4 Reasons you should seek out a Business Coach

with thanks to https://www.entrepreneur.com/

So, you made the leap from being an employee to owning a business. Congratulations, you’ve just entered the ranks of becoming a soon-to-be entrepreneurial failure or a near-term startup success.

Of course, the question becomes how do you stay alive as a newfound business owner? After all, being a subject matter expert in a particular job is one thing, being a generalist for an industry (an organizational leader) is something else entirely.

There comes a point where stagnation sets in. You can take yourself only so far without the help of others. Hey, it happens. Consider it part of the startup lifecycle.

Enter the business coach. There isn’t anything else that you receive 100 percent dedicated attention to you. A business coach is somebody who helps you move from where you are to where you want to be, and does so by solely focusing on your goals.

“If you are not clear on your vision, then every single opportunity will distract you and impede your progress,” says Tracy Cherpeski, an entrepreneurship and wellness coach.

After all, you’ll never really know what you’re capable of until there’s someone to push you outside your comfort zone. Just ask any professional athlete. If a business coach is something you’ve thought about recently but aren’t quite sold on getting one yet, here are four reasons why you should:

1. To brainstorm brilliance

There’s a common saying that goes, “nobody is smarter than all of us.” In other words, the collective power of many is far superior to the single power of one, which speaks to the value a coach brings in brainstorming new ideas. However, doing so is both an art and a science.

Anybody can go online and find brainstorming software for free with the goal to generate genius — that’s the science part. The “art” part, however, is excavating personal values and beliefs that you never knew existed and linking them to your desires and intentions. Sometimes it takes a new perspective to see an existing connection.

2. To bounce ideas

Nowhere else do you find somebody solely dedicated to acting as your own personal sounding board. A coach — well, a good coach — pushes out all thoughts from his or her own brain to be present and just listen. Doing so allows the coach to ask powerful questions that unearths deeply rooted values otherwise firmly planted.

The best part about this is the amount of judgment that the coach offers: zero. Unlike the local rumor mill in your neighborhood or office, it’s not a coach’s responsibility to opine about your position, but rather to suspend judgment in such a way that guides you toward your own goals.

3. To be accountable

Isn’t it strange how easy it is to break the promises we make to ourselves, but less so when we involve other people? A coach serves as an accountability partner who challenges you to strategize and develop your goals while aligning your efforts toward achieving them.

4. To receive guidance

A business coach will challenge your thinking, goals and willingness to grow. As somebody who has “been there, done that,” a coach also acts as a role model because of the experience that he or she shares. Additionally, a coach has unique insight that broadens your business awareness.

Think of it this way: When Santa Claus brings you a new toy, you get excited at the thought of playing with it but maybe a little disheartened at the thought of having to assemble all those ridiculously tiny pieces. So what do you need? Directions. You need guidance for how to get from where you are to where you want to be, and once you do, you play with the toy all morning.

The key metric for success from coaching isn’t so much the cool technical tools you learn — those will become obsolete in roughly 18 months. The value of coaching resides in the mental tools the coachee learns that help him or her navigate toward success both inside and outside of the business world.

Every athlete and every top performer uses a coach to bring out their best. Why don’t you?

to find out more check out http://bizandlifesuccess.com.au

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A Simple Strategy to Immediately Increase Your Profitability by 12% or More

Johnathon, one of our business coaching clients, ran a successful professional services firm with just under $4 million a year in revenue. In his niche the firm had a strong reputation.

When I questioned him about his pricing strategy he shared that he billed hourly for his professional staff. A deeper dive found that his firm adjusted bills if they number “looked” too high and that his average discount ended up around 27 percent.

When I uncovered this I challenged him on this practice. It made sense that there was a psychological factor that a discount made the bigger professional bill easier for his clients to emotionally accept. But, I asked him couldn’t we shrink that discount to say, 15 percent, and still get that same effect? And couldn’t we explore raising your professional team’s hourly billing rate at the same time?

With a little thought and research into what other firms were billing, he agreed to try out a wave of price increases and reduced discounts. He had zero complaints, and increased his collected cash by $300,000 a year. This was additional pure profit for his firm since he had the same overhead, the same marketing expenses, and the same “cost of goods sold” in terms of his professional staff’s costs.

Your turn now – when was the last time your put your pricing strategy on trial?

