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WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE GETTING THINGS DONE

If you want to get ONE important thing done, don’t put 10 “priority” things on your to-do list that is constantly visible.  What is the single biggest thing you need to do today?  Focus on that ONE thing and then move on to the next.  Don’t add to the noise and distractions already around you by dividing your time and attention trying to do too many things all at once.

Todo list are necessary, just don’t put it where you constantly see it.  A long to-do list can increase your anxiety and make you feel overwhelmed.  Avoid allowing the “priority” list stare back at you.  There is a human nature side of facing too much to do – it is called “Fight or Flight”, which means we fight the things we face and end up not doing what we intended or we run from them feeling like it is not worth the effort.

TRY THIS – make an appointment on your calendar with the ONE important thing.  When done, add the next thing to your calendar.  If you are intentional and develop your own rules about how you use your time, you will be more productive and ultimately more successful. 

Join our community to learn about our classes and coaching – https://mailchi.mp/6b4fffe2f6cc/join-our-community

#makenewrules

Indecision Destroys

Deciding not to decide (aka indecision) will destroy any organization.  Focusing on symptoms does not solve problems.  Being “stuck” and not doing anything about it will put you out of business fast!

I work with many organizations where ignoring the actions (or lack) of employees, team members, and even the owner had become detrimental.  Here are a few examples:

The Sales Manager

The sales manager of a $28 million distribution company has been a personal friend of the president for over 20 years.  This manager is responsible for 8 salespeople.

The sales manager is constantly late to work.  When he gets to his desk, he spends 30 minutes getting coffee and chatting with people around the office.  He appears complacent toward his responsibilities.   People notice.

When there is a sales meeting (only occasionally held), he is generally late.  The sales team members are afraid to say anything.  The top-performing salespeople are starting to leave.   

The President questions why sales are low and being lost to the competition?  The budgeted sales are short by over 20%.

The decision to not confront the sales manager has impacted almost every area of the business.  Should the sales manager be put on notice or released?

The Benevolent Owner

An 18-year-old $23 million pipeline construction company has had cash flow problems for the last 4 years.  The owner wants to retire, but the family members who work in the company do not want to take over.  

Issues with quality control have begun to cause major problems.  Customers are paying slow.  Old customers are not responding to bid proposals.

The owner complains that the family members want him to pay bonuses even when he cannot get them to stay past 4:30 pm.  He says they have not earned it.  He pays them bonuses anyway.  They all drive company cars, and use company equipment and staff for “personal projects”.  He thinks they do not appreciate him.

The owner, who loves race cars is constantly “borrowing funds from the company” to pay for his hobby.  We analyzed the numbers and discovered the amount exceeded $2.5 million in the last 3 years.

The company has had problems getting insurance bonding and has experienced lost job opportunities because they are “uninsurable”.  The financial problems have affected bonding for construction projects.

The company bookkeeper is not experienced in job cost accounting.  She has been the receptionist for 4 years.  The owner says she is very loyal.

Payroll tax defaults have been as high as $2 million.  The company uses those funds to pay for immediate cash needs.  Company assets are constantly being “refinanced” in order to pay the IRS for payroll taxes and the shortfall of cash to pay normal business expenses.

The owner tells me that he cannot win the battle of cash flow.  He wants to retire, but cannot.  He asked me what he should do.  I turned the question to him and asked him to tell me what he thinks the problems are.     

What do you think the problems are?  Is it the owner?  Is it the family members not speaking up?  What are the tough decisions that need to be made?

Avoiding the separation of his love for race cars is a huge legal and financial risk.  Ignoring his family’s accountability and setting proper expectations are major issues.  All are killing the business.                                                                 Read more

The Book That Permanently Changed My Business

If you run a business, you know there are periods when you wonder how you are going to get through it all. It often seems like the business owns you instead of the other way around.  There is a better way.

