O. Ross – The Small Biz Engine

My Life Lessons are My Business Lessons

Lesson: Threats to Your Business

Blog Series: My Life Lessons are My Business Lessons

By Oriel Ross

Success is often overshadowed by the path to get there. Many fear the journey because of the obstacles, when in fact, challenges are the cost of success and a cost we as entrepreneurs are willing to pay.  As O. ROSS assists clients in their strategic actions, we compiled a list of about 20 threats we’ve witnessed this year.  Here are 3 of the most common business threats to consider and a few thoughts on combating them.

Threat #1: Doing It All on Your Own

“No one can do it as well as I can.” “I can’t afford help.” “I don’t know the right people.” These are some of the excuses used in business. The fact of the matter is we’re all not good at everything and recognizing when assistance is beneficial is not only healthy, it’s a necessity that is critical to your success. Being able to self assess, know your needs, and delegate will not only have a positive individual effect, but also give your company a fair shot and growth.

Threat #2: Growing too fast

Growth is great, but growth without the capacity to quickly adapt to a changing environment can be detrimental. Being nimble is a top quality sought by top executives. Recent events such natural disasters, global market shifts, or those causing the strong economic impact show us that our abilities to be quick, clever, and resourceful clearly mark the difference between triumphs and defeats. When we put ourselves in a position to “catch-up” to change, quality degrades, integrity is compromised, and our businesses fail.

Threat #3: Not recognizing and resolving problems early or and correctly

Management is more than a typical list of duties to execute and leaders understand a vision is more than ignited passion. Managing your business means you have the foresight to predict and the wherewithal to tackle issues and resolve conflicts. The health of your business and the reputation of you as a businessperson are dependent on it.

As business owners the emotional connection to our businesses has a tendency to run deep.  Use that connection as a litmus test to make fair decisions. Not feel-good decisions, but the best decisions!

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Oriel Ross is the Principal and Director of O. Ross Business Consulting and is recognized as The Small Business Engine ™. Learn more about her and O. Ross at www.orossenterprises.com.

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September 12, 2011 Posted by | Business, Business Plan, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lesson: 5 Ways to Discover Your Talents: Master Your Mission

Blog Series: My Life Lessons are my Business Lessons

by O. Ross

What are you meant to do? Simply stated, not simply answered. Recognizing, understanding, and mastering your mission is the cornerstone of your success. People talk about missions, passions, and callings like it’s innate. Your talents are innate, but your mission is learned. Using your talents to form connections that yield results is an equation worth exploring.

It’s easy for people to point fingers and tell you who you should be, but truth be known, No one knows you better than you know yourself. What’s automatic for some requires a process for others. Sometimes, early in life, our parents or mentors will help us identify gifts and help us to hone our skills. The problem with that is you skipped the discovery phase of life. The Toolbelt of Success you create is a lifelong journey, but let’s narrow down the time frame of discovery.

5 Ways to Discover Your Talents

  1. Reverse engineer your results – think about the results you want and note what action you have to take to get you there
  2. Go to Your Growth Zone – If your analytical do something creative, if you’re creative do something analytical. People who grow continue to challenge themselves beyond their comfort zones experience true growth.
  3. Ask those around you, what they view as your talents and why – Trusted advisors can help you sort through talents. Many times others see something in us we haven’t recognized yet.
  4. Follow Your Inner Voice – We’re emotionally driven people. Our instincts are an inherent trait that drives us to react to our environment.
  5. Denounce Mental Inertia – Keep moving. Inactivity stunts you physically and emotionally. New activities breed new talents.
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March 3, 2011 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lesson: Behavior Begets Behavior

Series: My Life Lessons are My Business Lessons

by O. Ross

I had a manager that used to say this all the time. Communication, spoken and unspoken, not only evokes emotions, but moreover causes actions in others. When combated with conflict, do you immediately react or do you pause and consider where the behavior came from? In the business world, success is achieved when there’s synchronized performance. When a team member does not fulfill their duties, the team suffers. When a partner exhibits a self-seeking character, they’re not a true partner. Functioning partners and teams understand the mission and effort needed to achieve success.

This lesson works in two different ways, internally and externally. Internally, it governs my habits. I know if I want to commit to a new practice, I have to form a habit through consistency. My commitments to myself are just as important as my commitments to others. Externally, I also use this philosophy in my business relationships. If I want a positive response, I must offer positivity. When negative circumstances arise, the natural instinct is to defend yourself. To overcome the hurtful behavior of others, respond in a way to diffuse the effects of their words or actions. It’s not necessarily a response in the hopes they become more positive; sometimes your response is removing yourself from the situation. That positive action snowballs more positive actions.

