Key Concepts: from the book “Secrets of Small Business Owners Exposed”

We loved these tips that any business, large or small, can put into practice to be better. We hope you find them as valuable as we do!

Create and communicate your organizational clarity. Clear roles and responsibilities within your company are necessary. Articulate your vision.

Someone has to be in charge. Decide where the buck stops. When there is shared responsibility, there is no responsibility.

Find Your Focus. Be focused on your company’s direction. Pay special attention to the financial side of your business.

Plan, Plan, Plan. There is no substitute for planning. Prior preparation prevents a pretty poor performance.

Develop Systems. As FedEx says, “Systemize the routine; humanize the exception.”

Customer Service is Essential. Give your customers the type of service you expect from your vendors.

Think, Think, Think. Never stop thinking about ways to be different, innovative, creative and exclusive. Make your business the best it can be.

Don’t delay! Take action now!

Go the Extra Mile. Your customers will appreciate it and you will build rapport and long term relationships by proving you are in for the long haul. A little extra goes a long way!

Would you like some help with your small business? Or would you like a coffee/chat?

Go to w5coaching.com or call me at 604.687.554

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Key Concepts: Eat That Frog

The key to happiness, satisfaction, great success and a wonderful feeling of personal power and effectiveness is for you to develop the habit of eating your frog, first thing every day when you start work.

Fortunately, this is a learnable skill that you can acquire through repetition. And when you develop the habit of starting on your most important task, before anything else, your success is assured.

Here are the Key Concepts from the 21 Great Ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster. This book, written by Brian Tracy shows how getting things done leads to mental rewards that can take us to great heights in our lives. Review these rules and principles regularly until they become firmly ingrained in your thinking and actions and your future will be guaranteed.

1. Set the table: Decide exactly what you want. Clarity is essential. Write out your goals and objectives before you Begin;
2. Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Every minute you spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution;
3. Apply the 80/20 Rule to everything: Twenty percent of your activities will account for eighty percent of your results. Always concentrate your efforts on that top twenty percent;
4. Consider the consequences: Your most important tasks and priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life or work. Focus on these above all else;
5. Practice the ABCDE Method continually: Before you begin work on a list of tasks, take a few moments to organize them by value and priority so you can be sure of working on your most important activities:
6. Focus on key result areas: Identify and determine those results that you absolutely, positively have to get to do your job well, and work on them all day long;
7. The Law of Forced Efficiency: There is never enough time to do everything but there is always enough time to do the most important things. What are they?
8. Prepare thoroughly before you begin: Proper prior preparation prevents poor performance;
9. Do your homework: The more knowledgeable and skilled you become at your key tasks, the faster you start them and the sooner you get them done;
10. Leverage your special talents: Determine exactly what it is that you are very good at doing, or could be very good at, and throw your whole heart into doing those specific things very, very well:
11. Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks or chokepoints, internally or externally, that set the speed at which you achieve your most important goals and focus on alleviating them;
12. Take it one oil barrel at a time: You can accomplish the biggest and most complicated job if you just complete it one step at a time;
13. Put the pressure on yourself: Imagine that you have to leave town for a month and work as if you had to get all your major tasks completed before you left;
14. Maximize your personal powers: Identify your periods of highest mental and physical energy each day and structure your most important and demanding tasks around these times. Get lots of rest so you can perform at your best;
15. Motivate yourself into action: Be your own cheerleader. Look for the good in every situation. Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Always be optimistic and constructive;
16. Practice creative procrastination: Since you can’t do everything, you must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low value so that you have enough time to do the few things that really count;
17. Do the most difficult task first: Begin each day with your most difficult task, the one task that can make the greatest contribution to yourself and your work, and resolve to stay at it until it is complete:
18. Slice and dice the task: Break large, complex tasks down into bite sized pieces and then just do one small part of the task to get started;
19. Create large chunks of time: Organize your days around large blocks of time where you can concentrate for extended periods on your most important tasks;
20. Develop a sense of urgency: Make a habit of moving fast on your key tasks. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well;
21. Single handle every task: Set clear priorities, start immediately on your most important task and then work without stopping until the job is 100% complete. This is the real key to high performance and maximum personal productivity.

