Skip the Resolutions and Try 90-Day Business Goals

How many times have you made resolutions and then let them slide by February? Whether it’s a commitment to build your business or lose a few pounds, setting big, 12-month goals rarely works. It’s not because we don’t want to do the things we’ve resolved to do – it’s just how our brains are wired. Thinking about it like this – it’s easier to wrap our brains around walking a mile a day than it is to commit to walking 365 miles by the end of the year. So rather than saying “I’m going to grow my business by 12 percent in 2021,” why don’t you work on ways you can grow your business by 1 percent every month?

Quarterly goal setting and business planning is nothing new – in fact the 90-day planner has been part of The Growth Coach program since the beginning – but it’s especially relevant this year. Short-term planning allows you to pivot more quickly, take quicker action and avoid the anxiety of trying to figure out what 2021 will bring when you look at a 12-month plan. Planning in smaller chunks can help you find actionable ways to improve and keep you more regularly accountable for your successes.

So how do you get started?

First take a step back. Think about the progress you’ve made in 2020 and what that means for 2021, especially the first quarter. Are there things you postponed starting until “after the holidays” that need immediate action? Are there business decisions you’ve been avoiding making because you wanted to see how the vaccine impacted the marketplace? We’re not saying to make all of those decisions now – but it’s important to know where you stand.

Secondly, think about 2021 overall. If you were planning for the whole year, what sort of things would you be looking to do? Are you focused on business growth? Do you want to roll out a new product or service? Do you want to expand your staff? Are there culture changes at your company that are pressing? 

Now think about just the next 90 days. What can you do today, tomorrow, next week and next month to work toward those goals? If you want to grow your business by 10 percent over the year, how can you grow it by 2.5 percent by April 1? What do you have to do now to make progress toward that goal? If you want to hire additional staff people in the spring, can you take time now to focus on those job descriptions, plan for recruitment, revamp the training if needed and create systems for onboarding? If you want a staff person to start in April, those pieces of the process need to be underway soon.

The point of short-term planning is to set challenging – but achievable goals – in a way your brain can process and with the understanding that you can pivot quickly as needed. It also allows you to assess those goals, hold yourself accountable and celebrate your successes more often, which will help drive you forward.

If you’re interested in this 90-day philosophy but you need help getting started, or if you know you’ll be more successful with a partner in your corner, your local Growth Coach can help:

Posted in Business Coaching | Comments Off on Skip the Resolutions and Try 90-Day Business Goals

Celebrating Your Team (and the End of a Crazy Year)

Celebrating your team, recognizing their work as a group and as individuals, and measuring your progress against your goals is a vital part of the end of every year. But, as we close what has been an emotional and trying year, that recognition and celebration is more important than ever. So how you do celebrate without a happy hour or holiday lunch? What can you do for your team to remind them how important they are to your overall success? We have a few ideas:

Virtual Lunch: While everyone might have video call burnout, you can use a service like Zoom or Teams for more than meetings. Send gift cards to your team members and then invite them to join you for a year-end celebration. Open the event with a thank you and quick run through of the year’s challenges and successes before giving people time just to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. It’s not the same as having a holiday party in the conference room, but it’s a nice compromise that can help keep everyone safe.

Personalized Recognition: If you have a small team – or managers who know their teams well – you can send out personalized year-end thank you cards, perhaps with a gift card enclosed. If you decide to go this route, take the time to truly recognize the efforts each team member has made throughout the year. Without regular office hours or meetings in 2020, many employees have felt less engaged than before the pandemic. Remind them that you realize how hard they are working and the impact that work makes on your organization.

Peer-to-Peer Thank Yous: This one is easy, but it takes a bit of planning and some staff buy in. Have each member of your team self-address a stamped envelope with a notecard inside. Once you get them all back, randomly pass them out to each employee and ask them to write a note of thanks or encouragement or recognition to the person who will receive their card. Ask them all to be mailed by a certain date for a morale boost.

Even if you don’t take on one of these ideas, it’s important to at least send a year-end thank you email to your staff. Take the time to recognize the goals you set a year ago, talk about how the company has pivoted, address the challenges ad successes you’ve had throughout 2020 and encourage your staff to keep their heads up as we get into 2021.

