About Sales Process

“Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.” –A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Once you have the greatest incentive plan, processes, and sales training in place, it’s so important to measure your efforts. You might have the best of everything, but without a way to gauge how well it’s working or what needs to be adjusted, you’re driving blind.

I’m about to share actionable ways to make the most out of your efforts by putting the right tools and processes in place. By doing so, you will gain a strategic view into your sales operations and performance, and be able to take your business to the next level.

Better Forecast Where Sales Will Land

forecast-toolsIf you don’t know where sales are tracking today, this week, or this quarter, you can’t effectively manage to the set goals. You’re literally driving blind, and that’s not good for anyone. This lack of visibility also means you might not be able to see which sales reps are in good shape to hit their quotas, and which are struggling. It’s really challenging to lead a team when you have to trust them to bring issues forward. It’s hard to admit you’re not performing well. No one wants to have to do that. By putting automated tools in place to deliver real-time tracking by individual and team, you can start to proactively help your team stay on track to achieve sales goals. These tools might include a business management platform, like ConnectWise, paired with a quote and proposal automation solution, like Quosal, to track, guide, and streamline the sales process from inception to completion.

Create & Automate Sales Processes

In order to make your sales team as effective as possible, you’ll want to create a guided approach to selling. This process should include steps that help reps avoid common selling pitfalls—like not following up on time, forgetting to send a quote, failing to include terms and conditions, and underquoting your services. A sales manager’s least favorite question is ‘where are we with this deal?’ They don’t like having to ask their sales people for updates. And the sales reps don’t like being questioned either. That’s why companies buy a customer relationship management tool (CRM); it creates accountability. With a system that notes every activity as it’s performed, no one has to ask for updates anymore. They can just check the system. It eliminates the guesswork, saves time, and makes everyone happier. Part of the selling process should include identifying how customers typically buy from you. Don’t be surprised if a managed services deal is consumed differently than a onetime installation or integration. It all depends on what you’re selling. Every solution has a unique buying cycle. Certainly, there are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, you’re not going to run into a prospect who is ready to buy immediately.

Look at past sales successes. What actions preceded sales? Many successful sales processes include a mix of the following activities:

1. Discovery call 
2. On-site meeting 
3. Demonstration 
4. Quote delivery 
5. Follow-up 
6. Close

Once you’ve identified your steps in the process, you can make your team accountable for placing the opportunity in the right step, and systematically moving it along the sales cycle. And you’ll give managers 360-degree insight into every step along the way.

Eliminate Guesswork

With an automated process in place that pings your team when it’s time to perform the next step in the sales process, you’ll never have to worry about your team missing vital steps in the process. We’re human. We have a lot on our plates, get distracted, and forget important TO-DOs. And sales reps aren’t fans of documentation tasks. They’re a pain. By providing your team with easy processes (and tools to make them even easier), you’ll find it much easier to get them to document steps. It’s important to earn buy-in from your team. Explain the benefits and alternatives. Together, you can create processes everyone can agree on. Take the guesswork out of opportunities. Smart workflows keep your team members moving forward until opportunities are either won or lost.

Measure Each Stage of the Sales Cycle

What would you do if you found a certain step in your sales process was outdated and ineffective? You’d probably update or remove it. But if you’re not measuring or don’t have the tools in place to measure, you’ll never get to see what’s working, and you’ll never know which adjustments to make. The end goal of your sales process should be to shorten the sales cycle, close deals faster, increase profitability, and move opportunities forward more quickly. One way you can shorten stages of your sales cycle is by using a CRM, like the one inside the ConnectWise business management platform, to log key activities. This way, you can identify sales barriers, and start to brainstorm solutions.

How to Manage Your New Sales Process

A CRM will give you a 360° view into all of your company’s sales opportunities, activities, and goals. This gives you the benefit of being able to quickly identify and respond to areas that require improvement. Once you’ve got your hands on the data, act on it. Hold weekly sales meetings or daily huddles to review key stats. Use your CRM data to create real-time sales team performance dashboards—and forecasting dashboards based on historical trends. Deal with issues right away, instead of letting them take you by surprise weeks later. Build sales funnel reports that follow the opportunities moving along in your pipeline. For instance, show what percentage moves from the first stage to the second stage. This equips you to make more accurate sales forecasts.

