Don’t build your team with people who think just like you, unless you want your business to stagnate.
Don’t build your team with people who think just like you, unless you want your business to stagnate. Fresh perspectives and new ideas expand your business in unexpected ways. Race and ethnicity are the first things that come to mind when you consider diversity. However, thought diversity is starting to emerge in the workplace.
How you think is more important than what you think. Does your team prefer consensus or innovation? Emerging leaders prefer genuine input rather than group buy in.
Complacency destroys businesses. You stop growing and, eventually, lose your passion. How does your comfort zone influence your business?
The way of doing business continues to rapidly evolve. Therefore, what was accepted ten years ago is now outdated. Change can feel difficult. As soon as you become comfortable with one system, the technology needs an upgrade.
Consider how a fresh approach would enrich your business. A new set of eyes may quickly solve long standing problems. Plus, you may also attract clients that your old business couldn’t serve.
Accounting Today stressed the importance of thought diversity. A wide range of perspectives can boost new ideas and problem solving.
“Be open to new thought processes and opinions. The ability of a firm to change with the times and cultivate innovation could depend on it.”
Your Status Quo Holds You Back
Surround yourself with people from various cultures and backgrounds. Plus, mix up the type of thinkers you bring onto your team. Figure out where you need researchers, systems and processors, creatives and organizers.
Mix up the type of thinkers you bring onto your team. Figure out where you need researchers, systems and processors, creatives and organizers. #growyourbusiness Click To Tweet
Thought diversity will solve your most challenging concerns. Consider using a tool like Kolbe A to determine a person’s innate strengths.
Businesses, large or small, sometimes ignore the signals to change. Consider what happened to Kodak and Borders Books. Although the signs were present, they waited too long. By the time they realized the severity of their oversight, their market share had dwindled. Too little was done too late in the game. This can happen to your business, too, if you ignore the signs of change.
Challenge the Status Quo
Diverse thinking is called cognitive diversity. Here’s what Sarah, an accounting professional, noticed with a client’s business strategy. One employee developed a logical, systemized solution. He gathered facts, researched different options and then reviewed the information before deciding what to do.
Her other employee had a hunch, brainstormed her idea and then tested it out.
Both approaches, the logical, progressive one and the intuitive one, have merit. The client launched an aggressive growth strategy because of the diverse perspectives.
With thought diversity, you’re open to fresh ideas.
Here’s how to implement thought diversity in your business.
Shake up your ideas for hiring. Expand your scope. Seek people who offer different perspectives from yours. Build a team with collaborators who enthusiastically share their ideas. Interested in growth? Well, a diverse range of thinkers can help you create a new stream of revenue for your business.
Stop seeking consensus. Develop a results-focused climate. At Business Success Solution, we realize the importance of culture. We teach our business clients how to lead instead of manage. This encourages creativity and productivity.
Reward outside the box. Reward team members who offer new perspectives. Be open to novel ideas instead of shutting them down.
Collaboration leads to an ownership mentality within your business. So give your team permission to take initiative within a specific scope. Be open to fresh ideas rather than constantly requiring your permission to follow through. As a result, your role shifts from manager to leader.
Why Thought Diversity Matters
Diverse thinking offers many rewards.
Cognitive diversity is profitable. Your business gains a reputation as a resource for your clients. Clients seek you out for solutions to their challenges.
Fresh perspectives contribute to innovation. The “old ways” are more comfortable. However, they are not necessarily effective. Fresh ideas lead to innovation, stimulates creativity and improves efficiency.
Teams solve problems faster. Diverse teams resolve challenges at a quicker rate than homogenous teams. Plus, younger employees can teach your team new technology tools.
Create a culture that seeks new answers. Take your business to the next level by challenging the status quo. The benefits of change are greater than you could ever imagine.
Anticipate client needs. Cognitive diversity puts you on the cutting edge. Your clients will appreciate how your team anticipates their needs. Imagine a team that constantly seeks a better way to improve your service and the client experience.
Thought diversity contributes to forward thinking. Your clients value how you partner with them to become more profitable. #growyourbusiness Click To Tweet
Lead your clients by example. Thought diversity contributes to forward thinking. This adds value to your client relationship.
Cognitive diversity positions your business as a resource. You’ll attract new ideal clients who highly value your problem solving approach. This highly rewarding business model increases your profits and establishes you as an industry leader.
Yes, changing the way you’ve always done things can seem intimidating. Progressive thinking, however, strategically separates your business from others in your industry. At Business Success Solution, we know profitable growth will occur. But you’ve got to be willing to let go of the old way.
Are you ready to accelerate your business? The first step is to strategize your thought diversity plan. Let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary strategy session to discuss how this will work for you and your business.
Networking, when done right, will grow your business. But I’ve encountered many entrepreneurs at networking events that don’t really understand its function. Pressing your business card into someone’s hand, especially when they didn’t ask for one, will hurt your business. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs never fully take advantage of everything networking offers.
You tend to like people who are similar to you. So you’ll naturally gravitate to groups who share your interests. That makes a lot of sense. However, creating connections only with those groups limits you. It lacks diversification.
Actually three primary types of groups exist.
Networking Up. These are professionals who are more successful than you.
Cross networking. These are your peers, although they may not be in the same profession as you.
Networking Down. Don’t dismiss this group; they’re valuable and important. In these groups, you’re the networking up connection. It’s not about their current level of success. The value lies in what they do and building relationships. You don’t know who they know.
The Father of Networking
Recently I attended the BNI National Conference. Business Networking International (BNI) is a networking organization. Attending this conference is an opportunity to connect with some of the best networkers in the country.
Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, described his networking up experience. Through a series of introductions, he eventually received an exclusive invitation from Richard Branson to visit Necker Island.
Networking up strategically connects you with meaningful people who you believe are more successful than you. Who would you like to meet that is more established than you? Once you identify that person, or a group of people, then build relationships with them.
Networking up strategically connects you with meaningful people who you believe are more successful than you. #growyourbusiness Click To Tweet
Frequently my business coaching clients will tell me, “Loren, they already claimed the top position, I can’t compete.”
The reality, however, is there’s plenty of room at the top. It’s the bottom that’s really crowded. So look for those game changing opportunities. With consistency and time, you’ll develop these connections.
You build your circle of influence with one introduction at a time. Then that person introduces you to someone else, who then introduces you to another person. Each introduction is your opportunity to build another meaningful relationship.
Dr. Misner shared his lessons learned from networking up.
Don’t sell to them. Never ask someone to buy from you if you don’t have a relationship. Basically, everyone is interested in selling to them. You don’t want to get lumped into that category. Connect in another way. If they’re interested, they’ll ask.
Hang out. Hang out with people who force you to uplevel. Your local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club or, BNI group are great starting points. People who are more successful than you will be in those rooms. Eventually evolve to a volunteer position with a select non-profit organization. That’s where you’ll meet people higher up than you. Take little steps. Success is a ladder where you take one step at a time. Be a giver and focus on building relationships. These steps will lead to invitations with more successful organizations.
Google. When possible, use Google. If you know someone you want to meet will be at an event that you’re attending, then Google them in advance. Get on the internet and find out about that person before walking up to start a conversation. Technology can even let you do some research on the spur of the moment at an event.
Interest. Figure out what they are interested in. That’s why you want to Google them. Look them up. Find information regarding their interests. That’s the discussion you want to have with that person. Connect through overlapping interests.
Embrace discomfort. If you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re not aiming high enough. Use this as a barometer when connecting with people. Uplevel. Discomfort is okay.
Don’t complain, EVER! Especially, when networking up. Don’t tell someone at the top of an organization what’s wrong with her company. That only works if you never want that person to talk with you again. Build a relationship first. Then eventually speak with that person about the challenge.
Don’t kiss up. When you’re over-eager, it repels people. That’s the exact opposite from what you want. Highly successful people get tired of having people “yes” them all day long. Be respectful and sincere. Share the impact his service has on you. Remember, to do this in a professional manner.
Networking up strategically connects you with meaningful people.
Advanced Networking Tips
Context. Connect within the context of the setting or the discussion. Say, “I’d enjoy getting together again.”
Add value. Offer something. Do something. Promise to refer to someone who can help them with their specific challenge. The 5 magical words of service “How can I help you?” Stand out by adding value. Of course, there will be times you do everything right and it never goes to the next step. That’s okay. Be true to your values, build relationships, add value and be genuinely interested. It’s okay to have goals. Whatever you do, remain professional.
Mistaken identity. Don’t assume they will remember you. Plus, don’t test them. You may not like the answer and then it becomes awkward. Make it easy for them. Introduce yourself and give them context about when you met them before. Here’s an advanced tip. If you send an email, it’s okay to also include a picture. The photo helps to jog their memory. Plus, this helps to create the right kind of connection. By prepping them, whether in person, by phone, or email, they may actually remember you.
Don’t sell to them. This reminder bears repeating. Don’t ask for business before there’s a relationship, especially when networking up. You doom the relationship when it’s done too soon. If they have some interest, they will eventually ask you.
Success. If you’re always the most successful person in a room – you’re hanging out in the wrong rooms!
Start Networking Up
Get out there and practice these things. Expect to make some mistakes as you do this. It’s okay.
If you consistently attempt to do something, you will eventually succeed. If you always quit, then you will never win. #growyourbusiness Click To Tweet
We have minimal control over succeeding or failing. On the other hand, we do control whether we choose to pursue something or quit trying. If you consistently attempt to do something, you will eventually succeed. If you always quit, then you will never win.
Networking is about building relationships. It’s about getting to know people. As you move through the “know, like and trust” process people will help you build your business. When we all work together, we all do better.
Maybe you realize the value of networking up, but it intimidates you. Then let’s talk. Discover steps to remove the doubts. Then learn how to build relationships that grow your business.
Discover the secrets of happily working in business with your spouse.
Creating a home based business seems like an ideal opportunity for a couple. Shared goals, shared space, and shared resources. This profitable model generates over $427 billion annually. Do your homework, however, before you jump into a business with your spouse.
According to incfile, “70 percent of home-based businesses are successful within three years of founding, compared with only 30 percent of regular businesses.” Your chances of success are high while your expenses are minimal. Getting started can be as simple as printing business cards and upgrading your internet connection.
Want this to last for the long run? There are a couple details to figure out first. Skipping over these things can be costly. So let’s reduce the risk of stressing out your marriage with business stuff.
Does Your Workspace Work?
Without some checks and balances your business can take over your life…and your marriage. Therefore, some minor adjustments will fix this issue.
Without some checks and balances your business can take over your life...and your marriage. #workingwithyourspouse Click To Tweet
Most entrepreneurs complain about the lack of work life balance. A home based business with your spouse will take up as much time as you choose to give it. Basically, an ongoing long list of details demand your attention.
Here’s where boundaries make a difference. They’ll create sanity instead of allowing your business to consume your life. Agree on ground rules about the business, work space in your home, and time devoted to non-work activities.
Let’s reduce the risk of stressing out your marriage with business stuff.
Your Business with Your Spouse
Our history is rich with examples of couples in business together. Surf the internet and you’ll find dream situations as well as nightmare stories. A home based business with your spouse blends marriage and business. Figuring out how to make it work without taking a toll on your marriage can be tricky.
Tips to thrive when you’re in business with your spouse:
1. Create office hours. Don’t put your toddler in the tub and then open your phone to answer one more email. Office hours become especially important when one person wants to stop at 5 pm and the other partner works continuously.
2. Treat your business like a business. You would never leave the office to transfer your laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. When you are “at work” during your office hours, leave home tasks alone. Postpone personal errands and calls with friends to your break time or after work hours.
3. Strengths. A lot of heavy lifting occurs in the beginning. As your home based business grows, you want to focus your time on the things you do best. So if you earned an advanced degree in business development, then you don’t want to spend all your time in packaging and fulfillment. Yes, your business needs to get some specific things done. However, you want to do work that brings out the best in you. That means focusing on your strengths. Otherwise, it feels like punishment when you never get to do the things you enjoy most.
