Allocating Time for New Business Development: Just One of The Challenges Facing Busy Entrepreneurs

How do you allocate time for new business development? It’s the bane of many entrepreneurs and small business people. “I am so busy with my current projects that I don’t have time to drum up new business.” I know exactly what they’re talking about. I remember a period where I had so many writing projects on the go that I did no marketing. I just waited for the business to come in. The problem is that unless you market yourself, the business can slow to a trickle, regardless of the previous complaints that you have:

  • Too much work already
  • Not enough time to do anything else
  • Not enough money to spend on proposals that may not pay off

I completely understand. Understanding, however, doesn’t get you anywhere, so let me make some suggestions to keep the business coming.

The first suggestion is that you dedicate some time to new business every day. It need only be half an hour, but whatever time segment you decide on, lock it in. Just put everything aside, hold your phone calls, shut down the cell and leave your e-mail alone. Next, do the following. Get yourself one of those small digital timers, punch in the time segment you’ve chosen, then, turn the timer away from you so you can’t see it. Now, focus on the work at hand.

During this time segment consider what new business you want to get into, or actually work on a new business proposal. What you might also do, and this will impact your own staff, is get the staff to join you in your sessions; and plan a session at least once a week, and brainstorm new ideas. Who better than your own staff to carry out this activity in search of new business? And encourage them to look for business opportunities that you may be unaware of through networking, or contacts they have with friends and associates. Even submit a speculative or unsolicited proposal to a client.

Here’s an idea I really like. It comes from Verne Harnish, CEO of Gazelles Inc, an executive education firm. Verne suggests that you should stop eating alone. Verne’s experience is that in one year, living in Barcelona, he built deeper business, social, and political connections than in ten years living and working in Washington DC. What could you do if you were to meet someone different even a couple of days a week? You might not generate new business immediately, but the payoff down the line could be substantial.

I understand that cash flow can get in the way of such activities. I appreciate that the current projects you’re working on have stringent timelines. In fact you’re probably working a 60-hour week. But don’t let that get in the way of allocating time for new business by pursuing practical ways to make it happen, even on your busy schedule.

Abstract: Busy people often get too busy and fail to continue marketing themselves. Small businesses, like consultants and training companies, often find themselves in this situation. This article looks at the issue and suggests some practical solutions. It’s up to you to follow up on them.

Five Pillars of Success As a Home Business Entrepreneur

When you take a look at the performance of a top producer, one is certain to spot persistency and consistency in each and every one. You can take a room full of home business entrepreneurs and hand them the same exact set of tools. There will always be a few who excel right away. Those few have learned how to apply the tools of their trade with the consistency necessary will achieve their goals. Regardless of the level of talent as long as we stay persistent and committed to our vision and goals, we will accomplish what we want. 

There are a variety of tools available at any given moment. The only difference between a top performer and all the rest is the way in which they stay the course. There is a determination with which the most successful home business entrepreneurs perform their daily activities and the way they maintain their laser focus on their big vision. Yes, obstacles pop up here and there for everyone, but the top performers are like a river flowing over a rock. Flexible and on task, they find ways to bypass the obstacles and advance toward their goals.

I recently attended training conference. What an amazing event. It is not very often you have a wealth of information presented that provides valuable information to people at all levels of marketing and experience. At the conference, I noticed something that was common among all of the most successful home business entrepreneurs. Each and every one of them had a vision and a plan to realize that vision. Every single one of them maintained their vision while performing their daily activities. They all applied 5 Pillars to Success in their daily activities every single day. They are persistent and consistent in everything they do.

So, what are the Five Pillars to Success as a Home Business Entrepreneur?

1.   Daily Visualization

2.   Being a Student of Personal Development

3.   Income Producing Activities

4.   Masterminding with Leaders

5.   Expectation of Leadership in you and others

If your life and your business are not where you want them to be, I can almost guarantee that you are not being consistent with the 5 pillars in your daily activities. I encourage you to take an honest look at your daily activities and find the area(s) you can improve on. Commit to making the changes and be consistent. You will definitely see a change for the better.

 

Learn From My Experience – First Year Tips For Small Business Entrepreneurs

The Number One first year tip – it’s ALL about finding customers and keeping them happy

Whether you are at the feasibility, seed, or launch stage, you need customers!

If someone is showing interest but is not asking about prices, then you may have a new hobby, which is nice, but not a business.

