Category Archives: Time Management

Jim and Diane’s Trip to Chicago – Based on a True Story

Today I wanted to share a little story with you about a couple, Jim and Diane (based on a true story, so enjoy…).

One day, Jim and Diane decide to take a vacation.  They had both been working very hard, and would leave their comfortable house in the suburbs of Houston and visit Chicago.

So, one slightly misty morning, they packed up their new car and headed out.   They were excited, and knew that they could get there really fast if they took turns driving.  After all, the sooner they got to Chicago, the sooner they would be able to check into their hotel room.

They were going to LOVE Chicago.  They planned to stay at the Westin right on Michigan Avenue.   Across the street would be the “Magnificent Mile” of shops.  A quick elevated train ride would get them to the ballpark.  Fantastic food choices..the Navy Pier, the beautiful lakefront.  They had their whole visit scheduled perfectly.

So they backed out of the driveway and started driving.   Jim told Diane to get on the freeway, and she did.  They drove for a day.  Chicago, here we come!

They drove for another day.  They were getting closer..they just KNEW it.   They had a great car, and knew that Chicago would be fun!

But the third day passed, and Jim was getting perturbed.  So, he told Diane to drive faster.  And they drove for a fourth day.  Still, no Chicago.

Now it was Diane’s turn to tell Jim to drive faster.  And turn NORTH.  They stopped at a gas station, bought a compass, and turned North.

Day five….Day six…Day seven.  They now both wondered why, even though they were CRYSTAL CLEAR about their goal of going to Chicago, were driving a great car,  and were certain about what they would do once they got to Chicago; they never arrived there.

Finally, they looked at each other, and exclaimed, “We probably should have followed a map.”

Sound crazy?  Who would try to get anywhere that far away without a roadmap?

Well?  How many can honestly tell me that YOU have a CLEAR, step-by-step Plan to get from where you are NOW in your business to where you want to be?

The fact is: EVEN WITH A CLEAR GOAL, AND EVEN WITH GREAT PRODUCTS;  YOU STILL NEED A PLAN..A ROADMAP. 

Every day that you spend without one is time you will NOT spend enjoying your goals.  

It’s time, RIGHT NOW, for you to get that Map.  

This is my specialty:  helping you create that map.  It’s a crystal clear, what do you do today, next month, next year, to get to where you want to go. 

To enjoy your Goals….

To stop driving around aimlessly…

I have built these with billion $ and million $businesses, with start-ups, with businesses that have been around for 4 generations (even THEY need better roadmaps sometimes), and even with MLM’s.

Engage Now for a Very Special Year-end rate.  CLICK HERE  and reserve your spot!  As soon as my calendar fills up –  which may be today, and may be by Friday –  the year-end offer is over. 

PS.  It is OK for you to say “No” and keep driving around without a professional plan.  Just make sure that you DECIDED to do that; instead of letting it happen to you like it did to Jim & Diane..by default.

5 Questions You MUST Answer about Your Social Media (or you will hurt your business)

OK, since some of you are reading this as a result of Social Media sites; obviously, I believe there is value in Social Media. 

But, for many business owners, Social Media is a direct cause of their struggles to make money.    The biggest reason for this is what I would call “Intellectually Lazy Marketing.”   “Intellectually Lazy Marketing” occurs when you have no defined “ideal customer,” no targeted message, no integrated online/offline marketing Strategy; but you just post onto Social Media in the hope that people will find you interesting enough to try you.  Sadly, companies who are lazy marketers become companies with falling sales who complain that “the economy” is bad.

Can you answer these 5 questions:

1.  Of your Facebook Page Fans, Twitter Followers, LinkedIn Connections, etc…; how many of them are your Ideal Customers?  How many are people who would never buy from you?

2.  What is your Strategy to increase the number of Ideal Customers who “Like” your page and “Follow” you on Twitter?  Given that many of you spend precious time posting and tweeting (or pay someone else to do so); how many Ideal Customers do you expect to gain from that work in the next week? next month?     After all, you should NEVER spend time or money on marketing without a specific “Success Criteria,”  should you?   

