Lisa

    Author Archives: Lisa

    Lisa Sicard has been running Inspire To Thrive for over 8 years. She helps companies manage their social media as well as providing training and consultations. She has over 25 years in digital marketing experience.

    How to Grow Your Small Business

    To grow your small business and run a business takes time. A lot of time! But it can be done if you love what you do and work at it daily. Yes, that dirty four letter word is part of running a business, WORK! According to Forbes, nearly one-third (29%) work more than 50 hours per week, while 86% work on the weekends.

    Most business owners work hard and long hours but they love the freedom to work mostly when they want and take time off when they want.

    Most business owners work hard and long hours but they love the freedom to work mostly when they want and take time off when they want. Click To Tweet

    Getting Over Fears to Own and Grow a Small Business

    My greatest fear leaving my 9-5 job and running my business full time was having health benefits. It cost me years from going full time into business full time. Until I actually went and started to get estimates on the costs of healthcare. Never assume in business!

    Grow your small business and never assume

    Getting Rid of Fears to Start a Business

    If you are going to start a business you must be fearless. You can’t worry about this and that. Once I got over the fear by doing and investigating, I was on my way to growing a business.

    The fears I had of paying for healthcare were relieved once I realized it only cost a fraction more to pay on my own versus through a company I had worked for. That let me move on and focus on the business itself. What was I going to do to generate enough money to sustain my way of living?

    If you are going to start a business you must be fearless. You can't worry about this and that. Once I got over the fear by doing and investigating, I was on my way to growing a business. #biztips Click To Tweet

    Getting Started – The First Few Weeks

    The first few weeks were the hardest. I had several accounts I already was working for part time with my business so I went back to them by request to do more work and quickly grew the business within a month.

    From there I gradually went back and saw some businesses I had worked well with in the past. Before I knew it I had all the business I could handle. But of course, one wants to make more money, right?

    Things began to happen fast after 3 months. People started to call me for my services. It was word of mouth and through my online presence.

    Hence, I started to delegate a few projects to freelancers. It all happened by accident at first. One conversation led to another and before I knew it, I had 3 freelancers I could delegate work to.

    Learning to Delegate to Grow Your Small Business

    Learning to delegate didn’t come easily for me but I caught on quickly. I knew I had so many tasks to accomplish. I was keeping track of money coming in and money going out – investing in myself and the business.

    delegate to grow your small business

    The more work I took on the more tools I needed and the more I needed to learn. Learning takes time. So I had to delegate to grow. Remember this one! “Delegate to Grow Your Business!”

    Price Your Products or Services Right

    Don’t price yourself too low when you start to grow your small business. Oftentimes an owner might want to generate business fast and price themselves too low.

    Really think about your time and how much time things take time to do.

    Every aspect of what you do to make a product or provide a service. How much time will be needed? What if you need to do a re-do? Are the products or processes expensive?

    Think ahead of the curve when it comes to your pricing strategy. Don’t forget taxes, you know the tax man or lady always come around!

    Really think about your time and how much time things take time to do. #biztips #pricingstrategy Click To Tweet

    Learn to Say No!

    Learning to say NO when growing your small business is another must. You will not be able to attend every networking event that comes along. Time is precious!

    Therefore, you will not be able to answer every call and give away advice to everyone that asks you for it. You may not be able to talk long to folks who drain your time.

    Your time becomes your biggest asset when growing your small business.

    Your time becomes your biggest asset when growing your small business. #businesstips Click To Tweet

    Focus on Your Tasks at Hand

    Learn what you need to prioritize. You won’t be able to do everything at once. And if you think of ideas write them down immediately before you forget!

    Being focused on what really needs to be done to generate business and then manage the business will be the key to your business’ success.

    If you are scatterbrained and all over the place, you may find that nothing is getting done. You will not be able to meet your own goals that you have set up for yourself with the business.

    Be sure to write down your daily tasks so you can really focus on them. Be careful of emails, social media networks and the mobile device. If possible shut them down for a period while you really get things done! You will be amazed how much you can get done without these interruptions.

    Learning More Each Day

    As your business grows so will you. You will learn so much everyday. I know the more I learn, the more I know I need to learn.

    There are some days I have to set aside a few hours just to learn something new. Something that will help my clients succeed. If I can help them succeed then I’ve made my goal of helping others complete.

    Knowing When To Grow Your Business

    You may just know when it’s time to grow the business. Oftentimes it may happen on it’s own. You get busier and more money is coming in. You may not be able to keep up!

    If you are unsure if it’s time to grow your business check out these 4 signs to look for from Fundera. You might be surprised!

    Oftentimes many business decide to grow too early and then they fail. So be careful of that mistake in your new business. 30% of all new business fail in their first year and the number is higher in the first five years. 🙁

    Finally, Your Turn

    I’d love to know what you would like to learn about starting or growing your own small business. What keeps you from jumping in?

    The Business of Being in Business Today

    If you are reading this, chances are you’re considering entrepreneurship.

    The concept of becoming a businessperson is both exhilarating and daunting at the same time. Where to begin can be quite intimidating.

    Because of these obstacles, this “Business of Business” segment of my blog will come to you  in small doses, so as not to overwhelm and squash your enthusiasm.  It will focus on the “business” side of developing your entrepreneurship along with the structural side of starting any general business.

    the business of business

    It will be brought to you in a series of blogs that will feature “tidbits” of useful information and suggestions. Feedback is appreciated and encouraged.

