I have recently been trying something new in my business… Facebook Live videos! This has been on my “to-do” list for months… maybe years, but for some reason I never made the time to do them. For many, the thought of doing a live video causes a panic attack! I’m not one of those people. I don’t mind being on video or speaking live, as long as it is on a topic I am familiar with. So why wouldn’t I fit these in?? What was I waiting for?
A few weeks ago, I decided to really look at what was holding me back. When I took a moment to sit down and evaluate what was going on… a TON of negative thoughts flooded my mind! “What if no one watches?” “I don’t look good enough today” “What if I majorly screw up on LIVE FEED??” What if I am more boring that I think I am?” I know I have value and what I share is, at the very least, entertaining to me (he he!) So, what is the solution?
I thought… what would you tell your coaching clients? Well, I’d say feel the fear and do it anyway. So that is what I did. Last month I did my very 1st Facebook Live EVER! I was in the parking lot outside where I was about to host the networking group I run. I just popped on from my car got it done and published it. I decided no one would see it so I didn’t review it. I had said on the video that I would be doing “a lot more of these… but 2 weeks passed, and I didn’t do another one. Hmmmm…
The 2nd video I did was a spur of the moment thing where in reality I just did it for me. I was having a stressful week and needed to get some things off my chest. It was a bit of rambling with a good tip at the end. To my shock I had 164 people view that Live post! What?? For me I thought that is amazing! Problem solved right? Wrong… I let another 2 and half weeks go by with no videos. What gives?
The 3rd Video I forced myself to do. I am in the process of re-growing my business after a series of unfortunate events that took me away from nurturing the business I had grown. I need to move forward and step out of my comfort zone! So, I popped on and made some announcements of where I will be over the next few weeks, what is going on with the relaunch and what I plan to do… including more Live Videos! Yay me! I said I would be coming back later this week with a specific topic. My plan was to do it Wednesday… but guess what… I didn’t!
A 4th video was “due” as I promised so I again reminded myself that we are looking for progress NOT perfection. You see I have a bit of an issue with perfectionism. I am learning to live with, around, and through the perfectionism through my new-to-me meditation habit, but that is a story for another day. On with video 4! I sat at my desk to begin and the negative talk started instantly! First, I realized the lipstick I put on was too dark for AM… but decided to push thought anyway. Then my computer crashed. I rebooted and pushed through again. The dog started barking, but I said… Progress Not Perfection! I took a deep breath and started the Live recording in hopes that I would be able to share my screen with something to look at while I shared the info. You guessed it… I couldn’t share my screen. The whole time I was thinking to myself… wow this probably sucks! But I persisted! I continued and acknowledged as I went when I was feeling something off, laughed out loud at myself a few times and got through it. When it was all over I had a strong urge to just delete it. For some reason I didn’t. I decided to watch my video back. GASP! To my pleasant surprise, the video wasn’t bad! I got the information out that I wanted to in a clear and concise manner. Was it perfect? NO! But I came across as real and a person. Technology was not my friend, but it turned out ok! My lipstick was too dark, but I bet no one noticed and if they did who cares? I laughed out loud at myself and hope others got some joy in addition to the information I shared!
Later that morning I had a call with a good friend and colleague, Dr. Robert Zeitlin. I was telling him all about the “botched” Facebook Live and how I watched it back… and he said, “Wow, even million-dollar actors often don’t like to watch themselves on recordings?” So true!! We chatted a bit more about it and I realized that by playing it back and being brave enough to watch myself in an imperfect way, I was able to find peace with it. I am in a field where Know, Like and Trust are even more critical that most professions! My clients and potential clients need to know I am REAL, that I can feel the fear and do it anyway, just like I tell them to do! But more importantly, I realized that nothing is ever perfect. No matter how much we hope, pray and strive for perfection… in most cases it just isn’t. AND THAT’S OK! Now I can’t wait for Monday to do the next promised installment.
What do you do to psych yourself up to do something scary?
