Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

World’s 10 Toughest Countries To Do Business In


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I was reading a CNBC report lately on the world’s toughest countries to do business in. Based on the World Bank’s report, “Doing Business 2015”, the report ranks 189 countries for ease of doing business using criteria such as ‘getting electricity’ + ‘getting credit’. Here are the 10 worst countries in order:

1. Eritrea

+ GNI of just $490 per capita

+ described by the World Bank as, “one of the least developed countries in the world”

+ roughly two-thirds of Eritreans live in rural areas

+ has been criticized for its alleged extrajudicial killings and torture and lack of openness

+ came joint last for dealing with construction permits, joint last for access to credit, and 176th for registering property

Eritrea
Patrick Horton | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images

2. Libya

+ three years after the overthrow and death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, oil and gas-rich Libya is still struggling for stability

+ the country ranked joint-last for handling construction permits, joint-last for registering property and second-last for protecting minority investors

+ rival militia are still engaged in fierce fighting in Libya

+ this summer the security situation deteriorated further

+ the United Nations says that over 100,000 Libyans are displaced as a result of the current fighting

libya
Abdullah Doma | AFP | Getty Images

3. Central African Republic

+ since gaining independence from France in 1960, the Central African Republic (CAR) has struggled with dictatorships, coups and conflict in equal measure

+ the country’s most recent civil war saw thousands die

+ its economy shrunk by a vast 36 per cent in 2013, according to the World Bank

+ the CAR ranks fourth from bottom in terms of access to electricity and third from bottom for ease of starting a business

CAR
Fred Dufour | AFP | Getty Images

4. South Sudan

+ founded in 2011 after a referendum on independence from Sudan, South Sudan is still unstable

+ low ranking—3rd worst in the world—in the cross-border trading category

+ accessing electricity and registering property are also problematic for entrepreneurs, with South Sudan coming respectively 179th and 180th on these counts

+ according to the U.S. Department of State, “Most small South Sudanese businesses operate in the informal economy, where labor laws and regulations are widely ignored”

south sudan
Paula Bronstein | Getty Images

5. Chad

+ one of the world’s poorest countries

+ fifth worst in the world for launching a business

+ eighth worst for cross-border trading

Chad
Phillipe Huguen | AFP | Getty Images

6. DRC / Democratic Republic of Congo

+ DRC has been stricken by years of civil war

+ According to the United Nations, around 2.7 million people are “internally displaced” in the country, due to ongoing armed conflict in its east

+ The DRC remains one of the worst countries in the world to do business, ranking joint worst for resolving insolvency and also scoring poorly for access to electricity and enforcing contracts

DRC
Robert J. Ross | Photolibrary | Getty Images

7. Afghanistan

+ suffering the aftereffects of 13 years of bloody and sustained conflict

+ country ranked surprisingly high (24th) for ease of starting a business

+ rated worst in the world for protecting minority investors

+ scored poorly for cross-border trading and enforcing contracts

+ July 2014 survey by the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce & Industries found that, “The most important factor for business development is considered to be security; it is followed by lack of market and demand, poor infrastructure, administrative burdens and lack of access to finance”

Asanka Brendon Ratnayake | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images
Asanka Brendon Ratnayake | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images

8. Venezuela

+ gross national income of $12,550

+ Venezuela’s income level is described by the World Bank as “upper middle”

+ socialist country is rich in natural resources including natural gas, gold and diamonds

+ its crude oil reserves are estimated at around 298 billion barrels

venezuela business
Gilles Rigoulet | hemis.fr | Getty Images

9. Angola

+ a former Portuguese colony

+ one of the Africa’s biggest producers of oil

+ one of the poorest countries on the planet

+ gross national income of $5,010

+ life expectancy of just 51

+ difficult for business owners to enforce contracts and access credit

angola business
Kenneth Gerhardt | Gallo Images | Getty Images

10. Haiti

+ devastated by a huge earthquake in Jan 2010

+ one of the world’s poorest countries

+ difficult for business owners to access credit or register property

+ gross national income per capita of $810 (compared with US which is $53, 670)

+ in 2011 the Inter-American Investment Corporation and the Spanish government established a joint development fund designed to increase the availability of loans and reduce borrowing costs for Haitian small- and-medium-sized companies. This is set to run for 12 years

Haiti Business details
Thony Belizaire | AFP | Getty Images
Entrepreneurship

Baby Boomers Flock To Entrepreneurship


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Found this article over here and really thought it was worth a reblog!

