Time to Ditch the Fear of Failure

Time to ditch the fear of failure

Everyone views failures differently – what might be a triumph for one could be a major disappointment for another. You may have experienced this in school while your classmates shielded their results from one another, knowing that everyone’s standards are slightly different. Failure has a lot of negative connotations but perhaps surprisingly, it can be taken positively too.

There are many, many sufferers of atychiphobia – the fear of failure – but we can safely bet that, if you’ve embarked on your business journey, you are not one of these people. Those who are scared of failure often don’t even try at all, in case failure rears its head.

Realistically, failure is rife in the business world. Running from it may mean that you miss out on a lot of opportunities for your business to grow. It’s also not healthy to run head first into every opportunity recklessly, without considering the implications. As with everything, approaching failure is an art and requires a great deal of balance.

You will fail…..get used to it.

It’s undeniable! Growing a business comes with its own unique set of risks, meaning that failure is definitely on the cards.

In 1955, two men created a type of putty which was intended to be wallpaper cleaner. They seriously misjudged the demand and ended up with a product that seemed to be a huge failure. By chance and a few convenient connections, the product ended up on the table at a nursery school where it was an instant hit. The children loved it and found it a much better material to use when they were moulding their imaginations into something physical. The product became a huge success, so much so that there isn’t anyone alive who doesn’t know the name Play-Doh and associate the brand with happy memories.

Failure doesn’t always directly lead to a major success as it did in the case of Play-Doh and you can’t always physically use your failures. You can, however, always use the things you learn from your failure.

What doesn’t kill you……

We’re sure you’ve heard every failure cliché under the sun. We all know that failure is supposed to make those successes even sweeter. We know that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and we know that failure is just another word for experience. The most frustrating thing about these clichés? They’re all true, to some extent. So, how do we start taking them seriously?

The best thing you can do for your business is to take failure as it comes and not get knocked down and permanently defeated. There’s no need to glorify failure – we all know that failing is disappointing and demoralising – but there is a need to treat it like the lesson that it is. Dusting yourself off from failure means that you’re giving yourself another chance to get it right, maybe not next time, or the time after that but at some point down the track. It takes time to look at failure as a positive, but your business will thank you for it.

There is no denying that failure is scary, but using the failure to grow your business is a true art. If you’re ready to master the art, we would love to hear from you. Call Bx on 1300 068 229, or find out more about what we do here http://www.businessforlife.com.au/ProgramFindOutMore

Does Rejection Make Your Business Stronger?

Does rejection make your business stronger?

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ll know that having clients choose your competitors is part-and-parcel of the job – even the biggest and seemingly successful businesses in the world come up against clients who will choose someone else over them. So what happens when you come up against rejection and what do you do next? Let’s find out:

A few bad apples don’t need to spoil the bunch…..

Rejection needs to be expected. It happens! Maybe it’s a fault in your business or maybe it’s a hang up on your potential client’s side. Either way, expect there to be a few bad apples along the way and don’t get too hung up on it or take it personally. It’s important to have long-term goals too. Coming face-to-face with rejection can be debilitating if you’re not sure where to go from here. If you have a goal to acquire 20 new clients this year, it becomes easier to look beyond the one rejection and move on to achieve your goals.

Keep the conversation open…..

Just because your potential client has said no this time, it doesn’t mean they’ll say no next time. Any number of things could happen in between now and then causing them to return to you, so you want to make sure the relationship you have begun stays positive and isn’t terminated just because they choose someone else. Acting negatively towards the client and rejecting them in return significantly slims down the chance that they’ll return to you next time. Treating them mean to keep them keen might work in the dating world but it won’t go down well in the business world.

Ask for feedback and take it on board…..

Perhaps it was your pitch that didn’t quite hit the mark or maybe your competitors are simply offering something better. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. There’s no need to be overbearing; a simple, kind question to see what their decision was based on can be very telling, even without pressing for too many details. If there’s something you can change or improve upon based on their feedback, take note and take action. It could mean you come up against less rejection later on.

Celebrate your successes…..

Rejection comes around often, but so do successes. Remember your successes often and feel free to pat yourself on the back without shame! Note what works well and keep it all in mind when you do encounter rejections. The rejection shouldn’t defeat your drive in your business, so have a collection of success stories on hand to draw on and boost your morale.

Rejection might seem like a door is slamming in your face but it may actually push you in a different direction, toward more success.

