Category Archives for "Entrepreneurship"

When Purpose and Passion Collide

I’m bursting with excitement!

I’ve been on quite a long drawn-out journey to reinvent myself and my business, doing bits of this and bits of that in a personal sense and a business sense.

A few years ago, I had some unexplainable urges to do things I had never done before.

Carol Wain and Jay Conrad LevinsonThe first was to write a book with Jay Conrad Levinson. The offer was made on a webinar and about 2 weeks later I had cashed in retirement funds and airline points to attend a Guerrilla Marketing Intensive in his home. I spent the next 9 months painstakingly writing the Guerrilla Tourism Marketing book which I published on 12-12-12…. and it changed my life.

The following year, I had an even stronger urge to go to the World Domination Summit — I didn’t even really know what it was all about — I saw a post on Facebook about tickets being sold by those who couldn’t attend and I knew I had to go.

It was at this event where I had the weirdest experience of my life — the presenter was talking about something — no idea what anymore — and then he switched gears. His wife joined him onstage and together they directed us to clear our laps, to close our eyes, to say a validation to ourselves then put down our baby finger on our left hand. We were to say this validation 10x, ending up with the baby finger on our right hand.

I was thrown by this — my lap was full of stuff and it took me a while to get my act together. By the time I could join in we were all the way to our middle finger right hand. I said something and put down that finger. Nope, that wasn’t it.

I then said to myself “I’ve been chosen to reinvent lives globally” and said “Yes, that feels right.”

I then said it one last time emphasizing “chosen“.

I don’t know what hit me but something very powerful hit me like a tsunami.

I immediately burst into tears. I couldn’t explain what happened but fortunately the many strangers I randomly shared with were kind enough to listen so I could calm down.

Carol Wain with Tess Vigeland

Carol Wain with Tess Vigeland

After the break I chose to sit up front, on the aisle, and the presenter bee-lined off the stage, walked up to me and asked me who I was and what I did.

The funny thing is that she had been talking about how she’d quit her job at the NPR without a safety net.

She didn’t know why she had to do it but she did and now everyone — including herself — thought she was nuts! When I replied “I’m Carol Wain, Queen of Reinvention and I help people just like you to reinvent your life” she was gob-smacked. (well, many people were, myself included!)

This long story is the set-up to my excitement.

It’s been a few years since then and I have taken many steps forward and many steps backward.

I was spinning my wheels doing things but not making the kind of difference I am capable of.

Late last year I was speaking to a friend about why I felt I wasn’t as successful as I had been in the past and the answer was simple. Discipline and Accountability — nothing more, nothing less. I had heaps more of both when I was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year for 2003 — and at the time I had an 8 year old and a 12 year old.

We decided to become Accountability partners.

Well, since then my world has changed.

I asked the Universe to help me come up with something that was bigger than me and bigger than my existing brands. I asked for something that would reinvent lives globally.

I’d been playing in the Reinvention space for quite a while. In fact, I’ve interviewed a few of you, my readers, for my Reinvention Show and/or my Women’s Reinvention Summit. I knew that I didn’t want to be in life coaching and that business was where I needed to play.

When I woke up one morning with 2 words in my head, I knew it was what I have to do.

Glowing green globeI’m starting a movement which teaches and shows business leaders how to create organizations which positively impact the people who support their business, their communities and the planet. This organization will take the best parts of all I’ve experienced to create a global community of leaders who reinvent their businesses to transform lives.

The website and business concept are being finalized now. I’m so excited about this that I’m barely sleeping these days…

 

 

 

Lessons learned:

1. I am enough. I have whatever I need inside me already.
2. Surround yourself with great people who collaborate and co-create, support and encourage you.
3. Be giving — my accountability partners received from me before I asked of them.
4. Spend time getting in touch with yourself, your dreams, your vision, core values, strengths and weaknesses, passion and purpose. Then build upon it.
5. Add value, always
6. Be profitable and use some of that profit to enrich the lives of others while protecting our planet.
7. The best currency is great relationships.

This was a long post… hope it inspires you.

Don’t Make the Same Mistake This Software Developer Made

young man pulling funny face on white backgroundI purchased a great video editing software a few weeks ago.  Fortunately (for me) I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to use it yet because all software has bugs — even after the beta testers have given their feedback.

I logged onto our Facebook Group today (which, btw, is a great tool for you to use to keep your pulse on what your customers are experiencing).   Sadly for the developer, there is a firestorm going on in the group because of a decision that he made to put ads on the software after we bought it.

The tribe is furious!  Comments are along the lines of “we didn’t buy a software with ads, so why are there ads now?” and “if you had given us the option from the get-go to have a version with ads or without ads that would have been one thing but to add the ads after we bought it is wrong”.

The developer is defending his position, stating that he was adding all sorts of value and that he didn’t make any money on the initial sale.  He then got defensive and told people they could ask for a refund.   Whoa!  Obviously ego and hot-headedness have taken over.

The initial purchase price was really low $39.95 (or something like that) and the developer is asking for $9.95 / year to have a version of the software that doesn’t have ads.  Obviously the $9.95 isn’t a large amount and everyone of his customers could easily pay it — but the issue we’re all having is with communication and the feeling that we’ve been the victims of a bait and switch.

Here’s my response to him / the group (which has received a lot of “likes” and a suggestion to turn it into a blog post.)

Carol Wain Andrew Darius — buddy — I am a customer experience specialist. Do not cut your own throat right now. You’ve nicked yourself but it’s time to put down the knife.

The best way to handle this is to stop for a second and look at how long you want to be in business.

Don’t piss off your early adopters.
Customers are a fickle bunch — don’t give us a reason to defect
There are others waiting in the wings to launch an even better software than you have. They will take what you’ve learned and what you’ve created and they will swoop in and “save all of us” who are not happy right now.
Do you want to be a one-hit-wonder who is gone next month or do you want to build a sustainable business?

Here’s what you should do. Reverse the decision for the ads and grandfather all of us. Do what you can to rebuild our faith in you.
Listen to what we’re saying. Remember that the initial promise was for a software that does X,Y and Z. Always deliver on that promise.

Create opportunities to increase your revenue.

Increase the price immediately. (btw, create a new FB group for the new people… let us be your advisory group here without the new people seeing what is going on. This group and the posts will scare away any new customers.)

Identify your core product — what we were promised and what we’ve paid for. Deliver that exceptionally well.

Identify add-ons.

I believe your approach to over-deliver is getting you in trouble. You’ve missed the mark on what to over-deliver.

Over-deliver on service.

Up-sell on features that weren’t included in the core product.

