Starting Up Well

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We all know that this life often can be a roller coaster with lots of uncertainty and chaos. When you’re in the struggle, it’s tough to see a clear path to success, but it’s crucial to let your vision guide you, not your current circumstances. You must embrace those challenges, because that’s where your hunger for a better life is developed.

Nobody wants to be broke, and nobody wants to struggle, but it’s part of the process. It’s asking the right questions, and taking the right action while in the struggle, that can change everything. When I was in my toughest spot I was dead broke but six months later I had started my own company and in charge of my own destiny. What it took to make the change is available to everyone. Here are three things to start up well. 

1) Clarity

It's easy to make decisions once you determine what your real values are.

Reflecting back on the lowest points of my life, I’ve realized I didn’t take responsibility for anything. I was playing the victim role. I was blaming the economy, my job, lack of resources and even my location. I soon realized my focus was jaded and what I needed to change was myself. The moment I got clear on that, my life shifted.

Clarity is the ultimate power, and if you want results you’ve never had you need to get 100 percent clear on what you want. Only when you take full responsibility for your current reality can you change it. Clarity is a great way to run your business, and a great way to run your life. Get rid of the messes and noise in your head and figure out who you are, what you want and what you must give up to get there.

2) Confidence

Insecurities will destroy you, while real confidence will take you to a level very few attain.

An interesting thing happens when you start to gain clarity. Your confidence follows. If you don’t have confidence, you will always find a way to lose. Everything you accomplish is based on the confidence you have in yourself and your ability to “make it happen.” The bigger the goals, the bigger the challenges.

You must realize the moment you go after your biggest goals, obstacles will show up. They are there to test your character and faith, and to see if you are serious about your goals. When I got clear on the actions needed to start thriving, I felt my motivation and energy elevate. These days, the only security you have is the confidence in yourself and your ability to make things happen.

3)Shifting Your Circle of Influence

There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did and who always will.

Once you get clear on who you are and what you want, you must re-evaluate your Circle of Influence. It's like my pastor always say, "Who you associate with is who you become" - Sam Masteller (Follow him on Twitter @sammylu) The term "role model'' is not used enough in our society. It’s extremely important to have role models. A role model will raise your standards. A role model will not let you get complacent. Finding a role model or mentor will spark your mind because they are playing the game at a higher level than you are.

If you hang around five confident people, you will be the sixth.

If you hang around five intelligent people, you will be the sixth.

If you hang around five idiots, you will be the sixth.

If you hang around five broke people, you will be the sixth.

It’s inevitable!

Such a simple concept, but what a difference it can make on your performance and business. There’s no faster way to advance into the top 5 percent of your industry than this. Yet, most people don’t do it. I challenge you to find those people, because you’ll become a lot like the people you spend the most time with. Their belief systems, their ways of being and their attitudes are contagious. Once you elevate your peer group, your standards will follow.

No matter what the news is trying to feed our culture, I believe that the time is now to start a start up. In 2015 begin to dream, begin to plan, begin to take risks because if you don't..... this time next year you will wish you did.

 

16 Reasons To Start Your Business

 

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Sitting here in a parking lot as my Wife & Sister shop on Black Friday as I entertain the kids with a movie in our GMC, I begin to think of how blessed I really am for having the finances & freedom to take 6 days off and spend with family over the holidays. I didn't have to put in a request, take vacation time, my wife and I just decided to jump in our vehicle and drive 5 1/2 hrs south to Va. 

If you’re an entrepreneur you have heard the million reasons not to go into business: It’s too risky, you might go into debt, you’ll probably lose sleep, your social life is kaput, and the list goes on & on. But even with all these uncertainties, people are still attracted to the startup world. There are just as many, if not more reasons to take the leap and go start your own business.  Here are just a few I can think of while I wait on the shoppers:

1. Spare Time 

This one can take some time.  Initially you’ll work longer hours for less pay.  But if you do it right, you could start to master your schedule and the freedom that being an entrepreneur provides is awesome. 

2. A Story To Tell

Whenever I tell someone I run my own business, they always want to know what I do, how I do it and how it’s going. I always am able to provide a tale or two, and the best part is that I get to determine the story's chapters. (When working for a corporation, people most likely have less input.)

