5 Success Traits You Have to Learn the Hard Way

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We all know the saying “Hindsight is 20/20” and it’s just as true in business as it is in life. We’ve all gotten burned along the way, but it’s not only how we “react” to life’s lemons that counts, it’s how we use them to transform ourselves – for better or for worse.

We can let negative experiences bring us down or hold us back, or we can swallow our pride and learn from the valuable lesson and say to ourselves, “I’ll never do that again.”

I find it a waste of time to get hung up on what didn’t go right. It’s better to acknowledge what didn’t work, make a decision not to repeat it and forge ahead, one foot in front of the other with your dignity intact.

The difference between successful people and others is the restraint to not make the same mistakes over and over again. Once they learned their valuable lesson the hard way, they never go back to repeating the same mistake.

Here are 5 things I feel MUST be learned before you can achieve true success in your business…

1. Mistakenly thinking you can please everyone.

It’s not realistic to deliver something to everybody. From a customer base, it’s not a successful tactic to try to service too broad of an audience. You figure out what you’re good at and you work ahead, even if it means losing a client.

If you’re doing something over and over again that has not been successful or isn’t bringing in a solid return on your investment, scrap it and concentrate on what IS working. You can’t be married to products or services that your customers aren’t buying.

2. Returning to what hasn’t worked.

Entrepreneurs have to know when it’s time to pivot. The failure to pivot when conditions are ripe for a change is akin to insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over.

Whether it’s in business, relationships or life, you can’t continue doing the same thing and expect different results. If what you desire is something different, something has to change.

3. Losing focus on the big picture.

You don’t want to lose focus on the big picture. Otherwise, you’re like a sailboat in the middle of the ocean without a compass, floating wherever the wind takes you.

When people fail to set a big picture, they mindlessly wander through business and in life because they don’t know where they’re going. Where’s the fun in that?

4. Trying to change other people.

Instead of trying to get employees to conform to my way of thinking or trying to change them, I recruit people that have likeminded goals, who buy into the bigger picture.

With employees, you certainly have different visions, but you can effectively say, “We no longer have the same vision,” and if it’s no longer the right fit, it may be more conducive to part ways.

It’s more productive to build a team of people with positive attitudes, who are all working toward a common purpose than to have staff that are going in different directions, some of whom may be skewing yours.

5. Failing to perform due diligence.

When you fail to perform your due diligence, you’re making some assumptions and you’re not validating those with the best set of data. Things fall through the cracks, things get misunderstood. Things aren’t exactly as they were presented to you, or as they appeared to you.

While there’s no such thing as the “perfect set of data,” when you conduct your due diligence, you’re in the best position to make informed decisions, so long as you don’t let the data paralyze your decision-making abilities.

We all make mistakes…even the most successful entrepreneurs and leadership coaches. But, what the successful people do better than unsuccessful people is recognize what led to their mistakes and they make a conscious decision not to repeat them.

In the capacity of an entrepreneur, spouse, parent, and friend, it is your task to recognize your mistakes and stop repeating them.

As a serial entrepreneur and business coach, I’d be glad to share the valuable business lessons I have learned with you to help shorten your learning curve.

If you need a sounding board to discuss your business and funding options, don’t hesitate to give me a call.

 

5 Things You’re NOT Going to Miss About the Corporate World

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If you’re reading this blog – or really, any of the information on my website – it’s because you’re contemplating business ownership. For many of my clients, this means making the leap from employee to entrepreneur.

There is zero doubt that this is a daunting proposition, but once you take the giant leap of faith, you’ll soon realize the endless benefits to taking the reins of your own business.

Once you break free from the velvet shackles of your corporate job, it won’t be long before you start counting all the things you don’t miss about the 8 to 5 daily grind. The corporate experience that makes you shout TGIF with the utmost enthusiasm.

Here are just 5 things you’re not going to miss…

1. Not getting the credit you’re due (standing in your boss’ shadow)

Many employees are in the situation where the next step is for their boss to be promoted so they can be promoted into their boss’ position. That’s not a very productive career path: being in the boss’ shadow until they step aside or move up.

You also get this situation where people feel that they are not getting the credit they’re due. They work really hard, but they never get promoted. This is common in environments with less dynamic change, and it’s highly discouraging.

If you’re in an organization that isn’t changing much, your opportunity is that you need someone above you, or several people above you to be promoted. Then, you have the dominos and you can finally be promoted; this can take YEARS to happen.

