When we "grow up" in the business world, we are taught the importance of hitting goals within a timeline:
Close the sale this week!
Call 25 new prospects!
Get a yes today!
And yet this is a very masculine approach to business. I'm not talking gender here, but rather energy. Masculine energy in the workplace looks like:
But as we see more of a spiritual approach to business, we are also seeing the feminine aspect come in:
It's when we allow this feminine aspect in that we invite flow in.
What is flow?
When you try to force something, how often do you actually achieve what you wanted? Maybe you're trying to close a deal. The potential client hasn't given you an answer.
So you call her.
And email her.
And tweet her.
As a result, she never responds and you lose the sale. What might have happened if you just allowed things to take their natural course? Maybe she didn't respond because she was ill. Maybe she just takes longer to make a decision. In that case, you forcing the issue will not convince her to buy your product.
Sales experts try to convince us that if you let a lead get cold, you'll never make the sale. That's a masculine point of view. Certainly, follow up. But then back off. Realize that you likely aren't the center of this potential customer's world, and by bugging them too much, you may lose the opportunity.
Yes, it takes a shift to move from that assertive/aggressive approach to sales we've all been taught to simply sitting back and waiting, but in my mind, the latter is a better way to succeed in business.
When things don't go according to plan
If you have a business plan, I invite you to take it out and look at it. Depending on the last time you updated it, the goals you have in your plan may no longer align with where your business is.
And that's okay.
Businesses are living, breathing entities. They are meant to change and adapt to their surroundings (how many of us had to adapt because of the pandemic? Show of hands?). A business plan should be only a loose guide for where you want to take your business in the immediate future. It should be updated to reflect where you currently are. You might need to change your target audience, the products you offer, your price point, or your marketing plan.
I've learned the hard way not to expect things to go according to plan. Clients abruptly end contracts. Project scopes shift and creep. Clients pay late. Rather than get bent out of shape that things aren't going the way you expected them to, just let go of expectations and step into flow.
To go with the flow, see the big picture
When I used to lose a client, my mind would immediately go into panic mode, thinking about the loss of income. That no longer happens because time and again, I have seen that gap in income replaced by an even bigger client.
It's often hard to see beyond the moment you're in, especially if you have no idea how the problem will be rectified. Just remember: this is temporary, and there's a reason for everything. You may have had a client leave to make room for an even bigger and better one a few months down the road.
Just try to be present and know that good things are coming.
An exercise for allowing the flow
If you're Type A, the idea of going with the flow probably is stressing you out. You have trouble letting go of expectations. Let me ask you: what good does having those expectations do if they always fall short?
Humor me by trying out this meditation and visualization.
Get comfortable and close your eyes. Take three deep breaths.
Envision a stream, with water flowing in one direction. Simply observe the water for a while.
Now imagine the issue that is bothering you. If it's a demanding client, see that person. If it's a stack of unpaid bills, see the bills. Whatever the thing is, see it flowing down the stream away from you.
Let it drift away.
You might even snicker a little to see your demanding client flailing as he flows down the stream. Humor is healing.
Now see something positive replacing that first stressful thing you sent away. See clients you love working with. See piles of money. This you can envision flowing toward you from upstream. See yourself standing in the water, accepting this gift. Feel gratitude for the gift.
Take three more breaths. Open your eyes.
You can do this visualization any time you feel blocked or stressed by a situation. You might even write down what you see so you can look back to see how you overcame those obstacles later.
Image Credit: GETTY
Whether they intend to promote them internally or simply want what's best for their careers, many business leaders make it a priority to develop their employees into leaders themselves. Doing so not only helps ensure the company has high-quality talent to run it, but it also ensures employee happiness as they see their leader caring for their personal and professional development.
If you’re a leader looking to undertake this journey, consider the following advice from the members of Young Entrepreneur Council. Here, they each recommend one specific, actionable step employers can take now to help develop their employees into future business leaders and well-rounded employees.
Young Entrepreneur Council members discuss how to help employees become future leaders.
