You’re a problem solver. You take a look at every obstacle that you are facing and find the quickest, most efficient way to tackle it. Everything is a puzzle waiting to be solved, and you like it that way. It’s organized, comfortable and strategic. You rely strongly on your left-brain.
…Or not. Maybe you’re creative! You can visualize the most stunning settings and collaborate in intensely creative ways. You’re able to think outside of the box and get things done in a way that many others could not. You’re the right-brained kind of person.
Many people believe that the business world is for left-brained people, while right-brainers should be left to designing business cards or sandwich boards. More and more often in the business world of today, right-brained people are finding their niche and making their way to success.
Right-brained and left-brained people aren’t generally interested in the same things, but even when they are they tend to approach these things in completely different ways. Typically, one would expect to find a left-brained person in industries such as medicine and law. Right-brained people are more likely to lean towards things in the arts or design, but anything can be creative if you can look at it from a unique perspective. It’s unlikely to find a right-brained accountant, just as it might become hard to nail down a left-brained expert in musical theatre. Depending upon your wiring, your passions will vary, and those variations will carry over into your career choices.
No matter your persuasion; left or right, if you decide to enter into the entrepreneurial world, you can successfully do so as long as you put some tested tactics into place. In business, it is always important to have goals, both lofty and immediate. Set your sights high, but aim for small, achievable goals right out of the gate. This is the best way to feel encouraged, measure your success and also ease yourself into the stress of owning a business. This also works to keep your tasks simplified, which helps you to focus on one thing at a time, no matter your goals. Focus on your immediate goals, and as you achieve them, regroup and move forward. When it comes to creative business ideas, integrate them slowly and responsibly. Don’t jump too far ahead of yourself too quickly, or you’ll find that you overshoot your target. Make note of any of the methods you’ve put in place, define whether or not they have been successful, and then look for more of the ones that are. Whether left or right-brained, there’s room for you in the business world. When you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to turn around and take a look at the starting line; you’ll easily be able to see how far you’ve come.
You know that business plans are important, but as a business owner, you also know that figures and strategies can often change. You’re probably aware that you should revise your business plan once a year, but there are times when an annual look just isn’t enough. If you’re unsure what constitutes revising your business plan, here are some scenarios where you should take inventory to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Scheduling is All Wrong
When you’re consistently behind schedule, it’s not good for anyone. Clients feel like they’re not important, and you feel like you’re stressed to the max. When you notice that your big projects, or all of your projects are falling behind schedule, your business is in dangerous water. Take some time to re-examine what is happening and make some changes.
Being Outsold by Competitors
Sometimes your business plans are thwarted by new or suddenly aggressive competitors. Often unexpected, this can feel a little personal; remember that it isn’t. Your competitors are out to make money and retain clientele, just like you are. Instead, sit down and really think about what you can do to stay afloat, but don’t wait in this instance. Address it fast!
Sales Figures Drop or Projections Are Off
When your sales and financial projections are off, it’s a definite indication that your business plan needs to be revised. The positive to this is that you should have a better idea of your clientele and sales than you originally did. That means that it will be easier to forecast realistically.
When it comes to your business plan, the main thing to remember is that it’s an imperative part of your success, and that problems will not fix themselves. Pour time into revisions when you come up against problems and get your company on track and where you’d like it to be.
Copycatting. Plagiarism. In our growing technological world, these practices happen more often than we would like. In the business world, copycatting can be our worst nightmare. When someone imitates us, it’s supposed to be flattering, but when someone imitates our body of work it can become angering, fast.
The unfortunate thing about success is that it breeds plenty of copycats. When people like your product, they will sometimes try to revamp or improve it to make money from your idea. When people like your content, they’ll sometimes take it and plug it into their own website. When people see a marketing strategy that works, they’re bound to try their hand at a similar method. It’s unfortunate, but it does happen.
Copycatting is annoying, but it happens. If you’re in business for yourself, the likelihood is that you’ll come up against this issue at one time or another. So, what should you do if you feel that you’re being plagiarized enough to take action?
