Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

August 2014

Recent Posts

I’ll be the first to tell you that blogging regularly can be a challenge – especially when it comes to finding fresh content that inspires both the writer and the reader. Having blogged with some regularity since 2010, there are times my blogging brain goes on strike.

Although skipping a blog or two is always an option until the brain returns to its creative state, the statistics tell us it’s not the ideal strategy. Some of the most important reasons for a small business NOT to miss an opportunity to blog are captured by Social Marketing Writing in their article on 13 Blogging Statistics You Probably Don’t Know, But Should.

  • Blogs that post daily get 5 X more traffic than those that post weekly or less.
  • Blog traffic increases by 53% once you accumulate 51 posts. After 200 posts, the traffic increases 4.5 times.
  • 70% of people learn about a company from articles rather than ads.
  • Blogs that post daily generate 4X more leads than those that post weekly or less.

We witnessed the value of consistently blogging when we accepted Hubspot’s 30-day blog challenge. The results were startling. You can read about them in A Funny Thing Happened During the 30-Day Blogging Challenge…And Other Delightful Results.

Think Outside the Blog

The usual suspects of content ideas for your small business blog are news and information sources, such as Huffington Post, Inc, or Entrepreneur. Many bloggers turn to industry sites and put their own spin on the latest trend or information. The most intriguing blog content, however, comes from the most unlikely sources.

1. Hobby. What do you enjoy doing with your non-working hours? There are business lessons to be found in all we do. For instance, some of my favorite hobbies are hiking, biking, and gardening. In fact, I make sure my voice memo is kept close at hand to capture thoughts and ideas that can be used for a later post – like Small Business Lessons From the Switchbacks of Los Angeles.

2. Kids. Remember Art Linkletter and House Party? He had a segment called “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. Who can resist a story of a young child providing their perspective on a subject important to your business?

3. People watching. While waiting for a friend for lunch, have you noticed how groups of people interact around a table? If you’re a blogger on leadership or teamwork, you’ll find an abundance of ideas to blog about.

And let’s not forget the airport. People watching at an airport can fill your editorial calendar with topics for an idea year.

4. Publications unrelated to your industry. If you look, you can find similarities between almost any industry and yours. For instance, if you’re an HR blogger, what can you glean from a medical journal that your clients can relate to? Several ideas pop immediately to mind!

5. Family. Whether it’s what your mom or dad taught you, there are pearls of wisdom for blog topics within your own family tree – including the branches that are a little bent.

6. Friends. If you have friends like mine, there is never a loss for blogging ideas. From what they do to what they say, the possibilities for content are endless. And, if your friends aren’t that interesting, it’s an opportunity to make new friends. 😀

7. Animals. In fact, I’m currently working on developing trust with two stray cats I affectionately call my “office kitties”. Lots of blogging content there with how to attract and win over clients!

8. Clients. Without divulging names or violating confidences, your clients are a generous source of topics for your blog. You can share their challenges, insights, lessons learned, and successes with your readers.

P.S. Although I never use a client’s name, I ask permission to blog about their situation. It’s the right thing to do.

9. Colleagues. Oh, lordy! This category is almost too easy. What they say, what they do, what they don’t say or do, how they do things…Tune in. You’ll love what you’ll learn and how you can turn it into a blog post of intrigue and interest to your readers – like in Don’t Do “This” When Building Small Business Referral Relationships.

10. Nature. Whether its flash floods, fires raging out of control, drought, fog that burns off by noon, strong winds, or sunshine day after day, the similarities between your content and nature are endless.

When it comes to creating content for your blog, don’t look within your industry to uncover ideas of interest for your blog; look around you for unique stories that inspire and capture the interest of your reader.

Have you found an unusual source of content for your blog that you would add to the list?

Ah, yes! It would be much easier if we could read the minds of our small business clients. Short of a crystal ball, small business owners need to develop other methods to understand the needs of their clients in order to deliver what clients want…and expect.

Client needs, like the marketplace, are continually evolving. Identifying client needs and understanding them is not always easy. When clients needs and expectations are not being heard, understood, and met, the resulting client dissatisfaction is never pretty.

