Monthly Archives: March 2012

The NUMBER ONE Problem of Business Owners

Having worked closely with dozens and dozens of business owners; I can tell you that the NUMBER ONE problem of business owners is……

FEAR.

And, if you ask yourself the following questions, and say “Yes,” then your FEAR is costing you MONEY and adding to your Stress.

1.  If your Sales are not where you want them to be, do you spend at least 75% of your time actively speaking to “bullseye” prospects and potential customers?  Or,

– Do you sit in the office posting on Facebook, Twitter, “KLOUT,” etc.?

– Are you constantly “tweaking” your website?

– Are you “networking” with people who would never buy your product or even connect you with people who WILL buy your product?

– Are you spending hours in meetings with “Strategic Partners” who “serve the same market as you do,” yet never really build a strong RELATIONSHIP with anyone (so you get no referrals from them)

– Do you attend a lot of “Educational Seminars,” but never REALLY implement what you learn (or, you start to implement, then give up because it is not a “magic bullet”)

– If you own a restaurant or retail store, do you get out into the neighborhood and personally invite people to come by?

All of these are most often because you are afraid that someone might say “No” if you actually ask them to be your customer.    So, you stay one degree away from the actual prospects.  That one degree is expensive, because cash cannot get to you with that blockage.

2.   When you meet with a prospect, and they “flinch” at your price, have you reduced the price “just to get them started” in the hope that they will see the value and pay you more later?  Or, worse, do you give them a “free trial”?

This is really a fear that you will not be able to deliver the value you are offering.   And, your fear is actually triggering doubt in your prospect.  If you called Ferrari tomorrow and said that you want a “Free Trial” of their cars, would you get it?  Then, believe in YOUR value, be a Ferrari, and stop giving away your product/service.

3.  Do you have a “system” for getting consistent feedback from your customers; analyzing your online reputation; and seeking continuous improvement?

Or, are you afraid that if you ask for feedback, your customer will say “Hmm..this is not as good as I had hoped.  Let’s stop working together”?    The worst part of this is that fear of the present will crush your future.  I was looking up a restaurant online the other day and saw 4 MONTHS of negative reviews; with the last review saying “They Closed.”   You MUST get over your fear of bad news and embrace it as feedback to help you grow (or survive).  And you cannot be afraid to change when you find out that what used to work is not working anymore (because maybe it will one day work again, you keep telling yourself).

4.  Have you thought about investing in a Consultant/Coach, but keep asking yourself if you “can afford it” or “if it will work”?  This may sound self-serving, but I see too many business owners who struggle mightily and keep hoping that their “persistence” will pay off.  Persistence in your business without knowledge and accountability is not different from playing the lottery – you leave too much up to chance.

Interestingly enough, business owners will spend thousands of dollars on equipment and offices and websites; but fear the idea of spending a few thousand dollars on good advice, mentoring, and accountability.    If you REALLY thought you had a business with potential to grow BIG, then investing in help would be an easy decision.  You would know that what looks like a big investment now will one day be pennies.  However, since many business owners fear that they have a business that does NOT have potential to truly be big; they never invest in it beyond the minimum.

How many of these above are true?  Be honest with yourself: is your Fear keeping you from your dreams?

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If you have a “Fear” mindset, do not call me.  But, if your mindset is to build an EXPLOSIVE, Accelerating business, contact me for an initial consultation, business analysis, and ideation session.  It’s not FREE, because everyone’s “Free” sessions are just sales presentations.

We’ll give you real value, so this 90 minute session is $297 (this means that I only talk to SERIOUS business owners who are willing to THINK BIG).  Email my assistant Kelly@CoachRogerBoneno.com to schedule a time.  GUARANTEE:  If, at the end of the session, you do not have a WOW! from our session, then your investment is ZERO.

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Why you MUST Innovate to get REALLY Rich (and 3 Steps to do so)

In 2006, the trend in consumer cell phones was to make them smaller and cheaper.  The Motorola Razr dominated the market; and almost no one paid cash for one.  Instead, with a 2-year agreement, you could get one for no cash out-of-pocket.  And, most people used their phones for…calling people.

