Ok, summer’s officially here. The kids are out of school, the weather’s nice, outdoor activities abound and vacations are upon us.
So how does your business fare during the summer? For some of you this is your busiest season. For others, however, in summer you feel like a kid out of school, ready to kick back and take it easy. But is that the best action you can take for your business?
Here are a few things to consider when you’re thinking about slacking off over the summer:
Is your pipeline full? If you have a full pipeline that will last through the rest of the year and into 2012, then, by all means, go ahead and take the summer off.
But, if you’re like most of us, think about this: if you work through the summer, then you’re at least three months ahead of everyone else in the fall. Why? You just spent June, July and August, keeping your contacts up and building relationships with customers and future customers.
I’m not saying that you have to be a workaholic. That's very unhealthy. What I am saying is spend your time judiciously with an eye on staying in touch with your customers and potential customers over the summer and on being open to new possibilities while on the road.
When September rolls around, everyone else will be starting from scratch… again… while you have three months of relationships already underway. Everyone else will be spending time working hard through September, October and November trying to rebuild and make up for lost time. You’ll continue to build on an active, robust pipeline of contacts and relationships. You’re much more likely to finish the year strong and have yourself set up to start 2012 without skipping a beat.
Are there contacts you can make while on the road? When you decide to take a relaxing trip or two during the summer, think about how you can mix in some business. Now, you don’t have to ruin your vacation by working the whole time. Instead, think about what you can set up before you leave (like autoresponders and mailing out a newsletter) or by making posts to your blog or Facebook business page while you’re gone.
Of course, you may also run into live humans while you’re traveling who are interested in your products or services. So, take business cards or postcards that you can leave with them. Then, be sure you follow up when you get back. Remember to keep your conversations respectful and low key as your fellow travelers also may be trying to take some precious time off to recharge.
Enjoy the summer!
I like to spend time with forward thinking people. Their vision of the world and their ways of detecting and developing opportunities are remarkable.
I've found that most of them believe in the power of envisioning their reality, of paying it forward and of gratitude. They set intentions, they pray, they meditate, they journal. They maintain an open mind, they're tuned in. And, they seem to have a pretty positive and optimistic outlook.
Funny thing, though. None of these people got where they are today just by dreaming about it or wishing it to be true or thinking happy thoughts.
They get there by figuring out exactly what they want to go after, then rolling up their sleeves and working... hard. Instead of saying, "I can't," they figure out how they can.
They get guidance from people they respect and they make a plan. They review that plan regularly to see how they're progressing toward that vision and they make course corrections to stay on track. They're patient and they persevere.
They work on constant and never ending improvement, not just on their skill sets, but also on themselves as human beings.
Where are you in this process?
Is your vision clear? Do you have a plan? Are you executing the plan? Are you making course corrections? Are you working to improve yourself... as a human being?
A few things for you to consider.
So, how are you doing?
Are you moving toward what you set out to do at the beginning of the year? Do you have a plan in place for the rest of the year? Are you on track?
My hope is that you're achieving those goals you set and that you're experiencing success. But if you find yourself a bit off track, here are three steps you can take:
Be kind to yourself, get guidance and take action.
We all have moments when we’re asked to do something that would put a real crimp in our cash flow and current finances. What to do?
Perhaps your friends ask you to go out for dinner and drinks. If you’re short on cash, but you want to go, you’re feeling peer pressure. Perhaps you get a request to support a cause that you believe in. If you’re not in a position to make a donation now, you’re likely to feeling guilty. Let’s say you’re online and you see something that’s calling your name. You know you really don’t have the money for it, but you’re feeling that urge to impulse buy.
Regardless of the situation, here’s what you need to understand:
“No” is a complete sentence.
You’re not required to make any explanations or defend your decision to stick to your budget and keep your cash flow directed to what’s most important to you.
You can politely decline your friends’ invitation to dinner and drinks. You can turn down the opportunity to donate knowing full well that there will be other opportunities to give. You can simply click away from the temptation if you’re online (or walk away if you’re in a store).
Tell the voices in your head that push the peer pressure, generate the guilt or insist on impulse buying just to take a hike! Then, you should take a moment to pat yourself on the back for sticking to your guns.
So who are you? Are you someone who is swayed by the voices in your head or someone who is under control and on track?
Here’s what I think when someone declines an opportunity to spend when they really don’t have the funds:
1. This person has a budget or a spend plan
2. This person has the discipline to stick to the plan
3. This person is on the road to a better financial future.
My kind of person.
When you sit down to plan 2011, before you launch into the details, make sure you spend a good deal of energy focusing on the big picture.
What are you passionate about? What have you been putting off that you'd like to get done? Think about what it is you'd truly like to accomplish in 2011, jot it down... then expand on it.
Do you have things piling up on your desk, emails that are going unread or return calls that just aren't happening?
Here's a trick for getting them done: Use a timer.
Every day we're confronted with fine print. It's in advertising, credit card agreements, service agreements, not to mention the junk mail and spam offers that we’re overloaded with.
But, have you ever actually read the fine print?
Legalese, boilerplate and fine print are intended to clarify the terms of the agreement. But would you actually sign an agreement to "monitor your credit" if you knew that the real cost to you was $360 a year even though you can do it yourself three times per year for no charge? Would you transfer a balance to a new credit card knowing that you have to pay a 4% fee for the privilege of giving your money to the new company AND that your interest rate skyrockets to 42% after the 2.99% initial rate expires in three months? Would you sign up for an online offer that requires you to agree that the company can sell your personal information to anyone they choose? Probably not.
But know this: the actual terms of the deal are often spelled out in the fine print.
Beware of the way we are sold to.
Advertising professionals get paid a lot of money to influence our buying habits. One way they do this is to make purchases appear affordable.
For example, in order to make a $25,000 car loan appear affordable, the advertisers and dealers break it down into monthly payments. After all, $483 per month is WAY less than $25,000 right now… or is it?
"Buy Now, Pay Later" seems to be the mantra these days. The Government does it, the states do it, we citizens do it, heck even international tourists do it! But does it make sense financially? Probably not.
Try this eye opening exercise: calculate your REAL Hourly Wage.
Here's why you need to know your REAL Hourly Wage. In order to make intelligent spending decisions you need to be able to determine the real value of the purchase. In terms of budgeting, if something goes out as an expense, something else needs to come in as income to balance it.