Learning to Let Go

One of the hardest lessons learned by the small business owner is the art of letting go. It is easy to focus on making a sale and to lose sight of the fact that sometimes a business relationship is not meant to work out. While it my seem counterintuitive to small business owners and entrepreneurs, it is important to learn how to discern situations in which is best to move on.

There is a delicate balance between working hard to meet the expectations of the client and wasting valuable time and sanity. In the business world, as in every other area of life, some clients and customers are simply impossible to please. However, before moving on, consider some of the following suggestions when dealing with a difficult client:

  • Choose your words carefully. A thoughtful approach may be the key to sidestepping an awkward conflict and maintaining a profitable relationship.
  • Acknowledge concerns. You can address the concerns of a client without actually agreeing with his or her statements or complaints. This can make a client feel valued and lead to a long-term relationship.
  • Keep it professional. Some people are jerks. It is just reality. When dealing with a difficult personality, stick with professional, business-related topics. If you do not mesh with an individual on a personal level, it does not mean that you cannot have a professional relationship.

Even after attempting all of the above, it may be evident that a particular business relationship will not work. You, as a business owner, have the right to protect yourself, your employees and your overall well being by whatever means necessary, even if it means that you will lose a client. At the end of the day, a profit may not be worth dealing an abrasive, insulting or impossible-to-please client—and frankly, that is just fine.

Grow Wealth the Right Way

“Rome was not built in a day” just might be one of the oldest — and perhaps most annoying — clichés of all time, but it has stuck around for a good reason; it is true. A lot of the time, doing something in the right manner does not mean doing it quickly. Sure, the execution of a business’s plan might appear fast-paced from a consumer’s perspective, but most consumers are generally not privy to the months and even years of research, dedication and planning that go into a single moment for a business.

In a society that prizes fast returns on virtually everything, it is important to remember that a little patience can go a long way. When done in a sustainable manner, slow growth and accumulation of wealth is actually a good thing.

Think of the future. Go on, shut your eyes and picture it. The immediate gratification of accumulating a vast amount of wealth in a short period of time is more likely to derail goals than push a person to keep moving forward. The thing to remember is that you don’t just want to accumulate wealth for now, you want to be able to sustain and grow your wealth into the foreseeable future.

When accumulating wealth through a business, there are actually several options that can lead to a brighter future.

  • Invest profits back into the company. (Think product development, marketing, etc.)
  • Create worker-friendly policies. Happier employees are more likely to be productive assets at work, making the business more profitable overall.
  • Make an investment plan. This will not turn a huge profit overnight, but in 10 or 20 years, an adequately implemented investment plan should reap dividends.

Amid the many get-rich-quick schemes that plague the online world, there are real opportunities for growing wealth with a business. With a solid understanding of investment, business principles and the nature of patience, building wealth might just be the easiest part of running a company.

Don’t Wait for the Right Time, Build Now

Are you too worried about the economy to expand a business? Staying on top of current economic trends is important but refusing to take any sort of action during times with a less-than-perfect economy might just be business suicide.

Yes, with the right leadership and plan, a businesscan grow in times of economic pressure. A good business owner knows how important it is to plan for growth and then turn those words into action. So, now that an owner is ready to forecast growth, what should be the next step?

Break out the technology.

Okay, a lot of new technology can admittedly seem overwhelming at first, but with a little practice, it can play a tremendous role in bolstering future growth. Still doing the books by pen and paper? Accounting software can help keep track of trends and can even help owners realize where some areas of the business are spending outside an allotted budget.

Calendars might be an obvious need for a business owner, but what about upgrading to a digital format? A calendar program or app can link up with email addresses and even warn of conflicting times and dates for various appointments. If you are perpetually late or forgetful, then a calendar program that provides reminders is a must.

Open up the field of view. Your targeted market loves your products and services, and that is great! But, is this the only market that can benefit from your business? In all likelihood, no. Just because there has been a significant amount of success within one particular market does not mean that a product will become a complete flop when advertised elsewhere.

Do a bit of target marketing research and find out who else would truly appreciate what you are offering.

Shake it up a little.

Develop complementary products that pair well with already established, high-selling items. Perhaps a service that is offered separately would actually be quite useful to those who purchase a certain product — package the two together as a deal and see where that takes you.

It is understandable to experience a bit of uncertainty when the economy is not at its peak, but if every entrepreneur attempted to wait until the exact right moment, there would be very few new startups or exciting business ventures taking place. So, be sure not to discount the possibility of growth during any time period, and you might be surprised at how well a business flourishes.

Determining Which Purpose to Follow

Leading a purpose filled life is an admirable goal and one for which a great number of people strive. However, actually meeting that goal can be easier said than done. For one group of people, this task can be even more difficult.

Most people operate under the idea that each individual person has a single purpose in life. While it may be true to a certain extent, a more accurate way to express this idea might be to say that each individual person has at least one purpose in life.

There are actually quite a few people who feel as though they have multiple purposes in life. The general public might know these people better as serial entrepreneurs.

When there is more than one purpose tugging on the heartstrings, actually deciding which purpose to follow can be a confusing ordeal. For some, it might even feel like an all or nothing situation. However, having more than one purpose in life can be an exceedingly valuable asset in the world of business, but for far too many people, it can also feel like a burden. Instead of bemoaning the fact that doing everything all at once is impossible, take it slow, focus on a single purpose at a time and take some form of daily action to make it happen.

Not sure which purpose to act on first? Consider the greatest need that each of your purposes can potentially serve. Is there a market that desperately needs what one of your purposes can offer? Are you driven by one purpose more than any of the others? Take some time to truly consider the implications of each purpose, and then move forward on the one you deem to be the most meaningful, because going backward or remaining hesitant will never take you anywhere.