Cross-sell on products that enhance the overall experience with the product (but remember the product must work without them).

By all means — stop, look and listen. Let your guard down to truly hear what we’re saying. Make a plan for us early adopters and another plan moving forward.

Smart business owners know that it costs 6x (or more) to get a new customer than it does to keep one. They also know that the initial purchase is the tip of the iceberg — make the initial customer experience great and expect at least 10x the initial purchase price over the customer’s lifetime.

Stop complaining that you hardly made anything from the initial sale — if you make things right with us you can easily turn things around. Many people will break even or take a loss knowing that the money is in the back-end.

Use good judgement and wear your “Customer Experience” hat as you make decisions. Always think about how this decision will impact your customer experience — and never, ever underestimate how important it is to your success.

If you need assistance, PM me.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much — a monthly fee of less than a dollar to stir up a bees nest.  How you respond will make the difference between success or failure because your customer experience is the only true differentiation between you and your competition.

Have You Experienced Any Situations Like This?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Make Money While You Play

SkiingIn my experience, most people – employees and business owners alike – have the desire to work less and play more while making more money.   I fall into this category myself and I have an answer.

Many years ago, when I was on the management team at Whistler Mountain, I was permitted to ski during my work day as long as the work was done.  I was a supervisor in the data processing department and my boss didn’t think the work was ever done, so I didn’t get to ski.  My boss liked to keep information to herself and she was always busy.  I believe it was because she thought she would be indispensable, which of course, is an illusion.

Things were about to change dramatically the second year when she announced her pregnancy.  She was forced  to share her knowledge and prepare me to take over while she’d be off for 6 months.  Training started slowly but then, as a result of complications with her pregnancy, my training became a crash course – and then she was gone for about a year.

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… and so on.

 

During that time, I took the opportunity to implement something I’d learned as a manager at McDonald’s Restaurants – I created a training manual with each and every task we were responsible for doing.  The manual was a piece of work!  It outlined with absolute detail step by step what to do.  Each line started with a verb and explained one activity to do.  If there was a “caution” to be aware of, it was outlined right there and then.

The manual was so thorough that when I needed to bring in others to help with time sensitive projects (e.g. seasons passes or yearly tax reports), they could pick up the manual and get to work without any need for training from me.

The manual was also the reason why I skied for a few hours almost every day that season.   You see, my team knew exactly what to do, what to watch out for and how to fix problems – without me.  I had delegated away my job – and I loved it!  Needless to say, my boss was not a happy camper when she came back and I left shortly thereafter.  If she hadn’t come back though, I would have had the ammunition to request a raise because I had created efficiencies within the department.  I would also have had more money in addition to the play time I’d created.

When I created my business in 1996, I took the same approach.  In order to maintain consistency for the customer experience, while minimizing errors and unproductive time, each and every task was documented and updated as we evolved.  As part of the onboarding process, new employees were given the manual and taught how to use it.   They were instructed to update it if it was unclear – as long as they followed the same format.  As part of our culture we continuously looked for ways to do things better and to wow our customers, so the manual was always being updated.  Again, it was a piece of work, however, this time it looked a whole lot better too because we were able to capture screen shots with highlights and captions too, which was better for those who learn visually.

The second part of making money while I played – and slept – was a result of the business model I chose.   I firmly believe in the “make it once, sell it multiple times” mindset, so I had commissioned software to be developed to streamline administration of incentive and loyalty programs.  After the software was built, we were able to sell it over and over again.

Because of the systemization and the “make money while I played” model, I was able to go on multiple vacations each year with my family and still make money.  I suspect I actually made more money as I wasn’t there to “interrupt” my team!   The highlight of my approach was when I spent a month in Europe with my husband, daughters and Mother-in-law.  I would check in every couple of days to get an update and answer any questions and I would login to the software to spot-check work and check to see how much we’d made.

Although I no longer use my software, I still use the make-money-while-you-play model combined with systemization.  I write books, create courses, devise formulas (the F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ for reinventing business is one of them), produce events — including my Reinvention Show— and I speak on stage and as a guest on podcasts and other shows.  With systemized processes, I can outsource the parts that don’t require me.  And to be honest, when I have systemized everything there will be no need for me to do anything except for create, lead, mentor, teach and play.

The keys for you to work less, play more and make more money are simple:

  • With your customers in mind, review every process, procedure and task to ensure that it contributes to a positive customer experience while also contributing to your profit.
  • Adjust any policies, processes and procedures that are not producing a positive customer experience while also being profitable
  • Review your business for passive income opportunities
  • Review your business for recurring revenue opportunities
  • Now systemize everything – outlining which elements of a process or procedure must be done each and every time and which elements are open to employee discretion within predefined parameters.
    • For example, non-negotiable elements will include safety, security and handling of confidential and proprietary information.  Other non-negotiable elements will be based on standard operating procedures to ensure consistency in your customers’ experiences with your organization.  Discretion may be based on how to handle complaints or requests.  My team was encouraged to look for ways to “wow” a customer, so if, for example, a reward was backordered from our regular vendors, they were allowed to go to alternate vendors.

How do you make money while you play?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

What is a S.T.A.R. Reinvention?

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People ask me all the time “What is the difference between reinvention and adaptation?” and my answer is that adaptation is like a chameleon whereas reinvention is like a caterpillar.

The chameleon adapts and changes according to its surroundings yet you always recognize it as a chameleon.  On the other hand, the caterpillar is unrecognizable when it becomes a butterfly.

Reinvention is the same — you don’t just adapt, your reinvention process makes you unrecognizable to those who knew you or your business beforehand.

For those who choose to reinvent their health, the physical changes will be like night and day.  When someone leaves a dysfunctional relationship, you will notice a huge change in the person physically, emotionally and mentally.  For business owners who reinvent their business — their business model, product line, service standards, corporate culture, marketing strategies or operations, the change is obvious to everyone.

So why do some reinventions work and others don’t?

Part of the equation is the commitment of the person leading the reinvention, however the main reason is that they lack the four pillars of a successful reinvention.

S = Sustainable

T = Transformational

A = Attractive

R = Resourceful

Sustainable

I think it goes without saying that a reinvention that isn’t sustainable shouldn’t be attempted.   As I mentioned above, your commitment is the first step.  However, can you keep going over the long term?  How innovative is your reinvention?  Having a focus on sustainability is the key for a S.T.A.R Reinvention.

Transformational

A reinvention transforms lives — your life and the lives of those around you.  A S.T.A.R. reinvention transforms those lives in a positive way.

