What Types of Experience Should Entrepreneurs Have Prior to Starting a Business?

There is no single skill set or special characteristic to business owner that will make you successful. However, there are many ways for future entrepreneurs to develop themselves through experience. One of the most important things is gaining knowledge in the industry. Even one year in a related position can teach you a lot about the market, clients, customers and how the business flows. Learn as much as you can about the industry so you’ll make better decisions and help your business grow.

Life and Work Experience

Learning about the day-to-day operations of a business can help you exponentially when you plan on starting a business. Pay attention to how the business runs, from suppliers to customer service and how to handle issues. Any job or position can help teach you about business if you use your observation skills. Find out what works and what doesn’t so when it’s time to start your own business, things will go more smoothly.

Learn what you personally enjoy versus what bothers you the most about companies and business in general. You can use this to build and improve upon your own business by learning how to cope with your emotions when dealing when potentially stressful issues. Life experience is something that comes naturally, so use it to your advantage when starting or running your business.

Why Entrepreneurs Should Consider Getting a Degree

While future business owners should have some sort of knowledge and experience in their chosen field, there are few degrees that are preferable for business owners because of the nature of their work. A college degree isn’t a necessity for a business owner, but having a strong knowledge base can help increase your chance of success. For an entrepreneur, choosing a college degree can be more difficult. You’ll need many skills to run the various aspects of your business. There are so many aspects to running a business, from social skills and marketing to finance and management. There isn’t one magic degree that will teach you everything you need to know, but there are some extremely valuable ones for new start-ups that can help you reach your goals. A few of these options might even surprise you.

Business Administration

Business administration is a very useful degree that delves into each key area of business, such as finance and accounting, operations, e-commerce, marketing, economics, business law and management. Some courses even offer internships. You can also learn social skills such as public speaking or take relevant electives. If you want to learn the foundation of operating a business, a degree in business administration can be a very good start.

Marketing

One of the most important aspects of running a business is advertisement, so a degree in marketing can be useful. You’ll learn about how to identify and meet the needs of your customer base, in addition to other aspects of running a business such as accounting and information technology. You’ll also learn how to distribute and price the items or services so the business remains profitable but competitive at the same time.

Economics

Economics degrees are very useful to business owners no matter what the industry or field. This degree helps business owners track numbers and figures that represent the ups and downs of a business and help predict the future of the business. You’ll learn how to collect data and use it to your benefit to help your business grow and succeed. If you’re interested in mathematics, this can be useful to you as a business owner in any industry.

Ethnic and Cultural Studies

While you may not consider a degree in ethnic and cultural studies when starting a business, it may come in handy if you want to reach a broad customer base. Learning how to best communicate with people from all walks of life can help your business flourish by creating strong relationships with different communities. You can also combine this with a degree in business so you’ll learn the management aspects as well.

Communications

A communications degree can be very useful to a future business owner because much of running a business involves communicating with other people. Whether you need to write a speech or make a presentation, you’ll likely find that a communications degree can help you when it comes to public speaking and customer relations no matter what business you’re getting into. If you find that you’re lacking in this area, you should consider a communications degree to help develop these skills.

Product-Specific

Any degree related to the industry of your business will be useful to a future entrepreneur. The more you learn about your industry, the more successful your business will be. You will be more knowledgeable and prepared so it translates to better service. If you become an expert in your field or with a product, it can be very beneficial for your business. You’ll be able to meet the needs of your customers much more than if you had no previous knowledge or experience.

You don’t necessarily need to get a degree in one field. You may choose to take individual courses that would benefit you, such as various software training courses or an accounting class. If you need a refresher in marketing or advertisement, you can take courses in those subjects alone. No matter which type of degree you prefer, there are hundreds of options that can make a difference in your career. Finding the best one is a matter of research and finding what suits you.

9 Ways to Keep Your Office Safe

9 Ways to Keep Your Office Safe

There are safety laws in every country in the world. Small business owners need to follow these laws. It’s important to do a safety check of your office or building every few months to make sure you are complying with the local safety laws. Here are 9 ways you can do that.

