Tag: 11

11 Top Profitable Business Ideas for 2016 #harvard #business #press

#great business ideas

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Most articles offering advice regarding profitable business ideas include lists of startup ideas like becoming a personal shopper, a consultant, a pet sitter, a virtual assistant, an interior designer.

This is not that kind of article.

Let’s go in a different direction. Here are my favorite ideas–ones you can still easily do this year, even though we’re well into 2016–that can save time, save money, and streamline your professional and personal life.

The goal is to do less, so you can achieve more:

1. Downsize your to-do list.

A to-do list with 20 or 30 items is not just daunting–it’s depressing. Why start when there’s no way you can finish?

Try this instead. First create a wish list: Use it to write down all the ideas, projects, tasks, etc. that occur to you. Make it your “would like to do” list.

Then pick three or four items off that list that will make the most difference. Pick the easiest tasks to accomplish, or the ones with the biggest payoff, or the ones that will eliminate the most pain.

Make that your to-do list. And then get it done.

Then go back and pick three or four more.

2. Get rid of one “permission.”

You probably don’t think of it this way, but everything you do “trains” the people around you how to treat you. Let employees interrupt your meetings or phone calls because of “emergencies” and they’ll feel free to interrupt you any time. Drop what you’re doing every time someone calls and they’ll always expect immediate attention. Return emails immediately and people will always expect an immediate response.

In short, your actions give other people permission to keep you from working the way you work best.

A friend set up an “emergency” email account; he responds to those immediately. Otherwise, his employees know he only checks his “standard” email a couple times a day and they act accordingly.

Figure out how you work best and “train” the people around you to let you be as productive as you possibly can be.

3. Eliminate one report.

You’re not reading most of them anyway. And neither are your employees.

4. Eliminate one sign-off.

I worked at a manufacturing plant where supervisors had to sign off on quality before a job could be run. Seemed strange to me–we trusted the operators to ensure jobs met standards throughout the run, so why couldn’t we trust them to know if a job met quality standards before they started running?

You probably have at least one sign-off in place because, somewhere along the way, an employee made a major error, and you don’t want the same mistake to happen again. But in the process, you’ve reduced the amount of responsibility your employees feel for their own work, because you’ve inserted your authority into the process.

Train, explain, trust–and remove yourself from processes where you don’t belong. (The same premise works at home, too.)

5. Fire your worst customer (or worst employee ).

You know the one: the high maintenance, low revenue, nonexistent-profits one.

Start charging more, or providing less. If that’s not possible, fire that customer.

6. Eliminate one expense.

Right now, you’re spending money on something you don’t use, don’t need, or don’t want. But since you buy it. you feel you have to use it. I subscribed to a number of magazines (because subscribing is really cheap compared to buying at the newsstand).

Great–but then the magazines show up. Then I have to read them. If I don’t, they sit around making me feel guilty.

So I dropped three or four. I don’t miss them.

Often the biggest savings in cutting an expense isn’t the actual cost; it’s the time involved in doing or maintaining or consuming whatever the expense represents.

Pick one expense you can eliminate that will also free up time and effort. Your bottom line and your workday will thank you for it.

7. Drop one personal commitment.

We all do things simply because we feel we should. Maybe you volunteer because a friend asked you to, but you feel no real connection to the cause you support. Maybe you have a weekly lunch with some old friends but it feels more like a chore than a treat. Or maybe you keep trying to learn French just because once you started you didn’t want to feel like a quitter.

Think about one thing you do out of habit, or because you think you’re supposed to, or simply because you don’t know how to get out of it–and then get out of it. The momentary pain–or, in some cases, confrontation–of stepping down, dropping out, or letting go will be replaced quickly by a huge sense relief.

Then you can use that time to do something you feel has real meaning.

Or just take a break.

8. Optimize your lunch.

You already make enough decisions. What to have for lunch shouldn’t be one of them.

Pack tuna and a small salad. Pick something healthy, something simple, even something you can eat at your desk. Save the decision making for what’s really important.

