05 Apr

What comes after success?

What comes after success? What happens after you’ve achieved your first big goal?
The meaning of business success will always be unique for everyone. We are all aiming for different goals with different focuses, which is what makes my job so interesting. But what happens after you have reached your unique success?
Do you have a plan for how to maintain this success or haven’t you thought about this yet?
I believe we spend too much time thinking about the journey to success, the marketing, client acquisition, brand awareness, and not enough time on what happens after that. We tend to focus on the chase, the fun, exciting and sexy tasks in the business and don’t often think about what will be required of us after we’ve built the brand or secured some clients. What comes next? Is the plan to sit around patting yourself on the back, or building a sustainable and successful business?
So whilst you are plotting world domination, think about the following and perhaps plan for these before you conquer the world or at least do this at the same time.
1. Your role: What will your role look like once you have reached your goals? Will you still be working as passionately in the business or could you delegate or outsource certain responsibilities? It’s like climbing a staircase, every time you reach a new step your observation point changes. A new set of goals would need a new focus. Business owners often find themselves “stuck” or stagnating in the same role, often due to lack of direction. I like to call it “ground-hog day syndrome”. This complacent manner is not very healthy for the business owner or business growth, moral and business culture. To prevent this stuck feeling, plan the next step or start thinking about the next step, the next goal now before you even reach your initial goal.
2. Your team: Your people plan – what does that look like? If you’re a one-man band you may decide either to expand, to hire new team members or to stay on your own. Think about your team now (if you have one, or imagine one ). What would the perfect organogram be in your business? Before you can take on a new role you should define your people strategy. Teams also need to be guided, motivated, managed and lead. What is your current skill set around these key characteristics? Start defining your skills needs, and build that into your planning. It’s all about being proactive and being in control of the plan instead of being reactive and spending your precious time putting out fires.
3. Your product/service: These would always be evolving and adapting to your current and future market. In order to be ahead of the game, what is your innovation plan? Whilst working on and delivering the current  product/service offering there should always be an on-going product/service evaluation. What’s going well, what’s needing an update? What are your customers asking for? Looking externally at various issues and how they could affect your offering, such as environmental, political, social, economic, legislative and technological factors.
4. Your processes and systems: Think about the perfect system(s) you could implement into your business. Systems that would streamline your workload, improve your time management, communications and overall help to maintain your business structure. You may not be aware of these systems or even able to afford these systems right now, but could you budget for them and do some best practise research? Always begin with the end in mind, think about what it needs to look like and plan towards that vision.
This is an example of working on your business, not just in your business. Taking the time to future proof your business. Take a look at the following checklist, which can help you identify areas which you would need to focus on to ensure you are building a sustainable business. Future proofing your business checklist
26 Jan

What does it take to build a sustainable business?

There is no such thing as a silver bullet strategy when it comes to business success , that being one action or activity that will miraculously build a successful business. We all intrinsically know this, but yet, so many business owners set themselves up for failure and disappointment by taking on for example the mindset of, “If I just do this one promotion, then everything will be fine.

Not to put a damper on your efforts, but sometimes we do need a reality check. One of the key components of achieving one’s goals is that you must be realistic, very simple. If you want to build a sustainable business and avoid being a one hit wonder there are a few key components you will need to ensure are part of your business structure and business ethics.

Vision and mission

Before you excitedly start setting business goals, think about what your long term vision is.  What is your ultimate goal and how do you want to be seen in five or ten years time? Once that has been defined then confirm your mission statement.

Completing your business vision/mission statement shouldn’t be done begrudgingly, rushed through or be viewed as an afterthought. Put the time aside to build this part of your business. Why? Your vision and mission are your guiding lights whenever a business decision needs to be made. They keep you focused in good times and very importantly  they guide you when times are tough and there will likely be many tough times in your business. Therefore, establishing strong, powerful and bright guiding lights makes good business sense.

Courage, resilience and grit

In my opinion these are probably some of the most important character traits to have when running a business . Having the strength and courage to pick yourself up after failure will turn you into a survivor. If you have the ability to do this, you can achieve anything. These character traits do not always come easily and we are often only asked to prove ourselves when we have already fallen on hard times. No opportunities for test driving these qualities.

To boost these character traits it is advised to have a solid business plan and a business purpose that is true to your values. It can be tricky and extremely demotivating to be courageous if you don’t really believe in your purpose one hundred percent.

Support

Being a business owner is not for the faint-hearted. So make sure you have a good strong pool of people you can call on during the tough times. This can take the form of business partners, family, friends, mentors, coaches or professional networking groups.

Support is also good to have in times of success, sharing your wins with your support network can be extremely rewarding.

Consistency

Consistency in business builds trust and loyalty with your customers. Whatever your business goals are make sure you are consistent in your delivery, follow through and follow up. Customers will very quickly look elsewhere if you are inconsistent and unreliable.

To make sure you are consistent in your business, always have a plan. Yearly, quarterly, month, weekly and daily. There is much to be said about the saying, “proper planning prevents poor performance”.

Business success will be different for every business, depending on what the end goals are, however one thing that all businesses have in common, is the need to achieve the goals.

So, when you are planning your goals for the year or quarter ahead, also think about these  components. Do you have a strong vision? How courageous are you and how would you persevere during tough times? Who is your support network and do you operate your business in a consistent manner? Some food for thought.

