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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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Starting a Business - Joy or Passion?

So you want to start a business following your passion? Here’s the thing… passion is what happened when Christ got nailed to the cross… yes, passion is a killer. Passion has limitations! It’s all about what’s sitting on the outside, it’s noisy, its brash, it’s full of movement and doing… and it doesn’t always make you money - there's a lot of convincing others to follow your passion when your business is based on passion.  

I disagree with Gary Vaynerchuk (and a whole lot of other people who say ‘follow your passion and the money will come’)… that’s the field of dreams folks, not the way to business bliss. Joseph Campbell said ‘follow your bliss’… he didn’t say ‘follow your passion’. You might think I'm being picky with words here.  I am.  Words carry distinctive energies and I know which energy I'd rather play with!

That’s because passion has an energy that is about hustle, about pushing, about coming to a conclusion and then trying to make it come true. Passion burns out…it’s doing business the hard way. Is that the platform you want for your business?  So what else is possible?

 

Building a business that brings you joy has unlimited possibilities. Joy comes from that quiet space within. It’s not dependent on how much money you make. You can simply choose to BE joy… it’s not something you have to do.

When we create our businesses based on joy we create a platform which allows each aspect of joy we create in the business to keep expanding and building. Joy spreads everywhere with ease... because the people you want to work with choose joy... and they share it when they find it!

Joy allows us to reinvent business. To take the path less travelled. To create a business where we can do what we love, in ways that bring us bliss, with people we adore. Joy is a softer and stronger platform for building business bliss.

Joy still requires a business model, it still requires promotion… but take a look at this… Recently a friend introduced me to Sourced Grocer at Teneriffe. Truly, I am in love. These beautiful people have converted an old warehouse into a gourmet grocer flower shop café delight which whispers joy in every detail.

Beautiful produce, delicious snacks, quirky styling… business cards proclaiming ‘local is lovely’… steps and cushions for lounging in the sunshine… great reading material and my most favourite bit of all… a really joyful team – you can feel the vibe as soon as you arrive… people who really love what they are doing…and guess what all of that brings? A steady stream of customers who get the vibe and contribute to the joy… fantastic word of mouth advertising… and heaps of repeat business.

 

What are you choosing?  To follow your bliss or to follow your passion?? 

 

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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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How can your business become more rewarding?

      

Have you ever noticed how many people talk about business as being hard work, boring or too difficult?  Have you ever wondered what else was possible? 

Most people think business must be done in a ‘traditional’ way, where it is all very heavy and responsible.  What if you could function from a space where your business was joyful, creative and amazing – everyday? 
When I started my businesses I only had two criteria:  that I could make insane amounts of money and that I could have a really good time doing things I love…  Yes, it is possible, and here is one of my favourite ideas for creating a phenomenal business that works for you.

Have you decided that you are the business?  When a small business first starts, it is common to see the business owner being everything to everybody and suffering under the strain and stress!  Often this is a result of being under-capitalized or thinking that you ‘should’ be in control of everything.  So, what if you were willing to allow support to arrive from anywhere?  What if you choose to focus on your strengths?  Would you be a lot more productive?

Is it time for you to get creative in the ways that you attract support for your business.  Consider:  delegating, outsourcing, contra arrangements, networking, mastermind groups, coaches, mentors and most of all generating opportunities by being willing to ask “What else is possible?”…  

Rewarding synergies are created when we are willing to ask for help.  Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!  What would it take to make your business phenomenally joyful?

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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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Scam Alert on Domain Names

Recently I registered a couple of .com.au domain names.  Not long after, I received a very official looking letter from www.domainregister.com.au asking me to pay for these names (again!).  A closer look revealed that these were the .com versions of the sites I had recently registered - and they were offering me the domain names for just $249 each!!  

A quick check on www.godaddy.com revealed that I could get them for $9.99 USD each - a saving of over $450!!!  Of course there was also the enticement of a "free" Ipod Shuffle to take your attention away from the basic offer... Remember that there is generally no such thing as a free lunch... my friends at Domain Register were still making a rather tidy profit from those less vigilant with their accounts!!

The other part of this equation to consider was did I need the .com domains - clearly not as I did not choose to register these first time around...  It always pays to be 'buyer beware' when you receive invoices.  Do check what you are paying for carefully.  It would have been easy to have let that one slip through...and that is exactly what companies like this are hoping for...


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3 Ways to Ensure Networking Delivers More Profits!

