StartupNation » Start a Business http://www.startupnation.com Rock Your Business! Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:09:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Copyright © StartupNation 2014 webmaster@startupnation.com (StartupNation Media Group, INC) webmaster@startupnation.com (StartupNation Media Group, INC) business 1440 http://www.startupnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/rss-feed-logo.png StartupNation http://www.startupnation.com 144 144 StartupNation provides content, resources, and community to help you build your business. StartupNation offers articles, blogs, step-by-step tutorials, a weekly radio show, community forums, and many more resources to help small businesses grow their business, and aspiring entrepreneurs start a business. small, business, entrepreneur, startupnation, marketing, business, plan, funding, inventor, home, business, sales StartupNation Media Group, INC StartupNation Media Group, INC webmaster@startupnation.com no no 5 Deadly Errors Of Creative Entrepreneurs http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/get-inspired/5-deadly-errors-creative-entrepreneurs/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/get-inspired/5-deadly-errors-creative-entrepreneurs/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:02:49 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=19077 Are You Killing Your Business? When you opened your business you didn’t have the expectation that your bank account would need to go on a crash diet.  But that’s exactly what’s happening. Month after month, expenses are coming out, but very little is coming in – leaving your business thinner than a supermodel. As a [...]

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Are You Killing Your Business?

When you opened your business you didn’t have the expectation that your bank account would need to go on a crash diet.  But that’s exactly what’s happening. Month after month, expenses are coming out, but very little is coming in – leaving your business thinner than a supermodel.

As a creative entrepreneur you were promised that you could “do what you love and the money would follow.”You found out they lied.  The truth is business is hard. And it may be even harder for creative entrepreneurs.

If you’re a coach, writer, artist, healer or other type of passionate business owner you face certain problems that many other business owners may not.  These are the “Deadly Errors of Creative Entrepreneurs.”  Here are some of the top offenders and what you can do to fix them.

1. Feeling like money is sleazy. Many creative and passionate people who started their business for the love of the work feel a little weird about asking for money. The concept of it sounds ok, but when they actually have to do it, it’s a bit harder than they thought.

Does this sound like you?

Work to get comfortable with asking for money. Recognize that money is what allows your business to survive and allows you to continue to do the work you love to do.

2. Spending too little time on the “hard stuff.” If you came to do what you love, that’s what you’re naturally going to focus on. But the problem is that only doing the work without focusing on the business makes it a hobby.

Has this been happening to you?

Start digging in to the aspects of your business that you may not have attended to before including the accounting and metrics and analytics relevant to your sales and marketing. It might not sound like fun, but it is what will allow you to continue to do what you love.

3. Worrying that being in business will compromise your authenticity. Some passionate business owners worry that adding the business component to their work somehow cheapens what they are doing. You might find yourself resistant to making changes that would be good business decisions but feel inauthentic.

Do you struggle with this?

The challenge here is to discern when you can compromise and when things just start feeling wrong. If you begin to create a business you don’t love, you have likely moved away from one of your original and fundamental goals. But being able to introduce some changes for the sake of business will help you in the long run.

4. Hating self-promotion. Many times passionate entrepreneurs can talk all day about their work, but when it comes to really promoting their business they suddenly become mute. It’s as if there is a divide between the work they are so passionate about and the business they are building around it.

Have you done this?

Begin to fully embrace your work as a way of serving others. When you see how your work serves, you will likely be less worried about promoting, especially if you can agree that service should be compensated.

5. Giving away too much value. Creative and passionate entrepreneurs are nice. There’s really no other way around it. They’re a big-hearted bunch. And so when somebody asks . . . or implies . . . or even smells like they could use what they do, the urge is to jump in and do it. For free.

How many times have you done that?

If you find you’re giving away too much value, know that you are likely hurting your business. You’re paying for it in time, materials, resources, energy or in some other way. You’re also taking what could be a paying customer and allowing them not to pay. And you’re setting the expectation that your services are not worth paying for. Have a conversation with yourself about how you want to handle it before you find yourself in this situation again.

