Are You Ready to Recreate a Business That Is Spectacularly Unique?

This is the story of four companies, in the same industry, in the same town. It is a perfect study of mission and vision statements. Even though these business owners were in the same industry, were direct competitors, and had the same prospects, their purpose and companies were amazingly different.

Who you are, what your purpose is, and where you want to go can be completely different and should be from anyone else. When you can differentiate yourself on this high level, you create a business that is not only spectacularly unique but also creates greater happiness for everyone involved.

I once found myself coaching the owners of four separate bookkeeping companies at the same time. I am a bookkeeper magnet! During this time, the economy was at its worst. Everyone was in pain, and many people were scratching for solutions. It became common practice to only look to the industry know-it-alls to be advised on how to be profitable-in this case-as a bookkeeping firm. But I was able to move each of these companies toward their goals in very different ways, not by being a know-it-all, not by knowing everything about bookkeeping businesses, but by allowing them to find their solutions in their own mission and vision.

Let me illustrate first by introducing you to these four owners and what they first presented as their problem when I met them.

Meet Rhonda. Rhonda was very successful, but even though she had a competent staff, she was tired. She had to control and oversee everything in her business. She wanted a vacation. Was there a better way?

Meet Ruby: Ruby had been a CPA for almost 40 years. It wasn’t that she wasn’t able to work hard-she just didn’t see how she would be able to retire comfortably.

Meet Molly: Molly was one of the best and fastest bookkeepers around, but she was broke. If something didn’t give, she’d have to get a job to support her family.

Meet Jane: Jane owned a highly competitive bookkeeping firm, but she was losing clients. She was working hard to keep her staff busy, but she was also broke and didn’t know if her present business model was sustainable.

The antidote: Before setting specific steps and goals for action, which each business owner was used to doing, I asked each of them to spend time articulating their mission, their vision, and their value proposition. Why? So that each tactic and action they decided upon would be aligned with their greater purpose… like this:

Mission: Who are you? Why are you here? What is wrong with the world, and how do you intend to fix it?

Vision: Where are you going? What does your version of success look, feel, and taste like? What will the world look like if you successfully fulfill your Mission?

Value Proposition: The result that your customer gets from working with you.

Here is what each business owner discovered about herself:

Rhonda was very successful, with a niche market for contractors and building companies. She had a small staff and high profits. Business was getting more difficult, but her main complaint was that she couldn’t get away. She was the classic example of an owner who was tied to her business with golden handcuffs. What she dreamed of was a turnkey business that could run without her. Her need: put systems into place that would align her staff to oversee quality control so that she would be free.

Ruby had done taxes, was controlling, and now was preparing books for other tax preparers-solo style. But her dream was to teach. She was tired of shuffling papers, and she was an expert at helping business owners understand their financial information. She was witty, clever, and a seasoned speaker. She desperately wanted to make the change. Her need: make the transition from marketing her service to marketing herself.

Molly had moved from being employed as a bookkeeper to being an independent contractor to having a small staff. Her desire was to become the biggest firm in town and aggressively grow her business and have a large, reputable staff. She’d do anything to dominate her field. She was aggressively improving her own skills (night school for her accounting degree) while at the same time hiring people with degrees and skills above her own. Her need: growth, growth, and more growth.

Jane wanted to reinvent her business by developing online training products to create residual income. She was magnetic and technically adept. She was willing and able to learn how to be successful with Internet marketing. Her need: develop a new skill and start making money as quickly as possible.

Four companies. Four dreams. Their next hurdle was to create their Value Proposition.

Rhonda- The empowered team to be your full solution in the construction industry: from Internet hosting to prevailing wages, bids, cost controls, and analysis.

Ruby- Teaching small-business owners to understand the power of their own financial statements.

Molly- The outsourced bookkeeping firm that becomes a part of your small to medium-size business.

Jane- Helping the small-business owner and bookkeeping professional-online, 24/7 showing how to operate QuickBooks in an easy-to-use tutorial.

Then we created strategic goals according to their Mission, Vision, and Value Proposition. Each one is setting goals and working hard on these actions:

Rhonda is using high-performance techniques to bring her team’s skills to a higher level. She has changed her role as the leader by coaching her staff and not overseeing and solving all the problems. They work together on a regular basis to create and adjust systems that allow them to solve problems, make decisions, and handle all the tasks in the business without her.

Ruby is busy producing her material and getting ready to launch live workshops.

Molly has twice the staff and twice the profits while she works with her team on marketing and selling themselves to new clientele.

Jane has already created the product and is now employing state-of-the-art techniques to launch her tutorials online. The skill is difficult and managing her time is a challenge, but her list is growing, and her online sales are improving.

