Sometimes life has a way of sending us little teasers and tests to make sure we are putting into practice what we are learning. Last week I attended a seminar called the Big Juicy Member Maximisation. The seminar was hosted by Business Women Australia and the point of it was to help us as members get the best from being part of the group.
In the first session, Jennifer Rose Bryant the director talked about how to show up to an event. Things like doing your homework on the speaker, learning a bit about the host, making sure you know the etiquette for handing out your cards and not going in for the big sell which everyone hates. The main recommendation that caught my attention was the 5 Second Rule. (Not the I dropped my piece of Pizza 5 second rule). This 5 Second rule involves you doing something outside your comfort zone, by counting down from 5 to 1 and blasting off with that which you are uncomfortable.
This I did on Monday when I received an email from the ABC Radio asking if I would be interviewed on air about the upcoming success circle I am hosting. I was totally out of my comfort zone, counted down from 5 and did it.
This rule comes from Mel Robbins, now the funny thing is that on the day when Jennifer was talking about the 5 second rule I didn’t hear her say that, I had never heard of Mel Robbins until a few day later I was on youtube where a Ted Talk from Mel Robbins came up and she talk about the 5 second rule. This is what I love about being a human, the right information is placed in front of us at the right time, we just need to listen.
My point for writing about this is that exposing ourselves gives us opportunities but, it is the action that makes those opportunities work for us. Taking action and being focused on the result is how to achieve our goals. In my last blog, Keeping Momentum on What is Important By Using Power Statements, I wrote about my future vision and I show an image from my vision stating ‘I want to hone my skills as a speaker’, this I put out there for you all to read.
Being contacted by the radio station on Monday is the start to reaching my future vision of being paid to speak. Ok, it was only two minutes, it was totally off the cuff, not the precise, crafted talk that I have imagined in my mind. In fact, I don’t even remember what I said, somehow that doesn't matter to me, I had a go, it was very scary and I survived.
Above you will see I have added an image from facebook. At the seminar, we were encouraged to share our wins...
Yet again, the 5-second rule out of my comfort zone to brag, but I did it anyway.
As entrepreneurs we tend to have many ideas that come to us, this can be a curse because it waters down the focus that is needed to succeed. I find being mindful of my main plan helps me keep distractions or new ideas under control. I do this by planning out each year before it starts.
At the end of each year, I write my future vision for the following year, this is how I stay focused. Not everything comes to fruition from my vision but I know that it is a place I can go to keep the momentum on what is important. If an idea comes to me I go back to my vision and if it is not in alignment with it or my goals then I park it for another time.
I write as if what I want to achieve has already happened, I create it like a slide deck with pictures, quotes and inspriational sayings.
I write my vision in a way that it pushes me out of my comfort zone, but, not so far that it scares me into not wanting to do it. The best way to test this is to share it with someone close to you if you are confident enough to share it you are confident with your ability to achieve the outcomes.
For many years I have written goal cards and carried them around in my handbag, taking them out every so often to reinforce my progress. Actually, when I look back on them I have a little giggle because when I first started I would write goals that I honestly never thought I would achieve. They were big and audacious, the funny thing is that most have now been achieved.
I am a firm believer in planning and writing down that what you want to achieve. I have a simple exercise book and each morning I start my day with journaling. I use a method taught to me by my mentor Roger Hamilton. This helps me gain clarity.
I am always keen to learn ways to help me improve my chances of better success. I read the book cover to cover and I love the way the chapters were written, they progressed through the book like a self-help manual or a mini course on learning how to step up your game. When I finished it I start to flick through the pages and found it to be like a recipe book, you could choose an area of your life that you want to focus on and find inspiration that you could try at any time.
Vida reinforces the need to be mindful of our thoughts and to ensure we don’t give up on our dreams, that we push past that place where we are ready to give up, she shows examples of people who have almost given up to find that just beyond that point is when their success came.
How we show up is how we are perceived, Vida talks about this, how what we do and think today is the reality of our tomorrow. I have personally experienced this, below is a statement in my future vision I wrote in 2012.
“I travel the world with Lindsey and enjoy the cultures of other countries. I am grateful for the travel I have already enjoyed and I love to learn about new cultures and people of different origins to me. Each year I travel with Lindsey to different countries, we have an unlimited budget for travel we travel often for pleasure and for work in all manner of classes including first class or whatever is available for the purpose of our enjoyment, we both love travelling together.”
Today, I am writing this blog from Lembongan an island off Bali, we are here for five days then we head to Sanur for three days. Ok, that might not sound so amazing, however, seven days ago I had no idea I would be here. Last Tuesday, Lindsey woke up and said, ‘I need a break and I am not busy at work how about we go away’. It took one day to organise, the tickets were booked on Wednesday night and we were on a plane at 7:30 am Friday morning.
