Notes from the Desk of a Lifelong Entrepreneur

Jim Crofford is the President of Hidden Values, Inc., publishers of a whole host of highly targeted, four-color, digest-sized directories serving various areas of the country, including Kidstuff Magazine. Kidstuff provides ambitious entrepreneurs who are interested in publishing with the opportunity to start their own business helping others market their child-related products and services in their own communities.

As someone who has always been an entrepreneurial spirit, Jim recently took a moment to share his thoughts on what he believes it takes to make it in business today:

How does someone know if they have what it takes to own their own business?  Tell us a bit about how you made the decision and why.

I think a person has to be very self-motivated, set a goal and pursue that goal.  Do not listen to anyone that is negative.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first six months in business?  How did you meet that challenge?

It was very frustrating when I made a sales call and while I thought they should purchase my product, they did not.  I learned I could not sell everyone and that I should spend my time and effort with people I can relate to.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing business owners today and why?  Any suggestions for how to address those challenges?

My biggest challenge was in determining how to reach new customers.  It’s important to spend time evaluating the best method of getting your message out to them.

What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in business for themselves?

Do not let outside distractions divert you away from your goal.

What would you say is the one thing that new business owners forget about or overlook when they’re just planning/starting out?

They need to plan and then work their plan.

What marketing strategies have you found to be most successful in growing your business?

We would constantly work to find new customers.  We have accomplished this by advertising, using testimonials and by asking others to refer customers.

What is it about the business/industry you are in that made it so attractive to you?

Our business is advertising the products and services of others.  It is very gratifying to be able to help other businesses increase their business.

After the initial start-up phase in business, what obstacles do business owners face as they try to grow their business and remain successful?  Any advice for how to overcome those obstacles?

You need to constantly reevaluate the best methods you can use to be of service to your customer.

What on-line, software or other resources have helped you the most in managing all aspects of your company?  Why and how have they been helpful?

We use the internet for our credit card processing, to keep in touch with our clients and for our accounting.

What did you do before you decided to become your own boss, and how have those skills helped you in your current business?

I have always been in business for myself except for one six-month period.  I put myself through college selling door-to-door.

What process do you follow to successfully close on a lead and make the final sale?  Any tips?

I ask for the sale.  Many people just keep on talking and don’t ever ask for the “order.”

If you work from home, what are the greatest benefits to doing so?  What are the drawbacks, and how do you manage them?

I worked from home for about 15 years.  The benefit was that I had low overhead and everything I needed was convenient.  The only drawback was when our children were small they had to learn my workplace was off limits to them during the day.

If you own more than one business, how have you integrated your businesses to juggle it all successfully?  Any suggestions?

I think it is very difficult to run two businesses at the same time.  Something must suffer.

If you bought into an already existing business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity or small franchise, how and why did you make that choice?

I felt the advertising industry was one where I could make a difference for my customers.

What is/are your favorite motto and/or quote when it comes to business?  Any final words of encouragement and/or inspiration for the budding entrepreneur?

Become involved with a product or service you can be proud to be a part of.  Do not let negative thoughts become a part of your life.  Also, and most important for me, I would and do pray everyday and ask God to direct my thoughts and actions.

More about Jim, Hidden Values Publishing and Kidstuff Magazine:

Jim’s company, Hidden Values Publishing, began in 1986 with one directory, which became an instant, profitable success story.  In 1999, the company developed a licensing and printing program that has enabled a growing network of entrepreneurs to publish targeted marketing directories in more than 100 cities nationwide thus far.

Hidden Values’ Kidstuff Magazine business opportunity targets the lucrative and ever-expanding children’s market in particular.  This eye-catching, digest-sized vehicle enables advertisers of all sizes and kinds to reach out to what continues to be a highly coveted audience in a targeted and proven way on a monthly basis.

Jim Crofford is the President of Hidden Values, Inc., publishers of a whole host of highly targeted, four-color, digest-sized directories serving various areas of the country, including Kidstuff Magazine. Kidstuff provides ambitious entrepreneurs who are interested in publishing with the opportunity to start their own business helping others market their child-related products and services in their own communities.

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