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Small Business Revitalization Blog

Small Business Coaching: Revive Your Profits, Revitalise Your Perspectives, Reinvigorate Your People

The Confidence Factor: Feeling Like a Fraud?



Many startup business owners confide in me that they feel like a fraud.  They feel like they are pretending in this game of business and one of their motivations for having a business coach is to get more confident in knowing what they are doing.

Then there are other people who take the ‘fake it til you make it’ approach.  Often jumping from strategy to strategy, idea to idea, shiny object to shiny object… hoping desperately that something will work and they’ll become the highly successful business owner they fantasize is possible.

I was enjoying a great conversation on Facebook this week about the differences between ‘acting’ and ‘acting as if’ in business and when it’s okay to fake it.  To me they are two different energies. 

When we act we are being an energy – we are inhabiting a presence that comes from somewhere deep inside of us.  We are being the energy required to have a successful business, even if it feels a little different to our usual persona.  Just like a great actor does in a movie… when you really believe it could be true, that is acting!

When we are ‘acting as if’ we have started on the journey towards acting, but we are still in the zone of pretending we know what we are doing.  Underneath our ‘acting as if’ we still feel a bit like a fraud, we are still feeling like someone is going to find out we don’t have a clue any moment now…  the self-doubt comes to the fore. That’s more like being a C grade actor… everyone knows you are pretending!!

So what’s your strategy?  Are you going to ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ or are you ready to embody a presence that makes people sit up straight and take notice of what you are doing?  If you are choosing to have presence, you need an underpinning of knowing (rather than knowledge!).  

This is that sense within yourself that you know intuitively what is right for your business and you are willing to move forward with confidence.  You may not have all of the specific knowledge required (that is where a business coach or mentor comes in), but you do have an innate knowing that you have what it takes and your business is positioned to succeed.

This doesn’t mean you won’t take a few detours along the way – these often take us to places not imagined, but useful in an unexpected way!  There will be tweaks and about turns… new paths and the occasional crash to a stop… None of these things mean you are faking it! Discovery and growth is part of the adventure of being in business!  What will keep you going is that underlying presence that you bring to your adventures.  When you are clear and calm within yourself, so much more is possible!

So would you like to explore the essence of having more presence?  Join us at New Energies of BusinessTM – we are including some coaching hotspots this time… so a great opportunity to ask your questions of people who really understand presence! Bookings and more info at www.NewEnergiesOfBusiness.com 

Upcoming dates:  30 November 2011 in Brisbane and February 2012 on the Sunshine Coast.

(Image: Pinterest)


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Conscious Business - Stop Talking & Listen!

I was reading James Altucher's insightful post on10 Reasons You're Probably Talking Right Now When You Should Be Silent and it struck me that my list of benefits for stopping talking would be quite different, but the value in being silent cannot be overstated!  So here's five of my favourites... that may just entice you to gift yourself a few more silent moments as you go about your daily business...

1. Stop Sharing Your Stories

By this I don't mean the stories that build culture and brand, but the stories that everyone has heard a million times, the stories that keep you stuck in why you can't, the stories that limit your possibilities.  Stop telling them to anyone that will listen and go create some new ones that create new choices for your business, your team and your customers. 

2. Stop Talking AT Your Customers

You know what I mean, you've seen their eyes glaze over while they wait for you to take a breath... you need to stop talking at them and start listening...what if what they have to say could triple your profits?  Would you be willing to listen instead of talk then?  (Same goes for your business coach... tell the shortest story you can, ask a question or two then listen!  You'll triple your awareness and quite possibly your profits ;)

3. Make Space for the Silence

Our being requires peace, our ego-brain requires constant stimulation.  All of us are over-stimulated.  When we take the time to disengage from the grid for an hour, a day or a weekend the silences create new awarenesses in our universe.  By taking a notepad into the bush I wrote a speech in less than an hour last week... simply magic - and something that would never have showed up with such ease and simplicity if I had tried to write at the computer with its million and one shiny distractions... Make space for the silence.  When we listen our inner essence tells us all we need to know.

4.  Stop Filling in the Gaps

So many of us rush to fill the gaps with words... instead we could allow that job interview candidate to tell us the thing we really need to know about them... we could allow that customer to thank us and to actually receive their gratitude without filling the space with words... we could gift someone some silent space to engage with what we have just said to them, rather than rushing onto the next oh so important point (from our own limited perspective anyway)...

