12 Business Tips for Entrepreneurs for the 12 Days of Christmas

Photo of the author and Santa Claus

This year, we could all use a good laugh! Around the holidays this classic Christmas tune ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ always pops into my head. I thought it would be fun to rewrite the song with my own spin. So, as my gift to you this year, here’s 12 business tips for entrepreneurs. Scroll down for an explanation of each tip in the song…and pass it on! 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

Twelve drummers drumming 

Eleven pipers piping 

Ten lords a-leaping 

Nine ladies dancing 

Eight maids a-milking 

Seven swans a-swimming 

Six geese a-laying 

Fiiiiive goldennnn ringggggs! 

Four calling birds 

Three french hens 

Two turtle doves, and 

A partridge in a pear tree 

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas my business coach said to me…

Don’t ever stop becoming 

Keep relationship building

Let’s go a-networking

Zip it when negotiating

Leave a good feeling

Hire people you find inspiring 

Listen to what they’re saying

You don’t haaaave to do everythingggg!

Keep your focus forwards

Meditation makes you zen

Do what you love and

Not everyone’s your cup of tea! 

 

Don’t ever stop becoming 

Quite simply, don’t ever stop changing, growing, and evolving! I encourage my clients (and myself) to invest in themselves personally and professionally. Start small, take a course or workshop on a quarterly basis that will expand or deepen your area of professional expertise. Look into what kinds of certifications are available in your field that would add to your credibility and knowledge. 

Ask yourself, what do I want to learn, or what could I learn that would help me do my work better…that would help me to add more value for clients…that could help me potentially raise my price point? For me, this meant looking into getting certified by the ICF (International Coaching Federation). I also enrolled in Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy (DCA) and Membership group. 

I’m a firm believer that professional development should be balanced by personal development. Keep growing and learning in your personal life. Try a new hobby. Go buy some paints or knitting supplies at the craft store, pick up a new book you heard about. Take yourself on a date to the local art museum or gallery. Continuing to introduce new things into our personal “fun” lives brings more creativity and fresh perspectives into our business lives as well.  And remember, don’t ever stop becoming who you are destined to be! 

 

Keep relationship building

Thoughtful contact. It’s the key to building and maintaining long term relationships with your clients and customers and business contacts who send you referrals. Call and check in on your people. Send them a “how are you” email or handwritten card. Send them a special gift (read my guide to business gift giving in my last blog post). If you have a lot of clients, utilize a CRM tool to help you keep track of your relationships.   Have intention, clarity, and a proactive approach to this.

 

Let’s go a-networking

If you know me, you know I’m a networking ninja. I love networking and have served in many leadership roles of large networking organizations in the present and past. Networking is about working smarter, rather than harder. It’s about using social capital, rather than financial capital to connect with your ideal customers. It stretches you out of your comfort zone and helps to diversify you and your business. When done right, networking can bring you better, more qualified leads than cold advertising. I really need to write a full post on my networking tips and tricks! 

One positive thing that COVID-19 has brought us is that most networking organizations (that survived) went virtual. This gives you a lot more “reach” with your time! Lately, I’ve been seeing membership organizations, networking groups, and other associations popping up left and right in the virtual space. I even have a client launching a year long program for women. A few ideas of where to start: your local Chamber of Commerce, SBDC, Professional Organizations, IAW (an International women’s network where I currently serve as an Ambassador), BNI (a worldwide referral network), The Happy Neighborhood Project (a free weekly networking group with chapters across the U.S. and in some other countries) and WOW (a new intimate group for entrepreneurs to get support).

 

Zip it When Negotiating

I am a natural born negotiator and I love haggling. Funny story: years ago my ex-husband (Otee) and I traveled to Thailand, which is a haggler’s dream destination. We were perusing merch when Otee spotted something he wanted, so I started my magic, going back and forth until the vendor would not lower the price any further. It was still more than I wanted to pay (I wasn’t the one attached to it) and so I (nicely) walked away.  Well, Otee was not happy. He really wanted that merch (it was underwear BTW). My words to him were: “well you go back and buy it then”. I was not going to pay 0.05$ more. I didn’t live that one down for years!

