Follow These 7 Key Tips to Get Your Business Going

Ask anyone who’s ever started their own business for tips on how to be successful and you’ll get a whole range of answers. However, there are several strategies that the best entrepreneurs have in common that can help you on the road to long-term profitability.

1. Be passionate. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you won’t have the desire to put in the energy necessary to make a business work. Setting your sights on getting rich quick will only lead to disappointment. You need to really believe in your company and the products you offer. This not only provides motivation but also conveys to customers that you’re serious about what you do.

2. Have a common goal. Make sure everyone from employees to investors shares your vision for the company. Being on the same page is important, but enthusiasm is what truly gets a business running and keeps it going through successes and pitfalls.

3. Don’t rush the process. As an entrepreneur, you should have clear goals for your business. However, don’t become so focused on the “destination” that you miss important steps along the way. Starting and growing a business is a learning process that requires care, attention and dedication. Try not to view success as getting to a particular goal; rather, take each step as it comes and do your best at each stage of the journey.

4. Learn to be adaptable. As you move from stage to stage in your business, things will change. There will be times when your original plan will no longer be the best route to follow. Learn to recognize these times and adapt to changes without losing the overall focus you established for the company.

5. Develop unique delivery. Every business has a product or service, a story and an angle. Yours needs to be different from the myriad others crowding the market. Do comprehensive research of the competition and use it to develop a marketing plan that entices customers in unique ways. Good marketing is all about how you present your offerings to the public. Go beyond simple advertising and ask yourself how you can best connect with customers and develop lasting relationships.

6. Trust your support. Remember that your employees are the core of your company and choose people whose strengths complement yours to form a solid team of reliable workers.

7. Remember that honesty is still the best policy. Business owners who rely on deceitful marketing tactics and unreasonable promises may profit at first, but it always comes back to haunt them. Be honest in all you do from advertising to daily business operations and you’ll build a reputation that your business will be able to stand on for many years. Customers will trust you over the competition because they know you can and will deliver everything you promise.

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How These 7 Common Misconceptions Entrepreneurship Can Hurt You

People have different thoughts on what being an entrepreneur means. Some come from reading success stories while others stem from the wistful thought of getting away from the “daily grind” to run an exciting new business. Here are a few of the most common—and completely wrong—ideas about entrepreneurship.

1. Entrepreneurial spirit is inherent. Nobody is born with a talent for business. Though some may have a personality that makes it easier to commit to the amount of work involved in starting and running a business, all of the necessary skills can be taught and learned.

2. You have to be young to be an entrepreneur. Everyone from ambitious teens to innovative retirees has started businesses that became successful. The only effect age has on business is that young people have more time to develop ideas and see things through while older people bring more life experience to the table. With the reach offered by the Internet, it isn’t even necessary to be in the same location as a potential target market. It’s possible to be anyone, anywhere and still run a business.

3. Inspiration is the only way to get an idea. Many people have lost out on business prospects by waiting for a “bolt from the blue.” Entrepreneurs are much more likely to succeed when they keep an eye out for opportunities to fill the needs of potential markets.

4. Entrepreneurs have to go it alone. When one person tries to do everything necessary to run a business, it inevitably leads to burnout. Discovering personal strengths and sticking to the aspects of the company where those strengths can be applied is a smarter approach. A team of talented employees can pick up the rest.

5. Entrepreneurship is all about risks. All business endeavors carry some level of risk. However, that doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. Successful entrepreneurs research and test ideas before investing time or money in a new endeavor. Called a calculated risk, this allows for the development of contingency plans should something go wrong.

6. There is such a thing as “overnight success”
The entrepreneurs whose success stories wind up selling books and making blockbuster movies didn’t get where they are in a day, a week or even a year. They worked hard for a long time to develop their ideas, grow their companies and generate interest. True success isn’t a glamorous Hollywood story; it’s a journey that requires dedication, time and effort.

