Have You Looked at Your Business Plan?

February 23, 2010 at 10:22 AM | Posted in content, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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!

Does Anyone Know You Are an Expert?

February 19, 2010 at 3:26 PM | Posted in goals, leadership, opportunities | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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

Competitor or Collaborator?

February 2, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Posted in content, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

    Your Red Cardinal Rising

    January 21, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Posted in goals, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

    I was walking downstairs when a loud crash startled me. I looked out the window to see a beautiful red Cardinal lying on its side on the porch. Apparently, he had flown into the window and knocked himself senseless. I sat beside the window trying to decide if I needed to hold a Cardinal funeral or if he would come around and fly away.

    Mr. Cardinal tried to push himself on to his feet, he flopped around for a bit, laid still, tried again. He finally got back onto his feet. Then he stood there not moving except to blink. He was so close I could see the individual feathers, how the colors melted in to one another, and the fold in his eyelid when he blinked. He stood there for 15- 20 minutes, sometimes closing his eyes for 4 – 5 minutes at a time.

    I started to wonder what he was thinking about. From a physical perspective he certainly could have been stunned, cartoon stars running a circle around his head, he might have had a concussion. And he had the fight to get back on his feet.

    I’ve been there before. Thinking something was going to happen, flying blissfully along only to have it ripped away completely. It feels like you’ve run into a window. You can be stunned. Standing their blinking, trying to figure out what just happened. Just getting back on you feet is a bit of an issue.

    I think most of us have had this happen at some point in our business. It’s easy to feel stunned when something doesn’t go exactly as you had planned. Like the Cardinal you need to get back on your feet. Take a few minutes to regroup, shake the stars out of your head.

    Those who have taken some kind of hit, gotten back on their feet, found another way and triumphed exemplify true character and courage. Leaders do this every day. You can do this.

    For every one of us that seemingly disastrous moment will look different. What is a disaster to you is a bump in the road to me and vice versa. You don’t have to do it alone. Friends and peers can provide support and encouragement.

    Get back on your feet and take one step at a time. After a bit that ‘disaster’ won’t look so awful, it may actually feel like a gift. A gift that has allowed you to use courage, cunning, leadership and character to reach your goal! Think about all that you have learned from that moment.

    I sat watching Mr. Cardinal. Slowly he started to turn his head from side to side. He moved around to face the front yard. With a loud chirp he flew off!

    Do you make lemonade?

    January 16, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Posted in change, goals, opportunities | Leave a comment
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    Some of you know I was going to run a training session today.  Fri. morning the class was cancelled. Not because of participants, there were plenty of those. But because of some last minute scheduling issues. The scheduler and the location had a miscommunication, at the last minute the class had to be cancelled.

    I had my Saturday planned around the class and was looking forward to meeting a group of local solo-preneurs. The training was going to address many of the topics I address with my clients on a daily basis.

    The great news is that time opened up for other things on Fri. and Saturday. Yet, I felt badly for the folks that had signed up for the class. It had been on their calendars for quite a while and now at the last minute it was cancelled.

    I decided to make lemonade out of lemons- is that the right saying?? The point is I wanted to figure out another way to share this information with group. I put together a conference call for a few days later, sent an email to the group and folks are already responding to come to the conference call.

    What originally felt like a bad thing has now turned around to something great. The conference call is open to the entire group- not just the folks that originally signed up, I still get to meet some wonderful people and share information I know they can use.

    That’s the beauty and the challenge of being a solo-preneur- you can either accept a situation that doesn’t feel good or you can find a way to turn it into something great. Either way it is up to YOU.

    This goes directly to your attitude. Think opportunity; believe there is opportunity regardless of the situation. All you have to do is identify the opportunity and a way to make it happen.

    Your attitude makes all the difference. If you are thinking about opportunities, not in an obsessive-compulsive way, but in a way that leaves you open to change, they will certainly show up. When the training class was cancelled I immediately started to think about how I could get information to the attendees and still have a bit of interaction with them. WALA! The conference call was born!

    I’m looking forward to the conference call; to meeting the solo-preneurs and sharing information that will help grow their business. I made lemonade! Join me at the lemonade stand?

    Change your assumptions

    January 13, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Posted in change, goals, opportunities | 2 Comments
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

    I was talking to my coach today, as a business owner I have a coach. Her insights, intuition, ability to push me and test my ideas are truly invaluable.

    I was wrestling with a decision this morning and contacted my coach for some assistance. We discussed the decision, potential outcomes, drawbacks, etc. and assumptions. That is the key word- assumptions. I realized that I was using a very limited set of assumptions to attempt to make the decision.

