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10 questions you must ask when responding to leads if you want to succeed

Guess what? Setting up your business and telling people you exist just ain’t gonna cut it. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But there are some really important things you need to remember to ensure that you are not losing out on opportunities for your business, and instead are securing the clients you really want. How are you responding to leads? In today’s day and age, we all have access to a huge number of resources – it’s so easy to ‘google’ something, email a forum, post on social media or check with a colleague. If you need business support, you’ll get a huge number of responses. But the quality of those responses can definitely leave much to be desired. Assumptions, laziness, arrogance, and misleading are words that I would use to describe some of the responses that you can get when you call out for a resource these days. One of the main things I see people doing is responding to calls for help with a simple “yeah I want the job” type of response. Has that ever worked for you? As a visual person, I liken this to someone at the bottom of a well calling for help. [well - not obvious!] “Hello up there! I need help! Can you help me?” Say there are three people at the top of the well. One person lets the person in the well know they are there and that they could help. “Oh hello down there! I could help you!” they say as they resume reading their book on a lounge chair under an umbrella, sipping an ice cool glass of water with lemon and mint – certain that their helpless well-victim will reply with “Oh yes please! I want YOU! What else can I do to get you to help me? I’m ALL yours! Hooray!!!” The second person calls down “Hey there! I can help you out too! I have all the rope ladder building skills you need – just visit my website for more details!”. They might even throw down an ipad so the victim can do their homework. So thoughtful. The third person throws down a rope ladder as they ask questions like “Can you climb? Is it the top of the well that you wish to reach? What are you trying to achieve?” Only the third person, who has taken some initiative, asked some questions and showcased their ability to help, will find out that the person in the well is actually in need of more light so that they can keep exploring and developing this exciting well in which they’ve found themselves. Person number 3 can then develop a fabulous tailored proposal for the person in the well and inspire their new client to always come straight to them when they need some extra light. Which person are you? How can you be person number 3? If someone says they need support, ask questions. Ask YOURSELF: Does this task/job sound like something that I can and want to learn more about? Does this sound like something that I can and want to do? Can I clearly see what it is that the prospect is asking for? Ask the PROSPECT: Is my interpretation of your needs correct? Can you clarify these gaps for me so I am really clear on what you need? LISTEN – what are you hearing? Based on this extra info, does this sound like something that I can and want to do? If it is, how can I provide useful succinct information and examples to the client to make their decision making process as easy as possible? If it is not, let the client know, and consider, can I possibly suggest alternative resources for them that/who COULD assist them? Could my involvement here help me learn something or help build a relationship? Don’t look at all questions that are asked of you as dollar signs. Sometimes you can learn from this discussion with the prospect and build a relationship. Today I asked online (a Facebook group) for some support around business reporting. My question started off fairly vague but I was happy to see that some business owners contacted me directly to clarify exactly what my needs were. These business owners clearly wanted to help in some way – even if it wasn’t going to give them the job at the end of the day. They genuinely wanted to help and this instantly helps build rapport and confidence. They made useful suggestions and offered to keep an eye out for additional solutions to help ease my pain. Bingo! Alternatively, a peer of mine asked a business support question in the same arena and was only contacted by people who wanted her needs to be moulded into what they wanted to offer. She knew what the parameters were that she needed to have met, but the people responding did NOT consider the 10 points above. They only looked at point 1 and failed to address the rest. Instead their list of points looked more like: Does this task/job sound like something that I can and want to learn more about? Hmm, almost. Ask the client if they can modify their needs to meet what I’d like to offer. Suggest how and why the client should do this. The prospect found this presumptuous, as those responding did not think to ask first if she had considered the alternatives before they started trying to convince her that their solution and modification was the way to go. They wasted her time and their own so there were no winners there. They also failed to do any homework to determine who it was that they were responding to and what her background and knowledge may be. In this case, the prospect would have definitely considered the alternatives that those people suggested as those alternatives were in line with the services that she would normally offer. She needed assistance because the parameters of this task were outside those of what she normally worked within. Obviously there are times when the prospect is looking for ideas and potential scenarios – but unless they have specified that in their call for assistance, you should not assume it. If anything is unclear – ask first, suggest later. Do your homework. Don’t just show up and expect people to bend backwards and mold their needs to yours so that they can have the pleasuring of working with you. Fly above the pack and make the choice easy for your ‘prospect’, or should I say, ‘new client’.

