Want A Successful Business? Focus On These 5 Things

It shocks me to see how many entrepreneurs continue to get in their own way by focusing on the wrong things in business. There’s no reason to make success hard when it’s easy.

Don’t focus on what you don’t know at first you’ll just get frustrated and stuck. Focus instead on what you can do and keep going to gain momentum. This means focusing on the easy parts first, then coming back to the more difficult aspects of building your business. Hopefully, by then you’ll have built up enough momentum that it won’t break your productive focus.

The following are some of the basic business skills (especially soft skills) that drive you to success with ease. These basic skills are what truly set you up for success.

  1. Focus on what works for easy success. Many entrepreneurs believe they’ll succeed, but they lack the basic business skills and common business sense to back up that belief. They waste a lot of time focusing on expensive details.

For instance, when I work with entrepreneurs in building or reinventing their businesses, I help them develop or re-create their branding. Occasionally, I get a client who gets stuck on such details as perfecting the font on the logo when he should be focusing on areas of the business that generate profits. People like this make it hard for themselves, instead of making it easy by trusting the process.

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Introducing how to succeed in business. 6 Secret steps to success. Part 2 – How to achieve your dreams in real life – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHwxR…

Obsessing over perfection or the wrong details isn’t cost-effective. You must learn how to prioritize. Know how much time to spend on each aspect of your business, and don’t waste time on less important tasks.

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  1. Avoid “Squirrel Syndrome.” It’s not uncommon for a business owner to spin their wheels and lose focus. When this happens, many people start looking for the next bright, shiny object to grab hold of. This is called Squirrel Syndrome.
  • Squirrels have a severe inability to focus.
  • Squirrels often dart back and forth—doubting their deci­sions—unable to choose a direction.
  • Squirrels have something to teach us: what not to do.

The Squirrel Syndrome may cause abrupt dashes from one idea to another or one project to the next. When this happens, you become unfocused and may even become frantic about not getting things accomplished. The result is, you delay or never complete important projects to reach your goals.

You can avoid Squirrel Syndrome by learning to recognize when a squirrel shows up in your life. Refocus by taking the time to define the project or direction in which you need to go. Then stay on task and turn off all distractions. Remember, every time you stray off course, it takes that much longer to reach your goals.

  1. Focus on activities that create results. Focus is one of those basic-but-critical, habits you need to master if you want to be successful. Improve your focus on the day-to-day basic business activities you do best, and from which you produce extraordinary results. If you don’t, you’ll create higher stress levels and may experience burnout. When you spend most of your time and energy doing the business tasks you’re brilliant at and allow others (like employees or subcontractors) to do the rest, you reap the biggest rewards.

For example, don’t try building a website unless you’re a webmaster, and don’t try learning technical skills if that isn’t the best use of your time. Outsource those things instead, and focus on running your business so it can grow and prosper.

  1. Multitask mindfully. The key to multitasking is to do it strategically and mindfully. Mindful multitasking means that you check in with yourself and determine how you need to focus in each new situation.

Mindful multitasking allows you to stop reacting to distractions, such as the automatic reflex to answer the phone or read an incoming text. It allows you to focus on the actions that provide the best results and disregard everything else. After you set your intentions for the day, create a to-do list that you can tackle using mindful multitasking, allowing yourself to be present in each action you take for the day.

  1. Focus on developing one big project at a time. Don’t try to start multiple projects at once—it fragments focus and time. Entrepreneurs are creative people, often with many good business ideas. And it’s hard turning off the desire to act on multiple ideas at one time. But if you split your attention between more than one big project at a time, you’ll run into trouble completing anything at all. You’re going to need all your energy and focus to get your one new project off the ground.

Here are five ways to remain focused on whatever your task at hand may be:

  1. Write out what you need to accomplish each day so you don’t forget important tasks. When a new idea comes to mind, don’t stop what you’re doing. Simply make a note of it and come back to it at a more convenient time.
  2. Focus on your overall ideas and then implement an effective action plan. Keep your top three goals in mind and commit to achieving them each week. Write down the specific actions you need to take to achieve those goals.
  3. Tackle creative work first. Mindless work will drain your energy, lower your focus, and waste your time. When you start with creative work at the beginning of the day, you can work on the most complex projects when your energy is highest before moving on to simpler tasks, such as answering emails or returning calls.
  4. Understand what’s worthy of distraction. Don’t allow last-minute, nonemergency issues to kill your focus. Stay on task and stick to your commitments. Prioritize other tasks and put together a timeline so you’re not needlessly distracted.
  5. Unplug from email, social media, and phone calls. Take a break from all outside distractions and focus on the task at hand. You’ll get a lot more done when you’re not constantly interrupting yourself.

Debbie Allen

By:Debbie Allen / Speaker, Business Mentor & Author

Source: Want a Successful Business? Focus on These 5 Things

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6 Most Commonly Overlooked Cost Savings In Business

https://i1.wp.com/onlinemarketingscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/cost-reduction-strategy-for-small-businesses.jpg?resize=924%2C461&ssl=1

In a quest to cut costs, many businesses inadvertently leave money on the table by overlooking legitimate savings or chasing false economies.

From paying more than necessary to cutting budgets on activities that bring home the bacon, here are some of the most commonly overlooked savings in business to look out for in 2021.

1. Marketing waste

Advisors warn against cutting marketing budgets at the risk of plunging into obscurity. However, that spend should deliver a decent return on investment (ROI).

Giving into Facebook’s prompts to boost a post might seem harmless, but it’s an easy way to burn through cash.