Need help with morale, teambuilding or a recognition program? Let us help:

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Celebrating Your Team (and the End of a Crazy Year)

How Business Leaders Can Overcome Disappointment

Disappointment is tough. Whether someone let you down, you let someone down (including yourself) or something just didn’t pan out the way you’d hoped, the emotions around disappointment are strong. But, as a small business owner, you have to be able to feel your feelings, address those emotions, push forward and persevere. Here are four steps that can help:

1. Feel. Process. Accept.

Disappointment stinks and it’s OK to feel bad. Buy yourself a fancy coffee and sit in the sun at a park or have a glass of wine and hide on your couch to process those emotions. While you don’t have time to wallow in your emotions, not taking the time to grieve what might – or should – will leave you with a pit of resentment over the situation. Feel. Process. Accept.

2. Stop Thinking about What Might Have Been

Disappointment often comes on the heels of hope… which makes the letdown even worse. Whether you were dreaming about that corner office or thinking about hitting that big 2020 business goal, realizing that the things you hoped for aren’t coming your way – at least not right now – can be a tough pill to swallow. We know it’s hard, but stop wondering what might have been and turn off the self-pity.

3. Address the Situation

Sometimes, when you’re disappointed, it leads to an awkward situation. It might just mean going back to your regular desk knowing you didn’t land that promotion, but there are times when it means moving on, letting someone go or having an uncomfortable conversation about what has to be different next time. It’s hard to get through those next steps, but take a deep breath, hold your head high and make it happen. The longer you wait, the more awkward it becomes.

4. Find Perspective and Reset

Once you’ve processed your emotions and ripped the band-aid off whatever step came next, it’s time to take a step back and find perspective. Access your current situation, talk to your mentor, have lunch with a friend… While disappointment is a sharp pain at first, it often fades as reality sets in. Maybe you really weren’t exactly right for that promotion? What can you work on for next time? How can you congratulate whoever did get it? What can you learn from that person?

If you’re ready to up your skills through additional training or you could use help putting your business on a new track, your local Growth Coach can help. Learn about our programs online at

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How Business Leaders Can Overcome Disappointment

How are those 2020 Goals Coming?

Time is funny. In some ways, 2020 seems to have lasted a lifetime. In other ways, many of us aren’t sure what even happened to the summer. But whether you’re still clinging to your shorts or have been wearing boots since Labor Day, the fact is that it’s October and we have only two months left in the year.

You read that right, but we’ll repeat it again for those in the back. If you own or manage a business, that means you only have two months left to reach your 2020 goals.

We know what you’re thinking… this year has been a complete curveball, how can we possibly reach the goals we set back last December? Here’s the reality: COVID-19 aside, there have always been rough years for business owners and managers. Industries ebb and flow. People get sick. Supply chains get disrupted. Consumer needs change. Sure, the goals you set in December might be unrealistic at this point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t finish 2020 strong.

First, when was the last time you actually looked at those goals? If you updated them this summer with all the information at hand, then you’re probably in decent shape, but if you put them in your desk in mid-March and left them behind, you might have some soul searching to do. As you are looking at those goals again, think about ways you can celebrate the progress you were able to make in 2020 and the way your business fought to survive. Maybe you were originally hoping for a 10 percent growth in in-person sales – which might not have happened – but were you able to grow at all? Did some of those sales pivot to online?

Next think about the challenges you and your team overcame as you worked toward those goals during an unprecedented time. If you found your shop closed for months or your capacity significantly limited, what did you do super serve your customers? If you moved to online sales, is that something you’ll continue? Should it be a focus for 2021? What challenges were you unable to meet and how did that keep your business going? Assuming the pandemic continues, what do you need to do moving forward?

With 20/20 hindsight, next look back at the last six months. What worked and what didn’t? What do you wish you did differently? What would you change if you could do it again (other than buy hand sanitizer and toilet paper)? How has this experience made you and your team more agile? How can that positively impact your business moving forward?

Finally, as you think about the next two months, create a strategy for either meeting your existing goals or creating and then meeting a new set of smaller goals. Being able to set and reach even smaller milestones really change your mindset and help motivate your team as you reflect on 2020 and plan for 2021.

While this time of the year is often filled with suggestions about goal setting for the new year, it’s important for everyone to recognize that there’s still time in 2020 to make great strides and do great things. Don’t sell yourself short by looking too far in the future because, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we never truly know what tomorrow will bring. 

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How are those 2020 Goals Coming?

Motivate Yourself with To-Do Lists

In the age of digital everything, we all have a little bit of shiny ball syndrome. New emails are constantly pinging, texts come in at virtually all hours of the day and Zoom meetings are just so easy to schedule. But when you’re constantly changing your focus, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals and stay on track. So what can you do? It’s easy – pull out a classic pen and paper to-do list.

