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Business Times Column

Are You Having Fun In Your Business?

 

Happiness and success go hand in hand. You can be very successful financially and if you are not enjoying it, then true success is eluding you. Business becomes a well-rounded and balanced experience when we actually enjoy it.

It is important for you to like what you do. The more you enjoy your business, the better. However, we often do not enjoy our business as much as we can because of missing links in our own perceptions and actions.

Be grateful for your opportunity to be in business.

When you take time to explore your situation, and become truly grateful for the fact you are alive, your reality begins to improve. As you take gratitude even further, you come to realize how wonderful it is to be in business, to have the team and customers you do, and to face the situations and opportunities that lay before you. With this, you will enjoy your business like never before.

Create a clear vision for yourself and the business.

Without a clear vision as to why you are in business, it is easy to become confused, lost, overwhelmed and discouraged. It is also likely that your team will feel the same way and the happiness and success of all will suffer. You don’t go on a trip without a plan, so why would you not create one for your business?

By spending time considering what it is you actually want for your business, writing these things down and creating a clear vision, you will put yourself – and your company - on a focused path to greater happiness and success. With this clear vision in place you can communicate to your team with the purpose of getting everyone on the same page about why all of you are spending so much of your lives working together to do what you do.

Add in some much needed structure.

Structure actually provides the necessary parameters to help you accomplish the vision you have created. These guidelines will reduce chaos and confusion, while increasing efficiency and effectiveness. Creating structure as to deadlines, how jobs are done and who handles what will create freedom for you and your business, and not limitations. Structure creates a process whereby tasks are handled in a consistent fashion, and as your business runs smoother, everything becomes more enjoyable.

Consistently move in the direction of your vision.

Effective and consistent action is a wonderful habit to develop in you and your team. Rather than the rollercoaster of consistent and then inconsistent action, where progress comes and goes, consistency allows your company to continually move forward toward your vision. You are the leader in the development of consistent action. If you create this habit in your thoughts, actions and words first, then your team has a solid example to follow.

Surround yourself with people who are self-motivated and who believe in your vision.

Who you bring into your business matters greatly in the realization of your vision, and in achieving the happiness and success you desire. The strongest team members are those who have a positive attitude, are solution oriented, self-motivated, self-accountable and believe in the vision you have for your company. If you want to have more fun running your business, it is vital that you hire people who create fewer limitations - and more opportunities - in accomplishing your goals.

Make time for your life outside of business.

Your business is only one aspect of your life. You also have family, friends, personal interests and passions. In order for your business to be more fun, it is wise to bring balance to your entire life. By not neglecting these important parts of your life as you work to make your vision for the business come to be, you will remain refreshed and energized so that you can operate at a higher level.

Having more fun in your business is not a difficult thing to do. It simply takes desire and effort on your part to make it so. As I help business owners to become grateful, create a clear vision of what they want, add in structure, develop the habit of consistent effective action, build powerful teams, and engage their lives outside of the business to a greater degree, amazing things happen: They become happier and more successful, and doing business is more fun for all.

Business Times Column

Do You See Problems or Gifts In Your Business?

 

In every business there are situations that can be perceived as problems, challenges, opportunities, and even gifts. The choice you make in your perception of situations as they present themselves to you will affect how you handle them.

If I were to put four boxes on a table, each beautifully wrapped, and explained that the first contained a “problem”, the second a “challenge”, the third an “opportunity” and the fourth a “gift”, which would you choose to open first? Most people would choose to open the box with the gift first; these same people would also open the box with the problem last.

Why?

The reason is simple. The majority of people would rather avoid a problem, while eagerly embracing a gift. We don’t want problems because they are perceived as unpleasant interruptions to our life. Gifts, on the other hand, are exciting and typically bring something into our life that is pleasant and fun. Problems are not usually perceived as being enjoyable.

It is our avoidance of, and negative attitude about, “problems” that must be overcome if we are to create greater happiness and success on a consistent basis. The key to this lies in changing your perception of reality.

As the business owner and leader of your company, it is imperative that you choose to perceive every circumstance that faces your organization in the most positive way you can. A powerful first step is to be grateful for the fact you have a business. From there, choose to be grateful for the very situation you are facing, what it will teach you, and for the fact that you are alive and capable of effectively working through it. A grateful mindset works wonders in helping us gain a positive perspective of whatever we are facing.

The next step is to put down the “problem” concept in your own mind. Instead, adopt a new perspective where what you have in front of you is viewed merely as a situation to be effectively dealt with. This simple yet powerful choice decreases your tendency to react with avoidance, procrastination, disappointment, frustration and even anger. With this new perspective, you will be able to address each situation in a timely manner, with greater effectiveness and less suffering.

Another powerful attribute to cultivate is a solution-based mindset. This will allow you to embrace situations as they arise and immediately begin working toward an effective solution. Remember, when we perceive something as a “problem”, we begin to avoid it. This does not create the necessary solution as this choice only prolongs discomfort and delays the inevitable; until a solution is created, the problem will persist. There is a solution to every situation you will ever face in business, as long as you are willing to look for one and implement it.

With your strong example of gratitude and a solution-based mindset, in time, your team will follow your lead. They too, will take on a more positive perspective of the situations they are faced with and will go after solutions more and more on their own, and with greater confidence. Your business will endure less and less interruptions, the environment will become more positive, your team will grow stronger and more happiness and success will be available to all.

The businesses I work with are continually astounded by the power of this approach. Once it has been learned and applied on a consistent basis, the overall operations of the company change for the better. When you and your team put down “problems”, you will experience an abundance of energy, increased motivation and will have a strong desire to create solutions with the gifts you have been given. This, in turn, leads to higher production, more efficiency, greater satisfaction for everyone and increased personal and professional results.