Even though they’re nearing retirement age, a large number of baby boomers are looking for an “encore” career as entrepreneurs.

Adults over the age of 50 comprise one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the United States, according to a new Gallup study. Among those people who don’t currently own a business, baby boomers are twice as likely as millennials to say they plan to start a business in the next year.

The majority of those prospective entrepreneurs cite a desire for lifestyle changes as the reason behind their desire to launch a new venture in the later stages of their careers. Specifically, 32 percent of the baby boomers surveyed said they are choosing to start businesses primarily because doing so will allow them to be independent, while 27 percent say it will give them a chance to pursue their interests and passions.

Money is also playing a large role for many. Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed said starting a new business will allow them to increase their income.

“Very few are pursuing an idea for a new product or service that solves a problem or meets an unfulfilled need in the market — the type of business that would typically have immense growth potential,” the study’s authors wrote. “Perhaps for boomer entrepreneurs, these reasons reflect their current stage in life.”

Even though many baby boomers have years of experience working for established organizations, business owners over the age of 50 face many of the same challenges young entrepreneurs face. More than half of those surveyed said information relevant to growing a business and entrepreneurial training and education aren’t readily available in their communities. Additionally, just 44 percent said that the city or area where they reside is a good place to live for entrepreneurs forming new businesses, while just 9 percent said it’s easy for them to obtain a business loan where they live.

The researchers said that communities looking to foster entrepreneurial growth among baby boomers should focus on several key areas, including:

Readiness for the role: It’s critical communities help entrepreneurial-minded baby boomers understand that running a business is very different than working for a company. Unlike working for someone else, business owners have to deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and failure, the study’s authors say.
Local resources: Communities need to help prospective entrepreneurs connect with local resources, like the AARP, Small Business Administration and professional networks, that can help them plan their business.
Good coaching: Despite their years of professional experience, entrepreneurs over the age of 50 can still benefit from working with others who can provide counseling and support, such as coaches, mentors and business advisors. The study’s authors said readily available coaching and mentoring programs should be an essential part of any community trying to develop business leaders.

The researchers said that addressing these challenges and building up the support that is available will not only benefit current baby boomer entrepreneurs, but also help convince those who might be considering starting their own businesses.

“Supporting those over 50 who want to launch and grow businesses is crucial for reversing the trend of American business deaths outnumbering business births, and accelerating sustainable economic development,” the study’s authors wrote.

The study was based on interviews with 1,906 baby boomers, consisting of 229 entrepreneurs and 1,677 nonentrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship

5 Tips For Launching Your Online Etsy Store!


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If one of your goals for 2015 is to start an Etsy shop, I’ve got the guide for you. Etsy has specific rules for shops. If you make handmade goods, crafts, raw supplies, materials or sell vintage items, the marketplace is a good fit for you. If you’re not sure if your shop would be a good fit for Etsy, check out their Guidelines here.

A lot of people ask if it’s “too late” to get started selling on Etsy, because there are so many shops. They wonder if the marketplace is just too saturated to break into. If you’re just starting out as a business + would like an easy way to get started, test the waters + get your systems in place, Etsy is fantastic. It gives you an easy way to:

+ create a shop

+ accept payment

+ reach your customers

It’s perfect for beginners. If you’re already an established shop, Etsy can be a nice channel to make extra sales from. Here are just a few things that contribute to whether or not your shop becomes a business or remains a hobby hustle:

1. Consistency

Consistency is how you build your brand + shop presence on Etsy. It’s also how you make consistent sales. One thing to remember is that the frequency with which you list new items directly correlate to how often sales were rolling in. If you’re listing a handful of items every day, you’ll make a handful of sales every day consistently. If you take a month off from listing new items, even though your shop is still full of stuff, sales will drop off.

