14 Secrets to Achieve Conscious Business Success in 2014

In case you hadn’t noticed, January has left us for dust!

Have you set your priorities for 2014 yet?

I’ve put together a list of 14 priorities for conscious business success identified by respected business experts, bloggers, and media characters.

Let’s not get overwhelmed and try to do everything though. I’d suggest you pick three from the list below and focus on nailing them!

14 Secrets to Achieve Conscious Business Success - Zest e-Biz : Conscious Business Success

1. Grow your business

Just today I came across a fantastic info-graphic in an article from brainpickings.org, detailing the difference between a ‘growth’ mentality and a ‘fixed’ mentality.

My take on the article is that in order to achieve conscious business success it is crucial that you focus on a growth mentality by:

  • embracing challenges;
  • persisting after set-backs;
  • becoming an expert in your field through continual disciplined effort;
  • improving based on constructive criticism; and
  • learning from others and being inspired by their success.

 

2. Create more time to do what you are passionate about

This may seem counterintuitive, but stay with me. Spending more time on what you are passionate about…assuming that what you are passionate about, you are also very good at AND it results in making money…is more like to benefit your business than you being a Jack-of-all-trades.

I first came across this concept when I read Jim Collin’s book ‘Good to Great’. Recently I’ve been thinking about it more as I’ve finally embraced the concept of outsourcing. Kelly Exeter, from A Life Less Frantic, put it nicely when she said,

   Spend time doing what you are really good at [and passionate about, assuming it makes you money] so you can pay people for what THEY’RE good at.

 

3. Develop a clear direction and purpose

Without a clear purpose or vision it is easy to let the weeks and months slip by without noticing.

   Having a vision speeds up the journey to success, but more than that, it gives us a reason for doing what we do.

Don’t be caught reflecting on 2014 wondering why you didn’t achieve your business goals. Have a clearly defined vision that you can use as your guiding star. Then set realistic goals that are aligned with your purpose and therefore more likely to be achievable.

 

4. Set clear objectives

It is easy to get distracted without clear objectives in business. Someone tells you about the latest craze with social media marketing and you drop what you are doing and follow them like you would someone dangling a winning lotto ticket.

Having 3-4 clear strategic objectives that are aligned with your vision in business are gold when it comes to filtering out all the noise. Ensuring that your goals, plans and daily activities are all aligned to at least one of your strategic objectives will help you stay focused in business.

 

5. Work backwards to set financial goals

Setting the intention to manifest $100k in sales is all very well, but if you don’t have the capacity to deliver and that goal doesn’t carry any meaning for you, the intention is worthless.

Set your financial goals and then work backwards to ensure you have the time and resources to deliver on those goals. Where you don’t have capacity, something will need to change: either your goals, or the way you work.

Most importantly though, focus on why those goals are important to you or your business. WIll they help you reinvest to create bigger and better products or services? Will you use the money to finance specific lifestyle choices? Or do you want to donate some of your earnings to a worthy cause.

 

6. Use proven structures to put plans into action – don’t reinvent the wheel

As tempting as it is to be original in an attempt to stand out from the crowd, when it comes to business someone has almost always done it before. And done it well. Particularly when it comes to business planning.

Save your precious time and effort by using templates and building on them! The sooner you have your business plans and systems in place, the sooner you can get back to doing what it is that you are really good at, leaving your unique mark on the world that way.

 

7. Get support – even when you don’t think you need it

It’s so easy to get caught up in your business that you forget to work ON your business. Having independent support will help you take an objective perspective on your business.

According to the Inside Small Business magazine, studies have shown that businesses who have support (either from a coach, mentor or from government funded institutions like Small Business Centres), are more likely to achieve success faster.

Just like a fitness coach, you get the pep talks you need to improve motivation, they keep you accountable and more often than not they have done it before saving you costly time and mistakes.

Not convinced? Check out my post Yes Coach! 7 Reasons You Should Have a Business Coach.

 

8. Set yourself up for success

There is a great saying: “Don’t ask, don’t get”. Remember to ask for the sale, say yes to opportunities and be ready for growth.

