[[image http://www.evolvesoftware.ca/data/images/imageManager/93DoubleYourIncome-150x150.gif align="left" style="padding:10px

] *1. Set Goals. Then Double them * Set yourself some benchmark goals for the next year- and write them down. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in a decade.” However most people underestimate the income they can earn in their own business. Why? Because they only think in terms of themselves instead of in terms of a business.

Whatever number you choose as a financial goal for your business, double it. Work backwards to figure out how you can achieve that number. Try to think of your business as a business instead of a job. If you need to hire people in order to accomplish this goal, figure out how to do it, and make sure your pricing reflects your business and not your job.

*2. Create Value not Prices * Create value for your customers. Don’t set your prices based on what it would cost YOU to do the job. Base your prices on the value that you provide your customers, and base them on the plan that you will be running a business and will need to hire people to keep it going. How much more would your product cost if you had employees doing it for you. Think of the value your business brings people. Is it happiness, extra time, piece of mind, great customer service? Each of those are priceless, so think of it this way, if people would drive across the city for your product or service what would it be worth? Is Starbucks coffee worth the $5 that millions of people pay? The product isn't but Starbucks has done a great job in creating value.

*3. Build Trust and Credibility * How do you build trust in your business? By portraying a professional image. How do you portray a professional image? By paying attention to detail. Make sure that your marketing material is professional no matter what your business is. Make it look like a million dollar business by having a professional logo. Having an amateurish logo, business cards or marketing material will make your business look amateurish. Print your business cards and brochures on quality paper. Get your business cards cut professionally. Show your prospective client that you’re in abundance not scarcity. People want to spend their money at successful businesses, because success or abundance proves that other people have trusted you already and spent their money with you.

Some "professional image" items to consider: The name of your company, your logo, your theme line, location, stationery, business card, packaging, brochures, business forms, interior decor, website, fusion marketing partners, even the clothes you and your employees or wear.

*4. Build a Support Group * The most important thing you can do to get your business going is to build a small support group of entrepreneurs or people who will help you, guide you, give you outside advise or just listen to your ideas. Find people in your community whose values are similar to yours. Ask experienced entrepreneurs to be part of your support group or other entrepreneurs who are just starting out. No matter what different industries your support group are in, you’ll soon find out that the challenges you have in your business are universal.

*5. Find a Mentor * The best athletes in the world have coaches. The best business people in the world have coaches too. As you’re starting your business look for a mentor in the community. Ask them if they can take the time to meet with you once a month, or once a quarter and share their views on your business. Let them know why you have chosen them, that you esteem them and what they have accomplished – tell them the truth about what you think of them as an entrepreneur. Don’t re-invent the wheel, these entrepreneurs will have gone through so many things and can provide you with seasoned advice. Don’t be afraid to ask- most entrepreneurs love sharing their stories and helping new budding entrepreneurs who show a true passion and commitment to their business.

*6. Know your Numbers * One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from listening to successful business people is knowing your numbers. One business man and CEO of a large company told me that the first thing he does when he gets to his office is check his “numbers.” Know how much money you have in the bank, what your cash flow situation is . How many sales you’ve made upto this point. How close are you to your weekly and monthly goals? How much has been spent this week and this month?

You’ll need to compile this information at the end of the year for taxes anyways, why not keep a check on it on a daily basis so that if you do go off track you’ll know right away instead of at the end of the year when you owe a bunch of money to the government. And don’t complain about taxes anymore, the more you pay, the more money your business made – just make sure you save up to pay your taxes, and hire a good accountant.

*7. Be Professional * No matter how small or new your business is, make sure you use contracts for everything. There is an abundance of resources both online and at the library. Use them as templates and change them according to your business needs. Think of a business you’d like to emulate, for example always think in terms of “What would Starbucks do?” Think of your business as a business and make decisions for it as if you had hired an independent CEO.

*8. Know the Resources in Your Community. * There are tons of free lunch and learns in the community, there are also a lot of grants and mentorship programs. Depending on your specific business there may be something that applies specifically to your industry or there may be general information for all industries. If you can’t find one specifically for your industry, attend ones for other industries and see how you can change some of the specifics and apply them to your needs. A great resource for new entrepreneurs. Use the free resources from the Alberta Business Link, a service provided by the Government of Alberta that has many free learning sessions for Entrepreneurs as well as free access to accountants and lawyers, management consultants and financial representatives.

*9. Establish Yourself as the Expert * A key element to establishing your credibility and building trust is establishing yourself as the expert in the community. You gain credibility with your advertisements, listings in directories, columns and articles you write, and talks you give. You gain it with your monthly or quarterly newsletter. You gain it through volunteer work where your business skills are used. Give a seminar. Work hard for a community organization. When you have a customer, build it into your follow up to ask them for testimonials or even better for referrals to your business. All these tasks together build your reputation.

*10. Remember that the world is Small * Have you ever met a complete stranger who ended up knowing someone you know? Well keep that in mind because the world is a small place which means that your city is even smaller. Make sure that you don’t burn any bridges with anyone. Keep your communication professional at all times even when you’re not working. Road rage is a good example, you never know who your next client might be – or not be depending on the case!

  Posted: Thursday, April 28th, 4:04pm 9 years ago

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