How to Start a Small Business – How You Manage Your Own Thoughts Comes First

Ideas, without action, never become bigger than the brain cells they occupy

The key to how to start a small business is less about knowing the mechanical sequence of business idea, business plan, business finance etc and more about the way in which you think and how you manage your thoughts.

The key has to do with your own

  • intention
  • will
  • persistence
  • perseverance
  • resilience

If you have a tendency to dwell on a negative thought or occurrence, this may very well prevent you from taking action to start your own business. You can learn how to manage your thoughts in a way that empowers you toward the accomplishment of your objectives. This ability is essential to start on the road to becoming your own boss.

How to start a small business – the mechanical part

When thinking about how to start a small business, the mechanical part is the easy part.
The mechanical steps are:

STEP 1 Business Ideas
STEP 2 Business Plan
STEP 3 Financing
STEP 4 Getting started
STEP 5 Opening the Doors (if it is an offline business)

It is easy to find advice about steps 2-5. Much has been written about them. There can be much to learn about getting business ideas, although it is much easier than you may think.

I have fully covered the subject of getting business ideas in a separate article entitled “How To Start A Home Business – Getting The Idea For your Business”

How to start a small business – your intention

The dilemma that many people face is:

should you carry on in your current job or should you leave it to start your own small business? The current job pays the mortgage and the other bills. But, you may be unhappy in the job. There may be stress. It may require long hours. There is always the risk of lay off. You must have a strong intention and desire to live life and earn your living on your own terms, to breakthrough and make the decision to start your own small business.

How to start a small business – your will to succeed

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt ~ William Shakespeare

It is human to experience doubt. We all have doubts running through our minds on all sorts of things. When you consider starting your own business, doubts will enter your mind. It is natural. You are entering an area that is unknown to you. Those who succeed in starting their own business will have a way of dealing with their doubts so that they do not dwell on them. Dwelling will lead to inaction. Inaction will lead to no business of your own.

The will to breakthrough on the doubts, and also to overcome other obstacles along the way, will come from your motivation to start your own small business. The level of strength of your will is comparable to the level of motivation you have to start your own business. To increase your will, you need to increase your self motivation.

How to start a small business – your persistence, perseverance and resilience

Your persistence, perseverance and resilience with also be down to your mindset – how you think and how you manage your thoughts. As with any endeavor, when going into business for yourself you will encounter difficult challenges and perhaps some disappointments. As you will likely be on your own, your mental approach to these things is important.

If you allow your attention to dwell on the negative, you will not have the ability to bounce back quickly. You must train yourself to do two things when you experience challenges

  1. learn from negative experiences quickly
  2. quickly re-frame those experiences in your mind in a way that empowers you to accomplish your objectives

I think that the most crucial and first element when considering how to start a small business is how you manage your own thinking process and your own thoughts.

I am going to close this article with a pertinent quote from Confucius.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall”

Finding the Hidden Cash in Your Business

There’s money that you’re not getting right now in your business…

One of my primary tenets is that most businesses miss profit opportunities on every transaction or customer/client relationship – and they have unique profit potential that goes completely untapped (and business owners, managers and professionals are unintentionally limiting their incomes without even knowing it).

I call those missed profit opportunities your “hidden cash.” Often, with just a bit of guidance, you can uncover many of them for yourself. You’ll discover that hidden cash can be found in:

* Your transactions,

* Your customer/client interactions,

* Your marketing,

* Your positioning in the marketplace,

* The way you’re operating your business,

* Assets you’re not using (or don’t even recognize),

* From your promotions, events, and business activities.

* And now… even the economic crisis and recession hold hidden cash.

All of these areas can prove to be a bonanza of new opportunities for you, right in your own business… without having to spend lots of money to capture them (in fact, many are completely free). Here in this article, we’ll begin to explore some of the preliminary things to know and steps to take – to discover the hidden cash in your business.

First, there are a few underlying principles that can help us – especially given the current economic climate – to put things in perspective and understand how to get started:

1) There’s always business going on to some degree in your field –

No matter where you are… or what the conditions of your local economy… there’s business going on to some extent in your field, industry, or profession. So, ask yourself, “How can I be the one people choose to do business with?”… and, “How can I find more of the people who do want what I offer right now?”

2) There’s money you’re not getting from methods you’re not using –

Most likely, you’ve heard the following definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again… expecting a different result.” Well… that couldn’t be more true than right now, when facing the current economic crisis and recession. All bets are off the table – and it’s time to aggressively take action to survive and can produce new results – by using new methods.

3) There’s unnecessary business activity and costs you’re supporting –

It’s time to completely take stock in your business, your expectations, and your situation. Be real! Get a very clear picture of what activities and costs your business supports that are producing a result… and what activities and costs are not pulling their weight. Now’s the time to jettison non-productive items – and adjust your business to the new economic realities.

Time for a fresh start…

We’ll start with the unnecessary business activity and costs side – simply because a business that’s out of balance will distract you and consume your available time… making it difficult to focus on getting new profits and cashflow.

Frankly, if at this point your “Plan B” is to find a suitcase full of money in the alley (or it’s mainstream equivalent… borrowing the money) – then you might want to reconsider – and take the action needed now to get your business house in order, so you can free up your time to focus on the profit-oriented steps available to you.