3.  Exactly how many Paying Customers do you expect to get from your Social Media in the next week? month? year?   Think about it.   Have you ever said that the Yellow Pages “don’t work because people do not use them anymore,” but you spend time and money on Social Media without a clear idea if you are getting any quantifiable benefit?  And, if you are saying it’s just about “awareness,”  STOP.   That’s just “Hope”; and we all know that Hope is not a Strategy.

4.  How do your updates speak directly to your target market that: grabs their attention, makes them interested, creates desire, and stirs them to Action?  Sorry, but posting a picture of your Quail Egg Pizza or Line of Desserts do not count.  After all, you are just one of thousands of people trying to get attention.   Consider if I told you that the best way to sell your product would be to drive 30 miles from your restaurant, stand in the middle of a busy street with a big picture, and yell “Desserts!  Look at our Desserts!”  Wouldn’t you think I was crazy, given that people will be “whizzing by” and, even if they hear you, will be unlikely to stop and find out more?  And, for the few who stop, you now have the extra hurdle of making them choose you over all their other choices?  And, then they need to work to drive  across town to try you out?

But, that is what so many of you are doing on Social Media; yelling “Buy my product! Buy my product!” to a generic audience; as you expect THEM to work to discover why they should be your customer.    How much more effective would you be if you had a focused message targeted to your ideal customers?  (this DOES assume you have done the work to identify your ideal customer and the unique message that they will listen to).. 

5.   Are you ignoring other, potentially FAR more effective marketing tactics, because you think Social Media is “cheap”?  FIrst of all, unless you have figured out a way to Stop Time; Social Media is NOT FREE.  Perhaps the time you spend on posting or taking pictures SHOULD be spent on creating motivating compensation plans for your team;  better customer service procedures; or more efficient processes for product delivery.  Secondly, as months go by with an ineffective Social Media system; are you creating a risk that your cash flow will eventually be too low for you to afford what DOES work?   Or, you get to the point where you have no money to invest in a consultant/coach who could have made a massive difference for your business.   Unfortunately, all you can do then is struggle and hope.

Have these questioned changed your view of your Social Media activity?  What is YOUR Strategy for answering these questions?  Please comment below and share this.

Are You an Acorn on Concrete?

Here is a simple question:

Are you an Acorn on Concrete?

What do I mean?

This morning, as I came back from dropping my daughter at school, I saw an Acorn on my porch.  Hmmm.  How successful will that Acorn be at becoming an Oak Tree if it stays on the concrete?  It’s only about 6 inches from the soil; but it may as well be a mile away.

Maybe that’s you: do you have potential, but are struggling to grow because you are just in the wrong place?   Ask yourself these questions:

1.  WHY are you in your particular business?     Just because you CAN do it, does not mean that you SHOULD do it.  I once coached a bookkeeper who was good at the numbers; but who LOVED Real Estate.   I discovered this because, every time I gave her an assignment around marketing her bookkeeping business; she always had some “obstacle” keeping her from doing it.    So, being a successful bookkeeper will most likely be an incredible challenge for her; since that’s not really her passion.

2. Have you examined the REAL potential of your business methodology?   I did not say your business might have little potential; but your methodology.  If you spend all of your time doing business TASKS; but little time strategizing or marketing, success will elude you.  This is one reason most “coaches” and “consultants” struggle to make money:  their methodology requires too much of THEM.  So, every time they get a new client, their pipeline to get new customers shrinks.  They cycle up and down; but never have any real “Freedom.”

3.  Does your business “Get you up in the morning”?   Do you get up every day, excited about how your business is bringing a benefit to others; and is allowing you to live the best life you can?  Or, do you say, “here we go again”; or “I can’t wait until Friday [the idea that you would spend 4.5/7 of your life (the week) looking forward to 2.5/7 (the weekend) is just..dare I say it..crazy!] .   If you do not LOVE what you do, then you WILL subconsciously derail yourself from increasing demand for it.

4.  Are you open to getting help?  It MIGHT be that you ARE in the right business, and you LOVE what you do; but you are doing just a couple of things (or NOT doing a few things) that make the difference between success and struggling.   Maybe, like the Acorn,  all you need to do is to have someone who will find the right place to “plant” your business, and it will grow exponentially.    All the “experience” in the world will not help you; if you continue doing the wrong things.  And, since you should never confuse effort with results; a struggling business means that there is a gap between what you are doing and what you should be doing.

All I am saying in this post is that, it does not matter if you are the smartest person in the world with the POTENTIAL to be a multi-millionaire.  If you are not in the right place, you will struggle.  Even if you are “close,” the wrong place is still the wrong place.

Make a decision RIGHT NOW (not later today, or tomorrow) whether you are truly in the right place and, if not, take action to change.

5 Things Most Business Owners Rarely Do…But Should

How many of you as Entrepreneurs/business owners recognize this as your typical day (having worked with a LOT of you, this is what I hear quite a bit)

Basically, most business owners are moving as fast as they can trying to get customers so they can stay afloat.  The idea of having excess working capital is a wish…a dream.  You tell yourself that, “when things get better,” you will be able to create the systems and processes that you know are important (but you are too busy to work on right now).  This may surprise you, but I even get THIS as an objection:

“When things get better, I’ll be able to work with you, Roger.”  As if a world-class athlete would say, “When I get into the Olympics, I’ll work with a trainer.”  What do you think the odds are that they will get INTO the Olympics? (hint:  pretty close to Zero).

So, I am going to break it to you gently (or, not so gently):  THAT DAY WILL NEVER COME AS LONG AS YOU KEEP DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER!

It’s time for you to draw a line in the sand and at least do these 5 things. 

1.  Forecast Sales

Be specific.  Start with what you want to sell in a year, both in dollars and number of customers; break it down to quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily (and even hourly for some of you) targets.   But make this more than a numbers exercise.  Who is buying?  When are they buying?  Why are they buying what they buy, with the frequency they buy it?  ETC. ETC.

I love a quote I heard from Bob Burg (from one of HIS mentors) that said “If you miss the target, it’s not the target’s fault.”  But, if you don’t even know where the target is; you don’t even have a CHANCE of hitting it.

2.  Spend enough on targeted Marketing.

When you learn to forecast sales well; you will realize that you need to be more methodical in your marketing; instead of the blind chase most of your competitors (and maybe you) are doing.

Consider any great athlete.  If they want to be a champion, how likely is that to happen if they were just randomly running around every day for 20 or 30 minutes; hoping that…somehow..their excercise will be enough to help them be better than their competition?

Yet, I was sitting with a Restaurant Owner the other day who was complaining that “marketing never works.”  When I asked what he did, and who he was targeting; he said he had bought newspaper ads (yikes..for a restaurant?) and said he wanted to target people who wanted “great food and great service.”  (for my regular readers, you know how I feel about THAT one).

Even worse, most business owners not only do not have enough process around their marketing; they underspend.   Just to MAINTAIN your business, you should be spending AT LEAST 5% of your revenue on marketing.  To grow, you might invest 10% or even 15%.  Yes, if you do the math, that may seem like a LOT.   But, the 8, 10, or 12 hours of training by a champion athlete also seems like a lot to the 3rd place finisher.   As long as you underspend and lack focus, you WILL be the one in 3rd place; struggling to get ahead, and often wondering why your competitor gets “the lucky breaks.”

By the way, I would 100% recommend that, before you increase your spending or try targeting; do your research and learn what works, what does not, and how to test for maximum effectiveness (or, find someone who specializes in marketing, so that your learning curve is not so steep).

3. Analyze and ACTIVELY MANAGE your Costs, especially Cost of Goods Sold and Labor

This is much more than just knowing your product costs and “beating up” on your vendors to get the lowest price; while paying your team members as little as possible.  It involves incorporating your marketing, product sales strategy, and operations strategy into a cohesive plan to ensure that you are making money.  Since I work with Restaurants, my experience is that most of them throw their menu together with no strategy or understanding to how it affects either their food cost or labor expense.  So, when they are not making any money; they THINK it is just because “sales need to be higher.”

