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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!

 

10 Top Tips to Stay Motivated and Focused this week…

Ever seem a little scattered? Do your business goals seem elusive and just out of reach? Are you frustrated at the end of the day because you never completed what you needed to? Are you so scattered that you don’t even have time to read this post? If so, then here are the Top Ten Tips to stay focused this week…

10. Answer the question, “What is the specific result I am focused on achieving this week?”

Without a clear destination you can’t get where you want to go. Imagine getting in a plane and just taking off to “go somewhere.” Use the SMART goals format to define your destination. Simple & Specific, Measurable & Meaningful, As if Now & Action oriented, Reasonable & Realistic, and Timed Towards what you desire. Specific is Success!

9. Get Motivated by Listing all the emotional reasons “WHY” you want to get to your destination.

When a goal is set in place…so are the obstacles that will be needed to be overcome. This will take energy and energy lies in generating the emotional “WHY” we want it. For ourselves, our kids, our spouse; dig down deep into that well of emotion and let it all gush forth. For extra credit, link up your life purpose to the goal and your identity to really get some power.

8. Find New People:

You are where you are, in part, due to the peer group you have around you. My workout buddy in the morning is the best. We both push each other. We are doing the Insanity workout and just this morning as we were completing our workout, he asked if I wanted to get in an additional 15 minute “pump” on the weights. He pushes me even when I’m tired and am ready to be done. I reciprocate by making sure I am at the gym every morning before he is. That way, he knows he has to bring the DVD’s or he will let me down by not showing up. We both add value to each other in different ways.

7. Clear Your Clutter

Get rid of anything that isn’t supporting your success. There needs to be emptiness in order for something new to come into your life. If a woman wants a man in her life but is sleeping at night with extra pillows and her pets…there’s no room for a man in her bed. If a guy doesn’t clean out 3/4 of his closet, get an extra toothbrush, have his/hers towels, and cleans out two dresser drawers, how will there be space for a woman to come into his life? Clear out your junk and make room!

6. Define & Master a Single Core Skill

Focus on changing one specific behavior that will move you towards your goal. You can prepare to walk/run all day with the right shoes, the music, playlists, weather, timing, treadmill or outside, determining your routes, estimating your time; but in the end all you have to master is putting one foot in front of the other for an extended period of time. Master taking one 8-10 inch step at a time with good form and posture.

5. Get comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Let’s say a person wants to reduce their weight. They will need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. When they “FEEL” uncomfortable because their stomach grumbles and they would normally go for some food, how can they start to feel comfortable with that moment and appreciate it instead of dread it? (This leads to #4)

4. Find a new, more empowering belief

Using the example above, when the stomach rumbles and they start to “FEEL” uncomfortable, insert a new belief for the old one. If the normal process is: stomach rumbles, the person says, “I’m starving to death and gotta eat” interrupt that self talk with, “excellent, that means that I must be thirsty” and then take a new action and drink water. (Sounds silly but I did that when I lost 60 lbs over 20 years ago and it still serves me to this day!)

3. Create Small Reminders

If you have a bigger goal of a trip, weight loss, business goals, etc. remember that where your focus goes your energy flows. Change your passwords to reflect your goals: ToughMudderNov2018, StBarth2017, CollegePaidinFull, Beachretirement2035, and BE CREATIVE. Put pictures on your mirror, in the shower, above your bed, in the bathroom, dash of the car, create reminders everywhere. These small reminders will help you stay focused and on track.

2. Create Quiet time to Focus

I recently read an article stating the main reason most small businesses fail is because of lack of planning. Strategic, purposeful thinking can only be done in a quiet setting and it should be done consistently (preferably a block of time weekly and even daily!) In order to create this space…find somewhere outside of your normal office, etc. (I have a client who uses a study room at his local library, no one finds him there) This will avoid the trap of the business running the person instead of the person running the business. During this scheduled quiet time see point #1.