2. Photos

On Etsy, photography is EVERYTHING. Product photography is what sells your items. You cannot underestimate this. Your photography needs to stand out from the rest of the shops on Etsy. In order to do this, you need to use a professional photo backdrop. A popular one is white seamless paper roll + 18% grey, which is considered “neutral.” These backdrops allow your items to really pop. Try not to take photos of your items in your backyard, in front of your garage door, or on your kitchen table.

3. Volume

When you’re selling vintage on Etsy like many are, volume can be a big factor in how successful you are. The most successful vintage shops have 500-600 items of inventory for sale at any given time. The reason being is that for every listing you have up, it’s one more chance that someone searching Etsy will stumble into your shop via that listing that caught their eye. So the more items you have up, the more chances you have for people to find you.

4. Tags + Keywords

Use all 13 available tags. Don’t worry if you’ve run out of ideas, just put something there. It will help you get found. Colour, shape, style, era, theme, texture, related keywords, emotions, seasons – it’s all fair game. Describe your item as you would to a person who can’t see it. How does it smell, feel, look, fit, and how much does it weigh? It’s okay to overshare. Pull out any keywords from your main description to use as tags for your item.Give your listings very descriptive, detailed titles – use all the characters allowed if you can. Although titles like “Amber Moon” sound cool, they don’t tell people anything about what the item is. It’s bad for Etsy search and bad for getting found. So be really clear in your titles.

5. Shop Setup

On Etsy, you have very limited “branding” opportunities. The only places you can really brand your shop is with your shop banner and your avatar. In effect, these are extremely important to your shop’s appearance and brand on Etsy. Your banner and avatar should have the same branding – meaning they use the same font, colour palette, and graphic elements. You can make your own shop banner using Photoshop. Since the shop banner is the first visual that many people will see when visiting your shop, make sure it’s eye-catching, clearly legible + evocative of your brand. It should attract your ideal customer at a glance.

Entrepreneurship

What To Think About Doing Free Work


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As a creative entrepreneur – artist, designer, actor, model, blogger, singer, freelance writer, editor, videographer, photographer (whatever it is you do) – there’ll be times you’re asked to work for free. Sometimes an offer of  “exposure” is legit, but it’s up to you to vet every offer. As a business owner (your business being yourself), you’re tasked with sifting through all of the various “work for free” offers and ascertaining which ones are useless and which ones will lead to actual exposure for you and your brand. Exposure is good. We like exposure. Marketing leads to discovery which leads to business.

As you grow and your name gets bigger and bigger, people will begin to associate your name with certain positive or negative adjectives. These associations are not necessarily always because of what you do. Sometimes you make a name for yourself by just being in the presence of great (or sinister) people. So you need to monitor what brands you allow yourself to be associated with.

+ Next time you run by a “work for exposure” offer, ask yourself:

  • Will being associated with, and working with, this person/business/organization boost my authority in my field of expertise?
  • Will I be in the presence of captains of industry which could grow my network and help me build business contacts?
  • Will be doing this add valuable credibility to my brand for my audience?
  • Will it offer me experience I would otherwise not get or could use more of (building on your skill set, learning new stuff about performing on stage for instance)
  • Will I have direct access to an audience that will buy my [service, art, expertise]?
  • Will I have fun doing the gig?

If the answer to all questions is yes, consider taking the offer and at the very least get all of your expenses covered. At most? Consider negotiating your way into a paid gig.

Entrepreneurship

Top 5 Writing Careers For Young Women


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By now we all know people have made the shift from reading books to reading online blogs, websites, social media feeds and other digital magazines. They’re more keen to fire up their tablet, cellphone, kindle or ipad than open up a hard-cover novel. I read somewhere that in the last decade, publishing and other related industries have taken a big hit. While in the past, a career as a novelist was every English majors’ dream, today technology has created an expansion in the professional field of writing. As a result, I’ve done some research into the current top 5 writing professions for young women today.

1. Scriptwriter

The success of once unknown writer, director and actress Lena Dunham, the creator of the hit HBO “ShowGirls”, is a prime example of how the entertainment field offers unique writing careers for young women. Only in her mid-20s, Dunham has had the ability and creative freedom to allow her stories and observations to become a reality on a huge and lucrative platform. Though it’s important to keep in mind that Dunham’s success it not the norm, she at one time was a young writer who funded and created her own work without studio backing. Scriptwriting is something that takes years to get good at. However, with a lot of practice, constructive feedback and a little luck, you could enjoy a successful career as an entertainment scriptwriter for movies, films and radio.

2. Blogger

Successful female lifestyle, fashion and “mommyhood” bloggers have become an increasingly large and prolific part of the writing community. Blogging has become a great writing career that allows young female writers to cultivate an online presence, while also providing an inexpensive platform to launch a writer’s professional career.

Bloggers can present whatever version of themselves they choose, and create a following from admirers who really respect that blogger’s writing style and interests. The fact that it’s so easy to start a blog doesn’t hurt either! Instead of tirelessly searching for a publisher, publicist or other middleman to get their work distributed to the public, bloggers take matters into their own hands. Bloggers typically make their revenue from ad sales, corporate sponsors and lucrative business opportunities that can arise due to the brand/image that the blog has helped a writer cultivate.

3. Freelance Academic Writer

For some, writing is all about self-expression. For others, writing is the task of researching and synthesizing complex concepts into the written form in order to present a conclusionabout the evidence presented. If you find yourself in the latter group, freelance academic writing may be the right career for you. Academic writers typically prescribe to the more traditional conventions of formal writing. Academic writing spans across all fields of academic study. However, for the most part, all types of academic writing utilize the thesis statement format in order to present concise informative articles that are utilized and presented in academic settings. Academic writing isn’t for everyone. It requires advanced research skills, knowledge of the wide variety of citation formats, as well as an advanced degree. If you loved writing research papers in college, or you’ve always been a fan of footnote citations, freelance academic writing may be the right job for you.

4. Digital Copywriter

Ever wondered who writes the advertisements and web content on your favorite websites? Do you make a game out of spotting typos and grammatical errors when you’re browsing the Internet? Then a career as a digital copywriter might be the perfect job for you! Digital copywriters are the writers who draft all the writing you see on the Internet. Their job functions can range from creating product descriptions, advertisements, landing pages and an all other web content for official websites. The great thing about digital copywriting is that given the technological advances of today, many digital copywriters can work from home instead of having to go into the office. This is especially an advantage for stay-at-home moms looking to have a remote career.

5. Social Media Manager

Don’t feel like writing your own stuff? No problem. Write someone else’s. Social Media Management is becoming a huge career now, with big companies willing to fork out a small fortune for young digital gurus to manage their brands.

So, the opportunities for those who love communication is ample. What would your choice be?

Entrepreneurship

Meetings: How To Schedule & Prepare


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Last month was one of refining processes, contracts and efficiency. I have many projects happening simultaneously. One thing I’ve started to see is that I’m constantly in meetings. Here’s some things to keep in mind about meetings:

1. Carve out certain days of the week to meet

Be intentional about what days are good for you to meet people. Make committments and stick to them. I always think it’s a good idea to schedule meetings a week or two in advance so you don’t do things last minute. That way you can be prepared. If you work for yourself, planning the use of your time wisely can be tricky. Make sure to pen in appointments and keep your diary close at all times!

2. Set an agenda/itinerary

Ideally, you want to stick to an agenda which you set. Get through the business first, then you can move onto the fun stuff if you still have time.

3. Let people know how long you can meet

Time is precious. If you have lots to get through, make sure you structure your days well and stick to your goals. It’s always a good idea to set out the time you have available when organising meetings. Literally say to yourself (and your client) how long you have for the meeting. 1 hour? 2 hours? Put a lid on how much time you can spend working on something with someone. If you don’t do this, you may just run over time and disappoint yourself when you can’t achieve your other goals for the day.

4. Keep the location in mind and be intentional about it

Where inspires you? Where is there free wifi? Do you need a plug point for your laptop? Do your research when you schedule a meeting with someone. If it’s not in an office, ensure you’re somewhere that has the resources you need and also makes you feel good (and has good coffee!)