These are five of the Deadly Errors of creative entrepreneurs. They may be hurting your business right now, but they don’t have to be. You can make changes without killing your passion or compromising your values.

Because your bank account looks like it could use a sandwich.

 

 

 

 

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Why 75% of All Startups and New Products Fail http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/plan-your-business/75-startups-new-products-fail/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/plan-your-business/75-startups-new-products-fail/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 10:02:14 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=19079 Will your new business fail? Recently, a study by Harvard Business School’s Shikar Ghosh shows that 75 percent of ALL new businesses fail. In addition, a great number of new products and services in the market perform below average. The trend seems to discourage majority people who are seeking to turn ideas into new business. [...]

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Will your new business fail?

Recently, a study by Harvard Business School’s Shikar Ghosh shows that 75 percent of ALL new businesses fail. In addition, a great number of new products and services in the market perform below average. The trend seems to discourage majority people who are seeking to turn ideas into new business.

I don’t blame anyone who chooses to not become an entrepreneur. After all, who wants to trade the security of a corporate job for the risk of entrepreneurship? Many people are more comfortable working for guaranteed paycheck; unfortunately, entrepreneurship does not offer any such guarantee.

What if startup founders knew what to do to raise their odds of success from day one of starting their business? What if you can take one idea away from this post; implement it, and eliminate your odds of failure?

The No.1 reason why businesses and new products fail

New products fail not because business owners do not build exactly what they have it in mind. The Number One reason why products (and businesses) fail is because founders waste too much time and money, creating products and services nobody cares about.

For more than four decades, entrepreneurs have been deceived to believe that the only way to start a business or build a new product was to:

  • Find an Idea
  • Write up a business plan
  • Pitch plan to investor and obtain finance
  • Build a product or service
  • Sell in the market.

The only time they realize that nobody cares about what they built was after trying so hard to sell without success. By this time, they had wasted so much money in product development, company creation, and strategy execution.

The Fallacy about Business Plan

For more than forty years, startup founders were wrongly advised to write business plans as prerequisite for how to start a business. Today, that advice is proven wrong. In reality, business plans are irrelevant for starting a new business. The goal of business plan is to execute strategy, and only large companies have what it takes to invest in it. Startup founders don’t execute strategy because they have no company, no validated product, and no market. The goal of a startup founder is to search for product-market fit, and until he or she finds one, they have not business and cannot execute strategy.

Understanding “customer wants” is key

When it comes to product development, many startups build what they think customers want. They do so without talking to customers to learn about their pains, and the solutions they want. And in almost every time, customers reject what they build.

In my new bestselling book, THE ENTREPRENEUR, I provided a step-by-step approach, by which you can start a successful business or develop a product or service customers can buy willingly. There’s not so pleasing as building a sustainable business around ones product or service idea. This book will show you how to do just that.

The Entrepreneur contains lots useful concepts and simple innovative tools, which I call Lean Culture. Lean Culture provides an alternative approach to starting a new business. It consists of business model canvas, customer discovery and validation models, Minimum Viable Products (MVP), specific financing options to startups, a guide on creation of company, and expert’s tips for startup website development. The goal of The Entrepreneur is for startup founders and product developers to achieve their goals of creating products and services that customers will buy and pay for.

 In order to eliminate the high risk of startup failure, you need to create products and services that customers want. The process begins with testing your idea to ensure that it aligns with the pain or need your customers have. It also helps to gauge the size of your market upfront. An important of aspect of customer discovery is the opportunity of talking to a number of your customer segments early enough, learn what they want, and leverage their feedback to build exactly what they want. You will find every step you need to implement this process in The Entrepreneur.