Even if you are selling mufflers, though, the concept of this integration is the same.  Sales cures a lot of ills..but it won’t fix anything if your cost to deliver more product is more than the revenue.     Or, if your marketing gets more customers, but they all come when you are at capacity already; so you cannot serve them well when they DO come (which can be bad).

4.  Recognize Positive Actions by at least half your Team – EVERY DAY

If I had a Dime for every business owner who wonders where all of the “hard workers” have gone….I’d have a lot of dimes.

Seriously, maybe the problem is not in their motivation, but in the fact that many business owners have the attitude that their “employees are lucky to have a job.”  Well, maybe they are; but what are you doing to make sure they are motivated to care as much about the business as you would like?

If all you do is continue to point out their errors and faults; eventually you build it into their heads that they need to work on “avoiding errors.”  Can you see what they are now focused on?  Errors.

Now, I am not saying you should celebrate mediocrity; but set a goal every day to find positive actions by your team and recognize them.  Guess what you do then?  You will create in them a focus on doing positive actions.  Then, even when you need to point out opportunities for improvement, your team is going to be more accepting.

5.  Get  HELP!

If things are not working as well as you had hoped, get help.  Stop doing your own website, creating coupons and offering deals when you do not understand how these impact your business and your brand, hiring people without a profiling system, etc. etc.

I talk to restaurant owners every day who, with very little experience in the business, have put down half of a million dollars of their savings in a building and equipment (because someone said they were great cooks); yet have let their nephew do their website, have designed their own menus, and let the Groupon people talk them into money-losing online deals.    Then, they cannot afford to get help because by the time they realize that they should get help; they have burned through all of their working capital and are funding a burning building out of their own pockets.  It’s painful to watch.

If you do these 5 things, I can guarantee that, in the very near future,  your business will be 100% better than it is now.  You will have more sales, more cash flow, a more motivated team, and a business that you feel GREAT about.

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Please comment below: are you doing all 5 of these?  If not, which ARE you doing, and how will you begin doing the others (PS.  if #5 is on your “to do” list, email me at Roger@RestaurantSuccessGuru.com for some ideas.  If I’m not the right one to help you, because of my Restaurant owner focus; I have an extensive list of contacts to find just the right person for you)

How to Implement Stevie Wonder’s Best Business Building Tip

No April rain

No flowers bloom

No wedding Saturday within the month of June

(If you are feeling a little romantic, or WANT to feel that way 🙂 , watch here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwOU3bnuU0k)

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I am probably revealing how old I am, but this was a very popular song when I was in High School.  So, why am I bringing this up in a Business Blog?

Because, while many business owners believe that “word of mouth” is a great way to build their businesses with less  effort; very often they believe that just having a great product and service is how to get referrals.    But, realistically, how many of you have received great service from someone, and MEANT to tell everyone about it, but never did?   You get busy, so you never do.   Or, maybe there was just this one thing…

This is where Stevie Wonder comes in.  His advice?  “Just [Call] to say I love you…just [call] to say how much I care.”   And Stevie says to do it not because of an occasion, but “just because.”   Here are some ways for you to do that:

1.  Send physical (NOT email) Thank You notes;

2.  Send them a little gift (or, if it is a BIG contract, a BIG gift…assuming you are not in a regulated field);

3.  Actually CALL them, and say how much you appreciate their business;

4.  Actively seek out a referral for them, or make a strategic connection that might help THEM;

5.  Provide a little unexpected bonus service.

Again…don’t just do these right after they give you money or because of a holiday; but do it when they might not expect it.  Perhaps you send them something midway through the contract period.  Or maybe a month after they bought something.  You CAN schedule it on your calendar, but just do not do it around any specific event.

And do NOT..I repeat..do NOT ask for more business or try to sell them something else at the same time that you do one of these.  Otherwise, it does not really feel like love.

The fact is, loving your customers and telling them (in words or unexpected actions) is a fantastic way to get more referrals AND more business.     Plus, when there is love, they will overlook minor faults,  forgive errors, and are loyal based on more than price.

