Category Archives: success

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.


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!


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Sharpen Your Focus

6.24.15Greatness doesn’t start with a market opportunity; it starts with a problem that needs solving.  The opportunity comes from marketing the solution.

-Simon Sinek

One of the things I know for sure is that business success is not built on an entrepreneurs desire to make money first and foremost.  It is built on the entrepreneurs’ desire to make a difference by providing services that offer a solution to a problem or pain point that their intended client has.  This desire to make a difference cannot be artificially created or conjured by the business.  It has to be real, authentic, transparent, and easy to detect.

You know that slimy feeling you get when someone is pitching a program or service that has been developed and marketed by someone who really doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the potential client’s problem but is acting as if they really care.  You can spot it a mile away and my guess is that you quickly delete the marketing pitch.  I know I do that and I would bet you do too.

By your spending the time to know your “one” person who represents your target market, you definitely get to know where the target client has pain and how they talk and think about it.  Also you have created a unique solution for alleviating that pain.  And you believe that your solution will bring them relief.

Your challenge is to design a marketing program (marketing mix) utilizing the 4 “P”s: product, price, placement and promotion.  One of the most effective ways to get ideas for an effective design is to have a series of focus groups work with you in creating the marketing program.  A focus group is defined by Wikipedia as “…a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging.  Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members.”

Utilizing focus groups may sound a little intimidating but actually it doesn’t have to be.  It can be as informal as getting your friends and acquaintances together for pizza and asking them questions about your ideas for a marketing program.  Or if you like, you can download an excellent PDF guide for running focus groups, prepared by Elliot and Associates: How to Conduct a Focus Group (control click to download the document ).

For impatient entrepreneurs who just want to get on with it and not do this research, I totally get what you thinking.  To you it might seem like getting ready to get ready which indeed is a time waster.  However, this type of research on your part will give you more opportunities to offer your solution to your target market. After all, that is why you are in business—isn’t it?



5 Questions To Ask Before You Start A Business

6.3.15There are few things more exhilarating than having an idea for a new business, if you have the entrepreneurial spirit of adventure, “can do” and any thing is possible.  Entrepreneurs can see a pot of gold at the end of every good idea.  It is that spirit that I appreciate about entrepreneurs and it’s why I am a business coach.  It’s their energy and enthusiasm that lights me up.  Enthusiasm and the “can do” spirit have created many great innovative services that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.

Recently I was approached by a colleague about a new idea.  I was excited for her; I could see that this idea would work.  I know she has the spirit, the intelligence and the drive to pull it off.  I also could see how she could make a lot of money with her idea.


Before she quit her day job and plunged into implementing this new idea, I recommended that she ask herself the following 5 questions.

  1. Who is your target market?
  2. How can you know that that target market actually wants or needs the service?  What problems will you be solving to meet the needs of the target market?
  3. How will your service be different from those of your competitors?  Keeping in mind that there are already solutions being offered, how is your solution to the target market’s problem better?
  4. What will be the “WOW” factor of your business service?  Jeanne Liedtka, a design and innovation expert at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business says this about the “WOW” factor: “That’s the intersection of something that customers want, that you can create, and that’s likely to have a profitable business model associated with it.”
  5. How much capital do you need to fund the foundation and maintenance of the business before it turns a profit?

These questions are not the only ones to answer, however, they are great starting out inquiries to allow your new entrepreneurial adventure to succeed.  Actually spending time with these questions will point you in the direction that will be most effective in getting your business started up.

If you get stuck along the way, please call me.  I am here to partner with you to make your business idea be as successful as you dream it will be.


Photo by Renjith Krishnan from

Help! I Am Lost In The Dark Unknown

4.22.15One of my clients came to his coaching call completely despondent.  He said, “I need a double session today—I am totally upset and completely confused.”  Somewhat surprising, given that this client has turned his business around since we began working together.  He has had enormous sales, and has the concrete potential for tripling his income over the next few months.

“Goodness Gracious!  What happened?”

Once we got clear about his concerns, we were able to distill them into one overriding worry—it was going to cost him capital to reach the next level of sales.  He didn’t know how much but he was certain it would be thousands of dollars.  Really?

We began by getting clear about the next step he was to take in order to fulfill on pending orders.  Once that step was done, we began to itemize the costs, one by one, including the minute details that worried him so much.  When we finished he was astounded by how little capital he really needed to use in order to achieve the next sales goal.

I am not minimizing the fear that the client was experiencing.  I think it’s very human to react to our fears.  The important lesson from this experience is: When you are worried about achieving something, and the worry gets blown out of proportion, talk with someone who is committed to your success, but is not invested in achieving the result.  I am recommending that you get a second or third opinion about what is really holding you back.  This client could have stopped the progress that he was making by letting his fear overtake his momentum.  Instead he admitted to his fear, communicated about it, and then together we could make it doable and achievable.

Promise yourself that the next time you are stopped by something in your path to success that seems overwhelming, you will seek another opinion.  You have people who can assist you to look at things from an alternate perspective.  They can help you in developing a workable way to achieve your goal.  Solutions abound if you let them occur and just ask.


