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!

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.

    Social Media Strategy

    January 26, 2010 at 8:41 PM | Posted in content | 2 Comments
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    How do you use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media? Even your blog (if you have one) -does it have a point, a focus? If you are just out there spewing quotes from everyone else how much of an impact are you making?

    This was a hot topic at a recent seminar I facilitated. Some of the attendees were very proud of their 10,000 Twitter followers. They should be, it’s quite an accomplishment to have all of those folks following you. Then I asked how much business they were generating from those 10,000 people. Most of them couldn’t tell me even IF they were generating business from social media. Others had a few people contact them but nothing fabulous.

    A common theme- most of the individuals using social media didn’t have a strategy. If you are content to simply put random information out on a sporadic basis and are not concerned about bringing in clients and making business connections then keep doing what you are doing.  Have a great time!

    If you are interested in building your business using social media I have a few suggestions:

    • Focus on a few sites at a time- you don’t need to be on every site, pick the sites that speak to you and that you will regularly update
    • Regularly update your status- by regular I mean at least every other day, I suggest updating a few times a day at different times of the day; It doesn’t have to be onerous. Simply update what you are doing, retweet or repost an interesting fact, article, blog that someone shared with you. I see so many folks that simply place quotes from other people on their status update and they do it multiple times a day.

    The whole point of social media is to be social, build relationships, share relevant, interesting information. I don’t want to read someone else’s quote, I want to know what is going on in your head. How else am I to build a relationship with you? To determine if I know, like and trust you? (the Keys to getting someone to purchase- they must know, like and trust you)

    Don’t misunderstand, the occasional quote is a good thing, it does help me to understand what inspires you. But I really want to know what you are thinking.

    • Post relevant information- Recently someone posted details about just how sick they were- frankly, that was information I did NOT need to know. If you are using social media primarily to build business relationships focus on posting relevant information. Mix it up, tell me about a seminar you attended, about a revelation you had and share ideas to XXXX (insert ideas relevant to your business).
    • You can always mix in information about what’s going on in your life – for instance, my internet provider has been down for about 4 hours, so I Tweeted that I had to find things to do that don’t require the internet.  Or let us all know about where you are going for your 20th anniversary. Just be mindful that you are building business relationships.
    • Share your successes and congratulate others on their success.

    Those are just a few of the ideas I share with my clients to help them build a profitable social media strategy. You can build a successful strategy. If you’re not sure how I can help. Get in touch with me.

    What’s In It For Me?

    January 11, 2010 at 1:36 PM | Posted in content, leadership, writer's block | 1 Comment
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    When I am working with clients they usually want to talk about big, broad topics. Social media, marketing, building their business….

    As their coach I find I always need to do some digging. While a client might not understand how to use social media there may be more fundamental issues at stake. Have they identified their target market, have they determined what their greatest benefit is to their client? What about consistency? Do you have a client with great big ideas that has trouble focusing on a particular goal for more than a short time?

    Even clients who have been successful for years may need to reexamine some of these issues to make sure they are still on target.

    Let’s look specifically at WIFM- What’s In It For Me. Me isn’t You, Me is your client.  What is important to your client? What benefits do you offer them? What differentiates you from every other speaker or coach out there?

    This is the information that attracts clients to you. Everyone wants to know how you can help him or her – specifically. What can you do for me?  Write your tweets, your website, your advertising copy with your client (a meeting planner…) in mind.

    Everyone else seems capable of doing this- grocery stores advertise sales, Macy’s has 40% off of shoes, Lowes Home Improvement offers 50% off of tools. As service providers we seem to have difficulty sharing exactly what our benefit is to the client.

    Instead some of us spend our time telling clients how many degrees we have and how fabulous we are. Yes, that will convince some clients to sign up but they still want to know how you can help them. They don’t necessarily care that you will use Myers Briggs or Tilt. They do care that you can help them identify traits that will make them a stronger more successful leader; that you have a Mastermind group they can participate in; that you have a message their audience wants to hear.

    When you write copy think about what you want to know as a customer. Sometimes it’s difficult to put yourself in that space so ask a friend. Your assistant, your spouse even an existing client might help you find the exact words. Look at some of your testimonials- what are your clients saying they value about your work? Those are benefits. For some it’s their heart, maybe it’s your tough love with a side of compassion.

    Let everyone know how you are different and how you can benefit him or her. You’ll be glad you did!

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