What You Have That The Government Does Not

view of field of flowers through chain link fence

Freedom to Grow

I believe in government as a necessity to ensure things happen for a large group of people. In fact I live in a country where government is a big part of our lives (more than 50% of our income goes to taxes) and we get to say we live in the best country in the world measured on many different metrics.

I have also been fortunate not to have worked in the government. I know that sounds counter-intuitive. A “cushy” government job is a dream of so many people. My husband does have a government job and he is thrilled. But as an entrepreneur I am looking for different freedom than is offered inside a large bureaucracy.

You Know Who

The Government works for the people. But who are the people? The government does not have a target market. They do what every entrepreneur is taught not to do; they say, “I work for everyone.” (Everyone in the country, everyone in the province/state/city/etc.) The problem is, even in government you cannot work for everyone. They don’t even work for the majority on any issue. Finding a balance between what needs to work to run a country and what people want is always a challenge. Being a political leader has to be one of the most difficult jobs around. Less than half the people like you because your vision and goals for the future don’t align.

In business we focus on our core target market. We know who we are supporting with our products and services. We understand what they need and why they buy. We know who our suppliers are and what their biggest challenges are. We are close to our issues and the solutions. Everything is more personal. We know these things because if we didn’t we wouldn’t be in business.

The government is in business because it has to be. We are in business because we choose to be.

The Green-Light Manager

Approximately 92,000 people work for the Ontario government. If one person finds an issue, has some feedback, wants to change a process, sees an inconsistency, etc. how loud does their voice have to be to get heard? There are processes that are meant to handle this very question, but who knows about them? Usually not the person wanting to bring the change. Often not the people they would ask for help to get the answers. Great ideas are so often lost in a bureaucracy. The mindset of management (in any setting, not just government) is to err on the side of safety, meaning they would rather throw out a good idea then be responsible for giving the “green light” to a bad idea. Since it is not management’s job in government to bring change, it is to make the status quo work smoothly, listening to new ideas is not even an option for most managers. The voice of the least person in government usually goes unheard, and they often have the best view of the issues that are hard to fix.

In our business we can see all the moving parts. We have access to all the people that have the different perspectives. We can be open to new ideas because we are the ‘green-light manager’. We can say yes to change and we should because we are small enough to be able to make change happen when we need.

We are not caged, like in the government, to only do the status quo. We are free to grow, add, change, and stop what we are doing.

No Cement Shoes

The money invested in ideas is accountable to everyone when you work in government. When you answer to everyone, you need to be more sure of everything. Once a plan is put in place, there is no going back, or at least not without major controversy. Some years ago my government placed an order for new planes for the military. We are not a military-focused country so as soon as the government changed, the order was cancelled. The cancellation fee cost the tax payer billions of dollars. Thank goodness this does not happen often. The reason it doesn’t is because of the “cement shoes”. Once a plan is put into works, it is like everyone involved is standing in fresh cement. They cannot leave without ruining the concrete plan, but they don’t want to stay because the plan doesn’t look right to them. There is no going back.

The money invested in ideas for your business is accountable to you and your investors. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan to stay the course, but with a smaller size business, there is more room to pivot. The weight of the ‘cement shoes’ is less and the cost of change is less. In fact, it is possible to build change into the plan initially to be able to make the changes needed, when they are needed, at a cost that is not prohibitive.

I almost got myself elected to a municipal Councillors position a few years back. I do want to make a difference and I love my city, but I am very thankful I did not get in because I don’t think I could make the impact I wanted with the tools available to anyone working in the government. I can do more from inside my business and so can you.

Remember as you grow, look for the areas in your business where you may lose sight of your entrepreneurial spirit. As you build your systems to manage a bigger business, don’t let bureaucracy sneak in and block you from doing the work you first intended to do. As you bring on new people, don’t let your size stop you from getting the perspective of everyone on your team. After all they are your brand managers (all of them) and they can make your business look successful or they can make it feel broken. You have this ability and the government, which runs one of the most successful countries in the world, does not. Take advantage of it.

