The Benefit Of A Good Business Education

Find out how a good education can help you succeed much faster.

Your business needs help to grow. All businesses need help to grow. This can be in the form of business advice, technical advice or financial advice. There are many organisations that advertise their experience in such matters and invite you to approach them. Each will have their specialist knowledge and they will all claim to want to know about your business. But how many have you approached that really just want to sell you their business? They give you generic advice rather than specifics and they try to make your business model fit around their advice or expertise rather than the other way around. There is something different out there though. Let me explain…

It’s all about you!

Imagine working with a company that knows your business inside out because they helped you to set it up, market it and grow it. Imagine being able to get specific information about how to finance it, where to market it and who to. Imagine having a mentor that was available to you to show you how to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that you would have invariably made if you had tried it on your own. Imagine working with a company that offered you all the above plus an amazing education package into the bargain. Sound good? Well these are just some of the benefits of belonging to a group or organisation, and getting educated by people who have already done what you are trying to do.

Getting the right information about something is always useful and business is no different. If you pay someone to show you how to do your accounts then you are not having to outlay the cost of a wage for someone else to do it for you each month when all it needs to take is an hour or so. If you want to know the best place to advertise and how to do this then you can spend lots of money trying to figure this out yourself, or you can spend less on getting someone to show you and thus saving the money on costly mistakes or ineffective sales copy.

Being taught what not to do is invaluable. Why go out and repeat someone else’s mistakes when you don’t have to? Why waste money on things that don’t work when you don’t need to? If you had decided to become a Doctor you wouldn’t have just figured things out yourself by trial and error would you? You would have spent a lot of money and time getting yourself educated properly to expedite the process and so that when you eventually became a Doctor you would be proficient and professional. Why then would you not do the same for your own business?

It doesn’t have to delay your start date

Yet another benefit of education is that you can earn while you learn. People don’t want to have to wait months going through training courses and attending seminars before they can get their business up and running. It is understandable that people just want to get on with the task of making money to pay back their investment. With the right guidance and support though, you can try things out with much more confidence and much less risk. You can ask for advice as you go along or get someone to have a look at what you are currently doing and get their feedback. This means you can start your business right away, but are not going to fall into the traps that many other new business owners find themselves in.

Most very successful people today have coaches or mentors. They rely on someone to help them to become the best they can, and they want them to be able to do this quickly. Sports people need to be at the top of their game this season not next. Politicians need to be able to get peoples votes for this election not the next and businessmen want to be able to stay ahead of the competition right now. Your business deserves no less. A mentor or coach would be a great investment and a good one will make their fees back many times over.

Tool up!

Education then, in my estimation, is most definitely the key to success no matter what it is that you are doing in life and should never be overlooked or undervalued. Get all the help you can with the latest techniques, strategies and methods and learn what not to do that will waste your money. Learn as many of the tools of the trade as you can from wherever you can and use them. If you do this then you will spend less, be more successful much quicker and have a lot less stress in your life.

7 Things to Consider When Engaging Small Business Consultants

Many small businesses are experts in their field and know their own business inside and out. However lots of small business owners lack the time or expertise required to implement certain projects. That’s where a small business consultant can step in and help.

In order to achieve a successful project it’s important to be clear about what you want your consultant to be able to do for you. Just as important is selecting a consultant with the right skills for the job, but how do you make sure you don’t get off on the wrong foot?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Are you looking for a research/diagnostic approach or do you need help with implementation?

Firstly are you looking for someone to take a diagnostic approach to a business problem you are facing? For instance, which market segment should you enter? Or what product line should you sell? Or is your business need about implementation? For instance, you’ve identified that you need to be on Social Media and need a marketing consultant with the expertise to make this happen.

The two needs are different and some consultants are better in one area than the other. To find out whether your prospective consultant prefers to work on implementation projects or research projects ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask them for specific examples of projects they have worked on and how they have tackled projects similar to yours in the past.

2. Ask prospective consultants how their clients are better off after they leave.

What sort of outcomes were they able to achieve for their clients? Look out for wishy-washy answers. Look for specific examples and outcomes. Does this fit with the sorts of outcomes that you would like for your business? Where they able to increase website traffic by a certain percentage, reduce staff turnover by a certain amount or generate more business for the client?

Picking the wrong person for the job might end up feeling like you are pushing water up a hill with a rake. Not only will the results be less than optimal but it may end up being a costly and stressful experience also.

3. Be careful of wanting champagne on a beer budget.

Do you want fast, cheap or talented? You must pick two out of the three. There is a triangle trade off here. You can get premium talent, faster results or a cheaper cost but Taylor Swift won’t teach your team how to sing tomorrow for free if you see what I mean.

Often a small business owner will set a budget and then begin the search for the best talent and/or fastest result within that budget. From my experience a budget-driven approach can often compromise results. Your best approach is to establish your desired outcome, then judge each potential candidate by how likely they are to be able to achieve that outcome.

4. Look for a solid “About Us” page.

Ask consultants about their qualifications and their approach. With so many so-called ‘experts’ out there it’s really important to identify who is qualified and able to do the job for you. Ask prospective consultants questions about their skills and experience to determine whether they are fit for the job. Are they methodical in their approach? Do have a history of achieving quality results for clients? This will help you to avoid being mislead by organisations with few processes, a glossy website and no real qualifications or experience.