In my early entrepreneur days (the mid-1980’s), I ran across an absolute game-changing book that helped me understand where I was not prepared to be a success in business.  The book permanently changed my perspective on how to run a business.  From the principles learned, I continued forward to build three successful and nationally recognized technology companies with 1,000’s of clients, in just about every industry.

This book, The E-Myth, “Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it”, has been named the #1 business book of all time.  It presents powerful lessons about why people go into business and how they try to run them without a foundation for success.  

The author, Michael Gerber,  suggest that most businesses are started by “technicians” who enjoy the hands-on work more than the idea of building a successful organization.  Because of the bias, these entrepreneurs set their attention working in the business when they should be working on their business.

There is a simple and effective way to counter the E-Myth tendency.  Entrepreneurs should be building their business as a prototype for a large number of franchises that can be created over time.  When the entrepreneur adopts this scalable mindset, they can participate in the business as a technician and can act as a manager (putting systems and controls in place) and as an entrepreneur (a visionary that can create a sustainable entity).  

Businesses that are built by someone who understands the roles of the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur will have a substantially greater chance of success than those who “think like a technician”.  

Gerber explains businesses generally go through three phases:  

  1. Infancy – when the technician is predominant and supplies most of the output
  2. Expansion – better management skills are required to supply order and build systems
  3. Maturity – entrepreneur perspectives are needed to supply the “vision”

McDonald’s, Walmart, Disney and Federal Express all have been built on a scalable model as sighted by Gerber.  This is not to say every small business should seek to become another conglomerate but should seek to build repeatable business systems and processes that provide the foundation for predictable success.

In our Mastermind Group, we spend two weeks learning the principles outlined in Gerber’s book The E-Myth.  The wisdom gained from The E-Myth has been a game changer for most all of the clients we have worked with.

I invite you to join one of our Mastermind Groups.  Our weekly sessions are designed to coach you, educate you and mentor you toward new levels personally and for your business.  You will learn how to build a sustainable business that works for you!  

Contact the coach by selecting this link Mastermind Group.  Positions are limited availability.

 

Master the Entrepreneur Fundamentals

When someone starts a business, they seldom consider the fundamental rules of entrepreneurial success.  We experience information excess and distractions pointing us to a better way to do everything.  All of these distractions keep our eyes off the fundamentals of business success.  I call this “chasing shiny objects” and have fallen victim to this phenomena as well.

Let’s explore a few of the fundamental rules of building a successful business.

  • Know WHY you are in this business and WHERE you want to go with it:

There are plenty of reasons why businesses are started.  Many businesses are started for emotional reasons.  Examples include escaping having a boss or thinking more money can be made being an entrepreneur.  Be assured it is not going to happen overnight.  

A fascinating assumption is that you can work fewer hours as a business owner.  The reasons sound great, but reality provides a much different conclusion.

As Baby Boomers approach retirement age, they become concerned about having enough money to live as they dreamed.  This is a powerful and compelling “why”.  Starting a “side hustle” or new business has become very popular among this growing population.  Statistics show us the over half of small business are owned by those between 55 and 80.   I will soon release my course, “The 90 Day Boomer Business Startup Course” that helps this group explore and create a business or additional income sources.

In my book, Surviving Entrepreneurship, I provide many examples of assumptions and reality of entrepreneurship dreamers.  A complimentary copy download link is here

Why would you want to start a business?  When you have an impelling why you are starting a business, you will be significantly more inclined to overcome the inevitable “bumps in the road” and stay focused.

As you clearly define your why and where you want to go with your business, it is critical that you create a business plan.  In your plan state specifically who your target market is, your business structure, the financial projections along with the dates and milestones you expect to meet.  

Review your progress often against your plans.  Knowing that you are on track with your why is assurance that you will stay the course and be able to adjust your activities as needed for success.

  • Learn to sell – you need revenue to succeed:

You can create a great website, the perfect logo, have a social media presence and the best location.  When you don’t have paying customers, it may mean you are not selling the right way.  

