How to transform an ordinary conversation into an extraordinary one

Conversations Listening Business Coach

Beautiful things can happen in the meeting space between two people

Conversations Listening Business Coach

Powerful conversations lead to unexpected outcomes

I talk a lot… I get paid for it actually… Specifically, I have conversations… Powerful conversations with my business coaching clients, so I do as much listening, as I do talking.

You may have heard it said that we have two ears and one mouth and that we ought to use them in that ratio.

Obviously, the math’s doesn’t really add up. Unless your conversations involve three people, it’ll lead to a lot of awkward silences (sorry that’s a dad-joke). But the point is valid. Most of us listen for the opportunity to speak next. I sat in a large gathering once and the facilitator announced that there would be no questions, because, she said, the moment we put up our hands to ask questions, we stop listening.

I think our conversations are like that a lot of the time. We look for an opportunity to put our own two-bob’s-worth in and while on the lookout for that, we cease to listen to the other half of the conversation.

Listening Between The Lines

One of the greatest skills we can all learn is listening, deep listening. Listening between the lines as someone once said to me. What is person who is talking really saying; What are they feeling; What is underneath the words they use; What are they looking for from the conversation; How can we take the conversation up a notch?

Not long ago I sat down with a client to do one of my trial business coaching sessions. Both the client and I had more or less decided that at the end of the trial session she would sign a coaching agreement with me and that we would be working together for the next year. At the start of the session, I reminded the client and myself that it was important to be open to whatever the outcome of the conversation might be, no attachments, no agendas. We spent an hour and a half digging and exploring and opening up every box we found and examining the contents. Slowly but surely it became evident for both of us, that engaging in a coaching agreement with me was not what the client needed at this point in her business. A bunch of other things needed to be seen to first.

The Conclusion Comes From The Middle

The conversation was incredibly powerful, we both lost track of time and it felt we reached entirely the right outcome for her. We both felt the conclusion was unavoidable, it simply presented itself in the space between us. Although it was an outcome that was contrary to the interest of my business, I felt right and the client was energised and grateful.

Conversations Listening Business Coach A hero of mine, Graham Long, minister of the Wayside Chapel in Sydney, often tells me that the greatest thing we can do for our fellow human beings is to “meet” them. He refers to a meeting than can sometimes be allowed to occur in the space between two people. Graham says that this is the only space where the holy fire burns. I’m not particularly religious, so I find it difficult to think in terms of holiness, but I do know that the outcome of the conversation with the client above came neither from my brain nor that of the client, it came out of space between us.

The client and I were committed to let the conversation go wherever it wanted to go, neither of us had an agenda other than to have the most powerful conversation we could have, and amazing things happened.

It has taken me many years to learn not to be attached to the outcome of a conversation. As a matter of fact, it continues to be one of the greatest challenges of my life. Whenever I go into any conversation the temptation immediately rises in me to give advice, to help, to fix things, to tell people what I think, how to do life differently, and impress them with my wisdom, experience or cleverness. But every time I give in to those temptations, the conversation goes nowhere.

The Siren Voice of the Smart-arse

Conversations Listening Business Coach From time to time I do catch the siren voice of being the smartarse who’ll fix things. When I do, as I did in the recent trial session with the client, beautiful things happen.

I remember I first started learning about the value of simply being with people when I was a volunteer crisis counsellor for Lifeline in Sydney. Every now and then I experienced that “meeting” that Graham Long told me about later. True “Meeting” would normally only come about at 3 am on the midnight shift, when I could barely keep my eyes open. In those moments, I think I simply forgot to be clever and “useful” and was just there for the caller.

There was a call once that went for nearly 2 hrs, just me and the voice of the caller in the middle of a Sunday night. I don’t know what happened for the caller afterwards, Lifeline calls are anonymous, but for me the call was life changing. We “met” as Graham describes it and something truly special happened for both of us, I have no doubt.

The conversation with the client a few weeks ago, wasn’t life changing in the same way, but it left me glowing deep inside and I know the client felt the same way.

The best conversations in life are that way. We remember them forever, if not for the detail of the conversation, but for the feeling it created between us.

I wish I could force those “meetings” to happen, but I can’t and nobody can, that’s the point of them. The harder we try the less successful we are. In the early days of my coaching journey I used to have a reminder hanging on the wall in front of me that said:

The harder I try to be useful, the less useful I am.

