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12 More Steps to Achieve Your Dream Business

Are you a small business owner who continues to have questions about how to have the business of your dreams? Do you want to build or start your own business? I have created more steps to help you achieve the business of your dreams as a welcome addition to any system you may already be using.

1. Why do you call it a Dream Business?

A Dream business owner is committed and passionate with the desire to create more time and success for the client, make more money for themselves and enjoy life. Dreams can be difficult to attain, however, it is the pinnacle for a small business owner. With a plan, all business dreams can be attained.

2. What is the first step a business owner or entrepreneur should take to create a Dream business? Choose personal values.

Values are like your personal operating system. Values are also called guidelines, principles or qualities.

Values help you stay inspired and motivated. Values help you define what is important to you, and what is important about your business. Do your personal and business values align? Values provide you with a strong foundation; a method for living your life to it’s fullest. Clarity is about who you are and what you stand for.

If you already have values that you live by and bring into your business, check to see if they are in alignment with your goals and mission and vision. If they are, great! If they are not, you will be dissatisfied, unhappy and not generate the results you want.

Choose four values and live with your chosen values for thirty days. Re-evaluate at the end of thirty days. If you need to change them, do so.

3. Many business owners share how drained they are. Is there a strategy you can suggest to help them? Learn how to overcome energy drainers, or tolerations, to stop being drained. Tolerations are the little aggravations that waste your time and use your energy. Tolerations can become big stressors if ignored.

When you eliminate tolerations, you constantly produce improvements in both your business and personal life.

Let’s say you have a missing client, or a habit, such as too much social media, that may be taking up your time. Or you are busy deleting constant email messages instead of unsubscribing to so many groups.

Each time you become aware of this, you waste energy feeling guilty about not handling it properly. This drains your energy. Small tolerations accumulate and build up to a point where you don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning!

A solution is to create a list of at least ten (10) things that you are tolerating right now. Remember to write them down. Choose your Top Five and plan on removing at least these five (5) in thirty (30) days. Eliminating small tolerations can sometimes eliminate bigger ones along the way.

4. As a business owner or entrepreneurs we have so much to do. What is the best way to leverage our tasks?

I advocate my Daily Dream Business System, which consists of 3 Daily High Value Activities.

Systems are vital to help keep you focused and organized. The Daily Dream Business System is probably the number one focal point to help keep your eye on the prize. For those of you who may have long to-do lists, completing only three tasks per day may seem insufficient.

Why only three tasks per day, you may ask. What you are doing with three tasks is to leverage your information.

One article can leverage your exposure multi-fold. You can publish it on EzineArticles.com, post it on your blog, twitter it to your connections, offer it to your Facebook friends or fan page and make it part of an upcoming book or special report.

5. What is your best secret to attract more clients and more money to your dream business?

Do you want to know a secret to attract more clients and money easily and effortlessly?

Include different price points for your clients.

In order to get known, liked and trusted, people want to experience you. What better way than to provide no-cost offers such as: newsletters, articles, presentation and tele-classes (classes via telephone conference calls).

After you determine these potential new clients are a fit for your business or practice, then offer them higher fee products and services.

Pricing is very subjective. Do you want to price your products or services to just make a sale or do you want to have a variety of prices to keep your prospects interested?

Higher fee products can include a weekend event, products that include CDs and booklets, and one-on-one coaching and consulting.

6. What is your next best secret to attract more clients?

Write articles. No matter what your business is, you can write an article that will be of interest and value to potential and existing customers. This article can be used on your website as a free product, or given away for those who sign up for your newsletter. Write several articles on a similar topic and you are on your way to having enough material for a book. Article marketing is the number one way to establish your credibility and attain new clients.

7. Sometimes small business owners feel that they are alone in their pursuits of a Dream Business. What can they do to help themselves?

If you feel alone, you can create a team of experts. Work with a mentor, hire a coach, and network only with people who are in alignment with your thinking.

To begin with, choose someone who thinks the way you do, has a bigger vision than, and can bring their expertise to the table. You and your business will move further and faster. If you are interested in a Master Mind group, consider the advantage of starting your own group.

