do_not_disturbThere is a common misconception that all introverts like to, and want to, be alone most of the time, and all extroverts like to, and want to, be with other people almost all of the time. In my experience, I haven’t found this generalization to be true.

Take me, for example. I am categorized as an extrovert on almost every personality type test that I take. On the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment, I come up as an ENTJ, which stands for Extrovert, Intuitive, Thinker, and Judger (which by the way, refers to someone that prefers structure, is decisive and wants things completed, not to someone that is judgmental of others).

working_outsideBecause of my “extrovert” label, it often comes as a huge surprise when people learn that I really like to be alone. No, actually, I love to be alone. I love to be with others also, but I very much crave and need my alone time. I actually spend enormous amounts of time alone these days. Since relocating from New York to California, my husband maintains a grueling residency schedule which means he is not home as often as he used to be when we lived in NY. As a self-employed entrepreneur who does a lot of virtual work with my clients by phone and video conference, many of my work days are spent here at my home office… alone.

I think there is a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. When I’m alone, I enjoy passing the time by being productive through working or maintaining my life and home, or engaging in some of the many hobbies and passions that I enjoy doing. Do I ever get lonely? Not really. I do miss certain people a lot. I think missing people and feeling lonely are two different things though.

I know some introverts that do enjoy being around other people very much. Some introverts can be extremely outgoing and crave social interaction, as long as they then have time to be alone to rejuvenate and re-energize. And then there are extroverts like me, that can be jazzed about standing up in front of 500 people to do a speaking engagement, but really enjoy being alone before and after that speaking engagement so that I can regroup, reflect, and re-energize.

In her well-researched and fascinating book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” author Susan Cain discusses the concept of a Restorative Niche. Restorative Niche is the term for the place you go when you want to return to your true self. Even if you sometimes adapt to the situation and force yourself to take on more extroverted or introverted traits, you need a safe place to return to where your true traits are able to shine through. It can be a physical place, like the woods on a hike, an office with a closed door, etc., or a temporal one, like taking a break between phone calls. It can mean staying alone in the hotel room at a big conference instead of with a colleague, being alone before or after you go on stage as a speaker, saying no to social plans many nights in a row, etc. I love this concept, and have seen it at work in my own life, and that of my family, friends, colleagues, and clients.

When choosing a work environment, give consideration to whether there is an opportunity to engage in Restorative Niches for yourself.

Introverts may want to ask themselves:

  • timid_boldWill the work allow me to spend time doing in-character activities like reading, strategizing, writing, and researching?
  • Will I have a private workspace or be subject to the constant demands of an open office plan?
  • If the work itself doesn’t provide enough restorative niches, will I have enough free time on evenings and weekends to grant them to myself?

Extroverts will want to look for restorative niches too.

  • Does the work involve talking, traveling and meeting new people?
  • Is the environment stimulating enough?
  • Will I be stuck sitting at a desk behind a computer screen all day with no human interaction?
  • If the job isn’t a perfect fit, are the hours flexible enough that I can blow off steam after work?

Sometimes people find Restorative Niches in professions where you’d least expect them. An attorney that is able to spend time alone researching and writing all day. An actress that has a career as a voice over artist recording audio books alone in a studio. It’s not important what your job title is, or whether you own your own business, etc. What’s important is whether your work matches your personality type, or if you can find Restorative Niches when you need them. For me, being a self-employed entrepreneur does mean a lot of time at home, but it also means having the opportunity to connect with people at networking events, when I’m on stage as a speaker, and through doing my private and group coaching and consulting. It also means that if I have been sitting at my desk too long with no human interaction, that I can go out and join a group for a bike ride, or meet a friend or colleague for coffee. In other words, my work has built in opportunities for Restorative Niches.

be_yourselfWhat about you? Are you an extrovert that surprisingly loves being alone? Or are you an introvert that does enjoy a lot of social interaction? Let’s not limit ourselves to labels. Using Restorative Niches can help us go back to our true self when we need to, but sometimes we may not even need them in the first place. Sometimes we are who we are, and it’s just right — no matter what the labels say.