If you are a business owner these words probably make you cringe… I’m looking for a product or service that is “reasonably priced”, “inexpensive”, “affordable” or heaven forbid “cheap” … OR “I don’t want to spend too much, can you change your price?” Um What!?!? Am I right? We all hear these words and phrases “too many” times in our careers. Some come back with the cliché, “You get what you pay for”, but that one isn’t often welcomed as often as, “I want a deal!”
I have a dear friend who is a phenomenal baker… and when I say phenomenal, I mean it! (Seriously if you want her number let me know!) But I digress… Recently this fabulous baker posted her frustration on social media about this very subject. She was shocked that again, someone was trying to negotiate her set price. At first, I was relieved that someone else feels that way too and I’m not the only one! She got DOZENS of comments commiserating and a few bringing up similar atrocities (but that’s another blog post for another day!) I sat with it for a few days and couldn’t let it slide… this isn’t right! Do the people know how rude it is when they question pricing or come right out and ask for a discount? Every entrepreneur and business owner struggles over providing fair pricing for what it really takes to provide the service or product expected. Pricing is by far something we most question and re-evaluate, then question again. It’s enough to drive you insane! The bottom line is… If what we offer was “easy” you wouldn’t need to HIRE someone else to do it for you. Therefore, there is talent and skill involved, not to mention time consumed to provide the product.
It makes me wonder, is it that they don’t value what we are offering, or is it that they want to make sure they aren’t taken advantage of? Or maybe they’re just jerks and want everything free or at a discount?
High Quality – Low Price??
As a service provider, I sometimes get insulted when someone questions my price. Heck, I am literally one of the least expensive coaches I know! I have been told I should raise my prices by colleague many times. I offer a lot of value, customized and precise information that can help my clients drastically change their business (and their life) for the better… isn’t that worth paying for? The best one is, when I offer exactly what they are looking for, but they “have to think about it”. Sometimes I ask… What do you think a fair price is? I rarely get an answer.
I don’t have a magic secret to keep this from ever happening, but I do have some tips to include in your sales conversation to reduce the chances of a “misunderstanding”.
If you sense there is an issue with price, here are a few questions you can ask to determine if you want to continue to try to work with this client…
- On a Scale of 1-10 how important is this to you and/or your business?
This is a great question to determine how serious they are in looking to buy your product or service. If they are a 9 or a 10, then ask more questions to see if you can get them to the buying stage. If they are an 8 or below ask them why they are that low.
- How would it feel to reach your goal through my services? Or How would it feel to have my product solve the problem or fill the need for you?
Here we are trying to help them see the value in what you are offering. You can discuss why you are so talented and skilled in your field and reassure that you believe they will be in great hands with you!
- Would you be open to help finding the money in your budget for (Product or Service)?
Sometimes they just need help problem solving. They may not have considered other ways to find the money to pay for your excellent product or service. If they agree, you can offer suggestions and brainstorm in where they can free up some funds to take part in your services or purchase your product.
- What would it cost you to remain in the same place or not accept my product/services? Cost in Time? Cost in Money? Cost in Stress?
There are more costs than money in some cases. Sometimes you offer a peace of mind that it is taken care of. Sometimes you save the client tons of time in the process. Ask them why they thought to hire someone in the first place and how much the savings in time, money and stress is worth to them.
- What do you think is a “fair” price?
I mentioned earlier I sometimes ask this. This is kind of a loaded question. I find I get to this point when I have gone through several other questions and feel I am not getting anywhere. This can help you determine if they are being realistic or just plain unreasonable. If they don’t have an answer, I usually follow up with how I came to set my pricing, I explain my training and my level of expertise. At that point either they will purchase, or it is time to move on as they don’t see your value. You could go so far to give them a scenario to consider… ask if their boss didn’t pay them or took some money out of their paycheck because they wanted a “deal” or they didn’t have the budget for the time they put in at work… how would that feel? Well, maybe that is too far. LOL, but I’d love to know how they answer. Sometimes I think people forget this is our livelihood… we can’t pay our bills with “thank you’s” and positive reviews.