Meeting Client Needs is Never an Accident

There are numerous survey tools available to help you take the pulse of your clients. However, the best technique for understanding your client’s needs is to go directly to the client.

Speaking directly and frequently to your client, particularly at the start of the relationship, goes a long way. It creates transparency and builds trust. When an unmet need occurs, your client is more likely to come to you rather than go to 10 colleagues.

1. Listen. Listening is not the same as hearing. In fact, many people who think they are great listeners are really just waiting for their turn to talk.

The ability to be an active listener is also why multitasking, such as checking email while on the phone with a client is never good. With attention divided, subtle clues into the clients unspoken needs are missed.

In order to truly meet your client’s business expectations and personal expectations, listen to what they are saying and for what they are not saying.

Do you think you’re a good listener? Download the Self-Test for Your Listening Potential by Dr. Lee Smith.

2. Ask questions. Never assume you know what the client is thinking. Direct questions help you understand the expectations of your clients, as well as their perceptions of your delivery.

Consider these options:

  • What is your vision of the outcome?
  • What are you expectations related to the project?
  • What are your expectations of our company?
    If the client has expectations that your company is unable or incapable of meeting, this is a good time to communicate what your company can promise. You can come to a mutual agreement to avoid client dissatisfaction from inaccurate perceptions.
  • How does our work together further your business goals?
    Although this question may sound a bit bold, as a strategic service provider, your understanding of the bigger picture allows you to better meet the needs of your clients. Plus, if your client doesn’t want you to know, trust me…they won’t tell you.

As the work with your client continues, don’t assume the needs at the start of the project are the same as their needs mid-way through the assignment. Check in periodically to make sure you’re on the same page.

  • When our work began, you mentioned X was your desired outcome. What, if anything, has changed?
  • What adjustments in our fill-in-the-blank (e.g., pace, timelines, communication, feedback system, etc.) would ensure your needs are met?

Don’t be afraid of the questions – or the answers. It’s not just about improving your client’s experience; it’s about the perception your client has of whether or not you are meeting their needs.

3. Be consistent. Whatever you establish as your client service experience standards, delivery them unwaveringly. With so many choices available in today’s marketing, ensuring first-time client needs are met safeguards their loyalty. Loyal clients become life-long clients. Life-long clients are the ideal source of referrals.

It’s really the perfect win-win.

We never think it will happen to us. We’re entrepreneurs, after all, and somehow that makes us infallible. With little thought of a personal crisis and its impact on our small business, we delay preparing for what we believe to be a remote possibility.

And, when least expected, the unforeseen blows up what we plan for and work hard to achieve.

A personal crisis of a physical, emotional, or mental nature is difficult enough. Unfortunately, a personal crisis can boomerang and simultaneously create a business crisis. And, when your business is you, there are few people who can immediately step into and fill your shoes. Therefore, advanced consideration to a backup plan helps reduce the amount of damage done to your business.

It Will Never Happen To Me

…until it did.

I was preparing for a business move across country when a follow up phone call from my physician following a routine procedure set off alarms. She wanted to meet with my husband and I within the next day to discuss the results. I knew it wasn’t good news.

The test results revealed early stage breast cancer. Needless to say, it wasn’t something to be put off until I settled in my new location. With less than 3 weeks before the scheduled transfer, we moved quickly to make the necessary arrangements.

The business was the last thing on my mind. In fact, I didn’t care what happened to my business at that moment. I knew, however, that once the crisis was resolved, I wanted to return to my business…and my income.

I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that was over 20 years ago. It did, however, teach me a valuable lesson – expect (and prepare) for the unexpected.

The Best Solution for a Personal Crisis

Regardless of the cause of a personal emergency, consider how answers to these questions can prepare you for the unexpected:

  1. Who can step into your shoes in the event of a personal crisis? Whether it’s to postpone meetings or step in to complete projects already in play, identify trustworthy resources to keep your business running – even if you don’t care what happens to the business in the moment.
  2. What information will they need to access?
  3. Does a confidentiality agreement need to be in place?
  4. Who needs access to bank accounts? Passwords? Contacts? Calendar?
  5. Who can be assigned to be your “point person”?When a personal crisis strikes, you don’t want to be calling a list of people to help. Identify one individual to implement your pre-determined plan.
  6. What actions are included in the plan? You won’t remember the essential details of your business when adversity strikes. Set up your plan in advance when your mind is clear and not flooded with emotions.