5. Stop Making Excuses

You know the head chatter that endlessly gives us the 'shoulda, coulda, woulda' list of excuses, reasons and justifications for why we aren't where we want to be.  If we silence the head chatter and the verbal stream of (un)consciousness that constantly tells us all the ways we aren't good enough, can't make it, don't have what it takes, we might just have enough space to see what actually is required to bring our dreams into fruition.  BE first.  DO second.  Only talk if you are asking questions!

Love Your Work!

Lisa

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Care Factor?

 

This morning a friend sent me a text message saying she was in a café and could overhear a business coach chewing out a client.  Wow - I was more than a little surprised!!  I have never needed to add to a client's stress levels like that and I never will.

Yes, I do believe in tough love when appropriate.  If you ask me to hold you accountable I will – very clearly -  once we agree on the parameters.  But I would never do it in a way that is unkind or disrespectful to you as a person.  I care too much about my clients to behave like that, and I care too much about our planet to bring anger or frustration into my coaching.  What if our earth is erupting because there is so much anger everywhere and she just can't contain it anymore?  Do any of us who are aware and conscious truly need to add to that?

Caring takes a lot more courage than chewing someone out.  What contribution can you be to our beautiful world today? Every energy we create has an impact far wider than just the person we are talking to.  The frustrated energy that coach was splattering around that café was felt by many more people than just her unfortunate client. 

I am more and more mindful of how far energy flows and what my total contribution is to the entire planet - in every interaction I have - with clients, friends, foes,and people I see in living everyday...  So, here’s what you need to know if you choose to work with me:

  • Because I care, I will tell you when I feel you need to look at other options.
  • Because I care, I will find a way to show you when it’s time to step it up a bit and shine your light more brightly into the world.  
  • Because I care, I will tell you when I see greater possibilities for you than you can see right now.
  • Because I care, I will be very clear about what it will take for you to have a successful business, even if you don’t want to hear it.
  • Because I care, I will create the potential for you to discover the joy and bliss in your business, and sometimes, on the surface, that may not look like what you want it to!

Because I care, I will do this with humour, kindness and playfulness - not judgment, anger or frustration.  I will do it with sensitivity to where you are right now.  I will do it with awareness that you may not like me for a few moments because you weren’t expecting to hear what I have said (and I’ll never take offence, even if you do for a moment or so!!)

It’s this simple.  You need to care more than I do about your business.  If I found myself in a place where I had to chew you out over something, then I would be caring more for your business than you do.  If I ever find myself caring more than you about your business, then you need a different business or a different business coach.  (Of course, if you are one of those rare souls who love getting chewed out, it would be way easier for you to get a job and get paid for it, rather than paying a coach!)

Your business will thrive when you really really really desire thrival to show up.  When you make the demand of YOU to do whatever it takes!  I am here to mentor you, to contribute to you and to show you what is possible…what are you willing to receive?  What are you willing to contribute... to you, to your business, to the planet?

Love Your Work!
Lisa 

P.S. If this resonates with you, you are welcome to join us for the New Energies of Business events where we explore how we can change business consciously... or if you are looking for a business coach, you could enjoy a free 30 minute business coaching session to see if my business coaching style works for you!

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The New Era of Socially Conscious Business

Today we have a guest post from the very amazing Annie Infinite - creator of Saucy Social Media and author of 'Go Fractal'

Social and digital media have changed the world and business forever! I can say this with absolute authority as this is where I play. No longer can business leaders and owners hide behind closed doors and have immunity from their decisions. Now through the social and digital media channels everyone has a vote, and they are voting whether you are there or not.

Every business, every corporation, government and person is now under a microscope and held up to the light of integrity, globally conscious decision making, engagement with their market, quality control and more. Once more the world has a voice and it is just getting louder.  I for one welcome it with open arms, because it is through the true voice of each of us that change happens.
We welcome this change, the shift to a more aware and globally conscious world!

Here are some of the shifts in business and marketing consciousness that brand a business as a modern one:

1.    Your Company has a Grand Vision of the Future
Not only for the company itself but for the whole world, it stays on track with this vision through every decision it makes. You understand that for every choice made there are not only business consequences and reasons, but there are global ones. Every decision made reflects this mindset.

2.    Your Business is Done with Integrity Daily & Becomes Known for It
To do this a business needs a set of values it does business by.  Every person working in and on that business needs to know about the core values and also do business with and for you in line with those values. Your core values must be so ingrained in your company that you would hire and fire according to those values. Your first step is to figure out the core values of your company, by asking: what do you believe in and what do you stand for? Figure out what is important and do business accordingly.

