Why do 50% of new businesses fail within the first five years?

That statistic is both shocking, and not shocking, at the same time.

We’ve all seen local businesses come and go.

Just as a restaurant begins to become your favorite, it disappears, sometimes without warning.

Or a favorite used book store – Yay! Book stores are NOT dead… yet! – that struggles on for 10, 15 months, and then finally closes its doors.

Perhaps you know of a business owner who has been around longer than five years. But you only know them a little, because they are always – always – at the shop or office. They never seem to get a day off. I know a Korean woman in our town who runs a dry cleaning and sewing business. She works 10+ hours a day, six days a week…

And many small business owners stay home in the summer, year after year. They never get to take their kids on a vacation because it would mean they would lose money if they aren’t physically present at the shop or office.

And retirement? Woah! Who can possibly save for retirement?? Since many small business owners barely manage to pay the bills each month, putting aside any decent retirement funds is a bit of a pipe dream.

These scenes are not uncommon. It’s very challenging to create a business that not only survives, but THRIVES.

It is because of these very types of situations that I recently found myself in front of a room of 17 entrepreneurs – and aspiring entrepreneurs – talking about how to use Facebook to grow your business organically, without having to pay for ads.

Most of the people in the room had no idea how powerful this social media platform can be, even when it’s totally free.

After that presentation, when it came time to do the networking portion of the program, it was easy.

The attendees enjoyed talking with each other and sharing stories. They told each other about their dreams, their struggles, and their best offers.

We even had several people whose businesses overlap, but we were all clear with each other that we prefer cooperation and support, rather than competition.

We then had time for one “hot seat”. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is an opportunity for people to bring their business problems to the group, and together, with the power of the “master mind”, the group tries to help solve each other’s problems.

Eager to start her own business, but stuck on a couple of key issues, one volunteer received extremely valuable suggestions from the group. When she left at the end of the evening, she had a plan for moving forward.

Finally, the evening ended with my presentation about “The 4 Things Your Business Needs In Order To Thrive”.

They had mentoring, peer support, important connections, and accountability

Mentoring is the first critical piece of the success puzzle. There is almost nothing new under the sun; most of the great ideas have already been thought up. And you don’t need to waste your time doing things that someone else can show you how to do in less than half the time.

Find yourself a mentor. Someone who has been there before. Trust me; all those successful people had mentors of one sort or another too.

Peer support. It’s very important not to be “the smartest person in the room” all the time. You need to find others who are further along than you are, and yet who are more than happy to share their best strategies and tips.

At the same time, you learn a lot when you have to explain something to someone else who isn’t as far along as you are.

This is the power of peer groups. Lift others while you climb…

Important connections. Never have a conversation with a potential business partner without asking, “Whom do you know who…?”

And always be thinking… “Whom do I know that might be able to help this person?”

As has been said, “Your network represents your net worth.” It’s a cliche, but it’s also true.

Accountability. You know what you are supposed to do. I know what I am supposed to do. But we don’t do it. Doesn’t that drive you crazy??

The reason we do that is because our brains are lazy. If there is an easy task on the list, that is the one we will always gravitate toward first. The more challenging tasks… get pushed off.

Weekly accountability usually prevents that from happening, because we are even more averse to admitting we are wrong than we are to doing hard tasks. Accountability is the fourth key component of a mastermind group.

These four components – mentoring, peer support, connections, and accountability – can literally mean the death or survival of your business. If you have them, you are MUCH more likely to survive. If you don’t….business failure is an possibility.

How do you find these success principals and apply them to your business? They all exist in a mastermind group!

The term, “mastermind”, was originally coined by Napoleon Hill, author of the book, Think and Grow Rich. The idea is to unite several minds together to solve a problem. Today, many local business people join referral networking groups, which is valuable. But a mastermind group goes beyond referrals and networking, and provides the other three components too.

If you would like to learn more about masterminds, or even if you just want to learn more about how to use Facebook organically (without ads!) or how to network more effectively, then I invite you to join me at our next Entrepreneur Night!

