Do You Know or Are You Guessing at How Your Business is Doing?

  • Does your strategy look a bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks? (And has anyone ever really thrown spaghetti at the wall?)
  • Do you keep doing what you’ve been doing even if you’re not 100% sure if it is working (for you)?
  • Would you rather do just about anything else rather than confront the sick to your stomach feeling you feel when you think about looking more closely at the return on investment of your efforts?

While there is a lot of inherent uncertainty in running your own business (like a LOT), there are also a good number of things you can actually know for sure.

Look at Your Business MetricsPhoto Credit: Flickr

Wouldn’t it feel good to know for sure?

I would think so, but I’m discovering that a lot of business owners would rather guess than know. Why is that?

Here are the top 3 reasons I find business owners avoiding the actions that would empower them with more certainty and business growth.

1)    Assume This Doesn’t Apply to Me

People make assumptions about everything; it’s the way you and I operate. Sometimes it works well (like assuming the rest of the cars on the road will also follow the traffic rules); other times it creates a gaping black hole in the way we make choices.

Whether you assume your business is too unhealthy or growing too nicely to take a look at what’s really going on, either way it is an assumption that limits your power and potential. Guessing isn’t knowing. Challenging your assumptions is a good thing. Challenging them doesn’t make you wrong, it makes you more confident and empowered in your choices because you have some data and knowledge to support your intuitive guidance.

2)    Feel Too Bad, Scary, Sick to Your Stomach, or Generally Icky to Take a Look

I’ve had more than one client tell me “it makes me sick to my stomach to look at my numbers”. In fact I’ll admit that there have been numerous occasions over the years where I would feel a pit in my stomach even thinking about looking at my financial numbers or business operations; that feeling where a root canal would be more pleasurable.

And do you know what? In the end it wasn’t remotely as painful as they (or I) feared. It created a sound starting point for strategy and action. Almost without fail it creates opportunities for income growth, saving money, and ultimately more profitability. If nothing else it gives you concrete clarity and certainty from which to navigate. That alone is worth its weight in gold.

3)    Don’t Even Know Where to Start

It can be hard to know where to start. When you’re in your business, you’re so close to it that you lose perspective. You may not have the business background or know-how to understand how everything works. There’s no shame in that! After all, most people start a business not because they love the business of doing business, but because they have a service, product, or skill that they are passionate about offering and want more freedom and flexibility from their career.

You start by looking at what is right in front of you (cash in and cash out for instance) and build from there by learning more or getting help from someone who finds this sort of thing second nature.

So What?

Business can be risky just like life is inherently risky. Calculated risks create growth (most of the time) but random guessing is a crapshoot. Which odds do you prefer when it comes to the viability and sustainability of your business?

Wonder what might be possible with a little “peek under the hood” of your business? This stuff comes second nature to me, which is why I created the easy to use business health checkup – it is applicable for all stages of business from startup to mature businesses because the basics never change. Go here to grab your copy and get started: http://bit.ly/bizhealth-pg

 

 

 

Start Where You Are [Business Flow Video]

Sometimes life hands you “stuff”, so you have to make choices from right where you are vs where you wish you were. You have to start right where you are (the only place you really CAN start) and go from there.

So in business you might want to do a flashy launch or event when what you really need to do, what would be most nourishing and life-affirming to you and your business health would be to simply make invitations to sales calls. Sexy? No. Useful? Yes.

So take notice of where you are right now… and choose from there rather than where you wish you were.

What experiences have you had with this type of discernment? Share in the comments below…

What if You Knew Then What You Know Now?

Have you ever said, gosh if I only knew then what I know now…? Who hasn’t right?

We know we can never turn back time (no matter how much Cher sings about it) and the full picture hindsight gives you is never quite possible while you are living the moment.

But, what if you could take just a bit of that wisdom and knowledge and use it now, not after the fact? How might that change things for you?

Business intelligenceA recent sad event made this clear for me. You see just a few weeks ago my beloved garden was producing cucumbers in abundance. I was happy to my core. Since we make green juice every day in our house, we blow through cucumbers in bulk. It was heaven. And then, all of a sudden, I noticed something very subtle about the leaves and buds. When I went to the local nursery to inquire, their vegetable specialist told me the plants had a fungus due to the extra rain we’ve had. She assured me it was nothing we did “wrong”.   She suggested an organic fungicide to try and preserve the new growth (old growth would die regardless).

So far, this remedy isn’t helping and I am just beside myself about the cukes. I think- if I only knew a few days or even a week beforehand, maybe I could’ve done something to prevent this? But I didn’t know what to look for, or how to assess what I saw.

