Posts Tagged 'entrepreneurs'

Effective Mompreneurs Have Effective Business Plans (and you can, too)

One of the simplest and most effective things I’ve done for my business is to finally sit down and write a business plan. I avoided doing this for three years. I had all sorts of reasons why I didn’t think it was necessary, and I had even more ideas about how hard it would be to do. Silly me.

I can’t wait to interview Melodie Lane, National Marketing Manager from the “One Page Business Plan” Company for my next teleseminar in the WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need teleseminar series. This will be the third installment in the WoMEN series, and it will take place next Tuesday, April 28th, at Noon ET on my BlogTalkRadio show.

I had the good fortune of meeting Melodie on twitter (no surprise there!). Here’s a little background on her so you will know where she’s coming from and a picture of her with her four fabulous boys:

melodie-lane

Three and a half years ago, Melodie was launching her last business as an independent project manager and attended a local workshop on how to write a “One Page Business Plan.” There she met Jim Horan, founder and CEO of the “One Page Business Plan.” Jim became her first client and dear friend. Today, Melodie is an integral part of the company as the National Marketing Manager. She loves doing this job within the sisterhood of moms and enjoys the opportunities the company provides her to do what she is passionate about-helping people turn their ideas into thriving businesses. She has also built two successful businesses from the ground up and considers herself an entrepreneur at heart. Melodie is a busy, single mom living in Pleasant Hill, CA with her four boys.

The “One Page Business Plan” Company is an international consulting firm with over 450 consultants. They specialize in helping business owners “re-think” their businesses and then help them construct extraordinarily clear and concise strategic business plans-on a single page. The original “One Page Business Plan” book has been an Amazon.com best seller for over 11 years. Their next book, due out this summer, is the “One Page Business Plan for Women in Business.”

You won’t want to miss this information-packed hour in which Lara asks Melodie to give us the scoop on why working moms need a business plan, how to create one that reflects your definition of success, and understanding how an effective business plan equals results.
Having my WAHMs create business plans for themselves is a foundational step in my coaching practice. The One Page Business Plan is the template I have all my clients use because it is simple and effective. Learn why this isn’t just something “the big companies” should care about, and why not having one could be the very thing standing between you and the success you deserve.
The schedule for the WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need teleseminar series continues every second and fourth Tuesday of each month at Noon ET. Visit www.whatmomentrepreneursneed.com for more information and to sign up for freebies that my speakers are sharing with our listeners!
Do you have a business plan? If not, what keeps you from creating one? If you do, what finally made you realize it was time to have one? I’d love to read your responses below.
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How often does “no” mean “the end” for you?

It is totally human to get discouraged when something doesn’t go the way you want it to. Say you come up with an idea for the perfect getaway for you and your husband, and though it makes you sigh and get that faraway, relaxed look in your eyes when you discuss it, your hubby just hears the pricetag and the hassle of getting the kids cared for in order for you to be gone. “No,” he says. “Nuh-uh. Not happ’nin’.”

What do you do?

Well, Alisa Bowman of www.projecthappilyeverafter.com wrote a smart post about this topic today. Whether you’re letting a “no” cause you to stop in your relationship, in your pursuit of your dreams, or in your business deals, you are certainly missing out on some possibilities that exist for you if you’re willing to see no as a “detour” rather than the end.

Here’s the link to her post: http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2009/04/dont-take-no-for-an-answer/

What do you do when you hear “No!”? How do you keep from quitting, getting derailed, giving up or getting stuck?

Ten Ways a Life Coach Can Help Mompreneurs

On today’s Mom Biz Coach Audio Blog, I’m going to answer some questions that I’ve been asked several times by working moms or mothers who are thinking of starting a business. I know how overwhelming it can be to be a fulltime mom and a fulltime entrepreneur.

Most of the mom entrepreneurs I’ve coached spent a lot of time thinking about hiring me before actually doing so. They weren’t exactly sure what life coaching is all about, or what we actually do in a coaching relationship. Some of my clients admitted to feeling embarrassed about hiring a coach to support them, almost like it meant they were a failure at being able to do what they wanted to do in life.

On my radio show today I’m going to tell you exactly what hiring a life coach can do to support your business. If you want to be successful on your own terms, create a business that works even when you don’t, get the buy-in and support you need from your spouse and your family, figure out how to get more clients and make more money without working around the clock, and understand how to spend quality time with your kids (especially while they’re young!), tune in to today’s show. I’ll be addressing these issues and more.

Details for the show: Go to www.blogtalkradio.com/mombizcoach. The Mom Biz Coach Audio Blog airs at 11:30 am ET for 15 minutes. If you can’t make it live, you can listen to the show at your convenience since it will be immediately archived in the “On-Demand” episodes listed on my show page at the above link.

Do you have questions about how a life coach could support you? Are you wondering what a coach actually does? I’d be happy to answer your questions if you leave a comment below.

Wondering if your biz idea will sell?

