Thursday, March 7, 2013

5 Requirements to Get a Job in 2013

As we get ready for 2013, I know a lot of you are still looking for a job. Others are employed but unhappy and looking elsewhere. That is why today I bring you the five requirements of a successful job search in 2013 (and beyond). If you’re able to do these five things, you will become very employable and valued by corporations both large and small. Companies will view you as a risk until you can prove otherwise so it’s important to do all of your homework and package yourself before you aggressively search. In an economy where globalization creates an endless amount of competition, where automation removes jobs, and where the skills taught in schools don’t align to the skills required by companies, these five requirements will differentiate you and help you get hired sooner than your peers.

5 Requirements to Get a Job in 2013

1. Become a specialist in something that is valued by companies. Research shows that companies are looking to hire and promote specialists but job seekers are presenting themselves as generalists. You can’t become known for anything if you try to be everything to everyone. By having a focus area, people will start to take notice, you will gain visibility and start to receive new opportunities as a result. From a company perspective, they are looking to hire someone to solve a specific problem and if you’re the expert, then it makes sense to at least give you an interview.

2. Have a unique selling proposition and a clearly defined brand. We always hear the question “what do you do”? Well, how would you answer that in an interview? Your answer in that interview should be consistent with your online presence as well. Figure out what you’re strength is and who would most benefit from it and that becomes your USP (unique selling proposition). What value can you deliver to that audience that they need and others can’t provide as well? When you answer these questions, you will be able to articulate what makes you special to those making the hiring decisions.

3. Show the ROI of hiring you. If you can prove that a company will benefit more from hiring you than what they would be paying you, then you can almost create your own job. For example, if you’re looking for a sales position and at your last sales job (or internship or consulting gig) you increased sales by XX%, it proves your worth. In the company’s mind, if they bring you on, they believe you can replicate that increase. Wouldn’t you hire someone who can make you more money?

4. Accumulate endorsements and recommendations. If LinkedIn teaches us anything, it’s to get third party evidence of our skills and abilities. You can promote yourself as much as you want but when it comes to hiring decisions, what others say about you can have a major impact. Collect endorsements and recommendations on your LinkedIn profile and put them on your resume so you can show that you’re the real deal. Remember that you can leverage these for the rest of your life! In ten years, that recommendation can still matter.

5. Make finding a job your full-time job. You’re going to get out of your job search what you put in. If you put a lot of effort into finding a job, the probability you will get the job you want increases substantially. Spending time doesn’t mean just submitting your resume to every open position. It means assessing yourself, your abilities, gaining new skills, making new connections and zeroing in on the jobs you’re qualified for (and are most interested in).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Job Search Tips

Is your job search off to a slow start or getting stuck? Here are some quick time-saving job search tips that will help your hunt for a new job go smoothly. Be Prepared. Have a telephone answering machine or voice mail system in place and sign-up for a professional sounding email address. Put your cell phone number on your resume so you can follow up in a timely manner. This job search toolkit will help you get everything you need set for your job search. Be More Than Prepared. Always have an up-to-date resume ready to send - even if you are not currently looking for work. You never know when an opportunity that is too good to pass up might come along. Don't Wait. If you are laid-off, file for unemployment benefits right away. You may be able to file online or by phone. Waiting could delay your benefits check. Get Help. Utilize free or inexpensive services that provide career counseling and job search assistance such as college career offices, state Department of Labor offices or your local public library. Create Your Own Templates. Have copies of your resume and cover letter ready to edit. That way you can change the content to match the requirements of the job you're applying for, but, the contact information and your opening and closing paragraphs won't need to be changed. Use Job Search Engines. Search the job search engines. Use the job search engine sites to search the major job banks, company sites, associations, and other sites with job postings for you. Jobs by Email. Let the jobs come to you. Use job search agents to sign up and receive job listings by email. All the major job sites have search agents and some web sites specialize in sending announcements. Time Savers. Strapped for time? Consider getting help writing or editing your resume. Resume posting services that post your resume to multiple job sites at once can save hours of data entry. References Ready. Have a list of three references including name, job title, company, phone number and email address ready to give to interviewers. Use Your Network. Be cognizant of the fact that many, if not most, job openings aren't advertised. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work. Ask if they can help. This tip isn't a time saver, but, it will broaden your online job search resources. Don't Stop. Don't limit your job searching to the top sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and HotJobs. Check the smaller niche sites that focus on a particular geographic location or career field and you will find plenty of job listings.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How to Get Hired in a Recession: Eight Tips for Job Hunting in Today’s Tough Times

