GROWING WITH MEANING
On our 40th Business Cafe in Zagreb, our guest Boris has mentioned GROWTH with meaning, growth until the HIGHEST POINT without burning OURSELVES, our EMPLOYEES, but also GROWTH which CORRESPONDS to our WAY of living and personality.
With that, it is good to remember that we can’t always grow linearly. And the question is à when is more more, and when less becomes more? Think about it. What will you do with more work and money, if you are losing your health, family, friends and you don’t have the time to enjoy your earned money. It is obvious that we need to find a balance. I must admit that it was interesting to me how all of our 4 guests pointed out happiness as one of their main factors of success, even though they don’t know each other from before and they are known to work a lot.
I CAN’T DO IT ANY MORE… I’M SELLING MY COMPANY
Many sentences which I hear lately start with this one.
When I would shorten the solution for these frustrations into four words, they would be:
MEANING – PEOPLE – SYSTEM – MONEY.
I bumped into a colleague entrepreneur whom I remember calling me for a meeting 10 years ago. He was interested in a service I was offering back then. He was drinking pills after pills together with a morning coffee. Today he is thinner, healthier, he is literally shining. You guessed – he sold his company, started traveling all over the world and growing olives.
I’m not saying that we all need to do that. In fact, a couple of days ago I held a workshop on the topic HOW TO GET BACK THE PASSION FOR YOUR BUSINESS and how to transfer it to the next generation.
So, where do we start? MEANING is the most important part of the job. When there is no motivation, we need to remember the meaning – WHY are we doing the thing we are doing. Remember your WHY. My WHY is the satisfaction and the life quality I get from it. Happiness is freedom – that is what entrepreneurship is all about, you remember? On that basis we make business and private decisions quickly, easily and simply.
PEOPLE – it all starts from the good selection of employees, clients…here lies the biggest source of our frustrations (see more about it in the section SAY NO).
SYSTEM – behind that word, there are many “boring” instructions and procedures. Yes, that is defining how EVERYTHING is done in your company, everything that hasn’t been written down until now. It is not relying on the thought that something is implied just because it seems a matter of common sense. Everybody has their own image about the world and IMPLICATION = MISUNDERSTANDING. Clear instructions will make it easier to teach new employees, they will speed up and simplify business procedures, and decrease mistakes (read: saving money and time), because 94% of mistakes appear due to the mistakes in the system, and only 6% because of people. Clear instructions will allow you to delegate your work so that you don’t have to be a prisoner of your job. They will allow you to spend less time doing operative work so you don’t burn out and so you have more time to work ON and not just IN business. In the end, you can make your firm function without you, so you can sell it easier if you decide to.
MONEY – I wrote a lot about it and it is written about a lot. Right here, I just want to mention – if we do something that we love and that fulfills us but there is no money, i.e., if we cannot adequately charge someone for our market and client selection, our satisfaction and fulfillment will then decrease and we will burn out. A desire to just get rid of everything will appear. In addition, the feeling that we cannot do it, and that nothing makes sense anymore.
A LETTER TO YOUNGER SELF
In a new book, there is a whole chapter devoted to the writings of entrepreneurs for the younger version of themselves. Sometimes BusinessCafe’s guests are asking this question.
Somehow everything can be summarized in a couple of basic principles:
- RELAX, worry less, everything will be ok in the end.
- SAY NO more often.
- Put yourself in the first place. Do not worry what others think.
- Travel. Just go.
- Be yourself. Listen to your intuition. Do not compare yourself to others.
- Find your tribe. And a good lawyer. And an even better accountant.
- Sleep, rest. Otherwise, you will be forced to do that.
HAS IT BEEN ENOUGH OF HIDING?
On the educations that I attend, and which I hold most of my participants are women. Of course, I’m always for lifelong education, but there is one problem with women – most of them are starting from the position that they are not good enough, that they have to do another education before doing something greater. And one more. And one more.
An additional problem I notice on workshops is the importance and power of networking. We do not know how to present ourselves (in a clear way – to know exactly what we are doing and how we help someone whose problem we are solving).
They seem to be hiding, they think they are not good enough. Not only women are concerned with this, of course, but they have this problem much more than their male colleagues.
They feel uncomfortable when they talk about themselves, they feel uncomfortable when they have to sell. They won’t brag, ah that marketing…they don’t know how to pack up what they do (that is a different topic, what I will now mention is that the main problem is the wrong focus on ourselves instead of on the customer’s problem – the solution and the benefit that he/she has from our solution, and that it is important to speak the language of the buyers, which we all rarely do and forget that the customers are just thinking – “what is in it for me”)
The same goes with the Prizes for best women entrepreneurs, where I’m in the jury. The biggest problem is finding women which will nominate themselves. “Why would I nominate myself, I don’t have time, I’ll just be quiet and work…I don’t need prizes…” At this point, it is not bad to remember that this is not just about us, because our life also benefits others. Our business path and story can be an inspiration for someone else to start something of their own. And don’t let me start about the benefits it brings to us and to our business.
