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Taking Your Business Seriously

Put it in writing. Create a business plan. Define supplier sources, distribution, marketing, and at least the first year expectations in one document.

  1. Create Goals. Realistic, achievable goals. Planning for a million dollars by next year is unrealistic. Set a timeline to define when smaller goals must be accomplished, even if it is as simple as ordering one item type for resell instead of overwhelming yourself with ordering 100.

  2. Apply for the basics. Although you can use your SSN, it is not professional to do so. Request the taxpayer ID you will need. Also, permits are required for business. It is surprising just how many entrepreneurs and contractors fail to transition a hobby to a business. For the low costs, much can be money can be saved when negotiating with suppliers and building lines of credit.

  3. Set office hours: this is a tremendous help for all those people in your life who think you can just chat all day. Set your hours and stick to them! Tell friends and family, add them to your email footer, and put them on your website.

  4. Set up a separate bank account to organize funds. Your business transactions and personal transactions should always be separate. It could make taxes easier.

  5. Keep track of your expenses. By doing so, it establishes a way to track the progress of your efforts over time.

  6. Paperwork is necessary when doing business with others. Even if it is for a friend, do not feel intimidated by putting rules on paper for planning, expectations, and liability.

  7. Issue receipts. If you are selling, the customer may say it is okay if there is not a receipt. Make receipts and invoices as an alternative to business cards. At least when a receipt has been printed, the sale has been made.

  8. Rehearse simple, yet informative small talk about your service or product. Less is more and too many words will get lost in a customer's mind, when you only have a moment.

  9. Stop giving away value and allow your customers to buy. If you are spending more money and time making product samples, you are not making a profit. Also, people are less willing to buy something if they know that there is a way to wait-it-out until the next sample. Unless you are a non-profit organization, do not offer free services, do not offer giveaways for leads, as these tactics add up over time. Leave mystery to the value and allow the customer to buy.

  10. Enrich your knowledge by seeking educational resources. If you are selling apples, learn everything you could possibly be asked about them. People will always trust an expert.

  11. Make your offline presence known to the online world. Start a blog, use social media, set up a website. It does not have to be the most stellar starting out, but the way of the world is the internet. Websites are a great marketing tool.

  12. Review your progress regularly, but do not stress about a lost sell. Keep a positive mindset and move forward after rejection.

  13. Business cards are fading away, but it doesn't hurt to have some. But before investing in 10,000 cards, learn how to properly distribute them to interested people.

  14. Get others interested in helping you reach your goals. Talk about your business milestones. When you make a sale, say so! People are attracted to winners! Never publicly gripe about business failures either.

  15. Learn when to start over. If something does not work, it can only waste time (and money). Build a strategy around obstacles and hurdles.

  16. Order merchandise: there’s nothing like seeing your logo on your notepad every day or on the mug you drink from. Once you see a part of your business in real life like that it changes things.

  17. Know how and when to say "No" when doing business.

  18. Money from saved funds is interest free. Find ways to save on personal expenses, stay at home and cook dinner instead of going out everyday. If you can spend $70 on a concert ticket, but cannot invest in your business, then something is wrong. The more you save, the more you have for capital that does not have to be borrowed.

  19. Remember! If you do not take your business seriously, no one may take your hobby seriously. Get Started!

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