7. Owning a business means having flexible hours
Entrepreneurs who go into an endeavor expecting to have more time to themselves will find it’s exactly the opposite. All hours can be, and often are, work hours, and it’s not always possible to disengage when trying to juggle all of the elements of a business.

3 Key Ways to Develop Your Company’s Niche

As a new business owner, finding your niche is one of the most important parts of getting your company off the ground. The definition of your niche includes the needs filled by your products or services, the experience your brand brings to clients and the environment you’re most comfortable working in.

Having One Clear Focus

Many business owners fall into the trap of trying to be too many things to too many people. Having a niche creates a clear picture of what your business does and what it offers customers. Instead of providing a broad set of services, focus on one or two things that you do well. Specializing allows you to truly define your company. When you choose a niche, you have the chance to get very good at what you do and build a solid reputation that customers come to rely on.

Leveraging Networking Opportunities

When you have a clearly defined purpose for your business, it’s much easier to get relevant leads. A company that knows its niche knows its customers and can use that knowledge to market to the correct subset of people. Think about what your company does and how it pertains to the lives of your customers. Who is looking for what you sell? How can they benefit from it? Asking these questions will help you build the profile of an ideal sales prospect.

Reputation also ties in to lead generation. Working within your niche means providing a specific service that’s hard or impossible to find elsewhere. When you do well in your niche, people are going to tell their friends and recommend your company. This word-of-mouth advertising has the power to exponentially grow your customer base over time.

Creating Better Connections

Passion and direction are an integral part of your company’s niche. When you’re passionate about something, that enthusiasm shows and makes it easier to connect with customers. Customers will also want to connect with you, as they’ll see that you care about what you’re doing and have the knowledge necessary to apply your business offerings to their specific needs.

Focusing on your passion means you get to work with people who share your interests and your vision. Staying within your niche lets you concentrate on the things that you truly love so that each day feels fresh. Rather than methodically plugging away at a bland and stale marketing plan, you’ll always have something new to share with a target audience you can identify with.

Once you’ve defined and settled into your niche, keep an ear out for feedback. Use past feedback to create future marketing and target it to your audience. Though needs and buying habits may change over time, offering a specific set of products or services ensures that you can always connect with potential customers.

Avoid These Mistakes When Starting Your Own Business

You already know that starting a business involves a lot of time and dedication. But you can make the process smoother by avoiding these common mistakes when launching your company.

Staring Without a Plan

Setting out to sell anything without a long-term plan is a recipe for disaster. The first question you have to ask yourself is whether or not the product or service you want to sell is enough to base a business on. Will it hold up once the initial enthusiasm wears off? Does it offer something that will grab attention at the start and continue to provide value in the long term? Creating a vision for the future will help you plot a course toward success.

Underestimating the Competition

No matter how unique your products and services are, someone else is probably doing what you’re doing in some way. Don’t assume that you have the corner on the market. Ask yourself what or who is currently serving the needs of your target customer base. Why would people want to buy from your company instead? Convincing them to make the switch should be at the heart of your marketing efforts.

Not Marketing Enough

In order to convince people, you need to be able to reach them. Many entrepreneurs fail to budget enough money for marketing or are afraid to put out initial payments for the promise of future sales. Today’s consumers look at everything from newspapers to social media, so find the channels where your prospects are and get active there even if it means having to make a significant investment at the start.

Not Charging Enough for Products

Offering discounts in an attempt to entice customers to make initial purchases can be a good marketing tactic, but if you set your prices too low, you won’t make enough to sustain your business. Research the true cost of your products and the worth of your services. See what the competition is charging, compare that to what you need to make a profit and price accordingly.

Not Planning for Problems

The cliché of “expect the unexpected” remains good advice for entrepreneurs. Product launches get delayed, customers cancel large orders, supplies wind up costing more than you thought and things break down. While you can’t prepare for every possible problem, having an overall backup plan that includes enough money to cover unexpected costs is essential to a successful startup.

Trying to Be the Lone Ranger

Attempting to cover all the bases on your own when running a company will only lead to frustration and burnout. Instead of enjoying a vibrant, thriving business, you’ll run out of energy and things will begin to slide. Realize that sometimes you need help from others and don’t be afraid to reach out to those with skill sets that can benefit your business.

Seven Stress Busters That Really Work

Creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere inside your home can help you manage stress at work and can provide you with a tranquil retreat from everyday life. A few simple additions to your existing décor and your daily routine can provide the relaxing environment necessary to help you unwind and make the most of your down time in the comfort of your own home.

The Comfy Chair

As immortalized by Monty Python, the comfy chair should be a staple of any den or office retreat. Recliners are among the most popular choices and provide an optimal combination of comfort and adjustability for reading, watching television or just taking a leisurely nap before dinner. Adding the right seating arrangement to your den can help you to enjoy your free time to the fullest.

Mood Lighting

Installing a dimmer in the living room, office, library or family room can allow you to create a more relaxed atmosphere and can reduce the glare from harsh incandescent lights. Lower lights can increase your ability to relax and unwind during the evening hours at home.

Steam Things Up

Taking a hot shower or steamy bath at the end of the day can help to wash away stress and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Steam showers and saunas are especially useful in this regard and can help to eliminate impurities in pores that can cause breakouts for some individuals.

In Full Bloom

Adding a splash of color and fragrance with fresh cut flowers can provide a real morale boost and can inspire you to enjoy the great outdoors for yourself. If floral arrangements are impractical due to allergies or other issues, a colorful poster or other ornamental item can potentially provide the same positive effect for your mood and your décor.

Run Away

Exercise is a proven stress buster. Walking, running and biking are especially healthy and can increase your body’s natural resistance to stress and boost your immune system to help you fight off colds and other viral infections more effectively. The cardiovascular benefits of running, walking and biking are well established and can improve your health significantly to remove one major area of stress in your daily life.

Work It Out

Depending on your budget and your personal preferences, it may be cost-effective to create your own home gym complete with resistance equipment, free weights, treadmill and stair climber. If you do not have a room suitable for these items of fitness equipment, a membership to the local gym is an inexpensive way to burn off extra energy and pounds in a friendly and congenial environment.

Play the Game

Playing board games, video games and card games with family members can be a fun and relaxing activity. By engaging in a little friendly competition with loved ones, you can build stronger bonds and reduce your stress levels at the same time.

By incorporating a few simple changes into your daily routine, you can enjoy your leisure time more effectively and improve your tolerance for stress throughout the working week.

Common Ingredients in Canine Dietary Supplements

For many pet owners, navigating the ingredients list for their dog’s nutritional supplements can be a confusing process. Understanding the basic ingredients in these supplement formulations and deciphering their purpose can help owners provide the most effective solutions for common pet health problems and can ensure a happier, longer life for canine companion animals.

Omega-3 and Omega-6

These essential fatty acids are often incorporated into scientifically formulated pet foods to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. Flaxseed and wild salmon oils are good sources for Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 is present in canola and soybean oils and can provide added protection against the damaging effects of age for senior dogs.

Glucosamine HCl and Chondroitin Sulfate

Most joint supplements contain a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate. These powerful anti-inflammatory medications can address the pain of canine arthritis by attacking the inflammation present in joints.

Phycocyanin

One of a new wave of botanical pharmaceuticals for the pet products industry, supplements containing phycocyanin have been shown to have a beneficial effect on dogs with arthritis symptoms. Derived from the pigments found in blue-green algae, phycocyanin reduces swelling, inflammation and edema and may even increase the elasticity of cartilage in affected canines.