3. Tax Benefits

For entrepreneurs (freelancers included), they have the opportunity to take advantage of some nice tax perks. Many can write off expenses like travel, food, phone bills, portions of car payments, and the list goes on. Also, certain startups qualify for government incentives. Make sure to ask your accountant about what tax benefits you may be eligible for.

4. Pride

When you build something successful, it’s a great feeling. You had a vision, were able to execute it and not can reap the benefits of saying "I did this." On the other hand, it’s tough to be proud of the zillionth request for proposal you fill out for your employer.

5. Your Future Generations

If you’re a doctor, plumber or bus driver it’s hard to imagine you passing your career on to your loved ones. But if you own your own business, that’s something you can pass on to the next generation. And be proud of it, because you created it.

6. Job Security

Have you ever been laid off, downsized, or fired?  If you have, you get this. With entrepreneurship the security lies in the fact you are your own boss. You run the show and don't have to worry about getting let go.

7. Networking

Entrepreneurs are communal creatures.  We love to meet each other, swap stories, and learn from each other’s experiences. Your circle of friends and acquaintances always grows when you become an entrepreneur, as many founders need others to lean on to survive and talk about the challenges only known to them.

8. Doing Good

While this isn’t exclusive to entrepreneurs, it’s definitely a perk. You control where your company profits go and if you choose, you can give allocate your financial gains to others. You can give more to your Church, sponsor a charity, a non-profit or just personally give back to the community.  This is quite honestly one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur.

9. Mentorship

Having had mentors and getting to be a mentor have been some of the best experiences of my life.  Learning from the masters and getting to help those less experienced than you gives you such a sense of satisfaction. From my experience (and other's stories) the entrepreneurial community is very willing to give back and lend a helping hand.

10. Becoming An Expert

This point goes along with mentorship.  Regardless of what you do as an entrepreneur, if you stick with it, you’ll probably become very good at it. And this gives you a sort of soapbox, so use it. You'll have the chance to be interviewed for your expertise, write about it and get to spread your message.

11. Skills

People ask me how I learned about Merchant Services and  I tell them that I was forced to learn them, otherwise I wouldn't survive.  The same way I was forced to learn countless other skills I picked up because I was the only resource I had. While developing new skills can be tough and takes times, it can pay off in spades.  These skills will be invaluable throughout your life.

12. Determination

Everything I’ve done as an entrepreneur has affected me in my personal life.  I used to be poor at committing to changes. But having been an entrepreneur for the last 2 1/2 years has forced me to become dedicated and determined to causes. (Now I can stick to an exercise plan much easier.)  I’m also better at being a father and husband because of that determination I learned.

13. Recognition

There are literally thousands of local, regional and national awards that recognize entrepreneurs in every field and industry. This shouldn’t be your only reason to start your business, but it certainly is a great feeling when you receive this recognition.

14. Financial Independence

Let’s be honest, this is probably the biggest reason people get into business for themselves.  And that’s a good thing!  You should want financial independence.  However you define financial independence – retirement stockpile, unlimited cash potential or having the money to buy what you want --  entrepreneurship can allow you to achieve it. Trust me, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does make finding happiness much easier.

15. Your Brand

Being known for something is awfully enjoyable.  People may start referring to you as the credit card guy, marketig guy, the retail maven or the software guru.  Whatever it is you’re recognized as, it’s fun to build that brand and earn that recognition.

16. Your Reason

I’ve given you a list of why I think you should start up your own business.  But all that really matters is YOUR reason to start your own business.  So, what is it?  Tweet out this story and add your reason.  Comment below and share with us why you did it.  I know it will be a good one. 

5 Ways To Establish Long Term Relationships With Clients

Everyone knows customer relationships affect the success of your business, but few understand how impactful loyalty is. One study reported that 89 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.

Bain & Co, meanwhile, reports that a customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related, rather than price or product related. Competition is fierce, and your customers may not remain customers long if you don’t take active steps to build your acquisition efforts and secure their loyalty.

To show you how to maintain a devoted customer base, here are five tips and insights to build strong customer relations with you customers.

1. Engage with your customers -- but at the right time. 

According to a recent study conducted by Totango, 81 percent of customers are willing to pay for a high-quality customer experience. This shows that experience matters as much as the product itself. With proactive, well-timed engagement with customers, you can make sure they are getting all the support they need before they even ask.

Take Sidekick by HubSpot. One week after you create an account, the company follows up with an automated email customized to reflect your last interaction with the product. For example, if you’ve signed up with Sidekick but haven’t engaged with it heavily yet, the follow-up note provides tips on how to use the two most fundamental features.

