Anticipation: The Art and Science of Future Thinking

Anticipation: The Art and Science of Future Thinking

Hockey legend Wayne Gretsky sums up the reason anticipation is the key to success in business:

“Skate where the puck is going, not where it is.”

So much of what happens in our business is not what is front of us today, but where we need to be in the future.

The ability to see the future

I believe there are several reasons that “anticipation” is the key to running a successful business. I would like to share three areas of your business where anticipation is an important skill for you to cultivate for success.

Planning: It is not enough to simply develop products and services based on the problems that your clients/customers are having right now. You must also keep an eye on where those problems could lead to in the future, and how they can be addressed.

Differentiation: You have to know what sets you apart from your competitors. But you must keep an eye on your competitors. They are shifting their strategies and considering new offerings too. Is what you are currently offering sustainable? More importantly, is it subject to disruption that you haven’t considered?

Sales: Selling a product or service to your client or customer is not as simple as putting out there to be purchased. There is an art to customer services and being able to anticipate potential objections and create strong reasons why to buy in spite of them. Knowing your client or customers’ reservations about the purchase of your product or service, before they can put they can throw them at you, shows that you understand your target consumer completely, and you have taken the time to build something that fits truly their needs.

The future is bright

Consider the power of these three opportunities to anticipate the future of your business. As you plan how your business is going to look now and going forward, think about the other places in your plan where you can apply some future thinking. I’ll be waiting to see what you come up with – with great anticipation!

If you would like some help, click here to schedule a Complimentary Clarity Call, and here to receive my Hot Tips for growing your business.

Solopreneurs: Do you have a business or a hobby?

Solopreneurs: Do you have a business or a hobby?

How are you feeling about your business lately? Are you committed to making it work and to have a really successful endeavor? Or are you just getting by and your business feels more like a hobby? What is your business model or quite bluntly, how are you going to make money? Do you have a business plan?

Why is a business plan important?

Your business plan is important. Taking the time to make a plan makes you stop and think about the key components of a successful business. Writing it as you are first starting out is important because it helps you determine that all of the areas of your business are aligned. The plan gives you a reason to focus on those key components and to think long and hard about each one.

Find clarity in a plan

During the planning process, you are clarifying:

  • Your product offering
  • What you do and why (which ties in to your values, purpose, and mission statement)
  • Who your ideal client is and why they are ideal
  • How you going to reach them and how often you intend to reach out
  • Who your repeat clients are, and how you will keep them coming back
  • Who you are competing with and why you consider them in your competitive set
  • What you will charge for your service or product, and how that relates to your competition
  • How you differ from your competitors and what differentiates you
  • The overall business climate for your industry and how you fit in to it
  • Your projected revenue and expenses

This is an overview of the things you should consider as you think about taking your business to the next level. Spend some time researching each of these items. Put together a simple plan to start. The amount of thought you put in will ensure your future success!

2017 is drawing to a close. A business plan will give you a new perspective and provide a clear vision for growth in 2018. That is what I want for you. To be successful! As always, I am happy to help! Click here to schedule a Complimentary Clarity Call, and here to receive my Hot Tips for growing your business.

 

 

 

FREE MASTERCLASS – Prepare and Prosper: 3 Steps to Energize Your Business and Level Up!

FREE MASTERCLASS – Prepare and Prosper: 3 Steps to Energize Your Business and Level Up!

Up level your business to be profitable and sustainable

Are you an entrepreneur who is sick of feeling like your business is draining all your energy?

Have you recently been faced with personal challenges in your life such as aging parents, divorce, or sickness?

 Do you find yourself daydreaming about the life you had before you even started your business?

 Are you incredibly frustrated because deep down you fear that you are not meant to run this business?

In the past 30 years, I have fine-tuned the skills of foresight, vision, strategy and sustainability to make businesses profitable and have found that there are 3 foundational components, that when executed correctly, ensure a profitable and prosperous business.

That is why I am excited to share these three keys to success in my webinar:

Sharpen Your Focus: People don’t have a clear picture of what they want in their business and life

Strategy: People are using an unsuccessful business model- a small tweak creates massive results

Sustainability: People can’t take the proper action to make massive shifts in their business

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Do you have a plan for your business? What can it achieve?

Do you have a plan for your business? What can it achieve?

How are you feeling about your business? Are you committed to making it work and really be a success or are you just getting by and your business feels more like a hobby. What is your business model or put, quite bluntly, how are you going to make money? What is your plan?

Do you have a business plan?

Why is a business plan important? It is important because taking the time to make a plan causes you stop and think about key components of a successful business: your product, what you do and why you do it, your ideal customer, your competition, your industry, your projected revenue and expenses, et al. The process of constructing a business plan also gets you to formulate short term and long term goals and if you are doing it after being in business for a while, you can use data from what is happening now to project what you want in the future.

During the planning process, you are clarifying:

  • Your product offering
  • What you do and why (which ties in to your core values, purpose and a mission statement)
  • Who is your ideal client and why?
  • How are you going to reach them and how often?
  • Who is your competition and why?
  • What do you charge and how does that relate to the competition?
  • How are you different from them? What differentiates you?
  • What is the overall climate of your industry and how will you fit in to it?
  • What are your revenue projections? What are your expenses?

This is a little overview of things to consider. If you spend some time researching each of these things and putting together a simple plan, you have put a fair amount of thought in to ensuring your future success. There are also low cost ways to get some guidance. The Small Business Administration has a program called SCORE; if you look it up, there are simple business plan templates and the opportunity to have a SCORE mentor in your area go through it with you.

Since it is almost 2018, I wanted to get you thinking about what your business could look like next year and in subsequent years! Happy planning! Have I motivated you? I hope so!

 

 

Entrepreneurship has become more diverse

Entrepreneurship has become more diverse

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The majority of entrepreneurs are between the ages of 50-88!

Did you know the majority of entrepreneurs today are between the ages of 50-88? According to Small Business Trends, 51% of small business owners fit in this age group.

MIDLIFE ENTREPRENEURS

According to the 2016 Startup Index by the Kauffman Foundation, 24.3% of entrepreneurs are between the ages of 55 and 64. (See Midlife Career Change)

Women are CONFIDENT in their abilities

A survey by The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests that 71% of women in America are confident in running their own business. The number of women entrepreneurs reached its highest rate in almost 20 years, rising from 220 per 100,000 to 260.

DIVERSITY in entrepreneurship

Women currently make up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the USA. This is the highest percentage since 1996, based on the 2016 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. African American women are the fastest growing segment of female entrepreneurs, starting businesses at 6X the national average. The share of Latino entrepreneurs has doubled in 20 years.

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Take Control of Your Destiny!

Take Control of Your Destiny!

Are you several years away from retirement and anticipating what that will mean?  Do you need a career change because you want to spend your remaining working life in a job you enjoy? Are you ready to retire and considering what is next? Are you already an entrepreneur running your own business? When it is time, are you going to even want to retire, or will you be in a financial position to retire?

These questions can lead to lots of sleepless nights! But they don’t need to.

I have read several articles recently about retirement and two truths emerged: more people are not going to have the option to retire as they approach 65 because they don’t have enough retirement savings; and many don’t want to retire because they feel purposeful, and receive fulfillment from their work. Continuing to work and have that sense of purpose is good for us! It keeps our minds engaged, and provides continued income, stability, structure.

It is important to really analyze your financial goals for retirement 10 years before you think you are going to retire. For argument’s sake let’s say 55 is when you start—to make sure that you have a plan and that you stay on track to meet those goals over the years just before you retire. I’ve also heard the suggestion that you start living according to your retirement budget several years in advance of retiring to make sure that it is realistic. You want to be sure you can actually adhere to that budget so when the time comes you don’t use up your retirement savings sooner than anticipated!

If you haven’t given any of this any thought, do you think it might be time to do so? I started thinking about it as I was divorcing at 52. I was deciding whether to start my own business versus working in the corporate world. I thought about the fact that, if I used 65 as a retirement gauge, I had quite a few “work years” left in me. It occurred to me at my age, I would probably be one of the first to be let go if the company I was working for decided to reduce staff. I thought, “Why put myself in that position? I want to be in control of my own destiny!”

I had also discovered my passion and thought that I would be able to accomplish it best with my own business! As a result, I’m an encore entrepreneur who coaches entrepreneurs and small business owners. I started my business later in life. I am happy and fulfilled, and I can work for as long as I want. More importantly, because I am doing what I am passionate about I can’t see myself chucking it all in at 65. It is something I can do for years!

Are you an entrepreneur now? Are you working for someone else now but are really an entrepreneur at heart? I invite you to embrace the possibilities that open up to you when you have your own business. It is life changing and rewarding!

If you are contemplating your future options and want to stay in touch, sign up for my hot tips or schedule a complimentary clarity call?”

Don’t Let Your Dream Remain Just a Dream

Don’t Let Your Dream Remain Just a Dream

Do you dare to dream? I do. I always have. I have been thinking a lot about dreams recently. The reason I am asking you is because I’ve been guilty of setting my dreams aside because there was always something else that needed “doing.” I think we all have a tendency to do that. We are so busy, caught up in day to day living: work, taking care of our loved ones, maintaining relationships, being involved in our communities . . . the list goes on.

