Ask for Help!

In a recent interview I was asked what I thought was a common thread for all my clients. Without thinking, I answered, “They’re ready and willing to ask for help”. I knew it was true before, but I hadn’t put it into words. Understanding and acknowledging this I can now focus on finding those who are ready to ask for help. That’s a great insight. I can simply ask prospects if they are ready to get help.
Entrepreneurs by nature don’t like to ask for help. An independent and sometimes stubborn lot, we tend to think we can do it all. There are many kinds of help we can ask for, from getting administrative support to calling on expertise beyond our own to accomplish something that would require ramp up time for us. That includes getting feedback on our ideas, helping us monitor our milestones and keeping us focused on our goals. The place to go for help is where the payoff is the biggest. If we haven’t clearly defined exactly what results we want, we may want to start there and get help to define them.

It’s much easier, and certainly more pleasant, having someone help us sort out the issues, get focused on goals, offer solutions, function as a partner and be a friend. Enter — the coach.

How do you know if you’re ready to ask for help from someone like a coach? Here are a few responses I’ve heard more than once.

– Tried unsuccessfully to do it myself
– Feel stuck and tempted to give up
– Want to grow my business but don’t know how
– Finances are out of control
– Staff is not productive; I end up doing it all
– Have great ideas, but don’t know how to develop them
– Want to create a strong brand; need guidance
– Frustrated with my business partnership or family business

With those kinds of answers you can’t afford NOT to get help. Humans were meant to help each other. It’s an honor to be asked for help. It reinforces our sense of being valued.
Asking for help does not imply weakness. I’ve found that those who ask for help when they need it are much more likely to succeed than those who keep putting it off, continuing to hope they can do it themselves. That can lead to total frustration and could be the beginning of an unwanted downhill spiral.

Is it time to get help in making critical decisions or setting a strategic course of action? Don’t be afraid to ask. I’ll bet you’ll be glad you did.

Go to the Contact Page, and tell me how I can help.

If you’re ready to cut through all the “stuff” and move your business onto the fast track to success, join us for the 9 week Fast Track Intensive, starting April 27th. First session is F*R*E*E.

What is a Strategy? Wikipedia defines strategy as “A long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often “winning.” Strategy is differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand by its nature of being extensively premeditated, and often practically rehearsed. Strategies are used to make the problem easier to understand and solve.”

My definition is a bit simpler, and hopefully, easier to understand. I consider developing a strategy as the “thinking” part of the process. It’s where you gather all the pertinent information, analyze it, and then make “informed” decisions based on what you learn. A strategy is an informed decision that provides a framework for actions.

From “How to Create a Marketing Strategy That Delivers“.

The Secret Ingredient: YOU

Want to create a strong brand, add to the sustainability of your business, increase your confidence and really enjoy being an entrepreneur? Just add the secret ingredient. Billion dollar businesses have been built on the secret ingredient.

In your business the secret ingredient is “YOU” and your personal assets. It’s up to you to know who you are: your strengths, your motivators, your values, and to apply those liberally to how you conduct and present your business. A good part of what attracts customers and clients is you.

Early in life you may have been discouraged from using your personal assets by well-meaning family, friends, teachers and others. It is, however, these qualities that have the strongest potential to attract what will make you successful and happy in your business and your life.

Marcus Buckingham, noted author and speaker on the subject has shown that “people will be dramatically more effective, successful and fulfilled when they play to their strongest skills rather than attempting to improve their weaknesses”.

Think back to when you were a child. I’ll bet there are things you can remember having fun doing or that were important to you then that somehow got lost in the growing up process. Chances are they’re still there, but have been forced underground because you wanted to “fit in” and be accepted as one of the group – or there was no obvious way to use them at the time.

The wonderful thing is you have choices all the time. With every choice comes the resulting impact on your universe. Each option will bring a different set of results. If you are conscious of who you are – your strengths, passions, talents, etc., you can make choices that will allow you to benefit from these assets.

I believe we use only a small part of our brain power to a large extent because we are out of alignment with our innate nature and strengths. It’s an exercise in basic physics. We’re designed to receive our awareness energy from many sources. If our basic receptors are out of alignment, some of that energy will be deflected as it enters our multiple consciousness levels, thereby substantially reducing the energy we can use.

By realigning ourselves with our core strengths we receive the full force of that energy. This means we gain maximum awareness from our environment. We become stronger, more intuitive and express ourselves with more passion and confidence.

So how do we realign ourselves to benefit most from who we are?

Continue reading on my blog…

Are you prepared to lead?

LeaderTo lead is a verb. It implies action. The leader acts, the follower reacts. The leader is the one who steps out in front and says “Follow me; I know a better way.” If he’s convincing or trusted, those who relate to the message will follow.

There are those who say leadership can be learned — and I definitely agree with that. There are, however, natural strengths and talents within each of us which are not the result of learning.

If given the opportunity to make our choices without outside influence, we’ll select certain activities on which to spend our time and dedicate our undivided, disciplined attention for long periods just for the pleasure of the experience. These are the points from which we can learn to lead. This is where we really are the experts and where we do have something to offer.

Leading from our strengths and passions is the soundest foundation upon which to build a business. It’s extremely valuable to be able to call upon these personal qualities for a level of credibility that can’t be achieved from anything that we’ve learned externally. [Read more…]

Planning: The Roadmap to Success

Think of a plan as a map. It’s meant to be a guide. The planning process helps us focus on the “how” of what we want to accomplish. It organizes our thinking, identifies the steps and gives us tools to monitor how we’re doing.

