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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

I'm a mother of 3 and work at a local temp/staffing service (It also does leasing.) I've discovered that I'll never have a fair chance at moving up due to back stabbers and poor management. I've had several get ideas stolen from me -- or someone higher up has taken the credit (I call these people cheese eaters! ha ha ) These ideas have made and saved money.

So I've started kicking around an idea to start a business that researches ways, suggestions, and ideas on how to save companies money. Is this possible? Will there be a big legal aspect from it? Can you please help me with any of this?

Jennie

Answer from our Guest Expert Jim Chesky of Jim Chesky & Associates, Marketing Communications

Hi, Jennie,

Yes! Your biz idea is quite possible! Companies that offer biz improvements, money -saving and otherwise, are simply called consultants.

Start-up Pep Talk

If you wish to start a consulting business, start at your local library. Read up on starting your own business, being a consultant, and how to price your services. See what it takes to be a one-person biz, so you go into your new service biz with your eyes wide open.

Visit with the local Small Business Administration office or Small Business Development Center. You can go to www.sba.gov for a listing of these offices and for oodles of info for starting your own biz.

Check out Idea Cafe's Fridge and various biz sections to get a feel for the lumps and bumps of heading your own biz. There's a wealth of start-up biz info on the Net and in the local bookstores. Start reading and learning now and soak up all the training and experience you can while you're employed. Don't be discouraged and set your sights on your new biz. It'll give you the juice you need to succeed!

We've All Been There! Don't Get Bitter!

So, you've learned that not everyone appreciates the people who come up with good ideas (even if they use and benefit from them).Welcome to the club! If I had a penny for every good idea I gave my bosses over the years, I'd be rich. Like you, I didn't receive any compensation for my "million dollar" ideas. What I did was get wiser.

First things first! Put your situation into perspective. You gave away ideas and you didn't get rewarded for it. Okay, so now, get over it. As an employee, you're responsible to use all your skills to help the employer grow and prosper. If you give the company ideas and it's not smart enough to reward you for those good ideas -- that's its problem. Don't make it your problem by getting bitter.

Getting An Idea...And Running With It

Now hear this, Jennie: An idea, in of itself, has no value. I know you don't want to hear that, and as an idea person myself, it pains me to say it. It's only when that idea blooms and becomes tangible that the idea will gain merit. In short, when somebody goes to work to make an idea a reality, it then has value.

For you, it means not only do you bring ideas to the table, but also the will power to put it into action. For me, Jennie, it meant not getting angry when I wasn't paid for my sales, marketing and advertising ideas. Instead, I took the time and effort to sell the idea to the end user -- it meant going into business for myself.

I'm going to assume that you have a couple million more biz money-saving ideas -- more than you'll ever be able to apply on your own. So don't be afraid to give ideas away once in a while. Good people and good organizations exist who can benefit from your savvy ideas. God gave you the ability to see what others don't. The Bible says, "Don't hide your light under a basket."

Tit for Tat: Getting Services with Trade

I don't know where you live, Jennie. How big the city, how much opportunity is around you, but since you don't have money, use what you do have -- ideas -- for your currency. If you crave something for your start-up, find somebody who can supply it. Then either sell them an idea for their business or trade for what you need. For example:

"A friend does the advertising for a commercial property leasing firm in exchange for some office space. Another friend works with a small accounting firm as a consultant. They cannot afford a consulting staff, so he works with them on a commission basis. He does not earn much, but it pays his bills, gives him successes he can point to and builds his business contacts."

Jennie, I wish you good luck. I know it's not easy. If you'd like, I can point you to several women who were in the same boat as you -- working moms with no money -- who today are millionaires. And they did it the old-fashioned way -- they earned it. You can do it too!

Jim Chesky

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