Neither of us has ever been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions; we’ve both watched friends and business associates boldly declare the long list of things they’re going to give up doing or start doing, proudly updating us almost hourly on their progress for the whole month of January, only to fall into a pit of sudden silence on the subject by February. To be honest, it’s hardly surprising to us that setting yourself up to get motivated about change, when it’s cold most of the time and dark for most of the day, is a plan that tends to fail more often than succeed.
Think, for a moment, about springtime. The first signs of new and renewed life are making their way above ground. Birds are greeting you with the rising sun each day, and you’re wearing fewer layers as the temperatures stay above “thermals required”. Everything about the spring is positive and fills us with hope. What better time could there be to start refuelling your business with some new ideas, new dreams, new targets, or new goals?
Spring can help you to think about the type of changes you may want to implement, in a way that means they are more likely to be long-term and produce results. Here are a few tips to help get you started on your springtime goal-setting journey:
One thing at a time. Have you noticed how spring chooses not to reveal all she has to offer in one burst of glory? She teases us with snowdrops, adds some crocus, and perhaps some Primulas, but keeps you holding on for what seems like an age before she brings out that glorious burst of yellow from the daffodils, or the mesmerising carpet of blue-haze from bluebells? This is good practice, and if you work on the same principal of one step at a time, you’ll achieve the bigger goals, and make permanent change for the better.
If something worked well last year, bring it back. When you’re setting goals it’s easy to forget to keep doing the things that are going really well. Don’t forget to include these on your list.
Anticipate the odd cold snap. Just because spring has arrived, does not guarantee sunshine every day, and the early bloomers will usually survive a frost. When you’re making changes to the way you work, or adding a goal that requires constant action, it can be easy to lose momentum when things don’t go the way you’d expected. Put some plans in place early on, for what you’ll do if things don’t go according to plan.
Show-off a little; not bold and brash like summer, but subtly and with real appreciation for the world around you. When we tell people around us about the goals we’re working towards, it bring a level of accountability that helps to motivate us to continue. Make sure you tell people about your progress and share your successes. Everyone could do with some good news.
We find the biggest positive impact of spring is the ability to get outside more often, without getting soaked or frozen. The impact even the smallest amount of fresh air has on our mood is noticeable and often, as we have the luxury of living in the beautiful Welsh countryside, we pop out into the woodland during the day to top up on the benefits that spring brings.
How does the changing weather impact your focus? Have you found yourself more motivated to get some goals set since the spring started to break through?
Starting your own business is a tough decision to make, for most it is a leap they have always pondered before, but perhaps were concerned about the security of it all.
Once taking the leap, you will potentially realise how blooming personal it truly is. I’ve heard the saying “It’s just business, it’s not personal” said so many times, however, when it is your own business, your own job or the service you provide to others, it truly is personal. I think having the personal touch is the defining feature of running a business that people buy into. If you don’t have that personal touch, the edge that makes you different from the thousands of competitors out there, then why would someone choose you, other than looking at the cost? (and don’t get me started on how cost should not be the be-all and end-all for a contact to turn into a client!). (more…)
You built it from nothing; you’ve sweated, toiled, shouted, questioned, persuaded, co-operated and worked until you dropped to make it happen and now you’re at breaking point. If you know this feeling, you’re probably an entrepreneur and you’re most likely completing tasks in the business that are not a good investment of your time. You need to let go to grow.
You need to trust someone with your ‘baby’ and it hurts! No wonder you resist; the key thing is to know when the time has come, when you’ve reached the point that you’ll be damaging not building your business if you refuse to release control. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we’ve been there and we understand how challenging it can be to take that first step. Here are our top tips on how you can take your business up a level, when you let go to grow:
Review what you spend your time on. For a week, keep a strict timesheet (there is no point if you don’t do this properly) and include details on what you’ve done and who it was for. Include a column that says ‘Invoiceable?’ and put yes or no and if it is something you can invoice, put details of how much and who to. At the end of the week, look at how many hours you’re spending on work you cannot charge anyone for.
) Start with small steps. We are not suggesting you hand-over the reigns to any part of your business; this is about acknowledging what you’re doing that someone else can do in less time and to a higher standard than you can. A great place to start is with administrative tasks such as follow-up appointment making post-networking events, responding to email requests for information such as on-line brochures or even taking on the management of one of your social network profiles.
Give it time to work before you go back to old habits. We’ve often heard entrepreneurs in our own networks talk about bad past experiences; it’s interesting how much time we give ourselves to achieve our goals, yet we expect others to have instant impact on our results. Before deciding you were right all along and nobody can look after any aspect of your baby like you do, allow a realistic timescale such as three months, and make sure you keep giving feedback to allow the best possible chance of getting what you want and need.
Use the free time for business growth. There is little point in delegating aspects of your business to another, only to spend the newly available time on non-growth-related tasks. Review what you could do with this time by being honest about what created most new business for you in the last twelve months. Then do more of it.
Keep monitoring your results and celebrate the increased business. Once you review what an impact delegating can have on your business, you’ll find it can become liberating. You’ll be building trust with the person or people helping you and now is a good time to ask yourself if there is more you can give them and what you could do as a result. And if you’re not getting the results you’d hoped, look at what needs to change before you decide it’s not right for you and go back to doing it yourself.
We’ve been lucky enough to work with some of our entrepreneurial clients for several years and each year we find we’re a little more involved with the business and helping free-up time for our clients to do more of what they love; the thing they actually went into business to do.
Clients tell us they’ve discovered that having people to delegate to who are not directly involved in the business is a great advantage as an entrepreneur. They become a sounding board, someone they can trust ideas with, share challenges and fears and successes with too. The working life of an entrepreneur is often an isolated one, and this aspect alone, is a huge benefit you’ll experience when you let go to grow.
We’d love to know if you’ve let go to grow and how it’s helped you as an entrepreneur; what top tips would you share?
As a business owner it can be tough to remain inspired about your business, whether it’s because you have become what is called the “Technician”, AKA doing all the tasks for clients, rather than managing the business, or you just feel you are trucking along in your business, not really doing what you love any more. (more…)
It’s how most of us felt in our first year, or three, of running a business; how can we even consider time away when we are the business? You are it, there is no “back-up” or answering service. If you go on holiday the business will fail, won’t it? (more…)
As a business owner, you have probably heard the saying “It’s just business, it’s not personal”. If you’re anything like me, you shudder at the thought that your business is anything other than personal. It’s your baby, and it darn well is personal to you!