Your Personal Key to Business Success

key_to_successHow are things going for you? Do you want to get more of what you are already experiencing? Or do you want to improve? The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

While blaming takes away your power, justifying your position blinds you to possibilities. Your desire to be “right” in your choice eliminates other alternatives and wastes your time.

When I was learning to dance, my teacher would go through the room during our exercises to give corrections. We were asked to shift our weight, align our feet or straighten out knees. One day after I had gotten a correction, the teacher stopped and looked at me. He asked, “Do you realize that you always have an excuse?”

I had just finished saying that my shoes were too tight and my leg sore. I was doing my best. My complaints were true for me. Then I learned a lesson I never forgot. Berle Davis, my mentor and teacher, looked me in the eye and said, “The audience doesn’t care. They will never ask you. All that matters is that you make the correction. You don’t need to say anything.”

That day changed my life. I quit justifying my actions. I take feedback and put it into action, and advise my clients to do the same. Feedback comes in all forms. It may be criticism or praise from clients. It may be the numbers in your checking account. It may be an audience who is either enthralled or yawning.

You will succeed in business much faster and easier if you stop justifying your actions. Simply accept feedback and make changes right away. Apologize when it is necessary and resolve to improve your personal best.

Are You Following the Winds of Fortune?

MoneyWindMillLast Sunday I stood on a bluff in Santa Monica overlooking the ocean.  A dozen sailboats spread across the horizon, enjoying a beautiful Southern California day.

Although it’s been years since I sailed, it’s something you don’t forget.  Each sailing trip is unique.  One time I floated along, almost dozing, as the boat lapped through the water.  Another trip, I negotiated 20 foot waves for hours to keep the boat upright.  Even when you check the weather in advance there are no guarantees for smooth sailing.

Life is like that too.  Unpredictable.   Buffeted by the changing winds of circumstance, we are all captains of our own ship.  I offer a few things I have learned from sailing as ways to cross your own outrageous sea.

You set the course, no matter which way the wind blows.  Sailing is an art – feeling the pulse of the wind, setting the sails to capture the gusts and move the boat forward.  It is your determination and direction that takes you forward.  The very force of the wind against you drives you to your goal.  Navigating  your business plan may be no less challenging.  Successful people feel the pull of their heart and the whispers of intuition.

You set your own course.

It’s rare that you move in a straight line.  Be willing to change course frequently.  Life is just like that – port and then starboard, and back again.   Keep a taut sail, but be willing to change direction.  Be aware of the horizon and your goals at all times.  Otherwise the changing winds and tides can confuse you.

Expect change and adjust.

Be careful of the lull.  As you tack from one side to another there is a momentary place where the sails flap, noisy and seemingly out of control.  It can be a frightening moment of indecision and doubt.  In that moment you decide the next turn.  It may be the moment you decide whether to leave a marriage, or start a new business, or move to a new community. There is no right answer.

The only danger is stopping in the middle.  You must move forward and fill your sails.  The lull of self-doubt is natural.  Welcome it as a sign that you are changing.  Welcome it as the progress that it truly demonstrates.  And move on.

Self-doubt happens when you are changing, keep moving.

If you persist you’ll get there.  The timing isn’t up to you.  Winds and waves have their own rhythm.  You can steer and set the sails.  Then be patient and enjoy the ride.   Keep your eye on the compass and move toward your goal.

You will reach your goals, at exactly the right time for you.

When the wind is pushing you forward, enjoy.  Then, to sail beyond your wildest imagination – make the extra effort to put up your spinnaker.

When you have been grinding hard to move upwind, it is natural to take it easy and relax when the wind is behind you.  It takes a little extra effort to pull out the spinnaker.  Yet it you have ever seen a boat being pulled along by the half balloon at its bow, you can understand the sheer exuberance of a winner.  Take the extra step.

Celebrate at the top of your game, rejoice and dance through the waves, spinnaker flying.