1. Build Career Ladders
I think the most helpful thing business leaders can do to develop leadership is build an objective ladder to leadership roles. The pathway to leadership should include several measurable milestones that successful employees will achieve before attaining leadership roles. This will encourage excellence and performance and, more importantly, remove the notion that leaders at the company are rewarded through nepotism or favoritism. - Kyle Michaud, Carolina Dozer
2. Nudge Them Out Of Their Comfort Zones
To turn your team into the business leaders of tomorrow, you have to empower them to foster a growth mentality. For this, they need to come out of their comfort zones. The majority of people are content with what they do. They lack vision and ambition. Becoming a leader demands a person to be comfortable with uncomfortable scenarios. That's how you grow and achieve more than usual. Skills and talent make a good workforce, but it's the vision that makes good leaders. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
3. Give Them Responsibility And Autonomy
Giving employees the freedom to make decisions, take on major responsibilities and handle them courageously is one of the best things employers can do to develop them into future business leaders. This not only shows that you believe in their capabilities, but it also allows them to gain invaluable experience and confidence in themselves. This will help them better understand the inner workings of your business and how to lead it effectively in the future. So if you want to develop strong future leaders within your company, start by giving them the space to grow and thrive. - Pratik Chaskar, Spectra
4. Develop Training And Mentoring Programs
Training and mentoring are critical to helping employees learn to be better leaders. Develop a training plan so the employee can gain valuable knowledge about leadership, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, having difficult conversations and so on. Additionally, set up a mentoring program so employees have an opportunity to shadow effective leaders, ask questions and learn from them. By combining education with hands-on experience, you’ll allow them to gain the knowledge and skills they need to take on leadership roles in the future. - Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com
5. Allow Them To Solve Problems
Many managers want to micromanage and make all the decisions on the team. This leaves your company at risk. If you lose that one manager, you have an entire team that was never trained to think for themselves. I challenge everyone to problem solve. We will have a conversation about the solution, and I may offer up a different way of thinking about it to get the results I want. However, I take great pride in watching my staff work together to find and enact a solution, which strengthens my team and my company. My company is full of problem-solvers, which is much more valuable than micromanagers. They get a feel for how you think, manage and grow, and become incredibly valuable team members whom you can promote from within. - Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo
6. Make Time For One-On-One Meetings
One specific thing business leaders can do is have one-on-one conversations with employees. This can be hard to do if you're managing a large team, but it's important to have these conversations on a regular basis. During these conversations, you can provide feedback, give advice and answer any questions employees may have. These conversations will help develop employees into future business leaders by giving them the opportunity to learn from you. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Supply Them With Educational Resources
One way we help develop our employees into entrepreneurs is by buying helpful and insightful books from Audible and giving everyone on our team access to the library. I've found that this encourages people who are passionate about growing personally and professionally because they get valuable resources that they can apply to their careers. We are very careful about which books we choose to add to the library. We typically do not buy a book for our company catalog unless at least one of our founders reads it first and thinks it can help our team. - Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
8. Share Your Knowledge
A very powerful way of developing your employees into future business leaders is to share your knowledge with them. Have small knowledge-sharing sessions in which you empower interested employees with a wealth of knowledge. Share your stories and tell them about your experiences of success and failure. It will not only inspire them, but it will also teach them what to do and what not to do to be a business leader. - Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
Many people dream of becoming entrepreneurs, but not everyone knows how to get there. What steps should you take? What skills should you learn? The path to entrepreneurship is rarely easy, but getting started on the right foot can help you succeed along the way.
For those ready to take the leap into business ownership, leveraging your downtime will be key to making progress toward your goal. To help, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their insights with aspiring entrepreneurs and explain what they should be doing in their downtime now to prepare to start their entrepreneurial journeys.
Young Entrepreneur Council members share how aspiring entrepreneurs can get ready for business ownership.
