From passion to profitable business: Transforming what you love into what you do

Do you spend hours at your desk at work feeling bored and wishing you could be doing something you really loved? Are you passionate about something and dream about finding a way to transform it into a successful business enterprise? Starting your own business is a journey that is bound to be filled with ups and downs, but it has to be said that if true passion lies at the centre, then the chances are that you’ll be able to overcome even the greatest of obstacles. 

 

Do you spend hours at your desk at work feeling bored and wishing you could be doing something you really loved? Are you passionate about something and dream about finding a way to transform it into a successful business enterprise? Starting your own business is a journey that is bound to be filled with ups and downs, but it has to be said that if true passion lies at the centre, then the chances are that you’ll be able to overcome even the greatest of obstacles. There’s no better time than now to try and turn what you’re passionate about into a profitable business, and here are a few things to get you kick-started.

 

Define your passion

 

It’s one thing to have a passion, but it’s another to turn that passion into a money-maker. The first step is to define your passion clearly, which will make it easier for you determine whether or not there is in fact a gap within the market that it can fill. Having a firm grasp on what it is you wish to offer will give you clarity on whether or not it’s a feasible idea and worth pursuing.

 

Become an expert

 

You have to ask yourself this question honestly: Do you have a thorough understanding of the industry you’re wanting to enter? If your answer is “no”, then you have to work on acquiring information with the aim of becoming an expert in your field, because at the end of the day it’s really no use having an amazing idea, but very little knowledge about the industry in which it will live. You need to know the industry inside out so that you can know how best to operate within it (this will include knowing your competition, price points etc). How do you achieve this? You talk to people in-the-know, you conduct research and you network as much as possible.

 

Offer a solution

 

Once you’ve identified a gap in the market, you’ll need to work on how what you’re offering, be it a service or a product, can make things better. This will also include differentiating yourself and fine-tuning your USP (unique selling point) – something that can put you ahead of the rest. Essentially, it’s about proposing something that is sustainable and offers the best possible solution to a current problem/need.

 

Partner with the right people

 

As you attempt to launch your business, you will encounter many potential investors, some who will turn out to be frogs and others who will be your prince. The important thing to remember is to choose investors that are the right fit for you and your business. They shouldn’t only be your source of funding, but ideally they should also share your passion and be able to provide you with useful connections within your industry – connections that will help your business fly.

 

Bottle the noise

 

Finally: stop listening to other people and unwanted noise. Whilst it may sometimes be important for you to listen to certain opinions and advice within business, it’s just as important to follow your gut, live your passion and create your own destiny – you may just be surprised by how much you’re able to achieve.

 

You’ll be taking a leap of faith if you decide to make a career out of your passion, but with the right approach, guidance and planning, you may just be the next successful entrepreneur to take the start-up industry by storm.

 

Sage One can be there for you when take that leap of faith –contact us today and let us be by your side as you transform your passion into a growing small business.

 

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The difference between a small business owner and entrepreneur

Not all who build businesses are equal. Very often those who look to describe people with their own enterprise will use ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘small business owner’ interchangeably; however each phrase describes a different kind of person, and distinctive mind-sets about how they pursue their business.

 

Entrepreneurs embody constant change, small business owners embody constancy.

 

Small business owners are, in many countries, the largest employers in an economy – in Brazil, it is estimated that 96% of jobs are produced by small and medium enterprises. But not all small businesses are owned equally. A crucial difference between the small business owner and the entrepreneur is in how they imagine the future of their business. The small business owner looks to manage the growth of their enterprise stably. Their goals are community-focused – their vision of a successful business is one that is still around 10, 20, or 30 years from now. Entrepreneurs imagine their business’s growth in larger terms. They imagine, and work towards, having their operations grow beyond the local level. In order to achieve that kind of growth, the entrepreneur must never be comfortable with things remaining the same: the entrepreneur sees stagnation where the small business owner would see stability.

 

Entrepreneurs seek the new; small business owners use what already works.

 

Small business owners might be characterised by their enterprises being secure in the knowledge that what they are doing has been proven to work, and found their business on ensuring that they do that as well as possible. The entrepreneur, guided by the big dreams, knows that the success that they seek won’t be found by being one of the pack, will look to the new or novel as the selling point of their business. The small business owner sells their product to a market that already exists; the entrepreneur, if successful, will make a new market.

