Small Business Diva

November 18, 2008

How To Earn A Full-Time Income Plus On eBay

Have you ever bought or sold anything on eBay?

I was fortunate enough to spend last Friday – Sunday at an eBay Magic Seminar on the Gold Coast, run by the eBay Magicians, Matt and Amanda Clarkson.

I can honestly say that this was a highly worthwhile weekend, with loads of valuable information being shared. Matt and Amanda are such lovely, genuine people with a high level of integrity… and a great sense of humour. In addition to all the useful information and brilliant ideas, I spent three days with a room full of positive, motivated people, some of whom I’m sure I’ll be keeping in touch with.

Matt and Amanda speak all around the world so if ever you get a chance to hear them, it will be worth the effort to go.

You can read more about Matt and Amanda in the latest edition of the Business Mums Magazine (they’re the gorgeous couple on the cover) or visit their Bidding Buzz web site where you can download a free audio with more information on how to earn a living from selling on eBay.

November 12, 2008

The Importance Of Having Effective Business Systems In Place

When growing a business, it’s important to define, implement, and establish systems early on. A business system is a working combination of people and automated applications organised to meet a certain set of business objectives.

Every aspect of your business should have a system in place to gauge productivity, effectiveness, and growth.

Systems are put into place to leverage resources: time, capital, and assets. With established systems, you’re ensuring that every part of your business is being used to its full potential and is available, on call, when you need it.

Some basic systems every business should have include sales and marketing, inventory tracking, client lists, customer service, payroll, and production. For example:

  • If a new product is to launch, your Marketing system needs to be in place to plan a proper campaign that coincides with the product’s debut, street date, and promotional tie-ins.
  • If your company sees a shift in its overall business model, with sales growing in size, then it’s important that the support team also grows proportionately to handle the increased business. With a system in place that accounts for manpower, you should be able to make such adjustments with ease, without the worry of deadlines missed, revenue delayed, or new clients lost.

Documented systems ensure that your business will still continue to run smoothly and effectively if you’re not there to look after it. Furthermore, it will greatly increase the value if you ever want to sell your business or franchise it. To use an age-old metaphor, think of the business as a wheel with every established system being a spoke. If one is broken or for whatever reason, not functioning at full capacity, the wheel’s structure will weaken. To avoid a total collapse, the problem spoke will need to be fixed immediately. The same can be said of your business. By establishing individual systems and having your business be the sum of all parts, you’ll be able to identify such weak spots more quickly, address them, and get back to the primary objective at hand: success.

October 29, 2008

Tilda Virtual Services Are Looking For A New Team Member

I just noticed that Tilda Virtual Services are looking for a new team member – someone who is proficient in video and audio editing.

If you think you have what it takes or would like to find out more, please fill out the form on Kylie’s blog.

October 20, 2008

It’s Time To Spread The Word

Business Mums Magazine

Business Mums Magazine

Throughout October and November the Business Mums Magazine is running a competition. Everyone who helps to Spread The Word about the magazine can enter the competition to win some cool prizes.

The first entry is a video created by Mary-Lou at Groovy Kids Parties that features the magazine – you can see it here on the Magazine’s blog.

Melissa from Business Mums Network has also put together a Top 10 Tips guide that you can download for free. This guide is a summary of all the Top 10 Tips sections that have been in the magazine over the last two years.

If you want to enter the competition, put your thinking cap on and start spreading the word.

October 1, 2008

Make Sure You Protect Family Time

While reading Elena’s EP Designs blog I came across her post about protecting family time.

Elena shares with her readers the following article:

Protecting Family Time by Melissa Khalinsky

For many home based businesses, the line between business time and family time can be blurred. It is easy for clients for demand attention at all hours. As parents, it is more important than ever to protect your family time, drawing a line between work and leisure.

Here a few ways you can protect your family time.

  1. Set office hours – even if your set hours are erratic, fitting around your children, set office hours when you will be working. Outside these hours, be un-contactable, by phone and email. Answer emails and phone messages during office hours.
  2. Schedule family time – you put all your business meetings in your diary, to ensure you keep your appointments. Do the same with your family time – and ensure you keep your appointments!
  3. Use voicemail – during family time, turn your mobile phone off and unplug your phone or screen your calls. If it is an important matter, your clients will leave a message or call back later. You may even want to change your voicemail message to let callers know when you will be back in the office.
  4. Have a separate work area – if possible, keep your work area separate from your living area. If a separate room is unavailable, set yourself up in a corner that is designated as your office. Set yourself up so that your work can be put away during family time, so you are not tempted to start working while you are with your family.