Most businesses set their prices when their business was first launched, and since they were so hungry for business, they set pricing levels low.

Over time, the business likely only made nominal increases to pricing every few years, but rarely did the owner ever sit down and fundamentally rethink his or her pricing model.

If it’s been over a year, time to look at it again.

How are your prices relative to your costs? Have your costs increased since you originally set your pricing? Have you adjusted your pricing to reflect that? Has the perception of your costs increased? Have you taken advantage of this to increase your pricing?

How about your competitors? When was the last time you took a comprehensive look at their real pricing? When Jonathon did this he discovered he could increase many of his professional staff’s hourly billing rate by 30 percent or more.

Do you have old customers that you haven’t raised their prices in, well, ever? By all means, honor your relationship with your customer. But also be fair and smart in looking out for your company’s interests too.

While some business owners fear increasing prices for loyal long-term customers, the truth is that customers fear “switching costs”–the cost to leave you, train a new vendor, and go through the whole learning curve all over again with someone new. Often the switching cost is higher than your increase in prices, so they won’t leave you just for making changes. At the very least you should explore this in depth.

And finally, do you have limited production capacity and a large and hungry demand that exceeds your capacity to produce? If so, simple economics say that limited supply with increase demand means prices should increase. So if you can’t easily scale your production capacity (which I’m hoping you can) then use pricing to address how you best serve customers in the face of a limited supply.

So what are you waiting for, take a closer, strategic look at your pricing today.

If you want to learn more ways to effectively grow your business and get your life back, I encourage you to go to our website and check out the free lessons. http://bizandlifesuccess.com.au

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Life

what is it about life that makes it so damn difficult for some and so easy for others?

for some life is a glorious journey with rose petals to walk on. For others it is a journey of misery and despair, littered with pain, agony, frustration and loss.

why is this so?

what causes one to experience the glory and joy of life and the other the pain, misery and suffering only wished upon your worst enemy, maybe not even them?

A lot of it has to do with your outlook on life, obviously.

then again there is environment, upbringing, social status, etc.

but then again there have been numerous examples of people from privileged upbringings or rockstars/movie stars that spiral to the depths of despair. And you juxtapose them against the poorest villagers in India and Papua New Guinea who are happy and fun loving without, what is seems is a care in the world.

I think at the end of the day as Viktor Frankl discussed in “A Man’s search for Meaning”, it is about your purpose. Without a purpose, what are you here for, what is it that you are meant to achieve.

Too many people are just meandering through life with no purpose and therefore, as the Cheshire Cat said in “Alice in Wonderland” when he was asked by Alice

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice: I don’t much care where.

The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.

Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.

The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

And that is how most people go through life, hoping they will end up in the right place.

Some sort of focus on something is better than having nothing, even if it is the wrong thing. It will sort itself out, sooner or later.

Sit and ponder what is your purpose, and if you are in business and looking for some help to achieve it, visit www.bizandlifesuccess.com.au.

Have a great week

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Why we (should) change our minds in the 11th hour

with thanks to Danielle Laporte – DANIELLELAPORTE.COM

You’re about to ship your product, wrap the gift, get dressed for the event, name the baby. Go time. Launch time. Deadline-to-meet-time. It’s time to make the final call. You’ve been working toward this for months. Money invested in designers, endless jam sessions, deep thinking, working toward THAT goal. And then…and then you look at it (clock is ticking, we’re waiting for you to sign off), and you think…it’s not quite right. We need to…. change the name, pull apart the structure, swap out the picture, switch the offer, shift gears.

And then…you want to throw up.

Change? Now?! But you’ve been so certain, so clear, so specific with what you wanted. You ASKED them to make it that way. It was your idea. You made the choices. It’s time to put this project to bed!
THE ROAD TO MEDIOCRITY IS… EASY

80% of people will proceed as planned — they’ll keep their mouth shut, save money, save face, not rock the boat.

20% (and that may be a generous portion), will risk looking like an indecisive, unreasonable, flake and they’ll put on the brakes, push for change, throw a wrench into the works, ask for unreasonable Olympian efforts at the last minute.

The people in the latter camp? They tend to be outstanding. Their risks are more likely to pay off — because they take them.

Sometimes clarity isn’t as much of a “dawning” as it is a “squeeeeeezing.”
Think of 11th hour a-ha’s as a distillation of truth — truth that’s good to act on.

