Posts Tagged ‘Business Operations’

The Extra 60 Minutes

The other day, my son asked when we would be changing the clocks. When we told him, he said “Yahoo! We get an extra hour!” I remember being confused by that phrase as a child, and I can’t help but wonder what it means to my son to generate that level of excitement..

Imagine that we did gain an hour, increasing our day to 25 hours per day. What would you do with an additional 60 minutes?

Would you work on a proposal that you keep putting off? Or perhaps you would start reading that book you keep meaning to get to? When I asked family and friends who are business owners, the majority said “sleep”. Sleep deprivation is linked to all kinds of health issues, and it is no friend to business productivity, so that was understandable. Small business owners typically have a never-ending to-do list; there is always another call to make, documents to review, or a marketing activity to complete. As I contemplate this question for myself, I come face to face with this question: If these tasks are important, why would they be done only in the 25th hour?

The other side of the question is: “If you lost an hour, what tasks would you give up?” What would drop off your plate without having a negative effect on your business? If you can come up with a list of things, consider why it is that you’re doing them in the first place!

My clients, and most small business owners I talk with, often feel overwhelmed by all that there is to do. When a client is in overwhelm mode, one of my fondest assignments is for them to ask themselves daily: What one task will most move me forward today?

Perhaps the best use of an “extra” hour is studying what tasks we can eliminate. Of course, a good snooze could work, too.

– Helen Dutton, Business Coach

Be Wary of the Pendulum Effect

Last week, my daughter’s eighth grade science class was studying pendulums and Newton’s Laws of Motion. In case you need a refresher, here’s a summary:

  • An object in motion stays in motion unless an external force is applied;
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; and,

  • There is a relationship between an object’s mass, its acceleration, and force. The greater the mass of the object being accelerated the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate the object. It is expressed as F=MA.

Phew! Thank you, Mr. Kibler!

This science lesson came screeching into view yesterday as I listened to news about mid-term elections. Candidates run to the other position; unhappy voters abandon elected officials in strong reactions to the current state. An image of a pendulum was vivid.

Too often, these strong reactions occur in business, as well. Have you ever heard yourself say, “We’ll never do that again”! Just as Newton’s second law states, the stronger the action is, the stronger the reaction. It shouldn’t always be that way in business.

Let me give you a simple analogy. Imagine that you were driving from New England to Texas but you’ve gotten off course and find yourself in Georgia. Would you react by throwing in the towel, get back in the car and head north? Probably not. Instead, you would recognize that you made an error and adjust your course. Instead of heading south, you needed to drive southwest. You would make a simple course correction and drive west.

Think about your business now. Have you made an attempt at something that didn’t work out as planned? For example, my husband wanted more animals to have dental cleanings at his animal hospital. They modified how the service was presented to clients, but it didn’t work. If anything, clients were even more disinclined to purchase the service. The animal hospital could have called it quits, blaming the results on the economy or the town’s demographics. Instead, the staff put some thought to what clients said about dental cleanings, and modified their presentation again. This time it worked.

Let Newton’s Laws stay in the eighth grade science lab. Let reactions be the choice of politicians. In business, act and then adjust..


– Helen Dutton, Business Coach


Committing to the Next Level

Last week I wrote one of the biggest checks of my life. It wasn’t for a piece of real estate, a vehicle, or for what most people would call “fun” (although this will be fun to me!); it was a check to help my business grow in new and exciting directions. And it was to help me to grow in new and exciting directions.

Typically, I’m a decisive person who acts on my strong gut reactions. Within 30 minutes of talking with my platinum (now diamond!) level coach, I was sure I wanted to move to this level of commitment.

Yet when it came time to send off my check, to committing, I hemmed and hawed all morning. “Am I really ready for this level? Will it be too much for me or my family? Do I have what it takes to run at this level?” Bottom line is I was just plain scared. And that’s when I knew I was doing the right thing.

Fear is often a sign that we are about to make a breakthrough. Think of a time when you were afraid of doing something… then did it anyway. It might be your first piano recital as a child, or the first time you spoke in front of your peers, or the first time you made a significant investment in infrastructure for your business.

How did you feel afterwards? You probably felt like you could conquer the world! Once you’ve taken that step, there is no turning back. Your world is more expansive and you have more opportunities. There is one more thing about which you can say “I’ve done that”, and nothing can take that away.

My own Diamond Level Coaching Program doesn’t begin for a couple of months but my business has already started to shift. I have been more critical of my time usage and more decisive. The financial commitment is only a symbol of my bigger commitment to my Self – and by extension, my business and my clients.

That’s a commitment I am not willing to back out on. – Helen Dutton, Business Coach


Find out more about my business coaching services, click here.

Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.