Entrepreneurs' Blog

Bev James Announces The Winner Of The DO IT! OR DITCH IT Competition

Last year, I launched a competition which saw hundreds of you sharing your DO IT! OR DITCH IT stories with me. A heart-felt thanks to each and every one of you who submitted an entry. I was really touched reading all of your tales of DO IT! or DITCH IT situations.

I found it really difficult to whittle down the entries to a shortlist of 10 and even harder to then select a single winner for the prize on offer – 6 months’ worth of personal mentoring with me, including the first session over lunch with me at one of my favourite restaurants in London. After much deliberation I am really delighted to announce the winner… Drum roll please…

Congratulations Hilary Steel of Kent Women in Business

I was really impressed with Hilary’s “done it!” story. Ignoring the critics who told her it wouldn’t work, Hilary will soon be launching the Kent Women in Business Magazine and the Kent Women in Business Awards – you can find out more here - http://www.kwibawards.co.uk/

What impressed me most about Hilary was her intent on making 2013 her best year yet and how she has already achieved so much already with practically no budget but lots of hard work and dedication. Her passion really shone through for me and I’m looking forward to working with her over the next 6 months.

Special runner up prize – Rupinder Kaur

Because it was such a hard decision to select only one winner, I am also announcing a very special runner up prize awarded to Rupinder Kaur of RK Coaching – http://rkcoaching.co.uk/

Rupinder’s focus for her coaching business and her honesty in how she often uses DO IT! or DITCH IT thinking to banish fear and self-limiting beliefs to charge on with taking action was incredibly impressive.

I look forward to meeting with Rupinder for a 2 hour mentoring session in the near future.

Once again, I sincerely thank all of you for your entries. Look forward to hearing about your success stories throughout 2013.

I wish you well


Negotiate To Achieve The Impossible - Derek Arden

There are 2 kinds of people in the world: those who negotiate and those who don’t. there are also two prices in the world: the price for those who negotiate and the price for those who don’t.

Knowing how to negotiate effectively is a crucial skill for everyone in life, but for the entrepreneur at start-up stage it is about laying essential foundations for business survival. Every day, I see businesses spend far too much money on everything from stationary, to premises, to accountancy fees.

At the very moment profits are lowest, costs are highest. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. A good rule of thumb is to begin by assuming that everything is negotiable – and to have planned in advanced what you want to achieve. With a pound of preparation, an ounce of bravery and a pinch of competitiveness, everyone can get a better deal.

We are all born negotiators. In childhood we learn to haggle, by stamping our feet or crying to get our needs met; as teenagers we learn to bargain, ‘I’ll do the washing up if you let me watch TV’; as adults we learn to negotiate – closing a deal to mutual benefit. Our entire lives are made up of negotiations of various kinds. It is a 24/7 skill. In the world of win, win, win negotiating, the impossible becomes possible because everyone’s needs are met. It is the only positive way forward in business, in relationships, and in situations of conflict.

A negotiation is:

• Any discussion that aims to achieve a mutual agreement

• About reaching agreement with others so that you can achieve your goals.

• An exchange of one valuable resource for another, which involves an element of trade or bargaining – to shared advantage.

When we position ourselves in a negotiation, the perception of power depends on how we see ourselves and how the other party sees themselves. In a conflict situation especially, there are often three views, mine, yours and the right one. The way forward is to know what you want in advanced.

Ask yourself:

• What is my dream position: the best outcome I could hope for?

• What is my target position: the realistic outcome?

• What is my walk away position: the point at which the deal becomes uncommercial and unviable?

• What is the alternative position: what is the cost if I walk away, and what is the cost of the alternative solution?

Then ask yourself:

• What is the other person’s position?

• What do we both really want to achieve?

The point at which your needs overlap with theirs in the zone of potential agreement.
In the words of Dale Carnegie: “if you help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.” This is the essence of win, win, win negotiating.

Know who you are dealing with.

Most people use the same negotiation style every time, so preparation is the ‘magic ingredient’ that will encourage things to go your way. Ask yourself: have I negotiated with this person before? Is he/she the decision-maker? Will they start high and then come down? Is there a time constraint? Are there cultural differences in negotiation style?

Judge by appearances

People buy from people; so dress appropriately and take a few moments to build rapport. Body language is important, as is tone of voice. Control your emotions. Use your instincts – and don’t assume everyone thinks like you.

Always seek knowledge (ASK)

Don’t expect people to be fair – instead help them to be fair, by assuming you can get a better deal. Ask questions. Find out their agenda early. Remember: the other person needs to make a sale and they need to know on what terms you will buy. If you are concerned the other person might say NO to what you ask, remember they might also say YES.

Listen More Than You Talk

Ensure that the person knows they are in competition. That will sharpen the price. Try phrases such as: “I can’t decide between X (the owner’s brand) and Y (the competitors brand). What can you do for me on the price?”, “Are you sure this is your best price?” (ask this twice.) Remember listen is an anagram of SILENT. Be Brave. Be silent. Be deadly. This is when the best offers are made.

Closed questions close a deal

Price is important, but it is usually the extras that influence the profitability and close the deal: service, quality, delivery, exclusivity, payment terms, and so on. Seek solutions that are mutually beneficial. Ask Closed questions to close a deal. Summarise the terms and make sure that both sides understand what has been agreed.

A win, win, win deal is always one where all parties feel they have got what they wanted – and one that is confirmed in writing by a confirmatory letter or contract of agreement.

Remember, your first negotiation is always with yourself. Make sure you believe that everything and anything is negotiable – even the impossible – because it is.

Are You Running A Business Or A Hobby?

