A New Year and a New Focus

Do you pick a word at the beginning of each year? I have for the last several years.

In 2015 it was Thrive. Not entirely sure that year lived up to that, but I digress.

In 2016 it was Conquer. I wanted to conquer the fear that was holding me back in life and business. I did finally get to ride my ex-racehorse but then ended up losing him. And did make many new connections on the business front so maybe it worked.

In 2017 it was Persevere. I totally think I over thought that word, but I did make it through the year. There were lots of changes, but most of them were for the best.

So this year my word is Focus. Why? Because squirrel. I have been told I have too many interests and too many businesses, and maybe I do. But sometimes I just need to focus and get done the things that mean the most to me.

What does that mean? I will be writing here more. I will also be rebranding the Sierra Ranch site to be something different. I think something I have missed in the last few years is doing more writing and more living.

Let me know if you have questions about branding or rebranding your small business. I have done several in the last couple of years and would love to help your small business grow.

To Your Success, 
Deb Stowers

Kicking Off The Freelancing Business

DKSTwitCoverLooking for a writer for your website? Or need someone to edit your work? Or need to finally make the jump and have a site built for you that you can maintain? Check out the Work With Me page and contact me to help you grow your business.

I love helping small businesses get their presence known on the internet. I want to create a website that you can update without my help, but if you want me to help you every month that can be arranged. Creating your space is more about being the authentic you. And this is done by you creating the content on your site. Or having me write articles to get you started.

Know someone that could use my skills? Please forward my information to them. I am accepting new clients. I will be adding more examples of my work over the next few weeks.

To Your Success, 
Deb Stowers

7 No Cost Tips to Market Your Business

Marketing your business can be fun, exciting and creative. It can also be very frustrating and expensive if one doesn’t know what outcome they are looking for or how to evaluate cost effective methods of marketing. Below are seven proven strategies sure to increase visibility, leads, and sales.

1. Business Cards

Business cards are often one of the most underutilized tools in one’s marketing. Make sure you use the front and back of your business card to gain full benefit. Depending on your business you can put some valuable information on the back such as a sports schedule, emergency numbers, or  dates people want to remember.

Keep cards in your wallet, your automobile, on your desk, and at home. Be sure to carry them with you wherever you go and be willing to hand them out as an opportunity presents itself.

Creatively distribute your card. I send cards in packages I mail for the business. Hand them to clerks in stores who may know other people who could use your product or service.

2. Send a picture

Keep your name fresh in a customer’s mind is to send them a picture of when they purchased a product or service from you.

Anytime a customer makes a significant purchase, have a picture taken with the shop owner. You can post itto your social media pages.  The customer then can share it with their friends.

3. Associations

Join an association and learn to network market with your colleuges in the group.

A opportunity within many organizations is the chance to network. Additionally, to make presentations. Along with presentations come publications.  Often, when you do a presentation, you will get a mention in the association newsletter, their Ezine and on their website.

4. Committee Involvement

Give back to the associations you join by being on a committee.  It’s a great way to give back and builds visibility for your business. Joining a committee where you have little experience or knowledge will give you an opportunity to stretch yourself, And will allow you to meet and network with new people.

5. Contests and Drawings

Contests are a favorite to build your database of leads quickly. Every entry into the contest is a lead that has visited your business.  The key is to follow up on all the leads and to keep them coming into your business. Think outside the box and create a contest that is unsual. This will generate more free publicity for you.

6. Cross-promoting

Fins another company that has products or services that compliment yours and promote each other. Cross-promoting is only limited by your imagination. By joining with another business you will cut the costs of promoting and both companies will get lots of new business.

7. Bonuses

Along the same lines as cross-promoting, offer special offers from businesses related to yours. This allows both companies to be represented to the customer and lets the customer get something extra. This increases the value of their purchase and keeps them returning.

Hope you enjoy these great tips and return tomorrow for another of the Post-a-Day posts.

To Your Success, 
Deb Stowers

5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Your Business

Whether you’re just starting out with your business or you’ve had a business for many years, you’ll need to stay motivated if you’re going to see continual success. Everyone goes through a business slump occasionally, but it’s those who stay motivated who will reach their goals. Here are five simple ways you can stay motivated in your business.

1. Work from a List

Create a daily, weekly and even monthly list of things to do in your business. This sounds so simple, but yet a “to do” list is a powerful tool in helping you accomplish business tasks. Prioritize your list each day so you can do those things that are most important first. If you have tasks that you absolutely dread, then put those tasks at the very top of the list if possible. This will give you a free mind for the remainder of the day to concentrate on the tasks you enjoy.

A list can consist of many things, from promotion steps to phone calls to make, and even a stack of papers that must be organized on your desk. Most successful business people create a list and then check off items as they are completed. This gives a sense of accomplishment throughout the day as you complete tasks.

2. Search for New Opportunities during Slow Business Times

Having a slow time in your business? Don’t despair. And, whatever you do, don’t go apply for a job at the local fast food chain – just yet! Stay motivated by seeking out other business opportunities that may tie into your current business.

Perhaps you offer a product or service that sells very slowly during the spring months. You could seek out related products or services that would be popular during those months to offset the other in profits. This will give you a chance to make money and enjoy multiple streams of income year round!

