Category Archives: Good business

Are You Leading Your Business With a Limp?

Do you find yourself leading your business with a limp?

Let me explain further…

For many women business owners, one of the biggest challenges in their business is learning to delegate.

Perhaps it’s one of yours as well.

They find it difficult to determine which tasks and projects should be delegated and who should take them. It’s stressful and frightening for them. I’ve been there and understand. Fortunately and happily, when they give up some control (typically the day-to-day operations of the business), they’re able to truly step up to the leadership and CEO role to grow their business.

Reluctance to delegate cripples not only your effectiveness as a leader, but also your ability to grow your business.

Determining the best course of action when it comes to delegation is a primary focus of a true Online Business Manager. Through effective delegation, an Online Business Manager will help you increase sales, boost productivity to increase ROI, save money, and create more time. You’ll finally be able to put a value on the time you spend on your business.

You may be wondering why an Online Business Manager would focus so much on delegation. Simply put, delegation is the best way to take a business to the next level. If your business generates multiple 6-7 figures, it’s time to delegate to grow.

Behind every successful business is a well-planned delegation strategy.

The CEO can’t do everything herself, and she needs her Online Business Manager and team to carry out the tasks and projects that bring her ideas to life.

As the CEO and Visionary, your job is to create and strategize, and delegating gives you time and energy to do that.

How does delegation help you grow your business and step into your CEO role?

  • When you delegate, you bring everyone’s strengths to the table and utilize them in the best way, including your own. You elevate your team by encouraging them to do what they do best and what they enjoy.
  • You also elevate yourself by getting out of those low-level tasks you’re not suited for and don’t enjoy. You create more time to do what you do best, just as your team does.
  • When everyone is performing to the best of their abilities, they love their jobs and go the extra mile. Everyone is more productive, sales increase, and your business can’t help but grow and prosper.
  • Your team, vendors, and clients have a clear picture of who plays which role in the business. They stop going to you for everything.

What happens when you don’t delegate?

  • No one’s strengths are utilized to the fullest, including yours. Everyone is simply trying to get everything done.
  • You stay stuck in those low-level tasks and feel burned out and overwhelmed. You have very little time to do what you do best, and your business stagnates – or worse, regresses because you can’t lead it as effectively as you should.
  • Nobody’s working to full potential and your team members don’t enjoy their jobs as much as they could or should. Productivity and sales suffer, which can cripple the business over time.
  • Your clients, vendors, and team go to you for everything, further adding to your stress and causing you to hit the ceiling. You’re working way too many hours on tasks and projects others should be doing.

I know it’s hard to give up a little control of parts of your company. Your business is a direct extension of you, and it’s your finest work. It’s hard to let go of something you’ve worked so hard to create, but when you delegate to an Online Business Manager, you’re free to create, generate revenue and have an impact in the world.

When you delegate, you free your business (and you) to move to the next level. You have the time and energy to move into your role as CEO and Visionary, and your business continues to grow and prosper.

Mistakes New Coaches Make In Business

Most Coaches start out in business for reasons such as, wanting to quit their full time job and be their own boss, or they want to gain the financial and personal freedom of being an entrepreneur, they also want to help people and make a difference in their life. No matter what the reason is, being a Coach is a fantastic profession to go in. However, what many Coaches don’t realize until they are in the beginning stages of their Coaching career is that starting a coaching business is not always as easy as it seems. Many Coaches struggle trying to make it work and trying to make that leap to a successful Coaching business. In this report I will share with you eleven mistakes new Coaches make that are holding them back from reaching their ultimate goal of having a successful business.

Mistake #1: Spending too much time getting ready!

Many Coaches spend too much time preparing themselves to get started. They work on their website, their marketing materials, finishing up their Coaching training, and focusing too much on “getting their ducks in a row” instead of getting out there and start Coaching. Many also feel that they are not ready to Coach because they think they are not good enough yet but to be honest, you won’t learn until you go out there and Coach. You will only learn how to make it better once you notice the mistakes you make while you make them or you realize that you could make some changes in certain areas but the key to becoming a good Coach is you must practice! Think about the time you started a new job, you didn’t prepare yourself for weeks or months to start that job, no you learned and got better by doing. It is all a learning curve.

