3 Steps to Get Your Groove Back

I talked about the lesson my little dog Lyra taught me – all about climbing that fence to go for your goal.

Today I want to chat a bit about how to swing beyond our new economy fences – to find our Groove and hit it outta the park of life. So here’s what I did over the past weekend to begin finding my fences, and start to get my groove back.

First, you have to find your fences. Fences are created by our gravity beliefs. Sometimes they are obvious, sometimes they are subtle. So here are the things I looked for:

  • I can’t. Those words belong in a dumpster for limiting beliefs. I simply started paying attention to how many times I thought or said “I can’t”. It astounded me. I can’t buy that house, I can’t afford this, I can’t start that project, I can’t make that call – they won’t want to work with me. I can’t workout tonight, I’m too tired. I was drowning in my I can’ts. BAH…sneaky little things had wormed their way into my life and were like a viral attack – everywhere.
  • Smaller dreams. This was a big one for me. I went back to my diaries from the past few years and scanned them. That’s when I saw the picture of me shrinking. My goals and dreams from 2007 were so dramatically larger than my goals and beliefs of today. When did that happen? Sure, I’ve had a lot of bad things happen in my life in the past four years – make that 14. But when did I stop bouncing back? When did I start to shrink? Wow.
  • Giving up. This one went hand in hand with the shrinking. In some cases, I simply gave up on my dreams. Decided I wasn’t supposed to have certain things in my life, wasn’t supposed to enjoy a complete and full life – because I already had enough. My business didn’t need to grow, my home was good enough without my horses with me, my plan for a new product wasn’t that important – no one would want it anyway in this economy. What garbage.

My list was LONG. Take some time to make yours. And don’t avoid the reality. Put it down on paper in all its glory – and Gravity.

Now that you found all the constrictions, what do you do about them?

Second, shift your thinking patterns. For every limited goal or dream- expand it. And go beyond your original dream. Make it bigger than ever.

  • If you think you can’t make a certain amount next year – increase that goal by 50% more. Aim big and then believe you can get there. Look at other people making the kind of money you want to make and learn from them.
  • If you think your business can’t grow – set a goal that’s beyond any growth you’ve ever done. Look around at other businesses that are doing just that kind of growth and get inspired. Learn from them, get ideas, get energized and get back in the Groove of Success instead of Gravity.
  • Pick one dream that you gave up and start working on it – right now. List the rest of those forgotten wonders and write down a step you can take to start toward them.
  • For every single dream that’s been suffocated thanks to shrinking, giving up or never trying – write down an opposite belief and goal, bigger than the one your started with.

Now focus on those goals and repeat them to yourself until they feel comfortable again. That may take a while, but my bet is a few of them will immediately resonate and feel great. Take that great feeling and apply it to the rest of the harder to believe again goals on the list.

Third – Take Action. Get out there and start swinging. Part of getting you Groove back is all about taking a positive action in the groove. Sitting on the sidelines, thinking about it, pondering every aspect, waiting for the right time or opportunity is Gravity at work. Stepping up and doing something, taking a step forward in a positive state is how you get your groove going again.

Prioritize your list. Maybe it’s based on what’s easier or harder. Or maybe it’s about what’s more fun than work. It doesn’t matter. I started with goals I could accomplish quickly- so I’d get a groovy winning feeling early in the process. Now formulate a plan to get going on your top three goals or dreams that have been stuck in Gravity. Every day, take that list and pick three things, one each for three goals, and DO them. Don’t think about it, don’t plan and ponder. Get out and take action.

That’s my 3 step approach. It’s working for me already, and it feels great to be groovy again. That’s why I wanted to share it.

SO…. turnabout is fair play. You get to share too. What works for you? How do YOU get your groove back?

Power Up Your Small Business – Transform With Technology

If you are a small business owner and you are looking to increase your ability to do more in less time, then harnessing the benefits of technology could be the answer. We take a look some of the ways your business can harness technology to help take it to the next level.

1. Automate Administration

Look to automate as much of your administrivia and backend procedures as possible. Start with any of the functions that are repetitive or time-consuming. Automating these processes will assist in reducing the amount of time taken giving you additional capacity to take on other functions. Typical applications you should consider are word processing and spreadsheet functions.

Using word processing applications allows you to set up templates, merge documents and create forms, or you can go one better and install software such as Microsoft Groove and create online forms. Email applications allow you to communicate quickly and easily using email

2. Formalise Finances

Installing Accounting applications, such as MYOB or Quickbooks, is a fantastic way to formalise your finances. It allows you to quickly and easily enter your financial information. It also allows you to work quickly and effectively with your accountant when it comes preparing Business Activity Statements, end of month financial reports and end of year taxation activities. This all helps keep your accounting fees under control. Another benefit is that you have the ability to create a raft of important financial reports, including cashflow forecasts, debtor aging, sales reports, etc which helps to provide vital information to assist in effective decision-making.

