Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Niching Doesn't Work"

Thanks Suzanne! More room on the non-Niching Bus!

You typically hear in many marketing circles that the first thing you need to do is identify your niche. This terminology of a ‘niche’ doesn’t work for me because it feels very much like, “Find a group of people to sell to.” I’ve found that a better way to identify these people is to ask, “Who needs me most?” We all have a gift to share, so ask yourself “Who needs me and my gift the most?”

This concept is part of what I call ‘authentic marketing’ because it’s got to come from your heart. It’s got to be client-based and heart-centered for it to really work.

When you look at who needs you most and you can recognize what your ideal client is, it’s very important for you to be aware that you shouldn’t work with everyone.

I was once at a networking group and someone asked this gentleman, “So who’s an ideal client for you?” and he answered, “Anyone breathing.” That’s so not the case. If you agree with the fact that you have a unique gift and if you try to use that gift to serve everyone, you’ll quickly see that it’s just not possible. It’s simply not possible.

First of all, you can’t do your job well when you try to spread yourself that thin. You just can’t do everything, you can’t please everybody and you don’t have the skill set and the energy to try to spread yourself that thin.

The second part is that if you can focus on what your real gift is, combined with the people that your gift can be served by, that makes you really powerful.

It’s important to understand these prospects, these people who need you most, and to develop yourself as a perceived expert. Being an expert in your field is something that you really want to work towards not because you want to know it all, but because it is a way that you can make your clients feel comfortable and confident with you.

I have asked clients this question before – “If you need brain surgery and you’re given the choice of two doctors, and one doctor does brain surgery only and he’s really great at it, and the other doctor does hip replacements, knee replacements, and some brain surgery, who are you going to pick?” It is so obvious.

When I ask that question, it’s always obvious to the person I’m asking, but we don’t do that with ourselves and within our own businesses. We tend to ignore the fact that if we were looking for anything else for ourselves – from plumbers to brain surgeons to a designer – we would look for the best of the best that is specific to the area that we’re working in.

We need to really relate that to ourselves, strive to be the best of the best and develop the skillsets and connections necessary to be considered an expert in our area. Then focus on, “Who needs me most?” which will be a more useful guide in developing our businesses than stressing over finding our ‘niche.’

When you spend time delving into these areas as they apply to your business, you too will move past any fears about marketing in ways that feel uncomfortable for you, and into authentic marketing that naturally attracts your ideal clients and builds your business.

In success,

Suzanne Evans
Helping Profession Expert

Tel: (917) 385-1385

P.O. Box 1073
Maplewood, NJ

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Affiliate Slime Upgraded to the Zombie Zone

I highly recommend this article. Nathan captures another perspective on launches gone insane.

image of thumb emerging from soil

Want some tips on how to do it differently? Click Here.
Heidi Sue

Monday, April 19, 2010

Feed Your Head--With New Ideas

I frequently experience tech-envy. Like right now I really miss having a SmartPhone. I was an early adopter years ago when they first arrived. These days, as much as I'd love to have one and believe it would be crazy convenient, my existing phone works just fine. And I've gotten annoyed about eWaste, so I'm sticking with the boring, basic one I got a few years ago before ramping up my Biz Chick self again.

Today, however, is my first experience with CHAIR envy! That's an entirely new experience. (Guess I missed the ruckus over these units last year. Oh well.) You see, I know first hand that keeping your perspective and thoughts fresh is one of the most important things you can do to build your success as an Entrepreneur. Even if you are doing a business that isn't specifically unique to you, you want to have a unique perspective and message regarding that familiar business.

One of the most common mistakes I see when meeting and working with entrepreneurs who have had a business a while is they've lost the ability to see and consider through fresh eyes. This is a deadly flaw for any business. While I advocate choosing a business you're passionate about and is connected to your values, the real point of what you do is your customers. Whatever form that takes. And when an Entrepreneur stops attempting to see through the customers eyes or flat out asking them for their opinion, the result is a cancerous business. You may find that it's a slow-growing form or a fast-growing disease, and the end result is the same.