Organization: First of all, and this is obvious, but making to-do lists or bullet journaling can help you keep track of the things you need to do, whether they are today, next week or next month. You can either have a running diary list or use a calendar, but you have to physically write down what needs to be done – with notes – and preferably not in a digital way. While having digital notes is helpful and mobile, they are also easily deleted or moved, meaning they are more challenging to use for the next two steps. More importantly, having a to-do list frees up space in your conscious thought to do bigger, better things rather than think about sending that email this afternoon. Take it out of your mind, put it on your list and get it done as you go through your day.

Dopamine: When you are able to physically cross an item off your to-do list, your brain releases dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps you feel happy and accomplished, which in turn keeps you motivated so you can get even more done. While to-do lists can include big items, like grow a business by five percent, they are more effective if you still to the daily, weekly or monthly tasks at hand that live under those larger goals instead of focusing on the goal itself. Even on rough days, if you can put together a list of micro-tasks that you can get done on a given day and then check those items off one-by-one, we can promise you’ll feel better and, tomorrow, you’ll be able to work toward your goals.

Tracking: The Growth Coach is big on accountability – to yourself, to your coach, to your mentors and to your peers. Having a to-do list that doesn’t get deleted at the end of the day, like one that lives on a calendar, allows you to take the time to reflect on what you were able to accomplish – or not finish – over the course of the year. Having a calendar-style to-do list also allows you to easily see which day-to-day tasks are costing you the most time and which ones could be delegated to allow you to focus on business growth.

If you are having trouble managing your time or you realize that your time is not being spent effectively, your local Growth Coach can help:

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Motivate Yourself with To-Do Lists

Enjoying the Roller Coaster of Business Starts with Staying on the Ride

Owning a business is always a roller coaster. If you push forward, there will be hair-flying-back, screaming in excitement moments, but there are also a LOT of hills to climb first and, let’s face it, along the way. From the first lift hill with the anticipation of a big drop, to the little stomach-dropping bumps in the middle, to the slowing hill pulling back into the station, those climbs help define what makes a coaster a hallmark thrill ride.

But what if you never made it through the first lift? What if, half way up, the chain lift decided pulling your car up the track was just too hard? What if you were in that first car, hanging over the edge and the operator had to pull the emergency switch to stop the ride?

Spoiler alert. You’d be back working for someone else.

If you want to be able to enjoy the roller coaster of owning a business, you have to have persistence. You have to know that there will be great – and terrible – days ahead and then plan, address, recover and push forward accordingly. You have to be able to see the fun in your future and to swallow your fear as you climb that first hill, even when it’s really tough. This comes down to something you’ve heard from us time and time again: Mindset. Check out this blog for more on that.

Of course persistence doesn’t stop with the hills – you also need it to get through the vertical drops and loops. Even when times are great and you’re barreling forward with no stops in your future, you have to have the growth mindset to focus on strategy, growth, systems, marketing and all the things that will keep you moving forward when you reach the next hill.

Just remember that you don’t have to ride the roller coaster alone – even the most dedicated thrill seekers travel with buddies! If you could use someone to help you on your journey, it might be time to find your local Growth Coach:

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Enjoying the Roller Coaster of Business Starts with Staying on the Ride

Three Ways Business Owners Can Support their Communities

Whether your business has 10 employees or 10,000 employees, most business owners can say this: 2020 has been tough. From the operational changes brought on by COVID-19, to the downturn in the economy to broken supply chains, even the most successful businesses have had their own share of challenges. But one thing is the same across all businesses in all industries – supporting your community has never been more important.

Not every business is able to support their community in the same way, but here are three things you can do to make a difference, no matter the size of your business, your specific industry or even your individual community:

Support Your Team

Your employees are part of your community and you can make their lives, your community and your business better by supporting them. Depending on the needs of your business, that might mean allowing your employees to shift their hours to care for their children, scheduling regular check in calls to make sure they have the structure they need from you, watching for signs of struggle and helping where you can, etc. If you have a larger business, this obviously means you need to train and empower your leaders to do this for you. There’s a fine line between providing top-notch support and micromanaging. Just remember that your employees are human and they are facing the same struggles you are facing.

Give Back

Supporting your community is the right thing to do, but it can also pay off in terms of employee engagement, retention and business growth. From small things like sponsoring a little league team or volunteering or collecting donations for a food bank to larger donations or volunteer events, being part of your community means supporting your community. If you’re not sure what direction to go with this, poll your team! They are part of the community and they might see needs you haven’t even considered supporting.


