PierceWords™

Advice, information & inspiration for small business owners

 Subscribe by RSS RSS

Stay on Plan with Your Accountability Buddy


by Roger Pierce

在VEMMA非常居家網路創業,享財務自由經營VEMMA~不受時間空間限制..... (2) - VeMMA之星 - FlickrEntrepreneurs are so busy we often accomplish very little.

There are countless distractions in each workday – from must-answer emails to unexpected calls to surprise errands (like running to buy printer ink so you can complete your customer presentation). Caught up in day to day chaos of running your own business, it’s easy to push weightier and more important tasks to the bottom of the to-do list.

And, without co-workers or business partners around, Canada’s 1.6 Million ‘solopreneurs’ don’t get much day to day interaction or support to help keep them focused on strategic goals.

We all do better in life when surrounded by helpful and encouraging people. The solution for many self-employed business owners is peer support.

An Accountability Buddy is someone to help keep you focused on achieving your goals or completing a specific project. An Accountability buddy is usually another entrepreneur who shares your ambitions and sees the value in committing their goals out loud to another human being. You may find a buddy from your professional or social network.

Here’s how an Accountability Buddy system works:

  • Use your first meeting to establish a regular touch point to check each other’s progress. It could be a daily email, a weekly call or a monthly coffee meeting. Pick a time convenient to each buddy that won’t change or interfere with business-building activities – a dead zone like Fridays at 4 p.m. are best.
  • Use the second meeting to share goals and strategies to achieve them. Demonstrate to your Accountability Buddy that you have a plan. Your goals should be specific and time-based, such as ‘acquire 5 new customers within 3 months.’
  • Share your weekly or daily tasks to support those goals. These are the specific activities for accountability. A sample task might be ‘cold call 3 prospects this week.’
  • Share the following information during each update: what happened with your past tasks, any challenges you encountered along the way, and next tasks.
  • Don’t let your accountability buddy off the hook when he or she fails to perform stated tasks. Excuses are not permissible. Instead, explore the causes of the problem and quickly embrace solutions. ‘Not enough time’ as an excuse may mean your buddy should remove some other less-important tasks from her weekly calendar.

Set a lifespan for the accountability buddy relationship. Try being accountability for 3 or 6 months – you can always renew the arrangement to pursue fresh new objectives after that time. Both of you may want to pursue specific short-term goals (like writing a book or finishing a research project) that don’t warrant a long-term commitment.

Some people may prefer to hire a business coach (or personal fitness trainer or weight loss consultant) to help achieve certain goals. But there’s something special about working in a peer-to-peer arrangement because you’re in it together and neither one of you wants to let the other one down.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

How Much Money Will Your Startup Need?


by Roger Pierce

Canadian money - KittyCanuck - FlickrI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A newborn business is like a newborn baby, because they both eat money and make work.

Your new business will need money to survive and thrive. But, exactly how much cash is that?

A good Startup Budget will include Capital Costs (one-time set up costs such as buying a delivery truck or renovating a storefront) plus six months of Working Capital (monthly operating expenses like rent, employee wages and advertising).

For example, let’s say you will need $25,000 for one-time Capital Costs and $50,000 for Working Capital to survive your first six months in business (without sales – if you make sales, consider that bonus money). For safety, add another 10% to cover unexpected costs.

Where will you get that $82,500?

New entrepreneurs typically find startup money from five sources: Personal savings, financial institutions, family/friends, angel investors and government programs.  

Personal savings really gets the ball rolling with all of the other funding options. You need to personally invest in your new business because it shows commitment. Other people won’t consider giving you money unless you’ve risked some of your own cash.

Meet with your personal financial planner or business banker to determine how much money you can safely invest in your new business. Remember, the business will likely cost you more money than you anticipated (like a newborn baby) so don’t invest every cent you own – hold some back.

Finding the money you need to launch your business begins by calculating an exact Startup Budget. Only then can you start intelligent conversations with other people about funding your business.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

Turning Business Away


by Roger Pierce

It's okay to decide not to do business with a particular person or organization.

Listen to your gut if you are struggling with a decision to play or pass on some work, which may be screaming “Don’t do it!” for several reasons:

  • The work is not what you do.
  • The work would strain your thin resources to a point where other work is affected.
  • The money offered is too low.
  • You have heard negative things about the individual.
  • You don’t like the person, or you get a bad vibe about them.

Any of these reasons are perfectly valid ones to reject a deal.

Disliking a customer is a particularly difficult instinct to deal with. We’re so often trained in business school to “do business” with anyone, and leave emotions or opinions about someone at the door. In other words, take their money and carry on.

But that’s not realistic for a small business owner who must work face to face with the disagreeable customer. It also betrays the entrepreneur’s right to make decisions affecting his life. Many of us got into business so we could work with people we actually like.

