Tag: Mastermind groups

Gain Some Speaking Momentum

Are you thinking about adding speaking to your marketing mix to help increase the visibility of your business and the credibility of your expertise? It is truly a great way to do both. Here are some tips on gaining some momentum and increasing the demand for you and your topics.

Learn How to Speak

Here are four things you can do to increase your speaking skills.

  1. If you have never spoken in front of a crowd before, don’t let that stop you. Get some practice and start NOW! Ask colleagues, your networking group, family, peers, etc. if they would attend one of your talks or allow you to practice in front of them.
  2. Set up a teleconference call and simply start with an audio event. Even if no one attends you can record the call and evaluate what you liked and disliked about your own performance.
  3. Watch your favourite speaker and analyze what they are doing. You can even invest in events with great speakers. Pay to see them speak and take lots of notes.
  4. Learn from the best. Attend training programs on speaking. Join a speaking association like CAPS or Toastmasters, or mentor under an expert like Lisa Sasevich. There are many different styles of speaking and many different types of experts so find the one that can teach you to be your best.

Get Speaking

Let everyone know you are a speaker and ask them to connect you with people that are looking for people to speak for free. It is a great way to gain confidence and to get your name known as someone that is a valuable asset to their venue. Often the easiest venues to start on are audio or radio shows. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people out there on the Internet creating content, holding interviews, and highlighting people and they need content.

Other physical locations are on other people’s stages, at their events, or for your own event.

I started by asking people if I could offer some additional help to their clients by speaking for them. I have had colleagues create events for their clients and they bring me in as a bonus gift.

Have a Topic

When you are asking to be on people’s stages or shows you will be asked, “what do you talk about?” You need to have a great topic with an engaging title. This will make it easier for them to market the event and you. I recommend having a speaker’s bio or speaker’s sheet. Even better would be a speaker’s website. These are all low-cost investments for your speaking future and they will all add to your marketing effectiveness.

Speaking is a very valuable way to increase your marketing reach, engage new clients, start a relationship with your followers, and create an image of you and your business that goes beyond anything traditional advertising can do. Since speaking is an ability that the average person is unable to do because of fear, a good speaker is seen as courageous and a leader. Be a leader in your marketing and start gaining some speaking momentum.

You are a Salesperson – Yes You Are!

Many people say, “I hate sales” or “I’ll never be a salesperson”, but when you became a business owner you had to be a salesperson. Let me show you some of the areas of your life where you had to excel at sales just to get started in your business.

Me First

The first person you had to convince to be self-employed or to launch a business was yourself. This could have happened over many years, started because of an abrupt change in your employment, or it could have been your life-long dream. Any way you got started there was a time that you had to evaluate the legitimacy of your idea. You had to sell the idea to ‘You’.

Finger Pointing at You

Help Me

You then had to convince the people that support you that you were doing the right thing. Maybe this was your spouse, parents, adviser, mentor, coach, therapist, or partner. Whatever the relationship, this can often be a very tough sell. Some may have said to you, “are you sure”, “maybe this isn’t the best time”, “can’t you get another great job, you have the experience”. Unless you come from a family of entrepreneurs you would have had to come up with some very conclusive supporting arguments to get these people on board.

More Money Please

Did you fund your business yourself? If so did you have to get a larger line of credit or credit card? The bank is going to need some selling, or at least some collateral. If you found outside funding then you definitely needed to have a good idea about your business value and how your investor was going to get their money back. This is selling 101.

Comfortable Selling

You would think that after all this practice you would be better at it once you got into your business, but most people find it difficult. Just know that you must be a great salesperson to have a great business. You need to get the best employees to join you, the best referral partners to support you and share your product or service, the best suppliers to give you extra time to pay when things are not going their best, and the best network of people that believe in what you do and are willing to share it with others.

This is all before you turn your sights on your potential customers. I am thankful you are a salesperson, because without you, there would be no economy at all.

When is it Perfect?

In my other company, for the past 4 years, I have been writing SR&ED claims for small and medium sized manufacturers, specifically in the scientific and technology fields of the claim. It is time-consuming and often time-restricted, but the content is always interesting and the business side of what my clients are achieving is so exciting to me.

This week I started another claim for a returning client. It was so nice to go into a preset folder, pull out the past contract, set up the new claim’s file directory, update the old template and start working. When we started with our standard call I have a list of questions to ask, but what I realized is that I had never written this list down. I ask the same questions every year to gather the required information but my process was not perfect.

What is the result of not having a perfect process?

  • inconsistent client experience
  • inconsistent costs (in time and resources)
  • increase in customer support
  • decrease in project efficiency
  • Ultimately – decrease in profit

So when is your process perfect? The answer is NEVER!

The Key

Key to more Money

The key is to recognize that your business processes are living documents. As you streamline your procedures, interactions, and costs and get more proficient at knowing your products and services you will need to make changes to the way you do things. Every year I add something to this process that makes the next time easier.

The Challenge

There are a couple of challenges that I want to share with you to help you manage the changes in your business.

1. Who

If the people in your company change (leave, learn, educate, get promoted, etc.) then the action process changes too. Everyone works differently and making a process so inflexible as to not allow any input makes for a very robotic job. Unless your employees are working on an automated manufacturing line then look for ways to allow them to bring autonomy to their positions. They will be better workers and you will get more insight and ideas for continual improvement.

2. Too Long

If you are finding yourself changing your release deadline over-and-over then likely you have moved into “project creep”. This is when what you do is never good enough. Sometimes you simply have to say, “it’s good enough, let’s ship”. Meaning; do the work, implement (or release), and then tweak (or update) so you can continually be producing results and meeting milestones for your projects.

I have been able to successfully do the work for these claims over the past four years, but the benefit of my process updating is that I can do it in a shorter amount of time with less stress for me and for my client and with no increase in costs over those 4 years. It is a win-win scenario for us both.

It will never be perfect, but it will be effective and efficient with great client results if you continuously update and maintain your business procedures. It is also a great way to instantly make more money when you save a significant amount of time like I now am experiencing.

What to Do When Technology Fails

Does your business rely on technology? Mine does. When technology fails so can your business. Here are three tips to try and sidestep technology issues and if you cannot then how to deal with the outcome.

Redundancy is The Key

I do this in three ways…


If you have information that your business cannot run without then you must have a backup. Get a specialist to install backup software or a full backup system for your business. Some businesses core value is in the information they develop. Don’t lose your business because you did not have an extra Tara-bite of storage or a backup.


If you are performing a service that uses a technology, like a laptop, phone, or car, you have to have an alternative to use if your initial technology breaks down. When I call into a teleconference I have two business lines that I make the call with when my VA cannot be on the call. This way I ensure that if one lines loses connection (and it happens) I will not lose the call.

Two Versions

Have you ever had a power failure and found that you could not do your business? If you know how to get your work done manually then having a power failure does not stop you. When I am giving online training I keep a printed copy of the ideas I want to share and the key point I want to cover. Having a handwritten list of my to-do list ensure I can get through much of what I have to do if my internet is down.

There are obviously some things that you cannot do if there is no electricity or other technology is down, but there are some things that can get complete if you are prepared. Don’t let technological issues stop you from creating an amazing experience for your clients.

Change is NOT a Dirty Word – How To Start Something New

Often times when we feel stuck in our business we know something has to change but making that change can be really challenging. Sometimes it is difficult just to know where to start. Sometimes we feel the change is taking way to long and we give up, and sometimes it never feels right. I live for change and those of you who know me know how much I am constantly stretching and changing in my life and in my business to find the right fit.

Here are two pieces of my ‘change puzzle’ I want to share with you to help you get started on change.

Get More Information

When I am stuck and know I need to do something different I start by talking to others that have had the same challenge and start gathering more information. I don’t necessarily ask people, “Hey, what should I do next?” Instead the questions are around what they did when…

When I wanted to start my first business I talked to several people I knew that had a business, including someone that became my mentor and best referral partner for 6 years. He had already built several very successful businesses and his insight and feedback was so valuable.

When I wanted to start coaching I talked to everyone that was a coach. How did they get into it, how do they market what they do, what do they charge, what credentials did they need and what would I need.

When I wanted to do more speaking I spent more time professional speakers. I found the speaking model that I liked best then paid to mentor under one of the best, most successful speakers using that sales model.

I always look for the best, engage my most successful contacts, and pay for the best person I can afford to learn from. If you want to make change that will work for you it has to be something that you know will work because someone else has done it before. It will be easier to get started when you know it is possible.

Visualize The Change

Sunrise over my tree-lined private yard

If you can picture what you are trying to implement you can more easily create it. This is where the law of attraction comes from, but the reality is that if you know what you want it is easier to recognize the parts of it as they come into your focus.

My first home was just a house. It was a clean, good home, but it was not anything I had wished for as a property I would buy. It was what we could afford and it was a good investment.

