Small Business Marketing Hacks Every Business Owner Should Use

There’s a lot that’s changed recently with online marketing. Most people now go straight to Google to search for something they want. The phone book is out and Google, or search traffic is in. If you are a small business owner you can benefit from the internet as a source of business. What’s even better is that you can tap into this resource for free if you have a physical business.

Google Places

Google Places lets you advertise your local business for free in the search results. When someone searches for a local business in your area, your results will come up first for many searches. This is a simple cost effective strategy you should definitely be employing in your business. With Google Places, you list your local business and Google will send you a confirmation postcard with a Google verification code on it. Once you have verified your listing with this code, Google knows you actually reside at this address, or run a business from it.

Google Places works wonders for small business owners who work from a certain location. If you’re not on it you are definitely missing out on business. Plus, your competitors could be using it which means they could be taking your potential customers. To use Google Places just do a quick search for it on Google and it will take you through the setting up process.

Bing Places

Bing also offer this same listing on their own search engine. It’s just like Google Places so not much to add here really. Simply fill out your details on the online platform and verify your listing when you receive a code in the post. When you create your listing you will have to list your business within a certain category, or two. Look through the existing categories and find the one or ones which are the best fit for your business. This is the same as Google Places. By listing in more than one category, if the platform allows, you can benefit from a number of searches within your local area.

Other Listings For Free

Yell and Yahoo also offer free listings for businesses too. Also do a ‘Google search’ for local directories and free listings and you will find a range of sites which offer free business listings in your area. In some cases even the extra links back to your website can make a difference to your ranking, even if the link itself doesn’t bring you more business.

Blogging

You may well not have the time or inclination to start a blog. However, in some business areas blogging is a good way to increase your business reach online in a fairly cost effective way. Depending on your business, and whether it opens itself to a blog, you can get some good results by targeting some keywords in your business niche, or simply writing compelling content and sharing on social media.

Keyword Research

You can use Google’s free keyword planner to search for terms which are already getting hits on the search engine. By finding long tail keywords in your business niche and writing good content for them, you stand more chance of being listed on the search engine. If you can find untapped keywords which bring in customers to your business, you can write articles which will bring in customers for free for years to come for free.

Paid Advertising

After you have exhausted the free methods of advertising, you can start looking at paid advertising methods. Many business owners try and fail with paid advertising. This is why it is worth learning properly the do’s and don’ts of paid advertising.
Pay per click advertising can make a massive impact on your business. But you should also be very careful. Make sure you start out with a small budget and get properly educated on how to create adverts and which keywords to choose. In particular look at the different types of keyword matches. Get this wrong and you can easily burn through your budget and list your advert for entirely the wrong audience.
However, paid advertising is remarkably scalable. Once you have a campaign which works you can easily increase your budget and you are in a position to pay for new customers.

Return On Investment

When I started with pay per click I didn’t understand return on investment. I ‘dipped my toe in’ and dabbled very tentatively. If I didn’t see an immediate profit, I stopped altogether. This is a mistake. Initially there is a lot of testing and measuring to do with paid advertising. After a while you get an advert which successfully brings you customers. However, knowing the return on investment from successful doing this is a game changer. If your customer goes on to purchase again and again, how much are they worth to your business over a year, or 10 years? Knowing this is a huge key to having the confidence to put money into an advertising campaign. Even if you lose money in the short term, your new customers will bring you new business over the long term. Learn the average spend from each customer over a year and then 10 years. Then decide what each customer is worth in terms of advertising. Does this change your view on what you can afford?

Paid Advertising Methods

There are various paid advertising methods available to use for small businesses online. Start with one method and become good at that before moving on to the next. Facebook advertising lets you target potential customers down to their interests, location and other variables. Pay per click advertising lets you target intent driven adverts. With pay per click you start with the keyword your visitor is looking for online. Once you have tested and measured an advertising method and you have a profitable model, you can leave it running and scale it easily. Then move on to the next one.

Even if you only use a couple of the methods suggested in this article, you can dramatically improve your business with only a small amount of effort. Once you have learned all these methods, you will know how to scale up your business and increase your profits. You can then invest in other forms of advertising, testing and measuring as you go. Whether these are on the internet or offline, using the same strategy (which lets you measure the response of a customer) means you can gradually improve all your advertising methods over the long term, increase profits and grow your business.

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8 Golden Success Secrets for Small Businesses

Running a small business is as challenging as trekking to Mt. Everest without having oxygen cylinder, prior practice, and a valid map guide. The challenges are only because there are no authentic rules that can lead a small business towards success while other major obstacles comprise: low budget, limited manpower, and lack of efficient resources. But as a small business owner, you must delve into the passcodes that help you decode the secret patterns of operating a successful startup or small business. It not only helps you to sustain your current growth but also excel your business planning’s to achieve higher objectives. There are a few suggestions based on real-world experiences, which can assist you to hit the bull’s eye.

1- Utilize the power of social media:

Nowadays, the entire world revolves around social media and if you are able to use its full potential, it can immediately help you increase your sales and brand reputation with very minimum resource and effort. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, help you connect with a large scale of users, where you can directly interact with them, thereby allowing you to convert them into your potential clients. It forms a two-way channel that not only allows you to put your message across but also, listen to what your targeted audience want, which eventually goes a long way in improving and growing your business.

2- Research and analyze your competition:

A business turns to be successful only if it runs on some finely grinned facts and figures. And competition analysis is one of the most important elements of the process. Competition analysis tells you the strength you will require to establish your brand in the market as well as it helps to prepare your business planning adequately so that you could avoid the chances of business failure. An additional benefit of competition research is it allows for designing and developing more feasible and user-oriented products that eventually help you attain a competitive edge over the current market.

3- Work as per your plan but be flexible too:

Efficient planning is a roadmap that drives your business to the top in the long run with predefined routes. It is always advised to stick with our planning even if we face a few hurdles while running our business given that the strategies are designed after in-depth analysis. And day-to-day challenges should not incline you to alter with whatever you planned. The winners always back their business plannings regardless of the stiff challenges, but on the other side, a successful business requires the owner to be flexible enough to embrace new changes. Adapting the new ideas and concepts not only makes a business owner take smart decisions but also, keeps their core planning intact and fresh.

4- Use informative materials to build trust and loyalty:

The Internet is the best medium to reach out to the huge audience with less effort, but you should keep the fact in mind that there is already a heavy flow of advertisements and endorsements all over the web. So, what can be an efficient way to create our presence with a significant impact?

There are definitely some better ways to do it like using informative online materials such as well-written blogs, well-designed infographics, animated videos demonstrating some set of skills, and presentation sheets, etc. Following such practices will attract a huge mass to our platform to learn and engage with us, which gives a sense of trust and ultimately convert them into our long-term clients.

