One fourth of the year is over. How are you doing in meeting your goals? How are you doing compared to your budget? In my last article, I talked about how business systems arent just for big business. Guess what? Neither are goals and budgets.Big businesses put tremendous effort into creating detailed budgets and detailed goals each year and checking their progress against them monthly and quarterly. Investors eagerly await the announcement of quarterly earnings and stock prices jump up or down based on the results. They go to all this expense and trouble for only one real reason. It works.Big businesses very seldom wander from the tried and true. They set goals, budget and compare to their budgets frequently because successful businesses before them did it. Im not saying that you have to have goals and a budget to be successful, but it sure does increase your chances of success. Thats also why you are reading this. To help increase your chances of success. So heres your tip of the week.If you dont have goals and a budget, stop what you are doing and create them. If you do have goals and a budget, stop and take a look at them. Ask yourself the following questions:How have you done so far this year? Are you awesome or average? What can you tell from your results? Whats working and whats not? Where could you use some help? What successes can you leverage? Now is the time to start looking at what adjustments you need to make to continue your successes or cut your losses. Its also a good time to revise your estimates for the rest of the year. Dont stop at just revising the numbers. Now is the time to revise your action plan too. Where do you need to step up your action and where do you need to cut back? Again look at whats working and whats not. Dont have an action plan? Now would be a good time to create one. Goals and business plans only get you so far. An action plan is what makes your goals and budgets work.Does this all sound like a lot of work? Im sure it does, but it is time and effort that will pay itself back tenfold. Knowing where you want to go and then comparing regularly is the only way to assure yourself youll get to where you want to be. Otherwise you might end up like Alice in Wonderland.Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.Alice: I don't much care where.The Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Building minority partnerships through franchising can help grow your business, according to Henryk Strzeletz of Wheels America Advertising.Strzeletz, born in Poland and a 30-year resident of Germany before moving to the U.S., searches out viable markets and recruits potential business people from all walks of life who are interested in growing with his mobile advertising business, which he established in 1995.Philip Mereday, chief executive officer of WAA, shares Strzeletz's vision. Mereday, an African-American with a combined business experience that spans over 30 years, sees franchising as a way to open doors to a multinational work force, giving easy access to government programs such as the Minority Business Development Agency and others. In the end, this greatly benefits Strzeletz's business - helping WAA turn a substantial profit and keeping the company competitive."The challenge for many minorities is that they don't have the resources to take advantage of government programs," said Mereday. "They don't know that you can bid for contracts with the Department of Commerce or get a grant from the Small Business Administration."To get its franchises rolling, WAA is working on team-building - giving seminars and workshops to those interested in opening franchises."We're trying to build a foundation, a bulwark for business people looking for a viable investment in an already proven growth market. Maybe they're building up their portfolio or looking to strengthen their future," said Mereday, who has been an investment banker and writer and has worked overseas in the United Kingdom. "The main benefit of franchising is personal satisfaction from growth."Success is crowning WAA's efforts. A minority business partnership in Detroit has grown from one mobile billboard advertising vehicle to six, which operate daily. A predominately Latino franchise in Miami has been working with clients ranging from Western Union to Spanish-language auction site DeRemate.com.With more than 30 U.S. locations, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas, minority-owned franchises have helped to make WAA a major player in mobile media, with Fortune 500 clients including Toshiba, Fox Sports and Einstein Bros Bagels.
In the beginning, I thought it was going to be a breeze when my husband, Terry, joined me working full-time in my business. If anyone could do it, we could! We already had a healthy relationship built on trust and respect. We communicated well. We both strongly believed in what we were doing. We understood the need to help each other with the children, keeping the house, and with the business. We planned to allow for fluctuations in income to keep stresses over money to a minimum. Yet I still wasnt prepared.For anyone considering working with your spouse, here are 3 Essential Boundaries for Entrepreneurial Couples to help to ease your transition:1. Clarify expectations for work/home. Nothing can prepare you for the blurring of boundaries and turf that occur as you transition into working together. When you join together with your spouse, most likely, both of you have experienced success throughout your careers, and have developed your own working style. Suddenly you have a whole new dynamic in your relationship with your spouse you must learn to work through. I always knew that we had different gifts and talents: Terry is very techie and he loves to write, and I am a people person who is an administrative whiz. Even though I should have probably seen it coming, I was still surprised at the difference in our work styles. I multi-task all day long, and he prefers to work on one project at a time. Just like being newlyweds all over again, we had to put some effort into getting to know each other on a whole new level to be able to work well together.Beth Butler, creator of the Boca Beth Program has some helpful tips for clarifying expectations with your spouse. I make us lunch each day and we try to talk about BOCA BETH items that are pressing. It's our time to reconnect - he works from home for the wine company he represents and I work from home sharing my passion for second language learning with young children. A funny mix, but it works! We talk about what each of us has planned the next day so there are no surprises - and I use that time to ask for his help. I can't expect him to guess what I need so I have learned to be very specific.2. Schedule time for love.Most entrepreneurial couples complain they have less time together than before. It is possible to work beside your spouse in the same office all day long and barely speak on a personal level. How difficult is it to turn off your cell phone and talk a walk with your love? It is imperative to make it a point to schedule time for your relationship so that the business does not overtake it. Terry and I plan ahead to sneak away for lunch or to take a break at Starbucks. We have found if we dont take the time to schedule in these lunch or coffee dates, then they are less likely to happen as we work to meet deadlines or get a project done. We havent yet been able to master scheduling regular dates, but its next on our list of priorities in order to help keep our close relationship. 3. Schedule time for yourself. It can be a shock when you suddenly have so much time with your spouse. In your previous life, they left at 7 AM and came home at 6 PM, and then you discussed your day during dinner. Now you spend most (if not all) of the day with them, and during dinner, there is nothing new to discuss. Where is the time for you? Karyn Fagan, Founder of Team Women, tells We both have hobbies that we love outside of the house so we have that important away time. Terry and I certainly have a long way to go as an Entrepreneurial Couple, but we have made it through our entrepreneurial honeymoon period. Each day, we work together to reach our goals and dreams. We understand when we help each other we will reach our dreams sooner, so we help each wherever its needed!