1. Master Fear Management

I don’t care if you are the CEO of a Fortune 50 or a small solopreneur. In today’s competitive market the need to be innovative, creative and flexible creates HUGE uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds FEAR. Fear can be present due to change happening in the negative, ie going bankrupt and also the positive, ie problems that arise from rapid growth and expansion. Master Your Fears. Embrace them everyday because if you succumb to FEAR it will only lead to low self confidence, being motivated by necessity instead of possibility and worst of all, create a scarcity mentality. MASTER FEAR by doing at least one specific task everyday that you fear the most in your business. Eat Uncertainty and Fear for Breakfast to earn your dessert after dinner.

BONUS TIP:

Get an unconditional form of support to keep you on track…like an Executive Business Coach. (You know I had to plug that in!) Regardless of whether it’s me or not, no one earns a Grammy, an Emmy or an Oscar and stands on the stage during the acceptance speech and says, “I DID IT ALL MYSELF!” They all have people to thank…people who believed in them, provided support in those troubled moments of doubt, uncertainty and FEAR and pushed them to stay focused on their dreams and goals.

FOCUS!

To your continued success,

James

FREE Executive Coaching Giveaway!

FREE 3-months Executive Coaching contract

Evolution for Success is blessed to have had 2 consecutive record breaking years in 2014 & 2015. And as a ‘thank you,’ I am offering a 3-month GOLD LEVEL COACHING PACKAGE – FREE!

 

The Ideal Participant:

Someone who is facing a deep emotional life issue dealing with business, finances, or relationships. The person needs to be open to using skills and tools involving hypnosis, Time Line work and NLP. They also should possess a STRONG desire for change in their life and a “do whatever it takes” attitude to make it happen. As always, they should be open and coachable and be willing to commit to all twelve sessions.

THIS EXECUTIVE COACHING PACKAGE INCLUDES:

•Introductory “Success-Now” Session
•3-month Coaching Contract with sessions four times/month (total of twelve, 45-min sessions)
•Evolution for Success’s custom “Coaching Journal”
•30-Days for Success online program and accompanying workbook
•A copy of “More…” a six month daily planning journal

The total value of this program is $1657.

Application Process:

All applicants must fill out the attached Coaching Questionnaire. Send the completed form by email to evolutioncoach@gmail.com 10pm Eastern Standard Time on Friday, May 6th.  For questions and/or to get the coaching questionnaire from me directly, please email at the address above.

Misc. Details: All applications will be collected and assigned a number based on their submission date.  A RANDOM drawing will be conducted to select the recipient of the Coaching Package.  The final recipient will be notified the week of May 9th to set up their initial “Success-Now” session.  All submissions will be kept confidential and private.

Thank you for your support and let’s help someone change their life! Please forward this on your FB, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other account.

 

PS: In the interest of confidentiality, the final recipient’s name will not be announced on my website or any social media and will not be used for marketing purposes whatsoever.  This exclusive coaching giveaway is truly a gift.

4 Absolutes for any Entrepreneur and Small Business Owner

4 simple principle for every entrepreneur and business owner

Every skill, from playing an instrument to being in a small business owner or entrepreneur, has simple fundamental concepts that need to be mastered. They are the ABCs for success. Keeping these four principles in action will make your business more productive and more profitable.  Here are 4 that come to mind.

Always Be Closing:  Alec Baldwin is famous for the scene in the movie Glengary Glenn Ross when he is working to motivate a group of salesmen. Two of the greatest quotes from the movie are, “Coffee is for closers” and “Always Be Closing.” As a small business owner and entrepreneur, it is easy to get caught up in the “running” of the business and get sidetracked away from the most important aspect of your business: prospecting/sales.  Some of the most difficult fundamentals of any business to master are prospecting, marketing effectively, building relationships and closing deals. However, that is the life blood of every business and should always be a top priority. Always Be Closing!