5- Hire your weaknesses:

A small business consists of a team of limited dedicated professionals, having different skill sets of all the corners to tackle most of the business requirements. Small businesses, sometimes, compromise in some crucial areas since they can’t hire specific individuals due to the lack of budget. To get your business positioned to the top, please don’t bear with your inefficient area. Rush into hiring experienced professional(s) so that all parts of your business fire with the same intensity.

6- Be ready for mergers and acquisitions:

Even after working with your full potential, you may not generate enough force to compete with the leading competitors. Other small businesses with the same concept may face the same situations. Just find them and join in the talks to check the possibilities of the merger to form a combined force, which can provide the required pace and power to achieve the common business goals. Mergers have a long, rich history of producing successful businesses, so don’t shy away with it. Similarly, business acquisitions are a noble idea to inject more strength to our business if budget allows us to do so.

7- Keep the quality service always on:

Quality service is the most important source that keeps your client for a longer period of time and it spreads huge positive feedbacks in the mass, driving in a large number of new clients. There have been more than just a few businesses reaching to the top just on the base of excellent service and even without spending a bomb on advertisements and business promotions. While there are other businesses which have failed miserably because of giving no importance to the quality of the services they provided. All in all, having the sound quality of the products/services is the key to succeeding in today’s cut throat competition.

8- Don’t give up:

Running a successful business is not a child’s play since it requires a lot of guts, courage, and risk-taking capabilities. It, sometimes, shakes your ambitions when going through some rough patches, and you need to have the burning desires within you to keep it alive. Keeping patience is also an important character that the small business owner must have, as the formation of a business and climb the ladder of success, demands to wait for long period of time. So, as a business owner, you need to instill never give up attitude to see your dreams come true!!

Summing it up, though the above-mentioned points are not entirely foolproof but yes, following these points will definitely help you to become a smart small business owner who can defy all the challenges and get on the top of the competition. Of Course, the chances of success or failure of your business completely depends on your planning and execution.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Start An Online Business

Whether you are attracted to an internet business because you hate your current job, want to improve your circumstances, or would like a more flexible lifestyle, the internet offers all these opportunities.

Why An Internet Business?

1- Flexibility

Many people come to find themselves with an internet business through necessity rather than deliberate creation. For me, I needed a flexible job which I could work around contract work. It didn’t come in often but when the phone rang, I needed to take the work. This presented all kinds of problems. Normal work didn’t pay as well and employers didn’t want me taking large chunks of time off when the other work came in!

I tried juggling several jobs over a number of years but nothing seemed to fit. At around the same time I was attempting to use e-bay to buy and sell for a bit of extra money. It wasn’t until later that I discovered affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing, for those who don’t know is a kind of referral selling. You point links from your website to other people’s goods and services. The link is tracked so that when you make a sale you are rewarded for it with a commission.

Once you know how to do this you can set up links from your online content to other people’s products and services. You can also use paid advertising to find people all over the world to sell to. This was perfect for my work because I could take my laptop anywhere with me and as long as I had an internet connection I could work. It didn’t interfere with the work when it came up, I had no boss to answer to so it was the perfect solution.

2 – Automation

There’s also a number of other reasons why I chose an internet business – and why you should too! The flexibility of the business was my primary concern. I wanted to be able to choose my own hours so I could take work when it came without any complications. But the other reason I chose this particular model was the ability to use technology to ‘leverage’ my time and income.

Once I had a website and content up and running, it kept going and I was able to make sales and deliver products without being physically present. This is the ‘magic’ of an online business. The automation involved with an online business means that you can do the work once and let that work keep running in the background. You can make sales and deliver products over and over through the same piece of content or advert, which can run an virtual autopilot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

Each piece of content you create can send people to a landing page and sell a product. By creating many pieces of content and sharing them online you can build multiple sources of income which can all run continually, working as your own ‘automated sales team’.

3 – Ability To Scale

Along with this amazing automation is the ability to scale your business. Because there is no human intervention in the ‘sales loop’, multiple sales can happen instantaneously through the same platforms. Your content and advertising can be grown over time and scaled instantly (in the case of paid advertising). As your content gets more shares and more people flow through your website and content, your sales grow as a result. If you use paid advertising you can also scale a profitable campaign up easily by increasing your daily budget.

The automation of an online business makes it very easy to scale. In the case of a physical business this often means more staff, sales tools, larger office space and a whole lot more expense and hassle. With an online business everything is already in place. You simply need to send more customers through the automated sales systems with content and/or paid advertising methods.

4 – Low Startup Costs

When I started an online business I did it from my own pocket. I didn’t need a massive loan and I worked at a level which suited my budget. An internet business is very cost effective and you can start from scratch from pretty much any budget. If you have more to invest you can grow it faster with paid advertising. But, if you are on a budget like I was when I got started, you can get started easily and cheaply.

With a regular ‘bricks and mortar’ business there are many overheads to consider. Your costs include a business premises, staff, hardware and stock. Then there’s advertising and delivery costs. With an online business you just need a laptop and an internet connection – two things many people already have. Your main cost is getting the right education and learning the best strategy to build on.

5 – Simplicity

Technology has made it much easier than was previously possible to set up your own website and learn how to use simple online platforms to connect people to products and services. Advertising and content creation is now available for anyone to use. Websites can be set up with a few clicks and anyone with an email can learn to use the tools and strategies of online marketers.

Whereas previously website building was the domain of the tech savvy programmer, now anyone can use simple user friendly platforms and programs. An online business sounds like something for a technical person, but anyone can now learn the skills needed to build their own online business.

6 – Control

An internet business gives you control over your life. Of course it takes time to build up to a stage where it can replace your current income. But the flexibility of an internet business means you can work it around your existing employment until you can make this happen.
Once your income is beyond that of your employment, you are in a very good position to take charge of your life. You don’t have to do the daily commute, or put up with an uncomfortable working situation. If you don’t like your job you can quit. Don’t like your boss? Fire him/her!
One of the very best things about an internet based business is the control it gives you over your life. You can also build your work around your lifestyle, rather than the other way round. Most people are forced to put work first in everything they do. Family time, holidays and hobbies all tend to depend and evolve around work. An internet business allows you to prioritize the things in your life which mean the most. It can put you back in the driving seat of your life, both in terms of what you earn and how you spend your time.

7 – Work From Anywhere

Not only does an internet business offer great flexibility in terms of working hours but it also offers you the choice to work from anywhere globally. This appeals to many people who would otherwise be more trapped by conventional work in a localized workplace.
For me, it was the flexibility of being able to choose my own hours and not have a boss. But for many the ability to travel anywhere globally is the most important factor to owning their own online business.
Take your laptop anywhere with an internet connection and work while abroad and travelling.

8 – Learn Life Skills

The skills I have learned from building my own internet business also make me much more employable. I also worked for an internet based company with the skills I learned from my laptop while sitting at home!

Being able to reach people globally and target specific types of people is a great skill and very desirable in business too. I was also able to use the knowledge I learned online to build one of my other physical businesses much more quickly by using both my website building skills and paid advertising.

