The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Time Management

Being your own boss can be a challenge sometimes. You need to work efficiently, yet have the ability to deal with those unforeseen circumstances that always crop up. A balance has to be struck between time spent, efficiency and quality of output. And information has to be managed in a way that makes it both accessible and useful.

Here are five valuable tips from the experts to help manage your time successfully:

1. Give your work day structure by dividing it into a series of concrete tasks.
2. Make a reasonable estimate of how much time is needed for each task and stick to the routine.
3. Keep clear, easily accessible records of each day’s work.
4. Modify and test your daily goals and tweak them to keep up with your changing business.
5. Add padding to deadlines, building in the flexibility to deal with unexpected situations as they arise.

As a self-directed business owner, you are probably adept at seeing the “big picture.” But it’s necessary to look at your business through a closer lens sometimes. Being organized means having the ability to compartmentalize. What is the first thing you do each day? Start there and outline the sequence of actions you take in the course of the day. In your outline, give important tasks the time and attention that they require while also making room for less pressing jobs.

Since human beings are creatures of habit, having a workflow plan helps streamline your day. Setting aside an appropriate amount of time for each task lets you focus on those facets of the working day that are most crucial to revenue. It also helps prevent the problem of getting stuck in one area of the process while neglecting others. Strikingly, one quarter of all small business owners in one survey believe that each hour they work is worth almost $500 in profits. This makes time management an essential part of any business plan.

Having quick and targeted access to information about your business is invaluable. That’s why record keeping is so important. In this computerized age, businesses no longer have to drown in paperwork, but can organize information into digital files that are easy to access.


Consider your hard drive to be a digital filing cabinet. Separate different functions, tasks and data into their own folders and don’t be afraid to create subcategories. The more organized the information is, the faster you will find what you’re looking for.

This is where a good software program can be invaluable. Not everyone is adept at data management and there are programs that not only keep records, but give instant snapshots of the results of your efforts. Nothing is static in the business world, and daily tasks should be continually evaluated to make sure that they are still in step with the goals of the business. Modification and testing, especially with the aid of a top notch virtual assistant, will aid in time management and realization of goals.

As you have probably figured out by now, the tasks you set yourself are not always linear, and sometimes going back to a previous step is unavoidable. Adding extra time to estimates for completing assignments is an effective coping strategy. This gives you the flexibility to step outside the box (or schedule) and deal with contingencies as they arise. If deadlines end up being met ahead of time, that will only make you look good!

The future is bright for entrepreneurs. U.S. census data shows that small businesses have continued to produce the majority of new jobs in the past two decades. The use of data management tools is one of the ways that entrepreneurs can continue to thrive in our economy. Using these five tips as a starting point, running your own business can be an exciting and successful challenge!


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What You Should Know As an Entrepreneur before Embarking On International Business

After most businesses become successful in their area of trade and in a particular locale, the entrepreneur usually seeks the next challenge. The next challenge is usually to grow beyond the borders and become a global business. Not everyone can manage to get into international business as seamlessly as they should, and to be fair, not every business is meant to be a global business.

The challenge in growing beyond the borders then becomes: how you can leverage your skills and current expertise into being a success in the global arena? After all, you don’t want to remain the biggest fish in a small pond. You want to become a success by embracing international commerce and availing your goods or services to the rest of the world.

Below are a few pointers or tips that you should consider if you want to run a successful global business.

  1. Develop a global mindset

Every entrepreneur has a particular temperament that has made them successful at what they do. At the same time, you have to be able to do some inner reflection to know that you have the right skill set and attitude to be able to operate on a global scale. You have to be able to differentiate how being a success in a local business differs, or is similar, from/to being a success on a global scale.

In other words, you need to have a global mindset or quickly learn how to think with a global mindset. But with all the different qualities and temperaments of successful global entrepreneurs and international expansion executives, they all have a few traits that are consistent. These include;

  • Self-awareness
  • Awareness and sensitivity to cross-cultural similarities and differences
  • An open and authentic attitude to the world
  • A need to engage with different cultures and do business under diverse conditions and circumstances
  • Being able to adapt quickly
  • An adventurous spirit with some international travel experience
  • Core business and life competencies

If you can genuinely say that you have these skills or that you will be ready to put in the work to achieve these skills, then you will most likely find a way to succeed in international business as well.

  1. Is your business ready for the global arena?

The next most important step after determining that you are ready for international business is to determine whether your business is well placed for international trade. One of the best ways to do this is to find out if you will be relevant on a global scale.

It may be best to have organic growth and test a particular market before jumping in with both feet. This means that you should have an international mindset, but have a local mindset in the countries where you will be operating.

For example, if your business has a product line that includes 20 different products that have been a success in your country, you should realize that it may not be so in a foreign country. The people in the foreign country may be used to choosing between one or two products only.