Landing a new job is never a cakewalk, but today’s tough economy is sure to make it especially difficult. Whether you are fishing for a first job out of school, recently laid off, or just ready to make a change, being prepared and having the right attitude can give you an edge in today’s competitive job market. 1. Think like a salesperson Unless you are highly skilled (and highly lucky), the chances you’ll receive an unsolicited job offer are slim. To get a new gig, you have to sell yourself. Yes, you will be rejected, but if you never get to a place where you might be rejected, you’ll never get to a place you might be offered a job. Commit to applying to a minimum number of jobs per day. Call employers—not to annoying ask whether they’ve looked at your resume (they hate that)—but to sincerely inquire about what opportunities they have or may have down the road. Send thank you notes to every employer that takes the time to call, write, or interview you—even if they say no. You never know when they might change their minds. 2. Be flexible When making long-term career plans, you should certainly focus on not only what jobs you can get, but what jobs will make you happy and provide the kind of lifestyle you want. Sometimes, however, you just need to put food on the table. If you’ve been searching and searching for your dream job and just aren’t making progress, consider the possibility of sucking it up and taking a job that you’re qualified for—even if it’s not your passion. Things will pick up in a year or two when you can consider looking around again. 3. Do your homework Some industries are booming despite the recession while others were hurting long before the economy went south. Focus your job search in growing industries if you can, or at least avoid getting your hopes up for a job in a dying field. The recession-proof careers I highlighted as being good prospects for college graduates hold true for anybody in the market. 4. Be optimistic Job hunting can be emotionally draining, and the longer you go without landing a job, the harder it gets. That’s why it’s so important to keep a positive attitude. Keep moving forward with your search no matter what happens. If you get a rejection, fire off another resume. Finally, ask friends and family for support. Which brings us to my next suggestion. 5. Fire up your networkEven if you’ve never actively “networked”, you have a network to help you. They’re your past coworkers, your peers at school, your friends, and your family. Let all of them know you’re looking for a job. Don’t expect them to turn right around and offer you one, but you never know who might hear of the perfect opportunity for you. 6. Be polishedFrom your resume down to your clothes on interview days, don’t ignore a single detail about yourself. You may face more competition for a job you apply for today than at any other time in your career, so you don’t want to leave anything to chance. 7. Get yourself out thereObviously, it’s easier to get a job through a personal connection than an online job site. But applying for jobs online does work—I’ve gotten jobs that way and know plenty of others who have, too. Get your resume on Monster and other sites and troll them daily. A service called Resume Rabbit can plug your resume into dozens of job sites for you. 8. In the meantime, try freelancing or temping If your job allows, there’s nothing wrong with picking up freelance or temp work until you land a full-time gig. Not only can it help pay the bills, but it could lead to full-time work down the road, or at least provide some great new experiences for your resume. Checkout the site GoFreelance for a great directory of current projects needing freelancers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Great Job Hunting Strategies that Will Get You Hired