Summer Selling – What Else Can You Do?

wine on the beach enjoying summer

Summer feels like a time of year that you cannot get much done. So many people are away on vacation or out enjoying the time with their kids who are off school; basically slowing down. But if you are looking for sales in the summer you cannot slow down, so what else can you do? Here are three ideas I have for you that I have experienced over the last few weeks.

1. Beach Time

If you have access to a great outdoor space then invite some clients to join you for an afternoon event. Add food, great content and learning, and amazing networking. Invite some other experts and add a panel or Q&A that includes them. Make sure you charge enough to cover your expenses and you are highlighting your business. Introduce an offer or let people know you will be calling them to chat about doing some other things together and helping them with their needs.

One of the networking associations I belong to (with a membership of about 150 people) hosted an event for 12 people (first come – first served). You had to be quick to get a ticket and it was worth it. It was hosted at the directors cottage on Georgian Bay. We sat on the deck sipping wine, networking, learning and getting great support for our businesses. The cost at $55 was not excessive but it also was not nominal. She made a little money and supported her members in a unique way, which created a desire for next year. In addition, she did not have to leave the cottage to host an event down in the city, saving her enormous amount of time and extra costs.

2. Think Small

If you do events during the year you know how much time they can take for things like:

  • getting sponsors
  • selling display tables
  • finding a venue
  • selling the tickets
  • arranging food, accommodations, media, etc.

If you want to do something in the summer but you know you just don’t have time to create something big then think small. A small room that sits 15 would create a great atmosphere for learning and sharing. Keep the event to a 1/2 day or less so people can still plan their summer fun around it and add something fun to the program like summer punch tasters or a summer dress code.

This past weekend my friend Beatrice Johnston hosted a Brand building event in Toronto. She was visiting with another friend who had access to a small professional room. The event was from 11 am – 2 pm and was full of great content with a promise to follow up. She used Eventbrite to create the event page and sell tickets. She filled a small room of ideal clients. She left with an open door to follow up with each person and keep in touch. Since we all paid to be there she was not out of pocket for the event.

3. An Extra $2500

Could you use an extra $2500 this summer? My good friend Cindy Ashton had some time in between setting up her new national TV show, “Cindy Uncorked” (launching this fall on the Women’s Television Network) and getting sponsors, to do some coaching for a select few entrepreneurs. She really doesn’t have much time, but she loves to help entrepreneurs have a voice with powerful communications so she created a short $500 program with specific results for 5 people only. It’s an easy purchase for someone looking for those results and an easy marketing setup because it is only a piece of any of her full programs. It required a sales page with a video, the shopping cart for registration, autoresponders to send out the information after the purchase and her time, set in time slots of her choosing.

I loved this so much she gave me permission to use the idea to offer some extra time for my clients and came up with the Growth Explosion offer. Go ahead and copy my template if you want to try this for yourself.

There is still time to get something on your marketing calendar for the summer. Do it now and get more sales while everyone else is taking it easy.

When Success Starts – Don’t Depart

When we start feeling that overwhelm – that churning, aching, anguish we get as humans when things start piling up, we often stop doing the work that has to get done. If the pile is the result of wanted growth then be careful you don’t stop growth from happening by giving up every time it feels like there is too much on your plate.

One of the reasons so few people achieve big success is the commitment required to stay the course when success starts taking hold. Success is not easy. It is not just a lot of work up front and a ride at the end. It is not in your DNA or your inheritance. It is a consistent push every day to do what has to get done; and not just the fun things. Everything – every piece of your business must get handled routinely. There are no exceptions.

Today I want to remind you to stay on track. If you really want to make it, if you truly desire to create a bigger business, then ‘stay the course’; you can do it. Here are three things you can do to help get through those overwhelming times and onto the routine of running a bigger business.

1. Stick to the Plan

If you don’t know where you are going you can end up anywhere. That is why you have a plan for your growth, so don’t forget to use it. Review the plan at least monthly and check to see if you are on track. Are you meeting your deadlines? Do you have what you need to move on? Have you stayed focused on the plan or have you been side-tracked by some other fun / shinning / new idea? The plan defines where you want to be in the future and outlines the path you have identified to get you there. During implementation, you will be able to identify the daily ‘to do’ list from this plan that will get you to the immediate and long-term goals.

