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The Energy of Busy

Got a minute?

Just about any human being I work with or have in one of my classes tells me that “busyness” and lack of time are to blame for much of their internal stress and churn.

Not. So. Fast.

I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this. You and I both know better than that. Let’s do this instead…

“Busy” has an energy about it.

Try it on. “I’m so busy.” “I’m so busy.” “OMG, I’m soooo busy.” Feel it. Say it. Be it. Notice what happens in your body. Ugh.

Of course, you can insert any energy that doesn’t serve you here: “It’s hard” or “It won’t work” are two of my favorites for sabotage, letting ourselves off the hook, and/or retreating when we’re scared.

Now take that energy to your colleague. To your kids. To your partner. Helpful?

Probably not.

It’s not your “fault”. It’s a default. A great place to rest. Awesome place to “check out”. But, back to busy…

Busy is a farce.

It makes us feel good. Important.

It gives us an excuse to say “no”.

It can hide our fear of confrontation or disappointing someone else.

It is a hiding place. A cop out. A scape goat. A self-fulfilling energetic prophecy. A reflection of our inability to say “yes” and “no” to the right things.

Busy is stressful. And it’s contagious.

Try it on for yourself. Think of your version of “busy”. Think of the story you tell about it. How often you tell that story. Who you tell it to.

The most dangerous person to tell that story to is of course… ourselves. The more we tell it, the more we believe it, the more we embody it. We become “busy”. Welcome to the swirl.

I watch this time and time again. I get to witness people say that the thing between them and their dreams is “busy”. The thing between them and being a good leader, getting more sleep, working out, taking care of their body, even eating good food, having a better marriage, giving feedback that could change a life, bringing in new business, whatever… is busy.

Busy has a lot of power. And what’s worst is that we feed it. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to “busy”.

What if it’s simpler than that? What if we could make busy our… friend?

What if busy was just a lack of presence, intention, and prioritization?

What if, you’re not actually busy? But rather missing presence, right here, right now, in the moment.

And what if this busyness and lack of presence is simply shading your clarity and wisdom for the right “yes’s” and “no’s”?

Breathe and think about it.

Presence and intention are the antidotes to busy.

Breathing heals busy.

A solid “yes” or “no” is worth a hundred foggy “yes’s”.

Perspective, priorities, and values clarify and tame “busy”.

When we actually befriend busy, we can take it apart and make it work for us.

“Busy” and “lack of time” are here to stay. We have to get better at leading our energy through them, telling the truth, valuing our time, and partnering with them. We have to get better at being present and intentional in our lives. And we have to listen.

I had a client years ago who was busy, busy, busy. So busy, people found it nerve racking to be around her. They didn’t want to engage with her. And they’d never ask her for direction or support – she had an energetic force field around her that said “Back off, I’m busy”.

When we drilled down to what her relationship was with “busy” – she found it was a protector for her. Being busy all the time kept her off the hook for having to say “no” and disappoint people who she didn’t want to hang out with or work with. It also made her feel important in her job. The problem was that she so bought into her story that she had fully embodied it. She spoke faster, wasn’t fully present with people, was experienced as unapproachable, and she didn’t feel good. Busy actually manifested itself in her physiology.

Once she got honest and clear about what busy was about for her, she was able to partner with it, instead of resisting it or using it as a “bat”. She did 3 things:

  1. She made a conscious effort to breathe in the moment and pay attention to her physical body. This was key. She also, in the moment, checked in with the truth… Was she going to die? Was she truly running out of time? Was a tiger going to get her if she didn’t get it done? (Ironically, these are often the physiological responses we have to the story of busy.)
  2. She made a conscious effort to be fully with someone when they were talking to her. Ironically it took the same amount of time, but without the resistance and internal chatter, it was easier and more enjoyable.
  3. She made a conscious (though difficult) decision to say NO to people when she didn’t want to do something. She held it as a YES to herself. Ironically, as hard as it was, it was so much cleaner to navigate it this way, that she felt physically and mentally better. The mental energy she’d spent, holding busy to avoid disappointed, was hers again. For the better.

