Beginning in 2007, the United States job market experienced a high level of sustained unemployment which unfortunately continues even today, six years later. The lack of being able to find work often stimulates the act of creating work which results in a large number of people starting their own business, or in other words, buying themselves a job.
What often motivates the employee to become the employer, or at least an owner, is the realization there is not a job in the current marketplace that will provide the same income and benefits as their previous employer. Since workers need to continue making a living, they begin to consider all options accessible to them. The buying a job concept is not wrong as long as the new business owner is able to transition from thinking and acting like an employee, to thinking and acting like a business owner. I often joke that a new business owner trades in the boss they didn’t like, for a really bad boss, the one that looks back at them in the mirror every morning, themselves. After a while, the old boss might not look so bad after all.
The following are a few things to consider when buying yourself a job:
Buying a job means taking something you know or want to know and buying into it. Franchises are often filled with people buying jobs. They may have been unsuccessful in getting a new job. They have some money to invest so they decide to buy a company or a franchise. There are many wonderful success stories of people buying into a franchise. However, it is important to remember a franchise is a business and not a hobby or a job you can easily leave.
Having sufficient capitalization will often make the deciding difference between the success and failure of a new business. The average business requires 1-2 years of capital, without the owner getting paid or being paid very little, to survive. Without adequate capital, you essentially starve the business by taking out essential funds required to make it through the tumultuous first few years.
A new business often becomes a family affair with a spouse, children, and perhaps siblings becoming involved in the business as well. Be aware all the standard opportunities and challenges that come with working with family members apply. Don’t run from the opportunity. Be realistic about what you are getting into and the potential challenges you will face.
The opportunity to work alongside your spouse can be greatly rewarding. Being able to dream, create, deliver and earn a living with your spouse who is hopefully your bestfriend, can be a reality. You may have the opportunity to travel together, solve problems together, to challenge each other to grow and to replicate the best of your skills and talents in your team members and employees. Together you can create a family like environment that makes everyone want to come to work.
The benefits of buying a job and becoming an Entrepreneur includes being able to do what you love to do and have the flexibility to do it how and when you want to. As the owner, you have the ability to leverage your time and money to benefit your family, business, and employees. It is a joy to lead your team through the creation of your dream. Your journey will include a great deal of learning, growing, and experiencing new opportunities and challenges.
If you have made the choice to buy yourself a job, be the best boss you can be to yourself and others. Build a family environment, enjoy your well-earned benefits and, most of all, embrace the journey.
Why are we, as a society, having such a hard time dreaming? As children, we dream on a regular basis. We fly, conquer the world, create imaginary friends, and plan to accomplish things never considered by anyone 20 years older. Then the aging process starts and conformity begins. We conform not only in our behavior (which is mostly good), but in our ability to dream. One by one, we are told (and often not outright), that our dreams are impossible. Our dreams are unreasonable, not possible, or even why would you ever try that – you might FAIL!
What this creates is a society of control freaks. These control freaks become business owners who want it done their way, as that way is the only right way. What they are losing is the ability to leverage the world to get things done for them. They don’t hire for new ideas, they hire for fitting into the box the business owner created. The problem: business owner wealth creation is often best accomplished by people with the desire to dream in a world without boxes.
Dream without boxes – what does that mean? It means stepping out and doing things differently. A perfect example is Steve Jobs, he created something that was new and different that we didn’t know we needed (actually we didn’t), yet how many of us want to go back to what life was like prior to Apple creations. You need to get away from the day to day so you have time to dream. It is learning to always challenge your own thinking and be open. You also must be willing to let others challenge your thinking – they also have dreams that might just allow you to fly, conquer the world, and accomplish things you were told were impossible.
Dream dreams for yourself, your family, and your business. Dreams do come true, but only if there is a dream in the first place.
Leader vs. Manager – Which are YOU? There are many articles and books written
about both topics. They focus on how to improve and become the best. Improving
those skills are at the foundation of becoming a better leader and manager. Before you begin that journey you must really start at the foundation of the leader and that is YOU. It is very much like a building, if it doesn’t have a strong foundation – one made of rock and not sand, the building will fail at the first sign of a storm.
If the building isn’t square all other parts of the construction are
harder, and creates more work for those trying to build the remaining
building. I could even start at the design of the building. The design needs
to be well thought out, well planned, and then well executed.
