Many businesses lose money yearly because they don't think creatively about the future. They run their businesses doing what they think they should: dealing with customers, dealing with problems, ordering for their business, and paying their expenses. They act like their business is a job. They are surviving and that's it. They are not looking at the big picture. They need to use their business as a stepping stone to success. Picturing themselves as a successful business person, and setting up a plan to succeed.
Many of the businesses today are started by people who have been downsized or laid off. They are used to showing up for a job and getting paid, and this is how they are operating their business.
The first thing you must do is to find out what you are really good at. Many people want to know, "How can I make more money?" Unfortunately too many business people never ask themselves, "What am I good at?" They need to do so, and then ask it again every time they want to do something new. This is one of the biggest reasons businesses fail. The owners did not focus on what they were good at and did best. This does not mean you can't try something different. What it does mean that it is best to go with the skills and experience you already have.
The second thing you need to do is take an objective look at yourself. Take a piece of paper and write down what you can and can't do. Picture yourself hiring you. Would you hire yourself? Would you be impressed? What do you know best? What are your hobbies? Can you turn that hobby into a business? Remember you work best at something you enjoy.
I was an exceptional secretary, so I started a word processing business. I loved typing and taking dictation by telephone, writing up letters, proposals and setting up identity packages. However, I hated having to drive around town to pick up and deliver projects, and cold calling for business. So after losing money, I shut down the business. A couple of years later I started another business where I was the assistant to businesses, but worked from my home. I got to do all the secretarial aspects, but out of a home office. All I had to do was send flyers and mailers to independent contractors. I also worked with answering services for referrals and gave them business, plus a cut of my fee.
What this means is you need to discover what your likes and dislikes are. People like to work at things they do well. They enjoy themselves more. A test for you is to think back over the last couple of days. Then make a list of the things you enjoyed doing. Think about when you were the happiest and what you were doing.
The third thing you need to think about and be able to recognize is: What your competitive edge is. After you do the above test and find out what your strengths are, you will find that some of these strengths give you an advantage over your competition. Do your particular strengths and abilities help you provide exceptional customer service? Can you do something or produce something that others can't?
If you already have an edge over others, put it to use. Make your customers aware of your unique qualities. The way to accomplish this is to be sure any advertising or promotional campaign you employ highlights your unique selling points.
The fourth thing you need to do is to plan ahead. While your business concept or product might be unique now, as we know people love to copy what is successful. So you need to plan for the long run. You need to be aware of what your competition is doing and keep your customers coming back.
The fifth thing is that just because there are things you don't like about your business, doesn't mean you give up. Yes, there are going to be certain things you like better than others. Every business person feels this way. However, if you don't like anything about what you are doing, then you might want to start a new business. Be sure before you do so, you give yourself the above test.
The sixth thing is sometimes you just need to make some changes in your business. See if there are certain things you can cut out of your business, a product or service, which you might not enjoy and it is not a profit center for you. Then drop it, and concentrate on those things that are generating a profit.
Maybe you need to make changes to make your job easier, such as buying new software, or a new computer system. Maybe hiring someone on a part time basis could take some of the workload off your shoulders, and allow you to concentrate on other business matters.
And last but not least is to be sure you take what you've learned about yourself, and set up a plan for your business for the future. Don't forget to write down what you're good at and ways that you can apply your skills to making money. You can take this information about your skills and put it in your promotional materials. Be sure you always have a notebook (or a voice recorder) with you to joint down notes to yourself, new business ideas to try. You want to be sure when you do write these things down that you also put a date next to them to implement that idea or strategy. This will give you goals to work for. Be sure to put these goals in a prominent place in your office. I put my goals on index cards and then put the index cards on my desk, on my calendar, and on my bulletin board. By having your goals visible to you, it will help you to stay on track. And, that is what it is all about - keeping your business growing and prospering.
Copyright 2003 DeFiore Enterprises
Interested in having your own successful, home based creative real estate investing business? Chuck and Sue have been helping folks start successful home based businesses for over 19 years, and we can help you too! To see how, visit www.homebusinesssolutions.com/">http://www.homebusinesssolutions.com for the latest FREE tips and tricks, educational products and coaching in creative real estate investing and home based businesses. No time to visit the site? Subscribe to our "how to" Home Business Solutions Digest, it's like having your own personal coach: mailto:subscribeHBS@homebusinesssolutions.com
Weather experts expect previous June highs to be approached and possibly exceeded in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, with all-time records likely to be broken in some countries.
