What makes a great CEO? Here’s what ChatGPT thinks…

I’m always pushing the business owners in my world to think more like a CEO than an owner operator… it’s a different mindset and very empowering for a business owner who often feels they are too busy slashing through the brambles to see what’s available to them on the other side of the forest.

I thought I’d see what ChatGPT had to say about ‘what makes a great CEO’. Here’s the response. What do you think?  And how would you rate yourself against each of the criteria below?

Me: What makes a great company CEO?
  1. Vision and Strategic Thinking: A great CEO is able to set a clear and inspiring vision for the company’s future and develop a strategic plan to achieve it. They must be forward-thinking, able to anticipate market trends, and adapt the company’s strategy accordingly.
  2. Leadership: Effective leadership is crucial. A great CEO leads by example, inspires their team, and fosters a positive and motivated work culture. They should be able to make tough decisions and guide the organization through challenges.
  3. Decisiveness: CEOs are often faced with complex decisions that impact the company’s direction. Being able to analyze information, weigh pros and cons, and make timely decisions is essential.
  4. Communication Skills: CEOs must be skilled communicators, able to convey their vision, goals, and strategy to employees, investors, customers, and other stakeholders. Clear and transparent communication helps build trust and alignment.
  5. Adaptability: The business landscape is ever-changing. A great CEO is adaptable and open to new ideas and approaches, willing to pivot the company’s strategy when necessary.
  6. Problem-Solving Abilities: CEOs encounter a range of challenges, from operational issues to market disruptions. Strong problem-solving skills allow them to identify root causes, explore solutions, and implement effective strategies.
  7. Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions, both their own and those of others, is crucial for building strong relationships and fostering a positive work environment.
  8. Resilience: Leading a company comes with its share of setbacks and failures. Resilience allows a CEO to bounce back from challenges, learn from mistakes, and maintain a determined attitude.
  9. Strategic Delegation: A great CEO knows how to delegate tasks effectively, empowering their team members to contribute their expertise and freeing up their own time for more high-level strategic decisions.
  10. Ethical Integrity: Upholding ethical values and integrity is paramount. A CEO’s decisions and actions impact not only the company but also its reputation and the broader community.
  11. Industry Knowledge: CEOs should have a deep understanding of their industry, market trends, and competitors. This knowledge enables them to make informed decisions and capitalize on opportunities.
  12. Financial Acumen: A strong grasp of financial concepts and metrics is essential for managing the company’s financial health, allocating resources wisely, and making informed investment decisions.
  13. Customer Focus: A customer-centric approach drives innovation and ensures that the company’s products or services meet customer needs and expectations.
  14. Networking: Building relationships with other industry leaders, investors, and partners can open doors to collaborations, partnerships, and potential growth opportunities.
  15. Long-Term Perspective: A great CEO focuses not only on short-term results but also on building sustainable, long-term growth for the company.

Here’s a challenge…. take each of the above criteria and mark yourself out of 10 for two scores:  firstly, score yourself in terms of your ability; and secondly, on how much time you spend actively applying yourself to the quality or activity described.

Love to hear your thoughts.  And if you would like to be challenged more to improve your ability as a CEO vs Owner Operator… ask me about the Master Moves programme.  There’s one coming up soon….

PS. Book a free 30 minute business chat with with me here.

How to have a win/win financial relationship with your business

A while ago I wrote a blog called ‘your business is not your baby’ where I talked about the importance of treating your business as a separate entity, not as an extension of your family or personal life.

Today in one of the rich and frank Master Moves group discussions, this important distinction came up again.

The conversation came about as a business owner shared that they had been ‘stripping’ money out of the business to fund other projects. Another business owner agreed they had done the same. Which was all well and good until an external factor impacted on revenues, causing an instant and significant drop of income. Then the lack of cash reserves in the business became a problem.

Suddenly he couldn’t pay his contractors on time, and became stressed about their well being as like all business owners, we are always conscious of our responsibility to those who rely on us to make good decisions so they can feed their families and pay their mortgages.

So is it wrong to take the cash out of your business as you go?

My answer is a resounding ‘no’ – it’s not only not wrong but it is important that you do so.  Why would you wait until the end and hope you get your ROI on all your efforts from a sale?  When you can be taking money out as you go and investing it elsewhere, thereby growing your wealth outside of the business at the same time you are growing the business.