If you’re ready to start bouncing back from rejection and turn it into a success, we’d love to hear your business story and help you to move forward from here. Call Bx on 1300 068 229, or find out more about what we do here http://www.businessforlife.com.au/ProgramFindOutMore

 

How to Network Without The Icky Factor

How to Network Without The Icky Factor

Matt Alderton, Bx, Business for life, networkingDoes the idea of “Networking” conjure visions of eating bad canapés and lurching from one uncomfortable and superficial conversation to the next?

Have you ever attended a “Networking” event and felt like everyone was just in a big race to see who could hand out the most business cards first?

I have. And that is just plain “Icky.”

In fact, a scientific study recently featured in the Harvard Business Review has proven that professional networking actually makes people feel dirty.

Yep, seriously… it makes people feel physically dirty – like they want to take a shower afterwards!

Researchers suggest this is because we generally think about morality in terms of cleanliness and most of the time, professional networking feels very “contrived” and it increases people’s feelings of inauthenticity and immorality (hence the whole “feeling dirty” thing).

That’s why, even though we HerBusiness gives members loads of opportunities to connect with others  – we are definitely NOT about that kind of “Icky” Networking.

We showed that kind of networking the door years ago. What the same study DID find is that Networking had a positive association with job performance.

That means, whilst it can be great for your business in terms of winning new business, making useful connections and expanding your reach, most of the time you’re going to feel pretty uncomfortable with it.

So, how can you get all the benefits of networking without the “icky-ness” factor?

Look for organisations that offer alternatives.

Instead of hyped up, short term meet and greets, seek out interactions that have depth, authenticity and a good dose of practical advice and humour thrown in.

You’ll be creating relevant and vibrant connections with other business owners who will be good for your business – either as valued clients, suppliers or cheerleaders.

I like to think of the word network means “support team”.

Look for networks low on “Icky” and high on real conversations, solid advice and wholehearted support.

I like the way that Corryn Barakat of Milk and Love explained a meeting that she really liked…

“It’s the most grounding and invigorating forum I’ve attended as a Small Business Owner. All of the attendees provided useful points of view I hadn’t previously considered, and the size of the session means it felt intimate – like a group of your best friends getting together over coffee!”

So, look for a community where you can get real, valuable support from like-minded business owners.

Suzi Dafnis is the CEO of HerBusiness, which teaches women business owners how to market, operate and growth their business. Learn more at herbusiness.com/about

Small Business and the 2017-18 Budget

Last night we saw our fourth Budget handed down from the current Government and there were no major surprises for small business owners. Yet, was it enough? As a small business owner, is there enough being done to drive your profitability, resilience and long-term success by the Government?

 

Why Small Business?

I am often asked by people why the Government should spend resources and funds on small business. ‘Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the business owner to achieve their own success?’. This is not a simple answer, and the same could be asked of all Australians. Before we dive into the 2017-18 Budget, let’s take a look at WHY small business is important to the Australian Economy.

  1. Small business employs more than 60% of working Australians – According to figures compiled by Saul Eslake, and discussed in an article by Adam Creighton in The Australian:
    1. Businesses that employ less than 20 employs approximately 45% of private sector employees
    2. Businesses with 20-199 employees employ approximately 25%, and
    3. Businesses with 200+ employees, approximately 20%.
  2. Small business is paying the way for Australia
    1. The ABS reports in 2015-16 taxes on income accounted for 57% of revenue (across all levels of Government).
    2. Taxes on the provision of goods and services accounted for over 23%

Not only is small business paying company and other taxes, they are paying the wages of 60% of the Australian workforce, contributing to the PAYG tax collected by the ATO.

It’s clear that small business is a key player in the revenue generated by the Government, yet are the measures to support and strengthen this critical sector our economy – the ‘engine room’ as it is so often referred to – enough to ensure this sector becomes stronger and more resilient.

Last night the ABC reported that 3 out of the last 4 quarters had seen negative growth in the retail sector – a significant segment of small business. Even the cafe and restaurant sector, has seen negative growth.

With greater than 50% of small businesses failing, small business needs more than a tax break on profits to create long-term growth and sustainability. Dun and Bradstreet’s Failed Businesses Report, shows that in 2016 the ACT recorded its highest number of business failures in three years.