Other considerations include;

  • Do you have enough production capacity that can be committed to the new international markets?
  • Does your company have the financial resources to support the growth and expansion into new markets including administrative capacity, marketing, legal, import/export, customer care, etc.?
  • Does your company have the skill and expertise to dedicate staff, time and resources to the global expansion plan? Or can you acquire the same?
  1. Put in place the right team

After you ensure that your business is ready for expansion, then you will need a specialized team to ensure that your business will be a success in the global arena. Your most important goal, as you begin to put your global team together, should be to get the following skill sets as a priority:

  • An accountant with international credentials and experience: your accountant should especially have skills in accounting standards, taxation and currency trading. The accountant should be able to help you avoid overpaying taxes due to operating in two different jurisdictions and protect your cash flow from attrition due to international transactions including currency conversions.
  • A lawyer with international trade and commerce experience and with good networking skills: The lawyer will help you play hard ball when you need to while at the same time helping you remain within the confines of the law, as well as protecting you and your business from those who want to take advantage.
  • A savvy banker with international skills, who has put together, or used, different international financial vehicles: The banker can help you finance an export sale while protecting your investment and the banks at the same time, advise you on the risks of international transactions as well as protect you from them and help you structure competitive payment terms.
  • An expert in international logistics and experience in import-export and different government customs and tax regulations: A logistics expert is important in ensuring that goods move safely from the country of origin to the destination, negotiates with taxes and customs officials in foreign countries, organizes the safe shipping of goods while ensuring the correct goods are sent to the right place.

A seasoned logistics expert will help you use the path of least resistance while doing things legally. They should also minimize your risk and costs of doing international trade.

Other members of your international team will also be necessary, but the ones mentioned above will be crucial to get as soon as you are ready to begin planning your expansion.

Putting together such a team will definitely require a lot of resources and networking on your part, but if you succeed in putting together a good team, you will have more than halved most of the problems that would have been stumbling blocks and prevented you from succeeding in international business.

Author bio: Charlie Brown is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at He works at a Remote DBA Expert firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other Oracle developers and consumers on platforms.

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Are You an Entrepreneur? – 10 Telltale Signs

Are You an Entrepreneur? It is thrilling, punishing, exhausting and emotionally draining, yet at the end of the day, starting your business is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. It is no wonder then that 87% of topics tackled in mentorship forums by The Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ASBE) revolve around success in entrepreneurship.

The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that over 93% of all queries in its mentorship programs also have to do with the rigorous task of making it as an entrepreneur. The picture is no different at the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship® (USASABE) with startup investors intensively asking for assistance to make it as entrepreneurs.

Is Entrepreneurship Innate or a Trainable Skill?

So, is entrepreneurship a skill that can be taught or is it inherent? Was it special skills that enabled Mark Zuckerberg to see a larger picture for Facemash, the precursor of Facebook, which others in his coterie of friends could not see? In all forums, the late Steve Jobs portrayed confidence that revealed he was born an entrepreneur and these are traits you see in Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and many more successful entrepreneurs.

Reading the Signs that you are an Entrepreneur

Well, various studies have shown there are telltale signs you can use to gauge your probability of success as an entrepreneur. Indeed, maverick contemporary entrepreneurs from Virgin’s Richard Branson to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban show similar traits.

Studies by myriad varied organizations including Harvard School of Business, Gallup and Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), among other bodies, attest to existence of such traits.

Here are some highlights of these signs which can set you on a path of confidence towards business success:

  1. Persistent Restlessness

The saying that you should never sit on your laurels applies aptly for any credible entrepreneur. If you are a go-getter, who achieves one goal and immediately starts hustling for another challenge, you have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

  1. Family Lineage of Self-employment

It might seem like splitting hairs when you say most successful entrepreneurs come from families with a heritage of self-employment, but the numbers prove it. A study by the world renowned Stockholm School of Economics in 2010 showed that 49.5% of nascent entrepreneurs had self-employed parents compared to 37.3% in the control group. A clue here; Bill Gates is the son of William H. Gates, a business magnate. Need you doubt further?

  1. Your Passion is Inborn

If you are a go-getter, who lets nothing come between a project and its objectives to be achieved, then you can ace it as an entrepreneur in today’s increasingly tough business environment. Failure never affects a born entrepreneur because their passion is inborn.

  1. You are a Gadfly

When Socrates was forced to drink hemlock and die, the poignant statement the revered scholar made still applies in modern life. The Greek teacher said he was a gadfly who’d keep pestering the horse, which in this case represented the state.

In business, a born entrepreneur is never satisfied with the status quo and wants to know more. Just look at Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Program to take ordinary people to space, or successful Movie producer James Cameron’s DEEP SEA CHALLENGER voyage to the remotest part of the earth – Mariana Trench – to appreciate this sign.

  1. Self-confidence is Your Nature

When Mark Zuckerberg bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, every pundit thought money was making the young Billionaire go bonkers. However, Zuckerberg was adamant and the buy went through. Today, WhatsApp is not only the most popular App in the world; Facebook has been able to monetize the messaging platform. Such self-confidence is only evident in natural entrepreneurs.