That's why reading, studying, listening to training that moves you is so important. Fortunately, my partner David is also an avid reader. So I would probably have to fight him to sit in this chair. Heck, we probably need two. Take the best of sitting to read AND storing your books, magazines, and other items in a handy way...and you've got down right brilliance.

Whether you get one of these chairs--please invite me to see it in person in you do--or simply visit the public library, make a plan today for time and focus for feeding your head, your reality with new ideas.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue
Heidi Sue

Friday, April 16, 2010

What Does Success in Reverse Look Like?

Have you paid much attention to some of the colorful details of how Richard Branson made his way to success? While I don’t endorse specifically breaking the law, Mr. Branson clearly understands the value of doing things in the unexpected, unendorsed way.

Early on he signed music groups that were controversial and others were unwilling to take risk on. From odd music (have you checked out Baa, Baa, Black Sheep) to obscure musical styles, Branson stepped into places that others were not willing to explore. In fact, professional music probably would’ve told him NOT to take these risks and go to these places to succeed.

And you can see how well it has worked for Branson and Virgin brand, right?

So what places, people, and directions that you are seriously interested in that people consistently tell you won’t work, is the wrong direction, or a bad idea?

Here are a couple of quick tips to figure out if this is true, or not…

· Search the Internet for competitors: if you find none or a lot, those who think it’s a bad idea just might be right. If you find only a few, you could very well be on to something.

· Imagine who might want to buy this “bad idea”—and then go talk to at least 30 people who have the need , problem or pain that this bad idea could solve. Find out if the customers you imagine are actually out there any where.

· Answer this question: “What is the gap, lack or need that will never be filled if I don’t go after my ‘bad idea’?” Then hit the Internet again and see what else is out there and how much different is your idea? When your idea is very different from what you can find, the success potential is huge AND it’s going to be a lot of work to get there. If your idea is some easier, you’re looking at less work to get it in the market and more work to sell enough versions to make a good amount of money.

Once you done all—yes all!—of this investigations you’ll have a baseline sense of where you’re at and if you want to pursue this specific idea. Or put your creativity back on and come up with more ideas.

Here’s to the rule breakers! Tradition has value and so does operating outside the box.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Go in Reverse to Succeed--Start a Business During the Recession

Starting your business in a recession may seem counter-intuitive. In some ways you’d be right. In others, however, you’d be completely wrong.

One of the things I enjoy doing is seeing when different companies were started as reported on the Wikipedia listings. A quick scan of the years from the Great Depression will show you how many turned into Big Dogs that we all know. I realize your dream may not be founding the next megalithic international conglomeration, and I can relate. That’s not my thing either. What this does highlight, however is that even the worst of times can be a good time to start your business.

One of the reasons this is true is most of your competition is pulling in, doing less, getting smaller. When you find creative, inexpensive ways to promote your business, you can actually acquire customers for less money that during a growth cycle. Statically, the clients who come to you during a down market are very loyal.

In fact, the Challenger, Gray & Christmas report indicated that over 8% of people who were looking for jobs during the 2nd quarter of 2009 employed themselves: they started a business. Owning your own business has the potential to be like beginning to the famous story: it can be the best of time, it can be the worst of times. And many people, myself included for over 20 years, prefer to make our own version work that rely on others to maintain employment status.

So why do you hear so much about how many businesses fail and how hard it is to start you own business?

This question gets right to the heart of the matter for me. Typical business experts and advisers are steeped in the perspective of the wisdom of Large Business. From structure and organization to priorities and timelines, most of the advice you can get is driven from the definition that being like and getting to Fortune 500 is success.

Imagine if Warren Buffet had simply followed the standard advice about investing and managing money? He has completely revolutionized this reality for those willing to listen.

One of your challenges as a Bootstrap Entrepreneur in this market is NOT thinking and doing like the established methods. Even Einstein told us that the thinking that creates a problem isn’t going to solve it. One of the easiest ways to make this work for you is to go in the opposite direction from all the advice. Most people are going that direction...consider going in reverse.

If you’re considering starting your own business, or you know it’s something you really want to do but aren’t sure how to proceed, take a survey of the standard advice out there. And there’s a ton of it you can get for free!