New jobs. New tax dollars. Higher incomes. When your business grows, your community grows. By finding ways to grow – and sometimes pivot – your business, your community wins too. This is especially true if you keep the jobs local, source local products (when applicable) and work with local partners through a sustainable growth plan and systems.

If you need help with any (or all) of these initiatives, your local Growth Coach can help:

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Three Ways Business Owners Can Support their Communities

Don’t Let Your Mindset Hold You Back

Mindset“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” – Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking

At The Growth Coach, there’s one word that’s more important than the rest. It’s not strategy, money, success, growth or leadership. It’s something far more important.


And like Peale said back before he passed in 1993, being in the right headspace and having a glass-half-full perspective on the challenges you’re facing can help you overcome fear, find success and build something great. Even the darkest days have silver linings.

While we work mostly with business owners and company leaders, mindset is something everyone should consider. When was the last time you thought about approaching your manager about a promotion or a raise and then changed your mind? Have you been thinking about applying for a new job, but haven’t? Have you thought about opening your own business only to convince yourself that now isn’t the right time? Be honest with yourself for a minute… is it fear that’s holding you back?

If so – and we bet it is, even if you don’t want to admit it – then it’s time to learn about combating those fears with the right mindset.

First of all, focus on the good. As they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. From the minute your alarm clock goes off, you choose how you approach the day, even if you know it’s going to be a tough one. When you find yourself pulled down by the darkness, find the light and cling to it. For example, getting a root canal can really bring down your day, but if you think about how you are preserving the health of your smile – and maybe even taking the time to realize they are playing your favorite song on the radio in the office – you can get through that appointment with a positive outlook. The same can be true for your business. Find the things about your situation that are good and focus on them as you push forward.

No one is perfect. No one. Ever. We all make mistakes. Hopefully most of those mistakes are small and fixable, but every mistake can be a learning opportunity. This can be tricky because, while it’s important not to dwell on your mistakes and throw a pity party, it is important to analyze what you did wrong, how you can move forward and how you can use that mistake to do it better next time. Learning from your mistakes takes a little self-reflection and humility. If you’re struggling to make it right, we’d recommend talking to a mentor or coach.

If you spend your days dwelling on the past or focusing only on your five-year plan, you’re going to have blindspots. You can use the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of why living in the present is critical. Consider for a moment that you had a great dine-in restaurant but it was just breaking even. If you are only thinking about the past, your desire to preserve your mission or super-serve your current customers may have help you from realizing you needed to set up curbside pickup or consider a delivery service until weeks after the initial closures. Likewise, if you’re only concerning yourself with becoming the next five-star restaurant, chances are good that you were slow to react and temporarily change your menu as needed to accommodate takeout. Living in the present allows you to be proactive and flexible as you seize opportunities and meet challenges.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Not about Your Style – It’s about Your Plan

PlanningNot every business owner or company leader is a planner by nature – it’s a fact of life that we are all wired differently. But whether you call yourself an INTJ, a South, an 8w7 or any of the other many, many personality types, everyone  can learn to step back, see the challenges and opportunities at hand, and create a plan to reach (and hopefully exceed) your goals. Great entrepreneurs with leadership styles across the map and personalities from here to Sunday can do it and so can you.

Here are three steps to help you create a plan, for business and for life:

Step Back: This sounds easy, but for business leaders and company leaders emotionally tied to their business, their team or their mission, detaching to see the big picture can be extremely difficult. That gets even more difficult if the owner or leader is also the company’s main technician (which is a discussion for another day). We’ve found that taking a step back really starts with getting into the right mindset and finding perspective. Take a little time off, unplug, thinks about the goals you have for your business and your life, assess how you’re doing toward meeting those goals, and think about the challenges and opportunities you have before you. If everything is on point, then great! You’re ready to focus on a plan that puts your success into fast forward. If things are a little rocky or the weaknesses are easy to spot, then that’s where your plan for improvement should start.

Get Feedback: Being at the top of a business – whether you have 2 employees or 2,000 employees – is lonely. Don’t let the “big picture” you came up with while you were stepping back turn into a ball of big ideas that gets lost in a vacuum. Take the time to meet with a mentor, a coach, a friend or someone else who doesn’t have direct involvement in your business to talk through what’s on your mind and take honest, open feedback. Be an active listener. Once you have your ideas fleshed out, work through the details with your leadership team before you create a more firm plan.

The Plan: Once you have your ideas fleshed out and the feedback you need to make big decisions and take massive action… do it. Don’t let fear keep you from turning your good business into a great business. Not everything you put into a plan will come to fruition and, of course, you’ll have to make changes along the way, but without a plan, you and your leadership team are focused solely on staying afloat than you are on being successful. Once you have a plan built, start back at the beginning, take a step back, take an objective look at what you’ve created, get the feedback you need, adjust as needed… and then GO!

Those steps all said, there are three words you’ll want to keep at the forefront of your plan – flexible, pivot and mentor. If the pandemic of 2020 has taught up anything, it’s that the best made plans sometimes have to be thrown to the wind. Remember that, while your plan should be your guiding light, sometimes things have to change. If you need help detaching your emotions from your business, stepping back to see the opportunities and the challenges, taking action on your plan or more, your local Growth Coach can help:

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Six Steps to a Successful Workshop

At The Growth Coach, our coaches do quite a few workshops around the world. And whether they are working with C-Suite business leaders or facilitating a teamwork session, they keys to a successful workshop are the same. Assuming your materials are in place and you know the content of your presentation, here are six ways you can wow at your next workshops:

Understand Your Audience

It’s easy to figure out who, generally, you are presenting to or working with at a workshop – executives, employees at a company, a group of managers, a small business network – but taking it a level deeper can make a real difference when it comes to working through your materials.

Assuming you have access to the names of your participants and the group is small enough, do some reconnaissance ahead of time. Look up your attendees on LinkedIn, research their companies, consider your first impressions and take notes. While this additional research will certainly help with discussions, it will help you build trust and have a warmer start to your workshop.

Set Your Goals

This one is tricky because it’s actually much more than setting your goals – it’s really about taking a step back, considering why each participant is coming to the workshop and then setting goals that are in line with what they are expecting to walk away with at the end of the day. In most cases, a workshop is more intensive than a keynote, so it’s should be more hands-on activities and learning than presentations and slideshows. Take a step back and ask yourself how your workshop is built around helping your participants meet their goals. If you’d done this presentation before, be sure to consider any feedback you’ve received previously and make adjustments if they make sense.

Create – and Stick to – an Agenda

An agenda might seem like something more relevant to a meeting, but when participants understand what to expect and can plan the day in their own minds, everyone is more likely to be on point throughout the workshop. For example, if you know you run out of coffee at 9:30am and there’s a coffee break slated at 10am, you can probably get through 30 minutes without leaving the workshop for more coffee. The same is true for email checks, bathroom breaks, lunch and even the end of the day. Setting an agenda is really about setting expectations and letting everyone know what to expect throughout the day. It also, of course, can help you keep track of time as well.

Build Trust

OK – we’ll say it – almost everyone dreads an icebreaker. But are they terrible because the activities are lame or because we don’t really want to open up to someone we don’t know? Icebreakers continue to be a go-to activity because they work. That said, we wouldn’t advise that you spend an hour of your day warming up the room and helping people get to know each other. We’d suggest that you have everyone do an official check-in, where they introduce themselves and talk about their personal goals for the workshop, and then do a quick icebreaker. By the way, if you’re going to build trust, you have to participate too!

Once the proverbial ice is broken, take some time to talk through your background, what makes you an expert, what you are hoping each participant will get out of the workshop and what’s on the agenda. Be sure to present yourself as the facilitator of the workshop, not necessary the leader.

Encourage Conversation and Documentation

Even people who hate talking in class will probably tell you that a class discussion is more helpful than a PowerPoint presentation. A workshop is supposed to be an engaging and educational activity – a 1 to 1 experience, not a 1 to many keynote. While some people might be excited to be part of discussion, as the facilitator, you might need to help encourage that conversation.

Also, whether you bring everyone a notebook, put activities onto worksheets or just give people time to take notes, it’s impossible to expect people to remember everything. Offer them the highlights either in a printed document or a follow-up email and encourage them to write down the things that might be helpful to have later.

Assess and Follow Up

Before you send your participants out the door, ask them to take a quick survey and then ask questions that will help you improve. For example, you can ask people how, on a scale of 1 to 10, they think the workshop went, but other than a batch of hopefully high numbers, you don’t have much to work with for your next presentation. Ask for things like, “What was your favorite part and why?” “What do you think you’ll use the most and why?” or “How could I improve for the next workshop?” It might be difficult to accept negative feedback, but it’s vital to make note of what you could be doing differently.

A few days after the workshop, if you have their contact information, at least email your participants to thank them for coming to your workshop and to solicit any additional feedback. If you have additional professional development opportunities – in person, online or through another avenue – or follow-up materials, this is a good time to make those connections as well.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment