Are You Like A Rosebush Or A Hydrangea?

I love planting seeds and watching them grow into beautiful plants and flowers that provide natural fragrances whenever I get the opportunity to sit on either of my front decks. The fragrances are wonderful, but there is another reason I love planting plants and flowers. The maintenance of them nourishes my spirit and educates my soul.

While purging the weeds and helping my flowers to reach for the sun, I always listen for the tales of Nature. Nature always provides a training session that I can apply to my life, if I just slow my pace and listen. Just like a bee knows where to find the nectar of the flower, if I listen, I find the nectar in Nature’s life lessons.

Recently, while pulling weeds I noticed something about my hydrangeas and my knockout roses. I planted them right after I built the house. They hydrangeas were puny and didn’t look like they were going to make it. I became worried if they would survive those first years with all the snow we had.

 

Actual 2008 picture of Hydrangea Plant

I think the hydrangea was actually mowed over once. Poor thing, it didn’t look to well. One year, I think it decided not to even try to grow. The knock out roses received praises from everyone from the neighbors to the mailmen to the random passerby. They were glorious and went well with the previous color scheme. They stood tall and proud. I would receive cuts and scrapes every time I tried to pull weeds from killing them. Ouch!

The Hydrangea, was self-contained, but solid. it kept the weeds away and grew tightly knitted so weeds were easily removed without any problems at all. I noticed that the rose bushes had all types of weeds, although it was full of thorns for protection, it would constantly allow whatever predator invade its space without any fight at all. It looked good, but it never protected itself. The only person it protected itself from was ME! Ouch! Every time I tried to kill the weeds, I was attacked by the rosebush! It loved hanging with weeds! It enjoyed being diseased. It seem to enjoy being crippled and attacked. The rosebush enjoyed the abuse so much until it was hard for me to tell where the weeds started and the rosebush ended. In what seemed like overnight, soon there was no sign of the rosebush at all, only a big tree in the place of what used to be a rosebush. The tree looked nothing like the rosebush at all. Although it fought me every single time; it gave over to the tree without any incident at all.

In the meantime, the hydrangea continued to grow in its many colors and became huge. It only had an occasional weed and soon overpowered anything that came for it. It was determined to survive. Nothing could overtake it. It would adjust its color to the ph balance in the ground and go from purple to blue to white. It was a huge beautiful plant that although it did not have all the beauty of the roses starting out, it endured until the end and actually lasted longer than the roses. I purchased ten rosebushes and two hydrangeas. I now have two each. The hydrangeas are just as big as the rosebushes. They are continuing to grow.

Moral: It doesn’t matter what you started out with. If you are determined to grow and survive, you are built to last. Apply yourself toward learning. Learn how to become stronger…more knowledgeable of those things you don’t know…be like the hydrangeas. Nothing can stop you.  It’s not how your start out, but how you end. You were built to ENDURE.

#ThinkHigher

Linda Murray Bullard, MBA

Lead Business Strategist

Three Financial Mistakes Business Owners Make & How To Avoid Them

In the time of LSMB Business Solutions’ existence, I’ve ran across all types of small business people. Some have been in business for several years. Some are new to business ownership. Some are somewhere in between the two before mentioned.

The commonalities are pretty much the same. Most business owners know all there is to know about their “widgets,” and they think they are the best at it! If you don’t believe me,  just ask them. They will straight out tell you no one can do it as well as they can do it.  Confidence is a great thing to have when you a business owner. Why?  I’m glad you asked. Without confidence, no one will buy into their products or services.  (Smart moves, business owners.)

Product knowledge is the second thing I’ve found that most business owners have. Some many have more of it than others, but most business owners know at lease the preliminaries about their widgets. Like confidence, that is good, as well. Why? Boy, you are so good at asking the right questions! This is good because no one will buy a product or service from anyone who cannot respond intelligently when they have a question. However, in business confidence is not enough and product knowledge, whether a little or a lot is not enough either.

Now that you know what business owners know, let’s discuss what they don’t know. When interacting with the business owners I’ve met over the past three  years or so, I’ve found that the majority of the business owners do not know following three things, so I’m going to tell you how you can avoid them.

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  • Knowing how to price their widget

Most business owners do one of two things. They either guess or they see what the competition charges and come in lower than the competition. Both of those are bad ideas for this reason. Neither of these practices are based on reality. The better way is to set down with a certified public accountant, a professional business coach or a mentor (preferably someone who has been in business six years or longer) and discuss your financial situation from startup, if application, fixed cost, and variable cost.

There are three price options: a) High-End, Luxury ; b) Most Likely; 3) Minimum Necessary. The High End, Luxury price is the most the customer will pay for their widget. It is the High End, Luxury price. This price comes with all bells and whistles, so choose it only if you are willing to throw in a few giveaways and are willing to go that extra mile.

The Most Likely price is the most reasonable price a customer will pay for their widget. Think of it as the win-win price. You will want to make this your go-to price because it will keep your customers coming back.

The Minimum Necessary price is the lowest price a business owner can sell the widget for and still make the amount needed for their bottom line. Think of this as the “bare bones” or “final discount” price.

Not using the right pricing numbers can lead to so many other financial problems that many business owners get frustrated and simply quit. They literally give up the Struggle. These three experts can help business owners arrive at their most likely price based on “real world” situations.

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Before or after you continue to read the information below, if you have any questions please click on the following link to complete this Customer Intake Sheet and email it along with your questions to Lsmbbusiness@gmail.com. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please provide your best time of availability after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.

LSMB Business-Coaching-Intake-Questions-Sheet

And now, back to the issues at hand… Secondly, business owners do not invest in their learning and because of that,

  • Do not know how to read and understand a financial business report

Knowing how to read and more importantly financial business reports is very imperative to every successful business owner. Why? I see you are still asking those most wonderful questions!