3.    Your Company Does Business in the Here and Now

Businesses that incorporate this sign of happiness  are aware of trends and opportunities in the here and now. They do not worry  about what happened in the past other than to learn and move forward with new awareness. They do not repeat mistakes and are constantly evolving. Businesses that do business this way are also very aware of the effect of the day to day toil on their emplyees and make room for enjoyment in each and every day.

4.    Your Company Has an Appreciation Mindset

This is not about a grandstanding gesture for public viewing, it is about your company being grateful for its employees, grateful to the companies you do business with and even grateful for your competition and showing that in private and public ways. Does your business only contact an employee or a customer when something is wrong or only when you want to sell them something?

 Do you compliment your employees regularly for the work they do for you? Do you honor your loyal customers out of the blue with some small benefit or just a thank you card to let them know you are grateful for their return custom? Businesses who do this engender loyalty and word of mouth recommendations that help them to grow. "Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, 'make me feel important.' Never forget this message when working with people." – Mary Kay Ash

5.    You Are in a  Business You Love
Doing what you love and turning that into a business is the most satisfying thing you can do to earn a living. When you do business doing what you love you never have to worry about feeling motivated, or surviving the down times. Your excitement levels never lag because you love doing what you are doing so much, you would do it for free.  I believe that when you are in the right business, you will feel very much like you are in love, you will get that thrill in your veins when you work on your plans, you will get goose bumps of excitement as you see your vision coming to fruition...

“The more meaningfully we’re engaged and the more we believe that what we’re doing is meaningful, the more happy we are,” says David Mensink, a psychologist with the student counseling centre at Dalhousie University

6.    Your Business Embraces Change
Staying up to date is just good business, this means listening to what is happening in the market place and to what your customers and audience is saying about your business and your niche. John F. Kennedy said: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

7.     Your Business Makes Time to Celebrate
It only needs to be a small occasion, yet celebrating those small successes paves the way for larger ones, it allows everyone to know you are on track and it allows everyone to become involved with the growth of the company. Happiness is contagious and the happier everyone involved is the better. Great campaigns have been built on a celebration for a company's success and this can be a way for a company to give back to its customers too.

One company I know of has a weekly 'Awesomeness Report" that is collated from every employee at the end of each week, they are asked for a summary of their successes from their time in and out of work and this is published via email to every employee celebrating the small and large successes in the lives of everyone. (That has to be one of the best ideas I have ever heard of!) Think of the movie 'Legally Blonde 2' where Elle introduced the idea of the 'Snap Cup'..

8.  Businesses Actively Seek Ways to Add Value
Giving and sharing is great PR for any company, adding value is a requirement of any company that expects to achieve its goals. Remember giving always comes back to the giver ten-fold, whether you are a company known for giving back to the community, to your employees or to your customers or all three – giving and adding value can only increase the happiness of the company and the culture of your brand. Your business actively seeks ways to enrich the lives of others on the planet who are not as well off, through charity, giving and supporting those who do.

9. Business Can Be Fun!
This is where corporations can take a leaf out of some of the most innovative companies in the world. Innovation and inspiration come from making life fun and fun and happiness can help put things in perspective. Make sure your company is filled with laughter daily. Go take a look at Google's offices and you will get the idea that they value creativity and innovation.

Steve Jobs from Apple said, "Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they're not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."

About Annie:



Annie Infinite helps people find their authentic voice and project it out into the world with integrity, passion and authenticity. Annie Infinite is the owner of Saucy Social Media a social media management, consulting and training company, specialising in the strategic use of social media to get you the results you need: social media auditing, creating social media strategic plans, social media management and education (workshops) and training (in-house) in social media for businesses.

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The Mysteries of (Not) Delivering Value



WARNING:  I'm having a rant today... that's what happens when I put on my 'customer' cap instead of my coaching cap... luckily dear readers, it doesn't happen too often!  There's some valuable lessons in here for us all :)

In conversation with a real estate agent he mentioned they charge $990 + GST to upload a property for sale to 14 websites and put a sign out the front.  This was their cheapest advertising package for selling a home.  

I have an extensive marketing background and a pretty good working knowledge of marketing on the internet.  When I expressed my astonishment at the lack of value, all the fellow could say in response was “I’m the principal, this is our cheapest advertising package”.  It seems his job title was supposed to make this lack of value acceptable?    

