Posts tagged ‘entrepreneur coach’

February 11, 2010

Alicia Marie will be Coaching Women at the American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit featuring Make Mine a Million $ Business in Conjunction with Count Me In Organization

The American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit will attract upwards of 500 women business owners at all level of business development to this day and a half event. The content is structured so that the emerging, established and growth-oriented entrepreneur will all have access to relevant and timely content and resources. 

Alicia Marie will be coaching these women at this event as they pitch their business in a chance to win the coveted Make Mine a Million $ Business award.

The American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit will convene on February 17-18, 2010 at the JW Marriott in Houston, TX. The theme of the Summit will be The New Rules for Doing Business for Women Entrepreneurs and will include a multi-tracked conference that offers the following:

  • The Make Mine a Million $ Business competition
  • Critical advice for growth in today’s changing economy
  • Tips on leveraging social media to grow your bottom line
  • Thoughtful leadership, rich discussions and opportunities to connect with fellow women business owners, via the New Rules content track
  • Identification of new markets, with a focus on government contracting market rich with opportunity
  • Contact with an inspiring community of successful women business owners
  • Speakers and resources from our partnering women’s organizations

Due to an overwhelming response, this event has reached capacity and registration is now closed. Please visit the Count Me In website for updates on upcoming Make Mine a Million $ Business events.

September 10, 2009

What You Pay Attention To Grows

We have all taken a beaten from the media this last year. All the negative news about the economy and the recession can be overwhelming. I even had one anxious client say, “It feels like the world is coming to an end.”

Take a moment to think of something that happened in your past that seemed very bad at the time, but now in retrospect you see what a blessing it was.

I absolutely know that the challenges we are facing economically now will look like a blessing in retrospect. Businesses will get stronger and leaner. Families will come together. Governments will change. People will remember what faith is. Programs and non-profits will emerge as well as all the positive change we cannot yet see.

I invite all of you to step into hope and give up the worry and concern. How effective can you be when you are worried? How productive are you when you are anxious? How creative are you when you are upset?

Of course, I believe that positive thinking is important for many reasons. If only for your peace of mind, I invite you to stay focused on what is right, what is working and what is good in your business and in your life. What you pay attention to grows and thrives!

August 27, 2009

Leadership Institute

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WHAT: M3 Race Leadership Institute
Nurture and Enhance the power of community to successfully grow your business and yourself.

WHEN: Thursday, September 24th thru Saturday, September 26th, 2009

WHERE: Office Depot headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

We at Count Me In believe that entrepreneurship equals leadership, and so do our partners at Office Depot. Leadership takes vision and discipline, creativity and tenacity, risk-taking, earth-shaking, courage, confidence and commitment. It also takes a strong community– this one. Our Leadership Institute will help you successfully grow your business and yourself.

Featured Workshop: Select, Hire & Retain Top Talent – Alicia Marie Fruin

Want To Create Your Dream Team? Now you can! In this workshop you will:
• Craft a strategic plan to build your team
• Learn how to profile roles and write accurate job descriptions
• Design targeted job ads that attract the right people
• Develop the skills to recognize and retain top talent
• Get great interviewing tips and a FREE CD of materials you can use in your business.

Here’s what you’ll experience:

* Two tracks of powerful workshops taught by experts in their fields
* Elevator Business Pitch Updates
* Vendor Matching by WBENC connecting your product or service with corporations, universities, hospitals or government agencies interested in doing business with you. (Separate registration required– Click here to register)
* Panels, speakers and some creative surprises
* Plus lots of time to share with and learn from each other, one of the hallmarks of the Count Me In community
* Shuttle service between hotel and Office Depot available
* Valet Parking at Office Depot

Click here to register!

August 21, 2009

Even CEO Eric Schmidt Has a Coach

August 21, 2009

Letting Go…

One of our Leading Change Participants generously agreed to let me post her article on Letting Go .The focus of the Leading Change program is developing our emotional intelligence so we can be better leaders.    

