Learn From My Experience – First Year Tips For Small Business Entrepreneurs

The Number One first year tip – it’s ALL about finding customers and keeping them happy

Whether you are at the feasibility, seed, or launch stage, you need customers!

If someone is showing interest but is not asking about prices, then you may have a new hobby, which is nice, but not a business.

Why? Ideas and plans are a dime a dozen. Cashflow is King. A potential customer is proof positive you may have found a genuine demand or gap in the market – but only when they start talking price.

A vision means squat without a plan for customers.

“A customer base equals capital”

Attracting investors will be much easier if they can see you are already generating a cashflow.

Also customers will attract people interested in working with you – and eventually you will need a team to go anywhere significant.

A customer means you are not dreaming!

Don’t wait for qualifications

You could be forgiven for thinking that in the 2010’s you need a string of qualifications and / or an MBA before making a move. It’s not the case. Examples abound and if necessary you can hire to cover the gaps. Rather, try to emphasise product, ideas and team.

Which book learning are we skipping over here? What are some of the nice to have’s you might defer?

In the initial stages of a business there are marketing skills – be content with seeing the original gap and creating a product to fit. Then finance skills – skip high finance and stick to the basic organisation of personal and business finance to cover risks, and finally time management skills where the essentials can be mastered quickly.

Later in the development phase we have operations – leadership, management, IT, property, culture/psychology, teamwork, loyalty, communications and regulations – the list goes on.

While it may seem heresy to some, the fact is there are many successes in business who started young with no management training.

Beware Franchising

Starting out under the protection of a franchise is a seductive option. Beware! While it may be a way to start-up with less risk, pay particular attention to:

· The franchise sale

Franchise operators are very good marketers – of their franchises. Be wary that you are not sucked in too much by the promises and pictures. Seriously, it’s their job to sell you, just make sure they have a viable plan and you can sell their product.

· Your independence

The bottom line is that you have decided to become an entrepreneur, for reasons which quite likely include working for yourself, and by signing up with a franchise you have immediately given that independence away.

Will you be happy working for a head office? How much input to the business do you really have? Have you just bought yourself a job?

Take a real close look at your marketing plan

How are you going to find and reach customers? Your first job is to run like mad just to find them:

First, are you in an active sector and do you have a ready path to market? Where are you sourcing your leads – today?

Watch out for your own psychology. When starting out you may want to just go with the first half decent opportunity you come across. Relax; try to look at things objectively.

Beware of the “1% of the market is huge” syndrome. Yours may be a billion dollar market, but how do you get any of it? What do you think the competition is doing right now?

Any idea of the cost of acquisition of a new customer? Will your model develop repeat customers? If not you will be forever selling, and this is not a good place to be.

Most forms of marketing except word of mouth are very expensive. When starting out there is no doubt the best marketing model is word of mouth.

Branding. Despite the hype it’s nothing new. Don’t even think about mega-brand style exposure. A start-up is about a reputation, person to person sales and keeping a handful of customers happy.

What is the shelf life of your idea? How are you going to protect it in the internet age?

How smart is the business model?

A business model is the way we do things – how we find and reach customers, differentiate the business from the pack, price, sell and deliver our product.

But there is more. Other desirables include a residual structure, one that compounds growth, and which is leveraged either in time (employees) or money (loans).

Is it going to be a dynamic business or a job?

Realistically – are your finances strong enough for the first year or two?

Being an entrepreneur is a gamble and you must be prepared for the worst if it happens. How do you view losing money? Perhaps try investing on small bets in the stock market and see how it feels before investing in your own ideas.

Don’t get into debt you cannot handle. We should be bold but not take risks. Avoid betting your lifestyle, limit the investment to what you can “afford to lose”, then do everything to make sure that does not happen.

Entrepreneurs should always have backup plans. Not everything will work by any stretch of imagination.

How many hours are you working?

Have you really planned your diary? How will you fit everything in? Not all of us can survive on 4 hours sleep per night.

Remember the working rule – hard and smart.

And if you do work all hours, what is your effective hourly rate? Planning any time off?

Do you have a good business partner?

If you aspire to anything other than a micro business, you will have to think “team”. The synergy gained outweighs potential downsides. While a committee of one gets things done, eventually you need others in your corner.

Are you ahead of trends?

No business can ignore trends. Try to have an eye on the picture three to five years ahead.

Top 5 Executive Office Space Buildings in Downtown Dallas

There is no shortage of superb downtown Dallas office space, as this area is the epicenter of Dallas’ strength and vibrancy. For the ultimate in location, opportunities and convenience, there is simply nothing comparable to downtown Dallas office space.

The Comercia Bank Tower

One of the most well-known downtown Dallas office spaces is the Comercia Bank Tower. Located on Main Street, this Class AA office building is situated on 1.8 acres in Dallas’ Central Business District. When it comes to downtown Dallas office space, the Central Business District is unsurpassed. For many businesses, the Comercia Bank Tower is a symbol of success and professionalism, which is why this Dallas tower is so highly desirable.

