True success requires you to get your head in the game — not in any metaphysical, “new age-y” way, but in a knowing your direction and having a real desire to make shit happen! Getting stuck is normal, especially after a couple of months enjoying the sun, beach, drinking cocktails with umbrellas and the free time to do whatever the fuck you want. It can be a challenge to switch gears and get back to “hustle” mode. But with the fourth quarter literally around the corner, you’ve got to get your head back in the game in order to meet your goals and WIN (which is meeting your year end goals)! Okay. So, how exactly, do you accomplish that?
BE HONEST ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW–TODAY.
What were your goals at the start of the year? Did you meet them? No? Take some time to figure out why. What got in your way? Did your priorities or focus just shift? Be super clear here. We have to reflect on where we have been to set our path forward.
MAKE A STOP/START LIST.
What habits got in your way? Did you binge watch OITNB when you should have been reaching out to leads? Which habits do you need to adopt to turn things around? For instance, if you haven’t been consistent with your social media, try scheduling a daily or weekly Power Hour and hone your focus.
PRACTICE “FLIPPING THE SCRIPT”.
Identify each negative thought or bit of self-talk and when you hear “I don’t have time because of …”, flip the switch to “I can get up an hour earlier to make the time I need”! If you keep telling herself, “I don’t know how to start a blog.”, flip the switch and say, “I’m going to hire someone to help me with blog writing.” And, by all means, just stop with “I’m not cut out for this” talk. Turn that into, “I WILL figure this out.” or “It takes time to ramp up. Success doesn’t happen overnight.”
HANG OUT WITH LEADERS.
Surround yourself with other motivated go-getters — they’ll give you the push you need when you start to lose focus. As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So don’t waste your time with assholes that aren’t going anywhere. If you want success, hang out with other entrepreneurs that are invested in their business and committed to success.
SEEK OUT A FRESH SET OF EYES.
Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Sometimes when your head isn’t in the game it’s because you’re in a rut and so emotionally and/or financially invested in the path you were on that it’s impossible for you to see that there’s a different way to go. That’s exactly when a mentor/strategist/coach can help you to see where there’s room for improvement, and help you create a new plan of action that will move both you — and your business — forward.
You need to be mentally and emotionally committed to doing what it takes to grow your business. Getting your head in the game takes getting clear about your goals and being willing to put in the effort. Ready to start? Full speed ahead!
As an entrepreneur, coach, and trainer, spreadsheets are my friend. They are the most used tool in my biz toolbox. Currently, I’m hopelessly and fiendishly addicted to GoogleDocs, and more specifically, GoogleSheets. I have a long, complex relationship with spreadsheets. My love affair with their straight lines and no-nonsense columns has gone on for so long that I can’t remember its origin. My love blossomed when I was working for a large retail brand and in charge of rolling out a major initiative. We were not a mandate culture, so I had to create a compelling influencing strategy. In order to do that, I needed to track loads of data. This strategy involved influencing ten very autonomous divisions at the top level and then working my down through every department of every division. So I had to have and influencing strategy that basically involved over one hundred people. It was a huge undertaking and spreadsheets had my back…and kept my sanity.
On top of that, I’m a self-professed data geek.
As a Six Sigma Black Belt, I know that you can’t change what you don’t measure ( i also love Peter Drucker quotes). Detailed information that’s quantified showcases a visual representation of matters far more efficiently than lectures or guesstimates. My predilection for data and the way I designed the tracking wowed senior management. I don’t know if it was really anything special, I just don’t think they had seen anyone create a massive spreadsheet where you could easily generate reports with the click of a button before. They were so impressed with my creation that we hired someone to manage it full-time. It was their job to slice, dice, and analyze the data that my calculations revealed. It was truly a work of beauty.
Now that I’m self-employed and loving it, I still live by the spreadsheet. Our love never died or waned over the years. It’s not uncommon for me during a client session to say, “Hang on, let me create a spreadsheet for that!”
I mean, what’s not to love about being organized and delivering results? To make things even better, in GoogleDocs, I can share my spreadsheet love with my clients and my team; AND, we can collaborate on it. Each person adds their own edits or information to complete a project. GoogleDocs is low-cost or free and applicable to so many uses. I rely on it for project management, goal planning, content planning, budgeting, monthly revenue projects, sales funnel mapping, launch checklists etc.
Beyond the 1-D level of spreadsheets, you create collaborative documents, slides, and forms with the resource! Over the years, spreadsheets have never let me down. In fact, our love has only grown more profound. I don’t just use them in my business. I use it for personal stuff as well. Everything is organized in folders labeled with Budget, Household Projects, Party Planning, Health and Nutrition..and so on. When my husband starts talking about household projects or budgets, I immediately stop him with a “Hang on. Let’s refer to the spreadsheet.” I know that beyond the rolled eyes he’s really thinking, “I’m so glad I married this woman. Without her awesome spreadsheets our world would be in chaos!! ” Okay, maybe not.
