• Home
  • About
  • Archives
  • Authors
  • Contact
  • Polls
  • Small Biz Interviews
 

Posts Tagged ‘Launch While Working’

KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs: Part II

Friday, June 17th, 2011

KikScore has had the pleasure of interviewing many small business owners over the past few years, asking these entrepreneurs about all areas of their businesses and what has spurred their growth, while also throwing in light-hearted pop-culture related questions.

In Part I of this two-part Greatest Hits series, I highlighted the top five lessons learned from these interviews with regards to establishing a successful small business. If you missed Part I, click here.

In Part II, I will present five of the most important challenges faced by these small businesses that our interviewees shared with us. These issues are extremely pertinent to all small businesses and it is vital for small businesses to overcome these challenges in order to succeed.

Here we go, the five most common challenges faced by entrepreneurs and their small businesses:

5. Keeping Up with New Technologies

“As the cost of running business with a physical store or office is comparatively high due to the monthly rental fee as well as the consumption of electricity and the hiring of manpower, more and more businesses like us tend to create their presence on the Internet. Without a significant competitive advantage, a retailer will be forced to raise a white flag in this cruel and heartless battlefield.” – Margaret Chan, founder of Cherry’s Brandname Gallery

In today’s world, technology is rapidly changing and businesses must keep up with latest innovations in order to stay modern and be successful. Companies have to start utilizing the internet, for both its e-commerce capability as well as a marketing and advertising tool. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are essential to small businesses, as millions of users check and use their personal accounts on those websites multiple times each day.

4. Lacking Adaptability

“While it is important to hold on to your vision, it should never be at the expense of building a sustainable business model. Your business plan whether it is one page or fifty, should be an evolving document that scales to put you in the best possible position to serve your clients and generate revenue.” – Tai Goodwin, founder of Launch While Working

Another challenge entrepreneurs also face is the ineptitude to alter or adjust your business plan. The business world is full of surprises and unexpected circumstances.  In order to run a successful company, businesses must be flexible and able to adapt to the changing environment around them.

3. Fear of Failure

“Another challenge I had was more of a mental one, which was the fear of ‘Can I start my own business?’ There are so many company decisions that we take for granted until we have to make them ourselves.” – Gregg Hand, founder and owner of Hand Law Offices

Two weeks ago I mentioned how the number one piece of advice for having success as a small business is keeping the long-term goal in perspective and never giving up or losing hope. Therefore, one of the challenges faced with starting a small business is dealing with the fear of failure. You cannot be afraid that you’re going to fail and act hesitantly because then you will fail; you must be confident with all of your decisions and maintain the passion with which you started your business. Owen Wilson’s character in Wedding Crashers puts it best when talking to his partner, “Your goddamn negativity! I don’t need it! I’m an idea man. I thrive on enthusiasm. Don’t take the wind out of my sails. I need you.”

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Video Doesn’t work? Click here.

2. Finding Customers

1. … and then Gaining their Trust

As a small business I believe our biggest challenge is gaining trust in a potential new customer.  If a shopper sees a Macys logo or a Best Buy logo they are not going to question is this a secure company/site.  As a brand that is growing, we are not mainstream and are years away from becoming a staple in the beauty industry.  We overcome that challenge by gaining one new customer at a time.  Proving to that customer we are legitimate business, that is not going to sell their name to any third parties, is going to ship their order, their most private and intimate information is in a very secure area, and if there is any problems whatsoever with their order we will do everything we can to correct it and make it right.” – Brian Esposito, CEO of Avenue You Beauty Store

In order to be successful, you must generate revenue from customers and unless you develop a brand-new product or have a revolutionary idea, you are most likely going to enter into an industry that already has a fair share of other competitors. There lies the biggest challenge of small businesses: finding customers and then keeping them. Finding customers as a small business relies on effective networking and marketing, and especially positive word of mouth. Whether it is online or in newspapers, spreading your name and attracting publicity is a must for businesses to find customers. In addition, promoting your credibility and trustworthiness is a necessity to ensure that once you land a customer, he or she will return.