5. Ask yourself whether you think you will be comfortable working with the consultant.

Do you think they are going to be the right fit for your business? Can you see yourself and your team working well with them? Sometimes it’s less about the exact industry experience they have had and more about their ability to get results.

6. Think about goals and outcomes first.

Don’t pick a technical specialist to do a job when you really need someone who can deliver a sales outcome. Think about your goal first, what are you trying to achieve? For instance, if it’s conversions and leads from your website then perhaps what you really need is a marketing consultant to advise on the layout of the website rather than just a technical person to do the build. A technical person can definitely build the website for you, it will function beautifully, but will it achieve your goal of converting traffic to sales?

7. Be wary of small business consultants who are all things to all people.

A good consultant will be honest about what their speciality is and will not simply be a ‘yes’ man or woman. They will push back on projects, ideas and suggestions that they don’t think are right for your business or are beyond their area of expertise. Look for a consultant with backbone not someone who lets you steer the project without alerting you to the danger that lies ahead because they are too afraid to question your judgement or afraid they will upset you. I’d rather have an expert question me and make suggestions than sit back and watch me sink the ship!

So whether it is a marketing consultant or a small business consultant you are looking for, many of the same rules apply. Identify what you need and look at it from an outcomes perspective, work out who has the expertise to help you achieve your goals and whether or not you are comfortable working with them. Look for someone who is genuinely interested in working with you and passionate about what they do.

Lessons In Business – Know Your Product – Don’t Get Scammed

If you’re new to selling and marketing, this will be very important to you. If you’re a seasoned veteran its always good to take a step back and cover the basics from time to time.

Do your homework!

A lot of people get involved in network marketing because they believe the outrageous promises of wealth. There are a lot of devious and unscrupulous people hiding behind their computer screens just waiting for an inexperienced, naive person to take the get-rich-quick bait.

I’ll admit it. I’ve been suckered into paying money for useless information and promises of vast amounts of money. I fell for it. If you’ve done it too, its ok. We all make mistakes.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

If you’re going to advertise a product or a service make sure its legitimate. Contact the company that you’re going to be working with. Email them, or phone them up. Ask them about their payment plans, ask them how long it takes to get paid, ask them how long they’ve been trading online, ask about their products. If you don’t get the response you were expecting, assume they’re not serious about their business. I usually give companies 48 hours to respond to an email.

You need to make sure that the product your selling offers real value to your customers. Great products don’t need to be dressed up. If its a great product it will sell.

Once you’ve chosen a company to work with, the real work begins. You need to understand your business inside and out.

Customers will want to know why your product is better than the competition. You need to know how it works, and what the increased value is to your customers. If you feel secure and happy about the company and the product, you’ll be able to explain this to them. Imagine yourself as a customer, what would you ask before you’re happy to hand over your hard earned money? If you can answer their questions with confidence, they’ll trust you. More confidence means more sales.

If you want to recruit other people to your business opportunity you need to think of them as being customers. Affiliate marketing only works if affiliates are as happy as potential customers. Learn the payment scheme inside out. Be ready to answer questions about payment, the product and the growth of the business.

If you’re new to the business, keep notes, and don’t be afraid to refer to them. Its important that you can answer questions. Starting out in business is a learning curve. At times it will be difficult, but you’ll learn from your mistakes. Don’t give up just because you’ve had a bad day.

What You Need To Know About Your Business Before Hiring A CPA Firm

When you run your own business, you’re in deep in every decision that’s made simply because it’s your neck on the line. What’s more, it’s your money on the line, which means contemplating the hiring of a CPA firm. This can be a bit difficult for some business owners because they’ve essentially depended on themselves to get this major project going. These owners act as CEOs, CFOs, COOs, etc. The idea of bringing on anyone else to handle what they can do themselves seems a bit absurd.

But should it? A reputable, dependable CPA firm does many things, most of which boil down to making sure that your business’s finances are in order all year long. They are also keen on being a financial advisor, looking at all the ways your company can keep and on the right track in both the short, and long, term.

Still, even the best accounting firm can’t do its job without you getting your act together & understanding what it is your business’s goals & aspirations are over time. Moreover, you need to know what you want out of an accountant. You’ll need to assess your company’s needs. Will you need an accounting firm to do things that include AP, AR, payroll, and taxes? Unless you know what you need of a firm, you can’t find the right one to come onboard.

You want to be sure that your business is run in such a way where there aren’t a lot of “oddities” involved. For example, you don’t want only one person to have access to a record filing cabinet because “that’s how things go.” You want financial records to have order with programs that are universal so that there is no “well, see this is how [enter name] does stuff.” A good CPA firm will want to be able to acclimate working in your business so as to ascertain all they need for their reports. They want a complete picture, and, as such, you need to be sure you don’t have outlying roadblocks to their success.

One final thing you need to know about your own business before you choose to hire a CPA firm is how accessible the business is to an outsider. Now, even though we’ve talked about access to records, this goes further into the notion of how easy it is to understand the type of business you run. A good accounting firm will do its best to learn your business inside and out because the better they know your business, the better they can inform you of any missteps to avoid. For example, if your company relies on sales of certain goods, you need to know your accountant understands supply and demand. Otherwise, you may be in for a real shocker when they can’t give you input on where your capital should be invested.

Accounting is an important part of any small business, so hiring the right CPA firm should be high on your list of priorities.