 

Small business owners see their business as a means to an end; entrepreneurs see business as an end in itself.

 

In an article for Forbes, small business owner Gene Marks succinctly writes of his rejecting the entrepreneur label, and taking pride in the smallness of his business: “I am not a risk taker.  I am not a dreamer.  When I make an investment in a new product or technology it’s one that I’m able to lose without feeling it.  My gambles are small.  I think small.  Therefore my returns are small.  I am a business owner.  I am a small business owner.  And I’m fine with that.”

 

The ability to stomach risk is a critical characteristic of the entrepreneur. Economic theory would describe many entrepreneurs as behaving as risk seekers – they gain pleasure in pursuing gambles with higher chances of failure, with larger rewards that come with that risk being the motivation they need to pursue those options. Small business owners would be better characterised as being risk averse. When faced with the choice between two options – a higher reward payoff that’s less likely, and a lower reward payoff that’s more likely – they will choose the safe option.

 

So – don’t judge a business person by the size of their enterprise. There is nothing ignoble in not wanting to create a global enterprise, nor in being uncomfortable with placing limits on your dreams. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are distinct, but invaluable to the modern market-place.

Helpful tips for how to be a killer small business bookkeeper

If you’re a bookkeeper for one, or many small businesses, you’ll know about the delicate state in which a small business can operate. Small businesses, by virtue of their size, need to be adaptable in order to mitigate the risks that come from being a small operation with limited assets. As a bookkeeper working in this environment, your focus should always be on providing your clients, or employers, with a service that will ensure the business’s financial well-being.

 

Know your clients

 

No small business is the same. You’ll encounter different levels of financial competencies and levels of organisation among clients. If you’re building a relationship with a new client, knowing how they expect to grow can help you to anticipate how their bookkeeping needs will change as their business grows. As a bookkeeper for a small business, the experience that you’ve gained across past clients can be invaluable in informing clients of best practice.

 

Have the right tools

 

The right technology can produce extraordinary results, when used properly. Laborious tasks can be made more bearable, and can produce better results for you and your clients – Sage One’s software provides a host of invaluable features, from automated record updates, online invoicing, and information consolidation. A cloud-based accounting software solution means that you can access what you need, wherever there is an internet connection, removing the barrier of being locked to a fixed location in order to do your work and consult with your clients.

 

Take control of time

 

A well-organised calendar is a sure-fire way to make your life, and your clients easier. Identify the tasks that you have to accomplish, categorise them by how often you are to do them – daily tasks, weekly invoice entry, monthly reconciliation of bank statements, annual tax returns. Successfully dividing your time will get the most out of your productive hours, reduce the stress burden of large, intimidating tasks, and let you keep a cool head.

 

Using the Sage One Accountants Edition’s calendar with its task-based functionality, will ensure that you can keep on top of your client’s needs at all times, and have access to your time, wherever you may be.

 

Anticipate, don’t prevaricate

 

Your proximity to your client’s finances may mean that you notice certain red-flags before your client does – accounts receivable stacking up, cash-flow shortages, spiralling expenses. Set up a system that allows you to identify problems, and address issues before they get out of hand. Whether it’s sending messages following up on past-due invoices, or using an automated reporting system to keep a close eye on the business’s cash flow, anticipation is a virtue.

 

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Why team building is important for your small business

When it comes to small business, nothing is more important than team building. Your team makes up your talent, and your talent is what keeps the business going. Naturally, it then becomes extremely important for that talent to be able to work together and to be as strong as possible while doing so.

When it comes to small business, nothing is more important than team building. Your team makes up your talent, and your talent is what keeps the business going. Naturally, it then becomes extremely important for that talent to be able to work together and to be as strong as possible while doing so. But do obstacle courses, problem-solving puzzles and brain teasers really play a role in ensuring the success of a small business? While these activities may seem trivial at the time, the answer is absolutely yes.

People who respect each other work well together

During team building activities, colleagues have an opportunity to well and truly get to know each other. While employees may cross paths at the coffee machine from time to time, the interaction they may have on a daily basis could be minimal. It’s human nature to earn respect from others once you get to know them, and creating an environment in which employees can learn more about each other will do just that. Respect is key in the workplace, as it means people are more willing to work together in order to produce great work.

