The Ten Truths: Why does Fun in Business Matter?

fun dashboard

The Ten Truths for making business Fun

The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun

And building a business that sustains you for years to come:

This is the first article in a monthly series on Making Business Fun.

The articles are based on my book, The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun, published in 2011. You can access all of my books and many other resources for free here

When Business is Fun, Everything is Working

Fun as a business management tool.

what has fun got to do with it The reality is that most small business owners operate in a constant state of overwhelm and stress. We feel that, at some level, our skills don’t cut the mustard, and we often have no idea where to focus our (very) limited time when faced with seemingly endless priorities.

Sound familiar? This is why “Fun in Business” matters. If your business is fun, you won’t be overwhelmed. If your business is fun, everything is working: you’ve got time to do the things you enjoy, your staff are happy, you’re making money. Need I say more to entice?

Let me show you why Fun is an incredibly powerful business management tool that helps you build a business that lasts, sustainably.

Fun Is the Way Out of Overwhelm

Fun may seem like a very strange and whimsical concept to focus on when we’re talking about growing a business. After all, isn’t fun reserved for time spent socialising at the pub or lazing about on tropical islands? Events that happen outside of business hours. Experiences that are paid for by your business, but otherwise entirely unrelated.

Perhaps not. In fact, I believe that Fun in Business is actually a hard-nosed business management principle. It is that deep sense of reward and satisfaction you get to feel as a result of building a business that hums along like a well-oiled machine.

Anyone else tired of focusing on all the serious stuff? The things that get drummed into us by patronising business management books and gurus? IT systems, contracts, staff management, sales and cashflow are all very important things, of course, but – in my humble opinion – they’re not where we must start.

We must start with fun. Why? Because if your business is fun, it means you

  • are making money
  • have enough time to do what you need to do
  • are proud of the stuff your business makes or delivers
  • know exactly where you’re going and why
  • have happy customers
  • have engaged staff
  • have balance in your life.

In the beginning, when we are first getting started in our business, there is usually a high level of that kind of fun around. Everything is new, exciting, adventurous and challenging. However, after a while, the real world comes rudely a-knocking and we suddenly find that

  • we aren’t making as much money as we thought we were going to
  • we haven’t been able to take our daughter to soccer training
  • our clients haven’t all become our greatest fans
  • our staff aren’t the perfectly aligned human beings that we expect them to be.

When this realisation sets in, we start to feel like we have become a slave to the business. We get worried that the light at the end of the tunnel may not be sunshine.

We try telling ourselves that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and we “have to take the rough with the smooth” because, like Churchill said, “Never, ever give up!”. We push harder and longer, holding onto the hope that good times will surely follow.

This is Business Hell, and it’s where most of us spend our time: Chasing our tails. Managing crises. Operating as a “Jack of all trades, master of none”. Living in a constant state of overwhelm.

After 30+ years in business (and working with lots and lots of business owners), I have come to believe that the only way out of this overwhelm is to ensure that business itself is fun. Deep and meaningful fun.

Competing Priorities

One of the greatest challenges for businesses, especially small ones, is that there are so many priorities competing for your attention on a daily basis. It feels almost impossible to decide where to focus next.

Many business owners also lack confidence in their aptitude for certain business development tasks. After all, you started this endeavour on the back of your skills as a carpenter, accountant or architect; not your background in sales, marketing, staff management, etc. Nobody taught you how to write an operations manual or create a cashflow forecasting spreadsheet, did they?

The result? Most of us revert back to “picking up the hammer” (because that is the one skill we know like the back of our hand), managing crises and being reactive to whatever is thrown at us. Like I said, Business Hell.

A New Tool for Your Toolkit

fun-o-metre The concept of Fun in Business is an incredibly powerful tool, designed to keep you out of reactive crisis management mode so that you can focus on what is most important for today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and beyond.

Here’s how to use it in practice.

Think of a scale from 0 to 10. Let’s call it the Fun in Business scale.

10 on the scale? This past week in business has been so much fun that you can’t wait to get up and go to work. You’ve gone home every day with a big smile on your face. You’ve achieved great things. You had a wonderful time with your co-workers. Everything at work (or in business) has been just brilliant.

0 on the scale? Entirely the opposite. Your week at work has been simply awful on every single level. Pass the vino now.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What number on the Fun in Business scale would you give your last week at work (or in business)? Let’s say 4.6.
  2. Thinking ahead, what number on the scale would you like next week to be? Perhaps a 5.
  3. What one, two or three actions can you (or we, as a team) take to progress from 6 to 5 on the Fun in Business scale, next week?

These questions, asked consistently, will cut through all of the crises and competing priorities, leaving you relentlessly focused on the next most important thing that must be done in your business.

These questions, answered individually or within a team (anonymously and with the results averaged), will set you up for having hugely productive conversations about how to make tomorrow just a little more fun than yesterday.

