Success in Business

Your fear can stand in the way of what you want to do. Fear makes it difficult to even contemplate the change. You sweep your ideas into a dark room and close the door on them. You want more, want to become more, want to change and achieve your vision or dream or simple things, but you’re stuck.  Don’t remain stuck in fear, surrounded by “what if”s that never happen. Join us on the 7-day Empowered Energy Summit at http://www.empoweredenergysummit.com

The ‘revolving door’ was how we described it in the homelessness sector in my social care days. It referred to the problem of having helped people off the streets, found them a hostel place, linked them to drugs and alcohol support and any number of other services, only to find a number of people would be back on the streets – even after weeks or months of intensive support.

Frustrating – yes. But why does it happen?

In one word, FEAR, but it’s also tied up with other emotions such as lack of trust in oneself and others, lack of belief that things can be different, fear of responsibility and what that entails … so being with others in a similar place of not having to face up to those fears and doubts is a mighty pull against having to make permanent change. So the work would begin all over again … and the process repeated – it’s the revolving door.

Are you any different in your business?

Think about it … do the same problems occur time and time again? Are you on the constant search for clients? Does your business suffer from feast and famine? Do you get stuck not sure what to do next? Business problems arise similar to the revolving door – when you think you’ve moved on, more often than not you’re just repeating the same behaviour albeit in another scenario, but all with have the same outcome, which is back where you started from.

Get it?

It works in a similar way to the heating thermostat in your house. If you set the thermostat for ninety degrees, it doesn’t matter what you do … whether you open a window or door … your thermostat will adjust to ensure your heating remains at ninety degrees. People are the same. It doesn’t matter however hard you work, however much money you earn, or however you try to make change happen, you will naturally adjust back to whatever your blueprint is set for. Make sense?

Here’s the good news … it IS possible to change your blueprint to a more supportive and successful one … once you know how.

Preparing yourself for massive change:

  1. Do your really want to change? Making change means you have to be uncomfortable before you realise the benefits of the change. You have to want it.
  2. Understand there’s a process. It takes a minimum of twenty-one days to learn and instil a new behaviour. Part of this process is in replacing those non-supportive behaviours with supportive ones.
  3. Being open to learning new ways of doing and being and living your authentic life rather than the one that’s kept you in your comfort zone. . It is said that your income or lack of it is a direct reflection of your comfort zone.

Preparing for change opens your mind towards accepting that change is necessary and that you will start to find answers to your current situation or problem … and finally stop that revolving door. Otherwise, will your 2014 be any different to any other year?

I’d been looking for a new coat in the January sales – nothing unusual in that, but it made me think how often do we approach our business decisions in the way we choose our clothes.

For instance, when selecting a new coat I spent some time looking at the different styles currently available. I observed the colours, and what might suit my complexion. I looked at the fabric to make sure it felt nice. Then I looked at the practical side such as the longevity as to how long I might expect the item to stay in fashion so I’d get good value. And of course I considered the personality aspect of how it would make me feel wearing it and what impact it might have on others when they see me wearing it.

So much goes into buying a coat … and so many decisions made which the majority of us I’m sure take for granted. But what about decisions for our business? Do we take as much time and effort into analyzing our next steps, or what is the best investment for our business? Do we consider the effect of our personality and use it to project a positive image? Do we gain feedback on how well we present our business to others and how they might be viewing us in our prospective field?

Interesting don’t you think? I thought so too.

So give it some thought today … or try it next time you want to buy a new coat.

How many times have you heard this: “Follow these six or seven steps and you will do/have/receive” and the promise is often money (6-7 figure income), success (people will know you all over the world) and then an easier and happier life will follow?

You begin to dream. That happier life will give you the time to do the things you love, be with the people you want to be with such as family and friends. Then again you may want to travel and visit some of those exotic places, buy the home of your dreams, enjoy meals out in expensive restaurants, or drive the car of your dreams.

