Tag: entrepreneur

The Buzz About Creating Your Own Business

Entrepreneur Mentor Success

So you’re looking into starting your own business. SCORE mentors presented “The Buzz about Creating your own Business” on Dec. 7, 2013. If you missed it, here are the slides.

Are you an entrepreneur? If you’re:

  • A self-starter
  • Resourceful
  • Responsible
  • Organized
  • A hard worker
  • Persistent
  • Decisive
  • Healthy
  • Have family support

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, SCORE volunteers are available to help you for free in whatever stage you’re in. Whether you have questions about

  • Financing
  • Marketing
  • Is my idea viable?
  • Is there a market for my idea?
  • Should you buy an existing business or start from scratch?
  • How to put together a business plan
  • Accounting
  • Types of businesses

Whatever your question, SCORE mentors have been there and can help you. Click here to schedule an appointment with a SCORE Mentor.

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It’s All in the Numbers: 5 Business Strategies That Are Nearly Invisible

by Jennifer Shin, to see original post click here.

 Finding the best ways to devise strategies for your business can be tricky. While we can draw from experience, business school models and going on your gut, using market surveys is always a staple in guiding business planning. Survey data can offer great insights for running your business and the trick is to get through the surface statistics and tease out the insights that may lie deep in the numbers.

The 5th Annual Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur Survey is no exception and offers real-time insights about entrepreneurs’ business performance, plans, attitudes and lifestyles. The study surveyed 3,000 entrepreneurs with 500 from the United States.

Here are 5 key findings from the study unearthed:

  • Business owners in the Northeast worked on average approximately 5 hours more than those in the West.

Take-Home: If your business is located on the Pacific Coast and you are considering moving your business to the Northeast, this can be an important factor in your decision-making. Spending more time in the office can greatly impact other aspects of your life, such as the amount of time you spend with your family. To better prepare yourself for the move, try researching factors that can impact your business, such as the hours of business of local businesses and clients in the Northeast, and assess the amount of time you can reasonable expect to spend in the office.

  • Business owners from the West spent on average more than twice the amount of time training than those from the Northeast. Of the business owners who invested in training, those from the South focused more on Customer Relations and Sales/Selling Skills than any other region.

Take-Home: For national businesses and franchises, this can provide a new perspective on how you offer training in your company. Is your current policy on training based on geographic region? Is there a trend within your company that suggests more employees engage in training in a particular region? Are there any benefits to varying training opportunities based on the geographic region?

  • Of the customers who made payments later than they were, Government Agencies were the least likely to make late payments while individual consumers were the most likely to make late payments.

Take-Home: Consider your target client based on your cash flow needs. If your business is strapped for cash and needs customers who pay on time, government agencies are a safer bet than sole proprietors.

  • Business owners from the Manufacturing/Engineering sector spent the most time, on average, in training or professional development followed by Financial Services and Business & Professional Services sectors.

Take-Home: If your in the manufacturing business, you can use the findings by asking yourself whether you are spending enough training your staff for professional development and evaluate whether your investment is growing the skills of your employees is comparable to competing firms. If it’s not, you may find higher turnover from employees who are dissatisfied at their professional growth or your competitors may gain market share by investing in and leveraging their current workforce.

  • Business owners in the Financial Services sector reported the greatest growth with 71% of business owners reporting growth in revenue and 63% of business owners reporting growth in profit (of which 17% of businesses reported more than 20% growth).

Take-Home: This is great news if your business is in Financial Services industry and a sign of the recovering economy. You may want to keep an eye out over the next year for signs of similar growth and factor this into your business decisions. If your company has been cutting back on employee benefits since the economic crisis, this growth could offer a chance to reinvest in your workforce or focus on hiring new talent to continue the growth of your firm.

Jennifer-Shin-100 Jennifer Shin – Founder and Principal Consultant, 8 Path Solutions LLC
Jennifer is the Founder & Principal Consultant of 8 Path Solutions LLC, a NYC based management consultancy and data science startup that aims to bridge the gap between science, technology and industry and tackle real world challenges.
www.8PathSolutions.com | @8PathSolutions | Facebook |More from Jennifer

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When Your Business Plan Meets Reality

by Bryan Janeczko, to see original post click here.