If this is true of leadership – which I believe it is, then why do we spend so little time on our own personal growth plan? John Maxwell highlighted a number of these points in a recent leadership certification program in Florida by introducing
the 15 Laws of Personal Growth.
Let me ask you, if you aren’t growing as an individual will your organization grow? The first law of Leadership is the law of the lid. Your organization won’t grow past your level of leadership. I recommend one earlier step – and that is a
personal leadership and growth plan. One of the first laws of Personal Growth is the law of intentionality. We must have a plan. Growth doesn’t happen accidentally. You must add value to yourself. After all if you don’t add value to yourself then why should others follow you to the next level? Here are questions for you to consider:
The second law is the law of awareness. Do you know yourself? What are your gifts and strengths? Are you capitalizing on those strengths? Is building on those strengths in your law of intentionality? This truly takes time. It is difficult to look internally. It isn’t always a pretty picture and one that many don’t want to face.
What are you running from?
The Law of Consistency is the difference between motivation and discipline.
However, what happens when the road gets rough, the rocks get bigger, and fatigue sets in? That’s where discipline steps in. Without discipline, motivation is useless.
The Law of the Environment is where your growth happens.
It can be as simple as rearranging the furniture or as complex as moving your office. If you live in confusion and chaos then make the changes necessary. If lack of organization keeps you from moving forward then get help to get organized. Learn new skills to make the change.
Personal development cannot be in a small-minded environment. You need to think big and dream big. Our society creates more negative than positive messages on a daily basis. The news, the economy, and often our friends and family, will tell us all the reasons we can’t succeed but not the reasons we can succeed. It is up to you to find fresh thinking, find new things, and create your new environment.
The seventh law is the Law of Design. To maximize personal growth you must intentionally develop strategies. Think -
A focus on weakness will at best make you average unless you want to make it a strength. Let me give you an example. If your weakness is public speaking and you want to grow in that area, then go for it. Get a speaking coach, read books, learn how
to be a good public speaker. However if you don’t like detail (like accounting) then don’t try to get good at accounting, hire someone else to do it for you. At best, you might become a mediocre accountant.
This is a continuation of my series on the 15 Laws of Personal Growth
The 8th Law is the Law of Pain – Without the pain there will be no growth. Just ask anyone who competes in sports, business, and life. There is an old saying of “no pain, no gain” and it is true. Good management of bad situations leads to great growth. When you manage a bad or painful circumstance well, you gain much. We actually learn far more from the pain than we do pleasure. We don’t remember the pleasure for nearly as long as we do the pain. The reason people don’t sustain success is people believe success sustains itself. That isn’t true, we can stumble upon success, but it won’t continue if don’t learn how to work through the pain, or what might also be called failure.
What isfailure – but pain? How we react tofailure, how we (to quote an old song) “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again” will be the true measure of our success. If we back off because of the pain and never push through it, we will never see the reward, the success, and learn from the pain.
I have found when I am the most frustrated, in the most pain, and at the end of my rope is when I am most able to succeed. I am more open to learning and more ready for the end goal. Actually, putting myself in the situation where failure is not an option, no matter what the pain ensures my success.
Many of you know I like to climb 14’rs and we have many of them in Colorado. On the way up the mountain, there are many times it would be easiest to just turn around and go home. Yet, turning around isn’t an option (unless health and safety are at issue).
Turning around because I am tired (and trust me I am), or it is hard (yes it is hard) or any other reason is just not on the menu of options. By pushing through the pain, through the hurt ad making it to the top – I am able to experience the success (and the view) and it is so worth the pain. Every time I grow, apply, learn, and continue on the journey – how about you?
This is a continuation of my blog series on Personal Leadership
The 9th Law is the Law of the Ladder. This ties to John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid. Your organization can only grow to where you are in leadership. If you have a cap on your leadership then your business growth will reflect that cap. The same is true personally. Character growth determines the height of our personal growth. We all must have a solid foundation. Just like my house, if the foundation isn’t built on solid rock, level, and firm, then the house will sway with the wind, storms, and weather. We are the same way. If your character isn’t firm, we aren’t firm on our character and values. Each new idea, situation, and opportunity will cause the ladder of our life to sway and sometimes fall. I often see this in business. Owners have a firm course of action until something comes along that is a new bright shinny object. Their focus, thoughts, and activity follow this new shinny object. Then we wonder why the results desired aren’t what we wanted, we aren’t getting ahead, and the profits we depended on are negative and not positive.
