• Stop Being a Procrastinator and Get It Done!

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    Now that you’ve begun to take action on your business plan—to bridge the gap between vision and reality—you may have discovered that getting it all done can be a challenge. Maybe you’re missing deadlines, or you’re leaving crucial things undone.

    You’re not alone.

    The average human spends 20% of the workday completing business-crucial tasks, and 80% of the workday on things of little or no value to the success of a business strategy[1].

    And considering that you’re a business owner, it’s likely that your business-related tasks are NOT reserved for the standard “workday.”

    If your habits fall within the above-mentioned statistic, and you’re having trouble getting everything that’s necessary to the execution of your business strategy done, then you can see the problem:

    Attention is being paid, in large part, to all the wrong tasks.

    Human nature dictates that we feel compelled to complete what’s easiest or mundane first, to “get it out of the way,” in some sort of bogus “preparation” for the tasks we know are most fundamentally important. And to go along with that, we tend to put off what we see as difficult, new or scary…and those are typically the tasks crucial to the success of business strategies.

    How can you save your business strategy from falling victim to this type of detrimental behaviour? You can follow these tips for prioritisation and time management. Soon, you’ll see that things start getting done. Then, you’ll see your business strategy begin to blossom, as it is implemented. And finally, your new “get it done” mindset will become your new default…your new way of doing, and succeeding in, business.

    And here’s that list:

    • When you first start to implement your business strategy, everything seems like a priority. You may tend to be of the mindset that everything needs to be done now, and so you either start at the top of the list or you knock out the easiest tasks first (so the list looks smaller, quickly). This is a mistake. Instead, list all of the tasks ahead of you and prioritise them. In order to do this, take things like due/promise dates and incompletion consequences into consideration. Think about the short-term and long-term ramifications of not completing a task or only partially completing it. Consider the profit impact of any incomplete task. Put those tasks that, when completed, will offer the greatest value to the success of your business strategy at the TOP OF THE LIST, to be completed first.
    • Plan, plan, plan. It has been suggested that for every hour spent planning, four hours of scrambling is saved. If you’ve ever executed something after careful planning, and remember how smoothly it went, you’ll have no trouble believing this notion. Just the process of planning, itself is valuable to your overall view of any strategy. As you plan (i.e. organise tasks into a turn-by-turn scheme), priorities will surface and creative ideas for completing those tasks will, too.
    • Avoid becoming bound by details. Too often, perfectionism will not only cause a task to be completed outside of a deadline; that perfectionism will take precedence over the true purpose of the task. Get started. Get it done. The polish will come.
    • Stay flexible, remembering that the priorities you set will change from day-to-day and sometimes from hour-to-hour. If an urgent task presents itself (e.g. a proposal to attain a new account), be prepared to shift everything so that it can take precedence. Prepare your mind for this to happen; then, when something comes up, your overall plan won’t seem thoroughly disrupted. You will feel more in-control.
    • Sometimes, in order to get everything done, you simply must delegate. This could mean handing the really important tasks over to a professional who is better suited to completing them than you are. It might mean appointing someone (like a personal assistant) to complete the more mundane tasks. Whatever it is, use the skill sets at your disposal to get the most important things done first—and well.
    • Eliminate procrastination as an option. One thing put to the side may seem inconsequential; but what if one thing is put to the side every day? In just one month, that’s about 30 things you’ll have to do—and how much profit will you lose when they go undone? How much stress will you experience, thinking about how you’ll get it all done? Keep your desk and your mind uncluttered. Make a plan (either for the immediate future or the near future) to complete every task that you’re presented with, and stick to that plan. Your business strategy will thank you, with clean, uncluttered and focussed execution.
    • Identify time sucks and compartmentalise them. Time sucks are those things that may take only a few minutes at a time throughout the day, but that continually interrupt your forward movement in getting things done. This could be checking email, social media, small-talk or answering the phone. Notice I wrote “compartmentalise” above, rather than “eliminate.” You still have to answer the phone, check email and keep up-to-date with your social media pages. However, if you assign a time during the day for each, where you dedicate your complete attention to that task, then it will take less time overall and you’ll complete more of the important tasks in your business strategy. It’s okay to use a Do Not Disturb sign, to silence your phone or to turn off social media and email notifications. Your business strategy will thank you.
    • Cut out useless meetings. The business meeting has become something rather perfunctory, rather than something necessary to moving forward. Reserve meetings for time when real problems need to be solved, and when business strategy implementation will actually benefit. Avoid regularly scheduled meetings where new business is little more than a revisit of old business.

