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Here’s why you should build your business around your personality

Your long term happiness and success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to adopt and integrate your business lifestyle around your own unique personality.Calvin_Blog_image

Success does not fall from the sky.  It is a result of both hard-thinking and hard-working.  I have learnt over the years that success is not so much about being successful in the job market, but more about being successful in being ourselves first.

We have all heard the saying “Work smarter, not harder”. Here smarter means:  business integration with your personality and lifestyle.

Most business people today realize the importance of product-integration and cross-selling among business divisions, but I would say hardly any of them combines their business experience with their personal lifestyle.  Most people keep it separate.

They still put their lives into little boxes or compartments.  This is time for my work and this is time for my hobbies. They consider everything as being separate.

Gentle reader, your life and your income will be dramatically improved if you realize the concept that being successful in being yourself is more important than the number of working hours you try fitting into your day.

Enjoy and put love and passion into everything you do.  Stop feeling like you are running on a treadmill trying to keep everybody “happy”. Instead, fit your work around being yourself and you will discover that you have lots of energy and achieve more.

Look at all the current great entrepreneurs and here Richard Branson comes to mind.  He is totally himself first and foremost. He has integrated his work and his lifestyle.  Just reading about his life in books, blogs and newspapers, you will realize that he is not bound by clocking into work from 8 to 5 every day.

Whether he is at a lunch or an event, he is always “working”  He is never too busy to enjoy life, in fact he has even taken part in our famous annual Cape Argus Pick and Pay Cycle Tour last week.

He is a good role model for young entrepreneurs today.  He lives the slogan which says:  Work on your business and not in your business.  I repeat this slogan from time to time to affirm to myself that I always need to be aware to work smarter and integrate my business with my lifestyle like Richard Branson does.

My belief is that one should stop putting one’s life into little compartments. Namely: this compartment for business; this compartment for family; this compartment for friends; this compartment for myself.  Instead I integrated them all.  My friends become part of my family; my family becomes part of my business and so on.  I think you get the picture- they all interlink. There is no fighting for time and attention.

Although it is extremely hard to do at first, one has to make an effort. Try and stop constantly living around deadlines and to-do- lists.  Once you have accepted who you really are and have found your own true purpose in what you do for a living, you will work with a natural energy flow. No longer will you rush trying to fit all your “compartments” into the limited time you have put aside for each task.

Material wealth should not be the reward for working hard and long hours, instead you should integrate those long and hard hours into your daily celebration of life itself, and you will begin to feel that the hours will become more fun.

So be yourself first and then integrate your business around your own unique personality.
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Calvin Dorman is a Professional Online Business Consultant and Graphics/Web Marketing Lecturer from Cape Town, South Africa, offering companies and individuals more effective Web Marketing, one to one Computer Training and Graphic Design solutions. Give him a call on 084 632 6622. Read more of Calvin’s business and motivational articles at http://www.calvinbusiness.co.za

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Every Business Success Story Has Its Own Recipe

Calvin_business_RecipeDespite the bad news we so often hear about the number of small businesses closing or moving, the news really isn’t all that bad.

Thousands of small businesses startup every year, and a good percentage of those companies have learned what it really takes to survive the early startup years and become successful enterprises.

But what elements or ingredients are important to ensure the success of small-business owners and entrepreneurs? Innovation, timing, start-up capital, product improvement, a good team  and so the list goes on and on. Yes, I know, this is all true, but I find that it is not helpful unless you can categorize all the elements and put them into perspective.

Although many enterprises may be in the same industry, every business has its own business model that it follows. Think about it for amoment…they might have to adapt their model from time to time, but they have found the right the “recipe” that works for them.

What is the “recipe” for your business success? I am going to tell you very briefly about my business model and use it as an example so that you can understand what I mean and focus on realizing your own model. Why?  Because if your business model does not start giving results within a short period of time (within +- one year), then you are wasting your time as an entrepreneur.

My business model (recipe) in a nutshell: I give computer training so I am naturally in that industry. This is a hugely competitive industry and my recipe is to focus on one-to-one training and in more specialized graphics programmes like Adobe and not Microsoft. It is as simple as that and it has been working for me for the past 18 years. So how do I survive and stay in business year after year? Firstly, because I have found the recipe that works for me, but also because, secondly, I have categorized all the success elements into the 4 P’s: 1. Principles, 2. People, 3.Passion and 4.Profits.