I talk a lot about business and entrepreneurship, but sometimes you just need a job. And finding a good one in a “layoff economy” is not always an easy thing. You need strategies that work and you need them now. To start, you want to keep some essential facts about job hunting and the hiring process in mind: * 90% of jobs are not advertised. This is huge, and it means newspaper classifieds, Craigslist, and the big career websites are only telling you about 10% of the jobs out there. * There are 3 gateways to get through. The first is getting your resume looked at, the second is getting an interview, and the third is getting hired. You have to get through all 3 gateways to get the job. * Companies want solutions to problems. A lot of times, a company will advertise a position but end up not hiring. They end up finding another solution because they don’t just want a warm body; they want a solution to a specific problem. Just understanding these key points is critical to your job hunting strategy. It tells you where to look for a job, and how to present yourself for maximum results. So put these 5 strategies to work and let me know how your job hunt goes … 1. Get on Top of Your World Communication has 3 components; body language, voice tonality, and the words you use. Your state of mind affects all these things either positively or negatively, so before you even write your resume or start your job search you need to be in the best frame of mind you can be. This means sweeping away stress and anxiety, and boosting your confidence, level of happiness, and your go-get-em attitude. Here’s a few ideas to help you pump yourself up: * Get active. Run, walk, bike, dance, pump some iron … anything to get your blood pumping and the “runner’s high” working in your favor. * Get procreative. Put together a romantic evening with your significant other and make it a night to remember. Guaranteed to make you forget everything else. * Have a play-day. Take the family out or go out with friends and just have a blast doing something new and fun. * Do something selfless. Help someone out and expect nothing in return. * Look good to feel good. Get a haircut or go to the spa for the afternoon. Then, buy a few new clothes to help you look your best. 2. Walk the Road Less Travelled We know that only 10% of the jobs out there are ever advertised. We also know that 90% of the people out there are competing for those jobs; these odds are not in your favor. And getting a direct referral from someone pushes you right past gate one (getting your resume read) to gate two (the interview). It can even push you right into gate three (getting hired). This means network, network, network and it’s how the best jobs are always found: * Talk to your friends and family. Hit every party and group gathering you can. * Play catch-up with former employers and colleagues. * Attend conferences and events related to your field. * Check out community job fairs. * Talk to people everywhere; the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Just connect, make conversation, and look for opportunities. * Research companies you’re interested in and start cold-calling them. Ask for the HR person, turn on the charm, and talk to them about any positions they’re hiring for. 3. It’s Not a Cover Letter, It’s a Sales Pitch The best cover letters I’ve ever seen come from marketing people. They know how to sell it, and no matter what kind of job you’re applying for, you need to sell yourself with your cover letter. Remember, companies are looking for a solution to a problem. And many times, if they don’t see the solution in any of the resumes they get, they just put off hiring someone. No interviews, nothing. Your cover letter needs to convey that you’re the solution to their problem. 1. Figure out the “real” problem the company needs to solve. They might need specific expertise or experience. They might need better efficiency or higher quality. If you know the job you’re applying for well, you already understand the common pitfalls and challenges that companies are dealing with. 2. Highlight yourself as the solution. With a few brief bullet points, talk about what you can bring to the job that will solve their problem. Don’t be arrogant or wishy-washy; be confident, factual, and positive. And describe the real benefits that hiring you brings. 3. You’re talking about what you can do, not what you’ve done. Unless you’re name-dropping, simply refer the employer to your resume for more detail on your experience, education, and accomplishments. 4. Close your cover letter by asking for an interview to discuss the position, restating your contact number and email address. 4. Your Resume is You If you can’t get an interview through a direct referral, your resume has to introduce you to the employer. And you’ve got some more sales pitching to do. While your cover letter is selling the benefits of hiring you, your resume is selling the features you come with; education, experience, and key accomplishments. Putting a resume together is pretty straight forward because it’s simply a record of what you’ve done. But keep these points in mind: * Keep it neat and easily scannable/readable whether it’s being read onscreen or printed out. Also, stay away from crazy fonts or anything that’s distracting from the content. * Fill any holes or “lost time” in your history. If you have to do this, rather than stating this year to that year, state the number of years you were employed at each company. * Fit in with the company’s business culture. For example, a non-union company won’t be impressed if you flaunt your union credentials. It scares them. And the opposite can also be true. * Tailor your descriptions of duties, accomplishments, and skills to the job you’re applying for. You want to talk about the things you’ve done that are most relevant to what you will be doing. * Use your references up front if it will help. Generally, it’s good practice to finish your resume with “references available upon request”. But, if there’s a chance a little name dropping will help you make a connection, include your references page as well. 5. Kick-Ass Interviewing If you’ve gotten to the point of getting an interview, you’re more than half way there. And even if you’re up against other applicants who are better qualified on paper, the interview is about much more than that. It’s about you. It’s about what you can bring to the job. And it’s about making the employer believe in you. * Sell yourself first. Law 14 of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership teaches us that people have to buy into you before they buy into your ideas. An interview is that kind of feeling-out process. It’s not all business; you have to get to know each other with a little casual conversation too. Be likeable and real. Just leave your funny bone at home; some people don’t like funny. * Be interested. Look for things you know about when you go in. These might be customers or suppliers you’ve dealt with before, equipment you’ve operated, or a process you have experience with. Ask questions and relate your own helpful and positive experiences to those things. A little “shop talk” goes a long way. * Be confident. Anything you don’t know that’s part of the job is something you can learn. Anything about the job that doesn’t appeal to you is something you can change later or adapt to. Fear itself is always the only thing you need to fear. If you need a boost before the interview, hit strategy #1 quickly and go in there while you’re on top of the world. So there you go. A job search is basically marketing. I think you can see that understanding what an employer needs will help you immensely. Looking in places where jobs are best found will also help you immensely. And being at your best throughout the whole process will help you … let’s hear it … immensely. Now go get ‘em.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Office Politics