Mistake #2: Don’t have a Coach that can guide them in the process

Every Coach should have their own Coach that can guide them to move forward and to help them get through the things that are holding them back. Especially if you are a new Coach it is extremely important to work with a Coach to help you move forward. Of course you can try to figure things out on your own and spend a lot of time and a lot of money on things that are not working. Where, if you would work with a Coach that has already been there and done it, and learn from them, you can get to where you want to be much faster.

If you are worried about not being able to afford a Coach, especially when first starting out, then consider this… how can you expect others to pay for your Coaching services if you don’t even pay for a Coach? Also, think about the amount of money and time you waste on things that are not working or trying to figure things out on your own? Some Coaches even work with you on the fees and some even agree on some sort of barter service.

Mistake #3: Don’t collaborate – they rather stay an army of one!

As a Coach, it is important to collaborate with others either in the same industry or they can even be in a completely different industry. Many Coaches think they are in business by themselves but the truth is that only when you collaborate with like minded individuals will you get to where you want to be… create an army of many rather than staying an army of one! Collaboration is the key to success because you can build business relationships, do business together such as webinars, seminars, workshops, even co-author a book, create products, and help each other grow. When you collaborate with other Coaches or experts in the industry they can promote you to their network and you can promote them to your network, that’s a win, win situation.

In today’s time and age you can even collaborate with individuals all over the world, and build your business on a nation-wide and even world-wide level.

Mistake #4: Doing too much training and not applying what they learn – Apply as you learn

Have you ever thought to yourself that you have to complete this one course before you can start, or you still need to take this course and that course, and maybe even this other course too? Too many Coaches get stuck in the “learning phase” where they take all sorts of different online courses trying to sharpen their skills or trying to learn more things that they can offer their clients but instead of applying what they learn, while they learn it, they continue taking courses without applying the things they have learned. They best way to learn something is by doing and applying the things you have learned.

Mistake #5: Giving away their services for free or not charging enough

Beginner Coaches often feel that they can’t charge much or at all for their services because they are just starting out and they are not very experience yet. Now let me ask you this, do you think doctors who just finished medical school offer their services for free? No! They charge for their services because they went to school for many years to learn how to be a doctor and they are providing a service. The same applies to Coaches, they have gone through training, they have learned how to be a Coach and they too provide a service. You also don’t need to tell clients that you are just a beginner or that you haven’t had that many Coaching hours, if they don’t know, don’t advertise it. You are an expert and you should position yourself and present yourself as an expert because you most likely will know more about Coaching than your clients.

Now, in regards to how much to charge, even when first starting out you can charge more than just $50 or $75, you should base it of your demographics and your target market.

Mistake #6: Don’t choose a specific Niche

Many Coaches don’t choose a specific niche, they want to help anyone and everyone, the only problem with being too broad is that it makes it harder to find clients. Any marketing strategies would be like throwing mud against the wall, some sticks but most of it falls down. It’s the same with marketing to everyone; it would not be very effective. Instead, choose a specific niche and become an expert in that niche, for example a life Coach that specializes in goal setting or finding your dream and passion; another example would be a relationship Coach that focuses on helping divorcees find their way after divorce. By choosing a niche you can target your marketing towards your target market, in this case it would be individuals who are going through a divorce or individuals who want to find their true passion. Choosing a niche will make your marketing efforts much more effective.

How to Make Your Business Financially Fit

Steve is a successful business owner who takes his business very seriously. He focuses on growing his business and has several employees. People love his products and services and are sharing them with others. What Steve is struggling with is making his business financially fit. It seems like his business is always tight, and he is barely making it each month. Sound familiar?

This is what we hear from many business owners. They want to grow and be successful, but they are missing some tools to assist them in staying profitable. Here are four tools you can implement into your business to be financially fit.

1. Know Your Overhead Cost – It is easy to know what the cost is of each product or service you sell, but many business owners fail to include their overhead cost when figuring their numbers.

Profitable businesses know what their profit is on each product or service after their overhead cost is included. Overhead costs often include, administrative expenses like office supplies. Other expenses may also include marketing and advertising, employee related, facilities and equipment, vehicle related expenses, insurance, and tax related expenses.

Companies should know the percentage of breakdown related to each product sold, each procedure or job performed, or each service that is provided.