While in that home I had drawn the layout of my ideal home. I know it had to be a bungalow. I knew it had to have tile from the front door to the kitchen, three beds, 2.5 baths, a 2 car garage and a covered front porch where my husband and I could share a tea on a rainy day in the summer. As a bonus I added a skylight, and a private yard.

We had our home up for sale and while trying to sell it we looked for the ideal home. I could have had it built but that would have put it outside our budget. We did not find our home and we did not sell so I accepted that it was not time to change.

Three years later when I was browsing the real estate paper I saw an image that showed a home in silhouette. Somehow I just knew it was the one. I dug out the number from our realtor three years earlier and asked her to take me through. Guess what, it had everything on my drawing. Now every summer morning we start our day on the front porch before work.

This is not magic, this is an acute awareness to be alert and vigilant to what I want to see happen. This is the same for your business. If you need to make a change, draw it out, make a list, put in as many details as possible so that you can visualize exactly what you expect the change to look like when it is complete. My friend MarBeth Dunn says, “See it and feel it. Make it a sensual image.”

It is OK to be afraid, as long as the fear does not stop you from accepting that things will change, whether you want them to or not. Don’t just accept what might happen to you, create your own change. The only person that does not have to worry about change is no longer alive. To be alive is to be in constant change, therefore…

Change = Life

If you love life you also have to accept change as one of the conditions. Make it yours and make it count.

How To Get It All Done!

I know that many people say to me, “Barb how do you get it all done?” From the outside it looks like a lot, and it is, but from the inside it doesn’t feel that way. I want to share three things with you that help me manage everything and still spend time with my family.

First, I know I have been sharing what I have been doing, but I thought I would make a list for you so you can get an idea of time required and commitments.

  • BLITZ Business Success – coaching, EClub, speaking, training, travel, events, clients, contractors, marketing, etc.
  • Personal Development – my coach, travel, online, reading, exercise, meditation
  • College Teaching – two classes, prep, printing, office time
  • Advisory Chair – preparation, meetings
  • EB Council member – meetings, travel
  • eWomen leadership member – accelerated networking, leadership meetings, facilitation
  • Family – dinner, events, holidays, programs, shuttle
  • Church – volunteer, teach, committee
  • Your Business with Barb – weekly TV Show – invite guest, organize, prep, show

Your list will be different but I know it is likely as full. I want you to know that sometimes I am rushed and sometimes I am not, but my stress level is very low almost all the time.


The first, most important thing to do is plan how you will be able to manage everything you do. Like planning for your business you need to plan for your life as well. I’m not suggesting you need a full written plan, but there are a few things you need to know in the concrete sense.

  1. How much time do you have free?
  2. How much time does each activity take?
  3. What times are negotiable and which are not?

When you are making a decision to take on new work, new clients, new volunteer time, or a new direction you need to be very aware of how much time you have to spare. Be careful to take into account everything you are doing so that you don’t say yes to something that takes away from your commitment to something or someone else.

Related Topic: Weigh Your Decisions: The right choice at the right time


This is my specialty. The assistant producer of my TV show says she loves to work with me because I am so organized. Really it is because I am so lazy. I did not want to have to do the same things every week and spend time thinking about them, so I wrote a standard template letter for my guests to give them all the information for the show, what I needed, where they had to be, and what to expect. All I have to do is put their name and the show date/topic in the body of the message and CC the producer. It took me over an hour to write it initially and go back and tweak it with suggestions and feedback, but now it takes me about 10 seconds to get people the information they need.

Create a process around everything that you have to do over and over and you will save yourself incredible amounts of time.

Let it Go

I cannot get it all done, always. This is the key to know and not get upset about. I made the eWomen meeting every month down in Toronto for 7 months in a row. I have to drive 1.5 hours to get there, so it is a 6-7 hour commitment. I love the meetings and the people so it is also worth my time. In September I decided to take on two courses at the local college. Teaching entrepreneurship is a dream, plus it also pays. So when I realized I now could not make any meetings on Wednesday or Thursday nights I was initially sad. Then, I let it go. I will be there every time I can, and I will focus on my priorities to be able to do that, even when it means I cannot.

If you have a conflict, choose the one that most aligns with your priorities and passion and let the other one go. If you find you cannot make any of the meetings then it may be time to step away from the commitment completely.

Remember, if you take care of yourself you will be well enough to take care of others, but if you try to take care of everyone, no one will benefit, especially not you.

Thank You For Me!

