Skills to Take You From Technician to Entrepreneur

5 Business Skills To Take You From Technician to Entrepreneur

Many small business owners are very good at what they do – from HVAC and automotive repairs to graphic design,  IT or accounting services.  They honed these skills while working for others – and at some point decided “I can do this on my own, make more money and have more time”.   And yes, they can.  But it takes more than technical know-how to build and sustain a successful business.

As a business owner, you need to wear a lot of hats. If you truly want to build a better business – one that works for you, here are some business skills you need to develop.

Time Mastery

It’s no surprise that the biggest complaint of business owners is a lack of time. While organizing can certainly help, the best way to get back time comes from improvements in planning.

Planning and goal setting help you prioritize and stay on track – a key to time management. Without it, everything looks important and little gets accomplished.  Planning starts with a clear vision for your business.  Next, incorporate your goals – what do you want to accomplish?  Then, identify what you need to do to reach those goals.  Whether you call them strategies, tactics, or tasks, these are the actions you must take to accomplish your goals.  Finally, schedule time to work on the ‘strategic’ parts of your business.

Keep in mind that planning is a cycle and ongoing process.  Monitor your results and make adjustments as needed.   Make planning and goal-setting a priority.  Be the visionary and strategist your company needs.

People Mastery

You can’t do it all yourself.  Whether you hire employees, sub-contract work or outsource projects and routine tasks, your small business needs others to grow and prosper. Most owners recognize the importance of getting quality people to support them and their businesses.  But too often, they ignore the need to develop and manage them – especially when outsourcing or subcontracting work.  Clear expectations, shared goals, ongoing feedback, and open communication lead to high-performance ‘teams’ – and a willingness to delegate to others!  Be the manager and leader your company needs.

Financial Mastery

You don’t need to be a numbers guru to be successful.  Whether you love them or hate them, the numbers are your friend – and a great tool for making sound business decisions and prioritizing where you put your resources.   While your accountant and bookkeeper can help with planning and day-to-day record keeping, YOU own your financial performance.

Take the time to learn and understand the key financial drivers that impact profitability, cash flow, and your income.  While key drivers may vary by business, some common ones include sales, margins, profit, accounts receivables/payables, labor, inventory management, and operating efficiency.  Look at your financial reports monthly.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  A good accountant will gladly explain — it’s how we learn.   If something doesn’t look or feel right – it probably isn’t.  Don’t ignore the red flags – ask questions or ask for help. Work with your accountant and be the chief financial officer your company needs.

Revenue Mastery

When you worked for someone else, keeping sales flowing was often someone else’s job.  But as the owner, getting customers and repeat business is now up to you. Regardless of whether you do it yourself or get others to do it for you, generating sales is the lifeblood of your business.  Have methods in place to consistently generate new sales (not just leads) and get current customers to spend more and purchase again and again.   There are a lot of ways to grow and sustain revenue.  You don’t need hundreds – but you do need three things:

First, a few proven methods to generate new leads.  Second, a reliable sales system to convert those leads to paying customers.  Finally, a dependable method to stay connected with current customers to generate repeat business.  The key to success in marketing and sales is consistency.  Avoid the stopping and starting or when time allows approach.  Be the chief marketing and sales officer your company needs

Systems Mastery

A business is a combination of people and systems that evolve as the business grows.  When you are doing all the work, the quality and service are probably to your standards – even if they are inefficient.  But as you bring in others to save time and money, those same standards may decline – unless you have written systems and procedures in place to guide them.

Systems aren’t complicated, but they are the key to efficiency, effectiveness, and repeatability in all areas of your business.  They make hiring, training, and outsourcing easier.  They make your business more efficient – which translates into more profit.  And most of all, they ensure you consistently deliver what you promise to customers, employees, suppliers, and others who depend on YOU.

Owning your own business can be rewarding. With a commitment to learning and developing new skills, your business can provide you with the income, lifestyle, and freedom you want.  As Ben Franklin said, “An investment in learning pays the best dividends”.

Experience the Power of Business Coaching

Why do so many successful business owners choose this path to build a better business — one that works FOR them? Because it works — they get results!

So ask yourself. Would another set of eyes, ongoing support, and accountability from an expert help you take your business in a new and better direction? Then let’s start a conversation. Schedule your free discovery call today. Book appointment.