This means having the right systems in place so you are ready to take opportunities that present themselves.

It also means seeking help when you need it. You are never going to be good at all aspects of business. I know I’m terrible at book keeping and techo website stuff, yet for a long time I persisted thinking it was saving me money.

   In reality, yes – I was saving money, BUT more importantly I was burning time and definitely not MAKING more money.

Focus on growing the parts of the business you are best at. Learn to delegate or outsource the rest.

 

9. Learn from your mistakes

Some of the most successful names in business like Jobs or Branson have not been immune to failure. Embrace (calculated) risks and learn from your mistakes.

   Sometime when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.

– Steve Jobs

Obviously learning from others’ mistakes is far more cost effective. But don’t stall your growth for fear of trying something new.

 

10. Celebrate your wins

Probably the most understated priority in all businesses:

   Make time to celebrate your wins.

Don’t forget to pause for applause. And do it often. I learned this concept from Erin, Productivity Queen over at Activate28. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of chasing goals, but don’t let that get in the way of celebrating your results, no matter how big or small.

When we stop to appreciate what we have achieved, we become more present in the now. Gratitude for what we have almost always leads to more of the same. Focus on an abundance rather than a lack of achievement.

 

11. Build your network

The saying ‘many hands make light work’ is not infamous for no reason. Don’t try to go it alone.

Simon Sinek talks about how being part of a supportive community is as important as having strong self-belief in his interview on The Good Life Project. His argument is based on human behaviour dating back to the cave-man era. Scratch other peoples’ backs and more often than not, they’ll return the favour.

You never know where the next sale may come from.

 

12. Engage your tribe

It’s all very well having ‘likes’ on a facebook page or names on a database, but if you don’t actively build a rapport with those people you’re missing the point. People like to be part of something, a higher cause.

Natalie Sisson talks about great ways to engage your tribe by building trust and creating value. It can be as simple as doing what you say you will do, personally messaging people on facebook or email, listening to what your clients really want and delivering that.

Engage your following and you’ll have the a willing audience who will listen with all ears to your next offer.

 

13. Increase productivity

“I just haven’t had time.” Sound familiar? Productivity, time management and motivation are terms bandied around on social media and in conversations all the time. “If only there were more hours in the day.”

Well there are 24hrs in a day (unless you want to get all metaphysical) and that is it.

   It is how you use those 24hours/day that matters.

Problogger made an excellent point at the 2012 ProBlogger Training Event in Melbourne, that you can achieve anything with small, disciplined steps that are aligned with your priorities. Even 10mins every day (set the timer on your phone, you’ll be amazed at your productivity) can result in a written book, a new product idea or a completed sales forecast.

 

14. Own your choices

Finally, make business decisions confidently. I read a great article in the local paper recently written by Kelly Davy, an amazing facilitator at the Small Business Centre here in Karratha. She very accurately states that we are all responsible for the choices we make.

She encourages small businesses to “get educated, make your decision, and most importantly believe in your decision and own it”. Not too dissimilar to this great quote I stumbled upon recently:

   Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.

– William H. Sheldon

 

So there you have it. 14 top priorities for conscious business success. Which ones resonated most for you? Do you think I missed something?

I’d love to know your TOP 3 priorities for business in 2014. Leave a comment below.

 

Stop financing your DIY efforts!

Time for me to walk the talk…

Stop Financing Your DIY Efforts  //  Zest e-Biz

At the end of last year I did the fantastic Coping With Jane ‘Web Celeb’ course. During our one-on-one coaching session Jane stopped me (mid sentence) and asked,

   why are you planning to invest in a graphic designer for your eBook when you haven’t yet updated your website?

People will be hooked by your eBook and you’ll be directing them to a website that does not truly represent how amazing you are!

Needless to say I took this great advice on board and starting preaching it to my own clients, stressing the importance of sound investment in their business image.

One of my favourite bloggers, Kelly from A Life Less Frantic, often talks about synchronicity. Well I experienced my own ‘aha’ moment last week when a couple of messages from the universe came into alignment.

