Saturday, July 14, 2018
Finding and maintaining meaningful employment continues to be a major challenge for autistic adults. Unfortunately, the statistics are not very encouraging as approximately 80% of adults on the spectrum are either unemployed or underemployed after finishing high school. There are a number of job training options worthy of pursuit, although access to opportunity can be elusive. One area gaining momentum is starting a business based upon interests or natural ability. Admittedly, this is not a career path for the faint of heart - but more autistic adults are choosing entrepreneurship as a pathway to independence. Following the conventional custom of finding a job after high school simply has not panned out for many on the spectrum for various reasons. Those who are employed often work in a family owned business on a part-time basis or engage in seasonal employment.
What types of business opportunities are best suited for autistic adults? Obviously there is not a single category that attracts all people on the autism spectrum. In fact, there is considerable diversity among the occupational areas in which autistic adults are finding their way. Some fields are traditional, while others are surprisingly generating novel interest from members of the autism community. For a while software testers was all the rage whenever autism employment was mentioned in a conversation. The problem with that is the number of job openings for software testers is extremely limited, and even more important, not every autistic adult wants to engage in this type of work. With the continued resistance on the part of corporations to hire people with autism, many are taking matters into their own hands. Having an interest or natural inclination in cooking or art has lead to a number of bakeries or studios owned and operated by individuals with autism. Some are managed by a single person, while others employ other employees who are also on the spectrum. This model creates jobs for others and gives back to the larger community by way of civic responsibilities.
Below is a list of employment areas in which autistic adults have forged business opportunities, utilizing their talents to create a rewarding life for themselves.
1. Veterinarian Assistant - For animal lovers who enjoy caring for and providing treatment to injured animals, this can be extremely gratifying. While there are some autistic people who fear being in close proximity with pets, others simply love being around furry companions. The right person can thrive in this career choice, while working in an environment that provides a great deal of personal satisfaction.
2. Landscape Professional - Someone with an eye for design and a love for the outdoors could do quite well in landscaping. Modern designs are bolder and embrace colorful arrangements which express individual taste and creativity. Making use of various textures and open spaces can be challenging, yet rewarding for the person willing to promote themselves. Additionally, outdoor living space is a popular feature in home designs that bode well for future landscaping job opportunities.
3. Architect - Planning and designing structures for residential or commercial purposes requires a specific skill set. The combination of spatial recognition and mathematical ability can lead to a very gratifying career. Meeting the academic training standards may not appeal to everyone, but for those who enjoy creating blue prints and meeting with clients, this may be a viable option to consider.
4. Graphic Designer - In a digital world full of increasing online content, talented graphic designers are in demand. With a choice of platforms to work from, this is an area that's poised for growth. This is not for everyone as precision, accuracy, and meeting strict timelines can be stressful. With that in mind, it is a field worthy of consideration.
5. Coffee Shop Owner - The benefits of operating a coffee shop go far beyond serving up a great cup of brew. Local coffee shops have become a social gathering place for personal acquaintances and business professionals. Having good organizational skills is an absolute must, along with the ability to talk to strangers. This could be the pathway to personal and financial independence for highly motivated individuals.
George D. Williams, MS is an author whose focus is the challenges facing the growing autistic adult population. In addition, he is the founder of Centurion Publishing Services which provides editorial support to authors, business organizations, and the financial industry.
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
If you've been at it for a while, and you're getting clients, you start running out of hours pretty quickly. You reached a point where you don't have time to service them all keep up with marketing, social media, administration, and sales. You start getting bogged down with the busy work. It's time to stop trading hours for dollars. It's time to scale. Well, the first step is hire some VAs. Outsource some work to Elance and Odesk even the Philippines. But until you try bringing somebody on board, it's just theory. Wouldn't it be great to have someone give you simple step by step instructions on how to find, hire, and train your first assistant. And even better if that person would help you avoid mistakes and teach you how to create job descriptions, develop systems, and learn how to delegate tasks effectively. And most importantly, they teach you how to let go of control and trust someone else with your business. Too often we think to ourselves, "I could have done this a lot faster than the time it took me to train someone to do it." So, how do you scale your business? Well, that's exactly why I invited Rebekah Radice to come and tell us how she did it. Go look at her content, blog and web properties, all top notch, and she admits, she's not doing it all herself.