The only way to make true “meetings” happen is to be open to allow them to happen, and that requires us to have no attachment to the outcome of the meeting, to practice deep listening, listening between the lines, and to be in the conversation, nowhere else.

Easier said than done, but I’m learning

Slowly

Ever so slowly…

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#SmallTalk #conversations #FunInBusiness #Coaching #startup #entrepreneurmindset #realtalk

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What Does A Typical Business Owner Look Like?

business acumen

Business acumen, what is it and how do you know you have it?

Business acumen

In the end it’s all about stupidity

Are business owners born or made? Or rather, what does it take to become a business owner, Do you have business acumen? What does business acumen look like? How can you tell if you are a budding business owner or not?

I find it a really interesting question, I’ve thought about it many times, especially since becoming a business coach, helping small business owners turn their dreams into reality. I have also written about the Entrepreneurial types here and I have created a survey to help you determine what type of entrepreneur you are here.

To answer the question, we need to dispel one myth first of all, and that’s the myth that there is an “entrepreneurial type”. There may indeed be such a type, but it’s not just those types that become successful business owners. I think business owners are as varied in their types as there are people on the planet. Having said that, I do believe that there is one character trait that stands out as something unique to most entrepreneurs, and that’s this:

Business owners are people who cannot conceive of having their lives controlled by others.

For a business owner type, the idea of spending her entire working life having to report to others and being part of an organisation that does things, and takes directions that are outside of her control, fills him with dread.

Your most troublesome employee

business acumen I am certainly like that myself. I worked for a large organisation for 5 years in the early part of my working life, and found myself fighting the system every day. Having my boss, or his boss, or the bosses boss make a directive and being informed of such a directive and having to fall into line with the directive, whether or not I agreed with it, would simply make steam come out of my ears.

I was that employee you’d hate to have work for you.

And the thought that my days would be controlled like this for the rest of my life sent shivers down my spine. I was only 25 by the time I knew something had to change and I naively decided it was time to go out on my own. In hindsight, it’s a good thing that I was as naïve as I was. If I’d known then what I know now about becoming a small business owner, I might have held back and attempted to become a better adjusted and happier staff member instead. I say ‘a good thing’, because I am incredibly glad I made the step when I was young and stupid. I don’t regret anything about becoming a business owner and employer rather than an employee.

Standing in the centre of your life

I’ve loved standing in the centre of my life, knowing that I was equally responsible for anything bad that happened in my business (and my life) as well as for the successes. But it does get progressively harder and scarier to take the step to becoming an entrepreneur as you grow older.

People think that business owners are somehow braver than non-business owners, because they get out there and face the world on their own. I don’t think it’s courage so much; I don’t consider myself more courageous than the average person. Most people who start their own business, get to a point in their lives where they simply feel they can’t do anything else, they’re compelled. The mark of courage is not how fearless you are, rather it is in how you overcome your fears. I don’t remember feeling fear so much when I decided to become my own boss. I simply had to do this thing, there was no other option.

And hence, to answer the question: What is business acumen and what does it look like? Maybe the common characteristic of business owners is … Stupidity.

#StupidInBusiness #EntrepreneursAreBorn #FunInBusiness #BusinessAcumen

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A rose by any other name… Is Your Business Coach Really A Consultant?

Business Coach Australia

The difference between business coaching, life coaching, mentoring, consulting and training

Business Coach Australia

As always, in the end it’s about people

I’m often asked about the difference between business coaching, life coaching, business consulting, business mentoring, business advising and business training. I tend to confuse people with my answer. So let me see if I can make more sense of it all for you here.

First of all you need to understand that there are actually no accepted definitions of the terms coaching and mentoring. Many people call themselves coaches who would have called themselves consultants, advisers or counselors prior to 2005 when coaching became a very trendy idea.

I myself trained in various coaching and counselling disciplines and was a member of one of the private coaching bodies called the ICF, the International Coaches Federation. It was and is one of the most serious bodies trying to regulate the coaching world, but I would hazard a guess that not even 10% of professionals that refer to themselves as coaches are members of the ICF or any of the other professional coaching bodies.

