Don’t Be Scared of Your Business | 5 Tricks for Eliminating Fear

HalloweenPostHave you noticed that Halloween tends to get scarier the older you get? When you’re little Halloween means putting on that princess or ghost costume, going door-to-door and getting candy. When you’re a teenager, it’s about pulling pranks as a zombie or vampire. Then, when you get older, you look for a good fright with haunted houses and scary movies.

Just remember, no matter your age, fear should never work its way into your business. Fear will cripple your ability to take action, make improvements and be successful. So if your business is the scariest thing in your life this Halloween, here’s a plan for success to help you conquer your fears:

1. Set Goals

Setting challenging but achievable and realistic goals is a great way to get your business in the right direction. Decide what benchmarks you want to meet next quarter – and next year – and determine how you’re going to measure whether or not you’ve met those goals.

2. Take Action

Look at the goals you’ve set for yourself or your business. What needs to happen in order for you to meet those goals? Do you need to prospect and network more? Do you need to create a new marketing plan? Do you need to build new business systems? Create an action plan to meet whatever goals you’ve set.

3. Monitor Results

Every few weeks you need to sit down and look at how your action plan is helping you meet your goals. What’s working? What’s not working? If you are able to meet your goal early, celebrate the success and set a new goal. If you’re not able to meet your goal this time, evaluate what you could be doing differently and make changes.

4. Make Adjustments

No great plan is set in stone from Day One. If you find that the action plan you’ve created to meet your goals just isn’t getting you any closer to those benchmarks, it’s time to make adjustments! For starters, look at your schedule and see where you’re spending your time. If you are able to free up more time by delegating lower level tasks, you can dedicate more time to meeting your goals.

5. Take Additional Action

Whether it’s reorganizing your schedule and priorities to focus more on your goals or finding ways to set-up additional meetings with potential clients, sometimes meeting your goals successfully requires taking additional action – or different actions – along the way. Look at what adjustments you decided needed to be made and then take additional action.

Repeat

Maybe you’ve been successful at meeting your goals and conquering your fears or maybe you still have some work to do. Either way, setting new goals, taking action, monitoring results, making adjustments and then taking additional action will always help you make improvements.

If you’re having trouble with any or all of these steps, consider working with your local Growth Coach: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/locator.aspx.

 

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Why Business is Like Riding a Bike

BikeEveryone wants to succeed. Failing is tough business and it can be emotionally and professionally straining, but failure is also an opportunity to learn from your experience and be better moving forward. When you learned to ride a bike, once you took off those training wheels, you had to fall a few times to get your balance just right, didn’t you? And even when you thought you were an expert cyclist, you still flipped over the handlebars when you hit a pothole, right? But, at least for most of us, that didn’t mean putting the bike back in the garage forever. It meant getting back on and knowing what to look for on the next ride.

Try at business and sales in the same way you looked at riding a bike. When you fall, you gain valuable experience that can help you avoid the next pothole.

First let’s look at a few common reasons we fail:

Your goals were unreachable

When we’re excited about a particular endeavor, it’s easy to set your goals astronomically high. You want to go for the gold right out of the gate and that can easily backfire. If you have unattainable goals from the get go, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s more important to set milestone goals you can use to hold yourself accountable, but those goals should be physically possible and at least a bit challenging.

Your goals were too low

When you set your goals so low that you KNOW you can reach them with little effort, it’s easy to rest on your success and avoid pushing yourself to be meet your big overall goals. For example, if you want to sell $100,000 worth of services in a year and you try to reach at least $5,00 per month, you’ll never make your total goal. Your goals need to be in line with your overall target.

You weren’t prepared

It seems obvious that if you go into a sales meeting without studying the client you’re probably not going to make the sale. However, even though we know the importance of preparation, sometimes we’re still not as prepared as we needed to be. Time gets away from us and what we end up presenting just isn’t our best work or it’s not properly tailored to the client. Hopefully, if this happens to you, you can use it as a learning experience and not just write off the mistake.