If you are an entrepreneur, you’ve had the experience of being struck with a “bright idea” that you’re certain will make you money. Hopefully, lots of money.

mom-biz-coach-pile-o-money

Many of the mom entrepreneurs I work with have incredibly creative minds and come up with new ideas for their businesses all the time. That’s part of what makes being an entrepreneur so much fun. After all, it’s not often when you’re working for someone else that your ideas are valued as much as you’d like them to be. When you work for yourself, you have the opportunity to turn your great ideas into actual products and services you can sell.

But how do you know if your idea will make you money? Or to put it another way, what if nobody else thinks your idea is so great? How much time, money, and energy can you afford to put into a business or a new product or service that doesn’t sell?

Well, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t have a crystal ball and am not able to tell my coaching clients how to predict what the market will like or not like. I wish I could. But there are some easy, cheap (or free) steps you can take to be sure that you create a business, product or service the market will buy.

One of the first steps is to be clear on what your niche is and knowing what your niche market needs. If you just create a business idea and hope that someone buys it, you’re probably wasting your time and money. And these are two things mom entrepreneurs don’t have a lot of.

Secondly, it helps to utilize some of the free/cheap web tools that are out there to actually do a bit of market research before you spend money bringing your idea to reality. This research will save you time, energy, money and stress, so it is definitely worth doing beforehand!

I’ll be talking more about this in my upcoming teleseminar on Tuesday, March 24th at Noon. I’ve invited internet marketing guru Steve Weber (of www.weberinternetmarketing.com) to be my guest expert and to answer all of your questions about starting a business or creating a new product or service that will make you lots of money.

You can register for the teleseminar “Is Your Idea Viable?” by clicking here. The $19 fee will certainly pay for itself when you learn some of the marketing research techniques Steve and I use to be sure our own ideas will sell.

Steve and I will be taking questions from participants on the call (or via the webcast) and would love to help you with yours. When you register, you’ll get immediate access to the teleseminar information (including bridgeline and webcast access).

“Is Your Idea Viable?” is the first teleseminar in the WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need teleseminar series I’m offering to mom entrepreneurs who want some short cuts and support in making their business incredibly successful this year. Visit my website to learn more about the series and see who’s up next on the agenda! The series debuts March 24 and continues every two weeks through December.

Are you toying around with a bright idea that you’d like to make a reality? What tools/strategies/methods do you use to test the market before you launch? Leave a comment below and share your questions or best practices.

The trouble with “balance”

I’m getting ready to give a teleseminar about time management for mom entrepreneurs, and that’s been taking me away from my other writing (this blog). The seminar is going to tackle some of the biggest issues mom business owners face: having time to do it all, and not feeling guilty for being both a mom and an entrepreneur. Admittedly, this is a tall order. (Find out more about the seminar at: www.mombizcoach.com and click the Events tab.)

One of the reasons this is such a challenge is because there is so much emotion wrapped around big ideas like “motherhood” and “entrepreneur.” Everyone and their dog has something to say about how things are supposed to go. If you’re a mom, you should stay home with your children, breastfeed them until they’re old enough to say, “No more, thanks, Mom!”, provide educational direction, character-building opportunities, and hot, healthy, organic meals to boot until they leave you almost 20 years later for someone/thing they love more than you. Well, those are just some of the things some people expect of mothers.

Entrepreneurs don’t get a much better go at it. They’re expected to be up to amazing tests of character and knowledge, to have the vision of SuperMan, the stamina of an Energizer Bunny, the discipline of a Marine Corps drill seargent, and all of their waking (and sleeping?) hours to devote to the growth of their business.

A lot of people (myself included) promote the idea of a healthy balance of these two completely different worlds. Balance is about three major points:

  1. The goal is to simply accept yourself.
  2.  Once you’re good with that, then set some priorities that are important to you.
  3. When you’re clear on what’s most important to you, then be intentional about how you spend your time on those priorities and let the other stuff go.

This philosophy is what makes it okay for me to feel very successful and satisfied with my life as a mom and an entrepreneur. I might not be successful in someone else’s terms (So what if I haven’t brushed my two-year-old daughter’s hair since she was born? And that pile of clutter easily found in every room of my house? Well, the pile and I have a mutual understanding now. We’ve learned to co-exist. And I know people who work 16 hour days in very stressful jobs who might not think I spend enough time stressing about my business. Hmmm. Ok.), but I am successful according to my own terms.

Balance comes for me when I focus on my priorities, then spend time doing the things that support those priorities, which are the things that are most important to me. It’s also about letting go of the things I’m not good at, or that I hate, or even the things that others want for me, but aren’t the things I want.

To have a balanced life, I have completely let go of the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” paradigm. I am focused on the most important things in my life: my family, my health and happiness, and my business. From my perspective, I’m doing great with the biggies. And I’m really getting good at ignoring the dust bunnies and the laundry mountain just outside my office door. Balance is all about making peace with all the extra things you could be doing, but that don’t matter as much as the biggies. So I think I’m just going to string some Christmas lights on that damn pile of clothes. Make it pretty. Or I could drag it out in the front yard, let some snow fall on it, and my kids would have a blast sledding down it. Now, there’s a SuperMom!

WSJ article: How twitter is used for business

Continuing my theme on Social Media and why mom entrepreneurs should take advantage of its offerings, I just read a great article in the Wall Street Journal about twitter. Here’s the link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122461906719455335.html.

