Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who holds the secret to your home business success?

It doesn't take much homework on what it takes to succeed with your particular home business before you are exposed to more tips, must-do's, etc. than you can practically use.

If you are building a network marketing business, you've already been exposed to a dizzying number of systems, examples to follow, and sources of advice on how to make that business model work for you. As Jeff Olson puts it in his excellent book, The Slight Edge, if information gaps were all that holds us back from success, we would all be billionaires by now.

As I've turned the corner from corporate employee to home business owner I am intrigued with the way individuals boost (or retard!) all other efforts to produce results. On one level this is not that profound. It's obviously what allows one individual with the same opportunity and equipping as the next person to achieve higher and faster results.

This is particularly evident in proven network marketing home businesses, that more readily allow individuals to make up for disadvantages they may have in skill or experience 'mileage' - as level a playing field as you'll find anywhere in small business.

But from what I've observed I believe this how the 'individual factor' works:

success = (opportunity + skills/training) x individual effort x individual qualities

Simplified? Of course.

But think about most of the information that you’ve seen or read on how to succeed. Most of what I’ve seen offered this perspective:

success = (opportunity + tips/secrets of the expert you’re listening to) x individual effort

Now, I highly value all the tips and secrets that I’ve received from experts and winners in various fields. But those insights only got traction in what I needed to accomplish when they were individualized by me, for who I am in my home business endeavor. The degree of passion, perseverance, and effectiveness I experienced was related directly to how much I owned the principles that I learned, and really integrated them into what I was doing next.

I suspect most authors and experts would go along with this individualization observation, maybe even say that it is obvious, or generally understood as an unspoken requirement.

But I also suspect that I’m not the only one who ended up with the unconscious sense that if I could just become a clone of who I was listening to or reading, then I would enjoy the success that they achieved. And that represents the major difference in the two success formulas above.

Re-focusing on the individual ingredient has me excited. For although I cannot escape needing basic skills and the right open door to succeed, I already have one critical component for my success.


I am my secret weapon, I am my own wild card. And not because I’m a prodigy.

Consider a table set with all kinds of good food. It’s not a feast (or training table, or health regimen, or whatever) until it gets eaten. And more than one outcome is possible when it does get eaten! It could further my aspirations to be a chef. It could educate me on new frontiers of nutrition. It could enhance my performance as an athlete. That part is up to the one eating the food.


So who we are in our home business endeavor matters more than we realize.

Try looking at the training or self-improvement information you’re exposed to as something you ’eat’, rather than something you learn in the purely-intellectual, curriculum sense. Let it be part of you and the success journey that you’re undertaking. Rather than trying to mold yourself to whatever external model that information describes.

It’s way more fun. And very likely the key to ultimate success in your endeavor.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wellness home business: follow the clues

The trends have been developing over a long period. The impact of health care spending on American business is already alarming:
  • Starbucks - health care costs exceed the cost of coffee
  • General Motors - health care costs exceed the cost of steel, and is three times the health care costs for Japanese auto manufacturers
  • Government - health care costs equaled 17% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 2008, and is expected to rise to 20% by 2017

With a corresponding impact on individuals:

  • Health insurance premiums rose five times faster than wages from 2000 to present, and rose at twice the rate of inflation in 2008 alone
  • The average worker paid nearly $13,000 per year in premiums for family health care coverage
  • More than 46 million in the U.S. elect to be uninsured, primarily because of the high cost of the coverage

Regardless of your politics, there seems to be general agreement that this cannot continue.

As organizations unwrap the causes behind these crushing trends, they are targeting specific health issues such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity. Getting ahead of these health challenges with proactive prevention and wellness lifestyle strategies is increasingly seen as key to long-term success in reversing these trends.

And 'wellness and prevention' is getting more than just philosophical lip service in this process. The dollars-and-cents perspective is pushing the policy and priority choices. For example, where studies show that individuals with obesity trigger more than $2000 in additional annual health costs, a return-on-investment goal is now visible, which organizations can use to assess the effectiveness of their investments in solutions.