For you…

  • What is your relationship with busy? Be honest here. No one’s looking. This is for you.
  • What does it give you? What does it keep you from?
  • What are the three things – or even one – that you sense would help you create more space? (Intuition is good here, use it.)
  • What are the, unnecessary – even draining, things that you participate in that contribute to your energy of busy? (Gossip, not telling the truth, avoiding conflict, working around people, television, procrastination, and not taking care of ourselves are just a few common ones.)
  • Find a word that means something to your soul… If you were to replace the word or feeling of “busy” with this new word, how might that change things? For example: If you were “on purpose” instead of “busy” what would you do differently? If you were “engaged” instead of “busy” what would that do? There is gold in this question. Dig in.

What if you could tame your busy with some presence and intention? What if taking a step back, breathing, and being incredibly intentional with how you use your energy and time, were the solution to busy?

What if? What might you lose?

I’m not gonna lie and say that “busy” never creeps in for me, it does. But in those moments, when I get that visceral reaction, I’m quicker to turn to it, love on it a bit, get present, nurture what needs to be nurtured, say “no” where I need to say “no”, and step into intentional, delightful, full, and on purpose. By choice.

Don’t get busy, get present, tell the truth, choose consciously, and go.

Bootstrapping Your Small Business’s Working Capital Needs For Free

Can you image a way to finance your small business’s working capital needs – like purchasing inventory, supplies, materials, labor etc – and not having to pay a dime to do it?

Well, not only can it be done but you might have the ability to do it right now.

Working Capital

Let’s start by looking at working capital. Working capital is essentially money that a business uses to manage its operating cycle. A retail business needs inventory to sell. It purchases that inventory up front – then works on selling those products over the coming days, weeks, months, etc. But, the business cannot pay for that inventory until it sells those items. Thus, in the mean time, it has to expend some working capital to purchase those products until it can sell them and recoup its money.

The same with service businesses. They need materials, supplies and even labor to get a job done for a customer. But, the business does not get paid until that job is done. However, it still has to cover those materials and wages in the mean time. It does so with its working capital – paying up front and getting reimbursed when the job is done.

Lastly, working capital for a manufacturing business is its life blood. The business receives an order and has to purchase needed materials to complete that order for the customer. Plus, the business has to pay for utilities, supplies and labor to convert those materials into a finished product and it has to do all of this before it gets paid. Thus, it has to have working capital on hand or it has to refuse to take that new order.

Now, most small businesses, instead of using their own money, like to apply for bank lines of credit to cover their working capital or operating capital needs.

The reason is that they offer a great benefit like the ability to draw on, use and then pay that line back throughout the year – as it earns revenue from its operations.

However, bank lines of credit – especially unsecured one – are very hard to get these days. Banks and many other small business lenders either no longer provide lines of credit or make them too hard to qualify for. Plus, if you can get one, they charge high interest from the moment you draw the line as well as huge fees just to have the line available.

And, if you can’t get a bank line of credit, what do you do then?

Well, you bootstrap of course and if you do it right – you can get all those same benefits without any of the cost.

Bootstrapping Working Capital

Bootstrapping is about using personal resources to start, grow and manage your small business. It comes to businesses that have no other options – meaning that they can’t get business loans. So, they turn to personal resources – like savings, home equity or personal credit cards. And, it is the latter that will provide the greatest benefit for working capital.

Credit cards – personal credit cards – are used by nearly 65% of all small businesses (not just new businesses but all small businesses).

The reason is that these cards provide:

  1. The same ability (benefit) as bank lines of credit – meaning that you can draw on the credit card line, pay it back and draw again.
  2. They are so much easier to get then business loans.
  3. They are unsecured – so no collateral is required. And,
  4. They can be used in your business to cover your operating capital needs.

Most personal credit cards do not have annual fees or any fees for that matter. They do not have to be zeroed out each year (meaning that you don’t have to pay them off and replay every 12 months). And, many provide cash back or other rewards – all things that you cannot or will not get with a traditional line of credit. But, their greatest benefit is that they provide billing cycles and grace periods before interest is charged.

Most credit cards have a 30 day billing cycle. That means that if you make a purchase today, you will not get charged any interest until after the billing cycle is completed. Thus, let’s say that your billing cycle ends on the 15th of each month. Now, if you make a purchase on the 16th of the month, you will not be charged interest on that purchase for at least another 30 days (until the 15th of the next month). And, if you pay that balance in full before the 15th of the next month – you will not be charged any interest at all.

Additional, many credit cards also offer a 25 day grace period to pay after the billing cycle ends – increasing the time until you get charged interest or have to make payments.