Or, you can have competition with someone at the next desk – they have the same goals as you. Perhaps your peer (the person you have lunch with every week) has the same goals, and then one day they become your boss. There’s an angst to the whole process.

The corporate ladder typically has one lane. If you can’t bypass, you have to sit back and wait until a golden opportunity lands on your lap, and sometimes it never comes. You can’t make that happen, it has to happen from outside factors. You’re not in control.

2. Corporate politics

This involves a variety of different agendas and being able to get out from underneath or behind, and having to service other people’s self-interests and goals. Those other agendas and goals aren’t necessarily conducive to the grand scheme of the employer’s deal.

A lot of the politics comes down to the “personal” things you have to deal with. Many times they aren’t in line with the company’s goals, and they are certainly not in line with your goals. But, you have no choice but to go along with these agendas, whether you agree with them or not. It’s “their way” or the highway. 

3. Working overtime (generally for free) for someone else’s benefit

Looking back to when I worked overtime for salary, there wasn’t any monetary benefit and it was generally an expected deal.

4. Not having control or flexibility of schedule

When you’re an employee, you don’t have control or flexibility over your schedule. In contrast, when you own your own business, even at the outset, you’re still in a position to prioritize.

If there are important things in your life that are a high priority, such as an event with a child or grandchild…you’re afforded the opportunity to make a decision. What’s more important, something in the office or outside the office?

You often don’t get that opportunity when you’re in an employment situation.

Yes, when you start or buy a business, there’s a lot of hard work and long days, but at least the benefit is that when you need 30 or 60 minutes to attend or take care of something, you’re certainly there for yourself or your family.

5. The ax constantly swaying just above your head

In the corporate environment, there is this uncertainty: Business conditions change. People at the top change priorities. The investor group is out and suddenly a whole new regime comes in. The certainty in your position and in what you do can certainly be affected.

If you have been thinking about leaving the corporate world and taking the leap to entrepreneurship, I encourage you to read my book, Be Your Best Boss: Reinvent Yourself from Employee to Entrepreneur.

In my book, I navigate you through the process of business and self-discovery, ensuring that you embark on your entrepreneurial journey with your eyes, ears, and mind wide open, and with a solid plan for making your business dreams come true.

Let me help you examine your business and funding options – contact me today!

 

The Relationship Between Business Growth And Brand Identity

Branding book and colors in foreground; whiteboard behind

The name Catchfire Funding, in and of itself, doesn’t really mean much. It is the brand identity we’ve built and fostered over the years that has helped us to achieve long term success. CatchFire Funding stands for a certain type of experience (a positive one, of course!) that our clients have come to know and love. Take some advice from this wise owl and never overlook the importance of brand identity — it directly impacts the growth potential of your business.

Know Who You Are And Others Will Too

When it comes to communicating your brand to others, less is more. If you try to say too much, you end up saying nothing at all. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is worthwhile to really take the time to think about, identify, define and redefine your brand. Once you’ve done that, there are two components to always keep at the forefront of your mind:

  1. Consistency
  2. Authenticity

Consistency in the look, the voice, and the overall feel of your brand will have a positive impact on brand recognition. This, my friend, is key for garnering new business. How can a client choose your business if they don’t know you exist or are unable to remember your name? Getting business is intertwined with getting attention.

Let’s not forget about authenticity. Those gimmicky, sales tactics are a thing of the past. People will smell that facade from a mile away. Nowadays, consumers are interested in truly getting to know a brand and what they represent.

I recently read in Social Media Today that 90 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding brands to support. As you can see, it goes beyond the surface level of a product or service being offered. It’s about the big picture. Things like your mission and the values you’ve put into place.

The Credibility Factor

In the world of business, the only good kind of surprises are the ones that exceed the client’s expectations. It is important for you to showcase your capabilities by delivering consistent, high quality services and/or products. Customers want an option that is low risk. A brand they can trust.

At CatchFire Funding,  we have always made it a priority to remove that seed of doubt by creating a foundation built on transparency and hospitality. These brand attributes exist within every interaction and extend beyond them. They can be seen and felt in the way we present ourselves within a wide array of marketing materials such as emails, webinars, and my book.

Each of these pieces of the credibility puzzle is designed to create and enhance a connection among our clients (both potential and existing). It’s an extension even outside the verbal and personal connections. And I’ve never been afraid to share my own successes and failures. Removing ego from the equation, my team and I aim to provide the education and insight people need to make decisions that are right for them. Ultimately, we want to help others thrive in their new entrepreneurial roles and we do that by supporting without pushing, which leads me to my next point.