Letting Go by Karina Miller  

I like to think I’m good at letting go, but what I’ve realized lately is that letting go of friends, moving homes and changing jobs frequently, and being what I thought was highly resilient through any change thrown at me isn’t the same thing as letting go. I’m good at change that doesn’t result in real change — changing the surface things and letting go of small annoyances. I’m good at surviving. I have come to understand lately that being “good at change” and survival is not the same thing as creating big, meaningful breakthroughs. I had simply become very good at creating the illusion of letting go and dealing with change. 

A ropes course I took last year helped me begin to understand the true meaning of letting go. It was a powerful analogy for the physical sensation of letting go of something my core physiology and psychology truly thought was required for sheer survival. I was harnessed to a very solid line, standing on a log, about 40 feet up in the trees. I had practiced sitting in my harness and knew that there was no way to fall. My conscious intellect “knew” that letting go of the ropes that connected my harness to the main line wouldn’t hurt a thing. Letting go of my death grip on those ropes would actually free up energy to help with my balance and focus, which would in turn improve my performance dramatically. Yet it was literally one of the the hardest physical, mental, and emotional things I’ve ever done. I was terrified and on the verge of breaking down into a puddle of tears.

It felt similar to many past experiences of clearly irrational fear, panic, and depression. With the help of an excellent coach, I finally, and very slowly, eased my grip and let go entirely. I also learned to request the support I needed from my coach – at the mechanical, strategic, and deep “feeling” levels of learning. 

Once I actually let go and felt the sensation of letting go throughout my body, I was able to work through the course to the limit of my true physical abilities and continue the process of letting go of fear. I felt much freer and was able to move forward, establish challenging goals, and do things I never thought were possible – including effectively coaching others who were more skilled than me. The same has been true of letting go of my suffering and resistance to the fear of shame. 

Several months later I saw the aftermath of harmful “letting go” when a man let go of the Aurora Bridge rail from the outside and fell hundreds of feet to his death, right next to me. Although letting go of the ropes felt similar to causing myself to plunge to certain death, the difference between letting go of my hardcore grip on habits, thoughts, emotions, fears, and hurts that limit me from living a fully engaged life, and making very poor choices that conflict with my values or go so far as to inflict harm or death on myself or anyone else were stark. My survival mechanism doesn’t always know the difference. Sometimes it feels like letting go of something I’ve held onto tightly my entire life will literally cause my death. But, my brain and heart can tell the difference if I really listen. By deepening my understanding of my fears, opinions, stories, and hypocrisies through coaching, feedback from others, and deep personal reflection, and then letting go of them, I have started understanding the possibilities for true freedom, deep love, authenticity, and true engagement in my life.

July 16, 2009

Happiness Is Positive Cash Flow!

“Cash flow, not profits, is the lifeblood of your business. Project it, monitor it, and manage it well before serious trouble starts to brew.”

In today’s uncertain economy with ever rising interest rates, many small businesses with limited financial training are having problems staying alive, let alone prospering. In fact, 63% of new businesses don’t survive six years– and most work-at-home people fail within 6 months!

The primary reason is bad cash management. Too many self-employed people neglect their cash flow until it is too late to recover. So the big question is: How will you manage your cash flow effectively? If you are not sure, then you are on shaky ground.

Let’s break down these tips one at a time.

Fast Collection

In your business, you should collect money as fast as you can. To do so, try these four things:

• Try to speed up customer orders by having them e-mail their orders to you straight from your website.
• Send out your invoices the same day goods are shipped, not a week or two later.
• Indicate on your invoice when payment is due, and specify the penalty interest for late payment. Enforce late fees.

Deposit Money Fast!

This seems only obvious, but it’s extremely important.

Always deposit checks the same day they are received. Don’t hold checks until the next day because you lose one day’s float. Key point: you can lose three days of float by not depositing Friday’s checks until Monday.

