Regret Feels Worse Than Failure

Why I Wrote The Make It Happen Blueprint

Success is not a destination, it’s a practice. Are you practicing at staying the same or are you practicing at progress? Sometimes we let fear hold us back from what we really want, but the truth is regret feels worse than failure. At least you can learn from failure and try again. When you look back a year from now will you wish you had actually done the things that you said you wanted to do? Missed opportunities and wasted time feel much worse – nothing can be changed because you didn’t take the chance. Sure going outside your comfort zone, expanding your vision and your business takes work and pushing past fear, but you can do it! Make it happen!

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What are you putting off out of fear?

 

The Make It Happen Blueprint by Michelle McCullough is available for pre-order at Target.com, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.  Release date March 21, 2017.

Is Your Customer Loyalty Program Strategic or An Afterthought?

is-your-customer-loyalty-program-strategic-or-an-afterthoughtI am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

As an entrepreneur, I dream of a business where money just comes in because clients are purchasing from me over and over and over.

I remember learning about the 80/20 rule in a college business class.  The 80/20 principle states that eighty percent of your business will come from twenty percent of your customers.

Is this the case for your business?

In my case, and in the case of many of my consulting clients, good customer loyalty programs can make or break your business.  In fact, customer loyalty and customer retention should be just as important, if not MORE important than lead generating activities.

My promotional products business, Doodads, has been around for 14 years this August.  In the beginning I did a lot of trial and error to grow my business, but I quickly learned that it was a lot easier to keep an existing customer happy than it is to get a new customer.  In fact, the 80/20 rule works here too.  It takes 80% more work to get a new customer and only 20% to keep that customer that already knows you to purchase again.

My customer loyalty program is designed to keep my existing customers happy.  To this day, over 85% of my business each year comes from repeat customers, a statistic I’m quite proud of.  In the business-to-business space, customer loyalty programs look a little different than in the business-to-consumer space.  Punch cards and bonus points don’t work as well for businesses; however, I do have some suggestions (If you have a business-to-consumer operation, still read these, because they can apply to you as well).

Here are three tips for business-to-business companies to encourage repeat business.

  1. Provide killer customer service. Though this sounds like Business 101, I’m still surprised how few of my consulting clients have an actual plan for providing top notch service to make customers happy.  I learned very early on that people aren’t really buying imprinted pens from me, they are buying ME.  I have A LOT of competitors, including online merchants that are willing to make pennies on an order.  As a result my clients often pay MORE to use me.  Why would they do that?  Because I make working with me easy (and hopefully a little fun, too). In addition, with my marketing background, I try to be a value added resource as they put promotional items into their existing marketing campaigns.  Though you don’t have to have that knowledge to be successful in the business, it’s part of my customer service strategy to help with other marketing tasks as well.  In your business might look a little different.

How can you apply this principle in what you sell or offer?  Whatever you do, make it as personal and direct as possible. In the digital age, it’s really easy to forget that actual conversations and small gestures go a long way.  If you don’t have a customer service philosophy, take some time to define it.  Like so many things, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

  1. Express gratitude complementary to the dollar amount received.  Handwritten thank you notes are ALWAYS appreciated and should be a bare minimum, but don’t stop there. Do you have clients that give you BIG orders? Thank them with lunch, a gift certificate, a nice gift or something else.  Gratitude can be futuristic currency.  Gratitude makes deposits in the relationship bank account.  You want them to remember you, and you also want to acknowledge that you know that they have other choices, and you’re grateful they picked you.
  2. Don’t be forgotten. Stay “in front” of your client.  I should add “appropriately”.  Some sales reps and business owners can go overboard here, but overboard is better than not doing it enough.  The goal with getting repeat business is not being forgotten.  Keep your clients up to date on new product offerings, promotions or industry information.  Keep in touch in various forms: email, social media and especially phone calls.  Don’t always call for a sale, either.  Where appropriate remember birthdays and key life events.  Follow up on their business goals and see how you can help.  Top of mind awareness is key in having clients purchase from you over and over.

Here are three tips for business-to-consumer companies to encourage repeat business.  In ADDITION to all of the above, consider the following:

  1.  When considering frequent card/punch card program and the like, remember three things:

Is the program easy to understand?

