Business Tips

     Looking for an expert's point of view - and maybe even some great ideas? Our business tips are written by our founder who is a recognized expert author on several ezine sites!
     

     
    • 09 Dec 2007 7:09 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      OK, so last month you decided that this was it - the time had come for massive action.

      With a plan in place you began to execute it. Let’s face it – you were excited and determined to implement new marketing strategies, to follow-up on every email, every call and every sale. And you have done your homework consistently for a full four weeks.

      But right about now when you look at your sales records, and your bank account – nothing seems to be different. With all this massive action it makes you wonder what you are doing wrong.

      I can't tell you how often I have spoken with entrepreneurs and business owners who are disappointed with the results of their efforts. The problem?  They begin trying to measure their results before their action has any effect.

      They are impatient and begin to measure their results far too soon.

      I often ask them to try to think of their business like building a snow man. Everyone knows that when beginning to put the base of the snowman together you need to start with a very small snowball. It may take a few tries to get a good solid snowball – but if the snow is wet enough you can begin to roll it on the ground to collect more snow. And as it grows bigger and bigger – and it begins to peel all the wet snow off the ground, you may look around and notice that the base is not quite as big as you want it – but the only place left that you have not rolled your snowball is on the hill. You know the one.. the one we love to come down but hate to go up.

      As you look around, you can see others rolling their snowballs around. All the flat areas have been rolled over and everyone is scrambling around looking for more snow to pack on their snowballs. This is when you make the decision that you want to do SOMETHING – maybe anything to make your snowball base bigger. There is nothing left to do but tackle that hill – and take MASSIVE ACTION.

      And so with all your might you begin to push the snowball – UP the hill. You push and you push – sweat and toil – and about half way up the hill you begin to wonder if the base has collected any snow at all. In fact as you look backwards at how far you have come you wonder if the effort was really worth it. The base seems no bigger – and all you have done is sweat and toil just to get the ball this far up the hill.

      This is where many people quit.
      They get winded and massive action with no immediate reward seems pointless. Little do they know – that massive action is not something that will show immediate massive results.

      Consider what might happen if – despite holidays, despite feeling tired, despite disappointments you kept pushing and pushing that snow ball up the hill. Close your ears to those who are calling to you telling you it is useless to push a snowball up the hill.  Disregard the jeerers and the nay-sayers who tell you it is not possible.

      Instead think about one thing: When you get to the top of the hill, and you reach the tipping point, that is when all of your hard work will begin to show some results. If you look around when you get to the top – your snowball may not look any bigger than anyone else’s.

      However when you push it over the crest of the hill, it will begin to move down the hill with very little effort on your behalf. And as it rolls down the hill gathering momentum, it will pack on fresh snow and begin to grow bigger and bigger almost by itself. And when it stops at the bottom of the hill it will be sitting in fresh snow that no one else has used – because no one else wanted to push their snowballs up the hill.

      This is the result of massive action on your part.

      Now not only is the snowman’s belly bigger than everyone else’s, but you also have unlimited untouched packing snow to begin building the second ball to put on top of the first.

      Results of your massive action never appear immediately after the massive action. But massive action followed up by consistent follow up and continual action, will bring incredible results. Never measure your results – always measure activity.

      If you have a solid and proven plan it is important to recognize that nothing happens immediately after implementing it. In fact where you are today is often the result of what you did three months ago. That is why many people are scrambling to get more business after the summer time. Instead of taking massive action they mistakenly decide that everyone is on vacation and decide to wait until the end of summer to make calls and do follow up. And it may take several weeks to begin to see the results of the action that they take in late August.

      So when you begin to take massive action - measure activity - not results
    • 27 Oct 2007 8:11 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      When I started my business four years ago the flames of passion were burning brightly igniting me into non-stop action. No one could convince me that I was going to burn out but I must admit while I didn’t burn out, I did allow myself to reduce the flames of passion to burning embers.

      It is so important to pace yourself and to recognize the warning signs before the flames start to dim. We go at such a fast pace trying to keep up with new technology, trends in our target markets, meeting production deadlines, replying to all of our e-mails and keeping up with communications with clients and potential clients that we forget to tune into the needs of our own core business in order to keep it “hot”.

      If you feel “stuck” with where your business is at or have lost the passion that you once had when you jumped out of bed each morning, excited to get started at your business day, then try following these action steps to ignite yourself again:

      1. Halt the Frantic Pace

      The road to re-connecting with passion involves practicing good self-care. This means slowing down, spending time with yourself, taking good care of your body and mind and engaging in activities that will move you out of your head and into your body. Carving out time in your busy schedule for Yoga, Tai Chi, and Nia often result in increased clarity and focus.

      2. Become Sensitive to Your Life

      Once you have slowed down enough to get connected to your feelings, you will be ready to do a little exploring to discover the activities which really ignite your passions. For example, do you really like the promotion part of the business or do you prefer to stay in the office and manage the staff? Spend a week assessing what excites you and what frustrates you and at the end of that week analyze the results to see if a pattern is emerging.

      3. Dare to Acknowledge Your Authentic Self

      Take the results of your self-survey a step further. Start asking questions such as:

      (a) Who do you know that is doing what you are doing now and from whom you could learn from to enhance your business success?
      (b) Who do you know that is doing something you would like to do? Think about how it would feel if you offered this product or service too.
      (c) What’s stopping you from moving forward with exploring new passions which emerge from your survey?
      (d) What baby steps can you take to work on your new passions while sustaining your existing business?
      (e) What courses could you take to learn more about the new business ideas you want to explore?
      (f) What books could you read that would enlighten you and charge up your imagination?
      (g) Where could you find financing to help you with the expenses you will incur exploring your new passions?

      4. Be Brave – Ask for Opinions

      Ask at least 10 people what new product or service they would purchase from you. Treat this as a survey. Look for the common thread. Don’t get caught up in analyzing or being sensitive about what they say. New and creative business ideas have resulted from being receptive to receiving constructive criticism and forthright suggestions.

      5. Acknowledge your True Talents

      Ask yourself – What am I not recognizing in my life right now that is a true talent? Ask yourself how these talents could help you earn money in your business. So many people have specific knowledge but are hesitant to share it with others through avenues such as professional speaking.

      Be prepared for that tiny voice inside that will be whispering words that you may not have acknowledged to this point. If you have the courage to listen, you may be giving birth to an entirely new business in the next year or two or adding a new product or service to your existing business.

      6. Fake It Until You Make It

      Now act out a scene in your mind as though you were already living your new passion. What does it look like? Are you in front of a microphone speaking to a large crowd or are you designing a new line of clothing? Try a different scene in your mind each morning as you wake or before you go to sleep and think about every detail – what are you wearing and are you in your office or on stage? Faking it until you make it can really work for you if you have a positive mindset. You may also realize your dreams faster than you even imagined if you have unwavering faith in your ability to manifest your success.

      7. Create the Vision and Work Backwards

      When you finally have the exact scene in mind that you know would make you feel happy and fulfilled and which meets your entrepreneurial expectations, write out a business plan for that dream and work it backwards to today, creating baby steps for every action step you need to take. Make the first steps easy to accomplish. This will encourage you to gain momentum to keep striving to meet your objectives and goals.


      8. Reframe the Present Moment & Project New-Found Passion

      It is important to acknowledge that if you are currently “stuck” that state is what you needed to feel in order for you to acknowledge that slowing down was necessary. Reframe the present moment and then take action with the next planned step to fulfill your new-found passion. Businesses are always going through cycles and so do the owners. Expect it, prepare for it, experience it, learn from it and move on.

      9. Budget Additional Time & Money

      Remember that money is an energetic tool that is used to make positive changes in the world. Change your attitude towards money if need be. It is essential to have but be prepared to feel the pinch both in money and time while you are focusing on making your new passion a reality. Capitalize on any available resources you can tap into while you are keeping your existing business operating at peak performance. Perhaps your new passion involves finding a business partner who can help you and provide needed capital to fund the venture.

      10. Carry the Entrepreneurial Torch

      The most successful people are often those who have faith in their dreams and allow themselves the luxury of dreaming big even if the flames have started to burn down to embers. Avoid negative people who would like to dampen your fire. Keep a positive mindset through transformation and change.

      Every entrepreneur will probably feel “stuck” at some point in their business – it is their choice whether they put water on the embers and put their fire out or whether they will build the fire with renewed passion and carry their brightly lit torch demonstrating their courage and determination to believe in their dreams and passions.

      Don’t let your embers become ashes! Stoke the fire and create a blaze!

      Copyright Class Act Connections. All rights reserved. Joyce Hansen, President of Class Act Connections is a public relations specialist helping her clients to manifest their success. Joyce can be reached at 905-278-0952 or joyceh@classactconnections.com
    • 13 Sep 2007 8:13 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      By Joyce Hansen

      You would think we would know how to effectively use business cards by now since this type of communication has been around for centuries. Visiting cards first appeared in China in the 15th century (also known as calling cards). Then trade cards appeared at the beginning of the 17th century in London, England. Business cards, as we have come to call them, evolved next. The etiquette for the use of this branding tool has dramatically declined.

      I was at a networking session last year and was appalled with how business cards were being exchanged. A board was provided for people to insert their cards for others to take if there was an interest. When I went by to look at the cards to see what types of businesses that were at this event, I found the cards all mixed together and strewn all over the table. One individual took all of his competitors’ cards from the slot and replaced them with his own. Talk about poor business etiquette!

      At the same event people were approaching me, immediately giving me their business card without the benefit of any relationship being established. They then rushed off to the next group of people to do the same thing. They were definitely into the numbers game of giving out large numbers of business cards hoping to hit the jackpot – somebody who expressed an interest in doing business with them. When they finished giving out all of their cards, they left the event, not even staying around to hear the guest speaker. What a waste of their time and money.

      I have had people hand me wrinkled cards with writing on the back and even cards that weren’t their own. Often, people do not have business cards with them to exchange. It is time that we paid more attention to one of the most valuable promotion tools available for you and your business.

      Once you understand that business cards are essential to promote your brand and are the first printed impression people often have about you and your business, you will then embrace the value of dedicating time to produce quality, meaningful cards that people will want to keep.

      Try using some of these suggestions to gain brand recognition and sales utilizing your business card as the promotion tool:

      1. Leave space on the back of the business card for people to write notes about your conversation. A business card printed with excessive information on the front and back often gets a person frustrated with trying to find out what they want to know which can lead to the card being tossed.

      2. A good quality card stock is worth the investment. Remember you want people to think of you as prosperous not penny-pinching. Free business cards can be tempting to have printed but they don’t give the impression that you are serious about your business.

      3. Handwrite a privileged telephone number or e-mail address on the back of the card before you give it to someone. They will tend to keep it longer because of the special information on it.

      4. Place business cards and bookmarks with your contact information on them in specific library books for people in your target audience to take when they are browsing through the books. The surprise element really works and often people will keep them for reference or give you a call to ask more about your services.

      5. Wear your business card – this is one of my favorite promotion ideas. I often wear a nametag holder around my neck. It draws attention and often people ask me what my business specialty is. It sure tops searching around your purse or wallet to try to find a presentable card to give to people. This also increases your opportunities of exchanging more cards.

      6. Keep a supply of cards in your car, your jacket pocket, laptop case, day planner, home, office, reception area – anywhere you can think of. I can’t remember the number of times I reached in my purse to give someone a card and couldn’t find any because I had changed purses that day.

      7. If you are a facilitator, have your participants exchange cards before they leave the session and ask them to write a compliment about the person on the back before they hand them out. Everyone will tend to remember each other and it will permeate a warm feeling and will heighten the chances that business will be conducted among the attendees.

      8. Include business cards with everything you mail out – even with the cheques you send to companies for services they have provided you with. You never know who might open the mail that day and who they might give it to.

      9. Smile when you hand your card out. Make the person feel that you really want to maintain contact with them and encourage them to call you for any information that they might need – not just about the products and services that you offer. Extending yourself to help others may mean your business card keeps getting circulated, not tossed.

      10. There is business card etiquette followed in different countries. Learn the protocol of the use of business cards for every country you would like to do business with. Learning about how different cultures conduct business is essential - this could make or break a business transaction for you.

      11. Pictures on your business card are beneficial. A picture can help people to rapidly connect. This is especially important when you have received a lot of cards in a short period of time and there is minimal information on the card about what their product or service is.

      There are many more creative ways to use your business card and it is important that the way you use it is compatible with the style in which you conduct business. Flashy cards aren’t for everyone and are not suitable for certain types of businesses.

