Your company is on an upward trajectory. Congratulations! Now that you’re growing you may be faced with many choices. Should you hire? Should you move to a different location? Do you need to invest in new equipment? All of these are certainly signs of growth and can lead to growing pains, but you need to look at your budget and make any investments and moves wisely.
Entrepreneurs: Should You Buy Or Rent?
Here are three items that an entrepreneur may want to look at when he or she is thinking “buy or rent“:
- Employees. Should you hire employees or employ contractors? Remember, with employees come employee taxes and other tax ramifications. There are benefits and drawbacks and challenges to either employees or contractors. Talk with your accountant or accounting department to fully understand the cost of an employee to a business — remember, it’s more than just the hourly rate. Then decide which fits best in your corporate culture. Do you have space for employees? If you had to move to a larger space and then had to hire employees, you will be looking at a big hit on your budget, can you truly afford and sustain those costs? Are you better-served to hire a professional who can perform the tasks you need but who will be an independent contractor who will work at his or her own site and use his or her own equipment. Oh yes, don’t forget, if you hire you need to invest in equipment for the employee.
- Do you need to rent an office space or will your current space suffice? If you’re continually meeting potential clients at a local coffee shop and want to amp up your image, you may need, or want, to invest in renting office space. If you meet customers virtually, your home office may remain the ideal (and most cost effective) option.
- Does your business need more equipment, software or upgraded technology? If you’re in a growth spurt that appears to be one that will continue, you may need to upgrade and update equipment. Again, this is a conversation to have with your accounting professional who can help you make that decision. It doesn’t make sense, though to operate your business on outdated and continually breaking down technology or software that just doesn’t meet your needs.
Congratulations on your growth! Do it wisely and with forethought and may the trend continue! If you’re an entrepreneur in the midst of a growth spurt but are struggling to get to that next level, contact us and inquire about how coaching might help push you past your barriers.
Sales people know that in order to make more sales you need to listen more than you speak. Why? If you’re talking the entire time you’re meeting with a client you won’t truly be hearing what they want, how you can help them and what their pain points are. When you meet with a potential client do you feel that you’re doing all of the talking? Yes, you want to help drive and direct the conversation, but ask a question and let your client answer.
Listening is a skill that can be sharpened and could lead to increased success in work and your personal life.
Most individuals retain about 50% of what they hear. There are different levels of listening which are:
- Level 1 — this listener is preoccupied
- Level 2 – this listener is an active participant
- Level 3 – this listener pays special attention to the speaker’s words and body language
Become A Better Listener
- Maintain eye contact
- Don’t let yourself be distracted
- Acknowledge what the speaker is saying
- Repeat what you heard, “What I think I heard you say was…”
- Don’t interrupt, unless the speaker specifically said, “feel free to interrupt if you have a question.”
- Don’t ask only “yes” or “no” questions. Ask questions that give the other party a chance to elaborate
At what level do you listen? When you’re in a situation when you should be listening, what distracts you? Is it that you don’t find the topic engaging? Is the speaker monotone and therefore you’re not engaged because there is no inflection? Are you being “talked at” rather than “talked to”? That plays a role in how actively you listen and participate.
If you want to become a better listener as a way to enhance sales or engagement with your employees or staff, it is something about which you need to be aware in order to become a better listener.
How Solopreneurs Can Succeed At Sales is a question I get asked frequently when I meet with a business client for coaching. When you’re a solopreneur you have to wear many hats and one of those hats includes making sales and closing deals. If you don’t do it and if you’re not devoting a specific amount of time a week to the task of sales, your business — obviously — won’t succeed or grow.
How Solopreneurs Can Succeed At Sales
- Set aside time for marketing. Don’t “wait for time” to open up. Put specific hours to market for new clients into your calendar and be dedicated to your marketing during those hours.
- Set aside time each week to attend networking events. Be of service to those you meet and they will likely be inclined to want to work with you or buy your products when they are in the market to do so.
- Have a sales process and strategy in place.
- Have a smooth onboarding process for new clients and follow that each time.
- Build templates for your sales and marketing strategy.
- Have a follow up system and process in place and follow through. If you say you will call a potential client at a specific time, don’t be late. These initial contacts are what shape the course of your relationship.
- Reward or thank long-term clients.
- Recogize and thank new clients.
- Offer “rewards” for clients who introduce you to new potential clients. Word of mouth is the most valuable advertising a business owner can have.
Know that, in order to grow, you have to get out of your comfort zone and talk with potential new clients. It is always nice when a new client finds you, but you can’t wait for that to happen, you have to proactively take steps to grow your business. As a solopreneur you will wear some hats that aren’t as comfortable as others, but they are all necessary parts of growing a viable business.
Need help crafting your sales message, follow up strategy or other sales-centric questions? Let us know in the comments.