Fortunately, I have a trusted virtual assistant who has access to critical information such as documents, contacts, and my calendar. With one phone call, she can step in. Although she would not be able to perform the core services of Synnovatia, (although she is über smart) she can notify clients, postpone meetings, and respond to emails as needed to ensure the integrity of my business reputation remains intact.

A personal crisis can be physical as in the case of an accident or bitter diagnosis. It can also be emotional when it involves the death of a loved one or divorce. Regardless of the cause, as author, Chris Bradford says, “…hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.

I love spending time outdoors. I credit that desire to my growing up in North Dakota where it was too cold to be outside from Halloween until Easter, and too hot to be outside from Independence to Labor Day. That left 4 months to enjoy the great outdoors. (No wonder I was so pasty as a child.)

Los Angeles changed that for me. It’s difficult to tell which season we experience, because they’re all about the same. It’s as easy to experience 90-degree days in January, as it is 60-degree days in August.

When asked to describe LA, most say it’s crowded, congested, and noisy. Although that’s true for much of the city, its nothing like that where I live. I walk out my door and immediately have access to bike lanes, hiking trails, and walking paths — all without having to start my car. What fun!

During one of my recent hikes, I decided to hike a trail I have sidestepped on numerous occasions. In fact, I passed it every week for 3 years — intentionally avoiding it. The level of difficulty was challenging (as the sign says). I took the warning to heart.

As I began my trek down the loose stone on a narrow path, I soon discovered the many steep, switchbacks hidden by the cliff’s ridge. I lingered for a moment to reconsider my options or, if I were to be brutally honest, I stopped to whine about how steep it was and how hard it would be and how I couldn’t do it.

As I slipped and slid down the arduous trail, I chuckled about the similarities between the trail and running a business. Business, like the Switchback Trail, has lots of twists and turns. And, like the Switchback Trail, business has it challenges.

Halfway down the trail, I wondered if I was in over my head. I considered heading back to the top. The switchbacks were unrelenting — much like the paths we travel in business. And, haven’t most small business owners experienced a similar feeling halfway through a tough initiative plagued by uncertainty of success?

Having successfully reached the bottom of the trail, it was time for the real work to begin with the trek to the top. The ascent started quite easily. With an unexpected smile on my face, I reassured myself by saying, “I’ve got this”!

Immediately, my subconscious reminded me that I didn’t have this at all and that I needed to choose a different mantra — one with integrity and truth — if I was to make it unscathed, mentally and physically, to the trailhead.

I wasn’t alone. Two hikers were quickly approaching. Just like the competition gaining ground, I felt the need to speed my pace to stay strategically ahead of them.

There was only one flaw my thinking — the capacity to increase speed as the incline grew progressively demanding was rapidly diminishing. It served as a reminder that along the hiking trails, as in business, we have to move at the pace that is best suited for us — despite what others tells us.

Before long, I emerged victorious. It was a good learning experience.

Every entrepreneur has paths to travel they would rather avoid. Whether the trail appears too difficult or we don’t feel we have what it takes to succeed, we dodge the very paths that lead our business to the next level with a renewed sense of confidence.

As small business owners, we don’t need to fear the competition as much as we need to fear our thoughts — the ones that prevent us from taking the seemingly dangerous and difficult trails — which are the same trails that lead us to the most spectacular views for our future.

What are you waiting for? Do you have a path to climb? A hill to traverse? A gully to cross? Whatever keeps you on the familiar, albeit uneventful path, it’s time to toss it aside.

Lace up your boots! We have a trail to hike.

When you launched your business, you probably didn’t figure that, one day, you would awake to a business you never intended to create. Yet, it does happen with some regularity — and you’re not alone. Nonetheless, the questions remain the same — how did I get here and, more importantly, how do I switch tracks?

