Window Cleaning Coach: How to Start a Window Washing Business, Tips, Advice, Training, Tools,
#window cleaning business
Hi, my name is Dave and I run my own successful window cleaning business called ShineTime in Birmingham, England.
The reason I’ve created this website is because I found that there was a lack of free information on setting up your own window cleaning business when I first started.
Instead I found there are a lot of opportunist window cleaners on the internet who are selling their knowledge (you can’t blame them really can you).
I realise when you’re setting up your own business funds are tight, so I’ve decided to give my expertise away for free.
The reason for this generosity you might ask? Well window cleaning helped me out of a tight spot: I was working in a dead-end factory for minimum wage and wasn’t too happy about the situation.
I finally decided to start my own window cleaning business, and after a lot of trial and error my business became successful. I want to help other people thinking of starting their own window cleaning company avoid some of the mistakes I made when I first started by doing this informative website.
Let’s get one thing straight, being a window cleaner is a horrible job: in Winter you feel like your hands are going to drop off, if you’re working by yourself it can become very lonely, and sometimes your customers can give you hassle. As you’re the head of the company you’re the one who has to deal with troublesome customers because there’s nobody to pass the blame onto.
It’s not easy either, most people seem to think it’s just a case of buying a bucket, getting a chammy and you’re away. Sadly there’s a lot of competition out there, it’s highly likely you’ll find all the best areas where you live (the posh ones that make you the most money) are taken.
You have to be prepared to work hard to build up your round and be able to discipline yourself because there’s no boss to kick you up the arse when you feel like having an impromptu day off. It’s very easy to slip into the habit of thinking: I can’t be bothered with it today. or I think I’ll knock off early .
It’s good to have the freedom that only comes with being your own boss, but it still doesn’t mean you can spend every other day in bed. Disappointing I know, but that’s life.
I want to make it clear that not everybody is suited to self-employment, some people need a person watching over them to make them work. If this is a description of you then you probably shouldn’t bother wasting anymore of your time on this site. Instead, you may want to consider looking for other cleaning jobs first to get some experience and see if a window cleaning career is really for you.
Despite all the drawbacks however, I believe if you’re desperate, i.e. stuck in a job you absolutely hate, or unemployed and on the dole, then window cleaning could be for you because it’s a realistic way of making a respectable living for a person who has no other options, just don’t expect to be driving around in a Bentley anytime soon.
#business email address
Tips for choosing your professional email address
Andréa Coutu wrote recently about 7 terrible secrets revealed by your email address (and how to fix them). Her advice is good, and I recommend reviewing each of her points before you decide on your “official” email address.
If you’re in business as an IT consultant, you have no excuse for not having your own domain name. If domain registration and hosting breaks your bank, then you shouldn’t be in this business. Even if your niche has nothing to do with the Internet (as unlikely as that’s becoming), nothing says “I’m not really serious” like an account on hotmail.com, yahoo.com, especially aol.com, and even gmail.com (unless you’re a Google employee). Not that you can’t also have one of those addresses (except aol.com, what were you thinking?! ), but don’t use it professionally.
When choosing your domain name, you should use the name of your business. If your business doesn’t have a name, get one. Even if it’s just “your name here Consulting,” you should present yourself as a commercial entity. If you feel that your business name is too long for a domain name, you should make sure your abbreviation seems natural and obvious. For example, my business name is “Camden Software Consulting,” and my domain name is “camdensoftware.com”. If I had chosen something like “camdenswcnsltng.com,” then my contacts would always have to look it up to remember how I abbreviated it. Also watch out for unintended words that arise from combining abbreviations. You wouldn’t want to abbreviate “Megara Associates, Inc.” as “megastinc.com” for example.
I’ve seen some independents who treat their domain name like an 800 number: they make it into an ad. Domains like “peoriacomputerwiz.com” may be cute, but unless it’s also the name of your business, your client will have one more thing to remember when they want to contact you. “Was it peoriacomputerguy.com, or peoriapcguy.com? Or wait, isn’t their office in Pekin?”
