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Small Business Revitalization Blog

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

What's Missing In Your Business?

You know that feeling you get when you know something is missing, but you just don't know what it is?  You 'should' be making way more money, but you're not.  You 'should' be moving forward faster with your projects, but you're not.  You 'should' be engaging with way more people, but you're not!  

When I looked underneath all of the 'shoulds' in one of my businesses it came down to one thing.  Consistency. I was great at doing lots of the things that were needed to make it work. Occasionally. Randomly. When I felt inspired. When I remembered. When I wasn't distracted with client projects. And when I looked at the times the business had worked really well, it was when I was doing the business generating and expanding activities CONSISTENTLY!

Most of us have some idea of what to do to create growth in our business.  When we first started we figured it out - because it was get it to work or go back to the JOB.  Motivation comes from interesting places!  And once we had it figured out and the business was moving forward, we got busy with other activities.  The actions that sound important, the actions that are required to service our customers. The actions that took us away from the genuinely essential actions.

These are the actions that keep a business running...  Somewhere in your business there are some actions missing that make the difference between a thriving business and a surviving business.  What are they?  It's different for every business.  You know your business model and you know what it takes to keep the engine humming.  And if you aren't sure, that's your first action - find out!!

If you know what it is, how much attention are you giving to the daily, weekly or monthly actions that keep the engine in tune and humming along effortlessly?  If a few things have fallen off the consistency wagon, now is the time to change that.

I know what you are thinking.  "If it was easy for me to be consistent with these things I'd be doing it!"  Yes, I hear you! Consistency not natural for me either - I much prefer to play with new ideas!!  And I'm inviting you to find a way to make it work for you - because you know and I know that when you do these things consistently, your business will grow!

Here are three ways I get myself in the energy of being consistent:
1)  Produce in blocks.  For example, instead of writing random blog posts because I haven't posted lately and I need to show up, I'll write 10 - 15 posts at a time and schedule them in advance.  Faster and easier and everyone feels the love!

2)  Delegate.  There are just some things you'll never get to.  Find someone who is better than you at the task in hand and make it their job to deliver regularly.  Make a diary note so you can check the task is being completed.

3)  Power Hours.  I've talked about these before.  They are one of my favourite things.  Make a list of all those small things that need doing regularly that you just have to do and set aside a daily or weekly power hour.  It might be making client appointments, paying your team.  Whatever it is that will create more space and more possibilities for the future, schedule it!  Some weeks I even have two!  Because I know that an hour of priorities each week saves me many more hours down the track.  And we'd all like to work less right?

So, this week's business coaching challenge is to identify at least two things that would make a difference to your business if you did them consistently, and set up a system for getting them done!  You don't need to be the source, you just need a system that works!

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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 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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Leading Consciously - What's Your Why?

Simon Sinek wrote a great book called 'Start with Why'.  If you want to sell more, attract better staff, have more buy-in for your projects or build a brand people love, start here!



When you stop pursuing money for the sake of it and start pursuing your dreams because they are so awesome,  magic shows up!!

People buy why you do it, not what you do!!

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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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Creating New Business Possibilities

Staying positive in business is about getting and staying unstuck! The easiest way to get unstuck is to create change in the area of “stuckness” – it doesn’t have to be the ‘right’ and perfect change… just enough change for us to see the situation differently!  At that point magic can happen!

When I’m stuck (yes it still happens occasionally!!) I like to ask… ‘What other possibilities could I consider here?’ and list at least ten.  If we are willing to have ease in our life and business, our choice can always be for change rather than challenge!

When you are choosing which of these new possibilities to play with, always go with the one that feels the lightest – it will have the most potential for creative change.  When something feels heavy it is usually a less than joyful choice for us.  So what would it take for you to choose to shift the energy of your business just by making different choices?  

Sometimes these choices look tiny but can swing big possibilities!  Sometimes choices that feel really big actually make little discernable difference.  (This is one time when size doesn’t matter!!!)  Be brave – when everything changes, you can change everything!!

Ask which choice will create the most possibilities for bliss and head in that direction.  It may look like a detour, but sometimes those less-travelled routes are far more scenic and enjoyable than we can ever imagine at the start of the journey.  

Here’s a few other questions that can create more possibilities in your life and business…

•   What would it take to change this?
•   What else is possible that I haven’t thought of yet?
•   Who can help me change this?
•   What would I change if I could change anything in the universe?
•   What possibilities have I not thought of yet?  What would it take to see these possibilities with clarity?

Scientist have proven that when a butterfly flaps its wings the changes are felt on the other side of the world… what are you willing to create and change today that can change your world?  It’s just a choice you know!!

(Sometimes it takes someone else to help us see these possibilities – if you want to harness some group energy in creating change – come play with us on the Gold Coast on October 19th – we’re creating a whole lot of new possibilities for all who attend!!)