  1. Make sure the fire extinguishers are working properly and up to date. Old fire extinguishers should not be used. Instead they should be properly disposed of.
  2. Make sure the fire alarms and sprinklers are working.
  3. Make sure there is a clear path to your emergency exit. Nothing should be blocking it. There shouldn’t be any cords, desks, baskets or anything else in the way.
  4. Run fire drills regularly.
  5. Your employees should also know where to go in case a natural disaster (such as a tornado) happens during work hours.
  6. If there is smoking allowed on the premises of your building, make sure that the area designated as a smoker’s area is free of anything flammable.
  7. All of your computers and other electronics should be plugged into a surge protector.
  8. Immediately correct unsafe behavior. For example, if you notice employees like to flick burning cigarette butts onto the ground, please address this as soon as possible. Remind them to properly dispose of their butts, or else they can cause a fire.
  9. Have your office/building inspected by a safety inspector on a regular basis.

6 Steps to Hiring the Perfect Manager

6 Steps to Hiring the Perfect Manager

As a small business owner, you can’t do everything yourself. Eventually you will need to hire one – or several – managers. Here are the six steps you need to go through in order to find your perfect manager match.

  1. Look inside your business first. Is there someone already working there that would qualify as a manager? It’s always better to promote from within than it is to hire from outside. It boosts morale, and gives your other employees something to aspire to.
  2. Write down the qualifications you need in a manager. You need to know exactly the type of person you’re going to hire. If you don’t have a criteria, finding your perfect manager will be much harder.
  3. Don’t hire someone who is similar to you. Hire someone who has all of the strengths you don’t have. You need someone to support and compliment your role as an owner, not a clone of you.
  4. Find someone who isn’t scared to interact with your other employees. A manager should encourage morale, and build strength in your employees. You need someone who can work with your team and encourage them to be the best that they can be.
  5. Conduct thorough interviews. Take your time. Ask the right questions.
  6. Rule out everyone who doesn’t qualify. Don’t compromise on the list that you wrote down. If you didn’t find your perfect manager in the first round of interviews, keep going until you do.

Top Reasons Why Marketing is Important for Your Business

Top Reasons Why Marketing is Important for Your Business

You have an excellent business plan in mind and you believe that it is something that will really benefit the public. You have found a great niche and you have a specific audience. However, in order to find success, there is one thing that you can’t overlook: Marketing.

Marketing is an exceptionally important aspect of any business, and that’s because it really has a profound impact on success. If you’re just starting out, here is a look at why marketing it so important to your business.

Marketing Benefits

  • Attracts customers. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of marketing is that it attracts customers to your business. Sure, you can set up a storefront or a website and hope that people will check you out – and some people will – but if you don’t spread the word, you aren’t going to attract as many people as you need to be as successful as you desire. Marketing gets the word out about your business, and that is extremely powerful.
  • Builds value. Marketing helps to build value for your business. Your marketing approach will not only talk up your business, it will also talk up your products and services. It lets people know the benefits of what you are offering. When people know the value of your services and products, they will be more apt to do business with you.
  • Builds your brand. Every business has a brand, and marketing helps to build that brand. For example, parents know that Gerber is a trusted name in baby products, and that’s because of the image that marketing has built for it. Marketing will build your image and let your customers know what to expect from your business.

 

Tips for Keeping your Employees Motivated

Tips for Keeping your Employees Motivated

Your business is only as strong as the people are behind it, which is why making sure your employees stay motivated needs to be a top concern of all business owners. After all, you are the head cheerleader for your staff and if you don’t show your staff that you believe in your business and in them, well, chances are that they aren’t going to do much for your squad.

Here are some valuable tips that will keep your employees happy, positive and pumped:

Employee Boosting Tips

Stay Positive: Your employees will feed off the vibe that you give. When your employees sense that you are positive and upbeat, they will be, too.

Be Empowering: Always boost morale by being empowering. Host meetings for your whole staff, during which you can cheer them on. Take the time to talk to give each individual employee a pep talk. Empowerment goes a very long way in the world of business.