Once you’ve gotten grounded in the typical stuff, you can be looking for ways that match your heart and dream that allow you to do it in a different way.

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Values: The Trust Antidote

This week I've shared ideas on how to change the selling process. I've suggested things like: "Stop doing it", "Don't close" and other things most people are tired of experiencing as part of the process to get what we want or need.

I realized that all of this continues to tie into the idea of value. What does it really mean to each person?

I ran into this head-on this week. Couple weeks ago I had my brakes repaired. As sometimes happens with an older car (7 years old) fixing one thing reveals another problem. While I wasn't thrilled to learn that my Baja needed more work despite being pretty low mileage, they gave me a quote and I decided to bring the car back after a few days so I could coordinate a carpool solution.

My car went to PepBoys on Sunday night. Monday morning I discovered I had a call authorizing the work. This didn't make sense to me since we'd already had this discussion.

Well, I had just started a trust roller-coaster. They came back and told me the price about almost $250 more than originally quoted. When I balked at the increase, the oddest things came up for the difference. And one thing in particular turned out to be completely unacceptable.

I COULD save $60 off the new, higher quote if I didn't want to pay extra for the warranty. Okay, what did that mean? I had to BUY peace of mind for the parts and workmanship for 12 months. I only got 90 days for free.

Excuse me? You're going to have my car for a day, take about $700 of my money, maybe more, AND after 90 days I'm SOL?

Well, you can probably guess what I said. I told them to put the wheel back on and I'd find someone else who would at least stand behind their work for a year.

This is a problem that is true for our culture right now at every level. Even at the most affluent levels of society, trust is pretty much shot. Time Magazine reports on the study that being wealthy and elite doesn't improve trust (click to read the article).

That's just one of the reasons it's time to stop selling. Stop traditional marketing behavior and a bundle of other things. The most important thing you can do is to do business from your values, your heart and your soul. Demonstrate that you are someone people can trust.

Until trust is part of the equation and potential clients agree they have a need that includes willingness to act, there's nothing to be done.

Value and Trust--the ultimate success combination and the Antidote for market exhaustion.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another Sales Secret: Don't Talk Price!

One of the most common mistakes you can make when having a conversation with a potential client, or even an existing customer (remember…not more sales, no more closing!) is to talk price. I see people do this all the time. This is one of the easiest rabbit trails someone can take you down where you are likely to get lost.

Regardless of the temperature of the economy, most people bring up the question of price way too early in the conversation. If your potential client brings it up, be sure this is a pre-signal that they want to end the conversation. You’re being prepped for a good excuse and brush off. When you bring up price before you’re clear about customer need and desire for a solution, you’re running your own pattern (one of a couple) that will make sure the conversation doesn’t succeed.

Please understand, in today’s world for many people right now money really is an issue. When you’re looking for work after months, can’t afford to fix your car so you can get to work, or choosing between food and insulin…money is a real concern and not just an excuse. And in my experience this past year, people who truly want help and find themselves in this problem are usually upfront about their struggles in 1:1 conversations. So when it comes up for other reasons, note that reality and choose to respond in a different way.

What is that different way? Change directions. Don’t engage in this conversation unless both of you are clear about what this person needs, you have something that’s a match and that they this potential customer has a meaningful level of commitment ot make a change. Without these factors, price really doesn’t matter. So change directions from price and ask a question about the previous factors.

“What else do you need to know?”

“How would you describe success?”

Of course, you can also make up your own questions that relate to your service or product. Unless a client or potential client is clear about a need and motivation, there’s no point talking about price.

So let it go. Most of the time when price comes up, it’s out of sync with a positive conversation that builds relationship and success. Spend more time on other topics. The time and way to ever talk about price is when both of you are crystal-clear that moving forward is the best answer. Until that moment, the price conversation is pre-mature. So don't talk price--not until after all the other questions are answered.

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue Roth

Monday, April 12, 2010

Secret #2 No more closing--succeed by opening!

Do you hear that phrase, “closing the sale” and cringe? Me, too. Personally, I feel like I’m cat with my tail in the door and it’s slamming closed before I can twitch past the door jamb.

