How To Make Your Idea A Real Business

I define a real business with two main qualifiers. One it’s authentic to you and two it pays you. Authentic business building is all about receiving money for providing value that fulfills you. That’s it.

As Steven Covey in his excellent book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People shared – Begin with the end in mind and put first things first.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Synopsis: Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Planning, prioritizing, and executing your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluating if your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you towards goals, and enrich the roles and relationships elaborated in Habit 2.

This may surprise you but the first thing in turning your idea into a business is not incorporating or figuring out how to file your taxes. It’s not ordering business cards or putting up a website.

These things are all necessary but distracting steps, that can dilute your energy and cause you to avoid taking action.

No one has ever been paid for getting ready to be in business.

You aren’t really in business until you have a customer.

Are there preliminary steps that you must take to develop your idea into a business? Yes there are but they do not have to take you months to accomplish and you don’t have to write a traditional business plan.

Getting started in real business building activity is more important than writing a plan you may or may not ever follow.

Yet a written summary of the business is an essential focusing tool. Just write out what your business idea is, explain the product or service, define who you will be selling to and what aspect of your product, service, delivery or business model gives you a unique edge in the marketplace.

After you do that – then get busy building your business. A good place to start is by asking, answering and acting on these five questions.

1). What can I do now to move this idea forward into a business.

2). What are the next 90, 60 and 30 day milestones to set and hit to prove that I am doing so?

3). What are the three toughest questions I could get from someone who is testing my commitment and the idea’s validity?

4). What are my most enthusiastic and confident responses to each question?

5). How can I put myself in front of potential clients or customers now so I’m having real conversations about my real business?

Do these things first and you will create clarity and progress.

Go direct to what you want. Take action to get it and before you know it – you’ll have a real business.

The Missing Link To Business Start Up Success

Too often the founders of start up businesses keep things to themselves for far too long. Without the willingness and ability to bounce ideas off the right people, would be entrepreneurs unnecessarily delay a successful business launch.  istock_000005716223xsmall

In 1999 I’d been coaching for a little more than a year and a prospective client was interviewing me to determine how well we might work together.  I can still recall the conversation 10 years later, because Bob understood the value of paying for an objective truth.

Client Bob explaining, “I just want you to listen closely while I talk though my business challenges.  That will be invaluable to me because you’ll be the only trusted person in my life without an agenda.  My boss, my wife, my children and my co-workers all want something from me and thus they are all biased towards their own motivations.  I just want you to listen and to occasionally give me a straight, unbiased opinion.”

Bob and I worked well together for over a year because my only agenda was his success as he defined it.

The Value of Objectivity

The straight up truth is very rare and extremely valuable for business start up success. Yet it can be challenging to get someone to tell it like they really see it.

Where do you get your totally unbiased, independent feedback?

Is your source truly objective or do they have a hidden agenda of their own?

Closeness is not always a good indicator of objectivity as this post on spousal support suggests.  The closer one is to you the more difficult it is to remove their personal fears from the advice they offer.  Often unwillingness to leads to diluted, sugarcoated advice.

Survival fears also heavily influence what’s shared.  I’ve seen large organizations where everyone is afraid to tell the leader that he’s wearing no clothes.

Your Business Is Very Personal To You

You and your business start up ideas are separate.  Yet being able to really hear feedback and receive it without getting defensive requires that the source of the feedback be skilled in communicating it.

Truth can be personally challenging to accept, especially when it comes from a close friend or relative.

You Get What You Pay For

Trust and confidence needs to be unquestionable.  In matters of law we have no trouble hiring an attorney to present us with our options.

As a coach I am a fierce advocate for coaching because  I’ve seen so many potential entrepreneurs die with their music still in them.  Often the death of their initiative can be traced to fearful free advice offered by a friend or relative.

Paying for an environment conducive to start up success along with the trust and confidentiality that only a business coach can provide is essential when faced with crucial career and business start up decisions.

Consider your current source of business advice and ask these questions.

Can I be sure that they are putting my best interests first?

