Tag Archives: Coaching
Small Business Advisors: Your Shortcut To Financial Freedom

Small Business Advisors: Your Shortcut To Financial Freedom

It’s often said that small business is the engine that drives the American economy. That may be true, but every engine needs routine inspection and maintenance from a competent mechanic from time to time.

That’s the only way to ensure the your entrepreneurial machinery is well-oiled and ready for the road ahead, free from any of the subtle warning signs that it takes a specially trained eye to diagnose. By analyzing market conditions, developing strong fundamentals, and anticipating future needs before they develop into serious problems, small business marketing consultants help growing businesses gain a sure footing, sidestepping all the pitfalls.

And in our current economic climate, there is no shortage of pitfalls for small business owners. Sluggish demand, high unemployment, and a very tight lending environment make it hard for start-ups to plan for growth.

That’s why the need for small business marketing consultants is growing at its fastest rate in history. Tough decisions about debt and hiring can paralyze small business owners and bring a thriving start-up company with a bright future to a grinding halt.

More than ever, business owners need a trusted third-party they can turn to for advice, perspective, and analysis. Small business marketing consultants offer exactly that.

The Five Most Common Pitfalls for Start-ups

The more experience a consultant has, the easier it is for them to spot a problem in the developing stages. Much like cars, to return to our auto-mechanic theme, most small businesses encounter very similar problems at similar times. There’s a different set of necessary check-ups that are needed at each interval in the life of a business.

In addition, businesses of the same type often encounter the same pitfalls, just the way cars of the same make or model often possess the same design weaknesses.

One of the most valuable services that a small business coach brings to the table is the experience and wisdom to diagnose these pitfalls before they do serious harm. Here are the 6 most common pitfalls:

Failure to Create a Detailed Plan

This one’s easy. Most entrepreneurs are used to storing complex and fluid plans in their head, only writing things down when it’s absolutely necessary. That often translates to a weak business plan, never taken seriously, “Because it’s going to change tomorrow anyway, right?”

When it come to a business plan, this type of thinking is never good enough. A good plan should to include information about the size of the market, pricing factors, financial goals, and clear parameters about how much the company is willing to invest. Optimism is a good motivator — it’s true — but a small business consultant can bring a much-needed dose of reality to the planning meeting.

Not Contacting Industry Experts

This one really hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it. By failing to consult with the current leaders in an industry, small business owners are doing themselves a major disservice. Many entrepreneurs are standoffish toward industry experts, considering them the competition.

Not only are these business owners missing out on the valuable advice an industry veteran may share, they’re also missing the opportunity to develop a network of support. Industry news travels at light speed through business networks, keeping all those “in the loop” up to date on the current challenges their peers are facing.

Small business marketing consultants can remedy this in a variety of ways. First off, an experienced business advisor IS an expert, particularly if they’ve spent their career specializing in a certain field. Second, business advisors know other business owners; it’s their job. So a small business advisor is a great resource in the quest to get linked in.

Failing to Conduct Market Research – It’s simply not enough to be passionate about something — there must be a healthy market for you product or service in order to sustain a business. Two of the quickest ways to get your business in trouble are to overestimate the size of a market, or underestimate the importance of targeting.

Markets typically seem larger and more vibrant right before you enter them with the stress and tension of a new business to run. First time entrepreneurs commonly get fixated on a particular pet product, losing sight of the fundamentals and overall health of their business. A small business advisor can offer an objective, bird’s eye view of your businesses profit potential while suggesting ways to target relevant customers and increase lifetime value.

It’s often said that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. That’s a statement to how important it is to find those customers instead of focusing on the other 80%.

Underestimating Costs

If you think about it, this is roughly the same thing as overestimating your control on prices. New business owners often make optimistic forecasts about the prices of the goods and services their companies depend on, as well as the prices that their own goods and services may fetch in the marketplace.

By failing to factor in all the volatility of the modern marketplace, small business owners can be setting themselves up for failure. Understanding how much it truly costs to start a business, what the average sale and the average refund rates are in an industry — that’s where expert advice from a marketing consultant can mean the difference between success and failure. Cost and pricing factors are much too important to be left up to guesswork.

Failing to Seek Small Business Advisors

Yep, we saved the best for last! For every major entrepreneurial success story, there’s a business owner who got help form the right advisor at the right time. It doesn’t matter if it’s about selecting real estate, construction, or financial planning; the go-it-alone, maverick mindset is the opposite of what a small business owner needs.

Surrounding yourself with the right team of professionals is the ultimate insurance policy. Small business advisors are only one part of this team, alongside investors, visionaries, and coaches.

These advisors can help entrepreneurs gauge what’s around the corner for their businesses and how to position themselves to take advantage of it. Otherwise, a small business will be caught in the herd of entrepreneurs who are simply struggling to react to the changes.

Merging the Plan with the Execution

Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs that approach their businesses methodically — going down the proper checklists as they grow their companies — are far more likely to succeed than those who simply “go with their gut.”

Likewise, entrepreneurs that go with their gut often get heartburn, if not heartbreak — especially when operating within today’s razor thin margin of error.

Few entrepreneurs fantasize about accounting, marketing, and metrics. After all, many small businesses are formed with the express purpose of escaping the tedious realities of working for someone else. Yet these tedious things are the building blocks that support a successful enterprise in the long-term.