- Tell me why you believe can’t afford it at this price… Spouse doesn’t see the value? No $ in Account? Paying for other things? Business not making enough?
Getting to understand their hesitation can be eye opening. Maybe it isn’t about the money after all. Maybe they need more information to decide. Maybe it is the money and they are not able to afford your caliber of service. If that is the case, try to help with another solution… refer them to a lesser expensive provider… they will not get your quality, but you will leave a positive impression by trying to be helpful without compromising your standards.
- What is your WHY? Why are you doing this?
Why did they seek you out in the first place? What problem are they trying to solve? Reminding them why they need help can sometimes help them see the value.
The bottom line is… Don’t compromise your pricing or your value to land a client… 9 times out of 10 they will be more hassle than it is worth. You are Talented, you are Skilled, you bring VALUE, and you Deserve to be paid! Entrepreneurs and small business owners unite! Each situation and business model is unique. Keep providing high quality products and services and stand behind your pricing! The clients you are meant to work with will come!
We have all been there… We are expecting payment and something “goes wrong”. Sometimes it is as simple as a digital “glitch”, but there are times when a client does not pay on time. As an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you are most likely managing your cash flow by the contracts you have or the invoices you have sent. At times, a missed or unpaid invoice can send your whole budget into a tizzy. There is a lot of emotion around money on both the business owner and the client’s part. The best thing you can do is create a plan for how you will handle this when it happens, to avoid reacting in an emotional way instead of a professional way. Here are some tips to help you create your system for non-payment.
Be sure you have a full system! Think your payment process through from start to finish. Be sure to let your clients know the following:
1. Be as basic and specific as what forms a payment do you accept… Cash, Check, Credit Card, PayPal, other merchant services, etc… As well as lengths and terms for payment plans.
2. Have a written refund policy. Have it clear, concise and in regular print (not fine print). If you have a contract or a standard invoice have it print it on that. You can even consider having them initial that they read it.
3. Past due/Late payment policy with set fees. This should be consistent throughout your business. Have a set late fee, with a set period that you consider a payment to be late. 3 days, 5 days, 7 days? My suggestion is no longer than 14 days.
4. What is your returned check/payment policy and fee? Be sure you know what your bank will charge YOU. Bank fees have gotten out of hand… you want to be sure you recoup at least the bank fee along with a little extra for your administration costs to reach out to collect the debt. If you have a recurring payment option, how many payments need to fail before your recurring stops. Will your system retry the payment in a few days? Check with your merchant provider for guidelines to this.
5. If you provide a service, make it clear that services will not continue until the client payments are up to date. You want to also be clear as to if you are willing to make up sessions or time that the client was past due.
6. Decide the length of time you plan to attempt to collect the debt before taking legal action.
7. All your expectations, terms and conditions should be readily available to your client… it should be written in contracts or on receipts and can be listed on your website. Always include your contact information so that if there are any questions you can be reached easily.
8. It is a great idea to have your lawyer look over your contracts and Terms & Conditions to make sure you are compliant. You will also have someone who is familiar with your terms to contact if you need to take legal action.
Once you have your system I place… there may be a time you need to enforce it. Here are some tips on how to not burn bridges as you try to collect payment…
1. Always give your client the benefit of the doubt. Reach out to them and ask if they are aware they missed the payment. Sometimes it was a complete oversight, problem solved… sometimes they are having a financial hardship. See if there is a way you can work together to get the payment made. Be careful of breaching your own policies… if you change the terms of a contract be sure to send it to them in writing and save a copy for yourself.
2. Be sure the client understands the policies and the contract they agreed to. Offer to answer any questions they have. Be available.
3. Be diligent about follow up. Tell your client when the next payment is due, if another late fee will be assessed, etc.