Tamika Doubell

Entrepreneurship

25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs


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Reblogged from Entrepreneur.com here, I just love this! Enjoy and scoot on over to my Entrepreneurship board on Pinterest for more inspiring designs 🙂

1. Do what you enjoy

What you get out of your business in the form of personal satisfaction, financial gain, stability and enjoyment will be the sum of what you put into your business. So if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, in all likelihood it’s safe to assume that will be reflected in the success of your business–or subsequent lack of success. In fact, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, chances are you won’t succeed.

2. Take what you do seriously

You cannot expect to be effective and successful in business unless you truly believe in your business and in the goods and services that you sell. Far too many home business owners fail to take their own businesses seriously enough, getting easily sidetracked and not staying motivated and keeping their noses to the grindstone. They also fall prey to naysayers who don’t take them seriously because they don’t work from an office building, office park, storefront, or factory. Little do these skeptics, who rain on the home business owner’s parade, know is that the number of people working from home, and making very good annual incomes, has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.

3. Plan everything

Planning every aspect of your home business is not only a must, but also builds habits that every home business owner should develop, implement, and maintain. The act of business planning is so important because it requires you to analyze each business situation, research and compile data, and make conclusions based mainly on the facts as revealed through the research. Business planning also serves a second function, which is having your goals and how you will achieve them, on paper. You can use the plan that you create both as map to take you from point A to Z and as a yardstick to measure the success of each individual plan or segment within the plan.

4. Manage money wisely

The lifeblood of any business enterprise is cash flow. You need it to buy inventory, pay for services, promote and market your business, repair and replace tools and equipment, and pay yourself so that you can continue to work. Therefore, all home business owners must become wise money managers to ensure that the cash keeps flowing and the bills get paid. There are two aspects to wise money management.

  1. The money you receive from clients in exchange for your goods and services you provide (income)
  2. The money you spend on inventory, supplies, wages and other items required to keep your business operating. (expenses)

5. Ask for the sale

A home business entrepreneur must always remember that marketing, advertising, or promotional activities are completely worthless, regardless of how clever, expensive, or perfectly targeted they are, unless one simple thing is accomplished–ask for the sale. This is not to say that being a great salesperson, advertising copywriting whiz or a public relations specialist isn’t a tremendous asset to your business. However, all of these skills will be for naught if you do not actively ask people to buy what you are selling.

6. Remember it’s all about the customer

Your home business is not about the products or services that you sell. Your home business is not about the prices that you charge for your goods and services. Your home business is not about your competition and how to beat them. Your business is all about your customers, or clients, period. After all, your customers are the people that will ultimately decide if your business goes boom or bust. Everything you do in business must be customer focused, including your policies, warranties, payment options, operating hours, presentations, advertising and promotional campaigns and website. In addition, you must know who your customers are inside out and upside down.

Related: Keeping Your Customers Satisfied — It’s All in the Details

7. Become a shameless self-promoter (without becoming obnoxious)

One of the greatest myths about personal or business success is that eventually your business, personal abilities, products or services will get discovered and be embraced by the masses that will beat a path to your door to buy what you are selling. But how can this happen if no one knows who you are, what you sell and why they should be buying?

Self-promotion is one of the most beneficial, yet most underutilized, marketing tools that the majority of home business owners have at their immediate disposal.

8. Project a positive business image

You have but a passing moment to make a positive and memorable impression on people with whom you intend to do business. Home business owners must go out of their way and make a conscious effort to always project the most professional business image possible. The majority of home business owners do not have the advantage of elaborate offices or elegant storefronts and showrooms to wow prospects and impress customers. Instead, they must rely on imagination, creativity and attention to the smallest detail when creating and maintaining a professional image for their home business.

9. Get to know your customers

One of the biggest features and often the most significant competitive edge the home based entrepreneur has over the larger competitors is the he can offer personalized attention. Call it high-tech backlash if you will, but customers are sick and tired of hearing that their information is somewhere in the computer and must be retrieved, or told to push a dozen digits to finally get to the right department only to end up with voice mail–from which they never receive a return phone call.