But it is critical to do it strategically and in a way that makes your relationship with the business very clear and works for the business as well as you.

Here’s what I shared about how my business was set up and how I learned to have an appropriate relationship with it.

Your business is a separate financial entity and as such needs to stand on its own two feet.  It needs to raise it’s own finance when needed.

It has a responsibility to make enough profit to be able to pay dividends to its shareholders, to give them a fair return on their investment.

It is the job of the CEO to ensure the business performs well for its customers, its staff, its community and also its shareholders.

As the owner, you are the shareholder.

But as an owner operator working in the business you are also the CEO.

It’s good to remember you have two hats – The CEO and the shareholder.

As a shareholder you have every right to expect a dividend paid out of profits

But only if as a CEO you have met the targets and expectations of the business to ensure there is enough capital to do three things:

    1. Allocate a reasonable % of profits to be working capital left in the business for growth and risk management
    2. Allocate a % of profits for profit share/bonus for the key people who have helped achieve the profit
    3. Allocate a % of profits to be declared as dividend pay out to the shareholders

This is how my business was set up and it worked really well.  I was on a salary paying PAYE, that was all I took out of the business until profits were finalised. Then I would receive the agreed % of profits after a capital allocation was made to fund growth and have reserves for tough times, and after key staff had been given a profit share bonus.

The key to win/win

The key really is to always view your business as a separate entity – your job working inside the business is to make sure it’s financially successful so that it can pay you a return that you can use outside of the business.

Take money out yes.  But leave enough money in to feed the business when it needs it… and this my friends is a win/win for you and your business.

I hope that makes sense!

PS. Conversations like this happen all the time in the Master Moves community.  To find out how to join us, hit reply to this email and I’ll fill you in!

Master Moves is a powerful group programme for business owners who really don’t want to keep playing the game alone.  Find out more here. 

Founder Syndrome – what is it and do you have it??

Founder syndrome is a thing.

And if you own a business, it’s most likely that you are suffering from at least a few of it’s symptoms.

The following blog is based on my own experience of owning and exiting 2 businesses and the experience of over 100 business owners I’ve worked with over the last 11 years as a business mentor, with individuals and groups.

So what is Founder Syndrome?

I believe it is a fundamentally a very real blockage to the growth of any business which is a direct outcome of the human condition of ego.

Cambridge University definition of ‘ego’ below:

Ego: the idea or opinion that you have of yourself, esp. the level of your ability and intelligence, and your importance as a person.

When the founder of the business struggles to let go… at any stage of the business, it is because they have a very real commitment to the idea that the business cannot do something without them.  And in many (dare I say most) cases the things the business ‘cannot do without them’ are functions that in reality can be fulfilled adequately by others – with the right organisational growth plan, the right people, the right systems, the right training – and importantly, the right mindset from the founder.

Why is Founder Syndrome a problem?

If a business has an owner who continues to work hard within the operational functionality of the business, it simply is unable to grow. The reason for this is that the business owner is most likely to be the person who can direct and lead the business to greater things, but only if they have time to do this.

If they spend their time working on lower level problem solving, such as getting an urgent job out the door, they are not spending time on high quality problems such as how do we improve our competitive edge, or position ourselves to improve the quality of our client portfolio, or ensure we are well positioned to take advantage of a trend that’s hitting our industry?

What is the right mindset to avoid Founder Syndrome?

If you as the owner of your business are spending much of your time working operationally in the business – and you are a core feature in the delivery of your service or product – it’s likely there is a mindset belief driving this behaviour.

You may believe one or more of the following:

  • You are the only one with the right experience, knowledge and ability to fulfil this function (whatever the job is that you are getting involved in)
  • The standards and expectations of your clients will not be met if you don’t get involved
  • The business is in danger if you don’t get involved
  • Your current team can’t be trusted to deliver your offer without your involvement
  • Your clients want you working on their business and will be unhappy if you get someone else to do it
  • You can’t afford to hire more experienced people and you don’t have time to train your more junior people
  • The best use of your time is to be involved in many aspects of delivery of your business offering

How do you change the mindset?

