The 4 F’s in Business (They’re NOT What You Think) – Part 2

If distinguishing between feelings and facts brings clarity and direction to your business decisions, then choosing whether your operating state as the owner will be fear or faith becomes the energy that fuels your business engine.  Maintaining a positive mindset may be the biggest challenge you face in your business.

Both fear and faith have enormous energy associated with them.  Think of it as a spectrum.  A healthy fear expressed as a mild anxiety can actually compel you to check something out, be alert, dig deeper and uncover issues as well as opportunities and so on.  At the far end of the spectrum fear at its worst can be crippling or even paralyzing to you and thus your business.  Fear of this nature saps the energy in the business depleting the energy needed to drive the business forward.

No matter what problem you are facing today there is always a solution, because ultimately the only thing you have to deal with is your own thoughts. There may be all sorts of external factors involved however as long as you think the solution is in something out there or someone else’s hands the situation is hopeless.

All of your actions are correlated to the way you see the situation your in.  This idea cannot be over stated.  This is also where the operating state of faith can make the biggest difference.  Faith you ask?  Faith in what?  Faith in yourself, faith in your team, faith in your product or service, faith in you clients, faith in a higher power, I could go on and on. Faith breeds belief, belief breeds success and success breeds more success.  This kind of energy is exponential resulting in a thriving business.

If you find that you’re experience is more fearful than faithful it’s time to evaluate your predominate thoughts and put in a practice or structure to support you in what your committed to.

Perhaps Einstein said it best “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe.”

Feelings and fear or facts and faith, the choice is yours and it’s up to you.

The 4 F’s in Business (They’re NOT What You Think) a two part series

Facts VS Feelings

At the onset of coaching one day I asked a client, “How are you? What’s been happening in the business recently?”  He sounded concerned and replied that things have been pretty slow.  My first question back to him was, “Is that a feeling or a fact?”  Once again, he told me that it has been very quite.  “So it’s a feeling,” I responded, which did not sit well with him. “What do you mean?” he asked. “Well, have you looked at the numbers?” “No” he replied.  “Ok, great, so go look at your numbers and call me back…let’s deal with the facts.” Within 10 minutes he called back and sounded like a totally different person.

My first question to him was, “What did you find out when you looked at the numbers?”  “We’re actually having a good month!,” he said quite surprised. Isn’t that interesting?  The feelings didn’t match the facts at all.  This is what I call blindly steering the business by feelings vs. guiding the business with facts.

People get habituated to a particular feeling they associate with things going well or not.  “Going well” for this client meant being busy, phones ringing off the hook, and lots of interruptions.  Once we dug a bit deeper, he realized that he associated being successful with being busy.  Our coaching sessions had led him to put in many systems to manage processes and train the team to handle aspects of customer care so he was freed up to work on other aspects of developing the business.  This type of order led him to  “feel” like things were off.

Ask yourself, how can you make sure you’re guiding your business with facts vs. steering your business blindly with feelings?  I suggest that you have daily huddles covering the critical drivers in your business, weekly reviews of the numbers that include both business processes and financial reports.  Get grounded in the facts then guide your business powerfully!

Delegating is key…

“Is this the best use of my time right now”?  When I work with my clients who are busy business owners, it is imperative for them to evaluate their time/self management.   I ask them to stop to assess, review and examine how their time is being spent, what projects and tasks they are involved in, their skill set and most of all delegating what can be delegated.

Think about it, the business owner’s time is valuable, and most importantly, are usually the main profit drivers of their business.  So ask yourself if you put a dollar amount on what your time is worth based on your projected income goals, how much of your day are you spending on distractions?   What are your tasks or distractions costing you?

If you say you would like $1,000,000 income in revenues for this year and there are 1,980 working hours in a year based on a 40 hr work week and a two-week holiday, then your hour is worth $500.

My advice – Think twice before you consider doing the things that are not the best use of your time and concentrate on tasks that directly drive those profits!


Without a Vision, You Are Lost…

Have you ever tried to take a trip without knowing where you were going?  It usually isn’t very productive…

When we have a clear focus on where we want to go, getting there is much easier.  The vision for your business, or your life, is extremely important for giving you direction to get you where you want to go.

At ActionCOACH, we have a vision of “World Abundance through Business Re-Education” which may sound really big to you, but it is what drives our team.  You see when you have a clear vision that enrolls and inspires you, it will also enroll and inspire others.  Not necessarily everyone, but people who are like-minded to you will be drawn to your vision.  This helps you attract people to your team that are more interested in helping to fulfill your vision, than in collecting a paycheck.  It also helps you attract customers that are aligned with who you are and what you are out to create in the world.

Your Mission is a description of how your business, or your vehicle, is going to help you achieve the Vision.  It’s like the roadmap to your vision!  Crafting a Mission is quite easy once you have your Vision. Simply describe your business and how it helps fulfill on the Vision.