Imagine this — from early morning to late night you respond to clients requests, answer email, attend networking events, follow-up on leads, write thank you notes, invoice clients, enter receipts, return phone calls, troubleshoot project problems, keep up with industry trends, and fill-in-the-blank with the other activities you perform on any given day. That’s how we so easily get on the wrong track.

It’s not that we intentionally set out to head in the wrong direction. It effortlessly happens while we’re busy about our business. (Wouldn’t it be impressive if staying on the right track were as effortless?)

Wrong Track vs. Right Track

How can you tell which track your business is on?

Common “wrong track” symptoms include:

  • More focused on the problems rather than the promise of your business
  • Running your business has become a job
  • Waning optimism and confidence in achieving your goals
  • Lack of enthusiasm to come to work — even though you own the business

By contrast, you know your business is on the right track when you…

  • Are excited to get up and go to work each day
  • Uncover and pursue opportunities with confidence
  • Happily allocate time to plan for the next level of success
  • Stay one step ahead of where your business currently exists

Switching Tracks

Like your GPS re-routes your trip when you get lost, getting back to the track you intended is possible by following these directions:

1. Refocus your vision. Undoubtedly, the day-to-day flurry of activity has clouded the vision of your future. Brush off your lens and crystalize your vision with 10 Questions Entrepreneurs Can Ask to Refocus Their Vision.

2. Recreate your goals and plans. With a well-defined vision, it’s time to consider the goals and plans needed to make your vision come to life. Download the free goal-setting workbook and go step-by-step through the goal setting and success planning process.

3. Pinpoint the metrics. Nothing is better than numbers to keep you honest about where you’re at along the road to success. Read Metrics…The MapQuest of Business Success to understand the metrics you’ll want to track to stay on track.

4. Allocate time to implement your plan. This is non-negotiable! Your right track plan is your priority. The Daily Goal Planner will keep you focused and on fire. And, if you really want to grow your skills and master the art of success planning, discover the 5 Types of Planning Every Small Business Needs.

5. Onboard your advisory team. If you’ve been on the “other” track for a period of time, your team of service providers needs to know your renewed focus. To make sure they are involved in keeping you on the right track, you’ll love reading Why You Need to Grow Your Small Business With Strategic Service Providers. (If you feel particularly courageous, you’ll want to share the article with them.)

And, if you need someone to come alongside of you to help you shift tracks…we’re here for you.

Growing pains. Although you may not be able to label them as such, you know the symptoms only too well. They sneak up around the same time you’re cutting the cake and popping the champagne on the two-year anniversary of opening your business.

What really makes them frustrating is that growing pains are the culprit that causes your business to stall or plateau. What makes them even more challenging is that they’re not always easy to see — even though they exist in plain sight.

Who would have ever thought that one’s expertise as an accountant, web designer, attorney, marketing consultant, business coach, or grant writer would blind your view and block you from spotting the growing pains. But, it happens, and here’s why. With more sales, more clients, and more demands on your time, growing pains signal the need for a new and different set of skills.

Some of the more common growing pains that small businesses suffer include any or all of the following (in no particular order):

  • Inability to successfully manage your workload
  • Distended inbox
  • Frustrating delays in getting back to or responding to clients
  • Struggling to keep commitments and timelines
  • Potential client leads falling through the crack or getting lost in the shuffle
  • Difficulty keeping up with the demands of the business
  • Days spent reacting and/or putting out fires
  • Working ferociously and frantically from morning to night
  • Giving up the activities you love most or that hold great value so you can get caught up on work
  • Failing to keep promises you make to yourself (i.e., this week is going to be different)
  • Inability to find time for activities that grow your business, such as planning, sales, and/or marketing
  • Feeling powerless to change things

Are any of these familiar? If you say, “Check! Check! And Check!” here’s the good news…

Growing pains, not to be confused with a struggling business plagued by scant cash and clients, are actually a good sign. Growing pains show that your business is growing! It signals a time of transition.

Get excited! Then get some help…..