The thing is back in 2012 I didn’t believe in my wildest dreams that the above statement was going to be true. What is true is that at that time I set a plan for it to happen, I created a financial method to make sure we had the money to travel when and where we wanted. Five years later I am living what I thought would be a dream.
We must own the outcomes of what we get from our life and take full responsibility for them, it is our own doing that creates the results we achieve. It is so easy to blame others when things go wrong. Vida urges us to look at these moments and genuinely reflect back at how these have affected what is happening in the here and now. But more importantly how it will play out in the future. The great thing is that we can immediately change our thinking, plan better and change the outcome for the future.
The ideas in Vida’s book work, she has taken a complex process and made it very simple. If you are stuck in a cycle where you don’t feel like you are making the progress you desire Vida has provided the tools that help you move through this.
Our brain is like a radio, and what we tune into will make a huge difference to our success. After spending time with my mentor Roger James Hamilton and the people within his community, I am seeing changes in my life. And how my own growth is transforming. Being surrounded by people who are successful in business is really opening my mind to a lot more possibilities.
Many of us have our brain tuned into the wrong radio station, and that is why we keep spinning our wheels. Roger says we need to hone in on what our purpose is. Finding our purpose helps to create flow. When we are in flow life becomes simpler because we are doing the thing we love.
Once you discover what your purpose is you will find success. The next step is to find customers who are in line with your purpose and discover what problems they are experiencing. This is where your success will come from, from asking who you can help and how you can add value to your customer's lives.
Being of service to your customers comes directly from their need to have a problem solved. By asking them what their problem is you will know how to help them. It is important to build their trust. There are five elements in the process of building trust and in turn them allowing you to help your customers solve their problem.
This is about tuning into another person’s energy and talking to them in ways that are engaging. By being curious about them, you will build their trust. People work with those they feel comfortable with. Success will come from what other people love. If you can tap into what is important to your customer, you will be successful.
Build authority by showing proof that you stand for something. Being the authority in your field creates trust. People want to work with those who know what they are talking about. Make sure you have the knowledge to support you and give testimonials to your customers showing that you can deliver what you promise. Being an authority should be part of your personal brand.
If you are an authority in your field people will take direction from you. Only give advice if it is wanted. Trying to force people to make decisions is not being in flow, focus on those that want your help, and you will find them easier to deal with.
Another word for information is inspiration when you are inspired, you are more likely to give your best information. Once you begin to share your knowledge, your prospective customers will trust you and be more likely to act and work with you.
Take ownership of your purpose and be inspired to share your knowledge. If a customer has a problem you can solve, let them take ownership of the process and support them through it successfully. Once you give them the answers, you will become their inspiration. The best ideas come from solving other people's problems, so start with the biggest and help find a solution.
There are a couple of important points to moving forward in business, and Roger explains it this way. Don’t get stuck on your best idea. People who have not been in business or are starting a new one tend to do this. They then, ask the wrong people for validation, and that is usually themselves, or they will find someone who will tell them their idea is good. The reason they do this is that people need to feel valued and validated, but, that is not how they will find success, success comes from asking customers what their biggest problem is and working with them to solve it. Trying to get approval for the best idea will hinder progress.
We tend to hold onto things even when they are not working. Let go of that which is not, and allow yourself to move to the next level by going with your flow. That then becomes your mission. You will be in flow and able to help your customers exceed their expectations.
Now is the time to start designing your business and profits to counterbalance your lifestyle. Your profit will determine this.
How do you know how much money you will need to sustain your lifestyle through to retirement and beyond?
To build wealth to sustain the lifestyle you are now living or wish to live in the future, you will need to start with the end in mind and then work back.
By doing this, you will know exactly where you are heading, and you can start to live your life with purpose. Knowing how much money you need to sustain your life to the end, and to leave a legacy for the next generation will empower you to make a commitment to being profitable in your business.
Starting with the end in mind helps you evaluate your future needs, giving you the opportunity to design your business and profits to make that happen. Being mindful of how much money you need to live helps you to make better life choices and prevents you from wasting your time on unnecessary purchases and poor business decisions.
This leaves nothing to chance and will protect you from poverty and bad luck later. Having a goal and endeavouring to reach it helps to cover you financially.
We all want to have a comfortable retirement. If you are young and have not thought about this, now is the time to start. The years slip by quickly, and once you reach your forties panic may set in. Having money ensures you have the freedom to live your life how you want, and the way to do that is by planning now.
By planning for the future, you will have peace of mind that you will be financially secure, and will have the means to leave a legacy for the next generation.
Having a purpose and a goal for your money will give you a sense of freedom, it makes you stop and think about the things you want. Once I started this process, I began to question the things I bought, did I really need them? I started to make better choices.
Having money and living with purpose allows you to 'play a bigger game' and sets you up as a role model to the next generation.