Not targeting ads effectively is akin to pouring good money down the drain. Determine who your ideal customer is, which media they consume and when they’re most likely to buy. Then tailor your ads accordingly.

Have a plan and a budget and stick to them.

2. In-house efficiencies

Efficiencies are the holy grail in business – doing the same thing (or better) for less money. Yet, some are less obvious than others.

Improving employee welfare and workplace culture can reduce staff turnover – saving on recruitment, training and exit payouts while stemming the loss of skills, experience and intellectual property.

Don’t confuse busyness with productivity: teams should work on revenue-driving activities, not administration. Look for ways to simplify operations, freeing staff to work on core tasks.

Avoid sacrificing existing clients for new ones. It’s more expensive to attract new customers than to give existing ones more attention and value.

Automate inventory control and staff rosters to reduce errors. Running out of stock or being short-staffed ultimately means lost sales.

Streamline business finances and develop strong financial foundations. Invoicing promptly means money coming in sooner, while paying bills and taxes on-time eliminates interest and penalties.

3. Risk mitigation

“Prevention is better than cure” typically applies to health, but the same goes in business.

Review your risk mitigation strategies and stress test them for weaknesses. Risk mitigation includes:

  • insurance against business interruption and loss/damage/theft
  • contingency plans for key staff absences
  • automatic back-ups of essential software and data
  • security protocols, password management and staff cyber training to avoid fraud and hacks
  • work-from-home capabilities should staff be unable to attend the business premises (as COVID-19 has demonstrated)

Insurances and staff hours spent on these are up-front costs, but they’ll save big bucks should disaster strike.

4. Misplaced cost-cutting

Why slash the stationery budget only to blow those savings elsewhere? It sounds silly, yet many businesses fall into this trap. It’s important to deliver real savings.

For instance, stop paying rent on unused space – downsize to smaller premises or sub-let surplus space to subsidise the cost.

Upskill employees in revenue-generating activities to boost income, rather than fire them and face hefty exit payouts.

Don’t overlook taxes when looking for cost savings. Claim legitimate depreciation of business fit-outs, office furniture, vehicles and equipment. Update vehicle logbooks to claim eligible mileage allowances. Apply for relevant tax concessions and COVID stimulus.

5. DIY

“It’s cheaper to do it myself”, many business leaders claim. But are you sacrificing your ability to earn more in the process?

Weigh up the cost of outsourcing against the additional revenues and cost-savings you could generate by spending your time elsewhere.

Outsourcing could involve delegating tasks to new or existing employees, hiring contractors or implementing new technologies.

6. Buying power

Consider how to get the best value for your money.

Interest rates are at record lows, making money cheaper to borrow to upgrade equipment or expand. Refinancing debts could also slash repayments. However, plan your finance needs ahead of time – cash flow quick-fixes like short-term loans typically cost more.

Could you buy the business premises in a self-managed super fund (SMSF)? That way, your retirement fund receives the rent rather than a third-party.

And avoid the “lazy tax”: annually reviewing subscriptions, utilities, loans and insurances can net substantial savings. Often, you don’t even need to change providers – just ask for a better rate or get them to price-match a competitor!


 

By: Helen Bakerhttps://onyourowntwofeet.com.au/

Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of – On Your Own Two Feet Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence. Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field.

Source: 6 most commonly overlooked cost savings in business – Dynamic Business

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14 ways to cut costs and save money in your small business. – http://selfmadesuccess.com Let’s Connect! Twitter – https://twitter.com/MrJustinBryant Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/justinbryant… Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+JustinBryant… In this video, you will learn how to cut costs and save money in your small business. I’ll talk about strategies that include making sure you use all the best tax deductions, use freelancers instead of hiring more employees for certain jobs, cutting out expensive software in favor of free online tools and much more. Enjoy the video! https://www.facebook.com/mrjustinbryant
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[…] that are going to make the most sense for you depend on where you live, your investment goals, savings strategy, and how much you plan to contribute each year […]
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[…] So, before committing to this savings strategy, adults would be wise to assess their risk appetite […] This savings strategy entails purchasing bonds for £1 each; the minimum amount one can buy at once is £25, whilst th […]
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[…] No matter where you are in your retirement journey, now is the perfect time to take charge of your savings strategy and make sure you’re on track for the retirement you envision […]
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[…] and many people making home improvements or shopping for a new home see solar panels as a long-term savings strategy […]
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Clients can now offload even more of their savings strategy and have Wealthfront do the work of moving money between accounts […]
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[…] the nickname “Gronk,” is a star football player who was blessed with million-dollar contracts, his savings strategy is so simple that anyone can mimic it to achieve their retirement goals […]
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4 Free Tips to Get Your Business to Show Up on Google Maps

Google is still the King, Queen and court jester of online search. Sure, Facebook and Amazon are trying to carve out their own slice of the search pie, but as of July 2019, Google dominated over 90 percent of all search queries. When someone does a Google search for a product or service, they are demonstrating intent and motivation. The beauty of searches based on intent is that this traffic can be free.

Paid keyword advertising works, but it isn’t the only way to get clicks and customers. Ever notice how some businesses and entrepreneurs are always just below the paid ads on Google Maps, while others don’t ever show up? Those that get displayed do four things to their business profile better than everyone else.

Before we get into the four specific tasks, it’s important to know that your business will not appear on Google Maps unless you establish a Google My Business (GMB) profile for each and every location. Google the phrase “Google My Business” to find a direct link to set up your GMB profile. It is connected to your Google account.

Related: Want to Rank Higher on Google? Learn SEO Strategies From an Expert.