Friday, July 6, 2018
What was the most recent net profit margin of your business? Were revenue and profit projections achieved? Is your venture comfortably able to manage its accounts payable? Were you, the owner, able to provide comprehensive medical and dental insurance to yourself and any employees? Were you able to substantively fund your retirement account last year? Were you able to afford a vacation?
If the answer to two or more of those questions is no, I respectfully suggest that you evaluate the future viability of your enterprise. More than a business model tweak or a pivot, you may need to explore another kind of business altogether, one with greater profit-making potential.
Take heed---Sageworks, a financial data services company located in Raleigh, NC, analyzed the net profit margins of 16,000 small businesses that earned less than $5 million between October 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017. The average net profit across all industries in that time period was 8.4 %.
Note that the list of top performers consists almost entirely of Solopreneur-friendly service industries. Despite the challenges of selling services, especially intangible services, to either B2B or B2C clients, Sagework's list demonstrates that it is possible to make money as a self-employed service provider.
Some industries are more Soloprenuer-friendly than others. Accountants and bookkeepers, real estate sellers, attorneys, landlords and certain healthcare practitioners are all able to operate a one-person shop quite well, perhaps with a single employee to provide administrative help.
Educational requirements and professional credentials pose a formidable barrier to entry for several of these high-yield business opportunities, most notably dentistry, chiropractic, law and accounting (CPA or certified financial analyst). In contrast, real estate sales requires only a license to do business, the right relationships and no real selling skills if you are in a hot market. If someone with a broker's license brings you into the business, you can work under the umbrella of that person's credentials.
I look askance at the stated prospects for attorneys, however. There have been many mergers between big law firms and as a result, many lay-offs. From a former employee of a very prestigious law firm who was let go six or seven years ago and eventually started her own boutique firm, those who venture out on their own can encounter stiff competition in certain legal specialties. Welcome to the new normal. Below are the small businesses that on average have the healthiest profit margins.
Business Net profit margin
Accounting / Bookkeeping 18.4%
Landlords 17.9 %
Legal services 17.4 %
Management of companies 16.0 %
Real estate sales 14.9 %
Dentist's office 14.8 %
Health practitioners (chiropractors, etc) 13.0 %
Medical & diagnostic laboratories 12.1 %
Automotive equipment rental or leasing 12.0 %
Graphic and industrial design 11.4%
Warehousing & storage 11.0 %
Management, scientific, or technical consulting 10.3 %
Thanks for reading,
Kim L. Clark is an external strategy and marketing consultant who brings agile skills to the for-profit and not-for-profit organization leaders with whom she works. To learn how you can ensure that mission-critical goals are achieved at your organization, please visit http://polishedprofessionalsboston.com
By Kim L. Clark
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Social Media expert Rebekah Radice joins Go Creative Show host Ben Consoli to discuss how to use social media to build your brand and get more work.
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Self-doubt, uncertainty and fear are all emotions that can impact a person's ability to start-up a new business. Many entrepreneurs feel the pressure of investors, partners and employees relying on them. In order to overcome the mental roadblocks that can slow progress, there needs to be a wholehearted commitment in every area of building a successful business.
Here are a few things to consider in the process of starting a business:
Set attainable goals
A first step to starting a successful business is to create an overall company mission, which is then broken down into a series of achievable tasks. These small tasks can be used much like stepping-stones in the process of reaching the final target. Plus, this will make the process of starting a business seem less intimidating and also gives a clear outline of the work that needs to be completed as the business grows.
Also, in the early stages of starting the business it isn't necessary to be a perfectionist. Start to set-up a professional looking website and test the service or product. Any fine tuning can be completed before the service is finally launched to the public.
