Tag Archives: small business

Google Voice Typist

Google Voice Typist – Easily Transcribe Your Book

Many of our small business clients desire to write a book; however, they worry about not being great typists. Google Voice Typist is a 100% FREE tool you can use to write your book even if you don’t know how to type. All you need is a computer with internet access and a Google account (like Gmail).

How to Write a Book with Google Voice Typist

  1. Open Google Drive in your web browser at https://drive.google.com.
  2. Sign in with your Google account if you haven’t signed in already, or register if you don’t have an account. Again, FREE!
  3. Create a new Google Docs document, click on Tools in the Menu, then navigate to Voice Typist in the drop-down menu.Google Docs Voice Typist
  4. Make sure your desired microphone is selected. You may be prompted by a pop-up or you may need to click on the video camera icon that may appear in the browser search bar.
  5. Click the microphone button that appears on the left-hand side of your screen to start recording.
  6. Speak naturally and watch in awe as your words appear in the document.
  7. You can speak commands like “new line” or “period” to control punctuation.
  8. You can even speak in other languages and Google Voice Typist will transcribe that too! Results are complete with appropriate accents and other special characters.Google Voice Typist
  9. You will need to review and edit your document for accuracy but at least the hard part, getting your story down, will be done.
  10. Go write!

Now you have no excuses!

Writing a book is a great method to build your business. Business owners with published books under their belt benefit from increased credibility, increased brand recognition, increased sales, and the ability to create alternative income streams.

Writing a book also sets you apart from the competition. Your published book not only establishes you as a subject matter expert but also increases your perceived value in the marketplace. If you need additional help getting started or don’t know what to write about, you’re encouraged to seek a writing coach.

Google Voice Typist is a great tool to get your book done. You can also use it to write your blog posts, articles, eBooks, and even social media posts. Just copy/paste your edited work from Google Docs into the application of your choice.

Do you use Voice Typist? Do you know of any other transcription tools small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can use to write their books? Please let us know in the comments and if you found value in this post, please do share it with your networks.

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Make the Best Use of Your Startup Investment

Aspiring entrepreneurs often ask our consulting firm how to make the best use of their startup investment. During the startup phase while budgets are tight and there are many unknowns, your best use of available funding will always be wherever you will receive the highest return on your investment (ROI). You have to ask yourself which strategy(ies) will yield the most bang for your buck and lead you to generating revenue the fastest.

I recommend completing a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis before you spend a dime of your startup investment.startup investment A cost-benefit analysis is a systematic, quantitative approach that helps you to weigh the pros and cons (benefits vs. costs) of a particular transaction. In your case, I would create a chart with at least 3 columns.

How to Evaluate the Best Use of Your Startup Investment

  1. The first column of each row will indicate the action being evaluated. You would list your options – website, SEO, packaging/branding
  2. The second column lists the costs of the action as close to the actual dollar amount as is possible to achieve. Request quotes from vendors or perform a little research if you aren’t sure of exact costs. Make sure to consider resources available for successful implementation of the intended action as there are costs associated with this as well.
  3. The third column should identify the expected results or outcomes (the benefits) of implementing the action. Again, it is important to be as concise and specific here as possible. Focus on how much revenue will be generated (or even costs reduced if that’s a factor) as a result of taking this action. Create a sum total of all benefits associated with any action taken.

Now, review your completed chart and determine which solution will be a) cost the least to implement yet b) generate the most benefits in terms of revenue earned. Since every business model is a little different, without knowing more about your specific situation, performing a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis is my best recommendation to determine the best use of any startup investment. If you want additional assistance with this process, I highly recommend requesting an Emergency Biz Boom Session via Skype to really tackle this decision head-on.

How did you decide how to make the best use of your startup investment? Did you have a plan? Let us know in the comments below and if you found value in this post, please share it with your networks.

3 Webinar Platforms for Entrepreneurs

Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs have it pretty easy in today’s global economy. The internet allows a level playing for entrepreneurs to easily connect to potential customers through multiple channels. Webinars provide one of the highest returns on investment for business owners who want to expand your brand. There are many different types of web conferencing software to choose from; however, this post provides a quick overview of three of the best webinar platforms for entrepreneurs.