One final note on Vision: If you do a search for Fortune 500 Vision and Mission statements, or if you have heard of this before, you will find that mostly they talk about the Vision and Mission reversed from how I am talking about it.  How you prefer to think about it is up to you. For me, it never made sense to talk about my Vision being closer than my Mission, so I prefer to look at it

A Client Success Story


Many business owners are focused on revenue/sales growth; however, savvy business owners are less concerned with revenue/sales growth and more concerned with their growth in profit.  Some owners find out the hard way that you can sell yourself right out of business-it’s really the profit growth that leads to cash that counts.

An example of this is one of our clients that doubled the revenues in his business every year for three years 08, 09 and 10.  Last year, 2011, his revenue/sales growth was flat.

We knew he needed to integrate and stabilize the massive growth he’d had over the previous three years and focus on refining the processes and systems in the business to improve efficiency.  Though revenues were flat in 2011, he improved the profitability of the business a whopping 4300%  and set aside cash to fund the next stage of business growth.  How can you improve the profitability of your business today?

50 Cash flow vs. Profit… What’s the difference?

Have you ever looked at your financial statements and wondered, “If I made a profit, where is the cash?” or “How come I have cash in the bank, if I didn’t make a profit?”  The reason is very simple, profit is not the same thing as cash!

Many business owners look at their financial reports and see a profit and go out and celebrate, or see a loss and go out and drown their sorrows. Hmmm, seems to always generate the same result in one sense…  Well, it probably should.

Have you ever tried to buy that drink with profit?  Try it some time, go to the bar with your profit and loss statement, show the bartender the profit at the bottom and ask for a drink.  I can pretty much guarantee that the bartender will then ask you for cash!  Profit is a theory! Cash is King!

Don’t go off the deep end in the other direction either, though.  You can’t effectively run your business from your bank account.  In the end, you need to have both. You need to understand what your profit and loss statement is actually telling you and you have to understand the cash flow in your business.  Invest time in learning how to read your financial statements and use them to manage your business, and learn to understand the ways that cash flows through you business and how you can manage it in the most effective and efficient manner.

To Dream or Not To Dream

I know it’s a bit goofy and clique, but it got your attention… And, it’s relevant to what I want to talk about.

Especially in challenging times, we (and I mean human beings in general) tend to get caught up in the day to day and loose sight of our dreams. Often this results in our feeling that the dreams are never going to happen, or that they are so far off that there is no point in focusing on them. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

When we are in challenging time, or even when we are just discouraged about our dreams, we MUST stay focused on our dreams, our aspirations and our goals. This is how we can stay motivated to succeed. A measure of a person’s metal is how well they can stay focused on the prize, even when the going gets rough!

3 Managing Challenging Times

It’s 80% Mindset:

1. Are you looking for opportunities? Or, are you complaining and giving in to panic?
2. What are your goals? Are they really clear.
3. Who is around you? Are they focused and positive?
4. Do you have “Think time” for new ideas?
5. Planning is the key. Drill down to the details. What do I need to learn? Whose help do I need to recruit?

And 20% Business Skills:

1. Trim the fat – reference your plan, never cut just to cut. Do you need to cut people, costs, etc.?
2. Look at your product line, what’s selling? How and where can you add value and keep good margins?
3. Examine your sales and marketing. Are you getting a return on your investment?
4. Are you managing your cash flow and budget, it’s critical?
5. What do you need to do to keep your existing customers happy?

Back to the Basics… Delivery Mastery

Returning once again to the foundation of your business, here is the final pilar to create a strong and stable foundation for growing your business…

Delivery Mastery – How you deliver your product or service is the fourth pilar in your foundation. How consistent are you in delivering? Can you deliver the same level of quality time in and time out? Does every customer get the same level of service every time they interact with your company? Delivery mastery is about predictability and consistency. Consistency is key to your business succeeding. Do you return to a restaurant if the food or service is not consistent? Have you ever gone to a store and gotten really bad customer service, and did you go back? You don’t have to be the best, you have to be consistent. You need to know where the bottlenecks are in delivering your product or service. Where are the “holes in your bucket?” Does it make any sense to turn up the faucet, if there is a hole in the bucket? No, you’re just going to lose water faster! If you cannot handle more customers, because a bottleneck in your delivery mechanism, getting more customers will only cause you to lose more customers! And, it’s hard to get them back once you’ve lost them!

So, there you go, those are the pilars of your foundation! How strong are yours? Are you ready to build your skyscraper?

Back to the Basics… Financial Mastery

Building your business requires a firm foundation. In my last couple of posts, I have been discussion what the 4 pilars of your foundation look like.  Here is the 3rd pilar…

Financial Mastery – Financial Mastery is about understanding the numbers in your business. Not just the finances, like your profit and loss statement, your balance sheet, your cash flows, and your bank statement, but also the numbers that influence all of those. This pilar is about profitability. Understanding your numbers is critical to running a business. Numbers are the language of business, they are the scoreboard. Numbers tell you who’s winning and who’s losing. Too many business owners that I meet only look at their profit and loss statement once a year when their accountant gives it to them, and even then they only look at the “bottom line.” They figure that as long as they have money in the bank, they are fine. Would you be able to play the game of baseball if you didn’t know how to read the scoreboard? Do you think that the players on the field don’t understand what their batting average was saying about them, or any of the dozens of other statistics.