Copyright ÂŠ 2008 by Bronson Tang Cover design by Cesar Ruiz Book design by Bronson Tang All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review. Bronson Tang Visit my website at http://www.TheTaoOfBusiness.com/ Printed in the United States of America First Printing: October 2008
Contents Preface Introduction Chapter Summary Chapter 1: Mission Possible - Business Plan Chapter 2: Itâ€™s the same old story - Scenario Chapter 3: When opportunity knocks - State Management Chapter 4: Maximizing your potential - Accelerated Learning Chapter 5: The future think tank - Research & Development Chapter 6: The price is right - Sales & Marketing Chapter 7: Walking the tightrope- Operations Chapter 8: Making cents of it all - Accounting & Finance Epilogue Acknowledgements Chapter Notes
Preface Running and building a business can be an adventure. I some times like to compare the experience of being a business owner to that of climbing a mountain. Wherever life’s journey takes you and whatever roads you choose to travel I am certain that it will be the experience of a lifetime. Ram Dass, in his book, Journey of Awakening, describes life’s journey as a mountain climb: “Picture a beautiful warm summer day. A group of people has decided to climb a nearby mountain. The going is easy, the day is gentle. After several hours they reached a plateau with a rest station. Here they ﬁnd a restaurant; comfortable chairs, rest rooms, telescopes-all the conveniences. The view is inspiring. The air cooler and clearer than down below. A sense of well being, of health and energy, animates the climbers’ body and soul. For many in the group, this is enough. Many return home feeling refreshed and satisﬁed. They are called day climbers. A few remain, having discovered another path. Perhaps it is the same path that began far down the valley. Impelled by the need to explore, they start forward onto it. After a while the air grows cooler still. The trees thin out. Clouds obscure the view from time to time. The path keeps rising, getting steeper and steeper. It is not yet beyond the skill of those who are determined to go on. They reach a second rest area, with no conveniences other than an outhouse and an outdoor ﬁreplace. The camaraderie is now deeper. Their eyes feast a grander view. The villages in which they grew up lie tiny and remote from this new distance. It is their past they see in a new perspective. They see the limits of their lives in the valley far below. 5
Few people leave this station to travel higher. Most stay for a while, and then go back down. Some remain--a handful. They seek and ﬁnd a hidden path disappearing above. Are they ready to ascend the ﬂat faces of rocks, to creep along narrow ledges, to explore caves high above, to crawl up to the snow line and beyond? They feel some fear and loneliness now, some confusion. They ask themselves, why they left the conviviality of the rest stop to tackle this painful, dangerous journey or is it a pilgrimage? Their physical hardships reﬂect their spiritual struggle. The obstacles of rock and cliff mirror the possibility of great injury, worse than before because the openness and risk are greater. Added now is an inner battle. The climbers feel they have taken on an adversary. The mountain has become something to be mastered and controlled. Of the handful of people that climbs to this height, only one or two can reach the top. Those few who go for broke, who want to reach the top, will use their every tool to its utmost. They want all of it, the top of the moun-tain, the mystic experience every climber has known. After one arrives at the summit, after going through the total transforma- tion of being, after becoming free of fear, doubt, confusion, and self-consciousness, there is yet one more step to the completion of that journey: the return to the valley below, to the everyday world. Who is it that returns, is not who began the climb in the ﬁrst place. The being that comes back is quietness itself, is compassion and wisdom, and is the truth of the ages. Whatever humble or elevated position that being holds within the community, he or she becomes a light for others on the way, a statement of the freedom that comes from having touched the top of the moun tain. The return completes the cycle. It is this cycle which brings the spirit to earth and allows for the divine to feed once again 6
the hopes and aspirations, the barely sensed possibility, that exists in each human being.“ Each of us has the potential to reach the top in whatever we strive to achieve. We can choose to create a journey of wonder and excitement that is overﬂowing with passion and a commitment toward excellence. We can also choose to create a journey that is mired down with fear, doubt, and self-imposed limitations. Ultimately whatever life journey you create is a matter of choice. The journey begins with a commitment to see it through, forge ahead, and by staying on the path. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. -Nelson Mandela At any moment in time we are faced with the decision to quit or to continue on. The journey toward the top can often times be ﬁlled with challenges and obstacles. The climb inevitably becomes more about who you become as a person and less about the climb itself. I ask you to consider this as you read this book. It is my hope that your own personal journey is ﬁlled with success, passion, and excitement and that this book will positively contribute toward the growth of both your business and your life’s journey.
Introduction Let’s face it starting and running a business is risky. According to Paul E. Adams author of Fail-Proof Your Business, “US sta- tistics indicate that 80% of businesses will fail, while only 2% of businesses will ever become successful enough to earn real money.” Businesses from the corner deli sandwich shop to the large publicly traded corporation are always looking for innovative and creative ways to reduce their costs, increase their revenue and manage their business more effectively. In other words if you have a business or happen to work for one, and your company is spending more money than it is generating and the business is operating in a survival mode as opposed to a thriving mode, you may become one of the casualties of the business world. According to Tim Cohn of Advanced Marketing Consultants, “For every business success story there are nine failures. At least that is what the statistics tell us. After ten years, only one out of every ten businesses started is still operating. What causes businesses to fail? Conventional wisdom says there are many factors that contribute to business failure, yet in reality there is only one reason: Mismanagement.” Mismanagement can come in many forms: mismanagement of sales and marketing, mismanagement of operations, misman agement of research and development and/or mismanagement of accounting and ﬁnances. While it is true that many businesses may take the initiative of reducing costs as their primary goal; many of these businesses can further reduce their costs and enhance the quality of their day-to-day operations, if they were only aware of their choices. 9
This book is dedicated to all the business owners and managers who are searching for innovative, tested and proven methods to help grow their business. This book is a compendium of successful business practices that can help you to catapult your business to the next level. This book is entitled the Tao of Business because for all intents and purposes there appears to be a certain nature (Tao) that surrounds business and the entrepreneurial spirit. The literal word Tao represents the basic concept of Taoism. In general, this term belongs to the spiritual atmosphere of the ancient China and can be translated way, mean, art, and skill. In other words, there is a way to go about succeeding in business. There are skills that are simple and timeless that can eventually lead to extraordinary business success. As a business owner I realized that we can use all the professional expertise we can get. That is why I created this book. I love business. I love business because I have learned to see it as fun and exciting and most of all because itâ€™s always changing. I believe business is mainly about building relationships. Itâ€™s exciting because people make it exciting. Every day is different as you work with vendors, partners, customers, and prospects. As a business owner I realized early on that I could improve peopleâ€™s lives through the conversations and interactions I have on a daily basis. As business owners we are in the enviable position to add value not just monetarily but also in our contributions to our employees, our community, the world and most importantly ourselves. The landscape of business changes every day. In this day and age customers are more interested in the experience of what a product or service can offer than just the product or service itself. We no longer live in an age of the commodity, goods, or service economy. It has be10
ome more of an experience economy. It is our job as business owners to try to create a valuable and memorable experience for our customers. In the book, The Experience Economy, Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore provide a revealing look at where the business economy is moving. According to Pine and Gilmore, “Consider that common event everyone experiences growing up: the birthday party. Most baby boomers can remember back to childhood birthday parties when Mom would make a cake from scratch using com modities such as butter, sugar, eggs, ﬂour, milk, and cocoa. And how much did these ingredients cost back then? A dime or two, maybe three. Such commodities became less and less relevant to the needs of consumers when companies such as General Mills with its Betty Crocker brand and Procter & Gamble with Dun- can Hines packaged most of the necessary ingredients into cake mixes and canned frostings. And how much did these goods cost as they increasingly ﬂew off the supermarket shelf in the 1960s and 1970s? Not much, perhaps a dollar or two at most, but still quite a bit more than the cost of the basic commodi- ties. In the 1980s, many parents stopped baking cakes at all. Mom or Dad would simply call the supermarket or local bakery and order the cake, specifying the exact type of cake frosting, when it would be picked up, and the speciﬁc words and design desired on the top. At $10 to $20, this custom service cost ten times the goods needed to make the cake at home and still involved less than a dollar’s worth of ingredients. Many parents thought this is a great bargain, however, enabling them to focus their time and energy on planning and throwing the actual party. What do families do at the dawn of the twenty-ﬁrst century? 11
They outsource the entire party to companies such as Chuck E. Cheese’s, the Discovery Zone, Club Disney, and Creativities. These companies stage a birthday experience for family and friends for costs between $100 and $250.” It is the intention of this book to help business owners grow their business while creating an extraordinary experience for their customers. The Tao of Business is more than just a how to book on the proper business etiquette. It’s about building a strong foundation that starts from the inside out. You see if you are not healthy, wealthy, and rich inside than it really doesn’t matter how much you achieve in the areas of health, wealth, and riches on the outside. Form good habits and become their slaves. - Og Mandino In the book, Leading an Inspired Life, by Jim Rohn, he talks about wealth and character. If you can learn at least one thing from what I have to share with you this would be it, “it’s not what you get out of life that is important, it’s who you become out of life that is important.” If you’ll just ask yourself that one important question, “Do I like who I am becoming,” I guarantee you that your life will dramatically change. The success of your business will not make your life, you make your life. It’s what a friend of mine likes to call the cross over illusion. The cross over illusion is the belief that ﬁxing one aspect of your life will automatically ﬁx the others. A famous proverb once said, “He who is happy with nothing can be happy with everything.” There are exceptions to the rule. There are those who run on autopilot truly unaware of their own inner drive dictated by their unconscious thoughts. Is that truly how 12
you want to live your life as a constant stimulus response being navigating through life on cruise control? I sincerely doubt that you are content living a life where you are constantly at the effect of life. Being at the cause of your personal and professional life rather than the effect requires a level of persistence, integrity, and consistent daily habits. These traits help to build a solid foundation toward becoming the ideal you and your ideal business. Zig Ziglar, in his book, See You at the Top, brilliantly illustrates the importance of working on the inside out. He shares the story of a young business executive that took some work home to complete for an important meeting the next day. However every few minutes his ﬁveyear-old son would interrupt his train of thought. After several such interruptions, the young executive spotted the evening paper with a map of the world on it. He took the map, tore it into a number of tiny pieces, and told his son to put the map together again. He ﬁgured this would keep the little fellow busy for a long time and he could complete his work. However, in less than a minute the boy excitedly told his dad he ﬁnished. The young executive was astonished and asked the boy how he had done it so quickly. The little guy said, “There was a picture of a man on the other side, so I just turned it over and put the man together. When I got the man right, the world was right.” In other words when you get you right, your world will be right.
Be the change you wish to see in the world Yes its true being in business is exciting. It has its rewards and it has its costs. It’s great when your business has reduced its expenditures, increased its revenues, and the day-to-day operations of your business are running as smooth as silk. I also be lieve that it’s even more rewarding when you create and build a business that’s greater than yourself, a business that adds a positive contribution to all those around you. Every tape, book, and seminar I have ever read or attended on the philosophy of business has stated this one simple and profound message: focus on the needs of others. The late Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is a timeless quote that I feel is incredibly valuable. Creating a successful business requires building relationships that are mutually beneﬁcial. I realize that there may be many of you who are already making positive contributions and it is my hope that you will continue. This is brief message to all those who are building or thinking of building a business strictly on the basis of money. If your intention is to simply make more money for yourself I would ask that you consider the possibility of a future that includes the success of all those around you. The success of all those around you might include your friends, family, community, and the world. You can have everything in life that you want if you’ll just give enough other people what they want. Zig Ziglar
One ﬁnal note Before I wrote the book, I created an article called, How to Look Like a Fortune 500 Company for Under $200. The article featured a collection of ideas, tips, and tools that altogether cost less than $200 and in some cases many of the ideas, tips, and tools were free. As some of you probably know the article became wildly popular and I was asked if I had any more ideas. So I ﬁgured why not write a book. Give a man a ﬁsh and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to ﬁsh and you feed him for a lifetime. -Chinese Proverb In writing this book I have continued the same tradition as the article. All of the ideas, tips and tools featured each cost less than $50 and in some cases many of the ideas, tips, and tools are free. I have also included an approximate price for all the tips and tools that are discussed in this book. Please take into con sideration as with most things in life prices can change. In other words if you go looking for particular tip or tool that I offer and you ﬁnd that the prices are not exactly what are stated in the book, please don’t be upset it’s an approximate price. I cover eight essential sections that from my own personal experience I feel are important in business and I provide ideas, tips, tools that can save your business some money. I mean isn’t that why you are reading this book in the ﬁrst place.
The book is designed to be a reference guide. I recommend that you read the book from cover to cover, but seriously when was the last time an author made a request of you; and you followed through on it? (Now I am not saying that you don’t follow through.) So if you feel the need to skip around to the section(s) that pertain to your current business need(s) please go right ahead. The book is divided into eight chapters. The following is a brief summary of each chapter:
Chapter 1 Mission Possible - Business Plan: This outlines some helpful hints for
creating a business plan and some useful cost saving ideas. Creating business plans has been a major part of any business venture I set out on be cause it allows me to make the mistakes on paper that I other wise might make with my wallet or checkbook. For all of you who shriek at the very notion of creating a business plan, all I have to say is…. well…best of luck, it’s your money. (Oh yeah and by the way I have also got a great piece of swampland in Florida that I’m looking to unload.)
Chapter 2 It’s the same old story - Scenario: I ﬁrst learned about Scenarios from the
book, Synchronicity, The Inner Path to Leadership, by Joseph Jaworski. In the book he talks about how the Royal Dutch Shell Group of companies also known as Shell Oil Company took the system scenario planning to help take the company from what Forbes magazine had said, “was the weakest of the seven major oil companies, even calling Shell ‘the ugly sister’ of the so called seven sisters.” According to Jaworski, “To three years later, Shell discovered the power of 16
targeting the mental models of its decision makers through scenario planning. By 1979, Shell and Exxon were seen as operating in a class by themselves’ and by 1994, Forbes listed the Royal Dutch Shell Group of companies at the very top of their foreign Super Fifty-the largest companies outside the Untied States ranked by revenues, net income, as sets, and market value.” So what is scenario planning? Well you’re just going to have to read the chapter and ﬁnd out.
Chapter 3 When opportunity knocks - State Management: “When your
ship comes in, don’t be waiting at the airport.” This is a funny quote that actually has a bit of truth to it. A degree of preparation is certainly important in ensuring that you fully take hold of the opportunities that await you. Realize also that opportunity is a matter of perspective. We live in a deep and colorful ocean of opportunities and yet for some it can be viewed as an uninhabited lake of unfortunate circum stances. Managing your states of both preparation and perspective (also known as mind and emotion) can help to transform that lake into a deep, rich ocean. State management is such a vital component in determining the success or failure of your business. If you do not properly manage your state of mind and emotions the success of your business makes no difference because it will surely crumble. This chapter discusses the fun damentals of managing one’s mental, emotional, and spiritual state.
Chapter 4 Maximizing your potential— Accelerated Learning: We each have an unlimited amount of potential. Unfortunately only a few ever tap into it. Growing up I was not a big fan of reading. In high school 17
I hardly studied and somehow managed to graduate. Upon entering college I realized that for the ﬁrst time I would really have to study. I think I read more books in college than I had read the previous 12 years in the public school system. My college years were ﬁlled with trial and error. I felt like more of a scientist then a student. I was experimenting with all different types of learn ing. Once again I had managed to graduate. I always considered myself intelligent and I knew that I could learn anything I put my mind to. I just didn’t understand why I easily excelled in some courses and struggled miserably in others. It took me another three years before I uncovered the joy of learning and how to transform it into something that is naturally fun. This chapter explores the subject of accelerated learning and how to leverage the best possible method of learning that is right for you.
Chapter 5 The future think tank—Research & Development: I suppose you could say that this chapter is one devoted to what I like to call the future think tank. A future think tank is an organization with bright, fresh and innovative ideas and that is passionate about positively impacting the world. This chapter will help to outline some helpful and inexpensive ways to research and develop your idea. That so called next great thing idea that you are completely con vinced will garnish you the medals and badges of success and that will fulﬁll your life’s purpose.
Chapter 6 The price is right—Sales & Marketing: How many of you are familiar with the television show “The Price in Right”? What great sales and marketing, this is deﬁnitely in a class all its own. Its one of the longest running and most faithfully watched television shows in 18
history, next to soap operas and that captivating and provocative talk show host in Chicago, Oprah Winfrey. Why do we recognize certain television shows? Why is it that we can recognize certain brands of products and commercials on television? The answer: fantastic sales and marketing!
Chapter 7 Walking the tight rope—Operations: Operations are a vital part of the business. The legal documents, hiring and ﬁring of staff and managing the day-to-day tasks are necessary functions of the business. In this chapter I will discuss some fantastic tips that will save your business money in managing its day to day operations. This chapter also discusses some quick and simple ways to work on the busi- ness and not in the business. I heard a great acronym for the word system: Save Your Self Time Energy & Money. The System that I refer to is not technical in nature. A well-crafted System creates the necessary signposts to help you navigate smoothly and travel at your own pace.