This is another area where tradition and let’s face it, self-serving instructors, have worn everyone one out. Just like the long-standing “divide and conquer” tactics employed by many businesses, the ideas behind closing simply don’t fit any more.

How many times do you think you’ll got more business from someone if you “close” them?

Do you like how it feels to be closed or to close on a client?

In reality, the best “sales people”—and I use that term loosely because they aren’t actually selling—are all about keeping things open and flowing. The difference between closing and opening comes from a specific change. (First, get on board with the fact that you’re not selling any more!)

Closing implies that once the deal is done, it’s over. Sign on the dotted line so the Lounge Lizard (who can be male or female) gets a commission. And badda boo badda bing, it’s over. You’re screwed. (Well, how it seems to me anyhow.)

You want to know the truth? Any business or professional that wants to stay open long-term knows that this is actually just the beginning. Getting the contract, the first payment, whatever it is only means someone has trusted you enough to get started with you. It does NOT mean you’ve got a happy customer.

Even the big dogs out there struggle to get this one right. It’s one of the easiest places for you to shine as your small, responsive entrepreneurial self. The initial sale is truly just the opening. It’s buying the ticket to the show. The audience is not yet satisfied. So forget about closing. First of all it’s not actually true: nothing is closing. Second, if you want to make fewer new client-contacts (they take the most energy and cost you the most money) let that first exchange of money be the opening overture to a long, beautiful relationship with a client. Commit to accomplishing Long Term success!

What do you think? Are you ready to stop closing, or even feeling that you need to close a sale? Give up the pressure. What really matters is being open to continue the conversation. That is the most important thing for you as a business person.

There you go…a selling secret that sounds crazy--make your life better and increase the likelihood of success.

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

You’re SMART if you hate Selling!

If you have a business of your own, I bet you face the Selling-Gremlin on a regular basis. Do you make yourself pick up the phone? (I know an insurance agent who gained a ton of weight with an oreo cookie award for each person he reached by phone). Maybe you force yourself to get accost people in public. Perhaps you drag yourself to one more useless networking event.

Recognize any of these symptoms? Then you have definitely met the Selling-Gremlin.

I know this challenge personally. In fact, it almost closed my very first business--10 times later I've learned a few things. This is a struggle many professionals face.

You see, you've got great reasons to hate selling. In fact, I am completely convinced that you’re actually SMARTER than the average bear if you really hate selling. You probably have had experiences that led you to this position.

· A pushy car salesperson handled you so badly that you either just walked out of the dealership (even though you really needed a car) or you lost your cool and pushed back. Hard.

· Some marketer called during a rare family meal. And talked and talked and talked—you didn’t even get a chance to say “No!” before a few minutes had passed. So again, you either just hung up feeling annoyed and frustrated or gave the caller a piece of your mind.

· You walk into a department store on a search-and-destroy mission. You needed one specific item: your goal was to get the time and get back to the rest of your life. What happens is down right crazy: you have to struggle through a gauntlet of desperate young sales people who want to squirt you with scents that sound weird and smell worse. It’s like getting through a log jam.

I've personally had all of these experiences and hated all of them. See, here’s the deal. The standard sales practices are all built on older, out-of-date behavior models. You’re tired of them, along with everyone else, because they are designed to work a sale through our survival instincts. The approaches are completed designed to tap our most basic “safe group” behaviors. And the chemistry that comes with this experience in both body and brain are not pleasant experiences.

Fortunately, in the past couple years new studies have come out that support other ways to handle the sales process. In fact, much of what we’ve learned is about NOT selling. Your success, instead, is more about being human, being who you really are.

What you hate is how it feels to be part of that old, outdated sales model. So if that’s what you know about selling, you’re being completely smart to not only hate it but to stop doing it. Your best bet when you present your services or product is be an honest, caring human being.

That’s a relief huh? More tomorrow on the NEW Secrets to Selling!

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Is the Biz Guru Advice Right for You?

Great article on doing a sanity check for all that advice out there. Definitely worth the time.

Enjoy! Since this is the first weekend in ages when there's NOTHING official on my schedule, I'm logging off and kicking back.

Oh yeah!

Have a great weekend,
Heidi Sue

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Entrepreneurs, Secret #4---Finally!