I promise, when you commit to building a Fun Business by regularly asking yourself these pivotal questions, you will have taken the first step to building a business that sustains you for years to come.

Remember, a business that isn’t fun won’t be around for long!

Your Homework (The Fun Kind)

Now, I’ve got a hunch that you’re a hands-on kinda person, so here are some actions for you to take that will help make your business more fun. Answer the following questions and start thinking about how you can make intentional changes. The results will be more illuminating than you might think!

  1. Make a list of the 20 most fun experiences or most exciting times you’ve had in your business.
  2. Write down the 3 things you like most about your business.
  3. Write down the 3 things you like least about your business.

More on this topic:

No business without sales

car sales man

car sales man

Forget all the sexy stuff… Focus on the three S-es first

I love walking into an office supply store and getting the sexiest looking pens or clips or gadgets for my business desk. I get excited over developing more smart and beautiful stuff for my website. I can obsesses over a new design for my business cards or my logo. Many of my clients are that way inclined too. All of that stuff can be highly satisfying and give us a feeling of satisfaction… Build it and they will come… We think.

But it doesn’t actually do much for your business, does it? Ultimately the only thing that gets your business to develop is sales. The three S’s: Sales, sales and sales. If there’s no sales, there’s no business.

I thought of this maxim recently when working with my client Mark in 2009.

Mark is the owner of a small consultancy working with charities to improve their fundraising. One of Mark’s goals at the time was to double the size of his business by the end of 2011. So we developed a business plan and a marketing plan, and he got going.

Mark started blogging and sending out a beautiful newsletter. He redesigned his website and became active on LinkedIn. He joined the Australian Institute of Management and attended all their functions and networking events. He engaged an SEO consultant to improve his Google ranking and installed CRM software. In short, he did everything the modern “attraction marketing gurus” tell us to do, and he did it efficiently and consistently.

All the KPI’s are moving up

Mark’s Google ranking did go up and Mark’s database doubled and tripled in size and Mark went from 375 LinkedIn connections to over a 1000 in a year, and he got great feedback and comments on his blogs and articles and posts and newsletters and whitepapers. Exciting stuff.

Mark and I did a lot of back slapping and congratulating each other. Every KPI we measured was moving up steeply. All of them that is to say, except one… his revenue. Sales stuck more or less where they’d been for the past three years.

We’re all getting frustrated

By the end of 2009, Mark was getting frustrated, and he was ready to throw in the towel. I was pretty confused myself by this stage. Everything I knew told me that the marketing work that Mark was carrying out week in, week out, should have led to a steady increase of business by now… but something was missing.

I remember one day, asking Mark about the feedback he was getting from his potential clients. What were they telling him, how were they responding to his proposals and his quotes? Mark looked at me with a confused look in his eyes and said, “I don’t know”.

I asked, “But you must get some sense of their reaction when you talk to them, right?” Mark replied, “Well, I don’t really get to talk to them much unless they call me”. And I was silent for a while.

Picking up the phone

It turned out that Mark had a block of picking up the phone and talking to prospects unless they initiated the phone call themselves. He never just picked up the phone and called a prospect and said: “Hi I’m Mark, I saw your comments on my articles, and I wondered if you’d like to have a coffee and discuss how I can help you improve your fundraising targets in 2010”.

Nothing happens until we sell something. 

Once we identified Mark’s problem, we set about fixing it. I got Mark to identify one person every week, who had commented or engaged with one of his articles and to call that person. Because he only had to concentrate on one person and he and I customised a strategy for every one of those people, Mark was able to overcome his block.

He ended up having a coffee with a new prospect nearly every week, and Mark’s business started growing again.

No matter how amazing your website, your collateral, your service or your product, at some stage you must go out and talk to the customer, make them an offer and ask for the sale. Sales simply do not happen by themselves… I promise you.

You can watch one of my recorded Small Business Masterminds Webinars called “Making Sales Fun” HERE. and don’t forget to download the other sales resources on the same page anytime.

For more resources, and reading on strategies for growing your business follow this link to the first of The 7 Big Questions that all small business owners want answered

Would you like to download my free 12 Question Cheat-sheet to help you find your next Coach? Click here.

Why I don’t believe in business coaching and why it works

Why coaching works

Why business coaching works captain the in the storm

Don’t talk to me about the storms and the reefs, Coach,  just tell me we’ll be safe

I was working with a business – life coaching client recently, let’s call him Peter. Peter set a big Goal for himself as part of our work together.

Peter’s Goal was so big, in fact, that I was bothered by it. You see, I know from experience, that setting Goals that are too big are likely to have a demotivational effect and worse, can lead to disappointment.

I challenged Peter and asked him if he felt confident the Goal was realistic, and if he felt he could make it happen in the time we had. Peter was adamant. Although he wasn’t sure if he could do it, he wanted to stretch himself and “set it out there”. Peter has done a lot of self-development work and he believes in a version of the “Law of Attraction”, which loosely states that you get what you focus on in life and in business.

