CategoryEntrepreneurialism

Highly Engaged Employees Increase Your Company’s Impact

Upping your employees’ engagement level is well worth the effort, not only in your bottom line, or even triple bottom line, but also in the culture of your company, that sometimes ineffable ‘stuff’ that makes yours a great place to work.

Employees who are highly engaged are set apart from even satisfied employees by the discretionary effort they’re willing to bring to their work. They’re willing to go the extra mile (or two), and infuse what they do with passion and a strong connection to your company and its mission. They solve problems and bring in new customers. These are the people who drive innovation and growth.

Gallup’s 2016 State of the American Workplace research found that the top quartile in employee engagement performed better in customer ratings, productivity, sales, and profitability, had less turnover, shrinkage, and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents and quality defects.

Employee engagement isn’t just a HR department issue. It’s a strategic imperative if you want sustainable growth.

Here are the stories of three companies who exemplify three ways you can increase employee engagement:

Develop a Clear Statement of Your Impact Purpose to Inspire and Attract the Right People

Employee engagement is enhanced by the clarity of your mission, your Impact Purpose. KIND Snacks’ founder and CEO, Daniel Lubetzky believes that impact isn’t something you just apply as a varnish on a company with a cause marketing campaign. It goes deeper. It begins with your Impact Purpose statement.

When that is clear, you both energize your current team members and begin to attract those in alignment with your Impact Purpose. KIND Snacks has recognized that candidates and employees at all levels consider social or environmental mission to be important. They look for team members who go beyond ‘fitting in’ to advancing and strengthening the team and culture.

You can do the same by looking for congruence between your Impact Purpose and the candidate’s consistent interest. KIND Snacks looks for authentic passion for and interest in their mission, in addition to problem-solving ability, agility, and thinking like an entrepreneur. Have they done their research? Do they know your company’s Impact Purpose? Do their passions show up in their personal interests and activities? Do they show up in their social media presence? You can enhance and refine your process of hiring over time to reflect these considerations.

Your clarity of mission helps guide both candidates and team members in how they can contribute to your company in a more meaningful way.

Build a culture of connection with each other and to the work

Building a culture that supports your Impact Purpose and really contributes to everyone connected with the company and beyond is an ongoing process. Connection plays a significant role in your company’s culture. The more connected your team members feel to each other and to the impact you’re dedicated to having, the more likely everyone is to contribute creatively, to help each other actively, and to become ambassadors for your brand.

ResolutionCare, a B-corp that offers palliative care in northern California, brings weekly practices into the operation of every location to form bonds between team members. Each weekly meeting begins with the ringing of a Tibetan prayer bowl. To further establish the meeting as a sacred space, everyone, even those who video conference in to the meeting, participates in passing a candle as they each check in and then a stone that represents a current or former ResolutionCare patient who died that week. They keep the candle burning throughout the meeting, even as they move into practical operational issues.

This spiritual connection to the focus of ResolutionCare, their patients, helps team members honor, listen to, and respect each other. The culture at ResolutionCare results in the touches that make such a big difference: getting a patient with a history of pulmonary embolisms and stroke a lounge chair so he can elevate his legs and take pressure off his delicate veins, or finding a walker for a patient whose insurance won’t cover it. It shows up in picking patients up and taking them to appointments, or calling them to remind them to take their medication. It even appears as taking a woman bedridden for years out in a gurney to her front yard to feel the sun on her face.

In ResolutionCare’s democratic, team-based approach, team members support each other. it was agreed that asking a patient to complete paperwork in a loud and bustling chemotherapy setting was not something they wanted to repeat: it was hard to have a real conversation with the patient.

The company has grown exponentially, even as they allow teams to explore solutions that reflect their values and intentions. Growth has been challenging for founder Michael Fratkin, as they strive to maintain the company’s lofty ideals, but fulfilling and nurturing.

Consider Employee Ownership

If your considering your own retirement or company sale, 100% employee ownership through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) can be a way to protect your company’s unique culture and impact. And what better way to engage employees than making them part owners, along with everyone they work with?

The B-Corp Butler/Till, a marketing and advertising firm, has always stressed teamwork and collaboration. Their philosophy, “if we lift each other up, we are all going to rise together faster”, helped them grow to gross media billings of over $70 million and more than 60 employees in 11 years. When owners Sue Butler and Tracy Till considered their exit, it was an opportunity to reward their employees and protect jobs, as well as receiving tax-free capital gains on the sale.

The process of a successful transition from a privately owned business to an ESOP took 3 years, and another 3 years to reach 100% employee ownership. It seemed a natural outgrowth of their open-book management style. The company implemented in-house education so employee-owners understand how their work impacts company value.

