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

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

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.

 

How To Make 2017 Your Best Year In Business

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The New Year is well and truly underway now and those resolutions we made on the brink of 2017 are still fresh in our minds. Whether we’re feeling the sting after failing three days in or we’re still going strong, there’s no doubt that a new year is a time to be thinking about how we can be better versions of ourselves in the coming year. It doesn’t just apply to our personal lives – have you considered making resolutions to better your business this year? It’s not too late! Here are three easy steps to make your business the best that it can be.

Get a Vision

What does the best year in business look like to you? This is a time to let your imagination run wild. What do you dream for your business, where would you like to be at the end of the year, what do you wish you could do with unlimited resources? Dream big! No two visions are the same, but by thinking radically about your business, you’re pin-pointing all the possibilities and laying them on the table.

Daring to imagine all those possibilities might seem a little wishy-washy to you, but gather all those possibilities and shape them into a sentence or two that sum up your hopes for your business this year. Now, you have a clear statement of where you want to go, you can lead your business forward.

Set Goals

Those few sentences that hold your business vision might seem a little daunting but there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed!

Your vision is very closely linked to your goals but your goals are allowed to be a little more specific – in fact, it often helps when your goals are as small as they can be. Your vision is never going to be fulfilled overnight; it’s those small, specific goals that will keep your business moving towards the vision throughout the year.

Take apart your vision until you get it down to bit-sized pieces that can be ticked off during the year. Think about what you can be doing every day, week, month, quarter and year to be moving closer to your vision. The best way to make sure you’re doing this is by setting aside time to plan, create, manage and adjust these goals during the year.

Take apart your vision until you get it down into bite-sized pieces that can be ticked off throughout the year. What can you be doing every day, week, month, quarter and year to be moving closer to that goal? The best way to make sure you’re doing this is by setting aside time to plan, make, manage and adjust these goals throughout the year. Here’s a handy guide for you – make it your own and start smashing through your goals:

Seize Every Opportunity

You might have dreamed up the best year possible for your business, but what will you do when little unexpected things pop up throughout the year? We can plan all we like but unfortunately; we can never plan for the unexpected.

Whether it’s a setback or a wonderful opportunity, you need to be ready for anything. Be ready to see the best in a bad situation and use it to your advantage. When it comes to amazing opportunities, you might be in the right place at the right time, but if you haven’t prepared yourself, you could find yourself watching the opportunity sail right past you.

Success is when preparation and opportunity collide – don’t miss out on success for lack of preparation.
With these three easy steps, you’re on track for the best year in business you’ve ever had. Here’s to a new year of business!

In business, it’s important to start the year strong. Through our Business for Life program, we help business owners from across Australia build a toolbox of skills that they can use to grow their success. We’d love to chat about how we could help you. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program here.

What Kind Of Influence Do You Have?

In business, as in the wider world, there are two main groups of people: those who are positive influencers and those who are negative. It’s often easy to assign those labels to people we know – there are probably faces swimming in front of your eyes right now as you think about all the different influencers within your business – however, it’s just as important to be considering which category you fall into.

Top 5 characteristics of a negative influencer:

  1. Has a passive aggressive attitude
  2. Only does what is required, never going above and beyond expectations
  3. Focuses on the negative aspects of any/every situation
  4. Is easily (and vocally) jealous of the opportunities others receive
  5. Is looking to bring others down or pick holes in their achievements

Negative influences in your business – whether the attitude is coming from you or someone else – can greatly decrease the productivity of your team. Negative attitudes are almost contagious, and by letting them inside your business you’re inviting crankiness, unhappiness and discontentedness to run riot. Everyone has their bad days, but when those bad days turn into weeks or months, it might be time to get to the core of the issue, re-evaluate and work towards turning the attitude around.

Top 5 characteristics of a positive influencer:

  1. Is looking to inspire and enable others to reach their goals
  2. Supports people through the exciting times as well as the difficult times
  3. Helps others to correct mistakes and has encouraging words
  4. Comes in with a positive attitude and a smile
  5. Goes the extra mile whenever they can

Much like negative attitudes, positive attitudes can also be contagious. We all feed off each others’ energy in business, so it’s important to have an energy that is conducive to getting work done. A positive attitude can lead us to have better strategies when facing challenges and making effective decisions.