This means that you can make purchases on your card and, not only do you not have to pay for those charges for nearly 55 days (almost two months), but you can use that time to run through your operating cycles, get paid from your customers and pay off those purchases – before you get charged any interest at all – and as long as you pay that card off in full, it will cost you nothing.

Credit Cards For Cash Flow

Let’s look at some examples:

A retail business needs to buy $5,000 in inventory and plans to sell those products over the next 30 days. But, it does not have the cash on hand. So, it puts those purchases on a credit card, sells the inventory over the next month. Collects payments from customers – say $15,000 as their mark up is 200%. Then before the card payment is due, take $5,000 from those sales and pays off the balance. In this case, they covered their working capital needs and did not pay a dime in interest or fees for it.

A service business has a new customer that will pay $20,000 to get a job done. To do this, the business will have to purchase $10,000 in supplies and added labor to complete the job. The company does not have that cash on hand and puts those charges on a credit card – completes the job in the next two weeks and collects payment from its customer. It then, before the end of the credit card’s billing cycle, pays the balance off with part of its customer’s payment and ends up paying nothing in interest or fees.

Lastly, a manufacturer needs $7,500 in raw materials to create $30,000 in finished product that it has customers lining up for. But, it does not have the $7,500 on hand and uses it credit card to pay its suppliers. Then, when the production run is done and the business gets paid – it promptly pays off the card’s balance and pays no interest, financing charges or fees.

And, there are as many examples as there are small businesses needing operating capital to grow their companies.

Keys To Success

There are two key factors here:

  1. You have to be able to complete your business cycle within that 30 day billing period. If it takes you more time then that to get paid by your customers – then you will start to accrue interest. However, paying interest for a month or two may not be that bad given that if you did not come up with the working capital in the first place, you would not be able to get the inventory or materials needed and would have to turn away those customers. (Just as long as you can earn more from the job or sale – then the product and any financing would cost).
  2. Be able and willing to pay those charges off in full each month – when paid by customers.

Conclusion

There are times that banks and traditional business financing is not the best option for growing small businesses – especially if those banks and financing companies keep denying loan requests.

So, business owners have to find ways to bootstrap. However, bootstrapping does not have to be either hard or expensive. And, like the examples shown, if managed properly, some of the alternative financing options that many small business owners try to avoid (like using personal credit) can turn out to be an inexpensive blessing in disguised.

Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in Mobile Marketing?

Business is no different from a conflict. The market is the battlefield and your marketing tactics and strategies are the weapons you use to defeat the ever increasing competition and bring profit to your business or organization. There are business dictators who know the tricks to win all kinds of battles and in any battlefield. The elite businesses control the market at their disposal and these are the people who set the standards for us and we need to view that as a benchmark or a target to achieve. These big guns stamp their authority from the roots of the market to the very top of the business chain.

Small businesses have very little scope to succeed when it comes to competing with bigger or more established businesses. The market is already flooded with many businesses competing for profits and customer and consumer attraction, so in a practical sense there small businesses stand no chance amongst them. The reasons for the same are given below-

Established-

Big businesses have been in the market since a considerable period of time so they have established their name and popularity across all corners of the market. Small businesses are lesser known so their capacity to attract customers is meager.

Clients-

In an established business clients, customers and consumers are in abundance and because of the long relationship between the business and the people, there is a trust which develops easily. A reputation is earned. When small businesses compete with the bigger ones, they find it hard to get clients as most of the latter are with the bigger businesses and the upcoming prospects will mostly opt to follow the reputed ones rather than new ones.

Money-

Big businesses have a humongous amount of money. Small businesses don’t. So when it comes to marketing, smaller ones are found in the shadows of the investment done by the bigger ones. Without the money the smaller businesses either perish or join the bigger ones.

Does this mean that the bigger companies will get bigger and the smaller ones just disappear? Is it better to join an established business rather creating a new business at a small scale? Is there any solution to overturn this?

A big ‘NO’ is the answer to all these questions. As it appears, the market is dominated by the elites and small businesses will be consumed by the power of the former- just like the case of David and Goliath. But, in real sense we forget that ‘the bridge is not crossed until we reach the bridge’. Yes. It is an overwhelming challenge to step foot into the market with a small business, but it is not a crime to do so. There is space for new prospects because the business thrives on competition, and with a smaller establishment you are certainly competing.

The biggest factor that might sway you away from setting up a small business is the element of limited money at our service. But, with a smart and tactful utilization of the limited amount money available, big targets can be achieved. Planning is one of the major things required as assistance to money, without proper planning millions of dollars might just be invested for nothing, in an opposite case- a few hundred dollars might earn you a fortune so planning is of prime importance.

