Thursday, June 18, 2009

How I Overcame My Big Business Challenge

Yet another wonder from Mike Michalowicz..............

They say misery likes company. I think challenges like company too. As an entrepreneur you may feel that you are an island. You may believe that you are the first ever to face your challenge, but I have good news. You’re not. Many entrepreneurs have come before you, and many will after. Here are the stories that some of our TPE community wanted to share with you. You are not alone!

1. Thinking Bigger

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: One of the toughest moments in business is when I allowed my thinking to get in the way. I had achieved success, was happy at where the business had gotten but frustrated it was not moving forward.

I soon realized, thanks to outstanding mentors that I had already reached all my goals/dreams.
All I needed was to create bigger goals/dreams and see myself going farther.

It was then that I searched out books that challenged me to change my mindset(TPE), got me thinking bigger and focused daily on moving my business to the next level.

What you think about is powerful, so make sure it is big enough to take you to the next step.

Thanks To: Cheryl Hill of Simply Working From Home

2. Not Getting Paid

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: What made me almost give up running my own business is when I ran into a client who did not pay. I did get a down payment, but when I completed the work and did not get paid for it, I started believing that all clients are crooks, so thereby, threatened to give up being self-employed. Eventually, I resolved the matter by getting the Attorney General involved. I got past it when another client paid me the next day. That is when I knew not all clients were the same.

Thanks To: Harry Husted of Creating Words

3. Till Death Do Us Part

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: Leaping out into the arena of “business owner” at 24 years of age was definitely a trial by fire. Feeling confident that I could personally handle all the business world could throw at me was an extreme error in judgment.

Less than one year in business I had a contractor put my fledgling marketing company in a world of hurt by making promises to clients on my behalf and then requiring “up-front” money to get a job completed. Trust but verify, right? Well, I just trusted. That turned into clients suing me and me having laid out money to a contractor who didn’t do the work promised.

It was at that point I realized I needed a team of professionals (attorney, accountant, coach) to get me out of the mess I was in. Had I not made that decision, I would have been finished before I started.

It’s a mistake to think you can do it all on your own. Establish that support team. Surround yourself and company with professionals who allow you to grow your company and can act as an objective sounding board. Heck, I develop marketing strategies for clients and still seek objective marketing insight for my own company. Don’t try to heal yourself. :)

Find that trusted team of professionals and you’ll grow together. Till death do us part.

Thanks To: Troy Scheer of TRANCE Marketing Group

4. I Needed A Clone!

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: A few years ago, I was trying to transform my copywriting/consulting business into an online business with ebooks, teleseminars, etc. But I was struggling to figure out the online world, let alone get all the set up and marketing tasks done.

On a tiny budget, I tried hiring an in-house, part-time employee. But they didn’t have the skill set I really needed. Finally I hired a fantastic Virtual Assistant team who had everything up and running for me in a few weeks. Now I can’t live without them, and firmly believe every small business should have their own team of Virtual Assistants to handle their Website, blog and online marketing!

Thanks To: Stacy Karacostas of SuccessStream

5. Guaranteed Solution Finder

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: Develop and re-visit principles (procedures, practices, laws… whatever you call them depending on the biz you’re in) by asking and answering these five questions:

1) What is the principle? Define it.
2) Why is it a principle?
3) Have things changed since it became a principle?
4) Is it effective?
5) Does it meet with your responsibilities?

If 4 and/or 5 are “no” drop the principle immediately.

Thanks To: Ian Coburn of Best Possible Choice

6. Author Of 10 Books And Passionate Professional Speaker

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: The biggest challenge I’ve faced has been ME getting in my own way…

-thinking I do it better than anyone else so why get help

-too proud to ask for help and not asking…

-thinking about the ‘cost’ of getting help instead of the ‘investment’

When I overcame this challenge my biz changed dramatically. Getting help isn’t a luxury - it’s a necessity.

Thanks To: Weston Lyon of Weston Lyon’s Secret Society

7. Your Know Helps Others Grow

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: I knew in order to be taken serious in business I had to be an expert. Answering questions each week in the TPE Blogs has given me a chance to build my foundation on an international level.

Thanks To: Derrick Hayes of WOE Enterprises

8. How I Overcame The Toughest Moment In Growing My Business

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: Because I work for myself, I don’t have a boss hovering over me, telling me what to do next. One of the most difficult things to do with your own business is to generate sales. Creating sales, or bringing in clients has been the biggest challenge. I had to be disciplined and make it happen. It is hard work. The way I dealt with this was to choose a “marketing buddy” This is a person who is doing the same thing I am doing, buidling a business. We coach each other along. I had to make a commitment, then answer to my marketing buddy when I accomplished it. No man or woman is an island,
and due to this I became alot more disciplined in my work.

Thanks To: Gerry Hoylie of Allana Enterprises

9. Marketing

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: I am not a natural marketer on many fronts. I am not about SALES but I am about service. I focus on how to serve and help my clients rather than sell. I begin with how can I help you, tell me what is going on, and begin a listening dialogue. What is your focus in your business and how do you define what you do?

Thanks To: Ellen Delap of

10. Expanding Comfort Zones

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: Marketing ourselves is nearly paralyzing for us more introverted types but not marketing ourselves is deadly…at least for our businesses. From giving presentations to attending those dreaded networking events, promoting our businesses can be a harrowing experience that forces us to spend way too much time out of our comfort zones. So what I do to shift my discomfort is remind myself I am not SELLING anything but rather I am SHARING information that will support others to live more balanced, fulfilling lives and by not telling people about it, I am withholding valuable information from those who could most benefit from it. So try it for yourself and see if you can rezone your comfort zone.

Thanks To: Kirsten Mahoney of Insight Out Life Coaching

11. Keep The Creative Thoughts Flowing!

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: As a Jewelry designer of One-of-a-Kind and Limited edition jewelry, my biggest challenge is keeping the creative ideas flowing. What helps me get un-stuck when I have a creative mental block is looking at Fashion magazines, watching Fashion oriented TV shows and old movies,and talking to other creative artists and designers about the inspiration for their work.

Thanks To: LaNorma Huggins-Hopes of Signature Designs by LaNorma

12. Navigating The €�outsourcing” Minefield

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: One of my biggest challenges has been finding quality outsourced help for various technical, web design and graphic design tasks. I found that many services are not as biz savvy or competent as they seem and they don’t pay attention to what the customer asks for. After much frustration, and wasting months of time and many hundreds of dollars, I took matters into my own hands and learned how to do some of the tasks myself. Doing so has given me greater control and flexibility while saving me time and money.

Thanks To: Nadia Koligman of Dreamnautics Media

13. My Manufacturer Dumped Me

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: When my USA based manufacturer dumped me claiming I was way underpaying for his services I was devastated. After a few tears, I quickly called upon a friend and asked for a new cutting service to save on time while I looked for a new contractor. When I went to see this man, I asked him for a referral to a sewing contractor and he sent me down the road. This new factory ended up sewing for me for 2 years and I paid even LESS than before.

Thanks To: Sarah Shaw of Simply Sarah

14. Turning The Fear Into The Adventure

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: The toughest moment I ever encountered when starting MentorCONNECT was the fear of the unknown. There was no template for what I was about to embark upon. Then one day I got up and realized that I could look at it like an adventure - like taking a trip to a new place and just seeing what happened! That changed everything and within a few weeks, the MentorCONNECT site was up and running and we already had our first members!

Thanks To: Shannon Cutts of MentorCONNECT: Where Relationships Replace Eating Disorders

15. Log On, Dine Out, Trim Down

How I Survived My Biggest Business identifies healthier options and corresponding nutrition information (calories, fat, fiber, etc.) at thousands of restaurant locations nationwide. Featured menu items are selected and approved by registered dietitians, focus on lean proteins, fruits/veggies, and whole grains; and meet defined criteria for calories, fat, and saturated fat. 60,000 restaurant locations listed.

NOTE: There was no option to select other than the “Stopped my business cold” in the “business tip series” field.

Thanks To: Erica Bohm of Healthy Dining

16. It’s Fear Every Time

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: No one can predict the future and in my business, I often don’t really know what lies ahead. Not sure if it’s fear of success, or fear of failure but when I get the fear in my body, heart and mind, I can become incapcitated. Speaking with like-minded business associates often lets me see that fear is not real, it’s an emotion. I can then sit down with my business plan and get back to reality, big contract in hand or not.