We get clear about what we really truly actually for real want at pull-the-trigger time by virtue of psyche mechanics — we’ve been grinding and polishing for so long that we’re more likely to see a new vein surface in the material; and because our soul is determined to take it’s true shape in the world (not that we always let it.)

I’m not a fan of delaying, (although sometimes a sacred pause is the lever to greatness). I’m not suggesting that you let clarity derail deadlines and commitments (sometimes we label perfectionism as clarity to give ourselves the “It’s not good enough yet” excuse.)

What I’m campaigning for is that you embrace the potential genius of the last minute knowings (because they’re natural), and take a swing at total and utter madness:
Consider that your realization of how it could be better might be divine, and do whatever it takes to make it better.

The one part of the plan that isn’t changing? The plan to always give your best.

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Entrepreneurs: How to Improve Your Concentration

from www.bidsketch.com

When you are self employed, it’s a constant challenge to stay motivated and maintain the level of focus and discipline required to complete an often mammoth list of tasks.

There are so many distractions and interruptions that can break your concentration and quickly result in your planned six hour day quickly turning into something far less desirable.

In this post, I’ll be looking at ways in which you can improve your concentration levels. I’ll also examine why taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your business.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind  As entrepreneurs and business people, our biggest assets are our minds and bodies. If we get sick, we can’t work. If we’re tired, we can’t concentrate or work as effectively.

Despite this, many self employed people put their health and wellbeing second. This is compounded if you work from home where you have fewer reasons and opportunities to be active.

Research has shown that doing a job where you are sitting for the majority of the day can actually put you at higher risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Diet and exercise play a vital role in keeping you focused and mentally alert.

We all know that eating right can help keep your energy levels up and make you feel better. But can maintaining a healthy lifestyle really give your business a boost? Recent studies say yes. One UK university found that on the days they exercised, 33% of people felt they were more motivated, 72% had better time management, and 79% demonstrated improved mental concentration and performance.

While I’m not suggesting that you hit the gym at 6am every morning, a simple walk round the block or thirty minutes of yoga could be enough to energize your mind and body for the day ahead. Structure in plenty of breaks to your day and where you can include some activity.

Keeping active is proven to reduce stress levels and help combat frustration and anxiety — all the negative things that reduce your concentration and productivity. When you work for yourself, especially if you work from home, managing your diet can be tough. It seems natural to reach for another coffee or something sweet to pick us up when we feel that dip in energy and concentration.

However, caffeine and sugar only provide a false, short-term boost and can result in a vicious circle where an energy rush is followed by an even worse energy crash. I’m not here to offer diet advice, but it makes sense to keep hydrated and get your recommended daily quota of fruit and vegetables.

Dietitians have long advised that a hearty (but healthy) breakfast is vital as it kick starts your metabolism and helps keep your brain from becoming sluggish. Hunched over your PC snacking on junk food isn’t good for anyone. Keep the treats for your down time – you’ll enjoy them much more when you feel like you’ve earned them at the end of a busy week.

Rest and Relaxation As well as maintaining a healthy diet, your body and mind also need adequate sleep in order to rest and rejuvenate. How much sleep you need varies from person to person, but recent research concluded that, “People who sleep between 6.5 and 7.5 hours a night live the longest, are happier and most productive.”

Entrepreneurs like Arianna Huffington attribute their success to sleep and reject the notion that the more we work, the more productive we are. Numerous productivity studies have shown that as humans we can function at an optimum productivity level for up to forty hours per week. After that we become less reliable and more prone to making errors and mistakes.

So working twelve hours a day, seven days a week probably may not make you any more productive than someone who works eight hours a day, five days a week. Sometimes it’s not always possible to get a good night’s sleep and this can impact hugely on your concentration levels the next day.

This is where daytime napping could help. Research has discovered that a twenty minute nap restores the alertness levels in your brain and boosts your concentration and productivity by 100%. Big companies like Google, Zappos, and Nike all allow nap breaks and provide their employees with dedicated napping spaces.

Of course, if you work from home it’s much easier to schedule in breaks where you can take a nap, meditate or just chill out. However you approach it, having a good sleep routine is vital. Going to bed around the same time each night and waking up around the same time each morning is the ideal routine to have.

Where this is not possible experiment with napping or taking extended breaks to help boost your concentration.

