Business Development

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Dealing with Business or Job Loss - Allow Yourself to Grieve

I have talked to a large number of people who were laid off over the course of my career.  One thing I have consistently noticed is that the vast majority have not yet moved on - they are still emotionally stuck in their previous job.  And, yes, I am deliberately using the words "laid off."  I believe that 'in transition' is a euphemism that doesn't do anyone other than the company who laid off the person in question any good.  It's an effort to shield you from the pain or stigma of being laid off.  In other words, any effort to avoid dealing with the emotional consequences of being forced out of a job you didn't choose to leave.  The same holds true if your business failed.  My guess is that you would have chosen to have it succeed.

Yes, some people take classes and change careers, but even most of those do so out of reaction - not from the basis of desire.  Do you think this is a very powerful way to live your life?   More the opposite.  What you choose out of fear isn't very likely to be what you really want.  It's either going to put you right where you were before you got laid off, or in an even worse situation.

Not only that, but when you do go on interviews, you take all the emotional baggage of the last job and how it ended with you.  Trust me, this does not make for a good or exciting interview.  It will also make it a lot more difficult to get said job.  Even if you don't say anything, you will still be projecting and filtering based on that previous job.  It's a lot like going on date with someone right after they broke up with their significant other.   Might be not be bad, but not someone you'd want to get into a relationship with. 

Allowing yourself to to through the full grieving process after a job or business loss allows you to process all the emotions and thoughts that come up so that you can move on and base your future and your planning on what you want, not what has happened in the past.  You will be able to be excited and interested in what's happening instead of what's in the past.  The last job or business is like last week's lunch.  It may have been a great meal, but you don't necessarily remember what you had.   Wouldn't you rather be excited about your future?

No one really talks about grieving in relationship to job or business loss.  Generally people are just expected to move on immediately.  Here's the rub - we're not robots, we're human.  Your relationship to your job or especially business may have been more long-standing than your relationship to your spouse or children, and just as close in many ways.   And not only don't we talk about it,  most people haven't a clue HOW to grieve and move on.  We're not taught deal with grief effectively in most cases when it comes to people and pets, much less jobs.   Has anyone ever told you "Don't feel bad, there's other jobs"  or something similar?   It wasn't particularly helpful, was it?

The best resource I've seen yet for dealing with loss (whether it's a job, a pet, a spouse, etc.)  is the Grief Recovery Handbook by John James and Russell Friedman.  It actually defines grief and forgiveness and walks you through a fairly straightforward process for dealing with loss.    I came across it through the book When Children Grieve, also by John James and Russell Friedman.  I checked When Children Grieve out of the library to help my son deal with our dog, who has cancer.  I  knew that what I learned about loss and grieving from my parents was not helpful to me (it basically consisted of "Don't talk about it") and I wanted to do better with my son.   When Children Grieve was immensely helpful in giving me some tools to work with my son, but it was also invaluable to look at where I hadn't dealt with loss in my own life.   

I highly recommend purchasing the book or checking it out of the library.  I can't do justice to the full process in a blog post.  You can also visit the website at www.grief-recovery.com.

My advice is work through your job or business loss before moving on to what's next.

 

 

My Experience with the 7-Day Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise

You have all heard me talk about how important self-care is.  As a business owner or professional, your business depends on feeling good.  You won't get clients or achieve your goals if you have no energy and you feel lousy.     Well, one aspect of that is diet.  I am always looking for ways to improve my diet and maintain my health without huge expensive supplements, dangerous diets or treatments.   Well,  I hadn't looked at this one because it seemed to fall in the fad diets category, which are usually dangerous in the long term.  A friend told me to take a look at it, so I did.  And I tried it for a week.

The benefits of the diet, from what I can tell, are that it does reduce your sugar intake and it does encourage eating high-fiber carbohydrates, something that most high protein diets don't usually do.  If you follow his eating plan strictly, it is also fairly low calorie, so it makes sense that people would lose weight on  it.   I did indeed lose 3 pound in a week.   However, I got very sick from this diet the following week and did not lose a pound, even while still following the diet.   I typically eat a fairly low fat, high fiber, low animal protein diet, which this definitely was not.   I found that I actually ate much less fiber on this diet than I normally do.

