Are You on the Fast Track?

PolarExpressI saw this Polar Express replica at my husband’s school’s holiday concert and pageant this week.  It got me thinking about what it takes to keep your business in the express lane.

Being on the fast track is not the result of some favorable external set of circumstances nor the generosity of someone or something you think holds the reigns on your fate (like Santa Claus).

Being on the fast track is in internal phenomenon.  It starts with a decision to be on the fast track.  It’s knowing that you’re on the right track.

So, how do you know you’re on the right track?  That too is up to you.

In the Plan to Win in 2010 workshop I conducted last week, we talked about the “sweet spot” in your business. That spot is the intersection of 1) Your Offer, 2) Customer Needs and 3) Timing.

Now 2 of those things are external to you and your business.  Yet the astute business owner understands the interplay of the three and is flexible and adaptable enough to capitalize on the mix rather than succumbing to the apparent lack of control over 2 and 3.

Here are some things you can do to flex, adapt and capitalize.

1. Survey your prospects and clients
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is thinking they know what the market wants and needs.  Call some of your best clients and ask them what’s next for them and what they need in the next 6 months.

2. Reassess your skills, talents and expertise
You are an expert in your field, yet you may be missing out on opportunities to improve your profits.  Whether you eat fast food or not, think about how you could apply “Would you like fries with that burger?” to your business.  Come up with new ways to offer what you already have. When you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table.

3. Reposition your products and services to meet current needs
By understanding what the market is most hungry for now, you can tailor your marketing, packaging, and sales conversations to address those very issues.

4. Drop your lowest margin products/services unless you have a clear and effective strategy to upgrade purchasers to something else.
You’ll never get ahead if you keep offering only low-cost items for sale.  True, some low-priced options are helpful, but trying to thrive on low-cost volume will keep you working day and night.

5. Take a longer term view
Many business owners fall into the trap of selling, then working, then selling, then working.  Without a long term plan, you’ll end up living hand-to-mouth for the rest of  your life. You need to know how – and when – you’re going to invest and improve your self and your business.  You need to know what you’re going to differently so that your revenues grow at rates that outpace the economy.

You have more options than you see and more control than you take.  You have the power to hop into the express lane and stay there.  Dream big.  Be bold. Take action!

Exceed Your Dreams: Plan Your Big Win in 2010

So many business owners find themselves working harder than ever, scrambling to try this technique and that technique to grow their business.

It’s taken me years to get where I am today and I’m still continuing to invest in myself and my business to learn how to become even more successful.

The difference is that now, I’m consolidating rather than adding on new things.

I’ve got a plan to focus my efforts in a way that will leverage my skills, desires and dreams with less work and a higher payoff.

Are you working harder than you intended?  What can you learn from toys,  my father and my  holiday history that could help you today?

Watch this video and find out.

Can’t see the video?  Look on YouTube here

Read more at Plan Your Big Win in 2010

Great Stress Relievers: Gratitude & Generosity

Gratitude and generosity can go a long way to reducing stress in your life.  Expressing and demonstrating them won’t take a lot of time either.  They may take a little mental energy. Yet when you make the effort to give to another, amazingly, you feel better yourself.

I’ve heard that your holistic mind (not your logical brain) cannot distinguish giver from receiver. So when an act of giving has occurred, the entire circle is uplifted.

Here are a few suggestions for ways you can ignite the circle of giving.  Some of these may rattle you boat.  Try them anyway.

1. Say something kind about a person you don’t like (and mean it).

Everyone has some redeeming qualities.  You might have to look for them, but if you make the effort, you’ll discover that the entire person isn’t evil.  I’m not saying you have to become best friends.  You just need to see past your judgments about them.  When you grow enough to see past your judgments about a person you don’t like, you’ll more easily see the good in tons of other people as well.  As your world populates with more ‘positive’ people, you’ll feel happier living and working in it.

2. Thank your staff (genuinely & specifically) when they do something good.

When we’re pressed for time, we often forget the simple niceties of life.  And be specific in your positive feedback.  Tell the person exactly what they did that you liked and exactly how it helped you. The more specific you are, the more genuine your comment will feel to the person receiving it.

3. Go out of your way to do something especially nice for your spouse or parent.

We are often less polite with the people we live with than we are with total strangers.  Why is that?!? You’ve heard familiarity breeds contempt, eh?  Well, that’s why conflict is so prevalent in families.  We have expectations of wonderful, loving, maybe even fairy-tale relationships, so when they don’t go as we hope, our feelings are more dashed than ever.

It’s important to communicate our wants, needs and desires so that resentment doesn’t build up. But even when it does, doing something nice makes you feel better.  (Be careful however, not to let your martyr yoke get too heavy though.)

4. Send an email to someone’s boss when that someone has done something to help you out at work.

How quickly do you fire off emails when something goes wrong, cc’ing the world and maybe even doing the dreaded and seditious bcc?  Well, I challenge you to take the electronic high road and send off emails complimenting as many people as you can today, tomorrow and for the rest of the month (dare I say, the rest of your life?).  Call the person who helped you but write to the person’s boss.  The boss will likely contact the person you wrote about.  How great will that be for them?  How did you feel the last time your boss complimented you on something you did for someone else?