The best way to handle this type of conflict is to address it directly, wherever possible. This works in two ways; it makes you identify whether or not you truly believe you’re being copycatted, and it makes you more real to the perpetrator. Reach out and express your concern; explain the trials and tribulations that you have faced in designing your strategy, and offer some advice for someone just starting out. Ask the copycat respectfully to alter their course, and hope for cooperation.
Going Above The Copycat
When the plagiarism or copycatting is obvious and undeniable, and direct contact has no impact, the time may be upon you to go above their head. The next step with any online copyright infringement is to contact the host. Send a quick note to shed some light on the situation that you’re in and ask for the host’s help in convincing your copycat to cease. The host has far more leverage than you do.
If nothing else works, it may be time to consider talking to a lawyer. Keep in mind that plagiarists are plagiarists through and through and they’ve likely poached the work of others as well. If you can find other victims and form an alliance, you may get further in your journey to have your content pulled. Being plagiarized is extremely frustrating, and for more information on how you can protect yourself, http://www.plagiarismtoday.com is a great resource.
If you’re one of the people who wants to use social media, but can’t help feeling stretched by the time and organization it seems to take, you’re not alone. The market today is changing, and now more than ever before, business owners are faced with the need to sell themselves on a daily basis, while not being obnoxious or annoying their target audience. That certainly sounds overwhelming; especially when you consider the sheer volume of social media networks that are out there. Don’t start breathing into a brown paper bag just yet, there are some things that you can do to keep yourself from spending all of your time managing social media.
One of the benefits to the social media world is that there are a lot of people out there facing the same struggles that you are. In light of this, some very clever people have developed tools to help the rest of us streamline our social media outreach. Some of these tools include Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Tailwind. Take a look at each one to see which platform you like better.
Stick With What Works
Depending upon your target market, you may not have clients on every social media platform. The good news is that you really only need to post on the platforms that your clients frequent. Facebook and Twitter tend to be the most popular, with LinkedIn and Google+ serving a different crowd. Instagram and Pinterest are very visual mediums, and Youtube works well for those who are looking to establish expertise. Familiarize yourself with your audience, and then go where they’re going to be. This is where a social media strategy comes into play.
If you’re truly overwhelmed, it may be time to consider hiring a social media manager or virtual assistant. With someone else’s expertise on board, you can rest assured that your social media marketing is handled reliably and professionally without taking up loads of your time.
What is creativity? It’s the ability to come at an old problem from a new angle. It’s about being able to entice people to buy your products or services by breaking down perceived barriers. It’s an act of translating ideas into innovation. It’s no wonder, when we look at creativity from this perspective, that the most creative campaigns and companies have now become the most successful.
For a long time, those with creative minds were considered to be subpar entrepreneurs. It was almost as though creative people were destined to a life of being employed by someone else. Today, things have changed. With companies making huge strides in the now viral field of creativity, there is not just a hope for creative folk in the business world, but an expectation of being able to think outside the box in production as well as marketing.
The internet and other new technology have changed the face of business for the better. Highly creative, engaging, customer focused campaigns have become the norm, meaning that there’s a need for creative leadership within companies in the market today. This means that entrepreneurs need to work towards creative campaigns, but also that business-owners would do well to pay attention to the creative ideas of their employees.
Being able to recognize a brilliantly creative idea is the first step to successfully launching a creative platform, but the buck doesn’t stop there. After you’ve caught wind of an innovative idea, you have to find a way to channel that idea and make it a reality. This takes a special kind of creativity of its own, but it can lead to brilliant business results.
There’s an inclination shared by most business owners in the creative world today; they want to become market leaders, but many are afraid to take the risks necessary to do so. It’s scary going out on a limb, but when it comes to translating creativity into profit, trailblazing is a must. Risks need to be taken in order to see rewards from your creative mind, or the ideas of your staff and colleagues. Timing is often the difference between a successful creative campaign and one that falls short.
We’ve shot over 150 houses in the past year and have seen some truly awe-inspiring homes! These homes all had a few things in common, so we thought we’d share our favourite tips on getting your property ready for a photoshoot.
