small business mentor — Liber8me

Very successful business people practice the 3 ‘D’s’ of business. Find out what they are and rate yourself here…

Determination.stoneEvery day I work with small business owners who dream of making it big. And every month I interview successful entrepreneurs who have made it big. The big guys all started small. And they all (without exception) practiced the three D’s of business. I’ll outline them here and then ask you to rate yourself on each.

1. Determination When you’ve set your goal for a business that feeds you financial freedom (whether that’s from the sale of your business or the on-going semi-passive income it feeds you if built properly) you must be 110% determined to achieve it. Business is not easy. It’s a roller coaster of highs and lows. Your dream for financial freedom will keep you focused. Your determination will keep you going.

Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you. Denis Waitley

2. Drive  I’ve yet to meet a wealthy entrepreneur who wasn’t driven. And believe me, I meet a lot. Without exception they are people who set out to be successful and were willing to drive themselves hard to ensure it happened. Drive makes you pick yourself up and keep going when it gets tough. Drive makes you put in the extra hours after everyone else has packed up and gone home. Drive makes the difference between ‘maybe’ and ‘no doubt’.

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity. Andrew Carnegie

3. Discipline  A definition of the word ‘discipline’ is ‘to train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way’. Successful people in any field all have good habits. Athletes get up early every day to train, practice, exercise. Authors set regular times to write every day (I get up at 5am every morning to spend two hours writing). Musicians practice for hours every day. The success elite study with coaches and experts to learn the right technique, the winning strategies, the best formulas for their chosen field or profession.

Business is no exception. It’s a craft and it takes hard work, practice and constant learning to become good at it.

Confidence comes from discipline and training. Robert Kiyosaki

How do you think you would rate yourself on the three essential D’s?

Have a go now. Rate yourself out of 5 for each of the them with 1 being ‘nah’ and 5 being ‘nailed it’.

Determination     1      2      3      4      5

Drive      1      2      3      4      5

Discipline      1      2      3      4      5

How did you go?

My guess is that your rated yourself high on determination and drive but not so high on discpline. Correct? If so, you’re not alone. In my view one of the main reasons some people make it big in business and others stay small or medicore comes down to level of discipline they enforce on themselves.

So here’s a challenge for the week. What disciplines could you introduce that would speed up your success? These could be business related – such as set a regular time each week to get that blog written, or work on your business plan. Or they could be personal – to get up an hour early to go for a run or meditate, if these things will make you stronger and more able to tackle the rest of your life with drive and determination.

Let me know how you get on.

Go well

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From the desk of Liber8me. Small business mentors and author of Liber8 your Business: The revolutionary planning technique that will set every small business owner free

Which is more important… delivery or sales? Should you be in doing or out selling? Learn the 5 steps to the ‘The In-Out Dance” here…

sync swimmingAs a small business owner you’ll be familiar with ‘The In-out Dance’ I’m sure.  It goes like this.  You are busy in the business, delivering your service or product, working hard, working hard.  There’s too much to do and you need help.  So you hire some people and now you have to spend more time training them and managing them as well as doing all the work you already have on your plate.  There’s no time to think about getting out there and selling your wares.   Busy in, bum down, doing it, doing it, doing it.  You’re working hard, putting in the hours, no time to sleep, worrying about dropping balls and hoping your delivery meets client expectations.

Then suddenly the work dries up.

You’ve got the team, but no income on the horizon.  So you have to get OUT there and sell you butt off.  Out, out, out, sell, sell, sell.  The pressure is on, there are mouths to feed and everyone is relying on you to bring home the bacon.  It’s a frightening and stressful time and the buck stops with you.  Now you’ve got time to sleep but you can’t because you’re worried about money. So out you go.  Pick up the phone, network like crazy, press the flesh and try to keep the desperation out of your voice when you talk to people.

Hopefully your efforts pay off.  The orders pour in and back you go to the coalface.  Doing it, doing it, doing it.  Work, work, work.  Late nights, no time to sleep, on and on until…

Suddenly the work dries up.

And out you go again.

You get the picture.  It’s ‘The In-out Dance’ and very exhausting it is too.  It can be really, really stressful – especially when you have to lay people off because you can’t afford to pay them in the quiet periods.

So what do you do to change this pattern?

You need to learn to dance better.  You’ve got the steps all wrong.   Instead of in, in, in then out, out, out, the dance needs to be more like in, out, in, out, in, out.  A gentle rhythm set to an even beat.  You must be out as much as you are in, or at least have a marketing system that allows for constant out focused activity.

