Match the Right Goals to the Right Needs

In five, ten or fifteen years time, what do hope to be doing with your life? What do you see yourself doing? Where will you be living? How will you be earning your living? How much money do you expect to be making? Or more importantly, how would you like your life to be like?

Go Back
Now take a look into the past. Look back five years ago. Is where you are now where you thought you would be five years ago? Are you where you wanted to be? If you’re on track, congratulations. You’ve probably set goals and taken the required steps to get to where you wanted to be now. On the other hand, if life hasn’t turned out the way you dreamed or hoped it would so far, all is not lost.

The secret to success is not only setting goals, but setting the right goals. It may be impossible to know exactly what life is going to be like in the future, which is why goals need to be flexible, but if you have an idea of how you want your life to be like in the future, you will have a better chance of achieving it. This applies to your personal life as well as your business.

Goals Aren’t Enough
It’s not enough to just set goals like “I want to be rich” and “own my own place.” Whilst these are worthy goals, they’re not specific enough. What needs do you want met in the future? When you dream of being rich, how rich is that? Is that Donald Trump rich? Or is it rich enough to never have to worry about paying bills and meeting the mortgage and putting your children through college? And as for owning your own place, is that an apartment in a swanky inner city suburb, or is it a house in the suburbs? Is it of mansion proportions? Or are you dreaming of something homely and modest?

You need to know exactly what you want so you can take the right steps now toward reaching those specific goals. This is even more crucial when setting goals for your business. You need something specific to aim for. A goal like Continue Reading

Is Now the Best Time to Start a Consulting Business?

There are two schools of thought on this. Many people believe that during a global economic downturn is the best time to start your own business, especially if you’ve lost your job and can’t find a new one. On the other hand, there is that tight economy to consider – when nobody can afford to spend, who are your customers? And can you get a business loan if you need one?

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle and the real question should be is there ever a right time to start a business?

The Competition
There is little competition from a business who is still in recession-thinking mode, afraid to start hiring again and be business as usual, or struggling to keep going on limited staff and outsourcing, and if you pay attention to them, you’d think now is not a good time to start business. The problem with this thinking is while they are holding off until they are really confident the worst of the global recession is over before investing in their business again, it is this very same hesitancy that is placing restraints on global (and their) recovery.

This could be the same reason budding entrepreneurs are holding off starting their own business, too. They are waiting for that magic sign that now is the right time. They want the odds stacked more in their favor and that is understandable, but remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? Are you napping (waiting), or moving ahead albeit slowly towards your goal?

For and Against
There are good reasons for and against starting a business at any time, but to use the global financial crisis as an excuse not to is nonsensical given the number of government agencies available ready to support new business startups. Successful small businesses are Continue Reading

Getting Out of the Rut

Let’s face it, most of us are creatures of habit.  People like to feel secure and this is why many stay in their comfort zones. It’s safe there. But this is also why many people never experience their full potential.

Have a close look at your situation. Be honest. If sticking in your comfort zone interferes with your growth and development and if it hinders reaching your goals, and if very little has changed for you in the past 5 to 10 years, it’s time for a change!

You can start with simple things to get you used to “change”.  Examples: Change your routines.  Take a different route to work. Shop at a different mall.  Change your style. Change what you “usually” eat for breakfast.  Find new ways of doing things. Be a new you. Here are some more tips:

Get a Hobby. Don’t let life consist only of  work and sleep.  Find time for pleasurable pastimes. Be creative.  Dancing? Amateur theatre? Wining/dining? Sporting club?  Cooking?  Fishing?  Do volunteer work. Join a committee. Get out there and participate in life.

Freshen Your Relationships.  Get to know new people who can introduce you to new activities.

Be spontaneous! Do something different and unexpected or Continue Reading

10 Tips to Sell without “Selling”

The rules of selling have changed in recent years – for the better. Nobody liked being sold to. Nobody ever appreciated the hidden motives of the pushy sales person who had a quota to meet and relied on commissions to feed his own family. And for the person trying to make the sale, how uphill could it be trying to sell something during an economic crisis when people are struggling just to meet their mortgage payments, let alone consider buying your luxury, beautiful leather bound set of encyclopedias!

You have to face the fact that sometimes the item you’re selling is not going to be on the top of everybody’s list of priorities.  But even when it is, you don’t have to sell the hard way and turn potential customers away. Selling your products and services needn’t be a struggle.

Here are 10 useful tips to guide you:

1. Put your heart into it.
You should believe in your product or service – authenticity and sincerity needs to be obvious.  If you’re only in it for the sake of an income until something better comes along, success will be evasive because customers will sense and read your body language and know you could care less and just want their money.

2. Ignore the nay-sayers.
People will put you down and put you off because your success reminds them of their failure and makes them feel bad about themselves. Is this your problem?  No. Just remain positive, live your own reality, and expect success.

3. Sell yourself first.
Your potential customers must trust you. This means be upfront in all your dealings, deliver the goods you say you’re going to deliver and honor any commitments you make.

4. Listen!
Focus on what your customer is saying.  They know if you’re trying to sell them something they’re not looking for. Listen so you can understand what they honestly want and be able to give them something that works.

5. Show them you’re selling quality.
Good salesmanship involves doing right by the customer, and you’re not going to do that if you’re selling something you know is an inferior product. People Continue Reading

Shoestring Marketing With a Story

Advertising and marketing is expensive; even internet advertising, which can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars every month depending on your budget. Expense wise it can be you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Maybe money is tight and you can’t afford to market, but if you don’t, you won’t have a business. It’s one of those necessary evils in business, like paying taxes – you might not like to spend your money that way but you have to do it.

Not all marketing is expensive and if you are adventurous and prepared to put in a little elbow grease, you can market your business successfully even during hard times. Name recognition can be achieved by cheaper means, and a very popular and successful method is by article writing.

You only need to write a short article, maybe a Top 10, that offers tips from your area of expertise. Choose a catchy title and use keywords in your headline. Make it eye-catching. What sort of information is your target market interested in?  Make your headline answer their questions or arouse their curiosity.  For example: “5 Reasons Why Your Job Might Be Giving You a Pain in the Neck.” There are many free article sites and newsletter editors who are always looking for new article content.

Your article needs to provide valuable information. You also need to present a professional appearance and proofread your article for spelling and grammatical errors. Your article won’t pass the editors and get published if it even remotely resembles an advertisement or self promotion for your business. Articles are not advertisements. The benefit of article writing is it establishes you as a credible expert and not only enables journalists to find you, but Continue Reading