Growing a Business

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growing a businessOne of the most common questions I get asked is How Can I Grow My Business? So many people may think that it’s tough to start a business and I’m here to tell you I agree. But you know what’s harder than that? The step that comes after – growing. Growing a business is really tough!

It’s easier to start the climb. You have no where to go but up! It’s sort of like a relationship that’s brand new, you have the sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach, and stars in your eyes. However, when you take that relationship to the next level – perhaps marriage, that’s when the real work comes in. The stars in your eyes are replaced with compromise. You now realize this relationship business is very hard work, if it’s successful that is.

When you’ve gotten your business off the ground okay and you’ve managed to get some clients – then what? Well now comes the really hard part. Growth. It’s time to grow and go to the next level. The problem is you may have blown your wad on the way up? You’re tired and you don’t know exactly what to do? Or perhaps you do know what needs to be done – its just too hard?

So because it’s too hard to do the real work you surround yourself with busy work instead? You create the illusion of productivity and lose yourself in tasks. Busy work is a self-inflicted diversion that keeps us from the real work and decisions in our business. Tweet this! You know what else? It’s not profitable. But I feel certain you already know that.

Growing a Business – What Does it Take?

I’m on the front lines every day working with entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses not to mention taking time out to nurture my own. I want to share with you some very common hurdles and how to overcome them.

1. Don’t Make Abyss Statements – Instead of saying I need more clients or I need more revenue, quantify your statements. If you don’t make what you need clear you’re just sending it out to the abyss (where dreams go to die). When I decided this year that I was ready to grow my business I wrote down in very specific terms exactly what that meant, which leads me to the next tip.

2. Design a Plan – If you don’t have a plan in your business, you get the default plan – the hamster wheel. Tweet this! Once you decide how much you want to grow then you want to decide exactly how you’re going to get there. What’s your marketing strategy? How will you reach enough people to get the amount of customers or clients you need?

3. ACT on Ideas – If you spend the time to come up with great ideas and a design a plan – execute them! Blah blah blah doesn’t create moolah in your business. Tweet this.

4. Don’t Think Small – There are times we have to take risks in our business to experience growth. When was the last time you were really scared in your business? If you don’t know, you’re playing it way too safe. You can’t be brown-baggin’ your business if you want to go to the next level. Tweet this. It takes money to make money and you have to be willing to make investments in your business. If you aren’t willing – why should anyone else?

Yes growing a business is certainly not for pansies! But don’t give up! Come up with a great strategy thats based on a very specific plan and then KILL IT.

Every time I’m discouraged (yes I too get discouraged) I remind myself of this great quote by Napoleon Hill -

Don’t give up, you never know when you may be digging 3 feet from gold. Tweet this!

Cheers!

Tammy

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Action Not Perfection

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entrepreneur educationMy husband, whom I love to the moon and back, is parking impaired. He’s always in search of the perfect parking spot. I want to add that this annoys me completely, and with every lap around the shopping center parking lot I’m holding my breath. I’ll be saying things like, “I could already be checking out by now.” That’s usually followed up with, “You need some exercise anyway.”

This past weekend as we’re circling the parking lot for the 3rd time, I had a huge epiphany.

I do this. We ALL do this.

Well maybe not exactly like this, but we all search for perfection. I have to say that some us are just misdemeanor offenders while others have committed major felonies (me)!

Perfection is Very Expensive

The past few years that I’ve spent working with and mentoring entrepreneurs I’ve learned that one of their largest expenses is perfection. TWEET THIS! Perfection costs money! Opportunities untaken and projects not launched costs us money.

A few months ago I purchased a business course from someone in my industry whom I follow and really look up to. I won’t mention his name, but something tells me if I did, he would smile proudly and not be ashamed one bit. 

The content in this course was fantastic. However, I was blown away by the number of grammatical errors. Doesn’t he have people working for him that can fix stuff like this? I was thinking, wow, people are going to be upset.

As a part of this course we were given access to a private Facebook group, to talk amongst ourselves and compare notes. I thought wow, this is great, I bet they’ll be talking about all his errors! I couldn’t wait to see what everyone was saying about him! So I went to the Facebook group page and there was nothing! Not one comment about his blatant mistakes or bad grammar! Only raving fans.

You know why? Because no one cared. All they cared about was they learned great things that helped them to a new level in their business. Nothing else mattered.

Now, I’m not saying go out and write bad products that are full of grammatical errors! That’s not my point at all.

The point IS everything doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to BE. TWEET THIS

How many times have you said when I do ______ then I’ll do ______? Does it ever get done? Do you delude yourself and believe that there will EVER be a time of no obstacles at all? A time when the heavens open, the birds sing, and the effort required is so small that the work almost does itself?