Goal blown out of the water

3 Weeks later, Peter rang me unexpectedly. He’d just signed a new contract that meant he’d blown his Goal out of the water two weeks early.

Wonderful news, very exciting and I truly feel Peter deserves every dollar of that success, because he is one of the nicest guys I know.

Peter said: “There you go, I knew it, when you set it out there, the Universe will provide”.

And it’s such a comforting idea, isn’t it? The idea that there is some greater power that’s going to look after you in your time of need. It’s lovely that Peter felt confirmed in his beliefs. It will no doubt help him to remain motivated to move forward in his business and that was his biggest problem prior to coming to see me.

But it confirmed my growing confusions.

I don’t believe

You see, I do not believe in the “Law of Attraction”, or it’s many variants. I don’t even believe in traditional Goal setting anymore. As a matter of fact, there are a whole bunch of foundational principles of my profession of coaching that I have stopped believing in. Consequently, in the past years, I’ve adjusted the way I work with my clients to rely only on well-established scientific principles.

And my clients achieve great things in their businesses and their lives and I am excited and proud of the work I do with them. But the experience with Peter recently makes me wonder if I’m doing the right thing for my clients.

You see, Peter is an old hand at being coached and mentored. I’ve known him for years and we have done a lot of work together. Also, Peter moves in a world where he comes across self-development gurus of many ilks all the time, and he’s convinced by the self-development messages he hears from them. What’s more, Peter and I have become good friends over the years, so he felt comfortable enough with me to push back and set the Goal he wanted to set. It worked out great for him, but not everyone has Peter’s confidence or clarity.

The many contradictions

It’s all very well for me to question myself and my beliefs. I don’t believe anything in life or business is ever black and white, there are no simple rules. Here’s just a few of those contradictions in business:

  • A business must make profit or else it’s a hobby… but… Making profit is not the Purpose of business.
  • A business must have a plan to move forward… but… Planning is guessing
  • Goalsetting is important… but… Goals are not destinations, just directions.
  • Great leaders are fiercely ambitious… but… Not for themselves
  • Systemisation is critical for developing your business… but… I’d hate to live in a world where all restaurants are McDonalds.
  • Knowing how to “close” a sale is a key skill in business… but… The most successful people in business and in life “Give without expectation of return”.
  • Growing your business is fine… but… Don’t focus on growth (focus on delivery instead).
  • Change your business, make it grow, make more money… but… Not unless you yourself change and grow first.

Life is full of contradictions such as those. Sure, it would be easier if it wasn’t and we all like the idea of winning the lottery, but even winning the lottery turns out not to be as great as we thought. (Read about lottery winners and happiness here)

And so I believe questioning myself is healthy, it keeps me sharp and pushing the boundaries. But it’s not necessarily what my clients need from me.

The shortest route

business coaching The experience with Peter has shown me that most clients simply want to get from point A to point B, via the shortest route possible, with as few detours as possible. And they look for someone to help them get there.

Maybe, when they come across me, they hear my questioning, my lack of certainty and start to wonder if getting my help might take them up the scenic route to point B, and so they’ll move on to someone who promises to take them up the freeway instead.

And that’s a shame, because the thing is, I know I transform people’s lives and businesses. I have literally hundreds of past clients who will attest to that fact.

So what I need to do is to communicate that you can trust me to take you on an amazing journey and adventure, and that like the captain of the ship, I know how to handle the storms when they come up. You don’t particularly want me to talk about the reefs we might hit under way, you just want to know we’ll be safe.

And this blog post?… It’s doing exactly the opposite… isn’t it?… Ah well, Peter loves me anyway.

Would you like to download my free 12 Question Cheat-sheet to help you find your next Coach? Click here.

Further reading and research

You may be interested in taking my ”Are you ready for Change” survey. It takes 10 minutes to complete and I promise it will give you plenty of food for thought. I’ve written more about Change (with a capital ”C”) here.

Here is the link to my webpage about all my coaching, mentoring, guidance and training services

There is a lovely guest post from one of my clients, Geoff Anderson from Sonic Sight about his experience with business coaching here

Here is an article I wrote about how to go about finding the right coach for you and here is a link to my webpage about all forms of business support that are available to small business owners.

And here are three articles on how to go about finding the right business coach on Inc.com , on Entrepreneur.com and on Fastcompany.com. All worth a good read if you’re considering the idea of getting a business coach soon.

I’ve also written here, about the power of great conversations, which is how I fill my days as a business coach.

More about my own coaching background here

 

The Most Important Reason for Taking on a Business Coach

shhhhhhhhhhh

A business coach will change your life

But here’s the secret no coach will tell you

shh hush shush secret red sexy lips I read a great article in Leaders in Heels, online the other day (read it here) about the reasons for taking on a business coach.