Minister says Islam forbids such a move as country prepares to breach nuclear deal
Iran will never pursue a nuclear weapon, its foreign minister has claimed, saying Islam prevented the country from doing so.
Iran has previously said it is ideologically opposed to acquiring nuclear weapons and seeks nuclear power only for civilian purposes. But in the current unpredictable climate it is possible Donald Trump could pick up Javad Zarifâs remarks as a signal to talk.
Boris Johnson has been filmed at a private garden party telling Conservative members that the NHS absolutely needs to be reformed, as he fired them up for a general election by asking them to be ready to âwallop Jeremy Corbynâ.
The frontrunner to be Conservative leader and prime minister was videoed giving a rabble-rousing stump speech to members in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday, the day after the Guardian revealed that police had been called to his girlfriendâs flat following a late-night altercation.
Legislative gaps in Britain blamed in European report that encountered âmafia networksâ
An EU agency has highlighted the heightened risk of foreign domestic workers in the UK enduring slavery-like conditions but conceded its pan-European study of labour conditions had been impeded by âmafia networksâ.
The study (pdf) by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) found exploitative employers had a feeling of impunity across Europe but that legislative gaps in Britain were raised as one of its particular concerns.
Foreign minister says there are âindividual incidentsâ that can be compared to UK knife crime
Pakistanâs foreign minister has sought to dismiss accusations of Christian persecution, claiming there were âindividual incidentsâ comparable to knife crime in the UK.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, speaking during a visit to Brussels, said reports of religious minorities being targeted in Pakistan did not constitute a trend and the recent claims of Christian persecution were an example of âwestern interestsâ that âwant to paint Pakistan in a particular wayâ.
UK ambassador says Berlin is willing to hear fresh ideas for Irish border problem
Germany will fight to the last hour to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal and is willing to hear any fresh ideas for the Irish border backstop, the countryâs ambassador to the UK has said.
Speaking at a car manufacturersâ summit in London, Peter Wittig said Germany cherished its relationship with the UK and was ready to talk about solutions the new prime minister might have for the Irish border problem.
Dmytro Firtash, confidant of ousted Ukrainian president, faces bribery-related charges
Austriaâs highest court has upheld a decision making it possible to extradite the Ukrainian tycoon Dmytro Firtash, paving the way for him to face bribery-related charges in the United States.
Before his 2014 arrest, Firtash wielded significant political influence in Ukraine, where he had made a fortune from deals to import gas from Russia and central Asia and built a business empire worth billions.
Angie Zelter, 68, wanted judge to take âurgency of the climate emergencyâ into account
The first person to face trial over the Extinction Rebellion protests in April has been found guilty of a minor public order offence for blocking a road in central London.
Angie Zelter, 68, was given a conditional discharge at Hendon magistrates court on Tuesday after being arrested for lying in the road near Parliament Square on 17 April. She had been taking part in protests in which thousands of people blocked key sites across the capital over 10 days to highlight the escalating climate emergency.
In 2013 the Irish capital was ranked among the worldâs top 20 bike-friendly cities, but only a small part of the promised cycle network was ever built
One sunny May afternoon in Dublin, as the Spice Girls prepared to kick off their Spice World 2019 tour at Croke Park stadium, the coaches bringing their fans unwittingly sparked another reunion â the cityâs cycle activists.
It had been two years since the direct action group I Bike Dublin had mobilised to protect cycle tracks from car parking â uniting around twice a week under the hashtag #freethecyclelanes â but as police officers directed coach drivers to park in the bike lane by Dublin Bay, blocking the track, the protesters were back.
Chongqingâs population is estimated at just below 10 million but that rises to more than 31 million if the built-up surroundings are included. Belgian photographer Kris Provoost finds that in a city so large, individuals can get lost
High unemployment and living costs are driving people from the metropolis â but some rural residents arenât happy about the new arrivals
Su Ava has been up since 5am. There have been new lambs to check on, goats, cats and dogs to feed, beehives to inspect, orders to fill, and she has also made a visit to her under-construction workshop.
Her current life making and selling cheese, honey and tahini in Turkeyâs beautiful Ăanakkale region could not be more different to her old one in Istanbul. The work can be exhausting but, Ava says, she would not give it up for anything.
