Category Archives: Small Business Success Strategies

Immediate Increase and Easy Growth to the Next Level

September being a month of new beginnings and the need to make fresh starts, for business owners a summer of both busyness and / or quiet, mean that by the time October arrives we can often be in a state of overwhelm, frustration and even an intense dislike towards what our business has become. Continuing in this vein will lead you into wanting to throw in the towel mixed with thoughts around not wanting to fail either. Hence major resentments towards what you’ve created and confusion around what steps to take next…

There are always solutions. When you’re in the midst of thick fog it’s little wonder you cannot see a way out. Here’s to tackling your top challenges to take your small business to the next level and get out of overwhelm.

Upskill your staff members

Your team / staff members are not working as efficiently and effectively as you believe they could be. You feel they are taking advantage of your good nature and not taking your business seriously. You know you are overpaying them for the work they are doing and could be making their roles work more for your business.

You have probably spent hours reflecting on this, thinking this way and that, bemoaning their behaviour and attitude. Let’s be more effective than this. Write down all the aspects of their behaviour and role that you want to improve (and later in the process, how) and then create an opportunity to discuss and communicate with them focusing solely on the areas that will have the most positive impact on you and your business.

Reevaluate your current processes

A dramatic change in your industry, local demographics, government policy, client contracts or political shift (Brexit) has massively impacted your customer base and their buying decisions. It’s dramatically changed your small business and impacted your usual way of operating. Something needs to change within your business otherwise you will get left behind your competition, being unable to fulfil your client contracts and working harder to deliver against less profitability.

It can be easy in our businesses to overlook the everyday activities, the ones we are doing over and over again, because we have been completing tasks this way for months and years and they work doesn’t mean they will always work best in that way, times, technology, experience changes. Go through your processes and see what can be streamlined, what’s working, what’s not working.

Recently, working with a business owner who runs a business with over 20 staff members, he went through this ‘Reevaluating Processes’ exercise and found he was losing business (and resource efficiencies) due to the fact they were mostly quoting for work whilst on site at the end of the day. He now has changed his process so all ‘quoting jobs’ are started and completed first thing in the morning. This has meant when jobs go ahead (and are now more likely to go ahead) the work can be actioned that very day, making the work more profitable; no need for return visits, making the customer happier too.


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

 

When is a Business Coach right for you and your business?

Business coach

How do you know when coaching is right for you, will it work, how will I get a return on my investment? All valid questions, and ones I asked myself when I was selecting the right business coach to work with. Do your due diligence, background research, speak to clients they’ve worked with and so on. First of all ask, when is a business coach for me and my business…?

You want to create a better work-life balance

You’re a business owner who is working too long hours, working on aspects of your business that deep down you know you shouldn’t be working on; someone else could do them more easily, effectively for you to focus on business development tasks. When you aren’t working you and your over active brain are struggling to be present – you keep focusing on tasks that need to be done, that haven’t been and working out solutions to challenges you’re unable to overcome. If you carry on like this you know everyone around you is going to end up suffering too, if they’re not already. A client had this issue and found himself working 7 days a week, so working out his income he realised he was working for less than minimum wage and realised he wasn’t really pleasing anyone like this. Clients were asking for more and more (for less and less) and his wife was less than pleased, of course.

With a few simple tweaks to his service offering and a confident and clear pitch, he was able to go back to his same clients and offer added value (for less of his time) at a higher rate of investment. All his clients agreed and they are now referring quality leads too.

You know you could be working more smartly

Your working week is getting fogged by repetitive tasks, increasing admin related actions and generally your brain is flitting from one activity to another. You feel like your business has become less about the things you love and the purpose of why you started in the first place and more about the activities that surround the actual product and service you’re offering. Your time is being squeezed and you know there must be a better way of working as you know if you continue like you, you’ll become more demotivated and disillusioned with self-employment and what it is to run your own business.

Once you gain clarity, direction and really start to focus in on what you want to achieve and why, it’s so much easier to work more smartly. Your brain gets given the space it needs to see the wood more clearly and what needs to be done to get more out of the time you have to spend it on the activities you love to focus on.

You want to be earning more money, but feel you haven’t the money to invest.

