Be a Productive Multi-Tasker!

Did you ever reach the end of the day and feel like you didn’t accomplish anything? If you answered “yes”, you probably do some multi-tasking. Multi-taskers can be classified into 3 categories: Chronic; habitual and occasional. When you feel like the speedometer is shifting toward the chronic zone, it may be a good idea to revisit your work habits.

Daily, we get interrupted by meetings, questions and other “things” that come up. By the time we deal with all of these matters we look at our own personal to-do list and find that nothing we intended to do got accomplished. Some days this is unavoidable, but when each day starts to look like that it’s time to take action.

Today, everyone is busy and no one is ever caught up. That’s generally a good thing. We all want to be busy because that means that business is good. Because we are all busy, the temptation to multi-task has never been greater. What happens though is that we begin one task, shift to another, go back to the first one and then get interrupted again. Starting and stopping a task is more than an interruption. When you get back to a task undone, you have to re-orient yourself to the point that you left off and this itself takes time. Sometimes you even forget what you were working on and begin to work on an entirely new task.

There are many benefits to multi-tasking. You gain efficiency, productivity and flexibility. No one can afford not to be flexible in the type of environment we are in. Some of the negatives are low quality, constant distraction and the lack of prioritization.

The key to all of this is avoiding doing two things at one time in the literal sense. Brains lack the capacity to perform two tasks at the same time successfully. It has even been said that multi-tasking damages your brain. Research done at Stanford University found that multi-tasking is less productive than performing one task at a time. You may think you can handle it but research proves otherwise. A group of Stanford researchers found that “people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.”

Social scientists have long assumed that it’s impossible to process more than one string of information at a time. The brain just cannot do it.

What can help? Every morning write-up a to do list. Star the items that are “must do today”. Next, denote your second priority items. As you execute, check off your done items. Not only will this give you an immediate sense of accomplishment but you will be following your daily plan and keeping priorities.

Typically, we put off tasks that require a lot of thought or we simply do not like to do. Try to get these out of the way first. As the day progresses, your brain tires so the more complicated tasks are better served in the morning.

Email is a huge time hog. Although you want to stay on top of everything, if you constantly are looking at email you will be distracted multiple times during the day. Unless your job title is “Email Monitor”, you will want to avoid this. If you get many emails, check them first thing in the morning, before or after lunch and before the end of the day. Three times. That’s it. If there is something very urgent you will likely receive a phone call rather than an email.

Productivity is especially important when you have many tasks to complete during busy times. In order to manage tasks appropriately, follow the “one task at a time” formula. Avoid getting sidetracked and try to control your time when it can be controlled by you. For example, if you set up a meeting establish a specific start and end time and stick to it.

Another point to consider is learning how to estimate accurately how long it will take you to complete a task or project. If the project is lengthy, you may want to consider breaking it up into multiple sessions if your deadline allows it. Start projects early so that you have time to complete them on time. Delegate when appropriate so that you are not absorbing tasks that someone else can complete. Set appointments to talk rather than have ad-hoc conversations.

Generally, one multi-tasks when they have too much to do. It is very easy to get overwhelmed and disorganized when you are juggling multiple deadlines and responsibilities. Results are so much better when your day is executed in an organized fashion. Once you follow the formula you will get much more done and your brain will thank you!

8 Invoicing Mistakes Small Businesses Must Avoid

Invoicing is often dismissed as a mundane task that need not be done with full attention. That is true, but it is an important part of the business that is essential to maintain a positive cash flow. As a business owner, you must realize that your duty does not end with just sending an invoice.

Automation of various tasks with the usage of online accounting software will take a load of your back and help you manage invoices in the most productive way.

To make sure you get your money on time, here are a few things that must be avoided.

1. Procrastination

As a business owner, it can get awfully difficult to manage so many various tasks on time. It is not uncommon for a small task such as invoicing to slip your mind, or you may think that a regular client or customer will make the payment anyway and push the task ahead.

But you need to remember, that invoicing is your responsibility. One must make it a priority and send an invoice as soon as the job is complete. According to a survey, when you invoice on the same day of the work completion, you are 1.5 times more likely to get paid on time.

2. Pending Invoices

Now that you have made a priority to send invoices, it is also very much possible that the client misses their due date, misplaces the invoice, or simply forgets about it. You and your team have to take responsibility to get paid on time, so be proactive in sending reminders and contact the client immediately if they miss their payment date.

In a rare case where you are dealing with a terribly unresponsive client, extreme measures can be taken. A case can be filed in small claims court, or if matters get worse, you can hire a collection agency to get your payment.

