Archive | March 2017

What To Expect In Your First Year Running Your Own Business

entrepreneurial-musclesThe nature of being an entrepreneur is such that you are probably good at thinking on your feet. You are creative, inspiring and self-motivated. To succeed, you need to have confidence, perseverance and a great deal of patience. All these things aside, life will always have a surprise for you.

It is impossible to be prepared for every eventuality of every possible situation not least because it would take a supercomputer to calculate all of those variables. Besides, this is the real world after all, and it can be strange sometimes. Dealing with people is always unpredictable too.

The idea of setting your course and starting a new business can be daunting. You have to worry about the economy, about the strength of your idea, and about securing funding for it. Supposing you are successful, you then have to worry about maintaining that success. It will never be without its setbacks, but some are more predictable than others. Here is a list of three things to be aware of before you take the plunge:

Learn the dynamics of business

Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will. This also goes for things breaking. Whether it is some important equipment, or your computer on the morning of a pitch meeting, or worst of all, your car, you will need to fix them right away. To be prepared just remember not to get too stressed out.

Things break. That is what happens. Hire someone to fix it and move on. If you want to save some money and you know a little something about whatever has broken, you might think about sourcing parts yourself from companies like digsemi. That way, you won’t be at the mercy of sometimes merciless contractors.

Understand Customers

Second, forget any notion you had about the reasonable nature of customers. All you need to do to be disabused of your illusions and find someone who worked as a Christmas temp when they were young. They will tell you that customers can be rude, demanding, petty, insulting and even threatening.

However good your customer service skills might be, the reality is that your patience will be tested to the limit. It will not be long into the first weeks of your new business when you will want to slam the phone down on a customer. Don’t. Take a deep breath and keep going. Next time you will be more prepared.

Delegate;

Third, it is crucial that you learn to delegate. When you start a new business its initial energy will be the ambition with which you infuse it. As it grows it will at some point become something that you cannot run alone. You have to trust others to take care of the thing that you raised and have loved. It is a difficult lesson to learn, but once you master it, you will find that it was to your own benefit and the benefit of your business.

Your first year will probably be difficult, but like everything else, the more you do something, the easier it will get. The world of business is no different.

 

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The Best US Cities to be a Digital Nomad Entrepreneur

 

US Cities

If you’ve got a business that you run entirely off the internet, you’ll already know how awesome it can be to be a digital nomad. You can live wherever you please, keep a schedule that is entirelyof your own design, and make the most of the weather when it’s just about right outside. But with so much freedom, how do you choose where you should live? You can go just about anywhere – a privilege that few others have – but that doesn’t mean the decision is an easy one.

Below, we outline four of the best places in the US from which to run your online business.

Austin, Texas

It’s no surprise to see that Austin is one of the best places in the states for remote workers. With the high standards of living (read, fast internet and plenty of awesome bars) and a cost of living that pales in comparison to the other big cities in America, it’s become a favorite go-to spot for young and energetic entrepreneurs.

The city’s slogan is ‘Keep Austin Weird’, which goes some way to explaining how unique this city really is. Fine weather and plenty of great events – including one of the nation’s best, South By Southwest – also make Austin a hit!

Winter Park, Colorado

If you’re more of an outdoors lover, then you might just find that Winter Park is the right spot for you. You’ll be surrounded by nature, and have the bustling Denver just a short drive away (and its airport too, which is handy for business trips).

And then there’s the big selling point, and that is: Life in Winter Park is pretty fantastic if you’re into outdoor recreation, with fantastic skiing in the winter and mountain biking and hiking in the summer. Essentially, this is the place to be if you need the outdoors to charge your mind for the ideas you need to make your business a success.

Miami, Florida

How would you like to spend your days split between working hard to take your business to the next level and swimming in the ocean? If you make Miami your base, then that’s just the kind of life you’ll have. The Florida city is ranked as one of the best cities to live and work remotely in the states, and it’s not hard to see why. Aside from rapid fast internet and a relatively low cost of living, you also have…the rest of Miami just waiting to be explored.