Create a Master Mind group that meets once a week. We all need an outside, objective resource who is as passionate as you are about your work.

Just don’t do it alone, anymore.

8. With so much to do in a small business, how can a business owner handle all the responsibilities? Do you find yourself tired after being on the computer for a while? Do you run out of time to post to your Twitter, Facebook or articles accounts? Are you drained at the end of the day?

When you use your brain for tasks your brain finds demanding, stress can take its toll. If you are a creative person, spending time in bookkeeping will exhaust you before you know it. It takes over one hundred times the energy to work out of your brain comfort zone. That means if you are a creative person, details can exhaust you.

One solution is to hire an intern from your local college. They can get credit and training from you at the same time. Outsource as much as possible. Go to Craigslist, place and ad or even answer an ad. High school is also a place for low fee interns who want to learn business. Check out your nearest Office Depot and ask any of the employees behind the counter if they are looking for more work. If you can, hire a Virtual Assistant on a project-by-project basis.

9. Most business owners try to handle too many tasks at once. How can they make their life easier?

Stop multitasking. Do you find yourself talking on the telephone while searching on the internet? Do you try searching for that file while someone is speaking to you? If you work at home, are you in the kitchen while a client is on the telephone? This is called multitasking and studies show that it hinders your memory. What appears to be age related memory loss might turn out to be multi-task related instead.

Get rid of your to-do list and focus on completing your three High Value Activities each and every day. These HVAs are specifically related to your business. High Value Activities are wrapped around time, money and energy.

10. Several of business owners and us entrepreneurs feel as if we have a calling. How do you explain this? If you feel compelled to present your service in a definite way and people come to you when they are in desperate situations, then you have a gift.

Each of us does, have a gift, that is. However, if you are in business, you have an additional responsibility in this world. Your responsibility is to provide your service or product while treating yourself and your business with respect.

If you give away any part of this extraordinary gift that you have been given, it is disrespectful. It is disrespectful not only to yourself, but also to whoever gave you this special gift. Do not shame yourself or your gift by compromising your fees, your values, your character or your gift. You have this special gift. Use it for the highest good.

Treat your gift with respect, know that you are of service, and yet maintain the boundaries necessary to keep you safe and sane.

11. How do you answer business owners who say that don’t have enough money to accomplish their Dream Business?

Are you always running out of money, especially when you need it the most? Do you rely on money as the only way to build your Dream Business? Does not having the money you think you need prevent you from being a success?

Money seems to be the first and last excuse to create your Dream Business. It is truly not about the money but about your willingness to look outside your small world to a bigger place with more opportunities. If you look at investing in yourself instead of ‘spending money on yourself’, your view may change.

The biggest group of complainers about not having money is the ones most in need of help. If prospects come after you for free help, refer them to this list.

a) Read others’ articles.

b) Subscribe to a few (very few) pertinent newsletters.

c) Attend free tele-classes in your area of interest.

d) Ask your peers for help.

e) Present as prosperous a picture as possible.

f) Make a decision that will move you forward.

Remember it is not about the money, it is about the belief in yourself and what you are doing.

12. What would be your final word today to business owners, entrepreneurs or executives? I would say to trust your instincts more. Check in with your feelings on daily basis. Are you truly doing what you want? If not, look at transforming parts of your business and yourself. Trust these feelings. We all have down days, however; too many down days mean a down business.

To know how to choose a path with heart is to learn how to follow intuitive feeling. Logic can tell you superficially where a path might lead to, but it cannot judge whether your heart will be in it.

I trust that 12 More Steps will help you get what you want, a successful life and business, with time to enjoy the fruits of your calling. The best to you always.

Crafting a Business Plan

Your company’s business plan can be one of your most important business documents – IF it is well written and usable. A plan that is unrealistic, too simplistic, or a monstrosity parked in a binder, is useless. it must be a living document for the CEO and leadership team. Business plans should be crafted with the end use in mind (always begin every project with the end in mind). Depending on the need of the business, the business plan will have different characteristics. In some cases, it might be necessary to have two versions of your business plan.