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10 tips to organize a successful business meet

10 Tips to Organize a Successful Business Meet What do you do to ensure that the business meet you organized doesn’t fizzle out? As a top entrepreneur in the lead, you must take the initiative to arrange business meets to connect with others. But that isn’t all; you need to create an event that people enjoy. Not something they dread! If you create a platform where entrepreneurs share their thoughts, views, opinions and crises. It helps you earn the trust and respect of your fellow entrepreneurs. And it boosts that collegiate  feeling. You just need to make it a success. But it is easier said than done. Let’s take a look at 10 simple but effective things that can help you achieve your goal. Take Your Time to Plan Every Detail You cannot wait until the last minute to send out the invites and think everyone will turn up. Decide the time and date, select the venue and inform the business meet group members about it in advance. They have to fit it into their busy schedules too. Check Every Important Aspect In Advance How will you feel if the audio doesn’t work when someone’s making a presentation? Reach the venue and double check every detail. Make sure the space is adequate for all and the audio-visual equipment works. Make It An Exclusive Event Identify the niche you are in and create a group with a strong focus on the core concept. When you make it an invite-only event, you generate interest about it among the entrepreneurs in the niche to participate. This also encourages the aspirants to be part of the community. Make Introductions Easy With Name Tags It isn’t easy to remember the names of hundreds of entrepreneurs at an event. Create name tags. It will make introductions a breeze! You can also add their business name and relevant details to it. Adhere To Your Goals to Meet Expectations As an organizer, you need to have a clear idea about what the meet is all about. Make sure this is in keeping with the image of your business. For example, if you are into apps development for educational institutes, educational meets are more suited. Plan the meet according to the purpose. Organize Topics to Keep Everyone Engaged What do you want people to talk about? Decide the things you want to interest people in at the meet. Use the topics to initiate conversations. You can also throw in some challenges to keep things in motion. Offer Exposure for Start-ups You may also incorporate talks, events, quizzes and such other elements into the business meet. But when you let a start-up offer a demo at the meet, you add to its interest. It supplies food for thought for the entrepreneurs present and gives them an excellent topic of discussion. Give Conversations a Direction Don’t let the conversation die down. Place your contacts at opportune points to keep it going. With this simple tactic, you will create an environment where people learn new things without a hitch. Foster Relationships A business meet is all about the relations entrepreneurs create. And the community they build. It is possible to boost entrepreneurial efforts when people have the support of their peers. Don’t just keep it professional. Let entrepreneurs connect with each other on a personal level. Social hangouts can help you with this. Keep It Confidential No entrepreneur will open up unless they are sure that their secret’s safe with the attendees. This is possible only when you assure that it remains within the group. Open and frank discussions will be possible only if you do this. It isn’t difficult if you are aware of how to keep things in motion at the meet. With a little planning and effort, it is possible to organize a business meet where the group members can share their stories, offer others positive challenges, help others get back on track and create a strong community.  And what do you get out of it? Well, you become the proud organizer of a business meet that isn’t another monotonous hour of long conversations between people who don’t even connect with each other. But something that gives everyone their fair share of exposure in the community and ample food for thought.

