You often hear that money is one of the biggest reasons why people get divorced. Likewise, in business, differences over money cause many partnerships to split up. But money itself it not the problem. The problem is the lack of communication and differences in opinion as to the role that money and finances should play in a marriage, relationship, or partnership.

In my role as a productivity consultant and business coach, I work with people and businesses on a very deep and intimate level. I see the lack of systems, which are often the cause of financial problems. But the biggest issue, by far, that contributes to financial differences is the lack of communication.

For example, in many households, one spouse or significant other is in charge of paying the bills. Seems innocent enough. However, the bill paying system is set up the way th e person that created it thinks, and the other partner/spouse is not even privy to the system. This is unwise in the best of circumstances and downright dangerous in the extreme. If something were to happen to the spouse/partner that created the system, the other person would be at a loss to figure out the system. This could lead to some annoying results, such as late fees, lots of phone calls to track down payments, etc. In the extreme, it can lead to financial set-backs that are more damaging in nature.

So, what to do? In a word, communicate!

Create a System that is User-Friendly: Yes, the system can be mostly designed around the person that will be maintaining it, but make sure it is fairly user-friendly overall. That way, if something happens to the creator of the system, the other party involved can access the system with some ease. Or even a third party outside the relationship can easily access the system if that was determined to be the best course of action.

Share the System: It is vitally important when dealing with matters of finance to share the process or system used. This includes making sure that your spouse/partner knows where the system is located, what form it is in, what passwords are needed, who has access to the system, etc. Be sure to capture the details of the system in a permanent form (written or electronic) so that the non-primary financial spouse/partner knows where and how to access it if necessary. Taking the time to communicate the details of the system will prove to be of the utmost importance if the spouse/partner ever needs to take over the system temporarily or permanently.

Go Electronic: With all of the powerful technology available today, there is no reason to have a system that is in da nger of being lost, deleted or destroyed. You can use software or “the cloud” to maintain your financial systems. There are many options available, some supported by third parties and some available from your own financial institutions. Consider Quick Books, Mint.com, or online bill paying offered by your bank. Research and review all options as a team so that you find the best system for all involved. Again, even if there is a primary financial contact or worker-bee, the other spouse/partner needs to be given access and know about the system “just in case.”

Back-Up the System: Whatever form your financial system is in, back it up! Assume that something will be deleted, lost or ruined at some point down the line, and plan for that event long before it occurs. That way, when and if it does, you are prepared with a back-up. The back-up can be on your computer, server, on a CD-Rom, external hard drive, or “cloud-based.” Make sure to commu nicate to your spouse/partner where the back-up system is maintained and how to retrieve it in the event it is needed. Then, assume that Murphy’s Law will be on your side, and because you took these extra measures, you and your spouse/partner will never need the back up.

Coaching Challenge: Make an appointment with your spouse, significant other, or business partner to discuss the financial system in your lives or business, and take the steps above to create, access, and protect the system. Not only will you be safeguarding your financial wellness, you could also be helping to save your relationship!

Copyright © 2011 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2011. Lisa Montanaro, “The Solutions Expert,” is Principal of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC, a professional services firm created in 2002 that offers professional organizing, business and life coaching, and motivational speaking to individuals and organizations. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for the general public, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for professional organizers and entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com.  Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through LMOS, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how LMOS can improve your home or work environment, or help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .

Join Me For the Third Teleclass in the Series:
Bold Business Moves: Moving Your Business in the Right Direction

team

This Teleclass will be on Tuesday, June 28th titled: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”

Are you a solopreneur and often find it lonely? Maybe you are a small business owner with employees or subcontractors, but find yourself wanting to brainstorm with those outside your business? You can! Imagine a group of people that are available to bounce business ideas off of, help you make pivotal business decisions, and serve as a sounding board. Set your business up for success by enlisting the help of others. Options are plentiful, from using virtual assistants, independent contractors, and employees, to brainstorming with business colleagues, setting up a formal Board of Advisors, participating in a Mastermind group, or hiring a business coach.

Studies show that business owners achieve success more frequently when they set up accountability programs. Identify different ways to partner with others to improve your business by engaging in competition, and learn the differences between various types of accountability tools. Determine which accountability tools are the best match for your business, and how to implement them. Hear about what other like-minded entrepreneurs are doing. Walk away with a plan to enlist the help of others in your business in a way that makes the most sense for your business model, stage, and needs. Get ready to create your village!

