Small Business Development – Election Time! What Are You Voting For?

There is a lot of talk today about the Presidential Primary elections and the November elections. However, whether you know it or not, today is your voting day. It is the day you must make a decision about your future leadership and the direction your life and business will take going into the future. I encourage each and every one of you to go and cast your vote and make your choice count.

However, I am not talking about the Presidential Primary, I am talking about your life and your business.

You see, every morning you have the opportunity to make a choice. There are many options to choose from. You can choose success; failure, growth, status quo; risk, security, comfort, challenge, opportunity, problem, or countless other options.

The problem is most if us don’t cast our vote. Today, I choose success.

Here is the simple truth. Now is the only moment that matters, and you can only live one day at a time. Every morning we have the opportunity to vote on how we want our day to go. We can choose what kind of attitude we are going to “take to the marketplace” as Jim Rohn would say. We can choose how much time we want to put into preparation; self-development; physical and mental fitness; building our businesses; and parenting our children.

The problem is, most of us don’t take the time to vote. Today, I choose risk.

Eben Pagan, in his Wake Up Productive Program talks about designing daily rituals for the first 90 minutes of each day that allow you to “make yourself strong first.” By designing a daily ritual that allows you to start each day strong, you are choosing success. You are casting your ballot each and every day.

What rituals can you develop that will remind you that you have a choice. You can choose success today. What you will discover is that success is not the cars, and the money, and the clients. Those things are the result of you being successful. Today, I choose growth.

“Success is not something you achieve, rather it is something you attract by the person you become” Jim Rohn

I encourage you to follow the advice of Eben Pagan and develop those early morning rituals that lead you towards becoming a successful person.

Steve Chandler, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Time Warrior, talks about the distinction between reacting and creating. When you cast your vote each morning you are involved in the creative process. You are actively participating in the creation of your day.

When you don’t cast your vote, you end up living your life in reaction to what happens to you and around you. Today, I choose success!

Did You Vote Today! It’s Not Too Late.

Small Business Development – Peanut Shells On The Floor

I hope by now everyone has had the opportunity to go to a pub, or bar where they encourage you to throw your peanut shells on the floor. If you haven’t yet been, then consider this a weekend challenge to talk to your friends, find the closest one, and go there by Monday.

I love that concept for three very important reasons:

It is:

Memorable: People talk about the bar that lets you throw your peanut shells on the floor. I have been to hundreds of bars, pubs, and restaurants in my life and I remember just a handful. Among the select few that I remember are the one’s that had peanut shells on the floor. I may not even remember the name of the pub, but I remember the experience, the people I was with, and that I had fun.

Consistent with Core Values: When a pub owner allows customers to throw peanut shells on the floor he/she is sending a clear message that they want customers to relax and have a good time; to have fun, and loosen up. It helps the patrons feel welcome, comfortable to be themselves, and wanted back tomorrow. What friendly neighborhood restaurant wouldn’t want to send that message?

Simple and Inexpensive: I would imagine it takes a little longer to sweep the floor at night, but you have to sweep the floor anyway. Compare that to the money you budget every year to let people know what it means to be your customer, client, or partner.

If your goal is to Build a Better Workforce: to make more money by working less, to create leverage for yourself through the success of your employees, and to transition from chasing dollars to chasing your dreams and experiencing wealth, then ask yourself this question.

Is Working for me memorable?

If the answer is no, then change something. Focus on your core values, and keep it simple. When you create an environment that is memorable, consistent to its core values, and simplistic in its execution you create an opportunity to increase employee and customer engagement like no other.

Other Benefits: By expressing your core values in a memorable way you are helping to set expectations to your customers, and future employees. If someone is in the mood for white glove service, elegant atmosphere, and expensive champagne they will know not to enter the pub with peanut shells on the floor.

When working for you is memorable, your employees will share their stories with everyone they know and meet. Every time someone asks them about their job they will share the cool things you do to be different and in the process reveal the core values that drive your business.

You will begin to attract new customers, business partners, and grow your talent pool from sources you never had the opportunity to explore or even think of.

Business Development Plan

A business development plan is an essential tool for all prudent entrepreneurs if they wish to remain in business. Just wishing for one, will not get you anywhere. You need to know how it works in order to draft one for your enterprise. A complete business development plan serves three basic purposes: communication, management, and planning.

It communicates the group’s financial strategy and company policy to all outside funding bodies and sponsors. Frequently, it will act as the prospectus of the company to attract investment capital and/or get loans sanctioned. More than a mission statement, the business development plan is a comprehensive explanation of the opportunity. It reveals the profit making potential of the business and helps attract strategic business partners. The plan dwells on all aspects of business activity, anticipates future problems and suggests alternatives as solution.