So, when one of more of these of these issues cause you to fail, what do you? First of all, take responsibility. Being accountable for your actions, the issues and the failures, is the first step to correcting the problem moving forward. Don’t just forget the failure and start toward the next goal – acknowledge what went wrong and adjust your future plan accordingly. Ask yourself what went wrong and why. How could you have done better? What did you need to do to make this a success? And, perhaps most importantly, create a plan to have better success next time.

If you continue to struggle either in business or in sales, your local Growth Coach can help. Find a coach here: www.TheGrowthCoach.com/locate.

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Featured Blog – Dealing with the Truth

M.E. ReichSure, honesty is the best policy, but when you’re talking about the business you’ve poured your life into, being honest can be tough. It’s hard to look at what you’ve built and acknowledge that some of the things you’ve implemented just aren’t working like they should. However, despite the difficulty, being honest with yourself is the only way to truly improve.

This week’s blog comes to us from Growth Coach M.E. Reich of SRQ in Sarasota, Florida. Reich joined The Growth Coach in early 2014 and, in addition to her coaching experience, has a background in human resources and is accredited through the International Coach Federation. She’s also been a small business owner herself prior to opening The Growth Coach of SRQ. Here’s a blog she posted in early September about dealing with the truth in your business:

Always Deal with the Truth

Ever tell yourself lies about your business and personal life to feel better? Ever ignore or deny reality? Sure you have! Every small business owner and entrepreneur on occasion tells themselves comforting lies and stories to avoid the pain of reality. But be warned, there are real consequences when you turn away from the truth.

For you to achieve your desired personal lifestyle and business vision (ideal future), you must be honest with yourself. More than anything else, a lack of honesty and clarity about your current situation (the good, bad and ugly) will get you in a heap of trouble. Bottom line, you need to be truthful today for a better tomorrow. Conversely, lies and denial today result in trouble tomorrow.

Read the full blog here: http://www.thegrowthcoachsrq.com/blog/always-deal-with-the-truth.

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The Biggest Challenge Small Business Owners Face

 “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” We’ve all heard that statement – especially from people who are micromanaging a situation or trying to do everything all alone. That might have worked in college when you were assigned a group project you ended up doing all by yourself, but it’s not how you should run your business!

Many business owners are great technicians. They know how to paint a house, they can make awesome chicken parmesan, they understand how to prepare perfect taxes… and that makes it extremely difficult to let go and let the staff take care of those parts of the business. You are a business owner because you wanted to own a business – not because you wanted to work seven days a week and run every aspect of the business. If you’re spending every day in the field running your business, how can you be focused on building your business?

As we head into the last quarter of the year, The Growth Coach is challenging business owners to hang up that toolbelt or take off the apron and spend the next few months trusting your staff to run the day to day aspects of the business. You don’t need to step in and make every pan of lasagna and, if you don’t think your staff can handle it, then you need to train them to do the job at the level you expect. You can be available for guidance, but you can’t step in to make every decision and run every job.

Once you’re able to step back from the daily technical needs of your business, you can turn your attention to training your company leaders, building and implementing systems so the business can run without you, marketing and promoting the great products or services you provide, etc. Create a goal you want to work toward before December 31 and start making progress. If you spend the amount of time you would normally spend IN the business working toward that goal, we bet you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Every business owner understands how difficult it can be to delegate the daily operations of your business and take on the role of a CEO, but that’s the only way to grow a successful business without burning the candle at both ends. If you find that your business can’t run without you or you can’t seem to delegate as needed, your local Growth Coach can help: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/locator.aspx.

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Three Tips to Improve Your Routine

Write It Down“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

If you’re living with the same routine and you’re not happy with the results, it’s time for a change! Here are three tips to get you on the right track:

  1. Prioritize

When you get a new email or someone comes to your office, do you drop what you’re doing to meet their needs? Do their tasks take sudden priority? Or do you keep a running list of priorities to determine when things need to be addressed?

