planning (27)


Do you have a plan? It has been said time and time again, "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." And this is so true with people who start their own home based business.

It is great that the company has a plan for it's vision, it's methodology, it's budget. The problems lies in the fact that most people who become part of the company don't have these things in place when they come to the company.

 In many cases the companies understand this. This is why they go through extensive trouble to prepare getting started right guides and steps in their system. Have you looked at what your company has provide for you?


There is a high probability that one of the first items after deciding your why is making a list. This is where most people fail their business before their business empowers and elevates them to then next level.

Part of the reason people fail to plan is because they don't realize how important it is to plan. Another reason is that people may have made plans and they didn't work out they way they wanted them to so people didn't want to experience the disappointment again. Both of these reasons are understandable, but if a person wants to achieve success they must be overridden.

One way to overcome this is to recognize that plans are not the final results. They are guides. The unfavorable outcomes which arise from plans don't mean that planning doesn't work. They mean that our planning skills need to be improved. We also have to understand we can modify our plans to meet situations as they arrive.

I hope that this had been useful. Please let me know with your comments.

About the Author

Clarence Coggins is an Internet Market. He has extensive experience with applying Web 2.0 technology in the promotion of business and educational ventures. He also works a Leads Broker with the Silver Fox Leads Factory to contact him you can email or call him at 973-943-4073.

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Does Your Business Have Standards?

Ever wonder how to incorporate your personal values into the way you work?

It's important to incorporate your personal values in the work you do. People connect to and respond with people and people leave bad managers not bad organizations or companies. With so many businesses lacking ethics and leaders facing worldwide criticims from poor leadership and management, leaders of organizations should incorporate their personal values into the work they do, especially entreprenuers! In doing so you set the standard for excellence within your company.

The following exercise is help you decide what you value most.

1. Go through the list below and write down the top 10 things you value most.

Achievement                               Friendships                               Physical challenge

Advancement and promotion         Growth                                     Pleasure

Adventure                                   Having a family                          Power and authority

Affection (love and caring)            Helping other people                   Privacy

Arts                                            Helping society                          Public service

Challenging problems                   Honesty                                   Purity

Change and variety                      Independence                           Quality of what I take part in

Close relationships                       Influencing others                     Quality relationships

Community                                  Inner harmony                Recognition (respect from others, status) Competence                                Integrity                                  Religion

Competition                                  Intellectual status                    Reputation

Cooperation                                 Involvement                         Responsibility and accountability Country                                        Job tranqulity                        Security

Creativity                                    Knowledge                             Self-respect

Decisiveness                               Leadership                                Serenity

Democracy                                  Location                               Sophistication

Ecological awareness                   Loyalty Stability                  Economic security

Market position                             Status                                  Effectiveness

Meaningful work                             Supervising others                  Efficiency

Merit                                            Time freedom                      Ethical practice

Money                                          Truth                                  Excellence

Nature                                        Wealth                                 Wisdom                                                                  Excitement being around people who are open and honest         Fame

Order (tranqulity, stability, conformity)                              Work under pressure

Fast living                             Personal development           Work with others

Financial gain                               Freedom                              Working alone

2. Once you've captured that list write down how you display those values in your personal life.

3. Next I want you write down how you can display those values in your professional life.

4. Then I want you to look at that again and circle your top 5 values.

Those are what you are going to be known for showing and displaying at all times at work. Make sure you write them down and keep a company at your desk, in your wallet and make a post it note for your car.

Remember to look at them daily and ask yourself: How can I show this in my work today?

You can also complete the same activity for your business and once you've identified your top five values, create a values statement for how your company can display these values daily.

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Money, Money, Money ! Today we are going to talk about cost cutting do's & don'ts and when enough is enough. I know I have previously said that you can achieve many ideas on any budget, but let's be realistic.
If you want steak but can only afford Ramen noodles, then something has gotta give! It's not always about how much money you have it's about what ways can stretch your dollar. When you begin to plan your event you must decide what is important to you. Some areas can be cut or eliminated all together to achieve your desired results. You must decide how you want your event to appear, I will say that again, you MUST decide how you want you event to appear. It's okay to have a backyard BBQ if that is what you want, but you do not want your elegant wedding to come off looking like a backyard BBQ...get it?
I will discuss a few ways to cut costs...think about want STEAK but you can only afford RAMEN NOODLES, so what do you do? Well this one is can have steak but you just won't be able to feed as many people, so the first piece of advice I offer is to trim your guest list. Do you really need 300 of your closet friends? If you insist on having 300 people you have a choice to can serve Ramen Noodles or serve 300 people a very very very small toothpick sized portion of steak. What is more important to you?
Another area where many people attempt to cut costs is the family and friend "hook-up", now this is tricky. Most people have good intentions when they offer to provide a good or service for you, but what YOU the planner must consider is that most times you get what you pay for. FREE is FREE , are you willing to accept the level of service that your cousin will provide just because it is free? I know that we all have people in our lives that can do something really well and that will do it for you at a low cost, but what I advise in this situation is that you still treat it somewhat like a business transaction. You have to be clear on what you are looking for and what you expect, and the provider has to be clear about what they can provide.
I'm a huge advocate of Do It Yourself, but this only works if you know what you are doing! Before you take on any tasks, learn how to do it! Practice, study and then try it out. You don't want to just assume you can make a wedding cake because it seems easy enough. There are plenty of place you can go to learn how to do things that will save you money. The internet is a valuable tool...but again I say beware...try it out before the day of your event.
I will share more on this topic later, but for today I leave you with this.. when you plan your event be REALISTIC about your WANTS and your FINANCES and your RESOURCES, it's easier to plan when you know exactly what you have available to utilize.
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Let's get this party started!

Any great party begins with a simple thought!


It’s your party and you can cry if you want to! As a matter of fact you can do whatever you likeWhen planning an event the first thing that I suggest is that the planner considers the personality of the guest of honor. The best parties incorporate personality and flair. Think about what you like, things you like to do, your favorite colors, your favorite past time activities, things that make you happy and smile. There are some staples with most any event, from the backyard party for the one year old to the grandest wedding the world has ever seen. As you start your planning process there are many things to consider such as venues, budgets, menus, entertainment and decorations to name a few.