Be aware of your skills and grow them.  Take a sales course like Dale Carnegie.  Selling is an art and not a science.  Learn the relationship aspects of selling by knowing your customers well and what they want.  Customer’s needs must be put before your desire to close the deal.

Learning to be a good salesperson means knowing how to network.  Hang out where your customers might be.  Hanging out can mean online as well.  Join Facebook groups, Linkedin groups, and other online forums and communities.  

  • Sell what your customers need and want:

Make sure your target customers accept your product as a solution to their problem.  Be certain the value is equivalent to the price you are charging.  You might be able to sell your product for more if you do your job right!

Picking the right target market is important.  Often referred to as “niche”, it is much easier if you pick the target customer who has specific problems you understand and can solve.  Be careful not to target too broad or narrow of an audience.  Start with a broad group of potential customers and drill down so that there is a balance of the number of customers and a need for your solution.  

The optimum scenario is where you create a solution that is dominantly accepted in a niche so that customers come to you.  This eliminates the need to chase them with hard sell tactics.

  • Cash flow is the absolute measure of success:

Creating big profits come only after you experience consistent cash flow.  Cash flow is the change in cash balance over a period: positive if the cash balance increases, negative if the cash balance decreases.

In a recent online poll, I took of small business owners, cash flow was overwhelmingly the biggest concern.  My response provided some simple perspectives to the need for better cash flow.

Over time as cash flow increases, you will start to experience momentum that fuels business growth.  Growth will sustain a healthy business in all aspects.  With strong cash flow and profits, you can add products and services, hire people, create new markets and attract more customers.  This is the ultimate compound effect of money and capital.  

The fundamentals discussed here are not the only rules that we must follow.  Entrepreneurship can be complex and a daunting task that the meek should not consume.  Having said that, you should not ignore the “tug” that comes when you want to pursue a dream of being your own boss.  

Being an entrepreneur can be the most inspirational and rewarding career path you ever choose.  Make your choices wisely and make sure you know the fundamentals before you take that journey to keep your business on track.

For a limited time, I am offering my Entrepreneur Fundamentals Course and am including a special bonus coaching session and assessment.  This is an $800 value!  Learn more by selecting the course information link above.

 

 

 

    

 

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Build Your Game Plan – With Private Coaching

Build Your Game Plan

Work with the coach (One on One)

Coaching is the process that uncovers barriers to achieve the goals and objectives you have.  Coaching will:

  • support you to change in the way you wish and help you go in the direction you want to go.  
  • unlock your potential to maximise your performance.
  • help you to learn rather than teaching you.
  • provide you mentoring, support, training and performing an executable plan created central to what you desire to achieve.

The initial objective of coaching is to develop an accordant relationship.  This “connection” will support tremendous success in reaching your objectives.

As the client, it is important to acknowledge that an outside influence will be beneficial in order for you to embrace your potential.  Coaching is not about focusing on past issues or mistakes.  Coaching does not concentrate on weaknesses.  

Understanding your needs (habit changes or skills and knowledge acquisition) and receiving the proper training and support is crucial to your success.

Needs may be a wide range including skill building, personal wellbeing, time management, relationships, business management, business growth, systems, team building, financial challenges and balancing business and life objectives.

After your needs are documented and prioritized, the Coach will help you clarify and “compartmentalize” your objectives so that each area can be managed through an executable game plan.  As actions are taken, the Coach will mentor you,  monitor accomplishments and be available to help you be accountable to your game plan

Capitalizing on your strengths and putting those to work is a major consideration in the Coaching process.  