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Creating a direct mail testing matrix http://www.startupnation.com/manage-your-business/create-direct-mail-test-matrix/ http://www.startupnation.com/manage-your-business/create-direct-mail-test-matrix/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 10:03:40 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=18948 Testing is the path to success in direct mail Generally, testing involves just two elements – testing one item against another … such as two different mailing lists, or two offers, or two formats or two messages or two of anything else. This is known as an A/B split test. You select the two items [...]

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Testing is the path to success in direct mail

Generally, testing involves just two elements – testing one item against another … such as two different mailing lists, or two offers, or two formats or two messages or two of anything else.

This is known as an A/B split test.

You select the two items that you want to test, then mail half with the first item, and the other half with the second item.  The key is to keep everything else in the direct campaign exactly the same.  In that way, you know for sure that any difference in response is the result of the testable item.

You’re not limited to two items of course.  If you want to test 3 lists for example, you split your mailing into three groups and conduct an A/B/C split test.

An A/B/C test would involve testing three of the same thing – that is, three lists, three offers, etc.

This is a fairly common test strategy especially with mailing lists.  It would not be unusual to see a test of five to 10 (or more) mailing lists in one mailing.

But what if you want to test two different elements in your direct mail campaign?

What if, for example, you want to test two lists and two offers?

For that, you would need to set up a direct mail test matrix.

A test matrix allows you test multiple items at the same time.  In the example below, you would split your mailing into four segments,  or test cells – A1, A2, B1 and B2.

As with every test, all other elements of the direct mail campaign are exactly the same.

Offer A Offer B
List 1 A1 B1
List 2 A2 B2

With this test matrix, you will be able to see several results:

  • which combination of list and offer performed the best of four test cells
  • which of the two offers produce the better result
  • which of the two lists produced the better result

You’re not limited to two offers or lists.  Here’s an example of a test with seven lists and two offers.

Offer A Offer B
List 1 A1 B1
List 2 A2 B2
List 3 A3 B3
List 4 A4 B4
List 5 A5 B5
List 6 A6 B6
List 7 A7 B7

 

But a test of this size can add up pretty quickly in terms of mailing quantities.  A test cell is often 5,000 – 10,000 names (you can test smaller quantities but with less reliability) so a 14-cell test quantity will require a mailing of 70,000 – 140,000 pieces.

What if you can’t afford to mail that many pieces?

Here’s alternative approach.

Offer A Offer B
List 1 A1 B1
List 2 A2
List 3 A3
List 4 A4
List 5 A5
List 6 A6 B6
List 7 A7

 

Notice we removed all but two of the offer tests.  This reduces your total test cells from 14 to 9.

At the same time, you are still able to test the relative effectiveness of seven different lists (using Offer A) and the relative effectiveness of your two offers with smaller quantities.

Why did we select B1 and B6?  It’s a random selection.  Unless one of the lists is the control (an established winner), it could have been any two cells.  If you do have a control in place, you would want include the control list in the offer test because that list has a proven track record with you.

We want to use at least two test cells so that we could verify our results.  Relying on just one test cell could be risky.

If, for example, Offer A beats Offer B in one test cell, but loses in the second test cell, we are left with some doubt.  But if Offer A wins in both cells, we can feel confident in our results.

If it makes you feel any better, use a third test cell.

I have used the list and the offer in these examples in part because they are the most important elements to test.  But you can create a direct mail test matrix for any element of your direct mail or email campaign.

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Marketing and the Success of Your Business http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/marketing-success-business/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/marketing-success-business/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 10:02:27 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=18688 Marketing: Your Message, Your Brand, Your Business As you probably already know, marketing is a huge factor in the success of your business. You can have a great product or service, but without marketing to spread the word it can be difficult to bring in customers, especially if you are just starting out and newer [...]

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Marketing: Your Message, Your Brand, Your Business

As you probably already know, marketing is a huge factor in the success of your business. You can have a great product or service, but without marketing to spread the word it can be difficult to bring in customers, especially if you are just starting out and newer to the industry. Marketing is a way to tell the community what type of business you run; the voice and brand that you want to share with the world. It is also a way to provide incentives to customers and give them a reason to choose your goods or services over your competitors.