      Now on to some tips of what not to do with a business card:

      1. Don’t use them to arrange a personal meeting with someone. Have a personal calling card printed to hand out for that purpose. Parents now print cards with contact information on them to hand out for the purpose of arranging social gatherings for themselves and for their children.

      2. Don’t give a person a handful of cards to hand to others unless they ask for them. This makes them feel obligated to you and often the whole handful of cards goes in the garbage.

      3. Don’t use the information from the business card to immediately e-mail the person with your latest Newsletter and other sales information. Ask if they would be interested in being informed about specific specials you may be offering, etc. Establish how you want to maintain contact with each other and respect their wishes.

      4. Don’t put a lot of information on the card to clutter its appearance. You want the person to know your name, your company name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, website address and cell phone number if you wish. Fax numbers, office locations, degrees and titles are optional. A few words to help people remember your specialty are also useful.

      Be creative with how you hand out your business cards but be professional. Remember that business cards are one of the most important success building tools you have at your disposal. If used correctly, your cards can result in your sales and profits being increased without incurring extensive additional advertising related expenses. If used incorrectly, your cards can result in a lot of wasted effort and money expended with no ROI.

      Joyce Hansen, a public relations specialist and President of Class Act Connections helps her clients to manifest their success. She can be reached at 905-278-0952 or joyceh@classactconnections.com
    • 12 Jul 2007 5:34 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      I had spent years talking to people about self belief. In fact, almost daily I spoke to someone about taking risks in their businesses and learning to believe in themselves.

      I also realized that for each person ‘risk’ meant something different. For me risk seemed easy when it came to business and so I realized at some point in time ‘risk’ would present itself differently. I learned this year how ‘risk’ would approach me – and I learned something very interesting as a result.

      I learned when I was seventeen to ride a motorcycle. I learned out of necessity as I had no car – and I needed to get between two jobs. A motorcycle was cheaper than a car – and it was summer in Vancouver – so it seemed an easy decision. After summer ended, I sold my bike and went off to University.

      Many years later after having my children and long after the risk taking years – I re-learned to ride a motorcycle. Only this time the bike was 3 times the size and weighed in at about 487 lbs. I learned not only how to ride it safely by taking a course – but also learned how to lift it – in case I ever fell or dropped it. (which I did a few times!) I rode for four years before we moved and sold the bike. Three years went by before we decided to get another motorcycle.

      The bike we picked this time was a touring bike that I was to ride on the back of. It was very comfortable and my husband did all the driving. It weighed over 807 lbs – almost double the weight of my last bike - and I was terrified to even ride on the bike. I chastised myself over and over for having fear of riding a bike I knew was safe. But I felt afraid of everything. Afraid of how it would handle in the rain, on a curve or in gravel and terrified I would ever have to pick it up if it fell. I kept saying I wanted to drive it myself – but deep inside I knew I was scared stiff.

      Then one day my husband pulled over to the side of the road in an industrial area. He got off and looked at me and asked if I wanted to try riding it myself. I had no time to panic. He had already told me that he knew I could ride the bike easily – and I knew if I turned him down he would wonder at my confidence. And so I slid forward onto the driver\'s seat, started the bike and took it on a 5 minute slow ride around the industrial area. I was amazed. It handled well and I began to regain my confidence.

      The next day I asked him if he minded if I took the bike the 35 kms it needed to go to get its first service and asked if he would follow me in a vehicle so we could drop it off. He agreed easily.

      I looked forward to the morning I was to take the bike myself and got up to find 60 km per hour winds and the start of driving rain. I was afraid of riding even a smaller motorcycle in the rain! As we went to the garage – he acted as if he expected ME to ride to the shop. When I asked him if he thought I could handle the weather – he looked at me and asked “why not?”

      I yanked up my courage from my socks – started the bike and set off on the trip. When I arrived at the shop I got off feeling amazed and euphoric. I could not believe I had done it! The funny part about the entire situation was that my husband showed no surprise whatsoever. In fact he queried me about why I did not think that I could do it.

      I realized then – that I was the only person who had doubted me was myself. I had driven on a highway and passed many vehicles. The drivers in the vehicles never had any doubt that I could ride. I had ridden past pedestrians who saw what I was doing and never once thought to themselves “I wonder if she can do it?” I was my only opponent and the only person who doubted my ability.

