Have You Looked at Your Business Plan?

February 23, 2010 at 10:22 AM | Posted in content, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
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Have you built your business plan for 2010? YES! Great! I know it feels a bit like a tired topic but… have you LOOKED at your business plan lately? Are you moving according to your intentions? If not, why not? Where could you use some help? Motivation? Time management? Balance?

If you haven’t written your business plan for 2010 it’s not too late! You can always write a business plan. It doesn’t need to be built on the calendar year yours can run from March 1 to March 1.  Don’t let missing the mythical Jan.  1 cut off date convince you not to create a plan. New and existing businesses benefit from having a plan in place.

Your business plan can be the greatest ally available to your business.  This is your time to dream (you can build a plan that looks out 2 – 3 years, 5 years, 10!). When creating your 1-year plan really think about how you would like your business to look at the end of those 12 months. What changes do you want to make? What changes do you think are possible in 12 months? If you won’t reach the ultimate goal in 12 months what goals will you reach? Add the longer-range goal to your 2-year plan.

Get detailed with your plan. Decide specifically what percentage of income you would like to see come from each activity.

Then determine what dollar figure that percentage translates into. Do the percentages change based on month? What months are you releasing new programs? Remember you need time to create the program.

Once you have created a specific plan you feel good about it refer to it at least once a month. You put a lot of work into your plan, make sure you use it. Take the time to ask and honestly answer a few basic questions

  • Where are you seeing good results and why?
  • Where are you seeing not so good results and why?
  • What are you most challenged with and how is it affecting your plan?

Once you have answered the questions address the open issues. This is a great time for self-reflection. If you don’t know how to address the issues find a coach who can help you. Your plan and your bottom line will appreciate the time and effort you put in to creating a profitable and productive year!

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Does Anyone Know You Are an Expert?

February 19, 2010 at 3:26 PM | Posted in goals, leadership, opportunities | 1 Comment
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We all want to work with experts. We all consider ourselves expert in some area. How do we help our clients, who want to work with experts, discover that we are experts?

Luckily, with the internet, there are any number of venues for building your expert status. You do have to create that status. You can’t simply expect people to know you are an expert. Wouldn’t it be great if that was the way it worked? I have a technical background in Project Management, I’m a PMP, and I find many of us with technical backgrounds just assume everyone knows we are an expert. Not so!

While initials behind your name might be impressive to peers and people ‘in the know’ many people may have no idea what those initials signify. As someone who has a few initials I can put behind my name, CTACC and PMP for example, I know others with those same initials whose skills I don’t consider the same as mine. I’m sure you ALL have examples of your own!

You need to showcase exactly what your expertise is. A PMP is a Professional Project Manager; it doesn’t mean that I am an expert at the end-to-end process. There are some pieces I am better at than others. When you showcase your expertise and build that platform people understand where exactly your expertise resides.

It is no longer necessary to write and publish a traditional book to build your status. It helps greatly to have a book published and there are options like self-publishing and eBooks. Both options are viable and produce good results.

The Internet opens a world of opportunity for those who want to share their expertise with the world. Whether you are a coach, speaker or business owner your potential clients need to believe you are the expert that can help them with their issue.

What remains important as you share your expertise is that you continue to do it in your authentic voice. There is room for every expert and we are not a fit for every client. Individuals can immediately sense if someone is not being authentic. Sharing our expert status helps those clients who resonate with us find us and helps identify those who are better served working with others.

A few ideas on how to build your expert status:

  • • Hold a seminar
  • • Write a blog
  • • Share tips/tricks on social media
  • • Collaborate with other experts on a program

Do your best today

February 17, 2010 at 1:20 PM | Posted in leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
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I’m watching the Olympics and thinking about doing my personal best. If you are familiar with The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz you know that he talks about doing your best every day. Every day your best will be a bit different. Any number of elements can impact what your best looks like day to day.

As speakers and coaches being your best every day can cover a lot of ground. When you are in front of a room full of people your best looks very different than when you are working one-on-one with a client. They are different skills sets and depending on how your day is going sometimes one skill set is easier to draw from than another.

Knowing where you are that day can make all the difference.  There are days when I am a much better coach than speaker. At least, that’s the way it feels. It may be that I am feeling more energized working one-on-one with someone, really helping then dig deep. Maybe I just didn’t get enough sleep and know it will be more difficult to feel the energy I need to make a room sparkle.

Whatever it might be acknowledge where you are. If you know you are speaking and your feeling a bit challenged contact that one person that always helps you get your mojo back. I bet you can find it for the speech. You can be your best that day! I’m sure your desire to do your very best will impact the audience in a positive way that leaves them feeling like you have empowered and uplifted them.

When I’m feeling unfocused and not able to find my best I take a few minutes to center myself. I sit quietly; try to clear my mind (Yep, I said try, some days I am more successful than others), to connect with my heart, my head and the earth around me. It might sound a bit ‘airy fairy’ but generally, that brings me back to a place of focus. Now I can work with any client knowing I am bringing my best to them.