On top of those direct health costs, employers are also incented by data showing more lost time due to health issues, as much as 12 times higher for obese or overweight employees, for example. When you add documented reductions in on-the-job productivity for health-challenged workers, you can see why organizations have not waited on others to explore alternatives.

And individuals and families are also wising up regarding their personal finances, since co-pays and out-of-pocket health expenses have also skyrocketed.

The shift toward investing in wellness solutions is already happening. Almost everyone has an awareness around the concept of ‘wellness’, and consumer and corporate spending is shifting accordingly. The size of the wellness industry is headed toward a trillion dollars within the next few years. Providing wellness solutions is already big business.

The savvy home business entrepreneur who aims to be a successful solution provider in wellness must assess where these spending shifts are occurring in specific markets that he or she can effectively work with. Obviously, the more effectively you follow the money, the more successful you will be. When you know where wellness dollars are being spent you can choose your offering so that your solution fills an existing - and pressing - need.

Just as you make logical choices about your specific market based on prior experience, skills that you possess, or a unique access opportunity that you have, you need to make logical direction choices for your wellness business based not only on where consumer spending is occurring now, but also where the trends are taking that spending. For example, the dietary supplement industry is in a long term transition toward a more scrutinized and monitored regulatory environment. And consumer spending is following that trend, away from suppliers with wild anything-goes marketing claims toward those with credible science-backed, certified product offerings.

It is also important to assess the timing of spending shifts as well as their direction. Knowing the timing ensures that any investment required to pursue the business in that arena is as close as possible to when a profitable return can be realized on that investment.

Follow the money clues, make sound choices, and your success is ... elementary.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Economic downturn: reposition your home business for growth

The general mood is ...

"Will my business survive the current economic challenges?"

But the savvy home business owner is already looking at the very next question ...

"Am I positioning for success in the coming upturn?"

As tough as it is to cope with the business realities of a recession period, there are prime opportunities now to improve the position of your work-from-home business to take advantage of the next phase of economic expansion that is coming.

Here are a few thought-starters along those lines:
  1. If you aren't pursuing the right opportunity, this may be the right time to stop and restart with a better one. Or start with a better one in parallel with your existing business. There are more opportunities than ever looking for you. Starting the right low-entry, high-potential home business opportunity now gets you ahead of the game, and ready for the next growth period before it hits.
  2. For an existing business, this is a great time to lay foundations for managing significant future growth in your customer base and revenue, and the operational needs that go with that growth. For example, you may find discounts available on tools or infrastructure that you use to manage your business, or may need as you grow in the future.
  3. Evaluate opportunities to connect with new partners. Larger numbers of good ones are in the hunt for you, too. Who else is also pursuing your business opportunity that shares your vision and passion? Is a community approach to your business opportunity available?
  4. Keep a close eye on your target market. How can you better serve them, both in terms of current needs in this climate, and where their business or personal circumstances are headed next? Can you take advantage of pull-backs or weakness on the part of your competitors? Are you participating in the rapid-growth industries that will get the most attention in the next decade?
The average length of recessions in the U.S. has been 11 months over the past 5 decades. Most agree that the current downturn is the most severe we've had since the 1930's and could take much longer than that. But the savvy home business owner knows we have already traveled part of the 'distance' toward the next upturn, and should act now to be ready for it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Community: putting the 'easy' in work-at-home business

Most entrepreneurs consider the internet a critical component for work at home business success. Whether the internet is the primary tool for marketing goods and services, or mostly an operational tool for communication and research, no one 'works at home without it' these days.

For home business owners, needing to leverage the internet leads to the question of whether you have the skills you need to do that.

And if you don't have the skills you need, must you hold up on growing your business to get those skills first?

Fortunately, being effective with most internet functions of interest to home business owners is getting a little easier all the time. Most work-at-home business opportunities do not require the owner to become a technology geek to work the business.

Still, having more expertise than your competitor in applying the internet to the business can mean competitive advantage, making the difference between breaking even, and breaking through to high-level success.

The most common ways to get that expertise advantage are:
  1. Hiring it, through employees, contractors, or consultants.
  2. Learning it through traditional education sources, self-study, or mentors.
  3. Sharing it in a community of work at home entrepreneurs who join forces to build individual home businesses.