Are you a True CEO? Move From Doing to Leading

Time to Put on Your Big Girl Pants!

In 2003 I had a booming media buying agency. Business seemed to be rolling in faster than I could keep up with. I was a one-woman band for the first few years and loved every part of the business. But now I was drowning! I knew I needed some help, but wasn’t sure what kind or how much.   I had to do SOMETHING!

I hired 2 people – one a second-in-command (now I would call that an Online Business Manager) who took on as much as I could give her. The second was a part-time admin who dealt with invoicing and various back-end details.

After defining their roles and training each of them (which took a bit of time!), I took a step back and realized that a huge amount of work had been shifted from my desk to theirs. That was just what I wanted, but what I didn’t expect was how I was going to feel about it.

I would go home at night thinking:

“If I’m no longer the one DOING all the work – then what value am I bringing to the business? What am I going to do now?”

 It was a major identity crisis for me! I had spent the past 3 years of my business as the DOER. It was what I was good at, and I loved it – perhaps too much, which was why I was struggling now. It was what people paid me for. It was the place I knew best and felt the most comfortable.

And suddenly here I was – less doing on my plate and feeling like I wanted to take it all back because I didn’t know what else to do with myself!

Thankfully I had a great coach at the time who walked me through this and helped me to redefine my identity from WORKER-BEE to LEADER. It was a process to realize that I could still provide huge value by sharing my knowledge and expertise with my staff instead of being the person doing the work.

I find that when people struggle with delegation it can be based on a number of different things, but is often based on an underlying fear of losing their identity. If they aren’t careful, entrepreneurs can default to ‘taking it all back’ simply to hold on to that comfort zone.

If you are suffering from the same issue, here are some ideas:

  • Notice it – We can’t change that which we can’t see!
  • Honor it – Your identity has been the foundation of your success to date and it deserves to be honored! Also acknowledge the amount of expertise that got you here.
  • Redefine it – What new identity will serve the next level of your growth? Maybe it’s the shift from DOER to ADVISOR (like it was for me.) Maybe it is something else.
  • Shift it – This is key! Operate as though the new identity is in place. Make decisions from the position of being a leader. Spend your time in that new identity. It will probably be really uncomfortable to make this shift and the lure of going back to your old identity may be strong, but the only way to make the change is to stay in that mindset until your new identity becomes your norm. And it will happen!

Make no mistake, being a leader requires a completely different skill set than you have been relying on up to now. It may help you to hire a coach for this process. Or perhaps consider enrolling in leadership training, to build your new skills and your confidence.

Realize that this transformation will not happen overnight. It’s like any muscle that needs to be strengthened – It will get stronger if you keep using it.

Get Out of Your Own Way – Pt. 2

Obstacles to Business Growth

Part 2 of 2.

Last week I covered 4 obstacles that can get in your way. This week, I’m finishing up with the final 4.

5. “I have a good sense of where I want my business to go, but can’t figure out how to get there”

This is when growth and transition are the hardest. The processes, procedures and structures you carefully put in place for the first stage of your business may not be right for your next stage of growth.

This is THE time to look outside of yourself for support, direction and new ideas. You can’t possibly know everything! Join a Mastermind or Group Coaching program. Seek one that is a paid program (skin in the game creates a more focused result). If you can, find one that has several members that are more advanced in their business than you are. Be sure you are a bit outside your comfort zone so that you have to stretch to participate. You will grow and your business will thrive as a result.

Find a Business Coach, even for a short period of time (3-6 months is the shortest I would recommend) to help you see beyond your own walls. Others have been where you are.

6. Who am I to….

 Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head at every stage of business, no matter how successful you are. If you feel you need more courses, training, certifications, degrees etc to establish your credibility, spend some time documenting the experience you DO have that create your expertise.

What jobs, clients, life experiences have you had that add up to true expertise? You are valued by the results you produce, not for the certifications and degrees that you have.

7. I don’t have any MONEY!

 It takes some money to start a business. Start with what you can afford, and grow from there.

Seek out Free resources first. There hundreds of podcasts, blogs, free courses, and apps and tools available online. There are groups like the SBDC, and SCORE who offer free counseling. Take advantage of those!

Source for money. There are ways to get money when you need it. The SBA offers loans at a very reasonable rate. Some banks are more small business friendly than others. Friends and family (although those choices can be fraught with issues), or your own credit cards are potential sources for start-up costs.