The one clear statement to make here is: If you could have, you would have done it by now and by ‘it’ I mean created the success you want to see. Stop beating yourself up; stop telling yourself you should know how to do this, you’ve been doing it long enough or you’ve read enough books, been on enough courses etc. It can simply be about being given the time and space to think through challenges and solutions with someone who has been there, done it and can ask you all the right questions and guide you to find the right answers to unlock the success in you and your business. Remember the old adage ‘You can’t cut your own hair.’ The most successful business coaches will have a coach too. If you don’t invest what will happen?


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

 

Reasons for not starting your business and how to combat them

positive mindset

Developing your business from ideas through to the taking action and implementation stages can be daunting for most. Fear of failure, effort, stepping outside of your comfort zone are all common reasons for not going ahead with the steps that will encourage the positive changes you really want to see. As a business coach I hear lots of according to those giving them seemingly valid reasons for not starting and building a business. However, those who dream and plan for what they want in life and follow through with the steps that will get them achieving the change they initially envisage, the personal and professional rewards can be priceless…

The most common ‘reasons’

If I had more money or won the lottery I would…we’ve all heard of the lottery winners who have won and then lost it all again, clearly showing that money is not the answer. Being crushed by a meteor is considerably more likely than winning the lottery, so this thought process is, unfortunately, not going to help you achieve your dream business. Developing your thoughts into a plan and taking action on that plan will. Start by taking the pressure off yourself and easing those feelings of fear of failure etc. Take them out of play. At this point, it’s you or you and a coach, trusted friend getting your ideas out of your head onto paper and thinking about the steps you could take to get you closer to achieving your dream business. Acknowledge the obstacles remembering that any obstacle big or small can be overcome. Think about the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart, Steve Jobs – they must have encountered a million and one obstacles and all were solved.

If I were more clever, experienced I would…ask yourself this: in the past how have you got more clever and more experienced at something you loved to do? Is it by actually doing? If you ‘do’ working alongside an expert/more experienced person in that field and reading around the subject you will find you become more clever and more experienced more quickly. Want to start your own business? Work with a business coach, read lots of books about starting and building your business whilst following the steps above. You’ll be surprised at the building momentum.

I just need to do a little more research…this can be a real stumbling block to taking definite and clear action on a plan, how do you know when you know enough? To stop you from continually prevaricating extract small actions from your research stage that make you do and take action on something concrete. For example: speak with a key person to find out more about x, write a list of all the important bits you understand so far, develop a plan for how you might develop and implement the stuff you know so far.

If I had more time…we all have the same amount of time in any given day, week, month. The pressures on our time is continuously squeezed. It’s what we do with our spare time that makes the difference. Think about your time wasters; social media, emails, driving to and fro and so on. How can you use that time more effectively? Time chunk – only use social media and emails during a certain time of the day. Use driving to listen to business audio books. Write down daily, weekly actions big and small to follow through with during the new time you create.

I know of someone, let’s call him Adam who got given the money to start his dream business and went on to wish he hadn’t received it as he felt it dampened his drive and ambition to really achieve his goals.

The key messages are be grateful for what you do have and turn those around, use them to your advantage and start taking action; however small the steps are. Ultimately all of these are excuses. The dictionary definition of ‘excuse’ is: ‘seek to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offence); try to justify.’ Want to live a full and priceless life? Stop the excuses.


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

 

Celebrating 10 years in business! Share the success

Looking back to the beginning, I know I wasn’t able to plan for 10 years into the future of my business, who can? All I did know, back in February 2007 when I resigned from my corporate job, was that I wanted to run my own business and I would make it work, come what may! Of course along the way there have been major highs, bigger lows and now like any of my fellow happy, successful business owners, I’ve created a business I’m proud of and one that allows me to live a great life and work with people I love to help. I’m sharing my best lessons learned for you business owners out there on your path to success…

Best Learned Lessons

Get help straight away – no successful person ever said – ‘I did it all on my own’, so as soon as you feel yourself needing help or preferably before this, recognise your knowledge and skills gap and bring in the professional support you and your business need. Do this and you’ll achieve your goals so much more quickly, painlessly and above all bring in the success you seek more seamlessly than you could ever imagine – something that you can’t put a price on. Invest and back yourself from the outset, find the money; you’ll save yourself a fortune in lost earnings and stress in the long run.