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5 kinds of accounting software buyer

No matter how beginner or experienced you are as a business owner, the standard remains that you need to use an accounting program matched for your business. Matching, however, may be difficult since there could be several factors at play, such as operational size, niche or industry, working knowledge, security, and cost. Your priority among these factors will determine your buying decision. If you are losing time finding the accounting software compatible with your business, you may need to determine first what kind of buyer you are. Here are some that may apply to you: Cost-sensitive buyer If you are a small business with infrequent bulk sales, it makes sense to hold back on getting a full-featured accounting software. However, providers have learned to adapt to the needs of businesses, so they now provide base packages upgraded with purchase of additional features. Base packages have all the basics included (invoices, timesheets, budgeting, etc.), allowing you to save by paying only for the features you currently need. This flexibility allows business owners to adjust accounting system costs with operational expansion. Support-conscious buyer You are this type of buyer if you prioritise basic and technical support more than any other feature. Also included in the line of support are the free trainings for the program as well as back-up feature—two qualities to keep you secure in using the accounting software. However, the downside of focusing on support is that you will never know how responsive the provider is unless you purchase the program. Moreover, technical issues may only seldom come up in stable programs, so you cannot make the most of the support offer. Feature-reliant buyer This type of buyer has a list of necessary features and compares this entry with what the provider offers. You belong in this category if you want the offered features test-driven first before purchasing any package. Once you ensure that the program includes most of the features you need to run your business, you are unlikely to be discouraged by cost or any secondary limiting factor. Consider ease of use if you are this type of buyer. Trust-checking buyer An accounting software provider that has earned the trust of many will get your attention if you are this type of buyer. Checking comments and reviews about the provider is essential in your search, as much as reading the fine print for any hidden postulates. Since you consider reputation as an anchor for your decision, you will not mind spending more for the accounting software as long as it comes from a trusted, well-established provider. Modern-thinking buyer Straightforward qualities like process support, integration, and cloud are important to you if you have a modern business mindset. Now that everything is done online, you consider cloud accounting as great way to eliminate time and distance barriers in doing business. If you are a mid-size business, you want accounting software that offers time-saving outsource services. Further, you give plus points to software that integrates well with most accounting systems and allows you to perform some do-it-yourself.  

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7 Steps to Managing a Work-Free Weekend