4. Do not be standoffish… like I said early… money is emotional. You can feel devalued, taken advantage of… even betrayed. Understand that threatening, badmouthing or the silent treatment is not going to resolve the issue. Keep open lines of communication if you can and do your due diligence for the time you set before you begin to take legal action.
5. When it is time to take legal action, the best practice is to first send an official letter stating when you will be taking the issue to a lawyer or the courts. Be sure you have all our ducks in a row… copies of signed contracts or invoices, print outs of emails with date stamps, etc.
6. Most of all…. STAY PROFESSIONAL. Your feelings are hurt, but if you start mudslinging or talking badly about a client… it just makes YOU look bad.
I hope you never find yourself in this situation, but if you do, having a plan in place can be a sanity saver!
This morning I turned on Good Morning America, as I do every morning, only to be greeted yet AGAIN with the sad news of another mass shooting… this time the worst in “the history of American mass shootings”. The fact that I just typed… “the history of American mass shootings” brings a tear to my eye. We as a country and the world have faced many tragedies recently… 3 devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, wild fires, excessive heat warnings, floods, social and economical unrest, and now another mass shooting. As our country faces pulling together after this recent tragedy, I am paused to consider the diverse ways people respond to tragic events. You see not everyone handles tragedy the same. And that is OK! But it is helpful to understand that some will not grieve the same way you do. When we understand that we can help each other heal instead of judging.
As a coach and DISC practitioner I live for analyzing behavior patterns and solving problems. In crisis, I have seen some people rush to activism, some get to work to avoid thinking about it, some people rush to solitude, some rush to be with the people they love, some people research to find all the facts and try to make sense of it all. The point is… we all handle things differently.
Most high “D” behavior styles will pause reflect and move on. They will keep busy with things they can control and act on. They will allow themselves little downtime and little time to process. To others this may seem harsh or insensitive… but, this is just how a high “D” handles crisis.
Most high “I” behavior styles will flock to groups to be around people, some will start a fundraising effort, some will make signs or create (repeated) social media posts of support… a “we’re in this together” mentality. They may share information that is not backed by fact, but more based on emotion. To others this can seem irresponsible or rash in the respect that they can stir up emotions in others.
Most high “S” behavior styles will shelter at home… surround themselves with what is comfortable, known and familiar. They will bring their loved ones close and make sure they are OK without sharing much about their own feelings. To other this may look like they are keeping their head in the sand… and to an “S”, that is just what they want in crisis!
Most high “C” behavior styles will watch all the news stations, read articles, listen to the radio, scan social media, gather information, and some will even try to figure out a plan to “make things better” or make sense of something that may not make sense. They are looking for logic… something to solve, an answer. A high “C” will need as much information, angles and stories as they can get, even if it is upsetting to them. To others this may seem like punishment… “Why are you doing this to yourself… turn off the TV”, But they can’t.
There is no “Right” or “Wrong” way to handle tragedy… what is most important is to give people the freedom to process without judgement of how they “should” react or respond. My goal in this article is to bring to light the fact that we are all different, yet all beautiful. As we try to understand what is going on in our world… remember to give people grace… give people the space to grieve or be angry or whatever emotion comes up for them… without judgement. We will get through this. Sending love and hugs to you all!
I attended a networking event this morning. It was a casual meet and greet, before work style event. I like these types of events because it leaves the “structure” part up to the networker. What I mean by that is, there are no 30 second pitches, and it is really up to you who you meet. You can interact as long or short as you choose.