You can always find a part-time job or start contracting with your area of expertise until your cash flow crunch is behind you. I’ve done it – It’s not the end of the world. It’s a transitional solution to a short-term problem.

8. I’m too late to the party. (It’s all been done before.)

 It has all been done before, but not by you. It’s VERY rare that a business concept will be a one and only. You will always have competition. But you will have your own spin on your niche too. Let your personality shine, develop your own methodology and framework to the services that you provide, and stand out from the crowd.

Each one of these obstacles can be overcome with mindset shifts or changes in your approach to your business. I’m always here to help you figure out how to overcome your obstacles and create and grow a profitable business. Contact me for a free call, and let’s discuss.

 

Get Out of Your Own Way – Obstacles to Biz Growth

8 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Part 1 of 2

Every business goes through stages, from the seed of an idea to startup, to increasing levels of maturity and growth. Each stage has its challenges, and none are easier than the last.

In those transition periods, things can feel out of control. Many of your carefully crafted processes are no longer working, and you and your business just feel like you are bursting at the seams.

These are growing pains, as my mom used to call it. Businesses, at all stages, have them.

After working with hundreds of small business owners in the past 7 years, here are the most common obstacles I’ve heard about time and time again, and what you can do about them. Do you hear yourself in any or all of these complaints?

1.“Everyone is starting a podcast (or virtual summit, or YouTube channel). I should too!”

Bright Shiny Object Syndrome can strike at any time, and at any and all stages of your business. When you look around you at your competitors or others that you feel are in your league, they seem to be doing more, accomplishing more, are more famous, earning more, doing more than you are.

Just stop. If you are still in business after a year or two, you are doing just fine. And you are enough!

Create a thoughtful, just-right-for-you strategic plan for your business and stick to it. Earmark new projects, platforms or courses for the next time you are in planning mode. This is your business. Design it for yourself, not everyone else.

2. “The only one who can do it is ME ME ME!”

You built this business by yourself and know every inch of it. You know what needs to be done and can do it faster and more accurately than anyone else. But if most of the tactical work is being done, or closely supervised by you, you are severely hampering your own growth. At some point, you will need to let go and train others to fill in for the majority of your functions, so that you can act as a true CEO.

What does that look like? It means building CEO time into your schedule. Block off a half-day each week, a full day each month, and perhaps a weekend each quarter for planning your future next steps. These are strategic planning blocks, not doing blocks. In fact a CEO doesn’t do much day-to-day doing. A CEO is creating content, finding and nurturing high level partnerships, planning and strategizing the future.

3. “I am EXHAUSTED”

Owning and running a business is not easy. We all know that. Especially in times of transition, it’s easy to run on all cylinders, work more than a normal workweek, and not pay attention to anything but your rapidly growing business. You will burn out, and your family and your business will suffer.

Before you get to that stage, build self-care into your schedule.   Decide what replenishes you. Is it time with your family, incorporating exercise into your life, a walk, reading a book, going to a movie? Schedule repeating blocks of time on your calendar and make this non-negotiable.

4. “My to-do list just grows and grows”

The common thread I see with female entrepreneurs at all levels of business is that they have forgotten the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Sweetie). In the rush to find new revenue streams, build new packages and courses, new formats for their content, streamlining what’s already in place goes right out the window.

Have a strategic plan and stick with it. You will have built your next 6 months or year during your CEO time. Once that is in place, don’t deviate. Find the top 3 tasks (or one task!) that you, as the true CEO need to accomplish each day. Don’t build out another activity until the ones already in place are smooth as silk, with processes in place and the correct team members making it happen.

If you find your own to-dos are getting out of hand, stop and re-evaluate. Are you doing more than you initially planned for in your strategy? Do you have the right or enough support staff underneath you? Are they getting the job done? Do they know what they should be doing and what your expectations are? Consider outsourcing some of the tasks if you are not ready to expand your team.

Stay tuned for 4 more common mistakes in next week’s blog!

Has Content Creation Become a Chore? You Need a System.

Content Creation Made Easy: 4 Simple Steps

My biz is content heavy. In January of 2018, I made a commitment to doing a weekly blog post.  Talk about a stretch goal!

This seemed absolutely impossible, as the most I had been able to do previously was a post every 3-4 weeks.  But I knew that consistency builds visibility, fans, and engagement.

I was on a mission to make it happen.  But I had to find a process or structure that was going work for me so that I was not tearing my hair out.  Been there? Read on!