Is the prize at the end worth it and does it encourage repeat business?

Is it attainable?

If there is confusion about how the program works, people won’t participate.  If the discount, free meal, or gift certificate is so low or laughable, then people won’t participate.  If it takes too much to achieve it, people won’t participate.  And note that if you confuse them, insult them with a poor reward or make it impossible to reach or take too long it could actually HURT your business.  People will associate your business with a lame customer loyalty program and even if they like your product, service, store or restaurant, you may actually discourage future business.  Think about the customer loyalty programs that you like and participate in. What makes you like them and participate?  Whose punch cards are in your wallet?  Where do you like to shop for the free stuff? Design your program accordingly AND in alignment with your brand and industry.

Don’t be afraid to give things away for free or provide dollar amount bonuses for future purchases.  Remember that this is part of your marketing and business development plan.  Don’t blow out your budget, but do make it worth the time and effort to return online or in person.  Set your pricing accordingly to account for future freebies or discounts.

  1. In addition to a punch card like system, offer special bonus days/times/coupons for repeat business.  This can be done with bounce back coupons, regular or sporadic customer appreciation days or parties, etc.  They can be given at events, at your location, mailed or emailed.
  2. Participate in social media and provide benefits/discounts/perks for following you. One restaurant I frequent gave me a yummy chocolate chip cookie for liking them on Facebook, right on the spot.

Social media can be a great way to keep top of mind, so encourage your customers online and in your store to like you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, etc.  Share strategically and with a specific plan.  Don’t sell with EVERY tweet and status update.  Share things about your industry and employees.  Link to news on your blog or to third party sites that help you look like a news curator.   Be a hub and use your social media as a resourceful foundation for your brand, not a sales spewer.  Do social media RIGHT and can be a big part of your customer retention and loyalty plan.

I’ve been super impressed with a local clothing boutique called koodeker.  She ROCKS Instagram and her business proves it.  She has a huge following on Instagram and posts pictures of outfits put together, accessories, an item of the day, pictures about $5 shipping anywhere in the US and also gives shout outs and re-grams for customers who Instagram a koodeker outfit or piece.  Customers follow her and Instagram their outfits to get a mention.  Customers love to see the new items and because she’s made shipping so easy and affordable, customers don’t even have to go in the shop to get the latest thing.  That is genius Instagram marketing and customer retention through a social media outlet.

Remember that whether your clients are businesses or individuals, people do business with people and businesses who they know, like and trust.  Examine your company and your customer loyalty program and ask yourself, “Do my customers really know about my products and services?  Do they like what we offer and do we have a wide range of offerings for their needs?  Do they like our company philosophy?  Do they trust us as a company?  Do they know what working with us feels like and do they trust that?”  These can be great questions to ask in your next staff or management meeting.  Your company’s perceptions have a lot to do with repeat business and you don’t want to miss the mark.

I’d love to hear what works (and what doesn’t) in your business.  Let’s share and help each other grow!

Also, take a minute to Save or Pin the infographic below.

Originally Published on StartupPrincess.com on July 22, 2013

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Make It Happen Blueprint by Michelle McCullough Launches March 21, 2017

Things are getting really exciting over here!  My book launches March 21st, and I found it is already listed at Target.com, Barnes & Noble.com and at Amazon.

I love what one reader, Lara Galloway, said about The Make It Happen Blueprint:

“Practice. Purpose. Persuasion. These are a few of the ingredients McCullough says all peak performers must include in order to be successful. But rather than simply prescribing a bunch of ideals that are easily dismissed as only available to star athletes, business gurus and celebrities, she presents the motivation and simple explanation how any of us can achieve them.

The chapter on Persuasion alone is worth the cost of the book. Make sure you clear your calendar while reading Make It Happen since you will likely be fired up and ready to jump into action. Not only does McCullough succinctly offer best practices for enhancing performance and productivity—she gives clear explanations about why they work and simple steps anyone can take to get things done. Inspiring quotes and helpful case studies make the lessons easy to relate to. A must for moms, entrepreneurs, business owners or anyone ready to move past excuses and get what they really want out of life.”   (You can read more about Lara Galloway at http://laragalloway.com/)

 

I can’t wait for you to get your hands on a copy!