2. Understand what value you provide to customers, and maintain it. 

Customer interactions are too often treated as one-off instances. I can't tell you how many times I get told by a new client that they haven't heard from their previous sales rep since they got set up with them. If you want to succeed, it is crucial to understand the customer experience as a journey with a long string of interactions, continually building loyalty.

Trader Joe’s is famous for valuing their customers by continually imagining new ways to make the shopping experience easy and enjoyable. Market researchers agree that Trader Joe’s strategy of rapid checkout lines, well-curated product selection, deals on items we all love such as wine, and an array of sample foods keep customers coming back.

3. Monitor customer behavior every day. 

If you want to keep customers on board long term, you must understand how customers are engaging with your product throughout their journey with it. Best-in-class companies understand that historical snapshots of customers no longer cut it. Instead, to make their actions actually matter, they are using sensor-based capabilities to collect real-time feedback, which they act on immediately.

On the verge of its IPO, file-sharing company Box has mastered the art of predictive analytics to ensure customers are using the platform properly. Through its various monitoring systems, Box learned that their system of evaluating the number of customer users then projecting a price for that company was not working efficiently.

Through real-time feedback, the Box product team realized more customers wanted to consume Box “on more of a usage basis.” This product adjustment would not have been possible had its team not been closely monitored what customers wanted in real time.

4. Prioritize customers by knowing who needs your immediate attention.

Rapidly growing grocery-delivery service Instacart knows how to draw customers in -- and keep them. This inspires me in my ever changing industry that my company is in. We however have maintained a great customer base who has stayed with us through the changes. Instacart sends well-timed text messages and emails, updating users on the status of their delivery. After users receive their groceries, Instacart asks you to rate your experience between 1 and 5. Instacart follows up with a personalized email to every user who gives below a “5” and responds within 10 minutes to any concerns.

One recent study claimed 42 percent of consumers complaining on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. When you are managing multiple accounts, you need to know which customers need your attention so you can distribute your time and resources efficiently.

Every customer success team should have a system that evaluates both self-reported feedback and contextual customer actions to create a prioritized list of customers who require follow up. Ultimately, that list will include the users who are at risk and need your help as well as those who are most engaged and ready to get to the next level.

5. Don't limit yourself to only large corporations. 

McKinsey reports that 70 percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. This means that investing in lower revenue accounts can be valuable: a customer’s value grows based on their experience.

Today’s winning companies serve a wide range of customers, from small and mid-size businesses to large enterprises, and cannot afford to view customer success through the traditional low- and high-touch account-management lens. Make sure you are monitoring all accounts -- not just high powered ones -- to ensure 100 percent of your user base is successful, engaged and receiving the attention they need.

I have built a 6 figure company in less than 2 years by targeting small business clients. No client is too small and every client matters to your business. Develop this mindset today.

A customer's decision to remain loyal to your company or move on to a competitor often hinges on the level of support they receive. Data from Totango shows that 90 percent of churn is preceded by poor product usage. By focusing on all of your customers -- not just a select group -- you can ensure every user has the tools needed to take full advantage of all product features. 

5 Lessons I Learned About Switching From Employee To Owner

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Every person who ever clocked in at work has had this thought: “If this were my business, I would run things differently.”

But what happens when you actually have the chance to grow your own company? I found out in 2012 when I started my own Merchant Services company called Dependable Solutions. I was only 30 years old, and I transitioned from employee to owner almost overnight.

The lessons I learned as I drastically changed roles helped me honor the business I valued enough to start and take the company to the level of success I dreamed of.

Here are five takeaways from my experience:

1. Don’t leave a vacuum behind when you transition. 

Becoming the owner means you’ll have tons of new responsibilities, from customer relationship management to business development, marketing, and accounting. Before you step out of your previous role, have a plan in place to cover your former responsibilities so vital tasks don’t fall through the cracks.

It’s not realistic to expect to do both your former job and your new one, especially since ownership will keep throwing you curve balls. You may miss certain aspects of your previous job, but you’ll discover the importance of your new role as owner and CEO -- to work on the business as opposed to in the business

2. Don’t be afraid to redefine the status quo. 

Merchant Services seems like an over-saturated industry to start a fresh company in. If you own a business you most likely don't go through a day without a salesman calling you and telling you that they can save you money. That is how everyone told me I should grow my business. However I was determined to grow it in a more grassroots approach. Going out and meeting with people face to face. This has been at the core of our success and growth.

3. Don’t be shocked if everyone doesn’t get with the program.

When things change, some people won’t want to go with the flow. They may choose to hop off the train at various stops. That’s not the end of the world. You don’t have time to waste on stragglers or stubborn people. Instead, invest in those who share your ideals and want to be part of the team that carries the company forward.

4. Find someone to lean on. 

A major role shift is going to be stressful, no matter how positive it may be. Finding a mentor, business coach or trade organization of fellow professionals can be invaluable. Having a support system will give you perspective and lead to stronger choices earlier in your transition.

5. Be Honest With Clients

When change comes, it’s natural for people to feel nervous. Set aside time to reassure clients. Be open about  what you envision for the future. Projecting confidence and being positive will help your clients feel more secure.

 

No matter what kind of company you’re considering buying or starting, whether it’s a law firm, restaurant, construction company or a sales company it’s important to consider all the angles of life as a future owner before you make the sacrifice to sign on the dotted line.

Transforming from an employee to the owner is a huge step, but if you have Character, Integrity, stellar ideas and the will to make the business your own, the rewards and unlimited potential of becoming an owner are worth every challenge.

Don't Be Misled About EMV

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EMV Will Eliminate The Magnetic Stripe On Your Credit Card? Not So Fast!

A common misconception going around the news world is that EMV or “chip and pin” adoption will eliminate the magnetic stripe on credit cards by 2015. While the end of magnetic stripe (or magstripe) technology may indeed happen in the near future, you shouldn’t expect your next card to only feature a chip. Despite the fact that stripe technology goes back to the 1960s, reports of its impending death are grossly exaggerated.

If all cards were exclusively switched out with EMV technology tomorrow, the inconvenience to consumers would make front page headlines. This is because not all stores have EMV readers installed, and shops with chip and pin readers may not be connected to a payment processing network that can handle the data. Although networks were expected to be compliant by April 1, 2013, some technical and legal details have created delays. At this point, the difference in technologies means that trying to pay with EMV on an older terminal or POS system would be akin to expecting a Betamax VCR to play a DVD.

One huge area of inconvenience would be self-service gas pumps, which do not have to be EMV compliant by 2017. If consumers did not have stripes on their debit and credit cards, they would all be lined up at the cash register waiting to pre-pay. Because each gas pump has its own reader, and some stations have over a dozen pumps, replacing all the self-service terminals will require a lot of time and money. This is the reason that the roadmap for migration to EMV cards takes this factor into account. For the time being, the smartcard that gets issued to you is going to have a stripe on the back.

Another recent trend in card processing which will have to adapt to EMV is smartphone and tablet solutions like Square, PayPal Here, and Intuit Gopayment. Card readers that plug into headphone jacks, as well as USB-based readers for PCs and POS systems, will all need an alternative that can accept chips and contactless payments. For thousands of shop owners who may have just switched over to “business in a box” solutions like Square Register and First Data’s Clover system, a vanishing credit card stripe would mean that every card number must be entered manually, which adds at least 1% to the price of each transaction while wasting valuable time.

Store owners of all sizes should be prepared for the change when it does happen, and if your terminal is not EMV capable then it may be time to make a change. Even though the magstripe is going to be around for awhile, more and more people are going to be acclimated to inserting their cards into a reader. If your store does not have such technology by 2015, shoppers may believe that your store’s cardholder protection measures are not up to standard. At Dependable Solutions, our customers who have switched to smartcard readers generally find that the new terminals are smaller, easier to use, and offer a lot more features than the obsolescent machines that they replaced.

If you're a business owner and you're one of our current customers or you would like to learn more about what we have the offer when it comes to smart card ready Terminals. Contact us today.

Office - 717-806-5429

Email - info@dependablesolutions.org

A&B Sales & Service In Gordonville Re- Opens In New Location

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A&B Sales and Services in Gordonville Pa has been a family and operated business for a number of years. For the last 15 years they worked out of their home farm. After their Son Merv Bieler took over the business this past year, he looked to expand the business. 

They found a location located at 303 Queen Road Gordonville, PA 17529, just south of Intercourse. They remodeled the inside of the building, stocked it with inventory and had an open house earlier this month.