Build up a solid foundation
Building a solid foundation and passionate community is essential from the very early stages of putting a business together. It is essential to have the right support in place to give time to reach the intended goals. While a lot of passion and determination is great, there is also a need to have a certain level of financial stability. The basic foundation to have in place is likely to include the keen customers, partners and investors. Each of these groups will help to achieve the desired financial success. Talk to as many people as possible when starting out to create a useful support system that will help build a lot of confidence and guidance.
Invest the right amount of time
In the early stages of starting a business it can be difficult to set the most ideal work-life balance. In the beginning, there will be a need to invest a lot of energy and time into the business to see the successful results. However, in time the business will start to have less of an impact on relationships and personal life. Plus, with a proper support system in place, this will further help to make a business owner's day-to-day life easier. It helps to have an understanding with other people in your life that won't leave you feeling guilty about the amount of time spent working.
While many people will think up ideas for a business product or solution, only a very few will actually take the leap and attempt to pursue their dream and build a business based on that idea. Questioning and vulnerability are typical with all types of decisions, but with the proper focus and commitment there is every possibility of getting a successful business up and running.
Learn more about coaching, overcoming your fears and being the person you want to be by visiting http://www.awakei.com
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
You might have a small business today, but you don't want that label for the life of your business. When entrepreneurs make endeavors, they are looking to create a business that will rule the world one day. However, every business has to face some struggles in the beginning that it must overcome to become a big business. The way you handle these challenges decides the fate of your small business. Today, you will read about these challenges and the solutions to them, so if you are a small business, you can set the foundation for its success.
Knowing the Target Market
One of the biggest issues with most small businesses is that they don't know their exact target market. Sometimes, they don't know how to narrow down to the target market. This is a huge issue because you could have a perfect product, but you might pitch it to the people who don't need it. Keep in mind that people who don't need your product won't buy it even if you try to give it to them for free. On the other hand, people who need your product will be willing to buy it even if it is priced high. For your business to survive, it needs to start selling as quickly as possible, and that's why it is important to find your target market before launching your product.
The first step of identifying your target market is to know your product well enough. You have to ask yourself some important questions about the product and write the answers down. For example, you have to ask yourself "what existing problem does my product solve?" You also have to know if there are any other solutions available in the market for the same problem. If yes then you have to see how your product is better than them or how you can make it better. Conduct surveys on the street and social media to know the personas of the best buyers of your product.
The Right Type of Marketing
Businesses, small and big, have huge parts of their budgets allocated only for marketing purposes. However, the modern technological advancements have proven that a big marketing budget does not translate to successful marketing. So, you might have done a great job in identifying your target market, but if you approach them in the wrong way or through the wrong channel, you will not be able to reap any benefits from even the most potential market for your product or service.
Identifying your target market should help you identify your marketing methods and channels too. For example, if your product is for people aged over 50, you would not want to make Instagram the prioritized marketing channel because only 18% of the users on Instagram are aged above 50. Similarly, any product that targets executives, marketing officers and professional people should be promoted on LinkedIn before any other platform. After knowing the buyer personas, you should also select the type of marketing that best suits your potential audience. If you are creating a hip-hop music video for marketing to retired individuals or an opera video for 18-year olds, you are doing it wrong. Use website analytical tools to know what appeals or does not appeal to your website, visitors. Base your digital marketing campaigns on data-this is the era of data-driven marketing.
The Funding Problem
If there were no funding problem, every person who thinks of a unique idea would have a business. In the real world, funding is always a problem, and it is exactly the point where the journey ends for many aspiring people in business. However, it is not always the lack of funds that kill many small businesses before they even start. In fact, the important part is how much dedication you show in arranging those funds. Sometimes, people have the options available, but they do not knock on all the doors.
First, you have to know all the options you have available for arranging the funds. If you are not okay with arranging funds through the bank or in the form of a loan, take a look around at your family and relatives. You will be surprised to know how many of the people in your circle will be ready not only to give you the investment you need but become a part of the endeavor. The crowdfunding options are also there. You don't even have to go to the investors personally today as you can visit a platform like funded.com and arrange funds online.