2. Do the Work

Do your work; the work you are best at; the work that when you do it you add value to the company. Let others do the work that is not yours. If there is no one else in your business but you then start looking at why you are alone. This may be one of the reasons you are not growing. You will have to hire someone before you are ready to have employees. If you know employees are in your big-business vision then start letting go.

To start the ‘letting go’ process look for the three things you do that do not add value to the company. Look for things that take you a long time to do. Things you are not good at and that you do not love to do. Your ‘Yuck Work’. After you have identified just 3, look for ways to offload that work to a contractor. If that is not possible then find a way to automate the work or systematize it so you don’t have to contemplate the process more than once. Reducing your ‘Yuck Work’ gives you more time to focus on the things that truly add value to your company and will help you grow.

3. Prioritize

Pick three ‘Must Do’ goals each day that must be completed by the end of that day. Evaluate if they are the right goals by asking, “Will completing this goal get me closer to my ultimate goal of growth?” If the answer is no then it is not the ‘Must Do’ goal for that day. If you ask this question and you think, “I have to do three other tasks before I can do this, then this is also not a ‘Must Do’ goal. Put those three immediate tasks on your ‘Must Do’ list for the day and then get the bigger goal tomorrow.

Note – If you complete your three ‘Must Do’ goals feel free to move on to other things that you need to get done.

Being successful is simply doing the work that others give up on when things get overwhelming. Make doing the work part of your routine, stay focused on your goals and ensure that the goals you are working on fit the plan you have for your business. You can do this, I believe in you!

Working at Home Can Negatively Affect Your Sales

If you are like me and you work from home and have kids, the summer can be a really tough time to get work done. AND just because you don’t have kids does not mean you are not affected by the “I work from home” virus. I say it’s a virus because it takes time for the routines, both the good and the bad, to set in and the symptoms of what you do show up. The symptoms of bad habits at home can be costing you clients.

What often happens when we work alone from our home is we find ourselves  doing work that is not for our business, we  feel alone with our work, we  do the same unproductive work over and over, and we sometimes  become  emotionally deflated or physically drained, even when we are not doing anything physical. If you want to make your home office a highly productive space look at adding these 4 items to your work day.

 Do the Hard Work First

The home office can be a very distracting place. If you want to be highly productive, do the work that is highest on your priority list first. If there is something you don’t like to do, then get it out of the way. Do the hard work first. Don’t procrastinate with an excuse that something, “must get done first” especially if you know it can wait. Don’t lie to yourself that your blog must get out when you know a sales call must be made, an invoice delivered, or a contract must be written. Do the work that brings in the money. It is not the sexy work. It is not the most fun work (although I have a few successful friends that would say sales is fun work). It is often tedious and uncomfortable. Do it first and then do the rest.

Get out

Changing your energy will help you stay focused. There has been research that I have read showing that humans can concentrate for a short period of time and be extremely productive. Beyond this time (which is about 90 minutes) we start losing our ability to stay focused. To reset your “focus-meter” you need to get out of the energy you are currently in. Set a 90 minute “productivity timer” and when it goes off, get up. Move away from your desk and physically leave your office. Stretch or do a short amount of exercise. Kelly McGonigal, PhD and author of The Willpower Instinct, suggests taking a ‘green break’ and going outside. It does not have to be for long, as short as 15 minutes, to recharge your “focus-meter” and get you back into your full-powered focus again.

Another way to get out is to take your work to a different location. Try working at a coffee shop or at the library. This is especially helpful on days when your kids won’t leave you alone and you have a deadline.

 Connect with New Minds

Stop working alone all the time. I didn’t realize how important it was to talk to others about what is and isn’t working. This is true for both business work and personal things. When we share what is going on we get feedback from others. We get to hear insights that may be new information for us or known information with a different perspective. It is impossible to make changes in our businesses or our lives without new insights that lead us to new discoveries, routines, actions, and ideas. Get out and have a lunch or coffee every few days or weeks. Attend networking events. Read a blog, new articles about your industry, or a book. Follow or hire an expert/mentor to get insights you did not have before. Join a mastermind group. Go to a Meetup meeting or attend a Google Hangout for a discussion on a topic you love. Don’t get stuck in an old mindset. Always be learning and growing.