Interestingly, small business may make up a significant portion of the Australian economy, but how much of that is actually collected? The Australian reported in an article by Robert Gottliebsen, the ATO is owed $19 billion in overdue tax, of which $13 billion is owed by small businesses with turnover up to $2 million.

The engine room is clearly struggling.

The Budget Wrap-Up

Okay, so it’s not all doom and gloom for the small business sector. Although I don’t see it as a clear win for small business, there are still a number of measures that will bolster small business.

  1. $20k instant asset tax write-off – this has been maintained for the 2017-18 FY for businesses of up to $10m. No surprises here.
  2. Red tape reduction incentive – States and Territories have been promised a $300m  payment over 2-years towards innovation. Let’s see how this filters through to small business.
  3. Small businesses employing foreign workers on 457 Visas will now be slugged with a $1,200 per year per worker, along with a one-off $3,000 payment. This replaces the need to report training spend required of 1-2% as previously required. I can see this impacting the hospitality segment especially, with a high number of foreign workers, and incredibly tight margins.
  4. The Black Economy – a crack down on the ‘cash economy’ is on its way. Businesses still operating by under-reporting, falsifying records and illegally avoiding paying tax are under threat. Let’s face it – it’s about time. If you are operating this way, you deserve to be caught – you are lining your pockets at the expense of all Australians. This will include businesses that pay cash to employees and businesses that don’t declare cash payments. Next time you walk into a local cafe that doesn’t have EFTPOS…ask for a receipt.

 

What is missing?

If the Government is serious about creating a strong, resilient and sustainable small business sector, we need to focus on two key elements.

  1. Funding for small business – cashflow is the number one issue for small business. The bank’s pledge small business funding, yet it is not accessible to the majority of small business. There needs to be a State or Federal solution to this.
  2. Education for small business owners – the more I work with small business owners, navigating the many challenges and opportunities that they encounter, the more obvious it is. Small business owners need training and education in the areas outside of their trade craft. Too often small business owners are expected to be the expert in all areas, accounting, taxation, legal matters, social media and marketing, structuring, systems, HR and so on.Yet, to get professional advice in all these areas is financially unachievable. Training and education is, therefore, essential and should be a high priority for both State and Federal Governments.

There is it, the Budget 2017-18. Hon. Scott Morrison stated in his Budget speech, “…business is responsible for a large part of driving revenue growth for Australia.”

If 4/5 of the budget repair is driven by growth, then business success is fundamental.

Getting Organised Amongst Business Chaos

Everyone is time poor – how often, when you ask someone how they’re doing, do they respond with a simple “busy”? Sometimes, it’s with a smile – after all, being busy in business usually means money is coming in. Other times, their expression is more akin to utter exhaustion – being busy can leave us feeling drained and weary.  How do we get organised amongst all the business chaos?Getting organised in small business

We all have the same 24 hours each day, so how do we make the most of that time, feel organised and avoid becoming depleted of energy along the way?

Of course, there are simple things we can be doing every day to make sure we stay productive, have a great mindset and stay sane amongst all the chaos. Eating healthily, exercising throughout the day, taking scheduled breaks, maintaining a great filing system and using technology to your advantage are all great ways to get the most out of every day and stay organised.

Here at Bx, we strive to be implementing every single one of the above but we are huge fans of using apps and other bits of technology to our advantage.

Why apps to get organised?

Technology is everywhere – there’s no denying it, but instead of treating the influx of technology as a negative, we’ve chosen to treat it as a great opportunity. Apps can integrate with our phones as well as our desktop and keep us organised and productive throughout our days, no matter where we are. Which apps do we swear by?

Asana

Free for up to 15 users, Asana is a project management tool that keeps all your employees on the same page and across every detail of every project. It’s like a to-do list on steroids. It has changed the way we work at Bx in the last few years and turning back won’t be an option.

Life Cycle and Sleep Cycle

Using both these apps together lets you track your days and nights so that you know exactly how you’re using your time and what you need to do to improve your productivity. Life Cycle tracks your days, taking note of where you go and how long you spend doing certain activities. This is great for those workaholics amongst us who don’t even realise they spent 90 hours working this week. Meanwhile, Sleep Cycle tracks how long you sleep as well as the cycles within your sleep and wakes you up when you’re in the lightest stage of sleep.  

