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Small Business Revitalization Blog

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

Does Size Matter?

I ask a lot of questions about my businesses every single day.  It’s part of having a constantly generative, creative, expansive energy running through everything I do.  One thing that has come up in my awareness this week is the question of size.

Does size matter?  For me, apparently it does!  I was looking at what wasn’t moving forward quickly and I realised that most of those things weren’t big enough - they were boring me with their smallness! 



The more I explored the more I could see how the size of a project becomes an inspiration to me.  Which is one of the reasons I still do occasional consulting work for large businesses - it's that enticement of having a much bigger playground to apply my creativity and capacities to.  


The obvious conclusion from this is - "I need to make my businesses way larger."  And that's where most people stop.  Not me!  

Something didn't feel correct. I asked more questions.  "What is it about BIG that I love?"  It's about having bigger budgets, more resources for creating faster, more engagement with talented brilliant people, more flexibility to experiment, more possibilities showing up by being more visible, more toys to play with…

  

"How could I create that?" came next.  And I realised that I am very very close to having all of the energies I love in my businesses right now.  With a few tweaks, all of that could be put into place over the next couple of months with ease.

"What else is there to know about this?"  I have this way of popping into social media just when the exact piece of information I require is available.  Yesterday someone wrote something like "the universe has no point of view about size - creating something small or large is just as easy, so why not start with large?"   

And that fired my imagination some more.  "If I stop making it all about size, what else could be possible?  What would I ask for that I have never asked for before because it was too big or too small?"  Yeah, you can hear my ideas going off like popcorn right now!!

Imagine if we took away all of our judgements about size and asked for the elements of what we would like to create instead?  Would that create a different future for your business? It is for mine!


(In case you are wondering, this is what business coaching with Lisa Murray is like... a series of ever-expanding conversations and questions that create and outcreate and create some more! I was just doing my thing on myself...as a follow-on from a conversation I had with my mentor about how I could have everything move forward faster.)


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Got a Flexible Map for 2013?

 

This time of year is flush with people posting their ‘year in review’ thoughts, dissecting everything that went right or wrong with the year before, and promising themselves they’ll do better.  Because I am always seeking a greater return on the energies I invest in my businesses, my personal ‘planning’ strategy is to explore the energies that are going to make the greatest difference in the upcoming year.

Why don’t I look at the previous year?  I review where I’m at about 25,000 times a year… my choices are made daily, based on what is possible in that particular moment, not on what was possible last week, last month or last year.  Have you noticed how fast the world is changing?  Is it time for our planning processes to catch up with the space we actually are operating from?

This radical difference in my ‘planning process’ led me to create these Ten Commandments for Dynamic Business Growth.   So, #1 became “Treat your business as an asset – create FOR the future, not FROM the past.”  What does this mean in practical terms? Lots of change and lots of choices!

Firstly, what I don’t do…

  • I don’t assume that just because I did something in a particular way in 2012 (or before!) that it will create the same result in 2013.
  • I don’t assume that products I have created before will continue to produce results.
  • I don’t assume that previous ideas that I haven’t got to yet are the ones for this year.
  • I don’t assume that I must build on what I did previously.
  • I don’t assume that anything will be the same, including me!  (I did over 60 days of training in tools and techniques to create change during 2012… I use the tools daily and constantly create from a different space as my awareness expands!)

Instead of doing business from the ‘rinse and repeat’ cycle, I do business from a universe of possibilities – I ask lots of questions about what will allow me to ‘outcreate and grow’.  Which one is more fun for you?  Do you love creating more and more and greater?  Or do you love doing the same thing over and over and over, with ever-diminishing results, as your competitors catch on and copy you?  It’s just a choice.

And that choice is how you build your business assets from future possibilities rather than past performance.   To build your business assets you need to be present with your business.  Aware of everything connected to your business performance.  Willing to change any of it in any moment.  

Most businesses are so committed to the past that the present disappears in the overwhelm of keeping up.  What if you never had to keep up?  What if you could just keep choosing whatever would create the greatest possibilities for the future?

That’s what commandment #1 offers… a choice to build the future from the now, not the past.

Curious?  Want some more examples and practical tools so you can use these commandments in your business?

Download your free poster and find out more at www.revivecoaching.com/growth

And one more thing…these commandments are a moveable feast… they are what’s working right now!   I’d love to know what YOUR commandments for growing your business are… do you have a favourite you can share?    Lisa

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Being Present with Your Strengths



Like many perfectionists, for many years I chased the ever elusive ‘fix your weaknesses’ story, always putting myself in places where I could work on my weaknesses. Sadly this strategy did not bring me or my employers a whole lot of joy and I eventually got smart enough to avoid choosing the jobs that were too focused in those areas of weakness.