    This should get you started with prioritising and time management. However, there is so much more to talk about, especially when it comes to your specific business strategy and the tasks involved with implementing it. Why not schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me? Let’s talk about it.

     

     

    [1] Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, founder of the Productivity Institute

  • Set SMART Goals, Grow your Business

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    You probably already know that without setting goals, you will accomplish far less than you would with them. We all need a clear destination to move toward. We all need an objective, a concentrated point, a flag in the sand…in order to stay focused on what we wish to accomplish.

    It’s also important to remember that the setting of your goals is just as important as the steps made toward achieving them. Not just any old goal will do. Learning how to set SMART goals is going to be necessary for the success of your business growth strategy. In fact, poor goal setting leading to wishy washy outcomes is yet another reason that business strategies fail.

    What is a SMART goal, anyway? If you don’t know, you’re definitely not alone. Goal setting is not taught in school (although it is, in my opinion, a fundamental life skill as important as reading and writing). Learning how to set SMART goals will help stretch and challenge you to grow personally, encourage you to develop new skills, inspire you to be more productive in getting things done…and move what’s important to you from being just a dream to being tangible reality.

    SMART stands for:

    Specific

    Measurable

    Attainable

    Relevant

    Time-Bound

    • Specific: Every goal should contain precise details about what is to be accomplished. There should be no grey area; no wondering if progress is actually being made or if the goal has been achieved. “Increase sales” is not a specific goal. “Increase sales by 10%” is a specific goal.
    • Measureable: An agreed-upon measurement of success needs to be decided, in order to know when the goal has been achieved.  A system must be in place to measure progress—so that everyone involved knows, for certain, how far the team is from reaching the goal. Be prepared to show, in real numbers, that your sales goal (for example) has been realised.
    • Attainable: Every goal should be reachable—but never within your comfort zone. Always sets goals that are outside that comfort zone, so that you will need to stretch and develop yourself whilst working toward achieving it. Your goals should not read as a to-do list. Every one of them should motivate, excite and scare
    • Relevant: All goals should align with your corporate [and personal] values. Any goal that conflicts with your value system will be difficult to achieve (And why would you want it anyway?). Your goals should complement the holistic view of your life. Never sacrifice the reaching of one [SMART] goal for another. Never strive for a goal that will not make a positive difference in your work or your life. To sum it up, ensure that all goals you set fit well into, and advance, what you’ve already achieved and what you’re passionate about.
    • Time-Bound: Every SMART goal needs a target date for realisation. This helps to create focus and urgency to getting it done.  It’s not a deadline (that sounds so terminal), but rather a lifeline—a time when you will feel more alive because you’ve achieved something that will improve your life. Set a time limit that is not impossible, but that will challenge you. Avoiding this step means that you may never achieve your goal, because you will always have the freedom of mind to put it off until tomorrow, next week or next year.

    And to take it two steps further, every goal should be a SMARTIE goal, meaning that every SMART goal should also:

    • Inspire: Your goals should be the blue print for how you want your life or business to be in the future.  If your goals don’t inspire you each day to want to achieve them, then get some new SMART goals!
    • Empower: Reaching your SMART goal should leave you feeling great and with a sense that your life or business is better in some way for having achieved it.

    Start by writing down your SMART goals. Confirm that they are SMARTIE goals, too. This will set a clear intention in your mind and will put your subconscious to work achieving them. Everything is always created twice—first in your head and then in reality. As you clarify your thoughts with writing, your hand is creating the words, your eyes are seeing those words and each goal becomes more real.

    Always remember that your goals must be compelling. Each one should be a stretch and take you out of your comfort zone; therefore if a goal is not inspiring, motivational, mentally challenging or emotionally energizing, you are likely to give up before you achieve it.

    If you have set New Year’s Resolutions in the past, but have rarely realised them, then this can be one of the reasons (i.e. they are “shoulds” and “ought-tos,” rather than SMART goals that inspire and empower you).

    Are you ready to set your own SMARTIE goals? Are you excited about what you can achieve when those goals are broken down to the objectives and actions that will lead you to positive change and success?

    If you already have goals, are they SMART and are you clear on how to take the next step for creating a plan to achieve them?  Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation, so we can figure out, together, where you are, where you’re going and how SMART goals can help to get you there.

     

     

  • Social Enterprise and the Benefits for your Business

    Unsure how best to grow businessHave you ever felt conflicted between the need to grow your business and the desire to make a positive impact in the community you serve? If so, I have two pieces of good news for you:

    1. You are the perfect candidate to find out more about Social Enterprise, a new and rapidly developing business model—one that will help you differentiate and grow your enterprise.

    2. You can have it all—sustainable business growth, as well as a positive impact on your people, your community, and the environment.

