Category Archives: Action

Focus! Action!

8.12.15“To be great is not a word but work that makes a word.”
― Auliq Ice, Song writer, Author

Today, I want to discuss with you, the next stage of your business, after you have landed on creating your next new offering or service and dreamed of the sure to be eventual success of this next step.  The stage that most people don’t think of or want to think of is the amount of concentration that will have to be given to making the offer be a success.  That stage is called being in concentration.

So what is concentration?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as: the act of giving your attention to a single object or activity—then a pop up notice says: “Concentration is currently in the bottom 50% of lookups on Merriam-Webster.com.”  This made me laugh out loud.  Of course it is at the bottom of the list of words looked up.  No one wants to be in concentration nor do they even want to know about it—that includes YOU and ME.  However, concentration is the energy that takes creation and makes something happen.

Concentration is the ability to focus on what we want to accomplish, and to do the work necessary to bring it into reality.  It is a high and difficult state of mind to maintain.  This is the state of trying out things and failing.  We are so wanting it to happen that we keep on trying things until something sticks.  Being in the state of concentration is intense; it requires a determination to succeed.  And when we succeed it is certainly worthy of at least a mini fiesta.

How to know when you are in the stage of concentration is pretty easy.  You are single minded.  What there is to do is work.  This is where you sometimes forget to take care of yourself.  You do still need to eat and sleep!

There are times when you are on your knees because you have not met your goals.  What I have found that works for people who are wiped out like this is to admit that they are in concentration.  There is something magical about just saying what is authentic and true: I am in concentration now; this is hard.  When we are not clear about this state of concentration we suffer in silence—that is when we are likely to quit.

Am I telling you to complain bitterly to anyone who is around you?  No!  I am saying that you need to have someone who you trust to talk to when you are in this state.  I am talking about someone who is as committed to your success as you are.  And someone who will not be manipulated by you and let you off the hook of being in concentration.

To me being in concentration is a very high state of being.  I admire you and salute you.  I am also here for you, if you want to talk.

 

Photo courtesy of Frame Angel FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

What Is Your Next Play?

7.22.15We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

-Randy Pausch

As a business coach I work with highly talented, diverse entrepreneurs.  In order to provide the best coaching for each one, it is useful to step back to observe how the client deals with challenges.  In regards to solving challenges, there is no one way suits all response to a challenge.  I find that many of my clients think there is a manual about what they should do to be successful, but it must be a secret manual since they haven’t been able to buy it at the bookstore.  The result is torturous hours of second guessing about what is the right thing to do in order to succeed and turn the challenge into a success.

When I find one of my clients in the grip of this, I suggest that he begin to look at why he is responding to the next challenge that way.  Another way to say it is, what is the payoff in the delaying technique of second guessing yourself?  What is keeping you from being in action right now?

Usually, the blocking point is you are afraid you will do the wrong thing.  If you do the wrong thing, you will waste his time and money, if you waste time and money then you will fail.  The result is that everything stops.  It is a vicious circle of spinning wheels.  The fastest way to get out of the spin is to be courageous and do something even if it’s wrong.  If you do something wrong then you know that that action doesn’t work; you still have a number of actions to try, one of which will always lead you to meeting the challenge.

The point, as Randy Pausch said, is how we play the hand.  Do we hide in indecision or do we move boldly forward.  I am betting you choose the latter because you prefer action not indecision.  You are brave and a winner.

I am here in the stands cheering for you!

 

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The Key To Business Success…It’s Not What You Think

4.15.15We have been looking at what actions and ways of being make a business a success.  There are many trim tabs a business owner can do which are administrative and mechanical such as using a calendar for marketing events, hiring a virtual assistant, and having a system for accurate bookkeeping.  These items are important and help to develop a solid foundation for your business, but it takes something more than just the administrative and mechanical components; there is something greater that you, the business owner, must bring to the party.  What I am talking about is your ability to keep your word.  This is one of the greatest assets your business can have.

Surely you have noticed that when a powerful person says that something will happen, it usually happens—and it’s not a function of luck, or how they dress, or how loud they say it.