Conceive Believe Achieve:  This ABC has to go in reverse. Remember Napoleon Hill’s famous saying is, “Whatever the mind of a man can Conceive and Believe, he can Achieve.” In any business, it is critical that you keep your competitive advantage, unique selling proposition, brand and identity. Staying focused on what you have Conceived as the Core of your business, reinforcing it every day so you continue to Believe in your mission, and then engaging in Action will help to ensure your success.

Assets – Bills = either surplus Cash or Credit card debt: Which would you rather pursue as a business owner, making more money or spending less? Correct answer: BOTH! Remember that businesses always have to work diligently to maximize income (Assets) and simultaneously minimize Bills (expenses) to the lowest level possible. It can be easy to get distracted in other people’s “opportunities” to help you grow your business. Be diligent with your research when it comes to marketing and promotions. Ask yourself, “Is this task or opportunity revenue generating? or is it a distraction?”

Always Be Coached: Every small business owner and entrepreneur needs a mentor. Someone to brainstorm with, share the highs of success and the lows of misfortune. There is always power in a Mastermind group, group coaching or, you guessed it, a personal relationship with an Executive Business Coach. No one ever stands up at the Oscars and proudly proclaims, “I did it all by myself!” When you give your Business Success acceptance speech, who will you have on your notecard to thank? Fill that card up, so they have to cut you off with a commercial!

The first three ABCs will keep a small business owner and entrepreneur BE in business while the last one will help you STAY in business. 

Does Purpose Trump Motivation When it Comes to Long Term Success?

Executive Business Coaching can help you find your purpose and motivation

Motivation is what many people believe is the number one factor in getting themselves and their employees to move toward their goals.  For good reason too.  Every manager loves a motivated employee!  They tend to come in early, leave late, produce at high levels and inspire others.  As an Executive Business Coach, one of my outcomes for every session is to never get off of the phone until my client is in a more motivated state in regards to their goals.  One of my favorite quotes from Zig Ziglar is “People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

The problem with motivation is that a person has to work to create it.  That takes energy and effort!  And for some people, it can be A LOT of work.  Motivation is great to get you started in the moment and here are 8 great tips that are commonly used every day for motivation.  I know these work because I use them daily with clients.

But these motivational tips don’t address the issue of staying motivated in the long term.  

PURPOSE MOST DEFINITELY TRUMPS MOTIVATION WHEN YOU WANT LONG TERM RESULTS!

Seeking purpose, whether it’s in your business or in your personal life, boils down to 2 simple concepts.  

First, purposeful people are continually building and creating something.  An inner drive is unleashed that goes beyond the moment of procrastination, fear or doubt.  Purposeful people build and create.  

Second, people with a clear purpose work to build and create their inner experience (self) and their outer physical world (a skill). Tony Robbins once stated, “It’s not about the goal. It’s about growing to become the person who can accomplish that goal.”  Focusing on building and creating your inner self first is the key to long term motivation.

To unleash the power of Purpose in your day, ask yourself:

  1.  “What am I working to build and create?”
  2. “What can I build and create today for a better body, career, level of health, business meeting, mental mindset, emotional sense of wellbeing, happiness, experience for my business customers, etc…?”

Creating long term results by being Purposeful and then using Motivational strategies for daily support is the most powerful way to produce.

As a seasoned Executive Business Coach, helping you unleash that inner sense of purpose you need to show up every day motivated and ready to build and create is the linchpin of my client work, so contact me if you have any questions!

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

How to create raving fans that refer you business!

Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say!”

This is an incredible business insight. How many people work to promote their business by “speaking so loudly about their business” that people are turned off and never get to see what they can “do for the prospective client in their business.” There is a reason for the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Business owners today will create a lot more success if they remember that prospective clients are watching what they do, often times more than anything they say. Businesses are constantly critiqued by the small courtesies that distinguish them from their competition.