How a Business Management Platform Benefits You

Sales doesn’t end with the dotted line. What if you could tie in your CRM and sales process with everything else in your business? A business management platform can help you achieve this by offering CRM, ticketing, projects, procurement, and invoicing functionality that works together. You gain visibility into every aspect of your sales process. Overdue activities and tickets appear in red, so you can easily get back up to speed simply by ‘getting the red out.’ That’s what your weekly sales meeting should seek to accomplish. This type of a platform even gives managers the ability to see what reps are working on (or ignoring), which makes it easy to see who is a high-impact employee and who may require more training or isn’t the right fit.

Managers can even assign leads to sales reps within a business management platform, giving reps the ability to see which leads they’re expected to work. And, managers can easily access and respond to prospect concerns when their reps are out of office. Serving as a centralized database for all customer information, a business management platform makes it easy for new reps to ramp up because it gives them access to any client’s entire history. ConnectWise does all this, plus offers top educational materials every step of the way as you implement your very own sales processes. You can use ConnectWise for every team within your technology company—Service Delivery, Project Management, Sales & Marketing, and Finance. It’s one integrated tool for every facet of your business.

Conclusion

A great sales process lays the foundation for scalability. Documented processes simplify the training and on-boarding process. So, as you add new sales team members, you’ll more quickly realize the benefit of their talents as they’ll be following best practices unique to the way you do business. Supercharge sales by adding automation tools like a business management platform or quote and proposal automation solution to drive efficiencies within your processes. By automating keys steps of your sales process, you’ll cut down on errors, and so much more.

to learn more about How to grow your Business go to Mastermind2020.com or get a Business Consulting with BiZION GROUP

In part 1, I explained what you need to have in place before hiring a sales team, then (in part 2) I explained how to effectively compensate sales reps.

 

MeetUp for Growing Business

 

This Scale IT Up event is an amazing experience designed to assist entrepreneurs in learning specifically what it takes to build an even more successful company, connect with other like minded business owners and see new ways to scale up your business!

Discover new ways to create revenue streams!!screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-3-21-11-pm

The E-Accelerator program will be introduced and has been developed for anyone that is serious about learning the mindset, systems and accountability that are necessary for creating a successful business! At the event you will learn the UNTOLD SECRETS and proven concepts that successful entrepreneurs utilize everyday to WIN in business.

Our Business Growth Club is deliberately different to other business networking groups.

MasterMind2020 has a very conversational style driven by a different light theme every week and we might have 1 or 2 speakers.

We expect a success panel to react to whatever you are saying and join the conversation. The whole meeting is conducted sitting down and you will enjoy plenty of time to say whatever you like in optimistic and positive way, There are absolutely no rules at all.

RSVP to the Next Scale IT UP meetup.

 

 

The 30 Daily Habits of a CEO Responsible for Success

Getting to the top involves doing the right things, day after day.  
Any CEO running a profitable company has figured a few things out. One of many habits to have in common is consistency. 

Here is my 30 habits 

1. Try one new thing each day.
“Every day, I force myself to do something that is out of my comfort zone.

2. Don’t do bad days. Running a company is really hard, and every day is different, but having a bad day is a choice.”

3. Stay informed about what’s trending.

“I spend an hour or two every day keeping up with tech news on Twitter. It’s not good to obsess over what other people are doing, but staying informed is certainly important.”

4. Accept invitations to as many meetings and events as possible.

“You never know who you will meet or the advice you’ll receive.”

5. Experiment constantly.

“I’m always trying new things and changing how I work. As we’ve grown from a small team to a bigger team, my businesses has changed pretty significantly, and by experimenting with new habits and processes regularly, I am always discovering better ways to run my team that make sense as we grow.”

6. Fight brain blocks with building blocks.

“There are footballs, golf balls, softballs, chessboards, Legos–everything a curious kid could dream of–covering our office space. Whenever I’m stuck on an idea, I play a quick game of catch or build a Lego house to give my brain a breather. Then it’s back to the drawing board. I encourage my team to do the same thing, too. Just like any muscle, your brain needs a recovery session after a tough workout.”

7. Never be afraid to email someone who is “too big.”

“Most people are accommodating and open, as long as you are clear about your needs and what you have to offer.”

8. Make punctuality a priority.

“I strive to be on time for every appointment, every day, without exception. This may seem like a no-brainer in the business world, but you would be surprised how many people still don’t make this a priority. It’s mind-boggling. If a leader is consistently late, it tells others that he or she is unreliable or has no respect for the time of the individuals he or she works with. If he or she is on time, the opposite is true.”