      Then I began to think about my business. There are days when I wonder if I can do it. Thank goodness my bankers and leasing agents never think this way. And it is a good thing my customers believe in me too. And now I have learned to truly understand the words Henry Ford said so many years ago.

      “If you believe you can or you can’t – in both cases you are right.”

      So next time you feel that nagging voice that questions your ability to be able to do what you think about trying – remember – you are the only one who will ever doubt your ability. Everyone else KNOWS you can do it. Maybe it is time you convinced yourself!
    • 29 Jun 2007 5:40 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      Over the past 4 years, I have dedicated an undetermined amount of time studying the meaning of success. Five hundred interviews, a hundred books, a couple dozen seminars, and several trial and error projects have taught me a lot – but never come close to revealing what the true ‘secret of success’ is. And chasing the proverbial ‘success’ for many people can cause a great deal of stress.

      If you were to search the internet or bookstore you might find book after book with the word success embedded in the title or subtitle – all penned by self proclaimed millionaires, billionaires or the truly rich and famous. I have read many of them. And one thing becomes very clear.

      In all of these books it was clear - success meant something very different for each person. You might say that there is no such thing as success except for the meaning each individual puts on it.

      And so it was eagerly that I awaited the stories of five attendees at a recent Roaring Women Dinner Meeting who were scheduled to speak about how they had become successful. I had asked each of them to tell their stories of success at a meeting – so that the ‘little secrets’ that exist within our peers could be revealed.

      The result was absolutely amazing. Each one of the participants revealed the very same ‘secrets’ that I had heard from the billionaires and millionaires through books and seminars. And even more amazing – each of the stories we heard touched the listeners in the same way that the stories the billionaires speak of do.

      So although I did not feel that much closer to the answer on how to achieve success - one principle became very, very clear to me. And although no one speaker really spoke about it – this principle was the key factor behind all their stories of personal success. Let me reveal it to you.

      Never quit.
      Winston Churchill reportedly gave a two word speech with those very words. In another speech he also said:

      “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, neverundefinedin nothing, great or small, large or pettyundefinednever give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

      My favorite quote of the same lesson is from Calvin Coolidge:

      “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan \'Press On\' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

      Here are a few more lessons each of the participants referred to – let’s call it our business baker’s dozen! In fact, as you read them, you will see that all of us have all the same information as the so-called experts do. The answers are already inside us.

      1. Think Big
      2. Be grateful
      3. Be unique
      4. Value your network
      5. Have a vision to make a difference
      6. Think from the end
      7. Get good advice – get a coach – find a mentor
      8. Believe in yourself and your purpose
      9. If you do not fit – find your fit
      10. Invest in yourself
      11. Be willing to do the things other people will not
      12. Drop the EGO
      13. Follow your own advice - you know the answer inside – if you will only look and be honest with yourself

      In short – success is defined by you – and will come only through persistence. So go ahead – keep moving forward. Don’t look over your shoulder. Find your goal – focus - and never, never, never quit.
    • 10 Jun 2007 5:42 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      “Guerrilla marketing is overrated”, I heard him say to the colleague sitting next to me. The three of us were seated together in one row of an aircraft on a 90 minute journey.

      I chuckled – understanding much more than he knew about marketing. We had boarded the plane several minutes earlier and I had noted that his bag had the logo of an eye wear franchise that I knew very little about. I had noticed one in my local neighborhood but had not yet scoped it out.

      When I noticed the logo on the bag and saw that its owner was wearing glasses, I took the chance and asked him if he worked for the company. I had his attention immediately. He was an optometrist who owned one of the company franchises. Since I knew little about the company I asked him to tell me more about his company.

      I learned we were both living in Calgary and that he had a store located there. I asked him about his product and services – and his answer was interrupted by the woman on the other side of him.

      “Do you work for Eyeglasses International?” (not their real name) she asked and then blurted out – “So do I”. That comment ended the conversation I had been involved in. The two – who now began talking in depth about company policy, their recent convention, and office dating - completely ignored me and my curiosity about their company and products. The funny part about all of this – I was wearing a pair of outdated glasses!

      Their conversation progressed to marketing strategies and how the company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on items they rarely used and clothing that bore the insignia on it. They felt that this strategy was a waste of time. “Guerrilla marketing only increases brand awareness” one of them said. And they concurred on many levels about the waste of money on this strategy.