  • For example, after a lunch and a business card exchange, do you immediately send the other person a invitations through social media to stay connected?
  • If someone really goes out of their way to help, do you send a “thank you” card?
  • What is your referral bonus? And if you have one…does it include a personal touch?

I know for me personally, I network a lot and everytime I meet someone new and they say, “Let’s do lunch sometime!” I immediately pull out the iPhone and say, “Great, let’s set up a time now!” If they don’t commit or respond with “Send me some times by email and we’ll connect,” I never follow up. When I pull out my phone, I am saying in that moment, “I value you and your time and I value me and my time, do you?” If they push it off on me to follow up with them, chances are, I will end up chasing them and that’s not who I want to do business with.

  • How do you answer your phone? How do you handle a cancellation when contractually, you are right but the customer wasn’t happy? Do you accommodate them or go by the “rules?”

You would be surprised why people are turned off by using a business or company. And while you can’t be everything to everyone; remember Emerson’s quote, “What you do speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say!”

To your continued success,

James
(919) 745-7569

PS-Comment below on what you have “done” in your business that spoke loudly with a client that you didn’t need to say anything.

You have problems, compared to what…?

Bad Monday

Are you having a bad day? I thought I was one day last week. I was going to be late for an appointment and I was really frustrated since being late is one of my pet peeves. My frustration level grew as I turned off the highway and my forward progress came to a screeching halt. In front of me was an accident and a long line of backed up cars. As I took the detour in front of me, I snapped the picture you see in the post above. An interesting thing happened as I drove past this accident. Somehow, seeing the plight of this truck driver, putting myself in his shoes, and thinking about the phone call he was going to have to make to his boss put my problem (frustrated by being 10 minutes late) into perspective.

One of the greatest questions I ask clients when they are frustrated and angry at a problem in life is, “OK, its bad, but compared to what?” As human beings, it is easy to get wrapped up in OUR life, OUR problems, OUR perspectives, and OUR beliefs. To jumpstart the process of getting a person out of their OWN way so they can work to a solution, just ask, “Compared to what?” When we shift our attention to the plight of others, the challenges of others, the life circumstances of others (that we can relate too) it helps to put things into a different perspective. When you can shift your “referential index,” how you are referring to something, with a different perspective, it lessens the emotional impact so you can think more clear and see the opportunities to think or do something different.

It is not to be used as a justification for NOT doing something different but a means of getting unstuckk so you can find a new solution and take action to achieve a different outcome. Next time you are stuck and think something in your life really stinks…just state the problem and then ask yourself, “Ok, this stinks but compared to what?” So you thought you were having a bad day, compared to what?

In the end, my ten minutes late was nothing compared to the delays this driver faced, his boss faced, and their clients and their customers may have faced. It’s good to keep life in perspective.

If you are feeling stuck and frustrated with your job, career, relationships or finances…CALL today to schedule your Introductory Strategy Session to start moving forward again. (919) 792-0085

To your continued success,

James

Leaders Think Outside The Box

One of the most important traits of effective leaders is to define a problem, think outside the box, and come up with an innovative solution. It is an art that some people seem to be a “natural” at. But, if we take a look at just throwing away the box, then there will always be a space for creativity to come into play. Here are a few ways to prevent putting yourself in a box!

First, be wary of being caught in an “either-or” mindset. A great way to look at it is that one choice is a dictatorship (no choice), two choices is a dilemma (either-or), and three choices are where creativity and opportunity begin. In business, statements like “we either need to do this or that” are restricting and put you in a box. When three or more ideas are generated, they have to be compared how they can solve the problem instead of being compared against each other. Stay away from thinking “it is this OR that.”

Second, listen for “if…then” statements. “If he would just do this…THEN I would be able to…” or “IF accounting would just…then sales would…” These statements are dangerous, especially from leadership within an organization. They can point blame and shut down ways for creative solutions to emerge. It is a great pattern to deflect taking responsibility for an issue. That creates a box that can be tough to get out of.