Building relationships helps improve communication

Strong communication is one of the most important aspects of any business. Team building exercises help foster a good sense of communication amongst employees. Not only will it encourage the more reserved team members to speak up, but it also provides an excellent platform for discussion. In the long run, this has the potential to improve the relationships that employees have with each other in the office, leading to an environment in which top-quality work will be produced.

Indentify strengths and weaknesses

In any business, regardless of how big or small, it is important to identify key strengths and weaknesses across the board. By hosting team building events, it becomes clearer to see exactly where each strength and weakness lies. For example, during problem-solving tasks, setting the analtyical, logical thinkers apart from the creative ones will be an easy feat. While none of them are right or wrong, it could be quite interesting to see which employees are stronger in which aspects, as these specific skills could become useful to the business further down the line.

No matter which way you look at it, team building exercises are fantastic for small businesses. While factors like accurate business software, insurance, retaining talent and maintaining a good office culture are all remarkably important. Without a strong team that works well together, the rest of it will all end up being rather meaningless.

 

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Late Bloomers: It’s never too late to succeed in business

There seems to be a common misconception today, particularly among 20-somethings, that if you haven’t made it “big” by the time you’re 30, you’re practically doomed when it comes to finding career happiness. However, the reality is that success doesn’t have an age limit on it and at the end of the day, very often all you need is a great idea and a bucket-full of passion to give you the best chance of becoming a successful entrepreneur. 

There seems to be a common misconception today, particularly among 20-somethings, that if you haven’t made it “big” by the time you’re 30, you’re practically doomed when it comes to finding career happiness. However, the reality is that success doesn’t have an age limit on it and at the end of the day, very often all you need is a great idea and a bucket-full of passion to give you the best chance of becoming a successful entrepreneur. We take a look some “late bloomers” who only really came into their own later on in life, yet that didn’t stop them from taking the world by storm – in fact in many ways, it just made the victory that much sweeter.

Vera Wang – Fashion designer

Vera Wang

Wang wanted to be a professional figure-skater but when she failed to make the Olympic team, she made her way into the fashion industry. After being promoted to the role of Senior Fashion Editor for Vogue at the age of 23, she went on to hold the position for 15 years, before moving on to become Design Director for accessories at Ralph Lauren. Finding a surprisingly small selection of bridal wear available for her own wedding, Wang ended up sketching her own design and having it tailored by a dressmaker – this marked the start of her fashion designing career. She opened her first bridal boutique, Vera Wang Bridal House Ltd., on Madison Avenue in 1990 with the financial backing of her father – she was 41 years old. Today, Wang is easily the most prominent bridal wear designer in the US, but her repertoire has expanded to include couture, ready-to-wear clothing as well as fragrances.

Ray Kroc – Founder of the McDonald’s Corporation

Ray Kroc

At the age of 52, after years of selling milkshake mixers, Ray Kroc turned his attention to two brothers who had bought eight of his Multi-Mixers for their drive-through business. Impressed by their set-up and believing that they were on to something great, he became their new franchising agent and opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in Illinois. Business boomed right from the start with Kroc forming more and more franchises across the country, however the McDonald brothers were keen to keep their empire small. Unsatisfied with this, Kroc eventually bought the business from them for $2.7 million, growing it into the fast-food franchise giant it is today.

Grandma Moses – Folk Artist

Grandma Moses

Anna Mary Robertson Moses had always had many creative hobbies that included quilting and embroidery. She used her talents to decorate her home but it wasn’t until the age of 76 that she began to paint. Embroidery became too painful with her developing arthritis, so she took to the brush, as suggested to her by her sister. She painted scenes of rural life, omitting features of modern life from her landscapes, selling them for $3-$5. Her first solo exhibition took place in 1940 and for the next 20 years, her works were exhibited across America and Europe, many of which were reproduced on fabrics, Hallmark cards and ceramics. She passed away at the ripe-old age of 101 and is remembered as one of America’s most prolific artists. Her highest-selling work fetched an astounding $1.2 million.

