Running a business is a lot like navigating a ship. We move forward into the deep unknown, conquering small currents, big currents and all kinds of obstacles. And more often than not, we do this without a lot of guidance. We simply keep moving forward, learning as we go, in the hope that somehow we will arrive at our destination. 

The big question is, however…

Do we actually know what our destination is? Do we have a clear idea of where we are heading? And do we know when we have arrived?

When running a business, day in and day out, it’s easy to get caught up in the operation, without ever really thinking about where we want to end up. Maybe you never had a clear idea of what your destination is, taking it one day at a time. Maybe you did have a clear direction at the start but simply lost track. Or maybe your dreams and goals have changed completely and it’s time to redefine them.

When I first started out in business, I always heard business coaches and successful entrepreneurs talk about the importance of having a clear vision. It all sounded great, but nobody told me how to actually create one. It has always been this abstract thing that every business owner needs, but nobody knew how to go about it. 

It wasn’t until one of my business mentors taught me how to create a clear vision for my business that I truly understood how powerful it really is.

A clear vision is the compass in your business. It’s the guiding force that keeps you on track when you are sailing through rough waters, you’ve lost your way, or when you feel pulled in different directions. So, how do you get clear on what you want in your life and business and turn it into a compelling vision?

How to write a business vision

Here are 3 steps to creating a vision for your business that will help you gain more clarity, increase your motivation and ultimately live a happier life.

1. Define Your Values

You can’t write a great vision without first getting clear on your core values. What are core values? They are the things that you care about deeply and that are absolutely uncompromisable.

Take some time to think about everything that matters to you. Write everything down. Don’t leave anything out. You might want to ask yourself these questions.

  • What really matters to me?
  • Why am I in business?
  • What do I stand for?

Write down all the answers you can come up with. Try to aim for at least 30 answers or more. When you really can’t think of anything else, it’s time to group what you have written into 3-6 words that will represent and encapsulate all your answers. 

Eaxample for grouping your values

You might have gone into business because you are looking for financial freedom. But also because you wanted to travel more or spend more time with your family. In order to do that, your business needs to be able to run without you. You’ll need to be able to physically remove yourself from the business. Because ultimately, all three things mean “Freedom”, you could make that one of your core values.

Once you grouped everything that’s important to you into 3-6 words, order them by significance and write a short paragraph for each of your core values outlining what it encompasses and means to you.

You now have a set of core values that you can refer to every time you need to make a decision in your life or business to make sure it aligns with what truly matters to you. I suggest you print out your values and put them somewhere visible, so you can refer to them frequently.

2. Start Dreaming Big

Step one was about your needs. Needs that need to be fulfilled in order for you to be happy and live a balanced, purposeful life. Step two is about your wants. Make a list of everything you can think of that you want to have, do or experience in your lifetime. Do you want to skydive (I highly recommend it)? Are there any particular places you want to see? People you want to meet? Any particular achievements you want to have happen?

It’s important that you don’t limit yourself when doing this exercise and simply allow your creativity to flow. Get creative. Don’t overthink. Don’t get caught up in your beliefs of why you can’t have or do a certain thing. If you dream about it, put it on paper!

Here are two questions that might help you.

  • What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
  • What would I do/have if I had all the time and money in the world?

3. Write Your Vision

Now that you are clear on your core values and allowed yourself to dream for a while, it’s finally time to craft a compelling vision for your future. A story that you can read to yourself from time to time (or daily) to remember what you are doing it all for. 

Keep in mind that this is your personal vision for your life, so make sure it speaks to you. As you learn and grow, your goals and vision might change, too. That’s perfectly fine. Take some time each year to review and rewrite your vision, add anything of importance to you and take out those things that don’t really matter anymore.  You can simply start like this:

It’s 3 years from now and…

Then describe in detail what you want your life to look like. Use present tense and write as if these things have already happened. Describe how it makes you feel. Feel into the moment as if you are already living this life. The clearer the picture you paint, the more powerful it will be when you read over it again in a few months time. 

Have you ever tried to identify your core values or written a vision for your life before? What’s your experience? How has it helped you? Do you find the above exercises helpful? Leave me a comment below! I’d love to here your thoughts.

To your success,


If you’re like me, you love reading (or listening to) lots of books! A great book offers us a glimpse into the vast knowledge and experience of an expert in our field of interest and provides us with a deeper understanding about a topic; and often about ourselves.

