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Chris LoCurto

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April 7, 2014

The Greatest Coach

This is a guest post by Matt Ham. He is the author of the soon to be published book, You Make My Life Rich. Check out his website Live Richly.

The bright lights illuminated the field, with only the darkness of night beyond. I was nervous, my hands anxiously wringing the baseball bat as I stood in the on-deck circle.

Coach, Business Coach, ChrisLoCurto.com

At ten years old, baseball is your life. When it’s the bottom of the last inning and the championship is on the line, the importance of each play is exaggerated. I remember actually fighting back tears as the reality of the situation unfolded. The score was close, there were two outs, and I was up to bat.

My eyes raced to the stands where my family and friends screamed, “Come on, Matt! You can do it!”

As the feeling culminated into tears, I felt his hand on my shoulder.

My father. My coach.

As I turned, he knelt to get down on my level, looking me right in the eyes.

“Whatever happens, I want you to know that I’ll still love you. Don’t you think about anything else. Remember what we’ve worked on and do your best. There’s nobody I’d rather have up there than you.”

“OK, Dad.”

In that moment, my tears subsided. My confidence was renewed. I was ready.

I never fully appreciated my dad as my coach until I played for someone else. Quite honestly, every experience with another coach was a significant letdown.  I remember being fourteen and feeling lost; stepping into high school athletics, longing for wisdom and instruction—but getting neither.

Some coaches held the same passion of the game as my father did, but there seemed to be an element missing, almost a self-serving capacity or desire for the position. The title of Coach outweighed their desire to influence their players.

Throughout my high school career as a multi-sport athlete, I never had a connection with a coach like I remembered having with my father. Because of this missing link, I became quite jaded.

I wanted confirmation in my abilities to be met with encouragement in my weaknesses.In the end, I was simply let down.

Fast forward to my career in the business world. I kept hearing of ‘business coaches’, but I wasn’t intrigued. I had become self-sufficient, leaning on my own hard work and intuition to thrive.

However, as I launched into a new business, things started to change. I started to see that there was wisdom and direction waiting for me that I didn’t yet have. There was something missing. I felt like that little boy in the on-deck circle again, overwhelmed with the responsibility before me.

I needed a coach.

At that time, I happened to learn that one of my influencers, Chris LoCurto was launching his own business.  As I reached out, I saw familiarity. Chris wasn’t interested in his position at all. He wasn’t concerned about promoting himself or his accomplishments.

He was concerned about me.

He was there to give me confirmation and encouragement. More importantly, his wisdom provided perspective. He helped me look at my circumstances differently, which gave me incredible energy and purpose to continue.

Proverbs 1:7 says, “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” I certainly don’t want to be foolish.

I’m grateful for Chris, his team, and the guidance they’ve provided as I’ve begun my new journey. As I prepare to launch my own writing and speaking career, I greatly appreciate the confidence they’ve given me.

Stepping back into the batter’s box, I stare at the pitcher, equipped and empowered.

Remember what weve worked on. Theres nobody Id rather have up there than you.

Question: How has coaching empowered you?

If you’re interested in business or life coaching, check out our coaching page.

Chris LoCurto

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April 1, 2014

Don’t Be Discouraged [Podcast]

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Do you ever feel discouraged by family or friends? I have. As I look over my life, there have been many times that someone close to me told me I couldn’t do something. There are enough things in life to challenge you, make sure you’ve got healthy boundaries with negative people.

Separate people in your life into two categories – those that are encouraging and those that are discouraging. Don’t share your dreams or goals or ideas with discouraging and negative people! They’ll just shoot you down.

Instead, surround your dreams and ideas with people that are naturally supportive. Find those people! Not just anyone that will blow your head up with how great you are but someone that you trust and respect. Find someone that you know to be truthful and encouraging so you know they’ll support you or call you out if you’re doing something stupid.

Draw a line. Place people on the side they belong. Even more, check yourself before you wreck somebody else. Are you encouraging to those around you?

 Dillanos CoffeeWe tasted the Entrepreneur blend from Dillanos Coffee Roasters today. Get 15% off your coffee order by using the code “CLOTRIBE”

Check out my pinterest page for the coconut oil coffee recipe too!

Question: Are you an encourager or a discourager?

Chris LoCurto

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March 31, 2014

Business Plan Budget and Action Plan

March 31, 2014 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

We’ve been in a series on business plans and have covered Why You Should Write A Business PlanBusiness Plan Mission And VisionBusiness Plan Goals and Selling Strategies and Business Plan: Open Door Phase. Today’s blog on budgeting and creating an action plan is the final post of the series.

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Business Plan Budget

“Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish.” ~ Luke 14:28

A business plan isn’t complete unless you have a solid understanding of how much it’s going to cost to run the business. All too often I see entrepreneurs set out to build a business on a great idea, with no clue if they can pull it off financially. This usually leads to a great deal of stress, loss of money, strain on relationships, etc.

While I’m usually the first person to celebrate with you about your great idea (High I and D personality style), I’m also going to be the first to push you to process through every possible income and expense of your new venture. Desperate doesn’t sell!

Here are some things to think about adding to your business plan budget:

  • Products, production costs and unit costs
  • Salaries, commissions, subcontractor fees
  • Advertising, marketing, sales expenses
  • Legal and professional fees for getting the business started
  • Office supplies to get up and running
  • Rent and utilities of any needed business space
  • Travel expenses

These are just some of the things that people don’t think to budget when starting a business or project. For a more detailed process, check out my podcast and blog on budgeting called Budget Correctly or Fail! It’ll give you a really good idea of HOW to budget correctly for your business.