3. Undefined Terms

Business dealings must always have clearly specified conditions which come in use, in case of any discrepancies. Never use vague language in an invoice, specify your terms and resulting consequences if those terms aren’t met. But do not define lengthy and unrealistic terms that can hamper business relations.

To create an ideal situation, sign a simple contract with your clients that will protect the interests of both parties. Bring this into practice and you will ease up a lot of your workload. Ask your lawyers to record your agreement and make it official.

4. Details that Matter

Precise attention must be given to details so that small mistakes are avoided. Check with your client on whom to send the invoice and draft the mail accordingly. Billing a different individual or department can create a lot of miscommunication and waste your precious time.

An invoice must always contain these details:

  • Legal company name, office address and contact number
  • Client name and address
  • Invoice number and date
  • Payment due date
  • Tax number or license numbers, as per government demands
  • Terms of payment
  • List of products or services
  • Total amount to be paid?

5. Data Backups

In this age of technology, it seems unwise not to take advantage of it. Create regular backups of your receipts on the cloud, so that you have a soft copy to refer to, even if you lose the hard copy. Use applications like Quickbooks cloud to keep track of your data and enable remote access to your finance reports.

6. Branding and Format

Research has shown that invoices are 3 times more likely to get paid if there are a proper company logo and name mentioned. These small things show that you are professionals and it creates your executive image over the others.

Also, the same goes with poor editing and format of the invoice. Spelling mistakes, incorrect amount, incomprehensible fonts, all these mistakes must not be made. Double check your invoices before sending them.

7. Flexibility and Payments

You have set up your payment terms, well done. But being a businessman does not mean that you need to be harsh over rules. Sticking to them is important, but every now and then, you can offer a bit of wiggle room, on client’s request.

In terms of payments, you must offer options for safe payment methods for the convenience of your client, and efficient workflow for both you and them.

8. Manners

Being polite is the most important thing to run a successful business. Adding a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to your tone, emails, and even invoices can increase your chances of getting paid by 5 percent. This will also boost your brand image.

With the rapid technological advances and its integration in the accounting industry, usage of sophisticated application like cloud-based QuickBooks helps profusely. It streamlines the workflow and helps keep track of incoming and outgoing cash. Keep these points in mind to get your payment on time from clients.

Big Data’s Role in the Craft Brewing Process

The use of what is commonly called “Big Data” can play a key role in the operation of any craft brewing company.

How that data is gathered, analyzed and implemented can make a large difference in the efficiencies and profitability of any sized brewer, from new startup to the established multi-state operation.

Nearly all brewers realize that attention to detail is a hallmark of the industry. It can make the difference between success and failure. This includes execution of a daily routine that ensures ingredients are mixed and formulated properly, then properly processed through a kegging and bottling system, and, in the end, results in the replication of a high quality product. This must be accomplished with a production output necessary to sustain profitability.

The overall brewing process must be completed with as little waste as possible. Any variation, large or small, can slow down the operation, impede production, and compromise taste. The end result can be a slowdown in delivery times, loss of customers, and a large increase in overall costs.

In order to maintain consistency, many in the industry are now turning to data gathering systems. These systems can include software that can be automated to accumulate hundreds of pages of information. However the challenge for most becomes not only the collection of the data itself but also how to sift through it, decipher it and put it to use to improve business operations.

Fortunately new data gathering software has been created specifically for the craft brewing industry. Not only can the software be utilized to eliminate the mountains of data which may be pertinent to other types of businesses but not to brewers, but it can also monitor key areas of operation impacting the brewer’s’ specific brewing process.

This software can be customized to monitor and even improve mashing-plato (balling), temperature (conversion) and raise times. It can provide information on Lauter tun-first wort plato, lost Hansel plato, number of bed cuts, runoff time total and grain out time. Items such as brewkettle-kettle full plato, wort cooling, fermentation, time from fill to attemporation, centrifuge turbidity, yeast brink, filter and CIP can also be tagged as needed.

The software can help the brewer with full system monitoring, setup alerts based on production and performance, watch output comparisons by day and time, and track inventory and materials.

Some of the automated software can also provide cloud based reporting for 24/7/365 access on a PC, laptop or mobile device. It can work with all servers and workstations, and multiple devices. The software may also be compatible with any PLC including Siemens and Allen-Bradley devices.