If you started reading this article thinking all bookkeeping firms are the same, see how different they can be? If you are faced with a problem, how do you make decisions that are strategically aligned with your Mission and Vision? For each of these business owners, it may have looked as if they would all need the same solution. After this work, they were able to create goals well suited to their dreams, and they get closer to achieving these dreams every day.

The Basics For Getting Into Social Business

The social networking arena seems to expand daily, and while it offers many opportunities, it can also be confusing and overwhelming. But the fact of the matter is business social networks are not going away any time soon. Adding social business networking to your business’s marketing and sales plan is an easy way to boost your name and brand recognition, boost your product visibility and boost your sales all at the same time.

Instead of trying to get on every social site out there, select two or three good ones that will help you be most effective with your marketing and businesses goal, with sites such as Facebook and Pinterest. Business blogs or Twitter, it’s important to use them wisely and consistently to attract customers. As you become more adept with business social networks, the process of incorporating them into your marketing plan will become easier. Use the following benchmarks to ensure your use of social networking is benefitting your business.

• Your Networking Efforts are Local, Not Just Global. Social networking does put your business on a global platform but if you don’t make sure to include your local customers, you’ll miss perhaps the most important market you serve. Include local expositions, trade fairs and other promotional opportunities in your marketing plan. Take the time to encourage local customers to spread the word as they’ll appreciate being able to support local businesses.

• People Are Engaged. The longer you blog, Facebook, tweet or pin the more your following should grow. If you’re getting more comments and interaction from followers it shows people are engaged by your social media efforts. Follow customer reaction closely so you know when you’ve tapped into a “hot” business topic so you can capitalize on it.

• You’re Seeing Measurable Results. Have your followers mention something memorable such as a code or comment when they react to your status change or Tweets. When customers frequently tell you “I saw your post about such-and-such on Facebook, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

• Social Networking is Your Business’s Fluid Marketing Tool. Making changes to traditional marketing campaigns can be expensive and problematic but social media changes aren’t. If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs, you’ll change your social networking efforts to meet them. By staying flexible, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the trend curves and not fall behind.

For social business networking to be effective for you, it must be used consistently. You’re not likely to build a following with any social media venue if your presence is hit-or-miss. Be ever-present without being pesky so your name, business, products or services become a recognized and welcome part of your customers’ social media experiences.

Simple Ideas That Will Have A Big Impact On Your Home Business

If you run a business out of your home, don’t miss out on tax deductions for office equipment. If you buy a piece of equipment, such as a computer or desk, that is only or primarily used for business functions, you can claim 100% of the cost of that item as a tax deductible the year it was purchased.

No matter what type of home business you start, you must have a marketing plan ready to put into action. Most every business today requires a relationship with the internet, and there are many marketing packages available on the internet as well as through local and national media. A successful business is never without a successful marketing strategy.

In order to make a online business successful, your business must be found in the Google search results. Search engine optimization is key in succeeding in today’s business world. Many different companies offer tools for search engine optimization, and it is imperative that you employ a few different strategies in order to obtain success.

Use your finances wisely by tracking every business expense. This involves everything from fuel used for business trips to your internet service. Many of these expenses are tax deductible, if you run a business. Even if you think the amount is too small, include it anyway, instead of giving it to the government, claim it.

Home businesses are a rapidly expanding type of business. One of the most important things to have when starting a home business is a sizable enough safety net, just in case things don’t go as planned. A lot of people get started in home business because it’s a dream they have always had and then realize they don’t have what it takes.

Always send a response to customers immediately. This will show that you have good customer service, and they will be more likely to purchase your product again. Keep good records of these exchanges by filing your communications by date in case you need to look at them at a later time.

You should not attempt to start a home business based on a product that you are not completely supporting. Many people think that they can sell any product that will make a profit and not feel guilty if it does not work as well as it claims. The guilt could eat you up inside and make your online business crumble and become fruitless.

Starting a work from home business takes a considerable amount of time and work. It may be necessary to adjust your plans if you discover that your intended business is disruptive to your mode of living.

Make a price point for your merchandise. If you are crafting your own products to sell, know the cost involved in the materials. The standard way to determine pricing is doubling the amount each product costs you to make. This equation will help you set a base price for wholesale items. For the retail price, multiply the cost times three.

Make sure your home business is following state regulations. You may want to consult with an accountant as you’re getting your business off the ground, since many states have specific regulations that aren’t always obvious at first. An accountant can help you navigate tax codes affecting your home business enterprise, which will help you avoid snags in the future.

Make sure that your pricing is in line with your competitors. If you are too high, either lower your prices or make sure you have an extremely sellable reason for why someone should pay more for your product or service. Know what your competitors are offering and why you are a better choice.

It can be easy to work from home, if you know what you’re doing. Create a plan and stick to it; soon you will be enjoying all of the benefits of a home business enterprise. It’s great to be the boss of yourself. Keep this tips in mind and build your business!