Guest Articles

Guest Post: Building Your Startup: Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

Whether you’re a recent graduate with an exciting business idea or a young professional who would prefer to run your own startup rather than work for someone else, entrepreneurship might be in your future. If you’ve been daydreaming about a particular business idea, these tips from The Hilltop Group will help you execute your entrepreneurial vision.

Photo by Unsplash

Outline Your Idea

First, you’ll need to get your ideas down in writing. Jot down your thoughts – what do you plan to sell? Will you need a retail space? Will you work independently, or hire employees? WeWork advises writing down all of these details in an organized business plan.

Budgeting and Funding

As you create your business plan, you should also include information about your budget projections. You’ll need to determine whether or not you can fund your business from your own savings to start, or if you’ll need to apply for outside funding. Foundr suggests using crowdfunding platforms to raise money or applying for relevant grants.

Hiring Employees and Establishing Payroll

You may not be able to handle every aspect of running your startup by yourself. But how can you find trustworthy employees? Look for candidates who have great potential in addition to relevant experience. Ideally, you’ll want to hire reliable people who are passionate about your company’s mission.

Getting your payroll off the ground will be an essential part of setting up your startup for success. Setting up your payroll will involve creating a payroll schedule, asking new hires to fill out W-4 forms, and organizing your employees’ information.

Forming an LLC

You can begin offering your products or services to clients and customers before deciding on an official business structure, but if you’re planning to form an LLC, it’s best to take care of this task early on. You’ll be able to enjoy an array of benefits for your business if you form an LLC, including tax perks, flexibility, and limited liability. The process won’t involve dealing with much paperwork. Make sure to research the rules for the state where you live before you begin gathering your documents for filing. Each state has its own process.

Creating a Supportive Culture

As you run your company, don’t solely focus on maximizing profits – think about how you can become a better leader and create a positive company culture. You’ll have an easier time attracting and retaining top employees! Be willing to listen to your employees when they have feedback and integrate their suggestions into company operations when necessary. Step up to tackle difficult issues as they arise rather than sweeping them under the rug. Take time to address the roots of problems within your company so that you can remove these obstacles.

Be patient with your employees — you’re all learning and growing as you go! And remember, upholding clear priorities as you expand your company will allow you to set a better example for your employees.

Market Your Business

Whether you are selling a product or providing a service, you’ll want to let the public know you’re open for business. Even if you’re not a marketer by trade, it’s important for you to know  who your target audience is and how to reach them. Otherwise, you may waste a lot of your time and resources on people who will never buy from you.

Utilizing marketing professionals may be the way to go, as they come equipped with the latest tools and technology — and expertise — to help get the results you’re looking for.

Many young people with entrepreneurial aspirations feel like they need to wait until later in life to start their own businesses. While gaining experience in your field can be undeniably beneficial, there are plenty of opportunities for young entrepreneurs today, and sometimes, your fresh perspective can be an asset! By following these tips, you’ll be ready to transform your business idea into a thriving company.

Carla Lopez retired a couple of years ago, but she didn’t lose her entrepreneurial spirit. She created Boomer Biz for retirees like herself who still have a desire to work and achieve. The site is a resource for people in their golden years who want to start their own business or go back to work doing what they love. 

Guest Post: Tips for Starting Over After Closing Your Business

From time to time I like to include guest posts about relevant topics. Following is an insightful article which is certainly relevant for the times.

Photo by Pexels

Tips for Starting Over After Closing Your Business

This is just one example of all the great content you can find on The Hilltop Group website!

It’s tough to let go of a business when you’ve put so much time, energy, and money into it, but sometimes there’s just no other option. There’s nothing wrong with admitting defeat and deciding to move on. In fact, some of the world’s biggest entrepreneurs failed many times before achieving success. The key is to accept it and use what you learned to build an even better business the next time around! Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Start Planning Your Next Venture

Many entrepreneurs find that the best way to move on from a setback is to jump right into their next big project. If you want to bounce back quickly, start thinking about a new business idea. Look for ways in which you could improve on your last business model or branch off and explore a whole new industry—it’s up to you!

Building a strong foundation for your new business will maximize your chance of success, so try not to rush things. Give your full attention to each step in the process. This means spending time on market research, writing up a basic business plan, securing the appropriate amount of funding, and choosing a business structure carefully. ZenBusiness suggests forming an LLC if you want to protect your personal assets from liability but keep your administrative obligations as simple as possible. You can do this online as long as you follow the specific requirements in your state.

