You’ve got an idea for a business or a product and really want to make it work – but where do you even start. It seems like every day there’s a new success story about someone who started a business in their basement, and now they’re a millionaire! Was there a secret business skills class at school you missed out on? Possibly, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late for you to learn.
Find out more about getting help to get your business off the ground below.
Read others’ success stories
Reading about how others have started a business from nothing can be a great way to inspire you to start, but it can also help give you ideas too. Read about the entrepreneurs who started with nothing – they’ll help you realize that anything is possible.
Bring in some creative help
While you might have a great vision for your business, a lack of creative skills could set you back. Luckily for you, there are a whole load of creative types out there who are ready to help you elevate your business and give it a look and feel. Get help with your logos and brand identity by hiring a freelance graphic designer who can help bring your vision to life. Copywriters, PR experts and others could all help you to create the right look and feel for your business, taking over the creative side while you focus on the logistics and making things happen.
Learn how to sell
Unsure of how to sell your products and ideas to others? Coaching might be the answer. Mansfield’s sales consulting could provide you with the guidance and advice you need to help you create an effective sales strategy. Once you get into the swing of it, you’ll soon be able to talk the ear off anybody and hopefully convert that conversation into cash. Selling is also something that can be done online, so finding ways to make your offering more attractive to web visitors can help drum up some sales and get people talking about your business.
Develop your leadership skills
As time goes on, your business will start bringing more people on board, which is something that can be difficult to manage if you’ve never led a team before. Great leadership is something that can be learned and an online or face-to-face course could be what you need to feel more confident in leading others. Over time, you’ll develop your own style of management but it’s good to learn the basics, for now, to help you get started.
No matter where you end up, you’ve got to start from somewhere. The business knowledge that you learn along the way can turn you into a capable and confident business owner who’s ready for anything. From mastering business negotiation to dealing with conflicts in the office, running a business is a learning curve, and you can have fun learning along the way,
Negotiating and making deals is a big part of business. If you get it right and make good deals, you can push your business forward and expand. But if you don’t negotiate well, you’ll end up entering into deals that only hinder progress and work in favor of the other parties. It’s often said that being a good negotiator is something that you’re born with and you can’t learn it. That might be true to some extent but that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain things you can do to help negotiations go your way. This is how to master the art of business negotiation.
Sort Out Your Image
Image is a very important part of business in general but you need to pay extra attention to it when it comes to negotiating deals. When people first meet you and visit your company, they’ll start making judgments about you. If they don’t think that you’re very professional and they get the sense that you don’t really know what you’re doing, they’ll start trying to take advantage and that’s when they’ll offer you a bad deal. You need to make sure that they’re bowled over by that first meeting so they know you mean business and they can’t walk all over you. One of the main things to consider is the office space itself. If you invite them into a tiny office, they’re going to get the impression that you’re not doing very well. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire some premium office space that screams professionalism and success.
The way that you maintain the office is important as well. If they walk in and the place is dirty and there are papers all over the place, they’ll get the impression that you’re not a very organized company and they might not want to do business with you at all. Always make sure that you keep the office clean before you invite people to visit the company.
As well as the office, you need to sort out your own personal image. Always make sure you’re dressed well and you’re polite with people when you first meet. Taking them out for lunch somewhere fancy is always a good way to impress on the first meeting.
Use The Right Tone
People often get the wrong idea about business negotiations and they think that it’s a battle between 2 sides. The only way to win is to beat down your opponent until they agree to your demands. That’s not the case in most negotiations. Instead, you should be trying to find a middle ground that works for both of you so everybody is happy. You’re far more likely to get people to make concessions for you and work with you to find a happy medium if you’ve got a good working relationship with them. That’s why your tone and body language are so important when you go into negotiations. If you’re hostile and you go straight in demanding things, you’re not going to get very far. But if you are polite and well mannered and you have a reasoned discussion about the needs of both sides, they’ll be a lot more willing to work with you. It’s also a good way of forming a long lasting relationship between 2 parties. If this deal goes well and it helps to further your business, you’ll want to work together again in the future. There’s not much chance of that happening if the negotiations were hostile. But if you’re civil to one another, this will be the start of a long relationship that benefits you both.