If you are establishing a brand new location, you are going to choose between a service location and a physical location. A physical location is an actual office or retail space people go to, like a doctor’s or lawyer’s office. Clients come to you. A service location is one where you service a neighborhood or town but do not have an office or retail space. Examples include a plumber, realtor or HVAC service technician. You go to the client. In both cases, you need a mailing address so Google can mail you a postcard verification. You “claim” your listings and start to take charge of your online presence.

With that baseline set, let’s go over these four quick and easy ways to get your business to show up on Google Maps when people are searching for a local (fill in the blank) like yours. 

1. Photos, photos and more photos

Ever look at a business profile and wonder if the place is still even in business? You can tell when a business profile looks deserted. The first dead giveaway is when the only photo for that business profile is the Google Maps street view.

You have to upload relevant photos. This cannot be emphasized enough. People eat and buy with their eyes. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer. The cameras on most smartphones will suffice.

Take as many photos of your workplace as possible. Make sure to rename each photo to include the business name and what’s in the photo. By doing this, you are correctly labeling the photo per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, which is a courtesy in itself, plus you are helping Google easily understand what the photo is about thereby making it easier for the algorithm to deliver more accurate results.

Other ideas for photos include clients, customers, products, food and before and afters. Remember, you can’t have too many photos so long as they are relevant to your business.

Related: Most Search Traffic is Organic. This Tool Helps Improve Your SEO Rankings.

2. Embed your Google Maps profile 

Google loves it when you use their tools. One of the quickest and easiest ways to send signals to Google that your GMB profile is getting traffic is by taking advantage of your website’s existing traffic. Embed the small Google map on your site. Every time someone visits your site they are inadvertently viewing the embedded Google property. Google picks up on this even if they don’t click on the map.

Search for your business on Google Maps. When you find it, click on the “share” option and select “embed map.” Copy that code and place it on your site in the same manner you’d embed a YouTube video.

3. Reviews

The more clicks your profile gets, the higher and more often Google delivers it as a search engine result on Google Maps. The more reviews you have, the more likely people will click on your profile. This is known as social proof.

You have to get good at requesting reviews from your customers, clients, patrons, friends and family. Getting reviews is an art form. You will get better at the more you do it. Don’t be surprised or even offended when you have to ask someone for a review or testimonial more than once. Studies show that you are more likely to get a review after a customer experiences a “high.” This typically happens after a purchase or a good meal. It’s at those moments you and your team should be requesting a review.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Related: 6 Tips for Acquiring More Google Reviews (and Why They Matter)

4. Accurate information

Make sure your business phone number, website and hours of operation are up-to-date. Use a guest browser and test out the links to the phone and website. Are they accurate? Do they work as intended? Is the phone ringing to the correct person? Does the website link to the homepage or correct product or service? These are all things you should be testing. It’s all about the customer experience and the longer you keep the customer on your GMB profile, the more valuable you are in the eyes of Google.

Google wants to deliver the best and most relevant search results to the consumer. They have a universe of tools and online signals that help them determine which search engine results to provide. The more competitive your business space is, the more complete and professional your GMB profile has to be. If your business profile isn’t complete, has inaccurate information and doesn’t have any photos of your business or photos of you at work, you probably won’t show up.

By: Paul Argueta / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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How the Average Person Can Actually Start An Online Business

A 2018 study from Bankrate revealed that only 39% of Americans could have enough savings for a $1,000 emergency fund and 44% couldn’t cover a $400 out-of-pocket emergency expense. 

Starting a business can be a difficult task regardless of your financial status, but the degree of difficulty climbs much higher the lower you are on the economic class scale.

Related: The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

If you happen to be an average person, with an average bank account, a normal job, a family to feed and bills eating up a large percentage of your earnings, then the deck is stacked against you. 

Why?

It takes money to make money. Online sales are all about eyeballs. How many people can get you to see and interact with your offers?

I tell my eBook students — “youcan write the best book in the history of the universe, but if no one ever sees it, you’ll never get a sale. On the other hand, you can publish the worst book ever published and with the right marketing techniques and finances to back it, you’ll get some initial sales, at least until you get a few bad reviews.”

If you start your own website, open a Shopify store, sell on Amazon, social media or any other online marketplace, you will be paying for those eyeballsthrough either advertising or fees. Sometimes both. The only potential exception would be those with a large and active social media following.

Long story short — if you are the average person without a legitimate budget, you’re kind of screwed. 

Learn from my mistakes 

Sometimes we all need a reality check. I wish someone would have sat me down and told me this when I was 23 years old because I wasted tens of thousands of dollars on failed online business over the years and it was money that I didn’t have. 

I’ve been the average guy with the average income, the average job and above-average bills. There was a point in my life that my monthly earnings were negative $1,000. I had to get a $20,000 personal loan to plus up my income to pay my bills for a year. 

Honestly, I don’t know what the bank was thinking by giving me that loan, but I’m glad they did because I had seriously considered filing for bankruptcy and if I’m being honest, I probably should have. 

This was one of the worst and most stressful time-periods of my life and if this article can save one person the heartache I went through, it’ll be worth it. 

Move over success 

A few years later, I was supporting US Special Forces as a military contractor in Syria. While I was sleeping in a tent, eating food out of a can and stealing WIFI from a neighboring country, I started an online jobs website for aviation professionals with security clearances interested in deploying to combat zones. 

Related: Need a Business Idea? Here Are 55.

The website itself did become profitable, but it was only a few hundred dollars of profit per month. While it wasn’t a massive win, there wasn’t much like it within the industry. 