If you slip up in any of these 4 areas, you and your business will be in big trouble – no matter how successful your business model currently is. If you slip up, you will be on a downward spiral.

Now let me help you understand as easily and as quickly as possible what the 4 P’s stand for.

1. Principles: These are your core values on which you operate daily. Every minute of the day YOU set an example of trustworthiness.
My business mentor and life coach once told me: TRUST takes years to build, but once broken, it is like a rider on horseback who will gallop away from you very quickly.

Your business reputation is everything and there is no place to hide. A bad product/experience will go viral on Facebook like a runaway fire and people will not support your business. People have confidence in trustworthy individuals and want to work for them in a culture of integrity.

Just how trustworthy and honest are you in your business dealings. Remember: “Little white lies” = Untrustworthyness. These “little, self-justified, white lies” are the matches that will burn your business to the ground. Here is a slogan I have made my way of life: HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY.

2. People: You will notice that I have placed people second and Profits at number 4. Should you place Profits second in your business, you will soon find that customers / clients will no longer support you.

The Customer is King. Stay in touch with what your client wants and give 100% customer satisfaction. Don’t bombard people with SELL, SELL, SELL, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM. Build a relationship with people and listen to their needs and you will be able to adapt and grow your client/customer base. The days of “make ‘em and the people will come” is long gone, but unfortunately, not that mentality.

Product quality today is a given. Present “short-cuts” on your product and you will lose very quickly. It is customer service, customer satisfaction, customer relationships that you have to focus on more than anything else. This is now scalable with the use of social media and  a blogging or website platform. So make a point to place people above profits.

3. Passion: You must have a  passion for your business. 
Work should be fun. Your passion will help you overcome difficult moments and persuade people to work for you and want to do business with you. Passion can’t be taught. And it should be renewed daily.

No one is ever going to be your biggest fan, more than yourself. It stands to reason that you are the champion and biggest cheerleader of your business. You must cultivate the habit of being inspired as well as inspiring to others. This will help you stay enegised through the up and down cycles that any business goes through.

Therefore it is up to you  to cultivate the skills and habits to keep yourself motivated and on track each and every day.

4. Profits: Results is the name of the game. Making a monthly profit is the life-blood of a success business. I live by the slogan that says: TURNOVER IS VANITY, BUT PROFITS IS SANITY. You cannot grow your business too fast and lose track of profits. Although turnover and cash flow is important…if you are an entrepreneur or small business, you cannot be tempted to think that profits within the first year is not important.

Financial discipline; adapting by cutting your losses early and understanding the importance of productivity are concepts that should become part of your business blueprint. Companies that don’t make a profit or hide their profits with “clever accounting” will soon be in trouble (Olympus and Kodak are recent examples that come to mind).

Starting and running a successful business can be rewarding and challenging. Success requires focus, discipline and perseverance. However, success will not come over night – it requires a long-term focus and that you remain consistent in challenging environments.
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Calvin Dorman is a Professional Online Business Consultant and Graphics/Web Marketing Lecturer from Cape Town, South Africa, offering companies and individuals more effective Web Marketing, one to one Computer Training and Graphic Design solutions. Give him a call on 084 632 6622. Read more of Calvin’s business and motivational articles at http://www.calvinbusiness.co.za

 

 


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My Top 5 Tips to Stay Motivated

There are many aspects towards creating a successful business or thriving in your current business, but on the top of the list should be keeping your vision alive and yourself motivated regardless of the struggles and obstacles you have to face. Here is my top 5 tips on how I manage to do this.

calvin_top5

 

If you don’t truly believe in yourself or your product or your dream, how are you going to get anyone else to believe in it with you? How do you expect to get sales if you can’t even sell yourself on your your own dream?

No one is ever going to be your biggest fan, more than yourself. It stands to reason that you are the champion of your own dreams andvision.

Therefore it is up to you  to cultivate the skills and habits to keep you motivated and on track each and every day. It is what matters because you matter!

So here are my top 5 tips that you too can use as tools to stay motivated and on top of your game:

1. I keep only two mental snapshots of myself: a.) where I am and  b.) where I want to be in life.
This means that I don’t focus and mull over things of the past. I learn from the past, but I do not let the scars of yesterday haunt me or keep me from moving in the right direction. Momentum in the right direction is key.

