Category Archives: Business planning

7 Steps to Becoming a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

successful-businessThis past weekend, I attended a personal development training led by a husband and wife team of multi-millionaires with multiple business assets constantly throwing off cash on their behalf.

I listened intently to what they had to share. One of their tips was to ‘release the breaks’. The supposition being that we’re actually doing things (or not doing things) that keeps the breaks on our business engaged.

I gleaned 7 steps from their talk on how to become a highly successful entrepreneur. Add these to your strategic planning and implementation activities and you’ll raise the revenue and profitability levels in your enterprise, even if it’s in its infancy. In fact, the sooner you apply these principles, the more easily you’ll reach your goals.

1. Zoom out
Take time to imagine the long-term vision of your company and your life. Really get in touch with your purpose on this planet and the impact you want to have. Think big. Think bigger than you think is possible. It’s hard to see all of your potential grandeur when you’re not yet there, but work at it and let your perspective expand to the greatest possible heights.

2. Zoom in
Once you’ve gotten clear about the big, bright future, reel yourself back to the present and identify what tiny (or not so tiny) steps you can take TODAY to start down the path toward your destination.

3. Organize
Identify the activities that seem to be generating the best results. Clarify which ones are working. Simplify your processes in order to minimize wasted efforts, resources and time.  Unclutter your life and business.  Focus on what matters most. Focus on what works the best.

Get rid of everything else that could distract you from reaching your goal

4. Actualize
Keep taking productive, consistent action. Keep moving forward. Things may not always turn out the way you expect. Learn along the way. Adjust and keep taking action

5. Monetize
Keep looking for revenue streams. Perhaps there are new markets to be tapped. New ways to deliver the products/services you already have. Partner with others to gain access to new prospects.

6. Can it and clone it
Once you have a business model that works, document it. Identify the processes (think McDonald’s). Keep them simple so it can be replicated. Replicate it.

7. Increase your reach
Visibility is critical for success. Look for ways to get in front of your ideal clients. Get referrals, advertise where they hang out, speak to them (individually or in groups) to demonstrate your expertise and value. Use marketing tools to carry the message farther.  Get your product or service sean, heard and read about by as many people as possible.

Follow up with them. You’ve probably heard this advice before but are you doing it? The fortune is in the follow up. Follow up!

Implement these 7 steps and watch your business soar.

5 Things You Must Focus on to Achieve Your Goals

focus-mattersGoal-setting is an important activity for those who yearn to live an accomplished life. Yet, many people do not set goals and others who do, don’t set them well.

There was a purported study inaccurately attributed to Harvard or Yale about about the impact of setting goals. The ‘study’ concluded that 83% of the population didn’t have identified goals.  It further showed that 14% had goals but only a mere 3% of the population had written theirs down. It went on to say that years later, the 3% with written goals had earned 10 times more than everyone else. (The statistics vary based on whose interpretation of the ‘study’ you read.) As it turns out, that study never happened.

‘Facts’ aside, it reinforces the concept of writing your goals down.

An actual study conducted later by Gail Matthews, PhD at Dominican University revealed 3 important conclusions:

1. Be clear on your goals and write them down.
2. Develop a plan on how you are going to achieve them.
3. Develop an accountability mechanism.

I haven’t conducted a study. However, I have been active in the performance improvement and performance enhancement field for a surprisingly long time (read, “decades”).

Here’s my take on the 5 critical components of what it takes to make magic happen.

1. Have a clear goal
OK, this is a pretty consistent first step across all platforms so I won’t spend a lot of time on it. Yet it is still one many people skip.  Don’t be one of them. ‘Nuf said?

Know where your end destination is, whether its later today or later in life. Pick a specific, measurable ‘what’ you will accomplish and a ‘by when’ it will be done.

2. Know your “Why”
Knowing why you want to achieve the goal is at least as important a motivating factor as knowing what it is you want. Accomplishing goals, especially big, hairy ones, will likely take an inordinate amount of effort. You’ll probably NOT have smooth sailing along the way, so having a deep urge, a deep longing, an important reason to continue in the face of all of the crap on the road is critical.

