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This is How You Get the Flow Back

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This is how you get the flow back image!

The love. The passion. The drive. It held your small business together. Clients came in. A decent amount of money flowed–at least, enough to say, “Hey I got a real, viable business on my hands that can support me.”

Then the rush of clients stop; the flow turns to a trickle. Your business has reached its maximum flexing point. Shhhhit.

My sister was a gymnast. She invested almost 20 years, thousands of hours, and plenty of injuries from the vault, balance beam, bars, and floor work. In the first few years of competing, she regularly earned first and second place medals. Her bedroom quickly became a trophy room from her success. Her enthusiasm and joy for the sport rapidly carried her through the levels.

But one day, she hit a plateau. To compete at higher levels, her flexibility and strength needed to improve. Her coach pushed her to have a flawless split and straight lines when flexing and pointing her legs in the air. To achieve this, her coach cranked on her body for months at a time to force her split to the ground.

I remember the grueling pain and muscle tears she went through. I cringe thinking about it. She mutilated her groin and hip flexors. Her progress slowed, and injuries became more common. She could do a split, but was the pain and hard work worth it? Was the short career worth it?

Are You Cranking on Your Business?
When business feels like it has dried up, and things ain’t so hunky dory, most of us fall into reactive mode. You’re needy for clients and money; therefore, you push, you work hard, and you do everything you can to crank out more business and get that flow back. Painful. Exhausting. In need. There has to be a better way?

Do you know what the best way is to increase your flexibility in the shortest amount of time? It’s easing and relaxing into the stretch. I wish my sister’s coach was intelligent enough to know that. But when you push too hard and too fast you go nowhere, except for injury. You need to relax and breathe to deepen the stretch.

No pain, but plenty of gain, because your muscles don’t need the time to repair from the wearing and tearing. The muscles learn how to be flexible and start in that new place of flexibility next time.

Okay…enough lessons on stretching.

The point: rather than pushing and cranking, be open up to your neediness and say, “I’m here. It’s okay that I’m needing more clients and more money”? Because being here with your neediness relaxes you to receive what you truly need. When you fill yourself up, you expand and easily flex to a new level without the pain and without the need.

How to Stretch Your Business?
Be where you are
You want to grow your business. I’m sure you have a grand vision of where you want to be in a few years and what a successful business looks like. But when you are stuck in this vision, you become stuck in expectations.

Having a vision is not the problem, the problem is your attachment to expectations. When the amount of clients and money coming in is not what you expected, and the reality of your business is not meeting your vision, if you are attached to these expectations you suffer. You don’t have to take my word for it, Buddha said it himself: The cause of suffering is from attachment (I’m paraphrasing).

Hold tight to that vision of yours, but how can you let go and honor where you are at? One way is to continually cultivate appreciation for what you already have. Appreciation grounds you to what is. It acknowledges and respects the progress your business has made. In this groundedness, you are being here, now, and standing firmly with both feet on the ground.

Ask to be shown
Before reacting to your business situation and neediness, ask in your heart to be shown what you really need to be fulfilled. You are witnessing that your business needs more flow because you are at a plateau. Before you react and try to bring more business in from a place of neediness, ask, “May I please be shown what I truly need in this relationship.”

You don’t need the clients and money, but a true need–something that fills your heart. If you already had the clients and money, what does that do for you? What needdoes it fill? Does it bring you safety? Make you feel witnessed? Give a sense of contribution? Create community? Give you strength?

Have a look at List of needs (right click, save as). When you ask in your heart what you truly need, see what need you gravitate towards in the PDF. Your goal here is to identify the true need.

Drink it in
You don’t know something until you experience it. That’s why in the Zen tradition you sit in meditation, because you can talk all you want about enlightenment and The Way, but knowing on an intellectual level is not quite it. You must sit and experience enlightenment for yourself.

When you receive what you truly need from your situation, take that need and drink it. It’s a metaphorical drink of filling your heart with that need. For example, if you discover what you truly need in this current situation is safety, ask to drink and be filled with that need: “May I please drink in and have safety.” Now wash your complete being in safety. Sit as safety.

Another way to experience this need is to fill a glass of water three-quarters full. Declare that the water represents the need of safety, for example. Now drink the water knowing that you are drinking in safety.

Here’s the process in review: be where you are and notice your neediness, ask to be shown what you really need in this situation, drink in the true need you received.

Now you are filled. From this place of fullness, you will respond and make decisions with appropriateness and in balance. In the Buddhist tradition, this is called Right Action. You get back into the flow and start flexing yourself to that new level of business.

Getting the Support and Guidance You Need
The journey to your next of level of business is often messy and like navigating on rough terrains. I know you can do it, but with the right support and guidance you can have an easier journey and cut your time in half. I’m here for you. If you want to explore the possibility of receiving help, and getting that flow of clients and money back into your business, click here to look at my Backward Business Development training.

