6 Big Mistakes that Small Business Owners Make that Can Lead to Struggle and Failure

In business, ignorance is not bliss. In the last three years of running my own business consulting practice and 20 years of advising small business owners, I’ve seen a trend of “mistakes” or challenges that small business owners face that cause them to struggle, and can lead to financial failure…these are mistakes I’ve made in my business as well. Most business owners are really good at their passion (their reason for starting their business), but very few have business management and finance training – they’ve never learned to run a business…I know I didn’t have that knowledge at first when I started my business, even with my seven years of business finance and accounting education and professional designation. But you don’t have to struggle like I and so many other business owners have…here are some tips to overcome the biggest small business mistakes that contribute to those struggles.

Mistake #1 – Failing to Plan

We all know the saying, if you fail to plan, plan to fail. Yet, strategic planning continues to be one of the greatest struggles for business owners. It certainly was for me when I started out. I knew I had to have a plan (I had the offer, target client and financial forecasts, but had no sales and marketing plan), but trying to work with business plan templates used to make me nauseous…that is, until I found a more intuitive approach to business planning. It starts with having a very clear vision of you business, what you offer, to whom, and WHY (WHY you’re doing your business – your mission, and WHY customers would buy from you)…I use visualization and meditation techniques to get this clarity. This is an iterative process, and while your WHY may not change much, your offers and target clients could change dramatically over the years. My only caution here is to not get caught in the planning paralysis trap…make sure you are taking action while you’re creating and refining your plans (results come from taking action and going through iterations, failing fast and getting back in the game).

Mistake #2 – No Clear Value Proposition and Ideal Client Experience / Process

The more targeted and clear you can be with who you serve and the results you create for them, the easier it will be to communicate that value and attract new high-quality clients. It’s easy to want to serve everyone, and not leave anyone out. While this “jack-of-all-trades” mindset can work for a little while, and while you determine what you’d really like to be doing, it can lead to a huge dilution in energy, focus and profits. It’s difficult to communicate your message to the masses in a way that anyone will actually hear it. It’s better to have a focused approach, targeted to a specific group…try it for 90 days…if it doesn’t produce the results you’re looking for, target a different group with a message designed to reach them. Again, this is an iterative process.

Mistake #3 – Not Tracking and Reviewing Financials on a Regular Basis

Most business owners are not trained and educated on organizing, tracking and understanding their financial numbers. In fact, less than 30% of business owners have a good understanding of what their numbers are telling them (couple this with the fact that 85% of business failures are a result of poor financial organization and know-how, it’s no surprise that so many businesses fail). Yet, the numbers tell the story of how the business is doing and can highlight problem areas that need to be addressed. As a micro or small business owner, at a minimum you’ll want to review sales, gross margins, major expenses that you can control the most, and profit margins. You’ll also want to look at balance sheet items such as accounts receivable (how much, from who and how long have they been outstanding), accounts payable (how much, when are they due), and balances in your bank accounts. Review your numbers on a regular basis (monthly is best), and get help to truly understand what your numbers are telling you.

Mistake #4 – Not Paying Yourself Enough

This is one of my favorite things to work on with clients. The traditional business model has been to pay the owner last, with whatever is left in profits after operating expenses. When you follow this model, you’re likely to get paid a lot less than you’d like (or not at all). While working with one client, he figured he was only paying himself $2 an hour for his efforts…you wouldn’t work for anyone else for less than minimum wage, so why work for yourself for such low pay. I like to take a bottom-up approach to paying yourself first and determining what sales you need to support what you want that pay to be.  Here’s how: determine what you’d like to pay yourself (based on your personal needs and lifestyle), layer in taxes, desired business profits and estimated operating costs, to determine what your revenues and prices should be. This approach works really well for service-based entrepreneurs, and I’ve developed a whole empowered pricing course to teach this method [email me for more info].

Mistake #5 – Trying to do it ALL Yourself

Some business coaches may say that you should turn your greatest weaknesses into your greatest strengths. However, this is not what 7+ figure business owners do…they capitalize on their strengths, recognize their weaknesses, and build a ROCKSTAR team to get done what needs to be done in the most efficient way possible.  Often we feel as entrepreneurs, we need to do it all ourselves/be jack of all trades…this can work if your goal/intent is to be a practitioner for life (i.e., steady contract work), BUT, if you want to grow and scale your business successfully, you need a good team to support you.