Build Your Game Plan is our proven framework for coaching, training, and development.  It is delivered over a 60 day period as follows:

  • We will create a customized development “game plan” to help you build a long-term vision.  The key metrics are tracked to mark your progress and hold you accountable for results
  • Access to our proprietary Entrepreneur Academy.  This online training and education platform and its’ material is available 24/7 on any device.  It includes our own proprietary courses, hundreds of tools, books, recommended videos, podcast and other material.
  • Access to the tools you need to keep innovating and refining all of your critical business systems.  
  • You will develop new habits that ensure you never stop growing.
  • 1-hour live web or phone meetings each week (Utilizing Zoom or Skype).  These sessions follow an agenda that matches the “game plan” established at the beginning of the program
  • Unlimited electronic support so you can stay connected with the coach between sessions and focused on achieving the results you want.  Slack.com is part of our unique methodology to manage file sharing, messaging and discussion.  

According to the International Coach Federation, participants in a coaching program experience:

  • 86% return on investment
  • 70% improved work performance
  • 61% improved management skills
  • 57% improved time management
  • 51% improved team effectiveness
  • 80% improved self-confidence
  • 73% improved relationships
  • 72% improved communication skills
  • 67% improved life/work balance
  • 99% “somewhat” or “very satisfied” with the overall experience
  • 96% would repeat the process

You can potentially save THOUSANDS over conventional coaching and consulting, with GREATER RESULTS!

Cost of the 60-day program is $ 1,995 (installment plan available)**

Upon completion, you receive a 1-year membership in our monthly mentoring sessions.

Schedule a call with me to learn more – you chose a time here.

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Business Success or Expensive Hobby?

We have been programmed for decades to go to college, get a 4-year degree and land a job with a long term career path.  It was frowned upon if you change jobs too often because you may look like a “job hopper”.  Also, changing careers looked like you were unstable and doomed to fail.  

Things are a lot different now.  It is socially acceptable and a sign of “personal growth” to change jobs every 3 to 5 years.  Doing so demonstrates how you increased your value because you have experienced many environments and pursued your “passions”.

There is another large group who are leaving their “secure” jobs, changing career paths and becoming an entrepreneur.  

These “solo-preneurs” fly under the radar of many statistics that would say start-ups are down and failure rates remain at 50% by the 4th year of business.   The source of these numbers is focused on companies that are creating new jobs.

When you peel back the cover, you find that “solo-preneur” is the new business structure of choice.  In this environment, the entrepreneur has no employees.  They choose to run a smaller and more targeted business, capitalizing on a technical skill or new product idea.  They tend to outsource for needs or share the opportunity with others who have complimenting skills.

Entrepreneurs seek to be their own boss, make more money or have more “free” time.  The risk is not a concern to most.  Those who have these aspirations soon find out it is a lot different once they open the door to their new business.  Conducting proper planning rarely occurs. They soon find out that they work more hours than before.  The income is inconsistent and it takes more money to operate than predicted.

If you are an entrepreneur, you will have challenges you have never faced.  The primary reason for the failure of a small business is incompetence and lacking the basic skills to run a business.  You will need to learn new skills in order to succeed.

Do not let the lack of skills or inexperience kill your dream.  Reach out and seek proper resources.  Find someone who has been in your situation, is a mentor and has been trained to help you reach your full potential.

Consider these questions:

Do you have some new business or an “idea”?

Have you been in business for some time and find that it is a struggle to master all the skills required to make your business work?  

Are you building a business or is it failing like it is an expensive hobby?

If your path to success as an entrepreneur is revealing potholes, seek the support of an entrepreneur coach.  Learn how combining coaching, education and creating the game plan will provide you with a greater chance of success.  You might even find that having a coach cost you nothing!

Talk to the coach – schedule a time here.

 

7 Signs to close your business

Is it time to close your business?

So, you have been in business for awhile and it is getting to be more than you bargained for.  You no longer feel like you own a business. It owns YOU!  This is not uncommon.  It goes from logic to emotional as your problems mount.  When things get emotional, you make bad decisions.  Emotional decisions make you take shortcuts.  Shortcuts lead to critical errors and ultimately failure.

What do you do when you operate by emotions alone, or so it may seem.  Maybe you should shut it down.  Did I just say that?