Office politics is just like the lottery. Dreaming about winning doesn't get you anywhere - there's no payoff if you don't buy a ticket. You have to play if you want to win. But unlike the lottery, there are consequences if you decide not to play. Game PlanAt its core, nearly all IT work is binary - ones or zeros, on or off. To solve problems, we drill down until we get to this point of logical decision. Unfortunately, office politics can't be reduced to this level of simplicity. Techies tend to be (gross generalization alert) better at complex logic than complex human behavior. Debug messy code? Sure, I can do that. Decode messy office dynamics? Uh, I'll be heads down in my cube. Gotta go. Office politics is a complex stew of power, ambition, control and ego. Winning, if there is such a thing, requires continuous attention to who's important/not important at any given moment and strategically aligning with the right faction(s). Mistakes can be fatal to a career. It's easy to see how many people decide it's smarter to sit on the sidelines. Swim with these sharks? No thanks, it's much safer not to get involved. Or so you'd think ... but you'd be wrong. Opt out, and the best you can hope for is to be completely ignored. This might be good for your psyche, but it's tough on your career. Promotions or good assignments won't be coming your way, but a layoff might, if one's in the offing. All too often, quiet = expendable. If you choose not to play, be sure you don't criticize those who do, or the game itself. You'll be labeled a loose cannon or a troublemaker. You'll also be a target for skilled political players who may decide to use you to further their own agendas. It's easy to identify the person who doesn't want to join in as the malcontent who's responsible for badmouthing unpopular decisions. Well, says you, I'm not being negative, I'm just saying that things should be based on merit - the quality of your work, not who you kiss up to. I agree - in principal. It sounds great, but I've never seen a company where there wasn't some element of politics at work. This is UnfairRight. What's your point? The culture of each workplace evolves over time, largely in reaction to the example that's set at the top. Unless you're the new CEO, your ability to unilaterally create change is very, very limited. You can continue to resist, but it's going to be a lot less painful if you adapt. You'll be most effective if you can deal with things the way they are, not the way you think they should be. No one can take your principles away from you, but they can take away your position. It's really your choice, and I hope it never comes to that. The best strategy is to modify your view of office politics. Rather than seeing it as a hotbed of useless gossip, intrigue, brown-nosing, or backstabbing, try to recast it in a positive light. Think of the political game as a means for you to spread your own gospel through positive example. One of the few absolute rules of office culture is that it's not enough just to do a great job. You've also got to communicate your abilities and successes to the right people, and you've got to do it via the "right way", which is going to be dictated by the company's cultural norms. Observation is the key. Open Your Eyes and Ears; Keep Your Mouth ShutA key mistake in office politics is accepting information without independent verification. There are a couple of ways this happens. One is that people look at an org chart and take it at face value. In the work environment, there's both a formal and informal hierarchy. There are people on the chart with position and authority who are incapable of exercising it, and conversely, there are people that may not even appear on the chart who manage to run everything. Your job is to figure out who's who, and cultivate good relationships accordingly. That won't happen if you step away from your desk only to use the bathroom. The second mistake people often make is to align themselves with one faction too early, or too closely. When you start a new job, it's tempting to latch onto a person or small group fast. Understandable - it gets you over being green and helps acclimate you to the new environment. The danger is that you may inadvertently align with the wrong group, and you won't know until it's too late. Better to be friendly towards everybody and get the full range of opinions. If you don't favor one faction over another, you'll be able to array all of the different points of view and validate their legitimacy against your own observations. Spend less time talking, and more time listening. This is a wonderful technique that has several distinct benefits. First, you minimize the opportunity to say anything stupid or ill-advised that can come back and haunt you later. Second, people who like to talk think highly of people who listen. They project competence onto you because you let them do what they need to do. They'll speak well of you later, even though your view of these conversations is that they're a good opportunity to plan what you're going to do for lunch. The third benefit of doing more listening than talking is that your silence, especially your continued silence, is liable to make other people a bit uneasy. People who are edgy tend to chatter more than they should. (Think how job candidates might babble to fill up a silence during an interview.) Sometimes, that chatter includes information that wasn't intended to be revealed. All the better for you. Rules of the GameThere's one rule in office politics that can trump all the other rules: never make your boss look bad. Most bad bosses are capable of accomplishing this all on their own. They don't need your help and you don't need to get dragged down with them. Create a situation where your boss is seen in a negative light and you'll be the one who pays the price in the short run. The other rules of office politics are less about the politics and more about you and your behavior. This list isn't all-inclusive, and strict adherence doesn't guarantee success. But, it's better than nothing: Figure out what you want and plot your strategy accordingly. Be a part of multiple networks, not just one. Communicate with your networks often, and in the ways that work best. Judge behavior in the organizational context, not against some idealized standard. Watch other people at work and identify successful behaviors that you can model Don't pass along questionable judgments or spread rumors Look for win/win ways to resolve conflicts, but never leave them unresolved.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Interview tips