Schedule a Free No-Obligation Consultation Today!

small business owner

Time — or lack thereof — is the most commonly spoken challenge for small business owners. Yet, we continue to misuse and degrade our time. Along with the degradation of time, comes an equal undervaluing of one’s talent.

small business owner

Photo by Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash

Time and talent are two of the greatest assets of any small business owner. This is particularly important for those in the professional service sector where time and talent shape your livelihood Yet if we’re cavalier about our time and talents, how can we expect others to respect and value what we bring to the table?

For Sale: Small Business Owners Time & Talent!

There are many ways in which a small business owner or entrepreneur undervalues — and wastes — their valuable resources. Most are unrecognizable and may seem inconsequential until, over time, they erode one’s ability to achieve any semblance of balance.

Here are a few of the means by which entrepreneurs demonstrate the undervaluing of their time and talent. How many do you recognize?

  • Running overtime on pre-scheduled meetings with allocated time limits
  • Giving away your billable services for free
  • Allowing scope creep to occur unchecked
  • Agreeing to every request that comes your way even though its not in alignment with your strategic plan
  • Underpricing your services
  • Failing to plan for business success

The list can go on and on, but you get the point. When we fail to apply our time and talents appropriately, we inadvertently disrespect and diminish our very own resources.

And, if we don’t hold our assets in high regard, how can we expect others to do the same? Is it possible that this notion is underlying overwhelm and burnout for many business owners? We think it just might be a contributing factor!

Boundaries: Not Just For Maps, Math, or Cricket

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate your appreciation of your time and talents is through boundaries.

Wikipedia defines boundaries as guidelines or rules that people create to identify — behavior that is reasonable and permissible. Although most boundaries serve to educate others on how to act or behave around you, TV psychologist, Dr. Phil reminds us that we teach others how to treat us

With the tip of the hat to Dr. Phil, we would also like to add that “we teach others how to treat us”… by how we treat ourselves.

If a business owner doesn’t value their expertise and freely shares their know-how with others limitlessly, why wouldn’t others continue to ask for free advice? If an entrepreneur allows scope creep to continue unrestrained, why wouldn’t a client continue to push the limits?

Boundaries — or lack thereof — are built out of beliefs, opinions, and attitudes. The next time you feel dissed and want others to respect your time and talent, remember — you first!

France’s decision to reduce their workweek from 35 to 30 hours sparked a few brain cells of excitement for me. Could it be remotely feasible to consider the probability of reducing the workweek without it being accompanied by a reduction in revenue? In fact, isn’t a loss of revenue the real reason we won’t let go of the drawn-out, brain-numbing work hours? We don’t want to lose ground financially!

Many small business owners simply feel that if they take the finger off the pulse of the organization for one second, it will fall apart. Sound familiar? It’s a common — albeit unspoken — thought for many entrepreneurs. Without our 24/7 watchful eye, we feel it’s all going to “hell in a hand basket”, as my mom would say. Consequently, we toil on.

Although the financial dial appears to be moving forward for most small business owners, it’s impossible to discern whether the extended work hours damage or benefit the business.

One thing we know for certain, hours worked beyond 40 hours per week create unnecessary illness, stress, and fatigue. It produces needless errors, inefficiencies, and avoidable costs. Numerous studies expose the negative impact on performance when work exceeds 40 hours. Yet, despite scientific proof, we labor on.

What Entrepreneurs Are Not Being Taught

I’m no angel. I’ve been a willing participant in the American “dream” that taught entrepreneurs 60 – 70 hour workweeks were the standard. When I pause long enough to consider the rapid advancements in technology that allow us to conduct business at the speed of light, I am bewildered at the need for long workweeks that extend into weekends, and ultimately lead to burnout and bad decisions.

Despite the studies attesting to improved performance when a cap is placed on the number of hours we work, no one has taught us how to squeeze 70 hours of work into 40. Until now…

The Synnovatia Incubator: Work Less. Earn More.

Since 1997, I’ve used Synnovatia as a testing ground for untested, innovative ideas. Unproven concepts, such as limiting the number of weekly work hours while growing revenue, hold great promise.

Since learning of France’s workweek strategy, I’ve taken this on as a personal challenge. It’s my hope that we can learn together what works — and what doesn’t — to keep our work hours down and our revenue growing.