Good afternoon, all.

While it's fun to discover what I thought was a blog post is actually an entire book, or at least a large chapter in a book, it's an interesting experience to write and write and write...and know there's more to put down to actually complete the idea. And then create an edit that's useful for others while not 100 pages long!

Here's the first slice of the Kinds of People you need to success as a New Entrepreneur and WHEN You need them!

Secret #4 It’s not just who you know, it’s how and when you tap that connection

Another business truism is “It’s now what you know, it’s who you know.” I agree with that statement to an extent. I suggest you add that timing matters as well. When you tap your connection resources is just as important as having connections!

You need a few different kinds of people around you and your business if you want to succeed. To boost your success potential, be specific about timing your conversations with the various types of people who support an Entrepreneur in different ways.

What matters most is carefully choosing when you tap your personal resources of people and connections. Connecting too soon or too late for different kinds of people you already know is potentially a large factor in succeeding—or failing--as a New Entrepreneur. These are the types and times to reach out:

The Seer: The Seer is another person who can see your vision. He or She gets excited with you, for you and about your dream. You do and will continue to need this kind of support on the journey.

When you need this person: Regular check-ins and support from this person weekly or a few times a month with one or 1x a month with a couple of these people is essential support

The Aggregator: The Aggregator is someone is can actually be a little confusing to have around. This is one of those people who constantly shifts the different aspects or qualities of your venture are gathered up by an Aggregator. You may feel confused by all this person takes in at first. And if you're looking for a good lawyer, consultant or coach, this is who you want. (And yes, that's definitely the kind of person I am.)

When you need this person: At the beginning, regular, consistent contact is key. If you ever feel it would be helpful to have someone keep you on track and maintain your progress, an Aggregator is really helpful to get you doing THE key things not just all the busy stuff!

The Connector: This kind of person has more contacts than you can imagine and when they hear about your business what comes to mind for them first is someone they want you to meet. This person loves to provide introductions and they are priceless.

When you need this person: Connect with this person towards the end of your development/organization phase. Have a clear idea of what you want to do even if you don't know how before approaching the Connectors in your life.

The Analytic: This person gets into the details and frequently it feels like your vision and motivation is being torn apart. As a result, you are probably tempted to avoid them. Don't! This perspective is priceless. He or she finds all the gaps between steps or logic and points them out to you.

When you need this person: Any Analytic that you have in your life is your best support when you need to be sure that business presentation needs to be flawless, clear and persuasive to a point. If you want to make fewer mistakes and spend less money along the way, invest in honoring this person at these key times in your evolution as an entrepreneur.

The Client: The client is a person you know or meet who clearly needs what you offer. If you meet new people who are potential clients, practice listening more and speaking less. Perhaps you have an existing friend who is also a match for your work, Stop there. Let that person come to you in their own time. This is one of the hardest "sells" in the biz, so don't make it harder.

When you need this person: Engage with a potential client once you can describe what you do in less than 3 sentences and who you work with in 2 lines or less. Since the key is listening more, you're not ready for these conversations as a New Entrepreneur until you've started to get clear and concise. So, don't wait--this will change a lot over the first couple of business cycles. Start now and be ready sooner.

The Influencer: The Influence in many ways is a blended person or function. This person may also be strong in any of the previous traits. The Influencer connects you with people, but he or she does it in a completely different way than a Connector. An Influencer brings others along. Perhaps without even being a client.

When you need this person: You rarely have a bad time to spend time with any Influencer you know. For this relationship to work for everyone you need enough organization and confidence to be professional and effective. You do not need to be perfect. You need to have the tools to be ready to accept clients.

There you have it! These are the five kinds of people you need to support you as an Entrepreneur. Of course, as the book grows, I'll record the questions, conversations and tools I've used for a couple decades with these folks to grow my own businesses.

Have a super weekend!

Heidi Sue

© Copyright 2009-2010 Heidi Sue Roth. All Rights Reserved.

Hear about it from someone who's doing it!

Eric blogged an update about Stage of Life today. Drop by and check it out.

I had the chance to interview Eric a few months ago and am excited to hear the news. Along with his transparency in revealing how and why they've done things the way they wanted to.

