1. Have an idea. It might be a product you’ve always wanted to make, or a service you feel people need. It might even be something people don’t know they need yet, because it hasn’t been invented!
You know that multitasking is a bad idea. You may even know that frequent multitasking shrinks your brain and lowers your IQ. But did you know that, far from saving you time, multitasking cuts your productivity by a whopping 40 percent?
1. Choose one task and commit to it.
2. Pick a place to park distracting inspirations.
3. Give yourself the gift of distraction-free time.
4. Perform related tasks in clusters.
5. Grow your attention span with a little quiet time.
6. Become a master at saying no.
7. Ask the people around you to hold you accountable for focusing.
For many companies, worrying about expansion and diversification can seem like a luxury. After all, one of the biggest struggles for a young company is identifying even a single core offering that will drive the brand and business in the first place, let alone expand beyond its current parameters. A startup is like a controlled experiment. At the start, it’s nothing more than an idea or business plan that you think will be successful. You hope your experiment works, and how you choose to handle your expansion and growth will determine your company’s long-term success or failure.
The Benefits of Expansion
Expansion allows you to add value to your existing offerings. If you expand by focusing on complementing your current business, you can create related upsell opportunities that naturally lead to further demand and growth. You can also address market needs that are a better fit for your offering. Grow and convert consumers by solving a bigger problem with your product. This might require adding features based on what your competitors are offering to bring value and to differentiate yourself in the market. As you expand, remember to:
Make sure new features and products complement or enhance your current portfolio. While there may be a drive to churn out something (anything) new, resist the urge. This can lead to releasing offerings that have no place in your business.
Evaluate “cool” features. While nice to have, they can drain resources if they aren’t essential. Don’t waste the time or money if they won’t increase your bottom line.
Limit complications. Over-innovation can drive consumers away. Innovation that begins complicating something that originally thrived on simplicity will lose its value.
Don’t Let Expansion Control You
To achieve balance during growth and increase your chances of success, focus on controlling expansion at a manageable rate. Identify the core value of your offering and ensure that new ideas connect with this to avoid overextending your business. The key to manageable expansion is simplicity. You can develop a simple expansion or complementary offering at lower costs while still meeting the needs of the market. As you grow, the key factor will be you. Sleepless nights without breaks and constant stress do not support long-term growth or health. You need to know when to relinquish some control to maintain your sanity and success.
Tips for World Domination
Often, a company will wait until a product is perfect before it launches. If you wait until it’s “perfect,” you’ve launched too late. It’s often better to finalize a product after receiving early market feedback. This allows you to incorporate new ideas and create a product you may not have originally envisioned in the vacuum of your lab. Never forget to stay within your limits. Make sure you have the means to execute. While reaching for the stars is a great goal, you’ll end up stranded in space if you don’t have enough fuel to get there. Lastly, the most important thing you can do is to surround yourself with the right people. People you trust to complete key tasks can free more time for you to focus on the big picture: managing your company’s growth.
It Can’t Be Done, Can It?
Nest began as a simple, intuitive way for people to control their home heating and cooling systems. Its core offering was a change from old, outdated legacy systems to fun, innovative and connected platforms. Nest’s expansion model increased its product offerings into different home segments while maintaining its core interface simplicity. Success followed quickly, with growing segments in carbon monoxide monitors and smoke detectors. As a result of its success, Google recently acquired Nest for over $3 billion. Launching 10 new products to diversify and expand may not be the answer for your business. Every business has different goals and paths to success. Keep in mind something a venture-funding company recently relayed in one of our meetings: “We’ve had months without failure, and it’s the scariest time in our corporate life.” If you’re not failing, you’re not trying enough new things to grow your business. And if you’re not growing, you’re stagnating, and eventually your business will fail.
Involving third parties in relationship matters doesn’t solve your problem, it compounds the issue. If you discuss your private affairs in public, it is going to backfire. Managing relationships by committee condemns them to a premature death. The best approach is to allow time, patience and the human conscience a moment to work. Besides, only you and the person that’s involved posses the ability to actually solve your problem. Once you put people in your business, you never get them out. It’s human nature for people to hold on to negative preconceptions about people. This is especially true as it pertains to your friends and family when you immerse them in your relationship.