Make a decision to practice these principles every day until they become second nature to you. With these habits of personal management as a permanent part of your personality, your future will be unlimited.

Just do it! Eat that frog.

Would you like some help with your frogs?  Or would you like a coffee/chat?

Go to w5coaching.com or call me at 604.687.5542

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As a Business Owner what can you do to be more effective?

As the owner of a business, do you sometimes wonder what you can do to be more effective?  My question then for you today is who is holding you accountable?

Look I know you get up every morning, start the coffee pot, and get started on the big to-do list every single work day, and often on Saturday and Sunday, without anyone making you, but who holds you accountable for success, for achieving your stated goals?

That’s a tough one because the natural structure of business says that you’re the boss and nobody’s the boss of you. In my opinion, this is something you have to create and invest in making happen – you need to get a “boss” to hold you accountable.

Here are a couple suggestions:

  • Track your time – Create time sheets and note how you spend your time each day. Assign a category of work, such as marketing, administrative, or sales. Then spend a minute or two at the end of the day and assign a value to that work – in other words what you would pay someone else to do it. You may be shocked at how unaccountable you are for the way you spend your day.
  • Start a mastermind group – Choose a select group of business owners from your local network of strategic partners or even industry peers and set-up a structure to share objectives and goals, critique marketing plans and materials and suggest ways to get better.
  • Create an internal board – Use your professional network, such as accountant, lawyer, insurance or financial professional to hold you accountable. After all, they may have a vested interest in your success. Share numbers and goals and give them permission to prod you each month for results.
  • Hire a coach –Soon the London Olympics will start, every athlete there has a coach! A coach can be a great addition to your team and act as someone for you to bounce you ideas off. It can be lonely at the top and getting feedback from an experienced coach is a great way to get around your blind spots and gain the confidence to move boldly in the direction of your goals.

Having someone to hold you accountable will help you to ”do more and better quality push ups” than you would do on your own.

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If any of this is resonating with you, perhaps now is a good time to get someone to hold you accountable. Who can you get to help you do your push ups?

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Fear is nothing more than False Expectations Appearing Real.

Fear is nothing more than False Expectations Appearing Real.

The truth about fear is that fear is an illusion. A very powerful one for sure, but still an illusion. It’s a mind-game.

Fear is nothing more than

False

Expectations

Appearing

Real.

It brings to mind something Tony Robbins discussed years ago. What he described was the similarity in the physiology of two polar opposite emotions: Fear and Excitement.

The only difference between fear and excitement is a different expected outcome – one negative and one positive. Why do some people cling to the safety of scarcity and others hide from the freedom of success.

Let’s say you are afraid of public speaking and you’re about to go in front of your entire company to give a presentation. Your palms and forehead are sweaty. You imagine walking up the mic and “SQWEEEAL” the thing feeds back… You picture yourself fumbling and bumbling your way through and looking like a complete idiot to everyone…

Now, imagine you’re the guy who LOVES being onstage and has been anxiously awaiting your “time to shine”. You’ve got all of your materials ready. You’re pacing in the hallway like a big game cat. You literally cannot wait to get out there and kick ass…

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Nelson Mandela

With a negative expectation, the presentation is a thing of dread and terror. With a positive expectation, the presentation is a golden opportunity. Your body reacts the same way in either case, elevated heart rate, adrenal glands kick in… It’s just a matter of which way you perceive the experience that shapes the outcome.

Which one do YOU choose?

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The Power of Leverage.

The Power of Leverage.

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.” – Archimedes

So what’s this got to do with Business? That’s a good question. Let me explain…

Leverage is a general term for any technique to multiply gains and losses. By applying the concept and the power of leverage you can achieve a lot more in both your business and life. Without the power of leverage your rewards are restricted to only the amount of work or energy you put into a task. You may work tirelessly but your rewards are limited to that work and you would have to continue to expend that amount of energy and time to produce the same or similar results.

OK, so are you saying I can work less and get greater rewards? Give me an example of the power of leverage…

People

Mary Kay has built an empire by engaging the aspirations and energy of like minded women.

“I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.” -J. Paul Getty, American Industrialist

Education

Why not learn from others. You can avoid learning from the “mistakes” called experience if you are willing to learn from others who have already made those same mistakes.