This allows the business owner to price their products and services at the right price. If the overhead cost is not included, it can cause the business to lose money on each sale that they are making.

2. Manage Your Cash Flow Regularly – Cash flow is so important for a financially fit business. If a company does not have a good eye on their cash flow, it can cause them to struggle every month.

Knowing what money you have coming in, and what money you have going out each week and each month will help you to know what you need to bring in each week to manage the bills that are going out.

It will also assist you with meeting goals like buying that piece of equipment that will make you more profitable or investing the money to increase overall profitability. Look at a statement of cash flows; a statement of cash flows will show you what money is coming in and what money is going out each month.

3. Pay Attention to Your Numbers Each Month -Waiting until the end of the year to get your bookkeeping in place for your tax accountant can be a very costly mistake. A financially fit business pays very close attention to how the business is doing on a weekly and monthly basis.

They know how much they need to make each week in order to be a profitable business. They also look at their financials each month to see what they need to do in order to improve the next month overall performance.

If a company fails to do this, they have no way of making important business decisions because they don’t know where they are at. Not know where your business is at will cause your business to fail. If a business isn’t growing, they are dying.

4. Know Your Financial Ratios – Many business owners don’t know what business ratios they need to track in order to be profitable. Knowing the right ratios can help a business owner know what decisions they need to make to move their business in the right direction.

As an example, one of the ratios that a business needs to track is the current ratio. This ratio will help them track how healthy their business is. A healthy business will have at least a 2 to 1 ratio, so $2 in assets for every $1 in liabilities. If the business is carrying inventory, it is important to have a 4 to 1 ratio.

Ways To Make Your Business Work Harder

Many business owners are working so hard at their business that they fail to enjoy the rewards of being the business owner. If you are letting the life of your business overrule the business of living your life, then it is time to begin turning the tides.

Finding ways to make your business work harder for you and your family is the reason we all started our businesses in the first place. If your business is obstructing your efforts to enjoy life with friends and family, this is a problem. We all know a lot of work goes into building a successful business, but if it is consuming all your time, effort and energy… is it worth it?

Why this coordination is important:

Every time you find new ways to help your family benefit from the efforts of your business, your life balance and family life improves.

If your business consumes your entire life and your family life suffers because of it, your spouse and children may actually resent the time that you spend there. Even if it provides a great deal of income, the value of family and social life may be sacrificed.

Make your business help you, your family and your social life. You will be happier, healthier and live a longer more rewarding life.

5 Ways To Consider:

Consider paying children’s education expenses as wages for work

Many small business owners make a good living and have higher than average incomes. This can cause their family to qualify for little to no college financial aid when their children are ready to attend college.

If you are going to have to pay for it anyway, why not pay your children to help out at your small business. Pay them as an employee, contractor or consultant to do work for you and your business.

If you pay them enough to cover their college costs, you will receive a tax deduction for the cost of their college education by deducting their income from your business. They will be responsible for helping out with your business and they may surprise you with how much value they add to the business. New ideas, new technology, a new and different viewpoint might be just what your business needs.

Schedule family vacations around business travel

When a family vacation is something you’re considering, think about coordinating it around a work trip. Do you need to go to conventions, trade shows, seminars or other training for work? If you drive to go to those business activities, your gas mileage is tax-deductible regardless of how many individuals you have in the car with you. Does this conference or training trip require you to stay in a hotel? Your hotel expenses for that night can also be deductible regardless of whether you have your family with you in the room.

Scheduling family vacations around business travel can help make it more manageable. This allows you to enjoy time with your family or friends while also working on your business. Consult with your spouse or family to coordinate the two.

Manage taxable income and year-end purchases to lower tax bracket

Operating and owning a business requires seeing the big picture and planning for the future. Your business will likely need new or updated equipment, computers, other technologies etc. to operate smoothly and efficiently. Be able to forecast these needs.

Here is where you coordinate your tax situation with these needs. If you know you are in need of new equipment, computers, etc. in the near future, look at your taxes. If you are looking at a higher tax bracket for the year you may want to make these necessary equipment purchases sooner than expected. Or you may want to wait until next year. This requires consulting with your business advisor to determine the best option.