As a bonus, you’ll lose a little weight and feel a little better.

9. Carve out consistent time to sit and think.

Most small-business owners spend a lot more time reacting–to employee issues, customer requests, market conditions, etc.–than they do reflecting.

Eliminate 20 or 30 minutes of reacting time by creating a little quiet time. Close your door and think. Better yet, go for a walk. Exercise does more to bolster thinking than thinking does; walking just 40 minutes three days a week builds new brain cells and improves memory functions.

And don’t worry that something bad will happen while you’re gone–most of the time the issues you “avoid” will solve themselves.

10. Remove one willpower drain.

We all have a finite supply of willpower. Resisting temptation creates stress and eventually exhaustion.

And then you give in.

But if you don’t have to exercise willpower, you don’t drain your energy. Say you keep a bowl of candy for customers at the front desk. Every time you walk by you’re tempted to grab a piece, but you stand firm. Resisting tires you out, though, and in time you’ll be more susceptible to the candy’s charms.

Get rid of the candy altogether. Then you don’t have to use any willpower at all. Pick something you have to resist–food, wasting time, Web browsing, checking social-media accounts–and eliminate the temptation.

Discipline depletes. Discipline is exhausting. Stay fresh by removing the need for discipline altogether.

11. Remove one category of decisions.

Instead of making serial decisions, try making just one: Decide who will decide.

Say you regularly need to decide whether to expedite shipping due to work-in-progress delays. Instead of being the go-to decision maker, pick someone in the organization who will make those decisions. Provide guidance, parameters, and advice, and turn that person loose. Then, check in periodically to see if they need more direction. That way, you get to spend time figuring out how to eliminate the delays instead of dealing with the repercussions.

Almost every decision you currently make can be taken over by people you trust. How will you learn to trust them?

Teach, train, guide, verify–and in time you will give your employees the authority and responsibility they not only earn, but deserve.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About #small #business #loan

#small business grants

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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About

In 2014, there were close to 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, a 68 percent increase since 1997, according to The 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express. This percentage increase exceeded the national average of small business growth by 1.5 times.

It also illustrated what we already know: Women entrepreneurs are having a tremendous impact on the small business landscape nationwide.

Yet to continue to be competitive and grow, these entrepreneurs have to find funding for their ventures. And, alarmingly, women entrepreneurs are increasingly being turned away by banks for small business loans. Thankfully, they still have other options, given the rise of technology-driven financial lending sources — such as online loans, peer-to-peer loans and crowdfunding.

Then there are government grants. While not widely known or used, these grants are another great option for women seeking extra funding for their business ventures. They just take a little more work.

Understanding grants

Business owners often turn to grants because they are not required to pay them back; essentially, you can look at grants as free money, but they come with stipulations. Also, understanding and navigating the grant process can be complex.

First, you have to research and find a grant for which you re eligible. Then, you have to understand the strict application and compliance guidelines you must meet, to be eligible. Third, you have to compete with other businesses for the same pool of money. Fourth, if you re awarded a grant, you must report on how you used it. Finally, you must devote time and energy to the lengthy application process, then wait for approval. In a nutshell, you need to have all of your ducks in a row, up-front and afterward.

Finding federal and state grants

Many business owners think that federal grants are just a click away. We have all seen the ads promoting free federal money to start businesses. But this is a huge misconception. While there are federal grants available in the areas of medical research, science, education and technology development, no such grants exist specifically for women-owned businesses. You may find grants that fund projects that empower women, but such funding is often set aside for nonprofit corporations, not for-profit businesses.

When researching grants specifically for a woman-owned business, start at the state level. Most states offer grants for women-owned businesses in some capacity. Each state website has a business section where you can find grant and funding opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. A good example of this is the business section for the state of New York. which lists incentives and programs for businesses. Check out your state s site to find out what is available for your business.

Another great resource to use in your research is the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that assists minorities and women in establishing and growing their businesses. On its site, you can research grants and access links to state agencies that work with women-owned businesses for funding opportunities. Click here to view all of the state agencies across the country.