1. Educate Yourself On Business Finance
One of the most important things anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur should do is learn about business finance. If you can’t understand your company’s finances, you’re asking for trouble. What is cash flow and why is it so important? How do you track it? How do you create a budget? What is a chart of accounts and why do you need one? Successful entrepreneurs can answer all of these questions. - Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com
2. Learn A High-Income Skill
One of the most important things an aspiring entrepreneur can do in their downtime is learn a high-income skill. This could be something like coding, copywriting, marketing or selling. If you can learn how to code, for example, you can create a website. If you know how to sell, you can close more deals and bring in more customers. It will pay off in the long run. - Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme
3. Connect With Other Experts
Network, network, network. Connecting with other experts in your industry who are willing to share their experiences can be extremely beneficial as you lay the foundation for your business and navigate the challenges along the way. Other professionals in your space can also be a great resource if you plan to outsource and are seeking vendor recommendations. - Samuel Saxton, ConsumerRating.org
4. Let Go Of Perfectionism
Ditch perfectionism; that would be my advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. Research is the key to ensuring the success of your startup, so you should definitely prepare. However, you have to consider the fact that you won't know if a particular idea will work unless you put it into action. If you think you're ready, just go for it. Don't get into the unnecessary nitty-gritty. Just do it. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
5. Find A Mentor
One of the best things aspiring entrepreneurs can do in their downtime is find a mentor. A mentor can provide guidance, advice and support as you work to achieve your goals. Having someone who has already been through the entrepreneurial process can be invaluable in helping you avoid pitfalls and achieve success. - Sujay Pawar, CartFlows
6. Create A Test Website
If you hope to start a business of your own one day, I recommend creating a test website. You can use this to experiment with different images, texts, fonts, layouts and more. This will help you hone your skills, which will make it easier to figure out what type of company you want to start. Once you know what you want to do, you'll have the skills and tools to build something great. - John Turner, SeedProd LLC
7. Read Books By Entrepreneurs
Read books by people who have already done it. Not only will you pick up incredibly valuable tips and tricks, but you will also gain insight and knowledge on things that may end up saving you an incredible amount of time in lessons learned. - Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo
8. Develop A Sense Of Responsibility
The greatest skills to develop as an aspiring entrepreneur are radical responsibility and a servant mentality. Entrepreneurs are problem-solvers. When you or anyone around you encounters a challenge or problem, act as if you're responsible for the resolution. It's not about taking responsibility for what happened; it's about taking full responsibility for everything that happens next. - Shane Levinson, Carpets of Arizona
9. Write A Business Plan
The one thing I would suggest working on in your downtime is a business plan. A business plan is often overlooked until someone, like a bank, asks for it. Yet, it's the most important part of your business because it acts as the game plan for operating it. A business plan is also generally required for loans and desired by potential investors. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
Bringing family members into a business always carries an element of risk. Conflict between siblings, cousins, parents, and their offspring can damage the business and family relationships. Family businesses encounter many problems, but having close relatives on board can be a good move for those with a strategy for avoiding conflict.
One of the biggest challenges is creating boundaries between personal and business relationships. Five years ago, Adam Foster, director of The Fibro Guy, brought his wife into the company as a safeguarding lead. With her business knowledge and her social worker background, he considered her the best candidate for the role. However, he was also aware of potential downsides to the arrangement.
“Work can easily bleed into our personal time together, which is why work-life boundaries are essential,” he says. “Having a dedicated finishing time, as well as rules of no shop talk when on dates, helps to create a good balance. On the upside, as she has watched me build the business and support us both over the years, she is incredibly invested in the business, much more so than if she was just a normal employee.”
One key to avoiding conflict between family members is being clear about what their duties are and what is expected of them. When Philip Bacon, director of Bacon Marketing, needed help with his business, his sister was the first person he turned to. In approaching her, his strategy was to treat her like any other employee.
“My top priority was being clear about what was expected of her; that way, there should be no arguments or bickering, as siblings tend to do,” he says. “As a partner or an employee, they should be treated the same as others in the business. Two years on, there’s been no conflict between us or anyone else on the team.”
Before bringing family into the business, it’s essential to have the tough conversations, finding out about their aspirations and goals ensuring they align with those of the business. Having proper documentation is also essential. When working with family members, it’s easy to trust them and rely on verbal agreements. Documenting everything will help clarify issues that may arise and, if necessary, can serve as evidence.
Andrew Tropeano had worked at a consulting firm as a sales rep and an account manager before attending New York University business school. After graduating, he joined his father’s video production business, NewsWatch TV, and immediately took responsibility for business operations and video production. His younger brother also joined the company and took over the sales function due to his external experience in that field.
“Our father never had any roles outlined for us before joining, however,” says Tropeano. “We naturally migrated towards roles that suited our experience and passions, and so far, it’s worked well.”
He sees it as crucial for family businesses to implement hard-set rules on when work can be discussed, how meetings are run, and who is in charge of what responsibilities.
He says: “Meetings are run with strict agendas and rules, and responsibilities for every role are drawn up, agreed upon, and put into writing. It’s natural for family members to feel a false sense of permission to meddle in another family member’s department. But agreeing to it formally, in writing, sets boundaries that are hard to overlook. It’s also critical to respect one another and not allow childhood pasts to cloud judgment.”
With rules in place and the written agreement of everyone, regular, frequent and open communication further helps to strengthen the family bonds within a business.
Dmitry Sokhach, founder of Admix Global, says: “Every business needs good communication to thrive, and it is essential when dealing with family who may expect priority over other employees. For example, if you have upcoming promotions or succession plans, it is important to be open and honest.”
He also warns against showing favoritism. Blood is thicker than water, as the saying goes, and it could be easier to consider putting a family member in a top position instead of another member of staff. “For your business to thrive, you need to be objective,” he says. “If the family member doesn't have the qualifications or experience that the role requires, avoid assigning them to it, no matter how compelled you feel.”
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Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.