Business coaching is even less defined as a specific profession and most business coaching companies have simply created a set of programs that they believe will help their clients get ahead in business. They use the “business coach” label because it seems like the best descriptor. I refer to myself as a business – life coach and to be honest I’ve never come across another business – life coach and so, what I do is anybody’s guess 🙂 (But my clients all tell me it works incredibly well, so I’ll just keep doing it).

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Coaching is one of the tools

To be fair, that’s not all that different for me either. I gave up my ICF membership more than 5 years ago, because I concluded that I don’t ascribe to the coaching model that the ICF tries to regulate anymore. Coaching, in the ICF certified way, is just one of the many tools I use to support my clients.

I refer to myself as a business coach and mentor. But to be more accurate, I should really call myself a business coach, mentor, adviser, hand-holder, sounding board and backside kicker. At different times, I step into all those roles. Besides, the way I work with my clients is entirely different to how most other business coaches work with their clients. Many of the business coaches are part of larger organisations such as ActionCoach or Shirlaws, or Fish Coaching. Those organisations have specific business development programs that the coach or consultant helps the business implement. The programs might include training and workshops and group coaching and are based on specific philosophies of business. They are the same for all clients.

It’s all about the relationship

Business Coach Australia Over the past 12 years, doing what I do with my clients, I’ve seen that an engagement with a coach, mentor or adviser is only as good as the relationship that develops between the coach and the client. When I realised that it wasn’t whether I applied a certain coaching technique or followed a certain program that changed my client’s business and life, but that it was all about my relationship with the client, I gave up my ICF membership and decided to totally customise my approach for every client.

So last week I might have been a counselor and offered nothing but deep empathy for the client’s challenges, this week I might tell the same client to pull his finger out and get his overdue admin up to date and next week I might help him understand the vagaries of the balance sheet or start writing a social media marketing plan with him.

These days, when someone asks me what the difference is between coaching and mentoring, consulting and training, I tell him that it’s the wrong question to ask. The only question to ask is: Do I think I can Do Great Work in my business with the support of this person.

Nothing else matters… I promise you.

More about the various forms of business support, guidance and advice that are available to small business owners here

#entrepreneurship #BusinessCoach #FunInBusiness #Leadership

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Time Management, Procrastination and Laziness

Procrastination, Business Coach

Procrastinating My Life Away

Procrastination, Business Coach

The nonsense in my head and what I do about it

Today, I’m writing about procrastination, laziness and time management. Well, I say “today”, but that’s a relative concept, isn’t it. “Today” was meant to be last Monday, it’s now Thursday. And in unrelated news, my desk is as tidy as it’s been for weeks, my email inbox is empty and I just pulled a magic looking sourdough from the oven an hour ago.

Your business coach wonders: “Am I really the right person to write about procrastination? It’s clearly not one of my strength areas.”

Procrastination, time management and laziness… Tricky topic. On the one hand I’ve written before (here for example), that laziness doesn’t actually exist as a character trait. On the other hand however, some people just seem to get so much done and they’re disciplined and they get their heads down and don’t come up for air until the job is done and then they jump straight into the next thing and get that done too. I even know people who are so disciplined, they consistently don’t look at Facebook until after dinner and every day turn their email off for large blocks of time. Those people are on the Marvel Super Heroes Team in my book: Doctor Discipline or somesuch…

Time to get some nibbles

Procrastination, Business Coach Hang on, I’m about 200 words into this article… Time to jump up and get some nibbles from the kitchen.

Hi there, I’m back, 2 hrs later, but still.

You see in this case, part of the problem I’m having is that even as a business coach, I’m not sure yet exactly what I’m going to write. I’m searching for inspiration. I’m waiting for the Muse to strike me. One of my heroes, Oliver Burkeman from the Guardian, however, says in this interview  that waiting for the Muse is futile. Just do the thing, sit down and write, and see what happens, says Oliver.

It’s a technique I’ve used, with some success, in the past… But today… Not so much.

Procrastination and perfectionism

Procrastination makes me feel inadequate. There are some fascinating thoughts on procrastination, in this article by Costica Bradatan in the New York Times. According to Costica, procrastination is all about perfectionism. Our Vision is more perfect than the reality can ever be. We fear that the thing we want to create, build or write is going to be a disappointment compared to our vision of it and so we resist creating it. I can sort of understand that, but I don’t think I am a perfectionist. “Close Enough is Good Enough” has generally been my motto in life and consequently I “Get Shit Done”… Not as well done as some others might Get Their Shit Done maybe, but Done nevertheless. I pride myself on my ability to make things happen.