If you are reinventing your business, your employees lives will be transformed — especially when you adopt a culture which supports employee engagement (changing culture is hard but not impossible).  When you reinvent your business it will transform the lives of your customers when you adopt a customer-centric focus delivered by engaged employees.  Your vendors will be transformed — some will no longer be needed, replaced by others more aligned to your new vision.  Your strategic alliance partners will be transformed too as you give them more to work with.

Attractive

A S.T.A.R. Reinvention is attractive — it attracts the people you want to have around you.  Employees, vendors, customers, strategic partners, friends, lovers — they want to support you and your vision for your reinvention.

Resourceful

When you tap into what is already inside you, what you already have and what is available to you, your reinvention is a whole lot easier.  S.T.A.R. reinventionists are always resourceful in a positive way!

What lessons do you take from this post?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Higher Purpose – Stage 6 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

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Stage 6 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is one that very few traditional entrepreneurs reach, although Enlightened Capitalists™ have been embracing it all along.

Enlightened Capitalists™ create a business or reinvent their business so that it has a higher purpose which aligns with their personal higher purpose.  Of course, this means that they took the time to determine what that higher purpose is.

If you are on your Entrepreneurial Journey at one of the lower stages then I suggest you contemplate what your higher purpose is and take steps to align it with your work.

If you are at Stage 1 then I highly recommend understanding what this is and building it into the work you do so it becomes part of the business DNA.

When I was back in Stage 1 of my business reinvention, I bounced from one stage 1 to another stage 1 a total of three times.

I realized that while I could have continued on with the next version of Carol the Entrepreneur with the first two attempts at reinventing my business, they weren’t aligned to what I wanted for my life.

This turned out to be extremely wise — although I didn’t know how wise I was being at the time.  I just knew that what I was building wasn’t going to bring me joy and give me the items I’d listed when doing the “What I Want” exercise.

I’d done the Ideal Day in the Ideal Lifestyle exercise and I knew that what I was building wasn’t going to get me there so I created a new path.  It was while I was on this path that I discovered what my higher purpose is while at a conference.

I was terrified of the responsibility though, so I didn’t pursue it for a couple of years.

Ripple-Graphic-8-01It’s no surprise that I floundered during those years because I wasn’t doing what I’m here to do.  However, when I finally accepted the challenge things started to change for me.    It’s how I came up with the Enlightened Capitalist™ division of my business and it’s how I’m going to change lives globally (which is my higher purpose).

The Enlightened Capitalist™ division’s purpose and higher purpose is to reinvent business to transform lives.

My vision includes changing the dialogue about how business is conducted.  As the leader, I am passionate about bringing humanity back to business by tapping into the desires and potential of people so that they willingly support the purpose, vision, core values, strategy and goals of the business.  With engaged people profit increases and it’s that profit (or a percentage of it) which transforms lives.

I’m leading a movement to bring Enlightened Capitalist™ concepts to the mainstream.  Our planet, our economy, our communities and we, personally, need this to happen sooner rather than later.   Join us…

What is your higher purpose?

Believe_in_SomethingWe all have one.  Sometimes it takes a bit of digging and soul searching to find out.  However, when you identify exactly what it is, you may find that you’ve been dancing around it all along.  That’s what happened with me.

I’d been reinventing myself and my business since day 1, which is where the reinvention part came from.

I’ve been advocating for employee engagement and customer experience since I started my business back in 1996.

I’ve been involved with performance improvement since 1996 and now I consult, mentor and teach corporate leaders and entrepreneurs how to improve performance.

I wanted to be a teacher when I was a child — and now I teach people how to reinvent their business to transform lives.

I have been an entrepreneur since I was a child and now I teach entrepreneurs how to avoid the pitfalls many entrepreneurs have

When the offer to write the Guerrilla Tourism Marketing book was presented I knew I had to write it, even though I’d never thought of writing a book, let alone a marketing book.  I just “had to”.  Now I’m in the process of writing a book for entrepreneurs to become Enlightened Capitalists™.

When I just had to go to that conference, even though I didn’t know why I was being pulled to it, and I had that weird experience, I finally understood.

Look back in your own experiences, your own dreams, your own childhood wishes and you’ll discover clues to your higher purpose.  Marry those clues with your ideal day in your ideal lifestyle and what you want for your life and the veil of uncertainty about what it is will be lifted.  We all have a higher purpose and Enlightened Capitalists™ build it into the DNA of their business.

Live life on purpose and your life will transform — that’s what I’m here to do.

 

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Carol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com

Freedom – Stage 5 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

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Freedom — that’s what we strive for when we embark on our Entrepreneur’s Journey.

The dream of freedom is why we didn’t give up when times were tough.  It’s what keeps us going when we’d really prefer to put our feet-up and watch TV.

It’s what we all believe will happen a lot sooner and a lot easier than it does.

I liken Entrepreneurship and growing your business to raising children.  When we are first pregnant we imagine how amazing it’s going to be to have a baby.  Then with heartburn, back-aches and little feet kicking our ribs we wonder what we were thinking!

When the baby arrives we’re elated — until we’re so sleep deprived we can hardly remember how to brush our teeth or what it felt like to have time to ourselves.

Then before you know it, the child has grown and you’ve got a teenager — and you sometimes wonder what possessed you to have children in the first place!

And then the child moves out.

You try to remember what your life was like when you didn’t have a child at home and it hits you — you are no longer needed.  Cue the tears!  I know this all too well as our youngest is now in university — this is the child who has only ever known her Mom to be an entrepreneur (as I started my business while on maternity leave with her).

And so, while my journey as a Mom was relatively straight-forward — with the usual twists and turns along the way, and it has resulted in my Personal Freedom — my Entrepreneurial Freedom was fleeting.  I had a taste of it when I was able to go to Europe for a month with my family and, hindsight being 20/20, I should have been satisfied with the freedom I had.

However, I wasn’t ready for freedom then and that’s when I made my fateful decision to pursue the software development that was in the original business plan.  Long story short is that the project failed 3x with 3 different development teams over a period of about 3 years.

My Freedom dream disappeared at the same time our two best clients declared bankruptcy in 2008 and 2009 — right around the time when I realized that the software project was not going to work again.

To say I’ve learned a lot as I went from a good solid stage 4 with a toe dipped in stage 5 back to stage 1 would be an understatement.  I mentioned this in another post, that I teach from my mistakes — and since I’ve made my fair share, I have a lot to teach.  I’m not yet at Stage 5 again myself, although now that the momentum is picking up again, I can “taste it”.

Freedom_Chains_500To Move From Stage 4 to Stage 5 You Have to Be Mentally Ready to Let Go

You have been the center of your platform all along.  You likely have been the person leading the charge to make ripples and create impact.  You’ve succeeded when others have failed and you are warranted to be incredibly proud of yourself.

