Monthly Archives: February 2014

Businesspeople competing with bicycles and running in the city

3 Steps to Profitability- Healthy Competition

Achieving profitability is understanding and appreciating your healthy competition partnerships which can make you more successful

Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily easy. But even small victories can make it possible. This is especially true if you understand and effectively compete against—and respect—your competition.

Competitive blood flows strong through the veins of most entrepreneurs.  Even at a young age, I recall the drive and desire I had to win my weekly classroom coloring contests—not only for the satisfaction of being considered artistically talented by my first-grade teacher but for the colorful first-place ribbon that was displayed on my creation.

A feeling of accomplishment filled my little body every time I saw my winning piece in the main hallway for others to admire and appreciate. Looking back I clearly see how my competitive nature shaped my personality, goals and, ultimately, my decision to pursue entrepreneurship.

I entered entrepreneurship much like a competition, with the ultimate victory of establishing my own successful and respected business in the health-and-fitness industry. After launching the business, my time and focus shifted towards marketing. Smart and strategic marketing efforts are vital components to all business plans. I was determined to compose creative, effective and low-cost marketing opportunities to promote my services.

High Gear

With little to no experience in marketing or sales, I concentrated on the resources I had available. I had an iPhone, an iPad and a home computer.  I started by setting up social-media accounts for my business and establishing a presence on the web. I love listening to audiobooks during my workouts, so I began listening to audiobooks on sales and marketing for information and direction during workouts and in the car.

The process of building my brand was well underway. As most seasoned entrepreneurs know, this is not a speedy endeavor. It takes long hours, days, weeks and even months to develop and execute successfully. My entrepreneurial competition was off to a slow and steady start but was soon to be kicked in to high gear.

One of my strengths is recognizing and utilizing resources. I really thrive on working smart and not hard. One day I decided to take advantage of free online business marketing websites to promote my services. In the process, I noticed a few small businesses were seeking temporary assistance with their own health-coaching companies.

For a second, I thought to myself, “I can’t do this! I have my own business that needs me full time. These are my competitors, it would never work out.” Then I thought, “Why not? It’s only temporary and I can earn some money and put it back in to my own business at the same time.” So I proceeded forward with caution. I felt my competition had just intensified.

As an emerging entrepreneur, I had zero experience with developing business partnerships with other professionals in my field. The concept of doing business and working with my competitors was very new and quite intimidating at first. However, those feelings soon faded in the face of great opportunities to learn from the experienced and successful professionals in the business.  Along the way, I discovered a few key elements that helped me and can help you establish strong and profitable partnerships with your competitors.

Three Steps to Profitability

Profitability Step 1:

Be honest. Honesty is truly the best policy in building solid and lasting relationships. Just like in most personal relationships, it’s important that each side of the partnership feels safe and trusted. No one wants to be taken advantage of or feel threatened. This is an essential component to the vitality of the partnership and does take time to establish.

Initially, I felt awkward sharing some of my own business details until I realized my partners were doing the same thing. A business partnership built on trust will expand the potential to grow your business skills and as well as your revenue.

Profitability Step 2:

Get it in writing. Yes, it’s better to be safe than broke and sorry later. Take the time to communicate all the details of every aspect of the partnership. Most importantly, determine and discuss the expectations from each other.  Always formulate a legal contract to ensure that both sides are clear and agreeable to the terms of contract to avoid problems in the future.

I would recommend reviewing the terms of your contracts on a quarterly bases. This will help keep each side of the partnership free from feeling trapped and will also allow for flexibility and growth for both businesses.

Profitability Step 3:

Do your research. Before you decide to engage in partnerships with other business professionals make sure to research the individuals and businesses you’re considering. Check with the Better Business Bureau, social-media outlets and website reviews for information on your prospects. Remember, your brand and reputation can be quickly compromised through problematic business partnerships.

I made it a priority to only reach out to my strongest competitors. It made more sense to me to solely connect myself with well-established successful entrepreneurs in health coaching. This was my golden opportunity to learn from those who gone before me.  As a result, I‘ve saved time, headaches and money by simply aligning myself with other successful entrepreneurs in my field.

Striving and Growing

Developing partnerships in business is not for everyone.  Just as with entrepreneurship, there’s always risk.  While you may strive to establish strong ethical business relationships, the other side may have different intentions. Proceed with caution and always keep the big picture in mind.

I had the opportunity to take away clients from my competitors but respectfully declined their offers. A compromised reputation isn’t worth a few clients and dollars in the long run.  My entrepreneurial competition is on going. I believe I will always strive to grow and improve for by my clients, my business and myself. I’d like to think Ms. Thomas would award me the first-place ribbon for learning to work well with others.

Article published on Latin Business Today website:

http://latinbusinesstoday.com/2014/02/3-steps-profitability-competition/ 

VQ Blog

Q Tips: Teens Vs. Sweet Treats – Win, Lose or Draw?

One of the hardest parts of a diet for everyone is resisting sweets. I know this is definitely true for me as I have a major sweet tooth. So, is it possible to somehow satisfy your sugary cravings while on a diet? The answer is yes! You’ve probably heard it a million times while searching for diet tips on the internet, but it’s completely true: Everything in moderation. When dieting, it’s important to push yourself to keeping a commitment; however, it’s also important that you don’t deprive yourself of the things you want because that could lead to overeating which can possibly ruin all of your hard work!

Since I’ve started trying to eat healthier, I’ve discovered that rushing into a diet is not for me. Eating less and less sweets every week but still allowing myself to have something is personally the best way for me to keep from overeating. For example, instead of waiting for the weekend to eat whatever sweets come my way, I’ll have a small treat every other two days or so. One day I’ll have a few graham crackers and another day I’ll have a spoonful of nutella. I’ve noticed that if I assign myself a day to eat whatever I want I usually eat too much because I know I won’t be able to have any dessert for a whole other week.

Sweet Temptations

Another way I’ve been satisfying my cravings has been with things like greek yogurt and fruit, cottage cheese and fruit, and frozen fruit. Basically I’m a big fan of fruit. Craving sugary cereal for breakfast? Oatmeal with a smashed banana and cinnamon tastes amazing and will probably satisfy that craving (it definitely has for me!) Craving ice cream? Place some greek yogurt mixed with some fresh berries in the freezer for a few hours and voilà! If you’re not one for fruit, there are a lot of recipes online that use healthier substitutions for their sweets. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to talk about those the next time I write a post, but for now I’ll leave you with a helpful sweets substitutions guide: http://greatist.com/health/healthy-baking-recipe-substitutions-infographic

Good Luck! : ) – VQ