Highly Chilled Habit #5: Be Clear

clarity

The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business owners

This is the fifth article in a monthly series on small business owners I have met or worked with over the years who developed beautiful successful businesses.

Stories of successful real business owners

In 35 years of doing business and working with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, I’ve learned a very important lesson: Success in small business starts by building great habits. I call these practices the “7 Highly Chilled Habits” and I find they’re best illustrated with the stories of real business owners who I happen to have had the pleasure of coaching.

The articles are based on my E-book, The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business Owners. All of my books and other resources are available for free here

Habit #5:

Highly Chilled Business Owners Say "No" a Lot

be clear business habit 5

In order to build a Highly Chilled business, you must have a succinct, one-sentence answer to the question: “Why does your business exist and why would anybody care about that?”

BTW, You can read up on Chilled habit #1: Be dependable here

Getting Clear

In the early days of my building business, I basically tried to take on any building job that came along for any client that walked past my door. I was inexperienced in business, and I figured that we had to achieve at least 2 million dollars in turnover if I was going to have enough money left over. The upshot of this was lots of frustration and heartache (for myself and some of my clients), and very little money.

Luckily, I learnt from my mistakes. I realised what we were good at and what we weren’t so good at. Some years later, I decided to specialise and focus on renovations to old terraced houses in Sydney’s inner city. I had an affinity for them. I also understood the challenges and opportunities. We developed an expertise in these projects and offered a unique package of building and design services aimed at the owners of terraced houses.

Building Up the Courage

Picking this niche started turning my building business around. However, the biggest turning point came when I built up enough courage to start saying “no” to building projects that fell outside of our narrow speciality.

I became happier, as did our customers. We started making money. We even went well beyond the turnover target I had dreamt about early on.

That was the first time I understood how important it is to be able to answer the Big Question of Small Business: “Why does your business exist, what’s it on this earth for, and why would anybody care about that?”

Our Purpose (with a capital “P”) in the building company became: “To make the process of renovating your terraced house a joy.”

Be Focused, Like Jo

In the past 12 years, I’ve helped many small business owners become completely clear about the Big Question and then watched them build Highly Chilled small businesses. One of these people is named Jo and she has built a Highly Chilled web development business. This is her website.

When I met Jo, she was struggling on many fronts. She worked day and night, but she still made very little money. Essentially, Jo was in the same place I’d been in the early stages of my building career. She felt frustrated and stressed because she took on every job that came up.

Over a 6-month period, we set about discovering her strengths and weaknesses, what gets her out of bed in the morning and who her perfect clients are. We ended up with this Purpose statement: “We make it easy for companies to do business online.”

The day we nailed that statement, things started to turn around for Jo. It suddenly became easy to decide where to direct her focus, which opportunities to say “yes” to and most importantly, which to say “no” to.

6 months later and Jo is still working hard, but she’s having fun, her customers love her and she’s making money. Jo’s is a Highly Chilled business and Jo is a Highly Chilled small business owner.

Your Homework (The Chilled Kind)

Here’s a short exercise you could carry out to start the process of making this habit your own.

Practice Highly Chilled habit #5:

Grab a coffee or a wine and a piece of paper and pen. Brainstorm 50 sentences that start with the statement: “In my business, we strive to X”. It doesn’t matter if some of the sentences you write down feel silly. Simply scribbling lots and lots of options will help you get closer to the Purpose of your business.

Are you a small business owner who’s feeling the heat? Explore Highly Chilled habit #6 here as soon as it is live on my blog here 

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Highly Chilled Habit #4: Be Thrifty With Your Time

time management business habits

The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business owners

This is the fourth article in a monthly series on small business owners I have met or worked with over the years who developed beautiful successful businesses.

Stories of successful real business owners

In 35 years of doing business and working with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, I’ve learned a very important lesson: Success in small business starts by building great habits. I call these practices the “7 Highly Chilled Habits” and I find they’re best illustrated with the stories of real business owners who I happen to have had the pleasure of coaching.

The articles are based on my E-book, The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business Owners. All of my books and other resources are available for free here

Highly Chilled Habit #4:

Be Thrifty With Your Time

7 habits num 4 time management

In order to build a Highly Chilled business, you must get into the habit of always asking yourself: Is what I am doing at this moment the best use and management of my time?

BTW, You can read up on Chilled habit #1 here. And Chilled habit #2, here And Chilled Habit #3 here

Be disciplined, like Jacob

Jacob is disciplined time manager I’ve met in small business. Jacob started his IT business a little over 20 years ago and now he employs more than 100 people across Australia and New Zealand. The business runs largely without him. So much so, that Jacob travels the world in style and has found time to start a new and totally different business besides his IT venture. This is the website of his IT business. If there’s one habit that Jacob has disciplined himself to internalise, it’s to constantly remind himself of the question: Is this the best use or management of my time?

Time is the one thing you can’t buy more of

I sometimes ask small business owners what they think is the most valuable resource of their business. Generally, people mention contracts, customers, stock, equipment, IP, property or their people. While all of those things are extremely important, none are as valuable as your time. Your time, as the business owner, is the only thing you cannot buy, rent, hire, beg or steal more of. Therefore, whenever you say “YES” to doing one thing, it means, by definition, you’re saying “NO” to doing something else. Jacob has learnt this over the years, and he’s become rigorous in applying that principle every day. Whenever Jacob is confronted with a demand on his time, he’s committed to asking himself the following 6 questions:
  • Does this thing HAVE to be done now?
  • If not by me, who else can this thing be done by?
  • What would happen if I say “NO” to this thing?
  • If I say “YES”, what will not get done?
  • Is doing this thing really the BEST use of my time?
  • What would be a better use of my time?
Thanks to this practice, Jacob has lots of time to do the stuff that matters most in his business; the stuff that only he, the business owner, can do. He can focus on the tasks that make the business grow, develop and bring in more money. Jacob’s is a Highly Chilled business and Jacob is a Highly Chilled small business owner.

Your Homework (the chilled kind)

Here’s a short exercise you could carry out to start the process of making this habit your own. Every Sunday night or Monday morning, ask yourself: What are the three main things I want to do this week, to feel that I’ve moved forward in my business? (Remember, as a small business owner, there will always be more things for you to do than time allows.) Practice Highly Chilled habit #4: Block the appropriate time to do those three things in your diary and only allow them to be moved in a DIRE emergency. Are you a small business owner who’s wondering how to start playing it cool? Explore Highly Chilled habit #5 here [INSERT LINK WHEN COMPLETED].

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