Okay I will be the one to tell you, sorry but that time isn’t coming. The only perfect time to do anything is right now. If it’s a product you want to create, or a step you want to take in your business just do it. Making it perfect can be a process while you’re working at it. I also feel that I need to tell you that usually the only person mulling over every last detail of what you say and do – is you. No one else cares that much. So now I ask you – who is your project for? Is it for you or for someone else like your target market? You’re not trying to sell something to yourself. 

Waiting Doesn’t Give You Immunity From Failure

Whatever you do I’m sure that you have someone you look up to in that space. Someone that you may think is more successful than you? You know what the real difference is?

They’re not waiting.

I think many times when we find ourselves frozen it’s because we’re afraid we’ll make mistakes. If you relate let me ask you a question, I want  you to really give this some hard thought. Of all the wonderful lessons you’ve gained in your life where did most of them come from? Did they come from sitting on the sidelines? Getting everything right? Or perhaps did they come from making mistakes? Do you think that waiting will prevent you from failing? It won’t. Waiting doesn’t give you immunity from failure it only delays success. TWEET THIS!

Mistakes are necessary – it’s how we learn. Tweet this!  So if you keep yourself in the safety zone, you get no where and you learn nothing.

Go ahead and park the car in the spot the furthest away from the market, the walk will do you good!

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Entrepreneur Education -Web Design Fail and How to Avoid It

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entrepreneur educationSometimes when I’m talking about web design I sort of feel like how Noah must have felt. He was telling people the flood was coming and to get on the ark. Everyone thought he was crazy and didn’t listen.

Now here we are in the age of technology and everything is changing at an accelerated pace. The way we communicate and do business changes very quickly. People are starting to realize the error of their ways.

Did you know that there are over 6 million searches for the words “web design” on the Internet in 30 days?

The crazy thing is, over half the people that do invest in a website will make very bad decisions about the entire process. Some their own fault – and some not, when you’re not educated at something it happens.

The Major Problems with Web Design

There’s major fault both on the web developer and the person that hires them. First, the developer doesn’t typically know anything about business profitability. They don’t know anything about YOUR business. More importantly they don’t know how to attract your target market. Also, for the most part, MANY developers don’t know the first thing about search engine optimization. They claim to, and because the consumer isn’t educated, the truth goes unseen (until it’s too late).

Note: I am not talking about ALL developers – just most that I personally or my clients have encountered – so no hate emails please!

The faults of the consumer are just as severe. They focus on all the wrong things. They focus too much on esthetics and not enough on strategy. They build a website for themselves based on their own likes and in many cases don’t even consider their target market. They don’t consider what their target needs, and what they’re actually searching for. Or perhaps they’re skimping on the expense of their website. Uncle Bill whose a plumber during the day offers to build them a website for $200 and the consumer thinks they just saved a ton of money. Guess what? The joke is on them because they just costed themselves a ton of money in lost sales!

The consumer doesn’t realize that for a website to be found on the Internet it has to be searchable. For it to be searchable there has to be a search engine strategy.

Another huge consideration is first the Internet is very crowded and secondly the searcher has a very short attention span (8 seconds). So the searcher is on their handheld and wants to find what they’re looking for yesterday. So needless to say if your website is not on the first page of the search, it’s a lost cause.

The consumer doesn’t know the right questions to ask – so they don’t get the right answers. Sooner or later they’ll find out their website is a fail.

Web Design Considerations

We’re now on the cusp of a mobile society. Over the past 3 months I’ve read several articles about the plunging sales of desktop computers. The IPad is replacing the desktop and over 65% of Internet searches are conducted with a handheld device.

How do YOU get information from the Internet? If you answer with your handheld – guess what? So is everyone else. So let me ask you how does your website look on your handheld? What does your visitor see?

Website design is now very minimal. It’s about clean space that translates very well to a handheld device, a clear path of what you want your target market to do once they come to your website, and a clear strategy of how you’ll get them to opt in and join your email list.

How to Avoid Bad Web Design

To avoid bad website decisions you must first accept it’s true responsibility. A website is not just a point of reference to prove that you have a legitimate business – it’s a point of profitability!

Just like a blueprint comes before a house is built – a strategy needs to be planned out before a website is built. Who is your ideal client? What do they type into the search when they’re looking for what you do? You should have a full blown search strategy intact.

Next remember that your searcher has an 8-second attention span. How are you going to interest them at hello and keep them there on your site long enough to either purchase from you or join your list?

What is your list building strategy? On the front page of your website should be a place for your visitor to join. How will you get them to sign up?