    Contrary to popular belief, Social Enterprise is not about being a charity or a not-for-profit organisation. Though the definition has been up for some debate in recent years, I see the most comprehensive definition being the following:

    Social Enterprise: A profit making business with a social objective or purpose, where a significant part of the profit is reinvested into the business or local community to create further social impact. As the business profits grow so the benefits to society grow.

    Another way of clarifying the meaning of Social Enterprise would be to look at the principle of Tripe P Bottom Line Investment. This business theory places equal amounts of emphasis on People, Planet, and Profit…with the idea that all will benefit with a focus on each.

    • People: the business take steps to ensure that benefit is felt by all people involved…from employees to community members.

    • Planet: the business avoids making a negative impact on the environment, and goes as far as reducing energy consumption, waste, or emissions, for example.

    • Profit: the business focusses on earning (and increasing) profits in its trading activities and by being socially aware. These profits will benefit not just the shareholders but stakeholders and the wider community.

    The Advantages of Becoming a Social Enterprise
    Let’s face it: corporations are increasingly being held responsible for their actions (or inaction!), as well as for the actions of their sponsors, suppliers, the communities that accommodate them, and the people who patronise them.

    What does this mean for you, the small/medium sized business owner?
    1) Do nothing now and wait until society deems that your activities are identified as being Socially Unaware,
    2) Take the initiative now to alter your business model to become a “social enterprise” and bound ahead of the competition in terms of profitability and social impact.

    There is a broad spectrum on what and how social enterprise is classified, and different examples to model across all sectors and company sizes. There are many benefits to becoming a Social Enterprise. Here are some of the advantages you can expect:

    • Innovation: With new connections come new viewpoints; and with new viewpoints come fresh, new ways of doing things. This is how the seeds of innovation are planted.

    • Investment: When your business showcases itself as a Social Enterprise, investors’ attention is piqued. The astute ones know about the social enterprise movement, and are quick to align themselves with businesses who are embracing this new business model.

    • Engagement: The social impact you choose to make, through your Social Enterprise, says a lot about your corporate values. People who share those values will pick up on this and choose to associate and make conversation with your company. These are the people who hold the most potential for becoming loyal clients.

    • Problem-Solving: As a business your role is to serve your customers by identifying a problem and then solving that problem for them. A Social Enterprise solves customer problems and looks to solve social problem at the same time. Social enterprises are therefore seen to be more innovative and dynamic and are more likely to gain the attention of potential employees, customers and investors.

    • Publicity: The conventional profit-centred business model is under attack; however, there’s a counterculture going on, too. The Social Enterprise model is being promoted and highlighted in the many news and social media outlets. By raising your level of social awareness and incorporating social responsibility into your business model you will find many opportunities to raise your social profile – again making it easier to gain new customers, employees and investors.

    The advantages of operating as a Social Enterprise certainly do not end there…and neither does the good news. If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of running your very own Social Enterprise, you can learn how to accomplish that in my upcoming FREE event, Access to IMPACT. In this evening event, to be held at the British Library on 4th February, you will learn how…

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth.

    This event is for business leaders from all sectors and all size companies (start-ups, SMEs, and corporations), entrepreneurs, public institutions, and universities. Join me and two other Social Enterprise experts as we show you how to make the most of this new business model—for the good of your community, your environment, and of course, your business. Click here for your ticket.

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  • How Do You Measure Up?

    How Do You Measure Up?

    I was with a client yesterday talking about how to grow their business. Everything was going well until I asked for some more details about the sales figures and profit margins. I got a slightly sheepish look from the MD and a comment that whilst they could give me monthly and even daily overall sales figs for the business, they couldn’t break that figure down in any more detail.

    Now whilst this may seem surprising, many companies are guilty of having similar number blindness and don’t have a clear idea of the reality of what is going on in their company.  Do you for instance, have a clear idea of how your sales figures are made up? Do you have an idea of what your profit margin is on each of your products or services? Do you know which of your clients are the most profitable?

    Numbers are your friend!
    There are all kinds of reasons for not tracking and measuring these types of numbers: not knowing what data to measure, not knowing how to track the data, not knowing what to do with the data once received etc.

    However whatever the reasons, it is important to realise that the only way to effectively grow your business is to embrace numbers and treat them as your friend. Numbers tell you exactly the way that it is, they can help show what has happened and they can inform you of how things will be in the future. Some people avoid looking too closely at the numbers in their business for fear of what the numbers may reveal. However it is good to remember that although that you cannot change the past, you can use information today to change what you do to improve your performance tomorrow.

