by Mar De Carlo, founder of the International Parenting & Health Institute
Before embarking on your new journey as a business owner, it is extremely important to consider the following factors which can support or slow down your business:
- Taking the Small Business Readiness Assessment
- A healthy environment
- Managing negative relationships and welcoming positive relationships
- Support from friends, family, and co-workers
- A well-equipped home office set-up
- A daily planned work schedule
- An EIN number and fictitious business name certificate
- A business bank checking account
- A business plan
Small Business Readiness Assessment Tool
The US Small Business Administration provides a wonderful assessment to help you determine whether you are ready to start a small business. You can find the Small Business Readiness Assessment Tool by visiting http://www.sba.gov or by typing the following URL to your internet browser: https://eweb1.sba.gov/cams/training/business_primer/assessment.htm. Your responses will be scored automatically and an assessment profile provided, when you click the submit button. You will also receive, based on your score, a statement of Suggested Next Steps, directing you to the most appropriate SBA resources to help improve your business preparedness.
A Healthy Environment
A healthy environment is essential to your health and productivity. A healthy environment includes: getting enough sleep, relaxation, implementing a balanced exercise routine, making better food choices, using non-toxic products for your home, and being conscious those around you as a whole.
In preparation for your business, make a list of ways that you can improve upon your current environment. Celebrate the healthy choices you are already making and note the challenges. Devise a plan that will help you overcome those challenges.
Negative and Positive Relationships
Negative relationships, whether they be with your partner, family, or friends, can challenge the success of your business and even lead to its’ demise. I cannot stress this enough. Running a business successfully takes a lot of energy, time, and support from all those around you. When a negative relationship is accepted into your space, it is easy to lose sight of your passion, dream, and goals. Negativity takes a glass from half full to half empty. Rather than approaching challenges with an opportunity for productive solutions, you get stuck focusing on the problems. This leads you to second guess your choices and decisions. Doubt becomes your friend. I learned this the hard way. Take it from me when I tell you that if you want your business to succeed, there is no room for negativity.
Here are some ways you can deal with negative relationships and welcome positive ones:
The first step is to acknowledge and recognize the negative relationship. The next step would be to develop a strategy to overcome it.
Most times these relationships involve intimate partners or family, whom are not easy to avoid, so the key is to be blunt and strong. Make it clear that this is your passion, and there is no room for doubters. Baby planning is a very positive and supporting role, it is one that supports motherhood and fatherhood, and it is a beautiful career.
Other ways to handle negative people and environments:
- Offer a positive perspective
- Take extra care of yourself, and create some space. Leave for the weekend, or just take a nice bubble bath, treat yourself to a massage, or take a long walk.
- Keep a list of the reasons why you love this business
- Set up a daily phone call with a positive friend or family member.
- Re-evaluate your boundaries.
- Remain as optimistic as possible.
Support From Family, Friends, Co-workers
Gladly receive or ask for support. Most people, especially close friends and family, want to see you succeed, and as a result are more than happy to assist you with your needs. As an entrepreneur it may seem weak to ask for help. It’s natural to feel this way because we think we show our strength and success by somehow managing everything ourselves. However, if we observe many models of success, they involve a network of people working together for a greater cause. Be clear as to why this is a great business, and why you love it. When others see you have a love for what you do, they will want to support you however they can.
Support can come to you in many ways. It could be as simple as a family member or friend offering to take care of your child to a business partner offering to promote your services.
Here are a few examples of how others can support for you or your business:
- Delegating work to co-workers or business partners, so you relieve yourself of some of the workload.
- Asking for an additional 2-4 hours of extra childcare per week so you may use this time to rejuvenate, relax, and pamper yourself.
- Networking with local businesses and mother’s groups to help spread the word about your business.
- Asking a friend or group of friends for ideas or suggestions to improve upon your business.
- Hiring a cleaning service to come by once a week to do the hard stuff, so you can give yourself a few extra hours to work, relax, or play.
- Have your partner or a family member help you prepare meals or snacks to have ready for the work day.
- Host a local new and expecting moms meet-up to introduce yourself and services to new and expecting moms. Ask for their feedback, ideas, and interests.