PS.   This assumes that you really DO love your customers.  If you do not, then you are just a “Con Man” and need to be in a different business (or jail).

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 Schedule a 15 minute call with me – Marketing Guru, Financial Wizard, and Team Motivation Expert – and we’ll make you Love what your business can do for you:    https://my.timedriver.com/191CR  The Call is free, unless you don’t schedule it…then, your opportunity cost is expensive!

4 Ways Most Business People are like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”

“Here’s Johnny!”

So says Jack Nicholson’s character after he chops through a bathroom door with an ax in “The Shining.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7JB68sLGY8  (If you have not seen the movie, spoiler alert!).

The short version of the movie (based on a book by Stephen King): Jack Torrance is a writer who, for a variety of reasons, goes insane and attempts to kill his family.  My experience with most business owners is that they are a LOT like Jack Torrance in they you run their businesses.

1.  You are trying to “go it alone,” but all that ends up happening is that you end up doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results.  In the movie, Jack wanted to have solitude so that he could write his book; but all he ended up writing over and over was “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  If this seems a little “crazy,” then ask yourself what you are doing differently now in your business than you were last month to:

– Get more customers

– Increase your customer loyalty

– Motivate your Team

– Manage your cash flow

If these are not ONE HUNDRED PERCENT where you want them to be; then take some time to evaluate what needs to change.     Sometimes, one little tweak will make a huge difference.  Last month, a client of mine was frustrated because he was trying for months to get a CEO to meet with him on a very large contract.  When I gave him a simple change in approach and wording, he was able to close the $55,000 opportunity within a week.

2.  When you seek advice, are you sure it is from the right people?  In the movie, Jack eventually DOES seek advice; but it is from a ghost bartender.  As you can imagine, the advice is not very beneficial.  Is this you?  Are you getting “opinions” from your brother, dad, or friend, etc; whose life is not 100% focused on how to grow YOUR business.    I am not saying that your relatives are trying to drive you crazy or are evil (:-) ).  However, before accepting advice, make sure it is based on DATA and is focused on a goal that is MEASURABLE.    Too many businesses struggle and fail because the “advice” they get lacks any real “success criteria” tied to what is best for you.

3.   Do you automatically attack people who are seeking to help you?   Jack’s wife, as well as the cook (Scatman Crothers), both tried to help Jack; but his response was not friendly.   Before you say “I never do that,” ask yourself what is your response when a Telemarketer calls you, or someone offers you a service for your business.  Do you hang up abruptly; unsubscribe from their newsletter; or (the most inconsiderate thing) ignore them?   Maybe this comparison seems like a stretch, but I would challenge you to be more open-minded the next time someone offers you help.  Give them 3 minutes; then, be POLITE if you do not feel like you want to learn more (just follow the Golden Rule).

4.  Are you “chasing footprints,” trying to force your solution onto your prospects?  In the final scenes of the movie (spoiler alert!), Jack was chasing down his family through a maze during a driving snowstorm.  In the end, by covering up his tracks, Jack’s son was able to fool Jack into going the wrong direction.  As a result, Jack became hopelessly lost, and froze to death.

How is that like you?

Do you REALLY know what your customer wants, or are you just “chasing tracks”?  Because Jack’s customer was filled with fear (wouldn’t you be?), his son kept running away and doing everything he could to avoid the confrontation.  After all, the boy did not see the result as a positive situation.    In his Insane mind, jack probably could not see why the boy did not want to stop.  But, interestingly enough, that’s just like many of you.

You have not created compelling marketing, or a customer-friendly sales process; so your prospect runs, hides his tracks, and does everything he can to avoid meeting with you.  You feel frustrated, and wonder why your customer seems so “afraid” to meet with you.  Most of the time, YOU have created that fear; and so need to change your approach.

OK, I will say that the comparison between you chasing business; and Jack hunting down his family to kill them seems extreme.  However, If your business is not where you want it to be, and you have ever said that it is “driving you crazy,” maybe you need to make some changes…

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It is SUMMER and I am offering a very special opportunity to work with me for ONE YEAR for one investment.  For the first 5 Business Owners who engage with me in my “Summer Business School” program, we’ll cover highly important topics like:

  1. Your Marketing message and strategies (especially how to differentiate in a competitive market)
  2. What to say to a prospect, in person or on the phone; and how to convert more “leads” into long-term customers
  3. How to hire the RIGHT people (or, if you should hire anyone at all)
  4. Cash Flow strategies for a growing business
  5. Anything you need to cover, since it includes unlimited email support!

If a business cannot offset this investment in the next YEAR; then they probably want to rethink even being in business.  🙂  So, fax in the Engagement Agreement today, and we will get started on making your business “Shine,” instead of you feeling like you are in “The Shining.”  https://coachrogerb.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/summer-business-school.pdf

To learn more, schedule a call:   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR  Do it today, since the offer is only for a select few.

5 Lies Businesspeople Tell Themselves (are you?)

Yes, I used the word LIES.  It’s a tough word, but there is no other way to say it.   Read these over, and ask yourself, truthfully, how many have you told yourself.  If you think otherwise, keep reading to see why this may be true for you.

1.  I’m working as hard as I can – Start tracking your time, every day, for the next week.  Be specific, and be honest, about every activity you are doing.   Was every activity truly moving your business forward (only count Facebook and Twitter if you have gotten REAL referrals from it)?

2.  My prospects believe me when I say that I have the best product and the best service – Go do a Google search on your product or service.  If you find NO OTHER business like yours saying it is “the best” in general terms, then you can ignore this one.

3.  Groupons are a good idea for my Restaurant or Retail business –  The corollary fib is, “once they TRY my product, they will keep coming back.”  Unfortunately, most business owners see little to no benefit in reality.  So they do another one.  Then another one…

Here is my challenge:  if you can find ONE business owner who can show data that proves how they have benefitted from a highly discounted Groupon “deal,” please send me a note or comment on this post.   What does NOT count – selling hundreds of coupons without showing a long-term lift in your business sales AND profits.

4.   My prices are what my customers expect – Why is this here?  Because most business owners have never done any research or testing of their pricing.    Just because people are paying the prices you have set, does not mean that you have set them well.  Many of you are leaving thousands of dollars “on the table” every year because you lack a pricing analysis strategy.

5.   I can wait until things “get better” to get help running my business   Or, its cousin, “My business is doing OK, so I do not need help.”  The issue with these untruths are that both of them assume that you are able to coach yourself.     Unfortunately, when you are in the midst of challenges, you are often too busy dealing with the daily fires to see how to get out of the burning building.   Or, in the second case, you think it is hot where you are because of your excellence; but it is eventually the fires you DON’T see that catch you by surprise.   Then, after your cash flow has dwindled and the problems are overwhelming, you find you cannot AFFORD to get the help you need.

In the end, some might call these “denial.”  But, really they are Lies that people tell themselves to avoid the hard truths about why they have not developed the business they had once imagined.

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If you HONESTLY feel like your business is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT where you want it to be, then no need to click here:    https://my.timedriver.com/191CR   On the other hand, if you have a desire for excellence; let’s talk.

Why You May Be Running Your Business like Captain Ahab

I love classical literature.  Not only is it well-written; but it also can give us great insights into our own lives.

Take Captain Ahab, from Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick.

He is absolutely what many people would call a “tragic figure.”  That said, many business owners are incredibly similar to Captain Ahab in the way they run their businesses.   Melville says that Ahab is a “Monomaniac”: someone obsessed by something to the point of (or past) insanity; but whose insanity is confined to that one area.  A lot of business owners run their businesses the same way.  They are very smart people; but keep chasing the wrong thing in the wrong way.

Before you dismiss this thought, consider which of these are true of you:

1.  Have you ever caught yourself thinking about how hard you have worked and are still working; and feel puzzled by the fact that you have not achieved the dreams you had set for yourself?  Like Ahab early on with his whaling business,  is this because you have just been doing an activity, but have not had a specific, crystal clear understanding of what you REALLY want?

