Have You Been Listening To Bad Advice?


There is no shortage of blogs, opinion columns or websites that promise to provide you all the tools you need for success, touting headlines that proclaim things like, “5 Fool-Proof Tips for Business Owners” or “How To Start The Business of Your Dreams”. Well-meaning “experts” or even family members can overwhelm the young entrepreneur with scores of advice—and some, if not most of it, may not be useful. Some advice can even be harmful for the future of a small business. It is critical for every business owner to learn how to listen to the right people and discern the difference between good and bad advice.

advice“Follow your passion.” It’s a piece of advice that is often thrown around, but is based on a thought that is flawed and can be financially harmful. You may be passionate about a hobby or skill, but that does not necessarily mean that it will translate into a profitable business model. Your business venture should be a balance between practical and passion, offering something that is valuable to others. Otherwise, your passion may lead to a failed business—a lost investment.

advice“Just work hard.” Hard work is EVERYTHING in the business world. It is the foundation of the American Dream and the grease in the wheels of the economy–but it is not the only thing that you must do to find success as an entrepreneur. Hard work is good, but working smart is better. Delegation, personal growth and positive employee relationships are all things that come with time, experience and a willingness to learn from mistakes. Hard work is necessary, but it is not the only tool that you need.

advice“Trust your instincts.” There are certainly times when your gut instinct will be right, but is important to be smart when making critical decisions. Research and advice from trusted sources is invaluable, and seeing an outside perspective on your problem may provide vital insight. If your experience is limited in a certain area, don’t be afraid to seek advice from a mentor or colleague. Instinct is a powerful tool, so balance your gut feelings with data and numbers before taking an important step.

Be careful where you get your information and carefully filter any advice you receive. Limit the “noise” of outside voices by building a team of trusted advisors or seek the help of a professional business mentor to help you navigate the waters of the small business world. There is a difference between inspiration, practical insight and plain, ol’ bad advice. Learn the difference, and you may avoid unnecessary complications.

What NOT To Sacrifice In Pursuit Of Success


Success is not an easily obtained goal. You may only reach your level of desired success after years of hard work, personal sacrifice and sleepless nights. While the value of hard work should never be overlooked, there are certain parts of life that you should never lay down on the altar of your career.

successAt the end of your career or journey to the top, what will you say while looking back over your life? Was it all worth it? Was your success worth the sacrifice of the events, parties and milestones that you may have missed while in pursuit of your entrepreneurial or career-oriented dreams? Jon Acuff, motivational speaker and author, says, “If you build a great business, but lose your family along the way you haven’t built a great business.”

Let’s look at a few areas of life that are often tossed aside when people have work-related tunnel vision. Some of these may be different for you, but some of the things that most often suffer during pursuit of success include:

  • Health
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Beliefs
  • Interests

If your career or business goals demand that you sacrifice any of the above parts of your life, it may be time to revaluate. These are the things that add richness and beauty to life, and no matter how much money you may have in the bank, if you do not have quality relationships, miss your kids’ younger years or compromise your belief system, you truly do not have anything of worth. Your list may look a little different, and that is fine, but the five or so things that are on your list should be protected above all else.

successMost of us need to work, and a lucky few of us are driven to work by a inner desire to chase dreams and offer the world something of value. Those are honorable motivations, but the key to true success does not lie in how many hours you work, but with the people and things that make life wonderful. Don’t sacrifice the best parts of your life in pursuit of your career goals.

Money is great, but people are better.

Don’t Trade Your Health For Your Success


Busy entrepreneurs and small business owners know how difficult it can be to maintain one’s health while trying to hustle and meet goals. From the “vending machine diet” to the fast food drive-thru, healthy choices for busy people are, well, slim pickings. Over time, this fast-paced lifestyle and unhealthy diet can catch up with a person, resulting in weight gain, feelings of sluggishness and illness.

