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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for 40 Days to a Better Business

Mar
27

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 29 – Building Business Visibility

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40 Days to a Better Business

Improving your business is a long-term commitment, something that must be worked on daily. We talked about a lot of methods of determining what you want for your business and for yourself as a business owner. But really, what good is all of that if no one knows your business exists?

Over the next several days we’re going to be talking about ways to increase the visibility of your business – from branding to marketing and everything in between.

Today let’s talk just a little bit about how to get your business seen. There are so many businesses out there, so many places that people can choose to spend their money. How can you keep your business on a budget, but still make a mark on the world?

Finding a niche is the first step in setting your business apart from the crowd. Locate your target market and then find a niche within. Look for a problem that needs to be solved (i.e. no one local offers organic vegetables) and then be the one to solve that problem. By being unique, your business will gain momentum more quickly than the generic businesses who spend their time copying what others are doing.

Next, begin building and email list. Ask your customers if you can email them a regular newsletter or email that contains your specials. This is a great way to connect with customers, build a relationship and remind them to buy from you. Offer subscriber-only discounts and specials to build their loyalty and excitement about being a part of your business. Read More→

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Mar
26

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 28 – Goal Setting

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40 Days to a Better Business

 

The next step in our 40 day journey to a better business it to set some attainable goals. Let’s start out by thinking through where we want to see our businesses in the future.

Grab a piece of paper and jot down a few things that you’d like to see happen in these time periods:

* 1 month

* 6 months

* 1 year

* 5 years

Exciting to think about the possibilities, isn’t it?

The trouble is, we often allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the big picture. Let’s take today’s exercise one step further and break each of our goals down into bite-sized chunks.  We’ll set individual goals within each item on your list above and then give ourselves a due date for each one.

So, let’s say you have “Begin sending out a newsletter” listed under your one month goals. Breaking that down would look something like this: Read More→

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Mar
24

40 Days to a Better Business: Days 26 & 27 – Homework

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40 Days to a Better Business

This week we’ve covered:

* Finding New Customers

* Creating Forward Motion

* Accountability

* Creating a Personal Business Owner Mission Statement

* Praying In a New Way Over Your Business

 

What have you learned? What do you need to put into action?

 

Your homework over the weekend is:

1. Assess what needs to change in your business in the above areas.

2. Begin setting up networking appointments, creating your mission statement and praying BIG, BOLD prayers over your business.

3. Set a deadline for when you will complete each task.

 

Get to work!

 

Miss any posts from 40 Days To a Better Business? Read the entire series here.

Learn more about starting your own business HERE!

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Mar
23

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 25 – The Importance of Prayer

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40 Days to a Better Business

For the last several weeks we’ve been working on specific parts of our businesses, trying to strengthen each section individually. However, as we end this week, I think it’s important that we talk just a bit about how to strength our businesses (and our lives) as a whole: prayer.

Prayer is such an integral part of all that we do that it is often overlooked. However, without prayer our businesses will not thrive the way that we desire for them to.

I recently read Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker, and in it he gives some ideas on how we can learn to pray bolder prayers.

Pray Big

In his book, Batterson argues that we oftentimes tend to pray small prayers out of fear or guilt. We either think God can’t or won’t come through for us, or we feel guilty for asking anything of Him at all. Batterson explains that we serve a MIGHTY God who loves to be called on to do mighty things in our lives. He says that we need to set BIG goals in the areas where we see God working in our lives. And then we need to pray BIG prayers humbly asking God to help us in those things that seem impossible.

Pray Specifically

Praying generalized prayers is another way that many of us attempt to seek the will of God. We are afraid to ask anything specific of Him because we don’t want to look foolish or be disappointed. Batterson gives examples from the Bible of people who prayed very specific prayers and were answered in very specific ways by God. Batterson argues that if we want to see specific answers, we MUST choose to pray specifically, trusting God and thanking Him before He even answers.

Read More→

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Mar
22

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 24 – Dealing With Integrity

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40 Days to a Better Business

When you’re in business for yourself, your reputation is incredibly important and must be handled with care. In order to gain customers, you must earn their trust. In order to earn their trust, you must run your business with integrity, striving to do your best for your customers at all times.