The article got me thinking about my profession, about what I do and why working with me and people like me can make such an enormous difference to your business growth and development, and hence why I firmly believe that taking on a coach from time to time is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your business.

There is one reason above all others, that you should know about and noone tells you about. And that is this… it’s not the brilliance of the coach, rather it is the commitment you make that makes the difference.

The conventional factors

The article by Ros Cardinal mentions a number of important benefits from taking on a coach, such as:

Time management and prioritisation, clarity, brainstorming and accountability. and those are absolutely great benefits you’ll gain from having a coach (a good one anyway) and there a bunch of others, depending on the coach and the relationship you and your coach may have.

But the biggest one is rarely mentioned, because it actually is not dependent on the qualities, knowledge and experience of your coach… It is the commitment made by you, the client. Obviously coaches don’t like to mention this too much, because they want you to think they are brilliant and that their singular brilliance is going to make you rich and successful… I’m no different really, I am similarly convinced of my genius… but in the depth of the night, when noone is listening, I know it hasn’t got anywhere near as much to do with my talents as I like to make out.

The commitment

To take on a business coach costs significant time, energy and money. To sign a contract or shake hands with a business coach is not a decision to be taken lightly. It takes a lot of faith and trust and actually not going to make your life easier in the short term. I say to my clients that taking me on as their coach: “Is full-on, it’s intense, it’s made grown men cry… but it works”

And one of the reasons it works is that it is a big commitment, and once you make the big commitment it means you become highly invested to make it work for you by hook or by crook.

Once you make the commitment and I am up to the job of “holding the space” and being there for you every step of the way, the change becomes relentless and unavoidable.

It’s the reason I actually make it quite hard to engage with me (which doesn’t help my business model of course but then the dentists kids have holes in their teeth… maybe I need a new business coach!)

Next time you talk to a business coach who wants to make it easy to sign you up… go and find someone else… I promise you.

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

 

Sales, Profit and Cash Podcast

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What sinks more business than anything else?

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The podcast of the Small Business Masterminds Foundation Webinar on Financial Management 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.

Fun in Business

Or why business doesn’t have to be like playing a game of ‘Whack the Mole’

Let me paint a picture for you… See if you recognise any of it:

Running your business is like playing a game of “Whack the Mole” you never know what is about to pop up next and where.

whack-a-mole You run around from crises to crises all day long, extinguishing brushfires along the way. And while you are dealing with the crises, you don’t get to all the business development priorities you know you should get to, marketing, sales, financial management, staff management, planning etc.

A switched-on Business Owner

It’s not that you don’t know what you should be focused on as a responsible, switched-on business owner, but:

1) You don’t have any time left to spend on any of those aspects of business.

2) When you do magically find some spare time, you don’t feel confident to decide which of all those priorities is the most important.

3) And even if you did know what to focus on next and you had the time… you actually feel quite insecure that you know how to do a good job at it anyway… It’s not as if you completed an MBA … nobody ever taught you how to write an operations manual did they?

So you run around from employee crisis, to client crisis, to supplier crisis, to compliance crisis to cash crisis and all the way back to the beginning again.

Your average Week

munch Have I just described your life as a business owner? Of course I have… The responsibilities that come with being a small business owner are daunting, it’s all down to you and you probably feel trapped in a state of Overwhelm a lot of the time in your business…

So let me tell you about Brian, who was one of my clients a couple of years ago and how Brian freed himself from being trapped and took his business from a single store to a healthy growing multi-store business in just 2 years.

The approach Brian and used is one I’ve used with many business owners over the years, because it is so simple and so effective and because the results have been astonishing … every time.

Brian’s Car Accessories

Brian was a client of mine who owned a car accessories business in Sydney.Brian’s business had slowly plateaued over the past couple of years and Brian was frustrated that he couldn’t seem to push the business ahead any further anymore.

Competing priorities

Brian’s head was exploding with all the different competing priorities that were screaming for his attention every day. All the challenges of managing inventories to cashflow, staff, marketing, systems etc etc
Brian simply didn’t know where to look and where to direct his focus.

Scale

Working with me Brian created a “Fun in Business” scale. A scale from 0 to 10, where 10 on the scale meant that he had had as much fun in his business as he could possibly have and 0 meant the opposite.

fun-o-meter Every week in our sessions, Brian would ask himself 3 questions:
1) How much Fun did I have last week on the “Fun in Business” scale

2) On the same scale, how much “Fun in Business” do I want to have next week?

3) What specific things must I do, what specific actions can I take this coming week to ensure I achieve that number on my scale?

Cashflow… staff training

One week, Brian reported that he was at 6 and wanted to get to 6.1 on his Fun in Business Scale and he decided to spend 1 hr in the coming week chasing up outstanding accounts to increase his bank balance and cashflow and hence to have more Fun in Business.