There is no one-size-fits all answer when I get asked, “Should I go into busines for myself?” There are some reasons you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur and when a client mentions one of the following as the reasons he or she wants to become a business owner, I caution them that they might be headed down a path they won’t enjoy and at which they may not succeed.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Be An Entrepreneur
- You want to be rich. Sure, you may make enough money at your business to be what you consider rich or wealthy. But if the only reason you want to be self employed is to be “rich” you are headed down the wrong path. To be “in business” you will need to choose a business filing entity for tax purpose and you will also need to find an accountant who can work with you to determine what your salary should be. There are tax ramifications to being a business owner and you want to stay on the good side of the IRS. Remember, being motivated by money only is not a reason to become an entrepreneur — it’s hard work and you may not earn enough to support yourself in the beginning of your journey.
- To be able to take a vacation or a day off when ever you want. Um, if you don’t work, you don’t earn. When you’re an employee, you may earn vacation time that will allow you the opportunity to take days off of work and still get paid. In most entrepreneurial endeavors, you need to perform in order to invoice and have a chance of making money. So, yes, you can take time off, but you need to know who’s “minding the store” while you’re gone. Don’t underestimate how long your business will take you to run and skimp on how many hours you’re putting into it.
- Why not? Everyone else is doing it. “Why not” is not a reason to open a business and hang out your shingle. Running a business should be predicated on the fact that you have a passion for something. You have a driving need to deliver that passion to the market and you’re willing to put in the time it takes to make your business a success. Becoming an entrepreneur is not a task to be undertaken lightly especially if your endeavor will bring with it many upfront start up costs. Don’t jump into business ownership unless you’re truly certain you’re ready for the commitment.
If someone has a drive and a motivation and a love of being their own boss, I will work with them to help them realize that dream. If, however, any of these reasons I mention sound like any of the reasons you’re having for going into business for yourself, I urge you to rethink your motivation and desires.
Do Older Entrepreneurs Have An Advantage? Are you at a disadvantage as older entrepreneur? There are thoughts on both sides of the equation. We are seeing more older entrepreneurs because people are retiring, don’t want to or can’t afford to, be retired and are jumping into business ownership in greater numbers than ever before.
Do Older Entrepreneurs Have An Advantage?
If you’re an older individual does opening your own business seem like a wise move for you financially, emotionally and physically? Here are a few more points to ponder when making the decision to become an entrepreneur:
- How will you pay for the start up costs? Will the endeavor you’re undertaking require an outlay of upfront cash? Can you work your new business on a shoestring until you have the funds to make a move to a bigger endeavor? Do you have investments or equity in a home that you’re willing to risk to fund the start up? Think long and hard before you make that decision.
- Will going into business fit with your retirement goals? Do you have an objective for your retirement? Will opening a business impact that negatively or positively? Do you have a dream or a passion you want to follow but never did because you were employed?
- Should you consider a side hustle before you retire to see if you really want to be an entrepreneur? The idea of owning a business may not be what the reality is and a side hustle might help you figure that out.
- Do you have an end game in mind for your business? Meaning do you want to start this business as a legacy to your children? Do you hope to build it up and sell it so you have more money to add to your retirement nest egg?
- Do you know all that you need to be a business owner? Do you have access to a business coach or a mentor from an organization like SCORE or your local Small Business Adminsitration? Get all of your ducks in a row before you hang out your “open for business” sign.
What are you hoping for when you want to open a busienss when you’re nearing, or at, retirement age? How can we help?
Are there steps to take to be a successful entrepreneur? Yes. Not everything is a cookie cutter approach, but there are universal truths that successful entrepreneurs appear to follow. Are those who have achieved success doing something more or differently than you are? If so, what? What can you do to emulate what they’re doing to help assure your business can be as successful as the guy-next-door?
Steps To Take To Be A Successful Entrepreneur
- Entrepreneurs who are successful are doing what they love. If you don’t love selling widgets, then you need to find a business that you are passionate about and one that does excite you. Take some time and determine what you’re most passionate about and what you could make money doing.
- Know what is driving you toward being a business owner. Most entrepreneurs are driven to act because of a life-changing event. Illness. Loss of job. Moving to a new location, etc.
- They operate on a shoestring when they are in start-up mode. You don’t need a fancy corner office when funds are tight. Spend money on quality business cards and make certain you have a website and a social media presence. From there, work slowly to start spending money — you don’t want to be so far in debt that you can’t see sunlight.
- They interact with like-minded individuals. If you surround yourself with successful entrepreneurs their attitude might just be contagious.
- They give back. In the entrepreneurial community there is a mindset of “givers get” and this means that if you give back, what you need might just circle back to you.
Are you operating at the peak level of success that you’d dreamed of? What’s stopping you from achieving that next level? Are you stuck and spinning your wheels? If you feel that way, drop me an email, coaching might just be what you need to push through whatever’s blocking you and help move you forward in your entrepreneurial dream.