Getting help and building a team doesn’t have to mean hiring full-time employees, but it does mean you have to think about all the different functions in your business, what is within your zone of genius, and what makes sense to outsource. Create hiring criteria (whether hiring consultants or employees) and make it a priority to outsource and delegate what is not your genius so you can focus more on what you do best, knowing that the rest will be properly taken care of.

Mistake #6 – Not having a Governance and Risk Management Plan

Most small businesses have no governance/risk management plan, yet it is one of the most important aspects of business success. Governance and risk management may not be sexy, but ignoring this aspect of business could lead to business failure. Just think about what would happen to your business if you had a significant negative tax audit, or legal action from a customer or employee, or experience a major illness or disability. It’s necessary to identify all your risk areas (legal, tax, employee, operations, economic, health, political, social, technology, business interruption, etc.) along with potential costs should the risk materialize, then implement protocols for managing and mitigating those risks within your risk appetite.

The bottom line is, when you have a clear vision for your business, supported with systems, structure, protocols and people to help you achieve your true potential, all the pieces start to fall into place…and you’ll have more ease, confidence, peace and harmony in your business and its possibilities.

These are all areas that I work with my clients to overcome and create a strategic business roadmap for success, while working on shifting their mindsets and relationship with money and the financial side of their business. I invite you to book a discovery call with me to discuss your challenges in business and what actions you could take right away to overcome them. I also welcome you to join the CFO Mentoring community on Facebook to support you in being the CFO of your business and your life!

How Farming Prepared Me for Entrepreneurship

I spent the first 19 years of my life on a beef farm with my loving parents and 3 younger siblings in the Eastern Townships (QC).  It was a lot of hard work (and hardship) and simply our way of life.  Never once did I think of it as a business, with plans and strategies, and committed action to get desired results…until after I myself became an entrepreneur.  Even though I had years of education and training in accounting and finance, I realize now that growing up on a farm was likely some of the best training I could have for running my own business.  Here’s why:

1 – Farming takes dedication, resiliency and hard work, and a love for that way of life…it’s not for the faint of heart.  I feel the same for entrepreneurship.

2 – Farming requires a lot of planning and strategic action to achieve desired results in the timelines afforded by the changing seasons.  Running a successful business requires knowing your markets, having clear plans and taking strategic action to get the results you know are possible.

3 – You can’t run a farm successfully on your own – as in business, you need a good team.

4 – As a farmer, you need to build great relationships with your suppliers, your customers and your team members that fully support you in achieving your success.  This same is true in business.

5 – My family really loves what they do and puts so much love into caring for the land and each of the animals on their farm.  This love and compassion was instilled in me, and as an entrepreneur, I really care for my clients.  I love serving them and seeing the joy on their faces as a result of their transformations and the results they’ve realized from working with me. 

6 – Farming is a 24/7 job (at least the kind of farming we did)…you could be up before the sun and not get to bed until the wee hours of the morning (especially if it’s birthing season or maple season).  As an entrepreneur, I eat, breathe and sleep my business.  It’s an integral part of me, and often has me up into the wee hours of the night (especially when I’m in creative mode).

7 –  As a farmer, you need to be prepared for life’s curve balls (uncooperative weather, sick animals, illness, injury, economic set-backs, influences beyond your control) – having back up plans, risk management systems, and a good support system are essential to handling those curve balls with ease and grace.  These are also essential for success in business.

8 – Growing up, we had to make do with what we had.  That meant being really resourceful, thinking outside the box and finding solutions that required little to no money.  If it meant rolling up our sleeves, getting our hands dirty (and worn), and creating something out of nothing, we did it.  I’m finding this has become a great skill in the beginning stages of my business.

9 – My dad never seemed to stress if things didn’t go so well on the farm.  Sometimes SH*t happens – it is what it is…no point stressing over it…just assess the situation, learn from it, find a better solution and move on.  I’ve had many challenges in starting and growing my business.  Thankfully, I adopted my dad’s outlook on dealing with those challenges…otherwise I likely would have given up and gone back to a full-time job long ago.

