We know that there are many great workshops and mentors and coaches out there to help us in business. We all know that there are some really terrific training companies who provide that next level of expertise and fine tuning for business owners. But the one aspect that makes me shy away from them is the confronting questions that they all throw at you when you come to the sections that are meant to help you peel away the layers of your business and dissect it. It’s when they look straight at you and ask…’What’s unique about your business? What’s your USP?’ I gulp, hold my breath and hope that the words about to come out of my mouth won’t make me sound as dumb as I suddenly feel.
Do you know how to ask for help? What about asking a question of others to find a solution to a problem or challenge? It’s actually a learned skill – from my perspective, and it’s all about being brave enough to hear the answers and listen to the lessons that inevitably come from the conversations with others.
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a wise person, tie them to a chair and record the Q & A to play back as needed!
It’s ironic that we have no problem with asking people for feedback on our personal lives and relationships; we discuss all this openly and frequently and do what our friends say. But imagine when it comes to business questions, we completely go quiet and freeze up, or in my case we just don’t think about it. For so long it never occurred to me to just ask.
Whether you are a start up or an established business owner, you will constantly come up against, or be forced into, situations that will stump you. Clearly there are moments that Google can’t fix, and where no search bar in the world can provide assistance either. It’s either human contact or find out the hard way. Often, in fact far too frequently, the hard way comes in multiples as well… Why would it be easy? Lol Read the rest of this entry »
It’s tough in small business at the best of times. We fight for every inch forward, we have to sweat the small stuff to get through to the big stuff, and we do it all for the idea that inspired us to start with. It often appears to be a thankless job with little reward or recognition – except personal satisfaction and monetary success, not that these are anything to be scoffed at . Our reasons for being business owners probably didn’t include validation from others. That’s a feeling that comes later…
For employees of big companies we can see that they have many internal processes that revolve around building positive employee culture, PR for their own corporate brand and promoting their key people. These are intense strategies that have budgets, consultants, advisory boards and internal representation. In my small business world, that translates into the U.S Debt ceiling.
I have been an employer for decades and I think I have seen just about every scenario and heard every excuse, I now have a lot of sympathy for my old school teachers as a result! One of the many things I have learnt during the course of running, and managing, my own businesses has been how to deal with staff. At the end of the day, I always offer the same advice, in its simplest form – most days, staff are human too.
Something seems to happen to people when they come to work. I have a Star Trek-type of theory that points toward a shuffle of DNA upon entering the physical boundary of the workplace, manifesting into a personality change of regression. In other words, adult staff can suddenly become teenagers in their behaviours that also vanishes or is greatly reduced once they leave work and return to there home habitat. I haven’t investigated why this happens, but it does happen.
I have it on good authority that there are only 24 hours in each day. Apparently human beings need sleep, so that removes about 8 hours (very wishful thinking) and we are down to a 16 hour day. That of course doesn’t account for travel time to work and back, washing, cooking, shopping … life stuff. Now fit in owning and operating a business, professional development, conferences, networking and myfavourite ugly word ‘meetings’. So that just about leaves you with 1 .5 hours to make money, which clearly isn’t going to work.
All of the things you have been told you need to do, the places you should be and the events you simply must attend have now invaded your diary and your only free time is in the car or on public transport. Fancy footwork Plan B needs to be activated so you start to rob Peter to pay Paul, which in my world means the sleep bank. Oh wait, I’ve already taken out a loan on that. It’s not looking good.