Grabbing opportunities with open arms is often easier to talk about than to actually do. Most people find themselves dreaming about being rich but never actually doing anything about it. A combination of procrastination and 'what if' syndrome can cripple your creative spirit and might mean your idea will never become a reality. Socrates said "Action equals knowledge'. He was one of the greatest philosophers of our time. What he meant was that it is through action that we achieve results. For example, you could think about learning Spanish for months, imagining the holidays you will take and the people you will communicate with. You can dream forever but accomplish nothing unless you actually make the effort to start taking lessons. Much like the martial arts approach - the idea is to take action immediately and avoid over analyzing the situation. Do you want to start your own business but are afraid of what kinds of things can go wrong? What if your initial investment doesn't pay off? There are millions of things that could go wrong but likewise there are many things that can go right! Fear can be paralyzing. When thinking about starting a business particularly if you keep waiting for the right time. There will never be a perfect time. It's now or never when it comes to starting your own business. Overcoming your fear is a step by step process. - Do you have a clear idea of what kind of business you want to start? A clear plan will help keep your worries at bay. - Do you have access to the resources you will need? This includes the necessary start up cash as well as anything else you will need.- Do you have access to clients or do you know enough about marketing basics to ensure you will have enough interest in what you are offering? Just like anything - taking action is the most important part. Make an itemized list of what you feel needs to be done in order for you to start that business you always dreamed of. Prioritizing your list will help too. Don't wait for all your ducks to be in a proverbial row before you begin but make sure you have all the basics covered. Don't wait for that 'perfect someday'. Make an imperfect start. Don't over think everything. Sometimes the best approach is to just jump into the deep end.Don't wait to start discovering your own entrepreneurial spirit. Take action today!
Workers suffering burnout are making mistakes. Its depressingly predictable: these mistakes cost money, compromise safety and may even put lives at risk. Work-life balance is a subject with broad points of view but Corporate America is finally responding to this demand. Actually its been a matter of company survival. Corporations expecting employees to forego family time will not find the Ace Employee. Increased irritability means less production as more as more workers struggle to keep it all together. Smart companies are recognizing employee needs for work-life balance and are providing an environment that encourages that balance. Yet, limiting this to quick fixes like flexible working hours, or part time hours for working mothers is not dealing with the real reasons why people are feeling disillusioned with their working life. It has more to do with long hours, constant overtime, bullying bosses, and the continual cutbacks that keep many on a frayed tightrope. The core problem lies inside the minds of management -- obsessive drives, insane greed for money and power, ambition gone awry and a foolish disregard of anything void of short-term results. Even with limited changes, management still treats underlings like a herd of cows milking every ounce of effort possible. Thats not about to change when its driven by a winner takes all ideology and contempt for those unable to keep up.In a 2006 study, men were more likely to report depression, increased drinking and smoking, and suicidal thoughts. Women on the other hand were more likely to report anxiety, uncontrolled crying, migraines, sleeplessness and persistent petty ailments. Patrick learned the hard way at 40 he had risen to Senior Attorney for a small insurance company. His all-consuming job of 80-100 hours each week leaves his wife complaining that he was never home, and even when he is, hes useless. His children are in bed when he finally calls it a day, and often he sleeps in his clothes on top of the covers to get a head start the following morning at 5am. Patrick admits he is spread too thin but if he doesnt run at breakneck speed, everything will overtake him as if hes on a treadmill with no controls. He is gaining weight catching junk food on the run and drinking more to unwind as he puts it. But a long weekend with friends changed everything. Patrick was on the phone constantly and his wife felt more like she had joined their friends as a single. Vexed and defeated, she finally blurted out: Im done! I dont want to do this anymore.Often a wakeup call follows a crisis. To save his marriage and family Patrick had to adopt a family-first policy. He laid his decision on the corporate table no more weekends, home for dinner every night, no phone calls after 7pm! The silence was deafening. Determined, he turned to the Internet and a new road to entrepreneurship. The dream of perfect harmony in work and home has worked for many who have chosen this road. Enjoyable, stress free and rewarding, they learned to love the risk factor because, as entrepreneurs they were able to see a direct benefit from the fruits of their own labor. Entrepreneurs have a rosy view of their work-life balance because they love their boss. Its a big change from putting in 100 hours a week to please management by putting job first and everything else second, third or not at all. The new pioneers of this millennium will not be charging into the workplace as soon as they graduate. They will take their time and enjoy the trip. Ah well, the world doesnt need any more lawyers. Congratulations Patrick, on getting fired. 2006 Esther Smith