For the top-level domain (TLD), I think “.com” is preferable. It means “commercial” (you’re in business here, aren’t you?) and despite being US in origin, it has international applicability. It’s also what flies off people’s fingers automatically when they’re typing a domain. If you limit your business to one country or region, then a nation-specific commercial TLD could also be appropriate. The “.org” TLD says “I’m a non-profit!” even though you don’t have to use it for that. The “.net” TLD is a little better, but people tend to infer some sort of online community instead of a business. You should avoid “.biz” and “.info” — the spammers polluted that space years ago, and your emails will get filtered for that reason alone.
There’s nothing wrong with registering the same domain in several TLDs and redirecting them all to the same address, though. In fact, it’s a good way to keep other people from using your business name.
So, how does your email address compare with these criteria?
Tax Guides Small Business Taxes
Recent Guides in Small Business Taxes
If you use vehicles in your small business, how and when you deduct for the business use of those vehicles can have significant tax implications. It pays to learn the nuances of mileage deductions, buying versus leasing and depreciation of vehicles. Special rules for business vehicles purchased in 2015 can deliver healthy tax dividends. Read more
Doing your business tax return? We ve got tips for you on which records you should have at your fingertips, including last year s return, payroll reports and depreciation schedules. Read more
More Guides in Small Business Taxes
Catering Beginner? Three Tips to Get You Started! The Burkett Blog – From Burkett
Thinking about starting your own catering business? The wedding and events industry can be very lucrative, but before you start handing out your business cards or promoting your business online, we’ve listed the top three aspects that new caterers should never miss.
There is no better way to learn, than actually doing the task. If you’re interested in catering, you need the practical, real-world experience to successfully launch and maintain your business. Catering is no joke – it requires passion and stamina to work the long hours and big events. Getting some hands on experience will prepare you with the tools you need to move forward. You’ll also get insight on market trends and other major catering firms, allowing you to build your business to meet the needs of your customers.
What are the most important items to get you up and running? First you need to apply for and obtain a business license. Secondly, you’ll need approval from the department of health, certifying your facility. If you plan to start out of your home, contact your local health department. There are various zoning requirements and safety codes that are specific to each state. Also keep in mind that some states do not consider a home as a foodservice facility. Do your homework and be prepared to make some costly renovations.
Once the business end is covered, you’ll need to invest in professional catering equipment. That’s where Burkett Restaurant Equipment comes in! Commercial restaurant equipment and catering supplies streamline your operations and make every event flow smoothly. From serving utensils to storage pans, we carry all of the essentials for your new business.
A little Business 101: In order to have a successful start-up, you’ll need a strong customer base to boost profitability. Social media is a great way to get your name out there and to have real-time interaction with potential customers. Sign up for twitter, set up a Facebook page, and monitor sites like Yelp for customer reviews. Every business owner can set up a free account on Yelp to post photos and message your customers. Don’t forget print advertising if it’s in your budget. You might consider flyers and advertisements in your local paper and magazines.
Finally, develop valuable relationships with other event industry vendors such as florists, bands, event planners and organizers. This network of businesses can help refer customers to your catering business, and vice versa.
Most importantly, successful caterers have three things as their strongest attributes: Talent, Flexibility and Organization. Focus on the food. Be a savvy business person. Plan your events down to the last detail, but be ready to accommodate any last minute changes. The rest, including your customers, will follow.
Business Search – Search Tips
The following tips may be used to refine or modify searches for a particular entity by entity number or entity name:
Entity Number Search
- The entity number is the identification number issued to the entity by the California Secretary of State at the time the entity formed, qualified, registered or converted in California.
- If searching for a corporation, enter the letter “C” followed by the applicable seven-digit entity number.
Example: Searching for C0254285 will return X,Y,Z CORPORATION. Searching for 0254285 will return no results.
Example: Searching for 200100410071 will return RESEARCH RETRIEVAL, LLC. Searching for 0100410071 will return no results.
Entity Name Search
- Punctuation should be omitted. If the entity name includes initials followed by periods, remove the periods and group the initials to form one word.
Examples: Searching DARE will return entity names containing DARE and D.A.R.E. Searching D.A.R.E. will not return entity names containing D.A.R.E.
If the entity name includes initials and/or a string of characters followed by periods and spaces. remove the periods but do not remove the spaces.
Examples: Searching A. B. C. ESCROW CO. or ABC ESCROW CO will return no entity names and searching A B C ESCROW CO will return the entity A. B. C. ESCROW CO.