Power to the 'Treps!

Heidi Sue

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Make a Smart Choice for Your First Business

Your best bet for your first business will be easier and more successful if you choose something with the following specific qualities. By incorporating these factors you’re your first business, you increase your profit potential while reducing your risk. Those qualities are.

Time-Based Success. This simply means a business that depends more on your expertise and time than on investing in how much stock in storage somewhere. Use your expertise as leverage to keep the cost of being in business lower. The cheapest business I ever started cost me $100. I already owned most of what I needed and the real invest was my time to make it work. In today’s market, time is your most valuable and important commodity.

Focus on Service. Regardless the business you choose, the ability of you and whatever size organization you create to provide personal, top-notch service to people is a make-or-break reality. When service is what you sell, this becomes an even more powerful component.

Expertise is the Valuable Product. The easiest, fastest way to turn an idea into something profitable is to re-frame your existing expertise. While this can be a challenge as we discussed during the first secret, it’s also the kind of business that has your lowest risk.

Profit from Skills instead of Product. This basic concept is to take your expertise and turn it into a system or educational package that teaches others how to master the things you’re the best at.

Overall, you want to choose and design your business for success from the beginning. Starting a business that involves product or stock that you need to store and sell increases your success challenges. Even if you work with a company that has a formula for working this kind of business (say a franchise or network marketing organization) success through product has the potential to be burden and means it takes longer and more money to succeed.

Your first choice in business success is a chance to get your “sea legs" and I recommend an easy sail. Being in business on your own is challenging; you can make the experience easier. You may decide that this isn't that path for you--passion and vision need to come first. And I still recommend doing the lower-risk/higher-return part first!

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

© Copyright 2009-2010 Heidi Sue Roth. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

OOOPS! 50+ New 'Trep Series Update

I've been editing Secret #4 for tomorrow and discovered there's an entire book hidden in this secret. So here's a heads up. Tomorrow you're actually getting secret #5 and I'm saving #4 for Friday. I need more time with that content to get you the best stuff for the blog and outline the rest for an eBook.

See you tomorrow!
Heidi Sue

Third Age 'Trep Tips: Secret #3

Secret #3 Spend Your Time and Save Your Money!

Have you heard the saying that that #1 reason businesses fail is not enough money? I’m here to challenge that belief. In fact, you already got a hint of that in Secret #2; in 20 years as an entrepreneur the conventional wisdom about being in business rarely worked.

I’ve watched so many business owners throw money at situations believing this old saw--if they just had more money or spent more money, success could have been obtained.

And I’ve seen the opposite: an entire new software product created and successfully launched without direct, measurable funding.

How is it both of these are possible? The reality is that success has less to do with how much money you have to spend than how you spend it. The first three stages of your business have a common task you must make a high priority: keeping money! This is completely opposite most common advice and business logic out there. Remember that tech boom and bubble? Well the “burst” of the bubble had a lot to do with spending money and not protecting any of it. Most of the companies that burst spent money and did not make any. Sadly, lots of tech ventures still follow this model.

Give yourself the mindset of an investor and you’re more likely to succeed. Treat the money you put into your business as if you are your own Angel Investor.

What do I mean by that statement? Investors do not pump money into your business because they believe in the product or the people. (Just check out how often the founders are pushed out by investors early on so you can get clear on VCs [Venture Capitalists] are NOT in it out of the goodness of their hearts.) While I do NOT recommend putting yourself into a business situation you don’t believe in heart and soul, when it comes to money and success, you also need the ability to step back and be brutally honest.

Most entrepreneurs want more of something and that’s why the go into business. More income, more freedom, more control over their own ideas or life…If you spend your money first you’ll always end up with less.

Spend your energy, your time and your passion first. Back all of that up with your investment capital. Be creative first. Out think the competition first. Get outside your comfort zone first—a long way out! Combine these practices with protecting your cash and capital and you create long-term potential for success and income.

When’s the last time you chose a product or service because of the fancy offices, impeccable art display or expensive ad campaign? There is no need for you to spend like big business to get your own business off the ground.

