Category Archive: Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Office Fit-out: The Stress-Free Way

~by Lillian Connors~

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If moving is one of the most stressful things in life, then fitting out your office space is right up there high on that list as well. Planning out the whole thing, taking into consideration your worker’s wishes, finding the right partner for the job, and then finally moving your business –- it all sounds like a real nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s a stress-free way to fit out your office and here’s how to do it.   

office fit-out

 

Get your research done

First things first –- find out what you want your new office space to be. Remember the reasons why you are moving from your current building, and come up with a list of things that you did or didn’t like before. Also, make sure you run a survey among your employees and include them in the process. What works in your workspace and what does not? How much technology do you want and how much do you actually need? Analyze your workflow and your team to see what exactly it is that you want.

Come up with a plan

Planning ahead of time is essential if you want your office fit-out to go as smooth as possible, especially if you don’t want your work to stop for more than a few days. This is particularly important when it comes to technicalities, such as the installation of phone lines, broadband, etc. You don’t want any surprises to happen after your move is complete, so make sure you keep everything under control.

Set up a budget

The most important thing to remember when setting up the budget for your office fit-out is that it’s a long-term investment. Once you do it, you’re probably good for a decade; so take that into account when figuring out how much you’ll spend. If you’re on a budget, see where you can save up. Of course, to get the numbers right, it’s essential to know exactly what you want. Get estimates for everything, even for the little things. Once again, you don’t want any surprise costs.

Find a reliable contractor

office fit-outFinding the right partner for this job might seem a bit overwhelming when you first start looking, but it’s essential to set up your standards and stick to them. Meet with your potential contractors, ask to see their previous projects, and test their knowledge on legal issues of the job. Also, look for a contractor that works with your preferred style. For example, if you’re into contemporary office interiors, then hiring someone who has creative designers on their team and enough experience in that field is likely to give stunning results, both functionally and visually.

Reuse or replace

Some of the furniture you had in your previous office space can be reused in your new setting; so make sure you take that into account. It will affect your budget, but make sure you make that decision early in the process because your designers need time to think of a way to make it fit into your new style. For example, you can reupholster your old office chairs which will give them a fresh look and save you some money.

Have a plan for temporary working

If you don’t want to make a break in your business while you’re moving, then coming up with a plan for your workers is a must. You’ll probably need a few days to have all the furniture arranged and technology installed; so it would be best to let your employees work remotely. Whether it is from their homes or in a temporary office –- that’s all up to you. Just make sure you have a plan for the worst-case scenario.

Double-check everything and, finally, after you move, make sure you run a full office review to iron out minor creases if needed. Give it time to see how it works and then correct if there’s something to correct. After you’ve done that, you can just relax and watch your business grow in your new space.


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Lillian ConnorsMeet the Author: Lillian Connors

As the Co-Editor of BizzMarkBlog, Lillian Connors believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. 
You can check her out on LinkedIn.


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How to Make Your Business More Sustainable in 2017

~by Chloe Taylor~

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If you’ve been around the green business block over the past few years, you probably know that sustainable business operation entails low environmental impact, long-term utility savings and increased customer appeal. If your company hasn’t been a byword for eco-friendliness by now, however, 2017 is a good year to make some green changes. If you don’t know how to make your brand board the “environmentally safe” boat, here are a few smart and simple suggestions that will help you dial up your corporate game in line with hot and profitable green trends.

1. Office Appliances Gone Green

sustainable businessEnergy Star office appliances have been growing increasingly popular in the past few years, and for a reason. Although a tad costlier than non-energy efficient models, green office equipment is better for both the environment and your brand’s bottom line. When buying energy-saving technology for your office, check energy rating labels: more stars mean higher long-term energy savings.

2. Alternative Power Mode On

As global fuel supplies continue to dwindle, more and more brands are switching to alternative energy for an environmentally and financially viable change. For a clean and green power twist, go solar with your office power supply. The transition to solar energy will allow you to cut long-term electric bills, minimize your company’s ecological footprint, and perhaps even earn some cash by feeding surplus energy to the grid.