This is a game changer, my friends: Weekly content creation doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore!

Want a free sample of the Content Calendar Template? Just click the button below

How many times have you wandered into the kitchen to start dinner for your family and thought, “There’s nothing in the fridge – what am I going to make for dinner?”   Another panic moment I’ve experienced far too often.

The solution?  Create menus before building a grocery list and go on a  grocery run once or twice a week. Doing the pre-planning is the hard part, and the pre-dinner time is just execution (and joy, if you like to cook!).

Using the same principle, I created a content calendar for myself in the very beginning and this has saved my bacon and my sanity many times.  I plan 3-4 months in advance, plenty of time to continuously add detail to content as it comes to me, and have found that the rhythm of weekly content creation is now totally manageable.  

Here is the process in a nutshell:

Nail the broad strokes FIRST.

Create 8-10 categories that will capture all of your content goals. If you are a Google keyword master, you might start there. I did some research on Amazon and checked out other blogs on entrepreneurship to see what topics came up repeatedly and made my choices.  The research took less than an hour.

By taking the time to make sure you have the breadth of coverage on issues that matter to your service or product in advance, you can let go of the fear that you might miss something important.

Choose ENGAGING topics.

Come up with 4-5 ideas for posts within each category, each covering a vital topic in a fun and engaging way. Sitting down once and doing 4 to 6 months worth of ideas will take a big weight off of your shoulders. The hard thinking is behind you. “OMG, what am I going to write about THIS week?!!” The panic part of the process is completely eliminated.

Now that you have your ideas on paper, you have a place to add details to your content as it comes to you, well in advance of your publishing deadlines.

Now your thinking like a true CEO! This is the kind of strategic planning that makes the difference between long-term success and a flash-in-the-pan.

Repurpose in multiple formats.  

Map out how you will re-purpose the same content to get the most visibility. Don’t be afraid to post the same content in multiple formats. Your audience will want to engage with you in the format that they prefer.  Some people are visual learners (hence the video and FB Lives), while others prefer to read.  

Share your blog post in your newsletter.  Create a variety of posts and graphics so you can post on social media over the next week. Do a Facebook Live or record a video of the content of your blog post.  Upload to Facebook and YouTube. If you do a podcast, you can just read the blog post for some quick content.

Remember, your email newsletter probably has about a 20% open rate, so 80% of your audience didn’t read your email. But they may see the post on your blog, or your FB page, or on other social media platforms. The more ways that you can share a single piece of content, the more likely your target audience will find you and engage.

Thoroughly think through your new content once, and publish it in several formats. Now that is Bang-for-the-Buck right there!

While you’re at it…

I also use the same content calendar spreadsheet for even more content using the same helpful categories. I jot down ideas for new presentations, webinars and training sessions.  I create content upgrades (lead magnets) that I can use to get more email sign-ups. I shoot for one per month and a topic that is related to an upcoming blog post. By the end of the year, I’ll have 12 new lead magnets to use throughout the year! That’s golden.

By dedicating some time to the pre-planning, the creation of weekly content doesn’t have to make you crazy!  

Wanting more?

Want to see my system in more detail? I have a sample content calendar that I’d like you to have. It includes a detailed look at just how my system works and some additional tips to make it work for you. Click here to subscribe

Imposter Syndrome – Flip the Script!

Feel Like a Fraud? It Happens to the Best of Us.

 

When I start working with clients, one of the first subjects we deal with is mindset. One of the topics that always, always comes up for the female entrepreneur is “Who am I to think I can do this?” …or teach this, or provide this service, or whatever. The fear is all the same. And, if you let that fear run your show, it will keep you from reaching for your dreams.

Here is the Definition:

Wikipedia: Impostor Syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenonfraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychosomatic pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

The truth is, the further you go in your business or career, the more risks you may have to take, and the more likely it is that Imposter Syndrome will show up. If you have experienced feeling like a fraud at any point in your life or career, chances are you have chalked up your accomplishments to luck, charm, connections, or some other external factor.

Psychologists tell us that the personality types most likely to have Imposter Syndrome are perfectionists and overachievers That’s right: The superwomen. That sounds like most entrepreneurs to me!

So let’s talk about how to break through it.

Identify what is shaking your confidence. The more you can pinpoint and define the issue, the more able you are to confront it head on with some actionable solutions.