If you’re a positive influencer – good news! You get to keep doing what you’re doing. If you’ve discovered some hater characteristics within yourself, it might be time to get to the root of the issue and work towards becoming a positive influence within your business.

In business, attitude is everything. Through our Business for Life program, we help business owners from across Australia build a toolbox of skills that they can use to grow their success. We’d love to chat about how we could help you. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.

How To Stop Missing Goals

setandreachgoals

Everyone has lofty goals; some of us want to increase sales or get that promotion, some even have grand plans to change the world. Those goals can be easy to set, but how often do we actually reach them? My bet is, not very often.

There are a few mistakes people make and the biggest of them is trying to tackle one big project in one go without much thought. Many people become overzealous in their attempt to get something done and jump straight in but, while doing so can often feel productive – we all want that instant gratification – taking too big of a leap can mean we find it difficult to keep our heads above the water and inevitably find ourselves overwhelmed.

Failing to specify the details of our big goals can doom us to fail right from the beginning; when our mind is unclear of what we really want, we struggle to visualise where we want to go and we give up. Losing sight of our goal can mean we lack the commitment to all the tiny details, so we start moving away from that goal instead.

“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” – Creighton Abrams.

If we think of a university degree – a big goal, chased after by many people, young and old – we can see how a goal can become overwhelming. Degrees are made of years, which are broken up into semesters and then subjects. Each subject has a list of assessments while the assessments themselves are comprised of paragraphs, sentences, words and letters. The smaller your goal is broken up, the easier it becomes to achieve.

A university degree seems insurmountable when you think of everything due at the end of the semester, but it simplifies itself and seems far easier to attain when you think of it as writing one word after another.

The next time you set yourself a goal, ask yourself these questions:

What do I want to achieve? Sometimes, this could be stating the obvious, but for bigger, more complex goals make sure you consider all the details; if you want your income to increase by the end of the year, write down the exact amount so you can visualise and work toward it.

What do I need to reach my goal? Think about every little step you can take on your way to the big goal, as well as people you might need to network with and set out a timeline.

How can I break it down? Break down every task, regardless of how small each step becomes. Remember, every tiny step is getting you to that giant goal.

How long will each task take? Setting realistic time boundaries, for each individual task can help you get to that big goal, on time. Setting mini-deadlines can keep you moving forward.

Do I need help? Thinking you’re alone in this journey can be detrimental to actually achieving your goals. Think about who can best help you to move forward and contact them to see if they’re willing to help you when you need it.

What can I do right away? After you’ve written out all your mini-deadlines and tasks, you’ll find there are some small things you can do straight away to start moving forward. The best part? You can put a little tick next to that box and get that instant gratification we mentioned earlier.

Remember, your goal will hopefully have a positive effect on your life, business or career – staying positive on your journey to achieving the goal means that your goal will be even sweeter when you get there!

Goal setting plays a massive role in all aspects of business. Through our Business for Life program, we help business owners from across Australia build a toolbox of skills that they can use to grow their success.  We’d love to chat about how we could help you. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.

Leaping With Faith

leap-of-faith

You know the feeling; it’s that tiny voice in the back of your mind and the butterflies in your stomach when you have the opportunity to take a giant leap in your business. Unfortunately, for too many people, the risk seems too great, even when there could be a great result on the other side.

At 2015’s Bxponential, Emanuel Comino spoke about the impact just 20 seconds of courage can have when the fear starts to set in. It’s those 20 seconds when you decide to leap into a new opportunity, which set you up for everything that is still to come.

Your business can be a little like a choose your own adventure story; when you’re faced with that nerve-wracking situation, you can ask yourself two questions to decide to move onto the next page:

What if you don’t?

There is a risk in jumping into the unknown – absolutely no one will deny that. Even entrepreneurs who’ve been in the game for decades will tell you that the fear of failure is still there, tapping them on the shoulder. Instead of turning around, they stop caring about failing; they believe in what they’re giving their clients, so they can keep moving forward with confidence.