10 – In farming, you really need good tracking systems and processes – whether it’s for your cash flow or your animal inventory (I saw my dad, and now my brother, tracking the cows and money almost daily – perhaps this is where I adopted my love and propensity for numbers, and why I became an accountant).  As an entrepreneur, you really have to know your numbers (sales, marketing analytics, financials, etc.) and what they’re telling you so you can make the right decisions for you and your business.

So there you have it – 10 ways that farming prepared me for running my own business…and I never really acknowledged or appreciated them until just recently.

So what about you?  What skills did you acquire from your childhood that maybe you haven’t acknowledged or appreciated until now? I would love to hear about them…leave your comments below.

If you would like to chat about how I can help you with growing your business, CLICK HERE to book a complimentary clarity call.

Getting Comfortable with Money

The more comfortable you get with Money, the more you empower yourself.

I hear many people say they don’t pay attention to their finances because it stresses them out (likely a huge factor behind today’s low financial literacy rates).  One of the reasons for this stress is that they don’t know what to look at or what to do.

Let me tell you a story to shift this perspective.

I have a client who, 9 months ago, had this same perception of money – it was stressful.  She never looked at her numbers, and as long as her debit card worked, she felt everything was ok.  Her husband took care of all the finances (and the stress of dealing with it).  He balanced her books for her and took care of their personal money matters for which she had no awareness or interest.

Then she heard me speak about having a relationship with Money (instead of treating it like just a thing, or a “necessary evil”), which completely shifted her perception and way of being with Money.  She started paying attention to it, understanding it, and looking for ways to bring more money in.

This client recently told me that she now looks at her numbers daily, has gone to her bank about reducing fees and asking about investments (something she had zero knowledge of 9 months ago), and is becoming her own money “guru”.

This new “relationship” with money has empowered her beyond her imagination (and beyond her husband’s imagination) – giving her more confidence in her business and in her relationships, and resulting in greater ease for her business and her family.

Money is the #1 factor causing stress in North America, but it doesn’t have to be.  When you shift your perceptions, and pay attention to your finances, ask questions and learn more about them, you WILL become empowered to take INSPIRED action to build your net worth.

What actions will you take today to empower yourself with money and finance?

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://54.82.103.175/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Linda-Spencer-Visionspire-cropped.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Linda Spencer brings 20 years of professional accounting and tax knowledge to her more recent accreditation as a Certified Money, Marketing & Soul Coach. Through her money mindset and profitability workshops, group training programs, guest speaking and 1-1 coaching, she helps heart centered business owners transform their relationship with money & finance (reducing their money stress), so they can do more of what they love with greater ease and joy. If you would like to be more empowered to create the business (and life) you imagine, with Money as your PARTNER, Linda can help. Contact her for a no-obligation 30 minute complimentary Clarity Call to learn what your next steps should be. [/author_info] [/author]

[button link=”https://visionspire.gettimely.com/book?product=643447%3ASV” type=”big” color=”teal”] LET’S CHAT![/button]

Weath Creation

Small Business Model for Success – Make Your Profits Flow

wealth-creationAs a small business owner, you wear many hats – one being that of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  Being the CFO of your business does not necessarily mean being your accountant – in fact, I highly recommend hiring someone to do your bookkeeping and financial reporting for you (i.e., the collecting and reporting of results).  As the CFO of your business, you are instead focused on strategy, planning and operating your business to maximize your profits and cash flow, and your financial value.  You have a big picture vision, so you look at your financial plan, forecasts, budgets and results from 30,000 feet, and analyze those results in context of your overall business objectives and strategies, asking “what if…”  You determine what your results are telling you, and make strategic, financial and operational decisions accordingly.

So, how do you do build a business model that will allow you to maximize your cash flow?

This is step 5 of my 8 Steps to Building Your Road Map to Success – create your strategic operating and financial plan (if you missed the previous steps, click HERE to go to see previous posts).  As a small business owner myself, I like to keep it simple – first by building a profit model that allows you to create fluid and sustainable profits and has these key characteristics:

  • is intuitive, flexible and has flow
  • allows for creativity and innovation
  • is scalable and has multiple layers that allows you to easily and fluidly up-sell, cross-sell and down-sell between the layers of services and packages
  • focuses on 2-3 things that you do really well, and
  • allows you to continuously dip into your well of opportunity, to connect with the people entered your world at various levels and give them the “what’s next”.