Let's face it, you go into business so you can have a great life and the freedom to do as you please. The reality is most people become slaves to their business and do not live the life they hoped they would.
Designing your business to reach the profit that will sustain your lifestyle is where it all begins.
The knowledge I share here is based on 30 years of being in business, and my life experiences. I have had so many wonderful mentors over the years and now it is my turn to give back to my fellow Entrepreneurs.
I have drawn a great deal of inspiration for my writing from the years I spent racing sidecars with my father Ralph Briotti, who was also a very successful businessman.
We spent a lot of time together, so there were many lessons learned.
Dad said ‘a race is never won on the first corner. It’s won by being smart and positioning yourself ready to make a move.’
This is such a great statement for both business and racing. The funny thing is that when I think about dad as a businessman, it was pretty much the same. He only ever took calculated risks in his business dealings. The only time things didn’t go well for him was when he was pressured by other people, which wasn’t often.
When we were kids Mum and Dad had a supermarket in a farming town. When they bought it, it is was run down and had little stock, but it didn’t take long for them to fill up the shelves and turn it into thriving business. They kept up with all the trends and listened to their customers, always willing to bring in new lines.
He was the same after a race, it would be straight back to the pits to work out how we could squeeze more out of the engine, or improve our cornering to better our times. We were always looking for ways to go faster, and to win.
Business is no different. As business owners we need to always be looking at better ways of being efficient and improving. Don’t tinker for tinkering sake. If it’s not broken and is doing the job, don’t make changes that can potentially damage your success.
Another lesson I learned from Dad was to put the tools back in the place I got them from. He could go to his tool box with his eyes closed and get the tool he wanted. He would get so mad with me if tools weren’t in the right place.
This is the same in business, it's important to be consistent, for this is what customers expect. Just like Dad with his tool box, if something needed to be fixed between races there was no time to be looking for tools.
Now I urge you to remember, 'the race isn’t won on the first corner'. That's not to say we never overcooked the first corner, we did. Just like being in business, at the start you go out hell for leather, make mistakes and run off track. What is important is that you learn from your mistakes and focus on the goal of staying on track and winning.
I was on a trip to Bali recently with a group of people at a business development seminar. On an early morning beach walk we came across some duck herders. It was an incredible sight for me. I have never before seen ducks at the beach, there were literally hundreds of them being herded on the waters edge. The herders had complete control, there was a lead herder and two more at the back. The only time the ducks moved out of line was when one of the ladies in our group stood in their way to take a photo. The ducks just waited patiently for her to move, then continued in line.
I had heard the expression 'getting your ducks in row' before but this made me think about what it meant.
So, I Googled it.
I like this statement and it makes a lot of sense to me and what my organisation does. We help businesses get organised. Actually, the reason I thought to write this article was because I heard Tracy, my sales manager say to a prospective client on the phone 'OK, I understand you’re getting your ducks in a row'. Bam! There it was, exactly what we do.
We do the things that you don’t have time to do or don’t want to do. Most existing business people know exactly what needs to be done when it comes to managing their financials, but they struggle to get to it.
During the seminar, I realised there were a lot of people who don’t know what to do or where to start. I found myself naturally helping them set up budgets and become clear on the costs needed to run their businesses and promotion plans. They had a rough idea but it was all in their head and not on paper where they could make sense of it.
When we got back to the resort, 'getting your ducks in a row' soon became the theme for our seminar, which truly made sense. We were there creating promotion plans for our businesses; keeping everything in line and going in the right direction was going to be super important.
At the end of the seminar one of the participants gave us delegates a wooden duck as a reminder to keep to the theme.
My father started racing sidecars at Claremont Speedway in the fifties and in the late sixties he moved to road racing, he raced sidecars up until he passed away in at the age of 79, at that time I was his passenger. Having the opportunity to experience a sport such as a sidecar racing with my father is amazing, we had to completely trust each other and in the time I raced with dad I truly got to know him as a person.
We raced mostly in WA at Barbagallo Raceway, Wanneroo and at the Collie Motorplex. We also went to the National Titles which are held in a different state each year, then every January we went to Phillip Island to race in the Island Classic. This was the highlight of our year, we had so many friends around Australia who followed us and would come to catch up with us. Being a father-daughter outfit really got people's attention and they loved it.
I was encouraged by my business mentor Roger Hamilton to share my passion for racing with my clients and to link what I learned from my father both from racing and as a businessman, back to my acumen as a business woman.
You see there is so much more to my dad than just racing, he was a serial entrepreneur. On his death certificate, we put entrepreneur as his profession. When we were kids, we would go to church on Sunday and after we would sit around the kitchen table for hours talking about business. We were so lucky because both Mum and Dad were into business and they never hid anything from us, both the good and the bad.