Do work that brings out the best in you. That means focusing on your strengths. #workingwithyourspouse Click To Tweet
4. Carve out your work space. Some couples can easily work side by side. But that makes concentration difficult when you’re involved in a complex project while your partner loudly talks to a client on the phone. Steve likes to listen to music while I prefer quiet. So he wears noise-canceling headphones when we’re both working at home.
5. Separate your work and living spaces. Working on the couch may seem ideal. However studies show that “commuting” to your work space gets your mind in gear for work. Therefore, save the couch for movies and reading a good book.
6. Create a Do Not Disturb signal. Minor interruptions can easily break your concentration. What clues will let your partner know not to interrupt you? Some of the couples I’ve worked with choose to hang a do not disturb sign or wear their earbuds. Whatever you decide, it’s important to respect each other’s signals. Out of respect for your partner, save your questions for later or send them in an email.
Sometimes a change in place will inspire you.
7. Use your own tools. Business at home is one place where sharing becomes costly. Sharing a computer gets sticky when you both need to get work done.
8. Communication breakdown. Constant interruptions become annoying and reduce flow. Instead, figure out the best way to exchange information. One couple who had separate offices in the house relied on Slack for messaging. How often have you thought you shared a critical detail with your spouse, but never did? A messaging system reduces those oversights.
9. Create neutral ground. Keep your work space focused on work. However, a neutral ground like the kitchen is similar to the office water cooler. If you both meet in the kitchen you can stray away from work topics, spend a few minutes on fun, or share a hug and a kiss.
10. Get out of the office. Simply because your business is at home doesn’t mean your stuck there. Stake out a table at your favorite coffeehouse or work in the park on a pleasant day. Periodically, a change in location will inspire you.
11. Go home from work. Your work styles may differ. Don’t let your business with your spouse stifle your relationship. Remember to relax, do fun things together, invite friends over, go out, etc.
Spend Time Together
Remember to do fun things together.
Even with those guidelines in place, you and your partner may prefer different work flows. Being in business with your spouse is a process. As a result, you’ll discover things about one another that you didn’t realize before.
Do you go for a run together at 4 pm and then put in two hours at 8 pm.? Does your partner work all day and then shuts down at 5 pm?
Get crystal clear about each other’s preferred schedule. And remember to do fun things together. Otherwise, resentments can build. You’re more likely to succeed in your home-based business when your marriage is nurtured.
Both require attention and communication. It’s difficult to separate work and marriage, especially with a home based business. Working in business with your spouse is demanding. As a business coach, I help you grow a business that supports your lifestyle instead of one where you continually sacrifice. Schedule a complimentary strategy session to successfully grow a prosperous business together.
If you’re ready to succeed, then realize your thinking impacts your business.
I talk to a lot of people. Some people, I’ve noticed, think there’s not enough. While others believe there’s more than enough…of everything. You either lean toward a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset. Regardless of which you choose, your mind will find evidence that you’re right. If you’re ready to succeed, then realize your thinking impacts your business.
Characteristics of an Abundance Mindset
Challenges will arise in your business. Even the best plans sometimes fall apart because of human error. Do you respond to the messy challenges as stepping stones or as a dead end?
Owning and operating a counseling agency with my husband, Steve, taught me a lot about myself. There was a time when the mistakes consumed me. I realized, however, that all the skepticism was causing me to become cynical. And I didn’t like that. So I decided to do something about it.
Yes, I was getting in my own way. Our counseling agency couldn’t grow because I didn’t delegate well. That’s when I realized how success occurs from the inside out. My mindset affected our business.
Your actions validate whether you’re truly ready to succeed:
Think big. Play big instead of go small. Too many talented entrepreneurs hold back. As a result, they fail to ever reach their full potential.
Know affluence. An abundance mindset believes there is more than enough for everyone. They view other entrepreneurs as alliances, not competitors.
Positive attitude. They’re not looking to make someone wrong so they can be right. Focus on what’s within your control, then take action.
Embrace change. Growth occurs when you stop doing things the way you’ve always done them. Entrepreneurs who are ready to succeed realize others will resist change.
Proactive. Take charge. Act instead of react. By the way, prevention requires less effort than intervention.
Willingness to learn. This was a tough one in the beginning. Simply because it required a degree of transparency. So much changed once I realized that I didn’t have to know it all. Other people wanted to support me.
Focus on what is working. Commit to the journey. Even your failures have many successes tucked into them.
Get Ready to Succeed
Change really started to happen once I transitioned from therapy to business coaching. My mindset, paired with specific actions, sped up my business growth. My skepticism gradually melted away. As a result, I was more receptive to opportunities and asking for help.
Your #mindset, paired with specific actions, will speed up your business growth. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
The congruency between my desires and my actions set things in motion. My business grew. Time was freed up to develop my business rather than doing everything myself.
You’ll be amazed at how the shift from negative to positive affects your actions. Your actions influence your success. Instead of time constraints, resources or energy, I focused on various business growth opportunities. However, I remained selective about which referral partners, business resources and established network opportunities I chose to pursue.
An abundance mindset looks for the opportunities..
Your Thoughts Influence Your Success
Barbara, an accounting professional, hit a plateau. Over-thinking and day to day worries kept her up at night. In addition, long work hours, and growing resentment that she kept everyone else accountable, added to her overwhelm.
Like most accounting professionals, Barbara charged by the hour. She admits there are many times she does extra for her clients, but rarely adds those things onto their monthly bill.
Several phrases caught my attention during our strategy session. They offered clues about why she was stuck and overwhelmed.
If I raise my rates, they’ll go elsewhere.
Any accountant can do what I do.
New clients won’t work with me when they can get it cheaper somewhere else.
My clients can’t afford to pay more.
Barbara knows her clients come to her for accounting; however, her services extend beyond basic accounting. She regularly advises her clients about ways to reduce their tax bill and plan for growth.
Over-thinking causes her to continue to do things the same way. For her, success had a downside. She enjoyed her work and didn’t want to risk losing them. So her fees didn’t reflect her expertise.
Is Your Mindset Ready to Succeed
During our coaching sessions, we dove into the things which kept her stuck. She minimized her expertise and under-charged for her services. Plus, she offered some services that she didn’t enjoy, like payroll, since her clients needed them.