It isn’t easy to change mindset.  But it is necessary if you truly want your business to grow.  To want to change your mindset you have to believe the following:

  • The growth of the business is capped by your willingness to let go and trust
  • There is always someone who can do ‘things’ as well as you
  • Your team are more capable than you might think
  • It’s OK if people make mistakes as long as they can learn and grow from them
  • Your clients/customers will accept others working on their business – they don’t really believe you should always do the work
  • Systems, protocols and training will set you free

Actions to take to shift mindset

  • Shift your priorities from ‘doing’ to ‘leading’
  • Write yourself a job description as CEO or MD of your business and make the role of CEO/MD as important as doing the day to day work – set yourself KPIs based around business development, strategy, leadership, networking, reputation building – and have someone (maybe a mentor or advisory board) hold you accountable to these KPIs.
  • Work with your team to put the systems and protocols in place that will enable them to take on more responsibility in way that gives you reassurance that things will be done to your standards
  • Be clear on your expectations and take responsibility for communicating these to your team

Free freedom from founder syndrome session

If you own a business and would like to talk about founder syndrome and how you can shift your mindset to enable growth, reach out to me for a a free 30 min pep talk on how you can shift it faster than you might imagine!

Just email me laura@liber8u.com to book a time.  Or click here to make a time in my calendar.

Yours in freedom!

Posted in All

Why bother with a company vision?

The following is an excerpt from my book, Liber8 your Business…

Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.’ Jack Welch.

I’m sure I’m not the first business mentor or advisor to tell you that every great business needs an inspiring vision. I’m pretty sure this has been in business text books since year dot. But what is this vision thing really all about? And why should you bother having one?

A vision is a common purpose, a reason for being.

For the most practical minded, a company vision may seem a woolly, ‘pie in sky’ kind of ideal that has no bearing on today’s sales. And in some ways this is true. A company vision is something that exists well into the future and will most likely never be realised. However, it plays a critical role in your business success.

First, a vision will inspire people. Your vision is not what you do; it’s the reason your business exists and how it makes a difference. Perhaps you’ll remember earlier in the book I wrote of the two reasons for being in business. The first was to make money (and hopefully you are on board with this idea by now!).

The second was to make a difference. A business that sets out to change something is a business with a purpose. And a business with a purpose is one that propels forward, gathers speed and brings people along for the ride … people who care about the same purpose and want to make that change too. The people who work for you, the clients you attract and, ultimately, the buyer who pays your asking price can all be inspired by your vision.

Your desire to change something significant can be a powerful motivator. This change can be within your own industry, if you can see better ways of doing things that will transform the way your industry operates. It could be a difference made to your community, your city, your country or on a global scale.

Your vision allows you to aim for a clear point of difference

A well-considered company vision can also stamp your mark on your industry in a way your competitors may not have thought of. My vision for Red Rocks was to ‘transform the way advertising agencies treated their clients’. I had spent my entire working life in an agency, most of this as a creative person. My experience told me advertising agencies treated their clients with almost a level of distain. The client was a pain to be tolerated on the road to a creative award and was quite literally a meal ticket, needed to cover the costs of excessive long lunches. The agency would take the client’s brief and disappear for several weeks while they worked on the big idea. As a copywriter I was mostly kept away from the client and had to rely on the brief from the client service person (or ‘suit’ as the industry nicknamed such roles).

There was, in my view, a big disconnect between the clients, who had all the industry knowledge, and the creative people who came up with the clever ideas. Surely we should all work together to get the best solution? I hated the arrogance that seemed to go with my own industry and the way clients were kept in the cold. When I started my own agency, it was with a vision to change this … and make a difference to the industry that would live beyond my own tenure as the agency owner. The vision had our clients’ best interests at heart and we made sure we used this to our advantage when pitching against our larger competitors. Did we point out the arrogance that bothered me? Of course we did, and positioned ourselves as the opposite. On many occasions it worked extremely well for us.

 ‘You’ll find what you love by observing what you hate.’

Robert Kiyosaki said the above words to me as we had dinner one night during his Business School for Entrepreneurs workshops in Hawaii. I’ve never forgotten them, nor stopped admiring the work Robert and Kim do to this day to make their difference in the world. If you take a look at Robert’s website www.richdad.com you’ll see his vision on the home page:‘Elevating the financial well-being of humanity.’ It’s a vision that flows directly from his hatred of poverty and the terrible impact it has on people.

If you can find something that frustrates you and others, you can steer your vision towards fixing it. Our vision for our pet care company was ‘to make the world a happier place for pets.’ This was clearly a global vision and one inspired not only by our love of pets but also by our hatred for any kind of animal cruelty.

Though our core business was walking dogs and feeding cats, we saw our role in the world to be much bigger than this. We envisioned ‘an army of Pet Angels across the globe,’ all committed to making a difference. Our vision enabled us to think and act on a much bigger scale than our core services. We became involved with raising funds for our local animal shelter, petitioning for more dog lighting in dog exercise areas, creating pet first aid and emergency training guides, teaching pet handling safety in schools.

Everything we did was measured against our vision and enabled us to keep asking ‘will this help make the world a happier place for pets?’ As a result of these activities, we often found ourselves in the newspapers, or being asked to comment on important pet related issues. We had a voice bigger than our services, and we championed a cause that many people could get behind.

Think beyond your own lifetime as owner

From a CEO point of view, your role is to keep focus on the vision to drive the business. Your company vision is ultimately what unites your people around a common purpose that goes beyond the money. It’s about doing something you love and wanting to change the world. Its most important role is to inspire.

My vision for my work with Liber8 Your Business and other Liber8me tools and programmes is ‘to set all small business owners financially free.’ Of course this vision will never be achieved in my lifetime, but by making this my ideal I am clear that everything produced under the Liber8 brand must increase the chance of this vision happening. There are millions of small business owners in the world, so whatever Liber8me does must be accessible to as many as possible. This vision inspires me and those I work with to keep thinking of more ways to bring the Liber8me message to business owners everywhere.

The Pet Angels vision ‘to make the world a happier place for pets’ was an ideal my business partner and I loved and felt inspired by. We never intended that it be measurable or even achievable. How could we ever know if we really did make the world a happier place for pets?

This is the key difference between a company vision and your business goals. Your target and goals are there to be achieved within clearly defined timeframes. Your company vision, however, is there to inspire, not be measured. Most company visions are created to have a life beyond that of the original owner.

Another of my business super heroes, the late Anita Roddick, created a global empire around her anger about the way human beings treat the planet and other animals. I love this quote from her about her vision for her business”

I just want The Body Shop to be the best, most breathlessly exciting company – and one that changes the way business is carried out. That is my vision.’

Anita wanted to change the way ‘business is carried out’ by demonstrating that business can have high ethics, values and a greater cause behind everything her company did. In her lifetime she may not have changed the ethics of every business on the planet, but she certainly demonstrated how a business can combine financial returns whilst championing a cause for good.

Guess the vision

Here’s a quick quiz to demonstrate how some of the global greats approach their visions. See if you can match these vision statements with their companies:

Vision Company
1.     To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world A.     Walt Disney Corp.
2.     To refresh the world B.     IKEA
3.     To make people happy C.     Walmart
4.     To create a better everyday life for the many D.    Coca cola
5.     To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people E.     Nike

As you can see, none of these visions mentions what the company does or what its targets are. They are all inspirational and totally immeasurable. Did you guess which belonged with which? Here are the answers:

1.E: 2. D; 3. A; 4. B; 5.C

Your vision drives your brand

Later,we’ll look at the importance of having a strong brand to help drive the value of your business. When we further explore the concept of branding you’ll see how important it is to have an empowering vision to guide the values and philosophy of your business. Nike’s vision (‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete’) is an excellent example of how a vision can drive the brand. Whether you are a world class athlete or a humble gym enthusiast, you feel good wearing the latest Nike gear. Its ‘just do it’ attitude stems directly from the vision. You can be inspired to achieve your best, whoever you are.

The following exercise is designed to help you think more about the type of vision you really want for your company. Is it global or local? Is it transformational or inspirational, or both? Give yourself plenty of time to think about this and please don’t be tempted to skip past it. It is such a critical success factor in successful business growth.

 If you’d like a free e book copy of the Liber8 your Business book, email me now at Laura@liber8u.com … I’m giving away free copies for a limited time 😁

Yours in freedom

How to have confidence in business when doubts are creeping in

One of my favourite all time quotes is this one by Henry Ford:

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

And I always say to the business owners I work with on their confidence in business, ‘what you say to yourself and believe is the single most powerful force we will have to work with’.

So yes I’m a big believer the power of self belief, and how damaging to your progress in life and business negative beliefs can be.

Of course, many of our negative beliefs about ourselves or our societal circumstances are ingrained from an early age. If someone tells you that you are stupid when you are young, you may grow up to believe this on some unconscious level, even when the evidence in front of you says otherwise.  Or if someone tells you that money is evil, you may find this belief is impacting on your perspective of how successful you will allow your business to be.