15 Barriers to Personal Productivity

When it comes to personal productivity, most of us can be better. If we eliminate some bad habits or time wasters, how much more could we accomplish? Could we carve out more time to spend with family and friends? Or maybe just do things we enjoy? The first step to getting more done starts with changing some behaviors.  What are you doing or not doing today that prevents you from being productive at work or home?

Common Productivity Roadblocks

You can’t remember what you have to do.  If you don’t have a method to easily and effectively capture tasks that need attention, things get overlooked. If you don’t write it down, you simply forget. There are various apps available to capture tasks. Most of them can sync with all your devices: computer, tablet, and phone. Choose one and your to-do list will always be close at hand!

Tasks on your list don’t make it to your calendar.  You need to set time aside in which to do the tasks that need to be done.  Lists provide a reminder of what you need to do, but they won’t get done until you schedule them on your calendar. Most of the apps for tasks and to-do lists work with your calendar.

Set aside the wrong time.  Are you working against your energy?  Some of us are morning people, others night people.  Align your tasks with your energy levels. So try to schedule important tasks when energy levels are high.

Miscalculate how long tasks take.  We often think tasks take less time than they do. It’s a common issue. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day and add some buffer time for the unexpected.

You’re the wrong person for the job. Recognize your strengths (and weaknesses) and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  None of us are experts at everything. So don’t waste time on tasks you can delegate or outsource. Your time is valuable so spend it doing the right things.  You’ll be more productive — and probably a lot happier. 

The task is overly complex.  It’s human nature to avoid tasks that are too complex or cumbersome.  They often take a lot more time. Finding big blocks of time in your day to work on them makes it easy to understand why we put them on the back burner! The best solution is to chunk complex tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces and then attack them over time.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. — Vincent Van Gogh

Space is unorganized.  If your workspace is disorganized and cluttered, it will steal time and energy from your day.  If you spend a lot of time looking for stuff to get started, then it’s time to organize your workspace.

Unclear goals and priorities.  Without clear goals, you have no basis for making decisions on how you spend your time or prioritize the many choices you face daily.

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. — Jimmy Dean

Unrealistic workload.  Sometimes life does overload you. Usually (or hopefully) these are temporary.  Recognize it and delegate or eliminate the non-essentials during these times.

In transition.  Life changes sometimes make it difficult to determine how to invest your time.  The best way to overcome this is to re-identify your goals and create a roadmap for the change.

The work environment is full of interruptions.  Being easily accessible or readily available has its drawbacks.  Recognize this and plan for it.  Create a block of time each day that is interruption-free and under your control – even if you must leave your office (or your home) to get it.

Need to be a helper.  Assisting others personally or professionally can make your life rich and rewarding.  But only when it’s kept in balance.  Too much can make you resentful and overwhelmed.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our own need to be appreciated and feel valuable that we don’t let other people help us.  You empower people when you allow them to contribute, so let others help you too!

Love creating.  You keep starting projects but have a hard time finishing them.  But half-finished projects don’t deliver results and the sense of accomplishment that comes with getting things done.  This zaps energy and hurts productivity. Get some results-oriented people involved with your projects — employees, colleagues, or a business coach can help.  Spend some time with people who love getting things done. 

A need for perfection.  Not all tasks are created equal.  Do you feel compelled to do everything at the same level of excellence?  If you set the same high standards for every task, you will not finish anything.  Adjust your standards based on the specific tasks.  Some are worth your extra effort, some are not.  Remember, sometimes good is good enough!

Fear of losing creativity.  Some people fear that imposing structure or routines in their lives will squelch their creativity.  As a result, their lives are chaotic and often stressful.  Therefore, you need to learn to trust that you can put structure in your schedule and still be creative.  You don’t have to plan every minute and hour, but you can map out a general rhythm to your day.

The first step to making some changes comes from recognizing the need to do so.  Don’t try to fix them all at one time.  Focus on one then move to the next.

Tired of Hitting Roadblocks?

Are productivity and other issues causing roadblocks?  Would another set of eyes and accountability from an expert help you to get more done? If the answer is a resounding YES, let’s talk. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation today.

About Joan Nowak. I’ve been helping business owners turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business, common-sense approach empowers my clients and drives improvements in critical areas, including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

delegate effectively

How to Delegate Effectively

Delegation may not come naturally to everyone, but it’s a critical management and leadership skill you, as a business owner and entrepreneur, can develop.  It certainly saves you time and allows you to focus on more critical tasks.  But we often overlook the benefits it provides to others in your company. When done effectively, delegation helps you teach, develop and empower others in your company – something that contributes to employee satisfaction and retention.