Date: Tuesday, June 28th
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST
Can’t make the live call? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded & available on MP3.
Location: From the comfort of your home or office

Investment:

  • IRIS members: $35
  • Non-IRIS members: $39

Register Online here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.

Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

testimonial
About the Presenter:
Lisa Montanaro is an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author. Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC in 2002, and since then, has helped thousands of people and organizations live better lives and operate better businesses. A sought-after business expert due to her background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, Lisa offers business coaching to professional organizers, and other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Part consultant, part coach — Lisa gives expert advice, while also guiding clients to the answers they seek. Lisa presents at national conferences, has been interviewed by television and radio hosts, is a frequent guest expert for national teleclasses and webinars, and has been widely published on the web and in print. <

Join me for a Teleclass Series: Bold Business Moves: Moving Your Business in the Right Direction.

The third Teleclass will be on Tuesday, June 28th titled: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”

Are you a solopreneur and often find it lonely? Maybe you are a small business owner with employees or subcontractors, but find yourself wanting to brainstorm with those outside your business? You can! Imagine a group of people that are available to bounce business ideas off of, help you make pivotal business decisions, and serve as a sounding board. Set your business up for success by enlisting the help of others. Options are plentiful, from using virtual assistants, independent contractors, and employees, to brainstorming with business colleagues, setting up a formal Board of Advisors, participating in a Mastermind group, or hiring a business coach.

Studies show that business owners achieve success more frequently when they set up accountability programs. Identify different ways to partner with others to improve your business by engaging in competition, and learn the differences between various types of accountability tools. Determine which accountability tools are the best match for your business, and how to implement them. Hear about what other like-minded entrepreneurs are doing. Walk away with a plan to enlist the help of others in your business in a way that makes the most sense for your business model, stage, and needs. Get ready to create your village!

Date: Tuesday, June 28th
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST

Can’t make the live call? No problem! The teleclass will be recorded & available on MP3.

Location: From the comfort of your home or office

Investment:

  • IRIS members: $35
  • Non-IRIS members: $39

Register Online here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.

Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

Join us for Navigating the Ethical Dilemmas of a Daily Money Management Business Webinar

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 — 7 p.m. EST (6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain, 4 p.m. Pacific)
**Space is limited to the first 30 registrants** Registration Ends July 19.
1 credit hour to Ethics

Presenter: Lisa Montanaro, Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Author; LM Organizing Solutions, LLC

Lisa Montanaro is a Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life coach, Motivational Speaker and Author. Drawing upon her experience as an attorney, mediator, educator, and performer, Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC in 2002 and has helped thousands of people live better lives and manage more productive businesses and organizations. Lisa is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA). A sought-after business expert and speaker, Lisa has presented professionally to audiences throughout the United States, has been interviewed by television and radio hosts, and is a frequent guest expert for teleclasses and webinars. Lisa spoke on ethics at the 2011 NAPO Conference, and has years of experience speaking at conferences for organizers, home stagers, and redesigners on ethical and legal issues. Lisa’s work has been featured in the media, and her written content has been widely published online and in print. She is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press.

What you’ll learn: Are you aware of the types of ethical dilemmas experienced by daily money managers in the operation of their businesses? Based on case studies and led by a business coach-attorney, this webinar will identify some of the most common ethical dilemmas affecting daily money managers, including those that may rear their ugly head with clients, with peers, or with the general public. Understand the differences between ethical issues and legal ones, become more familiar with what to do when faced with an ethical issue, know where to report ethical issues, and what to do when the issue rises to a legal one. Participants will learn how to implement best practices, ways to avoid facing ethical issues, and alternative methods for resolving such issues if they should arise.
After attending this webinar, registrants should be able to:

  • Identify common ethical issues that may arise when providing daily money management services to clients;
  • Identify common ethical issues that may arise when running a daily money management business and interacting with peers and the general public;
  • Understand the difference between ethical issues and legal ones;
  • Become more familiar with what to do when faced with an ethical issue;
  • Know where to report ethical issues;
  • Know what to do when an issue rises to the level of a legal one.

Target Audience: Any member of AADMM will benefit, regardless of level, as ethics affects all AADMM members.