Right now, we are confronted with a very uncertain world ahead…

Covid19 and the enforced global lock down of our people, our borders and our economies will have a huge impact.  We can’t even say how this will play out for sure, but we are pretty certain that we will be heading into a time of recession and hardship for many of our citizens.

So now more than ever is the time to ensure you have a good relationship with your beliefs about yourself and your ability to lead you business, your family and your own well-being through whatever lies ahead.

Here’s an exercise that can really help ensure you have the confidence in business you need to succeed in the new landscape.

It’s called Creating a Positive Mantra and it goes like this…

Step 1. On a piece of paper draw a line down the middle so you have two columns.  On one side write the heading ‘Negative’ and on the other side write ‘Positive’.

Step 2. On the negative side list all of the current fears you have about yourself or your business. Just listen to whatever comes into your head and write it down without judgement. For example, you might write “I doubt myself and my ability to come through this” or “I’m scared my business won’t generate enough income” or “I’m scared I might get sick”.

Step 3. On the positive side, write down the exact opposite to the fears/negatives on the other side. For example, on the opposite side to “I doubt my ability to come through this” you could write “I have faith in my ability to come through this”.

Step 4. Now select the two or three most prominent fears and take their opposite positives to make a sentence. Eg. “I believe in myself and have total faith in my ability to generate income and keep myself healthy”.

Step 5. Shorten the sentence into your mantra – something that you can say to yourself easily and remember. For example, “I believe I will thrive and everything will be better than before”.

Step 6. Make it stick. This mantra needs to overcome any other thoughts and beliefs running round in your head. You have to ingrain it…

  1. Write it out 100 times!
  2. Write it on post its and leave where you can see it
  3. Use it as a meditation mantra, or chant as you go to sleep at night

This exercise doesn’t take long but it is really powerful. It’s all about re-programming your fears and negative thoughts so that your confidence in business and in yourself are strong when you tackle challenges.

This and other exercises can be found the 3 module mini course, called Thriving through Crisis, which I created during lock down.  Click below to access it.

Thriving through Crisis Mini Course – find out more.

Let me know how you get on. Be strong!


Posted in All

Surviving Covid19 – My 10 Step Business Survival Mantras

Apologies for adding another blog to the hundreds out there about Covid19, we’re all both sick of it and addicted to it at the same time right?

This is an unprecedented time and feels like we’ve all gone to war, which I suppose we have really.

And like war, it’s very frightening, everything changes, fear is rampant and the unknown makes it impossible to plan the future.

So I just wanted to share an email I sent my clients this week with thoughts I’ve had about what I’m going to do to get through this and come out on top, in the hope that maybe it will help you too.

This is what I’m telling myself – a 10 point mantra for surviving Covid19 :

Get my fear in check.
1. Have faith. I feel my faith (in a greater power, myself, the universe… I’m not really sure which) is being called upon and I have to trust that it is all going to be OK.
2. Have courage. I feel frightened, but I know I am strong and I will get through this, as will my family, my friends, my clients and my colleagues.
3. Be vulnerable. It’s OK to be scared and it’s OK to admit that I don’t always understand what’s going on or how to help myself or others fully but I’ll keep communicating, keep sharing and I’ll be OK.
4. Take comfort from the fact that we are all in the same boat – the financial system has broken and the domino effect impacts everyone – businesses, investors, employers, employees – everyone – I’m not alone.

Add value 
5. Look at the situation, what is happening, what do people need and how can I best take what I have to offer to help the most?  Think help not panic.
6. Don’t worry about the money, focus on adding value and coming from an authentic position of helping others first.
7. Trust that if I add value and help others, everything else will look after itself.

Look after people
8. That’s my family, my friends and my clients (all of who are like family and friends to me anyway), my tenants, my neighbours, my community… I’m going to embrace the humanity in this situation and throw myself into this with compassion and a sense of humour too.

Look after my brand
9. That’s my business brand and my personal brand- How I behave during this time will say a lot about me and my business.

Be creative
10. Now’s the time to re-invent myself and harness my creativity to see what’s possible and come out with a new way of looking things that’s better than before.

I’m here for you…

As part of this plan for me I want to be here for you in every way I can. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen (some virus just stole my crystal ball), but I have a great brain, I’m creative, I’m smart, I know some stuff about business and I’m full of hope and optimism… I’m a great ear in a crisis too!