So, someone is waiting for your products and services. But she/he is not a clairvoyant and doesn’t read your mind. This is where that marketing comes in handy – so you can say what you do. So people can hire you.
Get out of the shadows, stop being invisible. What you love and know how to do – say it loud and clear – I do this in that way, and with that team and people, I help people to make / improve / find something.
And that’s all. There is no place to paralyze yourself because of the fear of rejection and not being good enough, because it is ok for someone to tell us “no”, and it is ok for us to tell them “no”. The truth is that we cannot everything to everyone, but it is also true that we are always good enough for someone.
HOW TO BE ABLE TO DO EVERYTHING
So often people ask me how do I manage to get everything done, if I have a doppelganger, and do I ever stop.
I do not have a doppelganger, actually, I’m constantly reducing business trips and meetings and doing less but smarter. And what fulfills me. But what I am actually doing? Here is my planning system. Starting from my point of view and belief – the less is more, and the goal – the satisfaction and the quality of life. Furthermore, the planning moves from year to year, month to month, week to week and then day to day activities. We often overestimate what we can in a year, and we underestimate what can be done in 3 to 5 years. When I plan my year, I’m moved by a system of that I really want to do and what I’m looking forward to doing. Only those activities are planned, with the minimum of those that I need to do. And then, in the one-year calendar, I write under each month what I’m going to do to make my annual plan a reality. I do the same thing for every week and every day.
Take a lot of action, right away, without too much analysis and thinking. I analyze in the part where I speculate if I want to do it and if I’m looking forward to it. If the answer is yes, then the action follows quickly after it. And that’s it.
I wrote a column for GlorijaGlam for which I usually write – here is a short part. The column was shared on Facebook around 50 times.
Say NO to work which makes you not sleep during the night, and because of which you wake up with a stomach throat… do it even if it’s your own business.
Say NO to clients which make you exhausted financially, energetically and take up all your time. Everyone is not for everyone, so you can’t be everything to everybody.
Say NO to activities which you don’t love and which make you exhausted. Delegate everything that you don’t like doing, and focus on what you are the best at and what you truly love.
Say NO to employees for which you must check everything three times, for which you know that you shouldn’t have employed, for which you know that it doesn’t make sense to give them yet another chance.
Say NO to suppliers and business partners that are trying to get as much discounts possible, that want “everything” for free, and which lower down your price until the point you start hating yourself and feeling beaten up.
Say NO to perfectionism because there is something called GOOD ENOUGH quality.
Say NO to meaningless meetings, conversations, coffee meetings, questions, emails, crazy invitations for non-defined cooperation, different events, gatherings, and any other private and business activities.
Say No to friends which are using you, which are asking you to give them free things, products, and service which you live from. Those are not friends because real friends will support you in a way that they will pay and even recommend you to others…
PEOPLE – the root problem of all problems at work
After 15 years of entrepreneurship, listening about my problems and the problems of other people, I can say that the root of our business problems lays down in the selection of people around us.
First of all, there is a client. Our business lives from them. Who is our ideal client? Do you dare to write it down? Let your imagination run wild. I remember when I wrote it for the first time 12 years ago, we lost a client that was draining us on all possible levels. He was responsible for 40% of our revenues, but in only 3 weeks we got 3 new clients and substituted that percentage, but now we were working with much more enthusiasm and satisfaction.
BETTER SERVICE = STOP TO MISSED SALE
I analyzed one firm’s way of doing business and I looked at how they chat with their customer. Facebook inbox. There is an incoming message from a potential buyer. They miss the sale, there is no call for the sale to be made, the buyer is sent for more information to the web, or sent to the call center … This is not an isolated case. We all have such situations.
Think about how many interested buyers you send away from yourself, my free estimation is that with bad service we lose 30% of our sales, and if I remember well we did a similar thing on the MBA that was based on the AIDA model – from the moment we draw the attention of potential customers, between D (desire to buy) and A (action) we lose 30% of our customers. Stop, check your emails, inbox .. let’s go, action, induce them to buy, fix the problem right now.
Do not send the buyer around and around. This is my favorite example – when I get to the store and they send me to the web. But here I am with you now, alive! Sell me now, I’m buying now. I have spent 10 years measuring the quality of service, and indeed (unfortunately, still) that Voltaire’s statement is true – Common sense is not so common.
BOOK of the month – my recommendation – Ivan Stanković – Kakodalogija
Human, warm, honest story about business and private ups and downs. And I even stole this sentence from it – Minimal advance payment is 100%.