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Starting A Business

How to Grow Your Small Business Startup: 4 Essential Steps

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Around 90% of startups fail. And while some of those failures can be attributed to bad luck, many others were the result of poor decisions at the early stages of building the company. 

But while that statistic may seem discouraging, it can also provide motivation to those entrepreneurs who are willing to follow the best practices of launching a startup and push through the various challenges that will inevitably come up during the process.

With the help of a few simple (but fundamental) strategies, you can separate yourself from the majority of other startups and give yourself a real shot of making a product that will break through and make a difference.

To help you get started, let’s look at four crucial aspects of launching a startup that you should consider.

Start with the “Why?”

The number one thing you should do when launching a new company is to ask yourself a simple question:

Why is this solution necessary? 

There are millions of startups globally, and the majority of them would fail to provide a viable answer. Some just want to break into a hot market because they think that will increase their chances of success. Others believe they have a unique idea without knowing whether there’s any demand for it. 

But in most cases, ideas that might seem reasonable at first glance crumble when their purpose is questioned even a little.

So, if you want to avoid pouring your heart and soul into a project only to find out that it was a waste of time, it’s a good idea to spend a fair amount of time thinking about the core purpose of your product and the effort it will take to launch it.

Most of the successful startups you might have heard in recent years started with a very clear idea of the purpose behind the company. It can be a feature that no other product in the market can offer. Or, it might be a unique process for solving a problem that will change the industry forever.

Most of the time, there’s at least a clear answer to why the startup needs to exist in the first place. If you strip away the gimmicks and the additional features, you should still be left with the core idea of what you can offer that no one else can.

Take Care of Your Employees

No matter how you decide to finance your startup, you won’t be able to go forward alone for long. And that means that at some point, you will need to figure out how you’ll take on employees and ensure that they are happy and protected.

Then, there are various state and federal regulations that determine how much paperwork you’ll need to file out, what protections you’ll need to offer, and countless other details that someone outside of the HR world has probably never dealt with.

Because of that, startups can benefit from using HR outsourcing services that can take over the entire process. The team at SnackNation recommends using services like Bambee or Workday, which provide comprehensive solutions for companies of all sizes.

These companies can offer HR consulting, benefits administration, performance management, payroll, bookkeeping, and various other services that can be a hassle to manage on your own when you’re just starting a new company and have a lot on your plate already.

Plus, it ensures that you implement the best HR practices of today and that your employees are taken care of. And that will make attracting the top talent you need for growth that much easier.

Use a Proven Website Platform

Launching a startup is impossible without a strong web presence. And that inevitably starts and ends with your website. But if you don’t have experience with building and designing websites, the entire process can be a bit overwhelming.

The good news is that with a platform like WordPress, you can have a website set up in a matter of days if you want something simple. But at the same time, the platform offers robust customization capabilities and it can get a bit confusing when picking the right ones. That’s why it’s a good idea to curate your own WordPress toolbox that includes a wide variety of powerful themes, plugins, add-ons and WordPress resources that you know would always work for your website. 

In the end, you want to find fast hosting, install robust security features, and provide a seamless User Experience (UX) to all of your site’s visitors.

Designing a site from scratch can be appealing. But WordPress can give you enough versatility to get any features you need while remaining user-friendly enough to keep costs down and provide you with a simple way to get started.

Maintain Focus

As a startup owner, you will probably never run out of avenues you could pursue. Whether it’s the new shiny marketing tool or a promising networking opportunity, there will be times when you’ll want to do everything at once because that’s what could give the company the best chance of success.

But in reality, maintaining focus and clarity in terms of priorities might be the most practical choice for your startup in the long term.

By only focusing on a few things at a time, you will allow yourself to really give them time, tweaking your approach until you find what’s working. Moving on to something else is easy, but then you might miss out on incredible opportunities because you were too quick to dismiss something without giving it a real shot.