      This is a typical attitude for people who are still mired in archaic business strategies. It was clear that they did not even recognize a potential client or customer. And it was also clear that they did not understand the value of building a relationship with that potential customer.

      Guerilla marketing must be followed up with relationship building. You can use Guerilla marketing strategies all you like and not sell a thing if you fail to understand how to recognize a client – or the value that name recognition brings.

      So could Guerilla marketing work for the traveling optometrist with the company logo on his business bag and shirt? Absolutely. Next time he encounters someone who asks about his product – and he has the choice to speak with a colleague or a potential customer – he could choose the ‘customer-to-be’. (that’s what I would have been – a ‘customer-to-be’)
      When someone asks about your company or business be sure to:
      -Tell them why they would benefit from using your product
      -Offer them information about how you stand out from others
      -Give them free tips – eg. “we even have frames identified that look best on certain shaped faces – in fact I have a red pair you would love”
      -Get excited about your company
      -Do not use corporate or industry jargon
      -Offer them a coupon you may just have with you
      -Ask them if they would like you to follow up with them
      -Ask them what they know about you
      -Ask them about themselves
      -Ask them if they would ever want to purchase your product.

      You get the drift. As it stands – I will not likely visit the optometrist’s store. You know – the one who sat beside me on the plane. What was his company’s name anyway? He never gave me his card – and well, I forgot. I guess he was right. Guerilla marketing doesn’t work.
    • 09 Apr 2007 5:44 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      When I was a little girl, my father used to tell me that winners never quit and quitters never win. It has been something that has stuck with me and that I think about in all that I have set out to do in my life. But never has it been more apparent than in the last few years when I have been out skiing.

      First let me say that I have always believed that I could do anything that I set my mind to. Anything. If I decided I was going to learn something new, I just set out and did it. So when I decided at 35 to learn to ski again, I knew that it would take time and practice. But I never believed or even set sights at becoming a really good skier. However, as several years passed, I realized I had improved – to the point where I took the ski instructors course – and passed. I achieved something I never thought I could.

      In fact I learned so much the year I became a ski instructor that I thought – wow – I really have made it. But the following year, I did not ski so well. And the year after that I had a few good days, but again – felt I had taken two steps backwards. And I felt like quitting.

      “Why am I doing this anyway?” I would ask myself. “I don’t need to ski. It does not define who I am.”

      What had happened was that I had lost the joy of doing what I had once loved – because I had begun to measure everything and expect steady improvement. I became discouraged at my lack of progress and wanted to quit.

      I realized how the same thing had happened several times with my business – and in fact I saw it happen regularly to other people’s businesses as well. Often I would see people close up shop, and go get a job because they just got so discouraged at lack of growth or overwhelming responsibility and debt.

      To finish the story - this last week-end, I grudgingly accompanied my husband who wanted to get one last day of skiing in – to the ski hill. We left at 6 am on a Sunday morning to drive 3.5 hours to our favorite mountain. The scenery on the drive was gorgeous –the weather sunny all the way through what seemed like hundreds of majestic mountains.

      When we arrived I got on my skis and decided to ski better - this last time in the season – or at least achieve the level I had 3 years previous. I was on the chair riding up to the first run when it hit me. What an incredible view. Then I looked below and watched as a child tumbled and fell and lay in the snow laughing and laughing. I realized then – life (business, skiing etc) is for living and enjoying. In all my striving to ski better, I had missed the breathtaking scenery and the fun of speeding downhill. In fact I had taken it all so seriously – I had lost the joy.

      After several runs downhill – some good and some bad – I realized something: nothing happens all at one time. It happens in little bits. Two steps forward – one step back! Really – life was like a dance – but I had never looked at the one step back as part of the necessary process in the dance. In fact – I realized it was during the one step back that I always felt like quitting. But because I had not quit – I had enjoyed the spectacular scenery, giggled with a child and then later in the day found that ‘sweet spot’ or center of balance on my skis and had some really great runs!

      So where are you with your business? Are you taking things so seriously that you have lost the joy or passion for what you do? Do you feel like you are in that one step back spot? Are you at the quitter\'s edge?