If someone had come to you and said, “You should come out with a Phone targeted at consumers that will be BIG and expensive ($599 with NO Discounts), is not really that great at making phone calls, and will be used primarily to play games and surf the Internet” you would have thought they were crazy.

Then, in 2007, Apple came out with the IPhone.

And this started a revolution that has made Apple Billions of $$ and completely changed the cell phone market.

The fact is, what is keeping many of you from REALLY accelerating your business success is that your efforts to differentiate yourself are like having a penguin put on a red jacket.  Underneath, he is still a penguin who walks like a penguin, swims like a penguin, and has the body of a penguin.  At his core, he really is not that different from the other penguins.

But, if you are willing to open your mind to TRULY innovate, you can get make a LOT of money.    Why? Because TRULY innovative products have NO competition, command price premiums, and are much more likely to get “buzz.”

So, how do you create highly innovative offerings:

1.  Map out your offering, STARTING with the end.

– How does your customer USE your offering?

– How does your customer BUY your product/service?

– Who are your customers?

– How do you sell your product?  How do your competitors brand and sell THEIR products?

– How do you pay your staff?

– Map everything there is about your business.

Be very detailed with this map.  I would suggest that you set aside 2-4 hours to do this.

2.  Start with the map, and then ask yourself to make a map that COMPLETELY conflicts with what you currently have

– If your customer uses your product occasionally, then write down “OFTEN”

– If they buy it one at a time, then write down “IN BUNCHES”

– If people pay for it after delivery or with a 50% deposit, what if they did the entire investment “IN ADVANCE”

– If you sell your products to individuals, then change that to “GROUPS”

– If you pay your employees a fixed hourly rate, change their compensation to include a highly variable component.

You get the picture, I am sure.

3.   Finally, take the revised map and take a risk!  Develop a new strategic plan, be willing to turn your business upside down, and change EVERYTHING.

And IGNORE those who would say that your plan is “fraught with problems.”

Yes, I am WELL AWARE that very few people are willing to make this kind of leap.   This explains why most business owners, even if they do “fine,” never REALLY achieve greatness.

And, before you say it can’t be done, here is a short list of people (besides Steve Jobs) who were willing to completely change the traditional model of their businesses/markets (or create entirely NEW businesses):

– Henry Ford

– Thomas Edison

– Michael Dell

– Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com)

– Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google)

– Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)

All of these people made radical innovations; often creating demand  for an offering that people did not even ask for.   But, they were willing to think FAR, FAR “outside the box” and made themselves AND a lot of other people very wealthy.

I want you to be RICH, so take some time this week, step away from “how things have always been done,” and set your course up for true innovation to bring yourself significant wealth.

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After reviewing what has helped my clients the MOST, and how to add even more value, our new focus is on creating truly innovative businesses.  If your mindset is to grow “moderately,” do not call me.  But, if your mindset is to build an EXPLOSIVE, Accelerating business, contact me for an initial consultation, business analysis, and ideation session.  It’s not FREE, because everyone’s “Free” sessions are just sales presentations.

We’ll give you real value, so this 90 minute session is $297 (this means that I only talk to SERIOUS business owners who are willing to THINK BIG).  Email my assistant Kelly@CoachRogerBoneno.com to schedule a time.  GUARANTEE:  If, at the end of the session, you do not have a WOW! from our session, then your investment is ZERO.

Why Most of You Will Always Have Mediocre Businesses

Before going on, I have to say that last week I did a little experiment.  My BLOG & Newsletter were a little…gentler…and, sadly, barely anyone read it.

My passion is to make a DIFFERENCE for you; so if being more …direct…is what it takes to get people to read it, I’ll do it.

The reality is: most small business owners will never have more than a mediocre business.  Before you take offense, please keep reading…

Here are 4 1/2  tell-tale signs that your business will remain in mediocrity:

1.  You have no WRITTEN GOALS – A goal that is not written down is a WISH.  And, unlike Aladdin, just wishing that something will come true will not make it happen.