Chapter 8 Making cents of it all—Finance & Accounting: Finance & Accounting are one of life´s great mysteries, you either enjoy it or you don’t. If you don’t enjoy it, then you pay some one else to do it for you. The challenge with paying someone else to do your accounts payable andreceivable is that you may not have any money in the ﬁrst place to pay some one. It’s this sort of vicious crazy circle. Well I have some suggestions that will help.
Chapter 1 - Mission Possible Business Plan If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. -Jim Rohn This chapter explores the concept of writing a business plan and how you can save time, energy, and money in the process. Growing up I often heard the saying, “if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail.” Although this adage is a bit trite and over used, there is some degree of truth to it. The funny thing in hearing this was that it often pro vided me with no clear plan and I was left to venture off on my own. At the time, I had read a lot of books on the philosophy of business in an attempt to understand the business planning process. Many of the books I read professed the extraordinary impact a business plan can have for any aspiring entrepreneur. As I continued my reading, I kept hearing one main theme. Those who write business plans tap into their creative resources rather than tapping into their wallet or checkbook. As an aspir ing and struggling entrepreneur, I could relate to the notion of making mistakes on paper rather than in real life. I’ll be the ﬁrst to tell you that I’m always up for a challenging adventure espe cially in business. I also realize that there is a rather signiﬁcant difference between a challenging business adventure and one that has a high probability of leading to business suicide. This chapter explores the principles of business planning and how 21
these can be applied quickly and easily so that all your business adventures have a higher probability of success.
A merry-go-round of fun Have you ever been to an amusement park or fairground and seen the children and sometimes adults riding on the merry-go-round? Those riding on the merry-go-round are typically perched atop a wooden horse riding in the saddle of these miniature stallions as each rider and his horse individually go up and down on a revolving platform. The merry-go-round goes around and around but really never gets anywhere. The merry-go-round is a terriﬁc metaphor in describing how some people can get caught up in the natural ebb and ﬂow of life that they may be oblivious to the fact that they are on a revolving platform. In essence they are caught up in their own merry-go-round. You know we put some of the valuable things on the higher shelves so you can’t get to them until you qualify. In order to reach the things on the higher shelves you have got to stand on top of the books you have read. Every book you read allows you to stand a little higher. -Jim Rohn I challenge you to take a proactive approach in your business. I also urge you to distinguish and isolate the busyness from the business. It’s so easy for all of us to get caught up in the busy ness of running our business. When you begin to take a proac tive approach, the things you thought were impossible become possible. The dreams of the past transform to realities of a suc cessful and thriving future. Your business emerges out of the 22
challenges and obstacles to become one that positively grows and contributes. The ﬁrst step begins with creating a plan. It’s funny, when I mention the idea of creating a business plan many business owners cringe at the thought. This is one of the funny ironies of business. It’s sort of like they know what to do they just don’t do what they know. I certainly can’t help you get motivated in writing the business plan. What I will do is repeat what I stated earlier, that those who write business plans tap into their creative resources rather than tapping into their wallet or checkbook. If you are one of those rare startup businesses that has unlimited cash ﬂow and believes planning is an unnecessary step toward the success of your business then please by all means give this book to somebody else. With that being said, let’s continue. There are three great books that I highly recommend for those of you in the business planning process:
Body and Soul: Proﬁts with Principles, by Anita Roddick (FREE) - this is one of my all-time favorite business books. The message in this book is timeless and applicable to all business owners. If you’re creating a business strictly on proﬁt you’re probably missing out on one of the true rewards of building a business.
The One-Minute Millionaire, by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen (FREE) - I was ﬁrst given this book by two extraor dinary people, Ken and Judy Foster. Ken and Judy run a terriﬁc networking organization for businesses called Shared Vision Network. This book provides valuable insight into building your business on a solid foundation. It discusses the six essential key elements for gaining leverage in your business. 23
The E Myth, by Michael Gerber (FREE) - this is a fantastic book that really delves into the concept of working on your business as opposed to working in your business. The author discusses and provides a simple approach for systematizing your business and creating a business plan that provides immediate value. As you probably noticed I put the word “FREE” in parentheses. You may be asking yourself what’s that all about? In looking for a book I generally like to either borrow or buy. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of borrowing a book I will further explain.
The history of book loans In the late 1800’s Andrew Carnegie became one of the richest men in the world. The great steel magnates of his time. He organized the Carnegie Steel Company, which launched the steel industry in Pittsburgh and later sold the company to J. P. Morgan for $480 million. Striking it rich was only half of his objective. Throughout his life, his main goal was to spend the ﬁrst part of his life making a lot of money and the second part giving it all away. We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. -Winston Churchill One of Carnegie’s lifelong interests was the establishment of free public libraries to make available to everyone, a means of selfeducation. There were only a few public libraries in the world when, in 1881, Carnegie began to promote his idea. 24
Between 1883 and 1929, 2,509 Carnegie Libraries were built with money donated by Carnegie, earning him the nickname, the Patron Saint of Libraries. Approximately 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in Britain and Ireland, 156 in Canada, and others in New Zealand, the Caribbean and Fiji. Very few towns that requested a grant to have a library built and that agreed to his terms were refused. When the last grant was made in 1919 there were 3,500 libraries in the United States nearly half of them paid for by Carnegie. We now have about 9,000 public libraries with approximately 6,300 additional branch library locations. I presume by now you’ve probably ﬁgured out where I’m going with this brief history lesson. Unbeknownst to many of you, including myself as of a few years ago, the local library contains just about every book you would ﬁnd at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. (Yes the public library carries current titles.) Now I realize what you might be thinking, the public library? I wouldn’t be caught dead in that place. I certainly hope you will not be dead, because it would make checking out a book and enjoying the pleasure of reading quite challenging. While there may be some of you who are attached to the notion of buying a book, I would like to remind you of two things. First, one of the intentions of this book is to help save you money. If you’re interested in a book about spending money I can assure you that there are many great books, and for that matter fantastic television shows that can teach you this artful skill. Secondly, I would like to share with you some profound wisdom that a good friend shared with me to help clear up the difference between borrowing a book and a buying book, “the content is all the same.”
For those of you that are feeling more adventurous and possibly openminded I offer you the following resources: • LibWeb – Library Servers http://lists.webjunction.org/libweb/ This has every library in the U.S. and around the world. •
PublicLibraries.com (http://www.publiclibraries.com/) is a free online directory of all local libraries. They are an independent web site operator, not afﬁliated with any library organization. The website promotes ALL public libraries in the United States.
LibDex (http://www.libdex.com/) is a creation of Peter Scott. LibDex is a worldwide directory of library homepages, webbased OPACs (Online Public Access Catalog), Friends ofthe Library pages, and library e-commerce afﬁliate links. The directory does not include links to terminal-based OPACs.
Buy versus borrow In shopping to purchase a book I generally visit a few websites to get an overall feel for what the market value is of a particular book. Most online bookstores provide the option of purchasing a used book. Now I realize what you might be thinking (my psychic abilities are completely in tune), a used book? Yes a used book. While there may be some of you who are attached to the notion of buying a new book, I would like to remind you of three things. First, the intention of this book is to help save you money. If you’re interested in a book about spending money I can assure you that there are many great books, and for that matter fantastic television shows that can teach you this artful skill. (Is there an echo?) 26
Secondly, for those of you who are unfamiliar with purchasing books online, in most cases when you buy a used book you can actually pick up a new book. What do I mean by this? Thirdparty resellers or bookshops often sell their new books in the used section of online bookstores. Thirdly, I would like to share with you some profound wisdom that a good friend shared with me to help clear up the differ ence between a used book and a new book, “the content is all the same.” (Note: if two of the three things I mentioned here appear to be repetitive from the section above about borrowing a book, well guess what? You’re absolutely right. Repetition is the mother of skill.) The following are web sites worth looking into: • Half Price Books (http://www.halfpricebooks.com/) - I think the name speaks for itself. This site offers books at low cost. •
Hamiltonbook (http://www.hamiltonbook.com/) - this is another helpful site in ﬁnding discounted books.
Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/) - this is an obvious choice in shopping for books. Remember to check out the used book section.
EBay (http://www.ebay.com/) -this is a great alternative to going to thrift stores or secondhand bookstores.
Great so now what Fantastic, so now you have your books in order and hopefully ordered, where do you go from here? Funny you should ask. Considering that this chapter is about creating a business plan I’m going to share with you some tips and resources to help expedite the process.
The single most important suggestion that I can recommend is to create a mission statement for who you are as a person. The mission statement is a reﬂection of your values and beliefs. It is simple and to the point. Most mission statements are one sentence in length. The mission statement isn’t something to memorize and continually go to once you’ve forgotten it. The mission statement is something that resonates to the core of who you are as a person. Consider your mission statement to be your deﬁnition of what it is to be successful. Nothing can withstand the power of the human will if it is willing to stake its very existence to the extent of its purpose. -Benjamin Disraeli Sometimes coming up with a mission statement is not immediate. When it comes to creating a mission statement, being pa tient is deﬁnitely the call to order. The mission statement is generally effortless. One fun exercise that I enjoy doing in helping guide others toward their mission statement is mind mapping. Mind mapping is a graphical representation of your thoughts and ideas. In mind mapping, thoughts and ideas are presented in a multi-linear fashion. Traditional note taking utilizes a linear top down and left to right approach. Mind mapping is more of a global approach. (To learn more about mind mapping read the mind mapping section in chapter 4.) Another fun exercise in helping you to create your mission statement is to take a survey. What I mean by survey is that you take stock of all that surrounds you either on your own or through the eyes of a friend. For example, several months before I began writing this book I was at a 28
crossroads. I was managing several business projects at the time and I wasn’t really enthusiastic about any of the projects I was working on. I thought I had come to the proverbial fork in the road. It wasn’t until I spoke with a good friend, that I began to realize that it wasn’t a matter of deciding which road to take. It was a matter of realizing that I was already on the path that was right for me. Take a look around you. What are the more recent books in your library? Chances are good that what you’re reading is probably what you are most passionate about. Where do you spend most of your free time? The manner in which you divide your day and spend the currency known as time can provide some insight into the things you enjoy most.
Tips There are eight essential elements in creating your business plan: 1. Mission - what’s the values and beliefs of your business? 2. Vision - what’s the future for your business? 3. Executive summary - what’s your business model that includes your vision, mission, management team, target market, marketing plan, operations, and ﬁnancials in three pages are less? 4. Management team - who are the key players on your team and what are the roles and responsibilities? 5. Target market - who’s your ideal customer? 6. Marketing plan - how do you plan on going about attracting customers? 7. Operations - what are the details of running your business daily? 29
8. Financials - how much money is required to start your business and can your business be ﬁnancially proﬁtable?
Resources Below are some resources to help you create that stellar business plan: • Entrepreneur Magazine has terriﬁc articles on business plans and the do’s and don’ts. Go to: http://www.entrepreneur.com/and Type in the search: “Business Plan”. Click Go. You will be greeted with over 2,082 articles on business plans from samples to helpful advice.
Palo Alto Software has software that creates business plans however on their website they offer 60 free sample business plans sorted by industry. Check it out, it’s FREE: http://www.bplans.com/sp/businessplans.cfm OR Got to: http://www.bplans.com/. On the homepage there will be a link to “60+ Free Sample Plans.”
A renaissance business It was said that the great Leonardo Da Vinci would often write stories and take notes about paintings before they were even created. The stories and note were said to be reﬂections of his mind. They served as a sort of blueprint or plan for the paintings that lived in his imagination. Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future. -Charles F. Kettering Creating a business plan can truly make a world of difference in determining to a large degree whether you’re promising venture will become wildly successful or fail miserably. Ultimately the choice is yours. This chapter explored the importance of creating a business plan. The intention of a plan is to provide a type of blueprint for your business concept. A proper plan can help build a concrete framework and foundation from an abstract idea. Imagine yourself as an architect and that your assignment is to build the greatest masterpiece of your life. Part of the assignment is to take those creative ideas that live inside you and transform them into reality. As an architect you might choose one of two options. The ﬁrst option might be to simply build as you go without a plan to guide you. The second option might be to create an architectural blueprint thus allow ing you to make any potential mistakes/changes on paper and providing you a written plan for your achievement. Now of course I cannot make the decision as to which option you choose. I am not Monty Hall and this is not Let’s Make a Deal. There is no prize behind door number one nor is there a prize behind door number two; in fact there are no doors, only 31
windows of opportunity. Itâ€™s up to you to make a choice. As we begin our journey on the road to business success we can eliminate blind spots and navigate around unsavory road con ditions through the use of scenarios. Our judgment is no longer impaired and we can drive responsibly yielding to oncoming trafďŹ c or passing others by. The next chapter will explore scenarios, also known as storytelling, and how they can move you and your business in directions you never thought possible.
Chapter 2 It’s the same old story Scenarios At times, the world can look so complex and unpredictable that it becomes hard to make decisions. Scenario building is a discipline for breaking through this barrier. -Ged Davis This chapter explores the break through technique of building scenarios, developed by Peter Schwartz back in late 1970s or what I like to call storytelling, to help you make better decisions across a multitude of possible futures. As you probably can ﬁg ure out I am a big fan of analogies. So what I would like to do is paint a picture in simple terms of what building scenarios is truly all about. Building scenarios is similar to that of driving a car. For those of you that have driven a car (I am presuming that the vast majority of you own and/or have driven in a car) you are probably all too familiar with the unplanned and unforeseen circumstances that we have grown accustomed to. For example, if you live in a major metropolitan city you’ve probably experienced a trafﬁc jam or two thus far in your driving career. (For those of you unfamiliar with the very notion of trafﬁc consider yourself one of the truly blessed.) When you begin your journey and set out for your destination a number of possibilities can occur. You may encounter unfortunate climatic road conditions, a ﬂat tire, a minor accident, or even a gas tank that is low on fuel. You could even experience something as minor as mis placing your car keys which can impede and even delay your road trip. These types of scenarios can often33
times hit you when you least expect it. The intention of this chapter is to help you make better decisions while realizing that the future can provide a number of different possibilities.
Decisions for the future I was ﬁrst introduced to scenarios by a book entitled, Synchronicity - The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jaworski. In this groundbreaking book, Jaworski recounts his experience with the Royal Dutch Shell Group and their successful use of scenarios. In the book he talks about how the Royal Dutch Shell Group of companies also known as Shell Oil Company took the system scenario planning to help take the company from what Forbes had said “was the weakest of the seven major oil companies, even calling Shell ‘the ugly sister’ of the so called seven sisters.” According to Jaworski, “Three years later, Shell discovered the power of targeting the mental models of its decision makers through scenario planning. By 1979, Shell and Exxon were seen as operating in a class by themselves’ and by 1994, Forbes listed the Royal Dutch Shell Group of companies at the very top of their foreign Super Fifty-the largest companies outside the Untied States ranked by revenues, net income, assets, and market value.” So what are scenarios? Scenarios are stories about highly possible future outcomes encompassing a wide variety of ideas and integrating them so that they are easily understood, insightful and useful. “They help us link the uncertainties we hold about the future to the decisions we make today. 34
Scenarios emerge from the process of brainstorming in a team of two or more people to create stories around a particular question or focused area. If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. -Sir Isaac Newton Do you remember the analogy I illustrated earlier in this chapter comparing scenarios with driving a car? Let’s revisit this comparison for just a moment. In the high-speed sport of car racing it’s essential to have a pit crew. “For the individuals who work on a pit crew, there is nothing more rewarding than helping create and/or service a fast car, a car that is capable of winning races. And when that car does win a race, that’s when team members smile and admit the hard work and long hours were worth it.” As with any team you have different roles and responsibilities, and a pit crew is no exception. There are team owners, crew chiefs, and members. For some they specialize in speedy tire changing and carrying, jacking and fueling. For others they may be required to make keen and quick decisions while being to tally responsible for the entire team. Each person on the team is there to help ensure that the best possible scenario takes place - that of winning the race. Unfor tunately for most aspiring entrepreneurs a reliable and trusted pit crew is considered more of a luxury rather than a necessity. The vast majority of multitasking entrepreneurs drive down winding and narrow roads that are dimly lit through a dense fog of business overwhelm, unable to see beyond their own limita tions that illuminate the road ahead. 35
Building scenarios can lift the fog of business overwhelm and shine a bright new light on the road ahead of you. The wind ing and narrow roads are now wide open. And as the phrase made popular by the Volkswagen Car Company goes, Driver’s wanted. Yes its true, scenarios can have a great impact on your business. The construction of scenarios requires clarity about an overall focus or theme. You begin by assessing what are the things that really matter to the overall success of your business. After the focus or theme has been clariﬁed. For example, let’s say the focus is launching a new consulting service and the question we pose is what will be the potential for this new service in the next 12 months? As part of building scenarios we will need to identify the main areas for required research. In other words we need to look at what areas will be affected when we launch this new service. For example, some potential areas for required research might be: • Who will our target market be? • What will be the costs associated with sales and marketing of this new consulting service? • Who are key members of our team? • What are the roles and responsibilities of our team? • What is the projected market growth? Once we’ve identiﬁed our main areas we’ll need to construct scenarios that take into consideration the areas mentioned above. From the scenarios we then gather information and be gin creating plausible stories. Once these stories have been created we then present to the team. It is through these stories that a business begins to gain a thorough understanding of the road ahead. 36
According to Ged Davis of Shell International, scenarios need to meet ﬁve main requirements: 1. They should be built from the present and recognizable to the user. Each scenario should resonate with signals in the present. 2. They should not be easily dismissed by those who will use them. Plausibility is in the eye of the beholder, and each scenario will have its adherents. However, users need to accept the plausibility of each scenario if they are to gain from their use. 3. Good scenarios should be based on analysis and must be internally consistent. However, views as to what constitutes internal consistency can vary. 4. It is only when scenarios genuinely challenge a user’s mental map that the possibility of learning exists. 5. For scenarios to be of direct use, they must imply direct consequences for the users’ decisions.