So, if delegation is so important to business success, why do people avoid it? For some owners, it’s a matter of trust – believing they will do the task as well as you. Others may not have the right people for the tasks they wish to delegate. But in many cases, people avoid delegating because it takes time and effort to do it right.

Those with children can certainly relate to this concept. It’s easier to tie a child’s shoelaces than teach him/her to tie them. But once taught, your child feels empowered and you save time … and likely are proud of their accomplishment!

Great leaders are also terrific teachers. Look for ways to give a little more responsibility to those who work for you.  When you help them develop new skills, everyone wins.

3 Keys to Delegate Effectively

Effective delegation requires three things:  choosing the right tasks to delegate, identifying the right people, and doing it the right way.  So let’s explore each and I’ll share some ideas to help you delegate effectively in your business.

Choose the right tasks

Not all tasks should be delegated. As a business owner, there are things that you should do or spearhead. Tasks that are critical to your long-term success need your attention. Recruiting and hiring, developing team members, strategic planning or initiatives, and confidential information come to mind.

What tasks should you delegate? If you are uncertain, take a week or two to write down the tasks, big or small, you do. You may also come up with some projects you haven’t done because of time constraints. Add them to the list as well. Use the list to identify tasks or projects you can and should delegate.

As you go through each task on the list, here are a few things to consider:

  • Is it a recurring task, one that you do again and again? Delegating these can free up time now and in the future.
  • Does this task have short deadlines or turnaround times? Avoid delegating things at the last minute. These tasks may need to be delegated in the future – when you have time to do them right.
  • Can this task provide a way to help develop a skill for one of your team members? Think empowerment.
  • Is this a task critical to your company’s long-term success?  If so, you may delegate portions of the work but still, maintain overall accountability.

Choose the right people to delegate effectively

If you have people on staff with extra time and needed skills or expertise, it certainly makes it easier to delegate effectively. Plus, it’s a great way to get them more engaged, help them use and develop other skills and bring a higher level of purpose to their job.

But don’t let your current situation stop you from delegating. Consider part-time help or outsourcing. My clients have effectively used all three options to help them shift work to others and focus on the right stuff – a key to revenue and profit growth.

Now it’s time to match the tasks with the right people. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Is there someone who has the skills, knowledge, or expertise to do the task with appropriate direction and training from you?
  • Is there someone who has the desire to grow in your company? Some employees love to take on new responsibilities – others don’t. Understanding your staff and their long-term goals are key, but remember to match tasks with skills so it’s a win-win.
  • Is there someone who has time to take on more work? Sometimes the best person for the task is simply too busy to take on more work. Why not consider reshuffling responsibilities among the rest of the team? Take some of the ideal employee’s work and distribute it to others — with the training of course!

If you have the right people already, you’ve overcome a big hurdle with delegation. Just remember, YOU must be willing and able to dedicate the time and resources to help them succeed. In addition, be patient with your team. It will likely take them longer to do new tasks or projects – they are learning. But with your help, they will become competent and efficient.

Delegate the right way

Effective delegation requires a combination of instruction, coaching, answering ongoing questions, and follow-up. You are transferring knowledge to someone else to help them develop new skills and capabilities. It takes time and patience to be the leader and teacher your team needs.

Here are some suggestions to help you delegate successfully to others:

  • Explain clearly what needs to be done – and the desired outcomes or results. Avoid the simple handoff with a “Can you take care of this” comment. It will leave you and the employee frustrated.
  • Discuss expectations as it relates to initiative and feedback. Should the employee wait for your instructions or make recommendations and decisions? Be clear and use discretion based on the task and individual. You can always expand authority as the employee develops.
  • Provide adequate support and be available to answer questions along the way. This is important so don’t ignore it.
  • Focus on results, not how it is done. If you have ideas or systems, share them where appropriate. But, encourage or empower the person to control the process.  He/she may find better ways to do things.
  • Discuss and agree upon timelines, deadlines, and checkpoints (milestones) along the way. If appropriate, pre-schedule progress update conversations.
  • Review work submitted, provide timely feedback, and adjust as needed. Your people need feedback to develop so don’t make them wait for weeks or longer.
  • Build motivation and commitment. Help the employee understand why the tasks/projects are important. Connect what they are doing to the success of the business. Provide recognition and rewards when deserved – and consequences, if appropriate.