The newer software can be adjusted to provide only the most crucial reports and information. Instead of continuously polling and storing data, it can focus on specific program triggers and collect specific data at specific points in time, at specific process conditions. This provides a detailed comparison from one day’s operation to the next, enabling the brewer to make adjustments as necessary.

A brewer can also find programs that provide a full system back-up, support and updates. Some systems are fully customizable to meet the needs of the individual brewery.

Corporations and multi-national beer producers have used various forms of big data processes for many years. Big data has helped them not only monitor and improve the manufacturing process but also with pricing and marketing.

Now craft brewers, of all sizes, can enjoy the benefits of data gathering and analyzation. The development of new software programming, combined with the ease of cloud based reporting, can help the brewer greatly improve business operations while greatly increasing profits.

David Moye is a Principal with Forensic IT, a firm providing big data solutions to companies nationwide. David helped found Forensic IT and DataSnare software, and has some 25 plus years of experience as a software engineer and solution architect. Along with at least a half a dozen core programming languages, he is a certified DBA in Oracle and Sybase and has spent years working with MS-SQL and MySql.

3 Tips When Choosing a Food Courier

Nothing beats the taste of homemade food and it is when you are in a foreign land that you certainly appreciate your native cuisine. Do you know that you can courier your food items from India to any part of the world? In this article, we will be looking at 3 tips when it comes to choosing an international food courier.


First of all, you want to consider the ease of use of the service. You would want a courier service that will make documentation as well as customs clearing as easy as possible. Foods are highly perishable items and you would want the items to reach their destination quickly. Choose a courier service that provides online tracking so that you can monitor your shipment. Some courier service will require a lot of paperwork while others will take care of the documentation procedures for you. This is where a service such as Translink Express might come in handy as they take care of all documentation and guarantee a door to door delivery.

International service

When choosing an international food courier you would want to choose a service that provides a wide range of destination. This will allow you to get your homemade dishes couriered to you wherever you are located in the world. A service such as Translink Express offers a wide variety of destination such as UK, USA, Canada, Dubai and many parts of the world. Moreover, they have some good experience of the customs regulations of these destinations guaranteeing you a fast and effective customs clearance.

Packing service

When it comes to courier food items it is important that you pay attention to the packing. Indeed food can easily get spoiled during transit and only a courier service that is specialized in the transportation of food items can guarantee you a hassle-free service. Also, inquire whether you will be given an insurance on your shipment to protect your food items. A courier service such as Translink Express will provide you with free packing service as well as a money back guarantee in case they cannot deliver your items.

Nowadays if you are working or studying abroad there is no reason why you should miss any of your homemade dishes. With the numerous international food courier service that exists it is easy to get your favorite homemade items to your doorstep. We hope that the tips given above will help you in choose the right courier service for your foodstuffs.

6 Essential Tools for a DIY Car Wash

It is true that there are many car washes you can take your car to, or even contact mobile car valeting services. Yet, there is also the option of cleaning the vehicle on your own. That is not a bad thing to do, as long as you know how to maximise the result. It is hardly ideal to wash the car in a way that actually damages it or only removes the surface dust. Cleaning the vehicle is not as difficult as some believe, as long as you arm yourself with enough time and the right gear for the task. This is what you should acquire to do the job properly:

A microfibre wash mitt – one of the safest and easiest ways to clean the car is by donning a wash mitt on your hand. You can then use it to wash the surface of the vehicle. Once you have watered the paint and have applied the car cleaning product, you will find out just how useful the mitt is. The most important benefit is that it will not scratch the paint, unlike some rags that careless people use.

Car soap – one mistake you need to avoid when washing your car the DIY style is to use dishwashing liquid, instead of car soap. It is best to rely on the latter for the best result and also to prevent any form of paint damage. A car shampoo also works well, as long as it is specially designed for car washing.

Detailing kit – washing the car is an only basic form of car care. You can walk the extra mile and detail the vehicle. To that end, you can get a kit containing everything: wax, polish, protectant and detailer. Having everything all at once is a great way to get things done quickly and without hassle.

Vacuum cleaner – your car interior will develop dust and dirt over time. The best way to take care of that problem is to run a vacuum cleaner on the carpet and upholstery inside. Get one that is portable and easy to use, yet powerful enough to remove pet fur, dust, sand and whatever else ends up inside.

Steam cleaner – even the most powerful vacuum cleaner proves powerless against deeply embedded dust and dirt. To address this issue, you should use a steam cleaner. It will clean the seats in depth, providing a fresh and sanitised environment inside the car for you to enjoy.

