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Posts tagged ‘Small business’

Good Leaders are Good Communicators

Being a leader is a massive responsibility!  You are expected to get and keep the team up and running efficiently at all times. Anyone that has been a leader can tell you that the task is easier said than done.  After all, we are all human and have daily rhythms and emotions that we need to take into consideration.

Myth

One of the myths that leaders fall into is the myth that they are responsible for the team.  Each team member is responsible for themselves and their portion of the work.    As the leader, you are responsible TO the team, not for the team.  You are to provide the team members with the tools and opportunities to do the job but the members are responsible for making themselves happy.

Team

Most people want to belong to something larger than just them.  Most team members know there is something
larger than themselves in being a team member.  A healthy work environment contains team members that care for each other as well as themselves and the team as a whole.

Value Your Team

The best investment in your vision is to have the right people around you helping you achieve your goals. It is important that you show them you value them…a win-win opportunity.  You give them the opportunity and they give you great work in return.

Clear Roles

You, as the leader must give clear roles for each person in the team.  Each person should know their role in the organization and what you expect from them in their role.  You will need to have total trust in each person you put in each role and make sure that both are a good fit.

Respect and Gentle Conversations

Showing respect for others is a key in the leadership role.  Here is where you will be leading by example.  All eyes will be on you,
especially when things go wrong.  What you do in those times will set precedent with all other members of the
team.  If you are kind and gentle and show respect others will follow. No one is perfect and mistakes will happen.

Guidance

Most often in leading a group you are required to teach others.  What this really means is guiding others on their journey.  The
decisions you make must be based on the team benefit rather than your own personal agenda.  You will be a mentor,
advisor, role model and cheerleader.

Information Sharing

All team members must be willing to share information with others freely.  We all know what happens when information sharing is on a need to know basis…communication breaks down and everyone is trying to “catch up” but no one ever does.  When information is shared freely, the atmosphere becomes one of creativity instead of complaining.

Giving Back

We all want to give back to the community.  As a leader, make sure that people have the  knowledge and resources to give back to the community.  We all WANT to do this but only about 30% of  the people make it happen.  As a leader, you can help increase that percentage.

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The Difference Between a Business Coach and a Business Mentor

Do you know the difference between a business mentor and a business coach?

It is easy to get them confused or to think they are the same thing as the differences can seem too subtle to distinguish by many.

 

A mentor is someone who has been successful in their own
business and can give you a blueprint of how they did it.  They teach you what you need to know if you are just starting a business.  A step one, step two approach.   When starting a new business, a mentor is a great person to have in your corner.  These people can help you build a business or get the one you have on solid ground.

 

Again, they give you a blueprint of what they have done to build their own successful business.

 

You pay for their advice, they give it and you can take it or leave it.  The concept is that is you follow their blueprint you too will be successful in your business.  It does work.

 

When you are ready to move your business to something that
is truly your own with your brand on it, a coach may be just what you need.

 

A coach can help you take your established business to a
different level, help you make the business your own; help you personalize your business so it is truly you.  Coaches help
you in so many ways: emotionally, spiritually, and even with your processes.  Coaches are focused on your performance in
business and understand the holistic approach brings more personalized results, which is generally what you are looking for when hiring a coach.

 

Many people start with a business mentor and move to a coach
when they feel their business is solid and want to move to the next level.

 

The important part is that partnering with someone is more
helpful than going it alone.  Everyone can use guidance at one time or another in their business.

 

Most successful people will tell you that the years spent in
corporate America have not prepared them for their internet business.

 

There is no need for all of us to be pioneers when it comes
to having our own business.  Learn from others.

The Uncomfort Zone that Helps You Get Comfortable

For success  to be ours, we must sometimes get out of our comfort zone.  It is easy to hide  behind a computer when you have an internet business.  You may be able to obtain more business if
you do one small thing out of your comfort zone that may mean you are temporarily  uncomfortable with the first few times.

 

Challenging yourself and your beliefs can be very scary.  Whenever we go through something out of our comfort zone, for the first time, we all feel the same feelings.  That queasiness in the stomach, the nervousness  when we talk in front of a group, the feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.    We find it hard to let go of those feelings.

 

Yes, leaving the comfort zone can be very …well, uncomfortable.  Moving to a place that you are unfamiliar with can be an unsettling experience.

