The story we’re told is that for forty years the children of Israel wandered in the desert. Wandered…
We’re also told that it was their inability to get Egypt out of their heads (the mentality they had adopted in Egypt) that was their demise.
I believe we’re told that story because, for the most part, we all have an Egypt inside.
I struggled to start this post because to be quite honest I didn’t know how to write it. I still don’t. But here goes…
One of the things I do in my business is to work with people to identify what their passionate about, help them connect with that and then translate all that into ventures that allow them to live a full life.
Oddly though I have been coming across people who believe the issues in their lives are the fault of everyone but them.
It’s really hard to make any kind of change in our lives unless we’re willing to change how we think and unless we’re willing to tell the truth about the state we’re in and how we got there.
I used to be amazed at people who were constantly shocked at the state of their finances until I remembered that there was a time my own finances were a mess and I blamed external factors.
My finances began to return to health when I started to change how I worked with my money and I chose to learn about handling this precious resource.
Recently I’ve also been coming across people who blame “the system” or their employer about how rubbish their work life is – or blame competitors and again the “business system” for their businesses not flourishing – and here’s what I’m learning: to walk away.
I’m a fixer (I’m working at stopping this horrible habit). I have a desperate need to fix things.
So anyway because of this trait I often found myself trying to get people out of their pits – I’ve realised though that this is an utterly futile exercise when directed at people who refuse to 1. take responsibility 2. change how and what they think.
The only difference between the people who died in the desert and those who made it to the Promised Land was their thinking.
Amazing how the power of what if can either propel us to greatness or keep us from that very greatness.
I hosted my first business breakfast last week.
After the event I was told what a success it was.
One guest told me the event had rekindled the fire in her.
I met another guest days later and she told me she could hardly eat or sleep because she was SO excited by all the amazing business ideas that were flying around in her head – as a result of attending my event.
Another guest sent me an email with a list of the lessons he’d learned from the people who spoke (I’ve included his list below).
Yet another guest said they’d gained much from our keynote speaker. Being in the same industry they’d approached him to give them the advice they needed to take their venture to the next level.
Another guest told me he’d made contact with one of the other guests who was experienced in the kind of work he wanted to start a business in.
The list goes on…
Yes our event was a roaring success!
I felt I acheived what I’d set out to do: inspire budding entrepreneurs and facilitate meaningful connection between like-minded people.
But here’s what my guests didn’t know: Just days before the event I’d been SO tempted to cancel!
All but two of the people who had told me they’d attend the event had paid. As the time ticked by closer to the day of our breakfast – we received no more confirmations.
At first I was a wreck. I tried hard not to think about how I would tell the two people who had paid that we’d failed to draw enough guests and we’d have to cancel – give them their money back and… well many things went through my head.
Boy was it stressful!
One evening as I lay in bed wrought with panic – I told God “I’ve done everything I knew how to do to make this work. I’m going to relax now. There’s nothing more I can do. Please help me.”
I decided to give myself a break – and for the first time in weeks the anxiety disappeared. I knew with all my heart I’d done my best.
In the week of the event – with only my two guests paid – what kept playing through my head was “Faith like potatoes.”
I thought of Angus Buchan planting those potatoes in the middle of a draught and trusting God.
No rain. But Mr Angus planted.
As my mind kept thinking on this man’s faith I knew Father was telling me something. I had to plant.
Just like Angus did the work in preparation of a miracle I had to do the same.
So I stopped worrying about how many people would come – or not – I focused on the content of the event.
I went back to why I’d wanted to host this particular event in the first place and I worked at making that happen.
I knew stressing would change absolutely nothing. So I did all I could do – prepare what I wanted the event to deliver.
Come Saturday, the day of the event, the venue we’d booked was populated!
One of the comments on our feedback forms from a guest was: “Event was well attended.”
They had no idea the scraggly numbers we’d started that week off with.
In all this here’s what I learned:
1. Don’t make the focus of your business about who will buy and who won’t – make it about the gift. What is that remarkable thing you want to share with us? Focus on that.
2. Do the work required for success. Plant. And prepare for a successful harvest.
3. Work at finishing what you start. One friend told me “Hannah it’s not about the outcome. Don’t focus on the outcome. Focus on the process.” It’s easy to start. It’s really hard to finish. Anyone can start. Very few finish. And this is what separates those that make it and those that don’t. If you believe in the worth of what you’re offering don’t give up on it. Even when you want to abandon ship – give the ship a chance to get to shore.