Using Scenarios Okay so you have created your scenarios, now what? The next step is to formulate your Scenario/Strategy Matrix.This may sound a lot harder than it actually is. A Scenario/Strategy Matrix consists of building a matrix with horizontal and vertical cross sections. The newly created scenarios are placed along the x-axis (the horizontal axis) and future strategies along the y-axis (the vertical axis). The strategies in a Scenario/Strategy Matrix are a reﬂection of the types of decision-making strate gies that may already exist within your company. 37
In ďŹ gure 12: The scenario/strategy matrix illustrates a perfect example of creating a cross-section among your scenarios and future strategies.
There are three great books that I highly recommend for those of you interested learning more about the scenario building process: The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World, by Peter Schwartz Learning from the Future: Competitive Foresight Scenarios, by Liam Fahey and Robert M. Randall Scenarios: The Art of Strategic Conversation, by Kees van der Heijden 38
Additional resources: The Global Business Network (GBN) is worldwide organization dedicated to the process of scenario planning. The founders of the GBN wrote the book on scenario planning, literally. To learn more go to: http://www.gbn.com/ David Richo, in his book, Unexpected Miracles, shares a fantastic example that he uses to clarify a sense of time. According to Richo, “Let’s say I saw video movie yesterday that you are seeing today. In the middle of your watching it, I walk in and I in stantly recall the seen you are seeing. I know what will happen to the characters on the screen in this scene and the rest of the ﬁlm. I know this without having to take time to think about it. I know all the fates of all the characters and the plot too in one moment. I do not have to wait to know as you do. You know the present of the movie and the past (beginning part) of it. You do not know the future (how it will end).” I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward. -Thomas Edison Richo’s example beautifully illustrates the importance of creating scenarios. With each scenario, you create a window into the future. Now I realize that this may not be precisely what happens to you in the future and I understand that creating scenarios are interpretations of possible future outcomes. The creation of scenarios does however give you a sense of the possibilities. These possibilities are revealed when you are open to the exploration of your future in the present. Often I am asked, what is the difference between scenario planning and 39
strategic planning? The difference between scenario planning and strategic planning is that scenario planning does not look to correct mistakes or right a potential wrong. The purpose of scenarios is to venture down roads that might otherwise be hidden from your view and to simply observe and take notes of what happens. Scenario planning is observation at its ﬁnest. In this chapter we explored the signiﬁcance of scenario planning and the positive impact it can have on helping to guide us as we travel down the open highway of our own business success. Each of us has the gift of story telling. Imagination is not a luxury reserved for only a select few. It is a rite of passage granted to all that choose to travel the path of creativity. We can sometimes unnecessarily place restrictions on our own imagination. Our creativity becomes a starved captive held hostage behind the prison walls of our own mind and guarded by our own limitations. The use of scenario planning brings out that gift in all of us and frees us to a world of possibilities. In the beginning of this chapter I mentioned that scenario planning is quite similar to driving a car and with all car-driving experi ences one may encounter the proverbial “blind spot” in their rear view mirror. With the consistent use of scenario planning in your business life those events you once called blind spots will now be a thing of the past. Opportunities are the eighth natural wonder of the world. Sometimes we can ﬁnd ourselves in environments that help to foster the discovery of treasures of prosperity and other times we may ﬁnd ourselves immersed in deep swamps of desperation. The ability to see opportunities where others may not is largely de termined by how we choose to manage our states of mind and emotions. In the next chapter we will examine state 40
management and address some of the pitfalls that we may ďŹ nd ourselves in. We will also explore some simple methods for digging our way out once and for all.
Chapter 3 When opportunity knocks State Management Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -Thomas Edison Oftentimes it’s easy to overlook opportunities that are directly in front of us. It reminds me of the story of a reporter who talked to three construction workers pouring concrete at a building site. “What are you doing?” The reporter asked the ﬁrst worker. “I’m earning a paycheck,” he grumbled. The reporter asked the same question of a second labor, who looked over his shoulder and said, “What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m pouring concrete.” Then he noticed a third man who was smiling and was whistling as he worked. “What are you doing?” the reporter asked the third worker. He stopped what he was doing and said excitedly, “I’m building a shelter for the homeless.” He wiped his hands clean on a rag and then pointed, “Look, over there is where the kitchen will be. And that over there is the women’s dormitory. This here . . .” Each man was doing the same job but only the third was moti vated by a larger vision. The work he did was fulﬁlling a dream and added value to all his efforts. By managing his state the third worker was able to see the enormous opportunity and 43
potential to contribute to something larger than himself and thereby creating a labor of love in the work he did.
Beware of Tunnel Vision Some time ago I watched the inspiring movie, Miracle, which recounts the true story about the historic victory of the U.S. hockey team at the 1980 Olympic Games coached by the leg endary coach, Herb Brooks. In the movie, Herb Brooks is bril liantly portrayed by actor Kurt Russell and during one of the scenes he is quoted in the pre-USSR game locker room as say ing, “Great moments are born from great opportunity…” Great opportunities come to those who are open and available. Are you familiar with the term Tunnel Vision? It is a term of ten used to describe those who only can see what is directly in front of them. Their peripheral vision is signiﬁcantly impaired. This notion can be applied to business. While it is natural to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a business, the more one gets caught up in the issues the less likely one is to see their long range goals or what I like to call the big picture. It is the proverbial dilemma of being unable to see the, forest for the trees. Vision is the art of seeing things invisible. - Jonathan Swift Imagine for a moment that you are at a movie theater. You are perfectly seated directly in front of several long ﬂowing ruby red velvet curtains that hang from the high vaulted ceilings to the ﬂoor below. The lights dim to pitch darkness and the cur tains open to a large white canvas screen. All you can see are the faint shadows of the row of seats in front of you. A brilliant white light streams above your head and suddenly vibrant images of 44
color are projected onto the screen in front of you. The movie has begun. Now let’s say for example that you close your right eye. Keeping your right eye closed you then take you left hand and form the shape of the letter “O” by joining the tip of your left thumb to your left index and cupping the remaining middle, ring and pinky ﬁngers. Now still with your right eye closed and your left hand cupped in the form of an “O”, raise your left arm so that your left hand that is cupped is around your left eye. You have formed a sort of make shift tunnel with the cupping of your left hand around your left eye. As you are seated watching the movie in front of you, you notice that you see only a fraction of what you saw before. By your own doing, you have effectively limited your ability to see the big picture. The movie of your imagination has been reduced to a tiny portion of what was possible. Each of us has been given the gift of choice. We decide what we wish to focus on and what not to focus on. It is through our choices that we begin to shape our destiny. For some their choices lead to wide and expansive highways with spectacular landscape views. For others they create self-imposed limitations on their choices and view the world of possibilities through a tiny porthole. The intensity level of business can oftentimes reach a certain point, where we move into Tunnel Vision. By that, I mean business owners literally lose sight of what is important and focus narrowly in the business rather than focusing on the business. Tunnel vision is often the reason business owners may feel thwarted. With tunnel vision we often lose the ability to make good decisions. We can ﬁnd ourselves doing things we normally wouldn’t do and saying things we normally wouldn’t say. 45
If you ﬁnd yourself losing sight of the big picture take heart you are in good company. The following are examples of quotes from the book, The Experts Speak: The Deﬁnitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation, by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky. These experts fell victim to their own inability to see beyond the tunnel: I think there’s a world market for about ﬁve computers. -Thomas J. Watson, Chairman of IBM 1943 ~ There’s no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home. -Ken Olson, President, Digital Equipment Corp. 1977 ~ We don’t like their sound. Groups of the guitars are on their way out. -Decca Recording Company Executive, turning down the Beatles in 1962 ~ The phonograph… is not of any commercial value. -Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the phonograph 1880
Breaking through the breakdowns What you resist will persist. This is a statement that eventually became a running theme throughout my personal and professional life. Ironically many of the things that I resisted the most ended up having the greatest reward. Each of our lives is an expression of who we are. Our destiny is determined by our choices. What we choose to focus on is a vital component to ward planting seeds for an enriching life, and helping to, as Albert Einstein once said, “invent the life you want to live.” 46
In the past I have resisted many of the gifts that were graciously given to me. I wanted to carve out my own path. I wanted a challenge. I felt if something was given to me it was too easy. As you can see I was standing in the way of my own success. The things I resisted the most would often be transformed through my own internal dialogue into breakdowns in my life. It was a classic case of focusing the majority of my time on the prob lem and not on the solution. It’s often said that if you ask better questions you’ll get better answers. When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. -Helen Keller Believe it or not, awareness can be curative. So if you ﬁnd yourself effectively limiting your own ability to see the big picture stop and ask yourself what is missing. It’s easy to focus on what is wrong. It’s more fun to focus on what’s missing. When you focus on what’s missing in your business you essentially let go of the unnecessary guilt, blame and frustration. You transform breakdowns into breakthroughs.
Back to the Future In business, each of our decisions brings with it outcomes and results. Sometimes the results of our decisions may not be what we bargained for. When the result of a decision does not match with our expectation we then make another choice, the choice of whether to don the mask of the victim or the victor of life. Our choices are largely dependent on who we are and what we’ve become. There is a great saying that goes, “the past is history, the future is a mystery, this moment is a gift; that is why this moment is 47
called the present; enjoy it.” In A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens the main character in the book is a miserly businessman named Ebeneezer Scrooge. Four ghosts visit Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve. After the apparition of Scrooge’s dead business partner Marley, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas As Yet To Come guide Scrooge through his own emotionally charged past, his harsh and loveless present, and his bleak fu ture. The vision of his own headstone and the realization that no one will mourn his death force Scrooge to see the error of his Bah! Humbug! attitude toward humanity in general and Christmas in speciﬁc. Our past provides us memories of events long gone. Our future provides us expectations of events that may or may not come to pass. It is the present that is truly all that we have at this mo ment. We can however leverage the past events and our expectations of possible future outcomes (scenarios). If we look at our past, present, and future in relation to our thoughts, actions and environment we may discover helpful clues for transforming our present into the future we desire, and in turn creating our very own storybook version of, A Christmas Carol. My good friend J.D. Mumma has created a fantastic and easy to follow road map called The Nine Facets of Personal Development. This road map serves as a guide for those moments when you ﬁnd yourself traveling on the road to someday in a town called nowhere. The Nine Facets of Personal Development can be applied to business, as an assessment and planning tool. It can help you to identify the areas in your business that needs improvement. Let me illustrate for just a moment how the nine facets of personal development can beneﬁt your business. Let’s say that you are interested 48
in increasing your sales yet you are uncertain as to where to begin. Itâ€™s normal for a business that wants to in crease their sales to go out and prospect for new customers by any means necessary. The problem with this approach is that no one has taken the time to thoroughly identify the true cause(s). For example, your business may be experiencing a lack of sales because of low morale (Thoughts) among your staff and employees; or maybe you have outdated sales literature (Environment); or may be you are unclear as to your ideal target market and you begin prospecting to the wrong set of people (Action). As a business owner it is extremely important to leverage your time to the best of your ability. By identifying the areas in your business that require your immediate attention you then begin to efďŹ ciently schedule your time accordingly. Moreover you be come more proactive. The Nine Facets of Personal Development consists of nine squares similar to a tic tack toe diagram. At the top of the diagram from left to right are the categories of Past, Present, and Future. To the farthest right of the diagram from top to bottom are the categories of Thoughts, Actions, and Environment. For each of the nine squares you will provide a rating from 0 to 100%. (For example: 0% being bad and 100% being great.) One the next page is an example: Area of Interest: Increase Direct Sales
By incorporating the nine facets of personal development into your business youâ€™ll be able to identify the true cause(s) of some your business hardships. The nine facets of personal de velopment is not a magic pill nor is it a silver bullet. Your problems will not go away once you begin implementing this tool. Actually quite the opposite might happen. You may uncover layers of issues that were once hidden. You will begin to have a renewed sense in understanding your business and the conďŹ dence in knowing that you have thoroughly assessed all aspects of it.
Can you hear me now? The way in which we communicate with one another determines to a large degree in how well we relate to those around us. Someone once said that every human interaction is an opportunity to learn or teach. The fact that we live in an informa tion age may help to explain why the majority of people favor taking on the role of the teacher rather than the student. In order to be heard we must ﬁrst listen. Several months ago I was sitting at one of my favorite restaurants in Del Mar, California overlooking the Paciﬁc Ocean. There was a group of us gathered together and we had been enjoy ing one another’s company late into the evening. As the night progressed, two of the people who were dining with us began to get into a heated discussion. Each of them was strongly pas sionate about their opinions and unyielding in their positions. As each of the spirited debaters paused to catch their breath, another person sitting with us, Judy, quickly interjected and suggested that the two take a brief moment to really listen to what was being said. As the two quietly sat there listening, Judy began to talk about how the selection of words that we choose provides clues to ward our understanding of one another. She said that the words provide a frame of reference and that when we embrace this concept we can begin to make huge strides in the way that we communicate and relate to one another. She spoke about how a phrase such as, “Can you hear what I’m saying?” can provide insight into the very person that is saying this. She said that a person saying this might have a strong disposition toward auditory words and phrases. She mentioned that if upon hearing a phrase such as, “It’s clearly obvious can’t you see it?” that such a phrase might show a strong disposition toward visual words and phrases. She also mentioned that a phrase such as, “Can you do this?” might indicate a strong disposition 51
toward kinesthetic words and phrases. Judy suggested that all of us seated at the table might want to consider looking into Neuro-Linguistic Programming or N.L.P. and that especially for all the single guys at the table, that NLP would be extremely helpful in dealing with women. Being one of those single guys, that was all I needed to hear. The next day I woke up and subsequently began my journey into the world of neuro-linguistic programming. It became my new mantra. Being an avid reader I was familiar with NLP from the selfdevelopment perspective. I never really thought that NLP could be helpful for business. Neuro-Linguistic Programming literally means: to predetermine the thinking, behavior, and operations of (programming) the mind (neuro) through the use of language (linguistics). In other words, helping the mind through the use of language.
NLP can assist one in understanding how people think, sense, and communicate within their environments. It is through our understanding of these relationships that we gain insights into creating more meaningful and powerful interactions with those around us. According to Sue Knight in her terriﬁc article entitled, NLP at Work: The Difference that Makes the Difference in Business, she states that, “In today’s chaotic world of change and mixing of global cultures, NLP has become extremely important. NLP at tempts to identify what works, not what should work. This is why NLP can be instrumental for business. Businesses 52
are created and managed based on what management believes will happen. In fact, most people fail to com prehend and understand what works within themselves and thus, they are in a poor position to understand what works for business. NLP deﬁnes what works for you so that you can pursue the right options for success.