Let’s dive into that for a moment. I say keeping your word makes you powerful. But why? Because the way people listen to what you say depends upon the reputation that you have for keeping your word. Simply put, people are much more likely to cooperate, collaborate, work with, and do things for—in a real sense, go out on a limb for—people who keep their word. Over time, your keeping your word makes what you say actually mean something in the world—it gives your words power.

The opposite of keeping your word costs you business and sales.  Here is an example of what I am talking about.  The sky lights in my house are old and cracked.  We need to replace them before our rainy season begins.  There are a variety of window and glass replacement businesses in our town.  There seems to be a universal agreement about who NOT to use.  And, that agreement is predicated not on their businesses’ skills or on their knowing how to do the work.  Nope, the agreement is about who keeps their word.  One thing that stood out for me as I researched who to hire is that what people said is don’t hire them because they don’t show up when they say they will.  What they did say is oh, the company is very good in window replacement BUT .  .  .

Word keeping is the gold standard for most people when they are deciding who to hire, what services to use, and most people will pay a premium for word keeping.  It boils down to this—people who keep their word have more business.  No one is in business to provide lousy service, however, many people acquire a reputation for providing lousy service because of the missing factor in their business—they don’t keep their word.

You may want to look at your business and see what areas you are strong in and measure the strength of those areas against word keeping.  I bet you will find it is those areas that your word keeping is the strongest.  Tell me where I am wrong.

 

Image courtesy of FreePhotos.com

How To Make Lemonade Out Of A Sour Lemon – A Business Lesson

2.25.15The disaster began with a telephone call.  The caller told my client that the primary insurance product my client sells, was not paying the caller’s claims.  He went on to say that the insurance company was being black balled by a major medical service provider.  When he asked the caller, “Why?” all he got was, “I really don’t know.”

My client was devastated.  Almost immediately, several users of the service started canceling their memberships.  He was presiding over a train wreck.  And with each cancellation call, he was losing money.  He did what he knew to do—he started writing emails to the insurance company to see what happened.  They did not respond.  He then began a chaotic downward spiral of useless activity.  He started looking for a new product sell.  Then, finally, he contacted me.

After listening to what happened in detail, I suggested that his first step was to step back.  There was something about this scenario that didn’t make sense to me.  It was all too sudden.  What I suggested that he do is to check out the current ratings of the product’s performance on the internet.  And, talk to someone who could make a difference at the company to see from their point of view what happened to make the end user blackball the service.  His reply was that he did email them.  I repeated what I said, talk to a decision maker at the company.  Stay on the telephone line until you reach a decision maker.  Do not leave a message; stay on the line.

My client did what I asked him to do.  He talked to a decision maker at the company.  The man was aware of the problem; however he did not know that his company was being blackballed by the user.  My client’s action caused a turnaround in the company.  The decision maker could see that he needed to take immediate action in order to resolve the end users complaints.

There is not yet a conclusion.  However, there will be a change in the relationship between the two companies.  It was caused by my client.  He was willing to take a stand for his product, and he had the courage to demand that attention be paid to the problem.

So what’s in this for you?  You have the right to stand for what you believe in.  When something is not right, you have the right to bring attention to the problem and ask that it be fixed.  This is how good business practices happen.

 

What Will You Do To Get The Result?

1.28.15Driving to yoga class on Tuesday I stopped at a red light.  A man stood on the side of the street.  He was holding a sign, and he had something around his waist.  Was that a catheter bag?  YES!  His sign was asking for money.  Oh my god!  Really.  How could he be so graphic with his need for money?  The light changed and I drove on to yoga.  I was repulsed and angry with him for putting his plight in my face.  An hour later, there he was again . He had moved to the divider in the middle of the wide street, standing on the grass.  Same sign, same catheter bag—now almost full.

My revulsion changed to realization, admiration.  He was a real living example of intention, determination and getting the job done.  He was going to raise money to pay for his medical care in the only way he had.  His purpose was clear and his actions were aligned with his purpose.  He was not stopped by glares from drivers, nor by a cop trying to move him along.  He was going to raise the money.

The man became my hero.  A real life illustration of what it takes to make purpose become reality.  First we have to want something so much that we are willing to risk our dignity.  We fail; we feel humiliated; we are sometimes mocked—but if we are willing to face the obstacle we can win.

I think in the end, we as entrepreneurs are creative and courageous; we demonstrate that we have what it takes to get the job done.  Just like the man with the bag, we are willing to do what it takes to cause the result.  We are the heroes of our business story.

Please use the space below to comment.  I look forward to hearing from you.

What Are Your Intentions?

Blog 12.17.14“What one does is what counts.  Not what one had the intention of doing.”
Pablo Picasso

When you are designing your 2015 business plan, your plans will be influenced by the elements we have previously discussed: what worked and what didn’t work in 2014 and what it is that you intend to provide to your clients by looking ahead to what they will want from you in 2015.

The plan that you design will be informed by two powerful elements: intention and commitment.  These elements are found in any noteworthy human endeavor.  Let’s look at what each element means and how they work together to build a powerful business plan.

Intention: the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose

Commitment: a promise to do or give something

As you can see by the definitions from Merriam-Webster, the two words are dependent on each other as the intention calls forth the action from the commitment.

Your plan requires both intention and commitment to succeed.  The plan is weakened by just having one of them.

As you continue to design your plan be mindful of having both.  A simple example is your plan to increase your client base by 20%.  The intention is the idea to increase the client base; commitment generates the actions you will take in order to achieve it.  You may be committed to blogging each week or going to two networking meetings a month.  The point is that the committed action follows the intention logically.

You do not have to make a year-long plan.  You may want to make your plan each quarter of the year.  That is a perfectly great idea and will allow you to design the year building on the shoulders of the previous quarter.  It also permits you to commit to small baby steps in order to achieve the intention of the first quarter.

In the space below, please share your first quarter intentions and commitments.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

 

What’s Your Plan?

121014Plan“If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.”
Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra makes sense.  And yet, although we all know it is essential to make a plan for our business, we hesitate to do it.  Or we do it haphazardly at best.  So what is your plan for 2015?  If that question seems a little too intimidating to you and you are frankly left speechless, let’s begin with an easier question.

What do you want to contribute to your clients in 2015?  Surprised?  It’s not the typical question about how much money do you want to make in 2015.  That question is useless unless you think of your clients first.  To enlarge on the question about contribution to your clients, first you have to trust that if you make a contribution to them, you will be fairly compensated for the contribution.  This is not some airy-fairy “build a field and they will come” type of thinking.  It is solid in that people are willing to pay for what they want.  It is up to you as a business person to provide the answer to a problem that a client has.  You already know how to make a contribution to clients, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be in business.

Doing some thinking about what problems clients have is a very valuable use of your time.  It’s useful to brainstorm about what problems you solved for your clients this year.  Write them down and then project into the future about, what is the next predictable problem the client will have upon solving the present problem?  This is called “getting out ahead” of a problem.  You are presenting a solution to the problem that the client doesn’t yet know he will have.

Of course, to solve the next, yet to be presented problem, will take planning on your part.  You can’t solve all of their problems, and you can solve some of them.  Pick 3 problems that are predictable for your clients.  When you list 3 major problems that your client will have, and that you can solve, that will become the foundation of your plan for that client for next year.

In the comment section below, please tell me about 3 problems that your clients have that you plan to solve in 2015.  As always, I look forward the hearing from you.

 

Next Year Will Be Great! Won’t It?

11.12.14“Next year” is such a comfortable phrase.  It promises hope, new adventures, a renewed entrepreneurial spirit and the future of producing new results.  ”Next year” means putting away past disappointments and failure—a new beginning filled with creation and light. 

We feel good when we say it.  It’s like a universal pass to productivity and success for “not now” but “Next Year”.  With all of its possibility and light, we need to be cautious about that phrase and know what we are saying and what we mean when we say it.  It gets us off the hook for what we can do now and lulls business people into thinking they are being productive when actually they are putting something off instead. 

Unless the phrase and your mindset has been conditioned it can derail you and cripple your progress as you build your business success.  What conditioned means in this sense is to adapt the phrase in such a way that it means something active and conscious as in pinning it down with a “by when date”, with specific actions and expected results.

Without proper conditioning the phrase “next year” becomes something that gets you off the hook for now but will actually cripple your success for the time the real next year rolls along.  Here are some things that clients have said recently that they are doing “next year”: build a new web site, re-write their sales proposition, re-write their business plan, develop a contact management system, and add a new currently undeveloped offering to their clients.  

It all sounds so good on this side of Next Year.  But is it really going to happen?  Doubtful without intentional, truthful conditioning.

This is the time, now, right now, to write down all the things that you are going to do next year and with a 2015 Calendar condition each item with a “by when date”, expected actions and results.  The conditioned list is your pathway to your future that you are creating now.  With a pathway that is clearly marked with dates and actions, you will be way ahead of the business people who are letting themselves relax right now and who are promising themselves that they really are going to do “that thing” next year. 

Let’s start now, in the space provided below, share what you will do Next Year and say by when you will do it as well as what the expected result will be.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Make The Mid-Year Review of Your Business Easier

MidYearBusinessChkIt is that time of the year.  July marks the half year mark and is traditionally the time to do your mid-year business review.  If you are a business professional who writes a detailed business plan, makes a financial forecast, and looks forward to meeting with your accountant each month, this blog is not for you.  However, if you are an entrepreneur who writes his business plan on the back of a napkin and lets his bank balance be his indicator of profit, you may find this guide useful.

First step is to review what you intended to accomplish.  It may be as simple as increase your revenue by $2000 each month, or increase the readers of your monthly tip newsletter to 500 each month.  Whatever you have intended to accomplish, write it down and then see where you are now.  This is NOT the time to beat yourself up with regret and remorse.  Regret and remorse do not move the action moving forward—they stop action.  This review is simply to determine what is so in your business as of July, 2014.  Simple and factual.

Once you have determined what is so, make a list of what you want to change or accomplish.  Brainstorm what actions you can take now to change what is already happening.  It may be that some things are just sitting there waiting for your attention, or that some things are stagnant and need a push to go further.  Usually you have potential clients who haven’t made a decision to buy whatever it is you are selling.  You may have forgotten about them, or decided they were duds.  Either way they linger on your potential sale sheet taking up space and sapping your energy.  Contact them one more time, and if they make no signs of buying your product take them off your list.  Set them free, and by doing so you will set yourself free.  You may be surprised.  Just last week one of my clients contacted a dud and the dud bought.  Either way close them or take them off your list.

This is easier than you thought, Right?  Make a list of what you wanted to accomplish in 2014; review the list; get into action with the stuff you forgot about or gave up on, and then make a new list of what you intend to accomplish by January, 2015.  Then get back to work with no regrets, just a resolve knowing that you do know what to do and how to do it.

In the comments below, let me know how you did with your mid-year review.  I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Photo compliments of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

What Happens When You Combine Tough Circumstances With Responsibility?

Processed with VSCOcam with x4 presetLast week’s blog was about taking responsibility at the time you initiate an action not just when you get caught. (When Do You Take Responsibility for Your Actions?)

One of the responses to the blog was a surprising answer and it pointed to the value of taking responsibility.  Responsibility is defined as: the state of being the person who caused something to happen (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

The response was from a reader who has been very ill.  Recently, her adult daughter died.  She was communicating about that in direct response to the blog.  What she said points to the value of taking responsibility, in real time vs in theory, “I am in a place where I need to work hard in my life, and I will do it.”

Clearly, this person is willing to be responsible for her life NOW, not in the some far off future.  This type of responsibility gave her direction and the ability to move forward.  It provided a “not going to happen anyway” possibility for her life.

Does this drawing a line in the sand take courage?  Yes.  Will there be pitfalls as she moves forward?  Of course.  But, because her intention and responsibility are palpable, there will be other people standing with her. Her communication is so real and raw that there is no way that her intentionality can be missed.

I will be there cheering her on.  This is exactly what coaching and mentoring are for.  A coach is a committed listener who knows that you are totally capable of accomplishing your goal, especially at those times when you forget.  A coach is the one who stands beside you as you move forward towards a solid vision that will make a difference in your life.

Although, it took a dramatic life changing event to open up a path for this woman, a change in your life does not have to be so dramatic.  What it takes is seeing what is missing, saying what action you will take, and then being responsible for taking that action.

I look forward to hearing your comments.  Thank you, as always, for taking time to respond.