If you’ve long wished to be self-employed, to design your own destiny, or call your own shots, try bypassing all those yeah-buts that’ve been stopping you everytime. While business ownership may not be for the ordinary, it’s the only way to go for those who understand the American Dream by accomplishing a satisfying lifestyle through business ownership. Successful business owners share specific character traits that have assisted them in getting there. They have what it takes to overcome barriers – to evaluation situations – and have a can-do attitude. Let’s discuss three types of attitudes:
The self-protective type
This person usually wants to be comfortable. They work hard to seek a routine comfort level, avoid pain, fly under the radar, play it safe, and avoid risks. This probably describes most people to a certain degree. In maintaining the status quo, shaking things up, or not making waves, all of us have a certain degree of comfort. But if being more extra cautious can’t be overcome, business ownership may not be in the cards. Besides, being self-sufficient equates to being self-employed. It requires you to be confident in your abilities and get out of your comfort zone. While many people may think it’s riskier to work for profit instead of a steady paycheck, millions of people are laid off and fired every year in the corporate world; being an employee is rarely low risk.
The self-involved type
To a large degree, this person believes that they are the strongest, fastest, biggest, the best, and the smartest. However, their ego can let them down. These people are systematic, focused, and successful goal setters – but they can have trouble as enterprise builders. They may not be willing to listen to others who are in the position to advise them, like financial advisors, attorneys, accountants, or other business experts. Since they can’t empathize with others, they’re unable to lead and inspire. So, they can’t piece together the building blocks that set the foundation of successful business operation – a group of people working together as a team. Interpersonal and management skills along with the ability to delegate, must be present somewhere in the DNA of an owner of a long-running business.
The self-esteemed type
These individuals have the inner motivation and creative spirit that drives them to accomplish what motivates them. They embrace personal responsibility and believe if there’s a problem, they can come up with a solution. They know what they aren’t aware of and the skills they lack and fully intend to hire others to fill the gaps. They know what makes them tick and have a God-gifted inclination to be responsible for doing the right thing – with judgement and honesty. They also believe that others will do the same.
Keep in mind that none of the above types is the stand-alone secret of business ownership. It’s the genetic makeup or right combination of these attitudes that are the stuff that successful business owners are composed of. For example, self-protectiveness is a natural instinct. It’s impossible to survive without it. However, this attitudinal gene should be tempered and can’t be so dominant that it’s difficult to overcome. A measure of risk must be allowed to take a leap of faith. By exercising due diligence on any specific business of interest and performing a self-assessment before pursuing a business acquisition, a potential business ownerr can accomplish an acceptable risk level for their individual situation.
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If two firms are selling similar products, how can you differentiate yourself so that customers purchase from you and not your competitor?
If you’re opening a business that’s selling the same thing as everyone else, then there’s no reason for your business to exist. Coming up with a unique concept with some stunning product innovation and development is the key to success. So, it’s essential to provide at least some products as part of your mix that customers can’t get anywhere else.
That being said, it’s not possible for a small business just making its way into the market to compete with big business on volume. However, it can compete with them on relationships. Relationships with customers, employees, and vendors. Here’s how:
Change your views
According to Andrew Carnegie, making money becomes an easy proposition after the other guy’s basket is filled to the brim. It means that a business does not have to be a zero-sum game. Nobody needs to lose for someone else to win. Instead, try developing mutually-beneficial relationships with your vendors to assist them in producing, while offering the kind of high-quality, well-designed, fun, and useful products that will delight your customers.
How do you do this? Honestly, these relationships take time to develop. Still, initially, you should spend a significant amount of time familiarizing yourself with your vendors, learning about their business and the issues they face. You should then be looking for ways to assist them, make them more profitable, more productive, and of course, happier. And in turn, allow them to get to know you, your business, and what you stand for.
When you develop relationships like this, you’ll be shocked at how many of your vendors aren’t willing, but happy to provide you great pricing, high quality, fast delivery, and exclusive, custom-made products. While it’s difficult to beat the mass merchants on a lot of things, you can sure defeat them on relationships.
Train your employees to sell solutions, not just products
There are many instances of firms where training is perceived as an afterthought or a burden. However, comprehensive training for new hires on every aspect of the products you sell enables them to truly serve as the experts, and offer valuable service to your customers. Thus, you’re not doing, “items-based selling,” but “solutions-based selling.”
When a customer approaches one of your employees and asks about a product, the representative must start asking questions to understand their needs – maybe even finding needs said customer didn’t know they had when they first came in. It’s after assessing their needs that the employee can recommend the best possible solution for them – whether it’s the product they originally came in for, or not. That is truly one of the biggest differentiators out there – and excellent customer service, to boot.