As a party planner I begin my process with a brainstorm. I just gather a pen and paper and write. I write whatever comes to mind when I think of my party. Don’t worry about any rhyme, reason or budget just write down what you like, you can narrow the list later. You will be surprised to find out that many ideas can be achieved on any budget, so don’t be afraid to dream big. If you have enough random ideas then you should have a good foundation to start with.

After you are done with your brainstorming, you should look back over your thoughts to begin to solidify your concept. At this point I suggest you get a notebook with folders and some paper clips, so you can easily keep all your information together. At this phase you should select at least the basic theme/tone of the event: will it be fun and whimsical, elegant, or a mixture of both, remember it’s your party you can do what you want! Some great themes to build upon are: colors, ages, movies, activities and scenery.

Now you are ready to start planning.



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Achieving Your 2011 Goals


At the start of each New Year many people make resolutions that by the middle of the year, sometimes sooner, are all but forgotten. So how do you make good on the momentum you have on that fresh start that the New Year brings? I recommend that my clients take different approach this year, which is to try setting just one or two major goals and put all your energy and resources into achieving those goals. Trying to fix everything in life all at once and is just not doable.

I'm including a Plan A Goal Development and Action Planning Worksheet below which you may use to help you achieve your 2011 goals. This is a tool I am also putting. This way my clients will know that I've 'gotten a taste my own medicine' and it works.



GOAL (be specific about what you hope to achieve):


How will I know that I am improving? What is my feedback plan?


What obstacles might get in the way of my progress? What can I do to diminish them?


What strengths do I currently have that will help me reach this goal?


What support do I need? From whom might I need support, partnership, coaching, mentoring, or advocacy?


What resources do I need to be successful (financing, technical support, etc.)?


What will success look and feel like?


Please feel free to let me know how you will use this tool and to provide feedback on its usefulness as you do. Here’s to wishing you all the best on Living Your Plan A in 2011!

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As we welcome the New Year, it is important to take some time to revisit your business progress and make plans on how you want it to grow.  Now is a perfect time to reflect on the successes and failures of your professional and personal life this past year.  Have you considered what changes you want to implement for the coming year?  Here are 7 top resolutions to jump start your New Year!  


Resolution 1:  Get Out of Debt
Easy to say, difficult to do!  According to some experts, Americans charge over one trillion dollars per year using Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.  For many, money is a big source of stress; and it doesn’t help that we’ve had to deal with economic issues over the past few years. This coming year, make it a priority to resolve your money woes. 


One of the benefits of joining National Association Women on the Rise (NAWR) is to take advantage of our Women, Money and Power series. Led by Tamara Haskins, CEO and Founder of Haskins Wealth Management Group, Inc., says, “We are educators who believe in providing our members with the information and resources that empower them to make smart financial decisions.”  Haskins, with over 20 years of experience in accounting and financial planning, will, will help members of NAWR take control of their own financial destiny!  She will provide monthly webinars and oversee the member’s forum.


Resolution 2:  Give back

Have you ever considered the impact you would make on the lives of others by sharing your time and talent?  Volunteering or mentoring is such a non-selfish way to give back!  There are many ways you can reach out; find a non-profit organizations in your area that you feel compelled to work with and volunteer; help your local library or hospital; or mentor youths or adults. 


Over the past few years, I’ve had many women reach out to me about mentoring. As much as I would like to help everyone, it is not possible.  So, in 2011, NAWR will launch its mentoring program, “One-Mentor-One” a program that will match successful women entrepreneurs and executives with mentees.  


Resolution 3:  Understand your finances

This is extremely important for the health of your business.  As a new or growing business, you need to be diligent about your finances.  The NUMBER ONE reason that businesses fail is due to lack of control over finances. 


Some experts suggest reviewing your profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow reports on a monthly basis.  To manage this, there is accounting software such as QuickBooks specifically for small businesses.  Also, hiring a CPA or bookkeeper can be a wise investment.  


Resolution 4:  Learn how to delegate

As your business grows, so should your ‘tight grip’ on controlling every aspect of your business.  The worst thing that you can do is become a slave to your business.  This attitude can cripple you!  I know this first hand; as a former owner of a building maintenance company; I was president, HR generalist, payroll specialist, trainer, janitor, sales woman and more!  It took me a while to realize that not only could I not effectively wear every hat, but in order to grow and regain my sanity, I had to trust others.  It is important that you delegate non-core business tasks to your staff or consider outsourcing.  Play on the strengths of others. The lack of delegation will stifle your growth, or worse, cause you to run your business and yourself into a pit fall. 


Resolution 5:  Make more time with family & friends
One of the reasons we go into business is the idea of being flexible with our time.  So, the idea of having time for family and friends seems like it should be a no-brainer, right?  According to recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year. 


You have control over your time, so make sure that you balance work and life to be able to spend it with those that are important to you.  


Revolution 6:  Network religiously
One of the most successful ways to promote your business is through networking.  You are in business to grow, so make networking a key part of your marketing strategy so that you position yourself to connect with the right people.  


Networking is a lifestyle in which you need to incorporate onto your “To Do” list. By networking, you are developing your social skills by engaging or interacting in an informal gathering to communicate with others for mutual assistance or support. By acquainting yourself with other business owners or executives, you are building meaningful relationships. There are many organizations that you can become involved in such as the Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International (BNI) or a professional organization related to your industry.


NAWR recognizes the importance of creating a platform for women to network.  We’ve built a great virtual community for women to network, collaborate and build lasting relationships. 


Katrina Harrell, President of KM Harrell Group, LLC, says, “Since discovering NAWR, I've been increasingly impressed with the quality of content, caliber of women entrepreneurs and professionals and the commitment to excellence Sylvia and NAWR have consistently presented. I personally am a part of several wonderful online women business networks, but often find myself coming to NAWR when I'm in need of a little "push" and some thought provoking insight from seasoned entrepreneurs. I have met many wonderful women entrepreneurs on this network that further challenge me and inspire me to reach higher.” 


