Friday, May 28, 2010

How do you stay true to yourself in business?

Have you ever signed up for a business training program and find yourself mysteriously adjusting your business model and objective to what you see model by the instructors?

If you recognize this experience, be assured it's normal. And fortunately it's not even an unhealthy pattern--it's very human. You also want to be aware that this is part of the process you want to pass through rather than stay there.

You've probably heard that imitation is the highest form of flattery. There's another reality you want to notice: Imitation is part of how you learn. One of the ways you master a new skill is by modeling it--doing it exactly like you've seen demonstrated.

The process starts with enthusiasm, desire and motivation. As a result, you put on the new information like your favorite new outfit. And you wear it and wear it and wear it. You probably did this as a child--or you've watched your children go through that time in their life when that one piece of clothing is essential minute to minute.

What happens eventually?

That items wears out or the person finally grows out of the habit. It's same for learning a new skill or concept. The fastest, easiest way to learn it is modeling exactly what you see. Soon you begin to feel that it doesn't quite fit any more, or it's gotten too worn out, etc.

For a new business owner, the biggest risk is that you spend so long wearing the concept or skill you learn from someone else that it pulls your business and your energy off the center of your intentions. The way to avoid this isn't a big secret. It's just not discussed.

Your Values are the key to completing this process successfully. Just as people review their intentions or affirmations on a regular basis, keeping your values in mind on a daily basis is key. You can quickly compare the details of the new concept or skill you're learning to the essence of you and your business.

When the time comes that it's no longer a match, you can set aside the garment that was a brilliant hand-me-down from someone else and take the best parts with you to integrate in your business, your abilities. Staying true to who you and why you do your work at the same time.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What does bad advice for your start up look like?

You can find more advice than you actually need about starting a business. In fact, you might find it overwhelming: so much you could read, learn, and study, not to mention everything you feel you MUST do to get started on top of all the information.

So how do you know which advice to pay attention to and which to dump? One of the key skills I teach new entrepreneurs is how to make decisions as if you'd already done this a few times. That way decisions can be made based on the skills from real experience, not just all that advice out there.

And when I find someone who "gets" the fact that not all advice is useful, it really excites me. In fact, I'm so excited by what Dr. Goodwin wrote I've asked to interview her for the Online Entrepreneur Bootcamp that starts July 1, 2010.

Dr. Goodwin wrote a great article, "Ten Tips to Ignore When Starting a Business." I highly recommend investing the few minutes it will take to read her article. Get ahead by reading this brief, pithy piece and get her wisdom for yourself. Her ten tips to ignore (as quoted from her article) when you're starting your business are:

1. Career freedom means starting a business.
2. Don't worry, be happy.
3. Visualize success.
4. If you can dream it, you can do it.
5. If other people can be successful, you can too.
6. You will probably fail.
7. If you feel energized about your goal, you will be successful.
8. You can always go back to what you were doing before.
9. You have had a successful career so far and you'll figure out to be successful now.
10. You will be fine; you just need more confidence.

Dr. Goodwin introduces a common challenge in the startup arena: mythology! The number of myths about starting a business and succeeding may be higher than those told in ancient Greek history. In many cases, these myths are embedded in your personal and social consciousness. What you believe about success and business influences your choices, behavior and results.

I find the doctor's willingness to point out some of these myths inspiring and valuable. If you haven't already opened up her concise article, read it now. Just click here. I guarantee you will be glad you did.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue Roth

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A wakeup call on the importance of NOT spending money

Anyone can discover the difference between growing a business and actually making money.

I've met, and even done a class with a met PJ Van Hulle. Her interactions with me have all been above board. I don't have a personal axe to grind. And she's absolutely right:

"After being forced to declare bankruptcy in the real estate crash, PJ Van Hulle, The Prosperity Queen, has learned first hand that MAKING MONEY and KEEPING MONEY are two entirely different skill sets and has become more passionate than ever about providing people with the financial education they didn’t receive in school."

PJ nails this challenge. And if you don't have experience with lots of money coming in to YOUR business and your pocket, it's a whole new game.

At the same time, this is a great opportunity to highlight WHY I am so strong in teaching you to question all that advice that tells you how to SPEND your money. If you're not taking any of it home, if none of it is going into retirement and other protections, it's time to learn something new.

I want to thank PJ for how she's been honest and great with me personally. And for her honesty about the challenge of the difference between making and keeping money. May her path to mastery of these lessons be as gentle as possible.

And for you, please stop, look, and listen. You can insist on learning these lessons the hard way. Or the easy way. I of course with for the easy path--then you can learn other lessons and come back to teach us what you've learned.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From Little Funding to Fortune 500

You've "heard" me talk about companies that started with not much money and still made it. Or those that started during another depression and are still around.

Today, I'd suggest you drop by Business Pundit and check out one of the articles there. You can see that I'm not the only one talking about these things.

When it comes to loans, business finance and many other things. you probably feel it's easier to just not deal with it. Fortunately, that doesn't have to mean you're dead in the water.

Find out who they are and where they are now--I'm sure you'll recognize these businesses.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue

P.S. In case you're wondering...most of these were not started by business geniuses.