Have they demonstrated a capacity to tell the truth while at the same time unconditionally supporting my efforts?

Do I leave conversations feeling more inspired and much clearer about possibilities?

Am I inspired to confidence after these conversations because I’m now armed with methods to create what I want to create?

Coaching delivers all of this and much more.

Unbiased Feedback Presents Priorities

What’s the number one priority for any business?

Delivering a uniquely better product, profitably, to more clients.  That’s it.

But so many start up entrepreneurs in the planning and pre-startup stage are working on everything but that.   They’re spending weeks thinking about domain names, business names, tag lines, business plans, brochures, forms, etc, etc. etc.

Instead on concentrating on the main thing – a better service and happy clients.

Could straight up advice delivered in clearly supportive fashion be your missing link to start up success?

If you’d like to enjoy a truly stimulating exploratory conversation contact me to realize the possibilities.   Explore shaking things out in the true spirit of brainstorming, championing, encouragement and unconditional support.  Hire me as your coach.

Five Mood Enhancers for Business Success

How to Feel Like Doing

What You Say You Want to Do

Anyone who wants to figure it all out before taking action, delays unnecessarily.  Read In the Mood,  by Seth Godin.  He points out that we aren’t lacking information.  But we are lacking the proper mood to do what we want to do.

How do you get in a good mood?

What’s present when you’re eager to do the right work?
The short answer is: an abundance of good feelings.

What creates the good feelings?

Often in  small business coaching, I’ve noticed certain ingredients that nourish a good mood.  Without these ingredients we’re more prone to mood swings.

Coaching is an accelerator because it creates a supportive environment that gives the clients exactly what they need, when they need it.

Create the right environment and you can accelerate your life and business.  Feed on regular doses of these five ingredients, and your good mood will be nourished.

1). Recognition

As social animals, we thrive on positive recognition.  When unrecognized, we question our own value.

2). Realization

Wisdom requires fresh understanding. Without realizations, or the occasional epiphany, we don’t know what we newly know.  Thus we cannot adjust in areas where we remain unaware. Rich, questioning conversation encourages realizations.

3). Clarity

When we aren’t clear about what we want, our first work is to determine what we want.

4). Results

In order to feel good about the work we’re doing, it’s necessary to make and acknowledge incremental progress.  If we don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere, we probably aren’t.

5). Accountability

This is your back up system.  All things can’t be done out of the duty of accountability, but sometimes it’s needed to prime the productivity pump. Completion is more accessible with an accountability partner who cares enough to be both firm and encouraging.

In the mood for a commenting?
I’m curious, which of these ingredients are you starving for? Which are you getting fulfilled?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Two More Mood Enhancers

Make a Fresh Start by signing up for Tom’s free phone class.

Schedule an initial coaching consultation at no obligation.  Sample an environment that makes you thrive!

Seven Step Small Business Startup Checklist

To beat paralysis and get started on your authentic business you first need to master the inner game of business. What you’re thinking and feeling has direct impact on the actions you are or are not taking. Use this guide as a business startup list to be sure your head’s nailed on straight .

1. Exploit Your Authentic Edge

Your edge, or marketplace advantage, comes directly from your willingness to move into your authentic power. Authentic business building is the willingness to start and maintain a business strategically from your core makeup. The marketplace rewards authentic expression. Your small business idea came to you and that means that you are in the best position to make it happen. Trust your gut. Confidence attracts support and confidence increases in proportion to authentic engagement.

2. Slow and Small Is Better than Not at All

What the hell are you waiting for? Delay is costly – start, complete and sell one small project, product or service.

Speed and size of your initial success isn’t as important as progress. Part-time works, if it works for you. Create your own transition model and follow it.

Decide on your tolerance for risk and your need for a financial/emotional reserve. If you don’t fear shoestring business building – go for it. If you require more back up, secure that first. Decide what works for you and what you need to be your best.

3. Embrace Mistakes

Count on learning from your frequent mistakes. Let go of the illusion of building the perfect product, business or service. Accept the likelihood that you’ll screw up repeatedly and that’s what you are supposed to be doing in a brand new business.