To keep yourself grounded and on the right path as a business owner, it’s important to not only have a mission statement for your business, but for yourself as well. I call this your Personal Mission Statement. It defines not only your intentions as a business owner, but also helps keep you accountable as you face the hard decisions that come with running your business.

Writing your Personal Mission Statement is somewhat like writing your Business Mission Statement. In fact, it’s a good idea to print out your Business Mission Statement and have it in front of you as you write your personal statement.

To get started, think through questions like:

* Who am I as a business owner? How do I want to be seen, remembered or talked about by my clients and customers?

* Why will customers choose to work with me? What about me stands out from the crowd?

* What has God called me – as an individual – to do?

Once you’ve fleshed out answers to these questions, compile them into a short paragraph. Then refine your wording until you have a Personal Mission Statement that you’re comfortable with.

Print out both your Personal Mission Statement and your Business Mission Statement and post them near where you work. Refer back to them daily as a reminder of who you are and where you’re headed.

Read More→

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Mar
21

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 23 – Accountability & Direction

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40 Days to a Better Business

Part of working from home is being self-reliant and self-motivated. The flip-side of that is knowing when you may need some outside accountability to help you find direction and keep your business moving forward. There have been several times over the years that I have found myself in a rut. I reached out to business friends and other coaches for help in digging out from the rut and giving myself and my business some fresh perspective.

Something to always be on the lookout for is a business mentor. This doesn’t have to be a formal mentoring relationship, although it certainly can be, it just needs to be someone who is further ahead in business and who is willing to tell you the truth about where you are and where you’re headed. Someone who will dispense advice and ask you the hard questions.

It’s also beneficial to find an accountability partner. This would be a colleague or friend/acquaintance who is in a similar place to you in business and is willing to share struggles and prayer requests with you. An accountability partner would walk with you through the hard times in life and in business as you share each other’s burdens  in your business life and spiritual life. This is someone you could have coffee with or check-in with via Skype or a Google hangout, to be there for one another and hold one another to God’s high standard in business and life.

A prayer team is a great addition to any business. No matter what type of business you’re running, you will have struggles as well as victories. You can set up a prayer team by including just a few close friends or business associates. Email prayer requests and praises to them regularly and ask them to be in prayer for you, your business, your clients and your family.

To help your business find direction, you might consider setting up a Board of Directors. This option is often used by ministries,  ministry-related businesses and non-profits. A Board of Directors can help you make decisions about the direction your company should take and keep you accountable in areas like finances, staffing and other areas that may lack direction.

Read More→

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Mar
20

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 22 – Creating Forward Motion

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40 Days to a Better Business

Even with all of the brainstorming and networking that you’re now doing, based on the last 21 days of lessons, there will still be days where it feels like you’re sitting on the sidelines seeing no action. In times like these, it will be up to you as the leader of your business to create that forward motion that you desire. Sometimes we simply must create our own current to swim in.

Think Outside the Box

I know this saying is overused, but it’s so very true when it comes to running your own business. We often lock ourselves into doing things the way we see other businesses around us doing them. However, in order to stand out, we must do things differently.

Take a look at your business from your customer’s vantage point – what would make you jump at the chance to be a part of it? How can you promote that in a new and fresh way?

Ask a friend or colleague to give you their viewpoint on your business. In their opinion, what things could be changed and made better? How can you use that information to do things in a unique way?

Be Special

Another way to spice things up in your business is to offer a new discount, special or freebie. These things help to create excitement about what you’re doing. People will want to share about you and your business if they feel that you are meeting their needs in some way – a discount or freebie can do just that!

Be wise when using this format – require that people sign up for your mailing list in exchange for the freebie. Or offer a discount on a new (or old) product that you are featuring. Decide WHAT you would like your customers to do – sign up, purchase, etc – and then create the promotion in such a way that it directs them to do so. Read More→

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Mar
19

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 21 – Finding New Customers

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40 Days to a Better Business

One of the toughest parts of being in business is deciding where and how to spend your time when it comes to customer relations. You must divide your time between current customers, whom you want to keep as happy returning customers, and new clients, many of which you need to go and find. You must then secure their business.

