Jan 2, 2012

5 Tips to a Better Business in 2012

Are there any of us who aren’t hoping to make this year better than last? Any who don’t plan, resolve and dream of reaching for more, being more and enjoying more… And wouldn’t you say it’s true that at this time, more than any other, we are aware that maybe it really is possible?

So what is it that makes you so optimistic today? I believe it’s a combination of determination and preparation. But I guess I don’t necessarily mean preparation in the sense of planning, although that is going to make this journey a lot easier. What I mean – really – is just preparring your mind to believe that YOU CAN DO THIS! It is obtainable, it’s not ridiculous or ludicrous or so far fetched that you should keep it a secret…

How bad do you want it? Well, that’s how close you’re going to get to it. 

Of course it can be helpful to have some tangible, usable ideas to arm yourself with so that ‘this’ (whatever your “this” is) really does happen!

I tried to brake down what I do into steps/tips. Here are the 5 most important factors that I believe play a role in reaching my own goals!

1. Make Time. The #1 thing you can do for 2012 is make time to work ON your business before you get stuck back in your business. There is such a huge difference between “in” and “on”. When we work “in” our business we are doing the day to day. Editing, shooting, blogging, product design… All of this is your “in” business work. But when you work “on” your business, you are planning for the future. Schedule special time where email, blogs, to-do lists – all of that is put away and you are left with your thoughts and ideas as you plan for what you want the new year to bring. (This is the #1 factor for how I’m doing at any given time in the year and I think you’ll find the same to be true too!)

2. Reflect on the past year. We talked about this last year a little bit in this video. Acknowledge (and give yourself a pat on the back) what you accomplished but also look for where you still need to grow. Be very specific and make sure that you keep this as a document so that you can refer to it through out the year and next year when you do this again. I suggest having a business notebook where you can keep this information along with pricing, promotions, branding… It will become a journal that years from now you will look back on and you’ll see just how far you’ve come.

3. Go through your Client Lists. Go through all of your clients from 2011 and determine how much each client spent and how many people each client referred. This comes back to the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your business/profits will come from twenty percent of your clients. I have a red tab that I staple to each client folder that falls in my 20%. This allows me to make sure that I remember them is special promotions, opportunities and events easily by just pulling all my red tab files.

4. Set Goals & Plan for it. I love goals, but NOT vague generic goals. The key to accomplishing goals is to be specific on what it is you want, followed with creating action steps that will break your goal into manageable pieces so that you will actually see yourself accomplish it! If you really want things to happen you’ve got to plan for it.  When we make to-do lists, if there is something on the list that feels overwhelming, we typically push that item down our priority ladder. The same goes for our goals. Make your goals and then give yourself an action plan to accomplish it!

Example: I want to read at least 15 business type books this year. First I figured out how many business type books I read last year. I could remember 13 titles off the top of my head, that made it     feel doable. Next I added a page in my notebook (see #2) titled, ‘Books I read in 2012’ with lines 1 to 15 drawn out and room for more. Last I purchased the first 4 books I want to read. I’m already making myself accountable to see this through.

5. Put your money where you mouth is. Okay I don’t necessarily mean money, although maybe I do… I hear something along these lines a lot; “I really want to   fill in blank   but I just don’t have the ___________ (usually money). Sometimes this is true. But 90% of the time it’s just not. If you had to come up with that same amount of cash tomorrow because without it your car wouldn’t go, I bet you’d have it. What’s really happening is doubt, and usually that doubt is in yourself. If I want to have a more successful business, then I would invest in coaching with… Well me. 😉

How bad do you really want it, most people lie to themselves and put road blocks up from here to forever because they’re to scared to really go for it. In the words of Nike, “just do it!”

 

Let’s be honest, none of these are groundbreaking tips I’m offering. You may have picked up an idea or had one of your own sparked while reading but ultimately you know this… Any yet most still won’t apply what I’m saying, still won’t do what they secretly dream of… They will still continue to let fear control their decisions. 

Will you? 

  1. #4 is my favorite. Though I also really love the “red tab” idea!! Happy new year to you Leah!

    • #4 is so obvious and yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made some lofty goal with no plan of attack and a year later I look back and realize that I made no headway at all! Here’s to headway!! 😀

  2. Woo hoo!! Just the pep talk I needed! You know, I kind of wonder if you stalk me a bit. Just to get a feel for the kind of encouragement (and poking and prodding) I might need. And then, without a doubt, you deliver. You’re awesome! Happy New Year to you and yours!!

  3. Becky says:

    you are an amazing business coach! thank you!

  4. Oh Leah, just what I needed to hear! Thank YOU!

  5. Seriously…how did I not know about you? Just decided after reading some of your coaching that…I think I love you ; ) You’re like a breath of fresh air ! Thank you for these tips and calming my nerves…lol. #2 is really important for me. I’m so hard on myself and rarely pat myself on the back for what I have achieved. I own a full time residential cleaning business and for my age and my fear of empty nesting in two years when my only child/son graduates h.s.. and crying all day while I scrub in a robotic and passionless job ..I started working on my long ago closeted passion and love of photography. I never had the luxury as a single mother since he was 2 yrs old to think about anything but keeping a roof over his head and food in his belly so I didn’t think I had time for “jobs of passion”..especially in the time consuming and more difficult “film photography” days. Better late than never I know and I’ve only been at it for 2 years but still..as a late bloomer at 43..I feel so behind and pressured to carve my spot in this industry before it’s too late or all gone or while I’m still just young enough to get a substantial amount of solid working years in to have a comfortable retirement. Is that crazy and unreasonable? Perhaps I stress myself out more than need be I don’t know. My ultimate dream/goal is wedding photography and I am so impatient and want my business up and thriving RIGHT NOW that I literally get totally blue because I still don’t have all my ducks in a row. I am so totally right brained and the people part and artistic sides come so much easier than the business in’s and outs and make me feel so ADD and scatter brained sometimes! That makes me appreciate #4 about goal setting which is definitely on my homework list to improve as well! Thank you so much for reminding us to slow down and look back on what we’ve built so far and appreciate what we have achieved. Only sometimes do I allow myself to remember that God gives us what we can handle as we can handle it. I’m going to stick post it’s around my house to remind myself that the journey is valuable too and is worth appreciating.
    Sorry if I got carried away..just venting a little and I can seriously type like a racehorse on crack…especially when I’m all jacked up on M&M’s..lol..bad bad bad Charisma!

    • Charisma! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with me! I’ve been trying to reply to your comment for days but I was out of town in a very non friendly AT&T zone and had no service almost my whole trip. I think this will happen for you. I talk to lots of people and I can get a good sense of who will make it and you will… You know what you’re missing, you know what you want and you know how to work hard because you have to! Now that all the hard work is going to be for what you GET TO accomplish… You will be unstoppable!
      And you’re the very first person I’m telling. I’m currently working on a new program that will be everything (and I mean everything!!) you need to know and steps on how to do it to become a THRIVING photographer! It’s still a few months away from being released but it’s going to be amazing! I am so excited. It’s everything I wished I had when I started and all of what I’ve learned the hard way since then.

  6. Hey Leah and thank you so much for your reply and encouraging words. I look forward to hearing more about your program and I’ll keep my eye out for it! Your achievements and the content you share on your blog are very inspiring and informative! Keep up the great work : )

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