Facing Business Change With Excitement!

In a lot of organizations these days, financial challenges will mean it’s time to cut costs.

And because of the vast number of workers getting laid off by their respective companies, money will be tight, meaning people will find it hard to afford all their consumer needs, in all but the most basic essentials.

Of course this begins the vicious financial cycle, where less spending often causes businesses to struggle, bankruptcies multiply and businesses are forced to shut down. Which in turn causes even more unemployment.

The income versus spending cycle, with the frequent hardships for so many people, makes it hard to find much comfort for anyone. So instead of letting those negative feelings fester, it’s time to appreciate how to live with change and learn some ways to face it with acceptance – even confidence and excitement!

With recession the main problem – at least in the short-term – one option is to see beyond the present and consider the bigger picture – the real opportunities that change can present, even if right now, things are looking tough.

Many people get into roles they are not fully aligned with, partly because they received poor guidance at an early age; partly because they chose wrongly for themselves and partly because roles evolve in different directions to what they anticipated.

So, here’s the thing. A great first step to be able to accept the changing workplace environment is to let go of comfort zones.
Living with change is especially hard after the stable and dynamic business environments of the past ten years. So when it’s time to move forward into the unknown, it’s very understandable to feel some apprehension.

Instead of dwelling on the downsides, it might be best to accept the fact that it’s time to move on, with the option to return to those comfort zones at a later time – if that’s really essential! For now, how about taking that progressive step to really engage with and accept that the time for change is now.

Next, since living with change, for this discussion, may mean changing direction, it would be really smart to research will help to acknowledge and then welcome new opportunities with a more open disposition.

By releasing preconceived notions that are held already about the most appropriate career, will enable personal growth, enjoyment and – because people perform best when they are being authentic – success too.

Finally, it’s vital to manage perspectives and be optimistic. Yes, accepting and even being pro-active with change is can be a frightening thing, being positive about it is a major asset to adjusting and getting comfortable again.

Living with change and facing it with acceptance may be hard at first, but with the tips mentioned above, it shouldn’t be that difficult in the long run. It might even be fun!

Biggest Problems Facing Business in 2010

A while back I wrote an article on the biggest problems facing small business in general. It generated a lot of interest and is by far my most read article. That tells me that business leaders are not only searching for answers but are also searching for the right questions.

To clarify that point, many business leaders know their organizations aren’t doing as well as they want they just don’t know why. Things such as declining revenue, shrinking profit margins, and losses of customers are obvious, but they are the result of problems not the real issue. This is further confused by a poor economy, is my company doing poorly because the economy is slow, or are the causes internal?

Poor economic times allow weak organizations to fail. That may sound harsh but think about it, dollars are still in circulation, there are just fewer of them. Consumers still need goods and services, they are just more cautious about buying them. I used the example if there are five auto repair shops in an area, people still need their cars repaired, they just won’t do it as quickly or as often. The top service providers with the loyal following will survive, the marginal ones will not.

The top problems for small business in 2010 aren’t new, they are simply being magnified, and they will continue to become more and more critical. We need to accept that “business as usual” will never mean the same thing. Technology is making the world smaller. There are new competitors entering nearly every market every day. The Internet has created an environment where small companies can level the playing field with large corporations by reaching millions of people with their message with little or no cost. Good news as well as bad news on a product or service travels far and fast.

So the biggest problems for business in 2010?

1. Lack of a clear vision and plan – Most companies don’t have one. Throwing something at the market and hoping it will stick will become tougher and tougher. Find a niche and excel at it.
2. Lack of execution – When you decide on a strategy execute.

a. Over 90% of strategies that are developed are never executed.
b. 75% of improvement projects fail.
c. 85% of leaders spend less that 1-hour per month on strategy.
d. Over 90% of employees don’t know the company’s strategy. (This is a direct result of top management not documenting and communicating it)
e. Well over 90% of organizations don’t have meaningful performance measurements in place.

3. Ineffective leadership – Things are moving faster and are more complex, and an effective leader must develop an environment that fosters innovation and open communications to take advantage of all human and capital resources.