So, whether it’s a marketing approach or adding features to your product, always weigh the potential benefit against the resources it would require and against how it would impact what you’re doing right now.

Sure, at some point, you will need to cut your losses with projects that didn’t pan out. But it’s a good idea to stick with them for a bit longer than you might want to, especially if you know that it’s a sound strategy that could deliver big if you would just find the right approach. 

Final Words

Launching a successful startup is a dream that drives millions of entrepreneurs worldwide. But only those that follow sound business principles and are disciplined in their decision-making can expect to see success.

The strategies listed above may not be flashy, but they represent essential parts of running and scaling a startup. And sometimes, taking care of the less flashy details like HR management can set you up for exceptional results in the future.

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Starting A Business

Signs You Need a Career Change and What to Do About It

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Burnout is a real thing, and it is not fun. For some people, burnout is a badge of honor, but it should not be. Pushing yourself past your limits on a consistent basis while identifying that you need a break or change and ignoring your base instincts to take one can have lasting impacts on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Before you find yourself in a spot where you are spinning out of control, look at the elements of your life and identify where the biggest stressors are originating. For many people, their job is the main culprit. Just because you have a need to make a living does not mean that you must subject yourself to a career that fills up your finances but drains every other part of your life. 

Career changes are more and more common especially in a post-pandemic world. If you are curious about making a change and are just waiting for the right time, it is not coming. There will never be an optimal, perfect day or moment in time where the right time appears out of thin air, you must create it. Before you make your final decision think about some factors that will be beneficial to you not just during the initial transition but also in the search process leading up to it. Especially if your reason for seeking out a career change is a toxic work environment, be sure that you have identified what has made it toxic for you personally so that you can avoid falling into another less than desirable situation. 

You Cannot Hide Your Feelings

One of the biggest signs that it is time to get a new job is disengagement. Often, once someone has reached a state of disengagement they are past the point of salvation regarding the specific topic. You need to stop, look, and listen within your own mind and body, as well as your surrounding for signals that you have become disengaged. 

If you find yourself going through the motions, without emotion, that is disengagement. When this becomes more of the rule and less of the exception your productivity will likely suffer as well and your mental and emotional health. If the first thing you do when you begin each workday is start the countdown until it is over, you are not setting yourself up for success. Consider as well how this disengagement might be trickling into your life outside the office as well. 

It is completely normal to vent or rant to a spouse or friend at the end of a particularly tough workday, and in fact, venting is an important element of managing emotions, but pay attention to their responses. If the people who love and know you best have started to voice concern about your well-being coming off a vent session, do not ignore that. Additionally, consider their feedback, if you voice a specific complaint about a person or element of your job, and their feedback has a tone of suggesting that perhaps more is wrong this one-off incident that can be a sign of the need for change. 

You Are Easily Triggered

Being on edge, or easily triggered is a classic sign of burnout. Regarding your job, if you are noticing that even the smallest things are setting you off and leading to thoughts or actions that make you feel out of control, it is time to look elsewhere. No job will ever be completely free from stress or irritation however it is important to know the difference between a healthy level of stress and a dangerous one. As mentioned before though, no reaction is often stress in disguise. We all operate differently and while one person’s sign of burnout may be an audible outburst or throwing things off their desk, another’s may be silence and neglect.

You Are Not Fairly Compensated

Part of any business plan is going to be managing the payroll piece of the budget. With managers notorious for watching the dollar and trying to get more for less as a facet of their job, do not let your employer get you at a discount for an extended period. Gone are the days where discussing your salary is taboo. In today’s world, talking about your earnings and the perks and benefits associated with your employment is a smart way to be sure that you are getting compensated fairly. 

Having said that, be able to recognize when you are not, and when that fact determines your future with the company. If you are happy and fulfilled and the money is the only missing piece know how to ask for a raise in a way that best sets you up for success. However, if money is just another element of your job that feels intolerable, say sayonara. You spend too much of your life working to not be earning top dollar for your contributions. 

