Viewing by month: November 2009

You don't have to be an entrepreneur to run your own business

There’s a common misconception out there in the land of people thinking about starting their own business, or joining a franchise network like Century 21, and that’s that you have to be an entrepreneur to run a successful small business. It’s actually not the case. In a nutshell, an entrepreneur creates opportunities, or invents. Small business owners often don’t.

In a lot of ways, starting a small business within a franchise group removes a great deal of the risk associated with starting a new business. You’re backed by an established brand name, there is a large support network, there’s tried and tested training and systems in place, and you’re not building a reputation from scratch. You may have entrepreneurial qualities, and chances are if you’re driven enough to start your own business then you do, but you don’t need to create everything from nothing which is a great leg up.

 Similarly to entrepreneurs, small business owners need to create jobs for themselves. Even if you sign up to a franchise network or purchase your business for someone else, you are still creating a new role for yourself. And also similarly to entrepreneurs, that takes courage, risk and business acumen. And they’re certainly not qualities to be sneezed at.  
0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 10/11/2009 at 8:15 AM | Categories:

The two paths to your own business

When you decide to start your own business, there are a couple of choices you can make. Well, obviously there are a lot more than a couple of decisions required when you’re setting up your own business, or in our case, a Century 21 real estate franchise office, but what I mean is, you can build a business based on what you want, or what a market segment wants. Many of our Century 21 real estate franchisees open their business because they have a passion for property. But there are occasions where a business-minded person has seen a gap in their market and recognized that there’s an unfulfilled need for a real estate agency.

 Realistically if you want your business to succeed (and why would you start one if you didn’t?) you should be combining the two. There’s no point starting up a venture that you love in a place where there’s just no demand for it, and there’s potentially a difficult path ahead if you start a business that there’s demand for you if you despise the type of business it is.

A reality of business that there’s no escaping is supply and demand. You need to look at the realities of the business environment to make sure your business has a shot at success. Where they say that the rule to real estate is Location! Location! Location!, I recently read an article that said the rule of starting a business is Customers! Customers! Customers! and it’s so true. Your incredible love and passion for whatever business you want to start will only get you so far, and if you have no customers, you’ll eventually have no business either. 

 At Century 21, we help our real estate franchisees not only get their business started, but we ensure they are provided the best chance at success, and establishing area demand is just one of the ways we do this. Every real estate franchisee in the Century 21 network is committed to customer service and ensuring they are there to fulfill a very real need.  
0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 09/11/2009 at 9:57 AM | Categories:

How to promote your business on a budget

Once you’ve established your own business, getting the word out about it the next big challenge. When you’re probably trying to limit your cash flow as much as possible, how do you promote your business? Just like I’ve preached the benefits of a business plan before, you should also have a good marketing strategy in place for your business. If you join a franchise network like Century 21, you obviously benefit from the international brand and a coordinated marketing and PR strategy for the group, but local marketing is still important. The problem is usually money.

When people think about promotion, most people’s minds tend to gravitate straight towards TV advertising, billboards, radio etc, all of which are priced out of the range of most small businesses budgets. This means new business owners have to find alternative ways to promote themselves that are both affordable and effective. That means thinking outside the square and using your resources wisely. Considering PR rather than paid advertising to try and increase your presence in your local media. 

Consider the power of the internet and use this to promote your business. If you don’t have a website, get one! And if you do have one, look at ways to maximise it for advertising purposes. Considering blogging, like I am here, podcasting and link to YouTube to reach more potential customers. Look at social media as a way to communicate with people – the majority of our country has access to the internet, so use email and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to talk to people for very little, or no cost. There will be a time cost of course, but I think you will find it’s worth the effort.  


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 06/11/2009 at 12:49 PM | Categories:

Be prepared!

When it comes to starting your own business, the best advice is to be prepared. It seems the Boy Scouts got it right with their mantra all that time ago!  

It is a rare occurrence for success to come without planning and hard work, and owning a business doesn’t necessarily automatically make you the boss. Well, technically it does, but what I mean is that owning your own business, especially when you’re getting it off the ground, tends to mean really long hours, and financial risk – usually your own finances at that. These two are just a couple of reasons that around two thirds of small businesses fold after two years, another is lack of planning or knowledge of what they’re getting into.  

