Monday, 26 May 2008

Focus on your core skills - let others do what they are good at

It can be hard when you start a business to get everything done. Not only is there the work that you started the business to do, your passion if you like, but there are also all the other things that need doing that keep a business efficient.

These are often the tasks that drain your energy and take you away from your core skills. Prospecting, accounts, banking, tax issues, marketing, sales, networking, insurance issues, payroll, staff issues, training and so on. Sometimes it can seem that there is not enough time to do what you went in to business to do, and yet all these things have to be done.

Advisors will tell you "outsource" and it seems logical. However this can be scary. After all it means investment in paying someone else to do the things that you could do yourself and save money. At the beginning it is even more of a dilemma.

How do you balance expense against your own productivity?

I struggled with this for a long time. I am perfectly capable of keeping reasonable accounts. I know what I want in terms of how my office is organised. I can theoretically turn my hand to writing script for website. I can put a sales letter together and no one can network for me so I have to do that myself.

Then I realised that I was spending 12-18 hours a week on my accounts. I was being diverted from getting new clients by posting articles on various websites around the world. I was creating spreadsheets to track coaching and training hours. I was developing new ways to market my business. I was doing everything I could do move my business forward, I told myself, but I wasn't getting enough time and I wasn't getting enough clients!

So when the light bulb came on with the accounts fiasco, I woke up and smelt the coffee. I got myself a book keeper. Suddenly I had "created" another two days to my week. She did what she did best which freed my time up to do what I did best. Then I engaged a marketing coach and she supported me with what she does best. After that I took on a new accountant and a financial advisor, a new bank, a success coach and got involved in a mastermind group. It wasn't long before I had a great support team around me and I was then able to do what I do best, coach, train and speak at events. The business literally went from zero active clients to the best ever month in 4 weeks and each subsequent month continued to grow.

I'm not saying it wasn't scary. The idea of investing more money after having already put everything into the business was terrifying frankly, but it did mean that I had created my very best chance for success because I had stacked the odds in my favour.

The best move of all though was taking on admin support. With two part time assistants I could now delegate all those essential yet time consuming tasks around the office. Keeping the database up to date, creating spreadsheets, prospect call lists, filing etc etc etc. This was the crunch. This enabled me to go from 1 "focus" day a week and 6 "buffer" days to 3-4 focus days and 1 or 2 buffer days AND get at least 1 totally free day and even 2!!

I then began to find that the more I delegated the more I got done...obvious really, but when your business is your baby you don't want to give it to a baby sitter!

It's a stretch to move into "outsourcing" but it is, without a doubt, one of the quickest and most satisfying decisions you can make. You get to focus on your skills, those things that you went into business for, and you allow others to do what they do best in support of you. Tu
You can employ people later but in the first instance just get your support team on your bus and watch the results improve.

A word of caution though...make sure you use the extra time you create to drive your business forward. Don't fall into the trap of outsourcing and then divorcing yourself from your primary responsibility of making your business work. That's an avenue that, if followed, will certainly lead to misery.

So my tips for success right now are:

1. Create a powerful and effective support team
2. Outsource anything that is not your core skill or passion
3. Delegate, delegate, delegate

And of course, hire a success coach! ;o)

To your success!

If you want to know more about how success coaching can help you transform your business visit is at and submit an enquiry, or call us for an informal chat on +44 (0)28 9048 8673.

Your success is our business!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Use your Peak Performance time to optimise results

Have you ever tried to finish, or even start, a project, proposal, important letter, or perhaps a presentation, and found yourself staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen? That feeling of trying to push water uphill or swim against the tide...

It is at these times I am reminded how useful it is to a) identify, and b) use, those times of the day when we perform at our best - our Peak Performance hours. After all, who says that we must get the most out of ourselves between the standard "9 to 5"?

For me, I know that if I want to be creative or "think outside the box", the best times are 6 am to 12 noon and then again between 10 pm and 2 am after everyone at home has gone to bed. That's assuming that I've had the discipline to have had enough sleep and enough "breaks" as well.

At other times of the day I know that I need to have meetings or coaching sessions with other people so that someone else is providing some of the input and stimulating my "creativity". Identifying and then applying this knowledge helps me to ensure that when planning my time I am doing my utmost to get the most from myself and my day.

Is it always easy? Of course not. Things go a little awry at times when people need something from me that doesn't "fit" with my idea of the ideally laid out day, and these are the times when I usually find that something on my day planner "slips" off the page and ends up in another day. The facts remain the same nevertheless; if I keep to the system knowing that it works, I always get so much more from my time and myself.