Make Your Working Space a True Workplace

Is your office also a place for your entire family? Do the kids feel they have open access to your workplace, even when you are working? You need to set some boundaries for yourself and for your family. If you don’t have a separate room for your office and you need to share the space then when is it your “workplace” and when is it a “home space”? Try to physically block off your work space from the home. If you have a door on your office, then close it when you are working. If you don’t have a door then make a decision when your business is open and put up your office’s “open hours” sign so everyone, including you, knows when the space is an office. Let your kids and your spouse know when they can interrupt you and when it is important that they don’t (e.g. when you are writing or on the phone). Set your 90 minute “productivity timer” outside your office so when it goes off you will have to get up and out of your office and your kids will know you are available for them.

Don’t let your home space stop your productivity. Make your office a true business space. Give yourself time to focus and time to regenerate. Connect with amazing people to grow your business relationships and your mind. And finally, don’t put off the work that makes you money. There are many successful 6-figure and 7-figure businesses that operate out of the owner’s home. This can be you too.

 

 

3 – 2 – 1 – September! No More Compromises

No More Compromises!” This is what my client said to me this morning. I kicked her butt in gear and she now refuses to compromise on her value, her time, or any other part of her life. She is a powerful leader/celebrity and she’s now leaning in to her purpose.

We can be seen as an amazing, powerful, confident, leader and still not feel valued. If you have ever said this (and meant it) “I can help anyone…” then this may be you.

If you are still looking for ‘anyone’ then you are not valuing your worth. What I mean is, you will spend more time and make less money, help less people and give lower value to your clients with this attitude.

Do you want to stop? Do you want to not only be seen as an amazing, powerful, confident, leader but also live a wealthy, giving, abundant life? Look at these two aspects of your business for clues to changing your business attitude.

Stop sign that says GO

Pricing

If your pricing and products are confusing to your clients it makes it hard for them to make a buying decision. Take for instance a client of mine. Let’s call her Sheila (not her real name). Sheila had a booking page with more than 20 service options, all about the same price but each slightly different. When we evaluated the differences we found that people could not make a decision because they didn’t know what they needed. After all, Sheila is the expert and she will need to tell them what they need most.

Sheila had tried packages, but what they became was a few extra options on the same page – 22 options and still no clear reason to purchase.

The key was to find what all the options had in common. What does she offer to every client at every session? That is the start of all her packages. That is the key to finding a person’s need and then getting them into the perfect support. Sheila found the key and then created three levels of options that did not confuse people about what she was offering. She found their need and then gave them the option that addressed the solution.

That very week she got her first $2000 client (a package that was 13x more than her hourly rate). She didn’t even change her pricing, she just made it easier to buy.

Time

  • Answers the phone at the dinner table,
  • Can’t say no,
  • Feels jaded and angry about volunteer time,
  • Wants to make more money when there is no more time.

Do you know someone like this? Is this you?  Your time is the one resource you cannot earn more of. You get X amount and that is it. So why, when time is so precious, do we often find ourselves wasting it?

If you say, ‘No More Compromises‘ to your time then try these tips:

Time to Respond

Give yourself time to respond to voicemail and email. Set time every day when you will answer calls and check messages. If you are afraid of missing a client, make sure you voicemail is very specific when they can reach you and how. I recommend adding a note your voicemail letting clients know they can email you to  schedule a time to talk. Use your CallerID to answer urgent calls and let everything else go to voicemail when it comes in during times you are trying to do other work.

Think about how this works. If you call a client back and say, “Thanks for letting me call you back, I was right in the middle of helping another customer…” how will that person feel? They will feel like you will give them the attention they deserve when you are working for them.

Time to Volunteer

Make sure you have the time you promise to give. If you don’t you can become very jaded and angry. It will feel like people are using you. I had a client with a video production company. He volunteered for a local charity to create a video for them. He then did a flash-mob video for them. He was then asked to do another project. He was so angry. When I asked him why he said, “Don’t they know how much time this takes and how much time I’ve already given them?”