If you’ve met me before, you’ve probably seen me with headphones glued to my ears. I listen to audio books pretty much everywhere I go, always looking for little nuggets that have the power to transform our thinking and improve our life as a result. Whether you’re looking to improve your business skills, delve into personal development or build your emotional intelligence this list of timeless must-reads is for you. So, here’s my list of all-time favourite audio books (in no particular order) that I can highly recommed. Enjoy!

5 Insanely Valuable Audiobooks For Guaranteed Business & Personal Growth

I will keep adding to this list over time, so these books are listed in no particular order.

If there’s a particular book you think needs to be on this list, feel free to let me know in the comments below.


The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

by Timothy Ferriss

This was one of the first ever self-development books I read in my life. It surely has transformed my thinking and my views on life. I must say, for this particular one, I preferred the hard copy book over the audiobook. It’s got some great tools and exercises to help you redefine your life and to go outside your comfort zone and push your limits. It’s definitely at the top of my personal favourites.

iTunes Description: If your dream is escaping the rat race, high-end world travel, monthly five-figure income with zero management or just living more and working less then this audiobook is the blueprint. Forget your tired, old retirement concepts and throw out that deferred-life plan – there’s no need to wait and every reason not to. You can have it all! This audiobook is the compass for a new and revolutionary world. Start living now!


The Richest Man in Babylon & The Magic Story: Two Classic Parables about Achieving Wealth and Personal Success (Unabridged)

by Napoleon Hill Foundation

Beautifully narrated and creatively brought to life, this audio book is both, informative and entertaining. The information herein will be life-changing if one can grasp the essence of it. I have gifted this book to many people and listen to it again every few months to remind myself about the great lessons in it. Highly recommend this version of the book, as it’s easy to listen to in about an hour without losing its essence (the original version of The Richest Man in Babylon goes for a few hours).

iTunes Description: These two parables – one ancient, one modern – contain time-tested secrets that will put you on the road to happiness and prosperity. They offer simple, yet powerful truths about the challenges we all face, and must overcome on the road to success. The Richest Man in Babylon: George Clason’s motivational classic story of Arkad, a man of humble origins who became the richest man in Babylon. In dialogue with his fellow citizens he reveals the attitudes and behavior that brought him wealth and happiness. The Magic Story: What turns a loser into a winner? Jay, a down-on-his-luck writer, sees his once struggling friend Sturtevant transformed into a man of supreme confidence and achievement. How did his friend do it?


Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

by Dr. Joe Dispenza

During a time where I could barely get out of bed in the morning, this book has helped me to redefine my purpose and given me new motivation. It teaches why we feel certain emotions, the bio-chemical processes behind the reason for why we subconsciously decide to put ourselves into a negative state and how to break this crushing habit of self-sabotage and depression. This is a book I would recommend to everyone, as it deals with the underlying thought processes and bevaviours that determine our emotional state, and ultimately our actions.

iTunes Description: You are not doomed by your genes and hardwired to be a certain way for the rest of your life. A new science is emerging that empowers all human beings to create the reality they choose. In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, renowned author, speaker, researcher, and chiropractor Dr. Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics to show you what is truly possible. Not only will you be given the necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself, but you will be taught the step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life. Dr. Joe demystifies ancient understandings and bridges the gap between science and spirituality. Through his powerful workshops and lectures, thousands of people in 24 different countries have used these principles to change from the inside out. Once you break the habit of being yourself and truly change your mind, your life will never be the same! This audiobook comes with bonus downloadable content. Please go to www.drjoedispenza.com/bhby to download this material.


The Miracle Morning Audiobook

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life – Before 8AM (Unabridged)

by Hal Elrod

Hal Elrod’s phylosophy is simple. The way you start your morning, determines how your day pans out, and ultimately, your life. This might sound overly simplistic, but this book has the power to transform your life into a miracle. It clearly shows how important it is to proactively design your life and create habits and rituals that support us in our journey to fulfilling our true potential. The Miracle Morning gives you a clear road map, as well as the specific tools to do just that.

