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Small Business Revitalization Blog

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

Creating Your Business Out of Control

How much energy do we use trying to never be 'out of control'?  And what if it is the energy of 'out of control' that actually allows us to create dynamically?

Join Lisa Murray for an intriguing exploration of what 'out of control' actually is... and how you can use it creatively in business and life.  What if 'out of control' could be the best thing that ever happened to you?

Listen below:

Traditional business is about control. There is this assumption that if everything is under control then everything will be okay. But what if it's not? What if this idea of control is actually the energy that is limiting the possibilities in your business?  When we start to operate from awareness rather than control, doors open where there were only walls.  Creativity and innovation become the norm!

Listen to the show and then take this week's business coaching challenge.  Find the area of your business that is the most tightly controlled.  Ask: What could show up if I stopped controlling this?  What else could be possible if I remove the controls? What contribution could it be to take this area out of control?

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Relevance, Randomness and Being Right in Business

Have you noticed how most people are obsessed with getting business ‘right’ – as if there is only one right answer and once they find it they will have the perfect business for the next hundred million years?

What if, instead of getting business right, we start looking at what is relevant and what random brilliance we could create which would contribute to creating something greater than we have ever generated before? Could that be more fun than having to be the control freak from hell to make it all perfect?

One of my favourite tools is having everything be ‘out of control’… so that I can create from the random chaos of everything that is shifting and changing around me rather than the fixed and limited structures that people like to describe business as (you know... like the strategic plan, the business plan, the swot analysis, the competitive advantages, and all the other buzzwords…. yeah yeah yeah… is that just one big yawn for you??)

What if it could be more like shaking a kaleidoscope and creating a new pattern of possibilities every ten seconds…? ‘Oh this looks fun, what could that look like if I institute it into my business?’ rather than ‘Here is a structure that everyone uses and it has been proven to work for them so I know it will work for me…’  Which one of these makes you feel lighter? Which one makes you feel like you’d rather die??  What if business is truly fun and there can be a lightness with it that allows for infinite and playful creation?  

When I operate from the energy that I will put into place only what is relevant to the impact I desire to have on the world, it makes it easy to come up with randomly brilliant and adventurous ideas at astonishing speed... and the implementation is ease and joy too.  When I do it all by the MBA textbook (of which I have a few!!) there is a heaviness which soon translates into boredom and a lot of unfinished projects… oops!  Cute… not so bright!

Is any of this making sense to you?  What if your true state of being in business is a combination of relevance and randomness, rather than someone else’s idea of rightness?  

What if you were to Houdini yourself out of the definition and limitation of what business ‘should’ be? What could you create as your business?? And how much fun could you have?

(Image:  Pinterest)

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How to deal with massive change

First it was the GFC, now it’s a spate of floods, cyclones, earthquakes, snowstorms and political uprisings… our world is in turmoil and these events impact our businesses whether they are personal to us or not.  

You may have noticed customers are slow to make decisions… are spending less than usual… that business has unexpectedly ground to a halt. There is a reason for this.  It is time to look closely at everything we are doing and to see what still serves us and what needs to change.

Anytime we can’t ‘feel the buzz’ in our business we can either choose to look outwards with blame, or inwards by choosing to create exactly what we desire.  Change is inevitable; it is how we move forward that creates our destiny!

A few days ago I wrote myself a rather long message from a ‘future me’…   One of the questions I asked my future self was ‘What can I change here that would create more ease?’   

Here are a few of the insights I received:
•   Finish or clear out everything that feels like it is grinding me to a halt.
•   Write up my plans coherently and create simple strategies for getting started.
•   Collate the insights and information for each of the new toolkits I am developing for my business coaching clients (systemize what’s in my brain!!)
•   Give the flat, weird, anxious bits no attention or energy IF they are out of my control.
•   Create a physical space that is supportive and creative.
•   Keep asking ‘What else is possible?’

So what’s changed?  After my ‘self to self’ pep talk, I chose to take massive action!  
•   I cleared out my office and made space on my desk (now showing just one project at a time!)
•   I collated all those ideas and bits of paper into coherent piles!
•   I developed a creative new business plan template that feels really joyful (and developed a new business plan with ease – very clear on my actions now!!)
•   I started to realign and fine-tune my website content.
•   I reinvented one program that just wasn’t delivering results for the time I was investing.
•   I connected with my accountability buddy for the first time and we gave each other lots of encouragement for the changes we are making!
•   I became a lot more focused on the ‘maintenance’ tasks required for my business to succeed on a massive level.
•   I unleashed my energy by completing lots of small ‘incomplete’ commitments – to myself and others.   Doing the maintenance rocks!