“I don’t know”, I responded, “do they know?”

It turned out he had never sent them an invoice. It could have been for ‘in-kind’ donation or zeroed-out invoice to show the value of what he had given them. They need to know so they can value your time. This will not add any cost to the charity’s bottom line but it did add value to his gifted time and his self-worth.

We are quickly coming up to the final quarter of 2014. For me, my fiscal year ends September 30 so I am almost complete. Are you going to be able to finish the year saying, “I made big changes that allowed me to help more people, reach more customers, and create a bigger life for me and my family,” or not? No More Compromises! Make your pricing easy to understand and give your time wisely so you can honestly say, “I’ve created something amazing, I get to do more and I’m better off for it.”

Why Leverage Gets You More and Costs You Less

I talk about leverage when referring to business growth. Leveraging what you have allows you to do more with your current resources. It costs less in time and money then setting up something completely new. It does not replace full system upgrades or the addition of all new products, services, or marketing streams, but it can help you make more from the products you currently sell and the time you currently give to your business.

The three areas of your business that are easiest to add leverage to are:

  1. Automation
  2. Systems
  3. Better Time Management

Here is one tip for each area to get you started.

1. Automatione-mail Button

There are thousands of free and inexpensive applications you can download to help make your work easier. If you are sending emails to groups of people then look for a mail program to help design your next email marketing campaigns (e.g. Mail Chimp). If you are speaking online to many people find a free conference calling program (e.g. Free Conference Pro) and reach more people.

2. Systems

Don’t make this an extra step. Record your process as you do the work. Having procedures in place will allow you to create a consistent client experience, evaluate what is not working well, and reduce the time it takes to offload and train someone else to do the work.

3. Better Time Management

Get an accountability partner to help stay committed to doing the work and to keep you on track for your immediate and long-term plans. Set a standing weekly call time, check in with this information:

  1. Did I get the things done I committed to last week?
  2. If not what was your biggest challenge?
  3. What am I committing to completing this week?

Get into the mindset that there are opportunities all around you and you just need to learn to take advantage of them by leveraging the time and dollars you have right now. Make more out of what you already have invested in your business.

What Makes You Money? Revenue Generating Activities!

Doing Revenue Generating Activities or RGA every day is not always easy, especially if you are a soul-proprietor doing both the work IN your business and ON your business. If you are a massage therapist, contractor, coach, or any other service provider and you are spending your days doing work for your clients then when are you generating new sales? If you say, “I’m not” then how do you intend to continue with a healthy business? The answer to that is likely “I don’t”.

RGA consists of marketing and sales activities, both of which you are in charge of and likely wear the overseers hat of management for their implementation and completion. This is an ongoing, daily activity that must be attended to regularly or you will feel the roller-coaster effect of alternating prosperity and want. I want to give you one activity to use every day to help you flatten out this prosperity line as you grow it and that is The Daily Diligence.

The Daily Diligence

Phone calls are still requiredPhone Speed Dial

If you think social media and emails are enough to get your clients to reach out to you and buy then you are wrong. People still need the personal touch and, because of this, sales calls are not going away. Even if you are networking to build relations or belong to a marketing group like BNI you will need to follow up with connections and referrals. Networking, social media, and email campaigns are part of your marketing and hopefully, if done right, will help you fill your funnel with great warm prospects. Don’t throw in the towel on your marketing until you have done the follow-up and you personally know that you have connected with everyone that may want your service.

Set a time limit or accomplishment level

Ensure you have time for your Daily Diligence but don’t fill your day with it, unless you have booked extra time. To make sure you have time to do this difficult work you need to book it. Just like you would book your clients, you will book yourself time to do RGA work. There are so many activities that could be done for marketing and sales and if not managed correctly they can take over your week. Remember that time, in the not too distant past, when you had no time to do anything because you had booked so many networking events and coffee meetings? Well maybe you have not had one of those weeks yet, but if you are not careful, it will happen and then, when the week is over and you have not closed any new sales you should be wondering, “what was the value of my time and dollars”.

