Deciding Where to Focus in Your Business

focus2I’ll never forget the one, gut-wrenching moment when a business mentor called me out on everything great we were doing at our firm. “Valerie, you keep telling me all the things you guys are but what I’m not hearing is who are you not?” It hit me like a bullet between the eyes! He was right! In fact, he was so right that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since where his words haven’t echoed like a freight train in my mind. We had grown an amazing business but were wondering why we couldn’t get to the next level and it had to do with one simple thing…we were focused but not focused enough!

Until that day, I thought I fully understood the power of focus, – in marketing, in strategy, in client service, in virtually every area of our business. For me, focus always came instinctively and, as a business owner, my nature has always been to question whether every action we take will lead to a nice return on investment (ROI).

Return-on-investment usually boils down to money; what will give us the best return for a given investment of resources. I believe you can only pay yourself in two ways: 1) by making more money, or 2) by finding more time to do the things you love. I think we often forget to focus on what parts of our business we find satisfying and fun because we’re too busy focusing on what the market looks like or on what types of customers we can reach.

So, for us, the question, “who are we not?” led us to the answer we’d been searching for all along. It redirected our focus to the opportunities we saw in the marketplace and away from the parts of the business we didn’t enjoy. Today, the payback has been exceptional, and I owe it to a perceptive, bold coach who was willing to risk telling me something I may not want to hear.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you could use some advice on keeping your business goals in focus.

 

Integrate Life into Your Today

shutterstock_176813414 copyLet’s all just face it, sometimes it is just what it is.  I’m a wife first. A mom second. I’m a business owner third. And I don’t always get a hot second to spend on myself. True, we have complete control over the great majority of our circumstances, but sometimes elements of the life we have now are unchangeable – at least for the time being.  I don’t want to change anything about life today except for one thing…I want to slow down and enjoy it more! There is joy in living in the moment, so why waste even a smidgen of happiness or a minute of life???

The poet, William Earnest Henley, said it best in his poem Invictus when he wrote “I am the master of my fate”. You always have a choice. Choose wisely. So since I often have to talk out loud to myself to get myself to listen, here’s some advice I’m shouting today:

1.) Every day do at least one thing that makes you happy. There is no magic list. Do not listen to anyone else’s suggestions. You know what makes you smile, so smile today!

2.) Make a plan and make it a habit. Just like brushing your teeth, or jump starting your morning with caffeine – make this a priority on a daily basis.

3.) Make a mental list of the things you have mastered already in life. You know what they are – these are the areas where you receive accolades, awards and “at–a-boys”. You have a full twenty-four hours every day. Pick one, do it better than anyone else can, and feel fulfilled and accomplished.

4.) Be a friend, call a friend, help a friend or make a new friend. Interpersonal relationships have tangible power. Infuse each new day with a heaping dose.

5.) Feed your body; eating healthy foods increases your stamina and keeps illness at bay. (It’s shameful how lucky I feel on days where I miss only one meal!) Feed your mind. Read, read, and read. Keep abreast on current events, buy trade journals in your area of expertise, subscribe to how-to publications – just read daily. Lastly, at least once every day, do whatever feeds your soul.  Prayer, meditation, yoga, exercise, Bible study, journaling; whatever gives you inner peace.

Become your own life coach, and integrate life into your today. When you are ready to integrate new life into your financial future, make us the friend you call. Contact us  – you will be happy you did!

3 Things You Need to Hear but Don’t Want to

12436236_10153860979392650_1672561612_oThey say the truth hurts.  It’s a hard pill to swallow – like the time my two-year-old recently pointed out that she’s excited to see I’m going to have another baby.  “No, honey.  No baby in this belly,” and thanks for pointing out that I’m obviously fat!

But don’t you think that cutting out the crap and getting to the meat and potatoes of this life is really all that’s important?  Think about it.  Maybe I do need some exercise.  Maybe I do need to hear something that makes me cringe.  After all, the friend who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear, is the best friend of all.

So here’s the meat and potatoes – after 13+ years as a financial advisor, I’m still blown away by the people who just don’t get it.  The story is almost always the same…it’s a couple who has decent income, they don’t live extravagantly, one’s a spender and one’s decent with money, they have some debt, are underfunded for retirement and college savings, and they don’t understand that it won’t just all come together perfectly.  The hard truth:

  1. Debt kills you.
  2. Savings won’t just happen one day.
  3. It doesn’t ever get cheaper to live.

None of these people are dumb.  They’re just living the way society tells us we all should live.  It’s peer pressure at its’ core and it’s contagious!

Have you ever seriously thought about what it would be like to have zero debt?  How much would it cost you to live?  What if all you had to pay for were utilities, clothes, and food?  Would you have to save as much for retirement?  Would you have to work as many hours as you do now?

Did you know it’s entirely possible to pay off your mortgage in 5 years? What about your car payment?  Wouldn’t it be easier to not have one and pay for every car in the future with cash?  With proper planning in place, these are all realistic examples of goals that can be accomplished without being rich.

Food (meat and potatoes) for thought…

If you liked this or know someone who would, subscribe and share away!  ~Val