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Keeping It All In Balance

To develop a business from scratch or to help an established one grow it’s vitally important that owners keep their time, effort, resources and own personal energy in balance.

HVAC, cat

HVAC, catTo develop a business from scratch or to help an established one grow it’s vitally important that owners keep their time, effort, resources and own personal energy in balance. It’s so easy to get carried away as and when you get a significant order for your products or a big contract for your services. It’s right to get excited by these positive events and to celebrate them but you mustn’t get carried away and focus everything onto those successes at the expense of everything else.

Sounds mad? Well, it shouldn’t do really. Think about it. You’ve got the big order and you have to go all out to meet that client’s expectations, even better if you can exceed them of course. But that’s only a part of what you do in your business, whatever business you happen to be in. You need to carry on doing all those things that were successful in getting you that order in the first place, the marketing, advertising, networking – these three words alone probably describe 25-40% of your effort in any given week or month. And you have to keep the business itself ticking over as an entity.

If you can keep the following three areas in balance your business has the best chance it can to succeed and grow and you have the best chance of keeping a balance in you own life. Balance will mean something different to each and every business, it’s not a straight third on each area – only you can know what the best mix is for you.

Delivery

Whether you are delivering large quantities of small electrical items or one off specialised engineering equipment for the oil and gas industry it’s obvious that this is what your business is known for and critically, is paid for. The same goes for service industries, be it HR consultancy or legal services, it’s the provision of those services to clients as and when they need them and to their satisfaction that brings in the revenue. And here’s the tricky bit. Chances are that it’s doing these particular activities that made you want to set up in business in the first place – it’s what you are good at and want to do more of.

But, in order to do more and more of what it is you enjoy you need to ensure you have the buyers in place and in order for that to happen they have to know that you exist.

Pipelining

One way of operating is to get the large contract, carry it out to the satisfaction of the client and then start looking for the next piece of work. Sounds wrong of course but it’s a very easy trap to get into (for start-ups in particular) even for established businesses that become over reliant on major customers. What needs to happen is that in parallel with delivering your products or services you are starting to create a pipeline of work for now and into the future. Referrals, testimonials, advertising, marketing, networking, public relations – the list is endless but they all have the one thing in common – to ensure those people or companies out there that you want to become customers know that you exist and that you can meet their needs.

Unless you came from a background in marketing, PR or advertising it’s highly likely that you would rather spend more of your time in the ‘doing’ side of your business than in keeping the pipeline full. You might be able to employ specialists in sales etc. (when your business is large enough) but always remember that even for the largest companies in the world potential customers always want to hear from the head of the company about what it is they do.

Administration

If keeping the pipeline full isn’t something that business owners usually find attractive then undertaking the administrative tasks or book-keeping, accounts, taxation, IT, dealing with premises and all the other non-revenue delivering tasks is probably right at the bottom of the list of things to do. Many of these tasks can be outsourced to specialists and often are for even the smallest of businesses but it’s surprising just how much time, effort and energy these take. It might sound odd but making sure you are paid for the work you have done really has to be at the top of your tasks – it’s poor cash-flow that kills businesses far too often.

So, keep a running check on your balance of Delivery | Pipelining | Administration perhaps looking at it critically at the start of each month. Only you will know what the right balance is for your business in your industry and in your location but none of these items should ever be 100% or 0%, you do have to keep working at all of them whether you like it or not.

Mindset

How To Stay Ahead Of The Curve And Thrive

mindset

mindset

In business, surviving is not good enough. Keeping your head above water so to speak suggests your business is a disaster waiting to happen so you’ve got to change what you’re doing so your business gets a different result.

Clearly if you have started the year believing your business is in ‘survival mode’ right now, it’s most likely behind the curve and you’ve lost control of its destiny, so it’s time to do things differently so you gain back the control.

What Does Staying Ahead of The Curve Mean?

Ahead of the curve or phased another way ‘ahead of the pack’ is an idiom or set phrase.

A more detailed definition of an idiom is, it is a group of words that have a figurative meaning as opposed to a literal definition.

Essentially ‘ahead of the curve or pack have the figurative meaning: you’re out in front, i.e. leading. Relating to business, the products, services etc are better than competitor offerings.