The internet is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to be able to improve themselves, learn new skills and build another source of income. Skills learned are yours for life, whether or not you continue down the path of building an online business.

9 – Independence

We might believe ourselves to be independent but many of us are very dependent on our work for income. As such, our employers tell us how much we can earn, how much holiday we can take and what we will be doing while at work. Financial independence is the ultimate freedom.

When we are financially independent we can take a holiday whenever we please and work in our own time and on our own agenda. An online business gives you the automation and independence to live life on your terms, without the agenda of an employer running your life.

10 – Sovereignty

Being an owner gives you sovereignty. The ability to call the shots in your business is what many entrepreneurs aspire to. As a business owner your actions determine whether you make a success of your business or not.

Having a successful online business gives you the kind of freedom which most people will never see in their lifetime. The ability to create your own life on your terms is the reward of having worked hard on your business and on yourself.

Not having a boss, choosing your own working hours and choosing who you spend time with are all luxuries which are earned from working hard on your own business.

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What You’re Doing Wrong As An Entrepreneur Or In Your Small Business

Business owners and entrepreneurs are not always good at asking for help. Be honest, when did you last reach out to someone? Perhaps this is the reason why they are entrepreneurs in the first place. Business owners are self motivated and self reliant. But if you’re operating a business in this way, it could be the one thing which stands in the way of progress.

Entrepreneurs are hard workers too and will work hard in areas which many people wouldn’t consider. They look forward to the long term effects of their actions rather than for immediate rewards. Often business owners have built up their businesses over many years of difficulties and sacrifice.

However, thinking into the cause and effects of all this work there is one thing in common: you. As the ‘owner’ of a business it can be easy to become complacent. Perhaps business growth isn’t what it should be? You are always the limiting factor in your life. Unless you are growing, your business isn’t.

If you keep operating from the belief that you know everything, you will always keep getting the same results in your business, and in your life. Growing in awareness and developing your self along with your business is what smart entrepreneurs do.

Working Hard And Smart

It can be easy to run things ‘as you’ve always run things’. You can get stuck in a mode of operation, especially if you’re largely on your own. But working hard and working smart are not the same things. You need to get smart about working hard if you are to make any progress. Don’t become a ‘busy fool’ doing those things which you have always done, just because it’s always been that way.

Smart business owners know this, and work hard at learning what the best activities are to move their business forward. This ‘trap’ of working as a ‘technician’ in the role of an entrepreneur is easy to fall into. This is especially true if you have recently ‘graduated’ from a role as an employee to that of an ‘owner’.

The role of an employee is to listen to your boss and do the best for them. You are paid by the hour, or for work done. An owner on the other hand isn’t paid for their time. They get paid when the business makes a profit. As such this is an entirely different role. Ask yourself whether you are playing a ‘technician’ role in your business. Should you be doing things differently? Can someone else be employed to do what you are doing? If so the answer should seem obvious. Your role should be the ‘driving engine’ of the business, the overseer and the planner.

Smart Advertising

Advertising is the ‘engine’ of your business. If cash is the ‘life blood’ of your business, advertising is the heart beat. Without a successful and progressive advertising campaign, your business will at best stand still. If you’re standing still while other competing businesses move forward, you’re effectively moving backwards.

Today we are lucky to have the internet as a source of advertising. We can reach anyone globally and target them down to their preferences, intent and geographical location. Platforms like Google’s AdWords and Facebook advertising let us ‘follow’ our potential customers around the internet. Should someone land on our website and not purchase, we can remind them of our business later on. The advertising available to business owners today is very clever, and we should definitely be capitalizing on it.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay per click advertising is one of the best things to come out of the internet for business owners. Many owners doubt the effectiveness of pay per click advertising, but this is only because they don’t understand it properly, or it’s potential to massively change their business.

Initially pay per click should be tested and measured. Only by testing and measuring each element of an advertising campaign can you effectively ‘tweek’ it and learn which elements work best for your customers. If you run a campaign but don’t measure it, how can you know if it brought you any customers?

The ROI

Knowing the return on investment (ROI) of any advertising campaign is a game changer. Many owners get this wrong because they only look at the initial sale. But once you can effectively determine the long term return on investment, you will start to see why it is so important to use paid advertising.

Paid advertising is effectively buying new customers. If your business model lets you earn again and again from each customer, your long term gain from a loyal customer is far more than you might spend to attain that customer. By altering your paid for advertising to reduce your cost and increase your ROI over time, you can find yourself in the nice position of being able to scale up.

Working Against Yourself

We are predisposed to think that spending is wasteful. In terms of ‘smart’ advertising the opposite is true. Of course you don’t start out by spending huge amounts on your pay per click campaign. You start small and only increase your budget when you see tangible results and profitable ones at that.

But the main sticking point is the contrasting viewpoint that we need to ‘cut back’ while at the same time wanting to expand our businesses. This is a contradiction and although this is based in safety and reasonableness, your long term goal should be to be spending more and more on advertising as your business grows.

How do you feel about that? Most likely you want to spend less and less over the course of time. However, with pay per click advertising, once you have developed your adverts to pay out double what you put in, the only reasonable decision is to increase the budget.

So initially you might tentatively spend some money on advertising, see some results and then stop your adverts. This is especially true if you don’t see any tangible benefit of advertising. Most people will give up too early.

Start small with a budget you can afford to lose. Test your adverts with several different strategies, keywords, images and landing pages. By cross testing adverts you can more effectively determine which ones work the best.

Once you have done this for long enough, you will see the power of pay per click. This puts you in charge of your business. Once you have one profitable campaign set up, you can simply leave it running. Then you can move on to another one and another one. This of course takes time but this strategy puts you in the driving seat of your business and eventually will mean you can grow your business more effectively.

This is smart work. This should be the focus of your time if you intend to grow your business.

Relying on free advertising methods or ‘word of mouth’ advertising doesn’t put you in control, however valuable those methods might be.

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Why You Are Limiting Your Small Business

It’s difficult to see the picture when you’re in the frame. When you are so focused on your business you don’t see what holds it back. Namely you! When all the decisions are based on your knowledge and experience, you are probably working from the same knowledge you always have. This means that unless you are constantly improving yourself (in terms of business) you are likely to fall into the trap many owners do.

What are your decisions based on and who do you go to for help? The problem with owning a business is that there is very little help available in your immediate circle for most people. Unless you are surrounded by other entrepreneurs, it’s more than likely that you look to help for people who are fall less qualified than you.

The Self Fulfilling Loop

The ability to work in your business and work on your business are two very separate things. You may be the best at working very hard, doing long hours and motivating your staff, if you have any. But this doesn’t translate to growing your business. Growing your business is something different. It takes a whole new skill set.

