4 Things to Do Before Starting Your Own Business

Starting a business of any kind comes with its challenges, but if you’re passionate about what you’re offering, meeting your initial challenges will be easier. Even better, these actions will help give you a better understanding of your product or service, thus giving you more confidence as you head into this new adventure. Here are four things to do before starting your business.

Understand the Law

There are some general laws that apply to any new business, but your particular industry may have a set of its own as well. Determine what kind of insurance or licenses you will need, the tax information you’ll need to file and grasp the necessary details of human resources if you’ll be hiring staff. Be sure you understand the practical, legal and  strategic aspects now rather than later.

Write a Business Plan

Putting your overall business idea, marketing intentions and future goals on paper is a great place to start. Are you filling a void in the market, allowing customers a shopping experience or product they wouldn’t get otherwise? What will make your business different than others that may offer the same product or service? Answering these questions and organizing them into a business plan will provide an “operating plan” that will be a solid foundation on which to build a strong and profitable business.

Get Help

Entering this new world alone is tempting, but it may not be the best idea. There are many things to factor in to creating a business and it might be best to seek the help of an expert, someone who’s been there before and has helped others build successful businesses. Think of the time and money you’ll be saving by having things in place from the beginning.  There will be lots of questions. Having someone who has been there to help you identify what’s important and how to make the right decision will keep you from making costly mistakes.

Choose a Location

Luckily, technology today makes it easier for businesses to operate without a physical location. But that all depends on what type of product or service you offer. Consider the financial aspects of overhead; rent, utilities, taxes. If you don’t need it, look into how you might be able to set up shop online and ship your products. Maybe for your business, a healthy combination of both is needed. Don’t skimp on the research, make sure you’ve examined all of your needs and options before making a choice.

Addressing these starter challenges will put you in prime position to get your business off the ground on a good foundation. Remember that many have come before you and it’s a good thing to seek the advice of someone who can help you tackle problems before they start. Good luck!


If you’re just starting a business and would like a reality check as to whether you’ve covered all bases, send a Contact request and I’ll be in touch.

Late Life Entrepreneur

As never before people approaching retirement age and beyond are running businesses. Some have been in business for years, others are just starting out.  They are called Late Life Entrepreneurs.

The considerations and challenges for this group are quite different from those of other ages. Hard decisions need to be made and that’s not always easy to do alone. Being in this category myself I found out recently how things can change that will affect business.
Time is of the essence now. So what are the considerations? Some are business, some are financial, some are quite personal. Given that there will be a limited time in which to achieve what you want in your business and your life, now is the time to review and possibly reset your priorities?

As a result of dealing with my own recent age-related changes, I’ve learned that others my age are facing many of these same changes. Body and health changes, emotional changes, attitude changes, energy changes, and relationship changes, are just some of what we’re experiencing, Many of these are unexpected and unwelcome. How can we cope and reset our priorities to help keep us feeling in control of our lives?

So I’ve initiated a new community to bring together men and women who want to stay in touch with trends, news, ideas, and activities for those age 60 plus. It’s called Our Platinum Years, and membership is free. Hear what others our age are experiencing, compare notes, and be prepared to give and get support for making hard decisions. Be sure to check it out.

“Everybody says your mind is the most important thing about your body. Your mind and your body. You keep both busy, and by God you’ll be here a long time.”
Walter Breuning, age 114

The Secret Ingredient: YOU

Want to create a strong brand, add to the sustainability of your business, increase your confidence and really enjoy being an entrepreneur? Just add the secret ingredient. Billion dollar businesses have been built on the secret ingredient.

In your business the secret ingredient is “YOU” and your personal assets. It’s up to you to know who you are: your strengths, your motivators, your values, and to apply those liberally to how you conduct and present your business. A good part of what attracts customers and clients is you.

Early in life you may have been discouraged from using your personal assets by well-meaning family, friends, teachers and others. It is, however, these qualities that have the strongest potential to attract what will make you successful and happy in your business and your life.

Marcus Buckingham, noted author and speaker on the subject has shown that “people will be dramatically more effective, successful and fulfilled when they play to their strongest skills rather than attempting to improve their weaknesses”.

Think back to when you were a child. I’ll bet there are things you can remember having fun doing or that were important to you then that somehow got lost in the growing up process. Chances are they’re still there, but have been forced underground because you wanted to “fit in” and be accepted as one of the group – or there was no obvious way to use them at the time.

The wonderful thing is you have choices all the time. With every choice comes the resulting impact on your universe. Each option will bring a different set of results. If you are conscious of who you are – your strengths, passions, talents, etc., you can make choices that will allow you to benefit from these assets.

I believe we use only a small part of our brain power to a large extent because we are out of alignment with our innate nature and strengths. It’s an exercise in basic physics. We’re designed to receive our awareness energy from many sources. If our basic receptors are out of alignment, some of that energy will be deflected as it enters our multiple consciousness levels, thereby substantially reducing the energy we can use.

By realigning ourselves with our core strengths we receive the full force of that energy. This means we gain maximum awareness from our environment. We become stronger, more intuitive and express ourselves with more passion and confidence.

So how do we realign ourselves to benefit most from who we are?

Continue reading on my blog…

7 Strategies to Recession-Proof Your Business

We don’t yet have confirmation that we’re in a recession, but the media are certainly leading us to believe it’s imminent. I’ve spoken with a number of small businesses who are already starting to feel a slowdown.

That tells me every small business needs to take a hard look at the status of their business to make sure it can withstand a downturn. The secret is to have your Plan address spots where you may be vulnerable. Prevention n0w definitely beats fixing things after they become difficult to turn around.