Spread the Word: Get your products and services known to potential customers. Even if you have a pretty loyal following, getting new customers should always be a goal you are striving for. Sending out marketing materials like postcards or ads in local print, or sending out email blasts, are great ways to reach a wide range of customers. Building up your email list should definitely be something you keep in mind. If you are having a tough time getting people to sign up, offer some kind of incentive, such as 10% off their first purchase.

Build up your Reputation: Your reputation is everything. Now that you have gotten your brand and voice out there, focus on living up to that standard. If your products or services have a reputation for being dependable and high-quality, customers will keep coming back. Even better, they will tell their friends and family and bring you even more business. But go a step further than just offering quality goods and show that your business as a whole is worth supporting. Participate in community events and sponsorships if you are able.

Join in on the Friendly Competition: Unless your business is completely unique, most likely there are other stores or businesses offering a similar product or service. Your marketing efforts get you in the game and keep your business top of mind. If a customer is hemming and hawing over whether they want to purchase a product from your store vs the competition, that promo postcard that pops into their mailbox can be just the push they need to choose your offering over the other guys. Marketing also keeps pricing competitive between the big ticket stores and the smaller, independently owned ones.

Set a Marketing Budget: While marketing is crucial to your success, it can also get expensive. Many businesses start out spending almost half their sales on marketing programs. Try mixing up your marketing efforts to include print ads, attending trade shows, email blasts, website development and more. Check out 3 Inexpensive Marketing Tips for Retail Store Owners.

Marketing is one of the most important factors in getting merchandise to fly off of your store shelves. Get your name out there, build up a solid reputation, make competitive offers and always build a marketing budget into your overall business plan.

Originally posted on Handy Store Fixtures.

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Cancelled Travel Plans Can Be an Opportunity http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/plan-your-life/cancelled-travel-plans-can-opportunity/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/plan-your-life/cancelled-travel-plans-can-opportunity/#comments Sat, 08 Aug 2015 10:02:50 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=19123 What to Do When Your Travel Plans Get Cancelled When you book your next vacation, chances are you aren’t thinking about what could possibly happen that would ruin the plans. Of course not, you have a vacation to plan, and you’re already thinking about relaxation, great restaurants, fun activities and more. But there’s plenty more [...]

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What to Do When Your Travel Plans Get Cancelled

When you book your next vacation, chances are you aren’t thinking about what could possibly happen that would ruin the plans. Of course not, you have a vacation to plan, and you’re already thinking about relaxation, great restaurants, fun activities and more. But there’s plenty more to think about that isn’t as fun: flight delays, missed connections, lost or stolen baggage, an emergency that requires you to cancel your trip or even a medical emergency that occurs while you’re on your trip.

We know it isn’t as fun to think about as the poolside cocktails you’re planning to sip, but it’s necessary. Trip cancellation happens more frequently than you would think, and once it does, it can be confusing to know what to do next. Check out these tips for what to do when your trip gets cancelled.

Start Making Calls

Once bad weather or an emergency causes you to cancel, you should prepare to make plenty of calls. Make a checklist of important people and places to alert of the cancellation, including:

  • Travel agent you’ve made plans through
  • Airline or other trip transportation
  • Hotel or other accommodations
  • Rental car
  • Any planned excursions
  • Friends or family joining you on the trip, or those you’re planning to visit

If you’ve prepaid for any excursions, rental car and more, make sure you ask the agent if there are any refunds available when you’re cancelling. The earlier you can cancel, the better, because there may be a better chance of receiving a refund and avoiding penalties for cancelling.

Plan Before you Leave

If you are concerned about the possibility of your trip being ruined, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance. You should purchase travel insurance prior to leaving for your vacation, the best time being when you book your other major travel details like flight and hotel reservations. However you can typically purchase it up to the day before departure.