He then proceeded to stutter and stammer that writing the copy takes him 2 – 3 hours… I know amazing copywriters who could get it sorted in less than an hour for a grand investment of around $80.  So what exactly are his clients paying for?  Someone to sell their home, or an incredibly expensive copywriter??

Big hint to business owners – you should never be doing work that you could outsource for way less than what you could be earning. You need to spend your time doing what you are best at!  If this guy spent those 2 – 3 hours getting new listings or selling properties his business would be infinitely more profitable.  

 Then there is the question of the 14 websites – at roughly 10 minutes each for uploading pictures and copy that’s just over 2 hours for an admin person – say $40/hr.  Of course, this also assumes it is of value to use those 14 sites.  Most real estate traffic goes through just a couple of main sites – those 14 sites are really awesome for his search engine optimization though!  And how wonderful that his clients pay for him to be “#1 on realestate.com.au” as he proudly informed me.  Sounds very impressive… unless you understand what it really means!

Unfortunately, your brand being #1 won’t sell my house.  Most people search by suburb not agent.  Do you not understand your business or do you think your customers are stupid?  Either way that’s not a great value proposition for building a strong business in an industry that is facing tough times.

And lastly there’s the sign for about $150… In total, even my best estimates for marketing costs don’t get much past $350 if the agent is operating efficiently!  So at $990+ that is some profit margin.  Given the extortionate price of housing in our fair country, real estate agents also receive a very generous commission on sales as well.  I know a lot of business owners who would love margins like that!

Now at this point some of you are going ‘what’s wrong with that?’  Isn’t the point of business to make money?  Yes!  Absolutely!  But not in a way that offers no value to your customers or pretty much assumes they are stupid.  The playing field is levelling AND becoming more transparent.  Your business practices need to evolve!

When both you and the customer are satisfied with the deal you will build relationships that will create referrals, repeat business and ultimately business growth – you’ll be irresistible and desirable and you won’t need to charge for something that should be included in the service!  Imagine if that agent had said “we have a basic marketing package that is included free if we sell your house.”  That would have been much more attractive to a prospective seller than what he actually said: “If the client doesn’t pay for marketing up front the price for this service goes up to $1290 + GST.” WOW!  Knock me out… not even banks are getting interest rates like that!  I’m surprised he’s not receiving daily takeover bids!

The reality is if you are not delivering genuine value which is valued by your customers, you’re going to find you are facing more and more resistance.  The era of greed is good is over.  People are saving and considering their purchases much more carefully than ever before.

By the end of the conversation the real estate agent was half-heartedly suggesting he could negotiate on the marketing costs.  Unfortunately, from a client perspective, the preceding conversation had already cost him the listing. He failed to see that selling is no longer about money – it is all about value.  I am unclear as to whether this agent just doesn't get it or his BS sales pitch works on enough people to get by.  What you need to understand is that if you come across customers who see through your BS sales pitch, you look stupid and you are damaging the reputation of your business.

Most of us are no longer interested in working with people who either don’t know what they are doing or think its fine to overcharge.  We, as customers, have choice.  More and more business owners are creating true value for their clients.  Those businesses are building a solid platform for growth.  And therein lie the lessons for us all.

The New Energies of Business are here.  It is just not good business to overcharge your customers.  It’s time to start thinking about where you are not providing value in your business?  Where you are not efficient and need to find more effective approaches?  Where you are not valuing your customers? And where is what you are offering not even relevant to the value they are looking for?  

What can you change? Where there is a lack of value there is always a way to take advantage of that in the market. Look at where customers are pushing back about price and develop value propositions that create new paradigms and standards in your industry.  When you take a leadership position in creating and providing value, your competition becomes irrelevant!  (And if you don’t know what your customers are saying about your pricing, it’s time to get amongst it and talk to them!)

If you are going to have a successful business as we move forward into the new energies, now is the time to put your new platforms in place. 

Would you like to join us at our regular New Energies of Business events?  On August 29 at Peregian Beach we'll be discussing how to create value, how the energy of contribution plays out in business and how loving your work creates profits... if you can't be there you can order the videos.  Our presenters and facilitators are experienced business people who are already living the new energies and know what it takes to transform business.  How does it get better than that? 


What are you seeing with your business and the value it offers?  What value have you experienced in other businesses lately?  Comment below!!


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Competition Or Contribution?