Following are top strategies for weathering a downturn. They are actually good business practices in any economy.

1. Get your house in order.

Start by solving as many problems as possible n0w. Unresolved problems hurt even more in difficult times. Get your cash under control. Choose strategies that conserve and manage it. If you need help, get it ASAP. [Read more…]

Business Reinvention: A Surprising Case Study

Business reinvention can happen for economic reasons, or to take advantage of new technology, or to reposition the business in the market. It can also happen organically, from life changes, as it did for Genece Hamby, a former packaging and branding specialist who reinvented her business as a digital artist and poet with a branded line of art and gift products.

I share Genece’s story with you because I think you’ll be inspired and encouraged as you consider the reinvention of your own business. Her story is a prime example of how life circumstances, when seeming to be negative, can actually help us to find and use inherent strengths and passions we can apply to our business.

Genece began her career in sales and technology, which later evolved into package and conceptual design. Using what she had learned about “branding” in her 30 year career, she became one of three initiators in the world of the “personal branding” concept in 2001.

Personal Branding DNA (what is Distinct, Notable and Authentic about you) was a 12 week intensive personal branding program focused on building a solid individual brand from the inside out. Genece enjoyed contributing to the development and success of her clients and individuals certified in her methodology throughout the world (Australia still remains a leader in Personal Branding DNA). Although her business seemed a success, her personal life was undergoing some critical changes that would cause her to reinvent her business in a surprising way. [Read more…]

Critical Success Factors

For the December 1999 issue of Small Business Leader I wrote an article called “Critical Success Factors for 2000”. In reading it over this week I realized the same success factors are true for 2008, so I decided to share it with you again. I’ve made minor updates, but the essence and factors are the same.

Each business has its own unique combination of critical success factors, but some are important for all businesses. Here’s my list for the year 2008.

1 – Identify and implement the technology needed to support your business and its growth.

Technology has evolved dramatically since 2000, and it’s needed even more today. You can’t afford to ignore technology. It can reduce manpower needs, increase efficiency, reduce overall costs and create the means to reach new markets, add new products and significantly improve your bottom line. The key is to know the technology that makes a difference for your business. Be careful not to take on technology for its own sake.

2 – Use the skills and resources of others to open growth opportunities and provide support outside the core mission of your business.

The virtual nature of today’s business means that you can tap into resources that previously would have to be purchased through capital expenditure, employee commitments or long-term arrangements. What you can’t provide through core capabilities can probably be better and more efficiently provided through strategic alliances where each alliance partner realizes a benefit from working together. [Read more…]

Business Credit: How to Get It Now

Using credit to defer payment on consumer spending is a way of life for most of us. Yet we may not have taken advantage of the same option for our business. Obviously, use of credit in any circumstance must be done judiciously. For many businesses, however, use of credit can be a lifeline to even out ca$h flow as well as a way to build a credit history for future needs.

Such is the case for a new business that must purchase core product or service-related items for which ca$h is required on delivery, but the sale of those items will not take place immediately. In many cases, once the $ale is made, payment could take as long as another 60 to 90 days, depending on industry practice. Meanwhile operating expenses continue. Ouch!

For any business with a delay between expense and income or one that carries accounts receivable, a credit line can act like a bridge loan to cover expenses pending receipt of payment. It can also be used to cover any unexpected operating expenses. [Read more…]

The Prime Strategies to Build Any Business in Any Economy

When I first start working with a client I ask, “What is your most critical business concern right now?”

I hear things like:

Cash flow is a real problem. I have trouble meeting my expenses.
The market has dried up. Sales just aren’t happening.
The market is out there, but I’m not ready to handle the business.
I don’t have my systems in place and I have trouble following through.
I often feel overwhelmed. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.
I want to grow my business. I just don’t know how.
These are symptoms of a common problem experienced by many people with business decision- making responsibilities. It usually boils down to [Read more…]

Start with a Vision

Let’s start at the beginning. The most basic thing about any creation is that it started from a thought, a dream, an idea, a passion. As a vision, it is intangible. The next step in making it tangible is to see it as finished in your mind.

The importance of a clear vision cannot be over- emphasized. Think of trying to build a house without first deciding what you want it to look like; with all the details, both inside and out. The same is true in creating a successful business.

To create your Business Vision, begin by giving thought to what you want your business to look like when it’s fully mature. Sometimes it’s helpful to close your eyes as you’re thinking.

The clearer you can make your Vision, the greater your chances of achieving it. The rest of your job then is to make the decisions on a day to day basis that will create it into a tangible reality.

The Vision is the first step in writing a business plan. Jim Horan’s popular book, “The One Page Business Plan: Start with a Vision, Build a Company”, uses the vision as the basis for the rest of the plan. That’s how critical it is.

I find many business owners are really not clear about their Business Vision. They just want to make it [Read more…]

Get the Results You Want!

One of the greatest enemies of getting the results you want is disorganized thinking and unfocused actions. Look at the image on the left.

What do you see? Disorganized thinking and unfocused actions. When operating in this mode, there’s lots of activity, but little is accomplished.

To get the results you want, those assets and actions have to be aligned and directed, like the image on the right. Look at the strength and power these two elements add.

Entrepreneurs tend to have lots of good ideas, usually function at high energy and are often impulsive. But what has the potential for a solid business often falls apart for lack of organization, structure, focus and direction. Actions are frequently taken haphazardly and sporadic without a goal or a plan.

The objective is to align assets and actions so they all go in the same direction – toward your goals. The sequence of steps is to identify and organize your assets (the value you provide to the marketplace), create a clear message and then strategically plan and take calculated, directed actions designed to lead to your goals. [Read more…]