Farm out the stuff you don’t want to do – as above, it’s your business, only do the tasks you love and/or you’re great at. All else, pass them on to an expert in that field. You’ll save yourself from demotivation and dislike of your business and in the process you’ll free up the time to focus on other good stuff and the tasks you love to do and that you’re great at – it’s these that will bring you your financial return. You’ll also be surprised at how more easily, effortlessly and brilliantly that same task will be completed by an expert.

Keeping it fresh

Business Development focus – Running a business is like maintaining a well oiled machine. It always needs food, petrol, oil and maintenance of some description. Setting aside dedicated time every month to focus on business development is a must for any business owner. Don’t do this and your lovely ‘machine’ will become rusty, antiquated and eventually, due to lack of customers or poor customer retention, in need of a major overhaul that could take you years and a lot of money to get back on track. A little love and affection (focus!) each month will keep you and your business earning the money you want, working with clients you love and attracting new opportunities and business as you go.

Positive mindset

The key to any successful person, many would argue (including me) is a positive mindset. A challenge when times are tough, but practice it throughout your professional life and it becomes much easier to access. Don’t be afraid to share your fears and insecurities with your trusted network, you’ll be more respected for being open and you’ll be surprised at how many step forward with offerings of the right support and opportunities for you.

Stop berating yourself for mistakes or tasks not moving forward as quickly as you’d like, a high achieving and successful business owner once shared these wise words with me: ‘you’ll never experience entrepreneurial nirvana’. Once I allowed this to sink in I started to enjoy the day to day trials and tribulations of running a small business much more as I knew I’d never find myself in a place thinking, yes, I now have everything sorted! There’s always new and exciting things to be achieved both personally and professionally so let’s enjoy the ride!

A Business Coach’s’ Best Tips

Surround yourself with honest, positive and good people who are just like you. Like great friends and good family your business network will always be there for you when and if you need them.

Think of yourself up as a specialist or an expert from the outset. You have created your business because you love what you do, no one else on the planet does it like you do it and you will always find a way to get the right answers and solve the problem/s your customer has. Right? So, you are more than enough, go ahead and consider yourself as an expert in your field.


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

 

Need help in your business but find it ‘easier’ to do it yourself?

business success

Where’s your head at?

You have been in business for a number of years now, running it successfully and your clients love what you do. You’re now in the lovely position that you have a solid customer base who are returning to you time and time again.

You spend your week delivering a service you love but you are run ragged! As well as working hands on with your customers, (which you love to do) you’re utilising every spare minute and hour here and there on admin activities, managing your customers experience and keeping on top of the day to day with little or no time for what you know and want to be focusing on: business development and marketing activities. Your lack of business processes means you are often doing the same activity over and over, you know you have lots of inefficiencies in your business. You want to continue to grow; gain more profitable business without even more of an impact on your time and work-life balance. You think this is currently an impossible and unachievable goal.

The time is right

So, you know you need some help with your business, but you’re unsure of what kind of help you need – perhaps you feel you can’t find the right kind of support that you and your business needs and often you feel it’s more cost effective for you to do it yourself, which of course impacts on more of your time. Does this sound about right?

As time moves forward in your business, if you’re not already, you know you’re heading towards burnout, with major feelings of de-motivation on the horizon and your stress levels are peaking. Continuing to run your business in this vein will mean the service you delivered to clients who once loved you will start to wane, as you struggle to keep on top of your day to day. Your business will stagnate and you’ll be unable to progress in the ambitious way you want. In today’s market if you’re not moving forward – you are now unable to achieve a standing still position, instead you and your business will soon start to move backwards, as your competition leaps ahead with innovative ways of working, new products and services and a more efficient way of interacting with new and existing customers. Don’t get left behind.

Food for thought

I’ve worked with lots of business owners who have all experienced the same challenges. One person’s story comes to mind. Lisa runs a health and well-being practice. Due to unresolved experiences in the past and negative, scarcity beliefs around the financials in her business, coupled with feelings that she should be doing everything herself; otherwise it would feel like failure, she kept the purse strings well and truly closed. Once this particular business owner was able to relinquish the need to keep such a tight control on all aspects of her business and let these go for the greater good of her sanity, enjoyment and progress of her business, once she was able to address unresolved past negative issues, she was finally able to outsource the tasks that were taking up all her energy and time and put in place processes and procedures to remove herself from all the little time consuming activities. Only then was Lisa able to realise the kind of business she had dreamed of – a small team of assistants, bigger, more suitable premises and another team member to work alongside her and when she was away.