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune” – Jim Rohn

“If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.” -Robert Kiyosaki

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction. – Warren Buffett

Technology

If you are sitting desks all day long I guess you don’t need mobile technology. However there’s no reason you should have to tell a customer you didn’t get their email or voice mail as you were out of the office. Take your office with you by leveraging mobile technology which nowadays means Smartphone’s and tablets.

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. – Elbert Hubbard

Systems

McDonalds is the ultimate example of using systems (and other people’s money and energy) together with franchising to create leverage.

One definition of leverage is: divide to multiply. Think about divide to multiply in terms of day-to-day life, say, a tree cutting. You take a cutting from one plant, but don’t end up with half a tree; you end up with two trees. In terms of business, franchising is the easiest way to describe divide to multiply.

Marketing.

Would you rather hunt like a leopard to hunt like a spider?

Leopards hunt when hungry and in fact when they are nearly starving. Yet once they are fed, leopards will take their kill into a tree and rest on their gluttony. Leopards live a life of feast or famine!

Spiders on the other hand put all of their effort into building their web (network) and once that’s done they can stand by while their food comes to them!

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Leverage your brand. You shouldn’t let two guys in a garage eat your shorts. – Guy Kawasaki

Financial

Financial leverage refers to the use of debt to acquire additional assets.

The financial crisis of 2007–2009, like many previous financial crises, was blamed in part on “excessive leverage.” However, the word is used in several different senses. Consumers in many developed countries borrowed large amounts of money. For most of this, “leverage” is a euphemism as the borrowing was used to support consumption rather than to lever anything. Only people who borrowed for investment, such as speculative house purchases or buying stocks, were using leverage in the financial sense.

In the end the word leverage simply means ‘the ability to do more with less’. Leverage is the key to business success!

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What is a mastermind group? How can it help you?

What is a mastermind group? How can it help you?

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, first defined the mastermind as a “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

Hill’s concept of the “Master Mind” was inspired by Andrew Carnegie, wealthy steel magnate. According to Hill:

“Mr. Carnegie’s Master Mind group consisted of a staff of approximately fifty men, with whom he surrounded himself, for the DEFINITE PURPOSE of manufacturing and marketing steel. He attributed his entire fortune to the POWER he accumulated through this ‘Master Mind.’”

Since the publication of Think and Grow Rich in the 1937, the idea of mastermind groups has grown and evolved to become an important tool of successful individuals. The benefits of having a supportive mastermind group are:

  • You have a group of people available to help you succeed.
  • You get the benefit of differing perspectives, input and feedback.
  • Your mastermind team can bring resources and connections to the table you might not have on your own.
  • You receive accountability and inspiration from the group, thus enabling you to maintain focus in achieving your goals.

Napoleon Hill even went so far as to say there was a mystical quality created when a mastermind group was formed. He said: “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” Archimedes said “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.” In other words, your ability to create things in the world is increased by having the leverage of the “third mind” of the mastermind group.

However you create a mastermind support system for yourself, consider it an essential part of your success plan. As Napoleon Hill said:

“Analyze the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune, and many of those who have accumulated modest fortunes, and you will find that they have either consciously, or unconsciously employed the ‘Master Mind’ principle.”

Who is in your Mastermind group? Would you like to be part of one? If so, let’s chat!

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17 RULES TO LIVE BY; A Better Way to Live

— From A Better Way to Live by Og Mandino

17 RULES TO LIVE BY From A Better Way to Live

1. Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play and you will finally be able to move forward toward the life that God intended for you…with grace, strength, courage and confidence.

2. Today, and every day, deliver more than you are getting paid to do. The victory of success will be half won when you learn the secret of putting out more than is expected in all that you do. Make yourself so valuable in your work that eventually you will become indispensable. Exercise your privilege to go the extra miles, and enjoy all the rewards you receive. You deserve them!

3. Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don’t look back at it too long. Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come.

4. Always reward your long hours of labor and toil in the very best way, surrounded by your family. Nurture their love carefully, remembering that your children need models, not critics, and your own progress will hasten when you constantly strive to present your best side to your children. And even if you have failed at all else in the eyes of the world, if you have a loving family, you are a success.

5. Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts. Never fret at any imperfections that you fear may impede your progress. Remind yourself, as often as necessary, that you are a creature of God and have the power to achieve any dream by lifting up your thoughts. You can fly when you decide that you can. Never consider defeat again. Let the vision in your heart be in your life’s blueprint. Smile!

6. Let your actions always speak for you, but be forever on guard against the terrible traps of false pride and conceit that can halt your progress. The next time you are tempted to boast, just place your fist in a full pail of water, and when you remove it, the hole remaining will give you a correct measure of your importance.

7. Each day is a special gift from God, and while life may not always be fair, you must never allow the pains, hurdles, and handicaps of the moment to poison your attitude and plans for yourself and your future. You can never win when you wear the ugly cloak of self-pity, and the sour sound of whining will certainly frighten away any opportunity for success. Never again. There is a better way.

8. Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busywork. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!

9. Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find “tomorrow” on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats, and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, “If I had my life to live over again…” Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day!

10. Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

11. Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat of the moment. Banish tension and concern and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come. Never take yourself too seriously.

12. Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things.

13. Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self- starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.

14. You will achieve your grand dream, a day at a time, so set goals for each day-not long and difficult projects, but chores that will take you, step by step, toward your rainbow. Write them down, if you must, but limit your list so that you won’t have to drag today’s undone matters into tomorrow. Remember that you cannot build your pyramid in twenty-four hours. Be patient. Never allow your day to become so cluttered that you neglect your most important goal-to do the best you can, enjoy this day and rest satisfied with what you have accomplished.

15. Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the faultfinding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealousy and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.

16. Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all the darkest valleys you must traverse. Stars may be seen from the bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be discerned from the mountaintop. So will you learn things in adversity that you would never have discovered without trouble? There is always a seed of good. Find it and prosper.

17. Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.

— From A Better Way to Live by Og Mandino

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W5 Coaching: Helping you make more and work less!

Fun way to see what W5 Coaching is all about!

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7 Keys for a Business Partnership That Works!

1 – Start by building a shared Vision, Mission and Culture.

As in any business, it’s critical for the partners to define the Vision, Mission and Culture of the venture as the very first step. If all brains aren’t going in the same direction in the same way, problems are bound to arise. The motives for each partner can be different. The overall objectives and methods, however, need to be the same.

“I always viewed culture as one of those things you talked about, like marketing and advertising. It was one of the tools that a manager had at his or her disposal when you think about an enterprise. The thing I have learned at IBM is that culture is everything.” Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.

“Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.” Tony Hsieh CEO: Zappos.

Key: Take time to discuss your company’s Vision, Mission and Culture with your partners. Look for what energizes and motivates each of you about your business. Give it a purpose and define what the ideal business will look like. Put the joint Vision, Mission and Culture in writing and use it as the reference for everything else you do.

2 – Make sure each partner’s needs and expectations are addressed

Each person in the partnership has his own reasons for being in the partnership. Sometimes people seek a partner for capital, sometimes for expertise, sometimes for connections. These are not always expressed, yet they remain as an underlying expectation. If the expectation isn’t met, the relationship can become strained. Because individual needs and expectations may/will change over time, a clear exit or modification plan needs to be in writing. Get this sorted out while everyone is still on good terms.

“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.” Brian Tracy.

Key: Find out what your partner expects from you in the partnership. Share your expectations as well. Have a plan for when personal or business circumstances or interests change so, when needed, expectations can be readdressed.

3 – Identify and utilize the strengths of each partner

Because partners join forces for a variety of reasons and expectations, sometimes the strengths of each individual may be overlooked. The most obvious strengths will probably be recognized; however, underlying strengths, when brought out can often make a big difference in long term motivation, commitment and success.

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” Warren Buffett

Key: Bringing out and utilizing the strengths of the individuals within the partnership will add to the motivation, the energy and the odds of long-term success. Make note of your personal strengths and ask your partner to do the same. Then sit together and discuss how you can apply these to the business.

4 – Support the partnership’s limitations

In an effort to save money, little things often pile up in areas where partners have neither expertise nor interest. Over time, these can literally sink your business. Limitations can be in any area: strategy, product/service development, marketing and sales, personnel and operations management, financial management and administrative. Wherever they are it’s important to identify them as early as possible and have a plan to manage them so they don’t get out of hand.

“As we advance in life we learn the limits of our abilities.” Henry Ford.

Key: Look at the areas that are problems for you. Chances are these are areas that could benefit from some extra support. If you think you can’t afford it…think again. You can’t afford not to support limitations. These gaps are where the value of the business slips away little by little. Don’t let it happen to your business.

5 – Set company and individual goals

The ideal way for partners to approach goals is to start with goals for the company, then each create goals for themselves. Individual goals should support the company goals. Goals should measure and support expectations. Writing these is especially important for partners.

“On May 25, 1961 before a joint session of Congress, JFK stated that the United States should set a goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth by the end of the decade.” John F Kennedy.

Key: Review and update your company goals together with your partners. Then get each partner to set individual goals that support the company goals in their area of expertise. Put all these in writing and get each to commit to their goals. Then at the end of the period there is no question about who’s accountable for what.

6 – Handle disagreements, disappointments and frustrations early.

As in any type of partnership, disagreements will happen. Handling them effectively is the key to keeping the relationship on an even keel and the partnership in good order. Don’t let bad feelings build and fester over time. Make it a rule that each can approach the other when something needs to be addressed.

“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” Warren Buffett.

Key: Sometimes it’s difficult to approach a partner, especially if it’s a long standing relationship that has deteriorated. A regularly scheduled sit down together is definitely a good idea. Establish a team meeting rhythm of daily, weekly and monthly meetings to smooth out communications. It’s always best to talk about what you’d like to see for the business and be positive. Present a plan for change as you see it. That gives everyone something to work with and respond to.

7 – Define job roles for each partner, including accountability

Do you and your partner have written job roles? If not you may be operating under false assumptions. Job roles look a lot like job descriptions in that they carry the connotation: “responsible for” with a list of tasks and outcomes. Lack of clarity around job roles is a major source of frustration and disappointment in many partnerships. In addition have a formal organization chart. You can find lots of templates with the typical roles in an organization using a search engine. Be sure that each role has a team member’s name next to it along with which partner is ultimately responsible. Remember, if all the partners are responsible, then none of the partners are responsible.

“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” Walt Disney.

Key: Clearly define the tasks you will perform and have your partner do the same. From this you can each be accountable to yourselves, to each other and to the business. Where there are uncovered tasks, contract for or hire a specialist. The objective is to make sure all jobs are covered and accountability has been assigned and acknowledged.

Follow these Keys and you’ll have a solid platform for a successful partnership and a strong and profitable business.

If you find yourself in a situation that is getting challenging, let me help you take the right next steps. In a 30 minute phone meeting (the first one is complimentary!) we’ll sort through the issues and you’ll leave the call with a plan. To schedule a call, send me a note with the Subject as Partner Coaching and I’ll be in touch!

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What can you expect when you work with a Business Coach?

There are almost as many different ways of delivering business coaching as there are business coaches. Some offer personal support and feedback, others combine a coaching approach with practical and structured business planning and bring a disciplined accountability to the relationship. Particularly in the small business market, business coaching is as much about driving profit as it is about developing the person.

Some coaches use a style in which they ask questions and offer opportunities that will challenge the client to find answers from within him/her. This “Socratic method” facilitates the learner to discover answers and new ways of being based on their values, preferences and unique perspective.

There are three main areas to the coaching relationship:

  1. Transactional Coaching: getting things done using proven tools, strategies and techniques. The most common challenges faced by business owners are in the areas of time, team and money. Information on how to address these challenges can be found by anyone who knows how to use a search engine. How to execute those strategies is where the gold is mined and is where the coach helps the most.
  2. Transformational Coaching: if the owner wants to have a better business first the business needs a better owner! What is the success mindset? What shifts need to happen to facilitate that success?
  3. Accountability: while a coach can’t do your push-ups, the coach can help you to do more and better quality push ups!

So a great Coach will need to be proficient in ALL three aspects of the Coaching Relationship, so here is how to choose a Business Coach.

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You can see the video version here: http://bit.ly/IWAcPl

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