Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

March 2018

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We’re a quarter of the way into the new year and a word is emerging among my seemingly unconnected clients. It’s progress. Whether it’s slow, deliberate, micro — it doesn’t matter. Progress in all shapes, sizes, and speeds is being celebrated as the powerful business strategy it is.

Gone is the mad dash to perfectionism. No more is the frantic pace of getting everything done now. The stress-inducing race to the finish line called perfection is being discarded — left behind — for a more realistic and thoughtful perspective on business growth.

Progress is being celebrated in spirited conversations. It’s not a resignation, as in “well, at least I’m making progress.” It’s a jubilance that comes with recognizing that one deliberate step at a time is worthy of joy. And, along with these joy-filled moments of acknowledgment comes a deep satisfaction and confidence that we’re on our way.

The Curse Of Perfectionism

The mad dash of earlier years as we rushed into the acceleration of business growth is, as we’ve discovered and come to admit, unrewarding. It is stress-filled and fatiguing. And, what’s more, the zoom that filled each day actually takes us further away from that we desired.

Surprisingly, perfectionism doesn’t contribute to the degree of growth we thought would be achieved. We willingly, knowingly, and consciously chose the path, with its windy, steep, uphill climbs. And, we tackled it at a fevered pitch. Battered and bruised, we marched into each day to do battle once more with our business environment only to discover little progress being made in exchange for the mammoth amount of effort and energy we expelled during our quest for perfection.

Baby Steps & Business Growth

So, it appears, this year is a more thoughtful and deliberate year as we approach our business growth with greater awareness and celebration.

Along with the celebration of progress, we’re learning that the joyful expression of a proverbial pat on the back can carry us quite a distance. It’s uplifting and encouraging. It builds our confidence and competence. It opens our eyes to possibilities and opportunities previously unseen. And, it carries us victoriously from hour to hour and day to day.

Progress, and the subsequent celebration of it, is a good path to travel.

Whether it’s overcoming the reluctance and fear to make the sales call or pulling the trigger and publishing the blog you thought was not quite “perfect,” each step — each action — each micro-movement is worthy of celebration.

Gone are the days in which we need to wait to celebrate and declare success until Facebook/Amazon/Google behemoth-size success is achieved. If we are honest, that is unlikely going to happen. Not only is it unlikely to happen, it is not our goal or dream to begin with. Thinking about it makes it laughable.

So, progress. Every day in every way you get better and better. Every day in every way you get closer to your desired vision. Every day in every way you move along the continuim of your success.

And, with a focus on progress rather than perfection, the road you travel — although it still contains its twists and turns and uphill climb — becomes a much sweeter journey. It’s one filled with greater joy and laughter. Where frequent breaks allow you to enjoy the smell of the fresh air, the pungent aroma of the pine trees, and experience the people you meet along the way.

Progress — it’s a joyful journey with the same destination as that of perfection.

Progress, measured and counted out like a metronome, takes us one step at a time, one action at a time, one motion at a time to our destiny.

There’s nothing more to say about it — other than to encourage YOU to consider which path you’re embracing. Is it that of perfection with its rushing, hurried, breathless pace? Or is it progress with its joy-filled, measured steps and outcomes?

Choose Progress over Perfection

I don’t know about you but I, for one, will be joining my colleagues in choosing progress. I, too, will celebrate each step along the way rather than wait until the end to be too tired, too exhausted, too fatigued to care to celebrate what the quest for perfection produced.

I will honor the progress made during each day knowing that step by step, inch by inch, day by day, progress (not perfection) is truly the key to my heart’s desire.

There’s nothing more to say about it, but to get to it. The day is awaiting for progress to be made.

Like any self-respecting entrepreneur, I lay awake in the early morning hours creating and regurgitating my to-do list only to overwhelm myself into a fit of anxiety over a day that has yet to start!

This morning was different, however, as I remembered a bit of so-called “meaningless” information I recently read in Sarah Knight’s book, get your sh*t together.

Sarah, who has a no-nonsense, irreverent approach to her writing, often challenges conventional wisdom or, as I like to call it, custodial wisdom or the business growth killing strategy. Custodial/conventional wisdom is wisdom that protects the status quo.

Can you think of anything more contrary — or energy killing — to the spirit of an entrepreneur? Me, either!

But, I digress . . .

The Anti To-Do List

In her most recent book, get your sh*t together…how to stop worrying about what you should do so you can finish what you need to do and start doing what you want to do, Sarah floats the contrary idea of creating a Don’t Do/Stop Doing list.

