The Entrepreneur In Heels

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Archive for October 2012

5 Steps To Being Assertive and Getting More Of What You Want

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If you know what you want, but don’t go after it, your biggest liability is you. Be assertive and get out of your own way.

As an entrepreneur being assertive is very important when communicating on behave of your business.  Assertiveness and confidence is produced when you are certain of your purpose and skills.  Although you ultimately want to get to “yes”, you don’t want to come across as arrogant. It’s necessary to be fair to your team, customers and business peers. One of the greatest leadership skills successful entrepreneurs have is the ability to be assertive in a way that shows strength and confidence without tearing others down.

Being assertive means being direct about what you want. It’s the verbal expression of how you feel about something.  In business, assertiveness should always be used as a communication skill to reduce conflict, build confidence and grow your business. When you’re not assertive, you live a life that is beneath your true capabilities.  Over time you will find yourself overwhelmed with regret and lack of self-confidence.  As a business leader it’s important that you are able to stand alone and fight for what you deserve. Leaders must to be able to say “Yes” when it’s yes, and “No” when it’s No.

Here are 5 steps to being more assertive 

1.  Clarity

Be very clear and ask for exactly what you want. Never assume people can read your mind or figure out what you mean. Be sure to communicate using specific words that define what you want to achieve. Leave no room for error. Leave all judgments and perceptions behind. State the facts and stick with the facts.

    • Practice what you are going to say so that it will flow easily
    • Choose words that help the listener visualize a positive situation

2. Body Language

Be sure that your body language in consistent with what you are saying.  Sit up straight, look the other person in the eye. Always use a tone of voice and physical manner that exudes confidence. Avoid being apologetic or statements that make you appear self-doubting.

    • Use facial expressions to show your excitement and reenforce positivity
    • Engage the listener with subtle hand gestures that break up the space between you

3. Be Present

Be present in the conversation. Listen actively while the other person is talking. Show that you hear and understand the other person’s point of view. When you fully understand how the other person feels you can speak to those concerns and remain in control of the conversation. Use “I” statements. I language constructively keeps the focus on what your intentions are and brings clarity to who you really are inside.

    • Use “I” to show  ownership of what you are saying
    • Repeat what the other person says to show you are listening and understand

4. Focus

Stay focused on your objective and in control.  If the conversation strays, always bring it back on track by asking for what you want over and over.  Ignore distractions, continue to express what your ultimate goal is and what you want.

    • Be prepared to answer potential questions on the subject matter
    • Refrain from open-ended questions that will not cause the listener to react with a yes or no

5. Draw The Line

Being assertive does not mean being aggressive. Aggressive behavior is produced from lack of confidence and uncertainty. Aggressive people are seen as bullies who force their opinion on others. Know where to draw the line with your approach.  Assertive entrepreneurs know the value they are offering customers and approach them with positive attitudes and solutions to problems.

    • Show confidence with kindness
    • Listen and validate the other persons opinion

Assertiveness typically has not been known as a “good” trait, but  recently it’s been established that in today’s business world it takes a certain amount of  “umph” to be effective. Being assertive won’t come easy to everyone. Start with small daily steps and incorporate assertiveness gradually. The key is to be able to communicate what you want, while still being considerate and respectful to others. Most importantly, do not imitate anyone but incorporate assertiveness, while still being true to yourself.

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Written by Beverly S. Davis

October 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

3 Financial Reports Every Business Owner Should Be Looking At

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No Business owner can make informed decisions without knowing the truth about their business.

When starting a new small business, many entrepreneurs find it difficult to determine which financial reports are important to have.  I’ve been asked the question by small business owners at different stages of their business. Startups need to make sure their business has a good foundation. Businesses in their second or third year need to evaluate how they’re doing and what needs to be changed. Financial reports play a huge part in a business running with accuracy, efficiency and effectiveness. There are many different reports that tell a business owner what the “financial” health of their company is.

Why Is Accounting So Important?

The primary function of accounting is to record  a company’s incoming and outgoing cash transactions. Record  keeping helps a business run efficiently and stay on top of where it stands financially. The three main benefits of good record keeping for  businesses is; taxes, expense tracking and document organization.

Taxes: Accurate accounting records makes preparing the company’s yearly tax returns go smooth and efficiently. Paying the proper taxes for your business is important. Hefty penalties can apply if your company’s taxes are not calculated properly.

Expense Tracking: Good accounting tracks the monthly expenses for a company.  Business owners can see where they are spending too much  money and where not enough is being spent in particular areas of their business.

Document Organization:  Having a good audit trail and documentation is vital to every business.  Good accounting keeps your financial records organized in date order and separated by function. It’s important that information is able to be retrieved quickly when needed.

Accounting is the hidden secret behind every successful business. A good marketing plan brings you customers.  A great work ethic keeps your customers. Good accounting sustains your business, and tells you where to go next.

Reports tell the brand’s story. Understand their language, understand your story and understand the story of everyone in your company. Understand your reports; understand the doors that are open and closed to you.

Here are three most important financial reports

1.  Balance Sheet – Shows the financial position of your company. This includes assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity.  Included in this report is your cash balance and your liabilities.

2. Income Statement – Shows the revenue, expenses, and the profit/loss of your company for a specific period of time. P&L is important because it gives you an idea how profitable the company is overall.

3. Cash-Flow StatementThis report is the most important report for small businesses and startups. The cash flow report allows you to see how readily a company can meet its debt and interest payments.

Financial reports tell the past, present and future of your business. The past is the decisions  you made in the beginning and how they affected your financial gain or loss. The present is the quick snapshot of what decisions you are making right now. The future is what you decide to do with the information these reports has given you.  How you use this information is the defining factor of your business growth or its demise.

Written by Beverly S. Davis

October 5, 2012 at 10:18 am

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