Understanding how money flows in and out of a business and then seeing how it flows on a cash flow statement, a balance sheet, a profit/loss statement and an income statement can help a business owner really understand at a glance where the money comes into the business and where the money is going when it leaves the business.

These few reports are just a tip of the iceberg of the many reports business owners need to understand, and having this very basic knowledge will allow business owners to make informed decisions about where they are and where they want to go. Armed with this knowledge can help them to identify trends so they can make future projects and understand the ebb and flows of their business

  • Failure to seek help

I was teaching a class when a lovely couple attended and stated they had been in business for eleven years previously. They were currently out of business, but in telling me their story, it made me want to cry for them. They thought they were doing very well because the were always making money, but when a friend asked them to use a financial tool, they learned they had been operating in the red for years!! They never went for help. They believed between the two of them they could handle operating a business because although they had not taken business course, they were college educated.

That has been the number one attitude of the majority of people I have ran into. They think they are smart enough to run a business without help. These people are not crazy. They are not dumb. They are smart people, in general. But, they have no idea that just as they would go to a doctor for their medical expertise, they need to go to a business expert for business expertise. Again, confidence and product knowledge are not enough to stay sustainable.

When I tell my entrepreneurial students that the going rate of failed startup businesses in Hamilton County is over 90% in five years, their eyes glaze over and shake their heads in dismay. It is not because of bad ideas or bad people. That statistic is not a concrete number that cannot be changed. Most new businesses fail because they “think they can do it on their own.”

Hiring a professional business coach, attending a reputable entrepreneurial class, finding a mentor…these all add to the success of a viable business. When reviewing the successful businesses on the other side of depressions, recessions and economic downturns, the ones who survived are the ones who created strategies to stay ahead of the game. It is hard for some to believe that there were firms who were not touched by the most recent recession, but there were businesses who did not feel the impact. Strategic positioning has to be learned from someone who is familiar with strategic planning and business concepts. This can be obtain through any of the before mentioned means and business owners do themselves and their customers a disservice when they do not use resources to gather that education.

These are just a few of many things business owners do incorrectly. Look to LSMB Business Solutions for more advice on how to strengthen your business knowledge. If you have questions, I have answers.

I come to take you higher,

Linda

 

Do It

I had a wonderful time this weekend serving at The Deeva Code “Women’s Empowerment Brunch” on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at The Peyton. The engagement was sponsored by Ms. Ambera Brown. If you don’t have her in your list of powerhouses, you need to find her and add her quick. She was able to bring together women from as far away as Washington DC to Raleigh and from Cleveland to parts of Mississippi.

When I tell you this event was the highlight of the weekend, followed very closely by my alumni’s 151st weekend celebration…it was all that! I met so many  beautiful cultivated sparks who just needed someone to stop back to breathe a breath of fresh air on their spirits so they could move to their next level. These ladies were degreed, educated, dreamers who worked in their various wheel houses inspiring others, but they had forgotten to refuel.  That’s what happens when you pour into others, you forget to celebrate yourself.

One of the ladies posted, that they laughed, cried, hugged and bonded during the event. The Empowerment began with a beautiful 27 year old Lauren Hodges inspiring the ladies to dream and have visions. She instructed them not to allow others who had given up on their dreams to jade the visions God had placed within their hearts. I had prayed for a Word from God to give to the ladies and it was in Lauren’s speech that God gave me clarity. My position was to reiterate her message and to begin the work she had given them. Therefore, my message was simple, “Do It,” which was an acronym.

D= Don’t give up on you and don’t allow others to give up on you. People full of doubts and fears are normally hanging around Haters who feed their doubts and fears. When faith is fed, fears starve to death. Stop allowing negative people to use you as the toilet where they dump their messy, drama filled lives at your doorstep. You are not the toilet. Show them where that stuff goes…it has a place. Separate yourself from people who don’t support you! (Now, if these are your husband and children, contact me! This does not apply to them! There’s something else you should consider if you think they are hating on you.)

O= Organize your life, girl! Look at your Circle. There are three types of people in it. The first ones are those who always bring the drama…yep, them. You know them because you just had a flash of them in your head as you read this…they bring it and they bring it every time. Separate from them. You do not need to RSVP every negative situation you are invited to join. The second group are “Sometimers.” Sometimes they are with you and sometimes they are not. Give them the opportunity to correct what they are doing wrong. If they do not, “Bye, Felicia.” Then, there’s that final group…the loyal Ride or Die Group who really rides or dies! These are the “Doers.” Do yourself a favor and get you some Doers. There won’t be many, but that’s ok. If you can find five who are true to you and support you, you are doing well.

I= Invite positivity to your live.  Now that you’ve removed all the negativity from your life you have room for the positives. Expect to be upgraded. Where energy goes, energy flows. The Bible tells you to focus on the positives. You have to be what you want to bring into your life and it starts with your mind set. When you change your mind about how you see yourself, you change your world.

T=Tell five people. Write down 3 goals. Set a reasonable deadline and tell five people, preferably strangers. You need to put what you want into the universe and start working toward it. You are empowered to do everything God has assigned you to do in this life. It is your job, your responsibility…as Muhammad Ali stated, “The rent you pay for your stay on Earth.”  You have to do the work to get where you were designed to be in your life. It will not be easy and it will not be free, but it is definitely doable and you are definitely capable of making it happen if you throw away the excuses and move toward the light of your intended life.

You deserve your best life, but only you can make it happen. Stay bless and DO IT!

Stay blessed,

Much love, many blessings

Linda