Why Is Walking Away So Darn Hard…Even When It’s the Right Decision?

I haven’t slept well over the past few weeks plagued by a ‘Go – NO Go’ decision over a major contract that was certain to have a huge impact on my business and my personal life.  Why is walking away ALWAYS so darn hard, even when you know it’s the right decision?

A few years back I was involved with helping a non-profit organization create a curriculum for a program to educate inner city businesses throughout the U.S. They ran the program through the SBA and now, in its fifth year, the program is offered in almost 30 cities. The contract with the SBA to run the program recently became available for bid and boy, did I want it. I really, really wanted it (did I mention that I wanted the contract?).

The current program is excellent and I have a lot of respect for the organization running it but, like every entrepreneur, I was (and still am) confident that I could make it even more effective in terms of its economic impact on urban businesses. I’ve run a variety of uniquely designed business accelerator programs since then for a number of organizations engaged in helping small business owners grow, including the state of Massachusetts. So taking the lessons learned, I am totally confident that I could deliver one heck of a program. So, what’s the problem? Why not go for it?

Well, honestly I wish it wasn’t such a complicated decision but the bottom line is, I don’t currently have the business model nor infrastructure required to effectively run the program in so many cities (30 simultaneously). My fear is that running a program of that scale would either destroy my current business model  or my mental stability or both. The thought of not sleeping for an entire year is not very appealing. Have you been in a similar situation where you really (REALLY!) wanted to do something but your gut told you, Stop and evaluate what this will mean in terms of your business and your life? It’s akin to a chef who loves to cook opening a chain of restaurants across the country all at the same time. She might be able to handle running one (although preparing amazing meals and running a business are different) but a chain, I don’t think so!

(Continue Reading on the Marketing Edge Newsletter Website…)

Beth

Biz-Edge Video Series: Episode Nine – The Importance of Understanding Your Competitors

Welcome to Biz-Edge where we answer YOUR business questions. In the ninth of the Summer 2012 Series, I address a question about understanding who your competitors are, even when they don’t look nor act exactly like you.

Competitors don’t always offer the same product as you do. Therefore, in understanding and clearly defining who your competition is, it’s critical to think of them in terms of the solution they provide because that’s what you will end up competing on. Watch how I respond to a question about defining competition to grow a business.

Have a question about business growth? Here’s your opportunity to ask questions about business challenges you face so you can gain an EDGE in business. Plus, hear advice that we’ve given other small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them make bold leaps forward. Complete the form at the Biz-Edge Website and I will try my best to answer it via video.

Biz-Edge Video Series: Episode Three – The Art of the Pitch

Welcome to Biz-Edge where we answer YOUR business questions. In the third of the Summer 2012 Series, I address a question from a reader of my Small Business Growth & Innovation Newsletter about perfecting your elevator pitch.

When was the last time you worked on perfecting your elevator pitch? At the heart of every business’ success story is their ability to convey their value proposition succinctly and clearly to key stakeholders. If you haven’t worked on perfecting your elevator pitch, now is the time to do so if you want to accelerate growth. Watch this week’s video to discover tips on perfecting your pitch and check out my Elevator Pitch Template at my website (m-edge.com) to start today!

Have a question about business growth? Here’s your opportunity to ask questions about business challenges you face so you can gain an EDGE in business. Plus, hear advice that we’ve given other small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them make bold leaps forward. Complete the form at the Biz-Edge Website and I will try my best to answer it via video.

Biz-Edge Video Series: Episode Two – Have You Outgrown Your Business?

Welcome to Biz-Edge where we answer YOUR business questions. In the second of the Summer 2012 Series, I address a question from a reader of my Small Business Growth & Innovation Newsletter about outgrowing your business model.

Have you adjusted your business activities to reflect the growth of your business? As our businesses grow, a common challenge  that many owners face is their inability to change their role in the business. If you’ve been wearing every hat to grow your business to its current stage and that’s not working for you any longer, watch this week’s video for some tips on how to make changes that will get you to the next level!

Have a question about business growth? Here’s your opportunity to ask questions about business challenges you face so you can gain an EDGE in business. Plus, hear advice that we’ve given other small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them make bold leaps forward. Complete the form at the Biz-Edge Website and I will try my best to answer it via video.