In addition, NAWR was recently selected by Black Enterprise as, “10 Ning Networks You Need to Know,”  



Revolution 7:  Get organized 

It is essential that you start your day with a ‘to do’ list.  It doesn’t matter if your business is small or if you run a large corporation, having a daily plan will keep you on track in effectively running it.  Start your day by scheduling uninterrupted time to plan and create your list of tasks for that day, and rank your list in order of priority.  For example, if you have 10 tasks on your list, of those, how many do you need to complete?  Can you save the least important tasks for another time? 


Please note: If you don't accomplish all the tasks from your ‘to do’ list, it doesn't mean you are having problems managing your time.  It simply means that you only have limited time per day to get everything done and you may be trying to accomplish more tasks than you have time in the day. 


To manage and prioritize my time, I rely on Microsoft Outlook’s calendar and task manager to plan my personal and business schedule.  I then sync Microsoft Outlook to my Black Berry PDA.  This helps me to stay on task and set priorities for my daily activities.  Find what works for you and make it a daily habit to have a productive and organized day!    


Last but not least…


If it’s not working, drop it quickly


Don’t waste your time or invest any unnecessary energy nursing something that isn’t working for your business.  Time = Money and in our current economic crisis, both are a very precious commodity that a small business can’t afford to gamble with.  Move on and don’t look back!

By incorporating these simple yet effective strategies into your plan, you can position your business for significant growth.  Here’s looking at a great 2011! 


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it Sylvia Browder is CEO of Browder Consulting Group, a virtual small business consulting firm.  In her role, she helps Women in Business grow and succeed.  She is Founder of National Association Women on the Rise, a virtual community for aspiring and established women entrepreneurs. The association’s mission is to provide professional and personal resources while uplifting and empowering women entrepreneurs through collaboration, education, mentoring, spiritual and peer support, leadership and networking. She is ‘employed as Project Director and business consultant for the Women's Business Center, Inc, a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful businesses.  She has served as an online volunteer SCORE counselor since 2004.  She also serves as a Technical Assistant Provider for SBA’s Community Express Loan Program.  For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneurs,  She can be contacted at   


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As of Oct 2010, the US unemployment rate was estimated at 9%. Job loss creates tax issues and income tax returns for the unemployed are tricky. To shed light on this subject, CPA and CEO of Wealth Building CPA, Ebere Okoye, has written a new e-book, “Top 20 Tax Planning Tips for the Unemployed."

“Top 20 Tax Planning Tips for the Unemployed” provides in-depth explanations of tax questions that arise for the unemployed. Some of these questions include:

Is Severance Pay taxable?
If I sell other assets like stocks, bonds, and investment property, are they immediately taxable?
What can I do if I owe taxes and cannot pay them?
What if I withdraw money from my qualified retirement plan or IRA?
Can I deduct any of the expenses that I have from looking for a new job?
Is health insurance deductible?

Below is a free copy of the new book.

Top 20 Tax Planning Tips for the Unemployed

About the Author
Ebere Okoye is the CEO of Wealth Building CPA and a Certified Public Accountant. She holds a Accounting and MBA from the University of Maryland. Her unique areas of expertise give her an in-depth understanding of the mistakes individuals and businesses make in their tax planning and investments. She advises clients on how sound financial strategies can lead to a steady gain in income and profitable investments. Contact us today for a FREE initial Consultation 301.830.6830.
Twitter: @WBCPA | Facebook

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Personal Brand Kung Fu - The SWOT Analysis

iStock_000006195022XSmall.jpgOkay, yes the title may tell you I know a little something about martial arts...but no, I don't. Only as much as the last Karate Kid movie
(which is one of my kids' favorites) and the line from Kung Fu Panda
which says that Kung Fu stands for "excellence of self".

I was thinking about that today after having watched the main character, a Panda named Po, one of 50 jillion times. I think personal brand work is like working out your Kung Fu - it truly stands for mining
and understanding how to portray your self excellence.

I thought I'd share how you can strategically do some kung fu kicks with identifying your personal brand strategy below. One approach is using the SWOT analysis.

SWOT Analysis is a well-known method of identifying your Strengths and Weaknesses, while also examining the Opportunities and Threats you face. All four areas can help you clarify your personal brand and your
distinctive and unique value.

Often carrying out an analysis using the SWOT framework will be enough to reveal changes that need to be made in your plan.

Try to work through the following questions and think about what insights you have from this focused work:

Strengths -

  • What do you do well?
  • What can you do better than anyone else?
  • What comes naturally for you?

Weaknesses -

  • What could be improved?
  • What might you do poorly?
  • What comes with more difficulty for you?

Opportunities -

  • In what areas do you see possibilities?
  • What resources or circumstances can you leverage?
  • What trends might you use to your advantage?

Threats -

  • What obstacles are in your way?
  • Who is your competition and what are they doing well?
  • Are you financially challenged?
  • What else do you find yourself up against?

About the Author: Tanya Smith, Career & Personal Brand Coach, offers women professionals, with dual roles in a corporate career & solo side business, access to cutting-edge strategies to help them thrive
and promote themselves as experts in a progressively competitive work and
marketplace. Claim your free instant access to two fill-in-the-blank brand templates and a special report, The Beginner’s Guide to A Successful Career

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Many of us walk around marketing our personal brand by the seat of our pants. It may not be intentional, but there are things we do daily that demonstrate who we are to prospective clients, co-workers, managers, and colleagues.

I have really begun to mentally process how the discipline of marketing a business and many of the principles that come with it are just as critical for personal success.

There is great value in developing a personal brand marketing strategy that helps you stand out, and that makes you more credible in the eyes of your select audience. Unfortunately, it is way too easy to ignore because of competing priorities for our time.