Plans and services vary, so make sure to pay close attention to the type of travel insurance you’re purchasing. Typically, travel insurance can cover things like:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption
  • Medical and dental emergencies
  • Flight delays and missed connections
  • Lost, damaged or stolen baggage
  • Rental car damage and theft

If the trip you’re planning is an important, expensive one, travel insurance is a must. It can protect you against a ruined trip and ensure that you don’t lose money on top of it all.

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So you thought Facebook was free http://www.startupnation.com/grow-your-business/thought-facebook-free/ http://www.startupnation.com/grow-your-business/thought-facebook-free/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 10:02:30 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=18945 Facebook picks and chooses who sees your posts If your business has relied on Facebook to communicate with your customers and prospects, this article in Duct Tape Marketing should be a must read for you What it says is what we’ve all known about Facebook for the past few years – except it’s much worse [...]

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Facebook picks and chooses who sees your posts

If your business has relied on Facebook to communicate with your customers and prospects, this article in Duct Tape Marketing should be a must read for you

What it says is what we’ve all known about Facebook for the past few years – except it’s much worse from a marketer’s standpoint.

It has been common knowledge that Facebook picks and chooses who sees the posts from your business pages.

You assumed when you asked for all those Likes that you were in effect building your own Facebook mailing list – and that whenever you added a post, it would been seen by all those people.

Well, that’s not the case.

The truth is that the vast majority of your Friends will never see that post. 

I had been under the impression that on average only about 20% of your Friends were seeing your posts (which was bad enough), but according to this article, the number is less than 5%.  Ouch.

Facebook doesn’t hide the fact that only a percentage of your Friends receive your posts.  Their position was that they did not want to overwhelm Facebook users with every post from every connection.  They wanted to make sure the posts got through to only the most engaged and most interested people on your Friends list.

Seemed logical, reasonable and maybe even altruistic.

But 5%? 

A more cynical and perhaps obvious reason for this is that Facebook simply wants you to start paying for your exposure.

On the surface, Facebook should be a good media buy.  When you consider how many people use Facebook, and how much Facebook knows about its users, you should be able to target your audience with some precision.

Facebook’s paid advertising platform offers you the opportunity to not only reach your Friends but other users of Facebook that match your target audience.  You can target by demographics, expressed interests and behavior (visits to other Facebook pages).

You can also target geographically down to your zip code or a radius from your location.

Your ads can appear in the right-hand sidebar or in the user’s Timeline, or both.

Ads are affordable for every size business and you set a budget limit of just a few dollars per day if you want.

If you sell to consumers or even small businesses, Facebook advertising could be a good option for you.

Like other forms of direct response advertising, you will be able track your exposure and performance by impressions, clicks and conversions.

Test it for a week or a month and see what it produces.

But here’s what I would do differently. 

Instead of focusing on Facebook Friends, use Facebook advertising (and other advertising) to send people to your website and get them to join your email list.

Your email list will be much more valuable to you.  It’s yours.  You own it.  And you don’t have to worry that Facebook might change its rules again.

Most importantly, when you send out an email, you can sure that most of the people on your list will at least receive it.  What a concept.

———————

Need help with Facebook advertising or with setting up your own email system?  Call Bob McCarthy at or bob@mccarthyandking.com

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Using Coupons in Print Advertising as Lead Generation http://www.startupnation.com/grow-your-business/using-coupons-print-advertising-lead-generation/ http://www.startupnation.com/grow-your-business/using-coupons-print-advertising-lead-generation/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 10:03:32 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=18832 The hidden benefit of coupons in print advertising Print advertising may be old school for some, but for others, it is still a vital media channel. This is especially true for local businesses which continue to rely on local newspapers to reach local audiences. The problem is most local advertisers continue to run brand-building ads [...]

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The hidden benefit of coupons in print advertising

Print advertising may be old school for some, but for others, it is still a vital media channel.