Why 8 Out of 10 New Businesses Fail

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    When I first committed to Zen training, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I thought it would have been a breeze. Maybe an easy way to find peace and relaxation from the hustle and bustle our culture weighs on us.

    Do a duck duck go search on meditation, and you’ll find countless ways to find inner peace. Most people preach that meditation should be easy. Go for a walk in nature and find the stillness. Lay down with your eyes closed and visualize. Relax on the couch and count your breath. Then, and in no time, I’ll find enlightenment, right?

    I went to my first Zen class with all these ideas about meditation, but no real experience. Do you think I was in for a surprise? Oh ya.

    My teacher made me sit on a small round cushion without a mat on the hard floor (what! I couldn’t lay down). I had to cross my legs in some kind of kung fu style that only double jointed people can do. Worst of all, I couldn’t move. Not even an inch. Not even a scratch. When I did move, he scolded me.

    We meditated for fifty minutes. Fifty. Friggin’. Minutes. My legs were in so much pain. My foot fell asleep and the pins and needles feeling seeped into my stomach. I was nauseous and almost puked. At the fifty minute mark he rang the bell to end the meditation. I was broken. I wanted to cry.

    You Might Not Make It
    Isn’t this shockingly similar to being new in business? We have these grandiose ideas of making a huge impact, having financial freedom, and making six figures within six months. But the truth is: we want to cry most of time. Making our business work is hard.

    Only two out of ten people make it. You wouldn’t have guessed that figure because 8 out of 10 business or life coaches preach your dreams can become a reality, or you can make six figures in six months (I think it’s up to seven figures now).

    The deck is stacked against you, too. You’re inexperienced, so you don’t have social proof or validation that your business is viable. Your income is low, so you desperately need clients and money. When you mix inexperience and a low income together, you undervalue yourself and price way too low. You give a ton of your time and exhaust yourself, but you’re not getting ahead as you hoped.

    Who are the ones that make it? That’s the wrong question. A better question: What’s the best chance you can give yourself so you do make it in business?

    Commit Wholeheartedly To The Form
    The reason why the Rinzai school of Zen (that’s my form) is rigorous and soooo damn hard is because it’s the quickest way to enlightenment. It’s not about finding peace or feeling happy, it’s about getting over yourself. And this type of Zen training gets harder and harder until…you wholeheartedly commit.

    Before wholehearted commitment, you move when you are sitting. You don’t truly listen to your teacher. Sometimes you show up, sometimes you don’t. You quit counting your breath when you should be counting. You don’t practice day in and day out. You think enlightenment will just happen to you.

    After wholehearted commitment, you have no choice. You sit because that’s what you do. You count your breath because that’s what you do. You endure the pain because that’s what you do. You seek enlightenment and you keep seeking because that’s what you do.

    The irony of it all: once you wholeheartedly commit, you have a breakthrough. The enjoyable side effects kick in: a quiet mind, inner peace, unexplained joy, and clarity.

    The majority of people who fail in business (and I have experience failing four businesses) are not wholeheartedly committed. They go through the motions and look for the easy way–the next marketing trick, social media tip, sales tip, or line of thought, “how can I get the next client.”

    Yes, you will have to endure pain, and if you’re new in business, I’m sure there’s pain. You are trying a lot of things and not seeing much work.

    But when you commit with a whole heart, you burn all bridges behind you. You have to make it. You have no choice. The pain is still there, but the magic happens. One client turns into two. Two into four clients. You are being appreciated for your contribution. You feel the love inside. People say “I love you.” (yes, that does happen from my community.)

    How to Wholeheartedly Commit to Make Your Business Work?
    Plain and simple: it’s a decision you make. Wholehearted commitment can happen from having too much suffering in your life that it lights a fire under your ass, or you can decide, right now, to commit.

    I like the decision route. Here’s how.

    Raise your standards.
    Are you in business to make a living? To make money? Or, are you in business to make some kind of impact for others? Are you in business to discover your very best self? To grow? To have financial abundance? To share your voice? To share love? Most importantly, are you clear on what you are after and what you will not settle for?

    The turning point to wholehearted commitment in my Zen training happened when I decided to go full on seeking enlightenment and to sit for everyone. I was clear to why I’m doing my training. And I committed and decided to settle for nothing less than full clarity and realization.

    You need to do the same for your business. Why are you doing what you are doing? What do you really want? What will you NOT settle for? The right answers will appear when the aliveness and passion kick up inside of you. Hint hint: it’s not going to be about money or toys.

    Get leverage on yourself.
    The funny thing about us humans is that we are only doing two things in life: avoiding pain or moving toward pleasure. For example, you have a migraine. You are in pain. Therefore, you take some aspirin so you can avoid pain and move to pleasure.