While the 1st question that comes to mind is usually, “What do you do?” I tend to not lead with that. I often first approach someone I already know and ask about their family or a project I know they have been working on. It starts a less formal conversation. Then when someone inevitably approaches us… we can bring them into what we were already speaking about. I feel this more informal manner really solidifies relationships on a deeper level, making these events easier to handle in the future. It’s like working but socializing with friends at the same time
This morning I was chatting with someone I know more for her work background than her family… I mentioned my daughter is struggling with allergies… and she had stated her son was as well. We began to share stories and remedies and how it effects our entrepreneurial schedules. Someone stepped into the conversation to make an introduction… He apologized and we quipped that we were chatting about our kids… he quickly stated, “That is wasting precious networking time!” Without a blink I replied, “no, actually I feel closer to her because we have something in common other than work. We are building Know, Like and Trust and that is really important in business. So, I don’t think it is a waste of time at all.” He sort of stared and then said, ok…
At first I thought it was the difference between how Men and Women network… but then the man next to him said, “I have kids too… how old are yours?” Turns out we have kids the same ages. We chatted about them a bit, where they go to school and then about how we each got started in our businesses… all before we even knew what each other did. Turns out we CAN use each other’s business, but I am much more likely to follow up because we have a connection.
I live by the philosophy that I DON’T want to be a business card collector. I would MUCH rather make 1 or 2 strong connections than have a handful of business cards. The more I network, the more relationships I create… I once heard Networking compared to a spider web… we are all interconnected. Once you make a good connection it leads to MANY more… It can also work the other way.
What kind of networker are YOU?
Being a woman entrepreneur can be tough. Women need interaction and support by nature. As entrepreneurs, we sometimes feel isolated and in need of a community. OR we may just need a way to get some critical business education, but since we are not part of a corporation we don’t find as many opportunities to keep learning and growing.
In 2014 I was looking for a group to join that had mostly (if not all women) with the ability to socialize, network, refer and learn. Women tend to network and communicate a little differently than men do. Co-ed networking groups are ok… but I really wanted to find one with women. I struggled to find such a group in the area. As the good little entrepreneur I am… I created it! I designed a group for women business owners and entrepreneurs that offered a social gathering over coffee and/or tea, where we could share about our businesses and be educated in a variety of different areas. 3 years later we have a thriving group where we help each other, lift each other up, educate each other and build our business together. I call it… Pottstown Women’s Networking Group!
We meet the 2nd Friday of each month at Productivity Pointe in Pottstown, PA. There is a Facebook group so feel free to check us out! https://www.facebook.com/groups/PottstownWomensNetworking/
My challenge to you is to evaluate where you are meeting your clients and who is in your support community. If you don’t have one… create one. You will find that with a support community and a social outlet it is easier to build and grow your business!
Coaching is used across the world in MANY businesses and industries. Coaching is extremely beneficial to those who work for themselves as entrepreneurs, small business owners or in the direct sales realm. Investing in coaching for yourself and your business can help you create systems to move forward more quickly, expanding your business and increasing your income. An investment in coaching can result in improvements in all areas of your life both financially as well as work-life balance, satisfaction, fulfillment, family life, etc. Coaching brings positive change! More importantly coaching inspires, motivates and empowers you!
Coaching is a support system that provides you with:
- An accountability partner
- Safe opportunities for meaningful dialogue
- New perspectives and expanded options
- Inspiration and motivation
- Potential solutions
- Next steps
Coaching can promote BIG shifts in thinking, which creates forward movement toward goals!
Coaching is a highly-tuned and powerful process of communication and problem solving. The relationship you develop with your coach is co-creative and focused entirely on your interests, challenges and goals. During each session a coach will help you engage in conversation to draw out solutions that you will be excited about and eager to implement. Your coach will ask deep and intuitive questions specifically designed to help solve your individual problem or deal with your current circumstance. Together you will use all of your combined knowledge, resources, skills and intuition to expand your business and move you more quickly toward your ultimate business goals.
Below is a list of common frustrations that entrepreneurs and business owners face…Do any of these sound familiar?
- You need to grow your business faster
- You are not making enough money or you don’t know how to manage the money you make and wonder where it went!
- You don’t have systems in place so you feel like you are ALWAYS working
- You are “Burning candle at both ends”
- You have a serious lack of work-life balance.
- You keep setting unattainable or unrealistic goals because that is what you “think” you should be doing
- You are trying to please or impress your up-line, family or friends
- You tend to focus on results instead of activity and progress
- You are sick of the disappointment that come with direct sales (cancellations, reinvesting over and over, team members quitting, etc.)