Here is a short list of though provoking questions and action plans for you relevant to your personal marketing strategy:

  • Do you have a personal brand marketing plan or do you personally market yourself unintentionally?
  • If you have a brand marketing plan, does it include specific promotional activities and are these tied to events?
  • Have you taken the time to identify a target customer, or employer? What desired characteristics have you named?
  • Does your personal brand strategy identify ways to sell to and maintain your current clients while attracting new ones?
  • What are the demographics of your key prospects? What makes you distinctly different, or unique as compared to your competitors?
  • What is your personal brand marketing budget? How will you distribute these funds?
If any of these stump you, now is a great time to consider your next steps. Creating a personal brand strategy can be just as important for you in this day and age, as a company’s marketing strategy.

About the Author: Expert-ize your personal brand. As a Personal Brand & Marketing Coach, Tanya Smith offers female professionals with dual career & entrepreneurial roles access to cutting-edge strategies to help them thrive and promote themselves as experts in a progressively competitive work and marketplace. Claim
your free instant access to a special report at:

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I recently met with a potential client yesterday; this client which of course will remain nameless had two very large life insurance policies (amounts I will not disclose). My goal for the meeting was to illustrate to him how he can still obtain the same amount of insurance he currently has and pay less in policy premiums. His response to my illustration was what would happen to the payments that I have made for over 15 years. Now, its not important for me to write word by word the whole conversation me and client had, but what I want to point out is, there are some individuals that believe that their insurance payments are a form of investments and that if I exchange one policy for another I’m going to lose the amount that I invested in the policy; another fallacy is how long will it take me to rebuild my savings with this policy? Well insurance is to help and assist you with risk, Life insurance is to help, manage and protect your love ones from risk that may occur in the event of your death. So my goal to any client or potential client; what was the goal when you purchase this policy, is it to pay any expenses at the time of death, create a legacy your love ones, or to assist you with your with Estate planning goals; now those are just some examples on how life insurance can help you manage risk. My goal with this writing is not to put down any type of life insurance product, I’m an advocate that Term, Whole Life, Universal Life and Variable Life have their place, but my goal is to always find out what do you want to accomplish by purchasing Life insurance.

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Your Legacy: Do you have a plan in place?

Last week, I received a call from a lady who needed financial assistance to start a business. She had done a ‘reverse mortgage’ on her home to purchase some land to use for a business idea. I learned that she was in her seventies, had very little income and no savings but wanted so desperately to leave a legacy for her adult children. She said, ‘Sylvia, I will fight with all my strength to make this happen for my children before l die.”

After that call, I was both touched and shaken. Here, an elderly lady so passionate about taking care of her adult children, waited so late in life to plan for her family’s future. Sadly, her financial situation might hinder her from receiving a small business loan.

Have you considered what you will leave behind for loved ones beyond your financial assets?

Leaving a legacy for our five children is extremely important to my husband and me. For us, it’s leaving our property, stock, a family business and a substantial amount of savings. For others, it could be leaving their life savings to a favorite charity. By planning, you ensure that your wealth and values will continue to be preserved for generations. Do you have a legacy plan in place?

What is Legacy Planning?

According to, legacy planning allows you to preserve your values, memories and final wishes to ensure you leave your loved ones with clarity and inspiration rather than confusion and pain.

Why Legacy Planning?

  • By planning, you’ve shielded your loved ones from conflict that plagues families after a death
  • Prevents surprises by bringing your extended family into the planning process
  • Allow you to establish your legacy while you are alive to see it progress

A Few Tips to Better Manage Your Affairs

  • Make sure your wills, life insurance policies and retirement plan beneficiaries are updated and reflect your current wishes.
  • Keep in mind that retirement plans, IRA’s, and life insurance policies all have beneficiary designations that supersede wills.
  • Make sure you understand the tax consequences of gifts left to heirs.
  • Seek an attorney and/or professional financial advisor to assist in legacy planning.

Imagine leaving a legacy that can influence the well-being of your family, friends or your favorite charity? By doing so, ensures that your final wishes are honored, thus, avoiding confusion!

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:Sylvia Browder is CEO of Browder Consulting Group, a virtual small company consulting firm. In her role, she helps Women in Company grow and succeed. She is employed as Project Director and company consultant for the Women's Business Center Inc, a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful business. She has served as an online volunteer SCORE counselor since 2004. She also serves as a Technical Assistant Provider for SBA’s Community Express Loan Program. For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneurs, She can be contacted at

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Are you performing poorly in critical areas for business success? Do you want to grow your client base? Expand your product or services? Improve your company’s visibility? Set short or long term goals? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then your company might benefit from a strategic plan.

What is a strategic plan? Simply, it defines a strategy that your company is going to follow over a defined time period. Strategic planning involves anticipating the future environment, while making decisions in the present. By developing a strategic plan, will help you stay on track with your goals, while creating action steps to achieve them. Here are 7 key components to successful strategic planning.

SWOT Analysis

In developing a company’s strategic plan, a look at the internal and external environment is an important part of the planning process. A SWOT analysis will address key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.


A mission statement defines the core purpose of the company - why it exists. It should be a part of every company to serve as a baseline for effective business planning and so that everyone is on the same page.

For example: The mission of the Jones Virtual Office Support Services encompasses empowering women to start and grow their small business.


A vision statement outlines what a company wants to be. It focuses on tomorrow; it is inspirational and provides clear decision-making criteria.

For example: The Jones Virtual Office Support Service’s vision: to be recognized as the premier leader in virtual office support for small to mid-sized business; to provide professional and effective financial, technological and administrative services to our clients.

Components of the vision can include:

· The size of the scope of work

· The company’s role

· What the company itself look like

· What are the major sources of funding

Core Values

Core Values are the fundamental values or ideals at the heart of the company that lays the foundation on which you perform work and conduct yourself. Your core values shape your culture and define the character of your company. Core values may include:

· Clarify who you are

· Guide your company processes

· Articulate what you stand for

· Help explain why you do company the way we do

· Govern your personal relationships


Setting goals are a key component in effective strategic planning. Goals can be defined as a written target of where your company wants to be within a specific time frame. Some goals will take time to achieve, so it is important to measure your progress regularly.

Goal setting is crucial if you want to remain successful and competitive. The key to success in setting goals for your company is making sure they are attainable and measurable.

Key Strategies

It is important that your company have several key strategies in place for a positive outcome. When you look at key strategies, you are measuring what approach will help you to accomplish your goals. For example, the key strategies for providing exceptional customer service:

· Focus on creating value for customers.

