Welcome to the BOSS Blog!
Ahhhhh! The joys of self-employment. No demanding bosses, office politics, or snooze-inducing meetings. You can dress how you want, go to the gym midday, and do business on YOUR terms. The flip side—you’re working16-hour days, trying to please everyone (especially clients), continuously running the hamster wheel, and ingesting the bad food that fuels it all. After all, you’re the President, the owner, the visionary and the worker at your company. You haven’t got time to slow down, right? Wrong. While research shows that self-employment has risen by 68% since 2008 (that’s a good thing!), the consequences for some entrepreneurs aren’t good–exhaustion, migraines, heart disease, depression, or worse. So if stress has become a 24/7 routine for you, it’s time to implement some of these strategies, courtesy of Entrepreneur magazine:
Step #1: Create a schedule. Enforce structure and stick to it.
Step #2: Implement daily rituals. Create signals for when it’s time to work (ie. end breakfast at 9am or eat lunch at the same time every day).
Step #3: Stay in the zone. Keep distractions at bay by separating home and work time.
Step #4: Define your workspace. Set yourself up in an office area that says “work.”
According to Fawn Fitter from Entrepreneur magazine, “starting a business is a little like having a baby: at the beginning, your life revolves around figuring out how to help it survive. Everything else–family, friends, health, hobbies, even sleep–takes second place. For first-time entrepreneurs with no previous practice in raising a business to maturity, the experience can be even more overwhelming.” She says, even if you are passionate about the company, don’t be afraid to step away for a break. You’ll be more productive, healthy, and proactive when you return.
This Holiday season, let go of business matters that rob you of joyous moments with family, friends, or relaxing time by yourself. Don’t be tied to your to-do list or demanding clients. Reclaim your boundaries and balance…..And take time to celebrate!
Was your company on fire last year? Did you make record-breaking sales and take on new clients who reallyunderstood your product or service? Or did business fizzle out, slow down, or go into hibernation? Were you tired, blank, or financially concerned?
Some good news came last week from a survey (released by the Bank of Canada), of senior loan officers at the chartered banks. According to Diane Buckner, Small Business reporter for CBC News online, previous tight lending practices of the recession have loosened up. It’s now cheaper and easier for small companies to get financed. That’s one option. Another is to ramp things up and set aside some time (even an hour!) for 2011strategic planning.
Whether you warm up those leads that have gone cold, leverage your current client projects for new ones, or solicit new business, it’s time to kick-start the company! 2011could be YOUR year to break loose from the doldrums of being hit with the entrepreneurial “I NEED TO MAKE MORE MONEY!” virus!
Tips for getting YOUR business in shape for 2011:
- Get focussed. Review, analyze, and improve your product or service before you sell it. Make your company message clear and valuable for potential clients.
- Organize your leads: Make a list of your BOSS Connections, contacts from your social media networks (LinkedIn or Facebook), friends, and family who may need your service or product. Contact people you know first because the relationship is already there and there’s a good chance the trust is too.
- Budget your time. Schedule phone, Skype or in-person meetings no more than once or twice a week. Getting conversations started prepares you to fill up your client pipeline. Remember, all clients are ready to do business at different times.
- Be a marketer. Polish up and freshen up your marketing materials. Be a pumped up ambassador for your company. Potential clients latch onto business leaders who are passionate about what they do and usually do a great job.
Business always goes in cycles. But with some thought, planning, and proactive legwork, you’ll heat things up and once again celebrate the warmth of being your own boss.
Starting a business is like having a new relationship. There’s passion for your work. There’s lust for signing on new clients. And there are rewards from meeting client needs. You’re content and thriving. Ahhh….the honeymoon phase!
But soon the challenges set in. Your resources are limited. You’re working day and night. Your last client is about to wrap up and there isn’t another one on the horizon. The honeymoon is over. So do you throw in the towel or stay the course? After all, they say it takes 3 to 5 years to build a business. Assuming your heart, soul, and commitment is right into the relationship with your business, here are some tips for bonding and keeping the focus on your goals:
- Confront challenges immediately: Make a list of them. Prevent the same challenges from reoccurring by seeking solutions now when your chances of overcoming issues are better. You’ll have a renewed sense of control, drive to achieve, and there are lessons learned.
- Be persistent (even after failure): Thomas Edison “failed” to invent a practical light bulb thousands of times. But he knew 9,000 ways an electric light bulb would not work. His persistence paid off and he became a success by creating a timeless, universal product. Failure is not a reason to give up.
- Learn and review: Keep a log or mental note of what did and didn’t work with your business strategy. According to morebusiness.com “managing challenges means reviewing steps and making changes that meet the goals you have set.”
