Be honest with yourself. Which are you?
Are you a doer or a note taker?
Personally, I would have said that whilst I like to take a lot of notes, I am a doer. However, upon deciding to have a serious declutter of my drawers this weekend (oo, er, missus!) I discovered no less than eight writing pads full of notes that I had taken whilst attending various workshops and listening to webinars over the past couple of years.
I painstakingly went through these and was a little shocked at what I found. Some of these notes had extremely useful information that if I had actually taken the time to action at the time, may have helped me tremendously in my business. On the other hand some of the notes, particularly with regard social media and SEO, were now out of date so I had completely wasted my time, money and energy attending these workshops that I didn’t ever make time to action lessons learnt.
Therefore I am going to set you a challenge to stop you falling into the same trap (or to escape if you have already fallen prey). Go dig out all those notepads you have hidden and go through past notes. Highlight what is still relevant and actions that need to be taken, then set aside a day (or more if you need) to re-read and implement those action points. Ditch any that are no longer relevant or of interest. If you don’t feel the energy and enthusiasm to action them at the time you set yourself, also ditch them. If you still can’t find the time or inclination to sort them out now, you never will and they will remain cluttering up your both your desk and your subconscious mind.
And here is the biggie!! Before you complete the above task DO NOT sign up to any more webinars, workshops or anything else that you are going to waste time on if you are just going to take notes and not actually implement anything afterwards. Remove yourself from the false sense of security of being a busy fool!
This can also be a very hard habit to break. Only last evening I found myself signing up to yet another webinar ‘just in case’ there was some vital information that I may miss (and this is what prompted me to write this post).
To help break the habit, unsubscribe from all the newsletters from those wonderful coaches apart from your most favourite. Instead of funding their businesses, focus on putting lessons into action to fund your own! Also install an AdBlocker on your laptop so no more Facebook ads pop up in your newsfeed to distract you with bright shiny objects that draw you away from your core business duties!
Once you are up to date and have implemented the list of outstanding actions for your business, you can come back and those coaches will still be there waiting to take you to the next level.
Go do this now. Don’t wait. Block out time in your diary and become a future doer not a note taker.
Let me know how you get on in the comments box at the bottom of the page (and how many notepads you found!)
Overcome your fear
Running a small business on your own can be a scary place at times and often we find it necessary to step outside of our comfort zone.
This could be from having to cold call, contacting a difficult client, chasing in a bad debt, public speaking or simply putting yourself out there to promote your product or service.
There are many ways to help overcome your fear but here is a top one I was given a long time ago and which works.
Think of someone that you admire and successful in your industry. Get a picture of them and print of and keep near your desk or work station. When you get the jitters, simply look at their picture and ask yourself what they would do in your situation.
Take a deep breath and then take the action that you believe they would take.
Really try to get into the mindset of the person you have chosen if they were dealing with the situation. Think about the following:
- What would be they be wearing?
- What language would they use, what tone of voice – friendly and fun or assertive and commanding?
- Would they be standing or sitting?
- Where would they be – at their office or at the client’s premises?
- What method of communication would they use – email, telephone, letter or face to face?
- What would they have with them or near them– client records, notepad, a glass of water?
By emulating a successful person that you admire, you can feel a connection with them and know that whatever step you take is going to be one step closer to becoming as good as they are.
Try it out for yourself and see if it helps you overcome your fear. Pop over to the Facebook page and let me know.
I have met a number of businesses over the years and two stick in my mind that I saw within a week of each other. One was completely floundering and projections were to turnover just £4000 by the end of the first year. Sales were not coming in and morale was at an all-time low.
The second business was flying. It had been trading for nine months and was one of the most successful start-ups I have seen in a very long time. Turnover was incredibly high and profits were very healthy indeed.
So what was the difference between them? Why was one sinking whilst the other was flying?
During conversations, it became increasingly obvious that the first business owner had gone out and pinpointed something they thought would make money. They had no experience in the industry and had no enthusiasm for the business other than trying to make sales and extract money for themselves.
When talking to this business owner, there was no vibrancy in their voice and when talking about what they were doing and why, all they spoke about was facts and figures with no emotion.
The second business owner had started a business doing something she loved and was incredibly good at. She had test traded alongside her full-time job and orders came rolling in so she quickly made the decision to give up her full-time work and set up a company.
Her passion, enthusiasm and energy were infectious. When I asked her questions, she spoke from the heart and her eyes lit up. She knew her product inside out. Whatever she was selling, I wanted to buy it.
The two conversations were like chalk and cheese.
Too many people focus on the money and what they can get from it when starting a business. This, in my experience, rarely leads to success.
On the other hand, those that concentrate on something they love, have a passion for and are good at tend to be far more successful. Their passion helps them through the tough times. They enjoy what they do regardless. And they don’t have to sell their products or services. Their enthusiasm rubs off on others who become intrigued, and if the offering fits, want to buy.
I have always said that the key to success in business is to find something you love, something you are good at, and something that enough people will pay the right price for.
So stop chasing the money first and foremost. Do something you love and what people want. The money will soon come of its own accord.
There is one almost guaranteed way to lose even the most loyal of customers. And that is to make promises that you cannot keep.
It is often in our nature to want to do the best for everyone and to never say no, but this can ultimately do our business more harm than good. If you are already stretched to breaking point, trying to squeeze in just one more client or fulfil just one more order could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Or it may be that we promote a product or service where we simply do not have the capacity to supply to enough people
I have been searching for a business mentor for the past couple of weeks. Even though I mentor others, I still need someone to be accountable to and to use as a sounding board myself. I have decided to invest in myself and my business and so was prepared to pay to get the right person.
I watched a few webinars and did some research and came up with a shortlist of some apparently highly qualified and highly sought after individuals. The two it boiled down to have both just opened up spaces to take on clients and have been promoting this heavily.
I contacted my first choice. I was promised a comprehensive plan and if she was not available at any time, her support team would there for me. I decided to check out the support team and went on live chat to ask a simple question. The smoke screens and lack of ability to answer my questions was quite ridiculous and after giving them every opportunity to redeem themselves, they failed miserably to give me what I wanted. I then emailed the mentor direct and after no response tried to gain her attention through social media. But the only thing I got in return was silence.
I then went to my second choice. After many promises of how wonderful she was and what a perfect fit we were we decided to book a starter session together by phone. But the call never came. I waited and waited but was met with silence again. I emailed and was told by her assistant the appointment was not put in the diary.
I felt completely let down and if this was the way these people ran their businesses, they certainly didn’t meet the standards I have for mine.
So if you tell someone you are going to do something, simply do it. If you offer a free call to try and gain a new client, treat it with the importance it deserves. If you say you are going to deliver a product at a certain time, make sure it arrives precisely then, or even better, before.
It is far better to tell someone that you cannot fulfil their wishes at this moment in time than let them down and gain a bad reputation. I have spoken to a number of people today who have all been let down by another particular business advisor and word is spreading like wild fire locally that this person is unreliable. This is undoubtedly going to damage their business.
Remember the adage to under promise and over deliver. At the least, make sure you invest efforts to keep your promises and then exceed them if you have the time and ability. Stand out from the crowd and gain a strong reputation for all the right reasons.