Stay tuned for details!  We’ll be having all kinds of fun leading up to the launch so keep checking back for more details!

Until then, Make It Happen!

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The Most Important Gift You Get to Use Each Day

Every day you have one POWERFUL thing in your control column.
Even if things go wrong at home, at work or on the road.
Even if things feel strained with your family or friends.
Even if you’re having a rough day.
Even if you’re struggling financially or have an abundance of wealth.
Even if you work for yourself or work for someone else or don’t work at all.
Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a full time wage earner.
Even if you grew up in poverty or in a mansion on the hill.

You have the gift of choice.

You can choose how to respond to strangers and loved ones if they challenge you.
You can choose how you show up on social media for good.
You can choose to invest your time wisely in your dreams or squander it away with major and minor distractions.
You can choose to focus.
You can choose how you spend your time.
You can choose to OWN how you spend your time. 😉
You can choose to invest in yourself and others..
You can choose to be kind.
You can choose to be happy.
You can choose to help others.

You will always have the gift to choose.

When I was freshly out of a quickly failed marriage I remember my wise therapist constantly asking me, “Is that in your control column or no control column?” She reminded me that many times I CHOOSE to spend time worrying about things completely out of my control, while the things I CAN control go without attention.

Again, a choice.

Now, this little tool helps me on a regular basis. Even if something goes wrong in my business, I can choose to scrap it, try again or go a different direction. Even if I choose to yell at my kids and not have enough patience. I can worry about what I did and fret over the yelling, but it won’t make it unhappen. What I CAN do is choose to apologize and make stronger efforts to try again. Even if my husband and I have a disagreement, I can choose to put a wedge up and wait until he tears down the wall or I can make the initiative to make things right in our relationship again. My choice.

Too often we wait for others to make their choices before we make our own. It’s the fastest way to LOSE power and ownership in our own lives. Choose to be the first one to help, to apologize, to smile, to say something kind, to NOT say something ;), to turn the other cheek, to reach out, don’t give up this power and put it in the control of others.

Each day is made up of a series of choices.

May you feel empowered in your forks in the road and may you find that each day you choose powerfully those things in your control.

Make It Happen!

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Boundaries for Small Business Owners – Finding Peace Where Work & Life Intersect

boundaries-for-small-business-owners-finding-peace-where-work-and-life-intersectThis is a call for all the over-worked, tired, multi-tasking, schedule-full women entrepreneurs out there.  Are you feeling a little run down? What do you do to preserve yourself, your relationships and your business?

In my experience with my private coaching clients and as I meet with women entrepreneurs across the country, I have found that many women business owners have been parading around and proudly sharing their middle name: “Sacrifice”.

In our efforts to juggle our roles, many of us (myself included, at times) have felt the need to sacrifice our own needs and self-care for the benefit of our businesses, our families, our communities, our church groups and so much more.

Though I do believe that there are times when self-sacrifice (or marital sacrifice) is needed, as a general rule I think this practice is overused – leaving us tired, run down and in many cases it can negatively affect our business and it usually affects our relationships with family and friends.

Though I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I have to be reminded of these tips, here are the three boundaries that I use to ensure that I can preserve time for myself and make sure my business isn’t effecting family time.

  1. I begin and end every day with myself. It might sound selfish at first, but if you aren’t currently doing this practice, I encourage you to give it a try and see how it works.  In my world, I call it my Power Up and Power Down Routine.

In the morning, I get up BEFORE my kids and often my husband to fill my own well.  Though the actual items may vary for each one of you, I do something physical to wake me up.  This isn’t typically my exercise time, but I’ll do some sit ups, stairs or take a quick walk outside to wake up my body and brain.  Then I read something motivational.  On my bedside table you’ll find 8-10 books at any given time.  I use this as my reading time.  Sometimes I’m reading the latest marketing book, other times I’m re-reading a chapter from my favorite success reference: The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield.  I also love to listen to my Ideal LifeVision and connect with my goals and mission.  I’ll also connect with my spiritual needs.

This time is so critical.  When I’m sick or get out of the groove, I can feel the difference in my day.  If I wait until my kids wake up, I feel two steps behind all day, and I feel like I’m running on empty.

