Tuesday, April 21, 2009

6 Key steps to achieve your goal

It’s coming to the end of first quarter 2009. While it’s good to set your goals for the every new year, do you review your goals?. Most people never actually achieve their goals. Why?

The simple explanation for that is two fold. One, most people do not set clear goals and have a very vague idea of what their goals is.
The second reason is most people do not take steps to achieve the goals they have set.
In a way, the second reason is dependent on your goals. If you only have a vague idea of what your goal is, then it becomes almost impossible to take steps to achieve your goals.

The following 6 key steps will help you achieve better results with your goals:
1. Set a specific goal.
Setting a goal that is specific allows you to have a clearer picture of what you want to achieve. For example instead of setting a goal of I want to be rich in 2009, set a goal that you want to earn $100,000 in 2009. I find numbers and figures when setting your goals makes it more achievable and more easily attainable.

2. Set a timeframe for your goal.
Every goal you set must have a timeline. The reason for that is so that it can be easy to assess whether you have achieved your goal and if not, the reasons why and how far off to your goals are.
Setting a timeframe also motivates you to meet the deadline and to take necessary action to meet that dateline. If you do not set a time frame to your goals, you probably end up chasing that dream for the rest of your life.

3. Set A Realistic Goal.
Your goal should be realistic and achievable in a timeframe that you set. Setting a realistic goal makes it more achievable and real rather than a fantasy. It’s not a bad thing to have high goals but you may need to tweak your goals as you go along if you find that it is not realistic.

4. Chart Your Progress
It is important you establish short term goals or what I called landmark goals that determine your exact position on the goal you are setting. For example, if you aiming to earn $100,000 a year. Set a short term goal of $30,000 in march, $60,000 in june and then see if you met your short term goals.
Doing this allows you to determine whether you are exceeeding or lacking behind in your goals. Then you can take extra steps to catch up.

5. Be prepared For Obstacles
Many a times, you will be faced with obstacles along the way to your goal. It’s perfectly natural and do not get discouraged or frustrated. One of the greatest achievements you can accomplished is to overcome these obstacles.
Even if you did not achieve your goals, take it as a challenge for your next goal. The point is never give up.

6. Give A Reason For Your Goals
Sometimes, setting a goal by itself is not sufficient to motivate you. Deep down inside each of us, we have a personal reason for setting that goal. For example, setting a goal of earning $100,000 a year. The reason could be so that the family can live in comfort and the children can have the toys they always wanted but couldn’t have.

If you can follow these simple 6 key steps, they can give you the drive to succeed in your goals and in life as well. Goal Setting may be cliché but if you follow and take steps to achieve it, you will achieve the goals in life you wanted.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Keep Business Going

Do you remember your first day as a business owner? You were probably just like the rest of us... pretty darned happy and bit on the proud side. Yeah, back then we thought we could conquer the world. Now we're too busy conquering our own little corner of the world to pay a lot of attention to the rest of the world... unless it's to learn a few tips from successful marketers just like us who have made it big. Tips just like these... that will apply to every market - regardless of the product or service - and are great motivators to try something new. Yeah, you never know when the next idea will be worth a million ringgits!

1. Create a Special OfferA special offer is exactly that... an offer that is special. Normally, customers would not be able to purchase this product or combination of products, and once the products are gone... sorry!You don't have to go out and order a bunch of new products to put together a special offer. It don't take a whole lot... just use what you've got. Grab a few items that are related, group them together, discount the price, and your customers will be excited to be getting a good deal. Think about it from your standpoint... you've sold three or four items rather than one. Yeah, combination offers are winning deals for everyone!

2. Address the Small Customer GroupsNiche markets are everywhere, right under your nose! Within the customer audience that you serve right now are groups of people who share common traits. Think about it... maybe you have a group who speaks Spanish, a group of teens, and a group of middle class family men and women.Evaluate these classes of people, and discover the unique needs and desires they share. That will set you up to customize your advertising campaign directly to them. It’s not hard to take your current ads, and make a few changes to adjust to the niches. They’ll be impressed that you understand THEM, and the increase in your profits will be the best thanks you can get.