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions. They come but once per year, and cause quite a stir. Indeed, people talk about their New Year’s Resolutions quite freely. A small portion of people even write them down. But how many truly achieve them? The number is probably dismally small. Why? Because most people do a great job of talking about their resolutions, but don’t do such a great job of taking action on them. They often set themselves up for failure by biting off more than they can chew!

2014_goalsTake, for example, the most popular New Year’s Resolution: to lose weight (get in shape, exercise more, achieve greater levels of fitness, shrink a few sizes… any version will do!). What most people do is come out swinging. They join a gym and try to exercise 5 days a week, when they were formerly a couch potato and led a sedentary lifestyle (not only is this setting you up for failure, but it can be dangerous too!). They deprive themselves of every food they love, instead of eating a little bit of everything in moderation or learning their trigger foods and slowly replacing them with better choices. In other words, they try to do too much in too little time. They experience set backs, or fail altogether, which then leads to a defeatist attitude and they say “See, I knew I couldn’t do it.” They then give up.

Does this pattern sound familiar? If so, try a different approach this year. Try taking it slowly, one step at a time, and actually taking action throughout the year. How? Here are some tips:

  • Start Small & Grow Your Goal Little by Little
    Instead of looking at your goal or resolution as a major project, think of just the first step. For example, instead of thinking that you have to get your entire life organized, try keeping your appointments for the first week, clearing out your email inbox the second week, saying no to some tasks and events you can’t handle the third week, etc. Get the picture? Take it step by step so each smaller goal feels, and is, more manageable.
  • Reinforce Goal Setting in Various Ways
    Use different learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile) to reinforce goal setting. Perhaps you can journal about your New Year’s Resolutions (one of my favorite activities!). Maybe you prefer to set up a vision board to see your goals. Or you can listen to podcasts and audio programs that reinforce your resolutions. It doesn’t matter which you choose, only that you choose a way to reinforce goal setting that works for you!
  • Ignore the Naysayers
    Often, you are making actual progress towards achieving your resolutions or goals, but someone tries to sabotage you. Try not to let this derail your efforts! You need to stay the course, despite what they say. The famous life coach Martha Beck talks about surrounding yourself with people who can be your “believing eyes.” I love this idea! Adopt it and use it as your own. Stay away from the Negative Nellies right now, and surround yourself with people who believe in your goal and will help you achieve it.
  • Be Accountable
    Some of the world’s most successful behavior modification programs are successful partly due to the strong accountability celebratefactor built into the program. Find an accountability partner, join a mastermind group, or hire a coach. You need motivation and someone to share your trials and successes with. Having accountability systems in place can be a powerful aid in accomplishing the goals you set.
  • Celebrate Success
    Make sure to reward yourself along the way for achieving success, no matter how small. Set up milestones, and as you achieve them, figure out ways to motivate yourself to keep going. The more successful you feel at each step, the more apt you are to keep moving on the path towards achieving your full goals.

I’m hearing a lot these days about business reinvention. And it certainly seems like a great idea. But I think that a complete business overhaul is not only unjustified much of the time, but can be a risky move.

So instead, I’d like to propose the idea of a business “remodel”, which is more along the lines of a home remodel. When you remodel your home, you generally keep the existing structure and foundation. The changes are distinct for sure, but do not involve knocking down your entire home. Rather, the remodel may involve adding an addition, repainting a room, finishing a basement, etc.

Likewise, you can remodel your business in distinct and powerful ways that cause a huge shift in your delivery of services, income stream, target market, or visibility as an expert. But a business remodel needs to be justified, strategic, and executed in such a way that the remodel doesn’t cause too much turmoil in your business. When you remodel a home, for example, it needs to be done in a way that causes the least disruption to your living environment. Yes, you are willing to suffer some inconvenience in the short run knowing you will wind up with a beautiful newly remodeled home. But you wouldn’t plan a remodel that forces you to live in absolute chaos unless you can move out during the construction and find another place to live. Easier said than done!

With your business, you can’t necessarily find a new business “home” while conducting a business remodel because you still need cash flow. Sure, there are exceptions for those business owners that saved a ton of money to fund a remodel, but even in that case, it would mean dropping out of the business for a temporary period, which is not going to leave you top of mind with your target market.

