Businessman holding coffee cup

Entrepreneurs and Small Business: Do You Have an Elevator Pitch?

The elevator pitch is important in today’s business settings; it is a way to tell people what you do without spending a half hour doing it.

“I help people create their amazing tomorrow.” There are many different ways to create an elevator pitch, and everyone has a different slant on how to do it. Personally, I like the elevator pitch that makes the listener want to ask questions.  I could say that I am a business, career, and life coach, but coaching is still one of those professions that seem ambiguous. The elevator pitch should say exactly what you do in as few words as possible. A humorous pitch, if done right, works also. A local drain cleaning company has the pitch: “I get the **** out of your life.” Be careful with humor, however, it can backfire. Spend time creating the right elevator pitch. I would say it can be up to 60 seconds, but 30 would be ideal. You should include your business name at the end and have a business card ready to hand to the listener.

Developing an elevator pitch is extremely important for introverts.

We tend to get flustered when we do not have a reply ready to go (extroverts, ever ask a person what should be an easy question, but you get that “deer in the headlights” look back?). Developing your elevator pitch will not only give you something to say, it will help you be more comfortable in networking settings.

bicyclist golden gate bridge

Entrepreneurs: How to Have More Energy

As entrepreneurs and solopreneurs we tend to try to do everything ourselves.

But, as much as we want to tell our children that it’s true, we are not good at everything.

I would say the biggest change I made that has impacted my businesses has been admitting that I am not good at everything, and some things really drain my energy.

I love coaching; it is a great thrill to help my clients see a brighter future.

But I am so bad with numbers that I cannot even put receipts into my accounting software correctly. I used to dread the time when I had to input all those boring numbers so much so that thinking about it would sap my energy. Yes, it cost a bit of money, but hiring someone to take care of that part was such a relief that I feel like I am better at what I do because I am not worrying about that part anymore. What saps your energy? What would it really cost to hire someone else to do it? Picture yourself several months into the future. How do you envision yourself if you didn’t have to worry about doing that task anymore? If you feel a huge weight being lifted off you, it may be well worth looking into hiring someone.

5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn By Having A Job

5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn By Having A Job

The entrepreneurial lifestyle is very alluring. Making your own schedule, hand-picking your clients and determining your own rates sounds very enticing. The ability to get up whenever you want, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and not have to worry about the grinding commute is almost too tempting to pass up, not to mention deciding to go on vacation whenever you want.

But being a true entrepreneur means deciding not to do many of those things. In fact, being an entrepreneur, on average, is more grueling than working as an employee, and the employee lifestyle can teach entrepreneurs 5 much needed skills

1. Setting a schedule: The phrase “the early bird catches the worm” may have its origin in the 1600’s, but it is still true today. Most companies have set schedules for their employees. The standard is still an 8-hour work day. And, while part of the dream of being an entrepreneur is being able to rise and shine at the crack of noon, most successful self-employed people have a set schedule that they keep on a daily basis. Even artistic entrepreneurs, like Stephen King, have a schedule. He used to write 10 pages a day, no matter how long it took, every single day, even on holidays.

2. Customer Service: These days, it is very easy to return an item to a store that you do not like, sometimes even if you have already used it. Large company owners know that brand loyalty is non-existent these days, so in the 80’s a new slogan began to catch on. “The customer is always right” has been the bane of many salespersons’ existence for the last 30+ years. However, this saying does not mean that you have to bow down to an unruly client. Being an entrepreneur means you can pick and choose your clients. But, once you have decided to work with a client, it is part of your job to make them happy; and that may mean going above and beyond what you agreed to do. In fact, it is possible that doing more than what was agreed to is part of being a true entrepreneur.

3. Commitment: Think of this word, and associate it with a handyman, painter, web designer, or other service related business and you will probably think the two don’t go together. Unfortunately, that is sometimes true. But that is why commitment is so important. I know a web design company that gives a discount to every client that comes to them with a half-done web site where the designer disappeared. This company does no marketing because they are already too busy just from word-of-mouth. Keeping your commitments will help you stand out from the pack.

4. Getting Paid: How long would you work for a company if they stopped paying you? Getting a steady paycheck is probably the number one reason most people work for someone else. But entrepreneurs seem to relish in not getting paid. It has been reported that neither Bill Gates nor Jeff Bezos took a single paycheck from their respective companies the first few years they were in business. But, in general, that is a recipe for disaster. Pay yourself first. It’s your company, and you need to feel good about working in it. Give yourself a paycheck and, if you have to, loan some of it back to your company.

5. Job Hunting: There are very few people that stay with the same company their entire lives anymore. That is partly because pensions are gone and retirement pay is unheard of anymore. But it is also partly because there are many more companies than there used to be. In mentoring, I tell younger generations to work as hard and as smart as they can because people are watching them. If their boss won’t give them a raise, someone else will offer them a better job. And entrepreneurs need to keep this in mind. Not for your employees, but for you. If your business isn’t paying enough, it might be time to look at an exit strategy. Maybe your product or service isn’t as popular as you thought it would be. Or possibly working for yourself is harder than you thought. Whatever the reason may be, you don’t have to go down with the ship. And the advantage is that now you have the experience of running a small business. Whether or not it was successful, the experience is one that has many advantages.