Harland Sanders a.k.a Colonel Sanders – Founder of KFC

Harland "Colonel" Sanders

After hopping from one job to the next for most of his life, from farmer to insurance agent and railroad fireman, Harland Sanders used his first social security cheque to fund his new food-chain venture in 1952: Kentucky Fried Chicken. Originally, Sanders sold his famous fried chicken from the roadside restaurant at his service station, but he soon saw the potential for developing a franchise, opening the first restaurant in Utah. He was 62 years old when he founded the franchise and a mere 12 years later, he sold the hugely successful company for a then-whopping $2 million. Today, KFC is one of the world’s most recognised and beloved fast-food chains, with the Colonel’s name and images still being used as symbols of the business.

These are just a handful of the success stories out there of people who, despite their age, went on to become hugely successful in their chosen fields. So often the key to prosperity and successful entrepreneurship is simply just to do it – it doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old. Sometimes it takes a little longer for you to find your passion or cultivate a brilliant idea, but when all’s said and done, what really matters is that you do something with that passion or idea in the end.

 

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Simple online accounting and payroll for SME’s by Sage

Entrepreneurship and the further development of small businesses are essential in ensuring South Africa’s economic growth and future success. Sage South Africa has always been passionate about assisting small businesses to be successful and operate efficiently, by providing software solutions to help businesses do just that.

Entrepreneurship and the further development of small businesses are essential in ensuring South Africa’s economic growth and future success. Sage South Africa has always been passionate about assisting small businesses to be successful and operate efficiently, by providing software solutions to help businesses do just that. In keeping to this objective, Sage South Africa has announced that it will be launching Sage One on 4 August 2014. Sage One is a simple, secure and affordable online accounting and payroll solution, developed specifically for small South African businesses.

Sage has more than 5 years’ experience in the online accounting and payroll space, with Sage Pastel My Business having been launched in 2009. This was later complimented by a payroll component with the arrival of Sage VIP Liquid Payroll and Sage Pastel My Payroll Online. Sage’s online business software has been well received by the South African market, with both small business owners and accountants enjoying the benefits of a cloud based solution. Sage has built on this solid South African foundation, and applied global insights gleaned from the Sage One businesses in Europe and the US, to bring Sage One to South Africa.

Says Sage CEO of Africa, Australia, Middle East and Asia, Ivan Epstein: “Sage Pastel Accounting, Sage Pastel Payroll & HR and Sage VIP have enjoyed strong traction in the South African SME market with their cloud-based business solutions. As the next step in Sage South Africa’s continued investment in the cloud, we are now consolidating these offerings under the Sage One brand name.

We are proud to bring to market a simple, secure and flexible online accounting and payroll solution. For small businesses owners, financial knowledge is key, and having crucial business insights available at your fingertips gives you greater control and confidence to achieve business success.”

“Because Sage One Accounting is online, you can simply log in from wherever you are and start working,” says Steven Cohen, Managing Director of Sage Pastel Accounting. “You can access your data from the cloud, which means that your data is available online, anywhere, anytime and that you’re always working on the same data as your accountant or colleagues. This gives you a new level of flexibility in the way you run your business.”

The Sage One Accounting mobile apps put your customer and accounting information in the palm of your hands. Log on from wherever you are to view customer information, record notes, search for customers and contact them directly from your device. Find your way to your customer’s offices using map links and process quotes and invoices – all on the go.

Many small South African businesses are employers and as such need to comply with the legal requirements regarding salary payments and SARS compliancy. “Sage One Payroll gives you the peace of mind that your employees will be paid in accordance with the requirements of legislation and statutory bodies such as SARS,” says Anton van Heerden, Managing Director for Sage VIP and Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. “With our solution, your payroll expands and shrinks as your business grows, enabling you to add as many employees or pay cycles as you like.”

Sage One Accounting and Sage One Payroll are purchased separately and used with separate log-ins. However, they are also closely integrated to save you the time and effort spent manually recording your payroll journals in your accounting application. This ensures ongoing compliance and increased accuracy.

In addition, your accountant can work online on the same data at the same time as the business owner. Any accounting based questions can be sent directly via the software to your accountant. This time-saving feature ensures ongoing communication between the business owner and accountant.

