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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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.

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.

    Walking my Talk

    January 31, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Posted in change, gratitude, leadership | Leave a comment
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    It has been one of those weeks! A week that makes me wonder why I EVER thought being in business for myself was a good idea. And yet, I have NO desire to go to work for someone else.

    This week has made me live all of the rules I preach to my clients. Monday and Tuesday my email was down.  Wednesday I spent 3 hours at the doctor’s office while my partner got stitches. Thursday I spent all afternoon visiting and counseling a good friend who found herself suddenly in the hospital. Friday I tried, somewhat successfully, to get caught up. And here I am on Sunday still catching up from the week.

    I have really had to walk my talk this week! Every day I had to find ways to be in gratitude. Some way to appreciate good things going on in my life when it felt like there was so much chaos. I focused on my healthy family, pets and the work I did manage to get done every day.

    Sitting in the doctor’s office and visiting the hospital led to a whole new level of gratitude and appreciation. How lucky I am to have a family that is generally healthy and happy!?

    Because I am a solo-preneur I can arrange my day to help out my partner or a friend.  The ability to manage my day is a blessing. It’s one of the greatest gifts of being your own boss.

    You need to maintain your focus when you are working on your business. Being an entrepreneur requires a certain level of focus and dedication. Managing your time and arranging your day to work for you is tremendously important. I found a few hours each day that allowed me to work without being disturbed.  I maintained focus on items that had a due date, so I didn’t miss my timelines, and on items that are driving revenue for me.

    I’m using social media to build relationships and it does help to drive revenue but I chose to focus on other revenue venues. That’s something you need to be able to determine. Of all of the priorities you are focusing on, which are really driving revenue and which can you let drop for a few days without losing momentum.

    If you aren’t sure which areas are which take the time to do the analysis. If you are unsure which items create the most business for you contact me.

    Luckily my partner and friend are both getting better every day and I am getting caught up. I’m still thrilled I’m a solo-preneur; wouldn’t change that for the world!

    Your Red Cardinal Rising

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

    Change your assumptions

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

    The King of Bursts of Action

    January 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Posted in goals, time management | Leave a comment
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    I was listening to an old Susan Hite radio showBuild Up to Breakthrough April 18, 2009, and it really drove home the need for consistent action. We frequently hear about folks that are an ‘overnight success’. Rarely is there anything ‘overnight’ about their success.

    If you dig into the stories you find they have been chugging away at some business or idea for years and, suddenly, it broke through to the mainstream. Another thing I’ve found is that the latest ‘overnight success’ worked 20 hours a day for the last 6 months to create their ‘overnight’ success, to the detriment of relationships, health etc.

    There are some individuals who go from nothing to magnificent over night and they are very, very rare. We all dream of being that person! Who knows it might be you!

    Most of us must Build Up to Breakthrough- a term Jim Collins uses in his book Good to Great. Consistent, steady, focused action over a period of time will lead to the results you desire. The keys are:

    • consistent action
    • steady action
    • and a well defined goal

    One of my clients was the King of Bursts of Action. (Note: This is not a title you should strive to achieve!) He did have well defined goals. For 3 days he would work like crazy to reach his goal. Then he was off to the next goal. He never followed through on the actions to reach the original goal.

    Spurts of action don’t create the momentum with your clients, the name recognition with meeting planners or the consistency needed to reach your goal. They do create a sense of failure and a herky jerky feeling to your work that can be exhausting.

    The ‘King’ changed his plan of attack. He started focusing on his original goal, created a plan of action that he followed over an extended period of time. His actions were consistent and focused. Within a relatively short amount of time he started to see results. He had a strong sense of accomplishment and found that he could continue following through with actions to meet the original goal while implementing actions to meet another goal. He even up-leveled his original goal!

    He was utilizing his time in a more effective, efficient manner, seeing results and feeling a strong sense of accomplishment. Now he is the King of Consistent, Steady Action. (Note: This IS a title you should strive to achieve!)

    The consistent, steady action he takes creates the build up that leads to his breakthrough. It’s a similar concept to getting ready for a large test. You can prepare a bit at a time over a few weeks or you can cram for 8 hours the night before the big exam. Cramming leaves you exhausted, stressed out, drained and certainly doesn’t ensure a positive outcome on the test. Studying just a few hours a week over time helps ensure that you digest the information, decreases stress and you don’t have to pull an all nighter!

    My personal choice is steady, consistent action. Build Up to Breakthrough!

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

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

    Time management this season

    December 7, 2009 at 1:25 PM | Posted in time management | Leave a comment
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    This time of year time management might seem like a distant memory. It’s just as important now, maybe more important, than any other time of the year.

    Most of us are preparing for some kind of festivity and, if you are like me, you can get completely swept up in the fun of the season! And yet, I still have to make sure my business stays on track going into the new year. A little planning can make a big difference.

    My goals for the end of December include launching a new website, joyfully hosting 4 people and 1 extra dog for a week, and launching a new marketing strategy. It would be so easy for me to focus completely on the preparation for visitors and celebration of the season that the business items could be completely forgotten.

    I’ve decided to manage my time by setting aside a certain amount of time every day to devote to business. For me, putting business first thing in the morning helps guarantee I meet my goals AND allows me to focus the rest of the day on fun seasonal activities (around coaching appointments, of course).

    Manage your time- whether it’s 60 minute increments, full days or blocks of hours focused on your business and other things that need to get done – it will make a huge difference in how successful you are every day.

    Keep the end game in mind- the success of you and your business!

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