I have spent a number of years both running my own organizing business and training new organizers to succeed in the industry. Along the way, I’ve written some articles that focus on different issues of entrepreneurship — networking, finding balance between work and home life, adding value to your services, creating a business plan, and more. Enjoy and succeed in business!Click here for reuse options!
There is a lot of talk these days about “adding value” to your business. Well that's a nice concept, how do you go about doing that? What kinds of practical steps can you take to make your product or service seem like it is worth more to the customer than a competitors? And how can you add value to your company without going broke in the process? Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
What is one of the greatest ways to add value to your business? Nope, it's not giving away free merchandise, offering special discounts, or even creating a preferred customer club. One of the most valuable commodities that you can provide your customers is information. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Have you ever heard the old joke about working for yourself — “At least you can't say your boss is a moron anymore” — well, actually you can! Many of us treat ourselves worse than we would ever treat an actual paid employee — long hours, constant browbeating, a total lack of recognition. Work conditions like these caused you to quit your job and started your own business in the first place — why are you replicating them in your own home? Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
How often do the words “I need” come out of your mouth, as it relates to your business? When you run your own company, it’s easy to think that the only way to succeed is to spend — on the newest technology, professionals services, more and more costly marketing efforts, etc. And it’s particularly difficult to resist the urge when you know you can take a tax deduction for it. But did you ever stop to think how many of those requests are actually needs, and how many are simply wants? Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
What comes to mind when you think of networking — cocktail parties? Shaking hands and exchanging business cards at a Chamber of Commerce events? Endless lines of people anxious to make you a customer? Sweaty palms and panic? Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Sometimes, new entrepreneurs are in such a rush to get started at their businesses that they jump right into working with customers without giving much thought to their business name. “I’ll just do business under my own name for a while, until I find something I like.” While it seems easy at the time, you might want to re-think the plan to change business names down the road. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
You've just gotten off of the phone with a potential client. You've explained what you do and how you can help them — and they still didn't end up hiring you. Where did you go wrong? You are experienced, professional — and yet you seem to have a hard time turning leads into paying clients. Perhaps you are approaching the situation from the wrong perspective. Maybe you are focusing too much on the sale and not enough on the potential for a relationship with this person. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Many service professionals tell me that they are uncomfortable with the idea of marketing — like marketing is a bad word! For some, “marketing” brings up images of telemarketers, aggressive sales people, and feelings of resentment at being invaded. But marketing is really about connecting with your customers. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
A major concern for small business owners is insurance. As an entrepreneur, you should consider two basic types of coverage — the first is insurance that protects you as an individual. Other kinds of insurance protect your business interests. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Budgeting — ooh, what a scary word! If you want to frighten someone whose business finances are out of control, suggest that they tally up their expenses on a piece of paper. We all understand the value of such an exercise, but when it comes to the practicality of putting a budget together, we get cold feet. Budgeting doesn't have to be so painful, when you have a systematic series of steps to follow. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Some people think that publicity is all about the paparazzi and scandal. But, as a small business owner, publicity is actually one of your greatest allies! People who read about you in the newspaper or hear an interview with you on the radio will sit up and take notice — much more notice than if they simply see a flier of yours posted at the Laundromat. But you have to be in charge of your relationship with the media, and make sure that it is a good one! Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
If you have the entrepreneurial spirit (which clearly you have!), you probably have a tendency toward being a control freak. I know the feeling well — “No one can do it as well as me, so I'll just do it all!” While this may seem to be more efficient than trying to bring someone else in to help out, it's actually more time-consuming in the long run. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
As a service provider, the most important type of “boundary” you can set as a business owner involves those policies and procedures that govern how you interact with your clients. The more precise you can be about the services you provide, your fee structure, and what you expect from your clients, the smoother your work relationships will be. And the most effective way to make sure that there is no confusion is to have each client read and sign a written contract. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
One of my favorite quotes is often used to describe goal-setting — but it applies equally well to your marketing efforts. We start with Alice lost in the woods in Wonderland, where she comes upon the Cheshire-Cat. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
What the heck is “guerrilla marketing”? This is a phrase coined by Jay Conrad Levinson to describe marketing activities the involve more ingenuity, imagination, and manual labor than money — perfect for the Professional Organizing industry! Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
