#entrepreneur

3 easy ways to use more technology in your business

2020-02-01T15:48:29+01:00 May 20th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Let’s face it. In 2019, if you are not riding the wave of technology, chances are your business is missing out on a world of opportunity. From sales through to operations, technology is simplifying traditional ways of working and improving efficiency. Interestingly it is still not a favourite topic for a lot of female entrepreneurs.  

An investment in technology can make all the difference in your business. I am not just talking Facebook and Instagram. Today, ease of use and flexibility for small business are key focus areas for tech providers when building their products. So we have less excuses not to embrace tech and many more reasons to love it.

Companies that use technology for competitive advantage will win in today’s fast-paced business environment

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If you like what you hear about technology but not sure how to get more of it in your business, here are some ideas.

#1 Hire a tech savvy person on your team.

You don’t have to go with a full time person if you’re just starting up. You can hire a freelancer on sites like Upwork, Fiverr or Freelancer. A part time virtual assistant with a tech background will do for a start. Task them with researching what tools are in the market and how your competitors are using them. If you like the results the tools can provide, make the investment and get your techie to integrate it into your business. With so much competition in the tech market, you can get tools at competitive prices, a lot of providers also offer flexible payment plans.

#2 Always default to automation first

Automation can save you a  lot of time and money. The golden rule is as long as it is a repetitive task, it can be automated, you don’t need to hire a dedicated person for the job. Today there are easy to use tools that automate almost every part of the business process. Marketing funnels, scheduled advertising, email, messaging, billing and payments automation, there are lots of options to choose from. So think of your end to end business process and and research the areas you can automate. The first thing you and your team should consider when you start a new project is how you can automate.

#3 Attend conferences and exhibitions.

One of the best ways to adopt the newest and brightest tech trends in your business is to attend industry events . You will find enthusiatic exhibitors keen to tell you about their products and how they can help your business grow. You also gain insight from other business owners in your niche who can share what works for them.

If you are thinking, “well my business runs as a service which I deliver myself, I don’t need technology”. As a business owner you should continuously think of how to grow and technology can help you do that. Think of how many more customers you can reach if you are advertising your services online and building an email list of clients interested in your services. Today the world is digital and there are so many tech tools that will help you achieve better results faster.

Smart entrepreneurs keep up with the times and use what works to serve their market. Technology works

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5 things to do when bootstrapping your Startup

2020-02-01T15:46:08+01:00 April 30th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Pitch decks, Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors are almost synonymous with Startups today. Now these are great ways to get funds but when you are starting your business, you probably do not need half a million pounds right away to grow. You may find that through self funding you can raise a good portion of the money you need to setup and get your first clients through the door.

Bootstrapping a startup business is the concept of using existing resources, what is already have in hand, to achieve a goal.

Is it easy? no it is not, particularly if you don’t have a regular source of income.

A lot of new business owners are already rockstars at doing the most with minimal resources (hands up mums in the house) The same applies when starting up your business. Don’t go pitching to investors just yet or procrastinate on starting your business because you have written up a startup valuation that seems out of reach.

Try these bootstrapping tips first.

Cut back on splurging

I guess this goes without saying. If you need the money then cut back on spend. That Fendi Baguette, or pair of Balmain boots will have to wait.

Build a business portfolio you can take to the bank first then you can splurge on luxuries later.

As you start to build the business keep an eye on expenses.

Surround yourself with inspiring and driven people

Ever felt like you needed some shopping therapy and then your girlfriend comes round to remind you – You Only Live Once? So you hit the stores and head into Soho for dinner, willing your savings goal to come back. Sadly a vision of Shrimp and Lobster with spicy lemon dressing for dinner at Nobu’s wins.

Ditch your goal-less friends while you bootstrap to grow your business. Find yourself some new friends that will keep you motivated.

Always go for the Best and Final Offer

Corporate giants do this stuff all the time.

When making a purchase to start your business, ask the seller for their best and final offer before placing an order. Do the same with other sellers then go for the most competitive price.

In other words, haggle like your life depends on it (professionally of course) If procurement teams at large corporates do this to save business costs, how much more your humble self? There is no shame in negotiating. Make your money work for you as you build your business.

One thing to be mindful of though is not to compromise quality for cost. Verify the quality of what the seller is offering before committing to the sale.