NLP maps out thinking patterns, identifying the preferred patterns. By learning how you think, you begin to change and manage better. NLP is about understanding performance gaps within the individual, what currently exists versus what can exist. NLP is about the qual ity of communication. Great leaders have a mastery of communication. NLP breaks down communication into three classes - visual, auditory, and feeling. NLP is also about programming - using models to reproduce some one else’s situation and results, thereby gaining a much better understanding into how the individual thinks and behaves. The purpose of the NLP model is to produce the right kind of human resource capital for running the organization. “
Compassionate Communication Another fantastic tool for facilitating better communication can be found in the method of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a process created by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. Nonviolent communication is a way to compassionately communicate with those around you by ﬁrst understanding the needs of others. Nonviolent communication is often referred to as compassionate communication. What I like most about the NVC process is its simplicity. The NVC process consists of four components: 53
1 Observation - what are the concrete actions that I am observing that are affecting our well-being? 2 Feeling - how do we need to feel in relation to what we are observing? 3 Needs - what are the needs, values, and desires, etc. that are creating these feelings? 4 Request - what are the concrete actions that we are re questing in order to enrich our lives? An easy way to remember it is by using the ﬁrst letter of each of the four components: O.F.N.R. When you say it out loud phonetically it sounds like the word often or more like oftener. The more O.F.N.R. (oftener) I use it the better I am. NVC is an honest approach to listening and communicating from the heart. One of the many things I enjoy about the process of NVC is its focus on understanding the difference between a demand and a request. It’s been my experience that I am more open, under standing, and available when I am given a request rather than a demand. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that I see a request as giving me an option to either accept or decline. A demand really leaves me with no option and to some extent can be considered an ultimatum. This reminds me of a story I once heard about a guy who was held up at gunpoint while walking down a street. The armed robber held out his gun and pointed it at the man and said, “Your money or your life!” The unarmed man looked directly into the eyes of the armed robber and said quite politely, “I decline.” Somewhat shocked and stunned by the man’s comment the armed robber repeated his statement and said, “Your money or your life!” Once again the man looked directly at the robber and said, “I decline.” At this point the robber became agitated and the two went back and forth for some time until the robber finally gave up and walked away. 54
Read what you hear Emotion is such a powerful force. When the proper amount of emotion is sprinkled with just the right dose of words you can inspire just about anyone around you. The ability to learn how to read the feelings and emotions from the spoken word is a skill that can add immeasurable value to your ability to ef fectively communicate. Itâ€™s just as important to pay attention to how something is being said, as it is to listen to what is being said. The emotional cues are extremely important. The emotional cues can take the form of a tone, pitch, and speed. The next time youâ€™re in a conversation take a moment to listen to what is being said and how it is being said. Try to differentiate the two. By simply listening to what and how some thing is being said you can dramatically improve your ability to communicate with others. Imagine that you are conducting an experiment. Throughout the day take mental notes of the conversations that take place. For example, many of us have our own unique style of greeting one another. Become a mental stenographer and take notes of the words and phrases that are used. You may notice that what is being said is not as different as how it is being said. You may notice that the running theme of what is being said is a simple greeting, however how it is being said takes on a whole new meaning. Body language is another powerful force toward effectively communicating with those around you. So just how important is body language? In a study conducted by Professor Albert Mehrabian, the following was determined for the effectiveness of spoken communications: 55
• 7% of meaning is in the words that are spoken. • 38% of meaning is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said). • 55% of meaning is in facial expression (how it is being said - body language). Other similar studies conducted show facial expressions and body language as being even higher. So what does this all mean? Do we need to be overly self-conscious of every human interaction we have in the future? No, this does not mean that we need to be overly self-conscious. We simply need to be more aware. Awareness in itself is curative. In other words listening and being aware can add tremendously to your ability to effectively communicate. In the next chapter we will explore accelerated learning. As a business entrepreneur I feel it is vitally important to have a thorough understanding of all the aspects of your business. Unfortunately gaining a thorough understanding requires taking precious moments out of the day to sit down and learn. For many of us this is time that we can ill afford. That is why I present to you the next chapter on accelerated learning. Accelerated learning will help you to quickly learn and retain information that is necessary toward maximizing your own potential and creating a successful and thriving business.
Chapter 4 Maximizing your potential Accelerated learning The empires of the future are the empires of the mind. -Sir Winston Churchill We each have an unlimited amount of potential. Unfortunately only a few ever tap into it. Growing up I was not a big fan of reading. In high school I hardly studied and somehow man aged to graduate. Upon entering college I realized that for the ﬁrst time I would really have to study. (What a surprise that was). I think I read more books in college than I had read the previous 12 years in the public school system. My college years were ﬁlled with trial and error. I felt more like a scientist then a student. I was experimenting with all different types of learn ing. Once again I had managed to graduate. I always considered myself intelligent and I knew that I could learn anything I put my mind to. I just didn’t understand why I easily excelled in some courses and struggled miserably in others. It took me another three years before I uncovered the joy of learning and how to transform it into something that is naturally fun. This chapter explores the subject of accelerated learning and how to leverage the best possible method that is right for you.
Accelerated Learning I ﬁrst learned about mind mapping while living in Seattle, Washington. At the time I had just taken a job working for a large software manufacturer and was hard-pressed to learn everything that I could 57
possibly learn for my new job in a rather short amount of time or risk packing up my bags and moving back to San Diego, California. Filled with a full tank of ego fuel I was not about to let that happen. Through a series of synchronistic events I was introduced to Accelerated Learning through my good friend, Sunshine Whitton, who actually taught a local course on this very subject. Sunshine explained to me that prior to studying Accelerated Learning he had suffered academically. It was until he began studying about Accelerated Learning that his grades dramati cally improved from a 1.0 grade-point average to a 4.0 gradepoint average almost overnight. Eager to learn all I could and fueled by my desire to not fail in my new job, I enrolled in his course on Accelerated Learning. Over a four-day period I learned everything from memory pegs to alpha and beta brain frequencies. I also learned a technique that has proven to be extremely valuable to this day, mind mapping. If you have accomplished all that you have planned for yourself, you have not planned enough. -Edward Everett Hale During one of the accelerated learning courses, Sunshine while standing directly in front of the classroom, posed a question out loud to the students. Armed with a dry eraser marker he then wrote in the middle of the whiteboard the same question that he stated out loud and drew a circle around it. He then proceeded to ask us to say out loud the ďŹ rst thing that came to mind. He prefaced his request by acknowledging that there were no wrong or right answers. He told us that anything that came 58
to mind was acceptable. We were instructed to not think too hard about it. It was an exercise in brainstorming. All ideas were welcome. For what seemed to be about two or three minutes he diligently wrote on the whiteboard whatever we shouted out loud. By the time he was done writing we had a whiteboard ﬁlled with ideas that surrounded the original thought-provoking question. He then proceeded to make geometric shapes with different colored markers around each of the ideas that appeared to be similarly related. Each geometric shape represented a category. For example, a triangle drawn with a red colored marker around the words blue and green represented the category of color. Once he completed drawing geometric shapes around all the ideas I began to notice the signiﬁcance of what was being taught. We then formed a written linear outline using all the different colored geometric shapes as our main category head ers and the ideas that corresponded to those different colored shapes as the category items.
Mind Mapping for the Masses It took nearly two weeks to realize just how powerful this exercise truly was. I was sitting with a friend of mine who was having some real challenges about her own future and career path. She was enrolling back in school and wasn’t sure what courses to major in. Without hesitating I took out an 8 by 11 piece of white paper. I turned the paper landscape and wrote the words, what I really like to do? and drew a circle around it. I then asked her to tell me, “What she really likes to do?” I told her that there were no right or wrong answers. Throughout the process I kept encouraging her to not really think too hard about it and to just say the ﬁrst thing that came to mind. 59
. When it appeared that she could no longer come up with things that she really like to do I proceeded to draw geometric shapes around each of the ideas. I then took another piece of paper out, turned the paper so that it was facing portrait and proceeded to create an outline of all her ideas. What took shape that afternoon was truly amazing. In the beginning we started off with her telling me in a melancholy tone, â€œI donâ€™t really know what I like to do.â€? Ten minutes later we ended up with an outline of possibilities. I could see that it was a breakthrough moment for the both of us. She was beaming with a bright light of enthusiasm sparked by an excitement about her future. I was a bit bewildered by what had just happened. I knew I had stumbled onto an incredible discovery and I was grateful for the opportunity to share it with any and all that were open to it. I spent the next 12 months on a journey of inquiry to study all that I could about Accelerated Learning. I wanted to learn all I could about mind mapping and its origins, accompanying tools, techniques and skills.
In the beginning Originated in the late 1960s by Tony Buzan, Mind Maps are powerful graphic techniques that provide a universal key to unlocking the potential of the human brain. The Mind Map can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance. Mind maps take advantage of a skill that is already inherent to most of us. Let me explain by providing you an example. Have you ever asked for directions say for example when you were lost?
(For all the men out there who are reading this, you are free to substitute the word lost with exploring.) Can you recall the directions that were given to you? Chances are good that the person giving you directions provided visual landmarks as opposed to the actual street names. For example, a person giving you directions may say, “Make a left turn at the stop sign, go straight past two stoplights; and then make a right at the third stoplight; on the right hand side there is a gas station and on the left there is a super market. If you past the gas station and the super market you have gone too far.” Have you ever wondered why that was? Why don’t we give directions like those provided by Map Quest or Yahoo maps? Well for starters our brain is more complex. Our brain processes a multitude of cortical skills such as words, numbers, logic, colors, images and spatial awareness. Depending on our tenden cies each of us may have a stronger preference toward one over the other. Our brains also have a tendency to remember and process colors and images more easily. This is why mind maps are extremely helpful. In May 2002, a trio of psychologists (Felix Wichmann, Lindsay Sharpe and Karl Gegenfurtner) sought to delve deeper into this phenomenon and learn for themselves the impact that color has on our memory. They conducted ﬁve experiments (participants, in order, numbered 36, 34, 31, 20 and 20) to explore color’s role in memory for natural scenes such as forests, rocks and ﬂowers. In the basic experiment, participants looked at 48 photographs, half in color and half in black and white. Then, they viewed the same 48 images randomly mixed with 48 new images, and indicated if they had seen (or not) each picture. Participants re membered the colored natural scenes signiﬁcantly better than they remembered black and white images, regardless of how long they saw the images. 61
Mind maps are a more formal way of taking notes. Think of the mind map as being the successor to those infamous and often shunned forms of taking notes called doodles. Although doodles are considered childlike, it is often, that this form of note taking is the preferred choice among those we considered to be geniuses. Sample Doodles:
(Left) Leonardo da Vinci, Scientist, Inventor, and Artist, 1452-1519 (Right) Charles Eames, American Architect and Designer, 1907-1978
Mind maps helped to leverage our natural abilities. For some, they may process information logically and for others they may process information kinesthetically. We each have our own gifts and talents. They are uniquely ours. The challenge may come in realizing your own natural predisposition. In other words, ďŹ guring out how you best enjoy learning. In 1983, Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard Universi62
ty, wrote a book entitled, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Dr Gardner suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are: 1. Linguistic intelligence (word smart - Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Amy Tan) 2. Logical-mathematical intelligence (Inumber/reasoning smart - Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Isaac Newton) 3. Visual-Spatial intelligence (picture smart - Ansel Ad ams, Amelia Earhart, Frieda Kahlo) 4. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (body smart - Michael Jordan, Bob Vila, Michele Kwan) 5. Musical intelligence (music smart - Mozart, Elton John, Billie Holiday) 6. Interpersonal intelligence (people smart- Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Jaime Escalante) 7. Intrapersonal intelligence (self smart - Sigmund Freud, Jesse Jackson, Bill Gates) 8. Naturalist intelligence (nature smart- Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, John Muir) According to the respected Multiple Intelligences Theory pioneered by Harvard professor Howard Gardner, there are a variety of intrinsic approaches and skills we use to perceive, understand, and shape our world - in other words, several different kinds of intelligence. We each possess different intelligences, or different combinations of them, that affect how we learn. There are three great books that I highly recommend for those of you interested in the accelerated learning process: 63
Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century, by Colin Rose - this is a fantastic book that provides a thorough intro duction into the world of accelerated learning. It provides clear and concise information. This book covers a wide range of topics and is a favorite of mine for those interested in studying accelerated learning. The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Untapped Potential, by Tony Buzan, Barry Buzan - this is by far the best book on mind maps brilliantly presented by the founder of mind maps. Who is better qualiﬁed to write a book on mind maps than the actual creator of the process? The book takes you on an incredible journey. The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Po tential for Leadership and Life, by Robert K. Cooper - is a well written and easy-to-follow book on unleashing the enormous reservoirs of your mind. If you’re interested in understanding how you may only be using just a frac tion of your potential than I would highly recommend this book. The following is information on various mind mapping software and resources: Here´s a website that offers FREE online mind mapping software: Online Mind Mapping - MindMeister - http://www.mindmeister.com/ MindManager For more information: http:// www.mindjet.com/us/ 64
Buzan Centres Tony Buzan originally developed mind maps in the late 1960s. To learn more about Tony Buzan and his organization please go to: http://www.mind-map.com/EN/index.html ConceptDraw ConceptDraw MINDMAP is recommended for Mac users. This is a cross-platform software that helps you generate, organize, discuss and present ideas in a clear, visual form. For more information: http://www.conceptdraw.com/en/ MindGenius For more information: http://www.mindgenius.com/ FREE Graphics Organizer & Ideas http://www.graphic.org/goindex.html The four key elements of business It is my belief that in the world of business there are four key el ements that exists in virtually every company. It makes no differ ence if your business is a lemonade stand on the neighborhood corner or if your business is a large publicly traded company on the NASDAQ. Every business will comprise of these four key elements. The four key elements are: 1) Research and development 2) Sales and marketing 3) Operations 4) Finance and accounting 65
In the next four chapters, you will learn about each of these four key elements. I will begin by covering the key element of Research and Development. In this chapter I will explain the importance of this key element and the impact it can have on positively shaping your business. I will also provide tips and tools to help your organization continue to create bright, fresh, and innovative ideas while positively impacting the world. I suppose you could say that this chapter is one devoted to what I like to call the future think tank. This chapter will outline some helpful and inexpensive ways to research and develop your concept, process or idea. In other words the intention of this chapter is to assist you in your efforts to nurture that so called next great thing. The next great thing is that idea that you are completely convinced will garnish you the medals and badges of success and that will fulďŹ ll your lifeâ€™s purpose.
Chapter 5 The Future Think Tank Research & Development If at ﬁrst the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. - Albert Einstein Ideas are all around us. We live in a world ﬁlled with thoughts and ideas that are bright, fresh, and innovative. For some an idea represents a bold and brilliant concept. For others an idea may bring forth an image of a light bulb ﬂashing above one’s head. So what exactly is an idea? Well I decided to consult my good friends, Mr. Merriam and Mrs. Webster, also known as my handy dandy dictionary, to assist me in learning the more formal deﬁnition of what an idea actually is. Did you know that the actual root meaning of the word idea comes from the Latin and Greek root of idein which means - to see. Isn’t that fascinating? Literally an idea is a vessel for which we are able to see more clearly. Many of us have ideas. The challenge comes in trying to discover the true potential of an idea. It may be helpful to ask yourself, is this new idea helping me to see things more clearly? This chapter discusses the signiﬁcance of research and development and how it can help to improve your business and possibly your company’s vision for the future.
The Age of Information With the emergence of the Internet some have proclaimed this the Information Age however there appears to be so much information that we can sometimes get information overload. With so much information I am left wondering is this really the Information Age or is it simply the Data Age? A mentor of mine once told me that the difference between information and data is that information is just data presented in a meaningful way. As a business owner it’s important to have all the necessary data to properly run your company. Unfortunately some of the information that exists on the Internet isn’t really all that meaningful. Oftentimes I ﬁnd myself on the Internet perusing through vast amounts of information intended speciﬁcally for my business only to ﬁnd myself sitting at the computer for hours at a time. As l come away from the computer with my eyes in a glaze I sometimes realize that I was unsuccessful in ﬁnding the exact data that I was looking for. Although it was a valiant attempt to make sense of the information I oftentimes ﬁnd myself no better than when I ﬁrst began my search. As business owners we are oftentimes short on cash and short on time. We do not have the luxury of spending either with reckless abandon. Research and development of our business is a vital component. It begins with understanding the fundamentals. Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt
What a great idea! Okay so you have your great idea. You know that idea that is going to revolutionize the world, transform the planet, and make life for everyone around you a lot easier. So what are going you to do next? I’m sure you’re familiar with the metaphor about the game of life. For those of you unfamiliar with this metaphor it essentially states that in order to be in the game of life you need to be on the ﬁeld or on the court and not in the stands with the spectators. If you have an idea and you take no action to further it than you are just like everyone else sitting in the stands watching their life pass them by. It reminds me of the story of the little boy and the circus. A little boy who lived far out in the country in the late 1800s had reached the age of twelve and had never in all his life seen a circus. You can imagine his excitement, when one day a poster went up at school announcing that on the next Saturday a traveling circus was coming to the nearby town. He ran home with the glad news and the question, “Daddy, can I go?” Although the family was poor, the father sensed how important this was to the lad. “If you do your Saturday chores ahead of time,” he said, “I’ll see to it that you have the money to go.” Come Saturday morning, the chores were done and the little boy stood by the breakfast table, dressed in his Sunday best. His father reached down into the pocket of his overalls and pulled out a dollar bill, the most money the little lad possessed at one time in all his life. The father cautioned him to be careful and then sent him on his way to town. The greater danger is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. -Michelangelo Buonarroti 69
The boy was so excited; his feet hardly seemed to touch the ground the whole way. As he neared the outskirts of the village, he noticed people lining the streets, and he worked his way through the crowd until he could see what was happening. Low and behold, it was the approaching spectacle of a circus parade! The parade was the grandest thing this lad had ever seen. Caged animals snarled as they passed, bands beated their rhythms and sounded their shining horns, midgets performed acrobatics while ﬂags and ribbons swirled overhead. Finally, after everything had passed where he was standing, the traditional circus clown, with ﬂoppy shoes, baggy pants, and a brightly painted face, brought up the rear. As the clown passed by, the little boy reached into his pocket and took out that precious dollar bill. Handing the money to the clown, the boy turned around and went home. What had happened? The boy thought he had seen the circus when really he had only seen the parade! Are you experiencing all that life has for you? Life is a marvelous adventure, an exciting journey. Many people seem to be content to ﬂoat in a sea of mediocrity, settling for second best. Do you want the abundant life? Do you want to live life to its fullest? Then aim higher. Don’t set your sights too low. Determine to become all that you can be.
The Rational Uniﬁed Process & Business Rollo May, the famous psychotherapist once said, “The cause for insanity is doing the same thing the same way expecting different results.” Continually coming up with great ideas with no action isn’t really all that great. Actually it may closely resemble May’s deﬁnition of insanity. An idea without action is just an idea and everyone has one of those. Transforming that idea (dream) into a product or service (reality)requires a well-thought-out plan. Initially you will need to gather all the important facts and ﬁgures. For many the research and development aspects that go into creating a great product or service may sometimes feel like a chore. In the past, efforts to develop a product or service have been seen as more trial and error. Oftentimes businesses would experiment in the laboratory of daily life. Let him who would move the world ﬁrst move himself. -Socrates It wasn’t until three daring and ingenious gentlemen came up with a systematic process for research and development that the proverbial tides began to change. In 1999, the three founders of a company called Rational, Grady Booch, Ivar Jacobson and James Rumbaugh, came up with the Rational Uniﬁed Process (RUP). RUP is a general frameworkthat can be used to describe speciﬁc software development processes. The rational uniﬁed process was originallyintended for software development however I began todiscover that the process could also be applied to business. My ﬁrst formal introduction to the Rational Uniﬁed Process was in a weeklong training by Rational University. At the time Rational University was considered to be the educational branch of the company 71
called Rational. The company I was working for at the time sponsored the onsite intensive training class. The intention of the course was to teach the processes, methods, and concepts of its three founders. So what exactly is the rational uniﬁed process (RUP)? That’s a great question. RUP consists of four simple phases. The core of the phases is based on a particular issue, and the issue is determined by what fundamental questions you are trying to answer: • Inception - do you and your team have a shared under standing of the product or service? • Elaboration - do you have an architectural plan to be able to build the system? • Construction - are you and your fellow co-workers developing the product? • Transition - who will be taking ownership of the system? According to The Uniﬁed Software Development Process by Jacobson et al., every software life cycle is ‘a cycle over four phases in the following order: inception, elaboration, construction, and transition’. A phase is ‘the span of time between two major milestones in the software development process’. And major milestones can be thought of ‘... as synchronization points where a well deﬁned set of objectives is met, artifacts are completed, decisions are met to move or not to into the next phase, and where the managerial and the technical realm conjuncts’. Let’s translate the above paragraph into something that we can at least understand and apply: According to the Rational Uniﬁed Process a product or service consists of four stages in the following order: inception, elaboration, construc72
tion, and transition. A stage is the span of time between two major milestones in the development of your product or service. A major milestone is an important date and generally includes the following: a well deﬁned set of objectives, completed projects, the decision to move to the next stage of development, and all parties involved are in agreement. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. That is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau Okay so now that I have impressed you with my knowledge of the software development process let me explain how this applies to business. Let’s begin by examining the fact that the Rational Uniﬁed Process (RUP) was originally intended to im prove the computer software development process. Next to mutual funds and certiﬁcates of deposit (CD’s) computer software is one of the most intangible products ever sold on the market. It was created from an old binary system consisting of 0’s and 1’s that is deeply rooted in mathematical equations. You cannot touch or hold, smell, or taste it. Sure we have come close to creating the illusion that it is a tan gible product by copying it onto CD-ROMs and distributing it in nice new boxes with fancy packaging, but seriously you can ever hold computer software and reap the beneﬁts of it like you would a piece of fruit or a bottle of water. So if the folks at Rational have created a successful process for researching and developing something as intangible as computer software it’s probably pretty likely that the same process could be applied successfully to business.
How it works As you begin to research and develop your product or service you may start to notice certain details that were once hidden. The essence of RUP is iteration. And the essence of iteration is that each iteration ends in a deliverable—preferably one that executes. Even in inception, you are going to want a few iterations that show growing functionality. The inception phase contains whatever workﬂows are necessary to get the stakeholders to agree (the keyword there is agree, and not have sure knowledge) on the objectives, rough architeture, and rough schedule of the project. If the stakeholders are extremely knowledgeable, then little analysis will be required. If they need to be severely educated, then lots of analysis will be required. Inception - you will gather signiﬁcant information from inter views conducted on how your product or service will actually be used in the marketplace also known as use cases. Those you interview can include but are not limited to: management, staff, customers, vendors, or suppliers. You will take a fraction of those interviews that seem to be central or key. The iterations will be implementing some of these. Elaboration - you will tighten up your architecture and your plan. The nature of the iterations won’t necessarily change much; but the longevity of the product or service produced will certainly increase. Early iterations (usually in the inception phase) have a tendency to get thrown out. During elaboration you will discover the rest of the use cases (or at least their ﬁrst approximations) and will implement the minimal set. Construction - you will drive towards giving the customer the minimum product or service that they need. The nature of the iterations won’t
change much, but your focus will be on identifying the best possible deliverable that will still meet at least some of the customers needs. During construction, the use cases will change a bit as the customer sees the growing product or ser vice and feeds changes back to you. Transition - you will drive towards ﬂeshing out the functionality of the product or service, and incorporating the mounds of customer feedback that you are surely to get. The nature of your iterations won’t change much. During transition the use cases are likely to undergo drastic changes as the customers actually use the product or service and realize that it is not exactly what they needed. Again, the essence of RUP is iteration, and the essence of iteration is the production of executable deliverables. You may also be producing a model of the architecture of your product or service, which is seeded during inception and established dur ing elaboration. This model is likely to be a permanent docu ment and will include all the required features of your product or service. Additionally you can create another kind of model as a way to plan what the structure of the iteration will look like. These models are most likely temporary documents. You might ﬁnd a few that are essential and should be retained; but many will be discarded. The transition from phase to phase is gradual. The ﬁrst iterations start in the inception phase.
Life is a process As you begin the process you may ﬁnd yourself coming up against obstacles and challenges that you hadn’t quite expected. This is the intention of the process so don’t feel discouraged. This reminds me of the story of the man who was driving home from work one day, and stopped to watch a local Little League baseball game that was being played in a park near his home. As he sat down behind the bench on the ﬁrst-baseline, the man asked one of the boys what the score was. “We’re behind 14 to nothing,” the boy answered with a smile. “Really,” the man said. “I have to say you don’t look very dis couraged.” “Discouraged?” the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. “Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t been up to bat yet.” Don’t get discouraged if you come up against obstacles and challenges, its part of life. Just think what life would be like if there were no challenges? It’d be pretty boring. Take the ob stacles and challenges of your business and use them to help you grow as a person. Realize that every product and service is constantly evolving. Evolution is just another word for change and change is just another word for growth. You see your busi ness needs to continuously grow and if it’s not growing than it may be dying or worst its ﬂat lining. Flat lining is an expression used in medicine to refer to when a person’s heart has abnormal rhythms and they begin to deteriorate to the point where all electrical activity in the heart ceases. This rhythm is known as asystole. (Some people call that ﬂat- lining.) 76
You have probably seen on television or in the movies where there is a monitor hooked up to a patient lying in bed. When the patient has a steady heart beat the monitor shows an active green vertical line going up and down and a beeping sound, however when the patient does not have a steady heart beat the monitor sounds a steady hum and the green line on the screen is ﬂat lining.
If the patient is ﬂat lining the doctor and medical staff will do everything they possibly can to restore the patient’s heart because it is a matter of life or death. At the heart of every busi ness is you. You are the business. Unfortunately for most business owners they do not see their business as a matter of life or death. In order to succeed and grow your business you need to nurture and care for it as though your life depended upon it. Nurturing and caring for your business ﬁrst begins with creating scenarios and the major milestones or steps in your business. For review of creating scenarios please see Chapter 2. Essentially what you want to do here is create the steps of your business from start to ﬁnish. The key is to keep it simple. Focus on the major milestones. You can ﬁll in the details later.
Tips Marketing Guru Jay Abraham in his article, Jay Abraham 101, discusses maximizing what you’re already doing, examine and evaluate. According to Abraham,” You have all these activities going on. You have sales people. You have ads running. You have people calling. You have word of mouth, phone calls, customer service. You have all these contact and impact points. And you must, ﬁrst of all, maximize what you’re currently doing before you can go out and rebuild your organization. Because only when you do that can you measure, can you quantify, can you improve.” This was hard advice for me to take because I had no idea what was going on. When we ﬁrst started our company I was just working every angle possible. I clearly had no idea what advertising was pulling and what advertising was failing miserably. Hit counters and trafﬁc analysis is a fantastic way to measure performance. Many Internet Service Providers (ISP) already provide this service with their hosting plans. Hit counters and trafﬁc analysis. (FREE) - However if you are with an ISP that does not offer this service or the service is at best mediocre than I would suggest Google Analytics: (http://www.google.com/analytics). Resources Below are some resources to help you research and develop your business: • Hoovers is available at your local library and/or local university to research business information or go online. Go to: http://www.hoovers.com/free/ OR 78
Go to: http://www.hoovers.com/free/and Type in the search: You can search by Company Name, by Stock Ticker, Industry Keyword, or News • Trademarks and patents is a free online resource to search for patents and trademark information. To search for a particular patent or to see if a patent has been issued go to: http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html and click “Quick Search”. To search for particular trademark or to see if a trademark has been issued go to: http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm and click “Search (Advanced Search)” In the next chapter we will explore the sales and marketing as pects of your business. The time and effort that you ultimately put into your sales and marketing are in direct proportion to your company’s net proﬁts. In the next chapter we will discuss various tools and resources to assist you in your sales and market ing efforts. We will explore referral-based marketing and how to create a network without ever having to cold call again. We will learn how to create a powerful sphere of inﬂuence and we will provide you with the resources and tools to keep your sales and marketing efforts strong and vibrant.
Chapter 6 The price is right Sales & Marketing Tips The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone. - Orison Swett Marden Sales and marketing has got to be one of the most intriguing and captivating aspects for any business. For some it is a mysterious black hole and for others it is a quasi-superstitious set of prac tices. Its appearances can be deceiving because the sales and marketing efforts that successfully work for one business may fail miserably for another. There are so many books in print just on the subject of sales and marketing that I sometimes ﬁnd myself lost in a sea of opinions. It is certainly overwhelming. Thankfully I have a belief system that tells me that most things are often quite simple. Ultimately sales and marketing is about matching your businesses inside reality with its outside percep tion. Understanding and applying this simple belief system to your sales and marketing is the topic of this chapter.
A Flat Attitude The attitude you bring to any situation is an important key toward determining the amount of success you’ll achieve. It’s true your attitude does determine your altitude. There’s a fantastic expression that says a bad attitude is like a ﬂat tire if you don’t change it you won’t get anywhere. Consider that a bad attitude is a lot like hot air that doesn’t 81
really accomplish much. Some times in order to have a clearer perspective and improve your attitude you need to let the hot air out. There’s a great story I once heard about a large truck that was stuck under a bridge overpass. Transit engineers were called to see what they could do. The engineers came with their slide rulers and calculators. They worked for hours but couldn’t ﬁg ure out how to free the truck without causing more damage to the bridge above. From out of nowhere came a little boy. Tug ging on the pant leg of one of the engineers the little boy asked, “Hey mister, why don’t you just let the air out of the tires?” From the words of a child the answer was solved. I often like to substitute the word attitude with perspective. Sometimes we may ﬁnd ourselves in a predicament that appears a little bit overwhelming. When that happens just look for a fresh new perspective on things. As was the case for the engineers with all their slide rulers and calculators their fresh new perspective came in the form of a little boy. Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions; it is governed by our mental attitude. -Dale Carnegie I am a big believer that your attitude is vitally important to your own well-being. I have experienced ﬁrsthand in my life the wonderful healing powers that a healthy dose of a positive mental attitude can bring. You are probably familiar with the expression that laughter is the best medicine. For quite some time laughter has been advocated as the best medicine. It was not until the late 1970’s that the medical profession began to take laughter seriously. In particular, it was the experience of one man, Norman Cousins that really underlined the potential medicinal 82
powers of laughter. In 1978, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article by Norman Cousins, which outlined his recovery from a painful, crippling disorder known as ankylosing spondylitis - his chief medicine was regular prescriptions of Candid Camera episodes and Marx Brother movies. After his successful battle with a life-threatening illness, he became convinced of the value of positive attitudes and behaviors on human healing. He dealt with this subject in such books as, Anatomy of an Illness (1979). In his book, Anatomy of an Illness, Norman Cousins “made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect that would give me at least two-hours of painfree sleep.” In her article, Positive Attitude Fights the Common Cold Laughter, Vitality Help Fight Common Cold Symptoms, Cherie Berkley, discusses a study that was conducted in July 2003 to show that keeping a positive attitude could be just the right medicine to ﬁght the common cold. According to Berkley, “The study, appearing in the July issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, reports that people with a positive attitude— energetic, happy, and relaxed—are less likely to catch colds than people who are depressed, nervous, or angry. The study even reported that uptight or sad people are also more likely to complain of cold symptoms even when they don’t have a cold. Researchers interviewed more than 300 healthy people three times a week for two weeks to assess their emotional states. Each volunteer described how they felt based on three categories of positive attitude: vigor, well-being, and calm. They also described their negative feelings according to three criteria: depression, anxiety, and hostility. After each assessment, research ers gave the volunteers a squirt of rhinovirus — the 83
germ that causes colds—and monitored them for ﬁve days to see who became infected and how symptoms developed. “Increases in positive emotional styles were linked with decreases in the rate of clinical colds, but a negative emotional style had no effect on whether or not people got sick,” said Sheldon Cohen, PhD, of Carnegie Melon University, in a news release. People with a positive attitude produced fewer signs and symptoms of illness, probably because healthy attitudes tend to pro mote healthy lifestyle habits, Cohen says. Although negative emotion was not linked with a person’s risk for getting sick in the study, it was connected with more reports of symptoms of illness. Researchers say this could happen because negative emotions may make a person perceive ambiguous physical sensations in a negative way. Finally, researchers say they hope their ﬁndings will lead to more studies about how a positive at titude affects health, not only to help people ﬁght the common cold but also stave off other illnesses.” Oftentimes I like to ask people if they know of any good, clean jokes. Preferably G rated. If they don’t know of any jokes then I simply try to enjoy their company and notice what might be possibly funny about this situation that I haven’t noticed. Enjoying the company of one another and sharing a few laughs together is a sure ﬁre way to create a positive mental attitude. Hopefully you are beginning to see the beneﬁts of a positive mental attitude. There’s an expression I heard growing up that said, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Although an apple nourishes yourbody and is great to enjoy I would like you to consider a good healthy serving of laughter, which can nourish your mind and not to mention elevate your spirit. I will leave you with this ﬁnal note which is a funny story I heard about a young man from the North who decided to take a vacation and visit a 84
Southern town. In the center of this Southern town there was a Nativity Scene that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. The young man from the north noticed one feature that bothered him. The three wise men were wearing ﬁremen’s helmets. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, the young man left. At a Quik Stop on the edge of town, the young man asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She looked at him like he was dumber than dirt and said “You darn Yankees never do read the Bible!” The young man assured her that he did but simply couldn’t recall anything about ﬁremen in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and rufﬂed thru some pages and ﬁnally jabbed her ﬁnger at a pas sage. Sticking it in his face she said, “See, it says right here, ‘The three wise men came from afar.’ (“afar” not a ﬁre)
That’s Incredible Growing up I would often watch television. One of the television shows that I enjoyed watching was a show called, That’s Incredible! It was a one-hour show hosted by John Davidson, Cathy Lee Crosby and Fran Tarkenton. Every week the three hosts would introduce a variety of ﬁlm clips and in-studio guests all of which featured folks doing or involved with amazing talents. It was sort of a traveling circus show for television. The stories they featured were just so incredible, thus the name. One of the episodes of the show featured a young and captivat ing 5-year-old that played golf. Two years earlier at the tender age of 3, this young golf player shot a 48 over nine holes and by the time he was 5, he was regularly scoring in the 90s around 18-hole golf courses. On the show I remember this young golfer playing golf with this bright red golf club that seemed ridiculously big for 85
him. The hosts of the show were saying “he’s not even at school yet and he’s beating players who are fully grown.” When asked about his goals for the future he said how he was going to play against Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and beat them. Many years later this young golfer grew up to be one of the very best. His name is Tiger Woods. He never actually played Nick laus or Palmer in the true competitive fashion he would have liked, however this young golfer has already set many records. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. -Martin Luther King, Jr. The goal that Tiger Woods set for the future to beat Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer may very well become reality. Woods is on pace to surpass the records set by both Nicklaus and Palmer. Now That’s Incredible! Although many of us may not grow up to be as gifted as Tiger Woods we can however have the same dedication, determination, and drive. It ﬁrst begins with a goal. I often enjoy playing a good game of basketball. I usually play with a close friend of mine. Sometimes we’ll play one-on-one however we generally play a game called Taps or Tips. Essentially one player (player A) shoots from the free-throw line while the other player (player B) stands underneath the basket. If player A shooting from the free-throw line makes it he is awarded one point. If player A shooting from the freethrow line misses it and player B underneath the basket rebounds the ball and taps it into the basket then player B is awarded two points and player A trades places with player B. Now player B shoots from the free throw line while player A stands underneath the basket. It’s a race to see who can get to 21 points ﬁrst. 86
Depending upon the skill of the players involved, the game of Taps can either be really fun or really boring. I will explain. The friend of mine I normally play basketball with has been playing for the last 20 years and his level of skill at shooting free throws is quite high. In other words he can shoot 21 free throws in a row without missing. He’s really good at sinking the basketball in the goal however when it comes to goal setting in real life he considers himself a poor shooter. Some of you may be saying to self, “So what’s the big deal? The game of basketball has nothing to do with goal setting.” Quite the contrary, the game of basketball has everything to do with goal setting. If there were no goals in the game of basketball you would never be able to keep track of the score. With out a goal to shoot the basketball through you might as well be throwing the ball against a wall, because you would get the same result. The game of basketball has all the makings of the ideal goal setting experience. In the game of basketball there are players, teams, obstacles and challenges, start and end periods, and the score to keep track of your progress. So if the game of basketball has everything to do with goal set ting then why would my friend who has been playing basketball for the last 20 years consider himself a poor shooter in setting goals in real life? The answer is quite simple. (Actually the answer is simple because I knew the answer before I asked the question.) My friend was mentally blocked. He was unable to recognize that his talent in the game of basketball could be ap plied to successfully setting and achieving goals. Setting and achieving goals is not a question of capability it is a question of motivation. And another word for motivation is attitude. I also believe 87
that he wasn’t consciously aware of the principles of goal setting. He knew them subconsciously. When he played basketball he was on automatic pilot. I would like to offer that my friend’s experience is not unique. All throughout my teens I hardly ever set goals. If there was an election to see who was most likely to be the ideal goal setter, I would have deﬁnitely ﬁnished in last place. Actually I probably would have received an award for the person most likely to not set a goal. I ﬁrst learned about goal setting as a teenager. I was sitting around the house one day when I decided to visit the local video store. Typically in video stores the newer movies are located on the outer most perimeter of the store. The older movies are generally found in the middle aisles. For some strange reason I thought to myself why not try something new and see what’s in between the aisles as opposed to what’s on the outside perimeter. (I guess I was feeling a little adventurous. Indiana Jones would have been proud.) Before I knew it I found myself wandering around the middle aisles. This was deﬁnitely uncharted territory for me. Normally the middle aisles were just a place that separated me from the cash register. In the past, when I would do a quick visit to the local video store the middle aisles would often times feel like a maze as I weaved in and out trying to make my way to the ﬁnal checkout at the front of the store. Within a short period of time I found myself looking like a deer caught in the headlights as I glared at two bold words in black on a white background sitting a top a bookshelf. The words were Self Improvement. For quite a while I stood there look ing at those two words thinking to myself, Self Improvement, what the heck is that? 88
The only Self Improvement I knew was improving the taste buds in my mouth by making a good old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of Dorito chips and washing that down with a cherry Coke Slurpee from 7/11. All kidding aside I was somewhat familiar with the notion of self-improvement. There were many late nights I would lie there on the couch watching info-mercials of a young Tony Robbins being interviewed by the former quarterback star turned talk show host Fran Tarkenton. I knew of self-improvement, but there’s a big difference between knowing about and actually knowing. I guess it really never dawned on me that the local video store would devote a section to self-improvement. As I began to glance around the various titles a name stood out amongst all the rest. It was a video that forever changed my life. The title of the video was called, Goals and the presenter’s name was Zig Ziglar. I think what stood out most about that video was the name of the presenter. (He has a really great name.) I picked up the video and proceeded to read the summary on the back. The summary on the back stated that, “it would offer a sevenstep formula for clearly deﬁning your immediate and long-term goals...and then realizing your dreams.” I remember thinking to myself, “Only seven steps? I can handle that.” I grabbed the video, went to the counter to checkout and walked home. It was late afternoon on a Friday and the beautiful sun was still shining. When I got home I immedi ately went for the VCR and put the tape in. I grabbed a notepad and a pen from my backpack and slid a chair directly in front of the television. I guess I was preparing myself. I didn’t want to miss a single word. I was eager to learn what my new discovery might uncover. As the video began a man in his late forties possibly early ﬁfties 89
walked out onto the stage. Behind him was a light blue background very similar to the color of the sky with his name Zig Ziglar in white. I will never forget the opening story they he shared that forever changed my way of looking at life. He began to talk about John Henry Fabre, the great French naturalist,who conducted a most unusual experiment with some pine processionary caterpillars. These caterpillars blindly follow the one in front of them. Hence, the name. Fabre carefully arranged them in a circle around the rim of a ﬂowerpot, so that the lead caterpillar actually touched the last one, making a complete circle. In the center of the ﬂowerpot he put pine needles, which is the food of the processionary caterpillar. The caterpillars started around this circular ﬂowerpot. Around and around they went, hour after hour, day after day, and night after night. For seven full days and seven full nights, they went around the ﬂowerpot. Finally, they dropped dead of starvation and exhaustion. With an abundance of food less than six inches away, they literally starved to death, because they confused activity with accomplishment. It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? -Thoreau He then spoke about how many of us know people in our lives that are constantly on the go but are really getting nowhere. It was as though he was speaking to me personally. I think I watched the tape two or three times that day because by the time I emerged from the television it was pitch dark. From that point on I was determined to never live a life of mediocrity, I was determined to live an extraordinary life.
You see we are all successful in certain areas of our lives. It’s my belief that part or possibly all of that success can be attributed to the goals that we set. There is however the ﬂip side to setting goals and that is, being wary of setting your goals to low. Here’s a classic example taken from real life about setting your goals too low. It hap pened in Milton, Vermont. Hard to imagine a 3-pointer in the second quarter of a high school boy’s basketball game would turn out to be the winning basket — unless it’s one of only three made in the entire game. That basket, along with an earlier ﬁeld goal, was all Bellows Free Academy-Fairfax (BFA) needed to beat the Milton School on a Wednesday night. The ﬁnal score: 5-2. Let me repeat the ﬁnal score was 5 to 2. To the teams’ credit, the score was the result of an apparently deliberate stalling strategy. It could not immediately be determined if the score was a state or national record low, but the contest certainly attracted at tention. The scoring was kept way down on purpose, a strategy made possible by the fact that Vermont high schools don’t use a shot clock. No player went to the free-throw line as Milton committed ﬁve fouls and BFA had one. BFA took a 5-0 lead and neither team scored in the second half. The slowdown was implemented because BFA (7-4) has a strong scoring presence, while Milton (2-8) does not. The Milton players believed their best chance to be competitive was to just hold onto the ball. The strategy almost worked. You see Milton School went in the game afraid that they would lose. What ended up happening was the thing they feared the
most came to pass. They set their goal in the negative. They focused on losing and what they focused on most became their reality. In order to win the game of life you must ﬁrst come out to play, and in order to be able to play in the game of life you must have the desire to win. Set your goal in the positive.
Where are you? An important part of setting goals and achieving them is the feedback you get in knowing where you are. In the case of the Bellows Free Academy Fairfax and Milton School basketball game, both teams knew exactly where they were. Unfortunate ly Milton set their goals too low. They didn’t come to play to win instead they came hoping not to lose. This is a subtle yet signiﬁcant element. In sales it’s important to know where you are. Sometimes not knowing where you are can be extremely serious. An elderly Florida lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle. She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at the top of her voice, “I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of the car!” The four men didn’t wait for a second invitation. They got out and ran like mad. The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her shop ping bags into the back of the car and got into the driver’s seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her key into the ig nition. She tried and tried, and then it dawned on her why. A few minutes later, she found her own car parked four or ﬁve spaces further down. She loaded her bags into the car and drove to the police station. The sergeant to whom she told the story couldn’t stop laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter, where
four pale men were reporting a car jacking by a mad, elderly woman described as white, less than ﬁve feet tall, glasses, curly white hair, and carrying a large handgun. No charges were ﬁled. Knowing where you are is extremely important and in some cases can affect those around you as illustrated by the story above. When you know your performance of the past you can then begin to plan for the future. For example let’s say that your business did 24 sales last year and averaged 2 sales per month. In order to get one sale you needed to get 10 prospects. Break ing this down even further let’s say that in order to get one pros pect you needed to make 20 phone calls. With these numbers you have now created a ratio that was based on past perfor mance. Now let’s say that you would like to increase your sales by 10%. Based on the example provided, you’ll need to make 200 phone calls in order to get 10 qualiﬁed prospects which will then turn into one sale. If your goal for this year is to increase sales by 10% then you will need to make an additional 20 phone calls. It’s simply a matter of knowing where you are. Once you know where you are, you can now create and achieve goals that will build a thriving business. So let’s review the seven steps for creating and achieving goals: The 7 steps to goal setting used by the top 3% of the population: 1) Identify the goal. 2) Set a date and time for achievement of the goal. 3) List the obstacles to overcome. 4) Identify the person, places and things that can help you achieve your goal. 5) List the skills and knowledge required. 93
6) Develop a plan of action. 7) List the beneﬁts, what’s in it for me? I realize that there’s been a lot published on the subject of goal setting and goal achievement. I suppose the reason why that is may have a lot to do with the strange coincidence that the same percentages of people that actually writes their goals and create a plan of action are also the most successful. By no stretch of the imagination am I perfect in setting and achieving all of my goals. I can say from personal experience that setting and achieving goals has brought me a tremendous amount of joy and happiness. I’m not going to lie to you; setting and achieving goals requires a certain level of discipline. It’s hard work. The most fulﬁlling aspect is not the goal itself but who you become along the way. If one advances conﬁdently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. -Henry David Thoreau As you set and achieve your goals, ask yourself, “Do I like who I am becoming?” Another great question to ask is, “Am I having fun?” I’ve used these two questions to help me focus on the true joy and happiness that comes from the journey and not in simply reaching the destination. Some of you may be saying to yourself that you are really not good at goal setting and goal achieving. However, I’ve yet to ﬁnd someone who is not good at something in their life. Each of us has a gift or talent that we are good at. Most often it is something that we take for granted. Do you remember the story of my friend who was really good at basketball? The person that could shoot 21 basketball goals in a row yet felt he wasn’t so great at setting goals in the game of life. Well he’s doing great with a thriving medi cal practice, is currently dating someone, and is 94
continuously setting goals and achieving them. He attributes his success to “showing up and be wiling to shoot and go for it. In order to set your goals and achieve them you must first show up on ﬁeld and then you have to be willing to go for it.” Every person wants to have fun and play. Make the goal of life to be fun. Most people don’t play basketball because they have to, they play because its fun. Consider setting the goal of business to be fun and you’re sure to be a winner.
One sentence elevator pitch I recently attended a presentation in San Diego, California, by a local ﬁnancial journalist, radio talk show host, and television ﬁnancial advisor, George Chamberlain. It was a one-hour talk on the ﬁnancial outlook for the upcoming year. For those of you interested in ﬁnances it was a captivating discussion with tons of helpful information. Half way into the presentation Chamberlain began to share a conversation he had with Peter Lynch during a radio interview. Peter Lynch is the famed investor and former manager of the Fidelity Magellan mutual fund. From 1977 to 1990, the Magellan fund rose more than 2,700% with an average annual return of 29% a year. When he started managing the Fidelity Magellan Fund in 1978, it had assets of $20 million. When he retired in 1990 at the tender age of 46, it had assets of $14 billion. According to Valueline, “a $10,000 investment into Magellan in 1978 and then adding $100 per month, would add up to over $1 million, in 20 years!” During the interview, Chamberlain asked Lynch what were some of the secrets to his success. Lynch replied that one of the secrets was the ability to pick and invest in stocks that he could easily take a piece of 8 by 11 paper and write in crayon what the company does. Simply put he 95
only invested in companies that he could easily describe in a few words what they do. As you begin to invest time, energy, and ﬁnancial resources into your business it’s important that you clearly understand and describe what your business does. I realize many of you may be thinking to yourself that you already understand what your business does. You’d be surprised at how many business owners I meet on a daily basis that are unable to easily discuss with another person what they do. Just about every business has its own phraseology. This phraseology can include unique terms and special words, which are helpful when communicating within your own industry circle. However these same unique terms and special words can sometimes make it difﬁcult for those who are outside of your industry circle to truly understand what your business does. It’s helpful to create a deﬁning statement to answer that inevitable question of, “What do you do?” Some of you may already be familiar with creating a deﬁning statement. A deﬁning statement is often called an elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is an extremely concise presentation of an entrepreneur’s idea, business model, company solution, marketing strategy, and competition delivered to potential in vestors. The elevator pitch generally should not last more than a minute, or the duration of an elevator ride. In Mark LeBlanc’s terriﬁc little book, Growing Your Business! he outlines seven rules for creating a deﬁning statement: 1. Language - Use eighth grade language. Keep it simple and concise. 2. Conversational - It is a simple answer to a simple 96
question. It is not an advertising theme, slogan or tagline. It’s something that you could easily say in everyday conversation. 3. Attraction - It must attract people to you. 4. Dream Focus - Focus on the dream of your prospects and the people you serve best. 5. Contains What and Who - identify the outcomes and who would be best served by working with you or buying from you. 6. Dual Focus – create a two-part deﬁning statement with two outcomes. This will appeal to a wider target market. 7. Repeatability - if another person can repeat your deﬁning statement or part of it then you have a great deﬁning statement. According to Mark, “if you hit items 3 or 4 of the rules you’ll have a good deﬁning statement, however if you hit items 5, 6, or 7 of the rules, you’ll have a great deﬁning statement.”
No man is an island In the 1960s there was a popular television show called Gilligan’s Island. This popular television comedy began with the shipwreck of the S.S. Minnow in a terrible storm. On board the S.S. Minnow were seven passengers. (One of the passengers name was Gilligan. This is where the name for the television show came from.) When the boat was shipwrecked these seven stranded castaways all on a deserted island were left to fend for themselves with no hope of ever being found and rescued. One of the castaways was a brilliant professor. The Professor would often ﬁnd ingenious ways to create common every day appliances out of the most unusual things. In one episode the professor found a way to make a computer out of coconuts and bamboo shoots located near the
lagoon. Broken transmitter parts were also salvaged and used to make excellent con ductors. During a heavy storm a telephone cable was washed ashore and the professor tapped into a rudimentary version of what we would now call the Internet in hopes that somebody would ﬁnd the lost castaways. The computer wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world but it worked. Each of the castaways on the island brought their own unique talents and skills. The seven passengers worked together as a team. I heard great acronym for the word team or T.E.A.M., which stands for Together Everyone Achieves Miracles. As a business owner you may ﬁnd that your team consists of only just a few. A great way to leverage building a successful team is to utilize Girard’s Law of 250. In his book, How to Sell Anything to Anybody, Joe Girard explains what he calls Girard’s Law of 250. Based out of a Chev rolet dealership in Detroit, Michigan, he was one of the world’s most successful car salespeople. Ofﬁcially, he was actually the most successful car salesperson in the world for 14 years. Girard made The Guinness Book of World Records 12 times for achieving the top vehicle sales in the world. He also was ranked by Forbes magazine in 1977 as one of the Super Salesmen of the Century. During his selling career (1963-1977), he sold 13,001 cars, all at retail. In Girard’s peak day he sold 18 vehicles; best month, 174; and best year, 1,425. He averaged six retail sales a day with the help of two assistants. The Law of 250 is Girard’s belief that everyone knows at least 250 people in his or her life important enough to invite to a wedding or who will show up at their funeral. Mistreat one, and 250 will eventually know about it. He also believes that the customer is the most important asset in the world to someone involved in sales. 98
Girard’s Law of 250 can make the difference between a successful business and one that is at best mediocre. In order to incorporate the law of 250 we will ﬁrst begin by creating a list of 250 people that you know. You’ll probably need a notebook or at the very least a couple of sheets of 8 by 11 paper. On the left-hand side note the numbers 1 to 250 on the next several pages. Now begin to write all the names of people that you know. The list doesn’t need to be people that you personally know or call all the time. It can be friends from long ago, old school friends, college friends, co-workers past and/or present, family members, anyone that you have interacted with in some way or another. If you´re saying to yourself, “Well what about this person? I hardly know this person.” Great, write him or her down on your list. The goal is to create a list of 250 people. (Note: only people that are alive.) It’s okay if you don’t have exactly 250 people. You will probably ﬁnd that you have around 200 or more names on your list. Make sure you have a phone number, mailing address, and/or e-mail address. When you create your lists remember that you are not only interested in building rapport and growing your relationships with the names that are on your list, you are also interested in the 250 people that each person on your list knows. In other words you have exponentially broadened your circle of inﬂuence by 250. Once you have created your list you will ABC it. I ﬁrst learned about ABC it from the book, The Referral of a Lifetime, by Tim Templeton. This is an extraordinary book that uses an entertaining ﬁctional story to emphasize the importance of “putting the relationship ﬁrst.” The ABC it consists of four categories: A - Your As are the ones most likely to refer you. Typically your As will account for about 10 to 12% of the people you know. B - Your Bs are individuals that you think can champion your cause as 99
well as refer you if you educate them about your work. You’ll ﬁnd that your Bs will account for about 17 to 20% of those you know. C - Your Cs are people you are not sure about but still want to keep communicating with. D - Your Ds are synonymous with delete or defer. These are individuals you are certain that you do not want to work with. Now go through your list and next to each name put an A, B, C or D. What you’ll ﬁnd is that you have roughly 20 to 25 people that fall into the As. I would like you to consider the A’s to rep resent something more than a grading system. The A is an acronym for Advocates. Your advocates are people that you will be keeping in contact with on a monthly basis. I ﬁrst learned of this fantastic ongoing marketing strategy in Mark LeBlanc’s book, Growing Your Business. One great way that I like to use to qualify my advocate list is by interviewing each person with my fourteen meaningful ques tions. It’s important to remember that you are a detective of inﬂuence. Your job is to simply take notes and listen. Here are the 14 questions: 1) What’s the most important lesson you have learned? 2) What’s the most important habit? 3) What’s the most important personality trait? 4) What is the system that you used to become successful? Is the system transferable? 5) How long would it take you today to mentor somebody to your same level of success? 6) How do you integrate spiritual values into your life? 7) What is the legacy you want to leave? 8) What opportunities do you see that you don’t have time to take advantage of? 100
9) In one sentence or phrase how would you deﬁne success? 10) Who are your mentors? 11) What is the most important book you have read? 12) What was the most fun you had in business? 13) What was the most difﬁcult decision you had to make? 14) What was the best decision you made? According to LeBlanc, “These 25 people are the most important people in your life who are in a position to impact your busi ness.” In his book he shares ﬁve key points that simpliﬁes the process and makes it fun and easy to stay in constant contact with your advocates: 1) Monthly communication - never let an advocate get more than 30 days away from you. 2) Deﬁning statement -he or she must know your deﬁning statement. 3) Methods of communication- there are ﬁve ways to communicate with your advocate group. You can communicate or connect by phone, fax, mail, e-mail, or personal visit. 4) Your investment - communicating with your advocate group should cost you between zero and $100 per month on average. Your investment of time should average two to eight hours per month. If you’re spending more money or it’s taking more time you may be making this too complicated. (If you are concerned about the amount of time and/or money involved don’t worry I have some helpful hints that I will share with you later in this chapter.) 5) Evaluation - periodically, you should reevaluate your group of advocates, add new ones, and wean off those people who aren´t real supporters.