 

So, how do you break out of your comfort zone? Just like all the other challenges you have encountered and overcome.  By doing it!  Sometimes, it helps to start off small.  Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can
happen?”

 

If, for instance, you want to do public speaking, try reading out loud to a tape recorder.  Try videotaping yourself so you have a starting point.  It is okay to not like what you see at first.  The important
part of the exercise is to do it, not criticize it.  You can ask for feedback from friends that will be gentle but honest in their evaluation.  You can also imagine yourself doing the thing
you are most afraid of.  Pretend.  We all forget that pretending is an option open to us.

 

Our imagination can run wild when all we really need is to try
something new once or twice to make it less scary and more easily achievable in our own minds.

Remember, how we didn’t think we could be a business owner?  Now, we are one.

Think about this.  You are already a business person so I can only believe that you have overcome a lot of obstacles in the past.  You need to give yourself credit for the things you have done. You  have had successes.  You have done things that feel very “unnatural” to you but because you have continued to do them,
they become a part of you and your success.

 

Seek out others that are doing what you want to achieve.  Asking someone for help may be the nicest compliment you could give someone.   Isn’t that a great way to find friends?

Most everyone will help someone else achieve their goal or help them get started. It is how we keep going and giving as entrepreneurs.  Someday, you will be able to help someone
else.

There’s lots of free information out there for everyone.  Check out any business blog/website/magazine.  Use the information to your advantage or reach out to the owner/editor and ask for
advice.

Blogs are a great place to start.  All advice is good if you can use it to help meet your goals.

Small Business Can Have BIG Headaches

 After Tax Season, I wanted to lighten it up a bit!  I need a laugh…hope you do to.

Entrepreneurs put in some “crazy” hours, don’t we?  Somehow, those 1440 beautiful moments we have in a day weren’t supposed to be like this.  Some days, we can’t even remember our own name.  The other morning, I went to make my coffee and I’m not kidding you…opened the refrigerator door expecting a hand to offer me my already made hot cup of coffee.  Ok, I was really tired but it was so real, I actually stood there and waited.  When nothing showed up, I finally shut the door and made my own.  I am sure you have had days that start off like that too. 

Having your own company is like having a newborn child.  There is never enough time to sleep.  Just like a newborn’s stomach is always hungry; entrepreneur’s brains are always thinking of something that has to be done.  We have to focus on: a new product launch; an article that needs a new slant, a tough client that took out their bad day on you (that one lingers way too long in our mind.)

If you are a write for a living, you understand how little time there is in a day.  Good writing takes time.  Blogs take time.  Quality takes time.  Communication takes time.  Social media takes time.  Information gathering takes time.  Research takes time.  Surveys take time.  Reading takes time.  Scheduling takes time.  Ok, you understand.  It is a time-consuming process.  A process we writers generally enjoy… as crazy as that sounds.  It is our contribution to the world, whether the world is ready for it or not.

Writers need an audience.  It doesn’t have to be large, although that is nice, we just need one person every once in a while that appreciates what we write.  We are not ego maniacs; quite the opposite, in fact.  We work for morsels of compliments and continue to write even when we receive none.  We forge through writers block…eventually.  We are like small children with abusive parents (except the abuse can come from our audience) throwing out a compliment now and then…We are insecure and shy, trying to write for an audience that may or may not be there tomorrow, awaiting for that  glimmer of “niceness” to come our way.

There must be some form of masochism in our core.

Mentors: The One Person You Need for Small Business

 

We all know we can’t go it alone in business.  We need the ability of others to help us through the ups and downs of our business.  We need help with a variety of things.  We need someone to tell us, “it will be okay” when things are not going well.  We all have drama moments.  We also need them to tell us if something sucks so we don’t go down that road, or at least help us see that it sucks and show us another path.

Here are five things a mentor can do for you and your business

1.)     A mentor can help you through your “drama moments” when your business day seems too heavy to carry alone.  This doesn’t happen often but when it does, you may need to hear a real voice instead of the one in your head.

2.)    If you have been lucky enough to have found a mentor that lives in your area, the mentor is invaluable when you are doing something new.  They remind you of all your successes and give you the perspective that you need. 

3.)    If something you are doing sucks for your business, they tell you.  They are your accountability partner in your business.  If you are doing something that goes against your core values, they have the tough conversation with you instead of allowing you to self-sabotage your business or yourself.

