7 Surprisingly Easy Steps to Handle Difficult Conversations with Ease

7 Surprisingly Easy Steps to Handle Difficult Conversations with Ease

As a business owner, you will face conversations that you perceive as "difficult" or "confronting" from time to time.  Some of you may have more experience than others by holding a managerial position at a corporation.  But even then, having rather unpleasant conversations as a business owner is a whole other category, as you are the face of the company.

There are no other bosses to blame.  There is no brand name to hide behind and say, “They made me do it!  I’m just a messenger!”

As your business grows, your responsibility of looking after your business as a whole and assessing the overall well-being of it also grows significantly. 

It could be about firing one of your employees, especially when you break my golden rule- "No family or friends for hire."

It could be about unhappy customers demanding to speak to you.

In some cases, it's about your customers wanting a refund.

It may be that you need to tell vendors you want to stop working with them.

Or, you want to fire your client. 

 

They all sound unsavory, don’t they?

How would you say you feel when realizing you may have to handle these business matters?

Dreadful?
Heavy?
Depressed?
Exposed?
Confronted?
Conflicted?

Is your immediate reaction:

Wanting to avoid it at all cost?
Defensive?
Apprehensive?

 

What if I told you, by the end of this post, you may look forward to having these conversations because you have just acquired a new perspective? 

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 3: Three Ways to Future-Proof Your Niche

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 3: Three Ways to Future-Proof Your Niche

"I don't niche down, and let me explain why it works for me."

This tweet caught my eye earlier this year while I was working on pt. 1 & 2 of this "Niche Down" series.  I was intrigued.  This statement challenged what I practice and promote, and, immediately, I wanted to know more.

It originated from an influencer who seemed to be doing extremely well.  I always liked his overall message, although I'm not part of his target audience.  So, I happen to follow him over Twitter.

Once I got to the post where he explained why & how not niching down was the way to go, I realized his definition of "niching down" was… a little off.  In my eyes, he was totally niching down. 

He just didn't see it that way.

Note, I have no intention of calling someone out just to make a point that I'm right or nitpicking on what “niche down” should be. Doing so doesn't give value to anyone, including me.

Instead, I saw this as an opportunity.  I was so glad that I saw the tweet.  This was an indication that the concept of niching down may not be so straight forward for some, and I needed to articulate more clearly as to how to get this done right, so that no one wastes time or effort.  

The irony is that his business is clearly defined and niched down, but he tells his audience he does not believe in niching down. This can be confusing to many entrepreneurs.

In this final post of the 3-part series, "How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer," I'm going to lay out how to future-proof this process so that you are well on your way to success. 

But before diving in, let’s address what is going on here with this influencer.

This 1 Simple Exercise will Help You Stay in Alignment with Your Business Emotionally & Strategically

This 1 Simple Exercise will Help You Stay in Alignment with Your Business Emotionally & Strategically

Entrepreneurship comes with a full of surprises at all times.

If you are an aspiring business operator or an entrepreneur, you can probably relate to this statement. 

Right?

Just by looking at this year alone for my business, there were a few twists and turns I did not anticipate.  After all said and done, they were all good.  Yet these unexpected happenings can take you off the rail rather quickly ending up losing sight of what truly matters the most in your business.

When something good and unexpected happens, you do want to keep the momentum going to get the max out of what life throws at you.  Once that settles down, you might feel a little "off" about your business overall, and that's normal.  I have been there.  Many times.

In my previous post, I have covered the importance of simplifying your business in order to scale.  While you experience highs and lows through your business, being skillful at working continuously on simplifying your business depends on how much you feel aligned with your business emotionally and strategically.

In case you are wondering, emotional alignment and strategic alignment - both need to be met.  You can't just pick & choose if you want to achieve the best outcome possible for your business.

Here, I'm going to share a fun & simple exercise to achieve both at the same time.

 

Want to Scale Your Service Business Fast? Find Out Whether Your Business is “Scale-Ready” Right Now.

Want to Scale Your Service Business Fast?  Find Out Whether Your Business is “Scale-Ready” Right Now.

Do you know how to tell whether a Ramen joint is a good one? 

You test the place by ordering the simplest version with just broth, noodles and a few garnishes. No meat, no shellfish, no other exotic or expensive ingredients. 

The same goes for discovering the best Burger, Arepa, Dumplings, Pizza, Curry, etc.

Why?

The reason is: Simple dishes have nowhere to hide. They'd better be darn good with very limited ingredients.

With a fewer ingredients, it comes down to how a creator of that dish crafts ingredients by adding just enough skill to make it shine.

This is, by far, the hardest thing to do.

Instead of hiding behind bells and whistles, a creator must resist the urge to show off for the sake of his ego and let his dish do the magic.

 

Adding is easy. Subtracting is hard.