Another week Brian realized that the greatest opportunity to increase the fun number on his Scale would be to deliver some much needed training in the area of customer service to his staff etc etc.

Growth again

After a few months of this approach to managing his business, Brian’s business did start to grow again… slowly, steadily, month by month… quarter after quarter.

Now a few years later, Brian’s has opened a second store and warehouse on the other side of Sydney and when I last spoke to Brian he was looking for a site for his third store.

Lessons from Brian

That is the story of Brian… It may seem odd, that I got Brian to focus on Fun in Business instead of ‘Profit’ or ‘Systems’ or ‘Cash-flow’ or ‘Staff retention’ or ‘Customer satisfaction’ and other business concepts like that, but you see… Fun in Business is actually an incredibly simple yet powerful concept that has the potential to transform your business.

fun-is-good-dr-seuss Because when your business is Fun:
• It means everything is working.
• It means you are making money.
• It means you’ve got cash in the bank.
• It means you are proud of the output of your business.
• It means your customers love you.
• It means that your staff are highly engaged
• It means that you have the balance in your life you want.

A little more fun next week

So asking yourself how you can have a little bit more Fun next week, will help you focus on the most important aspect of your business to focus on next, while using the “Fun in Business Scale” will help you find the next simple steps rather than getting Daunted and Frustrated by the enormity of the tasks before you.

As I said before, I have used this approach with many clients in the past and I use it myself all the time of course. It is surprisingly simple… all it takes is to put 5 minutes aside for it every week at the same time.

So… get yourself a special little notebook and label it your Fun In Business Book, set the time aside and ask yourself these three questions every week; How much Fun in Business did I have last week? How much Fun in business do I want to have next week? and what simple small action can I commit to taking next week to move me along the scale to where I want to be?

If you do this every week and you commit to taking the small, simple actions that result from the third question…
Your business and your life will never be the same again.
(And the mole can take a break too)
I promise you.

For more information about to how to step out of overwhelm, get unstuck and start having Fun in Business again, click here

 

About the author

Roland Hanekroot is a business coach and the founder of New Perspectives Business Coaching. He is also the author of the acclaimed “The Ten Truths” books for business owners. Roland runs a webinar called “The Small Business Masterminds” every month, on the 10 key aspects of business that all business owners face when developing and growing their businesses. First time is free, normally $99. Book in here.

If you enjoyed this article click here to get a copy of one of “The Ten Truths” books for business owners for free.

Masterminds Observations…Passion and Purpose

rework

Masterminds Observations…Passion and Purpose

If you enjoy this article click here to get a copy of one of the “The Ten Truths” books for business owners for free

One of my favourite books is “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of software company 37Signals. In the reworkchapter “Building to Flip is Building to Flop” they say this: “When you build a company with the intention of selling it, you focus on the wrong things. Instead of focusing on getting customers to Love you, you worry about who is going to buy you. That is the wrong thing to obsess over”

That is exactly what I think when I hear all the gurus and business coaches talking about the exit strategies and the need to focus on that.

There is only one thing to focus on every day when you want to start a business, and that is: How do I build something that my customers will love more than any other business out there?

All the greatest and most Fun small businesses that have ever been built, ask themselves one question, every day: “What else would my customers love?”

If you focus on that and nothing else, everything will fall into place and you’ll have as much Fun as you can handle

Overwhelm and The Small Business Owner

chimp

October 2013

Overwhelm and the small business owner

How to get more of the good stuff done

If you enjoy this article click here to get a copy of one of the “The Ten Truths” books for business owners for free

The Oxford dictionary defines Overwhelm as: “Bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something”.

ape This is my definition: When we are in a state of overwhelm, we have a sense of being ill-equipped to deal with the demands that are placed on us, in other words, we feel like there is too much to deal with right now.

Being in a state of overwhelm is no picnic. Overwhelm is a major cause of stress, anxiety and depression in our society, and small business owners experience overwhelm more than most.

Being a Builder

A long time ago when I still had my building company, there was one feeling I experienced more than anything on a day to day basis, and that feeling was overwhelm.

There were so many different business development priorities jostling for attention in my brain that I simply didn’t know which one to focus on. On a daily basis, there would be financial management, marketing, customers, systemisation, planning, quality assurance, sales, staff, contractor issues, etc etc.

Some days this sense of overwhelm became so great that I would become quite paralysed and waste the whole of the day surfing the internet (remember this was over 10 years ago, before Facebook came along to make life even more distracting) Other times, especially when I was still actively “on the tools”, I would spend days doing stuff I could have delegated to the labourers on my team, instead of wielding the shovel and hammer myself.

Overwhelm stymied the development of my business and I know that if I’d managed to find a way to manage myself better, the business would have developed further and sooner.