Buffer and buffer heads – if you are only now getting to know buffers, you can use a manual one. It will not give your car a showroom-like appearance, but it can still fix some minor issues on the paint. An electric buffer is much better in every aspect, but you have to be careful with it so as not to damage the paint.

Starting A Business – Some Things To Keep In Mind

There are many things that are required to run a successful business. To have a business that you can hang your hat on, I would recommend that you keep these ideas in mind.

1) Build something that you believe in

I learn a huge lesson from owning a company for 5 years. When you are in your dark basement thinking about why your business in not producing in the way you would want it to, there is only one thing that powered me forward, and that was the belief in my purpose.

2) Don’t aim for small changes, be radical with your improvements.

In today’s time, we have incredible products and services through entrepreneurship. I strongly recommend that you keep detailed statistics as far as marketing, profits, and costs. When you stay on top on your statistics, you can track the areas where you need improvements.

3) If you become successful, anticipate copiers

When an idea starts to see success, people all over the world are trying to get in on the action by copying everything you are offering. Although it is unfair, I recommend that you constantly find ways to separate yourself from the pack of copy cats.

4) Save your money, so it can save you later

Although this is powerful advice, it is very hard to do. When I had my start-up, it felt like it was taking all my money. One of the main reasons why my company is still standing is because I kept a strong savings account to cover my losses.

5) Rome was not built in a day

Starting a business from scratch is extremely time consuming. According to Forbes, most companies break even after the fifth year. What that means is, on average, most companies are straight losing money for five years and do not see profit to about 5 to
7 years.

6) Make sure you are saving your time

It is important to do some careful research on the industry you are a part of. For example, I am a part of the telecommunications industry and I made it a priority to look at the history of companies in my industry. I looked at they survival rates to determine if they can stand the test of time.

7) Consult with your loved ones

When you decide to start a company, your family gets the pros and cons with what comes with starting a company. If your family is opposed to taking the cons of starting a company, then it will make things that much harder for you.

Quick Tips to Connect With People More Efficiently

The internet and advanced technologies have helped businesses to grow rapidly and these also help people in different locations to connect easily. As companies begin to expand, the number of seminars, meetings, or presentations they conduct also increase. Highly refined thoughts and educative materials are presented in business meetings and conferences which need to be documented and captured carefully using business transcription. Important talks and discussions are common for any business setup and these talks can be recorded and transcribed into well-structured text and for future references. Today, with access to many good digital transcription agencies, companies can easily convert their audio or video recordings into text format. Sometimes organizations may have half of the employees in the office and the other half at a different location and with advanced technologies like video conferencing, telephone meetings etc they can connect efficiently. Whatever be the way adopted to connect with each other, it must be done efficiently and produce tangible results.

Here are some successful strategies to consider to connect with your team more efficiently.

  • Set up your own connectivity model: Business leaders can set up their own connectivity model to meet specific organizational needs. Connection and efficiency can be promoted by mapping daily, weekly and monthly communication expectations for your team, and also the ideal methods.
  • Use a digital communication model: With tools like social media, text messages, mobile conferencing and so on, people in remote locations can also connect well. So, leverage these tools to reach out to team members.
  • Provide open virtual access: Conversation platforms like Slack, Slido and others help to stay in touch. Business leaders should ensure that everyone has access to these, and it helps to have a human connection.
  • Provide a safe space for speaking up in the meeting: Providing a safe space for speaking makes the meeting more effective, empowers team members to ask what they need and support each other. It also helps to observe how each person engages.
  • Set up an agenda: Having a set agenda helps to ensure that you create the space to surface the roadblocks and provide support. Keeping an agenda reminds you of the topics that need to be discussed ad also keep track of the time.
  • Respect people’s preferences: If there is a problem to be addressed, lay it out to your team and get their opinions. You can communicate by phone, email or text and get everyone’s preference and then stay connected.
  • Socialize: Be active on social media and post images that inspire your team mates. You can also share ideas of what others are doing to generate creativity.
  • Make a schedule with intention: Organizing a meeting just for the sake of it is unproductive and inefficient. So, it is better to schedule a meeting which addresses something particular and is important to the organization.
  • Hold open office hours: Holding open a couple of hours a week helps all team members to connect with each other. The team members can book 5- to 15-minute conversations on an open calendar. But this open-source mindset can be inconvenient during busy weeks.
  • Be flexible and consistent: Meetings with team members in various locations is a reality for rapidly growing companies. Driving results, irrespective of the location, requires clearly written and verbal sharing of company objectives and success metrics. Managers will have to rely on both new talent and experienced workers at varying levels of expertise. It is important to be flexible and consistent when touching base with team members.

5 Life Planning Steps for Career Professionals

Many people are unfulfilled and trying to get unstuck in their life or career. Often they can’t pinpoint why they feel the way they do. They just know they aren’t happy, and they may have no idea how to make themselves happy. Our work together is focused on helping them figure out their passion, and their purpose in life (not just in their career) which leads them to more clarity in direction, to take specific action steps and to have a greater sense of control over their life and their career.

If you are currently feeling stuck or lacking direction in your career or in your life, here are 5 life planning steps you can take:

  1. Clarify your values – Values are what’s most important to you right now. And while values do not change in the short term, they do change throughout your life as you enter and exit various life stages. It’s good practice to regularly review your values to ensure you are aligned to what’s most important to you. I remember a time early in my corporate career, when career progression was important to me and I worked long hours, took night classes and did what I believed was necessary to get promoted. As I moved into motherhood, I found kids and family were more important to me and while my career was still important, I did forgo career moves that would have meant relocating my family. Later, I left my corporate role in favor of running my own business to create more freedom and flexibility. If you are finding yourself at odds in your career or in your life, it may be that your values have shifted and you haven’t yet aligned your life to support what’s most important to you right now, in this stage of your life.
  2. Identify your passion and purpose – What do you most enjoy doing? Are you doing “it”? Many people believe their passion should be their career. But there are many ways to fulfill your passion even if it’s not your main career. I know an artist who is accumulating some amazing pieces of art he sculpts hoping to exhibit them one day. Art is his passion, and yet he earns his living as a teacher. He finds many ways to integrate his passion into his work. For example, he volunteers for set design for school productions, he teaches art during the summer months at a local art studio, and he sculpts in his spare time. If you are one of the lucky ones where you are passionate about the work you do in your career, congratulations. And if you are not, there are still many ways to feed and nurture your passion.
  3. Define your goals – Do you have a clear set of goals for this year? And for the next 3-5 years and beyond? Life is a marathon, not a sprint and your life plan should reflect that. A methodical, disciplined approach to realizing your dreams and goals. What do you aspire to be, to have? Even if the goal seems too big or too unattainable, think about and plan for how you can move forward in the direction of what you most desire? Taking regular, baby steps will get you the results you desire eventually. Also, make sure you look at all areas of your life not just your career. Consider: money and finance, relationships, personal and professional development, health and wellness, spirituality, family, fun and recreation, and physical environment.
  4. Organize your finances – Do you have a financial plan? Many years as a banker taught me that some goals need to be planned for financially to be achieved. Generally, people don’t adequately plan for their future and then live a life of many regrets. You may have a goal to retire at 65 or start a business at some point, but unless you have planned for it financially, it may not be attainable. I worked with a client who desired to leave his corporate job and start a business. Through our coaching work, he determined the amount of money he needed to cover his expenses until his business broke even. He continued with his corporate job long enough to amass the money he would need. While it was not easy to save, be disciplined and continue with his job, it set him up for success and took a lot of pressure off his finances in the early stages of his business. Make sure you have adequately planned for emergencies, set aside monies to realize your goals and plan for your future including your retirement. A good financial plan is an important component of your overall life plan.
  5. Create your career plan – No matter where you are on your career path currently… at the start of your career or perhaps nearing the end and thinking about retirement – you need a career plan! A good career plan will include a review of your values, interests, passions, strengths, skills and experience as well as your career goals, options, and opportunities. A good plan will identify and address education/experience gaps, personal and professional development needs as well as available support and mentorship. Having a well thought out plan provides you with focus, direction and the confidence to take action. The better prepared you are for the future, the easier it will be for you to slide into your next career move.

If you wish to live a life of fulfillment and abundance and no regrets, it will take some personal reflection and planning. If you don’t have the motivation or know how to do it on your own, seek the assistance of a professional, whether it’s a financial advisor to assist you with a financial plan or a professional coach to assist you with your life and career plan, take the first step and get on track to realize your dreams and goals.

Key Differences Between a Dissertation and a Thesis

For any student, a dissertation or a thesis, or any other written documents are an important part of their academic life. These writing assignments involve research material in the form of audio recordings as well. Digital transcription agencies help students convert all audio lectures, interviews and discussions into digital format.

