Shock yourself—make a decision

Indecision

Indecision (Photo credit: Bichuas (E. Carton))

A liability

One of the biggest liabilities of a small business owner is his or her inability to make quick and effective decisions.  In large corporations, unless you’re top management, this is less of a problem because there’s always someone else who’s got more authority than you. So if there’s a decision it’s usually not yours to make alone.

However, small business is different. You need to make a million decisions every day about who to call, what to say, how to blog, what to accomplish first etc. It is an endless stream of decision that ultimately affects your bottom line.

Why so hard?

How come decision making is so hard for most people? Renowned leadership author and guru Napoleon Hill said that most successful leaders of all walks of life are capable of quick and effective decisions. They decide and move quickly. Why is it then that I look around me and see a sea of indecision when faced with either a buying decision or a change to a business? The root of every inability is simple—it’s fear. Fear that the decision will be regretted.

Shake the bad habit

If your small business could definitely stand to grow, I challenge you to take small steps to get yourself rid of the indecision demon.  Make simple decisions everyday that lead to bigger ones as time goes on.

For example, decide and act on three new things you’ll incorporate into your business practice. (Like trying a new cold calling script or visiting a new association that you’ve never heard of etc.) Then the next week, you can graduate up to the bigger decisions like hiring a VA or refreshing your website etc.

Incomplete means indecision

If you look at anything incomplete in your life and business you’ll see that it’s because of indecision.  Take stock and make some decisions today, then you’ll start to see true transformation everywhere you look.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

7 Things Your Customers Want Most

It’s hard to part a consumer from their dollar these days. In truth, it always was. The new consumer is savvy and has the power of the internet as a research tool to dig into your industry, your competitors and to get the skinny on you. At the end of it all though, once they’ve bitten the bullet and become a customer, there are few things they want from you that you may not have thought about. Read this article below for a good synopsis:

1. Independent Thinking

Customers want to know that you’ll represent their interests, even it’s not in your own financial interest–and particularly when the proverbial chips are down.

2. Courage

They expect you to tell them if buying what you’re selling is a mistake, or not truly in their interests. That takes real guts.

3. Pride

The best customers don’t want you to truckle and beg.

4. Creativity

Customers don’t have the time to sit and listen to cookie-cutter sales presentations.

5. Confidence

They both need and expect you to exude the kind of confidence that assures them you’ll do what it takes to make them happy.

6. Empathy

Customers want you to see the situation from their perspective.

7. Honesty

Above all, customers want you to be honest with them.  Without honesty, you have absolutely nothing to offer any customer.

via 7 Things Your Customers Want Most.

You know in your gut whether you’re pleasing a customer or not. Make sure that you embody the most important things that your customers would want from you as listed above and see your retention and referral rates soar.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Inside the Successful Leaders Mindset

Steve Jobs with his MacBook Air at Macworld 2008.

Steve Jobs with his MacBook Air at Macworld 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many years ago when I took NLP training, we learned that in order to help clients lose weight, we had to help them to emulate how fit people made their eating decisions. For example, the first thought when a fit person’s hungry might be “What would satisfy me until lunch” then the thought process would progress to “What are my choices that are healthy?” then it would go to “What tastes the best out of these choices” and then they would pick a healthy choice. In contrast, the thought process of an obese person might be “I feel like eating now” (whether hungry or not), then to “What will satisfy my craving right now” to “What’s available” to eating that food. It was fascinating how when clients consciously noted and then replaced their thought pattern with that of a fit person, even though at first it felt unnatural, it was successful in causing weight loss as a result. So if you want to emulate the thinking of a successful leader, here’s a look inside what their mindset is like:

1. Trust that you’ll adapt to new challenges. Successful entrepreneurs approach uncertainty with confidence. When faced with an unfamiliar challenge, they think of similar situations they’ve handled before or skills sets that might apply.

2. Attribute your success to hard work, not luck. Successful leaders believe their achievements are due to hard work, not just lucky circumstance.Leaders who are confident in their ability to learn are more likely to seek out and persevere through tough challenges, increasing their chances of success.
3. Believe that you are unique. To be successful, learn from the people you admire but don’t try to emulate them.

4. Challenge your negative beliefs. If you want to succeed, stamp out negative beliefs that might be holding you back.

via Inside the Successful Leaders Mindset.

In my coaching practice where I help small businesses grow, the single biggest obstacle to that growth is fear. Fear of the future, of the unknown, of not enough or of too much success. Like the obese eater, if you can note your thought patterns and learn to replace them at least most of the time with the thought patterns of successful business leaders, then you too can experience the highs of stellar results.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Marketing Plan for Existing Clients

Handshake icon

Handshake icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I noticed a very interesting phenomenon when I started offering a new service. I noticed that the first people to sign up were my current clients. This got me thinking that perhaps I was forgetting something that I was teaching my clients everyday–that my existing clients are a very viable source of incremental income and deserve a plan of their own to get some of my attention. This article really sums it up well:

If you have at least two plans, focusing on both prospects and existing clients, and review them on an ongoing basis, you’ll probably fare better.