At one point I graduated to telling my employer why it would not be a good idea to give me certain tasks… I explained these tasks were not a natural talent and ability for me and they would be wasting their and my time given my capacities in other areas!  Of course, most people ignored this, preferring to squash the square peg into the round hole until they created a big mushy mess of misery for them and me.  Imagine if Frank Gehry had become a bricklayer instead of the magnificent architect he is?  The world would be much the poorer and he would be finding a whole lot less joy in his work!

I see this often with business owners – instead of allowing our team to shine in ways that are natural to them, we create a set of expectations and conditions that create the exact opposite.  And then we wonder why the business is not performing!!  As a business coach, it’s my job to sometimes deliver a little tough love to either the employee who is not loving their work or the business owner who is not creating the possibility for that in the workplace.  

Performance issues are almost always a result of the manager and the employee not being present with the strengths of the person who is not performing.  When we are truly present with our own strengths, talents and capacities it allows us to choose or create a role that is perfect for us (rather than twist, bend and mutilate ourselves to become perfect for the role!!)  

When we are present to our capacities, we work with ease and can easily outcreate and outdeliver almost anyone else… When you have a whole company full of people being present with their capacities and those people are in the roles best suited to their strengths, competition becomes irrelevant because you have a massive peak performance advantage!

Having this presence embodies a confidence, a connection with self and the willingness to be a contribution far beyond what most people see as possible.  Owning this inner presence individually and as a business builds in a set of distinctively different competencies that are incredibly difficult to copy well.  If you desire to build a sustainable, peak performing business, this is a great place to start! 

At the next New Energies of Business events we are bringing you two amazing speakers who live this strategy in their workplaces and beyond… what if we could have peak performance as the norm, instead of wading through the challenges of performance management way too often?  Would that make your business more blissful??  

If you’d like to know more, join us for an adventurous day of uncommon insights into what’s working right now!!  Bookings and more info at www.NewEnergiesOfBusiness.com  (Upcoming dates:  November 2011 in Brisbane and February 2012 on the Sunshine Coast)

(Guggenheim Bilbao image via Pinterest)

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Overcome Procrastination - Harness The BIG Idea!



This week I’ve been hot on the trail of creating #TopSecretProject
(soon to be revealed!!) with two colleagues who share some common frustrations around networking, workshops and business!  It’s been fascinating seeing just how much action is being taken since we came up with the ‘BIG Idea’ in just 3 hours on Tuesday!

Do you find you take way more action when you have a big, inspiring idea that you want to create?  When was the last time you chose to follow your instincts and create an awesome idea that really had your attention?

As small business owners, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the daily doo-doo, procrastinating on all the stuff we 'should do',  rather than asking:
  • What would be a game-changer here? 
  • What would boost my business beyond what I can imagine?
  • What would give my clients massive results? 
  • What one strategy could move my business into the stratosphere?
Instead we play small.  Get stuck in doing the little things that make us feel like we are moving forward, but which are so slow and so incremental that nothing amazing ever really shows up!  Is this enough for you and your business?  Do you really want to creep slowly forward or would you be willing to leap tall buildings with a single step?

So, what would it take to implement a BIG Idea in your business today?
1.   Gather a small team of people who are willing to have massive change show up with ease.
2.   Discuss the resources, talents and abilities available, the common challenges and what you’d like to see instead.
3.   Come up with a BIG Idea that has the capacity to be a game-changer for your business and your customers.
4.   Take massive action very quickly.  What can you get ready within a week?  How soon can you launch?
5.   Ensure you create a support plan for leveraging the game-changer over the long term.  Know why you are instituting your BIG Idea, what you hope to achieve and what happens after the launch.

If you are tired of being the only motivating force in your business, play with a different model!  Find people with similar values who are willing to contribute to the possibilities of a BIG Idea.  And act quickly.  Work out if the idea has legs and start running!!

You can do this with an internal team or as a strategic alliance.  I am working with two other business people whose values match mine.  We are geographically dispersed but have kept the momentum going daily via Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and Dropbox (great for file-sharing!). 

Share your experiences below in the comments section...
have you ever used a BIG Idea to get yourself moving?  Would you like to but something is stopping you?  What support do you need to give your business a boom?

Image courtesy Flickr user Gene Hunt, via CC

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Are You Leading Intuitively?


My business coaching clients often ask how they can be better leaders… of staff, suppliers, partners, in the community and with their family.   

There are many leadership theories that could keep you enthralled for at least a couple of minutes, until you realize that in these times of extraordinary change these models are incredibly challenging to use effectively and rarely create the visionary results you are looking for!