My behavior causes the behaviors I want returned to me. “Behavior begets behavior”

January 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lesson: Valuable Connections in the Virtual World

It’s All About You… No Wait, It’s Not All About You

It’s All About You

Common Business Sense: Practice effective communication. Create courteousness habits. Sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? Although obvious, this is blatantly disregarded every day. Here’s an example: As with many business owners, I use Social Media. It’s a great platform – meeting people, low-cost advertising, getting your message out there, and learning from others.  Your Social Media use is a reflection of your personality. You should be ingrained in your business and your marketing should speak to your customer. Your posts, the mediums you use… All You!  When users focus on a façade of who they want you to believe they are they also struggle with what could be a great opportunity. Show people who YOU are and your business has a better chance at growing into what you want it to become.

However, It’s Not All About You

I don’t marvel in online success stories because it’s the new craze; I marvel because I see so many messages ignored and so many folks just concentrating on their message and not the valuable connections that are right in front of them. It’s impossible to keep up with everybody, but it’s not impossible to form viable business relationships.  I see people rattling off their thoughts, blogs, and information but never look at or employ the information of others.  I marvel when I learn of an online success story because it means someone took the time to stop focusing on themselves and they focused on what someone else has to say. They generate possibility. They see the value in people.  If virtual relationships don’t mature when do the real relationships happen?

Take time to listen to what others have to say. Respond to a message that made you think.  Repost a comment. Bring your virtual world into your real world. It’s still about relationships.  Remember: People do business with people.

Find balance: It’s All About You… No Wait, It’s Not All About You

December 17, 2010 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership | Leave a comment

Lesson: Leader – It’s Not Just a Title

I’ve had the pleasure of learning from some great business people throughout my career.  Some benefits include learning conflict resolution, strategic planning, group dynamics, and so much more from my experiences encountered with great leaders. I’ve also been fortunate to foster ongoing relationships with people I’ve worked with and for, so much so, that I can call them for advice on current situations.

Many times you can’t choose what team you’re working with or your work environment. What you can do is use the circumstances to enhance your leadership abilities.  I found that the best leaders have certain qualities that produce results.  What makes great leaders? Great Leaders:

  1. Diffuse tense moments: Understanding why certain behaviors take place is essential to understanding people. It’s difficult to appropriately respond and help if you don’t know what’s driving the actions of others. Diffusion occurs when you can identify the problem & its source, be compassionate toward the parties involved, and create resolutions.
  2. Prioritize objectives: It’s easy to lose focus. I speak with business owners often and one of the hardest things is to stay on task. Great Leaders are also Great Planners. They know where they want to go, they map a path to get there, and they follow it.
  3. Speak to everyone with respect: We all want to vent sometimes, but as a leader, speaking respectfully garners respect for your message.  You risk your message being misunderstood, diluted, received offensively, or simply ignored.
  4. Become providers: Info sharing is an awesome tool. It’s a great way for people to recognize you as a reliable resource. Sharing also indicates you’re not selfish and you care about the growth of your team. Leaders are judged on the growth of those they lead.
  5. Love Learning: Any professional should immerse themselves in their profession. There’s always an opportunity to learn – formally and informally. Take advantage of the resources around you and build your knowledge.
  6. Integrity Driven: Doing the right thing goes hand in hand with self control. When you know the guidelines you live by, making the right decisions become easier. You build your personal brand based on trust.
  7. Exercise Humility & Magnanimity: Give credit where credit is due and know how to appreciate the efforts of others.  You’re not better than those around you and that belief has to be transparent to those round you.
  8. Employ Assertive Behaviors: Decision-makers produce success stories. Being Assertive means you’re comfortable in varied situations. Assertive people listen, but also know when to affirm what needs to be done.
  9. Practice Tenacity: It’s easy to get derailed. For one, you will meet opposition on your journey. It’s also common that your natural entrepreneurial creativity becomes a threat to your focus. Remain steadfast on your mission.
  10. Resilience: What happens when there’s a cultural shift? What happens when the economic conditions or new laws affect your functionality? How about when a business relationship doesn’t go as planned. Being flexible and tough enough to weather adversities are signs of a seasoned leader.

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”  Peter F. Drucker

November 21, 2010 Posted by | Business, Leadership | , , , , , | Leave a comment