Remember your real life value and all that you have achieved. I’ve started a “Look back 2018” document where I record everything that I have accomplished, big or little, biz or personal. I add to it on an ongoing basis. It builds confidence!

Stop comparing yourself to others. I know, easier said than done. There will always be someone else that is farther along than you are, so what’s the point? Stay focused on your own path and capacities. You may need to opt out of newsletters, and curtail your social media habit to keep your eyes on the prize.

Look at your own language, both internal and external. “I think, I feel, it may just be me, but….” Stop right there. Consciously upgrade your language with more confident, assertive phrases and you will reframe your own self-image. “In my opinion,” “I have a question, and I’m sure I’m not the only one,” are examples that communicate much more strength. Be on the lookout for words and phrases you can eliminate or tweak.

Understand that there is no “right way.” I’m sure there are multiple techniques for conducting specific surgeries! If you perceive that someone has “cracked the code,” or are the ultimate expert, try looking to them for guidance and influence, rather than making yourself wrong.

Take a calculated risk. What would you do if you were not afraid or insecure? Write it down, tell someone else, and take even a small step in a new direction. If you don’t succeed, so what? Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t let Imposter Syndrome rob you of your own progress and ultimate success.

Everyone starts somewhere. Your perspective and point of view will be unique and will resonate with just the right people. If it doesn’t, then they are not the right client or customer for you.

Think you are the only one? Famous actors, artists, CEO’s and the most successful people are the most likely to experience Imposter Syndrome. Consider it a symptom of success. You are in good company! But manage it so it is only a tiny voice that does not cripple your progress. Assume the power pose! You got this!

Note to Self: You Matter!

Self-care Should Be On Your Calendar

This really is a note to self, and if this is all TMI, just feel free to move along. But if I’m up to my neck in this issue, many of you may be as well.

I’m a hard-charging kind of gal. Type A for sure. But I’ve had to completely reframe that in the last year and pull way back.

My husband has had several strokes, one quite recently, and is no longer able to do much for himself. I’m the caregiver, and I do so lovingly and very willingly. But with his latest stroke, He needs help with everyday activities and as a result, my caregiving responsibilities have gone through the roof. Again, I’m happy that I CAN take care of him; one of the benefits of being an entrepreneur!

So yes, as an entrepreneur, I have a lot of flexibility. But as a caregiver, I have to remember that the work I do on my business has to wrap around my husband’s health needs right now. So, I can only get done about half of what I’d like to get done on any given day or week. Even though it shouldn’t, it frustrates me. Sometimes a LOT.

This is not unlike having infants and very small children at home. With so much work to do at home and serious constraints on my time and energy, it is tempting to scrap self-care and use that time for work instead.

As I’ve heard so many times, the caregiver has to take care of herself. This was all theory until the last few months.

I used to spend some afternoons or whole days out with girlfriends for lunch, exploring new neighborhoods, or doing a little retail therapy. But that’s not an option right now, as I can’t take that much time away. However, I still try to have every Saturday be MY day as much as possible.

That starts with NO BUSINESS. I don’t check email, social media, Asana – any of it. In fact, the only reason I open a laptop is to binge-watch something entertaining. I find if I can spend a day away from a screen and my business, I’m totally refreshed the next day. Truth!

Give yourself permission. Ah, this is a big one. As women, we tend to be the caregivers in general. As entrepreneurs, we are in “go mode” most of the time. In fact, many entrepreneurs I’ve worked with tell me that they believe that if they are not VERY busy, they are afraid that they are not producing, and therefore may fail.

Pretty big mindset issue right there: NOT doing is against our nature.

What does self-care look like for you?

Put some time into figuring out what will make you feel rested and refreshed since that really is the objective.

 It may be an afternoon with a good book, lunch with friends, a day at the spa, time alone, or a visit time with close friends. Yoga? A bike ride, a hike, spiritual reading time? Self-care is different for everyone.

Block out dates on your calendar. Really. I’ve already talked about the power of managing your calendar. It may seem ridiculous to actually schedule playtime, but I’ve learned that if it’s not on your calendar, and you don’t’ protect those time slots, they will slip away and may never happen.

Make self-care blocks unmovable! I schedule blocks months ahead, and then insert the details of what I want to do as something comes up. I would suggest scheduling one block per week to begin so that you are consistent.

Want some additional inspiration? TedTalks has a number of great videos on the subject of self-care.