What are the results so far?  My business has become effortless again!
•   I connected with some great people around my new lead generation strategies.
•   There has been a lot more space for nurturing me – I’m breathing easier and deeper.
•    I received unexpected support around my spaces of anxiety (a couple of tools generously shared and the grinding anxiety has disappeared!!)
•   I have started implementing my new business plan, focusing on the foundations!
•   Lots of the resources I need to realize my plan have showed up unexpectedly and with perfect timing!

What didn’t I do?
•   Think small because what I desire isn’t showing up in this 10 seconds.  
•   Become overwhelmed.

This beautiful quote by Deepak Chopra captures the essence of my blissful business process this week:
“The heart is intuitive, holistic, contextual, relational. It doesn't have a win-lose orientation. It taps into the field of pure potentiality, pure knowledge and infinite organizing power- and takes everything into account.”

It’s been a week full of long deep breaths… feeling into what’s possible and what I desire to change.
If you are wondering what it will take for everything you desire to change, ask your body, your business and your higher self (or future self) to tell you exactly what you need to know!

What are you choosing to change in your business right now?  Please share in the comments section below!

(PS The new business plan template will be available for you all very soon!  I really do bring the bliss back into business!)

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Creative Empire Building

Have you ever wondered how Richard Branson built his empire from nothing?  What’s certain is that when he was 19 and larking about with his student newspaper he didn’t sit down and write out a business plan that included owning a couple of airlines, a space program, an island paradise and a financial institution or two!  

At 19 Branson was just like most small business owners… thinking really creatively about where  income could come from so he could pay the bills.  So what changed?  Those who dare to think big with their businesses are adept at taking the next step…

What’s different about their next step is that it is the step beyond what they can see clearly now.  Leaders who live large are willing to take steps into the unknown.  If you want to live a life larger than any movie star or business guru, this is the first and only step you need to take… and you’ll need to take a lot of them!!

So what’s the use of a business plan or strategic plan if stepping beyond the obvious is all that’s required?  Well, this morning I woke up at 4am (sleepless in Brisbane) dreaming intricate details of the products I’m creating for BlissTribe.  

Over the weekend we had done some creative brainstorming on BlissTribe and this had clearly carried over into my subconscious.   Last night those plans showed me the next steps beyond my waking imagination…that’s why I create plans!! I use plans to dream and to create… to develop my ideas beyond what I can see now… to catch glimpses of what else is possible and to discover what those ‘next steps’ could look like.  

Does this make planning sound just a little more interesting and appealing to you?  If you want to accelerate your business with ease… the Revive Business Coaching Planning Playshop on 21 June could be just the catalyst you require!

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Rework Your Business Strategies

If you are tired of throwing out your strategies time after time (or you need to throw out the ones you've got and revitalise your business!), the phenomenally useful book “Rework”, written by the founders of 37Signals, offers some of the best advice on business strategy I have seen in a long time…  consider these five little gems (and there's more Rework inspiration at :

“Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service.”  If you ever wondered where to find your twenty of so points of difference to your competitors, this is a fantastic place to start!

“You have the most information when you’re doing something, not before you've done it.”  The best way to answer your strategy questions is to put your toe in the water and get real customer feedback.  Don’t just imagine… test and measure!!

“Saying yes when you should say no leaves no bandwidth available for the great rather than the merely good.”  What’s NOT in your strategic plan matters more than what is in some ways!!

“The longer it takes to develop, the less likely it is to launch.”  Quick wins… quick wins… quick wins are the key to getting traction and profits quickly. I launched a product for BlissTribe before I had a website… I was testing the BlissTribe concept and playing with ideas… now I know it has great legs and is worth putting lots of time into!!

“A business without a path to profit is a hobby.”  This is my favourite… I see this happening every day with new businesses… the funny thing is an hour or two spent on developing your business model (ie the plan of where your profits come from) will solve it!!

If you want some different perspectives on Accelerating Your Business strategically, the next Revive Playshop is for you.  21 June 2010 in Brisbane, Australia – miss it and you’ll miss out on insights that will make your business more profitable than you can imagine!!

There's more Rework inspiration at too - what's your best strategic business advice?  Share it below...

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Simple Rules for Business Prosperity

I was talking with a business coaching client recently about what they had learned during the GFC.  One of the key things they are changing in their business is the way they look at debt – instead of pulling every cent out of the business and investing it personally, they are now considering ways to reinvest their profits into the business so that they need never worry about another financial crisis again.

This conversation reminded me of some uncommon but simple rules for business prosperity that I learned from Access Consciousness… what would change in your business and your life if you did these three simple things?

1.    Save 10%
If you put 10% of every dollar that comes into your life away and never touch it. Within a year, your whole financial situation will change. When you save the 10%, you finally realize that you have money!

2.    Ask Questions:
With everything you buy, ask: “If I buy you, will you make me money?” If you ask that, every molecule in the universe will support you in making money.