Look around.  There’s traditional command and control leaders, servant leaders, transformational leaders, charismatic leaders - the list goes on...   Traditional leadership styles mostly rely on various forms of force, exclusion, competition and separation - managing and shaping people in ways that inadvertently limit their contributions and stop the business from being extraordinary.

Traditional leaders almost always work from a paradigm where their experience gives them many past reference points, which leads to a habit of triangulating their beliefs, expectations, judgments, projections and obligations so that they can ‘make sense’ of their world.

This approach creates a set of decisions and conclusions which paint the leader into a fixed position where they become vested in a specific outcome and then they are faced with layer after layer of limitations instead of new possibilities, creativity and innovation!  Does this really sound like something you would like to have in leading your business?  What if there was another choice?

Conscious leadership allows maximum creativity, contribution, collaboration and flow.  Conscious leadership allows leaders to be expansive, to use their full capacities, to approach business with ease, joy and a sense of abundance.  

When you are leading consciously, you have the ability to perceive what’s possible, to know where change can create and generate more expansion and ease, to be the greatness of who you truly are, and to receive and actualize the unlimited possibilities that the universe offers up anew in every moment!  

Conscious leaders have insight, energy, vision, creativity, joy, caring, spontaneity and the ability to dissolve conflict with ease.  When you connect what is happening right now with the infinite possibilities the universe offers, you are leading consciously.

Conscious leaders create results through the power of their presence, their choices and their personal actions. They expand possibilities rather than contract them.  They BE the change they desire to see in the organization, first, whether anyone else follows or not!

Would you be willing to claim, own and acknowledge your infinite capacity to be a conscious leader?  We can all be conscious leaders – even children can lead consciously - it is just a choice!    You can start right now:  for every choice you need to make today, ask yourself:  “Will this expand or contract the possibilities for this business?”  The path has already opened for you!

Questions or comments on conscious leadership?  Please share below!

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Why would you reinvent business?


"no matter what the cost to our people..." is the bit that most organisations conveniently forget to add!!


Recently I had a fit of curiosity and asked my LinkedIn connections for ideas on how they would reinvent business.  I had a heap of thought-provoking responses, including the fellow  who wrote back and pretty much said it’s been a fabulous system for the past few hundred years and there’s no reason to change a thing! 

After I got over wondering where he keeps his blinkers while he sleeps, I started thinking about what an interesting response it was – I’ve been searching for years, how could I possibly have missed the Centre of Utopian Business?  Does it exist or is it yet to be created?

Here’s the top 5 things I’ve seen since I’ve been in the workforce that really don’t work…  (hmmm the word ‘workforce’ does not exactly exude joy does it? Could we call our people ‘peopleflow’ or ‘playflow’ instead??)

1.   Since the industrial revolution business has put profits well in front of people, leading to record-breaking levels of bullying, stress, depression, death, slave labour, environmental destruction and many other non-joyful outcomes, all for the benefit of the few at the top.

2.   The business world has a really severe case of ‘meeting-itis’ – apparently no drugs have been found to cure it yet and the virus is confusing people into believing they are leading rich, rewarding, purposeful lives.

3.   The insanely competitive race for profits, efficiency and productivity has seen the death of honesty, integrity and authenticity at pretty much all levels of many organizations, leading to a talent exodus from big business.  The structures that have sustained us for hundreds of years are disintegrating quickly!

4.   There is a lack of innovation and creativity in most businesses – real differentiation is rare except in the new-fangled creative accounting departments which sadly surprise us with their financial ingenuity far too often!

5.   There is little sense of true connection or community, even though bank advertising would have you believe it’s all about the love they have for us (LOL!).  There is mostly surface level connection between shareholders, senior managers, staff and customers – instead it is all about secrets, sabotage and scarcity.  What if there could be true non-competitive collaboration instead?

What would it take to reinvent business in ways that allow new and more blissful business choices?  The good news is, some of the real leaders in business (and generally that’s NOT the CEO’s of big business!) have already started paving the way…  times like these create massive possibilities for those willing to be different!!

Some businesses are choosing to make their workplace an engaging and enticing place to spend 8 hours a day rather than worrying about every last cent – think Google, Red Balloon Days and Carmen’s Fine Foods - (funnily enough they are all growing businesses.)

Some leaders are smart enough to know that ‘meeting-it is’ can be cured using holistic approaches – apparently simply holding a stand-up meeting will bring massive relief to sufferers!