So what is the best way to approach a business remodel and what might it include? Here are some tips and guidance.

  • Take Stock – Approach your business remodel in a strategic manner by taking stock of where you are in your business at present, and where you’d like the business to be in the future. Assess what you love about your business, what is working, and what brings you and your clients success and results. Also, pay serious attention to what is no longer working, what you have outgrown, and what your clients don’t seem to need or want anymore. Only when you have done this business assessment will you be in the right frame of mind to determine what shape your business remodel will take.
  • Blueprint the Remodel – Just like you would with a home remodel, you need to draft a blueprint for your business remodel. Add what the remodel will include, how long you expect it take, what players need to be involved, how much money you need to finance the remodel, etc. Consider getting assistance from a trusted advisor during this stage. Approach the blueprint like you would a business plan so that it can serve as the framework for the remodel during the weeks/months/years of the remodel.
  • Add On – One way to remodel your business that is safe and smart is to actually add onto it. This can be in the form of an additional income stream like a new service offering, product, or program. It can also be achieved by partnering with another business owner to engage in a joint venture together. It can take the form of offering or joining an affiliate program. The list is as long as your imagination, and what is the best fit for your business.
  • Take Away – A business remodel can also include taking something away from your business that you know is not working, is draining your energy or your bank account, is not a big seller, or you just plain don’t love offering anymore. In business, we often keep saying yes and piling up things. But a smart business remodel can be about saying no and streamlining or micro-focusing on what truly works, and brings you and your clients great results.
  • Thing Big, but Start Small – Once you get the idea of a business remodel in your head, it is hard not to get excited and maybe a little carried away. It is great to be excited and have passion around your business remodel. In fact, go ahead and think big! But then come back down to reality, and start small. Take the remodel one step at a time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew or your remodel will crash and burn.
  • Mind Your Existing Business – Another common problem with a business remodel is that while you are in the process of remodeling, you neglect your overall business. Make sure that you are still “minding the store” while remodeling. It is easy to get caught up in the remodel, as it is very exciting and usually evidence of where your future lies. But unless you have unlimited funds and a celebrity status, your clients most likely still want to buy from the business you have now. If you absolutely want to be free of the business you have now, then realize that you are not just remodeling, you are reinventing your business! And that is a horse of a different color. If that is what is truly happening, then you will be following a different path. You may need to close shop altogether, sell your business, completely revamp or rebrand it, or get employees or independent contractors to run it for you.
  • Roll Out Your Remodel– At some point, your remodel will either be complete, or at least far enough along, that you want to officially roll it out and shout it from the rooftops. But consider that you may want to go public with your remodel even sooner than that. Getting people involved in your remodel can be a great strategic decision. In fact, you can engage your clients in the remodel by asking them to assist in some way. For example, let’s say the remodel is to add a service offering. You can survey your clients (and warm prospects) well in advance to see what service offering is missing from your business that they desperately want and need. There are many other ways to get others involved in your remodel, but make sure you do so wisely so you don’t scare your clients into mistakenly thinking that you may be jumping ship or abandoning them.
  • Enjoy the Remodel Results – If you approach your remodel wisely and execute it strategically, you will be able to enjoy the results — and so will your clients!

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 2008. 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 .

In this “new economy,” many business owners are stressing about securing enough business to make a profit. In the extreme, this often leads to saying yes to any and all prospects, projects and types of work. Unfortunately, this may not be the best business strategy! Indeed, saying no to business is sometimes the smartest thing to do. Not convinced? Let me demonstrate.

Prospect is not a good “fit” – Let’s face it, not all clients are the right “fit” for you and your business. In some instances, there is even a such thing, dare I say, as a bad client. If your antenna goes up during the initial meeting, phone call or consultation alerting you to the fact that this client will not respect you, tests your boundaries, needs more assistance than you can provide, or in any other meaningful way is just not a good fit, listen to that instinct and say no! There are ways to turn away business that are polite, tactful, useful, and firm, and sometimes we just have to learn when it is right to say no to a prospect or client. Turning away business can be a painful process for those unfamiliar with the concept, but it can save you and your business in the long run.

