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Don't be afraid to make the call

Running a business is really just a whole series of decisions you didn’t think you’d have to make, along with a few you would rather not have to at all. No matter what you’re doing you will have tough calls to make which affect people, product and profit. The first big call you’ll make is starting the business in the first place. It’s your first make or break decision, and if you don’t make it your journey stops there. It's important to remember that decision, making it shows conviction and self belief. Your business outcomes will all hinge on the decisions you make, and to me, why and the way you make your decisions (and that you make them) is more important than the outcome itself. Back yourself Especially in the early days of your business you're likely to be the one making pretty much all of the decisions. It's important the options you choose are ones you believe in and are committed to, you’ll be the one living and breathing them. It can be tough to take a determined line when you’re unsure of your heading. The decision you make though needs to be clear, any questioning needs to be resolved before a direction is taken. The reason you are running your business, making the decisions, is you have something to offer. It is important to remember that and use that to guide you when you need the confidence to make a call. Back yourself in - that's part of what makes you an entrepreneur! Process or Instinct To me, there are two processes entrepreneurs use to make decisions, process and instinct. Different people will reach their decisions in different ways, sometimes the process will depend on the situation. Process based decision makers will deconstruct an issue, analyse it and the expected outcomes before they take any action. It's usually a well thought out and measured approach. Process decision makers are the kinds who will normally have hard evidence or numbers to back up their calls. Instinctive decision makers are the ones who make their call based on what they feel is the right way to go. They aren't making calls based on nothing, they draw on their experience and understanding of people, the business and the market to guide them. These decisions will often be more "bold" than process ones. Instinctive decisions will probably be made more quickly than process decisions, simply for the fact there isn't as much research or analysis. The risk with them lies in the strength of the decision maker to back themself - doing things by halves can be the result if there is a lack of confidence. I don't see there being a right or wrong - it can depend on the individual, the situation, the desired outcome or the combination of factors. I think it is vital the decision maker is aware of the way they make their decision though. If not, their response to things not going to plan may be out, or they just may not learn for the next time. Whichever process you use, have faith in it, know the outcome you're aiming for and take things there the best way you think you can. Don't be afraid to disagree, or have others disagree with you, and ALWAYS pick something. The more you procrastinate and fail to act, the less you stand to achieve. We're often told we should "fail fast and fail often", whether you believe in that or not, you need to make a decision before anything can happen.

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Make these your Priority when Starting a Business: Part Two

Last week I started to write points on what to do when starting your business. Here is the follow-up post: Google & Google + Register your address with Google, this way you show up for relevant local searches. Also, create a profile on Google+. This will help too. LinkedIn LinkedIn is gold for small businesses. Create a profile that explains your services and why people should use you. What pains or stresses can you assist with? Join groups and contribute to posts and conversations. This will quickly build your profile. And lastly, probably the best point of all, connect with people! There are millions of people on LinkedIn. Search for those in roles or industries you would like to meet and connect with them. Be sure to write a personalised message, and not the generated message LinkedIn provides. Network There are loads of networking opportunities around. Think outside the box for this one. For your traditional networking events, take a look at meetup.com to start with. You’ll see a variety of events that are suitable to small business and perhaps events that are directly related to your service or product. You can also get in touch with your local chamber. They usually have networking events that are relatively cheap to attend. Google networking and your city and other useful sites will pop up. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to introduce you to relevant people. This may be for direct business or for businesses that are complimentary to yours. Partnerships produce great business relationships. It’s a two-way street. Don’t just wait for someone to refer to you, where possible, refer to them too. Speak to your local café. There’s a great chance they’re in touch with plenty of people you want to be in front of and if they’re anything like mine, they’re more than willing to introduce you. And finally, ask your clients! Many of us are afraid of this one. Did you enjoy working with them? They usually mingle with people like themselves. And if you’ve done a great job for them, chances are they’d love to refer you. Offer them a gift or referral fee if you feel this will help. Social Media Create a business page on Facebook and start posting. Make sure your content is relevant and engaging. I recommend at least three posts per week. To make it easier, spend a couple of hours every fortnight and create enough posts for two weeks. You can then schedule them, so you don’t spend too much time online every day. Start following complimentary business as your business (you can change this by clicking on the cog in the top right-hand corner and selecting your business) and interact with their posts too. This will build your profile and encourage more followers. I hope you find this useful and feel you can apply these few steps within your business. I’ll follow this up in my next post with what to do when you have money in the kitty.

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