3. Take an Online Training Course for Better Education

Educate yourself through online training courses related to your field so you can learn how to maximize your skills and profits. There are many training courses available online today in the fields of web design, graphic design, online marketing, real estate, travel, office skills, medical, insurance, and finance.

With online training, you choose only those courses that will benefit you and your work at home business. You can usually take the courses at your own leisure from home, and will pay far less than you would for a college course.

4. Expand Marketing Avenues

Don’t settle for less. Use the wisdom and experience of others who have been in business a while to expand your marketing avenues. You might consider reading after top marketers to get Internet marketing ideas. Also, there are many ways to promote your work at home business off-line.

To stay motivated, always test your efforts to see what results they bring. This is far more exciting than paying for ads and never knowing if they work or not!

5. Network with Others

Another way to stay motivated during a business slump is to network with others. Find others in related fields who can offer advice and encouragement about your business. A work at home business can be lonely at times because you never leave the house! Finding others online and off-line who do the same thing will give you an outlet for those lonely days.

Use these tips to stay motivated in your business. You deserve success, so don’t give up!

To Your Success,
Deb Stowers

7 Signs of an Entrepreneur

Do you have the right personality type to successfully run your own business?

It takes an entrepreneurial fire in your belly to start a business and make it succeed. Not everyone has it.

How do you know if you have what it takes to start a business? There’s really no way to know for sure. But I do find things in common among the emotional and family fabric of people ready to consider an entrepreneurial venture.

You don’t have to fit all seven of these categories to be a good candidate for entrepreneurship. But it probably wouldn’t hurt. In general, the more you have in common with these characteristics, the closer you probably are to being ready to try going out on your own.

1. You come from a line of people who couldn’t work for someone else. I don’t mean that in a negative way. People who are successful at establishing their own business tend to have had parents who worked for themselves. It’s usually easier to get a job with a company than to start your own business; people who strike out on their own often have the direct example of a parent to look to.

2.You’re a lousy employee. No need to sugar-coat this one. People who start their own businesses tend to have been fired from or quit more than one job. I’m not saying you were laid off for lack of work or moved from one job to a better-paying one. You were asked to leave, or you quit before they could fire you. Think of it as the marketplace telling you that the only person who can effectively motivate and manage you is yourself.

3.You see more than one definition of “job security.” I am truly envious of the few people I know who have stayed with one employer for 25 or 30 years. They look very secure. But how many people do you know who are able to stay with one company for that long? In a rapidly changing economy, job security can be frighteningly fleeting.

4. You’ve gone as far as you can go, or you’re not going anywhere at all. Sometimes the motivation to start a new venture comes from having reached the top of the pile where you are, looking around, and saying, “What’s next?” Early success can be wonderful, but early retirement can sometimes drive energetic and motivated people totally crazy.

5. You’ve done the market research already. Don’t even talk to me about your great business idea if you haven’t put the time into figuring out if there’s a market for your product or service. As the people behind any number of failed Internet ventures will tell you, “cool” doesn’t necessarily translate into “profitable.” Don’t bother building it if you haven’t figured out whether there’s a good chance the customers will come.

6. You’ve got the support of your family. Starting a business is stressful under the best of circumstances. Trying to do it without the support of your spouse or other significant family members or friends would probably be unbearable.

7. You know you cannot do it alone. You might excel at promoting a business. Maybe you love running the financial end of the enterprise. You could be someone who starts a business because you have unique creative or technical know-how to create a product.

Any of the above is possible, but it’s unlikely that you are going to excel at all of these tasks — or at all of the tasks involved in running any business. Forget all that doing it alone stuff. You are going to need some help sometime.

The willingness to get that help — having employees, partners or consultants for those areas in which you are not an expert — is one indicator of likely future success. “No successful entrepreneur has ever succeeded alone,” development consultant Ernesto Sirolli writes in “Ripples From the Zambezi.” “The person who is most capable of enlisting the support of others is the most likely to succeed.”

To Your Success,
Deb Stowers

32 Words That Can Change Your Life

helpful_tips_imageI found this little tidbit and thought is was a great time to share it.  As we move forward with life changes it is always good to use this test to see if the new opportunities fit into what your plan.  Being an engineer I tend to either over analyze things or use that female intuition.

There is an easier way to determine if our choices we make and the opportunities we receive ‘pass the test’. This simple 32 word statement of business ethics was first created in the 1930s and used to turn around a failing company. These four questions were applied by each employee to each and to every minute detail of the company’s workings. This little list of four questions from Rotary International, a humanitarian business organization, is the most widely printed, translated and reproduced piece of business ethics today:

“Of the things we say, think or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

If we built businesses and our lives based on these very simple four questions we would be coming from a place completely the opposite of the competitive mind and the lack mentality. As you can see, these questions prompt you to choose what is true, fair, and good, making choices that can build friendships and goodwill. It helps us to see how the choices we make can be beneficial to all concerned.

Because of our societal influences, we most often are inclined to make choices and act based on a competitive mind. This comes from the perspective of lack, scarcity, and ultimately greed.

I invite you to use these questions to test your actions and opportunities in your life. If you are seeking opportunity, these questions may help you see things in a different way. In doing this, perhaps you might find an opportunity in your life which truly allows you to benefit the world, while at the same time reaching whatever your dreams, goals, and desires are.

To Your Success,
Deb Stowers