You might not be a gardener or care about cucumbers as much as I do, but certainly you’ve experienced a similar moment in your business, right? Where you’re humming along, taking the days as they come, and then bam! You’re hit by surprise with something – an overwhelming tax bill, a quick exodus of clients, a sudden upsurge of growth that strains your team and systems (or makes you wish you had them). You wish you could’ve seen it coming.

Well, what if you could see it coming? Maybe not 100% of the time, but what if the vast majority of “surprises” could be predicted before they happen?

If you routinely look at data – of the holistic health of your business and what’s happening around you, you can. This isn’t magic. It doesn’t have to be hard either. Big companies use big data and predictive analytics to figure out what is going to happen in the future – on a macro level and with individual customers. This is how online stores like amazon know what you are likely to buy next. How big companies decide when to expand and when to wait.

Unless you’re a mega-corporation, you don’t have to get that complicated to reap the benefits of knowing NOW instead of in hindsight. As a small business you are more nimble and can make huge strides with less effort.

Here’s how you do it.

You do this is by simply taking time to look at the key indicators of the health of your business and then focusing on the one most important thing you need to do right now. Not 10,000 things. Not the 40 things you learned at the last conference you attended. ONE THING.

You do this at regular, consistent intervals and then repeat.

Success is determined by focusing on the right things at the right time. Wouldn’t you rather move forward with the power of knowledge coupled with intuition rather than looking back with a sigh of regret? I thought so!

Need help quickly assessing the 6 indicators of health for your business? Grab your business health checkup here.

You have my personal guarantee that you’ll get great value from this.

 

 

Noticing Changes Through the Seasons [Business Flow]

When you revisit something over time, you can notice the changes. I paddle Lake Nockamixon near my home through all seasons (well, all the seasons that don’t involve a frozen lake!). Because I revisit it during the different seasons I notice the constant changes – some subtle and some dramatic.

In your business, the only way you can measure the health of the enterprise is by noticing over time. You do that through measuring something (metrics). Then you can notice – what is growing? What is dying? What is different? How am I as a business owner growing?

This is one of the most valuable skills you can develop as a small business owner.


Meanwhile – let me know what actions you take so you notice the changes within the seasons of your business?

What is Your Business’ Heartbeat?

Do you know the heartbeat of your business at any given time? You might even wonder sometimes, does my business even have a pulse?

Much like your heart emits a pulse every minute of every day for your lifetime so does the heart of your business. It’s universal.

Getting to know and understand your business’ pulse is instrumental to being able to grow, rely on, and steer your efforts so you create the experience and results you want.

This is not a 911 call to see if your business has a pulse and can be saved (although it can work for that too). This is actually about maximizing what your business can do for you.

Business Health and Profitability

photo credit: Neal. via photopin cc

 

When an athlete trains for optimal efficiency and fitness, she gets to know her heart rate intimately. What is the resting heart rate? What is the maximum? Where is that range of peak efficiency? What is possible when you push the edges of high heart rate efforts?

This is no means about “getting by” or rescuing the sick. This is about peak performance, making wise decisions, and getting results. It is also about creating an intimate relationship with your body, and in this case the body, mind, and spirit of your business.

When you get to know your business in this way, much like the athlete you can:

  • Push the boundaries of what you thought was possible to be of even greater service and create better profitability.
  • Know when it is time to sink into the natural cycle of rest.
  • Identify when you need to put forth more energy and resources and when it is best to conserve.

I know when I started training for bike rides this way suddenly I could do more and feel uplifted at the end of a long ride (instead of wrecked and ready to crash). I enjoy the journey more, go further, and ride stronger.

What I found when I replicated this process for my business was that I created more efficiency, ease, and profitability simply by following guidelines that indicate the wellness of my business at any given point in time.

When you know what’s what in your business you can make more effective decisions around:

  • Expanding to new locations.
  • Adding team members or staff.
  • What actions to be taking (and which to stop).
  • What services to offer and how to price them for profitability.
  • How to do things more efficiently and in less time.

And, because a healthy you with a satisfying personal life makes a healthier business, you get to finally take the time off to enjoy and disconnect that you’ve been yearning for.

All because you took just a few short minutes to take the pulse of your business.

If you’re ready to grow your business to that next level in a way that feels good, a business health checkup is just what you need. In less than an hour, you’ll get clear diagnostics and personalized attention that will give you a 10X return or better. Learn more and take the pulse of your business today.

Lose Track of Time [Business Flow]

One of the characteristics of being in a flow state according to famous researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is to lose track of time. Think about it — when you are doing something you love, totally engrossed in a task, time vanishes from your mind.

So to get more flow in your business, take steps to lose track of time. Use a timer for 30, 60, 90 minutes, remove all distractions, and dive in. To get more flow overall – get away from all distractions and do something you love. That flow state will transfer over to your daily life and build your “flow” habit.