After clearing out all identifiable unnecessary business activity and costs – the next step is to seriously examine what it takes for your business to do what it does. Ask yourself:

“Exactly how much money do I need each month in PURE PROFIT to maintain my business at it’s current level?”

“Exactly what are my gross sales each month for each of my products/services?”

“Exactly what are my profit margins on those monthly sales for each product/service?”

“Are my gross sales and profit margins producing the new cashflow I need each month?”

(Most smaller businesses only guess, and don’t know these exact answers).

Without exact answers to those specific questions… you’re just guessing… and juggling… and hoping that you can cover everything. And, if you’ve been relying on cash infusions to your business that aren’t generated from… and directly attributable to… current profitable business activity – then you’re at the mercy of the economy, the financial system, and the recession.

You might also want to take this a step further by outlining a “fallback position” – so you’ll be ready to take the needed steps to make further cost-cuts based on the realities of the future numbers posed by the questions above. There’s a lot of freedom knowing you can operate at different levels of profit.

Moving forward to new profits…

But, let’s assume that there’s a net positive balance you can strike now between your profitable business activity and your business costs – or, that you already know your business is solidly in the black in the current economic environment (obviously, even better).

Now you’re ready to start focusing on producing new profits… and find your hidden cash. And finding those upside possibilities that are unique to your business – and creating new profit sources – should be among the primary components of your business strategy. And, in today’s harsh economic climate… nothing could be more valuable to your long-term survival.

Copyright 2009, Guerrilla Profits International

Business – Visiting Cards

You can define a a business card to be – a small card identifying a person in connection with his or her business, given to a client, potential customer, etc.

Business card in some parts of the world is also called a visiting card. It is one of the most important elements of a business. A business card introduces you to the others. It informs the others about your name and the activity you are involved in. A business person cannot live without a business card. It is the most important and elegant way of introducing you, your services and or products to the others who may be interested in what you have to offer.

Now there are two types of business cards that are available to you. One is the print business card and the other is the email business card. The print business card is used in the real world where you do meet people in person and give it to them. In the virtual world, that is on the Internet too you pass on your business card and it is called the email business card.

So how do you go about getting yourself a print business card? The best way is to have a designer design it for you. Where do you find the designer? Look in the local yellow pages or get onto the net and do a little research. You would find one. Though the professionals suggest that an entrepreneur should seek the help of a designer, a cash-strapped individual may not be able to afford one. So what is the other alternative?

The solution is you should observe the business cards of the others. You must have come across plenty of business cards over the years. Go through them. Write down the best features that you find on those cards. Make note of all those features that in your opinion you should incorporate in your card. It may not be always possible to have all those features on your card for various reasons. It depends on the paper stock, the number of fonts, their size, the ink colors used and the size of the card itself, leave alone positioning it. Business cards come in various sizes and shapes. They may be vertical or horizontal. It could be a simple card, a two fold card or may be even a three fold card. Some times there could be something struck on the card itself. The so called simple card could also have some content on both sides of the card.

Now what should go on your business card? The name of your business of course. Along with the mission statement you have coined after considerable thinking. Now look at the elements that should go into the card.

The first thing is obviously your name. This should ideally be given with the designation / title. You can also indicate your academic qualification right next to it. For example:

Joe Bill, B. Sc – Sales Executive

You could mention your affiliations if any here along with your other professional and or academic designations.

  • You will also mention the department / division name followed by the name of the company.
  • You will give the full and complete address of your company along with the postal code.
  • You will also mention the land line numbers along with cell/mobile phone numbers.
  • You will provide the company url along with your own email id.
  • Of course you will also present the logo. In fact it is the most visible item on your business card.

While you can choose a simple single card and provide all the information on the one side, an innovative way of using the blank space would be to provide the address along with a street map or driving instructions on the other face of the card.

If you have a partner you can both share the same card. This is ideal in case of a wife and husband team. You both can use the same card giving out the details on either side of the card. In these times of recession it is only ideal that you save money where ever and whenever possible.

An innovative insurance sales person pasted a dime to his business card just so as to remind his clients politely, ‘you are never broke’ with my services.

It is helpful, however, to have something besides your name and location-just not too much. This distinguishes you from the competition. A minimum number of different typefaces should be used. A card should be simple in design yet eye-catching without being gaudy in color. Study other peoples cards to see which combinations present themselves best, and consider them for your own.

When you are making your calls make sure that you are fully prepared with ample business cards ready at hand. Keep your card where you can easily whip it out. Do not put them in your wallet or stash them in your briefcase. There are business card holders that would help you hold a number of cards. They keep the cards clean and in shape. They help you avoid giving out dog eared and or soiled cards. Put this card holder in your suit or shirt pocket. You do not have to dig it out of your back pocket while you are seated.

Try to find innovative ways of exchanging business cards while you are at parties or get to gathers, meets, conferences. A business card exchange need not necessarily happen at a formal business meet. When some one asks you where you live, pull out the card and give it.

At a restaurant or when you go out for a lunch, dinner let a card be there on the table. It would help someone reach you. Once in a while leave a card at the bank when you are filling in that deposit slip. Leave your card on the counter.

This little story appeared in a magazine. When this visiting British person, while in a Malaysian Hotel, asked a Japanese person in the swimming pool, “what do you do?”, the enterprising Japanese person, pulled out his business card from the trunks he was wearing and held it out.

With a little bit of searching on the net you can get some excellent free templates to help you create your very own business / visiting card.