This post brought to you by TelcoinaboxID-100147662

If you’ve long dreamed of being your own boss, you’re not alone. The benefits of working on your own terms, being in control of your destiny, and following your passions are all commonly cited reasons why so many people fantasise about launching their own business.

But, before you go out on your own, there’s plenty to consider and some serious questions you should ask yourself. Once you launch, there’s no going back, so these questions and your answers to them will help you understand exactly what you could be getting yourself into.

1. Have You Made a Business Plan?

Firstly, before you launch your business venture, you need have made a solid business plan. This will include conducting the necessary research to identify a market for what you are offering and to determine the appropriate prices for your products or services. You need to be completely honest with yourself or seek opinions from strangers. Don’t be discouraged if it’s not what you wanted to hear, since it’s better to make changes at this stage than react later on.

2. Are You in it for More than Money?

The fact is that money only motivates for so long. Sure, we all need money, but passion is what will get you up every day and propel you forward. Whatever it is that you want to do should be more than a way of making money; it should be a lifestyle. After all, it’s likely you won’t be making too much in the beginning and you’ll be putting in a lot of hours, so it may as well be something that you love. Otherwise your interest – and motivation – is likely to quickly waver.

3. Could You Offer an Existing Product/Service to an Untapped Market?

Some of the most viable (and profitable) businesses expand on an existing product/service with an established market and offer it in a new way or to a different customer base. For example, companies like Telcoinabox allow anyone with a phone and internet connection to act as an intermediary, distributing telecommunication services to their own customers. There are plenty of other profitable businesses that capitalise on a product with established demand and resell them in new ways to reach untapped markets; it’s worth looking at the industry your business idea fits into and investigating if you can introduce it to untapped markets.

4. Do You Have the Required Capital?

You need to invest money to make money. That’s why there’s no point launching your business if you don’t have the required financial means to effectively deliver your product or service. Your business plan should look at what financial (and other) resources will be required to get your venture off the ground. While some businesses, such as freelancers, contractors and other service providers, might need little start-up capital to begin trading, many others – especially bricks and mortar businesses – will require significantly more investment.

5. Are You Confident, Adaptive and Resilient?

You’ve only got yourself to rely on when you start your own business, which means maintaining mental strength and resilience through the hard times will be essential. Challenges will present themselves left, right and centre, and it will be all on you to deal with them and adapt as they arise. Be ready to make tough decisions and believe in what you are doing. You’ll need it – especially in the beginning.

Unfortunately, many small businesses fail in their first few years. While there are many reasons behind this, the case is often that the business owner simply wasn’t ready. To give your business the best possible chance of success the first time round, it’s important all budding business owners ask themselves these and other questions.

Image courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by Debt RescueID-100178548

Planning your finances over a year can be quite exciting; twelve months is a good period of time to work with and you can make a big difference to your overall financial situation with good money habits over this period.

It also means you can break some bad habit and get a chance to see how well some new ones may be working for you. It is not always easy to see savings results over a shorter time period like one or two months. A year gives you a good sense of what can be achieved in the medium to long term in terms of savings goals for you and your family.

You’ll find some tips below for budgeting for a successful year of saving. There is quite a lot of information available online about budgeting and saving successfully, a lot of which comes from debt counselling experts like Debt Rescue, so be sure to browse around for additional advice after reading this post.

Know Where Your Money Went Last Year

Get out last year’s records and take a look at what you spent your money on. Look for your spending patterns. See what seems to be essential and what can be classed as discretionary. Be realistic and a little ruthless with yourself (for example, the latest iPhone is not essential, but your phone bill might be). Your discretionary spend is where you can begin to make your savings in the coming year.

Make Your Own

If your analysis shows you’re spending a lot on lunch at work, consider bringing your own. Making your own lunch is estimated to save around $4,000 a year. Bringing your own coffee in a travel mug is also a saving, estimated at around $1,000 a year. That’s a pretty good start right there. If you don’t want to give it all up, perhaps just buy your takeaway coffee once a week and take a homemade cup the rest of the time. It’ll still make a saving. Other savings you could make include borrowing DVDs and videogames from your local library rather than buying or downloading them, and avoiding buying bottled water. These two together could easily save you another $1,000 or so a year.