But some things don’t get done that way. The difficult stuff is always the stuff you can’t get done by rolling up your sleeves. The stuff we procrastinate over is the stuff that requires us to be courageous, the stuff that requires us to expose some of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Young Grasshopper gets a kick up the backside

Procrastination, Business Coach So what’s difficult for me about writing this article and why I think I’ve been procrastinating over it for such a long time, is that I don’t feel qualified to talk about procrastination, because I do so much of it myself. Me writing about procrastination, inefficiency and wasting time is like a junkie writing about heroin addiction.

But hang on… Stop right there young grasshopper. By that logic we should not be allowed to talk about anything we haven’t gained a PHD in. Nonsense, clearly. Maybe being a procrastinator is precisely what qualifies me to write about it. Let’s face it, who wants to get weight loss advice from a supermodel? I’d much rather listen to someone who’s struggled with weight loss as much as I do, and who may have found something that’s helped him. One of the things that makes AA so effective is being with a group of people who “get it”.

So let’s start this whole thing again:

At the AA meeting

Hi my name is Roland and I am a procrastinator…

Here’s what has helped me sometimes, and sometimes not (and then at least I end up with a clean desk)

I’ve learnt is that procrastination is always, a sign for me that there is something else, something unexamined, in the way.

It’s either:

  1. I don’t know what the actual thing is I’m supposed to be doing
  2. I’m not sure how to actually go about doing this thing
  3. The prospect of doing this thing doesn’t excite me
  4. The consequences of not doing this thing at this moment are not all that bad.
  5. I don’t have enough confidence in my own abilities, or skill or experience.

(In the case of the procrastination I went through over writing this article it came down to numbers 1 and 5.)

Knowing that that’s how it works for me, I’ve learned that I first need to become aware that I am procrastinating, because sometimes I am avoiding the thing so much I don’t even realise I am procrastinating. And then, once I’ve realised I am procrastinating, ask myself which of those 5 hurdles is getting in my way. In nearly all cases, once I clearly verbalise what is getting in the way of doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing, it disappears. The moment I verbalised my fear of not being credible, because I am procrastinator myself, I realised how silly that fear actually was, the hurdle disappeared, and I could sit down and finish the article into the form you are reading now.

Most procrastination hurdles we throw up for ourselves fade when brought out into the light… I promise you

#TimeManagement #Procrastination #FunInBusiness

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How to Make a Family Business Work

Family Business

Family business the godfather

The pitfalls and the secrets of hiring family members in your business

Business and family don’t mix, is the old adage. And I’ve certainly seen the mixture blow up in a bunch of instances, but what about the many many family businesses out there that have done very well and been around a long time. Say what you will, but the Murdochs, Packers and Trumps are nothing if not succesful business families. So why are we so concerned about introducing family members into our businesses, and how can we avoid the worst of the pitfalls?

First of all, I think the problem with family and business, or for that matter friends and business, is not so much that it is more likely to fail than a normal business, but that if it fails it can cause so much collateral damage. Whole families can be ripped apart over a family partnership that disintegrates. If the manager of department X turns out to be an incompetent idiot, you as his direct report can simply leave. It may be inconvenient, but you’ll find another job and life moves on. But if that same manager is uncle Jimmy and the company was started by your father, and you have to sit at the same Christmas lunch table with Uncle Jimmy next month, then the situation becomes much more complicated.

The business owner’s dream

Family Business I’m not going to sit here and tell you never to hire a family member into your business. Most business owners dream of having their children join the business and have the thing they created be a vehicle for bringing the family closer and making life more comfortable for the family. In my days as a builder I often imagined that it would be really nice to have one or all of my kids become involved in my business. It’s how we roll as business owners, and it’s one of the reasons, I believe business owners on average are happier people as a group (more about business and happiness here) .

So how do we minimise the inherent risks of causing major family dramas when getting the clan involved in The Business.

