Friday, January 30, 2015

Passion is Great, but is it Profitable?

Starting a Business Takes More than Love for Your Job

work at home, small business,
Can your passion become profitable?
Passion is a word that is thrown around a lot in the business world – everyone is telling us to “do what we love” and “be passionate about what we do every day.” Although doing what you love and making a living is a dream for many business owners, the reality is that passion alone is not enough to run a successful business. They key to having success in a business is providing a product or service that consumers want to buy, and even though you are passionate about something, consumers may not be.

Evaluate Your Passions

Evaluating and assessing your passion is the first step in figuring out whether doing what you love is going to pay your bills. A great starting point is to make a list of all the things you love to do and start crossing out the things that will definitely NOT make a good business model. For example, if you love watching reality TV, that can quickly be crossed out as a business concept. Other ideas, like caring for animals, working on vehicles, cooking, or baking are all good ideas that can be then reviewed further.

After you have narrowed down the list to a few solid ideas, start thinking about whether or not it is profitable in your geographical area. Will consumers want to buy your products or services? Are they something that people need or want? If you want to design and manufacture bathing suits, but live in Minnesota, there is probably not a huge market for you to take advantage of (unless you consider opening up an online store). It is important to really think through whether or not a business model with your concept will be sustainable long term.

Figure Out is Your Passion is Sustainable

After settling on one or two ideas that may work, it is time to really dig into the financials and see if the profit is there. Calculate how much it will cost to start the business, how much it will cost to produce a single unit of your product, and what margin or how much you will sell that unit for. Also, use market data to predict how much you may sell each month or in a year. Finally, compare costs and expenses to your projected profit – if the numbers do not work, you may want to go back to the drawing board.

Will Your Passion Fit into Your Life?

Let’s go back to the bathing suit example. Let’s say you are living in an area where this business model will work - if you are spending 60 hours a week designing and producing your offering, does that leave you enough time to meet other goals in your life? Will you have enough time to spend with family and friends, take a vacation, or go back to school to get your business degree? Goals are much more than what you want to achieve in your business but also what you want to achieve for your life.

Passion is great and it drives a lot of the best owners to see success in their business. But, before they jumped in with their business model, chances are they went through all the steps to see if their passion was profitable and got very lucky that it was. Doing what you love is important, but being able to sustain your business and yourself while still being able to meet your personal goals is really what matters.

Are you still looking for that perfect work at home opportunity? Have you ever heard of Stacy O'Quinn? Stacy started out much like you and then found Dani Johnson training. He used  and uses her techniques in a travel business that has enabled him to work from home and make six figures every year. Stacy can help you do the same and all you need to do is give him a call! For more information about Stacy and his opportunity, click here

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stop Putting Off Your Own Success

How to Beat Procrastination

small business, procrastination
Does this look like your day?
A lack of time is one of the most common excuses that is given for not being able to get everything done to deadline. While time constraints can be a problem, procrastination is often the leading factor when it comes to not completing tasks – many people who are the biggest offenders of procrastination do not even realize that they do it! In many cases, procrastination and not completing tasks is a huge obstacle between yourself and success – here are some ways to help manage procrastination.

Admit You Have a Procrastination Problem

Being in denial about procrastination is a huge road block that will need to be overcome in order to reach your goals. Recognizing you have a tendency for the behavior or knowing when you are procrastinating is key to overcoming it. It may not feel as though things are being pushed to the side when we are constantly working on something, but it is important to ask if the tasks you are working on are really a priority. Sure, you are getting things done, but are there other things you should be doing.

Answer the Question, “Why?”

Generally, when an individual procrastinates, it is because there is something that is stopping them from completely a task. If you are resisting the completion of a certain project or action item, ask yourself why you have an aversion to completing it. Does the task feel overwhelming? Do you not know how to complete it? It is boring, tedious, or just not interesting to you? Being able to answer this question is important in figuring out new ways to get tasks you do not enjoy doing completed on time.

Think About the Consequences

If recognizing you are procrastinating and knowing why you are is not enough to stop the behavior, it may be time to consider the worst case scenario if you do not complete a task on time. Use payroll as an example – some of the negative consequences of waiting to do payroll is the pressure to get it complete as well as the risk of employees not getting paid. These are huge penalties for not wanting to complete a certain task in a certain time frame that affects both you and those around you. 