Like anything else worth mastering, this is a process, and it takes practice. I started out by saying this was a note to self because I’m still grappling with this. I hope you can at least start your practice of self-care and make it a non-negotiable in your life sooner rather than later.

Outsourcing: Cure for the Burnout Blues

Don’t Wait Until Burnout to Get Help

One of the symptoms of being in a growth spurt is that things can feel out of control. Many of your carefully crafted processes are no longer working, and your company just feels like it is bursting at the seams. You probably feel overwhelmed and stretched beyond your limits.

The goal of a true CEO should be to do only the things that are going to have the biggest revenue impact.

This can include long-range planning, developing and nurturing key relationships, and creating visibility for your brand and your company. As the pace of business escalates, it is tempting to get buried in the weeds, tending to the details because there is so much going on.

Learn to let go.

Letting go of the “no one can do it as well as I can” thoughts is one of those stages of personal growth that all entrepreneurs need to pass through. Remember, just because you CAN do something does not mean that you SHOULD be doing it.

I know how to sew, but I’m definitely not making my own clothes. (Tried that in high school – what a disaster!) You probably did everything in the early stages of your biz, but that’s not where you are now as you dive into the second or third levels of maturity as a business.

Get busy getting un-busy!

Think about the functions and duties it takes to run your business and assign an hourly rate to each. (Guessing is fine here; you just want to establish the relative worth of each.) Also, think about the tasks that ONLY you can do, and should do.

Make a list of the tasks that you could easily outsource. And by outsourcing, I don’t mean hiring a whole new person to your team. Think of contracting even for only 5 hours a week, or by project, to get you started with getting the task off of your desk. Here is a tiny sample of thing you might consider outsourcing.

Bookkeeping
Calendar management
Cold calling
Copy editing
Copywritingcustomer support
Invoicing
Prospect screening and vetting
Report creation
Research
Social media posting and management
Video or podcast editing

My biggest “aha” moment in January of this year was when I realized that while content creation was going to be a big part of my business, copywriting and editing were not my strengths. I did some research and discovered a world of copy editors who could take my rough copy and polish it to be far better than the original.

Where are there opportunities like that for you? The added benefit is that I’m far more confident in my copy now and have gotten over the fear of creation. That’s a world of pressure off of my mind, and it has opened me up for more of the things that I can and should be doing.

A VA (virtual assistant) can be hired on an hourly rate for even a small block of time: 5-10 hours a week. You can try them out before making any kind of commitment. You can have multiple VA’s with a variety of skill sets.

Check out Upwork, or Fiverr for ideas on the kinds of tasks that you can outsource and their relative prices. Most of these sites will provide user reviews and ranking of the performance of the contractors. You can also ask for samples. Give them one task to do (pay for it) to make sure they are a good fit.

If you have a team and you are facing burnout, then your team is not big enough, or they are not doing the right things, or you are not delegating enough. If you don’t yet have a team, then start building a small support staff. Every dollar you spend for help will come back triple in revenue based on YOUR activities.

 

Go ahead and take the leap to the next level!

Know Your Numbers

You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Understand

I know. It feels like hopping on the scale. That dreaded moment that many women agonize over (me too!) when they get on the scale to check their weight. Time’s up! Was I good, or bad? Is there shame or self-doubt? Jubilation?

Body image aside, we need to get over that fear regarding our businesses. You need to know what your numbers are at all times. I strongly recommend at LEAST a monthly check-in. Don’t wait until the end of the quarter or (ye gads!) the end of the year.

If you have ongoing ad campaigns, then tracking those efforts is critical. How else can you improve or eliminate what is below an acceptable metric? How else can you do more of what is working well? You will be investing your time and/or money in your efforts, so measuring on a regular basis is key.

What numbers are we talking about? You get to decide.

Of course, your accountant and the IRS will want to know your revenue and your expenses, so those are a given. One of my favorite books, “Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine” has recommended healthy percentages of revenue, profit, operating expenses and taxes based on where you are in your business.

But those are not the only things, by far, that you should be tracking. Here are a few key things (frequently called Key Performance Indicators) that you can be measuring monthly, and these will vary based on the business you are in:

 

Revenue
Expenses
Net Profit
New customers or clients
New leads
Size of email list
FB page likes
FB group participants
Instagram followers
Pinterest followers
Podcast interviews conducted
Speaking gigs given
Free discovery calls
Strategy Sessions
Page views
Networking events attended

 

Some of these are very dollar oriented, and others are softer measures, but nonetheless, important to track growth. You are expanding your revenue as well as your visibility (online and offline), so the more improvement on the latter, the more likely it will reflect in revenue.