While your success is important, it should never come at the expense of your health. Fortunately, it is not difficult to stay healthy on the go, but it does require effort, commitment and discipline. Some ways that the busiest entrepreneurs can maintain their health may include the following:

  • healthDrink lots of water. This is so simple to do, yet most Americans don’t drink enough water during the day. Get a large stainless steel water bottle, and keep it full of ice and water. Refill throughout the day as necessary. If you have a hard time drinking plain water, try slicing up various types of fruit to add to the water until you find a combination that is palatable.
  • healthFind a workout that works for you. Not everyone is a “gym person”, and that’s okay. Find a workout routine that you don’t dread and commit to it for a month. You may find that you actually begin to look forward to your workouts, even if it means an earlier wake-up call. Squeeze in walks, do body weight exercises during your lunch break or buy a workout DVD that you can do whenever your schedule allows.
  • healthPack your food. One of the best ways to eat healthy on the road or during a busy day at the office is to pack your food. Fruit, nuts and veggies are travel friendly when packed in small plastic baggies, and sectioned containers can make packing a healthy lunch easy. Meal planning and even preparing all of your lunches for the week at the same time can be a time and motivation saver.

Staying healthy is a challenge, even when you are not a busy business owner. Your success should NEVER come at the expense of your health. Your physical well-being is one of your most valuable commodities, so take care of it. You are worth it!

Increase Exposure With More Instagram Followers


Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms, likely due to it’s strictly visual content and ease of use. Many businesses are now seeing the benefit of using Instagram to increase exposure, but often hit a “wall” when it comes to building explosive numbers of followers. In order to properly leverage Instagram for the benefit of your small business, try the following:

  1. Post often. People won’t follow business accounts that only post sporadically. Daily posts capture attention, and they should be high-quality and personal. With Instagram’s relatively new video feature, it is now possible to SPEAK with potential followers and customers, which can be a critical step toward building a relationship. Frequent posts=more followers.
  2. Stay on topic. You should be posting content that appeals to your particular market. If you own and operate a floral company, speak to what you know–flowers! That is not to say that there is never room for funny content or personal posts, but for the most part, stick to your niche and speak knowledgeably about this subject area in your captions.
  3. instagramUse hashtags and captions properly. Hashtags are a huge part of posting on Instagram, but they should be done well. Three to five hashtags per post are ideal, but do some research into what hashtags are optimal for your particular type of business.
  4. Don’t annoy your followers. There is a fine line between frequent, relevant posts and over-posting. Don’t bombard people with 5-10 posts per day. Trial and error should determine how often you should be posting. Be consistent, be personal, be relevant to your market–but don’t let your posts become a turn-off to potential followers and customers.

instagramUltimately, Instagram provides the opportunity to build a community among your followers. Uplifting content is key, but also post content that encourages ongoing relationships between your business and your Insta-followers. Ban negative posts, encourage positivity and watch how Instagram can put your company’s exposure on the next level. Use it right, and Instagram can lead to Insta-growth.

Effective, Productive Business Meetings–Is It Possible?


It is estimated that workers spend approximately 9-10 hours every week either attending or preparing for business meetings. There is significant debate on whether meetings are actually effective or if they are just time wasters in disguise. The truth is that meetings will always be a part of business, but they certainly don’t have to be a waste of time.

businessWith the right approach, meetings CAN be productive and useful. One of the most effective ways to make meetings better is to have an agenda and to stick to it. Agendas should be typed up beforehand by the person or team that will be leading the meeting, not an administrative assistant. Pick a start time, set a time for the meeting to end and stick to the schedule.business

In addition to starting and ending the meeting on time, it is important to eliminate distractions. Materials and needed documents should be passed out before the meeting starts, and food, unless the meeting will run through lunch time, should be eliminated. businessSince phones can be a major distraction, meetings should begin with a reminder for people to keep their phones out of the meeting or on a do not disturb setting.

If issues can be discussed without calling a formal meeting, choose a one-on-one discussion or simply use email to handle matters at hand. When meetings are not called for unnecessary reasons, people tend to employ a more serious and business-like approach when they are scheduled.

Meetings may be a necessary part of your business structure, but you have the power to make them an effective tool for positive growth, not an organized way to waste time and frustrate your staff.