Clearly this is the perfect position for your business to be in. You’ve got something that’s better than the competition however this doesn’t mean your business automatically succeeds.

Having the world’s best products or service is the perfect starting point, but if at the same time they’re the world’s best kept secret, your business is not likely to succeed and thrive.

Operating a business requires a plan, systems, processes, strategies and great people.

Leadership

Stepping into the leadership role and driving the business in the right direction falls on your shoulders as the business owner/operator.

If being a leader is not for you, don’t persevere in the role, hire someone more suited to taking calculated risks, and asserting control of the operation.

The creator of leading edge products may start the business however they can only take it so far. Their skillset usually doesn’t extend to executive leadership and failure to let go of the operations is why so many small businesses fail with the first few years.

Mindset

When a business is stagnating, change is needed. Continuing to take the same actions and getting the same results will likely drown the business if not immediately it will happen, so there’s a chance you’ll be in denial for while, and even feel optimistic that it’s turned the corner. However without an injection of inspiration and change, the end is nigh. Therefore fight any resistance to change starting with your mindset.

Adopting a ‘growth mindset’ that motivates productivity is key and it’s likely injecting the business with external resources is also required. The saying: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is likely to apply to you, with the right professional input, you’ll break those hard and fast habits for the business.

In this article these areas of change promote the right mindset to focus on putting your best foot forward so your business does an about turn and eventually gets ahead of the curve and thus it’s main competitors.

Be Extraordinary, not Ordinary

Fight the desire to follow everyone else. Focus on where you want your business to be i.e. leading, not following. Set your one standards and live by them and them alone. To do so effectively you’ll need to set up some key measurements in place so you know you’re on the right track.

Objectives

Start with defining the key objectives of the business. Use the four Ws and one H i.e. what, where, why, when and how. To leave nothing to chance, remember to aim BIG.

If your objectives are to achieve the same as your competitors your business won’t be ahead of the curve, so that’s not good enough. You reap what you sow so go for it and surprise yourself with your new ‘take over the world’ attitude.

Do everything better

To do better you need to analyse what’s been happening in the business up to now. There will be some parts that are working well and they will need just tweak or two to improve their performance. That’s the easy part. 🙂

There will be major change required in the poor performing areas and this is where you need to use your external resources i.e. consultants, or mentors who are not emotionally tied to the business.

Implement the changes and deal with the resulting initial fallout with the help of your new operations leader or leadership team (internal and external stakeholders).

Now Own It

Now is the time to ‘own it’. Dominate the market and keep going. Remember to review your progress and keep refining your processes and systems. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing in our comments area.

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Mindset

Worried about tricky job interview questions? Here’s how you can nail them!

MBA for Entrepreneurs

MBA for EntrepreneursSo you have meritoriously cleared the first screening round and have been invited for a face to face interview?

Firstly, congratulations on landing a job interview in this competitive job scenario, but the real test of your ability is yet to commence.

The Interview

With the growing need for securing a position in a reputable organization and the dearth of relevant skills and knowledge, the recruitment process especially the interviews are becoming increasingly tough to crack. The questions are no longer straightforward, “so elaborate me in this skill of yours?”, Instead, they have evolved and taken a more practical form.

The severity of interview questions depends on the industries, but there are specific reasons behind interviewers shooting tough questions:

  • This way they measure your experience level and expertise in the skill that you have mentioned in your resume;
  • This helps them analyze your body language and thought process when met with extremities;
  • This also helps them gain a better understanding of your personality.

But just like the tough and tricky questions, there are crafty ways of answering them. In our today’s post let us discuss some common tricky questions and how to answer them tactfully:

Q: What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Interviewers ask this question to gauge upon your values and how is your attitude towards problems. This way they observe what you can bring to the table and how can you contribute to the organization’s goals. The Interview board is looking for candidates who can fill the gap with their practical experience. Hence tailor your answer that best demonstrates your expertise with skills in equal measure.

Q: What is your weakness?

This is one of the trickiest questions, answering which without giving any thought could land you in a soup as it might reveal your shortcomings. Remember not to mention any of the skills that are required in the position you are hopeful of. A similar question they can ask is, “Do you have any regrets?”. Articulate your answers in a manner that it shows that you are self-aware but are also working on your being better day by day.