4. Sales and marketing effectiveness – this leads back to planning and leadership. Many companies have not taken the time to decide what their USP is. They try to compete in conflicting areas, such as lowest price and highest service. One takes away dollars and the other adds cost. Part of the planning process should include a very clear answer to one simple question, “with all of the products and services available to my customers why should they buy from me?”

In my book I had a chapter that stated flatly that all businesses have problems. While this may seem obvious my experience has taught me that not all leaders deal with problems in the same way. Many unfortunately try to deal with them by ignoring them, others by treating a symptom, still others by trying to blame someone. A few actually use meaningful data to get to the root cause and fix the issue.

The economy seems to be rebounding in 2010. The questions is what have you done as a business leader to position your organization to take advantage of it?

Networking for Business: 6 Golden Rules for Face-To-Face Networking

With the advent of the internet and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook it’s easy to overlook the value of face-to-face business networking because of the extra effort.

And if you’ve found the extra effort is just not worth the effort, that probably means you are not getting new business so perhaps it’s time to take another approach.

Going to networking events can be fun, especially if you are a solo entrepreneur but it’s even more important that you make good use of your time while you are there.

Here are 6 golden rules to follow to help you do just that.

Rule #1. Have a Purpose

Sounds pretty basic but it will save you a lot of time and wasted energy if you have a purpose to your networking.

Your purpose could be to meet new prospective clients, to be “seen” amongst the movers and shakers of your industry or to connect with possible joint venture partners. Depending on the event it could be all three!

Or perhaps you are looking for a coach, mentor or service provider to help you move your business forward.

Main thing is to be clear about why you are there.

Rule #2. Be Selective

Because going to networking events can be fun it’s very tempting to accept every opportunity but you can’t afford to do that.

Being selective means being clear about who you want to connect with and identifying where those people hang out.

If you don’t prioritise you could end up in all the wrong places. Worse still you could miss out on being where you really need to be to make the valuable connections you are seeking.

Check your opportunities against your criteria and ask yourself – is this a good use of my time?

Rule #3. Set an Intention

Before you head out the door – set an intention as to what you want to get out of the networking function.

For example “Today I intend to connect with at least one potential JV partner”, new client or whatever the case may be. And consider it done!

On an energetic level, when you begin mingling you’ll automatically attract the people who are looking for you. Conversations will come easily and you will have more chance of finding a match than having no clear intention or outcome in mind.

Rule #4. Quality not Quantity

There is no need to talk to every person in the room. In fact that is one of the big mistakes people make because there’s simply not enough time. Anyway, your purpose is to make meaningful connections with the people you intend to meet so work on quality and not quantity.

Look around and get a feel for who you want to meet and approach them, take your time, introduce yourself and be inquisitive. Ask questions and wait for the answer – then ask another question. If you like what you hear then spend more time to develop the conversation. If not then politely move on.

At the same time be careful not to monopolise someone just because you do established a rapport. If you are really hitting it off then suggest you spend some more time together and pull out your diary and make a time. Meanwhile you can both continue to mingle.

Rule #5. Swap Business Cards

Sad but true. Some people go to all the trouble of attending a business networking event and don’t take any business cards! Don’t be one of them.

Make sure you leave home with a stack of business cards and be generous in exchanging them with the people who you meet. My tip is to have two pockets in the outfit you wear. One loaded with your cards and another to put the cards of your new acquaintances into so you don’t get them mixed up!

It’s also a great idea to have your picture on your business card so people can recall your face and put a face to the name when you contact them.

Rule #6. Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Now, the way to maximize the results from all the time and effort you have made in your face-to-face networking is to follow up.

Make contact in whatever way you like but make contact! An email or better still, a card or note through the snail mail will be appreciated. And not just to sell them something!

Remember too, even though you have met in person you should also connect on common Social Media platforms as well. Send a LinkedIn invitation, Twitter tweet or Facebook friend request. This will broaden the opportunity to share about yourself ongoing as well as learn more about them. This will deepen the relationship must faster than you can imagine.

Business should be fun. So go right ahead and have a good time with your face-to-face networking but always remember your purpose is to make connections and build relationships. Don’t leave empty handed.