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The humble entrepreneur

Business consultancy

Being wrong can feel exactly the same as being right, because even in error, the blind assumption of righteousness underlies the assertion.  However, that feeling can change dramatically at the moment the error is realised.   Embarrassment, humiliation, shame are just some of the words to describe what follows that well known sinking feeling.  But it needn’t be that way because ‘error’ is one half of the age-old problem solving tool called ‘trial and error’.  Without recognition of error there are no further trials and no therefore no progression to a solution.  So this is the time where we should differentiate belief in the self from blind righteous belief.  A little humility and Ego detachment go a long way when it comes to assertions of right and wrong.   For the entrepreneur, nothing gets done without self belief, but blind righteous belief in an erroneous assertion could lead to a very costly business failure indeed.

Starting up a business – the benefit of experience

When starting a business, there are two distinctive traits that work strongly in the favour of the everyday entrepreneur.  These are:

  • Previous experience; and
  • Non-conformity

Previous experience builds useful context for making decisions, many of which have to be made under some pressure.  The great thing about previous experience is that it doesn’t have to be your own.  You just have to have access to it.  Hence, there arises the need for a coach, mentor or key employees.

Even though non-conformity is a key element of entrepreneurship, it is important to know what has gone before so that you can either ignore it or build on it.

I have been a practitioner of Aikido for many years.  (If you want to find out more visit my dojo’s website http://www.griffithaikido.com.au).  There is a huge syllabus to learn and there are many mistakes to make along the way.  Time on the mat with a good instructor and fellow practitioners builds experience and proficiency.

The same applies when it comes time to make business decisions.  Time in the decision maker’s chair, time in the industry, and regular practice with other people (i.e. customers, staff, suppliers, collaborators, professional advisers) helps build a mental inventory of solutions that have worked well in similar circumstances.

In the end, most people succeed because they are determined to, but access to knowledge and experience will certainly help you reach your goals sooner.  It also conserves money by not wasting so much of it by stumbling in the dark.

I will discuss the need for non-conformity in my next business planning blog.  Check out my other blog at http://www.aikido-secrets–to-calm-success.com

Until next time!

Gary

Business planning – the business mind

In business planning, much has been written and said about entrepreneurial thinking and the traits that entrepreneurs have in common.  But not much is said about actually developing the mind set that supports entrepreneurial thinking.

Let’s widen the definition of entrepreneur beyond the person with the big business idea who has the charisma and tenacity to win support for its successful implementation.

Now let’s call them the ‘everyday entrepreneur’ and include anyone who has a dream; has the guts to take a risk and have a go; and who gets a result, either good or bad.  So in my view, that can be:

  • Every business owner
  • Any action-driven risk taker in any context – e.g. business, sport, science
  • Anyone who attempts to network for gain; and
  • Anyone who addresses groups or speaks publicly

That’s a lot of people.  Well that’s my point!

Most heroes go unnoticed in this world, as do most entrepreneurs.  Your name doesn’t have to be Richard Branson, Dick Smith or Donald Trump to take a risk and have a go.

Many people try and many people stumble because they run into problems that they feel ill-equipped to solve.  That’s why it’s a common to hear of entrepreneurs having many failures before finally achieving success.

It is my experience over the past 30 years that all people have dreams; the majority have the entrepreneurial streak (in the wider definition), but most lack the mind skills to see it through to successful implementation.

More on business planning – the business mind in my next blog.

Check out my other blog at http://www.aikido-secrets–to-calm-success.com

Until next time!

Gary

Small business marketing – become a teen entrepreneur (part 2)

Extraordinary photograph courtesy of Spiral Photography

Continuing on from my last post, here are two more innovative ideas for teen entrepreneurs to join the small business marketing process.

Techno problem solver

If everyone over 50 is like me, then they don’t have the first clue about programming the new TV, undoing the onscreen nightmare that’s created when a wrong button is pressed on the TV remote; setting up the DVD player; and what the hell does a router do; getting online with a brand new computer; creating a Facebook page; organizing the first Skype conversation; setting up Windows Outlook; and making the plethora of associated gremlins go away.

The list goes on and on!  I need my adult children around just so I can live my life without an electronic or online disaster.

Therefore if you can effortlessly take care of all this stuff then you are valuable to almost half of the Australian population.  People will pay you handsomely for your assistance and advice.