The Right Leadership
You can't make a business successful unless you have the right leader in place. It is not completely untrue that the attitude of the leader sets the attitude of the rest of the employees at a company. If you lack confidence in your leadership, you will end up hiring people who lack confidence in themselves. One of the biggest problems with most small business owners is that they can't convince themselves to delegate responsibilities. They believe in their skill so much that their mind never accepts that someone else can handle the responsibilities too. They end up taking the responsibility of everything on their shoulders and mismanaging things at the end of the day.
The first thing that needs to be fixed here is how you think. If you find it hard to delegate responsibilities, get rid of this habit as soon as possible. You can't handle everything as the business grows and so you have to create a team right from day one. Do not hire people just because they can do the job-hire people who share the same vision as you. Do not settle for good employees because finding the best ones is taking time. Do not try to take matters into your hands all the times. Listen to everyone that's part of the team and the decision making process. Have a great relationship with your employees.
Setting the Price
One of the most difficult decisions for a small business owner is to set the price of its service or product. When you are a small business, you can't afford to have a full-fledged marketing department. Of course, when you have a marketing department, they can set the price of your products, but when there is no marketing department, you are the one to take this decision. Price your solutions too low, and you might not make any profit at all. Price your solution too high, and customers might never buy your product.
It will be tremendously helpful in this scenario to take a look at your competitors and how they have priced their products. Secondly, you have to know a simple rule to set the prices of your products and services. You first set the price to cover your costs. Once you have started covering your costs, you set the price to cover the costs and make a profit. Once you have done that successfully, you start adding your "value" to the price. You should also know the buying power of your target market so you can keep the price within their comfort zone.
These points cover pretty much every big challenge that a small business comes across. Keep in mind that some of the challenges might be exclusive to your business and industry too, but if you can overcome these common challenges, you can cover the industry-specific difficulties as well.
More detailed information and useful advice can be found at http://www.Funded.com
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Running a small business requires superior problem- solving and an ability to look at the bigger picture. Aside from ensuring that your business turns a profit on a regular basis, you also need to be concerned with your own financial health over the long-term. That includes having a strategy in place for building wealth, so you can enjoy a comfortable retirement once the time comes to hand over the reins of your business to someone else. As an entrepreneur, there are certain hurdles you should be prepared for that can hinder your ability to create wealth. (For a detailed rundown, see Investigator's Tutorial Starting A Small Business.) Here are four important challenges small business owners face.
1. Too Much Business Debt
Getting a small business off the ground typically requires a certain amount of cash. Taking out a term loan from a bank or a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan may be the answer, if you don't have sizable savings you can tap into. With a 7 SBA loan, for example, it's possible to borrow up to $5 million to establish a new business.
Even if you don't need a loan to get started, that doesn't mean your business will - or should remain debt-free. For instance, you may decide to open a business credit card to earn rewards on day-to-day expenses or take a merchant cash advance to help cover your cash flow during slower periods. Or you may want to borrow to expand, especially if the business is doing well. While credit cards, advances and loans can be invaluable to keeping the business running, their convenience comes at a cost.
If a substantial part of your business' revenue is going toward repaying its debts, that leaves less income to devote to growth. It also leaves you, as the business owner, less money to funnel into a solo 401(k), SEP IRA or similar qualified retirement plan to ensure your own future. While the interest on a small business loan, the payments themselves are not. Paying down your business debts allows you to redirect funds toward your retirement or a taxable brokerage account instead.
2. An Inefficient Tax Strategy
As a small business owner, filing and paying taxes may be one of the most unpleasant tasks on your to-do list, but it's a necessity. If you're not taking advantage of every available tax break, your wealth without even realizing it. There are a number of tax credits deductions that you can claim on your business or personal tax return? An expense must be deemed both ordinary and necessary. This means the expense must be something that's commonly associated with the type of business you own and directly connected to its operation.
When you don't take the time to maximize every possible tax advantage, the result is an overly large tax payment. Hiring an accountant to manage your filing may increase your business expenses slightly, but it can also help to minimize your tax liability. In terms of building wealth, the long-term benefit can easily outweigh the cost.