Here are the steps I’ve taken thus far:

1. Put hard stops on the start and end of my workweek.  I’m a farmer at heart so early mornings are good for me. My first meeting is at 7 am. My day ends at 5 pm at which time my computer is turned off to evade temptation.

I know that sounds like a 10-hour day but stay with me…

2. Carve out personal time during the day. I’m not crazy about exercise but I do love being healthy.  Although I’ve tried early morning exercise, it was just too early — even for me!  Instead, I block out 11 am – 2 pm each day for exercise, shower, lunch, and reading. It’s non-negotiable time during which I unplug and renew.

That makes for a 7-hour day or a 35-hour workweek. Next steps — how to squeeze 60 hours into 35…

3. Respond to email twice a day. Email left unmonitored is like a 2 year old without supervision. It’s a Tasmanian devil eating through precious, never to be recovered, time.

I limit the amount of time on email to 20 minutes. (I actually set a timer!) I use Feedly to aggregate information I want to read so it doesn’t mix with email and create a distraction.

I separate email into billable, marketing, selling, and general which allows me to set priorities. I don’t “work” in my inbox. I sort emails into the various categories to address them at the time designated in my day. (Sound rigid?  Perhaps but it’s less exhausting and more productive to focus on one activity at a time.)

4. I say “no” more often. Like any small business owner, I get requests to be interviewed on or speak for organizations or share advice at no charge. When my calendar was open-ended, I said “yes” to everything.

With boundaries on my time, a request must fit with my buyer persona, have a large enough audience to net results, have a brand that I can be proud to be affiliated with, and fit in with my strategic plan. If not, I decline the request — graciously, I hope.

Do you want to work fewer hours while keeping your revenue growing? This is just the start. I’m committed to re-evaluating all aspects of my business in order to achieve just that — and share them with you, of course. 😀

Care to join me? If so, feel free to subscribe to our blog. Let’s grow together.

Why Entrepreneurs Fail to Achieve Work-Life Balance first appeared on Huffington Post.

Cash flow is an important aspect of any business. And, it’s particularly critical for a small business growing on a shoestring and a prayer. In the hectic day-to-day operation of a business, it’s common to overlook the many holes in your small business through which your cash is leaking.

Most small business entrepreneurs are familiar with money lost from ineffective pricing strategies, including underpricing. But, did you know you could be forfeiting more money in seemingly insignificant ways?

Here are the most common unattended circumstances that are draining your piggy bank:

1. Disorganization. When you, your staff, your service providers, and/or your subcontractors are disorganized, it costs you money — unnecessarily. For example, if you have a subcontractor who is lacking systems, critical leads can easily fall through the cracks and get missed (which is what happened recently to one of our clients). Thousands of your dollars are lost due to disorganization.


    • Set up systems to prompt consistency and foster quality.
    • Rid yourself of service providers or subcontractors who resist building in systems or support.
    • Hire a professional organizer to help you get a grip on your office.

2. Not paying attention to detail. You’ve heard the saying, “the devil’s in the details”, right? One thing we know for certain — there is money in minutia.

Here’s an everyday illustration.  You’re rushed.  You scan a client’s email rather than read for detail. Consequently, you miss a critical piece of information about their project. This makes you look bad in your client’s eyes and adds to your expenses in unintended costs.

When missed details are a normal part of business operations, you lose money in the additional time required to fix what was missed.

But, did you know you could be causing your client to lose money as well? Yikes! Every time a client has to repeat and/or request what initially was overlooked, it takes time away from their growth initiatives.

Time is money for both you and your client.


    • Hire additional help to create more capacity in your small business.
    • Schedule regular times to check email when you’re not rushed.
    • Stop multitasking (i.e., checking email) while on phone calls.

3. Allowing scope creep to go unchecked. Ding! Ding! Ding! This is a huge cash hole. Have you ever kept track of your unbilled hours as a result of scope creep? Wow! You only need to do that once to “get” how much money is draining from your bank account.


    • Develop a more accurate bidding system to allow for client changes.
    • Communicate your “change order” policy clearly upfront of any project.
    • Initiate a conversation with your client at the first sign of scope creep.