3. Go Paperless (or at Least PCW)

Many brands have gone paperless in the past couple of years, and you can make the switch, too. By replacing printed documents with digital data which you can store on a cloud service, you’ll drastically reduce the amount of paper waste and office storage space requirements while doing the environment a big favor. If you can’t go paperless in your workplace, you can at least switch to post-consumer waste paper which requires 45% less energy to produce and entails a waste footprint that’s 50% lower compared to that of standard paper.

4. Switch to Green Office Lights

Another simple way to up your brand’s green game in 2017 is to switch on energy-efficient light. Although slightly costlier compared to conventional incandescent bulbs, CFL and LED lights last a dozen times longer and use significantly less energy. If you don’t know which type of lighting will work best for your workplace, you can consult with an industrial lighting expert and inquire about the most cost-efficient option based on office size, budget, and lighting requirements.

5. Recycle, Repurpose, Repeat

If your brand is not recycling waste already, now is the perfect time to start doing so. In addition to paper, electrical waste can be taken to the local recycling plant to minimize your company’s impact on the environment. Also, you can repurpose or reuse hardware such as desks, shelving, chairs, and other furniture for an extra dose of environmental safety and productivity-conducive workplace décor. Bonus point: participation in the community recycling programs may earn you a few dozen new green-minded customers.

sustainable business

6. Eco-Friendly Side of Cleaning

Biodegradable cleaning supplies are safer for the employees, the environment and your brand’s bottom line. Swap commercial cleaning staples such as hand soap, dish liquid, glass cleaner, and bathroom cleaner which contain harmful chemicals with DIY counterparts: it will allow you to prevent toxic waste from getting into the drainage system and polluting water and soil while attracting eco-conscious consumers and reducing office maintenance costs at the same time.

7. Save Water, Don’t Flush Cash

Water scarcity has become a pressing environmental concern in most third-world countries and it may not be long before it comes knocking on your neighborhood’s doors. Fortunately, you can help save the planet by decking water outlets with water-efficient extras such as faucet aerators and low-flow toilets and shower heads. You should also inspect the waterways around the office and fix any leaks or damaged pipes: it’s only a matter of time before a minor hitch evolves into a serious and costly problem. If your office has a lawn or backyard, you should switch to drought-tolerant landscape design to minimize water waste through regular upkeep.

In the world of business as it stands today, sustainability, success and growth are synonymous with green office design. Are you ready to turn your corporate headquarters into a hotbed of comfort and peak profits? If your answer is ‘Yes’, don’t hesitate to put the tips above to use this year. It’ll help you improve brand image, reduce running costs and do good by Mother Nature. Good luck with your green business moves!


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Chloe Taylor

Chloe Taylor

Meet the Author: Chloe Taylor

Chloe is a young blogger and a huge fan of social media. She enjoys learning and writing about design, business, psychology, and productivity related topics. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. You can find Chloe on Facebook and Twitter.


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It’s Time to Jump off the Proverbial Cliff of Your Comfort Zone

~by Haley Lynn Gray~

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Too many times in business we want results but are reluctant to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone.  

We want income, but we are scared to talk to people and make sales.  

Sometimes we start to achieve more growth when we make ourselves the most uncomfortable. And that is when we start to see that massive growth.  

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Sometimes you have to be a lot like a lobster and grow through adversity. That means learning that it’s okay to make sales and to pitch to people in your business. Because it’s okay to ask for sales in your business. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s a GOOD kind of uncomfortable.  

I’ve experienced exactly this kind of growth in my personal life and in my own business in the last few years.  

When I first started my home care agency, I wanted to focus on internet advertising and operations, and to hire someone else to do the PR piece of the agency.  

