Are you looking at another sixteen hour — or longer — work day? Do you ever get a weekend off? Have you stopped meeting friends and family for lunches, dinners or other get-togethers? Are you working on or in your business? If you’re being run ragged by all you have to do — you are working IN your business and you need to find a way to step back, get out of the overwhelm and get back to a work-life balance?
Are You Working ON or IN Your Business?
Here are some ways to tell whether you are runnign your business or if it’s running you:
- You answer the question, “How are you?” with “Busy!”
- You can’t remember the last time you were home in time for family dinner.
- You feel it will be quicker for you to “just do it yourself” rather than hire someone or delegate a task.
- You tell yourself, “I need to make more money” or “I need more clients” but you’re not even sure if that’s true.
- You are reactive to the tasks of the day rather than being proactive.
What can you do to take control and regain your life? Here are a few.
- Put together systems and business processes for your daily tasks.
- Take time off for yourself and your family. Make your business work around your schedule instead of the other way around.
- Delegate. Hire someone to do those tasks that don’t truly need your input.
- Understand your budget so you can determine whether you can say “no” to a new project when you’re drowning with the ones you currently have.
- Find a coach, mastermind group or a mentor. An outsider’s perspective might be just waht you need.
If you’re looking at your day with dread, you need to reach out and find someone with whom to interact and who can help you learn to work ON rather than IN your business. Is today the day you’re going to take that step and regain your life? Give me a call, if you said “yes!”
Have you ever wondered how to become a better public speaker? Do you go to networking events and listen to colleagues regale the audience with stories and share their unique knowledge and wondered, “how can I do that?” Public speaking is a matter of knowing your stuff and understanding how to deliver it to an audience in a concise manner while making it both entertaining and useful.
How To Become A Better Public Speaker
- Practice. Don’t imagine that the great orators of our time simply took to the podium and were stellar speakers. Sure, some of them might be able to deliver a moving speech or lead a networking event with no preparation, but for the rest of us mortals, we need to practice. Write your speech then read it through several times a day before you deliver it. Read snippets of it aloud. Stand in front of a mirror and read it. Once you’re comfortable with the content, then deliver it without reading. Notice how the best speakers rarely resort to reading notes.
- Change your mindset from one of fear to one of knowledge and power. YOU are helping your audience and that is empowering. Focus on your experience and unique expertise.
- Welcome everyone to your session. Walk around the front of the room, make eye contact, offer up a “good morning” or a “good afternoon.” This relaxes both you and the group. Make a connection with the audience.
- If you’re anxious and have sweaty palms, take some deep breaths. Get up and move. Don’t sit in a chair and let anxiety take over. Move around and walk it out.
- Remember, everyone gets the pre-speach jitters. It’s normal and natural.
Do you seek out speaking opportunities? When is the last time you gave a presentation to a group? If you have always wanted to speak, but haven’t, what’s stopping you? I’d love to know.
Your company is on an upward trajectory. Congratulations! Now that you’re growing you may be faced with many choices. Should you hire? Should you move to a different location? Do you need to invest in new equipment? All of these are certainly signs of growth and can lead to growing pains, but you need to look at your budget and make any investments and moves wisely.
Entrepreneurs: Should You Buy Or Rent?
Here are three items that an entrepreneur may want to look at when he or she is thinking “buy or rent“:
- Employees. Should you hire employees or employ contractors? Remember, with employees come employee taxes and other tax ramifications. There are benefits and drawbacks and challenges to either employees or contractors. Talk with your accountant or accounting department to fully understand the cost of an employee to a business — remember, it’s more than just the hourly rate. Then decide which fits best in your corporate culture. Do you have space for employees? If you had to move to a larger space and then had to hire employees, you will be looking at a big hit on your budget, can you truly afford and sustain those costs? Are you better-served to hire a professional who can perform the tasks you need but who will be an independent contractor who will work at his or her own site and use his or her own equipment. Oh yes, don’t forget, if you hire you need to invest in equipment for the employee.
- Do you need to rent an office space or will your current space suffice? If you’re continually meeting potential clients at a local coffee shop and want to amp up your image, you may need, or want, to invest in renting office space. If you meet customers virtually, your home office may remain the ideal (and most cost effective) option.
- Does your business need more equipment, software or upgraded technology? If you’re in a growth spurt that appears to be one that will continue, you may need to upgrade and update equipment. Again, this is a conversation to have with your accounting professional who can help you make that decision. It doesn’t make sense, though to operate your business on outdated and continually breaking down technology or software that just doesn’t meet your needs.
Congratulations on your growth! Do it wisely and with forethought and may the trend continue! If you’re an entrepreneur in the midst of a growth spurt but are struggling to get to that next level, contact us and inquire about how coaching might help push you past your barriers.