Biz-Edge Video Series: Episode One – The VIP Called YOU!

Welcome to Biz-Edge where we answer YOUR business questions. In the first of the Summer 2012 Series, I address a question from a reader of my Small Business Growth & Innovation Newsletter about working ON your business as opposed to IN your business.

When was the last time you made an appointment with yourself? You make appointments with VIP clients, prospects and other key players in your business, right? So why not with yourself? You’re a VIP – the most important one in your business! You need to begin treating yourself like one and start focusing your efforts to work ON your business versus simply IN it. Both are important tactics, but working ON your business allows you to take the time to set the tone and direction for success and growth.

Have a question about business growth? Here’s your opportunity to ask questions about business challenges you face so you can gain an EDGE in business. Plus, hear advice that we’ve given other small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them make bold leaps forward. Complete the form at the Biz-Edge Website and I will try my best to answer it via video.

Bloginar Weekly Lesson Thirteen: Wrap-Up/Takeaways

Is there a magical formula that makes one business successful while another fails? There are many ingredients that go into a winning business including a great idea, a great team, perseverance, a unique value proposition, and great leadership. You’ve likely witnessed this in your own company. All of these elements are important, but the ultimate weapon that truly fuels success is the ability to leverage all of the key activities that you perform for your business, and you can only do this with the right attitude.

Perseverance, a great winning attitude and a true passion for your business’s value can spark other flames and become contagious, igniting the passion of investors, business partners, customers and employees. When this passion and energy are controlled, directed and focused, they can truly boost a business’s chance for success.

Combine these with performing the right business activities, as discussed in this Bloginar and in my book, Lucky By Design, and you’ll put yourself in a better position to control the destiny of your company.

Weekly Lesson Thirteen (Try this…)

Ready for more? You can get more in depth lessons in my book, Lucky By Design, along with the 5-hour webinar training program designed to truly improve your odds of success!

We hope that the 90-Day Bloginar Series has been a powerful tool for you to grow your business. In the fall, we will begin another series to help you create a Business Action Plan for 2013. In the interim, I will be offering a video series online where I answer your business questions. This series, entitled Biz-Edge, provides answers to your questions about business growth. Feel free to submit questions directly to me at beth@m-edge.com.

Have a Business Challenge or Question?
Visit the BizEdge site on my website and let us answer it for you!

Bloginar Weekly Lesson Twelve: Gaining Balance with Partnerships: Is it a Win-Win?

Forming solid partnerships can be very valuable and important for businesses, both large and small. However, good partnerships take time to develop, and require significant effort to sustain. A true partnership is a serious relationship between two parties that share common goals and have mutually agreed to join forces together to achieve something specific. Having the right partner – and the right partnership arrangement – can provide a very powerful boost for your business and can lead to some lucky opportunities being uncovered.

However, partnerships are a double-edged sword. They require significant effort, a great deal of mutual trust, and a champion on each side to manage the relationship in order to work. Therefore, having the right partner – and the right partnership arrangement – can provide a very powerful boost for your business and can lead to some lucky opportunities being uncovered by you and your partner organization. However, partnerships are not something that you should enter into casually because the wrong partnership can defeat morale and in the worst-case scenarios, destroy a business.

Weekly Lesson Twelve (Try this…)

Before committing to a new business partnership address the questions below. If you aren’t pleased with your response, think about what changes you need to make to improve the opportunity for success with current or future partnerships, for your benefit as well as the benefit of your company.

1. Have you clearly defined your most important goals, and made sure that your prospective partner shares those same goals and vision?

2. Have you assessed what specific gaps – in skills, in relationships, or in any other assets – this partner needs to fill in order to help you succeed?

3. Have you determined how you will help him/her succeed based on the skills or assets you bring to the relationship?

4. Is it clear that both parties stand to benefit more from being partners in this arrangement than working separately? Is this a win-win arrangement or is the scale unbalanced?

Bloginar Weekly Lesson Eleven: Leading versus Managing

What’s the difference between a leader and a manager? A leader sets the tone and inspires as well as empowers his/her team to achieve the goal. A manager is often a key player in ensuring the plan is organized, coordinated and followed through and ideally shares the vision… but often doesn’t establish the vision for the rest of the team.