9. Never ask somebody to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.

“No matter how exciting your company or the problems that you are solving are, there will always be day-to-day tasks that are simply boring. Showing that you are willing to roll up your sleeves when the going gets tough will be a positive example for your team. You will be amazed at how this reverberates.”

10. Watch YouTube to learn from other great leaders.
“I spend time at the end of every night watching interviews, speeches, and panels of other leaders I admire. Through a bit of YouTube stalking, I’ve gotten great lessons on culture from Brian Chesky, brand building from Neil Blumenthal, and leadership from Esther Dyson.”

11. Exercise and meditate.

“Transcendental meditation for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening is the perfect complement to daily exercise, whether it’s a trip to the gym or a run on the beach. Since I’ve started this routine, I’ve found my mental clarity and focus have increased enormously.”

12. Listen to self-improvement books in the car.

“I spend about 90 minutes running and 20mins driving to have a meeting each day. I can spend that time listening to music, but I choose to spend it listening to business books and self-improvement books. Over the last two and a half years, I have listened to nearly 45 audiobooks. These books have given me incredible insight into how to run my businesses and sharpen my skills. I can listen to a new book in a few days, versus reading a book, which would take me at least a month or two, if not longer, but always create the time.”

13. Start each day with an infectious positive attitude.

“I wake up and start every day with one initial thought: being thankful for the abundance in my life–family, friends, company, and more. Nothing good ever comes easy. Hard work and dedication always pays off. Starting every day with a strong, positive thought is the best way to kickoff each day. I believe that a positive mindset is key to overcoming all obstacles, and I radiate this to my team. Just as negativity is infectious–think: one rotten apple at the bottom of a barrel ultimately will ruin them all–so is positivity. Choose to be positive. Be mindful of your attitude and how it affects others.”

14. Make time for everyone on your team, no matter where they are.

“We are based in the U.S., but also have teams and customers on the ground in Asia, Central America, South America, and Europe. Connecting with them every day is incredibly important for staying connected to that part of the business, making sure they know they’re valued and getting things done. It’s a big time commitment, and sometimes it feels like we have multiple jobs–in the morning in Europe, during the day in the Americas, and at night when the Asia teams are busy. But in the end, it’s always worth it to be available and have live discussions when they matter the most.”

15. Make the most of drive time.

“I like to schedule some of my most important calls during my morning drive to the gym or to the beach. While it can be frustrating at times to have a long commute, not to mention often getting stuck in traffic, find this time very useful for scheduling calls that are uninterrupted. It also allows you to accomplish a lot more for the day when You get into the office, knowing these important conversations have already taken place and You can focus on other matters.”

16. Make every meeting the second meeting.

“Always have papers before a meeting, read them, and never just do a page-turn. That way, every meeting is really the second meeting.”

17. Find your inner yogi.

“Yoga has helped in so many areas of my life. It forces me to unplug from whatever issue I’m dealing with, spend time as a student, and focus on being present in the moment. I can walk into a studio anywhere in the world and get centered in no time. Early in my career, I would have rolled my eyes reading some executive profess how being on a yoga mat makes them good at business. But I have found a regular practice makes me a better leader, and keeps me sharp mentally and physically.”

18. Surround yourself with people whose skills complement your own.

“As a leader, it’s easy to feel like you need to know or do it all, but you will never be the best at everything. A mentor of mine once told me to focus on my strengths and team up with talented people for the rest. The old saying of ‘it takes a village’ is true in so many parts of life, and embracing it makes you a stronger, healthier person.”

19. Walk before bed.

“Every evening I take a 30-minute walk alone without music. It clears my head, calms me down from the daily activities of running multiple startups, and allows me to get proper perspective and clarity about priorities. Most importantly, I sleep like a baby. I learned the importance of this 15 years ago, after reading a biography of Harry Truman, who had to deal with being the president at the end of WWII.”

20. Make time in your life for fiction.

“It emboldens your imagination, gives your mind respite, and arms you with tactics on creating motivating, inspiring messaging. Don’t be afraid to take time out to free your mind from the strictures of reality.”

21. Focus on nutrition and appreciation.

“I have been having the same breakfast of a protein shake with healthy fats, a fresh pressed juice full of vegetables, and a fat burner for as long as I can remember. While I press the juice, I recite the three things I am most appreciative of that morning. Thinking on the things that are most important in my life helps me take down the kale and beet juice with a smile.”