You think, ‘yes’ that’s what I want. So you go ahead and buy the system that will lead you to the promised-land. But what actually happens after that? Usually its one of three things:

  1. You don’t implement the system – it sits on a shelf or remains stored on your computer and you never get around to knowing what those steps actually are.
  2. You religiously listen to all 6 or 7 steps, making copious notes. Then you start to implement the steps directly to your business. Do they work? Or are you still left trying to work it out – and feeling a little bit burnt that you’ve paid for a system that didn’t work to give you the results you wanted?
  3. You implement all 6 or 7 steps apply them – and your business soars! You are amazed at the outcome and that was the best investment you ever made.

Which of the 3 scenarios above best describes you?

Chances are you will fall into either scenario i. or scenario ii. as very few people ever take a system, implement it and gain the same results as the person offering the system.

Why is this?

Let me be frank with you, its nothing to do with the system or the steps laid out for you to follow. When someone is offering you a step-by-step system they are giving you the steps that work for them. Because the system has worked for them, they genuinely believe it will work for you too, providing you follow each step in order and implement in the same way that they did. But there’s something critical that is missing. It’s this …

The system they have developed works for them because that approach fits with their unique abilities, their preferred style, their personality, their belief system, their dreams. It all works perfectly well for them. But the problem is – You are not them!

That’s one of the biggest reasons when you try to follow and implement a system into your business it doesn’t work or get you the results that you want. So in scenario i. you don’t begin to use the system because deep down you don’t believe it will work for you – so why bother? And in scenario ii. it fails when you try to implement it because it doesn’t fit with you.

shoesIt’s like trying on a pair of shoes. They look beautiful in the shop window and you immediately fall in love with them and how they will make you look and feel when you wear them – a million dollars. Then when you try them on they don’t fit properly – they’re either too small, or too tight, not wide or narrow enough for your feet and if you were to buy them and try to wear them, you’d suffer badly with sore, painful feet. It’s the same in your business when you buy into a system that doesn’t fit with you.

What is the solution?

In finding the right fit for you and your business it’s important to focus on your unique abilities, discover your own style and blend it with your personality and your communication preference. In doing so, by all means use other people’s step-by-step systems (I’m all for making shortcuts and gaining the knowledge from other people who’ve already set it out for me), but use it for the educational experience you need to learn to move on a step in your business … and how you might apply that newly gained knowledge when aligned with your uniqueness. If it doesn’t quite fit – then don’t use that bit. There will be another piece of know-how you still have to find. Stay true to who you are.

Is every step you take towards achieving your goals a struggle? Then it’s time to take a different approach.

Like everything, failure has a pattern, and success has a pattern. It’s getting the right combination, in the right sequence for it to work.

Here are 10 well documented rules for achieving success by great achievers:

Rule 1: Be Decisive – You become the person you are by the decisions you make. The direction of your life changes the instant you make the decision as to which goals you want to achieve.

Rule 2: Keep Focused – Whatever you focus on will grow, so put that focus on what you want to achieve rather than what might be a distraction.

Rule 3: Write Down Your Goals – Use ‘smart’, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed to set out your goals in detail.

Rule 4: Have a Detailed Plan – Having a plan helps you to orchestrate all the steps you need to achieve your goal. You may change the steps as you progress of course but make sure changes are part of your overall plan.

Rule 5: Build a Success Team – Surround yourself with people who can help you achieve success and steer you on to bigger things. Ignore the nay- sayers.

Rule 6: Failure Is Good – Don’t let failure take you out. Make a decision to learn the lesson. Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. Even if you have to down tools for a while, it’s okay because this gives you the time out to re-strategize and re-launch again.

Rule 7: Purposeful Action – You can have a great plan, but without taking action you won’t be going anywhere. So take daily actions towards your goals, no matter how small those actions might be.

Rule 8: Track & Monitor – Make sure you observe in detail everything that is working (and those things that aren’t so you may eliminate those) mapping out the progress against your bigger plan.

Rule 9: Reward Yourself – Always! No matter how small the successes…celebrate it in some way that is meaningful for you.

Rule 10: Commitment – Make it a personal commitment to yourself that you will achieve your goals. Make a personal promise to achieve what you set out to do.

