many business owners and sales professionals is that they’re so absorbed in doing their business and hitting their sales goals that they don’t believe they have the time to think. Yet, Napoleon Hill wrote a world-famous book, “Think and Grow Rich” which implied that thought is the first step in growing rich.

so, what does it take to use thought to grow rich. I’ve identified 3 keys for  blowing your mind and then growing your business.

1) The first key is re-wiring your mindset.

Without the proper mindset, you won’t see opportunities that are right in front of you. You’ll talk yourself out of doing even simple things that could make a world of difference because you won’t believe they’ll work for you. Even if you do try, things likely won’t work to their full potential. Have you ever noticed that you do all the stuff that gurus say to do, but you still aren’t enjoying the results they promise?

The key here is to start retraining your subconscious mind by sending it new messages to replace the fight-or-flight tendencies it is organized around. It’s role is to ‘protect’ us from harm. But ‘harm’ to the subconscious mind means a ‘change’ of any sort. So when you get the bright idea to try something new, if it’s too far outside your comfort zone, your subconscious mind decides ‘that’s a bad idea’ and does whatever it can to convince you not to do it. It makes you feel doubtful, hesitant and fearful in order to encourage you to ‘leave well enough alone’ and stay where you are.

To retrain your subconscious, you must become the master of it. Set big goals, don’t succumb to the fear, feed yourself with empowering thoughts from books, audios, personal development courses, associate with people who are up to the same courageous growth trajectory.

2) Transform your relationship with money

Most people, whether they grew up in wealth, poverty or somewhere in-between, also grew up with misinformed or even warped beliefs, concepts and ideas about money. Those ideas shape what’s possible for you. They influence your career choices, your relationships, your spending and saving habits. Without close examination, the beliefs will continue to run the show.

I could write an entire article, or series of articles, on this subject alone. So I’ll have to just skim the surface today. Most people focus on the ‘negative’ energy of money…bills, shortfalls, worrying it will run out some day or they avoid thinking about it altogether.

Money is energy and demands attention. So instead, focus on the more positive aspects of it. Focus on the money that comes INTO your life. Show gratitude for money. Recognize that it has a spiritual aspect to it. As my coach often says, “Imagine that making fabulous money is part of your spiritual path.” Hmmm.

3) Have a marketing plan

Most people I know DO marketing activities (e.g. networking), but they don’t have a plan. They flit from activity to activity with not much thought to whether or not it’s the right activity. You need to know where your business is in its evolution and have a plan specifically designed to move you from where you are to the next level of success. If you do marketing activities that are designed for a business in a different phase than you are in, those activities won’t have the same positive outcomes for you. You’ll be wasting your time, energy and money and miss out on the success that could be just around the corner.

When you implement these three concepts, you’ll be well on your way to growing your business.

About the author: Loretta Love Huff

Known and appreciated by thousands of engaged and sometimes exhausted executives and entrepreneurs as The Dream Leader for Business™, Loretta Love Huff helps her clients lead courageously so they and their teams rock and they earn more money. Author of two books, frequent guest on Fox10 Phoenix and featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Phoenix Business Journal and Working Mother magazine, Loretta stands ready to shine a light on your path to higher productivity, purpose and profits.

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Getting Social for Business

Get online, get found and grow your business with social media

By RuthAnn Hogue, GoDaddy

Getting social for businessSocial media has long since taken the leap from an ever-growing collection of forums and apps to enhance your social life to the realm of valuable business tool. If you’re still waiting to join in, here are some reasons why you should.

First, everyone else is doing it. Regardless of what your mother said, sometimes this does matter. Granted, it’s still not wise to jump off a cliff. You can trust her on that one. But if you are a small business trying to reach critical mass you need to get your message in front of potential clients. Today, that means being where they are. And that is on social media.

So, what exactly is social media for business?

Isn’t it just a bunch of egotistical people posting selfies on Facebook and Instagram or snapping pics of themselves on Snapchat using apps to add silly pig noses?

Isn’t it just for kids or those who cannot be bothered express themselves in more than 140 characters on Twitter?

What about all those people going crazy trying to catch imaginary creatures using the Pokѐmon Go app on their smartphones?

And Periscope, isn’t that just a place where users gather to watch whatever someone else is willing to broadcast?

Yes, but each is so much more.

Here are some real-world social media business applications that might make your life better.

Buy the numbers

Still the big daddy of social media, Facebook as of June 2016 reported on average of 1.13 billion active users daily. While using Facebook is free, access to those users is for sale. Because Facebook has so much personal information on its users, targeting your demographic sweet spot is completely possible.

It’s a Snap

Meanwhile, Snapchat was reported as of June 2016 as having 150 million logged-in users. While its content is fleeting, new upgrades now allow users to save memories to create stories. Whether you use Snapchat to share pics of a live event, let people know about an event on deck, post a coupon or offer other perks, it also has the ability to target—now including geographically.

Instagram for Business

For those relying on a personal account to share Instagram images, it’s time to upgrade. The popular photo-editing and sharing app now offers accounts just for business. Unlike its personal accounts, Instagram business accounts allow you to run analytics. In addition to your own posts, you’ll also be able to purchase ad space when you make the switch.

Tweet it up

Twitter is heating up among teens and tweens who want to escape a Facebook landscape increasingly inhabited by their parents and grandparents. Its user base had reached 313 million by the second quarter of 2016, which can easily be targeted using hashtags.  While sponsored hashtags for specific topics or events are available, anyone can create one at no cost. All it takes is a hot topic, a good network of followers and your message can be retweeted around the globe.

Scope it out

Periscope, an offshoot of Twitter, is no longer just for virtual voyeurism. Kind of. You still get to watch whatever someone else decides to live stream. You still get to post comments in real time. Unless marked with the hashtag #save, content disappears within 24 hours.

Only now, in addition to people broadcasting random content, marketing-savvy business owners are using the platform to share content featuring everything from tutorials for hairdressers on the latest cuts and styles to messaging on how they can brand or marketing your business.

Of course, social media is ever-changing and constantly growing. Keeping current is a must. Unless you want to hang out alone.

Check out SCORE’s classes on Social Media and online marketing presented regularly.

About the Author: RuthAnn Hogue, GoDaddy

Based in Arizona, RuthAnn Hogue is the owner and founder of Whiptail Publisher’s Syndicate, a published nonfiction author and a contributor to the GoDaddy blog. The recovering journalist occasionally breaks out her 1979 Gibson Les Paul Custom Deluxe Silverburst rock ‘n’ roll guitar when she wants to let loose. A devoted fur mother, RuthAnn makes time to spoil all four of her Jack Russell terriers when she is not tweeting from @MyWhiptail or posting on Facebook @whiptailpublishing.

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