· Focus on customers.

· Train your staff to create a great customer service value

· Create a process for handling customer complaints

Strategic Action Program

Once your plan has been completed, it is important to have time-lines, deadlines, budgets and performance targets in which to manage and measure. It is also important to identify who will take care of different aspects of your plan.

In conclusion, to determine where your company is going, you need to know where it stands. That way, you can create a strategic plan to determine where you want it to go and how it will get there.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:Sylvia Browder is CEO of Browder Consulting Group, a virtual small company consulting firm. In her role, she helps Women in Company grow and succeed. She is employed as Project Director and company consultant for the Women's Business Center Inc, a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful business. She has served as an online volunteer SCORE counselor since 2004. She also serves as a Technical Assistant Provider for SBA’s Community Express Loan Program. For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneurs, She can be contacted at

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There are a host of activities involved in running a small business. And being every woman leaves you with a full schedule with lots of attention to detail and decision-making. It's no surprise that part of being a business owner involves being in control over business finances. Ensuring that there is ample cash and knowing how to manage money is a skill that you will need to develop. Let's look at three components that will help you prepare a more accurate business budget: budgeting, planning, and forecasting.


Business budgeting involves the management of your company's financial resources. In order for the process to be done well budget managers should carefully monitor the sources and uses of cash in the business. This is important because it allows you to put your finger on the pulse of financial activity. By understanding what is normal in the course of business such as seasonal revenues or abnormal cash injections you can better project your financial position at a given point in time by becoming familiar with the ebbs and flows of cash.


In planning the allocation of resources there are various tools that can help you in budgeting. Some resources include accounting software that have budgeting features included in them. Some spreadsheet programs also have budgets that are pre-formatted for you. Alternatively, if you are tech savvy then you might also choose to design a business budget from scratch. Whatever method you choose remember that your forecasts are only as good as the input that you use. Be sure to use reliable data and double-check formulas that you create in spreadsheet programs.


Forecasting your budget is more of an art than a science. The more research that you do the closer to accurate your numbers will be. Don't simply rely on your instincts. Check out past financial reports to see the ups and downs of your business. If you are starting a new company then you can also get information from other business owners who have companies similar to yours or by speaking with an accountant or business consultant that has knowledge of your industry.

Now that you are aware of the role of budgeting in your company and some of the tools that managers use in the process you are on track to creating a budget of your own. If you want to learn more about preparing forecasts for your business visit

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“History will be kind to me because I intend to write it.” ~Unknown

What do you want your legacy to be? Never thought about it before? Women today are far busier than our grandmothers or even our mothers ever were. From being a mother to wife to student to now being an entrepreneur, our legacy - that which you will leave behind you - is in jeopardy. That fact of the matter is that when it comes to talking about legacy, women hesitate because it seems too self-centered. But I argue that we, as women of today, need to start preparing and designing our own legacy. It is not a matter of self-centeredness, but of creating a roadmap or blueprint for future generations

What is a legacy?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a legacy is “A gift left in a will or a thing handed down by a predecessor.” It can give and be created while you are still alive. It can also be public or private (we’ll talk about this more later). In other words, it is not for the rich only – a very common myth that no one talks about, especially women.

So, what is it that you want to leave behind for those you love when you pass? A legacy of obesity? A legacy of drug abuse? Or a legacy of service to others? I remember my mother once slamming her car into a tree because she fell asleep at the wheel while driving home from her third job. She survived, thankfully, but for many people, this is their life’s story and it does not often end with a happy ending. My mother has given me a legacy of hard work, dedication, tenacity, integrity and the importance of education.

Leadership, Purpose and Vision: A roadmap to building your legacy

When it comes right down to it, building a legacy is about being a leader. Leadership is positive behavior and/or influence on the community and/or family (this is a personal choice that can impact your legacy). Therefore, before you can build your legacy, you must know your purpose. How do you know what it is?

First, you must be open to it – listen to other’s ideas about what they see you as being good at. For example, if people are always saying to you “Girl, you make the meanest chocolate chip macaroon cookies! You should sell these,” they are confirming something the universe has been trying to tell you all along. Women, especially, tend to fend off these compliments by downplaying it: “Oh! This is nothing.” Don’t do that! You are essentially telling the universe (God, for some) that it/He made a mistake.

Your purpose can also come through tragedy: Average Girl was created in response to the murder of my cousin (a victim of domestic violence, she left behind 7 children). My writing experience prepared me for this in that I learned how to write and tell a good story as an English major and now teacher of literature and composition. When it came time to put together the editorial content and style of Average Girl, I was ready for it. Therefore, your purpose is directly related to what kind of legacy you want to leave behind for your business or family/community.

More important than you could ever imagine is Vision; how do you define it and get others to follow it? Tell your story when given the chance; how does it relate to your purpose? You will talk about it if you believe in it. Sadly, women tend to second guess their products/services and themselves. For example, I used to tell myself that ‘no one would buy my magazine because it didn’t look like other magazines on the newsstands and I was “a nobody.” No one knew my name and I had no money to bring to the table.’ It took years of encouraging self-talk (and the loss of a lot of potential sales) to downplay that horrible tape playing around in my head every time I tried to bring to life my vision.

Your vision must connect or resonate with others. We, as women, share a common bond: being a woman. I use this to speak about and promote Average Girl. We may come from different ethnicities or socioeconomic backgrounds, but we all experience joy, pain and heartache as women. We all have dreams that are sometimes crushed or deferred because of society’s pressure to make us conform to its standards of femininity (i.e., housewife, wife, and businesswoman).

You must also have a workable plan – this is where you need to spend a lot of time in development once you have hashed out clearly your willingness to be a leader and follow your purpose. You can’t ask people to follow you or to invest in your vision if you have no idea what it is or how it works, looks, smells, taste, etc. As a leader, you are responsible for not only your word and actions, but the well-being of others.

How can networking help to establish a legacy?