• Compare pricing for merchant credit card services; run credit cards as soon as payment due.
• Obtain availability of 0 to 2 days on deposited checks. Don’t let your bank give you the customer availability of 1 to 5 days. Be persistent. Ask the bank for its “availability schedule” and scan it to be sure you’re receiving fast availability of two days or less.
• Each bank has its own availability schedule. This is used to assign check availability to consumers, business (commercial accounts), and large corporate accounts. Availability is the number of days until you can use the money deposited by check as cash. For example, a $1,000 check deposited today and assigned a one-day availability can be withdrawn as cash tomorrow.
• Don’t deposit checks in a bank’s Automated Teller Machine or use the Night Depository since you have no evidence that you actually deposited the checks you said you did. Remember, you only receive a receipt that shows the time and dollar amount on the deposit at the ATM, and you get no receipt at the Night Depositor.
• Ask your bank about its deadline for receiving availability on deposited checks. Some banks may require a deposit of an encoded check by 2 p.m., even though the bank is open to 5 p.m. Make sure you make this deadline, otherwise you lose one day’s float.
• Before using a bank’s ATM for check deposits, find out the bank’s availability deadline. Some banks have a 12 noon cut-off time which means that any checks deposited later are considered to be deposited the next day! In that case, you lose an entire day’s float, even though you did your bit to get the checks cashed.

Have a Super Tight Accounts Receivable Policy

Many people think it is no big deal to neglect accounts receivable until bills are collectible. This is bad cash flow policy. Here are seven excellent tips for handling accounts receivable:

• Check the financial health of a new customer before offering them credit. One way of doing this is by using a rating service, such as Dun & Bradstreet (1-800-234-3867).
• Ask a new customer for five business references and don’t neglect to call them.
• Don’t offer too generous discounts, such as 3% for payment in 10 days. A better rate is 1.5% cash discount. It costs you less.
• Charge a “late fee” of 2% per month to customers who pay late and charge back customers who take discounts after the discount periods.
• Follow up on late payers with phone calls and letters. These may seem a bit extreme, but the first letter should go out the very day the amount is one day late! After 30 days late, start this sequence:
     o send out a letter from your attorney
     o turn over the account to a collection agency
     o use a collection attorney
• Don’t send out new merchandise if bills remain unpaid. Remember that bad debts hurt your bottom line! Be vigilant and try to get at least periodic payments from slow payers.
• Instruct your bank to automatically deposit “returned checks.” Ask your bank if they offer Return Item box service. If they do, then use it to redeposit your check and charge back the bank return item free to your customer.

These seven steps are tough and unrelenting, but they may make the difference between a positive cash flow month and a sluggish month for your business.

Disburse Your Money Slowly

Just the opposite of collecting at the earliest possible moment, you should never pay a day sooner than you have to, unless you get a discount for doing so. A lot of people believe in staying ahead of bills and paying them as early as possible, but that’s just poor cash management. You want to keep your money in your hands as long as you can. Here are five suggestions to slow down your disbursements:

• Pay your invoices on the last day they’re due, not before.
• Try to mail your payment on Thursday or Friday to pick up a few extra days mail float over the weekend.
• Use business credit cards for travel, lodging, meals, and small expenses for yourself and your employees. With credit cards you typically don’t have to make payment until 25 days after receiving the statement. Use this float by investing the money. In total, you can typically keep your money invested for 45 days from date of purchase.
• Don’t issue advances to employees. Have them use their personal credit cards or business cards, if you provide them.
• Now, many small businesses neglect to reconcile their monthly bank statements or assume that the bank never makes a mistake. Banks do make mistakes, and you must stay on top of your disbursement to control your cash flow. If you are one of those people who simply can’t stand to balance you check book, you can use a bank’s standard account reconcilement services for a low monthly price — $50 to $100 base charge and 5 to 7 cents a check.

No Extra Money in Your Bank Account

Many businesses make the mistake of keeping too much money in their bank accounts to pay for bank services. This money could be used more effectively elsewhere — such as to pay off a loan or to invest at a more competitive rate. Many businesses have no idea how much money to leave in the bank or what alternatives they have to compensate the bank. Take some time to find out what your minimum balance needs to be.