 1a – You have Goals, but they are small (as in “I hope I can pay myself $50,000 this year,” which I have heard)

2.  You have not COMMITTED to BIG GOALS with a PLAN and a DEADLINE– I was talking with a business owner the other day who is working 14 hour days, and is missing his children’s youth.  But, he has no Plan for getting out of the quagmire except to hope that the person he hired will be “good.”   Instead, he needs to have a specific plan, with goals, activities, and deadlines.

3.  You have never defined your IDEAL Target Customer – This is a problem for new AND old businesses.  The newer businesses feel so desperate for revenue, that they believe that their customer is anyone with cash.    The older business believes that, because of their loyal following in one business, they can just add another product line and, Voila!, more money will appear.  Whether you are a Carpet Cleaner, own an Auto Repair Shop, or a Restaurant; you must define who your ideal customer is, and then create products and marketing designed to speak DIRECTLY to that target.  It does not mean that you will not get others, but lack of laser-focus will keep you from being excellent AND being able to command premium prices.

4. You will not take MASSIVE ACTION, due to a horrible case of “Excusitis.”  Which of these have you given as YOUR reason for not getting all of the customers and business you want?

– You will do more when things “slow down” for you

– You’re building a lot of “relationships” and “Strategic Partners” with your networking and Social Media

– You need a better website, but cannot afford it (or you think you cannot)

– You are “already at capacity” and cannot take on more (by the way, this is NEVER true)

– You do not want to be “pushy,” so you won’t ask for the order (or really do not know how)

– Maybe when you have more Cash Flow you’ll work with a Coach/Consultant.  After all, you get “Free” advice from your mentors – Dad, brother, former teacher, uncle, niece, Ouija Board

– “Fill in the Blank ________________________________

How do these 4 (and 1/2) factors guarantee mediocrity?  Because those who are unwilling to set BIG Goals, Be Specific about what they want and who they serve, and are unwilling take MASSIVE action to achieve it, will always find themselves just a little behind those who do.  And, as Brian Tracy once noted, the horse who is just a little behind is never the winner.

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My clients last year averaged 30%+ sales growth.    Click here and schedule your Strategy Call; where you will get at least 2 new ideas for your business, and we will see if  it makes sense for us to talk further.    Or, are you still afflicted with Excusitis?

What Can You Learn from a Twist, a Lick, and a Dunk?

It’s been 100 years since that most famous (and delicious) of cookies was first introduced to the world.

What product describes itself as perfect for “a Twist, a Lick, and a Dunk?”  Oreos, of course.

I remember as a kid, I would eat only the broken Oreos in the Cookie Jar.  That ended up being a lot, because I kept shaking the jar.  🙂

So, what can YOU learn from a simple cookie?

1.   Your offering does not have to be complicated to be appreciated.  An Oreo is just two cookies and some filling, isn’t it?  Easy to understand, and simple to consume.  For you, think about how to make your offering simpler for your customer to use, and also easier to communicate.

2.   Even if there are cheaper alternatives, you can be successful.  There are a tremendous number of “Chocolate Creme” sandwich options out there.    What Oreo has NOT done is try to compete on price with the generics; because they know that many people will still pay more to get that distinctive taste.  YOUR job, as a business owner, employee, or contractor, is to be distinctive enough so that your prospects consider your incremental cost worth the investment.  And distinctive does not have to mean complicated; just different and better.

3.   Do not rely on “word of mouth” only, even if you ARE successful.  Just about EVERYONE knows what Oreo cookies are; but they still advertise.  Yet, how many of you find some success and believe that “word of mouth is good,” and so throttle back on your advertising?  Keep your foot on the advertising and promotion accelerator and you will find your growth rate not only additive, but EXPONENTIAL.    7.5 BILLION Oreo cookies are sold every year!  If you sold just 7.5 million of YOUR product or service, would that be good?

