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Archive for April, 2009

Twaikus can hurt your personal brand.

You heard it here: Twitter is the best example of white noise out there. It is, in essence speaking in haiku–and how much information does one get in a haiku? Not much. Twitter was one of many social apps out there until it hit politics. Careful now, and understand the impact of that statement. Politics [...]

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Franchises Offer Start Up Discounts to Veterans

As a way to to honor those men and women who have served in the U.S. military, the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, known as “VetFran,” was developed to help veterans of the armed forces transition to civilian life and go into business for themselves. VetFran is a voluntary effort of International Franchise Association member-companies that [...]

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Win Tax Software (delivered by express mail) for Your Business

Knowing some among you are in a last-minute dash to get those taxes filed, we’ve worked out a special giveaway opportunity for 20 StartupNation users to win a free copy of TurboTax Business software, provided to us by Office Depot.  TurboTax Business is tax preparation software that asks easy questions about your personal and small business income, [...]

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How to Conquer Your Business Startup Fears with Mind Mapping

Let’s face it. The first step is always the hardest. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, start graduate school, or learn how to play guitar. It’s that first step that leaves us feeling awkward, inadequate, and questioning our conviction. Taking that first step toward entrepreneurship is no different. We question our business skills, product performance, and financial competency. The dreaded, “what if I can’t do it?” question creeps into our daily thoughts. We start reasoning that it might be better to “just wait another year.”

These fears are extremely common and unfortunately well founded. Reports show that as much as 50% of all new start-ups fail within the first year. That is not exactly encouraging odds. However, we all have a choice when it comes to creating our destiny. We can use statistics like these to confirm our business’s certain death, or gain confidence from the fact that you could be part of the 50% that become a success. In the famous words of Zig Ziglar, you just have to eliminate your “Stinkin’ Thinkin’”.

One of the tools I use to overcome my fears is mind mapping. It’s a terrific tool that can help you isolate the source of your fears, bring much needed perspective, and help brainstorm solutions to your sticking points. There are several “mind mapping” tools out there and many are free to use. I prefer to use the tool by Wisemapping since it’s free, allows me to add notes and web links, and I can publish or share the completed map.

To demonstrate my fear mind mapping strategy, I’ve created an example below.

Startup Fear Mindmap

First, I outline my top fears associated with starting the business. I then brainstorm how I can overcome those fears. My final step will be answering those questions. My goal is to find a positive solution to each of the questions I’ve asked. For example, for the question, “Can I reduce my startup costs with outsourcing?” I would research potential manufacturing possibilities until I could answer the question with a “yes.” If I can’t find a way, I then brainstorm ways to overcome the obstacle. A “no” isn’t necessarily bad, it just means you need to tweak your business plan to compensate for this reality. Try to be as thorough and honest as possible with your mind map. The goal is to solve your sticking points on paper before you’ve invested your time and money. I use this tool regularly for many of my business decisions including product launches, partnership agreements, and even potential marketing opportunities.

It’s amazing what this simple exercise can do for your confidence level. You are no longer living in fear of the unknown. Instead, you are on a mission with a powerful road map to your business’s success.

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Let’s face it. The first step is always the hardest. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, start graduate school, or learn how to play guitar. It’s that first step that leaves us feeling awkward, inadequate, and questioning our conviction. Taking that first step toward entrepreneurship is no different. We question our business skills, product performance, [...]

Continue Reading

GoToBilling.com’s Mom Entrepreneur Offers Success Tips

On Tuesday, we talked to super Mom entrepreneur, Stacy Roderick. Stacy helped create the one-stop resource for paperless invoicing, marketing and electronic billing atGoToBilling, www.gotobilling.com.Today, Stacy shares more of her work-life balance success tips. What advice do you have for other couples who work together?   Separation of duties and plenty of communication. Try not to step [...]

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