Business strategy organizational charts and graphs
Creating your business plan doesn’t come until Step 6 in Wicked Start’s 10-Step Roadmap for starting your new business. There’s a good reason for that. We believe there are five key steps to take before you spend the time to create your plan, and these critical steps will help you to ultimately be in a better position to develop a successful plan. That’s especially important if you’re going to use that plan to ask for money from outside sources.

Here’s an example of why the first five steps are so important. A Wicked Start user I’ll call Joe has been in a professional services career and now wants to open a retail establishment. He’s seen a store similar to his concept before, and thinks he can do a better job than the existing one. He made a plan and wants to go out to raise about $200,000 in capital, but he’s been having trouble.

When he expressed his frustration with the situation to me, I said, “Well, you’ve got a great professional background, and you’ve got a strong plan, but no one wants to give you money because you have no experience running this type of retail business, and neither do any of your advisors.”

The first step in Wicked Start’s Roadmap is about building a case for your idea. Joe has seen a similar store, but maybe he didn’t take the time to spell out the viability of this offering. The second step is about learning the industry, finding mentors, and actually getting experience.

After our conversation, Joe joined a similar business in another part of his town as a junior-level employee. This will help Joe see the operation from the inside, and will also show investors he’s so serious about his startup idea that he is willing to be the low person on the totem pole to learn the business. He’s also looking for mentors in this industry who can advise him in his new business.

The next thing I suggested to Joe was to develop a detailed design comps, wireframes, or pictures of stores he wants to use as models for his store to show to potential customers. He can use these to get  at least one focus group together to make sure these images and the offerings of his retail establishment resonate with his target customers. This is consistent with Wicked Start’s third step, which is developing a prototype of what you’ll be selling.

It’s after this hard work is done that Joe can think about establishing the structure of his business; finding the appropriate name, logo and website; setting up a bank account; and completing some of the other financial and legal nitty gritty that is required for new businesses to operate.

Once all this is done, it’s time to start writing the business plan. The plan will be stronger with this background, experience and focus group feedback. Including mentors or advisors with retail background will help him sell this concept as well. And thinking through some of the details of setting up your new business shows real commitment.

When Joe goes for funding, he’ll have a much stronger case with the addition of his experience and customer input, and with industry connections he’ll find more potential investors.  In addition to asking friends and family to invest, potential investors who would make “ideal” clients for his business would the best way to go for Joe.

Bryan Janeczko – Founder, Wicked Start
Bryan has successfully launched multiple startups. His latest venture, Wicked Start, provides tools to plan, fund, and launch a new business. Also author of WickedStart: Guide to Starting a New Venture with Passion and Purpose, Bryan is committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed.
www.wickedstart.com | Facebook | @WickedStart | LinkedIn | More from Bryan

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Transitioning to Entrepreneur from Corporate America

by Bryan Janeczko, to see the original post click here.

Working at home
Working at home (Photo credit: gibsonsgolfer)
More and more Americans are leaving the corporate world to start their own business. While some strike out to create a new industry or move in an entirely different direction, most decide to start businesses in the industry they have worked in throughout their corporate career.

Basing your startup in a field you know well offers many obvious benefits. Contacts, peers and clients can be transformed into co-founders, employees and customers. Familiarity with the market or manufacturing process, on-the-job training from their previous employers and even access to groups and associations in their industry are just a few of these clear advantages.

But, not all is perfect. There are some downsides to having a corporate background before becoming an entrepreneur, and they are more likely and pronounced if one has spent a long time in corporate America. Here are the key disadvantages:

1. Lack of Flexibility

In the corporate world people get accustomed to and even dependent on many things that just don’t work in an entrepreneurial environment. Complicated organizational charts, detailed and specific processes, reliance on big-brand suppliers, and similar things create a rigidity that takes away the nimbleness of their small business. Don’t try to beat the big guys at their own game; you need to be quicker, more responsive, and more creative.