Always with your core business purpose and ideal client in mind, the key is to set up your business model and services/packages in a way that allows you to maximize every opportunity to its full potential.  Start with your platinum service level that will bring you top dollar and platinum client, then your entry level service that will allow people to connect with you for little investment, and then fill in the middle with a couple of gold and silver level offers that will engage and create momentum with your clients.

Ultimately, you want to maximize your profits, so when you create your business profits model with the different layers of packages/offers, you’ll need to run the numbers.  This is what gets scary for a lot of people, especially creative types in my experience (as a creative myself – I write poetry and design jewellery for the everyday occasion – I can empathize.  But I also have a very analytical mind that allows me to help bridge the gap for other creatives in building their business models for success.).  But without knowing your numbers –  the cost of inputs (including what your time is worth and overheads), capital requirements, desired profit margins, projected unit sales and break-even points – you may find yourself struggling to make ends meet.

When clients come to me for assistance with their pricing and what to charge, I have found that every one of them has undervalued what their time is worth and how much time the spend developing, marketing and delivering their products and services, leading them to charge to low a price.  This results in lower profits and having to work even harder for the revenues they do collect, leaving them cash and time poor.  With my easy pricing model, I then show them how to quickly determine what their time is worth and how to price each of their packages and services to create maximum value.

This is just one of the things that I will be showing participants at my upcoming workshop on February 29th in Milton.  If you want to know how to easily charge what you’re worth and price your packages and services for maximum value, then you MUST come to the workshop!  Click HERE to secure your spot and get all the details.

 

[button link=”https://www.eventbrite.com/e/workshop-improve-your-business-cash-flow-with-your-4ps-of-success-tickets-21330914339″ type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] SECURE MY SPOT AT THE WORKSHOP![/button]

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://54.82.103.175/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/linda-contact-e1447279259479.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Linda Spencer is a Creator, Visionary, Business Coach and Savvy Canadian Tax Specialist. Linda believes that NO ONE should have to struggle to create the life of their dreams. This drives her to empower business owners with the knowledge and tools they need to gain insight and clarity into their business strategy and to take inspired action to streamline their processes, improve their cash flows and reduce their stress levels, such that they can more easily create the life of their dreams. With 20 years experience helping businesses with their financial, tax and business plans, managing tax risk and advising on Canadian corporate, personal income tax and sales tax matters, Linda combines her expertise and knowledge with her intuition and creative abilities to arrive at sound tax and business solutions. She is also known for successfully leveraging cross-functional teams and creating efficient processes that translate into tangible business results. Discover how you can create more ease and flow in your business at www.VisionSpire.ca (formerly www.LindaSpencerTaxConsulting.com)[/author_info] [/author]

For Whom Are You Creating?

Think of your business as a road trip (and not the scenic kind – you’re on a mission!).  You identify where you want to go, where you are starting from, who you’re going with, who you’re going to see (or pick up along the way), the fastest route, alternate routes, what you need for your trip, and you start navigating your way to where you want to go, in the most efficient way possible.   In this 8-week series, I help you get clarity with the different steps of creating and navigating your road map to business success.  This is the fourth installment- Understand and clarify your market.

ForWhomAreYouCreating

What would your business be without your clients?  But are your really clear about who your target clients are?  Why is this important?

This is what step 4 of my 8-step blueprint for creating success in your business is all about – getting clear about your market.  You need to identify your target market, understand them (get inside their head) and your competitors. Do your homework and get really crystal clear here – it will drive your marketing plan and almost everything else in your business plan, including how you’re going to fill some of those gaps you identified in Step 3 (if you missed last week’s installment on Gap Analysis or any of the last 3 weeks posts in this series, you can find them HERE [add link]).

Why is niche clarity important?  Well, imagine you’re developing your service offering or product…how much easier do you think it is to develop and market that product/service when you have a clear vision of who you’re developing it for?  Is it easier to speak to and attract the world…or a specific group of people? In honing in on your specific target market, or niche, you’ll want clear answers to these 5 questions:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is their biggest challenge that they want solved right away?
  • How does your offering solve that challenge, and what would it mean for your client to have that challenge solved? and
  • Why would they choose your offer over someone else’s? What is your unique selling proposition?

You don’t want a target a niche that is so small that it won’t give you the sales you’re looking for, but at the same time, you don’t want target one that’s so diverse that you get lost in the ocean.

