I am an advocate for entrepreneurship and i have always encouraged people to start their own businesses and create their own opportunities. I realize however that not everyone is equipped to be an entrepreneur. The following is an infographic showing three differences between en Entrepreneur and an Employee.
About three weeks ago, I was at JFK International Airport awaiting a flight to Toronto. Since I had some time to spare, I decided to look around. I went into a store, and I saw a lovely bracelet. If I were a cartoon at that particular moment, everyone in the store would have been blinded by the brightness of the lightbulb that went off above my head. I thought to myself, my wife would love this! Satisfied by my excellent choice, my movement appeared to mimic that of Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as I gleefully bounced with the bracelet to the store’s sales representative to the to make the purchase. She took the bracelet, looked at it, skimmed through a stack of papers then said to me, “I don’t know the price of this.” At that point, I knew exactly how the Wile E Coyote feels when one of his anvil traps for the Road Runner backfires and gets him instead because I was crushed. I was unsure how to respond, and with a confused look on my face I asked, “You don’t know the price?” She said, “No.” I then asked, “Okay, so what now?” Then I followed my question with, “I want to buy this bracelet.” She then apologized and mentioned that she was new and unsure about a lot of the prices of the items. I am sure everyone in the store heard the thud my jaw made as it hit the floor from utter shock. While scooping my chin from the cold surface, I thought to myself, if someone wants to buy $1000.00 worth of items, the store easily runs the risk of losing such a sale because of
an untrained and poorly equipped salesperson.
One of the few positives that came for the encounter was that it caused me to evaluate my life’s experiences. I wondered if I was ever unprepared to seize an opportunity when it when it became available. Moreover, opportunities present themselves in a multitude of ways on a daily basis. They may come in the form of job prospects, new contracts, and the chance to sell some more products just to name a few. Unfortunately, many opportunities are wasted because we are unprepared for them or untrained just like the sales representative I encountered in the store.
Therefore, you must always be ready to seize any opportunity that comes. Here are a few tips that should be followed to help in that regard:
· Always be Prepared– Preparation is key. Being prepared allows you to be like a sharp shooter with your eyes peeled on the target and ready to pounce once opportunities present themselves. Don’t be like the lady in the store. She was unprepared and unequipped which led to the loss of a sale, and it is safe to assume that if ten people came in after me seeking the same product, she would have left their money on the table as well. Take the international scouts motto as your lives’ directive and always “be prepared”.
· Don’t Listen to Critics– When opportunities come along, all the critics come out to play. They may tell you why your vision is a bad one, why your idea won’t work, or why you shouldn’t take a class to improve your understanding to increase your chance of success. Steve Jobs opined best when he says, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Consequently, use their negativity as the fuel to ignite and perpetuate your burning desire to succeed.
· Believe in yourself– If you want to become a successful entrepreneur or land a huge contract, you can’t let fear and self-doubt hold you back. You need to have self-confidence. I am a firm believer in the notion that believing is half the battle won. Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Additionally, even if you fail, don’t let doubt creep it in. Dust yourself off and try again. Use failure as an opportunity to learn because in many cases a lot more can be learned from failure rather than success.
Wonders can happen when one is ready to seize opportunities as they come. Always believe in yourself, filter the voices of the critics, and be ready to exploit any chance that may become available at all times. You never know when a great opportunity may come along.
I am constantly contacted on Facebook, via email, or even in person with a question that many people seem to have. They generally say to me, “Hey Kimron, that’s me of course, I have a business idea what do I do now?” The number of persons who have brilliant business ideas but do not know what they need to do next surprises me just as much as the number of persons who have no idea how to spell pneumonia. I hope you recognize the word. Consequently, to assist them and others who might be in the same predicament, the following is a list of steps along with carefully chosen movie references to further drive home the point that should be followed after you conceive your business idea.
1- Get Feedback– once you have your business idea, discuss it with people you trust to get strategies to perfect it. Be careful of idea killers! Just like Freddy Krueger in the movie
“A Nightmare on Elm Street”, they will be eager to kill your dreams. Therefore, pitch your ideas to people who would give you honest objective feedback.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street”, they will be eager to kill your dreams. Therefore, pitch your ideas to people who would give you honest objective feedback.
