Monday, May 25, 2009

Career Advice for Business Owners (from NY Times Best Selling Author Christine Comaford)

Earlier this year, I interviewed Christine Comaford, author of Rules for Renegades on my radio show about building a mighty venture. Christine has consulted to the White House, 700 of the Fortune 1000, and over 100 small businesses. She has neither a high school diploma nor college degree but she has built and sold five of her own businesses and served as a board director or in-the-trenches advisor to 36 startups.

Here are her key tips on one business building killer: Lack of Reliable Revenue.

Not having reliable revenue systems spells death to more businesses than I could count in a lifetime. To begin with, it totally drains you of much-needed energy and kills your creativity day after day. When it comes to growing your business, CASH IS KING, and the best way to generate cash for your business FAST is by generating profitable SALES. To increase your sales, you need to learn to disqualify sales leads.

Here’s the 1-2-3 for creating healthier leads.

1. Set your objective for prospecting. Shifting your objective from getting the appointment to determining whether the prospect qualifies for an appointment is key. Next, eliminate your fear of rejection; it’s easier to do this when you aren’t begging for sales meetings. Instead of begging for meetings, identify your target prospects using specifics, such as price point, budgets, decision-making ability and schedules. Only make appointments with prospects who need, want, and can afford what you are selling and are willing to buy from you now.

2. Start separating real leads from unlikely ones. This type of prospecting is essentially a practice of sorting and identifying by talking to as many people as you can in the shortest amount of time. This involves learning how to disqualify a low probability prospect and maintain control of the interaction. Remember, whoever asks the questions is in control. Here are a few key reminders to keep in mind when you make calls: A) I work with high probability prospects only. I disqualify everyone else. B) “No” is just as good as “yes.” C) When in doubt, I disqualify.

3. Stay focused. Fear is what keeps most of us chasing sales leads that we know aren’t high probability. Here are three ways to stay on track and further cement this learning into your sales process. A) You are training prospects when you disqualify them. B) Deal with discomfort by acknowledging it and pushing through it anyway. C) Remind yourself often that this is the disqualification game.

Remember, you have no power to make a high probability prospect. You do have the power to disqualify – and THAT is the key to creating a healthier list of prospects, clients, and ultimately the future of your successful and well-financed business.

Thanks Christine! For more on this subject, Visit the "Resources" section of her Mighty Ventures Web site for free financing, sales, marketing, and operational documents, templates, and white papers and see Christine's Results Now Webinar.

Have a business you need to build revenue for? Share your challenges here and success stories too. Being your own boss is a dream for many, let's make it a reality! Looking forward to your comments.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maximizing Results with a Career Coach

I am honored to write this guest blog for my Career Coach Maggie Mistal. I have been inspired and motivated by Maggie throughout the coaching process. The experience has been extremely valuable in helping me launch LSR Coaching and Consulting, LLC in only a few months after leaving my corporate career. The accelerated timing is due entirely to my coaching with Maggie.

If you are considering hiring a career coach, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
First, you need to hire a qualified coach. Maggie is an excellent example and offers a complimentary consultation to determine if she is the right fit for you.
Second, be prepared to work hard. A career coach will guide you and will have discovery exercises to help you. The experience is only valuable, however, if you complete the exercises and really put your self into the work entailed.
Third, be creative in the ways you “try on” a new career. Be prepared to network and research your career interests. With my new business, networking is an important aspect of my marketing plan. I wish I would have started networking years ago because it would have made getting started much easier. It is never too late to start though! I started networking about four months ago and recently conducted a well received mini-workshop at one of my networking meetings. There are many ways to network such as Chambers of Commerce, groups for your profession, Toastmasters, economic clubs, etc. Try various avenues to see what is most comfortable for you.

Through my coaching with Maggie, I realized my dream of starting an attention coaching business shortly after taking a voluntary buy-out from the automotive industry. My business is in a relatively new field that coaches people to overcome challenges associate with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder although someone doesn’t need a diagnosis to benefit. Clients have been motivated to improve academic performance and develop time-saving routines at home among other results. To learn more, visit me at

Thanks Laura! And share what results you'd like to see materialize more quickly in your own career! Is there a business you'd like to start? Are you thinking about coaching as a career? What strategies have worked for you to get faster results in reaching your career goals?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Career Advice for Working Moms

According to Harvard Business Publishing, 75% of women of child-bearing age (24 to 44) have a job or want one. As a career coach, I help many moms work smarter not harder. Use these simple strategies to keep your career on track while still being a super mom:

1. Keep networking. With all the demands on their time, most moms find they network less and less. By losing touch with your company or your industry you run the risk of missing out on opportunities. Instead, resolve to attend a minimum of 3 networking events a year and choose wisely. High profile events, industry-wide events and company events are great. Don’t forget your child’s games and practices too. Learn what other moms and dads do for a living and share contacts. Your next great career connection might be closer than you think.

2. Advocate for yourself. The fastest climbers up the corporate ladder are not the ones who do the most work. Rather they work strategically, focusing on work that impacts the bottom-line and gets them noticed. Whether you’re VP or mailroom clerk, you have the chance to make a difference. Don’t just do what you’re told. Come up with new ideas and strategies to get work done and save the company money. And let the higher-ups know about it when you catch them in the elevator.

3. Delegate. Getting it done right doesn't always mean doing it yourself. In fact, if you want to get more done in less time you need to delegate effectively. That means finding resources who are qualified, whom you can train to do work for you. Interns are a great option. They are eager to learn and don’t mind doing a lot of different tasks. But always make sure to have the delegatee repeat back the assignment; that way you can avoid any miscommunication and ensure the assignment is done right.

For Moms returning to work, check out my recent video on How to Rejoin the Workforce After a Break from Motherhood.

And if you have a working Mom you'd like to thank, share your comments here. I thank my Mom for showing me how to make a great living doing what you love. You see, she went to medical school after having 3 kids and with the support of my Dad and grandparents, achieved her dream too. Tell me about your Mom and what she taught you about having a great life and career. Happy Mother's Day!