iTunes Description: What if you could miraculously wake up tomorrow and any – or every area of your life was transformed? What would be different? Would you be happier? Healthier? More successful? In better shape? Would you have more energy? Less Stress? More Money? Better relationships? Which of your problems would be solved? What if I told you that there is a “not-so-obvious” secret that is guaranteed to transform any – or literally every area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible? What if I told you it would only take 6 minutes a day? Enter The Miracle Morning. What’s now being practiced by thousands of people around the world could perhaps be the simplest approach to creating the life you’ve always wanted. It’s been right there in front of us, but this audiobook has finally brought it to life. Are you ready? The next chapter of your life – the most extraordinary life you’ve ever imagined – is about to begin. You deserve an extraordinary life. It’s time to wake up to your full potential.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People & The 8th Habit (Special 3-Hour Abridgement)

by Stephen R. Covey

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of those books that you can read again and again, and each time learn new things you didn’t pick up previously.  This book is full of incredible life lessons that are guaranteed to enrich your personal relationships, in business and personal life. I have read this book four times and will be reading it many more. Highly recommended. This version of the book is a condensed one and also includes the sequel by the same author, The 8th Habit.

iTunes Description: This new audio set is a very special abridgement of two of Stephen R. Covey’s best-selling business books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit, read by Dr. Covey himself. We’ve condensed the content of two entire books into just three hours of audio, but you’ll still enjoy Dr. Covey’s lessons on powerful personal change and how to incorporate his ideas into your life to fulfill your ultimate potential.


When I turned six years old, I had already seen more than a dozen martial arts movies; from Bruce Lee and Jacky Chan, to Jean-Claude Van Damme and Michael Dudikoff, I knew them all.

One thing that had always fascinated me were the relationships the heroes in those movies had with their masters. They were more than just teachers. They were mentors. Inspirational, guiding role models who would not just teach the ways, but more importantly the whys.

It wasn’t until I was ten years old – and after three years of Taekwondo training – that I randomly got sucked into a documentary about the Shaolin monastery one evening, as my mother and I were watching TV; I don’t recall the name of the film. But I was inspired and hooked. I learned that most students in Shaolin would start training at the age of six, some were only four or five. I was ten, which made me feel old. “I should have been there years ago”, I thought to myself. If I wanted to keep up, I had to go now. So I made a plan. All I needed to do was let my parents know and off I went, right? Well, not exactly. I had a reputation for coming up with some crazy ideas, so it took some time for anyone to believe that I actually meant business. In fact, it took me months of determination and not letting go of my crazy idea, before my parents finally realised that something was different. This time, I was serious and would not give up. It was more than yet another crazy idea. I was a dream.

Once I had planted the seed of even just the possibility in my mum’s head, she started asking question after question: “What about school? What if something happens to you? What if you get sick? What if you want to come home after a few weeks?” – The list went on and on. Luckily, I somehow always had a good answer ready. And once it was clear that not going wasn’t an option, we were left with the question of how to make it happen. My once crazy idea had finally been accepted. My dream had become a possibility…

However, in 1994 this wasn’t a trip you’d simply book on Expedia.com. We didn’t have an internet connection back then, but somehow my mom managed to find the phone number of the Shaolin temple. Yes, the Shaolin Temple actually had a phone number! There was one phone for the entire monastery. But even after repeated attempts, my mum realised that it was simply impossible to communicate my crazy idea over the phone with the few words of Chinese my mother knew at the time. Nobody spoke English either. Nobody understood what we were even trying to ask. We needed a change of plans. If the telephone didn’t work, there was only one way to get our point across. We actually had to go to see the monks in person. So, my parents decided to take my little sister and me on a holiday to China, to stop by the legendary Shaolin temple and find out if I would be allowed to stay for a year. It was a huge challenge. The first time we visited, we were welcomed by the friendly monks with big smiles and green tea, but my wish was turned down with a friendly smile. Clearly, it was over. The end of the road. Here we were, having travelled all the way from the other side of the world, and all we got was ‘no’. I was heart-broken and felt guilty to have put my mum through all this effort, just to be turned down.

David in Shaolin – Image: Uli Franz

David in Shaolin – Image: Uli Franz

“We are going back home. Back to life as usual”, I thought to myself. “It’s not over yet!”, said my mum, full of hope and with determination written all over her face to make my dream reality. For nearly a week, we returned to the monks, day after day after day. Each time we visited, I noticed a slight change in the air. We were slowly building a relationship. It was absolutely surreal. Each time we would enjoy a cup of green tea together, laugh together – all with almost no Chinese language skills – and each day I felt a little more accepted into the circle. ‘No’ became ‘maybe’, and finally turned to ‘YES’. That day was when I started sh****** my pants. My dream was no longer just a dream. Suddenly, it was real. I was happy and scared at the same time. I realised that I had reached the point of no return.