The paradox of choice

paradox-choice It is a well-established fact that too much choice leads to overwhelm and decision paralysis. Here is a quote from a 2009 TED talk called “The paradox of choice” by professor Barry Schwartz:

“A colleague of mine got access to investment records from a gigantic mutual fund company of about a million employees and about 2,000 different workplaces. And what she found is that for every 10 mutual funds the employer offered, the rate of participation went down two percent. You offer 50 funds — 10 percent fewer employees participate than if you only offer five. Why? Because with 50 funds to choose from, it’s so damn hard to decide which fund to choose that you’ll just put it off until tomorrow.”

100 colours white

And I’m sure we’ve all experienced how much harder it is to decide on the new paint colour for our living room when the average paint store has a choice of 100 or more different shades of white alone.

As small business owners we are not unique in experiencing overwhelm, stress and anxiety, but there are some aspects to running a small business that are unique:

  1. We simply do not have the resources in time and money to be able to address all the business development priorities that are vying for our attention; they will always have to be culled ruthlessly.
  2. But generally we don’t feel well enough equipped to be able to decide what to cull.
  3. And besides that, even if we did, most of the pressing issues relate to aspects of business that are well outside our specific skill=set (The skill-set that is the foundation on which we started the business: carpentry, architecture, cooking, widget-making, etc.)

This is the reality of being a small business owner: more stuff to do than you can poke a stick at, all of it really important, but most of it out of your comfort zone.

Procrastination

No wonder we procrastinate.

My clients will often tell me that they are the world’s worst procrastinators and that they are lazier than anyone they’ve ever met.

But laziness has nothing to do with it, more often than not procrastination and “time wasting” comes from a lack of clarity about what the most important thing to do next is and feeling insecure that we’d know how to do it if we did know.
tool-man

Besides procrastination, the other default response we have to this sense of overwhelm is to pick up our trusted hammer (scale rule, cook’s knife or widget machine) and do some more hammering instead.

Do you recognise any of that?

Do you spend more time than you should “hammering” and not enough time addressing the business development issues? And when you do put down the hammer, do you find yourself procrastinating and not getting as much done as you think you should?

Trust me, most of us do, all the time.

The way out

So what is the way out? Given that I don’t believe in easy answers and one-size-fits-all solutions, let me give you a 5-ingredient recipe to put on the stove and experiment with that will start to take the sting out of this challenge for you:

stop-sign Step 1: Stop beating yourself up, you are not the world’s laziest business owner. (I am… obviously). Seriously, start by accepting that the challenge you have in this area is really common, we all face it every day, it’s normal.

Step 2: Write down what the major business development priorities are for you at a high level (marketing, cashflow, etc)

Step 3: Ask yourself this question: If there was one priority I could do something with today that would move my business forward one single step, what priority would that be? Lock in the first answer that comes to mind, trust your gut feeling on this.

Step 4: Ask yourself a second question: What specific action(s) can I take today in relation to that business development priority that will make a real difference in my business?

Step 5: Block out a specific time in your diary today to carry out that specific action(s)

Experiment

What makes this recipe such a nice one to experiment with is this:

  1. That there are a few skills you have achieved mastery in, “beating yourself up” is one of those, you don’t need to practice it anymore, it wastes precious creative energy and time, and makes you feel like crap.
  2. Actually forcing yourself to make a choice between all the different priorities is challenging, but your gut feeling (the unconscious) will actually know the answer, and you can trust it.
  3. Breaking the major priority area down into a small, specific action that you can block out a specific time in your diary for, can make it a lot easier to cut through the overwhelm and help you focus.

If you get yourself into a habit (and remember habits take 28 days of consecutive practice to cement) to go through this process every day, I promise you that your business and your life will never be the same again.

Cheers,
Roland Hanekroot

Call me if you’d like to explore how I can help you have less Overwhelm and more FUN in your business and build a business that sustains you for years to come. A great first step is to come along to one of my monthly Small Business Masterminds workshops… follow this link

Masterminds observations… Love over Hate

Love over Hate

Love over Hate Business Masterminds Observations

 

The illusion of “The Power of One”

I am reading “Love over Hate, finding life by the wayside” link to the book by Graham Long, pastor and CEO of the Wayside Chapel in Sydney .This is a passage that stood out for me particularly:

“The idea that the basic human unit is a solitary individual is the established orthodoxy of the Western World. It’s an illusion and an attractive one at that, often presenting itself as “The power of one”. The power of this illusion is in its promise to an insecure individual that a dream and some willpower is all that is required to overcome life’s obstacles. It promises an individual can triumph over adversity as well as any competitors who get in the way of the prize of justice, fame, wealth or whatever other virtue is implied by the dream.”

It’s all upside down

What this says to me amongst many other things is that we (and I include myself firmly in that “we”) have got it all wrong. The library of work in books, blogs, seminars, videos and everything else by the gurus of the business growth, as well as personal development world repeat the refrain of the Power of the individual and that “The answer is within”… even in the world of religion we hear “The Kindom of God is within”… All of that is nonsense.

