Friday, 28 March 2008

The Age of Conversation '08

I'm really excited to be a contributing author to the follow-up book which has a working title of "Why Don't People Get It?". There are an amazing 275 authors lined up and I can't wait to get writing!

All the proceeds are going to the charity Variety and someone has come up with the idea of a 'Bum Rush'?? to get more sales - and therefore more donations - from the first book. It's tomorrow, March 29 - so don't miss out. Help drive the title up Amazon's rankings - but only buy one copy at a time.

Join the Age of Conversation Bum Rush on March 29th

The complete list of authors involved are:

Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Beeker Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

Normal blogging will be resumed next week!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Are you disappointed?

Another cause of loss of motivation is when results are disappointing. You put in all that effort and don’t get the payback.

If this happens to you, please stop doing what isn’t working, or you’re just going to get more of the same and feel even worse.

It’s a good idea to measure the results of everything you do. For marketing activities, you want to get the most business in the most cost effective way. Inside your business, you need to set up systems and processes that will make life easier.

I was working with a coaching client this week on systemising and prioritising her workload. She asked me if the new system would definitely work, because she didn’t want to put the effort in if it wouldn’t. I reminded her that her current system wasn’t working at all, so anything had to be an improvement! I expect we’ll have to make some adjustments once we have some results to measure.

Avoid becoming demotivated and make changes if what you’re doing isn’t working. Einstein said that it was a sure route to insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Act to counter low motivation

I don’t know about you, but when I feel overwhelmed at how much is on my To-Do list or I’m not sure how to move forward with a project, it can affect my motivation for everything else too!

Now, one fact that I absolutely know for sure, is that time is so very precious to all small business owners, and we have to make every minute count or it’s gone forever!

So whenever I feel my motivation slipping because of overwhelm or uncertainty, I have learnt that the best antidote is action. Often it doesn’t matter what that action is, just as long as I am doing something to move my business forward.

One great benefit of working with a coach is that you report in regularly on what you’ve been doing. It’s easy to forget just how much you have achieved when motivation levels are low, so writing everything down is a good reminder and encourages you to take more action. Taking action and celebrating achievements are both vital elements to staying motivated.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Do new ideas re-motivate you?

Yesterday’s meeting with my coach was just as re-motivating as I had hoped and I’ve come away with loads of exciting ideas to work on! Sometimes fresh ideas are enough to get the motivation flowing again.

With most of my business coaching clients, their motivation comes and goes, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason…. to them at least.

Think back to when you first started in business. Think about why you made that bold move; what you wanted to achieve – for yourself and for your family. Reconnecting with your original vision and reaffirming your goals regularly is really important. How else can you expect to stay motivated when things get tough?

If your motivation is low, you will struggle to quiet the voice that says “This is too hard, perhaps I should look for a job.” But when your motivation levels are high, that voice will say “How can I deal with this? What do I need to do?.”

I’m off to revisit my long term plans and see what I can add or change to make it more compelling and more exciting.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Is your motivation flagging?

This week, I thought I’d look at the subject of Motivation for small business owners, especially as I had some classic ‘I don’t want to do this’ moments last week and then felt guilty because I hadn’t done as much as I thought I should have. Has that ever happened to you?

When I explored in more depth why I should be feeling like this, I uncovered the following 3 factors:

1. Over the previous 4 weeks I’d been working 14 hour days, mostly hunched over the computer.

2. I had worked every weekend since the beginning of the year.

3. I was just plain tired!

Was it really any surprise that my motivation had taken a dip? I had to do something.
First, and most obvious, I needed to recharge my batteries, so I took the whole weekend off. OK, so I did turn the computer on for a couple of hours yesterday to check emails, but that was all. I rested, I read a book, I caught up on sleep, I switched off.

I know that it will take more than one weekend off to put things right – but it’s a start.
This morning (Monday), I am getting on with things. I’ve got a meeting with my
coach later on and know that I’ll be fired up afterwards. But how long for? .....

Friday, 14 March 2008

How do you beat procrastination?

Do you have anything on your ‘to do’ list that you keep putting off? Is it because the task (or tasks!) seems too big to tackle, you’re not sure how to do it, or perhaps it’s going to take ages to finish? If so, you’re definitely not alone. We all procrastinate at times, but in business it can be costly.