Set Deadlines and Give Yourself Incentives

A big part of stopping procrastination is better time management. When a task comes across your desk, make sure you set a deadline for when it needs to be done and allot yourself specific time throughout that period to get it done. Additionally, think about how you can incentivize yourself to complete tasks you do not necessarily like to do – maybe when a big project is done on time you can treat yourself to a new piece of clothing, a special dinner out with co-workers and friends or something else you enjoy

Do Not Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If these tactics are simply not working for certain tasks, it may be time to ask for help and pass them along to someone else. For example, if there is a project that you do not know how to do properly or that does not fall into your scope of work, it is perfectly acceptable to delegate that task to someone with the right skill set and the time to get it done. Delegating helps to free up your time as well as making sure important tasks are getting done in a both a timely manner and correctly.

Stacy O'Quinn has enjoyed work at home success for years and has helped dozens of others enjoy this same success. Stacy also has an incredible opportunity for those looking for ideas to create their own work from home business. For more information about Stacy and to find out how he can help you, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of birgerking via Creative Commons License

Friday, January 23, 2015

Making Smarter Small Business Financial Decisions

Tips for Making More Sound Financial Projections in the New Year

small business tips
Stacy explaining how Dani Johnson
Training helped him earn 6 figures!
One trait of entrepreneurs that can be both a blessing and a curse is the sense of optimism. While every small business owner wants to believe their ideas will be instantly successful, it is important to remember the financials may be lean in the years leading up to a breakthrough. Overly optimistic projections can often lead to making risky financial decisions, which can often jeopardize the existence of a company. Here are some useful tips to make realistic financial projections for the year ahead.

Know the Rhythm of Financial Cycles

For those who have been in business for a while, you generally have a sense of the financial highs and lows of the company and if that instinct is not inherent, past profit and loss statements can be studied to discover different trends. These notions and reports are often a great prediction for the future and can make projecting profits and losses for the coming year a little easier. While every business wants to see growth, it is also important to be realistic about when the business struggles throughout the year. 

Utilize Cash Flow Projections

Projecting cash flow is a great way to help plan for a smooth financial year. By estimating how much cash the business will have at the end of each month after paying overhead, employees, and the owner, it will be easier to plan capital purchases or larger expenses that are not recurring. This goes hand in hand with looking at the financial cycles of the business – by knowing when money will be tight, it will be easier to plan larger expenses and also focus on areas and times where revenue needs a boost.

Break-Even Points are Important

Any major spending decision should be based on the business’s break-even point. This is a crucial part of small business financial projections and is very easy to calculate – simply take your total fixed expenses and divide by the gross margin per unit. The result of this calculation is the number of units the business will need to sell in order to break even throughout the course of the year. This number can then be divided by 12 in order to see monthly sales goals to see if you can afford to make expensive purchases.

Hope for the Best, But Plan for the Worst

As mentioned earlier, optimism can be a great asset for any business owner, but can also be his or her biggest downfall. Every business would love to see instant, huge financial success in its first few years, but the reality is this is simply impossible for most to achieve. Although it may be easier to predict a great financial year, it is better to be more reserved with the projections and overshoot them rather than setting huge goals and falling short, possibly doing irreversible damage to the business overall.

Revise, Revise, Revise

Once you think you have a solid financial projection for the year, make sure to take the time to review it and revise anything that stands out as unrealistic. In addition to revising the projection during the early part of the financial year, make sure to continue to look at your projections every month or so to make sure the business is on target to meet or exceed the projections. This will help to give business owners a good indication of where more focus needs to be placed or if the projections should be revised again.

Whether you have an existing work at home business that is struggling or you are looking for an opportunity, Stacy O'Quinn can help you! Stacy already has dozens of people that have made six figures a year thanks to his help and you could be next! To learn more about Stacy, please click here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Building the Perfect Team to Expand Your Small Business

4 Need to Know Tips to Growing Your Business Fast and Smart

small business, work from home business
Grow Your Business to Create
More Profits Every Year
When a small business owner is looking to grow his or her organization, one of the things to consider is bringing new talent into the fold to help manage the expansion. While the prospect of moving a business to the next level is exciting, the thought of hiring new employees can sometimes cause owners to become deer in the headlights. Having the resources to hire new employees is generally not the issue – the problems lies where making one little hiring mistake could mean big problems for small business.

Meeting federal regulations for hiring, putting out the right job description, making sure to choose the right person to fit the role as well as fit into the existing culture of the business – all of these things keep small business owners up at night when they begin the process of bringing in new talent. Luckily, there are some simple tips that business owners can follow to help make the process a little less stressful while also aiding in following all hiring regulations and finding the perfect person for the job.

Know and Meet All State and Federal Hiring Regulations

State governments and the federal government have laws and regulations that govern the hiring process. In many cases, violating these rules could lead to small businesses having to pay hefty fines for their mistakes. In order to make sure you are within the law consider researching hiring regulations for your state and the federal government through the Small Business Administration. Additionally, you can seek the advice of other professionals in the field to make sure all the bases are covered.