Once, at a mentoring event, I was placed in a team with another business coach and a person who was previously my boss (a very long time before, under oddly competitive circumstances).  The target was to take an issue in our business and have the other team members make suggestions.  

When the reality sunk in, it is fair to say in those first few seconds I was not overjoyed by the team I was in – it felt confronting, competitive and constraining.  What was I going to talk about without feeling compromised in some way? 

By the time the session was finished, I was beyond grateful.  Here’s why… this situation gave me the experience of putting aside all my normal feelings about ‘competition’ and actually living the energy of contribution instead.  

I had the opportunity to look at all the old ‘stuff’ I had subconsciously held onto about my ex-boss and let it go.  I had the opportunity to see that the other business coach has skills and interests in different areas to me… and so could be a worthy collaborator at some point… and I had the opportunity to experience the total abundance of the universe.  There is more than enough for all of us.

More than enough ideas, more than enough clients, more than enough joy in discovering new possibilities through different points of view…

I actually received a lot of bliss out of being able to be the contribution to those people.  How often do we operate from the paradigm of where we fit, win, lose or benefit, rather than operating from the space of where and what can we contribute?

If each of us contributed to allowing others to be the best they can be, whether they are our ‘competitor’ or not, imagine how amazing the world could be?  So the next time you are holding back or holding out through fear of loss or fear of missing out, would you ask yourself where you could be more of you?  Where you could shine your light brighter in the world?  Where you could speak up and shine?

There is no-one like you.  There is no competition unless you create it.  No-one can serve your clients like you do.  No-one can create products like you do.  No-one can BE YOU except YOU!  So where could you show up and be the contribution like you never have before?

(And yes, of course I know all the business BS about everyone is your competition… please!! What would it take for business to start operating from collaboration and contribution instead of separation and segregation?  I would like to make the world a better place through more conscious business practices… starting with being the contribution!)

What would it take for you to be the contribution in your workplace, rather than the competition?

(Image: Pinterest)

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How Authenticity Creates Profits

Do you give clients an experience that is so sanitized, business like and professional  that it seeps into a sleep-inducing stupor of non-engagement and disinterest?

Do you forget or neglect to promote some parts of your business to clients and fans?    Or do you hide away parts of your personality or capacities because you don’t think everyone wants to see ‘all’ of you?  

These are some of the many ways we diminish our authenticity in business.  The crazy thing is that the more we be the difference that we be, the more unique our business becomes, the less competition we have and the more possibilities we create for the customers who most desire to discover us!  

Do you remember Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent?  Well over 50 million video views later, she has truly proven that imperfect authenticity will blast plastic perfection into oblivion every time!

Let me guess.  You never search out boring businesses; you go looking for the ones that offer a spark of difference and a personalized experience.  Have you noticed that your best clients are often the ones you ‘click’ with most easily?  Are you aware of how much more love you give your work when you are in an environment that allows you to show up as the real you?  

There’s a reason for that!  People like to give their money, time and attention to brands they connect with and trust.  So what are the lessons for us as business owners here?

Before you launch another program or product, ask yourself ‘who is my true tribe?’ What do they desire to see from my brand?  What can we authentically share that would allow our tribe to connect more deeply with what we offer?  What would allow them to experience an intimacy of service instead of impersonal service?

And most importantly of all:  who are we really, that we’re not being right now (as a brand or a person!) that would allow this to show up with ease?

An easy way to play with this process is to look at your website.  Does it talk to potential customers at a truly personal level or is it a nice professional brochure that creates not one iota of engagement?  What does your brand DNA say about who you truly are?

We have allowed a cultural focus on productivity at any cost to disrupt our authentic connections with the people we do business with.  Bringing authenticity back into business allows creative, collaborative relationships to emerge between you, your business and your customers.  

When these authentic relationships emerge, we build a base of raving fans who love what we do and the products and services we offer.   Raving fans love to share their discoveries with other people just like them… and that’s what leads to more profits… people who love your work!!

In case you’re still wondering… here are a few more benefits of being authentically you in business!
  • Authentic brand experiences offer the possibility of premium pricing.  Just look at organic food!  
  • Authenticity offers an experience of real connection instead of surface-level platitudes.
  • Authenticity is about innovating in alignment with the ‘real’ you or brand, not about managing brand image and pretending.
  • Authenticity is about joyful difference rather than trying to fit in with the crowd.
  • Authenticity starts with you… we are all leaders!
What are your experiences of authenticity in business?

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