You can also book by accomplishment level. For instance you may say, I’m going to knock on 5 doors or make 10 calls. Pick a value you have control over. This does not work for number of sales, as you may need to spend the day to get one sale and then you have not balanced your marketing with your serving.

Start every day doing the one thing

Do the one thing that is hardest for you to do first thing in the morning. If calling clients and closing sales are difficult then start your day with the focus to accomplish that first. Don’t book any client work until you have fulfilled your commitment to your most difficult RGA.

Evaluate Your Investment

This can be applied to any RGA activity, but I want to look specifically at your networking. Have you evaluated your ROI on your networking investment?

  1. How much money and more importantly, how much time does it take?
  2. How much money and time have you budgeted?
  3. What return were you expecting (that would make it valuable / or at a minimum)?
  4. How much return did you get?

People have an expectation that just because they are liked by others or enjoy being at events, that eventually there will be a return. Even if you are one of the most productive referral partners in a networking group you may never see any return. I say, “If there is no cash flow then let it go!”

At the end of the day I want you to ask yourself, “did I do something today that was revenue generating?” Answer ‘Yes’ every day and you are on your way to accelerated growth.

Are You Making Money? Know Your Numbers

I have found that when I talk to people that are struggling to make money at their business and we look at the numbers around their pricing and their costs, there is a large discrepancy. In fact, what I often hear is, ‘I had no idea it was costing me money to run this!” Are you sure that your pricing is set to not only cover you costs but also make you a profit?

Let’s look at the numbers right now.

1. Costs

List all the items that cost you money to run your event, offer a service or sell a product.

  • room rentals
  • handout printing
  • employee’s time
  • props and resources
  • gifts
  • services (like phone, call-in centres, shopping carts, merchant accounts)
  • etc.

Some costs will be easy as they were created specifically for a service or event. Some costs, like your fixed costs, will be harder to determine as it is a cost associated with running your business. I pay $129 per month for my shopping cart program. If I divide that cost by the number of sales I make in a month I can figure out what my cost per sale is.

(Note – If you are a paid employee of your company then include the cost of your time)

2. Time

Determine the amount of time you (ONLY you – unless you are an employee of your company) put into that sale. As you notice, employee or contractor time is counted in your costs above.

  • Time to deliver
  • Set up and prep work
  • Take down
  • Follow up

Add up all your hours

At the bottom of your page summarize your finding like this…

COST = $X

TIME = Y hours

3. Price

Now write your price for the program, product or event as the third line of your summary.

COST = $X

TIME = Y hours

PRICE = $ per person

4. How Many

Is this a sale to a single person or a group sale? For instance, are you selling a coaching program that is one-to-one or a group program that fills a room with people? Let’s look at the group pricing because the numbers are more impactful and it is more difficult to determine.

Ask yourself, what is the minimum number of people you would run the group event for? Let’s say it was 10 and you have been able to always have 10 or more clients in that room. Great!

10 clients x PRICE = Event Income (EI)

If your event income is the same as your COST or less, you have broke even on the costs and you are working for FREE.

If your event income (EI) is greater than your costs then next figure out how much you are making per hour.

EI / TIME = $ per hour (YOUR PAY per hour)

Are you satisfied with this number? Are you making more per hour than if someone was paying you to do this in their business, because you still have the costs of running your business, networking and other general marketing investments to cover. If not determine what the number is you feel you need to be making per hour and work backwards. Either decide if you need to increase the number of people in the event or the amount you are charging them.

If you have a product or service that is costing you money or you are just breaking even then chalk it up to learning, write it off as a marketing investment, and don’t beat yourself up. Now that you know you can make it right. After all, working in a business that does not pay you is a very expensive hobby.

please let me know if going through your own numbers uncovered something unexpected for you. Post to the comments below or send me an email.

3 Tips to Serve and Still Take the Time Off

Are you worried about taking time off over the holidays? Maybe your client will need you. Maybe you will miss the call or email from that prospect you have been courting. Maybe they will be so upset with you that they stop doing business with you.

Maybe, but not likely.

Doing business and/or not doing business over the Christmas Holidays is a challenge for most small business owners.