Private grants for women

To help in your search, we gathered information on these private grants for women entrepreneurs started:

  1. The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program. Five grants are awarded annually. The businesses must be 100 percent women-owned and have founding principles of social consciousness, sustainability and innovation, plus be ready to move to the next phase of development. In 2014, the program awarded $125,000 in grants.
  2. Huggies Brand — Mom Inspired Grants. The grant awards up to $15,000 to advance the development of innovative products inspired by the joys of motherhood. The awardees also receive resources to further develop their products and startup businesses.
  3. FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program. Applicants are encouraged to share their visions to receive a portion of the $75,000 awarded in grants. Part of the judging involves the general public voting for the finalists, so participants may promote their businesses while garnering votes.
  4. Idea Caf Small Business Grant. The Idea Caf is a free gateway that hosts different grants on its site. Its current grant is the 16 th Small Business Cash Grant. which awards one $1,000 grand prize to a business with the most innovative idea.
  5. InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge. This business challenge is sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Women s Business Ownership. The challenge awards three winners $30,000 in prize money for businesses that have an impact on the lives of women. However, be aware of the recent fraud news around the SBA .
  6. Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project. Chase and Google have partnered to award $3 million in grants. In 2014, recipients were awarded $150,000 to help take their businesses to the next level. Recipients also received a trip to Google headquarters, a Google Chromebook laptop and a $2,000 coupon toward a market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.
  7. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR): Eleven different federal agencies participate in this awards-based program, which incentivizes and enables small businesses to explore their technological potential.
  8. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR). The STTR program reserves a specific percentage of federal research and development funding to provide funding opportunities in research and development.
  9. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp (WVEC) Small Business Competition. This competition, organized by Capitol One and Count Me In for Women s Economic Independence. allows participants to present two-minute pitches for a chance to participate in a nine-month business accelerator program.
  10. Wal-Mart Women s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE). As part of a huge Wal-Mart initiative, sourcing opportunities for U.S. and international companies will increase to $40 billion over five years.
  11. Zions Bank — Smart Women Smart Money. This Utah-based bank s grant annually awards $3,000 across six different categories, including business.

Applying for a grant

Once you find a funding opportunity, there are steps required to apply. A few tips to assist you:

  • Make sure that your business is eligible for the grant: Read the grant synopsis guidelines and eligibility requirements.
  • Create a checklist for all of the documents required.
  • Follow the rules. Grant applications can be very technical. It wouldn t hurt to have a second (or even third) set of eyes when reviewing the application to ensure that you have provided all accompanying documents.
  • Start early. Since the application process can be long in some cases, it doesn t hurt to get a jump on things.

If you find the grant application process too daunting or lengthy for your small business, Kabbage is committed to supporting small business loans for women business owners. Because our application process is fully automated and online, we can quickly provide small business loans of up to $100,000. We use simple, meaningful revenue data from your business to approve your business — not elaborate documentation that takes extensive time to gather. To learn more, visit Kabbage.com.

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Chula Vista Bankruptcy Attorneys – Chula Vista, CA 91910 #chula #vista #bankruptcy #attorneys,chula #vista

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Chula Vista Bankruptcy Attorney

Has your debt overwhelmed your life? Are you ready to get away from the pileup of bills and stress of not knowing how you will pay for everything?

At Doan Law Chula Vista, Bankruptcy Lawyers are available to help you regain control over your finances and get out from under the burden of debt.

We are with you every step of the way. Start by coming in for a free consultation and meet with a Debt Relief Lawyer to determine the right path for your personal case. Because every case is different, our expert Chula Vista Bankruptcy Lawyers are able to help you decide what is right for you.

Once you have received the legal advice you need to move forward with your case, all you have to do is leave a small retainer, and you will immediately be free from the harassment of creditors. If you do receive a phone call from a creditor, simply refer them to your personal Bankruptcy Chula Vista Attorney and we will take care of the rest.

