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4 ways an entrepreneur can prepare for the best year ever

by Guest Author  |  January 20/2014  | 

5 ways an entrepreneur can make this the best year ever

Want this year to be your best one ever? Here are four actions you can start today to help make that happen:

1. Create a business budget

I’m sure you already know the importance of having a personal budget for your finances, but don’t forget about one for your business, too. The ultimate goal of any business is to be successful and continue to grow, and that’s exactly what having a budget will help you achieve.

For example, once I created a budget for my business, I broke my revenue goals down into specific targets that needed to be hit each week. This took the stress out of “hopefully” being able to pay my bills each month, and gave me something concrete to strive toward.

A business budget is like a roadmap for your company that ensures you reach your destination. To get started, check out the vast array of templates from Microsoft or download this simple worksheet from Better Budgeting and customize it to fit your needs.

2. Effectively invest in your business

I always tell my clients that investing in yourself is one of the best things you can do for your business (and your sanity). But it’s also vital to understand when you can DIY or when you really should hire a professional.

This is especially important when it comes to bookkeeping and taxes for your business. It’s less stressful and beneficial to your business to hire a tax expert because they can find tax deductions you may not even realize you qualify for.

Case in point, during a recent tax season I was able to help a client get an extra $2,000 in tax savings because she qualified for some additional business deductions. This is all because I specialize in small businesses and have a pulse on tax updates.

Likewise, if your finances are simple and you don’t have a lot going on within your business, you could take an online class to become familiar with the ins-and-outs of bookkeeping and taxes.

3. Read at least one personal finance or business book

At the beginning of last year, I made a New Year’s resolution to read one finance or business book per month. And now my life and business has drastically changed because of it.

Many of my best ideas, contacts and revelations have come out of reading. Once you start reading, your creative juices can’t help but flow.

A few of my favorites include:

4. Have coffee with an inspiring entrepreneur

To accomplish your goals, it’s important to surround yourself with positive influences. A business mentor can help inspire and offer invaluable advice from their past experiences.

They can be a sounding board for your ideas, a support system, and even become an accountability partner. When I was going through a tough divorce and trying to pay off all my debt, I really needed someone to help me get through the rough patches. We all do.

I reached out to a mentor who not only helped me achieve my financial goals, but my personal ones as well. Because of her support, I was able to quit my job, start my own business and even find happiness in love again.

Take time out of your busy schedule this week to meet up with an entrepreneur who can help inspire you to make this year the best ever for you and your business.

What’s one thing you can do today to make this year the best one yet?

About the author: Carrie Smith is a solopreneur, community builder and the writer behind Careful Cents. She is on a mission to help small businesses and freelancers achieve their own version of freedom. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Yahoo! Finance and several other business websites. Find her on Twitter @carefulcents.

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  • Bob

    What’s the deduction you use to save the client $2k?

  • http://carefulcents.com/ Carrie Smith

    The deduction was actually a combo of depreciation for equipment purchased for the business (furniture, computers, etc) and some travel expenses that the client didn’t know they could claim. Hope that helps!

  • Andrew Wall

    I think this are great tips. I would also suggest devising a strategy to build trust with your clients. Fostering credibility and trust with new clients is a vital aspect of a consultant’s job. It’s up to you to establish this bond and create an environment where positive business – and interpersonal – relationships can grow and evolve into a valued and lasting relationship.

    #1 – Listen and Connect

    It’s always important to show empathy and try to understand what’s going on in the mind of your client. Show that you really care. You don’t necessarily need to talk their ear off about every little thing. Simply answer client questions succinctly and with enough detail to convey your knowledge and point of view. Spend more time listening – and hearing – then try to show how much you know.

    Respect their time, conform to their work preferences/style, be prompt and adhere to set scheduling, and work toward solving their lingering business-related problems. Delve beneath the surface – by listening closely – to find potential root causes of issues potentially blocking client progress. Get all the facts – past project failures and successes and their future priorities, for instance – in order to glean a better understanding of your clients’ needs and gain their trust to move toward a positive business outcome.

    #2 – Help Your Potential Client Spend Their Money Wisely

    Don’t worry about the immediate sale – and the potential for large returns right off the bat – and instead work toward helping the client spend their money in an effective manner on what they actually need (and something that would truly assist their company). As well, look to provide time and resources with an expectation of nothing in return. Basically, show a desire to serve others through your generosity and be ready to lend a helping hand without the thought of remuneration at the forefront of your mind.

    It’s also okay to let customers know you’re a real human being: there’s a certain vulnerability about you and, like the rest of us, you have shortcomings you’re working to overcome. Be real with the client and let them see you as a real person.

    #3 – Make It a Total Strategy

    Change the way you approach business as building trust should be a total business operation. Start with being helpful and kind, follow through to closing the deal and interacting with your client in a way that makes them feel special. If need be, hire the right people to make it a full scale operation with everyone on the same page and all workers focused on the same goal.

    In the end, it comes down to doing a great job on the project in order to build credibility and trust with your new client. It also helps to give the client something unexpected – over and above what was initially promised – in order to impress them, earn their trust and respect, and create a lifelong client/friend in the process.


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