Finally, two things you should also avoid. First, upward delegation or shifting decisions or tasks back to you. This can occur when an employee gets stuck or has a problem. When they do, don’t jump in or simply provide an answer. Instead, use this as a learning opportunity. Ask for their recommendation or how would they handle it. Help them become problem solvers.

Second, avoid micromanaging. Effective delegation requires a balance between giving the employee space to shine while monitoring enough to ensure the job is done effectively. Don’t micromanage but do the follow-up necessary. Remember, you as the owner or manager are ultimately accountable.

Delegation is a leadership skill and time management strategy that you must practice to master. But when you learn to delegate effectively you will be pleased with the results – more time for you and a more empowered, satisfied team.

Related Article | Leadership: What Makes Some Great

Need Help? Are you open to meeting with someone who can bring a different perspective, new ideas, or accountability to your business? Then let’s have a conversation.  Click here to schedule an appointment

Improve Leadership Skills

10 Tips to Improve Your Leadership Skills

As a business owner, your leadership skills are critical to the success of your company. From hiring and managing employees to building your company’s reputation and revenue stream. While many small business owners do not have formal leadership training, there are some basic tips and tricks you can use to hone your skills and be an effective leader.

#1 – Keep learning

The best way to improve your leadership skills as a business owner is by continuing to learn and grow. If you don’t continuously look for new information, you will never be able to develop the knowledge needed for success. It’s easy to get comfortable and feel like you have the experience you need. But in business, change is the only constant. So read, listen to audiobooks or podcasts, attend workshops, talk and share information with other business owners or work with mentors. In other words, keep learning.

#2 – Set goals

Developing your leadership skills is just like any other skill. It requires you to put in the time and hard work, and it takes time to become proficient. Make it a priority by including leadership goals with your other business and personal development goals. Then take incremental steps towards achieving those goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go the way you thought they would immediately. Give it time.

#3 – Delegate

Delegating for some owners can be tough, but you must delegate tasks. After all, you can’t do everything yourself. By delegating tasks to others, you’ll free up your time and energy so that you can work on what matters–the big picture stuff. And, give your employees a chance to grow and develop new skills. A bonus of course is that it says to your staff – I trust you can do it as well (or maybe better) than I can.

RELATED ARTICLE:  7 Keys to Effective Delegation

#4 – Communicate

Communication is key to any successful business. Whether you’re negotiating with suppliers, sharing information with staff, or explaining your products or services to customers, communication is key. Here are a few tips to improve leadership in the area of communication:

  • Be clear about what you want. It’s important that everyone understands the goals and how you can get there. Make sure there is room for different opinions on how to achieve the desired outcomes.
  • Engage your employees in discussions about company goals and objectives.
  • Encourage participation by asking employees for input before making decisions affecting them directly.
  • Make requests instead of giving orders when working with others on tasks involving more than one person so they feel like their opinion matters too.

#5 – Be decisive

It can be easy to put off decision-making, especially when you’re starting in business. But being indecisive can get in the way of your success; it’s important to learn how to make decisions quickly and move on. One way you can improve your decision-making is by learning what will work best for your business and then making decisions that go with that plan.

#6 – Be compassionate

It’s easy to forget how hard the daily grind can be when you’re at the top of your game. But being compassionate is an important component of leadership. It’s not always about getting things done. It’s about understanding the pressures and stresses on those who work for you and empathizing with what they might be going through.

#7 – Be open to feedback

While you need to provide feedback to others, a leader must be open to receiving feedback too. The only way you can improve is if you know what your weaknesses are and are willing to take steps to fix them. You might not like hearing criticism, but it will make you better in the long run. So be open to feedback and be willing to change where appropriate.

#8 – Admit when you’re wrong

Owning up to your mistakes is the best way to improve and stay focused on the future. You might be caught off guard when you make an error, but you mustn’t let it get you down or keep you from moving forward. When something goes wrong, ask yourself what you could have done differently in the first place so that it doesn’t happen again. In other words, acknowledge and learn from your mistakes.

