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The Power of Disconnection to Improve Your Business

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The Power of Disconnection to Improve Your Business

For many Small Business owners, their number one feeling is one of overwhelm and the antidote to this is disconnection. 

And who could blame them because look at the world we now live in…. one of instantaneous responses and gratification, 24/7 technology and a perception that there is now no way to switch off because the consequences will be detrimental.

I know at times, this is exactly how I feel in my small business so does this sound familiar to you?

If it does, then let me share with you how I addressed this issue in one of my presentations.

I was presenting a keynote presentation after afternoon tea to Owners, CEOs and Managers of registered training organisations (RTOs) where the conference theme was ‘Ignite Your Spark’.

My presentation ‘Are You The Reluctant RTO CEO’ challenged those running an RTO business.

I dared them to take off the Manager Hat (Day to Day Operations aka Working in the Business) and embrace the CEO Hat (Strategy aka Working on the Business) for at least 15 minutes per day.

Why?  Because too often we get stuck in the day to day issues. The issues of managing staff, firefighting and band-aiding problems – and never get to the really important issues of finance, sales, marketing, business development and systems.  And these are all essential fundamentals for financial viability.

To help with the switching of hats, I provided some simple solutions to Step Up into the role, Get Help to do the role or to Step Out of the role.

So what’s this got to do with disconnection I hear you ask?

Well, in order to step up into the CEO role so we can build a simple profitable business, we actually need to STOP….

  • STOP the mouse in a cage and take a breath to see what’s really happening in our business (so we solve the actual problems rather than being a member of the Band-Aid Gang)
  • STOP to get the help we need so our business can grow (because we can’t know everything or be good at everything)
  • We need to STOP to see if there’s a simpler and easier way to do things (so we save time and money).

And the first way we can stop is to turn off the phone and emails.

So to illustrate this power of disconnecting, I posed the following to the room of 120 delegates:

As this conference has all been about Igniting Your Spark, I’m curious to know how you have spent the day.

Please raise your hand if you have checked emails today.  

Please raise your other hand if you have phoned the office or clients today.

(By now, just about everyone in the room had both hands raised).

Look around the room – that’s just about everyone except these two people on the front table.  

Now hand on heart, I want you to put your hand down if the emails really could’ve waited.  (Most of the hands went down).  And hand on heart, please put your other hand down if the phone calls could’ve waited. (Again most of the hands went down).

Because you know what, the world doesn’t end if we don’t answer emails as soon as they come in and clients/potential buyers will wait for us to return from a meeting or conference.

Everyone realised the power of disconnection.

How do I know this?  Because remember what used to happen before mobile phones and email? 

If we were out of the office and wanted to know who called us, we only had two choices.

1. We had to find a phonebox in the street (and they weren’t everywhere), find the right coins (no tapping), dial the number (which we had written down or memorised) and then we had to write down the message in a notebook (which we had in our bag).
OR
2. Wait until we returned to the office to get a pile of ‘While You Were Out’ coloured message slips and then get on the office phone and slowly work our way through the list.

And people understood we had other things to do besides be in the office all day, just waiting for their phone call to ring.

After I shared this story, I then posed this question to delegates:

Imagine if instead, you had made the decision this morning to disconnect from the world, and you embraced this amazing opportunity to network with as many delegates, sponsors and presenters as you could.

Because there’s an amazing goldmine in this room…. people who have a depth of knowledge, experience and expertise who could’ve helped you solve that frustrating problem. They could have shown you an easy way to do something, thus saving you time, or provide you with a profitable opportunity you hadn’t ever considered.

Imagine if, like the two people at the front, you had made that choice instead?  Imagine what you could’ve gained for no cost except spending time with someone over coffee or at your table?

And if you had made that choice instead, you would’ve been wearing the CEO hat instead of the Manager hat because you would’ve been working ON your business instead of grinding away IN your business.

(To which there was much nodding of agreement as people realised the missed opportunity).

Embrace disconnection.

I truly believe we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking that not stopping is a good thing. And yet, all the successful small business owners will tell us that momentum improved once they embraced disconnection. When they stopped and spent time away from the phone/laptop/tablet/desk to plan, strategise, review and dream; their business started to shift in an even more upward trajectory.

So if there’s power in disconnecting when you’re away at a conference, imagine the power if you built this philosophy and action into your daily routine?

And as it will be a new habit for some people, just start with fifteen minutes… you’ll be amazed at the results over time, and your mind and business will thank you.

I wonder now what you will do at your next conference, professional development or networking event? 

Will you disconnect in order to connect with wonderful people who could help your business, or will you be distracted by technology and the fear of missing out?

It’s up to you.  

Are you willing to embrace the power of disconnection so you, your team and your business can REFOCUS, RE-ENERGISE and REBUILD a simple, profitable business you actually love? The choice is yours, so please choose wisely.

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