- Ask for help: Don’t be too proud to ask for help when managing challenges. Use a mentor or hire a consultant for their wisdom, experience and best resources to overcome the issues you’re facing.
- Review your achievements: Take stock of what you did best, right, and won recognition for. Did you form a valuable partnership, over deliver for a client, or get a bigger office?
By implementing these tips you can spice up the relationship with your business, loved ones, and clients and continue to grow. “Business is built on genuine and real relationships,” says BOSS Business Connector, Ryan Coelho. “Don’t treat someone as a business but as a relationship.” Happy Valentine’s Day!
They’re young. They’re professional. And they’re informed. About the right things that contribute to the success of your business. For BOSS Connectors Jonathan Tufts and Ryan Coelho, their 20-something chutzpah is enough to inspire new and seasoned business owners in a community that strives to do one thing—help each other grow. Aside from their uber energy and robust personalities, these guys have a fiery passion for their work. It’s sometimes shocking, often admirable, and at other times just plain WOW.
Bonded in business. United in BOSS vision. And connected in thought, Jonathan and Ryan bring individual talents and skills to the table, making BOSS a successful and collaborative effort. So who are these youthful guys?
A graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business, Jonathan is a marketing guru, who has worked at reputable companies in Toronto. His main function at BOSS is business development and partnership marketing. Outside of work, Jonathan frequents the gym and loves a good party…and is always tied to his BOSSberry! Did you know Jonathan is a die-hard Gretzky fan who watches re-runs of winning goals during his down time? His business philosophy: “Don’t over-think things. Simple is optimal.”
Ryan is a Ryerson aerospace engineering graduate who embarked on an early career change to a meaningful job that makes a difference in people’s lives. Aside from connecting BOSS members, Ryan is the resident online tech expert and social media guru. Outside of work, he is an entertainer—comedian, singer, on-air performer, and dancer. Did you know Ryan spent a year working for Engineers Without Borders Canada in Ghana teaching villagers to start and grow small thriving businesses? His business philosophy: “Business is built on relationships that are genuine.”
Together, their drive, vibrant personalities, academic backgrounds, life experiences, and natural business acumen makes them effective leaders primed for today’s marketplace.
Much like Siskel and Ebert, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and other legendary working pairs who essentially defined the meaning of the Chinese symbol Yin-Yang, Jonathan and Ryan are no different. They’re a like-minded team that represents the interaction of two energies (as in the symbol) that cause everything to happen. Seriously. You have more than an extended sales team with Ryan and Jonathan, you have dedication, commitment, loyalty, drive, and a whole lot of respect….sometimes hard to find anywhere else….especially in the business world!
Happy Chinese New Year!
Written by a BOSS Partner Genevieve D’Souza
“I’m a multi-tasker!”
That was once the coolest and most valuable line job-seekers included in their cover letters when applying for jobs. But that’s so 1990s!
Today, with a significant increase in the number of self-employed professionals, multi-tasking has taken on a whole new dimension. And in most cases, it’s not really something to brag about. According to many business leaders and career experts, multi-tasking reduces productivity rather than enhances it.
Bruce Weinstein from Bloomberg Businessweek says multi-tasking today is so complex that many professionals lose their focus on what’s really important to their business. Whether that’s making money, acquiring more clients, and selling more products or services, Weinstein says “technological advances that once seemed so liberating [have] become oppressive.”
He suggests that it’s time to stop the multi-tasking madness: put down the iPod or Blackberry and pay attention to the task at hand. Today’s computers make it so easy to seamlessly switch from one program, window and tab to the other, making it possible to answer emails, research, invoice and build spreadsheets without pausing for a coffee break. But the more you do, the tougher it is to focus on one activity.
BOSS Director, John Sanchez implements a system he calls Mission Control to maintain his focus and manage everything. Here are his steps for prioritizing tasks:
Step #1: Download information from your brain.
Step #2: Compile a TO DO list and prioritize everything.
Step #3: Schedule each task into your calendar, delegate, and follow-up with other tasks.
Step #4: Get rid of tasks you are not going to do and communicate that. He says “it’s okay to say no when it’s warranted.”
Knowing HOW to do multiple things is fine, but it’s even better to focus on what you do best and filter out the rest.
You’re passionate and revved up about having your own business. The clients are lined up, your workload is maxed out, and now you’re at a crucial point. You want to expand the business. Only one problem. Your resources are maxed out too.
Until now, you’ve likely been enjoying the adrenaline rush of being the decision-maker, the order-taker, the service provider, the marketer, and the money maker. But to survive and stay competitive, you have to grow the business. And that means more time and more money you’ll need to spend to stay on top in the marketplace. So what do you do?