3.    Willingness to Receive
Many business owners are very independent and not in the habit of being willing to receive…  What would it take for you to be aware of where you cut off the energy of receiving because of your point of view, your judgments or your unawareness of the possibilities that could occur if you are willing to ask more questions?

If money weren’t the issue, what would you choose?

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Is your business model broken?

Many of the businesses struggling in the current economic environment are actually facing the same core issue:  their business model only works in a growth economy - that means it is looking a little beaten and broken right now.  An effective business model will work for your business in fair weather or foul... so what are the key issues you need to consider in developing a really profitable business model?

In essence your business model must be strategically designed so that your business can deliver you with lots of cash – regularly and easily!  As a business coach, I often observe that this part of the business is the most poorly defined for start-up businesses.  

If you don’t know who is going to give you money, for what, why they’ll hand over cash and how that will happen systematically, you don’t have a business, you have an interesting product or service idea, at best!  To build a sustainable business you must develop your ideas into a profitable business model!!!  

If your business model is based on one-off transactions you need to consider alternative models as the model most likely lacks sustainability.  To start with, you need to be able to offer a solution to the following:

  • What do you offer and why would people choose your products/services over anyone else’s?
  • What are your supply sources and how do they enable you to maximize your profit margins?
  • Where will you find a ‘hungry market’ and how easily can they find you and buy from you?
Once you can answer these three questions you need to put your ideas into practice and work on fine-tuning your model so that it works everytime.  If the basic model is strong, then when the economy changes, in most cases, you will only need to tweak your tactics, rather than reinvent your business from scratch.

The businesses which will grow the most strongly in the next boom will be the ones which have created the strongest business model during the recession! 

What is required for your business to be financially successful?

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Three Business Essentials for Startups

For many small or micro businesses, it is tempting just to get a bit of marketing going and forget about some of the more tedious basics.
I know it sounds boring, but a little bit of attention to some legal basics at the beginning can sure save you a lot of hassles and stress later on…Here's my top 3 essentials!

  1. Make your business work for you financially. Get a good accountant and ensure that you set up a business structure that works for you on multiple levels (taxation included!).
  2. Register your business name, ensure your business name and logo are protected by trademarks (national or international) and register any domain names that relate to your business.  You want to own the visual and naming space that your business occupies.  Don’t run the risk of someone liking your name and ‘borrowing’ it for their own purposes!
  3. Acquire the necessary business insurances e.g. public liability, professional indemnity etc.  Every industry is different in its requirements, so obtain the appropriate advice.
You don't have to make it difficult...use the government resources available in your state to get started!

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Free Teleseminar: Your Business Plan - Doorstopper or Door Opener?

Would you tattoo 'idiot' across your forehead long before you'd develop a traditional business plan?

Would a 5 page strategic business plan that puts profits in your pocket faster be of more interest?

In this economy, those who are focused will be rewarded.  A short, targeted strategic plan focused on leveraging your business opportunities, your resources and your time will deliver value in excess of 1000 times the few hours it will take to develop!

Is your roadmap for 2009 going in the right direction?  Join us for a free one hour teleseminar on Tuesday 3 March 2009 and discover the 7 secrets to profitable business plans!

Register here NOW.  Limited spaces available.

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20 Ways To Create Your Ideal Business...

If you know very clearly what your ideal business looks like, chances are that you’ll recognize it when you see it! Think about your ideal life – how would your business fit into that life in a perfect world? Describe your business in detail. How will it work if you are living your perfect life?

Here’s twenty quick questions to consider in the design of your business. Some of these are practical questions, some of them consider your business mindset….

1. Buy or build your own?
2. Staff or no staff?
3. Do or delegate?
4. Indoor or outdoor?
5. Work hard or work smart?
6. Online or bricks & mortar?
7. Lots of people contact or not?
8. Creative or logical?
9. Capital intensive or at-home start-up?
10. Ideas: innovative or copycat?
11. Secure income or new venture?
12. High workload or systems oriented?
13. You: self-employed or chief resource coordinator?
14. Product/Service: fun, meaningful or serious?
15. Work time: flexible or structured?
16. Individuals or teams?
17. Existing customer base or build-up from scratch?
18. Your talents and passions or any business?
19. Automated business or tied to the business?
20. Growth potential or cash-flow now?

For extra insights, you can also clarify ‘why’ you chose the answer you did. Again, patterns will emerge and you will identify a clear direction for your business search. Once you have a clear picture of the business structure and design which will work for you and your ideal lifestyle, start to investigate business opportunities which meet your criteria.

What is your biggest challenge in starting a small business of your own? Share it in the comments section below. If you need to share more than just a comment, call the Start-Up Experts!

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