Let the marketplace shine a light on necessary adjustments. It’s impossible to reach perfection in your own mind. Take your show on the road and evolve from customer feedback.

4. Stay Present – Visualize Success

The only place you can actually build your business is in the now. Always ask this question: “What am I looking to accomplish right now?” Work there – complete that.

If you must engage in future thinking, then decide to only do positive visioning. This means that you refuse to even contemplate any fearful future – or at least spend no more than a few seconds dwelling on fear before catching yourself and moving forward.

Fear of failure and fear of success can only exist if you feed them with fearful future thoughts. Become aware of your dominant thoughts and let go of anything limiting. What you think about comes about, so choose as if your business life depended on it.

5. Be a Merchant – Ask for the Money

If you intend to be a successful businessperson, you’ve got to get past any fear of asking for the order. You’ve got to start somewhere. Produce something small and ask someone to buy it.  Recent online advances make many business resources like merchant services much more affordable these days. Your fear about self-worth, like “who am I to be asking for this business,” fades, – once you’ve asked a few times.

6. Any Movement Works

Any strategic movement works because it creates a fresh perspective which is different from the one that keeps you stuck. The only wrong move is standing pat. “You can’t get there from here,” is only true if you’re not in motion. Fortune favors the bold – primarily because the bold are moving.

7. Be Inspired by Your What & Why

Too many budding entrepreneurs want to first “figure it all out”. That’s an illusion. You can’t “figure it all out,” before hand, in mind alone. Get out of your “how-to” directed mind and into you “what and why” inspired mind. What you want to build and your reasons for building it, will do far more to inspire you to action than a fruitless search for how-to. Once you commit and take action, your optimum “how-to” path appears, – as a result of your actions but not before them.

Which point do you need to focus on now?

Get all seven aligned and you’ll be primed for a successful small business launch.

Related Resources

Free Project Blastoff Email Course

One-on-One Coaching with Tom

Experimenting For Fun and Profit

Sometimes the best way to stimulate a cash stream is to shake things up and play. Money is attracted to confidence. Confidence is a natural occurrence that seldom visits when we are tight and resistant. The best way to transcend resistance is playfulness.

Ever feel like you’re holding the reins of your business too tightly? Boldly and playfully experimenting could be just what you need in order to make a business breakthrough.

Remember how imaginative and carefree you were as a kid? Do you recall how authentic you were when you frequently lost yourself in play?

More and more I’m seeing a connection between experimentation, community, playfulness, confidence and authenticity. Soon I intend to give this topic the depth it deserves.

But for now how often do you break out in song in the midst of your workday?

Often in my small business coaching practice, I make agreements with clients, just so they’ll lighten up. Lots of stuff has been written about the benefits of play to enhance creativity. But it’s even more powerful than that.

Something happens in our minds and emotions when we fearlessly experiment. It shakes something up in a good way. Like my buddy Bill, a marketing expert says. “You got to try shit to find out about shit.”

Barbara Swafford at Blogging Without a Blog, interviewed me today about a recent experiment. Read about it on her blog here.

One key to successfully launching a small business startup is to define and win the inner game. It’s not so much the outside challenges that throw us off but the tricks and mind games we play on ourselves within. Most budding entrepreneurs need to lighten up and play a game that they can win.

Sometimes that means putting your heart on your sleeve for all to see. Liz Strauss at Successful Blog, is launching an authentic experiment right now. I’ll be playing over there, perhaps you’d enjoy it too.

How about you? When was the last time you just tried something bold and new, just for the hell of it?

Do you ever make your work a game you can win?

Think you might need to lighten up? Give it a shot – you may amaze yourself.

Finding Your Path to a Successful Business Startup

Budding entrepreneurs who want to discover and run the authentic business of their dreams often get bogged down in pre-startup analysis and research. Sometimes they wait for the brilliant light of epiphany along with horns of eureka to verify their business idea. But what if the trumpets never sound and the blinding light of clarity never occurs?