The site’s uniqueness along with the targeted audience I was able to build via Facebook advertising piqued the interest of the right people which lead to a single dinner and ended with me consulting with a multimillion-dollar corporation. 

Since then, it’s been all downhill. Sometimes all we need is a single breakthrough. 

If I can do it from a tent in Syria, you can do it from your couch. It didn’t happen overnight though. Here is the process I had to go through to get to that point. 

Overcoming average people obstacles

The mistakes I made that put me in the worst financial position of my life are the same mistakes that many others make on a daily basis. 

If you are in a position where you don’t have expendable income but want to start an online business, read the following advice carefully…

Be realistic

  1. Realize that until you fix your own financial problems, starting a legitimate business will be out of the question. This was a tough realization for me, but I’ve learned that you can have the best business concept in the history of the universe, but if you can’t fund it and do it right, it’ll never succeed.  
  2. Sell everything you can possibly sell. Especially liabilities that have monthly payments. If it wasn’t nailed down, I sold it. I lost money on most everything, but it was worth it in the long run. 
  3. Consolidate debt and cancel all unnecessary subscriptions. This allowed me to lower my monthly obligations, decrease interest rates on certain debts and pay bigger chunks towards the debt. 

Focus on the money

  1. Search for a higher paying job. Often, we underestimate ourselves and what we are capable of accomplishing. Put yourself out there and see what’s available. What’s the worst a potential employer can say, no? This is actually how I ended up in Syria. I was able to more than double my salary by accepting a position that most people wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. I even grew to love the job, but initially, I was simply making a personal sacrifice to achieve a long-term goal. As an entrepreneur, if you are not willing to make sacrifices, you are in the wrong line of work. 
  2. Use a skill, learn a skill or try something new. Stop worrying about starting a business and focus on actually earning money. I was able to earn an additional $1,500 a month by writing content for people’s blogs, creating social media content and writing small informational eBooks. Here is a solid hint. If you want to make money, be willing to do the grunt work. Do the things that people don’t like to do themselves. 

It wasn’t glamorous, but it accelerated my debt pay off. I was able to get most of my business by joining niche forums and Facebook groups. Here is a solid hint – niche forums and Facebook groups are two of the only places on the internet that you can get those eyeballs for free, but you have to be offering something they are actively seeking. 

I actually hadn’t ever done any of the services that I started offering, but with a little practice and learning from people on YouTube, I was able to surpass customers’ expectations.

Related: 5 Steps on How to Start a Business and Get It to Market Quickly

Starting a business and scaling

Once you are out of debt or close to it and have at least $2,000 to invest, it’s time to start your online business. 

Here’s the process I like to follow:

  1. Don’t think major corporations. Rather, start small and build. Use the new skills you learned to earn extra money during your debt payoff phase and start something you know can be profitable. We all have our dream business, but at this point, it’s more important to start something low risk and stable. Learn to be passionate about the process and business in general rather than a specific idea or concept. 
  2. Once you have a steady flow of business, figure out how to outsource using freelancers. Implement processes to take yourself out of the equation to the point that you are simply managing the businesses and dealing with customers. This will allow you to continue earning from the business, but it’ll free you up to work towards your next business. 
  3. Take the earnings from the first business and invest them into your next business concept. Ideally, you will only be investing the profits from business number one into business number two. This will allow you to continue to build your personal savings from your day job while still allowing you to invest in online businesses. 
  4. Rinse and repeat. 

Don’t rush the process. Enjoy the journey. 

Personally, I like to have three to five businesses running at any given time. Two or three of them will be low-end grunt work type businesses that fund my ideal businesses.

The grunt work businesses are profitable because everyone hates to do their own grunt work. It’s the reason people pay to have their houses cleaned and their lawns mowed. 

You can easily and successfully scale without having to invest money earned from your full-time job. This allows you to continue to save and grow financially while you are building something real.

Takeaways

Starting a business can be difficult and is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. 

In reality, it’s a fairly simple process if you are patient. 

  1. Fix yourself
  2. Focus on the money
  3. Start with something low risk
  4. Outsource
  5. Invest earnings into other business concepts
  6. Repeat

In my opinion, this is the one process that gives the average person the best chance of being able to start a successful online business. 

By: Austin Lawson – Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor / The Combat Entrepreneur

What Black Business Owners Need Most Right Now

The day Hello Alice launched in 2017, we committed that our primary focus would be the New Majority of business owners, which includes Black business owners. We did this because we saw the major opportunity to work with some of the fastest growing companies in the country, while also closing gaps faced by entrepreneurs of color. 

In our continued commitment to Black-owned businesses, our company partnered with the business support organizations Black & Brown Founders, DivInc, and Digital Undivided to compile anonymous owner data and publish a new Impact Report on our Black-Owned Business Resource Center that analyzes challenges that the Black business community is facing right now. Based on responses from more than 28,000 Black owners, 77 percent told us that they need emergency grants immediately. 

One of the owners asking for funds was Bridgette Baker, the owner of Sunshine Remodeling, a New Orleans-based property company. Nobody in her family had been landlords, and everyone told her she didn’t have the knowledge, let alone the money, to remodel and rent out real estate. But after years of repairing her credit, watching countless home improvement videos, and building some literal sweat equity alongside her husband, Baker now owns and manages a multi-family unit and a single-family home. The difficult journey was all worth it, she says, because of what it means for her daughter’s future.

“As an African American female, I wanted our daughter to know you can do anything you set your mind to with determination and a zeal to achieve your goals,” she says. “I wanted to put myself in a position to create generational wealth and a legacy for our daughter.”

