1. Hire a Photographer
What Changed My Business: When I first started my business I thought I could/should do everything myself, including taking photos of my products for my website. Another business owner that I knew suggested that I hire a professional photographer to take the photos and it made such a big difference in terms of sales.
What Changed My Business: If you think you can't or shouldn't do something, that is your reason for doing it. More times we are limited not by what others say (though that is also a factor) but by our own selves. As soon as you say you "can't", then "do".
3. Believe in YOU!!!
What Changed My Business: My business had seemed to HIT A WALL and was not growing until my mentor told me that it was time to start learning, growing and Believing that I could take it up a notch.I had gotten to a point where I had enough success to be satisfied...life was fantastic! If I wanted to go further it was up to me to believe that I could. Sure enough that was the best advice, because once I started seeing myself doing better and BELIEVED in ME, business began to grow! What we think about is very powerful!
4. Do unto others for customers
What Changed My Business: When I owned a flight school, we used to charge our customers $35 if they didn't show up for their lesson because we had to pay the instructor who was there ready for them. What we did that set us apart and grew our business rapidly was give our customers $35 on their account if we failed to show up for some reason, which occasionally happened for early morning flights. Whether they ever got to use the $35 or not, the fact that we were willing to 'do unto others' - made our business fly!
5. Collect the Nuts & Bolts
What Changed My Business: Before launching a full scale e-boutique, we launched a simple three page store based on initial analysis of the market space. The simple site was used to gather additional data like how was traffic generated, how long were visitors staying, what keywords and phrases were topping the list, etc. This was used over a period of 60 - 90 days. Afterwich, we then created a full scale site based on the intel gathered rather than speculation.
6. Think Big = Be Big
What Changed My Business: In the eat-or-be-eaten animal kingdom, some species use size to their advantage. Others do too...sort of. Under threat, some animals will puff themselves up to appear bigger than they are to evade attack. You should do that too, but not to fool people or defend. Think big to grow your business. When you think big, you start to feel big, and you can act big. Visualize every day where how big you want your business and your life to be, and you will be on the offense to success!
7. Dare To Dream
What Changed My Business: One of my greatest PR connections which has given my an full page feature in a elite magazine all started " on Face Book " my one piece of advise is networking on face book and twitter , it may take time but it's worth very minute you put into it . Connect with people in the same industry or related area's . Dare to Dream , anything is possible .
8. Bloogers = the PR real-deal
What Changed My Business: In this day of social media nothing is more important to branding and getting your product out there that using bloggers!! Bloggers have small networks of followers. They review your products and then it is like telephone. You tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on... Even as our business has grown exponentially, I still reach out to bloggers for keeping that constant flow of PR coming. My thanks to all of you Big and small!!!! xoxox
9. Get it in Writing!
What Changed My Business: No matter how good a friend, buddy, partner, spouse or boyfriend get everything in writing!
10. What's in a Name? Everything.
What Changed My Business: I kicked around a number of ideas for my product's name, and most of them were abstract. A friend then suggested keeping it as simple as possible. In the supplement/nutrition industry, the most successful brands have followed this same mentality. Look at vitaminwater and 5 Hour Energy, they don't have flashy, abstract names, they keep it simple and they are huge. So don't get cute, tell people what you sell. You have just a few seconds to convey your product, make them count.
11. Let It Change!
What Changed My Business: One tip I received that changed Blank Label was, "Your business will change a lot, and frequently, so roll with the punches." This was advice for me to be more open to change with the business, especially when my team decided to ditch our old business model of selling custom suits in-person for selling co-created custom dress shirts online.
12. Make Your Photos Stand Out!
What Changed My Business: The best tip I received when I launched my online business was to make sure I took fabulous photos. Shiny sterling silver jewelry is VERY hard to photograph as you can usually see the camera lens in the jewelry. My tip is to buy a light tent (very inexpensive on ebay) and put a light on either side of it. Use the macro function on your camera to get as close as you can to shoot. The lights help make your piece look fabulous and the tent diffuses outside light leaving you with a gorgeous picture.
