Reasons not to start a business

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

There are a number of would-be entrepreneurs who were bursting with potential but never made the leap and actually started a business. Many wanted to do it, dreamt about doing it and knew it was possibly, yet there was a mental obstacle that kept them from following through. Below is a list of the most common reasons people used to keep them from launching a business.

“I’m Not Ready”
If you’re waiting for the “perfect moment” to start your business, then you’re going to be waiting forever. Whether it’s investing your life savings in a start-up, trying bungee jumping, or anything else in life that’s scary, you’re never going to feel 100 percent ready. Yes, all businesses have a chance of failing, and yes that’s a terrifying prospect but the true winners in life are those that grit their teeth, and just do something in spite of their fear.

“I Don’t Have the Money”
This is one of the most widespread misconceptions that holds promising people back from realizing their dreams. In today’s world of free and highly affordable social media marketing, along with accessible ecommerce platforms like this, you really don’t need that much money to get a modern business off the ground. There have been countless successes that started with little or no money, and in the state of the modern business arena, these are only becoming more and more common. If this is the excuse that’s holding you back, you probably don’t even need a half of the capital you think you need.

“I Don’t Have Enough Experience”
While it’s certainly helpful to have a keen understanding of the industry you’re planning to go into, you’re never going to get experience in running a business if you don’t do it! If you want to learn how to swim, you’re going to have to jump in the water at some point, and if you want to be a great entrepreneur, you’re going to have to make a similar leap of faith, and learn by doing. Even the greatest CEOs in the world wish they had more experience and expertise, so don’t let this particular excuse lead to you putting off your dreams any longer!

“I’m Not Qualified Enough”
Unless you’re dead-set on entering a field with extremely high liability, then you’re already qualified to start and develop a business. If you want to give people something they need, and have an insatiable appetite for seeing high profit margins, you don’t need a framed certificate to tell you that you’re ready to be a business owner. Sure, a masters in business or economics can come in handy when you’re a CEO, but all you really need is creativity, ambition, and the self-discipline to see your plans through.

There’s never been a better time to get a business off the ground, so make sure you’re not letting any of these excuses get in the way of your dreams.

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Common Blogging Problems

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Creating and maintaining a blog are two very different things. It’s easy to create a blog and add the first few entries, share it with friends and family and add the posts to your social channels. Over time, the novelty and your enthusiasm wear off and you might find it takes more effort to maintain. There are few common problems that most bloggers encounter. 

Not Enough Traffic
Starting out in the blogging world can be very frustrating when you see only a handful of readers every day. Directing traffic to your site is something that takes time, often a year or more. You can help speed things along by sharing new posts on your social channels, use relevant hashtags and focus on your website’s SEO so that people find you through Google searches.

You Have A High Bounce Rate
If your bounce rate is high, it means that people aren’t sticking around for long enough. Likely it means the reader is coming to your site and reading just one post rather than clicking around. A high bounce rate impacts your site’s SEO.  One way to combat this is to use royalty free images to improve the overall user experience. You should also make sure your blog is mobile responsive. That means that it can be viewed on smartphone and tablet devices. Sites that aren’t mobile responsive can appear distorted on smaller screens, which prompts readers to leave.

No One Comments On Your Blog
Some people want lots of comments on their posts, others don’t because monitoring for spam and abusive content can be time-consuming. If you do want more comments, you can try asking for them. Ideally, you should leave a call to action at the end of your blog posts. These will prompt people to leave you comments. For instance, end a post with something like “do you have any more great ideas? Leave a comment below to let me know!” Another tactic is to leave comments on other blogs, which may entice that blogger to visit your site and leave a comment as well.

No Time To Write Regular Posts
Feeling pushed for time? There is one solution – just ask people to submit guest posts. You can invite your readers to send in posts of their own, or you might want to ask fellow bloggers to write something for your site. Either way, this seriously cuts down on the time you need to spend writing and thinking of new posts!

7 tasks to complete before launching a business

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

When you start  a new business there do not seem to be enough hours in the day. Your to-do list gets longer and longer. Starting a business is exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure and burn-out is a real danger. Tear up the to-do list and replace it with short, medium and long-term goals. These seven tasks are where you must start.

  1. Do your market research: Confirm that there is mileage in your idea! Is your business proposition viable? Look at what others in your niche are doing. This can be a tough process but it is vital. The truth is that if you don’t start doing brand competitive analysis now, you’ll regret it later so make it one of your first jobs
  2. Decide on the right business structure for youThere are many different legal structures for businesses and they all have their own administrative and financial advantages and disadvantages. It is important to read up on your options and decide which is best for you. Talk with a business lawyer and an accountant now so you have an established relationship down the road.
  3. Build up a team to help youThis does not have to be a team of your employees but if you are starting big then it could be. You need to recruit the right people who share your drive, enthusiasm and vision. You can build a team of support from freelancers that you know and trust. You also need financial and legal experts to advise you (see above).
  4. Choose a business nameThis is the fun part! But before your imagination runs riot you need to remember some golden rules of choosing the right business name. It needs to be memorable and must not create confusion with competitors. Make sure that no-one has used the name already.
  5. Choose a stunning logoA logo says so much about your business and is the first thing prospective customers see. (J & A Creative Group specializes in logo design!) There are so many options that it can be overwhelming so you may need to read up on what works best in your sector and look at what you can afford. The simpler the better. You can always have a go at designing one yourself using a free graphic design package such as Canva but you should consider enlisting an expert, logos are hard to change down the road. 
  6. Choose a domain name: Before you can launch your website online you will need to choose a domain name. This requires a lot of thought. It is better if it is short and snappy and easy to type into search engines.
  7. Build a websiteNo business can survive without an online presence and there are two aspects to this. There are easy options for you to build a simple site yourself or you could use a web design service for a more professional look. They will also offer you a support package for when things go wrong (and they will go wrong at some stage).