22. Leave your work out of the bedroom.

“Your bedroom should be a sanctuary. Leave the TV, electronics, and work outside. By creating a work-free zone, you can reduce stress levels and, in turn, make the working time far more efficient…and most importantly, you will appreciate your partner, so does she.”

23. Use pictorial language to help people “see” the future.

“When describing the future, you can’t use facts and figures. You don’t have statistics to prove your points. You must largely rely on your imagination. And to convincingly bring your audience into the future, you must unlock their imaginations, helping them envision a different world. We all know, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ So it shouldn’t be a surprise that images, and visual language such as metaphors and analogies, are of vital importance in bridging the gap between the cerebral and the imaginative.”
24. Exercise every day.

“I’ve exercised–whether it be lifting or running–religiously for the past 20 years of my life, and it has played a critical role in my daily attitude, work potential, and outlook on life.”

25. Don’t panic and don’t run.

“Teams look to their leaders to set the tone for how the business is operated. I ensure I establish and create a sense of urgency, while balancing it with control of key situations. I make time to speak with frustrated customers and meet with unhappy employees to stay close to the issues my team navigates on a daily basis. From these interchanges, I am able to learn more than I ever could learn from all the things that go according to plan.”

26. Use the 70/30 approach to professional life.

“Cultivate good judgment by learning to be comfortable making 100 percent of a decision with 70 percent of the data. This approach forces you to weigh what is really important and to understand the remainder of the data isn’t worth the time it takes to collect. Over time, you will make more good decisions and will accomplish more than the less confident and more risk averse. You will also be more competitive because you will accomplish more. Target being right 70 percent of the time with everything you do. Any extra time you spend on being right means you will miss opportunities, both personally and professionally.”

27. Make lists.

“In addition to making a list of the top three things I must get done each day, I make a list of the three things that must be achieved each month and each week to ensure the company is staying on track.”

28. encourage questions.

“Provide opportunity for at least one employee every day to ask you questions about whatever they have on their mind. It is very important to make employees feel like no question is out of limits. Q&A sessions with regular cadence make it easy for anyone in the organization to ask me questions. It is often these sessions that help me get the pulse of the company. It also becomes a forum for sharing ideas and discovering new ways of thinking or solving problems. But it’s extremely important that these opportunities to ask questions are presented in all sorts of settings–large groups, small groups, one-on-ones, and a mix of formal and casual settings.”

29. Talk to at least one customer every day.

“It’s by far the most efficient and productive way to gather feedback on [the company] and to understand the business more deeply. My company is nothing without its users, and the information I receive from customers is hugely influential on how we conduct business and shape our plans for the future.”

30. Start your day with a clean inbox.

“In order to start the day completely organized, I get up at 6 a.m. and get to inbox zero. Anything that can be answered with a short note or delegated to a team lead, I get out of the way immediately. Other items I prioritize for later sit down email blocks or meetings later in the day. This way, I can be truly focused during morning meetings.”

Learn more about MasterMind2020.com and Bizon Group 

Best Conferences for Entrepreneurs under 30

 visionary 
MakingTheShift Foundation

If you’re an entrepreneur under 30 years old and you’ve attended a few business conferences, you may have found them geared toward a different generation. Even if you’ve attended a conference that targets young entrepreneurs, perhaps it was run by a different age group and therefore came across as less than authentic.
Below are seven conferences that deliver the goods for young entrepreneurs, many of them managed entirely by young entrepreneurs.
1. HustleCon

HustleCon began in 2013 and is managed by Sam Parr, who is 25 years old. The crowd includes techies, but is geared toward non-techie founders. It follows a TED-event format, but is less uptight and more fast and loose, like a startup. Attendees learn how to start and run a business with practical advice from successful entrepreneurs such as Tim Westergren of Pandora, Arum Kang from Coffee Meets Bagel and Matthew Brimer from General Assembly.

2. HOBY

Geared toward high school students, HOBY attendees are between 15 to 16 years old and get to experience three to four days of community building and leadership training, meet leaders from their regions and provide service. This event is geared less towards the business sense of the term entrepreneur and more to future leaders looking to create opportunities and solve problems.
3. Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) National Conference.