Other people will tell you this perspective isn’t true. Many business coaches and even experts will insist that lack of money is the primary reason businesses fail. I suggest you go ask people who are or have been in business a while how many times and on how many different things they’ve spent money without any evidence of increased profit or income. You don’t have to believe me. But don’t just assume anyone else is giving it to you straight either. Most business advisors have a vested interest in your slow, expensive progress.

My goal is to teach you to succeed faster and for less money just like I do in my own businesses.

Coming next: Secret #4 It’s not just who you know, it’s how and when you tap that connection

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

© Copyright 2009-2010 Heidi Sue Roth. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Over 50 New Entrepreneur Success Secret #2

Secret #2 Thinking Like a Corporation Doesn't Turn Your Business into Corporate Success

Study and observation bring out two distinct ways of thinking about business that can be beneficial for a corporation with a number of employees and a downfall for your start-up. Today, I’m going to share with you those two arenas and how you can avoid making these mistakes in your business.

I want to start with perhaps the most confusing and most time-consuming thought patterns that is useful at an intermediate level of business while really jamming things up early on. And the topic is accounting practices.

Start by understanding that modern business accounting practices serve a variety of purposes. These practices support acquiring hard-good business assets such as machines, vehicles, and buildings with as little tax implication as possible. In addition, these number-crunching techniques are designed to make it easier to obtain these items while off-setting the money spent on the purchase.

Likewise, modern business account practices are designed to off set growth and profit in ways to reduce tax liability. Are these things useful? Of course they are—when you have a business that is actually making you a decent amount of money AND you want to get more out of your business for less tax and more outcome.

So, what can you do? Develop the habit of watching and managing the cash flow of your fledgling business. With the advent of online banking this is easy and near-instantaneous. And that’s a very good thing! Thanks for formal accounting practices, this can be a tricky thing for someone without the training to find in all those numbers. Since this is perhaps the single most important real-money number you need, a checkbook ledger attitude gives you a great foundation to succeed.

You see, what really matters in your business is how much money you get to take home. How much money comes in matter, but if you never get to pay yourself anything, you do not have a business. Some of my clients have heard this definition before.

Until your business is paying you, what you really have is a very successful hobby. A hobby that pays for itself is a brilliant idea. A business actually not only pays the bills for it’s own existence, it also pays you for the time and effort you put into it. A start-up operation does need some time to reach this level; profit rarely happens right away. In my programs I teach you how to reach the level of being profitable faster and with a lower investment. To even have an idea of how that works, you need to watch and understand how cash flows in and out of your business.

Your ability to re-frame your thinking in another arena also contributes to your success. When it comes to branding and advertising, your ability to NOT think corporate directly influences your success at this stage.

Image and branding are a huge investment for a corporation. If that includes a product instead of a service, that investment and need for control is of mammoth proportions. And you’re going to hear a lot of business advice about designing a logo, developing your brand, and unifying your message. Understand I’m not against these business practices—at the right time! Most of the start-ups I’ve worked with and people I’ve coached are not ready for these investments during the first 6-18 months. Some people need even longer to prepare for this type of thing.

What you need the most at the very beginning are paying clients! You need to be out there talking to potential clients, meeting them, hanging out where they hang out, and more. At this stage of the game, your brand, your message starts and ends with you. You don’t need a fancy logo or website at this point. You need face-time with the appropriate people. Since you are the best ambassador for your business, clean, basic, professional looking materials are far more important than anything you can have custom designed.

Why is that?

I’ve watched literally 100s of businesses and professionals spend a one or two thousand dollars in their first year of business only to spend even more 12-24 months later on re-designs and upgrades. At the very beginning they could only make educated guesses about who their best clients would be and what kind of materials those people would like. Its painful to spend early and then need to spend again during the first few years of business to better represent your business to your best clients.

So just don’t do it. Seriously, don’t. Stop now. Get that new business making some money and have some consistent clients before diving into that arena. You’ve got access to lots of affordable, temporary shortcuts ( is just one).

If you can adjust your success-concepts when it comes to money and advertising from corporate reality to start-up mentality, you’ll increase your chance of success. The opportunity to make money faster with less investment is also a huge plus.

