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Are You a Small Business Owner Speeding Towards Burnout?

Is your business out of control? If you are a small business owner who feels like your business is running you, instead of you running your business, learn how to STOP the cycle. It’s all about your hat!

As a small business owner, we have to balance and wear many “hats” to succeed. In fact, there are up to 9 “hats” a small business owner has to wear for any business to run successfully!

With such a tremendous learning curve for small business owners, it is easy to understand why “About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more.”

How can a small business owner hedge his bets on keeping the doors open?

This is where the Hat Concept comes into play.  You need to make it an absolute priority to schedule time each quarter, each month and each week to “wear the hat” necessary to keep things running smoothly in the business.

Here are the “hats” business owners need to schedule time for:

CEO HAT – The CEO is the visionary of the company. As such, he has to keep the long term vision of the company alive and in focus. This will ensure that the company does not expand too fast or “chases too many squirrels” (deviating from the planned path). It is also his job to, at a high level, review financials, fund and defund the business as necessary, and keep focus on the long run.

CFO HAT – The CFO is the penny cruncher of the company. He keeps a tight reign on the bottom line financials in the month to month operations. He is not necessarily popular with anyone in the company because “conservative” is his middle name. He serves a very necessary function however, to ensure the company does not overextend itself financially and stays in business.

CMO HAT – The Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for all company branding, press releases, managing company perceptions, getting out the ‘word’ on what is new. This is crucial to start laying a foundation for community involvement, contribution, and good will.

VP of Sales HAT – He is the lifeblood of the business. Sales in any business drive revenue.   Master the art of upsell, downsell, cross sell, drive for results and live with no fear.

CIO HAT  – The Chief Information Officer works all of the latest technology and office technical/communications processes and systems.

COO HAT – The Chief Operations Officer is all about the product delivery. In my case, I am the COO every time I pick up and phone with a client.

Additional HATS – Human Resources, Legal and Customer Service Officers come into play once the business is large enough.

 

In real life, how does making time to wear each of these hats relate to the solopreneur, entrepreneur and small business owner’s success or failure?

Let’s look at a Forbes article by Eric Wagner titled “Five Reasons 8 out of 10 Businesses Fail

“Not really in touch with customers through deep dialogue.” 

HAT to wear – Chief Operations Officer: needs to be able to effectively understand client needs, see gaps in the market, listens to what the clients want and need instead of what the business owner thinks they need.

“No real differentiation in the market (lack of unique value proposition).”

HAT to wear – Chief Marketing Officer: needs to time to look at competitors, positioning in the market place, develop compelling strategies for product promotion and client engagement.

“Failure to communicate value propositions in clear, concise and compelling fashion” 

HAT to wear —  VP of SALES: for small business owners, he needs to consistently focus on listening and selling based on client needs and not ‘benefit’ selling. Focus on building a sales funnel that solves a problem and communicate clear value propositions to meet prospects’ needs.

“Leadership Breakdown at the top (yes – founder dysfunction)”

HAT to wear – The CEO is responsible for bringing the whole group together. Most small business owners are just scrambling to cover expenses, fill payroll and keep the doors open. Who has time to break away every week, month, and quarter for strategic positioning, thinking and planned promotions of the business? But the reality is that planning time is CRITICAL, even if it’s just one quarter at a time.

“Inability to nail a profitable business model with proven revenue streams.”

HAT to wear – CFO: As a small business owner, taking time out to manage expenses, focus on revenue, and analyze numbers is not fun! And, it can be easily avoided by just focusing on payroll each week. Unfortunately, not keeping track of your revenue and expenses at least every 2 weeks can lead to disaster.

 

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Be courageous and fire yourself, if needs be! Then, hire a new ‘you’ and wear the HAT you need to drive your business to continued success. I want to see you celebrating long after that 5-year anniversary!

 

Hurry…it’s almost February already…time to focus!

WOW…it’s already almost February and how productive have you been in achieving  your goals? If you are like most people, the power to focus is something that is a real challenge!

So, how does a person stay away from procrastination and fear based doubt? Mastering one simple saying is all that it takes for you to have the next 11 months be the best ever. Here it is…

Where your focus goes, Your energy Flows, and Whether it is positive or negative, that is what Expands and grows.

Sound to simple or good to be true? It isn’t. Most people fail to realize that it is the small, seemingly inconsequential actions that actually ensure success. Most people quote that it took Edison over 1,000 times to create the light bulb. However, what allowed him to persevere throughout those many attempts?

I find it interesting to note that no one talks about how he would have had to laboriously set up, perform and record every attempt to prevent duplication? What was the filing system he used? How did he stay organized? How did he make sure that nothing was ever duplicated? How was he able to perform each experiment one by one, focused and intentional.