This is the service that we here at Kikscore provide for online businesses. We show your potential customers that you can be trusted, allowing shoppers to review your record of reliability and creditworthiness through the Kikscore Trust Seal and the KikReport. After overcoming all these obstacles, you’ll be “so money”. More information regarding Kikscore and its trust seal can be found at http://www.kikscore.com/more.html and http://www.kikscore.com/confidence_badge.html respectively.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘Launch While Working’

KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs: Part I

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

KikScore has had the pleasure of interviewing many small business owners over the past few years, asking these entrepreneurs about all areas of their businesses and what has spurred their growth, while also throwing in light-hearted pop-culture related questions.

In Part I of this two-part Greatest Hits series, I will highlight the top five lessons learned from these interviews with regards to establishing a successful small business. Many of these innovative and impressive business owners shared related advice and acknowledged similar trends in the e-commerce field. So without further ado, here are the Top 5 Things You Should Do When Starting a Small Business:

5. Keep your website simple and easy to navigate

– “My advice to people about an online presence is to keep it simple and clean and VERY easy to navigate AND to have a Content Management System (CMS) so you can update your site yourself.” (Whitney Zimet, owner of I Am The Maven)

– “Spend the money to get a good website.  We went with a woman who did “websites for small businesses” but she really wasn’t experienced in sites with a retail/shopping cart component.  So, the site looked okay on the surface, but I later learned that she had used very amateur programming on the back end, making it enormously difficult for another web programmer to make changes.  This also limited our SEO.” (Kimberley Stewart from OnBoard Outfitters)

4. Have a flexible business model, being able to adjust quickly to a changing environment

– “Never think what you’re doing today is what you’ll be doing 10 years from today. Markets change and products evolve. Learn to adapt quickly.” (Michael Alter, President of SurePayroll)

– “Be willing to change.  Always look at your business in a new way.” (Rick Shoop, owner of Oregon Seafoods)

3. Utilize social media outlets

-“Another trend is tapping into more social media platforms and applications.  Combining sites such as Facebook with applications developed by Wildfire you are very quickly able to promote coupons, contests, and/or sweepstakes.” (Brian Esposito, CEO of Avenue You Beauty Store)

– “Take full advantage of all social network and free Internet advertising. 50% of our sales come from social networking sites, the chain reaction you can achieve from them is priceless.” (S.J. Trotter, owner of www.exclusiveclothingretail.com)

2. Establish a safe and secure online presence

– “Apart from that, customer’s satisfaction is also of utmost importance to online business. Exceptional customer service results in greater customer retention, which in turn results in higher profitability. We therefore strongly believe that customer loyalty is one of the most crucial and major contributors to sustainable profit growth. Over 60% of our profits are from customers who came back and made their purchases more than once within the 3-month period.” (Margaret Chan, owner of Cherry’s Brandname Gallery)

– “In 2010, much of our energy will be focused on improving the website and making sure our customers have confidence in shopping with us. KikScore is a great tool that helps us demonstrate that trust online.” (Madalyn Duerr, owner of Tufted Topper)

1. Keep the long-term goal in perspective and never give up

– “Most importantly: Don’t let anyone tell you no. You are your own best advocate and no one is going to do the work for you. Don’t let obstacles prevent your idea from ever being tested – you have to go out and do it.” (Andrew Shelton from Trackpack Coolers)

– “In my opinion the most important ingredient in a business’s success is the passion of the person or people running it.” (Mark Sarpa, CEO of Frecklebox)

– “Stay far from timid, Only make moves when your heart’s in it, And live the phrase ‘sky’s the limit'” (The Notorious B.I.G.)

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘Launch While Working’

Talking Employedpreneurs & Steps to Success for Businesses with Tai Goodwin – A KikScore SmallBiz Interview

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Earlier this year I have the pleasure to meet the fabulous Tai Goodwin on Twitter.  Tai is the founder of the site Launch While Working.  We “met” each other when we were both participating in the fantastic Wednesday #smallbizchat that is organized by Melinda Emerson (@smallbizlady).  Tai and I really bonded over a unique trait that we share and that is we are launching businesses while we work full-time jobs.  Tai has an awesome and super descriptive term for this growing phenomenon and she discusses it in detail during our KikScore interview of her.

1. Tell us about Launch While Working and who you focus on serving?

Launch While Working is a resource site specifically built to service the needs of “Employedpreneurs” like myself.  Employedpreneurs are full-time employees who are also part-time entrepreneurs.