13. To Be Early Is To Be On Time!
What Changed My Business: My dad always told me, "To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late and to be late is to be dead." I've employed that philosophy my entire career and it has paid dividends for me.
I remember the biggest customer I ever landed elected to do business with me because he said he and his assistant could set their watch to my always being 5 minutes early. He said my respectfulness of their time demonstrated professionalism and gave him confidence in who he was doing business with.
14. How to fly like an eagle...
What Changed My Business: The tip that changed my business was to focus on one thing at a time, no matter how flustered or overwhelming things may get and you will see your productivity soar!
15. One tip that made the BIG diff
What Changed My Business: Giving back is the tip that I would give anyone. Making money is great you can buy a lot of stuff. Giving to your commuunity gives you so much more. I volunteer in an elementary school doing story time reading to pre-k - 1st grades. What a feeling when you run into children in the neighborhood and they have the biggest smile on their face point to you and tell their parents that is the lady that read me the story. There is no better feeling then that. That is my tip give back.
16. Should you pay for ads?
What Changed My Business: Starting my biz on a shoestring budget, I looked for advice from other mompreneurs who really seemed to be successful and doing it right. Barbara Schantz, who invented the amazing Baby Dipper Bowl, was one such helpful dynamo who I contacted. Among other things, she told me that none of the paid ads she had taken anywhere had done as much for her business as the reviews and word of mouth she was getting from bloggers and journalists. Following her lead, I am happy to report the same results! :)
17. Learn to Take Good Photos
What Changed My Business: Spend some time with your camera and manual. Try different settings. Try different lighting situations. Practice. Practice. Practice.
Photos are so important- you need them for websites, fan pages, promotional materials, pdf files, line sheets, catalogs, blogs.
Learning to take good photos will improve your business greatly- both online and off.
18. Building Relationships is KEY.
What Changed My Business: Building relationships is the key to growing your business. Belonging to social clubs, creating relationships on twitter and facebook, partaking in podcasts and roundtables are all beneficial to businesses. This is called relationship marketing. This relationship is a win win situation because out of these relationships comes referrals, advice, and free services. Your network will grow exponentially and is the least expensive way to grow your business.
19. Get Back With People
What Changed My Business: The best tip I have ever received is to always get back with people. That is such a huge thing in business! How many times do you contact people and they never get back with you? It's so important to get back with those that take the time to contact you. Even if it's a simple email back to let them know you got their feedback can go a long way. Of course we get busy and it's tough to reply back to people quick but when you do, they remember it. You never know, they could be a great contact!
20. Be vigilant with receivables
What Changed My Business: When I started my business a dear friend advised, "Watch your cash. If someone is one day over the due date on money they owe you, connect with them." I've taken that advice to heart. While I can't say I've never had an overdue client. I can say that I've never not gotten paid for the services that I've provided. And any problems had generally have been resolved in 30 days or less, most within days.
21. Connect with Top in your Genre
What Changed My Business: Connect with the top 10 websites in your genre. Even if you are starting with a list of 0 you can tap into thousands who are interested in what you have to offer, as U share the same vision and subject matter. Ask the list owners to promote U by offering them huge value in return. Create a launch to help them grown their list through an email blast that offers a downloadable bonus gift. It won't cost them a thing and they will gain more opt-in subscribers. It's a win/win situation for everyone!
22. Seek First to Help People
What Changed My Business: I've learned that people don't care what you know until they know that you care (I think John Maxwell said that).
A blog is a good way to create a community of learning where people can share experiences and learn from each other. You don't have to have all the answers all the time.
I reach out to people and see how I can help them or offer free advice. I feel like I am sowing seeds for a later date when they are ready for design consulting, they will call. I want to build long term trust.
23. Know YOUR Brand
What Changed My Business: Knowing your brand means defining a clear role for your brand in todays ever-changing landscape. You must create a vision, while working to move others toward that vision. Learn to take advantage of your brand in your particular industry and align yourself with the right organizations or people to help you grow that brand. Once you know your brand, you're equipped with the tools to properly promote and grow it by building on the opportunities that may exist and that you are able to create.