At this point, you’ll also want to know about the arena you’re playing in – information on your competitors, your market potential, and the overall environment that your business is playing in.  These factors could have a significant impact on where and when you decide to play, and the specific business, finance and marketing strategies that you will play with to win the game of business success in that arena.

This is not a quick and easy step to get through, and should be given considerable focus and attention.  Get assistance and feedback from experts, peers and focus groups to help you get clear with your market, market environment and competition.  The best input and feedback I’ve ever received is from not only my business coaches, but the mastermind and business support groups that I participate in.

 

If you would like assistance with clarifying your target market or building your business road map to success, contact me to set up your complimentary Business Clarity Breakthrough Session.

 

PS – Speaking of niche…with my target customer in mind, I’ve been working on a great new line up of workshops and programs for passionate small business owners, to help them master their business cash flows more effectively and efficiently.  Watch for our Events Calendar and MARK YOUR CALENDAR for the next workshop coming up on February 29th (registration opening soon)!

Want exclusive offers and bonuses not available to the general public?  Get on the VIP Invitation List (in fact, the only way to get these special offers IS to be on the VIP Invitation List).  CLICK the image below to JOIN NOW!
VIP List

Gap Analysis – it’s a matter of perception

When you take the time to look at things from many angles you not only expand your awareness, you multiply your opportunities. r2g-p5-ai7-Dont-Wait-web

Think of your business as a road trip (and not the scenic kind – you’re on a mission!).  You identify where you want to go, where you are starting from, the fastest route, alternate routes, what you need for your trip, and start navigating your way to where you want to go, in the most efficient way possible.   In this series, I help you get clarity at the different steps of creating and navigating your road map to business success.  This is the third installment of this eight week series. 

In last week’s post, you determined where you are currently in your business.  This is your starting point, point A of your road map to success.  So now you know where you want to go (point B, determined in Step 1 – Start with the end in mind), and where you’re starting from (Point A, determined in Step 2 – Know where you are now), the next step is to figure out what you’re missing and need to put in place (Step 3 – Analyze the gaps between where you want to go and where you are now) in order to effectively build your action plan for how you will achieve the goals you set for your business in Step 1 of the 8 steps to create your road map to success.  (By the way, If you missed my 8 Steps to Building your Road Map to Success post, or the posts for Step 1 (Kick-start Your Year with Clarity and Focus) and Step 2 (Do You Know Where You Are?), you can get them HERE.)

So, what are you missing?  Where do you need to invest more time/effort/resources. What skills and training do you need to develop/upgrade?  Where do you need to shift your time and resources?  What money and success mindsets and habits do you need to adopt to help close those gaps?  What systems and automation do you need to help you run your business more efficiently?  What support do you need, from who?  Who do you need to add to your team?

This is an exercise in self-awareness and being truthful with yourself.  It’s not about figuring out how to do it all yourself, or how to get all your tools into your tool chest before embarking on the adventure or your business, but rather, it’s about identifying what you know to be missing to get you from point A to point B in your business.  Sometimes, the gap is filled by hiring someone (staff or outsource) to do certain tasks for you, allowing you to spend your time more efficiently on the tasks that you are a specialist in and that will generate revenues for you. Sometimes, the gap is filled with the tools that you will acquire along the way in your adventure.

When you take the time to look at things from many angles you not only expand your awareness, you multiply your opportunities.  When I took the time to look at what I was missing, and how I could fill those gaps (from many different angles, asking many questions to help me see the big picture, along with all the details), I realized that a really big skill that was missing for me was effective marketing using social media.  You see, I consider myself a great student.  I learn quickly and typically recall things quite easily.  However, when it comes to marketing with technology, I tend to flounder and have to work extra hard to understand how make it work.  I’m just not technologically savvy, no matter how much training I’ve had with it so far.  Taking a different view, and a shift in mindset from doing everything myself, instead of spending a lot of time and money to try to master this skill in marketing with technology, I will instead focus my time and energy on what I’m an expert at.  For 2016, this has led me to seek the counsel of a marketing specialist, to learn some key strategies and processes, and HIRE someone to execute the best strategy for me.  As a business advisor and coach, I’m continuously learning new skills and content to create value for my clients. My mastery is in creating and delivering great content to clients as it relates to money mastery in business. The marketing must be done, but it doesn’t all have to be done by me…and I get to multiply my opportunities to create 🙂

When you expand your awareness of the gaps in your business, you find more opportunities to close those gaps. So look at where you want to go with your business, and what’s missing from your tool chest to get there, ask key questions and focus on taking inspired action to close the gaps to realizing those business results that you want to achieve! 

If you would like assistance or clarity in building your business road map to success, contact me to set up your complimentary Business Clarity Breakthrough Session, or ask for my Business Management Assessment Questionnaire to help you identify the gaps in your business.

PS – Speaking of content and creating value, I’ve been working on a great new line up of workshops and programs for small business owners to help them master their business cash flows more effectively and efficiently.  Watch for our calendar of events and MARK YOUR CALENDAR – the next one is coming up on February 29th (registration opening soon)!   Get on the VIP Invitation List to receive added bonus offers that will not be offered to the general public (in fact, the only way to get these special offers is to be on the VIP Invitation List)VIP List

Do You Know Where You Are?

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head,And whispered to her neighbor- -Winter is dead.”So many entrepreneurs just don’t know where they’re starting from, and end up taking inefficient and ineffective action to get to where they want to go.  For many, the first glimpse of their past year results is when they have their taxes done, which I have found in my 20 years of preparing tax returns for small businesses to be 4+ months after their year-end and into their current fiscal year.  But how can you get a good handle on your strategic action plan for a successful year if you don’t even know where you’re starting from?

That’s why I feel Step 2 – Knowing where you are now, financially, systematically and operationally, is an essential step in the process of creating your strategic action plan for success. This means you’re going to have to get organized with your financials and conduct a little internal assessment of where your are now in your business.

Once you have a good picture of your current financial situation, skills and resources, internal controls and risk management practices, you can figure out what you’re missing and need to put in place (Step 3 – Analyze the gaps between where you want to go and where you are now) in order to effectively build your action plan for how you will achieve the goals you set for your business in Step 1 of the 8 steps to create your road map to success.  (By the way, If you missed my 8 Steps to Building your Road Map to Success post, or last week’s post on Step 1 – Start with the end in mind, you can get them HERE.)

Statistics show that 85% of business failures are a result of improper organization and planning.  So why is it that so many entrepreneurs don’t have their records organized and up to date?  Some of the reasons I hear are: not enough time (and no one to help), not knowing how, and outright fear of money and finances (YIKES!).

On of my clients, Susan, recently shared with me that 2015 was her best year in a long time, that she had a lot of growth in the fall, and that a big part of that success had to do with me helping her to change her mindset about finances and understand her financial numbers in a strategy session we had back in the summer.  She had long been tracking, monitoring and using her marketing and social media metrics to gain more traffic and clients, but had fallen short of using her financial metrics effectively to grow her profits and cash flow.   As she put it, finances scared her, so she ignored them.  I helped her see that they weren’t scary at all (and in fact, they could be her best friend) and showed her how she could use her financial metrics to make more effective business decisions based on what her numbers were telling her.  So kudos to Susan for using her new knowledge and mindset to create a great year!

If you find yourself resisting the task of getting your finances up to date and organized, or if you just struggle with tracking and understanding your financial numbers, I can help.  Contact me to set up your complimentary Business Clarity Breakthrough session to discuss a strategy for success with this essential step in creating business success, and ask for my Business Management Assessment Questionnaire.

Complete the following form to request a private Clarity Session with Linda

How can I help? What are your top 3 business priorities/pressing issues that you would like solved right away?

Feel free to ask a question or simply leave a comment.

Kick Start Your Year with Clarity and Focus

“Be INSPIRED to create what you imagine” (Linda J. Spencer)

Mondo nell'acqua dell'oceanoWelcome to a brand new year…time to kick-start your strategic action plan with clarity and focus!  Strategic business planning is essential for your business success.  Your business plan is like a roadmap – it gives your direction for where you want to go and how to get there with the most direct route.  A good strategic plan keeps you focused.

In November, I posted my 8 Steps to Building Your Road map to Success.  Over the next 8 weeks, I’ll dive deeper into what each of those steps are, and specific actions you can take to create your own road map to success.

So, where do you start?  You should start with the end in mind…this is Step 1 to creating your business success road map:  define and clarify your goals.

