Friday, November 23, 2012

Dancing in the Moment

Why Dance can change your life

This week I am taking a little short cut from the Series Blog I am doing business. Why?  Because, I wanted to share my latest experience with all of you.

Joy Of Dance 
Recently I was contracted by Joy of Dance in Toronto to help them with their social marketing and business development. Part of the arrangement was and is that I get my butt back into class so I can round out the experience of being here.  OK. Got it.  I have a long and solid background in dance so it is familiar territory – or is it?  I haven’t been a class of any kind for over 7 years and although I love to B Bop around the house it’s not the same. 

The Total Package

First I have to say that I’ve been working within the environment of Joy of Dance almost every day for the last 2 months and it is truly is unique on a lot of levels.  It goes beyond the dance studio, the variety of classes and number of teachers toward something intangible but palpable.  It’s a place people – students, teachers and staff – call home.  There is magic here that works on you from the inside out as well as the outside in.  And it’s fun. 

The Benefits of Dance

So now I’ve had my second class within the Ballroom and Latin-dancing genre.  I was working through the steps with Mark (the par excellence teacher) when it hit me.  My body needs this, my mind needs this and my soul needs this.   I’d forgotten the Joy of Dance and what it taught me. I’d like to share of few of those things with you.

  •       Your physical presence is better.You walk better, stand better, sit better and damn it all- you look better. There is a confidence and elegance the grows

  •      You have a total sense of accomplishment.  Getting the choreography or the step when you thought you couldn’t is amazing.   It is real life proof that anything is possible

  •        It’s a great way to get in shape.  Dancing is a total work out.  You use your whole body so the muscle and tone is different than you get in a gym. But have you seen the pros on Dancing with the Stars?  They are lean, ripped and strong.  Plus it is so much fun.

  •        Focus.  People always tell me that my focus is razor sharp and rather extraordinary.  I have to say I owe that to dance.  Like any sport, you have to be present and pay attention in order to get better.  Dance is about reading your teacher, reading technique, reading choreography and being aware of your body all at the same time and in the same moment. 

  •       It is social. You can take group classes or private ones. It’s your choice but either way you will meet some great people and relationships will build.  How great is that

  •       Your never too old and it’s never too late.  With dance it’s true.  I see people at Joy of Dance from 3 to those over 60.   Now the older individual may not be doing Ballet or Hip Hop but I watch and marvel at their ability to master the steps and technique of ballroom. It’s keeps them fit and young. 

Maybe dancing isn’t for everyone but I think it is worth a try or at least consideration.  You never know, we might see you tripping the light fantastic at the local Tappas hang out.  

So stepping up, and keeping time until next time.  

Ellen Smith at 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stop Chasing The Money

Rule # 3.  Have aBusiness Plan.  

The Fear Factor

I know this sounds like ano-brainer but you might be surprised at how many businesses don’t have a  plan other than a spreadsheet if even that.  What this creates is a primary  focus on weekly/monthly revenue. A certain myopia sets in not to mention paralyzing fear.  You stop paying attention to what else your business needs and that catapults you into a reactive state of mind.  Not Good. 

A Business Plan is Your Friend

A business plan done correctly is your friendand it’s not only about the numbers. It is the engine that drives because quitesimply it causes you to look at every aspect of your business; what’s working as well as what’s not, what needs to be strengthened, what needs to be eliminated, and more. Even if you are tiny (as in one person). this is still a criticalstep.  You’ll find that you startthinking about the End Game or another way of putting it is what it looks like when you are successful; who are your primarypartners who help you get there; what the market is out there and what you doand don’t know about it.  It doesn’t haveto be an over-whelming exercise- but it needs to be done.  Financials are important of course but ifthat’s all you look at you’ll never grow because you’ll be stuck on that bottomline. Mike Michalowicz suggests in his book The Toilette Paper Entrepreneur, that you break it down into quarters and call it a prosperity plan.  I happen to agree because it's an excellent idea that makes sense.  By doing this, you can set goals that time triggered and measurable which sets you up for an action plan that you can achieve.  

A business plan really doesn't have to be a big, cumbersome document that never gets looked at again.  It can be simple and to the point and doable.  I encourage you to set yourself up for success and get one done. 

Ellen Smith 

Encourse Marketing 

Your Success is Our Business

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

EnCourse Connect:

5 Rules to Growing Your Business

As an entrepreneur and small business owner I can honestly say that I have made every mistake in the book. Am I proud of this? Not terribly proud, no, however I have learned some invaluable lessons that I’d like to share with you.  What’s even better is that others who have been very successful have authored some incredibly good books that deal with how to do it better and t hose I will share with you as well. These people I don’t know personally (yet) but view them as mentors through their writing, videos and webinars. 

Rule # 1: Get out of Your Own Way

By getting out of your own way, I mean stop letting your ego dictate.  If you are intellectualizing what successful people are telling you then you’re not listening and if you find yourself still struggling, over-worked and frustrated then it’s time to look at why.  Chances are you are well entrenched in the fear factor and saying to your self “I can’t possibly do that” meaning getting rid of bad clients, low return practices or resources or refusing to chase the money.  As one of my real life mentors: Jeff Lord of Logograph has said to me over and over; Tell the Truth or if you can’t face it then you can’t fix it.  I can’t tell you how many times I ignored him or worse, believed I new better. Well he’s been making real money for a long time so you would think I would pay attention. 

I think the one thing that really hit home for me was sitting with him in a Montreal CafĂ© over (several) glasses of Pinot Noir when he just came out and said it. What’s it?  Ellen you’re an idiot. You’ve thrown away millions by not doing what I told you to do.  He was right. That's right, I said it. He was right!

Having been a very successful Senior Executive at a Multinational, I held the belief that I already new how to do this and I also hung on to the “stuff” that comes with position. You know what I"m talking about; car, house, money, status.  Now maybe you aren’t coming from that place but trust me when I say running something on your own is nothing like working for someone else and what you used to enjoy as proof of your success can leave fairly quickly. You are watching the money as well as chasing it, working 24/7 and doing a lot of it yourself- well - you know.  You have to be OK with that kind of shift nd firmly understand that stuff comes and goes and it will come again only this time with a new attitude. 

Stay tuned for rule # 2: Play From the End Game. This is Ellen Smith at EnCourse signing off for now. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


EnCourse Connect: HOW SMALL BUSINESSES REMAIN SMALL: 6 WAYS TO SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT Often small businesses have trouble growing or surviving. If they do manage, often they get stuck ...