      
Many small business owners ignore the marketing strategy of networking because they don’t see obvious results on the bottom line, or they feel they are just too busy to invest the time that networking requires. 

Here’s 3 quick tips on how to leverage your networking investment and maximize the results: 
1.    Define your networking objectives clearly.
‘Getting some leads’ is not a clear objective.  Consider the following instead:
•    Make contact with at least three people who want to know more about what I do
•    Meet someone who can ……….(fill in the gap – what do you need to make your business work better right now?)
•    Find at least two opportunities for joint ventures or promotional partnerships…
Now that you know exactly ‘who’ you are looking for, networking is going to start working for you!!

2.    Follow up!!!
By this I do not mean collect as many cards as you can and add them to your database without asking!!!  Be strategic in your follow-ups:
•    Write notes on the back of the person’s business card if you need to follow up in any way.  Do what you promised within 48 hours.
•    Set up an automated process on your website where you can enter their details into your database – BUT you give them the choice to opt-in!  I actually share an example ezine with my prospects to entice them to sign-up.
•    Be willing to explore.  I often have coffee with people I’ve met just to explore what the possible opportunities are – a quick brainstorm can lead to outstanding profit generating projects!

3.    Measure your networking returns
If you don’t know what you get out of networking events, it’s time to start measuring the return on your marketing investment for each event that you attend.  
•    Set up a simple spreadsheet that notes investment of both time and money, the follow-ups and the outcomes.
•    Measure the returns on any joint promotions that you undertake.
•    Measure the referrals you receive from people you have met networking.

Networking will work for you, when you start working it!  I always go to events with the approach of ‘how can I help you get what you need?”  Give first and you will always receive!

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Finding Your Passion

It is oft said 'follow your passion and the money will come'  to those both wise and wayward enough to start their own business!  What if you can't choose?  What if you don't think your passion will earn enough?  What if it would stop being your passion if you did it for money? (now that is something to think about!!)

Randy Komisar from Standford University has some really insightful things to say about passion...enjoy!!

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Social Media is Buzzing for Small Business

Everywhere I look at the moment there is buzz around using social media as a marketing tool!  Twitter and Facebook are constantly in the news and the growth of 'how to' information is almost overwhelming.  It was refreshing to come across some great social media statistics today that shed some light on what's really happening out there! Over 800 businesses were surveyed by Michael A Stelzner from the Social Media Marketing Industry Report and the tangible results being achieved were very encouraging, especially as using social media is free (except for your time investment):

  • Generated exposure for my business (81%)
  •  Increased my traffic, subscribers or opt-in list (61%)
  • Resulted in new business partnerships (56%)
  • Helped us rise in the search rankings (52%)
  • Generated qualified leads (48%)
  • Reduced overall marketing expenses (45%)
  • Helped me close business (35%)
So what is your social media strategy?  If you don't have one, now is the time to start!  Email me if you'd like my free 'Get Started on Twitter' guide! Of course, for Revive Coaching clients, there will be a much more comprehensive guide coming your way soon!

Just for the record, after being on Twitter for less than two weeks, I received my first prospective client enquiry!  How does it get any better than that?

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Want to achieve more? Get your objectives clear!

marketing objectives, targets, goals; how to set a marketing budget
   
I come from a family packed full of entrepreneurs and small business owners. Just lately I've been to quite a few family functions and have been loving talking to people about their various businesses. 

What's interesting is how often people expect a simple perfect answer when they haven't actually told me what they really want to achieve!  To be successful in any area of your business decision-making, you need to start with your objectives and goals!
For example, I am commonly asked about how to set a marketing budget: "Do you set the marketing budget as a percentage of sales or are there better options?"  My usual response is "It depends, what are you trying to achieve?" 

There are some broad rules of thumb around percentage of turnover for most industries, but if you really want to set a marketing budget that is appropriate for your business you need to ask yourself the following:
  • What are the specific business objectives that my marketing budget is supporting?
  • What marketing strategies do I need to use to achieve these business objectives effectively?
  • How much will effective implementation of these marketing strategies cost?
  • Are there other hidden costs involved?  (e.g. lots of time or resources, or compromises on gross profit if pricing strategies are a part of the solution?)
  • Can my business afford this marketing strategy?  If not, what are my alternatives?
When you ask questions like these, you are setting your marketing budget strategically, rather than operationally.  You are seeing this budget as an investment which will bring a return to your business... just make sure you measure the results of your efforts so that you know exactly which 20% of your marketing budget is creating the 80% of the results!!!

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