2. I wake up each day and set achievable goals –  small improvements I can take action on today to improve my business skills and life skills.

3. I constantly repeat positive slogans to myself during the the course day. Example; “If it is to be- it is up to me” and another favourite: “It is not who I am, but who I am becoming that is important”. Motivational sayings and affirmations helps  us move forward in life and accomplish greater things than we could ever have imagined. After all, how can anybody deny t

he power of a can-do attitude.

4. I am always aware of seeking  opportunities by upgrading my skills and doing research on trends in my field of interest. I see an opportunity to make a difference in any small possibility that comes my way. All it takes to create a great opportunity is: an open mind, an open heart, an optimistic attitude, and the willingness to take action.  When you begin to do this on a regular basis, you can’t NOT attract exciting business opportunities into your life.

5. Lastly, and my most important tip that I practise…I surround myself with principled business partners and build lasting relationships with clients. This is a valua

ble sentence to grasp and internalize and I could write volumes about its essence.

I heard a slogan once which I apply to this day “if you are the smartest one in your team, then it is time to get a new team”. Having business partners, including my life partner (Elzette), who is constantly motivated, energizes me and helps me to perform better.

Gentle reader, these 5 tips can work for you too if you decide right now to put it in practise.

You CANNOT allow, nor wait for people and circumstances to get you motivated and fired up. 

Simply, pick up the tools each day yourself and stay motivated. Be aware that a motivated person has the energy levels to far out-perform any colleague or competitor. Motivated people are ACHIEVERS.

Believe in yourself, and the rest will fall into place. Have faith in your own abilities, work hard, and there is nothing you cannot accomplish. Lets believe in our dreams and achieve them with passion.
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Calvin Dorman is a Professional Online Business Consultant and Graphics/Web Marketing Lecturer from Cape Town, South Africa, offering companies and individuals more effective Web Marketing, one to one Computer Training and Graphic Design solutions. Give him a call on 084 632 6622. Read more of Calvin’s business and motivational articles at http://www.calvinbusiness.co.za


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Great product AND great product experience

gtreat_product_experienceWe always hear that content is king. Content here referring to the Product offered by the company. But to have a great product is not enough. If you want to grow your business much faster (or in fact, even be in business in the next 5 years), you have to understand that you have to give your client A GREAT product experience as well. You can’t have one without the other.

How many companies can you think of that has great marketing material (brochures, advertising, etc) but do not follow it through with a great product experience. Example: It’s lunch time and I am hungry. I go to a burger fast food outlet (not going to mention the brand) and look at this mouth-watering poster (marketing) of a burger, chips and coke. But the product is not as described by the words/pictures in the poster.

The burger is cold & thin and not “sizzling” and I was served by an employee that didn’t seem to care less if I would be about to have a great customer experience …no warm, friendly smile nor any connection with me with an “enjoy your day” approach.

My conclusion: the product and experience was BAD, but the marketing was GREAT.

The lesson here is that companies will no longer get away with it anymore, because we are living on the dawn of a new marketing era, namely the internet era where people are spreading their BAD/GREAT experiences on the social networks daily on a huge scale.
Soon that Burger Franchise branch will experience a drop in sales and then when they close down they will look all surprised.

Why? Because 10 years ago, you could tell 10 people…now you can 100 of your friends on Facebook and it is likely that 100 of their friends may see your “product experience” as well. Not to mention the power of Twitter.

This Blog might sound negative to you at first, but here is the up-side and GOOD news for small businesses and entrepreneurs who do not have the big marketing budgets of large enterprises.

Should you deliver a great product AND great product experience, you no longer have to spend large amounts of money on traditional advertising BUT can use the most powerful marketing means there is, namely, WORD-OF-MOUTH, which is now scalable through the medium of the Internet and using the many free apps and tools available to everybody.
Should you build up a relationship with your clients/customers online, they will try your product. Should it be a great product/service and you continue to build the relationship for a life-time through regular conversations via web marketing tools, you WILL BUILD EMOTIONAL EQUITY with your clients.

You will no longer PUSH marketing “down their throats” but will PULL them in by LISTENING to what they are experiencing and respond to the necessary changes that needs to be made to improve your
business.