Always a catch 22, or now is the right time to hire in the help you and your business needs to progress? Consider these pointers for making the best step forward:

  • What will happen if you continue working in the same way?
  • Write down everything you do, that you don’t love to do in your business
  • Know that the best person/s for you and your business are out there
  • Focusing on all the work you really love in your business is more profitable in the long-term
  • Understand what your beliefs are around moving you and your business forward

 

Know that ultimately you have got this. You’ve built up a successful business and all this needs is the right level of focus, tweaks here and there and a level of sustainable support which means you can get your business to the next level.

I work with lots of small business owners to help them achieve big changes in their business. If you would like to find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to arrange a chat to find out what steps you can take to move you and your business forward you can contact Clare here.


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

 

Monumental increase from Greater Birmingham Chamber membership

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

Birmingham is a recent newcomer to being talked about as a vibrant and a where-it’s-happening city. We have the biggest growth (outside of London) in business start ups to boast about and more recently we can shout about being the 3rd happiest city to work in the UK too. Inextricably linked perhaps is the facelift, from the inside out, of our Birmingham Chamber of Commerce in recent years; hosting networking meetings and events that are an upbeat, positive and outwardly looking place to be, something that in the past you couldn’t have said. With a now close to two year old little sibling of Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce, just down the road, it really is a great organisation to be part of. Sitting on the board of committee members, I wanted to share with you why it’s great to be part of and how to get the best from your wider Birmingham chamber membership.

Bigger, ambitious businesses

We’re lucky to have a large number of independently run networking groups in and around Birmingham. Hosting a few through myself. The difference is many of them fail to attract larger businesses. Like attracts like. The chamber organisation has success in this area, which means entrepreneurs, micro businesses and small to medium sized businesses can mix in the same circles, share ideas and challenges and learn best practices and new innovations from one another. You get out what you put in, so find time to schedule in events to you diary that will benefit both you and your business. There’s a great choice of events to feed both of these ambitions.

Superior level of support

Where to start with this! As well as the stronger access to ambitious businesses who are committed to investing in their business development, each Chamber has a business development manager who is your direct access in. They are approachable, accessible and available to answer any questions around getting the best out of your membership. One of the hardest things to do in business, which can be the most rewarding too, is to never be afraid to ask for help and support. So, if you are ambitious and want to get more from your membership, seek it. You will also have access to a group of fellow business owners, who experience the same challenges and successes to voice any concerns or areas for improvement too – in your Chamber committee members. Being a part of this gives you and your business the opportunity to have a bigger voice in your local area.

Chamber press

With a press team who actively want to give prominent visibility to their members first and foremost, they offer a number of ways in which to give you and your business the PR it deserves and needs in order to stay ahead of your competition. The website offers suggestions and helpful, innovative ideas to market, with the very accessible ability to share articles, blog posts and offers to your wider audience. The monthly trade magazine will keep you abreast of all that is happening in your local business arena without any bias or favour towards certain industries or size of business.

From utilising all that the Greater Birmingham has to offer my membership has delivered a 96% increase in my 1st year as a member. Where else can you achieve that level of return? Use other business successes to spark ideas for your own business growth, attend the events, get along to the Solihull inaugural and follow up award ceremonies and make your mark in Birmingham, get your business standing out from the crowd.


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

 

Learn the powerful secret to unlocking business growth

Aside from getting a business coach; talking things through, writing plans down, reflecting on the output and then taking the right kind of action are key steps to generate business growth.  All this need only take an hour or two, but what a valuable amount of time you will have spent on your business development. Coaching needn’t be a myth, it’s about all of the above, so set aside some time and create the space to unlock your most powerful secret; you.

What do you do best?

So, the most important asset in your small business is you. In your business what is your unique brilliance, that rationally thinking about means that no one else you know is doing what you do in the way that you do it?