Let’s explore the scenarios and symptoms.  Here we go …

  1. You can’t pay your bills.  When you are short of cash, you grab any easy way to pay for things.  Easy means grabbing a credit card.  Emotions cause you to use your credit card to pay for basic needs. It just became easier than alternative solutions. Next, things you don’t need wind up on the credit card because you needed something to provide you a momentary dopamine stimulation.  Did this sound like something you don’t need becoming a “need”?  Wow, that was a bad idea.  Is this you?
  2. You’re not meeting your goals.  When an entrepreneur starts a business, they generally have a pretty clear vision of what will happen.  They have their business plan, start-up capital, a great product or service and “fire in the belly”.  They predicted that they should start positive cash flow by the 6th month.  It didn’t happen.  Competitors are aiming at you and know your moves and any weaknesses in your product or service.  Eighteen months go by and you don’t know what to do.  You panic because you are in over your head.  Now what?
  3. You change directions constantly.   You find it hard to get traction on ideas.  What looks good on paper just doesn’t work.  You start to wing it.  This or that becomes a series of impulsive decisions.  You say to yourself, “If I had known this, I would have never….”.  You start to ask yourself if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur.  You wonder how other business owners know what to do in these situations.
  4. Your customers aren’t coming back like they did before.  When you first started your business, you had a lot of repeat business.  You started to grow and carry more inventory or hired more people because the business was doing well. You moved to a big new location because you were doing so well.  Months later, sales have dropped because these customers are doing business with you like before.  You start to question everything.  What are the possibilities that this happening?
  5. Marketing channels and methods don’t work like before.  When you first started your business, you could count on people finding you by outdoor and print advertising.  You tried television and radio, but that got too expensive.  You were told you need a better web presence, so you hired a large local web service to “put you on the map”.   You start to spend large amounts of money on internet marketing.  The business is still in a downward spiral.  What do you do now?
  6. You have new competitors that are outpacing you.   When you began, you owned the niche market.  You had only one competitor.  Now you have several competitors.  Everyone knows you and what to expect with your quality services and products.  It should be easy because you have been very consistent in your business practices.  No need to change anything, right?
  7. Your employees are leaving.   You were once the local place to work.  Great pay, great people who worked well together and advancement opportunities look bright.  Then when your sales start dropping, it was like a plague came over your business.  Then, your employees start bailing ship in just a matter of weeks.  You didn’t see this coming, did you?  Wonder what could have happened?  What now?

If any of these things sound like what has happened to you, check out tomorrow’s solution post.  It may surprise you on how there are relatively straightforward solutions.  Oh, and reasons NOT to shut your business down.

Schedule a time to talk – here is my schedule.

Ask yourself these questions

Hey Entrepreneur ask yourself these questions-
What do my customers say about their experience in working with my company?

Would they come back? Would they tell a friend something good?

If a customer comes back, what makes them? Is it: a) Quality b) price c) The experience d) The value
If you have a firm answer, how did you arrive at that?

Marketing, customer engagement and becoming a destination business has changed.  The way you find customers is different now days. Yellow pages, television, radio, newspaper, direct mail and billboards are all a thing of the past.

How do you find, nurture and keep customers?   Stay tuned because I have some POWERFUL news to share with you.

Schedule some time with me here.

Keep your business on track

If you are like many entrepreneurs, you started a business because there were boundless riches ahead by being your own boss and customers would be flocking to buy your unique product or service which filled a void in the global marketplace.

Then reality set in. The next few years were filled with disappointing revenue and a roller coaster filled with many challenges. To top it off, you were working twice as much as when you were working for someone else. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Each year there is an average of 550,000 startup businesses in the United States. Typically, 40 percent of those fail during the first two years and by year 10, an average of 70 percent fail.