Acknowledge a Job Well Done: Always take the time to acknowledge a job well done. If an individual has achieved a milestone, commend her and show her how proud you are. If your entire team has reached a goal, make note of it and complement them on a job well done.

Listen: You have to listen to your employees. If they have a concern, a question or a comment, listen to what they have to say. And, don’t just listen, but respond to them, as well.

 

Tips for Finding Great Employees

Tips for Finding Great Employees

Your employees are the heart and soul of your business. Without them, your vision won’t be fulfilled and your business won’t be a success. Your employees guide your vision and help to make it a reality. That said, in order to make your business as successful as possible, you are going to want to staff it with the high quality employees.

Qualities of Great Employees

While going through the hiring process, make sure to pay attention to these tell-tale signs of a valuable employee:

  • Passionate:  If a prospective employee doesn’t show passion in himself or your business, there is a good chance that he isn’t going to be a valuable employee. You want to hire people who share your passion for your business and who believe in themselves, as they are the ones who will guide your business to success.
  • Competent: Passion is great, but if an employee isn’t competent, he probably isn’t going to be able to get the job done. He must be knowledgeable and possess the skills necessary in order to fulfill his role.
  • Good natured: Hiring someone who is hard-headed and who isn’t a team player isn’t going to get you very far. A valuable employee has to be able to work well with others and keep his cool in even the most stressful situations.
  • Committed: Where does the prospective employee see himself in five, 10, 15 or more years? Is he committed to working with you for the long haul, or is this position temporary? Employees who are committed to working with you for a long period of time are more valuable than those who are just waiting for something better to come along.

3 Ways a VA can Help You Reach Nirvana

vaIf you run a small business online or offline, then you already know what it means to not have any time on your hands.There are no doubt hundreds of things that you could (and should) be doing at any given time. This is why so many business owners are miserable, and when you’re miserable, your business suffers. You don’t have to languish in misery however; you can take advantage of a VA.

You may have considered a secretary, but decided that your life is too busy to have someone following you or hanging around in an office. You may even run a business without an office. If that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine how an administrative assistant would be anything but a hassle most days.
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The Room with a View: 3 Reasons Renting Hourly Meeting Rooms is better than Bringing Clients to Your Business

meeting roomAnyone who has their own business has experienced situations where they need to meet with important clients. These meetings are often incredibly important, so you want to do everything you can to make the best impression possible. One factor that has a lot of impact on how your clients perceive you is the place you choose to meet them.

In the past, it was common for offices to have meeting rooms to accommodate visiting clients. However, in recent years, many business functions have shifted to the internet. Offices are getting smaller and there are many more opportunities to take advantage of meeting rooms that are rented hourly. You may know that rentals are an option, but you may be unsure what advantages this option offers you.
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How Firing Troublesome Clients Can Increase Gross Revenue

Firing Bad ClientsFor a long time, it’s been a business rule that you should never tell a customer “no” and that the customer is always right. We have grown into an age where businesses no longer feel that that is true. In fact, telling certain customers “no” and sending them along their merry way to another business is sometimes to the best thing that you can do for your company. The reason for this is because of the 80/20 rule, also known as Parato’s law.

What is Parato’s 80/20 Law?

If you have never heard of the 80/20 rule that is commonly used for business and life, it is a logic that is put to use that can help you better see the more important areas of your life. The rule states that 20% of your input makes up 80% of your output. In business, this translates to 20% of your efforts make up to 80% of your outcomes, or 20% of your customers make up 80% of your revenue. It can also refer to 20% of your employees providing 80% of your business productivity. [Read more...]

How Many Employees Does An Internet Business Really Need?

Internet BusinessStarting any kind of business is a major commitment. You can do a lot by yourself, but if you are successful, you will reach a point where you are wasting time and losing money because you don’t have anyone to handle trivial tasks. Employees, even if they are only contractors, can allow you to develop a larger and more stable business. Employees are also a major expense however, and major expenses can be very threatening to new businesses. Employees can be a huge drain on your budget, and a source of significant legal trouble if you make mistakes. [Read more...]