3. Corral Customers

Using software to establish a centralised customer database has enormous benefits for your business. Firstly, it keeps your information together, in one location, and becomes a single source of the truth. This ensures that your business is not at the mercy of one or two key employees and acts as a ready reference for new employees, enabling them to get up to speed quickly.

Having a customer database is the foundation stone for effective marketing. You will be able to analyse, profile and segment your customer database in order to better understand your customers, their needs and wants, which will enable you to better target and market to your customers and to develop new and improved products.

4. Open Online

Establish an online version of your business. A fully functioning e-commerce site is like having another branch of your business open. It allows people to research your business, your products and your services at their convenience. It also provides your customers the opportunity to shop from the comfort of their home or office, which could be local, national or anywhere in the world.

5. Master Marketing

Using online marketing techniques, allows you to design, develop and deliver marketing campaigns quickly, easily and much more cheaply than using traditional mail. Online marketing software allows you to automate campaigns at sign-on, for special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, set up seasonal campaigns such as Christmas or holidays and can even automate the delivery of training and education programs.

6. Start Socialising

Use social media, such as Twitter and Facebook to market your business. These sites are a fantastic way to reach potential customers and to create a sense of community, which helps to create customer loyalty. Social media can also be used to build influence, improve your business or personal reputation and earn your customers trust.

7. Consolidate Communications

Implementing a centralised and online communications hub within your business enables you to gather your organisations communications in one place and provides ready access to all your staff members. Software such as Sharepoint can help consolidate all those important communications in one place. Documents you may like to include are standard operations guides, company policies, employee guides, Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines, memos, research papers, project information and status reports, meeting agenda’s and minutes – to name but a few.

8. Initiate Integration

Start to look at ways you can integrate these systems to make your life even easier. For example, you may want your online business automatically download transaction information to your accounting package, or your customer database to synch with your online marketing software.

Looking for ways to automate your business can help you to make your business operations, faster, easier and simpler. They can also provide additional capacity into cash strapped businesses with limited resources.

Continue to look for opportunities to power up your small business.

Small Business’ and Microsoft Office 2007

When you start up a small business, one of the questions you need to address is what software is essential to my business? As a small business consultant, I have seen many companies, owner managed businesses and sole traders start up and be faced with this question, invariably linked to very scarce capital resources. The main purpose is to get software that can quickly sort out complex data and unburden the computer with the help of a fast processor in a stable manner.

Although there are other software suites available, available in a number of versions, Microsoft Office provides the essential applications and is the most commonly used. For business purposes, the options open to you are; Office Standard, Small Business, Professional or Ultimate.

Microsoft Office Standard 2007:

The entry level for Office, this version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. These are the basic essentials of most businesses, a word processor (Word) a spreadsheet (Excel) a presentation package (PowerPoint) and a combined email, calendar/ diary, address book function (Outlook).

Microsoft Office Small Business 2007:

The Small Business version includes all the above applications with the addition of Publisher 2007 while the Outlook version includes Business Contact Manager, which helps you to organise all your business contacts, rather like an rudimentary CRM system. Publisher is a desktop publisher package, designed to help you create publications and marketing material. In fact, this can really help you to save money. You can create your own letterhead, business cards and compliment slips and print them off as required, rather than go to the expense buying several hundred from a commercial printer.

Microsoft Office Professional 2007:

This version includes everything above and includes Access 2007. This database is invaluable if you need to handle large volumes of data and want to make it relational, such as contact lists, orders and stock. It includes templates of common applications and is reasonably easy to use.

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007:

Probably a bit over the top for a start up, comprising as it does, all the above applications with OneNote 2007, Groove 2007 and InfoPath 2007 as well. OneNote is an extremely flexible application that allows you to keep unstructured notes in a series of tabs. For example, if you are researching product lines, you could keep screen shots, URLs, and competitive information, all in the same place. When the business is larger and can justify a server, OneNote is an invaluable area to let your employees keep ideas and brainstorming thoughts.

Groove is another application that is really designed for use by a number of people on a network. It helps you to keep common files in one place and notifies those people who need to access them when there are any changes to those files. InfoPath is an application that allows you to create forms used to gather data which can be used in conjunction with databases or online. As the forms are based on XML, they have extensive applications in Ecommerce.

Of course, every business has different needs, so you will need to choose the version most applicable to your requirements.