06 Oct

Good Conflict vs. Bad Conflict

I once worked with someone that enjoyed conflict. He enjoyed vigorous discussion and debate and got genuinely energised from conflict situations. He always said that it was boring for everyone to agree on business issues all of the time. He would say that it “dampened his creative juices”. Thinking back now I’m glad he enjoyed conflict, as we used to bump heads quite often.
You may be thinking “who in their right mind would actively seek out conflict?“ Most people try and avoid conflict like the plague and their aim is to keep the peace at all costs. What set him apart from those conflict-avoiders and probably his greatest strength in a conflict situation, was his mindset.
He was never too precious about his own opinions to the extent that he held onto them at all costs, causing him to be blinded to alternative views. He never placed his own views above other people’s. What he did place first, was the business and what was best for the business.
The minute your views become more important than the business, when you become caught up in your own opinion, is the minute you lose your impartiality.
Having the right mindset towards conflict changes the business stage. You become more welcoming towards listening to alternative viewpoints and new ideas. Your business doesn’t become over-shadowed by your ego. You don’t have to try and justify yourself all the time to save face.
Recalling some of the conflict situations with my ex-colleague, the one thing that stood out for me was how I felt after a discussion with him. I never felt annoyed or angry. I felt heard. I felt like I wasn’t just being humoured or ignored. I felt I had added value.
Yes, there is such a thing as good conflict. Take a leaf out of my ex-colleague’s book. Make your business and it’s goals the most important entity in the room and put your ego second. Be bold enough to accept somebody else’s ideas as better than yours and celebrate that the only thing that comes from good conflict is stronger, better and more successful businesses.
 Need some assistance? Contact me nicole@tikumu.co.nz for professional business coaching.
10 Sep

It’s not always about winning

“If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability.”  Brene Brown discusses this in her latest book, Rising Strong.

When I first read this quote I felt extremely relieved and a whole lot more confident with my own journey. As I mulled over the concept of what it is to be brave I decided to add to this quote by saying, ” The braver you are the more opportunities there are to fail and that’s okay.”

Why would  I be relieved? Well, in some bizarre way we may sometimes justify to ourselves that if we are brave and take a leap of faith by moving out of our comfort zones it is purely a once-off occurrence. “Right, I’ve been brave. I can tick off  “brave” in the check box and move back into my comfort zone and carry on with my life”.

However, in reality in order to grow and develop and move forward in life, you have to continuously be brave. Bravery is not a once-off action. You have to continuously deal with being uncomfortable and yes, feeling vulnerable. The relief then comes when you know that you don’t have to win every time that you are brave. Success is not the only end result of being brave. You can actually fail and that’s okay too.

We can put such pressure on ourselves to win and to be successful, so that if we are not 100% certain of a rosy outcome it, makes us think twice about being brave. Instead of just realising that the act of bravery in itself is a success.

So, when last did you stop yourself from doing something brave because you weren’t 100% sure of a successful outcome?

Did you regret your decision?

It’s okay not to win sometimes,  just knowing that you are brave is a win all on its own.

03 Sep

The happy secret to better work

I’m a total advocate of positive psychology and not only do I promote it, but I also try to practise it in my own work and personal life. When I came across this TED talk by psychologist Shawn Achor,  I wasn’t just entertained, I was reminded yet again that by introducing very simple practices into your daily routine, you can re-boot how your brain works.

Shawn talks about how we have trained ourselves to believe that to be happy we firstly have to be successful. The problem is that once we have reached the goal, we then need to keep raising the bar in order to deem ourselves successful again. These repeated actions push happiness further and further away until eventually happiness becomes the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow which you never do find.

Shawn turns this whole “success = happiness” concept on its head. He introduces us to  techniques that have us practising the art of happiness with no prerequisites, like having to achieve a goal or catch the carrot dangling in front of us.

This TED Talk is brilliant and funny and to assist you I have outlined the techniques mentioned below.

Being positive in the present

  1. 3 Gratitudes: List 3 new things you are thankful for over the next 21 days
  2. Journaling: Document 1 positive experience you have encountered during the past 24 hours
  3. Exercise
  4. Meditation
  5. Random acts of kindness
05 May

Are you preventing yourself from succeeding?

We have the capacity to dream big and create amazing worlds in our minds, where we are happy, successful and life is wonderful! So why do these amazing dreams remain just dreams for some of us?

One of the biggest reasons I find is that people become their own worst enemy and procrastinate. The skilful art of putting important stuff off and replacing  precious time with miscellaneous rubbish!

So why do people procrastinate?

People procrastinate for many reasons, the one reason that I see appearing over and over again is the fear of failure.

So, if you are fearing the worst and have decided to go with the safer option of sticking it out in your comfort zone and thinking better the devil you know, then just think about this.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Try using the Disney Creativity Strategy to guide you through this exercise. Think and picture what your success would look like without being the critic. Yes, you don’t get to ruin your success before you have gotten out of the starting gates! Once you have created this amazing successful visual, change hats and become the realist.  A  realist only thinks about how the dream can be achieved. Remember to resist the urge to criticise  and think like a realist. There are only ways of succeeding, not failing. For some of us this is a hard pill to swallow as we are serial critics, but humour yourself and give it a try.

As Jim Carrey so wisely stated in his 2014 commencement address at Maharishi University “You can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.” 

Step out of  your comfort zone. Dream big and get comfortable  playing the realist role as opposed to the critic role, you might just like it.

Why be your own worst enemy? Why stop yourself from succeeding?