If you find yourself over-thinking, you believe things can be easier and you’re ready to earn more money, then what things would you need to let go of? #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
We created packages that bundled a variety of services together. Although she was concerned, Barbara discontinued offering payroll services. Getting that off her plate was a relief; however, she didn’t want to have that conversation with her clients. So we developed an approach so her clients benefitted from that decision.
Barbara gave herself permission to raise her rates. The new packages made it easier for her to adjust her rates. That’s because she was now focusing on results instead of time.
The big picture emerged. Barbara understood how her advice – money management and growth strategy – extends beyond accounting. Knowledge and insight gained from her years of accounting add tremendous value. What she offers is so much greater than basic tax compliance.
Write down everything you offer your clients.
She wrote down everything she offered her clients.
Years of experience
Expertise in solving problems
How she differs from other accounting professionals
A script was created to remember what her clients can expect. Time was set aside to practice explaining the benefits of working with her.
Barbara now owns her value. She clearly educates potential clients about how her expertise sets her apart as a business resource. What she offers extends beyond traditional accounting.
Her clients value what she brings to the table. Surprisingly, she never realized that until now. Plus, most of her clients are not as price sensitive as she imagined. All those concerns about raising her rates and losing clients have vanished.
The Vision Shift
If you find yourself over-thinking, you believe things can be easier and you’re ready to earn more money, then what things would you need to let go of?
If you’re ready to succeed, then let’s talk. Switching your focus from worry to opportunity makes all the difference. During our conversation you’ll discover the best ways to grow your business. You will be amazed at how much you can learn about yourself and your business in my complimentary strategy session. Discover your value.
Choosing your inner circle is a strategic move that grows your business.
As an entrepreneur, you’re used to doing things your way. Sometimes, however, the top seems like a lonely place. That’s because everyone turns to you with their questions. But who do you reach out to when you’re seeking answers? That’s where selectively choosing an inner circle, or mastermind, fits in. They do for you the very thing that you do for everyone else. Their high level of support and insight fuels your business growth.
Going it alone can unwittingly backfire. That’s simply because sometimes you’ll have more questions than answers. Figuring those business problems out yourself increases frustration, wastes time and costs you money.
Strategically choosing you inner circle of advisors and thought collaborators is one way to speed things up. The people you turn to, whether it’s an informal group of peers or a mastermind group, are a rich resource.
Surround Yourself with Trusted Advisors
These select individuals act as your trusted advisors. They help you gather information regarding important decisions, offer direction about the best way to deal with a difficult client or lay out the strategy for your growth plan.
When you surround yourself with people who have already achieved your goals, you gain from their experience. This move uplevels your mindset. You’ll save valuable time and money as you learn from their failures and successes.
Their approach to resolving a specific problem or the steps they took to make a strategic decision will fast track your growth. The entrepreneurs in my mastermind act as a sounding board for one another. There’s no hidden agenda. They openly offer direction and insights so you can choose the best possible decision.
The Cost of Doing it On Your Own
Attempting to figure everything out on your own can leave you swirling in a downward spiral. Every entrepreneur faces numerous decisions. Periodically, some things fall through the cracks.
Doing everything yourself eventually leads to overwhelm and burnout. Especially when everything needs to be done right now. When you’re pulled in too many directions, then choosing where to start can feel like a difficult decision.
Most entrepreneurs excel at their specific skill set, but lack specific business skills. However, there’s value to someone else reviewing your strategies and tactics. This saves you valuable time. Otherwise, you end up developing plans that don’t quite meet your exact needs.
When you don’t know the best option that would solve a problem, then you’re stalled. You’re unable to do anything because you don’t have enough information. That’s where perfectionism or procrastination often get in the way.
Choosing Your Inner Circle
No one person can do everything. Okay, maybe you can. But it’s not a long term solution.
Follow the lead of large corporations. A select board of directors offers insight regarding your best next move. Although you’re business is on a smaller scale, a collection of trusted people, similar to a mastermind group, does make a difference.
You can either create your own inner circle of advisors or join an already formed mastermind group, like the one I offer. The purpose is to gain insight regarding your business growth.
You’ll save money by avoiding costly mistakes. And you’ll increase your revenue by knowing exactly what to focus on and what to eliminate. Napoleon Hill, in his famous book Think and Grow Rich, shares his experience with the group of advisors in his mastermind group.
Everything starts with choosing your inner circle and gathering the right people. This only works if you surround yourself with people whom you trust and respect.
Which entrepreneurs do you know, admire and believe will offer support? Go ahead and reach out with an invitation into your inner circle.
Here’s what to consider when building your own mastermind group.
Ask. Invite the people you already trust, know and respect. You’ll be amazed how many people are willing to share expertise. Plus, they’ll be honored by your request.
Network. This includes online and offline networking. Begin to identify people from other professions whose skill set differs from yours. Diversity of thought offers you a competitive advantage. My inner circle includes a bookkeeper, marketer and human resources professional. We’ve developed a mutually beneficial relationship where we gain from each other’s wisdom. Once I found someone that I connected with, I asked.
You don’t need a large group. Three knowledgeable individuals who are willing to share time with you will triple your decision making power. Ideally, consider five to six individuals for your inner circle. One of my clients is part of an informal 5 person business group that meets monthly. She walks away with new ventures and insights because her group openly shares collective knowledge.
The Business Benefits
Of course, you may be thinking that spending time with other people will take up precious work hours. Yes, these relationships do require time and attention. On the other hand, an inner circle offers a number of benefits which can accelerate your business growth.
First of all, an effective inner circle offers accountability. When you tell someone you will do something specific for your business, you’re more likely to follow through. You’re less likely to disappoint someone else than yourself. Don’t surround yourself with entrepreneurs who buy into your excuses when you fail to follow through.
Speed up decision making. Instead of second-guessing yourself, your inner circle offers you honest feedback. The mastermind discussion with my clients this month covered a variety of concerns. This included the best way to let go of a non-ideal client, how to create new client programs and ways to raise fees without losing clients.
A mastermind group creates new opportunities.
Your inner circle can collaborate on ideas. Include complimentary services when choosing your inner circle. This leads to joint venture opportunities. My mastermind clients who are bookkeepers and accounting professionals frequently team up.