Was it worth it? Butler/Till has seen higher productivity, less turnover, and an ownership culture that includes participation in hiring future employee-owners. The current president of Butler/Till, Kimberly Jones, believes that employee ownership “strengthens communities, fosters a financially savvy workforce, increases resiliency during recessions, and offers big benefits during economic booms.”

These three stories highlight the financial and impact value of employee engagement at an exemplary level. What can you carry forward into your company, to increase your financial health and impact?

Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.


Three Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make At The Outset

Many entrepreneurs make three crucial mistakes at the outset. They do not pay sufficient attention to customers’ preferences; they ignore their competition because their product thrill them, and third, they neglect to follow their business strategy. Indeed, some have no strategy. Typically, they make these three errors because they succumb to the pressure to make a quick return on borrowed funds.

In the January 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review (HBR) Roger Martin identifies rules to prevent common mistakes when developing a strategy. He states in this article, The Big Lie of Strategic Planning, that the first rule is “keep the strategy statement simple.” Instead of a long, often vague document, the company or entrepreneur’s strategy should summarize the chosen target customers and the value proposition in one page.

Crafting the strategy needs time and thought, so the owner must be patient and learn to filter the many unsolicited voices telling her how she can make money quickly. I cannot state enough how crucial it is to develop a simple strategy for the startup. This simple strategy will be the guide to carrying out the owner’s mission or purpose for doing business.

Harvard professor and author Michael Porter, says strategy must be unique. He goes on to mention that strategy:

  • by consensus is bad strategy
  • is not compromise; it’s clarity
  • is about choices
  • needs a set of uniqueness to help to differentiate you from the competition

Porter then adds that less than 25% of companies have a clear strategy.

Strategy doesn’t have to be embedded in many pages, it can and should be plain and simple.

In his 1985 book, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the late management guru Peter Drucker (1909-2005) said entrepreneurs create something new, something different and have unique characteristics. He said McDonald’s exemplified entrepreneurship; “they didn’t invent anything any decent American restaurant hadn’t produced hamburgers for years.” Drucker continued, McDonald’s asked:

What is value to the customer?” Then they standardized the product, designed processes, and tools, drastically upgraded yields, and created a new market and a new customer.

Drucker said McDonald’s carried out entrepreneurship. Whether the entrepreneur is an existing large institution, or an individual starting her business single-handedly, the same entrepreneurship’s principles apply. “The rules are pretty much the same, the things that work and those that don’t are pretty much the same, and so are the kinds of innovation and where to look for them.”

The start-up owner often does not spend enough time finding out the value to the customer of her product or service. Neither does she spend adequate time developing and testing her strategy. Instead, she focuses on making a fast buck. That’s why it’s crucial the owner does the following:

  1. Spends time understanding who are the customers
  2. Identifies needs and wants, real and perceived, and target markets
  3. Decides how to fulfill those needs consistently and at a high standard
  4. Be patient and focus on the long-term. Research shows that family owned businesses are more successful than non family owned businesses because the former take a long view when making decisions.

Other things owners are doing wrong include:

  • Listening to too many people with divergent views about the business
  • Trying to “save” money by not getting needed resources to produce consistently high-quality goods and services
  • Not taking enough time to raise adequate funds in the “proper” form. Often, they take loans from family and friends without stating clearly risks involved and repayment terms.

Starting a business is risky but rewarding, and needs patience and courage. However, heeding the above advice will increase the probability of success significantly.


Try These Tips If You Want To Succeed In Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to establish a good income with little or no overhead at all. Just a whole lot of honest hard work, dedication and of course, good information. This article is designed to provide you with some excellent advice on the business of affiliate marketing and help you find your way in and around it to a nice, consistent profit!

Trying to market popular products online will not produce good results in your affiliate status. You want to have a good quality product but it does not have to be uber popular. Choosing very popular products means you will be in fierce competition ahead. You may be unable to make a profit.

When selecting an affiliate marketing program, check out their resources in terms of sale-boosting items for you. A good affiliate program will offer you banner images, content for text ads, and letter templates, in order to help you boost sales. A sale for you is a sale for them, and you want to work for a company that understands your value as an affiliate.

Try looking into secret links. There are plenty of including affiliate links into your text without them being completely obvious. Be transparent about them if you use links and take advantage of their use. Make sure your readers understand the reason for the link so there are no surprises.

If someone visits a site about sports, they expect to see sports-themed news, ads, and merchandise. Only a sports-related link would benefit your affiliate site. If the site has relevant links, people will be more likely to access them.

It is better to affiliate partners that put out products if possible. You are more affiliate revenue by working with businesses that have a larger variety of products which are interesting to your consumers. Avoid one-trick pony and fads.

Anything you write during a marketing campaign or for your business, in general, should be written in plain, easy-to-understand language. Do not open the thesaurus and look for rarely-used words that make you seem a bit too snobbish. This is your Internet business, not a Newspaper. Readers want it simple.