What is your character? What are your values? I look at these as nonnegotiable. These are the items that if you had to compromise, a piece of you would die. A value to me is my spiritual compass and guide to a fulfilled and meaningful life.
My values are:
Relationships: With God, Family and Friends and clients
Freedom: One reason I own my own business, desire to have control, ability to travel
Congruent: Being true to my word
Mental Growth: Desire to learn
Health: Desire to not be dependent on others as I age
Financial Independence: Desire to not be in debt, not rely on others for financial matters
Structure: Desire to have things in their place and be clean
Challenging: Never wanting to be bored, always ready to step out of my comfort zone, ready to do new things
So what are yours?
Law 10 is the Law of the Rubber Band – The only time a rubber band is worth anything is when it has tension. The value is the stretch. Yet if we lose the tension of growth, we lose. No great discovery of life was found by a satisfied person. Be grateful for the tension in your life, it shows you are alive. Where do you want to be? What tension are you creating to help you be there? Then what is the next level you strive for.
I lived in Massachusetts for 30 years. The last few years were all about determining where we would get to live. See we were making a choice to move, making a choice to get out of our comfort zone. We spent time researching, learning, visiting and making a decision. It was fun, it was challenging, it was scary. We were leaving where we had lived for a long time, going to a place where we knew no one, we had never lived, and jobs were unknown. We did it, survived, loved it and have always been thankful we made the change. Yet, the challenge really came after the move, there was a time of restlessness – especially for me. What was the new challenge, what was next on the horizon? I needed a new tension. My rubber band was all out of tension. I wasn’t growing, stretching and pursing a new goal. That had to change – which it did – it was called opening my own business.
What I learned was – never complete the stretch without choosing the new stretch, the new place to go and grow. When there is no tension you are under the ground – and I am not ready for that!
One opportunity I have is to work with the local Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce on their Chamber University. These monthly workshops are provided to the local business community as a tool to help them in their business.
During the last 2 years of assisting with the planning of Chamber U it amazes me that the only topic people want month after month is marketing. If the title of the topic includes marketing people attend, if it doesn’t then they don’t attend. So what is the mystic about marketing? Why is there such a “demand” for marketing information and education, yet what most business lack is systems and sales processes?
You can have the best marketing plan on the planet, yet if the team can’t close the sale, why bother. If there aren’t systems in place to follow up with the leads that marketing generates then it is a waste of money. If the target market for the business is not identified, then throwing $100 bills off the highest building might generate better results. Marketing is math nothing more nothing less. If the calculations don’t add up then the results become questionable. Here are a couple of tips for your marketing math:
Last week we highlighted the challenges of marketing. Marketing without sales is a waste of time and money. Yet, as a business coach, that is what I see continually in businesses I meet. The marketing team (even if it is a team of 1) does the marketing activities: advertising, networking, strategic alliances etc. Yet, when the phone rings does the sales team know how to close the sale? Statistic indicate that almost 70% of sales are not closed due to the sales person never asking for the sale. If you don’t ask for the sale, you probably won’t get it. The sales team needs training. I have joked that the sales team needs WEEKLY training, only to have sales people agree with me. It isn’t a joke, train your sales team, train them well and train them often!
Who is your sales team? My answer – every employee in the company? Who needs sales training – every employee. Who is the core sales team? The team of people who regularly talk, meet with customers and prospects. That includes receptionists, customer service, Presidents, management etc. All it takes is one word to make the difference in a sale.
What do you train the sales team on?
What is an executive coach and why would I want one?
Advance a career.
Transform a company.
Achieve incredible results.
With Executive Coaching all this is possible. Plus more.
For executives who want to take their career to the next level – certified practicing executive coaching can get you there.
So why executive coaching for your organization?
In business, the only thing that really counts is results. Executive coaching promises to deliver results within a relatively short span of time.
High achievers continually deliver results and they do it by performing at their best each and every day.
In today’s dynamic business world, these high achievers also need the guidance, support and motivation of an executive coach to accomplish this.
Peak performance is based on a few key factors, and no matter what business you may be in, the fact is:
• High performing executives achieve more
• High performing teams deliver more
• High performing companies make more profits and enjoy more market share.