2. Financial Stability

When you know how much your paycheck is, when it is coming, and the likelihood that it will continue to come in the future, it eliminates a lot of the hardest parts of financial planning, stress and management. With your own business, especially starting out or in growth spurts, you may have no income or even negative income for days, weeks, even months. (I took no pay in my first company for 1 1/2 years!) If you are not accustomed to this, it can be jarring and disruptive, and create issues in your family and community affairs. Plan accordingly, and prepare yourself for this potentially huge change in your life and lifestyle.

3. The Desire to Change Everything

Many people leave corporate America feeling under-appreciated, unfulfilled, and/or completely burnt out on working for someone else. They are essentially jaded towards the corporate environment, and swing much too far in the other direction. They may hire only or mostly friends and family, maintain no routines or timelines, and favor “going with the flow” over planning and strategy. While it is your business, remember, it IS A BUSINESS, and you have to have your priorities straight. Sure you can ditch the dress code, take a vacation when you normally wouldn’t or promote a more “relaxed” culture in your office, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Corporate America makes big money for a reason, and you shouldn’t stray too far away from their models.

Leaving the corporate world to start your own business is exciting and liberating, and can very well lead to improved fortunes, lifestyle and satisfaction from your work. But, if not properly done, can have quite the opposite effect.  Have you made the transition to entrepreneur from corporate America? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

Bryan Janeczko Bryan JaneczkoFounder, Wicked Start Bryan has successfully launched multiple startups. His latest venture, Wicked Start, provides tools to plan, fund, and launch a new business. Also author of WickedStart: Guide to Starting a New Venture with Passion and Purpose, Bryan is committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed. www.wickedstart.com | Facebook | @WickedStart  | LinkedIn | More from Bryan

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What Do Small Business Owners Love (and Hate) About Being Their Own Bosses?

by Rieva Lesonsky, to see original blog click here.

Open-for-businessSmall business owners are feeling a little less optimistic about their companies and a little less satisfied with being their own bosses than they were last year, according to the DNA of an Entrepreneur study, a global poll by Hiscox of small business owners with fewer than 50 employees.

Half of small business owners are optimistic about the coming year, down from 55 percent who felt the same in last year’s survey. Why the decline? Small business owners say their greatest fear for the year ahead is lack of government support (cited by 38 percent), being unable to attract new customers (35 percent) and having to pass on cost increases to customers (34 percent). Perhaps of more concern, 31 percent are worried they don’t have the financial resources to keep their companies afloat, while 21 percent are concerned about the rising cost of debt.

It’s not all bad news, though. Asked about their general attitudes toward their businesses, more than half of respondents (54 percent) are happier running their own businesses than they were as employees.

Asked to name the benefits of running a small business, respondents’ most common answers were the ability to set flexible working hours (51 percent), being able to influence the direction of their business (45 percent), taking greater pride in their work (43 percent) and having a greater feeling of control (43 percent). About four in 10 (39 percent) cite less bureaucracy and 38 percent say they have more scope for creativity.

On the downside, all of these benefits were cited by fewer respondents than last year, while 13 percent of respondents say there are no benefits to running a small business—up from 9 percent last year. Instead, they were doing so simply because they couldn’t find a job elsewhere.

How do you feel about running your own business? If you haven’t yet launched your business, I think this survey provides a pretty realistic view of the benefits of being your own boss. While only 9 percent of the respondents cited making more money than they did as an employee as one of their big motivators, small business ownership has rewards that go beyond just the financial.

If you’re feeling like running your own business isn’t as much fun as it used to be, maybe you need some help getting your business mojo back. An outside opinion like those from SCORE mentors can help you shake up your operations and figure out what steps to take if you feel like sales are falling short.

Don’t have a mentor? Visit www.score.org to get matched with one and get advice 24/7.

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship.
www.growbizmedia.com | @rieva | More from Rieva

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