#9 – Encourage others

As a business owner, it is your job to motivate others within your company. Here are a few ideas to help you do this:

  • Be the best at what you do – so others will want to follow you.
  • Communicate clearly and often with your staff.
  • Provide feedback. Offer praise when it is due and never take credit where credit is not due.
  • Be respectful of others’ opinions and ideas, even if you don’t agree with them.
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration.
  • Allow your team to make mistakes. They will learn from their errors, develop new skills and not fear making decisions.
  • Create clear expectations and goals so that everyone knows what they’re working towards.

#10 – Lead by example

Lead by example and set a positive tone for your employees. Make it clear what is expected of them and provide the tools they need to get the job done. When you’re successful, show gratitude and encourage others. And when you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize sincerely, and take responsibility for your actions.

Ready to put your business on a better path?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support, and accountability from an expert help you take your business in a new and better direction? Then let’s start a conversation. Schedule your free discovery call today. Book appointment.

Is Creativity Required

Is Creativity Required for Success?

I read an article about skills you need to succeed at anything. Intended for businesses, it talked about communication and listening, decision-making, personal (time) management, analytical skills, and creative thinking – to name just a few.

Okay, improving many of these skills will certainly make a difference and contribute to your success — in business and in life. But creativity in how we think and solve problems? Well, it got me thinking…

When things go wrong or problems arise, how do you resolve them and what do you do? Has anyone told you to get creative or think out of the box? And therein lies the problem.

By definition, creativity means you have the ability to create new or original ideas or methods. But most of us don’t consider ourselves creative unless we are a designer, artists, or craft people.  So messages that promote ‘creative thinking’ can fall flat – and the recipient feels doomed before they start.

Innovation Vs. Creativity

Here’s a better approach. Think innovation. By definition, innovation is the introduction of new things or methods. Subtle difference – introducing new methods versus creating them. Innovation does not require originality or uniqueness which is often associated with creativity. It’s simply a matter of continuously looking for better ways to do what you do – and you can use what others have already perfected.

The good news is we all have the ability to be innovative and we don’t need to go at it alone. Make it part of your culture and get others involved too. It’s important if you want to achieve sustainable success in business.

Where to Apply Innovation

So where should you apply innovation in your business? The answer is simple – everywhere. From marketing and sales to customer support, service delivery, and team building, all areas of your business will benefit from a little innovative thinking and action!

  • A process to stay connected with customers to improve retention rates is innovative.
  • Finding new markets for your products or services is innovative.
  • A marketing campaign that consistently delivers quality leads is innovative.
  • Applying technology to a current system for improved efficiency is innovative.
  • Re-packaging products and services to improve margins and sales is innovative.
  • A system for consistently hiring quality people is innovative.

So don’t get hung up on creativity, but do make innovation a definite priority. It will pay off on the bottom line and may actually make what you do a lot more fun!

Need help turning ideas into actions? 

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support, and accountability from an expert help you take your business in a new and better direction? Then let’s start a conversation. Schedule your free discovery call today. Book appointment.

Coachable mindeset

Are You Coachable?

While we often associate coachability with athletes, being coachable is one of the most important life skills you can develop. If you wish to grow, learn, or excel, in sports and in life, you need to be coachable – willing to accept help from others in order to improve yourself.

Coachable people are open to listening to feedback, able to accept constructive criticism without taking it personally, and will look at their own performance with an honest eye in order to improve. So coachability is not just important for athletes. Whether you are an employee, leader or entrepreneur, a student or a teacher, a parent or a child – being coachable is for everyone.

Why Coachability and Success Go Together

People who seek out mentors or coaching from others are not weak or disempowered. They are simply aware, determined, and driven to do better – in business, in life, in relationships, etc. They are willing to have a discussion about how they can improve a skill or something that is important to them.  And because they are open to suggestions and willing to try new things, they are far more likely to succeed.

I see it often with my business clients. Being coachable, trying new things, keeping an open mind, and taking action to improve have led to success.   Click here to read what they have to say.

How Coachable Are You?

We all know someone who is not viewed as coachable. The employee who takes performance feedback personally. The boss who always thinks he/she is right. The person who is disrespectful of others’ opinions.