Your Business Will S.O.A.R. to New Heights In the beginning of the book I shared with you the idea that most businesses consist of four main categories: 1) Sales and Marketing (S) - this is where you create marketing strategies to bring people to your front door and then you create the sales process to generate revenue for your business. 2) Operations (O) - this is where you manage the dayto-day operations of your business. This can include the legal aspects, hiring and ﬁring of employees, ofﬁce management, etc. 3) Accounting and Finance (A) - this is where you manage the accounts receivable and accounts payable aspects of your business. 4) Research and Development (R) - this is where you research and develop the concept for your business idea. Now next to each name of your advocate group you will note the category that they best fall into. For example, if one of the people in your advocate group does sales for a living than you would naturally assign to him or her, S (“sales for a living”). Once you have completely gone through your list of names and assigned a category I would like you to go through once more and assign a second category that you feel they best fall into. For example, you may have a member of your advocate group who is a sales manager. You have already put him or her into the category of Sales and Marketing (S) however this person is also good at managing people and could easily fall into the category of Operations (O). Therefore you assign him or her accordingly. This person will now have two categories assigned to his or her name, S and O. By the time you are done with your second round you may ﬁnd that you have at least two or more names on your list that fall into each of the categories.
The reason why I have you do this exercise is not to ﬁll some requirement for cruel and unusual behavior. It is to help you build a board of advisers and a team that you can count on. Do you remember when I spoke about the popular television com edy show Gilligan’s Island? Although the show was ﬁctional it provided a fantastic lesson in working together as a team. There were seven castaways each from varied backgrounds. One was a millionaire with his wife, another was a movie star, one was a professor with his assistant, and the other two were crewmem bers of the boat. They all seemingly came from different backgrounds to join together for the collective whole. By the way they eventually did get off the island. I would like to think the reason for their being rescued had a lot to do with each person working together. By assigning categories to each name on your list of advocates you now have 25 people who can help you at any given time. For example, if you’re having problems in researching and de veloping your product just reference your list of advocates and see who you assigned an “R.” if you’re having issues in increasing your sales or improving your marketing efforts just simply reference your list of advocates and see who you assigned an “S.” Do you kind of see where I am going with all this? If you ﬁnd yourself having problems in your business and you feel like you’re lost on a deserted island just reference your list of advocates. You never know, you may just ﬁnd that you have an ingenious person like the Professor from Gilligan’s Island. Have you ever heard the expression, it’s lonely at the top? Well with your list of advocates and the categories that you assigned to each of them you can take solace in knowing that you now have your own board of advisers to help you when the going gets tough. One more ﬁnal thing about S.O.A.R. that may be useful is to rate your business from 0 to 10 for each speciﬁc category: Sales, Operations, 103
Accounting, and Research/Development. For example: Your Sales might score an 8 however the other three areas Op erations, Accounting, and Research/Development may be a 5. By narrowing in on the areas that require your immediate at tention you will become more proactive in your business. Just be aware that you need to be brutally honest with yourself and your business.
Managing Your Contacts Now that you have your list of names you’ll need a way to properly organize all your names. Managing contacts with your list of 250 people along with customers, vendors, partners and employees couldn’t be easier and less affordable. Yes I realize that there are a ton of contact/customer relationship manage ment (CRM) tools out on the market. Trust me I have tried my fair share. What I love most about the hosted CRM solutions is that they give you all the functionality, ﬂexibility and scalabil ity that most large corporations have with their expensive and labor intensive in-house solution without the expensive and la bor intensive cost. I personally use the Sales Force Automation product from E Business Suite (http://www.ebsuite.com/) to manage all our contacts. The interface is completely customizable. Best of all their online application synchronizes contact information, calendar information, and activities with Outlook and PDAs. They offer four types of products for managing sales, marketing, customer support/help desk and project management and all four integrate with each other. As you can probably see I am a huge fan of hosted services because you can allow the employees of your business to work remotely. E Business Suite handles all the backing up, training, 104
maintenance, support and storage of the CRM. Itâ€™s like getting an extra employee for only $20 per month. What more could you ask for?
A diamond in the rough Have you ever noticed that the things we search for most are oftentimes right in our own backyard? There is a great little book that I would highly recommend you check out. This book brings to light this simple concept. The title of the book is called Acres of Diamonds written by the founder of Temple Univer sity, Russell Conwell. In his book, Conwell shares true stories about people who go off searching for wealth and riches only to discover later on that there were wealth and riches in their own backyard. In business there are bounties of untapped natural resources that await discovery. These untapped natural resources are re ferrals. As you mine for prospects itâ€™s important that you survey your own backyard for these undiscovered jewels. For some referrals are considered a mystery. If you were to ask me a year or two ago I probably would have agreed with you. I use to be lieve that building a business based on referrals was somewhat of an unexplainable phenomenon. It was sort of like a puzzle. I realize now that this is not so. Once you decide that you want to build a business based on referrals all the other pieces begin to fall into place. Thereâ€™s a big difference between hoping and deciding. The second step to building a business based on referrals is to make you more refer-able. You make yourself more refer-able by having a system in place to follow up with everyone you come in contact with. Here are three great ways to follow up with those you come in contact: 105
1) Thank You Note Cards 2) Keep In Touch 3) Newsletters
Thank You Note Cards I ﬁrst got wind of this idea in Bob Burg’s terriﬁc book, Endless Referrals. According to Burg, “Show me an avid note writer and 9 times out of 10 I’ll show you a success. It’s ironic that one trait, such as writing notes, seems to separate those who are successful from those who are not.” That was all I needed to read, to be convinced in writing thank you note cards. Essen tially any time you meet someone that you have had a dialogue or a meaningful conversation with you send them a thank you card. If someone refers you someone you send him or her a thank you card. Now I realize this may seem like a lot of work but let me ask you, when was the last time you got a thank you card? If you’re like most people it’s probably few and far be tween. Let me also ask you, when you did receive a thank you card how did you feel? Sending thank you note cards is basic and yet so few actually follow through. I can tell you from personal experience that this one adjustment was the best thing I ever did for my business. I probably get more positive comments from the thank you cards I send out then any other thing I do. Think about it. How else are you going to separate yourself from the competition? I think every business owner truly in his or her heart of hearts wants to be extraordinary. If you look at the word extraordinary, it means to be extra ordinary. In other words to separate yourself from the competition you need to do things that are more than ordinary that are 106
extra- ordinary. Otherwise you succumb to simply being ordinary and ordinary is as ordinary does.So make it a habit, send a thank you note. You’ll be thankful you did. (It’s a little corny but I couldn’t resist.)
Keep In Touch In my quest to build a business based on referrals I committed to reading at least ﬁve books on the subject. I remember attend ing a seminar by motivational speaker and author, Brian Tracy. He once said if you want to really know a particular subject read at least ﬁve books on the subject. He also said if you read one hour a day for three years, you will become an expert in your ﬁeld. Read an hour a day for ﬁve years, you’ll be a national expert in your ﬁeld. Read an hour a day for seven years, you’ll be an international expert in your ﬁeld. Obviously I couldn’t wait three to seven years so I settled for reading ﬁve books. One of the books I read was, The Referral of a Lifetime, by Tim Templeton. In the book discusses the process of keeping in touch with your list of customers, vendors, partners, and pros pects (a.k.a. your list of 250). The system comprises of creating a contact suggestion for each of the couple of months of the year. Your contact suggestion could be a greeting card, a news letter, or an item of value letter that let’s others know of some great deal you might have found. Following is a sample keep in touch program:
Sample Keep In Touch January New Year’s greeting card February Item of value letter March Personalized newsletter April Springtime greeting card May Item of value letter June Personalized newsletter July Fourth of July card August Item of value letter September Personalized newsletter October Item of value letter November Thanksgiving card December Personalized newsletter Some of you may be saying to yourself, “This is great in theory but who has the time nor the money to create such a campaign?” That was my sentiments exactly. I was determined to create my own keep in touch program but I was a little tentative about how to actually begin the process. Not to mention I wasn’t too excited about how much it may cost. As I was thumbing through the back of the book I noticed that the author’s own company pro vided their own keep in touch program. I also noticed he lived in San Diego. Being a fellow San Diegan I decided to give the author a call. I called the phone number that was at the back of the book. I immediately spoke with Bob Rusch, vice president of marketing. We had a great conversation. During the phone call I shared with Bob my interest in building a business based on referrals. I asked him about his keep in touch program. What I discovered was fantastic. I learned that the author, Tim Templeton, is a partner in a company called Always Positive. Always Positive specializes in sales 108
training, sales products, and incentives. In collaboration with a company called Realty Empowerment Systems the folks at Always Positive have developed a keep in touch program that is not only affordable, it is stupid proof. Each month their program sends out a high impact communi cation customized with your name and company information. The communication is mailed on your behalf to your growing list of referrals (sphere of inďŹ‚uence). They can even put a personalized signature and a picture if you so choose. For more information contact: Always positive Marketing Director Toll-free: 877-321-6500 E-mail: email@example.com Web sites: http://www.alwayspositive.com/
Newsletters Creating a e-mail newsletter is by far one of the easiest ways to stay in constant contact with your sphere of inďŹ‚uence. As with most things the most challenging part is beginning. For those of you interested in staying in touch with your customers, pros pects or vendors I have a service for you. The company is called E-Zine Director (http://www.ezinedirector.com/) and for FREE you can send out your e-mail newsletter to 500 subscribers. Their monthly fees for sending over 500 subscribers are ridiculously inexpensive. Their service allows you to track and see which subscribers opened your newsletter and where your subscribers clicked. 109
For those of you that may not have the time to gather content I have a fantastic service for you that is absolutely FREE. The web site is IdeaMarketers (http://www.ideamarketers.com/). Idea marker is a forum for writers to share and ﬁnd articles that other people have written. I personally send out a newsletter each month to my customers, advocates, and all others that are in my sphere of inﬂuence. My newsletters generally consist of articles that I feel beneﬁt the readers. The articles typically cover tips and helpful hints. I shy away from using the newsletter as a way to sell more prod ucts and services. I truly enjoy sending out my monthly e-mail newsletter because I get an opportunity to connect with my sphere of inﬂuence. It’s really just another way to be of service.
Asking for the referral Okay so you have your foundation in place. Building rapport with your sphere of inﬂuence is extremely important. It’s a good idea to inform those that you have decided to stay in touch with that you will be contacting them from time to time. Just simply let them know that you value the relationship and would like to continue an ongoing dialogue. It’s also equally important to educate your sphere of inﬂuence as to what you do. It’s a little hard for them to refer you business when they have no idea what you do for a living. Once rapport has been established the next step is to ask for the referral. It’s helpful to narrow the focus when you ask for a referral. If you just come out and ask, “Do you know anyone who might be interested in my product or service?” 9 times out of 10 you will get, “I can’t think of anyone let me get back to you on that.” 110
According to Bob Burg, “When we asked people if they ‘know anyone who…’ we are giving them too large a frame of ref erence. A blurry collage of 250 faces (their sphere of inﬂuence) runs through their mind, but no individual will be singled out. They may feel frustrated, as though they let you down. Af ter everything you’ve done for them, they may feel badly that they can’t come through for you as well. It might even make that person feel resentful toward you. A deﬁnite solution to this challenge is to isolate or funnel their world down to just a few people. We’ve got to give them a frame of reference that they can work with.” So next time you ask for a referral just remember to isolate and as Bob Burg says, “funnel their world down to just a few peo ple.” Here’s another thing worth noting. Robert Cialdini is a Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University and has spent many years devoted to the scientiﬁc investigation and research of persuasion techniques. In his groundbreaking book, Inﬂuence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Cialdini lists six basic social and psychological principles that form the foundation for successful strategies used to achieve inﬂuence. Reciprocation - Cialdini meets a boy scout selling $5 tickets to their annual party. He says “No thanks” and the scout counters with “O.K. Well at least buy some of our big chocolate bars, they’re only $1.” He buys 2 chocolate bars he doesn’t want. As he says, “The second request doesn’t have to great; it only has to better than the initial one.” Consistency - What those around us think is true of us is enormously important in determining what we ourselves think is true. New Haven housewives gave much more money to a canvasser from the Multiple Sclerosis Association. He points out 111
that, “Apparently the mere knowledge that someone viewed them as charitable caused these women to make their actions consistent with another’s perception of them.” Social Proof - If you want a 6 year old to do something let him discover another 6 year old doing it. What peer groups are do ing is what matters. He quotes Cavett Roberts advice to sales trainees, “Since 95% of people are imitators and only 5% initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.” Liking - The Guiness Book of Records has Joe Girard as the worlds greatest car salesman. He was General Motors best salesman 12 years in a row, selling 5 cars or trucks every day when he went to work. He says that he offers a fair price and someone that they like to buy from (ie. good looking/ good presentation/ ﬂattery/ same as them/ on their side). Authority - Cialdini meets Vincent the super waiter. This is how he does it: 1) friendly 2) “I’m afraid that (whatever is ordered) is not as good tonight as it usually is. Might I recommend instead the ... .” (a cheaper dish) 3) He seems to them to be friendly, knowledgeable, honest and on their side. 4) “Would you like me to suggest a wine to go with your meals” (excellent but costly and always followed by a similar dessert) 5) They say yes = A bigger bill and bigger tip. Scarcity - Stephen Worchel did a cookie experiment and found that cookies with a few in the jar were rated as more desirable than cookies with plenty in the jar. The testers admitted that they tasted the same. As Cialdini says, “ The joy is not in expe riencing a scarce commodity but in possessing it. It is important that we do not confuse the two.” Hence all the scarcity tactics.