Get an Account Analysis Statement

How do you know how much money (bankers refer to this as “balances”) to leave in your checking account to pay for bank’s services? That’s a question that more business owners should be asking themselves.

• First, get a price list which shows how much your bank charges for services like account maintenance, checks deposited, checks paid, stop payments and wire transfers.
• Ask the bank to send you a monthly “Account Analysis Statement.” The analysis statement contains the average balance levels for the month — both the ledger and the available balance — as well as a listing of services used, their transaction volumes and cost. This statement should be obtained in addition to the regular monthly bank statement.
• Look at the account analysis to see whether you are overcompensating the bank. Then pull out any excess funds and invest them in a high-yielding money market mutual fund, for example.

A word of advice: Smaller banks may not know what you are talking about when you ask for an account analysis. Larger banks often offer such a statement, but you have to ask for it. And don’t let them charge you for this kind of statement since it is only an invoice.

Inventory is Not Cash

Every item you have sitting on your shelf should eventually be transformed into cash in your bank account, and the sooner the better. As long as it’s inventory, it’s basically dead weight. If it is not moving, you’re not having cash flow.

Here are six recommendations to minimize the cost of your inventory:

• Attempt to forecast as accurately as you can the day, week and month what you expect to sell. There is software for this.
• If you are dealing in more than one item, determine which item accounts for 80% of your sales. Then minimize ordering other items that are selling poorly or infrequently.
• Determine how fast you can get inventory, once you order it. Try to order as late as you can. Some firms can use “just-in-time” inventory which enables them to receive their order the day they need it.
• Determine your economic order quantity and don’t order too much inventory just to save a few pennies.
• Shop around and make sure you are getting competitive prices.
• Develop a policy for determining obsolete inventory, and how you can get rid of it. The best way to get rid of dead inventory is to sell it whatever you can get for it, even if that’s only 10 percent of what you paid for it. At least it will generate cash flow.

Don’t Forget Continuity Sales

Once of the most exceptional ways of controlling and improving cash flow well into the future is by employing something called continuity of sales or services.

Continuity sales are simply a contract to purchase products or services on an installment basis for a fixed period of time.

The best example of a continuity sale is a magazine subscription. 12, 24, or 36 issues delivered each month for X amount of dollars. The bigger the subscription, they better deal you get. The publisher gets more money up front, and the customer gets a better deal in the long run. Continuity can apply to anything.

Let’s say you own a dry cleaning business. How about an annual deal to clean 5 shirts or blouses per week for set amount of money? Get people to pay your for the entire week up front for a lot of fast cash flow. You’ll trade a discount for getting business, but you’ll ensure a steady cash flow for months to come. Continuity works with just about any kind of product or service you are offering, from dry cleaning to our personal consulting service.

You can structure payments for continuity sales on almost any basis, but it’s best by far to go for complete payment up front. After all, the discount is based on a customer’s commitment, and they’ll be a lot more committed with their money on the line.

July 9, 2009

Halfway through the Leading Change program… Hear what participants have to say!

“The Leading Change series has helped me to better understand the importance of self care, self expression, and clear intentions in being an effective leader to others. Through a progressive series of coaching conversations, theoretical models, and development exercises, I have created breakthroughs in leadership that have re-energized me and moved me closer to fulfilling my purpose in life.”

Karina Miller – Human Resources Specialist

“I highly recommend the Leading Change program for anyone ready to take that next step of personal growth as a leader. The synergy of working with a group of highly-talented, committed individuals in a safe environment has been life-changing. Leading Change should be on every leader’s calendar for this year.”

Pam O’Bryant, Manager

 

“I have so much energy now that I have identified and freed myself up emotionally!”

Lois Pearson, Business Owner

 

“The Leading Change program has changed my life in a profound way. It is an intense program asking students to be courageous and to dig deep to look at their fear and then transform that fear into power. I thought since I had been through years of intense counseling and many other coaching programs that I knew my motivators. It turns out I was close but then with Alicia’s probing and kind of proding, she brought me to be very clear on the specific fear that was holding me back so I could come to the other side of fear: standing in your power; standing in leadership.