Coming next: Secret #3 Save your money and spend your time at the beginning.

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

© Copyright 2009-2010 Heidi Sue Roth. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Success Secrets for New, Mature Entrepreneurs

Are you at least 50 years old and starting, or even re-starting, your business venture? This week I’m going to share with you some secrets for getting your successful business off the ground. Your experienced success as an employee, manager, or executive mean an aware of the pitfalls and benefits of your history is essential to your own successful business venture. This is the first in a series to support and inform your success.

Secret #1 Previous, Experienced success is Both Your Strongest and Weakest Quality

Have you ever considered offering a job to someone who used to for your competitor? If you did, it’s likely you had questions. “Can this person learn our way of doing things?” “What kind of conflicts will come up?” “Will they fit into our corporate culture?”

You are basically in the same situation when you know success in an organization owned or run by someone else. Transitioning to your own business venture means you have both demonstrated successful traits and have no guarantee that you what you know will translate successfully. Just like the employee scenario, you are entering an arena where the success you have already experienced is both your best and worst trait.

Success you’ve already experienced is a powerful indicator that you are talented, capable, and knowledgeable. The challenge you face entering the Entrepreneur Arena is the change from success inside an organization to success being the organization.

What can you do to improve your ability to transition and succeed? Fortunately you’ve got a number of options you can choose—so using the one that best matches your temperament and style is possible.

Michael Gerber, who created the E-Myth series (highly recommended!) suggests dividing the tasks that need to be done into the common categories that actually become departments in a large organization. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur who gets to do everything, in a sense you create multiple hats and determine the group of tasks assigned to each hat. Then you shift between the different business functions in blocks of time or days. Eventually, you off-load some of these jobs to a Virtual Assistant (my recommendation) or an employee.

Another way to handle this is using a laser-style focus on the immense to-do list that you end up with to start and run your business. At any moment, as, yourself “What is the #1 thing with the most impact right know I can do to move my business forward?” Most new entrepreneurs spend far too much time doing “stuff” and not attending to the key actions each day that will ensure the business succeeds.

Here’s an example, perfect for our early April. This time of year an entrepreneur may have this kind of daily task list:

  • · Meet with the web designer
  • · Get missing information for the tax preparer
  • · Write copy for an advertisement
  • · Follow-up with clients from last week’s conversations

If this was my list (and my Monday, April 05, 2010 looks a lot like that list) here is how I would prioritize these items. First would come follow-up with clients from last week. Here’s why: Even if I do file my taxes on time, if I don’t have new customers and new revenue coming it really doesn’t matter. I won’t be in business next year or even perhaps next month. So at the first moment of my day, connecting with customers and potential clients is the top priority to move forward in my business.

My second priority is the tax information: now that I’ve contacted as many clients as needed, this becomes the essential action. In this case, failing to file my taxes in a proper and timely manner can shut down my business. Delaying the ad copy and the web site do not immediately threaten my business (assuming your primary source of income is not internet sales—then I’m sure you can figure out how this will all change). And so the internal conversation on what to do next continues.

This is a different internal dialogue from the one that created your success inside an organization. Unless you were specifically in direct, outside sales, it’s likely that administrative items had a higher priority than those than specifically creating revenue for the organization. The organization relies on the paperwork and numbers to see how or if revenue is moving forward supported by the small divisions of actions and tasks within the company. (Or at least that’s the plan!) You want to succeed NOW and stay in business—so your number one focus must be on doing those actions first that generate income for your business and you.

You also want to remember at the beginning that most people find the things they like doing the most create long-term income cycles for the new business venture. This is an important thing to do. However, neglecting those less-enjoyable activities that pay-off in the shorter term guarantees you either go out of business OR you end up spending your hard-earned cash to stay in business. Either way, you increase the likelihood of failure. Even the best scenario from this approach means your business makes less.

Remember as you move forward, your new business is not just a small version of the larger organizations you’ve worked in. Learning to ask new questions and look at your work through different eyes is the key to success.

Coming next: Secret #2 Thinking like a Corporation won’t get Your Business to Corporate Success

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

© Copyright 2009-2010 Heidi Sue Roth. All Rights Reserved.