First, Lead Yourself

First, Lead Yourself

Most of us have probably been in a situation where we worked with a group of people, and the project went well or terribly depending on the quality of the group leadership. In your business, whether you’ve got a company of 100, 10, or 1 – YOU are the leader. What’s the quality of that group’s leadership?


Do you think of yourself as a leader? If you’ve got the title of entrepreneur, CEO, or “wearer of all the hats,” you’re leading your company. It doesn’t matter how many people work for you – if you’re not in the regular habit of leading yourself, you won’t be able to lead anyone else, now or in the future.

What steps are you taking to become a better leader in your business? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Are you prepared for each day?

Do you regularly take time in the morning (or at the close of working time the night before) to prepare for your day? Do you have a list of tasks and one to three goals you want to accomplish each day? Do you know what absolutely must be done, what would be nice to accomplish, and what can be left off the list?

If your answer is NO, then take some time to think and plan at the start of tomorrow’s work day, and every day after that. Give yourself a list of no more than 3 tasks that must be accomplished, and set an intention for how you want that day to go. Establish this as part of your morning routine, and stick with it! You’ll be surprised how much more productive you are throughout the day when you’ve got a clear plan.

Do you regularly seek to improve?

Nobody ever got really good at something if they didn’t regularly strive to improve their skills, and the same holds true for running a business. As the leader of your business, you’ve got to start with improving yourself, and you’ve got to keep up the habit regularly. Read more business blogs or books (and apply the lessons you’re learning!), participate in webinars and online classes, go out and attend conventions or other events. There’s a ton of education available out there to help you get better at whatever you’re trying to improve, from marketing to operations to profit. Pick something and start learning! Put it on your calendar so that you’re setting aside time each week to learn something new.

Do you ask for feedback?

How do you know you’re good at something? Someone tells you! (The same is true for knowing if you’re not so good!). You can give yourself feedback by setting up regular times to review what’s working and what’s not in your business (once a month for a quick review and once a quarter for a longer one is a good rule of thumb). At these same intervals, it’s a good idea to get outside feedback, from employees, contractors, business advisers, consultants, and customers. Create a survey, send a quick email, give them a form to fill out, and ask them what you’re doing well and what could be improved. Then, the all-important next step is to follow up and make changes according to the feedback you receive.

What’s the very next step YOU will take in order to lead yourself toward improving your business?

If you feel like you need to work on improving your skills, we’ve made it easy to incorporate reading more business books (and applying their lessons!) into your routine. Sign up for the Small Biz Book Club and you’ll have the option to read along for free, and get weekly updates to remind you to make the time to improve. Enter your e-mail into the box to get all the details:

How to Stop Failing at Meeting Your Goals

How to Stop Failing at Meeting Your Goals

Setting goals is great – it feels so good to think about the future and make plans for the greatness you will achieve in the coming year. The hard part comes when you start looking back at the goals you set, and you realize you haven’t met any of them. Stop letting yourself down – learn how to actually MEET the goals you set so that you don’t have to feel like a failure any more!

Here are my best tips for achieving the goals you set for yourself, whether they’re for life or business or both!

Tip #1: Understand whether or not this goal REALLY matters to you.

Often when we fail to reach a goal, it’s because we gave them lip service but weren’t truly inspired to reach them. We thought we should set the goal but as it turns out, we don’t want to actually work with it. So the first step is to eliminate all the goals that don’t actually matter. Though this may *feel* a bit like failing at those goals, in reality it’s more like de-cluttering your goal list so you can focus on working towards the things that matter most.

Tip #2: Keep your goal count low.

When you set too many goals at once, you’re focusing on too many things and you don’t get any progress made. Even if you have several goals in mind, choose just a few to focus on at any one time so that you can make real progress. It’s better to check off your goals one at a time because you can use that progress to motivate you to work toward the next goal, rather than pushing yourself to work on too many projects at once and feeling like you’re never going to finish anything.