Networking is about building relationships, so you must select networking events that you are truly interested in attending and are in line with your business objectives/market. Time is money and once it’s gone, you cannot get it back. So, do some research first before attending any networking events. When you get there, talk to people about their business; ask them how can you be of service to them? Don’t just stand in a dark corner and cower or worse, stick to the click. Engage people. Be an active listener as it is not always about you and you only.

Use your gut instinct when choosing people to talk to people at these networking events. Truth be told, some people are just there to make money and will use whomever they can to do it: women are good with their instincts, so listen to your gut. Also understand that you cannot help everyone and everyone cannot help you – that’s why referrals are VERY important to not only your business, but in creating a legacy – but be careful about referring the wrong people. If someone has not paid you for your services, do not refer them to another business they could stiff. It will look bad on you, not them. Use those instincts!

Most people forget this vital part of networking: the follow up. Follow up the connections made at these networking meetings with lunch or breakfast or tea just to chat. While there, share your story here if asked to – don’t go into a diatribe: keep it short, sweet, simple and to the point. Discuss your products/services (don’t second guess their response) – you are building connections. Follow up this meeting with frequent communications via email or phone. This is simply confirming connections and building a strong network.

Once people know who you are and what you are about, they will remember you when they hear things “in the wind.” For example, when I was an executive assistant, I used to tell my co-workers that I was studying to be an English teacher. One of them heard about a teaching job expo and told me about it. I went and was hired on the spot. So began my career in education and eventually the birth of Average Girl Magazine.

Forging Business and Community Alliances

Work with people who are doing what you are doing, but perhaps with a different angle. Sponsor an event for a potential alliance to introduce their company to the community. This shows that you are willing and able to work with others. You can also host an event to introduce your company and your goals for the community. For example, I host a tea party every December for Average Girl, but I always donate proceeds from the silent auction to a local woman’s charity or non-profit. I announce this on all of the flyers and marketing material – message: not everything is about just my business. Invite some of your local competitors to be your guest.

If you are thinking about forging an alliance with an organization, research the company first before preparing to establish an alliance. Make an appointment to speak with key persons/decision makers. Before you go, however, prepare an informal plan of action – again, this is a chance to tell your story. At the meeting, establish how you can be of service to them and visa versa (ask questions to establish this further). Perhaps you could offer services such as, free products, time, space, PR, etc. Whatever you offer, do not let it severely impact your bottom line. This is about building alliances wisely that will benefit both businesses’ bottom line in the long run.

Market your business or persons as a community centered entity. Begin to establish yourself as having integrity, flexibility and service. Here is where private vs. publish exposure comes into play. Whatever you release to the media, make sure it is what you want released and that all parties mentioned are in agreement. Some things you may not want the public to know because you just wanted to do it (be aware of your motives). Sources of media to release information to if you choose to go public include: books, website, articles, public speaking engagements, e-newsletters, public service announcements (PSAs). In the end, your reputation will slowly begin to build as your alliances become solid and fruitful. Remember, people remember good deeds and spread the word – but they also remember bad deeds and spread the word.

How can community involvement add to the bottom line of your business?

It can, but is this your ultimate goal? Getting your business involved in community activities/activism is a move that should be carefully considered. It can bring more loyal customers/clients to your business. The company can grow financially and in size due to exposure increase. Your reputation for integrity, loyalty, vision will attract all of the above as well. But beware! People can smell greed and selfishness…and that can ruin more than just your bottom line.

Ultimately, we are here to serve others – if we keep this in focus, your business and/or personal life will prosper for it and your legacy will be the benchmark for others to emulate and prosper from. Remember! Your gifts/talent = purpose = vision = services = legacy = connection to God (or Higher Power).

So what do you want your legacy to be for yourself and your business? Write it down: make it plain, according to scripture. That’s the first thing. The rest is up to you.

~Copyright © 2008 Rebekah L. Pierce. Mrs. Pierce is the CEO/Editor in Chief of Average Girl Magazine LLC, now The Girlfriend Connection. She is also a playwright, former radio talk show host, motivational speaker, teacher, wife and mother. Visit for more information.

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10744045868?profile=originalOne of the best ways that I have learned to overcome obstacles is to face each challenge head on. What I mean by that is not running away from or becoming overwhelmed by issues that seem bigger than life. I realize that many work at home mothers are handling a lot of the day-to-day details of holding up the household and juggling business tasks at the same time. It can be a bit much to handle but here are some of the ways that I have been able to manage it all.

  1. It starts with remembering to take a few deep breaths. Really. Take some time to quiet yourself and breathe. I have what I call a quiet area which is really just a space that I have set aside for focus. This place could be anywhere you feel comfortable. I use a corner of my bedroom that has a nice comfy chair. I sit there and close my eyes a few moments each day to pause and see each challenge for what it really is – an opportunity to learn something new.
  2. Next, I accept that every problem has a solution. That's when I can begin the next phase of working things out. There is a saying used in Step Programs that goes something like this, “You can only begin solving a problem when you admit that you have one.” When you ignore challenges in business they will continue getting bigger. Eliminate the snowball effect by playing an active part in the process. Face the issue by writing it down or speaking it aloud. Then get ready to get in action.
  3. Finally, moving forward requires you to list out what you need and figuring out how best to get there. Some solutions require connecting with others. If you are working from home and unable to get out and about try reaching out to others in business by visiting their blog and participating in forums. I am a big fan of mastermind groups and you might find it useful to join one or start one of your own. This will help you get a fresh point of view from like-minded entrepreneurs who are serious about attaining next level success just like you.

With the abundance of information and resources available on the internet today moving past unstuck quickly is more doable than ever. And if cash flow is one of the challenges that you are facing in your business I invite you to sign up for my newsletter at to get solutions for managing and growing your business.

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One of my favorite websites for business and entrepreneurship is (if you haven't been to this site and you're in business check it out!) Today I got the perfect I mean PERFECT alert regarding business and taxes and I want to share with you the highlights!

The article discusses planning for the next tax season now by being PROACTIVE. In essence, what this means is not waiting UNTIL January 2011 or April 14th for that matter to giving attention to your businesses finances. It means taking small steps through out the year to manage and organize your books, ask questions to your Tax Preparer or Tax Advisors, knowing and understanding the new tax law changes and how they affect your business today and so on. Several tax professionals offer their advice and tips on this and have formulated it into an acroymn: P.L.A.N.

