Now That I Run My Own Small Business, Should I Bring In a Coach?

Now That I Run My Own Small Business, Should I Bring In a Coach?

Congratulations! You’ve made the leap from employee to small business owner. Now you’re the one in charge of your own destiny and the one who decides what gets done — as well as when and how.

One thing you may notice as you make this transition is that business moves a lot faster than it used to, and it can be a race to keep up with the latest innovations; not just in technology, which are important, but also in human resources, management, and sales and marketing.

You don’t necessarily need a business coach to bring these items to your table if you have the time and the ability to stay on top of developing trends and keep yourself informed about business strategies that will benefit you and your company.

A bigger reason to consider a coach is that without one, you are responsible only to yourself. By bringing someone in, you’re involving another person in your own accountability when he or she starts tracking how you’re faring with goals and milestones, where your weak spots are, and which habits could use some tweaking.

Having a business coach in your corner gives you an advocate — as well as someone who encourages you to get out of your own way. A coach forces you to think of your business in ways you wouldn’t necessarily be able to on your own.

You can work one-on-one with a business coach in person, or you can work by phone, which opens up the possibilities of who you hire (many coaches will do an initial consult to check the fit for free). You want to find one who understands you and what you’re trying to do, but who is also willing to tell it like it is. A “yes” man or woman in this situation isn’t someone who will serve you well.

The coach doesn’t need to come from the business you’re in. Often an outsider with business expertise can offer creative, out-of-the-box thinking unavailable to you simply because you’re in the trenches every day.

And whether you talk once a week or once a month, it’s all about you — your challenges, your goals, your opportunities. In a way, it’s business therapy, and it forces you to take the time to focus on your business and make it the best it can be. A coaching relationship is always aligned around success, so your coach is going to be looking out for you in all the best possible ways.

Particularly if you are a solopreneur or in a micro business, a business coach can be a valuable sounding board. Wondering how that meeting went? Not sure if you made the right decision around your next initiative? Thinking about adding a new product to your line? Having an expert who is vested in your success and free of judgment can be a valuable tool as you grow and expand your toolkit — alongside your business.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

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Small Business Work-Life Balance

Small Business Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is one of those issues we often hear about when it comes to employees, but what about small business owners and entrepreneurs?

Being a small business owner is challenging. It takes a lot of time and energy in order to keep the business going and growing. This can often lead to the assumption that the more time you put into something, namely, your business, then the more you will get out of it. Right? Maybe, maybe not, but you should try and be smart about it.

Consider this, studies show that the belief that multitasking is a powerful productivity tool is a myth. If you are in the middle of a personal, non-business task at home for example, then it might be a good idea to finish that up and then take care of that business matter later. Of course there are always exceptions, emergencies do happen, but do not automatically assume that making your business your number one priority will always lead you to better business results. If you come back to that business task with your full attention, you will likely complete it better and in less time.

Another way to help you obtain a better work-life balance would be to set aside one day out of the week (or maybe even the whole weekend if possible) to not do anything business-related. Think carefully about what day you choose, and make sure it is one that can work for you. For example, if your business gets an important delivery on Saturdays where there are commonly questions or problems with it, then that might not be a good day to choose. This can allow you to decompress, get some greater perspective, and then be ready to jump back into work more inspired and reinvigorated. Burnout is real, and taking steps to overcome it or prevent it now will reward you and your business over the long-term.

A common problem with work-life balance for small business owners is when you operate a home-based business. When you are in this situation, it can be hard to ever feel like you are off-the-clock and actually able to relax in your own home. If you are in this situation, consider limiting all of your business operations, equipment, inventory, et cetera, to one or two rooms in your home. If you have business items strewn across the house, you will likely find yourself thinking about work everywhere you go at home. Additionally, if you do all of your work at home, then it might be a good idea to keep a strict schedule for yourself of working hours. Get in a routine. Together, these tactics should train your brain to focus better on your business by concentrating both when and where you work in a common and predictable way for yourself.

Whatever your small business’ circumstances, it is crucial that you give it 100%, but you cannot do that if you are trying to work 100% of the time. We are all human after all, and we need to eat, sleep, get some rest, and spend some time with our families in order to be at our best on the job. So try and strive for a reasonable work-life balance for yourself, and you will likely be a better person and business owner for it. Lastly, remember not to feel guilty for taking some time out or else you likely will not experience the benefits of rest and balancing your work and the rest of your life. Just give it a try and see if it works for you.

If you need legal advice for your business, or are ready to start a new business of your own, then don’t hesitate to reach out and contact the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647 or email her at elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Online at:

Your Business Start-up To-Do List: How to Begin

Your Business Start-up To-Do List: How to Begin

A great idea is the genesis of any successful business. Many entrepreneurs know that “Aha!” moment when the thought “it would just be so much easier if I could get this note to stick to my page!” magically becomes the Post-it® note — now amplified from its original pale yellow to be available in rainbow colors, finishes, and sizes.

If you’re ready to start your business, you’re already in possession of an idea you think will succeed. The next thing on your Business Start-up To-Do List is research the market. Does your idea solve a problem, fulfill a need, or offer something desirable? Is there anything similar out there? Who are your competitors? What do you bring that’s fresh and different to the table?

In a parallel process to figuring out those elements, you also want to check in with yourself that this is the right time, mentally and physically, for you to undertake this exciting and challenging process.

A formal business plan is essential if you plan to seek funding from other sources, but even if you don’t, it’s a valuable tool that will clarify and solidify your idea. If you’re lucky enough not to require outside funding because you are using your own start-up funds, creating a simple plan will keep your goals up high and keep you on track as you reach your milestones.