4.)    A mentor can save you time.   Time is one thing we could all use more of in small business.  Mentors are business people to and their experience is invaluable when it comes to saving yourself some time.

5.)    A mentor can also be your cheerleader and help when it comes to marketing your company; helping you grow into the leader you want you are.

Mentors want you to succeed; they help you be better than you think you are.  They can help you balance your life better.  We all need help with that now and then.  One of the biggest joys of having a mentor is that they can help you find the best medicine; laughter.  We all need more of that in our lives and it is the glue that holds relationships together.

Limited Liability Corporations (LLC)

This is the third of a four-part series on Business Entities.

 

Limited Liability Corporations

The LLC is often described as a hybrid business form.  It combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax treatment and ease of administration of a partnership.  As the name suggests, it offers liability protection to its owners from company debts and liabilities.  Most of the laws governing this type of business were passed in the 1980’s and 1990’s in the United States.

The cost of setting up an LLC is roughly the same as setting up a corporation. 

If the company grows too large for an LLC, it is easily converted to a corporation. 

Advantages of the LLC

 

  • LLCs do not require annual meetings and require few ongoing formalities
  • Owners are protected from personal liability for company debts and obligations
  • LLCs enjoy partnership-style, pass-through taxation, which is favorable to many small businesses

 

Disadvantages of the LLC

  • LLCs do not have a reliable body of legal precedent to guide owners and managers, although LLC law is becoming more reliable
  • An LLC is not an appropriate vehicle for businesses seeking to become public eventually or to raise money in the capital markets
  • LLCs are more expensive to set up than are partnerships
  • LLCs usually require annual fees and periodic filings with the state
  • Some states do not allow the organization of LLCs for certain professional vocations

 

Next up:  Corporations

How to Choose the Right Entity for Your New Business

Which entity is right for you?

Part One of a four-part series of posts

When starting a business, the first thing should be to decide what entity it will be. Most business owners don’t think about this until their CPA asks, “What entity is your business?” As a tax-preparer, I have seen the blank stare many times from clients that didn’t completely understand what they were getting into when they started their business.

Hopefully, this information will help.

The right entity for your business will depend on your business goals. You will need to answer questions and think of where you want to take your business in the future before you can answer most of them. Here is an easy to understand lesson in what each option means and a helpful chart (included in the 4th post) to help you choose wisely.

Let’s get started.

The entity that is heard about most often is a sole proprietorship.

A sole proprietorship is indivisible from its owner. It can operate under a trade name. No formal papers have to be filed; the status arises automatically from buying or selling goods.  A sole proprietorship is just a fictitious name or a “doing business as” clause. The real name is you. For instance: John Barr has a plumbing business. John Barr is the real name and the fictitious name is the company he operates, John’s Plumbing. Both John Barr and John’s Plumbing are one in the same.

Taxes for the Sole Proprietor

Because a sole proprietorship is indistinguishable from its owner, sole proprietorship taxation is quite simple. The income earned by a sole proprietorship is income earned by its owner. A sole proprietor reports the sole proprietorship income and/or losses and expenses by filling out a Schedule C along with the standard Form 1040.

A sole proprietor need not pay unemployment tax on themselves, although they must pay unemployment tax on any employees of the business. That means that if the business fails, the sole proprietor does not get unemployment.

Legalities

Sole proprietor’s are personally liable for all the debts of their business. The potential liability can be alarming. For example: Let’s assume the sole proprietor borrow money to operate, but the business loses its major customer, goes out of business, and is unable to repay the loan. The sole proprietor is liable for the amount of the loan, which can potentially consume all their personal assets. In other words, you have no protection since the real name of the company is yours. In order to repay the loan you may have to sell everything else you have to come up with the money. You have no protection against your personal assets. They can all go away.

Advantages of the Sole Proprietorship

○ Owners can establish a sole proprietorship easily and inexpensively.
○ Sole proprietorships carry little formalities
○ Sole proprietors don’t have to pay unemployment tax on themselves
○ Owners may freely mix business and personal assets

Disadvantages of the Sole Proprietorship

○ Owners are subject to unlimited personal liability for loses, debts, and liabilities of the business
○ Owners cannot raise capital by selling an interest in the business
○ Sole proprietorships rarely survive the death or incapacity of their owners and so do not retain value

When choosing an entity, it is important to make a choice based on facts but also to think about the future and do the “what ifs” for you and your family.

Next up: Partnerships

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