Registration: The deadline to register is July 19, but space is limited to the first 30 registrants. To ensure your spot in this webinar fill out this registration form and fax or mail with payment to:
AADMM Registration Office
174 Crestview Drive, Bellefonte, PA 16823
Fax to: 814-355-2452

Confirmation: Registrants will be notified on how to participate in a follow up email.

Join me for a Teleclass Series: Bold Business Moves: Moving Your Business in the Right Direction.

The second Teleclass will be on Tuesday, June 14th titled: Branch Out & Mix it Up: Creating Multiple Streams of Income

If you are a solopreneur or small business owner, and you wish you could make more money, but you can’t be in more than one place at one time or clone yourself. What to do? Create multiple streams of income! Multiple streams of income help to build a business with less work by offering multiple ways for clients to access you, your company, and your services/offerings. Learn how to leverage and re-purpose your content, expand your delivery methods, offer options at multiple price points, and give clients a menu or suite of services.

Date: Tuesday, June 14th
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST

  • Designed as a series, but able to be taken individually too, each teleclass is 90 minutes in length.
  • Can’t make the live call? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded & available on MP3.

Location: From the comfort of your home or office

Investment:

  • IRIS members: $35
  • Non-IRIS members: $39

Register Online here.

Remaining classes in the 3-Part Teleseries include:

  • June 28th: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”

See all class details here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.

Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

Unsure if you are getting the most out of your business?

Unclear as to whether your business is going in the right direction?

Feeling like you could use a business plan revamp?

Then get ready to take your business to the Next Level!

Join us for a Half-Day Live Workshop in Denver, Colorado

Next Level Business Success: Ready, Set, Go!

Presented by Lisa Montanaro
Certified Professional Organizer®, Business & Life Coach,
Motivational Speaker, Author

Your investment includes:

  • A half day of education, interaction, and networking
  • Workshop handouts, including a customizable Action Plan that will help you implement what you learn
  • A resource guide filled with business/legal/entrepreneur articles written by Lisa
  • Subscription to the Next Level Business Success ezine
  • A follow-up group coaching call within 60 days of workshop completion
  • 30 minute laser coaching session with Lisa to be used within 6 months of workshop
  • Unlimited email access to Lisa after the workshop ends
  • Certificate of Attendance for continuing education credit

Bonus: Networking lunch served from 12:00-1:00 pm after workshop (exclusively for those that register for full day program, which includes Branch Out workshop from 1:00-4:30 p.m.)

Topics Covered: The workshop will help you create a plan designed to implement business growth by focusing on three phases: Ready (assess), Set (strategize and plan), Go (take action). We will examine where your business is now, where you want to take it, and how you will get it there. This interactive, entertaining, and intensive workshop will cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your business
  • Active business planning strategies
  • Best practices for business owners
  • Marketing/Unique Selling Proposition
  • Ideal Client/Target Market
  • Business models
  • Business Systems/Operations Manual
  • Create a strategic plan for growing operations
  • Start preparing for your exit strategy
  • Delegating and outsourcing
  • Hiring employees or subcontractors
  • Creating multiple streams of income/leverage your content
  • Establishing a Board of Advisors
  • Accountability checks/tools
  • Focusing on your unique areas of brilliance within your business
  • Learn how to work on your business, not just in it
  • Hear valuable lessons learned based on the presenter’s years of experience as a successful business owner

Who Should Attend: Are you a solopreneur and often find it lonely? Maybe you are you a small business owner with employees or subcontractors, but find yourself wanting to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? Perhaps you are at a pivotal point in your business, and need to make some tough decisions.

Regardless of the level your business is ready to move to, this workshop will help you get there. If you are in the beginning stages of business, this workshop will help you start off on the right foot. If you are in business for years, this workshop will help you figure out what’s next and give you a customizable Action Plan to get there.

You will leave the workshop motivated and prepared to act. If you’ve never seen Lisa in action, come join us for a workshop that promises to deliver great results!

Rave Reviews from Past Attendees of Lisa’s Workshops:

“You are very well-spoken and a wonderful presenter. You did a great job providing so much relevant content and without giving us that feeling of info-overload.”

“I went to your workshop at the NAPO Conference and just wanted to tell you how impressed I was. You are such a knowledgeable and good speaker. I have already implemented so many of your suggestions. Yours was the only CD I purchased from conference. I am sure your session will benefit me for years to come.”