It's a common misconception by business owners — we think that we provide good customer service, but how do you really know? Sometimes, it seems like the only way to find out that you aren't offering good service is to hear about it through a customer complaint. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
You don’t have to be Fortune 500 CEO to need a functional office. But, unlike many high-ranking CEO’s, you may be working out of a small office — or your back bedroom — and you are probably on a budget. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to put up with inefficient work spaces, inadequate equipment, or unreliable technological solutions. You can have everything you need to work effectively, without spending a fortune. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
What if — every time you had a networking appointment with someone — you invited a third person. Sound like a ridiculous concept? Why on earth would you want to do this? Aren't you taking the focus off of your business and putting it on someone else's? Here are 5 reasons why multiple meetings are beneficial. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
You don't have to be Fortune 500 CEO to need a functional office. But, unlike many high-ranking CEO's, you may be working out of a back bedroom — or the corner of your dining room — and you are probably on a budget. However, that doesn't mean that you have to put up with inefficient, uncomfortable, and unproductive work spaces. You can have everything you need to work effectively from home, without spending a fortune. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Many people think that they can only get involved in e-commerce if they have a product or service of their own to sell — or a lot of products and services to sell. But this simply isn't true. You can jump on the band wagons for many large companies who already have an amazing array of products available to the general public — but are looking for ways to increase their exposure. And one of the easiest ways for them to do this is by offering an affiliate program. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Have you ever wondered if you are really cut out to be a business owner? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the many hats you have to wear — the tremendous number and variety of responsibilities you face each day? Did you ever think to yourself, “There has to be a better way to run a business than this!” Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
The home-based worker is an entirely different animal than the typical employee. When your office is in your home, it's hard to keep your private life from intruding on your work, and your business from taking over your personal time. Let's examine the species “work-at-homer” in its natural habitat and watch the life-or-death struggle for balance Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Setting goals is the easy part — but sticking with them over the long run can be a major challenge! Some people think that motivation requires will-power and dedication. Actually, staying motivated is all about setting up an environment that is conducive to you accomplishing your goals. Here are ten “tricks” for giving your business goals staying power past January 31st. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Working at home offers both the best and worst of both worlds. You have the freedom to get up whenever you want, wear pajamas in your office, have lunch with a friend on the spur of the moment, and put in a load of laundry between phone calls. But you can also suffer from multiple distractions (family, friends, personal responsibilities), a sense of isolation from the rest of the world, the lack of structure, and a shortage of support staff. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
You might be thinking, “Why should I send a press release to the media — they aren't going to care about what I'm doing with my business.” Well, you are dead wrong! Editors and producers earn their living by finding interesting stories — they see you as a resource, rather than an inconvenience. As long as you let them know about a newsworthy event, they will be thrilled to hear from you. So what counts as “newsworthy”? Here are ten great reasons to send out a press release. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Are you guilty of hyperfocusing? This is a term that's common to the ADD community, but it's an easy habit for anyone to fall into. Sitting at the computer for hours at a time, working with absolutely no sense of anything else going on around you. You look up, and the whole day has flown by without you realizing it. We've all done it — and we all know it's not healthy. So what can you do to put some forced breaks into your day? Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
As a small-business person, you probably realize that automating your office is becoming crucial to success. The speed of business these days is measured in nanoseconds — the only way to keep up and stay competitive is to get “plugged in.” But where do you start? This list includes all of the major technologies you should consider for your business as well as a few suggestions for making smart consumer decisions. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
Publicity is one of the least expensive and most effective marketing methods available to you as a small business owner. There are many different ways to get publicity — print media, TV, radio. Here are some of the benefits of the major media outlets. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
It can be hard to run your own business without sacrificing your personal life. You have so many responsibilities, huge dreams, and a limited amount of time in which to accomplish it all. But there is no reason why you have to do it all yourself! Rather than trying to wear every hat in your business, consider putting together a team of professionals to support you in your efforts. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!
You might be thinking to yourself, “Why should I waste my time writing a business plan? I know what (web designers, freelance writers, professional organizers) do!” Knowing intellectually what your industry is all about and pinpointing exactly where you want your business to go are two entirely different propositions. Read MoreClick here for reuse options!