All this is made possible through executive coaching.
How can you leverage your current skills, experience and resources in today’s fast-paced economy? How can you stay competitive in an increasingly competitive business world? How can you remain a top performer in a top performing company?
The answer is simple –by using the services of an executive coach.
So how do I pick one? How do I know they can really help?
Here are 4 tips for choosing an executive coach:
If you have any questions – give me a call – I will help you find the right coach for you.
The critical impact of attitude is seen every day in the business world. What one business owner sees as a disaster, another sees as opportunity, and capitalizes on that opportunity. Those who have spent their lives in below the line thinking don’t even realize the impact it has not only on them personally, but their families, businesses, customers and potential. If their team is below the line, where did they learn it from? Most likely they learned it from the business owner. An owner who is below the line will hire staff who also first turn to blame, excuses and denial. It is someone else’s fault that the project is delivered late, someone else’s fault that the customer is upset. To change they will need someone to hold them accountable to point out where they are below the line.
As I work with clients on this concept, the tendency is to swing to a point where issues in the business are not discussed with the excuse (notice the tendency again) that the issue is below the line. This doesn’t give permission for a business to white wash issues in the business. What is does change is the ownership and responsibility for changing the issue at hand. If projects are late, that is a fact. The question is what must change in the business to ensure projects are not delivered late, that your customers have the experience stated in all the promotional material.
Businesses have lived for years in below the line thinking and attitude. They stay in business, they grow, they pay the bills and serve customers. What impact would the business make with an above the line attitude? Profits would increase. Less time would be spent on blame and poor productivity. Productivity would increase with energy due to the positive atmosphere in the business. The examples abound.
Yet, you must be ready to make the change. Your dissatisfaction with the results, profitability, long work hours, people avoiding you since they dislike being around negative, blaming people, etc., must be at a point where it is higher than your resistance to making the change. It is easy to live below the line. It may not be fun, but it is easy and there is a great deal of company. When I ask my clients do they want to be average, the resounding answer is NO. They want to be above average. To make that happen, your mindset must change to one of excellence—above the line thinking— and you will be amazed at the results.
The family business. It is the foundation of the small business world in the US. Approximately 80% of small business are family owned. That can mean brothers, sisters, parents, grand parents, aunts, uncles and children. Why are there so many family owned businesses? One reason – blood is thicker than water. There is a trust factor that comes with working with family. I hear laughter from some of you. Some of you wouldn’t trust your family with a dollar let alone own a business with them. While that can be true, the reality is even where the family has a trust and verify. The family business has a set of dynamics that are unlike any other. Think of your family – what would it be like to work with them every day? Then, go home each night. Now I have you thinking… Yes, that is the joy and challenge of family business. It is often hard to:
Yet, it is wonderful being able to:
The list goes on for both sides. If you are considering starting a family business congratulations – you will love the journey.
What have your experiences been with family businesses? Are you in one? Have you done business with one? Share them with me, I would love to hear the stories.
Embrace Conflict – it is good for you.
Conflict is part of everyday life. If you have a business, marriage, relationship without conflict then you essentially are an ostrich with your head in the sand, which is the equivalent to being a yes man – which means you agree to things even if you don’t agree to avoid conflict – which is in and of itself conflict. One class I would recommend every business owner take is a mediation or conflict resolution class. There are books on the subject. One is “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” by Roger Fisher. For me it was a hard book to read – but I really enjoyed it on audio. The sooner you learn how to deal with conflict the better off life will be.
One of my clients was engaged at the time. Life was sweet for both of them. They enjoyed being together, they were obviously in love with each other, yet trouble was brewing. Every time he wanted something and she disagreed, she caved in. This was very evident in the business environment. It had been his business; she was new to his business, yet was very accomplished on her own and actually has better business sense than he did. Yet, what happened every time she suggested something and he disagreed, she would back down, both in business and personal. He even stated that he wondered when she was going to stop becoming so agreeable. It will happen and for both of them it will be a time of rude awakening as neither had really learned how to negotiate. They hadn’t learned the art of give and take and how to move both their ideas forward without squelching the spirit of the other person.
Couple of points on conflict resolution:
1. It isn’t always about getting what you want – learn the art of compromise.
2. If it is all about you – then the “we” part of any relationship won’t be long term.
3. Make sure you get the complete picture – stop assuming – remember what assume means. If you don’t know – then break out the word assume into 3 syllables – you get the picture.