What do you want the visitor to do when they get there? If you say buy, then make sure there is a clear path that makes them understand that and don’t make it complicated. Nobody has the patience for complicated anymore (remember 8 seconds).

Make sure that your website is very clean, easy to read, easy to navigate, the searcher finds what they need quickly and above ALL it must be mobile-friendly.

You should have all these things in check before you contact a web developer and instruct them properly – it’s up to you to manage this process if you want your website to be a success.

I hope this will encourage you to review your website and make some changes in 2014 so you can turn your website into a tool that creates profit for your business!

Cheers!
Tammy

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Entrepreneurs – Fasting Can Help You Succeed in Business

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Entrepreneurs face obstacles, adversity, and tough decisions every single day. There are many decisions that we choose not to face – we put them off. The cost is many of the decisions that come with the dreaded work that we delay often brings the highest rewards.

Recently I’ve gotten introduced to the juice craze and I have to say that I’m absolutely addicted! This week I decided to do a 3-day juice fast and what that entails is having only your juice (juice from fruit and vegetables that you make in your juicer) and water. This is for 3 whole days! So no coffee, tea, bread or any of those things I love. As I write this I’m in day two – yes, I’m hungry! :-)

Last night I was laying in bed reading a book trying to take my mind off the fact that I’m hungry which is pretty tough with your belly rumbling. I had an epiphany that helped me get through it. I decided that it was good for me to feel hardship, it’s good for me to be uncomfortable and do something that I really didn’t want to do. That this challenge would actually make me a better entrepreneur.

We currently live in a world whereas people want and expect immediate satisfaction and when that doesn’t occur they often give up on something. I personally feel that it’s a very good practice as an entrepreneur to develop a mindset that’s constantly challenging yourself by doing things that you may not necessarily want to do.

Too often we make excuses, let ourselves off the hook and delay growth in our businesses by procrastinating. This action completely stalls success.

One of the things that I LOVE about my life is that I get to wake up everyday happy and excited about what I’m going to spend my entire day (and sometimes night) doing.  I’m very grateful because I know that not everyone gets to have it.

However, that privilege comes with a price, it’s a tremendous responsibility.

You must have an incredible amount of disciple if you’re going to grow a profitable business. Unfortunately having this disciple means facing many things head on in your business that you may not want to do. You may have to take some chances that you don’t feel very comfortable taking.

Just like with fasting over the last couple of days – trust me I had rather be having some french fries or a bowl of ice cream. But I know that the practice of not giving into indulgence and creating a mindset that is disciplined is not only great for my body, health and spirituality – but it’s a great lesson as an entrepreneur.

So as I was sitting in bed with my belly rumbling I was able to conquer that obstacle and not give in by telling myself that it’s good for me to feel this – it will make me a better person.

Making Long Term Goals

If you’re someone that’s only able to focus on something that brings instant or quick reward – you’re going to be robbed of many of the experiences that a successful entrepreneur has. I personally believe that short term success is important to keep us motivated – but that should not be all you have. You should have an equal amount of long and short term goals.

So here’s the question, what do you want to accomplish in your business in 2014?

Are there things that you’ve been wanting to do or know that you need to do but yet you’ve put them off? I challenge you to list them on a piece of paper and adjacent list the outcome or result if you were to accomplish those tasks.

How about just taking some baby steps? At least at that pace you’re moving toward the goal. Ask yourself what tough decisions have you been putting off? Face them in 2014! It will make you a better person and a more successful entrepreneur! I personally guarantee it!

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Don’t Take Notes in 2014 – Take Action

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entrepreneur educationBack in the day I attended tons of networking events. There would be a speaker at the event and I would write down anything they said that struck a cord with me in my notebook. The notebook where ideas go to die.

It’s almost like you feel that you did your duty to the good idea because you actually went to the trouble of writing it down.

But then what?

I actually have TONS of notebooks on my desk right now – see in the picture with this post – yes those are MY notebooks.

I’m putting them in the trash today. I don’t need them anymore.

I don’t need them anymore because I’ve made a conscious decision to not be a slave to ideas. I’ve decided that being a slave to ideas costs money. Those ideas use up mindshare that could be doing more productive things. Things that make my business money.

So as a result I have come up with my 2014 strategy plan – I know exactly what I’m doing and it’s written in my Evernote notebook online. Sure, I’m open to new ideas, thoughts and strategies – you should ALWAYS be learning new things. But I’ve also made a conscious decision not to clutter my mind and my business with ideas or thoughts that I know I will never put to use.

It’s time to focus on action.

Are you the perpetual planner? Does any of it ever actually get done?

Don’t take notes in 2014 – take action! Are you with me?

What action is first on your list?

Happy New Year!

Tammy

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