      When you feel like you are at the quitter\'s edge – and guaranteed there is a time we all get there – stop for a moment and look back. Look at what you have created and how far you have come. And celebrate. Praise yourself for your own greatness, creativity and endurance. Look around you and find the ‘difference’ you have made. You need to remind yourself of what you have manifested by your ideas and actions. Your business – your customers, your income, however big or small, would never have come into being without your effort, vision and determination. And then look forward. Understand that there will be bumps in the road. Nothing happens all at once. Your business is a living thing – and sometimes there will be ‘hiccups’. What do you do when this happens? Here are a few tips.

      Meet up with another business owner for a good chin-wag
      Call your mentor – ask for ideas
      Save encouraging notes – re-read them
      Take a few days off to refresh yourself

      Whatever you do – don’t have that pity party. Find a reason to get excited about your business – and amazingly doors will begin to open for you again. Remember - a winner is someone who never quits. And winning is not about getting there first. Winning is the process of never quitting
    • 22 Mar 2007 5:46 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      As a child I was always warned of all the things that could go wrong. “Wear clean underwear in case you have to go to the hospital…. Don’t do this, don’t do that. Be careful. Be sure to do it right – you do not want to make a mistake..” You know the drill. And so I grew up afraid of my own shadow – afraid that if I took a risk – I might fail.

      I never learned until later in life to EXPECT Success. But I have learned to turn my thinking around. In fact I turned it all BACKWARDS.

      As soon as I have a negative thought about something I immediately begin to think – what if I thought it out backwards? And what happens when we turn our thoughts around AND apply the law of attraction? Think for a minute….

      I heard a funny song last week that perfectly describes the possibilities of positive thinking – thinking of possibilities and expecting good things to happen. It is called “Backwards” and is sung by Rascal Flatts. Imagine if we began to think positive instead of negative. And as the singer sings – “what do you get when you sing a country song backwards?” Here is the answer..

      “Ya get your house back – ya get your dog back
      Ya get your best friend Jack back
      Ya get your truck back – ya get your hair back
      Ya get your first and second wives back
      Your front porch swing, your pretty little thing
      Your bling, bling, bling and a diamond ring
      You get your farm and the barn
      And the boat and the Harley
      First night in jail with Charlie
      It sounds a little crazy, a little scattered and absurd
      But that’s what you get when you play a country song backwards”


      Just imagine what might happen if you turned your negative thinking backwards? What would you get back that you have lost? (lyrics according to Mandie)

      Ya get your hope back – ya get your life back
      Ya turn your red in your business books to black
      Ya get your joy back – ya get your time back
      Ya get your first and second mortgages back
      You rest on your front porch swing, you pretty little thing
      You get more bling, bling, bling and a diamond ring
      You get your farm and the barn
      And the boat and the Harley
      Success is not that far off – see -
      It sounds a little crazy, a little scattered and absurd
      But that’s what you get when you turn your negative thoughts backwards


      So what have you got to lose? Nothing! In fact just think what you will get back when you turn your thinking backwards from negative to positive.

      In fact that door you\'ve been holding closed with all the “oh no what could happen” thinking – is about to burst open with all the wonderful things waiting for you as soon as you turn that thinking around!

      Abundance is your natural state. The Universe awaits to give you exactly what you ask for! Open that door!
    • 25 Feb 2007 4:49 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      Last week we touched upon fair exchange. What are you worth and are you asking for what you are worth? The next question then is - do you believe that you can achieve or receive what you ask for?

      Many of us have self limiting beliefs. We say we want something, and then we sub consciously close the doors to opportunity that we need to fulfill those circumstances. We do this by saying I want or I need but underneath is that little voice that says \"really\"? You think you deserve this? And the negative “what ifs” begin to surface. What if I fail – what if I cannot pay for it… etc.

      Recently I visited a ‘luxury condo’ nestled deep in the mountains near a ski resort I frequent. As we drove through the condo area I could barely close my mouth – I was in such awe of the surroundings. The value I placed on the condos mentally immediately indicated to me that we could not yet afford such a luxury!

      But instead of driving by, I suggested that we stop in at the sales centre. Surprisingly the price tag was far less than what I expected – and immediately we made the decision to walk through the show unit. Once we stepped into the rustic show home we learned that all we saw was standard – slate floors, fireplaces, and mountain views. I had seen this home in my mind many, many times – and now I was standing in it!