3. Feel your success
Imagine how you’ll feel once your end goal is reached. Will you feel fulfilled, safe, secure, happy, proud, satisfied, excited, peaceful, powerful, confident? What ever the emotion, start ‘practicing’ feeling it NOW, even before you have the ‘thing’. Don’t wait until you get there, feeling that ‘future’ emotion now will make life more enjoyable, help support your motivation factor and actually help draw in the resources, ideas and connections to help you get there.

Time will pass more easily if you’re not waiting for the future to feel good. Be that feeling now.

4. Think about how you’ll make it happen
I was listening to Brian Tracy speak at the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association earlier this month. He had conducted a study of high achievers. He said there were two factors that distinguished top performers from everyone else.  First, they had big, clear goals. And, secondly, they thought constantly about how they could achieve them.

I would veer away from the idea of constantly thinking about ‘how’.  I would say, constantly focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘feeling’, but allow for the creative process, for divine intervention, coincidence, providence, unexpected inspirations to light the path forward for you.

5. Be happy now
This is related, but slightly different that point 3. The tip here is to focus on things that RIGHT NOW are going well: things your grateful for, things you’re happy about TODAY.

I was listening to Marshall Sylver, host of the Million Dollar Television Network. He was also talking about focus and achieving goals.  He said  “You get what you focus on.” So instead of focusing on all of your problems, focus on what you want more of in your life.

Pharrel Williams also was definitely on to something with his inspired song, Happy. The words, energy and message resonated with people around the world. The song extols the virtues of being happy.

In one verse, he describes the feeling of letting things roll off his back. “…Here come bad news, talkin’ this and that. Give me all you got, don’t hold it back. I  should probably warn you, I’ll be just fine. No offense to you, don’t waste your time. Because I’m happy!”

So, to quote another song from way back, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” Focus on what matters. Your goals, your dreams, your happy, grateful, positive feelings and what you want are what really matters.

Making the Best & Most Profitable Decisions for Your Business

Recently, I had a conversation that opened up a critical new distinction.

decision-makingA client was struggling with redefining her relationship with a new partner in her business who wasn’t working out as well as expected.

During our call, as she grappled with how to move forward, I noticed she repeatedly seemed to be taking the path of least resistance and making concessions I thought, deep in her heart, she knew were not in her best interest.

The decisions she reached seemed reasonable enough; her decision process sounded rational enough, yet I knew something was amiss.

I interrupted her thinking out loud process by throwing her a curve ball posing the question, “If your business had a personality, how would you describe it?” She proceeded, quite quickly I might add, to use terms like ‘curious, detailed, tech savvy, trendy, challenging, informed and knowledgeable’.

It was quite an amazing experience to hear her describe her company and ‘brand’ so clearly. It also gave me new insight into how she sees herself and business and gave HER a new decision-making tool.

I asked her how well her partner represented the feel of that brand. “Hmmm. Not very well”, was her response.

I then asked if that curious, tech savvy, trendy entity were hiring someone for the business, would he/she hire the person who is now the owner’s business partner. “Probably not”, she replied.

Our businesses have needs that , while intimately connected, are separate and distinct from our personal needs (and fears). When we look from that more impartial, perspective we can be more objective, less concerned about our insecurities. When our ego is out of the way, the truth is more apparent. If we don’t to that, we’re doing a disservice to the future of our business and casting a shadow over the possibility of our life.

So the next time you’re agonizing over a decision about your business, take a step back. Rather than making the decision from your point of view, envision the best and highest expression of your business and determine what IT needs for that highest expression rather that what would make you feel safe and comfortable.

Stepping into the ‘role’ of the business and making decisions based on what it needs in order to accomplish the goals you’ve set for it will give you a different perspective from which to view the landscape and the perspective to make critical decisions using the right criteria.

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 Keys for Maximizing the ROI on Your Professional Development

If you’re like me, you love to learn. I am always looking for ways to be more of the  best version of me and ways to improve the operation of my business.

