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7 TIPSEntrepreneur Magazine's 7 Tips for a Successful Business

I read a great article in Entrepreneur Magazine recently with tips from successful entrepreneurs about what TO DO and what NOT TO DO in starting or expanding a business. 

Below is my synopsis and take on each.

TIP 1: First, prove your concept
One of the top questions the sharks in Shark Tank ask is, "How many have you sold so far?" If you don't have proof that people want and are willing to spend money on what you offer (not by telling you, but by actually giving you money for it), don't waste your time or money on marketing. Go grass-roots by knocking on doors, making calls, using social media, and even crowd-funding options. Get some sales first before you "quit your day job" or invest in prototypes, advertising, etc.

TIP 2: Let the big goals shape your calendar
There's a great story Stephen Covey tells in his book, First Things First about scheduling minor goals and tasks around major ones. It's referred to as the "Big Rocks" story. The basic premise is that our life/day is like a jar that we can fit activities into in varying amounts before it's full. Some of those things are like rocks–they keep us steady and growing and happy. They are what is most important to us. Then there are pebbles and sand–smaller in size/scope (even somewhat annoying) that can fill up more space. If you let the smaller stuff get in the jar first, there won't be any room left for the more important things to us.

TIP 3: Document your proceses
Systems and procedures are VITAL to consistency of product/service, quality of what's produced, scalability, flow and rhythm, fewer mistakes, trainability (teaching employees what to do easily and predictably), and less stress. Make sure you have your A-Z steps and resources written down so you and others can follow the "formula" for success. Start working on a procedures manual for what you and others do in the business and ways to make it duplicatable with/transferrable to others. Then eventually, you can replace yourself on those tasks that aren't your genius and increase employee/customer satisfaction/retention so you can enjoy time off.

Tip 5: Plan for financial fluctuations

It's pretty much guaranteed that you're going to have fluctuations in your income/outgo, especially in the beginning as you're learning about the cycles of your business. Tuck surplus money away "for a rainy day," find additional sources of income during historically slow times, 

Tip 6: Invest in employees

Making workers feel valued is a key to repeat business and referrals.Treat them with respect, ask for their input and feedback on problems or initiatives, reward them in a variety of ways (not everyone feels "rewarded" with money so come up with other ideas) and give them a few different rewards to choose from (time off, benefits, stock in the company, recognition–public or private, incentives for meeting standards or bringing in new sales, promotion, etc.) Also invest in their training–both initially when they are hired and at least once a year (in house or out-of-house) to help them keep up to date with standards of practice and skills.

Tip 7: Treat customers like gold

Making customers/clients feel valued and respected is a key to repeat business and referrals. If your customers aren't happy, they're not likely to buy more from you, refer others to you, or be amenable to work with. Although there are occasionally exceptions, "the customer is always right" is a good rule of thumb to follow in terms of correcting mistakes or giving them what they want. 

(See original article in Sept. 2015 Entrepreneur Magazine, "Don't Quit Your Day Job" by Michelle Goodman)

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CALL TO ACTION/CHALLENGE

1. Ask yourself which of these 7 tips you can begin to implement today/this week.

2. Make a plan to begin and maintain implementation.

3. Evaluate results every month for a year then once a quarter. Tweak what's not working optimally. 

4. Once you have at least one of these suggestions yielding regular benefits, go back and repeat from step 1.

You can comment on my blog post of this article your ideas, comments, questions and any action you took as a result of this challenge. I would love to hear from you (and remember, it's a strategic way to let others know about your business, wink wink).

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Do you need help with planning and implementing any of these tips? Schedule a complimentary MMM Strategy Session with me 
to identify what tactics you are missing in the three keys of creating a successful business–Marketing, Mindset and Manifesting–and IMMEDIATE steps to take so you can get more clients and make a difference in more lives!

Your partner in success,

Lisa Smith
Marketing, Mindset & Manifesting Coach
www.MarketingMindsetAndManifesting.com

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