      The choice was now mine. Did I believe that I should be there – or did I think well this is nice – but I never saw us owning a place like this? Even after I knew the place had my name on it – those limiting beliefs began to arise.

      First came the comment from the sales rep – “you mean you would just move here?” Then came the mental objections and negative what ifs? What if we cannot sell our house – what if this is a mistake?

      Here is where the self imposed limitations can limit our achievements. Many of our decisions on what we can achieve are based on past experiences. In other words we base our belief on our abilities on what we have achieved before this point in time. If we have experienced a failure or defeat – or seen someone close who has, then we base our beliefs on that information. But what if we turn the what ifs around?

      “What if I make 50% more this year than last year? What if we buy the new condo and get offered a fantastic job that brings in twice as much? “What if we get offered 50% more for our home than we think it is worth?” Wow – almost instantaneously those what ifs get us excited and help our beliefs grow!

      These possibilities are only as close as you think they are. Perhaps the first part of the possible dream is only the smallest part! What if we began to embrace the belief that ANYTHING is possible – and even likely?

      Take some time this week to think of an outrageous achievement. And start to ask what if – in a positive way. What if the universe is planning for your success? (Surprise – it is!)
    • 16 Feb 2007 4:52 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      Over the past several years there has been a push on practicing ethical or fair trade for goods that we purchase – and rightly so. No one I know enjoys their first cup of coffee in the morning knowing that it has been carried miles and miles to a market by a 6 year old child who has been denied schooling and forced into labour due to economic or other reasons. We place value on people and therefore lobby for better work conditions and fair trade.

      Are you practicing the universal law of fair trade?

      Why then are you not doing the same for yourself in your own business? True enough you may not be forced into slavery or have to walk barefoot in the snow to deliver your goods – but are you really valuing yourself and practicing fair trade?

      -Do you charge enough for your product?
      -Do you pay yourself fairly for the work that you do?
      -Do you work a reasonable number of hours a week?


      As important as these questions are, there are a few more that are just as important:

      -Do you pay for services rendered or try to get a bargain or discount on services that are already fairly priced?
      -Do you demand more than reasonable service or have unreal expectations from others?
      -Do you owe anyone money and choose to continue purchasing – refusing or neglecting to pay a bill for which you have received something offered for a fair price?


      Upsetting the universal balance

      There is a universal law concerning wealth and it revolves around the fair trade concept. The fair trade law says that unless fair compensation is offered for services rendered there is an imbalance. This puts both parties in a transaction in a state that is negative.

      The seller who has not received fair due suffers the negative effects that challenge their self esteem and makes them question their true value, and the purchaser fails to value the valuable service or product that the seller has given. Resentment may grow for both parties. And that negative energy responds to the law of attraction – and attracts more negative energy.

      It’s not about the money? Wrong!

      I used to tell myself stories trying to convince myself that it was not about the money. My misplaced altruism misled myself and others. (I thought this was honourable) Unfortunately this did not help me feed my family and I felt like a failure and put me in a perpetual negative spin that I could not escape despite the positive mantras about wealth that I said every morning and all day long.

      Subconsciously I placed a low value on what I had to offer and attracted others who did the same. I complained about the high prices of other’s services or worse yet in an effort to place values on others gave away things and services of value all the while thinking they deserved a break. My thinking was unbalanced.

      Universal Laws work together

      It was not until I heard a teaching that tied in the law of attraction with the universal law of fair trade that I began to see how until I valued myself – I would never reach the goals I had hoped to reach – no matter how hard I worked! I started to pay myself for all the work I did. (until then I only paid myself a lump sum at Christmas)

      I made the decision to pay all the bills I had that were outstanding – even if I had decided before that I would not pay them. I made a list of all those debts and debtors that I had and those I had disputes with and set out to repair broken relationships to the best of my ability.

      As I began to pay myself first – more business began coming my way – seemingly from nowhere. This gave me the money I needed to pay my outstanding debt. I re-negotiated with those who had been giving me services at an unfair discount and demanded that I pay the rate they were worth.

      All of these things contributed to a feeling of self worth which attracted those who valued me and my services. In almost a universal instant my world changed direction and I began to attract exactly what I deserved without guilt. I could then give what I wanted when I wanted.

      And all because I began to practice the universal law of fair trade.

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