I started my training the very next day, and boy, my three years of Taekwondo were nothing compared to my first week of Shaolin Kung Fu. After a few more days of settling in and getting used to the environment, it was time for my parents to leave and go back home. Here I was, by myself, in a foreign country, at the age of ten. I stayed for the entire year and it was an unforgettable experience. Surely I had many ups and downs, but every day I learned something. About Kung Fu, Chinese culture, people and mostly about life.

Most people called my parents crazy for leaving me there alone. I, however, couldn’t thank them more. It’s only now, twenty years later – and as a parent myself – that I truly understand the amount of courage and unconditional love it would have taken to trust and let go of your child in such a big way. I feel humbled, proud and forever grateful for having had this opportunity of a lifetime, which has forever changed my life and still, to this day, influences my decision making.

I would even argue that this single year of living by myself, in a foreign country, immersed in a totally different culture, has given me more than my twelve years of traditional education. I’d like to share five big lessons that I have taken away from my year in Shaolin.

Five life lessons that I learned living with the Shaolin

1. Thoughts become things.

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” From an idea sparked by a film, I made a conscious decision to make this my new reality. But it was only through persistence that I have been able to reach my goal. Your thinking determines your actions; your actions determine your outcome. Right thinking will grant you everything you desire; wrong thinking is a vice that will eventually destroy you. If you change your thinking you will change your life.

2. Who looks inside awakens.

“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”

I followed a strong desire inside me. Nobody asked me to go. It was a decision I made with my heart, not my mind. If I would have been rational, it would have never happened. Don’t be rational but trust your heart to make decisions.

3. No one can walk your path for you.

If you wait for others, so will your opportunities. You have to be the initiator of your own dreams. When you start to follow your heart, doors will open and the right people will show up to support you. True love will always find a way. Stay true to yourself and choose your own path.

4. Don’t believe everything you are told to believe.

Before my journey, not many people believed me when I told them about my plan. Your reality is not my reality. Don’t be discouraged by anyone who tells you that something is not possible. It is simply not part of their reality. You create your own reality. Choose do belief whatever brings you closer to your goals. Discard any beliefs that will lead you away from your goals.

5. Look for peace within yourself & let go of attachment

As a child I had a lot of “stuff”. Toys, games, all sorts of things that, we are taught to belief, will make you happy. During my time in Shaolin I had a few clothes, a bed, and daily kung fu training. I soon realised that “stuff’ wasn’t contributing to me being happy. It would only distract you from facing the truth. Distract you from looking deep inside you to find out who you really are. What really matters to you. Do not look for peace around you for it originates from within.

Live life on your terms. Live with passion.

 

 

Watch the documentary about David’s year in Shaolin:

Mit 11 Allein in China: Der kleine David im Kloster Shaolin

 

Each entrepreneur wants his or her business to succeed, but for this to happen, you need to make some changes to improve your business dramatically and that will surely push you to the top of the pack. Successful people believe strongly in their ideas, so much so that they will do everything possible to manifest them. They have a powerful path that keeps them true to their principles and ideas, even during times of disagreement and adversity.

1. Give Back

First thing you can do to improve your business is to give back. Ensure you have a life mission reflecting your need to make a difference in the lives of others. Money should not be the main motivation because the non-monetary purposes are what will bring you the significance, self-satisfaction, and happiness that you are looking for.

2. Practice Physical Activity

Engaging in physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your quality of sleep, boost brain chemistry, become more creativity, and clear your mind. It also helps to boost your longevity, happiness, and health so you can be more productive to grow your business.

3. Self-coaching

Maintain positive inner dialogue through positive self-talk, which can help you talk yourself out of or though challenges. It takes little effort to become a negative person but if you want your business to be successful, then you need to develop a positive outlook on things.

4. Be Willing to Do What It Takes

You cannot be successful without making sacrifices so make it a habit to show up every day. Commit to the long haul and be willing to devote unlimited energy and time in working toward your goals. Most unsuccessful entrepreneurs are often unwilling to pay the price to attain higher levels of commitment. Identify time-consuming distractions that you need to eliminate from your business or life and put your work responsibilities first, with leisure coming in second.

5. Love What You Do

Most successful entrepreneurs are doing things they want to do most in life and as a result, they earn a substantial income. Work to make sure your work adds value to the society in order to get to the point where you love what you do.

6. Journal

Another thing you can do to improve your business is to make a journal. Write out your thoughts so you can translate them into tangible form. Writing offers perspective to your wants, your current position, your goals, mistakes you want to avoid, and your strategy. Journaling can help you gain perspective in finding solutions to problems.

