Monday, May 26, 2008

Take Time to Think

I usually provide answers, but I've decided to pose some questions: I expect your answers may be perfect for you.

Turnaround questions
  • What one thing if you fixed it right now would make the single biggest difference in your life or business?
  • What three specific things can you do to change/or turn that one thing around?
  • How is it serving you to not change this one thing?
Other questions you might find useful:
  • Do you know what business you are in?
  • Do you know what kind of job you want?
  • How do you want to be remembered when you leave your current role?
  • What do you want to be known for in your business?
Take some time to think in advance about who you are and what you want.

Some simple Mantra’s:

If you don’t stand for something then you will fall for anything!

And on the flipside.

If you have no expectations then you are never disappointed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fix the Cash Flow Dilema

One of the toughest things when selling your expertise is managing the need for immediate cash flow. Here are some cash flow habits you can develop to clean up your bank balance.

Ask for deposits

  • One way to shorten the cash cycle is to request deposits. Standard amounts range from 20-50%.
Focus on now
  • Often the products and services you create have income that kicks in some time down the time line. Move some forward by creating a segment of your service mix that is quick and easy to buy and provide. A business coach may offer a business plan off the back end of their fact find service.
Stop giving it away
  • Many Thought Leaders are giving away value now in the hope of making a bigger sale later. Don’t. Charge for it now and people then get a chance to see your work ethic and value in a small digestible chunk.
Manage your price points
  • Create a spread of services that span the full price spectrum. Have some $100 dollar, $1000 dollar, $10,000 dollar, $100,000 dollar products and while you’re at it, create a $1,000,000 product. Businesses get comfortable managing certain price points. Get out of your comfort zone and reprice what you do.
Switch markets
  • Markets are like fishing spots. Sometimes by changing your activity location for a while you get a fresh catch. If you are selling to corporates, create a quick cash flow product that works for small businesses. If you sell to individuals then create something you can do for companies.
So there it is, 5 quick ideas to help you change your cash flow habits.

A final word is to get your head around the value of your expertise. Once you value what you do others will pay for it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Communicating through change

Thank goodness I don’t talk about change management. I would seriously lack integrity if I did as we have had so many communication challenges here at Thought Leaders.

I apologise if the changes have affected you, and if I’ve been poor at communicating these changes in advance.

I was sitting with a group of Thought Leaders from the Brains Trust and even they (the inner circle if you like) felt the impact of poor communications through change.

It got me thinking about the assumptions we make about the quality of our communications. Here are some tips:

  1. Say lots of things to lots of people. If you don’t know what to say, say that you don’t know what to say!
  2. Summarise what you’ve said when you are saying it.
  3. Ask the listener/audience to tell you what they heard you say.
  4. Ask them to spread the word if they can, to assist.
  5. Repeat as necessary.

Creel the entrepreneurial Mentor adds:

“At the end of a meeting send a summary via email of what was discussed. If appropriate, ask them to send you a summary of what they thought was discussed. If there is a difference - pick up the phone, communicate more and then send a clarification. I know it sounds like extra work, particularly when you are busy, but I find the work that is created when you don’t is much greater.”

In short, the quality of communication is determined by the response you get, not the fantasy you create in your mind about what was communicated.

Check for understanding.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What Do You Do?

Business cards with photos on them are perfect for models. For the rest of us, if meeting you is that forgettable that people need a photo to remember you by, you need to have a powerful self-introduction.

In the competitive world of today, we need to work harder on being memorable so that in every situation from interviews to boardroom presentations – we effectively communicate the value of what we do and who we are.

As a card-carrying introvert I find the prospect of commercial networking about as attractive as root canal work. Still, I recognise that without customers & clients in attendance at events, my business would dry up quicker than a well in the outback.

So what to do?

For me, the pain was such that I searched for a way to take the effort out of the introduction process.