Examples: Searching E PLUMBING HEATING will return the entity “T E PLUMBING HEATING CO.” Searching “T E PLUMBING HEATING CO.” will return no entity names.
Examples of distinctive words: compensatory, hickory, metrix.
Examples of nondistinctive words: data, systems, services.
Note, including a word that is not part of the entity name may result in no matching record. Examples: Searching ADVANCED DATA will return all entity names containing both words such as ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS LLC and ADVANCED DATA PROTECTION SERVICES, INC. Searching ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS will return only those entity names containing all three words such as ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS and ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS LLC
Examples: Searching SIMPLE will return all entity names containing the word SIMPLE such as SIMPLE INC. SIMPLE DESIGN, INC. and MAKE IT SIMPLE, LLC.
Examples: Searching AAA SIGNS will return AAA SIGNS, INC. Searching AAA SIGN or A A A SIGNS will not return AAA SIGNS, INC.
- To find: A.B.C. Enterprises, LLC. enter abc enterprises
- To find: A. C. T. Computers. enter A C T Computers
- To find: X,Y,Z Corporation. enter x y z
- To find: Friends of Yosemite Center. enter friends yosemite
- To find: A.H. Alumni Association. enter ah alumni
- To find: Research Retrieval LLC. enter research retrieval
- To find: 2333 E. 4th St. Inc. enter 2333 4th
- To find: L.A. Data Systems, LLC. enter la data systems
- To find: All names with “Auburn,” enter auburn
If you are not able to locate an entity record, you may request a more extensive search by ordering a status report. For information on ordering a status report, refer to Information Requests .
Disclaimer: This tool allows you to search the Secretary of State’s California Business Search database for abstracts of information for domestic stock, domestic nonprofit and qualified foreign corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships that have filed with this office. This search tool groups corporations separately from limited liability companies and limited partnerships and returns all entities for the search criteria in the respective groups regardless of the current status.
Although every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained in the database is accurate, the Secretary of State’s office is not responsible for any loss, consequence, or damage resulting directly or indirectly from reliance on the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of the information that is provided. All such information is provided “as is.” For information on ordering copies of the official business entity records for a particular entity, please refer to Information Requests .
International Business Etiquette definition and tips
Do you know the definition of Business Etiquette? Business etiquette is about building relationships with other people. Etiquette is not about rules regulations but is about providing basic social comfort and creating an environment where others feel comfortable and secure, this is possible through better communication.
Social media communication platforms (i.e. Facebook, Linkedin) are evolving rapidly day by day, as the concept of social media etiquette becomes a crucial part of business. Business etiquette consists of two things. Firstly, thoughtful consideration of the interests and feelings of others and secondly, being able to minimise misunderstandings. These are influenced by individual behaviour demeanour. Business etiquette instructs this behaviour.
Business etiquette differs from region to region and from country to country. This creates a complex situation for people as it is hard to balance the focus on both international business etiquette and other business activities at the same time. Therefore, a wise step is to focus on some key pillars of business etiquette.
Here are some key business etiquette tips that mean real success to business:
‘ Thank You ’ Note
If you want to differentiate yourself from others then never forget to write a‘Thank You’ note to your job interviewer or your client. This will leave a good impression and also reflect well on your company.
Give others respect by knowing their names which will increase goodwill and communication. it is also worth management stepping back and acknowledging people individually for their good work as this will enhance their self esteem and increase motivation.
Observe the Elevator Rule
Be mindful of saying appropriate things at a job interview or client meeting. Don’t start discussing business with a client or interviewer as soon as you step out of the lift. By doing so, you avoid the risk of damaging your reputation.
Focus on the Face, Not the Screen
Never forget to switch off your phone and try not to use any other device just to prove you are a multitasking individual. In fact, in the world of business this is considered bad manners. Concentrate on the meeting and listen to what people are saying.
Everyone is unique in their own way and uses a different approach to deal with situations. Therefore, if you disagree with another person’s approach instead of criticising try to understand it from their point of view. By doing so, you create a friendly environment. Always remember you get respect by giving respect.
Whether in business or between individuals, one concern is brand awareness. Individuals want to be noticed both socially and professionally. People want to be remembered by others.
However, in the digital landscape you have to be very careful when trying to pursue your brand awareness. Think carefully before doing. What we mean by this is that before creating a hashtag, posting on a Facebook wall or texting think how the other person will feel when they receive your message.