Here are a few behaviors that will lead others to believe you are not coachable:

  • Not willing to learn new things
  • Thinking you are always right
  • Not open to change
  • Eye rolling or ‘I know’ when engaging with others
  • Unable to honestly self-reflect
  • Don’t care about improving their situation – life, relationships, health, etc.
  • Disrespectful of others and their opinions
  • Unwilling to learn or do what is necessary to actually improve

Coachability is all about attitude. If you want to be the best that you can be, open your mind to the possibility that there are things you have not learned yet that could make you even better today or tomorrow. Embrace it.

Related:  How to Profit from Others’ Ideas      When someone offers you a new idea for improving your business, do you look for flaws, dismiss them or find ways to apply them? Here’s how to profit from other people’s ideas.

About Joan Nowak

I’ve been helping business owners turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers my clients and drives improvements in critical areas, including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.  Click here to learn more about working with a business coach.

Effective leadership

Ready to Lead Your Team?

Leadership is tested most during times of crisis or change. Are you ready to lead your team? To be the leader your team needs, start by focusing on these four areas.


Good communication skills are important at all levels of business. But it can be challenging with some or all employees working remotely.  Keeping a pulse on what’s going on is more difficult. Casual chats as you walk around and lunchroom conversations aren’t there for you. Getting informal communication or feedback requires planning and initiative.

  • Schedule brief catch-up calls with your staff. Encourage others to do the same. Nothing says I care more than a one-on-one conversation.
  • Zoom and Google Meet are great tools for bringing the team together. They can replace onsite meetings. Just don’t overdo it! Keep them brief and have an agenda.
  • Keep email communication clear and simple. They are a great way to keep your team up-to-date on what is going on.
  • If you use text, use it wisely. Would you want to receive text messages all day and night from your boss or colleagues?

Redefine Goals & Expectations

Most small businesses have undergone changes over the past year. Some changes were as simple as safety protocols. Others changed their business model, products, or operations. 

But with the knowledge you gained and trends you’ve watched, take a hard look at your overall business. Your team, operations, customer service, products, systems, and margins may need revamping to handle changes in attitudes and behaviors. It’s not about surviving – but thriving in years ahead.

Communicate your new vision for the future. Clarity from you can also reduce stress on them! Set clear goals and expectations so everyone is on the same page.


Communication and clear goals are a good start and something your team needs from you. But make sure you give people the tools, support, and authority to do their jobs and achieve the results you all want. Build-in accountability.

By definition, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, decisions, and implementation within the scope of their job. It comes with an obligation to report, explain and take ownership of results.

The best way to build accountability within your company is through follow-up. Check on progress along the way. When you follow up on projects or tasks you reinforce their importance. It also gives you the opportunity to recognize their work, keep them motivated or help get them back on track if necessary.


“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things, but the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” If you believe the words of President Ronald Reagan, you have the ability to be a great leader. You simply need to open doors for others on your team to accomplish great things.

It starts with delegation. Sure effective delegation saves you time and allows you to focus on the right stuff. But it’s really more than that. When you effectively delegate work to others, you allow them to learn new skills and take on more responsibilities. It helps you empower others to accomplish great things for you and your company.

Related: How to Delegate Effectively


If you take care of your team, your team will take care of your business. Good leaders understand this so they make teamwork and developing others a priority.

We’ve all had people in our lives who we admired or learned from. They make a difference and are often unforgettable. Many of these individuals are former bosses, coaches, teachers or business colleagues. And when you ask people about them, you will often hear “I learned so much from him/her”.

You too can be that person in your company. Whether you teach them directly or open the doors to learning, you have the ability to help your team reach their full potential. Share your knowledge. Promote training and development within your company. Be the serving leader your team needs to excel at work and in life.

Related: Leadership: What Makes Some Great

How Can I Help You Better Lead Your Team?

How can personalized advice and coaching help you reach your business and professional goals? Let’s start with a conversation about what’s important to you — and what is holding you back. Book a free 30-minute call today.  Click to schedule now. 

Keys Entrepreneur Success

9 Reasons Successful Entrepreneurs Outperform Others

In preparing for a presentation on the pitfalls of entrepreneurship, I started to think about the business owners that have crossed my path over the past decade.  Why do some succeed while others struggle? And what are the keys to success? Here are some of the insights I shared with small business owners.

9 Keys to Entrepreneurial Success

Maximize Their Time. They understand that time is money, know what their time is worth and invest it wisely. They are productive, working on what’s important, instead of doing busy work – stuff that is low-value or a waste of time.  Are you busy or productive? The difference can cost you.