This is especially true for local businesses which continue to rely on local newspapers to reach local audiences.

The problem is most local advertisers continue to run brand-building ads with no call to action and no way to measure effectiveness.

The exceptions are those retail advertisers that use discount coupons in print advertising to incentivize customers to come to their stores.

These coupons serve two purposes – (1) to motivate a visit and (2) to measure the effectiveness of their advertising.

By placing codes on the coupons, retailers can see not only which coupons are most effective, but where the coupons are coming from.  It allows for smarter media planning down the road.

Using coupons for lead generation too.

You don’t need to be a retail business to measure your print advertising.

Pretty much all local businesses – contractors, home services, business services, professional services – can use print advertising to generate leads.

So instead of offering “10% off” or “buy one get one free,” use your print advertising to offer a free white paper, e-book, tip sheet or how-to guide. Offer whatever you think will be of interest to your target audience.

It’s proven fact of direct response that the offer is what drives response. Put the right offer in front of the right audience and you will have success.  Everything else is secondary.

Make this offer the centerpiece of your ad.

Most ads that do include offers tend to place the offer and call to action at the bottom of the ad – easily missed by most readers.

A better approach is to put the offer at the top and make it the centerpiece of your ad.

And give readers instructions on how they can get it. You can ask them to call for it, email for it or visit your website and download it. The more options the better.

To improve the chances of readers noticing your offer, show a thumbnail photo or illustration of it. And place your call-to-action instructions beside the image.

Then, put the whole thing inside a dotted line coupon.

Don’t misunderstand. We’re not expecting people to cut out the coupon and mail it to your business. That was how it was done many years ago before the internet. Prospects would actually clip and fill out the coupon, put it an envelope and mailed it to the business.

Today, though, most readers who want to respond are likely to go to your website (or a dedicated landing page) to fill out a form and download the offer.  So might call you but most prospects want to avoid talking to someone.

So why the coupon?

A dotted-line coupon will help get your offer noticed. It’s an eye-catching design element (although you might get some push back from your graphic designer).

More importantly, we have all become accustomed to seeing coupon in advertising – and we know intuitively what it is asking us to do.

It’s asking us to respond.  (There’s something about those dotted lines.)

Originally posted on McCarthy & King Marketing Inc.

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How Successful Entrepreneurs Get Inspired http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/get-inspired/successful-entrepreneurs-get-inspired/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/get-inspired/successful-entrepreneurs-get-inspired/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 10:04:14 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=19120 Getting Inspired: This is how they do it! In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be inspired enough to really want to make your business succeed. But, inspiration doesn’t always come when you are sitting behind a computer. Sometimes you need to find other sources of inspiration, both external and from within [...]

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Getting Inspired: This is how they do it!

In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be inspired enough to really want to make your business succeed. But, inspiration doesn’t always come when you are sitting behind a computer. Sometimes you need to find other sources of inspiration, both external and from within yourself.

They Keep Journals

How many times have you come up with a fabulous idea, only to forget what it was the very next day? This is why successful entrepreneurs keep journals. When they get great ideas, they write them down, even if those ideas aren’t for anything they will be doing in the very near future. You can keep a note book with you for writing down your ideas as they come to you, or even a white board in your office to jot ideas on so they are right in front of you. Some ideas may even seem crazy, but you never know what you may be able to do with them at a later date, as crazy as they may be now.

Enjoy Reading

Most successful entrepreneurs read, but they don’t always read books and magazines that are devoted specifically to their industry. Reading a novel can even give you inspiration. Anything you read can inspire your mind to be creative and come up with some pretty amazing ideas for your business. Sometimes they take risks with the ideas that are inspired by what they have read, but that is all part of being an entrepreneur.