2- Build Your Team– similar to Sylvester Stallone in the “The Expendables” series of movies, you need to surround yourself with a competent team. Persons who would complement your skills, share your vision, display proper work ethic, and partners who would ensure that the desired goals will ultimately be met in a timely fashion should be sought out. Some of the today’s most successful entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison accelerated their successes by building the right team.
3- Research the Market- once the business idea has been perfected, then it is time to research the market. Your inner Inspector Gadget should now come out to investigate the main players in the industry you want to enter, and your innermost Macgyver should be on show to ensure that your innovation would give you a competitive advantage.
4- Draft a Business Plan– business plans function like the maps that directed Nicholas Cage in the “National Treasure” movie series. In both scenarios, the documents function as a way to forecast. The business plan in particular gives a blueprint of how your business will be organized, how it will operate, and the steps it will take to accomplish its goals. It takes a look at where you are presently and where you’d like to be. In many cases, people think a business plan is a long formal document. However, such a thought isn’t necessarily the case. Plans can be a very simple.
5- Seek Funding– while it is possible to start a business with little or no money, in many cases there is a need for funds. Performing illegal activities or taking the “Italian Job” approach is definitely not encouraged. However, I suggest that you make a list of funding sources and the requirements needed to get the funds necessary to start your business then pursue the best avenue.
6- Build Your Product/ Discuss Your Service– at this stage you should build your prototype if you have a physical product or seat with your team like the “Knights of the Round Table” and discuss and examine the services you will offer and the need it will fill in the market.
Now after you formulate your business ideas then take the proposed Next Steps, having some professional help to share your brand story online is advised. SocialEyez Media makes this super easy through visual content creation, graphic designs, and effective social media management. Sign up to get additional information on the official launch of SocialEyez Media. When you do, you will receive The 5 Free Online Tools Top Designers use to Create Stunning Visual Content. Click Here for Free Tools
When Steve Jobs died, the world lost one of the most innovative and creative thinkers of all times. I have always admired Jobs and quotes that he left behind are testimony of how much of a Genius he was. Below is a list of 8 quotes that shows how this Genius really thinks and the kind of mindset entrepreneurs should have today.
1- When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
2- That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow.
3- Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
4- Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.
5- Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they ddidn’treally do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.
6- Here’s to the crazy ones — the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
7- Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.
8- I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.
9- When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
As an entrepreneur sometimes you are required to be everything in your business especially when starting out. Financial management is always a challenge when working without an accountant. Ratio analysis is a tool that allow you to trend in your performance as well as compare how you are doing financially compared to others in your industry.
Here are 15 Financial Ratios that you can use to manage your business when starting up
Gross Profit/Sales = Gross Profit Margin
Operating Profit/Sales = Operating Profit margin
Net Profit/ Sales = Net Profit Margin
Net profit/ Owner’s Equity = Return on Equity
Net Profit/Total Asset = Return on Assets
Current Assets/Current Liabilities = Current Ratio
(Current Asset- Inventory)/ Current Liabilities = Quick Ratio
Working Capital/Sales = Working Capital Ratio
(Account Receivables*365)/ Sales = Account Receivables Days
(Inventory*365)/Cost of Goods Sold = Inventory Days
(Accounts Payable*365)/Purchases = Account Payable Days
Sales/Total Asset = Sales to asset
Total Liability/Owner’s Equity = Debt to Equity
Total Liabilities/Total Asset = Debt Ratio
(Net Income+depreciation)/Current Maturities of |Long Term Debt = Debt Coverage Ratio
Every business, especially small and medium size businesses should have a fully functional Facebook page. However having a page is not just a simple as it seems every Facebook Page needs to be optimized for success especially when looking to undergo serious Facebook Marketing. The steps to optimizing your Facebook page are as follows:
· Understand the difference between your Profile and your Page– Your profile is your personal space on Facebook where you add your friends and you can interact with them, you can only have 5000 friends. A Page on the other hand is where people can click like and become fans of your business and there are no limits to these, you must have a page to run Facebook ads, you can’t run ads on a Profile Page
· Link your Facebook page and your Facebook Profile– In the about section of your Profile, you can select places you have worked. You can click edit your work and you’re able to add your work, in places, you select your Facebook Business page and enter your position. When someone goes on your page and they hover over your work, they can be taken to your Facebook Business page.