If you’re stuck in the process of being a ‘worker’ in your business, you’re not moving your business forwards. You must step out of the roles which worked when you were an employee. Things which make a good employee are: turning up on time, working hard, delivering to deadlines and thinking of ways to achieve the maximum output for your boss.

Things which make a good business owner are entirely different. Knowing how to grow your business is about marketing. You need a whole new skill set and new ways of thinking in order to do this.

The Skill Set Of Online Marketing

Online marketing is vital to grow your business. Whatever kind of business you have, you need some kind of marketing engine driving it forwards. With new technology comes a new type of marketing. Before the internet there was traditional advertising: yellow pages, newspapers, flyers, billboards, television and radio.

Online marketing is a fantastic opportunity for business owners. But with it comes a few problems. The main one is not just learning the skills to create online advertising, but rather our mindset, or more importantly our industrial age thinking.

Industrial Age Thinking

We have been brought up with a lot of baggage. Our minds hold ideas which our forefathers embodied in their lives. Many of us are limited by old thinking patterns which no longer serve us. This is true in many areas of our lives but none so much as with growing a business using online marketing.

A poverty mindset always thinks of reasons to cut back and avoid spending. It is based on a presupposition that ‘there is never enough’ – a self fulfilling prophecy! Of course this is often well founded based on the past. But as a business owner this can be your biggest limiting factor to forward growth.

If our very thinking is based on our past and what it has taught us in terms of our income, we hold back and tend to be careful with our money. This is for good reason of course. But with online marketing your long term plan should be to be spending more and more on advertising, not less and less. This is a major roadblock to business growth.

Gently Does It

I’m not saying you should spend all your cash on an online advert, just to see how it goes. Far from it. You can start an online advertising campaign for very little daily expenditure. Set your budget as low as you like. That’s one of the benefits of online advertising. One of the other major benefits is the ability to test and measure each of your adverts.

By testing and measuring the response of your adverts, you can determine, very accurately, how effective they are in making you a profit. However this should be based on your return on investment, not instant return. Think about the worth of a customer over the years of your business. How much is a customer worth? Not a sale, but a customer?

Looking at the long term benefit of a happy customer who buys from you again and again can give you a different perspective on your advertising costs. Write down a number which reflects the cash value of a long term, loyal customer. Now match that against what you were prepared to spend on your advertising.

Testing and Measuring – The Power Of Pay Per Click

Pay per click advertising is an amazing form of advertising and available to any business owner. However, I recently spoke to a business owner who claimed it was a waste of money, despite other people in his business niche using it. Perhaps, he thought that they were about to discover what he already “knew”!

Most people start an advertising campaign on pay per click, lose money and decide it doesn’t work. But this is a mistake. The real power lies in the ability to test and measure your paid advertising. There are many variables with pay per click. You can target people very specifically by their keywords using Google AdWords advertising. You can also target by location – which is ideal for a local business. By testing and measuring the responses of different target audiences, with varying keywords, landing pages and advert content, you can eventually determine the most profitable advert for your business.

Once you have discovered a way to spend half of what you stand to get back, you are in a very strong position to increase your daily expenditure and scale up. This is how to grow your business. By adding other paid advertising methods to your growing ‘portfolio’ and testing and measuring each one over time for maximum efficiency, you can scale up your business for maximum growth.

Depending on your business model, it is also possible to lose money initially on advertising, and make it back over the long term for the customers you have literally “bought”.

Fear, Greed and Panic

Obviously you should be careful enough to test and measure advertising before scaling your budget up. Paid advertising can consume your capital as fast as you allow it to! Be very careful in the early stages to test and measure every aspect of your advertising. Don’t scale too quickly but also you can’t be afraid to spend money first.

Only spend money you are prepared to lose initially. You might lose money in the short term. But the long term gain of having a profitable advertising campaign which can be left running is worth the initial loss. The main job is testing and measuring until you have a campaign which is profitable. After this there is very little to do. Simply leave your campaign running at a comfortable cost and slowly increase it over time.

Equally don’t just run a campaign, get a profitable result, and then panic and turn it off. Your business will just fall back to your comfort levels again. Look for the long term, keep testing and measuring and expect to pay out first before you see a return.

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Financial Mistakes Business Owners Make and How to Avoid Them

Cash is the lifeblood of a business. No business owner wants to see their business struggling because of lack of funds or in debt due to mismanaged finances. What they want to see is a regular flow of profit but this is easier said than done.

With many years of experience as chartered accountants and business experts, we’ve seen many financial mistakes that business owners make. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not having a business plan including clear financial goals

Business planning is very important. If you want to be successful in your business, you need a roadmap. It is also important to set clear goals and targets. In particular, you need to have financial goals that will help you measure how well your business is doing. Furthermore, your financial goal should be clear and realistic. Goals should be phased – weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. You also need to involve your whole organisation in your business strategy. Give your team goals to aim for.

With these plans and goals in place, you will have a clear view of how your business is performing which will eventually help you make important financial and growth-management decisions.

Not keeping proper financial records

This is one of the most common mistakes of business owners and also the most crucial. Most business owners are so busy focusing on managing their business that they neglect the importance of financial record keeping. If you don’t have time to update your financial records, hire an expert to do it for you, such as a Chartered Accountant. They can set you up with proper systems and help process your transactions accurately.

Combining business capital and personal finances

Some business owners, especially those who are struggling with their business capital or finances tend to merge their personal savings with the business. Business owners should avoid doing this, as it will only make it more difficult to track how much money the business is making. Also, it complicates IRD and tax obligations.

Starting too big

Starting a business can be overwhelming. You put everything in that you have before you actually start. You may rent an office or other space and hire employees thinking about the future. You want to start big. But you have to understand that starting big doesn’t necessarily ensure your future success. It may put undue pressure on you and your business. The best thing to do is to start small and once your business becomes financially stable, you may then consider expanding. Make sure that your expansion can be justified by your profits.

Not having an expert to assist you with your finances

Accounting, bookkeeping and tax compliance – these are just some of the financial responsibilities that you need to take care of when you start a business. These are critical and timely business processes. But some business owners are so busy managing their business that they often neglect these. You don’t have to stress yourself in thinking and doing everything. You can hire experts to do it for you.

Some business owners are hesitant to hire experts to do these things for them and only realise they need help when it is too late. So hire a trusted Chartered Accountant to help you with your finances so you can focus on your business, as well as having more time to relax.

These are just some of the common financial mistakes that business owners make. Make sure to avoid these financial horrors to ensure the success of your venture.

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Critical Personality Traits Essential For Home Based Business Success

Overview

In my years of mentoring and conducting Business Management training, people usually want me to tell them if I think they have the attributes to succeed in Home Based Business.

Much as this appears to be a difficult question to answer, research has shown that there’re indeed certain character traits that predispose some people to succeed in home based enterprise.

Aspiring to become a Home Based Entrepreneur is quite exciting; what with the pride of being your own Boss. But desire is one thing and having the right Personal Traits that can ensure the success of the business is another ball game altogether.