Herbal Stress Remedies

Chamomile tea and valerian are common ingredients in anti-anxiety supplements and can provide some relief for pets and their people. However, these botanical compounds can sometimes produce undesirable side effects and may not be suited for every dog’s needs. Consulting a veterinarian before use can help to protect pets against drug interactions and unwanted reactions to these supplements.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants can boost immune system function and increase the regenerative properties of cells throughout the body. In dogs, this can translate into increased energy, faster healing and healthier skin, teeth and coat. Beta carotene, lutein and vitamins A, C and E are among the most common antioxidants included in dog supplements and can provide significant benefits for canine health.

Probiotics

Designed specifically to replace necessary flora and bacteria that live in canine gastrointestinal tracts, probiotic supplements are a healthy solution to the digestive upsets many dogs experience after a course of antibiotic treatments. Probiotics for dogs may also help to maintain good digestive tract health; however, the added benefits of these supplements is not yet proven in the veterinary community.

Multivitamin Formulas

Depending on the pet food formula chosen, dogs typically can receive their recommended daily requirement of vitamins and minerals in one serving of dog food. Owners who make their own pet food at home or who continue to have concerns regarding their dog’s nutrition may wish to supplement regular feedings with a well-balanced multivitamin formula to ensure optimal health for their pets.

A thorough veterinary examination is recommended before beginning any supplement regimen. Veterinary professionals can provide the most accurate assessment of the dog’s needs and can offer suggestions regarding the best treatments for any existing conditions. By working with the vet, pet owners can ensure that their dogs derive optimal benefits from supplements and enjoy better health throughout their lives.

Bush Dwellers and Tree Dwellers: Keys to Understanding Your Adopted Cat

Despite his somewhat whimsical name, Jackson Galaxy has quickly made a name for himself in the serious field of feline behavioral science. His insights into the cat psyche have allowed Galaxy to achieve amazing results with even the most difficult cases. Through his weekly television program, Galaxy has popularized the idea of tree dwellers and bush dwellers for cat owners across the United States. Developing a fundamental understanding of cat psychology can help you integrate adopted pets into your existing family structure more easily and can ensure a greater degree of harmony inside your home.

Tree Dwellers vs. Bush Dwellers

Most domestic cats can be categorized into one of two groups. Tree dwellers are more comfortable in elevated areas from which they can look down and survey their territory. Bush dwellers, on the other hand, prefer nooks and crannies close to the ground to allow them a more secure and stable retreat. Determining the category in which a cat most naturally belongs is usually a matter of close observation:

  • Does the cat typically run under beds, sofas and chairs in an attempt to hide? Are areas behind furniture and potted plants favored hangouts for the adoptive kitty? If so, the cat is exhibiting signs of bush dweller preference.
  • Cats that make impressive leaps from floor to shelf and enjoy lounging on the back of the sofa or perched on a windowsill are typically demonstrating their tree dweller love of heights and elevations.

Identifying your adopted cat’s preferences can go a long way toward creating a comfortable and safe environment for your feline companions.

Catering to the Cat

Once you have identified the preferred habitat for your new kitty, it may be time to landscape your home to provide a warm and welcoming environment. Tree dwellers will need secure shelves and elevated vantage points from which to survey their domain. Adding a few treats and toys to these areas can make them even more appealing for cats and kittens that may have spent weeks or months in a confined shelter environment. Snug kennels and covered pet beds can provide a comfortable retreat for bush dweller cats after a hard day of pouncing and playing.

Dial It Down a Notch

Especially during the first few weeks after the adoption, avoid rough play and overly intense petting. Both bush dweller and tree dweller cats need time to adjust to a new environment. By providing them with a little space and offering affection on their terms, these feline companions can develop a greater sense of trust in you as their owner and in the safety of their new home. Over-stimulated cats can sometimes lash out or exhibit avoidance behaviors. By keeping things calm until your new kitty has adjusted, you can make life easier for all parties involved.

Walking your cat on a leash and harness can provide added exercise and increased confidence, especially for adopted pets that may have become somewhat institutionalized in the shelter setting. Making the effort to understand your cat and to provide the exercise and environment most suited to his or her needs can provide both of you with the right foundation for a lifetime of happiness and companionship.