Character, Behaviour, Honesty
Your character reflects your individuality and your behaviour exhibits your personality. Business etiquette encourages revealing your positive qualities. This helps your reputation.
Always be honest and remember that it takes a long time to develop trust and a good reputation and only one small mistake to lose it. Business etiquette provides a framework for stating the boundaries of terms conditions, contracts and promises.
A key pillar of business etiquette is sensitivity, meaning giving careful thought to every business aspect before making a judgement. This gives a strong foundation to your business. Also, thoughtless words and actions lead to a negative outcome. Being aware of business etiquette encourages careful thought.
Elements of business etiquette
Business etiquette instructs on you how to present yourself professionally in different cultures. The keys for making a good impression are dressing appropriately, your body language, presenting your business cards, gift giving, conducting meetings and many other important elements.
Keep Your Business Finances in Order With These 6 Tips
November 4, 2015
Do you find managing your business finances to be a pain? Although it may appear to be, and often is, tedious, keeping your finances in order is extremely important.
It helps you to project where your business is headed, and when you know exactly how your revenue and expenses are stacking up, you can begin to make more informed decisions for your business. Maintaining your financial records also makes tax reporting and payments a lot more manageable.
Don t try to do it all alone. Leverage the talent and the tools that are available to you. Here are six tips to help you keep your business finances in order:
1. Keep your personal and business finances separate.
Mixing your personal and business finances will inevitably result in confusion. It might seem convenient to charge everything to a single card, but ultimately this will make tracking your spending far more complicated than it needs to be.
Begin by opening separate bank and credit card accounts for your business. For the ongoing tracking and measuring of your finances, and for tax purposes, this practice will take a major headache out of sorting your transactions every quarter, or every year as the case may be.
This will also take the guesswork out of the equation. If you want to be successful in business, you need to be able to monitor and track your key performance indicators. You need to know the score, and some of the most important elements include cash flow, expenses, revenue, profit and so on.
2. Choose accounting software that makes sense for your business.
When it comes to accounting software, there are a variety of different solutions. Think of Xero, QuickBooks and Freshbooks. The best online accounting software depends on your business, and it s worth considering several options before making a decision.
If you haven t moved your financial data from desktop software to the cloud yet, that should be your first order of business. Cloud-based tools allow you to view real-time insights, and they can be accessed from anywhere at any time. The ability to keep an eye on your finances on the fly gives you a great deal of flexibility as a business owner.
If you ve already picked out an online solution, ensure that it s the right one for you and your business. Today more than ever, there are a myriad of options to choose from, and if you aren t satisfied with your current service, you can always make the switch to another platform that better matches your needs.
3. Consider hiring a professional bookkeeper.
Most people aren t numbers people, and will never be excited about them as much as accountants or bookkeepers are. If managing your own finances is starting to get on your nerves, it s time to look into hiring a qualified bookkeeper.
Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to try to handle everything themselves. But as with legal matters, the granular elements of small-business accounting aren t usually within a business owner s wheelhouse.
Although it s easy to balk at the expense of working with a bookkeeper, they will be able to help you save money over the long haul. You ll be freed up to work on high value tasks that keep the business moving forward, while your bookkeeper handles the tedium of number crunching.
4. Stay organized and plan ahead.
The aforementioned tips should help with keeping your finances organized. Moreover, monitoring your finances and projecting future revenue and expenses will enable you to make better long-term decisions for your business.
Without this information, planning ahead can prove challenging. If you aren t looking at the future of your business, you could be taken by surprise. If you want to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition, you should plan as much as 10 years in advance.
You ll be able to mitigate unwanted surprises if you stay ahead of the ball. Even if unexpected expenses do rise, if you ve been practicing conservatism in your spending, you shouldn t run into any major problems.
5. Make a budget.
Part of staying organized and planning ahead should include creating a budget. Many business owners view this step as dull and unnecessary, but the importance of a budget could be equated with the value of a well-formed business plan.
A budget is not a tool for planning out how every penny should be spent. Rather, it s a framework that you can use to help you make clear-headed decisions, whether it s increasing your marketing spend, or cutting expansion costs to keep your profits on track.