4. When you’ve done all you can applaud yourself for it and then rest.
5. At the end of the day business is about sales. But know this: sometimes the numbers won’t be what you want them to be. But if you really believe in what you have to offer – do the work and then trust. Develop your idea. Make it WOW. Eventually the people will come.
6. I can’t leave faith out of my business. The same way I trust God about so many areas of my life – I’ve got to trust Him with this.
So I can tell you that even after all this I’m still a little nervous about our next event. But I’m holding Mr Buchan’s testimony (and now my own) very close to my operations. I know what I have to offer is wonderful. I’m working at making it WOW. And I have faith that those that need it will come.
As mentioned earlier here’s what one of our guests wrote to me about what they took away from our Triple V Business Breakfast:
1. Safe business is Risky business
2. Design is free
3. Very good is boring… Be remarkable
4. No man is an Island in business world and in real life
5. Quality vs. Quantity
6. Be Aggressive in business and don’t take NO for an answer… Persistence
7. Be Honest / Don’t let your clients down
8. Use what you have
9. Word of mouth is a powerful tool / Referrals
10. Web and Social Media are the Future
11. Make sacrifices
12. Take a short course if you are not proficient in a field related to your business
13. Go in person and meet the prospective client
14. Define your business : ask ‘What are we & what do we do ????’ as a company
15. Make sure your paper work is in order when applying for tenders… 100% correct
16. Do not second guess yourself
17. Happy, satisfied employees are very good customers. Employ and retain the best of the best
If you’d like us to keep you posted on our upcoming events email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
So I thought I was totally done with introspection –
Was that not the theme of my life last year!
So over this past long weekend (we have many in South Africa) (FAR too many) (anyway) so I found myself introspecting again this week.
I’ve been so busy this past month that it’s been really hard to keep a tab on everything I’m involved in.
A friend called me last week and I told him, “I’m working so hard, and yet, ask me what I’ve accomplished and I couldn’t tell you.”
This is the problem of getting too busy with far too many things. Sometimes we fail to yield results. Sometimes we lose focus. At times we lose the reason we started. And dangerously we forget who we were when we set out on our journey.
So while you may think it may be mushy to talk about emotions and the core of who you were when you started your business, may I point you to Brene Brown’s talk on vulnerability.
It’s soft and it’s mushy and it’s one of the most powerful talks I’ve ever heard.
If I asked you to tell us in one line what your business aims to achieve, what would you say?
Could you honestly tell us, or more importantly, yourself, that you are still on the right path? The path that creates what you do for the sake of making a difference to the people you come into contact with?
As human beings we are now demanding from places we spend our money what we’ve always demanded from each other: Love and Attention.
Isn’t that why horrible service pisses us off so much? It’s because in treating us with such disrespect the establishment/s we’re spending money at are telling us, through atrocious service, that we don’t matter. They’re telling us to bugger off and go ask someone else for attention. And most times we do.
What is your business telling your customers? Is there love? Is there attention?
How you treat your customer after the purchase is perhaps even more important than how you treated them when they walked in.
Are you the guy that shags the chic and moves on without ever calling?
Or are you the guy that commits? The guy that stays when the going gets tough. And then gently and lovingly makes love to the woman that’s dropped everything to be with you?
On the first day delegates have to talk about the roles they play in their current job – if they have their own business they have to talk about their role in that. Most times (9 out of 10) people go through this session with flying colours.
The following day we focus on the personal brand. In a nutshell it asks the questions: Who are you truly? What do you believe in? What matters to you? How do you translate that into the business you dream of building?
Boy how people struggle to answer these questions!
You owe it to You to ask these questions of yourself.
If you have a spectacular idea – stop talking about it – make it happen! And for crying out loud grab every opportunity to tell us what it is and how it’ll change our lives!
Your idea is awesome. Believe it and help us see the awesome in it.
Be bold. Around every corner are countless opportunities for you to draw us in.
Diarise Saturday 9am on May 19.
I’ll be hosting an awesome Business Breakfast that will inspire you to remarkable heights.