Saying yes to every prospect may unfortunately mean saying no to your Ideal Client – Every business has a Target Market and within that market lies the Ideal Client. You know who they are — the people or organizations that really need your assistance, are fully ready for the transformative services or products that you provide, respect and value you and your business, and can afford to make the investment to work with you. They are the ones that you keep in mind when developing programs and products to ensure they fit your client base. We all know there is only so much time and energy to work with clients. Any time you take on a new client, there is a loss of potential opportunities elsewhere that could slip by because you are too busy. That is referred to as Opportunity Cost — the cost of opportunities that you will miss by taking on each client. Therefore, be very clear when you say yes that the prospect fits into your Ideal Client profile (or at least gets close to it!). If not, you may actually be saying no to your Ideal Client when he/she comes knocking.

Quantity of work may make quality suffer – If you say yes to every prospect, project and type of work, you may wind up spreading yourself too thin, causing the quality of your work to suffer. In an effort to overcome the economic downturn and make more money, many business owners are saying yes, yes, yes. This can lead to burn out, decrease in quality of work, and damage to your overall business reputation. Resist the urge to say yes to all work, unless you have the infrastructure in place to handle it.

Focus on Value and Results – The best business owners realize that what they are truly selling is value and results. When you view yourself in this light and not as merely providing products or services, you very quickly realize that you need to say yes only to the clients that you can bring your best value and results to. You also set yourself apart from the “competition” because value and results are not easily measurable, the way tangible products and services are. The value is in the client’s mind and will almost always far outweigh the price they paid.

Saying no to work may seem like an ill-advised business strategy, but in the long run, you will come to see that it is a meaningful and profitable way of doing business. You leave yourself open for the Ideal Clients that you should be serving, and you don’t drain yourself and the business by trying to serve everyone. Resist the urge to be all things to all people, and focus on what you do best for the target market that wants, needs and can afford it. Saying no will be difficult as you turn away the ill-matched prospect with money to burn and a desire to buy, but the flip side is saying yes and then resenting it for not being true to yourself and the business that you have created.

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 .

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions. They come but once per year, and cause quite a stir. Indeed, people talk about their New Year’s Resolutions quite freely. A small portion of people even write them down. But how many truly achieve them? The number is probably dismally small. Why? Because most people do a great job of talking about their resolutions, but don’t do such a great job of taking action on them. They often set themselves up for failure by biting off more than they can chew!

Take, for example, the most popular New Year’s Resolution: to lose weight (get in shape, exercise more, achieve greater levels of fitness, shrink a few sizes…any version will do!). What most people do is come out swinging. They join a gym and try to exercise 5 days a week, when they were formerly a couch potato and led a sedentary lifestyle (not only is this setting you up for failure, but it can be dangerous too!). They deprive themselves of every food they love, instead of eating a little bit of everything in moderation or learning their trigger foods and slowly replacing them with better choices. In other words, they try to do too much in too little time. They experience set backs, or fail altogether, which then leads to a defeatist attitude and they say “See, I knew I couldn’t do it.” They then give up.

Does this pattern sound familiar? If so, try a different approach this year. Try taking it slowly, one step at a time, and actually taking action throughout the year. How? Here are some tips:

Start Small & Grow Your Goal Little by Little
Instead of looking at your goal or resolution as a major project, think of just the first step. For example, instead of thinking that you have to get your entire life organized, try keeping your appointments for the first week, clearing out your email inbox the second week, saying no to some tasks and events you can’t handle the third week, etc. Get the picture? Take it step by step so each smaller goal feels, and is, more manageable.

Reinforce Goal Setting in Various Ways
Use different learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile) to reinforce goal setting. Perhaps you can journal about your New Year’s Resolutions (one of my favorite activities!). Maybe you prefer to set up a vision board to see your goals. Or you can listen to podcasts and audio programs that reinforce your resolutions. It doesn’t matter which you choose, only that you choose a way to reinforce goal setting that works for you!