Make a budget and use it as your guide. Don t allow it to force you into decisions you don t want to make, but use it to make adjustments when and where necessary.
6. Find a trusted credit union in your locality.
Credit unions are invaluable to small-business owners, especially since they are often willing to provide loans at competitive rates. Make it a point to seek out the best one in your locality, and make sure they understand your business needs. The partnership could prove immensely beneficial.
Some of the other advantages of credit unions include fewer transaction fees and account service charges, as well as flexible, customized services.
Since credit unions are not answerable to shareholders, they are empowered to put your interests at the forefront. Credit unions also keep profits within the community, and help budding entrepreneurs get their dream businesses off the ground.
The reality is that many business owners do not keep track of their finances. Whether you know it or not, this could mean missing out on opportunities to minimize your expenses and maximize your profits.
Preparing online business accounts can take time, but the end result is worth the effort. Even if you don t consider finances to be the most important part of your business, streamlining your process will allow you to develop a straightforward step-by-step process as opposed to a search-and-find initiative.
Make the effort to simplify the organization of your business finances moving forward. This will allow for long-term stability and sustainability.
#designing business cards
How to design a business card: 10 top tips
A well-designed business card lends legitimacy to your business, and can make you stand out from the crowd of competitors. Check out our top tips on how to make a lasting impression.
Although we re working in paperless offices more and more, the humble business card is still a mainstay of business. If you haven t got a card you can give out to prospective clients or collaborators, you re missing out on a key marketing opportunity.
Not all business cards are created equal, however. We live in a world where the average small business can design their own cards and order them from well-known online printers for under 20. These cards tend to be of an inferior weight, and typically use twee clipart to relate themselves to the business being advertised.
What this means is that there are a lot of poorly designed business cards out there! This is both a challenge and an opportunity: to stand out you need to create a design that looks fantastic, and helps you differentiate yourself. If you can make it tactile and feel pleasant in the hand, you ll be well on your way. Create an effective card and you can elevate your business above your competitors before the prospect has ever seen your website!
So, with all that in mind we ve brought together 10 of our top tips for creating effective, innovative business cards .
01. Use good design principles
It might seem obvious but it s worth reiterating that a business card is a piece of printed material like any other. Because of this, the basic principles of paper-based design apply to business cards:
- keep all your key copy at least 5mm from the trim edge
- work at 300dpi for best image reproduction
- ensure you maintain a minimum size for your typography to maintain legibility
- design in CMYK unless you re working exclusively with spot colours
Many designers also find it helps to use a grid to lay out their cards, as this can help you to achieve the right hierarchy of information as well as ensure your alignment is sound.
02. Get creative within the constraints
There are a couple ‘standard’ sizes for business cards, depending upon where you are in the world. One typical example is 55x85mm, although you’ll see many other sizes quoted on the web. Working within this tiny canvas you can still get creative with the space: start by considering the key information you want to include, which will typically be a name, phone number and email address, then work your design around presenting this information in a creative way.
03. Avoid common pitfalls
There are some common pitfalls to designing business cards that it helps to be aware of. The first and most obvious is to ensure you provide a bleed as specified by your printer. This is commonly 3mm, but can be 5mm so check! Just as important is to avoid using a straightforward border around the entire of the card, as this will show up any misalignment in the trim if the card isn’t perfectly cut.
04. Use special finishes
This example features a UV spot to highlight fret positions, on the reverse of a guitar tutor s business card
An instant way to add impact to your business card, and make it stand out from the crowd, is to use a special finish. Special finishes include the likes of foil blocking, spot-UV and metallic inks, and can add significant cost to your print. What they offer, however, is the opportunity to make your card more tactile, visually impressive and memorable.
Different printers offer different options for finishes, so speak to them to find out what they can do for you, and don t be afraid to go to a specialist if your usual printer only offers straight four-colour print.
05. Cut into your card
This card, designed by Phil Jones, Ryan Coleman and Jeff McCullough for Yoga One, shows how some creative thinking with die-cuts can result in a fun and memorable card
A great way to make your card unique is to use a die-cut process to remove elements from the card stock, leaving a void. You can either use a die to change the shape of your card (by rounding the corners, for example), or you can cut shapes out of the centre.