It is advisable for affiliate partners to use text services in order to gain greater commissions.

A great affiliate marketing tip is to provide your real name and a working email address to your visitors and customers. Providing your name and email address will make you look credible, and you want to look as credible as possible in order to gain the trust of your visitors.

If your site has a sports-related theme, your viewers are there for sports. Only a sports-related link would benefit your affiliate sites that are related to the products you market. Your visitors will follow a link that is relevant to the information on your site.

Remember to always provide great, timely, valuable content that really gives your readers helpful and useful information. When you do this, your readers will have more faith in you and will be much more likely to want to do business with you. A great deal of affiliate marketing depends upon building a good relationship with your clients and proving yourself trustworthy and knowledgeable.

Consider using paid advertising to get a jump start on your affiliate marketing program. Ads that are targeted towards keywords related to your site.

One good way to evaluate a potential affiliate marketing partner is to examine the material they give to potential customers, such as their sales letter. You can learn a lot about an affiliate by seeing how they treat their customers. Think of yourself as a customer and ask yourself if the affiliate is someone you would buy from.

It is so important that your readers trust you and your content. Readers support authors who provide them with quality contact by purchasing through your links.

You don’t want to spend much time working on a company’s affiliate program only to never get paid or to discover that they mistreat referrals. Check the company’s reputation by visiting the appropriate blogs and user forums. Test communications through email and telephone. Do they promptly answer emails? Are they rude? Are phone calls put on eternal hold? They way they treat you is how they will likely treat the customers you refer to them.

Create a hard deadline for consumers to buy certain affiliate products. When visitors feel time pressure, they are more likely to jump on the deal. This approach is likely to render a good strategy that may help improve your sales.

A great affiliate marketing tip is to disguise your affiliate link. Sometimes marketers will try to scam you by simply changing your link around so that they’ll receive your commission. You can avoid this by disguising your link. An easy way to disguise your link is by making it redirect to a domain or page.

You need to be quite aware of who is visiting your target audience is in affiliate marketing. You need to work to meet the needs of your message to resonate with your readers. Try to figure out what makes them visit your website and then expand on that knowledge. What specific things are they interested in?

Do not make the mistake of focusing on just one sales technique. You might have the best blog in the world, but you are still losing out on customers who need a little more push or don’t like reading a blog. Advertise on other sites. Send out emails with value-added sales techniques to take people from prospects to customers.

You should reveal your affiliate position to your readers. Being honest like this helps readers feel that they are sure to appreciate that.

There may seem to be a million and one things to remember about affiliate marketing, so many different things to think of and take care of to cultivate your online earnings from it. Hopefully, this article has enlightened you somewhat, to the complexity and confusion and you are now ready to embark on a career change to affiliate marketing that could very well, change your life!


Helping You Better Understand Leadership With These Simple To Follow Tips

Having good leadership skills is important if you are in charge of one person or 500 people. Good communication, people skills and many other things are required of great leaders. If you do not have these skills already, it is time to learn. Use the tips below to become a more effective leader to your team.

When you’re a leader, you’ll need to be accountable. If you make a mistake, admit it and move on. It can be easy to push the blame onto other people, but this should really be avoided. If you’re accountable when you’ve made a mistake, the people around you will feel the need to be more accountable if they’ve made a mistake.

When attending meetings, act like you’re stupid and don’t know anything. You are not actually stupid, of course, but adopting this mindset makes you more likely to accept input from other people who may actually know more than you do. Arrogance has been the downfall of many business leaders, after all.

Be confident in a decision before you share it with others. If you look indecisive, that will cause those beneath you to be indecisive as well. Not only that, but indecision causes others to be able to try to take your position. Instead, deliberate in private before you make any announcements.

Look for talents that others have. If you’re in need of people to work for you, you should easily be able to decide on the people that will work the best. That applies both to contracting people and hiring them.

Watch out for project creep. This can happen when your project’s scope isn’t clearly defined. If you have control over the project, resist the temptation to add more project objectives as time goes on. If you are receiving external pressure to expand your project, resist it with all your might. Your subordinates will thank you.

Make sure that people know that you want the team’s success. If you’re in a position of power, some may suspect that you only want glory for yourself. That’s why it is important to do things that let others know you are on their side, and that your leadership will produce good results for everyone.

Understand the business you are in. Unfortunately, there are many leaders out there who don’t get their business totally. Whether that’s because they inherited the business or they just no longer care, it doesn’t matter. It reads the same to employees. How can you lead if others don’t trust that you have the knowledge to do so?

Being a leader means taking action. It doesn’t matter how many good ideas you have if all they ever do is take up space in your head. Develop a plan and put your idea into action. Focus on the outcome you would like to achieve and focus your energy on making it happen.

