Do you have a ‘spare heir’ for your business?

Do you have a ‘spare heir’ for your business?

Much has been celebrated about the new arrival. Any birth always brings happiness and hope for the future as we feel secure (at some level) our genes have been passed down the line. There is also a lot touted in the press about Kate having produced ‘the spare’. Now Prince Harry has a replacement should something untoward happen to him. Reporting of ‘the heir and a spare’ started me thinking about owner operated businesses, and where is the ‘spare’ ? Whether you are thinking of starting your business or been operating for a while, you must consider creating systems and processes that allow you to have the business run without you at the helm, all the time. Effective systems and processes will allow you to outsource repeatable low value tasks, scale the business more easily as you can outsource discreet parcels of work. You will gain a freedom mindset, knowing that the business will not collapse without you. What would happen to your business now, if you were taken ill, get consumed by a personal situation or become engulfed in a business issue that overtakes your time? Will your business grind to a halt, as you are no longer at the helm directing and executing, or will it continue on, with effective systems and processes in place, giving you the freedom to divert your precious energy and attention? It’s often not until we are faced with an impossible pull on our time that we discover how vulnerable our business is. We have no ‘spare’. Our business is at risk of stalling. Here we some ways to get started to...
Business thinking – is yours all wrong?

Business thinking – is yours all wrong?

Leslie was looking exasperated. “I don’t know where my time goes, I know I’m really busy every day but the business doesn’t move forward. I seem to spend so much time in the business, I’m not sure I like it any more.”   Ouch! Leslie’s outpouring was typical of many business owners, and even some senior executives I have been coaching recently.   “Where do you spend your thinking?” I asked in her coaching session. “What areas do you spend most of your time dwelling on, the problem, detail, the vision or planning?”   “Oh it’s worse than that, I get caught up in the emotional drama of it all.” Leslie replied.   We can control our thinking and how we spend our precious thinking time. Yet so many of us forget this.   It wasn’t until I trained as a coach over a decade ago that I understood this, and experienced the difference it makes. And then as I coached more business owners and senior executives, I saw how this played out.   A key model my coaching school taught about thinking was ‘the five levels of focus.’   It’s all about where you choose to focus your thinking when you are faced with an issue.   There are five levels: 1. Vision 2. Planning 3. Detail 4. Problem 5. Drama   By getting so involved in the issues, and the emotion surrounding them, Leslie was getting caught up in the drama of her situation.   As you can imagine this is not the best place to find solutions that move you or your business forward. Instead the drama keeps...
Are you lonely at the top in your business?

Are you lonely at the top in your business?

Recently I facilitated a seminar for women business owners with turnovers in excess of $1 million. They had all started their businesses as sole traders, and grown them into the larger operations they had today.   I love being part of a gathering of like minded women, whether their businesses are big, small or just a sparkle in their eye. The excitement, and commitment to creating something out of nothing is energising and inspiring!   At the seminar, as their plans for scale, global expansion and eventual exits were discussed, it became clear that they still shared a common concern with buisness owners of any size. Even though they had crossed significant thresholds in their businesses, they still felt lonely at the top.   Who could they talk to about cash flow, staffing issues, deal negotiations, finding new sources  of funding etc etc? Some of the issues were too delicate to discuss with staff, they no longer wanted to bother family and friends, and sometimes they needed space to throw ideas around to bring them to life.   Being ‘lonely at the top’ is a common phenomena whether you are just starting your business and have no staff or you have been leading one for 15 years with 125 staff. Wherever you are in your business growth, you need support.   Without support, you may feel isolated, as you feel no one really understands you or your business.   Or maybe you will procrastinate over an important decision because you haven’t had the opportunity to talk about it thoroughly and review all the options. So you and your business stay...
What I learnt from a successful serial entrepreneur

What I learnt from a successful serial entrepreneur

I really do love meeting people and discovering their stories. Last week I had coffee with a woman I’d worked with on a judging panel for a prestigious women entrepreneur event. So, not enough time for a long talk, but enough time for me to be intrigued and wonder “how did she do it?” Meeting her at a funky cafe a few days later, I was ever so slightly intimidated. This woman had sold two businesses for several million each, and on her way to growing two more. And she had a very challenging start to her entrepreneurial journey as she started and financed a large business that scaled very quickly. Along the way, she remortgaged her house, not just once but three times. Gulp. When I asked her, how could she do it, take on that level of risk, she said she was very risk adverse. All her decisions were planned, thought out and scenarios assessed. And here’s the kicker, she didn’t see it as a risk because she knew it would work. She started that business, and her subsequent enterprises knowing they would be successful. Knowing that she would do whatever it took to make it work. Failure and fear didn’t enter her mind. Everytime a new project was undertaken, or new financing required, she entered into it with intentions of a successful outcome. Thus for her, investing in the business, taking what others may see as a leap of faith, was the obvious thing for her to do. Her mindset set her up for success. What difference would it make if we had the confidence that...
How much money do you need to start a business?