This is worth spending 20 minutes focusing on and jotting down what you do best in your small business. This usually goes hand in hand with what you are really happy doing too. So, if you could spend all day every day doing those tasks you love to do and are pretty darn good at doing what would they be? This is your starting point…

Hopefully you have a list of around 5-8 aspects here that reflect what you love to do the most and what you feel you’re best at. Once you have this list, this will help you to develop and cement a clear message for your business; what you offer, how it’s delivered and what results and benefits your product and service offers. It can underpin your marketing message, your elevator speech (for when you’re out at networking events) and your website homepage. It sounds simple to do and remember most aspects of business can be developed from small ideas…small acorns…

I really don’t want to know!

Once you have nailed down your unique brilliance, spend some time in the opposite space – think about the tasks in your small business you are not good at and do not enjoy doing. Treat this as a cathartic exercise. Compiling this list will show you how much time you spend on the jobs you hate or that take too long because you don’t have the right skills, resources or desire to learn them. This, too, will help you to unlock a mass of business growth. If you really want to grow your small business delegate those tasks to a more skilled business owner to free your time up so you can focus on the tasks you love to do. Change your mindset around the ‘catch 22’ of needing more business growth before you can delegate the jobs you don’t like to do. Be proactive and force the change you and your business needs.

These are amongst the strategies I use when working with my clients. To learn more about my small business coaching programs click here or call me direct to have a chat and book your free consultation.

 

Finding time to market your busy small business

‘…I haven’t got the time’ or ‘when I get a spare moment’ are common responses with busy business owners when asked when do you market your business? You know that allocating time for business development and marketing is essential for business growth, not to mention for the sustainability of your business. As a leader for your business, even if you have assistance with your marketing, you’ll know you still need to create and share the direction and strategy you have. So where do you find the time for this…?

How much time should I spend on marketing?

It’s important to answer this question first. The best answer is to use the [1] 60 30 10 rule – spend 60% on marketing and sales, 30% on delivery of your products and services and 10% on administration and management. If you’re in startup phase the rules change to 80-90% on marketing and sales. So, let’s take an average working week of 40 hours, using the 60 30 10 rule, equates to 24 hours per week on marketing/sales. This may sound like a lot or a scary amount in comparison to what you do spend, however, aim to make an impact on this in whichever way you can. Here are some ideas of where you can find the time to market and strategize for your business growth…

Monthly blocked out focus

Set aside time on a monthly basis for your business development – diarise it for the month and preferably, the year ahead and let nothing get in the way of your business focus happening. Find blocks of time that work best for you and your business, half days and full days are great at the start and end of each month as you give yourself the opportunity to delve deep into your creativity, set plans at the beginning of each month and time to check in with them at the end. On these times switch your phone on to silent, switch off your email and agree (with yourself) times you will log back on, so you have full immersion to get the most out of your time. Set objectives at the start and agree what you want to achieve. Ask for my ‘Daily Accountability’ sheet and you will soon get into the habit of achieving more in less time.

Keep motivated and get creative with your time

Your business development time doesn’t have to be all reflective and office based, think about your business growth laterally too. What other ways do you wish to grow? Through networking, attending workshops, meeting with like-minded professionals, developing strategic partnerships? All this time counts towards your marketing and sales focus. So make sure you’re meeting your personal development needs too. It can be a lonely place being a business owner so put actions in place that keep you motivated and enthusiastic.

Delegate the tasks you dislike

…and focus on the stuff within your business that you love and excel at. Once you’re in business leader mode and are consistently setting out your growth plans you will feel much more confident at delegating the ‘doing’ and implementing out to trusted people. This will ensure you are always focused on the strategy of your business and not getting bogged down in the minutiae. Be abundantly clear on the ‘doing’ side, put in place timelines and processes around your delegated tasks in order to enable consistency, accuracy and gain the results you’re aiming for.

As someone recently shared with me…’success is the results of small efforts repeated day in and day out’, Robert Collier

These are amongst the strategies I use when working with my clients. To learn more about my small business coaching programs click here or call me direct to have a chat and book your free consultation.

 

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Reference
1.    Accountants for Growth

Is there a formula for running a successful small business?