As in the story above about having your child move out, it’s a time of mixed emotions.  Firstly, your freedom is yours for the taking but when you realize you aren’t needed, it can be emotional.

Most entrepreneurs have worked so long that they see themselves and their business as one.  I know I do and I know it’s why I took the downturn of my business so hard.  My identity — in my mind — was so intertwined with the business I didn’t know how to be without it.

If you completed the “ideal day in your ideal lifestyle” exercise, which is recommended as part of understanding yourself prior to starting your business,  your freedom may be connected to it and you’ve been preparing for this moment all along.   If you haven’t yet done it, now is a perfect time.

If you are finding that you are having a challenge to break free and enjoy your well-deserved freedom I suggest exploring the reason why.  Is it because you won’t know what to do with yourself?  Is it because you aren’t absolutely certain that you’ve got the right people in the right roles with accountability and checks and measures well established?  Is something else going on?

If you are handing over the reins to a trusted employee or family member who you’ve groomed and mentored then you’ll still be checking in on a regular basis so you’ll still be needed.

If you sell your business, you are free to do whatever you want of course.

However, if you decide to keep your business you obviously need to be sure your foundation is strong.  You need to know you’ve got the right people in the right roles, with the right tools and skills and experiences.

If  you are part of the Enlightened Capitalist™ community you already have the tools to do this and if you have used them your transition to freedom should be smooth.

Warning_400As I mentioned in another post, I witnessed a mega-disaster with a franchise in our community a number of years ago.  The founder had — by all accounts, from the outside looking in — built a highly successful franchise.

The founder was living “the good life”, which seemed to have gotten to his head.  It started with some questionable decisions he made which were clearly in violation of bylaws and then it got worse.

He put his business in the hands of one of his team — presumably someone he’d groomed (I am just guessing) — and he took off for a very extended vacation.  While he was gone, he obviously took his eye of the ball, because the business came crashing down.  Firstly, because there was a switch in consumer behaviour but more importantly, I suspect it’s because he hadn’t built the foundation strong enough and his definition of freedom was hands-off the business.  He most certainly could have been hands-off if he’d sold it but he hadn’t and without him there to ensure the team was doing what it should have been doing, it imploded.

As you are on the verge of Freedom and as you step strongly into Stage 5, remember that your role is to oversee — you are “policing” your business to be sure nothing goes sideways.  However, you aren’t needed in the day-to-day operations, which is just fine for many of us.   Remember to constantly monitor your Impact Performance Measures and check in with your team to be sure they are doing ok.

ControlsAn Entrepreneur friend of mine was in the process of preparing for his freedom when things came crashing down and he, too ended up back in stage 1.  For him it was because he trusted the wrong person — his controller.  By the time he realized that something was wrong, she had embezelled a large sum and had vanished.   He ended up closing the business as he couldn’t recover.

I learned from his lesson and set-up financial controls to ensure this didn’t happen in my business.  One day I spot checked the petty-cash and discovered that the bookkeeper was using it as her personal fund.  Always keep your eye on the numbers and have checks and measures to safeguard against a disaster.

Even though you are no longer working day-to-day in your business, maintain those close relationships you’ve built with your employees and your customers.  You need to hear when things are slipping.

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Our Role Is To Guide You On Your Journey

My personal purpose is that I’ve been Chosen to Reinvent Lives Globally.

The purpose and higher purpose of my brands is to Reinvent Business to Transform Lives.

My vision includes changing the dialogue about how business is conducted.  As the leader, I am passionate about bringing humanity back to business by tapping into the desires and potential of people so that they willingly support the purpose, vision, core values, strategy and goals of the business.  With engaged people profit increases and it’s that profit (or a percentage of it) which transforms lives.

I’m leading a movement to bring Enlightened Capitalist™ concepts to the mainstream.  Our planet, our economy, our communities and we, personally, need this to happen sooner rather than later.   Join us…

Getting to the next stage of the Entprepreneur’s Journey will be an easy one for you if you are an Enlightened Capitalist™ because you’ve been working on this throughout your journey.

Continue Reading the Sixth Stage of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

 

carol-show

Carol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com

1

Leveraging and Letting Go – Stage 4 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

6-Stages-Entrepreneur-Journey

 

Stage 4 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is where you work to leverage and let go so you remove yourself from your business.  To me, this is one of the most exciting stages in the journey.

So far you have built a business, a product line, a customer base and relationships with employees, partners, vendors, supporters, customers and investors.

You’ve created a great network of people who can help you when you need help.  It’s now time to leverage everything you’ve learned, everything you’ve built, everything you’ve bought and everything you’ve attracted.

This is one of the stages where your activities depend on your business and what you’ve already built and what your intentions are for the future.

If you are a solopreneur, it could be where you start building your team, if you haven’t done so already.

If you have a traditional business, you likely hired people when you started your business and you’ve learned what to do and what not to do as an employer.  Now it’s time to ensure you have the right people onboard with job descriptions which challenge them to grow while also tapping into their interests and strengths.

Regardless of where you are at now and how you intend to achieve Stage 5 — Freedom — navigating through Stage 4 successfully requires a good solid foundation, with excellent processes, procedures, Impact Performance Measures and great relationships.

You need to set up your business as if you were about to franchise it.

Lessons Learned As A McDonald’s Manager

I learned the principles of franchising a gazillion years ago as a McDonald’s Manager, my first job after college.  I wasn’t a great McDonald’s Manager — in fact, I was probably one of the low-end of the middle 60% or the high-end of the bottom 20% in terms of my people skills at that time.  However, I excelled at forecasting and planning which is something I’m still passionate about.

Each role you take on during your career leaves something you remember for years.  For me, the biggest take-away from my couple of years at McDonald’s was breaking every single task into step by step parts, which were not to be deviated from.

FlowChart_500I took this practice with me to Whistler Mountain, where I documented every single task we did in the Data Processing Department into step by step guides.

I was so adept at this, I was able to hand the manual to anyone and the task could be completed from start to finish without needing any assistance.  When we were all-hands-on-deck at critical points in the year — e.g. getting the season’s passes printed and sent to the guests or getting the income tax documents to the employees — I was able to bring other managers into my department and they’d be productive almost immediately.

The best part, though, was that I delegated my job away and skied for a couple of hours most days, being an ambassador for the mountain.  (I was filling in for my boss while she was on maternity leave when I did this, which basically made us both partially redundant! Oops)

I use the same practice with my own business — step by step, this is how you do “everything” from processing orders to responding to sales leads and if something comes up that we don’t have a process for, we create it and document it for the next time.