 

What does that mean? Does it mean that your idea isn’t good enough? Does it mean that you don’t have what it takes? Does it mean that you need to continue in analysis until an epiphany does strike you? No, no and no. It could only mean that you are still feeling more fear and self-doubt than determined confidence. Here’s a better question. Why are you attempting to find this path alone when you could hire a guide to show you the way?

What Coaches Do

Thomas Leonard is credited as the first to call himself a coach – but even he thought that “coach” was an incomplete description. The word coach originally comes from a small town in Hungary, Kocs, where they made carts. Three centuries later, in 1800s England, it became slang for a tutor who “carries” a student through an exam. Coaches do remain with you throughout your journey and the “carrying” we do resembles the challenging encouragement and raising-the-bar accountability typical of an athletic coach. But we also do much more.

Blogging Coaches are distinct from self-improvement bloggers, and even from non-blogging coaches, because our daily work goes beyond coaching and blogging alone. Every day we guide clients in the engagement of what we blog about as they move to where they want to be. So we get to write about processes, test them on committed clients, see the results, make adjustments, refine further and then share our realizations in writing.

Self-improvement by itself isn’t worth much if you remain stuck within the same limiting situation. If you read and don’t seem to change fast enough, perhaps it’s not the quality of the material you are reading but it is your engagement that needs to be adjusted. People hire coaches to help them improve, not themselves, but the situations where in they find themselves. The self-improvement occurs as a natural by-product of the courageous actions that clients take.

Tom’s Special Brand of Coaching

People hire me to help them make very personal discoveries, which lead to committed decisions. Those decisions lead to focus and to taking right action. That action changes your perspective and you are then able to see more opportunities to which you were once blind. My clients are investing in more of a guided journey than in an education.

In actuality, I’m a career coach who specializes in guided movement.

There are times, when I’m a pure guide, leading, showing the way and pointing out the course to be taken.

Often I’m a pathfinder, guiding you through the unexplored regions of your own authenticity. If you’ve decided to begin the journey of discovering an authentic business most likely you’re more comfortable working in the safe familiar regions conditioned by your upbringing.

My calling is to outfit you with the proper tools for your journey and guide you along the way. Ultimately, I hold your hand as you leap from the cliffs of employment out into the unknown freedom of self-employment.

Your special authentic path must be a newly found path because no one has ever walked it before. Only you can walk that path and build that business in the way you were meant to build it. Your talents and strengths have blessed you with the raw potential to walk your path.

I’m just your guide. I can’t use my machete to blaze your trail because it’s your trail. But I can show you how to sharpen your own machete. I can guide you along the path as we walk together until you need to veer off and lead the way.

But even then I have your back. I stay right with you in case you get bogged down in the quicksand of fear or lose your way in the murkiness of uncertainty and self-doubt.

Request your complimentary Making the Leap strategy session here. 

 

 

Authentic Business Discovery

The absolute sweet spot of your business is that place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. But how do we find a need so deep that fulfilling it would also make us feel so good?

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to discovering the right business to launch. One school seems to be more spiritually based – focused on finding work that you love, following your passion and living a purposeful life.

The second school appears to be more practical; focused on finding a need and filling it and about designing a business to alleviate your customer’s pain.

Which school of thought would serve you best right now? Most likely, it’s the opposite of the one you believe in the most.

Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. Frederich Buechner

That’s right, following Buechner’s formula, to build a profitable and fulfilling business we need to develop our businesses guided by the wisdom of both schools.

So how do you identify a potentially profitable business that is deeply fulfilling to you and deeply gratifying in service to your clients or customers?

One effective way is to put yourself in an environment that honors your creativity while at the same time insisting on your productivity.  You could attend a Big Link Rally event. You can visit my coaching website and request an exploratory conversation. Without accountability and commitment to action, even the best original ideas die on the vine.

What else could you do to get to the point of a confident new business launch?

1.) Get very clear on one end of the spectrum by identifying a deep gladness or a deep need.

2.) Then persistently observe, brainstorm ideas, consider approaches and seek openings until you have a matching need or gladness that feels strong enough to develop.

