Category Archives: Coaching

Promises! Promises!

1.20.16It is extremely powerful to implement the use of “promises” and “go for’s” as part of your business success plan.  The use of these terms instead of the term “goal” is more potent and precise.  Now, you may be thinking that I am parsing words and aren’t these terms kissing cousins at least?


Here is what a goal is: something that you are trying to do or achieve. A promise is: a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future.

Think about it.  As an entrepreneur are you trying to do or achieve something?  If so all you do is try.  Try does not indicate commitment to results.  It indicates effort without commitment.  Trying lets you off the hook.  “I tried,” you can say to explain why you didn’t achieve what you wanted to achieve.  This is why I say that thinking and speaking in terms of goals is ineffective.

Thinking and speaking in terms of promises on the other hand puts you on the hook for performing and reaching what it is that you want to happen.  Promising trues you up to figure out how to reach that which you promise.  In a business, we are usually talking about sales and profits.  Promising to make X dollars in sales is way more powerful than a goal to try do the same thing.

When we promise to achieve something we are wired to produce it.  Why?  Our word is on the line.  And anyone who is serious about business, honors their word.  Our word represents that we mean business about business.

Last week, I talked about using whites boards to outline the future results of your business.  I suggested that you create a promise and go for in a dollar amount and write it on the white board.  When you do that you have put yourself on the hook or in the game.  You begin to be intentional about what you say you are definitely going to achieve.  And you begin to plan what actions you will need to take to get there.  You see, having a promise and “go for” is the start point for being in action.  I know.  I promise you, it works.

The “go for” gives you playing room.  It only makes sense that your “go for” is bigger than your promise.  If you play for the “go for”, of course your promise will be met.  It is simple math.

If you feel stuck or a little confused about making your business successful, please give me a call.  I am here for you.


This One Tool Will Fuel Sales

There is one tool that all serious entrepreneurs need in their office.  This tool has a magic effect of skyrocketing sales to a new level.  And, I would bet that not everyone reading this has it.

People who have it, or perhaps several, report to me that it is this item that keeps them on track.  People who use it daily, report to me that they have surpassed their sales goals, sometimes to higher levels than expected and sooner than they expected.

It is the most important tool to have on your wall.  It is placed right where you see it several times a day and most definitely will get your attention when you enter your office or are daydreaming instead of causing something to happen.

What is it?  Can you guess?


Yes, a simple whiteboard in a medium size.

Now, why am I attributing such magical sales “juju” to a whiteboard?  I do so because, when you begin using a whiteboard to manage sales, sales occur.

Why is that?  When used properly, daily, you will become focused on making sales.  You will know who to call, when to call them, and certainly you will know how to close the sales because you are your best sales person on staff.  After all, it is your company, your creation.

Here is the best way to use a whiteboard.  First, write in large letters in the upper right hand corner of the board, your sales promise and go for the year.  Underneath that all the prospects you currently have to close, and next to each name – the amount of the sale you intend to close.  Next to their name and the amount of sales, write the date by when you will close this sale.  Underneath that, write the actions you will take to close the sales.  Give each action a by when date.  Finally get to work contacting those prospects.

What will happen is that you find out that some prospects aren’t prospects at all.  Take them off you board.  Then you will find new prospects, put them on the board.  Follow the same instructions as before.

What happens to you is that you are actually engaged in managing for results.  You have a vibrant tool that continues to change and grow and multiply before you.

You have created a silent and powerful partner in creating what you say you want to create.  And, this creation will happen.  YOU will make it happen.

Clients who actually use this tool report to me with glee that they just sold this or that.

If it sounds to you that I am passionate about whiteboards, you are right.  Try using one or two as I describe above.  I will look forward to hearing about your new sales.

If you feel stuck in moving your business forward, please contact me.  I am here for you.


Want To Have a Powerful 2016? Do This First.

1.6.16All the resolutions, intentions, goals, and planning for your business will be diluted until you take the time to complete your 2015 business year.  This is serious.  You will suffer from a syndrome called: Rehearsal Exhaustion.  What is that you may be asking?  According to, Rehearsal Exhaustion is “constantly referring back to our past to make sure we don’t forget it, and to predict possible future outcomes.  As more and more things are left incomplete, we are more and more distracted and exhausted by the ever-increasing rehearsal.”

Yes, that’s right, without completing your 2015 business you will be destined to replay it and the more you do that, the more dispirited you will become about creating newly in 2016.

So what is the process of completion?  It is the conscious act of reviewing what we did or didn’t accomplish in 2015.  Declaring that it was in the past, that you are okay with what happened, and can give up the right to beat yourself up about it in the present.  By doing that, we are freed up to create a new future which is not bogged down by the past.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?  If something is incomplete, we do continue referring back to it to make sure we don’t forget it.  So to avoid that state of mind, let’s just complete 2015 and then be ready to move on to 2016.  This isn’t hard.  It does require some time and thought.  What are the working parts of your business that you may want to complete?  Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself.  This list certainly is not exhaustive so please add to it.

Regarding your Business in 2015:

  • Who were you being?
  • What did you accomplish?
  • What did you learn?
  • What do you need to improve?
  • What challenges did you have?
  • How were your relationships with your staff? Clients? Contractors?  What could change?
  • What new products did you offer?
  • How well did your marketing work?  What worked best about your marketing?
  • What new marketing ventures did you try?  How did they work?
  • What product did you sell the most?  The least?
  • What was your gross profit, expenses, net profit?
  • Overall what was the best thing about your business in 2015?
  • What was the worst thing about your business in 2015? What would you do differently if you could?

If you get stuck on doing this completion process alone, please contact me.  I am here for you.


If The Sun Is Shining, Do You Have To Make Hay?

12.9.15Whan the sunne shinth make hay.  Whiche is to say.
Take time whan time cometh, lest time steale away.

John Heywood, 1546

Or as we say it today: Make hay while the sun shines.  I heard this phrase a million times when I was young as I frittered away my time day dreaming and playing paper dolls.  Then I heard it again, another million times when I was an adolescent as I frittered away my time day dreaming and messing around with trying to have a boyfriend.  Then I heard it—I think you get the point.  And I bet this proverb is part of your past too, if like me, you frittered your time away.

As entrepreneurs we take Mr. Heywood’s warning very seriously now.  We certainly don’t want to waste time when there is business to close and profit to make.  This is the time of year when we can be influenced by the “Sales!” that are bombarding us on the internet.  We may think, we need to have a sale too.

Before you jump into putting your product on sale, think about if it is appropriate for your type of business.  For example, if you are a consulting company, would it really work to have a buy one get one free consulting package?  Or if you offer insurance products, could you really offer a major discount in insurance?

The point of this article is that it is up to you to decide what really makes sense regarding being in the holiday mode for your business.  It may make more sense to send a great happy holiday card to your clients and potential clients.  You could also focus on sending a personal message that checks in with your clients with your personalized best wishes and a preview of what you are planning for next year especially for clients.  You can use this time this time strategically to highlight your services.  You really don’t need a “Cyber week-Sale”.

If you want to brainstorm what would be appropriate for your business, I am here for you.  You are always welcome to contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you.


How To Have Time Off During The Holiday Season

12.2.15Have you recovered yet from the amount of gratitude that you have received from the people who either celebrate or recognize the American Thanksgiving Day as a holiday for immense gratitude?  I know that I have felt a little woozy just from reading all the emails and Facebook posts about gratefulness.  And, I think that it is wonderful given all of the violent horror that we have witnessed in the world, and for some of us, in our own countries, states, neighborhoods and cities.

And now, what we have next is the holiday season.  We all are touched by the holiday spirit of celebrating and giving during this last month of the year.  Entrepreneurs can be easily distracted from focusing on business when there is so much fun to have and so many to do items to check off our list so that the holidays are bright and shining for our families, beloved friends, colleagues, and customers.

I have a simple suggestion for you to take some of the burden of the holiday season away.  Use time this week to look at your calendar and plan to take some well-deserved time off so that you too can enjoy the season.  This is not an original suggestion, I know.  In fact most large businesses recognize that the last two weeks of year are the slow period of their business and being realistic, they schedule for their staff to take time off.  We as entrepreneurs reject this idea because, after all, we are responsible for the success of our businesses.  However, I do think you can have it all, business success and quality time off.  It is a matter of planning for accomplishing what you want to accomplish this month and planning to be off.  How much time off is up to you.  You can decide that when you look at past years business cycles and know when during this month, your business is predictably slow or even nonexistent.

I know you will be responsible for making the best choices for your business because that is who you are.  If you feel stuck or want to talk out how to plan for taking time off and have your business run smoothly, please give me a call.  I am here for you!


What’s In Your Future?

11.18.15This time of the year many entrepreneurs are in a conundrum about working: When should I work? How much should I work? Should I offer that new service during this time of the year?  After all, entrepreneurs are not immune to the enticement of having fun during the holidays and putting away their entrepreneurial concerns until next year.

It is tempting, isn’t it?  Just let everything go and have fun?  And I say you should have it, but do this one big thing first—plan for next year now.  If you make your business plan now, you will not waste the first quarter of 2016 creating a plan to implement.  You will already have it—ready to go.

You can design a simple business plan by thinking about 2016 as if it is already finished and it was the greatest year ever for you in your business and in your life.

Ask yourself the following questions about your business in 2016:

  • How would you describe your business?
  • What was your mission and vision?
  • What were your financial goals?
  • How did you accomplish them?
  • What new services did you create?
  • How much money did they make?
  • What challenges did you overcome?
  • How did you overcome them?
  • How many new customers did you add to your customer list?
  • What did you do to add new customers?
  • What systems did you add to your infrastructure to make managing your business easier?
  • How is your relationship with your vendors?
  • Are they a referral source for you?

As you develop the answers to the above questions, write down the actions you will take make them happen.  This is what I call, planning the future from the future.

You may want to add or subtract from this list of questions.  Each business is different and has different needs.  The point of this blog is to encourage you to plan now from the future for a brilliant 2016.  You will be ready to go in January with a plan that is solid, and you will know the actions to take to make it happen just as you said it would.

If you get stuck or want to brainstorm, please call me.  I am here for you.


Eureka! Good News!

11.4.15We have been discussing the value of thoroughly defining your target market and performing an in depth review of YOUR specific target market.  The point of course is that without knowing WHO your target market is, your one person, your marketing is going to lose effectiveness.  Essentially, you will be flopping around expending energy that probably will not pay off in the types of results you are looking to achieve.  Your path to success will be littered with roadblocks and potholes.

How do I know that?  Usually, I am hired when the roadblocks and potholes get big.

Last week, I heard from a client who decided to take on developing his target market profile from the beginning.  This is a client who has been in business for years making a high profit and is successful.  He was struggling with launching a new division in his business.  This division is something that he is passionate about and he can see that it will make a difference in the world.  And yet he just couldn’t launch his offering or figure out what was stopping him.

My intuition told me that the target market his new offering would serve was not accurately defined.  He was trying to market to a target market whose description was no longer relevant to what he was doing now.  I challenged him to redefine his target market and also use a focus group to help him with the psychographic specifics.  He moved forward, thoroughly re-made the demographics and formed a group to answer specific questions regarding their thoughts and feelings about his new product.

Here is what happened.  The report came with this headline: My Project- Good News.  He said, “this target audience thing has really shifted me, and the clarity did this: I got a totally unsolicited order for a course offering.  I met a woman at a training program (we just happened to have dinner together) and when I told her my reason for developing the new division, she so got it that she wants to work with me—and she is my perfect client.  And lastly a couple sent me an email and asked if I did offer my new service and I am having an intro Skype call with them today.  Something has really shifted as a result of my knowing exactly what I offer and to whom.  I feel like a big boulder just lifted off my shoulders.”

If you are resisting defining your target market and are still mired in a lack of results, think about going the extra mile and make your target market come alive for you.  You too could be writing me a headline that says “Good News!”


What Are You Afraid Of?

I think that “failure” 9.23.15has its roots not in the act of failing but what we think about failure.  After all, failing is just the act of not accomplishing what we set out to accomplish.  It is simply that and nothing more.  But when our minds get into the mix of failure, all hell breaks out.

What is the anatomy of failure in your minds?  It is something that is unique to each of us and possibly we revert to the age of the first time we know that we failed and the reaction of the people who witnessed our failure.  Certainly, it was not when we were learning to walk.  If you watch a baby beginning to walk, you notice that they end up on their butts more than striding across the room.  And our parents think it is cute, adorable or whatever.  Their reaction is mainly about acceptance and approval.

It is useful to think back to the first time you knew you failed and what happened then.  I suspect that it was around age 5 or 6 and a bicycle had something to do with the failure.  Falling off a bicycle when you want to ride it sooooo much is an absolute failure.  It is possible that the reaction of people watching is dismay or disgust, or they ridicule you in an unkind way.  What happens is not your reaction to failure.  It is instead your reaction to shame, not making the standard etc.  Of course, this is an example and you will have a better one that is uniquely yours.

The point is that we are not reacting to the failure, but instead to what we say to ourselves about it.
Here are some things that clients say to me when they have failed.
I know everyone is disappointed in me.
Everyone is laughing at me.
My (fill in the blank) thinks I am a loser.
How can I face my colleagues, staff, family?
Who did I think I am for even trying (fill in the blank)?

There is another way to view failure that may be more transformative.  Failure is just that—failure.  Failure allows us to see the next path or step to take.  It also allows us to evaluate if we really want what we thought we wanted.  If we decide yes, this is exactly what I want, then failure allows us to be more creative in new ways to get it.

Certainly, I am not being a Pollyanna, failure hurts and is certainly a way to make us stop and think about what we are really up to.  As business people we try many things and fail often.  To succeed, an entrepreneur must make friends with failure.

If you want support in turning your failure into a success, please contact me.  I am here for you.


How Full Is Your Glass?

9.9.15We all know the idiom: “Is your glass half empty or half full?”  It is used to determine how someone sees or experiences their circumstances.  Half full and the view of the experience is optimistic; half empty and the view is pessimistic.  When life has handed me challenges, I have often used this phrase to determine not only how I was going to handle the situation but how I did the actions either cheerfully from a half full perspective or grumpily from the half empty perspective.  I suspect in the past, you might have used this phrase too, to determine your mood in facing a challenge.

There is no right/wrong in viewing your glass half empty or full.  There is another way which seems more powerful to me.  What I am talking about is the phenomenon of breakdown/breakthrough. Marshall McLuhan said it this way: Any breakdown is a breakthrough.  We all know what a breakdown is.  What is a breakthrough?  Webster-Merriam says it’s: a sudden advance in knowledge or technique. 

When we see our challenges as breakdowns, and we start to create solutions for the breakthroughs highlighted by the breakdown, we begin to advance ourselves and our intentions.

If we refuse to see breakdowns as a part of breakthroughs, we lose our spark and our interest in life.  We long to return to the safe past and live our safe life and have our safe, uneventful and most likely mediocre businesses.

If you are stuck in a breakdown and can’t see the breakthrough in it, please contact me.  I am always here to help.  I promise not to fill you with false optimism and a useless pep talk.  Instead we will develop a plan for having a breakthrough and the results that you want.