Playing Chess [in Business]

Posted by JasonBlumer on Mar 7, 2017 in

Playing chess is all about the strategy and planning of your moves. Planning your next move at the right time while you also consider your opponent's moves, are what allow you to win. It's a thinking game!And so is business. Business is a chess game. It's all about making the right moves that others are not willing to make. How do you define the right moves? Making the right moves means taking significant risks to move you forward without being so risky that you hurt your business in the process. Here are 3 ways to play chess better: Be confident! Analyze your moves all you want, but when you are ready to make the move, go in strong! You may take your time deciding what to do, but once the decision is made, be bold. You could even trick yourself that you don't know what you are doing if you…

Great Strategy Requires Vetting

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 28, 2017 in

Make sure you know what strategy is before reading this post. I wrote about it here.As business leaders, we all want to be good at laying out a right strategy that helps us grow our companies. But if you are developing strategies on your own, then you are possibly not getting the most out of your plans. Strategies are really just 'guesses at where the future is headed,' and that is an easy thing to get wrong. I remember when I ran our companies by myself. There was no vetting at all. I just did what I wanted, or failed to do what I didn't know I should be doing. Either way, my strategies were right sometimes and failed other times. But I really never knew why.There is a better way to develop great strategies, and it involves other trusted people who are allowed to vet what…

Risk is Always Relative

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 10, 2017 in

I've always loved Richard Branson quotes. He is not a risk averse entrepreneur, and he inspires me to take risks.I do, and have, taken risks. Honestly, it hasn't always worked out very well. I have learned a hard lesson - risk is always relative. A risk for me may not be a risk for you. And certainly, a risk for Richard Branson is not the same as a risk for my firm. When Sir Richard says, "every risk is worth taking..." remember that he has a gajillion dollars in the bank when he is assessing the risks to take. You and I do not have a gajillion dollars in the bank, so our decisions to take risks should probably never begin with "every risk is worth taking..."The decision to take risks is always relative to the amount of money you have in the bank, your comfort with risk,…

Structure Brings Freedom When Scaling

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 7, 2017 in

One thing I enjoy about being an entrepreneur is the freedom to work when and how I want. I really enjoy the days when I have a lot of choice to spend time on things I think are important. But I've learned over the past 2 years that this freedom can become a curse as your work increases, you start doing more complicated work, or you need to begin focusing on high level strategy (instead of details).So, freedom in how you work may be okay when you are small or while you are building a lifestyle firm, but it really becomes a hindrance as you begin to scale an organization. Scaling means you have more responsibilities, you are forced to delegate, and you probably have more team responsibilities (since scaling a company often involves team building). If you stay loose and continue to embrace your freedom, it may become the…

Diverse Revenue Streams Bring Less Risk

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 26, 2017 in

As a business tweaks its revenue model, it also inadvertently adjusts its risk. Examples of tweaking your revenue model are (1) beginning to value price instead of hourly bill, (2) selling pre-defined packages, (3) creating a retainer model of revenue as opposed to a project-based revenue model, or even (4) beginning to draft your prices instead of sending out invoices. There are many ways to tweak your revenue model, and it's worth exploring in depth. You can think strategically about how you are trying to grow, and then try to match up how you earn your revenue to the growth you are trying to achieve. It takes work, but you will be at a competitive advantage if you do this, because few business owners take the time to think through it.But there is always a risk component involved in any change an entrepreneurial company makes to its business model. If you don't also…

Getting And Staying On The Same Page

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 9, 2017 in

Being on the same page with your partner is a huge advantage to your growth. I explored this on a recent podcast when I interviewed Mark C. Winters, author of Rocket Fuel. Winters says that partnerships are so hard because few are willing to commit to the communication it takes to keep a partnership healthy. He talks a lot about 'Same Page' meetings and making sure that partners are ALWAYS on the same page. This is a key ingredient to a healthy partnership.Getting on the same page and Staying on the same page are two different things. Getting on the same page takes more energy, and typically happens when something out of the ordinary has happened in your business. But Staying on the same page is controlled by a rhythm in your business where you and your partner meeting regularly at the same time to discuss the issues you…

Entrepreneurs with Focus Win

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 3, 2017 in

An entrepreneur with a lack of focus is a frustrated entrepreneur. They wonder why they can't gain traction in their business. For entrepreneurs, focus is what helps them win. I coach business owners, and I've noticed that those with a lack of focus struggle to see the way ahead and know which changes to make in their business to move them forward.Before we go further, what are some types of focus?Developing a niche is a type of focus. This is where you are saying no to most of the market and choosing only to serve a select few. This helps an entrepreneur focus on whom to target in their messaging, who to network with, and who to hire in their business to serve their niche. If you are under a million dollars in revenue, you may only be able to handle 1 or 2 niches at a time.Serving fewer…

Can You Do That?

Posted by JasonBlumer on Dec 22, 2016 in

I saw a CPA friend the other day that owns his own firm in my town. He said, "I've been meaning to ask you, do you guys take credit cards?" I explained to him that we package our services, spread the payment over a 12 month contract, and then require a draft from the client monthly with a bank account or credit card. I told him we have been doing that for years. He was taken back a little bit.He said, "can you do that?" That was his mental map - 'will the client allow me to do something?' In many companies, the service professionals believe that we need permission from our clients to make changes to our business models. Or that we need permission to make any changes at all. As the owners, we are in charge of our businesses, and only the business owners fully know what…

Breaking Through Ceilings in Your Business

Posted by JasonBlumer on Dec 13, 2016 in

I'm learning that growing businesses inevitably run into 'growth ceilings.' They hit some mark where they can't push through, or need outside help to get through it. Hitting a ceiling is inevitable if you are growing, and it simply represents a new destination you've reached as a business owner that you don't know how to handle. Don't let it freak you out (like it did me a couple of years ago). You just have to do something different.For me, I realized I needed a partner to move the immense amount of work forward in very strategic and ordered ways. But that won't be everyone's conclusion.Here are some things you can do to get through your ceiling: delegate. A ceiling may represent that you have come to the end of what you are able to do on your own. I've learned that I'm not too good at this.…

The Knowing/Doing Gap

Posted by JasonBlumer on Dec 7, 2016 in

I love how Dr. Jules Goddard describes the very familiar gap of the things we know and the work we do in our businesses:I was referencing this in a recent blog post called What is Strategy, where I explained strategy to be(a) knowing something others don't know, and(b) being willing to do what others are not willing to do.Why is there a difference between what we know and what we do? The gap between the two requires an immense amount of courage. The video above goes on to explain the need for courage in running any business. Visioning ideas is one thing, but executing these ideas is where you win. Gaining courage can come from a team, a partner, or a community. Where do you gain your courage to close the knowing/doing gap?…