In our small businesses, which represent 85% of all new startups, we hold a lot of responsibility. We are often still filling many, if not all of these positions within our companies ourselves. Today I would like to guild you through a gratitude exercise that will help you appreciate what you do to run your business. There are three parts to the exercise that will take a little thought effort.

Your Best

First I want you to start by identifying all of what you do. Create a list of all the positions and responsibilities you have in your business: For instance, CEO, CFO, COO, marketing manager, sales director, and customer service. Don’t forget the other jobs you do, like receptionist, accounts receivable, product development, financier, and cleaner. I expect this list will be much longer than you expect if you have put a little extra effort into making it as complete as possible.


Child Praying - Gratitude

Now that you are fully aware of what an invaluable employee you are to your business I want you to really create an appreciation for yourself with gratitude and love for all the things you do.

In your journal I want you to write something like:

“Thank you for me, the leader, CEO, CFO, and COO. I am so grateful for the guidance and vision I provide for my company.”

Continue this type of gratitude statement for all your positions. Group together the responsibilities that meet one goal of the company, e.g. Financier and Accounts Receivable both work together to ensure the company has money in it. On another day, you may want to take it one step farther and write gratitude statements for all the people that fill the other positions in your company, but for today you are just going to focus on YOU.


You know I am about the growth of your business, so if you are the person that holds most of the positions in your business then do this last step.

Picture yourself as if you are in the future. It can be one month, one year or a couple of years in the future (not too far though). Envision your company on that day and all the people that are looking after all the positions except the ones ‘You Want’ to do. Now go back through the last step (Gratitude) and rewrite all the statements with gratitude to the person you see doing the work. They do not need to be a real person, in fact you likely have not met all the people that will fill your company so don’t try to assign the position, just envision someone. Give them a name too. Here is how this works.

“Thank you for the leaders in my business, Debra the CFO and Stephanie the COO. I am so grateful for their guidance and vision of my company.”

Notice I did not include CEO in this statement? This is because I intend to keep that position. It is one of my passions in business.

By giving gratitude for something that has not yet happened you start training your mind to look for ways to make the change you need to have happen. You cannot grow a business beyond a certain size without support, so put out the intention to yourself that you are going to get some help. It will make you a better employee right now and will lay the foundation for the future changes.


Do You Need Help? – Try Using a VA

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is becoming a very common term in business these days, especially when your business is using the internet as a marketing channel. I thought I would share with you the Top 5 Ways I use a VA in my business so you can see how this might fit for you.

First, there are several different ways you can engage a VA. There are firms that manage VA’s and individuals that work on contract. The firms may assign a different VA for every task or assign a project manager to handle all your requests. Usually you are not hiring this person as an employee, sometimes you pay by the hour and sometimes for a monthly package. I use a marketing company (Pibworth Professional Solutions) that gives me a project manager that assigns the VA that is best matched to the skills required for my tasks. It works well for me.

My top activities for my VA’s are:

1) Managing my regular website updates and program reminders

  • This person gets information from my experts, puts the new copy to the website and then emails members with their new dates and information. By doing this she allows me to concentrate on the things I am really good at and only contacts me if there is an issue. It is a huge relief to have this type of support so I can focus on my core competencies.

2) Creating new products in my shopping cart

  • This person goes into 1ShoppingCart and creates new products with autoresponders, adds discounts and coupons, and then uploads the code to the sales page on the website. I can create new products quicker then I’ve been able to and I am less likely to procrastinate doing the work when someone else is looking after it. Plus, I have one less thing I have to be an expert at.

Related TopicDo you have “Shiny Object Syndrome”?

3) Sending out Thank-you cards

  • This person takes contact information and my ‘thank you’ message and creates cards and gifts for people that I need to reach out to. I am now more likely to get around to thanking people in this way and I am more likely to be remembered by people I’ve met because of this. Great for client retention too.

4) Creating marketing copy

  • This person can create autoresponders, website copy, social media, or copy for emails and other messaging that will save me time. It needs to be brand-centric and since I am the source of my brand content it needs to be written in a way that does not require a lot of “brand identity”, and there is a lot of copy that can be written this way. Very specific brand content is really for your core business partners and employees to take on as you grow. So keep doing that part if you can and continue to build your relationships with your message.

5) Creating procedures

  • When any VA does work for me that has to be done routinely I ask them to create a procedure that can be used by me or anyone else that would need to do the work in the future. This helps avoid large future challenges with people not knowing the process and it ensures consistent client experience by knowing they are doing it the same way every time.

If you are struggling to grow your business because you just don’t have time, consider hiring a VA. All this work is usually less than 5 hours a month for them and actually frees up more than twice that time for me because I don’t have to think about how I’m going to do it or procrastinate doing something I hate.