It is easy to get caught up in the “what is” and lose sight of “what could be,” especially if your dream, or one of your dreams, is to up level your business or shift direction. Or to start a business of your own!  There might be a critical voice in your head telling you that it’s not possible. You may fear your friends or loved ones will laugh.  It feels too early to talk about it, or you think you need to draw up an elaborate plan before you share it with anyone. There are so many reasons for not giving your dream a voice!

Give your dream a voice

Sharing your dream, giving it a voice, is the first step toward making it happen. I shared this Erma Bombeck quote recently:

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.

It does take courage. But once you have done it, it is liberating! You’ve voiced what is important to you. You have invited dialogue about your idea. There will be people who don’t understand, like, or appreciate your idea. Others will bring you good suggestions and recommendations about how to move forward. There are all kinds of responses possible, but it’s your dream. It will be up to you to sift through and proceed with those ideas that resonate. Most important, you will have taken the first big step of realizing your dream, just by sharing it with the world.

Use the input

Knowledge is power. Right now, you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know if it’s a good idea until you gather feedback from others. Once you get it out of your head, you can learn more about the risks, the builds people will share, and the rest will follow. You may want to get a wide variety of opinions, using a survey, to get useful input. A survey, coupled with the input of your closest advisors, can help to inform what the next steps should be.

I encourage you to be courageous and share your biggest dream! You will be surprised how that one step can make all the difference!

 

 

 

3 Tips for Staying Social During and After a Divorce

3 Tips for Staying Social During and After a Divorce

During and after a divorce, it can be very difficult to maintain your connections and community.

You may be feeling such a sense of shame, embarrassment and failure that you decide to “go it alone” and don’t reach out to your family, friends or coworkers. It may be that the friends that you and your spouse shared have fallen away or chosen your spouse’s side, so they are no longer friends.

Ending a relationship that you entered in your youth with such hope and excitement is devastating. It is common to feel like you have failed miserably, especially when you are divorcing after a long-term marriage.

Many people are haunted by the questions: What happened? What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I figure out what was wrong and fix it before it became unfixable? There is still that lingering feeling that you failed.

Please Don’t Sell Yourself Short After a Divorce

Change is difficult. It requires you to abandon the status quo and move out of your comfort zone. Going through a major life change, whether you choose it or it is thrust upon you, is daunting. Don’t try to go it alone! It is scary, even more so when you are over 40, because you may not feel as resilient as you did when you were in your 20s and 30s.

Your self-esteem and self-worth take a beating. You take responsibility for the failure even though there were two of you involved. Those inner voices telling you that you didn’t try hard enough, didn’t do enough (feel free to insert your personal broken record) keep playing over and over again.

Sound Familiar?

A favorite quote from Socrates comes to mind:

“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

How do you get out of your own head, back into the land of the living and feel connected again – whether it be with your old friends or new ones? Here are three tips to start building your new network of connections and community during and after your divorce.

First, join a closed online community where you can share your thoughts and feelings in a safe space. If you are feeling hesitant to get started, a closed community provides a sense of community where you can safely start making connections.

Join one or more Meet Up groups. There are now Meet Up groups for just about every activity you can think of! These groups offer a way to get out, try new things and meet new people. Go online and check it out – you will be amazed at the fun things are going on near you right now!

Get involved in a volunteer activity that has interested you, but you have never taken the time to explore. If you love animals, check out your local animal shelter. How about serving homeless people in a soup kitchen or a food bank? Want to build something? What about Habitat for Humanity?

Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded friends, and when you’re ready, a great way to meet a potential date. You already have a shared interest!

Excitement for New Opportunities

Stop for a moment and think about what these new opportunities for connection and community mean. Do you feel hopeful and maybe a little excited? You will be creating something new – a whole new blank canvas is just waiting for you… that is very powerful. That is exciting!

At midlife, you are more resilient than you know. In many ways, you have a better sense of yourself now than you did at any other time in your life. Embrace that! If this is the first time you’ve gotten the space to figure yourself out, use that opportunity! It takes courage to move forward and build a future with new people and relationships. It’s going to be okay!

Keep it Simple: Live with Purpose

Keep it Simple: Live with Purpose

This is going to be one of many articles I will write on the topic of purpose. Perhaps because I feel that as we age our thoughts about life purpose continue to evolve. Today, though, I want to talk about it in the simplest terms.

