Keeping Passion in Your Business in 2014 and Beyond

In addition to the challenges of maintaining passion and excitement for your business, entrepreneurs also face challenging, economic conditions. However, it is a fact that entrepreneurs and small businesses are the cornerstone of a sustainable economy. This fact alone should be an encouragement, but is it enough to keep the passion alive? Probably not, so now that 2014 is off and running, it is the perfect time to ensure you are moving according to plan and keep the passion ignited.

Exactly, how does an entrepreneur or small business owner maintain the PASSION?

P – Plan and Position

A great resource to help re-evaluate your plan is a book by Michael E. Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Do Not Work and What to Do about It. In this book, Gerber contends that “the problem is that everybody who goes into business is actually three-people in one: The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician.” Gerber guides the small business owner into a clear understanding of their various roles and how each role is distinctly different but important to the success of the organization. The entrepreneur serves as the visionary, the manager oversees planning and the smaller details that ultimately guide the effectiveness and efficiency of the outcome, and the technician gets the job done. Is your infrastructure designed to maximize each role? Are there areas that can be delegated or outsourced?

Once you have answered these questions, it is a great time to write a one-page business plan if you do not already have one in place. A one-page business plan should include a concise plan for the year. If done appropriately, it will guide a business to success one quarter at a time. It will also encourage clarity on monthly, weekly, and daily planning and tasks. It should include specific themes and marketing strategies for each quarter. It is wise to remember that, typically, marketing strategies take time to work and should be evaluated on a quarterly basis. Always inspect what you expect and make sure systems are in place for consistent follow up and follow through. In addition, effective sales and marketing systems are paramount to the success of the plan but must be supported by strong infrastructure.

A – Attitude

Charles R. Swindoll said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts… we cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.” What is your attitude toward your business, your clients, and yourself? Does it need a reality check? If so, now is the time. Find the significance in every opportunity even if it appears to be a waste of time but do be mindful of how you invest your time. Embrace change with a can do attitude and constantly monitor your circle of influence. They say you become like the people you are around the most. Attitude can make a huge difference in gaining the trust and confidence of a new client or losing a ton of business because of a poor attitude toward that one client. The news of bad experiences travel much more quickly than pleasant ones.

S – Sound Strategies and Scalable Solutions

Sound strategies create a firm foundation. In his book, Michael E. Gerber stresses the importance of a business implementing the following strategies: Organizational, Management, People, Marketing, and Systems. Now is the time to ensure that your business has these strategies in place. Also, it is important to make certain you are maximizing your team’s talents and investing time and money into cost effective resources.

Developing scalable solutions is another vital area. Scalable solutions are systems that can be expanded as your business expands. For instance, if you invest in specific software, be sure that the software has the capacity to serve more functions as your business grows. It helps to keep this in mind as you are developing, re-evaluating your systems and business model or solving a business challenge. It is a cost saving measure to ensure the systems have the capability of being replicated on a larger scale and the ability to be used for multiple functions.

S – Success-Driven Mindset

As an entrepreneur with a success-driven mindset, making solid decisions and taking action is a daily routine and is critical to the success of the company’s bottom line. A success-driven mindset requires prioritizing and a great work ethic. It requires doing the most important activity right now and finding the opportunity in every obstacle. A business owner with a success-driven mindset also seeks continual education in his or her industry or profession.

I – Inspect and Expect

Again, the one-page business plan is critical to keeping an entrepreneur focused on the activities that directly impact the bottom line. Many business plans are created but the best plans are the ones that are put into action. Pick up your 100 page business plan, dust it off, and create your one-page plan of action. This will help you inspect what you expect. Here are some categories to consider including (bullet point as much as possible):

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Theme
  • Goals
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Total Yearly Budget
  • Income Projection with concise explanation
  • Cost Projection with concise explanation
  • Business Model with income streams (products, services, etc.)
  • Key Performance Indicator Plan
  • Future Income Streams
  • Expenses
  • Personal Growth Goals (skills you want to improve or credentials you are seeking).

Whether you alter a system or implement a new one, it is vitally important to do periodic inspections to ensure effectiveness. Also, when delegating tasks, it is important to follow up and make sure you have the right people for the right tasks and that the appropriate infrastructure is in place to support the goal.

O – Overdeliver and Underpromise

Superb customer service is guaranteed to keep your pipeline filled. Nothing travels faster than word of mouth and word of mouth can be your greatest ROI (return on investment) because it is FREE. By providing superb customer service, you are telling your customers you appreciate and value their business. One of the main goals of customer service should be to make your customers feel like they are special and that you go beyond the call of duty to fulfill their needs. Great customer service is an ultimate sales tool that is often overlooked and underutilized. If it is not taken seriously, word of mouth can also become your greatest liability. It is also important to refrain from making promises you can not keep. However, communication is key if you are not able to deliver the product or service at the agreed upon time.

N – Network with Impact

The question is not what someone can do for you but what value can you bring to someone else? It is important to manage the investment of time and money when networking or building relationships. Look for organizations where you can develop mutually beneficial relationships, build collaborations, and strategic alliances. Include networking in your one-page business plan because it is a huge discipline and marketing strategy.