Lifetime Learner.  In the words of Ben Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” and successful owners take this to heart. They make learning a priority – so reading, taking classes, attending seminars and looking at what others do is a common practice.  When was the last time you read a book or took a class to learn something new?

Rely on Others.  It’s tough to reach new heights in business by yourself.  Successful entrepreneurs understand this – and embrace the power of delegation and outsourcing. They have teams of people they can rely on to provided needed expertise or simply to free up their time to work on more valuable tasks.  Who do you have supporting your business?

Disengage From Daily Operations.  They understand that a successful business is one that can run without their day-to-day involvement – and that suits them just fine! They also recognize that this can’t happen without people and systems.  So they create processes, set up clear expectations and develop systems to manage the work and help keep the team on track. You too can create a business that works FOR you by following the same approach.

Plan the Work – Work the Plan. It’s no surprise that highly-successful people have goals.  More important, they have a plan of attack to accomplish them. And they work that plan every day. If you are among the many business owners who get distracted or lose focus on what’s important, planning can make a big difference.  It’s not too late to start.  Write down your goals, identify what you need to do, schedule time to work on it and start doing!

Fail Forward.  The old saying, nothing ventured, nothing gained, certainly applies to successful entrepreneurs.  There are no guarantees in business, but they understand that taking calculated risks and viewing failures as learning experiences and opportunities is a critical element for success.  Don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from it and move on. It’s all in the attitude.

Numbers Matter.  Business owners love trying new things and are never short on ideas.  Successful owners don’t get personally attached to their ideas and ignore everything else.  They pay attention to the numbers so they know when to cut their losses or change direction. If something doesn’t work, is not profitable or not taking you toward your goals, be willing to make a change.

Look to Improve. Successful entrepreneurs seek out opportunities to get better in all areas of the business. Whether it’s through product innovations, expanding markets, better customer service or improved delivery – continuous improvement is a priority.  What are you doing to make your business better today than yesterday?

More Insights From Others

If you want to become highly successful, apply some of the suggestions above.  If you want to expand your knowledge or gain a little inspiration from others who have made it, pick up or download a few of these great books.

Ready to Create Your Own Success Story?

Are you ready to move your business in a better direction and wonder if working with a business coach can make a difference? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email

Take Control of Time

3 Habits to Help You Take Control of Your Time

Too much to do and not enough time. It’s a common complaint among business owners, but it’s something you can manage when you take control of your time. With a little discipline and a desire to change, you can improve time management skills — and get more done each day.

There’s no quick fix or silver bullet to improve your skills overnight. But little changes done consistently will put you on the right path. It’s a skill worth perfecting because it delivers some great rewards. More productivity. More time to relax. Less stress from missed deadlines. And when you own a business, more money!

If you want to take control of your time and get more done, then let’s create some good habits. By definition, a habit is a behavior or action regularly followed until it becomes almost automatic.

Here are a few that can make a difference when it comes to managing your time.

Set Goals to Stay Focused

No surprise here. Setting goals and reviewing them daily is one of the best habits you can develop for your business and personal success. Clear goals keep you focused on what’s important. They help you prioritize how you spend your time.

Without goals, everything appears important. How will you decide what to work on now, what to work on later or most important, what you should not work on at all?

The key to building goal setting habits is to keep it simple. Write down five or six goals for the next 12 months. Remember to apply the SMART principle – specific, measurable, actionable, realistic (to you) and time-specific.

Next, for each goal you establish, identify 3-4 tasks you need to DO to achieve it. Refrain from listing too many tasks or tactics. It makes it easier to focus, take action and stay on track. Goals without action are simply wishes or dreams.

Finally, review your goals daily and use them as you prioritize your days, weeks and months. Invest more time on the activities that move you toward your goals. Learn to ask yourself – Is doing this moving me toward my goals?

Planning With To Do List.

Routine tasks, those you do daily, likely get done without a reminder. You rarely think about them. They are almost automatic. Meetings you schedule are also likely to happen because they are on your calendar – hopefully.

But what about commitments you make to others? Or unplanned customer or team issues? Or new ideas and strategies for growth that float into your head? Or tasks you identified to support your goals? Or tasks that are important but only need your attention periodically?

As a business owner, you are likely inundated with these things on a daily basis. While most do not require immediate action, they do need action at some point. So you need to capture them easily in one place or they will be forgotten (we are human).