The home business owner can actually answer phone calls, get to know customers, provide personal attention and win over repeat business by doing so. It’s a researched fact that most business (80 percent) will come from repeat customers rather than new customers. Therefore, along with trying to draw newcomers, the more you can do to woo your regular customers, the better off you will be in the long run and personalized attention is very much appreciated and remembered in the modern high tech world.

Related: Why You Should Never Prejudge a Sales Prospect

10. Level the playing field with technology

You should avoid getting overly caught up in the high-tech world, but you should also know how to take advantage of using it. One of the most amazing aspects of the internet is that a one or two person business operating from a basement can have a superior website to a $50 million company, and nobody knows the difference. Make sure you’re keeping up with the high-tech world as it suits your needs.. The best technology is that which helps you, not that which impresses your neighbors.

11. Build a top-notch business team

No one person can build a successful business alone. It’s a task that requires a team that is as committed as you to the business and its success. Your business team may include family members, friends, suppliers, business alliances, employees, sub-contractors, industry and business associations, local government and the community. Of course the most important team members will be your customers or clients. Any or all may have a say in how your business will function and a stake in your business future.

Related: Why Teamwork Should Be Your No. 1 Sales Tool

12. Become known as an expert

When you have a problem that needs to be solved, do you seek just anyone’s advice or do you seek an expert in the field to help solve your particular problem? Obviously, you want the most accurate information and assistance that you can get. You naturally seek an expert to help solve your problem. You call a plumber when the hot water tank leaks, a real estate agent when it’s time to sell your home or a dentist when you have a toothache. Therefore, it only stands to reason that the more you become known for your expertise in your business, the more people will seek you out to tap into your expertise, creating more selling and referral opportunities. In effect, becoming known as an expert is another style of prospecting for new business, just in reverse. Instead of finding new and qualified people to sell to, these people seek you out for your expertise.

13. Create a competitive advantage

A home business must have a clearly defined unique selling proposition. This is nothing more than a fancy way of asking the vital question, “Why will people choose to do business with you or purchase your product or service instead of doing business with a competitor and buying his product or service?” In other words, what one aspect or combination of aspects is going to separate your business from your competition? Will it be better service, a longer warranty, better selection, longer business hours, more flexible payment options, lowest price, personalized service, better customer service, better return and exchange policies or a combination of several of these?

14. Invest in yourself

Top entrepreneurs buy and read business and marketing books, magazines, reports, journals, newsletters, websites and industry publications, knowing that these resources will improve their understanding of business and marketing functions and skills. They join business associations and clubs, and they network with other skilled business people to learn their secrets of success and help define their own goals and objectives. Top entrepreneurs attend business and marketing seminars, workshops and training courses, even if they have already mastered the subject matter of the event. They do this because they know that education is an ongoing process. There are usually ways to do things better, in less time, with less effort. In short, top entrepreneurs never stop investing in the most powerful, effective and best business and marketing tool at their immediate disposal–themselves.

15. Be accessible

We’re living in a time when we all expect our fast food lunch at the drive-thru window to be ready in mere minutes, our dry cleaning to be ready for pick-up on the same day, our money to be available at the cash machine and our pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free. You see the pattern developing–you must make it as easy as you can for people to do business with you, regardless of the home business you operate.

You must remain cognizant of the fact that few people will work hard, go out of their way, or be inconvenienced just for the privilege of giving you their hard-earned money. The shoe is always on the other foot. Making it easy for people to do business with you means that you must be accessible and knowledgeable about your products and services. You must be able to provide customers with what they want, when they want it.

16. Build a rock-solid reputation

A good reputation is unquestionably one of the home business owner’s most tangible and marketable assets. You can’t simply buy a good reputation; it’s something that you earn by honoring your promises. If you promise to have the merchandise in the customer’s hands by Wednesday, you have no excuse not to have it there. If you offer to repair something, you need to make good on your offer. Consistency in what you offer is the other key factor. If you cannot come through with the same level of service (and products) for clients on a regular basis, they have no reason to trust you . . . and without trust, you won’t have a good reputation.