After you have identified your networks, what is the next course of action? Determine what you would like to accomplish prior to the event, be sure your business card and elevator speech convey what you offer, identify your uniqueness, and what problem you solve. It is also important to ask your new contacts how you can help them and be specific in telling them what you are looking for. As soon as you receive a business card, record the date, where you met the individual and key reminders. Finally, be sure to follow up within 24 hours. Remember, a new relationship takes time to develop and consistent communication is key.

We can learn from an old Chinese Proverb: “When you hear something, you will forget it; when you see something, you will remember it; but not until you do something, will you understand it.” Act on the information provided, focus on the opportunities and not the challenges, and you will keep the passion in your business and continue to make a difference in our communities and the world.

Forex Education Tips – 5 Steps to Successful Forex Trading

Close to 95% of all Forex traders will lose money. We’re not just talking about novices, either. Whether you trade Forex for a living, as a hobby or just for fun, odds are against your success. That’s a simply astonishing fact. However, the remaining 5% of Forex traders somehow manage to break even and there are those lucky few that actually make money in the currency market – consistently!Like the TV show says … “How’d they do that, anyway?”That’s the million dollar questions, isn’t it? Countless books, seminars and expos have been hosted to answer this very question. That sad fact is that thousands of books have been written and countless seminars and interviews have been conducted in an attempt to answer the magic questions. The reality of the situation is that there is no magic formula; no one single Holy Grail of Forex trading.So what do the successful traders do that the rest of us have simple not comprehended. They have mastered a process of winning where they combine and customize several factor to produce consistent results. They have mastered the Process of Trading.The Process of Trading is:Strategy > Money Management > Self-MasteryHere are some simple Forex Education tips to help you master the process of forex trading:Success Tip #1 – You’ve Got To Have a PlanYou must have a written business plan that will detail all aspects of your trading. When are you going to trade, how much to risk, strategies for entries and exits are just o name a few. To become a consistent (profitable) Forex trader you have to plan your trade sand trade your plan.

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Simplicity rules! Don’t make this plan too complicated. One sheet of paper for you mission statement and another for your trading plan should suffice. Anything more is probably too complicated.Success Tip #2 – Focus on Your Personal PsychologyKnowing yourself will allow you to master the discipline necessary to execute high quality trades with solid money management techniques. Lack of discipline is fatal in Forex trading. Go on a personal journey to identify you attitudes towards risk and money. Get intimate with your strengths and weaknesses as a trader and build in to your trading plan strategies to minimize those weaknesses and maximize your strengths.Different personalities lend to different trading styles. Get familiar with all the different styles and over time you will begin to gravitate towards one particular style. Don’t fight the urge like I did. I insisted I was a day trader, but had only limited results. I found my winning percentages were much higher when I entered swing trades. Guess what’s my bread and butter strategy now!Success Tip #3 – Be Realistic About Your ExpectationsThis is a hard one, I know! I am on the internet every day and the amount of advertising is staggering. Brokers are offering free education (fox in the hen house if you ask me), forums of all different trading styles and points of view. Gurus pushing their system as “the one” that will make you the big bucks. How do you get through all that noise?Let me tell you loud and clear right now – everyone is right and everyone is wrong. You have to make a personal commitment to become a successful trader, find a trading style that works for you and expect a slow and steady approach to wealth building through Forex.What works for me may not work for you. Expect to go through an exploratory period where you are learning and at the same time exploring yourself as a trader. Keep an open mind and don’t pay attention to all the noise out there.Success Tip #4 – Exercise PatienceRome was not built in a day and neither will your trading account. In fact, I tell all of my students that while they are studying to become successful Forex traders they should not look solely at their account balance as an indication of success or failure.By tracking and increasing your percentage of high quality trades you execute is a far better barometer of your progress than your account balance. Cause and effect rule here. Over time when you increase your probabilities through the execution of high quality trades your account balance will respond accordingly.Keep the focus on the process and with time your results will blow your mind.Success Tip #5 – Money Management Is Top PriorityI would rather have a shaky strategy and excellent money management techniques than the other way around. This topic warrants its own blog post to do it justice. Limited your exposure (read “risk”) allows for you to stay in the game and allow the laws of probability to work.

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Let’s take a casino for example. They need gamblers to frequent their slot machines to make money. Why? They have a game that has a greater than 50% chance of making money for the house. The more people that play the slots, the greater the casino’s profits.The casino controls risk by payout tables (always favoring the house!) and increases their probabilities by keeping gamblers at the slot machines (read “free drinks”). As a trader you must limit your risk by committing only 1% – 3% of available capital to a single trade. When you execute enough trades with a high probability strategy you too can clean up like the casinos – but only by staying in the game long term.In conclusion, Forex trading is not easy. It’s hard work and will test the limits of your patience and perseverance. If anyone tells you otherwise .., buyers beware! It can be a very rewarding and profitable venture if done correctly. In the end it is a profession that requires a learning curve and practical experience, no different than an airline pilot or engineer. Understanding how to approach and learn this game will allow you to reap all the benefits advertised. It is your Forex Education that you will master the Process of Forex Trading.