As we evolve and change processes, the manuals are updated by my team — not by me.  Once again, having everything documented enables me to delegate my day-to-day job away.

The biggest benefit to doing all of this, for me personally so far, was when my husband, children and mother-in-law spent 4 weeks in Europe one summer while my team back at the office took care of the business.  Of course, I checked in daily but I didn’t need to work — just check what was going on remotely, coach and guide.  It was a summer to remember forever.  It was also the last big trip we had with my mother-in-law.  I am so grateful for having the freedom to do this.

As you develop your own ways to leverage and let go, remember that you need practices, processes, procedures and guidelines that are followed with no exceptions.  Now is a great time to review all practices, processes, procedures and guidelines to ensure they are customer friendly, employee friendly and financial statement friendly.  Use the T-Form to ask customers, employees, partners, supporters, vendors and investors for their perspective.

Also, identify areas where employees are empowered to make an executive decision without checking in first.  Give them parameters for the latitude and then mentor them for how, when and why to make the decision and expectations about the results.  Furthermore, tell them what will happen if they make a decision which turns out to be not very wise.

Failure is inevitable when we grow — you, as the entrepreneur, need to be sure you’ve powerfully set up the framework so the failures are minor and quickly resolved and learned from.

Once you have everything in place, your role changes to that of a “mentor” and “coach” who oversees rather than does.  It’s a beautiful situation to be in!

Leveraging

Along the way, you have created great value in your business.  You have a great team of people who support your vision, purpose, passion, core values and strategy.   You have  acquired knowledge, experiences and perspective.  You have developed best practices, Impactful Performance Measures, procedures and processes.  You have purchased or leased equipment, supplies, buildings etc.

By tapping into all of these resources, you can add additional revenue streams while you take steps to wean the business from needing you on a day by day basis.

The more you can leverage, the stronger your business can be — provided, of course, what you choose to leverage fits in with your culture, strategy, vision and purpose.

Warning!

Caution_Laptop_400Stage 4 is also an extremely critical stage in the evolution of the business and in your Entrepreneurial Journey.

Many entrepreneurs screw up this process.  I didn’t have an easy time of it myself.  I trusted employees who I should not have trusted.  I gave latitude to employees who didn’t deserve it.  I didn’t have the framework in place with expectations, accountability, Impactful Performance Measures, go-to-resources or standards.  I also didn’t have the experience — or was it guts? — to step in and stop undesirable and damaging behavior quickly and powerfully.

Although my team has many tools you can use to build the framework for a strong business, ultimately it is the people who you hire who deliver performance results, so choose your people wisely and be sure they know what is expected of them.

As Entrepreneurs who are going to the end of this journey, we are constantly weaning the business away from needing us to make decisions and perform tasks but we can never be completely hand-off the business until we sell.  Furthermore, we should never give people more responsibilities than they are capable of achieving.  We have to stay on top of the results and spot check — daily, preferably, weekly at an absolute minimum.

This is where being an Enlightened Capitalist™ is a benefit.  We are able to leverage the hard work we have done along the way to build a strong culture, with engaged employees who know what is expected and how they will be appreciated, recognized and rewarded for their efforts.   It’s where the systems, processes, procedures and honest multi-way communication pays off.  It’s where the effort to build community internally and externally produces results.  It’s where having a higher purpose which is built into our business DNA pays off in spades.

What Not to Do

In addition to my own lessons learned while leveraging and letting go, there are many other examples.  Some are known publicly and used as case studies, others are talked about quietly.

DoThis_NotThatThere was a classic example of how-not-to-do-it in our community.  This entrepreneur had created a franchise and he’d done quite well.  The business had grown by leaps and bounds.  He got a bit of a reputation in the community for believing rules, laws and bylaws applied to everyone but him (which is why I started following what he did).  Eventually, he handed over the business to one of his managers while he went on an extended holiday.  When he returned, the business was in shambles.  I don’t have the details of what happened but obviously the business needed the entrepreneur and letting go, the way he did, was a mistake.

My Dad had a similar nightmare.  In his case, he had a medical issue — he became allergic to what he made.  His biggest problem was that he liked to hire apprentices and when he was in hospital they didn’t know how to run the business.  My Mom, who looked after the administration and helped in the shop, was so worried about my Dad that she didn’t pay attention to what was going on.  My sister, who was in high school at the time was given the role of running the business (I was up in Whistler delegating away my job at the time).   Talk about a case of what not to do but they hadn’t set themselves up with an alternative.  However, that wasn’t the worst part — one of the apprentices had set-up shop after hours and was making product which he sold himself out of his car.   Wholesale clients were lost, retail customers were lost, profit evaporated and the business essentially became insolvent before the doctors had determined what was wrong with my Dad.

If you are intending to leverage and let-go, let these stories be a reminder that it’s a tricky time in the Entrepreneur’s Journey.  Through my experiences, if you are intending to do this at any point — or even if you intend to get your Freedom by selling — you must start your business setting yourself up for this scenario.

Ripple-Graphic-8-01You must have strong pillars for your platform, which is what we teach in the Enlightened Capitalist™ community.  And always, always, always, hire the best people for the job, tell them what you expect, hold them accountable, keep a firm finger on the Impactful Performance Measures they produce, be transparent and authentic, communicate regularly, treat your employees well — help them grow by mentoring them, give them challenges to stretch them, appreciate, recognize, reward and give them reasons to be inspired.  Expect greatness from your team.  Treat your customers like VIPs and never take your eye off what’s happening in the marketplace.

… and yes I do think this is one of the most exciting times in an Entrepreneur’s Journey….  because if they’ve done things “properly” along the way, the right people will be onboard, doing the right things to deliver the vision, purpose, higher purpose and core values even when you aren’t there.  That’s culture, systems and relationships working in your favour!

Our Role Is To Guide You On Your Journey

My personal purpose is that I’ve been Chosen to Reinvent Lives Globally.

The purpose and higher purpose of my brands is to Reinvent Business to Transform Lives.

My vision includes changing the dialogue about how business is conducted.  As the leader, I am passionate about bringing humanity back to business by tapping into the desires and potential of people so that they willingly support the purpose, vision, core values, strategy and goals of the business.  With engaged people profit increases and it’s that profit (or a percentage of it) which transforms lives.

I’m leading a movement to bring Enlightened Capitalist™ concepts to the mainstream.  Our planet, our economy, our communities and we, personally, need this to happen sooner rather than later.   Join us…

Continue Reading the Fifth Stage of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

 

carol-show

Carol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com

1

Getting By — Stage 3 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

6-Stages-Entrepreneur-Journey

 

Stage 3 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is when we finally get to say “Whew, I’m so glad this worked!”