Personal concierge

Busy people who work long hours don’t have time to do anything for themselves.  The main reason is that they have no time during the week when other businesses are open.

Many are also reluctant to give up valuable weekends to do boring stuff like food shopping.  Here are just a few things that need to get done:

  • Pick up children from school or daycare
  • Make medical & dental appointments
  • Go shopping for clothes
  • Do grocery shopping
  • Make travel bookings
  • Get dry cleaning done
  • Find theatre & concert tickets
  • Find a good restaurant
  • Buy Christmas, birthday & anniversary gifts
  • Organise events and other people

People need things to get done but they don’t have time to do it themselves.  Many are willing to pay someone else to get things done so life can go on harmoniously.

The trick here is to be super-organised, good at multi-tasking, very creative, and to have great contacts around town.  There will always be the occasional difficult request which distinguishes the very good concierge from the ordinary.  Having a good personal concierge is like having a good hairdresser and a trustworthy mechanic.

If you want to read more about becoming a teen entrepreneur and tips about small business marketing go to http://garyweigh.com/recession-riches-and-wealth

Until next time

Gary

Small business marketing – become a teen entrepreneur

3D animation by the young wizard Daniel Lloyd

Ever thought of becoming a part of small business marketing?

Exams are done, schoolies week is finished and many new school leavers suddenly have an abundance of time on their hands.  For those that have not settled in their career choice, it might be the right time to launch into a small entrepreneurial venture.

For stay-at-home teens, rent is cheap, overheads are low, Mum and Dad are at their most anxious to see their pride and joy on a productive path in life and time is plentiful.  That opportunity won’t come around again.

So while you have an in-built support network at home, think about a business opportunity for your self, or at least a part time income earner that takes the pressure off your parent’s budget.

Business should be fun, so think about your passions in life.  How can doing what you’re passionate about be called ‘work’?  Also think about how you like to spend your time (other than sleeping), what you are good at and what your strengths are.

So if you are among the 40% of young people who dream of their own business someday, here are a couple of ideas to spark your fertile imagination:

1. Social media network consultant

As teens, you have been brought up with Facebook, Twitter and other social media.  You know it inside out.  It’s second nature.  What you probably don’t know is that social media is big business in the outside world.  Teens are the gatekeepers although most don’t realise it.

The fact is that older people in business want to get into social media marketing.  These days it is integral to small business marketing.  Business owners know the high value of accessing social media but many don’t know where to start.

This means that any Facebook / Twitter savvy teen with some imagination can charge for his or her services as a social media network guru.  It’s all about getting paid to do what comes naturally.

For example, I have a personal Facebook presence but I want to set up a Facebook site for my business (Gary Weigh & Associates – coaching, start ups, internet marketing etc) and then I want to attract 5,000 friends to it.   If I was a teen I’d have it done by now.  But as a busy business person I just don’t have the time.

2. Online writer

An online writer is essential to the small business marketing process.  If you love the English language and you always enjoyed essays and story writing then online writing may be for you.

Everyone in the online world needs content in the form of text, images and video.  It might be for web sites, blog posts, commenting in online forums, writing keyword-rich text, or writing articles.

I write two blogs and have just paid an online writer (I have never met) a couple of hundred dollars to write a bunch of articles for me.  So there is definitely money to be made here.

So if you are feeling the slightest entrepreneurial twinge, give it some thought.  let me know at gary@garyweigh.com

Until next time

Gary

Small business entrepreneur – using a management consultant

Dean Miscamble entrepreneurial owner of new look photography business - Spiral Photography

What is a management consultant?  This is an important concept that many people misunderstand.

The common perception is that of an up market well dressed sales person pretending to be an expert who takes your money for doing very little.  If you can’t get a real job become a management consultant right?

Yes there are a few of these pretenders around just like there are rogues in every industry.

True management consultants are problem solvers and lifestyle enhancers who put people in a far better position than they were before.  They are experts in their field and invaluable resources of information and experience.  They are relationship builders, not transaction processors.  They value long term clients, not one time customers.

Consultants listen and take the time to gather information and understand the particular circumstances and needs of the client.  They give specific advice and deliver solutions tailored to individual client need; they don’t push-sell clients into pre-packaged products.  In a nutshell, they help clients get what they want.