Choose One Essential Cost per Month

It’s quite time-consuming to reorganise or investigate all your standard spends like contents insurance or car insurance in one go, so don’t. Choose one each month and shop around for the best deal. Try to do this about eight weeks out from the policy expiry dates so you have plenty of time. See what kind of deal you can get for your insurance, energy, and phone and internet plans. Even if you knock a few dollars off each of these a month, this adds up over a year.

Once you know where your money has gone, you can take steps to pull back on expenditure for the next 12 months and watch your savings grow. It’s the little changes you make to your expenses that will reap big rewards over a twelve month timeframe and you will be surprised at what you can achieve in only one year.

Do you have any budgeting tips for a successful year of saving? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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So, it’s so long 2014 and welcome to 2015 – soooo looking forward to a fab and fantastical year.

To kick off this year I thought I would offer all you lovelies a little special to allow you access to over 7 hours of the Motivating Mum Google Hangouts for a cool price of $9.99 (normally $35).

The Hangouts include:Business Mentoring for Women

An interview with Taryn Brumfitt of Body Image Movement including how she got an interview on Good Morning America, how she raised $330 000 through crowd funding, how she had the confidence to start the business she’s in and do it in the nude and how to get speaking gigs and speak confidently.

LinkedIn 101 with Karen Hollenbach of Think Bespoke including who the LinkedIn platform is suited to, how to setup your LinkedIn Profile to better communicate with your ideal clients and LinkedIn Etiquette.mummy mentoring festival

Building a Healthy Business Income with Julia Bickerstaff of The Business Bakery. Amongst other things, she covered what a Healthy Income is, the top four “Healthy Income” mistakes we make, and five things you can start doing TODAY to make a Healthy Income.

How writing a Book can be great for Business with Sarah O’Bryan of Business and Baby at Home including how to develop motivation and commitment, how to get a publisher, PR after the book’s release and more.

Dream it, Desire it, Do it with Helen Roe of The Orange Lantern covers making 2015 your year, falling in love with your business all over again, learning 3 essential steps you should take right now and bring passion, purpose and profit to the party!

Creating Strategic Alliances with Simone Novello of PartnerUp covering why forming the right strategic alliances is 14 times more effective on average than traditional marketing, the 3 biggest strategic alliance mistakes (and how to avoid them) and introducing the 6 steps to successful strategic alliances and more.

Creating Visual Marketing that Stands Out with Karen Gunton of build a little biz including the reasons why visual content is the hottest trend in Karen-headshot-500x340marketing, the mistakes most biz owners are making with visual content, the kinds of visual content you can use for your biz, the top fears that people have around creating their own visual content (and how to get over them) and an awesome free tool that people can use to create branded images right now!

Receiving business advice from even one of these incredible women far surpasses $9.99 so, packaged as a whole, this really is the bargain of 2015.

Plus! When you purchase you get the links to these recordings without time limitations so they won’t magically disappear from your laptop one day. That means you can listen to them as and when suits you. Maybe when you’re in the bath or doing the dishes?

Only available until January 31st so buy your recordings now. Cheers! Alli x





 
(You can also opt to pay with Paypal by clicking the link above. Upon purchase, an email will be sent to your Paypal email address with the links for listening. If you want the email sent to a different email address, contact [email protected] and let me know.)
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This post brought to you by Patinos Personal LawyersID-100185530

Given the amount of time we spend at work, work place health and safety is an area that is sadly overlooked by many businesses.  You are not just morally obligated to protect your employees, there are laws in place that must be followed.

Work place health and safety is all about prevention, so you must create a safe environment to not only protect your staff but also your business.  It is not that difficult to put some guidelines and procedures into place to avoid potential legal issues down the track.  Here are some tips to take on board:

Know Your Responsibilities

There are a number of government sites that outline what your responsibilities are as an employer.  There may be different obligations depending on your state or Territory and also your industry so make it your business to know what these are.  Some resources you could use are as follows:

Develop Guidelines

Once you know what your responsibilities are as an employer, you should form health and safety guidelines in conjunction with your employees and share it with them. It is a legal requirement that you discuss safety in the work place and this also ensures your staff know that their health and safety is a priority for your business.