The key with defining the end result you want in your business is to get really clear about what you want and why.  Ask yourself key questions like:

  • Where do you want your business to go? What do you want to create with your business? and WHY? Write down your goals for the next year, 3 years, 10 years.  Really challenge yourself – Dream BIG!  Studies show that if you think small, you’ll play small – so think BIG and play BIG!
  • What would really make your heart sing to achieve in your business long-term?
  • What impact would achieving these goals have on your life? What would it mean for your family?
  • What are your SMART (specific, meaningful, attainable, relevant, time sensitive) stretch goals for this year? List your BIG revenue goals as well as things like the number of customers you want to serve and any new projects you want to launch / implement.  Don’t try to boil the ocean here, but make them big enough to excite you and be impactful…pick just 1 to 3 key things that you’ll focus on this year that will really pull your business forward to meeting your long term BIG objectives.  Chunk them down into key milestones, and add target dates to them.

With your goals for the next year clarified, you can now move forward with focus in making business decision and taking inspired action that is aligned with those goals.

Stay tuned for next week…I’ll get into Step 2 of creating your business success roadmap…the essential step of knowing where you’re starting from!

If you like what you’re reading, be sure to get on our mailing list to receive our weekly INSIGHTS newsletter delivered right to your inbox.  You’ll receive our Monday Morning Inspirational SPARK as well as weekly insights to help you drive success in your business with greater ease and efficiency.  You’ll also receive news about upcoming training programs and workshops designed to help you, as CFO of your business, define and execute strategies that impact key areas of your business.

Privacy Policy: We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.   Sign-up is free, and you can unsubscribe at any time!

How to Harness the Power of Gratitude and Appreciation to Create Success

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”2_3″][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Person” name=”By: Linda Spencer, CPA/CA” animation=”off” background_layout=”light” header_font_size=”18″ body_font_size=”14″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
[/et_pb_team_member][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” text_font_size=”14″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

As our friends in the US celebrate their Thanksgiving today, I’ve been reflecting this week on the power of gratitude and appreciation to create success.  I believe, and have experienced greatly, that every facet of our lives is intertwined – there is no separation – and have adopted an attitude of gratitude for every single facet (even the aspects that are “bad”).  Let me share with you how you can improve your business success by showing gratitude and appreciation in the 6 pillars of your business:

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#7EBEC5″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#7EBEC5″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#7EBEC5″ icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” header_font_size=”22″ body_font_size=”14″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”http://54.82.103.175/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Thank-you.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”on” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
[/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” text_font_size=”14″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

  1. Clients– Without clients and customers, you have no revenues. When you look at most business models, they put their clients at the top – excellence in client service is their #1 goal.  As a service provider, I constantly strive to improve what and how I deliver to my clients…I want them to not only feel but KNOW they are appreciated.  It can be as simple as a thoughtful thank-you, or a client appreciation gift or special VIP treatment.  It’s not just the what you do to show appreciation, but the how often as well.  Having regular points of contact will increase the client’s experience with you.  No doubt, as a client, I like to feel appreciated and that I’m getting the best product or service for my investment.  As a client, when I feel appreciated, I’m more likely to do more business with you and contribute to your cash flow.  It’s easier to produce revenues from a few appreciated clients than it is to make cold sales.
  2. Employees (and contractors)– If you want to grow your business, you will have a team to support you, either a team of employees or a team of contracted support workers. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to do your business effectively, and your client’s experience would then suffer.  It’s a fact that happy employees are more productive and loyal employees.  It’s easy to give feedback when things aren’t going right, but what’s necessary is to give gratitude and appreciation to your team when thing ARE going right.  When employees feel appreciated, they will be even more committed to producing better results for you.
  3. Suppliers– We know that client and employee appreciation are key to driving your revenues, but what about your suppliers? I find that when I’m engaged with my suppliers, and show my gratitude for them with thank you’s and referrals, I’m more likely to get even better service from them.  It instils more trust in the relationship with them, and reduces my stress levels because I can trust that I’m going to get great results, and not “waste” my time having to do it over again myself (or have to pay to get someone to do it right).  Showing supplier appreciation can help get things done right the first time, and they may give you even more than what you paid for.
  4. Referral Network– I have to say that most of my clients have come from referrals. Without my referral network to support me when I started my business, I would have struggled and worked a lot harder to have those clients enter my world.  It goes without saying that I feel a world of gratitude to my referral network, but I could do a lot more to show that appreciation.  Other than one-on-one time, I’m now working on implementing a formal referral appreciation program.  It doesn’t have to be big, but I think showing your gratitude to referrals goes a long way in getting even more business and improving your business success.
  5. Family and Friends– Where would you be without the support of family and friends? When you’re so busy in your business, it’s easy to take family and friends for granted.  However, this group is likely your biggest fan base, and wants to see you succeed and celebrate in your success.  It’s important to stay connected and spend quality time building and maintaining your personal relationships and showing your appreciation.  Speaking first hand, I know this is an area I struggle with – sometimes it’s easier to appreciate strangers than it is to show your family and friends how much you love and appreciate them.  But, without support at home, the stress in your home relationships will spill over to create more stress in your business, and both will suffer.
  6. You– YOU are your business…As a small business owner or solopreneur, chances are, without you, your business would not operate. Therefore, it’s important for the success of your business that you appreciate you – take care of your body, mind and soul.  Take time-outs every day, and take those vacations where you un-plug for at lease one day a week.  Appreciating you also comes in the form of valuing your time.  So many people struggle with this, especially women – we tend to undercharge and over-deliver for our services, mostly because we are nurturers and want to make sure everyone is taken care of (usually at the expense of not taking care of ourselves).  When you value and appreciate yourself, you are more likely to attract the types of clients, team, and suppliers who will also value and appreciate you, and you will be more likely to value and appreciate your support network (family, friends, referrals, etc).  And THAT is great for business success!