What to Do About It

At this point it should be obvious if now is the time to make a move but admitting that fact and taking the steps to make it a reality are two different beasts. Do not let intimidation deter you though, just create a workable plan of action. A well thought out list of must-haves for your next gig is a great tool for your job search and the fact that it will be personalized means that you can sort through options more efficiently. Below are some questions to ask yourself and what the answers might lead you to.

  • Do I work better in autonomous roles? If the answer here is yes, think about jobs that take you away from an in-person office and into a more independent environment. Long haul trucking comes with travel and autonomy, but you might not have arrived at this career opportunity had you not identified your preferences first. You can review a guide on if long haul trucking is right for you to move forward within this industry or not. 
  • Do I need control over my schedule? If you need a flexible schedule and control over it, that will narrow down your search significantly. Be in tune here with what the role demands though, for example, it might be unrealistic to identify a desire to work in the accounting sector but not be willing to put in extra time during the height of tax season.

What salary does my budget demand? You can tailor your job search to your budgetary demands, or you can tailor your budget to your earned income. Either way, you need to know in advance of seeking out a new job what you consider an acceptable earnings range for yourself. Do not forget to consider factors like hours worked, and potential perks that might make up for a gap in base salary.

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Business Ideas

9 Reasons Why You Should Consider an Entrepreneurial Career

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If you are looking for a change of career, becoming an entrepreneur and running your own business could be a great option. 

There are so many reasons to start your own business and before you sign on for the next predictable 9-to-5 job, consider what you could do for yourself to improve your career prospects and your financial prospects by running your own business instead. 

An Exciting Career

Running your own business could be an exciting career choice that leaves you feeling fulfilled with the satisfaction of seeing that your hard work has paid off with success and profit. 

Whether you are into social enterprise, home services, or manufacturing and selling your own products, there are plenty of opportunities to choose from and to be creative in how you build your business. 

Being your own boss offers you the opportunity to work the way you want to work and allows you to take an individual approach to projects and tasks that are important to your business. 

Whether you are a budding engineer eager to start your own business or just looking to make money on the side, this list will help you make your mind up.

You Are Your Own Boss

One of the biggest reasons for becoming self-employed is to be your own boss and thankfully there are lots of options for people who want to be their own boss; being an entrepreneur nowadays is easier than ever. 

There are a lot of options available for people who want to be their own boss, such as running a simple blog, start-up, or even service business such as coaching or becoming a lawyer and running your own practice. 

No matter what you do, the opportunity is yours to grab and to make a success of. 

With the right amount of determination and enthusiasm coupled with a decent idea, almost anyone can find success in being their own boss.

Time Freedom

Having the option of working from home and having some time freedom is another plus side to being your own boss – whether you work all week or not at all, the choice is yours. 

Running your own business can also allow you to take time off for holidays, short breaks, or even time out to rest and recuperate from the hectic lifestyle of modern-day life.

Work-Life Balance

By choosing to become self-employed, you can establish a much better work-life balance. 

By being your own boss, you can allocate time for yourself when you want to spend time with friends and family or take part in hobbies or interests that you would not have had the chance to do if working for someone else.

Multiple Income Streams

As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity of having multiple different income streams that can create a healthy balance in your bank account. 

Multitasking is encouraged as a self-employed business owner; you have multiple ways of earning money from your business according to what works for you and your business. 

This helps to create a much healthier lifestyle and a more comfortable financial situation.

Being your own boss offers you the freedom to dedicate time to what really matters to you such as professional development, education, hobbies and family. 

You Could Have A Flexible Schedule

If you are a busy person, running your own business could be the answer to having a flexible schedule. With offices or workstations being less visible than before, there is now more flexibility. 

Your company could be located in a different part of the country than where you live, and you could still have the opportunity to work from home as long as your Internet connectivity is sufficient.