- Pack up family photos and consider putting away memorabilia and personal keepsakes
- Make the foyer welcoming and open by adding a small bench or a vase of flowers to the front hallway
- Hire a professional cleaning staff to clean the property before the first showing
- Pack up non-essentials in every room to create a more spacious atmosphere
- Check that all window treatments (Blinds, shades, and coverings) are modern and work properly
- Set the dinner table with a nice place setting to let the buyer imagine living in the space
- Be sure to clean or replace any carpeting and consider refinishing any wood flooring
- Use bright white lightbulbs to give your space a brighter, true-colour appearance and update/clean your light fixtures/lampshades if necessary
- Remove items from the kitchen counters such as coffee makers, toasters, microwaves, etc. these items take up space and make the counter seem smaller
- Install new shower curtains in the bathrooms (fabric is always a great choice) and add fresh flowers, pretty soaps or candles to the bathroom counter to give it a spa-like feel
No matter which line of work you’re in, it’s easier to be successful when you’ve got a support net that you can lean on. For many, finding those with similar interests and experiences makes all the difference in getting through the harder times, and celebrating the great ones. You may have heard business people talk about finding a tribe, and a circle of support falls into the same kind of an idea. When you’re an entrepreneur it becomes especially important to create a core group of people with similar business values that you are able to lean on and learn from. The question is, where do you find them?
A circle of support is a mutually beneficial relationship that allows members to come together and help reach goals. How often you meet is completely up to you, and may be dependent upon your members and your current goals. Circles don’t have to consistently be the same, and can shift as your situations do.
To create your own circle of support, first you must get an idea of who to include. It’s likely that you already have a network of people that you lean on personally, but this group is going to be a little different. You’re going to want to put together a circle of people with expertise in business, or in a particular field. After you’ve decided who you want to gather, you have to pitch the idea. This is important, because you’re representing your idea and making a lasting impression. You have to convince your peers that they want to be involved, and show them the benefits that they stand to see by doing so.
A circle of support is a planned meeting of the minds with the intention of brainstorming and learning. Together, your circle of support will work through business challenges, profit stalls and other common business problems. You will learn from and celebrate one another’s triumphs, while also creating deeper connections within your industry.
Isn’t life all about creating boundaries? You need boundaries with your friends, boundaries with your children and boundaries when it comes to your business. As a business-owner, it’s tempting to hoard opportunity. You want to get experience! You want to get your name out into the marketplace. You want to be seen and cater to people who are clients or have the potential to one day be clients. In some ways, this is a clever approach to business, but if you’re not careful it can quickly slip into a matter of entrepreneurial suicide.
Let’s get this out of the way, shall we? You cannot be everything to everyone. You can’t take on every invitation. You can’t do it all. It’s tempting to try, but this is not the way lasting growth is made. So, now that we understand that, why not take a look at how saying ‘no’ can actually be a blessing in disguise.
Don’t Lose Focus
When we say yes to everything, we become strained. When we’re strained, a few things happen to our business. First of all, we begin to dread getting up
every day because we know how much work there is on our plate. We become discouraged when the work that we’re doing rules our life and doesn’t actually deliver us closer to our goals. We lose our focus, drive and passion, and it happens fast. Saying ‘no’ to things that aren’t directly beneficial will ensure that you have the time and energy for the things that will directly aid you in success.
Identify What Works
Before you know what to decline and what to accept, take a step back and evaluate the events that you’ve seen as successes. Which events led to new clients? Which undertakings produced measurable results? Once you know which things work for your business, you can develop a list of criteria for future acceptance.
Practice Makes Perfect
Saying ‘no’ isn’t easy at first, which is probably why you’re tempted to avoid it. Still, like most things, saying ‘no’ will become easier with practice. Design yourself a quick two sentence decline, thanking the invite for the opportunity and asking them to consider you again in the future when opportunities arise. Becoming a master of this decline is an excellent way to make a good, albeit different impression on other entrepreneurs and marketers. You establish yourself as someone who values their time and who gives great consideration to your business, which is an admirable quality.
By shaking up your approach to your career, you will find new and innovative ways to keep yourself from growing bored, and you’ll also see your business improving in the long run.Keeping momentum and motivation in your small business are often two of the biggest challenges that an entrepreneur faces on a daily basis. When your heart isn’t in your company, your clients know it. Your sales will begin to fall, which leads to an even bigger lack of motivation. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest from the trees when it comes to inspiring growth, but it’s important to take steps towards rejuvenating your love for the craft when your motivation starts to slip. If you’re finding yourself trapped in a place of listlessness or even bordering resentment, there are some important steps that you should take to get active in your business.