At the moment, purpose is about what keeps me going each day – my routines, my joys, and what makes me content. I think that upbringing, circumstances, what we do, how we spend our day and with whom, informs our purpose. As those things shift and change over a lifetime, our purpose shifts, evolves and changes as well.

Make Friends With Simplicity

What about embracing simplicity right now? After any major life transition, like divorce, we can struggle to find purpose in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty. That is why I suggest focusing on what is most simple to name and appreciate right now. What keeps you going each day? What is your routine? What are your joys? What makes you content? Focus in on those positives and allow them to pull you forward. Take small steps, take as much time as you need to heal, and go as slowly as possible. Before you know it those steps will get bigger, and you will be back in your stride.

Try to view the simplest, most meaningful parts of your life right now in the context of this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objectives.”

Ask Yourself These Questions

What about focusing on your purpose from today onward with this quotation as your guide? What would that mean in your life? Do you think your daily routine, your joys, your encounters with others would take on a different level of importance and meaning? Do you think that your level of appreciation for what you do have versus what you no longer have, would change? This is my invitation to you give this act of simplifying a try.

Explore your purpose as you see it, at this moment in time! What do you have to lose? I believe this will change your life. If you would like to talk about it with me and your peers in a private group, join us on Facebook! We would love to hear your plan and know how you are doing.

 

5 Ways We Lose Confidence in a Divorce After 50

5 Ways We Lose Confidence in a Divorce After 50

When you go through a divorce, it is quite possible that you will experience a crisis of confidence. I did. I wondered how I was going to deal with it all: the emotions, the financial realities, the effect that the divorce would have on my children. Was I up to it? Would I be able to do it?

The answer was yes. I was up to it and I could deal with the divorce – with a lot of support. Because it is not something that I recommend trying to go through on your own.

Five common contributors to our lack of confidence during divorce:

1.  There is Shame

Something was going wrong. Should we have realized that sooner. There is shame because we couldn’t “fix” things. Couple that with the fear of what lies ahead and not knowing what to do first. We put up a façade and act like nothing is wrong when inside we are reeling, in shock and feeling overwhelmed.

2.  We Wonder What Happened to Us

Why we are we so different from who we were all those years ago when we first married? Perhaps due to the unhappiness, we have become more isolated and introverted than we had been before. We feel unsure about where to turn or who to rely on.

3.  We Have Internalized Our Feelings

Since we have kept our feelings inside for so long, we aren’t sure what the next steps are and how to move forward; in short, we become paralyzed.

4.  Our Marriage Began to Feel Disempowering

Somewhere along the line we felt disempowered. From a practical standpoint, we may feel like we don’t know enough about our finances, especially our debts and our assets. Or, we have very successful careers and the divorce is going to put a big dent in retirement savings, as well as payouts for long term spousal support. You wonder, how did I end up here?

5.  The Loss of Support May Be Real

The support we need from family, friends and colleagues may not be there to help us begin a new life at our age. And we are often embarrassed to ask for it. Will we have to “go it alone?”

Does any of this resonate with you?

Wondering what happened to us and how we got to the point of divorcing after a long-term marriage is common. We wonder what signs we missed; how we got here at this point in our lives.

Does this tape run through your head, “I’m so ashamed; I want to get it over with. I don’t want anyone to know what I am going through?”

Stop the tape. It’s confidence eroding. You are where you are. Now the question is how to best navigate the process.

When you have held your emotions in check for so long, you will naturally feel shock as the divorce process starts. Know that you aren’t alone. That is why putting your personal support system in place sooner rather than later makes a big difference. Your team will give you confidence when you don’t have enough on your own.

Dealing with regret over giving up your career and having to figure out how to earn an income is daunting and scary, but your support team can help. Having built a career but now looking at your income in relation to your spouse’s as you negotiate your post-divorce financial position is also daunting – and frustrating. But, you can work through that with confidence and the sound advice of your team.

“Gray Divorce” is Harder

Divorce at any age, but, especially a divorce after 50, shakes your confidence. Feeling unsupported and alone doesn’t help. I have learned that it is never as bad as it seems in those moments of drama. Put a good support system in place and you will be amazed at how quickly the world seems to be filled with possibility and hope. Then you can begin to embrace the new life you have in front of you.

Once you can start to see the future from this perspective, it is amazing how your confidence will begin to flow.

Did you experience a lack of confidence when you went through your divorce? How did you deal with regrets and regain your confidence? Has anyone that you know gone through a divorce after 50? Would you like a safe place to talk about what you’re going through? Click here to join my Private Facebook Group Life Reinvented. I look forward to our conversation!