Those who create and write plans have a much better chance of success, yet so many people don’t follow through. Why not? We may think there’s little value in spending the time to create a plan. Also, it’s unfamiliar territory and we’re not sure what we need to do. We may carry the plan in our head, but it’s always in an abstract state. We want to take it from the abstract to the next stage of realization – putting it in writing.

Let’s assume you have taken the steps that lead you to the point of needing a plan.
After you’ve decided what you’re going to do (goals) and how you’re going to do it (strategy), you’ll need to decide the specific actions that will fulfill your strategy and lead you to your goals.

How do you know what actions to take? Keeping in mind your goals and strategy, together with the business intelligence you’ve gathered and evaluated, brainstorm a number of possible actions. You might review these with key staff and advisors; then select those that seem to have the most potential to produce desired results. At this point it might be a good idea to discuss your plans with the people who would be involved in carrying out the actions. This could save you money, time and unproductive actions. [Read more…]

How Do I Find the Right Business Partner?

Having a partner presents a complex mix of interpersonal and business issues, and both need to be addressed for it to work.

If your primary interest is having someone to brainstorm with and to help your business move forward, there may be other options besides a partner. A consultant or coach may be able to fill that role. In that case you’d have the benefit of an objective dedicated mind but would still make the final decisions.

Likewise, if additional capital is needed now, there may be alternatives to giving away your hard-earned equity. Debt is usually preferable to equity unless the partner can add significant value to your business. If an equity partner can open a sizable new market, take on critical responsibility or provide access to valuable resources, it may be worth serious consideration.

Base your decision to have a partner on sound logic and reasoning. Be careful of just wanting to dump responsibility on anyone who will agree.

The purpose of the partnership should be clear in your own mind first. Then you’re ready to determine the qualities and assets a potential partner would bring. A partnership is usually a long term arrangement, so think long and hard as to whether or not you’re ready for that level of commitment. [Read more…]

How to Add Innovation to Your Business

Earlier this year a client in the executive search industry told me she was beginning to see the need for executives who can bring innovation to their position. Based on her research she chose to add innovation as a practice specialty. Her article summarizing findings are on my blog at http://primestrategies.com/?p=615 .
Innovation

Doing a bit of my own research I learned there’s an amazing body of knowledge on the subject.

Innovation is certainly not a new business concept. Jack Welch, former GE leader, was known for introducing innovation into the corporate culture there. His mission was to create the world’s most competitive enterprise. One of the ways he did that was through innovation.

The goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better; to increase value in some fashion. Today’s thinking is not just about managing change; it’s about leading change.

As the leader of your business it’s up to you to set the stage for innovation.

Research the market.
Consciously be alert for new ideas that might be applied to your business. Reading what others have done (in any industry) can often trigger your thinking. Surf the internet for innovative ideas. [Read more…]

The Keys to Finding Good Help

Audrey had been looking for a Field Supervisor for months. She’d taken referrals from friends and family, posted at the colleges and on Craig’s list. So far, no one had met Audrey’s expectations. I was concerned that she would become discouraged and hire the wrong person to fill the job or would give up and continue to spend her own precious time doing the supervisor’s job. So I helped her see why she wasn’t attracting the right candidates.

The first thing she did was write out exactly what she wanted from this person. From that she created a specific and clear job description that was able to attract the right candidates. Once she posted it she finally found someone she believes will meet her expectations on the job.

The success of a small business is dependent on having good help. Without it, the business just cannot go to the next level. [Read more…]

7 Strategies to Recession-Proof Your Business

We don’t yet have confirmation that we’re in a recession, but the media are certainly leading us to believe it’s imminent. I’ve spoken with a number of small businesses who are already starting to feel a slowdown.

That tells me every small business needs to take a hard look at the status of their business to make sure it can withstand a downturn. The secret is to have your Plan address spots where you may be vulnerable. Prevention n0w definitely beats fixing things after they become difficult to turn around.

Following are top strategies for weathering a downturn. They are actually good business practices in any economy.

1. Get your house in order.

Start by solving as many problems as possible n0w. Unresolved problems hurt even more in difficult times. Get your cash under control. Choose strategies that conserve and manage it. If you need help, get it ASAP. [Read more…]

The One Page Marketing Plan

I’m so excited about this new One Page Marketing Plan I want to share the first part with you now. If you begin to see what it can do for you, I hope you’ll get it for yourself.

The purpose of the One Page Marketing Plan is to simplify the steps of creating a practical plan you can put to use immediately. It can be used to support a marketing campaign or to carry out your overall business plan.

We start by gathering pertinent information and answering specific questions. We give you explanations and examples to direct your thinking plus simple tools that provide a structure you can use over and over again. You are both learning and doing at the same time.

When you actually put the Plan to use, you’ll not only see positive Results, you’ll have started a new habit that will prepare you to reach the next level in your business. [Read more…]

How Can I Fix My Business Partnership?

I’ve found there are lots of people in a long standing business partnership who are not satisfied with the status of the relationship. They may feel stuck, frustrated, angry…or all of these. They know they’ve been silent far too long, but just don’t know what to do.

What can cause such a change in a relationship that started out with high hopes and good feelings?

Here are some of the situations I see most often. Do any of these apply to your partnership?

One partner feels like he’s carrying the bulk of the workload.

This may have happened because there wasn’t an agreement about who would do what. Job roles, responsibilities and accountability have not been discussed.

Expectations are not being met. [Read more…]