“The level of energy and enthusiasm you bring into the training environment is truly admirable and your organizational skills certainly show proof of the amount of effort and thought you place in preparing for your workshops.”

“Your workshop at the NAPO National Conference was alone worth my entire investment (registration, hotel, transportation, food, etc.). Thank you so much!”

About the Presenter:
Lisa Montanaro is an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author. Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC in 2002, and has helped thousands of people and organizations live better lives and operate better businesses. A sought-after business expert due to her background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, Lisa offers business coaching to professional organizers, and other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Part consultant, part coach — Lisa gives expert advice, while also guiding clients to the answers they seek. Lisa presents at national conferences, has been interviewed by television and radio hosts, is a frequent guest expert for national teleclasses and webinars, and has been widely published on the web and in print.

Join me for a 3-part Teleclass Series: Bold Business Moves -Moving Your Business in the Right Direction.

The first Teleclass will be on Tuesday, May 31st titled: Blueprint Your Business: Create Business Systems & An Operations Manual
Business Systems help a business to run without you if you become ill, take a vacation or go to a business conference. They provide the infrastructure that needs to be in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner. Business systems make it easier to hire and train an employee or retain an independent contractor, delegate to an assistant, to yourself, or to the business itself. Business Systems and Operations Manuals will not only help you run your business more effectively, but will help you start preparing for your exit strategy. This teleclass will guide you in creating an Operations Manual and cover what it should include.

Date: Tuesday, May 31st
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST

  • Designed as a series, but able to be taken individually too, each teleclass is 90 minutes in length.
  • Can’t make the live call? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded & available on MP3.

Location: From the comfort of your home or office

Investment:

  • IRIS members: $35 for each, or $89 for the 3-part series
  • Non-IRIS members: $39 for each, or $99 for the 3-part series

Register Online here.

Additional classes in the 3-Part Teleseries include:

  • June 14th: Branch Out & Mix it Up: Creating Multiple Streams of Income
  • June 28th: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”

See all class details here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.

Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

Lisa Montanaro and Sandy Dixon, both nationally recognized experts in their fields, are joining forces to bring a power-packed series of business growth workshops to beautiful Denver, Colorado on June 17th and 18th*.

Their combined energy, enthusiasm and expertise will make this one-of-a-kind learning experience a memorable one and will help attendees learn how to maximize and monetize their business.

Regardless of whether you are new to the business or have years of experience, these workshops will help you focus on what’s really important and will teach you how to systemize, market and promote yourself and your services in a way that gets noticed AND gets you booked!

The back-to-back workshop format allows attendees to choose one or all of the following classes:

June 17th from 8:30 am – 5 pm: Mastering Your Presentation Skills, presented by Sandy Dixon. See the course details here.

June 18th from 8:30 am -12 noon: NEXT LEVEL Business Success: Ready, Set, Go!, presented by Lisa Montanaro. See the course details here.

June 18th from 1 – 4:30 pm: BRANCH OUT: Become a Professional Organizer or Add Organizing Services to Your Business Mix, presented by Lisa Montanaro. See the course details here.

June 20-22nd from 8:30 am – 5 pm: 3 Day Home Staging Certification Class , presented by Sandy Dixon. See the course details here.

Location for all workshops: Homewood Suites by Hilton, Littleton, Colorado (special room rate of only $79 for attendees)

Click here to see the pricing and course descriptions for each workshop.

Who Should Attend:
Are you a solopreneur and often find it lonely? Maybe you are you a small business owner with employees or subcontractors, but find yourself wanting to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? Perhaps you are at a pivotal point in your business, and need to make some tough decisions.

Regardless of the level your business is ready to move to, this workshop will help you get there. If you are in the beginning stages of business, this workshop will help you start off on the right foot. If you are in business for years, this workshop will help you figure out what’s next and give you a customizable Action Plan to get there.

You will leave the workshop motivated and prepared to act. If you’ve never seen Lisa or Sandy in action, come join us for workshops that promise to deliver great results!

About the Presenter:
Lisa Montanaro is an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author. Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC in 2002, and has helped thousands of people and organizations live better lives and operate better businesses. A sought-after business expert due to her background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, Lisa offers business coaching to professional organizers, designers, redesigners, stagers, and other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Part consultant, part coach — Lisa gives expert advice, while also guiding clients to the answers they seek. Lisa presents at national conferences, has been interviewed by television and radio hosts, is a frequent guest expert for national teleclasses and webinars (including NAPO and IRIS annual and regional conferences), and has been widely published on the web and in print.