It’s okay to listen to your head and your heart when assessing new work opportunities. Make a decision that feels just as good tomorrow as it does today.


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

Small Business Gurus at The Art of Small Business Conference


by Roger Pierce

I'm very excited to attend this upcoming conference. And you should be too! If you're starting or running a small business, October 21st promises to be day filled with exceptional opportunities for learning and inspiration from some truly amazing small business thought leaders.

What a great way to celeberate Small Business Month!

Held at the convenient Metro Toronto Convention Centre, here's the impressive lineup of speakers:

  • Michael E. Gerber: Small Business Guru & Author of the Mega-Bestseller E-Myth Revisited
  • Chris Guillebeau: New York Times Bestselling Author of The $100 Startup - The $100 Startup
  • John Jantsch: Small Business Expert & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Duct Tape Marketing, The Referral Engine & The Commitment Engine
  • Jonathan Fields: Award-Winning Author, Entrepreneur & Founder of The Good Life Project
  • Stephen Shapiro: Innovation Consultant & Bestselling Author, Personality Poker & Best Practices Are Stupid
  • Mitch Joel: President of Twist Image & Bestselling Author, Six Pixels of Separation & CTRL ALT Delete

As the highlight of 2013 Small Business Month, this inaugural conference will be hosted by JJ Ramberg, author of It's Your Business and host of MSNBC's Your Business.

“The Art of Small Business is an exciting new venture for The Art Of”, said Scott Kavanagh Co-Founder of The Art Of.  “Small businesses power our economy, drive innovation and create jobs. We are excited partner with Visa to produce the premier event for this year’s small business month”

Plus, the organizer recently added W. Brett Wilson to the event - he's the former star of CBC's Dragons' Den 

Available in major markets across Canada, The Art Of conferences attract an exclusive audience of over 20,000 business leaders, decision makers, and entrepreneurs each year. Other conferences in The Art Of series cover the topics of marketing, sales, management and leadership.

You can register for The Art of Small Business Conference by clicking here.

See you there!


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

Featured Post from FedEx Canada


by Roger Pierce

This week, I'm sharing some of my work. Here's a recent post from the FedEx Canada Get Ahead site for small business owners. It contains some useful tips about improving or maintaining your credit score.

Why You Should Watch Your Credit Rating

...enjoy!


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

The Distracted Entrepreneur


by Roger Pierce

By Roger Pierce

It’s true – as an entrepreneur, you can pursue any opportunity you desire. You can dance with new ideas, new projects and new people as often as you like. You can say “yes” to everything and everyone. You can wake up and decide to spend your day chasing rainbows. You are your own boss.

But what’s the cost of those shiny distractions?

  • We think up new business ideas and begin to chase them, when our attention should remain on the business we’re already in.
  • We get excited about big, long-term, glamorous projects that will (one day) make us rich, when we should be focused on paying next month’s rent.
  • We walk away from a meeting with someone new, feeling absolutely giddy about the potential of this new relationship, when we should be spending our time with customers who already know (and pay) us.
  • We surf the internet, bouncing from interesting site to interesting site, when we should be writing that proposal due tomorrow.

It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur because there are just so many options available to us.

But beware the cost to your focus. I know I’ve been guilty of getting distracted by new projects and new relationships and exciting ideas. At one point in my career, I was running 5 businesses and leading a non-profit organization. Because my attention and energies were spread so thin, my projects suffered and one of my companies went belly up.

If you’re just now building your business, as boring as it sounds, you’ll achieve your goals by keeping your head down and looking straight ahead. Focus on paying the rent.

Don’t kill your other aspirations, but set some rules such as allowing yourself time to dally in new projects only when you’ve achieved your goals for stable income and reliable cash flow. Like most successful entrepreneurs, you’ll soon discover – and as I’m finding now – that focus pays.

 


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

Oh, Canada! 4 Reasons to Start a Business Here


by Roger Pierce

Canada is well known for its beautiful landscapes, clean water and diverse wildlife. We are respected around the world as a nation of warm and friendly people. It’s no wonder Canada is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world to live.

But there’s more to love about Canada: We are a nation that makes it inviting to start a business here.

Consider these four reasons to launch a company in this great country of ours.

Our diversity breeds business. Over 250,000 newcomers choose Canada as their home each year. Immigrants create exciting business opportunities because they bring ideas and products from their country of origin that Canada may not otherwise get to enjoy. And, they bring their connections – creating new opportunities for international trade.

Our governments support starting up. Entrepreneurs here can access programs, tax credits, resources, training and services worth billions of dollars, available from our municipal, provincial and federal levels of government. BizPal.ca, for example, makes it easy for startups to cut through the red tape associated with opening a business by streamlining the business permit and licensing process.