What are your weekends like? Are they filled with fluffy clouds, pool splashing friends and family and long evenings of inspirational debate to fuel your mind? Or are they often like mine, where for some bizarre reason, I think it's quite acceptable to put all my "rest up for the week ahead" plans on hold and dive in for one or two more days of work related tasks?                         I have done this so many times that recently I realised that if I continue to do it I may very well forget what my children's names are, have trouble recognising what was originally food in the fridge and spend the following week in zombie-mode. Coupled with this rather irrational need to keep working, I've had a battle on the side that has often thwarted all of my attempts at being productive on any day! When everything began to change... For the best part of 20 years, I've experienced a see-saw life challenged by anxiety, panic attacks and bouts of depression. I've had my fair share of serious panic attacks and literally lost the capacity to make a sentence come out of my mouth, while watching my colleagues stand aside, slack-jawed as I attempt to pull clumps of hair out of my head to try and drain the adrenalin spinning through my nervous system. I've also had three serious bouts of depression with one that required medication. I'm telling you this because I know at least one of you will resonate with my experiences, and may even be dealing with some stuff right now. I'm also telling you this because as I refine my emotional management skills, I'm learning that there are areas of life that we all struggle in and that maybe I have a few tips that can help, regardless if you struggle with any emotional or mental issues, or not. Finally after a particularly bad case of vertigo thrown into the mix, I realised that it was time to make some changes to how I was operating and this started with assessing my need to work on the weekends despite clocking up at least 50 hours already. I set out determined to have work-free weekends. Maintaining a work-free weekend was already a struggle so I decided to "assess" a recent weekend when things went totally belly up. I'd checked social media, worked on my website and been in touch with a client. It's not like I was "working" but I did plan that this particular weekend I would not interact with anything work related. So why did I end up doing it then? Ahh, well, you see, I made a fateful error in judgment on the Friday. I decided that because I felt I hadn't met my expectations through the week, I should schedule a few hours over the weekend, you know, to "catch up." I've made this mistake before. I'm amazed at how easy it is to forget how many times I have made the same error! But make it I did. I then proceeded to spend all of Saturday procrastinating. Took the youngest to work, fiddle faddled around, took eldest to train, went and took pictures for a client's website (late minute decision) and then indulge in the ultimate procrastination. My favourite op shop. Yep. 30 minutes later and I walked out happy to find some treasures. There goes the morning. Not only that, I then realised it was nearly time to pick up youngest from work so hung around until then, then finally drove home! It's now 2pm! Geesh! Can you see where this is heading? Have you had a Saturday like this? By the time I got home and pretended to organise myself to get some of my scheduled work done, I was a mess. Angry with myself for screwing up my morning agenda, and then angrier with myself for even trying to do something, that by now, I remembered was futile. I spent the rest of the day 'resting', which still included mucking around with creating a splash page for my website, scheduling some more social media posts and watching a chronological history of NASA. Yep, totally time well spent. Not. one. minute.on. my. preorganised. work. So, the outcome on the Sunday morning? Frustration, disillusionment, irritation and a distinct feeling that I let myself down. Sound familiar? This is where I often stumble. This is where depression and anxiety tend to have a field day playing havoc with my sense of personal expectation and my fear of failure. Eventually, I went for a walk and remembered that this is where I have a choice to make. I can let depression swallow me or anxiety twist me up into circles, or, I can fight. I've decided to fight. So, this is what I have learned from all of this navel gazing, and I hope that you can enter the next weekend, with me, as we journey through the emotional expectations we place on ourselves and still manage to achieve our goals. 1. Do not schedule work for the weekend. It's pointless. You know it's pointless, yet you still do it. I think this is because when you tend to adhere to the school of over achievement, you find it hard to have time that is unscheduled and free from things to do. Just trust yourself to work through the weird feeling of doing nothing. Eventually it's going to get easier. 2. Don't forget that 'work' can also be defined as reading industry related blogs, connecting with customers and catching up on work-related emails. If you can't keep yourself from doing these things, at the very least, put a timer on and ask a family member to let you know when you've said you would stop. Keep the time to no more than 1 hour, because that next hour turns into 2... 3. Schedule things to do with family and friends. Make yourself obligated to other people. It's really easy to let yourself down, but a fair bit harder to say to loved ones and friends that you can't keep your coffee/movie/golf/toenail painting appointment because you just have to work on your work. Try saying your reasons out loud. Yep. They sound really dumb. 4. Turn off your computer, tablet and phone and shut the office door. This is particularly the case if, like me, you have a home office. Leave your devices in the office. If you can lock the door, why not give the key to your other half? Maybe you cannot do this for the whole day, but perhaps try it for half a day and see if it helps. 5. Use tech tools to help you NOT work. There are a number of tools around that lock you out of websites so that you can work distraction free. Why not use them on the weekend too, so that you cannot access your email, Facebook, Twitter and client websites? Or whatever work related cyber world you usually spend time in. Most important of all: 6. Don't miss the view. Catch a train and look outside at the cool houses and trees and don't write a blog post while you're sitting there. The mind requires time to process information and we just keep shoving more into it and like an over-stuffed sock drawer, expect it to close up properly.  Take at least a half hour a day to just let your mind wander with no agenda. It will make an incredible difference! I do this first thing in the morning while no one else is awake and I sit in my chair and just drink my tea and chill. 7. Make the effort to plan ahead. Schedule your down time. Put it on every calendar and let your family and friends know that you need their support to stay away from work related activities. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Old words. Wise advice. Take the time to plan and you'll be amazed at how much more flexible your life can be. Bonus Point Create a list of things to do during your down time. If you're a to do addict, going cold turkey can be overwhelming and if you suffer from anxiety, this can send you into a tail spin. A list of fun and rewarding things to do - NOT housework! - helps to calm those butterflies flying around your tummy and gives you something to do...without having to do it. If you're reading this and heading into a new week, I encourage you to focus on one of these steps each day. Work toward next weekend with a plan in place and take notice of the changes it can bring. If you're reading this and it's Friday, take heart dear friend. Be kind to yourself and make small changes as you go through the process of changing how you manage your week. Thanks for reading. Now go and enjoy your weekend! Miriam Have you experienced days like this? How do you cope? I'd love to hear your ideas too! Comment below and let's start helping each other live more fulfilling lives!  

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Are you killing your small business?