I know at the moment you’ll be in full survival mode, dealing with the very real issues of people, financial fall out, and feelings of overwhelm as you try to get these things done as wisely as you can. I hope you have good financial and HR support around you – if not, please reach out to me and I’ll either help you myself or get you the help you need.  Contact me any time!

Once this in place, I’m here to help you work on the courage, the creativity and the re-invention.  So please, please, please call on me.  I think this is the time for short zoom meetings – as often as you want.  I’ll be creating a calendar link for business owners to work with me on creative approaches to work on the re-invention coming out of this. If you are keen to be included in this, just email me laura@liber8u.com.

If you can afford to pay me that’s awesome, I appreciate it with big gratitude. If you can’t, that’s fine too. We can talk about that after it’s all over. You can pay me when you start making loads of money again (and I know you will!).

Let’s make this crisis into something we can be proud of.

Keep in touch… I’m here!

Kia kaha!

Roaring out of a recession – Learn what the 9% of Post Recession Winners did right

How to be a post-recession winner …

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who woke up on Monday morning with no small amount of fear in my belly about what’s coming next, right?

A pandemic that closes entire countries is frightening enough. And now we are heading into a recession of unknown proportions too. It’s bloody scary for everyone. As business owners we really do feel like we’ve walked into a scene from Alice in Wonderland, where everything is surreal and nothing is the same as it was only a moment ago.

So what do we do?

How do we survive a recession, and come out the other end stronger than ever?

I have some of my own opinions – but this morning as I sat in bed not sure I really wanted to face this week, my opinions didn’t seem enough. I wanted to find out more about companies that had not only successfully survived a recession, but also come out the other side on top.

So I started to google…

And an hour and a half later, still in my pyjamas, I found this article in Harvard Business Review … which I think is the best article of all about how to survive a recession because it’s research based (following 4,700 companies through three recessions), not opinion based.

Do you want to know what the 9% of companies who absolutely flourish after a recession do?

Read this article – click here – to find out.

And then commit to being a “post-recession winner”.

“The companies most likely to outperform their competitors after a recession are pragmatic as William James defined the term: “The attitude of looking away from first things, principles, ‘categories,’ supposed necessities; and of looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts.” The CEOs of pragmatic companies recognize that cost cutting is necessary to survive a recession, that investment is equally essential to spur growth, and that they must manage both at the same time if their companies are to emerge as post-recession leaders.”

This is a time to call upon wisdom not panic.  To be pragmatic not too defensive or aggressive. Can this be you?

This morning I made a commitment to be the most useful that I can possibly be to business owners through what will no doubt be a roller coaster  ride of scream worthy proportions for many of us.  So I’m going to continue to explore and share winning strategies and tactics, and create content to inspire and cheer, as well as empathise.  I want to help you be a pragmatic leader that sees opportunity in the chaos.

If you’d like to hear more from me and be part of the wisdom not panic tribe… feel free to email me laura@liber8u.com and tell me what support you could really do with right now.

Let’s keep positive and stay together through this!

Posted in All

Advisory Board Tip Series 2 – Why have an advisory board?

Why should you have an Advisory Board?

Good question. And an important one to know the answer to before you to go to the trouble and expense of forming one!

Bring back the joy!

An Advisory Board is there to help you grow more efficiently and with more confidence. They’re there to encourage you, to challenge you, to support you and bring more joy back into your business.

Get the support you need.

Growing a business by yourself can be quite hard. When you have an Advisory Board who care passionately about your business and want you to succeed, it should be an uplifting experience.

You just don’t know what you don’t know!

It’s naive of a business owner to be arrogant enough to think that they know everything.  The whole purpose – the why – of having an Advisory Board is that they will challenge your thinking and bring a perspective you hadn’t thought of before. And they will bring experience that you haven’t yet had, particularly in your industry or part of the growth plan you are trying to achieve.

A worthwhile investment

In my first business I invested $24,000 per annum in two external advisors – in my second year of business, that was all my profit! But it was the best decision I ever made. They gave me the confidence and encouragement to grow, they were there when times were tough and they never stopped believing in me.  Don’t underestimate the return on investment of paying for good external advice.

If you’d like to know more about how an Advisory Board could work for you… feel free to email me laura@liber8u.com

Happy growing!