If you’re spending your days juggling tasks as they come, it’s time to re-evaluate. At the beginning of each week – and each day – take note of what you want to accomplish and what goals you’d like to meet. Certainly there will be smaller tasks that need to be addressed along the way, but as each new need arises, ask yourself, “Is this task more important than what I’m working on right now? Does it take priority?” If what you’re doing is more important, then find a way to schedule that task for later in the day, tomorrow or next week.

  1. Write It Down

Keeping a to-do list can be a tricky task and you can’t let those post-it notes pile up all over your desk and expect to make sense of them later. Whether it’s a continuously updated notepad next to your computer or an updated calendar on your phone, sometimes you just need to write the tasks down. If something occurs to you that needs taken care of, write it down. There are few things worse than waking up at 2am and realizing you forgot something. Writing down tasks – large or small – will always help and, if you can schedule those things on your calendar, all the better.

  1. Make Decisions and Delegate

When tasks come your way and you have the time to address them, make decisions. Let’s face it, if you have 15 projects in various stages of development, you can’t put all your decisions off until next week. Sometimes you need more time to think about your decisions, but if you have the answer, take action as soon as you can. It’s too exhausting to try to touch everything once and then come back later. If you have an answer or a strategy as an issue or task comes up, share it.

Likewise, if you’re a business owner or executive, when a small task comes your way that could easily be handled by someone on your team – delegate! You should have members on your staff that are trained to act in your absence and can make smaller decisions without getting you involved in every discussion. Trust them to make the right choices! By delegating and making timely decisions, you can keep from getting overwhelmed while giving your employees the opportunity to shine.

If you’re having trouble getting a handle on these tips, it’s time to talk to your local Growth Coach: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/locator.aspx.

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Featured Blog: The Benefits of Trusting

Glenn Smith

Glenn Smith

There’s an old saying you’re probably familiar with: “If you want something done right – you have to do it yourself.” That might be sound advice for many of life’s situations, but it shouldn’t be your motto as a business owner or business leader.

This week’s blog features a post written by Glenn Smith, the Owner and CEO of The Growth Coach in Houston, Texas. It’s all about the benefits of trusting – in your professional life and your personal life.

Glenn is a member of The Growth Coach’s President’s Forum, is a mentor to new franchise owners and is a frequent speaker on the topics of leadership, business strategy, marketing and a wide variety of other business coaching-related subjects. He’s been recognized as the Coach of the Year by The Growth Coach and has received accolades for his work in his community.

The Benefits of Trusting

Many of us have difficulty trusting others. There are many different reasons that make trusting others difficult. One reason, for example, is that some of us were trained to not trust. Another reason is that some have suffered greatly during their childhood. As a result, they may have decided that they could not really trust anyone. Regardless of the reason, all of us have experienced relationships in which trust was broken. So, why should we bother trusting anyone at all?

Read the full post on Glenn’s blog: http://www.thegrowthcoachhouston.com/the-benefits-of-trusting/.

 

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8 Marketing Strategies for a Small Budget

Business woman working in office.“There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there.” – Darren Rowse, founder of ProBlogger

Everyone knows that building a business takes time and persistence, but it also takes effective marketing. However, most of us don’t have the luxury of starting a business with a six figure budget. So how do you throw yourself into a solid marketing plan with a teeny marketing budget? Here are some strategies we’ve found work for our Growth Coach clients. Just remember that when you’re spending less money on marketing, you’re likely looking at spending more time to achieve great results.

1) Leverage Relationships: You certainly have people in your life who will benefit from the success of your business, like your banker, your CPA, your suppliers, your vendors, etc. Determine who would make good informal sales agents for your business by considering who will benefit most from your growth. Once you have that figured out, go to your contacts and ask those people to support your growth efforts through leads, referrals, testimonials, etc.