Accepting that my best every day will differ every day allows me to be flexible in what I approach. For instance, there are some days when I just don’t feel like delving into the detail of a complicated project plan for a new program release. I do feel great energy around putting together one of the courses for that program. If I focus on where I can do my best I’ll work on the course. I can’t ignore the project plan forever but I find I work much better if I take advantage of the energy that is available right now. Most of the time the energy for the project plan comes back once I have spent some solid time working on the course. The result is I do my best on both areas of focus.

Offline and a Thank You

February 11, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Posted in leadership, opportunities | 2 Comments
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I am going to be offline for a few days. Completely offline, no access; unless I got to the local Starbucks and access their wireless network; or send the occasional Twitter via my Blackberry.

I’m going home for a funeral. There is no wireless access where I am staying and getting on to their network is, to put it mildly, mind numbing. This isn’t all bad. I will have the time to consider what I have lost, to recreate relationships with people I haven’t seen in a long time, to focus on pleasant memories and create new ones.

The solo-preneur in me is slightly panicked at the idea of not being able to check my email every day. Yet, I’ve let everyone who might have an immediate requirement know how to reach me. What a box we get ourselves into! I love my work! It’s not really work. I should be able to unplug without dreading the massive number of email I’ll have to deal with or worrying that I’ll miss something important. Nothing will happen in 4 days that cannot be addressed when I get home.

We all need time to unplug, to bond with our families. Without those connections it can be very difficult to be effective in your work and to maintain your passion for your work. It is unfortunate that it is taking a death to get me away from my plugged in world (I need to work on that), fortunate that I get to reconnect with friends and family.

I’ll embrace these few days without an internet connection and focus on healing myself and my family. I’m grateful that you will all be here when I get back.

Namaste

Do you have an advisory board?

February 8, 2010 at 3:32 PM | Posted in goals, leadership | 2 Comments
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I was talking to my advisory board about a business decision I need to make in the next week. One of the best things I ever did was put together my board. When I have a decision I am struggling with, for whatever reason, these are my go to people. They respect me so much they will tell me the truth, ask me to think through all implications of my actions, require that I tell them the truth and hold me accountable for everything I do and say.

What is my advisory board? I quickly realized that as a solo-preneur I need people to support me. When you work in a corporation you have peers and managers you trust that will help you with difficult decisions and choices within you career.  As a solo-preneur you don’t always have people you trust enough to ask for help or who will be honest and forthright with you. Your advisory board is that group of people (call them whatever you want- board of directors, go-to-people…).

An advisory board may become a critical support mechanism for your business. My board is a loosely held together group of individuals I trust. Their expertise lies in various areas and they are all successful in their own right. Some I have been friends with for years others are new friends and mentors. Regardless they are individuals I respect and who want to see me successful.

Your advisory board doesn’t have to be a formal group that gets together on a regular basis and hashes out your business. I don’t think I’ve ever had all of my board in one place at one time. There are 3 people on my board. I don’t take every decision to all of them. I discuss certain decisions with some of them some of the time.

For a while I didn’t have a board- I found myself struggling with decisions wishing I had some go to individuals. Then someone mentioned putting together an advisory board. I never looked back. It’s been one of the greatest most effective ways I have found to support my business.

If you haven’t put together your board I suggest you give a try.

Competitor or Collaborator?

February 2, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Posted in content, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
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I’m putting together a program for Entrepreneurs. Some of my competitors are experts in the topics I want to include in the program.

I started to consider how I view my competitors. To be honest, I don’t view them as a competitor per se, rather as an expert with a slightly different audience.  There are certainly enough clients out there for all of us.

I decided it might be a good idea to bring my competitors into my program, to include them on the program as experts. There are some great advantages to collaborating-

• I don’t have to create all of the content.

• My clients get to hear from someone well grounded and well respected for their expertise.

• My program can be shared with my clients and with the experts- expanding the potential participant base.

• The expert gets to share their information with a new audience.

• The expert might have some great ideas and guidance for the overall program.

• I might be able to contribute to something they are building.

    After I sat down and thought about I couldn’t come up with a single reason not to ask the expert if they would like to contribute to my Entrepreneurs program.

    Let’s face it; all they can say is ‘No’. Most people are eager to work with you, especially if they aren’t responsible for all of the logistics involved in a program or conference.

    I believe sometimes we forget we can learn from competitors. We occasionally slide into that barren space where we believe another businessperson, speaker or coach is only out there to take away our business. The reality is I have never met someone who only wants to take business away from me.

    Simply asking a person to contribute as an expert can change the way they perceive you. No longer are you that ‘other’ entrepreneur trying to take their business away. Now you are a peer asking them to share their expertise.

    It’s a great feeling when someone asks you to step up as an expert, particularly if it is a peer.  We all benefit when we work together- our clients in particular benefit from others experience.

    Find ways to collaborate with your competitor, build a bridge that leads to creating a village, together.

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