Remember, if you were working for someone else, and working nine to five, your clients wouldn’t expect you to be available after hours, on weekends or when you are on holiday. Your family time is precious – protect it.

Melissa Khalinsky is a work at home mother of 2 boys. She runs Business Mums Network, a support and information network for parents.

Article Source: The RepOZitory – FREE reprint articles from Australia for WAHMs and Business Mums.

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

September 26, 2008

Business Mums Magazine… Interesting Statistics

The Business Mums Magazine blog lists some interesting statistics about the content and contributors for the magazine over the last two years.

Business Mums Magazine ~ For mums who mean business

Business Mums Magazine ~ For mums who mean business

“Over the last 12 issues:

72 different people have had articles published in the magazine

  • We have published 232 different articles, not including News Snippets, network updates and advertorials
  • Donna-Marie Coggins of Jacaranda Business Support Services has had the highest number of articles published, currently sitting on 18 articles
  • 38 authors have had a single article published
  • There have been 20 articles published in the Marketing & Promotions category
  • We have featured 22 different Business Mums in Inspiring Women and Member Profiles”

(courtesy of the Business Mums Magazine Blog)

I find statistics really interesting (yes, I know… I enjoy doing my bookkeeping and preparing my tax returns too). If you are pretty good with writing and are interested in writing content-filled business articles as a way to share information with others and boost your own branding, why not consider submitting an article or two to the Business Mums Magazine?

If writing isn’t your thing but you would like to get your hands on a copy of the magazine (edited by Yours Truly), visit this site for more information. Tell Melissa I sent you  🙂

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

September 10, 2008

Hectic Helpers’ Essential Weekly Tips

One newsletter that I subscribe to that I look forward to receiving each week is the Hectic Helpers Tip of the Week.

Kay from Hectic Helpers – your to-do list specialist – sends weekly ideas that will help get anyone organised. For an over-organised neat-freak like me, I can’t get enough extra handy hints!

If you would like to learn a few quick, easy ideas for getting (and staying) organised, subscribe to the Hectic Helpers Tip of the Week now.

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

September 2, 2008

My.Organiser Refill Pages Have Arrived… Nearly!

If you’re a regular reader of A Good Sort’s blog then you would no doubt have read that the 2009 refill pages for their My.Organiser and mini organiser are due to arrive this Friday.

If you’re not familiar with A Good Sort and their attractive, practical organisers, check them out now.

August 28, 2008

New Business Mums Blog

Melissa from Business Mums Network has got a new blog – Business Mums Blog – that’s already full of great tips and ideas, perfect for busy Business Mums.

If you’re not a mum but you do run a business, it’s still worth checking out. Many dads and non-parents will still find plenty of ideas to help their business.

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

July 31, 2008

Solid Foundations For The Ideal Business

Yesterday I had the sheer pleasure of attending a presentation by James McNamara of the Impact Factory, at the Brisbane Business Growth Session.

I have to say, James’ presentation on How to Have a Life and a Successful Business was awesome! He shared so much valuable information, including several simple strategies to ensure that your business is built on strong foundations.

If you ever have the opportunity to hear James speak I urge you to take it. In the meantime, visit the Impact Factory website to read James’ 7 Proven Principles of Business Success.

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

July 21, 2008

Another Favourite Business Book

Filed under: Book Reviews,Juggling Work and Family,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 12:19 pm
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Over the weekend I decided to re-read one of my favourite business books – an oldie but a goodie, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it by Michael Gerber.

I must admit, this is one of those books that I don’t think I will ever tire of reading. It contains so many good ideas that I make a point of going over it every year or so.

In The E-Myth Revisited Michael explains that there are fundamentally three different ‘hats’ that a business owner will wear – the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician. In other words, the business owner – the person who has all the ideas and sees the big picture; the business manager – the one who implements the ideas and sees that everything is running smoothly; and the mechanic who makes the products or provides the services.

As new business owners we often try to fill all three roles ourselves, but in reality we’re not doing ourselves or our business dreams any justice in doing this. We need to determine which of the three roles we are best suited to and then source partners, staff, contractors… others who can help fill the other two roles. Often it is necessary for a start-up micro-business to fill all of these roles initially however it’s a good idea to do so with a plan in place to fill the other roles as you are able to.

This book also talks about the importance of having systems in place so your business runs like a well-oiled machine and he outlines ways to help develop your venture into a turn-key business.

There are other topics mentioned in this book such as the various stages of business growth, however the two points mentioned above would have to be the main points that I have taken from The E-Myth Revisited.