2) Work with Current Customers: Your current customers know that you have a great product or service to offer to the community – and they know people who can benefit from what you’re offering. Ask them for introductions and referrals to other potential buyers or ask them to provide endorsements or testimonials, or see if they’d serve as references. Also, every time you work with customers, ask if there are any needs you haven’t met. There is always more you can do (and charge for.)

3) Build your Referral Sources: Take a look at your best referral sources in the last year. Where has most of your business come from? First of all, make sure you thank those people or service providers for helping to build your businesses and then create a strategy to stay in touch with these sources as often as possible. Now consider how you can copy these results. If you’re an estate sale company and your best referrals have come from realtors, how can you meet more realtors?

4) Make Working with You Easy: If you’re asking someone to do business with you, consider offering a money-back guarantee. A credible and specific guarantee will bring in much more business than it costs you. If you’re uncomfortable providing a guarantee, consider why. Is there something you need to improve in your system to make your business less risky for customers?

5) Reach More at Once: There are only so many hours in the day, so situations where you can influence multiple people at once will serve you well. Consider hosting special events or seminars for customers, referral sources, and prospects. If you can combine your event with people who would make strong strategic partners, you can tap into their networks as well.

6) Spread the Word: Even in the internet age, having a public relations strategy is important. Get to know your local media outlets and reporters and be sure to share stories about changes in your business, especially expansions in staff or services. Developing a relationship with your local reporters is a give and take relationship, so next time there is a fire in your community or a car crash down the street, take a quick photo with your smart phone and send it to the reporter to use. That will help you build rapport.

7) Use Social Media: Building social media pages is a slow process, but it’s important to be able to connect with any potential customers on any platform. If you don’t have a Facebook page and a potential customer searches for you on Facebook, how will that look? If you have loyal customers, ask them to write reviews for your Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn pages. Those are powerful messages to potential customers! You can also use LinkedIn to build your personal referral network by leveraging groups. There’s plenty of free training out there for exactly how to make that work.

8) Leverage Indirect Competitors: Are there competitors in your market you wouldn’t necessarily go head-to-head against when looking for customers? Maybe you are in slightly different markets or you serve different populations with a similar service? If you’re a residential painter, can you build a relationship with a commercial painter to let leads flow both ways?

Do you have low-cost marketing strategies that have worked for you? Tell us in the comments!

If you’re struggling to make strides in marketing – or any aspect of your business – it’s time to see what working with your local Growth Coach can do. Find your local coach here: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/locator.aspx.

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Are you great at time management – or priority management?

 When a recent college grad puts together his or her first resume for the real world, it can be tough. For most people, it means finding ways to fill a page with relevant work and school experience coupled with those all-important skills lists. If you take a look at any resume – fresh out of college or not – you’ll likely find some sort of reference to proficiency in time management. Everyone wants to believe they can manage their time effectively, and being able to stay on task certainly makes you an attractive job candidate.

But honestly, what does great time management even mean? Are you saying that you can tackle tasks quickly and still have time to check your Twitter feed? Can you squeeze your work into 35 hours and take leisurely lunches? Are you able to step out to that doctor’s appointment without an issue?

Whether you’re seeking new employment – or running your own business – it’s time to change the way we think about time management. What if, instead, we said we were great at priority management? Having excellent priority management skills likely says what you actually mean anyway: When you are charged with a certain list of needs, you can prioritize the most important tasks, accomplish those first and then manage the following priorities.

If you are a business owner or leader, having a priority management mindset also will help you to find the time to work ON your business instead of just IN your business. Once you’re able to manage your priorities and put them in the order you need to, you’ll easily be able to identify those low level tasks that probably don’t need your direct attention. Rather than trying to take care of everything on your own, try delegating those lower level tasks to your staff or find a way to systematize the business so those tasks don’t come to you in the first place.

Essentially practicing excellent priority management can help you better manage the hours you work each day, find ways to remove lower level tasks from your plate and free up time to work on developing your business! If you had even five extra hours per week, what could you do to make your business stronger? We bet you could find ways to improve your systems, beef up your marketing efforts, learn new business trends and more.