It’s better to keep your business to yourself, others just want to do you pain.
Be wise and hold your mouth, the worst that will come out of it is staying the same. – morayo
There is an old saying, “A dog that brings a bone carries one.” In other words, people that have an eager ear to hear your business cant wait to tell it. Using your as the example, don’t you have at least one person you share information with? Other people are just like you! The juicier the gossip, the harder it is for someone to hold it in. There is a ninety percent chance that anything you say will be repeated to someone. Not only are you needlessly exposing your relationship to unnecessary scandal, you’re betraying your mate. Long after the two of you get past the problem, friends, relatives and those in your social circle will still be whispering about you and your significant others past issues. i.e. Don’t get pissed off at your relations when you put them in your business to begin with.
So, you get it: Keep your business and personal credit separate. But how do you get started?
1. Establish your business as a separate legal entity.
This could be as a sole proprietor, LLC or S-Corp. Sit down with your tax advisor or financial planner to determine which legal entity fits your business and financial situation. Sites like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer can take care of the legwork. You just complete an online questionnaire and pay a small fee. The websites fill out the documents and file them with your state. You can receive your official formation documents in about seven to 10 days.
2. Set up a business checking account.
This keeps your business financials more organized and allows you to get a clear picture of where your money is going. It usually takes just 30 minutes to set up an account at your local bank.
Use the business account for all business-related expenses. When paying yourself, deposit the money into your personal checking account. Your business checking account also allows your business to use employee payments as tax deductions from income, while letting you show personal income for the purpose of loans, credit and taxes. Business lenders will want to see your bank statements to get a true picture of how you’re performing.
3. Build a business credit history.
Start by opening a business credit card and always paying on time. The business credit bureaus will add this positive payment history to the credit file dedicated just to your company. Unlike personal cards, you may be able to deduct interest from business credit cards. When applying for a business card, just be sure to verify that the card provider reports to business credit bureaus and not to personal ones.
One of the biggest mistakes new businesses owners make is relying on personal credit cards to fund operations. Not only do you take on liability, you can damage your personal credit. If you have a personal score of 800 and max out your cards, your score will drop below 700. A 100-point drop will definitely cause your odds of getting credit to tank. It’s that severe.
Along with getting a business credit card, you should also open credit lines with your vendors and suppliers. This is known as trade credit. It gives you extra time (net 15, 30, or 60 days) to pay for your supplies and services. Depending on what type of industry you’re in, you can open accounts with businesses like Office Depot, Staples, UPS, Home Depot, etc. These companies are usually willing to establish a small credit line for your business without reporting or checking on your personal credit information.
As you establish a consistent history of on-time or early payments with these suppliers, your business credit scores will improve. This will allow you to access even more credit with even better payment terms. It’s a snowball effect.
4. Monitor your business credit regularly.
After establishing healthy business credit, you’ll want to stay on top of it. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the credit score of 33 percent of businesses may decline over just a three-month period. That’s why your lenders and creditors reassess your company’s creditworthiness on an ongoing basis. If your credit deteriorates, terms can be adjusted or stopped altogether. Without notice, you could be forced to pay cash on delivery for your supplies in place of your normal 30 days payment cycle. Regular monitoring helps avoid these nasty surprises.