Confession – I used to think no; hard work, dedication and passion were all that were required. However, as any small business owner will know, whilst these attributes are key to small business success following certain formulas and actions will also reap you your just rewards too. Keep repeating them and voila! What a lot of business owners do is find something that works and then promptly stop doing it. We seem to be more inclined to keep plugging away at what doesn’t work!? 

Follow the clear signs

In the last 3 to 4 years of running my coaching business there have been a number of activities that have been followed with consistency that clearly point to ‘yes’ there are formulas which followed will equal business success. Sometimes running a small business can feel like an uphill battle, a struggle, a complete roller coaster ride… But it doesn’t have to be this mysterious cryptic puzzle. Stop ignoring all the signs, be brave – you’ve already taken the leap into running your own small business, so follow through on your original plans and start running the business you set out for.  What have you done in the past which has got your business results? Pick it up again and schedule the time to always do/practice that thing.

What results do your customers want?

Think about what your ideal customers really want from you. How do they want to feel, what results do they want and how do they want to receive those lovely results? Ask them, do a survey and once you’ve really found the answers to those questions put together 3 choices of how your customer can buy from you with 3 different levels of investment and commitment. Remember the confused mind never buys; so think about the last service you purchased – perhaps a new phone, TV package – were you given choices of which would suit you best? Do the same for your customers, make it easy for them to choose your small business services.

Keep Connected

When did you last speak or reconnect with the good people you used to work with? As an ex BT employee – ‘It’s good to talk’. Lots of people are getting tired or shut down from digital media and whilst it’s a huge growth market, it’s good to remember as human beings we like physical contact and to be thought of by others – grab a coffee, network, send a letter to your good contacts, people you’ve enjoyed working with or being connected to…Generally find more human ways of connecting with new and reconnecting with old or existing customers stick with them, with consistency and integrity. It will provide much needed motivation and keep you in love with your small business and your customers!


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

6 Signs You’d Benefit from Working with a Business Coach

Business coachYou keep revamping your website

A little change here, a bigger change there, new images etc. All this serves to tell you that you are unsure about who you are, what your business does and more importantly who will be attracted to work with you once they stumble upon you. A Business Coach will ensure you develop the best format, create the right image and shape your language to suit those exact needs of your ideal client once they seek you out and land straight on your pages.

You keep changing your main offering

You’ve gone through more changes than Superman with your service offering. It’s seen you change from one thing to another without giving any offering the chance to be really tried and tested. A Business Coach will help you decide on what you really want to offer based on your skills, strengths and passion and challenge you with all the right questions as to whom you really want to work with and why and what you want to offer them.

Your confidence levels are low

Your scatter gun approach to your business is keeping your head above water, but only just. Which means it’s having an impact on how you feel about your business; your stress levels are quite high and you’re pretty exhausted with the level of effort you’re expending on delivery of your services without experiencing the same level of return. This in turn is impacting on your confidence, which becomes a vicious circle. A Business Coach will help you to pick your way through the rubble and create more structure and direction.

You are in your head way too much

Sounds like an odd one, but is so true! The employed get to talk through challenges with their colleagues, bosses and even friends. For the self-employed even the latter are unlikely to be able to help – who understands what it’s like to run a business but other self-employed people and when you’re running a business it can be hard to share with others when you’re struggling. Stiff upper lip and all that! A Business Coach provides an objective sounding board and an ability to ask the right questions to generate solutions which create actions for successful outcomes.

You’re allowing procrastination to take over

See above! Due to the above issue, you’re constantly going back on forth on ideas, plans and strategies for how you will grow your business, but never seeming to take action on anything that will really help you get there and if you do, you’re so full of self-doubt that no real positive outcome is likely to happen anyway. Having a Business Coach on your side will help you to create the right actions and then have the accountability to make those actions happen and with the best outcomes.

You are scared about marketing your business

You know what you should be doing to market your business, but… you’re not sure what you have to say, if anything at all and if you are, you’re embarrassed as to who will read it, if anyone at all! You’re full of contradictions, excuses, indecision and therefore little to no marketing is taking place. A business coach will help you to gain clarity and confidence on what your marketing message is, who it needs to be seen by and how.

I don’t need to tell you all that chopping and changing costs you money, in real terms, not to mention in your valuable time and energy. Weigh that up with the investment and return with a Business Coach and you’ll soon see where you’re better concentrating your efforts.