This far in you will have thought about what your business structure will look like: is it an LLC? A sole proprietorship? You may choose one direction at the beginning and shift to something completely different as you get underway. Paperwork and, potentially, legal advice are a part of this process, as is choosing a name (and a domain name) that suits you and your business needs. You’ll want to make sure you are covered with the proper licenses, registrations, insurance, and permits in advance of your launch.

If your business is the brick-and-mortar variety, you’ll need to find a location that works. If it’s a home office, you’ll definitely want to plan how to shift your living space so that it doesn’t unbalance the flow of your home. In particular, if you live with other people, it’s beneficial to discuss any upcoming changes in advance so that everyone can be operating from the same vantage point. At least in theory!

Are you hiring employees? Working with contractors? What about your accounting structure, the backbone of every well-run business? The earlier in the process you address all the moving parts the better your business will function down the road at a high level.

With these things checked off your list, your new business is essentially ready to roll out. Marketing, promotions, perhaps a free offering, and a social media blitz should be on your radar. Stay connected to your business plan, which is a fluid document that should grow and morph with your business and function as a touchstone and an inspiration all in one.

Good luck!

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Lawyer. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Online at:

Is Now a Good Time for You to Start a Business?

Is Now a Good Time for You to Start a Business?

Often, the start of a new year can raise a lot of different feelings in us. What do I want to change? What are my goals? Will 2016 be the year I actually use my gym membership?

You may have turned the corner into the new year determined to cease working for “the man” and ready to strike out on your own. If so, congratulations! While deciding to start your own business is an exciting idea, it’s also important to remember that it’s a significant undertaking, no matter the scale.

Several steps are involved in starting, getting up to speed, and then maintaining your new company. The most useful thing you can do at the outset is make sure you’re as ready as possible.

If the new year has indeed gotten you up close and personal with a switch over to the entrepreneur track, consider these things first.

Jumping in with both feet to a new business takes commitment. Do a gut check: are you passionate about your idea? Do you believe in it so deeply that it will carry you through the long hours and lean times in the start-up phase? Your business concept doesn’t matter as much as your belief in it. That becomes your lifeblood once the initial excitement has passed.

Ask yourself how well you tolerate risk. Some people thrive on it, but for others it’s more difficult. Your business isn’t guaranteed to succeed, no matter how much you think it will. Factors out of your control such as location, political volatility, or cultural change can make or break a company overnight. Will you be able to deal with the ups and downs that usually come with a business start-up — or even its potential failure?

Starting a business means that you will be chief cook and bottle washer for a while — everything becomes your responsibility initially. You have to get your idea out there in front of people and wear several different hats in the beginning stages: sales, HR, administrative, marketing, financial. Is taking on major responsibility a good fit for you? And are you nimble enough to handle it?

Included under the umbrella of responsibility is the ability to make decisions, many of which can be challenging in a small business atmosphere. Do you wear decision-making well? Is this an area in which your strengths consistently show up?

Lastly, the elusive work-life balance. Any entrepreneur who has started her own business can tell you that you go full speed at the outset, and sometimes it doesn’t slow down as quickly as you would like. You may lose time with family, friends, or hobbies that feed you in other ways. Is this the right time in your life to devote all your energies to this undertaking, and do you have the support of others to do so?

Starting your own business is an exciting ride, and one that should be undertaken with realistic consideration. If now is your time, dive in! And let me know how I can support you.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

Contact Us Today

Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C.
Your Denver Business Attorney

Mailing Address:

501 S. Cherry Street, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80246
720-258-6647
Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com

Online at:

Business Innovation is About More than Looking Forward

When most people think about innovation today, they often think about groundbreaking new technology. While this is often what leads to exciting new changes, innovation is about more than the latest technology. Instead, it can be about taking a look back in order to move forward. Older methods and technology have a certain reliability and history to them, which can still have untapped potential.

Take a look at Google’s cell phone service, which was announced just in April called Project Fi. What Project Fi does is allow your smartphone to make phone calls, send text messages, and use data all over Wi-Fi, when you have it, and if you don’t, then it uses one of two different traditional cellular networks (Sprint & T-Mobile). This is a great example of repurposing old technology (Wi-Fi) for a new and innovative solution to modern issues. Cell phone reception can still be weak indoors but Wi-Fi is available in so many places that this can largely solve that problem. Additionally, even the fastest cell phone data speeds pale in comparison to typical Wi-Fi speeds, so why not use that instead and save money in the process?

Project Fi is all about saving money, its plans start at $20 per month for unlimited talk/text + $10 for each GB of cell data you buy. Project Fi’s plans only have you pay for data that you use, and refund you for what you don’t. Seems kind of weird to think that for years the envy of cell phone plans were newer, faster, and unlimited data usage, and now the latest smartphone plan is actually encouraging you to use older tech (Wi-Fi) and reward you for using less data than ever (over cell networks anyway).

Use Google as an example and think about ways that you can find a novel use for older technology, equipment, or methods that are reliable like Wi-Fi. If one of the most innovative companies on the planet found a way to do it, then so can you. After all, if innovation is all about thinking outside the box and being creative, then why limit yourself to only the latest tech?

Today’s tech-centric culture is surprisingly looking to the past more than you might think. Consider the popularity of organic and use of simple/natural ingredients in foods at grocers like Whole Foods, or the demand for handmade goods from sellers at Etsy. Try not to think about new technology as a replacement to older methods, but instead a supplement, just another tool in the toolbox of ways that you can accomplish, build, or make something new.

If you need legal advice on making a change to your business, or are ready to start a new business of your own, then don’t hesitate to reach out and contact the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647 or email her at elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.