Some of these traits are innate while some can be learned. However I have enumerated them here for you to consider before taking the leap. This is not meant to discourage you but to bring them to your awareness in order to help you prepare properly and make a success of your dream. Do not be dismayed even if you lack some of these attributes because they can be learned or acquired through training.

So in this write up, we’ll discuss the personal character traits most successful Home Based Entrepreneurs always seem to have.

I hope this will help you do a self-assessment and thereafter invest in training to beef up areas of need.

Without further delay, below are the attributes.

• Great Determination

Right from the beginning, you must make up your mind to succeed in your chosen endeavor. Having a “Can Do Spirit” is always an advantage. When the pressure builds up, it’s only that huge determination to succeed that will help see you through.

As the saying goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”

• Having Self Confidence

This is almost like having strong determination. Having self -confidence and believing in one’s ability is also very important in the potential success matrix needed by a Home Business Owner. The saying “self- confidence makes the man” must have come from this. Even the ordinary con man is able to perpetrate his activities through his self-confidence.

• Consummate Self Starter

A self-starter is a person who does not procrastinate. He does not wait for someone to prod him into taking necessary action.

A self-starter will not postpone to tomorrow what he’s supposed to do today. A self-starter is an action oriented person who attacks the task at hand and achieves set targets without being supervised or reminded.

• Being A Natural Risk Taker

In order to succeed as a Home Based Entrepreneur, you must be a natural risk taker. Some people are risk averse but almost all successful Home Business Owners are ready to take that risk, burn all bridges and do whatever it takes to succeed.

• Fast Thinking And Flexibility

Having the ability to think fast and react quickly to unfolding situations is the hallmark of a successful Home Business Owner.

Threats can come up suddenly from new government policies and the ability to think fast and adapt to the new situation can make the difference between success and collapse of the business.

• Do What You Enjoy

You have to be totally obsessed with your Home Based Business. You eat and drink it every moment of the day.

You must be very passionate about your business or else you’ll cave in when the pressure builds up.

I recommend that you get involved with what you enjoy doing. Even turning your hobby into a Home Based Business could be the best decision.

You’ll work harder and succeed faster because you won’t see what you’re doing as work. Invest in that thing that you would enjoy doing even if there are no pecuniary benefits.

• Have A Good Business Plan

You must be able to prepare a good Business Plan and work the plan. It’s said that “He who fails to plan has already planned to fail”. Your Business Plan is like a Blue Print for your business. It must be flexible though to make room for adjustments as you go along. It’s like a road map that’ll lead you to the final goals set for your business.

• Good Money Management Skills

Having the right attitude to money is very essential. No matter the amount of cash available, a Home Business Owner without the right Money Management Skills will run the business aground.

You must have a Money Management Plan and stick to the plan. Knowing how to allocate resources to the most needed areas of the business is very important.

My advice is that you must be shrewd and frugal with your expenses- especially cash flow. This is to avoid running out of cash at an auspicious time.

• Good Selling Skills

Having the right selling skills can help you succeed in your business.

You must be able to explain to people why what you’re offering is the best solution for the problem they’re having.

• Create Authority Around You

If you want to succeed in your Home Business, you must be willing to learn new things. You must be willing to keep up to date with latest industry trends.

Being disposed to reading books, attending seminars and staying ahead of the competition is very essential.

Your ability to market yourself as an Expert and a reliable resource in your field is very important.

People will run to you for solution to their problems.

• You Need Good Marketing Skills

The ability to develop the perfect USP for your Home Business is very important. You must have a very good reason why I should buy your products/services instead of buying from the shop down the road. This could be the difference between growth and early bankruptcy.

• Excellent Net Working Skills

A Home Based Entrepreneur with excellent networking skills already has an advantage.

Good networking skills entail having the ability to strike up relationships that can generate business opportunities and mutually beneficial relationships.

It should not be a one way street though. You must think of what you can contribute to the relationship even before thinking of what to get from the other person.

• Develop A Magnetic Personality

Having a likable persona that will attract people to you is an advantage. On the internet, design an engaging website. Don’t be aloof. Always stay engaged with your customers and community.

• Be Organized, Be Disciplined!

You must not take for granted that you are your own boss and so wake up 10 am and decide to chill with a glass of wine and some music. No! You must maintain a high self – esteem and discipline. Wake up early, listen to industry news and get started with the day’s activities.

I mean you must have a positive daily routine

• Embrace New Technology And Management Processes

By this I mean you should be disposed to the use of modern technology. Invest in new technology that will help you work smarter by achieving more results while working less. For instance, if you are being inundated with orders and you are having problems meeting up with schedule, you can outsource this aspect of your business to experts in that field. This way you keep your business lean and responsive.

You can also invest in modern software like inventory management software to help you manage your business more effectively.

You can also invest in ICT to help you run your business more efficiently.

• Be Professional

Strive at all times to be professional in all your dealings. Maintain the highest ethical standards. Honesty must be your watch word!

Dress appropriately when meeting with clients.

Ensure you have a home office and a dedicated phone line for your business

• Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

Finally, this might sound weird but failure is part of the process of learning how to do it better next time. Do not be afraid to fail but remember to take away the lessons learned.

The great Thomas Edison who failed over 5000 times while trying to discover the incandescent lamp said that each failure taught him how to do it better next time.

Wrapping Up

We’ve come to the end of this discussion and I hope you find this write up useful. Though some of these attributes are innate, they can all be acquired through structured training. So you should not be discouraged if you find yourself wanting in some areas.

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What It Takes to Create an Award-Winning Business

14 Strategies We Attribute to Our Recent Business Excellence Award

Out of the blue, I received an email from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce one day notifying me that we were nominated for a 2016 Business Excellence award.

Say what?

Once I got past my shock and disbelief that they must have the wrong Susan… it began to sink in that someone out there thought we were worthy enough of this nomination. Wow, what an honour!

Part of the nomination process consisted of a 30-minute interview in front of a 3-judge panel. Imagine being forced to actually brag about yourself for a half an hour! Talk about squirming in my seat!

Fast forward to last week where the awards ceremony took place. Much to my relief, our category was up first so I could relax the rest of the evening.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that anxious – I knew the odds of winning was only 1 in 7 so I waited patiently for the winner’s name to be announced, not at all expecting it to be us.

But it was! We were declared the winner!

Say WHAT???

Shock and disbelief once again came over me as I took a moment to grasp what just happened. Walking to the stage was quite the blur but I managed to do it without tripping up the stairs to get our award.

In the aftermath of winning this wonderful recognition, I reflected some more about that judge’s interview and how they deemed us the winner from the other worthy nominees in our category.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the attributes I feel helped us win this prestigious award. Without further ado, here’s what it took for me to create an award-winning business:

1) Be Passionate About What You Do

We are not the first business I’ve created; there’s been plenty others ranging from creating craft pieces to faux finish painting. But no matter what I did, I was very passionate about it.