I. If the plan is to be used to attain funding from financial institutions or investors, its tone will be geared for that type of reader. The business must be described as a well conceived and viable business. Investors want to assess the comprehensiveness of the idea and/or the products and services. They will review the management team and their experience and the financials will be rigorously reviewed. The business plan
must not only be compelling, but thorough and detailed.

II. If the plan is to be used by the CEO/entrepreneur who intends to use the plan as a road map for the business, it will be written with the strategic goals of the business in mind. Attention to the objectives of each strategic goal and tactical steps to achieve those goals will be included in the plan. Practical financial projections must be included and the emphasis is on the requirements for starting and growing a profitable business.

Engagement

All business plans must reflect the leadership, management, direction, culture and ambitions of the business and its CEO. As such, it is really important to make sure that CxO To Go and the CEO/leadership team have a good relationship right from the start. Initially, we provide a complimentary consultation with you to understand your needs and planned use of your business plan. This allows you to get to know our business plan writers and judge their work style, depth of knowledge and deliverables. At that time, we will also be assessing your business planning needs and the level of information, research and documentation already in place that can be used in the development of your plan.

As we agree to go forward together, CxO To Go will provide a written proposal outlining the scope of work, the deliverables from all involved, due dates and price. During the project, should requirements be added or taken away, the proposal will be adjusted accordingly. The point is to make sure that all expectations are met, on time and at the agreed upon price.

Methodology

In addition to the Executive Summary (which provides a synopsis of the plan and is critical for lender financing) a business plan is made up of five distinct sections; each with important components. An appendix may be included if there is substantial supporting content to reinforce statements made in the plan.

We will work with you to survey the information needed to complete each section. By following the outline below, a thorough plan can be crafted narrating the purpose of the company, your products and services, how you going to produce, market and sell your products and services, who and how you will manage the business and how it will be financed and sustain profitability.

Some of these sections will be one or two sentences in length. It is not necessary to have an abundance of words. Brevity with specific content is preferable. Depending on the type of your business and your point in the organization lifecycle, some of these sections will be more robust than others. A few sections may not be pertinent to your business at all.

It is important to remember that your plan will only be as good and thorough as the information you share.

1. Description of the Business Section
a. Describe the company in terms of product and what is the “secret sauce” that makes your company different, your go to market strategy, and why the CEO and management team provide a competitive advantage.
b. Company purpose, mission and vision statements
i. Statement of company strategy and goals
c. Define the Market opportunity or concept (size and scope in $ and potential unit volume)
i. Description of your industry and the competitors, industry maturity stage, seasonality impacts, outside economic factors, and government regulations
ii. Industry analysis and trends, define the size and historical growth of the industry, and channels of distribution
d. Business Life Cycle Stage
i. What stage of the business life cycle is the business? Detail in terms of development, customers, revenue, technology, etc.
e. Overview of the products and services offered currently and proposed for the future
i. Description of all products and services. What need do they fill that is missing today? What is your “secret sauce”? How do they save time or money? Why should someone buy?
f. Major Milestones
i. Outline key milestones achieved to date and the outcomes
ii. Define future milestones to measure success and discuss the anticipated outcomes
g. Community involvement and social responsibility of the company and its leaders
h. Exit plan / Strategy (this is key as most companies fail to recognize they must start with the end in mind)

2. Marketing and Sales Section
a. What is the Value Proposition for the target market, target customers, and how will you reach them
i. Comprehensive understanding of the customer base and their unique needs and how does your Value Proposition resonate with them?
ii. Define the characteristics of the market and the customers
iii. Demographic information (age, preferences, geography, etc.)
b. Marketing and sales strategy to leverage the Value Proposition
i. Market size and past trends (information of future outlook if available)
ii. Your company’s sales pitch (product, price, promotion and place)
iii. Marketing approach (direct, indirect, internet, etc.)
iv. Marketing budget – must determine the cash available to spend, then allocate accodingly
v. Sales staff structure – direct or indirect sales team, commissioned representatives, etc.
vi. Sales projections – forecast sales by product and market
c. Competition and market dynamics
i. Know your competition and their strengths and weakness
ii. Know your customers and their expectations
d. SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
i. Your strategic position (advantages and barriers)
ii. Risk analysis