In case you hadn’t already figured, The E-Myth Revisited is a book that I highly recommend every business owner or prospective business owner read at least once.

Not everyone will want their business to operate like Michael Gerber’s suggested model but it’s certainly worthwhile knowing this information.

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

July 11, 2008

How To Have A Lifestyle In Business

Would you like to discover how to have a lifestyle in business?

What if there was a recipe for having a lifestyle in business… a step by step way to increase your profits and the outcome was enjoying a lifestyle with an abundance of time and money? There is such a recipe, which has virtually been a secret until now. A few have discovered it, and those who have are enjoying astounding time and money benefits.

James McNamara, founder of Impact Factory, will be sharing 5 Ways To Build Your Profits And Free Up Your Time at the Business Growth Session in Brisbane, Australia, on July 30th.

James McNamara

James McNamara

Full details are available here – bookings are essential. If you are in Brisbane, I hope you can join us.

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

July 3, 2008

Business Networking In Brisbane’s Bayside

Many of you who live in Brisbane, Australia, know about the Business Coffee & Chat Mornings and Business Growth Sessions I organise on the north side of Brisbane.

Due to popular request we now have a bayside Coffee & Chat Morning too. Full details can be found on the website. We meet at Victoria Point on the second Tuesday of each month and at Everton Park on the second Wednesday of each month.

If you’re in Brisbane and have a small business or are thinking of starting a business, why not join us? This is a great way to associate with other local business owners, forming lasting alliances and a strong support network. If you work from home, this is a great way to get out of the house and meet other like-minded people.

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

June 27, 2008

Should You Hire Friends Or Relatives?

As you enjoy more success in small business, or you look for trustworthy and reliable partners for your venture, it might seem logical to look to those you rely on the most in your private life; often it seems that that the right thing to do is to help those who’ve been with your throughout the ups and downs of life, or to help those who’ve helped you.  However hiring friends and family is not always a good move for you—either for you personally or for your business.  Before you commit to it, you should consider some very important aspects of working with family and friends.

Strong Personal Relationships Are Not Guarantees Of Compatible Working Relationships

Just because you get along well at home and in your personal life does not mean that you will get along equally as well with friends and family once you enter into a working relationship with them.  Often the additional time spent together becomes a strain, even for married couples who’ve been together for years.  There is definitely something to be said for time apart and individual interests for friends and family.

New roles also cause tension between friends and family that start working together. It can be very difficult for your sibling, parent, relative, friend, or spouse to respect you as a boss, and even difficult for you to feel comfortable “bossing” them, regardless of how equitable an employer you may be.

Choosing The Right Person For The Job

Something else that is crucial to consider is how well suited or qualified your friend or family member is for the position he or she will hold.  Being a nice person or a deserving person does not make you qualified for a job—experience and expertise do that.  And putting an under-qualified person in a position could be detrimental to your company; it could be a liability, too.

Ultimately success in small business will depend on the abilities of qualified staff.  If you place the wrong person in a job that they do not perform well, you could very well have no business left to support any one of you!

Preventing And Managing Disagreements And Difficulties

Managing disagreements starts with prevention.  And that starts from the very beginning of the partnership or employment arrangement.

If you are entering into a business partnership with friends or family, you must clearly define the relationship, roles, and responsibilities ahead of time.  You should draft an agreement (preferably with the help of a solicitor or legal representative) that outlines who is responsible for what, who gets what percentages of profits, what happens in the event of a disagreement or business failure, and what the rights of each of you are.

If you are employing family and friends you will need to clearly define roles and responsibilities as well as the structure and hierarchy of the business.  Construct clear policies and expectations, and hold each person accountable as you would any other employee.  Be clear from the beginning that respect is a must, and that you will expect to be treated as any other employer would be and that in return you will be a respectful and fair employer.

At its best working with family and friends can be a very rewarding experience.  At its worst it can be detrimental to business and personal relationships.  Give strong thought to whether the arrangement is workable for you, and maximise the situation by being clear and open from the start.

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

May 30, 2008

It’s All In The Location

Filed under: Juggling Work and Family,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 10:52 am
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In business, it’s often said that the ‘location is everything’… and in many cases, that can be true.

However with the wonderful technology we have available to us today, working from home is becoming more and more popular… and practical.

For many, working from home is the ideal choice. While this sounds great at first, it’s not always practical and not everyone is disciplined enough to do this successfully.