Combining efforts adds value to their clients. Plus, this cross referral relationship opens new opportunities for potential clients. It’s fun to see my clients make money because they developed a strategic alliance with another mastermind member.
Every member of your inner circle will know somebody who knows somebody who can help you with your business. One of my clients is going to London and was looking for additional speaking opportunities. Another client in the mastermind group offered to introduce her to a business associate that can help her get booked to speak during her trip. This is an example of how your inner circle is a valuable network.
It’s about collaboration, not competition. Align yourself with a group of entrepreneurs who will happily connect you to others within their sphere of influence.
You will find the support of your mastermind group not only gives you access to strategic resources, but bolsters your confidence by supporting your efforts. Like you, they are also taking risks to expand their impact and influence.
A Circle of Growth
All the support, tips, tactics, strategies, and collaboration will accelerate your business. Your inner circle places you in a win-win situation for your business. You’ll get new ideas, new ways of looking at old problems, solutions to burning questions, and you will form strategic alliances.
Reaching out to new people can seem intimidating if you’ve been working by yourself. Why not schedule a private strategy session? Let’s discuss how strategically choosing your inner circle will accelerate your business growth.
The exceptional few build a business from an innovative idea. Are you one of them? Like many entrepreneurs, you’re fiercely independent. That’s a necessary quality when first starting out. Holding tightly onto the reins for too long, however, creates limitations. Unfortunately, those same strengths that started your business will eventually interfere with ongoing growth. The solution is to lighten your workload.
As your business grows, you continue holding on to tasks that eat up your time and energy. You believe that no one can perform those tasks as well as you. Well, doing it all yourself limits growth.
Challenge of Letting Go
Your ideal vision, solid determination and take charge attitude make letting go difficult. You put countless hours into your business. So you’re protective. With good reason, you’re unwavering about quality of service.
Plus, you like being in charge. So delegating tasks can feel uncomfortable. You question whether anyone else can truly perform to your expectations.
Your desire to do it all yourself masks some hidden concerns.
The thought of someone else delivering sub-standard work terrifies you.
You believe no one can do things as well as you do.
Training someone else takes time. Although you know what to do, you’re not the best at explaining the steps. All you can think about is how training would pull you away from your work.
You don’t know how to find the right person, even if you could delegate.
Doing everything on your own is self-defeating. As a result, this isn’t a sustainable, long term plan. You already maxed out with more than you can handle. Therefore, as your business grows, the tasks multiply. What was doable before now causes overwhelm.
Overwhelm leads to negative thinking. Don’t drown in overwhelm. Instead, remain open-minded. Consider delegating to free yourself from the mundane tasks and reclaim your enthusiasm.
How to Start Delegating Work
Delegating work to lighten your load takes some thinking. You’ll want to be strategic about what to delegate.
Identify the Outcome
Start by identifying the outcome. It’s the Stephen Covey thinking of begin with the end in mind. Take time to envision what it would be like to free up your time. Imagine the possibility first.
List the tasks that could be delegated. As you make the list, imagine the relief you’ll experience when that task is no longer a part of your daily routine. As a result, what becomes possible?
Define the Steps to Achieve the Outcome
Once you create your list, identify the steps to find the right person for the job. What would the training process look like? Be as specific as possible.
Instead of wishing someone else could do the bookkeeping, list the exact tasks you want done. Decide whether you want the person in your office or outsourced, how often you want to communicate with them, etc. The more specific you are now, the easier it is to define the work and look for the right person.
Build your team with the right people to gain more free time.
Ride the Learning Curve
Begin seeking the right person. Let others know about this available position. Word of mouth, advertising and using an agency are all viable options.
The process of hiring someone can feel intimidating. But as you build your team with the right people, you’ll gain free time to do more of the things you enjoy most.
Collaboration is Key
Take time to listen. You’ve been doing things a certain way for awhile now. Someone with expertise and skill, however, will provide new insights. Take advantage of their skill set and knowledge. Let them solve challenging problems which are within their area of expertise. This has you team up to achieve a specific desired outcome.
Define the Milestones
Define milestones for your new team member. Share your expectations. Then prioritize tasks and milestones. Don’t just hand it off. Remember to schedule supervision for discussion about challenges and milestone updates.
Create a Timeframe
Don’t hesitate to create deadlines. Your team members need to know your timeline. This improves collaboration and project management.
Create a Check in Process
After you define a timeframe for your milestones, decide on a check in process. What’s the best way for the two of you to communicate? Do you prefer telephone, email, video conferencing, in-person meeting, or sharing a client management system? Set your schedule to send a reminder prior to the meeting. In addition, I share talking points before the meeting to optimize our time.
The Benefit of Delegation
As you fine-tune your delegation skills, you’ll lighten your workload, reduce your overwhelm, and calendar time to work on your business growth strategy.
Instead of managing your team, lead your team. Encourage your team members to problem solve challenges. This creates a team that works together toward your business success.
As a coach, I’ve seen firsthand what happens when my clients begin delegating. You switch your mindset from giving up control to improving outcomes. Asking for help can be difficult. If you’re ready to lighten your workload, and reduce overwhelm, then let’s talk. Go now to apply for a complimentary business strategy session to get re-energized.
Full commitment to your partnership, in and out of work, leads to long lasting success.
Professional success works on the same principles as personal success. To thrive and prosper together, you need a set of guidelines to make everything work—your marriage and your business. Running a business with your spouse adds some additional complexities.
Business growth puts a strain on any entrepreneur. Whereas, couples can find business partnership will increase tension. Because you both are deeply involved in the business, you share the joys. However, you also discover the challenges can easily strain your relationship.
Prevention is easier than intervention. The basic principles of working together can cause your relationship to thrive while your business grows. The best time to set some ground rules in place is before a crack develops in your relationship or your business suffers because there’s tension between the two of you.
Running a business with your spouse has ups and downs. Full commitment to your partnership, in and out of work, leads to long lasting success. Communication and trust issues contribute to 60% of all husband and wife businesses failing. As a therapist turned business coach, I help them navigate through the challenges.