The term generational wealth might be the key to unlocking the unique challenges facing Black business owners. Talent and hard work are not always enough to overcome a persistent racial wealth gap that puts Black entrepreneurs at a disadvantage when starting a small business. Combine that reality with the challenges of COVID-19, and certain estimates project that more than 40 percent of Black businesses are in danger of closing forever.

While Black entrepreneurs overwhelmingly said in the survey that access to capital is their number one need right now, it’s certainly not the group’s first time facing this issue. Deldelp Medina and Aniyia L. Williams of Black & Brown Founders put it best in the report’s opening letter: “You can’t fix what you don’t even consider counting.” In other words, just because you haven’t been paying attention doesn’t mean these problems are new.

Many business leaders continue to lack a basic understanding of the historical obstacles facing Black business owners because they haven’t taken the time to gather information on the community. We must all gather specific data and educate ourselves on the longstanding institutional barriers standing in the way of success for all New Majority business owners, but particularly the Black community.

Collaborate with organizations that promote entrepreneurs of color. 

DivInc CEO Preston James implores in the report that business leaders can proactively engage in collaborative partnerships with organizations, such as ones like DivInc, BlckVCBlack Woman Talk Tech, and Black Innovation Alliance which help promote underrepresented entrepreneurs and build profitable, high-growth companies. 

Business owners and consumers themselves can also open pocket books and seek out collaboration. A great example is the My Black Receipt, a campaign led by The Black Upstart and Kezia M. Williams, which quantifies collective purchases from Black-owned businesses, and has so far driven nearly $10 million in sales to Black-owned small businesses.

Finally, community leaders can harness their power and influence. If you hold any sway with governments, foundations, the VC community, or other groups, remember that Black business owners often need access to social capital as much as financial capital. A simple introduction or mentor relationship might change the course of an entrepreneur’s life.

Enterprise has a role to play as well.

As Robert F. Smith of Vista Equity Partners points out, “Nowhere is structural racism more apparent than in corporate America.  If you think about structural racism and access to capital, 70 percent of African American communities don’t even have a branch bank of any type.”

Black business owners overwhelmingly requested access to funding, with 81 percent of respondents to our survey reporting that they need less than $100,000 to stay in business. Part of this means continuing the call for rent relief, tax deferrals, and tax waivers that business owners are asking for. It’s also about pressuring government leaders to extend emergency funding programs.

In response, Smith is pushing an initiative that urges the nation’s enterprise leaders to invest 2 percent of net income over the next decade into minority communities as a small step toward restoring equity and economic mobility in America.

Tackling these problems will be hard, yes, but leaders who ignore the Black community will do so at their own peril. Black women are already the most educated group in this country and comprise the fastest growing group of people creating businesses. What could Black entrepreneurs accomplish with the proper support and resources? What incredible innovations, experiences, and generational wealth do we forfeit if we continue to neglect this community?

As for Baker, the Sunshine Remodeling owner, I’m happy to report that she was one of the recipients of the COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grants. During the crisis she’s been waiving late fees, extending rental due dates, and assisting tenants with their utility payments. Baker embodies the best of entrepreneurship in our country. Join us in investing time, money, and resources into the Black business community for years to come.

By Elizabeth Gore, President and chairwoman, HelloAlice.com

Royalty Finance Provides The Key to Becoming The Master of Your Own Business Destiny

1

The global pandemic has dealt yet another blow to business in general, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in particular.

Even at the beginning of the year, the level of indebtedness across this community was untenable. To make matters worse, recent research has highlighted that a quarter of a million companies are at risk of collapsing under £35bn ($44bn) of unsustainable debt taken on during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is foreboding, to say the least.

However, the outlook need not all be doom and gloom. Alternative and more flexible forms of finance have been on the rise since the Global Financial Crisis sent shockwaves through the markets in 2008. Now, 12 years on, businesses have more options than ever before when it comes to finding an innovative capital solution which promotes, rather than encumbers, growth. Evaluating these will be essential for management teams as they look to stabilise their business in a post-pandemic world and create a stronger growth platform for 2021.

The biggest sector you have never heard of.

Royalty Finance is one such solution. It is probably one of the biggest sectors you have never heard of. Popularised in North America, this form of alternative financing is estimated to be worth around $50 billion in the region and has been recognised as a viable capital solution for companies operating across a range of sectors since the 1980s.

The solution sees well-established companies receive capital in return for a slice of their revenues.  Models vary, but typically royalty financing works as a type of ‘corporate mortgage’, where a business exchanges a small percentage of its revenues over a long period of time in return for capital today. It is because of its ability to provide supportive capital which does not saddle the business with re-financing risk that its relative obscurity in the UK and Europe is quickly changing.

The advantages are clear: because it is passive, unlike other options, royalty financing is the only source of capital which enables business owners to realize their long-term business goals without compromising owner control, adding amortizing bank debt to the business or, in most cases, diluting equity shares.

Since the royalty company is taking a slice of revenue from the business, it also means that the interest of the two partners are aligned (arguably, unlike other traditional finance methods), with the repayment percentage adjusted annually to reflect any movement in an investee’s revenues. This means that it represents a true partnership model.

As an additional benefit, the company’s repayments cover the principal as well as the interest. Many companies use the money to replace existing short-term debt to allow them to grow.  Royalty financing eliminates re-financing risk because it has a payback over decades, hence the analogy to a ‘corporate mortgage’. As well as being used to refinance debt, other common applications include M&A, shareholder restructuring and organic expansion.