Are You Stretching Big Enough or Doing Too Much?

Sometimes it is hard to know when we need to give more and when we are doing too much. Here are some guidelines to help you decide when to back-off or step-up.

Doing Too Much

This state of being comes with an uncomfortable level of overwhelm. We know to create something new and build it there is an initial window of effort that will take a great deal of organization and discipline to achieve, but this is different than taking on too much. When you are really doing too much you may have these indicators:

  • An increased level of activity that has no end date
  • You do not find much of what you are investing your time in as enjoyable
  • You are overwhelmed a large percentage of every day
  • You have not been in control of your time even before you added the most recent activities
  • You cannot relax or simply sit quietly
  • You feel the need to always be doing something towards your goals
  • Your family, friends, and mentors feel left out of your goals and often your life

Stretching Bigger

When we stretch we are uncomfortable, but that is for a short period of time. Stretching will take us to the next level of our journey. Here are some indicators that are more closely associated with as short-term achievement investment:

  • Your achievement has an end date
  • You had control of your day before you took on this new state
  • You have dedicated time during the day to work in this state and then you stop
  • You are able to relax during the day
  • You are actively driven and committed to the outcome but you are not overwhelmed most of the time
  • Your family, friends, and mentors are in support of your goals

If you really want to stretch and you are actually doing too much then try letting go of some things and re-engaging with the rest of your life. The things you focus on grow. If you are focusing on too many things you cannot bring your best to any one of them and you cannot grow. Be the expert and find your focus so you can be stretching to your best and not simply stretched-to-thin.

Speaking – What Do You Offer?

First – if you ever get an opportunity to speak to your peers or your clients you should take it. You may be hesitant to stand up in front of a crowd and speak, but as a business owner you need to get over this. Speaking is a great way to gain credibility and to be known as an expert at what you do, plus people are more likely to remember you and your business.

OK, so now that you have decided you will speak in front of a crowd, what is your offer? Like your website or any other marketing collateral, speaking requires a call-to-action. Here are three different offers you could use for three different events.

Paid Speaking Event

Because you have been paid to be at this event it is likely you will not be able to sell anything. At these events I like to offer something for free. This free item has to have value (e.g. access to your membership site for a month, a group teleseminar, etc.) Offer something that does not add significant amount of time or cost to your business but has value for the attendee.

A great tip from my friend the Millionaire Mentor, Mark Rhodes is to create a feedback form with checkboxes for items that may be of interest to the attendee. For instance:

Yes I am interested in Finding out Where Money Hides in my business and would be like to find out more about Mentoring with Barb.

Include a checkbox for your free item too. At the end of the document add a statement that they will also receive your newsletter. (If you do not have a newsletter then you need to get this working ASAP – don’t put it off).

Why do I add that they will get the newsletter? Because this is how you can stay in touch to let them know about your specials, your in-person events, your programs and/or your mentoring. It also follows the privacy and spamming rules so they are aware they will receive something from you.

Reminder – You must have a newsletter that allows people to Opt-out. Make it easy for them with an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page.

Remember if you cannot stay in-front of your potential clients then they will forget you.

Feedback form - tips from Mark Rhodes

Unpaid Speaking Event

At this type of event you are often encouraged to sell something. There are different minds on how to do this but I truly love Lisa Sasevich’s teaching so I encourage you to check out my link to her “The Invisible Close” product. I have done many of her programs and have seen significant increase in what I sell at an event.

At these types of events I usually have one program that I am trying to fill. I create three levels of product around the one event, where someone can get just a little or a whole-bunch of me, including a free pre-call or a 6 month coaching package. If you are selling a product or have a physical location then you can offer people something for free if they come to your store (like a “how to” event) or add an additional product to a larger purchase to give these people that have honoured you with their time. There are lots of ways to add value to the simplest offer while you still make money and increase your sales.

Remember to let them know they will also get your high-value newsletter with resources, discounts, and valuable information.

Charity Event

Again, at this type of event you will likely be asked not to sell from the stage. You may also be asked not to tell people about your products at all. In this case I like to have a sign-up sheet that allows me to give away a gift and again gets people on my newsletter list. You could also have a draw for a gift using their business cards and again, let them know they will get your newsletter.

The core message here is always have a call-to-action and always include your stay-in-touch marketing, like your newsletter. Don’t let any opportunity to connect with your potential clients pass you by. If you have something of value for them, they will thank you for it.