    You cannot improve what you do not measure.
    If you want to get better at something you need to know what level you are starting from. If you want to sustainably grow your business you need to know where your business is operating today.

    Tracking the right numbers can help you to keep focused on delivering your strategy for growth and allows you to stay neutral by seeing clearly what is going on without the emotion. Reviewing the numbers regularly and watching how they change provides an opportunity to learn from the actions that you are taking. What are you doing right that you can do more of? What do you need to do less of or stop doing? How can you apply what you have learnt going forward?

    So if you want to track numbers which ones should you monitor to help you to grow your business? There are so many different numbers you could look at there is a danger of being overwhelmed and not tracking any, or tracking too many numbers that aren’t giving you the information that you need.

    What numbers to track?
    There are two different types of numbers that you can track and measure:

    1) Lagging indicators – these are usually output based and tell you how things were in the past e.g. revenue, sales figures, number of customers, etc. They are usually easy to measure but hard to improve or influence.

    2) Leading indicators – these are usually input oriented and help to determine how things will be in the future. They can be harder to measure but much easier to influence and improve. e.g. number of client visits you make, telephone calls you make, emails queries answered in under 2 hours, no cases closed in 48 hours etc.

    To change the lagging indicators (the results) that you are getting in your business, you need to focus on determining and measuring your leading indicators. To determine your business leading indicators you need to identify what are the activities that you must undertake to achieve the desired outcome?
    E.g. in your business you want to grow on line sales.
    Your lagging indicator will be measuring your % of turnover or profits derived from on line sales.
    Your leading indicators could be:
    1) Number of people visiting your web site
    2) Visitor time spent on your web site
    3) Number of email addresses captured
    4) Number of emails sent to a potential customer before buying etc.

    All these leading indicators can be influenced and improved upon once they are being measured.

    Identify your Critical Drivers to improve performance
    Determining and monitoring critical drivers in a business is key to improving performance. Identifying key performance indicators (leading indicators) and measuring them will ALWAYS move you forward as it raises your awareness of where you are and what you need to focus on .

    Another way to look at KPIs is to use the analogy of flying a plane. Pilots watch dials very carefully to guarantee the success of a flight. They are always monitoring their dials, checking to see what is happening so that they can take corrective action to stay on the current course.

    What are the characteristics of KPIs or business dials?
    1) They are carefully selected measures that guarantee success
    2) They give information on what is happening now or what will happen
    3) They have pre-determined levels below which corrective action must be taken to guarantee success

    An example is a vehicle fuel gauge, which is designed to show you when to take corrective action if the level of fuel fall below a certain point.

    Identify your own KPIs or business dials
    Using and measuring KPIs or dials helps to determine if you are going to achieve your business goals, however they take patience to set up and start using. To determine the right numbers that you need to track in your business you need to do the following:

    1) Determine which KPIs/dials need to be created
    2) Determine the level each KPI/dial must reach to achieve success
    3) Create a system to monitor and measure KPIs/dials
    4) Employ the qualities of playing a game
    5) Focus on actions needed to take to get/keep dials at their levels of pre-determined success

    If you do take the time to identify the key performance indicators in your company and regularly monitor and measure them you are GUARANTEED SUCCESS!

    Dare to check how you are doing – as often as possible!

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams

  • How To Create Extraordinary Results In Your Life In Under 500 Words!

    How To Create Extraordinary Results In Your Life In Under 500 Words!

    Since we are all so busy in life trying to cram in as much as we possibly can, we don’t stop to take the take the time necessary to think and make the behavioral changes required to create different results in our lives.

    I thought that in this blog I would condense down the key elements of making transformational change into 500 words or less – thus by keeping it short leaving you time to actually take the actions necessary to achieve the results you desire!

    Here goes….

    Listed below are the key steps for creating change in your life to help you to achieve the success you want. Follow the practical steps listed below and you will be on the way to creating extraordinary results in your life.

    1) Create a Vision that Compels you and Fulfills your Personal Core Values – this is a blue print for how you want the future to look like

    Practically how to do this:
    a) Take at least one hour to reflect and answer the following questions:
    i) What does success look like to you?
    ii) What does your ideal day(s) would look like?
    iii) If money was no object what would you be doing right now with your life?
    iv) How do you want to be remembered when you are gone?

    b) Write out your inspiring vision for your life touching all areas of your life.

