ENTREPRENEURS-TIME TO BE THANKFUL

Whether you’ve had a difficult year in this current environment or have been one of the fortunate ones and prospered, it would serve you well to pause and take stock of all the things you should be thankful for.

Be thankful you are in your own business and you are your own boss. Millions of people aspire for the same.

Be thankful you live in the United States, which affords you the opportunity to pursue your passion and to succeed with no limitation and yes to fail, which is one of life’s great teachers.

Be thankful you can choose which 80 hours each week that you can work.

Be thankful for your family and friends who are your support team- an essential element for Small Business owners.

Be thankful you are rewarded for your company’s successes while knowing you can pay for its risks.

Be thankful that you and you alone can make sure everything is done the right way.

Be thankful you can try to implement any ideas you have and bring them to fruition. The corporate people can’t say that.

Be thankful you are in a position to positively impact other people’s lives.

GOVERNMENT HELP: AN OXYMORON?

Government help may sound like an oxymoron to many people. I know that when I was in my many Small Businesses, I never believed that any government help was of value and to get it was not worth the effort even though it was free.

In exploring this avenue, I was pleasantly surprised to discover all the high quality assistance that is available to start-ups and existing Small Businesses from government agencies. Best of all, this help is free with minimal paperwork—A great Bootstrapping weapon.

The two agencies that I felt were the most valuable were SCORE and SBDC.

SCORE which stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives, now call themselves “Counselors to America’s Small Businesses.” Their mission is to provide resources and expertise to maximize the success of existing and emerging Small Businesses. They have over 370 chapters in the US and about 12,000 volunteers. Their service is open to everyone regardless of gender, education, race, religion, etc.

SCORE counselors have real world experience and success. Most counselors are retired, highly motivated to give back to the community, have no hidden agenda, are volunteers, and collectively have expertise in all areas of business. They make perfect mentors and are free to you. To me, they are the equivalent of large company consultants without the high cost associated with them.

To set up an appointment with SCORE, go to their website: http://www.score.org/ to find your nearest SCORE center and phone number, or call them at 1-800-634-0245. Be prepared to do some work to make the relationship into a lasting and productive one. Know that they do not loan money, but will counsel you on all your options to raise it.

SBDC stands for Small Business Development Centers. They have over 1,000 centers in the US and are usually aligned with a local educational institution and local government. Their mission is basically the same as Score’s. Their major difference is their counselors are paid, full-time employees, and they offer more educational seminars. As with SCORE, all their counsel is free and held in strict confidentiality.

To locate the SBCD nearest you, go to http://www.asbdc-us.org/.

You have nothing to lose and lots to gain by visiting either or both, SCORE SBDC— plus both are free to you.

7 TIPS ON BARTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Barter, an $8-12 billion dollar industry, is one of the businesses that flourishes in bad economies, as it offers entrepreneurs many opportunities to acquire things they need and want for no or little cash. Here are some of the things you should know about Barter, a great Bootstrapping activity.

  1. It is the exchange of goods and services for other goods and services with little or no cash involved.
  2. Small Businesses exchange almost every imaginable product or service like medical services, media, landscaping, clothing, food, real estate, legal services, toys, cruises, cars, hotels, etc. The list goes on forever.
  3. The advantages of Barter are: 
     – You receive goods and services you need without paying cash.
     – You receive full retail value for what you are trading which enhances your balance sheet. I
    -It allows you to utilize your excess capacity and time.
    – It can help you get new customers from the company you bartered with as they will continue to buy from you for cash when they run out of credits, if they are pleased with your offering and service. This satisfaction generates the most effective form of advertising: word of mouth which will get you new customers.
  4. Most Barter works through exchanges who locate the buyers for you and offer the huge range of products you can acquire through the trade dollars you get when you sell your product. This way you do not have to find buyers for your products as they did in the early days of Barter.
  5. You pay a fee of about 12% to the exchanges for their services. Most exchanges charge to join.
  6. All Barter transactions are taxable.
  7. To locate the Barter Exchange that best fits your needs, go to a major search engine and type in Business Bartering.

HOW TO BUILD TRUST TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS

The single most important thing you can do in starting and building a business is to get people to trust you. Trust needs to be earned and takes time, although you can lose it in a second. Telling people to trust you doesn’t cut it. In fact, when people I just meet tell me to trust them, my antennae is up to watch my back.

The benefits of being trusted are enormous. People have confidence in those they trust. Confidence leads to wanting to do business with you. Employees want to work for trustworthy bosses and are more highly motivated when they do. Investors and lenders will not write the check to anyone they suspect is not high on the trustworthy ladder. A great deal of their due diligence is in finding out your trust score. And in my opinion, the most important thing about being trusted is that you live a better life. The only way to teach your children about trust is to set the example for them.

You should always do the right thing. Most people know right from wrong, but are compromised when they have financial problems. Many people differ on what is right or wrong in a business situation. It takes lots of little things and time to build trust in a business. Some people never even think about it as they instinctively do the right thing.

 5 Tips to Build Better Trust in your Business

  1. Listen to people you deal with
  2. Admit mistakes right away
  3. Pay bills on time, if you can’t call and tell why you can’t and when you will pay. Give a date you can meet or beat.
  4. Acknowledge what you don’t know and don’t BS.
  5. Don’t duck or procrastinate dealing with a problem.

I have a list of 38 other trust building tips to help you think more concretely about this important subject. Just email me through my website www.bootstrapping101.com, and I will send you this list.

 Also, remember trust is portable. Wherever you go, it follows you: good or bad.

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