Unsure if you are getting the most out of your business?
Unclear as to whether your business is going in the right direction?
Feeling like you could use a business plan revamp?

Then get ready to make some Bold Business Moves!
Join us for a Teleclass Series

Bold Business Moves: Moving Your Business in the Right Direction

Presented by Lisa Montanaro
Certified Professional Organizer®, Business & Life Coach,
Motivational Speaker, Author

Dates: Tuesday evenings – May 31st, June 14th and June 28th
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST

  • Designed as a series, but able to be taken individually too, each teleclass is 90 minutes in length.
  • Can’t make the live calls? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded & available by on MP3.

Location: From the comfort of your home or office
Investment:

  • IRIS members: $35 for each, or $89 for the 3-part series
  • Non-IRIS members: $39 for each, or $99 for the 3-part series

Register Online for all sessions here (or follow the links below to register for individual teleclasses).

Teleclass 1 – May 31st: Blueprint Your Business: Create Business Systems & An Operations Manual
blueprint businessBusiness Systems help a business to run without you if you become ill, take a vacation or go to a business conference. They provide the infrastructure that needs to be in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner. Business systems make it easier to hire and train an employee or retain an independent contractor, delegate to an assistant, to yourself, or to the business itself. Business Systems and Operations Manuals will not only help you run your business more effectively, but will help you start preparing for your exit strategy. This teleclass will guide you in creating an Operations Manual and cover what it should include.
Register for the May 31st session here.

Teleclass 2 – June 14th: Branch Out & Mix it Up: Creating Multiple Streams of Income
You are a solopreneur or small business owner, and you wish you could make more money, but you can’t be in more than one place at one time or clone yourself. What to do? Create multiple streams of income! Multiple streams of income help to build a business with less work by offering multiple ways for clients to access you, your company, and your services/offerings. Learn how to leverage and re-purpose your content, expand your delivery methods, offer options at multiple price points, and give clients a menu or suite of services.
Register for the June 14th session here.

Teleclass 3 – June 28th: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”
Are you a solopreneur and often find it lonely? Maybe you are you a small business owner with employees or subcontractors, but find yourself wanting to brainstorm with those outside your business? You can! Imagine a group of people that are available to bounce business ideas off of, help you make pivotal business decisions, and serve as a sounding board. Set your business up for success by enlisting the help of others. Options are plentiful, from using virtual assistants, independent contractors, and employees, to brainstorming with business colleagues, setting up a formal Board of Advisors, participating in a Mastermind group, or hiring a business coach. Studies show that business owners achieve success more frequently when they set up accountability programs. Identify different ways to partner with others to improve your business by engaging in coopetition, and learn the differences between various types of accountability tools. Determine which accountability tools are the best match for your business, and how to implement them. Hear about what other like-minded entrepreneurs are doing. Walk away with a plan to enlist the help of others in your business in a way that makes the most sense for your business model, stage, and needs. Get ready to create your village!
Register for the June 28th session here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.
Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

Rave Reviews from Past Attendees of Lisa’s Teleclasses or Workshops:

  • “She’s bright and shiny on a dreary day, she sings, she dances, she’s a Professional Organizer, oh and did I mention she’s an attorney too? She’s Lisa Montanaro, and she was one of our favorite teleclass guest experts last year. Lisa can answer all those pressing questions you have been afraid to ask or didn’t know where to turn to for the answers. What I really like about her is her approachability. Speaking to a business coach and attorney can be a little intimidating, but Lisa knows how to answer the tough questions while making sure you truly understand the answers.”
  • “You are very well-spoken and a wonderful presenter. You did a great job providing so much relevant content and without giving us that feeling of info-overload.”
  • “I went to your workshop at the NAPO Conference and just wanted to tell you how impressed I was. You are such a knowledgeable and good speaker. I have already implemented so many of your suggestions. Yours was the only CD I purchased from conference. I am sure your session will benefit me for years to come.”
  • “The level of energy and enthusiasm you bring into the training environment is truly admirable and your organizational skills certainly show proof of the amount of effort and thought you place in preparing for your workshops.”
  • “Your workshop at the NAPO National Conference was alone worth my entire investment (registration, hotel, transportation, food, etc.). Thank you so much!”