If you have chosen to file in Bankruptcy Court, Chula Vista-based Doan Law can help you determine which Chapter is right to file under. With Chapter 7. Chapter 13, and even Chapter 20 to choose from, deciding which path is right for you can be extremely difficult. Our team of experts is available to help you on the right path for your case.

Once your case is over, our work is not done. We provide the credit counseling Chula Vista residents need to overcome their debt. Your case is our case, and we go above and beyond to make sure you feel at ease and comfortable not only with the end result, but also moving forward on your path to financial freedom.

We can also help with debt settlements. Our lawyers are available to assist in negotiations, immediately giving you extra credibility when meeting with creditors. Make your case stronger by utilizing one of our expert team members who will take the time to get to know your case prior to meeting at the negotiation table.

Contact our Chula Vista offices today and get started on the path to financial relief.

We are eager to help you overcome your debt, assist you with your bankruptcy filing, and help you get back on the road to financial success.

Chula Vista offers a variety of attractions for all visitors. Chula Vista cultural highlights include outdoor amphitheaters, harbors and marinas, horseback riding, water parks, and more. With excellent weather all year round, this city gives visitors and locals alike plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors and take in a bit of culture at the same time.

Contact

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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About #business #loans #for #bad

#small business grants

#

11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About

In 2014, there were close to 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, a 68 percent increase since 1997, according to The 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express. This percentage increase exceeded the national average of small business growth by 1.5 times.

It also illustrated what we already know: Women entrepreneurs are having a tremendous impact on the small business landscape nationwide.

Yet to continue to be competitive and grow, these entrepreneurs have to find funding for their ventures. And, alarmingly, women entrepreneurs are increasingly being turned away by banks for small business loans. Thankfully, they still have other options, given the rise of technology-driven financial lending sources — such as online loans, peer-to-peer loans and crowdfunding.

Then there are government grants. While not widely known or used, these grants are another great option for women seeking extra funding for their business ventures. They just take a little more work.

Understanding grants

Business owners often turn to grants because they are not required to pay them back; essentially, you can look at grants as free money, but they come with stipulations. Also, understanding and navigating the grant process can be complex.

First, you have to research and find a grant for which you re eligible. Then, you have to understand the strict application and compliance guidelines you must meet, to be eligible. Third, you have to compete with other businesses for the same pool of money. Fourth, if you re awarded a grant, you must report on how you used it. Finally, you must devote time and energy to the lengthy application process, then wait for approval. In a nutshell, you need to have all of your ducks in a row, up-front and afterward.

Finding federal and state grants

Many business owners think that federal grants are just a click away. We have all seen the ads promoting free federal money to start businesses. But this is a huge misconception. While there are federal grants available in the areas of medical research, science, education and technology development, no such grants exist specifically for women-owned businesses. You may find grants that fund projects that empower women, but such funding is often set aside for nonprofit corporations, not for-profit businesses.

When researching grants specifically for a woman-owned business, start at the state level. Most states offer grants for women-owned businesses in some capacity. Each state website has a business section where you can find grant and funding opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. A good example of this is the business section for the state of New York. which lists incentives and programs for businesses. Check out your state s site to find out what is available for your business.

Another great resource to use in your research is the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that assists minorities and women in establishing and growing their businesses. On its site, you can research grants and access links to state agencies that work with women-owned businesses for funding opportunities. Click here to view all of the state agencies across the country.

Private grants for women

To help in your search, we gathered information on these private grants for women entrepreneurs started:

