Rock Bottom and Looking Up –

Transcript of today’s video:

Good morning and happy Wednesday my name is Patricia with Y I’m a business adviser and certified business coach here at Community Futures Yellowhead East. And each morning I like to bring forward a quote that helps to start the day off on a positive note and today’s quote comes from J K Rowling. You may know her as the author of the Harry Potter series and as the writer of…

What was it?  Oh yeah, I believe it was a detective or mystery series that she wrote after Harry Potter. But of course she is known for Harry Potter.

And before she wrote that incredible seven book series she hit rock bottom. And she shares that story and the story of how she came from rock bottom to success several times and you can always look that up on the Google.

The quote I’m bringing forward today is “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

And this is so pertinent to small business owners out there who maybe struggling or facing challenges that they feel that they have hit rock bottom…well the one thing that they always say about the bottom is that it is always up from there.

And as long as we can keep looking up and you can get up.

So that’s a positive thought of the morning. It starts on a little bit of a “you gotta hit the rock bottom” but it’s a positive thing because there is no such thing as the end when it comes to achieving success.

And some of the biggest successes that that we hear about today began with really tragic stories or at least really challenging stories. Many people don’t know that the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton, actually had two stores that failed prior to starting Walmart.

So even though Walmart is considered a success story of note today – in some circumstances – at least from the corporate ability to earn money sort of angle…They are certainly noted for that and for their ability to expand.

And with those things he had those two failures before!

So if you’re facing challenges you can certainly take a positive spin on things and know that it may be here that is the bottom of things and it may be turning up from there and if you need help turning things around, readjusting things so that you can move forward… toward a successful path..

Well that that is definitely what we are here for.

We help with business planning, business training, business coaching and, of course, business financing.

We are a secondary funder, which means you do have to be turned down by a traditional banking institution or Credit Union before being able to apply. But you do need a business plan and 10 percent of what you’re looking to borrow in order to do that.

And I have all the resources here to get you to where you want to be next.

Whether it is starting a business, growing a business, learning how to manage a business…

Because one of the biggest find things grow too fast and not being able to keep up andproblems that a lot of small business owners don’t anticipate is being oversubscribed or starting to then getting on that hamster wheel where things are good but not getting better.

Where you feel like you’re running in circles.

And we definitely have sources for those of you who might feel that way out there.

My next live is going to be at 11 and on live at 11 today I’m going to be talking about pictures –

Your graphic image in business.

This is an area where restaurants, hotels, and retail outlets can really up their game and really attract more customers simply by doing things a little differently in how they take pictures and how they approach the graphic image that they put out there into to the world.

Because I have seen over the last couple of days – some really bad images and they don’t do what you want them to do for your business. Imaging is very important and the techniques are fairly simple, but they do have to be applied every time. Or you risk losing the perception of your business so I will be talking about that at 11 – how to decide which pictures are going to represent your business best and how to avoid a bad pictures online that can turn off your customer if they are too gross.

So that’s we’ll be talking about 11.

I hope that you can join me. Grab a coffee and join me for that 15 minute learning session where I share a little bit of the knowledge that I gathered over the past 20 years as a small town small business consultant. We’ll to see you then and if you’re watching the recording feel free to use the comment section get in touch with me because even if you aren`t  watching live but we can definitely work together to help your business grow on your schedule.

Until next time.

Beta Testers Wanted

Beta Testers Wanted

Your feedback could help revolutionize the business plan

  • Fact: Businesses with a formal business plan last longer and make more than businesses without
  • Fact: Only 35% of small business owners complete a business plan

Conclusion: There has to be a better way!

To support business success in our region, our goal is to have more business owners in the region complete a business plan. Even if a business doesn’t need outside funding, it still needs an internal roadmap to guide operations. A business plan doesn’t have to be fancy or comprehensive to be effective, but it does have to exist.

We’re experimenting with a new business plan writing and presentation system that we’ve been calling “The five page business plan” and we need testers to make sure that the process and the plans work in the real world. So, if you’ve been putting off writing a business plan because it seems too complicated and time consuming and you meet our requirements below, sign up to become a beta tester for the Five Page Business Plan.

Beta Testers must:

  • Live or work in the Yellowhead East region
  • Score 50 or more on the Entrepreneurial Aptitude Survey
  • Own a business or have a desire to start or expand your business in the next 6-12 months
  • Be willing to provide timely feedback on lessons and process
What's a beta tester?