4. Life is about negotiating – learn how to do it well, then apply the same art within your business and within your family.
Curiosity is critical in business. Accepting status quo, what others tell you is right and looking at the world the way everyone else does will and does get you in trouble.
Instead we need to step back and watch a 2 year old. What do they do?
• The explore everything, hold it upside down and look at it in every way possible.
• They challenge what others say and ask WHY? and keep asking WHY?
• “I can do it myself” is their mantra (well maybe we need to moderate that perspective.)
• There is nothing they can’t do in their mind.
• They are ready to take on the world.
Have you lost your natural desire to be curious, ask questions, challenge how others think you should act? If so then stop, slow down and watch a 2 year old. Start exploring your own world. There is so much at our fingertips that passes us by every day.
Curiosity may have killed the cat – but it will grow your business!
Part 2: Building a high emotional intelligent business is well worth the time and effort.
For a starter Being effective means:
• Understand when and what to say in certain situations.
• Knowing when to stay quiet (yes this is different than the above item.)
• Having empathy for the situation and/or individuals with whom you are dealing. That also means knowing the definition of empathy – so you can have empathy.
• Knowing and having a plan for WIIFM – what is in it for (me/them)
• Using diplomacy. There is a difference between being direct, diplomatic and being candid. Each of them has their place and time. My perspective:
o Being direct is telling it like it is without beating around the bush. There is no roundabout way it is straight through
o Being diplomatic gets the same point across, but there is a ramp up time, setting the stage, understanding where the other party is coming from BEFORE you deliver your message. Diplomacy is critical, yet sometimes the message gets lost in the process.
o Candid includes a level of openness, sincerity, not rehearsed. The message can be direct, yet it also takes into consideration the message and how it will be received.
Here are some practical tips:
• Ensure your leaders have the right emotional behavior
• Always be training on how to improve. You can’t improve your IQ, but you can improve your Emotional Quotient or EQ – so create a plan.
• Have a culture of continuous improvement and get buy in from everyone – or buy out (i.e., a path for them to leave the organization).
• Celebrate success which is the same for all aspects of the business. Too little is done to celebrate and too much focus is on what wasn’t accomplished. This will affect your EQ.
How does this affect profitability? According to John Maxwell, people leave people not companies. A company full of people with no EQ will be a revolving door. There will be a continual hiring process with no one staying long enough to be really good. Therefore profitability suffers due to lack of continuous improvement. One of my clients has had this issue and we continue to work on the impact the lack of EQ has on the organization. Staff is tired, demoralized and looking for opportunities that value them for their work, value them for what they offer and help them enjoy doing their job. If correcting that issues doesn’t improve profitability then give me a call, that is just the tip of the ice berg.
How well does your business understand EQ?
Entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders, managers need to step back on a regular basis and get back to basics. The temptation when running your own enterprise is to stop doing the foundational elements that made you successful in your business. What are the basics for you? Could they be?
• Marketing: Testing and measuring what is working in your marketing program and what isn’t. Are you guessing as to which marketing programs work and which don’t. One of my clients swore that one of their marketing programs worked and worked well, until we ran the numbers. They were investing about $14,000 per year in this program and got about $6,000 back. Even taking into account lifetime value of the new customers, it was an expense and not an investment. Both revenue and profitability went up when they stopped that marketing program.
• Sales: It is documented that sales people must be trained and retrained on a regular basis to refine their skills and ensure the basic blocking and tackling is being done. What old sales techniques need to be revisited and are there new ones? Selling today is very different than 5 years ago, however some of the basics like communicating with your prospect are foundations which often get forgotten due to bad habits.
• Closing: Are you asking for the close in the sale? I have a client that lost the potential of a big new account because the prospects perception was that they didn’t want it enough. They asked for the close, but not often enough during the final presentation. Their competition asked for the sale more.
• Advertising: Are you running the same old ad that you always do? It works – great, but could it be better. What is your shock and awe with your advertising? Do you get their attention, or are they yawning through the whole process?
Basics are critical. Innovation is critical, yet if the innovation is built on a rocky foundation the whole business may fail before you know it.
Call or contact Janna Hoiberg online to schedule a free, initial consultation.
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