 

Not only is it hard to strip a dish down to bare minimum, but it's also hard NOT to feel inadequate.  Since it is so simple, the dish will be judged by the level of confidence, knowledge, and restraint that a creator possesses.

I know what you are about to ask.

“How is creating a simplest dish even relevant to scaling a business?”

The simple strategic concept below can help you create new milestones to scale your business. Also, you will find whether your business is “scale-ready” by answering 5 statements.

So, read on.  

 

Behind the Scenes 2: Create Your Signature Workshop from Scratch (Updates & 3 Tips for Digesting Feedback Effectively)

Behind the Scenes 2: Create Your Signature Workshop from Scratch (Updates & 3 Tips for Digesting Feedback Effectively)

It has been more than 6 months since I posted my first update on how I created my signature workshop in 3.5 weeks while I run my regular business.  In the post, I also shared what worked and what didn’t.

If you haven’t checked it out, you might want to do that first so that you get the backstory before diving into this one.

My original intention was to share my process of creating one then testing it so that you would be inspired to work on yours.  Since then, a lot has happened.  So, it is time to invite you back to this topic and see how it has evolved.

In this post, you are going to learn 2 things:

1.     Updates on how this effort of perfecting a workshop took an unexpected turn & what I took away from the experience.

2.     Tips on what to do once you collect feedback from participants.

By the way, you would appreciate knowing this fact, that I did not make this a priority for my business during the first half of this year.  What I am about to share did not come from actively promoting or developing the original workshop. 

Things just started to happen without me doing much to it.

Now, please don’t take this the wrong way.  I am not in anyway suggesting you to lock up your workshop and throw away the key and, expecting an offer or an invitation will magically appear without you lifting a finger.  Although I wasn’t actively working on it, it has always been on the back of my mind. 

This is key so that once you spot an opportunity, you can pull it out and look at it again from another perspective.  We will go deep into how to execute this in this post.

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 2: The Fine Art Painting Method

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 2: The Fine Art Painting Method

This is the part 2 of the 3-part series covering the topic of “How to Niche Down When You Have So Much to Offer.” 

Just to recap, part 1 covered the “what” and “why” of niching your services down like fine dining restaurant menus. (embed the link.)

I purposely used the fine dining model as an example to convey my point of how a refined, high ticket item will allow you to create a highly profitable service business without burning yourself out while executing.

In part 2, it is going to be all about “how” to explore your niche that works.  

With all the noise over on the internet, many are dismissing the fact that there are many, many highly profitable businesses that you would never hear or read about. 

Not only are they so profitable that they don’t need to conduct any sales, marketing and advertising campaigns, they are content with the kind of freedom they have with their lives without losing their love for their work.

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, let me tell you about my acupuncture doctor as a real-life example.  He is a multi-millionaire that you will never hear about (unless I tell you, of course.)

No fancy office. 

No fancy sign outside.  You’ll walk right pass it.

Occasional ads on one local super niche newspaper. 

That is about it.

He’s been running his business all by himself (no staff) at the same location for nearly 20 years.

You must be wondering, “What does he do that is so different from any other acupuncturists that is so profitable?”

Clients from Hell: 51 Ideas You Can Implement When Your Top Paying Clients are Ruining Your Life

Clients from Hell: 51 Ideas You Can Implement When Your Top Paying Clients are Ruining Your Life

You must have a horror story or two that involves "clients from hell." This may be a no-brainer, but I was surprised to find a website dedicated to sharing those horror stories. (https://clientsfromhell.net/) It seems they even have a podcast about it.

On the flip side, if you haven't had any experience dealing with clients from hell in your service business, you are leaving money on the table. 

“What?!,” you might ask.  You heard it right the first time. You are losing money.

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 1: The Fine Dining Menu Strategy

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 1: The Fine Dining Menu Strategy

Who says you can’t learn anything by just watching Netflix?  You can.  If you pay attention, that is.


The Netflix series, Chef's Table, is a secret obsession of mine.

The show is about the stories of highly regarded fine dining chefs who take you through their journey by candidly sharing their anguish, failures, creative process, adversity, breakthroughs, desire, resistance, recognition, and perfecting their craft as a chef as well as a business owner by finding their own voices through food.

No Budget? No Problem: The Magic Blueprint to Overcome "No Budget" Objections with Confidence

No Budget? No Problem: The Magic Blueprint to Overcome "No Budget" Objections with Confidence

This topic popped up when I was leading a strategy session with a video production duo the other day. 

They were feeling puzzled and slightly defeated.  I empathized as I knew these guys have been gun-ho about going after new leads to create more opportunities for their business.

Good news is, this is something you can fix. Here, I'm going to show you how to tackle “no budget” objections.  In a way, THIS IS THE GREATEST INDICATOR that you need to revisit your outreach strategy. You are lucky to face this problem (that you can totally fix.) So, read on.