    I also bet that you are in business because you want pleasure. This may take many different forms, but some common forms of pleasure from business are: money, significance, contribution, certainty, appreciation, freedom, etc. And when you have a lack of clients and money, you are in pain and want to move into pleasure.

    Now here’s the tricky part. If you are struggling in your small business, especially if it has been a long term struggle, you are unconsciously linking pleasure to your struggling situation. Why would you ever do that? Because it’s what you know. There’s certainty in that situation. Certainty of how things will happen in your life brings you comfort and pleasure; therefore, you stay the same.

    The beauty of Zen training is that it creates so much suffering and doubt that you are forced to change. When that happens, you realize enlightenment.

    Business is a path to enlightenment, too. Changing your situation in business, and to move into wholehearted commitment, you must get leverage on yourself. Ask these two questions and journal about them:

    1. What is the cost of not having a thriving and abundant business? Make sure to find the pain in your business life and how it affects all areas of your life.

    Well, if I don’t thrive and have abundance, then it will always be a struggle to make ends meet. I will give a lot of myself, but never really feel nourished. I will also need clients and money and I can see myself compromise integrity to make a buck. I will actually feel drained and always be pissed off. This will upset my wife. She will get sick of our financial lack. I can see our credit card bills go up. We won’t be able to connect with friends and family out of town. I won’t be able to travel…

    2. What is all the pleasure I will gain from having a thriving, impactful, and abundant business? Make sure to write about the impact for your business and finances, but also the other areas of your life.

    My calendar will be full and I will love what I’m doing. I will feel really filled and I’ll be able to give more. I can start that charity I always wanted to start. I will be able to buy a nice plot of land and build that little New Englander. My wife and I will be able to travel and experience cultures. I will feel loved and like I’m making a difference because I’m helping other businesses succeed.

    Make sure you get into this and give it your all when writing. When you understand the cost and pleasure, you have leverage and commitment to change your situation.

    Master the forms.
    The rituals we have in Zen training are rigorous. There’s a certain way to enter the gate, to walk to your cushion, to bow, to sit, to hold your hands, to breath, to light the candles, to stretch, to exit the sitting area, to do everything. Sometimes it is daunting.

    But we strive to master those forms for a purpose: to set ourselves up for success. We want to give ourselves the best chance possible to realize enlightenment.

    You need to do the same for your business. There are heart-centered and ethical structures and strategies to support your business that will set you up for success. So many new business owners only rely on passion and excitement. They jump in and hope to figure things out on the way. Passion and excitement are not constant; they are like a candle that flickers in the wind.

    I have two ways here to support you. But most importantly, whether it’s from me or someone else, invest in learning the business forms. All people who do good things in life have a teacher and make an investment to master the form.

    How about you? Can you tell me a time in your life when you wholeheartedly committed to something that it completely changed your life? Maybe it’s your business? Or maybe in a different part of your life? What was the defining difference?

    Learn the Basics to More Clients and Money

    Handling Difficult Customers is an Opportunity

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      Handling Difficult Customers is an Opportunity by 4Forum.biz

      Plan your strategy to handle difficult customers with this sentence in your mind. There is no such thing as a difficult customer. If you start in this way, handling difficult customers will not be any more difficult for you.

      On most occasions, a customer becomes difficult only because of our mistakes. Either something wrong has gone with our product or service, or the product or service is not up to the mark to meet his expectations. Late delivery of the product or the delivery of wrong product may also make a customer difficult to handle.


      Win an Argument: Loose a Customer
      The first and foremost thing to remember while handling difficult customers is that you can never win an argument. Argument leaves both the sides drained and the subsequent atmosphere is rarely conducive to selling or good communication. Even if you win an argument, you lose possibly one of your best customers. An argument challenges the customer’s emotional judgment. It becomes very difficult to change his opinion once you challenge this judgment.

      A difficult customer who has come with a complaint is, in fact, an opportunity to demonstrate the high standards of professionalism of your company. The best way is to listen to him. Do not try to calm him down. Instead, try to keep yourself cool. Ensure that your body language or telephone reaction is not conveying anger or shock.

      Do not interrupt, and let him vent out his feelings first. Once he finishes, start by asking questions that demonstrate your real interest in solving his problem. Complaints are unavoidable in any kind of business. How you handle the complaining, will dictate the course of your future relationship with the customer.

      Finally, you must thank the customer for bringing the complaint to you, because a customer always has the choice of switching over elsewhere.

      How EDDM Postcards Help You Market Your Business and Rake in The Cash

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      How EDDM Postcards Help You Market Your Business and Rake in The Cash

      How EDDM Postcards Help You Market Your Business

      Reaching out to your ideal customers can be difficult. Learn about EDDM cards and how they can help you market your business and rake in the cash.

      It may be easiest just to do nothing. That’s what a number of businesses think when they consider focusing their marketing efforts.

      They come to that decision, or that thought, in good conscious too. With so many channels through which to reach consumers, it can be understandable to become overwhelmed.

      That apathy though is a fatal business mistake. Instead of giving up, let’s look at one tool that can help you reach customers directly with astonishing results – EDDM Postcards.

      EDDM Postcards – The Basics

      If you are unfamiliar, EDDM Postcards, or Every Door Direct Mail(R) Postcards, are a targeted marketing offer from the United States Postal Service (USPS). Yes, the post office is about more than stamps.

      Remember its goal is helping people connect. So with that in mind, it makes sense that they have a program like this.

      With EDDM Postcards, there is a two-step process. First, you’d design your postcard.

      With your postcard in hand, you can access the USPS EDDM tool that lets you map your coverage area. You can start with a zip code and funnel down to the specifics of the carrier route to ensure that your message is being seen by the people who will be most motivated to act on it.

      The Benefits

      The benefits of being able to manage and, in effect micro-manage, your messaging can be exponential. This is because you’re speaking to a very specific set of customers.

      Take, for example, the neighborhood restaurant. If you want to attract more business, you could go door to door and hang menus. That tactic costs time not to mention the materials costs.

      For a fairly low price though you can send out a concentrated EDDM Postcard to houses in the surrounding area, inviting them to stop in for a “Neighbor Special.” This type of visceral, targeted marketing is really only available through programs like EDDM.

      In addition to promoting a special event and driving in customers on one night, EDDM Postcards can help build awareness. People may drive by your location all the time and think “We should stop there sometime.” By keeping your place top of mind you can turn that drive-by traffic into actual stop-in traffic.

      The “Non-Blanket” Approach

      It’s not uncommon for businesses to take a blanket approach to their marketing efforts. Plastering the town with ads, billboards, radio spots, emails, and more often ends up having the unintended effect of the messaging just becoming white noise.

      Utilizing EDDM postcards provides you with the opposite result. You are reaching a specific subset of the population with a message that is relevant to them. By limiting your audience, you can actually increase your sales!

      Make People Feel Special

      Information moves fast and everyone wants to know the latest, now. When someone can be that person in their group, the influencer who can share something new, they get a special feeling. It’s a feeling that makes them feel good.

      When you’ve got a new product or service, these influencers can help spread the word, but they have to get the word first. Reach out with a specific EDDM Postcard announcing your latest and greatest.

      When the cards are engaging and direct, these influencers will be more inclined to share their messaging. Imagine after a Little League game, they turn to the other parents and say “Hey, let’s go to ______, I just heard about a special they have.”

      Or discussing with their neighbors a “new lawn service” that looks really great. All because of EDDM.

      Tell a Story

      Every marketer knows that it’s rare that you can get a magnificent increase in sales from just one ad. It takes time.

      It’s possible to be sure, but it’s certainly the exception. Those who plan on it being their marketing strategy are sure to be disappointed.

      EDDM Postcards give you an opportunity to take the time you need. In fact, they can do more than increase a sale, they can increase your brand. The difference being, of course, creating a one-time customer vs. a loyal brand ambassador.

      Use the EDDM Postcard experience to tell your story across several mailings. Introduce your company, make an invitation, play up your local connections. You’ll discover that residents respond well to companies that are close to them and seem to have their best interests at heart.

      Look and Feel

      It’s important to take advantage of the EDDM format for how it can target and reach customers but it’s equally important that the message those customers get is strong. That’s why it’s important that your postcards have a professional look and feel to them.

      People a sub-conscious understanding that is a company puts out shoddy ads, their work will be sub-par. But when an ad is polished and direct…

      Cost Effective

      When you hear USPS, you might immediately think that EDDM Postcards will be cost-prohibitive for you. After all, the price of stamps seems to rise every year so it would make sense that a program like this would have a heavier cost to it.

      Well, that kind of thinking is wrong. Currently, the USPS has an “intro” rate of $0.175 for EDDM Postcards. (In some instances that cost can actually start at $0.154!) Here are two vendors that we have worked with in the past.

      Next Steps

      So here’s the thing, EDDM Postcards are a part of the USPS. You could certainly lock yourself in a conference room for a few days and try and make the system work for you. But why?

      When you’re sending EDDM, you’re asking people to trust you, the expert in your particular field. This is a time though when you should heed your own advice and turn to someone who can help you not just use, but master the EDDM system.

      Remember it’s not just about mailing some postcards, it’s about creating engaging messaging inside of an impact-full design, and then delivering that to a targeted, qualified audience. All you should be focused on is helping customers and counting your sales at the end of each EDDM-driven day.

      When you’re ready to let EDDM work for you, we’d love to talk.

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