The risk that you run with that kind of passion is that you’re consumed with learning, but weak on implementing and it’s implementing that allows you to monetize your investment and create a strong ROI.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind as you strive to improve yourself and your business:

1. Set aside time to integrate what you learned immediately.
When you attend a conference or a class, schedule some ‘down time’ the next day so you can review your notes and plan what you’ll do with your new knowledge.

2. Avoid taking too many classes in close proximity to each other.
It’s likely to take you weeks or months to fully integrate your new strategies into your routine.  Strive to allow sufficient time to assimilate your new knowledge and turn it into improved strategies and actions before piling on more knowledge.

3.  Practice and share your new ‘stuff’ immediately.
Many times people feel tentative when they start implementing something new. That tentativeness is played out by not sharing what you’ve learned with your community.

The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll be to ever implement. So give yourself permission to be a newbie. Try new things. Offer a small group of clients special ‘early adopter’ pricing for your new approach.

4. Make connections.
If you’re attending a live event (virtual or face-to-face), strive to connect with other people who serve your market but offer something to it that you don’t. These are great prospects for building referral relationships or strategic alliances. They will speak the same language as you (having just completed the same learning you did) and hopefully, will be equally motivated to monetize their investment.

5. Get support.
Making changes in your routine is often a challenge especially when you’re trying something new. As you make investment decisions, lean towards programs that offer some ‘post-learning’ coaching or Q&A support. As you implement, you’ll probably come up with questions that you didn’t have as you were learning the material. Follow up support can be invaluable and help you implement more efficiently.

Ongoing training and development is a necessary investment in your future success. You must tackle it wisely however in order to maximize your return. These tips will help you do just that!

Enhanced by Zemanta

7 Factors for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Growth

I’ve been working with several private clients on building their businesses more effectively.

One of the things they applaud is how must more productive their activities have become. They cite things like having a plan, being held accountable for implementing that plan and improving the quality of their marketing message as critical components of their success.

These aren’t rocket science concepts, yet in the day-to-day chaos that sometimes consumes them, plans and good intentions fly out the window.

What is it that has some business owners increase their businesses while other struggle?

I’ve uncovered 7 critical components.

1. Establish short-term and long-term goals
I wrote about the value of goal setting a few weeks ago (Read the article). Goals for both time frames are critical. Goals give you something to work toward and also make the path to get on more clear.

2. Assess
How prepared are you to do the work required to get to your end goal? Do you have what you need or do you need to learn something, hire a consultant, reorganize work duties? Maybe you have to shift your thinking, expand your sense of possibility. Adopt a more empowering belief system that says “I can do that!”

3. Identify stumbling blocks
There are reasons you haven’t yet reached your goal. The assessment phase may have brought to light tools and resources you need but don’t have.  If you keep saying, “If only I had “x then I could market my company better”, it’s time to get off the dime and take care of that. It’s costing you money!

4. Lay out your roadmap
Once you know where you’re going and what you need to get there, you can start laying out the steps it will take and the milestones you’ll  have to reach along the way. Knowing the intermediate steps will make the realization of your goal more feasible, certain even.

5. Be proactive
All the best laid plans will produce naught if you don’t get off your duff and do something different. You can’t expect to continue with your old, comfortable habits and expect that magically they’ll turn into more clients and more profits.

When people hear about how painfully shy I was as a child, they always ask ‘What did you do to get over that?’ First came the realization that I could not accomplish what was in my heart and mind being a wallflower. Then came decisions to put myself in front of people, speaking to groups (which petrified me at the time) and to continue doing that until it became a now favorite activity.

6. Track your progress
This is an important step that most people don’t bother with. They may make to-do lists and cross things off, but it’s hard to track your productivity over time by just reviewing crossed off lists. You can’t see trends of things you’re doing well and things you’re consistently avoiding. Plus tracking your activity makes you WAY more conscious of and accountable for what you’re getting done.

7. Get support and master your psychology
No matter how driven you are, having someone or some ones in your corner, watching your back, giving you honest feedback, encouraging you when you’re down, brainstorming with you and opening your eyes to new possibilities while pushing you to think bigger, will go a long way to you reaching new horizons, more clients, happier clients and more money in the bank.

Implement these 7 factors and watch your business grow!

Enhanced by Zemanta