7. Improve your Business by Making Lists

Write down the goals you want to accomplish for the upcoming day, week, month, and the year. Afterwards, prioritize the list so you can allocate the necessary time to each task effectively based on importance. A list is a contract and when you write things down, you are agreeing to make these things happen. Tasks in written form are more likely to become accomplished.

8. Learn to Listen

Listen requires immense self-control because you have to check your impulses for your own needs and analyze the people you work with to understand the message being communicated. Pay less attention to the messages conveyed on the surface and listen instead for the underlying message. Without this discipline to sense and listen to underlying messages, you may become lost in translation and derail your own success.

9. Practice Clearing Your Mind

Clearing your mind is one of the things you can do to improve your business. Learn to make quick decisions that are conclusive. Metal clarity allows you to see the decisions that bring you further or closer to your goals. Before changing a decision, consider the pros and cons of doing so. impulsiveness can be disastrous so if you want to change a previously-made decision, take this chance to learn what needs to be done better this time round and clarify the details that meet your standards. You find more balance when you change decisions intelligently and make decisions quickly.

10. Look at the Details

Pay attention to every action taken on your journey toward success and invest value and meaning into each step. An action without a clear purpose can make you vulnerable unexpected challenges and your reaction to them. Direct each detail of the business towards your ultimate goals and visions. Train your mind to do things that are more challenging.

Have you ever wondered how some entrepreneurs get so much work done in a single day? It can even leave you wondering what it is you are doing wrong when apparently we all have the same 24 hours as Richard Branson or Oprah. For starters, working smarter and harder may not be the formula for success after all, which leaves you wondering what is. Here are 7 ways in which successful entrepreneurs do so well to make sure they get to the top.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Love Their Work

A smart and successful entrepreneur is in his or her element when doing work they are passionate about. Inspiration and passion are very powerful when combined and the only way you can do excellent work is if you love what you do. Find something you are passionate about and stick with it regardless of distractions or being sidetracked.

2. Successful Entrepreneurs are Focused

Smart entrepreneurs know to stay focused and have a clear vision of what they want, which helps to actualize this vision. Visualization is quite powerful because it is not simply about seeing what you want but also about feeling them. Smart entrepreneurs feel what it is like to be at the top and not the journey it will take to reach there. They view their journey as one that embodies greatness while transporting them towards their destiny. Smart entrepreneurs connect with their visions daily through meditation, quiet walks, mantras, or vision boards, whatever works.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Set Realistic Goals

It is great to have big goals but they can be harder to achieve. Smart and successful entrepreneurs accept their current position and start with smaller steps while maintaining focus on the ultimate vision. It is easier to achieve your goals when they are broken down into workable phases such as weekly goals or 3-month challenges. Establish daily activities that are relevant to taking you closer to your goals.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Have a Deep Desire to Succeed

Smart entrepreneurs have the drive to achieve their goals and succeed at what they do. It is what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the crowd. This hunger fuels them and keeps them energized to push their businesses to the top.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Learning

Successful entrepreneurs rarely stay the same as they were when they started out. It is important to invest in developing your business and yourself so you can become a successful entrepreneur. Their passion to grow, expand their businesses, and learn, is naturally in their blood. You can learn through seminars, summits, coaching, books, programs, or furthering your education. You can also learn from entrepreneurs who have gone before you on ways to develop and grow your business to help you also become a source of inspiration.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Mastered Their Minds

Mastering your mind is perhaps the most important way to keep growing. You will not be able to flourish and expand until you become comfortable doing things that challenge you. Your thoughts have the power to become a reality as long as you gain some perspective on them and speak positively to yourself. Face your fears head on so you can move on to greater things.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Network with Like-Minded People

Smart entrepreneurs choose their company very carefully and they have great support from like-minded people who offer inspiration and keep them accountable. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals is a surefire way to drive your business towards greater heights.

In order for your business to succeed, you need a clever marketing strategy. Unfortunately, most companies hold some marketing assumptions that can restrict their ability to promote their services and products in a cutthroat marketplace. The idea of marketing is quite obscure because marketing is the base for various methods of business promotion. Therefore, it is easy to confuse the real purpose of marketing with the concept of it. There are many reasons why companies seem to think marketing is not the right move for them. If you do not work in the profession, marketing can seem expensive and exotic, with creatives whose aim seems to be to throw money at different projects. Marketing is actually crucial to a number of strategic initiatives. If you have growth goals for your business, be it for market expansion, an extension of your product line, or diversification, then you need to have a proper understanding of what marketing can do for you.