  1. You are a Control Freak

On paper, this might seem like a negative quality until you get into the intricate business world where myriad aspects of your business determine your success. Your success depends on how much control you are willing to yield.

As an entrepreneur, you need to have a feel of every aspect of your business, and while this can be detrimental, it is a trait seen in some of the most successful entrepreneurs including the late Steve Jobs, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary and Bill Gates, among others.

  1. You are Independent Minded

If you have always had a problem with authority, then it is highly likely that you cannot tolerate being employed.  It is a trait seen in Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbereg, among other billionaires, who dropped out of college as they were uncomfortable with being confined in terms of thinking and application of their genius.

  1. You have a Magnet Effect

While successful entrepreneurs may look aloof, you will be surprised to learn they are really amiable if you have similar interests. They have an effect of pulling like-minded individuals towards them and unusual, albeit profitable, partnerships are born from such character.

  1. Risk Taking

The music industry is one of the most perilous and if an artist makes the wrong choice in terms of a recording label, then they are done for.

Well, the most prolific entrepreneurs in this industry, including billionaires Shawn Carter (Jay Z), who is worth over $520 million, Andre Romelle Young (Dr. Dre), who is worth $550 million, and Sean Combs (P. Diddy) worth over $700 million, have proven that risking is natural to born entrepreneurs. All these music moguls made career suicidal record label moves, but today they are the kingpins.

  1. You are a Doer

One of the most glaring misconceptions about contemporary successful entrepreneurs is that they depend entirely on their skilled staff for ideas and implementation. If this is what you thought then you are wrong.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg is a hands-on project freak, Virgin Group’s Richard Branson is always on the ground even when problems occur, Warren Buffet is always talking and working numbers and Dr. Dre is still producing hits at 50 years. Mind you, these are just a few of the entrepreneurs you can cite in terms of breaking their backs for success.

Well, they say there is no secret to entrepreneurship success, but looking at these 10 traits vis-à-vis the Forbes Top 100 Entrepreneurs, it is obvious there is a correlation. Luckily, you can always surprise everyone by joining this league without these traits. After all, this entire list does not forestall your entrepreneurial success.

Author Bio

Charlie Brown is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 5 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.

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Dragons Den Investor Will Speak in Dublin Next Month

See the Dragon: Hear Him Roar!

We’re all familiar with Rudyard’s Kipling epic poem ‘If’, aren’t we? I was reminded of them this week as I researched the life of Dragons’ Den entrepreneur, Peter Casey.

What a life story! What a career!

‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,’ said Kipling, ‘And treat those two impostors just the same….’. These words have been used repeatedly over the last century to describe those who fail and give up and those who fail, dust themselves down and try again, but to my mind, there are few who embody Kipling’s words better than dragons den investor, Peter Casey.

Perhaps like me, you associate Peter very much with the Irish version of Dragons’ Den, the popular TV programme where he and his fellow ‘Dragons’ have been able to provide their extensive expertise to many up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Today, Peter is the extremely successful founder and executive chairman of Claddagh resources, a global recruitment and search business that places high-level executives with many of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, but it wasn’t always so…. Put simply, Peter Casey is a rare breed: an entrepreneur who has gone broke and dusted himself off to succeed again and again. While there’s certainly a ‘feel good’ factor to his story today, the secret of his success is undoubtedly shown in the rather bumpy trajectory of his career path.

(Get ready – it’s going to be a bumpy ride!)

There’s no doubt that Peter Casey was always an entrepreneur: in fact, his first business venture was selling rubber bullets as souvenirs to tourists! After gaining a third-level education, he went to work for Xerox, and credits the meritocracy of the company with developing his work ethic. After quickly rising through the company’s European structure Peter emigrated to Australia where, at first, things went well.

After setting up his own business, ‘Trinity’, Peter built it up and sold it a year later, but, once the company ran into trouble, he bought it back before selling it once again, once more at a huge profit. It wasn’t all a bed of roses in Oz, however. Towards the end of his time there, Peter would meet the first major career stumbling block when he became involved in the property market just prior to its collapse.

Peter initially returned to Ireland and invested in a company called Sky-Dome, which manufactured air conditioning. Again, he experienced great success and, when an opportunity arose to sell it in the US, he packed his bags and went West. At first the company was firing on all guns, but when one of his competitors took a cease-and-desist case against it, he was left with no choice but to start from scratch all over again.

Then came his worst investment.

After having back surgery, Peter was resting at home and was on a lot of pain medication. The Apple Air had just been launched by Apple and so, certain of its success, Peter purchased 10,000 shares. Two days later, Steve Jobs announced that his cancer had returned and the share price plummeted.

Although he’s now a global success, it’s not the fact that Peter Casey failed on several occasions that is important. It’s the fact that – like so many other entrepreneurs – he failed, dusted himself down and tried again. The tenacity and perseverance are what distinguish the successful from the unsuccessful. So, who could be better placed to talk in Dublin next month about what makes a successful start up than the great man himself? For more details click here or you can get your discounted ticket as a Small Business Can reader here.

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