Third, is a proactive way to really think outside of the box, practice the simple art of “saying it the way you want it to be.” So many people can tell you what they “don’t” want. I know this sound simple, but simple things can create the greatest change. Many times the “box” is created by resisting change. Saying it the way you want it to be keeps the focus towards the future and away from the past. Moving from what you “don’t want” to what you “do want,” creates vision, possibility and solutions.

Thinking “outside the box” starts with staying away from “either-or” and “if-then”. Staying proactive by “saying it the way you want it to be” will open up a future oriented positive focus. Identifying these language patterns are a powerful first step to finding solutions.

Increase your Return on Investment…

One key question asked prior to spending money in most businesses is, “What is the projected return on investment (ROI)?”  When trying to figure out where to invest in your business emotionally and financially, where is the best place to put your resources? Naturally, a follow-up question then is, “How can I increase my ROI from my business expenses?”

I have one sure fire way to increase your Return On Investment and grow your business. It is three simple steps.

  1. Write down everything in your business that has a very high ROI. What are the key strengths of your business and what is working well? Do you have solid systems, people or products?
  2. Now that the easy part is over, what are the areas of weakness in your business? What are you ignoring? Are you having problems with sales, marketing, customer service, or products? This is the hard part because chances are, this is the part of your business where you have the greatest fear or experience the greatest procrastination in.
  3. Take the list of weaknesses and identify which one you are avoiding the most. Then invest in whatever it takes and IMMERSE yourself in making it your strength. You will have to fire ineffective people, invest in sales training when you don’t have money, hire a product developer to make a better widget, or invest in an online presence. Face your biggest fears and implement change.

It is important that you commit and have a “whatever it takes” mentality to the changes you commit to make.

Immersion into the areas of weakness in your business is paramount for success. If you weather the uncertainty of change, whether financial, intellectual, or systemic, your “Return on Immersion (your new ROI)” will always leave you and your business more profitable. That is the only sure fire way that I know to increase and always get the greatest ROI in your business!

I’d love to hear from you!  Comment below and share your experience. What is an area of your business where you immersed yourself in something new and the ROI was HUGE, as a result?

 

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Are You Making This Sales and Marketing Mistake?

Ask any small business owner what they would most like to have in their business and they more than likely will respond with, “more business!”

We all want clients calling and walking in the door with orders in hand. That’s why we engage in the game of sales and marketing.

So, the question is:  Are your sales and marketing efforts working? Have you dumped thousands into a website, social media, and print advertising over the years with little return on investment? If so, what caused the sales and marketing failure?

You might be focusing too much effort on sales and marketing and too little on prospecting. Prospecting has to come before sales and marketing. It is a small distinction that will make your company money.

Here are some examples of marketing versus prospecting.

Using Neuro Linguistic Programing NLP in your sales communication makes a difference!Some activities that define marketing in your business might be sending out email offers, writing e-books, posting on social media sites, writing a newsletter, creating video or audio podcasts, attending networking events, reviewing and updating your website, distributing fliers, handing out business cards or other print advertising and doing some public speaking.

Prospecting by comparison is about making a personal contact with someone. Cold calling, email solicitating with a follow up phone call the next day, following warm leads from client referrals, calling previous clients asking for referrals, and stopping by businesses in person to solicit  business.

Prospecting is being face to face (or phone to phone) with someone to see if they are a good prospect to start and market/sell.

Prospecting needs to come first because having qualified prospects will allow you to get the most out of your sales and marketing budget. 

You can work all day on creating a kick ass website, writing phenomenal content, and having an online presence, but at the end of the day if the phone doesn’t ring with a sale, there is no new business.

That small distinction between marketing and prospecting may seem trivial but it’s not.  Often success comes from a small distinction that creates a massive shift in results.

Making sure that prospecting is part of your daily routine will shift your sales and marketing’s effectiveness. It is the critical step to getting every small business where it wants to be:  having clients and customers walking in the door with orders in hand.