24. Just do it
What Changed My Business: The biggest and most valuable business advice I have ever received is JUST DO IT.
I, like most people, tend to shy away of things that are uncertain, things that we are unsure of if we are capable of achieving them. Getting into the midst of it and stop thinking about what can go wrong and just start doing is the single most important advice ever to me. While you get more and more involved, things start to take shape, and what was once a big and scary endeavor suddenly gets a clear road map.
25. Fearless Pricing!
What Changed My Business: My advice is to set your price and stick to it. New entrepreneurs (and veteran entrepreneurs) are constantly asked, and expected to drop their prices. Don't do it! When you devalue your services, your customers will too.
Running promotions or special offers are fine - that's not what I'm talking about here. In normal business transactions, don't let your customers intimidate you when it comes to charging fees.
26. Don't Reinvent the Wheel!
What Changed My Business: My best business advice that I got was to get a mentor. Through a one year mentorship program I learned all the ins and outs of the business - of the speaking business - and as a result I can consistently charge fees in the thousands of $$$s for a few hours - or at times for as little as 2O minutes - of my time.
27. Good Mind - Good Business!
What Changed My Business: Never assume that you are without options as so goes your mind goes your reality. It's not just psycho-babble, but as tangible as touching a table. When things aren't working out it's easy to feel trapped. Believe in that and things will unfold that way. Every difficult moment is ripe with potential. To not assume limitations allows energy to be freed up: things happen, orders arrive, people call, etc. This is at the heart of every successful business venture that has had to overcome adversity!
28. PAYING YOUR DUES
What Changed My Business: JOIN TRADE AND PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND PAY YOUR DUES IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE!
Join at least two AND serve on Committees so fellow members can get to know you; see that you show up; see that you do what you voluteered to do or were assigned to do and do it well and on-time; and show how you can be a team player and a contributor.
This can and did lead to fellow committee members becoming clients not just once but additional times as well!
29. Be A Brand
What Changed My Business: If you are starting a service business, treat your personal 'brand' just like it was a packaged good product sitting on the shelf.You need to understand your customer-who they are,what they need,what are they attracted to.Then create a level of professionalism to your website,sales & marketing materials that matches the level of sophistication of your target customer.Don't skimp!Hire a graphic designer and web designer to bring it to life in a manner that will appeal to them and create results!
30. Get over yourself!
What Changed My Business: No one can thrive in a vacuum. If you want to succeed, network like crazy. Talk to others in your town who provide the same service or product; ask to meet them for coffee and get an idea of the landscape in your industry. In my book, *The 250 Questions Every Self-Employed Person Should Ask,* I suggest joining trade associations and making friends with your competitors--be generous with your information and contacts and advice, and they'll do likewise.
Mary Mihaly of Author
31. Beware of Snake Oil Salesmen
What Changed My Business: One day after agreeing to pay a Distributor and Publicist $15,000 to promote my self-published book,another author told me I could do my own PR work for free and that I only had to pay $150.00 to make my book accessible to bookstores. The people I signed contracts with led me to believe that I could never get into bookstores by myself. They were no better than the old snake oil salesman of the past.I was able to cancel the huge charges to my credit card and save myself from certain bankruptcy.
32. A Tip For New Businesses
What Changed My Business: Work your friends and family first! If you can sell your product to your existing contacts (and do a great job), then they will promote your product for you. You can fill your sales pipeline quicker, get amazing testimonials to fill your website, and get the confidence you need to make a big impact right away.
33. Capitalize on Advisory Board
What Changed My Business: The best business advice I had when starting Loyalty Factor, LLC, was to create an advisory board of senior individuals who believed in me and the business model. The advisory board had to be a mixture of marketing, sales, and financial experts. I was surrounded by experts in all business aspects while at the same time having the support system to encourage and energize me to exceed my goals and objectives. You can capitalize on other people's experiences and expertise to strengthen your own.
