How to Come Up with a Great Business Idea (Part 2)

With a job market that’s in a continual state of flux, many entrepreneurial-minded professionals are thinking of a great business idea and looking for ways to earn extra money on the side, sometimes supplementing income lost through downsizing, layoffs, or being underemployed. Chances are, you have a lot of marketable skills you might not have realized could be potential moneymakers. A little bit of research can put you on the path to making your mark in the gig economy. 


How To Monetize Your Skill Sets – What Can You Do?

Sit down and make a list of all the things you’re skilled at. You could consider skill sets learned through prior training, education, job experience, or even hobbies you enjoy. For example, if you’ve always been a math whiz, tutoring might be a revenue stream.

If you’re a marketing or social media guru, you could hire yourself out as a corporate consultant. If you’re an exceptional cook or baker, you may find a calling working as a caterer or event planner.

Assess all of your skills, talents, and the things you enjoy doing and consider the monetary potential behind applying those skills to revenue generation.

job-boardConsider What’s In Demand

If you’re a multi-talented person, you might be best served to explore opportunities in fields that are in high demand and finding a way to capitalize on them. For example, according to Entrepreneur, if you search online job boards, you’re likely to get a good feel for the type of services people typically hire out for.

This could be anything from bookkeeping to personal assisting, pet care, mystery shopping, automotive repair, child care, landscaping, or interior design.

Doing a bit of research will help you recognize not only skills that are easy to monetize, but Nolo points out you’ll also get a feel for what others in similar occupations charge for their services.

RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: The New Elevator Pitch – How to Introduce Yourself So People Engage

Establish A Great Business

Whether you decide to freelance for a couple of hours a week as a side gig or launch a full-fledged operation, you’re wise to establish yourself as a small business owner. This includes deciding on a corporate structure, like a sole proprietor or limited liability company.

You’ll also need to write a business plan, get a business license, set up a business bank account, create a website and basic marketing materials, and establish a presence on social media.

Going through all of these steps will allow you to present yourself in a professional way that will help you attract customers.

RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: 4 Small Business Planning Tips to Increase Profits


Go Back To School

online-educationIf you’re interested in learning a new skill or further developing an existing one, consider going back to school for a business degree as a way to expand your professional opportunities.

Online educational offerings not only provide a wide variety of learning modalities, but you also have the benefit of being able to study from anywhere, often on your own timetable.

This allows you to work, care for children, and build your business, all while advancing your education. Grants, scholarships, and loans can help you finance your educational journey.


Buy Into A Franchise

If you’re interested in being a business owner, but you aren’t sure where to start, what to do, or how to operate, you might consider looking at franchise opportunities. Buying into ownership of an established and recognizable brand can provide the blueprint you need for small business operations.

It’s wise to conduct your due diligence in advance so you have a solid understanding of the pros and cons of various franchise opportunities before moving ahead. In particular, exploring financing options will help you make the most informed decisions.

Learn To Network

business-idea-networkOnce you decide what you’d like to do, building a customer base is the first priority. You can join chambers of commerce, Rotary clubs, small business development centers, or other networking groups in your area.

According to Copper Connection, this can help you secure leads, make connections, and network with those in your industry and in adjacent industries.

Once you start building a clientele, ask for referrals from happy customers as a way to continue building your operations. Customer service will be important to establishing a good reputation in your industry.


RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: How to Generate More Leads and Sales from Your Website – Top Bloggers Share What’s Working Now

Manage Your Financial Resources

It can be a tricky prospect to manage your finances when you’re working a side hustle or attempting to launch a small business operation. Create budgets and marketing agendas, keep good records, and give careful consideration to both income and expenditures to ensure you’re moving in the right direction from a financial perspective. You don’t want to make the mistake of taking on so much work that you’re unable to service all clients in a professional manner.


While it can be a challenge looking for new revenue streams when you’re underemployed or need to supplement your income, taking advantage of your own personal skill sets can open a number of doors to new, financially viable opportunities. 

Paramount Business Coach can help you narrow the focus of your business-generating options and help you develop a plan of action for moving forward. Book a free consultation or reach out for more information on the benefits of business coaching.

Chamber of Commerce Magazine

*This article was originally published in Chamber of Commerce Magazine

W4 Magazine, Chamber of Commerce – Budget Friendly Strategies to Grow Your Business

According to Bucks, most Bucks County area businesses are small (less than 3 people). And while the economy is starting to gain traction, business owners are looking with cautious optimism toward the future. They’re not making any hurried decisions.

The turning economic climate, however, is not a time for staying in your comfort zone. It is still critical that businesses are careful to make wise, strategic business decisions that often require small business owners to get out of their comfort zones.

If you’re like most business owners, you are so busy focusing on the daily tasks of running the business that it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Yet, if you don’t take the time to work ON your business plan for future growth, it’s all too easy to go in circles rather than accomplishing the tasks that will get you to where you want to be.

Your business success depends on you to choose and apply the best advice and proven methods that will work for you. But it can be a minefield out there.