Guidelines for Running a Business with Your Spouse
Set guidelines to keep things running smoothly. Then follow them to prevent strain on your relationship as you grow your business.
Set boundaries. Determine who is in charge of what. It’s possible to be the boss at work and the partner at home. Keep in mind that your partner doesn’t want to be micromanaged. Remain open-minded to your partner’s suggestions. When it is your area of responsibility, you have the final say…and so do they in their area.
Commit to the business. Periodically check in with your partner. Are you fully committed to running a business with your spouse? Do you both still feel the fire of being in business together? Doing something out of obligation or expectation contributes to resentment. Avoid that by ensuring you both remain fully committed.
Define your roles. Focus on each other’s strengths as you define your roles. Your shared vision allows you to work independently by focusing on the skills you give to the business. Although overlap sometimes happens, do you best to maintain clear boundaries.
Respect and trust your partner. Because you will not always see eye to eye, setting boundaries helps you reduce conflict. It’s never okay to throw things at each other out of anger. Don’t become one of the 60% that fails due to low trust and poor communication. Allow the trust you develop in your personal relationship to flow over into your business.
Hold team meetings. Even if it’s just the two of you, hold scheduled business meetings with agendas. Make notes on what you covered. Stick to the agenda. Scheduled meetings sets the focus for the rest of the week.
As a couple you may enjoy the free flow of minds that brought you together, but your business requires guidelines and protocol when you are on “business time.” As entrepreneurs with so much responsibility, it’s easy to blur the lines. Being clear about your business roles and how the business works then allows you to take a break and enjoy your personal time together.
Running a business with your spouse isn’t all work and no play.
Your Couple Commitment
Running a business with your spouse isn’t all work and no play. To remain happily married the two of you need to nurture your marriage as well as the business. Business concerns can easily creep into personal time. To prevent the business overwhelming your marriage, make a commitment to keep your marriage flame burning bright.
Schedule fun time together. Remain a happily married couple. You deserve to enjoy each other’s company. Couples in business together sometimes forget to schedule fun activities that have absolutely nothing to do with your business. Go out together—dinner, a hockey game, hiking—whatever the two of you enjoy doing.
Delight your partner. Do something unexpected for your partner. The surprise and thoughtfulness will be highly appreciated. Steve and I periodically go out for lunch together, although it wasn’t planned. Those un-planned lunches together are special.
Deep conversation. Set work aside to enjoy conversation with your spouse. The listening is as important, if not more important, than the talking. People crave to be heard.
Take a break. Some couples need breaks from each other. Couples who work together for long hours may need time apart. Go do something you love. Also, encourage your spouse to step away and do something fun.
Your marriage will be more resilient if you both nurture it. This tips the odds of successfully running a business with your spouse in your favor.
The Balancing Act that Impacts the Bottom Line
Create a business partnership where you both thrive. Happily married couples know their relationship requires constant attention. They’re not willing to sacrifice their marriage for the sake of their business.
Growing your business is full of challenges. Focus, boundaries, and attention will enrich your partnership and nurture your business. Couples in business together who follow these guidelines will grow together instead of growing apart.
Happily married couples in business together are committed. They realize running a business with your spouse means navigating through the ups and downs. My complementary private strategy session will help you cool the hot spots. Schedule yours now.
An open loop causes you to feel like you’re up against a wall which you can’t scale.
Are you dealing with an open loop? Maybe it’s unfinished business, postponed decisions or waiting for an answer. Your business becomes sluggish when the undecided pile grows too high. That’s when things feel tough, like you’re up against a wall which you can’t scale.
Ideally, you’re waiting for the right time to make a decision. The perfect moment, however, fails to arrive. Now what?
Your business needs you to be decisive. Decisions – right or wrong- move your business forward. Whereas, postponing a decision keeps you stuck. It’s like one part of you is ready to move forward while another part refuses to budge.
When you avoid closing a loop, making a decision, two things happen. First, nothing can happen without a decision. And, second, you know you’re avoiding something. That awareness interferes with other aspects of your business. Your focus becomes distracted.
Indecisiveness places you in limbo. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for each aspect of your business. It’s easy to avoid a decision and remain “busy” with other tasks.
Your open loop wants your attention. List all the decisions, big and small, that need to be made. Then highlight which are out of your comfort zone.
Is it time to hand over sales to someone?
Do you need to free up your time?
Are you concerned that you’ll lose control?
Is there a task you don’t enjoy so you procrastinate doing that thing?
The longer you delay those decisions, the longer you’ll remain in limbo. The solutions to those things already exist.
The longer you delay a decision, the longer you’ll remain in limbo. The solutions to your #smallbusiness challenges already exist. #growyourbusiness Click To Tweet
The things you don’t enjoy doing can be outsourced, like hiring a bookkeeper instead of spending countless hours in Quickbooks. A skilled salesperson who would happily take sales off your hands. Agencies which can handle your payroll so you don’t have to.
My clients realize how an open loop will hurt their business. So a forthright discussion uncovers why they’re avoiding a particular decision. Something specific always causes the resistance. Once we can uncover that part, then we can close the loop. It’s basically a matter of turning a negative into a positive.
Open Loop Setbacks
Open loops fall into five common categories. Free up even one of them to turn the tide within your business so it’s no longer stuck.
Start with a decision. Choose a relatively small decision, or open loop, that you’ve been postponing. This is like cleaning house. Sometimes you simply need to identify the issue, acknowledge the resistance and then do it anyway. You’ll be amazed at how liberating this will be.
Most open loops involve other people. Maybe you’ve been harboring resentment, avoiding a difficult conversation or tolerating a dissatisfying relationship. The conversation can be uncomfortable at the moment.
My clients usually claim, “Loren, it wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be. Actually, they took it quite well.” You’ll be free of that “I need to talk to Jim” chatter in your head.
Sometimes an outside opinion helps, but you don’t have a trusted resource. The people closest to you may be biased. Friends, family and other team members can add to the confusion.
That’s when you need an outside person to act as a sounding board. Talking with someone you trust will clarify your thoughts. You’ll find yourself thinking I hadn’t thought of it that way or Put that way, I definitely don’t want to do this.
