Who can help you make your boat go faster?

Part of my weekly routine is a call on a Friday afternoon with my ‘Business Buddy’.  I thought it might be worth telling you a bit about this as we both find the process extremely helpful in keeping us focused on how we’re doing.

The starting point for this exercise is to ensure that you know what your goals are – what you are trying to achieve with your business and what are the smaller steps you need to achieve to get there?  This is key because without them you won’t know what to put down for your weekly actions.

Once you have these things written down in a way that suits you (spreadsheet, picture-style poster, written points) you can then find a Business Buddy who will help to keep you focused on achieving your goals. 

Business-BuddyThis is a mutual relationship and doesn’t involve payment, so you need to find someone who has the same mindset as you and who also wants to benefit from such a relationship.  Your Business Buddy doesn’t have to be someone who knows the ins and outs of your business or has years more experience than you in business.  They don’t have to be in your industry and they don’t have to be in your locality.  My Business Buddy lives about 200 miles from me and is someone I’ve only known for about 18 months, but after getting to know each other we ‘clicked’ and felt we were of a similar mind-set and could support each other as we tread the bumpy path of running a business together.

When you have found your buddy, you then need to agree the ‘rules’.  It’s entirely up to you how structured this relationship is, but we’ve found that keeping the call at the same time every week and having an agenda for the call helps immensely.  In fact, it is often in doing the preparation for the call that we find most value – and without a structure that wouldn’t happen.

We split the call into 2 halves so that we get equal time and input each and each half follows the same agenda:

  • Successes for the week
  • Challenges during the week
  • Opportunities received during the week
  • Update on actions for this week
  • Set Actions for next week


We will both spend some time before the call thinking about these 5 areas and jotting down notes and as I’ve mentioned, it often becomes obvious at this stage that what has felt like a bad week actually hasn’t been as bad as it seems.  Equally a good week might not have been as productive as it felt.  We also can reflect on why we haven’t got our actions completed, if that is the case, and understand what has been getting in the way.  This helps us to make changes to our behaviour/diary/expectations for the following week.

It has been said that our calls are ‘fluffy’ and we do understand that we are not as hard on each other as a paid coach might be, however there is massive benefit in reflecting on the week and we both know that we wouldn’t do that without the call .  Also, it’s sometimes just nice to discuss things and mull over some points with a like-minded person.  It’s very lonely when you work on your own and having a chance to chat things through often helps add some perspective.  I suspect that might be a woman thing, but if that is the case, it definitely has value for women!

And of course the action plan is a massive help as you have to really think about the key things you need to achieve during the next week and then you have a list to keep reminding you what you should be doing, rather than what you naturally get tied up in day-to-day.  As you have to report back at the end of the week there is great incentive to keep coming back to the list and making sure you’re working on the right things.

I would really recommend that you think about getting a Business Buddy.  Spend some time thinking about who you might want to partner up with and what you’d like to get from the relationship and then simply ask them.  My buddy arrangement got set up last year when I was on my ‘Will It Make The Boat Go Faster’ course and I had to do something there and then to start making my boat go faster.  A simple text asking the question has led onto a really useful business relationship and a friendship.

 

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Book of the month - The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

The Go Giver by Bob Burg and David MannI’ve got another small book for you this month, which you can easily read within a couple of hours, but that has a powerful message.

It’s a parable about an ambitious man called Joe.  Joe really wants to be successful and he works really hard, but sometimes it seems the harder he works, the further away his goals seem to be.

In his desperation to land a sale to meet his quarterly targets, he seeks the advice of a legendary consultant.  The story takes you through the next week as the consultant, known to his followers as ‘The Chairman’, introduces Joe to a series of ‘go-givers’ and the five laws of stratospheric success.

The Law of Value

“Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”

The principle of the first law that Joe learnt is that you have to be more concerned with what you are offering - whether you are providing value, whether you are exceeding people’s expectations - rather than what you will gain.  If you have a greater  passion for what you are giving than what you are getting, then profitable things will start to happen.

The Law of Compensation

“Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.”

This second law is about the impact you  have - how many people can you touch?  The greater the number, the greater the reward.

The Law of Influence

“Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interest first.”

The third law tells us to throw away the win-win concept and to focus on the other person’s win.  It talks about ‘enlightened self-interest’ - “watch out for what other people need, with the faith that when you do, you’ll get what you need.”

The Law of Authenticity

“The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.”

The fourth law is about being yourself.  It doesn’t matter what service or product you’re providing, the most important thing is that you are being who you are, not who you think people want you to be.

The Law of Receptivity

“The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.”

The final law of the go-giver is to remember that all this giving won’t lead to success if you are not open to receiving in like measure.  “Every giving can only happen because it is also a receiving …”

 

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Book of the month - Built to Sell - Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow

I’m in the middle of creating a new product and one of the things I will be asking people to think about, in relation to why they might need processes in their business, is why they originally started their business - was it to create themselves a job, ie. their income is relative to the amount of hours they work? or was it to create themselves an income stream that will provide for them in the longer term, irrespective of how many hours they work?

I suspect that a lot of people didn’t really consider either.  They probably thought working for themselves would give them more freedom than in paid employment.  However, in reality many small business owners find that the customers want to deal with them directly, the staff rely on them to know what to do next, and so in order for the business to survive, they have to work harder than ever.

Built to Sell by John WarrillowThis month’s book is sub-titled “creating a business that can thrive without you” and it’s all about how to move your business from one that survives because you put so many hours in, to one which thrives despite you not being involved in every aspect. 

Its title “Built to Sell” does imply that you would only want to read it if you are thinking about selling your business, but don’t be put off.  If you want to earn money from your business in the longer term you may wish to sell it to gain a lump sum, however you might rather keep the business but have it in a state that you don’t have to work in it, or at least not very often, but still earn a good income from it.  In that case, this book absolutely applies.

The book is written as a fictional story, but the characters and the advice are based on real situations known to the author.  The story is about a guy, Alex Stapleton, who has built up a marketing agency but is struggling with: demanding customers who will only deal with him,staff who aren’t up to the job, problematic cash-flow and a feeling that it’s time to call it a day as he’s no longer enjoying the business. 

Alex decides he wants to sell the business, but after a conversation with his business adviser realises that, in its current state, the business is worth nothing as it fully relies on him. 

The story then follows the steps his business adviser leads him through to turn the business into a highly successful agency which sells for over $5million in less than 2 years.

You will not be surprised to hear, as it’s me that’s reviewing the book, that the success of Alex’s business is due in no small part to a single process that he wrote, implemented and then brought staff in to manage and execute on a daily basis.

This book is a really easy read and, if you want to grow your business and/or release your time, it’s an informative book that will help you think through the changes you need to make in your business to reach your goal. 

When you’ve finished the story, in the back of the book there are 8 steps for you to follow to turn your business round in the same way as Alex Stapleton did.

If you are thinking of selling your business, you can visit www.sellabililtyscore.com to take a free questionnaire that will analyse how saleable your business currently is.  Also follow www.builttosell.com/blog.

 

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