4 Secrets

From everything I’ve seen over the years I think there are four principles to managing family business well:

    • Acknowledge that it isn’t always going to be easy. Allow for the fact that just because we are family, doesn’t mean we all have the same values and beliefs or the same work ethic or for that matter the same priorities in life. Sure, family is important for most of us, but my own kids are still more important to me than uncle Jimmy’s kids.
    • Depending on the size of the organisation, ensure you have regular meetings (monthly ideally) in which issues can be tabled and resolved. The format of the meetings is dependent on circumstances. If there are two family members in a large organisation, it’s probably a good idea for those two people to go and have a drink every month and compare notes. But if a significant number of the employees of a business are all part of your family, organise a once a month family meeting, in which irritations and grievances are aired and worked through.
    • Take the time to set up job-role-descriptions and expectations for all employees in the business, but especially for the family members. There is nothing so destructive as a family member in a business who doesn’t actually know what is expected from him or her. Job descriptions, clarity about what constitutes “great work”, clarity on deliverables and KPIs… Take the trouble to set them up and hold people, family members especially, accountable to them.
    • Ensure that there is great clarity about how people move up the ladder in the company. Family members especially must know that there is a quid pro quo: Not unless you deliver XYZ and you have proven to be good at your current role, will you be considered for promotion: Just because you are my son, doesn’t mean you will be promoted beyond what you proven yourself capable of.

I’ve written various other articles about the highs and lows of being in a family business here, as well as my own experiences in family business here, and there is a page with resources about family business on my website here, and finally I have a page about the services I offer husband and wife family businesses here.

Involving your family in your business can destroy your family just as much as it can bring your family closer together and be an incredibly rewarding experience. Follow the four principles above and you give yourself the best opportunity to create the latter… I promise you.

#FunInBusiness #Happiness #FamilyBusiness #ClarityInBusiness

Btw, if you want to be guided on how to make your family business work, I have created The Fun in Business Intensive program to make it safe for business owners like you to go on a great journey of change in their business, their family, and life. Click below to learn more!

Fun in Business Intensive


The One Thing That Matters Most in Business Management

small-business-fun

Are you having fun yet?

Fun in business management matters rubber duck

Nobody teaches you about Fun in business at an MBA

Ask any business owner, accountant, management consultant, business coach or other business guru what matters most in business, and you’re likely to be told about the importance of profit, cash, sales, customer retention, staff, leadership, or maybe you’ll be regaled with the importance of quality, systems, innovation or maybe planning and strategic thinking (not a complete list nor necessarily in the right order).

Obviously, those are all important. Without sales, there is no business. If you don’t generate enough cash, your business will fall over in no time as well but there is one factor that’s much more important than all of those. I refer to that factor as Fun in Business.

Fun in Business management is not one of the success factors we learn about in MBA schools, but I can assure you it matters more than anything else. (Read here on Inc.com about the traditional success factors in business)

You see, if you focus on profit as the greatest success factor of your business. It means you’ll never be able to achieve anything beyond profit, and that’s like saying that the greatest measure of success of human beings is how much food we get to eat. Obviously we need to eat food, but we do so in order to achieve what we want to achieve in life. It’s the same with Business and money as well as any of the other success factors mentioned above. We need to make profit and we need to make sales and we need to make our customers happy, but those things are not an end in themselves. Our business needs to do these things, so that it gets to achieve what it wants to achieve in this world.

Think differently about business

It’s time we started to think differently about business than we traditionally have and learn to accept that there is something greater for us to achieve than make sales, improve our systems and generate cash.

A really interesting place to start, I believe, is to focus on the concept of Fun in Business and management. You see when business is Fun, it means everything is working. When business itself is Fun it means that:

  • You are making money and generating cash flow
  • You’re making sales
  • You’re getting better all the time
  • You know where you’re going
  • Your staff are highly engaged
  • Your customers love you
  • You’re proud of the stuff your business produces
  • You creating the kind of balance in your life that is important to you.

Focusing on Fun in Business as the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of the health of your business and understanding that all the other KPI’s we are used to measuring and thinking about are merely drivers to the main KPI of Fun in Business, will change your business and your life.

“Sounds lovely and all warm and fuzzy, but in the here and now, as the owner of a business I have all these responsibilities and if I don’t focus on money, every day, people are going to start losing their jobs and that’s the end of everything. I need to look at a couple of numbers in the morning and see whether we are achieving our targets and I can’t even begin to measure Fun!”

That’s an objection I am often given. You can’t measure “soft” concepts like Fun in business anymore than you can measure Love or Kindness or Frustration in business or anywhere in life, can you?