Other benefits of the Sage One Accounting and Sage One Payroll for SMEs include:

  • Ease of use: Templates and wizards make it easy to set up common tasks and processes. The interface is written in plain English for non-finance professionals, so no accounting or payroll experience required.
  • Priced for SMEs: Flexible and affordable pricing that won’t break the bank.
  • Secure: The software is hosted in a secure data centre, where your data is locked down, always backed-up, and secure from information security threats.
  • Free support:  Telephone and email support mean that help is there when you need it.

Four ways the cloud will help your small business

As an SME, you know that you need solid computer systems such as payroll and accounting to effectively grow and manage your business. Yet the newest technology can seem prohibitively expensive when you’re just starting out. This where cloud computing can help you to enjoy the benefits of technology while freeing you from many of the costs and complications. 

As an SME, you know that you need solid computer systems such as payroll and accounting to effectively grow and manage your business. Yet the newest technology can seem prohibitively expensive when you’re just starting out.

This where cloud computing can help you to enjoy the benefits of technology while freeing you from many of the costs and complications. Cloud computing is about consuming computing as a service rather than a product that runs on a system on your premises. Here are four ways the cloud will help you succeed:

Work anyplace and anytime

When you choose to run your accounting or payroll system in the cloud, you can work nearly anywhere you have an Internet connection available. That means you can check on your financials and keep business running smoothly, even when you’re spending a day dashing from meeting to meeting.

And on nearly any device

Your accounting or payroll package is no longer tied to one licensed computer when you opt for a cloud application. If your hard drive crashes or your computer is stolen, it will not be a problem. Simply log in through nearly any device with a modern web browser – including your tablet – and you can keep working as if nothing happened.

Enjoy peace of mind

Keeping a technology environment running smoothly involves a lot of drudgery. You need to do backups to make sure that you don’t lose any data if something goes wrong. You must patch your applications software with the latest security updates as well as install new versions as they come along.

And you need to maintain your server hardware. With cloud computing, these tasks all are the service provider’s job. You can keep focused on running your business rather than on running your IT.

Pay as you grow

If you decided to install and run software at your own premises, you’ll need to pay upfront for the licences. Depending on your needs, you might need to invest in servers and other infrastructure. And you may need professional help getting all of this technology up-and-running.

With the cloud, all you need to do is sign up for a service on a website and pay a modest fee for it each month. If your business grows and someone else needs to use the software, adding them is as easy as signing up for a new user name. The best part is that you get to keep your capital so you can invest it in growing your business.

Reasons why you should consider getting SnapScan for your SME

The technological world is one that is constantly evolving and producing new and exciting products very often designed to make our lives easier. Once your small business has gotten off the ground, you’ll begin to look for ways to streamline things so that they run more smoothly.

The technological world is one that is constantly evolving and producing new and exciting products very often designed to make our lives easier. Once your small business has gotten off the ground, you’ll begin to look for ways to streamline things so that they run more smoothly. This is where technology can really step in and save the day, it’s just about finding those things that suit your small business and will only help it be a success. Introducing SnapScan, the relatively new mobile payment app that is revolutionising small businesses, once swipe at a time. Here’s why you should consider bringing SnapScan into your business family, but before that, here’s a brief summary of how it works.

Anyone with a smart phone simply needs to download the app which can then be used whenever the special SnapCode is displayed by a merchant. Scan the SnapCode with your phone and then confirm the transaction using your unique PIN. The credit card you have linked to the app will automatically be debited and the business will receive the funds immediately. It’s really that easy. So why should you choose SnapScan as a small business owner?

It’s safe

SnapScan uses a patented security model that means that all transactions and information exchanges are safe and secure. This will ensure that your clients feel comfortable enough to make a purchase because it’s one thing to offer a simple payment mechanism, but another to offer one that is also secure.

Sign up is quick, it’s affordable and easy to manage

Signing up for SnapScan for your business takes less than five minutes and there are no set-up fees.  In just a few minutes you can be ready to go and get trading. There are also no monthly rental fees and no minimum transactions customers need to make – everyone’s a winner. You don’t even need to have a bank account to use SnapScan as a merchant. It also eliminates having to have a till or pay point and this will save you money. Lastly, you’ll receive an SMS any time a transaction is successful, so managing your sales is a breeze.