If you are having trouble identifying your priorities or developing your business, it’s time to reach out to your local Growth Coach: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/locator.aspx.

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Appreciating – and Managing – Your Employees

Gary FurrWhen business owners think about their business, what do they say is their most important aspect? For many, the answer is easy: the people. But as important as great employees are to every business, many owners also say their people are their biggest headache. But why? And how can that be fixed?

Our guest blog come from Gary Furr, The Growth Coach of Portland, who recently shared some great insight on people and employee management. Gary partners with business owners, executives, non-profits and sales teams to achieve greater success in business and meet business and personal goals. His clients come from many different industries, including manufacturing, service, retail establishments, non-profits, medical professionals, start-ups, wine and nursery industries.

People Management

When you look at the various components, assets and structure of your company, organization or department, it’s important to know your company’s greatest assets. Without a doubt, your people are your greatest assets and regardless of the knowledge or experience you possess as a leader and business owner, those traits are not worth much if you are not able to achieve results through other people. The focus for the next few weeks will be on people management. Why not employee management? The reason is simple: We never want to forget that our employees are people, not property.

All humans are complex and unique. We must appreciate that every one of our employees is a unique person with different wants, needs and desires. However, there are common needs all employees have from their leader. Whether you have one employee or 10,000 employees, they are craving for strong leadership.

All too frequently, many business owners and managers complain that employees cause a majority of their headaches. So what are the reasons?

Read the rest on Gary’s website: http://thegrowthcoachportland.com/people-management/.

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Five Ways to Fall In Love With Your Business All Over Again

For many companies, the end of June signals the end of the fiscal year. For others, it’s the halfway point of the year. Either way, it’s a great time to step back and evaluate your business. Is the way you’ve been operating your business really the best way? Are there changes you can make over the next year to improve your numbers for this time next year? If you need some inspiration to get started, The Growth Coach has some suggestions on becoming a better business owner and leader.

Improve Yourself

To continue to grow as a leader and business owner, you have to be committed to improving yourself. Consider seeking professional development, attending local workshops or picking up a book or two about business. In fact, you can download ours for free: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/free-business-owner-e-book.aspx.

Separate Yourself and Your Business

To be the best business owner you can be, you need to be free to work ON the business instead of just IN the business. To do this, you have to have systems. What systems do you need to incorporate into your business to free up your time? You also need to consider that you might have to lessen your grip on certain elements of the business. You can’t be the one everyone comes to for answers for every question.

Find the Love

Did you open a business just because you wanted to work long days doing something you hate? Probably not. Of course there will be tasks throughout the day that you don’t love, but do you get to do the things you enjoy too? And, if owning or leading the business has meant that you’ve seriously sacrificed on time with your family and friends, something has to change. You can’t lead a successful life without balance. Find ways to step back from your business so you can run it successfully and still have a happy life. This will also help you love your business again.

Set Goals

When was the last time you set a real goal for your business? Something that’s achievable, but still challenging? It’s important to set goals for a variety of aspects within your business and then take action to reach those goals. When you are able to meet those goals, no matter how small, remember to celebrate and take note of what worked and what didn’t work. Then set new goals.

Reflect

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about ways these five suggestions apply to you and your business. You’re probably reflecting on where things are with your business – and where you would have liked them to be at this point. This type of reflection is important, but you need to do it more often. Create a schedule for yourself that will allow you to sit down and truly consider where your business stands and where you stand within that business. Thinks of ways you can improve over the next quarter, make an effort to step back from you business and find that passion again, and evaluate and set new goals. And when you’re reflecting, think about what you want to change over the next week, month, quarter and year.

Improving yourself and your business is all about thinking strategically. Hopefully these five suggestions will get you off to a solid start. For more tips on evaluating yourself and your business, check out this free white paper: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Member/thegrowthcoach2/Images/ImageGallery/15-Question-Business-Owner-Quiz-Do-You-Own-a-Real-Business-or-a-Demanding-Job.pdf.

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