Here are 20 Inspirational Quotes for healthy business:
1. “You can’t have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic.” — Stephen C. Hogan
2. “When I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures. So I did 10 times more work.” — George Bernard Shaw
3. “If you have an idea of what you want to do in your future, you must go at it with almost monastic obsession, be it music, the ballet or just a basic degree. You have to go at it single-mindedly and let nothing get in your way.” — Henry Rollins
4. “Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.” — William James
5. “Many people think they want things, but they don’t really have the strength, the discipline. They are weak. I believe that you get what you want if you want it badly enough.” — Sophia Loren
6. “Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” — Swami Sivananda
7. “If a man is called a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and Earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
8. “All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” — Pope Paul VI
9. “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” — Stephen King
10. “God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest.” — J.G. Holland
11. “Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more.” — Edward H. Harriman
12. “The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.” — Marvin Phillips (or an unknown author)
13. “The person who is waiting for something to turn up might start with their shirt sleeves.” — Garth Henrichs
14. “Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” — Marcus Washling
15. “If you feel you are down on your luck, check the level of your effort.” — Robert Brault
16. “You’re either changing your life or you’re not. No waiting for this or that or better weather or other hurdles. Hurdles are the change.” — Terri Guillemets
17. “Be not afraid of going slowly. Be afraid only of standing still.” — Chinese proverb
18. “He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” — Dutch proverb
19. “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.” — Margaret Thatcher
20. “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” — George Bernard Shaw
Something that has worked wonders for me over the years is to write at least one really moving quote on a note card and carry it around with me everywhere I go. Whenever I am feeling unmotivated or in a slump, I take a glance at this card and instantly get right back on track again.
Make it your personal business to never let anyone outwork you.
There are as many ways to evaluate as there are fish in the sea, but here are some basic topics that I use to measure my success keep me open to future opportunities.
I know you have heard of the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid! This works really well for me. I don’t like wasting time (mine or my customer’s) and thus this particular mantra, if you like, has become a very important measuring criterion.
Everything in my business has to be easy: to create, to implement, and to follow moving forward. If things start to feel overly complicated, then I know I’m in trouble and look for ways to simplify my task.
Simplifying allows me to see what I need to cut out, what I need to continue and strengthen, and where the gaps are. Sometimes all I need to do to see an opportunity for simplicity is to strip things down to basic goals and the processes I use to reach them. Taking the time to simplify now, will ensure that I am open to opportunities in the New Year.
When I was young they called it the “food chain.” The bigger fish eat the smaller fish…but now educators call it the “food web.” It’s not a linear progression from one fish to another, it’s about the connections between the fish, the plants, bacteria, the water, and so much more.
Businesses are like that! Connections are key to creating opportunities.
Of course, you have heard this before. But keep reminding yourself that the right connections not only can increase your client base and income but also create new opportunities for further development in both business and personal life.
You never know where any, one single fish (or connection) in your web might lead you! The broader the web you create, the higher the chances of connectivity leading to amazing opportunities.
Everyone knows that education is vital for children. The problem is that many of us feel that once we finish school our schooling should end as well.
This is a mistake. Education should be an ongoing part of your business, and your life! Attend live and virtual events, talk about what you do with complete strangers on the bus, in a cafe, or at your kids’ school. Insight or enlightenment can come from the most unlikely of places.
Read print and online publications, when you can, to see where the world of small business is heading and maybe discover a new direction you could take in your business.
Learning about your business, your topic, your field should not be seen as an “extra” but as an essential part of your business. You will never know everything there is to know about your field, but the more you know the more opportunities you will see.
4. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking, as we know, is a skill that every manager is supposed to have. But it’s sometimes hard to think critically about your own small business.
As you look for ways to improve your critical thinking in this year don’t forget to allow for “non-business” business thinking. I find that spending time with kids playing with legos, playing chess, or doing puzzles not only rests my brain but stimulates it at the same time. Saving Baby Born from hunger and fighting back dinosaur attacks enables me to free think and I often identify quite spectacular possible future scenarios for my business.
Critical thinking is essential, but there is no rule that it has to be done at your desk. Try to ensure that you allow time for thinking in a variety of situations. Creative critical thinking can solve challenges and help you visualize future opportunities.
A SWOT analysis is a method of evaluation that maps out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in a situation. Consider doing this at least once a year (or more often if you like) for your business to help you see any opportunities you may have missed in the grind of day to day management.
I love to review my SWOT analysis over time to see how the opportunities I identified in the past panned out. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment to see how strengths that I identified have been nurtured and have grown over time.
I try to do a SWOT analysis three or four times a year as my small business blooms because as a solopreneur it’s up to me to work with my wonderful self and to identify, foster and grow my own awesome opportunities.