How much money do you need to start a business?

You are ready to start, you know the business structure, the resources you need to begin and how to maintain a vibrant flow of new customers. One last thing to check – how will you pay for it all?     When considering how much funding you need to start your business you need to consider: How long until your first sale from now When will you make a profit How much money you need to fund the business until profit These three elements will give you key information in determining how much money you need to start up. They will give you the foundations of your cash flow in the business. A healthy cash flow is essential for any business, big or small. If the business runs out of money, it will be impossible to pay suppliers. You may have to get other short term finance which may be expensive and it could become a very difficult time for you to trade out of. To avoid this happening, you need to estimate your future cash flow. This way, you can be sure that your business has enough cash to pay its way, and you can keep growing. This is set out like a profit and loss forecast but instead of showing when a sale is made; you put in the amounts when the bill is paid. Like a Profit & Loss statement, there are two parts – cash in and cash out!   Cash IN This is the moment your business receives cash in from a customer. If you get paid in cash at the moment you make...
When business growth stalls and what to do about it

When business growth stalls and what to do about it

There is nothing so dispiriting after setting up your own business to find that growth stops. Even though you have put your heart and soul into it, new customers seem elusive and your revenue and confidence start to flag.   I have been faced with this scenario, and over the course of 12 years, it has happened a few times!   The easy thing to do is to work harder, try harder, work longer and worry more. But that doesn’t assist you in regaining your momentum, all it does is tire you out and reinforce the thought that even though you try your hardest, it’s not enough.   What a thoroughly demoralising place to be.   If you find yourself here, then stop.   Stop doing what you’ve always done, and stop trying harder.   It’s time to reboot your approach to business.   Doing what you have always done will get you what you have always got.   If you are unsatisified with the current state of play, then stop, and change what you are doing.   This isn’t about throwing the baby out with the bath water but taking some time out to create new avenues of growth and opportunity. It’s time to stop flogging a dead horse and start to put your time and effort into a fresh approach.   Though when we are feeling demoralised by our business, it can be hard to think of new ways and approaches for growth.   Here are some effective ways to get your growth mindset happening…   1. Blank sheet of paper Imagine that you are starting your business...
Fail to plan – plan to fail

Fail to plan – plan to fail

“Fail to plan – plan to fail.” How often have you heard this quote from Benjamin Franklin? When I was a very young marketing trainee for Colgate, fresh out of university, my Marketing Director would boom this out down the halls of our marketing department. I still can see him to this day! Planning can seem like an onerous task, and therefore something that never happens. Click To Tweet So, instead of having a simple and effective plan to execute through out the year, you do things as they come up, maybe a bit last minute, and chances are you feel frustrated that you didn’t make the most of the opportunity. I know how that feels. There have been times when I have felt like this. And there have been times when I have had a plan, and running my business became much easier, as I knew what I had to do each day, and what I was aiming for. I know what worked best for my business and how much I enjoyed it. To help you get in the best shape for 2015, I would love to share my December Accelerator Academy webinar for you. In this 40 minute webinar, you will discover: how to make a strategic plan for your business what a SWOT is and how it helps you move from overwhelm to focus an effective way to decide what to focus on a very simple planning tool to ensure you do the work to get your goal   Click here to access the webinar I would love to know how you got on with your planning,...
Has your year ended how you wanted?

Has your year ended how you wanted?

Among my friends New Year’s Eve is always polarizing. They fall into two camps: 1. Some love it, the idea of celebrating the year with a bang, and eagerly anticipating the new year 2. The others are rushing for the year to be over, as they didn’t enjoy it, and they are not that enthused about the coming 12 months either. Where are you? And given I love to help businesses grow – into which group do you fall when you consider your business? Especially at this time of year, we can feel busier than normal. We often miss the perfect time to take stock and reflect on what has passed. Click To Tweet We then miss out on the learnings, and therefore, risk making the same mistakes as we enter the new year. I would love you to avoid this cycle! I have made a simple reflection chart for you to complete. Below is a photo for you to copy…told you it was simple. 😉 Simply answer the questions… 1. What did you love about this year? 2. What could have been better? 3. What did you learn? Then compare your actual income for the year against your goals. How did you fare?   And from what you wrote above, what insights does that give you about your business and how you run it? Doing this work will give you a great foundation to start the planning process for the next year. And hopefully, it will give you reason to be in the first group when you celebrate on December 31st! Please set aside the time, consider it...
How giving helps you grow your business