4 Hacks to Increase Productivity in Your Home Office

Working from home definitely has its benefits. Some people find it easier to work in an environment in which they are comfortable, while others like having a more flexible schedule. However, most business owners understand that telecommuting is not just all fun and games — working from home really means working.

Keeping productivity up in the initial days of working from a home office might have been easy enough, but far too many people might be familiar with the slump that can cause productivity to take a hit. Instead of accepting that things are just slowing down, try one of these hacks to get the work juices flowing again.

1.Take a walk – Exercise is good for more than physical health, it can also help boost mental stimulation. Instead of starting the workday off by plopping down in front of the computer, try taking a quick walk around the neighborhood. Is your morning not the best time to make exercise happen? Hit the gym during lunch or go for a swim in the afternoon.

2.Set up a second monitor – There is now a valid reason to spring for that extra computer monitor. Recent studies have shown that people who have at least two monitors while working experience a serious increase in productivity. And, admit it, two monitors also looks pretty cool.

3.Stop idolizing quiet environments – Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much quiet. If productivity is suffering, try turning on some music at a low level or introduce a white noise machine into your office. There are even apps you can download to your smart phone that create specialized background sounds.

4.Track your activities – Was it only a minute on Facebook, or perhaps a bit longer? It can be easy to lose track of time spent on non-work-related activities, so spend a few days keeping a log of computer activities during work hours.

There is no reason to accept a slack in productivity as an inevitable aspect of work. Instead, shake things up, make some changes and hack your office into the most productive work vessel that it can be.

The Only Question Needed to Put Your Purpose to Use

Remember the days when you were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, and you enthusiastically shouted out something like, “Doctor!” “Veterinarian!” or “Rock Star!”? Those were the days when dreams and wishes had no limits, and if you could think it up, then it was possible.

Sadly, growing up into an adult seems to squash that attitude out of many people. Instead of focusing on what is possible, most people seem to point out the barriers or roadblocks that stand in their way. After all, it is not their fault that they cannot really figure out what they should do with their purpose; it is that big concrete barrier standing in their way.

Of course, most people really do want to overcome the barriers holding them back and keeping them from putting their purpose to good use, they just do not know how. Perhaps the easiest way to really figure out how to put that purpose into action is to think back to childhood. Go ahead and ask the following:

What would childhood me think of what I am doing with my life?

If he or she would be less than pleased, it may indicate that you are taking the wrong approach. Those roadblocks? To a child, a little creative thinking can make those barriers little more than a pile of rubble to trod over.

Maybe it is time to revisit the dreams of old, when childhood innocence let thoughts and dreams fly freely. No matter what your purpose is, when you are unable to figure out how you should be putting it to good use, close your eyes and think like a child.

3 Things to Avoid When Starting a Business

There is little doubt that understanding what steps to take when starting a new business is important, but what about what steps to avoid? When first planting the idea of a new business, everything may seem simple and straightforward. However, like any seedling, there is a much richer backstory just underneath the straight, little stalk shooting out of the soil.

While traversing the Internet during a startup’s early days, moving back and forth to make the best decisions possible while avoiding mistakes can almost be seen as an intricate dance. For most entrepreneurs, the need for this dance never truly goes away, which is why understanding what to avoid in business is so significant.

1.Ignoring customers

Without customers, a business simply cannot survive for long. Failing to listen to customers’ needs and wants means that a business cannot provide any new products or services that will actually move and that desperately needed updates or changes to current products will go unnoticed.

2.Planning, but not doing

Recall those summers long ago when being off from school meant spending as much time at the community pool as possible. At nearly every pool, there seemed to be the same kid — the one who wanted to jump off of the diving board and who gave it great thought while gripping his or her toes to the slippery edge but who never seemed to actually move.

Customers want a product or service that has been carefully planned and executed, but they will not wait forever for a business to finally get the courage to jump into the deep end.

outdated-website3.Neglecting the website

As an online business, your website is the only storefront with which customers will interact. Keeping an updated, streamlined and easy-to-navigate website can actually make customers feel happy when completing a purchase or just dropping by to see what is new. Far too many websites on the Internet can be a headache to deal with, and some consumers are willing to pay more to a different company if they can actually understand how the website works.

So, what is the commonality of these three things to avoid? Inaction. Life moves quickly on the Internet, and business and consumer trends can change in what seems like the blink of an eye. Seasoned entrepreneurs might assume that they are beyond the point of making such silly mistakes, but any business owner can easily fall victim to his or her own errors if he or she is not careful.

Most Business Owners Will Ignore This Important Tax Break

An entrepreneur and a home office are not totally synonymous, but where you find one, there is a good chance you will find the other. There are a myriad of benefits to working from home, including a more flexible schedule and a commute that may only take 20 feet with a pit stop at the coffee pot.

Other than the money saved on gas from cutting out long drives to and from a so-called “real” office, there is also another important financial incentive to a home office — a tax break.

Entrepreneurs and business owners need to understand what actually qualifies as a home office. Simply working at a kitchen counter or camping out on the sofa (both of which might prove to be inefficient anyway) does not mean that you can write off these areas of your home as a home office.

Not only must you use a home office regularly (however, it is perfectly okay to take a laptop down to the coffee shop from time to time), but the area must be used exclusively as an office. Whether the office space is used to meet with prospective customers or as a primary place where business is conducted, there should not be any other activities going on in that area.

Working from home is definitely on the rise, and the trend has been well noted by the Census Bureau. The current estimate of home offices in America is approximately 26 million. However, in years past, just over 3 million people actually claimed home office related deductions on their taxes.

Whether a business is still in the startup phase or well on its way to success, every penny counts, and entrepreneurs who ignore tax breaks for which they qualify could be cutting themselves short when tax season finally rolls around.