A beta test is an external pilot test of a product or service. In a beta test, the product is released to selected customers for testing under normal, everyday conditions. This process helps spot the remaining flaws and identify areas needing improvement. The participants or selected customers are called beta testers.

In this case, you’ll be testing a new system for developing business plans that we’re hoping will simplify and streamline the process. It’s in the form of an online self study training course that walks participants through all the elements of developing a five page business plan.


How much does it cost?

Nothing. There is zero cost to you other than your time and your feedback.

Business planning is one of our core services and we never charge for help with business planning for any of the business owners or prospective business owners in the Yellowhead East.


How long will it take?

That depends on how much time you are able to devote to the plan. The program is currently formatted as an online self study workshop that can take one to five weeks to complete. Though it may take longer depending on your circumstances, part of the testing is to see how long it takes with real schedules and real business ideas. Both of the source training programs that these were derived from took five full (6-7 hour) days to cover the content, but this is unrealistic for most people. Which is one reason why we’re testing this style of delivery.

Other questions we’ll be asking include:

  • Can we maintain the quality and the flow of content without the live interaction?
  • Will the resulting business plans be sufficient for assessing a business for loan consideration?
  • Is the process easy to understand and navigate?
  • Do participants enjoy the process?
What kind of feedback will I need to give?

Each lesson will be followed by a brief survey – generally looking at whether it was easy to understand and easy to apply to your own five page business plan. At the end of the series, you’ll be asked to submit your business plan so we can score it for completeness and you’ll be invited to participate in an interview for your thoughts on the plan and the overall process.

More Questions?

If you have any more questions before signing up, please email me at

Work on your business not in your business

Work ON your business, not IN your business

a post on leadership and business planning

Owning a business can seem like the best thing in the world. When you’re in the planning and dreaming stage it seems like you’ll have more freedom, time and money. In fact, you probably had visions of spending a lot of time at the beach or on the golf course as you made your plans.

Then reality set in and you soon realized that your business is a daily drudge and worse than a regular job. You start feeling like you want to run away, escape and end your business. But, the truth is, all you need to do is change a few things so that you can work on your business and not in it.

* Change Your Mindset – It can be hard, after years of having an employee mindset, to switch to an ownership and entrepreneurial mindset. It’s time for you to start thinking like an owner, or at least a manager by setting up systems, delegating tasks, and finding ways to do less but still get more done.

* Set Up Systems and Standards – When you set up systems and standards, it will be a lot easier to get people to help you with your business. You’ll have a clear understanding of what needs to be done each day and which things you must do compared to which things your contractors or employees can do.

* Use the Right Tools – Part of setting up systems is to use technology and other tools to help you make the most of your time. Technology such as email autoresponders, customer management, project management, cloud storage and more is important to use as you can afford in order to make the most of your time.

* Plan for Success in Advance – Don’t just work by putting out fires, instead make plans of what you’re going to do each day, week, month, quarter and year. Planning out basic tasks and duties far in advance will give you time to include additional tasks at the last minute as your industry demands.

* Outsource Strategically – When you outsource, ask yourself whether or not that particular task needs your special touch or not. Many tasks, like customer service, data entry, posting blog posts, social media marketing, email marketing and so forth are all things that someone else can do successfully.

* Provide the Right Training – When you outsource to anyone, even though you’ll likely outsource to a specialist, you want to provide training about your business and your processes. Don’t control the process or their function, but rather control the due dates, quality and style which the deliverables will take.

* Delegate and Compensate Fairly – When you outsource to someone, you need to ensure that who you delegate to can do the job, but you also want to pay them fairly. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking they can get something for nothing or near nothing and still get what they need. In truth, you get what you pay for. If you want to command higher rates, you need to be willing to pay for expert help.

* Attract the Right Clients – One thing that will make your business less of a drudge is if you ensure that your marketing efforts are working to attract the right customers to your business. The right customers will be a joy to work with, and you’ll have fewer fires to put out and fewer mistakes to fix.

* Set Your Fees High Enough – Many small business owners make the mistake of setting their rates too low. You need to set them high enough to provide for your family in the manner you deserve commensurate with the type of business you have and who your audience is. For example, high end life coaches will pay more for your personalized services than an internet marketer who uses “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris as their bible.