Being a great leader is not all about paying too much attention to every move that people make. It is about showing people the best way to do things and allowing them to show you that they are capable. You have to provide encouragement and reinforcements to help them do their best.

Create goals and reward those who reach your goals. Setting up goals is much more effective than creating quotas. It is also a great way to boost morale in your team. You do not have to spend a lot of money on rewards if you are creative. However, if you really want to reward your team for good work, ask for a budget for rewards.

When you’re a business leader, you should try to treat your team or staff in the way that you’d like to be treated. Looking down on people isn’t right and doesn’t promote a good work atmosphere. If you treat you show your staff respect, they will return the favor which can make your life much easier.

Learn to delegate properly. A good leader knows that they cannot handle everything alone. They need others to do certain tasks. That doesn’t mean delegating all of your responsibilities to others, but if you know someone on your team wants to help or can do a certain task better than you, pass it on to them. This will keep things moving forward by letting you work on other tasks that need to be completed.

One principle of successful leadership is to consider all points of view. You need to examine situations from the perspective of others. Even though you might not agree with another’s point of views, show respect and attentively listen as this perspective is shared with you. Never be close-minded to new information or new ideas.

Become a more effective leader by becoming a more self-confident individual. Research shows that a developed sense of self-confidence makes you look, sound, and act more like a leader. You can communicate confidence by maintaining excellent posture, speaking with certainty, and calling attention to key points by adding appropriate hand gestures.

Keep your cool even in the craziest of situations. If your employees see you panicking, they’ll think it’s time to panic. If they see you exuding strength, then they’ll feel confident in your ability to make the right decisions for both the company and them. Remember, perception is everything. Even if you feel the opposite, show strength and confidence.

You can use your leadership role in many positive ways. Try organizing a community outreach, and take your team to visit a homeless shelter, bringing food, or comfort items. Find a charity, and encourage your team to participate in some way. Your role as a leader does not have to be confined to a workplace. Your skills can be used to change lives.

To be a solid leader, you have to see the weaknesses and strengths of your team. Figuring out what makes your team diverse is what you need to do to have them be more successful. Learn about each employee’s personality. Asking about their personal lives and families can also build rapport and trust.

Don’t get too bogged down in your everyday tasks. As the leader, you need to look at the big picture. Keep your vision in mind as you look to the future of your business. Evaluate every employee, their individual talents and how they can continue to grow as your business expands.

You need to come up with goals for your company. Everybody wants to pursue something, and leaders can pose annual goals for their employees. Do not just set them and forget about it. Hold each person on your team accountable for his progress toward the goals and check in on them every month.

It is important for people in leadership roles to offer the team a voice during meetings and performance reviews. It may be tempting to do all the talking, but if you wish to motivate people, show that their opinions and suggestions have value and that you want to hear them.

If you are only in charge of one person, it is still important to have great leadership skills. Being a good leader requires more from you than you may have expected. Perfect the skills you already have and learn the skills you do not to become a great leader.


Reputation Management – How It Can Help Your Business Thrive

When you are trying to maintain a positive business image, you’re going to encounter a ton of obstacles. You might know quite a bit about business reputation management, but you can never be too prepared. So continue reading in order to find out some great techniques you can use to help make sure your business continues to thrive.

Never lose your cool with customers on social media forums. Even if you disagree with a customer, do not attack or act rudely towards the customer. Try to help the customer as best as you can and move on. Always act professionally since you do not want to create a bad reputation for your company.

To help increase your online presence consider using social media. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will help you build business presence both online and offline. To use social media effectively you must post statuses regularly. When posting information through a social media website, use keywords, and give your readers information that they actually need.

Host contests to help bolster your reputation. This is especially important if you have received a bad review. A contest will create a lot of positive information about your company which can help increase your company’s exposure online. This technique will also help raise your page rank on Internet search engines.

Be personable online. Communicate as often as you can with your followers. If a question is posted, answer it as quickly as you can. If you hear a question that you can’t answer right away, indicate that you will work to get an answer, and follow up when you do.

Try using a social network like LinkedIn to help your reputation management. This social network can rank a bit higher than some of the other ones. It is also an important tool for B2B companies. This is because many people like to search for professional services on LinkedIn instead of search engines.

Be thankful. If someone leaves a good review about your company, send them a personal message and thank them for their feedback. If possible, send your customer a coupon for a certain percent off on their next purchase as a thank you. If this is not possible, sincerely thank them for their feedback.

Keep in mind that your online and in-person reputations both matter just as much. There are many people that are great in person yet they are not very great with customers over the Internet. You should be nice either way since you have no idea if this customer will spread negative information that can destroy you.

If you own a business, it is very important that all employees are treated respectfully. Many business people do not pay strict attention to this area of their business, and in the end it can really do a lot of harm. People will avoid doing business with you if you are a bad employer.