7  Common Marketing Assumptions:

Listed below are the assumptions that can restrict the efficiency of your market plan causing you to miss out on sales opportunities.

1. Small Businesses Do Not Require a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan gives you a master plan for how you will introduce your business to the market. It helps you outline your target audience, budget, offers, tactics, channels, and messages. If you do not have a cohesive, integrated plan, you may be wasting your prospects money if not confusing them. Any business, no matter how big or small, should plan its marketing to ensure the best return on investment.

2. Running Ads is the Only Marketing Plan You Need

Even though an advertising campaign can be relevant as a marketing tactic, it is only but a tactic. Ads are just one of the various ways you can convey your message to your target audience. You should have an integrated plan spelling out different tactics and how they will work harmoniously to help you achieve, sales, lead generation, and awareness.

3. You Already Know What Your Customers Think

People similar to your current customers are your ideal prospects so you need to understand the customer completely. You can gain insight on your customers by conducting customer research courtesy of a professional, independent resource.

4. There is No Need to Market to Your Customers

You should never assume that just because you have customers they are yours for the keeping. Your customers need to be reminded constantly of why they should keep buying from you and not your competitors. Promote to your customers and your prospects too.

5. That Marketing Channel is Too Costly for You

Marketers usually make wrong assumptions about the cost of marketing avenues like direct mail or advertising. You should not cross out a channel because you assume it is too costly. Explore all your options intensively and you might discover that you can access channels that you thought were unaffordable.

6. You Do Not Need Social Media

Regardless of what you sell, the one thing you can be sure of is that your competitors, prospects, and customers are using social media actively. If you do not participate, you will be left out of conversations that could be shaping your marketplace.

7. You Need to Cut Your Marketing Budget because Sales are Down

This is one of the marketing assumptions business owners usually do. They say tough times call for tough decisions but cutting your marketing budget should not be one of these tough decisions. Effective marketing may actually help you come out of a slump with your sales so if you do not continue engaging with prospects and customers, one of your competitors will be ready to take your place.

Most successful business owners experience trouble trying to keep their businesses afloat while others appear to flourish even in the most difficult conditions. For some the common complaint seems to be that referrals simply are not enough to drum up business anymore. The interesting thing is that most of these same business owners are not doing anything different to market their businesses and grow them even though the market clearly seems to have changed. On the other hand, there are business owners who have also seen exceptional business growth all through the year and not just any kind of growth either; I am talking about stellar growth. So what are the things that successful business owners do differently?

Here is my list of 9 things that successful business owners do differently

 

1. They Don’t Focus on the State of the Economy

Instead, they focus on how it alters buying behaviors exhibited by their customers without letting the despondency of it depress them. If your services or products are genuinely useful or helpful, then you will definitely find people who are willing to buy them regardless of the economic conditions.

2. They Offer the People Something New

If you find that people are not buying what you are selling, even though they used to, this could be an indication that you need to change things up. The obvious reaction would be to cut your prices, but this will devalue what you are offering. Try adding value instead by developing new packages out of services and products you already own or updating your current offerings. You could go as far as to offer something entirely new such as training programs, new product bundles or products, an eBook, or even a workshop. Be creative. All successful business owners are.

3. They Do Not Guess

Successful business owners do not guess. Conduct a survey to discover what your customers, clients, and prospects want so you can give it to them. You can use no-cost email services or in-person surveys with a short and written evaluation. Honest customer feedback will help you make better decisions in your business and reassure you when you are on the right track. Be sure to always rely on facts and numbers and stop guessing.

4. They Take Advantage of Tech

The internet is no longer unchartered territory as I am sure you have used it in one way or another, so why not use it to make your presence felt? The social networking tools at your disposal also make it cheaper for you to effectively market your business. Social media allows you to expand your reach and maybe even have fun in the process. However, it is crucial that you actually have a game plan (refer to previous point).

5. They Constantly Grow Their List

Ensure you have a list of your current and previous customers that you keep in touch with, not to mention prospects. This will help them remember, trust, and get to know you. You can collect contact information in your office or over the phone and sending out print materials. Alternatively, you can have an ‘offer and sign-up’ system on your website as part of your marketing strategy and then keeping in touch using email. Why restrict yourself? You can even use both methods to supercharge your list growth.

