Small Business Support Blog

If you are interested in reading about how to get your business visible online, with regular insights into being an entrepreneur and navigating your way through the business world, then this blog is for you!

We regularly post interesting articles on topics on leadership, management and visibility - with guest articles and features from experts in their field.

If you are interested in collaborating and would like to do a guest feature then please email [email protected] 

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Category: Leadership & Management

  1. Guest Blog - Practical mindset tricks to manage turbulence in business...

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    Practical mindset tricks to manage turbulence like a boss - A guest blog by Frederike Rhodes.

    Frederike Harms Headshot

    Managing turbulence is a key skill in this world of neverending change. I spent over 15 years managing large-scale projects with thousands of stakeholders and would be a multi-millionaire if I got a pound for every time someone said to me: “Oh yes, I’ll tackle that as soon as things have calmed down a bit.”

    But do they ever?

    Certainly not for me and I’d bet my non-existent millions that they don’t for you either. 

    Instead, we’re battling with an onslaught of changes from regularly changing jobs, having children, reporting to different managers, building relationships with clients all over the world, new technological advances and the expectations of constant connectivity that come with it. 

    It’s the uncertainty that we struggle with: We want to avoid risks, so ideally make decisions once we feel we have all the information to run through every possible scenario and weigh up the options. When having all the information is not only near-impossible but also only true for one moment in time. 

    We have to learn to let go and trust - a concept previously reserved for the spiritually minded, it has to become the new norm. Planning and the perceived stability and certainty that comes with it will become a thing of the past.

    That’s a difficult truth to accept for a practical person like me. I want to make things happen and I love processes and systems. I’m not one for sitting back and waiting, so I had to come up with as many practical ways to stay in control as possible, which I’m sharing with you below:

    1. Accept responsibility for your life 

    A common belief that is expressed with increased frequency is that we don’t like change. We use it as armour: “It’s not my fault! This is hard. No one likes change.”

    Not true.

    I know that most of us don’t mind change as long as we are in control. We want to be able to influence our destiny.

    Are you happy and are you working on your dream life? Perfect - I'm so proud of you. Are you feeling low or stressed? Make a change. Don't overthink, but take the first step and see how it makes you feel. Then take the next step or adjust the course as needed. 

    We have a tendency to over analyse. We’re looking at all the information, making lists of pro’s and con’s, playing through all the scenarios, asking our family and friends for advice and opinions. 

    However, we were usually thrown in the deep end and had to trust our skills and gut in those moments that shaped us the most or that were our biggest success stories. Learn to trust yourself: your gut and your heart have you covered if you allow them to and if your head would just shut up for a moment. It takes practice, but you will get there.

    An important aspect is to think about your personal brand - how you want to develop your brand as a person and your business branding so that they are reflective of the person you are and the business you want to have.

    2. Have your vision right, left and centre

    Knowing exactly what you want your life to look and feel like will make such a difference: your dream will be your guidepost. 

    It supports your decision making by making it easier for you to say yes or no to opportunities by asking yourself whether something will bring you closer to your dream or not. 

    And dreams rarely come true overnight and it’s this constant movie running through your head that will keep you going when you are tired and feel overwhelmed, through the tough times and we all know there can be lots of those in entrepreneurship.

    Finally, it provides purpose and meaning to what you do. It’s the thing that gets you up in the morning. It’s the one constant in a constantly changing environment where no decision is right or wrong per se.

    BUT we’re running at such a pace when managing turbulence that some things can easily be forgotten, so make sure you have inspiration and reminders in as many places as possible:

    • Have your vision board as a screensaver on your phone and as your desktop background on your laptop,

    • Use coffee mugs with inspirational quotes on it, and

    • Wear jewellery with motivational phrases (e.g. “She believed she could, so she did!”) Lisa Johnson, the successful business coach and entrepreneur has just released a range of empowering jewellery for example.

    These are just a few examples and they don’t work for everyone, but they certainly won’t do any harm either, so give it a try.

    3. Create success habits

    With success habits I mean all the elements in your routine that (a) either give you time to breathe and think or (b) gear you up to take action. The journey to success is a constant balancing of these two: Headspace and action, thinking and doing, dreaming and creating.