Thanks to the global health pandemic, working remotely is becoming a more regular option with companies becoming used to staff working from home or anywhere else they have an Internet connection.

Flexible working hours are becoming the norm and flexibility is prized above all else when it comes to employees who want a successful career, and there is no reason why you should not take advantage of that mindset change as an entrepreneur.

Working With Like-Minded People

Working from home can sometimes feel isolating, and it is great to be able to work with like-minded people when you are self-employed. 

Even if you hire employees to work for you, a workplace of like-minded entrepreneurs and self-starters is always a positive experience. Working with like-minded people will always inspire you to new heights and encourage your creativity.

If you are running solo in your career, collaborating with others or joining a coworking environment is a great way to improve your work productivity while meeting others who have a similar situation to you.

You Are Your Own Supervisor

Being your own boss means that no one else can tell you what to do or when to do it. You are your own supervisor and have complete control over how your business works, what direction it takes, and when things get done.

Running your own business means that you are in charge. No one else is in charge of telling you how to do things and how long things need to take.

One of the most rewarding careers is one that gives you the opportunity to take control of your own destiny and work in a position where you are able to work for yourself, set your own hours, and have the flexibility to work.

You Have More Freedom to be Creative

In a corporate job, it can sometimes feel like you are just a small cog in the machinery that is your company. 

Creative freedom is something that is not really present in many corporate jobs, but being able to decide how you run your business is a massive opportunity for an entrepreneur who wants creative freedom.

With the freedom to be creative and make yourself stand out from the crowd, being self-employed can open up a huge number of doors for you.

Having A Job That Fits With Your Values

Many people are choosing to go into business for themselves because they want the freedom to do what they love and make a difference in the world. Many want to have a job that reflects their values and being self-employed means you are not limited to one company or job description.

Being able to reflect your values into your work is a great way of making sure that you never have a boring day at work, it is something that will pay you back ten times over in terms of satisfaction.

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Business Ideas

Starting Your Own Business After Military Service

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The average age that American military personnel retire is 46.8 years old. After a full career of service, for many veterans the question is – what’s next? This is the ideal time to think about starting your own business and pursuing your passions in life. You can be your own boss, set your own hours and kickstart a new future for you and your family.

When you are starting your own business however, it is important to find your own niche market and develop your ideas. It is virtually impossible to compete with the conglomerate giants, but if you have a great idea that is realistic and manageable, you can build a successful business after military service. 

Funding your business

To get your business up and running, you are going to need startup funds. It may be that you have accumulated savings during your years of service, but if you haven’t, there are still ways to get your business off the ground. A Hero Loan is a VA loan program that is designed specifically for veterans and military families.

This type of home loan could give you the capital that you need to fund your business. Kickstarter is another popular option for raising business capital, but you will need to have a clear vision that you can market to the masses, showing that you have an investable product or service. Successful companies that were built using Kickstarter include Oculus, Pebble and M3D. 

Get some great advice

If you are new to the business world, it is a good idea to get some advice and mentorship to help develop your business plans. There are many free programs for veterans that can help you to succeed and thrive. In fact research done by Experian has found that businesses that are owned by veterans have greater sustainability and longevity than non-veteran-owned businesses. The Reboot program is open to all veterans and their spouses and can help you get to grips with entrepreneurial business concepts and fundamentals. VETRN helps to train new small business owners, completely free of charge, so if you’re on a tight budget, this is a great program to get involved in. 

Developing your ideas

Even if you are completely new to the world of business, the average veteran has a wealth of life experience and an understanding of the community that you can build on. Look around your local community and see what they need – it’s a simple concept – find a need and then fill it. You can then start creating a business plan to incorporate your goals, service or product development and financial projections. It will help to develop market surveys and take part in competitive analysis to help bring your niche business ideas into fruition. 

After military service, there can be a great career ahead of you, developing your own business. With some startup funding and a mentorship program, you can work towards turning your business into a thriving, successful enterprise.  

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