A Well-Equipped Home Office Setup
A home office should be well equipped with the following:
- An up-to-date computer and printer
- An ergonomic friendly working space (ergonomic chair, keyboard etc.) with natural lighting
- A fast internet connection
- An unlimited long distance calling plan
- Hands free phone
A Daily Planned Work Schedule
If you want to succeed, you absolutely MUST keep a daily planned work schedule. Otherwise, you may be finding yourself managing your time and business very poorly. Once you have a planned work schedule, it can always be changed. At what time does your day begin? At what time does it end? When is your lunch break? At what time do your respond to emails? What times are your consultations? When do you return phone calls? At what time do you prepare for new and existing clients? When do you update your blog, write a review, send out a newsletter? These are just a few questions. There are a lot more, so you can see why having a daily planned work schedule is necessary and helpful. And again, you can adapt your schedule as necessary as there will be days when you will need to rearrange your schedule.
Organization is a must for your business if you want to succeed. Below are ten useful tips to get totally organized.
- If you are currently working with more than one client create an in-box for each person.
- Keep only essential items on your desktop.
- Create a separate drawer for personal paperwork, items, etc.
- Purchase Magazine boxes to store booklets, magazines, and catalogs you want to keep.
- Tear out magazine articles and put them in their own file.
- Create a simple filing system that is easy to use, and color coded.
- Return calls in batches. Leave specific messages and the time you called if they aren’t available.
- Empty workspace of everything but the project you’re working on to cut down on distractions.
- At the end of each project or event, organize paperwork and file or store it.
- Straighten-up your desk at the end of the day and especially at the end of the week so that you can start each morning with a clean space.
EIN Number – Fictitious Name Business Certificate
Before you open up a bank account you will need to provide them with an employee identification number (EIN) for your business and in some states a fictitious name business certificate.
If you claim your business as a sole proprietor, you can use your social security and do not need an EIN number, however I recommend it. You can find out more information and apply for your EIN number at http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html.
According to Entrepreneur.com, the fictitious name business certificate is defined as: A legal document showing the operating name of a company, as opposed to the legal name of the company. In the case of a corporation, a fictitious business name is any name other than the corporate name stated in its articles of incorporation.
If your bank requires a fictitious name business certificate, they will tell you where you can register.
Business Bank Checking Account
The Internal Revenue Service requires that you open a separate bank checking account for your business. It helps to identify your business, keep your business finances apart from your personal finances, and it can help you establish credit for your business. It also helps you manage how you are handling your cash flow and investments in a very organized and effective manner. Without a business bank check account, keeping track of your profits and losses can get pretty messy in your personal account. I also recommend keeping additional records via invoices, receipts, or financial software which you can use to double check your banking records.
Do you really need a business plan? YES!
Having a written business plan is essential for many reasons.
Having a written business plan is essential for many reasons:
- It provides a blue print for your business.
- It establishes your goals and finances.
- It will help you compete in the market place.
- It will help to measure your business performance and track your growth.
- It is the standard requirement when applying for government grants, loans, or investors.
- Is helpful when dealing with professionals such as attorneys or accountants
It provides a roadmap to success by providing you an opportunity to make informed decisions on all aspects of your business which includes taking into consideration how you are currently functioning and managing all of your life.
When I took a leap of faith in 2005 to stop working for others and start my own coaching business and four years later in 2009, took another leap of faith to start my international organization, the typical business plan wasn’t going to cut it for me. Being so passionate and committed to my health and living my life holistically, I knew I need to take the business plan to another level. So, I created my own unique version of the typical business plan, “The Business Plan with a Feminine Touch™”
When I began using my customized plan with my professional clients, they were surprised and happy that one of the first questions I asked was about their health and wellness and further went on to explain how this directly relates to the success of their business. From there when we dived into customizing my business plan with a feminine touch for them, it became an empowering and fun experience to consider all aspects of their life in their business plan. It took the meaning of business to a whole new level.
My business plan with a feminine touch outline:
- Take space to meditate, reflect and tune into your heart
- Set an intention
- Design your vision dream board
- Create your passion description
- Executive Summary
- Support Strategy
- Team Management
- Company Description
- Product or Service
- Market Analysis
- Health & Wellness Plan
- Time Management
- Financial Analysis
- Web Plan Summary