3. Lack of Diversification
Being a business owner requires a certain amount of juggling, and you simply may not have time to pay as much attention to your investments as you'd like. The size of your assets affects your overall financial standing, including how banks see you, especially if you're a sole proprietor. Investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, eliminates the hassle of trying to put together a well-rounded portfolio, but it can be problematic if the funds you're purchasing hold the same underlying securities.
Business owners can also run into issues if they're not rebalancing periodically. This is vital to ensure that you're maintaining the right asset allocation, based on your investment goals and risk tolerance. If you don't rebalance regularly, you could end up with a portfolio that's either too aggressive or too conservative. At one end of the scale, you run the risk of losing money by gambling too heavily on stocks. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you risk limiting your earnings potential if you're playing it safe with an abundance of bonds. Either way you're putting your future returns in jeopardy by not paying attention to the level of diversification in your portfolio.
4. External Risks
Aside from managing market risk, you also need to be cautious about insulating yourself and your business from threats that may arise in other areas. For instance, what would happen to the business if you were to become ill and could no longer oversee its operation? How would your business and personal assets be protected if your business became the target of a lawsuit? What would you do if your business was damaged by a hurricane or other natural disaster?
These are the kinds of questions small business owners must consider, because although such scenarios may seem unlikely, they can have a substantial impact on how you grow wealth. Choosing the appropriate business structure is an important step in minimizing liability, but you should also be proactive in reviewing your business and personal insurance coverage to ensure that you're protected against every possibility.
Want to know more about the four reasons why small business fails to grow? Visit: http://www.selfhelp.info
Monday, June 4, 2018
In simple terms, leverage means using resources to maximum advantage. In business, these resources include your time, effort, money, knowledge and people. With leverage, you increase your ability to do more with less - building profit along the way.
You work smarter, not harder. You get more sales at lower costs. And increase profit through efficiency. Your people work together and enjoy the relationships that come from teamwork. You deliver what you promise so customers keep coming back.
It's a win-win for you, your people and your customers. Here are 4 ways to leverage your business.
Time | Focus on What Matters
How much time do you spend on activities that create value? By value, I mean tasks that directly produce sales, grow profit, improve service and delivery or help others do these things.
Take some time to analyze how you spend your time. Then focus on the critical tasks while eliminating, delegating or outsourcing others.
Here are a few things that will help you do this:
Have goals and an action plan. Without goals, everything seems important.
Tap into technology. Your calendar and to-do list are as close as your phone.
Schedule time beyond meetings. Important tasks should be scheduled too.
Turn off distractions. Your phone, email and people. Interruptions are time killers.
Sales | More Customers With Less Effort
When it comes to maximizing revenue, your marketing and sales channels can go a long way toward improving this area.
Good marketing with clear messages and targets can help you attract quality prospects. Why chase after the wrong people and waste a lot of time trying to convert them? Combine this with a great sales management system - and you get more customers with a lot less effort.
Next, think about sales channels. You can personally sell to individual prospects in a traditional one-to-one manner. You can grow exponentially faster by selling online, but this model doesn't work for all businesses. So why not build a network of people who sell to the same people you do. Then let them do the work and pay them a fee for the sales they generate. You both win. Again, you get a lot more sales with a lot less effort.
People | Help Them Be the Best They Can Be
Your people may be your most valuable asset, but only if you leverage their skills and capabilities.
It starts when you hire and bring them on board. Invest the time to find the right people to join your company - even when you feel rushed to get someone in there. But even the most skilled individuals need time to learn and understand YOUR business. Orientation and training are critical to getting them off the ground running and contributing. Especially today, new hires want to feel that they are making a difference or they won't stick around.
If you have low employee turnover and long-tenured team members, hiring may not be a priority. But you should still look for ways to leverage your people. Are you maximizing their skills and providing new challenges and opportunities?