In the evening, I review the next day’s schedule and review my action list (a.k.a. to-do list).  I like to review these before bed so that I’m not lying in bed wondering if I remembered to add something to my list, or questioning the time for my son’s T-Ball game or if lunch with a client is at 12:30 or 1:00 PM.  Then I ready something spiritual and pray to quiet my mind and reconnect. If my eyelids haven’t given in yet and I have more time I’ll continue reading in my motivational or learning books.  I put my brain and my body to sleep in a way that gives me incredible sleep and sleep is the ultimate secret to my success.

The Power Up and Power Down routines don’t necessarily have a time limit.  I know some love their “Power Hour” but sometimes I only need 15 minutes to get grounded and centered and I’m ready to move on.  Other mornings, I need longer.

To clarify, I do this before I do ANYTHING else.  Before email, social media, etc.  I don’t want to get caught up in work yet, or caught up in the life of family and friends before I can make sure I have the self-care I need.

I like to make sure my well is full before I meet the needs of my family, my business or other roles that I play.  When my needs are met I’m satisfied, fulfilled and I’m better able to deal with the hiccups that come throughout the day.

  1. I schedule time for my roles, just as I do meetings with clients.  When I mention at speaking engagements that I schedule time with my kids and my husband, I’m surprised  how frequently I’m criticized for being so rigid that I “schedule” time with my family and friends.  Why shouldn’t I?  I want my kids and my husband to know (and myself for that matter) that time with my family is just as important (if not more so) as lunch with a friend or a coaching call with a client.  I want to make sure that I’m spending good time with them each week.  We schedule time to go to the park or the pool and look forward to fun activities each week.  Scheduling fun activities with my kids also makes it easier for them to be patient during coaching calls and when I’m away speaking at events.  I like to make sure that date night is on the schedule before too many other things get in the way. I make my marriage a priority each week.  Preserving my relationships is more important to me than my business.  If my business thrives, but my family resents me for it, then I feel incomplete and out of balance.  But when I make my relationships a priority I feel more fulfilled and my support system has a firm foundation.

I “batch” my time in time blocks. I run three businesses from home and have two small children under five.  I’m a time management junkie and I’ve tried every system under the sun.  What’s great about time blocks is they can work with any calendar system you may use – digital or on paper.  Though there’s a lot more detail on this principle, simply put, I batch like items together.  I do all my marketing tasks in two 2-hour blocks.  I make my videos every week on Tuesday mornings in a 1-hour block.  I do my coaching calls on Thursday afternoons and Tuesday afternoons.  You get the idea.  What’s great about this system is that I put them on my calendar.  When I put my writing time on the calendar, I’m telling my brain to prepare, and I’m setting myself up to succeed in completing my book.  Time blocks are one way that I preserve my schedule and get everything done.

  1. Presence. With lots of responsibilities it can be easy to get distracted.  However, when I’m in my time blocks, I don’t let other things creep in.  I don’t take calls during my marketing time.  I don’t check my email during my writing time.  I don’t text with friends during date night (unless my husband is in the bathroom, *wink*).  I turn the notifications for Twitter and Facebook off on my phone so that I can check social media on my terms and not be distracted when I’m with my kids.  Presence is a key to my success.  When my relationships are weak, it’s usually because I let work creep into friend and family time when it shouldn’t.

Don’t get me wrong.  These can be easy things to say and hard things to actually do.  Trust me, I struggle with them too.  The truth remains, when I make self-care a priority, preserve my relationships and schedule my business success, sacrifice isn’t necessary.  And though I’m not the poster child for role preservation and boundaries, I can attest that when I’m rocking these four things life is a lot smoother, and my business thrives.

What tips do you have for boundaries for work and home life?

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of National Small Business Week, Visa Business created the following infographic highlighting eye-opening facts about small business owners and examining important small business trends.

I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

Originally Published on StartupPrincess.com on June 19, 2013

Why YOUR Happiness Matters

Wise words from one of my favorites, Danielle LaPorte

16427538_2224144471143976_7919249568650429510_nWhile I was writing my book “The Make It Happen Blueprint” (releases March 21, 2017) I was re-listening to a radio interview I had with Danielle LaPorte about her insightful book, “The Desire Map”. I remembered something she had said about happiness and wanted to include it in my book. What she said knocked me off my feet so I did a little quick transcription to capture and share with more people who may need these works.