Evernote

If you’re carrying around your laptop, phone or tablet anyway, it doesn’t make sense to decide to add a notepad to your luggage so using Evernote is a great way to have the convenience of a notepad combined with the convenience of technology. Evernote allows you to take notes any time just like any other notebook app, but you can pull other documents into the app, videos, photos and snippets from the web to compile a notebook that fully encompasses your vision for whatever you happen to be working on.  Keep it all in the one place so you’re not wasting time searching for that great idea you had last week!

Have you found some great ways to use technology in your business? We’d love to know more about what works for you and your business and help you out by sharing our successes too. Call Bx on 1300 068 229, or find out more about what we do here http://www.businessforlife.com.au/ProgramFindOutMore

 

Do people skills matter in business?

In days gone by, technological expertise was more highly regarded than people skills. It was all about what you could do, not necessarily how you interacted with others while you did it. Now, that attitude has shifted quite dramatically. With technological advances, more and more jobs that involve manual labour are being replaced by automation and machines. People skills are more important than ever!

What are people skills?

Whether they’re referred to as social skills, people skills and interpersonal skills, they are essentially all the same; someone’s ability to communicate and interact with others in a positive way.

Those with people skills often exhibit:

  • Behaviour that builds trust easily
  • A reluctance to involve themselves in drama, power grabbing schemes or gossip
  • Respectful behaviour towards the people around them.
  • Great communication skills when it comes to explaining what they want
  • Tact when it comes to delivering bad or inconvenient news
  • Fantastic listening skills
  • A willingness to participate

Fortunately, artificial intelligence hasn’t grasped the concept of emotional intelligence just yet, so now is the chance to be developing our people skills in our businesses and making our businesses known for their exceptional interpersonal skills.

Not only do social skills really improve the relationship between owners and employees or amongst the employees themselves, these skills can also help when it comes to customer interactions or networking with fellow business owners.

How can we develop people skills?

Consciously considering what you’re good at when it comes to interacting with others in your day-to-day business life can be a great place to start developing those people skills. Awareness might be the first step but there is a multitude of different practical ways to be better at interacting with people:

  • Stand out! Are you prone to lurking in the corners at networking events or letting all your customers deal with an online feedback form rather than being accessible? Get out there and make yourself known to other people – just by taking the step towards being accessible is an improvement.
  • Ask personal questions. These shouldn’t be so personal that they make the other person feel uncomfortable. Simply asking what they’re passionate about or what they would do if they won the lottery could open them up and build trust between you.
  • Accept offers. Have you ever been at someone’s house or office when they’ve offered you a glass of water or a snack? How often do you say yes? Saying yes puts your host at ease, makes them feel like they’re being useful and it breaks the ice ever so slightly – if you’re not already in the habit of saying yes, now is the time to start.
  • Listen. It seems simple enough, but it’s one of the hardest things to do. Next time you’re in conversation with someone, listen intently, make eye contact, don’t interrupt and think about what has been said to you before you speak.
  • Ask for feedback. Not only does this give the other person a chance to talk, it shows that you’re willing to improve and it’s another way to build trust in business relationships – you care about what they have to say, and they’ll care about what you’re providing.

People skills are more important than ever – challenge yourself to start trying some of these ways to improve your own interpersonal skills and see how your business benefits from the stronger relationships you form.

Are you harnessing and developing your existing people skills to take your business to the next level? We’d love to speak with you about how we could help your business to improve its performance. Call Bx on 1300 068 229, or find out more about what we do here http://www.businessforlife.com.au/ProgramFindOutMore

Creating Loyal Customers & Raving Fans

It’s common knowledge that it’s easier to keep existing customers rather than winning over new ones, but this fact can sometimes get lost in amongst the pressure we all feel to be bringing in new customers and growing our business. We get distracted and we start neglecting those customers who have already engaged with us in the past.

Why should you shift your focus to your existing customers?

Have you ever considered how much time and money you spend trying to engage new customers through your marketing? Of course, you have to spend resources in order to make sales, but could some of those resources be better spent looking after your existing customers? Marketing is essential for growing your business, but how much of your marketing is going to people who were once your customers but left for a better solution? Save your time, money and energy by focusing more on your existing customers.

While we’re still talking resources, have you ever considered what will happen when all that marketing pays off? Does your business have all the resources ready to go if, suddenly, a swarm of new customers want to engage? If you become overwhelmed and can’t provide the new customers with the service you promised them or the existing customers with the service they’ve come to love, you could be running the risk of losing everyone all together.

How can you foster loyalty?

