Starting a Small Business: Dreaming

There are many phases to starting your own small business. Lots of steps to go through to get from that initial idea to a fully functioning business. My husband and I are just beginning this journey, and as we do so, I want to walk you through the steps we are taking based on the advice and insight we’ve received from successful entrepreneurs and my years of business marketing experience.

Phase one is at once simple. Almost like taking a breath it can come unexpectedly and give you everything you need to dive into the depths of a new adventure. It is simultaneously complex. Just like breathing, if you stop to think about it too much, you may just freeze up and forget how to get started.

Jon Acuff talks about a rule he and his wife have. He is allowed to talk through his dreams and she just listens. No questions of how or the cost from her planning brain, and no spontaneous purchases from him during this “Wow” time. When I first heard this concept, I knew it was perfect. For every dreamer out there, they probably have a close relationship with a planner. Spouse, friend, business partner, whoever that person is for you, this safe atmosphere to dream is a must.

As you start dreaming about your small business idea, find someone you can safely dream with, maybe several people even. Jot down your ideas or have your phone take a voice memo. Just keep thinking of things you enjoy, things you are passionate about, things you think will make a difference or that need changed.

Truth be told, you may not even realize you have a small business idea during the dreaming phase. You may just be dissatisfied with your job or you may have a frustration that you see a solution to that no one has thought of. While the first phase of starting a small business is dreaming, often this phase will be over before you realize you do want to start a small business.

But even if you have already begun your business or if you a veteran business owner, you should always be dreaming. It is in the creativity of imagination that we continue to grow and find new avenues for enjoyment and even profit.

The dreaming phase may be the beginning, but it should also flow throughout the life of your small business. In our family, my husband is the dreamer. He has tossed out a lot of ideas brainstorming about his goals. He has finally settled on one that is a great starting point, meets a real need, and has a low starting overhead. This dream is one that we can both latch onto, and in the coming months, I will share our journey in launching our very own small business.

Marketing Ideas Small Business Owners Can Use to Get More Referrals

Many professionals and small business owners want more referrals. They know referrals are a big part of their marketing strategy.   However, many people are reluctant to ask for referrals. It makes them feel needy, greedy or pushy.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!

What is the number one question people ask you?  It doesn’t matter what you do for a living.  The question is always the same.  Ready?  It is:  “How are you?” 
 
If you are like just about everyone, your answer is always the same: “Fine.”  That is a dead-end street.  Next time, use that as an opportunity to talk about your business. 

 
Try something like: 
 
“I’m great.  I’m working with a new client who (describe your client).  I’m helping him by (fill in what you are doing to help that client).  I really like working with people like that because (say why).”
 
Now here’s the important part. Ask for a referral.
 
“Do you know anyone who (describe your client again)?  If you do, let me know.  I’d love to help them, too.”
 
Need an example?   
 
Here’s something an accountant might say.
 
“I am great.  I am working with a client who wants to retire and sell her business in a few years.  I’m helping her get her finances order now, so she’ll be in good shape when she is ready to sell.  I like this type of project because I know with my help, she’s going to get a lot more money when she does sell her business.  Do you know any business owners who are nearing retirement age?  If you do, send them my way.  I’ll be happy to review their books and see if there are areas that need updating.”
 
Need another example? Here is something a restaurant owner could say.
 
“I am great! I just introduced a new menu. It has some heart-healthy entrees on it and my customers love it! I like providing food that tastes fabulous and is good for my customers, too. It makes me feel like I am really taking care of them. Do you know anyone who is interested in improving their eating habits? If you do, send them my way. Be sure they tell me they know you. I will be happy to give them extra-special treatment.”

 
With a little modification, you can also use this type of message in written communication (seasonal cards, e-mails, etc.) to your contacts. 
 
Give it a try!  You’ll soon find getting more referrals is a lot easier than you thought.

How to Ensure Your Work From Home Ideas Business is Legitimate

1. Do not start any work from home program until you have a personal referral. If you know somebody who is working a program and getting paid like they are supposed to that’s a good sign the program is legitimate.

This is where social networking really comes into play. You can meet people on the Internet and get to know them and trust them as friends. If they are doing something that is making them money they’re going to naturally tell you about it.

This is a vital source of work from home ideas that are often times legitimate. Many times even if you are not looking for something new you may join them just because of their recommendation.

2. Look for ideas that have longevity to them. For example we know that affiliate marketing is a legitimate business model.

However there are new affiliate programs popping up every day. How do you know which ones you can trust?

A good place to start is with some of the largest affiliate programs that have been around for a while. For example selling digital information products from Clickbank is a legitimate way to make a lot of money.

Amazon.com is credited with starting one of the first affiliate programs online. It has now been around for over 15 years and is certainly a legitimate way to make money working from home.

Is interesting how many of the largest companies in the world have affiliate programs now. Did you know you can even join an affiliate program with Wal-Mart? This certainly is a legitimate opportunity!

3. Starting a blog with Google is a work from home idea that many people begin with. Google owns Blogger.com and is a fast way to get your blog online.

They also offer an affiliate program known as Google AdSense which pays out millions of dollars in commissions every year. You will find this an easy way to make money every day and blogging can be a lot of fun if your topic is something that interests you.

These are several ideas on how to ensure your work from home ideas are legitimate. Personal referrals, programs with longevity, and going with brand names are all a safe bet on the Internet today.