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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 Delivering The Lifestyle You Desire?

A recent survey of almost 2000 small to medium Australian businesses by Quest Newspapers has highlighted that 71% of business owners are in business because of lifestyle factors such as following their passion, creating better work/life balance and being their own boss.

More than 67% of SME owners are working more than 41 hours a week and more than one third work more than 51 hours a week.  This mismatch between intention and reality is often a source of unhappiness or distress for business owners.

As a business coach I spend a lot of time helping business owners achieve more of what they want in their business in a lot less time!  Here’s five simple steps that can make your business more joyful for you and more aligned with the original reasons you started the business!

  1. Develop an inspiring vision and focus on doing the things that will get you there.
  2. Know where you add the most value to the business. Focus on your strengths and what you are passionate about.
  3. Delegate or outsource the ‘$20’ jobs that you hate but do out of habit or your need to be in control.
  4. Create a culture that values work/life balance… starting with YOU!
  5. Focus on the important, rather than the urgent. Use your time wisely and schedule time for the important.
What is your best tip for maintaining work/life balance?  Share it below!

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Ordinary or Extraordinary? Which Is Riskier?


Quirky brand inspiration via Giant Ideas

Think about the businesses you interact with.  Can you name more than five that offer you an outstanding experience every time?  Can you even name one?

Being ordinary in business is easy. You don’t have to think much. You don’t need to do anything different or unusual. You don’t need to be brave.  You don’t need to stand for something. You don’t need to get out of your comfort zone.

The outcome? You don’t stand out from your competitors. You don’t attract raving fans.  And you certainly don’t get extraordinary results!  Being ordinary doesn’t cost much…. Or does it?

Is your business joyful and fun or is it all pain, suffering and gory?  Your answer will depend on your brand and culture… If your brand is more beige than magenta, and your culture is more ‘slit your wrists’ than celebration, it may be time to rethink the risks of being ordinary! When you develop an extraordinary brand and a supportive culture you open up possibilities for magic to occur…  

Talented and amazing people will want to work for you because the way you do things is enticing and engaging.  Customers will become raving fans because you offer something rare and exciting.  Suppliers will want to partner with you because your business is growing.  

Three steps to generating a phenomenal brand:
  1. Identify the personal promises your brand makes publicly.
  2. Create extraordinary experiences around these promises.
  3. Weave the delivery of these experiences through your company culture.
Ready to take the risk of building a brilliant brand and a contagious culture?  Give yourself permission to BE unique… rather than just talking about it!  Create a phenomenal brand at the REVIVE Business Coaching October 2009 Playshop!

Do you have a brand vision that helps you outperform your competitors?  What have you done with your brand or culture that has created phenomenal results? Share your experiences in the comments below...

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Culture Creates Your Brand's First Impressions


Antique shop doorknocker... a perfect match for first impressions?
(Flickr: Dominic's Pics)

Your impact on potential clients, customers and team members starts with their first impressions.  Those first few moments of communication are driven by your culture and your brand... how does your business meet expectations?

I like to think of culture as the internal representation of your brand.  It's the intangible stuff that people actually feel when they deal with your business.  Many business owners spend little time thinking about culture... they think they are too busy making money! 

Here's a little food for thought... Zappos is a US based retailer that has built a business from zero to $1billion!  And they think culture is really really really important.  They even have a culture book - it's a huge 450 insightful, fascinating pages long!  If you are wondering whether you need to think more deeply about culture in your business here's a few questions you might want to ask...

  1. Did I start my business because I hated who/where I worked for before?  (If so, then culture is important to you... what sort of culture are you building? What sort of leader are you choosing to be?)
  2. Do I wake up in the morning and get really excited about going to work?  (If not then your business culture isn't working for you!)
  3. Do I have a long line of people wanting to work for me, even though I haven't got any job vacancies right now?  (If not then no-one knows how amazing your culture or your company is... you might need to build your brand!)
  4. Do I look at other companies and wish I could work for them instead?  (If so you need to develop your culture and your brand to be more appealing to yourself right now!)
  5. Do I keep wondering how to have my team take more ownership in their roles? (If so, you may want to consider the role the right culture could play in developing productivity!)
Culture permeates every area of your business.  How your customers are treated.  How your team treat each other.  How productive your business is.  How much happiness there is in your daily working environment.  How much money you make.... You can't afford to forget about culture!

Is it time to reconsider your culture and your brand and how they can enhance each other in making your business even more phenomenal?  Book your place at the REVIVE Coaching October Playshop "Use Your Creativity to Build A Remarkable Brand"  We're going to explore new perspectives on culture and branding!

I hope to see you there!
Lisa







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