34. The Grass is Always Greener...
What Changed My Business: Last summer, my position as marketing director for an accounting firm was eliminated, and I decided to start my own marketing consulting firm. On my last day, one of the partners pulled me aside and gave me the best advice I've ever gotten. "Sometimes it's better to be an expert on the outside than an expert on the inside." He was so right! While my marketing knowledge, expertise and skills have not changed at all, the level of respect I'm shown, and appreciation I get, is vastly different.
35. REACH for the BOTTOM LINE!
What Changed My Business: The best tip that I received in a long time, was REACH for THE BOTTOM LINE. It seems pretty basic, right? I mean we all get into business to make a profit, amongst other things. But somewhere between chasing customers, building relationships, raising capital and outdoing the competition, we lose sight of the much needed end result: PROFIT!
So here's the tip - BUSINESS 101: Don't lose sight of the need for PROFIT
36. Do now, ask later
What Changed My Business: When I started the The Small Business Beanstalk, it was a great deal of trial and error.
Now, this advice definitely depends on your business - and target audience - but for us we've been able to accomplish the most when we go for it and beg forgiveness later.
37. Save thousands and your sanity
What Changed My Business: This advice is one of the most ignored best practices there is. Prepare a simple business plan before you open your doors or buy your first equipment. A venture or business always costs more if it is unplanned and untested. A simple business plan will increase your success, save you thousands of dollars, save your sanity, and save several years of your life. Preparing a simple business plan will help entrepreneurs or any other person preparing to do a new or next venture.
38. Build a list first
What Changed My Business: I wrote and published a holistic health book called Whole Health Healing. I soon learned that the most successful way to market a book is to first have a platform/list of potential buyers. This list can be built thru blogging, social media, affiliates and surveying. It makes much more sense to build the list first.it's very difficult for a new author to market a book so I advise authors not to print or publish until they have that list.
39. Nobody Cares
What Changed My Business: By far the best piece of business advice I ever received was, "it's not
about your business. It's not about you. It's all about the customer."
That's always true but particularly true when pitching your services. Nobody
cares how about how wonderful you or your business may be. They care about
their needs and what you can do for them. It can sometimes be a subtle
distinction but it's always a vital one.
40. The 24/7 Rewarding Job
What Changed My Business: Be prepared to work 24/7 when launching a new business. As an
entrepreneur -- especially one starting a new company, banking hours don't necessarily apply to running a small business. "When you're not working, you're competitors probably are." And that means when your business hours are closed, your creativity and brainstorming ideas remains open. In addition, hire a good accountant, attorney, marketing individual, etc., who can help you build a solid foundation before you open the doors.
41. Reversing the Risk!
What Changed My Business: Offering a "No questions asked, no wiggle room, no fine print, no worries, 100% money back satisfaction quarantee" is the best way to reverse the consumers risk and show them they have nothing to lose using your service. You essentially put your butt on the line by standing behind your product or service and show the consumer you are willing to go the extra mile to please them and remove all doubts from the buying process.
42. Don't Be Afraid of Competition
What Changed My Business: The biggest lesson I learned from my first business that has helped me the most with my new company is: Don't be afraid of the competition. If your idea is 1 in a million, that means that 300 other Americans have it right now! If you have a good product, work hard and listen to your first users, you will be successful more often than not.
43. "Everything Counts!"
What Changed My Business: When I was starting my IT accessibility consulting firm my step-father gave me a tip he's been telling me for years. It's simple, but can be applied to many business decisions that were occurring at the beginning and still today. His words to me were never forget that "Everything counts." It's advice that I remember when dealing with clients as well as when talking to the person behind me in line at the supermarket. It's helped me with our Section 508 accessibility work and everyday life too.
44. If only they asked for help!
What Changed My Business: The biggest tip I can offer anyone starting a business is to recognizize that you might need help in some areas you think you are an expert in. Many business owners are quickly humbled with their less than stellar results becuase of assumptions that they made. Being an expert is knowing to solcit other peoples opinions and expertise if needed. Some business owners balk sometimes at the costs associated with doing this and learn the hard way. Do what every successful business owner does,get help!