    Morning routines

    Apparently, morning routines are the bomb. If you don’t already get up at 5 am every day anyway, that is. Every successful entrepreneur, sports star and guru talks about getting up in the early hours and spending the extra time setting themselves up for success. 

    And while I completely get and love the idea of a morning routine, I already get up at 5 am most days and will not in a million years get up at 4 am. No way. BUT I do want to set myself up for success and start my day right, so what can we do without losing too much sleep?

    For one, plan your day the night before, so you know what’s coming and don’t stress as soon as you wake up trying to remember everything you wanted to do. 

    Secondly, spend at least 30 minutes as early in the day as possible on your most important task or project. Whether it’s your side hustle before you head to work or creating content for the online course before you start to see clients, focusing on what’s important will make you feel much more accomplished.

    Decisions

    Decisions take time and headspace. A decision not yet made will always create noise in your mind and will be distracting.

    Removing as many decision points from your day as possible by either planning ahead, standardising processes, creating routines and checklists or even by practising making quick decisions will make all the difference. 

    Note-taking

    I’m not just saying this because I’m obsessed with stationary, but you have to carry a notebook everywhere and write down anything that pops into your head. I always have ideas, things I need to do and new plans - inspired by everything that happens around me. I always used to think I’d remember later. Which I did. Usually, when I wake up at 1:57 am. Of course, I’d forget again by morning. 

    Get into the habit of writing everything down. You can organise it later - maybe schedule an hour each Friday or Saturday morning or Sunday evening to organise it and add it to your various lists. Not having to desperately try and remember 846 things will help you focus on and deal with everything else that happens.

    4. Do a risk analysis for your goals

    As with any major undertaking, there will be challenges to overcome and bullets to dodge. It’s not meant to be easy or anyone would do it - always remember that. The good news is that you can manage anything practical, but the biggest risks to your dream not coming true is your mindset. 

    I’m sure you have the same limiting beliefs that I have battled with for years and still do at times. That I’m not good/experienced/worthy enough to do this. That no one would buy from me. That I don’t have enough time, that I’m too old/young, that it’s all been done before.

    Name and shame your excuses and find ways to avoid them or deal with them when they do come up. Just like you would create a contingency plan for your business.

    We know our own minds well and on good days, we can roll our eyes at the thoughts that come up consistently. Now, it’s time to think practical and prepare so you know exactly what to do when those excuses and limiting beliefs make an appearance.

    5. Put accountability in place

    Lastly, nothing is more effective than surrounding you with others that are in the same or similar situations and that want you to succeed. 

    Especially as entrepreneurs, this can be tough, because our family and friends would much prefer if we stayed just as we are and can’t always support us in the right way. They want us to be safe and not get hurt, but it’s important for there to be people in your life that will push you and hold you accountable.

    There are a number of groups on Facebook with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs or mompreneurs as well as local networking groups that will give you access to your peers. Accountability is so important - there are always people asking for buddies that will jump on calls with them regularly.

    _________________________

     

    Frederike Harms is an executive systems strategist and coach, helping successful coaches implement growth-enabling systems and solutions. Frederike brings her signature forward-thinking approach and 15 years of experience working on global, multi-million-dollar projects for companies like Unilever, Mercedes, and Starbucks. She believes in systems, strategy and processes to grow a business while working less. She applies her solution-focused and practical mindset and strategy to anything from the law of attraction to outsourcing. She holds a Masters in Science in Business Psychology and a degree in International Business. She lives on the south coast of the UK with her partner and her dog, Shadie.


    Get her free workbook with 7 steps to managing your dream like a project for more detail and advice.

     

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    Worsley Creative Services are a boutique online visibility service based in Manchester, specialising in brand styling and web design. Being a Manchester SEO specialist, Pamela has been able to help entrepreneurs to find stylish solutions for their brands and develop their online presence to support their growth goals - with digital marketing and general consultancy services.

  2. Is fear holding you back?

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    fear

     

    If you had no knowledge of what failure felt like, or knew the consequence of failure was nil; or even if you knew failure was actually impossible - what would you achieve?