The Energy Healing Power of Natural Medicine

Natural medicine is a system that uses a variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. Alternative medicine is also known as traditional, naturopathic, natural or holistic medicine. Proponents of alternative medicine are not refuting the validity of discoveries in and the practical uses of conventional medicine, but are merely trying to put some things into perspective. Due to the widespread interest in natural medicine along with the disappointment and disenchantment with Western medicine, many people, especially in the United States and Europe, where conventional medicine has taken a dominant foothold, are seeking the advice and treatment from naturopathic physicians. These practitioners include herbalists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and others, who advocate preventative health measures as well as recommend wholesome foods and nutritional supplements for their patients and clients. Considering the growing popularity and effectiveness of alternative health treatments and products, certified and licensed professional practitioners of such medical practices should be given their rightful and respectful place in medical society. Natural medicine has been proven not only to be safe, but more effective than Western medicine in treating many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and many other diseases as well

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The history of Natural Medicine and its roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient cultures such as India and China. Ayurvedic (E. Indian) and Chinese medicine, along with their diagnostic and herbal systems, are still used in these countries extensively, as well as in the United States, especially in Europe, where alternative medicine is well respected. Chinese herbal medicine has a documented history of over 2500 years in China, and is now widely used by practitioners all over the world. It has been legally practiced in the United States. since the mid seventies by licensed acupuncturists. Homeopathy is also a well-known form of alternative medicine discovered in the 18th century by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, but was practically stamped out in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century by the American Medical Association. In 1938, though, the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act finally recognized homeopathic pharmacopoeia as the legal equivalent of allopathic medicine.Another more contemporary and popular form of herbal medicine, called Western herbalism, can be traced back about two hundred years in America. Samuel Thomson, born in 1769, is considered the father of Western herbalism. He discovered over sixty different medically effective native plants by clinical testing, and on the basis of these findings, devised a theory of disease and botanical drug action. Randy Kidu, D.V.M., Ph.D., writes in his articled entitled A Brief History of Alternative Medicine: “The history of herbal medicine is interesting because herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since man began roaming the earth. Coprophytic evidence (seeds and other plant part(found in preserved fecal pellets) points to herbal use by cavemen. Early herbalists practiced their trade since before recorded history in all parts of the world including China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, England, the Americas, and Europe. Many herbs are also mentioned in the Bible. Today, based on sheer numbers of folks who use one form of herbal medicine or another, it remains the most-used medicine worldwide.”Twenty-five hundred years after the advent of allopathic medicine, modern medicine is still grappling with the idea that herbal medicine could be an effective treatment, and not just quackery, although thousands of years of recorded history has proved its efficacy. A new model of understanding in medicine needs to be incorporated into the existing allopathic model. Because of the growing popularity and effectiveness of natural medicine, practitioners may eventually be given their deserved place in medical society. The incorporation of natural medical practices into the existing model of conventional Western medicine, including the training of new medical doctors, is now called Complimentary Medicine. In order to solve our health problems, this modern paradigm for treatment in medicine must be promoted. This can only truly emerge when bias, self-interest, greed and discrimination is discarded and diverse medical knowledge is promoted and shared, not only between university trained scientists and medical doctors, but among Alternative Medicine practitioners, philosophers, metaphysicians, and other intelligentsia of society as well.

Skip The Lines – Bring The Amusement Park Right To Your Own Back Yard

There’s no shortage of things to do in Atlanta. From professional sports to amusement parks, there’s something for everyone. In fact, Atlanta is proud to house some of the nations largest amusement attractions, including the ever popular Six Flags Over Georgia. Children (and adults) love the thrill and adrenaline rush of the large roller coasters. However, one thing most people don’t like about amusement parks is the long lines. By the time it’s all said and done, you can spend several hundred dollars for your family to have an afternoon of fun, and only get a few rides in. This year, instead of spending the day waiting in long lines for short rides, why not bring the fun right to your back yard? With today’s technology, you can literally do just that! One of the advantages of living in a large city like Atlanta is that we have large rental companies that can make your special event feel just like a trip to Six Flags… complete with a train and an ice cream cart!

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If you’re trying to replicate the amusement park feel, there are definitely specific items that you’ll want to be on the lookout for. As mentioned previously, ice cream carts and trackless trains help make the special event feel more like a day at Six Flags.In order to make your next special event more special, try some of the following tips:

Head online to do some research on the party rental company that has the selection your looking for. If you want an ice cream cart to complete your theme park adventure, look around until you find what you’re looking for.

Don’t settle for the first website you see. There are literally hundreds of inflatable party rental companies in Atlanta. Keep looking for a website that offers a wide variety of rental items that you’re looking for.

It’s better to rent everything from one company. Renting in bulk can help you save money. Larger companies will offer discounts for larger purchases of multiple units and rental items.

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Having a day of amusement park fun is cheaper and easier than ever before. By bringing the amusement park to your front door by using a party rental industry, you can include more people at a lower price. So next time you’re planning a special day, instead of spending tons of money for just a few people and braving the long lines of amusement parks, invite the whole neighborhood and bring the amusement park right to your own back yard!