Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

July 2012

Recent Posts

Did you know your associates have a subtle, yet profound, influence over your business growth? Your connections, friends, and acquaintances can inspire greatness, arouse big dreams, spark creativity, ignite resolve, and bring out your best. Conversely, they can invalidate ideas, undo plans, and quash ideas. They can be “yes and” or “yah but” people in your life. 

As entrepreneurs, we move quickly to grow our business. It’s seldom we consider – or are ‘at choice’ – with whom we spend our time. We busily go about our day picking up friends, colleagues, & associates along the way like a stone gathering moss. Jason Harvey in Achieve Anything In Just One Year reminds us of the impact of our associations.

The day’s lesson begins with a quote from Jim Rohn“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  Yikes! What a wake-up call!

It jogged my memory of a seminar I attended years ago. The speaker was a big-haired Texan with a thick southern drawl. She was hysterical and got her point across in a meaningful, impactful manner. She instructed us to make a list of all the people in our lives. Next to their names we were to place a plus (+) sign if we felt better about ourselves after being with them, a minus (-) sign if we felt worse after spending time with them, or an equal (=) sign if we felt the same after spending time in their presence.

After creating our list and assigning each one their appropriate ranking, she continued in true Texan fashion before a stadium of 8,000 people, “If you feel the same or worse about yourself, what in the SAM HELL are you doing hanging out with equals and the minuses.” Point made!

How would you rate those with whom you spend most of your time? What good things do they bring to your business? Do they inspire you to dream big or challenge you to achieve greatness? Do they kindle belief in yourself?

Although you may not believe that your associates can negatively impact your business growth, it’s much better to be ‘at choice’ with those likely to influence you and your business in subtle and substantial ways.

Related Blog Posts:

How Your Mindset Sparks Business Success

Say “Heck Yeah” to Growing Your Business

4 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Howard Stern

5 Smart Business Strategies to Set Yourself Up for Success

This Strategic Coach Says “no” and Means It*

Several years ago I made a commitment to participate in the Seattle-to-Portland Bike Classic (STP).  The 200-mile bike ride is the largest multi-day bike ride in the Northwest. Having never cycled that distance, I wanted to be ready for the challenge.  I read books, blogs and websites to prepare me for the ride. Honestly, the wealth of information was confusing! I wasn’t sure what plan or whose advice to follow…until a cycling coach came to my rescue.

The cycling coach and I collaborated on a training plan that maximized my efforts. He encouraged the development of new skills to make me an effective and powerful cyclist. On many days, he rode next to me to pace and push me to achieve more. He challenged me beyond my perceived capabilities.

Was the cycling coach a luxury or a necessity? Could I have prepared for this event on my own? Although I could have hobbled together a training plan by myself, the results would have been drastically different.

The value of engaging a strategic business coach is not unlike my hiring a cycling coach. Whether it’s a luxury or necessity is really a matter of perspective. It’s a luxury if you have no doubt about your plan, perceptions, observations, assessments, and decisions. It’s a luxury if you’re certain of the direction of the winds of change, the trends in your industry, or the opportunities that are open to your business. It may even be a luxury if you have surrounded yourself by an objective team of advisors.

However, if you want to be more certain of directions, perceptions, trends, plans, and decisions, working with a strategic business coach is a necessity. It’s a necessity if you want to achieve more, build bigger, and grow faster. And, a business coach is a necessity when you’re ready to unleash the potential of your business.

Strategic Business Coach: Luxury or Necessity.  Still not sure?  Why not take advantage of our “Get Acquainted” 30-minute Strategic Business Coaching Consultation.  Click here to schedule your call today.

business growth fatigue

Are you kidding me? I almost fell out of my rocking chair when I read Why Entrepreneurs Should Work On Their Days Off. Of course, it was posted at Under 30 CEO web site.  Weren’t we all a bit more naive then?  Take it from someone who has been an entrepreneur longer than under 30 CEO’s have been alive, working on your day off DOES NOT give you the competitive edge. (To my under 30 CEO colleagues: I’m not out of shape or out of touch.  Many of my under 30 entrepreneurial clients engage us because we’re innovative, relevant, and forward thinking.)

Here’s what really happens when you work on your day off and fail to give yourself time to rejuvenate:

  • You lose perspective.
  • You lose focus.
  • You lose your ability to concentrate.
  • Promises made to your clients are not kept. Stuff falls through the cracks.
  • You waste time hanging out at the “social media water cooler” on your regular workdays.
  • You get sick.
  • Your overall performance suffers.

Why? Because you’re tired! Your brain can’t function at its best when you’re fatigued and jacked up on Red Bull. You miss vital information and cues to information assured to create opportunities for your business. The competitive edge you gained by working on your day off has now been lost to fatigue and its resulting impact. Fatigue costs more than $136 billion per year in health-related lost productivity; 84% of those costs due to reduced performance at work. Is it really worth it? Will the gains you made working on your day off offset what you stand to lose by the resulting fatigue?

More, bigger, faster isn’t invariably better.

Rather than work on your day off, how about if you learn to work differently during your regular workdays to get a leg up on the competition, work on fun projects guilt-free, and be uber-productive.  Click here to talk to a business coach today about how you can have it all – including days off!

That’s our story and we’re sticking to it!  What say you?