She shared how feelings really are the “start and the heart of the matter”.

She went on to say something incredibly powerful, “You being happy and in a state of joy is the best way you can be of service to the rest of us. When you vibrate in that way, when your frequency is about joy, you are kinder, your brain is firing ‘mo better’, you’re more fun to be around, you’re infinitely more productive and you’re going to be more helpful and generous. So get happy and you will serve humanity.”

Powerful. THAT to me sounds like rising above whatever challenges that have been holding you back from being happy. THAT sounds like peak performance.

In that same interview, I asked Danielle, “What would you say to those people who say, ‘I can’t possibly be happy right now, you have no idea what I’m going through’?”

Her response was poignant and deep. Danielle said, “I feel for you. I get it. Maybe you can’t be happy right now, but the thing you can do right now is that you can start to believe that your happiness is worth it and valuable. That it’s actually a priority. That you deserve it. Then you can start to consider how you want to feel. You may be feeling taxed and overburdened and there are rough things happening and finances, parents, kids, illness… How would you rather feel? Don’t worry about getting out of your circumstances, don’t worry about solving it. Just get in the state where you can say, “I would prefer to feel energetic.” “I would prefer to feel calm.” And then what is one thing you can do tomorrow to feel that way?”

I love it. Don’t like your current happiness level? Change it. Think about how you would rather feel, and do something that will help you feel that way.

Make It Happen! – Michelle

(If you missed this show and want to hear the other nuggets she shared, listen here.)

This post originally “aired” on my new Facebook page “The HappyIST” follow the conversation and “like” the page for joy and happiness to show up in your news feed.

The Ground Up Online Entrepreneurial Summit

Virtual Event By Entrepreneurs FOR Entrepreneurs

ground-up-summit-michelle-mcculloughYou are not going to want to miss this if you are serious about growing your business this year. You’ve probably been in business long enough that you can pinpoint the fluffy speakers. You know the ones. They are fun to listen to and get people really excited, but they really don’t have anything to say that will help your bottom line. Well enough fluff, we say! That’s why I have decided to join forces with The Ground Up Online Entrepreneurial Summit. They have gathered some of the best rising entrepreneurs in the country that are bringing you their best tips for business growth. This isn’t theory and this isn’t motivation. These are people with years of solid expertise and they are going to share with you what has worked and not worked for them so we can all take our businesses to the next level.

Here’s the best part. The summit is FREE! And it’s online, so you can watch the trainings when you have time. Whether you are needing expertise in social media marketing, scaling your business, creating systems, branding, or sales, you are sure to find some valuable takeaways for your business. Click here to see the line-up of speakers and their topics and to get registered.

Make It Happen Blueprint Book Resources

Please Share The Ones You Like Best

Here are some ready-to-go graphics and social posts that my book launch team created for you as you promote The Make It Happen Blueprint.

Where appropriate, include the hashtag #makeithappenblueprint so we can see the things you’re posting and give you some love.  Thank you for your support! – Michelle

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2nugEZL

OR

Book website: http://www.makeithappenblueprint.com

Book Excerpts:

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Reviews:

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Facebook posts:

Do you ever feel over-scheduled, tired and unhappy? Have you noticed there seems to be a group of people who catch all the breaks, accomplish more in a day, make more money in their business ventures, bounce back from trials faster, and always have their lives in order. Are they just lucky, or is there some sort of secret most of us are missing? They’re not just lucky and it’s not a secret! All it takes is the right mindset, the right tools and a willingness to work! My friend Michelle McCullough’s new book, “Make it Happen Blueprint” is coming out in 5 days. She shares with us the 18 habits of top performers. If you pre-order, like I did, she has an added bonus too! Go here and order today! www.makeithappenblueprint.com

What do Stephen Covey, Jack Canfield, Brendon Burchard and Michelle McCullough have in common? They are all success experts who walk the walk. I love that Michelle is sharing her expertise in her new book, “Make it Happen Blueprint” that comes out next week. In addition to all the gems you get in the book, if you pre-order, she’s tossing in an added bonus! Go order today You won’t regret it! www.makeithappenblueprint.com