If you never get round to writing a business plan (let’s face it, they’re only really necessary if you wish to get a loan or attract investors), always have a marketing plan.

A marketing plan will:

  • Keep you on track
  • Allow you to measure results
  • Know where to adjust your marketing strategy
  • Spend only on ‘what works’
  • Test and measure on a small scale
  • Enable you to plan constructively
  • Lowers risk and needless spend
  • Enable you to have fun!

It’s necessary of course to implement both online and offline marketing strategies. But try not to do everything at once – or you’ll end up totally overwhelmed and do nothing. Just start on one strategy at a time.

But by not planning your marketing activities you will likely have the following:

 

SYMPTOMS include …

 

  • Adhoc marketing activity
  • No idea of return on investment
  • No system in place to test on a small scale
  • High marketing costs but little return
  • Cash flow is erratic
  • Vision and direction is unclear
  • Uncertainty in what actually works

BREAK-THROUGH EXERCISE

 

Try adding one new marketing strategy per month. At the end of the year you will have implemented 12 strategies.

Always test small and track what is working and what isn’t. If something is going well, let it run! If something needs adjusting change one thing at a time and measure the response.

Here are 12 quick and easy marketing ideas you can implement:

  • Join the conversations on Twitter, Linked-In, Face book and other social networking sites that might be of interest – great for creating an online presence. Join me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wendyhoward
  • Add an interesting video or clip of your company to You Tube, make sure you include a link back to your website.  Visit www.youtube.com
  • Submit articles to publications which are of interest to your target market.
  • Share helpful tips by email or online networks.
  • Approach local radio by offering to give a professional view on an article of personal interest that is currently in the news – this is very popular with broadcasters.
  • Offer interesting talks to local groups – preferably ones with a large following of your target audience.
  • Offer a free ‘how to’ report or free tips from your website.
  • Send a weekly informative or helpful email just to keep in touch with your database.
  • Gather testimonials and use them to promote your business.
  • Set up a referral system and make it easy for people to make referrals. Sometimes it’s as easy as asking.

So there you have it, 12 easy to implement marketing strategies and best of all – they are all FREE!

KEY LEARNING

Most marketing doesn’t work. Your job is to find out what does work. Have fun and be creative, but ensure you are consistent in your approach and track and test everything you do on a small scale first.

What does your personal image say about you? How important is it to have a positive personal image? Can it increase your business success?

You may consider the image of your company, your logo, your website, your business cards – all of which give a message about you and your business.

But when it comes to your personal image are you aware of the message you’re projecting to your potential customers? Or how important that message is as to whether or not they do business with you?

Research has shown that by making a few simple adjustments to the colours of the clothing you wear, it has the potential to increase your sales by as much as 33%.

Personal image can be adjusted to help increase your confidence at interviews, sales and giving presentations. And it’s important to present yourself in an authoritative light during meetings or to project an assertive manner when in direct confrontational situations. If necessary, your personal image can be softened, to make you appear more approachable and to gain rapport in more sensitive situations.

Understanding personal image, impact and presence allows you to ‘read’ others well, and enables you to present the image that gets your message across as you want it to be read. Your personal image is a powerful communication tool.

How well do you think you fare with your personal image and ability to use it to communicate with presence and impact?

SYMPTOMS include …

  • Not feeling confident in personal dress sense
  • Missing subtle body language or hand gestures
  • Thinking image doesn’t really matter
  • Dress down Fridays means wearing jeans and a tee-shirt
  • Saying that ‘people have to accept me as I am’
  • Inability to adjust pace and tone of voice to meet the situation
  • Feeling tired, faded or outdated

BREAK-THROUGH EXERCISE

Go through your personal image step by step. Make a conscious effort to co-ordinate your clothing and accessories. Become more aware of body language and any subtle gestures. Observe your voice, your tone and pace of delivery during meetings and other day to day situations. Change one or two things about your personal image and take note of the effect on others.

KEY LEARNING

Being aware of your personal image and using it to project a positive and confident image is immensely empowering.