Spend Less, Make More: Get Great Graphics for Less

Happy Tuesday!

I've got a great tip for you today--a specific way to spend less on your startup. You see, being a StartUp Genius (TM) means spending less and making money faster.

When it comes to quality graphics, this can be a big challenge. You don't want to just look cheap and cheesy. But spending a couple grand for complete custom design during the first 6-24 months is a waste of money.

So what's a savvy StartUp Genius to do?

Check out great, competitive sources. The market for great images is highly competitive. Some folks participate in "clearing houses" where you can get great deals on images for your marketing materials, your book, or your printed business materials for small prices.

May favorite source so far is Dreamstime.
"> I'm recommending them today for a couple different reasons.

  1. You get more choices than you can imagine!
  2. You pay based on the size of the image you want to use rather than a single flat fee.
  3. Each purchase includes a certain number of impressions and ways you can use it.
  4. The images are very high quality.
  5. You only need $10 to get started
  6. You'll find this service is easy to use.
I don't make a lot of referrals or recommendations. I'm picky about what or who I put my name on. However, in this case, I've used Dreamstime for my own needs. It's been easy, very affordable and I've gotten great results.

That said, if you want affordable, high-quality images that just don't look like everyone else, check them out. I had over 50 different images to choose from AFTER I narrowed down my search.

Enjoy--it's a fun place to wander around.

Wishing you Success & Heart,
Heidi Sue

P. S. Yes, they give me a free design if you decide to be a customer. Since I haven't used up my initial $10 in the past month, you can see my recommendation is simply about getting you to a great resource. I'm not going to retire off any "free image bank!" And it's too good to keep to myself.


Friday, May 7, 2010

The Benefit of Your Values in Business

Have you been out in the blogosphere? Listening to the news?

In many arenas the idea of value continues to be a hot topic. Maybe you wonder how weaving your values into your own business can make a difference. Let's take a quick look at some of the ways aligning your values with your business creates benefit.

  • Energy: Many business owners end up in a situation where a close alignment exists between skills or abilities and the business they chose. However, your abilities are not what create passion and energy for your work. This comes from an entirely different relationship. Feeling burned out? Overwhelmed at work? You may be focusing on abilities and not values in your relationship to your business.
  • Fulfillment: One of my best friends worked for a very wealthy man for years. She watched as his company launched a very successful IPO, his family bought a real mansion (17 bedrooms!), and experienced many more monetary blessings. At the same time, it was clear that the money was never enough. Similiar to energy, fulfillment or satisfaction must be met by deeper needs and desires than simply accumulation.
  • Convictions: If your work is not directly connected to passion and values you may find it much easier to nudge the line in what is or is not okay methods for succeeding in your business. Your values lend power to holding the line for your convictions--when business is simply about business and nothing more, the motivation to maintain that line when it's tough is much lower.

No matter what you choose to do for work, the very first question is does it match your values--what matters to you most. Without that clarity you experience everything from it's hard to stick with something to being willing to just do a half-hearted job.

What can you do today to more closely align your values and your work?

Wishing you success & heart,
Heidi Sue

Monday, May 3, 2010

Do you want to start a new business? Think about your options

Happy Monday, all!

I just started reading a new marketing book this weekend--I love getting new and old stuff into my thinking. This is a program I bought from someone else, so I'll finish the whole thing and use some of the ideas before going too far into the product results.

HOWEVER! The author reminded me of something I've known a long time and is still little talked about. If you're considering a new business, this an important idea to wrap yourself around.

Many people choose a network marketing opportunity as their entre into running their own business. You can get a lot of up-side from this kind of start-up. Unfortunately, you can also end up with a lot of downsides.

Here's the problem: retailers know that the minimum markup (stop, take a deep breath and really get this) for a decent product is 100%. If you're selling anything that you cannot mark up the price AT LEAST 100%, you're working way to hard to make money. I guarantee you that any store you shop in has this as their lowest bench mark.

My friend was a buyer for a large department store. Most of the things she selected for the store could be marked up 300%-400%. Furniture is marked up this much as a minimum. When you shop for groceries mark up is even more important. The percentage of money a store makes on produce is shockingly low (5% is not uncommon) so they HAVE to make it up on other products. Soda anyone? I worked a couple of fast-food gigs in high school--didn't we all? Back then the cost to make a soda for a customer was 5 cents.

My point here is that most network marketing opportunities don't hand you a 100% profit on what you sell. It goes to other people, other things, and other channels. Unless you are one of those people who can build a quality (aka producing) down-line fast you can easily end up in a loosing situation. Of course, lots of people know this lesson very well.

As you look at your product or service, factor in ALL of the expenses to offer it to clients (time to create, design expenses, web hosting, marketing, etc.) and then add a 100% increase to the cost of the product. You may think this is cruel and unnecessary. Even if you add this much increase, you won't end up taking home 100% of that number. Unexpected things happen. This minimum mark up protects you from loosing money, going out of business, or spending money you don't actually have on the business.

Check competitors prices: and figure out how to make your price work for your success, not just as a loss-leader (a giveaway to get a client). You, your family, and your employees will thank you.

Wishing you success & heart,
Heidi Sue