As your business grows and technology changes, job responsibilities will also change. When was the last time you looked at your organization structure, positions, and job descriptions? Are they still relevant? Do your people have the skills and knowledge to take on additional or different work? This is an area often overlooked. But it can improve workflow processes and keep your team engaged and challenged.
Effort | It's All About Systems
Regardless of industry, every business has key processes to develop products and services, build demand, satisfy demand and manage the business. These include common functions such as marketing, sales, customer service, manufacturing, shipping, service delivery, technology, human resources, finance and strategic planning.
A lot of tasks! But the more efficiently you operate, the more profitable you become. You can leverage all areas of the business when you ask the right questions, focus on continuous improvement and take advantage of technology and people. You can take it a step further when you look for others/partners to help you grow without doing the work!
When you master the leverage game, you get more of what you want with a lot less effort. Pick one of the areas above to focus on and get started.
Leverage Your Business With Systems
If you are serious about creating leverage with systems, visit my website and check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.
Joan Nowak is a business coach, consultant, and trainer. With an emphasis on results, she helps small/medium size businesses build profit through leverage - marketing, sales, operations, systems and people. To learn more or schedule a complimentary consultation, visit my website https://HybridBizAdvisors.com
By Joan Nowak
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Have you ever played Tetris? It's that game from the 1980s that requires you to strategically rotate, move, and drop geometric shapes that fall into a game board. These shapes build up on the board, and the only way to clear them out is by making horizontal rows of blocks without empty space.
It can be a pretty difficult game! In fact, the more you play, the more difficult the game becomes. The shapes drop faster and faster, and the possibilities of making lines disappear becomes nearly impossible. You may place a shape in the wrong place and- bam! Your game board is a mess. You're in a situation that seems hopeless.
Employers can find themselves with that same hopeless feeling when dealing with business paperwork that keeps piling up. The complications of having employees means keeping up with dozens of state and federal employment regulations and precise payroll management - just to name a few.
If you're not on top of these back office tasks, you 'll quickly find yourself overwhelmed. And unlike Tetris when the burden of the building blocks allow you to hit the restart button- there's no mercy given for late tax payments, inaccurate reporting - or a poor hiring decision.
When you own a company that specializes in a trade- painting, drywall, trucking, or anything else- you are prepared for the possible issues that come up with that trade. You can probably find a way to fix your machines, arrange schedules, or even clean up a job site if you have to. But you're probably completely unprepared for the requirements of tax filings and other issues that come with running your business. Things like new hire reporting, overtime, wage garnishments, and child support.
And once you get behind or make a mistake, those issues- just like the Tetris blocks- just keep dropping. Pretty soon, you're paying hefty penalties to the IRS and probably losing some sleep.
How would you like those blocks to stop dropping so you can focus on running your business? Thankfully, a solution for employers comes in the form of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), also known as an Employee Leasing Company.
These providers allow you to outsource payroll administration, access great employee benefits and big discounts on workers' compensation insurance. When these HR tasks are on someone else's shoulders,you gain the freedom to work on sales, service and growth for your business. Productivity across all operations seems to soar.
Other benefits Employee Leasing Services provide:
Workers' Compensation Claims Administration
Family and Medical Leave Act Administration
Direct Deposit/ Check Printing
Complete HR Administration, including safety and regulatory compliance
401(k) Savings Plans
When you're ready to find out how HR outsourcing services can benefit your business, consider using a PEO broker to find your best solution. PEOs are all different, and offer a variety of benefits and services. Their pricing can differ dramatically. A broker will work with you to understand your company's specific needs, to access the perfect fit for you business.
By [http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mike_Burgelin/169887]Mike Burgelin
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Dan is one of the rare keynote speakers and business consultants that actually owns a portfolio of highly profitable business ventures. Not only he is a two times Tedx opening speaker, he's also an international best-selling author of over 12 books and the host of Shoulders of Titans show. Dan's availability is extremely limited. As such, he's very selective and he is not cheap. But if you think you or your brand might benefit from one-on-one interaction with Dan, visit http://danlok.com Or consider becoming a member of his high-level mastermind: http://www.danlokinnercircle.com