They are a authorized reseller for STIHL and they specialize in servicing your small engine lawnmowers and weed trimmers as well as selling new mowers, trimmers, blowers, and chainsaw's.

Looking to get set up to except credit card for payment, they contacted Dependable Solutions. Where we were happy to come in get them set up at a affordable price.  

 If you own a business and are looking to cut cost on your credit card processing fees contact us today. Also If your business and you does not except credit cards yet for payment contact us today to have a free consultation to see how we can help you get set up. 

Office - 717-806-5429

Email - info@dependablesolutions.org

What A Merchant Account Can Do For Your Business

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Don’t assume that your business is too small to start a merchant account. Expanding your business capabilities to include credit card processing, electronic payments and online sales can help take your business to the next level of success. Discover the many opportunities available with credit card processing for small business:

• Accept credit cards – It’s time to face the fact that the majority of consumers aren’t carrying around wads of cash. Instead, they’re paying for everything – from fast-food breakfast to their water bill and everything in between – with credit and debit cards. Accepting these forms of payment keeps customers coming back.
• Online billing – Sending invoices and accepting payments online is a simple way to save money and reduce late payments. Customers can manage their accounts from home, set up reminders and enjoy quick payment methods, while your business benefits from a more streamlined process.
• E-commerce options – As consumers rely more on the Internet to shop and make payments, setting up an e-commerce account for your small business increases your customer base and cash flow. Purchases can be made quickly and efficiently through secure payment gateways.
• Secure terminals – Credit card terminals aren’t just for retail stores. Secure processing equipment can be used at quick-service restaurants, where the line must always keep moving, as well as on-the-go with mobile options that allow you to process credit cards wherever your business takes you. 
• Gift card and loyalty programs – Attract new customers and establish a regular customer base through gift and loyalty cards. While gift cards increase brand awareness and encourage sales from new customers, a loyalty program keeps customers coming back.

Examine your small business goals and ask yourself how a merchant account can help you. A customized package can be designed specifically for your needs.

Contact us today to set up your merchant account

 Office - 717-806-5429

Email - info@dependablesolutions.org

Growth Potential For Your Business

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Wherever you do business — in a storefront, online or on the road — credit card processing has the potential to help grow your operation to its fullest potential. Gone are the days of cash-only purchases. Consumers have spoken, and their preference is to pay with plastic. Accepting credit cards is no longer a courtesy extended to your customers — it’s a requirement for businesses who want to survive in today’s market.

As a reputable and experienced merchant services provider, Dependable Solutions can guide you through the many products, services, processing solutions and pricing structures for accepting credit cards and point out the most advantageous for your specific business.

Recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Reserve show that 181 million people in this country use credit cards; on average, they carry 7 cards each. They rack up 20 billion transactions with them each year totaling $1.9 trillion, or approximately 13 percent of the gross domestic product.

When you ask credit cardholders why they choose plastic over cash, they’ll give you a variety of answers, with convenience, ease of use and the rewards they receive from the issuing banks topping the list. Merchants who don’t accept credit cards are at a distinct disadvantage with this ever-growing segment of the buying public.

When you accept credit cards, you build trust with your customer base, one person at a time. The credit card logos on display at the register and on e-commerce websites are a beacon for cardholders, a guarantee that they will be able to make a purchase with their preferred method of payment. No need to make a quick trip to the ATM, whip out their checkbook or set up a payment alternative with a third party.

If a shopper trusts a credit card enough to carry it in their wallet and use it on a regular basis, that trust is likely to transfer to merchants who accept their preferred brand. And, once they’re a satisfied customer of yours, they’re likely to spread the word among their family and friends, potentially bringing in even more customers to your business.

Getting set up with a merchant account from Dependable Solutions is easy and can be accomplished in as little as 24 hours. We have served more than 500 clients in almost 2 years in the Lancaster, Chester, York, Lebonon Counties in Pa. And even in 5 other states as we'll. Clients appreciate our low rates and superior, 24/7 customer service and support based right here in the U.S. We service a variety of industries, ranging from traditional retail and e-tail to restaurants,professional services, automotive and healthcare.

Whatever your credit card processing requirements — POS retail, wireless credit card processing, mobile credit card processing, online credit card processing — Dependable Solutions has got the perfect solution (or solutions) for your business. We’ll work one-on-one with you to create a custom package of products and services to meet your needs.