Dies are expensive to create the first time, although increasingly printers are offering laser-cut options that make it economical to create a die-cut look on shorter print-runs. There are some amazingly creative examples on the web, and when combined with creasing you can use the process to create architectural features in your card design. Also, don’t overlook letterpress as an option.
06. Use unusual materials
This card is constructed from a printed circuit board, and works as a USB device. When plugged in, it provides additional information about the owner
Most business cards are printed on card stock. This is the most cost-effective option for printing your cards. If you re willing to get a little more creative, you can print onto all sorts of different materials including transparent plastics, metals, wood and even slate.
Here dog treats have been used as a business card material, allowing the card to serve two purposes simultaneously
Keep in mind that cards need to be portable, and easy to file away in a pocket or briefcase, but get creative with your choice of stock material and you’ll instantly stand out from everyday business cards.
07. Make it useful
This business card designed by Emily Berry converts into a handy chair that can hold your phone upright on a desk
One of the problems with paper is that it s everywhere. Some people hold on to every bit of paper they receive, while others are far more ruthless and recycle at the first opportunity. To avoid the risk of being recycled, make your business card work as more than simply a calling card.
This card was designed by Jamie Wieck and includes a seed that sprouts after a few days of soaking
Some of the most memorable designs incorporate function as well as form. Examples include business card that act as a holder for hair clips or turn into a miniature armchair for your mobile.
08. Make your own
Breakfast Creatives cut up old cereal boxes to form their own, brand-relevant business card design. Credit: http://breakfastcreatives.co.uk
If you re feeling creative, why not make your own business cards? You can find letterpress kits on eBay at reasonable prices, allowing you to convert any card stock into your own business card with ease. This is a time-consuming but very satisfying way of expressing yourself in a card!
09. Recycle old cards
These cards were made by hand out of business cards, christmas cards and screenprints that went wrong. Credit: http://designbyif.co.uk
Old business cards, postcards or packaging can be repurposed and given a new life as your business card. Recycling is both environmentally sound and can allow you to express your creativity in new and exciting ways. There are some fantastic examples on the web to get your creative juices flowing. The process can be as simple as getting some stickers printed, or as complex as hand-illustrating over the top of each old card to suit the recipient.
10. Double-check your artwork
This tip applies to every bit of print work you do, but it s so crucial it s worth repeating. When sending your artwork off to the print shop, make sure you ve double-checked every single detail. There s nothing worse than getting back your cards and discovering you missed a typo in the email address or name. Check twice, print once is a a well learnt adage!
Liked this? Read these!
Have you got any tips for designing effective business cards? Let us know in the comments below.
#small business tips
21 tips from small businesses that are killing it
STARTING a small business is a dream for many Australians, but it can be daunting.
Here, entrepreneurs who are killing it in a range of industries share their best piece of advice for making your company a success.
1. Deliver a consistent customer experience.
Damian Cerini, owner of cycling tour business Tour de Vines, says you need your business to almost run itselfbefore you look at growth. The thing about working for an employer is that the business model is already set, it s about the execution of the idea, whereas a new business is about testing the idea first and developing the systems.
2. Add a personal touch.
Angus Askew, co-director of commercial asset financing company Magnolia Lane Financial Services, says: In our industry like most service industries everyone is essentially selling the same thing, you ve just got to do it better. Our number one goal when dealing with a new client is to establish a relationship and make them feel special. Make sure you are remembered. We make it our priority to see all of our customers face to face. Create a rapport as this is what will result in repeat business and an income stream for life.
3. Leverage social media.
A strong marketing strategy is essential in every industry, says Anthony Kittel, director of manufacturing firm REDARC. That means social networking on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or all of the above. Our brand is everything, so whatever we can do to promote that brand and consumer awareness is critical.
Author and Flying Solo editor Kelly Exeter says a less frantic life made her more productive.
4. Write your own business bible.
Matthew White, whose firm Ergoflex sells memory foam mattresses, says the volume of information available can be overwhelming. He recommends writing ideas and tips in a notebook or tablet as they come up. It has helped me make some major decisions, and also saved me hours of searching for something I ve read somewhere.
5. Focus on your specialty.
In the first few years, there can be a lot of pressure to diversify your offering, says Paris Cutler, director of cake decorating company Planet Cake. Stick to what you do best and do it better and with more focus than anyone else.