You’ve got customers, so how can you make sure they stay with you? It’s less about meeting their expectations and more about going above and beyond!

Be Transparent

Have you ever wanted to buy a product online, only to find they had no clear guide to shipping costs? Maybe it’s an oversight or perhaps it’s a deliberate omission to hide their astronomical prices. Either way, it’s not a good look. Laying everything out clearly for your customer to see is the best way to foster trust.

Be Accessible

Most of the time, it feels like you’re shouting into the void – your email campaigns might show increases in sign ups or sales but it’s less common to have your customers telling you exactly what they think. Provide them with an option to give you feedback and make it front and centre. Not only does it feel less like you’re talking to yourself, but it gives your customers a voice and opens up the communication between you.

Be Knowledgeable

If you were asking someone for directions in a big city, would you trust them if they weren’t even sure where they were or changed their mind constantly? Similarly, in business, it’s important you know where you’ve been, where you are now and where you’re going. Know everything you can about your business so that when, inevitably, a customer asks a question, you can give them a confident answer. How can they trust you if you’re not sure about something you’re supposed to be good at?

Be Consistent

Customers are big fans of consistency. It’s comforting to know that you’ll get the exact same great result every single time and if you are consistent, your customers will become even bigger fans of you. Never sacrifice quality for quantity, no matter how efficient you seem – it will ultimately make your customers lose faith in the service or product you provide.

Be Genuine

You might be selling your product or service but you’re also selling the experience of doing business. Having genuine, honest conversations will keep customers coming back for more and owning up to your mistakes, when you make them, will show your customers you care about the end result. It might seem like a small (and easy) thing, but being genuine could be the reason your customers choose you every time.

Start implementing some of these easy tips today and watch as your customers become raving fans!

 

If you want to find out more about creating Raving Fans or about what we do at Bx, feel free to book a quick 15-20 minute chat with me and we can talk. Book in HERE.

 

What Makes a Great Mentor? How to Find a Great Mentor.

Mentoring can be an extremely valuable experience, not only when you’re new to the business world, but right through the life of your business. There is a lot of time and effort involved in creating a successful and effective mentoring relationship and it should never be one-sided. So, what should you expect from your mentor and what should you be doing in return?

Your mentor should:

  • Be a sounding board. Sometimes, you need someone to bounce ideas off and mentors generally have more experience and business knowledge, making them the perfect sounding board for all your ideas, crazy, ambitious or even unrealistic.
  • Give you guidance.  After you’ve thrown ideas at them, you might be expecting your mentor to tell you exactly how you should make those ideas a reality, but unfortunately, that’s not what they’re there for. Rather than give you step-by-step instructions, their role is to offer guidance on what might work – the hard yards are all on you!
  • See the big picture for you. When your head is stuck in your business and deep in paperwork, it can be easy to lose sight of why you’re doing this in the first place. A mentor makes sure you don’t get bogged down or lost amongst all the busyness; your mentor keeps you moving forward, even when you’ve forgotten where you’re going.
  • Set clear boundaries. Are you unsure when the best time is to call your mentor? Do you have a set time to meet every week or month? How long is this mentor/mentee relationship intended to last? If you have a good mentor, you already know the answers to these. Clear boundaries mean that both of you know where you stand and what’s expected of you.

 

Your mentor should not:

  • Run your business for you. A mentor’s job is a little bit like someone helping you to run a marathon. They’re there to prepare you, to give you advice on what it’s like out on the course, but they’re not going to run alongside you every step of the way and make the decisions for you. You can expect them to cheer from the sidelines but expecting them to take up a role in your business is both unrealistic and unreasonable.
  • Tell you what you want to hear. Just like a great friend or a parent, a mentor doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, they tell you what you need to hear. This means that your mentoring journey won’t always be easy, but you can be assured that all of their advice – even if it’s confronting – is for your benefit as well as your business.
  • Be at your beck and call 24/7. The reason you have a mentor is because they know a thing or two about business – this usually means that they have their own, successful business to be running. As a consequence, calling or emailing them several times a day will wear thin very quickly. Respect your mentor’s time and be fully prepared for the designated time you spend together each week or month so you can get the most out of them while you can.

With clear boundaries, mutual respect and an enthusiasm for business, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful business mentoring relationship.

Do you need a mentor? Some coaching? Or just a conversation around getting a mentor?

Feel free to book a quick 15-20 minute chat with me and we can talk. Book in HERE.