    This week I launched my book club within the SEO membership group and it has been a powerful start to what was meant to be a small supplement to an already burgeoning programme of entrepreneurial support! We have started with Robert Kelsey’s What’s Stopping You? The powerful insight into fear of failure and the impact this can have on life and career choices has really resonated with my members and I have definitely had a light bulb moment with some of his explanations around past trauma and how it can affect future decision making. I have become a hyper productive procrastinator if there could be such a term - addicted to achievement to show the naysayers and the haters that I can do things and I can be successful. I procrastinate on the real goals whilst being over productive on things I know I can do. I have become aware that the hamster wheel I’m on is spinning at an increasing rate however which I am now trying to address before I fall off! However this blog post is not meant to be about me...

    We all want to be successful, don’t we? We all want to achieve something - it’s in our nature. The reason why may be very different, and the goals may be very different, but as humans we are programmed to complete tasks and the endorphins released from the completion of tasks then inspire in us to complete more. I won’t go into a long section about science (mainly because I will probably get it wrong, and also because it’s a bit boring) but suffice to say that we as a species like to get stuff done. But we are also programmed to put survival above everything. So when we have a trauma or something that affects us profoundly, it is highly likely that we will want to try and either avoid the situation from happening again or minimise the impact of the failure.

    I see so often with small businesses the owner giving up and going back to a full time paid job because they couldn’t make it “work” and this really frustrates me because we all have the ability to make it work, it just takes a lot of time, effort, and dare I say it - facing the fear and doing it anyway! I wrote an earlier blog piece on how to avoid business failure which gave tips on what to focus on to avoid the pitfalls of being in the 95% of small businesses that fail. It had a great response from people and I thought yes! Eureka! I’m going to start seeing some fab actions from people to get traction on their websites, and their branding, and their business plans. Yet despite the positive reactions, the procrastination has continued... which got me thinking that something else must be holding people back, and perhaps it could be the fear of failure (even if you don't think it is). So here a few things for my procrastinating readers out there to think about:

    1. People say no everyday. Just because the first few people you have asked have said no does not mean that you and your business are not good enough. It means you haven’t asked the right person yet. Make a list of your key targets, and then a secondary list. If you believe in your product or service then you need to take it to the right audience. Are you targeting the right audience?
    2. What is the worst that can happen? When I’m doing something out of my comfort zone I do what I call a “Terminal Tara” on it and look at the worst case scenario. It seems a bit of an odd approach, but the reason I do it is so I can think about the mitigations and steps I can put in place to ensure that the worst case never happens. It has a double positive effect because the additional steps I put in reinforce the positive outcome which was going to happen anyway. Try the Terminal Tara approach - it is a game changer for me!
    3. Sit down and actually review your business. If you can’t bring yourself to do it alone, why not think about investing in coaching sessions where someone like me can help you to do it? My Dad always laughed at people in the street who looked lost and were searching maps, furtively looking up then around them (I’m showing my age now and pre mobile phone google map childhood!) and I once asked him why he laughed. He chuckled and said “How can they know where they are going when they don’t know where they are?” - this is so true! You need to be able to see where you are to be able to plan for success in the future.
    4. Be honest with yourself. Have you really put the time and effort into being visible? Or have you signed up to lots of things to increase your visibility and improve your business but not actually implemented any of the actions? Is it because you think they won't work? They definitely won't work if you don't try them!
    5. Is your brand representing you and your business to your ideal client effectively? Does your social media match your website and your overall marketing, or is there a mismatch? Have you gone deep into understanding your ideal client and their needs and then branded yourself accordingly or have you just bought yourself a pretty logo and a self build website and then expecting people to pay ££££ for your products and services? You want to charge your worth but maybe your brand is not at the right level. It could be why your number of No’s are disproportionate to your successes - and it is something you may need to address if you truly want to make it work.

    So there are five points to think about, but the most important thing to think about is this. Do you actually want to be successful? Or do you want to be one of the 95% that valiantly gave it a go? There’s no shame in either, but you can save yourself a whole world of pain and wasted time if you work out now whether you are going to go all in... or take a different direction.

    Let me know what you think may be holding you back...

     

     

    Pamela Rae-Welsh is the owner and founder of Worsley Creative Services, specialising in online visbility, web design and brand styling based in Manchester.