I established that there are three critical reasons why you would bother to tell someone what you do:
  • To be remembered
  • To be understood
  • To be recommended
A great positioning statement and self introduction needs to be well-designed and delivered with impact. The energy and activity you involve will also play a major part in determining the outcome.

Everyone in business has a job title - but it’s the job description behind it, that defines what you do.

Just remember, that without a clear and confident positioning statement, you could unknowingly be missing out on business, career advancement, essential networking opportunities and referrals.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Forced Commitment

There is nothing like a looming deadline to get you focussed and into action. Basically, if left to my own devices I will sit and play with the kids all day, go to the movies, lose myself in a book, or have endless coffee stops with friends.

Equally, in business, if I allow myself each day to just make up what I am going to do, I won’t make the best use of my time. This is why I force commit myself in advance.

This idea of forced commitments works well from a personal productivity point of view. Such as… schedule time with myself, schedule time to exercise, etc. The idea works equally well for the business as well.

In a practice based business, the revenue is attached to personal energy and activities. If you don’t work, you don’t earn. This is not a problem because you earn a lot of money, work for 10 years, invest your income in capital growth assets and you never have to work another day in your life unless you want to. You don’t need to buy into the myth of the e-myth which is that businesses equal freedom. (Often business owners feel the exact opposite).

However, you do need to keep the commitments up. Here are some commitments.

  • Pick a date and advertise a public workshop, then work like crazy to fill it.
  • Set aside a day a week for 1-on-1 meetings, then fill up the day.
  • Commit to 2 networking events a month and to 1 showcase event every two months.
  • Schedule a 90-day luncheon, then worry about who will come, etc.
  • Commit to more staff than you need and then work like crazy to make their investment a dollar-productive one.

The business of Thought Leadership requires a high level of personal commitment. Stay on the ball by committing to more and then meeting the commitments.

So what are you waiting for? Commit!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Build it and they might not come

This week sees the realisation of a major goal of mine. I have been evangelising the TED movement for years. This Thursday sees Stage One of the vision to have Ted down-under 2010 launched.

We are showing the BEST of TED, 1.5 days of videos from the TED conference in Monterey this year, with live conversations and facilitation.

Here’s the thing for my Thought Leader friends……..

Building the TED experience does not mean it will happen for me the way I set out. My event partners, sponsors and I have been furiously diligent about making this happen and yet for most people, they say ‘TED WHO?’

  • Having a great idea is not enough
  • Taking action and committing to an event is not enough
  • Promoting it to all you know is not enough

I was hoping for 1000 people around the country to be part of this great event in Hoyts Cinemas from Perth to Auckland. Hoyts were ready - we were ready and yet…it didn’t happen that way.

It’s not that simple. Things don’t always turn out the way you expect.

So be certain that you are committed to something bigger than the action and beyond the event, or you will get disappointed when the reality doesn’t turn out the way you want. For me it’s easy. I am running a 3-year game here, as are our friends of TED. So this is the first investment in what I know will be something huge in the future.

Build it with a higher purpose in mind and you will sustain the enthusiasm despite current realities.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Focussed Energy

Here are 5 ideas for how you can have better focus and energy in your day.

  • Eat within 30 minutes of waking up
  • Eat 40 grams of sugar 4 hours after you wake
  • Eat lunch and make it high carbohydrates and low glycemic index
  • Eat 40 grams of sugar 8 hours after waking
  • Do some mild exercise during the time you are most tired.

Not ground-breaking, but still not done by most people. If you score a 4 or 5 on the following 5 questions, then these strategies will have a huge impact. If you score a 1 or 2, then they won’t

  • Do you find yourself sleepy after lunch more often than not?
  • Does a sweet snack give you a noticeable rush or temporary high?
  • Is your day a roller coaster of energy and mood, one moment you can focus with great clarity, and the next moment you’re clueless?
  • Do you find yourself tired a lot of the time?
  • Does your attention wander or do you have trouble concentrating particularly when stressed?

Stay well!