2. What prompted you to launch Launch While Working?

In my first side business, I worked as a career coach. The majority of the clients I attracted sought me out because they wanted to pursue something they were passionate about. In most cases their passion led them to starting their own business. I began helping them use on line marketing and social networking strategies to launch and grow their business. I began to see a need for a community of people who were launching while working. Many of the business coaches I worked with seem to be under the impression that “serious” entrepreneurs were those that quit their job to work full-time in their business. But there’s a huge trend of people that need to keep their day job (for benefits or as a funding source), and are still committed to the vision of launching their own business. The idea was born from there.

3. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others, what are those lessons?

Systemize and invest in professional development. Having systems in place will help keep you sane when you are running a business on half of the time that full-time business owners have. Having systems in place for follow-up, client intake, customer service, data retention, bookkeeping, etc…are key to maintaining a professional image and high quality service.

Investing in professional development like conferences, high quality mastermind groups, and coaching is one of the best ways to meet people who are on the same journey as you. In addition to the learning from these experiences, I’ve come away with some amazing connections which have led to incredible opportunities.

4. What is Launch While Working focusing most of its energy on this year?

I work from a three-legged stool approach: The first leg is launching the site, so I’ll be doing lots of promotion to create awareness of the community. The second leg is self-publishing the Employedpreneur book. And the third leg of the stool this year is running the first Launch Circle – it’s a mix between a mastermind group and group coaching for employedpreneurs.

5. Based on your experience as social media strategist, what do you see as 2 new trends for small business?

Blogging for business is becoming important as small business owners and solopreneurs realize the value of building an online customer base. Being visible on social networking platforms is important but once people find you, you need to have a content rich home base (your blog) that can establish your credibility and give prospects a chance to uncover the value you provide.

Another trend, specifically for service based businesses is creating opportunities for passive income through infoproducts. Infoproducts are basically a way to package your expertise and sell it to clients via ebooks, video, audio, etc…It’s a must have for solopreneurs who want to break free from the limitations of one-to-one business models. The one-to-many (one infoproduct many customers) model means that you can generate revenue without adding more hours to your work week.

6. If you could describe the nature or spirit of your business as any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Ultimately, Launch While Working is about ambitious professionals who believe that a) work has to be about more than money or titles, and b) working for someone else in corporate America limits their ability to live their vision. It’s about those of us who are willing to take a risk and make an investment of time, money and energy top pursue our passion on our terms. I think the movie that best captures that spirit is Jerry McGuire.

7. If the small business community could have one evangelist, advocate or spokesperson that could make a massive impact for small business, who would you pick and why?

Just one – that’s tough. I think Anita Campbell, founder of Small Biz Trends. She’s a role model for me in that I hope the Launch While Working site evolves into a resource for employedpreneurs, like her sites are a resource for small business owners. Small Biz Trends and its affiliated sites like BizSugar, offer a wealth of information for entrepreneurs. She has assembled the best and brightest small business experts as contributors who consistently provide high quality content for entrepreneurs.

8. What are the two biggest challenges that you think small business are facing today and how do you suggest that they work to overcome those challenges?

One main challenge that small businesses face is being unwilling to go beyond traditional marketing strategies when it comes to promoting their business. It’s something I call “egocentric” marketing and it sounds like this, “I don’t like Facebook (or another social media marketing tool) so I don’t see the value in having my business there.” This is the starting point for many of my customers. However, the reality is that it doesn’t matter what “they” like, if their customers are on Facebook, or Twitter, they need to find a way to engage them there proactively – or someone else will.

Another challenge that many small businesses face is not being flexible enough to adapt to the changing demands of their customers and needs of the market. While it is important to hold on to your vision, it should never be at the expense of building a sustainable business model. Your business plan whether it is one page or fifty, should be an evolving document that scales to put you in the best possible position to serve your clients and generate revenue.

9. Small businesses are always looking for good sources of information to learn from or share information to help their business. What are some good information sources that you often use?

My favorite sources are Small Biz Trends, Entrepreneur Magazine (online), Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner. In addition I use Twitter filters and Google Alerts to stay tuned into specific key words related to my niche.

10. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

I’m learning that one of the key factors to building a successful enterprise is having strategic partners. Having a solid core of online and offline partnerships opens the door for learning, growth and opportunities to reach new audiences. No business (or business owner) is an island.

____________________________________

Thanks Tai for the great interview and fantastic tips.  If anyone in our small business community has any questions or comments for Tai, please leave them in the comments.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark