Category Archives: Review

Your Fourth Quarter Game Plan

10.14.15We are beginning our fourth quarter of the year.  This is the time of the year to assess the factors that have influenced the success of your business in 2015.

Yes, it probably seems too early for this type of assessment but really it’s not.  When you look at the calendar and realize that we are entering in the busiest time of the year: Halloween! Thanksgiving! Holiday Season! New Year’s Eve!  Egad, it’s a good thing we are beginning now.

Let’s begin by doing an honest and in depth analysis of what has been working for you in your business this year. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What offering has created the most profit in your business this year?
  • Which segments of your target market responded to your marketing?
  • Which new offers stimulated the most business this year?
  • What parts of your marketing hit home runs for you?

It is also beneficial to take a look at what didn’t work for you this year.  Ask what actions you could change to make them more successful, or if you want, stop those facets of your business that your target market doesn’t relate to.  Of course, you do not use what didn’t work in your business as a way to beat yourself up.

I am talking about a process that is designed to help you make the best decisions for your business.  It is the intention of this conversation to give you a game plan that is robust so you end the year on the highest note possible.  The best possible scenario is for you to end the year totally satisfied about what you accomplished this year.  By doing this type of analysis you will be able to plan for the advent of 2016 fully informed about what direction to take.

This is also a good time to put your marketing plan in sharp focus.  And of course, continue to market your business.  This is not the time to lean back and relax—this is the time to be present and clear in the market place.


How To Start Something – Anything

3.11.15It doesn’t matter when we start, it doesn’t matter where we start, all that matters is that we start. -Simon Sinek

Last week we discussed the importance of performing your business’s first quarterly review in 2015.  Most likely you were pleasantly surprised by some of the results and disappointed with others.  And now you are probably a little stuck on where to begin to correct the areas where you fell short.

Sinek tells us that it doesn’t matter where you start.  What matters is that you start.  Starting something is the place where many people are hesitant.  They are plagued with doubt; the specter of failing again looms over them like a dark cloud.  I do think it’s good that you question yourself.  Although the questioning can last way too long and become the reason not to start something.  Lingering in self-doubt is your clue to begin doing something now.

Instead of failure being the be all and end all of your business, it is the beginning of creating newly, of coming up with brand new answers to the questions you have.  If you can flip failure into telling you what doesn’t work, you are free to discover what does work.  And how else would you know if it works unless you get busy and try it out?  By starting something—anything—you will learn something new about your business.  You will be engaged; you will move forward.  The inertia will disappear; it will become the energy of forward momentum.

In order to start something, first you need to say that you are going to do it, whatever it is.  Put in a “by when date” and also a measurement of the result that you intend to produce.  Then tell someone, one of your circle of people who are the cheerleaders for your success.  You know who they are: the ones who, after you talk with them, you feel lifted, energized, ready for the next challenge.

By following those steps, you will start something.  And it will be great whether it flops or is a success.  Either way you will be moving.  That certainly beats the alternative.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at



Spring Forward!

3.4.15March signals the end of the first quarter of your business year.  This is a good time to review the status of your business and see if you are hitting the targets you set at the beginning of the year.  Is your business on track?

I know many business people who either do not do this, or they reluctantly review where they are.  Usually this is because they do not want to know the results.  I can get it.  Who wants to see what doesn’t work?  However, if you don’t, it will come back to bite you big time.  It is better to correct the course of your business, quarter by quarter, making changes as you move forward, than it is to salvage a disaster later on.

To make this review as powerful as possible, write out the answers to these questions and then share them with a trusted colleague or with your business coach.  Together you will find new answers to your most vexing business challenges.

Overall, what is the best thing about your business?

What is the worst thing about your business this quarter?

What can you do differently to turn around the worst to being the best right now?

What have you accomplished?

What have you learned?

What do you need to improve?

What challenges have you had? What did you do to meet the challenges?

How are your relationships with your clients, staff, and contractors?  How can you improve your relationships?

Have your offered any new products?  What was the market response?

What has worked with your marketing efforts?  What do you need to change?

What product is selling the most right now?  The least?

What can you do to now to improve on the least selling product?

What is your first quarter gross profit, expenses and net profit?



Have A Brilliant New Year By Doing This One Thing

1.7.15Welcome to your new year 2015!  Have you been having fun?  I do hope so.  Now that we are finished with the holidays and all of the fun of the holidays, travel, families, presents, New Year’s Eve, it is time to re-enter into work.

And yet, something is not quite right yet is it?  You are ready to plan or perhaps have planned for a brilliant 2015 and yet, all those plans may still seem a little flat or dull to you.  What in the heck is missing?  Completion of 2014.  Yes, that’s right—in order to be fresh and energetic in your work you need to complete 2014, or it will lurk behind you causing all kinds of mischief that you can handily avoid.

Completion does not mean finished, as in done with, or never to be looked at again.  It means, loosely stated, being whole or OK with what has happened in the past.  Danger lurks in incompletion: Rehearsal Exhaustion: 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 (

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 2014 and then be ready to move on to 2015.  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 2014:

  • 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 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 2014?
  • What was the worst thing about your business in 2014?
  • What would you do differently if you could?

By going through the list above and answering the questions, you should be on your way to being complete with 2014 and ready to start 2015 anew.

If you find the list too much, just answer what questions make sense to you.  The effect will be the same.  The idea is to have you focus on completion of the 2014 business.

As always I am here to help.  I look forward to hearing from you in the space below.


Image courtesy of [Serge Bertasius Photography] at

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.


How is your Overhang for 2015?

120314December is an important time of the year for entrepreneurs to plan for the next year.  The first part of planning is reviewing what has been accomplished to date.  Asking the questions: What worked? What did not work? And why?  Each question will give you some answers that provide insight into planning for greater success in 2015.  It’s obvious that you will want to continue with what worked, but it is not so clear about what you should do with what didn’t work.

This is where you need to be honest with yourself and decide what to do with what didn’t work.  Using the 3 “B’s” can come in handy.  The 3 “B’s” is a coaching tool developed by Martha Beck to use when what is not working is staring you in the face.  You really don’t want to deal with it.  The 3 “B’s” are: Barter it, Bag it, Better it.

My personal favorite is “Bag it”.  If something really, really doesn’t work then just stop doing it.  Figuratively, throw it away.  You will find it’s quite freeing.

However, most items that “don’t work” will be redeemed with either “bartering it” or “bettering” it.  Don’t like to post blogs?  Hire a personal assistant who is happy to do that for you.  Hate working on Saturdays?  Then change your schedule so that you have the time off you crave.

Once you have thoroughly reviewed your business actions, you are ready to start planning for the new year.  A tool that is very useful for business owners is to chart their overhang for the next year.  Charting overhang is best done on a spreadsheet.  Although it seems similar to the Sales Forecast, it is different in that you are charting already closed business not projected closed business.  In very simple business terms, “overhang” is the monies or sales you have already closed and the work and payment for the work is expected in a certain time frame during the next year.  For example: A client closes a sale at mid-December, the work is scheduled to begin in February 2015 and the invoices will be paid in 2015.  The payment for the contract is overhang.  Charting your overhang for 2015 will begin to inform you about actions to take now in order to cause the greatest amount of overhang for your business.

In the space below, let me know if this way of planning your business for 2015 is useful to you.  If you already chart overhang, please share how it is useful to you.  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!


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