Don’t waste your time trying to run a business just to make money. You’re going to tire of it very quickly and it will be harder to make sales.

But when you’re passionate about what you do, others will immediately see that and will be drawn to you like a magnet.

2) Love Working With the People You Serve and Offer Exceptional Customer Service

One of the truest joys I receive is the knowing how much we are able to help a new business owner get their online presence up and running. Being a part of their joy at seeing their dream materialize into something tangible gives me just as much joy.

If you avoid answering the phone or responding to emails because you dread having to talk to a client, then you need to adjust your marketing so you attract the right people to work with.

If you don’t love who you’re working with, then it’s hard to establish a successful business that needs to cater to your clients by making customer service a #1 priority. And that means answering the phone, responding to emails in a prompt manner, and treating every person as if they were your only client. And when you’re attracting your perfect ideal client, then this should be easy to do.

Make your business about them, not you. Just remember, if you had no clients, then you’d have no business.

3) Know Your Stuff

Before even thinking about starting a web development/digital marketing business, I ensured I got the education I needed first. I attended the Vancouver Film School in their Multi-Media program and then later earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems (with an A+ GPA).

Not to mention the countless online courses I’ve taken over the years to ensure my skills are kept up-to-date with this ever changing industry.

Sadly, I see a lot of entrepreneurs wanting to start a business with not a lot of skills or experience under their belt and then they wonder why they’re struggling.

Reading a book or taking one on-line course is probably not enough to reach award-winning status. But if you’re passionate about building a successful business, you’ll find a way to ensure you become as qualified as needed.

4) Be Committed

Is working 15 hour days, 6-7 days a week committed enough? Yep, that’s what Daniel and I do every week. We have to in order to fulfil points 2 and 3 above.

It takes a lot of time and effort to ensure your clients are taken care of properly. You also need a “do whatever it takes” level of commitment.

You might not need to work such long hours as us and trust me, we’re continually working towards lessening that kind of volume but until then, we are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure our business is successful. Are you?

5) Be Consistent

Consistency shows up in many forms when running a successful business. For me, it’s being consistent with my message, my brand, my Social Media presence, my newsletters, my team management, and the level of quality we bring to our clients.

Do I miss sometimes? Absolutely. But being consistent in these areas are very important to me, and I do what needs to be done in order to show up the best I can for my team and our clients.

Without consistency, it’s hard to create brand ambassadors (such as the ones who nominate you for an award), loyal team members, and a steady flow of clients.

Whatever you have decided to commit to, be consistent at it and you’ll be amazed at how things start to flow your way.

6) Surround Yourself With a Dedicated and Knowledgeable Team

I started off as a one-woman show. Because of my educational background, I was able to do the design, build and marketing of a website quite easily. I’m what you would call a “generalist”, someone who knows a lot of about a lot of things and is a specialist in a few areas.

But my one-woman show was not going to create a successful business. Especially in this technologically-driven industry. It quickly became apparent my skillset was only going to get me so far.

So my first hire was someone who could offset my biggest weakness. Warren was a student at UFV and applied for my part time programmer position. He was a perfect complement to our company and the moment he came on board, I was relieved of having to do all the site builds myself. I could then take that time and focus on building the business instead.

It’s tough to try and do everything yourself when it comes to running a business. Sure, there are expenses involved in hiring but if you hire smart, keep an eye on your bottom line, and know when to let go of those that aren’t serving you best, your business will escalate far quicker than if you try to struggle with everything yourself.

This topic is worthy of a whole article itself so I encourage you to read How to Take a Solo-Entrepreneurship to the Next Level for more.

7) Have Honesty, Authenticity and Gratitude be a Part of Your Daily Life

It’s sad I even need to list this as an attribute but I’ve been in business long enough to know not everyone adheres to these principles.

To me, this is a no-brainer – I’m not certain I could live any other way?

But judging from the stories I hear from new clients about how they were treated by their previous web developer, it sounds like many people need to be reminded of this.

No business will thrive without honesty and integrity. And a little secret: gratitude will not only make your business thrive, but your whole life too. Give it a try and see what I mean.

8) Persevere

Every business, including ours, has its ups and downs. The key to success is to not let those “downs” overcome your enthusiasm. Pick yourself back up, learn from whatever lesson there was to be learned, and keep moving forward.

If we had quit when we only had $20 credit left on our credit cards at Christmas time just a handful of years ago, we wouldn’t be award winners now!

9) Invest in Your Business

Building the company has been one investment after another. It never ends really.

There’s always something that needs to be worked on. Here’s a short list of my recommendations on where you need to invest in your business:

a.Branding & Website

b.Marketing

c.Education

d.Building a Team

10) Understand You’re Running a Business, Not a Hobby.

I think this is an important distinction to make and one many entrepreneurs aren’t differentiating.

I’ve always looked at our company as a business and that’s mostly due to my business mind and having a business degree.

But for those that simply are passionate about something and have a dream to make money off of it, it’s hard to know exactly HOW to turn that dream into a business.

They end up blindly doing what they think they should be doing, all by themselves, in order to save money (or not spend money they don’t have) and hope for the best.

If this sounds familiar, I’m adding another business investment to consider as your top priority: A business coach or mentor. ASAP. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up just running a hobby.

11) Set up a Systemized Business Structure

I’ve worked with a lot of clients over the years. Some amaze me at how organized and systemized they are. And others, well, not so much.

Having a systemized business structure in place is the only reason I haven’t gone insane with my daily workload.

Here’s the tools we use to be more organized, efficient and less stressed.

12) Get Comfortable With Sales

Sales. It’s a dirty word for many entrepreneurs and business owners alike. Me too. I hate to think of myself as a “sales person” but at the end of the day, if we’re not selling our wares, we don’t have a business.

Now that’s not to say you need to become a pushy, in-your-face predator. Far from it.

Remember attribute #1 about being passionate? That’s what you need. People will trust your passion and will respond to it. But be careful, sometimes passion can be too intense and will turn people away.

Find your sweet spot as to what resonates with your ideal clients and keep working at it. But do embrace the fact you’re selling your wares and learn some strategies that fit with your personality and comfort level that will work.

13) Give Back

Giving back is an imperative attribute to have when building a successful business. We give back in several ways, here’s some ideas to consider that we do:

-Offer discounted prices for non-profits

-Volunteer your services to community groups

-Send cash donations to worthy charities you believe in

-Make purchases that support worthy causes

-Donate door prizes and/or silent auction items for fund raising activities

-And support your own clients whenever you can

14) Be Accessible

When new clients approach me due to being disenchanted with their existing web developer or marketer, the most often complaint I hear is they can never get a hold of the person. Either they take forever to respond to an email or never answer their phone.

I think I’m going to write a book on how NOT to run a successful business based on this alone. It boggles my mind when I consistently hear stories like this. How are these people keeping a business going with such poor service and accessibility?