    Note I was making assumptions. I was taking something for granted, specifically that certain events had to follow one another in a very specific order. That assumption was making my decision very difficult. My coach challenged me to change the assumption. After all, I wasn’t using facts I was just guessing.

    As soon as I changed my assumption my attitude about the entire decision changed.   All of a sudden it was much easier to see a very positive outcome and the fit within my business.

    I didn’t have to check my assumptions with other people, to make sure that they met other goals; I had the power to change my assumption. We don’t always have the luxury of changing our assumptions without checking with others. That is, also, the beauty of assumptions- you can go find the information so your assumption is no longer a guess- you then have a fact with which to work.

    Back to my morning decision-

    I changed my assumption and it felt like an entire world opened up to me. Do you have assumptions you could change? Look at things from a different perspective. Turn your assumption upside down. Maybe there is a much easier way of getting from point A to point B- there certainly was for me!

    I have nothing to say!?

    December 29, 2009 at 3:33 PM | Posted in opportunities, writer's block | Leave a comment
    Tags: , , , ,

    [tweetmeme source=”jen_conaway”]

    What do you do about writer’s block??!! Could it possibly be that I have nothing to say? NOTHING!!?

    I doubt it, but I find myself sitting down to write after a week of family and fun feeling like I don’t have a single thing to share.

    I guess I just found a topic I can write about! How do you handle writer’s block? Even if it is temporary, 1 day, 2 days… it can feel like it will never end.

    I have tried a few things that seem to work-

    • Write about something you are thinking about it – even if it is the color of the car or how dirty the car is- just getting words to flow will start to release the tension.
    • Write about something you are passionate about- it might not have anything to do with the current task on which you are blocked but, again, it starts the flow (a few months ago I babbled on about going to the airport and the next day the writer’s block was gone).
    • Just walk away and STOP worrying about it! I know it sounds impossible. Again, it’s about relaxing.
    • Maybe, just maybe you should be writing about something else. I realize that’s not helpful if you have an assignment and are blocked on the topic. Try sitting down to see what does flow. I’ve had moments when something else was just burning to flow out of the pen (keyboard). Let it flow out, don’t bother to edit or perfect the content. In my case, and a clients’, as soon as that information made it to the page the assigned content came easily.

    (It turns out the content that was ‘in the way’ turned into a fabulous article!)

    Those are a few ideas that have worked for my clients’ and me. I’d love to hear what has worked for you! Share your thoughts.

    Baby, (I’m grateful) for the cold outside!

    December 21, 2009 at 9:46 AM | Posted in gratitude, opportunities | 2 Comments
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    [tweetmeme source=”jen_conaway”]

    Baby, is cold outside! Here in North Carolina it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit when I let the dogs out this morning. Cold enough to make me want to crawl back into bed!

    Instead, I took a moment to appreciate the cold. The way my breath curled into beautiful strands of mist in the early morning sunlight. The quiet of the woods, the crunch of leaves, frost on the windows. As long as I know I can go inside to feel warm and cozy the trappings of a cold day are beautiful.

    If I didn’t have a warm place to go I imagine the cold day would be more of a challenge than a work of art. I was reminded, again, to be grateful. I am grateful for the roof over my head, for the heat, the food on my table, all of the things that make daily life possible.

    I am also grateful for my business. My clients, the flexibility I have because I work for myself, the fact that I do something I love every day, the knowledge that I can help someone create the business and life they want… I could go on but you get the idea.

    It may sound airy fairy, but five minutes spent looking at all of the good things about your business can completely change your attitude for the rest of the day. You shift into a more positive frame of mind that allows you to approach everything from that perspective.

    You might not have as many clients as you would like, but you have clients. You might not have made your quarterly sales goals, but you made sales. You didn’t make the 10 calls you wanted to make yesterday, but you made 8 of them. Focus on what has gone well and what is going well.

    This is a wonderful time of year to take a few minutes and be grateful, for everything you have in your business and personal life. I encourage you to make this a daily habit. First thing in the morning, before you log on to your computer, as your pouring your morning cup of coffee- just breath and be grateful. Make a list in your head of everything you appreciate. The list might include many of the same items every day and that’s ok. My list always includes the dogs and my ‘significant other’.

    If you’re really feeling adventurous do a bit of dreaming. How would it feel to have all of the speaking engagements you want? To have your client calendar full 4 weeks in advance? To double your sales numbers for the quarter?

    I am grateful for all of YOU!!

    Next Page »

    Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
    Entries and comments feeds.