2.  Is the business you are “chasing” REALLY good for you, or even what will make you happy?  In the book, Captain Ahab gets chomped by Moby Dick; and then becomes obsessed with chasing his newfound nemesis.  Similarly, I see business owners who have a two-step decision-making process for deciding what they want to do:

Step 1:  They want to “control their own destiny” by not working for someone else;

Step 2: They start a business based on what they have done at their “jobs” and/or what they see other people doing to make a lot of money; instead of truly doing what they love to do.

Sadly, they never define specific goals and objectives (for either their business OR their personal lives), align those goals with their true passions, then define the most efficient way to get there.  Keep following this in the next point….

3.  Has your current business “bitten” you, and you have gotten “perseverance” confused with “obsession”?      Do you have a business that does not pay you, causes you stress, and eats up your time; but you believe that it will just take “perseverance” to succeed?    Unfortunately, you cross over into “obsession” when you keep using methods that are not working for you.   Doing the same thing again and again, and expecting better results is not perseverance, it is insanity.  To mix metaphors a little; Thomas Edison  persevered, but he was also smart enough to TEST, MEASURE, and try DIFFERENT tactics.

So, you have the same marketing message that has not worked; and you just put it in more places.  Or, you are not getting any leads from your networking; but you just attend more events.  None of your “Strategic Partners” are giving you referrals; yet, you have more coffees and lunches.

For those of you who have never read the book Moby Dick (or it has been a long time); Captain Ahab dies by the very tactic he is using to kill Moby Dick.  Ahab throws his harpoon at the whale, but the rope catches Ahab’s neck and pulls him into the water to strangle and drown.  If you are running a business that is not paying you, takes up all your time, and creates enormous levels of stress; then your business is that same rope.  You are throwing it at “freedom,” but all it is doing is strangling your happiness.

This weekend, sit down (preferably with a spouse, partner, or trusted friend) and ask yourself honestly if you are Ahab. 

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Let us take the stress out of your business; and work with you to achieve your goals BEFORE your business chokes off your happiness.  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR    If you have been “meaning to call,” but still have not done so; today is your day to take action.

Which Little Pig is YOUR Business Like?

Which Pig are you?

No, I am not asking you how much you eat.  Or what you weigh.  That is your personal business. 🙂

However, based on my experience with many business owners; every business is similar to one of the houses in “The Three Little Pigs.”  How do you know which one of these you are?

1.  You have built your business from “Straw” – This business has minimal start-up costs and begins easily.  You have some skill, and perhaps people who love your work; and so you decide to be your own boss.  However, it lacks a strong strategic foundation, structure, or any clearly defined goals.

Interestingly enough, this is one that can “trap” a business owner the easiest, because it seems to start quickly.   If the economy is doing well, or you get a few early customers, it looks like you are “done.”  Unfortunately, because it seems to be doing “OK” so quickly, you do not solidify its structure; and do not have a plan to deal with challenges like:  losing a major customer or an important strategic partner.  Then, when the “Wolf” comes along in the guise of a challenge or setback, your lack of a solid foundation or clearly defined goals makes your business easy to “blow away.”

And, by the way, the ORIGINAL story does not have this pig escaping.  No.  He gets eaten (which is what challenges do to many of these business owners).

2.  You have built your business out of “sticks” – You are a little more advanced than the “straw business owner.”  Maybe you have “Free” business plan help from SCORE, or the Small Business Development Center at the University.  Or, perhaps your Uncle, Cousin, Nephew, Sister-in-Law, or other friend has given you some advice.  So, clearly, you are smart enough to know that your business needs some foundation and structure.  These are good things.

That said, these businesses FEEL solid; but lack the fortitude to withstand issues like marketplace shifts, or new competitors.   This is because the “plan” was based on what “once worked,” the marketplace at a point in time, or a generic “one size fits all” system.    The worst part about this is that your “Plan” may actually have been successful for a while.  So, when sales start to fall suddenly or you find yourself working more for the same profits, you have what the Organizational Behavior theorists call “Escalation of Commitment.”  You try harder; you work longer; but you refuse to change even when the “sticks” all around you are falling down.    This can not only be exhausting; but your hard work and persistence alone are not enough to keep you from getting “gobbled up” when the rest of the building caves in.