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

Work smarter in your business

You’re running a busy, stressful business and know you need to make changes to the way in which you handle the day to day running, to develop it. Being busy has become a badge of honour. In order to make the necessary changes you need in your life and business to create good change, you need to be prepared to step outside of what you’re comfortable with, and in no time you will work smarter, not harder.

Technology Switch Off

Out of hours (amongst the busy) working is becoming common practice – an email gets sent at 9pm and it’s dealt with by five past! ‘It only takes a few minutes’, is a well trotted out phrase. But this 5 minutes here and there means your brain is always switching from relaxed to stress, to work problems etc, never really giving yourself the time to truly switch off. It’s your business, so what will really happen if you don’t respond to an email after hours? Nothing, it’ll wait till the morning and your customers will be educated that’s when emails get responded to. The big, enlightened companies are recognising the importance of technology being switched off, with Volkswagen turning email off when employees are off shift, so it’s time for you too.

Out of Hours

You’re in either one of two camps: 1) your business offers an out of hours service which your customer pays for or 2) your business offers an out of hours service which your customer doesn’t pay for. Let’s firstly deal with 1i) decide who you want to deal with these scenarios and 1ii) how you will deal with them to minimise disruption, 1iii) what boundaries can be set? 2) First question would be why are you working outside of ‘normal’ working hours and not getting paid – what other successful business owner would do that?

Delegate Out

Stop doing the tasks in your business that you don’t like or you’re not very good at. These are the jobs that cause stress, anxiety levels to rise and generally make you feel low, stupid, shy, angry etc. The time it takes you to complete that same task would take an expert a third of the time and the output, no doubt, will be far superior. Give yourself a break and concentrate on the tasks in your business which you love and which enable you to feel good and show off your expertise in the best ways possible.


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

A Business Coach’s Guide to Getting more Business Success

We all want and strive for more business success; spending the precious time we have, on the business stuff we love to do, getting rewarded accordingly. Working smarter not harder is a hackneyed phrase for a reason! The following exercises are all strategies I, as a Business Coach, practice myself and with clients who are working towards more business success. If you’re spending a lot of energy and not seeing the fruits of your labour and want to gain direction and clarity for more business success then follow these steps:

Your Ideal Client

So many business owners are working with people they don’t like, delivering services they don’t want to deliver. While you’re busy doing that you haven’t got time to deliver what you want to who you want. That’s what you do in a job! Spare some time to really drill down on who you would love to work with: what do you know about them, what are their problems, what do you solve for them, how do you make them feel, where do they hangout? Once you have a clear profile, this forms the basis for your marketing material and you’re able to spot each other a mile off.

Stop doing things you don’t like

Being a business owner means you can often be marketing, accounting, administration, advertising, etc as well as working in your business. Some of those tasks can feel onerous and sometimes down right boring. So, stop doing them. Write down all the tasks you really dislike doing and work out how much time you spend on them on a weekly or monthly basis, then work out how much it costs you, in your time, to get them done. You will soon see your time is better spent on other elements of your business. So get an expert in their field in to take over those tasks and you can spend the time more efficiently on tasks you love.

Package up your Offering

Customers like choice and they like their decisions to be made easy. You are the expert in your field and because you understand your customers (see ideal client profile) you know exactly what products/services will solve their problem. Develop three packages that reflect what your clients want from you, how you will deliver it and the investment to them. All three options should be what they want from you and what you want to deliver to them to meet their needs and requirements. Incorporate options around payment plans and this will help you to run your business more sustainably as well as successfully.


About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

Creating a Team to Work Hard for your Business

Running your own business, needless to say can be challenging. If you’re running a team too, this creates its own sub level of challenges. I dare say you’ve grown your business and developed yourself along the way, but have not thought about how you develop a team of your own. Here are some pointers to being a business coach for your team and getting them as passionate about your business as you are.

Team Meetings

Communicate clearly and regularly. This is a key component, I believe, to a successful business and team. Have a time (preferably Monday morning or Friday afternoon) where you gather your team for huddles or a meeting every week. Always have an agenda, even if it’s loose or informal and discuss the week ahead. Share what you want to achieve, what tasks, actions or projects that are high importance and give plenty of opportunity for your team to share any issues, challenges they may have. If done regularly, these meetings need only be 10 – 15 minutes and will have a huge impact on team morale, productivity and your working environment.

Delegate

Many business owners can be heard saying it’s quicker to just do it myself! Yes, maybe in the short term; however longer term if you add up the time over a week or a month it takes for you to complete a basic or admin related, you could be saving yourself multiple hours. In this time you can be working on your business, developing customer relationships, business development etc. Spare the time now, empower your staff members, train them well and watch them increase in confidence and step up to the responsibility. Watch how much more motivated and involved they become in the finer workings of the business.

Motivate your Team

All business owners know what happens when a person is motivated in their job: more positive, adaptable, happier to change, spread an organisation’s reputation for the good, reduce absenteeism, reduce stress, improve performance & profit, work harder, the list goes on. First steps to motivating your team are to check in with your own assumptions and beliefs – how do you carry yourself at work, in front of your team? Are you positive, motivated, stress free? Find out what motivates your team (a task in a team meeting perhaps) is it money, time off, vouchers, recognition? Then create some motivation incentives.

Be a Transformational Leader

Before business coaching I was a people manager. Always standing by ‘don’t-ask- team-member to do something I was not prepared or knew how to do myself. This gained lots of respect and most of all puts you at the business owner in a position of understanding the skills, resources, challenges and time it takes to complete a task or project to the best outcome possible.



 

Clare at Meta4 has been running her own coaching and training business since 2007. Clare offers loads of great freebie resources to help you grow your business; they’re easy to implement, engaging and most of all they get you your business growth results!

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Top ten tips for running a sustainable and successful business

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Sometimes you can be so busy working IN your business – doing all those hands-on, practical day-to-day tasks – that you forget the importance of working ON your business. To have a successful and sustainable business you need to keep the clients you have already AND find new ones. This means that you can't just be 'the do-er' – you need to be your own sales and marketing specialist too. Getting and keeping customers is the most important role at any company – without customers there's obviously no business. That's why a lot of my top ten tips for running a successful and sustainable business are about reminding your customers to do business with you while reaching out to the new clients who will secure the future of your business.

1. Keep in touch with your customers – Ask them if you can add their email to an occasional newsletter where you provide special offers, showcase your expertise and highlight success stories; offer a free six-monthly check-up; connect and interact with them on social media.

2. Find, and stay in touch with, the influencers who can help you build your business – Local face-to-face networking and online networking are both ways to meet people who can evangelise about your business; establish a trusted coaching group with other business owners where you can give and take advice and support each other.

3. Offer something for nothing – Giving out top tips via your website or blog, offering free consultation and perhaps an open surgery wins trust and showcases your expertise and experience making potential customers more likely to choose YOU.

4. Make sure your customer service is better than your competition – Whatever your product or service there's always another business your customer could choose. Make sure your exceptional customer service is the reason they come back to you.

5. Reward customers and clients for referrals – If someone wins business for you offer them a gift or a discount off your products/services as a tangible way of saying 'thank you'. What others say about you is many times more powerful than what you say about yourself.

6. Spend at least 10% of your working week on developing your business – Diary regular slots when you ignore emails and other jobs and work on some of these tips. If your business is still in its early stages you need to devote more hours to growing your client base, planning for future growth and measuring the success of things you try.

7. Ensure your promotional material is professional and compelling – Review the content and images on your website, business cards, brochures, leaflets and social media platforms regularly. Is everything consistent and conveying the image you want to project?

8. ALWAYS set business goals for the next 12 months – They should be SMART – Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Targeted. Don't put them away in a drawer. Keep them in sight, adding images to fix them in your mind; measure your progress towards your goals.

9. Understand how your customers find you now – You should always know how every part of your marketing is working. A spreadsheet can be tagged or colour coded to show how customers found you; measure the return on any investment (time as well as money) that you have made; identify where you want your customers to come from and adjust your plans accordingly.

10. Your enthusiasm for what you do is infectious – If you still have pride and passion in what you do, your customers will be impressed and confident in your ability to deliver. If you have fallen out of love a little bit with what you do it might be time to invest in some coaching to get you back on track – or to help you decide to make changes.

If you want any more information about bringing about positive change in your life and your business, contact me for a free initial consultation on 07739 196896.