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Receiving Support: Expert Advice for Two Types of Female Entrepreneurs

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A vast majority of female entrepreneurs go it alone as they launch, build and maintain their businesses – but they don’t have to. By seeking and accepting support from experts and from community members, businesswomen can shorten their learning curves and reach potential they didn’t even know they had.

Research by a trusted authority on female entrepreneurs shows there are five distinct types of women in business. Each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. This article describes two of those types and outlines various ways each of them can seek that support effectively.

Accidental Jane is a successful, confident business owner who never actually set out to start a business. Instead, she may have decided to start a business due to frustration with her job or a layoff and then she decided to use her business and personal contacts to strike out on her own. Or, she may have started making something that served her own unmet needs and found other customers with the same need, giving birth to a business. Although Accidental Jane may sometimes struggle with prioritizing what she needs to do next in her business, she enjoys what she does and is making good money. About 18% of all women business owners fit the Accidental Jane profile.

Because Accidental Jane values creating a work-life balance that allows her to make her own choices and maintain her freedom, she would benefit from connecting with a mentor/expert who knows how to build a thriving, happy and balanced solopreneur business – who has experience building a referral system, and who understands making money by leveraging time. Also, Accidental Jane should surround herself with a community of Accidental Jane business owners who understand how she wants to grow her business, and with whom she can share referrals and overflow work.

Go Jane Go is passionate about her work and provides excellent service, so she has plenty of clients – so much so, she’s struggling to keep up with demand. At 14% of women in business, she may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer opportunities as well, because she’s eager to make an impact on the world and she often struggles to say no. Because she wants to say yes to so many people, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week. As a result, she may be running herself ragged and feeling guilty about neglecting herself and others who are important to her.

Go Jane Go businesses are often thriving – and sometimes at the expense of the Go Jane Go business owner’s personal well-being. Therefore, Go Jane Go will benefit from connecting with experts who can help her with her time management skills, who will hold her accountable when it comes to making time for herself, and who can take care of tasks that do not require Go Jane Go’s own attention. Whenever Go Jane Go has the opportunity, she should delegate to qualified experts to free up some of her own time. If Go Jane Go seeks a mentor, that mentor should be someone who has gone through what she is going through, and who can help her learn to delegate and prioritize. In terms of community support, Go Jane Go should seek a pressure-free community where she can relax, have fun and be herself – where she can feel supported.

For women business owners, seeking expert and community support saves time, frustration and even money – and can accelerate the path to success. Being a solopreneur doesn’t have to mean doing everything alone.

Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder and CEO of Linkage Research, Inc, a marketing research firm with Fortune 500 clients such as Starbucks, Frito Lay, Tropicana, Texas Instruments, Hoover Vacuums and Verizon Wireless. She parlayed this entrepreneurial knowledge and experience into founding Jane Out of the Box, a company that provides female entrepreneurs like YOU with powerful resources, such as educational blogs, teleclasses, newsletters, and books. Take your Jane assessment to determine your own business type at www.janeoutofthebox.com Also, she is the author of two successful books for female entrepreneurs, “See Jane Succeed” (at www.seejanesucceed.com) and “See Jane Collaborate” (at www.seejanecollaborate.com).

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Letting Go: How Saying “No” to Clients Can Have You Saying “Yes” to Success

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In today’s day and age most people would say it’s crazy to turn down business. Don’t we all need the money? And isn’t work so scarce that it’s better to take a “so-so” job than to hold out for the “yay” job that has you excited when you get out of bed?

I can definitely relate. For a long time I held onto a lot of clients who didn’t excite me and weren’t a great fit for me because I felt it was what I “should” be doing. But then I stopped – I let go – and it made such a difference not only in my business, but my passion for what I was doing.

I needed to let go because I wanted to create a place in my business for a new level of service. I created a way to work closely with a small group of people for a year and I’m giving this group my all. And I could not have done that by not getting rid of everything else.

Focus on services in your business that you love, and let go of the rest. Yes, it can be really scary. So many of us have a mentality that says, “I need to take what I can get.” But I can tell you from my experience and the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with that it’s much easier to start by saying yes to the right opportunity than it is to change later or turn around the Titanic. You don’t want to get stuck with negative momentum.

A recent client of mine was a chiropractor who had 400 patients a week. And he was miserable. Almost all his patients were workers compensation claims and personal injury. All of his marketing efforts were bringing these people in and he was getting ready to quit.

I helped him gain clarity of his ideal client, and while it was pretty detailed, he mainly wanted to work with folks focused on wellness. He started offering wellness and educational seminars and it totally transformed his business. He was able to raise his rates because people focused on wellness really valued what he was doing and he was working in line with his mission of being a chiropractor and healer.

Until he was willing to say “no” to the clients who weren’t working for him and do something different, he wasn’t seeing a change and he was getting really burnt out.