  • Should I answer my email?
  • Should I close for the week?
  • Can I go without picking up my phone when my best customer calls?

These are all questions we find hard to answer since as a small business, every sale is often crucial to our future existence as a business. What I want to share with you this week are three tips to creating a relationship with your clients and prospects that will give you the balance in your life to close for a day or a week, be with your family, and still keep your best clients.

Work Life Balance

1. Set Your Boundaries:

This is actually true for all year round. Once set, when the holiday comes the expectation is understood. If you are always available then you will always need to be available, so don’t always be available. When we are setting up a relationship we need to let people know what is and is not important to us.

Do you have dinner with your kids every night? Are you a single mom with responsibilities that must be handled at specific times? Do you have other people in your life, like parents or friends that also rely on you? Likely you do and that is why you cannot allow your business to determine when you are available. You must set that boundary and stick to it.

The key is that you do not have to tell people why you are not available, just that you are not available. If you want to say, “I have an important meeting I cannot miss on Monday mornings” because you have to take your mother to the doctor’s every week, then say that. People will understand when you give them the alternative times you are available.

Here are some suggestions:

  • We return calls within 2 hours
  • We are closed on statutory holidays
  • We answer calls between 8am and 5pm EST
  • As stated in our contract, I will be available on Christmas day from 2-4pm EST
  • For immediate support please contact…

Remember, I am not saying there will never be exceptions, I’m saying you can set your boundaries and you will be pleasantly surprised to know that most people will be happy to connect at your available time.

2. Get the Word Out

If you are going to be closed, don’t make your clients guess when, let them know ahead of time. Post it in the most likely places it will be seen. Not everyone will see it ahead of time so make sure it is also in a place they will get the information on the days you are away.

Key – Make sure you add the date of the day you will return or reopen.

  • Put it in your email signature line (e.g. We will be close Dec 25 and 26)
  • Put it on your voicemail message
  • Put it in your Christmas cards
  • Put it on your website
  • Put it on the door or window of your business location
  • Put it in your special mailings, social media profile and/or newsletters

3. Turn it Off

If you are truly going to be unavailable to your clients, make sure you give yourself permission to not work. Shut everything down. Turn off your phone, don’t check your social media or email. If you do then make sure you allot a specific amount of time to be present and engaged in your business and then stop at the time you said you would be done.

This allows you to respect your time and also those in your life you committed to spending time with. If you have someone in your family that cannot come to a meal without looking at their clock or answering their phone, then you know what it is like to be thought of as ‘second fiddle’. It stinks! Be as present in your time off as you are for your time in business and you will enjoy more balance in your life.

I Missed My Meeting – AND I Was the Host

Growth challenges are many but one key indicator that you are growing is you can’t always handle all the ‘hats’ that you have been wearing.

This month I’m revving up to a 2-day event with 4 speakers in Vaughan. It is a lot of work, but nothing like the amount of work it takes to market the event. Networking, speaking, calls, emails, free events, etc. are all ways I use to ‘fill the room’. These are still all my hats, and likely will always be. I love the person-to-person interaction these marketing channels provide me.

During this time I still have two programs I’m delivering, paid engagements, and my free monthly expert call that I have been airing monthly for just shy of 3 years. In that time I have never missed a call, but yesterday it happened. I was not on a call that I was hosting. The expert showed up and was confused, the people showed up and… nothing.

So what do you do when you drop the ball? I started by calling my expert right away to apologize and ensure her that her time was valuable to me. It sounds lame, but it was genuine and that is all you can be. The second step was to think of ways to make it right and still give the expert the opportunity to share her brilliance. I offered her an opportunity to record the call so we could deliver it via ezine to you (check the ezine next week for that link).

There were circumstances that kept me away, but still, I know I need a fail-safe way to ensure it never happens again, so my final step is to review my process and determine what I might have done or can do next time. I’m going to use one of my favourite tools (brainstorming with a group) to come up with ideas to help me with this possible business failure.

Business growth is exciting and scary, it is energizing and exhausting, it is successes and it is failures – you have to accept the entire package and work on ways to make it the best experience and outcome possible.