Would you like to know the best part about GoogleDocs? For busy gals and guys, no longer does one have to worry about closing a tab and screaming, “OMG, I forgot to hit save!!!” The automatic save function preserves my work (as well as glasses and vases from shattering due ear-splitting laments about unsaved files).
In short, God bless you, GoogleDocs!
If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance you spend a whole lot more than 40 hours a week working. I know that’s always been the case with me. In fact, in my entire corporate career, I never once took an entire week off. Instead, I’d take long weekends, thinking I couldn’t afford to let business “slide” for longer than that. I was actually told that I couldn’t take any vacation time from September through December because my presence was too valuable during the holiday season. I always thought that was just part of the deal working for a large retailer. So, I’d just fly back to Boston from Cincy to celebrate the holidays with my family in January. No biggie. But it actually was a biggie. I didn’t realize it until after my Dad passed. Now, every holiday, I don’t think about all of the future holidays that I will miss with him but I regret all of the past holidays that I missed with my family because of work.
My thinking about the idea of losing productivity while taking time off has changed. Why? For the first time in my working life, I actually took a two-week vacation! Okay, technically I still worked remotely while traveling, but something remarkable happened during those two weeks. I found I was actually MORE productive when I did sneak in a little work. I knew that I only had limited pockets of time in which I could get things done, a fact that made me laser focused! There was no time for “shiny object syndrome” or social media breaks when I was working on a project. I had to be very diligent about how I spent my time. It’s classic Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”! In other words, if you allot only a certain amount of time to complete something, it motivates you to get it done! Here are a few other tips for navigating some well-earned time off …
- Communicate your plans to your clients. Let them know you’ll be taking some time off, but you’ll still be working on a slightly condensed schedule. They’ll appreciate the heads up, and aren’t likely to begrudge you a little time off.
- Take advantage of automation. Set up email auto-response. Set up a “splash page” on your website with an awesome freebie, and plan out your social media and blog posts before you head out.
- Share your vacation with your audience. People ultimately are buying YOU. So let them see the person behind the brand. One of our clients, Kathy Jalali from Happy Cinnamon, is doing this brilliantly right now while she and her family are traveling in Spain. She’s taking amazing images while incorporating them into her brand messaging of Spice Up Your Wellness.
You can take time off! It takes a little planning, but the rewards — a change of perspective and the balance gained from a bit of time off — make it all worth it in the end!
Though it might not seem like it, brand strategy is one of those elements that needs to be revisited certain times a year. Many businesses make the mistake of creating an overall brand strategy once…but never visiting it again.
But as businesses grow and change, their brand must evolve with them. The best times to reevaluate brand strategy: The first time is the end of the year/beginning of a new year, and the second is summer. Yes, that’s correct, summer. It tends to be a slower time for business, which makes it a great opportunity to create a marketing plan to forge ahead with the latter half of the year.
But what exactly is a brand strategy?
You might hear the term often, but not quite understand it really entails. The first thing to establish? It goes far beyond a simple logo and graphics. It’s deeper than that, it’s your mission and vision and ultimately how an audience truly perceives your company – it is really what your company identity is rooted in. You’ve heard the saying, “your vibe attracts your tribe”? That’s your brand strategy. It’s telling a story that attracts your ideal client.
A great brand strategy is when a business can clearly communicate its value, and differentiate itself. It cultivates roots, and it is why your customers are attracted to you and ultimately loyal to you.
What makes a good brand strategy?
Knowing your audience
Your focal point in this case is answering the fundamental question: Who are you trying to attract? That answer will drive all of your marketing, so give it substantial thought. Perhaps you have gained new information that sheds further insight on who your ideal client is. Or maybe you now know who you want to work with, and want to tweak your buyer persona accordingly. This will drive strategy going forward, so it is incredibly important to identify the ultimate target of your marketing efforts.
Summer is a good time to see what the rest of the market is doing, and how you measure up against that. What seems to be working well for them, and how can you integrate that into your business? Or maybe there are certain things your business excels at, while others struggle. Tap into that knowledge, and use it to your advantage.
Give your website a refresh, and ensure that the messaging is consistent with your overall brand strategy. Audit accordingly, and remove images that may not fit, or look at ways to improve the aesthetic appeal of your site (i.e. look at fonts, and colors). Curate new images to use for your website and content.
Set a goal, and a budget
Summer is also a good time to set resolutions. What do you want to accomplish in the next six months? Is it to increase content production, such as blogging? If that is case, it might be worth hiring a content strategist and/or SEO specialist to get the ball rolling. Identify your business needs, and start budgeting so that you are able to forge ahead with full force.
Use the summer as a catapult of sorts. Target what needs improvement, what is working well and where the gaps are in your brand strategy during this time as it will help drive success the rest of the year.