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.


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No Joke!

4.1.15Happy April Fool’s Day!

This day is favorite for pranksters and jokesters to have some innocent fun with their colleagues.  The day was created in the 16th Century.  It is not an official holiday in any country, however, it is enthusiastically celebrated throughout Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and the United States.  I do hope you have a prank up your sleeve so you can have a good belly laugh with your friends.

What is not a joke is measuring for results in your business.  If you do not do this one simple thing, it is highly unlikely that your business will achieve the success that you want.

What is it about measuring for results that keeps us from doing it?  Is it fear of failure?  Of not measuring up?  Somewhere along the line we decided it is better not to know if we are succeeding than it is to know that we haven’t succeeded.  Also, measuring for results then has us be accountable for what we said that we would do.  In order to avoid the domination of accountability, we just simply do not report or measure for our results.  Consequently, we walk around in the fog of not knowing what we are achieving and making ourselves wrong for not achieving it.  This is a formula for insanity.  Really, when you think about it, why would we do that to ourselves?

The best way to train yourself to measure for results is to set up a daily game.  In this game you name just one thing that you will do to move your business forward that day.  Write it down and make it measurable.  An easy example of doing that is to design the number of sales calls you will make for that day.  At the end of the day, write down what happened.  Boom!  You have measured for a result in your business.

If you analyze why it happened or didn’t happen, you will be one step ahead of learning what works and doesn’t work in the daily practice of your business.  Keeping in mind that zero is a number, and there is nothing wrong with zero.  After all, it is a starting place.

This practice elevates your understanding of what works and what doesn’t.  You will develop more strength in managing your business for success.  Who doesn’t want that?


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This Is A Great Time To Begin

3.25.15Spring is the time of plans and projects.

Leo Tolstoy

No matter where you live, and what the climate is like right now: rain, snow, sleet, winds, sunshine, it really doesn’t matter does it?  It is Spring.  Spring!  Even the word sounds hopeful, fun, exciting, energetic and makes you hum a little.

Today’s topic is “time to start your new plans and business projects”.  Imagine my delight to see that Leo Tolstoy also thought the same thing.

April is the beginning of a new business quarter.  It is also the time to formulate and implement new business projects and/or plans that you have been thinking about.  Given that you have reviewed the success of the first quarter, you know where you want to spend your time creating something new, or if not create something new, how you want to refresh and improve what you are already doing that is working.

There is much about your business that is successful.  How do I know that?  I know that because you are in business.  So, this week, if you look at what is working well in your business, look at that component and see if it needs any trim tabbing.  The term “trim tab” is a nautical/aeronautical term relating to a small supplementary rudder that is attached to a boat or an airplane that keeps the direction steady without the pilot having to continue to apply pressure to control it.

If you look at what’s working in your business, you will know if it needs a “trim tab” so that it essentially runs itself.  An example of this is adding a virtual assistant to your staff for publishing your blogs, hiring a web designer to refresh your web site or a bookkeeper to do your books.  You get the idea.  How can you make small changes that will free you up for creating new projects that will make your business even better?

Since your list of new projects could be very long, it is important that you choose one to work on that will have measurable results and that you can realistically put a “by when” date on.  And, I suggest that you work on one project at a time.  Please do not overwhelm yourself with several projects at once.  You will make more progress when you follow a new project to completion.

Enjoy the new energy that Spring brings to you!


Photo courtesy of Cliff Thorbes, Vancouver, B.C.

Call Me…

3.18.15Like most of us I like hearing good news, and I love hearing breakthrough news from coaching clients.  Yesterday, I heard breakthrough news that is so exciting and over the top that I am sharing it with you.  One of my clients just closed a quarter million dollar contract.  She was excited.  I was over the moon pleased for her.

This contract wasn’t just going to happen.  This was not a lucky break.  She made it happen.  And she made it happen just like you can with taking the steps that are necessary to provide world class service to your clients.

Here are the qualities that produce breakthrough results:

  • A passionate belief in yourself and your ability to provide the services.
  • A clear vision of the core services you provide.
  • The ability to communicate clearly about your core services.
  • A continuing dedication to education about the latest developments in your field.
  • Knowing your target market like you know your best friend.
  • Keeping your word.
  • Planning your work and working your plan.
  • Communicating fully and honestly if you cannot keep your word.  Renewing a new “by when” for keeping your word.
  • Being willing to create a measurement for your results which includes “by whens” and promises and “go fors”.
  • Being willing to fail and to learn from the failures.
  • A refusal to be a victim of failure.
  • An unstoppable tenacity and persistence.
  • Having someone you trust hold you accountable for results.

Again and again I see these qualities in clients.  They are the people who have extraordinary results in their lives and in their businesses.

If you feel stuck.  If you feel like you can’t reach high enough for the breakthrough results you are longing for, please call me.  Together we can make your intention come true by clearing away what is holding you back from making that same kind of excited triumphant,” I did it!” telephone call to me.

I will look forward to hearing from you.


– Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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