Give Yourself Time to Heal

Of course, you may have to spend some time tending to your emotional and financial needs before launching a new business. Closing a business can really disrupt your life! Take some time to practice self-care and allow yourself to heal. It’s completely normal to experience a period of grief after closing a business, so try to accept how you feel and embrace the grieving process.

Practice Self-Care

It can help to distract yourself with self-care activities like exercise, cooking healthy meals, and spending time with loved ones. This is also a great opportunity to relax and reset after all the hard work you’ve been doing. Take a hot bath, go for a drive and blast your favorite music, or find a quiet spot outside to sit and read a book. Before you know it, you’ll feel recharged and ready to take on your next venture!

Recover Your Financial Health

Next, get your financial health back on track. Recovering from a financial setback can be challenging, but with the right plan, you should be able to rebuild your personal finances and get back to where you started.

Clever Girl Finance suggests adjusting your budget first and foremost. Make sure you will be able to cover your bills and pay for essentials like groceries and personal care items. If you’ve lost your only source of income and you plan on leveraging debt to get by for a while, a ruthless budget will help you minimize the amount of debt you take on. You may even want to get a part-time job or an online side-gig while you get back on your feet and build your new business.

Closing a business is an incredibly stressful and emotionally challenging process. Try not to let your recent setback discourage you from the entrepreneurial path. There’s a lot to be gained from embracing failure and using your experience to drive you forward!

Are you ready to start a new business? Check out The Hilltop Group website to access business services like virtual assisting, consulting, and video production that can help you get up and running!

Carla Lopez retired a couple of years ago, but she didn’t lose her entrepreneurial spirit. She created Boomer Biz for retirees like herself who still have a desire to work and achieve. The site is a resource for people in their golden years who want to start their own business or go back to work doing what they love. 

Critical Customer Service Skills You Must Have

Critical Customer Service Skills You Must Have By Dennis Sommer ( Do want to be known as “The Expert” or “The Guru”? Do you want to advance your career and income? If you answered yes to both of these questions then you need to become a “Top Performer” in your profession. Whether you are now a Manager, Executive, Consultant, Sales or Service Specialist, then Customer Service skills will be one of the keys to your success. Experience and knowledge in your area of specialty may make you an above average performer, but to be a “Top Performer” start implementing the following 16 Customer Service skills and action items today. Top performers are successful by being honest, respecting a clients intelligence and focusing all their energies on how to make a difference in a clients life. After reviewing the following “Top Performer” Customer Service skills and action items, you will know how to be more effective, efficient, and successful. As customer satisfaction improves, so does your revenue and career. 1. Your attitude, attention, and commitment to resolving customer complaints will have a huge impact on customer satisfaction and the likelihood that they will buy more. 2. Money motivates in the short term but helping make a customer’s life better will provide sustained success. 3. Guarantee your offering and stand by it. It is best to offer an unconditional money back guarantee. 4. Trust in your company and the customers perception of the level that your company and people will stand behind the offering in the event of problems is the number one reason customers purchase an offering. 5. The best way to serve your company is by putting the customer first. You may lose a sale today, but long term rewards will be much greater. 6. Quality improvements that improve customer satisfaction are more profitable than those focused on cost cutting. 7. Help customers achieve their goals. 8. Achieve your goals by satisfying customers. 9. Have the best interest of the customer in mind. 10. Get customers to discuss their needs with you. 11. Influence customers by information rather than by pressure. 12. Offer an offering that is best suited to meet a customers needs. 13. Answer a customers question as correctly as possible. 14. Try to bring a customer with a problem together with a offering that helps them solve that problem. 15. Disagree with a customer in order to help them make a better decision. 16. Give a customer an accurate expectation of what the offering will do for them. About The Author – Dennis Sommer Dennis Sommer is the founder and CEO of Executive Business Advisers, a management consulting firm specializing in business growth, sales and profit Dennis helps companies increase sales revenue, reduce sales and marketing costs, improve marketing ROI, and drive new business growth by improving and optimizing their sales, marketing, company strategy and financial health. Dennis is a highly sought after business keynote and seminar speaker and author of several highly popular sales, marketing, leadership and professional development international articles and . Contact Dennis at 800-627-6512.]]>