About the Presenter:
Lisa Montanaro is an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author. Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC in 2002, and since then, has helped thousands of people and organizations live better lives and operate better businesses. A sought-after business expert due to her background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, Lisa offers business coaching to professional organizers, and other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Part consultant, part coach — Lisa gives expert advice, while also guiding clients to the answers they seek. Lisa presents at national conferences, has been interviewed by television and radio hosts, is a frequent guest expert for national teleclasses and webinars, and has been widely published on the web and in print.

“We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

By now, you have probably heard the term “Coopetition.” Coopetition is a contraction of the words cooperation and competition, meaning essentially cooperative competition. In the business world, coopetition means collaborating or partnering with your competitors in an innovative way so that both parties benefit. The most successful entrepreneurs realize early on that the old military adage, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy … Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer” applies just as well to the business world. Of course, we all know that your competitors are not truly your enemies (at least I hope they aren’t!), but the idea of keeping them close is the point. A creative collaboration with your biggest competitor in the same industry may be the best opportunity for boosting your business.

Many of you are already familiar with the idea of collaborating with your competitors through membership in an industry specific professional association. For example, I am a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the premiere association for my industry. I attend the annual conference every year as a participant or presenter, belong to a local organizers’ neighborhood (an informal chapter), frequently engage in discussion on the organizers’ email list, and serve as a mentor and business coach to new organizers and organizers-to-be. I have partnered with other organizers in various ways, as well as share referrals back and forth. This coopetition with other organizers has enriched my business in ways that are immeasurable. I’ve benefited greatly from these relationships and from keeping an open mind in my approach to dealing with my competitors.

It is smart business to capitalize on the positive aspects of a competitive situation. However, for coopetition to work effectively, both parties need to clearly define their roles, making sure not to overstep boundaries. The goal is to find a way to partner with your competitor (read: colleague!) so that both parties can substantially benefit from the collaboration. Look around at your competition, and identify competitors that share the same zest for business and success that you do. You want to make sure that you align yourself with a competitor that you respect and admire, and that exudes the same sense of professionalism and level of expertise.

What are some ways that you can engage in coopetition that will boost your business? Here are some examples of strategic alliances between competitors that are innovative, creative, and effective: 

  • Develop a joint venture project together. Some of the best business ideas are born out of competitors joining together. For example, in my industry, organizers are collaborating together to offer certification prep courses, train new organizers, design organizing products, etc.
  • Share a booth at an expo, tradeshow or business showcase. Not only will this help each party keep costs down, but as we all know, two minds are often better than one. You may come up with great new ideas to market your industry and businesses, offer more products, and gain more attention from participants and the media.
  • Co-present with a competitor. Co-presenting is a wonderful tool when done well. I have had the opportunity to present with colleagues to offer workshops that I may not have been able to do on my own. The participants benefit from hearing two different presenters, which helps keep the workshop fresh and interesting. Each presenter only has to do half the work, which makes your job easier overall.
  • Advertise with a competitor. Advertising is expensive. Sharing that expense with a colleague or competitor to promote types of service, your industry, or an event you are doing together is a great way to maximize advertising costs. 
  • Refer leads to each other. This is probably the most common form of coopetition. But don’t lose sight of how powerful it is! What you give out almost always comes back. If you cannot service a prospective client, find a colleague or competitor that can. The potential client will view you as a true professional and resource-provider, and the competitor will be grateful and will usually reciprocate in the future.
  • Co-author an article or book together. Writing does not come easy to many people. Consider sharing writing responsibility by co-authoring an article or book with a competitor. This may be the most effective way to get published in your industry. For example, if you teamed up with 9 competitors in your industry and all wrote one chapter, voila, a 10-chapter book is born!
  • Offer a teleclass or webinar together. You’ve probably seen this many times where two business experts team up to offer a teleclass or webinar together. Many times they are in complementary industries, such as an interior designer (or life coach, or wardrobe consultant, etc.) and professional organizer, or a financial planner and accountant. Again, two minds are better than one, work is shared among the presenters, and the participants get to hear from two experts. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.

Think broadly, keep an open mind, and seek out collaborative opportunities to boost your business with coopetition. Used wisely, it is a fantastic tool to add to your business.