Business Development & Conflict Resolution

We assist individuals with starting their own businesses because small business is key to economic independence and community sustainability.

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

How to Succeed, Create Your Dream Team for Your Business Part XI

As a small business owner, I am learning that you cannot go it alone. You must have a strong support system and “dream team” to assist you with running your business. You must be willing to open up and allow others inside your business world to make it. I am not saying that every person you meet should know about your business or be a part of your business. You must have a discerning heart and six sense to know who to trust regarding your “baby” (your business). Everyone you meet is not intended to be a part of your business, some individuals will only be a part of your business for a short period of time, and others will be there for the long haul.

You may ask the question “what is the dream team for any business owner”? The “dream team” for any small business should include: 1. Business owner; 2. Staff (depending on size of business); 3. Attorney; 4. Accountant; 5. Bookkeeper; 6. Banker; 7. Insurance Agent; 8. Mentor; 9. Family; and 10. Support Groups. The business owner, of course, is the first member of the “dream team” because they are ones who start, develop, run, and grow the business. Also, your employees play a valuable role in the daily operation of the business because without your employees how can the business run and operate smoothly on a daily basis. An attorney is an essential key player in any business because of the legal implications in operating a business. An attorney’s role can be best described as “protector of your business” from legal implications or legal issues that may come up unexpectedly. An attorney’s duties can include: 1. Review and draft of business contracts; 2. Ensure your business is properly set-up as a legal business entity (LLC, Inc., Corp, etc.); 3. Represent the business in legal matters; and 4. Ensures that one is abiding by all the local rules, laws, and regulations in the operation of the business.

An accountant is essential to the daily operation of your business because the accountant deals with the finances of the business. An accountant ensures that your finances are in order and ensures that your taxes are in order to avoid tax trouble. An accountant ensures that the business is not audited by the IRS. An accountant ensures that you properly record your profits, losses, and expenses for your business. But, one important thing to remember, do not relay on your accountant alone to handle your finances and taxes for your business. Ensure that you continue to have first-hand knowledge of how your accountant is handling your finances. An accountant normally deals with your money transactions that occurred throughout your business fiscal year. Good way to have first-hand knowledge of how your accountant is handling your finances is by setting up a system that enables you to organize and record your business financials on a daily basis. A good tool that can assist you with recordkeeping of your business finances is Quick Books.

A bookkeeper is good to have in the daily operation of your business because they ensure that your business finances are in order. Bookkeeper deals with the record keeping of the business finances on a daily basis. A bookkeeper is good to ensure that all employees get paid on time, all debts owed to creditors are paid on a timely basis, ensures that all taxes owed are paid (payroll taxes, Medicare, social security taxes, FICA, withholding taxes, etc.), and all monies owed to the business are collected on a timely basis. Bookkeeper works hand in hand with your accountant to ensure that all the profits, losses, and expenses regarding your business are properly recorded. Also, you should have a good relationship with both your accountant and bookkeeper because they are assisting you with the business finances.

You should have a good relationship with your banker because they are ones who assist you with opening an account for your business. A banker ensures that you have the correct banking tools needed to run your business smoothly. Also, having a good relationship with your local bank will ensure that you receive the loans, lines of credit, and other financial tools needed to keep your business afloat financially. An insurance agent is good to have because you need insurance to protect your business from all kinds of problems and issues that may come up. An insurance agent ensures that you have insurance to protect your business assets, personal assets, and financial future of your business.

A business person should have a mentor, especially someone who has a similar business as yours, because they are like a guardian angel watching over you as one ventures out into the world of entrepreneurship. A mentor is there to provide you with sound advice regarding your business and to answer your questions about running a business when needed. A mentor will connect you with the right people and organizations who can assist in the growth and prosperity of your business. A mentor is there as a friend, counselor, and teacher for you to learn and grow from as an entrepreneur. Support groups geared towards entrepreneurs in your field are essential to a small business owner because they are there as a support system. You are surrounded by like-minded individuals who understand what is like to be a business owner. Family is a good tool to have in running your business because they can assist with running of the business, provide you with customers, normally are your first customers, always provide you with finances to run the business, and are the best cheerleaders you can have in your corner.

Remember to have that “dream team” together and ready when starting your business because they are there to ensure that your business is a success and not a failure.

Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience.  She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) based in Baltimore, Maryland and has been in business since 2013. Services provided by FACMBC:  Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance (Limited Liability Company, Corporation, S-Corp, Limited Liability Partnership, etc.); Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance (MBE, WOSB, 8A, 501(c) (3), Hub Zone, etc.); and Business Organization Assistance. She is also a contributing writer to the Maryland Daily Examiner Newspaper. Contact information: dzimmerman36@gmail.com; www.facebook.com/FACMBC; www.twitter.com/FACMBC; https://dzimmerman36.wordpress.com

 

 

How to Succeed, Create Your Own Opportunities and Own Income

In this day and age it is important to have a “side hustle”, by “side hustle” I mean a second income source. When I had to close my law practice in 2012, I thought it would be very easy for me to get back into the corporate world. But, to my dismay there are more unemployed individuals than jobs. I had to take a few steps back, ask God for guidance, and map out my future. I sat down to write out my best qualities as a person, my strengths and weaknesses, and how I could use my past employment, training, and education to generate income for myself. Also, I had to find out what services and products my target audience was in need of. After doing much research, I discovered that were many women (ages 25 to 60 years old) who wanted to start their own business. That is when I decided to study to become a business consultant to meet this need. I knew with my legal background, being a business owner, and being female within this age bracket I could assist women with meeting this need. Also, I discovered that there was a great need for mediation/conflict resolution services because individuals were tired of resolving disputes in court. Individuals wanted to find an alternative to using court as a means to resolve issues and disputes with others. I decided to take training to become a certified mediator to meet this need for mediation/conflict resolution services.