3.) Then imagine the fulfillment of that gladness and need working together seamlessly in a profitable business that you own. Do this by answering these questions as if you have already succeeded.

  • How have you changed the world for you and your clients?
  • What can they do now that they couldn’t before purchasing your product/service?
  • What can you do or be now which you were reluctant to experience before developing this wonderful business?

4.) Write down all of your answers and continue to make adjustments until you can withstand the sharpest of challenges when questioned about your projected business.

5.) Then once you’ve decided and committed, continue to identify the next best step that you can complete to move you further each week and take that action.

Personally I like to get so fired up that my business feels like I’m starting a revolution. My mission needs to inspire me to that degree.

How about you, how can you tell that you’re on the right track?

What’s the best combination of personal gladness and customer gratification that you can imagine and believe in?

If you’re already in business what deep need are you now fulfilling?

If you have yet to start your own business what deep need would give you deep gladness to provide?

What Everybody Ought to Know About Finding Work You Love

There are nine ingredients to finding work you love and these ingredients are influencing your search whether you’re aware of them or not.

Puzzle
Nine Ingredients of Right Livelihood

The surest way to clearly hear your true work calling is to deliberately work through all nine essential ingredients by journaling your realizations and conclusions as you go.

  1. Honor your Core Self (inner voice) to bring forth the glory of your soul so that others can feel it and support it.
  2. Identify, clarify, verify, fortify and gloriously express your natural Strengths.
  3. Energize your Heart’s Desires.
  4. Flaunt your natural personality Traits (‘bad ass’ self) and feel good about it.
  5. Orient your life around your Values.
  6. Connect to a deliberate Vision that works for you.
  7. Commit to your nonnegotiable Requirements.
  8. Move through Fears and blocks that are holding you back.
  9. Discover and create Environments to thrive within.

In this post I’ll share some methods to go deep within to honor your Core Self (inner voice) to bring forth the glory of your soul so that others can feel it and support it.

The masters tell us to be who we are or to be all of who we are.

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.” – Dostoevsky

But how does one go about discovering and honoring his or her core self? What’s the process? Let’s begin by understanding what our core self is. I’m referring to your essence, the heart of you or vital core, what some call your soul. According to Dictionary.com, soul is defined as follows.

Soul is the emotional part of human nature, the seat of the feelings or sentiments.

Soul is the animating principle, the essential element or part of something.

Soul is the inspirer or moving spirit of some action or movement.

I’ve found that the process of honoring my soul (core self) begins by setting the intention to carry on a lifelong dialogue. Our soul provides us with an inner compass that we can align with to become more in harmony with the life we were meant to live. Like wild geese somehow knowing when and where to fly south, our compass is just as accurate and fitting for us.

So we begin this dialogue by simply stating the sacred intention to be true to ourselves. One excellent way is to simply take a deep breath and say out loud. “I choose to be true to my core self.” Then thank your soul for getting your attention in this important matter and invite it to show you ways in which you can. You can jumpstart the process by journaling the following questions.

  1. What parts of myself have I been thus far reluctant to express?
  2. How can I honor myself and bring them out?
  3. What environments do I enjoy so much that just by being in contact with them I embody grace?
  4. What are the ways I like to work that bring me most alive?
  5. Like migrating geese, what wonderful, unseen urge is calling me?

These questions are powerful. But that sad thing is you’ll never know how powerful unless you invest the time to ask them and carry on the dialogue. This is a somewhat tricky process that can only show its gold to you in the doing of it.

“We understand why children are afraid of darkness, but why are men afraid of light? The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Plato

You can do one simple thing better than anyone else in the world: be yourself. When you do that, without holding back, the results are indeed magnificent. Yet that process only begins with rigorous self-examination.

In summary there are nine essential ingredients to get your search for work life happiness and freedom really cooking. Will you begin a dialogue with your soul today so this most important ingredient is present? In my next post I’ll share how to identify, clarify, verify, fortify and gloriously express your natural strengths.