This event celebrates student entrepreneurship and teaches what isn’t heard much from Silicon Valley, which is that it’s OK to stay in school and still run your business. Scores of entrepreneurs share their stories about how they founded and grew their businesses and what they learned in the process.
4. TEDxTeen

TEDxTeen gets straight to the need for inspiration, and puts young people in a place to get juiced up about changing and impacting the world.

5. Nexus Global Youth

Nexus Global Youth boasts an international dynamic with more than 2,000 young people from 70 countries focused on philanthropy and impact investing. Nexus breaks those barriers for young entrepreneurs who may have felt isolated from professional networks in their regions. If social entrepreneurship is your thing, this is an event you’ll want to attend.
6. Thiel Summit

Founded by billionaire Paypal founder Peter Thiel and geared for those 25 years old or younger, the Thiel Summit brings together the brightest minds in technology and social entrepreneurship for community building. Speakers are attendees themselves, and the event crowdsources panel ideas. Attendees walk away as friends and the benefits of attendance continue after the conference is over through a private Facebook group and meetups.
7. Next Gen Summit

Next Gen Summit is managed by 19-year-old Justin Lafazan. At the 2015 conference, startups raised close to $1,000,000 from investors. The Next Gen Summit provides young entrepreneurs with resources they need to be successful, such as social capital, education, inspiration and investment. The oldest speakers are 25 years old.

8. Entrepreneur Nigth – Power Team International.

Don’t miss one of the Best Entrepreneur Events Helping Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners everywhere achieve over the top outstanding results! And there is no cost (regular price $97 includes your FREE Gift) when you register with this link: www.success2020.com/mastermind2020

WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS A MASTERMIND GROUP

When was the last time you got pumped about your business? I mean so excited you thought you were going to explode. If it’s been a while, or if you’ve never experienced this sense of business euphoria, now might be the time to Join a Mastermind Group.

Focus Group MasterMind2020.com

WHAT IS A MASTERMIND GROUP?

A mastermind is a gathering of people, working to simultaneously move several businesses forward. 

The world of freelancing, consulting and products can be a solitary one, and a mastermind group can be your salvation. 

Similar to a business coach, a mastermind can help you through the difficult times. But unlike a business coach, a mastermind is a group of people all pushing in the same direction. 

I absolutely know that I would not be where I’m at today if it weren’t for my participation in a mastermind group.

MORE SPECIFICALLY, WHAT IS A MASTERMIND GROUP?

A mastermind group usually consists of 7 to 9 people, but nothing is set in stone.

 My own mastermind group had 443 members. where we create peering groups of 12 people max. 

We came from different backgrounds and were at different stages in our careers. But the crossover of skills and experience was just right.

THE LOGISTICS AND FORMAT OF A MASTERMIND 

All groups vary, but it’s normal to meet anything from once a week, to once a month. It depends on the needs of the group and the free time you have available.

Regardless of how busy you are, always make time for your Mastermind. A stressful week or month can be put into perspective with a great Mastermind session.

My Business Growth Club MasterMind met every week. This gave us time to track the work on things and see results.

Our meetings would go something like this:

  • Sit down, say our hellos and briefly chat about everyone’s week.
  • The Inner-Circle member would get 15 or 20 minutes in the hot seat. (speaker) We’d talk about our progress over the last two weeks and bring up any problems we were facing.
  • After each hot seat session the rest of the group would jump in with any thoughts or advice.
  • Before the meeting ended we’d talk about our goals for the coming fortnight.
  • Wash, rinse and repeat.

In the beginning we wrote down everyone’s goals on a per meeting basis. But we soon realised we weren’t that kind of group. We found more value in our feedback sessions. Every group will be different.

HOW DO I FIND A MASTERMIND GROUP?

The best way to find a mastermind is to connect to http://www.mastermind2020.com and see your interest there are many groups you can belong to. 

It’s not as scary as you might think. I’m sure you already know people who are doing well in their space. If you don’t, reach out to people you think would be a good fit.

You don’t need a previous relationship with someone to start a mastermind group.

One thing to bear in mind; I’d advise against starting a group with friends or business partners. A mastermind is a place of trust, a place to tell all. You might not feel inclined to open up about your business troubles with a bunch of friends. And you may not feel comfortable discussing certain issues with your business partner. 

Having a mastermind that is separate from your personal and work life is important.

Perhaps most important of all. Be (one of) the least experienced members of the group. By surrounding yourself with more “experienced” people you’ll learn more, in less time.