Do you know the difference between your purpose and your message? Find out what it is in Michelle McCullough’s new book “Make It Happen Blueprint”! I’ve pre-ordered my copy – you should too! www.makeithappenblueprint.com

I love, love, love Michelle McCullough’s insights and wisdom. She is an entertaining and engaging speaker and author and her new book, “Make It Happen Blueprint” does not disappoint. Get your copy here: www.makeithappenblueprint.com

I’ve struggled at times with overwhelm but working with Michelle McCullough really helped me gain some clarity and implement systems that work for me. Her new book, “Make It Happen Blueprint,” shares the practices that made a difference in my life. Go ahead and order it – you won’t regret it! www.makeithappenblueprint.com

As an entrepreneur and busy mom, I found myself falling into the four common time traps Michelle McCullough outlines in her new book “Make It Happen Blueprint.” Her ability to clearly explain both the problem and the solution, and do it with humor, helped me get out of those traps and be more productive than ever. Trust me. You want to buy this book. www.makeithappenblueprint.com

Tweets:

Want to be a top performer with a fulfilling family life? Check out @speakmichelle’s book, #MakeItHappenBlueprint http://bit.ly/2n1QEYb

Want to be a top performer with a fulfilling personal life? Check out Michelle’s new book #MakeItHappenBlueprint http://bit.ly/2n1QEYb

#MakeItHappenBlueprint is my FAVORITE book on productivity and life balance! @speakmichelle did a masterful job http://bit.ly/2n1QEYb

Mindset, tools & willingness to work @speakmichelle gives 18 keys to success in her new book #MakeItHappenBlueprint http://bit.ly/2n1QEYb

Over-scheduled, tired or unhappy? Change that by following the steps in the #MakeItHappenBlueprint by @speakmichelle http://bit.ly/2n1QEYb

Do top performers just get lucky? Or follow a formula? @speakmichelle’s book #MakeItHappenBlueprint has the answers! http://bit.ly/2n1QEYb

Success expert @speakmichelle shares her expertise in her new book #MakeItHappenBlueprint out next week! Pre-order here: http://bit.ly/2n1QEYb

I love @speakmichelle’s style & wit – an engaging speaker & author. Her new book #MakeItHappenBlueprint is a winner! http://bit.ly/2n1QEYb

Success is not a destination – it’s a practice. Check out 18 of the best practices in #MakeItHappenBlueprint by @speakmichelle

You have the same amount of time as Michelangelo and Einstein. Learn how to maximize it in #MakeItHappenBlueprint by @speakmichelle

Questions:

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What is Vulnerability Costing You & Your Business?

what-is-vulnerability-costing-you-and-your-businessThere’s an old abandoned house on a street that I drive frequently.  It was probably built in the ’50′s or ’60′s and it was probably a gem in it’s day.  Sadly, it’s been ignored over the last decade and I though I saw people there before, I haven’t seen any sign of habitation in the last year and a half.

And yet, I’m always drawn to it.  There’s an open window on the top floor.  It was open all winter long.  It’s STILL open.  I wonder what’s in there.  Birds? Bugs? Squatters?

SOMEONE has to “own” that property – even if it’s a bank.  Does anyone care that the house is completely vulnerable to the elements, to “visitors”, to anything?

Last week as I drove by I saw the public notice that the home is going up for auction.  Though the property is probably worth something, I imagine that the home might have little value left.

What does this have to do with entrepreneurship?  (Leave it to this girl who can apply ANYTHING to a life or business principle.)

Where are you vulnerable in your business?  Where are you vulnerable in your life?  What open windows do you have that are wreaking havoc on your prosperity?

A lot of us have known vulnerabilities.  Perhaps it’s a staff member or contractor with poor performance.  Maybe we’re operating without a business plan or marketing plan.  Maybe sales are low this quarter.  Maybe you’re wondering what the the legislative changes are going to do to your health insurance coverage.  Maybe you haven’t posted your labor law posters. (Gasp!)