  1. The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program. Five grants are awarded annually. The businesses must be 100 percent women-owned and have founding principles of social consciousness, sustainability and innovation, plus be ready to move to the next phase of development. In 2014, the program awarded $125,000 in grants.
  2. Huggies Brand — Mom Inspired Grants. The grant awards up to $15,000 to advance the development of innovative products inspired by the joys of motherhood. The awardees also receive resources to further develop their products and startup businesses.
  3. FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program. Applicants are encouraged to share their visions to receive a portion of the $75,000 awarded in grants. Part of the judging involves the general public voting for the finalists, so participants may promote their businesses while garnering votes.
  4. Idea Caf Small Business Grant. The Idea Caf is a free gateway that hosts different grants on its site. Its current grant is the 16 th Small Business Cash Grant. which awards one $1,000 grand prize to a business with the most innovative idea.
  5. InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge. This business challenge is sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Women s Business Ownership. The challenge awards three winners $30,000 in prize money for businesses that have an impact on the lives of women. However, be aware of the recent fraud news around the SBA .
  6. Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project. Chase and Google have partnered to award $3 million in grants. In 2014, recipients were awarded $150,000 to help take their businesses to the next level. Recipients also received a trip to Google headquarters, a Google Chromebook laptop and a $2,000 coupon toward a market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.
  7. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR): Eleven different federal agencies participate in this awards-based program, which incentivizes and enables small businesses to explore their technological potential.
  8. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR). The STTR program reserves a specific percentage of federal research and development funding to provide funding opportunities in research and development.
  9. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp (WVEC) Small Business Competition. This competition, organized by Capitol One and Count Me In for Women s Economic Independence. allows participants to present two-minute pitches for a chance to participate in a nine-month business accelerator program.
  10. Wal-Mart Women s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE). As part of a huge Wal-Mart initiative, sourcing opportunities for U.S. and international companies will increase to $40 billion over five years.
  11. Zions Bank — Smart Women Smart Money. This Utah-based bank s grant annually awards $3,000 across six different categories, including business.

Applying for a grant

Once you find a funding opportunity, there are steps required to apply. A few tips to assist you:

  • Make sure that your business is eligible for the grant: Read the grant synopsis guidelines and eligibility requirements.
  • Create a checklist for all of the documents required.
  • Follow the rules. Grant applications can be very technical. It wouldn t hurt to have a second (or even third) set of eyes when reviewing the application to ensure that you have provided all accompanying documents.
  • Start early. Since the application process can be long in some cases, it doesn t hurt to get a jump on things.

If you find the grant application process too daunting or lengthy for your small business, Kabbage is committed to supporting small business loans for women business owners. Because our application process is fully automated and online, we can quickly provide small business loans of up to $100,000. We use simple, meaningful revenue data from your business to approve your business — not elaborate documentation that takes extensive time to gather. To learn more, visit Kabbage.com.

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11 Professional Business Card Designs #business #schools

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A business card presents what you ve professionally then you definately can provide to your new purchasers and allow them to know extra about your organization identification in prime quality. Though it simply has a small kind, you ll be able to nonetheless personalize and customized your individual business card simply by means of selecting one among these templates for serving to you extra in making your individual card. Add one thing distinctive on your business card template might also look so fascinating for everybody. They re additionally are available in a variety of designs and kinds. So what do you ready for? Simply seize what you really need quick from our web site under. You re additionally free to download these templates then begin to customized and edit your individual card by your personal.

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11 Most Profitable Agricultural Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs – Insider Monkey #canadian #business

#profitable business ideas

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Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

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Published on June 17, 2015 at 5:53 am by Soma Dutta in Lists

If you are looking to for opportunities in the agriculture industry, the most profitable agricultural business ideas for young entrepreneurs are some of the best options to choose from! Traditional agriculture might not sound too appealing to the youngsters of today, but the modern agriculture has diversified into many areas which make for lucrative avenues that just might be their thing. And, contrary to popular belief agriculture is one of the most remunerative business which can also be a glamorous one.

For starters the investment costs are generally low, and the payouts are decent. While, with organic farming coming into vogue, the opportunities have grown manifold. Agriculture might actually prove to be a way of life, away from the cut-throat competition and stressful corporate life, for the driven young Turks who aren t afraid to tread the offbeat path.

The enterprising individuals who are not quite the outdoor kind to get down to farming and agriculture might opt for the 5 Most Profitable Online Businesses You Can Start Today. However, an agriculture business does not necessarily mean you have to get down to actual farming. Some of the suggestions and ideas we have for you can well be undertaken indoors and relate to the allied areas of agriculture. Most of them can also be undertaken with little or no training. Just some DIY guides and a keen interest can get you started. And, they might actually prove to be great avocations along with vocations.

