3 Signs I Know You’re Too Scared To Grow Your Business

scaredinshowerAfter years of working on myself, I am fortunate to be in the place where I’m actually uncomfortable being comfortable. If I have lots of money in the bank, I go and spend it on a wildly scary new way to grow my business.  So I’m scared ALL the time. I want growth constantly. I don’t ever want to change.

For me, fear is the tension that motivates me but for others, it’s the terror that stops them from growing.

Here are the signs that your fears are stopping your business growth:

1. You Would Rather Do What You Know

If a business owner is unwilling to try something new or to invest in something new to grow their business, I know they are too scared to move their business forward. Remember comfort is the enemy of growth.

2. You Would Rather Delay Decisions

What’s the cost of making your decisions later? Go try to buy a plane ticket for a flight tomorrow and see. There is a huge cost to delaying decisions for your business. If you think the world goes on anyway, you’re deluding yourself.

3. You Refuse To Talk About It

The first step to getting help is to admit to the problem, as they say in AA. If you don’t even know about or can talk about the fear that’s holding you back, how are you supposed to overcome it? If someone spots it in you and you balk, who is going to help you get over this paralyzing fear?

So if you find yourself exhibiting any of these symptoms in growing your small business, get help. Any kind of help. Or stay in your safe, known corner of the world forever. But that is not what I would want for you or anyone…

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

(VIDEO) Advertising Your Small Business: The Lazy Solution or Salvation?

Have you ever wondered if new clients are waiting to rush to the phones to call you if only you advertised?

I’m going to stop you right there. I am against service based small businesses advertising. I feel that there are way too many other ways to connect with and market to your ideal client that will result in much faster and higher returns on your investment. But I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help you decide whether an ad investment will pay out or not, regardless of my personal opinion about it.

  1. Your first step in deciding on if you should advertise is to be crystal clear on who your ideal target client group is. You know, the group of people who can afford your rates, who need what you offer and who love you as soon as they meet you.
  2. Once you’ve strategically found your target niche (as opposed to guessing it from your gut), then ask the ad rep how many of those target people will be reading/listening to or seeing your ad.
  3. Then take the cost and divide it by the number of people the ad will reach and you will get something called a CPM, a cost per thousand calculation.
  4. Now you do this same thing and find the CPM for other forms of marketing you’re doing, say a trade show cost vs how many people you talk to at your booth or a bus shelter ad and how many of the thousands will actually BE your ideal client etc.
  5. Then you choose the CPM that’s lowest which means it has the lowest cost to reach a client. In my experience, I’ve gotten the lowest CPM through networking, public speaking and trade shows. Let’s see what your CPM numbers will show you?

For the love of God, please don’t just throw your money on advertising and expect your business to triple in size. Make sure it’s a strategic decision and you won’t regret it.

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 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

“You Don’t Have A Money Problem, You Have An Asking Problem!”

asking problemSo said my new coach in an intensely emotional stand-off with a participant at this weekend’s event. The unfortunate woman was emotionally and financially bankrupt. She had lost a lawsuit, owing over 6 figures in damages. She had to shatter her daughter’s dreams to enter an Ivy League college in the fall. All her many advisors and lawyers were telling her to sell off her beautiful home in the Hamptons. Although a successful coach, she couldn’t see where she could get that enormous amount of money in such a short time.

When I pick coaches, I pick people who will tell you the truth no matter what. So here’s what my new coach told this woman and it was SO exactly the same truth for myself, my clients or for any business owner out there who wants to earn more money that I had to share it with you.

He said “You don’t have a money problem. You have an asking problem. If you had called every single person on your list and told them that you could change their lives if they paid you $100K, consistently and through time, you wouldn’t be in this situation. In fact, you could go home right now and do what I said and pay off this debt and send your daughter to an Ivy League school. It’s because you have an ASKING problem that you’re not doing this“.

Wow, I was really stopped in my tracks. How true is this for all of us? Naturally, this led me to ask (no pun intended) the question: Why do we have an ASK problem?

Here are a few hints:

1. You’re conditioned to think it’s rude/wrong/pushy/looks bad to ask for anything. Yup, it happened when you were a kid while your parents and society and your environment (unless you grew up with Donald Trump) taught you this. In fact, you were called greedy and possibly punished for asking too much. Well, you’re an adult now and you’re reading this so isn’t it time to push yourself out of this state of being?

2. You don’t know how. How exactly are you supposed to ask people for a sale? Do you pick up the phone, do you email, do you write a love letter for God’s sake? And what do you say if you do any of these things? You can’t just walk up to someone and ask them to work with you, right? Even as forthright as I am, I would first recommend an invitation to find out more about each others’ businesses and see if anything you hear can indicate a need for your services. If they’re open to hearing about it and if they’re in enough pain, then you can ask how you can help.

3. You don’t know who to ask. Even if you could get over the beast of the first obstacle of your conditioning and you knew what to say, who do you target for this new asking thing? Well, how about people in your target group you’ve met in the past? How about people you’ve already worked with in the past? How about people in your target who are networking at some function right now? All you need is a focused target group and off you go.

So if you’re like the rest of us who have a money problem in that you want more than what you have, then now you have the awareness that it’s actually an asking problem. Now, go get over it and make your money problems disappear.

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