To decide if this is a suitable option for you, first consider:

  • The age of your children, if you have them (this may work for or against a home-based business)
  • How disciplined you are
  • Whether you have enough space
  • How your family feels about this
  • What the Council regulations are
  • If you will be employing staff and if so, if you are prepared for them to be in your home
  • Whether you will have customers visiting and if so, can you suitably maintain your home? Do you have enough parking available?
  • Whether you will affect your neighbours
  • Whether you will have any hazardous chemicals on the property or excessive noise
  • Whether you will be creating extra waste and if so, how you will deal with that
  • What implications this will bring regarding security issues, insurance, clients visiting after-hours
  • If you’re renting your home, will your landlord allow you to run this business from home?
  • Do you need to be easily seen by customers or can you operate ‘virtually’ – over the internet/mail?

Mind you, just because things don’t look 100% rosy once you’ve been through this list doesn’t mean working from home is not an option for you. If you can’t have customers visiting for some reason, you may choose to offer a free delivery service, making sure you factor this cost into your pricing. Cafés are also great place to arrange meetings.

If you decide that working from home isn’t for you, make sure you read more information on how to choose the right location for your business, including things you should be sure of before signing any lease or contracts!

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

April 16, 2008

Qld, Australia: Government Assistance for Small Business

Filed under: Juggling Work and Family,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 5:18 pm
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Are you eligible for Government funding? How can you export your products to Asia?

Join us at the May Business Growth Session in Brisbane, Australia, for all the answers.

Terrena Burrows, Principal Regional Development Officer at the Northside Centre, Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry, will talk about the various resources available to assist small businesses – including general advice, funding, exporting and where to go for guidance. You might be surprised at some of the resources that are waiting for you!

Click here for full details. If you come along, make sure you say hello to me.

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

April 14, 2008

The Origins of Mother’s Day

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Juggling Work and Family — smallbusinessdiva @ 11:48 am
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For anyone whose business caters to Mother’s Day, I’m sure you are all set for this special day by now, having planned your promotions and special offers some time ago.

Did you ever wonder when the concept of Mother’s Day began? Apparently this day originates from Britain during the 17th Century. It was a day when servants and apprentices were allowed to travel home to see their mothers, usually taking a gift with them. The day became known as Mothering Day. If you would like to know more, read all about The Meaning of Mother’s Day at My New Shiny Shoes – it gives you all the facts and makes for an interesting read.

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

April 9, 2008

The Essential Business Guide

Diva Promotions have just launched their Essential Business Guide, full of practical tips and information for running a successful business.

The Essential Business Guide

To get your hands on this, you can download it now for free from one of my sites – Jacaranda Business Support Services. It’s on the left hand side, under the heading Who wants some free stuff?

It contains great articles from various authors on a wide range of topics about running a business, including one by Yours Truly, explaining the basic differences between PR, Advertising and Marketing… and which is best for you.

Here’s to your success in business…

April 2, 2008

Stop and Enjoy the Happiness

Filed under: Juggling Work and Family,Words of Wisdom & Inspiration — smallbusinessdiva @ 8:01 am
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“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”

William Feather 1889-1981, Writer

Sometimes our lives get so busy, often working more to earn more money to spend on things to make us happy. Yet we are so busy, we don’t actually stop and enjoy being happy.

Remember… happiness is a state of mind, not a place of being.

I’m very grateful that I love my work. I enjoy (almost!) every moment of it, so it doesn’t feel like work or like a chore. While this is good, it’s also very easy to get caught up working long hours, including working through my weekends. Now and then I stop myself and ask why I’m doing this in the first place. I think it’s okay to work long hours if I’m happy doing that, so long as other areas of my life aren’t missing out.

Today, make sure you take some time to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak… stop and enjoy your happiness.

Here’s to your success in business…

March 28, 2008

Do You Set Your Boundaries?

No matter what type of business you run, it’s vitally important to define clear boundaries – things such as your hours of operation, how you provide your service… there are even boundaries between your work and family life or perhaps issues with employees.

On the Tilda Virtual Services blog, Kylie talks about setting her boundaries when it comes to clients and their expectations.

This is a topic a lot of people don’t give a lot of thought to when new to the business-world. Often, new business owners are eager to please everyone and in the end, they run themselves ragged and that doesn’t help anybody. I know – I used to do it too!

If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to give consideration to where your boundaries lie. What are your hours of operation? What do you do if a client wants work done urgently of an evening or weekend? What if two clients what your attention at the same time? What about potential clients who try to negotiate a lower hourly rate or project fee – do you negotiate?

Then, once you’ve set your boundaries, it’s important to stick to them!

Here’s to your success in small business …

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