Don’t worry that the clients you say “no” to won’t be served. Refer them to trusted colleagues — your “no” is somebody else’s “yes.” (And everybody is probably much better off!)

There are so many of us holding onto things because we need the money, or this is what you’ve been doing for 20 years. But they are out of alignment with what you really should be doing. You need to create a vacancy. And when you do, the universe will find something to fill it with. But first you have to say “no” and let go.

# # #

Lisa Cherney, a.k.a. the Juicy Marketing Expert, founded Conscious Marketing 12 years ago to help small business owners find their authentic marketing voice, attract their ideal clients and increase their sales. Following her own Stand Out & Be Juicy program, which centers on owning your unique self and laser-focus marketing, Lisa has tripled her income while working part-time.

Prior to Conscious Marketing, Lisa worked with many Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Lipton, Nissan, Blue Cross and Equal. She is a highly sought after speaker and often shares the stage with experts such as Jack Assaraf (The Secret), Jack Canfield and Jill Lublin. Learn more about Lisa at www.consciousmarketing.com or call 887-771-0156.

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Are You Giving Away Your Profit?

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Want a quick way to destroy sales motivation and profit at the same time?  Picture yourself as a sales manager who suddenly receives a phone call from a salesperson who is on the verge of closing a sale.  Here’s a sample of that typical conversation:
Salesperson: “We have to cut our price to get the first order. Then, once they see what we can do for them, we will be able to raise our prices.  I’m sure once they see how good our service is, I’ll be able to convince them to pay the regular price.”
Hmmm.  Really?  I’ll let you fill in how you feel the sales manager should respond.  The sad comment is that too many times, the sales manager – after sounding tough on the telephone for 30 seconds – then gives way to the idea of lowering the price by saying something like, “Well, just this time, but we certainly can’t go making this part of our sales tactics with other customers. The only reason I’ll say ‘yes’ this time is because of how much business is at stake.”
I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard this rationalization.  Sadly, what blows me away is the number of times I have heard it when somebody is trying to land a new customer – but then I never hear from these same people a year or two later expressing what the long-term results have been.  Why do salespeople or sales managers never share with me the long-term outcome of such “price reduction” strategy?  Because it never works out the way the salesperson or the sales manager initially believes it will.
Let’s look at this from the customer’s perspective. If you bought something at one price, don’t you think you would be able to buy it again at the same price?  Sure you would.  So why do you as a salesperson think that increasing the price after the initial sale is going to go smoothly?
Cutting your price to secure the initial deal only does one thing – it takes profit out of your pocket.
Many of you are thinking that this is all right, because all that is being lost is some profit on the initial sale.  My experience is you’re giving up profit not only on the initial sale, but also on any future sales to come.
The reason is simple (so simple, in fact, that I can’t believe so many salespeople still think slashing price on the initial sale is a viable option).  The first price the customer gets is what they believe is the
right price with the right value.  If the price is higher, they believe it to be unfair.
Sales motivation takes an even greater dive when the customer is ready for the next purchase, and the salesperson begins to wander down a dangerous path.  The salesperson justifies in their own mind why increasing the price is just “not the right thing to do” and will “jeopardize the long-term value of the customer.”  In the blink of an eye, with that one thought, the salesperson has committed themselves to lower profit on a going-forward basis (maybe even indefinitely. Yikes!).
As tempting as it might be to cut your price to gain a new customer, don’t do it!
If you can’t land the customer at the profit margin your business plan is built upon, then that particular customer is not worth having.  Think I’m crazy?  Run the numbers over the long-term and you will see what I mean.
To avoid being in the situation where you feel desperate to get a sale “at all costs,” here are some strategies to put in place:
First, maintain a strong pipeline of prospective customers.  Discounting is far more prevalent when a salesperson believes the sale on which they are currently working is the only sale they are going to get.
Second, never attempt to close a sale until the customer has identified to you the specific objectives and you’ve had the opportunity to explore the needs they have.  When the customer understands the benefits you’re helping them with and the gains they’re going to get from those benefits, then you’re in a much better position to close the sale by not having to discount your price.
Too many times, the salesperson gets taken down the price discount road only because they have not taken the time upfront to get the customer to fully explain the benefits they’re looking for.  As tempting as it can be to close a sale quickly, the pressure of the price discount is many times what emerges when you attempt to close too early.  Allow the customer to verbally describe the benefits for which they are looking.
This gives you time to expand on them and, in turn, help the customer see the full value of what it is you’re offering them.
Protect your profit.  Protect your sales motivation.  Both are too valuable to toss aside, all in the name of making a sale.

Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability.  For more information, to receive a free weekly email sales tip, or to read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit http://www.TheSalesHunter.com. You can also follow him on http://www.Twitter.com/TheSalesHunter, on http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/MarkHunter, and on http://www.Facebook.com/TheSalesHunter.

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