Step back from the daily grind and feel the wind in your face.  Look up and keep your goals in sight.  You are the captain of your ship.  Glad to come aboard and share the journey!

Will Your Home Business Boom or Bust?

home

Seven Personal Challenges That Determine Your Home Business Future

Are you one of the many people who are working from home? Perhaps you operate a home based business or work for a company who is saving on office space. Either way, you have some new challenges. Here are the top seven challenges to having a successful home based business.

  1. Doing everything your way. Most home based business owners get very excited about being their own boss. Truthfully, it IS exciting to set your own hours knowing that no one is looking over your shoulder. Yet there are two sides to this story. You are also your own employee! Be honest! Are there some tasks for which you would never hire yourself?
  2. Dealing with delays and interruptions. When you’re working at home it is a challenge to separate your private life from your workday. Children, pets, neighbors, mail men, and gardeners are part of your office landscape. There is no hard and fast rule to guide your attention. You will get interrupted. Your priorities will determine your outcome.
  3. Staying focused. Even if there are no delays and interruptions, most people find it a challenge to stay focused. You may find that your mind strays, or your online research becomes an episode of “Lost In Web Space”!! One of the best things you can do is anticipate this challenge. Learn to forgive yourself and come back to productive work.
  4. Motivation. It is no secret that your motivation will fluctuate from day to day. When your motivation is high you’re likely to achieve more. Be aware that if your motivation slips for more than a few days it can become a destructive habit. To be successful you MUST have a support system. It can be devastating to watch your business fail, knowing that you are the cause.
  5. Communicating effectively. This topic could be a series of articles. There are so many ways to communicate using the phone, email, print, social media, networking, advertising, speaking and many more. There are times you can communicate by telephone and many other times that you must meet in person up. Once you decide what is most effective for you, commit to becoming a master. Take a class, read a book or look for someone to mentor you. It is worth it!
  6. Listening effectively. To be successful you need to identify and solve your customer’s problem. More importantly, your prospect has to BELIEVE that you understand them and are proposing the right solution. Ask lots of questions and listen to your prospect’s answers. If you find yourself twisting your product or service to fit every possible solution you may want to ask yourself, “Was I really listening?”
  7. Doing everything yourself to keep expenses down. You may be working from home in order to save on expenses. We are fortunate to live in a time when we can be in business with a computer, phone, printer and internet connection! When there is very little money coming in, it is tempting to economize by learning new skills. You might put up your own website, design your business cards, start a newsletter or create a mail campaign. Before long you find yourself losing days or weeks in front of tutorials without any additional revenue. You are caught in the trap! Set aside funds to hire professionals. Spend your time on revenue producing activity. That is the fastest way to create success in your business.

Your home based business can be an adventure that brings out the very best in you. It will be a learning experience every single day. You will be called upon to be the very best you can be! Decide every day to enjoy the process, to learn from every choice and to create a support system of friends, mentors and professionals who have a stake in your success. Lastly, smile and enjoy the ride!

Simple Communication Tips That Build Business

work-from-home

Whether you are in an office wearing a suit or at home in jeans and a sweatshirt, your communication needs to be polished to consistently close business.  Here are some successful business communication basics.

 

Studies show that words only convey 7% of meaning. Tonality provides 38% of our understanding and body language. 55%. Keep this in mind when writing e-mail.

  • Be short and factual in your communication. People are busy and long e-mails are less likely to be read.
  • Ask clearly for what you want. If you want an e-mail response or a phone call, be sure that you have stated that directly.
  • It is good to speak in conversational language, which is friendly and inviting. Yet, sarcasm or humor can be misunderstood without tonality. Reread your e-mail, out loud without expression, to ensure that it says what you meant.
  • If you use Outlook, you can request a return receipt, which will advise you when your e-mail has been opened. This can be helpful for important notifications and avoids the need to ask for an acknowledgment.

Gold Calling

 

There is money in your telephone. You have the opportunity to make new relationships every time you pick up the phone. While e-mails are fine for communicating facts, they can never substitute or one to one communication.