45. Give Away Goodies and Get Rich
What Changed My Business: What made the biggest difference when I launched my audio programs was this: When you speak in public at events or sponsor an event, be sure to give away a "winner's choice prize" as a method to advertise your product(s) and to invite people to sign up for your ezine.
This strategy enables you to demonstrate the value of your product(s) without making your audience feel like they are being "sold" and it lets you invite them into your marketing funnel so you can continue marketing to them.
46. How Much is Your Time Worth?
What Changed My Business: I designed and built the website for our business. Over time, my increased knowledge of on-line marketing resulted in 3 major re-designs. Then, an on-line marketing advisor gave me a different perspective.
It's a common tendency for entrepreneurs to want to do it all and do it their way. But in the long term it's better to outsource anything that interferes with your most valuable time - marketing and sales.
In other words, making money and growing the business!
47. RSVP a Must
What Changed My Business: Return ALL calls and E-mails regardless of how unimportant they may seem to you. There a many reasons but here are a few:
Successful business owners have a broad network of friends, collegues and acquaintances. By responding, you will help build that network AND you never know what else might come of it. I have gotten new clients, referrals, and ideas from a simple call back.
Getting back to people helps establish your reputation as a reliable and credible business person.
48. I can manage my business. Or..
What Changed My Business: ...can I? I started off with an idea of creating unique, upscale games for bridal + baby showers which connects people at events. No one could foresee that nearly 9 years later a worldwide effect on the way showers are held would happen by my helping a friend. I figured my board game would help others by saving time, money + providing new ideas. But how to introduce my products into the marketplace. A few years later I hired Tom who helped mold my image (think: Clark Kent and Superman).
49. Expert Team
What Changed My Business: The best advice that I got was to have experts on my team versus trying to know everything. My wife, Lisa, and I studied the Rich Dad books by Robert Kiyosaki, who advise you to have a great team of experts. We recognized it would take years to become a licensed doctor/ therapist and hired these experts instead, while we built business systems. After I went thru treatment for substance abuse, we wanted to help others and now have 80+ employees at rehabilitation centers in Arizona and Utah.
50. Customer Service is KEY!
What Changed My Business: The best decision we made was to make our #1 priority be an unwavering focus on Customer Service & Customer Satisfaction. When I get up every morning, I go downstairs in my home office, and hope that there will be a few emails or phone calls from upset customers, because I know that I can easily turn an unhappy customer into a very satisfied customer, usually in less than 5 minutes – then that customer will most likely become a customer for life and tell 10-100 of his/her friends about us.
51. Grow Rich in a Niche
What Changed My Business: One of the most important tips that I received that has served me time and again is to target a specific market. Many of us fall into the trap of trying to broaden our appeal to increase business. It's counter-intuitive to focus on a more narrow market when our instincts tell us to go wide and try to capture all the business. But when we try to appeal to everyone, we end up appealing to no one, and the volume (and often the quality) of our business suffers.
52. "Its Not about what you know,
What Changed My Business:
That saved me hours and hours of time. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I used the contacts I already had and saved so much time and money I was in the red in my first month of business. And havent looked back
53. No, is just 1 person's opinion
What Changed My Business: Advice I was told. Never let the opinion of an "expert” keep you from going forward with your business. Entrepreneurs may find varied opinions in the same industry. One experts says NO to your business, service or product while the very next expert loves your idea. When seeking funding, I heard NO, 8 times from banks yet the 9th bank welcomed me with open arms. The experts are not always right. A NO in most cases is just that expert’s personal opinion not the opinion of an entire industry.
54. Trust your gut
What Changed My Business: When I started Celtic Naturals, everyone had a different opinion on how I should package the product. I changed my packaging several times before landing on something that resonated with me and the stores selling my product. I wish someone had told me to ask questions, gather feedback, research my options and then, trust my gut!
55. Web Startup Pitfall
What Changed My Business: Being that internet companies are probably one of the hottest businesses to start, I wanted to give you a tip that would be a life saver to all future tech entrepreneurs:
Tip: Do not ever hire a 3rd party development firm to build your website. Your best option would be to find a friend or colleague that specializes in web development and starting the company with them. Not only are the independent firms too expensive, they only care about profits, rather than the essence of your vision.