Standing Out From The Crowd

There are so many choices out there for every single product or service.  It’s like being in a class full of students, waving your hand vigorously hoping the teacher will, in fact, pick you. So ask yourself, how are you going to ensure you are the chosen one?

The answer to that question will not be the same for every business. It goes back to embracing the authentic version of your brand. With some introspection, you’ll be able to determine what sets you apart.

Without going too far out into left field, you’ll want to find opportunities to differentiate yourself. What I’ve found is that people tend to remember how you made them feel more than anything else. For that reason, we chose to hone in on the customer service aspect of our business.

Our competitors like to tout their breadth of offerings and larger size. To that I say, CatchFire Funding is the boutique solution, not a mainstream one. If you’re looking to speak to a salesperson who reads from a script, then by all means, go to one of the big guys. But if you want to have all your questions answered in a clear and direct manner, we’re your go-to business of choice.

Being clear and direct has served us well. In this way, we have earned the respect of our clientele by allowing them to make fully informed decisions. As a result, they are confident they made the right decision in choosing to do business with us. Don’t you just love it when everything comes full circle?

From Brand Identity To Brand New Beginnings

Now that you know a bit more about the importance of branding as it relates to building a business, you can get started on your journey toward being your own boss. Your first order of duty is to explore all your options and there’s no better place than CatchFire Funding to help you do that. I told you being clear and direct is my thing. So let’s get the conversation started.

5 Ways To Stay Motivated According To Bill Seagraves

Professional woman motivating her team

When starting a new business endeavor, it’s natural to be excited. The real challenge is whether or not you maintain that same level of motivation years later. Personally, I struggle at times with keeping the momentum and inspiration at full capacity. It’s true. No one is immune to indifference.

Recognizing you are in a slump is the first step to pulling yourself out of it. In true entrepreneurial fashion, that inner grit and determination will serve you well as you find ways to take action and get back into the business ownership groove.

Here are 5 tips and tricks I keep in my back pocket when I need a little motivational boost.

1. The Right Business Sets The Right Tone

This first one is for those who are in the beginning phases of entrepreneurship or for those looking to make a career pivot. Choosing a business that is right for you goes hand-in-hand with consistent motivation and fulfillment. You’ll be better off if you choose a brand that:

  • Has a mission that aligns with your goals and beliefs
  • Provides the lifestyle you are looking to achieve
  • Includes daily tasks that excite you
  • Provides a sense of camaraderie and/or greater purpose
  • Is challenging in a good way

If you keep these things in mind from the start, the likelihood of you staying motivated months, years, or even decades from now will increase tenfold.

2. The Importance Of Meaningful Interactions

It’s no secret. I’m a people person. One of the biggest perks of my role at CatchFire Funding is the one-on-one conversations I get to have with folks from all walks of life. Having social interaction, whether it’s over the phone, via Skype, or in person, is a big deal for me. I believe there is an innate need for people to interact with other people. The independence of being your own boss is great, but is at its finest when balanced with a social component. You’d be surprised how other individuals can act as sources of inspiration — this just happens to be a great segway to my next point.

3. Giving Back, Paying It Forward, And All That Good Stuff

One of the most gratifying and motivating parts of any business is the opportunity to make a positive impact. Whether it’s for an individual, the community, an organization, or the environment, it makes all the work worthwhile. Personally, I’ve benefited from mentorship relationships and so I find it very fitting to have the opportunity to take on that role for others.

Internally, I do this by helping my employees to enhance their knowledge and skills. Externally, I help to guide my clients through the business ownership process, making it as simple and successful for them as possible. I believe that a win for anyone is a win for everyone.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Delegate

If you start to feel lackadaisical about the tasks at hand, start asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do I enjoy doing? And how can I work those things into my to-do list?
  • What tasks are truly worth my while? In what ways am I of most benefit to the business?
  • What are things I do begrudgingly? Is there a way to make these tasks more appealing?

I found that when I was spending a good chunk of my time doing things that didn’t bring me joy or satisfaction, it became the opposite of motivating. In fact, it was extremely de-motivating. So, I found ways to remove those tasks from my personal inventory of business responsibilities. Sometimes, trying to control too many things can lead to burnout. In many instances, delegating can be an entrepreneur’s best friend.

For a solopreneur, this can prove challenging as they don’t necessarily have coworkers to help carry the load. For these individuals, I would highly recommend looking into hiring contractors. Even if it is temporary, having that time can prove extremely reinvigorating.

