“Better Is The Enemy Of Good”—Fortune Cookie Friday Small Biz Wisdom

Complacency to remain “status quo” as a solopreneur or freelancer can mean a shorter shelf life for your small business.Fortune Cookie Friday

 

This week’s fortune cookie reading, “Better is the enemy of good,” reminds us of that.

 

Good is…well…good. But only by getting better can our businesses achieve respect and create greater demand for our services.

 

Good might get the contract, but better is the key to keeping a client for life.

 

Lots of other businesses are good. What are you going to do to be better—to give clients a reason to work with you rather than your competition?

 

Fortunately, striving for better doesn’t always require significant effort. Tweaking minor aspects of your M.O. can make a big difference in the perceived value of your services.

 

Doing business better and adding value can mean:

 

  • Reading one article a day that can strengthen your knowledge in your field or help you hone your skills.
  • Returning emails and phone calls more quickly.
  • Responding to inquiries from your website contact form within 8 business hours.
  • Never forgetting the personal touch when communicating with clients. Show you care by starting with sentiments like, “How was your weekend?” or “I hope all is well with you.” End on a note of, “Have a wonderful day,” and “Thanks again for the opportunity to work with you.”
  • Sending customers links to blog posts and articles relevant to a particular challenge they’re facing or a topic you’ve recently discussed with them.
  • Showing clients some love on social media by connecting with them on the channels you share and liking or sharing their content regularly.
  • Proactively suggesting projects that can either save them time, money, or make them more money.

 

Now the question: If better is the enemy of good, is best the enemy of better?

 

Endeavoring to be your best (not to be confused with the unattainable goal of perfection) will always take you farther on the road to success. But take care not to thwart your efforts to better yourself by comparing yourself too closely to your competition. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, but focus on developing your own unique value.

 

Good. Better. Best. Raising the bar is the enemy of ordinary.

 

Over to you! What do you do to continually better your business and raise its value to your clients?

Fortune Cookie Friday Small Biz Wisdom: Do You Dare?

What a fine specimen for this Fortune Cookie Friday’s nugget of takeout wisdom.Fortune Cookie Friday: Dare

 

 Fortune sides with him who dares.”

 

As solopreneurs and small business owners, we constantly meet opportunity. And with it, we face uncertainty and risk.

 

Going into business for yourself in and of itself stands as the perfect example of how opportunity, uncertainty, and risk are intertwined. To reap the rewards of opportunities, you sometimes need to put yourself out there and expose yourself to the possibility of not succeeding.

 

It’s scary. But, “Fortune sides with him who dares.”

 

To start and grow a business, you must dare to take some chances. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself at a severe disadvantage.

 

By “dare,” I mean you have to exit your comfort zone more than you care to.

 

Otherwise, you likely won’t:

 

  • Find as many potential clients.
  • Discover new ways to expand your offerings.
  • Learn crucial new business technology tools.
  • Significantly hone your skills and knowledge.

 

Don’t dare and you will get left behind and lost in the shuffle.

 

Do you dare…

 

  • Go to a networking function where you’ll know no one?
  • Talk with a competitor to see if you might form a collaborative partnership to serve more clients?
  • Invest dollars in a social media management tool?
  • Fly across the country to attend training?

 

True, there’s always the risk things won’t work out as well as you hope they will. But fortune favors those who dare with new perspectives—and new opportunities.

 

What have you dared to do lately to better your business? Dare to share it here!

 

By Dawn Mentzer (a.k.a. The Insatiable Solopreneur™)

6 Ways to Rock Your Week, Week After Week

Rock the weekIn response to me retweeting one of his tweets on Monday, one of my favorite quality content connections on Twitter, Brett Relander, responded with a “Thanks” followed by, “Rock the week!”

 

Rock the week.

 

While I’m typically self-motivated and ready to go on Mondays, those three single-syllable words gave me a little nudge. An added push to pick up what this week will lay down. It injected some extra motivation into my mindset.

 

So I got to thinking, what if we solopreneurs would approach every week with a “rock the week” attitude? What if we’d start every week with some fire in our bellies to dig in and do it like we know we can?

 

More importantly, how can we approach every week that way?

 

Reflecting on work habits that have helped me get enthused and stay productive, I’ve listed a few tips that might work for you, too.

 

Six Tips For Rocking Your Work Week

Get organized.

Have a plan for tackling what you need to do each day of the coming week. Schedule time for projects, tasks, and meetings on your calendar. By having a plan for getting things accomplished, you’ll minimize the risk of things slipping through the cracks.

Leave some wiggle room.

Even the best-laid plans go awry. Impromptu, last minute projects. Requests for changes to work already submitted. Unexpected RFPs needing near-immediate attention. Technical issues. All of those things take time you didn’t plan on spending. By building some unspoken for time into your schedule, you can address the unexpected without falling too far behind.

Get energized.

Pump yourself up for the week ahead. Play some music by your favorite artist. Watch a motivational video. Listen to a motivational podcast. Read a motivational blog post. Even take a brisk walk or work out to get your blood flowing.

Eat like you mean business.

Fuel your body with the good stuff—veggies, high-quality protein, lots of water…you know the drill!

Reflect on what’s good.

Yeah, sometimes life as a solopreneur gets tough. But there’s always something to be thankful for. Consciously embracing an “attitude of gratitude” really can shift your perspective and make challenges and business roadblocks less intimidating.

Keep your eye on the prize.

Stepping away from the minutia to focus on the big picture can help, too. Rather than viewing tasks and projects as “just work,” instead view them as serving a greater purpose.