Sales people know that in order to make more sales you need to listen more than you speak. Why? If you’re talking the entire time you’re meeting with a client you won’t truly be hearing what they want, how you can help them and what their pain points are. When you meet with a potential client do you feel that you’re doing all of the talking? Yes, you want to help drive and direct the conversation, but ask a question and let your client answer.
Listening is a skill that can be sharpened and could lead to increased success in work and your personal life.
Most individuals retain about 50% of what they hear. There are different levels of listening which are:
- Level 1 — this listener is preoccupied
- Level 2 – this listener is an active participant
- Level 3 – this listener pays special attention to the speaker’s words and body language
Become A Better Listener
- Maintain eye contact
- Don’t let yourself be distracted
- Acknowledge what the speaker is saying
- Repeat what you heard, “What I think I heard you say was…”
- Don’t interrupt, unless the speaker specifically said, “feel free to interrupt if you have a question.”
- Don’t ask only “yes” or “no” questions. Ask questions that give the other party a chance to elaborate
At what level do you listen? When you’re in a situation when you should be listening, what distracts you? Is it that you don’t find the topic engaging? Is the speaker monotone and therefore you’re not engaged because there is no inflection? Are you being “talked at” rather than “talked to”? That plays a role in how actively you listen and participate.
If you want to become a better listener as a way to enhance sales or engagement with your employees or staff, it is something about which you need to be aware in order to become a better listener.
How Solopreneurs Can Succeed At Sales is a question I get asked frequently when I meet with a business client for coaching. When you’re a solopreneur you have to wear many hats and one of those hats includes making sales and closing deals. If you don’t do it and if you’re not devoting a specific amount of time a week to the task of sales, your business — obviously — won’t succeed or grow.
How Solopreneurs Can Succeed At Sales
- Set aside time for marketing. Don’t “wait for time” to open up. Put specific hours to market for new clients into your calendar and be dedicated to your marketing during those hours.
- Set aside time each week to attend networking events. Be of service to those you meet and they will likely be inclined to want to work with you or buy your products when they are in the market to do so.
- Have a sales process and strategy in place.
- Have a smooth onboarding process for new clients and follow that each time.
- Build templates for your sales and marketing strategy.
- Have a follow up system and process in place and follow through. If you say you will call a potential client at a specific time, don’t be late. These initial contacts are what shape the course of your relationship.
- Reward or thank long-term clients.
- Recogize and thank new clients.
- Offer “rewards” for clients who introduce you to new potential clients. Word of mouth is the most valuable advertising a business owner can have.
Know that, in order to grow, you have to get out of your comfort zone and talk with potential new clients. It is always nice when a new client finds you, but you can’t wait for that to happen, you have to proactively take steps to grow your business. As a solopreneur you will wear some hats that aren’t as comfortable as others, but they are all necessary parts of growing a viable business.
Need help crafting your sales message, follow up strategy or other sales-centric questions? Let us know in the comments.
There is no one-size-fits all answer when I get asked, “Should I go into busines for myself?” There are some reasons you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur and when a client mentions one of the following as the reasons he or she wants to become a business owner, I caution them that they might be headed down a path they won’t enjoy and at which they may not succeed.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Be An Entrepreneur
- You want to be rich. Sure, you may make enough money at your business to be what you consider rich or wealthy. But if the only reason you want to be self employed is to be “rich” you are headed down the wrong path. To be “in business” you will need to choose a business filing entity for tax purpose and you will also need to find an accountant who can work with you to determine what your salary should be. There are tax ramifications to being a business owner and you want to stay on the good side of the IRS. Remember, being motivated by money only is not a reason to become an entrepreneur — it’s hard work and you may not earn enough to support yourself in the beginning of your journey.
- To be able to take a vacation or a day off when ever you want. Um, if you don’t work, you don’t earn. When you’re an employee, you may earn vacation time that will allow you the opportunity to take days off of work and still get paid. In most entrepreneurial endeavors, you need to perform in order to invoice and have a chance of making money. So, yes, you can take time off, but you need to know who’s “minding the store” while you’re gone. Don’t underestimate how long your business will take you to run and skimp on how many hours you’re putting into it.
- Why not? Everyone else is doing it. “Why not” is not a reason to open a business and hang out your shingle. Running a business should be predicated on the fact that you have a passion for something. You have a driving need to deliver that passion to the market and you’re willing to put in the time it takes to make your business a success. Becoming an entrepreneur is not a task to be undertaken lightly especially if your endeavor will bring with it many upfront start up costs. Don’t jump into business ownership unless you’re truly certain you’re ready for the commitment.
If someone has a drive and a motivation and a love of being their own boss, I will work with them to help them realize that dream. If, however, any of these reasons I mention sound like any of the reasons you’re having for going into business for yourself, I urge you to rethink your motivation and desires.