Create an environment where customers want to shop
Don’t underestimate the significance of developing an environment where people want to shop. This applies whether your business is online or brick and mortar. It’s having that, “air of enthusiasm,” or something you can feel in the bright visual displays of useful, clever, elegant products. The customer can feel genuine interest in the their needs, and employees’ smiling faces. Customers can sense when employees are enjoying their jobs and having fun – it’s a contagious attitude, which hopefully causes customers to spend more time shopping. This differentiates you from others irrespective of what you’re selling.
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A common misunderstanding held by businesses, whether old or new, is that they are not able to benefit from the savings in costs coordinated by a customs broker. They feel that they may need to make over $5 Million in revenue in order to receive such benefits and that smaller businesses do not need such a broker.
There are small businesses that apply classification of tariffs seeing it as a customs value and develop contracts that allow for sales to start coming in. Next, a small error in the form of a classification of tariffs may become a bigger problem when larger volumes take over, and there are larger volume transactions taking place across the border.
Where the business is new, it is important to be careful where not using a customs broker. Even though a person may wish to interact with customs authorities directly, it is advised that a customs broker is approached and asked for advice. This is especially true in the initial planning stages of a business to assist in eliminating risks in relation to the business, which is cross-border in nature. If you’re putting your business up for sale in Houston and moving to another country, this blog will prove to be a fascinating read.
How you can add value with a custom broker
- Update customs clearing process
- Make sure that documentation for customs is prepared in an adequate manner
- Figure out the classification of tariffs
- Understand whether your commodity will be allowed
- Making sure that the right duties and taxes are applied to shipments
- Identify whether your commodity is regulated through any other agency or government department
- Understand whether any exemptions apply on the commodity
- Assistance in execution of vendor contracts
In the event a customs broker is not used to conduct business activities as an agent on your behalf, it is vital to understand that during the planning stages, customs brokers can be useful by:
- Insightful advice provided concerning terms
- Origin country sourcing recommendations provided
- Tariff classification and type of entry suggestions and advice given
- Compliance and decision making process assistance
- Providing the best solutions
- Increasing competitive worth
Thus, a customs broker should be consulted with when in the planning stages. This will allow for a variety of benefits to be gained, as have been noted above and will also allow for risk to be identified and mitigated appropriately.
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At TruView Business Advisors, we have years of experience in helping business owners build and sell their businesses. So we’re well aware of what owners have to do to amplify their business value. If you’re putting your business up for sale in Houston, here are some basic questions you should ask.
Are profits being maximized?
A basic problem that is inescapable is that businesses are sold for many different reasons, at the head of which lies profit. Thus, conducting an analysis of various aspects of the business to be able to maximize profits is a crucial area to be focused on. Famous quotations made by the United Kingdom’s team of cyclists ‘gaining the most profit from a business is pretty much the same idea.’
How well is the business run?
Do you possess procedures that customers can view exhibiting how well run the business is? When businesses grow, they end up growing more than the process of management. Factors of the business that need focus upon include people processes, IT systems, Sales pipeline management, management accounts, and more. Further questions to ask include whether or not tax affairs are kept up to date, along with bureaucratic matters and customer contracts.
What is the owner’s role?
If the value of a business is dependent solely upon the intelligence of its owner, then this factor is a disadvantage for the business when being sold. Although the owner does drive and direct the business, they do not have to do everything. Delegation is important, and owners must delegate responsibility to certain key employees in a controlled manner. They must also make sure the processes of management are strong enough to let the process occur flawlessly. One specific area we focus on with our clients is being able to understand how best to delegate responsibility to, such as their top employees. Controls must exist to make sure owners are kept in the loop concerning any problems
How good is the quality of your sales revenues?
For the most part, customer revenues are being invested in by buyers, and they value two basic things. These include a variety of customers and whether revenues recur through maintenance and service contracts, amongst other means, a large part, buyers are investing in your customer revenues. Customers value strong customer relationships, and this is important to understand.
Is it important to have an exit plan?
Yes, ensuring that your business is prepared for sale is very crucial when the thought of selling it comes to mind. Ensure that you give yourself at least 3-4 years to reach the best position for the business, allowing you to make necessary “repairs.” This allows owners to focus on their business and not just in dealing with the daily hustle bustle they normally go through. An important thing to understand is that more time must be spent on the business as opposed to just in the business. This means that owners will focus on business matters that will truly improve their business and allow them to gain a hefty profit when selling their business.
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