- Your business is fun but it is costing you money instead of making you money.
- You don’t know how to overcome your mental blocks and fears.
I’m sure you can resonate with at least a few of these!
SO… what can coaching do for you?
I get it! I’ve been where you are. I have run my own successful direct sales business for over 18 years. I have earned company cars. I have moved myself up to management levels. I have fallen and gotten back up again over and over. I have stepped out of my comfort zone repeatedly. I have mentored and coached 100s of women along the way. I developed a passion for the business management part of entrepreneurship and LOVE to watch women “get out of their own way” and leap to success!
I now own 2 LLC companies (Innovative Coaching Services, LLC & Productivity Pointe, LLC – a co-working and flexible meeting space in Pottstown PA)
Most people start a business so that they can have extra income and flexibility around their family’s needs. I can help you develop systems and tools to streamline your business so you are working efficiently and effectively so you can ENJOY the quality time with your family. I help you organize your business and organize your life! I help you push through obstacles, make big decisions, face the fear and do it anyway! I help you distinguish between facts and emotion to make wise decision that coincide with your goals and where you want to be. In hiring me as your coach you can gain benefits such as:
- Having a non-biased accountability partner
- Seeing steady, rapid focus and growth in your business
- Learn the basics of business money management so you can tell your money where to go instead of wonder where it went!
- Create systems and tools to work more efficiently and increase your time management
- Learn to Relax and Enjoy Life again
- Regain balance between work and play.
- Learn to set realistic measurable goals based on activity and progress not emotion
- Learn to Empower YOURSELF instead of please others
- Learn to celebrate successes big and small!
- Learn to deal with disappointment as simply a part of business and not take it personally
- Have fun and make money at the same time!
- Learn your DISC personality type and what it means to overcome your mental blocks and fears.
If this all sounds intriguing give me a call for a 30 minute FREE discovery session to see if working with a coach (me or even someone else) might benefit your business!
Coach Mindy Lipsky of Innovative Coaching Services is a DISC Certified practitioner. What that means is she can offer you something not all coaches can! She can help you better understand yourself by evaluating your personality and behavior style through a DISC assessment with Mindy.
What is DISC? (you know… the boring background stuff)
DISC is a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist Dr. William Marston, a professor at Columbia University in the 1920s, who was curious about the characteristics of emotions and behavior of normal people. Marston’s theory centers on four different personality traits: Dominance, Inducement (Influence), Submission (Steadiness), and Compliance (Conscientiousness).
Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable. A High “D” Person places emphasis on accomplishing results, the bottom line, and confidence.
Behaviors – Sees the big picture – Can be blunt – Accepts challenges – Gets straight to the point
Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable. A High “I” Person places emphasis on influencing or persuading others, openness, relationships. Behaviors – Shows enthusiasm – Is optimistic – Likes to collaborate – Dislikes being ignored
Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable. A High “S” Person places emphasis on cooperation, sincerity, dependability. Behaviors – Doesn’t like to be rushed – Calm manner – Calm approach – Supportive actions – Humility
Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable. A High “C” Person places emphasis on quality and accuracy, expertise, competency. Behaviors – Enjoys independence – Objective reasoning – Wants the details – Fears being wrong
Why use DISC? (now we are getting into the “what’s in it for me part”)
DISC can be used for many different reasons. A DISC assessment has been show to drastically enhance the coaching experience as well as give you practical tools for life. For Mindy’s clients, the main desirable results are building lasting customer/client relationships, enhancing communication, and creating a productive yet enjoyable work environment for yourself as a Solopreneur or Entrepreneur! All this leads to a sense of balance, more income, as well as, keeping more of what you make!
When you work with Mindy, you will not only find out what your style is, but you will learn to recognize what other people’s styles are. Therefore, you can change your approach to help communicate more effectively. Better communication leads to deeper relationships, which leads to trust, which often leads to increased sales! Best of all you can implement it immediately for immediate results!