I received the weekly blog from the CEO of the local chamber of commerce which asked the question:

   Are you footing the bill for DIY?

Then I had a session with one of my coaching clients and we got talking about her website. I heard myself reiterating the key points I’d learned from the Web Celeb course as well as some tips I picked up from a HerBusiness podcast recently and this question came to mind again.

So I asked my client…

   How many hours do you think it would take you to update your website?

Double it (as these things always take twice as long when they are not one of our key strengths, face it) and then multiply that by your hourly rate.

Both of us sat there in silence for a moment.

There is no way in hell I would I pay a graphic designer that much to update my website, let alone design a new whiz bang one with all the fruit!

I think my client had a similar reaction.

Then it hit me! How can I have these conversations with my clients and then hope that any new prospective clients will engage with me based on the state of my current website.

What am I waiting for? I have a fantastic rapport with my graphic designer who recently did my logo.

So I made a pact with myself. I’d write about this and publish it as my first blog post for 2014 to hold myself accountable, and to prove that I do in fact walk the talk 🙂

I emailed Liv yesterday restarting the conversation we had late last year about a new website design. Just this simple step gets me excited! I get to hand over this massive weight on my shoulders and get on with running my biz more effectively. No more 2-3hr sessions at a time updating and re-trying four times to get something aligned just right by myself! Hello new professional website!

Already I feel like I have so much more time on my hands to do the things I AM good at, like developing my strategic plan, writing my next eBook and connecting more with my amazing clients.

So I’ll ask the question again,

   How much are your DIY efforts costing you?

Please leave your answer in a comment below if you are looking for some get-off-your-butt-and-do-something accountability, and support of course 🙂

The Link Between Mindfulness and Business Success – A Manifesto

The key message I took away from the Pilbara Women’s Network luncheon held recently, was to:

   Pause to reprogram your brain.

My very first Zest e-Biz client (and now close friend) Amanda Ewin from North West Podiatry was chosen to speak alongside registered psychologist Christine McKee from BE Institute.

I felt like a proud mother. Not because of the influence I’ve had on one aspect of Amanda’s incredibly inspiring life, but simply the privilege of being part of her journey.

The Link Between Mindfulness and Business Success - A Manifesto - Amanda Ewin - North West Podiatry

Amanda is reprogramming her genetic blueprint to move to a place of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.

She is a mountain bike champion and business excellence award winner, in addition to being a wonderful mum to two gorgeous girls and an active participant in the Pilbara community.

Previously a ‘do-er’ Amanda consciously stopped running endlessly from one thing to the next. She now meditates or does exercise every morning before sunrise. The breathing techniques used during these activities have improved her focus during the day, helping her achieve business results more strategically.

You can read more about Amanda in the article I wrote for the Pilbara Echo last week – page 8.

Achieve Conscious Business Success

With the help of the very talented Kelly Exeter from A Life Less Frantic, I created the manifesto below as a giveaway for the luncheon.

I couldn’t have found a better match for my brand and the inspiring messages that were delivered by both Amanda and Christine.

In her keynote address, Christine said:

   Our brains receive over two million bits of information every second via our five senses.

By pausing, we are able to react to a situation for what it really is, instead of autopilot kicking in and our actions being influenced by pre-conditioned beliefs, habits and memories.

This mindfulness (being present in the moment) so that we are able to – PAUSE – before acting, improves our ability to achieve business success as well as improving our overall wellbeing.

Amanda and Christine are just a couple of fantastic examples of this in practise.

My gift to you – a manifesto.

A soon as I got these in the mail I stuck one to my fridge. Developed based on a number of issues I see my clients facing, I also struggle with a lot of these things myself. However, when I honour them, my business (and personal life) both seem to flourish!

The Link Between Mindfulness and Business Success - A Manifesto - Zest e-Biz

Click on the image to get your FREE downloadable PDF version.

Which statement resonates most with you?