Display the guidelines in a public place in your workplace, conduct regular training and information sessions, communicate procedures via email (consider a weekly safety tip sent to all staff to keep safety front of mind) and consider scheduling practice runs in case of an emergency.  Ensure your employees  know that they not only work in a safe environment, but also how their actions can minimise their risks and protect their fellow staff members.  All new staff should have a health and safety induction.

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Make Your Workplace  Safe

It is your legal responsibility as an employer and business owner to ensure you create a safe work place for your staff and take action to minimise any hazards that could cause stress or injury.  Each workplace will be unique so take some time to formulate preventive measures.  Consider every task your staff have to undertake and the risks involved.  You may like to look at things like tripping hazards, clear and appropriate signage for exits, fire escapes etc, bullying, falls, occupational violence, using chemicals, driving business vehicles etc.

Health and Safety Representatives

It is vital that you have at least one staff member responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS) in your workplace.  OHS is a potential legal minefield and it is important to have someone making sure that all of your current practices and procedures are relevant and up to date.  This includes being adequately insured.  All elected representatives are entitled to undertake approved training.  There is a dedicated site for them here. This person should also be responsible for keeping and updating your Register of Injuries.  This is a legal requirement of all workplaces.

To ensure you are absolutely covered for any potential lawsuit it would be prudent to discuss your health and safety risks with a professional.  Patinos Personal Lawyers are workplace accident professionals and can offer advice on how you can best protect your staff and your business.

Don’t leave the safety of your staff to chance.  Know your legal responsibilities and be proactive about keeping your staff safe.  The effect of not taking action could be devastating to your business.

Construction sign image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Woman engineer image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by Short Term Business Loan AustraliaID-10078936

Starting a business may be scary and stressful, but once you have it all up and running, the next thought is almost always related to expansion. This can, again, be difficult, both emotionally and financially. There is a trade-off between risk and potential loss, and playing it safe but having your business grow stagnant.

If you feel like you will need a loan to kick-start the next stage of your business, loan specialists like Short Term Business Loans Australia can help you out financially. However, before you even get your hands on this kind of money, you will need to know how to spend it – and spend it wisely. If interested, read on!

Plan

Planning, as it is in many other situations, is key when you are planning on expanding your business. An expansion plan should, amongst other things, involve your key goals – these should be both short and long term. Writing and setting out a plan will allow you to think through your process a little more, meaning you will make a more informed decision rather than one that may be instinctive. It should also take into account your business’ cashflow, and contingencies to be put into place if anything does go awry.

Careful Monitoring

Monitor your cashflow carefully before and during the expansion of your business. This will set you up to be better prepared to deal with crises as they arise. Separate cashflow forecasts for every project should be conducted to monitor and plan for its cash related needs. Additionally, you should also plan for the best and worst case scenarios for these projects – this will allow you to be better equipped to react to any sort of cash flow related issues should they pop up.

Profit

Profits can be severely affected if cashflow is not managed properly. Balancing these two is and can be extremely difficult, as your revenue can increase while your profit margins shrink. A lack of cashflow is a fast and painful way to run your business into the ground, and a consistent loss in profit margin is not particularly helpful either. Find a way to stabilise both of these aspects of your business, and you will be golden.

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Investment

Depending on your forecasts, you might want to invest some of your excess cash in one of the many short term options available. If you find that you may need cash injections at particular times in your expansion, do not be afraid to take out a loan to cover your costs. However, do make sure you account for these in your forecasts and that you are able to pay them back in a timely fashion.

These are just some ways you can navigate cashflow during the expansion of a business. Careful planning is definitely needed, but you also have to be able to pull the trigger and dive in headfirst when the time is right. Good luck!

Have you just expanded your business or are you currently in the process of doing so? How did you navigate your cashflow? Did you experience any problems and how did you combat these? Leave your advice down below in the comments.

Coin image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Profit image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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