Last night I presented at National Speakers in Melbourne. I’d like to say it went really well and everyone in the audience rushed up to me afterwards to say how ‘brilliant’ it was. Not quite. To be honest, it was not one of my best presentations. I felt really lost, I stumbled for words (which is not like me at all) and I felt I didn’t even answer the audience questions clearly.
So, what happened? I’ve been thinking about this since and I’ve come up with an all-encompassing phrase that may apply to you in your business too. I called it ‘Fitness’. In my case I hadn’t presented to a live audience for a number of months. And, I thought I could just jump up and talk and it would all turn out. My lack of ‘presentation fitness’ showed.
11 Types of Business Fitness
Normally, when we think about fitness we think about exercise. And, most of us know that after a break from the gym, walking, running, playing (insert your sport here) then it takes a little bit of extra effort to get back up to our usual speed.
In this post I want to discuss eleven types of business fitness that may explain your current business performance:
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1 Financial Fitness
Here are some elements of financial fitness:
- Cash in the bank
- Cash flow – money coming in and going out
- Financial systems to know what’s happening, eg retail outlets that can track hourly sales
- Future finances – this relates to your sales and marketing fitness
- An investment strategy to make the most of the money you earn
- A tax strategy to keep as much money as you legally can from what you earn
2 Implementation Fitness
Are you getting things done? Implementation fitness is all about to-do lists, projects and checklists. It might be useful to think about implementation as a muscle. The more you do it, the better you get. You might like to consider:
- What projects you are currently pursuing
- What systems you have in play to get them done
- Who is on your team to help make it happen
3 Completion Fitness
Completion fitness is a specific part of implementation fitness. And, for me, it’s important enough to have it’s own heading. I’m a classic innovator – great at starting, not so great at finishing. I need to work extra hard to make sure I finish things before I move onto the next shiny object. Here are a couple of my completion strategies:
- Public commitments – for instance I blog daily and most of my readers know this
- Wall displays that remind me why I’m doing what I’m doing and what it may lead to – for example, a holiday overseas
- Rewards – for instance, when I publish my blog each day I reward myself with a treat sometimes it’s chocolate, sometimes blueberries or both.
- Completion List – I write things on a list and I tick them off. It’s all about measuring your progress!
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4 Social Fitness
This one equally applies to our personal lives! Are you creating, building and maintaining healthy business relationships? Consider these frontiers:
- Social Media – are you keeping in touch and building online relationships?
- Clients – it’s much easier to maintain a good client relationship than continually seek out new clients. Where are you spending your time?
- Partners – this may be short-term project partners right through to official business partners
- Family – it’s too easy to distract ourselves with our business at the expense of the people we care the most about
5 Sales Fitness
A while back I did some contracting work alongside the Yellow Pages sales team. And, I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks attending every sales meeting with one of the top salesmen in the company. He was a big believer in sales fitness – working with your customers and potential customers to serve them every day. The critical reason was that he felt he had to be at the top of his game to make sales AND he felt he had to be available to his existing customers to continue to serve them. How’s your sales fitness? Are you making your targets? Or better yet, are your customer happily referring business to you?
6 Marketing Fitness
The definition of marketing is the process from the conception through to the delivery of your product and service. This includes:
- Innovation – Are you coming up with new products or services? Or, at least deliberately improving your current ones?
- Production – Can you streamline the process for creating your products or services? This might be as simple as creating some checklists for a service or it may mean switching suppliers for a product.
- Delivery – If you’re delivering a service, rate the quality of the total experience that you provide.
- Support – What’s the support like for your products or for your clients?
7 Presentation Fitness
Presentation fitness is not just about standing up in front of people. It includes how you present yourself in person when meeting people plus all of your marketing materials. For instance:
- Speaking engagements – as I started this blog post… Are you getting enough of the right practice?
- Dress and body shape – Do you need to update your wardrobe or lose some weight to present yourself in the best possible way?
- Websites – Is your website update to date? Is that photo of you current?
- Office or store – if you have an office or a retail store, is this a good representation of who you want your business to be?
8 Creative Fitness
I have a reputation for being a creative guy. My business is built on this. And whilst some part of this might be natural, a lot of it is to do with all the practice and thinking and design and creative work I’ve done over the years. I love being creative and I work hard at building my creative fitness? Do you?
9 Knowledge Fitness
I read a lot – a lot of books, a handful of blogs and I keep up with the news. I also listen to selected podcasts. There are two reasons for this: I’m driven by ideas and learning. Plus I want to keep up to date with what’s going on. I’d say my knowledge fitness is pretty damn good. How’s yours?
10 Purpose Fitness
How much difference is this going to make to my life and others in the next 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years?
11 Personal Fitness
When you are your business your personal fitness is also your business fitness. Do you have enough energy to make it through the day? Here are some personal fitness things to consider:
- Fitness – strength, aerobic, flexibility, endurance
- Nutrition – are you eating well?
- Sleep – perhaps the most under-valued part of health and fitness
- Emotions and Moods – are you calm, grounded, focused, sharp and ready for action?
- Social – are you spending quality time with the people that matter the most to you?
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Building Your Business Fitness
The cost of a lack of personal fitness ultimately is a lack of health. The same applies to your business fitness. Is your business healthy?
QUESTION: How’s your fitness? Rate your business fitness across these 11 domains. Which ones are humming along and which ones need some work?
Now that you’ve spotted some business fitness gaps, here are five general strategies for boosting your business:
- Go to the gym – Where’s the place to get an intense workout in your business area of interest? Consider workshops, seminars, blogs, books, meetups, webinars, etc
- Workout with a trainer – The equivalent of a personal trainer at the gym is a business coach or mentor. Do you need some outside help?
- Practice – To improve your fitness you need to practice your skills and push your limits. What deliberate practices could you create to boost your specific business fitness needs? For instance, I can practice presenting in front of a video camera and give myself feedback for my performance.
- Group Class – The equivalent of a pump or yoga class for business fitness is to be part of your own mastermind group. Work out together with your peers and help each other grow.
- Goals and Projects – In the same way that we take on fitness projects such as completing a triathlon, Tough Mudder or a yoga intensive, create a business project to boost your business fitness through a concentrated focus.