Reinventing My Business

James at Men with Pens posted How to Rip Off Your Band-Aid and Reinvent Your Business. I read it, thought it made a lot of sense – to others – and left. The post starts like this:

When you have a business – any kind of business – there are two ways to grow:

* You can tinker away and make changes to accommodate growth in little bits as you go along
* You can shut the whole thing down and start over

Most people do the first. It’s easier to pick away at what you have and make little tweaks and improvements here and there, fixing up your business as you go along. You add a new service.

Something has pulled me back to that post several times today. I’ve been doing the first, some tweaking and adding a service or two. But to be honest I’m not really satisfied with what I have created, it feels like a patchwork. Nice in a way but it could be better.

No one has forever.

I think this is what bothers me – No one has forever. Nothing new about that but in this context it’s a major poke.

So if there’s somewhere you’d like to be with your business, quit picking at the band-aid. Take a few days off and think about what you’d like to do with your business and where you want to be. Plan. Prepare. Decide on your products, your services, your target market, your web image, and your goals.

Then just do it. Stop your world. Rip the band-aid off and put your business on hold for a week, a month, or maybe even two months. Do all the work you have to do to heal up what’s broken, fix what needs fixing and get your whole business set and ready for the next level.

There is somewhere I’d like to be with my business. I guess it’s time to stop procrastinating on this and do the work needed to create the business I really would love to have. See you in the new year with a new and better business…

Are You Using The Wrong Business Model?

In the weekly wrap from Copyblogger was a link to Are You Using The Wrong Business Model? at The Launch Coach. It’s a great post that starts like this:

Your business can be one of two things: A ramp, or a treadmill.

A ramp leads to a bigger and bigger business. A treadmill leads to more of the same, and a plateau of sales. (Or, if you have a fancy treadmill, a gentle incline that doesn’t get you that much farther.)

A ramp gets you to the next level. A treadmill doesn’t.

My current business model falls in the treadmill bracket. I’ll do my best to make my new business model as a ramp.

Are You an Eagle or a Duck?

I am coach and mentor. Like most small companies, I’m self-employed, one issue is to make potential clients find me. Another issue is how to stand out in the crowd. There are lots of coaches and mentors, how can I be different and make a difference?

I have two questions that I work with:
• What can I do differently?
• What can I do that my competitors don’t?
I don’t think there’s a final answer to any of those. It’s about Kaizen, gradual improvement, and keeping an eye on what my competitors do.

Eagle or Duck?

Yesterday I came across Be an Eagle, not a Duck, a great story posted by Keith Stoeckeler that’s on a related topic. The story is about Wally the Cab Driver and how he changed his business. As Keith said: “Small changes can make a large impact.” Wally got his inspiration from a quote by Wayne Dyer:

Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.

Wally the Cab Driver made a choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles. He put in a few changes at a time, gradually improving his business.

I intend to soar with the eagles. What about you?

Mission statement

Wally the cab driver in the Eagle or Duck story above had this Mission Statement:

To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.

That mission statement is short and to the point, easy to understand and also fairly easy to measure. It reminds me of this quote:

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupe

Twitter connects

@Amy Stark recommended that I should take a look at Convince & Convert. I liked it, subscribed and decided to follow @Jay Baer. Then Jay tweeted about @Keith Stoeckeler and the story above.

The Shadow Effect

During the weekend I have read The Shadow Effect – Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson. It’s a very interesting book and I recommend it.

The shadow exists within all of us. It is a part of us and yet we spend most of our life running from it. But far from being scary, our dark side holds the promise of a better, more fulfilling life. Our shadow makes itself known every day. It is the reason we get furious over a friend showing up ten minutes late, yell at our parents or kids when they have done nothing wrong, and sabotage our own success at the worst possible time. Until we are able to embrace our dualistic nature, we will continue to hurt ourselves and those closest to us and fall short of our potential.

Combining the wisdom of three experts, The Shadow Effect is a practical and profound guide to discovering the gifts of our shadow.

I saw the book at The Power of Slow, ordered it and then read it as soon as I got it.

The Shadow Effect has an official site. I like the text on the front page, it hits home with me:

Make peace with yourself, others and the world.

Find the courage to let go of all that holds you back.

Reconnect with the life you were meant to live and the person you were meant to be.

The book made me realize that I do kick myself too much. Instead I should focus more on the good things in life, self-love and self-respect is key to progress.

Marianne Williamson is the author of Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate which goes well with this book.

This quote by Mary Anne Radmacher will help me stay in (or bounce back into) the light:

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

The only thing you can change

mnmlist has a post about the only thing you can change, a great reminder that even a long journey begins with a small step. Here is what resonates most with me right now:

You can’t change your entire life. You can only change your next action.

You can’t declutter your entire life. You can only choose to get rid of one thing, right now.