Fortunately, smartphones are a great tool for creating your to-do list. It’s with you most of the time and there are applications to make it easy. While I use Google Task Organizer, Evernote and Wunderlist are also popular apps. Check them out and find one that works for you!

While making a to-do list is important, scheduling time on your calendar to actually work on the tasks is critical. On a weekly basis, review the list and identify the priorities for the coming week. Which tasks do you need to complete or work on? Then block time off on your calendar to work on them.

When it comes to blocking and scheduling your time, keep the following in mind:

– Treat the blocks like appointments – sacred and not to be arbitrarily canceled. If the tasks are important to you and your business, treat them that way.

– Be realistic. Most tasks take longer than we expect and some require smaller blocks over a few days. Don’t over-schedule. You’ll feel better and stay on track.

Plan for Fun. 

Growing up, my dad was a planner. Vacations, family outings, ‘big’ dinners and parties were planned in advance. While we always laughed about it, one day he told me something I never forgot. When you work hard all week, you’ll be a lot more productive when you have things that you look forward to. Think of these as rewards.

He was right. Think about the last time you went on vacation. How much more did you get done the week before simply because you were going away? Whether it’s dinner with your family, a round of golf with friends, trips to the local gym to work out or anything else you enjoy, schedule them so you too have things to look forward to daily, weekly and monthly. It helps my productivity and it may just help yours!

Take Control of Your Time

People skilled in time management stand to gain more from everyday life. And you can conquer it if you take it one step at a time. Try building these habits into your routine. You will feel more in control and your productivity will soar!

More Business Building Ideas

For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.

What's Your Story

Can Storytelling Propel Your Small Business?

We all love a great story.  And in business, this can be a powerful tool.  Whether you want to inspire your team, share an idea with colleagues, teach others valuable lessons or motivate prospects to buy – a compelling story can move and persuade people to take action.

Why Storytelling is Effective

  • Simple and Timeless.  You don’t need a degree in communication to tell a good story.  Stories are handed down from generation to generation.  You likely have a few you’ve shared with others too.
  • Memorable.  When you blend a few facts into a good story, people tend to remember.  And what we remember, we can easily share.
  • Appeal to All Learners.  People absorb information differently. Are you familiar with VAK learning styles?  Approximately 40% are visual learners, 40% are auditory and 20% are kinesthetic (learn by doing or experiencing).  Through mental pictures, words, the tone of voice and emotion, a good story works for all learners.
  • Subtle and Informal.  Most people are open to new ideas and suggestions, but rarely like to be told what to do.  Stories provide a way to teach valuable lessons in a way that is informal and doesn’t appear arrogant.
What Makes a Story Compelling?

A compelling story is often about conflict and how you or others dealt with it.  It combines facts with emotion by addressing the following:

  • What challenge or problem are you faced with?
  • What obstacles (3-4)  are standing in your way?
  • How did you confront these obstacles?
  • What was the outcome or result?

Storytelling has become popular in marketing as a way to tell your ‘company’ story in a more compelling way.  But it can be used effectively in other areas too.  Create a story around your vision and share it with your team.  Add emotion and storytelling to your next sales or business presentation to help you ink the deal or drive home key messages. Use stories about a customer experience to help your staff improve customer service.  The list is endless.

So why do small businesses hesitate to use this approach in marketing? According to my favorite storyteller, Adrienne Richardson, fear of putting yourself out there and showing vulnerability tends to stop many of us.

Others simply believe they don’t have a good story to tell. Since most people have experienced challenges in life – growing up, starting a business, changing jobs, losing a loved one, we all have a story to tell.  You simply need to be willing to share it.

Tips to Become a Better Storyteller
  • Start with the end in mind.    What is the message you want to deliver – the one that will linger with your audience?  Then work backward!
  • Be authentic. Stories are compelling when you are sincere.
  • Be concise.  Most experts believe that storytelling in business should be 3-5 minutes.  A story isn’t a 30-60 second commercial nor is it a bedtime novel.
  • Be creative.  Good stories have ups and downs to build intensity.  Give some thought to the words you choose. Visual and persuasive words can add imagery and encourage action.

Is there a story in your future?  Give it a try.  Create one, practice it and deliver it with passion. Don’t be afraid to get feedback and suggestions from others.  In no time at all, you’ll turn your conversations or presentations into something truly memorable.

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email