Understanding your DISC profiles help you (and your team):
- Increase your self-knowledge of how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress and how you solve problems.
- Work and communicate more effectively with your team, minimize team conflict and emerge as a more effective leader.
- Develop stronger sales skills by identifying and responding to customer styles
- Manage your office work more effectively by understanding your disposition and priorities, then building systems you can relate to and accomplish with less effort.
How does DISC work?
If you choose to complete a DISC Assessment with Mindy, you will be sent an online questionnaire. Because of completing these questions, a customized DISC report will be created for you. This will tell you your dominant traits as well as which of the 15 Patterns you are helping you understand not only your style but also the impact of your style on others. If you so choose Mindy will help you go in depth with this assessment and help you make an action plan for your business (or a personal action plan if needed). The information you will find to be invaluable and can help you not only with business interactions but also help all interaction with others become more effective and meaningful.
Check out the DISC section of the Innovative Coaching Services Website for more details
6 things all Entrepreneurs can learn from Shark Tank – by Mindy Lipsky, CTACC
As an entrepreneur myself, and the fact that I coach dozens of entrepreneurs regularly… I LOVE the show Shark Tank! It is a Friday night staple in our house. The whole family watches and critiques from the couch each person’s pitch to the Sharks. We can all learn a lot about business just from watching the show. The sow had undoubtedly inspired countless people to take a chance on their dream. In honor of tonight’s episode when the Sharks reach $100 Million in investments… I thought I would share with you my observations of what any seasoned or budding entrepreneur can learn from the show and of course the Sharks themselves.
- You’ve got to know your numbers!
So many times, for entrepreneurs on Shark Tank this is the nail in the coffin before they even get off the ground. Someone comes into the tank and… well… tanks! All because they didn’t come prepared. I work with many business owners and one thing I noticed… the successful ones know their numbers and the struggling ones don’t. It is critical to not only know your income, but know your expenses too. It is required by the IRS to keep business books and it is also a great idea to evaluate them often! You have to know your breakeven point before you can ever take a profit. The simplified formula is Income minus Expenses = Profit. But if you have run a business you know it isn’t as cut and dry as that! Knowing your numbers will make a huge difference in your growing business.
- Numbers don’t lie!
Another thing that trips people up… they know their numbers but didn’t take care of them! What I mean by that is… they got themselves in debt or their margins are awful! Maybe they already have backers that own a part of their company so they are limited in how much equity they can offer the sharks. ALL of this leads to an increased chance of not getting a deal. As an entrepreneur, you must measure risk. Investing in education, product or marketing isn’t always a bad idea… but you need to weigh the ROI (return on investment). If you are spending $10K and getting a return of $2K, something has to change or you will be in a tough situation financially and FAST! The moral of this observation… Know your numbers and take care of them!
- Passion doesn’t pay the bills!
It is necessary to be passionate about what you sell or do… but that is not enough. You need strategy, planning, marketing, number crunching, etc. etc. You need business skills. Not everyone who starts a business has business training. You must do your research and continue to educate yourself on the current state of the market, changes in technology, changes in trends… and I may be biased here… but hiring a coach can help a lot! One of the perks of Shark Tank is when you get a deal, you get a Shark! They know the “how to’s” the average entrepreneur doesn’t.
- Just because you love it… doesn’t make it a business! I say this one with a “But” to it. It really depends on what your goal is… if your goal is to be a millionaire… you need to be sure what you are offering fills a need on a large scale. You may have heard the Sharks say, “You came in too early” or “This isn’t a business it’s a hobby” or “it’s not scalable”. What your ultimate goal is matters. If you are looking to help people and make a comfortable living for yourself and family that makes a difference. Your business doesn’t need to be “scalable” it just needs to be treated like a business (not a hobby). If you think your business is worth Millions… you need to be sure your product or service in needed by millions! It comes down to supply and demand… you’ve got to supply what people are demanding. Fill a need or solve a problem. The key here is to make money you must be intentional. A business needs to be set up and managed to generate income.