Once I completed my training to become a business consultant and mediator in 2013, I completed a business plan to map out how I would set-up my business, who was my targeted audience (potential customers), how to get the word out about my business, and how to market my services to my targeted audience. I started to attend workshops and seminars to connect with other business owners. I started to join groups on the different social media sites to connect with other business owners and connect with potential customers. Also, I continue to attend workshops and seminars after my initial training to stay up to date with the current trends in the consulting and mediation fields.

This past year I have started to create business partnerships with other business owners, who provide similar services that my business does, in order to promote and generate more clientele for our respective businesses. This year I have started to do my own workshops and seminars to share my knowledge with individuals who want to start their own business. Plus I see the workshops and seminars as way to advertise my business and the services we provide to potential customers. Also, I have learned that blogging is good and less expensive way to advertise your business to the general public to reach your targeted customers.

I am learning that the keys to creating your own opportunities and generating your own income are as follows: 1. Whatever skills and “hobbies” you are good at find a way to use them to generate income; 2. Do your research and take the necessary training needed to market your skills; 3. Social media is key to having a successful business; 4. Always consult God first before doing anything and ask Him for guidance; 5. Connect yourself to the right people who can assist you with the growth of your business; and 6. Do not be afraid of failure, rejection, and getting outside of your “comfort zone”. In conclusion, in whatever you decide to do in life be sure that you are doing what you love and enjoy doing.

Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience.  She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) based in Baltimore, Maryland and has been in business since 2013. Services provided by FACMBC:  Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance (Limited Liability Company, Corporation, S-Corp, Limited Liability Partnership, etc.); Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance (MBE, WOSB, 8A, 501(c) (3), Hub Zone, etc.); and Business Organization Assistance. She is also a contributing writer to the Maryland Daily Examiner Newspaper. Contact information: dzimmerman36@gmail.com; www.facebook.com/FACMBC; www.twitter.com/FACMBC; https://dzimmerman36.wordpress.com

If Want to Succeed, Networking and Then What?

One important key to having a strong and sustaining business is your network of business partners and business resources. One thing I have learned is that networking is key to building your business because it helps you develop and build strong relationships with others. Depending on the scope of your business, by networking you can meet someone who has a business similar to yours. In turn, that individual can become a good business partner to assist you with the growth of your business and you can assist them with the growth of their business. Networking is a way for you to get the word out to the world about the products and services your business offers. Also, networking is a good referral system for new clients because any event you go to there is always someone who can benefit from the products and services you offer. Networking is a good tool to use to meet fellow business owners who may want to pool their resources and your resources together to promote each other’s business. Networking is crucial to growing, sustaining, and maintaining your business because you cannot succeed alone in running your business.

Once you make the connection, always follow-up with everyone you collect a business card from. Good to send an email to them stating that “it was a pleasure meeting them at today’s event and look forward to connecting with them in the near future.” My general rule is to send the first initial email after meeting and then wait at least two weeks before sending another email. My golden rule is that I do not send more than three emails to anyone I meet at an event. After the third email and no response from the person, I do not send anymore emails because apparently that person is not interested at this time. But, do not get discouraged or broken-hearted because you never know that person may contact you in the future. At this time, the individual may not need your services or products, but they may need them in the future.

Once you make the connection with someone who may be need in of your products or services, “follow-up, follow-up” is key to building that strong relationship. I cannot tell how many times I have missed out on opportunities because I failed to follow-up, in a timely manner, with someone who was interested in my products or services. I have learned a valuable lesson to always follow-up with individuals and keep your appointments with them. Once you establish that business partnership, you will be surprised how many doors will open for you and see how far you can go with your business? Please ensure that you bring something to the partnership as well because many good business relationships are destroyed this way. Business partnerships should never be one-sided, but two-sided where both parties are getting something out of the relationship.

Networking is a good tool to use to grow your business, but it is important that you know how to use it for the growth and prosperity of your business.

Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience.  She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) based in Baltimore, Maryland and has been in business since 2013. Services provided by FACMBC:  Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance (Limited Liability Company, Corporation, S-Corp, Limited Liability Partnership, etc.); Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance (MBE, WOSB, 8A, 501(c) (3), Hub Zone, etc.); and Business Organization Assistance. She is also a contributing writer to the Maryland Daily Examiner Newspaper. Contact information: dzimmerman36@gmail.com; www.facebook.com/FACMBC; www.twitter.com/FACMBC; https://dzimmerman36.wordpress.com

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