As a Professional Business Coach, I have literally worked with hundreds of business owners, sales people, and entrepreneurs. What I have learned from working with all these people, as well as my own personal experience and that of other coaches that I know, is that 85% of all business issues are just personal issues in disguise! Yes, that's right! 85% of all business issues are personal issues in disguise. I spend a majority of my time as a business coach working with my clients on their personal issues - the ones getting in the way of their business success. For example, if you are having problems getting things done at work, you will most likely find that these things are issues outside of work as well. I always say, "wherever you go, there you are!", meaning that you bring your issues with you wherever you go.
When I was working in Corporate America, I always wondered why so many people were working so many hours and not being very productive. One thing that I noticed is that people are not very effective with managing their communications. For example, I would notice that my co-workers would have a desk phone, a cell phone, a pager, a couple of e-mail accounts, and an instant messenger. When someone wanted to get a hold of them, they would simply go through each device until they got through. For example, someone would call the desk phone and leave a message, then leave a message on the cell phone, then the pager, then fire off a couple of e-mails, and finally try the instant messenger. Once they made contact, they would get their question answered, and off they would go. However, the other person would have to ferret thorugh the voice mails and e-mails, thus wasting valuable time.
You may not think this is a big deal, but when you stop to consider how many people contact you in a day, this can waste hours of time. Perhaps you are the type that is a slave to your phone, where you answer every call right when it comes in? Come on, admit it! You know who I am talking about. If this sounds like you, here are a couple of things you can do to be more effective in your communications, and save yourself hours of time everyday:
Are you looking for a great way to become more productive? Would you like to spend more time being proactive? Do you need to be spending more time on sales and marketing, and less time on paperwork and time wasters? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's time to eliminate your office!
Have you ever paid attention to how reasonable you are? You know what I am talking about. You are thinking about starting your own business, but when it comes down to it, you have 100 "reasons" why you shouldn't do it. Or perhaps you have a dream vacation that you have been putting off, because you have "good reason to". Does this sound like you?
If it does, I want you to dig further. Being reasonable not only takes away from us pursuing our dreams, but can also affect us in our daily lives as well. Think about all the reasons you come up with for not calling someone you should, or not taking a simple action you know you want to take. What is this costing you? Your career? Your health? Your relationships?
Are you interested in significantly growing your business this year? How about improving your relationships or social life? Perhaps you just want to improve your overall network? One great way to have a significant impact in any or all of these areas is to leverage your time. One way to do this is to, "never eat alone".
Since most of us (at least those of us that are human) have to eat, spending your lunch hour effectively can have a huge impact on our business and/or social lives. Consider this for a second...
If you work 48 weeks a year, that's 240 opportunities to have lunch with someone. Now, I want you to imagine spending that time with a client, potential customer, or someone you want to get to know. Would that have a HUGE impact on your business and social life? You bet it would!
Have you ever noticed that you often attract who you are? For example, people that always have problems tend to attract other people into their lives that have similar problems. Another example is how people often make the same amount of money that their friends and family members make.
As a coach, I believe in the power of living a balanced life, and I try to be a role model for my clients. One of the things that I do to maintain balance in my life is to take the first week of the month off every month. Yes, that's right! By doing this, I am forced to maintain balance in my life. I am also refreshed and more focused when I am working. While you may not be in a position to take a week off every month, I want you to keep in mind how important balance is. By maintaining a balanced life, your stress levels go down, your focus improves, and you are healthier and more present with others. I personally find that my best ideas come to me when I am relaxing and "away" from my day to day responsibilities.
In order to be successful as a small business owner, you need to make sure that you are leveraging yourself to make the best use of your time, money, and resources. The one area that this is paramount is in your sales efforts! If you aren’t maximizing your time, money, and resources in this area, there is a good chance that you won’t be in business for long – or at least not as successful as you could be.
The reason this is so important is that in today’s world, people are getting bombarded from every direction. We have more and more opportunities, and less and less time to take advantage of them. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, IBM did a study and found that the average person gets bombarded by 3600 marketing messages a day! They also found that it takes 26 impressions to move someone from apathy about you and your product to being ready to buy. So, as a small business owner, how can you ever hope to be successful with your sales efforts? Here are the 3 key things that sales masters do to catapult themselves to success:
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