Tuesday, September 22, 2015

You DO have what it takes to be an Entrepreneur By Randi Knight


Have you ever thought about writing down all the things you do and get done in a day?! As a single parent, I tried making a list and I overwhelmed myself. Nothing but the grace of God could enable to do all that I do. Now, I am not tooting my own horn, it’s just that as I embark on this entrepreneur journey, I have been doing some soul searching and quizzing of myself to make sure I can handle the marathon. I have taken the “see if you have what it takes to be an Entrepreneur” test, I have networked with some small business owners, read books and prayed. As I reflect on where I have come from and consider the next chapter in my life, I’m excited to find that I really do have what it takes to bring my idea to fruition!
Do you have an idea, product or service that you have had in the back of your mind but haven’t given much thought to pursuing because for whatever the reason you just haven’t, maybe you should. As I usually focus on opportunities and life balance for single parents, that idea, product or service that helps the masses could be your life saver! In my self-evaluation, I asked myself what kind of skills do I have that would help me be a good entrepreneur. Am I cut out for the entrepreneur life? I checked me out and maybe you can check yourself out too. That list that I asked you about in the beginning probably translates into lots of skills that you had not even thought about. This also works if you are looking for a new opportunity or position. Now these are my evaluations but I am sure that if you look closer at your own life, you will find similar or other skill sets:
  1. Managing my household – Yes! From the (grocery, clothes, car, etc.,) shopping to laundry, finances, carpooling, cooking, pets, school, homework, activities, I do it all and it’s ok. One or two balls may drop here or there but I pick them up and start juggling again.
  2. Be Adapatable – being able to change course quickly is a skill I quickly had to incorporate into my life! I was one who cringed at the thought of change. But after you have a child and you experience life in general, I learned that change is a constant. As an entrepreneur, change is inevitable. Being able to change course quickly and go with fluctuating circumstances, or go with the flow, find an alternative way, etc., is a standard business practice.
  3. Add in Creativity, Time-Management, Managing an Operating Budget, Multi-tasking and Problem-Solving to the Entrepreneurial mix and I think we have the makings of a mogul!
  4. As I read and research, I have begun to quiet my doubts and fears about having to know everything. I realize that I don’t have to know everything to start a small business. There are so many resources I get excited just thinking about all the help and assistance I can receive. There are think tanks, networking organizations like The Boss Network (http://www.thebossnetwork.org) to help you network with other like-minded entrepreneurs. In addition, other resources include The SCORE – “Counselors to America’s Small Businesses” – Small Business Association and Sunshine Enterprises where you can find a small business mentor, take classes on owning a small business, work on your business plan and learn the 10 steps to starting a small business among other things. Another valuable resource I have found for classes and more is the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) in downtown Chicago. Check Google for the local business centers in your area.
  5. Finally, while I pray and listen to the voice within about what to do next on this entrepreneur journey, one skill that I constantly work on daily is building my Faith and knowing that as I work the plan, all will work out if I trust the One who made the plan and trust His process and timing.
    Connect with Randi Knight on Twitter@randiknight915
     Learn more about products and services at Randi Knight Blog Website.

A Blessing In Disguise! Three Tips On Handling The Difficult Customer By Lauran Smith


Maybe you’ve been in line at a store and witnessed a difficult customer; maybe  you yourself have been the difficult customer; maybe you have experienced the difficult customer at your business/place of employment, and things didn’t end well. In any instance, you may have wished for the experience to be over quickly. Did you ever stop to think that an interaction with a difficult or unsatisfied customer is a “good thing”? Yes, it absolutely is. In the moment, you may not feel this way, but handling the difficult customer will help to ensure growth in your business, and will guide future interactions with ALL of your customers.

1. If you made an error, be sure to admit fault and offer a sincere apologize. There may be a situation that you could very well be wrong;
but we are all human, and as humans, we will make mistakes. Sometimes your instant acknowledgment of the error, and your sincere apology, will
often diffuse the situation. What You’ve Learned: To pay closer attention to the task at hand so as to eliminate the possibility of this situation reoccurring.

2. Instead of telling the customer what you cannot do, focus on what
you CAN do. Example: a customer comes in to complain about a discount
that a friend of theirs received on an item that they also purchased, and
this customer is demanding the same discount on the item (background:
what the customer isn’t aware of, is that the friend brought in a coupon
during a promotional period, yet your customer is unaware of said coupon.
But you are aware, because the promotional period has now ended on the
item in question). Explain to the customer that they, unfortunately, made
their purchase after the promo date. What You Can Do: offer to review
their purchase history with your business, and see what discounts are
upcoming on items that they frequently stop in to grab. Instead of a
continued focus on the promo date “passing them by”, give them
something to look forward to!

3. Listen intently. Example: your customer is calling about a previous issue
with a product, and that they are still experiencing the same problem.
They now want to speak with management. In an effort to ensure a
smooth transition to your management person, get as much information as
possible on the complaint. What Could Take Place: after the customer
realizes that you are truly engaged, they may not feel like speaking with
management, which allows you the opportunity to handle the call and the
customer’s issue. Sometimes, all a person needs is to feel that someone
is listening, and assurance that the problem will be resolved.