There are 2 big concerns I have with this diet:  1)  A lot of the meals and recipes contain very high amounts of saturated fats such as half & half or heavy cream.   Saturated fats are usually not recommended for anyone in great quantity because of their contribution to heart disease.  You can be very thin and still have heart disease.   This is not a practice you would want to continue long term.    2) It discourages eating more than a little bit of fruits and many vegetables because of their sugar content.  I believe that this is not a good thing.  The kind of sugar found in fruits and vegetables,  fructose, is metabolized slowly and does not cause insulin spikes. Most fruits and vegetables are considered to be safe to eat for diabetics for this reason.  They are considered what is called low glycemic foods. (See the American Diabetic Association Website ).  The American Diabetic Association considers monitoring the total carbohydrates you eat more important in managing blood sugar, and thus insulin levels, than focusing on the type of carbohydrate.  Fruits and vegetables are also important in preventing and treating cancer as well as many other illnesses.

Jorge claimes that most belly fat is caused by eating too much sugar.  He doesn't distinguish what kind of sugars cause belly fat, but labels all sugars as bad.  It is certainly simpler than looking at the type of carbohydrate and what you eat with it to monitor blood sugar, but in simplifying it, I think he throws out the good with the bad.   

Another concern with the diet is that it is very high in protein as well as fat, which can be hard on the body over the long term.    ( See the Mayo Clinic website )

If you are interested in checking out the The Belly Fat Cure: Discover the New Carb Swap System and Lose 4 to 9 lb.s Every Week by Jorge Cruise, you can find the book on Amazon and Jorge Cruise's website  www.thebellyfatcure.com.    You can also find a review of his book on webmd.com.  I encourage you to check out the review before buying the book.

I didn't lose the 4 to 9 pounds that Jorge claims, and I believe that the weight I did lose was more a result of the tightly restricted calorie intake that week than avoiding sugars.  I have since gone back to my normal low refined sugar, whole grain, low fat diet and I feel much better, something very critical to my business.

What are your diet strategies for feeling good?

Women in Insurance Networking Event Presentation July 14 A Success

The presentation last week at the Women in Insurance Networking Event was a great success.  The event, organized by Amanda Bobrovetski of Action Benefits, drew about 25 women insurance agents.  The other speaker, Tiffany Otis-Albert of Blue Cross Blue Shield, did a great job as well.  The audience really enjoyed both the food at Quattro and the presenters.  The feedback has been great.   I spoke on business development, based on the Get Clients Now!(tm) program.  The women were excited and several realized where they needed to focus more in the coming months.

If you are interested in having me present at your event, please contact me at (810) 560-7181.  

 

 

The Real Magic of Business Development is Consistency

I was talking to a client the other day and she said, "I guess I was looking for a magic bullet or something."   I see that a lot when I talk to people.   It shows up in all sorts of areas, not just business development.  Weight loss, job hunting and career planning are all great examples of where I see this mindset.  They are looking for an easy, simple solution. 

The funny thing is that most solutions are simple.  What they are usually not is easy.  It's simple to lose weight - eat less and burn more calories. It is not easy to lose weight.  There's a fairly simple process for finding a job - again, simple not easy.

What usually makes it difficult is all the things that get in the way of you doing it in the first place or you wouldn't be struggling.  There is no quick answer to weight loss, finding a job or growing a business.  It takes time and consistent work.  You can make the work more efficient and effective, but it still takes consistent work over time. 

For business development for professionals, the formula is simple:

  1. Be very clear on who you want to work with (your ideal client) and focus on talking to them.
  2. Be clear on what solutions you provide to their problems.
  3. Focus on building relationships and providing value, not selling.
  4. Communicate to your ideal clients regularly and often.  They must know, like and trust you before they will be ready to buy from you.

The hows might vary slightly - you might prefer to blog, rather than do public speaking for example, but basically that's it.  Simple, but not necessarily easy.  Most people do not track their business development activities, so they often think they are doing more than they are.  It takes an average of seven to nine times of contacting someone before they are ready to buy, but most people give up after the third or fourth time.

Having a system and support to keep you on track and accountable really helps create consistency.    There are many different kinds of systems.  You can create your own and or use something someone else has created.  I use "Get Clients Now!" Outlook, and other tools.  It really doesn't matter as long as you do something that allows you to measure and track your activities.  Ideally, it will make it easier.