A transatlantic shift

The transatlantic jump for royalty financing originally came as a result of a shift in how SMEs perceived and dealt with their banks on the back of the Global Financial Crisis. Just two years ago, the UK’s Federation of Small Business (FSB) reported that small credit business approvals had fallen to a 30-month low, with only 60% of small firms that applied for credit being successful, establishing a significant SME funding gap and frustrating growth.

Fast forward to today, and the coronavirus has shifted this sentiment stagnation a full 180o to the other extreme. The UK government’s decision to act as a guarantor for business loans to prop up the private sector during the pandemic, however well-meaning, has created a staggering debt mountain.  Worryingly, the implications for the SME sector, which employs 60% of the UK’s private sector workers, and its future growth prospects are even more eye-watering.

Banking industry executives fear that the loans will lead to widespread corporate failures in 2021 when companies must start paying interest on the debt, leading to a swathe of job losses. Even among businesses that can afford to service their loans, debt impedes a companies’ ability to invest and grow, thereby creating a significant drag on any economic revival after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK government has already started work on how to tackle the corporate debt mountain. A likely solution will be to enable the debt to be swapped by the government for equity stakes in businesses, much like we saw during the global financial crisis. This will make many of our SMEs accountable to UK Government, presenting an array of new potential headaches for management.

This raises the question: is this the only way? After the initial drop in revenue experienced by companies almost across the board in April 2020, when the pandemic first struck UK shores, many have started experiencing a relative upturn in trading. For those businesses which have a proven, long term track record of profitability, but have taken a hit during unprecedented times, there lies the opportunity to evaluate their options, refinance this debt and once again make themselves the masters of their own destiny.

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A new tomorrow

The accelerated adoption of pre-existing trends, whether it be flexible working or digitalisation, during the pandemic has been a hot topic over recent months. In my mind, this extends to the application of alternative finance as well.  In times of short-term uncertainty, long term capital, which does not need to be continuously repaid or have an identified exit strategy in place, represents a no-brainer for management teams.

The businesses of today benefit from a financial landscape that is more diverse than ever before. Now that the dust has settled following the initial shockwaves sent through the business community at the start of the outbreak, management teams have the perfect opportunity to take their future into their own hands and ensure that their capital structure works for, not against, their business.

With its aforementioned advantages and amid a quickly changing finance environment among SMEs in particular, royalty financing is set to grow from strength the strength across the UK and Europe. You could call its sudden rise a surprise, but all the right conditions have been there for growth of the industry.

Neil Johnson
bevtraders-2

How Owners and Entrepreneurs Can Deal With Financial Stress

1

Millions of Americans have been left unemployed over the past half-year and are subsequently struggling to cover their bills and keep a roof over their heads. And for business owners, the situation is even more precarious. Unfortunately, despite fewer (if any) customers coming through the doors, businesses still have overhead that needs to be covered. Even those able to move some operations online likely still have had to contend with rent, utility and insurance costs and other financial obligations.

Additionally, some businesses may be obliged to cover the costs of supplier contracts even though they may not be able to use the items. For example, according to Reuters, the international clothing store Primark has committed to pay its suppliers $461 million for orders, despite all of its stores closing their doors in March.

Even though there have been provisions for businesses to defer payments, once they start trading again, these payments will need to be made. All of this adds up to a massive amount of financial stress for any business.

Related: Currency Exchange Tips for Entrepreneurs

The Signs of Financial Stress

There are a number of signs of financial stress, and many of these have been exacerbated by economic shutdowns. These include:

Managing Other People Amid Financial Stress

In addition to dealing with the financial pressures, you will also need to ensure that you are managing your team. Whether you have had to furlough staff or have made arrangements for them to work from home, you will need to maintain a working relationship, so you can call them back once things start to return to normal.

There are a number of strategies to manage other people during this period of financial stress. These include:

How to Identify The Necessary Adjustments

There is no doubt this is a challenging time. In fact, according to the Business West Chamber of Commerce in the UK, just 16 percent of the businesses questioned believe they can cope should these circumstances last for more than six months. That’s why it’s crucial that you can identify the necessary adjustments you should perform. This should include:

Most SMEs appreciate that the market is never stagnant, so they are often prepared to make adjustments to plans. However, the current situation has highlighted the importance of identifying where you can make changes now.

Strategies to Deal With Financial Stress

Fortunately, there are some strategies to help you to deal with financial stress:

Related: Invest or Trade Cryptocurrency Without Identity Confirmation

Bottom Line

It seems like no business is immune to present economic conditions, as even global companies have lost a significant percentage of their turnover. According to Visual Capitalist data, the Disney Corporation has lost 31 percent in its value, while Delta Airlines has dropped from a value of $37.5 billion to $17.8 billion.

So it is crucial for SMEs to take action to deal with this financial stress and weather the current economic storm. There is no point in sticking your head in the sand. Now is the time to take an honest look at your business to work out where you can make changes to streamline your operation.

By: Baruch Silvermann– Entrepreneur, Investor, Analyst

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How a Personal Commitment Helps Your Business Grow

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There are numerous reasons for starting a , including pursuing a passion, wanting to set your own hours and wanting to make more . But if you’re not committed to a larger purpose, all those reasons may not be enough for your business to succeed.

What Is a Commitment?

A commitment can be defined in three ways:

1. It gives you purpose. Let’s define a commitment as a greater purpose for your life that drives you forward every day. Many studies have shown that purpose even leads to longer life for men and women alike.

2. It’s never finished. A commitment is not, “I want to own a successful business,” because that doesn’t give you lifelong purpose. A commitment will never truly be finished, and you’ll work towards it for many years.