If you have any tasks languishing in your pending tray, you know they’re there. You think about them often and worry that they’re not getting done. Maybe a deadline is looming, so now you’re getting stressed.

There are many techniques to beat procrastination. The best one I’ve found is to get the papers or file onto my desk. At this point, I’m not even thinking about completing the task. I’m just going to look through the papers. Then I write down the first step that needs to be taken – making a phone call, research some information – I just write down that first step.

By this point I’m ready to actually take that first step so I go ahead and do it. Feeling really pleased with myself, I have a look at what the next step needs to be and write that down. I may do it there and then, or I may schedule it for another time. But I’m no longer putting it off, I’ve beaten the stalemate of procrastination!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Are you giving a clear message?

Do you ever listen to people’s 60 second pitches and feel a bit confused by the time they stop talking? The reason is that they are trying to give you too much information. They do that because they feel they have to cram in absolutely everything they do in that very short space of time. The result is that there is no clear message. We can’t take in information as fast as it can be said.

On the other hand, if the speaker focuses on just one message, we will understand and remember it better.

So when you have the opportunity to stand up in front of a group and say what you do, keep the message simple. If you offer several different products or services, then pick just one of them to talk about if you want to get your message across. You can always supplement what you say with a handout or brochure to be read at leisure.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

What do you say to yourself?

When you talk to yourself, what do you say? It was a tremendous relief to me to find out that everyone has a little internal voice too! We all give ourselves feedback, perhaps after a presentation or important phone call. The problem is that we give ourselves too much criticism, apparently we give ourselves 15 times more negative messages than positive ones! We say things like “You made a real mess of that!” or “You’ll never get the orders you need if you don’t shape up”.

And these negative messages can pop up before you’re due to visit or call a potential client too and damage your confidence. Before you know it, you put in a poor performance and prove that your negative ‘voice’ was right!

Fortunately the opposite is also true. Whenever you catch yourself saying something negative, stop and change the message to be more positive. You could say “That wasn’t like me at all. What do I need to change?”, “Next time, I’ll remember to ask that question” or “OK, this is going to be much better than the last call”.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Who's stealing your time?

Do you ever reach the end of the day and wonder where the time went? Have you been trying
to get a task completed or a project started and never seem to get round to it?

If so, you could have some time thieves lurking. Time thieves will thwart your best intentions. They sometimes wear different disguises to make them hard to catch but really they are all interruptions or distractions to your precious working time. They could be unexpected phone calls (from colleagues as well as telemarketing); people calling by ‘just for a chat’; time spent looking for a file or document; letting emails take top priority as soon as they ping in; or spending valuable time clicking links instead of doing what you should be doing!

One way of finding out how many time thieves you have is to monitor how you spend your working day. If you’re interested, I have a form all ready for you to use – just email me and I’ll send it to you. Try it for a week and unmask your time thieves!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Do you arrive early?

Are you always rushing to do ‘just one more thing’ before you leave for a networking event? Do you make just one more phone call or read one last email and then hope that the traffic is kind to you?

When you hurry in, are people already in small groups talking, or even
taking their seats to listen to the speaker?

If you were to arrive earlier, preferably before the event is due to start, you could meet more people. You could have time to study the list of attendees and decide who you want to meet. You could stand near the registration desk and help to greet people as they arrive. You could introduce yourself to new contacts.

Networking isn’t just about showing up, it’s about planning to get the most from every event – and that means arriving early!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Are you on your To-Do list?

There are so many demands on your time when you have your own business, that it can be easy to put yourself and your needs at the very bottom of list (if indeed they make onto a list at all!).

Just as you wouldn’t expect your car or van to keep running without regular stops to fill up with fuel, you can’t expect your business to function at full throttle without taking care of yourself.

Do you work late into the night or at weekends? Once in a while is OK – too often will run down your energy reserves and leave you vulnerable to picking up colds and other infections.

Get your diary out and schedule time for recharging your batteries – preferably right up to the end of the year! Book time to spend with your family, with friends, or simply to take care of yourself. Plan a round of golf, a relaxing aromatherapy massage, a walk in the country or by the sea, read a novel.

Your business will benefit when you put yourself on your To-Do list – go on, do it now!