We’ve come a long way — we’ve likely pivoted a few times already.  Our strategy may have changed.  Our products and services may have changed.  We may have decided to temporarily or permanently back-burner some initial ideas.

We’re starting to see the benefits from our dedication, blood, sweat and tears.   Our day to day lives are getting a bit more predictable.

We Can Say to Ourselves “We Are Getting By”

Yes, our business is working!   We have customers.  We are paying our bills.  We are taking an income.  We are paying back our shareholder loan and business debt.  We are investing in our business and our own education and we are feeling relief and excitement because things aren’t quite as hard as they were in the beginning.

For me, this moment came in one big cheque.  After a rather rocky start with one of my vendors, I recommended them to a client.  This resulted in the sale of a very large, single purchase of an incentive program to an agency of record for a major automotive company.  It was a great sale because the cheque enabled me to pay off the second mortgage and all the credit cards.  It also enabled me to hire my first employee, which meant I was able to work more on my business than in my business.  It felt like the lid had been removed from the pressure cooker!

Getting By Puts Us At A Cross-Roads… Or In A Roundabout!

Roundabout_400We achieved what many other entrepreneurs didn’t.  We congratulate ourselves for making it this far.   We may even ask ourselves if we should maintain the status quo and keep our business at this stage or is we should continue on our Entrepreneur Journey?

For many entrepreneurs the answer is a resounding “no” we cannot stay here.  We must continue on the journey.

We know that we have a purpose, a vision, a higher purpose and passions which are far beyond this stage in the journey.   We know we have to keep going, keep scaling and leveraging what we’ve built so that we can leave our legacy and have a great and positive impact.  We’re on a mission and we’re not going to stop now!

For Many People, Getting By Is Enough  

Their end game was to get to the point where they could support themselves financially.  They are often — but not always — solopreneurs, coaches, consultants, outsourcers / freelancers, mom and pop shops, small town professionals or internet marketers.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with having this as your end game and being satisfied with the results, there is a risk.  The risk is that trends change, markets change, disruptors come out of seemingly nowhere and you end up back in the Sink or Swim stage unless you have a plan.

If you choose this option, you stay in the roundabout.  However, your plan needs to contemplate the fast changing expectations of the market, investors, employees, vendors, partners and your customers.  One misstep and you can find yourself trying to get out of the roundabout while everyone else is zooming past you (Chevy Chase driving in the roundabout in London in the movie European Vacation pops into my mind as I type this!)

I was at this cross-roads myself.  I had built a business which had more than replaced my employment income and which allowed me the flexibility to be with my girls when they needed me.  I was able to go to the parent tea and the concerts at their school.  I drove the children on field trips.  I was home to cook dinner, share stories and tuck them into bed each night.

I had created the perfect situation for me, in my multiple roles of wife, Mom, entrepreneur and military wife but I wasn’t finished yet.  I had more to do, more to give, more to accomplish.  I also wanted to have freedom and flexibility to live my ideal lifestyle.  To me, the answer to the question below was easy…

Do We Stay in the Roundabout or Do We Continue On Our Journey?

I knew I had to keep going…

As Enlightened Capitalists™ we’re at a great place when we reach this stage.  We’re able to continue on our journey through the next stages so that we can leave our legacy and live our higher purpose.  We have already positively impacted our family life and now we can and are starting to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Ripple-Graphic-8-01We’re not confined to a roundabout though.  Our ripples are starting to gather momentum.

However, to have the biggest impact, we need to stop trading our time for money.

We need to review our framework,  our Impactful Performance Measures, the accountability of employees, our product, service and experience line-up, the make-up of our customer list, where the market, economy, sentiment, competitors and expectations are heading and we need to ensure that our trusted advisors are capable of helping us get to the next stages.

Although the Entrepreneur’s Journey isn’t always stage 1 – 6 in chronological order (sometimes we slide back one or more stages), the desire to continue to have the most impact endures in those who are Enlightened Capitalists™.

We may stumble along the way (most likely we will).  We may have set-backs (we most likely will).  We will be faced with obstacles we hadn’t considered and we will still doubt ourselves from time to time.

However, with a strong framework, support system and trusted advisors we can beat the odds.

Our Role Is To Guide You On Your Journey

My personal purpose is that I’ve been Chosen to Reinvent Lives Globally.

The purpose and higher purpose of my brands is to Reinvent Business to Transform Lives.

My vision includes changing the dialogue about how business is conducted.  As the leader, I am passionate about bringing humanity back to business by tapping into the desires and potential of people so that they willingly support the purpose, vision, core values, strategy and goals of the business.  With engaged people profit increases and it’s that profit (or a percentage of it) which transforms lives.

I’m leading a movement to bring Enlightened Capitalist™ concepts to the mainstream.  Our planet, our economy, our communities and we, personally, need this to happen sooner rather than later.   Join us…

Continue Reading the Fourth Stage of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

 

carol-show

Carol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com

 

1 Sink Swim

Sink or Swim – Stage 2 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

6-Stages-Entrepreneur-Journey

 

Sometime during the second year of the entrepreneur’s journey reality is beginning to set-in for the majority of us — and quite often we say to ourselves “This isn’t quite as easy as I thought.”  It sucks working sooooo hard every day and not seeing the results we expected.  We look at our business plan and our marketing plan and wonder where we went wrong and just how long what we are doing well will last.  Our optimism could be fading.   We make the decision to either stick with our business with renewed energy and more effective and efficient practices or we choose to close up shop.

It’s Sink or Swim Time

In my second year of full-time entrepreneurship, I was fortunate, in a sense, that I no longer had to keep reporting back to the group who oversaw the federal program I was in, as I’d “wasted” 4 or so months going back and forth with them so they could understand and approve my business plan.  That business plan had morphed into a 90+ page piece of fiction by the time it was approved!

Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t start off as fiction — I really did intend to do what I’d outlined.  However, the more they pushed me for details, the more I made them up because I truly didn’t know!  My vision had changed from simply providing incentive rewards to creating software to manage incentive programs — a vision which would come back to haunt me about 10 years later.

With the bureaucracy out of the way and the cushion of the unemployment benefits gone, it was sink or swim time for me.  I knew I didn’t want to go back to being an employee and I also knew that the money was drying up for dotcom companies, so I gave up on my software dream and focused on generating revenue as a reseller.  The success was almost instantaneous — I signed a reseller agreement one week, updated my website and within a week I had attracted a division of Microsoft who ultimately became my first customer!