First, let’s get a basic understanding of what we’re dealing with. Webinars are a type of webinar platforms for entrepreneursclass that is delivered online through web conferencing software. The software allows attendees to participate from anywhere in the world by logging into a specific webinar platform. Users can then hear, see and interact with the webinar host and other webinar participants.

Although there are many webinar platforms to choose from, they are definitely not all created equal. Webinar platforms for entrepreneurs vary by maximum number of attendees allowed, ability to brand or co-brand, ability to save and record sessions and, of course, cost. Bootstrapping business owners on a budget can save money and still take advantage of some of the best available features with these easy-to-use webinar platforms for entrepreneurs.

3 Webinar Platforms for Entrepreneurs

  1. Bigmarker boasts itself as being one of the world’s largest webinar networks. The platforms is fairly simple to use and they have several live and recorded webinar trainings to help you master its robust technology. You can host any type of webinar, class, presentation, live streaming or even a private session that you want. Unlike some platforms, you don’t have to waste space downloading the software to your hard drive and you have the option to monetize your events. There is a free trial and actual pricing is as low as $19 per month (billed annually) for up to 25 participants. Paid subscriptions allow you to record, store, download, and publish webinars on your channel, website, and YouTube
  2. Freeconferencecall has been around for years and is an industry leader in voice conferencing; however, the company has quite recently rolled out its own webinar platform for entrepreneurs. The service allows you to have completely free online meetings, save and record them for later playback, and easily collaborate with audio, screen sharing and video conferencing tools for up to 1,000 participants. One caveat; however, is that the phone conference lines are not always reliable so webinar participants using phone lines for audio may be disappointed. Businesses who want to custom brand their webinars and gain access to powerful analytics can request a quote to upgrade service.
  3. Zoom Conferencing provides a little bit more flexibility on its free program that allows for up to 50 participants and most of the bells and whistles that come with traditional webinar platforms for entrepreneurs. Paid programs offer a higher level of customization and additional methods to join into the webinars; however, much of what most entrepreneurs will want to do can easily be accomplished in the free version.

What webinar platforms for entrepreneurs are you using in your business? Do you have any experience working in any of these web conferencing solutions? Let us know in the comments below and if you found value in this post, please share it with your networks.

Top 5 Legal Challenges Business Owners Face

Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs face many legal challenges.  The learning curve associatedLegal Challenges Businesses Face with entrepreneurship is so large that many businesses often overlook this critical component of business start-up and design.  Here the top 5 legal challenges business owners face are disclosed so you can begin establishing a plan to address the legal challenges that may be affecting your business.

  1. Choosing the right legal entity.  The legal structure you choose goes a long way toward providing proper protection for yourself and your business.  A sole proprietorship is the simplest, easiest, and lowest cost entity to create; however, that simplicity comes with a few caveats.  Your business is not considered a separate entity as a sole proprietorship.  This means that if your business is sued, not only are your business assets at risk, but your personal assets are at risk as well.  The same goes in reverse.  If you are personally sued, your business assets are at risk in any suit against you.  If the type of work you do can be considered high risk, you will want to adopt a more protective legal structure to address these types of legal challenges as soon as possible. Corporations (C-Corp or S-Corp) and Limited Liability Companies (LLC) are the most popular options.
  2. Getting it all in writing. As a business owner, you really have to be careful what you do and say.  Disputes often arise as a result of simple miscommunication.  The best way to protect against these legal challenges is to execute solid, well-written contracts for every business relationship.  CEO of Building Bridges Consulting, Niquenya Fulbright, had this to share, “In my work as a volunteer professional mediator, I have seen a number of disputes erupt between small business owners and their vendors. Almost every one of these disputes could have been avoided if the agreement had not just been verbal.  Shaking hands is great but once the deal is closed, a contract should be drawn up that discloses every detail of the terms and conditions.”
  3. Protecting intellectual property.   Too often we hear news stories about copyright infringement and stolen ideas.  The internet makes these legal challenges even more prevalent with the ease of anonymous sharing.  According to Amber Johns of Jackson Corporate Law Offices, “The goodwill associated with a company’s brand is a core asset of that company, many small businesses fail to adequately protect their brand before building it and increasing their brand value.  This error can result in large economic loss when the lack of trademark and/or copyright protection forces a company to rebrand.”
  4. Complying with employment laws. There are many employment laws set in place at the federal, state, and local level.  These laws govern everything from fair hiring practices to employee interactions.  These laws also make the important distinction between an employee and contractor, a big issue that often results in huge fines to business owners who misclassify.  If you don’t have a dedicated human resources professional to address legal challenges in employment law, you will need an interim plan to remain compliant.
  5. Mitigating against risks. Bad things happen to good people with even better intentions all the time.  Business owners must go through the process of identifying potential risks to protect themselves against them. You can mitigate against risks to your business by purchasing the maximum amounts of insurance you can afford.  Your insurance policies can cover general liabilities, employment issues, customer disputes, and lawsuits.  There is even legal insurance available to give you affordable access to the legal system.   Consulting a legal professional is a key investment that any company that is serious about growing their brand should make, not only to protect their brand against legal challenges but also to assure that the company can sustain its long-term success and profitability.

