When You Let Your History Decide Your Destiny: A Devastating Story

momprotectingsonA few weeks ago, I got a shocking email: a friend’s young son was diagnosed with leukemia. He now needs a bone marrow transplant. The odds of a match are 1 out of 30 000. The donor can’t be anyone (I really thought hard about doing it myself!). It has to be someone from the same geographic ethnicity (which is tricky since the family has emigrated to Toronto) and be of 17-35 years of age. Is this breaking your heart yet? There’s more…

The Odds

My marketing mind went immediately to work on the solution. I thought, if my target market is a certain geographic ethnicity, why don’t we campaign for a donor in that very country itself? After all, there are millions of potential donors there vs. here. Go to where your ideal clients hang out, I always say. That turned out to be easier said than done. The country in question has no donation infrastructure and no funds for processing potential donors through the simple cheek swab match test. In fact, it costs $1000 per person to process this test.

Solutions

Then my brilliant marketing mind came up with the idea of running a dual campaign in the said country. One for marrow donors and the other for financial donors to fund the cheek swab. I would run the financial one through something like Kickstarter where we could take multinational donations from anywhere in the world!

Where History Meets Destiny

When presented with my idea, my dear friend who truly must be beside herself with worry for her son said these words that I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks “Chala, I simply can’t and won’t ask people I know for money”. Now I know this woman is an intelligent, caring and loving mother. Yet that’s what she felt.

Sleepless Night

I lay awake all last night thinking about what caused my friend to reject my solution of fundraising money to possibly save her son’s life. And unfortunately the answer is that when someone in our childhood (our history) teaches us that it’s wrong to ask for money, we can’t even ask it to save our (our kids’) lives, let alone our businesses. Our history ends up determining our future (our destiny).

Your Insidious Mind

When your conditioned mind (your subconscious mind) detects a change is coming (i.e. you have to ask for money from your friends or even strangers which it was conditioned never to do since it said something bad about you), your mind responds in one of 3 ways: 1. avoidance 2. resistance and 3. defensiveness. The insidiousness of your subconscious is that it actually comes out as thoughts that make perfect sense to you, such as ‘it’ll never work’ or ‘nobody will give us any money’ or ‘I don’t think it’s the right way to do this’.

The next time you are feeling any of these emotions, beware. Take a pause and maybe ask yourself why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and be honest with yourself. You might be surprised by how your history is shaping your destiny too…

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

And The Sad % Of People Who Keep New Year’s Resolutions Are…

NewYearsResolutions-funnyHappy New Year everyone! I wanted to greet you with a scary statistic..call me strange…Only 19% of people who make new year’s resolutions keep them for one whole year. Here are the other numbers according to the Toronto Star article:

19%: Less than 24 hours

15%: One week

52%: One month

19%: The whole year

As a small business coach and as an entrepreneur, unfortunately I see this all too often. Some clients start the program with a bang and finish with a whimper. Friends who vow to save the Timmy’s coffee money for a vacation are carrying trays of the brown stuff to work in a few weeks. Small business owners I meet while networking who vow to spend more time marketing this year, still get sucked into working more in the business than on it. It truly is sad to see.

Why is this happening? I came up with a few theories of my own on this one:

1. Nobody Is Really Holding You Accountable

Even for those who’ve announced their intentions to the world (remember Rob Ford’s weight loss promise) there’s no real New Year’s Resolution Police who’s going to drag you to the Broken Resolutions Jail. So who cares if a few people ask you about it, nothing really changes in your life if you don’t follow through.

2. You’re Not In Enough Pain To Change

Unfortunately humans don’t change unless they are in deep pain. Most of the time. It’s either a divorce, the loss of a huge client or a heart attack that makes people take real stock and attempt to change. Even then, studies show that most people can’t stick with the changes. When there isn’t enough pain, there’s no gain.

3. Your Body Is Ruling Your Mind

According to neuroscientist Dr.Joe Dispenza, our bodies are chemically dependent on the same thoughts we’ve been thinking (and those thoughts produce hormones and chemicals that translate to feelings) since the day we were born. So to simply start thinking different thoughts is pretty difficult.

What’s a Person To Do?

So how do the people who do keep their resolutions for the whole year differ? They usually have an accountability partner, a plan of action that’s committed and a structure that allows them not to slide back into previous behaviour. For example, in 2013 when I committed to losing weight, I signed on with Weight Watchers. Their weekly meetings and especially the scary weigh-ins kept me on track. Similarly, when I decided to grow my business exponentially, I spent an enormous sum to hire a top-level coach. I haven’t looked back since!

What are you going to do differently to make sure you’re not a sad New Year’s Resolution Statistic?

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

 

When My Angry Reader Confronted Me At A Conference

confrontationI had one of the most interesting confrontations of my life at last week’s Canadian Association of Professional Speaker’s Conference. It was really illuminating and I’d like to share it with my fellow business owners who dare to blog, speak and in general share their honest personal opinion on the state of the business that they are in.

Speaking Gig

As my virgin run at this conference, I was thrilled to have gotten a speaking slot. Imagine, my first time at a Speaker’s conference AND I get to speak to professional speakers. My speech was about a fave topic of mine lately: your money mindset. In the 12 minutes that I was allotted, I talked about my humble beginnings, and my limiting beliefs. I talked about my shame and fears. I exposed myself (as I often do) to share my failures and my fumbles.  This humanized me to a very special member of the audience. I was to find out why very shortly.

An Admirer Approaches Me

A gentleman who had been in my audience later approached me in the lobby, telling me how much he’d enjoyed my talk. He also said he wanted to talk to me further. Now alarm bells weren’t ringing at that time because like any business owner who speaks to sell, I often get people wanting to talk to me about how I can help their own business after hearing me on stage. This gentleman was soft-spoken, respectful and from his earlier musical talent show using an odd-looking instrument, a very interesting person. I was happy to talk to him.

I Have A Confession

Then he revealed that he had a confession. He said that he had signed up for my newsletter and had read my last blog titled ‘5 Ways I Can Tell That You’re NOT Serious About Your BusinessHe said that he hadn’t even gotten past the first point before he was boiling mad at me for saying what I did in the article. He then told me of how he’d seen me come in to the conference room the day before and had chosen to ignore me deliberately because of the ill-feelings he was harboring towards me. However, he still wanted to see me speak in person and came to hear me speak that day. That’s when he realized that what was triggering him was HIS own limiting beliefs.

Dare To Tell

I can’t tell you how much I admire this gentleman. It took guts. I was blown away by his courage and honesty. These two things are not often encountered in today’s world. This at first nerve-wracking but later touching experience was literally the best thing to happen to me at that conference all weekend.

What Triggers Us

My new friend and I parted on this one thought in agreement: what triggers us is always what is stopping us. I now know why I used to cringe when speakers started circulating their sales sheets. I know why my heart used to pound out of my chest when it came time to quote my prices (which were a mere fraction of what they are today!). I understand why it was so hard for me to believe that I could make my dreams come true.

I hope this story teaches you something as valuable as it did to me. Speak your truth, always. When the student is ready, the teacher will show up.

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

When My Childhood Was Running My Business

I may be over 40 but my parents and I still talk about my business. Occasionally they do give me advice, but that’s not what I’m talking about when I say that my childhood was running my business and it very well might be running yours too!

A year ago, a met a man who became my coach and who taught me that the reason why I was charging so little, the reason why I took on miserable clients and the reason why I’d never hired a $15K coach until today was because of what my parents had taught me about money. And he was dead right.

The product of a 1950’s developing country, my parents struggled mightily when they immigrated to Canada when I was born. So it turned out that my parents, or more specifically what I learned from them and from my environment when I was a child were running my business today.

I was shocked and took great pains to break out of those conditioned beliefs and habits. Beliefs that said I had to work really hard and be miserable to make a lot of money and frequently. Beliefs that said to give an enormous amount of money to a strange man when I didn’t have it and to put it on my credit card was complete insanity and could hurt me.

I run into so many of these beliefs every day when I talk to prospects and other small businesses. If you’re ready to break out of your childhood beliefs that are running your business, then awareness over your patterns is power but unless you take action, nothing will change.

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

How To Pick Your Brand Name

One of the most common questions I get asked by startups or new companies is ‘what should I choose as my brand name’. For most entrepreneurs, it’s like naming a baby with far reaching consequences and a thousand unforeseen implications.

  • Here’s what I tell them: First figure out your niche. That means who your ideal client is and what area you’re an expert in. Don’t guess this, learn how to research this strategically.
  • Then figure out the words that your ideal client is googling to search for you online. Find out what words they use to describe the pain that they’re in.
  • Then use those words in your brand name. The best brand names are simple and short English words that represent something about what you do, such as Staples or ToysRus.
  • For example, when a marketing consultant client niched in helping small food manufacturers get and stay listed in grocery stores, we picked the name ‘Food Distribution Guy’. When a financial planner client niched in Divorcing Women, her brand name became Divorcing Woman. One of the most successful brand names and url for a business I know is called Stenographers.com. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

So you see, it all starts with figuring out your niche, and what words your ideal clients are using. It’s not really ever about what you think is cute or relevant or sexy, it’s always about them.

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

 

Why You’re Not Getting Clients From Social Media

Yes, you’ve been posting articles on LinkedIn. You’ve said YES to every invite on Facebook and Twitter. You have done your job so how come social media isn’t doing its job and bringing you new clients? I think I might know the answer to that one. If you follow my work you can probably guess what I’m going to say: Your social media isn’t working because you might not have the right business strategy.

A business strategy is just a fancy way of saying WHO you help and WHAT you help them with. A communication strategy is figuring out where to intercept these ideal clients and telling them HOW you help them over and over and over again. For example, if your market research tells you that you have to target CEO’s of multinational corporations, research shows that 53% don’t even participate in social media. In that case, your communication strategy shouldn’t be heavy on social media presence.

  • So the first order of action is to figure out what we in marketing call your niche (your ideal client target and your specialty).
  • Then you ask your niche what social media platform and groups they are consuming either as an observer or active participant.
  • Then you ask them what their number one pain point with respect to your specialty they are suffering from.
  • Then you post videos and blogs and quotes and articles from other trusted sources in the groups and streams your target clients are involved in, always about solutions to their pain point.

And voila, all of a sudden, your ideal clients think you’re an expert, a celebrity and a go-to guru for their problems in the area of your specialty. Then when they see you speaking at a conference, meet you at a trade show or run into you while networking, they will know, like and trust you already. The rest, as they say will be history and you’ll watch your sales grow and grow.

What has been your experience in how social media has gotten you clients?

Would love your input on this post and if you need more chicken soup for your biz, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

The Verbal Diarrhea Elevator Pitch

verbaldiarrheaCome on, admit it. You’ve heard it or done it. I know I have…The verbal diarrhea that happens when someone has to introduce themselves to a group of peers or prospects. The explanation that drones on and on about what someone does for a living, leaving the listeners perplexed and exhausted. And those are the people who are actually listening to the intro. Most actually have checked out after 5 seconds and are dreaming of their upcoming beach vacation or the hot checkout clerk who helped them at Wal-Mart.

Let’s examine this strange phenomenon more closely and talk about why this odd circumstance happens with a lot of small business owners:

Nerves

Ok, it’s nerve-wracking to have a whole lot of eyeballs on you, listening and judging you. I get that. However, if you’re in business for yourself, you’re pretty much going to have to get over it and do your thing. At least you can spend the time and effort to do it well so that even if you are wetting yourself in fear, you end up getting clients out of the ordeal.

You Don’t Really Know

If I had a dollar for every time I think this happens…. When a business owner has a verbal-diarrhea-elevator-pitch-moment, it’s usually because they either don’t have a niche (a focused target and specialty) or they have multiple ones that they can’t decide between. Do the strategic research and find out where your business needs to focus on before you try to introduce what it is that you do. Clarity gets remembered. Confused minds don’t buy or refer.

You Get Into The ‘How’

Most people are simple and linear creatures. When they ask you what you do for a living, they’d like to hear something that they already have a category in their head for, like a dentist or a therapist or a consultant etc. When business owners are unclear about how their ideal clients categorize what they do,  they try to compensate by getting into the HOW of what they do. They think that by adding more information, that people will better understand what they do.

For example, is it better for an elevator pitch to say ‘I’m a financial advisor and I help divorcing women to navigate the settlement negotiation’ or ‘I’m a resilience activator who helps divorcing women through the settlement negotiation by setting goals, managing relationships and providing financial planning while supporting them through their journey of divorce.’ In my opinion, the ‘how’ version is too long. The elevator pitch is just the teaser to let your audience know if they’re your ideal client. If they are, don’t worry, they’ll ask you to go into more details about how you help.

You Throw in Your ‘Why’

I badly teed off a seminar leader who was making the room full of business women stand up and tell their ‘why they do what they do’ as part of their elevator pitch. I simply stated that in my experience, and in my experience through my clients, that getting into ‘I am a leadership coach who helps IT companies because when I was at ABC Inc, I got unfairly fired etc.’ would actually be an ineffective way to do that initial intro because it was too long and would lose the audience engagement. The seminar leader staunchly stated that she didn’t agree but you should’ve heard how long some of those ‘why’ stories were. I simply couldn’t see how any audience would stay engaged in this particular sort of verbal diarrhea. An Elevator Pitch in my mind is simply to establish 2 things: what business is this person in and can he/she help me or someone I know. Anything over and above that belongs in a deeper conversation.

So don’t be an elevator pitch chump and capture way more interest and dazzle with your concise and distinct self-intro. Believe me, you’ll feel the results almost immediately when people approach you after your intro to ask more about what you do.

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