3. Set Up a Winning Referral ProgramSuccessful marketers develop the ability to turn their customers into advocates. Often, they don't even have to directly ask customers to refer them to others. Their willingness to go the extra wins customer loyalty and support. Naturally, satisfied customers refer their friends and family to the place that will take good care of them.Quality service and is the first step toward referrals, but you can easily take it one step further. Studies show that every satisfied customer tells three people about you. What would happen with a little incentive added to the picture? Yeah, a lot more. Give customers who refer friends a thank you - whether it's a discount, special gift item, or a simple thank you card - and watch the referrals spiral!You can get two birds with one stone by implementing customer surveys. A few quick questions about what the customer does and doesn't like about your product, followed by a request for the names and addresses of friends and family who would benefit from the product, and you're all set to go with the contact information of a prospective customer!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Write your plan before the business journey

Many women are so confused by the words - "Business Plan". What is it? Who do I show it to? Do I really need it? What is it really going to do for me?A business plan is a written blueprint for your business. It describes a summary of what your business is about and its' goals. It also outlines how your business will function. The term "business plan" was first developed by bankers who wanted a detailed report of how a business would result in profits before they would make a decision on lending money. Today, no business banker will even entertain a business loan application without a business plan. In a nutshell, the answer is yes, you really do need a business plan if you really want to build a solid foundation under your home-based business.I guess the reason so many women procrastinate in doing a business plan is because they think they have to come up with some imaginary figures and statistics about their business which is of course very scary for anyone. This type of plan is known as an Executive Business Plan. This plan is shown to banks, SBA and other lenders who you may apply to for a substantial loan. Usually, this type of business plan must show a 3-5 year projection of how much money your business would make if they should lend you a specific sum of money. Although you will need this type of business plan should you wish to expand your business, the most important thing for you to know now is where you will be in the next 3,6,9 and 12 months. One of the best form of business plans to start out with is the "Working Business Plan". This plan answers the 5 "W's" - Who, What, Where, When and Why.There is no pre-required length that a Working Business Plan should be. Just remember that you aren't writing to impress, you are writing to address the important issues of starting your business. This plan is just for your planning purposes and can be expanded later on into a full executive plan. The following outline will help you in processing your thoughts and writing your Working Business Plan.

1. Mission Statement - What is the goal of your business? What purpose does it serve?

2. Objective - What will the outcome be for your business as a result of your mission. (Ex: K.G. enterprises will gross over $50,000 it's first year with a 5% error margin on its documents).

3. Management - Who will run the business and what qualifications does the person have. What additional skills or resources are needed? What are the names of others that might be able to serve as mentors or help you in grooming your business for success?

4. Service/Product - What products or services are being offered? How will they be produced? If you are selling a product, how much of the product will you need in stock? Do you have the start-up capital needed to purchase the produce? If no, how will you raise the capital needed?

5. Customers - Who are your customers? What area are they in? Is this a service or product they will want to buy? Do a typical profile of a repeat customer.

6. Competition - Who are your competitors? Where are they located? What are their prices? What services or products do they sell? How could you do better?

7. Marketing - How will you market your business? How much money will you need to market your business? How is your competition marketing their business? Do you need business cards, brochure, stationery, fliers etc.?

8. Office Set-up - What are your daily office procedures, what will you do each day that will result in the sale of your service or product? What bookkeeping system will you use and how often will you input your information in the system? Do you need a bookkeeper? What supplies do you need? What type of furniture do you need? What office equipment will you need? Where will your office be?