Intrigued? Here, check out the list of the most profitable agricultural business ideas for young entrepreneurs!

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11 Most Profitable Agricultural Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs – Insider Monkey #business #license

#profitable business ideas

#

Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login .

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Published on June 17, 2015 at 5:53 am by Soma Dutta in Lists

If you are looking to for opportunities in the agriculture industry, the most profitable agricultural business ideas for young entrepreneurs are some of the best options to choose from! Traditional agriculture might not sound too appealing to the youngsters of today, but the modern agriculture has diversified into many areas which make for lucrative avenues that just might be their thing. And, contrary to popular belief agriculture is one of the most remunerative business which can also be a glamorous one.

For starters the investment costs are generally low, and the payouts are decent. While, with organic farming coming into vogue, the opportunities have grown manifold. Agriculture might actually prove to be a way of life, away from the cut-throat competition and stressful corporate life, for the driven young Turks who aren t afraid to tread the offbeat path.

The enterprising individuals who are not quite the outdoor kind to get down to farming and agriculture might opt for the 5 Most Profitable Online Businesses You Can Start Today. However, an agriculture business does not necessarily mean you have to get down to actual farming. Some of the suggestions and ideas we have for you can well be undertaken indoors and relate to the allied areas of agriculture. Most of them can also be undertaken with little or no training. Just some DIY guides and a keen interest can get you started. And, they might actually prove to be great avocations along with vocations.

Intrigued? Here, check out the list of the most profitable agricultural business ideas for young entrepreneurs!

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11 Success Tips from Small Business Leaders #business #search

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11 Success Tips From Small Business Leaders

Whether it s about how to use social media, getting through the early dark days of a startup, or about marketing your business, getting advice can help you succeed.

The video below contains success tips from 11 business leaders. It was shot at ICON14 in Phoenix, Arizona. ICON is the Infusionsoft customer conference that attracts 3,000 attendees, most of them small businesses or serving small businesses like yours and mine.

I was there on behalf of Small Business Trends capturing some man on the aisle interviews from presenters and attendees.

And out of all the success tips, what s my favorite? Well, it s from Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, who sat down and talked frankly about the brutally tough early days of the company he co-founded over a decade ago. Infusionsoft, which got $54 million in venture capital from Goldman Sachs, bootstrapped its way for years before earning that large injection of growth capital.

Mask says that in the early years, every single day was a struggle for survival. And while cash flow and business experience matter, the real secret, he says, starts in your head with your success mindset, attitude and positive thinking. This is what gets you through the struggle.

Below is the video (accompanied by a brief recap of key quotes):

Tip 1: In Social Media, Be Where Your Customers Are

“Know where your customers are hanging out online. You don’t have to be everywhere. Be where your customers are … and communicate with them there.” Laurie McCabe, Partner SMB Group, SMB-GR.com

Tip 2: Never Stop Networking. Don t Give Up

Never stop networking, never stop pushing. It’s easy to give up when everybody around you is telling you ‘you can’t do it’. You have to be around positive people. Then push on. (Starts at 1:08) Tom Force, Owner, ICE Keytags

Tip 3: Twitter Provides Powerful Market Research

Twitter is the best thing that ever happened to small business owners. You can listen to your competitors or customers, and they don’t even know you’re listening. (Starts at 2:01) Melinda Emerson, Author of Succeed as Your Own Boss

Tip 4: It s all About Mindset and Positive Thinking

Our first three years were brutally tough… every day was about survival. Then I remembered a lesson from my father. Your mind is everything, yet it’s not what you know, but rather how you deal with it. It is about your mindset and positive thinking. (Starts at 2:43) Clate Mask, Founder and CEO, Infusionsoft