How well are you addressing the legal challenges in your business?  Contact us today to book a FREE consultation to assess your risks.

3 Simple Strategies for Quick Start-up Success

If you are like most aspiring entrepreneurs, you often feel stressed and overwhelmed by the entire business Quick Start-up Success Strategiesstart-up process. You have a great idea, a big dream, you want to see realized but it’s just taking so long to get there. You want to see your amazing vision come to life now, and right now, because everybody needs your products and services today as in yesterday.

The urgency you feel is not uncommon.  In fact, these are the exact feelings most of our small business clients have experienced during the initial start-up phase of their own business development.  Just like you, they wanted to know how to manage their time effectively to achieve quick start-up success.

After over 15 years’ of partnering with small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, we have observed 3 common traits that are shared by every one of our clients who has experienced quick start-up success.

Strategies for Quick Start-up Success

  1. Retrain.  Aspiring entrepreneurs are usually pulled in many different directions.  You often still have several responsibilities and obligations to meet outside of establishing your business start-up.  Parents, friends, spouses, kids, and even your church rarely understand your new priorities.  You will need to educate them that you no longer have the time and resources to be available as you may once have had.  Quick start-up success requires you to retrain those around you to respect the time you now have to redirect to your business.  You may need to have several hard conversations with loved ones to relay this message and you most likely will need to remind them often.  The faster you can set boundaries, the faster you will realize start-up success.
  2. Recruit. One way to gain the respect and support you need from those around you is to include them in your plans.  You will need all the help you can get.  As a bootstrapping entrepreneur, you are probably doing a lot by yourself and have very little capital to hire help.  Ask your loved ones to pitch in on business activities.  Small kids can hand out flyers.  Teens can file paperwork, do internet research, and make phone calls on your behalf.  College students can assist with website development, marketing, and even operations.  Spouses and friends can be put to work as your sales force.  In order to remain competitive and prosper, you will need to hire help for your growing business as soon as possible.  Recruiting from your pool of loved ones is surefire way to achieve quick start-up success.
  3. Recharge.  As I said earlier, you are probably doing a lot on your own.  You are being pulled in many different directions.  You still have commitments and responsibilities outside of your start-up company and you probably have a lot of new, innovative, and amazing ideas running through your mind all the time.  This level of activity takes a lot of stamina and can take down even the most gifted athletes among us.  What you need is good old-fashioned rest and relaxation.  Take the time to take a purposeful pause. A little bit of rest goes a long way.  Rediscover the proverbial “me” time by doing something you love and enjoy for at least thirty minutes every day.  You can meditate, take a bath, read a good book, or even take a nap!  I personally try to take at least 3 unscheduled naps every week and it does wonders for my clarity and creativity.  Recharging is really necessary to keep your sanity while building your start-up success.

Are you feeling stuck, overwhelmed or out of balance in your business?  Building Bridges Consulting transforms dreamers into successful entrepreneurs by partnering with you to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you need to be to build a successful, sustainable, and profitable business model.  If you are seeking to realize your small business success dream and make money faster than you could on your own, book your FREE strategy session and get started on the right path to quick start-up success today.

We’d also love to hear your thoughts and comments on this article.  Please let us know in the comments below if you have used these or any other strategies to achieve quick start-up success.

 

Archived Comments

  1. Hi Coach Niquenya!
    It is really true that you must ‘Retrain’ family and friends to keep moving forward in your business. Also like the idea that you can involve everyone in your success.
    Thank you :)

  2. Well, I was less stressed when I started cause I didnt know how much I need to know. There are so many moving parts to a business & social media marketing.

  3. These are great strategies. I especially like “Recharge.” I didn’t do this when I first started my business. I’d work long hours and hardly took a break. Not a good idea! We have to take the time to recharge. It makes us stronger and happier which will have an impact on our business. ;)

  4. I like them all, it is important for people to understand what you are doing and why. I know I was asked and still asked why don’t I get a job.

    Even after being in business for 10 years I need to learn how to recruit and recharge better. so that thanks for the reminder.

  5. It is so true that there is strength in building a community around you and having support so you don’t feel like you are doing it all alone. Those who want to remain independent and work as an entrepreneur, would learn much from your three “R’s” so they don’t feel they are going it alone. Feeling overwhelmed and stopping yourself because of that, is often a reason people give up before they even get started. Thanks for the tips on living your personal and business life in more balance.

  6. Retraining those around you is so important. I know folks tended to think that since I was home I was free to run around, or pick something up, or be there to just chat when they wanted to. It was hard for them to process that I was working. These are great tips. Thank you for the post!

  7. Very valuable tips on how to have quick start success! Nice share and good information that will help even the overwhelmed marketer :) Great share!

  8. I wish I had this great article at my disposal when we decided to open our private counseling practice. I struggled with retraining and recharging! I am close to a place where things are slowing down and I am getting more of a handle on entrepreneurship. Under 2 years in I am still in the infancy phase and struggle more with recharging because I feel I need to maximize every second. I plan to reach out for a consultation. Thank you!

  9. I think most entrepreneurs suffer from overload or overwhelm. Like you say in your blog Coach Niquenya we are being pulled in all directions and it’s tough to stay focused. I particularly like your recharge tips and maybe it’s a cue to implement some into my own very busy life. I think that good old fashioned rest and relaxation is calling me and so your blog is very timely. Your tips are worthy of an extra splash of bubble bath tonight! :)

  10. Kudos! Addressing the overwhelm in business is HUGE. It hinders growth, that is for sure. It’s hard as a new biz owner to discern what they need, do, etc… or not. It can get pretty crazy. I like your term, “purposeful pause.” Great article, Missy! :)

Welcome!

Welcome to Building Bridges Chicago, LLC!

You have come to the right place for minority small business consulting and coaching in Chicago.  Building Bridges Chicago LLC connects Chicagoland minority small business owners and entrepreneurs to the knowledge and resource capital necessary to succeed in the global business arena.

Our services include:

  • Small Business Consulting: We perform complete business analysis of your minority small business including assistance with business start-up and ideation, strategic planning, mission and vision development, internet marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies, and overall business operations; may also include small business coaching
  • Entrepreneur & Executive Coaching: We partner with members of your leadership team to provide individual, one-on-one executive coaching to assist in goal-setting, management skills and professional development
  • Resource Referral Service: We specialize in connecting minority small business owners and entrepreneurs to the knowledge and resources they need to succeed in the global business arena. As a small business owner, your resources are often limited, especially in terms of time and capital.  We help you to find products and services to assist you in time management, office management, outsourcing, scheduling and much more.
  • Legal Services: We offer professional services in mediation as well as Illinois Notary services.  We also provide LegalShield to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in meeting their legal needs.
  • Small Business Income Tax Preparation: We prepare small business and entrepreneur (sole proprietorships) income tax returns.  We can assist you in completing your Schedule C and other IRS income tax form preparation and e-filing.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

info@buildingbridgeschicago.com