What I learned instead is that people wanted to get to know ME as the owner of the agency.  They wanted to do business with ME. And they wanted to talk to ME. Problem was, I wanted to be in the office.  

You can guess how well that worked.  

comfort zoneIt didn’t.

So I learned that I had to go out and meet people. Face to Face. No matter how uncomfortable that was to my introverted self.  

It turned out that was a good thing. I learned my lesson, and learned so much about selling. And yes, I’ve even gotten somewhat more comfortable with making cold calls to organizations. It doesn’t mean that I’m totally thrilled with doing it, but I am confident enough in my skills to go out and meet people and ask them to do business with me.

And I am an introvert.

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and started going to networking meetings. I started meeting people and making cold calls. I sold my health care business, and now I’m focusing solely on Leadership Girl. And I’m seeing how pushing myself way out of my comfort zone has totally helped me.  

That painful lesson might have been scary at the time, but I learned a lot about sales… and that sales is the life blood of business. You have to sell in order to succeed.  

That growth has been empowering and uplifting. And now I have a much bigger shell.


Have you been using Google as your business consultant?

Are you ready to start working with an expert in business instead?

Schedule a consult with me today.


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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


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Staying Ahead of the Competition: Ideas for Savvy Entrepreneurs

~by Eileen O’Shanassy~

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With technology upgrades and updates and companies coming out with something new every year, it’s important to stay ahead of your competitors, ensuring yourself a profitable business. One of the biggest reasons why businesses fail is because they refuse to use current technology and don’t take advantage of the benefits it can offer their business. Luckily, there are a few ways you can stay ahead and keep your business on top.

Research Trends

Do exactly what the competition is doing: research current trends in business. Popularity among both consumers and other businesses will help you work your way to the top if you’re not already there. Check out social media or use the internet to find what will work for you. Make sure it’s a program that will be compatible with what your customers already use.

the competitionBe Innovative

No matter the size of your business, it’s important to brainstorm new ideas. These discussions can have you leading the trend, receiving constructive feedback on what to fix, and how to make things more efficient. The best people to listen to are the people who will be buying your product, and your employees. They know how the business works at the most basic levels, and will have some good ideas on how to improve.

Watch Your Habits

It may sound different, but use your security system much like your home security system. Any system that you have for security at your business will likely have a few cameras, which is useful on multiple levels. You can also use your security system to do a quick research of your facility. As well as keeping your place of business safe, it also is good to watch yourself work, or see how the employees work from time to time. Identify the least productive hours, how quickly customers are getting helped, and what habits slow you down. It’ll help you know where you need to go by seeing where you’ve been.

the competitionAudit the Competition

Find out what the competition is doing by checking up on them periodically. When you do, it’s best to devote full attention to it and look at all aspects of their business. Complete a thorough analysis of their web page, what they offer, social media profiles, and any other sites they might use. Even looking at their advertising is a great way to get an idea of where they stand, and where you want to be. 

These are some of the most basic ways to get ahead and stay ahead when it comes to your business. There are few things that will always be important to business regardless of what the industry is, including the consumer, new technology, fixing shortcomings, and watching the competition. Once you get those things done, then is a good time to stay innovative, explore a new market and expand.


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Eileen O'ShanassyMeet the Author: Eileen O’Shanassy

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking and kayaking. Check her out on Twitter @eileenoshanassy.


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Ready to Succeed? 4 Steps to Starting Your Own Small Business

~by Hannah Whittenly~

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If you don’t like your current job, don’t think you can advance in your field, or are just looking for more control over your professional life, it may be worthwhile to start your own business. However, before you start a company, it is critical that you think your plan through.

small business

What are some items to consider before you enter the marketplace?

1. Do You Have a Business Plan?

The first thing you need to do is create a business plan that addresses what your company does, how it does it and how it can be profitable. While it doesn’t have to be an in-depth document, it should address how the company will make money. For instance, it should detail whether the company will use generated revenue through memberships, subscriptions or sales made by affiliates.