Business Strategy In A Business Organization

The relationship between human resource practices and a company’s business strategy are aligned in many ways. The ultimate goal of the alignment is to use human capital as instrument to maximize the organization assets for the benefit of the stakeholders. Below are some of the relationship between human resource practices and business strategy.

STRATEGIC HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Human resource practices create the process for the development of employees’ knowledge and the skill-set across the organization to promote its core competencies that support and maintain its competitive advantage in the industry. The term “strategic HRM” is the new template in the management of modern organization that is anchored on the concept that the most valuable asset an organization provides itself is HR, since it is the tool that is responsible for the coordination and implementation of other factors of production that spurs corporate performance journals

The business strategy adopts by an organization is meant to showcase how it intend to succeed by using the factors of production at its disposal to build a competitive advantage, strategy-business. Business strategy helps to identify the direction that the organization wishes to go in relation to its environment. Human resource strategies manage human resource so that the goals set by the organization can be achieved. The focus is directed on what the business intentions are as they relate to human resource policies and practices. Therefore, how human resource is spread across the organization’s units and departments, motivated, managed and retained will affect the performance outcome after the business strategy has been implemented. The relationship between business strategy and human resource practices also would determine the organization competitive and performance outcome.

A glimpse into Oya Erdil & Ayse Gunsel’s ‘BUSINESS STRATEGY AND HUMAN RESOURCE STRATEGY- THE INTERACTION’ shows there is a relationship between human resource management practices and an organization business strategy, which also could be referred to as the business environment and organizational development. Another defining aspect of that relationship is the across the board acceptance that an organization’s human resource management practices have a link to the firm’s decision making process, in other words, the HR practices be closely aligned with the strategy of the whole business. While there is not much disagreement as pertaining to the relationship between HR practices and business strategy, there is a tendency not to acknowledge the deeper nature of the relationship. The theory of human resource management opined that should employees be considered and managed as a valued strategic asset, the organization in practice would be able to achieve a competitive advantage, and the outcome will be a superior performance. This again, means managing human resource in such a way that it will correspond to the business strategy, being that the goals and process of each of the strategy profiles are different.

According to Oya Erdil & Ayse Gunsel, this relationship is further entrenched when you look at how human resource practices are selected based on competitive strategy espoused by the organization. An organization that coordinates its business strategy and human resources policies and practices achieve a superior performance outcome than those that do not.

ALIGNING PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT TO STRATEGY AND CULTURE

As explained by Rob Gray’s ‘Aligning performance management with business strategy,’ some employers could be missing the key factor that links performance management to strategy and culture. For it is an organization’s prevailing culture and practices that will determine the optimum use of its valuable asset (human beings) when its business strategy is aligned with its human resource practices. The right tools are needed if employers are to succeed in aligning their human resource management to its business strategy. The era of using performance review and appraisal as the only tools for performance, management solutions have since been replicated by a complete suite of competency measurement tools. These tools are able to assist employees to understand the means and learning resources through which they can effectively develop their skills and talent. Technology is one of the enablers but needs commitment from top down that is important for a high performance culture.

Grandad, What’s a Business?

Grandad, what’s a business? This is a simple question but like many simple questions the answer is a bit more complicated than you might expect. Complicated but easy to understand if you let Grandad explain.

Quite simply, a business is a group of people who are joined together to sell something to bring in money, referred to as “income”.

A business can be very small, even just one person. This small business can have a legal form or the person can just consider himself (or herself) to be “self-employed”. Even a one-man business must bring in enough money to pay for his living costs. Otherwise he will need to get a job in another business or live on social security paid out by the government and that is no fun at all.

The size of business that we meet most often is as small as 2 or 3 up to as many as several hundred. These companies are often referred to as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They normally have a legal status such as “partnership” or “limited company”.

The big beasts in the business jungle can be very large indeed, often with thousands of employees and many millions of pounds income and are usually “Public Limited Companies” (PLCs). All these businesses are important and Grandad will tell you more about all these businesses in the next few days.

Let me tell you now about the money earned by a business, called “income”. This money must be enough to cover what are called costs or “expenditure”. Costs are all the expenses that the business incurs: the materials the business might have bought, rents, wages and money paid to other people. Costs can include a whole lot of other things such as computer cost, telephone bills, insurance, heating, transport etc.