If routine maintenance and inspections are necessary for you car, you can imagine how important they are for something as complex as a business! Small business consultants offer the attention to detail, pragmatism, and accountability that gives businesses an edge in today’s exciting, yet challenging business climate.

The Death of an Icon. The End of an Era.

The Death of an Icon. The End of an Era.

Co-founder of Apple Computers, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday after losing his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.

I have always loved his revolutionary products and have been an advocate for Apple for many years. He has forever changed the way we consume information and embrace technology. We often discuss marketing, branding and product launches; Steve Jobs has set a bar that we can only hope to aspire too.

In his own words he expresses his philosophy of death elegantly:

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The world has lost one of the great visionaries in history. Yet he continues on as in inspiration to all of us that seek innovation, perfection and success. Our condolences to his family and the folks at Apple Corporation, and all who admired him.

Raymond Aaron

Coaching is the Way to Double Your Income

Coaching is the Way to Double Your Income

Today’s economy presents many financial opportunities. Many people will disagree with that statement, but to the trained eye, a recession is a virtual gold mine. Finding a financial coach or a mentor can be a way to double your income.

Let’s use your children as an example. If your daughter was interested in gymnastics, you would go out and find a gymnastics program in which she could get the best training available. She would be coached and mentored in a way that would foster her abilities and shape her gymnastics career.

What if your son was a blossoming baseball player? You would certainly find the best baseball coach in your area, and give your son an opportunity to learn and grow as a baseball player. If both of your children had a high aptitude for math, you would find a tutor, or a math magnet program that would nurture their abilities in math.

The point is, no matter what activity your child chooses, you feel obligated to find an expert in that field to work with your child and give them the opportunity to excel at it. You inherently want the best for your children, and recognize the need to give them an environment that provides the best opportunities in whatever they enjoy doing.

Now let’s talk about you and your desires for a moment. Most of us have a career or profession. We all like to consider ourselves to be good at what we do for a living. What we chose as a career many moons ago is a part of who we are in some ways. So what about the areas of our lives in which we are not experts? What do we do for ourselves in those areas?

Take finance for instance. When we have questions about a mortgage, or an investment, most of us will do some research and make the financial decisions that make sense to us. We may seek casual advice from our banker, or a neighbor who knows a little about what we are asking, but for the most part, we make decisions on our own.

When we buy a car, we will research the model of the car we want, shop prices at different dealers, and so on, until we make a decision on what we believe is the best deal, and then we buy the car. Again, we choose to make decisions in areas that we are not experts in based on limited knowledge of the industry we are dealing in.

This is a common contradiction that all of us share. We make financial decisions, buying decisions, career choices and so on, based on information that makes sense to us. Unfortunately, if we do not happen to be experts in any of those areas, we often make decisions that have adverse affects on our financial health.

In other words, we could and should seek out power mentors to coach us through life decisions that can affect our financial well being. These mentors can be found almost anywhere. They can be neighbors, family members or friends who have expertise in the areas that we do not.

By choosing this method of collective decision making, we are positioning ourselves to double our income.

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Goal Accomplishment is a Little-Known Wealth Secret

Goal Accomplishment is a Little-Known Wealth Secret

Have you ever looked at the person in the car next to yours at a stop light, noticed how nice their car was and wondered to yourself what that person has that you don’t? Not counting money perhaps, that person may know a few wealth secrets that you do not.

There are not many classes or seminars that you can pay for and attend that lay out wealth secrets. There are few secret black books that spills the beans on how to accumulate wealth. There are some tips that are available to everyone who is willing to learn and apply to their own lives that can help add to the bottom line.

There are plenty of resources on the Internet or in print that teach goal setting as a way to build net worth. Yes, something as simple as setting goals has warranted hundreds of thousands of books, articles and blogs to be written that support the concept. Goal setting is something that can help, but using that tool alone is focusing in the wrong area.

If you enjoy fishing as a sport, you would have some idea of the things you need to actually go fishing. You know that in most places, you need licenses or permits to fish in some waterways. You know that you need all sorts of gear to go fishing, most importantly a rod and reel. You also have some idea of the best time of day to go fishing, and the best places to go.

Knowing all of those things about fishing would get you to the watering hole of your choice at the right time, with the best equipment you could afford. So would you go through all of that just for the enjoyment of casting a line? No! You may enjoy some or all of the preparatory aspects of fishing, but the whole point of going fishing is to catch fish, right?

Goal setting as a stand alone practice is like planning a fishing trip with no intention to catch any fish at all. Goal Accomplishment is the key facet of goal setting, which is in turn a practice that many wealthy people have mastered. They have become experts at setting goals, and masters at getting them done.

Often, that is the chief difference between you and the guy you saw at the stop light. That is the little known wealth secret that we seem to miss on a regular basis. Anyone can set goals, but few people master the art of accomplishing those goals on a consistent basis.

Goal setting and goal accomplishment go hand in hand. Learning how to set good goals, learning how to define different types of goals, and most importantly, how to accomplish the goals you set, is a process that does not take years to learn. Understand that goal accomplishment is a wealth secret that does not require any special skill to master. It takes a simple systematic approach, and you will be well on your way to financial freedom.

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