This doesn’t mean the other members need to be rock stars. They just need to have more experience or success in other areas than yourself. This is why who you ask to your group is so important.

The great thing about a mastermind is that you can mix and match skills to make sure everyone in the group benefits.

 

In my mastermind group, there is some people that are more experienced in terms of income, sales and marketing. It was through this interesting cross section of skills that we could help each other move forward.

GETTING UNSTUCK, TOGETHER

I’ve spoken before about my Shiny Object Syndrome, but earlier this year it nearly put pay to everything. I couldn’t stay focused on anything long enough for it to pay off. 

It was thanks to my mastermind. At the time it was another project on a list of possibilities. 

I’m a huge believer in accountability. If you need to get something done, tell your mastermind group about it. No one likes to let others down. Being on the hook will help push your business forward.

If you want to get pumped about your business in 2015, become member inner circle of a mastermind group. You’ll be amazed what it can do for your business and life and just how much you can help others with theirs.

 

Let me know about your experiences and if Is there anything that’s holding you back from join a mastermind group? Let me know!

To your success,

  

Andres Hurtado Rangel

MasterMind2020.com

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives

Butterfly Cocoon

“A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but it had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body, Neither happened! In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around. It was never able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand: The restricting cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
 We will not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly.”

To Investors, Startups Without Business Plans Are Expensive Hobbies

If you sold your last startup for $80 million, you probably already know how to build a business, and even conservative investors won’t worry about the quality of your next business plan. But for the rest of us, don’t believe the Silicon Valley myth that all you have to do is sketch your million-dollar idea on the back of a napkin and investors will line up to give you money.

Based on my experience as an investor and mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs in Miami, one of the quickest ways to kill your credibility and your startup is to offer a poorly written business plan, or none at all. There really is no excuse these days, with samples on the Internet, business-plan books in every bookstore and dozens of apps to automate the process.

A great business plan doesn’t have to be a book in length, with extensive financial statements. Most good ones I see are in the range of 25 pages, which is more than enough to describe concisely all the business what, when, where and how. The plan must simply answer every relevant business question that you could imagine from your team, partners and investors.

In fact, the process of organizing and documenting these elements is the best way to make sure you understand the answers yourself.

Would you be comfortable buying a house from a builder, or building one yourself, with no plan on timeframes, costs and features? I hope not. Most investors tend to think of startups without a plan as expensive hobbies.

There is no magic formula for a formal business plan format or sequence, but I would recommend the following 10 sections, in this sequence, with relevant content:

Executive summary
Problem and solution
Company description
Market opportunity
Business model
Competition analysis
Marketing and sales strategy
Management team
Financial projections
Exit strategy

A business plan that skips one or more of these topics is not complete, so don’t jeopardize your one chance to make a great first impression by offering a partial plan. It only takes a little extra work to make it a professional document, with a cover page, table of contents, headings and page numbers. Don’t try to impress constituents with technical terms, jargon and acronyms.

If you don’t have the time to write things down, or your writing skills leave something to be desired, don’t be afraid to get some help. No executive I know writes all his own contracts, but every smart one owns every one that is written for him, and understands every element. An entrepreneur who can’t manage a plan probably won’t be able to manage the new business.

Of course, if you don’t yet understand all the elements, it’s time to learn. My advice here is to check your ego at the door, and find a mentor or a partner who has business experience and domain knowledge to help you plan a viable business. Your idea may be technically right, but without a business plan, it could be dead right, which is not the result anyone is looking for.

There are no guarantees, but various studies have found that entrepreneurs who create a good plan generally double their chances of securing funding and building a successful business. In any context, and especially in the high-risk world of startups where more than 50 percent fail, you need every advantage that you can get.

Don’t Let the Fear of Your Idea Being Stolen Hold You Back

Take responsibility. We’re entrepreneurs, after all. Risk is inherent. Stop giving in to your fear and follow the steps below to protect yourself instead.

1. Do a thorough prior art search.
You can hire an outside firm to do this, but you should also search for prior art yourself, because it’s you who must become an expert. Familiarize yourself with all of the relevant intellectual property that has come before you. Find your innovation’s uniqueness

2. Learn about manufacturing processes.
There are many ways of doing this, including watching YouTube videos and visiting manufacturing facilities. How will your product be made? What are all of the ways it can be made? You need to know. Designing a product that cannot be manufactured is a grave mistake. You may need to hire an engineer to work with you. Make sure to have anyone you discuss your invention with sign a non-disclosure agreement and a work-for-hire agreement.