But it turns out you can measure Fun in Business in a useful manner, quite easily actually.

Measuring Happiness

In the same way you can measure happiness for example. Imagine I asked you to think of a scale from 0 to 10. 10 on the scale means that you are the happiest you’ve ever been in your life and 0 means the opposite, you are totally depressed; I have no doubt that if I asked you that question right at this moment, you’d have no trouble giving me a number, like 7.3 for example. now if I asked you that same question again tomorrow, you’d probably give me a different number, say 8.1 for example and that would tell us that you are feeling a little happier than you did today when I asked the question for the first time. This way of measurement is referred to as relative scaling. The technique is well established in various forms of psychology.

We can apply the same system of measurement to measuring Fun in business in our business and you can even choose to involve your team with this measurement system as well. I have helped many clients implement such a measurement system in their business and the impact of doing so consistently has been nothing short of amazing.

Obviously, just knowing how much Fun in Business we had last week is not going to change anything on it’s own. The old saying is: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. The point of measuring something is that we want to manage (and improve) that operation or section of the business. This principle goes for managing (and therefore measuring) Fun as it is for managing and measuring any other KPI in business, such as how many widgets we produce in an hour.

Fun in Business Management system

Measuring Fun in Business with the scaling question I described is therefore merely the first step in the Fun in Business management system. The next steps are all about the follow up questions.

After establishing what the relative Fun in Business number was for last week, we have to ask what would make next week a better week, how can we ensure we move the Fun in Business number from 5.7 to 6.1 this coming week for example? What do we have to do to make that happen?

The conversation that follows is where the rubber hits the road. It may be for example that you decide that one of the things that causes the Fun number to be lower than you’d like it to be, is that every second phone call into the office is from a supplier who wants to be paid. The reason those phone calls are uncomfortable is that you are always ‘robbing Peter to pay PAul’ because you yourself have an excessively large Aged Debtors list, in other words people haven’t been paying you on time. You are owed too much money in other words and what you need to do this coming week is to dedicate a full hour on Monday to debt collecting. If you reduce your aged debtors from $70,000 to $35,000 in the next couple of weeks, you can pay all your suppliers and suddenly you don’t have to feel so uncomfortable answering the phone every time it rings.

Or maybe you and your team decide that the business would be more fun to work at if people could work to a more flexible time schedule. Start earlier, finish earlier. Work on Saturday instead of Monday and maybe it is conceivable that you can reorganise life to suit such flexibility. There are any number of issues that can and will come up when you start having these kind of focused discussions in your business

That’s called ‘managing by the numbers’ and that’s why Fun is all that matters in business.

The process of asking: “What is one thing we can do next week, that will mean that we move one increment up our ‘Fun in Business Scale’ will flush out the most important small steps to take to move the business forward and start to make business fun again like it was when you first started it… I promise you!

More reading and resources about Fun in Business management:

  • How focusing on profit can ruin a great business, on Smallville.com.au
  • What’s Fun got to do with it on Medium.com
  • How business doesn’t have to be like playing a game of “Whack the Mole
  • The 7 Secrets to building a Fun Business
  • The five management truths for making business fun
  • My Fun in Business coaching and mentoring programs
  • A Small Business Masterminds Webinar recording about why Fun is all that matters in Business as well as the podcast here
  • For more information about to how to step out of overwhelm, get unstuck and start having Fun in Business again, click here
  • A series of 4 articles where I go into a lot more depth on how to make Business Fun

Book-3_3D-250w-137 Free book: The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun

You can download my book, The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun, for free, on this page https://www.newperspectives.com.au/business-fun-ebook/

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Podcast Interview

Business Journeys

Stories of change and development in business

 

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Episode 1: Heath Felton, Global Grapevine

Heath was my client during 2014 and 2015. I ask him to describe how the development of his business is like a journey.

Heath’s company is Global Grapevine in Sydney and the import amazing wines from Southern Italy, selected regions in France and Spain.. Most of the best restaurants in Sydney have Global Grapevine wines on their list http://www.globalgrapevine.com.au/

 

Why It’s OK Being Small in the Business World

There is such a thing as ‘big enough’

sonic sight enough growth I read a great article today on the Leaders in heels blog by Geoff anderson from Sonic Sight, this is the link to the full article: http://leadersinheels.com/business/advice-small-business-owner-okay-small

Geoff explains how he’s come to the conclusion that it’s right for him to keep the business small. not to grow any further.