Challenging situations will arise. Those things don’t quietly go away. The longer you wait, the worse it gets. Don’t let these challenges to get out of hand. This is a great opportunity to make a decision.
As you continue to close loops, you’ll get better. It’s a skill that you can develop. Over time you’ll notice how unexpected circumstances become easier to deal with.
The Non-Ideal People
Don’t make the mistake of holding onto non-ideal clients.
Many start-up entrepreneurs decide to work with everyone, especially when first start out because they need the money. Don’t make the mistake of holding onto non-ideal clients. As your business grows, start letting go of clients who don’t value your service or the ones who constantly ask you to make exceptions for them.
Be selective about who you want to work. Not everyone who reaches out to you deserves to work with you. Bad clients are costly for your business.
Eventually you’ll reach a point in your business where you can decide to cherry pick your clients. From experience, you’ll discover who is “ideal” for your particular business. If they’re not ideal, then don’t take them on. It’s easier for a non-ideal client to move on before you start working with them.
Personal Time Sacrifice
Entrepreneurs are notorious for sacrificing personal time to keep the business running.
You deserve to carve out time for yourself. Organize your time however you want – small chunks or large time slots – but carve out time on your calendar for yourself. Exercise, socializing, hanging out with family all contribute to your overall well-being. You are in this for the long haul. Nourish your emotional and physical health. It will pay huge dividends, personally and professionally.
Your Loop-Closing Activities
Start to close the loop on all those decisions left open. Your business depends on it. As you get things done, you have more energy available for the strategic moves which really matter.
Stay aware and in the present moment. Don’t allow unresolved issues to distract you. They pop up at the most inconvenient time. Past concerns and future worries will sidetrack you from the things which require your immediate attention. Your best work occurs when you’re focused on the here and now.
Your best work occurs when you’re focused on the here and now. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Make a Decision
Carrying around all the postponed decisions in your head will cause overwhelm. Write them down. Then set time aside to resolve the issues one-by-one. Finally resolving tasks that you’ve been avoiding will relieve your worry and overwhelm.
Research the Options
As you know, large, complicated decisions require more energy than simple decisions. Determine the top options. Too many choices, however, adds to the confusion.
Figure out the steps you take when making important decisions. Next, determine where you typically get hung up. A trusted source can guide you through that part of the process. This way you’re more likely to follow through instead of remaining stalled.
Choose Your Best Next Move
Once you have researched and considered your options, it’s time to choose. Does one option stand out? Sometimes you’ll experience a gut feeling about a choice, although it’s not the most logical one. Instead of ignoring that feeling, pay attention to it.
Get Into Action
You’ve decided. Now get into action to close the loop. You may feel uncomfortable. Don’t cave in to your self-imposed pressure. Implement your plan despite any internal conversation telling you all the reasons why you’re wrong.
Every Closed Loop is a Step Forward
Make the decision to make decisions. Every moment counts. Each loop you close frees up time and energy. Your business will become more successful because you now make decisions.
I talk with entrepreneurs on a regular basis about the open loops that impact their business. If you’re avoiding specific decisions and feel stuck, I can help you clear the clutter and sort through the overwhelm.
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to work yourself into exhaustion. That happened with my former business. I sacrificed time with my family, because I didn’t believe I had a choice. Fortunately, I’ve now realized it doesn’t have to be that way. Working too much stifles your business growth.
Society teaches us to be efficient. Industries have been built around time management and efficiency. But that’s not always the best business model. When you are efficient but not effective, you’re good at doing something wrong.
For example, you can use a template to build your website. The process is efficient because you don’t have to do the coding yourself. But if the site is difficult to navigate or has broken links, site visitors will quickly leave. Then it is not effective.
Emphasizing speed and time does not always work in your favor. Sometimes things that enhance the experience are more important than speed. Think about it. If you went to an upscale restaurant, and they rushed you through the meal, how would that affect your experience? Quick service ruins the experience.
The Efficiency Trap
Simply because you do something quickly – efficiently – doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to grow your business. Does it truly improve your quality of service? Often, it’s something you enjoy checking off your list. Maybe the busywork lets you postpone doing some other things that you don’t enjoy.
Success is counter-intuitive to what most business owners believe. Review the different aspects of your business. Focus on what’s effective, even when it’s not the most efficient option.
One bookkeeping client consistently underpriced her services. That’s because discussing her fees was uncomfortable. Since she wasn’t charging what she was worth, money was left on the table. We adjusted her onboarding process to include a thorough diagnostic. Doing something that took more time up front, actually led to better clients and increased her revenue.
Working too much stifles growth
Not all tasks are created equal. Be brutally honest with yourself. You’re holding onto things, or following systems, that are not very effective. It’s now time to let them go.
You’ve become comfortable with a specific routine. Shifting your workload takes some getting used to. Yes, letting things go is tough. However once you’ve taken that step, you’ll free up time to focus on the things that really matter (including time for yourself).
Running an entrepreneurial business is a process. The things which worked in the beginning may create drag as your business matures. You’ll want to review and adjust on a regular basis.
Let’s face it, working too much isn’t sustainable. You’re spread too thin. You’ll become more effective when you slow down and do less.
Since your time is a priority, only choose actions that consistently get the best results.
The Two Types of Goals
Are you crystal clear about what you want to achieve? If not, you’ll pursue someone else’s suggestion and wonder why things seem so difficult. I urge you to avoid mediocrity and becoming trapped with a business you don’t enjoy.
Are you crystal clear about what you want to achieve? If not, you’ll pursue someone else’s… Click To Tweet
Set aside time to define your vision of success. What does success mean to you? My clients don’t view money as their number one motivator. Instead, they emphasize how they want to make a difference for other people. Money becomes a measurement of your effectiveness.
Ready to stop working too much? Then focus on these two things.
Outcome goals. These are targeted toward an outcome over which you have no control. For example, you may want to sign on three new clients in the next 30 days. But you have no defined way of controlling the outcome. Wishing won’t make it so.
Action goals. My business coaching clients learn that only two things are within their control. That’s their attitude and their actions. For example, regularly attend a weekly network meeting. Then schedule weekly lunch dates with potential referral partners or potential clients. Consistently do these specific activities to attract new clients.