6. They Offer Value

People expect more value for their money and time today, so focus less on selling your services and products and more on offering helpful solutions in your marketing strategy for better results. The more value you give, the more people will want to buy from you.

7. They Do Mixed Media Marketing

Develop a marketing plan and strategy allowing you to use multiple tactics or media channels to reach your target audience instead of focusing on just one. Ask yourself where your ideal customers hang out and how to best engage with them. Then develop a strategy to direct them on to your own list.

8. They Never Stop Learning

Times are changing and you need to stay updated on what is new and working currently but you cannot do this if you are always busy with your business. Successful business owners understand the important of taking time out of their business to learn and grow. Network, take part in seminars, or read new material to meet new people and learn new things about the industry.

9. They Don’t Do It All Themselves

The truth is, you probably do not have time to learn about everything it takes to run, grow, and market your business, particularly online. You may end up hitting a wall whereby business will cease to grow; you will burn out, and become exhausted. Hire an employee or get a virtual assistant to help you with repetitive tasks. Engage a professional marketing consultant to help you develop a sound marketing strategy and to automate your marketing.

There you have it. Nine things that will not only help you be more successful in your business but happier, too.

To your success,

 

Every coin you waste in your business is precious and can be directed towards improving services and products, or reaching more customers. Most companies face the problem of funneling their money towards irrelevant expenses and often it is because they do not take time to reassess their way of “doing things”. If you keep doing the same things over time simply because you have been doing them this way, you could be wasting a significant amount of money. Here are some of the areas in which businesses spend too much money and how you can fix it.

1.  Hiring More Employees than Necessary

Today’s era is one of independent contractors and virtual assistants, so businesses do not need to hire salaried full-time staff to deal with daily tasks. Businesses can outsource these duties to freelancers who can work on a per-project or hourly basis. Your business needs to monitor their salaried workers constantly to make sure their positions genuinely require a full-time employee and only add new positions when the workload calls for it.

2. Indirect Marketing Campaigns

Data analytics have come to play a significant role in everything that businesses do and any company that fails to measure its marketing efforts can find itself left behind. Before purchasing paid advertising or posting on social media, ensure you monitor how your efforts are faring on first. The results of your current email blast could affect your decisions on future marketing campaigns for a long time so it may be worth it. Each dollar you spend could bring in more money for your business.

3. Failing to Monitor Business Expenses

Wining and dining your prospects or clients can be essential for a growing business but you should watch out for those fancy eateries (yep, I know). You could be spending more money than you need to in this area if you do not pay close attention to things. There are various expense- monitoring apps available to help you keep track of your business expenditure. If you are using professional accounting software, like Xero, you can also pull reports at different intervals to show you where exactly your money goes.

4. Is Your Business Overpaying?

If you do not hone your negotiation skills, you may end up spending more money than is required on equipment, supplies, office space leases, manufacturing, and other resources you use to run your business. Learn how to negotiate with your vendors so that you can save money which can be directed toward business growth. You probably spend a lot of time negotiating with your clients to make sure you get the best prices for your services or products, so why not use the same skills on your budget expenditure? Use the 80/20 rule to identify which 20% of your business expenses have the biggest impact on your overall expenditure.

5. New Technology

Businesses usually feel that they should invest in the most up-to-date technology, be it operation management software or devices to help them utilize this software. In addition to spending too much money on software and devices, you could also be investing in building a better marketing foundation and building systems that will allow you to scale your business.

As an independent marketing consultant, I help business owners to design and implement cost-effective marketing strategies that more than pay for themselves. If you are looking for a way to scale your business reliably, using proven strategies, I look forward to having a chat.

To your success,

 

Some common reasons why your marketing isn’t working are probably less obvious than you might think. Marketing, when not done right, can easily fail to produce the desired results. Many times, I have seen business owners sit down to come up with their own marketing strategy, only to end up with great disappointment. However, this is all part of being in business. When we fail, we pick ourselves up and go again.

Nevertheless, I have identified a few common mistakes when it comes to marketing and outlined some strategies for how to fix these problems.

Here are 5 common reasons why your marketing isn’t working

 

1. Trying to be everything to everyone

Many businesses fail to send out a clear message that is targeted at their ideal customer (Avatar). Instead they try to keep their message as broad as possible. This approach results in generic messaging that doesn’t work. Instead, be very clear about your purpose, what your product or service is about and who exactly it is for. Identify who your ideal customers are and craft copy that speaks directly to them. The clearer your message and targeting, the better your sales will be.