5. Let go of a grudge and be willing to forgive someone who ‘wronged’ you.

Forgiveness is hard for many people.  They mistakenly think they are condoning the bad behavior.  Forgiveness is really all about you letting go of your issues.  The ‘guilty’ one may never even know you’re forgiving them.  It doesn’t really matter if they know (although telling them will help mend your relationship and allow them to move on if you’ve been punishing them in some way).  When you forgive, you’ll feel better.  You can move on.  You can use your energy for something more productive than getting back at them.

Forgiveness takes time, so don’t expect to feel different the moment you say “I forgive (fill in the blank).”  Your healing starts when you can sincerely say “I’m willing to forgive”.  Being willing to forgive releases negative energy and lightens your heart, perhaps immediately, perhaps just a little.  It does bring light to the situation and that’s our goal here.  The creation of light around us.

The more positive energy we create, the better off we’ll all be.  Walking around stressed and resentful weighs us all down.  Make a commitment to bring joy into the world, regardless of how that world looks to you at any moment.

Post comments about your favorite stress relievers and success stories from your experience.

Plan Your Big Win for 2010: Create Your Blueprint for Success

I’ve heard so many heart-breaking stories recently from business owners who’ve been barely hanging on or working harder than they ever have just to stay afloat in this economy.  They pray for a better day. They dream about ‘the good old days’ when sales were easier – when prospects and customers were looser with their cash.

The tides haven’t completely turned yet but fortunately, there are positive economic signs on the horizon.

Will you be prepared to take advantage of the upturn?

I always look forward to the end of the year.

I dream. I plan. I rid myself of stuff I no longer need.

I’ve already started that process this year and I’m psyched!

Unfortunately, as I speak, coach and network at various business meetings, I often hear people grimacing about a wide variety of issues:

  • they feel scattered and overwhelmed by all there is to do
  • they have too many ideas swirling around in their head with no way to organize them into action
  • they have things on their to-do list from LAST year they haven’t gotten around to yet
  • they’re not sure how to get started on anything big, so they keep themselves busy with routine tasks just to feel better about themselves
  • they feel alone at the helm of their ‘ship’ with on one to safely talk through their ideas or concerns
  • everyone is relying on them and they’re feeling the burden they’re so tired, they joy of being in business for themselves has begun to fade they may even have begun questioning their own commitment to their business

I don’t know if any of those issues apply to you.  If they do, it’s a good thing you’re reading this now.  I can help you solve these problems AND MORE and I can’t wait to get started!

“Most people are overwhelmed by all that they could do and fail to do what they can.”

– Ramon Williamson

For the  first time ever, I’ll be sharing the exact process I use to reinvent my business with a select group of business owners and sales professionals who know the value of planning but somehow NEVER GET AROUND TO IT!

I will hold your hand, open your mind & walk you step-by-step into an even brighter future.

Find out how now.  Click here

5 Things You Can Do to End Your Year on a High Note

We’re rapidly approaching year end. Thank goodness! I’m quite ready to put this year behind me. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to work extra hard this year to offset the sluggishness of the economy.

There are signs of hope and optimism on the horizon now. One of the things that surprised me to learn in my economics class was that personal expectations had as much to do with the economy as the actual economic indicators. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy, a Pygmalion effect, of sorts.

When people are hopeful and happy, they spend more and the economy improves. When people are fearful and worried, they slow their spending and the economy declines.

Some of the pundits are now reporting statistics that indicate the tide is turning. The number of people losing their jobs is declining. The real estate market seems to have bottomed out, sales are on the rise (slightly) and mortgages are getting funded.

Clearly we’re not out of the woods yet. Still, I’m expecting the general economic climate to be better in 2010 than it has been this year. I’ve heard, as you probably have, that the recovery could be slow and unsteady, yet, there is talk of a recovery and that’s a good thing.

Here are some things you can do to end your year on a high note and position yourself to start 2010 off with a bang!

1.  Dream bigger
Don’t allow your mind and heart be dragged down by the negative energy and talk around you.  Be open to the miraculous (yes, I did use the “M” word). Expect good to happen.  You’ve heard the question, “If you knew you would not fail, what would you do?” Then do it!

2.  Delight your customers in new ways
Find out what issues and challenges your customers (and prospects) are experiencing and create new ways to service them.

3. Partner with colleagues to pursue bigger projects
It’s a challenge sometimes for small firms to land really large deals from big companies because they are perceived as ‘not quite ready for prime time’.  Join forces and your capabilities increase along with your revenue potential.

4. Refer business to someone else
When you give to someone else, it creates a vacuum and they want to give back.  While you shouldn’t give referrals JUST so someone gives you a referral back, giving referrals routinely will set you up to be the recipient  more often than not.

5. Make a written plan
People who have their goals written down earn ten times more than people who only have vaguely defined goals.  They are also happier in life and feel more fulfilled.  Planning requires you to take stock of your assets and how to best leverage them for increased profitability.

When you implement these ideas, you’ll be well on your way to increased prosperity!