Las Vegas, Nevada

It won’t suit everyone, but if you can handle living in Vegas you’ll find that it offers a lot for digital nomad. Indeed, this place was almost made for digital nomads. You’ve got great transport links, plenty of business and meeting rooms, a culture of remote workers who stay for short periods of time, and all the dazzling sights of Las Vegas right on your doorstep. When it all gets too much, you can take a drive for thirty minutes in any direction and be surrounded by no one at all. Definitely worth exploring – just don’t gamble your profits away!

Personal Development: Critical For Entrepreneurs

good-businessPeople are attracted to entrepreneurship for many reasons. But if you were to ask those that haven’t quite made it yet, they would tell you that deep down they are hoping to get rich.

But if you asked the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet their reasoning, it’s more about the desire to become something, rather than earning money, that has driven them to the top.

There is a vast chasm of difference between the two thought processes. And while there is no harm than wanting to become filthy rich, it’s important to remember that what you become in life is way, way more important. Earning power just doesn’t come into it – and tends to come anyway of you achieve your personal goals.

So, how can you change your mindset from wanting to ‘get’ something to wanting to ‘be’ something? The answer lies with personal development. And in today’s guide, we’re going to run through some of the things you can do to ensure your personal development is central to your entrepreneurial dreams. Let’s take a closer look and explore things in more detail.

Understand the rule of attraction

As we mentioned above, when you become something in life, the money tends to follow – it’s a simple rule of attraction. And while those high earnings you dream of won’t appear straight away, if you develop yourself to be your best, they will come eventually. Everyone needs a paycheck, of course, but focusing on personal development first will always bring you more tangible, regular results.

Find inspiration

It’s important to have people in your life that inspire you and that you can learn from. No matter what path you are treading, someone will have been there before, and there will be much they can teach you. A business mentor is an excellent idea, although there is also the inspiration to be found in books, magazines, newspapers and online.

Take Tug of War With Time, for example. According to the About Page, they say that ‘our website is dedicated to growth-minded professionals who want to get better results faster.’ Finding a source of inspiration and soaking up all they have to offer is an excellent way to learn and develop yourself.

Always be learning

Successful entrepreneurs know the value of learning and are always looking for ways to teach themselves. Trends and methods of working change and emerge on an almost weekly basis these days, and it has never been more important to stay ahead of the curve.

Learning new skills helps you boost your creative thinking, improves your ability to innovate, and expands your knowledge – so embrace a lifetime’s education and stimulation rather than rest on your laurels.

Keep yourself healthy

Finally, a healthy mind and body are critical to any personal development plan. Without both, you will struggle to reach the heights and targets you set yourself. As an entrepreneur, you need high energy levels, a sharp brain, and healthy eating habits to achieve your goals and lead a long and fruitful lifestyle.

 

From Zero To E-Commerce Hero

e-commerceSo, you have a great business idea, and all of the plans are in place. But, now, you need a website. The options available can be daunting and hard to understand. And, most companies seem to want to hide the basic information under piles of jargon.

For most, this can make their website experience a hard one to cope with. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are loads of ways that you can make a difference with your website. And, this post is going to be taking you through a few of them, to give you an idea of what’s out there.

Website design

Website design is a skill that takes many years for a lot of professionals to master. Even when people use handy-dandy website builders like Squarespace; life isn’t easy. Design is an area that few are talented in.

Most people don’t know where to start when it comes to designing something like a website. So, it’s always best to go with a professional. There are loads of companies out there that charge a minimal fee for web design.

And, the turnover is usually much faster than most people can achieve on their own. When you’re choosing someone to do this sort of work for you, you need to be willing to do some research.

So, it’s always best to go with a professional. There are loads of companies out there that charge a minimal fee for web design. And, the turnover is usually much faster than most people can achieve on their own.