Are you killing your Small Business? What you do and do not do on a daily basis has a long term compounding impact on your Small Business success.  Depending on the approach you take and the level of self-sabotaging you engage in will have real effects on the outcome of your business, including whether or not you actively participate in killing your Small Business. What does killing your Small Business mean? Killing your Small Business means that you may be making decisions that are sabotaging your business success and unwittingly committing to a course of action that will eventually see you fail. It is about the self-sabotaging behaviours that people employ on a conscious and subconscious level to stop themselves from being successful, to slow things down or to completely undermine their goals. It is a bad habit that can cost you your Small Business; It is a bad habit of ego-centric, failure enduring decisions etc that do not serve your highest purpose; It is allowing fears to drive your Small Business direction and kill it from the inside out.  Often this is a slow and painful death - one small decision, action or inaction compounding over time. What does killing your Small Business look like? Imagine that you decide to put on an event to show off your services and bring in more clients/customers, more money and build your business.  As a result of this decision, you go about setting up the event, sorting out the details, thinking about the costs and considering what profit you will make.  You're excited and ready to go, but, then something strange happens and you lack the motivation to do the basics well to get the message out there to your niche audience.  You find yourself unwilling to step out of your comfort zone and be vulnerable. Worries begin to fester about your ability to pull the event off;   You worry that people will see you as an imposter;   Fear takes root and all your decisions and actions are now run through this internal filter;   You think about giving up;   You think about retreating because it all seems to hard to get off the ground;   You may even worry that you will have too many people show up for the event and what will you do then?   Fear burrows deeper in your gut and whispers, "Who do you think you are? You know you can't handle it, you're not ready, you need more time.  You're a fake, fraud and you're not going to cope if they all come." Subconsciously you sabotage your every effort to grow your business through inactions and not following through.  You now live in Excuse Central! You feel overwhelmed and the last thing you want to do is take action. You may be asking, what person in their right mind would be doing this!  It's insane and it doesn't make sense. But from an emotional safety perspective it makes perfect sense to the Small Business Owner who fears too much success too soon.  They may fear not being able to handle the abundance and prosperity that could flow from their awesome idea. I never said it was rational. Internally their subconscious seeks to keep them safe through avoiding situations that have the potential to be successful. Say hello to procrastination! This kind of self-sabotaging behaviour may not even be something that they can see themselves, however, anyone around them who is trying to help them get off the ground and grow their business can see it.  Bystanders are often fraught with frustration as they watch you abort your best efforts. If a bystander tries to intervene when the Small Business Owner is not ready to receive their message of how to help, it can lead disagreements, resentment, anger and parting of ways. Fear and an out if balance ego that feels threatened are insidious weeds that, if left unchecked, can become an out of control jungle of compounding self-sabotage behaviours that have a flow-on effect where you are killing your Small Business. Where to from here? If you have begun to see yourself in this scenario, that is a good thing to acknowledge. Admitting that you have a fear that holds you back is an empowering step forward.  It is an opportunity for you to explore what is really going on inside you. Check in with yourself to see if your ego has flared up in response to help and give humility a go, you may just end up being more successful than you thought and experience greater support from like-minded people; Reflect on what you are doing or choosing not to do.  Ask yourself the hard questions to get to the deep reason as to why you do not want to be successful right now; Consider what might be holding you back from success and nip fears in the bud because honestly, having too many people want to attend your event and know about your Small Business is a good problem to have! Daily reflection on your thoughts, behaviour and resistance will help you to avoid killing your Small Business. 