17. Sell benefits

Pushing product features is for inexperienced or wannabe entrepreneurs. Selling the benefits associated with owning and using the products and services you carry is what sales professionals worldwide focus on to create buying excitement and to sell, sell more, and sell more frequently to their customers. Your advertising, sales presentations, printed marketing materials, product packaging, website, newsletters, trade show exhibit and signage are vital. Every time and every medium used to communicate with your target audience must always be selling the benefits associated with owning your product or using your service.

18. Get involved

Always go out of your way to get involved in the community that supports your business. You can do this in many ways, such as pitching in to help local charities or the food bank, becoming involved in organizing community events, and getting involved in local politics. You can join associations and clubs that concentrate on programs and policies designed to improve the local community. It’s a fact that people like to do business with people they know, like and respect, and with people who do things to help them as members of the community.

19. Grab attention

Small-business owners cannot waste time, money and energy on promotional activities aimed at building awareness solely through long-term, repeated exposure. If you do, chances are you will go broke long before this goal is accomplished. Instead, every promotional activity you engage in, must put money back in your pocket so that you can continue to grab more attention and grow your business.

20. Master the art of negotiations

The ability to negotiate effectively is unquestionably a skill that every home business owner must make every effort to master. It’s perhaps second in importance only to asking for the sale in terms of home business musts. In business, negotiation skills are used daily. Always remember that mastering the art of negotiation means that your skills are so finely tuned that you can always orchestrate a win-win situation. These win-win arrangements mean that everyone involved feels they have won, which is really the basis for building long-term and profitable business relationships.

21. Design Your workspace for success

Carefully plan and design your home office workspace to ensure maximum personal performance and productivity and, if necessary, to project professionalism for visiting clients. If at all possible, resist the temptation to turn a corner of the living room or your bedroom into your office. Ideally, you’ll want a separate room with a door that closes to keep business activities in and family members out, at least during prime business and revenue generating hours of the day. A den, spare bedroom, basement or converted garage are all ideal candidates for your new home office. If this is not possible, you’ll have to find a means of converting a room with a partition or simply find hours to do the bulk of your work when nobody else is home.

22. Get and stay organized

The key to staying organized is not about which type of file you have or whether you keep a stack or two of papers on your desk, but it’s about managing your business. It’s about having systems in place to do things. Therefore, you wan to establish a routine by which you can accomplish as much as possible in a given workday, whether that’s three hours for a part-time business or seven or nine hours as a full-timer. In fact, you should develop systems and routines for just about every single business activity. Small things such as creating a to-do list at the end of each business day, or for the week, will help keep you on top of important tasks to tackle. Creating a single calendar to work from, not multiple sets for individual tasks or jobs, will also ensure that jobs are completed on schedule and appointments kept. Incorporating family and personal activities into your work calendar is also critical so that you work and plan from a single calendar.

23. Take time off

The temptation to work around the clock is very real for some home business owners. After all, you don’t have a manager telling you it’s time to go home because they can’t afford the overtime pay. Every person working from home must take time to establish a regular work schedule that includes time to stretch your legs and take lunch breaks, plus some days off and scheduled vacations. Create the schedule as soon as you have made the commitment to start a home business. Of course, your schedule will have to be flexible. You should, therefore, not fill every possible hour in the day. Give yourself a backup hour or two. All work and no play makes you burn out very fast and grumpy customer service is not what people want.

24. Limit the number of hats you wear

It’s difficult for most business owners not to take a hands-on approach. They try to do as much as possible and tackle as many tasks as possible in their business. The ability to multitask, in fact, is a common trait shared by successful entrepreneurs. However, once in a while you have to stand back and look beyond today to determine what’s in the best interest of your business and yourself over the long run. Most highly successful entrepreneurs will tell you that from the time they started out, they knew what they were good at and what tasks to delegate to others.

25. Follow-up constantly

Constant contact, follow-up, and follow-through with customers, prospects, and business alliances should be the mantra of every home business owner, new or established. Constant and consistent follow-up enables you to turn prospects into customers, increase the value of each sale and buying frequency from existing customers, and build stronger business relationships with suppliers and your core business team. Follow-up is especially important with your existing customer base, as the real work begins after the sale. It’s easy to sell one product or service, but it takes work to retain customers and keep them coming back.

Photo: Death To The Stock Photo