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6 Reasons Why You Need An Annual Plan

Nov 02, 2015

Many small business owners that I meet laugh when I ask them about their annual plan. The most common answer to the question, “Do you have annual plan?" goes something like this... "Annual plan! [audible laughter] I don't have a daily plan, how could I possibly have an annual plan!" I've found that there are a couple of reasons for this response.

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If you are trying to decide on whether or not to exhibit at a business expo, you will find all kinds of varying opinions on the importance (or lack there of) in being an exhibitor. Personally, I have found these events to be an invaluable asset in growing my own business. Many of my clients have also seen the positive benefits of attending/ exhibiting at these events. If properly executed, exhibiting at a business expo can boost sales, strengthen marketing initiatives and of course, build your professional network.

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Stop Investing in Your Business and Invest in Yourself

As a business owner, part of your job is knowing how to properly invest your time and money, which all too often means pouring all of your time and money into improving your business. However, many of us (business owners) don’t ever think about the most important investment that you can make, an investment in yourself.

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Culture has become one of the hottest topics in the world of business. If you do a quick Google search on “Company Culture,” you will get a long list of articles with varying opinions and tips on how to help foster a healthy company culture. Right now, companies like Google, Facebook, Mashable and Paypal are becoming the standard for healthy corporate culture. We’ve all seen pictures of their playground like office spaces and read articles about employees making their own hours and taking team-building field trips to tropical islands. To small business owners who worry about small budgets, these extravagant office spaces and team-building trips are simply out of the question.

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Do you know what the most valuable commodity in the world is? It's not gold, oil or even diamonds, it's TIME. Time is the one commodity that you can never get back, no matter how hard you work or how much money you make. There is a saying in the business world that "time is money;" although cliche, there is truth to it. As a small business owner, properly managing your time can be the difference between making and losing money. I've seen many clients struggle with their business due in part to poor time management skills. 

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The first few years after opening a business (big or small) are filled with lots of hard work, determination and optimism. This time period is what I like to call the honeymoon phase - a time where those business owners who are successful, completely immerse themselves in their new business.

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The goal of every business is to become more profitable. Profitability is vital to the surivial of your business as it will help fuel it's growth; without it your business will fail. However, it takes more than just a good product for a business to become profitable. Here are 5 tips on how to make your business more profitable in 2015!

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So you are finally a small business owner – you’re the boss and it feels great! However, just because you’re the head honcho, it doesn’t mean you know it all. Learning how to better your business, along with seeking out continuing education in your industry is very important.

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At the start of every New Year, I am huge proponent for going back to basics. It’s the perfect time to start anew and keep things simple. This mindset can also apply to starting your own small business. There are certain basics you need not only to get your business off the ground, but to make it successful.

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OMG – not another acronym! Sorry, but it’s so much easier than saying and spelling three whole words: Employee Development Meetings. So what are EDMs and how can they help your small business?

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Another year in the books for your small business. Whether it was good, average or simply not your best, look at 2015 as a new start. The New Year is your chance to not only make personal resolutions, but also make commitments that will make your small business shine. Do these four things to better your small business.

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Becoming a strong leader is not an easy task. The most important part of the process is finding a style that is centered on both professional and life experiences, as well as education. However, this can be difficult for those who do not have a natural propensity for leadership.

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I recently came across an old, yet timeless quote by Henry Ford: “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." When I read those wise words, they hit me like a ton of bricks. This is truly what I strive to teach my clients everyday; being a small business owner is about so much more than just turning a profit.

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Here are three little words that every small business owner needs to hear: “You are fired.” Yes, you heard me right – FIRED.

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Knowing You Can

Aug 19, 2014

I recently came across a quote that says, “Don’t think you can, know you can,” and it really hit home with my coaching business. Every day I work with small business owners who worry they will fail not only themselves, but the employees, family and friends who depend on them. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth – the reality is that the passion and confidence is already inside you or else you would not have embarked on the journey of becoming a business owner in the first place.

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I recently read a great article on NBC.com entitled “Starting a Small Business Begins with Overcoming Your Fears.” The piece has some great tips for new business owners, but it also got me thinking. There is a lot of advice out there for people who dream of being their own boss, but what about the small business owners who have already taken the leap, but find themselves struggling? The cold hard fact is that a whopping 8 out of 10 businesses fail and that statistic leaves many wondering, why? Is there anything these business owners could have done to salvage their dream?

My resounding answer: YES.

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During your time as a business owner, there will inevitably come a day when one of your employees asks you for a raise. Being the boss and having the final say usually doesn’t make this conversation any easier. Let’s face it, most people avoid the topic of money altogether because they are too intimidated to initiate the tough discussion. While knowing how to ask for a raise is important, it is equally imperative that a business owner understand what they should expect from an employee who is asking for more cash.