 Here are 5 pointers to Strictly Come Dancing In-Out Style:

  1. Understand the in/out balance.  Business is a balance of sales and delivery – you cannot have one without the other.  If you put all your focus on sales but not delivery you will disappoint customers, damage reputation and lose business.  If you put all your focus on delivery and not sales, you will run out of business and the best delivery in the world won’t matter.  So you must ensure you dedicate time to both no matter how busy you are.
  2. NEVER take your eye off sales.  When you are too busy to think about sales, this is the time to think about sales.  Ensure sales and marketing activities are in your weekly work in progress and given equal priority. Try not to bump the sales activity off the to do list because you and your team are too busy.
  3. Keep the pipeline full.  You should always have a number of hot prospects waiting for conversion, a number of proposals in progress, a number of leads to follow up, a database to make irresistible offers to.  This can only happen if you keep the pressure on your sales and marketing at all times.
  4. Have a marketing system.  Create a marketing process that happens every week.  Make sure you have a hot list of potential clients you are targeting and a regular campaign underway.  With a system in place you can get other team members to help with the logistics.
  5. Hire people out of cash flow. Don’t hire new people on the basis of today’s busy period alone.  This can lead to disaster down track if the work dries up.  Try to use contractors to start with if you can until the workflow is more certain.  Ideally you’d be hiring people you know the business can afford, or at least ensure you have money in the bank to cover salaries should there be a quiet period on the horizon.

There is a reason that marketing and sales make up the important pillars to business growth.  You can’t grow without them.  Life for a small business owner is a constant juggling act in the early years.  Your job is to remember to keep both sales and delivery balls firmly in the air.  And learn to be a champion ‘in-out dancer’!

Dance on!

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From the desk of Liber8me.  Business mentors and publisher of Liber8 your Business:  The revolutionary business planning technique that will set every business owner free

 

Can describe your business in one word? Take the challenge here…

freedomHere’s an interesting question: What’s the one word that sums up what you and your business are all about?

A client asked me this question why we were working together yesterday.  I had to pause for a moment.  But only for a moment mind you.  The first word that popped out of my mind for me was ‘Vision’.  I followed this up with a quick explanation.  Liber8me helps people get clear what their vision for the future looks like, and then build a plan to get there.   Which brings me back to one of my favourite sayings:

“If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?”

The other word I wanted to say was ‘freedom’.  My purpose on the planet is to help people create a free and happy life.  Which leads to another of my favourite sayings:

“The purpose of a business is to set the owner free”

So what is it for you?  What one word describes the purpose you and your business fulfil on the planet?

Ask yourself the question and now… immediately… write down the first answer that pops into your head.

Take a good look at it.  What did you say and why did you say it?  How clear can you really get on the true purpose of your business?  Clarity of purpose is one of the most empowering tools of business success.  Take the challenge now… and let me know how you get on.

Love to hear what your one word is and why.

Be free

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From the desk of Liber8me.  Business mentors and publisher of Liber8yourBusiness:  The revolutionary planning technique that will set every business owners free.

How to impress the world in five minutes… be clear on your ‘platform’

 

soaring eagle“What is your platform?”

This is the question I’ve been asking my small business clients recently. But what do I mean?

Here’s an imaginary scenario to help explain:

Imagine you are on a plane with 20 other business owners in the same industry as you, selling products or services in a similar genre to yours.  Your destination is an airport in a country with a massive potential market for your product.  Greeting you all at the airport is the CEO of the largest global company in your industry.  His brief is to acquire a small company he believes has the most potential for growth.  When you get off the plane you firstly have to make the short list by waving a placard that will make him pick you.  Everyone else will be waving a placard too.  He’s only allowed to pick five.  What will your placard say?  What is the message you have to take to the world?  What are you and your business there to champion on a world stage? 

 If you are selected to the short list you will have five minutes to present your business and convince him to buy you.  He wants to know why your product or service is better than the rest.  He wants to know why he should pick your business.  What are you going to tell him?  Remember, your main competitors are also presenting their case.  Why is yours so different?  Why are you so passionate about this?  What is it you really have to say to him?

Now bring yourself back to today and ask yourself the same questions.  What is it that you are really about?  What is your message to the world (or your Country) and why is your offering so important?  Why? Why? Why?

Forget about what you are selling for a moment and focus on why it is needed.  And what makes it better and different from all the others in your space.

This message to the world is your platform.  This is the why behind your business…. the wind beneath your wings.  (Sorry, but I do feel a Bette Midler moment coming on here because this is about emotion… being a hero, flying higher than an eagle, touching the sky…)  With a business you have an opportunity to do something meaningful and to create change in the world around you.  It doesn’t have to be what you sell that makes the difference, it can be the way you go about it.   Whatever you are selling, you will sell a whole lot more if you are clear on your platform. You will have something meaningful to say and people will want to listen.

And on that note I’ll leave you with another lyric that’s bouncing round my head:

‘You’re the voice try and understand it, make the noise and make it clear…’

Make it happen

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From the desk of Liber8me.  Business mentors and publisher of Liber8 Your Business: The revolutionary business planning technique that will set every small business owner free