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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Creators Passion for Small Business

I don’t know where I got the idea, but I was all about small business when I was a child. I used to draw comics and sell them to other kids in the school yard for a few bucks. I was drawing all the time, in class, at home, anywhere a pen and pad could be found. People were genuinely interested in what I created, so why not make a few bucks off it if I could? Well, my parents really frowned on that idea.

My parents grew up during the industrial era. In that day, you could enter into a good company at a young age, work your way up and eventually become very prosperous or even rich inside that company. Some even gained a stake in the corporation itself. Before the industrial era, small business made up the bulk of the American economy, but at the turn of the century, people flocked to jobs in factories and huge corporations overtook the economic scene. This was not without its consequences.

We all know that day is over now. Job security is but a myth. Companies really caring about and taking care of employees is a rarity. These days if you want to make your way in the world, the idea of small business is worthy of serious consideration. Today we live in what is called the information age and he who controls the information becomes an island unto himself.

I never really lost my taste for enterprise. In the year 2000, not unlike on the schoolyard, I created an animated short film called Understanding Chaos, self published it on DVD and sold it directly from my own website with good results. No venture capital was involved, no investors needed and no major studios played any part in the operation. Just me, just like with a pen and a spiral notebook. This time, though, it was through the magic of the latest computer technology, off-the-shelf software, firewire and DV.

So if you look back into your childhood, what do you see yourself doing? Are the seeds of your future business to be found there? This is one possible road to your true passion, the thing you would do for hours on end even if there was no pay involved. I was drawing all the time and I loved to draw with people and help them draw. I see my passion from my own past. Does your past show you the right track?

 

Ways Put More Cash in Your Pocket

#1 Get your customers to pay upfront

Put a package together or estimate what the bill will be and get your customer to pay you before you ever start working. Yes, you can do that. Think about the number of programs, seminars, networking dinners, books, CDs, etc. you have paid for before you got to have it. If you set the expectation with your clients up front many will be happy to pay you in advance. It’s the surest way to get paid for your goods or services. Not comfortable with getting payment in full, consider getting a deposit.

#2 Send invoices on a regular basis and make sure you get paid

Pick an invoicing day such as the 1st or 15th of the month. Set that on your (or your assistant or bookkeeper’s) calendar and do all billing at once. Make sure you have a system in place to make it easy to create invoices.

Get paid before you end up in a never-never land situation. One of my clients is a high end copy writer. She charges a deposit up front and then the balance once copy is complete. The problem was she would deliver the final product and the client wouldn’t pay the balance. She had nothing to hold on to because they already had her words. So we changed her process, now she never releases the final product until she has been paid in full.

#3 Automate, automate, automate

Got clients on a payment plan? Have a recurring monthly fee? Set up automated payment through a shopping cart service. You tell it when to charge and how much and it does it for you. The money comes flying in. But wait; my clients pay me by check. And they are always late. Try sending a nice reminder email or make a kind reminder phone call the week before payment is due. Talk to your bank. See if you can have people wire you payments. Cuts down on the strenuous task of finding a stamp. Or set a policy. Something like two late check payments means they have to pay you by credit card.

#4 Make an effort to collect

Monitor the aging of your invoices. When it gets close to the due date, start calling. Don’t just expect that others are going to make paying you a priority. Call them, fax them, and email them. Ask them to pay with a credit card. Even if you don’t have a merchant account you can always have someone send you a payment through Paypal. It’s worth the small percentage they charge if it gets you paid. You are entitled to collect your hard earned cash. If you have to, turn your invoice over to a collection agency.

#5 Ensure your money actually gets to the bank

Is there money sitting in your Paypal account that you haven’t cashed out? Are there checks sitting in a PO Box somewhere? Are you reconciling to make sure your merchant account payments made it to the bank?

 

Be Your Own Boss

Many individuals choose to begin their own business due to personal matters at home. Sometimes, a birth of a child prompts a parent to start his or her own business in order to stay at home. Individuals faced with caring for a spouse, sibling, or parent often chooses to work at home due to scheduling difficulties. Working from your home allows you a flexible schedule and enables you to take care of other responsibilities without affecting your work life.

You can choose from a whole gamut of options to start your business. You can become a retailer or put your expertise to use by becoming a consultant in that chosen area. The business gives you the freedom of choosing the kind of work you always wanted. Thus, it also gives you a chance to live out those dreams.

Start from the beginning. As soon as the idea of starting your own business strikes you, start saving to invest. You have to put in money to make money. Then explore the possibilities of getting business related loans. Next, look for grants provided to individuals interested into opening a home business.

How much time and money is required depends entirely on the type of your business. Let’s say, if you want to open a retail store, a restaurant, or a hospitality center you will need a much greater investment both in terms of time and money.

There are certain business that happen to be a relatively safer bet, such as selling brands like Avon, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, or Mary Kay. These happen to be reputed brand names and the individual’s stocking these products can sell these in home parties, shows, or even post them on the Internet. Thus with such a business in place, it is easier to maintain a fine balance between both personal and professional life.

Use your network of friends, family members, and coworkers to build a viable base of clients. Whatever your business, make sure you are flexible enough to adapt it to meet the needs of a variety of clients. Ensuring you market your business to a wide scope of potential customers will ensure a greater potential for success.

If you decide to run a business from your home, make sure you delegate a specific area of your home as a business area. Whether this is a table, corner, or entire room, this business only area will ensure you treat your home as a business. Additionally, this business only area will allow other individuals to provide you with privacy necessary to do any business related tasks. Many entrepreneurs find themselves easily distracted by children, friends, spouses, or family members who disturb them during work time.