Why not set the intention to focus on it in 2014 by leaving a comment below 🙂

 

3 Secrets to Connect With Your Creativity & Improve Productivity

This is a guest post from Kylie Saunder of kyliesaunder.com.

3 Secrets to connect with your creativity and improve productivity - Zest e-Biz

You’re taking a break from your desk and have “escaped” for a coffee at your local café.

As you sit down at the communal table you realise that you’re surrounded! You try to ignore them as you figure out whether to order the plain or fruit toast with your coffee.

But your curiosity becomes too strong. You look up from the menu and notice what’s going on around you. You feel like you’re the only one not hunched over, typing fast, listening to music.

You tell yourself:

  this coffee outing is a break away from my desk, an opportunity to get focused and relax a bit… to invite in new thoughts and creativity.

As you sip your coffee and leaf through the newspaper you’re wishing you could tap into their ‘secret formula for being creative, productive and focused’.

But here’s the thing – you’re just as creative as they are!

New concepts and ideas flow in and out of your consciousness thousands of times a day. Often at the most random moments. Except you want them to “arrive on demand” as you sit in front of the computer screen. After all, you’ve scheduled this time to write a blog post, work on a proposal or develop a business idea!

Here are 3 secrets your ‘café friends’ are doing that you can incorporate into your work day to harness your creative energy.

1. Prepare by Capturing and Organising Your Ideas Regularly

That old saying “prior preparation prevents poor performance” is your first step to harnessing your creativity. Preparing your ideas into bullet points, short paragraphs and even mind-maps will give you direction and focus.

Here are some preparatory tools to start incorporating into your daily routine.

Use technology to capture your ideas:

    • Evernote is an App that many bloggers, writers and entrepreneurs use. It helps you jot down your ideas, projects and musings and syncs them across your tablet, phone and computer. Waiting for a taxi and have a flash of inspiration? Pull out your phone, open the App and record it!
    • Voice notes. Most phones now have the ability to record your voice. And even though it may feel weird at first to listen to your own voice, it’s an invaluable tool. Walking your dog at the beach and don’t have a chance to stop and type your ideas into your phone? Open your voice memos, hit record and capture your ‘aha moment’.
    • Post-it notes. Good old fashioned technology. You’ve probably got a stack of these on you desk with to-do lists and reminders, but they’re also useful in the car, next to your bed, in your garden shed and even in the bathroom.
    • Pen and paper. Failing all else, invest in a great notepad (Moleskine have a great range) to capture your ideas and dreams. The simple act of writing your ideas in a journal can help unleash your creative mojo!

2. Create ‘Space’ by Scheduling Time Out

Scheduling regular ‘creative time’ will help you feel a sense of lightness, energy and optimism.

Creative time doesn’t mean that you have to sign up for life drawing classes or learn how to crochet! It can be as simple as getting away from your computer screen and sitting outside under a tree for 15 minutes a day.

As you walk in the garden, visit an art gallery or try out a new style of yoga, it’s giving your mind the space it needs to open up to new ideas.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Your creative process is totally different to everyone else’s – so it’s time to stop comparing yourself to your ‘café friends’.

Looking at and worrying about the outward appearance of your peers or colleagues’ lives is a waste of your energy and time.

When you find yourself comparing yourself to others, it’s a “red flag” to shift your focus. Close down your social media accounts, shut down your emails, turn off your phone, and revisit secret #2.

Now you know the ‘secrets’, it’s time to create and develop your ideas. Gather your ideas together, stay focused, and only then, go and sit in front of your computer screen.

 

Leave a comment below telling us which secret you plan to commit to doing (i.e. needs the most work for you) to become more creative.

AUTHOR BIO:

Kylie SaunderKylie Saunder is an online marketer, content creator and blogs about life and creativity. She writes creative copy for her clients that engages and inspires their audience, while infusing it with their passion, knowledge and personality.

Kylie also provides a “blog rescue service” perfect for people who need direction and focus with their blog writing.

 

Check out her blog kyliesaunder.com and connect on twitter, google+ and linkedin.