The One Task These Leading Entrepreneurs Will Not Delegate or Automate: A Quick Guide to Deciding Which Tasks NOT to Delegate or Automate (and What You Can Do Instead to Leverage Your Time.)

The One Task These Leading Entrepreneurs Will Not Delegate or Automate: A Quick Guide to Deciding Which Tasks NOT to Delegate or Automate (and What You Can Do Instead to Leverage Your Time.)

"Delegation & automation" is a hot topic among business owners who are on the hunt to find ways to leverage their resources to grow their businesses without killing themselves in the process. 

The challenge is to do this process right.  Why do I know it's a challenge?  I know this because I get, frankly, underwhelming emails on daily basis as a result of doing this process all wrong.

Getting it wrong is one thing but losing opportunities by doing something else is another matter.  Might as well, don't do anything, right?

How to Show Up Like a True Entrepreneur: Working ON (Not IN) Your Business Made Easy with 5 Growth Drivers

How to Show Up Like a True Entrepreneur: Working ON (Not IN) Your Business Made Easy with 5 Growth Drivers

You, as an entrepreneur, recognize the importance of working ON your business and not IN it.  But, how often do you end up pushing this vital task aside because of your day-to-day (a.k.a. putting-out-fires) hands-on tasks?

“Too often” would be the most common answer to this question.

Let’s face it: We all tend to blame on getting caught up on imminent but unimportant tasks (in the big scheme of things) for not keeping up with our big vision sessions that can act as a leverage to grow your business exponentially. The truth is, that is not the real hold-up. 

What’s standing in our way is not having a robust and sustainable system that we can stick with.

Is Being a Generalist Bad as an Entrepreneur?

Is Being a Generalist Bad as an Entrepreneur?

If you ask me, my answer will always be, "Absolutely not."  Being a generalist is a must-have requirement for all entrepreneurs.

That’s the answer to the question.  As much as I just want to finish this post right here (as I tend to look for excuses not to write), I know I need to explain, not only how to become a good generalist, but also why it is important to be one. I will do exactly that. So, stay with me. 

How to Take the Entire December Off: A Guilt-Free Method for Service-Based Entrepreneurs

For many, December is sort of a wash in terms of operating a business. When I was in the music business many years ago, getting the last two weeks off in December was a “given,” and I don’t quite recall what I was doing during the first 2 weeks of December other than cleaning out my office and going to holiday parties or hosting one for the label I worked for.  I’m sure those holiday parties did not help in sharpening my memory… Those darn parties…

As an entrepreneur, though, it is incredibly difficult to draw a clear line to be able to say to oneself, “Okay, since no one is really working, I’m turning everything off in December.” In your mind, there is always something to do, and there is always something to fix.

Master This and You'll Never Have to Chase Prospects Again.

Master This and You'll Never Have to Chase Prospects Again.

Recently, I was very fortunate to have Pia Silva as the guest for my live event in NYC (www.meetup.com/GrowthDrivenEntrepreneursWorldwide) to celebrate the release of her book, "Badass Your Brand - The Impatient Entrepreneur’s Guide to Turning Expertise into Profit."  The whole room was energized after the interview, and we all had a blast! 

Among all the value bombs Pia dropped, I handpicked a few major takeaways to share in this post so that you can apply them to your own business or side hustle projects.

Fed Up with Your Bookkeeper? The Reason May Mot Be What You Think.

Fed Up with Your Bookkeeper? The Reason May Mot Be What You Think.

If you are frustrated with your bookkeeper, most likely it is the sign your business has outgrown your current set up.  It is quite common for 7 figure business owners to continuously focus only on acquiring talent to carry out their core business to keep the momentum going for rapid growth because it is an intuitive move.  As a result, they overlook the backbone of their business such as Finance, HR and Operations to support growth.  

Here is the bottom line:  7 figure businesses with more than 6 or so full-time employees and with a physical office should have a full-time finance person at a minimum, not a part-time bookkeeper especially if you don’t have an accounting/finance background.  In other words, your frustration towards your bookkeeper is misplaced. 

Want to Get Noticed by a Room Full of People? Take Yourself Out of the Equation by Using “Class-Participation” Technique

Want to Get Noticed by a Room Full of People? Take Yourself Out of the Equation by Using “Class-Participation” Technique

A recent study shows that, for 78% of startups, professional networking plays an important role in getting traction and growing their businesses. (More here: http://bit.ly/2lBDXz2) Yet the fact that there are many books and online learning products on the subject of better networking techniques suggesting many entrepreneurs are facing challenges with networking.

The #1 complaint I hear from business owners about networking is they find most of the events they went to were disappointing as they felt those events false-advertised in terms of what organizers promised to deliver.  Also, they said comparing the amount of effort required to the level of results generated, they weren’t able to justify the effort.