3. Study up.
Read your industry’s trade magazines. What new materials are being used? Where is the industry headed? Consider attending a tradeshow and/or a seminar. You need to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening.

4. Be selective about what companies you choose to work with.
Is the company inventor-friendly? Has it licensed an idea before? Are there any lawsuits or complaints that come up when you Google the company? Do your homework.

5. Maintain a paper trail.
Put everything in writing.

6. Don’t give anyone a reason to try to work around you.
If you ask for too much up front, the company will be less inclined to work with you. Be reasonable.

7. Think ahead.
When I write my own provisional patent applications, I try to steal my idea from myself. I think, if a company were to steal this from me, how would it? I think about manufacturing processes and materials.

Don’t let fear control your actions. Take responsibility. We’re entrepreneurs, after all. Risk is inherent.

4 Factors to Consider Before Starting a Business While Keeping Your Day Job

It’s not unusual for people to ask, “Can I grow a business on the side while keeping my day job?”
The answer is, “Yes,” with this important qualification — it needs to be a semi-absentee business. So, what is a semi-absentee business?

In businesses typically fall into two general categories — those that require full-time commitment from the owner and those that require part-time (or semi-absentee) commitment from the owner.

In a semi-absentee ownership situation, you hires a manager to oversee the daily operations

When searching for a semi-absentee business, there are four important factors into consideration.

1. Mind-set.
Many people make the mistake of selecting based on what the business does, what the person likes or where their passions lie. It’s important to understand if a business is actually structured to be semi-absentee. If your heart is set on having an home improvement business, you’ll find that this type of venture lends itself to the owner-operator business model, requiring full-time commitment from the owner. Keep an open mind when looking for a semi-absentee opportunity.

2. Finances.
Your financial situation is an obvious factor that determines the type of business you can afford (or for which you qualify). Since semi-absentee businesses tend to be retail, you might consider financing through conventional or Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, once the business is running sustainable mode you can take a non conventional business loan http://www.AHRcapital.com

3. Skills.
People management skills are key to successfully operating a semi-absentee business since you will be providing oversight to a manager or managers if you have multiple locations. You need to be comfortable surrendering control and delegating the day-to-day operations of your business to the manager(s).

To your success

Andres Hurtado
www.mastermind2020.com

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The Brain of the Successful Businessman

Real entrepreneurs love their businesses, are good at what they do, and provide 90% of the employment in the world. They are the engine that drives capitalist societies.  This is something you may want to consider if you are an entrepreneur.

Men and Women who succeed in business of any kind – those producers who take personal responsibility for their income and not via a job – share a particular attitude and mindset that works. Those who don’t, simply fail. And while not all failures can be attributed to the fault of the entrepreneur – acts of God, and so on, it mostly is our fault.

The transition from employee to entrepreneur is difficult for most, while for the real entrepreneur it’s a wonderful liberation. Of course background and conditioning have an effect, but the most important factor is attitude. In the final analysis, the defining factor is mindset. Please note that when I talk about “entrepreneurs,” I’m not talking about franchisees – employees who buy an expensive job and continue to take orders and demand that the franchisor take ultimate responsibility for the franchisee’s success or failure.

I’m talking about lasting success, not a lucky break, a flash in the pan, being at the right place at the right time, or buying a business that is already so successful that it’s hard to fail; I refer to the self made person who builds lasting success and bounces back from failures.

So, what is the ideal mindset for progress and production in business?

Successful business owners, be they network marketers, Donald Trumps, shoe polishers, auto shops, roofing business owners, plumbers, or authors, are driven people. Their goals and objectives drive them through the tough times. And they tend to surround themselves with like minded people – winners, not whiners. They read, they are lifetime learners, and they are humble. Most of all, they are self disciplined. A successful entrepreneur is seldom obese, a smoker, a drinker, late for meetings, or badly dressed. And they are well groomed, because they have a healthy self respect. Donald Trump doesn’t drink, smoke, or use bad language. I certainly can’t imagine him smoking pot.

Authenticity, integrity and decency are hallmarks of these winners – they are not politically correct hypocrites or passive aggressive back stabbers; you know where you stand with them.

You learn more at www.MasterMind2020.com