There’s so much information it can be overwhelming just knowing where to start. Yet, if you have the right blueprint, growing your business is really a matter of following a well-marked trail of other successful people.

Here are four strategies to grow your business without breaking the bank, and tips on how to overcome the common obstacle to these strategies. Once you start integrating them into your business, you will have laid the groundwork for your success blueprint!

Option 1: Increase your marketing! Roll out a series of strategic, multiple marketing campaigns (keyword: multiple). Whether you are trying to break your company’s first million dollar milestone or whether you’re looking to move into the $200 million dollar level both scenarios will require increasing your company’s current level of visibility and raising greater awareness of your company’s unique sales proposition in the marketplace. Whatever the scale, the goal of achieving greater output will first need to start with increasing greater input. In today’s economy the key challenge is the ever-decreasing budget shortage. There are a number of strategies to try to meet the budget challenge. Here are three:

a. Join forces. Many of your marketing projects can receive greater funding, thus achieve greater response rates when you team together with one or two other complementary businesses. Joining forces can be as simple as a joint direct mail campaign or as creative as an alliance of businesses sponsoring a special event. Plus, multiple businesses together will always add more value to the end customer who attends the event.

b. Carve out a market niche. Increasing your marketing does not have to equate to increasing your marketing budget. But, in order to do so you will have to squeeze more leverage from your existing marketing budget. Businesses will always get a better ROI if your marketing message is being directed to a highly targeted market segment. Choosing to be more selective on “who” receives your marketing dollars will impact 50% or more return. The remaining balance will impacted by this third strategy.

c. Differentiate your value proposition. Marketing dollars will quickly disintegrate and be forgotten when the message is directed to a broad audience and especially so when the unique sales proposition isn’t really all that unique (in comparison to your competitor’s offerings) Investing the time and energy to evaluate a truly unique and compelling message that sets your business apart is a smart strategy to meeting the challenge of limited marketing dollars.

Strategy 2: Hire higher talent. I meet a lot of new clients whose belief is that no one can do as good of a job as they could, so they would just rather not waste the money on paying someone else to do a poor job. So, what ends up happening is these same small business owners continue laboring on that hamster wheel year after year in a blur of putting out fires, chaotically multi-tasking and racing the clock every day to jam in all of their tasks on the overflowing to-do lists. Here is my response: if the fear of poor results are what keeps you from hiring talent, then hire better talent who can match your results, or surpass your results.

You can wear yourself out running the marathon to your destination (only to collapse when you get there) or you could use your car to drive you there. Not only will you arrive much faster, but you’ll be rested when you get there. Okay, so the challenge here again is having the cash flow to support the new hires. (Yes, that car needs gas and of course gas costs money.)

a. Apply for a bank loan. As simple as this may sound, many small businesses have not fully explored what their banks (and other banks) can offer to supply the needed cash flow to grow. The plan many small business owners have about their cash flow is to wait until an increase of revenues comes in to use that surplus to fund for growth. Except, when you are in a hurry to get to where you need to go, you just need to borrow that gas money so you can get going. For many small business owners the concept of borrowing money to fund business growth is a scary jump that they are simply not comfortable with. Ahhh, here it is. An opportunity to get out of your comfort zone!

b. Re-distribute the budget. Take a hard look at your monthly profit and loss statements. Engage an admin person on your team to price shop those expenses that are commodities. Evaluate your other expenses and run the numbers to find out what the true ROI (return on investment) has been in the last 6 months. Cut out or prune back from those categories that came in on the lowest 20% of ROI producing expenditures.

c. Investigate your county and state resources. There are many resources for different types of businesses. Here are two local ones to look into that may be a good fit for your business: Bucks County Economic Development Center and Pennsylvania Career Link.

d. Offer shares of stock. Finding higher talent can mean simply outsourcing your projects. But, for those business owners who are looking for key players to grow with your company consider offering shares of stock. This not only offsets the lower pay, but it also attracts a more results driven, long term oriented, high performer.

Strategy 3: Prune back. Growing your business to the next level often entails eliminating your bottom 20% of product or service offerings. Think of it as shedding the dead weight. Landscaping needs regular pruning to flourish and grow — so do businesses. You want to channel your time, energy, resources and focus to the products, services and projects that yield your greatest margins. If you’re a service business that means you need to consider firing your bottom 20% of clients (your level D clients) in order to deliver better services to your A and B level clients. Drop the products or projects whose profit margins fall in the bottom 20%.

Strategy 4: Add a new spin. Just as the weather is always changing, the needs of your market changes as well. Spend the extra time you have (from pruning back) to get to know the profile and needs of your ideal market at a deeper level. How can you deliver your services to them in a more meaningful way? What new product or service can you offer to your “A” clients?

If you’ve gotten to this final paragraph I want to congratulate you for doing more than 90% of today’s small business owners. You are among the top 10% for taking time to read this business growth article. Taking charge of your business however, reads easier than it is.