Why? Ideas and plans are a dime a dozen. Cashflow is King. A potential customer is proof positive you may have found a genuine demand or gap in the market – but only when they start talking price.

A vision means squat without a plan for customers.

“A customer base equals capital”

Attracting investors will be much easier if they can see you are already generating a cashflow.

Also customers will attract people interested in working with you – and eventually you will need a team to go anywhere significant.

A customer means you are not dreaming!

Don’t wait for qualifications

You could be forgiven for thinking that in the 2010’s you need a string of qualifications and / or an MBA before making a move. It’s not the case. Examples abound and if necessary you can hire to cover the gaps. Rather, try to emphasise product, ideas and team.

Which book learning are we skipping over here? What are some of the nice to have’s you might defer?

In the initial stages of a business there are marketing skills – be content with seeing the original gap and creating a product to fit. Then finance skills – skip high finance and stick to the basic organisation of personal and business finance to cover risks, and finally time management skills where the essentials can be mastered quickly.

Later in the development phase we have operations – leadership, management, IT, property, culture/psychology, teamwork, loyalty, communications and regulations – the list goes on.

While it may seem heresy to some, the fact is there are many successes in business who started young with no management training.

Beware Franchising

Starting out under the protection of a franchise is a seductive option. Beware! While it may be a way to start-up with less risk, pay particular attention to:

· The franchise sale

Franchise operators are very good marketers – of their franchises. Be wary that you are not sucked in too much by the promises and pictures. Seriously, it’s their job to sell you, just make sure they have a viable plan and you can sell their product.

· Your independence

The bottom line is that you have decided to become an entrepreneur, for reasons which quite likely include working for yourself, and by signing up with a franchise you have immediately given that independence away.

Will you be happy working for a head office? How much input to the business do you really have? Have you just bought yourself a job?

Take a real close look at your marketing plan

How are you going to find and reach customers? Your first job is to run like mad just to find them:

First, are you in an active sector and do you have a ready path to market? Where are you sourcing your leads – today?

Watch out for your own psychology. When starting out you may want to just go with the first half decent opportunity you come across. Relax; try to look at things objectively.

Beware of the “1% of the market is huge” syndrome. Yours may be a billion dollar market, but how do you get any of it? What do you think the competition is doing right now?

Any idea of the cost of acquisition of a new customer? Will your model develop repeat customers? If not you will be forever selling, and this is not a good place to be.

Most forms of marketing except word of mouth are very expensive. When starting out there is no doubt the best marketing model is word of mouth.

Branding. Despite the hype it’s nothing new. Don’t even think about mega-brand style exposure. A start-up is about a reputation, person to person sales and keeping a handful of customers happy.

What is the shelf life of your idea? How are you going to protect it in the internet age?

How smart is the business model?

A business model is the way we do things – how we find and reach customers, differentiate the business from the pack, price, sell and deliver our product.

But there is more. Other desirables include a residual structure, one that compounds growth, and which is leveraged either in time (employees) or money (loans).

Is it going to be a dynamic business or a job?

Realistically – are your finances strong enough for the first year or two?

Being an entrepreneur is a gamble and you must be prepared for the worst if it happens. How do you view losing money? Perhaps try investing on small bets in the stock market and see how it feels before investing in your own ideas.

Don’t get into debt you cannot handle. We should be bold but not take risks. Avoid betting your lifestyle, limit the investment to what you can “afford to lose”, then do everything to make sure that does not happen.

Entrepreneurs should always have backup plans. Not everything will work by any stretch of imagination.

How many hours are you working?

Have you really planned your diary? How will you fit everything in? Not all of us can survive on 4 hours sleep per night.

Remember the working rule – hard and smart.

And if you do work all hours, what is your effective hourly rate? Planning any time off?

Do you have a good business partner?

If you aspire to anything other than a micro business, you will have to think “team”. The synergy gained outweighs potential downsides. While a committee of one gets things done, eventually you need others in your corner.

Are you ahead of trends?

No business can ignore trends. Try to have an eye on the picture three to five years ahead.

Success Strategy of Bill Gates As Small Business Entrepreneur For Your Own Home Business

Introduction

Strategies are strategies. Dismiss for a moment from your mind what some people are saying about Bill Gates’s offensive practices he used to transform himself from a small business entrepreneur to a titan in the business world. There are yet honest-to-goodness strategies we can glean from his sleeves. We can study, learn from them and possibly apply them in our own home based business. Upon this premise that this article was written.