Sometimes, we need reminding though and that's where the true power of a mastermind group, accountability partner or coach shows up. My support team are great at "stretching" me to get the most out of me, and they so often are able to say the right thing that stimulates me to deliver on my own expectations of myself.

The results then speak for themselves...

So, my success tips for anyone who wants to optimise their results in business and their life are:

1. Identify your own Peak Performance times

2. Plan your day as far as you can to get the most out of yourself and your time using this knowledge

3. Create your own support team including a coach, accountability partner and/or a mastermind group


If you want to know more about how coaching and masterminding can help you improve your results give us a call or visit

Monday, 5 May 2008

Does just "Belief and Commitment" create Success?

It's a Bank Holiday today, marked significantly by the wonderful absence of traffic as I was driving over to see a client this morning.

As I drove through Belfast I came across the marathon runners wending their way around the city. At first just a few, the "elite", super fit leaders, and then the numbers increased as the masses came through. I was reminded of the self belief and commitment that all these people would have made just to be able to make it to the starting line today. The hours and weeks of lonely training in all weathers. The pounding out the miles when many of us would have still been tucked up in our beds. The heartache and pain with the blisters and occasional injury. All for the opportunity to be able to say "I did it, I was there".

I have always admired these people, particularly those that are so fit they can complete the race in just over 2 hours. Wow, what a feat of endurance! It takes massive courage to take on the challenge. Many run for the benefit of others, a worthy cause that they have some personal affinity towards. Others just do it to prove to themselves that they can. Wheelchair participants, less able runners, people with limited or no sight, and so on. All of these have one thing in common - they absolutely believe they can do it, and do whatever it takes to make sure they do.

Business is no different. Success is created when we have an unwavering belief in what we are trying to do. When we make the commitment to our customers and our staff. When we do whatever it takes to fulfil the needs of our clients and serve them to the best of our ability. When we play full out to deliver great service. It is these things that ensure success.

I wonder though how often we compromise on our commitments in favour of the "easy" option. When is it that we lose sight of what we created our business for? Is it at these times that we find ourselves in difficulty? Should we just simply remind ourselves of what we stand for and why we started out in the first place?

I often ask clients why they are in business as opposed to what do they want. Attempting to create a distinction between material goals and what those material goals will give them emotionally, we are more easily able to uncover the feelings that enable movement towards action.

As with the marathon runner, having self belief and commitment without the action, the preparation, the practice, the pounding of the miles out on the road, will not deliver the results you are looking for.

When I completed the London marathon some years ago I absolutely had the belief but I did not do the hard work, for a variety of reasons, and the end result? Yes I completed it, slowly. But I came in the bottom 5%. Is this the result you want? Do you want to be in the elite or come in much much later?

So, have a go certainly. Believe in yourself, definitely. Commit, without doubt. But make sure you know why you are doing what you are doing and stay focused on doing whatever it takes to keep your business ahead of the pack. With this level of commitment to action you surely will succeed!

To your success!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Making the most of your FREE time

Many people say to me they never have enough time off.

As I sit here outside a shopping centre, waiting for my family to finish doing their thing, I find myself questioning how we define "time off" in the first place!

Last weekend I was enjoying the supportive environment of being with my mastermind group in San Francisco and we were discussing just this topic. Jack Canfield, our group leader, suggests that a FREE day is one where you are doing that which gives you energy and enables you to re-create, as in recreation, from midnight to midnight. It means not opening email, taking work related calls, doing your paperwork, accounts or other more "mundane" activities. It means taking care of yourself, nurturing your body and your mind, relaxing, sleeping, perhaps going to your favourite restaurant, beach, walking spot, getting a massage and so on.

For me, it means all these things and more. It doesn't mean shopping though. My daughter chastised me when I said I would wait in the car. For her, shopping is a real time off activity, and she felt I should want to traipse around the shops with her and enjoy it! No, for me I would rather sit in the car, listen to some relaxing music and just chill out for a couple of hours.

So, in fact my family are actually doing me a favour acting as "Dad's taxi" to take them to the shopping centre. I get to spend some time with myself and relax!

On that basis, despite not necessarily doing those nurturing things that I would perhaps prefer to do, I get to help my family enjoy their free day and I can also make the choice to make my day just as relaxing. By having respect for their preference, and having respect for my own choice, we all get to "win".

My tip then is simply this: make the choice that serves you even when it may seem that there is no choice. I could have chosen to be annoyed that I was having to spend my free time driving my family to the shopping centre, and being dragged in and out of shops I didn't want to be in, OR I could make my own choice and spend some time looking after me at the same time....

Enjoy your weekend!