Use your vision board

Have a vision of what you want to achieve. If you don’t have a board that’s pinned up on your wall, keep a mental visual of what success feels like. Use this as your motivation when you feel like giving up.

Keep your big vision in mind. Fix your eyes on the prize – Always.

Get some assistance

Perhaps bank of mum and dad might be generous, or you have friends who believe in your idea and can support. Crowdfunding might be another way to go. Think of some alternative sources of raising money and use as many channels as you have available to you within your inner circle to secure your business funds.

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A guide for business growth

2020-02-01T15:38:19+01:00 April 16th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold|Tags: , , , , , , |

Deciding what is next for your business can be very confusing.

A growth model developed by Larry Greiner depicts phases every business must go through as it grows. The age and size of a business are variables that influence the growth rate. Over time new knowledge and resource is acquired, ideas are tried and tested and businesses learn from their mistakes and failures hence enabling their growth.

Understanding where your business sits in the model might provide some clarity for the next step on your growth journey. Our adaption of Greiner’s model applies five stages of growth and encourages you to understand what stage  your business is at.

1. Growth through creativity: In this early growth phase, you are likely launching a shiny new product or service to the market. As the business leader, you are involved in almost everything. You have the ideas and while you can do with some professional support you know just about enough of what to do to meet your objectives. To move from this stage to your next level of growth you will need to consider hiring some added hands to get more done.

2. Growth through direction: At this point your products have been launched,  you are hiring and directing a team to manage all the admin and support that comes with running a business. You now need those professionals you weren’t keen on in your creative phase to help you see the wood for the trees and get the business running productively and efficiently.

3. Growth through delegation: You may find it hard to let go of control and allow your delegates do their job. Worse still your delegates may actually be rubbish at their job and so you aren’t actually realising the benefits of the stage. Either way, you have a team and as your business continues to grow, delegation becomes a  crucial part of giving the founder and management capacity to focus on the bigger picture and determine the next initiatives.

4. Growth through coordination: In this stage, more emphasis is put on getting you and your delegates working in harmony to add more value to the business. As you look to enhance your business systems and processes, investments may also be made to facilitate growth.

5. Growth through collaboration: In its simplest term, collaboration is working together with groups or individuals to a common purpose in order to achieve a business benefit. When your business has gone through all other growth phases, collaboration either internally or externally can  facilitate growth. You birth new ideas and project through new alliances, networking, mergers, outsourcing or partnerships.

The phases are not meant to follow a linear approach. You may need to revisit a previous phase to be successful on the next. Businesses that cycle through these growth phases are constantly in a state of evolution as they prepare and position for their next stage of growth. It is worth noting that after each phase there may be a calm evolutionary period as the business realises success and moves to its next stage of growth or there may be a crisis that requires the business to stabilise and restrategise to move to its next level.

An adaptation of Larry Greiner growth model for businesses.

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Leaving your corporate job to run your own business

2020-02-01T15:25:50+01:00 April 1st, 2019|Categories: EMPLOYMENT & SIDE HUSTLE, Entrepreneur, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , |

EMPLOYMENT & SIDE HUSTLE

Have you spent years climbing the corporate ladder and made good progress but a continuous nudge to focus on developing your business idea overshadows your corporate ambition?

For some handing in a resignation can be the most liberating feeling, for others walking away from a developed career and constant stream of income is a mixed feeling of anxiety, fear and self doubt.

The higher you are in the corporate world, the more difficult it is to walk away from all you’ve achieved and start on your business.

So at what point is it right to make the transition from your paid employment to focus on your business? Simply put, there is no perfect time. You make the decision and take the bold step out of the corporate world to build your dreams. You can however reduce the risks of exit from your paid job and increase your chances of success by preparing for the business journey ahead.

Here are things to consider when leaving a corporate job to run a business.

Decide on your life goals and ambition

It is important you become self employed for the right reasons. If you pursue something you are passionate about such as creating something or solving a problem and you enjoy making your own decisions, working for yourself and building your own legacy then you are more likely to find the motivation to keep you going during tough times of running your business.

Review your personal circumstances

Ensure you have reviewed your finances and have a plan to sustain your livelihood as you scale your business. You may need to make cuts and adjustments in your lifestyle to fit your budget. A savings of at least six months of paid income would give you a good buffer on your personal finances as you work on monetising your business.

Have a separate plan to finance your business costs and be diligent about keeping track of your spend.

Remember profits from your business isn’t always guaranteed so having a cushion you can fall back on during dry spells is key.

Build your business plan

Your business plan needs to be ambitious enough to keep you motivated and energised, you also need actionable goals to get you started on generating an income for your business. Consider the actions you need to get your product or service to market, acquire customers and close sales.

Do enough research to understand the market and build a viable plan with a high chance of success.

Start while you are still employed

This is the path a lot of founders take to grow their business. Asides from received a steady dependable source of income to help with your finances as you scale your business, you are also in a position to test the market and your business plan before venturing out full time. It is important though that you ensure there are no contractual or work conflicts with your business and employment as you do this.

Build your Support System

This includes the people in your inner circle that will keep you motivated and balanced as well as the habits you need to maintain to be a successful entrepreneur. Stress management, time management, your social networks, health and wellbeing are areas you need to be mindful of as you build a support system.

In addition consider the professional support you will need for your business. Legal and taxes are areas you do not want to gamble on, so you may need the services of a lawyer, book keeper or accountant. It may even be necessary to get some professional support in areas that allow you more time to focus on your business, such are marketing or administrative services.

Have a back-out plan

By this I don’t just mean an exit strategy for your business when it becomes profitable. If your business idea fails consider the options you might want to pursue to either try again if you still believe in the idea or a completely different idea you might want to pursue. This might even mean returning to paid employment while you work on rebuilding.

Decisions are not always easy. Leaving your corporate job to run a business is a decision only you can make. You can however prepare for the unknown keeping all of the pointers mentioned in mind.

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How to maintain a fit lifestyle while working

2020-01-24T14:05:33+01:00 January 10th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Active people are energized to  think smart and work smart

An active lifestyle increases your chances of a healthy life. When you make staying active part of your daily life, you’re energised, more alert, you do better at work and you become more confident.

Many of us spend our days in the workplace sat in on meeting after meeting, hour after hour . Long periods of sitting is said to lead to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. The World Health Organization even lists inactivity as the fourth biggest risk factor for global adult mortality,

Here are some ways to incorporate some activity into your work life depending on if you have an office for your business or work from home.

  • Walk or Cycle to work
  • Drive at least part of the way to work or try parking your car further away from the entrance
  • Volunteer for the coffee run
  • Start an office fitness challenge
  • Have standing meetings
  • Walk across the hall to talk to a coworker instead of sending an email
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Take a longer, roundabout way to your desk
  • If schedule permits, try going for a run or take a long walk during lunchtime.

Healthy habits also go a long way in keeping you fit

Sit right

You probably spend more time at your desk than any place other than your bed. So when you’re sitting in front of it, it’s important to do it properly. Adjust your chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees and arms are at a 90-degree angle. Adjust your computer screen so that your eyes are even with the top edge. Angle the screen so it’s tilted slightly upward toward your eyes.

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes

Taking the stairs looks a lot less appealing when you’re in towering high heels or a stiff suit. If you must, have some comfy shoes around and perhaps a lighter wear under the stiff suit to help you move around easier.

Stretch

When you sit for an extended period of time, your body and mind falls asleep. Occasionally, you get up for a walk or a stretch. This will wake you up and get the blood flowing through your body (and your brain).

Messy Desk

An unkempt work area can cause stress and lead to inefficiency. Furthermore, your desk, phone, and computer are notorious for harboring germs. Once each week, clean your workspace with antibacterial wipes. Organize your desk in a way that minimizes strain on your body, and keep things in their place. If you need help, look around the office at coworkers’ desks, and ask them for tips.

Relax, Look on the bright side and Make your health a priority

When you are chasing a day full of meetings your stress levels are probably sky-high and stress has a terrible impact on your health and wellbeing. Therefore one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and fit is to learn how to relax.

Healthy people are more optimistic than unhealthy people. They don’t waste time and energy complaining. If they think they need to make a change in their life, they do it. They know that a positive mental attitude goes a long way toward promoting other healthy behaviors in their lives

Heathy people make a conscious effort to be healthy in especially busy or stressful times, it’s easy to let life get ahead of you.

Achieving healthy habits while at work is a mind game. Overcome your personal discouragements, believe in yourself, and take it one step at a time into a heathier, energized and more productive new you.

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