The Comercia Bank Tower, which was built in 1987, features 1.7 million square feet, is 60 stories tall, and has about 24,000 rentable square feet. There are currently about 48 companies renting space in the Comercia Bank Tower.

The Comercia Bank Tower boasts two parking areas, which includes both reserved and unreserved parking. There is also an off-site garage that features climate-controlled, pedestrian walkways. The combined parking for the Comercia Bank Tower totals 1,530 parking spaces. There are also an additional 3,000 parking spaces within a two-block radius of the tower.

The Comercia Bank Tower is part of the Underground Walkway System, thereby providing tenants and guests with easy access to a number of downtown Dallas locations.

The Comercia Bank Tower features 24/7 security, and the building and its grounds are monitored with more than 60 cameras.

Here is our list of the top executive office buildings in the surrounding area:

• North Haskell Avenue – This downtown Dallas office space is within a landmark office tower. Located at highly visible corner of Haskell and Central Expressway, this downtown Dallas office building is an executive suite center and is conveniently located near all major roadways and a DART light rail station.

• Maple Avenue – This prime office building is located in Uptown Dallas, and is close to a number of hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. Many of the office spaces in this Maple Avenue building are fully furnished and equipped.

• Crescent Court – Crescent Court is an executive center located in one of Turtle Creek’s landmark buildings. It is a popular choice for many companies because it is ideally located near the major freeways and public transportation systems.

• Las Colinas Embassy Office Building- Office space in Las Colinas doesn’t come much better than the Las Colinas Embassy office building. This office building is just minutes away from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and many of the executive office suites are fully furnished and equipped. In addition, this Las Colinas office building features free parking.

• Turtle Creek Boulevard – Located in this highly desirable Turtle Creek section of Dallas, this Turtle Creek Boulevard office building features three floors of underground parking, a concierge service and even an on-site deli. This business center also features business support services and facilities.

Cleveland, Ohio Downtown Hotels

Located a mile from the famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this hotel in the downtown area promises comfortable accommodations at the lowest possible price. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, in-room coffee and tea maker as well as complimentary Internet access and various standard amenities. At a starting rate of US$ 60 per night, travelers can enjoy the luxury they offer. The hotel further provides complimentary breakfast, usage of their game room, fitness equipments, laundry facilities, parking space and a pet-friendly atmosphere. In addition, business travelers can avail of their business center and 24-hour front desk service.

University Hotel & Suites is near the Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport, Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Key Tower and Cleveland Convention Center is also a short distance away.

Red Roof Inn Cleveland – Independence

Red Roof Inn is arguably the only hotel in downtown Cleveland that allows children under the age of 17 to stay in for free, particularly when occupying the same room with an adult family member! Located off interstate 77, this inn offers a pet-friendly atmosphere with their newly renovated bedrooms and bathrooms. All room reservation comes with free local calls, expanded cable, data ports, complimentary coffee as well as cribs and snack centers. Moreover, late check-outs are accommodated given that rooms are available. Other amenities like hi-speed Internet access, premium TV channels, movies, games and music can also be granted upon request although additional fees may be applicable.

Room reservations starts at US$53 per night. You can also make reservations online.

Comfort Inn Downtown

Conveniently near the Playhouse Square Center, Wolsein Center of the Cleveland State University and Progressive Field, Comfort Inn Downtown, this hotel offers room at a starting price of US$ 99. This inn provides its quests with cable or satellite TV, in-room air conditioning and free coffee in every room. Additional services such as an in-bath whirlpool, kitchenette and multiple phone lines are subject to availability.

Room reservations come with a free deluxe continental breakfast, newspaper from Mondays to Fridays and access to a wireless hi-speed Internet. This downtown Inn Cleveland, offers its guests usage of their exercise room, copy services, laundry area, meeting rooms, indoor and outdoor parking though fees may apply. Reservations can also be made online.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Cleveland – Downtown

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Cleveland resides in a historic 19th century building that was once called “The Guardian Bank Building”. This hotel in downtown Cleveland will not only provide guests easy access to Cleveland’s main attraction but it’s a momentous facility as well.

Located with in the financial district, it is walking distances from the Cleveland Browns Stadium, House of Blues, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers Q Arena. Moreover, the hotel offers vacation packages to the city’s major tourist destination like the Pickwick and Frolic Comedy Club and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,

Holiday Inn offers various rooms and services to cater to each traveler’s need. Guest rooms come with free continental breakfast, TV with cable, in-room pay-per-view and video games, hi-speed Internet access, a work desk, phone line and other standard amenities. Whirlpools, separate living rooms and other usage of their business center is available upon request.

Events and corporate meeting can also be hold at this hotel. They provide usage of fax machines, printers and copying services at their business center. Daily housekeeping and laundry services can also be availed. Children can spend their time in the game room featuring many game machines such as pin ball, racing and shooting game consoles and tables. Moreover, mothers and daughter can enjoy a day of pampering at Holiday Inn’s beauty salon.

Room rates starts at US$ 99 per night. Reservations can be also be made online.