Ignore the Naysayers
Often, you are making actual progress towards achieving your resolutions or goals, but someone tries to sabotage you. Try not to let this derail your efforts! You need to stay the course, despite what they say. The famous life coach Martha Beck talks about surrounding yourself with people who can be your “believing eyes.” I love this idea! Adopt it and use it as your own. Stay away from the Negative Nellies right now, and surround yourself with people who believe in your goal and will help you achieve it.

Be Accountable
Some of the world’s most successful behavior modification programs are successful partly due to the strong accountability factor built into the program. Find an accountability partner, join a mastermind group, or hire a coach. You need motivation and someone to share your trials and successes with. Having accountability systems in place can be a powerful aid in accomplishing the goals you set.

Celebrate Success
Make sure to reward yourself along the way for achieving success, no matter how small. Set up milestones, and as you achieve them, figure out ways to motivate yourself to keep going. The more successful you feel at each step, the more apt you are to keep moving on the path towards achieving your full goals.

Copyright © 2010 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 2010. 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 .

In this “new economy,” many business owners are stressing about securing enough business to make a profit. In the extreme, this often leads to saying yes to any and all prospects, projects and types of work. Unfortunately, this may not be the best business strategy! Indeed, saying no to business is sometimes the smartest thing to do. Not convinced? Let me demonstrate.

Prospect is not a good “fit” – Let’s face it, not all clients are the right “fit” for you and your business. In some instances, there is even a such thing, dare I say, as a bad client. If your antenna goes up during the initial meeting, phone call or consultation alerting you to the fact that this client will not respect you, tests your boundaries, needs more assistance than you can provide, or in any other meaningful way is just not a good fit, listen to that instinct and say no! There are ways to turn away business that are polite, tactful, useful, and firm, and sometimes we just have to learn when it is right to say no to a prospect or client. Turning away business can be a painful process for those unfamiliar with the concept, but it can save you and your business in the long run.

Saying yes to every prospect may unfortunately mean saying no to your Ideal Client – Every business has a Target Market and within that market lies the Ideal Client. You know who they are — the people or organizations that really need your assistance, are fully ready for the transformative services or products that you provide, respect and value you and your business, and can afford to make the investment to work with you. They are the ones that you keep in mind when developing programs and products to ensure they fit your client base. We all know there is only so much time and energy to work with clients. Any time you take on a new client, there is a loss of potential opportunities elsewhere that could slip by because you are too busy. That is referred to as Opportunity Cost — the cost of opportunities that you will miss by taking on each client. Therefore, be very clear when you say yes that the prospect fits into your Ideal Client profile (or at least gets close to it!). If not, you may actually be saying no to your Ideal Client when he/she comes knocking.

Quantity of work may make quality suffer – If you say yes to every prospect, project and type of work, you may wind up spreading yourself too thin, causing the quality of your work to suffer. In an effort to overcome the economic downturn and make more money, many business owners are saying yes, yes, yes. This can lead to burn out, decrease in quality of work, and damage to your overall business reputation. Resist the urge to say yes to all work, unless you have the infrastructure in place to handle it.

Focus on Value and Results – The best business owners realize that what they are truly selling is value and results. When you view yourself in this light and not as merely providing products or services, you very quickly realize that you need to say yes only to the clients that you can bring your best value and results to. You also set yourself apart from the “competition” because value and results are not easily measurable, the way tangible products and services are. The value is in the client’s mind and will almost always far outweigh the price they paid.

Saying no to work may seem like an ill-advised business strategy, but in the long run, you will come to see that it is a meaningful and profitable way of doing business. You leave yourself open for the Ideal Clients that you should be serving, and you don’t drain yourself and the business by trying to serve everyone. Resist the urge to be all things to all people, and focus on what you do best for the target market that wants, needs and can afford it. Saying no will be difficult as you turn away the ill-matched prospect with money to burn and a desire to buy, but the flip side is saying yes and then resenting it for not being true to yourself and the business that you have created.

I’m hearing a lot these days about business reinvention. And it certainly seems like a great idea. But I think that a complete business overhaul is not only unjustified much of the time, but can be a risky move.