Her memoir of life with her abusive adoptive mother, the Hollywood superstar Joan Crawford, was perhaps the first ever to document child abuse from the point of view of the child. Now 80, is she finally free from the fallout?
It is Christina Crawfordâs 80th birthday on the day we meet, and she is energetic after an opening night. A couple of days earlier, Mommie Dearest, the musical based on her blockbuster 1978 memoir of the same name, had a run-through at Birdland, the renowned New York jazz venue, and she is hoping the show will find backing for a full production. âIt was sold out, it was fabulous,â she says, looking glamorous and spry, before issuing what has become a standard warning: âThe musical had absolutely nothing to do with the movie. I want to put that in big capital letters.â
The movie she is referring to is, of course, the 1981 adaptation of Christinaâs memoir that starred Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, Christinaâs adoptive mother, whose abuses, soberly detailed in the book, were turned by the movie into high camp. As chronicled in Mommie Dearest, Crawford slapped, kicked, punched and tried to strangle her daughter, while subjecting her to a severe schedule of cleaning and other household chores, driven by the movie starâs alcoholism and who knows what else. âWe didnât have a language for it,â says Christina. âWe didnât have laws for it. We didnât have a social context for it, and we had shame. A tremendous amount of shame, coupled with fear. It wasnât easy.â She laughs at the understatement. The publication of Mommie Dearest, perhaps the first memoir ever to document child abuse from the point of view of the child, changed the landscape of victim representation and was an early precursor to todayâs more robust state of victimsâ rights. âIâm not a martyr, but I think, looking back, it is truly amazing to me what one person can do.â
Three people could face jail if found in contempt of court over Blackpool protest
Three anti-fracking protesters have gone on trial accused of breaking an injunction designed to stop disruption of a fracking site in Lancashire.
Katrina Lawrie, Lee Walsh and Christopher Wilson took part in a âlock-onâ at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, on 24 July last year, less than a fortnight after a judge granted an injunction to the energy company Cuadrilla.
A bit more context on those incendiary tweets just sent by the president on Iran.
Trump threatened âoverwhelming forceâ and âobliterationâ should Iran attack âanything Americanâ.
With the first round of Democratic presidential primary debates set to take place tomorrow, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, currently polling at between 0-1% has tried sharing some of his debate preparation with the public.
Former ambassadors say far-right leader has cuddled up to rightwing nationalists, irked China, infuriated Middle Eastern partners, and jettisoned its position as climate crisis leader
It has long been considered one of the jewels of Latin American statecraft; a shrewd, dependable and highly trained foreign service that helped make Brazil a global climate leader and soft power heavyweight.
But six months into the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, even veteran diplomats struggle to mask their horror at the wrecking ball being taken to the countryâs nearly two century-old foreign office, known as Itamaraty after the Rio palace where it was once housed.
Jeremy Hunt calls for investigation into âviolent scenesâ during protests
The UK is suspending future sales of teargas and other crowd control equipment to Hong Kong until an independent investigation is held into allegations of police brutality during mass protests earlier this month.
The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who is campaigning to be the next prime minister, said no new export licences would be approved until concerns about human rights abuses were âthoroughly addressedâ. His statement appeared to leave existing export licences untouched, including open licences not due to expire until 2020.
State education minister James Merlino announces move aimed at reducing classroom distraction and cyberbullying
Students at Victorian public schools will be banned from using their phones from next year.
In an effort to reduce distractions and cyber bullying, and hopefully improve education outcomes, students will have to switch off their phones and store them in lockers during school hours until the final bell, Education Minister James Merlino has announced.
Political, security and cultural complications â not least a refusal to believe that Ebola exists â have thwarted efforts to overcome DRCâs deadly outbreak
Moise Kitsakihu-Mbira has lost his brother, his grandson and 11 other family members to Ebola. When he himself fell sick he sought treatment in secret. His family donât believe the virus exists and think a man in their village poisoned them.
Refusal to believe in the existence of Ebola is one difficulty for doctors who say the current outbreak of the deadly virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the âmost complex public health emergency in historyâ and warn it could drag on for months.
In the early hours of a Saturday morning in the city of Nadi, on the west coast of Fijiâs main island, Isaiah* is sitting in a Burger King drinking Fanta through a straw and explaining how he became a drug dealer.
He started five years ago, aged 13, selling cigarettes and marijuana. Now he sells cocaine and methamphetamines.
