entrepreneurs

5 Ways To Thrive As An Entrepreneur

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For entrepreneurs to be successful, it requires lots of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. You have to practice your craft, implement your vision and refuse to give up.  There is no short cut, secret sauce or magic formula to becoming successful in business.  For those of us who are addicted to working hard, when you are an entrepreneur, it is very easy to get so consumed by “work, work, work, work” that we fail to stop and smell the roses. Upon some self-reflection, I realized that your desire to be successful in business should not cost your health, peace or happiness.  I had to take some time and assess why I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur and ensure that my motives or goals were in alignment with my desire to be healthy and happy.  The desire to be successful is not a virtue it is actually addictive.  There is no end date for achieving success.  Once you experience it you will want more and more success.  You can safeguard your overall well-being and find balance by applying these 5 tips to thrive as an entrepreneur.  These tools will help you develop healthy work habits, live a rich and fulfilling life as you climb the ladder to success.

(1) Practice work life balanceKnow your limit and work within it.  Avoid working so hard that your health and happiness pays the price.  As an entrepreneur, you are your own boss and have the power to determine how much work you will or will not do.  Know when to say no or not now.  Avoid saying yes to every opportunity.  You can become so busy with work that you will have time for yourself.  Create a consistent work schedule. Determine when and how long you will work.  Do not allow your clients or customers to dictate your work hours.  Be moderately accommodating but set clear hours of operation.  Stay active.  There are so many fun and cost effective ways to keep your body moving.  According to the Centre for Disease some of the benefits for exercise include reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mental health and lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes[1].  With all these benefits for exercise, make a commitment to be active.  Start with walking 20 to 30 min a day. Stretch before you go to bed, join a dance class, play your favorite sport or take swimming classes.   Block a time for lunch and breaks.  It is so easy to get so consumed by work you forget to eat.  I have been down that road and it is not a healthy habit.  Practice healthy and nutritious eating.  At the end of this article is a list of resources with healthy eating tips and nutritious recipes. Take time to smell the roses. Spend time with friends or family. Learn to enjoy your own company and make time just to pamper yourself.  Work is never ending. There is always more work to be done.  Practicing work-life balance will help you to avoid burn out and allow the best of you to shine through your business.

(2) Create a strong support system:  Your support system is your network of reliable, caring and trustworthy people.  This could include friends, advisors or relatives. These are the people the cheer you on, support your business, give you sound advice and have your best interest at heart. They strengthen you when you are weak, motivate you when you feel like giving up on your business, and ensure you remain on the path of success.  You can count on the people in your support system to be by your side when you need the most.  It is common for entrepreneurs to face disappointments, unstable income, no real financial security, and rejection.  Your support system will help you to build resilience and overcome hardships.   Always remember people are your greatest assets. As you climb the ladder of success, make sure to build some solid relationships along the way.

(3) Surround yourself with experts:  Depending on the nature of your business, you will need a team of experts such as an accountant, graphic designer, consultant, bookkeeper, web designer, and lawyer. The most effective way to find experts is to ask a friend for a referral and check their references. Ensure the experts you chose to hire are reliable, professional and show a high sense of integrity.  Reach out to professional associations to find an expert.  The last alternative is to try different experts trial and error to find a good expert but this could cause you to waste time and money.  The appropriate experts will help you to grow your business and make it more sustainable.

(4) Fine tune your marketing strategy:  Marketing is how you will attract new clients and earn money.  Clearly define your target audience and build a brand that reflects their values, needs or desires. Understand the demographics of your target market.  Ensure that your product or service is relevant to your customer base.  An effective way to market your company is to look beyond making a sale. Show interest in who your client is rather than how much money you can make from them, adjust your service or products to meet their needs.  Build authentic connections with your clients.  You can do this by getting to know your clients or treat them with empathy and respect.  This will make it easier for you to have repeat business and referrals.    Examine the marketing strategy for successful companies.  Look at their pricing and promotions strategies to see what you can incorporate.  The price of your product or service should reflect the quality of your service or product.   Expand your knowledge of how to market your business.  Take a paid course on marketing at a community college or try a free online course through Alison. (See link for details https://alison.com/courses/Marketing-Success-for-Business.  Marketing your company traditionally or online can be very time-consuming.  If you can afford a marketing expert, hire someone.  The benefit of hiring a professional is that you will have more time to will focus on developing other parts of your business.

(5) Build Resilience.  According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity or significant sources of stress.”[2]  Some of the ways you can build resilience is to be optimistic, develop self-confidence, set realistic goals, tap into your support system for help and learn how to manage stressful situations.  Entrepreneurs are bound to face unlimited rejections, setbacks, and failures.  It is imperative to bounce back and keep moving forward.   When you build a high level of resilience, you will certainly reach the next level of success in business.  Be conscious of your perspective of rejection and failure. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it” Charles Swindoll.  Instead of seeing NO as a rejection, you can view it as Next Opportunity.  Never take rejections or failures personally.  Without failure, it is impossible to measure your level of success or accomplishment.  It’s the only way to track the growth as an individual and the growth of your business. 

Entrepreneurs must adapt a winning attitude by refusing to quit.  As the saying goes if you get knocked down seven times get up eight times.  Success is not about racing to the top with no regard for who you hurt or exploit to get thee.  Success is about learning, evolving and growing as an individual while facing major bumps along the way.  Good entrepreneurs focus on the learning principle of business and making profits.  Exceptional entrepreneurs create a product or service that solves a problem in society while making money and enjoying the process.  Strive to be an entrepreneur who is influential and impactful. These 5 tips can serve as a blueprint for your path to success in both business and life.

-Written By Stacey Ann Berry, Founder of Bstellar Consulting Group

Resources for Healthy Eating:

Healthy Castle http://www.healthcastle.com

Jamie Oliver http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes

Eating Well http://www.eatingwell.com

Vegan

Happy, Healthy Life http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com

Kris Carr http://kriscarr.com/recipes

[1] Centre for Disease Control. Physical Health. 7/09/2016.  https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/

[2] American Psychological Association. The Road to Resilience. 7/9.16.  http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx

Stand Out From The Crowd Through Empathetic Marketing

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"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."- Mya Angelou

According to Dr. Mark Ingwer, the author of  Empathetic Marketing, understanding consumers core emotional needs will help you grow your business and develop loyal customers.  Empathetic marketing means to make your clients feel like they are worth more than a dollar sign. It also means you are willing to go the extra mile, even when it is not necessary.  If you want to become an empathetic marketer, it requires you to demonstrate your ability to build an emotional connection with your clients and show them that you care. As a result, your clients will feel like you value them as individuals, as well as, the relationship you developed with them.

Gary Vaynerchuk has a powerful story about empathetic marketing, which inspired me to write this article.  For Gary, "the best marketing strategy" is to care.  Gary shared a story about how it took him 2.5hrs, during a snowstorm, to deliver a package for a customer that was worth $45.00 while his company was making about $40,000 an hour.  Although the customer did not express appreciation for his extra efforts, this experience helped his company establish its competitive edge.  According to Gary,  “when you give more than you take you have leverage for life”.  When you invest so much in others, you can expect to get more than what you want when you need it.  In business you will get what you put in.  Sowing good seeds as an entrepreneur, will eventually bring you dividends. 

Be willing to go the extra mile even whether or not you will receive a return on your investment.  Do the right thing when no one is watching.  Be kind when it is difficult.  This is how you build a solid reputation for your business and strengthen your brand.   When your clients know that you care, they are usually eager to do repeat business with you or will recommend new clients. 

My beloved and late mother, who passed away in 2016, was the queen of empathetic marketing.  She truly understood the power of investing in people. As an innate nurturer with a heart of gold, who was the CEO of a tutoring business, she consistently showered her clients with advice, compassion and empathy.  As a result, her business grew based on referrals, not traditional marketing or advertising.  She also produced excellent results for her clients and built a solid reputation.  My mother had a loyal clientele that most entrepreneurs crave.

In a society where there are so many people who care about themselves and how they can use others to get ahead, it is very refreshing to find an entrepreneur whose mission is to help others with no expectations of making a sale. People love to feel validated and appreciated. When your clients know you appreciate them, you will certainly generate repeat business.  A great product or service speaks volumes, whether or not the person behind it has empathy, but entrepreneurs with big hearts are trend setters and legacy makers! 

People are inspired by business leaders who are courageous and compassionate.  The world is waiting for entrepreneurs who have "heart" and are not caught up in solely making profits.  The most successful entrepreneurs solve a problem, fill a void in the market place or produce a product that everyday people need.   

Empathetic marketing has to be done with balance. It is important to be mindful of people who do not value your business or respect your worth. This can make you vulnerable to those who will consciously or unconsciously take advantage of you. Protect your brand and be selective about who you do business with.  If you view kindness as a strength and not a weakness,  you will keep pushing forward in spite of a bad client or business deal that went wrong.  Mistakes and bad experiences are unavoidable but if you are determined to grow your business, you will overcome common challenges that many entrepreneurs are bound to face.

As long as you maintain a strong work ethic, commit to integrity, compassion and consistency,  people will be eager to do business with you.  When your product or service is high quality and you have the right business systems in place, making a profit is inevitable! If you desire to make a difference or leave a legacy, consider using empathetic marketing.

By: Stacey Berry , Founder Bstellar Consulting Group

Twitter and Instagram @bstellargroup

The Art Of Team Building

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Many people will agree, it is fun to collaborate with those who are easy to get along with.  What about collaborating with difficult people?  Your ability to get along with difficult people is essential for your success in business. You cannot avoid it.  You are bound to come across clients, co-workers or employees who are challenging. This could include people who do one or all of the following:

  • Underestimate your intellectual ability

  • Insult you or take advantage of your skills

  • Spread false information about you and your company

  • Refuse to pay for services you provide

  • Steal your intellectual property

  • Test your character;  The list goes on!

How you chose to respond to these types of people will either help or hurt your business. It will either strengthen or weaken your relationship with them.  You should not allow difficult people prevent you from doing your best.  Find ways to work with difficult people with the foal of building a team based on their skills they bring to the table. In order to expand your business or advance in a company that you work for, you will need the skills of those who are easy to get along with and those who are difficult people. Let wisdom be your guide and take the high road.  This is a great way to show your level of maturity.

Surround yourself with people who respect you and value your business.  There will be those who try to destroy your business but it will be very difficult if you put the right safe guards in place.  Be selective with you who put on your core team.  Select loyal people who truly have you and your company’s best interest at heart.  Select people who have a strong track record of helping other entrepreneurs grow their business or advance in their career.

Seek help from creditable entrepreneurs and assess who is on your team. Make referrals to entrepreneurs who produce high quality work and are reliable.  A bad referral will reflect badly on your business and make you appear untrustworthy.  

Give more than you take by sharing ideas and resources with others. Be mindful of those who only take and give nothing in return.  Focus on what you can bring to the table and show how you can add value to others.  Avoid taking anything personal  and hold no heart feelings.  Expect mistakes to happen but be quick to let it go and move on.

Build relationships by connecting people the right people together is a key part of being a team builder.  Team builders are great at connecting the dots. They are knowledgeable in specific subjects and enjoy sharing knowledge with others.  The ability to understand how different dots connect or work together, requires bringing the right people with the right knowledge or skill set to the table.

Collaboration is an essential component of team building.  For example, when I planned a health conference for one of my clients, my focus was to bring together a wide spectrum of professionals, such as, doctors, nutritionists, skin care specialist and other health groups.  Our common goal was to raise awareness about the factors that contribute to breast cancer and explore ways to minimize the risks.  

Some people avoid collaborating with others because they fear their ideas will be duplicated or stolen.  Fear of collaboration will block you from growing as an entrepreneur or professional.  Each person has their own DNA, perspectives and ideas that can add value to what you do.  Once you improve your collaboration skills you will become a stronger team builder.   

Many entrepreneurs work in silos with no support systems in place.  This can be frustrating and lonely.  There is no need to try to do to all alone.  This will make it hard for you to become sustainable and profitable. Connect to support groups for entrepreneurs like Hub Inc or Toronto Business Enterprise.   

When you work with others and build strong alliances, you will expand your client base, marketability, and strengthen your credibility.  

Remember there is no "I" in TEAM  As the saying goes “Together Everyone Achieves More.”  If you desire to leave your mark on this world, master the art of effective team building.

By Stacey Berry, Founder of Bstellar Consulting Group

Twitter and Instagram @bstellargroup