You’re in this to win this; you want to be successful. Yet, losing your motivation hurts those chances for success by dragging you down. Take some times to look back on your past successes. These are the things that will motivate you most, because they will remind you how good you can be. Focusing on these achievements will serve to get you back on track and guide your way into success once again.
Try Something New
A lack of motivation very often comes from a place of becoming stagnant. When you allow yourself to get too set in a daily routine, there’s a possibility that you will lose your passion for your career. Stir things up a bit! Take a new approach to an old problem. See how you can alter your perspective and come at your problems from a new angle.
In the same way that routine can get boring and cause you to become unmotivated, so can a lack of challenging problems in your daily workload. Set goals for yourself, whether small or large, and ensure that you work towards meeting each one. Spend your work hours creating steps of action which get you on track to be successful in your goals.
Mistake No. 1: Removing all your family photos
I’m sure you’ve heard that you should remove your family photos – heck, our last blog post even said to do it – BUT there is something to be said about displaying a few key pictures. Don’t be afraid of showcasing some generic (maybe you had a professional family photoshoot) photos, but don’t leave up intimate/funny/inside-story imagery.
Mistake No. 2: Including excess furniture
Do not over-stuff your rooms! When you’ve purged the room, it will feel too empty and you will be tempted to add in a new piece of furniture or accent piece – DON’T DO IT! They key is to create more space, not less.
Mistake No. 3: Not cleaning up
As we mentioned in our last post, it is highly recommended that you clean your property before showing it off. With that said, a quick clean will most likely not suffice; splurge a little (for your home and your sanity) and have a professional cleaner come in and take that task off your list. A full and complete clean will not only look better on the surface, it will clear the air and just “feel” better too!
Mistake No. 4: Rushing
Getting your property ready for sale/showcase is always a task-filled project and when there are so many items on the to-do list, you may be tempted to rush through them and “just get them over with.” If you take your time you’ll make sure that nothing gets missed.
Mistake No. 5: Stuffing clutter into closets
On the other hand, if you’re faced with a last-minute showing, don’t load your closets full of stuff. Potential buyers looking specifically at how much storage space your home has, so they will definitely be looking in your closets. If you’re truly stuck, hide the mess under a bed.
Mistake No. 6: Ignoring your home’s exterior
With all of the hard work that you’re putting into the interior of the house, it’s easy to forget the exterior of the house. Here’s where extra help will come in handy! If you can, hire a landscaper to come and clean up your gardens, mow your lawn or trim your hedges and if you’re showcasing your property in the winter, make sure your driveway and walkways are clear of ice/snow and that your roof is clear of icicles. If necessary, make repairs or repaint the entry/garage doors and window frames.
Mistake No. 7: Showcasing your pet
You may LOVE your pet and of course they are definitely part of your family, but potential buyers may actually have allergies or just generally dislike pets (Crazy-talk right?!!) Make sure you vacuum on a daily basis to keep the hair to minimum, make sure the litter boxes are always cleaned and if you can, have the pet relocated to a friend/family member’s home for any showings/photoshoots.
Mistake No. 8: Faking it
In our last post, we suggested that you include plants/flowers in your front hallway/kitchen and we even recommend having plants in the livingroom too. As you know, live plants/flowers will wilt and die and while it maybe tempting (and possibly cost effective) to purchase fake plants/flowers to have on hand, we HIGHLY discourage it. Real plants/flowers just show an extra special caring touch and your prospective buyers/clients will notice your efforts.
Mistake No. 9: Excessive pillow talk
I love me some cozy, cushy throw pillows but even I go overboard sometimes! A few coordinating pillows on your bed or sofa work only if it’s realistic (ie. Would you cozy up with that pillow while watching a movie?) and whatever you do, make sure they’re clean!
Mistake No. 10: Creating themes
A few floral accessory pieces may be ok, but if your walls are floral and your sofa is floral and there are flowers on the tables and in pictures, then you MAY have a theming problem. Of course that is just an example but if you can walk into your room and immediately pinpoint a “theme” then you need to dial it back.