I knew I was onto something!  I did this quite a few more times over the years and each time I updated the website with my new products or services, I got an inquiry within a day or so.

I was beginning to enjoy this!  I had gone from paying my Visa with my Mastercard (who knew that was frowned upon!) to receiving a cheque which enabled me to pay off all the credit cards, the second mortgage and hire my first employee.

Many Entrepreneurs Have a Difficult Decision to Make

Can they continue on financially, emotionally, physically?  Do they even want to?

The stats for new business show just how many people make the tough decision to close down.  It’s a heart-breaking time for those who choose not to continue.  For many though, the decision was absolutely the right choice —

  • Their idea was bad to begin with;
  • Their market was not hungry for the solution they provide;
  • They had the wrong product;
  • They took the wrong approach;
  • Their timing was off;
  • Their costs were higher than expected and couldn’t be contained;
  • Their revenue was lower than expected with no immediate expectation for it to rise;
  • Their cash-flow was not as free-flowing as needed;
  • Their reach — marketing and ability to attract customers — was too small;
  • The experience they provided to their customers was not better than their competition;
  • Their employees tend to be there for what they could get, rather than what they could give; and/or
  • They did what I did in my initial business plan and relied on incomplete or inaccurate data to make a decision.

Piggy-Bank-on-LifeRingThis stage of the Entpreneur’s Journey is a tricky one.  It’s where most people give up or run out of resources.   While it’s heartbreaking to see your dream die, sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise.

Spoiler Alert!

The Entrepreneur’s Journey isn’t always straight and quite often there is a backwards slide to a previous stage.   This is what happened to me in 2009 — 13 years after I first became an entrepreneur — as a result of a perfect storm of the economic meltdown, our 2 biggest, best and most profitable “A” List clients going bankrupt within a few months of each other and a third failed attempt at the software project mentioned above.  I went from stage 4 (nearly stage 5) back to stage 1 again and it was this stage 2 which was particularly trying for me the second time around.

As I was rebuilding my business and putting myself back together personally, I tried a number of things to find my footing again.

Here’s What I Learned:

  • If the market isn’t reacting positively you need to change quickly and substantially so that you are selling to a hungry audience who is actively looking for a solution to a problem and they are having trouble finding it.
  • The ripples you make with your business start with You, the person.  Revisit what you want, your ideal day in your ideal lifestyle, your vision, purpose and core values.  I realized I wasn’t really engaged in what I was building because it wasn’t in alignment with the core of me.
  • Fail fast and fail forward — failure is an opportunity to succeed elsewhere — but hanging on to a dream if there isn’t a market for what you are selling is a mistake.
  • Remember to start with the end in mind — the end of the journey is having freedom and leaving a legacy aligned with your higher purpose.
  • Keep track of where you are spending your time.  Are you fighting fires all day?  Are you wasting time on social media and other people’s emails?  Are you spending hours each week on webinars which aren’t providing any actionable insights but you sign up for the 6 week course anyway?   Or are you consistently working on your #1 – 5 priorities — your big rocks — which will make the biggest splash and have the most ripples?
  • Relationships matter — don’t be that person who uses and abuses people.  You won’t last long.
  • Become crystal clear with your vision, passion, purpose, higher purpose and your why and share this with everyone — it will attract those who align and repel those who don’t.
  • Revisit the value you are providing and your ideal customer.
  • Ask your customers, your vendors, your employees, your partners, your investors and your trusted advisors what they’d like to see you start, stop, increase and decrease and what you should not touch.
  • Review your Impact Performance Measures
  • Evaluate your customer journey — are you easy to do business with?  How can you improve their experience — which is ultimately how they feel doing business with you?
  • Align yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs — but not struggling entrepreneurs — you need to find successful entrepreneurs.
  • Review why you are losing people — Why didn’t you close the sale?  Why did that employee really quit?  Why couldn’t you secure investment?  Why won’t that company become a strategic alliance partner with you?
  • Identify what you need to outsource. How do you finance it?
  • Critique your processes, procedures, policies and decisions.  Where can you improve to be more efficient while offering a better experience?

If you are truly commited to your business purpose and higher purpose and you intend to keep moving forward you must take your blinders off and answer these tough questions.  There is usually a way — but the path isn’t straight.  You may have come to a cross-roads and you need to go in a different direction.  Or you may need to go back along the path you just carved through the jungle so that you can get to a clearing where you choose another path.

To Ease Your Journey You Need a Few Things I Didn’t Realize Were Important When I Started Out.

StandOutYou need a framework, systems, Impact Performance Measures, great employees, profitable customers, excellent mentors, teachers and professionals along with a valuable product, service and experience mixture which solves problems for a market which is big enough to support your dreams.

You also need to be different — in a good way.  You need to offer a great customer experience and if you are already an employer, you need to have excellent people who you treat well.  You need to be that “breath of fresh air” whenever you share your platform and your message.  You need to be building community and supporting community.  You need to be marketing to those who will align with you — which means you need to be sharing your purpose, vision, passions, higher purpose and your message clearly to as many people as you can possibly reach.

It’s time to sink or swim — and if it’s a sink, you need to revisit yourself — the person and the professional in the ripples below and decide what to do next.  If it’s a swim, then grab the lifeline that your trusted advisors are offering and hold on to it while you continue on your journey.

Ripple-Graphic-8-01

Our Role Is To Guide You on Your Journey

My personal purpose is that I’ve been Chosen to Reinvent Lives Globally.

The purpose and higher purpose of my brands is to Reinvent Business to Transform Lives.

My vision includes changing the dialogue about how business is conducted.  As the leader, I am passionate about bringing humanity back to business by tapping into the desires and potential of people so that they willingly support the purpose, vision, core values, strategy and goals of the business.  With engaged people profit increases and it’s that profit (or a percentage of it) which transforms lives.

I’m leading a movement to bring Enlightened Capitalist™ concepts to the mainstream.  Our planet, our economy, our communities and we, personally, need this to happen sooner rather than later.   Join us…

Continue Reading the Third Stage of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

 

carol-show

Carol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com

 

Buying a Job – Stage 1 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

6-Stages-Entrepreneur-Journey

 

When we first take the leap to become self employed, we often have a vision that we’re going to change our lives and the world, yet the reality for most of us is that we’re buying a job (and one that may not pay nearly as much as being an employee would!)

We have high hopes for ourselves and our little business and we are full of anticipation, excitement and passion.  Our drive gets us up each morning and inspires us to continue along our path to success.

We have no idea what we don’t know — which is probably a good thing — because it’s not usually as easy a journey as we think it’s going to be.