- Know your Pitch!
When watching the pitches on Shark tank, you can tell who prepared! They practiced that initial pitch hundreds of times! Even if you aren’t going on Shark Tank, you need to be able to clearly and concisely explain what you do to a potential buyer/investor. Although many of us are not looking for capitol… you need to be able to tell people what you do… more importantly what’s in it for THEM! Practice your 30 second intro. Be a natural as you can and showcase what’s in it for Them.
- Success doesn’t happen overnight!
We live in an “instant gratification” world! Impatience is a part of being a business owner. We work hard and want to see instant results. But success takes time… it is a dance of stepping forward, stepping back and sometimes falling. You just have to get up, dust yourself off, and try again. You only truly fail if you quit!
So, I hope you enjoy the show as much as I do… Share with me what YOU have learned from the show (or even from being an entrepreneur!) Congratulations to Shark Tank!
Today I sort of messed up my schedule. I thought I needed to be at my first event at 10 am… well it turns out I didn’t need to be there until 3 PM. I decided instead of driving back home the 45 minute drive and then returning again, I would instead set up shop and work on other things until my 3 PM event. In usual “Mindy Style” I didn’t plan well for my meals… something I struggle with but am working on. I knew it would be good to get a solid meal in before the event, so at 12:30 I decided to go to the local Bertucci’s for a solo lunch! I didn’t hesitate because I do eat alone from time to time. The funny thing is, when I tell someone I ate at a restaurant alone they get a shocked look on their face. “What was that like??” “Did you feel weird?” Now, I’m not talking drinking a cup of coffee at Starbucks slumped over a laptop… I’m talking a full lunch in a busy restaurant alone…gasp!
Upon arriving I said “Just me” and smiled, the host only hesitated for a moment before putting back all but one menu and lead me to my table. I sat down and figured out what I wanted and decided I wasn’t going to linger on my tablet or cell phone… I was going to observe and relax for the time I was there.
So, here is what I observed-noticed:
- The older people in the restaurant were engaged in conversation, while the younger ones seemed to be on their phones. (An unfortunate sign of the times I guess). The groups seemed to be in deep conversation, leaning in.
- I was served much more quickly than the other tables with 2 or more patrons. I didn’t have the chance to ask if that is by design or if they assume you don’t want to sit alone for “too long”. The tables with groups they seemed to time the meal at a steadier pace. I don’t think they were rushing me, but wanted to make sure I was taken care of. Food came out one after the next… I think I was seated and finished in about 20 minutes!
- I was checked on constantly… almost as if they wanted to make sure I wasn’t lonely LOL!
- I noticed no one would look at me. I could see people looking around the restaurant but they seemed to skip over me… especially eye contact. Except for one little boy, who on his way out with his mother and sister stopped at my table and said, “Good Morning!” with a huge smile on his face. His mother quickly rushed him away saying don’t bother that woman. But I quite enjoyed his interaction and was glad I could say “Good Morning” back before he was out of earshot! I wondered if HE thought I might be lonely and needed a friendly hello?? I did smile at a woman across the room… but she quickly looked away.
- There was 1 other person in the restaurant eating alone… She had her tablet and phone going and never looked up even when the wait staff checked on her. I wondered… could she be that busy or is she feeling embarrassed a little to be eating alone?
So, have you ever eaten alone? How did it make you feel? I loved the fact that I got to eat all 3 rolls in the Bertucci bread basket (my absolute favorite with their seasoned oil! YUM!). I loved looking around and really seeing the décor and the people there. I was content not looking at my electronic devices and just “being”, enjoying my meal. Don’t get me wrong… I love to eat with family, friends and colleagues as well! But once in a while I think it is great to do things outside of the norm. Eating alone can be very empowering and relaxing at the same time. Give it a try and let us know how it makes you feel!