Tip 5: Wearable Tech Keeps You Fit

The ‘wearables’ tech trend is keeping people fit, keeping them active, and keeping them in toe with their fitness goals. (Starts at 7:10) Tishin Donkersley, Editor in Chief, AZTechBeat.com

Tip 6: A Handwritten Thank You Note Will Wow Customers

One simple way to ‘wow’ customers is thank-you cards a handwritten note, a thank-you card saying ‘thank you for buying from me’. (Starts at 8:09) Ramon Ray, Technology Evangelist, SmallBizTechnology.com

Tip 7: Share Information on Facebook That is Great for Your Customers

“Having a Facebook presence as a real estate professional is vitally important. Buyers and sellers are there. Make sure you are sharing information that is great for the consumer, not just real estate people.” (Starts at 9:09) Bill Harney, CEO, Keeping Current Matters

Tip 8: To Get PR, Offer Yourself up as a Thought Leader

If you are a local small business, look at local media for PR. Read those publications, forge relationships, find out what types of stories the journalists are covering, and offer yourself up as a thought leader on a topic. (Starts at 9:49) Laura Collins, PR at Infusionsoft

Tip 9: Put Processes in Place in Your Business to Ask for Referrals

“Put processes in place in your business that ask for referrals. And make sure the customer experience is above expectations.” (Starts at 11:21) Jonathan Graves, President, Graves Organization, Inc.

Tip 10: Your Sales Pipeline Should Qualify Leads at Every Step

“You need to set up a process to convert the most leads possible. Put them in a sales pipeline and add checkpoints to determine those who are qualified, versus those who aren’t.” (Starts at 11:52) Justin Roberts, Infusionsoft Expert, Infusionsoft

Tip 11: Entrepreneurship is Lonely. Reach out to Mentors and Peers

“Entrepreneurship is one of the loneliest professions in the world. The entrepreneurs that are really successful reach out in networking groups and peer associations or just to one person. They need that thought partner.” (Starts at 13:00) Jeff Mask, Vice President, Infusionsoft

Deborah Shane is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, Top Small Business Podcast, Top 50 SMB Influencers on Twitter 2015 (Dunn and Bradstreet), career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly and her book, “Career Transition: Make the Shift” is available through all major book sellers.

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11 Top Profitable Business Ideas for 2016 #business #phone #service

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Most articles offering advice regarding profitable business ideas include lists of startup ideas like becoming a personal shopper, a consultant, a pet sitter, a virtual assistant, an interior designer.

This is not that kind of article.

Let’s go in a different direction. Here are my favorite ideas–ones you can still easily do this year, even though we’re well into 2016–that can save time, save money, and streamline your professional and personal life.

The goal is to do less, so you can achieve more:

1. Downsize your to-do list.

A to-do list with 20 or 30 items is not just daunting–it’s depressing. Why start when there’s no way you can finish?

Try this instead. First create a wish list: Use it to write down all the ideas, projects, tasks, etc. that occur to you. Make it your “would like to do” list.

Then pick three or four items off that list that will make the most difference. Pick the easiest tasks to accomplish, or the ones with the biggest payoff, or the ones that will eliminate the most pain.

Make that your to-do list. And then get it done.

Then go back and pick three or four more.

2. Get rid of one “permission.”

You probably don’t think of it this way, but everything you do “trains” the people around you how to treat you. Let employees interrupt your meetings or phone calls because of “emergencies” and they’ll feel free to interrupt you any time. Drop what you’re doing every time someone calls and they’ll always expect immediate attention. Return emails immediately and people will always expect an immediate response.

In short, your actions give other people permission to keep you from working the way you work best.

A friend set up an “emergency” email account; he responds to those immediately. Otherwise, his employees know he only checks his “standard” email a couple times a day and they act accordingly.

Figure out how you work best and “train” the people around you to let you be as productive as you possibly can be.

3. Eliminate one report.

You’re not reading most of them anyway. And neither are your employees.

4. Eliminate one sign-off.

I worked at a manufacturing plant where supervisors had to sign off on quality before a job could be run. Seemed strange to me–we trusted the operators to ensure jobs met standards throughout the run, so why couldn’t we trust them to know if a job met quality standards before they started running?