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For most small business owners, their business is their pride and joy, their “baby” so to say. That’s why it can be difficult to bite the bullet and hire a business coach. I mean, isn’t that why you started your own business in the first place? So that you wouldn’t have to follow someone else’s rules and be your own boss? However, when you work with the right business coach that will not be the dynamic at all. A business coach should be a mentor, confidant and your biggest advocate, while at the same time teaching how to be a better business owner and leader.

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“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” ~Tony Robbins

As the springtime rolls in like a breath of fresh air, it’s the perfect time for new beginnings. Maybe every New Year’s resolution you made for your small business has fallen by the wayside or perhaps you’ve just come out of hibernation and realize it’s time to make a change. Whatever the reason, focusing on goal setting is a great way to lead you and your team down a path of success.

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As a small business owner or entrepreneur, have you ever asked yourself the following three questions?

(1) What matters most to me? (I.e. values)

(2) Why do I do what I do? (I.e. passion)

(3) Why does what I do matter? (I.e. purpose)

If you haven’t, grab some paper and a pen because while these questions might seem elementary, your answers are the key to creating a strong culture, brand and vision for your business.

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I recently read an article in Forbes called, “Four Ways Small Businesses Can Recruit Top Talent” and it had some great ideas, but it also got me thinking. You can put forth all the effort in the world to recruit top talent for your small business, but once that is done, what are you doing to KEEP that amazing talent on your team? Sometimes we get so caught up in catching a fish, we forget to put the appropriate plans in place for when we actually catch one.

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In the 2013 State of the Business Owner (SOB) Report, it was discovered that an overwhelming percentage of small business owners are focused primarily on company growth. However, when a business owner becomes fixated on growth alone, it is easy to unknowingly lose sight of the bigger picture. It is important to remember that the source of sustainable revenue and profit growth comes from a holistic focus on the customer, a clear growth strategy and alignment between metrics and goals.

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Everyone has a boss. Even if you own your own business, you still have a boss. As a boss, you set rules and regulations for your employees to follow and your boss – the city you operate your business in, along with the IRS – set rules and regulations for you to follow. There is no denying that bosses play an important role in keeping processes running smoothly and overseeing all the crucial things that make a business run. However, as a small business owner, you need to be more than just a boss; you need to be a leader.

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The text book definition of customer delivery is “a collection of sales products delivered together,” but as small business owners, you and I both know that customer delivery encompasses so much more. We’re not talking about physical shipments here, we’re talking about meeting customers’ expectations of high quality customer service.

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"No one ever says on his death bed, 'I wish I spent more time at the office." - Harold Kushner

Owning a business and having some sort of work/life balance don't go hand-in-hand for many people. When you're building your business and you feel passionate about its success, it's natural for work to become an all-consuming, 24/7 project. However, once your business is buzzing and things are looking good, if you're still answering e-mails from bed at 5am and poring over budgets while your kids are begging you to play, something needs to change.

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Every day, business owners choose how to invest their most precious re-source: time.

We examined a broad range of business tools to understand where owners should focus their time and energy, depending on the stage of their business, resulting in nine tools that we call “The Ownership Stack.”

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If you’re like most business owners, when you went into business you had a vision of what you wanted to achieve and what you wanted out of the business. Have you realized that vision? Is your personal income meeting your current financial needs?

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  • Identifies OPPORTUNITIES for your business’s growth and improvement?
  • Provides you with IDEAS on how those opportunities work?
  • Helps you identify your VISION for the future of your business, your GOALS, and the steps to get you there?
  • Works with you to create an ACTION PLAN to achieve those goals?
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Okay, I don’t always recommend movies, but I did recently and it had a major impact on one of my coaching clients. I know you might be thinking “You gotta be kiddin’,” but let me briefly lay out the scenario...

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Do we only have leaders that are “born leaders” or can leadership be learned?  I remember this subject being a debated many moons ago when I was in graduate school.  It was a lively debate that was on-going for a very long time and still is today.  One argument is that great leaders are born with the skills to lead.  Others believe differently – that leadership can be learned and that many of our best leaders were taught the skills required to lead.  I believe that leadership can be learned, and here’s why...

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Many business owners don’t even think of themselves as business leaders.  It’s not intentional - they just feel as though they own the business, deal with the day-to-day operations and as long as the things get done, orders go out, and the bills get paid – well, they must be doing something right.  Well of course, many business owners do a great job with their companies, but they could do even better if they spent more time “leading” and less time “doing”.   

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Having difficulty finding and retaining good employees for your company? Not sure why your sales close ratio is not higher? Don’t understand your company’s Balance Sheet or Statement of Cash Flows? Haven’t thought about what your customers’ image and expectation are as a result doing business with you? Why are your customers buying from you in the first place? Do these questions (and probably many more...) sound familiar? In all likelihood they do for you as well as for most business owners.

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