Are you using twitter? If so, how do you use it? How much time do you spend daily using twitter or your other favorite social networking platforms? What are the pros and cons of using such a service for promoting your business?

And of course, please feel free to follow me. I’m @mombizcoach or http://www.twitter.com/mombizcoach.

Why Social Marketing is Critical for Mom Entrepreneur Businesses–Part 1

Those of you who have spent any time around me, or on the phone with me, or reading my blog have heard me get a little preachy when it comes to Social Media and its marketing capabilities. Especially now, when the economy is giving us “the gift” of more time to plan, organize and market our businesses, I’d like to help you get some great exposure for the hard work that you do. For FREE!

Lately, I’ve been busy. Yahoo! In the last week, I’ve been invited to give a workshop to a parenting group in Ontario, I’ve been interviewed for a mini-documentary about my Mom Biz Coach business for a London, ON radio station, and I’ve been asked to contribute an article I’ve written and to consider collaborating with a phenomenal group of women coaches. In fact, I’m thrilled to have just received another invitation to be interviewed by a talk show hostess this morning.

How did all this happen?

I didn’t cold call anyone. I didn’t take out a large print ad in the local magazines and newspapers. I didn’t pay for specialized SEO for my websites. I didn’t pay for a booth at a networking event. I didn’t send out a press release to anyone. In fact, I didn’t pay for anything and I was probably wearing my pajamas in the comfort of my own home when my marketing was working for me. And rather than “pushing” my marketing message out to the world, I’m “attracting” an audience who is interested in what I do.

So what is Social Media? The easiest way for me to think about it is to compare it to a Chamber of Commerce or a small business networking group (like BNI). All of us entrepreneurs know that marketing is important, but we seldom choose to allocate large portions of our budget to it. Instead, we often choose the “free” marketing route of appearing at various business networking events, introducing ourselves to other small business owners, exchanging business cards, and giving and asking for referrals.

I did this for the first two or three years of my business. But then, when I moved across the border to Windsor, and had no babysitters for these morning Chamber/BNI meetings, I started seeing just how much these “free marketing” opportunities were costing me in time and headaches. As a mom of three kids aged six and under, attending a weekly 7am coffee at the local chapter of BNI simply doesn’t work. So how can we mom business owners effectively network, give and get referrals, and in general get the world “buzzing” about our businesses?

Enter Social Media! You may also have heard some other terms associated with it, like Social Networking, Social Marketing, Viral Marketing, etc.

Here’s the skinny:

Social Media is a fast, professional, easy and effective way to market your business. And in my own humble opinion, it beats using the traditional methods (print ads, radio ads, tv ads, booths at tradeshows, etc.) since it is 1) free and 2) working for you when you’re not even awake!

Some examples of Social Media I’m using are LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter and my wordpress.com blog. There are countless others out there, but I’m going to focus on the ones I use. Each of these sites allows me to set up an account for free. I create a profile of my business (including my bio/resume sometimes, or my background and interests, or my expertise on a certain topic), upload a professional photo of myself, and include links to all my other sites (websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter accounts).

All of these media allow me to build my online network by making connections (LinkedIn), inviting more friends (Facebook), increasing my followers and the people I follow (twitter), and offering an RSS/subscription service (blogs). Just as you would build your professional network via business card exchanges, referrals, attending networking events, etc., you build your community of people you are interested in and who are interested in you. Unlike traditional networking and marketing, you don’t have to hire a babysitter, dry clean your suit, and spend time commuting to and from your home or office. In fact, I do most of my social networking just two or three minutes at a time with at least one child on my lap.

As a coach, I’m in the services business. I don’t have a product (other than myself) to sell (yet!). My intention when I market my business is to get people to know, like and trust me. People like to buy from people they know, like and trust. Of course, you can use Social Media platforms to socialize with friends and family, but the reason I use it for business is because I find the online business community to be extremely approachable. I am able to introduce myself and be introduced to others by typing a quick message like, “Hi! I love your work. Look forward to learning from you!”

In very little time, I usually get a message back. There: a virtual handshake that’s informal, yet powerful. And if this new contact is interested in learning more about me, s/he can do so via my profile, which in turn links them to my websites, blogs and other Social Media platforms. After reading about me in these platforms, a potential client is pre-qualified to do business with me since I explain how I work, what I offer and what I charge on my website. So you see, I can end up with a pre-qualified sales lead as a result of typing 11 words and hitting send. How easy is that?

And it can be even easier. Since most Social Networking platforms (like LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter) allow all of my friends/connections to see who I’m connected to and to read my posts, I often get messages from people who are “friends of my friends” who I never contacted directly. This passing of information continues to spread, like a virus (hence the term “viral marketing”) to all of my friends, then to their friends, and so on. And it travels fast!

So this is where I’ll end my first installation about Social Media and why you should be using it to promote your business. I hope you’ll take a peak at some of the options out there. I’ll go into greater depth about how it works (including some examples) and offer some resources for more information in the next two issues of my ezine. If you have questions, please ask. I’m excited to help you grow your business


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