How giving helps you grow your business

“Tis better to give than receive.” How often have we heard that, especially at this time of year. I remember the first time I heard it. When I was six years old, it was almost Christmas when I was helping my mum in the laundry folding clothes. We had the discussion about being grateful for any present I received, whether I liked it or not, then the old chestnut came up; “and of course, Wendy, this time of year isn’t about getting, it’s about giving.” Being a typical, self-centered six year old, I didn’t quite understand what she meant, but I knew how she wanted me to behave on Christmas morning! Roll forward many years, and I have a very similar discussion with my clients about ‘Business Karma”. When I interviewed 50 Corporate Crossovers for my book, I discovered that they all practiced and had received a lot from this. Whether you are starting your own business or have been in business a while, Business Karma is key. Click To Tweet Business Karma is simply delighting people. To be more specific here are some examples: making the time to have a coffee with that woman who is new in business, even if you are really busy checking in with clients randomly, asking if they need any support, and having no strings attached being generous with trial offers, samples for people to try offering to lead or be on the committee for your local networking group volunteering your time as a mentor The key with this is to give with the spirit of generosity. Stepping forth with this mindset gives...
How to get new ideas to grow your own business

How to get new ideas to grow your own business

Is your head spinning with how much there is to do at this time of year? Not only is the year end closing in, with lots of business tasks to be completed but it’s also a crazy busy festive time, with lots of seasonal events and parties. Often at this time of year, we can experience a tension in our thinking. One pull point is that we are feeling relieved that the year is coming to an end, and we will ‘get through’ the whirl of activity, and then the opposing point is often a pressure to get into activity to get the business moving again in the new year. The great thing about tension, is that when it is released, so too is a significant amount of energy. Often though, to release the tension, a stress point occurs, enabling you to ‘break through’. Ugh! I’m all about making things easy as possible. Business is supposed to be enjoyable; to stimulate and reward, not tax and deplete. Click To Tweet So, here is an easy approach to release the tension and to generate some fresh ideas to grown your own business. How to get ‘fresh business thinking’. 1. Create a new file on your device or find a beautiful notebook. 2. Before each festive event you go to, spend some time intentionally thinking about it. Ask yourself the following questions about the event: What could I learn today that would help my business? What business concern would I love to have solved? What sort of person would I most like to meet? 3. Go and enjoy the event 4....
How small things make the biggest difference to your own business

How small things make the biggest difference to your own business

I’ve already started thinking about my new year’s resolution. I know, we haven’t even got into the final two weeks of the year, and I am jettisoning myself into 2015. Here is what has led me to my resolutions – a sense of too much change, too many bright shiny things, and frankly, not sticking at one thing long enough to see the difference. For some reason, 2014, has been a very magpie-like year for me. If you have known my journey for the last 18 months you could probably understand why. However, 2015 promises to be a year of relative stability! So ….drumroll please- – my 2015 resolution is to do small things every day to achieve big change. When I have focused in such a simple way in the past, it has worked. Worked for me in that I have gained: More clarity More confidence Calm Increased traction in my business Better financial results When I dart from here to there, then my results reflect that. I feel constantly on the treadmill, always looking over my shoulder for the next big thing, and seeking more external validation than ever before. These are not supportive habits to grow a business. Clarity, confidence and commitment will help you start and expand your business. Click To Tweet The three small things I will do everyday are: –       Meditate – to give me calm, clarity and congruence in my thinking –       Imagine – reflect on my goals (personal and business) and rehearse them coming to fruition –       Thrive – do something I love! This could be coffee with a friend, a beautiful...
Does being thankful help your business?

Does being thankful help your business?

The familiar sounds of the Skype chime rang, and I answered the call to Sophie, a newish coaching client. She had recently left her job to start up her one business, and we were working together to make her business fly! In talking with Sophie, she outlined all that she had achieved since our last call together. She had done a lot, briefed a website designer, set up her tax status, hired a Book-keeper and started testing her value proposition. All of these task individually are big undertakings, and she had done all of them and some more in our hiatus. I acknowledged her in what a great job she had done, completing so much in a short space of time. But all she could focus on was on what she hadn’t done. She was more consumed with what was remaining on her to-do list than what had been ticked off. Thus she felt dissatisfied with her progress, and wondered when she would ever get on top of her new business. Sadly, Sophie’s response is typical. Most of us focus on what we haven’t achieved rather than what we have. This leaves us feeling lacking, less than able or completely overwhelmed as we know we are working really hard but not moving forward. Our brains are wired to make us more aware of problems and limitation than solution and opportunity. This is because, as early man …yes, probably lurking in the caves, when we saw problems or limitations, we sensed danger, and then we took action to stop us from being eaten or killed. To protect us from harm,...
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