Although not all situations will be “cut and dry”, the most important thing is that you will learn something in the process. Teaching moments are everywhere; it’s all in your perspective!


Connect with Lauran Smith on Twitter andFacebook For more information on services visit PRbyElle77.com.

Exemptions and Waivers for Not Having Health Insurance By Dr. Taffy Wagner

Dr. Taffy Wagner is a Personal Finances Educator and President of Own Your Health
Care, LLC. She educates people online and offline about health insurance, alternatives to
health insurance, money and marriage and personal finances. You can visit her website at
www.ownyourhealthcare.com .
It never stops.

No matter the day or time I talk to uninsured callers, I consistently discover they are unaware of the exemptions and waivers for not having health insurance. When I start educating them about the process, they often say “Doc, I didn't know that!” Whose responsibility is it to tell them this critical information? The tax preparer, the accountant, or the government who instituted these exemptions and waivers in the first place? Whether or not you can answer that question, I decided to share the answers in this post. Why? Even with the enrollment period for 2015 being over, there are some of you reading this that will be affected because you didn’t purchase health insurance. Based upon caller demand, I decided to share my insight with you so can decide if these measures apply to your situation.

Let’s start with the basic exemptions

  • You can be uninsured for two consecutive months and not be penalized.
  • If you don’t have to file a tax return because your income is below the level where you are required to file. For 2014, that amount was $10,150. This time they have not given a number.
  • If the lowest priced coverage that is available to you through the Marketplace or a job based plan would cost more than 8.05% of your household income.
  •  If you belong to a health sharing ministry such as Medishare, Samaritan Ministries or Liberty Share.
  • If you lived in a state that didn’t expand Medicaid and you would otherwise qualify for Medicaid

Now’s let us turn our attention to the hardship exemptions:
  •  If you were a victim of domestic violence Homeless
  •  If you were evicted in the past six months or were facing foreclosure
  •  Death of a close family member
  •  Did you receive a shutoff notice from your utility company?
  •  If you had medical expenses that you couldn’t pay in the last 24 month that truly makes  sense.  
  • Getting health insurance isn’t going to help that. Were you caring for an ill, disabled or aging family member and had an increase unexpectedly?

Those are just a few of the examples of the basic exemptions and the hardships. Did you discover that you paid the penalty when you could have been exempt? Why not, file an appeal and see what happens? Otherwise, that money could be lost forever. Have questions? Contact Dr. Taffy at 303-576-0670. She is an educator on Obamacare and more than happy to answer your questions.

 Twitter name: @ownurhealthcare

Facebook: www.facebook.com/selfemployedhealthbenefits

Monday, September 21, 2015

Circle of Friends By LaTasha West

They say you become like the 5 people that you are around the most. If you look around you, are you comfortable becoming like those people?  If your answer is yes, then great keep doing what you are doing. If the answer is no, then it’s time to meet you some new “friends”.I remember hearing Boss founder Cameka say that “Your network determines your net worth”. That statement stuck with me. I have found this to be so true.  A few years ago I moved to a town where I knew no more than 10 people. I moved here as a business owner and had no connections. I had to getout and build a new network from scratch! This was not an easy task.When you are looking to build a good circle of people you must be selective and strategic. There are some very specific questions you should be able to answer: Who do you need to know? Why do you need to know them? What can you offer to them?Notice the last question is “what can you offer”; this is important because you want to build solid relationships. Strong networks are mutually beneficially, don’t just take, also be able to give. Next you need to know : Where are they? How can you find them? Networking should not be done haphazardly, have a plan. A few things that I have found to really work are:

1. Host your own events, teach a class, offer a free workshop-invite people out.

By doing this you are able to introduce yourself to the people you want to know. Pick a subject that you know well and is of interest to your targeted audience, and offer a free class at the local library or coffee shop.  (I picked these locations because they are free, so you don’t waste money if you have a low turnout.)

2. Join organizations, get a paid membership.

This will put in direct contact with like-minded people. A word of caution research your organization,visit a few events as a guest before joining to be sure this is a good fit. By joining paid organizations, you surround yourself with people who are serious enough to invest in themselves. These are people who see the value in learning and growth. They are most likely looking to get ahead.

3. Get social, use the internet to meet potential allies. Sites, such as Meet-up and Linkedin have been great!

4. Talk to people in the places you frequent, you never know who knows who, or who knows what.

These strategies worked for me. I have done each and every one and have seen great success. In the two years I have been in this town, I have been able to go from an unknown to speaking at the Mayor’s conference. This has all been possible because the network of people around me.

Who’s in your circle?

The author

LaTasha West is the CEO of West International Business Solutions LLC. She is a certified Small Business Development Coach, a passionate speaker, the founder of The Next 100 Project, co-author of The Entrepreneur Within You 3 (book) and creator of the First Impressions Customer Service and Soft Skills training program. Known as an innovative and creative business strategist, she has helped numerous small businesses expand their playing field.

   Connect with LaTasha West on Twitter &
 Instagram @latasha_west and Facebook.