This can be very challenging — although necessary — for the typical entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, have ideas that give birth to more ideas. Much like rabbits reproducing, a true entrepreneur’s mind continually spews out innovative ideas which, by the way, require some form of execution if they’re ever to see the light of day.

This explains why our bulging to-do list triggers the anxiety reflex in the most zen of us all. (Just ask Erik!)

Exhale the Angst

As I lay awake in the breaking dawn of the early morning, envisioning my mental trello board, I began moving cards from my mental to-do/doing list to the newly created don’t do/stop doing list. One by one, cards containing a plethora of activities that would challenge the most efficient and effective strategic execution system, quietly slid into place. And, as each card took its rightful place beneath the don’t do/stop doing header, my anxiety seeped away. With each slide of a don’t do/stop doing card, I exhaled the tension.

Ahhhh, finally! I actually could open my eyes knowing that I wasn’t going to be swallowed by overwhelm before the alarm went off.

You’ve Got This!

There’s something to be said about starting one’s day with business under control. Besides a stiff dose of caffeine in your coffee mug, there’s a lightness in your step and a song in your heart when a sense of “I’ve got this” permeates your being.

Speaking from my own experience of growing a 21st-century business, along with that of my coaching clients, I can emphatically affirm that the complexity of today’s business, combined with the creativity of entrepreneurial gray matter, is a lethal combination for the adrenal glands.

We are much too overwhelmed. So much so, that thinking strategically about any business initiative is almost nonexistent.

We don’t always make the best or brightest decisions when our brains are flooded with chemicals that cloud our vision and clog our neurons. Can I be so bold and brazen to call it out as it is?

It’s one of the biggest unspoken epidemic facing small business entrepreneurs.

And, like any good epidemic, we likely won’t “face the music” until it reaches a fevered pitch or, as is the case in my previous business, when a diagnosis of breast cancer sidelined me for a period of time.

One would think that such a diagnosis would be life-changing, but hard-fought habits and beliefs are tough to overcome. But, as long as I’m still in the ring — fighting for position — there’s hope and optimism that lessons can — and will — be learned.

So, back to my anxiety-reducing don’t do/stop doing list….

Let’s Do This Together

How about you? Do you have stuff, things to do, projects to complete, or ideas to spawn that are putting you into a fit of overwhelm?

Do you want to pull the covers over your head and call in sick for the day — or at least until the chest-crunching feeling of overwhelm and anxiety begin to lift?

Or, do you just need to create a don’t do/stop doing list for yourself as a reminder of what is worthy of your time and attention?

Trust me, its one of the best daily planning activities that you can undertake. And, it sure beats mindlessly poking around on Facebook to tap down the level of crushing angst that your bulging to-do list is creating within you.

Ready? Let’s begin…

Don’t do/stop doing:

  • beating myself up for what’s not getting done that is of little importance
  • worrying about what is not within my sphere of control or influence
  • comparing my business/myself to other entrepreneurs

There . . . I bet you feel better already.

Developing a business strategy that is innovative is one of the most important things an entrepreneur can do for their business. When executed successfully, a well-thought-out business strategy takes a business, regardless of the industry, to new heights.

A business strategy is integral to the long-term success of your business because it allows you to spread your wings in the following areas:


According to Harvard Business Review, adaptability is the competitive advantage for businesses both big and small.

The entrepreneurial space is constantly changing and, if you’re not mindful, it’s easy to get left behind as your industry continues to evolve. A well-formulated business strategy, however, provides options for changes your business will likely face in the future.

Why not get ahead of the competitive curve by honing your business strategy now instead of when your back is against the wall.

Client Satisfaction

Clients are the cornerstone of your company. Naturally, you want to make sure they are always satisfied with your services and/or products. A business strategy makes it easy to create a customer satisfaction plan to follow when providing customer service.

Whether it’s handling a customer complaint, scheduling new services, or generating leads, you want each person to be left with a good impression of your business.

And, what better way to uncover moments of truth. 

Growth and Expansion

A business strategy provides a window into the future. It allows you to consider different paths your business might take. And, as your business continues to grow, It opens up opportunities to explore the development of other products and services.

Learning to both maintain and grow your business is a process, which by the way, is made exponentially easier with the use of a good business strategy. That’s why it’s important your business plan is as adaptable and unique as your company. It gives you the confidence and foundation you need to continue a steady growth pattern.

Trend Setting

One of the best parts about adhering to a business strategy is the opportunity it presents to become a trendsetter in your industry.

As an entrepreneur, it’s vital that you are able to recognize the trends in your industry, understanding how each one is making an impact. explains this practice as merging business strategy with business innovation.

Key Takeaway

By taking the time to hone your business strategy skills, you’ll be able to steer your ship in an exciting direction you never thought possible—while maintaining alignment with your values and principles.

Life doesn’t get much better!

Request a Strategic Consultation for Your Business

Every once in a while, you meet a talented, young entrepreneur who shares your values for supporting small business entreprenuers in the realization of their business goals and objectives. Tiffiney Cornish of TC Creatives is one of those passionate — and compassionate — individuals.

During our chat, I was particularly intrigued with her expertise on branding. Here is what she has to say in Branding: What It Is and Why It Is Important, which was originally found at

One common misconception about branding is that it is the same as design. And while design is the visual representation of your brand, it is only an element of your branding. Lately the word “branding” is viewed more like buzzword than a staple part of starting a business.

However, branding is a significant part of your business development. It should be highly prioritized when starting a new company. Your branding will influence how your company does against competitors when it enters the marketplace.

What is branding?

Branding is the practice of creating a name, symbols, or designs that represent who you are, why you are, and how your target audience should perceive you. Its purpose is to differentiate your company from its competitors and clearly display the promises that you make to your customers.

The branding process includes research that helps develop a strategy of how to present your brand to your target audience. This research is then used to create assets that support your brand promise and appeal to your customers.

Doing brand research.

Brand research helps define exactly what you intend the brand to be. It is an essential step that should be done prior to developing any elements to market to your customers. This research ensures that the assets you create attract the most qualified buyer for your products and services.

The two types of research that you should do when building a brand are:

Market Research
Market research is the process of finding information about the competitive market you are entering. You should know who your competitors are, what they offer, how much they are charging, and what unique benefit you can offer to your customers that they cannot. This helps define your company’s value proposition.

Customer Research
Customer research is the process of finding information about people who are currently purchasing products and services similar to yours. When doing product research you should determine what customers are looking for in a product, what they are not receiving from the current provider, and how they will value what you offer.

Developing your branding.

Your company’s branding includes a complex set of assets that collectively establishes a relationship with your customers and defines your values. These assets should be deliberate and consistent.

The following assets are part of your branding:

Brand Message
Your brand message is the value that you offer to your customers. This is what makes people relate to your brand and influences them to buy from and follow you.

Brand Tone
Your brand tone is the tone of voice that you want to use when communicating with your customers. It is a representation of your brand’s message. The tone used for your branding will influence how your target audience thinks of and interacts with your brand.

Brand Name
Your brand’s name is the first thing a potential customer hears in reference to your company. It should be strategically developed to clearly define what you do and who you do it for. A customer should not have to guess what your company is about when hearing your name.

Color Palette
Understanding how color effects emotion allows you to capitalize on the emotional elements of sales. Color is one of the first things that your brain perceives. It will influence the customer’s reaction to your product or service before they learn any detailed information about it. The colors for your brand must be consistent with how you want your customer to feel when they see your brand.

Typography is the art of arranging type. The fonts you use when branding your company will heavily influence how your message will be perceived. They must be consistent with the tone of your brand.

A logo is the symbol used to visually represent your products and services. It should incorporate all of your branding elements. Your logo should be a clear, distinct symbol of your brand.

Brand Collateral
Brand collateral is the media, usually printed, that you use to promote your brand. Business cards, flyers, direct mailers, and product labels are all brand collateral. These are used to strengthen your brand’s message and tone, and generate customer leads.

Your website is your strongest marketing tool of all. It incorporates all elements of your branding to generate a stronger brand presence in your industry. It is your global voice as it is the most accessible asset you will have worldwide.

Why branding is important?

Branding is important because it makes your brand relatable to your customers. It also creates credibility for your company. Your branding will influence the success your company has in its target market. It takes 5-7 impressions for your brand to become recognizable to the customer (Action Card). If your branding is inconsistent, even a little, your brand value and message may become lost in your marketing. This will make it harder to produce brand loyalty.

Having strong branding allows the customer to build a connection with you that they can trust. 90% of purchases are made subconsciously (ISPO News). Once you have secured a place in the customers mind, it is easier to close a sale.

The colors that you choose for your branding significantly impact your brand recognition. A staple color increases brand recognition by 80% (University of Loyola).

The strength of your branding plays a huge role when trying to secure funding for your company. 82% of investors see brand strength as an important factor when deciding on an investment (Reuters).

How strong is your branding?

If you did the necessary research prior to starting your brand development, your branding should be generating sales and producing customer loyalty. However, if you are like many entrepreneurs starting, you may have overlooked a step or two. Don’t worry, it’s never too late to rebrand.

