Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is Entrepreneurship The Best Path For You? (Guest Contributor - Doug Barra)

Becoming a successful business owner requires more than just a great idea and the investment required to get you started. There are certain qualities behind every successful entrepreneur. Ask yourself- is entrepreneurship the best path for you? Are you truly ready to become a business owner? Below are some quick questions to ask yourself – to look before you leap if you will. These questions will give you an idea of where you sit right now and tell whether you’re ready to take the next step towards becoming your own boss.

  1. What is your previous business experience? The best way to learn is on someone else’s dime. Working in various areas of business, and for various types of businesses can be very helpful in preparing for running your own business. Think about your past employment and how these experiences could help in running your own business.

  2. Are you a self-starter? Simply stated, are you motivated and do you have the chops to be your own cheerleader in good times and bad? Can you count on yourself to get the job done, no matter what?

  3. Do you thrive on achieving results? Think about how you feel after you’ve completed a task that has been lingering on your “to-do” list for way too long. Are you satisfied? Happy? Proud of yourself? Or do you spend time thinking about all the other things you could have been doing with your time?

  4. How good are you at making decisions? As the business owner, staff and customers will be looking to you as the expert. Do you make quick decisions, or do you suffer from ‘Analysis Paralysis’?

  5. How well do you relate to other people? This question involves all people you interact with, not just family and friends.

  6. What hours do you prefer to work each week? Be honest about your time commitment and availability – is this a side business or something you will be working on full-time? Are you prepared to work long hours in the beginning to get things started? Entrepreneurs rarely work 9-5.

  7. How well do you plan and organize? Think about short-term and long-term goal setting. As a business owner, you are responsible for both.

  8. Do you have strong motivation and drive? Even on the darkest days, your team will look to your for enthusiasm and motivation. Is this part of your personality?

  9. Do you possess the stamina to run a thriving business? Running your own business is a marathon, not a sprint. Think about your ability to accept a learning curve and having patience.

  10. Are you committed to building a successful business? Think about your business concept and how you imagine it looking in 10 years – are you committed to all it will take to get to your vision?

  11. Does your family support your decision to start a business? Very important thing to think about. The last thing you want to spend time on is convincing family and friends to believe in your dream.

  12. How would you rate your sales and marketing skills? When you own your own business, sales and marketing are keys to your success. How comfortable are you at selling your goods or services?

  13. How would you rate your accounting and finance skills? Understanding your numbers is essential to starting, growing and sustaining your business. This is a skill you can learn, but it is important to be honest about your skill set before you open your doors.

  14. How would you rate your administrative skills? Spelling, grammar, multi-tasking, organization…these are all important skills that you will rely on to grow your business.

  15. How would you rate your leadership skills? Think about past experiences where you’ve been responsible for others actions – how did you fare? Did you like being a leader or did you prefer to only be responsible for your own actions?

  16. How much capital do you have to invest in a business? Starting a business costs money, be honest with yourself about how much you can initially invest and how long you can wait for a return. Most businesses take 5-7 years to produce a return on investment, is this possible for you?
These questions will help you assess your mind frame and skills before opening your own business. For a detailed, personal report you can visit and take the entrepreneur test.
    About Doug Barra After a successful career in software development, Doug Barra left corporate America to pursue his passion of helping business owners invest more time working on their business and less time working in their business. As co-owner of ActionCOACH Team Sage, Doug takes a hands-on approach to teaching his clients that the key to business success and growth is not the business or the industry sector; it's the knowledge, mindset and skill of the business owner.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Look Before You Leap Pilot Course (Fully Online) Begins April 6th

    We are excited to announce a fully online pilot for Look Before You Leap: Self-Employment Survival Strategies. The 2-week facilitated e-learning course will start April 6th and is offered at a special price of $100.00 (plus HST) – a 70% savings. The cost includes a PDF copy of the newly published workbook, Look Before You Leap: Self-Employment Survival Strategies.

    For more details see or email See our online store to register - select "May 4 pilot project"

    Space is limited, so register now to reserve your seat.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Top 10 Success Factors for Entrepreneurs

    In reflecting on his own entrepreneurial experiences, Naveen Jain highlights 10 factors leading to entrepreneurial success, namely:

    1. Be passionate
    2. Maintain focus
    3. Work hard
    4. Enjoy the journey
    5. Trust your gut instinct
    6. Be flexible but persistent
    7. Rely on your team
    8. Focus on execution
    9. Have integrity
    10. Give back

    Read the full article at

    The Broker and the Board Game: How Small Business owners are finding alternatives to apps and Ipads to increase their Bottomline

    Edmonton, AB - Taking a page from family fun nights, Clinton Beck from Beck Gold and Diamond Brokers in Edmonton recently attended a business fun night to increase the bottom line in his business. He had fun and learned a great deal from a night of the board game Leverage with other business owners in the area.

    “It was a very interesting game that actually had a lot of strategy.” Says Beck “not only was it a lot of fun, but it gave me some great insight on how fine tuning minor things in my business can lead to big changes in my bottom line. As a business owner often I find myself so busy working in my business that the real running of my business is overlooked. As I was playing the game it made me ask myself some hard questions about areas in my business that could use some fine tuning.”

    “Not everything has to be an app and downloadable. Human contact and conversation is a vital component to learning about your business and your competition. This kind of business fun night lets you talk to other people in similar situations and will ultimately help my business out.”
    Clinton and several other business owners in the Edmonton area took part in a Leverage business board game night run by Laurie McNaughton and Brad Prince, two business coaches with ActionCOACH. The game of Leverage was developed by ActionCOACH founder Brad Sugars, and is played all around the world.

    To speak with Clinton about his business visit:

    To find out more about ActionCOACH visit: or call Brad Prince at 780-231-6373 or Laurie McNaughton at 780-484-6988

    To book an interview contact
    Rachel Sentes, Publicist

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Look Before You Leap at CDC 2011

    This week at BCCDA’s Career Development Conference (CDC), Roberta Neault and Deirdre Pickerell introduced the Look Before You Leap: Self-Employment Survival Strategies project with flyers available at Life Strategies’ exhibitor table and a dedicated post-conference session on self-employment on March 9th.

    Post-conference participants were not only introduced to the Leap project components, but also explored 10 strategies to maximize self-employment success. Each strategy, presented below, is explored in-depth within the Look Before You Leap: Self-Employment Survival Strategies book.
    1. Understand self-employment
    2. Know what it takes
    3. Put supports in place
    4. Do your homework
    5. Be strategic
    6. Brand your business
    7. Do the math
    8. Manage the details
    9. Get the help you need
    10. Monitor progress

    A draft copy of both the book and a newly developed Entrepreneurial Characteristics Checklist were also available to post-conference participants.

    In addition, the post-conference session served as the face-to-face component for the pilot course; online discussions begin March 16th. We’re happy to have five students joining us in the mixed-mode session. We’re still welcoming registrations for the fully online pilot expected to begin before April, email for details.

    Looking for more information, check out the project website with new resources posted including 10 Tips for Self-Employed Consultants.