Use Creativity

Many entrepreneurs are creative people, and they use their creativity as their inspiration. If you are an artist, draw or paint something. If you love music, maybe you could turn that love into creativity and start composing your own music. You can learn more about creating sheet music at Forte. Here are some more things that successful entrepreneurs do for inspiration.

Know How to Relax

All work and no play really does make a person grumpy and stressed out. You need to take some time for yourself to relax and just have some quiet time. You also need to relax in a place that is quiet and free of interruptions. When you are constantly being bombarded with phone calls, people coming in and out of your office, etc., you can’t really concentrate. When you go someplace quiet to relax, or even go for a walk, you will likely find that you are able to clear your head and be able to concentrate on what you need to do.

See Past Own Office

Many entrepreneurs get into the nasty habit of not watching what is going on in the world around them, and concentrating strictly on the business side of things. Unfortunately for them, the world is quickly changing, and they need to be watching what is going on in order for their businesses to move ahead as well. Start looking around at the people in your neighborhood, in your office, etc. Find out what people really want and need, and find a way to fill a niche that is not being filled by the entrepreneurs who are not seeing the world around them.

Connect with Your Inner Child

You don’t have to be childish in order to be connected with your inner child. And, once you find that connection, you may start to see many things in a different light. When you have child-like thoughts (not childish thinking), you start to simplify things, and that can give you the boost you need to get things done. Basically, you are going to be doing things as a child would, and not over-complicating everything. You will also start to become more creative. Let your imagination run wild, because you never know where it may take you. Your imagination could be the key to your business success.

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Risks Involved with Opening a Retail Store http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/launch-a-home-business/risks-involved-opening-retail-store/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/launch-a-home-business/risks-involved-opening-retail-store/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 10:02:46 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=18685 Opening a Retail Store Has Risks! Opening a retail store is a lifelong dream for many. Filling it with products that you are passionate about, whether it be high-end clothing, rare and unique jewelry, vitamins, sporting goods, etc., being surrounding by things that make you happy and that you want to share with others can [...]

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Opening a Retail Store Has Risks!

Opening a retail store is a lifelong dream for many. Filling it with products that you are passionate about, whether it be high-end clothing, rare and unique jewelry, vitamins, sporting goods, etc., being surrounding by things that make you happy and that you want to share with others can be a very rewarding career. But opening a retail store doesn’t come without risks. Keep the following risks in mind in order to run a successful store.

The Economy

Most likely, your products are typically purchased with disposable income. When the economy declines and the consumers you depend on have less money to spend on non-essential items, retail businesses often suffer. If your retail store happens to open during a time when the economy is on the decline, you could be in trouble. But some retail store owners use recessions to their advantage. Rent can be significantly lower for storefronts and selling must-have and practical products that people actually need will always keep your store relevant.

Price

Figuring out what kind of markup to place on your products can be tricky. If you sell more common goods, you can compare your prices to other stores selling similar products. But if you are selling more one-of-a-kind merchandise, it is up to you to determine pricing. Avoid marking up too high but don’t undersell yourself either. The average is usually around 50%. Entrepreneur.com touches on the topic of pricing in more detail.

Personal Preferences

People’s tastes can change in the blink of an eye. A product can be hot one minute and completely out the next. Being able to adjust with the changing tides is very important to your survival. You also can’t only purchase items that YOU like. Keep a finger on the pulse of the industry you are in to ensure you are only filling your store with items people actually want to purchase.

Damage and Theft

Theft is always a major concern for any retail store. In order to manage these risks, put an inventory management strategy in place. Add sensors to big ticket items when you can and utilize in-store security cameras. Keep staff positioned in any areas that are more prone to theft, like hidden corners and dressing rooms.

Messy or Unorganized Displays

Don’t fall into the habit of cramming as much merchandise as you can onto your store shelves. You may think that the more product you display the more you can sell, but messy, overflowing shelves are unappealing and steer customers away. Your retail displays need to be easy to shop and organized. Set aside promotional items on sectioned off retail shelving to draw attention to new products or sale items. Keep an eye on your stock and be sure to refill your more limited quantities to avoid having your retail fixtures look bare.