OPERATING a well-run business is nowhere near as complicated as some people like to suggest.  If you are a true entrepreneur then your biggest focus will simply be the bottom line.

For some reason, which I have never really understood, there are commentators who use the most complicated and difficult language when they are talking about the way businesses work.

But in my experience the basic rules always apply and haven’t changed for as long as I have been creating and growing different businesses myself.

When looking at your company or organsiation, no matter what sector it’s in, the bottom line is the most important indicator of your progress.

Forget about turnover or revenue, the best way to really test if a company is serving the market place is to take a look at the profit margin.

If a business is making a decent profit then clearly it is answering a need or a demand in the market. And a healthy company means a healthy profit margin of between 20 and 30 per cent.

Once a company has been up and running for more than a couple of years then I would expect it to be turning in a decent profit within that range. If it’s not then I would start to ask some serious questions about the nature of the business and the way it is being run.

There are too many people out there who run businesses that don’t make a profit. What they tend to do is make enough money to keep themselves financially afloat rather than concentrate on building their revenue streams.

If that is the case for you, then you are not running a business.

There is a big difference between running a successful business and having a hobby and it is vital to be able to differentiate between the two.

Read the original article on linkedin

What Can We Learn From Janus The Roman God Of Reflection And New Opportunities? - Bev James

I’m your best friend; I’m your worst enemy,

I’m Janus, God of Doorways. Beginnings. Endings. Choices.

I’ve just returned from BBC Radio Bristol where I joined presenter Jemma Cooper to talk about the challenge of New Year’s resolutions: why people set them, why most of us don’t stick to them and what can we do to change our approach so we increase our chances of success. New Year is a great time to start afresh, to create a new chapter in our lives – and resolutions can be a great way to kick-start change, provided we make sure our goals are ones we really want to achieve.

For many people January is a time for reflection. Another year has passed: we have lived for 365 days since we last made a resolution – but what exactly have we done with the time we’ve been given? On New Year’s Eve did you find yourself saying, “Gosh – where did that year go? Time just flew by, I didn’t do half the things I had planned to do!” Or did you say, “Wow, what a year that was. How am I going to top it this year?”

Statistically, most people have ditched their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January each year – so why do we persist in setting new ones? And what can we do to make sure that, this year, the outcome will be different?

I have found an interesting piece of trivia that I would like to share with you. Janus was a Roman god, whose name comes from the Latin word ianua which means ‘door’. He is the god of doors, gates and bridges. The month of January was named after Janus because the month represents new beginnings. Janus is shown having two faces looking in opposite directions, one at the past and one at the future.

I like the symbolism of Janus because January is the doorway to a new year, where anything is possible should we choose to create or take opportunities.

It can be all too easy to jump into a new year without taking a moment to reflect on what we have learnt – whether good or bad – from the last year. Each year I create a learning log for myself. This consists of events, experiences and people who have impacted my life in the previous 12 months. Even bad experiences can hold valuable lessons – so everything goes in the log. Even though some experiences may have been negative the lessons learned can be positive.

Reflecting on personal highlights from the previous year can be very motivational. Just as TV talent shows often run summary clips of contestants’ best dancing, singing, sporting achievements or comedy moments, so too, you can focus on your own performance highlights and replay in your mind a short show reel of your personal best bits. What would your highlights look like for last year? What were your personal podium moments?

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Top 5 Tips For Starting Your Own Business - James Caan

When I first started out in business I had nothing more than a phone, a copy of the Yellow Pages and a broom cupboard sized office with no windows. Needless to say it was tough.

Whilst I don’t believe there is a magic formula to guarantee you success, there are
some common themes. Here are some of my top tips that I believe will help would-be entrepreneurs thinking of going into business for themselves:

1.Even before you get started you need to be brutally honest with yourself. You need to ask the question whether you possess the necessary qualities to be an entrepreneur. Is there real hunger, courage and self-belief in your personal make-up? If there is even a tiny grain of doubt then the answer is probably no.

2. Always have confidence in yourself and in your abilities but always be prepared to listen to other people’s advice and ideas.

The only way you can do that is by talking to as many people as possible about your business and how you plan to reach your customers.

3. Always do your homework. Having confidence in yourself and what you are doing is great but blind faith can be a fatal mistake.

Detailed research is vital and the more information and knowledge you have on your side the higher the chances are that you will enjoy the results.

Talk to everyone, use the internet and take a close look at the opposition – it will all help in the long run.

4. Do you have a unique selling point that will bring the customers flocking to buy your product or service?

There are very few truly original ideas out there but the very best business schemes are often a slight twist on what is already in the market-place. The real trick is to be faster, better, cheaper and more convenient than any of your competitors.

5. When you are starting out don’t get carried away with the things that are not central to the business proposition. Instead of worrying about decorating the office or choosing the company logo concentrate on landing that first sale or order.

The rest will come in time but in the beginning the most important thing is to get the business up and running and the customers interested in what you have to offer them.

When in doubt keep your overheads to a minimum but never come across as cheap.

Post source: linkedin

  • Morgan Grage: I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for putting up. "No man is wise enough by himself." by Titus Maccius Plautus.
  • Derek: Brilliant article Bev, thanks for sharing. coincidentally the kilimamjaro example used is on my 2014 to do list! Ps thanks for the tips you gave me
  • jackson: thanks for your great article about developing your business idea to great business Jackson mutebi

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The Entrepreneurs' Business Academy is a unique and highly practical one stop resource for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, providing a range of courses , EVENTS and materials that give step-by-step guidance for entrepreneurs on their business journey. The EBA's courses have been put together by James Caan and Bev James MD of EBA and The Coaching Academy, and specifically designed to teach its participants the skills required to take an idea and turn it into a reality. Read more...


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