Strong tracking leads to solid strategy.

Once you are tracking regularly, you will know how many cold calls (or ads, or event attendees, or outreach of any kind) you will need, and at what cost, to yield x number of discovery calls. With time, you will see that 10 free discovery calls will usually net you 2-3 new clients. (A 20-30% conversion is not bad for the early stages. As you get better at sales, or have a seasoned sales team, that number should be much better). Your numbers will be different if you are running a chiropractic business, or a high end consulting firm, but the model holds. This will set you for a realist lead funnel.

Once you have your metrics in place, you will develop some benchmarks that will allow you to create realistic and stretch goals for each area.

You will be able to identify what is going well or which areas need improvement. It will allow you to create an action plan based on results that will allow you to improve.

Think of this exercise as an “aha” moment rather than a call to judgment.

Lack of motivation is the symptom. Accountability is the cure

Accountability – Who Does the Entrepreneur Answer To?

I was recently listening to a podcast when the owner of a pretty happening biz said that she stopped doing her podcast because it took a lot of work. She didn’t feel the urge to continue and no one was pushing her to do so. It got me thinking…

If you are the alpha dog, who do you need to answer to? You don’t have a boss, although you probably have clients or customers. But there is no one truly setting the bar, except for you. Are you letting the bar slip?

Here are a few things that may keep you from being the most productive and profitable business owner you can be:

You’ve lost your sense of urgency or momentum. If your business is in the black, and you have been achieving your goals (yay you!), it’s easy to become complacent. The sense of urgency you once knew is no longer there and may dilute your “get it done” attitude. Not a good thing to lose!

Confusion, or “dithering” as my mother used to say. Spending lots of time doing not much. This is what happens to me when I have too much on my plate. I hop from one project to the other, not getting anywhere but frustrated and tired. This is a complete waste of time and I know it even when I’m in it!

Procrastination. A close cousin to dithering. There are important projects or tasks that have been on your to-do list that keep getting moved to the next day or week, or just (intentionally) forgotten about.

Flagging motivation. There are mornings for all of us when getting out of bed is a debate – Why bother? Are you stuck and unmotivated?

Loneliness at the top. This can be an unexpected problem, especially for entrepreneurs with a big team or those who work from home. Have you started to feel isolated with your work?

Solutions: Build in Accountability and Motivation

Stay accountable to yourself by checking your numbers weekly or at least monthly. I like crunching numbers, so this is fun for me, but it’s not fun for everyone. But getting a reality check, which is what measurement is all about, is a great way to look for ways to improve your business. ( I’ll talk all about this in a later post), but think of it as a chance to improve (hurrah!), rather than a judgemental report card (boo!)

Be accountable to yourself with a tool. I use Asana for my projects, both personal and biz. I use it for my team, of course, so we are all on track. But I use this for personal accountability as well. Whether it’s defining a project like setting up a new membership site (big) or clearing out my garage (small and personal), Asana helps me not only define the tasks under each project but more importantly, set a deadline for each. THAT is what keeps me achieving those goals!

Define each project then break it down into manageable tasks. If you are not making the progress that you hope for, the tasks may be too big and daunting. Break the tasks down into smaller bites and chew them one by one rather than trying to eat the whole meal in one swallow.

Re-examine your daily and weekly planning. It may very well be that you are dithering or stuck and unmotivated because what is on your plate is unexciting. Can you delegate the things that don’t need a CEO’s attention? (Remember the 4 D’s of productivity: Do, Delegate, Delay, or Delete.) Remind yourself of which pieces of your work that excite you the most. Weave those into your job description. Save a little bit of dessert for yourself!

Download The 4 D’s of Productivity for more tips on how to use this powerful tool

 

Mastermind. I would say the biggest game changer in my entrepreneurial career and the best antidote to loneliness has been participating in Masterminds. If you want accountability, challenges, and fresh ideas on how to grow your business, my Mastermind program is for you!

A Mastermind is designed to utilize the perspective and experience of other entrepreneurs to take your business to the next level.

In my experience, working in a Mastermind format will speed up your business growth exponentially. You will have a group of like-minded women who will challenge you and hold you accountable to achieve your goals. No more hiding!

