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How Your Associates Affect Your Bottom-Line

Wednesday, 30th July 2014

happyGrowing up, my mother often would talk to me about how important it was for me to make good decisions on who my friends were. She told me that who I hung out with would have a big influence on me. I always thought that was silly advice. I was who I was, and just because I spent time with someone didn’t mean it would have much baring on me and how I lived my life.

Flash forward. I am now an adult, mother of eight, and still learning just how wrong I was in assuming that others don’t have influence on me. A few months ago I became friends with a person who was extremely passionate about what he did for a living. He was so committed to follow his passion that he walked away from a good paying job to do what he loved. He knew that by doing this he probably wouldn’t be making a lot of money. The truth is that for almost the whole thirty years he has been pursuing his passion, he has barely scraped by. He lost his house and eventually ended up living in his office.

But he is happy. He is grateful for working at what he loves every day. He is committed to working at his passion until the day he dies. Granted, there is a lot of room for growth as he adjusts the way he is following his passion. He is learning ways to create a more profitable business and is implementing what he learned.

By spending time with my friend, I’ve started to catch myself when I get caught up in the grind of my own business, and I’ve started to focus exclusively on what it would take to grow my business. I now stop and look at him and the smile on his face. I then ask myself what choice I need to make to help me feel more passionate about my life and what I am doing?

I have recently made some big decisions, like making time to go back to school, that I wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t hung out with someone that was more committed to his passion than I was at that time.

Bottom line, Mom was right. Be careful who you spend time with. They will influence you.

Swimming in the Rush of Business Change

Wednesday, 23rd July 2014

Business today is a rush of change. The technology and how to best use it in swimmingyour business is constantly moving and growing. Businessowners are drowning in new information, new opportunities, and the promising new ways of running a business. Many work to adapt to the newest and greatest technology, trying to keep up with the way social media changes and the other shiftings in the computer world. So how does a business person navigate through all the mounds of change and glut of information? How do they find a way to grow their business the way they want it?

One of the most helpful modern technologies for getting around to new places is the GPS system. GPS systems outline the routes that you can take to get to where you want to go. They will show you alternative routes, and the GPS never gets upset and is very matter of fact when the driver makes a wrong turn.

There are different levels of help a GPS can provide. I had a GPS guide me when I traveled through Idaho. When I came to a stop, the GPS said, “Now get out and walk.” I was on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. That’s when I knew its guidance had flaws. The same thing has happened when the GPS announced that I have arrived at my destination when I am driving in the middle of an intersection.

I have worked with other GPS systems that function much better than the one that got me lost. Some of my favorite GPS systems are the ones that configure the current traffic and what the best routes are to take, considering the typical parking lot of cars during rush hour.

Just as there are different levels of GPS systems, there are different levels of business coaches. Some coaches are middle of the road, and will get you to the places you want to go some of the time. Others have many more tools as their resources that factor in what direction your business is going, and where gridlock will stop your progress.

No coach can foresee everything that will prevent you from going from point A to point B, but those coaches who are on top of their game have had a lot of experience with helping business men and women through the forest, and their directions will be more clear than the coaches who lack as much experience.

The influx of change that is constantly flooding the market makes it so that a business person may be harming themselves when making the decision to not get the help of a GPS coach who can guide them through the maze. It would best serve the business person to make sure that they get the best kind of GPS system or coach that keeps their finger on the pulse of the market and knows about the changes, so that their directions will keep the congested areas of business in mind.

The Ground Stretch Principle for Real Business Growth

Wednesday, 16th July 2014

After the first couple of years of starting his or her business,  the business owner often shifts the attention from creating a business and getting it going, to how to grow the business.  This is the next stage in business growth, and can be a tricky one if not approached with solid principles in place.

During the first couple of years, the business owner is often  maxed out on time, especially if he/she is wearing multiple hats because there is not enough profit to bring in help.  There comes a point in most businesses where regular profit is coming in, and the owner starts thinking about how to expand in a way that he or she will make more money and not have to work so hard as they had to in the beginning.

It at this point the Ground Stretch Principal comes into play.  In yoga the yogateacher first starts the practice off with some grounding techniques.  The teacher will often have the class take deep breaths and to also set specific intentions for the practice.  This grounding practice helps the yogi student’s mind to settle and prepare for what will be coming and to determine what kind of experience they want to have.

When a business owner desires to progress to the next level in their business, it’s time to take a moment to ground themselves before they start making plans.  This grounding will serve them by delving to a deep center place.  This in turns enables the owner to build their business from a place of power.

After the yoga teacher has led the class through some starting positions, the teacher often guides the class into more challenging positions.  The teacher will then encourage the class to breathe into the posture, thus allowing the student to get deeper into the position.  After the yogi has grounded into the pose, then the teacher will encourage the student to go deeper into the stretch.  I am always amazed at how much deeper I can go the second or third time around after I have given my muscles a chance to understand the position. Eventually the muscles relax into the position, thus giving me the ability to stretch deeper.

This same principle works in growing your business. The more the owner grounds into where they are and then learns what systems and structures need to be in place, then through guidance get into that position, it is time for some grounding.  The owner holds that new way of being in business until he or she is slightly comfortable, then it is time to stretch their abilities a little more and sink into that task.

Grounding and stretching works well to progress in your yoga practice, and the same principles works well if applied to growing your business practice.

Zone Blocks to Increase Productivity

Wednesday, 9th July 2014

taskingWhen creative entrepreneurs research time management and how they can get more done, they are often told they need to put everything on a calendar and schedule it.  I have talked to many creative entrepreneurs who have tried this only to get frustrated.

The reason the creatives get frustrated is that they aren’t wired to follow a schedule and be told that they need to do this exact thing at this exact time and proceed through their day like that.

I have found that most creatives I have worked with do better by implementing an energy management system.  What is an energy management system?  This is a system where the entrepreneur works with the flow of his or her energy and capitalize on it.  For example, most entrepreneurs’ energy is highest in mid-morning, so scheduling  the most important tasks between 10 am-1pm often works well. Doing the most important task first, gives a boost of energy by just knowing that task is handled.  That boost of energy helps a creative person to stay motivated and finish the next thing on the list.

Another important part of energy management is to know what helps you to get the kind of energy that you need to accomplish the tasks before you.  For instance, most entrepreneurs need to do some kind of consistent marketing. I have found that for me to set aside a marketing day is a great way to accomplish one of my least favorite tasks.  I bunch all my marketing-like tasks together to do on Wednesday.  Why Wednesday?  Because Wednesday is the day I get up early and go to a network meeting.  I know by being around all that networking and marketing energy I am more likely to absorb it on that day and to run with it.

I also know that being an introvert and doing all that outgoing stuff,  like talking to people for a whole day, will drain me, so the next day I schedule is an introvert day, and I do my introvert tasks like writing.

Another thing to look at is which day is the best day to get all those annoying little things done.  I love bunching them together and blasting through them.  I often schedule those for days that are filled with interruptions, and it is hard for me to get flow—or in mother language, it’s an early day out of school for my children,  so in-between clients, I am constantly driving back and forth to school.

Now what you need to do probably won’t look the same as mine, but hopefully you can see how I arrange my days around my energy. The environment, and tasks I need to do affect my energy, so if I plan for this, I can show up as my best, to get the tasks done.  Using this perspective, you can draft the perfect energy management system for you.