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Monthly Archives: August 2018

How to keep going when life turns to shit.

You’ve been going great guns in your business.

Sales are growing, social media numbers are up, you’ve found your flow, and your mojo has never been better.

And then…

Something happens that you have no control over. Perhaps you get sick, or you have a family emergency, or your anxiety flares up and you just want to sit on the chair, in your jimjams, watching Netflix.

What do you do?

It’s so hard, because for the majority of small business owners, WE are our business. If we’ve been lucky, or super organised, then perhaps we have contingency plans in place for when this happens, but most of us don’t have a team of people behind us, who can take over the reins when disaster strikes.

Don’t panic!

Firstly, don’t panic.

Okay, allow yourself 5 minutes of panicking, then stop and take a breath.

Make a list.
Write down all the things you have booked or scheduled for the next 3 days. Then decide which things absolutely must be done – no questions, no arguments.
Then look at that list again. Do those things really have to be done? Will the world come to an end if they are postponed for a few days? Will your clients really leave you?

Communicate.

Once you have decided what you are able to put off, communicate with the people who will be affected by your time away from your business. Re-negotiate timelines with clients or suppliers, set up an automated response on your phone and email, write a post in social media.

Often when we communicate with people, they are more than willing to be flexible with their requirements. If the situation were reversed, wouldn’t you want a supplier to take care of themselves or their family first? We are all human, and we all have lives and relationships outside of our work, and these lives and relationships are usually the reason we go into business in the first place.

I have never been angry with someone who was telling me they needed more time due to illness or an emergency. Quite the opposite in fact, I have felt nothing but compassion and empathy, because I know that these things have happened to me. People generally want to be supportive, it’s human nature. And if they don’t? Well, that says more about their values, than it does yours. Perhaps they’re not the right supplier or client.

Listen to your intuition.

If you are sick, your body is trying to tell you something, and it’s important you listen. Trying to persevere when you are run-down, exhausted and stressed, will just prolong how you are feeling, and may in fact, cause more serious problems. Give yourself time to recover, properly recover. Sleep, hydrate, eat good food (with the occasional treat thrown in for good measure), rest, watch Netflix, whatever healing looks like for you. The more you look after yourself, the quicker you will heal. If necessary, see the doctor, see the physio, see the psychologist. Make the time and get it done.

Get support.

Support might be in the form of an assistant who can take over some of your day to day work tasks, but it might also be in the form of a family member or friend helping you with non-business tasks. Perhaps taking the kids to school, making dinner, going to the shop and getting you Tim Tams. We get so used to doing it all ourselves, that we are often rubbish at asking for (and accepting) help. Those who care about us, want to help, they just often don’t know what to do. It is up to us to tell them how they can help us, not just get frustrated when they don’t automatically know what to do.

Looking after others.

If your time away is due to the needs of others, there is nothing to feel guilty about. I’ve had to take time out to look after my kids when they’ve been sick, or if they’ve needed emotional support. They have to come before anything else, because their needs simply won’t wait. But it doesn’t matter if it’s our children, our parents, our siblings, our partners, or our friends, these are the people that are the biggest part of our lives. We don’t need to explain to others why we have to re-schedule our work load, we can simply explain that there is a situation we need to deal with.

Review and re-negotiate.

If you find after a few days, that things have not improved, and you need more time, then you need to go back and communicate with your clients and/or suppliers. Most people are highly flexible as long as they know what’s going on.
How many times have you got thoroughly annoyed when chasing a supplier who hasn’t updated you? I know I have. I’d much rather they get in first, and let me know there’s been a problem with a delivery, or a schedule. It feels as though they genuinely care about me and my business.

How do you manage when you need time away from your business?

Why not pop over and join my  Braving Business Facebook group? We talk about the ups, downs, and challenges of running your own business. 

How to (not) win friends and influence people.

Struggling to bring new clients on board? Not sure where you’re going wrong when it comes to impressing the right people? This article has all the answers.