All Work and No PlayPart of the reason many people become self-employed is to enjoy a better work-life balance. However, it is an all too common occurrence for people to become so focused on their goals and building up their business that they forget to enjoy the downtime. Working flat out seven days a week will not only become exhausting and unmanageable — it will eventually effect your quality of work.

Remember that you control your schedule and have the freedom to pencil in a few early finishes or to keep your weekend free to spend quality time doing things you enjoy. Personally, if I take a long weekend off and challenge myself not to check emails or take work-related calls, I feel more energized and motivated than usual by the time Monday morning arrives.

By taking time out to relax I guarantee you’ll find your motivation and concentration levels increase. Similarly to down time, taking regular breaks throughout your working day are key to optimizing your concentration levels. Sitting in front of a screen for six hours straight is not good for anyone and will end up being counter-productive as you become increasingly tired, irritable and mistake-prone.

Working long hours may make you feel more productive, but short bursts of intense activity usually yield better results as your concentration is focused on one specific task. Targeted, effective work beats generalized, hard work every time.

Peace and Quiet Finally, take time to assess your working environment. Nothing kills concentration like interruptions, distractions and noise, but unfortunately this comes with the territory when you work from home. To combat this, make sure you have a dedicated work space that is located in the quietest spot in the house. Ideally this should not be your bedroom or in the lounge in front of the television as you need to be in a more formal work mind set to keep your concentration levels up.

You can’t be productive in an environment that makes you tense, so experiment and decide which location works best for you. If you do live in a particularly noisy neighborhood you could also consider the option of working at your local library or hiring a desk at a coworking space.

Summing Up Whatever type of business you run, self-employment will give you the chance to shape your own working reality. One of the greatest freedoms of being self-employed is being able to set your own rules of how and when you work. This also means that you decide when to rest and when to have down time.

When it comes to being productive and focusing your energy, remember that it is quality not quantity and shorter bursts of activity are the best way to capitalize on your concentration levels.

Always ensure that your mental and physical health is a priority. By taking care of yourself, the effects in terms of concentration, motivation and energy will be felt positively across the whole of your business.

So now it’s over to you! Do you have any tips for improving concentration? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below!

About Tom Ewer Tom Ewer is a professional blogger and the founder of Leaving Work Behind, a blog for those who want to quit their jobs and build their best life.

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The death of a typewriter repairer

Paul Wallbank
The death of a typewriter repairer

Despite owing his longevity to cheap scotch and strong tobacco, the America’s oldest typewriter repairman passed away two weeks ago. The fate of his shop is one that many other small businesses will share.

Manson Whitlock of New Haven, Connecticut had run his typewriter shop from the early 1930s until shortly before his death. Needless to say, he didn’t like computers.

“I don’t even know what a computer is,” The New York Times reported. “I’ve heard about them a lot, but I don’t own one, and I don’t want one to own me.” While Manson’s shop had six staff at its peak, in recent years he ran the operation on his own and the business died with him. Many baby boomer business owners face the same fate as Manson Whitlock as their businesses decline in the face of changing technology and shifting change.Some of the boomers will suffer because they are undercapitalised and, as the next generation of entrepreneurs can’t afford to buy these existing businesses, most of those will work way past the date they planned to retire.

A good example of this is a radio shop near my office which has been run by an old gentleman for many years. When I went into it in 1997 for something – I forget what – the proprietor was almost shocked to see a customer and he couldn’t help me.

I’m not surprised that it was rare to see a customer as none of the stock behind the cluttered counter seemed to date beyond 1980.

The only reason the shop survived was because the proprietor owned the premises as there’s no way the place could have paid the modern rents with the non-existent turnover.

A few weeks ago the shop closed. I don’t know whether the owner retired or passed away, but the business closed with him.

This example and the New Haven typewriter repairer demonstrate how businesses can be left behind by technology.

While both stores had plenty of time to react to the rise of computers during the 1980s and 90s, their proprietors chose not to and by the 2000s it was too late.

Today, technology and business are changing even faster and there’re many more big and small enterprises that risk being left behind by change.

It’s not only the changing marketplace that risks the future of these businesses, the failure to invest in things as simple as modern point of sale systems or even a basic website will leave many exposed.

The time to invest in new systems and products is now and if you can’t invest in the future, then it’s time to get out.

how well is your business keeping up with the pace of change??

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