When you’re choosing someone to do this sort of work for you, you need to be willing to do some research. Web designers will have skills are a range of areas. So, you need to choose someone that will be good at making an e-commerce site.

SEO

Along with good design, it’s essential that your website is made with SEO in mind. SEO stands for search engine optimization. And, is a set of practices that revolve around getting your website as high in search rankings as possible. Without good SEO, search engines like Google won’t be able to find your website. This makes it hard for them to display it to users. Your designer may be able to help with this a bit, but it can be best to get some dedicated

Without good SEO, search engines like Google won’t be able to find your website. This makes it hard for them to display it to users. Your designer may be able to help with this a bit, but it can be best to get some dedicated e-commerce SEO services under your belt. Companies like this can perform analysis on your website over a period, to make sure that they’re making the best changes.

Online Marketing

Some of the work that you have to do with an e-commerce site happens away from your website entirely. Marketing is important to any business. And, this is especially true when it comes to e-commerce. With a website like this; you have to make sure that you’re using every possible avenue to make get visitors.

Tools like social media are great for marketing. But, you may need the help of a company to do this for you. Just like design and SEO; marketing is a skilled trade. It can take years for people to be good enough to do professional marketing. So, it’s always worth making sure you’re using the tools that you have to help you.

Hopefully, this will help you enough to get you on your way with your new website. It can be hard to get something like this done. But, once you made an effort; the results well be very much worth it. It will be easier to draw customers to your site. And, they will be more likely to spend money with you.

Tips on How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Crime

Recently, newspapers the like the Huffington Post and the Observer have been lamenting the number of cyber attacks on businesses. Even though overall crime is down, one of the reasons for that might be the fact that many cyber crimes are simply going unreported.
Given the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks, it’s important that small businesses take preventive measures. Small businesses are the backbone and the lifeblood of the economy. Without them, modern life would grind to a halt. But too many are exposed to attacks that could bring them to their knees. The cost of a data breach for small businesses is enormous.

cyber crimeAccording to a study by the Ponemon Institute, around 90 percent of all data breaches involve small merchants. In other words, although the news tends to report about the larger data breaches, like the theft of user information from Yahoo, it’s actually smaller businesses that are most frequently targeted. Here are some tips to help you stop the hackers, dead.
Layer Encryption With POS

A weak spot for many merchants is their point of sale system. Many merchants don’t see the POS device as a potential point of entry for a hacker. But it turns out that it can become compromised if the right security procedures aren’t followed. Better POS systems use embedded EMVs. When the card is inserted into the machine, the EMV detects whether or not the card is verified. This helps to prevent the use of stolen cards at your establishment.

Build A Firewall

firewall

If you’re an office-based business, hackers want to get hold of your data. Often they can sell your data to the highest bidder, but even if your data has no market value to people outside your organization, hackers can still extract money from you.

A common tactic recently has been to hoard a company’s data for ransom money. Hackers will steal your data and then charge you a release fee to get it back.

The best way to stop this sort of thing is with a DNS firewall. These firewalls are specially designed to protect your local business network from intrusion and are able to identify suspicious packets of information.
Move To The Cloud

Businesses used to think that the cloud was a less secure way to store their data than on local hard drives. But it turns out that the combined security expertise of cloud services is usually a lot better than the IT security of the businesses that rely on them.

As a result, the image of cloud services has been turned around. Instead of being seen as a risky (if not cheaper) option, they’re now seen as the most secure way to store data. Special types of firewalls can be created to separate business cloud networks from the rest of the internet.

It’s a sad fact of life that the majority of small businesses don’t have access to world class software solutions that can protect their data. But those that implement as many layers of security as possible will help prevent fraud over their networks.

 

The Gold Mines Of The Business You Just Need To Tap

The business isn’t defined purely by how you provide services and products to the target market. Running a business is one big exercise in resource management. Run it well and you will see the full potential of your assets used to benefit all in the business. But too many business owners focus so much on just the product or service they provide that they completely miss the potential waiting within some of the standard resources they take for granted.

efficient-business
The workplace

We all have one and most business owners share them with a team, as well. But it’s not just a series of desks that keeps everyone working in the same place. It can play as big a role in how employees get their work done as the employees themselves.

