The best thing you can do is to do what works and make the most of your day by getting the most important things done first.
Ashley Bodi is co-founder of Business Beware, a way for business owners to collect from no-pay customers and forewarn others about problematic clients. Her passion grew from working with family and small businesses. Through the success of Business Beware, Ashley and her team launched a TV show focusing on the “behind the scenes” of running a business.
What are you working on right now?
Right now we are working on a new project for our TV show, creating new features for BusinessBeware.Biz and finally moving forward with finishing a book that’s been on hold. There’s always something to work on, but I wouldn’t change a thing and love the fact that I get to help people every day.
Where did the idea for Business Beware come from?
My dad and I actually talked about the idea for Business Beware right after I finished college. He’s been a small business owner for more than 30 years and always said that business owners need a voice like the customer has with the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and others. After launching, we immediately discovered that there was a need for this type of website and that the most common complaints filed were about non-paying customers. We wanted to help business owners collect their money without having to pay a percentage to a collection agency. We launched the “beware letter” to do just that; they can keep all of the money when they collect from a customer.
What does your typical day look like?
What is a typical day for an entrepreneur? A semi-typical day is one in which we work on BusinessBeware.Biz in the morning. We get all of the beware letters ready to send out by mail and answer member questions. After lunch, we shift to the show and get everything ready for that week’s episode to shoot, lining-up guests and covering our on-site visits. It’s never ending and you never know what can happen while running a show. The best thing you can do is to do what works and make the most of your day by getting the most important things done first.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We have so many ideas and sometimes it can be a bad thing because we lose focus and have to shift and refocus on what’s most important. We love to get feedback from friends and family on our ideas. Honest feedback is something that will never steer you wrong.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The one that really excites me is social media. It’s amazing that you can tweet anyone in a second. It used to be that you couldn’t touch certain people because their information was off the grid; now it’s a completely different story. I also love the fact that through social media you really get to see the personalities of people, brands and businesses.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve never had a terrible job, but previous jobs helped prepare me for working with people today. You know when you have a boss that does things that you can’t stand? Or they do something you just completely admire? I took the things I liked and didn’t like to help me figure out the type of boss that I wanted to be. Who says you can’t learn things when you’re young, right?
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have studied our target audience more. When we first started BB, we targeted contractors and service businesses thinking that was who would benefit the most from our site. It turns out that our members are businesses all across the board, including wedding coordinators, web freelancers and caterers. Believe it or not, more women use BB than men. The thing to remember is never cut out a certain group of people because you never know, they might just be your biggest customers.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Learn from your mistakes. Face it, you’re going to fail at some point on the path of entrepreneurship. What truly matters is what you do with that failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The most important thing you need to know is “find the niche.” Make sure your idea doesn’t get lost among all of the others in your field.
Tell us a secret.
I’m terrified of sharks. I thought Shark Week education would help me somewhat overcome the fear. I was wrong.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- I love ifttt.com because you can create “recipes” and let the Internet go to work for you.
- Rapportive.com is a great way to get quick information about those you’re chatting with on email. It provides all of a person’s contact information and social networks in one place.
- I also love Dropbox. It’s one of the most useful tools for Business Beware and our TV show. We use it with our team to share files and with our guests and partners.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Never Get A Real Job by Scott Gerber because he has such a great story that any business owner can relate to. So many of us are in the position he was in, growing up and yearning to live the life of an entrepreneur. He’s all about the niche, and that’s exactly what it’s all about in business.
What’s on your playlist?
I love everything. Not gonna lie that I am always up for some Motown music.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
You shouldn’t go a day without laughing and I definitely don’t. I work with my family so we are constantly goofing off while shooting the show–laughing about things we said or forgot to say. The best bloopers come from switching the camera on when nobody has a clue it’s on.
Who is your hero?
For me, it’s about those who continue to inspire you, even in the simplest ways. A hero to me is the one that constantly is challenging, going against the flow, giving back to others and supporting you to do the same.
You talk about dealing with problem customers on your show and website. At what point do you fire a customer?
Every business owner deals with customers and your customer service mantra should be to, “treat your good customers well.” But those that cause you headaches, time and money are not worth your time. If a customer is demanding from the start, usually that means he/she will be that way for the duration of the relationship. You can immediately fire a client if you feel in your gut that he/she is going to be difficult to work with. Don’t be afraid to fire a customer because in the long run, it gives you more time to concentrate on your good customers.
What’s one of the toughest things you had to learn as an entrepreneur?
Delegation because I’m great at delegating in some areas, but when you have created something and were the one who did everything at the start, it can be tough to hand things over. My advice is to not be afraid to delegate things to others who are capable of what you ask. It’s actually important to delegate so that you have more time to focus on the tasks that only you can do.
Business Beware Website: www.BusinessBeware.Biz
Business Beware Show Website: www.BusinessBewareShow.com
Business Beware on Facebook: facebook.com/BusinessBeware
Business Beware on Twitter: twitter.com/BusinessBeware