It should also account for competition that already exists or competitors that may enter the market in the future. Furthermore, it should cover what the company will do if a new company or technology disrupts the current dynamic of the market. For instance, what will the business do if demand drops or a competitor engages in a price war to win your market share?

2. Make Sure That You Have Licenses and Credentials

Before you start your company, you may need to get licenses from your town, county or state. You may also need to register with the federal government to get an employer identification and tax number. In addition to getting the proper licenses for your business, it may be necessary to acquire or update professional licenses to increase credibility with customers.

If you plan on using third-party vendors to provide food, do contract work or provide other services, you should make sure that they are properly credentialed. This can easily be done through a vendor credentialing service. The last thing you want is to be liable for work someone else did because they didn’t have insurance or because of a paperwork error.

3. How Will You Market Your Business?

small businessStarting a business is only half the battle when it comes to getting sales. If no one knows that your company exists, you won’t make the money needed to stay in operation. This means that you will need to market either through radio or television advertisements, online ads or by putting posters on telephone poles in your local area.

When creating a marketing plan, you should strive to advertise in places where your target market spends time. If you are targeting younger people, that may mean advertising on social media or putting physical advertisements in schools or in youth centers. If you are targeting older people, you may want to advertise during afternoon television programming or near the assisted living facility.

4. What Is Your Customer Service Plan?

At some point, you will run into a customer who isn’t satisfied or who may need help making a purchasing decision. At first, you might personally handle complaints, concerns or requests. However, as your company grows, you may need to move into a call center or use social media to respond promptly to the needs of your customers.

Neglecting to meet the needs of your patrons is one of the easiest ways for a business to fail. No matter how good your products or services are, no one wants to spend money to be lied to, misled or otherwise treated as if they don’t matter.

Starting a company can be a great way to advance your ideas or gain more control over your professional life. While everyone dreams of being rich and successful, it is important that you cover the basics, like having a business plan and ensuring that your company can legally operate first.


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Hannah WhittenlyMeet the Author: Hannah Whittenly

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.


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4 Unique Hurdles Small Healthcare Businesses Must Deal With

~by Dixie Somers~

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Small medical businesses have different challenges to overcome in comparison to larger health networks. In addition to providing quality care, they must overcome the kind of problems that small businesses face when competing with large companies.

Here is a look at some of the common issues that these providers deal with, along with some creative solutions.

small healthcare businesses1. Insurance Companies

Insurance can be a tricky thing to deal with when you are a health care provider. Typically, there is a trade-off when it comes to working with an insurance company. You are more likely to get customers, but you end up making less money from in-network patients due to the network deals that are made. Large health care companies compensate for this by playing the volume game. They see a lot of patients every day. Small companies can offer extra time with individual patients. Instead of a five- to 15-minute checkup that touches just on the absolute basics of health, patients are given 30 minutes to an hour to discuss their overall wellness and devise strategies to make it better. This also gives the doctor a better idea of a normal health baseline in their patients. This can translate into earlier diagnoses when serious diseases appear. These boutique doctors can often charge a bit more for this service, and their clients are grateful to pay it.

2. Testing Services

To provide adequate medical care, health care providers must have access to lab services. Blood tests, X-rays, and mammograms are just some of the services that are needed to give a diagnosis. Doctors must be able to provide these tests by either contracting with individual labs or by providing the staff and equipment themselves. Both can be complicated. Some groups of individual medical providers will cluster into medical parks to try and simplify this for patients. They remain independent businesses, but the distance between the doctor and the phlebotomist may be the same number of steps away as it would be inside a hospital.

3. Disposal

small healthcare businessesThe disposal of medical waste can be complicated and expensive. Many of the items that come from a doctor or dentist are considered to be bio-hazard waste. As such, it requires special disposal services, and legal, safe removal comes with associated fees. There are some ways to recoup some of these costs, however. One innovative way to do this is to work with a service to refine dental scrap. Dentists can use these services to get profit returned to them from old fillings that are removed. Many of these fillings are made from precious metals like gold, palladium and silver. These items can be extracted from pulled teeth, sanitized and melted down to return a profit to the dentist.