Now that you understand these 4 strategies what are you going to do about it today?

Statistics say that people forget 50% of what they just learned by end of day. Then they forget 50% of that by the end of the next day. At that rate, if you wait a few weeks to act on anything you just read you may only remember 5%. My final challenge to you is to implement these 4 tactics. Business growth doesn’t happen from wishing for it, complaining about it or thinking about it. Business growth happens from sound, strategic planning and then implementation.

Business growth expert Yoon Cannon helps entrepreneurs create thriving 6, 7, and 8 figure businesses. Yoon has started, developed and sold 3 businesses herself, and so understands the unique challenges today’s business owners face on a daily basis. She has also trained and coached thousands of professionals in the service industry on marketing, productivity, leadership development and business management. Ms. Cannon continues to speak and be published. o receive free resources visit:

Strategic Planning Tip – Staging Your Business to Succeed!

Stage Your Business to Succeed!

“If you keep on doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep on getting what you’re getting. If you want to get something different, then you need to do something different”

Strategic Planning Tip - Staging Your Business to Succeed!Profound quote isn’t it? …. So, of course, the translation to your business is, if you want to achieve different results by this time next year, you need to take a different approach from how you’ve currently been doing things in your business.

This is the key reason why it is critical for you to do a strategic plan each year for your business regardless if you are a Fortune 500 company, a small family run business, or even a solopreneur. Your strategic plan is your written road map that will help keep you from falling into the same ineffective patterns of behavior and from repeating out dated systems that are no longer worth your time and investment.

Better than that, your strategic plan is your road map that keeps you focused on what things you will now commit to doing differently this year — designed to getting you greater results than ever before.

You know, every time I share the opening quote with business owners and Entrepreneurs I find that 100% of them agree with the truth of this principle. But, you know what? I find that less than 10% of the small business owner audiences I speak to actually have a strategic plan each year.

The 3 biggest reasons I hear all the time from small business owners and Entrepreneurs on why they do not do strategic plans each year is:

1. It seems like an exercise in futility for me to set goals and milestones on paper when things in the past never went according to plan anyway.

2. Doing a strategic plan seems like a large daunting project that I frankly don’t have those large chunks of time to be doing.

3. I don’t know where to start in creating an effective strategic plan

Alright, so let me try to de-bunk some of these limiting beliefs, so that I can help you to accelerate your business growth in 2012.


First, think of your strategic plan as a staging plan.

Strategic planning is not just a piece of paper that shows you’ve written down a bunch of numbers and dates on when you would theoretically like to see those numbers and figures achieved by.
So, if you could have a do-over of this past year (knowing the cause and effects of each of your decisions)…
     1.) What would you put on your short list of things you want to do the same?
    2.) What would you put on your short list of things you would do differently?
That said, you don’t want to be answering those 2 questions for your business as a whole, you want to segment your post-mortem thoughts as you would address a house room by room.Take the analogy of selling a house. In today’s difficult economy, there are an awful lot of homes on the market.

So, if you’re the seller, you’re going to need to maximize the staging of your home to stand out from all your competition. There are so many other homes your buyers have to choose from!Your realtor or your staging consultant will walk you through room by room with their recommended list of changes you should make to maximize your home’s appeal to the type of buyer you are targeting. The homeowner typically, will have 2 common responses to the staging plan:a) Yes, I’ve been meaning to do that for years, but just haven’t gotten around to fixing that yet.

b) No, I never noticed that was a problem (because I live here I just get used to it and have grown immune to noticing that horrible wallpaper throughout the house)

When the homeowner follows the staging plan, he/she watches their home magically transform from drab to becoming the next coveted hot seller.

That’s what your strategic plan does for your business. It should serve as your room-by-room improvement list that will help you to attract more targeted buyers.

It can do even more than that. Your strategic plan is there not just to achieve your sales goals, but all your other business-related goals — like, here’s one I help small business owners with a lot: I want to work 10-20 hours less per week this year but still increase my profits.

Yes, I can help you formulate what you roadmap should look like in your 2012 Strategic Plan to help you achieve that goal of working less while still growing the business so you’re earning even more.

Now, as for the other 2 objections for not doing a strategic plan:

  • Not thinking you have the time
  • Not knowing where to start

You give me 1 hour a month and I’ll show you how to stage your business to have your best year ever!

If you truly want to achieve better results this year in growing your business and you are ready to commit even just one hour a week, I have a simple 1-page strategic plan system that I can hold your hand step-by-step and guide you to do.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can invest 1 hour a week using my 1-page strategic plan system, I invite you to call me for a no-charge 30-minute discovery session to explore what that could mean for you.

But, hurry on calling me. Because good intentions often turn into wasting years from procrastinating on what you could have easily and quickly done today.

Why not call me now? My direct line is 215-292-4947 EST.

QUESTION: What is the most challenging part of working on your strategic plan to help you grow your business? Please share your comments in the box below.

About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development.  Grab free valuable gifts and resources at  To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947. 


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