4. Failure to calculate soft costs into your ROI.

For instance, let’s say you’re a member of your local chamber for which you paid annual dues. You attend two events a month at a nominal fee. Even if you have an intended goal for the return on your investment in your chamber membership, have you considered your time in your calculation?

A business owner’s time is seldom considered an expense that gets included in return on investment calculations although it’s an important — and pricey — component.

Here are the numbers:

Owners time to attend event: 2 hours
Owners travel time to/from event:  1 hour
Total time to attend 2 events/month: 6 hours
Cost of owner’s time: $75/hour
Total soft costs: $450/month x 12 months = $5400.00/year

Add in your hard costs like membership, gas to and from, and event cost and your budget — and ROI — may look very different.


    • Include your time when planning marketing initiatives.
    • Reset your return on investment goals to ensure a good rate of return.
    • Value your time. It comes with a price tag not reflected in your paycheck.

5. Lack of strategic thinking. Time not allocated for strategic thinking opens the floodgates and costs most small businesses their greatest loss of money.

A recent strategic coaching conversation with “Katherine” (not her real name for the sake of confidentiality) is a perfect example of how strategic thinking helps you keep more of your dollars!

Katherine had invested a lion’s share of time and money into her growth initiative. As results failed to materialize, her initial frustration turned to irritation. Finally, in total exasperation, she decided to move forward with a project that would be a substantial investment of cold, hard cash.

Before doing so, we decided to put strategic thinking to the test. We took a peak at her performance metrics to glean whatever insight was available. What we discovered was hopeful!

Ultimately, our strategic thinking skills cracked her performance metrics wide open to reveal a set of actions Katherine could take immediately to beef up her business success — before heading out with a substantial investment.

Whew! Unnecessary expense averted!


    • Schedule a daily, weekly, monthly appointment with yourself for strategic thinking.
    • Hire a strategic business coach for an objective look at your business.
    • Get that time investment in strategic thinking is the best ROI any small business can have.

Time to pull out the glue gun and plug some cash holes in your piggy bank? We think so, too!

5 Unexplored Ways Your Small Business Loses Money first appeared on Huffington Post.

Walking is a great opportunity to tidy up one’s mind and think more sanely. Not only is walking proven to relieve stress and improve health, it provides a chance to think freely and easily about a variety of life’s issues — big and small.

Today was one of those times for me. With no phone, email, or text to hijack my thoughts, I pondered why entrepreneurs and small business owners seldom find time to do the things they want.

Stay with me now…

The Pink Unicorn

My walk didn’t start out with the objective of magically uncovering the reason we can’t do the things we want. I let my mind roam freely about the countryside. I was actually fantasizing about learning a new language…if I only had time.

As a child, I was fortunate to be surrounded by grandparents who spoke their native language — German. They migrated to the United States in the early 20th century. My Grandpa spoke English but my Grandma…let’s just say she came by her stubborn streak naturally.

Although my grandparents passed away decades ago, I’ve often thought it would be a nice tribute to their hard work and dedication to speak my ancestral language…if I only had time.

As a successful entrepreneur, you have undoubtedly given thought to the many “things” you want to do. You daydream about exploring a new location, reading the latest best seller, or joining a softball team…if you only had time.

Like many entrepreneurs, you tell yourself that when this happens or that occurs or when the business achieves X, you’ll have the time to do all the fascinating things on your list that — up to now — you’ve delayed…until you had time.

Unfortunately, that mysterious amount of additional time seems to be as elusive as a pink unicorn.

A Yes Waiting to Happen

The primary reason most entrepreneurs experience rarified time to do the things they want is that, like me, they say “yes” much more often than they need to — or ought.

With little thought to one’s own goals, commitments, projects, timelines, or obligations, the requests of others make many of us fold like a bad poker hand.

It doesn’t take long to have a week, a month, or a year go by with many goals left unaccomplished. Why? Because we say “yes” to the requests of others before saying “yes” to our ambitions, aspirations, and goals.

I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you. No new mystery has been uncovered. Yet, it serves as a reminder of what to say to make sure you do, in fact, have time for those things important to you.

Say “yes” to 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.

Search The Blog