The idea of a business is that income should be more than expenditure, If income is greater than expenditure, the difference is called a “profit”. If income is less than expenditure then the business is said to make a “loss”.

Making a loss is a BAD THING. If losses continue then the business cannot carry on and is said to be bankrupt. The business has no money to pay its bills.

Profit therefore must be a GOOD THING. Not everyone agrees but Grandad will explain as we go on why profit is a VERY GOOD THING.

There is an in-between result which is called “break-even”, which is not a loss and not a profit. Normally a business can survive in a break-even state but it brings problems that we can talk about later.

Grandad has not yet mentioned the greatest contribution that businesses make to all our lives – TAXATION. Businesses are a rich source of TAX, which our government needs to pay for schools, the National Health Service, roads, police, firemen, the Army, Navy and Air Force, old age pensions etc. Our politicians have great ideas on how to spend money but they have no money to spend unless businesses create TAX.

There is a tax called CORPORATION TAX which is charged as a percentage of the profit the business makes. However businesses create tax for the government in many other ways. Everyone who gets wages or a salary from a business pays INCOME TAX and the business pay NATIONAL INSURANCE for each person working for the business. No business, no wages, no income tax, no national insurance. Businesses charge VAT (Value added tax) on most things they sell They pay what they collect (less what VAT they have paid to other businesses) to the government. Owners of a business can take money out of the business in the form of what are called “dividends”: INCOME TAX is paid as a percentage of these dividends. Finally owners can sell a business to somebody else and if they do, they pay CAPITAL GAINS TAX on the sale. If a business buys insurance, it pays INSURANCE TAX. If it buys goods from abroad, it often has to pay TARIFFS to the government.

Corporation Tax, Income Tax, National Insurance, Value Added Tax, Tax on Dividends, Tariffs, Capital Gains Tax all help in paying for things we value such as schools, police, defence and the National Health Service. Without these taxes the government would not have enough money to pay for these things. By the way, businesses also pay COUNCIL TAX which pays for local services such as street cleaning, parks, playgrounds and many other things we take for granted.

Resilient Businesses Move Their People To The Cloud

Every year, as the Atlantic hurricane season approaches many businesses have a nagging realization that they are at risk due to a catastrophic “Black Swan ” event. Black Swan events are a constant source of risk in states like Florida where many communities are subject to disruption due to coastal storms. This risk is particularly acute for businesses that depend on the storage of on-line data if there is a chance their critical data could become lost or corrupted. But the threat from Black Swan events isn’t limited to Florida, nor is it limited to large scale disruptive events like hurricanes.The black swan theory or theory of black swan events describes a disruptive event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild. Consider the following scenario…

“We tend to think of disasters in terms of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, or other mega events. Sometimes, however, less notable events occur that can have a catastrophic effect on a business. In February 1981, an electrical fire in the basement of the State Office Building in Binghamton, New York, spread throughout the basement of the building setting fire to a transformer containing over a thousand gallons of toxin-laden oil. Originally thought to be PCBs, the toxins were soon determined to contain dioxin and dibenzofuran, two of the most dangerous chemicals ever created. The fire was smoky and quickly filled the 18-story building with smoke. As the transformer burned, the soot entered the buildings ventilation shafts and quickly spread toxic soot throughout the building. The building was so badly contaminated that it took 13 years and over $47 million to clean before the building could be reentered or used. Because of the nature of the fire, the building and its contents, including all paper records, computers, and personal effects of the people who worked there, were not recoverable. This type of event would be irrecoverable for many businesses.” – Operations Due Diligence, Published by McGraw Hill

What affect would a catastrophic hurricane that affected an entire region or a localized disruptive event like a fire have on the operation of your business? Could you survive that kind of interruption or loss? As the dependence on on-line data has grown in virtually every type of business, so has the risk that loss of their data could disrupt the operation of the business and even result in its complete failure. In response to these threats, there has been an evolution in the approaches used to mitigate these risks as the volume of on-line data has continued to grow. Originally, the concept of Disaster Recovery (DR) emerged as a mitigation strategy that focused on the recovery of critical data after a disruptive event by giving the business the ability to restore disrupted IT operations.

Disaster Recovery (DR) involves a set of policies and procedures that enable the restoration of critical business data and allows the IT infrastructure to be restored to a prior state. DR was originally seen as the domain of the IT department who were given responsibility for mitigating the risk. To minimize the risk, system backups were scheduled frequently and aggressive DR plans that included server cold start procedures and data backups were implemented.

The goal was to restore the infrastructure to the last point where the data had been backed up (at the time, typically on tape). The acceptable DR practices at the time allowed the IT system to be rebooted when the facility power was finally restored… Unless it was in a flood zone or the off-site backup storage facility had also been impacted. In either case, the operation of the facility could potentially be disrupted for some period of time and the data restoration was also potentially at risk depending on where backups were stored.

Now let’s roll the calendar ahead… As technology evolved so did the Disaster Recovery strategies, which lead to new concepts that evolved to the requirements for a Business Continuity solution as a means of mitigating risk. Still seen as the domain of IT, as technology moved towards solutions like shadow servers, distributed data locations and high speed bulk data transmission with hyper connectivity. Data no longer had to be “recovered”, it just had to be connected in distributed locations where it could be remotely accessed. Business Continuity mitigated the risk of data loss and allowed a business to recover much more quickly and efficiently from a Black Swan event because its servers never went completely down.

Business Coaching for Business Improvement

Business coaching can actually bring the much-desired changes to your business. Coach is a word which is derived from “kocsi”, a Hungarian name that means “carriage”. Today, however, the word has a wider use and it basically means transportation of people from one point to the other where they desire to be.

Business coaching, therefore, can be defined as a process that can be applied so as to move a business from its current position to where the owner envisions it to be. What a business coach does is to offer guidance and assistance to the owner in view of business growth, helping in the clarification of the business vision and how exactly it can fit well with the personal goals. This is a very important step and should be a point of focus.

Business owners should be made to understand the importance of reaching their goals for the business and how it can affect them personally. The business owner is responsible for the determination of the passion and speed in which goals are met. When the business owner has a passion for reaching a goal, he will be more determined to make it work by all means.

Usually, a coach will get to know the business owner desires and this helps in the prioritization of the goals and strategies that need to be put in place. It is the work of the coach to meet you with the owner on a regular basis so as to ensure they remain on track to all commitments that they may have made.

Accountability is a critical component of business coaching. It is important to understand that a business coach isn’t a consultant. This means that they don’t work for the business. The main aim is to help you with focus and keep on reminding you the importance of reaching the set goals. They also work to motivate the business owner to actually keep the commitments. They are the sounding board and can even hold a mirror so as to reflect all the blind spots that you may have missed.

Most of the success stories that you may have heard attributed it to amazing business coaches. For business owners who seek to have more time, more money and better relationships and health, it becomes important to have a business coach. The reason why the most business fails is that people are not really taught about ways in which they can actually win at life. Coaching, therefore, bridges the gap and enlightens the business owners in ways that only a coach can achieve.

It is the dream of every business owner to have a winning team around them. Also, anyone in business desires to have great profits in an effortless and exponential way. A winning business allows you to have time and money freedom. If you feel that you need to rethink your commitments and focus on the goals you had initially set out for your business, then getting a great business coach can actually help you and your business to a great extent.

Juggling Living in the Now and Our Businesses

Does anyone else find this quite a tightrope walk? It can be quite mind boggling!

The Past, Future but rarely Present

The business world at large demands projections, business plans, analysis of data and constant checking of figures – which area of our business should we concentrate on next, which country should we try to conquer next? A full time job in itself if we don’t have people to help us out!

All of the above serve to keep us in either the past or the future. The present moment is fleeting and reflects what we have been doing in the past anyway – so why spend so much time analysing it? Surely, by looking at the present moment and where we are – not just in business, but in our lives – we have a pretty accurate yardstick of how we have been creating our lives to date.

Business is a Serious Business

Most businesses are run with the aim of making money – yes, I know – I’m stating the obvious! However, isn’t it just this factor that takes the joy out of many businesses? A bit like a person who loves amateur dramatics, but when they decide to transfer over to the professional stage the joy dissipates because now their lifestyle depends on their success. There is a mantle of seriousness which now envelopes them and, except for a fortunate few, it’s not fun anymore, but business.

This very seriousness is what ties people up in knots, makes them tense, stressed and out of touch with their intuition and guidance. There is too much fear of failure and thoughts of not having enough money to support themselves, needing to go back into work that they hate doing just to make ends meet and even the fear of people telling them ‘I told you so!’

There are many layers to starting our own business. It’s about making ourselves vulnerable because we can ultimately be rejected by the world and nobody wants what we have to offer. The ultimate rejection! It takes courage to take that leap of faith.

We have to be Passionate

Loving what we do is really the only way to have any chance of a successful business, and I’m not just talking about money. I’m sure all of us have had dealings with businesses which have been run delightfully – restaurants that serve the most delicious food for example. Then one day we visit our favourite restaurant and the food isn’t quite as good, the service isn’t quite as personal and, on enquiry, we find that the restaurant has changed hands. The passion and energy of the person/people that started it has gone and, unless the restaurant is taken over by people with equal passion, the customers are going to feel the difference. Is there ever the same level of passion shown for a business which is already a running concern versus one that has been built from scratch with blood, sweat and tears? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

It is our energy which runs our business. We can have unlimited funds to throw at it, but unless we have passion for what we do that money is going to go down the drain, as potential customers will sense that we aren’t in business for the love of it, but purely as a way of making as much money as we can, in as short a time as possible. We won’t show up as people that they can trust!

Getting Things into Perspective

I think that it is imperative to focus on the present moment to stay sane in business. We can easily be forever looking at next month, next year or 5 years hence as to what our business should have achieved by then – along with that is all the pressure of trying to make that imaginary path an actual reality. If we have started a business with borrowed money, we also have the stress of having to report in on our successes or failures to meet financial deadlines. Our stress levels rise exponentially if we are in that situation!

The same as an artist will create a work of art or a piece of music, putting their heart and soul into it, and then tentatively release it into the world in the hope that someone out there will grasp its essence and understand what was in their heart at the time of composition. That is what it is like with our businesses – we put our hearts and souls into them and then hope that somebody, anybody, out there ‘gets it’ and will join us on our journey.

Ultimately, there are no guarantees that our businesses will be financially successful, but we can guarantee that they are emotionally successful on a day to day basis through following our intuition and doing what we love in each and every moment. Using this method will probably mean that projections fly out the window, as we can be lead down an entirely different path and our business could serve completely another purpose to the one we had originally envisaged. We could also be lead to change to another business, or travel another path – who knows. Life is full of surprises!

My point is that when we focus on the future and the money we feel we need to make (sometimes just for worldly validation), we often distance ourselves from the heart of our business, and the reason why we started it. Fear is what we feel when we imagine that we won’t make self-imposed deadlines – again, it’s often all about the money! Then our business suddenly becomes this massive thing which takes over all of our life, and we start to see it as the means of our ultimate glory or destruction – we see our whole lives depending on its success. Then the tables are turned – instead of us being the owner of our business, our business becomes the owner of our life!

I know people who don’t run their own businesses who are working jobs that they absolutely hate, but they fear leaving or losing those jobs because they have tied their whole existence to them. They don’t have enough faith in the Universe to provide for their needs, and transfer the power of the Universe to the company they are working for – making it the be all and end all! If they could just step away from their fears of destitution and homelessness, they would see that the company is merely a tool for the Universe to provide for their needs, and that they can change that and create a much more pleasant and worthwhile experience for themselves.

Similarly, if we can view our business as a tool the Universe has given us to either provide for our material needs and/or our emotional needs, that will help us to lighten up and enjoy the experience. However, if we see our business as our only means of survival, then it’s like having a partner that we rely on to supply every aspect of our happiness! It just doesn’t happen!

Small Business Should Invest in Big Data

Big data refers to huge volumes of structured and unstructured data; however, processing such massive volumes of data via traditional data management tools is inefficient and impossible. To understand big data you have to realize the devices that are collecting it today e.g. bar code scanners, mobile cameras, CCTV cameras, motion sensors, smoke alarms, web analytical tools, CRMs, etc. From the examples, you can see that these devices collect a vast array of data types hence the structured and unstructured part in the definition. The sheer velocity at which the data is being produced cannot be controlled and processed using traditional methods and tools.

However, the use of big data and incorporation of big data analytical technology gives businesses the competitive edge over their competitors.

Big Data and Small Businesses

It is only a thing of the past when terms like big data and business intelligence were associated with large enterprises only. Today, small businesses have to leverage the data they are collecting in order to remain a part of the competition. For years, cost has remained the main reason why small businesses did not adopt big data analytical technologies, but this has changed now. There are budget-friendly tools available for small businesses to take advantage of the data they are collecting today. According to some experts, small businesses can take better advantage of big data since they are able to make the necessary changes far more quickly than large enterprises i.e. real-time response to insights from available data.

According to an IDG study in 2016, 78% of the large enterprises agree that big data strategy has the power to change how businesses have always operated. This shows the acceptance of big data technology and strategies for large enterprises and strengthens the fact that small businesses could become irrelevant if they did not adopt the same strategies.

Benefits of Large Data Analytics

Large Data and Big Companies, a report by IIA Director of Research, Tom Davenport, reveals that businesses are benefitting greatly from big data analytics especially in improving their products, making business decisions faster and reducing costs. Here are some ways small businesses can benefit from big data.

• Cost Savings

The upfront cost of implementing large data tools and strategies is high undoubtedly, but the long term benefits of doing so are matchless. The healthcare industry is a great example of how the use of large data can help businesses reduce their costs regardless of their size. Using predictive analytics, Medicare and Medicaid Services forestalled more than $210 million fraud in healthcare with just 2 years of utilizing the aforementioned technology.

In addition to preventing frauds, small businesses can also reduce their costs by steering clear of creating more inventory than needed, including better partners in the supply chain, etc.

• Improved Decision Making

This is the biggest benefit of large data. It allows businesses to expedite decision making by processing the data fast and giving insights in timely manner. In the past, business decisions were reserved for future strategies in the light of available data and the trends that were observed in it. The amount of data that businesses are sitting on today is huge and thus more powerful insights are to be gained from it.

This vast amount of data requires the use of modern big data hardware technologies. Once both the things are in place for a business, they can understand customers better, create products that are a closer reflection of what customers want and develop a brand based on most reverenced values.

• Impenetrable Security

Businesses are more focused today on using large data to improve their core capabilities, but less attended to a more serious concerns i.e. cyber threats and security breaches. Almost every small, medium and large business is connected to the internet today. Moreover, the Internet of Things has broadened the attackable security surface for businesses making it easier for cyber criminals to attack networks and penetrate company databases.

The biggest concern for modern businesses is that they have to “respond” to cyber attacks that have already occurred rather than being able to prevent them from occurring. The use of big data and big data analytical tools can be a game changer in this area allowing businesses to prevent any security attacks way before they are executed.

Key Technologies Helping Businesses Make the Best of Big Data

As a small business, you will have to familiarize with various technologies that help you store, analyze and take action on big data. Here are some important ones:

• Hadoop

It’s a framework supporting the storing of large amounts of data using an open-source approach. Once data is stored, Hadoop enables the use of a variety of applications using “clustered hardware” at its base. Due to the cluster of commodity hardware, it becomes possible and easy for businesses to process big data despite its increasing volume.

• Data Mining

This is the technology that enables business owners to capture insights, patterns and trends from big data that otherwise cannot be obtained with a traditional approach. Data mining is what allows you to jump in a large sea of structured and unstructured data, make sense of it all and produce analytical insights that help businesses with real-time and future decisions.

• Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics walk side by side with data mining. Artificial is at the heart of predictive analytics, enabling business owners to adjust their present strategies by giving predictions about what will transpire for the business based on existing data.

• Text Analysis and Mining

One huge concern for modern business is to analyze the noise on various web platforms such as forums, blogs, social networks, etc. to understand what customers expect from a particular brand. Finding out about brand mentions and understanding customer’s impression of your brand can help you readjust your marketing approach to gain customer loyalty. Text mining helps small to large sized businesses go through text data from emails, blog posts, social networks, etc. and hear customers “voice”.

With the rise of smartphones, artificial intelligence and IoT (internet of things) it has become clearly visible that businesses will now have to handle mountains and mountains of data, and make use of big data analytical and processing technologies to have the competitive edge.