1. Be on time! Practise getting to the venue to see how long it will take. Public transport may be useless, the traffic may have been heavy, but however reasonable it won't affect the fact that your chances are reduced if you are late. Always remember - You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Aim to be early - you can always find a nearby resturant to wait in.
2. Be Prepared!Look at the employers' website and learn something about the company before you attend your interview. Feed them the opportunity to talk proudly about something positive you have found.
3 Use the third person when talking about the job. Avoid sounding as though you assume the job is yours. It is fine to ask about the package on offer and accommodation - living in and living out are particularly relevant. You could also try a fewer more testing questions such as how they differentiate themselves from their competitors or what they think the toughest/hardest part of the job is.
4. What are your weaknesses? Don't be SAY ! 'None…ah well, ah'm a bit of a perfectionist actually!'
Try to find an area of your experience/skill that is currently lacking. An interviewer will appreciate your candour - as long as whatever you disclose can be easily remedied.
5. You never get a second chance to make a first impression! SMILE! Dress professionally in simple business attire. And don't forget that firm handshake and to maintain eye contact - without glaring!
6. Be honest! There really is no point lying about your background and/or skills. If you get caught, or even manage to get the job and it is found out, you can be sure you won't be around for long! Job interviews are about matching needs - if there isn't a good match, then chances are that the job won't work out.
7. Check your CV for possible gaps! Make sure you know how you are going to explain time gaps on your CV.
8. Talk about specific achievements! Interviewers like to know how you felt about about a particular success. Some will ask for specific examples of things you've done that you're particularly proud of; how you solved problems; how you learned - and improved - from difficult situations.
9. Don't talk too much! - Communication is a two-way thing so give them a chance
10. Take a spare photo & CV with you! Your interviewer won't be expecting it so you will impress them. It also helps them remember you after the interview.
11. Be enthusiastic and positive!Don't criticize previous employers, particularly within the industry. Focus on positive achievements and views.
12. Be on time!
And finally, Don't give up! The fact is that you will not be offered every job however perfect you think you may be for it. Usually it's because the interviewer was completely blind to the talent that stood before them. However, just on the off chance that it was not, feedback from interviews where you have been turned down can be invaluable for improving future results.
Ask politely if they can give you any feedback for the future - there's a job out there for you somewhere.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Work Behavior that Keeps Your Boss Happy, and Makes Him Like You