You do not have to be a statistic. Whether you are new or have been in business for years, here are some helpful tips to help you get on the right track:

Keep your personal needs to a minimum. Pay the business bills first and then pay yourself. If you drain the business, you lose your dream and your investment. Do not pay personal bills out of your business account. Ask the IRS about that.

Know the numbers by keeping a well-maintained bookkeeping system such as QuickBooks. If you are “administratively challenged,” hire the help. It might save you and your business. Expect highs and lows in business. Stay on a budget and keep the cash flowing. Avoid the credit card.

Create a superior value proposition. A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered and acknowledged and a belief from the customer that value will be delivered and experienced. This becomes your brand because they know what to expect from your products and services.

Know your customers by surveying their experiences. Respond to them no matter what they say. There is rarely an excuse for an unhappy customer if you do your job right. Remember an unhappy customer will tell at least a dozen others if their experience was bad.

Stay organized, de-clutter and eliminate distractions that keep you from accomplishing your goals. Have clarity and be relentless in developing plans and measuring your results.

Create a positive image through community involvement. People like doing business with people they admire and trust. Be involved where you can make a difference.

Create a balance between your work and personal life. To continue to be fresh and effective, work on you, your spirituality, hobbies, reading or learning something new. Leave at 5 p.m.

When you feel overwhelmed and “stuck,” remember, a spouse or friend is too close to the situation to be effective, and an untrained professional is not specifically qualified to support you. You will get the best results by seeking an experienced mentor or coach.

Keith Roberts, Entrepreneur Coach, is a Certified Master Business, Executive and Life coach with over 38 years of experience as an entrepreneur, technology industry leader, trainer, and C Level executive.  As a Coach, I help my clients uncover the barriers to achieving their dreams and goals in business and life.

Schedule 30 minutes for a free consult – here.

Got Overload?

Everywhere you turn there is something to distract you from what you are trying to do or makes you so stressed out you want to scream. You do not have to look far; politics, terrorist attacks, disease, weather disasters, protest, political correctness, debt, phone calls, kids’ needs, deadlines … should I stop? Do you feel like things are out of control and the whole world has gone to hell in a hand-basket?

I find myself becoming more passionate than ever before to master ways to combat the external forces that seek that work against me. We know that what you feed into your mind effects how you think and live. What you eat effects your weight and health. Additionally, who you associate with effects your attitude about how you feel about yourself. We talk to others and hear about what they have, what they make and where they are going .. It drives us to compare ourselves and “compete”.
So, what would you do if you could change everything that is creating stress for you? By that, I am saying start taking control of everything you have direct power over.

What do we have power over. You can;
• Turn the television off and read a book
• Turn the radio to music stations (turn off talk radio)
• Quit surfing the web unless it is for something that will help you be better.
• Subscribe to YouTube channels that are self-improvement or spiritual materials.
• Stop texting as your means to communicate.
• Pick up a self-improvement book (Like the old stuff; Dale Carnegie, Jim Rohn or Napoleon Hill)
• Start reading the Bible (a chapter a day takes only 15 minutes or so)
• Pause your Facebook account – you will find out how much free time you acquire. The withdrawals are painless and short-lived, I promise.
• Pick up the phone and tell someone that you were thinking about them and keep it short… it could make someone’s day (and yours too)
• You can take a walk for a half hour each morning.
• You can start a journal. This is a great way to get things “off your chest”. And what is cool, you can look back at last month’s entries
and see the progress that has been made. I have a daily prayer journal I started nine years ago and love looking back at all the progress I have made and the prayers that have been answered.

I could keep going … you got the message I am sure.

How do we manage all the “stuff” that goes on in our lives? I recommend The Power of Three.
The Power of three is the process of concentrating on three areas of our life every day. Simple, consistent and purposeful with a goal of making positivity our mantra. Let’s break them into the major areas of our life; 1) Relationships 2) Professional 3) Personal. By improving these areas intentionally, a little each day, you will improve the quality of our life exponentially. New habits and a new you evolve.