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Core values: The one thing you should never compromise

People often ask us why we always begin our business coaching activities with a discussion of core values. The answer is simple. Successful, happy, entrepreneurs always live in harmony with their core values. So we can’t possibly offer advice on potential strategies for a business without first understanding the entrepreneur’s core values.

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Winning the inner battles: The difference between the success and failure of a small business

As a lifelong entrepreneur and a long-time business coach, I spend a lot of time thinking about the reasons why some entrepreneurs get everything they want from their business, while others struggle along, accept less than they had hoped for and eventually fail. If you’ve ever owned and an operated a small business, you’ll remember the feelings of pride, joy, and a passionate belief that you’ve taken a big step in your life. Everyone that starts a new business does so because they believe it will make them happier. They have visions of success and a nervous energy that sometimes makes it hard to sleep at night. We can’t wait for the next day to arrive so we can get back at it. Sooner or later reality sets in and we start to question our sanity. Am I crazy? Why did I start this business? What made me think I could make this work?

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Happy Half Birth-Blog-Day!

Guess what! We've been blogging every week for the last 6 months! Given that neither of us had really blogged before, this is a pretty big milestone for us. We've learned a lot since the beginning, and certainly have lots more to learn. Thanks to everyone for supporting us throughout the process. Here are some important lessons we've learned so far:

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6 Ways to be Productive if you Work from Home

I work from home. I have an office in my house, I really have no need to have an outside office. Tim has his own office in his house as well. We meet at the local coffee shop when we need to or at one another’s houses. My friends and acquaintances are often jealous about the fact that I work from home. Working from home is great, but there are some disadvantages as well. 

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Avoiding the Law of Unintended Consequences

As entrepreneurs, we make lots of decisions. Some of these decisions will help our business grow and prosper, others may lead to unexpected consequences. It's just part of the life of an entrepreneur. We all develop our own style of decision making. Some of us make decisions quickly, often trusting our gut instincts. For others, the process is more drawn out. In all cases, either consciously or sub-consciously, we do some sort of risk-reward assessment. If someone tells us to jump off a bridge, we’re going to assess the potential impact of this action. If I do this what might happen. We weigh the pros and cons and make our decision. Believe it or not, most of us are pretty good at doing this.

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The 3 Fastest Ways to Grow Your Business

During the start-up phase, every business grows. After all, we’re starting from zero. But as time passes many entrepreneurs find it difficult to sustain growth. Here are the 3 fastest ways to grow your business.

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Carry it Forward

Personal Lessons from my Entrepreneurial Journey

My business career stretches back 36 years. The recent passing of my first, and only true mentor, put me in a reflective mood. I started thinking about the people, in my professional life, that had the greatest influence on me, and the lessons that I learned from them. Three names came to mind and these are the things they taught me.

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Online Customer Attraction: The Basics

Customer attraction can be one of the most challenging aspects of business for many entrepreneurs. Sometimes you might even wish that you could have someone do it for you. You are passionate about your business and what you do so that part is easy. But when it comes to selling, you don’t really know where to start.

Communicating your message to potential customers is important. You might have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows you exist, or understands what you are offering, you’re not gonna sell anything.

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Are you underpricing?

Underpricing is a common mistake entrepreneurs make.  Many entrepreneurs, especially those just starting out, struggle with pricing.  It’s a challenge to find that sweet spot where you are being fairly paid but also remain competitive.

Entrepreneurs often believe they need to be the lowest cost provider, especially new ones, but small businesses can’t compete on price alone. Pricing yourself too low will have unintended consequences. First, you will attract bottom feeders who are looking for the best deal and not your ideal customers. Second, your ideal customers will be skeptical of why your prices are too low and might not do business with you.  And, of course, setting prices too low also impacts your ability to make a profit (underpricing is a major contributor to business failure). 

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Business Lessons Learned from Lionel Hutz

The Simpsons is one of my all-time favourite shows (the earlier seasons anyway). One of my favourite underrated characters is Lionel Hutz. He is first and foremost a lawyer, but his character trait is that he is willing to pick up any odd job that comes along, and sometimes even markets services that are not at all related to law. Basically, he will do anything for money. As great as this is for comedic effect, it’s not a great habit to have if you’re an entrepreneur! Who will take Lionel seriously as a lawyer if he is also repairing shoes from his office? This hurts his brand and reputation, and reduces his ability to call himself an expert. What lessons can entrepreneurs learn from Mr Hutz?

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