4. Versatility

Network health systems are able to offer a cornucopia of doctors with the benefit of receiving a single bill. They also allow you to enter all of your patient data one time only, regardless of specialty. This convenience can be difficult for small health practices to compete with. Because of this, many small medical practices don’t try. They focus instead on the things that can only be found in small practices. Their offices may look homey instead of clinical. The receptionists know your name and remember the names of your pets and children. They sponsor local little league and other sports, and then attend the games. This kind of connection is sorely missed by a large number of people, and it can be a highly successful strategy for small medical practices.

While big business has a lot to offer, there are a lot of ways in which small practices can do extremely well in a competitive marketplace. By being creative, resourceful, and patient and community focused, smaller health practices can carve out a boutique marketplace that offers consumers a great way to feel that their health needs are well cared for.


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Dixie SomersMeet the Author: Dixie Somers

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.


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Trade Show Tips: How Pros Get Their Business Name Out There

~by Rachelle Wilber~

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At large industry trade shows, your business may be competing for the attention of guests. There could be hundreds of other businesses there competing against you, which means you need to get your name out there to get noticed.

trade show

These four tips will help you promote your business at the next industry trade show.

Giveaways

Giveaways are one of the easiest ways to get your business’ name out there at a big trade show. One fun way to do giveaways is to have a big prize wheel for guests to spin. You could also try a beanbag or ring tossing game. Some great giveaways include candy bars with your business name on the wrapper, Frisbees, purse-sized packs of tissues, and note pads.

Quality Bags

To hold those fun promotional giveaways, the guests at a trade show will need a bag. You could have great bags printed up with your business’ name, contact information and logo on them. This makes every guest at the event a walking advertisement for your business. Plastic bags with built-in handles are a convenient option. You might also consider a high-quality canvas tote bag to give away to the people who listen to your presentation or who engage with you.

Utility Trailers

trade showUtility trailers can be functional for your business, allowing you to haul all of your trade show equipment and supplies to the location. Some companies that sell trailers and accessories know that you can easily attach a promotional banner or sign for your business on the sides of the trailer. You could also have your business’ name, logo and contact information painted onto the trailer’s bed so that people could see it when it is empty.

T-shirts

While the staff of your business will likely wear either suits or apparel with your business’ name and logo on it, you can get other people in on the action too. Consider giving away tee shirts with your business’ name on them. Most people will wear the tee shirt while walking around town, going to the gym or doing things outside. This means that everybody you give a free tee shirt to will become a mobile ad for your business.

Trade shows are a great way to connect and meet with current and future customers. These promotional products will deliver name and brand recognition of your business to people who are likely to purchase from you. Buying these trade show supplies and equipment could also be a helpful little tax deduction for your company.


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Rachelle WilberMeet the Author: Rachelle Wilber

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym.

Follow Rachelle here:


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4 Potholes to Avoid on the Road to Business Success

~by Hannah Whittenly~

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business successRunning a successful business seems more and more difficult as the business world itself becomes an increasingly complex place to operate. While it is true that the way people do business today has changed radically, from even a few years ago, there are still ways a savvy entrepreneur can get a foothold in the market and ensure that their business will thrive despite all the modern obstacles to doing business.

Here are a few of the important potholes to avoid on the road to business success.

Do Not Forget to Adequately Fund Your Business

It is often said that it takes money to make money. The truth is that it takes lots of money to reap decent profits. Many entrepreneurs find themselves ill-prepared for the dangers funding deficiencies can cause to their business. For this reason, a business must be built on a solid foundation of capital funds. This will ensure that when a business is ready to grow or make a big move in the marketplace, the capital is there to drive the right plan of action that will best benefit a company’s bottom line. Unfortunately, a severe lack of funds is usually a sign that a business is dead in the water. Just know that there are a variety of methods a business can employ to obtain the funding it needs. From borrowing money from family and friends to selling stocks in the business, it is possible to raise enough capital to keep a business operational even through the tough times.