What work behavior makes your boss like you? I am not here to discuss tips or tricks that will hoodwink your superiors to like you. Those tricks will only work for the short term but will hurt you in the long term. I'm here to guide you to stand out naturally. If you have proper work behavior, you will impress your boss. However, you do need to be consistent with these behaviors. There are no results without hard work. That said, each of the behavior discussed is not difficult to practice.


Learn to be attentive at work. Your behavior at work should be one of attentiveness. To begin with, you need to be a good listener. Listen to the instructions that are given to you. Make sure you understand what is being said and what is being asked. When you take the wrong instructions you make the unit you are working for inefficient. Attend to details. Make sure every work that you have your hand in is one of excellence. You know the results shine because you paid attention to the details. Never deliver shoddy work. Your shoddy work not just reflects on you but your boss too. When you are attentive at work, your boss will naturally notice you.


I know, this sounds scary. You are a junior at work but yet you need to be bold? Yes, be bold? Being bold means being able to face your fears. You are new and there are a lot of things that are new to you. You quite naturally fear some of the processes. Sometimes, you may even feel intimidated by some colleagues. In such instances, you need to be bold. There is nothing to fear as long as you know your working attitude is a positive one. This also means you are willing to fail and learn from failure. When you accept this work behavior you are willing to take risks and willing to do new things. Someone who is courageous enough to try new things, willing to fail and learn from failure will catch the boss’s attention.


If your personality is quite naturally a calm one, this work behavior is easy. If you have a tendency to panic or you have the tendency to be temperamental then you need to work harder. Be calm and composed at all times regardless of the work challenges in front of you. Remember if something tough is for you to tackle, create a plan to solve it. Everything else short of solid action will be inefficient use of your energy. Your bosses want someone who can help to clean the mess. You shouldn’t be part of the mess. Remain calm and composed at all times. This behavior will have your boss take a second look at you. Soon you will become someone he can depend on


Which brings me to the next work behavior. When you become a competitive advantage for your boss, your boss will like you. He/she will become dependent on you. Strive to become someone your boss can depend. How do you make this work? For starters, be a good listener and be someone your boss can trust. Do not be tempted to get involved in office politics. The best way to stay away from office politics is to shut up. Knowing when to keep your mouth shut should be your work behavior. Do not add to comments. Do not volunteer answers. When your boss can trust you and you have good working attitude, you will become someone your boss can depend on.


This work behavior isn’t just about physical energy. It also means mental energy. It also means infectious energy. This means you have a work behavior that can energize your unit. You are passionate about your work. People like working with you, as you seem to have endless energy. Ever noticed how a person in the office that has energy always gets the better assignments? That’s because their energy is the boss’s competitive advantage. You may already posses these work behaviors. Choose one work behavior that you feel is the easiest to tackle now and work on it. Before long you would have mastered the A to E of how to make your boss like you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Do You Have The Right Stuff To Start A Business?