I have a policy to answer emails within a day of receipt. I often exceed that policy but sometimes the volume is too much and I get delayed in responding. Same thing with the phone. If we’re available to answer, we do so. If we’re not, we’ll call the person back right away.

Being accessible provides peace of mind to our clients; they know we care enough about them to take care of their needs in a timely manner. ’nuff said.

There you have it. My honest take on what created the company to be an award-winning business. Maybe I need to write a book about this because, honestly, I could have added more but, it’s coming into the 15th hour on this Sunday night of working so I’ll leave it at that.

What about you? What would you add to the list? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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Business Owners Are Finding Better Ways To Fund Their Business With Working Capital Cash Flow!

Today’s business financing environment is still not favorable to the business owner in getting approved for small business loans for working capital with no business assets and not much profit. Business working capital funding is a difficult achievement in this present economic condition of our country. As we all know, business short term funding allows business owners to obtain business funding for their business to survive through any financial crunch that comes up for alternative financing. This article will discuss the best tips for getting fast, easy business funding for working capital for critical daily cash flow needed by the business owner.

Nationwide business loans are extremely difficult to get approved for the business owner these days. Credit unions and traditional banks do not offer small business bank statement funding and the number of business loan applications being approved has shortened up further and will continue to do so in the future. Along with the unstable economic conditions, the majority of banks and credit institutions have ceased lending to small businesses altogether. If you are an entrepreneur then it may be really difficult to find out that your small business is simply a number to these banks. If you need business to business quick funding for your small business than you need to step out and take action! This will result in the small business owners reaching out to a lender who offers fast and easy working capital funds which are needed for the owner. Business bank statement funding is valid for any business owner that needs business working capital for daily cash flow! Credit unions and financial institutions have ceased lending money for the small business owner, most of the businesses find it really difficult to get working capital approval. In such situation, business working capital funds provide easy and quick working capital for small businesses as per their requirement. These funds are known for their quick processing, easy payment options and flexible conditions and easy credit requirements.

Working Capital is required and necessary for every small business owner to have operating cash flow for day to day operations. With a small business cash advance, quick short-term funding is what makes sense to continue and stabilize a small business operation. Businesses need funds rapidly for expanding, competing and succeeding in their own business. It’s important that your customer ought to know that you are offering quality services or product without any hesitation due to lack of funds for a project. Small business funding is the most useful and reliable option for your cash flow requirements and requires a pristine personal credit history of your business and the owner and having cash on hand to support the bank loan.

The first impression of your business from your customers should be to compel them to choose your services or products because your company can make fast financial decisions and be the best company out there. Expanding your business with a small business credit card advance for new and bigger equipment that your business could never afford in the past is now doable with confidence that you can receive the funding to buy that equipment. This will in turn give the confidence to your customer that your company will get the job done and you do not have cash flow problems that will interfere with their success. Just think you can buy equipment with a fast working capital funding and payoff the equipment in a short term period and then you own that equipment free and clear once it is paid off. You can keep doing this over and over and build a fleet which you own free and clear. Now you be a small business with assets. This is a way to improve your financial status quickly and to build your small business.

The key rule of a small business is to generate a healthy gross profit and work environment to get maximum output from your employees. Remember that it is not just about your customer who would appreciate clean, state-of-art, professional and ready-to-serve products and or services; but your employees as well. Quick working capital with small business loans funding can provide the capital required for prime quality tools and the overall employee turnover can be reduced along with higher efficiency and morale. Small businesses can get quick working capital funding even with a poor credit history including a bankruptcy or tax lien or judgment.

A promising business with significant amount of bank deposits and stability will get fast bank statement funding inside of 72 hours. The capability of choosing a repayment schedule which is for a short term is an added advantage of these cash advance funding.

Business cash funding has made it simpler to receive fast funds without much hassle even if the small business owner has been turned down by their local bank. However it is important to do proper research about the private lender before applying for these types of short term funds. The internet is the foremost option to identify a reliable and responsible lenders for business cash advances, checking with the BBB for any records that may indicate any complaints filed against the lender. There are many online business cash advance lenders so it can easily be really hard to differentiate reliable ones to an online scam. Also offering the owner too much working capital at one time for that particular small business may actually hurt the repayment of the funding causing a cash flow problem for the business owner. The small business owner must find a lender who will watch out for the bottom line of the business owner.

Working capital cash funds can help your business in a financial crunch and make it easy to handle any future financial troubles. Business bank statement funding is fast and easy business funding that has opened the flood gates for small businesses to get easy working capital funding. With easy repayment options, 100 percent funding approval and quick processing of business cash funding are some of the most important benefit of these small business programs. Over the past few years, small businesses have experienced a global downturn in the economy and funding options have further been cut short for business invoice factoring. A private lender who can provide the small business with working capital can replace the down trend of factoring.

Business bank statement funding loans provide an easy and fast funding method for all types of businesses. Small scale businesses do not enjoy great terms with banks and credit unions unlike major brands. They need money for different reasons including further expansion, installing new equipment, inventory requirement, working capital and other similar requirements. Business bank statement cash funding depends on the previous track record of the business bank deposits to show that business is receiving enough bank deposits to pay back the advance and that the small business ending balance can support the repayment of the funding!

Receiving a cash working capital funding is easily approved and does not require long processing time before giving an approval and receiving the working capital cash. All the small business owner needs to do is to find reliable working capital cash company and by seeking a private lender is the best way to find trustworthy private lender. A lenders goal is to help small and mid-sized business owners by providing a simple and convenient alternative to a traditional business loans. Business Cash working capital provides a real solution for business owners faced with the reality of disappearing sources of working capital. Given the current capital markets and lending environment, traditional sources of capital, such as bank loans, home equity loans, and credit card loans, are no longer options for many businesses with hassle free solution for millions of small business owners that need access to immediate working capital and may not qualify for a business loan.

A private lender offers several different programs to fit your specific needs. Their business cash funding program converts your future credit card receivables into immediate cash that you can use for any business purpose. Repayments are based on a small fixed percentage of your future credit card receivables. Payments are automatically applied to your remaining balance until the balance is satisfied. Unlike a business loan, our service is aligned with the success of your business: repayments are linked to your credit card receivables; the lender does not get paid until you get paid, thus helping manage the cash flow of your business, especially during slower months or seasonal months. This will benefit many small companies because the repayment is in line with their natural flow of revenue.

The private lenders mission is to help little and average sized entrepreneurs by giving a basic and helpful alternative to customary business credit. Private investor’s business cash programs give a true answer for entrepreneurs confronted with the truth of depleting of working capital cash. Given the current capital markets and the bank lending environment, sources of money, for example, bank loans, home equity loans and credit charge cards, are no more alternatives for small business owners. A private lender with a bank statement program gives the business the flexible, hassle- free solution and bother- free solution. This is huge for a number of entrepreneurs that need access to quick working capital and may not fit the bill for fast funding. A private lender offers distinctive funding programs to fit the particular small business needs. A private lender with a small business bank statement program allows the business future bank deposits to be used for working capital cash that the small business owner can use for any business reason.