Make Sure Your Business’s Brand Comes Through in the Job Description

Creating a job description can be hard, especially when you are trying to attract new talent into the business and stand out from competitors. It is important to make sure you include all of the job responsibilities in the write up but it is also important to portray what your business is about. When potential employees are looking at job descriptions, they are not only considering what they will need to do to fulfill their role but also how their personality will fit into the business’s overall culture.

Be Honest During the Interview

As any business owner can tell you, small businesses face many different challenges than larger corporations do. When interviewing potential new employees, make sure to be upfront about the challenges and hurdles they may come across in this particular role without giving away any proprietary information. Being honest about what they can expect will help you to gauge whether or not they will fit into the role and will also help the candidate to decide if they are up for the role’s challenges.

If the job will sometimes include duties outside the "normal" job description, let the candidate know that he or she will be expected to help out during these situations. An example might be a small, family owned motel. If you are hiring a "general manager," his or her duties may sometimes including turning rooms or acting as the sales agent with new clients. These are duties that would not be typical in the corporate world, but are more than expected in smaller operations.

Consider if the Candidate Fits into the Business’s Culture

Culture, especially for small businesses, is an important aspect of how the organization operates. Since there are not thousands of employees working for a “small business,” chances are everyone will be asked to work with everyone else at one point or another. “One bad apple spoils the bunch” is a great saying that can be applied to small business culture – one new employee with a negative attitude, lack of efficiency or indifference about their role can have a ripple effect throughout the whole organization. Make sure to consider candidates personalities during the interview as well as their skill sets.

Do you need help with your small or work from home business? Whether you are just starting out, looking for a new opportunity, or just want to add some life into an existing business, Stacy O'Quinn may be able to help. Stacy has already helped dozens of people create a more profitable business and he would love to help you too. For more information about Stacy, please click here.

*Photo Courtesy of 401(k) 2012 via Creative Commons License

Friday, January 16, 2015

Old School Business Thinking No Longer Works on Today’s Consumers

Three Old Time Business Rules that are No Longer Effective

small business tips, home business
It is time to leave Old School
business practices behind
For many decades, the common definition of succeeding in business was being able to afford lavish items from the company’s profits, like expensive homes, fast cars, and shiny boats. Although many people still get into business for this reason of self-satisfaction, there has been a call among business professionals to reach beyond those traditional standards of business success and redefine what that term actually means. Here are three old business rules that should be redefined in the New Year.

Put True Value Over Expense

In decades past, businesses would put products that were cheap to manufacture but not the best quality to help increase profit margins by lowering production costs. While sub-standard products were the norm for old age consumers, new age consumers know better and are more likely to invest their money in a product or service that is quality. Instead of putting out the most products to make the most money, a business’ focus should be on putting out the best product to keep consumers coming back for more.

Allow Employees to Take Part

Older business professionals will tell you that back in the old days an employee’s job was to take orders from their boss and do nothing else. Creativity and inclusion of employees in business decisions was unheard of and those who did speak up were often let go from their jobs. Now, business owners are beginning to understand the importance of listening to their employee’s opinions and ideas since they work in the trenches and with the customers every day. Including employees in the business process is a great way to learn more about your business as well as create a working environment that is pleasant.

Existing Customers Are Just As Important As New Customers

Way back when, business owners believed that the faster a sale was closed, the more quickly it could leave it behind and the next sale made without ever following up with the original customer. In today’s business world, repeat business is a huge part of a company’s yearly revenue, so following up with first time buyers to add value to their purchases or get them to buy again is extremely important. Repeat business and strong consumer relationships are what keep many businesses going in today’s economy.

Be Transparent to Consumers

Older business professionals still believe that important information should be kept secret at all costs. With so many scam artists and bad products in the market these days, it is important to make sure that consumers trust your business and your brand. An important part of building that trust is being transparent and answering the questions they ask with honesty and integrity. If a consumer has more trust in one company over the other, price point will not play a role in from whom they decide to buy.

Old school business practices were, in many aspects, fast and loose and the majority of business owners opened their own companies simply to make money and self-satisfy. With consumers becoming smarter about what they purchase and becoming more strict about whom they purchase from and why, it is important to keep these new age business tips in mind. While some older business practices, like “the customer is always right” still apply, other can be changed or updated to fit this new age business world.

These rules of business apply even if  you have a work from home business. If you are struggling to retain customers or get new ones, let Stacy O'Quinn help you. He has helped dozens of work from home professionals realize their true potential and you could be next! To learn more about Stacy, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Duncan Hull via Creative Commons License