· Have a Well-designed Cover Photo– Every business should have a cover photo and use your cover photo to tell others who you are and what you’re about. You can show sample of your products or even promotions you are running at the time. The ideal specs for your cover photo should be 851*315 pixels. Your profile photo will cover a part of your cover photo, the lower left corner so this part needs to be kept clear to avoid covering any information.
· Name your Page– This is important, your Page name should be your business name, not your personal name and this should tell your clients and potential clients who you are.
· Enter information in about section– Your about section has different categories, and you need to full out these categories. The about section is indexed by Google so you will want to use Keywords in here. You can add certain links to different pages and websites you have in this about section as well. However you need to spend enough time and flesh out your about section.
· Ensure your Private Messaging added– This will allow people to contact you, if you have messaging turned off, then go to settings and general, click messages edit and then click turn on. You need to ensure that you constantly check this section.
Once you have your page optimized then you are ready to start generating traffic to it, also with a highly optimized page then you can now start engaging in Facebook Marketing.
In the information age it is becoming much easier for Caribbean Entrepreneurs to start and run businesses even though they never had a formal business education or are unable to finance certain specialized business courses. Below is a list of the 10 best online resources that Caribbean Entrepreneurs Should be using now.
- Fiverr.com- fiverr is a resource where Caribbean Entrepreneurs can get anything done for 5 dollars. One might think, since its 5 dollars the work would be of poor quality, and depending on what you want done it may be of poor quality. You wouldn’t try to get a quality website built for 5 dollars. However for gigs such as graphic designs, articles, videos, desktop publishing, if you need a virtual assistant among many other services. Every Caribbean Entrepreneur should be checking Fiverr now to get things done.
- Evernote- Evernote allows you to manage your life and your business in an efficient manner. It allows you to capture data whether on your mobile device, computer or tablets and help you remember projects you’re working on in your business.
Do you know of any other online tools that Caribbean Entrepreneurs should be using right now?
Identifying Your Target Market
In Part 3 of this Business Start-Up Series, we will be taking a look at the Target Market and correctly identifying your target market for success. Find a PDF version of this presentation Here
In part one and two we took a look at what type of entrepreneur you are, and you came up with a great idea for your business so now you are ready to rumble. However not quite, now that you have your business idea, you need to now try to figure out your market. Generally you can sell to consumers and also to businesses, and in some cases to both businesses and consumers.
One of the mistakes businesses make, especially small businesses is that they try to be everything to everyone. The best thing to do here is to segment your market, the narrower you can make your market the better. Many business experts recommends this approach, it is a process known as creating a niche. Many businesses try to do everything and are surprise when things don’t work out , not realizing they may be confusing themselves and their potential customers.
There are demographic and psychographics one can use to segment their target market some demographic factors include:
- · Age
- · Location
- · Gender
- · Income
- · Education
- · Occupation
- · Ethnicity
- · Marital Status
- · # of Children
Some Psychographic factors include:
- · Personality
- · Attitudes
- · Values
- · Interests/hobbies
- · Lifestyle
- · Behaviour
According to Lynda Falkenstein, the author of “Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market and Make Customers Seek you out”. Creating a good niche is a seven step process.
1- Make a Wishlist- This involve taking a look at with whom you want to do business and try being as specific as possible.
2- Focus- You need to clarify exactly what you will like to sell, you should already have identified this from part 2 of this series.
3- Describe your customer worldview- Look at the world from your customers view point and try to determine their needs and wants
4- Synthesize- Your niche should start taking shape by now
a. It takes you where you want to go
b. Somebody else want it
c. Its carefully planned
d. Its unique
e. It allows you to develop different profit centres and maintain the core business
5- Evaluate- evaluate your product or service against the qualities in 4 above
6- Test- This happens once you have found a match between a niche and a product, test market it
7- Go for it- Now it’s time to go hard or go home, it’s time to implement your idea
Identifying your target market is of utmost importance because it allows you to build a solid foundation for your business. And as a small business, it becomes easier to compete with the larger companies if you go after a niche market. All this does not mean however that if someone who isn’t part of your target market comes to buy, you will not sell. You will, however, you will direct all your marketing and promotional effort to a particular type of people.
Having a target market is crucial, ensure that you identify clearly who your target market is, and follow the steps above and comment below if you believe anything is missing or you wish to add to this post.