GiFT Workshop Wrap-Up

Shelley SmithBlog, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Predictive Index

IMG_9774For many of us, Monday mornings are a chore. We would much rather tack an extra day onto the weekend, stay in our beds, and sleep in. But for 19 small business owners in Hampton Roads over the span of 12 weeks, Mondays were a GiFT.

The GiFT (Get Focused Together) program wrapped up in late February. I was honored to have worked so closely with this particular group of entrepreneurs, and I am excited to share some of my key lessons learned.

Young, smaller companies were heavily represented in the workshops. Their passion and enthusiasm were evident, but what wasn’t so clear was who they serve. Entrepreneurs must figure out who is first on their client list. Growth isn’t possible if you aren’t clear on your business’ mission and vision. Nyla Smith, owner of n-Vision Designs, summed it up perfectly:

“My biggest takeaway from the GiFT workshop was the importance of being hyper-focused. As my business is currently at a stage of pivoting and refocusing, being able to make decisions that are smart and that have the biggest impact toward my goals are critical. The GiFT workshop helped put it all in perspective for me, and gave me the ability to tackle overwhelming, large-concept ideas in manageable, bite-sized pieces.”

Mastermind groups are also essential for success in business. Nyla and Jennifer Morrone, owner of Critter Sitters and More and the impetus for the GiFT workshops, are forming a mastermind group that will continue to meet even though the program has ended. Their goal is to keep the momentum going and share best practices with like-minded professionals. I loved what Jennifer had to say about the GiFT program:

“The GiFT workshops helped me develop a laser-sharp focus with regards to my unique business brand. Now that we can clearly state who we are, we are ready to focus on the growth we want and have the tools to achieve it. Any business looking to level up needs to explore an opportunity to participate in Shelley Smith’s next workshop.”

It was an amazing experience to be in front of such motivated business owners and to see the light bulbs come on over their heads when they made connections and discovered new ways to do things. I was so energized after a session, which says a lot considering the group met first thing Monday morning! Time flew by and I found myself wishing I could spend four hours with the group every week, instead of just one. Quotes like this one from Caroline Fornshell, CEO of LWell, help me realize what an impact I had on the participants and their futures:

“Shelley Smith gets to the point. I gained a clear focus with hiring, strategic pivots, business development, technology, and in gathering all the tools I needed to steer my business in the right direction.”

A surprising side effect of leading classes and workshops is that I can’t help but learn things, too. In many ways, I was a student of my own lessons. When we discussed certain topics, participants often asked me about what I am doing with my business, which meant I had to take another look at my own work. In a way, they were just as much my instructors as I was theirs. As a result of the GiFT sessions, I pivoted a lot in my own business, and I owe it to this enthusiastic group of early-morning go-getters, including Melinda Evans, owner of Designs by ME, who had this to say about her GiFT experience:

“We just finished the program and I can’t say enough about how Shelley has encouraged me to make positive changes in my business that are helping it grow. She brought a wealth of knowledge and was adaptable to the group’s needs. I learned techniques that I could immediately put to use in my business. Her presentations were quite refreshing and she brought energy to our meetings. Shelley is a natural speaker . . . confident, comfortable, powerful, yet approachable.”

I wish my GiFT graduates all the success in the world. Be well and stay connected and you will never go wrong.

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