Should I Start a Blog?

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Most businesses and individuals have a blog. It’s a fun, productive hobby and can be anything you want it to be. Your blog could be a place where you document your children growing up, share your day-to-day life or write articles on subjects you’re passionate about to share your knowledge. You can spend a little time on it or a lot.  

It’s Free and Accessible
As far as hobbies go, blogging can only cost your time or can be as expensive as you want. Sites like Blogger and WordPress allow you to set up a blog for free to test the waters.

You’ll Meet Like Minded People
The blogging community is very social. Through sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram you’ll quickly become acquainted with others and soon find you have a network of like-minded colleagues. Start by joining Twitter chats, at different days and times various chats are held to discuss different topics or ideas. There are occasionally events run by brands which might receive an invitation to attend. There are also local meetups to meet other local bloggers. Unlike journaling or writing a book, blogging has a social side to connect you with others.

You’ll Learn New Skills
When you’re regularly blogging, it goes without saying that you will improve your writing skills. Over time you will develop a “voice” which makes you unique and sets you apart. This is something new bloggers (especially business-focused bloggers) forget. Your customers and readers want to read your views and opinions. If you’re lucky, you’ll gain you a loyal following. In addition to improving your writing, you will have lots of opportunities to improve your photography skills, basic marketing strategies and social media use through techniques like SEO. This can be tricky, so in the beginning, you may need to enlist the help of a professional company, if not research and read and teach yourself. You will likely also gain some basic html coding knowledge over time. 

Tips for Leading a Team

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Leadership can be difficult. Managing people with a variety of emotions, feelings and ideas can be overwhelming, and leaders often fear they won’t be respected or listened too. However, it can also be a rewarding experience. There are a variety of ways to improve your effectiveness as a team leader and to inspire confidence.

Don’t be a jerk
Most of us have encountered somebody in authority who is overbearing and driven by power. Don’t be one of those people for the sake of the people working for you. Being a leader isn’t about bossing people around. Fun as that may be for a while,  you are going to annoy your team members, and they will probably walk away from you when you need them the most.

Many leaders misuse their role by humiliating people in front of others. They also overly criticize small mistakes. This will only lead to people feeling unmotivated and an unproductive workplace. We all need to be treated with fairness and respect. The very concept of power is misleading when used in the context of a team or workforce. People don’t come to work to be driven into the ground by an obnoxious dictator. They come to work to make money, to be part of something bigger than themselves and to hopefully make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

Treat people with respect
We all have the right to be treated with respect, and that is true of leadership. To be respected by our team, we need to return that same respect back to them.

People work better when given positive reinforcement. A kind word of encouragement for doing something well often inspires us to work harder, as opposed to negative reinforcement which can lead to resentment. Within your team, find the time to praise them for a job well done. Should mistakes be made, talk to the team or individuals as to the reasons why. Perhaps their skills are better used elsewhere, or maybe some training is needed. Consider finding inspiration, such as these customer service quotes.

Communicate effectively
Without proper communication, a team will fall apart. A leader doesn’t have to be an extrovert with a loud voice. They simply need to convey to others what is required of them and to listen in return.

As a leader, you probably have a vision for the future of the work in which you are involved. Share that with your team, ensuring they understand what is required of them individually and collectively in moving forward with you.

People often need a reason for doing something. When asking people to commit to a task, explain the importance as to why especially if it isn’t obvious at the outset.

Have regular meetings with your team, on an individual and group basis. These times are critical, not only for you to convey important information but also to listen to what others have to say. They have a voice too so let them use it. Use active listening skills, using your body language to show your interest in what they are saying, such as giving good eye contact. Genuinely listen to them, and don’t bide your time for them to stop talking so you can get your point across.

Respect the opinion of others. Not everything has to be seen from your point of view, so understand what others are trying to say. If you disagree, be honest and say so and explain the reasons why. Alternatively, if you agree, thank them and incorporate their ideas into the future of the work.

Appreciate individuals
There is nothing more frustrating when an employer can’t even be bothered to learn your name. As you get to know your team, make sure you do remember their name as well as other important details. For example, celebrate somebody’s birthday. Seemingly small gestures can make a big difference. 

Remember, you don’t have to be a friend to everybody on the team, and it is sometimes easier if you’re not. That doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate each person and take an interest in some aspect of their lives. We all need to feel cared for, especially at work.

Be humble
You might be the leader, but that doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. You are human, after all. When you mess up, it is better, to be honest, and own up to it, rather than keep quiet and hope nobody notices what you have done. Say sorry to those you have wronged and try to make amends. You might lose face for a short while, but you will ultimately gain respect for showing integrity.

You don’t need to know everything, either. If you are struggling with a work problem, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. For example, should you have an issue with your computer, somebody on your team may have the technical know how to help you.

Lead by example
Finally, but by no means least, be a good role model. It is no good asking your team to behave in a certain way if your behavior falls short of those standards. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and take on the menial tasks that other’s don’t like. Treat everybody with fairness, and they will do the same to you. Show initiative, and encourage others to do the same. Above all, inspire your team to be better, and with your example, they will be.