Give and Take in Business

Rahul from Toronto writes: Rebecca, I’m part of group of aspiring entrepreneurs who help each other with their startup ideas. Because people see me as a good writer, they constantly sending me drafts of their work and I gladly edit them. But when I ask for help with market research or my value proposition, topics in which they are more educated than I, the assistance is lukewarm. I tend to be “a pleaser” and hope by giving, I will receive. When this doesn’t happen, I get resentful. I want to stay in this group and continue to share my expertise, but how do I get the help I need to succeed?     

Rahul, by offering your editing skills, you have the opportunity to build strong and healthy relationships with these people who may help you in the future. To avoid burnout, resentment and for the sake of your venture, you must accept the importance of reciprocity.

While giving is crucial, it’s equally important to recognize your own needs and advocate for yourself. There is no merit in being a “doormat.”  Are you using “pleaser” language, verbally or non-verbally, that invite constant requests? Are you too available to the takers?

Perhaps you can reiterate the importance of win-win collaboration to your group. Before you accept another editing request, clarify some specific questions for which you need direction. If your requests are too open-ended or mentally overwhelming, even the givers in the group will retreat.

In the intricate dance of business, success is often found in the ability to be a giver and a taker Ultimately, finding harmony in embracing both roles can lead to a more well-rounded and successful approach to business. I suggest you read Give and Take – Adam Grant

Need help harmonizing “give and take?” Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com Visit MIndfulCommunication.com.

 

 

 

 

Follow Up Fears: Don’t Let Opportunities Slip

As business owners, it’s a good idea to remember what it’s like to be a customer.  As customers we’ve all known the frustration waiting days and weeks for a return call. Our trust in the company or the person we were dealing with dips. Their delay makes us question their competency. We feel less important to them and let down when promises aren’t kept.  The longer we wait for a response, the more these feelings fester. Frustration turns into disgust, and we tell others all about it.

Why would you let your customers have that kind of experience?

A 2021 study cited in the book “Be a Unicorn” looked at a survey of >5.7 million leads to determine which ones were most likely to convert into a sale:  The ones in which the rep responded to in <5 minutes! Otherwise, the chances of converting them dipped by a factor of 8!

Here are some of the most common reasons founders do not follow up with customers:

  • Forgetfulness or disorganization (misplaced the documentation)
  • Conflict Avoidance
  • Rejection Sensitivity
  • Having to say “No”
  • Having to apologize
  • Admitting that you lack the resources to solve their problem

All of these are solvable reasons for not following up. Most are based on fear. If you take no action to manage these fears, then you have good reason to fear your bottom line.

Check out this article:  (16) Facing the Fear of Follow-Up | LinkedIn

CoreCoaching can help. Visit www.MindfulCommunication.com

Your Personal Manifesto

At the close of 2023, you may be elated, neutral or downright discouraged with your venture’s progress. This post is for those who find themselves more often in the last 2 buckets of “blah.” The more we stay in “blah” the more we strengthen that brain circuit of negativity.

What can you do to weaken that circuit of negativity and, instead, strengthen the circuit of doing and possibility?

Create your personal manifesto. It is a statement of commitment. Complete these sentences and post them in a place to reinforce your “WHY.” Visit your manifesto every morning to reinforce your intention to take action. Read it aloud or silently. You may record it and play it as you prepare for your day. Speak it aloud to others as a way of holding you accountable to your commitment.

My purpose in doing the work, including the boring, tedious stuff is to___________.

My mission is to___________.

I have taken on this challenge because____________.

I have to give myself credit for____________. 

My response to the inner critic is to  ____________.

I’ll be kind to myself by _________________.

I’ll reward myself for meeting today’s challenges by____________.

Before I go to bed tonight, I will assess my progress and how I can improve tomorrow. I will visualize my best self, working through tomorrow’s challenges with vigor.

Some people rely on external reinforcers to make big things happen. Others look internally ─ they pray, journal, or talk to themselves.  Your personal manifesto is a powerful combination of all three. Give it a try.

Share your entrepreneurial conundrums with The COREageous Entrepreneur family of subscribers. Email me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com. I will post my solutions.

Visit www.MindfulCommunication.com

 

Compartmentalize to Avoid Overwhelm

New founders often find themselves awash in a sea of concerns: revenue growth, hiring, firing, funding, family responsibilities, and lots more all at once. It feels like a murky mess. During the course of a day these concerns swirl around in your head while new tasks get added to the mix.  Overwhelmed and at a standstill, you’re exhausted, and the clock keeps ticking.

Here’s a solution:

I’m a big fan of time blocking/boxing as a visual way to plan your week. “Compartmentalizing” takes time blocking one step further. It is a process of separating conflicting concerns into different mental “compartments” to manage them separately. This is a helpful coping strategy for getting concerns out of your head and on paper. Compartmentalizing concerns is helpful to your mental well-being, particularly in situations where emotions or worry take hold.

Each area of concern can be a compartment. For example, let’s take “funding your enterprise” as a compartment. Compartmentalizing involves breaking down the larger issue of securing funding into smaller, more manageable components. Carve out a block of time in your calendar for each component:

  1. Clearly defining the amount of funding required and the specific purposes for which the funds will be used.

Example: Break down the funding needs into categories such as product development, marketing, and operational costs. This will provide a clearer picture of where the funds will be allocated.