3. It’s personal. Although having a purpose in your business is important, your commitment is personal. It will affect all areas of your life, including business, and it will impact how your business grows.

Related: Communicating Purpose Can Create a Boom in Business

What’s the difference between a goal and a commitment?

A goal is defined as a result that you aim for, define, plan for and then achieve. You have many short-term and long-term goals in life, but a commitment goes beyond even the most long-term goal. It’s not something you finish doing, but something you constantly work towards.

How does a commitment help your business?

It helps you focus. A lack of focus can be extremely detrimental to your business, not only from day to day but on a larger scale. To succeed in your business and complete each day’s, month’s and year’s goals, you need intense focus more so than a long period of focus.

Warren Buffet’s “2-List” strategy for focused attention is a perfect illustration of focus: defining your priorities and eliminating the rest. You write down your goals, and then circle the top five. Then you don’t just prioritize these — you eliminate the rest.

Commitments help you make that list and then define your top five. If you’re hyper-focused on a commitment, you can be focused on each of your business’s projects and goals, because they all lead to the one thing you’re most focused on. If something doesn’t align with your commitment, you eliminate it.

Commitment helps you set and achieve goals

A commitment is lifelong; it’s something you may never fully achieve. But you can set goals along the way to get you ever-closer to your commitment. And your business’s goals and success are intertwined with your commitment.

My leadership coach, Jose Bolanos, who trains leaders to form “noble commitments,” describes goals as “islands on the horizon.” Before you reach a shore, you will swim from island to island, focusing on something closer on your way to the far-off mainland.

These islands are steps towards your commitment, and these become your goals. Commitments matter to your business goals because they define what those goals will be and give them a larger purpose.

As a business owner, developing goals for yourself and your business will be easier when you create them in the context of a commitment. Instead of defining your success according to money, which as we know can be fickle, defining it based on a larger purpose will help you stay afloat in difficult times, and redirect accordingly.

Commitment gives your business a higher purpose

As I said before, having a higher purpose is important to business. Businesses with purpose are more successful, outperforming the by 42 percent, according to the 2018 Global Leadership Forecast.

Because in theory, your business should be an extension of you and your life, your personal commitment should inform your business’s purpose and help it succeed. If your commitment was, “I want to impact others,” your business’s commitment should reflect this and put it into action.

Commitment makes you a better leader

Compartmentalizing your life won’t help your business succeed. Who you are and what you do as an individual should and does affect your professional life, and by extension the lives of others.

Having a personal commitment that you connect to your business’s purpose will intertwine your personal development and your company’s growth. As you work on yourself as an individual, you will become a better leader, because your purpose will be directly connected to your business’ vision.

How do you find and define a commitment?

Defining a commitment comes from answering three questions:

1. What do you want? Discovering your commitment comes from defining what you want. A commitment is going to be terrifying (and if it’s not, you may be doing something wrong) and require you to change.

2. Why does it matter? Going back to the importance of purpose, studies found that people who helped others felt they had more purpose in life and lived a better life because of it. A commitment should matter to you, your community and the world.

3. Who does it benefit? It’s fine if the answer is just you for now, but you’ll find as you go that your commitment, especially as it becomes part of how you run your business, will begin to impact many people. If impacting people is part of your purpose, then this answer is even simpler.

Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Combine Profit and Purpose

Don’t be tempted to turn finding a commitment into a journey of self-discovery. Your business (and you) need a commitment sooner. Instead, define a commitment quickly, start working on it and evolve it.

By: JC Hite Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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Stop Asking, ‘Can I Pick Your Brain?’ Harvard Researchers Say This Is How Successful People Ask For Advice

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“Can I pick your brain?”

Five words that make up the most thoughtless, irritating and generic way to ask for advice — and any person who is a rock star in their industry has heard it more than a dozen times.

The phrase, while well-intentioned, is overused, vague and way too open-ended. When conversations start this way, there’s no telling where it’ll go or how long it’ll take.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for giving — and receiving — advice. Offering advice is a sign of good leadership, and asking for advice is a sign of intelligence. If the exchange goes well, both parties benefit.

“The whole interaction is a subtle and intricate art. It requires emotional intelligence, self-awareness, restraint, diplomacy and patience,” Harvard Business School professors Joshua D. Margolis and David A. Garvin wrote in a 2015 Harvard Business Review article.

But the process can derail in many ways. It can quickly lead to “frustration, decision gridlock, subpar solutions, frayed relationships and thwarted personal development,” according to Margolis and Garvin.

To avoid those consequences, here’s some guidance on how to ask for advice without annoying the other person:

Start with a positive tone

The way you initiate the conversation is everything. Instead of starting with, “Can I pick your brain,” shift the language to a more positive tone.

When in doubt, I recommend: “I’d love your advice.” No-frills, friendly and simple.

Identify the type of advice you’re seeking

Immediately after your opening line, address the topic of your problem in the form a question.

In order to craft a question with great precision, ask yourself: What type of advice am I seeking? What does my problem involve? What are my desired outcomes?

Below are the four general types of advice, according to Garvin and Margolis’ research:

  1. Type of advice: Discrete
    What it involves: Exploring options for a single decision
    Desired outcomes: Recommendations in favor of or against specific options
    Example question: “Where should we build the new factory — in China, Brazil or Eastern Europe?”
  2. Type of advice: Counsel
    What it involves: Providing guidance on how to approach a complex or unfamiliar situation
    Desired outcomes: A framework or process for navigating the situation
    Example question: “How should I handle my domineering supervisor?”
  3. Type of advice: Coaching
    What it involves: Enhancing skills, self-awareness and self-management
    Desired outcomes: Task proficiency; personal and professional development
    Example question: “How can I work more collaboratively with my peers?”
  4. Type of advice: Mentoring
    What it involves: Providing opportunities, guidance and protection to aid career success
    Desire outcomes: A relationship dedicated to building and sustaining professional and personal effectiveness and to career advancement
    Example question: “How can I get more exposure for my project?”