4.  Make sure that, even if you offer extensions of your product/service line, your customers still have a clear idea of who you are.  Yes, there are Orange filled Oreos for Halloween; Yellow filled Oreos for Spring, Chocolate filled Oreos; and even the Golden Oreos.  But, in the end, when you think of Oreos, what do you picture?  Exactly.   THAT is what should happen for you: when your customers and prospects think of you, they should have a clear picture in their minds of your core offering.  If they do not, then you have to do a better job communicating and marketing.

5.  Be FUN!  OK, I know that not everyone is a cookie.  But, enjoy what you do, and that enthusiasm will transfer to your prospects.    Brian Tracy, a great sales trainer, says that sales are just a transfer of enthusiasm from you to your prospects.  The more enthusiasm YOU have, the more likely you will have enough to TRANSFER and turn into PROFIT.

Well, all this talk about Oreos is making me hungry.   Enjoy these tips, and go have a cookie!

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Helping you make more money, have more free time, and have more FUN is what we do at the Business Acceleration Institute.    Click here and schedule a free Strategy Call; where you will get at least 2 new ideas for your business, and we will see if  it makes sense for us to talk further.    I’ll even bring the cookies!

The ONE Thing Champions Do That You Most Likely Are Not (but should)

OK, full disclosure here.  When I finish with this BLOG post, some of you will “unsubscribe” because you do not want to hear what I am about to say.  That’s fine.

But, of the thousands of people who read what I, and so many other excellent authors, write; my experience is that only a few actually follow through on what they read.  Which completely explains why only 1% of the population ever move past being “comfortable” or “OK” into the “have enough money and time to do whatever they want, whenever they want” stage.

What is the one thing you must stop putting off until “the time is right” and do NOW?

Hire a Coach/Consultant.  (Keep reading.  If what you HAVE been doing was REALLY working perfectly, not many of you would have even read THIS far.)  At the very least, you should open your mind to it.  Every single Champion you can even think of has gotten help so that they could BE a Champion.

I feel one hundred percent confident saying this, because my clients are both startups and multi-millionaires.  That’s right.  I have clients who just started businesses; and I have clients who have multiple successful businesses ALREADY, but enjoy success so much that they want to go even further.

Now, should that coach be me?  Who knows?  Only you can decide that by talking with me.

But, should you do it now?  Absolutely.  If you needed Brain Surgery, would you wait until your head stopped hurting to go to the doctor?  Would you ask your brother, who happens to have seen a few episodes of “House”, to fix it?  Of course not…you would go to a professional.

Your business is the same.  A good Coach/Consultant is a professional whose life is dedicated to the craft of running a successful business.  The person you need is not your brother-in-law who works in marketing at GE; or your friend who owns a different business.  It is someone who has:

– Education

– Experience

– Tools

– A Plan

– Dedication to continuous study of successful businesses

– A commitment to hold you accountable to your own goals

Now, I have all 6 (proof is at http://www.linkedin.com/in/rogerboneno); and there are certainly others who do, also.  So, who you work with is a decision you can only make after evaluating and meeting with a professional.

Aren’t there too many people who depend on you to succeed for you to continue leaving success to just “hard work and persistence”?   Yet, how many of you reading this are doing just that; or waiting for “the right time next month, or next year” to get help?

Is this a little “Sale-sy”?  Maybe.  But so are health warnings on TV.   How many of you know someone who never felt symptoms, but were able to be cured of a serious health problem because they were smart enough to get a “check-up” (or, worse, caught something too late because they felt “OK”)?   A Professional Coach/Consultant is basically a “business doctor.”  So, just because you do not feel any symptoms that the long-term health of your business is in danger; does not mean it is in perfect health.  It MAY be; but maybe NOT.    Schedule your check-up BEFORE you get a surprise.

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Unlike a Medical Doctor’s visit, my initial Business Health Check-up is free.  We’ll only work together if you are 100% certain that we can Transform the health and long-term potential of your business.  Click here and schedule a free Strategy Call; where you will get at least 2 new ideas for your business, and we will see if you are ready for the next step.  The time for “putting it off” is over.

Why You’re Not Really THAT Busy, You’re Just Inefficient (and how to change that)

Does that headline bother you a little?  Well, it should.  But let me ask you this:  why is Bill Gates able to run a BILLION dollar organization with THOUSANDS of employees; yet most business people can barely have time to run their $200,000 or $1M Revenue organization with 2 or 10 people?  Before you answer that this is because he is rich or has people working for him; this was not ALWAYS the case, even for him.  Read on…..

The MOST popular speech I get asked to give to companies and organizations is called “Turn Your Torrent of To-Do’s into a Deluge of Done’s.”  I hear all the time how “everyone needs help with Time Management.”

Sadly, for most business people, it’s almost never because they REALLY have too much to do.  It’s often because they are incredibly inefficient with their time.

Here is what I want you to do: sit down with a big posterboard or paper and put your days at the top and hours down the side.  Then, being COMPLETELY honest with yourself, at the end of the day for the next week, list out EVERY task you do EVERY day in 15 minute increments.  Why 15 minute increments?  Because my experience is that most business owners lose hours every day from all the little things that they allow to distract them.  Here are a several common time-wasters, and how you can minimize their impacts:

1.  Spending 15 Minutes updating your Facebook Status (LinkedIn/Twitter) every couple of hours (or every hour).    TIP:  Realize that it is fairly rare that people will post emergencies on Facebook (as in, they need your product/service in the next 10 minutes; or, you have just won $1,000,000, but have to comment in the next 15 minutes to get it).

2.  Reading every e-mail the minute it comes in, or personally answering every call.  TIP – Turn off the E-Mail pop-up notification/noise, and your ringer on the phone.  Then, depending on your business, schedule 2 – 4 specific times/day to read and reply to e-mails or answer phone calls.   Or, better yet, get an assistant and take some time to teach them how to screen your emails/calls  for you.  Assuming you can make more than $10-$20/hour focusing on your business, the time and dollars you invest in this help will more than pay for itself.

And, if you are saying that you are the only person who can answer customer calls or emails, please go back to the Bill Gates example.  🙂

3.  Not spending time to learn to use Tools & Technology that increase your efficiency.  TIP – Take a class, or spend a few minutes with some of your peers (or your Consultant/Coach) and learn what works for them.  There are a multitude of time-saving software programs and hardware devices.   Success rewards speed; and if you are not using the right tools, your  competitor just might be.

4.   Having an “Open Door” policy, but never defining with your team the rules around how often they can come to you with a “Got a minute?”  TIP – Yes, you want to be accessible to your team; but they can become dependent on you for every little decision, which will only add to your distractions.  In addition, your ideal focus should be to have a business that runs without YOU; so learn to trust the talent you have (if you cannot trust your team, then you should not have hired them – a topic for another BLOG).

5.   Having the belief that you can “multi-task.”  TIP – This is a tough pill to swallow, but scientific research has shown that all you can do is “Serial Task.” Moving from one task to the next to the next is costing you time when you have to re-focus yourself.  Yes, you can walk and chew gum at the same time; but have you ever seen an Olympic sprinter chewing gum during a race?  Of course not, because he or she knows that SINGLE-MINDED FOCUS is what is required to be the best during that time.  Champions learn to FOCUS on tasks so that they can create the best possible result just about every time.  Run now, chew gum later.

I welcome your comments and feedback on this; especially AFTER you have started the time-tracking exercise.  Give it a shot…even if it gives you back just a couple of hours/day to focus on more value-added tasks and/or enjoy with your family, wouldn’t that be amazing?

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Besides helping business owners create businesses that work on their own, without enormous time and stress for the owner; we work with clients to create unique strategies and tactics that help them increase both sales AND profits quickly.

More Sales + More Profits + More Free Time = a VERY HAPPY and RELAXED Business Owner.  This year, a client of mine was able to take a strategy we developed in the first month and close an opportunity worth several thousand dollars (This makes my help Free.   I’m not cheap, but I AM worth the investment).

Be ready to have your business TRANSFORMED to True Greatness. Click here and schedule a free 15 minute Strategy Call; where you will get at least 2 new ideas for your business, and we will see if you are ready for the next step.