The result: Your business will grow, but you must not ignore or be lazy to implement the hard work. The easy days of solving “sales growth problems” with bigger marketing budgets and “throwing more money at advertising” are over. CONNECTING with your customer/client online and ENGAGING with them daily by talking AND listening to them will see your profits soar.
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Calvin Dorman is a Professional Online Business Consultant and Graphics/Web Marketing Lecturer from Cape Town, South Africa, offering companies and individuals more effective Web Marketing, one to one Computer Training and Graphic Design solutions. Give him a call on 084 632 6622. Read more of Calvin’s business and motivational articles at http://www.calvinbusiness.co.za


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What defines you?

There are many answers to this question. But a wider perspective I want to take in my blog also includes

you-shape-your-destiny

the question: what defines great business leaders.
This is an important question to ask because it relates to a code of conduct or principles we all live by. We

all know that people of the same values will draw closer to each other and this is not because of race, culture or financial w

ealth. What draws people closer (or further apart) is the set of values they live by and perceive others (true or false) to live by.

I relate this to business because I find that I tend to do more business and develop business relationships with people who have high moral values of trust, honesty, humility  and respect.

These values will always be reflected in true business leaders.  They  have a sense of identity. They are confident and “comfortable in their own skin”. Your moral principles forms your beliefs or your belief-system which will ultimately define you as a person / business-person as well.

My question. Will you compromise your beliefs to get a “huge financial kick-back” or make promises to clients

when you know you “cannot deliver” but you want to take their money?

We live in the era of the internet and companies (their owners and staff) can no longer have a mask for their business and personal life to hide behind. Social media connections are exposing the “bad boys” in business and you can no longer hide who you really are.

Gentle reader, do not be caught up in views, opinions, media influences or critical  people who tell you who and w

hat you should think or how you should behave. Follow you own moral compass and be influenced by the principles of love and tolerance which you were brought up by and managed not to lose along the way.
Folllow  your dreams and set your goals based on true values. Do not let any person stand in your way and limit you. Remember that you are not defined by circumstances, but that you shape your own destiny according to your beliefs.

You are the only one who should have the courage to define who you are, and not allow the opinions nor the beliefs of other people to do it for you. Once you realize that you matter not because of your business title, level of wealth or education, you will find your voice and purpose and achieve great things. This is what great leaders might refer to as your destiny.

Apply noble and honorable business principles in all your affairs and especially in your business and you w
ill attract success and successful people into your life. Birds of a feather flock together, This isn’t just a cute saying.  It happens.
Define your own self and shape your own destiny.
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Calvin Dorman is a Professional Business Consultant and Web Marketing Lecturer from Cape Town, South Africa, offering companies and individuals more effective Web Marketing, one to one Computer Training and Graphic Design solutions. Send Calvin an email: info@calvinbusiness.co.za or give him a call now on 084 632 6622. Read more of Calvin’s motivational articles at http://www.calvinbusiness.co.za
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Self-Motivation – It’s like brushing your teeth

self-motivation03Do you have the ability to do what needs to be done, without influence from other people or situations?

How many people, do you think, are  self-motivated enough to find a reason and strength to complete a task,  even when challenging, without giving up or needing another to  encourage them?
Motivational speakers  are cashing it in worldwide. But why in the world would a boss need to motivate  employees? I know you’ll have a million good reasons as to why it is done, but  think about it for a moment.

I can understand that you can increase SKILL level with on-the-job-training, but should one actually be hiring or training  someone to be motivated at his or her job?
Here’s my theory on this topic of SELF-MOTIVATION: On the one hand, the person  is doing the job basically because there is some aspect to the job that is  fulfilling and that he/she is passionate or cares about and they can make a  living from it. Then, on the other hand, there is the person who cares only for  the pay-cheque; they would rather be doing something else, but that “something  else” is not bringing in the money like the “pay-cheque job”, so they simply do  the minimum.
Now, let me come back to my question I put to you in the beginning… Why in the world would you need to motivate employees?

The answer: because there are too many people who would rather be “doing  something else” but they have become “addicted” to the paycheque. (Are you  addicted to your pay-cheque?)
Gentle reader, are you self-motivated in your career path? Are you determined to be the best in your field of expertise and are willing to  grow and learn, whatever it takes or whatever it might cost you? This question  about self-motivation is an important question to ask.
Do not rely on friends, family or your boss to “pump you up”  to meet targets or set personal goals. This is your task.