We will work in small groups of 6-8 so that we can truly help each other. I will carefully select entrepreneurs with an eye towards mixing up the industries and business types, as well as looking for entrepreneurs at different levels of growth to provide the ultimate resources for everyone.

Candidates for this program should have at least 2 years of ongoing revenue generation with their business to be eligible. If you are a new startup, this is not the program for you.

Interested? Sign up here for the waiting list.  I’ll send out more information, as we get closer to the launch date.

Fastest Path to Growth? Tap Into Your Network

Untapped Gold: How Biz Besties Can Help You Grow

What do you envision when you think of growing your business? Typically it’s new leads or prospecting. But most of us do a really crummy job of utilizing that asset called our network, or our Biz Besties, to really help us grow.

What is a Biz Bestie?

  • You may have met recently or known each other forever, but the connection is unusually strong.
  • You can share anything, without embarrassment, shame etc. Stories of biz mistakes, hiring errors, deep levels of debt, business deals gone wrong.
  • It’s a no holds barred relationship for both of you!

There are three different types of Biz Bestie:

  • Bosom Buddies: These are your best friends. You can tell them about your failures, your debts, your stupid last hire that cost you$$. No shame!
  • Connectors: They know EVERYONE and take special joy in putting people together. Make them happy!
  • Influencers: These folks are industry experts. They know everything in a specific area and are usually happy to share it.

How can you serve each other to build your businesses? (Hint: It’s not about leads!)

  • Assist with locating vendors, suppliers, assistance of all kinds
  • Sounding board for any problems that come up
  • Seek out their specific expertise – knowing you will do the same in kind for them (brainstorming, etc.) Be sensitive – if this kind of advice is how they earn their money. Keep it short – a single specific question or two tops.
  • Referrals! (Duh!) You have to ask?

Make connecting with your network part of your weekly schedule.

One of the techniques that I use to make that happen is “3x2x1.” Schedule a half hour block on your calendar once a week, at least. I first heard this from my real estate broker about how she built her very successful business. Just sayin’, it’s not a new concept.

Here is what it looks like in terms of weekly targets:

  • 3 phone calls. (Or individual emails, but don’t forget about the phone.)
  • 2 handwritten thank you notes. (Who gets mail anymore? Set up a little kit on your desk – cards, a pen, stamps.)
  • 1 face to face encounter. (This could be right in your neighborhood – just integrate a conversation about what you do in your everyday life.)

When you do connect, then let your Biz Besties know what you want them to feel/know/do.

Be sure your conversation is not just a social call (although it can be that as well). Make it count. Here are some things to hit during your connection:

  • How do you want them to feel as a result of connecting with you?
  • What do you want them to know about you and your biz right now? This will change as your business moves forward.
  • What would you like them to do? Do you have an event coming up that you’d like her to know about? Do you need a publisher for a book you are writing? Are you looking for a venue for your next live event? GET SPECIFIC!
  • Always, always offer to help your contact. “What can I do for you?” will cement the relationship and keep the reciprocity going. My fabulous CPA ends every meeting or phone call by asking how she can help me grow my business, and who she can connect me with?

How many of you are thinking “I don’t have the time to nurture my Biz Besties.”

Why not? Make the time. That’s part of your role as the CEO of your business. Your weekly calendar should have slots built in for client time, content creation, team call/building and a CEO time slot. Find a block every week for a Biz Besties half hour. Build your week according to your needs, not the other way around.

What is your mindset when you go to a conference or a networking event?

Do you hate them? I used to until I changed my goals. I now am looking for Biz Bestie material, not leads. Think about building your community, not your prospect pool. It really takes the pressure off.

  • Find one, maybe 2 women that you sense may be a possible Biz Bestie. It’s as easy as finding one or two women that appeal to you. You may like how they look, their hair, jewelry, their smile, or something they said during a session. – Something resonates with you.
  • Make a point of sitting next to them during the next breakout or workshop for more conversation. A little stalking is OK.
  • Be a servant, not a taker. Try to find a way to offer help by sharing a contact or offering a solution to a problem that has worked for you.
  • It’s not about leads. That MAY come later. It’s about building your network of Biz Besties.

Keep connecting and building your network.

Make a point of going to networking events once a month. Revisit ones you have enjoyed in the past, or seek out new ones. Or, commit to one organization and attend the majority of their events to establish a presence.

Can I help you on your path to growing your business? Let’s schedule a call to chat about where you are right now and how I can help you.