Visa decision overturned for British resident Nina Saleh, 48 hours after Guardian and others published her story
A woman who was refused a visa to return to London after travelling to Pakistan to adopt a baby has been told she can come home.
Nina Saleh has a Norwegian passport but full UK residency rights after living in London for 20 years. She was refused a visa to return home with baby Sofia three times, despite going through a stringent and lengthy adoption process in the UK with British authoritiesâ involvement.
From Colombia to Zimbabwe, members of a global network of rape survivors are demanding an end to the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war
All photographs by Raegan Hodge of the Dr Denis Mukwege Foundation
Carmen was raped by armed guerrilla forces in Colombia. Ekhlas was kidnapped by Isis in Iraq and forced into sexual slavery. Grace was taken by rebels from her classroom in Uganda, âgivenâ to a soldier and impregnated twice before finally fleeing to safety.
Today, these women are all members of the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, known as Sema, which translates to âspeak outâ in Swahili. The network represents roughly 2,000 rape survivors and 90 yearsâ worth of conflict across 21 countries in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Europe.
Plastics are among the most ubiquitous materials in our economy, our lives, and our environment. They are also among the most pervasive and persistent pollutants on Earth.
In recent years, stark images of beaches, waterways and wildlife filled with plastic have spurred demands for action to address plastic pollution. These calls are coupled with growing concern that plastic and its toxic additives pose serious risks to human health at every stage of the plastic lifecycle. Far less attention has been paid to the impacts of this same lifecycle on the Earthâs climate. This is a dangerous oversight.
Bernie Sanders has a radical plan to wipe out undergraduate and graduate debt for all Americans. Here is whatâs at stake
Going to university in the US is expensive â costing an average of over $34,000 a year in tuition and fees at private universities â which means for most Americans, the only way of viably pursuing higher education is to take out a student loan.
Did you ever decide to get off a jammed freeway and take the backroads even though deep down you knew that it wouldnât be any faster? Are you constantly switching to the faster lane on a busy freeway even though you notice that cars sticking to their lanes keep catching up with you?
Both are examples of action bias, the phenomenon in which people prefer doing something over doing nothing, even if the likely outcome of the action is worse than the outcome of inaction. Research has shown that actively managed portfolios tend to do worse than passive investments. And one study found that soccer goalkeepers prefer to jump left or right during a penalty-kick, even though the best thing would be to stay put in the middle.
The US president has signed an executive order placing âhard-hittingâ new sanctions on Tehran amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran. Trump said the measures were a âstrong and proportionate response to Iranâs increasingly provocative actionsâ after a US drone was shot down last week
The Stonewall rebellion in 1969 started a revolution in LGBT rights in the US. Ed Pilkington revisits the story 50 years on with those who were there. Plus: Lucy Siegle on the rise of fast fashion
On the evening of 27 June 1969, gay men and their trans and lesbian peers gathered as usual at a bar called the Stonewall Inn. What followed would change the course of LGBT rights in the US and the wider world. A police raid on the bar in the early hours of the following day descended into violence as supporters came out on to the streets and stayed there defiantly.
The Guardianâs Ed Pilkington has tracked down some of those who took part in the rebellion and joins Anushka Asthana to discuss what happened and the growing recognition of LGBT rights in the decades that followed.
Soap, toothbrushes and blankets are some of the items migrant children detained in the US do not need, a Trump administration official has claimed. Sarah Fabian, a lawyer for the US Department of Justice, argued at the US court of appeals for the ninth circuit that such children do not always require certain sanitary products
A bug-eyed, dreadlocked pooch called Scamp the Tramp took top honours on Friday at the 31st annual World's Ugliest Dog contest. Scamp beat 18 other contestants at the event, held in Northern California. Organisers say the contest is about bringing attention to the needs of rescue dogs.
Donald Trump has said the US air force was 'cocked and loaded' to attack three Iranian targets, but he withdrew the order with 10 minutes to spare after being told the airstrikes might kill as many as 150 people. The strikes were planned in retaliation for Iran shooting down an unmanned US surveillance drone
The European council president, Donald Tusk, and the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, raised some laughs after the leaders of the member states failed to reach agreement on who should take the bloc's top jobs. 'I note with some pleasure that it is not easy to replace me,' Juncker told a press conference. He will step down as commission chief in October
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