5. Perfecting The Art Of Problem-Solving

Having a business model that operates like a well-oiled machine is the end goal. However, monotony is exactly what it sounds like — boring. It is important for every individual (especially business owners) to feel challenged.

An opportunity for problem solving is an opportunity for growth, which is a common motivator for all entrepreneurs. The very definition of an entrepreneurial mindset is a set of skills that enable people to identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed in a variety of settings.

At the same time, it is important not to get overly comfortable or, to some extent, cocky about your business. Even when you’ve reached a point where things are consistently smooth, it’s crucial to never rest on your laurels. Trust me, there is always room for improvement. And knowing that should provide a healthy dose of motivation.

It Always Comes Back To The “Why”

At the end of the day (literally, every day) take a moment to remember why you started this business endeavor in the first place. What was it that spoke to your entrepreneurial spirit? Know the answer. Embrace it. And put it into action.

Over the years, I’ve had employees ask me when I’m going to retire. And I answer their question with one of my own: How do you define retirement? If you believe it’s when a person stops being involved, I don’t know if/or when I’ll ever be completely detached from CatchFire Funding. As cliche as it may sound, it is a part of who I am. If you’re looking to own a business that will become a part of who you are, my team and I are here to make that happen.

Speaking of motivation, don’t spend your life working for someone else when you could be making a living that allows you to build a legacy. Let’s get started!

Choosing Your Business Investments Wisely

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Man at laptop choosing wise business investments

Just like we must determine which relationships are worth putting in the time and effort, we must think carefully about which businesses are worthy of our investment. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of entrepreneurship. And I don’t blame the folks who want to jump right in — I can tell you from experience that being your own boss is great. However, it does come with its own set of challenges, which is why choosing the right business from the beginning is crucial to achieving long term success (and fulfillment).

Let’s Talk Sustainability: The Business Kind

Environmental sustainability seems to be getting a lot of attention nowadays, but let’s not forget about the importance of business sustainability. Aside from its large-scale benefits economically, identifying a business that will still be thriving decades from is every entrepreneur’s best friend.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of those attention-grabbing Top 25 Franchise Lists or The 10 Hottest Businesses To Own In 2023. Those titles do have a nice ring to them, but will they still be winning popularity contests in a few years? Or will they simply be a trend that has run its course?

I always tell my clients to do their best to overcome that FOMO mentality and instead to let their logic lead the way. Before committing to a business, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will it provide the type of lifestyle I want to live?
  • Am I comfortable with the required financial investment?
  • Is it a proven concept with a trusted reputation?
  • Will I receive the support I need to succeed?
  • Am I going to be happy doing the required daily tasks?

There is no entrepreneurial endeavor that is completely without risks. But if you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, you can confidently move forward with your business investment knowing it’s the right fit for you and that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Don’t Be Fooled By Shiny Exteriors

Branding is a powerful tool for any business. It creates brand awareness while providing an opportunity to create loyalty and trust among consumers. That being said, don’t judge a book (or in this case, a business) by its cover. Being a potential customer looking to make a one-time purchase is an entirely different circumstance than being a potential business investor or franchisee. As much as you may love a company’s tagline or laugh out loud at their commercials, due diligence is of the utmost importance!

The holy grail of franchises is the FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document). As lengthy and overwhelming as it may be, you’ll want to read through it carefully. However many cups of coffee it takes — make it happen!

In terms of finances, you’ll want to focus on Item 7 and Item 19, which discuss the Initial Investment and the Earnings Claim of the franchise you are considering. If you believe you can write a business plan that marries those two components, you’re in a good spot.

Last, but definitely not least, you’ll want to take a gander at the appendixes to find a list of current franchisees and their contact information. The best insight you could possibly receive will come from these individuals. After all, they are living your potential future.

You’ll want to hear the compliments and complaints they have about how the franchise is operated. Having a clear idea of what you’re getting into before you officially invest is a huge advantage. Whether it solidifies that you are making the right decision or helps you to avoid a trainwreck, you’ll be better off for it in the end.

Time To Take The Leap!

There’s a reason they refer to business ownership as taking the entrepreneurial leap as opposed to the entrepreneurial walk. You have to go into it fully committed and energized. If you are at a point in your life where you are wholeheartedly passionate about becoming an entrepreneur, CatchFire Funding can help you make your realization a reality.

My highly qualified team and I will make that leap feel a lot less scary. We walk you through every step of the process and make sure you ask (and answer) all the right questions to ensure you don’t just invest for the sake of investing. At CatchFire Funding, we help our clients to invest wisely.

Contact us today to talk business and anything else that’s on your mind.