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Best Ways to Find an Assistant

Here's some information for you on the best ways to hire and find an assistant: Many people look at resumes and think they have found the perfect assistant but I never found this to be the case. Although it states their qualities and experience, you never really know how qualified a person is until you interview them. A resume only tells you so much. I always have a list of 10 questions to ask them and write down what their response is during the interview. Some questions relate to what they know about the job and what they know about the company. I'm always impressed by someone who takes the time to go through my website and learn about the company. It's a small thing but it shows that they are keen on working for me. Other questions I ask relate to how they handle certain situations, whether they want to stay in the company long term and what salary they are after. If their salary is way above what I'm prepared to pay then I omit them from my list. There is no point wasting their time or mine. Finally, I get them to type for me and demonstrate to that they can do research on the internet. This shows whether or not the potential employee is cool under pressure. It's a simple task yet some employees get very nervous and start making mistakes. I want someone who is confident. This simple task can weed out those employees who will crack under pressure. In my experience and those of many other entrepreneurs I've come in contact with, a great assistant is somebody that we can trust, both personally and professionally. An assistant will often be asked to undertake tasks that are personal, for example, organizing dinners, holidays, etc., so they are privy to a lot of personal information. No boss wants their personal details being aired for the whole company to review. I cannot tolerate office gossipers, and if a potential assistant is one of them, believe me they won't last because everything always gets back to the boss. So although people would love to share some juicy gossip about their boss and their personal lives, if an assistant wants to keep their boss happy and therefore keep their job, they will practice restraint and discretion. If you find an assistant that fits these traits they will make your life much more enjoyable. A personal assistant's personality is extremely important. Some people want a no-nonsense, serious type of person they know will get the job done. Personally, I want someone who not only can get the job done, but someone who also has a bit of a sense of humor, is gregarious and has a good energy about them, but can still carry themselves professionally in any situation. Because you have so much contact with your assistant, exchanging ideas, going to meetings together, lunches, conferences, etc., you need to be able to "click" with that person. Just like any relationship you might have in your life. If I'm going to spend a lot of time with somebody, I don't want someone sullen who is just going to bring my mood down. I cannot afford to have somebody like that around me. It sucks the life out of me and everyone else around you. A reference check is always important. An assistant who has worked for allot of companies is beneficial yet if they don't last long, this sets off red flags for me. I want an assistant who is stable and makes my job easier, not one who jumps from job to job every few months. I hope you've enjoyed these tips on how to find an assistant.

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Business Coaching: Systems Systems Systems

Apparently the definition of a system is "an organized and coordinated method; a procedure." Well I can tell you that in the beginning, there were no systems in my business. As I have said from the beginning, I started out with an idea to sell a product on-line. What followed was a series of ad hoc decisions, a lot of trial and error, lot's of errors, which would eventually form the systems of my business. There was no "guide" or somebody next to me telling me what to do next. My gauge for when it was time to change things and develop better operations or "systems, was the business itself. For example, as I said in the beginning of my business I was running around like a headless chicken, meeting the designer, driving to the printers; I was doing everything. And that was fine in the beginning because it was all new and I was just so excited that my idea was beginning to flourish. But after a while, I realized that there had to be a better, quicker way to do things. And as the number of my customers increased, I realized that I could not continue operating the business this way, because I was being stretched too far and just not keeping up. It was time to move to the next level and to find a better way to do things, so I could be more productive and meet the needs of my growing customer base. An example of one of these systems was our ordering system. The way we received orders was via e-mail, fax and phone. When I started out on my own, I devised order forms with order numbers. And over time, as orders became more detailed, and required more information, the layout and content of the order forms became more sophisticated as a result. When an order was placed, the paperwork would go to the artwork designers so they could put together a proof and e-mail this to the customer. Without going into too much detail, the ordering system involved a step by step process from when an order form is first filled in, to when the customer finalizes their payment and their order is sent to print, to orders being closed (that is, after the customer receives their product), and these orders are then filed away in folders in alphabetical order of the company or person's name (this system eventually changed over time as well). Over time this process was constantly fine tuned and I have to say that I was quite proud of where we ended up with it, because it eventually ran like clockwork. This was important because it allowed us to implement another process of following up orders, i.e., orders that had received proofs, orders that were waiting for payments to be finalized, etc. When I do business coaching, I tell my clients to systemize their business from A to Z. We operated with this ordering system for a while, but then we found that as a lot of customers were placing re-orders, it was such an arduous task locating their original order to find out what they had ordered previously. The reason I say it was a time consuming process is because by this stage we had accumulated a lot of archive folders (where we stored all orders that had been closed off), and therefore had to be stored in a different room in our building. It just wasted a lot of time. It was around this time that I came across a software package called " Sales force". It was a database system that we could customize to suit our business and products. After some initial training, we implemented the system into our business, which meant that whenever we received an order, the order would be entered into Sales force straightaway and therefore no paperwork was required. This was a much more efficient way of doing things because it eliminated the use of paper and everything about an order or the company/person that placed the order could be accessed with the click of a mouse. And when customers placed a re-order, we could access this order either by their name or previous order number. In addition to this, we could run reports and do analyses on our sales. For example, if we wanted to find out which customers placed the most orders, or which products were being ordered the most, etc. When we implemented this database system it became a turning point in our company because I remember we were all so happy and relieved to have a system that was easy to use and allowed us to work more efficiently. Looking back, I found that we changed and developed different areas of the business as their need arose. An example of this is in the beginning when I would receive endless phone calls from customers all asking the same question "where are my stickers?" This actually used to annoy me because even though I had tracking numbers, I just did not have the time to track every customers' package. Remember, I was doing everything on my own in the beginning, and if I had to respond to every customer that called and track their individual packages I would get nothing else done. It wasn't until I employed my admin/salesperson and warned her about these calls that she suggested, "why don't you e-mail the tracking numbers to the customers so they can track their own packages and therefore leave you alone?" I remember thinking "what a great idea!" Although it might seem so simple, it was something that I probably didn't even think of because I was so involved in every minute detail of the business. So from then on, after every package was shipped out, every customer automatically received an e-mail with their tracking numbers. And this process became formed another part of the daily running of the business. If there is only one rule you need to take from business coaching, systemize everything and you will be on the right track to small business success.

