3 Areas to “Tighten Up” in Your Business

You’ve probably noticed, that many business coaches and marketing gurus suggest performing a January, start-of-the-year business analysis to get clear on where you are now in your business, and how you might grow and improve in the upcoming year. Since January tends to be a really busy time for me with projects and programs in full swing, I prefer June for my in-depth, business reflection time.

A big part of business reflection is financial, of course: What was your profit over the past year? Should you raise your prices? What is your financial goal? Financial analysis is important, but that’s just a part of the picture.

Specifically, where might you tighten things up this year?

There are 3 areas that I reflect on in terms of “tightening up”. Tightening up simply means strategically making things better and more efficient so that my business runs more smoothly and is in alignment with where I want to be.

1. Your Market. Tighten up your market by being very specific about your ideal client. Do you market to both men and women? Just women? What age? What interests? The clearer you become about your ideal client, the more ideal clients you’ll attract. Tightening your ideal client profile should be an ongoing process – something that you do on an annual or bi-annual basis as you expand your business.

2. Your Message. As an entrepreneur with a specific area of expertise, how you describe what you do and package what you do should be also be tightened on a recurring basis. Are your products and programs in alignment with what you do best? Are clients and potential clients clear about what you offer? Take some time to reflect on and tighten your products, programs and campaigns so that your business vision is stronger and clearer all the time.

3. Your Marketing. How do you promote your work to your ideal market? Newsletters? Video campaigns? Live events? Tightening your marketing campaigns on an annual or bi-annual basis is crucial to the expansion of your business. Technology and trends  change rapidly so it’s important that you consistently tighten your marketing strategies to keep up with the times, weed out what’s not working and improve on what is.

Although there are dozens of other areas that you might include on your annual “tighten things up” list, your market, your message and your marketing are essential to expanding your expert empire, and keeping your passion and purpose in focus as you grow your business.

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The Cornetto Strategy

The cornetto strategy is one of the greatest factors in ensuring that you stand out as a leader your niche. In fact, when you apply the cornetto strategy, people will be spreading the word about you and your products and programs and, as we all know, word of mouth is one of the best ways to grow your business.

So what exactly is the cornetto strategy? Watch the video to know more …

When to Hold Back on Your Content

If you have every held a talk or hosted a workshop, seminar or retreat you know that one of the worst things to have happen is to run out of content when you still have time to fill! Ugh! What a terrible feeling, and most of us have had that happen at one time or another. So we quickly learn to over plan so that we have plenty of content ready the next time.

Here’s where presenters often make one of two mistakes.

Mistake #1

They put their participants into overwhelm because they’re now determined to cover all that extra content. Sometimes they continue to talk past the workshop’s scheduled ending time, because they don’t want to leave anything out. (Even though attendees’ eyes are glazed over with fatigue!) Or they might talk really fast to try get it all in, in which case people can’t keep up.

Overwhelm creates a block to learning. So trying to squish in content is actually a detriment to the quality of your event.

Mistake #2

Presenters sometimes tell participants that they didn’t have time to cover all the content. Yikes! That creates a sense of being cheated in the minds of attendees. What was she going to cover? Was it the best part? Why didn’t she plan better?

Never tell people what you’re not going to tell them! That’s also detrimental to the quaility of your event.

So what should you do? Create a part two!

Since trying to cover everything creates a sense of uneeded urgency in your mind, and overwhelm or disappointment in the minds of your participants, instead use your extra content as a foundation for your next workshop, seminar or retreat. Trust in the fact that you don’t have to cover everything at once. Your event will be higher quality as a result and participants will be eager to sign up for part two!

JV Partnerships and the Long, Slow Lunch Part 2

In JV Partnerships and the Long, Slow Lunch Part 1, I mentioned how the long, slow lunch strategy begins with blocking time to get to know a potential joint venture business partner better, and then opening up your observation skills and heightening your senses so that you are aware of things that might otherwise slip right past you.

Part 2 is about making yet another list – your ideal partner characteristics list.

In order to form a joint venture business partnership with the right person, it’s important that you’re clear about what kind of person you’d like to work with. Finding yourself knee deep in a project with someone who does not share your values or your passion can be uncomfortable at best. At worst, it can be a costly, brand-damaging embarrassment.

So grab that pen and paper again, and now list words and phrases that describe your ideal JV partner.

Is your ideal business partner spiritual? Is she a vegetarian? Is she an experienced speaker? Is she just starting her business?

The more clear you are about what you’re looking for in a business partner, the more likely that you’ll find someone who fits the bill. In fact, once you’ve written your “ideal partner list”, you’ll also be able to recognize very quickly if someone you’ve met will not be a good JV partner – at least not for you.

Strategically approaching JV partnerships is essential is creating high quality, long-lasting business relationships – plus you’ll find these are the people who also become your very good friends. Gotta love that!

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JV Partnerships and the Long, Slow Lunch

Wait! Before you form that joint business venture, are you sure about the person you’re partnering with? Does he or she hold your same values? Is she easy to work with? Collaborating with others on products and programs can be a fantastic experience. It can also be a disaster – and sometimes a costly one.

We hear a lot today about the importance of forming mutually beneficial relationships with others to build your business, but we don’t hear much about exactly how to do that. Or sure, there is plenty said about attending networking events, conferences and seminars where you might meet people who are interested in JV partnerships, but that’s just the beginning. Finding out if you even want to build a relationship with someone is the next step, and that involves getting to know them better – a lot better.

That’s where the long, slow lunch comes in.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from living in Italy is the importance of the long, slow lunch. Too often we schedule a meeting over coffee or lunch, but it’s all a rush. In fact, even networking luncheons have become hurried affairs, with attendees spending most of the time on their phones or texting.

The long, slow lunch strategy begins with blocking time to get to know a potential joint venture business partner better. That sounds simple enough, but too often today we’re rushing through our time with one person to get to our next appointment.

But blocking out time is just the beginning. During a long, slow lunch it’s especially important to open up your observation skills and heighten your senses. When you consciously heighten your senses, you’ll become aware of things that might otherwise slip right past you.

How does this person interact with others? Is she kind or rude to the wait staff? Does she ask questions about you or does she just talk about herself? How are you feeling as she talks? Inspired? Nervous? Unsure?

Here’s an easy assignment to help you stay focused on using your senses when you’re getting to know someone (hopefully over a long, slow lunch) with whom you might collaborate.

The Observation List:

Write an observation list beforehand so that you’re ready to notice things. Here are just a few things you might add to your list:

Punctuality
Energy level
Attitude
Interactions with Others
Body Language
Topics of Conversation
Ability to Focus
Listening Skills
Interest Level

Heightening your awareness when you meet with a potential joint venture business partner – over a long, slow lunch – is a simple, effective way to be sure you’re both on the same page, so to speak. But there’s a second piece to this strategy that’s just as important.

I’ll be covering that part 2! Coming soon …

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