Thankfully, we live in an age where you don’t necessarily need to leave home to find new customers. Online networking avenues make it easier than ever for you to spread the word about your business. These tools include:

* Social Media Channels – These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and many more. Use these tools not just to market your business, but to build relationships with clients – both present and future.

* Message Boards – Many niche websites have message boards, also known as forums, where you can interact with others who share your interests.

* Online Advertising – Depending on your product or service, it may make sense for you to advertise online using tools like Google AdWords, Amazon or Twitter ad, or even ads on niche websites like CWAHM (check us out!).

Despite all of these ways to communicate and spread your message online, you can’t overlook the benefits of networking in-person, either. Here are a few ideas for connecting with your local community as a businessperson:

* Chamber of Commerce – Your community most likely has a Chamber of Commerce with events to help you meet and connect with other local business owners as well as new customers. Building relationships with other business owners can be a great way not only to gain great business advice, but to cross-promote each other as well.

* Christian Networks– Check to see if your city/town has an organization for Christian business owners that you can take part in. My local community has CBWF, which stands for Christian Women’s Business Fellowship. It’s a great way to connect not only in business, but in faith.

* Referrals – Never doubt the power of a referral. Ask for referrals from your face-to-face clients as well as online. Also, don’t be afraid to mention once in a while to your friends and family how much you appreciate any referrals that they can pass your way. Consider offering an incentive for referrals to help as an incentive, too.

 

Miss any posts from this week or last? Read the entire series here.

Learn more about starting your own business HERE!

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Mar
17

40 Days to a Better Business: Days 19 & 20 – Homework

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40 Days to a Better Business

This week we’ve covered:

* Boundaries

* Contracts

* Handling Difficult Clients

* Making Getting Paid Easier

 

What have you learned? What do you need to put into action?

 

Your homework over the weekend (next 2 days) is:

1. Assess what needs to change in your business in the above areas.

2. Begin outlining any contracts and new payment options that need to be put into place.

3. Set a deadline for when you will complete each task.

 

Get to work! 

 

Miss any posts from this series? Read the entire series here.

Learn more about starting your own business HERE!

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Mar
16

40 Days to a Better Business: Day 18 – Making Payment As Easy As Possible

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40 Days to a Better Business

When you’re in business for yourself, it’s important to be able to collect payment from your customers without a lot of drama. Some people are wired to be able to kindly confront others and ask for the necessary payment due, but others of us are not as comfortable in this particular area. We all know, however, that if we don’t receive payment, we can’t stay in business.

Here are some ideas for making payment easy for your customers while still keeping your sanity intact.

Collect payments up front. This, of course, depends on the type of business that you’re in. For CWAHM, I decided from the very beginning that I would collect payment for ads before they appear on the website. This alleviates the need for me to collect payment after the service has been rendered.

I know of Virtual Assistants who require at least half of the agreed upon payment before beginning a project. The allows them the security of knowing their client is serious about the project and gives them the ability to feel out what a working relationship with each client will be like from the get-go.

Make it as easy as possible.  I’ve noticed during my years in business that the easier I make it for people to do things – purchase something, respond to a post, enter a contest, etc – the more likely they are to actually do it. So, I’m constantly searching out ways to make things like this more accessible and understandable for people, no matter what level of computer use they may be at.

Even the simplest things like moving your payment button or “subscribe” button to the top of the page, or using a pop-up to direct traffic can make a world of difference. Know what you want your customers to do when they come to your website and then direct them in as few steps as possible toward that goal.

Give Options. If your business allows you to collect payments online, this may be the easiest way for your customers to make payment. One of the most widely known online payment systems is PayPal, but there are other options such as PayFlex, WePay, Google Checkout and Amazon Payments. Many banks also offer a service that will allow you to accept credit cards online.  There are also options like Square and PayPal Here that make it possible for you to accept credits cards through an app on your smartphone.

Even with all of these online options, it’s still important to consider accepting payment via check as well. Some people are still distrusting of online payment services and will prefer to send you payment through the mail, via check or money order. Make sure that your customers know that this is an option and that they can readily find your payment address information.

 

Miss any posts from this series? Read the entire series here.

Learn more about starting your own business HERE!

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