Reimbursements are dependent upon altered rates of your future credit card receivables. Not all lenders offer a business cash program which is adjusted to fit the small business needs: reimbursements are joined to your credit card receivables; if your receipts are low than less of a repayment is remitted. This will help the business owner deal with the proper money stream of their business, particularly throughout slower months.

Business bank statement cash programs are valid for anybody who is a business owner and needs working capital! Financial capital is required for every requirement of small businesses. Let it be anything starting with expanding, competing and succeeding in business. It’s important that your customer ought to know that you are offering quality services and are the most useful option for their requirements. But that requires a pristine image of your business which starts with professional marketing practices. First impression of your business should compel the customer to choose your services from your professional environment and best equipment for the job. Modify the class of clientele with new and bigger equipment that your business could never afford in past.

The key rule of business is to generate a healthy work environment and get maximum output from your employees. Remember that it is not just about your customer who would appreciate clean, state-of-art, professional and ready-to-serve business, but your employees as well. Quick cash loans can provide the capital required for prime quality tools and the overall employee turnover can be reduced along with higher efficiency and morale. Businesses can avail quick cash loans without any long lending process or even a business owner who has a poor credit history. A promising business with significant amount of credit receipts and stability will get cash loan inside of 48 hours. The capability of choosing repayment schedule is an added advantage of these working capital cash loans.

Cash flow working capital loans have made it simpler get a small business loan without much hassle. However it is important to do proper research about the lender before applying for these loans. Internet is the foremost option to identify a reliable and responsible lender. Most effectively is to check the BBB for any records that may indicate any complaints filed against the lender. There so many online cash loans vendors it can easily be really hard to differentiate reliable one to an online scam.

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Why You Should Stop Boasting About How Busy You Are

An Accomplished Life

“Hi Tom, how are you?”

“I’m well Jane, just extremely busy.”

“Oh, I’m glad to hear you’re keeping busy then.”

“Yes, I’m flat out at the moment.”

The above interaction is one that takes place between people on a daily basis.

But what is behind the busyness?

Is it a way to deflect attention from what really matters?

People brag about their busy lives to highlight themselves living an accomplished life to their peers.

Similarly, they may wish to communicate how meaningful their work is and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Being occupied implies oneself is consumed with matters of significance. That is why people state their busyness, to have you know they are important.

Busy people struggle to keep their attention in the present moment because their focus lies in future events and planning for the next project.

“We become active and busy, but this doesn’t actually move us any closer to success. Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business,” states authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

I question those who have a hectic schedule as a method to divert their attention from connecting with their core self.

The title quote by the Greek philosopher Socrates, invites you to be wary of a busy life which can be barren.

The busy person is disconnected from others, simply because their attention is focussed on their own commitments. There is the impression of a purposeless life, masked behind the facade of a frantic lifestyle.

Busyness can be reframed to imply your pursuits are purposeful instead of busy.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan affirm, “Don’t focus on being busy; focus on being productive. Allow what matters most to drive your day.”

Busy or Just Unproductive?

You can be busy but not productive and still chase your tail.

Beneath the busyness lies the unconscious desire to be rewarded for hard work.

People believe being preoccupied is impressive and associated with status. You must be pursuing something prestigious, otherwise you wouldn’t be busy.

I’m reminded of an episode in the Seinfeld sitcom where the character George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, walks around the office looking annoyed. He realises that being busy is associated with stress and works hard to uphold this facade.

He appears irritated, causing his supervisor; Mr. Wilhelm to fear George is cracking under the pressure of his work.

While this scenario is fictional, it shows how people unconsciously use busyness to draw attention to themselves.

Similarly, you may believe multitasking is indicative of productivity. Busyness implies being on top of things which is often the furthest thing from the truth.

“Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil… It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time,” affirms associate editor at Psych Central, Margarita Tartakovsky.

The busy pandemic comes at a cost to people’s well-being and happiness. You may find it difficult to disconnect from work to spend time with family. These are the pursuits that rejuvenate you instead of deplete you.

Busyness can be a sign of procrastination. It is a smoke screen to cover up being overwhelmed and in need of help to prioritise your life.

Consequently, those in the creative field will tell you they are absorbed in their interests and not busy with work.

It was the late Stephen R Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People who said, “It is possible to be busy-very busy-without being very effective.”

The Demands of a Hectic Schedule

It is vital that you set clear boundaries if you wish to be fulfilled. Busy people find it difficult to say no since they do not wish to offend others or be seen as incapable.

I’m yet to meet a busy person satisfied with their hectic schedule. I’m certain they would trade their frantic life for: less work, more time and money.

Occasionally, you might be pulled by circumstances not of your choosing. Business may unexpectedly increase if you’re self-employed as you try to meet the pressures of growing sales. But that doesn’t mean you are happy if all you are doing is working to provide for the demands of other people.

You have a choice how you spend your time. To claim you are busy is failing to prioritise your time wisely.

“Everybody’s busy. Everyone does the actions. But were they the right actions? Were those actions productive? Did you take a step forward? These are questions that most people never take the time to think about,” reminds us author Jeff Olson in, The Slight Edge.

After all, what is the point of being busy and stressed to the point of exhaustion that your health and relationships suffer, just to improve your bottom line?

Surely, there’s a more efficient way to work in the 21 century while enjoying more leisure time?

Busy people are prone to being overwhelmed if they continue to drive themselves hard. It is not healthy to run yourself into the ground and expect to stop at the drop of a hat.

Something must give. That may be as excessive drinking to help you wind down or toxic behaviours such as: compulsive eating, gambling or whatever distracts you from what is important.

We all have the same hours in the day and how you spend it is entirely up to you. Many people squander their time running around believing they are productive, when they are simply busy due to their lack of organisation and prioritisation.

“We are so busy being enticed by our next endeavour that we forget to savour what is already there and could be deeply meaningful. It is useful to remember the adage “The more things change, the more they remain the same” avows author Bernard Roth in, The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life.

A better way to reframe busyness is to state you are productive or engaged in what you are doing. Conversely, communicating you have taken on more than you can handle, is a step towards reclaiming your lost time.

This is not a cry for help, but exposing your vulnerability to those willing to help you better manage your time.

Find ways to be less busy and more engaged so you are in Flow, as the Hungarian psychology Professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi espouses.

Busyness is a not indicative of a rewarding life if all you are doing is jumping from one task to the next.

Those who manage their time successfully hold on to it like it was their last breath. They prioritise what is important and so should you.

I invite you to think with the end in mind as Stephen R. Covey conveys in his teachings.

Only then will you appreciate what really matters and worth devoting your time and energy towards.

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