Freedom Blog

Friday, December 30, 2011

Reboot Your Business!®| The Freedom Coach

25 Mistakes To Avoid, #2

Written by Steven Griggs |

Excerpted from my coming book: “REBOOT YOUR BUSINESS! How to Restructure Your Business to Survive and Thrive in Today’s New Economy”

2.     Not Knowing Who Your Ideal Customers Are

Do you really know who your ideal customer is? Not focusing on the right niche in the marketplace is a critical mistake. You need to be absolutely clear about who you are marketing to.

There are three groups.  First came the Baby Boomers, then Generation X, then Generation Y.  Gen X is very internet savvy but may be short of money. Gen Y is also internet savvy and they may have more money but they tend to be thriftier.  Baby Boomers have the most money but vary in their proficiency with the internet. 

Actually, opinions on the foregoing vary, it depends on which books you read, but you get the idea.  Do your homework. 

Do market research to make absolutely sure your target market is viable, that they want your product(s) and have the ability to purchase them, and that you understand the best ways to reach them.

One critical mistake that we tend to make is not knowing when to ditch unprofitable customers. These are the ones whom are high maintenance, cranky, demanding or wasters of your time….or all of the above. If you have dealings with too many of these types, beware, the costs outweigh the benefits.  Add new clients to your base, then slowly rid yourself of the problem ones. 

TIP: Never let one or two customers constitute more than 30% of your revenues. This is dangerous. It creates too much dependence and could lead to your having to cater to them too much, to them becoming “problem” customers, as mentioned above (more on this later). 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Are You Complex?

No Limits | The Freedom Coach

Are You Complex?

Written by Steven Griggs |

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”                                                                                                              Walt Whitman

At certain times in your life has it sometimes seemed that you didn’t know what direction to take? That there were so many choices you couldn’t choose the right one?

Have you felt pulled in too many directions?

I have a coaching client who was going through a difficult time. He couldn’t make up his mind whether to be an artist and to get his Masters Degree in art, become a Firefighter or to join the Peace Corp. These were probably just his current ideas.

He is an excellent, talented artist and physically very active. He could do any of the things he was thinking about.

We talked many times about his situation. It was hard for him because he is very passionate about things so when he thinks about doing something he becomes 100% committed to it….., at that moment.

As we talked I explained that he really had to follow his deeper feelings and separate them from his “logical” left brain lineal thoughts, the one that asks questions like: Is this the“right” thing to do?  Will this disappoint your friends and family? Will this meet my family’s expectations….?

I told him that ultimately it didn’t matter what path he took as any one of them is reversible with little or no negative consequence (except maybe a little lost money) and that he didn’t need to think that any one was exclusive to the others.

No matter what he was a talented artist, that wouldn’t change. He could do his art wherever he was, he could paint intermittently or work like a maniac for weeks at a time.  It was up to him.

He could also go to paramedic school if he chose. Being trained as a paramedic would never be a bad thing and would always come in handy.

Working towards getting his Master’s Degree would take a little time but would be a process that would allow him to work at any pace he felt like. He could also stop or change course at any time.

None of these paths were irreversible.

He came to realize that he was not one dimensional, that he was a complex guy, full of creativity. And that creativity took many forms. He came to see that his real job on this planet was to pursue these different paths. And along the way he would be creating and helping others while expanding himself.

We are not one dimensional beings.

We’ve been conditioned to be good feeder breeders and stay within the tribal expectations. Go to school, get a good job, work hard, marry, live the white picket life….

Are you complex? Don’t settle. Live your dreams, live your life as you see it. This may be the only chance you get……

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reboot Your Business!®| The Freedom Coach

Written by Steven Griggs |

25 Mistakes To Avoid, #1

Excerpted from my coming book: “REBOOT YOUR BUSINESS! How to Restructure Your Business to Survive and Thrive in Today’s New Economy”

1.     Failing to Plan

This essentially boils down to three areas of focus. Here are a few thoughts:

1.     Capital: Do you have an accurate budget for the business? Have you been realistic in your income and expense projections? Have you budgeted out far enough into the future? When will you start to make money? Can you wait that long?
2.   Customers: Have you defined your ideal customer? Have you researched the viability of this group of customers? Is this a profitable market to target?  Is there real demand for your products?  What is your marketing plan?
3.     Product: Have you researched that there is indeed a need for your product? Can you create the product at a low enough cost to create sustainable and realistic margins? Have you done enough research to know what volume you will need to sell, and is it realistic?

Today’s entrepreneurs need to have a detailed, intimate understanding of all aspects of their businesses.  This includes marketing, selling, accounting, legalities, and web marketing, to name just a few.  The Business Reboot Questionnaire, Breakeven Analysis, and the Profit and Loss Projection worksheet (forms included in my book) will help you gain clarity about where your business stands right now and also give you insights into  areas of your business that you need to work on.

As an entrepreneur you may have the passion and energy to start the business, but you may be lacking in knowledge in one or more of the areas mentioned above. You don’t have to be the expert, but you do need to have a basic understanding of these areas.  If you lack such knowledge, your task then is to seek out mentors or experts in these areas and obtain the information you need.

Important: Be clear about your motivations.  Are you passionate about your business and products?  Or are you in it just for the money? This is a crucial question. Doing it for the money alone is not enough, because  you will quickly lose interest if the business is slow to make money or it takes longer than you expected to become profitable. Be clear about where your passions, interests, and true motivations lie.

Remember: Passion first, Action next, then Money…

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What Is Your CTF (Claim to Fame)?

No Limits | The Freedom Coach

What is Your CTF (Claim To Fame)?

Written by Steven Griggs |

Meeting new people is interesting. Most people have no problem talking about themselves. Usually it is a way of breaking the ice, trying to get to some place of commonality, and a way of checking you out and making sure you are a conforming member of the tribe. They are deciding if you “fit in” and sometimes you won’t be able to get a word in edge ways.

They will drone on endlessly about their job, their trip, their kids or grandkids, their new car, some extremely yawnsome “stuff” that they think is as fascinating for you to hear as it is for them to tell.

But have you ever noticed that somewhere in the conversation they find a way to slip in one or two things that they think makes them special or that makes them stand out in some way or that connects them with something or someone special?

If you pay attention you’ll see people doing it all the time.  They can’t stand any uncomfortable silence in the conversation. So so rather than listen to what you have to say, they feel the need to mention that they recently spent the week at their friend’s fabulous condo in Hawaii, right on the water, “it’s where Jennifer Aniston and her friends all go…”

Or “Our friends have a yacht anchored off Martinique…., you know, where Mick Jagger has a place….”

Their CTF’s are presented in all kinds of ways…..

I have also noticed another example of a kind of CTF, especially in older people, but this one is actually more of a Replayed CTF, the repeating of older experiences that they’ve had in their lives. Sometimes the stories seem to get burned onto an endless loop and they start repeating themselves …..

This I think is natural as these people are no longer out in the world creating new experiences and adventures. Their world has become smaller and a bit boring. Their day now revolves around aches and pains, doctors, obituaries, medicine and food.

This isn't really all their fault. They don’t have the desire, energy, health or flexibility anymore. It’s not that they've given up, it’s that they've been overtaken by age and all their issues and there they are.

So next time you meet someone, watch them and listen, but more importantly watch yourself. Are you standing there spinning out your CTFs? If you are, you need to look at yourself. What are you doing to deepen your personality? Are you reading enough? Are you taking classes on your areas of interest? Are you travelling? Writing? Painting? Creating?

If you don’t have some breadth and depth in you and a real interest in other people, you might find yourself creeping into displaying some of your CTF’s.

Don’t become a CTF’er.