The Benefits for Businesses with a Growth Mindset

Overhead view of wood table with multiple people collaborating

There are many character traits successful entrepreneurs have in common. One that I believe deserves to be at the top of that list is a growth mindset. It is an essential part of operating a successful business.

The term “growth mindset” was originally coined by Carol Dweck, a psychologist, professor, and researcher at Stanford University, in her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. When a person believes they are not limited by their inherent traits or abilities and embrace the ability to learn and improve, they are more likely to succeed. Maintaining a true growth mindset involves:

  • Welcoming challenges
  • Accepting negative feedback
  • Being adaptable

Capitalize on the possibilities

We’ve all been told to not let the fear of failure get in the way of accomplishing our dreams, but how many individuals actually follow these words of wisdom? 

Being a business owner constantly involves measuring risk against reward. So prepare to go outside of your comfort zone. Trust me, you’ll learn to love it. When you see untapped potential, you need to act upon it — without worrying too much about all the what-ifs. Having visions and goals for your brand is just the first step. You need to create a plan of action in order to own your aspirations.

Cultivate inspiration and innovation

Encouraging a growth mindset as a part of the workplace culture can be a real benefit to your business. Studies have shown it can increase trust, improve morale, and lead to more of those desirable big ideas and aha moments.

Employees working within a growth mindset culture are 34 percent more likely to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the company.

If your employees view everything as a learning opportunity, you’ll inevitably foster a team with a more business savvy, optimistic attitude. And that’s every entrepreneur’s dream, right? 

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

At one point, I got out of the growth mindset. I know, it’s hard to believe but it’s the truth. It’s actually more common than you may think. When an entrepreneur hits their goal, it can be hard to muster up the motivation to re-evaluate, create a higher standard and continue the climb. 

To be good enough is one thing. To be the leader in your market involves a whole other level of grit and determination. And it’s not for everyone. I want you to keep in mind each individual’s definition of success is different. 

There are people who are perpetually on a growth curve. Trying new businesses. Chasing the next best thing. That approach may lead to a brilliant business endeavor but it is more likely to be an experience similar to running on a hamster wheel. 

I’m not telling you to rest your laurels. Every entrepreneur needs to find a way to keep that spark going. But that being said, you need to know yourself and recognize your personal level of fulfillment. At some point in my business ownership journey, I migrated to a “cash cow” mentality. It became about achieving recurring revenue that provides a steady income.  

Sometimes it’s not about peaking, but rather getting to a consistently profitable plateau. It may not be the traditional way of thinking, but that’s Bill’s way of thinking. 

No matter what your growth mindset goals may be, CatchFire Funding is here to help you see them through. Ready. Set. Grow! Let’s get the conversation started today.

How To Create A Relevant Business Plan

Team strategizing business plans during meeting

What is a business plan? It is a roadmap for your business. It is designed to ensure you stay the course and reach your desired destination of operating and maintaining a profitable business. In fact, statistics show that 71 percent of the fastest-growing companies have business plans in place.  This 15-20 page document consists of the following: 

  • Market analysis: Gathering information about variables that affect your industry
  • Competitive analysis: Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors (SWOT)
  • Customer segmentation: Dividing your customers into groups based on specific characteristics 
  • Marketing strategy: Using your research to describe how you will implement advertise tactics
  • Logistics and operations plans: Planning and outlining the most efficient production process
  • Cash flow projection: Preparing and estimating how much money will go in and out of your business (If you ask me, this is one of the most important factors!)
  • Sustainability: Identifying an overall path to long-term growth

As overwhelming as it may seem to create such a robust document, you are doing yourself a huge favor by creating a business plan at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. And keep in mind that it is a work in progress. 

Research shows that entrepreneurs with a business plan see growth 30 percent faster than those without one.

You will constantly refer to your plan, make observations, re-evaluate and make the appropriate adjustments to ensure your business continues to grow. There is a power in the ability to pivot. After all, adaptability is the new word for success.

Keep your eye on the prize…or in this case, the plan!

When a business plan is done right, it will benefit more than just the entrepreneur. The plan will serve as the holy grail, allowing employees to more accurately define and track their goals while helping investors to see the value of financially supporting your business. It is a game changer that increases your odds of succeeding as a business owner. 

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I’m an analytical guy. As passionate as I am about my business pursuits, I believe in the power of having a plan. And my business plans always start with the numbers. 

The numbers tell the story

Most people who are starting a business would make the mission statement and lofty narrative top priority. However, you can’t build a story without a financial plan in place. Memorializing your brand in a verbal context may be to your benefit but at the end of the day, you don’t track the words — you track the results. Which is why I tend to take a different approach. 

Getting back to that cash flow projection part of the business plan, I like to view the entrepreneurial landscape through a lens of logistics, statistics, and all that other good stuff. Whether you prefer to put pen to paper or type up a Google doc, always keep a record of your assumed costs and the actual costs. It’s important to know how accurate or far off your assumptions were and find ways to improve, getting you closer to your ideal numbers.

When it comes to finances, guessing is never a good thing. Do your research, as you’ll need to make educated estimates regarding month-to-month expenses for the first year. Starting with the initial investment makes the most sense. This one piece of the plan should include things such as:

  • Rent
  • Equipment
  • Inventory
  • Marketing 
  • Employees

This will be an easier task for someone who is investing in a franchise as opposed to starting a business from scratch. This is because all franchises are required to provide you with a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) which includes an Item 7 — provides the type and amount of expenditures an individual will incur before opening a franchise unit, as well as an estimate of the expenses during the initial period of operating the franchise unit.

Whether you are a franchisee or independent business owner, I highly recommend utilizing a revenue generation curve. In other words, a visual representation of when you realistically think you can and/or will become profitable. It always helps to talk to fellow entrepreneurs who are in similar industries and markets. The more insight you can gather upfront, the better. This will improve the accuracy of your estimates and expectations. 

Be a goal getter!

Every masterpiece is made by painting one detail at a time. What I’m trying to say is that long-term goals are great, but breaking them down into smaller, actionable milestones will make them more achievable. Having these “checkpoints” in place encourages consistent progress while keeping the entire team on the same page. Making a commitment to evaluate and refine on a month-to-month basis means no big surprises when it’s time for year-end reporting.

Speaking of milestones, let your first one be giving CatchFire Funding a call! It is our job to help aspirational business owners like you bring your visions to life. From business plan to profit, we are committed to helping you get there.

3 Smart Ways to Reinvest in Your Business

Multi-cultural team having fun collaborating at office

As thrilling as it may be to get your business up and running, that is just the start. The ultimate goal should always be to create a company that withstands the test of time — and any other inevitable entrepreneurial challenges that come along with it. As the owner of CatchFire Funding and other business ventures prior, I’ve learned a thing or twenty about the smartest ways to reinvest in your company.

My vision for building a stronger brand includes: Employee retention, customer acquisition, and improved productivity. These are not necessarily in any particular order as they are all equally important. Before I go into more detail about each of these variables, I think it would be worthwhile to share a story from Bill’s becoming a boss journey. 

The infamous risk and reward relationship

Nearly a decade ago my accountant said, “Bill, I wasn’t sure your business was going to survive. You weren’t taking anything off the table and you were pumping it all back into the business. But after watching you, I finally understood — it was dollars that created more dollars.” That served as a moment of affirmation for me. I’ve never been fearful of spending money if I thought it could lead to making more money in the long run. After all, this is how things start to grow. That’s not to say there won’t be growing pains along the way. Especially as you’re paving your way toward the American dream, but as cliche as it may be, it is worth it! 

Even if you’re just starting off. Scratch that. Especially if you’re just starting off, you have to embrace a growth mindset. As scary as it may be, it’s almost more important to put your profits back into the business at the beginning part of the process for the sake of the bigger picture. The difference between dreamers and doers is having the ability to overcome the stress of the unknown. To not simply recognize opportunities, but to have the courage to seize them when they arise. 

Having the right attitude, passion and conviction is just half of the equation. Adding business savvy, financial smarts to the mix is what adds up to success. If you don’t mind me imparting some words of wisdom, this is where we discuss three smart ways to reinvest in your business. 

1. Achieving excellence requires excellent employees

Defining your brand’s mission and understanding your target demographic is extremely important, but finding the right people to execute your vision is just as crucial. Over the years as an entrepreneur, I have come to recognize the true value of a loyal, trusted employee. For that reason, I am willing to pay a premium to reduce turnover rates and avoid letting the good ones get away.

Whether you’re looking to attract new talent or retain the invaluable team members you’ve already acquired, you’ll want to implement training opportunities, reward systems, and appealing benefits. Human beings have an innate desire to feel appreciated and as a business owner, it is extremely important to recognize and respect that truth. At the end of the day, exceptional employees are synonymous with exceptional entrepreneurs.

2. Attracting and acquiring the right customers

In the world of business ownership, it’s extremely important to know your audience. If you want your marketing to be efficient and effective, you need to put the right amount of effort (and funds) into identifying your target demographic. The takeaway here is to do your market research! When it comes to your ad spend, you want to avoid playing the guessing game. If you try to pitch too wide of a consumer pond, you won’t get anyone to bite. 

CatchFire Funding happens to target a very specific niche but even in my case, I made sure to do my due diligence. I needed to figure out the nuance of language and mindset of these particular people. This is the difference between getting people to click and getting people to act. And taking things one step further, how are you going to turn first-time customers into loyal, brand advocates? With the right information and resources, you can lower your acquisition costs and increase your bottom dollar.

3. Productivity and profitability go hand-in-hand

As an entrepreneur, you are no stranger to the concept that time is money — especially your time. Reinvesting profits into upgrading hardware or software for your business is a smart move if you’re looking to increase efficiency. When you are able to find new ways to implement automation into your processes or integrate an innovative tech solution, your business will reap the benefits. I like to call it getting a greater Return On Reinvestment (ROR). 

The cycle of business ownership

When you are able to master the art of reinvesting in your business, you’ll get more out of the money you put in. It starts with putting dollars toward the trio of entrepreneurial triumph:

  1. Employee Satisfaction
  2. Customer Acquisition
  3. Productive Processes

For those who aren’t satisfied with a stagnant business, smart reinvesting is key to keeping a company moving in a forward direction. And as an added bonus, reinvested money is considered a business expense. That means you won’t have to pay income taxes on it. 

There’s a lot more where this relevant information came from — after all, CatchFire Funding helps people pursue their passions on a daily basis. Bringing business ownership dreams to fruition is our forte. So, let’s get the conversation started today.

The Benefits Of A Niche Market Business

Two women presumably collaborating on fashion-focused project

As an aspiring entrepreneur, one of the greatest challenges can be determining which path to pursue. There are so many ideas and “aha” moments. Countless industries filled with excitement and untapped potential. An unlimited amount of products and services needed to appease those looking for the infamous better way of doing things.

For me, it was a personal experience that led to the inception of CatchFire Funding. At the time, I was looking to invest my retirement dollars into a unique opportunity. Something that wasn’t related to Wall Street. Something untraditional.

That mission led me to discover the uncharted territory of self-directed IRAs. I began having conversations with folks about this well-kept secret and through those discussions, I was made aware that there was a similar way to invest in businesses. Stop right there. This was my aha moment. My entrepreneurial radar immediately went up as I began to envision the ways I could build an insightful and valuable program.

A memory that would forever change my future

Flashback to six years prior…I had exited the corporate world and made the decision to purchase a business. I was aching to be my own boss. Had I known 401k rollovers were an option, I would have been able to avoid the annoyingly complex process I ended up using at the time. It was that epiphany of realizing I had missed out on an opportunity to make my life simpler. And I wanted to do my part to ensure no one else missed out. Everyone could use more simplicity in their life — especially those going through a career transition.

As someone who enjoys having conversations over the phone, zoom or in person, the value proposition of operating a business that involves interacting one-on-one with customers really floated my boat, so to speak. Nothing is greater than having a job that helps others to achieve their own sense of self worth and fulfillment.

I’ve found there is no exact science or recipe that makes one business more successful than another but I will say, serving a niche market has its fair share of advantages. I credit CatchFire’s very specific, underserved target demographic for making my job so enjoyable and successful.

So, if you’re at a crossroads in your career and you’re looking to make a change, I’ve got some advice for you: If you’ve got a niche, scratch it.

What is a niche market?

A niche market is a segment of a larger market that has its own demands and preferences. Establishing a niche market helps businesses gain competitive advantages over other companies that choose to target a broader audience.  Niche markets offer an opportunity to build loyalty and revenue with a group of consumers that are often overlooked.

The key to operating a profitable niche market business is to identify a segment that has the following three things:

  1. Accessible customers
  2. Room for growth
  3. No dominant competition

Concentrating your efforts on a specific target market has its perks. I’ve already mentioned the benefit of knowing who you’re targeting and having less competition, but there’s more.

Another nice thing about niche markets

Having the ability to focus on a well-defined demographic will help you to become a trusted brand. The odds of becoming known as a specialist or thought leader in your industry is higher when the competition is lower. By earning that elite stamp of approval for the specific product or service you provide, you can expect to see more repeat business and referrals. Trust me when I say that in the world of marketing, word of mouth is a beast. So you want to make sure that when people are talking, they only have good things to say about you and your business.

Added bonus: When you earn the confidence of consumers for your current high quality product or service, you are more likely to have success if and when you decide to expand your offerings.

Choose wisely and pursue boldly

Whether you choose to go the franchising route or pave your own path as a solopreneur, you’ll want to keep an open mind when it comes to opportunities that exist within lucrative niche markets. As we are still at the beginning of the new year, now is a great time to actively pursue those new resolutions you’ve made for 2022.

If you’re a go-getter who knows you deserve more than your current job can offer, it’s time for you to put that go-getting to work. Greatness is just a phone call away.

The Great Resignation is Reshaping the Career Landscape

Outstretched hand with resignation; packed office box in background

The economy is impacted by many outside variables and for that reason, it is constantly changing. And as many have come to realize ,where and how we work transitions accordingly. From spring of 2021 to the present, there has been a significant shift in the American career landscape involving a trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs and it has been deemed The Great Resignation.

Employees between 30 and 45 years old have played a significant role in the “Big Quit” movement. This group of individuals had the greatest increase (an average of more than 20 percent) in resignation rates since 2020 but they are not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021 and resignations have continued to be abnormally high, resulting in a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July.

The realities that are leading to mass resignations

Although it cannot be solved with a mathematical equation, there are a few factors that seem to add up to a reasonable explanation for the increase in resignations. These are issues that have existed in the workplace for quite some time.

However, I’ve noticed that the pandemic forced people to rethink their priorities and focus on living a more fulfilling life — beginning with making a living doing something that brings them joy and fulfillment. Here are a few factors that motivated folks to get in on the great resignation.

A negative work environment

Even before the pandemic came into the picture, many people were dissatisfied at their current jobs. Upon having to deal with Covid, the negativity was only exacerbated. People began to feel burnt out, both mentally and physically. For those who were already contemplating putting in their two-weeks notice, this proved to be the push they needed to pursue another path.

The appeal of working remotely

Without a doubt, having countless Zoom meetings and virtual check-ins throughout the day took some major adjusting — at first. But after getting into the routine of working from the comfort of our own homes, society came to see the many benefits of remote work. The flexibility and freedom that comes with it is hard to give up once you’ve gotten a taste. As it turns out, many people chose not to return to the office.

Compensation that falls short

With inflation and cost of living on the rise, people began finding their paychecks were barely enough to cover the costs of monthly bills. At the end of the day, people need to make enough money to afford the essentials. In the process, people decided to take the leap and start their own business, pursue their passions, and see what the world of entrepreneurship had to offer. As it turns out, many were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

All these reasons make sense to me. In fact, it is not uncommon for the clients we work with at CatchFire Funding to have one or more of the factors mentioned above serve as the motivator for them to leave their current job.

It’s also worthwhile to consider the role of supply and demand within this whole resignation frenzy. As an entrepreneur, I recognize the importance of these business basics. We are currently living in a time where employers must compete for workers. There are more positions needing to be filled than applicants. This case of role reversal has given the job seeker the upper hand, causing them to feel confident in their ability to wait for the right opportunity to present itself.

How did we get here?

In mid-March 2020, the whole planet went into various forms of lockdown, companies started massive layoffs, and the economy decreased at a rate we hadn’t seen in nearly a century.  Then vaccines got approved and began being distributed to the general public.

People got back to their new normal. They said goodbye to quarantine and hoped it would be a thing of the past. But the whole experience made folks think about their futures, changing their tune on what they once thought were their work and life goals.

After months of overwhelming workloads, hiring freezes, health concerns, and an overall feeling of uncertainty, many of these workers reached a breaking point. The result? Trading the corporate, 9 to 5 gig for the exhilarating life of an entrepreneur. The availability of jobs and geographics also plays a part. At CatchFire, we have been seeing a growing interest in solopreneur, service-based business versus brick-and-mortar stores. But things are constantly changing, adjusting, and (the hope is) improving. 

What Seagraves has to say…

I’ve got my own theory that involves another economic trend. I believe the great resignation has a partner in crime, which I’ve deemed the grand transition… to business ownership.  It is comprised of all the following people, painting a picture of the future work landscape.

The employee who says, “I’m done here.”

The individual who is going through a career transition, trying to determine the perfect pivot.

The person who is bold enough to be their own boss.

The hard worker who is ready to retire.

The business owner who wants to sell, passing the entrepreneurial baton to a new owner.

All these people are choosing to write their own stories and in the process, helping to rewrite the narrative of what a career should look like and be. Want to start creating your own legacy? There are many ways to make it happen and all of them start by giving me a call.