To sum it all up, when you truly appreciate all of these pillars, and give no one more importance over the other, true success happens.  The trick is finding and giving balance to create harmony amongst them.  As we near the end of 2015 celebrating the  holidays, now’s the time to reflect on each of your 6 pillars and decide where you will take inspired action to improve those relationships heading into 2016.  In my experience, when you value and appreciate each of the 6 pillars, business success WILL follow, and so will greater freedom to give and receive even more appreciation.

Having an attitude of gratitude is a key to success…and I am eternally grateful to you – my readers.  Without you, I have no reason to share 🙂

If you would like to learn more about how to create value in your business, sign up for a complimentary Business Clarity Session

In celebration of this weekend of gratitude and thanksgiving, I’d also invite you to take advantage of a special APPRECIATION discount on my upcoming workshop on December 11th Build Your 3P’s of Success: Profits, Packages & Pricing (happening at the Club at North Halton in Georgetown, ON).  Use promotional code PROMO40 to receive 40% off registration (you pay $197+HST instead of $297+HST).  This Appreciation discount expires on November 30th.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row” global_module=”890″ make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” gutter_width=”3″ padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text global_parent=”890″ admin_label=”Social Media Share Buttons” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” text_font_size=”14″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Share this page:

[feather_share] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Think You Don’t Need a Business Plan?

In this video, Marcus Lemonis, host of The Profit, (thank you to Ink from Chase for posting on YouTube) tells you why you should have a business plan, and although it doesn’t have to be formal, it should be written down.  I whole-heartedly agree – writing things down provides a ton of clarity, and for me makes ideas more tangible and workable.  Once the ideas are clear, then you can develop a good plan, that answers a few key questions, against which you can execute and bring those great business ideas to fruition with much more ease than without a plan.  Statistics show that 85% of business failures are due to improper planning.  And as Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.  So, if you want success and better results, get those ideas written down and write out your plan (do your homework!).

If you don’t have a business plan, and/or don’t know where to start, you’ll want to read my post from last week 8 Steps to Create Your Road to Success  (8-simple-steps-create-business-success-linda-spencer).  Have questions or need help?  Contact me for a complimentary Business Clarity Session (valued at $247) Business Clarity Session Request Form

In one week, I kick-off my 4 month Success Readiness Program:  Create Your Business Roadmap to Success.  This intensive program is all about building the foundation for your business success.  Success Readiness is about learning and implementing the tools and best practices for you to create clear goals and action plans for your business.  Want more information – click Here (PS – registration closes Monday November 23rd, and there are only 2 spots left!)

https://youtu.be/qpmlKe6UoJ4

Share This:
[feather_share]