 

What do you do to create more flow? Comment below…

3 Signs Your Business Needs a Health Checkup (And They Are Not What You Think!)

When was the last time you sat down for 60 minutes or less and gave your business health the checkup it deserves? If you’re like most growing small business owners, the answer is…. “It’s so long I can’t remember. Maybe, never?” Juggling Your Business

That’s because you’re so busy growing the business and juggling life, right?

It totally makes sense. Yet, regular checkups are the absolutely best thing you can do to ensure growth happens (continues) and that you actually thrive in the process. The images of entrepreneurs slogging away and dedicating life and limb to the business to “do whatever it takes” are a disservice to every small business owner. When I read these articles I cringe…because our businesses are meant to serve (and that includes serving us and our households!)

First, let’s be clear… when I talk about a business health checkup, this is not about a business that is dying on the vine. That’s more appropriate for a business triage or ER situation. That would be defined more as a business turnaround. What I’m talking about is taking something that is budding, growing, or even stagnating a bit and making it (and you) thrive. This is about thriving, not surviving.

Much like with our physical health, the best time for a checkup is when there is nothing drastically wrong. You’re humming along. You might have a few complaints. You have some areas you’d like to experience more wellness, but overall, you’re doing ok. It is from this space that the most fruitful change can happen because you are not in crisis!

3 signs that now is the best time for you to do a business checkup and tune-up.

Your Business Has Grown “Just Enough”

Your hard work is paying off. You’re starting to grow. In fact you’ve grown “just enough” to make things different than they were before. You are serving more clients, making more money, and entertaining new, exciting opportunities. This is all good news, right? It is! And, you have grown just enough to need to start to do some things differently. You may or may not be sure what those things are… but you know that in order to continue to grow, you need to make a few changes in order to make the growth sustainable while taking time to have a life! 

You are Ready to Take Your Business to that Next Level

You have been in business and it’s time to take things up a notch. This happens at each next natural point of evolution for every business. You might be at the point where you’ve been in business for a little while and are ready to get out of “starting up” mode and take things more seriously. Or, you might be a seasoned business owner breaking through another major growth point (like six figures, multiple six figures, adding a team, etc.) Either way there is a point at which a moment to stop and assess the holistic health of all the aspects of your business is necessary. You can’t make the leap without a clear focus of what is most important. Leaping to the next level is not possible without assessing the holistic health of all aspects of your business.

You are Starting to Drop a Few Balls

As a small business owner you have a lot of balls in the air. Family, home life, hobbies, children add even more balls to your juggle-fest. You’re noticing that you’re starting to drop a few balls. Not the most critical ones. Nothing is crashing all around you. Most of the balls you drop bounce (sometimes at a cost to time, money, or confidence, but nothing fatal…), but you know you can’t keep juggling at this pace. You might be feeling like you are dedicating so much time and effort to your business but you’re still not contributing financially to the household in the way you really want to. You still don’t have any time for yourself. It can feel like you’re going in circles. You might even feel some dread or sick to your stomach when you even think about taking stock of what’s what in the health of your business. Wouldn’t it just be easier to keep the balls in the air the best you can and push forward? In a word….no.

How to Do a Business Health Checkup

You might be wondering…what does a business health checkup entail? How do I do it?

It is simply a method for taking stock of the health of your business in a holistic way. That means it looks at all areas of your business from finances to marketing to happiness/personal life. This is because everything is connected. The purpose of doing this is to identify exactly what you most need to focus your attention on right now in order to get what you want.

Much like you wouldn’t do your own health checkup (you’d see a doctor or holistic practitioner), to do an effective business health checkup, you need a guide. That is why I created a short business health checkup that anyone can do in an hour or less. It walks you through the 6 key indicators of business health. It’s the single most cost-effective and inexpensive way to catapult yourself to sustainable business growth that gives you the lifestyle you want.

How it works is you walk through your own business health assessment with easy to answer questions (no essay tests here – just yes/no, 1-10 rankings…) and then you get a 30 minute consultation session with me to review and diagnose exactly what you next most important focused action needs to be.

Simple. Powerful. Effective. You have my “No-BS” promise on that.

Learn more and grab your business health checkup here:

If you have questions before diving in – don’t hesitate to contact me.

photo credit: Elvert Barnes via photopin cc

Navigating Obstacles [Business Flow Video]

What happens when you hit obstacles?

On the river, sometimes you have to portage because a dam or other obstacle which you cannot pass safely via the water stands in your way. In business we hit all kinds of obstacles. So how do you navigate them?

You need

  • Clear guidance from someone who can help.
  • A supportive team member who can help you.
  • Resilience so you can quickly recover from unexpected challenges and get flowing again.

Watch on to learn more…

Get in the conversation – and comment below… let me know what you do when you hit obstacles?