We’ll have all of these presentations within 2 hours, and you’ll leave feeling energized, excited, and ready to try new things with your business!

Click here to register, and please bring a friend!

When you KNOW what to do, and still find you aren’t doing it

Head down, one light left on in the house, darkness outside the windows. My husband kissed me goodnight a couple of hours ago.

Even the dog who always lies at my feet has gone upstairs to bed. “Et tu, Terra?”

This week, Neil Patel came out with a new book about hustling. I haven’t read it, and even though I love Neil, and learn a ton from him, I don’t plan to read it. I do enough hustling as it is.

I have been studying productivity for about 3 years now, as I am constantly trying to become more efficient with my time.

I even joined a group on FB specifically intended to help people “get s&$# done”. Eighteen months later, that group now has over 4000 people in it. Clearly I am not the only one looking to become more efficient.

Since May, I have been in a small online mastermind group where we meet virtually each week. We hold each other accountable for what we said we were going to do over the past week, and we help each other solve technical, logistical, and mindset challenges.

In this group I receive: accountability; mentoring; peer relationships; critical connections.

This group has been invaluable to me, because we all come from the same type of training (we were at a business-building retreat together earlier this year), and are all headed toward the same types of goals.

Yet I still find myself in that late night situation too often, alone in the dark, typing on my computer.

This is where I am being real with you.

I know a lot about marketing. I know a lot about writing. I know a lot about relationships, mindset, and productivity.

Yet many days I still have trouble putting it all together.

I am still up late at night, after already working for 10, 11 hours. Again.

I am still on too many email lists that distract me; I should unsubscribe.

I am still ignoring critical tasks in my business, because it is easier to do other tasks.

I still make stupid decisions that I know better not to make.

Having said all that though, I also know I have come a long way.

Just 3 years ago I was teaching. I loved the kids, and was passionate about teaching them the skills they need to know to be truly successful in this information age.

But there was a lot of other “stuff” to deal with as a teacher, and I got tired of it. I had also reached the pinnacle of my profession by achieving National Board Certification, as well as an additional tech-ed certification, and being published in peer-reviewed journals. I needed new challenges. And I craved more autonomy.

So I started my own business from scratch.

I took online marketing courses, attended a slew of marketing events to meet people and learn more in-depth strategies, studied for coaching certifications, and tried to get traction as a parenting and youth mindset coach.

Along the way, I received top-notch marketing training, worked with, and wrote for, some of the most successful online marketers in the world, and made tons of connections.

I won’t go into the details of how I got from there to here in just over a year. Maybe another time.

Suffice it to say, I have currently transitioned the majority of my biz focus from parent and youth coaching, to business and marketing coaching, training, products and services.

I now have tons of knowledge about marketing, and I have a number of high-level connections within the IM (internet marketing) world. And I am a pretty darn good writer.

I am also very excited because I have a pretty big goal for my business now: by using my own knowledge, connections, and teaching and writing skills, I will positively impact 1000 small business owners in New England over the next three years, through the power of local in-person mastermind groups.

I am starting the first couple of masterminds in Westford and Acton, and am looking forward to getting going in Lowell soon too.

If you are in the Boston area and want to be part of this mission, please let me know!!

So it is time to stop the late nights. To actually apply all I know about productivity, and get more sleep, more time to exercise, and more time to do personal things, like be with my family!

I KNOW what to do. I do it every day. And I am doing it more and more EFFICIENTLY every day.

You know what to do too. Are you ready to do it more efficiently?

I am a work in progress. I want to be partnered with others who are also enthusiastically a work in progress.

Is that you?

If you are a New England local business, please contact me at winningcontentstrategy AT gmail.com and we’ll get you started in a mastermind group.

Teach each other. Learn from each other. Bring me to your meetings, along with my 7-figure connections from around the world.

You’ll get accountability, peer support, mentoring, and worldwide connections.

Let’s do this. Together.