These two types of goals work together. First you define what you want: the outcome. Then, you empower yourself to achieve that result by defining the specific activities.
As you clarify your goals, you will discover that many of your current activities take up your time, but don’t really contribute to your business growth.
What are the things I’m doing that get the best results?
Which things are not getting great results?
As you consistently focus on the tasks that bring the best results, your business grows. You’re probably still holding onto some things that are below your pay grade. Start to target some of your new found income to get some help and lighten your workload.
There’s nothing worse for an entrepreneur than loving your business while experiencing burn out.… Click To Tweet Reduce Burnout, Frustration, and Overwhelm
There’s nothing worse for an entrepreneur than loving your business while experiencing burn out.
There’s nothing worse for an entrepreneur than loving your business while experiencing burn out. You deserve to enjoy the work you do. So let’s reduce the burn out. Don’t compromise other aspects of your life, especially your personal health and well-being.
Reduce the frustration of always working without getting ahead. Remove time consuming tasks that don’t grow your business. This one move will cause you to fall in love with your business again. Once you experience the difference, you’ll wonder why you waited this long.
Working too much doesn’t work
Emphasize the effective tasks that grow your business to replace your overwhelm with enthusiasm. Focusing on what’s effective means doing what’s right instead of what’s fast. This will renew your joy for growing your business.
Sometimes you’re too close to your work. That’s when sorting out your various activities can seem confusing. As a therapist turned business coach, we team up to identify your most effective actions. That’s because I’m a results junkie and I want you to succeed. If you’re tired of working too much, then schedule a free strategy session to grow a profitable business without working harder.
The Heart of Business Success – A Variety of Service Packages
Service packages will expand your business and what you offer.
Once you switch your mindset from hourly rates to service packages, your business will expand. Clients decide which option meets their needs and budget. Instead of one size fits all, you now assist a wider range of clients.
Time is a constraint. Working individually with each client limits your income potential. You’ll eventually hit a glass ceiling when you charge by the hour. On the other hand, packages create multiple streams of income. So let’s optimize your time.
Private Service Packages
Individual clients are the fastest way to grow your income, especially when you’re first starting out. You may think a client is buying your time. However, that’s not true. They hire you to help them achieve a desired result.
Yes, your clients benefit from your individual attention. Instead of offering single sessions, bundle sessions together.
Private packages mean you’ve advanced beyond selling hourly installments. Yes, you still work exclusively with one person at a time. Realize that private sessions limit your earning potential. Basically, you are still trading dollars for hours.
You may think a client is buying your time. However, that’s not true. Results are more valuable… Click To Tweet
When clients enroll in a package, they’re making a commitment, financially and energetically. Because of this, they’re more likely to follow through with your recommendations. It’s a win-win. Longer term clients typically achieve better results than short term clients.
Group Service Packages
Most entrepreneurs never consider group service packages. They don’t believe working with several clients at one time applies to their profession. Or they’re not sure how that works. Whether you’re an accountant or a marketer, there are ways to leverage your time.
Types of Group Service Packages:
Virtual training courses
The amount you earn for your time increases with this model. Although the rates for group programs are lower than private sessions, you potentially earn more than your hourly rate.
Some clients prefer DIY (do it yourself) packages. They receive the benefits of your expertise and wisdom without any direct impact on your time. So the price point is lower than your other options.
With self study programs, you initially invest time to create the course. Then your clients follow your step by step instructions at their own pace. You set it up once and then automate it.
I tell my clients that this is like creating your own personal ATM machine. As a DIY program, you get paid while sleeping or on vacation.
Creating a DIY program
DIY service packages can be developed in a variety of ways. Maybe you hosted an event and now you offer the recordings. Consider turning your group package into a home-study program. Or, you can create a private series of videos that follow the steps to your system.
Clients rarely receive much, if any, support with pre-recorded packages. On the other hand, this is a low risk way to introduce them to your services. Since people learn in a variety of ways, consider including worksheets and guides for best results.
Be clear that this is a do-it-yourself package to introduce clients to your system, practices, and insights. Before the DIY package ends, invite participants to join one of your higher level packages.
Create a self-study program and then place it on autopilot. This creates an automatic revenue… Click To Tweet
Placed on autopilot, this package creates an automatic revenue stream for your business with minimal time from you. Once in place, this option delivers an ongoing revenue stream.
Don’t overlook your highly engaged clients. Select parts of your various services and mix them together. Include recorded presentations, group sessions, and a select number of private sessions.
For example, my Business Coaching Mastermind clients participate in mastermind group coaching sessions, private coaching sessions, and have access to my Conversations that Sell online program.
There’s a lot of value in this type of package. I’ve noticed that my clients receive the best results when they combine the mastermind group with private coaching sessions.
The High-End Workshop
Retreats add high value to your service packages. How would they fit into your business model?
Retreats are an option for clients to interact with you in an intensive in-person setting. Not all entrepreneurs are comfortable with this type of training service. An event or retreat, however, builds enthusiasm about your service while delivering great content. The experience offers fantastic results for you and your clients.
Considerations for your retreat:
Investment. Either retreats are included in the package or you charge an additional fee for them.
Attendees. Decide whether this is a private clients-only event or if enrollment is open to all people.
Out of pocket. Participants pay for their travel and hotel expenses.
Inclusive. Hotel expenses are included in the registration fees.
All expenses paid. Your business picks up all the travel expenses.
Because retreats are an immersion experience, you develop a following of highly dedicated clients. Ideal clients who love what you do will spread the word about your business.
Ingenuity and Preparation are Keys to Packaged Business Services
Packaging your services is a highly effective part of your business model.
This business model allows you to share your expertise with a greater number of clients. Watch as it boosts your bottom line, creates raving fans, and builds your self-worth.
The entrepreneurs in my Business Coaching Mastermind design the bold steps that lead to their business success. Experience a mixed package for yourself and then reap the benefits for your business.
As a therapist turned business coach, the entrepreneurs I work with go from waiting for success to taking bold steps to make it happen. Together we develop a business model based on their expertise and service. I’ll help you create service packages and thrive as an entrepreneur. You’ll grow your income without working additional hours.