You can’t change the past, or control the future. You can only change what you’re doing right now.

You can’t change everything. You can only change one, small thing. And that’s all it takes.

I’m currently decluttering big style, I am leaving an office and storage where I’ve been for 12,5 years. By end of April I’m out of there and have a lot less stuff to care for.

Reflect to see

Jenn Shallvey, @JennShallvey posts her Reflect comments at @reflect2see. It’s a great collection of thoughts and things to reflect on. Here are some of them, go check the Twitter profile for more. And while you’re there, follow it so you get the new ones.

Reflect: What pushes your buttons? Ever wonder why?

Reflect: Building a tribe is not about building your ego. If you can’t separate the two then you have false followers.

Reflect: Changing the outside appearance of what is on offer does not change the source. Always go to the source and be true.

Reflect: What you really truly desire in your life will come to you, but not necessarily in the way you think. Pay attention.

Reflect: On what terms are your relationships with others? Conditional or unconditional? Free or at a price?

Reflect: The places you go may be the same but you change each time you go there.

Reflect: How do you get in your own way?

Reflect: How many times do you need a life lesson before you get it?

Reflect: Many wise and wonderful souls may help you on your journey but ultimately the choice to heal is yours.

Reflect: What matters most in your life right now? How much attention and time go to this priority?

The last one goes nicely with the following two quotes that I have in front of me.

What’s the No. 1 thing you KNOW you should be doing that you’re not currently doing? Plant the seeds. Now.

Is the way you’re living your life today a foundation for the future you hope to build?

Jenn runs Reflect 2 See which is reclections with photos, very nice.

Wake up!

I got this image from a friend of mine, it’s a great quote.

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
Paul Valery

Seth Godin and Linchpin

Seth Godin launches his latest book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to Drive Your Career and Create a Remarkable Future in an unusual way. Today he is interviewed or guest post around the blogosphere, a good starting point is his own post The 2.0 media tour. I have followed some of the links and this piece of text from Escape From Cubicle Nation: You are not a cog is great.

if you’re a freelancer and you’re doing what everyone else in your market is doing, why on earth is someone going to hire you? Why will you be able to charge more? Where will your freedom come from?

The need to stand out and be different makes a lot of sense and it’s something I am working on for my own business as coach and mentor.

I have ordered the Linchpin book, it sounds very interesting, but it’s not delivered yet. A linchpin is defined like this:

linchpin = a pin inserted through holes at the end of an axle, so as to secure a wheel; a central cohesive source of stability and security; a person or thing that is critical to a system or organisation

Is it really a good thing to become indispensable? If employed, will your boss let you move on or try to keep you?

What Impact Do You Want To Have?

I am reading “The Tao of Motivation” by Max Landsberg, a great book that makes you think. (See also The Tao of Coaching, another great book by Max Landsberg.) The motivation book made me think about what motivates me and how to keep myself motivated. As selfemployed you need to be able to keep your own fire burning.

Then I came across A Question of Impact by Jonathan Fields. It raises these important questions:

What impact do you want to have? And, on whom?

Making an impact,as in making a difference, is something that motivates me. Seeing things change or ideas spread is motivating for me.

Jonathan Fields writes that:

I’m not yet convinced there is a single, quantifiable group of people I want or need to choose between. But, I’m also not convinced I can have the depth of impact I want when I’m playing too many games at once.

I think there is a risk of spreading oneself too thin (trying to cover too many) and because of that reducing the impact one makes. But I also see another risk, making your focus too narrow and missing out on chances to make an impact. At present I am balancing somewhere in between, I see the horizon of opportunity as 360 degrees and will see what turns up.

A Bigger Game?
In A Bigger Game Jonathan Fields also brings up the topic of making an impact:

It made me want to play a bigger game. Not a bigger money game…a bigger impact game. A bigger footprint game. A bigger life game.

I’m not that into ‘bigger’, I’m more into sustainable games, making impacts that last. My thought is that small scale works too, good changes create ripple effects. Talking about sustainable, I like The Seven Generations Perspective since it makes us consider long term conseqeunces and effects.

Three Key Words.
In Ready for 2010 I mention my three key words (Trust, Connect, Grow). These key words work well in connection with me making an impact. I have to be trusted in order to be able to make an impact. I need to connect with people in order to be able to make an impact. I need to grow (including learn and share) in order to be able to make an impact.

What’s My Own Answers?
My overarching vision is to help make this world a better place. That’s done on different levels, on a one-to-one level through my work as coach and mentor. On a global level it’s done through supporting organizations such as The Hunger Project and WWF. For the more ‘medium’ level I intend to write more. I would also like to make more presentations, both writing and speeches are ways to influence more people.

And You?
What’s YOUR answers to these questions?

What impact do you want to have? And, on whom?

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