Entrepreneurship is in our blood. With approximately 110,000 businesses started each year and almost 20 percent of our working population now self-employed, it’s safe to say Canadians like being the boss. To support this hot career choice, thousands of small business groups have sprung up in recent years to help us get connected, share resources and learn from one another. So there’s no reason for new entrepreneurs to feel alone.

There’s a big customer next door. Our close proximity to the United States gives our entrepreneurs access to one of the largest markets in the world – and a distinct advantage over business owners operating elsewhere. The short distance between our most populous centres and US customers makes it easy and affordable to ship products and supply services.

It’s hard to believe a nation this good just keeps getting better. On July 1, you’ve got even more reasons to celebrate your love for our country.

Happy Birthday, Canada!


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

Will your startup idea work? It's up to you


by Roger Pierce

Startup entrepreneurs nervously ask me: “How do I know if my business idea will work?”

It won't - unless you do.

Your idea will soar if you follow these five success secrets.

Work smart. Any fool can sit behind a desk for 12 hours a day. It’s not the amount of time you spend at your business, but rather what you do with that time. Do things that add value to your business, like developing systems to make it run right.

  • Start cheap. If your idea requires you to spend tens of thousands of dollars before you make one dollar, it’s probably the wrong business idea for you. Most service-based businesses can be started for under $1000. Build and launch a "minimum viable product" - which means a business with bugs - and work quickly to make improvements. Just get it launched.

  • Be better. Repeat after me: It’s not what you do in business but how you do it. Offer a twist on an existing business idea and you’ll beat the competition.

  • Test it. Before you spend one dollar or one hour building your new idea, test it with your prospective customers. Too many entrepreneurs get over-excited about their idea (“I just know this will work!”) and jump in without doing any market research.

  • Find advisors. It’s impossible to know everything about running a small business. Reach out to your personal or professional network to find an experienced entrepreneur willing to volunteer an hour a month with you.

To succeed your business idea must be written up properly as a Business Plan. No more than ten pages. By committing your idea to paper you’ll be forced to think through every angle.


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

Be frugal, not cheap in your business


by Roger Pierce

It’s very typical to start and run a business on a shoestring budget because very few entrepreneurs have enough money to do all of the things they want to do, especially at the beginning.

When money is tight, there’s a natural (and healthy) tendency to look for ways to save a dollar here and there, and do more with less. It’s all about spending wisely and making good choices. Refusing to spend any money at all, or making choices based solely on lowest price, may damage important business relationships or deprive the business of resources required for growth.

To avoid making mistakes that could damage the future of the business, stop to reflect on these differences between being cheap and being frugal – and the effect of each.

·         Frugal is occasionally inviting your best customer out for a nice glass of wine.  Cheap is waiting for them to pay the bill

·         Knowing you will be sitting at your desk for many hours, frugal is watching for that high-quality and very comfortable office chair to go on sale. Cheap is buying the Ikea chair.

·         Frugal is hiring the best employee you can find to work for the salary you’ve set. Cheap is finding any person to do the work for the least amount of money you can spend. 

·         To enjoy volume rates, frugal is negotiating with an existing vendor to buy more of what they sell over time.  Cheap is threatening to switch vendors based on lowest price. 

·         Frugal is charging your customer a portion of the budget overage. Cheap is charging for every nickel. 

·         Frugal is negotiating a better rate with the logo designer you really want to work with. Cheap is asking your unemployed brother-in-law to design it for you. 

If frugal is about maximizing value for the money spent, then cheap wants to avoid any spending at all. There’s a place for both in your business as long as you understand the implications.


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  

Battling time successfully


by Roger Pierce

In this age of “instant response,” as we scramble to react to another email, instant message or post, many people feel they’ve lost control of their time and priorities.

Incessantly adding tasks to an already long to-do list makes any time we do have increasingly scarce. What you do with that precious time will matter greatly to your business.

Work on your business

You’ve heard this advice before, but it’s worth repeating. Getting caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of doing business prevents us from doing things to build the business. Business-building activities may include things like refreshing your business brand, improving a product or service, or forming new relationships with people who can distribute what you sell.

Call a customer

Time-pressed entrepreneurs can neglect one of their most valuable assets: relationships. It doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to chat with one of your customers. Update the customer on what’s happening in your world, and ask what you can do for them. Don’t have an agenda for the call – simply check in.

Prepare

I find my stress levels decrease when I focus on preparing for upcoming events or project deadlines that aren’t yet urgent. While you may have three weeks remaining to prepare some PowerPoint slides for a presentation, use some of your time today to do it now. Getting things done well in advance of a deadline makes us feel like we are controlling time, rather than it controlling us.


Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn

 

 

  
« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »
 
Top of page