    The concept of becoming a businessperson is both exhilarating and daunting at the same time. Where to begin can be quite intimidating. #biztips Click To Tweet

    Part 1

    What is a Business?

    A Business is the activity of making money by producing or buying and selling a  product or service. Simply put, it is “any activity or enterprise entered into for profit”. A business does not constitute the automatic assumption that it is a company or a corporation.

    If the activity does not make a profit (and is not a not-for-profit or non-profit) then, for legal and tax purposes, it is considered a hobby. 

    Business vs. Hobby?

    The foremost thought in your mind is to determine whether you can make a profit from your venture or will it become your “hobby”?

    Whether your business will be large or small, the “startup” process is still the same.  Therefore, there is a host of questions that need answers before you can move forward.

    What do you hope to gain from this endeavor? Are you willing to dedicate yourself and your time to making this idea worthwhile and profitable? Or are you looking at this venture as a sideline investment?

    Once you formulate your plan, you need to evaluate it. Will it  become financially successful? Or are you doing this for self gratification or simply, the “love of adventure”.  That’s sort of like a hobby. 

    Next, let’s assume you’re like most people.  You dream about having a little of both.  You want to be profitable by doing what you love.

    Regardless of whether your idea is related to a product or a service, the concept of any business is virtually the same.  The benefits, problems, pitfalls and “headaches”apply equally to any size or type of business. 

    The only difference is that there may be more dollar signs at the end of the year. But Business is Business no matter what the size.  It could be a small “mom and pop” operation or a multi-million-dollar corporation.

    Finally, the bottom line is, “A profit is a profit, no matter how small. If you make a profit, then it’s a Business.”

    So, you’ve decided, you want to start a profitable business, now what?

    Finally, the bottom line is, “A profit is a profit, no matter how small. If you make a profit, then it’s a Business.” #business Click To Tweet

    Evaluate Your Business Idea

    You need to confirm, in your mind, if there is a need and a market for your endeavor. 

    The best way to do that is to evaluate your product, your market and your competition.

    A visual analysis of your business plan will awaken you to the reality of your endeavor.

    Consider reverting to those yesteryears when the writing implement of choice was a pen 🖊 and paper 📝.  While this idea can be out of your comfort zone, writing your thoughts down on paper and seeing them in black and white can give your thoughts and ideas new dimension and a new perspective.

    Identify Your Target Audience

    First, begin the process of defining your target audience and doing a market analysis of your product or service.  Put, on paper, the answers to these key profitability questions.

    Is there a need for your business?  Who is your ideal customer? Who can benefit from your product or service? Are there other companies offering the same thing as you? Can you make money by providing this service or selling this product?

    If you have difficulty answering these questions, look to your friends and family.  Interview them as one of your potential clients.  Get their feedback. Conduct a focus group.  Look for the answers around you.  Search the internet. Then, go with your gut.

    What Makes Your Business Different?

    What will make your company successful? Do you know what will set you apart from others in your line of business? Why should a customer choose you over another company in your field?

    In trying to find answers to these and other questions, you may want to consider identifying your Unique Selling Position – USP.

    A unique selling position is a statement that outlines how your business, product, or service is different from that of your competition. It identifies what makes your business the better choice, and why your target clients should choose you over the competition. It’s also an important part in creating “your unique brand” of business.

    When creating your USP, be sure to include a vivid description of what your product is or what services you provide.  List the things that your business does very well. And, most importantly, what are your customer-focused business goals?

    In trying to find answers to these and other questions, you may want to consider identifying your Unique Selling Position – USP. #biztips Click To Tweet

    Research the Competition

    Knowledge is power.  Know your Competition! Who else is out there competing for your dollars?

    It’s imperative that you do your due diligence with competitive market analysis before venturing into any new business. 

    Today, this process is right at your fingertips.  Gone are the days of tedious research and long hours at the library.  Most of your research will be comprised of information found on the internet. Regardless of the source of your analytical information, try following the SWOT method. 

    A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps an owner identify his/her strengths and weaknesses.  It’s a valuable tool to use as a starting point when dissecting a plethora of information.  It will also help you in creating a strategic marketing plan.

    Start by listing your…. SWOT.

    Strengths | Weaknesses | Opportunities | Threats

    Strengths: The attributes that will HELP your business. What are your unique skills? Do you have experience with your product or service? What do you do best?

    Weaknesses: These are the attributes that could HURT your business. What areas do you need improvement? Do you lack resources? What part of your business is not profitable? Do you know what costs you time and money? Lastly, what resources do you lack?

    Opportunities: External conditions that will HELP your venture. What are your business goals? How can you do more with your existing customers or clients? Can you use technology to enhance your business?

    Threats: The external conditions that could HURT your company. What obstacles do you face? Do you know the strengths of your biggest competitors? What are your competitors doing that you’re not? What’s going on in the economy? Are there related products and services that provide an opportunity for your venture?

    This Part 1 of the Business of Business segment only poses some of the many questions entrepreneurs face when forming a new venture.

    There are always more questions to ponder as you focus on the road ahead. 

    Please drop a comment and let us know what you need to know about starting your business today!