How to Stay Productive When You Work from Home

Adam Riemer

I’ve been working from home for more than five years, and sometimes it becomes almost impossible to focus and get work done. Because of that, I had to come up with some creative ways to be able to motivate myself, stay focused and make sure that my work from home productivity stayed on task. Here are five of the ways I stay focused and ensure that my clients are happy and that my websites stay on track. 1. Wear dress clothing. One thing that everyone who wants to work at home dreams about is getting to be like a kid and work in his pajamas all day. Unfortunately, pajamas mean comfort and can distract you instead of help you focus. On days where I cannot concentrate and would rather watch TV or dose off, I get dressed like I am going to an office. By putting on a button- down shirt and slacks, or even a polo shirt and khaki pants, I am able to focus and accomplish more than I normally do when I work in my pajamas. When I was a kid, pajamas were great for things like coloring. As an adult, kids’ pajamas and coloring won’t cut it — so I get dressed up and am able to get more done. 2. Fake a commute to work. One thing that you eventually miss is leaving the house during the day. When your home also becomes work, you sometimes forget to leave. The way that I fix this is by faking a commute to work a few days a week. Instead of walking to an office, I walk to a grocery store, like Whole Foods, where I pick up breakfast and also stop at the cleaners, or other errands I need to do. This helps me to get out of the house and focus more. When you work from home, you have no reason to leave, which makes your days blend together. Making your fake commute actually helps to break it up and get you to concentrate. 3. Set up play dates. work from home productivityIf you are used to working in an office, you’ll find yourself craving human contact after you’ve started to work from home. One thing that I did was set up work dates once or twice a week with other local people who work for themselves. We meet at a coffee shop or all go to one person’s house and work from the same place. Not only do we get to have someone to talk to and interact with, but we also get to bounce ideas off people and get feedback, which helps better all of our work. 4. Find a way to break up your day. After years of sitting in front of a computer and forgetting to leave my apartment during the day, I gained a lot of weight. I also started craving daylight because my days blurred together. To help fix this and to get my endorphins going so I could focus better, I found classes like AntiGravity Yoga that keep me entertained, get me to work out, and help me get more work done because I come back focused and relaxed. (This is actually a picture from my second time ever taking the class.) 5. Create mindless background noise. Hearing noises outside or in the hallway becomes one of the biggest distractions. To help block those noises, I let the TV project mindless noise and colors on stations like Cartoon Network or the news. If you leave something on that you would watch, like the Food Network, that can become a bigger distraction, so find something that will act as background noise but not distract you. Working from home is something lots of people love. The problem is learning how to keep yourself focused. You’ll begin to miss day-to-day interactions with people at your office, and getting to work in your pajamas could actually make you less productive. By learning what helps keep you focused when you’re at home, and making sure you can keep focused by leaving your house for a break or setting up play dates, working from home becomes a lot easier and you can become a lot more productive. Working from home is great, but you have to learn how to stay focused and also get your work done. Visit Adam’s marketing blog for more tips and advice on marketing, organization and being an entrepreneur.

Are You a Cyberholic?

Are You a Cyberholic?

Do you:
1. Check your work e-mail, LinkedIn account, or business Facebook page right before going to bed? 2. Within minutes of waking? 3. Do you panic if you accidentally leave your mobile device that can access the Internet on your desk or at home? 4. Is eating your lunch often combined with texting or surfing the web? 5. Do you find that you must check your email the moment you hear the arrival chime? 6. Are you spending more time on your computer than you spend in conversations with customers, prospects, and referral sources? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you’re in danger of becoming a Cyberholic. Two or more, you’re well on your way to Cyberholism. Three or more, and you’re already a cyber addict. Four or more and it may be time for treatment! Technology is wonderful, especially in how it gives us access to information at a moment’s notice while allowing us to log, store, and search information much more effectively. In addition, as a tool for quickly sending someone a note or a document, it almost never can be beat. However, more and more people are allowing themselves, and their time, to be thoroughly consumed by the click and clack of a keyboard and the hypnotic trance of gazing at output screens both large and small. What’s suffering? Our connectedness with one another. A true meaningful connection with another human being is not through a portal. It’s in conversation, a meeting, a handshake, and a smile. Pick one day this week to turn off the device and turn up the volume of conversations you have with the people that really count. It’s time for some Radical Accountability, an unwavering responsibility for getting done what matters most. And what really matters at work is not that next text or email, it’s that personal touch of taking time to be completely present in the presence of customers, prospects, colleagues, and employees. Cyberholism is curable, one day at a time. Scott Wintrip, the Sales Yogi, is the author of the upcoming book Sales Yoga: A Transformational Practice for Opening Doors and Closing Deals. He is also the leading authority on Radical Accountability, a process that prospers companies and changes lives. His website is