9. Finances - HOW MUCH MONEY WILL YOU NEED FOR THE FOLLOWING?$ Your Income $ Advertising/Promotion $ Bank Fees $ Business Insurance $ Business Lease/Rent $ Internet (include website, hosting etc.) $ Supplies $ Postage $ Printing $ Telephone $ Training $ Utilities $ Marketing/Advertising $ Equipment $ Furniture

10. Networking - Who needs to know about your new venture and why? What contacts do you need to have? Why do you need to know them? What can they help you with?Contact ManagementEstablish a good contact management system for yourself. Today, keeping a list of contacts on paper is not efficient. Good contact management software will be needed. If you currently use MS Office, you should have MS Outlook already installed and it will serve the purpose nicely. Other popular contact management software are ACT and Goldmine. Regardless of what contact system you have you must be willing to update your system at least twice per week. Evaluate how you will manage you contact system. Make sure to schedule this in your planner or palm.Establish a good contact management system for yourself. Today, keeping a list of contacts on paper is not efficient. Good contact management software will be needed. If you currently use MS Office, you should have MS Outlook already installed and it will serve the purpose nicely. Other popular contact management software are ACT and Goldmine. Regardless of what contact system you have you must be willing to update your system at least twice per week. Evaluate how you will manage you contact system. Make sure to schedule this in your planner or palm.

11. Sales - The number of clients you service or products you sale will give you a true picture as to whether or not you are having success with your business. But first, you must have a measurable sales goal in achieving this success. Start by evaluating where you want to be in sales for the first 3 months, 6, months, 9 months or one year. By doing this you will be able to re-evaluate your business plan every three months and determine if you need to improve in marketing etc.

12. Starting Date - Set a starting date for when you want to begin your business or put into place this working business plan. Make sure you have printed material available for all services or products offered. Also evaluate and follow-up with yourself daily for the first month to ensure that you are following your own plan. After 30 days, follow-up on a weekly basis and then monthly from that point on.

13. Remember, no plan will work unless you are willing to put it into action!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

setting business goals before go in business

Every effective business owner or entrepreneur knows that setting business goals is one of the most important elements to become highly successful.
Since a business experiences highs and lows all the time, it is important to look back at your objectives to determine how close you are to them, as well as develop methods and solutions to potential and looming problems.
According to studies by Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich", and other researchers, 95% of successful people have the habit of writing down their personal goals.

Defining and Setting Business Goals
The main goal of every business is to generate profit. However, your goals need to have five unique traits namely specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
The goals of every business will change, depending on the type of industry they are in, the demands of the market, the current condition of the market, as well as other foreseen changes in the economy.
You need to be sensitive about the history of other similar business, as well as have an idea about future events to stay ahead. Too many business owners have failed, simply because they set goals that did not match their own skills, economic situation and resources.

Being Specific
When setting business goals, keep in mind that specificity is important to visualize exactly how you want the end result to be. For example, a general goal is to write down, "I want to become rich or a millionaire after running the business."
A more specific goal would go like, "I want to generate sales of 1 million dollars at least after running my restaurant business for one year." You need to know the exact figures, the type of business you belong to and the extent of expansion.
Some other specific goals include the exact number of branches you wish to have after a specific number of years, the exact number of employees after a year, or the exact number of customers you regularly have on a daily basis.

Being Measurable
This aspect of setting business goals is tied up with specificity. You need to have a unit of measurement to determine how close you are to your goals. Defining the demographics of your market, especially the niche market, is important to know how to measure the goals properly.
For example, when measuring financial status, you need to measure in terms of sales per day, expenses per day or overhead expenses per month. When measuring customer service, you can make use of tools such as survey or comment forms and have them rate services.
You will need different units of measurement, depending on your type of business and the scope of the company.

Being Attainable
It is never advised to set goals that are almost impossible, since you will most likely burn out before reach a single one.
A good approach is to divide a huge goal into smaller objectives to help you achieve through smaller steps. Always set realistic goals, based on your own personal capabilities, the current workforce and the resources available in the company.
Reading your financial statement will help you gauge the right target sales. Review the business plan and check how well sales did in the previous months, to know whether you should reduce or increase target sales.