Coming into focus with my fear and being very specific about how it feels and how it has affected my life has allowed me to step back and notice others fear and to have compassion and love toward them as they too identify and notice behaviors that stem from fear. This has allowed me to choose to remain in my own center, notice their fear and how it shows up for them and not be affected by their fear. I can notice and choose my own behaviors that now are generated from a place of love and power versus being generated by fear.

Alicia is a talented, fun, spiritually and practically grounded coach and mentor. While guiding me in the deepest way with honor and respect she also teaches me to laugh at my human-ness and play with new experiences. She is one of the most gifted coaches I have ever had the honor to work with.”

Ann Marie Archer, Business Owner

 

New Leading Change program starts July 24th. Click here for more information or call us at (512) 989-2230.

May 26, 2009

How to be “Coachable”

So, you finally decided to give coaching a shot. Good for you! I have noticed that the issue with choosing to get a coach or not has more to do with trusting yourself to really leverage coaching, than the issues of time or money.

Here are some ways to make sure you get what you came for.

• Work with your coach to articulate exactly what you want- be specific. If this is difficult, on an ongoing basis hone your coaching goals with your coach until they are very sharp, distinct and measurable. Do not move to strategy or plans until this is clear.

• The conversation should be 80% you talking and 20% coach talking. However, let your coach guide the conversation. In other words stop on occasion and let the coach ask some probing questions. Let go of control.

• Do not tell stories; we do not need the whole story to coach you. This can really drain the time away from a session. We need to know what you want, why you want that and what are the barriers.

• Practice making your point in the coaching conversation.

• Suspend and let go of judging yourself, your results and your coach. Curiosity, creativity and unprecedented results occur in an environment of “no judgment”.

• Be willing to be uncomfortable and think outside the box.

• Coaching is a process, not a one time deal. The momentous process of engaging in a provocative conversation over and over is what creates the break through result. Stay committed to the process, it works.

• In coaching focus on “who you are being” as well as “what you are doing”.

• Maintain the integrity of the relationship. In other words:

1. Keep your word and acknowledge breaking your word when you do.

2. Let your coach know if conversation or process is not working for you.

3. Turn in your promised deliverables; they record and maintain the structure of your program.

4. Stick to your coaching schedule as much as possible.

5. Clear the deck; remove all distractions.

6. You are 100% responsible for 100% of your goals, action plans & results. Your coach is not there to blame or give credit to.

Listen to some actual coaching calls here!

May 6, 2009

ICF Global Coaching Client Study

Enjoy reading  this insightful and well done survey. The main purpose of the ICF Global Coaching Client Study is to generate a broad scope of reliable data on those individuals who have experienced professional coaching and the results they achieved from it. More specifically, the key questions this study is designed to answer are: 

􀂅 What is the demographic profile of coaching clients?

􀂅 What are the characteristics of the coaching experience?

􀂅 Why do clients seek coaching services?

􀂅 What does the decision making process for choosing a specific coach look like?

􀂅 What are clients’ perceptions of the industry and the service it provides?

􀂅 How do clients evaluate their experience?

􀂅 How are clients benefiting from the coaching experience?

􀂅 What is the return on investment (ROI) from coaching?

Click here for report link

May 5, 2009

May Coaching Tip

Powerful Questioning is at the core of effective coaching. With one caveat– understand that asking a question that is appropriate to the emotional state, learning style, timing and situation is as important as the actual question. This takes effective listening, skill and practice.

Elements of a great question:

  • They are clear and direct.
  • They are non-judgmental.
  • They are transparent– no motive.
  • They are real and have the best interest of the employee in mind.
  • They are inquisitive and keep the employee thinking and in curiosity.
  • They are based in the present and keep the employee in the ‘here and now’ versus the ‘why’.

Why ask questions instead of give directions?

  • Your answers are old answers and they work for you, not the person you are coaching.
  • If you ask questions, people will self-discover and take responsibility for their results. People really do like their own ideas better!