Also resolve and deal with the obstacles that come up when you start using your system and working on your business or career development.  If it's fear, get support and work through it.  If it's time management, stress or other issues - identify the problem and get help to get a solution.  Don't let it derail you.  There are always obstacles and for every obstacle, there is always a solution, and usually more than one.

Be consistent and use a system - there's your magic bullet.

Faith - Or How to Keep Going When You Don't See Results

When I talk with my friends and clients,  the hardest thing that we all face is often the lack of conviction that what we are doing is working and that we will see results.  Most of us are very far out of our comfort zones when we're looking for jobs or starting a business.  Hopefully, it's not something we do on a regular basis so that we're comfortable and confident.  That's part of the reason a lot of experts will recommend that you do go on job interviews on a yearly basis, even if you're not looking.   Most people don't.   That way, when you do seriously need or want to look for a new job, you are comfortable and secure in the process.

It's not an easy process either way.  If you're looking for a job, you could end up making dozens, if not hundreds of calls, go on many interviews and do a lot of searching online before you find the right job.   The process looks a little different when starting a business, but it's essentially the same.  You make dozens or hundreds of calls, go to many networking events or meetings and do much research before your business is established.  For the new entrepreneur,  you need to find not just one job, but many - which makes it much worse than the typical job hunt.   Someone looking to find a job only needs to make one sale.   An entrepreneur must make many sales.  Weight loss,  is by the way, often the same problem.  It takes a long time to see results and it's very easy to get discouraged.

Most people tend to get discouraged after the second or third call that doesn't go well.  If you're not a trained salesperson, it's truly difficult to get through the first several years of business.   I believe that most beginning entrepreneurs give up because they get discouraged, not because they run out of money.   They never raise the money they need to begin with.

So do you keep going when you don't see results immediately, the bills are mounting and nothing you're doing seems to be working?

For myself, it's usually that the alternative is much worse.  I would really rather not go back to working the same long hours and travel that I was doing when I worked full-time.  Not to mention that the job itself had long ago ceased to interest me.  There are things I don't like about what I do now.  I am not a natural salesperson and there are parts of the selling process that I don't enjoy.  I don't enjoy the paperwork and I don't enjoy having to deal with the IRS and being much more likely to be audited.  Not to knock them - our auditor was actually a very nice lady and everything worked out fine.  It was just very time consuming. 

The thing is, I love my business.  The core of what I do is helping people I develop.     And it's not just my clients.  I find it very worthwhile to be able to give people useful assistance, even if it's just connecting two people that might make great referral partners for each other, or giving some quick suggestions that may help a situation.  I love meeting new people, helping them develop and supporting their visions.  I meet so many amazing people now.  The parts of my business that I love keep me going and keep me fueled to keep growing my business so that I can help more people.   My faith is that what I am doing is worthwhile, not just to me, but to the people I help - and the alternative sucks.  It doesn't hurt that I'm stubborner that a mule either.  There a lot to be said for persistence.

For some people, putting their faith in God works well.  I have several friends that have a wonderful relationship with God and "he" or "she" supports their endeavors.   I think that's great and more power to them.   It works for them and that's what matters.   It never worked for me - my spiritual views are not that tangible and I've never been able to relate to God as a being.     I have other friends that have such supreme self-confidence that they cannot conceive of failing.   Again, it works for them and that is great.   It doesn't work for me when it comes to my own business.   I am hoping that 10 or 20 years from now, I will have that supreme self-confidence.    

I don't think there's a one size fits all or even a one size fits most answer when it comes to the faith or courage to keep going when you don't see immediate results.   I do encourage you to look for the answer that works for you and will keep you going.  I also don't have a good answer for how to find that faith.  All I can do is suggest the above as places to look.   It has to work for you.

In the meantime, here are some ideas that will help:

  1. Focus on the small wins:  For example,  even getting the meeting or interview is a win.  Having someone call you, even if it doesn't go anywhere is a win.  Feeling energetic and awake rather than bloated and tired is a win, even if you haven't lost an ounce.   Write them down daily in a success log.  Americans have a tendency to ignore everything but who comes in first and this leaves us with a very distorted view of success.  Coming in second is still winning.  So is even making the playoffs.
  2. Remind yourself several times a day of all the good things about what you are doing now.  If you don't know what they are, write them down.  Notice them.
  3. Look at your goals daily.  Remind yourself on a daily basis of what you ultimately hope to achieve.  Not the money or the job, but what that money, job or client will get you. 
  4. Set daily, weekly and monthly short term intermediate goals.   Breaking things down helps you recognize your progress.
  5. Reward yourself when you complete difficult tasks and reach intermediate goals.  The big reward at the end is great, but the little rewards along the way are important too.