Talk to a Dependable Solutions representative today and let us show you how credit card processing can boost the growth potential for your business.

Office - 717-806-5429

Email - info@dependablesolutions.org

3 Credit Card Options For Small Businesses

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If you are a small business merchant, getting started with credit card processing doesn’t have to be complicated. At Dependable Solutions, we offer a wide range of Small Business Credit Card Ptocedsing solutions, each designed to simplify the payment process and save you time and money. Below are just a few simple options that are ideal for small business payment processing.

  1. Virtual terminals. Do you work from home, or deal primarily with mail order and telephone order sales? A virtual terminal allows you to manually enter credit card transactions from any computer with an Internet connection. At the end of the day, you can use batch uploading features to process all of the day’s transactions in a single file, speeding the authorization process and eliminating double data entry.
  2. Mobile credit card processing. With mobile processing you can take your small business on-the-go. The ability to process credit cards from your mobile phone is especially useful for merchants who sell items at people’s homes, at trade shows, festivals, craft fairs, farmers markets and other locations. Mobile processing allows you to accept credit cards, check your account and send receipts directly from your cell phone, with no additional hardware necessary.
  3. Credit card machines. For small business merchants with a brick-and-mortar facility, Dependable Solutions offers advanced credit card processing machines for safe, efficient payment processing. Swipe credit cards securely with PCI compliant features such as End-to-End Encryption (E2EE), which keeps sensitive data safe during transit.

The Dependable Solutions team of specialists can help you identify the right solutions for your specific business needs and goals. For more information, contact us today

Office - 717-806-5429

Email - info@dependablesolutions.org

3 Important Lessons I’ve Learned From Starting Up

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Back in 2012 I took a leap of faith and began my Merchant Services Company, I founded Dependable Solutions, the company I still run today. It’s been a long road to get to where I am today, but I’ve loved every minute of this journey.

I am not saying I have all the answers or even that I am a great business owner, but here are a few practical things I have learned along the way.

1. Set Goals To Keep You Pushing Forward

It is very easy to have the drive to grow you business when you first start up. You want to expand and grow. It's all you think about all day and even into your evening. You plan and strategize for this. 

But what happens when it doesn't go as you dream? Or what happens when you begin to burn out? You should have a 10 yr plan, 5 yr plan, 1 yr plan, and a monthly goal to help you accomplish your long term 10 yr goal. And if you meet your yearly goal early, restructure your goal for the year and see if you can meet it.

This has helped me stay grounded and focused on pushing forward no matter how I feel at the moment. This has also helped me to grow my small business to a 6 figure business in under 24 months. This is very important for all business owners to implement.

2. You Can Always Make More Money, But You Can Never Make More Time. Use Your Time Wisely.

I’m more likely to be upset by a 30-minute delay in a meeting than a 10 percent reduction to an invoice! I always tell my team we can make more money, but we can never make more time. Repeat this to yourself all day long. Focus on ways to be more efficient, delegate projects to someone who can do it quicker and better, and do not waste time. And please, please, please don’t waste time in meetings that don’t yield results.

I’m a big fan of Action Method and their process for making ideas happen. Always make sure meetings include action steps so it’s easier to pass along info to the right person to yield the right results. Make sure that everyone understands next steps and owns their next step. This saves time that can ultimately be put to use doing something else. Miscommunication and lack of clarity are big time suckers, and getting a handle on these issues will save you time and increase your bottom line.

3. If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail.

This is picking up off of Setting goals. It's one thing to Dream and set goals for your start up, but if you fail to plan how your going to accomplish your goals, you plan to fail on meeting those goals.

This doesn’t mean that you need to script every detail of your life, but you need to have a roadmap.  You need to have a vision. Where do you see yourself? Do you think on this vision? Can you see what it takes to get to that vision? Too often we get caught up in the minute details of things, and we lose focus on the big picture.

You have to give yourself time to do a daily check-in. For me, this happens first thing in the morning. I spend 15 to 30 minutes in a quiet mental space, after my devotion time with God. This helps me go into my day fully focused. I also spend at least 15 minutes “free writing,” hoping to open up my creative space. I always get new ideas or think of solutions to existing problems. As entrepreneurs, if we can’t get ourselves into a place where we can innovate or problem solve, this is a problem. So always make sure you have a notebook (or smartphone) with you to take quick notes when an idea or solution comes to you. And focus on your vision.