If you want to master any task to create amazing results, fighting through frustration and distraction is key. Keeping your focus and energy going into a single minded endeavor, keeping a positive outlook and repeating as needed until completion is what Mastery is all about.

Edison had in his lab the following quote by Sir Joshua Reynolds, “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.” Distraction, immediate gratification and lack of focus destroy success and achievement.

Just for fun, how many times have you strayed from this article, if you have read this far? Building intense focus and single minded purpose is a learnable skill. Review your goals. Take a single, simple action everyday to move towards completing them. Rewrite your goals in the evening. Write out your action plan for the next day. Measure, monitor and reinforce every attempt to succeed. Feed yourself positive thoughts, focus on your goals 24/7, feed them, and act on them again and again and again. Take small simple steps everyday. Your future starts now, today.

To your continued success,

James

If you having challenges with focus and procrastination, sign up now for 30-Dyas for Success. Master the Simple Solution to focus and achieve today. www.30DaysforSuccess.com

Focus in 3-Steps: Executive Coaching John Wooden Style

In a previous post, I talked about the acronym F.O.C.U.S.S. and how a person can create greater levels of purpose, self-confidence, and direction. Today, I’m going to approach the concept of “focus” from the perspective of one of the greatest coaches in basketball history, John Wooden.

“In 1948, I began coaching basketball at UCLA. Each hour of practice we worked very hard. Each day we worked very hard. Each week we worked very hard. Each season we worked very hard. For fourteen years we worked very hard and didn’t win a national championship. However, a national championship was won in the fifteenth year. Another in the sixteenth. And eight more in the following ten years.” ~JW

My question is this, “Did the teams develop to a point where they could finally win a national championship or did Coach Wooden develop himself into a national championship coach?”

 

First Step: Be clear who you are and what Skill you choose to pursue excellence in (internal focus).

If you are going to become a master at a skill or craft, make sure it is one that you love and will emotionally support you for the next 20 years. Then, work to be the best!

To support this assertion another quote, “I am not what I ought to be, not what I want to be, not what I am going to be, but thankful that I am not what I used to be.” ~JW   Focus on being your best now in this moment, every moment!

“For an athlete to function properly, he must be intent. There has to be a definite purpose and goal if you are to progress. If you are not intent about what you are doing, you aren’t able to resist the temptation to do something else that might be more fun at the moment.” ~JW

 

Second Step: You must set goals that align with the expression of who you want to become and the skill you are choosing to master.

Set BIG, HUGE GOALS (external)!

For example, I chose a skill set of running many years ago. After thousands of miles of mastery, there was room for growth to always set the bar higher in terms of external goals: a 10K, half marathon, marathon, Goofy Challenge, 50-Miler, 100K Ultra and the pinnacle…100-Mile Ultra. Those goals took 20+ years of focus. As I took yoga along the way to keep flexible and train, I didn’t set a goal to become a yoga guru.

Big Goals provide the impetus to learn to perfect yourself in the execution of becoming more. They create the pressure to become meticulous because every detail counts. A hot spot on your foot in a 10K or half marathon is not big deal, on a marathon it becomes a little more important but during an ultra-marathon it means the difference between success and epic failure. Large goals are critical because they provide motivation to be diligent, prudent, and sustain a heightened level of awareness; internal and external. That creates focus.

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” ~JW

 

Third Step: Large goals create large obstacles to overcome.

This scares other people away from you so you have more time and energy to focus on your pursuits and not be presented with their problems.

How often during the day are we interrupted, distracted and presented with other people’s problems and life issues? People tend to conspire with others who will give them solace, empathy, and commiserate with them on their problems. The more a person commiserates with another, the more they keep coming back for more commiseration! If a heavy set person starts telling you how bad they feel, most people think it is OK to say, “I’m sorry, you know, it’s not really your fault. After all its genetics, thyroid issues, etc.” What happens when they get that response?  They keep coming back!

Granted it’s not polite to say to them, “then get off your fat buns and do something about it.” BUT, if you are setting a high goal of health for yourself, that person will naturally shy away from you. They know intuitively, as they see you pack your bag for a lunchtime workout, they won’t get much sympathy. You scare them away by setting higher standards.

 

BIG Goals scare people away because they suffer internally by comparison.

This cuts down in interruptions, distractions, and people telling you their problems. FOCUS comes from setting a higher standard than your peers. An added benefit is that the only people who will interrupt you are the people who have high standards and the exchanges will be more in the form of support, encouragement and sharing of tips that help you refine and master your craft. These can be good because they actually boost your energy, efficiency and the time spent for the interruption is time saved with what is learned by sharing.