Get Rid Of Time Wasters
Some people might approach you without serious intention of doing business with you. They’ve probably done the same to a lot of different companies, just to probe and see what their options are. You need to get rid of them as soon as possible so you’re not wasting time and resources trying to negotiate a deal that’s never going to happen. The easiest way to work out whether somebody is serious about making a deal or not is to ask them about specifics. If you start probing them on their specific needs and what they hope to get out of a deal, they’ll probably just fade out of negotiations because they aren’t serious enough to put together that information. Trying to get them to agree to a face to face meeting is another simple way of working out if they’re time wasters or not. If they aren’t that bothered, they won’t take the time to meet with you.
Know Your Bottom Line
You’re going to have to make some sacrifices during a business deal, it is a negotiation after all. But there are also going to be some things that you aren’t willing to budge on. It’s important that you know what your bottom line is before you go into negotiations. Then you can lay out your priorities from the word go and everybody will know where they stand. If you don’t have a clear idea of what your bottom line is, you’ll end up spending ages in negotiations before realizing that you’re not going to make a deal in the end. You also need to be prepared to walk away from negotiations if your basic requirements aren’t met. It’s an easy way of cutting short negotiations that aren’t going to go anywhere instead of wasting everybody’s time.
Do Your Research
It’s important that you know what you’re walking into before the negotiations begin so you don’t get caught off guard. Do some research into your industry; what are the current market conditions? How have prices in your industry changed in the last couple of years? Are there any industry specific problems that might affect your deal? It’s important that you know these things so you can raise them during discussions and create a deal that accounts for them.
It’s also important that you know everything there is to know about the company you’re doing business with. If they’re not a particularly reliable company, you don’t want to do business with them. Look at any online reviews and check their recent financial history to make sure that there aren’t any skeletons in their closet.
Lastly, you need to check out the person you’ll be meeting with. If they’re making decisions about your deal, you need to make sure that they’re a good person to be working with. It might be hard to find out too many specifics but you could check their Linkedin profile to see what their job history looks like and maybe ask around to see if any of your other industry contacts have worked with them in the past.
Don’t Mention Price Right Away
You can sort out all of the other considerations but if you’re negotiating the sale of a product or service, it’s the price that everybody is really concerned with. You need to be careful what you do here because the person that mentions price first is often on the back foot. If, for example, you’re a buyer and you offer a price, that price might be a lot higher than the seller was thinking. In which case, you’re paying over the odds. If you’re a seller and you offer a price, that gives the buyer more room to disagree and try to push you down. Somebody will have to mention price at some point but you should try to hold off as much as possible and push them to show their hand first.
These are the most important things to remember if you want to master the art of business negotiation.
It’s hard to avoid stressful situations completely when you’re running a business. However, there are a few things you might be doing that can increase those situations significantly. The big takeaway here is that you should be looking at areas of your work life that are causing you problems and doing something about it. If you are stressed while working, ill health, poor performance, and a struggling business may not be too far away.
We’ve covered dealing with stress and looking after your health before on this blog. But today, ‘were going to look at some practical things you can do to reduce your stress levels, start enjoying being a business owner again, and get some of your life back.
Tap into your self motivation
A lot of the stress you feel as a business owner is that you have a whole bunch of things to do and little time to do it. And the consequences of that can be severe – you lose motivation and have to go through a period of feeling low. It’s important that you are able to lift yourself out of gloomy periods, and remember that you are in this because you love what you do. Have this in mind all day, every day, and you will find yourself getting through the tough periods a lot quicker and easier.
A lot of small business owners take on far too many tasks, when there is really no need – and the likelihood is that you will just spread yourself thin. So, think of areas where you don’t have expertise, or that take up far too much of your valuable time. For example, perhaps technology isn’t your thing, and you would benefit from outsourcing to an IT support company. Maybe you waste hours – or even days – poring over your SEO stats when a professional digital marketing company could do a better and faster job than you. Ultimately, this will free up your time to focus on what you are good at, and the as the confidence returns, the stress will diminish.
Take time out
This one can be tricky for small business owners, who feel nothing less than guilty when they aren’t working on their companies. However, it’s critical that you take time out. Not only can you step back and take stock of what you have achieved and what you need to do, but you will find scheduling a time out once in a while refreshes the body, mind and soul. Whether you use that time for leisure, catching up with friends, exercise – or a mixture of all three – it’s essential you have down time.
Find a support system
Finally, ensure you have support around you outside of the work environment. Family and friends are a good idea to watch your back, of course, but also consider extending your network. Mentors who have experience in your industry can prove invaluable if you need to offload and get advice on something specific. And hooking up with like minded others at networking events can be beneficial, too. Ultimately, spending time with others is a great way to destress and talk things through – which will be good for releasing some mental pressure.