As you become more grateful and continue to grow a more powerful mindset about the reality of doing business, you will come to see fewer problems and more gifts. Over time, with practice and as you become stronger, you can move from situations to be effectively dealt with toward challenges to be faced, then onto opportunities to be embraced. Ultimately, everything you face will be seen as a gift to be received.

Business Times Column

Do You Promote The Power Of Caring?

 

The primary ingredient in building relationships, and delivering an exceptional customer service experience, is caring. The more you and your team care, the more satisfied your customers will be. They will look to your company more often for the products, services and solutions they need and want. These same customers will also refer more business to you.

Take a moment to reflect on the last time you were given an exceptional customer service experience by a company you chose to do business with. Recognize how pleasant your experience was, how satisfied you were, how good it felt, and how the experience impacted you in a positive way. I would predict that you are highly likely to do business with them again, and to tell others about this amazing company.

Now, consider the last time you were given a poor customer service experience, one that left you feeling unsatisfied, uncared for and unhappy. Left with this “bad taste in your mouth”, it is easy to predict that you will most likely not do business with them again, and will tell your friends and family about this terrible company and the poor service you received.

Which of these experiences do you wish to give your customers?

The difference between an exceptional customer service experience and a poor one, is the level of caring given to the customer by each person they come into contact with in the business.

As a business owner, your intention is to grow your company by retaining and attracting more and more customers. In turn, this allows your business to become increasingly profitable. What gives you the ability to take your company to new heights – to be among the elite - is the experience you and your team provide to the customers that grace your company with their business.

In order to standout in your business sector, to be the exceptional company that people want to do business with again and again, you must go to great lengths on a consistent basis to care deeply about the well-being of your customers. To accomplish this, you must first care deeply as the business owner.

Your caring will lead you to hire team members who also care deeply, and you will treat your team with ongoing consideration and respect. They, in turn, will be happier at work, and their happiness and satisfaction will position them to transfer this same experience to your customers. When these two things are in place, the customer is cared for to a greater degree than in companies where true caring is not promoted. Everyone wins in this environment, as no one feels taken for granted or taken advantage of.

To stand out as a business that consistently meets the wants and needs of its customers, your team must be willing to effectively listen to, and then communicate with, customers in a caring way. Only by doing so, can the customer receive the product and/or service that best fits their needs, and also work with your company to resolve any issues that stand in the way of their satisfaction. The key to your success lies in treating people the way that you would want to be treated, and the one thing that makes this possible is truly caring about them.

Caring is expressed in both words and deeds; it is the direct byproduct of the attitudes and behaviors of the people that run your company. If you find that the level of caring put forth by you and your team has not been at the level necessary to deliver exceptional customer service experiences on a consistent basis, it would be wise to immediately seek out professional assistance to change this.

There are greater levels of happiness and success available to you, your team and the customers you serve. Effective coaching and/or training are viable solutions that can help you to position your company as one of the greats.

When you, as the business owner, truly care about people, you will position and run your company to be one that is driven to create happiness and satisfaction, as well as profits.

When your team members feel truly cared for by you, they will pass that feeling along to your customers. In the end, your customers will care about you and your company, and will do more business with you. With this, the caring that started with you comes full circle back to you. This is a powerful way to lead, and to do business.

Life Is Short

Do you remember as a child how long the summers seemed stretched on? Do you recall how it took forever for your next birthday or for Christmas to come around again? This is not the case anymore is it? It is as if life speeds up every year. Now, it seems as though it is perpetually Monday. When I was a child, tuning 40 years old seemed so far away. Today at 41, turning 80 years old seems so very close.

Life is incredibly short my friends! Hopefully, the older we get the more we come to realize and accept this. In midlife we begin to experience on a more regular basis the passing of friends and family members. In this, we are exposed to the reality that our time will come too. Some of the people in our lives experience unexpected and sudden endings to life. In this, we can see that life is precarious and uncertain; that there is no guarantee regarding how and when our life will end. Perhaps this is one of the most powerful gifts of aging.

Even with all this information from our experiences many people continue to live there life as though it will last forever. Each day is taken for granted, as if it is owed to them. I assure you it is not. Life is a gift, an incredibly short gift. Why not make the most of this wonderful gift called your life?

You can put your grievances down. You can let go of your past hurts and disappointments. You can open up to the life you are living now and make the most of it. What will be the cost to you if you don’t do this? After all, you wouldn’t want to look back on your life from the end of it and say to yourself, my whole life has been a mistake, would you?

LIFE IS SHORT! The sooner you truly realize and accept this powerful fact of life, the sooner you will truly live.

Doorways

Doorways to our new life are always opening for us. Three things often happen in the face of this fantastic reality. One, we are so unconscious that we don’t even see the doors that are wide open and beckoning us. Two, we are afraid to approach the doorway we see and step through because of uncertainty of what the other side holds for us. In other words, will it be a positive choice in our life. Lastly, we are conscious enough to recognize the doors that open to us, and we have learned through our life that the door has opened at exactly the best time in our life; now. In this position we also know there is truly nothing to fear and that we can change direction anytime and go through yet another doorway, if we decide that it would be our best option.

So consciousness and not being trapped by fear will allow you to take forward steps in your life that will always alter the course of your life. Life is an expansive and ever changing experience, one that we too often resist. Why resist what is? Why not get into the flow of your life, moving with the inevitable changes that do occur, and enjoy your ever enlarging experience. It is when we don’t do this that we feel trapped, unhappy, unfulfilled and miserable.

Feeling good and even great is a choice that we are capable of making each and every day. It is a choice that is well worth making in the precious moments of your life because you deserve to know your greatest self. You are far more than you currently believe yourself to be, and the way you come to know this is by recognizing and steeping through the doorways in your life.

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