Your customers will thank you

The easier and more convenient things are, the more likely people are to try them. SnapScan doesn’t get much more convenient: gone are the days of having to carry cash and credit cards around. A simple swipe and entering in of a PIN number is all it takes for people to make a payment. It’s efficient and easy, and your clients will love you for it.

Funds are settled daily

You are able to cash up at the end of each day instead of having to wait until the end of the month. You’ll receive a PIN which you can use to make the withdrawal from one of SnapScan’s banking partner’s ATMs or a participating Spar store.

It’s portable

If your small business is one on the go, then SnapScan will make your life that much easier. Simply set it up wherever you are and then wait for your customers to scan, scan and scan. It’s one less thing to have to worry about when running your own business.

SnapScan would be a welcome addition to any small business and the chances are that once you try it, you’ll find it difficult to use anything else. Just as SnapScan can help you to run your small business more smoothly and easily, so too can Sage One help you with all your online accounting and payroll matters.

 

SnapScan is another innovative digital product brought to you by FireID Payements.

 

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Here’s what you should be doing differently when it comes to your small business

Sometimes in business, entrepreneurs just get it right. Others will look on in awe and wonder what the secret to their success is and what they could be doing differently in order to become as successful. Establishing, running and growing your own business is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things you can choose to do, and it requires consistent patience, persistence and dedication. 

Sometimes in business, entrepreneurs just get it right. Others will look on in awe and wonder what the secret to their success is and what they could be doing differently in order to become as successful. Establishing, running and growing your own business is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things you can choose to do, and it requires consistent patience, persistence and dedication. As a small business owner you need to be constantly re-evaluating your business to ensure it’s performing at its absolute best. Here’s our list of a few things you should consider doing differently, if you aren’t doing them already.

Tweak and diversify

In order to have a successful business, people have to buy what you’re selling, be it a product or a service. If you noticed that sales have taken a dip, it may be time to make some changes to the things on offer. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean complete replacement, but perhaps only a few tweaks here and there. For example, you may consider creating new packages for clients that consist of a handful of your products, thereby adding value. You may find this better speaks to the needs of customers, something that should be constantly being met by your business. Diversification can also be an effective route to go and involves branching out a little. If you own a fashion business, you could think about expanding into garment care by offering a range of products that can be used to maintain the items of clothing you offer. You can end up not only appealing to already existing customers, but to an entirely new consumer market as well.

Don’t just market your product – sell your story

The key here is context. Consumers will be far more inclined to buy your product if they understand how it can help solve their problems. So how do you as the business owner go about achieving this? It’s simple: you provide the story behind the business. People tend to connect with stories, especially when it comes to those linked to specific products. The story will automatically inject meaning and emotion into the purchase process, but most importantly, telling a story brings a human element to the often clinical business world. By putting a face to the brand and sharing the story behind it, consumers are bound to feel more connected to it, and connection can not only lead to more sales, but to brand loyalty as well.

Embrace technology

Whether you like it not, the reality is that the role technology is playing in the success of small business is becoming more and more important every day. You can’t expect to grow in a technologically saturated world by turning your back on it. We don’t mean becoming tech-savvy overnight and investing in every possible element of technology pertaining to your particular business, but rather embracing it slowly but surely over a period of time. A good place to start is with social media– when used correctly, it can completely transform your marketing strategy…and for the better. Another thing to consider is the power of the Cloud. Software that operates within the Cloud can help to change how you run and manage your business dramatically. Sage One Software provides you with a fast, efficient and simple way of dealing with the financial side of your business, such as payroll and accounts. Don’t shy away from technology – it could be just the ingredient you need to boost your business.

Don’t compromise your vision

Among other things, flexibility and adaptability are two important aspects to bear in mind when it comes to running your own business. There’s no doubt that you will experience bumps in the road that require you to adapt and make changes fast, but in doing that, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of your purpose and core values. This can be easier said than done, but at the end of the day, if you compromise your vision and the principles you hold dear, you may end up regretting it. By all means make adjustments at times, but that shouldn’t mean having to sacrifice your vision completely.

Part of running your own business is learning as you go. You will stumble at times but the important thing is to get up and keep moving forward. Observe the businesses around you – you can only learn from them.

 

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