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Business Lessons From the Festive Season

Business might be the furthest thing from your mind at this time of year, but as we all gather around the Christmas tree, dinner table or pool – as is our want – it is worth reflecting on the values that the festive season highlights, and how they can enrich our business all year ‘round. Honor your elders and value all relationships. It's a painful truth that many of us make more time for older relatives, and those friends who we seem to lose touch with throughout the year, in December. In business sometimes there are relationships that get neglected, or pushed aside by the daily distractions. Consider making the effort to acknowledge the quieter members of your staff, your key advocates who really are your business' unsung heroes and mentors and find yourself reinvigorated by the strength of relationships.  Emotional Values Work Christmas is a wonderful reminder of how emotional value works. When you choose a gift for a loved one, or book that flight home to see your family, money is often not the major deciding factor - it is the emotional value in these activities what matters. Keep in mind that this is always what really matters to your customers all year round. How are you demonstrating this and really connecting with those you want to do business with. How is your passion and purpose communicated so you are irresistibly attractive? Throw out the rule book. Pressing reset, breaking patterns and habits and living in the moment happens more often than not over the holiday period. Note how this makes you feel (and I'm not talking about your stomach after Christmas lunch). Many of my clients invariably find that they perform better after a break, if this rings true for you, think about what it was that made the difference. Was it sleeping in, seeing family, not having a daily agenda, or just the ability to step back and view life from a different angle? Can you recreate this, even in short bursts, throughout the year? Unleash your inner child and set your creativity and imagination free Children at Christmas time are pure magic. They are so enthralled by the mysteries, rituals and sheer joy of Christmas that their joy rubs off on even the most Grinch-like of adults. How can you look at your business each day from a fresh point of view and believe in the magic of your own success again? An important occasion gives a team momentum. Whether it be the office Christmas party or dashing around like headless chooks to get Christmas dinner ready, when we work towards a goal we are more focused and draw together to get the job done. At this time of year, the goal is Dec 25th.  Try having short business goals to create passion and drive - draw on your strengths celebrate your achievements and rewarded your team for achieving milestones - celebrate the wins and soon it will be as if all your business' Christmases will have come at once. I wish you all the most wonderful Christmas; take time to celebrate the love in your life, whatever form that comes in and I hope that next year will be a year of success, strength and satisfaction for the SavvySME Community.

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