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”  – J.K Rowling

The fear of failure has crippled many throughout history – some are so scared of rejection and failure that they do nothing at all. This approach keeps you in your comfort zone for now, but it means that you aren’t trying new things or pushing yourself and your business to the limits. How can you know what’s possible if you’re not willing to try?

What if you do?

Guess what? A little unease is expected when you’re faced with a big decision, conversation or opportunity. Instead of letting that fear be a roadblock, let it be your guide. When you start to feel a little uneasy, let that be the sign that reminds you it might be time to use those 20 seconds of courage you’ve been saving up.

People who have fears – perhaps of spiders, the dark or even dogs – are often told to confront those fears; looking at a spider, putting yourself into a dark room or interacting with a dog can be incredibly scary, but if you do it often enough, it starts to become normal. The fear may not ever go away, but you can start to gain control over it and maybe one day, you might look back and say ‘why was I ever worried about that?’.

Remember, it’s courage over fear – don’t waste your time trying to eliminate your fear, instead, build up your courage so that it’s ready to go when fear does start to creep in.

In your business story, are you going to choose to stay safe on page one, putting things off forever to avoid failure? Or, will you choose to leap with full confidence to see what the rest of the pages in your story look like?

 

Through our Business for Life program, we help business owners from across Australia build a toolbox of skills that they can use to grow their success. We’d love to chat about how we could help you. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.

Keys to Unlocking a Productive Day

Keys to Unlocking a Productive Day Bx Matt Alderton

Keys to Unlocking a Productive Day

Regardless of how many businesses you own, projects you’re starting or events you have on, each of us has exactly the same amount of hours in a day. This fact can either be inspiring or disheartening, depending on the way you approach it. The following four points should be your key to unlocking a powerful, productive day worthy of an entrepreneur.

Setting Goals

Some think that it’s better to just glide through life and see what happens, without setting any goals. Unfortunately, that’s not realistic and it’s not something that entrepreneurs do. When it comes to creating these goals, the S.M.A.R.T method has become extremely popular and for good reason – it works!

  • Specific – be clear and direct, there’s no use being vague.
  • Measurable – Measure your goals so you know when to celebrate success.
  • Attainable – aim high but be prepared to adjust your goals as you go.
  • Relevant – create goals which match your vision for your business.
  • Timely – set deadlines.

Create Systems

Have you ever done anything more than once? If there’s some task that you find yourself doing over and over again, systemise it. You can’t afford to be spending that time repeating a process over and over again when you could be making headway on a less menial task.

Do you ever feel like you can’t go on holiday or get sick? If you feel like your business will fall apart without you, it might be time to think about implementing some systems. Without systemising, delegating and automating, you start to become the business. It means you’re just making more work for yourself when you could be utilising the resources at your fingertips.

If you leave it too long, you could find that you are the only person who knows how to do a particular task and, when you hit a crisis, the burden will be on your shoulders. Instead, share the load – whether that’s with technology or with your employees – and don’t wait until you hit that crisis, create systems and process now so that they can steer you smoothly through the dangerous waters later.

Time Management

Funnily enough, being productive is not actually a talent, it’s simply a result of being organised. Time management comes under the organisation umbrella and it’s something that very few manage to master.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

There are hundreds of tips out there and, if we’re honest with ourselves, not one of those is going to be the magical solution to all your time management problems. Everybody’s days look different but you need to know what yours looks like to work out how you can improve. Using Google calendars or a similar app can mean that you can see your week at a glance.

Knowing your limits when it comes to your time can also be crucial. If you know when to say ‘no’ to opportunities (great as they may be), it gives your ‘yes’ a value boost.

Support Network

Networking for your business is invaluable, but it will never beat the network you already have. Scheduling time to spend with your family and friends means that you get a great balance in your day and a safe haven away from the uncertain business world.

These four key points are all crucial to creating a week that maximises productivity, moves your business forward and gives you a great work/life balance. Carving out time to put these points into practice could be the jump start you need to create a productive working week.

www.businessforlife.com.au/b41-program/

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