So instead, I’d like to propose the idea of a business “remodel”, which is more along the lines of a home remodel. When you remodel your home, you generally keep the existing structure and foundation. The changes are distinct for sure, but do not involve knocking down your entire home. Rather, the remodel may involve adding an addition, repainting a room, finishing a basement, etc.

Likewise, you can remodel your business in distinct and powerful ways that cause a huge shift in your delivery of services, income stream, target market, or visibility as an expert. But a business remodel needs to be justified, strategic, and executed in such a way that the remodel doesn’t cause too much turmoil in your business. When you remodel a home, for example, it needs to be done in a way that causes the least disruption to your living environment. Yes, you are willing to suffer some inconvenience in the short run knowing you will wind up with a beautiful newly remodeled home. But you wouldn’t plan a remodel that forces you to live in absolute chaos unless you can move out during the construction and find another place to live. Easier said than done!

With your business, you can’t necessarily find a new business “home” while conducting a business remodel because you still need cash flow. Sure, there are exceptions for those business owners that saved a ton of money to fund a remodel, but even in that case, it would mean dropping out of the business for a temporary period, which is not going to leave you top of mind with your target market.

So what is the best way to approach a business remodel and what might it include? Here are some tips and guidance.

  • Take Stock – Approach your business remodel in a strategic manner by taking stock of where you are in your business at present, and where you’d like the business to be in the future. Assess what you love about your business, what is working, and what brings you and your clients success and results. Also, pay serious attention to what is no longer working, what you have outgrown, and what your clients don’t seem to need or want anymore. Only when you have done this business assessment will you be in the right frame of mind to determine what shape your business remodel will take.
  • Blueprint the Remodel – Just like you would with a home remodel, you need to draft a blueprint for your business remodel. Add what the remodel will include, how long you expect it take, what players need to be involved, how much money you need to finance the remodel, etc. Consider getting assistance from a trusted advisor during this stage. Approach the blueprint like you would a business plan so that it can serve as the framework for the remodel during the weeks/months/years of the remodel.
  • Add On – One way to remodel your business that is safe and smart is to actually add onto it. This can be in the form of an additional income stream like a new service offering, product, or program. It can also be achieved by partnering with another business owner to engage in a joint venture together. It can take the form of offering or joining an affiliate program. The list is as long as your imagination, and what is the best fit for your business.
  • Take Away – A business remodel can also include taking something away from your business that you know is not working, is draining your energy or your bank account, is not a big seller, or you just plain don’t love offering anymore. In business, we often keep saying yes and piling up things. But a smart business remodel can be about saying no and streamlining or micro-focusing on what truly works, and brings you and your clients great results.
  • Thing Big, but Start Small – Once you get the idea of a business remodel in your head, it is hard not to get excited and maybe a little carried away. It is great to be excited and have passion around your business remodel. In fact, go ahead and think big! But then come back down to reality, and start small. Take the remodel one step at a time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew or your remodel will crash and burn.
  • Mind Your Existing Business – Another common problem with a business remodel is that while you are in the process of remodeling, you neglect your overall business. Make sure that you are still “minding the store” while remodeling. It is easy to get caught up in the remodel, as it is very exciting and usually evidence of where your future lies. But unless you have unlimited funds and a celebrity status, your clients most likely still want to buy from the business you have now. If you absolutely want to be free of the business you have now, then realize that you are not just remodeling, you are reinventing your business! And that is a horse of a different color. If that is what is truly happening, then you will be following a different path. You may need to close shop altogether, sell your business, completely revamp or rebrand it, or get employees or independent contractors to run it for you.
  • Roll Out Your Remodel– At some point, your remodel will either be complete, or at least far enough along, that you want to officially roll it out and shout it from the rooftops. But consider that you may want to go public with your remodel even sooner than that. Getting people involved in your remodel can be a great strategic decision. In fact, you can engage your clients in the remodel by asking them to assist in some way. For example, let’s say the remodel is to add a service offering. You can survey your clients (and warm prospects) well in advance to see what service offering is missing from your business that they desperately want and need. There are many other ways to get others involved in your remodel, but make sure you do so wisely so you don’t scare your clients into mistakenly thinking that you may be jumping ship or abandoning them.
  • Enjoy the Remodel Results – If you approach your remodel wisely and execute it strategically, you will be able to enjoy the results — and so will your clients!