Company management sees it as an effective administration tool. With the help of the business development plan you can monitor the progress of all the current programs and evaluate the efficacy of your future endeavors. The plan allows you to set timelines and goals. You can compare projected figures with the actual achievements and gauge the progress made. It is a dynamic tool that reflects the growing knowledge and experience of management.

The planning tool is your mentor as you walk through the different phases of your business. A carefully charted plan details all the possible risks and uncertainties, identifying future problems so that you can avoid them with the help of established alternatives. Entrepreneurs today are more inclined to share their business development plan with employees. This leads to a greater employee identification with the stated mission and a better understanding of the goals of the business.

The Solo Entrepreneur’s Success Secret: Planning Time for Business Development

One of the primary issues about which my clients complain is that they never stop running their businesses. They say their day is an endless cycle of completing tasks for clients, having conversations with prospective clients, and networking to find clients. They know that they need to find some time to plan what they’re doing and where they’re going in their businesses, and the only time they manage to carve out for themselves to do this is late at night with a glass of wine in hand, on Saturday morning in the midst of a child’s soccer game, or on a Sunday afternoon at the dining room table when the kids are working on school projects. How productive can anyone be in that kind of environment?

Normally, when you think of time management, you’re told to put your tasks in 3 categories (A, B, and C) based on priority, with the As being the highest priority, and then do all the tasks the A list. Poof — time management — done! If it were only that easy..LOL

The time management system that I’m currently using is a bigger-picture system, focusing on the overall plan of how you structure your time rather than on the actual tasks, although that does come into play. In this system, you have 3 kinds of days: Rest Days, Profit-Generating Days, and Business Development Days. You can set as many (or as few of these) as you like each week, as long as the total number adds up to 7 for a full week.

I’ve purchased a large laminated wall planner for the current year and a set of colored sticker dots to graphically represent on this calendar my Rest, Profit-Generating, and Business Development Days. I’ve found that having this hanging on the wall in front of me helps tremendously in my planning, and when presented with an opportunity, helps me determine how viable it is in relation to the time I have available.

On your Rest Days, you are free to do anything at all except work-related tasks. You can meditate, veg on the couch, spend time with friends and family, go for hike, or take a vacation. The goal on your Rest Days is to revitalize and rejuvenate your spirit and not think about business, work, or money. This is the first set of days I’d like you to plan for yourself. Yep, you heard me right. Repeat after me, “Pay yourself first.” What works with money also works with time! Currently, for me, that translates into 2 Free Days per week. I then have a number of longer vacation periods kicking in and 3 and 4-day weekends. Remember, all work and no play makes Jill a cranky girl….

Next fill in your Business Development Days, which is the time when you’re working ON your business, not IN your business. The Business Development Days are the most important days for a business owner because they’re serve as your business management days, or time when you focus on finances, marketing, sales, resources, and personnel.

Let me repeat — this is the most important day of your week. You can’t grow and market your business while you’re doing the actual work of the business, so devote at least one day per week to developing and overseeing your business. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, Business Development Days are vital to your success. Your business will not be able to grow and prosper without regularly scheduled business development time. My business development day is sacred, and I guard it like the Hope Diamond. Only in extreme emergencies do I let other things interrupt my Business Development Day.

The most compelling reason that Business Development Days are vital to your existence is because without that time, you don’t have any of the third kind of day, the Profit-Generating Days.

Whatever is left of the week are Profit-Generating Days, or the time when you’re actually working in your business, doing the work of the business. These are the days that you’re working with clients, answering their problems and concerns, or conducting other activities in which you’re directly generating revenue. In some businesses this time might be called “billable hours.”

So, my current schedule is as follows:

Saturday and Sunday: Rest Days

Monday and Tuesday: Profit-Generating Days

Wednesday: Business Development Day

Thursday and Friday: Profit-Generating Days

I started this type of long-range planning several years ago, and have found it to be incredibly empowering. I guess I’d fallen into the M-F, 9-5 rut again without realizing it, and spent all that time working with clients rather than spending any time on the business development side and taking a long, hard look at what I really wanted out of my business. What was helpful to me was realizing that I’m not going to always be 100% faithful to this system, as opportunities arise that I can’t control. However, I know if I commit to being 80-90% faithful to the system, I’ll do just fine.

Start planning time for your business development today. Buy your calendar, set aside some time to map out your year, and begin to experience the power of actually being in the driver’s seat of your business.

Copyright 2006 Donna Gunter