Being Realistic
Being realistic is intertwined with attainability in the sense that you have to check your current capabilities and resources first, to know the right goals to set.
Check how well the business is doing and do a thorough evaluation before setting business goals.
For example, check how many customers you have or the total sales you generate on a daily basis, then set goals on a daily basis. You have to be considerate about the current situation of the market, as well as the demand for your particular product or service. Develop marketing schemes that will help you make goals more realistic.

Being Time-Bound
Your business can only go on as long as you have enough resources and manpower to sustain it. Goals need to be broken down into a sound schedule, so you can continue to achieve enough support to maintain it for the long term.
It is ideal to set goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. Setting very huge goals in a short span of time can lead to unrealistic or unattainable results, while setting very small goals over a long period of time can lead to delay and wastage. Set the task and provide ample time for accomplishment for the business to grow effectively.
Final Word on Business
GoalsSetting business goals is included in the first part of your business plan. It is very important that you write these down, especially if you are looking for investors for the business.
You should not start any company without sitting down and contemplating on the goals of the business over at least one full year. You can adjust the goals as you go along and identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Constantly be sensitive to the needs of the market and make use of new tools that will help you progress. You should do a monthly business review too, to identify which goals you have already accomplished. After one year, you should recheck and adjust everything.
The business will only continue to progress as long as there are available goals and objectives. Even if your business is already doing good, set new goals and work with the trends. Plan for potential threats and problems in the future also to stay ahead.

7 Fear Factors to start your business

Most people love to own a business of their own and attribute various reasons for this desire. In spite of this burning desire to own and operate a business they are very hesitant to put their best foot forward and venture out. What holds them back from Starting a New Business is certain Fear Factors indicated below.
1. No Self-Confidence:They fear treading into unknown areas they have never been before. They don't have the confidence of grappling with new problems and new issues that are bound to arise in their business. They are negative thinkers. They are more worried about failure rather than think positively about success.
2. No Money for Investment:Since money plays a major role in starting a new business, it is important that you find ways and means of obtaining the money. The fear that hovers over their minds all the time is that they could loose their money in the event of their business ending up in failure. Hence they are unwilling to convince others to invest in their new business venture because within their hearts they are themselves pessimistic about the success of their own venture. This same fear restrains them from obtaining loans from lending institutions as well.
3. No Knowledge and Skills:Most people who shy away from starting a new business or enterprise often give the excuse that they don't possess the knowledge, skills or the expertise to set up a business. One need not possess all the skills and the expertise necessary to run a business. In fact many successful businessmen do not possess them either. You can get over this by employing people with the necessary skills to work for you or seek the advice of a business consultant. You too could upgrade your knowledge as you go along.
4. No Ideas:Though money is not a problem to some but lack of ideas is indeed a major problem since they are unable to choose the right type of business. Identifying and choosing a Niche Business or a business that serves the need of the community should be the prime concern. If you want to be successful it is important that you do some research and set up a niche business, rather than a business that you love to do.
5. Bad Time Management:Have we not heard people saying, "I simply do not have the time to do my present job and my other activities, how will I ever find the time to run a business?" Running a business does not consume more time than your job. It is not a question of insufficient time but it is your time management that is at fault and needs looking into. How well you manage your time is very crucial for the success of your business.
6. Bad Temperament:Ups and downs are inevitable in business. The fear of encountering failure and the inability to face the consequences of this frightens them. A balanced temperament that can face successes and failures equally and withstand all kinds of pressures associated with it is essential.
7. Fear of Stress:Whether you are on an 8 to 5 Job or running your own business you can undergo stress. Stress is not confined to business alone. Unfortunately some people fear that by running a business they could be unnecessarily stressed thereby creating health and family problems. Stress can be avoided with proper time management and avoiding the tendency to procrastinate.

Conclusion:Paying undue attention to the above factors automatically creates a sense of fear and prevents you from giving serious thought to starting a new business. Thinking positively and associating with positive thinkers and go-getters will give you the courage motivation and confidence to take the first steps in starting a new business.