Thursday, June 16, 2011

Starting a group for self-employed Professionals

I find it very rewarding when I have a discussion with a business colleague about the ups and downs of building a business.  We hash through the challenges and obstacles and identify areas where I can get a hold of what I'm doing and consider doing it a different way...or I discover other areas I can expand and improve upon.  All and all it is always beneficial and helpful, even when I realize mistakes or mis-steps.  Remember, building a business in the self-employment world is something many of us have been pushed into because of age, the economy and other factors.  Some of the 'natural instincts' of selling aren't in us so we have to learn and I mean learn quickly!

So my thought is to create a support network to be able to help others "talk out loud" about their ideas.  I encourage anyone interested to check for time and location.  It will start out locally but will build into a webinar that all of you can participate in.  It's important to get the perspective from people all over the country to are faced with different economic challenges.  The Bay Area is such a bubble and sometimes I think the people here forget that the rest of the country may not be enjoying the financial improvements or stability that they are.

Send me your feedback on any other ideas that may be helpful for all of you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back to it!

I took some time off from blogging because my business picked up and a person can only do so many things but my marketing guru, Judy Horst, told me that I must keep up my work on speaking about my business and sharing my business ideas with others.

It feels to me like things are about the same for many businesses.  They are cautious but slowly stepping out to try to invest in getting more business.  Those of us who remain self-employed are also thinking times are looking better for us as our possible business clients are looking to engage help via contract work so they do not have to take on the burden of costs to hire an employee.

Want to also share that last year when I started on the path of self-employment my goal was to make it one year and as of June 1 - I succeeded!  Hooray - first milestone reached.  Now I'm looking to make it to 5 years with the idea of meeting a financial goal instead of just surviving.

So I welcome your updates on how any of you are doing on the self-employment path...remember, we have to support each other as the work is work but being everything in your own business is where the challenges are and the learning exists.

Until next time...have a great day!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Final Post

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and took time to appreciate what they had and gave thought to things that really are important and matter.

Although the adventure of creating a blog has been fun, because I have not received any comments good OR bad, no thoughts from anyone else, even when I have specifically asked for them I have decided to end my blog and put this energy into building my business.  With the new year beginning it is a very busy time and also a time to plan goals for 2011 - remember, without the map you don't arrive at your destination.

I want to thank all the folks that have been reading my posts and wish all you the very best for the year to come!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What to do during the holiday distraction?

Have you noticed how trying to conduct business now is almost impossible?  I had a meeting today and the person didn't show up.  Not because they were being rude but because they were focused on the North Pole ... Christmas, shopping, making sure everything was perfect for their family.  Ugh...

Keep up the fight!  Although some of you may be distracted by the same theme, don't forget to use this 'in between' time to catch up on your list of follow-up items, letters that need to be written and your game plan for 2011 and how you're going to get the business, grow your business and make sure you are clear and concise in how you sell your product or service.

It's a time for you to build momentum by knowing that you are poised and ready to go for the new year.  Remember, next week won't be any better because people have New Years on their minds and the potential parties they may attend.  It's just two weeks of no serious business that provides all of us self-employed, business builders with free time to re-group, revise and put together new strategies.

Use this time wisely and productively and don't forget to assess how your efforts turned into business.  That's an important part of being a good business owner.  You always evaluate, get feedback and make the necessary changes as you move forward.

Happy Holidays to All !!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Customer Satisfaction...or not

Something we all want is customer satisfaction.  Customers are the reason we are in business.  Whether you are a consultant or a retail business or an artist or are doing what you do (because you love it..hopefully) and ultimately you are hoping someone else will too so it is important that you place "value" on your customer to be sure your attitude matches.

It has always been interesting to watch clients manage their customers.  Some work very hard to provide high quality products and services and get very few complaints.  They are enthusiastic about their business and value their customers.  In fact they proactively seek out feedback so they can continue to provide top service or products.  However, there is a fraction of businesses that perhaps have gotten tired or are struggling and their anxieties & fears come through when their customers complain.  I have witnessed business owners getting very angry and critical of customers who dared to complain or voice dissatisfaction.  They respond in a combative manner and suggest to the other employees that the customer is the "real problem" - this is never a good sign on many levels.  Note to reader:  if you find yourself feeling this way about your's a good time to step back and consider talking with someone about these feelings.  It means that there's something else going on that needs to be addressed.

Some customers or clients are absolutely demanding and hardly enjoyable to deal with but there are ways to manage these people and create a win-win result.  In some cases it may be time to fire a customer because no matter how hard you try they are not going to be satisfied.  The key is to know when you've reached this point.

Here is an article that will hopefully be helpful to you with customers issues Handling Customer Complaints.  It's always good to consider the many options available and to check your own attitude regarding these ideas.  Remember, getting a good result has as much to do with your personal feelings and attitudes as it does with the person in front of you complaining.  Remember, it is a good thing that they came to you because they are giving you the opportunity to fix the problem.  Unfortunately for every one that comes to you there are probably some that don't but if you  'listen & learn' from these folks, you are minimizing further issues going forward.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No one cares as much as you do -

If you've been working hard, trying to make contacts, networking like there is no tomorrow and expect that others are going to care as much as you do about building your success, stop now...NO ONE cares as much as you and probably no one is thinking about you or your business like you are.

I've joined a networking group and have met some great people who have very successful businesses.  They're established and doing well, even in these economic times.  One in particular has more business than expected in a time that is usually quiet.  She is a wonderful individual who has built a very successful business.  But she cares the most about it's success.  Another man has the same thing going for himself.  He's a wonderful person who has worked hard to build a successful business.  Like the other, he values his customers and employees and both know it but no one cares as much as he does about the success of his business.

Networking is an art and process that almost takes on a life of it's own.  In some respects it's another 'job' that people do in order to get customers.  It's really about building relationships that may, over time, MAY result in a business connection but it's not necessarily the way you're going to build you business base.  

In my recent experience I've not gotten any referrals but I've met many wonderful and qualified professionals.  This is always a good thing but on a few things that I've asked for help on, the responses didn't come.  How many times do you follow up and remind people before it becomes a futile attempt?   This is what I mean about 'No one cares as much as you do.'

People are well intentioned but busy.  Everyone is trying to focus their energy on keeping the business they have and building from that so they are not thinking outside their box - they are focused in their box so they can sustain themselves through these rough times.  However I do get disappointed and you will too but you can't let these experiences shade or taint your own optimism about what it is you want to accomplish.  In fact, I'm believing that it may be a sign that the 'fit' just isn't right for getting the business that I want.

Those of us in service businesses are competing against equally qualified people who (also like us) are trying to make ends meet.  It is your job to distinguish yourself from the others and set out to sell that which is unique about you to your potential clients.  For me, although I do bookkeeping, it actually is a small part of the overall services I provide for my clients and that part is what I need to get better at when I'm talking about what I do.  

Remember that no one cares as much as you do about your success ... so, start each day with that idea and work towards developing the personal strength to make your business happen!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Just where have I been?

I would like to say that I've been away on a European vacation but that is definitely not so.  I've had some personal matters to attend to that took all of my focus.  Funny how things that involve our deep emotions are so labor intensive.  I just couldn't focus on anything and realized, anything I wrote would have the wrong under tone attached to it.  I so appreciate all of you readers who hopefully find value in what I write, so thank you for your patience and know that I have returned.

I'm busy reading the NYTimes and INC Magazine to see what gems of info I can pass on to you.  It's Sunday - have a good one and I will be writing more shortly.