Strategy of Bill Gates – Have a Vision

At the outset, I will lay down the results of my research on one secret strategy of Bill Gates. He used the same strategy to jump-start his small business to today’s business behemoth. Based on my research, the strategy of Bill Gates is grounded upon the following:

“Have a VISION of what you want to achieve
and hold on to that vision come wrath or
high water.”

His vision was:

“A Personal Computer on every desk.”

By the way, I didn’t want to use the grammatically correct expression “come hell or high water” – for personal reason – so excuse my grammatical preference. Anyway, let’s go back to our subject. When you have a vision, you can make the impossible possible.

Almost everybody is familiar about how once upon a time the small business entrepreneur Bill Gates secured mighty IBM’s contract to supply the latter’s operating system. When he was negotiating with the IBM people, he had no operating system as yet. He was able to buy a Disk Operating System or DOS for $50 thousand. In the end, he got the contract. Why?

Bill Gates was guided by his vision – that every desk all over the world should have a computer on it. This vision enabled him to provide IBM with a DOS operating system and have control over it including to whom he wanted it sold to.

Beginning Entrepreneur

Before he became an entrepreneur, Bill Gates had nurtured the vision that software will one day rule the world. During high school he spent many late nights with friend Paul Allen tinkering with the school’s computer system.

He dropped out of college after completing his junior year at Harvard. Instead, he and his bosom friend Paul Allen set up a small business – a software company – in far away New Mexico. This move was in accordance with his vision.

His vision became clearer as he moved from a total newbie to one with a small business to keep. His vision was clothed in clearer terms, as he negotiated the DOS deal with IBM.

Better late than never

Bill Gates’s company ultimately became the leader in the software arena. During the first half of the 1990’s – 1993 to be exact – he was among the last of the software titans to acknowledge the future significance of the Internet.

But once he did realize that indeed Internet was the wave of the future, he had the tenacity to reshape his vision. His vision retained its old flavor – that is, software dominance in commerce, industry and in every field. It was rehashed in his own words as follows:

“In the years ahead, the Internet will have
an even more profound effect on the way
we work, live and learn … this technology
will be one of the key cultural and economic
forces of the early 21st century.”

At this moment in time, Bill Gates is guided by the vision that the Internet is the wave of the present and the foreseeable future.

Lessons Learned

You can learn from Bill Gates by having your own vision for your small business. Lay down this vision in your mind. Then put it into writing. Read your vision everyday while at work in your small corner of the house. Your vision could be as short-term as the following:

“To make my web site land within the top five of
Google when people search for the keywords
‘home based business,'” or

“$200,000 earning this year from Google
Adsense,”or

“To enrich the content of my web site using
the theme ‘scrap book making.'”

Do not limit yourself to short-term vision. Aim for the long-term. A five to ten years period would suffice. Technology may change but your vision will essentially be the same. You may refine it if deemed necessary, like incorporating the effect of technological changes – as Bill Gates did.

Your Share of the Pie

Everybody – from Bill Gates down to your netpreneur friend – has recognized the tremendous role of the Internet in business developments. Some of the more immediate pressing concerns you should consider at this stage concerning your home based business are the following:

– General preference for digital transactions by clients. For example, as a beginning Internet entrepreneur you should meet your clients’ demands who favor the use of online payment system.

At this juncture, I would like to refer you to my web site at http://www.InternetMarketingLearningCenter.com which offers free learning stuff on Internet marketing and home based business. One category being tackled in the web site is the online payment system. You may read online news and keep yourself abreast of the best software companion for your small business.

– Choose products that are preferred by people at this time when the Internet is dominating people’s lives. It has been determined that information products and web shopping are favored by most consumers. Information products include your very own ebooks and “how-to” manuals.

– Make it your aim that your products are cheap, very useful, and the best among the rest of competing products. This applies most especially to shopping products. For your own digital products, you have the advantage of pricing them according to your own estimation.

You as the author of your own digital product determines the price level. It is no wonder why gurus like Jay Abraham, Jim Daniels and the late Corey Rudl have become so wealthy from selling their own digital pieces.

As for these three gurus, they will be among the titans that we will tackle in future issues of this series.

(c) 2005 Rick Tanzo. Reprint rights granted so long as article, by-line and active links are reproduced intact.