Prepare Your Self

 

Prepare yourself before you make phone calls. Your mood and attitude will be communicated in your voice. Imagine you are going to a party with your best friends. You walk in with a big smile, feeling great, and expecting a good time. When you make calls with this attitude, people will be more receptive.

When you are not the right mood, do something to lighten up. Put on music and dance. Read or listen to an inspirational message. Place pictures of your dream home or travel or loved ones in your workspace. Be willing to be silly. Could you smile, if you wore a red clown’s nose while making calls? Working at home means you have more options than in an office.

Phone Finesse

 

Develop the fine art of phone courtesy and listening.

  • Ask whether your client has enough time for your call. If they say no, reschedule and call another time.
  • Listen for cues in their voice. If they speak fast match their speed. If they speak slowly then slow down to their pace. Increase or reduce your volume to match theirs.
  • Notice whether they like to be social, or simply want to get the task done.

· If they are fast-paced and task oriented. They will appreciate your getting right to the point. Don’t waste their time. Tell them what you need and ask for a decision. They will appreciate your no-nonsense approach.

· If they are fast-paced and social, be prepared to name drop. They will want to know who else uses your product. They will be interested in meetings were lots of other people are present.

· If they are slower paced and very friendly. They may want to take their time in making a decision. You can help them make a decision more quickly if you tell them all the ways that you minimize their risk. They will want to know about guarantees and proven results.

· Someone who is slower paced and is detail oriented, may want lots of facts. They may want ingredients and proof of results as well as certifications, comparisons, and documentation. They are likely to ask questions for which you not have the answer. Be honest at all times. If a question doesn’t make sense, feel free to ask, “ Why is that important to you?”

Every phone conversation is an opportunity to improve your skills. Some people you call will be a delight, others may be downright rude. Keep it light! If you look at it as a game, it can be far more enjoyable.

Face-To-Face Meetings

 

If you are new to working at home. It is easy to fall into the “Howard Hughes Syndrome”. Suddenly you find that because you CAN work in your pajamas, you haven’t been out of them for two weeks.

The strongest relationships are made in face to face meetings. It is very acceptable to meet people in coffee shops and over meals. Find time to meet with people in some of the following ways:

  • Networking Meetings.
  • Chamber Of Commerce meetings.
  • Special interest events. (Check out meetup.com for a list of special events near you).
  • Closing contracts.
  • Delivering products.
  • Training.

Celebrate the opportunity to work from home. You have the flexibility to control your destiny.

Are You Too Smart For Your Business Success?

businessWoman-main_FullIs business success a learnable skill?  Do you know how to grow you small business into a more profitable larger business?  How do you know?  Have you done it before?

The truth is that YOU can follow the lead of others and create a very successful business.  It is also true that YOU are the biggest obstacle to your business success.  How is that possible?

If you want to cease being a roadblock and begin being a bridge on the road to success, you need to be open to possibilities that you have not considered before.  Even if you have read success stories, created your plans and built a business, you will never grow beyond the limits of your own expectations.  Whatever you currently believe defines our limits.

I have several mentors who declare that the most dangerous words in the English language are, “I know that!” The reason these words are so dangerous is simple. Success principles are not new. Success follows repeatable patterns, and you can learn from others. This means that those who act upon proven principles can also be successful.

However, there are many more people who HEARD the principles or READ the principles and yet they are not successful. Why? Success requires action and correction. Hearing or reading principles is not the same as LIVING them. Successful people do what it takes, accept the resulting feedback, correct their course and act again.

You do not KNOW a success principle unless are living it daily. If you do not have the business success you want, then it is obvious that you do not KNOW the principles you need.

The good news is that with an open mind and heart, and a willing mentor, you CAN LEARN to do what it takes to achieve your personal goals.  Start by eliminating the words, “I know that!” from your vocabulary.  My friend, Alex Mandossian says it best, “It’s what you learn AFTER you know it all that counts most!”