Do You Have Business Questions?

November 13, 2008

Are you looking for answers to your business questions? Barbara from Blogging Without A Blog interviewed me today and I’m answering reader business questions in the comments section: Interview With Cath Lawson, Entrepreneur, Aspiring Author And Blogger.

Barbara also interviewed Tom Volkar - Life Work Coach, a few days ago. He helped solve the challenges of many readers and his interview is well worth checking out.

If you’re beginning to question whether starting a business is right for you, you might want to check out the argument from both sides of the fence in: In Defence of The Nine To Five Grind and Does A Business Start Up Have To Be Hard?

Do you need help and support in achieving your goals? Liz Strauss gives you 6 Ways To Build Your Own Personal Developmental Network. And is lack of self-confidence is a problem for you? Professional Life Coach, Davina Haisell shares how she went from being a nervous wreck in public speaking, to being a confident pro: Video - Preparation Inspires Self Confidence.

There’s No Business Problem That Can’t Be Solved

March 12, 2008

I’ve lost count of the number of stressful situations I’ve faced in business. And I’ve come to learn that there’s isn’t a business problem that can’t be solved, one way or another.

Solving Business Problems
Image by Ella’s Dad

Knowing how stress can actually be beneficial in business is important though, as is your attitude to money and loss. In this series of posts, I’m going to explain how you can use stress to benefit your business and how to develop an attitude to financial risk and loss that will get you through any situation.

I’ll also share some real life problems I’ve encountered in business, how I dealt with them and what I would have done with hindsight and a bit of experience. But, first, I’ll give you an overview of some random problems I’ve had. They’re all experiences I’ve learned from and the good news is, you can overcome every single one:

Potential Bankruptcy:
I’ve had winding up orders put on my business because I was unable to collect debts in fast enough to pay others. These were for reasonably small amounts, but some large plc’s in the UK won’t negotiate and give you longer to pay, because they are able to claim on their insurance for the amount you owe. If you’re faced with potential bankruptcy, don’t wait for my post in the series - check out Phoenix From The Ashes now - it’s an excellent resource.

Cashflow Problems: Cashflow problems are caused when you don’t have enough money coming in to cover expenses going out. Causes of lack of cashflow can vary. You may simply not have enough work coming in to cover expenses. Or you may not be getting paid in time for the work you are carrying out. I’ll discuss more specific cashflow problems in this series and show you how to deal with them and even prevent them to begin with.

Trust and the Problems With Business Partnerships:
There are many potential pitfalls with business partnerships. For example, your business partner could empty the bank account at any time, leaving you with massive problems and there’s not a lot you can do about it. I’ll outline how to prevent this happening and what to do if it does.

Bank Incompetence - Knowing Your Rights: I don’t like banks in general and in the past I’ve let them get away with far too much, because I didn’t know my rights. I’ll be sharing some of my worst experiences with business banks and situations you should avoid. You’ll probably be surprised to learn that the best advice doesn’t always come from solicitors and accountants.

Is there another business problem that you’d like to see featured in the series? Have you suffered business problems yourself? Would you like to contribute your knowledge in an interview or a guest post?

If you’re a business owner, or you’re thinking of starting a business, this is a series you can’t afford to miss, so click here to subscribe in a feedreader.
A feedreader is a useful tool which will enable you to keep track of posts on hundreds of blogs. You can get one by clicking here: Google Reader.

Related Posts
Part 2: Risk and Money In Business

How Radar Can Improve Your Business

February 29, 2008

This is a guest post by Barbara Swafford of Blogging Without a Blog.

Image by The Art Guy

Most businesses are started with one great idea. We go for it, and put all of our eggs into one basket.

In reality, this can work…for awhile.

But, what happens when the economy takes a turn, your products/services lose their demand, or you get bored? Do you have another income source?

If not, financial ruin could result.

That’s where diversification comes in.

Being a story teller, I’ll share a small snippet of what we learned.

Years ago we started an excavation business. Knowing we could be shut down in the winter months due to snow, we incorporated snow removal into our plan. We later added mainline testing and wood recycling. Often, when one phase of the business was slow, other parts were not. Diversification kept the cash flowing, the jobs coming, and provided constant work for our employees.

If you have a store front, think beyond the obvious reason customers are coming in.

A gift shop sells gifts. A customer is coming in to find a gift (dah). Most likely, they will take the gift home, wrap it, and attach a card.

Add cards, wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, scissors and tape to your gift shop inventory. Consider offering a wrapping service for a small fee. Offer free wrapping with a purchase over $xx.xx. Expand this service to include wrapping items not purchased in your store, charging more, of course. The holidays could bring in tons of business. The key is to have beautiful paper, ribbons and bows. Make a statement, so others will ask “Where did you get that from?”

Take a Starbucks store for example. When you think Starbucks, you think coffee. But if you go into one of their stores, they offer bakery items, cups, prepackaged coffee, thermos bottles, candy, gift packs, and special blends (beans or ground).

A store front IT business could sell a small assortment of office supplies, or if you have a favorite brand of printer, consider becoming a dealer/distributor. Expand your services by offering the installation of upgrades. Set up an account files to notify customers when a new product is introduced to the market. Become a “computer doctor” who does house calls - not just for businesses, but for individuals as well.

A plumbing repair service could offer a small selection of faucets, shower heads, and hoses. Catherine, who works from home, could have an online store to which she could refer her customers. Also, when her employees go out on a service call, they could stock a few classic pieces in their vans, and offer to install a new one, if the old one is beyond repair. This could eliminate return service calls, saving time and money.

By analyzing your current business, there are many ways to add on sales, and/or to offer additional services.

We need to think like a customer. Make your business a “one stop shop”.

Most people are pressed for time.

Be prepared to give them what they need, even before they know they need it.

Use your radar.

Do you have a business you are trying to diversify?

Need help?

Leave a comment and let’s brainstorm.

You can read more great articles by Barbara at Blogging Without A Blog .

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