As long as you are aware of the risks involved with opening a retail store, you should be able to create a detailed plan to handle and avoid them. If you are starting from scratch and need assistance with store planning services, Handy Store Fixtures is an expert in the industry and a great resource. For over 50 years, Handy Store Fixtures’ expert staff has transformed retail space into a pleasurable shopping environment. Handy Store Fixtures can outfit any store with top quality retail displays and storage shelving- from front to back, showroom to stockroom. Find our Handy Business Guide, here.

Originally posted on Handy Store Fixtures.

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Are You Guilty of These 5 Writing Sins? http://www.startupnation.com/grow-your-business/5-writing-sins/ http://www.startupnation.com/grow-your-business/5-writing-sins/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:15:58 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=19118 How to Get Improve your Writing and Boost Your Income Over the last twenty-plus years as an SEO copywriter and BtoB content strategist, I’ve seen good writing and terrible writing. I’ve seen excellent job-applications and pathetic attempts at getting hired. I’ve seen new copywriters miss opportunities and experienced writers ruin working relationships. And after spending [...]

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How to Get Improve your Writing and Boost Your Income

Over the last twenty-plus years as an SEO copywriter and BtoB content strategist, I’ve seen good writing and terrible writing.

I’ve seen excellent job-applications and pathetic attempts at getting hired.

I’ve seen new copywriters miss opportunities and experienced writers ruin working relationships. And after spending hours over the last few weeks editing a project by an outside writer, I am inspired to write this post.

If you are a copywriter, you may be wondering how you can get more work and boost your income significantly. Well, it doesn’t need to be difficult. You just need to be responsible, professional and avoid these…

5 Ways Never to Get Repeat Work as a Copywriter

 1. Don’t follow directions.

When it comes to finding work as a copywriter, and actually doing the work, it’s essential to pay attention to what the client wants. Know the details, and if you don’t have them, ask for them.

For example, when I post a request for writers and specifically tell applicants NOT to send any attachments, you would not believe how many applicants send me an e-mail with an attachment… or two or three. Guess which e-mails end up in the trash or junk folder?

Here’s another example. Let’s say you have been hired for a writing project. You move forward without getting specific directions from the client, or you ignore simple information you need like the tone, style, and length of your assignment. You send in your project, but you make a bad, first-impression because the client is not happy with your work.

If you simply focus on what the client asks for, you can start off new relationships the right way and have a better chance of obtaining long-term work.

2. Turn in work without proofreading.

Are you in a hurry and “churn out” work to move on to the next assignment and more money? Be careful.

Before you send your final documents in, proofread them carefully. Check the grammar, spelling, resources, links, tone, style, and more. If not, your clients are not going to appreciate the fact that they have to waste time editing your documents. And your chances of being rehired by them are slim.

3. Miss a deadline.

Miss a deadline, and it costs your client time, money and resources. Enough said.

4. Communicate with the client accordingly.

It’s essential to communicate with your clients about all aspects of a writing project so you are both “on the same page.” You need to get all of your questions answered, ensure that your client knows what you are writing, and why, and your processes.

This way, there is no confusion, you and your clients know what to expect, and you are more likely to have successful results.

5. Follow-up.

When you finish a writing assignment, follow up with your client to see how it went. What were the results? How can you help them with additional projects?

An initial project is just the beginning. Talk to your clients so that you can provide beneficial writing that help them meet their goals over weeks, months and years.

Be a True, Copywriting Pro to Boost Your Income.

Making more money as a copywriter is not difficult. You just need to avoid the five sins above. Provide good work on time, and communicate with your clients on a regular basis. This way, you will establish a long-term, working relationship where you both help each other succeed.

Now, what are you going to do today to get more copywriting projects?

For more help with your copywriting, please write to me here or visit www.rembrandtwrites.com.

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