My parents had a very passionate relationship, so there was lots of drama and excitement. This came from my father being Italian and my mother was of Scottish, Australian descent. They gave me the confidence to be a business woman, in fact, it was expected that us kids would be business people. I have 2 older brothers and a younger sister we are all in Business.
When I was 17 I was in my second year hairdressing apprenticeship and the principal wanted to sell the salon where I was working. Dad started encouraging me to buy the salon, we got the figures and we worked through the profit and loss, added up all the clients in the appointment book and worked out what the minimum spend would be to make it profitable. From this exercise, we deducted that it was a very profitable business.
He was totally prepared to help me buy that business. But I was only 17, I didn’t even have a car, I rode my pushbike to work and I had to say ‘dad I don’t think I am ready to do this’. He just said ok, but new he had given me a really good lesson in how to judge if a business was profitable. Three years later at 20 I did open my own Hair Salon. (picture here)
In August 2014, I was enjoying a racecraft day at Barbagallo Raceway in Wanneroo WA. Racecraft days are for riders who want to try new bikes and for people to come and have a go at racing. I was there to experience racing on a Formula 2 sidecar, something I had been wanting to do for some time.
I had been racing in the post classic division for years with my dad as his passenger. But he had recently retired due to illness and I was not ready to give up my love of sidecar racing. I went that day to have a go at a new experience and maybe find a someone to team up with.
I was offered a ride on a sidecar with a guy I knew from my club, so felt OK about it. We went out for our first couple of laps and I really enjoyed it, in fact, it was so thrilling I couldn’t wait to go out again. Before going back out, we discussed how we went the first time and decided that we would keep that pace. The dynamics of this type of bike was completely different to what I had ridden before and I didn’t want to make any mistakes, plus the speed was way faster than the post classic I was used too.
I was happy with our arrangement and we suited up to go out for our second ride, as we went to leave the pits a friend of the riders turned up. Now, I am a pretty perceptive woman and I definitely felt a change in the persona of my rider, who turned to me and said 'all right let’s go out and spin it up', meaning to show off to his mate. I don’t know what it was but before we even rode off I knew this was not going to go well.
On the first lap, I felt really comfortable and had started to settle into the rhythm of the bike, sorted out where the handles were and the speed. As we came down the start finish line in front of the pit area we entered turn one way too fast, and he overcooked the corner. The bike went sideways, at first I thought it was going to roll, then he managed to control it, 'phew', I thought that was lucky, then I looked up and there was a concrete barrier in front of us and we hit it at high speed.
I ended up in an ambulance with a broken femur, I had immediate surgery, the surgeons had to insert steel nails, screws and blades to put my leg back together. I was out of action for six months and in that time my business was run into the ground.
After my experience of breaking my leg and spending six months out of action, I have come to realise that what let my business down was not systems or technology, because we had all that in place. It was the fact that the business had been so micromanaged by me that no one else knew what to do. Even my key person who had been by my side for seven years had no idea what to do.
We had lost key personnel a few months prior to my crash who needed to be replaced. What happened instead was because the team had not been empowered by me to take control, they ended up just shuffling seats. We had people from sales and accounts doing debt collection. This meant no one was doing sales or accounts and worse, the debt collection was not being done efficiently.
My problem was that I expected my key person to do what I would do. When this didn’t happen they became resentful because they were unable to cope with what was going on. This started a game of power play in the office and eventually my key person left the organisation.
Because I had failed to empower my team we lost a great deal of money.
The mistake I made by micromanaging the business was, focusing on the money coming in and not the team. I actually had people in the wrong seats, which I knew and didn’t do anything about. I thought my key person was skilled enough to know what to do, but they lacked the self-confidence to pull everyone together and set a plan.
The other problem I had was, I did not have enough personnel or revenue to cover such a crisis. We were in too much of a comfortable place, we had enough money coming in to have the freedom we wanted and things were tickety-boo. Had there not been the crisis which took me out, we would still be humming along as we were.
There came a point where I almost closed everything down. If it wasn’t for our personal savings this would most definitely have been the case. The business was not turning over enough money to pay me and Lindsey and only just covered the cost of running it.
In all the years I have been in this business we had not gone one week without a paying ourselves. This was devastating. The reason this happened was simply because we were understaffed and staff had were filling gaps and doing jobs they were not capable of doing.
Now is the time to look back at what happened and make sure I have a team that is empowered to make decisions in a crisis. I have a great sense of responsibility to the people who work in my organisation and would never want to let them down again. This crisis has really been a blessing, as now I can look at it from a different perspective, not from the perspective of losing, but one of learning. I had been down but not out.
My intention is to build a team who can function with or without me and if another team member falls over, as long as we are working as a team we can survive anything. The mistake I made previous to the crisis was to encourage individualism and not team. I now have my people in the rights seats, working on projects they are good at, for the better of everyone in the organisation.