    2) Create Internal Alignment – align yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually

    Practically how to do this:
    a) Review yourself on how well you take care of yourself in terms of your:

    i) Physical well-being, (how well you sleep, eat, exercise, take care of yourself),
    ii) Mental well-being (how well do you focus, get things done, have fun),
    iii) Emotional well-being, (how well you connect with others, take time to experience joy, love, gratitude, appreciation, etc)
    iv) Spiritual well-being (how well you live your values, live life with passion and purpose, enjoy boundless energy, give to others)

    b) Create daily habits and rituals in each of these areas to improve your current score in each area.

    c) Measure each month how you are doing in each of these areas to move towards greater alignment.

    d) Examine your limiting beliefs that don’t serve you any longer and change them for new empowering beliefs.

    3) Relentless Execution – take actions until you have achieved the results that you desire

    Practically how to do this:
    a) Break your vision down into small chunks e.g. different roles and timeframes 3,6,12 months, 3,5 years from now etc

    b) Make a plan.

    c) Set SMART goals for all areas of your plan.

    d) Establish ways of measuring each goal.

    e) Track how you are doing with your plan every month. (You can’t improve what you don’t measure!)

    f) Get support in your life e.g. a network of inspiring friends, a personal coach to create accountability.

    4) Celebrate your Successes

    Practically how to do this:
    a) Spend time at least once a month reviewing your plan and highlighting all the things that have gone really well in your life. Note down what worked so that you can repeat this and do more of the things that work for you.

    b)Take 5 minutes every day to be grateful for the things that you have in your life and then acknowledge yourself for all that you are.

    c) Find someone to share your success with. Failing that, make sure you pat yourself on the back and do something fun to celebrate how amazing you are!

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams

     

  • 4

    10 Tips To Help You Live A Life Of Passion

    I believe that passion has become rather one dimensional in our lives, with the focus only on sexual desire.  What a shame.  Passion is actually gloriously multi-dimensional, expressing powerful and compelling feelings or emotions and bringing life into vivid Technicolor.

    Living our lives with passion though is not how most of us choose to live.    Most of us go through life wishing we were somewhere else, doing something else or living somehow differently.     When was the last time in your life that you truly felt the blood pumping in your veins, your heart uplifted and experienced being totally in the moment?

    But “passion can be dangerous” you say.  Goodness, who knows where living passionately will lead us! How much easier to play safe and stay in our comfort zone, dulling the emotions and flattening our life experience.

    For the brave who choose to take the path to a passionate life, the journey takes time and is undoubtedly challenging.   If you are up for the adventure the rewards are profound.  Whilst the destination will vary the features are the same: a life lived with passion is one filled with joy, enthusiasm, simplicity, a sense of purpose, energy and feeling of being connected to yourself.

    Choosing to live your life with passion starts with shifting your mind-set.  It requires deciding that living a life with passion is a goal worth pursuing.  Apathy and lassitude are prevailing forces in our culture, so learning to live a passionate life requires discipline and commitment to overcome these tendencies.

    To pledge to a passionate life requires overcoming a lack of belief that is it possible to do so.  It requires giving up closed or negative thinking that can keep us stuck.  It requires focus, responsibility and the requirement to simplify life.  No one can be passionate if they are feeling cluttered, overscheduled and overwhelmed in life.  Being passionate by definition means to experience powerful emotions.  It is not possible to live a passionate life if you are emotionally unhealthy e.g. depressed, anxious, stressed etc.

    Passion in life starts with having a vision, goal or desire that inspires you, helping you to move towards what you want to be, do or have.  As with changing any old ways of thinking and behaving living life with passion takes time and is testing.  Being willing to keep going no matter what is one of the keys to living a life you love.

    How can you live a life with passion?

    1)      Take time – you can’t make changes in life unless you make time to reflect.

    2)      Change how you see yourself – consider who would you have to be to live the life you want?

    3)      Believe in yourself – you are the creator of your life. You are 100% responsible. You can make it happen.

    4)      Speak from the heart – dare to be honest with yourself and then with others.

    5)      BWTEIM (begin with the end in mind) – create a clear vision of what you really want your life to look like and stick your flag in the sand in front of you.  Now you have a destination.

    6)      Face your fear – look it square in the eyes and take the first step anyway.

    7)      Shut out the self-chatter – be an observer and don’t get enrolled in your mental noise.  Keep focused on vision.

    8)      Write it down – get it out of your head and onto paper in words or pictures.  This helps clarify our thinking and makes it real.

    9)      Look for fun – we miss so many amazing things in life by being so busy, keep an eye out for what brings you joy and happiness.

    10)   Keep going – learning and growth happens in your breakdowns. Have courage, be committed be curious.

    One really good coaching question I like to ask clients who may be stuck looking for their purpose and passion is to ask them:

    “What would you be doing if you only had a short time to live and/or money was no object?”

    I ask this to you now.  I would love to hear in the comments below what are you passionate about?