During the consulting process, the consultant will listen, advise, guide, add to the creativity, suggest solutions, propose alternatives, play devil’s advocate, challenge conventional thinking and be a sounding board, but it is all geared around helping clients get what they want.

Because there is regular and meaningful interaction during the process of reaching the desired solution, it is inevitable that part of the process is client education.  In many instances, clients are better off because instead of simply being sold a fish, they are taught to fish for themselves.

So what is it that consultants are really selling?  Themselves mostly!  It doesn’t matter whether a consultant works in business, real estate, law, internet marketing or road marking, it is all about mutual trust and client satisfaction.

Until next time!

Gary

Thinking of a business start up?  Check out how we help you get where you want to go at http://www.garyweigh.com/blog/business-startup

Business start up – mind first, business second

Yep, that's me! At a 70's party two weeks ago

I have been a business coaching, consulting, training and mentoring for 25 years now.  For 24 of those years I would never have believed that I would be conducting mind calming and centering exercises with clients in the local Botanical Gardens.

One of the greatest gifts I have ever received is the gift of Aikido.  Yes it’s a Japanese martial art and its great self defence but that’s not important.  The important part is the accompanying mind development.

I have practiced Aikido for quite a few years now and the penny has finally dropped.  My mind switch from ‘fearful, over-competitive and stressed’ to ‘non-fearful, calm and non-aggressive’ has been an amazing transformation for me.

Losing my fear has been nothing short of a revelation.  I don’t mean that now I have a brash disrespect for obvious danger.  What I mean is that it is great to lose that brain-chatter level of worry and self doubt.  Those two critters and the raft of negative thoughts they create really do sink a lot of otherwise successful ventures.

What makes an entrepreneur successful is his or her mindset – nothing else.  The opportunism, motivation, persistence, optimism, creativity, leadership, hard work and the other defining attributes all come from the mind.

The reason people fail in business is because they don’t have the right mindset.  It is as simple as that.

Now I’m not a psychologist but I have come to realise that it is mindset first, business second.  The symptoms I commonly see are fear and self doubt which can manifest them selves as lack of focus, procrastination and inertia.

In many cases, it results in over-compensation with aggressive and over-competitive behaviour.  Most of those rude, blustering, aggressive, always-right business types are train wrecks on the inside.

So anyway, back to the Botanical Gardens story.  One day I decided to conduct an experiment on a client.  I arranged to meet her at the gates of the local botanical gardens and I was prepared with a set of exercises based on the relaxation exercises and centering techniques used in Aikido.

My goal was to calm her mind and guide her to a state of feeling grounded and centered.  The Botanical Gardens was the only place of peace and beauty I could think of.

It worked and I wrote down the exercises for her so that she could do them at home.  I have never heard of a business coach doing such a thing.  I reckon I might be the only one but if it helps people to break the mind-shackles and achieve their dreams then I am happy to share.

Until next time!

Gary

If you would like to know more about how to start your own business contact me at gary@garyweigh.com and visit http://www.garyweigh.com/blog/business-startup

If you would like to read more about Aikido mind development visit my Aikido Secrets site at http://www.aikido-secrets-to-calm-success.com

Business start up – all in a day’s work for an Aussie female entrepreneur!

One of my very good friends is an amazing female entrepreneur.  Over coffee this morning she told me this amazing story.

Last Saturday, she met a new client for lunch in a local coffee shop bistro.  It was supposed to be a straight forward business start up meeting with this lady for an online internet marketing business.  It was a hot day and they sat inside the restaurant in the cool air conditioning.

My friend had her handbag sitting on her lap with her arm resting on top of it but did not have her arm through the strap.  They hadn’t been seated for very long when my friend’s handbag was taken from this position – and she didn’t feel a thing!

It took her client to point out several times that a young well dressed guy had just snatched her bag and was now out the door and running away down the street.   By the time my friend came to full realization of what had just happened the guy had a considerable head start.

She described him as being in his twenties, tall, of slim build and well dressed in casual clothes.  My friend is about 5’7” (170cm), almost twice his age, not so fit, with a heart condition and was wearing high heels.

She mowed this guy down inside two blocks (in high heels).  She recalled that after sprinting down one block she was running out of gas fast.  With a ‘now or never’ attitude she found overdrive and scorched down the second block running on pure adrenalin.

His mistake was to turn a corner and stop to see if she was still chasing.  She was, and as she rounded the corner, the guy took off again up a short hill.