Anyone can start a business. But to start a business that succeeds and continues to flourish isn’t so easy. According to Statistical data, at least half the new companiesin Nigeria and else where in the world go out of business before their third anniversary, and one in four new enterprises don’t survive longer than one year ("Failure Rates for New Firms"). If you’re going to start a business that has staying power, there are some resources that you must have in place before you open your literal or figurative doors. To turn a start up venture into a successful business, you must:

Fully Commit

Successful entrepreneurs are people who are fully committed to their business ventures. You have to be prepared to put your heart and soul into what you’re doing. You have to truly believe in your product or service, and be prepared to work long hours to get others to believe in your product or service, too. You have to be ready to go without treats such as holidays, and even necessities such as salary, for what may seem like an endless stretch of time. And you have to do all this without the safety net that salaried employees are used to, such as benefits and pension plans.

Be a "Type D”

People commit themselves to all kinds of things; causes, hobbies, other people. Just being able to make a commitment doesn’t automatically lead to business success. If you’re going to get where you want to go in business, and start a business that will endure, you also have to be what I call a "Type D” person; someone who has desire coupled with drive, with strong discipline and determination. You have to not only have the business ideas, but be able to execute them. Successful business people are tenacious; obstacles are temporary barriers to work around. They may take “No” for an answer, but only for as long as it takes them to reframe the question from another angle and ask again. But desire and drive alone are not enough to start a business; you don’t want your business to be a temporary comet streaking across the sky. Discipline and determination are what give successful business people the endurance to follow through on their business ideas, and weather the storms and calms of the economic climate. Knowledge is another resource you need to have in place before you start a business. Continue on to learn what types of knowledge and skills you must have if you want to start a business with staying power. The Knowledge You Need To Start A Business

Get The Business Knowledge You Need

Many people have tried to start their own businesses without bothering to acquire the business knowledge they need to make their business a success - and their businesses have failed. To start a business, you have to be knowledgeable about many different aspects of business and have many different skills… or at least have done the research to find and hire the people who have the skills you lack. If you aren’t knowledgeable enough about accounting to keep your own books, for instance, you’re going to need to hire a bookkeeper and/or an accountant. If your business is Internet-based, you’d be wise to hire a company to design your web site and handle the back end, unless you personally are an expert in site development. When you’re creating your business plan, one of your first steps needs to be a frank assessment of your skills and expertise.

What aspects of the business are you qualified or willing to handle, and which aspects will necessitate either more learning.

Managing people is only one skill set you’re going to need to start a business that's going to be successful. You also need to be knowledgeable about sales and marketing. For example, suppose you’ve developed a better mousetrap. Who are your competitors? What are the mousetraps they’re offering like and how are they priced? What makes your mousetrap better? Is there even a need for a better mousetrap out there? Where is “out there”? Do you have the skills needed to identify and contact customers? Are you good at selling mousetraps? Can you develop a feasible marketing plan and promotional material? And what about business operations? Do you have the business knowledge to manage inventory and fill orders? Where all you going to store all your mousetraps and how are you going to get them to your customers? Have you found the suppliers you need and developed relationships with them? Have you set up a customer support policy? Business knowledge before you start a business is critical. All the drive and determination in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t have the knowledge to actually run a successful business and don’t bother to research and plan for your success appropriately. A friend of mine had long dreamed of opening a bookstore. So he did. Unfortunately, he hadn’t bothered to study the competition or the demographics of the market in the area. It took less than a year for his bookstore to fail. He had the desire and the drive, but didn’t have the knowledge he needed to apply them. So let's assume that you are a Type D Personality with all the business knowledge necessary to start a business. Are you a ready for success? Not unless you have the money you need to start a business.

Sunday, September 9, 2007



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