Action Plan

The final step of the business plan is to create an Action Plan. Once we have all of the previous details (see additional posts mentioned above) and a budget, we need to know what it looks like to deliver the product or provide the service. In other words, when we’ve completed all of the previous steps:

  • What will the first 90 – 180 days of business look like?
  • How are we accomplishing the goals we set?
  • What are the KRA’s of those involved?
  • What are the performance indicators?
  • What do we change if we’re not hitting our performance indicators?

Having an action plan that answers these questions proves the business has thought through each element and is ready to rock.

I also like to have a section at the end of each business plan to keep track of what we learned while implementing the plan. Considering answering follow-up questions like this after the first 90 days:

  • What surprised us?
  • What were we not prepared for?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What did we not think through?
  • Where did we under or over budget income, expenses, time, etc.?
  • What else have we learned?

This will not only help adjust the plan as we go, but it’s a phenomenal way to see how we process information and ask the questions. Did we do a good job thinking through everything?

Lastly, what does phase two of this process look like, if there is one, which I highly recommend. What does the roll out of a second product or service look like (knowing it won’t launch for quite awhile).

Processing through all of this information will help you to make key decisions about going forward with your business or project.

Question: What areas of a business plan would you add?

Chris LoCurto

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March 25, 2014

The Importance of Exercise [Podcast]

March 25, 2014 | By | 47 Comments">47 Comments

Exercise. It’s an eight letter word for some of us… don’t quit reading and don’t skip today’s podcast!

Subscribe to the podcast:          iTunes  Stitcher Radio  SoundCloud

During LifePlan, we always reach a point in the process where the attendee is working through what’s keeping them from being the strongest and best they can be. Almost every single time, the area of exercise is lacking. For most people, there was a period in their life where they were exercising regularly and they felt strong emotionally, physically and mentally.

I can tell you, this has been a huge gate in my life. When I exercise, my stress level is way down and I have greater balance everyday in work and life.

Many of us start up exercise programs to lose weight. We work at it for a few weeks, don’t get the immediate results and go back to our regular routine. Instead of focusing on weight, ask yourself, “How do I feel?” Is your stress level down? Are you making better decisions? Do you feel less emotional when you work out?

When your body is happy, your head is happy.

Start. Put it in your calendar and just do it. You’ll have more energy, a desire to do more and you’ll feel better!

 Dillanos CoffeeWe tasted the KiliCafe blend from Dillanos Coffee Roasters One Harvest Project today. Get 15% off your coffee order by using the code “CLOTRIBE”

 

Question: What’s keeping you from making exercise a priority?

Chris LoCurto

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March 24, 2014

Business Plan: Open Door Phase

March 24, 2014 | By | 5 Comments">5 Comments

For weeks now, we’ve been outlining a business plan according to CLo; all the things I utilize when it comes to putting together a business plan.

Business Open, ChrisLoCurto.com

I’ve posted on the why and how, mission and vision, funding, strategies and next steps. Today, we’re looking at what it takes to get to the “open door phase.” When I say that, I mean what it takes to literally open the doors, be ready for business and start selling your products or services.

I have seen too many entrepreneurs create a decent business plan only to have no way or no one execute it. The question I always ask is, “What work needs to be done and who’s going to do it?”

Here’s a list of possible needs to get the business off of the ground:

  • Sales - This is always going to be my number one focus. I don’t care if you have a warehouse full of product, until you have a sale, you don’t exist. Who is going to sell your product or service? Usually it’s you in the beginning, but figure this out. If it’s someone else, will they be paid a base salary, draw against commission, or straight commission while they fill a pipeline?
  • Website - It’s imperative to have a website. It’s more important than business cards, or even a phone number in many situations. Are you going to tackle the website on your own, or hire someone to build the site? Either way, what are the costs involved? How much time will it take?
  • SEO - While the term SEO is quickly fading away, the concept of search engine optimization is still very real. Once you have your site up, how will you make sure people find you? I’ve been using SmarterSearches.com for awhile now and consult with Courtney Herda monthly.
  • Administration - No matter how you look at it, you will have admin needs. This is never my first hire as a start-up because it’s a fixed expense, but if it allows you to sell and bring in the cash-ola, then it might be the best move. Start with a virtual assistant for 5 hours a week and see how much extra time you have to sell or work on other areas of the business when the admin responsibilities are off your plate.
  • Accounting - I’m a firm believer that YOU should start the accounting yourself. Entrepreneurs who don’t do (and understand) the accounting FAIL! Get a grasp on it, keep it up to date, and when it’s time, maybe farm the bookkeeping side of it out. But ALWAYS have an accountability process that checks the work of who ever is doing your books. That may be you going through the bank statement each month until you have someone else you can trust. Freshbooks is a great free resource to get started with.

Check out my 5 Free Resources post for additional tools to get organized and build your business. These are just a few things you need to be prepared to put into place before launching a business, or even a project.

  • How much will it cost?
  • How many hours will it take?
  • Do I have part-time or full-time team members?
  • Am I subcontracting instead of hiring? (Personal favorite in the beginning.)
  • Am I wearing multiple hats and do I have time to?
  • How many hats are my team members wearing in the beginning?

People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. Having this info early will give you a greater chance of succeeding. And who knows, it might even show you that you don’t have the available resources to pull it off, so you can’t.

Question: What areas of work do you feel are necessary to cover in a business plan?