It’s very important when running your own business, to maximise the potential of gaining clients from anywhere, everywhere and anywhere. This can be done in a number of ways and the methods to win friends I’m going to share with you here should be used at least at every opportunity, if not more often.

Networking

1. When attending a networking event, make sure you have enough business cards and brochures to hand out to every attendee. To be on the safe side, I would also recommend handing them out to the staff at the venue and passers-by on your way to the event.

2. Introduce yourself to everyone. Don’t worry if they are in the middle of a conversation with someone else – it’s vital that you get yourself out there with confidence and energy.

3. Make sure you stand out from everyone else by speaking loudly and quickly. This will ensure that no-one forgets you.

4. Make sure that you criticise your competitors openly and often so there is no doubt as to who runs the best business.

5. Try and solve people’s problems by mentioning your outstanding range of skills and knowledge, even when completely irrelevant.

Make sure you stand out from everyone else by speaking loudly and quickly. This will ensure that no-one forgets you.

Social Media:

1. Make sure that you have a professional image on all your social media. Men must be wearing a three piece suit and women a knee length skirt and hair in a chignon. Do not smile.

2. When posting on social media, do not display any hint of personality, humour or charisma as these will not be appreciated by potential clients.

3. When you gain new followers or contacts, immediately send them an unbeatable offer for your products or services, even if it’s completely unrelated to what they do.

4. Do not ever mention anything other than work. Nobody wants to know about your children, dog, horse or any hobbies that you have, particularly if they appear to be fun. Successful people do not have a life outside work.

5. Take any opportunity available to promote your business. One good way is to comment on other businesses’ posts offering your services to their followers. You can also share your competitors’ posts as your own, which saves you having to do the work.

6. Consistently share your business posts on your personal profile and ask your friends and family to give you contact details of people they know without asking for permission.

Consistently share your business posts on your personal profile and ask your friends and family to give you contact details of people they know without asking for permission.

Marketing

1. When sending out emails, letters or any other form of correspondence, always use the term “we”, rather than “I”. Nobody in their right mind wants to do business with a sole trader who works from their spare bedroom.

2. When calling to make appointments, speak with an accent and pretend to be a member of your administration team. This makes your business sound far larger and more professional than if it were just you calling.

3. Following on from point 2, when answering the phone pretend to be a receptionist who says you’re in an executive meeting and that they will have to schedule a time for you to speak to them. Never let them know that you are available immediately. People don’t care if you are actually any good at what you do, as long as you are in demand.

4. Make up some fantastic testimonials to go on your website – the more the better. This will make you look highly successful and sought after. Most potential clients aren’t able to determine for themselves if a supplier is right for them, they just need to believe that others think so.

5. When people unsubscribe from your list, make sure to add them back on immediately so they continue to receive your sales messages.

When calling to make appointments, speak with an accent and pretend to be a member of your administration team.

Client meetings

1. First impressions are everything. To make sure that you grab the full attention of the other person, step into their personal space, strongly grab their hand, stare into their eyes whilst stating your name and sales pitch. This always goes down well and makes you stand out from the crowd.

2. Maintain eye contact always. When you are having a conversation with someone, stare directly into their eyes continuously. Looking away will convey weakness and insecurity.

3. People like confidence – stand with your feet apart, shoulders back and gesticulate freely to convey your message. The occasional punching of the arms of men or placement of your arm around the shoulders of women when you feel they are not paying enough attention to what you’re saying is encouraged.

4. Don’t answer questions directly. People don’t know what they don’t know; make sure you only ever tell them what you want them to think.

5. NEVER say “I don’t know”. This is why we have an imagination. If you are asked a question and are unsure of the answer, make it up. It is highly unlikely that you will be found out and you will come across as extremely well informed and intelligent.

If you follow these guidelines in every interaction, you can be sure to win friends and quickly gain a reputation with both your clients and peers alike.

People don’t know what they don’t know; make sure you only ever tell them what you want them to think.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek look at winning friends and influincing people.

Come on over and join the chat in my Faceook group – Braving Business.

This article was originally published on Flying Solo.