Why do you need to market to existing clients differently?

  1. An existing customer often has a shorter sales cycle for a repeat purchase.
  2. A lot of businesses focus so much on new customers that they don’t pick the low hanging fruit that are existing customers.
  3. Existing customer marketing has another potential benefit — referral marketing. Their testimonials or reviews and social media activities can help you reach a wider audience via referrals.

via Marketing Plan for Existing Clients.

Famed Sales Guru Kim Duke spoke at a dinner meeting I went to last night and she was stellar. What she said she first did with new clients was to get their list of clients and fans and community and start mining it for new business. If you look at the advice above and listen to her (and to me), you too need to develop a separate plan for your existing clients. It’s just such an obvious slam dunk, isn’t it?

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

A Quick Guide to Making Your Brand’s Story More Compelling

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am forever encouraging my clients to Rip off the Mask and be their authentic self to attract more of their ideal clients. Your core values are at the root of why you started your own business. Whether it’s to serve or to protect, to entertain or to teach–there’s a BIG why at the core of your business. Here are a few ways to use that reason to attract more clients:

Share your “why” in distinctive ways.

  • Put a video on your site. Rather than just telling your story in text in the About Us section of your website, create a video as well.
  • Post photos.  If you have a cool office or store, showcase it. Post photos of customers and your team to highlight the people behind your brand’s success.
  • Add a few quotes. Get quotes from your leadership, customers and business partners that help tell the “why” of your story.

Give your “why” more real estate.

  • Put it on the home page. What could be better than putting a video up on your home page that describes why your company exists and why you do what you do?
  • Link to it from social profiles. . Make your story a critical part of that interaction.
  • Write about it on your company blog. Your blog can be a great place to call out your story.

via A Quick Guide to Making Your Brand’s Story More Compelling.

When you make a big deal about who you really are and why your company exists, the exact kind of people who you want to attract notice you. You penetrate their radar in the most effective way and cut through the throngs of clutter that they have thrown at them everyday of their life.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

3 Tricks for Saying ‘No’

One of the loveliest, most capable clients I have heaved sobs of shame and dejection on our last call. For some time now, she had neglected her commitments to herself, her business and yes–to her coach, simply because she was incapable of saying ‘no’ to clients, friends and family. To put her needs and wants ahead of those she loved and served seemed an almost insurmountable barrier to her. Here are some tips to help those who are feeling like her:

1. Understand your own motivations.

If you are in the pattern of giving in to every demand in spite of the resulting burden, it may be a good idea to work with a coach or someone who can help you achieve a better balance.

2. Calculate the true cost of your burdens.

Make a list of the recent instances when you agreed to something that took you away from your main priorities. Now add up the time cost. Not just the time you spent away from your priorities, but the emotional time cost as well. What might you have achieved if all of this time was  put toward something more productive? Imagine the possibilities!

3. Create a reminder.

This could be a note that says, “Don’t give in!” or, if the meeting is in person, it might be a bracelet, ring, or a red pen; something that you don’t usually carry or wear.

via 3 Tricks for Saying ‘No’.

My 3 year old’s new daycare informed us that they no longer subscribe to the ‘naughty corner’ punishment but instead use the ‘redirect’ method. I’d heard of this from Ken Blanchard‘s Whale Done book but hadn’t ever seen it applied. This is where when someone does something they’re not supposed to, you redirect their attention to something else that they can be doing. I have used the ‘redirect’ approach when saying ‘no’ in the past. This involved telling the ‘asker’ what else you’ve gotta do instead, suggesting another resource that could help other than you, giving them a timeline of your other priorities and when you can complete their ask etc. There are many ways to ‘redirect’ if you are willing.

I urge you and all my wonderful clients to ‘redirect’ and heed the above tips because life is supposed to be fun, remember?

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Fall In Love With Your Business (Again)

Every small business owner has their off days when they’re feeling stuck and life is feeling too hard. I really loved this idea of falling in love with your business all over again. Take out a piece of paper, and answer these questions for your own business:

  1. The Entrepreneur’s Dream defines the Great Result your company is designed to produce. Why did you start your business? What was missing in the marketplace? What need do you fill?
  2. The Entrepreneur’s Vision designs the form your company will take. Create a flowchart for your company’s structure. What’s working? What isn’t? Who or what do you need to make it work?
  3. The entrepreneur‘s Purpose outlines the impact your company will have on your most important customer. Create a profile of your ideal customer. Who are they? What do they want?
  4. The entrepreneur’s Mission determines how your business will be built as an intelligent system. Do you have systems in place? What tasks in your business can be systematized? (So that any employee could do them as well as you could.)

via Fall In Love With Your Business (Again).

If you remember back to those days that you had butterflies in your stomach and your beloved vocation gave you joy and satisfaction, you will reconnect with your ‘big why’ of having a small business and revitalize yourself for another successful day of growth.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!