3. Operations Section
a. How will the business be structured to accomplish the strategic goals
b. Facilities required (size, equipment, location)
c. Production/assembly requirements
d. Supply, distribution and order fulfillment (in house or out sourced?)
f. Customer service/order taking (in house or out sourced?)
g. Research and development for future new products

4. Management and Organization Section
a. Brief resumes of management team
b. Staffing – current and projected
c. Proposed compensations, incentives and benefits
d. Board of Directors, Advisory Boards and Consultants

5. Financial Section
a. Income Statement
b. Cash Flow Projections
c. Balance Sheet
d. Break-even Analysis
e. Sources and uses of funds

In the course of your business operations, it may be necessary to update assumptions, financial projections, milestone charts and management profiles. We are happy to update the plan whenever warranted to ensure it is truly a living document that provides direction for the business.

Systemize Your Music Business

We are moving fast this year. 30 days can come and go in the blink of an eye.

How are you coming with your New Years Resolutions? Something better than resolutions are goals. How about your GOALS?

I set some goals for this year and its been a crazy so far. What I have learned and working to apply in my business this year are systems. Systemizing your business helps you put it on autopilot. Successful businesses are run by systems and those systems are run by people.

What is autopilot? It simply means your business runs without you, the owner, being there. Just let that sink in for a minute.

A true business is one where the owner does not have to be there for it to operate. In fact, in some cases, the business will run even better if the owner was not there.

This is done by systemizing your business.

How do we apply this to the music business?

Lets say you are an artist who wants to start a label. You really do not want to be a day-in, day-out businessman. You just want to write, record, and perform music and build a business around your talents to support your career.

You need a team of people around you to help you realize that vision. You need a personal manager, a business manager, and an entertainment attorney. You will also need a booking agent when booking shows gets to be too much for your personal manager.

These people help manage you as an artist. Now as far as your label is concerned, you are going to need to systemize recording your music as well as mixing and mastering it. Once you have that completed you need to find a good distributor.

In the meantime, while all this is going on, you still have to have a marketing division so that fans will know who you are.

The most successful artists have done this WELL! Look at artists like Jay Z & Ludacris who own labels but are still artist. They have their companies on autopilot. Another example would be the Rolling Stones. They have been in the game for years.

Even though the Stones do not own their record label, they still have their careers on autopilot. They only have to focus on recording and performing music. People are hired to run systems that do the other parts of the business to support their career.

Would you like for your career to be like this too?

So how to we systemize?

Make a list of all the tasks it takes to operate your business. You really have to break your business down. In the food industry, McDonald’s is the perfect business model.

Actually, McDonald’s is the perfect business model for any industry.

The owner of a Mickey D’s franchise does not have to work the register, cook the fries, flip the burgers, and work the drive-through window. McDonald’s has its systems in place. When you buy a McDonald’s franchise, everything is already set up for you and anybody can operate it.

You should think of your business the same way. A good business system can be duplicated, packaged up, and sold.

It is good to have an exit strategy as well for your business. At what point would you sell your business?

Jay Z and his partners built Roc-A-Fella Records from the ground up and sold it for millions. Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons did the same thing with Def Jam Recordings. These businesses were valuable because they were systemized.

Truly systemizing your business is the way to be financially free in the future because it frees up you time to do the things you really want to do.

There is a business saying that holds true and stands the test of time:

“Work on your business and not in it”.

This means delegate the mundane, time consuming tasks that need to happen but suck up all your time. You should be using your time to be creative and grow your business.

Start by brainstorming everything you want to do this week.

Pick the top three tasks so you will not get overwhelmed by trying to systemize your whole business at one time.

Take those tasks and break them down step by step. From this list, you create a procedure manual anybody from off the street can pick up and implement to run that particular system in your business.

That is how you know when your business is truly systemized.