Edward Chiu of Sytai
56. Raise your profile
What Changed My Business: When I first built my career management coaching practice in the early 1990s, it was all about the coaching, and certification in assessment instruments. There weren't a lot of career coaches at the time, and "skills" were key.
But by the late 1990s, I had learned the importance of marketing and began to teach myself about exposure, raising my professional profile, marketing, and networking. In 2002, my website went live and that really made me stand out in my professional community.
57. To the well but no free sips!
What Changed My Business: Avoid sharing your full creative ideas and marketing strategies in the initial client meetings because your ideas can be implemented without hiring you.
58. Hard Work Pays Off
What Changed My Business: “The best part of having your own business is you get to pick which part of the week to work your 80 hours.” It may sound glib, but it is the best advice I have ever received.
Expect to work hard. Very hard. After all, no one has more invested in the launch of your business than you.
Granted, choosing "your 80 hours" is not a clever shortcut, a favorite website or a hidden source of funding. It is, however, the honest truth. Hard work pays off.
59. Are You Part of the Noise?
What Changed My Business: Every new business trend comes with a frenzy of opinions and solutions. If you put yourselves in the shoes of your customer, how do you make sense of the madness? How do you figure out the truth from the hype? How do you determine the best path to value? Whom do you trust? The answer? OWN THE PROBLEM. Become a thought leader. Stop talking about your stuff and start talking to the critical issues. Do this and you will stop contributing to the noise and stand apart from the noisemakers.
60. Embrace Social Media
What Changed My Business: The one thing that made a BIG difference since I launched my business is - embracing social media and being fiercely active by genuinely engaging and nurturing my online relationships.
61. Use People to Get Ahead
What Changed My Business: I founded The Happy Gardener, Inc in 2003. As an at-home mom with no business background, I could not have built what has become an international company without the advice and experience of successful, local businesspeople. I have made it a personal goal to at least once a week meet with someone within my community who has built a company and can offer me advice from their experience and knowledge. Could not have made it without each and every one of them!
62. Don't use your own money
What Changed My Business: Don't use your own money if you can help it. Starting a business means giving up a steady paycheck. You should treat lost salary as money you're putting into the business. You'll also be working longer hours than you would in a salaried position. Consider raising money to help pay the bills, especially in the early days. You can still make great money, and you'll get some help building the business if you choose the right investors. I recommend structuring the funding as a convertible note.
63. Activity or Productivity?
What Changed My Business: A friend of mine who is also an entrepreneur shared with me his favorite tip and it's now mine. He asked me "Throughout your day are you working on tasks that put you in activity or productivity?" Do not confuse the two. One is filling up your day and the other is generating revenue. Focusing your energy on the tasks that are going to be productive and bring in revenue will enable you to have the cash flow to hire others to do the activity tasks.
64. "niche" still best advice!
What Changed My Business: Seems a cliche but "finding your niche" in a growing business sector is truly the best advice. You know when you have found a niche when people seek you out and you can identify enough people like those to sell to. We identified an emerging need for foreign language translations that was barely being serviced. We then focused on quality in order to build a clientele. Some of our clients have been with us over 25 years even while the competition has multiplied!
65. Set it Apart
What Changed My Business: Having created some twenty successful businesses over a period of fifty years, I would say the singular most valuable tip I could pass on to any entrepreneur wanting to start and/or grow a business would be to utilize the Ten Unique Factors principle. This is my terminology and a concept I developed early on. Integrate into the development of your business at least ten factors that are unique to your business, setting it apart from others in your industry.
66. Fail Forward
What Changed My Business: Don’t mistake luck for true talent, in either yourself or the people you work with. You’re never as good as you think you are when you succeed and you’re never as bad as you think you are when you fail.
67. An Open Mind
What Changed My Business: Remember, keep an open mind because the journey you are about to embark and the end result you are imagining now is not necessarily where you will end up.