My husband recalls how excited I was way back in 1996 when I started my first business.  I started it in an industry I knew nothing about.  However, I was excited because this industry — the incentive industry — was a perfect fit for my beliefs about treating people well, win/win relationships and my passion for travelling in luxury!

My motivation to take the leap to become self-employed, was to have freedom to do what I wanted, to be near my children and to build something so I could retire young and wealthy!

That first year was a blast as I was on maternity leave when I started my business — so I was bringing home some money.  I was also blessed with a very mellow child — one who didn’t mind amusing herself while I worked.   After maternity leave was over, I reluctantly went back to work.  However, I was able to go back in a job-share situation — which meant I worked 2 days one week and 3 days the next.  It was perfect for easing out of my “employee role” while learning the ropes of this new business in this new industry.

BTW, I don’t recommend teaching yourself the ins and outs of a new industry as a new entrepreneur unless you have a really good risk tolerance, financial cushion, strong support network and an unwavering belief in yourself.

Open-for-Business-400I was thrilled when the opportunity to get a buy-out was presented about 2 years after I had started my business.  By this time I was sure this was the right industry for me and I was sure I didn’t want to work for that company any more.

So when I took the leap with both feet into the world of being my own boss, I had a toddler, a child in school and a buy-out package.  Also, because I had been laid-off, I was able to apply for to be part of a federal program where I would receive unemployment benefits while I was getting my business off the ground.  I had essentially bought myself a job — just like most other entrepreneurs.

In the past 20 years, I’ve learned there is an easy way to do things and a hard way and I tended to do things the hard way, which gives me all sorts of stories when I teach!

I’ve gone down many paths along the way — some of them were great, others weren’t.  However, even when things didn’t work out, the lessons ended up serving me.

Changing the world, living your dream, achieving success and leaving a legacy are challenging and the sad reality is that most entrepreneurs fail.

If you are just starting out and you’d like to avoid some of the pitfalls, I recommend following what we teach and joining us in the Enlightened Capitalist™ community.  In this community you will learn how to create a business which transforms lives — yours and those around you.

During your Entrepreneur Journey, you, as the business leader, will be challenged in ways you’ve never been challenged before.  You’ll have amazing successes and sleepless nights.  You’ll constantly be learning.  You’ll have to learn very quickly who to trust and who to stay away from.  You’ll have to protect your business from those who try to destroy it.  You’ll do soul searching along the way.  You’ll have great days too and — fingers crossed — you’ll be one of the minority of entrpreneurs who survive and thrive throughout your journey.

Stage 6 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is Higher Purpose

Purpose_SignTraditionally, entrepreneurs spend years getting to the Freedom Stage (stage 5) and then they start to consider their legacy and higher purpose.  Enlightened Capitalists™ do things differently.  They start with the end in mind and they create and grow their business with a higher purpose which aligns with their personal higher purpose.   By doing so, not only do you build the purpose into your business DNA but you’ll have more of an impact.    You’ll also eliminate Stage 6 because you’ve been working on it all along.

How do you stay motivated during your Entrepreneur Journey?

When you first start out there is so much to learn and some days it’s overwhelming.  Even with an unwavering belief in yourself, you’ll still be asking, “Am I doing this right?”, “How do I do this better?”,  “Why is this so difficult?” “How can I make a  leap?” and so on.

Obviously, you need a great deal of intrinsic motivation to keep going when the going gets tough.  You need to have a very strong “Why” to keep you going.  You need to believe in yourself and your purpose.

While optimism is necessary, so is practicality.  If the market isn’t buying what you are selling you need to make changes.

It also helps to have a great support network.  When I first started, my husband was my sole support — now I have many people who support me and my work.

I strongly suggest that you look outside your immediate friends and family circle to get a fresh perspective.  Sometimes friends and family are too kind, when what you really need is useful and constructive criticism and suggestions.

Celebrating!I also celebrate a lot!   I celebrate when I solve a problem.  I celebrate when I finish a task.  I celebrate when I sign a contract and I really celebrate when I make a sale.   These celebrations varied (and still vary) in scope and size but I am sure to include those who help me along the way.

I also give myself goals and rewards to keep me going.  For me the reward usually includes some form of travel and entertainment.  In fact, it is these rewards — the carrots I give myself — which keep me going when I want to stop.

If you are having difficulty with your own motivation, consider ways to incorporate your strategic plan and your goals with rewards and celebration.

If you are still having difficulty with your own motivation, check out the Quadruplets of Discontent.  Perhaps one of them is messing with your success.

Finally, if you are still struggling with your own motivation after trying these suggestions, perhaps your intuition is telling you to make some changes.  Spend time exploring what these could / should be.

To ease your Entrepreneur Journey you need a few things that I didn’t realize were important when I started out.

You need a framework, systems, Impact Performance Measures, great employees and/or outsourcers, mostly “A” List customers, excellent mentors, teachers and professionals along with a valuable product, service and experience mixture which solves problems for a market which is big enough to support your dreams.

You need to be different — in a good way — with high-value products, services and experiences which are delivered better than your competition.

You need to have the 5 new P’s to marketing down pat.

You need to be able to sell…

… but before all of this, you need to start with YOU, the person, and you the Professional, if you intend to become a successful Enlightened Capitalist™ with a platform which makes a positive impact on the lives of others and our planet.

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Your Entrepreneur Journey starts with knowing yourself

  • What do you want?
  • What are your passions?
  • What is your vision?
  • What is your WHY? and is it strong enough to keep you going during the tough times?
  • What are your core values?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses (personality, attitude, skills, experiences and perspective included)?
  • What resources can you tap into?
  • What does your ideal day in your ideal lifestyle look like?

Our role is to guide you on your Entrepreneur Journey

My personal purpose is that I’ve been Chosen to Reinvent Lives Globally.

The purpose and higher purpose of my brands is to Reinvent Business to Transform Lives.

My vision includes changing the dialogue about how business is conducted.  As the leader, I am passionate about bringing humanity back to business by tapping into the desires and potential of people so that they willingly support the purpose, vision, core values, strategy and goals of the business.  With engaged people profit increases and it’s that profit (or a percentage of it) which transforms lives.

I’m leading a movement to bring Enlightened Capitalist™ concepts to the mainstream.  Our planet, our economy, our communities and we, personally, need this to happen sooner rather than later.   Join us…

Continue Reading the Second Stage of the Entrepreneur’s Journey

 

carol-showCarol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet.  She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. 

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher-purpose.

For more information visit  http://CarolWain.com, http://EnlightenedCapitalist.org and http://WorldIncentiveNetwork.com