Blogs are wonderful ways to bolster your online presence and increase your company’s reputation. Feature guest bloggers in your industry, offer tips on how to use your products and other information that will help your customers. One of the best strategies is to feature other businesses that compliment your products and services.

Always keep an ear to the ground in the online social media networks. Companies are often talked about on these platforms. When you monitor these platforms, you are able to kick into damage control mode as soon as you come across anything negative. This will help protect your company’s reputation.

If your company has a negative review online, do not overreact. One of the worst things a company can do is respond to a negative comment or complaint with anger. Also, do not try to retaliate against whoever posted the complaint. These types of reaction are not going to solve the problem and will only draw more attention to all the negativity.

Make sure you know your rights. You don’t have let the reputation of your business go down due to a persistent fake reviewer. Familiarize yourself with the terms of service and policy of every site and learn what your legal recourse is. In cases of slander, defamation, or malicious intent, you might need to contact an attorney.

Where are people talking about your business? You must familiarize yourself with sites that customers frequent to post reviews about businesses that are in your industry. Respond to criticism quickly and link to the more positive comments.

When a customer complains a product or service that your company offered, it is easy for you to jump into defensive mode. However, control yourself, and get more information about the complaint before you do that. You can smooth out the situation better this way, and you will gain a better reputation for your company.

Talk to your friends to make sure that they are not doing anything that can make you look bad. For example, if there are pictures of you drunk and acting silly, make sure that your friend does not post them anywhere online. While it may seem like a joke, it can definitely do a number on you.

If you use the tips that you were told about here, you are going to start understanding better what it means to protect your reputation. Business relationships have to be based on trust. So, therefore, it’s time that you made sure you were focusing enough of your attention on the reputation of your business.


Ready for a High Impact Mindset Reset?

Your mindset, your thoughts, can buoy you up, inspiring you to take courageous action, or they can drag you down, keeping you up at night with worry and paralyzing you with fear. Even though our brains are wired to dwell on the negative, on past mistakes, how we think in this moment is something we can control.

Changing our minds in the present moment can be hard work! I know from experience that when things aren’t going well, one of the toughest things to do is to turn your mind from impending doom to what is possible and what can be done.

The good news is that the more you practice these mindset boosters, the easier they become. They do, in fact, become habits that kick in when you need them the most.

The even better news is that the more you practice them, the more impact both you and your company will have. Staying on track and not allowing yourself to be pulled down will save you a lot of time and energy. The time and energy you free up can be spent on your company’s financial performance and having impact.

S0 let’s look at ways you can do a mindset reset and the practices that will support you in doing so:

The Future Doesn’t Just Happen – You Shape It Every Day

Have you ever seen or read about people in the direst of circumstances who are transcendent, happy? And others who seem to have everything, and yet feel deprived? The way you choose to think about a situation, the parts of yourself that you call on, even dig deep for, are what determine your present and your future. Your thinking is integral to your character.

When things look negative, question it. There’s always a way to think about a situation that includes a gift, an opportunity. This may seem contrived at first, but think about situations where you’ve suddenly had a shift in perspective and a solution appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. That’s the effect you want to be able to call on.

“Circumstance does not make the person,

it reveals the person to himself or herself.”

~James Allen

People become leaders of successful, impactful companies by becoming the people who can lead those companies first. They walk with integrity. They make smart decisions. They step up and into opportunity with courage. They acknowledge their fears, but don’t indulge them. They learn and grow.

You are becoming the leader of your high impact company right now, in how you show up every day. Treating people with respect. Listening to ideas. Choosing how you use your time and energy. Making decisions with your mind AND your heart.

You can shape your future by consciously developing the mindset of the leader who leads your company in these ways.

Doubling down on mission is one way to ensure that your company moves more in the direction of your impact. New Belgium Brewing became a benefit corporation in 2018, ingraining its commitment to internal and community impact in its legal framework, and is now the fourth-largest craft brewery in the US.

Fear and Getting Through the Storm

We all have fears. Fears about how the company will do financially this year, about that crucial new hire who looks promising but is unproven, or about how your new offering will fare in a busy market. Fears can abound, especially if nurtured and given attention.

“The future you constantly worry about

Is nothing other than a projection of fear and desire from the past.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Fears can instead be a tool, an indicator. They can lead you to research, to ask good questions, and to explore options. As long as you don’t allow fears to take over the present, they can actually be valuable.

One way to be vigilant about fears is with mindfulness. Mindfulness, that focus on the present, is more than a business fad. It’s a practice that decreases stress and increases productivity.

The leaders of outdoor apparel maker Patagonia are committed to using their successful company as a vehicle to put mindfulness into action. Patagonia founder Yves Chouinard describes navigating what could be a terrifying Class 4 rapid as a teaching:

  • look ahead and prepare
    • be proactive
    • don’t ignore what is coming
    • think through scenarios
    • do what is necessary to get ready to the best of your ability
    • trust that you can handle whatever happens

  • go into a drop
    • take calculated risks
    • once you decide, follow through wholeheartedly

  • read the river
    • be vigilant
    • be perceptive
    • adjust as needed.

That intuitive process has helped guide his business for the last 50 years. Chouinard believes that if the process isn’t sound, if your intentions don’t come from the right place, the outcome, even if profitable, doesn’t matter.

Practicing wisdom by making decisions from a place of love rather than fear can open the door to creative solutions. When Patagonia’s CEO Casey Sheahan was faced with laying off 150 employees during the financial crisis, shortly after he took over from Chouinard, he was torn up about the decision. His wife asked him, “Are you making this decision from a place of fear, or from a place of love?” When he realized that it was fear driving the layoff decision, he found another way, leading to unheard-of sales levels after a few rocky quarters.

Fear can be a driver of decisions and actions, but they don’t have to be. Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic, tells the story of treating her fears like an inevitable passenger on a road trip. Fears can and will be there, but they can Never. Ever. Drive.

Focus on Your Impact

Do you find your Impact Purpose, a clear statement of the impact you want to have, inspiring? Does it fill you with energy? If it doesn’t, at least most of the time, you might be on the wrong track. Your clarity about the impact you want to have, whether it’s social or environmental or both, can serve as the rock on which you build your impactful business.

When you steadily focus on your Impact Purpose, you’ll find your thoughts turning from short-term pain to what you could achieve in your business and community. This thinking about others, and not just yourself, is a way to bring you out of the doldrums or away from unhelpful divergent thinking, and back into focus on your impact.

Reinforce this by having your Impact Purpose statement in front of you, every day. Have it on your desk or screen. In your wallet. On your fridge. Wherever you will be regularly reminded of what you intend, personally and with your company.

Plan your day and week with your Impact Purpose in mind. Include it in your decisions about how time, money, and resources will be spent, and with whom. Thoughts aligned with purpose are a powerful creative force. Fill your attention with something worthwhile.

The greatest achievement was at one time a dream. Stay with your dream. It’ll be part of your becoming.

You Are the Company You Keep

You may have heard the notion that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. That speaks to the influence that those around you have on your thinking and therefore on your actions.

Some companies who are committed to having impact take this to a highly conscious level. Design firm LimeRed, led by Emily Lonigro Boylan, only works with individuals or organizations that have social impact. LimeRed only engages with clients whose values they share, who are kind and innovative, and who are also accountable to their stakeholders and communities.

You as a business leader can also take this to another level by incorporating it into decisions about who you include on your team, your suppliers, and your partners. Do you vet who you work with every day through this lens? Do you extend this to your advisors, your pet projects, and your friends?

You’re more likely to have impact when you devote all your energy and resources toward people and companies that also want to have impact in harmony with yours.

Your mindset matters to your own fulfillment and well-being. It matters to your company, as you engage with your community and the larger world. Optimize your opportunity to have impact by doing this mindset reset.


Reimagine the Purpose of Your Business

There’s been so much talk in business about your why, your purpose, your mission. All of those are great in clarifying what you want out of your work, your business, but it can be a very narrow viewpoint when it is only about what your business will do for you.

You can have a much greater vision.

You can and do affect others. How do you want that effect to land? Do you want to do good? You can, with your business.

That’s what impact is all about, having a vision not just for yourself, but also for others, for what you can contribute to making the world a better place. impact is the harmonious blend of your personal interests and your contributions to others that increases your financial performance right along with your influence.

To reimagine the purpose of your business, consider what impact you want to have with your business. Look at that impact from a high level. Condense it into a single statement so that it can serve as a beacon for your business. Here’s an example:

Left Coast Naturals is a B-corp that manufactures and distributes organic and natural foods. They operate with a triple bottom line philosophy (people, planet, and profit) and see an opportunity to have a positive impact on society with business. Their vision statement, in this case aligned with their Impact Purpose, is: “To be an inspiration to society and a force for positive change.” So even though their products are foods, and their tasks are manufacturing and distribution, their Impact Purpose is on a higher, broader, and deeper level.

For you, this can be a process of multiple iterations, so be prepared to do this work over several days or even weeks.

Once you have your Impact Purpose statement, you can start to infuse your impact throughout your company, from strategy all the way through your marketing and operations. That infusion is critical to implementing a high-minded vision in day-to-day decisions and actions.

Even if you’ve done the visioning and mission statements for your company, reimagine them in the context of impact. How do you want to contribute as a company?

Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.

