Archive | August 2012

I Hereby Pronounce You Business Owner and Entrepreneur!

How long did it take you to fully commit to being an entrepreneur?  Did you take one giant leap, or did it take ten tiny ones before you were able to dedicate all of your efforts to your business?

I went through many steps to get to where I am today.  I started my business before I got pregnant.  I wanted something to do on the side.  I worked on it through maternity leave and afterwards, worked in my career and my business at the same time.  I obviously couldn’t manage both, so I left my great paying regular full time job for a part time job so that ‘just in case’ something went wrong I would have something to fall back on.

It wasn’t until I fully committed to entrepreneurship that doors really started to open and opportunities presented themselves.  There was always a reason to not do something because I wasn’t 100% committed to the business.  Now that I am, things are flourishing. 

I came across a quote recently that really made a lot of sense to me.  I’m not usually one for long quotes, but this one rings true for entrepreneurship.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. ”  ~ Goethe ~

I had to read it two or three times to really let it sink in. If you’re going to expend only half your energy in starting your business, then you’re not fully committed and you’re only going to get half the results.

It’s scary to fully commit.  It took me a while to make the full leap.  I wish I could have fully committed sooner as I know I would have seen the results sooner and I’d be a year ahead of where I am now.   But everything happens for a reason and I needed the security and I needed to build my confidence that I was making the right decision for myself and my family.

We are our worst critic.  We fill our heads with self-doubt and believe things that are really not true.  That little voice in our head that makes us hesitate and draw back so that we can’t let ourselves succeed can be deafening.

This quote isn’t just applicable to starting a business, but to any new idea or opportunity that presents itself.

What project are you waiting to start because you aren’t sure of the outcome?  There are no guarantees in life, or business.  Only calculated risks.  Do your homework to make sure risks are minimal and then take the leap.  Otherwise, you’ll only ever be where you are.

 BLOGGER BIO:

The preceding is a guest post from Sandra Eamor, Business Optimization Consultant at Seamor Consulting. This is a post from the YRSBiz Blogging Circle.  The York Region Small Business Club helps small businesses in York Region connect online and in York Region.  Their goal is to provide free or low-cost opportunities for local businesses to connect and engage with each other and ultimately to help small businesses succeed. 

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Keys to Building Your Small Business: Client Engagement and Follow-Up!

I recently attended an event that taught me some key business lessons such as delivering exceptional service, generating client engagement and creating a lasting impression. And most importantly, getting those unsolicited ongoing referrals from satisfied clients!

It was a special baby shower for a friend (her first baby at 44 years)! The event planner, who was her 23 year old niece, did a fantastic job of organizing everything perfectly: the venue, décor, food, music, exciting games etc. Some highlights of how she achieved this are:

  1. Prior to the event, she communicated with the guests (all good friends of the mom-to-be), a couple of times after the initial invite. She articulated her desire to provide an unforgettable and truly special experience for her client and solicited our help. Thus, she was able to get suggestions/ideas from us on what her client values and also got our total buy-in on the project. She did this effectively by creating a private Facebook group where she kept us all engaged, connected and shared updates;
  2. During the event, she introduced herself to each of the guest individually and shared her appreciation for our input. She made sure that each guest got a personalised gift bag with a thank you note;
  3. Post-Event, she followed through with an update when the baby was delivered and sent pictures on behalf of her clients to each of the guests who had attended the baby shower.
  4. She under promised and over delivered-the event itself was a great success but most importantly, she was wonderful in communicating her passion and enthusiasm for her craft;
  5. She definitely lived the mantra ‘Excellence is a habit, for how you do one thing is how you’ll do all things’. This is because although she was doing event planning as a hobby, she still took it seriously and gave each client her very best;
  6. The greatest business lesson I learned from her was that she saw the event as a networking opportunity and followed up with an engaging and well written letter. (I have her permission to share an excerpt below):

“It was a pleasure meeting you a week ago at the baby shower of my Aunt.  I have a small favour to ask. I’m looking to continually grow my services, and to build awareness and good-will, so I’m looking to do more events. So are you aware of any body that would be interested in my services and who would benefit from and be aligned with my  vision of  holistic event planning that I shared with you?

I can tailor the event to what they truly value, and still make it very interesting and unique.

If you know or come across someone who would be interested, do let me know. It would help me out a lot. If you don’t know of any group of people, that’s perfectly fine, and it was still a great pleasure meeting you this evening”……

Needless to say, like most of the guest I was enthused by the quality and level of service she provided: her professionalism, creativity, deep respect and understanding of the client and guests. And of course, her fire and positive energy!

We have all become strong advocates for her services and go out of our way to refer clients to her. Unfortunately, she is now back in school for her Master’s degree and has put the business on hold for now. However, I can tell you that she has a devoted group of satisfied clients, ready with wallets at hand, just waiting for her to say the words: ‘Open for business!’

Client Engagement and follow-up can be helped with the use of Social media. Examples of how companies use it today as a PR tool to create awareness, engage customers and drive sales abound all around us. In today’s world, every customer is truly King or Queen and they know it! A misstep to a client may cost you millions especially if that one client has tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr etc.

You must treat every single customer along your entire value chain (both internal and external), as if you were about to lose him/her i.e. that without them your business ceases to exist.

The end result is a devoted client base that is loyal in their patronage and become strong advocates of your brand/products/services.

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The preceding is a post from Juliet Ume, MBA –Wealth Management Consultant & Lifestyle Coach at Whole Woman Network. Juliet is an avid Life Connoisseur and a passionate advocate of WomEntrepreneurship, Investment & Financial Literacy for women. This is a post for the YRSBiz Blogging Circle.  The York Region Small Business Club helps small businesses in York Region connect online and in York Region.  Their goal is to provide free or low-cost opportunities for local businesses to connect and engage with each other and ultimately to help small businesses succeed.