She planted her hand into the middle of his back and grabbed a handful of shirt.  Some how without losing her own balance, she kicked him in the back of the knee and felled him to the pavement like a steer that had just been roped.  The momentum caused him to skid for a metre or so to a skin grazing halt.

Without allowing him to take his face out of the pavement she reclaimed her handbag and let him have it with a few well chosen expletives.  Unfortunately for the thief, that section of pavement was finished with exposed aggregate.

He wasn’t a pretty sight when he staggered to his feet bleeding profusely from gravel rashes on his face, hands and forearms.  He ran off and once again stopped (slow learner) at the next corner to look back to make sure he was free and clear.

He wasn’t!  Moments later a police car entered the street and followed in hot pursuit.  Fortunately, someone in the footpath crowd, which moments before had magically parted like the Red Sea, had called the cops.

My friend hasn’t had as much as a minute of tuition in any martial art, but due to her profession she does have a deep understanding of the Universal energy.  She said she connected with the thief and stayed connected.  The rest was pure heart and adrenalin (and her body’s distant memory of high school running).

Knowing I am an Aikido practitioner, my friend said she realises that it wasn’t the aikido thing to do to run after a thief or a mugger but, without conscious thought, as her primal fight or flight reaction kicked in, she decided that she wasn’t going to be a victim.

Who was I to argue?

Until next time!

Gary

Post Script: When she finally recovered from the shock, spoke to police and returned to her client at the restaurant, they decided the business start up could wait a couple of days and went to the pub!

Visit http://garyweigh.com/business-startup

Business start up – 7 entrepreneurial traits to start & 3 to succeed

The Empress, Victoria B.C.

Entrepreneurs are often described as impulsive, energetic, genius risk takers and charismatic leaders.  No doubt there have been quite a few of these personalities in business start ups throughout history.  But does that really help define the underlying traits of entrepreneurship?  I don’t think so!

When we think of entrepreneurs, we automatically think of successful entrepreneurs.  We tend not to associate the word ‘entrepreneur’ with failure or unsuccessful business people.

It is easy to laud successful entrepreneurs as heroes and visionaries.  It is just as easy to label unsuccessful entrepreneurs as egotistical losers.  To do so however, is to misconstrue the concept of entrepreneurship.

It is in a similar way that we misconstrue the concept of ‘risk’.  We focus only on the downside of risk – the risk of loss.  No one except trained finance boffins ever talks about upside risk or the risk of winning.  Yet risk is a positive and negative concept.

It is the same with entrepreneurship.  Some entrepreneurs are successful and some are unsuccessful.  And some try and fail many times before finally succeeding.

So merely exhibiting entrepreneurial traits is no guarantee of business success.  It merely defines the type of person most likely to get off their ass and give it a go.

So with that in mind, I have listed what I believe to be the 7 entrepreneurial traits required merely to give a business start up a go – with no guarantee of success:

  1. Uncomfortable working for others
  2. Enthusiasm and motivation to make it work
  3. An ethic of hard work
  4. Sees opportunity, not problems
  5. Can enlist others in their cause
  6. Has intuitive good judgment
  7. Can attract necessary knowledge and skill

Now here are the final three entrepreneurial traits that, in my experience, distinguish the successful from the unsuccessful:

  1. Has sharp awareness of own strengths and special skills; an honest recognition of own weaknesses plus an appreciation of what is lacking; doesn’t presume to know everything or do everything
  1. Takes much of the risk out of risky ventures by carefully matching products and services to consumer demand, by thorough business planning, by excellent team building and by adherence to sound business practices, particularly financial management
  1. Is doggedly persistent and not deterred by setbacks and failure; recognises that success is a journey, not an overnight outcome; always finds a way; has the ability to maintain a calm positive mind in the face of adversity; recognises that mind is everything; becomes creative to survive

Until next time!

Gary

For 100 top business start up ideas and lots more tips and traps for entrepreneurs, read my latest book at:

http://garyweigh.com/recession-riches-and-wealth

Australian Entrepreneur Dick Smith: Starting Dick Smith Electronics

I was browsing You Tube when I found this short clip.  Dick Smith is an Australian entrepreneurial icon.  He gives 3 pieces of advice that I really like:

  • Ask advice
  • Copy the success of others
  • Surround yourself with capable people

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did

Until next time!

Gary