2. Competing on price

One approach many businesses take when competition moves in is to lower their price. In some industries, this has led to a war on price between competitors leaving little to none for anyone. Rather than lowering your prices, try to find ways to add more value to your customers. This won’t just leave you better off financially, but also position you as the expert amongst your competitors. Ever seen Apple run a sale?

3. Limiting Marketing to Just One Platform

Businesses have to consider more than one marketing platform. Digital marketing offers countless tools to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your campaigns and proactively increase your sales when you choose to. Social media is just one platform. Email marketing is another. Traditional forms of marketing are also worth testing, especially when targeting customers who are yet to embrace the digital era. Muti-channel marketing also allows you to identify where your best customers are coming from and where to spend most of your budget in order to get the best return.

4. Lack of Strategy

Without a strategy, marketing fails. This is one of the most common reasons why your marketing isn’t working. In marketing, strategy is everything. In fact, the right strategy produces stunning, hitherto unimagined results. Develop a marketing plan and stick to it. Test what’s working, repeat what does, discard what doesn’t. Numbers don’t lie.

5. Dead Techniques

Dead marketing techniques kill businesses faster than ever before. Don’t get stuck in the old ways. If it’s not working, change it. Replace it with something that works. Tweak it if necessary. There’s no need of staying loyal to ideas that cost a lot of money yet have nothing to show for all that investment. Even if it once was your best strategy.

Do you currently have a strategy that allows you to get new customers “on tap”? If not, I might be able to help. As an independent marketing consultant, I help business owners in the retail and hospitality industries to design and implement automated marketing strategies that take their business to a whole new level. When you’re ready, let’s have a chat about your business.

To your success,

 

TED Talks are geared towards spreading ideas using short, powerful talks. The talks last no more than 18 minutes each, are factual and entertaining. Initially, they revolved around Technology, Entertainment, and Design (hence the name TED) when they started out in 1984.

Today, the talks touch on almost all areas of human living, including entrepreneurship.

As entrepreneurs, we can learn a lot from watching many of these talks. The good news is, the talks are easily available on TED.com.

TED Talks For Entrepreneurs

Here are my top TED Talks every entrepreneur should watch, in no particular order. Enjoy!

1. Cameron Herold: Let’s Raise Kids To Be Entrepreneurs

Cameron Herold, who founded COO Alliance, gave a TED Talk entitled, “Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs.” In his words, the traditional system of education does not encourage kids to be entrepreneurs. He believes that we should change the system to produce more entrepreneurs.

 

2. Nirmalya Kumar: India’s Invisible Innovation

Nirmalya Kumar’s TED Talk focuses on the link between business and innovation. As most business owners know, running a business successfully requires a good dose of innovation. A business that constantly develops new products and processes has a higher chance of success.

 

3. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Eight years ago, Simon Sinek gave a TED Talk on the role great leaders play in inspiring action. The lessons from that talk are still relevant today. Company leaders call the shots. CEOs determine the direction a company takes.

A leader determines how successful a company’s digital marketing campaign shall be.

 

4. Regina Hartley: Why The Best Hire Might Not Have The Perfect Resume

What makes Regina Hartley’s TED Talk a must watch for entrepreneurs is the advice she gives on the role of a resume in hiring or not hiring a new employee. Entrepreneurs put too much focus on what is on the resumes.

They forget that the resumes never capture all the important details of a prospective employee.

For example, the resume may not tell an entrepreneur everything the prospective employee did in creating a marketing automation software. A perfect resume may keep us away from one who has overcome great difficulties and challenges to get here.

 

5. Philip Evans: How Data Will Transform Business

The TED Talk Philip Evans gave in 2014 was designed to help businesses understand the role of data. We have to understand the transformational ability that data has in any business. We can no longer ignore analysing the importance of technology and data for running a business.

After all, marketing automation, like all types of technology, depends on data.

 

6. Seth Godin: How To Get Your Ideas To Spread

Seth Godin’s TED Talk was titled “How to get your ideas to spread”. In that talk, we understand the importance of using bizarre ideas in marketing. Good and boring ideas are not always productive. Bizarre ones, on the other hand, capture and retain customer’s attention.

These must-watch business TED Talks are a great start for any entrepreneur who is wanting to learn and grow themselves and their business.

What are your favourite TED talks? Please share the link in the comments below.

To your success,