Step 5: Ability to Present with Confidence

It’s our greatest fear – public speaking!! In fact, it’s often said that people fear it more than they do the act of dying.

And yet, delivering a powerful presentation has the effect of propelling you forward as an expert in your field quickly and easily. It’s also one the greatest ways of selling to wider audience. Why sell ‘one on one’ when you can sell ‘one to many’?

But why is it so difficult?

Fear of presentations can cause your fight or flight mechanism to go into overdrive. This can make you tremble, sweat profusely and feel physically sick.

For many people the fear of presentations can stunt their career or become a barrier to business growth.

In other words, you owe it to yourself and your business to master this skill. Presentations give you the opportunity to show others how talented and fabulous you and your business is.

Do you fear giving presentations or just lack the skills to do them well?

Check out the following:

SYMPTOMS include …

  • Avoiding situations where you have to speak publicly
  • Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of presenting
  • Unsure of how to plan a presentation
  • Feeling light headed or shaking with nerves
  • Self-conscious or lacking in confidence
  • Uncertain of what to talk about
  • No format to follow

BREAK-THROUGH EXERCISE

Make a list of short topics that might be of interest to your potential clients. Choose topics you are comfortable with. Use case studies and weave success stories into your talk.

KEY LEARNING

Your business will only grow to the extent that YOU do. Giving presentations is a key leadership skill, but few know how to do it well. Good presenters are not born, they are made. They follow formats, and master techniques that allow them to deliver with ease.

Note: Overcoming deep fears of presentations is something that requires training in techniques that really work. This report is too short to go into this and the techniques are best practiced in a positive and safe environment. See G.R.O.W. Giant Results, Opportunities & Wealth programme.

Step 4: Build Your Key Relationships

“If you could do it by yourself, chances are you’d have done it anyway by now”, how many times have you heard someone say that? Reality is most people struggle on by them-selves trying to do everything in their business. This is fine if you want to end up exhausted, working all hours available and still not reap the rewards you know you deserve. It’s an easy trap to fall into.

The truth is most activities while vital to the smooth running of your business, do not earn you an income. They are expenses. If you’re the business owner then you need to concentrate the majority of your time on sales and marketing to grow your business, while outsourcing everything else.

Building a successful business is about ‘relationships’ and finding those key people who will make it all happen for you. Firstly, it’s about the team you build around you to grow your business. This team should consist of experts specialising in their particular expertise. For instance, my team consists of a virtual assistant for administrative tasks, technical support for online marketing, design/graphics persons for creative flair, and a book-keeper for accounts. I also use a number of specialised services already set up and easy to use. This allows me to concentrate my time on supporting my clients, business development, and sales & marketing activities. And if you notice, my team is a ‘virtual’ team.

The second part in developing key relationships is in putting together a high performance team that matches your business needs. You need to be able to identify those people who compliment your personality and skills and fulfil a valuable role on your journey to success.

Build a virtual team around you to grow your business, giving you the right balance of complementary skills. Understanding team dynamics of motivation, nurturing, challenging and working through stressful times are skills used in all successful relationships.

Building relationships is also about setting firm boundaries and guidelines with those people you work with, do work for, or go into joint ventures with. This prevents you from falling into difficulties (or falling out with someone) at a later stage.

Let me give you an example of lax relationships that could cost you your business. A building firm found out to their great cost that they should have set up a firm contract at the beginning of the working relationship. But they were so busy doing the work for the client that they’d not got round to setting up a firm payment structure. By the time the building company got round to invoicing for their work, they were owed over £265,000. The client, who was a ‘good friend’, went into liquidation and the building company never received any payment for their work. This almost cost them their business and yet, it’s totally avoidable.

Often small, family run businesses have difficulties because they’ve brought people into the business based on an emotional decision rather than what is best for the business. For instance, to help a family member who needed a job! Or, to motivate someone to do something positive with their life. The reality is these people are not always the best choice for your business and if you’d interviewed them under normal circumstances, you’d never have given them a job!