Welcome the adversity and feelings of “being alone” in your singular pursuit. This creates focus. Here’s a supportive quote.

“When everyone is thinking the same, no one is thinking.” ~JW

 

Let’s recap these three steps:

1. Be clear on who you are and what skill you want to master (internal mindset)

2. Set Goals in that skillset that are HUGE, stretch yourself as high and far as you can go!

3. Get comfortable with scaring other people away and being alone…set a higher standard. Your only interruptions will be from others with high goals. Those interruptions will be fewer but very supportive!

 “The road to real achievement is usually bumpy and long, but you do not give up. You may have setbacks. You may have to start over. You may have to change your methods. You may have to go around, or over, or under. You may have to back up and get another start. But you do not quit. You stay the course.” ~JW

To your continued success,

James, Executive Business Coach

Learn more about Coach John Wooden here:  www.coachwooden.com

Your $$ Stress STOPS…3 Wealth Principles to Freedom!

“Money in the bank is like toothpaste in the tube. Easy to take out, hard to put back.” ~Earl Wilson: American journalist & author

Next week is going to be Financial Week on the Evolution for Success Coaching Blog. There are 3-Simple aspects of money and next M-W-F, we will explore each one seperately. Mastery of these 3 Financial Principles will make you rich and wealthy beyond your dreams.

Most people today are living with an underlying fear of either losing their job, not having enough for retirement, or some heightened level of stress due to financial uncertainty. It is pervasive at every level of our society: from the overall US economy, to the individual state governments, to businesses offering less and less incentives along with higer workloads, to the individual families working to put food on the table.

Application and Mastery of these tools will allow you to have all you desire in life.

You can put the food on your table each week and create a secure financial blanket to wrap up in every night and sleep soundly free of stress. This will help to change the community, whichever state you currently live in and help to return this nation to freedom.

Email me at the end of the week to receive your synopsis of the principles and how YOU can put them into action to create unlimited motivation, dedication and commitment to a new financial future.

Tune in next week…you will be surprised with these rich fundamentals.

To your continued success,

James

How to manage time…1 Simple Solution

Over the weekend a friend asked how business was going and I heard myself say, “I need the world to stop for 4 months so I can get everything done I want to…and then have it re-engage.” I got to thinking about what I said later that evening and I realized if that was truly the case…I wasn’t managing time effectively at all. How does an entrepreneur/CEO/Executive manage time better? Here is one simple solution…

First, accept the fact that you can not manage time. It isn’t time that needs to be managed but your mental focus and actions. A persons mental focus will always be in one of three places at any given time. the past, present or future and each one has a definitive purpose.

Looking back to the past allows us to reflect on successes and failures (which are just opportunities to learn). Understanding the successes and failures of the past allows a person to take useful strategies forward and find new ways to use and apply them. It also allows us to identify negative actions and behaviors and reframe them into positive “learnings” so any negative emotions disappear and new possibilities for how a person “could choose” to do things differently in the future are uncovered.

Focusing on the Future is crucial because it allows a person to focus on one of the greatest human needs…becoming more. If we are not growing we are dying, it is a fundamental law of nature. The challenge is that some people focus on growing more that is positive and some people get into the trap of growing more of what they don’t want. A positive future opens the door to possiblities, growth, and “more” of life. The negative future, signalled by statements like “I don’t know or want…” only perpetuates negativity, scarcity and disempowering emotions.

And last place your focus can be is in the present, being immersed in the exact action, thought, belief and feeling right NOW…and NOW…and NOW…and NOW…and NOW. The present is the hardest to focus on because the mind is constantly pulled between the past and future.

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION…HERE IT IS!

Future—Past—Present

Focus on exactly what you want in the future…(not what you don’t want, but what you do)
Think about what tools, strategies and resources you need to be creative, industrious and solution oriented FROM THE PAST
Combine both into ACTION NOW in the PRESENT clear of any distractions.

Oh yeah, celebrate your success from doing something different today! When applied consistently, you will find yourself more motivated, inspired, fearless, and results will start to show!

If you find yourself lacking focus, a fearless attitude, or clear direction forward…call today for your “Success-Now!” Session. (919) 792-0085.

In the month of August, email me at james@evolutionforsuccess.com with the word 30-Day Challenge. I will send you a 30-Day Success Sheet and two complimentary 15-minute checkin’s, personally with me, as my way of saying thank you for your support over the years!

To your continued success,

James

Can you pass the “Egostistical Business Card” Test? You could be losing money as you read this, right now!