To me, that paragraph and the rest of the book and several other books I have been reading in the last year, have convinced me that I have to throw out the rule book, and start again… let me know what you think!

SBP Business – Life Coaching Programs

All of my Business-Life Coaching

programs designed to support you to

build your unique beautiful business

Business life coaching programs

You weren’t planning to build it on your own, were you?

Jump ahead to the programs here

Being in and around small business for the past 30+ years, I’ve come to understand the value of Business – Life Coaching and mentoring, because I have learnt two things:

  1. That many small business owners often feel overwhelmed and stuck in their daily lives as entrepreneurs. (More about overwhelm and personal wellbeing for small business owners here)
  2. That the most effective way out of that overwhelm is to find the right external advice, guidance, mentoring, or coaching. It doesn’t matter what name you give it, what it comes down to is: Asking for Help

My own experience as the owner of a building company in Sydney for 20 years was exactly like that and I’ve seen the same patterns repeated over and over with most of the small business owners I’ve met. The only sure fire way to step out of overwhelm, get unstuck and start moving forward again as energetically and positively as you did in the early years in your business, is to stop trying to do it all yourself.

Because you can’t do it without external advice and help, trust me on that. (More about the different forms of business support, advice and guidance here)

It takes a village

No business owner who ever built a Beautiful Business and Life, did it on their own. Successful entrepreneurs know it takes a village, and they look for the best advisers, mentors, and coaches they can find. For example you can read the story of one of my most successful clients here.

Business coaching programs, mentoring, advice, guidance. Australia Fun in Business All of my Business – Life Coaching, mentoring, webinar and workshop programs below are designed specifically for small business owners who do find themselves overwhelmed and stressed in their business. They’re designed for people who want to start Having more Fun in Business again. The programs are aimed at helping business owners discover what their own unique Beautiful Business and Life could really look like and then to help them build it.

It’s difficult to decide: Free Five Steps to Discovery Process

My business coaching and mentoring programs are listed below with links to more information. But I know it can be difficult to decide what kind of support and guidance you really need at this stage on your journey as a business owner, just from reading a few pages on a website.

Because of that I suggest we follow my Free Five Steps to Discovery Process before you make any decisions about how or when to engage with me, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report.

Next Steps

You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll will ask you a thousand questions to get a good understanding of where you are in your business and life, what your challenges and opportunities are and how I can best support you, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

The Coaching Programs

These are my different coaching programs, click to read more or book an initial session:

“Having Roland’s support and guidance is like being infused with 20 years’ experience in six months”.

(Dan Kordiak, DynaFix)

Further reading and resources about business coaching and getting external advice:

One-Month Business Transformation

Business coaching programs, mentoring, advice, guidance. Australia business transformation

How would it be to blow away one big hurdle first?

Click here for the Full One-Month-Transformation page

Summary: What’s it all about:

The one Month business transformation programs are short sharp, intense business coaching programs designed to tackle one specific issue in your business, find the clarity and focus you need and implement a series of effective and simple strategies that will transform that aspect of your business.

The Transformation programs consist of up to 4 business coaching sessions of between 1 and 2 hrs each via Skype, spread out over one month. Read about all of the one-month transformation programs here.

“I wanted to find out ways of reshaping my company to enjoy my work more and get back to doing the things that made me choose my vocation in the first place. Roland helped me do this and has re-energised me and my company.”

(Michael Hill, Lightwell)

Why it’s important for you:

At any one time in your business there may be one challenge above all others that needs to be tackled effectively right now before you and the business can start to move forward again:

  • Maybe it’s your marketing that isn’t working and you are not getting enough new inquiries,
  • Or maybe you’re not converting enough inquiries into new sales, or
  • You’re always struggling to pay the bills on time, or
  • Maybe your staff are not delivering for you, or
  • Your business plan is way out of date
  • Or you simply feel that you are drifting from job to job, client to client, without a sense of direction.

Most of us experience at least one of those challenges at some stage in our journey. And when we are in the midst of such a challenge it can be like a fog through which we can see very little else. Is that true for you at the moment? And what is the issue that causes the fog for you?

What you can expect from the program:

Before we even start a One-Month Program, I will help you decide which is the challenge that keeps you awake most, the issue that must be tackled before you can start to look for the horizon again (see the “Discovery Session” below). I will then customise the program to make sure we address that issue in the most effective way possible.

Then we’ll work together intensively for a month to bring about a real change in this aspect of your business. At the end of the month, you will feel a great sense of relief; The fog has lifted and you can start to see the horizon again, and you’ll not be kept awake at night any longer by that issue.

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to book a free Discovery Business Coaching Session with me, or go to the One-Month-Transformation page for more information.

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The Fun in Business Intensive

Business coaching programs, mentoring, advice, guidance. Australia

Are you ready for the adventure of a life time?