Find Ursula on her podcast, Work Alchemy: The Impact Interviews where she interviews impactful entrepreneurs and leaders like Seth Godin and Marianne Williamson, and at WorkAlchemy.com for free resources for you and your business.


High Value Thinking Time Increases Your Income and Impact

As a busy CEO, you likely don’t have a lot of time to sit and do nothing but think. But you should.

Entrepreneurs tend to value doing above contemplating. But this kind of thinking will help you with your doing.

The Value of Thinking Time

When you’re busy with activity, certain parts of your brain are engaged. You’re following a get-to-do list. You’re directing multiple people. You’re juggling a hive of activity.

In the midst of all that, it’s hard to allow new perspectives in.

That’s what thinking time is for. To let your mind wander, pulling different experiences and knowledge from your memory, and integrating them.

These Top CEOs Do It

When you commit to thinking time, you would not be alone. Warren Buffett isn’t as busy as you are. One of the wealthiest people in the world, he estimates that he spend 80% of his time reading and thinking.

Brian Scudamore, CEO of $250+ million O2E (Ordinary to Exceptional) Brands, sets aside all of Monday just to think. He describes leadership as surgery, aiming to have maximum impact with minimum intervention. So he no longer feels that putting in long hours means more effectiveness.

5 Ways to Incorporate Thinking Time

How do you start to make this happen on a regular basis? Here are 5 ideas:

  1. Schedule it in. You can actually schedule this time into your calendar, to make sure that you take it. That’s what Bill Gates does, taking a week off twice a year just for deep reflection.
  2. Cut out interruptions. Avoid your office, where you’re likely to be disturbed. Move around as you stall in your thinking, to keep from getting stuck.
  3. Write your ideas down. As you have ideas, write them down. Riff on them further, to help develop them. You can even come up with ideas just by starting to write, journal-fashion. Add drawings and diagrams if you’re visual. This thinking time can be a great source of creative ideas.
  4. Plan your week. You can use your thinking time to giving deep thought to how you are spending your time in the coming days. What actions are truly a priority for you? Pare down your list as you realize that what seemed important no longer is.
  5. Pose powerful questions. Your thinking can get a boost by posing strategic questions. What’s most important right now? What am I great at? How can I spend more time doing those things? If I were an outsider from another industry, how would I solve this pressing problem?

Taking time to think when there’s work to be done can feel like a luxury. It’s not. You don’t have to be busy with activity all the time to be adding value. Thinking time allows you to respond to emerging and evolving situations.

The successful CEOs who make it a part of their schedules are a testament to time well spent thinking. It’s an opportunity to increase both your company’s revenue and your impact.

Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.


The Scariest Thing I Ever Did Changed My Life Forever

‘Oh no’ I thought. The call that I knew would come sooner or later was about to take place. No, it’ wasn’t the dreaded call about a sick relative or a death in the family, but to me, it was equally emotionally charged.

But before I share the conversation that took place on that call, I first have to go back in time about 15 months before that.

At the time I was working for a US department store chain as part of the product development team with headquarters in California. I was single and eager to start my new adventure working in an international buying office assisting the team source and manufacture apparel for the various men’s, women’s and children’s divisions of the department store.

It was Valentine’s Day when I arrived in Hong Kong for my first ever overseas position. There I was to help in a merchandising role and work on the occasional project that would immerse me more into the world of product sourcing and increase my knowledge of how factories work.

The hours in the office were long as we struggled to staff up following the ‘brain drain’ of Hong Kong at that time. During that period the challenge was to keep things moving along smoothly, so the opportunity to do the ‘extra projects’ or expand my knowledge was fairly non-existent.

Still I loved the work and I absolutely loved being in Hong Kong. In fact, three months into my stay I found myself praying that I would get to stay for the full term of the assignment which was approximately two years.

There is a special kind of magic about Hong Kong. I loved the hustle and bustle of a city that never sleeps; the pungent and sometimes invasive smells on the city streets; the unusual sights and sounds of an ancient way of life going on in the back alleys just meters away from the high fashion metropolitan city of Central; and the instant camaraderie within the expat community which gave you a sense of family.

I was enjoying my life meeting new people, experiencing different nationalities and cultures, and traveling throughout the region. Life was good.

Then one day when I was in the office, the call came. It was my US based boss. Before I even said hello, I knew what was coming. It was the call to say that the position was coming to an end and that it was time to return to California.

But, the call came with a twist. The Vice President of the company who happened to oversee the Product Development department (and my immediate boss) had given my boss a message to pass onto me, one that I was not expecting.

Throughout my stay in Hong Kong, the VP had visited the office 3-4 times and we would have some time together for a catch up. It was a result of these meetings that led to the special message.