When a student goes to a graduate school or a doctorate level school, they have to work on their thesis or dissertation. Almost all graduate level programs in the US require completion of a final thesis or dissertation within the field of the study. A thesis is a large paper that is submitted upon the completion of a Master’s degree program. A well-written thesis demonstrates the student’s ability to think critically about a topic and discuss it in detail. A dissertation could be a few hundred pages long that utilizes others’ research merely as guidance in coming up with a new and unique hypothesis, theory or concept. It is much longer than a thesis as it contains thoroughly researched information along with every detail of your proposal and how you arrived at the information.

Understanding the key differences between thesis and dissertation is important. Both papers are similar but different in their own way. So here are some of the main differences between thesis and dissertation.

  • Basic difference: The major difference between a dissertation and thesis can be identified only when they are completed. A thesis is a compilation of research that shows how knowledgeable you are about the information learnt throughout the graduation program. A dissertation is an opportunity for students completing a doctoral program to contribute new knowledge, theories or practices of the field.
  • Length and Structure: Students usually complete a thesis in one full semester whereas doctoral candidates spend years completing their dissertation. They write, edit, and produce a research document that may comprise 400 or more pages. In some schools, a doctoral candidate’s entire course of study may be referred to as his dissertation.
  • Research content: Both thesis and dissertation require extensive research but a thesis requires less external research because it shows only a student’s own ideas and conclusions. A dissertation requires extensive research and may also require hundreds of external sources. You should be able to defend your own work be it thesis or dissertation. A thesis defence involves oral defence before faculty members who ask questions about the paper but a dissertation defence may last for hours and includes faculty members from various universities and other scholars.
  • Understanding the context: In the US, the word thesis refers to a student’s ideas supported by research whereas dissertation is part of a doctoral program which needs extensive research. In Europe a doctoral thesis is a focused piece of writing of original research which is performed to obtain a PhD and dissertation is part of a broader post graduate research project. Some schools use these terms interchangeably. So understanding the cultural difference in writing a thesis or dissertation is important.

5 Steps to Move From Employee to Entrepreneur

Have you been considering quitting your day job in favor of starting a business? Have you just lost your job and are currently exploring alternative ways of earning a living? Have you always dreamt of owning your own business some day?

Before you take the leap of faith into self-employment, consider these 5 steps:

  1. Get clear on your goals/passions – It’s not enough to decide to become a business owner. There are several questions and things to consider before you move forward in becoming a business owner. You will need to think about what kind of business you wish to run. You`ll need to determine if you wish to grow it from scratch, buy an existing business or purchase an available franchise. But even before you decide that- you should think about how the business will fit in with the rest of your life. Running a business can be a huge commitment of time and money. So ask yourself what do you enjoy doing or what will bring you joy? You will spend much of your day on your business so it’s a good idea for the business to provide work you actually enjoy doing. Ask yourself what you are most passionate about? What would you love to do? What is your dream job/business?
  2. Do your research/homework – Don’t make any rash or impulsive decisions and don’t leave your day job until you are absolutely sure of what you want to do and have a plan for doing it. Take the time to do good research by researching the industry, the marketplace, your potential target clients, your competitors. Do proper business research including a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. Get a good handle on projected revenues and realistic operating costs as well as an understanding on how long it will take to breakeven and generate more revenues than expenses. Identify your personal strengths and skills and determine if there are any skills gaps. Determine how you will close any skill gaps or lack of expertise. Which gaps can be closed through skills training? Which gaps can be closed through recruiting the right people? Which gaps can be closed through coaching or mentoring? Determine what options and opportunities are available to you right now?
  3. Learn from others’ mistakes – There is no shortage of people who have started or run a business. Speak to as many people as you can who have gone before you. Learn what you can about what works, what doesn’t, and what mistakes others have made. Don’t waste valuable time and money. Be open to hearing others` perspectives on what they would have done differently. Hindsight is always 20/20.
  4. Business Plan ahead – Do the work and develop a business plan. While it may be a lot of work, it will be time well spent and most financial institutions will require one if you are searching for financing. The process of business planning is not only to prove to the bank that your business will be a success, it’s also a roadmap for you to follow to ensure success. Running your business finances can be like running your weekly, monthly or yearly personal budget – so if you haven’t developed good budgeting and financial management skills, it might be particularly challenging and doubly important to have a solid business plan.
  5. Hire a mentor – Starting and running a business can be challenging or even lonely at times. In addition to the day to day operations of the business, you may be mentally or emotionally overwhelmed by being a business owner. Having a safe place to go to for advice, guidance, and accountability or simply as a sounding board can be just what you need to help you make the transition into entrepreurship easier and smoother. Good coaching and mentoring can really help you fast track your transition.

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