Others of us have vulnerabilities lurking below the surface.  We may even be sabotaging our success, and we don’t even know it.  It’s often the things we DON’T see that are causing the biggest problems.  In my opportunities to consult and chat with entrepreneurs across the country, I have found four major vulnerabilities to small business success:

  1. Poor Time Management – Just because you dream of sitting by the pool, sipping your favorite beverage while you bask in the sun, doesn’t mean you won’t have to put in a lot of sweat BEFORE that dream becomes a reality.  If you have a hobby business, have hobby hours.  If you’re trying to grow a thriving company, put in a full days work.  Wasting hours away on Facebook and calling it “work” won’t put money on the table. My mortgage doesn’t get paid in “likes” or “shares”.  It’s paid in dollars earned by hard work and in PLANNED time I spend on revenue generating activities.  If you KNOW this is a current vulnerability of yours I created a free video series called “Working SMARTER, not HARDER” you can access.  Time is either your greatest asset or it is your greatest liability.  Use it well.
  2. Bleeding (sometimes blindly) Financially – I share this in open disclosure because there have been times in my business where I didn’t “understand” the numbers so I ignored them.  That business is no longer in operation.  Luckily, I’ve had other successes because I DID understand the numbers and I made that a priority.  Though I’ll readily admit that financials are not my strong suit, I DO know that getting help from an awesome tax advisor and a financial planner were worth their weight in gold.  So was hiring someone to help me with invoicing (which I hate doing…I’d rather be working on the marketing and relationship stuff).
  3. Lack of Confidence (masked or accompanied by crippling procrastination) – I share this last, but perhaps this is where I’M the most vulnerable. I get a great idea then sit on it.  I’m jazzed about a new coaching program or event and I do nothing.  At times, I’m so scared of failure that it’s easier to do nothing.  Perhaps this is an over share, but as a recovering procrastinator, I want to be real with you.  Sometimes things don’t get done because I’m scared I’ll do it wrong.  That’s why coaches, mentors and accountability partners are something I can’t do without.  Even though I’m a coach, I still invest in what I call “Trailblazer” training.  I want coaches that help me GET THERE (wherever THERE is in business) FASTER, so that I can help my clients do the same.  Though lack of confidence sounds harsh, sometimes our efforts to grow our business and our paychecks comes from lack of accountability.
  4. Drip Marketing Activities instead of GUSH Marketing SYSTEMS – Do you want a pipeline that drips or that gushes?  Make marketing a scheduled priority! I’ve already talked about this, this week, but if you missed my thoughts on this subject, check out “Marketing: A Search for Systems & Schedules that Work” & “How To Create A Simple & Effective Social Media Strategy”

I know there are more business and life vulnerabilities than just the four listed above.  These are the ones I see most frequently.  Can you resonate with one or more?  If not, ask yourself the question:

In what areas of my life or business am I susceptible?

Then for ALL OF US, we need to be asking ourselves the question:

What is that vulnerability costing my business?  In most cases, there will be financial costs.  However, don’t forget intangible costs as well: maybe a lack of connection to our business or mission.  Maybe a decrease in connection with a spouse, child, family member or friend.  Maybe it’s a sacrifice in quality of life.  (A LOT of these trace back to poor time management.  If you don’t know where to start, start there!)

Just take a minute to think through your business and see what areas you should be focusing on in the next month, 3 months and 6 months.  It’s never a bad time to set a goal and close windows and doors that are opening you up to financial loss and more.

While were on the subject…Do you need help here? Personally, I have a 3 slots that opened up for my 6 or 12 week “Revive My Startup” coaching program starting the week of June 24th.  Or if you just need one-time support to “Jump Start My Startup” in a one time strategy session, I do only 6 of those a month.  You can learn about both here.  I’ll do a complimentary 30 minute consult for you to see if there’s any chemistry between us and if my knowledge base can assist you.  We also have Fairy Godmothers in every expertise waiting in the wings to fulfill your needs and help you overcome your own vulnerabilities in life and business.  We’re here for you!

Entrepreneurship can be lonely.  If you’re having trouble in ANY area going it alone, get help.  We’re here to help you Make a Wish and Make it Happen!

Originally Published on StartupPrincess.com on May 30, 2013