I say this to my clients all the time and I’ll say it again. The first person to name a price loses! For negotiating or having a sales conversation, especially for my service-based business owners out there, ask your prospect if they have a budget. If they give you a number first, you have an advantage. If people ask you about your prices, don’t be so quick to give them out. Have a consultation first. Understand the work involved and their intentions. Know your lower limit and be willing to walk away. 

 

Leave a good feeling

This tip reminds me of some wise words from Maya Angelou: 

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

This is no joke! Be genuine. Be kind. Submit your actions to the test of how would this make me feel, or my grandma feel? On the flip side, don’t compromise your values to please someone else. 

 

Hire people you find inspiring 

I hate to break it to you, but you don’t have all the answers. You may be very creative and smart (most of us entrepreneurs are, wink wink) but that doesn’t mean we don’t get trapped in tunnel vision now and then. 

As you build your team, whether they are employees or a few dependable independent contractors, look for people that have something you want. Something you’re attracted to. Even something that you lack, or struggle with. And vice versa, you should “buy into” each other’s visions. Good collaborations have a ying and yang. A numbers person and a creative dreamer. A good cop and a bad cop. 

 

Listen to what they’re saying

Great leaders know how to listen, really listen. The fact is most people listen to speak/respond and not to hear/connect. Yeah you heard me. Perk up your ears and listen to your team member’s ideas. Listen to what your clients and customers are saying. Great ideas often come through other people. 

Keep an open mind. Be ready to adapt and shift your business based on feedback from your clients. MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM to give you feedback by creating a simple Google Form or other survey service. If they’ve had a positive experience, ask them for a review! If it was a negative experience, grow from it and fix it!  Have your links to your Google Business page, Facebook Business page, Yelp, etc. handy.

You don’t haaaave to do everythingggg!

Sing in with me! Delegation. We entrepreneurs can be control freaks sometimes. Your business is your baby. You’ve grown it since it was small. But you have to learn to delegate or you won’t be able to continue to grow. 

I like to start with a time log, having my clients keep track of every daily thing that they do, so we can start to separate what they “need” to do and what they can delegate. To see where you can delegate, make a list of tasks that you feel COULD be taught to an employee or outsourced to a professional. Make another list of things that only you can do in your business. How about things you’d like to be doing that you don’t have time for because you’re too busy doing administrative work?  

It’s about increasing your time-worth value (TWV). When we delegate tasks we free up mind space and energy to focus on the things we do best. Michael Hyatt is a great resource for learning more about TWV. 

 

Keep your focus forwards

Do you have a mission and vision statement? Do you have clear, measurable goals written down? If you don’t have these things, then you’re flying blind. Here’s some inspiration and ideas to write your own mission statement and vision statement.   Or hire me, and I will help guide you through this process, developing one that is sustainable, inspiring and actionable!

 

Meditation makes you zen

Meditation isn’t just for hippies! According to an article in Entrepreneur, 

“By increasing our capacity to empathize and decreasing our stress levels, meditation helps us thrive in all aspects of life, both personal and professional. Mental fortitude, insight and empathy are invaluable assets in any business, and meditation helps these qualities flourish.”

I like the free app Insight Timer for meditation. They have something for everyone! 

 

Do what you love and

“Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This saying can feel a little ridiculous to entrepreneurs when you’re pulling all nighters running on a combination of cold brew and ramen noodles. Entrepreneurship is hard work! If you don’t have a passion, something that runs deeper than a simple profit motive, then the grind is going to eat you up. Your mission and vision statement is going to lack real feeling. Your goals aren’t going to excite you. Start with passion. What lights you up? What could you talk about for hours? 

 

Not everyone’s your cup of tea! 

My kids probably still say this in their sleep because I told them this on repeat. It’s true. Try to please everyone, and you’ll end up pleasing no one. Knowing who your “people” are starts with knowing yourself. (Another reason I recommend meditation.) It’s OK to say “NO” to clients that don’t feel right. It’s OK to change your mind. It’s OK if people say “NO” to you. Sometimes, rejection is protection.

 

12_business_tips_for_entrepreneurs

Merry Christmas, friends! Which one of these 12 business tips for entrepreneurs resonated with you most? Comment below or drop me a line. 

Sending you lots of good juju for the holidays and for the new year. Stay tuned for some upcoming goals workshops I’ll be leading in January to kick off 2021. I’m excited! 

P.S. Please don’t hate me because you now have the ’12 Days of Christmas’ song stuck in your head! 

 

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