Related Blog Posts:

7 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Achieve Work/Life Balance

Confessions From a Strategic Coach on Work/Life Balance

Recess for Entrepreneurs

Improve Your Bottom Line and Waistline

Ten Signs You’re an Overworked Small Business Entrepreneur

business growthAs an entrepreneur, you’re overwhelmed, overcommitted, and overcome with all it takes to successfully grow your business. The notion of saying “yes” might sound counter-intuitive. Doesn’t that mean more of whatever you already have in your already crowded life? That’s what I thought, too….until I read an article in which entrepreneur, Derek Sivers, changed how he said ‘yes’.

Actually, the problem isn’t that we’re not saying ‘yes’, the real problem is that we’re not saying ‘yes’ to the right things. And, we’re saying ‘no’ to the wrong things.

‘No’ if too often said to those things which make us uncomfortable, involve some sort of risk (even when it’s a leveraged risk), or where there’s a potential for failure. As a strategic business coach, I see this happen all too often even when those are the very things that would kick-start business growth into high. It’s painful to grow so entrepreneurs opt for caution and play it safe.

‘Yes’ is said to things we think or feel we should be doing to grow our business. We say ‘yes’ halfheartedly. We say ‘yes’ to things that keep us comfortable….and busy. Not only are we not excited, but we have also just compounded the problem. We’ve crammed our day and have little time left for the things that really matter.  The filler becomes like protective clothing and we begin to settle.

Entrepreneur, Derek Sivers, was doing the same thing until he got tired of settling. He set his bar.  If he couldn’t say a robust, wholehearted HECK YEAH to whatever was before him, he would just say ‘no’.  Saying HECK YEAH opened allot of unanticipated opportunities for Derek.

Come on! Are you ready for Derek? No more yes – it’s HECK YEAH or no!

HECK YEAH – I’m in! And, while you’re at it, say HECK YEAH and subscribe to this blog so we can all grow together.

One-thing entrepreneurs can agree on – it can be overwhelming to grow a business. As an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance that you’re the master craftsperson, sales manager, marketing director, administrative assistant, bookkeeper, and probably the janitor, too. In addition to the multiple roles you juggle, new information is coming at you at the speed of light. In fact, I recently read that information equivalent to the Library of Congress is re-created every 15 minutes.

It all becomes overwhelming very quickly.

Overwhelm is a wet blanket to the entrepreneurial spirit and passion! Thinking of the multitude of actions needed to complete a project or achieve a goal can stop you dead in your tracks. When that happens, overwhelm sets in, clouds your judgment, and sucks the energy right out of you. You lose sight of the big picture. It becomes easier to procrastinate or, my personal favorite, to avoid working on the goal rather than slug through the quicksand of overwhelm.

Being overwhelmed is antithesis to growing your business. The next time overwhelm attempts to overpower you, ask yourself these two easy-to-remember questions:

1. What is my purpose?  This sharply refocuses you on your most important objective.

2. What is the next step? Identifying ONLY the next step – not the next 15 – provides a clear sense of direction and generates the energy needed to complete the task.

With a clear sense of purpose and direction, you can grow your business more quickly.

Have you heard the saying “there is more than one way to skin a cat”? Coined by American humorist, Seba Smith, in The Money Diggers in 1840, it means there is more than one way of achieving an aim. How perfect for entrepreneurs and their aim to grow their business.

Traditional business defines growth in terms of revenue/sales or profit growth. However, growing revenue may not motivate or inspire you to action.  Following the wisdom of Seba Smith, there is more than one-way to grow your business.

1.  Grow revenue/sales

2.  Boost profits

3.  Improve cash flow

4.  Increase number of clients/accounts

5.  Strengthen average revenue per client

6.  Reduce number of billable hours needed to achieve revenue goals

7.  Enhance actualization rate

8.  Further brand awareness and visibility

9.  Achieve annual goal(s) in 10 months vs 12 months

10. Upgrade client base

11. Polish your entrepreneurial skills

12. Develop efficient/effective operational systems

13. Reduce unnecessary expenses

14. Eliminate profit holes

15. Say “yes” frequently

16. Expand your professional network

17. Improve your closing average

18. Generate more leads

19. Boost your confidence

20. Illuminate your vision

21. Feel, act, and be more successful

22. Spend 80% of your day doing work you love

23. Achieve ‘expert’ status

24. Gain better control of your day/time

25. Rediscover and grow your business around your purpose

26. Create order out of chaos

27. Establish and achieve value-based goals

28. Achieve 5 stars on all customer reviews.

29. Grow your business on your terms rather than on those established by others

30. Disrupt your industry

It’s your turn. I want to hear how you ‘skin your cat’ (aka grow your business)?

Entrepreneurs are notorious for believing that “if they build it, they will come.” Guess what? That only happens on movie sets and comic books. Don’t sabotage your networking efforts with any of these less-than-compelling behaviors.

1. Don’t show up. People won’t know who you are or trust you enough to refer you if your appearance is a rarity. This is true for online, as well as your offline, presence.

2. Talk too much about yourself. A networking conversation is a dialogue – not a monologue. Avoid strangling your networking efforts with too much information that’s all about you.

3. Being a taker. Networking, and the subsequent lead generating activities that follow, are a mutually beneficial arrangement. Don’t clog the works by overwhelming your networking with unsolicited self-promotion.

4. Fail to follow up. Even the most professional networking endeavors fall short when you don’t follow up – whether it’s to say ‘thanks’ or honor a promise.

Common sense tells us that these damaging behaviors need not to be addressed yet I’m continually amazed at the number of entrepreneurs who kill their changes for greater success with these four simple – yet incredibly damaging – behaviors.

What are some of the ways in which others have wiped out their networking opportunities with you?

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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