6. Outsource the things you don t do.
Resist the temptation to chase work outside your offering, and use a specialist to fill in any gaps, says Rhys Roberts from accountancy firm Viridity. I outsource my HR, my IT, much of my marketing and more. The time you free up you can spend doing what you are good at.
7. Aim high and be persistent.
Determination is one of the vital qualities needed when you start on the long road of setting up a small business. Rochelle Miller, co-founder of fashion retailer Another Love, says: Believe in yourself and your strengths. Don t take no for an answer. There will be bumps along the way, but everything has a solution or another option.
Consultant Andrew Griffiths thinks about ways to improve his business each day.
8. Embrace a life less frantic.
Kelly Exeter, author and editor of small business community Flying Solo says it s all about finding the right balance for you. I am learning that I don t just need physical space to thrive, I need mental space too.
9. Follow your own path.
Designer and illustrator Beci Orpin says she s not naturally business-minded, but has always worked really hard and built up a strong folio of work. My business is all about me: my style and what I create, so an important part of developing that was staying true to myself not worrying about what other people were doing.
10. Take time out to think about how to improve.
Use your best hour in the day to consider ways of moving forward, advises Andrew Griffiths, a small business author and consultant. He does this first thing every morning. Then, each Friday, I find a quiet place and ask myself a question: How is my business better this week than it was last week?
11. Harness your keystone habits .
Entrepreneur and blogger James Clear says we should find the one or two habits or routines that make everything else fall into place. Improving your lifestyle and becoming the type of person who has their act together isn t nearly as hard as you might think.
Life coach Kathryn Hocking researches what competitors are doing.
12. Practise mindfulness.
Freelance journalist and editor Jodie Macleod says it increases productivity, reduces stress and improves memory and focus. Mindfulness is when you are aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, breath and everything occurring in the present moment, without attaching judgment to those observations.
13. Every setback is a stepping stone to success.
Lucinda Lions from branding agency Slogan Creator says it s important to stay positive wherever possible, and see feedback, not failure. I remind myself tomorrow is a brand new day, a new opportunity to think differently and make better choices.
14. Hire from within your networks.
When Sarah Wilson from I Quit Sugarbegan feeling overwhelmed with work, she decided to get an assistant. She put a call out to her community, knowing taking someone on would involve sacrifice. Five years later, they still have a successful working relationship. Start out small and then leave the invitation open for expansion.
15. Keep it manageable.
Kate James, start-up coach at Total Balance, says it s important to remember that it s not all about non-stop growth bigger isn t better if you ve stopped enjoying what you do. You need to define your own version of success. Mine is that I need to love my business.
Sarah Wilson says you need to know when to ask for help. Source: Supplied
16. Know when to work for free.
Vanessa Emilio from Legal123, says sometimes working for free is worth it. Free doesn t mean offering an entire job or product for free. It could mean a free initial consultation, free component of a project or complimentary muffin with every coffee.
17. Stay excited and believe in your business.
SEO copywriter and consultant Kate Toon says start-ups should think about clients needs and possible issues and create rational responses to persuade them your business is the solution. Inject warmth, professionalism and even humour, where appropriate. Being human beats boring every time.
18. Learn to say no.
Recognise when a client has unrealistic expectations and nip it in the bud early, or consider referring them on, says author and media commentator Andrew Griffiths.
Try a formal, structured response and keep returning to it. Try, Thank you for the opportunity, but we are so heavily committed we can t give your project the time and attention it needs.
If you re on a tight marketing budget, think about how you can trigger word-of-mouth interest. Warren Harmer of The Business Plan Company mentions a small florist that did this brilliantly by 1) Offering quality; 2) Providing value; 3) Inspiring team members to love their job and clients and 4) Creating a physical environment that excited their market.
20. Turn competition into inspiration.
Life coach Kathryn Hocking suggests you research what competitors are doing to help identify what makes you unique. Your relationship doesn t have to be adversarial: they could be a mentor, partner or friend. Focus on your own purpose and connect with peers that have similar values and who inspire you to greater levels of success.
21. Know when to take a dream detour .
Sometimes it s hard to know whether to grab a fresh opportunity or stick to your path. Business mentor Lynda Bayada says you need to outsmart your head so you can listen to your heart. Give yourself space and trust yourself. And you ll find that s half the battle won.
#small business tips
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.