I'd love to hear what you come up with.  What keeps you going?

 

"There is Nothing Either Good or Bad but Thinking Makes It So" - Shakespeare

About 3 weeks ago, my mother was sent to the emergency room for a very fast heart rate.  She had gone to the doctor because she had been running a low fever and was feeling kind of lousy,  expecting to go home with a prescription for antibiotic and cough medicine.   Her pulse was very rapid, so her doctor did an EKG.  He was concerned about what he saw and sent her to the emergency room.

I certainly wasn't expecting to get a call from my mom at dinnertime saying she was in the emergency room and had been since 3 pm (and that's a whole different conversation).  And I really wasn't expecting to have my mom tell me that they had found a very large aortic aneurysm when I got there about an hour later.   They found it by accident trying to figure out what was causing her heart to race.

My mother was admitted to the hospital that night and the next few days were a bombardments of tests, IV antibiotics and caridiologists.  She was stunned and overwhelmed.    I was confronted with the fact that my parents were getting old and I wasn't really ready for that - and neither were they.  This is another whole separate conversation that I will post about another day.  It was just completely unexpected.  Neither of my parents have ever really been sick with anything more than a cold or sinus infection since I was a baby.  It's usually me on the short end of that stick.

We had to learn very quickly what an aortic aneurysm was in detail and what the risks were of having an aortic aneurism.  It's very serious.  They usually don't show up and don't have any symptoms.  Either you find out by accident, like my mom did, or you keel over dead very quickly when it ruptures.  There isn't time to get to the hospital or get into surgery.  

If they find the aortic aneurism before it ruptures, the treatment is open heart surgery to replace the part of the aorta that has weakened.   There are no long term consequences if the surgery goes well and there are no complications. 

My mother had open heart surgery a little less than a week after she was admitted, after they treated her for the infection that was the original cause of the visit to the doctor.  The surgery was successful and she's now at home and recovering.   There's a very good chance that she'll live for a very long time now.  

The misfortune of having to go to the hospital for an infection saved my mother's life and may save her brother's, her children's and grandchildren's lives as well, including mine.  It's very likely that she would have died in the next few years if they hadn't found the aneurysm.  Her misfortune was very good fortune indeed.

They don't know what causes aortic aneurysms.   It may be all or partially genetic.  Knowing that we are at risk allows us the choice of being tested for it.  

It's your choice how you view the events and conditions in your life.  Things that initially seem bad, such as my mother being in the hospital, often turn out to have wonderful opportunities or good luck.  It's just a question of seeing it the right way.

What will turn out to be the wonderful opportunities or good luck in your life?   It's worth looking.

Just Say "No"

One of the things that my clients have to working is learning to say “no” and to really focus on what will bring them the best return on investment for their time and dollars, both of which are extremely limited for most professionals. C.J. Hayden has just published an excellent article on this topic that I highly recommend. You can find it at http://www.getclientsnow.com/just-say-no.htm.

Beyond The Basics: Relationship Building Skills – BBCC Professional Edge Unplugged April 7, 2010 Highlights

Lori Williams and I co-presented “Beyond The Basics: Relationship Building Skills” at the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce Professional Edge Unplugged on April 7, 2010 to a full room. The discussion was exciting and it was wonderful to see how many potential business collaborators were sitting in the room and realized it as we progressed through the program. We covered branding, referral partners and strategic alliances. I will be presenting some of the relevant concepts in future blogs. The Greek Isles Coney Island was a great location and the Chamber did a phenomenal job of promoting the event. Lori and I were thrilled to be able to provide value to chamber members and help them develop and grow. Many of the members made connections that will be very valuable in their future business that day.

Barbi Krass of Colorworks Studio, one of the attendees, had this to say about the presentation:

”Lori, Elisabeth, I thoroughly enjoyed your workshop this morning. The presentation was very helpful in sorting out bottom lines for us all and the information was delivered in a way we could certainly relate to.“ 

Elisabeth Garbeil and Lori Williams, Co-presentors at BBCC Professional Edge Unplugged, April 7, 2010

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