Posted in All

Advisory Board Video Tip Series – Tip 1. Understand what a Advisory Board is

Have you been wondering if it’s time to look at an Advisory Board for your business? Or has someone else suggested you should have one, but you don’t really know where to start?  I work with business owners every day and often get asked about the need for an Advisory Board.  I think its a great idea but only if you do it properly and at the right time for your business.

So how do you do it properly?

I thought I’d share my advice in the form of a video tip series.

Tip 1 – Understand what an Advisory Tip is

An Advisory Board is a small but perfectly formed group of people who come together to add value to your business growth plans.

There are a few clues in the above statement:

  • Small. You don’t want a committee of people with so many perspectives it confuses you. I think yourself plus 2 or 3 others is ample
  • Perfectly formed. Choose very carefully who you have on board – choose people who have proven experience in both business and in the particular areas you want to grow in. For instance if your growth strategies are likely to include exporting, then someone with exporting experience could add great value.
  • Business growth plans. The right time to bring together an Advisory Board is when you are in a growth phase and have a clear idea of where you want to take the business and ready for the right help to implement your plans – not when you are just starting out or if you are unclear where you want to take the business.

I’ll be sharing all 7 video tips as a blog but if you want to fast track to the full series, just go to https://liber8yourbusiness.com/advisory-board/

And of course feel free to email me at laura@liber8me.com if you have any questions or want to talk more about help with forming an Advisory Board.

Happy growing!

How to create the killer business plan you’ll actually follow this year

money treeToo often annual business plans are so wordy they get stuck in a drawer, or there are too many things that need attending to that the business owner gets overwhelmed and struggles to execute the plan. Or the ideas are so hidden in words that they get lost. The reality is that 12 months is a short period of time and you can’t execute everything that you want to do… so you have to be selective. Set yourself up for success, not for failure.  

Every year, as well as putting out fires, solving problems, managing staff and clients, you need to be executing key strategies that will help you get towards your long term vision faster. The following article and exercise will help you create a quick business plan that your whole team will understand and help you execute.

The 2 Page Business Plan aims to uncover the really important objectives that will drive your success in the coming financial year. The idea is to identify the most important goals for the year – the ones that will make the biggest impact towards your long term goals as well as move you forward in the short term.

It includes three key sections:

  1. 1. The Core Business Drivers – what are the most important objectives for your business this year? With specific targets added (how to quantify these drivers)
  2. 2. The Key Strategies that will turn these objectives to reality
  3. 3. The Action/Project Plan for each strategy – the things you have to do, by when and with what resource in order to execute the strategy.


Your 2 page business plan sits alongside your annual budget. Your budget should outline your profit goal for the year, your planned expenses and the income targets you need to achieve that profit.

Then your 2 Page Business Plan outlines how you are going to achieve this.


Compete the following:

  1. 1. Your Core Business Drivers

What are the most important objectives for this year? The key focus areas that will drive the business forward and ensure you achieve financial objectives?

Limit this to 3 or 5 objectives that will make a real difference.


  • Increase Membership
  • Retain and increase value of existing members
  • Grow partner network
  • Decrease dependency on me
  1. 2. Specific targets

Underneath each ‘driver’ put a specific target


  • Increase Membership
    • 60 new member firms on this year
  • Retain and increase value of existing members
    • Increase value of membership based by 40%
  • Grow partner network
    • Bring on 4 new suppliers this year
  • Decrease dependency on me
    • Hire part time telemarketer and book keeper
  1. 3. Key Strategies

Commit to 2 to 5 key strategies that you believe will achieve your core drivers


  • Increase membership:
    • New brand launch PR
    • Lapsed leads campaign
    • Events programme
    • Partner collaboration programme
    • Content marketing
  1. 4. Create a project plan for each of the strategies to make it a reality:

Resources – what needs to happen, who will do it, how much?

Timeframes – when and how long will it take?


  • Lapsed Leads campaign:
    • Write and send new brand email (date)
    • Prepare scripts and train telemarketer follow up (date)
    • Get appointments (on-going)
    • Use new sales presentation to convert

Follow the steps above and you will have a plan you can stick on your wall and see every day, not in your drawer gathering dust.  Hope you find this useful.

Happy growing!


PS.  For more thoughts on how to make your business more valuable, feel free to download this free booklet, based on my interviews with successful entrepreneurs