Being Out of Touch With Your Customer Base

From consumer feedback to great customer service, how a company chooses to interact with customers can often mean the difference between massive success and massive failure. This is another major area where businesses face difficulty, because they do not always know the best way to maintain a connection with their customer base. However, getting in touch with a company’s customer base will often require more in-depth research into the habits and the ways that customers access modern technology than a business has invested the time and resources towards. This is important since it exposes how to leverage all the available avenues for the best strategies to ensure your company is engaging customers on their level.

business successWhen Logistics Get out of Control

When you need product fast or need to make sure product will reach the right customer in a timely manner, there exists a wide variety of product suppliers and drop shippers who can help a business operate like a well-oiled machine. Fulfillment centers can help to ensure that companies they service turn over orders fast, and they should be able to provide real time tracking and reporting on anything from raw materials to finished products. When a company’s logistics are not running smoothly, this can and will often lead to many missed opportunities and lost profits along the way.

Not Outsourcing Where Needed

Outsourcing labor and tedious tasks to a third party company can massively improve the efficiency of a business’s daily operations. Because less of the heavy lifting on projects is being done in-house, a company that outsources will find it needs less staff and can get things done much faster. A business that fails to outsource where necessary will typically pay more to hire staff that cannot get nearly as much done for the low costs charged when hiring a third party provider. Often, keeping many of these tasks in-house leads to the need to spend more money than necessary on office space and is a mistake that should be avoided when possible.

While it is important to focus on the successful operations of a business, it is equally important to beware the many pitfalls that await a business in the marketplace. From technology-related business issues to employment standards, business’s today have to watch out for many unforeseen pitfalls as they strive to do it better than their competitors. For this reason it is essential for a business owner to keep their eyes open and be ready to face any challenges that stand to hinder how their business maintains its bottom line.


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Hannah WhittenlyMeet the Author: Hannah Whittenly

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.


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From Leader to Expert: Transitioning to Freelance Consulting

~by Jessica Walter~

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Is it time to take a step back from the day-to-day running of your business? Stepping out of business leadership does not mean stepping out of business altogether. Instead, it offers leaders such as yourself the chance to branch out into new fields, to turn your expertise and decades of experience into a lucrative, but flexible money earner. The advantage for the business owner is multifaceted and includes securing the longevity of the business you created and grew, creating flexible, challenging and rewarding gigs, and more time at home with the family or to devote to hobbies, interests and traveling. It is possible to have it all.

Succession Planning

freelance consultingBefore retiring or taking a step back, you want to ensure a smooth transition for the business. Succession planning is one of the trickiest elements for a business leader to undertake. There are also multiple financial and legal elements as well as business strategy elements to put in place first. And this brings you to the most important leadership question in the history of your business – are you going to pass it on to your children or are you going to sell the business?

According to Kennesaw State University in Georgia, only 33% of family run businesses remain stable after being passed down to the next generation. In addition to this, only 5% of businesses make it as far as the third generation. This represents the creative-destructive nature of capitalism, as well as the ebbing and flowing of money between generations. It also proves Plato’s belief in Republic that the tyrant (let’s say business leader) will be a success, but his children will not. The reason for this is that the 2nd generation grew up with the business already made. They did not have to make it themselves, so they are more used to the trappings than the striving.

Ensuring Your Financial Security

When taking a step back from a business, you need to be financially secure. This means either still receiving income from the business or selling it at value to fund your retirement. Putting your financial ducks in a row means it is vital to consider mortgages, pensions, tax burdens, and income levels for 3-4 decades post retirement. It also means being fully prepared for the costs of passing away, meaning that the costs of estate taxes, burial costs, charitable donations, gift giving, and outstanding debts are all covered. In having the business taken care of and all financial liabilities planned for and covered, you can then embark on your new life as a subject matter expert.