During the call, my boss told me that the position in Hong Kong was coming to an end and it was time to return to California. However, the VP shared that he knew how much I really enjoyed Hong Kong. The special message from the VP was to let me know that if I wanted to stay in Hong Kong, they would support that decision with no hard feelings. The arrangement would be that the company would grant me some time to look for another job while I was still under their employment and once that time was up, I was on my own. If I chose to stay in Hong Kong and wasn’t able to find work and needed to fly home, it would be my responsibility to get home. I was to give three days to think about it and give them my decision.

I swallowed hard, thanked my boss and asked her to thank the VP and hung up the phone.

Oh my god. I was about to make the scariest decision of my life. What the hell am I going to do?

Immediately the internal battle began. My mind was saying ‘don’t do it; that staying would ruin the opportunity for the next person because I had quit after receiving such a wonderful opportunity; especially since I was the first person the company sent to live and work overseas. It was also too great of a risk. It would be career suicide if it doesn’t work out. Hong Kong was an expensive city and not the place to be if you have no income.

At the same time my heart was saying ‘Go for it!’ “You know you love it here. You’re meant to be here! There is something you’re meant to do, even if you don’t know what that something is. There is more for you to learn, more for you to see and do. Yes, it’s a huge risk, but you’re meant to stay”. I thought to myself, this generous offer that came from the VP (and I’m sure had to be cleared by the CEO as well) was a sign.

The internal battle didn’t last long. I took a deep breath and with my heart racing, I made the decision. I’m staying!

Within minutes I became a crazy woman on a mission. I hadn’t even told my company yet, but I immediately got busy. I rang a good friend who was in corporate world and asked her if I could meet with her to help me with my resume later that night. I started to scour the paper for job openings in my line of work.

Three days later I called the company with my decision. I managed to negotiate another 6 weeks with the company and payment on my apartment for an additional month.

Resumes went out, my suits were ready, my shoes were polished waiting for the big interview. I saw myself as a tightrope walker who needed to get from one side of the rope to the other, only there was no safety net. I had to make it to the other side. I had to make this work.

Just 4 days shy of my six-week grace period I landed a new job earning almost 50% more than I was earning with my existing company. In addition, I was able to find a roommate to share the expense of my apartment.

That decision to stay changed my life for ever. I stayed with the new company for just over two years, then I started my first business while living in Hong Kong. I met my future husband while on a vacation, but who turned out to live around the corner from me in Hong Kong. Subsequently we moved to Singapore where we’ve made it our home.

That all happened over 20 years ago, and I’ve been living an amazing life. I followed my heart and made the right decision for me.

So, if you are mid-career, what’s the next big decision in your life? When it comes to your livelihood and lifestyle, hopefully you will be in charge 100% of the way vs. someone or a company telling you what to do.


Your Will or His Purpose

Whether you are an entrepreneur or CEO of a major corporation, the Bible is the ultimate source valuable, pertinent advice and guidance; it provides you with the keys to your future successes. Proverbs 24:27 – “Prepare your outside work; make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house.”

Sometimes (Believers), take the approach that because we are believers, we will receive everything we need (as it relates to our) business, by using the powerful gift of prayer. We pray for a financial influx, better clientele, more marketing ideas, and overall success of our business endeavor. Moreover, in some circumstances, we outline (in our prayers) how we want God to answer our prayers.

However, it has been my personal experience that God blesses in several different ways, but His blessing solely depends on His purposes. Sometimes, God’s answer will match exactly what the person has requested, sometimes His reply is less than desired, and often God’s answer dramatically exceeds our expectations. Biblical Entrepreneurs face difficult decisions and hard choices daily. We must determine how to run our businesses in a way that glorifies God, but still make a profit (no profit. no business). To do so, biblical entrepreneurs should stay in prayer, spend time asking and really “listening” to God’s response.

However, biblical entrepreneurs should also remember that God’s accomplishes whatever He desires, and God’s will never take second to our wishes. We may ask for whatever we want, but we receive what God desires to bless us based on His good and perfect nature.

In short, are you asking according to His will, or according to your desires, wants, and perceived needs? Remember, God will answer you according to His purpose and will for your life. This basic understanding of aligning your business (with the help of the Holy Spirit) with God’s purpose can save a biblical entrepreneur countless hours of sleepless nights. Proverbs 19:21 (New International Version) – “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

Please let us know your story . Faith Business Institute is a Christian organization committed to helping entrepreneurs develop and grow their business endeavors based on Kingdom Business Principles.

Tips for reading the Bible.
Who said it?
Who was it said to?
What did it mean to the original listeners?
How does it apply to us, if at all?

I like to end my articles (and eBooks) with a question that all biblical entrepreneurs should be asking themselves about their business. What can I do to serve God’s other children?

Faith Business Institute, LLC was formed to strengthen and expand the capacity of entrepreneurs through strategic alliances and partnerships that provides relevant training, services, programs and resources, based on biblical principles.


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