To make sure you have the best chance of staying within that one third of business owners who do go on to run a long lasting company, there are a few basics to follow. Firstly, if you want to succeed it’s best to do what you love, and to do that you need to know what makes you passionate, or what you’re good at. Usually the two go hand in hand. If you’re doing the work because you enjoy it and it means something to you, you have a much higher chance of success. If you’re working only for the money, chances are your business may not last that long.  

Plan! Like I said at the start of this post, the best thing you can do if you want to run your own show is to plan.  Plan, plan, plan. Apart from the boy scouts touting the benefits of planning, there’s another age old saying that most of us are familiar with – failing to plan is planning to fail – or something along those lines at least. Write a business plan. It’s a necessity but few bother to do it. Be organised and realistic in your planning – do a market analysis, look at your competition, figure out if you’re going to run a corporation or partnership etc and do a financial projection! Be positive, aim for 3 years and assume you’ll make it out of the two thirds majority. 

Budget! I’m guessing that your ultimate goal will be to turn a profit in your own business, so budget to do that. If you’re not making a profit, you won’t be getting a salary. 

Don’t let your pride get in the way – ask for help. There are a lot of resources available for small business owners and people wanting to start their own business. Take advantage of it. Ask others who have succeeded how they did it, and whatever you do, be prepared for anything!    


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 05/11/2009 at 9:34 AM | Categories:

How to promote your business on a budget

Once you’ve established your own business, getting the word out about it the next big challenge. When you’re probably trying to limit your cash flow as much as possible, how do you promote your business? Just like I’ve preached the benefits of a business plan before, you should also have a good marketing strategy in place for your business. If you join a franchise network like Century 21, you obviously benefit from the international brand and a coordinated marketing and PR strategy for the group, but local marketing is still important. The problem is usually money.

When people think about promotion, most people’s minds tend to gravitate straight towards TV advertising, billboards, radio etc, all of which are priced out of the range of most small businesses budgets. This means new business owners have to find alternative ways to promote themselves that are both affordable and effective. That means thinking outside the square and using your resources wisely. Considering PR rather than paid advertising to try and increase your presence in your local media.

Consider the power of the internet and use this to promote your business. If you don’t have a website, get one! And if you do have one, look at ways to maximise it for advertising purposes. Considering blogging, like I am here, podcasting and link to YouTube to reach more potential customers. Look at social media as a way to communicate with people – the majority of our country has access to the internet, so use email and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to talk to people for very little, or no cost. There will be a time cost of course, but I think you will find it’s worth the effort.  
0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 04/11/2009 at 10:27 AM | Categories:

How to kill your small business

Not to be super negative or anything, but I thought today I’d blog about how to succeed in killing your small business. People who want to start their own business, like our franchisees at Century 21 are committed to success and exceeding their own expectations. Growing their business is their number one focus, and that’s how it should be. There are lots of ways to expand and improve your business potential. There’s also a great way to ensure its demise. And that’s to do nothing.

  

How many times have you heard people talk about “one day”, “later”, or “when I have time”? Often, one day and later never come, and you never actually find the time. These types of excuses are a great way to leave your business dead in the water. Lots of people will take the time to write down ideas and ways they think they can improve their business and profitability, but if all these notes remain just that, and don’t translate into action, then the someday never comes, and chances are neither will your business growth.

  

If you wait for things to be perfect before you launch your business, you’ll be waiting forever. Even some of the biggest brands online launched prior to being perfect – look at the examples here -  how 20 popular Web sites looked when they first launched. The functionality displayed isn’t what we know and expect of them today, but if the people behind these concepts had waited for everything to be 100% right, or until ‘later’ to launch these sites, they may not be around at all.

  

If you want to get out there and run your own business and control your own destiny, you need to stop waiting and stop telling yourself that your business isn’t ready. One of the greatest things about running a small  business is getting to experiment, to take chances, getting to try and even if you do fail, it’s a lesson learned that will ultimately better what you’re trying to achieve.

Stop waiting and start doing!  
0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 02/11/2009 at 8:13 AM | Categories: