Happy New Year! I anticipate this year, you are standing in the state of expectation working the gift that God has given to you. This is the last article relating to the series, The Gift that Keeps on Giving. We started the process by identifying the gift that we believed the Lord gave us as a means to financial stability. Then we shared the vision with people we trusted in anticipation that they would align with our call and support us in any way possible. Finally, it was critical that we began to work on the practical aspects of a new business. That would include establishing a business, opening a bank account, finding a mentor, and just moving forward with a plan of action.

Now it’s weeks later and you may have a very serious concern. How do you get the word out that you are now an entrepreneur? People can’t take advantage of your services or purchase your products unless they know you are in business. So here are some practical ways to get started marketing and promoting your business.

Because we are now in a technological age, I believe everyone should have a website that is promoting your products and services. With sites like www.myspace.com, www.godaddy.com, and www.register.com, you can do it yourself for free or pay a nominal fee to create awareness. Your mission statement and the purpose of your company should be clearly defined and available for the world to see. Then you need to let everyone know. Realistically, in the beginning, your best results are going to be based on direct communication and/or word of mouth. Therefore, you need to network, network, network! With business cards and/or comp cards in hand, you should not pass one individual without placing your services into their hands. Don’t be disturbed if you find your marketing material on the floor, just keep handing them out. You should also begin by raising awareness in your very own community. Contact the local newspapers in your neighborhood and let them know you have established a new business in the community. One thought that will generate major attention is to align with a charitable cause. You may want to become affiliated with a community based service organization that deals with issues that are near and dear to you. Be committed to the charity. The benefit is that not only will you engage with like minded people, you are positively contributing to your neighborhood and that information can be inserted in your media release.

Okay, finally I’m going to address the monkey in the room. Where do I get the money to finance my dreams? I saved this piece for last because this is where most people get discouraged. However, if you took every other step according to the outline I listed for the last several weeks, then you truly are determined to succeed at all costs and something like the lack of funds will not distract you from moving forward.

Generally I encourage people to invest into themselves. If you ever read my first book Planning for A Reason, A Season, and a Lifetime, you know that I subscribe to the 10-10-80 method. The first 10% of your income belongs to God, the second 10% belongs to you and the final 80% is for your expenses. Let’s discuss the 10% allocation for your savings and investments. It is critical that you begin to save for the future but if you truly believe that God gifted you, then using a portion of the 10% you earmarked for your personal savings can be invested into your business. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you make $1000 per week. Out of that money, $100 should be earmarked for future savings. Take 30-50% of that money and put it into your business contribution. This is deemed a principal investment into the business. Each month, you should be contributing approximately $120-$200 into your part time business until you get the business up and running. Also, whatever money you make from the actual business should go directly back into the business until you become financially stable. If you exercise that type of discipline in the beginning, you will begin to accumulate money over time.

At some point, you’re going to want to seek the guidance of a professional who can assist you with developing a business plan that will allow you access to additional funding such as grants and loans. Generally you can contact any branch of the Small Business Association in any state and they will provide you with free support in this area. Of course, once you followed every step and you still need assistance, I’m available to guide you on a more personal level at www.nicolesimpson.org.

One final note, I know the benefits of being an entrepreneur and I encourage anyone with the discipline and fortitude to go forth boldly. It will be challenging, you will face mountains, but skills, integrity, discipline and willingness to work hard are all of the ingredients you need for success. So I am standing in agreement that you will succeed in every area of your life. Good luck and God bless you!