Which are you? Are you inspiring your team to carry through a vision that you hold? Are you motivating them to achieve greatness where 1 + 1 truly exceeds 2?

I’ve heard others say that a leader does the ‘right things’ while a manager ‘does things right.’ You need both of these roles in achieving greatness for an organization. Check your leadership skills below!

Weekly Lesson Eleven (Take this assessment …)

There are numerous ways to assess your leadership style. I found an interesting one online called the Leadership Legacy Assessment Test, written by Robert Galford and Regina Fazio Maruca. Check it out – it might give you some great insight into your leadership style. I’d love to hear your results!

http://www.yourleadershiplegacy.com/assessment.html 

Bloginar Weekly Lesson Ten: Getting Out of Your Own Way

I am thrilled to share my interview on creating your own lucky opportunities with JJ Ramberg of MSNBC’s Your Business! Please watch it then continue with the weekly bloginar lesson: Getting Out of Your Own Way!

If you have specific questions that I can address – please visit my newly redesigned website m-edge.com and click on the link for Biz-Edge where we answer YOUR business questions!

Are you frustrated with the rate of growth your firm is achieving or have you hit the kind of plateau that emerging firms often experience? Perhaps you’re struggling to enter new markets, drive more revenue or increase profits, yet you’re stuck. Well, that plateau is much more common than you might expect, and the reason for it is often the same.

The bootstrapping skills owners relied on to get to their current level of success are often not the skills that they need to move forward to the next level. Many new business owners find that in the early stages they need to control everything and make sure every “I” is dotted and every “T” crossed. However, by its very nature, growth into a different stage WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE, because it is different. This actually is a good thing – if you don’t get a few butterflies in your stomach, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. Yet, without systems in place and a willingness and confidence to delegate responsibilities in a different way, your business simply can’t achieve a solid, sustainable growth level.

If you choose to grow your organization, you are also committing to challenging yourself in a new way. It is the rare founder who can do this without feeling a serious degree of discomfort. But, you need to make the choice on whether you can and want to become the kind of leader your company needs you to be in order to successfully lead the organization, or confront your shortcomings and decide if it’s better for somebody else to carry the company forward.

Weekly Lesson Ten (Answer these questions…)

  • Are you ready to commit to growth or do you want to remain at your current stage?
    • If growth is a goal, what needs to change in your business?
  • How important is delegation of decision-making at your company?
  • If you need to control specific decisions, which ones are they and how will you include your team in the process so you don’t become an obstacle?

Bloginar Weekly Lesson Nine: Building a Team: Getting the Right People on the Bus

How often have you wondered, do I have the right team in place to ensure my goals can be achieved? Carefully assessing the talent on your team is the first step in understanding the value of empowering your company to grow as a separate entity… apart and distinguished from you – the founder. That’s a difficult step for many entrepreneurs to make but is critical if you want to grow your organization.  It’s quite similar to letting go with your children…. recognizing that it’s time for them to realize their own goals and dreams separate from yours.

Congratulations if you’ve taken that step and brought on a team to support the growth of your firm. Now, how do you determine if you have the right people on ‘your bus” with the right talents, skills and expertise to support your vision? More importantly, are you allowing them to make decisions and take the relevant level of responsibility so the business becomes less about you – the owner/founder and more about the organization on its own? Is your team heading in the same direction… ideally the direction you want to be going in (you don’t want to find yourselves all going down with the ship…)?

The challenge a growing firm’s managers face as the company achieves success is that the skills that are essential to initial product or company development can be stifling when applied to the management of business teams, or sales and marketing initiatives. There’s a continued struggle to micromanage every detail and be involved with every daily function, but this ends up getting in the way, and frustrating the employees to whom they need to turn over the reins.

Weekly Lesson Nine (Answer these questions honestly…)

Answer the following questions honestly. If you aren’t pleased with your response, think about what changes you need to make to improve the situation, for your benefit as well as the benefit of your company.

  • Do you have a team in place that you trust and are able to delegate decisions to?
  • If you trust your team, then what processes do you have in place to empower them to make decisions
  • If you don’t trust your team, what steps will you take either to train/educate or promote them, or to bring on individuals who are more managerially focused and will help facilitate growth?
  • Is bringing on experienced managerial talent (maybe even a CEO) an important option to consider?