Q: Why are you leaving your present company?

The immediate answer of most candidates for this question is, throwing their current company under the bus for whatever negative experience forced them to leave it. But we would suggest you prepare for it if that is the case. Maneuver your answer so that it implies that your experience in the present company is fulfilling, but you’re looking for a greater playfield to enhance your skills and expertise. If you are being laid off, be honest and say that instead of bashing your previous employer.

Q: Explain the gap in your work history?

Unless you have explicitly mentioned in your resume that you have utilized your skills in those gap years, be prepared to get pressed on this subject by the interviewer. It is advisable to stay honest but also refrain from talking foul of your previous employer. Emphasize how the knowledge gained in your gap years will add value to the position you have applied for.

Q: How do you react in the face of failure?

Another way of asking the same question, “Are you willing to fail?” Although your immediate response would be “No” because to say yes would be to put your proficiency in a suspicious state of not being up to the mark. The contention behind asking this question would be to judge how to retaliate in tough situations and what would be your thought process in the event of a failure?

A smart way to answer this question is by acknowledging the importance of failure in helping you become a better person and then quoting examples of events where you have failed and learned a lesson from it and how that lesson will help you add value to the position and organization you are interviewing for.

So instead of sitting worried about the interview, we would suggest you brainstorm and come up with creative sometimes funny answers that you can reply to the interviewer. Just like it is not necessary that all questions will be tough; similarly it is not essential that all questions are going to be easy.

Like they say always prepare for the worst, a candidate should always stay prepared for whichever questions, easy or tough, where the aforementioned list will be of assistance.

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Mindset

How to Start a Resume Business to Help Others Succeed

working at desk

working at desk

Do you have a knack for writing resumes? Are you the person your friends always turn to when they need help beefing up or reworking their resumes?

If so, you may want to consider starting a resume writing business. A resume business involves helping others create their resumes from scratch or rework their resumes for a set fee. 

You may work with anyone from waiters to engineers to business executives. And, the best part is that you get the satisfaction of knowing your services helped someone land their dream job

So, where do you get started?

Read on to learn how to start a resume business to help others succeed. 

Do the Necessary Housekeeping Involved in Starting a Business 

First things first, you’ll want to get some of the boring stuff out of the way. That is, you’ll need to take care of all the housekeeping that comes with starting a business. 

Here’s what should be on your initial checklist to start your business:

  • Create a business plan: Consider your initial startup costs, your target market, and how long it will take for your resume business to break even
  • Register your business: Be sure to check with your Secretary of State about any licenses or registrations you may need
  • Register for taxes: There are a variety of state and federal taxes you will need to register for before you open your business
  • Open a business bank account and set up business accounting
  • Get business insurance

While these tasks certainly can feel tedious, you’ll be thanking yourself later on for taking care of them right away.

Promoting Your Resume Business 

The best resume writing services spend a lot of time promoting and marketing their business. 

Word of mouth can certainly be a great place to start, but after a while, those leads will dry up. 

In order to get the word out about your services, you will first want to create a website. Here you can share a little bit about yourself and your qualifications, and you can also list your services and rates. 

It’s also a good idea to create social media profiles on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You may even want to consider starting a Youtube channel where you create short videos about writing the perfect resume. 

You will also want to create some simple marketing materials to start, such as business cards and flyers. 

Lastly, it’s a good idea to get in touch with local staffing agencies, as they can often refer you to job seekers who need help creating resumes. 

If you’re struggling to get clients, it can also be beneficial to offer your services for free so you can get some samples and references on your website. 

Get the Right Credentials 

People will take you much more seriously as a resume writer if you have the right credentials. 

Joining professional associations is a good way to demonstrate that you are qualified to write resumes. Two associations you’ll want to consider joining are the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches and the National Resume Writers’ Association

Are You Ready to Start Your Resume Business?

As you can see, starting a resume business takes some work. However, once you get the ball rolling, things will be much easier and you’ll soon be able to focus solely on finding and helping your clients. 

If you have any questions about starting a resume business, leave a comment below. 

And, be sure to check out these 5 content marketing ideas that can bring traffic to your resume website. 

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