Branching Out into Freelance Consulting

freelance consultingNow you have time and energy to do more interesting things. If you enjoy speaking, writing or mentoring people, then there are a wealth of opportunities for you to take advantage of. It is possible to leverage your vast experience and get paid for it too. There are two main types of consulting work: paid and unpaid.

Paid: Working for a publicly traded or privately held business for gain. You may also be able to get paid for consulting work with state and federal agencies, but this is rarer.

Unpaid: Informal advisory work for startups, friendly companies, NGOs, or positions on community and charitable boards.

Both paid and unpaid consulting work can be achieved through networking, while others require volunteering, applications and elections. This can range from consulting on a specific element of the business related to your expertise, be it recruitment, strategic planning, P&L, product development, client relationship management, logistics, or a host of other areas. Alternatively, it can cover a single project within the business which you can help bring to fruition, a start-up needing a guiding hand to maturity, or a formal position on a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board.

Building Your Thought Leadership

Like any business, to develop a consulting career you need a business plan and a strategy to build yourself up and get yourself out there. It may require unpaid work to begin with, but one thing will lead to another.

Alternatively, you can develop a reputation for being a thought leader within your chosen field(s). Thought leadership is best demonstrated through speaking, writing articles, and even books – self-publishing makes this all the easier nowadays. There are countless industry, business and training seminars and conferences in which to get a speaking role. The same goes for blogs, magazines, newspapers, and so on. In addition to this, it is possible to work with local educational institutions to give guest lectures, run modules, do training sessions, and provide mentoring. All of these can go on a resume and really build your thought leadership.


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Meet the Author: Jessica Walter

Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.


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Get the Word Out: 4 Types of Marketing for Your Small Business

~by Anica Oaks~

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Developing an effective marketing strategy is usually challenging. But with research into your target market and some creative thinking, small business owners can drive more customer engagement to boost revenue. Innovative approaches for traditional marketing channels can lead to greater brand recognition.

types of marketing for your small business

Here are four types of marketing that you can use to bring more sales to your company.

Direct Mail

Most people tend to think of this as obsolete. But companies of all sizes have been doing this for years because it works. The average response rate for direct mail is 2.6 percent. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s not bad considering the relatively low costs involved. Email campaigns are even more affordable. Spamming is frowned upon, but by building your email list through opt-ins on your website, you’ve got an audience that’s already interested.

Barcode Technology

Smartphone users are using apps that let them scan barcodes, like Microsoft’s Tag. Using barcodes in your printed materials, including business cards and signage, provides a quick link to featured products. Users can simply scan a barcode with their phone to immediately get more information, photos, and so on from your website or other online sources. This is a great marketing tool in that it’s very convenient for customers.

types of marketing for your small businessSocial Networks

Major social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also cost-efficient ways to build up a following. You simply set up a profile and post new products, offers, photos, or other relevant info. But it isn’t an advertising channel. Above all, you have to engage with your audience by answering questions and responding to comments. Social sites also enable you to gather feedback from your audience. Many sites also now have user analytics and paid ads to take your marketing one step further.

Promotional Merchandise

Corporate gifts emblazoned with your company name and logo are an excellent way to increase brand awareness and enrich the customer experience. Screen printing can be done on a variety of surfaces at a low cost. A screen printing company can assist with artwork services, prepare and inventory a variety of screens, and provide a variety of products and services to help you get the best cost and quality from gift merchandising.

These are just a few ways to engage more customers. It’s important to understand the likes and dislikes of the demographic you’re targeting. But with the right knowledge and some original ideas, you can make your company stand out from the competition.


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Anica OaksMeet the Author: Anica Oaks

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean and anything outdoor related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


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