  1. Research different funding sources and methods available to startups.

Example: Divide this task into exploring traditional funding options (e.g., venture capital, loans) and alternative methods (crowdfunding, accelerators). This helps in understanding the pros and cons of each option.

  1. Build a Pitch Deck:

Example: Break down the pitch deck creation into sections such as problem statement, solution, market opportunity, financial projections, and team introduction. This makes the process more manageable and ensures each aspect is well thought out.

  1. Focus on building relationships with potential investors.

Example: Divide this task into smaller activities like attending networking events, reaching out to mentors, and participating in industry conferences. Each activity contributes to building a network that could eventually lead to funding opportunities.

  1. Develop a detailed financial plan.

Example: Break down financial planning into creating a budget, forecasting revenue, and outlining key financial metrics. This allows you to focus on one aspect at a time, ensuring a comprehensive and well-thought-out financial strategy.

By breaking down a compartment into smaller, manageable components and assigning specific times to address them you can make progress on multiple compartments in a more organized and efficient way.

Need one-on-one help compartmentalizing? Contact me at Rebecca@MIndfulCommunication.com. Visit www.MindfulCommunication.com

Decision Dilemmas?

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I’m kicking off the holiday season with a topic we can all relate to. Could better business decision-making make a more successful 2023-24 for you?

entrepreneur contemplating better business decision makingMy client, RJ, sorely needed to hire an administrative assistant (AA). He decided to take charge of this task on his own.

Two weeks later, RJ reached out for help having made no progress. “What got in the way?” I asked.

His response included a host of the usual culprits ─ the tendencies that conspire for many of us when making important decisions. They included:

  • Overthinking. RJ was conflicted. He spent his time collecting online articles about what makes a good AA, how to manage an AA or how to manage himself instead.
  • Fear. He discovered several articles about AAs who stole an employer’s money and resources. The potential costs of detectives, lawyers and court time further stunted progress.
  • Avoidance. In addition to the above, as an introvert, he dreaded the hassles of interviewing so many people and wasting time on poor candidates.
  • Perfectionist tendencies. His expectations were a bit too lofty for the money he was willing to spend on an AA.
  • Poor sleep. RJ often stayed up well past midnight trying to be his own AA. Consequently, after several weeks of too little sleep, he was irritable and more indecisive than usual.

4 Step Business Decision Making Process

Therefore, we created a basic 4 step business decision-making process that he could adapt for future decision-making. Together, we:

  • gathered the essential facts.  As the research suggests, when making decisions ─ less data is more.
  • narrowed down the job description to a short list of absolutes: duties, specific qualifications, experience, salary requirements, in-person vs. remote, etc. This would save interview time.
  • discussed the short-term and long-term advantages for making a “good” versus a “perfect” decision and why to make it soon. RJ had many projects coming up and was becoming increasingly disorganized with current tasks.
  • got the process out of his head and down on paper. We drew a pros and cons table for the interviews. We listed the absolutes in the column on the left and spaces for the applicants’ names across the top. We left a few rows open for bonus features a candidate may offer such as “willing to work on weekends” or “does errands.”

RJ agreed to post the job immediately, knowing that he could amend the description if needed.

The happy ending: By the end of the week, RJ had spoken to five candidates who met the very specific job description. In a manner of minutes, the table made it easy to narrow it down to two applicants who were the best fit for the job. Knowing how another decision could lead to overthinking, RJ gave way to his gut instincts and made his choice.

Some business decisions are easier or more difficult to make than RJ’s. Nevertheless, getting the process down on paper reduces the emotional and cognitive overload resulting in faster and more efficient decision-making.

I am grateful for your queries and your requests for solutions to the perplexing executive functioning problems many founders face. Send them to me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com. Watch for solutions in future blog posts. Visit my website at www.MindfulCommunication.com

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”

Attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the U.S., this quote is one to ponder. As we get closer to the holidays, we tend to reflect and compare our accomplishments over the last year with other people. Folks around the dinner table will be asking if you’ve broke even yet, while they rave about their kid who sold her company to Google following her engagement to an investment banker.  We may see an old school chum driving their Maserati down Main Street with some hot date in the passenger seat.

There are dozens of other ways where “comparison” can devolve to “envy.” When we compare ourselves to others, we can’t assume that what we see is an ideal picture. For example, your chum in the Maserati Ghibli could be parading around because he doesn’t want observers or his girlfriend to know that his business is on the skids. You may discover that your family friend’s daughter with the windfall of cash and a rich fiancé is in therapy twice a week to manage her severe OCD. Talk to just about anyone who has more luck or accomplished a lot more than you, and you’ll find their “baggage” to be similar and often weightier than yours.

Envy is a delusion. I credit the author and psychologist, Jordan Peterson, with his way of shifting our thinking away from envy to “comparing ourselves to ourselves.”  He insists we look at the actions we have taken toward our goals. For example, if you have become just 1% more knowledgeable, more efficient, or more productive each month for the last 11 months, that’s approximately 12.68% better than last year at this time. (This calculation is based on the concept of compound interest, where the growth each month is not just additive but also compounds on the previous month’s growth.)

According to Peterson, and I paraphrase — neurophysiologically and neuropharmacologically, we know that the core of joy and positive emotion is observation of progress toward a desirable goal. Shift your focus from self-delusion to self-comparison. It’s kinder, measurable and better for your well-being.

Want to accrue more “compound interest” in your personal growth each month? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com. Learn about my CoreCoaching method at www.MindfulCommunication.com.