When you set up the right systems and use the right tools, you’ll be able to manage your business in a successful way that creates the success you deserve.

Pulling it all together begins with a business plan. A task that is made much bigger by the myths that surround business planning. Which is why I’ve developed a business plan bootcamp to help business owners get the plan out of their head and onto paper where it can be worked towards rather than dreamed about.

Join the Business Plan Bootcamp - Live - FREE - December 16

How to Prepare Your Business for Future Growth

How to Prepare Your Business for Future Growth

How to Prepare Your Business for Future Growth

8 Aspects to Include in Your Growth Business Plan

If you’re planning on growing your business in the next year, it’s highly advisable to update your business plan to reflect your growing vision. Believe it or not, growing a business takes more thought than just making more sales. You could end up in a bad situation where you’re making more sales than your business can support. It can cause a serious problem with trust from the consumer, and can actually totally ruin your entire business. Better to be ready for future growth.

Here are 8 things you’ll want to consider integrating into your growth business plan. Most people neglect to consider these things in the startup stage, especially if they started with the “fly by the seat of your pants” method.

* Create Standard Operating Procedures – Every single business from a fast food restaurant to a service provider can improve their business by creating standard operating procedures. When you have procedures in place that are repeatable, you’ll experience smoother growing pains and even encourage growth.

* Save Money for Higher Expenses – When your business grows, expenses go up. Whether it’s marketing and advertising, materials, costs for contractors and so forth, you’ll spend a little more on expenses. But, if you’re ready for the higher costs (which can sometimes kick in prior to experiencing the revenue), it’ll go smoother.

* Set Up the Right Software – There are numerous types of cloud-based software that you’re going to need in your business. Whether it’s shopping cart software or a website, you need to ensure that what you’ve chosen is scalable. You don’t want to pay for more than you use, and you want to make sure it scales easily.

* Use Automation Carefully – Today you can automate so much, from social media to even accounting. But, it’s important to choose which things should be automated and which should not. Generally anything to do with engagement should not be automated, and anything that keeps you from having to do data entry should be.

* Put an Accounting System in Place – If you’re currently doing your accounting by hand and you want to grow, it’s going to be best to create an accounting system that is automated and done by a professional. You can do this with many programs, from Go Daddy Bookkeeping to QuickBooks to Quicken.

* Identify Holes in Skills – Sometimes when you want to expand there is a problem when it comes to skills. For example, if you have a service-based business such as a website building business, you’re going to have to hire people like yourself in order to scale up.

* Improve Social Media Accounts – As you seek growth, focus more on your social media accounts. Upgrade them, ensure there is a branding match across networks, and then hire someone to keep your accounts up to date and create a social media marketing strategy.

* Make Contact with Appropriate Contractors – You’re going to have to hire contractors or employees as you ramp up your business and plan for future growth. It depends on the type of business you have, but if you make contact now and get to know people now, you’ll be ready.

If you’re not ready for growth, you can actually end up losing your business. The reason is that you could end up making promises you can’t keep, or having to turn away people due to lack of supply. This can be really hard to take. But, if you prepare in advance you’ll be ready for future business growth.

If you want to build growth into your business in 2017, you won’t want to miss the free webinar on business planning on December 16th.


Join the Business Plan Bootcamp - Live - FREE - December 16

Weekly Biz Talk Webinar

The Biz Talk Webinars were launched at the beginning of the year (2015) but they haven’t been publicized much beyond social media, the Biz Talk Bulletin,  and live mentions through networking at Chamber and BSN events. Recent surveys revealed that Yellowhead East Business Owners prefer to hear about learning opportunities through word of mouth and so I’m experimenting with honouring that.

For those who aren’t familiar with webinars, they are basically online meetings – you go to a specific link and will be connected to an online conference room in which the presenter can deliver a full audio and visual experience.

The webinars at Community Futures are geared towards small business start up and marketing.  I’m open to suggestions on topics and open to adapting any webinar topic to a live presentation if you want to head up arranging a group get-together in your community.

Each webinar lasts approximately half an hour with ample time for questions and answers after the scheduled presentation.

Webinars are currently scheduled for every Tuesday at 1pm. You can join via your computer, smartphone or tablet while we’re live or you can listen to a recording (if one is available) when it’s convenient for you.

To learn more and be updated on our next scheduled topic, be sure to sign up for the Biz Talk Bulletin