  • Opportunities that can lead to larger, more lucrative opportunities.
  • Revenue to get you closer to your financial goals.
  • Opportunities to demonstrate your expertise and build your professional reputation.
  • Activities to make your business operate like a well-oiled machine.

 

No secret formulas or rocket science here, but hopefully some actionable advice that could make the difference between a “blah” week and one that rocks.

 

Rock on!

 

How do you keep your motivation from waning and productivity from slipping in your business? Please share your tips here!

 

By Dawn Mentzer (a.k.a. The Insatiable Solopreneur™)

 

 

Fortune Cookie Friday Small Business Wisdom: Push Yourself

After several readers inquired, Fortune Cookie Friday posts are back!Fortune Cookie Business Wisdom

What is Fortune Cookie Friday, you ask?

It’s the day when I crack open a fortune cookie and dig deep into the hidden meaning within to glean some small business wisdom.

And then I share it with you (of course).

Here it goes…

Get your goals high and you will always move forward.

(Yeah, sometimes I get lucky. Could this one be any more business appropriate?)

My interpretation from a solopreneur’s perspective: Keep reaching to keep motivated!

Goal-setting is so very important for even the smallest of businesses. Without it, you can become complacent—and, dare I say, lazy.

We need to strive to achieve something every day. We need to take steps toward our larger, overarching objectives. We need to maintain momentum.

“Getting your goals high” doesn’t mean setting yourself up for failure by aiming for the unattainable. It means endeavoring to go beyond your comfort zone so you have to stretch a little.

• Connect with someone on LinkedIn who you’ve perceived as out of your league.
• Write a blog post and ask someone else for constructive feedback.
• Seek out a speaking engagement where you can share your expertise in your field.
• Accept a type of project that you’re capable of but haven’t done before.

Personally and professionally, I find that pushing myself keeps me motivated. As a former gym rat, I equate it to doing “just one more set” on the squat rack.

Never settle for just enough.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

 

Be Like a Tree in Autumn: Shed to Grow Your Business

Right now in Lancaster County, PA, the leaves are in the process of turning from green to hues of orange, yellow, and brown. Autumn leaves Fall is a beautiful time here…and it’s a season that offers a lesson in professional and personal development.

Solopreneurs: Don’t be afraid to “lose leaves.” Shed to grow!

Just as trees need to shed their old leaves to advance to the next stage of their lives, so do we need to at times shed to grow and prosper. Not everything  – no matter how well it suits us at one time or another – can continue to be an ongoing part of who we are and what we do. Sometimes we have to let go to move onward.

As a solopreneur, I think it’s particularly important to know when enough is enough and to recognize when something has run its course.  You have limited time and attention as a solo biz owner. There’s no time for what no longer serves you and your business well.

Just as the trees are undergoing defoliation and ditching what they no longer need, I encourage you as a solopreneur to take careful note of what’s hanging from your branches. Do you see any “leaves” you should drop to become a more effective and efficient solopreneur?

  • “Busy work” you can eliminate?
  • Services that don’t align with your business vision and goals?
  • Clients who create more stress than is worth the income they’re bringing your way?
  • Colleagues who serve to deflate your confidence rather than build it?
  • Networking groups that don’t deliver a return that’s worth your time and effort? (Note: You first have to spend some time and effort on them before you can judge!)
  • Online social networks you can’t keep up with?
  • Personal habits – or lack of good habits –  that are holding you back (not getting enough sleep, eating junk all the time, not exercising…)?

As the leaves of Lancaster – and wherever you are – continue their transformation this season, think about what you might change to make your personal and professional life a little lighter.  You might not find it easy to say “goodbye” to certain practices or people, but find the strength to do it. Change is vital for realizing and reaching your potential!

What “leaves” might you shed to make your business move forward?

By Dawn Mentzer

Ring in the New Year with a New Attitude

I can’t speak for all solopreneurs, but there are times when I need a kick in the pants to put my head on straight and gain aPerspective fresh perspective. As small business owners, we’re constantly busy “doing.” Of course, we’re “thinking” an awful lot, too, but that’s not the same as “reflecting.”

No, I’m not going to get all Kumbayah on you, however, I am advocating that you consciously take some time now and then to get beyond the busyness of business and immerse yourself in some “what really matters” thought. Why? When life seems out of control and too many balls are airborne, recognizing what you can be thankful for and realizing there are things you shouldn’t take for granted will get you grounded. You’ll gain a new appreciation of all that you have – and you’ll find ways to make the most out of those things.

What better way to kick off the New Year than with a new attitude…or a simple attitude adjustment! And here are a few reads that I found might help with that…

Any of Us Can Fall by Geoff Livingston – Geoff shares an experience and gives us a sobering reminder that none of us are immune to hard times – and that we should never judge.

Five Ways to Amp Up Your Holiday Conversations by Dominque O’Rourke – Not all conversations are created equal. Dominique shares some wonderful ways to make yours more meaningful.

How to be Happy by Dan Waldschmidt – We so often think about being happy as something that happens to us rather than it being a condition within our control. Check out Dan’s tips for bringing happiness to you rather than waiting for it to randomly appear.

Small Business, Big Lessons: How To Learn The Hard Way And Live To Earn Another Day by Carol Lynn Rivera – We ALL make mistakes. No, we don’t like to make them (or admit to them), but they’re inevitable for even the most accomplished and intelligent professionals. Carol Lynn shares her own experience to help us “get out of the manhole” when life doesn’t go according to plan.

Enjoy! And I hope that, like I did, you’ll garner some inspiration to greater appreciation from them, too.

How about you? Please share the links to any articles that you’ve found particularly inspiring and motivating.

Image courtesy of razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net