According to Business Weekly magazine, here are some suggestions:
Step #1: Give up some control. Delegating small tasks frees you up for the bigger ones that need more focus.
Step #2: Take smaller steps. Accomplish a few things each day, not a laundry list of over-ambitious tasks. This allows you to complete them right away.
Step #3: Be resourceful and innovative. Enlist the help of student interns or professionals interested in bartering services with you. Sign up for webinars and business seminars attended by other business owners.
Step #4: Maintain your focus. Many people will try to sell you services that don’t improve your bottom line. Take on only services that are vital to the day-to-day operations of your business. Team up with other likeminded business owners to form an effective group purchasing power.
Step #5: Promote your business inexpensively. Instead of traditional advertising, find other ways to market your product/service. Attend a business networking event where you have an opportunity to exchange business cards, services and ideas that put your company at the forefront of the marketplace.
Taking your business to the next level comes with challenges. But a little creativity, drive, and ingenuity will yield results in a cost-efficient and often more effective way….simply because you’ve worked hard to find solutions that increase your revenue and decrease your costs!
So you know networking is important for your small-medium sized business; but do you know how to network effectively?
Networking is key to promoting your business, finding leads, marketing yourself, and drawing referrals… yet most of the time it isn’t done correctly. I often hear people tell me “Nobody I met can use my services!” or “None of these people can help me” … what they fail to forget is NETWORKING IS NOT ONLY ABOUT YOU! It’s about each other, and developing a relationship that provides mutual benefits. The person you meet may not be able to help you right off the bat, but who knows when they’ll know someone that can help you.
Networking is like a marriage to some extent. You get to know each other, develop trust, gain credibility, and then support each other through thick and thin. When was the last time you met someone at one event and decided it was time to tie the knot? It’s a process!
So to help you in your journey in business networking & relationship marketing here are 10 Commandments I came across that can make you a better networker:
- Thou shalt drop the “what is in it for me?” attitude.
- Thou shalt listen.
- Thou shalt build a relationship.
- Thou shalt give the first referral.
- Thou shalt not tell others of the referral you require; thou shalt “show them” with a story.
- Thou shalt be specific of the type of referral.
- Thou shalt reciprocate when appropriate.
- Thou shalt participate in the network executive, functions, and network time.
- Thou shalt thank the person who gave a referral.
- Thou shalt follow up on the referral within 24 hours.
Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/bVzyKA
Do you know what you need to know when buying a condo?
Watch this video to find out!
How valuable is this exposure to your business?
Connect. Commit. Grow. bossystem.org
BOSS Member: Bernie Schmidt
The Achievement: increased his revenue by $10,000 through BOSS Community
How it Happened: By being a BOSS Member for 4 months; through events and online platform
What Led to Success:
- - BOSS “Speed Power Networking” & “Triad Power Networking” sessions that gave him solid referrals and leads that converted to sales
- - Business Networking with quality business owners that were passionate about growing
- - Trusting Relationships that allowed members to confidently promote his services to people in their network
- - Establishing himself as an expert in his industry by sharing what he knew about SEO Optimization rather than what services he delivered
Bernie (BOSS Member) Says…
“It was the goodwill value of BOSS that has truly made all the difference. It’s created an environment where business owners have a “How can I help you?” attitude, and in the end everyone benefits.”
When asked which members used his services, he went on to tell me that, in addition to current membership, many leads have developed with people from the networks of other members. Through this extended relationship-building he has been able to generate $10,000 from the referral marketing of other BOSS Members!
Now that’s results. Business Networking through BOSSystem works. Congrats Bernie!
Breakfast with BOSS: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 REGISTER
BOSS Triad Power Networking: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 REGISTER
… or email email@example.com to reserve yourself a spot.
Don’t worry, I can’t believe the savings either!
FreshBooks has become one of the most popular invoice and time tracking systems online! It’s (pardon the pun) fresh look and ease of use makes it simple for any business to use.
Some neat features FreshBooks contains include,
- Sending and managing invoices online. You can even have physical invoices sent without touching an envelope!
- Tracking your time online.
- Send estimates to your clients.
- Track expenses on your FreshBooks account.
- Best of all, professionally brand it with your logo and style!
FreshBooks believes that running a business is hard enough. Financial record keeping should be easy, fast, (and perhaps even fun), but still detailed enough to satisfy your accountant. Billing should be simple, look good, and all data kept secure. We at BOSS believe the same thing, and want to help you save time, energy and money so that you can focus on what you do best… running your business!