And Geoff’s business is exactly right for him, it allows him to spend enough time with his family and to engage with the other things in his life that mater to him and hence his business sustains him (and all of those he cares about) for years to come.

I love Geoff’s insight and I believe more business owners need to have this insight. I’ve written about it in The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun as well, because I think we have been doing ourselves a big dis-service to follow the mantra: “Business must grow or else it dies”. t’s simply not true.

I’m not qualified to make judgements about the world of large business, although I do believe that our worldwide focus on growth at all cost must come to an end really soon or there won’t be a planet left, but I do know about small business and in small business there is simply no rationale to keep growing and growing… just because.

We need to grow exactly to the point that serves us and sustains us and makes Business Fun… but no further. And where that point is, will be different for everyone, and that’s how it’s supposed to be in small business.

So ask yourself… what’s “Enough” for you?

Answer that question for yourself and for your business and your life will never be the same again… I promise you.

And thanks Geoff Anderson for those great insights

Fun is All That Matters: A Small Business Masterminds Webinar Podcast

Fun in Business

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Whyis Fun in Business more important than any other KPI?

fun in business

The podcast of the Small Business Masterminds Foundation Webinar on Fin in business, why it matters so much and what it takes to build a Fun business that sustains you for years to come

Small business Masterminds Foundation webinars are held every second Thursday… for Free… Go to this link to register for the next one now.

A Taste of My Own Medicine

medicine

Winning the lottery

Or… what to do when you don’t

Are you expecting a tax refund? And if so, what will you do with it?

windfall

The question recently popped into my head while reading about an innovative new working capital loan provider for small business called Kabbage who are expanding into Australia.

It is a nice question to think about.

What would you do if you had an unexpected windfall in your business?

I suppose you could just pull it out and treat yourself, nothing wrong with that.

Stop and think about it for a moment…

Monopoly

monopoly What would you do if you suddenly had an extra $25K to play with in your business… The old monopoly card: “The bank has made an error in your favour, please collect $25,000”

I won’t tell you what to do with the boon… your circumstances are unique to you… But how might a financial injection without any strings attached change your life?

Let me tell you what I’d do:

I’d spend the money on a digital marketing campaign. Maybe 12 months at $1500 per month (and a $7000 for a nice holiday with my wife.)

$1.5K a month would get me a high quality digital lead generation specialist, such as Motive Marketing in Sydney and I’d get them to design and run a marketing campaign in Facebook, Google, Linkedin and wherever else to get people to download my book – The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun.

ROI

You see it’s all about ROI, return on investment.

My theory would be this: If I spend $1500 per month over a year on lead generation, I’d need to have maybe 500 small business owners downloading the book… that would be 6000 in a year and if I get 6000 small business owners to download my book and I start talking to them with my articles, videos, webinars, surveys and all kinds of other free tools and resources… a small proportion of those 6000 people will ultimately become my clients… I would expect that it would not be unreasonable to expect that over time between 10 to 20 people who download my book will become paying clients of mine.

Now that would be an amazing ROI. when you think about it… 15 clients are worth around about an entire year’s revenue for me, so by spending $18,000 I gain a year’s income…sounds like a brilliant investment, doesn’t it.

And I’d get to have a nice holiday as well.

Hang on… lets look at that again

But wait a minute… The question was: What would you do if you had a sudden windfall in your business… what would you do with it… Obviously I just outlined a great investment, but what’s to stop me from making that investment anyway?… why don’t I go and talk to Scott from Motive Marketing and work out a plan anyway… if the investment is that good, I’d be a mug not to make it anyway right?

That’s  why the question came up for me when reading about Kabbage… if it’s a god enough investment, why not go and borrow to money to do it anyway… valid argument I think.

medicine Well, rest assured… Scott and I will be talking in the coming weeks (he doesn’t know it yet, but he’s getting a phone call from me next week.

But what about you?

Are you holding off on making an investment because you haven’t got the money yet?

I hear it a lot when I talk to prospective clients: “Well, I’d love to work with you, when I can afford it” … really… Maybe you could argue that once you can afford me, maybe you don’t need me anymore… the question is: Can you afford not to work with me.

Think about it… in the mean time, I’m calling Scott… time to take my own medicine.