I am sitting here staring at about 1,000 business cards on my desk and 99.9% of them are what I call “ego” cards. What is an “ego” card? They all have these four traits in common…

1. A nice logo of some sort that the owner of the business card probably loves, (I love mine).
2. The name, title, and contact information of the person I should be contacting.
3. A nice picture of the person who gave me the business card.
4. As a bonus, I even get a nice little slogan or saying.

So, what do those 4 components do for me as a business owner looking to grow my business? NOTHING! I have been looking through the cards all morning and with some of them, I don’t even know what service the business provides. But, I bet they make the person handing out the card feel really good!

ANY business card that doesn’t answer WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) in an EMOTIONAL way, I consider an “ego” card. It’s not beneficial for the prospect, but the person handing it out probably feels pretty good about it!

Take out your business card and ask the following questions:

1. If this sat on a perspective clients desk for a month, would they know what service I provide?
2. Would the client be able to answer “WIIFM?” (What’s In It For Me?)
3. Is there anything on the card that would EMOTIONALLY motivate the person to contact me?
4. Is there anything on the card that tells what problem I solve for their business?
5. What makes me stand out emotionally from all the rest of the… (same owners of my business, i.e. realtors, coaches, etc.)?

They say in marketing that only 7% of the people you meet are ready for your product/service right now. That leaves an interesting question. As a business owner, “How do you keep in front of the 93% so they understand your services and are MOTIVATED to call AND BUY your services when they become part of the 7%?”

Answer: Make an emotional impact by revitalizing your business card wtih your Unique Selling Proposition. This is the number one marketing mistake that most small business owners make. It is a simple, effective and often overlooked critical business tool.

If you need some support to create a new compelling and dynamic busienss card to generate more leads, have people remember you and keep your phone ringing, take a look at my new website.

www.businessmarketingforsuccess.com

Sign up and you will also learn the second and third most overlooked marketing strategies that could be costing you thousands of dollars in revenue.

To your continued $uccess,

James

Are you Spending More and Making Less?

Your spending habits always grow in proportion to your income.

Your spending habits always grow in proportion to your income.

Most people really enjoy short term pleasure but many times it leads to long term pain. In reality, what is some short term pain you could accept today that would lead you to long term pleasure? ie, what on your to-do list are you most procrastinating or are fearful of accomplishing? Therein, probably lies your greatest successes! If you need support, call today for a complimentary Success-Now Strategy Session, overcome that procrastination and make it happen today! To your continued success, James (919) 792-0085

Wanted: 3 Killers of Success in 2012

“Success in 2012” was pronounced “dead at the scene” today after police discovered his twisted and broken body at the bottom of a deep ravine. What was initially thought to be a suicide, was later classified as a homicide, as physical evidence at the crime scene pointed towards signs of a struggle.

Apparently, “Success in 2012” went for a walk at Looking Toward a Brighter Future Point. While admiring the sunset, 2012 was snuck up from behind by three suspects who robbed him blind. After a brief struggle, 2012 was pushed to his limits and went over the edge of the fiscal cliff.

The police are currently looking for three suspects in the case. Be on the lookout for the following individual thoughts.

  1. The Ringleader of the gang is, “I’ll start tomorrow.” He is to be considered armed and very dangerous. You will find him lurking in the evening shadows of “No Energy” and along the “Path of Least Resistance.” He loves to sabotage success by blowing up any opportunity to do something different that will create change today. He loves finding reasons, excuses and justifications for not doing the things that matter most now. One of his favorite sayings is, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”
  2. His right hand man is, “I don’t know.” I don’t know is the child of “No Self-Confidence” and can usually be found whenever there is a decision to be made that may be unpopular. He is a great deflector of responsibility, creator of complacency and absolutely detests leadership. “I Don’t Know” eats “Taking Initiative, Being Creative and Building a Life” for breakfast. He is the arch enemy of Personal Truth and a Purposeful Life.
  3. Their last known accomplice is, “It’s no big deal.” If a person is lucky enough to get past “I’ll start tomorrow” & “I don’t know,” then “No Big Deal” shows up to steal Success right out from under your nose. He is the killer of celebrating a person’s ability to overcome adversity, take risk and feel a sense of achievement. When these three personal experiences are stolen, work no longer seems worth the reward and all Hope for a Brighter Future flies right out the door.

These three criminals are responsible for the murder of Success in 2012. They are facing life in prison for the crimes they have committed against Success in 2012 and must be apprehended. It is critical for the safety of “Success in 2013.” A reward of “An Amazing Life” has been posted for anyone with information leading to their whereabouts and arrest.  Call (919) 745-7569 Immediately to claim your reward!