3.  You build your business with Bricks – You are the one who does not get “eaten.”  Your business is made of:

– “Bricks” that include solid strategies around your Time Management; your Team Development; your Marketing Strategy & Tactics; and your Financial Strategies, Performance Metrics; and Success Indicators;

– The “Mortar” of good people who will help you execute that strategy; including your staff, your leadership team, as well as your advisors and coaches (who may be paid by you, but do NOT work for your company directly).

– Plus, you have the advance consideration to know how to build the “fire” of ACTION that will keep you one step ahead of the “wolves” of business challenges.  So, when you find that you have new competitors who are underpricing you, or offering better service; you respond quickly and powerfully (and NOT by lowering prices).

So, it is YOUR choice:

1. Have a Business that gets “blown over” easily (or WILL get blown over easily);

2.  Build a solid Business plumped up with fat profits, happy customers, amazing cash flow, and an incredible future.

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Learn how to build a SOLID business that both makes you comfortable AND protects you from the “Wolves” trying to knock your business down.  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR

The 5 Diseases of Business Owners that Cripple their Success

After working with dozens and dozens of businesses, from billion $ public companies to startups, I see many very smart and very nice business leaders suffering from disorders that are crippling their chances for achieving amazing success.  Based on my experiences, here are the top 5 diseases afflicting business owners:

1.   Independitis – The feeling that, because they need to be “independent,” no one else can help them.  The problem with this is that, if your expertise is in AC Repair; you would be much better off if you spent your time repairing AC’s while getting expert help to work on your Marketing and Sales tactics or coordinating your schedule;

2.  Blamethemenia – The belief that, when sales go down, it is because of “the economy,” “dumb prospects,” or “unfair competition”; when the real issue is an uncoordinated marketing plan (or no plan at all).  This is often an outgrowth of a previous case of “Igetallmybusinessfromwordofmouthia.”

3.  Denialopathy – When what “used to work” is not delivering results; you refuse to believe that you need to make a change.    You keep denying anything is wrong; even as your bank account dwindles rapidly.  Or, when employees perform poorly, you believe it is because of their lack of motivation or laziness; when YOU hired them and do not have a well-designed team building plan, training system, or job description manual.

4.  Putitoffinoma – When you delay doing what you KNOW you should; because you have rationalized that you can just do it “later.”  Sadly, all those “little” items eventually pile up and spread, so that your business dies a painful death; even though you HAD the knowledge to make yourself successful.

5.  Flybytheseatofmypantsology – You have no Plan; no strategy; you do not know what numbers you should know to track the health of your business; and you have not set a goal for the next month, the next quarter, or the year.  The biggest symptom of this is a business owner who is working 14 or 16 hour days, and keeps hoping that things will “get better” if they just “persist” and “persevere.”  Unfortunately, days, weeks, months, and years pass and nothing gets any better.

Other symptoms are:

-you cannot take much time off without worrying about your business; you have to tell your employees OVER and OVER AGAIN how to do something that seems so simple to you;

– your final profit margins are a lot lower than you expected, based on what you charge for your product;

– if someone asked you what your average sales were over the last few months, or what your most profitable products are, and why, you do not know;

– and, if someone offered to buy your business right now and pay you to not work, you know in your heart that the business just will not run as smoothly without you managing all of the details.  This disease actually is often accompanied by “Youownajobia.”

The fact is, many business owners suffer from more than one of these maladies.  And, even though these are “curable” with the right prescription and ACTIONS, how many of YOU still continue to suffer and hope it gets better on its own?

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Everyone knows that early detection of any disease greatly enhances your chance of a cure.   Waiting is just allowing the disease to become more entrenched.   Let us give your business a thorough “Exam.”   Just like a Doctor, I will ask you some questions about your business; and then we’ll work on the “cure.”  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR