Oct 182012
 

birth orderI’m the oldest of four children. There are many theories about this and how birth order affects personality traits. My three brothers will tell you that I’m bossy and probably that’s because as many oldest children I was put in the role of surrogate parent.

The oldest is an overachiever, natural leader, and authoritarian. S/he also tends to be reliable, conscientious and a perfectionist. Firstborns are typically aggressive and they’re model children who have a strong need for approval from anyone in charge.

Some of these characteristics match mine but not all of them.

What I do know is that they all helped me become an entrepreneur. Here’s how …

  • creative – if something isn’t there, we assume we have to create it. (I was born in 1950 so there was a lot of creating necessary.)
  • educator – when we create something it takes a lot of educating people about it AND we’re good at training our clients and our staff.
  • leadership – goes without saying that this is one trait that all entrepreneurs have.
  • overachiever – we work hard to accomplish our goals and we’re persistent.
  • reliable – we really need to have our clients rely on us.
  • aggressive – this needs to be toned down. As a boomer we can be less aggressive.

Entrepreneurs have many more traits but these match with birth order. Where do you rank in the family? What traits do you have that would be good when you start a business?

photo credit: janwillemsen via photopin cc

Oct 072012
 

twitterAre you starting a business? Or are you a boomer with a business who thinks twitter is only for young people and you don’t understand how to use it? Don’t be afraid because here’s a step by step way with the steps you need to do for several weeks (or months) at the beginning.

Know who your client is. You hear this repeatedly for everything you do in business and it holds true here too. You must know who you want to attract before you begin anything.

Have a website. Nearly all businesses in 2014 have a website so they can be found. Even if you don’t have any products (yet), your business is local or your business all comes from referrals you must be able to be found online.

how to start a businessPassword. Choose one for use with twitter. You probably have passwords for several sites by now so write it down wherever you keep all your passwords.

Create your profile in twitter. What do want to be known for? Download a “friendly” picture of you. Twitter will size it to fit so choose a “headshot“. Remember to put your website in so that when people look at your profile they can click on the link to your website and learn more about you and what you do.

Spend 10 minutes a day. To start add the names of people you know in business and see if they’re on twitter. See who they follow. Look at the profiles of those they follow. If they fit your definition of your ideal client OR if they’re in the field you’re looking at then “follow” them.

Retweet. Read tweets written and then retweet those by people who have something that your ideal clients would be interested in. For example I retweet most things by Susan Ward who is @boostbiz in twitter because she is a web developer (and she did my websites) and those by Suzan St Maur a writer and a prolific blogger who is @SuzanStMaur

Eventually if you retweet somebody often enough they thank you by tweeting their thanks and list your twitter “handle” (it will be @thenameyouchose).

 All you have to do when you begin is retweet what others have written. Just choose the “right” people and “right” tweets.

That’s all you have to do to start. Spend 10 minutes 5 days out of 7 and go on to twitter at different times of the day.

Tell me what worked the best for you. Try these tips and let me know if they work for you.

 

photo credit: Scott Beale via photopin cc

Sep 282012
 

my businessNo matter what anybody says, the business is yours. You are where “the buck stops”. You’re also the one who can leave when you want, have coffee with whomever you wish, and take holidays when you want them.

So why don’t you? You feel frightened and overworked and don’t get to have or do the business in the way you started. You CAN set up and “train” your clients in just the way you want to work. What? Yep, run your business just the way you want.

Do this as a startup business or later. Any time is alright. Remember that you lost a few “friends”  when you first began your business? If you do this, you may lose a few clients who aren’t “perfect” for you anyway. What’s important is how YOU want to live.

Set boundaries for your clients to follow. Remember that only you know they’re boundaries. Clients will think that’s just the way you run your business.

Here’s what to do …tell prospects how to work with you

  1. have a different phone number for your business even if you work from home. Answer this phone during the hours and on the days that you specify.
  2. pay yourself first before you pay any bills. Then pay the others.
  3. call or email back on certain days, at certain times or within x hours – you specify. With technology like voice mail messages, cell phones, and the internet, people expect you to return their “call” right away. If you want to – good. If you don’t, then do this. I’ve been a trainer and so was only available at lunch time or the next day. My clients knew that they’d get the same kind of service when it was their turn for training so they didn’t expect me to get back to them immediately.
  4. put your policies on your invoices, your brochures and your website so people know exactly what to do.
  5. tell people how to deal with you when you first meet them. It’s common courtesy.
  6. do exactly what you say you will. People don’t like it when you say you’ll meet them at 2:00 p.m. and then you show up at 2:30 p.m. without calling! (You can tell that bothers me.)

There’s a lot more you can think of now that I have you started. Sit back and imagine just how you want your life to be, then list what you have to do in your business to achieve that.

What have you done about how you work and what you’d like clients to do?
photo credit: Alex Osterwalder via photopin

Jul 192012
 

partnership - connectingOver the 40+ years (you can tell that I’m an “older” baby boomer!) that I’ve been self employed I’ve owned several businesses and like many entrepreneurs have done many things. I’ve had partners twice and both were men. I did several things wrong in my first one and vowed not to do the same things in the second. So I asked the second fellow when he was still a potential partner to write down what he thought he was responsible for and good at doing and I would do the same. (Picture courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net )

Eventually that didn’t work because I looked at both lists, saw that his was all about “being” and mine was all about “doing” and thought that even though this was the case, it was something I could deal with. I couldn’t.

But there were good things in both partnerships too. Not everything was troublesome.

I learned from them and now that I’m older and wiser I would do things differently. I want to share four things to do with you baby boomers who are thinking of going into a partnership or are in one already.

Four things to do if you have a partnership or are thinking of getting into one.

  1. Make a list.Have each person make a list of what they’re responsible for as they understand it. Be as detailed as possible. For example don’t just write marketing but list some of what’ll be done such  “Put profiles on facebook, twitter and linkedin. Send out press releases. Attend networking events.”Analyze these lists. Do they complement each other? Do the things on them overlap? Is anythin important to the business missing?
  2. Discuss money. What attitude do each of you have toward money? Do you talk about it? Do you spend it as soon as you get it? Do you save it?
  3. Get a mediator. My first partner and I were in both a personal and the business relationship. So when we broke up personally we went to a therapist because we knew our ownership ratio in the business was an emotional issue. We decided there what the percentages should and then we went to our lawyer and had him do it. We saved a lot of legal fees that way.We waited too long. Our lawyer had told us before we started the business that a partnership is like marriage. Get the agreement at the beginning while you are friends not at divorce time.
  4. Take the KOLBE.This is a useful test both people should take and you can do it online. I took it years ago (before the internet) and my results are the same today as when I took it. As with many tests there are four quadrants. Go to their website at kolbe.com and check it out. There is a sample there that shows you what you learn.

Try these things. They don’t predict success but they will ensure that your partnership will work or not.

What other things have you with partners tried? Did they work? Tell everyone.

Jun 142012
 

Boomer womanWe all know that as baby boomers we are the largest group in the population. As a result as we age there has been no end to products and services directed at us (I’m a boomer born in 1950. You can do the math to figure out how old I am.) There are ads on TV and in magazines that will help you look young. There are articles about how to stay young. There is even software you can buy that will stimulate your thinking and keep you young. Everything is about anti-aging. (Picture courtesy of: FreeDigitalPhotos.net )

Have you ever thought that starting a business will keep you young?

I know that running a business is a lot of work but women business owners that I interview in my blog category called Women Business Owner Interviews all say that what they like most about being self employed is the freedom it gives you.

Why start a business to keep young?

Every article I’ve read says that you need several things to keep you young (look at Betty White, Don Rickles, William Shatner and Christopher Plummer) and having your own business provides all of them.

  • the variety of work that clients have you do
  • building relationships with clients and colleagues (and relatives)
  • the time flexibility – you choose when to work and how much
  • learning new things like a language. Finance, marketing and technology have languages that are new to you.
  • feeling and knowing that you’re useful. In business you’re always helpful to your clients.

Don’t listen to your friends and relatives. Check it out for yourself. One of the women who I interviewed, Janet Williams was influenced by another student in her reflexology course who was 71. When Janet asked her why she wanted to start her own reflexology business she said: “You’re never too old.” So Janet decided that she could too.

Listen to the words of the songYoung At Heart“. I just heard the version by Frank Sinatra on the radio and have a CD of Jimmy Durante singing it. My mom always sang it to me when I was a child, too. I guess that’s why I think young :-)

 

What are your thoughts? If you haven’t started yet, what’s stopping you? Any of the many women entrepreneurs can motivate you. If they can do it then why not you!

 June 14, 2012  Posted by  Startup Business Tagged with: , ,  2 Responses »
May 072012
 

As a baby boomer you have a lifetime of knowledge and experiences. Each time I interview a woman business owner for this blog (see the Category on the right side?) I always ask about their background and whether it led to their current business. About one-third of them say they have their own business in the field they chose years ago.

recycleAll say though that they’ve used their past experiences in their present business. They were able to “recycle” their knowledge. (Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net )

It’s never too late to start a business. You may know little or nothing about running a business but you have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in your job/ life.

Reusing your knowledge in many formats is not only done every day but it’s smart business. You DON’T have to “start from scratch”. You have a goldmine of knowledge already.

Here are 6 places you can take from:

  1. articles
  2. case studies
  3. live events
  4. print magazines or newspapers
  5. research reports
  6. print newsletters

Remember that the experience and generic knowledge belongs to you. If you use anything “as is” just be sure to ask permission and give credit to the company where you were at the time.

You can reuse this knowledge not only in your practice but also in many of your marketing activities.

I wrote a blog post about where to use the email replies you send to clients. Utilize the same places here:

  1. Write a tip.
  2. Put it in your blog (that’s another way to always have ideas for content).
  3. Make it into an article for your newsletter by rewriting it to be 500 to 800 words long.
  4. Submit it to online article sites like ezinearticles.com
  5. Put it on your website.
  6. Send the longer form of it to “physical” newspapers.
  7. Send the longer form of it to “physical” magazines.
  8. Have it be one of many tips in an ebook or physical book you put together.

 

That should get you started. Tell me in the Comments section any other places you reused your knowledge from.

Mar 032012
 

target marketYou have an idea of what you will sell to whom, don’t you?

Now that you’ve taken most of the seven actions listed it’s time to get more specific and decide WHO your target market or niche is. Whether you’re starting your business or have been a business owner for years, every year you should review who and what your target market is. I did in 2011 since many things had changed in my life. I used Judi Hughes of Your Planning Partners and took a telecourse from Tsufit called Step into the Spotlight. They really helped me focus on what I have to offer and to whom.

6 ways to help find your target market

1. Go to bed with it (what is your target market) on your mind then let it go and fall asleep. That’s what Jack Canfield did to get the name for the book series he co-authors with Mark Victor Hansen call Chicken Soup for the Soul.

2. Meditate. Put this as a question BEFORE your meditation then let it go.

3. Contemplate all that you’ve learned from books, telecourses, conferences, your coach and newsletters you get. What do you REALLY sell to whom?

4. Daydream. We all have daydreams, don’t we? Look at them. Take them seriously. You may see your target market.

5. Imagine what you’d be doing on your ideal day. Who are you doing it for? What are you doing?

6. Listen to your coach (be sure they really know you) and consider what the leader of each telecourse you take says.

 

BELIEVE! Most importantly, what do have PASSION for? What do you need? What solution do you have for a problem?

Tell us what problem you can solve with your solution. Who is YOUR target market?

Feb 242012
 

attend conferencesHave you ever gone to a conference? They usually have a lineup of speakers, panels, and topics to pick from. They have concurrent sessions and sometimes two of the sessions you really want to go to are at the same time. How do you choose? By the speaker? by the topics? do you “toss a coin”? Decisions Decisions …

1. How do you find out about conferences?

Ask the same people you asked about what newsletter to subscribe to  (#3 in my list of 8 actions) or courses to take (#5 in my list of 8 actions) or books to read (#4 in my list of 8 actions). I’ll repeat them and I’ll add one more.

  • Ask your mentor and your coach which ones they go to. Ask them which ones they recommend. Have a list of what’s offered that you’re considering when you ask them.
  • Read websites and the conferences the business owners suggest. Add these to your list and ask your mentor or coach or someone who’s attended before.
  • Ask other women at networking events.
  • Check out the ones the writers/ owners of the newsletters you subscribe to attend or speak at.
  • Ask someone who’s gone to AND participated in the conference you’re thinking of attending.
  • Use a search engine on your computer like google. Enter a word or phrase that best describes what you’re in/ looking for. For example: marketing, startup, chiropractic, alternative health or lifestyle coaching. How do you describe your business when you tell others what you do? Enter that phrase.

2. How do you choose whether to attend or not?

Location. Is it too far for you to go or is it in your city?

Cost. Add up accommodations, travel, attendance fee and your time and get the REAL cost of an event. Can you afford it?

Contacts. How many will you make? Remember you don’t just want to meet the presenters in person but you should network with the other attendees.

Professional Development. What will you learn? Could you read it in a book? Take a webinar or telecourse?

Timing. Do the dates conflict with anything you’ve already committed to?

Use the criteria above. If the contacts and your professional development and learning outweigh the costs and you can make the time for this then go. Don’t let yourself be swayed by the urgency that many conference organizers put on deciding. Do your “due diligence” just as you did before starting the business then decide if it’s right for you.

3. How do you choose which sessions to attend?

Speaker. Is there one of them you really want to hear and meet and that’s why you came?

Topic. Would you learn more from one topic than the other?

Recording. All events record the speakers. Could you buy the recording of the one you choose NOT to attend?

Is someone else going to that session and taking notes? That’s why networking is so important. Ask the people sitting near you at the conference what they do. Arrange to meet them for coffee or lunch or dinner. Which sessions are THEY attending?

Associations. Do you have any associations you belong to who have an annual conference? Who attends this?

Do This …

Share with us which conferences worked “best” for you. Tell us the name so we know, too :-)

 

Feb 142012
 

take courses, webinars and teleclassesYou take courses for at least two reasons to learn and to meet people. Keep learning! Keep networking!

Kinds of Courses

  1. “Live” Course. This is just as it says. You’re in a seminar or course with a group of people in a physical place like a hotel. Pros: networking with people, “personalized” attention from instructor Cons: cost – your time to get there, parking and fuel, no free “recording” of the course.
  2. Telecourses (phone courses) or Webinars These are a new use of an existing technology – phones or computers. Pros: recording of the sessions if you have to miss one, cheaper, no travel time for you or the instructor, no cost for parking, can get a replay if you’re not available, you can use your laptop computer for webinars Cons: networking with other participants is difficult or impossible, you may be at a client and therefore no access to long distance or computers, difficult to get to someplace with wireless access for webinars

You can see that both types have their pros and cons. For me who can’t travel as easily since my stroke (if a seminar is in town I either have to pay for a taxi or find another participant to give me a ride) the telecourses and webinars are perfect. I can take several each year and I never have to leave home. Thank goodness for technology:-) But choose for yourself.

Why Take Courses?

  1. Well, as a lifelong learner I believe in education and learning. So you should never stop learning. Even if it’s a free teleclass as long as the advertising of the speaker’s next course they’re offering is kept to a minimum, sign up for them. The good news is that all teleclasses are recorded. The bad news is that the slides used in a webinar aren’t always available.
  2. Networking is the first kind of marketing I always suggest. At a live seminar you can choose the other students you wish to and talk with them or set up to meet them. You also have an opportunity to meet the instructor in person (skype takes care of that if you take a telecourse).

How do hear about them?

Ask the same people you asked about what newsletter to subscribe to (#3 in my list of 8 actions) and books to read (#4 in my list of 8 actions). I’ll repeat them here.

  • Ask your mentor and your coach which ones they go to or listen to. Ask them which ones they would recommend. Have a list of what’s offered that you’re considering.
  • Read websites and go to the ones the business owners suggest.
  • Ask other women at networking events.
  • Check out the ones the writers/ owners of the newsletters you subscribe offer.

 

Remember to check them out before you spend the money. Take a free teleclass they give. Make a list of what matters to YOU. Make sure professional development costs are in your planning budget.

Early in 2011, I  took a group coaching program/ telecourse for 10 weeks from Tsufit  – “Step Into Spotlight Live” at  http://tsufit.com/blog/ and it was very productive. Often I’m called a “marketing expert” and that’s because I keep learning – through books, newsletters, telecourses and conferences. But I learn the most from YOU – my students and followers. YOU ask the questions and if I know I tell you the answer. If I don’t know I tell you and then search to learn it and then tell YOU :-)

That’s how it works. It’s okay to not know the answer. Just ask … then you’ll know :-)

What don’t you know? Ask here and I’ll give you answer AND so will others!

Feb 102012
 

Reading is wonderful. I’ve always loved to read – anything :-) Buying books is one of my only my booksaddictions. So entering a bookstore is a “dream come true” for me. I was so happy when they first opened coffee shops IN bookstores. Now I can start reading what I’ve bought. But enough about me.

Have passion for your business topic and love to learn.

You can learn a lot from books. Recently I decided I wanted to learn more more about a concept called neuromarketing. I had the name of several books so when I had the opportunity to go a bookstore I could scan them and decide which ones were for me. I ended up buying two of them.

read booksForms of books

It used to be that there were two forms for books – hardcover and paperback. I know you could also get “books on tape” or books with large fonts. Now there are also ebooks. More authors are making sure their book besides being on paper is also an ebook.

It’s really difficult to choose an ereader because each book chain has its own. But that’s another post.

What should you read?

  • It goes without saying that you need to read books about your topic. It’s professional development (here in Canada you can deduct Professional Developments books and not just courses) or Research and Development and it should be ongoing. So if you took a course and think you can stop learning then you can’t.
  • Go beyond your topic. Stay at the leading edge. That’s why I’m reading books about “neuromarketing”.
  • Read about how to start a business and how to market. Remember that you can’t know too much.

Where can you learn what you should read?

 

Tell me what books you’re reading. As you know, I love to know about them :-) Share the titles with everyone!