The right décor and office organization creates different spaces where employees can do different kinds of work, whether they need an open communicative space or a bit of privacy. The right touches of colour and allowing some personalization also has a profound effect on the team mentally.office

Environment shapes the activities of people within that environment. A well-branded office can even make a better impression on visiting clients, reinforcing the image of the business you want them to have.

The tech

Most work in an office and in workplaces all over is the computer. Loading them with all the right software that allows your team to do their jobs is important. However, you can take it a step further using IT services to set up and maintain a network that keeps everyone connected.

Improving the communicative abilities between the devices in the office enables people to share resources a lot quicker and work from the same pool rather than working in their own corners, cut off from everyone.

This makes it a lot easier to collaborate during big projects, as well as ensuring that the security and health of data in the business aren’t tied to the maintenance of one machine alone.

The website

Moving further into the world of technology, it’s a given by now that every business should have a website. Some kind of online presence to greet potential customers is essential even if you’re not running an e-commerce business.

But the website has many uses, many of them much more beneficial than just having a home in the online world. Through search engine optimization, they can give your business a lot more visibility and be one of your most effective lead-building machines.

website-design

They can show off work that you’ve done in the past and testimonials from past customers, lending some much-needed credibility that can be the convincing the target market needs. The best websites create an experience for the visitor that further connects them to the brand and increases your chances of creating more than a customer but a fan of the brand.

You should never think about just using the assets of your business for their most basic of purposes. To win customers, to make a happier team, to make it easier to run the business, you should be looking at just how much you can squeeze out of them.

Vintage Businesses… Quirk or Quality?

vintage business

The image of a business is an essential component in its overall success. The style and image of a brand will be a contributory factor in what brings customers back and what can make it gather momentum and success. While each business needs to strive to make itself stand out, what is the importance of a quaint or vintage type of image in the modern business market? How does it appeal to the customer, and why?

 

The popularity of a vintage image in the modern world is very plain to see. The importance of retro and quirky clothing has made it near impossible for people to buy anything for cheap from thrift stores anymore, and the fact that anything is over 40 years old now carries a kitsch appeal, as shown by the popularity of stores like Cath Kidston.

So what can you do to emulate this kind of appeal? The first thing to bear in mind is that these stores all carry a unique style that is marketable. You recognize the vintage look from a mile off. The logo or the banner design is very important to its overall image, and putting it on everything, from clothes to trinkets, is a nice little way to put your brand out there.

Small items seem to carry a bit more kitsch value than anything, like candy, you can have printed pouches with your logo on the bag, and it becomes a lovely little memento of the customer’s shopping experience.

The world of vintage and retro is so popular now that by adding another business in this vein can be viewed as oversaturation, so this is a task you have to overcome in order to make your business viable and relevant. The trick to making a vintage or quirky type of business relevant is to pop up in the most quirky of places.

This may sound like making random choices on a map and saying “let’s sell there,” but it’s more about finding the fringe markets, which can be done via social media, limiting the amount of bad employees to maximize customer experience, or by aiming your product to a very specific market.

Vintage comes with certain connotations, such as hipsters, vegans, or a throwback era. Although these are all very small sections of a market, this gives you some idea of the scope of its marketability. Nobody could have predicted the resurgence of vinyl, especially as it is the biggest selling musical format.

While many view vintage as a quirky, fringe market, its appeal is so widespread that you can be very precise in your marketing tactics. Before long, it won’t be the zeitgeist anymore, and popular culture will move onto the next “classic” thing, but as trends have dictated, we are looking more and more into the past to get inspiration.

This means a massive dissatisfaction with a contemporary culture so you may be able to start a business that leads the way instead of following the trend. Creating a movement in business is all about finding Year Zero, and with vintage, that ship has sailed, but it is ripe for profit.