When a $10 million mistake gets you promoted…

I love the famous story about IBM story from the 1960s.  An executive at the company made a decision that ended up losing the company $10 million.  He was summoned to the office of formidable CEO, Tom Watson.  As he cowered, Watson asked, “Do you know why I’ve asked you here?”  The executive replied, “I assume I’m here so you can fire me”.  Watson looked surprised.  “Fire you?” he shouted, “Fire you?  Of course I’m not going to fire you. I’ve just spent $10 million educating you!”

Business Mentor Tip #41 – Don’t be afraid to say no

Being in business can make you a real ‘yes’ man/woman.  Yes to any new business that comes your way.  Yes to whatever your demanding clients demand of you.  Yes to the staff member who needs a day off on your busiest day of the year.  But remember, good business is about quality.  You want quality clients, not just any old idiot who wants to do business with you.  Say NO to small budgets, teeny projects that you know you’ll lose money on, bad briefs, ridiculous deadlines.  Say YES to quality clients, quality communication, good budgets… in effect, say YES to good relationships… with clients and staff alike. Your business will grow in value the more you respect your offering.  Don’t sell yourself cheap!

Business Mentor Tip #40 – Talk it up baby

Whatever is going on in your business, when it comes to your public face, you need to talk it up at all times.  Never let the outside world know you are having a bad patch.  All businesses have rough times, when sales are down and cashflow is tight, when staff are leaving and stress is off the dial.  But both negativity and positivity are infectious.  And both can be self-fulfilling prophecies.  So if you are hurting, smile.  When someone asks how it’s going, say “It’s going great”… and think of at least one good thing to say to back it up…”my team are just awesome”… or “I’m loving the new office”… or “we’ve got some exciting plans coming up”

And teach your team to do the same.  Make sure they are not out there telling the world that you’ve lost clients and they’ve nothing to do. Be sure to have your positive speeches ready for them too.  Keep morale up.

Because guess what…. it will turn around!

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in exit strategies for small businesses.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Business mentor tip #39 – Grasp the trends

I think Bob Dylan said it best, “The times they are a changing”… and ironically this fundamental truth hasn’t changed. Change is inevitable, I’m sure you are aware of it yourself… how fast things are changing these days.  Just look at social media, just when you think you’ve got the hang of Facebook and Twitter, someone comes up with Pinterest and you’ve got to start learning all over again!

This is just an example of clever people, backed by people with money, jumping onto fast moving trends that force us all to throw ourselves into it just so we don’t miss out.

A key factor in business success these days is your ability to spot a trend and steer your business towards it.  For example, a key trend I’ve always been aware of is being championed by Sir Richard Branson … businesses as a force for good.  Businesses that are making a genuine difference to some significant problem on our planet will be in the right space for today’s consumers.  Trends coming up will be around the needs people have, whether on a global scale such as the environment and worldwide food shortages, or on a more personal level such as the massive shift towards online retail over traditional retail.  If you sell something, you pretty much have to sell it online… and to the right hardware, be it pads, androids, pcs… it’s changing all the time!  We are all coming to accept this reality more and more.

But what other trends are happening that could impact your business?  And how can you use a trend to your advantage?  Do you need to re-engineer any aspect of your business to be ready for an impending trend?

Let me know what trends you see coming…

Business Mentor Tip # 38 – Screw business as usual

Sir Richard’s lastest book is right on the money as usual.  Love his and VirginUnite’s ‘business can be a force for good philosophy’. Check out http://virginunite.screwbusinessasusual.com/ to get on board with the new wave of business… led by the rebel with a cause himself.

The world is needs business owners to change the way we look at business, you must have a purpose and be making a difference to the community and great world with what your business does.  It’s our moral responsibility now.