Single Parent Entrepreneur:
Take your home business
to the next level

As a single parent, it may take you a little bit longer to build your empire, but however small your business may be, think about its potential. Start by thinking big in increments proportional to your business scale. If for example, you currently have 10 clients, why not make efforts into making it 20? 40? a hundred? As with all else, make a plan – a communications plan. If you are not ready to handle 20 employees to meet the demands of 100 clients, then adjust your goals. The point is, wherever your business is right now, there are plausible and easy ways to take it to the next level.

Step 1. Know your customer We often take this for granted, but the more you know about your customer, the better you can anticipate their needs.

There are three tiers of people you want to reach. Each within the other. Start with a network. Within that network is your audience and within that audience is your client.

Listen to your network's buzz. These are the people who are peers, contacts, family, etc. of the people you want to reach. Keeping an open eye and sensitive ears will lead you to honing in on how to reach that third tier.

Find Your Niche

Step 2. Evaluate yourself Your home business may be operating for some time now. But it might be a good idea to make an honest evaluation of who you are, the skill sets you have, the skill sets you need, how you can best serve your customer authentically.

Think of it as corporate business planning without the expensive hotel booking and catering… Maybe you need more professional business cards, maybe you need to adjust your presentation, maybe you need a new website or social network...what works for you?

Step 3. Set goals, then stretch them a little farther In Paul Meyer's book called "Attitude is Everything," he created the SMART goals. And it works.

Goals like “I want to be rich” will not help you become rich. Be specific and measurable. “I want to earn an extra $10,000 a month by 2012” is a better and workable goal.

Your goal must also be attainable. Reaching for the stars like “I want my healthy-packed-snacks business to take over McDonald's market in a year” will only kill you with frustration.

Setting relevant goals will keep your efforts focused and united. Starting a PR firm when you took Healthcare courses might not be the best business to pursue. Your goals must be relevant to your skill set and experience.

But if you are really passionate about setting up your own restaurant but don't know a thing about cooking, then by all means, enroll in culinary and business management courses to get the tools that you need. Learning a new skill might be important in helping you get back on your feet.

Lastly, give yourself a deadline. Being time-bound will keep you motivated. Keeping an eye on your deadline and taking it seriously will get you moving on days that you just want to procrastinate or, worse, rest on the proverbial laurels of your initial success.

There may be times when there are more slammed doors than welcoming ones. Don't be disheartened. Many small business owners have been at that point and have surpassed it and succeeded. I am one of them.

Keep at it. Like always, when things get too crazy, frustrating and disappointing, spend some time with your kids and be reminded who you are doing all this for and why.

Happy Empire Building!

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