Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

September 2017

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Your mind is a beautiful thing. It ignites ideas, sparks inspiration, and illuminates direction. One’s mind can also be a bit tragic. It has the power to elevate anxiety, destroy self-confidence, and flame the fire of your worst fears. It shrinks goals, minimizes efforts, and brings to fruition that which one most fears.

It can quickly and easily create a catastrophic event in one’s thinking. It’s almost effortless. Triggered by the smallest calamity, the mind dashes down a rabbit hole to unearth visions of epic ruin.

Rather than rush to a place in the mind where clarity and calm co-exist, the mind resorts to sabotaging behaviors. And, given the primal function of the brain, who could truly blame us for wanting to flee danger?

Subtle sabotage…and its cunning ways

The mind employs slick tactics to convince you that engaging in certain behaviors is necessary — even when those behaviors undermine your goals.

Can you identify with any of these cagey practices?

  1. Procrastination. Although putting things off until later sounds like a good strategy in the moment, it’s merely a tactic used to trip you up.
  2. Obliging self-indulgent behavior. Commonly used phrases like “I deserve it” and “I’ve worked hard” sound completely justifiable — although they’re not. It’s one more way your mind tricks you into avoiding that which you truly want.
  3. Escapism. Whether to a sandy beach, a trashy novel, or under the covers, dodging your business strategy — and beliefs about its success — doesn’t change anything.
  4. Avoidance. Putting off pulling the trigger on your business strategy until later today — or maybe next week — doesn’t change the outcome.
  5. Relentless research. When you know a bunch about many topics, yet have little to show in the form of goals achieved, you know you’ve been sabotaged!
  6. Perpetual planning. This really looks good — but only on paper. It’s another subtle way our minds keep us “busy” rather than achieving.
  7. Crisis fabrication. Chaos creates a smoke screen preventing us from seeing the reality of what is really occurring beneath the surface of our mind.
  8. Perfectionism. A need for something to be exact, as in the case of a website or new program, is merely a delay tactic.
  9. Saying “Yes” too often. If your days are filled with commitments and obligations to others, you don’t have to face down the fears of achieving your own goals.
  10. Continuous complaining. Camouflaging self-sabotaging beliefs in criticism, blame, fault-finding, or dissatisfaction does little to change your business outcomes.

Sublte. Astute. Clever. Creative. Sleek. Inventive. Rationale. Sensible. Skillful. All describe the dark side of one’s mind.

Imagination: Your Business Strategy For Success

You may have come across some readings claiming that thoughts create reality. Thoughts, by themselves, do not change our reality. They do, however, change the choices we make that influence our ability to succeed with our business strategy.

Beliefs, however, play a significant role on our thoughts. Regardless of our subtle — and not so subtle — choices of self-defeating behaviors, the origin is in one’s belief.

I’ve always found that the best defense against self-defeating beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors is a good offense. And, it begins with intentionality.

When emotional upheaval — and subsequent self-sabotaging behaviors — begin to take hold, stop whatever you’re doing. Put your day on pause and take several deep breaths to calm the amygdala that little piece of gray matter that runs our emotional universe.

Next, begin to construct a different mental framework of potential outcomes. Don’t just visualize — imagine! Imagine what it looks like to achieve your goal. Imagine what it feels like to conquer your fears. Imagine your confidence growing as you stay the course. Imagine the sound decisions you’ll make in the face of adversity.

Imagine knowing that you have the wherewithal within you to overcome the self-defeating behaviors standing between you and the success of your business strategy.

Pretty awesome, isn’t it!

What would you say if I told you that putting a business strategy in place before unearthing 10 hours a week is very much like “putting the cart before the horse.” (As my Mom would say.)

The struggle to find time to carry out the most carefully crafted business strategy is real! You can’t wait until you have time. You’re already overwhelmed. Instead, most small business owners I know “pile on” the execution of their business strategy on top of an already jam-packed week. It’s no surprise that goals aren’t achieved, and everyone’s exhausted!