Click here for the full Fun in Business Intensive page

Summary: What’s it all about:

The New Perspectives Fun in Business Intensive is a transformative 6 to 12 month business coaching, mentoring and leadership development program designed for individual small business owners and also especially husband and wife business partners (read more about husband and wife family business owners here), who want to change and Build a Beautiful Business and Life and who are ready to get stuck into doing so now.

The business coaching program combines Visioning, Goalsetting, Planning, Strategy, Accountability, Support, Guidance, Brainstorming and Advice with Coaching and Mentoring methodologies and resources that simply work. More about the Fun in Business intensive here

Further reading about why Fun is the opposite of Overwhelm

More about overwhelm and getting unstuck

Why it’s important for you:

Change happens on journeys. Nothing ever happened in the safety of the harbour. To change our business and our life we have to get out onto the ocean and set sail for the horizon and above all, we can’t ever come back.

When you are ready to change your business and your life, I’d love to come on the journey with you. I will help you set a course, and adjust the course when required. I’ll keep you focused on the course and I’ll guide and teach you how to keep the ship safe and heading in the right direction. I’ll warn you when there’s a storm or a reef coming and I’ll make sure that you know when to row and row hard and when to let the wind take you along for a while.

What you can expect:

The Fun in Business Intensive is not for the faint hearted. The structure of the “Intensive” ensures that we will tackle the big issues, all the big rocks that have blocked your way to the business you dream of will be blown away or we’ll find a way around them; The program is called “The Intensive” because it is the most intensive one-on-one business coaching and mentoring program you can engage with while also running your business at the same time. It’s is full on and it has made grown men cry… But it works, every time.

Coming on the Journey with me in the Fun in Business Intensive will truly change your business and your life for ever.

I promise you

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to book a free Discovery Business Coaching Session with me, or go to the Fun in Business webpage for more information.

“I can’t recommend Roland enough to any business owner who wants to grow their business strongly, they will benefit enormously from his ongoing advice and support.”

(Michael Nelson, Scissors, Paper, Rock)

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Brainstorming and sounding board

brainstorming What’s it all about?

Sometimes you need to know you can pick up the phone to someone you trust, because you need a sounding board, some independent input, a sense check, some advice or simply someone to vent your frustration on, allowing you to move on again.

I provide those functions for a number of small business owners, either on an ad hoc basis, when we book in an hour or more and I get you to think about a specific question to focus on in our session, or on an ongoing retainer basis.

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to book a free Discovery Business Coaching Session with me.

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Small Business Masterminds™ webinars

Business coaching programs, mentoring, advice, guidance. Australia

Click here for the full Masterminds page

Summary: What’s it all about:

Each of the Small Business Masterminds Foundation Webinars covers one of “The Truths” as featured in “The Ten Truths Trilogy” business books. The webinars are interactive and fast paced. Lots of valuable insights and resources will lead you to great clarity and insight and you’ll walk away with one or more simple practical steps that will start to change your business and your life. Watch any of the recorded Mastermind webinars here

Why it’s important for you:

The Small Business Masterminds Foundation webinars are free and the webinars will help you move past your key challenges in developing your business.

You will walk away with clarity, insight and focus and you’ll be able to implement one or more simple practical actions that will start to move you past your challenges in developing your business.

There are varying topics such as:

  1. The Purpose of Business
  2. Business Planning
  3. Keeping your finger on the Pulse of your business
  4. Time Management
  5. Why Fun is all that matters in business
  6. Sales,
  7. Marketing
  8. Continuous improvement
  9. Leadership
Next step:

Follow this link to read about this month’s webinar and book in. The Small Business Masterminds Foundation webinars are always free to allow you to check out how my Fun in business programs can change your life.

“In the brief 6 month period it took to complete Roland’s ‘Fun in business intensive for Small Business’ we transformed a small, work from home, Architecture practice into a beautiful new expanded vibrant business.”

(Mathew Stubbs, Stubbs Design Tribe)

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The Business Growth Clubs

Note: Growth Clubs are run by request by a minimum of 8 small business owners

The Business Growth Clubs Program is designed to provide small business owners with a true advisory board for their business.

Why it’s important to you:

Most small business owners feel overwhelmed and alone from time to time. There isn’t anybody to brainstorm and share stuff with. The Small Business Boards are small groups (max 6) of small business owners who commit to support each other and hold each other accountable  and come together for that purpose once a month.

Next step:
If you think you’d like to have a Board of your peers to support you and to hold you accountable to your Goals every month, follow this link to find out more

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Custom workshops and webinars

Note: On request, by application

I deliver customised powerful business development workshops and webinars on many topics from Fun in Business and Purpose to time management and Leadership to groups small business owners in various industries.

The workshops can and will be tailored to your needs.

More information here

“For the first time in 8 years I have been able to take a mid year holiday”.

(Andrew Kitchen, Lobster Software)