Smart, intuitive, creative people are leaving big corporations to start their own businesses in droves because there is no bliss, love or joy to be found in traditional business and spending 8 – 12 hours a day doing something you hate just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Many are now building their own authentic, collaborative, inspirational communities so that business can be reinvented to sustain purpose, people and profits!  

I predict that over time these new leaders will be teaching the old leaders how it’s done…  Every day I connect with courageous, interesting, creative business owners and employees looking for ways to reinvent business that are ethical, blissful and sustainable… what would it take to be the change you want to see in the world?  (Or you could keep on with groundhog day… how’s it working for you??)

Want to join a conversation of real leaders?  Here’s a couple of choices for you:

Connect with people who are ‘different like you’ for two blissful days of Unconference presentations and conversations at The Bliss Connection in beautiful Maleny (Qld, Australia) on 30/31 October 2010…

or connect with BlissTribe on Facebook!

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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 www.onstartups.com) :

“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 www.onstartups.com too - what's your best strategic business advice?  Share it below...

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Is Vision or Pricing Strategy Most Important?


(Kirsiri - a Passion Fest highliight!)

Are you better off having a strong vision and not so strong implementation, or a weaker vision and phenomenal implementation?  For business owners this question can mean the difference between success and failure.  Here’s a small case study that demonstrates exactly what the risks are…

I went to a local Passion Tasting Festival on the weekend.  The idea of the festival was engaging.  The publicity on the festival was great.  The website was fabulous. The vision sounded intriguing.  But…it was a complete fizzer

The first warning sign was it cost me $100 a head to get in the door!  Quite a daunting price, but I was primarily going as research for a new venture.  When we arrived, we could see about 10 tents on a sports field – I could feel that $100 disappearing before my eyes.  Once inside, we discovered that there truly was little to see besides a few market stalls, the occasional performance (an excellent tribal dance by Kitsiri!) and almost nothing new to discover when it comes to living your passion.  What’s more, there were only about 10 other paying customers there…

So, what went wrong?  Strong vision… but in a nutshell the pricing strategy was a failure!   When you set pricing for anything, there are a few things to consider if you want to be successful…

* What is your end goal?  Often there will be a trade-off between volume of transactions and gross profit – work out which one is most important to your business.

* What creates value for your customers?  In this case, their stallholders required a high volume of traffic and festival visitors required a high volume of interesting things to see and do… both missed out!!

* If what you are doing isn’t working – change something!!  It must have been clear some weeks ago that ticket sales were virtually nil.  Instead of slugging it out and failing, what could have happened if the organizers were willing to sell tickets for $10 each?  At least a few hundred people would have turned up… and stall holders and presenters would have been happy – a starting point for future events… I heard they were actually turning people away at the gate who didn’t want to pay the premium gate price of $125 a ticket!!

The lessons?  Less rhetoric, more understanding of your customers.  Less greed, more flexibility in your business model.  Business really is that simple!!

Want to know more about pricing and how it can make your vision rock?  Check out this month’s Playshop – it’s all about money!!



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Who else can contribute to your business?


Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gi/

Two years ago I effectively had a network of about 50 people including my friends – I was shy, introverted and mostly preferred my own company! Not only that, I really didn’t want anyone to see me – I rather liked being invisible!!  Or so I told myself…

Now, my network extends to thousands of people, I’ve become a coach, mentor, author and speaker, and I enjoy personal connections with more phenomenal people than I thought existed!!

What changed?  Firstly I became aware that I could offer so much more to the world if I would follow my bliss.  This bliss is evolving into an enormous vision that will create more joy and ease with people all over the world.

The phenomenal size and intent of my  vision and my commitment to living it daily has allowed me to be as generative, joyful, inspirational, expansive, captivating, and spectacular as I truly be… (and no, it wasn’t a 10 second transformation – it did take a little bit of focus on getting rid of the blocks that had put me in that unblissful disconnected place originally!)

Being that energy of bliss and inspiration and expansiveness has attracted amazing connections for me – neither I nor my business would be what we are today without the contribution of so many people…  When I stopped playing small and insignificant, the universe started delivering big!!

What would it take for you to start living beyond your imagination?  Who could you meet that could transform your life into living and working blissfully?  Who do you need to know that you aren’t connected with yet?

There’s only one way to find out and that’s to start getting connected!  


Online:  LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are fabulous starting points - or particpate in a forum with topics that interest you.
Offline:  Local networking groups, Local MeetUp groups and being the invitation with people you already know will get you started…

Want to connect your business to the people who make a difference online?  The Content Marketing Made Simple Playshop on March 22 will help you design a connection strategy based on your knowledge and expertise!

How do you connect?  What do you find difficult in connecting?  Share your experiences via the comments link below...


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