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Eight to Be Great – 1st Year Rules For a Successful Business

Rules for the eight to be great for the first year… Looking ahead to a year from now can seem a little daunting, especially when you start thinking about all the little details and obstacles (big and small) you’ll have to overcome in those first 12 months. There is so much to accomplish in the first year of starting your business. Here are eight great tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey. This advice applies not only to your first year but every year after that!

1. Become an expert in your field. Read at least 30 minutes daily of a book or industry literature (magazines, e-zines, and newsletters) on a topic related to your business. If you own an office cleaning business and can’t find books in your particular specialty, find books on customer service, time management, and organizational skills. Read about green cleaning products, read marketing magazines, listen to educational CDs in your car to and from your client meetings. Sacrifice TV time for your education. Even after you’re established, continuing education will be important to keep your business relevant. 

2. Let everyone know about your business. Tell all your friends and family, colleagues (if you’ve started your business part-time alongside your 9-5 job.) You can do this by sending a launch letter to everyone on your Christmas card list your. keep it short and simple. Express your enthusiasm for your new endeavors and your sincere desire to offer anyone who knows your service. The purpose of this is not to get your relatives involved, but if they know someone who needs your services, they can refer you. Word of mouth is the most powerful and cheapest form of advertising there is.

3. Keep and organize every contact you make. Whether it’s Sally’s dad you met at your son’s soccer game, Steve the plumber, or your local librarian, get their contact information. It may not seem relevant to you at the time. but all these people can be an asset to you in the future. They might even be competitors, but you never know how you might help each other along the way. Start tracking the business cards you collect. Don’t let them pile up on your car’s console. Start a “Contacts” filing system, whether it’s an old Rolodex or using desktop software like Microsoft Outlook. On each Rolodex card (virtual or real) write a quick note about how you met and what line of business they are in. 

4. Don’t quit your day job. If your schedule allows, keep your job until you bring in enough income to support you and your family. If you have the extra income, you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel when things get tough with the business because you’ll have financial leeway.

5. Network, Network, Network….. I cannot stress this enough. It’s not about joining a professional club or just networking with people in your industry or joining a social networking site. Go ahead, join the chamber of commerce, volunteer at your local animal shelter or food bank. When you drop your son off at soccer or baseball practice, go outside and meet the parents and the coach. Go to story time at the library with your little girl. Go to PTA meetings. Make eye contact at the grocery store and be extra friendly at the post office. Talk to the pharmacist when you’re waiting for your prescription. People will remember you when you approach them. We live in a world that is in such a rush, people run around without taking the time to be friendly or even polite for that matter. You will stand out if you try a little. Make people feel important as you carry out your duties, but be honest when you do it. there is nothing worse than insincere flattery. When the time is right, get that person’s contact information and let them know what you do for a living.

6. Be a better you. In any business you have to “mind your mind”. There’s a reason the self-help industry was worth over $9 billion last year. Whether you call it self-help or personal development, when you start your own business – you need it. So much of our success and achievements depend on maintaining a positive mindset. And you just don’t wake up one day and be in the right frame of mind. you have to work at it every day, sometimes all day. As unpleasant as this may seem – surround yourself with positive phrases and quotes from people you admire. Listen to self-help CDs and train yourself to ignore negative comments from friends, family and even yourself at times. When you feel like your business is slacking off a bit, take stock of the personal growth you’ve done that week or month. Chances are you will find that you have been lacking in your positive personal growth. Imagine and visualize yourself and your business where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, and 10. Focus on that outcome so you can get through tough times.

7. Set weekly, monthly and yearly goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t plan the right route. Write these goals down and review them weekly, people who write down their goals are 80% more likely to achieve them than if you never write them down. Have a realistic goal and a crazy dream goal – shoot for the crazy dream, but be happy when you achieve your realistic one.

8. Develop a “No Matter What” Mindset.Things will be tough at times, whether it’s in the beginning trying to build momentum and a customer base or 6 months into your journey when the novelty of “new” wears off for new customers and even friends and family who dropped their support to help you get started. Don’t give up – all businesses have their ups and downs, many are cyclical and it may take you more than a year to recognize your highs and lows. Decide at the beginning and make a “Whatever!” mindset- no matter what I’m going to make this business work. Whatever it takes!

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