Branding is something that has to be monitored actively to ensure that it is effective. Just like the customer, it evolves and you must evolve with it. Well known companies like Coke-a-Cola and Starbucks have all rebranded at some point or another when their branding no longer reflected their direction or reached their valued customers.

Invest in researching, defining, and developing your brand. Full-service agencies ensure consistency within your development and design processes. They are capable of creating all of the elements seamlessly, while being able to monitor the impact that it has on your sales. Because they help create your strategy, they understand your goals and are able to help your brand pivot without losing the company’s core values.

In conclusion, great branding leads to loyalty and sales. Don’t sell yourself short.

Tell me it’s not just me. It’s not just me who experiences crushing levels of overwhelm on a daily basis. When the mind is racing with strategies to implement, tactics to deploy, and problems to solve, it leaves little time (and mental space) for relaxation, creativity, and innovation.

Yet, most entrepreneurs choose — unknowingly and unconsciously — the state of overwhelm day in and day out despite our silent cries for help and desire to escape the crushing, debilitating force of overwhelm.

When Overwhelm Moves In…Sanity Moves Out

It’s a rather insidious process. Much like dust seeping through closed windows. You don’t realize it happening until one day — BAM! You can write your to-do list in the lingering grit.

These known contributors to our current state of overwhelm, many of which we know only too well, include:

Emotional overwhelm, created by such things as worries over cash flow, too much to do and not enough time in which to do them, business demands, and sleep deprivation dull our creativity.

Physical overwhelm comes with too much “stuff” cluttering our desks. In the name of making our lives easier, we accumulate things that now cloud our ability to focus.

Digital overwhelm is fueled by an overflowing email inbox and the overstimulation of social media. Monthly software subscriptions for anything from editing pdfs to downloading photos to cloud storage designed to make our business more efficient add a level of complication (and expense) we haven’t bargained for.

Commitment overwhelm, driven by a “seen and be seen” philosophy, fills our calendars with after-hour business and social events (when we really should be chillaxing with our feet up on the ottoman).

Even exercise takes on a fever pitch!

And, with all of these contributing factors, our sanity and a few brain cells leave our presence daily —along with our ability to focus, create, and innovate — critical factors in remaining relevant in today’s business environment.

The Alternative Choice to Overwhelm: Underwhelm

Can you imagine — if only for a moment — what it would feel like if your day was “unbusy?” And, if you were “underwhelmed?”

It’s likely that the thought of it sends a shiver down your spine simply because we’ve become addicted to busy and overwhelm. So much so, that anything less leaves us feeling woefully inadequate and underperforming.

The truth is, because of our persistent and consistent overwhelm, we woefully perform far below our capabilities.

The Gleeful Path to Underwhelm

So as not to overwhelm you with activities designed to move us to underwhelm, here are a few things for you to consider. Collectively, they will reduce the amount of complexity and overwhelm in your day and open up some white space for you to think more creatively and clearly.

  • Restrict time spent on social media.
    Most of us have a love/hate relationship with social media. We’re compelled to have a presence for business purposes yet time spent on social media platforms can suck the life out of the most ardent soul. Minus a social media strategy, it is merely a major disruptor and distraction. Replace it with quality strategic thinking time … or a social media strategy.
  • Unsubscribe from blogs, newsletters, or email that does not pass the 3-tier wisdom filter: Is it true? Is it positive? Does it help in any way?
    We’ve become a community of accumulators — gathering information, insight, and news from around the globe — to the point of digital hoarding. With hopes that someday we’ll plow through the megabytes of material, it sits stagnant on our hard drive gathering dust and clouding our vision. Get rid of it!
  • Consider tools currently in place before piling on additional tools.
    It’s easy to get excited about new apps, programs, and software designed to make our work flow effortlessly. However, adding additional programs to your current systems creates layers of redundancy and complexity. Evaluate the apps and programs currently in use to determine capabilities before supplementing your software. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Rigorously scrutinize tactics to ensure strategic alignment before launch.
    As a true entrepreneur, we seldom meet an idea we aren’t over-the-top excited to launch. In the absence of a strategy and a well-thought out plan, however, many ideas are like throwing spaghetti against the wall. They’re time-consuming, money-exhausting, awfully messy, and add to the worthless plate-spinning of the overwhelmed entrepreneur.
  • Let up on over-planning your day.
    The gap that exists between expectation and reality is where stress (and overwhelm) resides. Learn to coordinate your expectations (and that of others) with the realism of your day. Learn immediately to cut your daily doings by half. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what you’ll accomplish — with much less overwhelm.

The Bottom Line

Overwhelm is unconscious and unnecessarily insidious. By taking conscious action, you can underwhelm yourself to greater innovation and focus.

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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