P. Preparing your Records

L. Listing Issues and Questions

A. Analyizing for Accuracy

N. Noting Changes in Tax Laws

Do you P.L.A.N for your taxes? As a Bookkeeper and Small Business consultant, I realize that most if not ALL of these steps can be time consuming or frustrating when you don't know where to begin. Especially noting changes in Tax Laws. Unless you're like me and receive IRS updates and alerts daily most businesses find navigating through the text to find relevant information they can apply today elusive, confusing and just a waste of precious money producing time. I get it!

Some small businesses do hire Bookkeepers to take on this task which is highly recommended, but small businesses are made up of roughly 78% Micro businesses who most simply cannot afford to do this! While I LOVE this article, it does very little in directing business owners on where to begin to Plan for tax time. I consult with or talk to many business owners weekly who have this very issue, "where do I begin, and where do I find the time, how can I afford a bookkeeper?" When you don't feel you can afford a bookkeeper, what do you do?

No this isn't a sales pitch, but there are ways you can get the help of a qualified bookkeeper to get your records and books in order before tax time. Some will help you and provide you with tools if you choose to do it yourself completely free or for a nominal monthly fee. Depending on your budget you may be able to afford an outsourced bookkeeper to help you manage your books. Affordable BOOKKEEPING for your business DOES EXIST if you know where to look! I urge all businesses micro or small to take the time to consult a Bookkeeper at the minimum or CPA to request a review of your books and recommendations for how to P.L.A.N. for tax time. In my blog about Proactive Accounting, I talk about how planning in advance can actually SAVE you money at tax time, and save your business!

Take the time to call your local bookkeeper or CPA, invest a couple hundred dollars and request a review, be Proactive about your business! If you are having difficulty in finding a bookkeeper, give me a call, inbox me. Even better become a fan of YourSimple Bookkeeper, Inc. on Facebook and I'll put you on my priority list for the launch of my YourSimple Bookkeeper -in-a-Box Download on Effective Recordkeeping which is available for Free download Tuesday July 6th (and forever and ever and ever after that)! Information is free in my mind.

Remember: Making Money is EASY, Keeping it is where the Challenge comes.

To check out the full article click here.

To become a fan of YourSimple Bookkeeper to be one of the first to receive a FREE download click here.

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To hear Benita Tyler read this article, click the arrow button.


As I sat glued to the television watching commentary on Chrysler and how it is responding to its decline in market share I was struck with a thought about small business. If you have been following my blog, you probably know that I am a big proponent of modeling. In my opinion, having a successful model to follow throughout the business lifecycle is invaluable. So, here I sat watching Chrysler, a once successful automotive superpower, struggling and illustrating a very powerful lesson that every small business owner should always remember. What’s the lesson?

1. Have a fluid plan. Companies need a plan that helps them maneuver through turbulent times. There should be one to cover the short run and expanded to meet long run objectives. Most consultants agree that having at least a three year plan is a good start but take a lesson from the major players. Sit down with stakeholders and discuss the vision. Go out as far as five years in your planning by considering what you have to work with now, what changes need to be made, and what investment it will cost you to continue moving forward.

2. Keep abreast of news in the business world. Pay attention to what industry leaders and CEO’s are saying. It’s in your best interest because they have resources and teams that you may not be able to access. By following their interviews and give clues about next steps based upon what they have been advised concerning the industry, market, and economy that may help you, too. As you clue in on their news and sound bites, follow their lead. Do what the successful do and take the act of planning for the future to heart.

3. Be bold enough to make changes. When you notice things are not going according to plan then it is time to look for ways to improve what you can. Are the signs showing that new leadership is in order? How about the company’s vision? Is it time to eliminate any factors that are holding you back?

I will continue to follow Chrysler’s progress as it moves strategically through its five year plan. Check back often as I report on the impact that planning has on market share, earnings, and profitability.

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Seven Pitfalls of Business Failure