Tip #3: Partner with someone who has similar goals.

This type of relationship is called an accountability partner, and it can be really helpful to work together with someone who has similar goals to your own. The concept is most familiar in the form of a workout buddy but it can be applied to any goal. The key is to work toward supporting one another and not turn it into a competition.

Tip #4: Work with someone who can help to push you toward reaching your goal.

Instead of an accountability partner (someone who has a similar goal), this tip is more about finding an outside person to motivate you to work on your goal. It might be a partner or friend or it could be someone like a business consultant or coach. In the Small Biz Book Club, we incorporate the accountability piece by offering our members the option to sign up for reminders in their inbox, so this is something that can be accomplished in any number of ways.

Tip #5: Set 3-Level Goals.

Todd Herman suggests you should give yourself goals at 3 levels: good, better, best. For instance: the best-case scenario is that you want to lose 50 pounds, but good would be 10 and better is 25. If you ONLY set the highest-level goal then it often takes too long to reach it and it’s easy to get discouraged. But when you reach the good or better goal then that can even be what motivates you to push to the next level.

Tip #6: Look for the WOW Mindset.

Instead of looking at how far you have to go, you look at how far you have already come. Instead of, “I’ve still got 9lbs to lose,” think of it like, “WOW, I lost a pound already!” Looking at your goals from the mindset of the progress you’ve made rather than what’s left to do is a way to encourage yourself to keep making that progress. (This is another of Todd Herman’s great ideas!)

Tip #7: Avoid the OW Mindset.

Herman’s final contribution to this post is the “OW Mindset,” or the idea that all too often we focus on what’s left to come instead of on how far we have already climbed. This tip is the companion to the last one; avoid thinking of the “pain” of what’s to come and instead focus on the success of what you’ve already achieved. (For more on this, visit Todd Herman’s 90-Day Year – this is the program I’m using to set and achieve my goals right now!)

Tip #8: Recommit to your goals on a regular basis.

Review your progress, make adjustments as needed, and keep moving forward. This is the foundation of making actual progress – the process of checking up on the progress you’ve made and reminding yourself why you wanted to achieve that goal in the first place.

Do you have marketing-related goals you’d like to pursue this year? If so, a read-along of Brandscaping might just help boost you toward success! Sign up below to join us in the FREE Small Biz Book Club, where you’ll get a free reading guide with tips to apply the book’s lessons to your own biz, every week during the month of April.

Past, Present, & Future

If you own your own business, it’s important to keep your eyes on the whole timeline – learn lessons from the past, make plans and goals for the future, and work hard in the present.

How are you keeping track of time in YOUR business? Tweet the image below and share a lesson from the past or a goal for the future.

Consistency is King

Consistency is King

Last May I attended the CopyBlogger marketing event in Denver. The speakers were great and the information was valuable – but the one piece that came up over and over was the idea that consistency is king.

Consistency has been a struggle for me over the years. Creating and maintaining habits has never been a strong suit. Trying to post consistently to a blog has had periods of brief success followed by long spans of randomness. This blog has been just another example of inconsistency ruling my behavior. Even so, I still strive to improve. I know consistent behavior creates a sense of dependability and that is important to me. But even when consistency was not happening in this part of my business life, it was happening elsewhere.

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The 5 Most Valuable Tasks I Accomplished in 2015

The 5 Most Valuable Tasks I Accomplished in 2015

The beginning of the year is a great time to reflect on what happened during the previous year. Although we sometimes get caught up in our failures, acknowledging and understanding our successes is extremely important.

For the past three years I have been participating in Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever (BYE) program (registration is only open until January 7th). One of the things that I have appreciated about his approach is that it centers around identifying and acknowledging the positive without ignoring the challenges. I cannot with all honesty say that 2015 was, in fact, my best year ever (but I think without BYE it would have been even less so). Even so, there were some serious successes along the way that I might have otherwise missed had I not intentionally reflected on 2015.

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