Thanks To: Jill Nussinow of The Veggie Queen

17. The Oh My God Moment

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: I’ll never forget with my first company, Olmec Systems, when my CFO came in and said we were going to be out of cash within 5 days. I was scared. But by that night we had a plan to turn the company around. We cut every single cost starting with my salary, then rent, then employees (that really sucked), and tons of other things. Making the cuts was horrible, but necessary… and within six months the company had stabilized and was making money again.

Thanks To: Mike Michalowicz of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

18. Keep Moving Forward!

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: You can’t steer a parked car -you must be moving in order to get somewhere and not all your paths are going to be straight. Sometimes you’ll have to circle, zig zag, stop for traffic, turn right to go left (think on/off ramps) and more. The idea is that you keep your destination in mind because there is no such thing as a dead end street in business, only another route to find.

Thanks To: Gary Unger of Gary Unger

19. Hang On, A Bus Is Coming!

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: With clients dropping like flies and the remaining ones cutting their budgets (and my services), I was ready to throw in the towel and walk .. no RUN — away! Then I read this: “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming,” by Richard Branson. A lightbulb went off … it wasn’t time to quit, it was time to reinvent myself and my business and realize new success!

Thanks To: Bobbie Abdallah of Your Virtual Partner

20. Remember Why You Started…

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: The biggest challenge that I have faced in my business is in keeping my own business a priority. You can become so focused on helping your clients succeed that you lose site of your own goals and vision for why you started your own business. I knew I was spending too much time focusing on my clients but it took a big wake up call for me to realize I was neglecting my own business and my “WHY” (the reason I left a j-o-b to start my own business).

Thanks To: Lisa Tarrant of

21. Cranky Client Kills Confidence

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: In the first year of business, my first disgruntled client (and thankfully one of only three in 10 years)made me lose sleep and doubt my coaching skills. I instantly refunded his money and got over it by thinking about all the great client outcomes I’d seen. Result: I got much better at turning down clients I sensed weren’t a good “fit.”

Thanks To: Ann Ronan of Authentic Life Institute

22. Do Not Keep All Your Coins In A Single Bucket

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: Before the recession we used to process mortgage and loan applications for our affiliate
brokers and we used to do few small things as well with other clients and as the mortgage and loan market lost its pace the debt management market gained a lot as the people were into huge debts so now we do a little bit of the first thing and the major thing is debt management thing.
So according to me you should always have a backup plan supporting you so that whenever you get stuck you can easily bottom out.

Thanks To: Akash Sharma of Revenue Strategy Solutions Ltd.

23. Scolded But Not Scorched

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: I finished a several-month assignment at a Fortune 100 company and, after the last session, was packing up, ready to leave. The vice president asked me to come to his office. After confirming I was heading out, he scolded me for not coming to his office to ask for more business. It was hard admitting I was such a marketing novice, but he was right. My business, with him and others, immediately picked up! Now, though, I make appointments re: future assignments.

Thanks To: Marlene Caroselli of Principled Persuasion

24. Reinvented Business Model

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: My business initially specialized in medical products strategy consulting, requiring close to full-time travel. A divorce (and solo parenting) required that I either close my business and return to a regular job OR consult in a market requiring less travel. As I thought carefully about my core skill in helping companies reinvent themselves, I decided to take my own advice and redefine my business to serve B2B companies in the Chicago/Madison/Milwaukee area. 14 years later my kid went off to college and I felt I’d spent as much time with her as possible.

Thanks To: Kay Plantes of Plantes Company, LLC

25. Walk My Talk

How I Survived My Biggest Business Challenge: The economic slow-down affects us all, and I have had to learn to walk my talk. I am great at counseling patients what to do when stuck, and now have the opportunity to take my own medicine. rnrnI succumbed to the panic that is whirling all around us. A colleague caught me up short by simply saying: “What is it that you tell your patients in this situation?” I am using this slow time to enhance my technology skills and retrain for the inevitable changes in my industry. There is opportunity in every adversity….I am now focusing on the solutions vs. the problems. That shifts from “stuck” into forward gear. Let’s face it, we cannot be in neutral on the information highway!

Thanks To: Nancy Irwin of Dr. Nancy B. Irwin, Psychotherapy/Clinical Hypnosis/Author/Speaker

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