Patricia Schaefer, Attard Communications, Inc., advises aspiring entrepreneurs that the latest statistics from the Small Business Administration (SBA) show that "two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at lease two years, and 44 percent survive at least four years." This is a far cry from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within five years.Better success rates notwithstanding, a significant percentage of new businesses do fail. Expert opinions abound about what a business owner should and shouldn't do to keep a new business afloat in the perilous waters of the entrepreneurial sea. There are, however, key factors that -- if not avoided -- will be certain to weigh down a business and possibly sink it forevermore.1. You start your business for the wrong reasonsWould the sole reason you would be starting your own business be that you would want to make a lot of money? Do you think that if you had your own business that you'd have more time with your family? Or maybe that you wouldn't have to answer to anyone else? If so, you'd better think again.On the other hand, if you start your business for these reasons, you'll have a better chance at entrepreneurial success:You have a passion and love for what you'll be doing, and strongly believe -- based on educated study and investigation -- that your product or service would fulfill a real need in the marketplace.You are physically fit and possess the needed mental stamina to withstand potential challenges. Often overlooked, less-than-robust health has been responsible for more than a few bankruptcies.You have drive, determination, patience and a positive attitude. When others throw in the towel, you are more determined than ever.Failures don't defeat you. You learn from your mistakes, and use these lessons to succeed the next time around. Head, SBA economist, noted that studies of successful business owners showed they attributed much of their success to "building on earlier failures;" on using failures as a "learning process."You thrive on independence, and are skilled at taking charge when a creative or intelligent solution is needed. This is especially important when under strict time constraints.You like -- if not love -- your fellow man, and show this in your honesty, integrity, and interactions with others. You get along with and can deal with all different types of individuals.2. Poor ManagementMany a report on business failures cites poor management as the number one reason for failure. New business owners frequently lack relevant business and management expertise in areas such as finance, purchasing, selling, production, and hiring and managing employees. Unless they recognize what they don't do well, and seek help, business owners may soon face disaster. They must also be educated and alert to fraud, and put into place measures to avoid it.Neglect of a business can also be its downfall. Care must be taken to regularly study, organize, plan and control all activities of its operations. This includes the continuing study of market research and customer data, an area which may be more prone to disregard once a business has been established.A successful manager is also a good leader who creates a work climate that encourages productivity. He or she has a skill at hiring competent people, training them and is able to delegate. A good leader is also skilled at strategic thinking, able to make a vision a reality, and able to confront change, make transitions, and envision new possibilities for the future.3. Insufficient CapitalA common fatal mistake for many failed businesses is having insufficient operating funds. Business owners underestimate how much money is needed and they are forced to close before they even have had a fair chance to succeed. They also may have an unrealistic expectation of incoming revenues from sales.It is imperative to ascertain how much money your business will require; not only the costs of starting, but the costs of staying in business. It is important to take into consideration that many businesses take a year or two to get going. This means you will need enough funds to cover all costs until sales can eventually pay for these costs.4. Location, Location, LocationYour college professor was right -- location is critical to the success of your business. Whereas a good location may enable a struggling business to ultimately survive and thrive, a bad location could spell disaster to even the best-managed enterprise.Some factors to consider:Where your customers areTraffic, accessibility, parking and lightingLocation of competitorsCondition and safety of buildingLocal incentive programs for business start-ups in specific targeted areasThe history, community flavor and receptiveness to a new business at a prospective site5. Lack of PlanningAnyone who has ever been in charge of a successful major event knows that were it not for their careful, methodical, strategic planning -- and hard work -- success would not have followed. The same could be said of most business successes.It is critical for all businesses to have a business plan. Many small businesses fail because of fundamental shortcomings in their business planning. It must be realistic and based on accurate, current information and educated projections for the future.Components may include:Description of the business, vision, goals, and keys to successWork force needsPotential problems and solutionsFinancial: capital equipment and supply list, balance sheet, income statement and cash flow analysis, sales and expense forecastAnalysis of competitionMarketing, advertising and promotional activitiesBudgeting and managing company growthIn addition, most bankers request a business plan if you are seeking to secure addition capital for your company.6. OverexpansionA leading cause of business failure, overexpansion often happens when business owners confuse success with how fast they can expand their business. A focus on slow and steady growth is optimum. Many a bankruptcy has been caused by rapidly expanding companies.At the same time, you do not want to repress growth. Once you have an established solid customer base and a good cash flow, let your success help you set the right measured pace. Some indications that an expansion may be warranted include the inability to fill customer needs in a timely basis, and employees having difficulty keeping up with production demands.If expansion is warranted after careful review, research and analysis, identify what and who you need to add in order for your business to grow. Then with the right systems and people in place, you can focus on the growth of your business, not on doing everything in it yourself.7. No WebsiteSimply put, if you have a business today, you need a website. Period. At the very least, every business should have a professional looking and well-designed website that enables users to easily find out about their business and how to avail themselves of their products and services. Later, additional ways to generate revenue on the website can be added; i.e., selling ad space, drop-shipping products, or recommending affiliate products.Remember, if you don't have a website, you'll most likely be losing business to those that do. And make sure that website makes your business look good, not bad -- you want to increase revenues, not decrease them.When it comes to the success of any new business, you -- the business owner -- are ultimately the "secret" to your success.For many successful business owners, failure was never an option. Armed with drive, determination, and a positive mindset, these individuals view any setback as only an opportunity to learn and grow. Most self-made millionaires possess average intelligence.What sets them apart is their openness to new knowledge and their willingness to learn whatever it takes to succeed.There you have the pitfalls - what will set you apart in 2010?
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10 Steps to a Successful Business Year

by Karen A. DavisA new year causes most of us to stop and reflect on past successes and failures and what we want to accomplish in the next 12 months. You may have New Year’s resolutions or on-going goals. Honestly assessing your position in your field and thinking strategically about your where you want your business or career to be at year’s end will move you towards the goals you have for this year and beyond. The following ten steps will assist you in creating a written guide to follow throughout the year.1. Review your goals from last year. Which did you meet and which ones did you miss? Decide goals that should be carried over into this year, and the ones that can be put aside for later or disregarded altogether.2. What challenges or obstacles did you encounter last year? List how you dealt with them and the outcomes – whether you were successful or not – and how you will avoid them in the future.3. Define your passion. What do you really want to be doing? Are you doing it, or is your current career or business taking you in the direction of your dream? If not, how can you reconcile what you are doing now with what you want to do?4. Define your ideal client: What do they look like? Where do they live or work? How much money do they have to spend? What type of project will they present you with? What will your working relationship be like?5. Research your competition – their clients, service offerings, and pricing – especially your number one competitor.6. Define where your business will be in the next year. This, along with Step 7, will probably be the longest part of the process. Take some time to visualize how your company or career will look. Walk through a typical day. Outline the financials. Determine how you want to feel on December 31st.7. Outline the steps to make your goals for the next year a reality based on your plans from Step 6. Begin with a general outline, and then get more detailed, developing a monthly worksheet or guide.8. Make sure all of your marketing and public relations materials are consistent with the message you want to promote over the next year. Your business cards, brochures, website, and social networking sites should communicate your brand.9. Identify three ways to meet and engage the clients described in Step 4. Define the meeting location. Work on an appealing opening line and your elevator pitch, and describe how you can meet their needs.10. Find an accountability partner – someone who you know will hold you responsible and will question you throughout the year to make sure you follow through with your goals and objectives.© Copyright – Karen A. Davis. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.Building Industry
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I strongly believe everyone has a purpose in life. Many find their purpose in things they are passionate about. What things do you want to accomplish? If you envision your success what would it look like. It’s a fact – if you can’t see your vision, you’ll never get there. You have to see it, know what it is, know where you want to go, in order to reach that vision. Think about what your success will look like. If you take away any doubts what would your business (your future) look like? Write down your vision and post it some where that you can see it every day so that you can start focusing on your vision and your success.You can accomplish anything that you focus on, so dream big!Follow the series on momentum on our blog at //bizstrategy.wordpress.comAlso (new program to help single parents)
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