You probably have at least one sign-off in place because, somewhere along the way, an employee made a major error, and you don’t want the same mistake to happen again. But in the process, you’ve reduced the amount of responsibility your employees feel for their own work, because you’ve inserted your authority into the process.

Train, explain, trust–and remove yourself from processes where you don’t belong. (The same premise works at home, too.)

5. Fire your worst customer (or worst employee ).

You know the one: the high maintenance, low revenue, nonexistent-profits one.

Start charging more, or providing less. If that’s not possible, fire that customer.

6. Eliminate one expense.

Right now, you’re spending money on something you don’t use, don’t need, or don’t want. But since you buy it. you feel you have to use it. I subscribed to a number of magazines (because subscribing is really cheap compared to buying at the newsstand).

Great–but then the magazines show up. Then I have to read them. If I don’t, they sit around making me feel guilty.

So I dropped three or four. I don’t miss them.

Often the biggest savings in cutting an expense isn’t the actual cost; it’s the time involved in doing or maintaining or consuming whatever the expense represents.

Pick one expense you can eliminate that will also free up time and effort. Your bottom line and your workday will thank you for it.

7. Drop one personal commitment.

We all do things simply because we feel we should. Maybe you volunteer because a friend asked you to, but you feel no real connection to the cause you support. Maybe you have a weekly lunch with some old friends but it feels more like a chore than a treat. Or maybe you keep trying to learn French just because once you started you didn’t want to feel like a quitter.

Think about one thing you do out of habit, or because you think you’re supposed to, or simply because you don’t know how to get out of it–and then get out of it. The momentary pain–or, in some cases, confrontation–of stepping down, dropping out, or letting go will be replaced quickly by a huge sense relief.

Then you can use that time to do something you feel has real meaning.

Or just take a break.

8. Optimize your lunch.

You already make enough decisions. What to have for lunch shouldn’t be one of them.

Pack tuna and a small salad. Pick something healthy, something simple, even something you can eat at your desk. Save the decision making for what’s really important.

As a bonus, you’ll lose a little weight and feel a little better.

9. Carve out consistent time to sit and think.

Most small-business owners spend a lot more time reacting–to employee issues, customer requests, market conditions, etc.–than they do reflecting.

Eliminate 20 or 30 minutes of reacting time by creating a little quiet time. Close your door and think. Better yet, go for a walk. Exercise does more to bolster thinking than thinking does; walking just 40 minutes three days a week builds new brain cells and improves memory functions.

And don’t worry that something bad will happen while you’re gone–most of the time the issues you “avoid” will solve themselves.

10. Remove one willpower drain.

We all have a finite supply of willpower. Resisting temptation creates stress and eventually exhaustion.

And then you give in.

But if you don’t have to exercise willpower, you don’t drain your energy. Say you keep a bowl of candy for customers at the front desk. Every time you walk by you’re tempted to grab a piece, but you stand firm. Resisting tires you out, though, and in time you’ll be more susceptible to the candy’s charms.

Get rid of the candy altogether. Then you don’t have to use any willpower at all. Pick something you have to resist–food, wasting time, Web browsing, checking social-media accounts–and eliminate the temptation.

Discipline depletes. Discipline is exhausting. Stay fresh by removing the need for discipline altogether.

11. Remove one category of decisions.

Instead of making serial decisions, try making just one: Decide who will decide.

Say you regularly need to decide whether to expedite shipping due to work-in-progress delays. Instead of being the go-to decision maker, pick someone in the organization who will make those decisions. Provide guidance, parameters, and advice, and turn that person loose. Then, check in periodically to see if they need more direction. That way, you get to spend time figuring out how to eliminate the delays instead of dealing with the repercussions.

Almost every decision you currently make can be taken over by people you trust. How will you learn to trust them?

Teach, train, guide, verify–and in time you will give your employees the authority and responsibility they not only earn, but deserve.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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