Just the other day, someone approached me for guidance, and her execution was perfect: “I’d love your advice. My company is asking me to relocate. There are several factors to consider and I’m not sure if I should do it. Do you have 45 minutes to chat?”

Forty-five minutes is a lot, I know, but I appreciated the fact that she acknowledged it would be a longer conversation. I happily blocked off some time on my calendar and we ended up talking for an hour.

Come prepared with specific details

As you move further into the conversation, it’s important to clearly define the problem. Otherwise, you’re doing what I like to call a “bait-and-switch.”

(This is another reason why you should never ask to pick someone’s brain; it makes the other person assume that the exchange will only take a few minutes. But more often than not, it ends up being a deep dive.)

According to Margolis and Garvin, when you don’t come prepared with specific details about your problem, you’re more likely to end up “telling a lengthy, blow-by-blow story” that might cause the advice giver to tune out, lose focus or misidentify the core problem that needs solving.

Simply put, don’t come into the conversation empty-handed. Put realistic guardrails on the conversation and include any essential background information that your advisor might not be familiar with. Providing specific details also keeps the conversation pleasant and interesting.

Ask the right person

Several field studies have discovered that advice seekers are more likely to ask for guidance from people they feel comfortable with, like a close friend or family member.

“Though friendship, accessibility and non-threatening personalities all impart high levels of comfort and trust, they might have no relation to the quality or thoughtfulness of the advice,” Margolis and Garvin wrote. This is especially true if you’re seeking career-related advice.

Think creatively about the expertise you need. Who will bring in the most valuable insight? Who has the most knowledge that’s relevant to your problem?

For example, if you’re asking a seasoned CEO for advice involving your personal life, don’t expect to have lunch with Yoda. Your advisor is offering up valuable time to listen and provide professional feedback, not to hear you vent for an hour.

 

Don’t ask everyone

Things can backfire quickly if you run around asking a bunch of people for advice. Clearly, you won’t be able to follow everyone’s advice.

Research shows that those whose advice you don’t take may have a worse view of you afterward. They may even see you as less competent or avoid you,” according to Hayley Blunden, a PhD student at Harvard Business School and co-author of the 2018 study, “The Interpersonal Costs of Ignoring Advice.”

For example, a marketing executive who is widely respected is pleased when you ask her what to do about a particular situation, but is then less pleased when she finds out you didn’t do it.

Remember, you’re not running a Gallup poll (but if you really are, then just say so).

Don’t assume you already know the answers

Garvin and Margolis pointed out that people often have a hard time “assessing their own competence and place too much faith in their intuition.”

As a result, they end up asking for advice simply to gain validation or praise. Those who have a tendency to do this often believe they’ve already solved the problem, but just want confirmation or recognition from their bosses or peers.

“It’s a dangerous game to play because they risk alienating their advisers when it becomes evident — and it will — that they’re requesting guidance just for show or to avoid additional work,” the professors noted.

Be grateful

It should go without saying, but based on my experience, I still feel the need to emphasize it: Be grateful.

Thank your advisor for their time at the conclusion of your meeting. It doesn’t hurt to thank them again the next day via email. Follow up later to let them know how their feedback helped you. If they sent you an article or book, let them know how it you benefited from it.

Showing that you’re humble and appreciative will go a long way in maintaining good relationships with those in your professional network.

By: Gary Burnison

Gary Burnison is the CEO of Korn Ferry, a global consulting firm that helps companies select and hire the best talent. His latest book, a New York Times best-seller, “Lose the Resume, Land the Job,” shares the kind of straight talk that no one — not even your partner or close friends — will tell you. Follow him on LinkedIn here.

Source:https://www.cnbc.com

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This Time-Tracking App Is a Must-Have Tool for Entrepreneurs and Freelancers Alike

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For entrepreneurs, time management is essential. You don’t have unlimited amounts of time in a day so if you have to delegate tasks or reorganize your priorities, it’s valuable to have a concrete grasp of how you’re using your time throughout the day. Looking up at the clock every few minutes isn’t exactly a foolproof practice, however. Instead, trust Timemator 2 to be the ultimate source of time and reason for your workday.

Timemator 2 is designed to simply make timekeeping easier. As you work on your Mac, Timemator automatically tracks everything you do, giving you a simple breakdown at the end of the day so you can review how long it took you to work on specific tasks. You can create your own rules and set time limits on certain apps so if you’re spending more time than allocated on any task, Timemator will let you know.

If you need a little more time than you expected, you can manually add timing sessions or edit existing ones. It’s everything you need to take into account how your work time is distributed, adjust your workflow, and better manage your day.

If you work as a freelancer or on an hourly rate, Timemator also makes it easy to calculate revenue for tasks. Just set your hourly rate and Timemator will calculate as you go so you know how much you earned in a day. Timemator also makes it easy to organize folders and tasks like you would with files in Finder, letting you stay synced on all of your projects throughout your day. It even makes automatic backups so you never lose what you’re working on.

Make better use of your time. Normally $39, you can get lifetime access to Timemator 2 for just $23.99 today.

By:

Source:https://www.entrepreneur.com/

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