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions. They come but once per year, and cause quite a stir. Indeed, people talk about their New Year’s Resolutions quite freely. A small portion of people even write them down. But how many truly achieve them? The number is probably dismally small. Why? Because most people do a great job of talking about their resolutions, but don’t do such a great job of taking action on them. They often set themselves up for failure by biting off more than they can chew!

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One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.  ~ Sidney Howard

Recently, I was asked to take on two separate leadership positions for two different organizations that I am a member of. While both offers were extremely tempting, I knew right away that there was no way that I could say yes to both positions, and do both with finesse. Every time we say yes to something, we say no to something else. Therefore, I made a difficult phone call to the incoming President of one of those organizations to explain to that although the offer was tempting and I appreciate his faith in me, I needed to turn down the offer in order to accept the leadership position for the other organization.

This made me think about how in all aspects of life, we sometimes have to ‘just say no’ to some offers in order to do the best job that we can with the things that we say yes to. I realized a long time ago that we can’t do it all. Well, not if we want to do the things we commit to well. In order to give 100% to every volunteer leadership position that you take on, you need to carefully consider what that role involves and whether you are able to bring your all to the table. If you can’t, the better answer (albeit often the harder one to give) is “No.”

The following guidelines have helped me to make the tough decisions as to what to say yes to and what to say no to with regard to taking on volunteer leadership positions for business or civic organizations. I hope they assist you, as you decide what falls within your ‘absolute yes’ list and what you will ‘just say no’ to.

  • Does it Improve Your Business or Further Your Industry? – When I first joined my local and county chambers of commerce, I was the first and only professional organizer to be a member. Not only did this bring an amazing amount of exposure to my business and what I did, it also helped further the professional organizing industry as a whole.
  • Will it Enhance Your Reputation? – Think about whether it will enhance your reputation in terms of aligning yourself with this group. Also, what if you take on the position and do not do a good job? Think about whether you can give 100% and shine in the position. If you can’t, then it may have a negative effect on your personal and professional reputation.
  • Is it a Cause That You Believe in? – Sometimes you take on a volunteer position not so much for the position itself, or even for the tasks you will be doing, but because the organization’s work or agenda furthers a cause that you so deeply believe in or value. For example, many people serve as board members of organizations that specialize in cancer research, homeless shelters, Habitat for Humanity, etc. The list goes on depending on the causes that you believe in.
  • Been There, Done That – Will it be a repeat performance? For example, the offer I just turned down would have been my second term in the same exact position. I’ve watched this organization grow and expand, and feel it is in a good place right now, and that my time has already been well served. It is time to move onto leadership positions within other organizations and take on new and exciting projects to bring in fresh ideas and energy. The organization I am saying yes to is one I have been involved with for several years, but I have never held a leadership position within it, so this is a new experience and one I look forward to.
  • Can You Afford the Financial Commitment? – Most organizations expect their board members and other leadership volunteers to give freely of their time and expertise. But some organizations take that a step further and also expect their members to give a certain amount of financial commitment. One example is Rotary International, where the members give financial support and choose worthy causes within the community to be the recipients of those funds. Be sure to ask what level of financial commitment is expected, and ask yourself whether you can realistically meet it before saying yes.
  • When in Doubt, Follow Your Gut – Regardless of the above criteria, you will probably know if you should ‘just say no’ based on your gut reaction to the request to serve. If you are asked to serve in a volunteer capacity or leadership role for an organization, and you cringe at the idea, with no trace of excitement, follow your intuition and say no! Yes, a certain level of fear or anxiety may be normal when asked to serve as a volunteer in a leadership capacity for an organization. You may be nervous about being in the spotlight, meeting new people, how to juggle this new role with all of your other responsibilities, etc. But, often times, people say yes purely out of obligation when the ‘real’ answer is quite obviously staring them in the face based on their gut reaction. If your gut screams no, follow it!