Imagine, instead, a week with 10 hours available for the successful implementation of your business strategy! These are 10 hours each and every week that remain unscathed by interruptions, distractions, and every other activity that diverts you from pulling the trigger on your strategy and achieving your goals.

Uncover 10 hours Each Week with small (but mighty) changes

Time is your greatest ally. It allows you to solve your problems by achieving your goals. It’s the distinctive difference between success and struggle. And, with a chunk of time readily and dependably available each week, you are unstoppable.

Before you say “yeah but,” consider some adjustments you can make today including….

1. Reduce time spent on email by 50%. Adobe’s recent study demonstrated that the average professional spends 3.3 hours each day checking email. Based on your billing rate, what is the cost?

2. Reduce the number of times you check email daily by 50%. Some studies show the average person checks their email an average of 6–20 times per day. Is that really necessary? Most of us check email more frequently than necessary merely because our email program is open. That leads me to point #3….

3. Close your email program when focusing on strategic implementation.

4. Minimize distractions and interruptions. A UC Irvine study revealed that most people are interrupted after only 11 minutes into a project and it takes an average of 25 minutes for the brain to return to the point of productivity it was at prior to the interruptions. How much time could be created by minimizing interruptions?

5. Automate. Free up time — and yourself — with automating tedious, repetitious activities.

6. Schedule virtual meetings when possible. With technology like Skype and Zoom, it’s much easier to capture that face-to-face connection during a meeting while saving time spent on the road.

Speaking of meeting time…

7. Reduce the duration of meetings by 50%. Meetings are definitely a case of “work expands to fill the time it has to complete.” Ask anyone who has to endure several meetings a week.

8. Avoid “poking around” on social media. I love the brutal honesty of my client who recently announced that overwhelm sparked paralysis….so they opened Facebook. Haven’t we all done that a time or two?

9. Hire it. There comes a time in every business when you, as the owner, can no longer “do it all.” A virtual assistant can take over time-consuming tasks to free you up to focus on your strategy implementation.

Are you ready to make some of the changes necessary to ensure you have 10 hours each and every week to implement your carefully crafted strategy? Finding 10 hours to count on each week won’t be easy. It will require you to make difficult — albeit rewarding, choices.

 Free Business Growth Strategy Worksheet

I’d love to hear from you. What other ideas have you successfully implemented to carve out more time for the big, important things in your business?

With business becoming increasingly complex, business owners are faced with a variety of challenges — the most prevalent being overwhelmed by all there is to do in a day. This distressing situation is a far cry from what many of us thought growing a business would be like.

With days peppered with distractions, interruptions, emergencies, employee challenges, and client needs and demands — there isn’t much time left at the end of the day during which to think strategically about the future of the business. Without an opportunity for this sort of fore-thought, many small businesses are left to experience the same results year after year.

You may have started your business 5+ years ago but does your business growth reflect that duration of dedication to continual improvement? Or, like many business owners, does this year look like any other — minus your ever-increasing stress level. Once this “groundhog day” experience is realized, it’s bound to let the air out of the most optimistic entrepreneur’s balloon!

The Business Mad Hatter

If you happen to be one of the 24,331,403 nonemployer establishments reported in the US by Census Bureau as of 2015, you occupy all the roles and responsibilities in your business. You not only wear multiple hats — you wear all the hats!

You’re the Founder, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, marketing director, VP of operations…the list goes on and on.

One of your most critical functions seldom discussed is that of your role as the strategist for your business.

Embracing Your Role As Business Strategist

As a business strategist, it’s your responsibility for creating and implementing a strategy that helps your business achieve its goal. Within this role, you set smart goals, establish tactics and, most importantly, create a system for accomplishment of the tactics.

Here are a few things to be aware of in your small business strategist role:

  • continually look for positive outcomes within what can be a restrictive framework when resources are limited
  • exercise common sense in creating viable plans particularly if you’re an overly optimistic entrepreneur
  • look to the future to ensure your plans are moving you in the direction you intend
  • continuously be aware of and take your competition into consideration
  • advance quickly on releasing products/services to the market
  • continually clarify and adjust your direction as needed
  • ask yourself probing, challenging questions — then provide an honest assessment
  • pay attention to gaps between your goals and results
  • pivot when needed to prevent you from continuing to bang away selling a product/service that’s not profitable
  • plan for and leverage risks
  • develop a hacker/hustler mindset

Your role as business strategist is challenging. It’s not only your responsibility to come up with fresh, new ideas to grow your business, it’s also your job to take these ideas, create viable plans along with the structure to bring your ideas to fruition.

Without someone to play this role, many bright innovative ideas never see the light of day…and, sadly, many business owners fail to realize their dream of financial independence.

Don’t let this happen to you. Understand your role as business strategist and embrace it wholeheartedly. Keep your head in the game and operate with focused effort. Trust me…you won’t be disappointed.

Business strategy…what is it, really!? And, is my small business even big enough to warrant a strategy?

These are only a few of the questions that arise during a meeting between a business owner and his or her business strategist.

Most businesses — large and small — struggle with strategy. What is it? How is one created? Who’s involved? And, finally, what’s the big deal…especially when you’ve survived for several years without one.

It’s not the kind of work most of us care to do. It’s hard! We have to dig deep and do our homework to come up with the right strategy that grows our business and survives the test of time. Frankly, we all just want to open the doors, turn on the lights, fire up the computer, and let the phones ring.

Ahh, if it were only that easy.

Business Strategy: Why it Matters

We belong to a global business community. As a result, we experience greater competitiveness than we did five years ago. In light of this heightened competition, business demands a clearly defined strategy for how we’re going to achieve our business objectives given the opposition. It’s a continuation of the hard work you did in nailing your business mission and vision.

Since we can’t be everything to everyone, a business strategy lets your buyer know of your unique and distinctive advantage. Plus, once your strategy is clear, decisions regarding direction, resource allocation, and high-value work take you in the direction you intend to go.

Common Business Strategy Pitfalls to Avoid

As a business strategist, I’m in an interesting position. I have a front row seat to that which causes a business to flourish…as well as those elements that create roadblocks and sluggish growth

Based on my observations, here are my recommendations of what to avoid when it comes to your strategy:

1) Avoid confusing strategies with tactics. Interchanging the terms strategies and tactics has become a phenom over the past few years.

Strategy defines a series of patterns or moves to accomplish your business’ mission and vision. Your strategy answers the question, “What will achieve our mission?” Its focus is on the bigger picture.

Tactics, on the other hand, consist of smaller steps or activities needed to fulfill the strategy. Tactics answer the question, “How will we achieve our goals?” Their focus is short-term and they flex as needed to keep your business moving in the right direction.

2) Avoid growing your business without a strategy. Not sure of which direction to go in? No problem. Let your well-thought-out strategy guide you. It aligns with your mission and vision to ensure your long-term objectives are achieved.

3) Avoid having a strategy yet not referencing it. Eek! If you’re a corporate refugee, you understand what I mean. Don’t spend valuable resources to design the perfect strategy only to use it as a doorstop. Commit it to memory. Let it guide your decision-making.

4) Avoid being too rigid by hanging on to your strategy long past its usefulness. Think Motorola who quickly lost its competitive edge — and ultimately had to close the doors — because it failed in its ability to scan the competitive landscape and update its strategies to reflect the current times.

Evaluate your strategies on a regular basis to ensure it continues to create the competing lead needed to achieve your goals

5) Avoid hidden biases. Be aware of assumptions that may be influencing your objectivity in creating the business strategies that will grow your business. Seeking evidence to support your beliefs about what you think your strategy should be is counterproductive. Remain vigilant and objective.

Formulating your business strategy may not be the easiest piece of business development but it’s certainly one of the most important.

Business Growth Strategy Worksheet

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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