Most problems with relationships or teams will often show up as follows:

SYMPTOMS include …

 

  • Arguments, bitching or placing blame
  • Lack of motivation or lethargy, lateness, absence
  • Low commitment to personal role
  • Not following regulations
  • Speaking negatively about the business, team or individuals
  • Poor contribution in the workplace
  • Complacency in their role

 

BREAK-THROUGH EXERCISE

 

Use your list of business activities you set out in step 1. Do the tasks match up to the person currently completing them? Does the relationship work well? If not, why not?

Are you still doing everything yourself? Then it’s time to look at outsourcing some of those tasks and building your virtual team. Who would you like to have on your virtual team? Make your list.

Do you set firm agreements with everyone you work with?

Do you have a firm agreement when setting up work contracts or undertaking joint ventures? Are your payment terms and conditions clear? Do you state your lead times? What do you say about your delivery and quality of service? What’s your cancellation policy? What is your guarantee?

 

KEY LEARNING

Relationships can make or break your business. Setting firm boundaries or formalising arrangements early on prevents problems later. It also says a lot about you, and your expectations for your business success. People will take you much more seriously. They are more likely to trust you and want to work with you when you have set clear boundaries. This gives your business a professional front.

Step 3: Discover Your Leadership Style

I’ve always found it fascinating to learn about my own leadership style and how amazingly accurate some of those analysed reports are!

A key part of growing as a person and also in growing your business is to learn all you can about ‘you’ and your leadership style. And I’ve yet to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy learning more about themselves.

But what’s the point of discovering more about your leadership style?

Well, in many instances you’re conditioned to do the work you do because it’s what you know (and sometimes fell into out of personal circumstances) rather than what you’re good at. So learning more about your personality, your innate qualities, gifts and talents is often like discovering ‘you’ for the first time.

And secondly, we’re a society that tends to concentrate on fixing weaknesses rather than promoting strengths. The problem with this is you rarely get to use your natural gifts and talents for the majority of the time. You put so much effort into fixing your weaknesses and trying to mould yourself into someone you feel you ought to be in order to please others, rather than who you should naturally be.

Identifying your leadership style allows you to know your personal strengths and weaknesses and then you can work on developing the natural path for you in business.

Understanding your leadership style also allows you to gain more insight into those people you work well with, and those you don’t get along with. Often for the first time you will understand ‘why’ others may differ to yourself in making decisions, approaching problems, or being reactive or proactive in various situations.

How well do you know yourself? Complete the following questions:

  • I work best with people who are …
  • I like to make decisions based on …
  • I’m better to delegate the following to others …
  • My strengths are …
  • My weaknesses are …
  • I work better in an environment which is …
  • I don’t suit working in an environment which is …
  • The type of person that frustrates me the most is …
  • My natural tendency to problem solve is to …

If you’ve never discovered your natural leadership style and nurtured your innate qualities then perhaps it’s time to do so. But how do you know when it’s time to discover your natural leadership style? Look for the symptoms that say it’s time to learn more.

SYMPTOMS include …

 

  • Frustration of current circumstances
  • Inability to make the progress you’d like
  • Conflicting views with others you come into contact with
  • Confusion as to what work suits you best
  • Feeling like a square peg in a round hole
  • Boredom, or simply drifting along with what you currently do
  • Feeling like a fish out of water

BREAK-THROUGH EXERCISE

 

Imagine you are re-writing your life story again. What would you choose to do, be and have in your life? Write it all down.

Analyse your strengths and weaknesses and pay particular attention to your natural strengths.

How can you promote your natural strengths through your work or interests?

Identify your weaknesses and decide whether there is any benefit to improving these. Often it’s easier to find someone with the skills and aptitudes you don’t have who will compliment your strengths.

Many small business owners waste precious time and effort trying to do everything themselves. This limits the life of your business and stops growth. Identify what YOU should be concentrating on while delegating or outsourcing everything else to others.

KEY LEARNING

Leadership is being true to oneself, discovering innate qualities and gifts, and continuing to learn and develop your unique intelligences.

To go back and read the 1st Crucial Step to Achieving Giant Results – click here