8 Tips for Women’s Business Success

28 05 2010

After attending the Next Steps VAST Workshop for Women Entrepreneurs, I came away with a number of tips for business growth. VAST (founded by three businesswomen) is an equity fund  focussed on investing in businesses created by, run by, or owned by women.

The 14 panel members and presenters are all women entrepreneurs who have started and grown highly successful businesses. Here are a few of their tips:

  1. Delegate – Learn to trust others and hire people to cover your non-strength areas.
  2. Make Lists – Every day do something that makes you money.
  3. Advisors – Develop a network of 12-14 people who will form your resource group.
  4. Sustainability – If you are a service business, build your business so that you are not central to its success. Is it sustainable without you?
  5. Document Financing – Be sure to document all loans and investments in your company.
    Knowing those details may be vital when later seeking further growth funding.
  6. Visionary – Look ahead of the curve and always be willing to reinvent yourself.
  7. Financing – Have other financial sources (credit cards, line of credit) in your back pocket to cover those times when revenues may be delayed. Always keep your commitments and meet your financial obligations.
  8. Free Resources – Make use of the local and online resources that are available, such as SCORE, Micro Mentor, and the Women’s Business Center.

If you were going to select one of the above tips to work on today, which one would it be? Creating a spider web drawing of your advisors? Seeking out one of the free mentors for tips on growing your business? Brainstorming ideas as to how your business could be sustainable without you?

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
YOUR UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
Coaching Small Business Startups





The First Step to Your Business Startup

25 05 2010

I typically procrastinate starting a project. But once I get started, I quickly build momentum and finish the project. The trick is trying to convince myself to take the first step.

For example, I had been putting off exercising and losing the additional pounds I had gained over the past few years. Last year I was grumpy and embarrassed when I hiked with friends and they easily made it to the top of Diamond Head while I was gasping and had to stop numerous times. I talked about getting healthy, bought books on the topic, and occasionally walked with friends. But I wasn’t willing to commit myself.

The first step started five months ago when I tried a diet that a friend recommended. I lost 4 pounds in 10 days – a modest, healthy loss – and then, encouraged, decided to take the next steps. I had a body composition test to determine my ideal weight, bought a bathroom scale, and took advantage of the exercise room in our complex 6 days a week. Now with just a few pounds away from my target weight, I am actually enjoying exercising! I’ve bought a good pair of running shoes and a friend is training me for a 5 K run in a month’s time.

It’s so easy to procrastinate starting your own business. There are so many reasons to delay: you don’t have the time, money, or enough experience. You aren’t sure where you will find customers and whether your family will be supportive of your idea.

But until you actually stop dreaming about it and take the first step, you will never know if you could have been successful.  Your first step might be writing a business plan, selecting a business name, ordering business cards, purchasing a url for your website, or starting a blog.

What will be your first step?  And remember, no one said you had to give up your full time job quite yet. Many home-based business owners start out part time and only give up their full-time jobs when they have enough business.

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
YOUR UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
Coaching Small Business Startups





Can They See You?

19 05 2010

Recently, we hiked around Antelope Island in Utah. It wasn’t until we were driving away that we finally saw the island’s namesake. Can you see the antelope in the picture? My husband’s sharp eyes say one of them move their head, otherwise we would have missed them.Antelope Island

Is your business like the antelopes? Do your ideal customers find it difficult to find you?

One of the least expensive and most effective ways to market your business is through social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and blogging. It does take some time each week (approximately two hours), but I make sure I’m visible in all of these popular spots. To save me time, I’ve set my blog to feed to my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts.

As well, I read popular blogs in my area of interest (entrepreneurship) and I comment on those blogs.  I retweet other’s postings that catch my eye and that I know would be of interest to my followers. And because I’m an avid reader of business books, I try to remember to write a book review each time on Amazon.com.

Want to find out how visible you are? Google your name or your business name – make sure to place in quotes (i.e. “Bev McCrostie”).  Six months ago I started out with about 350 hits. With weekly active involvement in the social media arena, today’s count shows just over 1,100 hits.

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
YOUR UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
Coaching Small Business Startups





An Expert’s Touch

4 05 2010

BreadI had carefully followed the recipes for making bread, but each loaf came out flat and heavy like a doorstop.  Lamenting to a friend about my failed attempts, she invited me to her house to watch and learn how an expert does it.

She didn’t measure the flour! She meticulously measured the other ingredients but added the flour a cup at a time until she had the right touch – sticky but pulling away from the bowl. She let me touch the dough so that I understood what I was aiming for.

Do you know someone who is an expert in an aspect of their business? Perhaps they are great at networking, customer service, online retail, hiring key staff, or launching new products. You could read up on the topic and muddle your way through. Or you could do as I did and ask for an expert’s help.

I am always surprised by how quickly others are willing to share their experience – to be a mentor. What aspect of your business could use an expert’s advice? Who could you approach this week to seek out that help?

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Your Unlimited Potential
Coaching Small Business Startups