Here is the simple truth: People who have found their passion  in life are by nature SELF-motivated. They stay on top of their industries and  market trends. They are self-motivated to learn more about their job. In fact,  they do not see their “job” as a job, but as a blessing to be able to learn and  do more EVEN if they do not get recognition for it. They do not care about  getting “appreciated” for their contribution – they are too busy focusing on their growth experience. There are many tools you can use to help you get  self-motivated. Books, seminars, mentors, role models, vision boards, etc, but  you have to realize that it has to start from within. Meaning: It is a choice  or a decision you make to be motivated each day. It is like brushing your teeth…  it is something you have to do each day and not skip.

You CANNOT allow, nor wait for people and circumstances to get you motivated  and fired up. Simply, pick up the tools each day yourself and stay motivated. Be  aware that a motivated person has the energy levels to far out-perform any colleague  or competitor. Motivated people are ACHIEVERS and you won’t find them procrastinating.  They set their goals and achieve them with passion.

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Calvin Dorman is a Professional Business Consultant and Web Marketing Lecturer from Cape Town, South Africa, offering companies and individuals more effective Web Marketing, one to one Computer Training and Graphic Design solutions. Send Calvin an email: info@calvinbusiness.co.za or give him a call now on 084 632 6622. Read more of Calvin’s motivational articles at http://www.calvinbusiness.co.za


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Failure is the highway to success

THE REASON FOR PERSUING YOUR DREAM MUST BE BIGGER
THAN THE SETBACKS YOU WILL ENCOUNTER  IN YOUR JOURNEYHighway_to_Success

The very nature of dreaming big dreams and stretching yourself beyond the normal is a little scary. Scary in the sense that you leave safety, you leave routine, You leave the world of safe, but unfulfilling relationships. You leave the world where people smile giant smiles when they are asked to pose for a picture, but are really unhappy with their life.

You will certainly fail more than your friends & neighbors and those who live a life called Ordinary. But one must fail to win.

To be successful, especially in business, one has to try new things from time-to-time which involves taking risks. And the more risks you take in the pursuit of your dreams, the more you are going to fail. Failing is one of the ways we learn what works and what does’nt. I used to wonder why this happened, even after a lot of planning went into a launch of a new course. But now I get it. Failure is the highway to success. 

Too many amongst us live our lives in what is often called “the safe harbor of the known.” Same thinking for the past 5 years. Same conversations for the past 10 years. Same breakfast for the past 20 years.

Well, if it makes you happy, then that’s a beautiful thing. But I don’t know of anyone who is really happy living like that. True joy comes when you try new things and take some chances. Yes, you will start to experience more failure. But guess what, success also starts to pay more visits.

Failure is just part of the process of getting to greatness. The best companies on the planet have failed more than the average ones.

To me, the only failure is the failure to not try and dream and dare. And I deeply feel that the greatest risk you will ever take in your life is if you never take a risk.

Sometimes discouragement sets in. Happens to all of us. We try hard, stay true to our dreams and pursue our ideals. Yet nothing happens. Or so it seems. But every choice matters. And every step counts. Life runs according to its own agenda – not yours. Be patient.

Here are my 3 business absolutes. If you continually persue them even when you are failing, then you can be assured that you will eventually succeed:

1. Be passionate about what you do.
This must be consistent. You have to really love what you do and be motivated all the time to go beyond your setbacks. Read more about my views on this topic. Do not just make a living: Design a life

2.     Be the best at what you do.
Be better than anyone else in your field at what you do.
Have the most up-to-date skillset in your field. In my case, I am an expert in design and training using CorelDRAW. I have the skills and continuous learning approach which makes me unmatched in my field. Read more about my views on this topic:
After Mindset,it is Skills that will take your business to the top.

3.     Always put your client first.
That is why you are still in business in the first place. This caring for your client should not merely be lip-service, but one of your core values and a cornerstone business principle. Read more about my views on this topic:
Always place people above profits

Simple strategies. But remember: what separates the best from the rest is their consistent adherence to a few simple best practices. Or what I call the “3 business absolutes” which over time evolve into spectacular results. Eventually, a good person just cannot be denied.

Read more articles from my website: http://www.calvinbusiness.co.za