Smart advertising and marketing are the ploys that one should implement tactically into the business growth plans. Marketing is key to do execute absolutely anything in a business. If you need to attract customers- marketing will help. If you need to increase sales- marketing is the answer. If you need to create an image in the market- marketing will come handy. If you need to build a brand- marketing is certainly the best option.

The only problem lays in the fact that marketing requires money and small businesses certainly don’t have that. The prominent rise of telecommunications has certainly answered the call for help by smaller establishments. Mobile marketing can become a phenomenon and help small businesses prevail. The mobile is a device used by all so there is a medium which can deliver the message effectively and hence support the business cause. The expenses required too, are minimal and help a business expand and spread its word across on a larger scale.

What is Mobile Marketing-

Mobile marketing is the procedure of advertising to the masses through their portable gadgets or mobile phones. This sort of marketing is relevant to online or internet advertising, nowadays with the advent of more usage of mobile phones and tabs- more individuals are beginning to invest more time on their portable devices and less time on their computers, so it is obvious that the concentration of marketing platforms have shifted from computers and internet to mobiles and portable devices.

There are a great l similitude between web advertising and portable advertising however there are some really vital distinctions and differences.

Mentioned below are some tools and methods of Mobile marketing-

Mobile phone marketing-

SMS (Short message services) on mobile phones are used to optimum effect for mobile marketing. Text messages regarding new offers or new business prospects would be sent to potential customers who would read the message and act according to their interest. Messages sent in bulk cost less and the target of reaching out to the people is achieved without making any heavy investments. SMS method is the most well-known way of mobile marketing. This is truly simply sending quick messages to individuals’ mobile devices or telephones and in a ton of routes is like message promoting. The most amazing element here is that you are endowed to have the ability to send your message to target customers who may read the message at their convenience.

Mobile media marketing-

Similar to SMS, there is an MMS (Multi-media message service) as well on our mobile phones. MMS service gives a business the freedom to deliver a more dynamic an effective message. In an MMS, sounds, pictures, videos, ads etc can be forwarded to potential customers who would respond if they are in need of the business propositions.

Online mobile marketing-

There are websites which are specially designed for mobiles. Portable devices do not have the same internet speed as computer routers and servers. Mobile websites are very easy to access due to the size of the webpage i.e. in Mb’s (megabytes). The costs of advertising on such mobile web pages are very affordable and are also a tool to get many customers.

This is one of the most common ways to market and advertise to the masses through the mobile marketing medium by placing advertisements on web browsers and search engines. With the advent of a huge number of people accessing the web pages using their mobile device recently, the mobile marketing platform is wider than before. Sooner or later, but inevitably mobile devices will surpass the computer as the mainstream or general way to browse the internet and get access to it.

Mobile app marketing-

With the introduction of tabs, androids, i-phones and smart phones, the usage of app’s (applications) on mobile and portable devices have increased. This is a complex procedure but a really effective method of mobile marketing. In this kind of marketing, businesses develop apps which are used by mobile users. If the app is liked by the mobile owner then the business name is considered and maybe a customer is attracted.

Example- If an air ticketing company wants to create an app to attract people and persuade them to buy tickets to various destinations across the world; they can create an app which will guide the user to check flight listings, timings, expenditure, offers etc. If the app name is based on the b=business name then, the air ticketing name will become synonymous with the app and people will enquire about tickets to the business which may offer discounts or promise so through their apps.

Nowadays more and more people have started to play games on their mobile phones businesses can start advertising their name and services through these games. When a person is playing a game, and your business name appears whenever the person wins- he remembers that name and connects to it whenever he visits the market. A business needs to contact a app developer who is under contract to develop an app game for some company, if the company agrees to publish or display your add it will benefit your business that too with lass investment. The quality and level of mobile app gaming is increasing rapidly and hence mobile app marketing has become a big platform to display your marketing skills for the growth of your business.

All of this concludes to one strong observation. Mobile marketing is on the rise and there is no reason or obstacle that might stall its growth. Using this affordable and effective medium of marketing, small businesses can actually compete with the bigger businesses in the market, not directly but gradually with the course of time. With mobile marketing, a small business may not always become as big as the elites but it can surely create an atmosphere that can make a business self-reliant and self sustaining.