Smooth Sale-ING If you were to ask me a few years ago what the difference been sales and marketing was I would have probably told you there was no difference. I heard a great analogy about the dif ference between sales and marketing. It says that marketing is about getting someone to come to your front door and sales is about getting that same person to come inside. According to my good friend Brad Maybury who is a professional sales trainer, “Marketing is everything we do in business to get us in front of or calling a prospect. Selling takes place after marketing. Selling is about asking enough questions to ﬁgure out if what we have to offer is good for the prospect. When you have spent time with the prospect learning about their needs you then begin to share the beneﬁts of your product or service with the prospect. The sale happens when the prospect realizes that the product and service you are offering is a good ﬁt.” Generally when people think of salesmen they typically picture a slick and cool James Bond type of character. This person has an answer for every question. The James Bond type salesperson is in-your-face and ready to close the sale. He or she has got all sorts of techniques and methods. The James Bond type salesperson is trained in the art of the deal. It’s all about the numbers. The James Bond type of salesperson is constantly trying to create momentum and move things forward. They spend 60% of their time closing, 30% of their time discussing features and beneﬁts, and 10% of their time determining the needs of the customer. Now let’s contrast that with another type of salesperson, the Colombo type of character. Have you ever seen the television de tective show Columbo? The show centers on a character Lieu tenant Colombo played by actor Peter Falk in his uncanny ability to solve murder mysteries. Many 113
criminals made the mistake of underestimating Lieutenant Columbo, a homicide investigator with a crumpled trench-coat and a beat-up car, who certainly acted as an incompetent bumbler. But he was so polite to every suspect, and he talked so much about his wife (who we never got to see on any episode) that he lulled even the shrewdest murderer into a false sense of security. The Colombo type salesperson is focused on asking questions and trying to determine whether or not there is a ﬁt. The Colombo type salesperson spends 60% of their time asking questions, 30% of the time discussing features and beneﬁts and 10% of their time conﬁrm ing the sale. Most often the 10% spent on conﬁrming the sale is almost automatic. It becomes a natural outgrowth of the rapport established in the very beginning by asking questions. There are four essential questions that need to be answered before you can even begin to think about a sale: 1) Is there a need? 2) Are you the decision maker? 3) Can our product or service solve their need? 4) Do they have a budget set aside to buy our product or service? In Ari Galper’s, Unlock the Game for Sales, Galper discusses three simple core principles: Principle 1: Let go of the traditional sales goal of making the sale and replace it with a new goal: to discover the truth of your potential client situation. Principle 2: Stop defending yourself. Let go of comparisons to your competition. In order to discover whether your product or service is right for the customer you need to ﬁrst uncover the truth. Find out if there is even a need. If there is a need you will then determine whether your 114
product or service can solve that need. Principle 3: End the chasing game. Let go of endlessly following up. Begin to make appointments. If the customers unwilling to set an appointment then simply move on.
Make sure you have the goods A tiger met a lion as they sat beside a pool. Said the tiger to the lion, “Tell me why you’re always roaring like such a fool.” “That’s not foolish” said the Lion with a twinkle in his eyes, “They call me King of Beasts because I advertise.” A rabbit overheard them talking and ran home in a streak, He thought he’d try the Lion’s plan, but his roar was just a squeak! A fox came to investigate, and had a lunch back in the woods; So next time you advertise, my friend, be sure you’ve got the goods!
Several years ago I attended a seminar with Dan Millman the author of the book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Midway through the seminar Millman shared his secret for success. He said, “The secret to success is being good at what you do and being good at marketing what you do.” Those words became indelibly impressed upon my memory. I mean when you really think about it isn’t that the secret to success in business? You could be the most incredibly brilliant and talented person on the face of the planet but if no one knows you even exist it serves no use. You see I believe most entrepreneurs are in business to be of service. If no one is using your product or service then let me ask you, “How much service are you really providing?” I realize this might sound a little bit harsh and a tad presumptuous considering I hardly know you. However my goal is to help you create a successful business and part of that has to do with the marketing of your product or service. The title of this section is called: Make sure that you have the goods. The reason why I opened with the poem above was for two reasons. The ﬁrst reason is that I really like the poem. The second reason is that in coaching business owners I have no ticed certain limiting pattern of behavior. The behavior that I’ve noticed is that business owners try to act like the King 116
of the jungle when in fact he or she may be a rabbit in disguise. A business owner often times will have the large roar of a lion when in actuality it’s more like a squeak. They advertise with out the goods to back them up. As some of my friends down south like to say, “he’s all bark and no bite.” If your business has a fantastic product or service and you’re not doing any market ing to promote your product or service than you truly are, “all bark and no bite.” Now I realize some of you may be saying that, “But I do market my business. I have an ad in the _________ (ﬁll in the blank).” Or better yet, “But I do market my business. I made ______ (ﬁll in the blank) calls ______ (pick one: today/yesterday/the day before/last week).” The challenge I have with this approach is that by depending on one method to market your business or service you are severely limiting your potential. You need mul tiple streams of marketing. According to marketing expert Jay Abraham, “…99% of all companies today, and 99% of all companies ten years ago, generate the vast majority of their revenue, and income from one primary revenue activity. And that’s the dumbest thing in the world, because with just one pillar supporting the entire revenue stream (it looks to me like a diving board,) it is very, very, very precarious. A diving board has never been a means for propelling anyone upward to growth on a sustained basis. You do go up for a moment in time, but eventually you plummet back down. I try to get everyone I work with to build pillars and pillars and pillars, not unlike the Parthenon in Greece, of additional, complimentary revenue and income-generating approaches borrowed from outside their industry. And if each one only adds 10% more… 15% more… 20% more…the combined geometric effect can be hundreds and hundreds of percent growth. And everyone 117
thinks that my press and my track records are almost hyperbolically ludicrous. They’re not. I’m just one of the few people who understands how much more you can actually get out of an opportunity, out of an effort, out of a day.” So how do you create multiple streams of marketing? First you need to begin by creating a marketing strategy. It sounds a lot more fancy than it really is. The marketing strategy is an item ized list of all the different methods that your company uses to reach out to the public. Once you’ve itemized out all the different methods you then create a short paragraph describing each of the items listed. Include in your paragraph the frequency for each method to be implemented. For example, if one of your methods for marketing is a monthly e-mail newsletter than the frequency would be once a month. The ﬁnal step to your marketing strategy is determining an efﬁcient and effective way to measure each of your marketing methods. For example, if you are sending a monthly e-mail newsletter you will need a way to track whether the e-mail was received and read. Here’s a list of some marketing ideas: 1) Video 2) Pay per click advertising 3) Podcasts 4) Affiliate program 5) Referral program 6) Telemarketing 7) Newsletters 8) Search engine optimization 9) Strategic alliance 10) Associations 11) Articles 12) Press releases 118
Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click Advertising: When you think of trafﬁc, you might envision smog-ﬁlled, congested highways with frustrated commuters battling to get to the ofﬁce. But when it comes to promoting your Web site, trafﬁc is a good thing. So how do you increase trafﬁc to your Web site? This is accomplished through Web site promotion, also known as Web marketing or search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines rank Web sites based on content, therefore, SEO can help your Web site rank higher on main search engines such as Google, AOL, Lycos, MSN or Yahoo. Below are some basic tips for pro moting your Web site. For the more technologically advanced, additional tips are offered at the end of the article. Either way, utilizing these simple tools can improve your search-engine ranking and subsequently create more trafﬁc to your Web site: 1. Create an industry-speciﬁc key word and phrase list: The above-mentioned search engines ﬁnd you by scanning your Web site. So to successfully attract visitors to your Web site, it’s vitally important to include appropriate key words and phrases. Creating a content-rich Web site with industry-speciﬁc words and/or phrases increases your chances of being ranked higher on the search engines, in turn creating more visitors to your Web site. Listing your individual services and/or geographic location also can improve your search-engine ranking. The following free services are recommended for addi tional assistance with creating your list of key words and phrases: • •
http://www.keywordspy.com/ http://www.keycompete.com/home.asp 119
• Google—For the less technologically inclined, Google offers a similar word/phrase search feature. Entering a speciﬁc word or phrase on Google will provide you with a “total number results” in the upper right corner based on the key word and/or phrase you entered. Or you can go to: https://adwords.google.es/select/KeywordToolExternal • Web CEO – offers an incredible tool that includes 12 free SEO tools. This is a must for any business. The tool is easy to use and comes with stupid proof video tutorials so you don´t have to be a techno geek to configure and use. http://www.webceo.com/ 2. Create key words and phrases for ﬁrst paragraph of home page text. To determine your Web site’s importance and overall subject ranking, search engines primarily look for key words in the ﬁrst paragraph in the body of your Web site’s text. However, exercise caution here, as more key words do not equate to a higher ranking. Search engines frown upon excessive amounts of key words. Typically, key word density in the entire body of the text should be no greater than 1.5 percent to 2 percent. 3. List your Web site with key directories. There are many effective online directories where you can register your Web site. The most valuable directories are: • www.dmoz.org • http://www.alltheweb.com/ 4. Other avenues for listing your site. In addition to directory listings, you also can list your site on the following: main search engines; industry Web sites and sponsored/ pay-per-click sites.
• Web CEO—This site will submit your Web site to 100 main search engines for FREE. They also offer useful tools for checking your Web site and tracking your sub missions. http://www.webceo.com/ • Self Promotion—This is a useful site and it’s free, al though the owner of the site has suggested donations, which are given to the Salvation Army. • Industry Web sites. These Web sites are either speciﬁc to your industry or industries you would like to target. Check with the industry sites that you use to ﬁnd out how to get listed. • Sponsored links or pay-per-clicks. Next time you’re searching the Web, take note of the sites that pop up ﬁrst in your search. Often you’ll ﬁnd indicators that the site you’ve found is a “sponsored” link. These sponsored links are essentially paid advertising or pay-per-clicks. In an attempt to get your Web site to the top of the search list, there are a handful of companies that offer spon sored advertising, in which you pay for every hit to your Web site generated through your sponsored link. Thus, every time a person clicks on your sponsored link you are billed. This is a fast, cost-effective and simple way of attracting users to your Web site. We recommend using: Google, Yahoo, MSN. Yahoo and MSN convert better. 5. Place Web site address on print media. Don’t overlook obvious avenues to promote your Web site. Be sure to include your Web site address on all print media, including business cards, stationery, literature, e-mail signature, company newsletters and all marketing material. 121
6. Tune up and test your existing Web site. Once you’ve implemented one or more of the above suggestions, wait approximately three to ﬁve weeks, then take a moment to assess your Web site’s ranking—additional adjustments can be made to ﬁne tune your Web site. There are several useful tools to assist in checking your Web site’s ranking, thereby allowing you to compare and contrast your Web site with those of your top key word competitors. Useful tools include: • Web CEO - http://www.webceo.com/ • SpyFu - http://www.spyfu.com/ • Compete.com - http://www.compete.com/ • Crazy Egg - https://crazyegg.com/ • Google Trends - http://www.google.com/trends • Market Samurai - http://www.marketsamurai.com/ For the more technologically advanced: • Write a descriptive page title bar. The page title bar is the horizontal title bar you see in the uppermost left corner when viewing a web page. It contains a description of the Web page you currently are viewing. To further SEO, make sure your page title bar includes key words or phrases related to your industry. The page title bar is what your audience will use to identify you on the search engine, so make it enticing. Other tips include: • Page title needs to be descriptive for each page • Five to eight words per page title • Remove “ﬁller words” such as “the,” “or,” “and,” etc. • Key words and/or phrases in your key words Meta tags. While the Meta tags are not required when creating a Web page, they do identify the contents of a Web page. Meta tags contain such things as a general description of the page, key words for search engines and copyright information. 122
Other resources: • Search Engine Forum—Useful site for answering frequently asked questions. • Search Engine Watch—Excellent site for those interested in keeping on top of trends, as well as tips, helpful tools, etc. re garding SEO.
Press release distribution I found this diamond in the rough while reading a press release of a competitor. How ironic is that? The press release was picked up by Yahoo News. My interest was deﬁnitely peaked and I wondered how this company got so easily submitted. Well I found out. The press release I read on Yahoo News was submitted by a service called PR Log (www.prlog.com). They offer online press release distribution to some pretty major players: NBC, Yahoo, Excite, MSN, Google and many more. Depending on the distribution size that you select dictates the price. For general online press release distribution which costs FREE they will send your press release to Google and Yahoo. For all of you looking to increase your market exposure and possibly your sales I would check this company out. It’s worth a look and they are at a price that most people can afford – FREE.
Afﬁliate program I ﬁrst heard about this great deal from a customer of ours. He told me that he’d done a lot of research on the various afﬁli ate tracking software programs out there and that him and his partner wanted to buy this company. At the time our company was interested in expanding our market reach and an afﬁliate program seemed like a great idea to increase our market share. Also I ﬁgured I had nothing to lose so I checked out the piece of software. What an incredible ﬁnd. The program is called iDevAfﬁliate created by the folks at iDevDirect. For only $99 this program will set up, track, monitor, manage and adminis ter a fully functional afﬁliate program. There is no limit to how many afﬁliates you wish to manage. Three of my most favorite features are: • Sets up the payment tiers for your afﬁliates and pays them directly. • Creates all the text ads, banner ads, and text links for your afﬁliates to place on their web sites. • Integrates with all the major online payment systems such as Pay Pal, Yahoo, PSI Gate, Authorized.net, and Pay Systems. Quite honestly this software can do just about everything when it comes to afﬁliate tracking. To learn more information please go to: www.idevdirect.com/ idevafﬁliate.php or call (661) 254-4921. We’ve covered a lot of ground in a short period of time. I realize I have provided you a lot of information in this one chapter. As you can probably expect sales and marketing are extremely important aspects of any business. There’s so much information on the subject of sales and 124
marketing that at times it can seem overwhelming. As a business owner I wanted to present to you some easy and simple methods toward increasing the revenue of your business. The goal of this chapter was to present to you a distilled version of some of the more popular and effective sales and marketing strategies. In the next chapter weâ€™re going to discuss the operations of the business. The operations of the business can consist of: the hiring and ďŹ ring of staff, manag ing of legal aspects, ofďŹ ce management, customer service/support, and information technology. This chapter on operations will provide a step-by-step process for working on the business rather than working in the business. Although operations are considered a function of the business it is still nevertheless an important part and the subject of the next chapter.
Chapter 7 Walking the tightrope
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. -Thomas Merton This chapter provides an easy and simple step-by-step plan for creating a system for your business. Managing, operating, and growing a business can be quite a task. At times you can feel like an underpaid and overworked circus juggler walking a very thin tightrope suspended high above with no safety net to catch you if you fall. Balance is your greatest ally. Operations are a vital part of the business. Legal documents, hiring and ﬁring of staff and managing the day-to-day tasks are necessary functions of the business. In this chapter I will discuss some fantastic tips that will save your business money in managing it’s day to day operations. I realize that no two businesses are exactly alike. I have taken special con sideration to provide valuable cost saving ideas that are more general in nature. The ideas, tips, and tools presented in this chapter are designed to be helpful regardless of whatever kind of business you are in. This chapter also discusses some quick and simple ways to work “on” the business and not “in” the business. For those of you truly interested in learning about sys tems I would highly recommend Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth. I heard a great acronym for the word system: Save Your Self Time Energy & Money. The systems that I refer to are not technical in nature. A well-crafted system creates the necessary signposts to help you navigate smoothly and travel at your own pace. 127
Knowing Your Roles A photographer for a national magazine was assigned to take pictures of a great forest ﬁre. He was advised that a plane would be waiting to ﬂy him over the ﬁre. The photographer arrived at the airstrip just an hour before sundown. Sure enough, a Cessna airplane was waiting. He jumped in with his equipment and shouted, “Let’s go!” The tense man sitting in the pilot’s seat swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air, though ﬂying erratically. “Fly over the north side of the ﬁre,” said the photographer, “and make several low-level passes.” “Why?” asked the nervous pi lot. “Because I’m going to take pictures!” yelled the photographer. “I’m a photographer, and photographers take pictures.” The pilot replied, “You mean you’re not the ﬂight instructor?” In operating and managing a business each of us has our roles and responsibilities. The difficulty comes in getting the two mixed up. When everyone in your business has clearly deﬁned roles and responsibilities then projects and meeting objectives become a whole lot easier. The ﬁrst step in assigning roles and responsibilities is to create an organizational chart. At this point you may be saying to yourself, “an organizational chart? I’m a one-man show. What’s the use in creating an organizational chart when it’s just me?” That’s precisely why you need to create an organizational chart, because it is just you and that has got to change. No man is an island. Do you remember the story of Gilligan’s Island I shared with you earlier? Each of the castaways on the island knew 128
their strengths and weaknesses. Essentially they created their own organizational chart. By creating an organizational chart you accomplish a few important distinctions: 1) You get a clear idea of how big your team actually is. 2) You get a clear idea of the roles and responsibilities that are required on a daily basis. 3) You can begin to understand what your own strengths and weaknesses are relative to the roles and responsibilities outlined in the organizational chart. According to Michael Gerber in his book, The E-Myth, “every body who goes into businesses actually three people in one: the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. And the problem is compounded by the fact that while each of these personali ties wants to be the boss, none of them wants to have a boss. So they started business together in order to get rid of the boss. And the conﬂict begins.” The following are examples of each of the three personalities taken straight from Gerber’s book: The Entrepreneur - The entrepreneurial personality turns the most trivial condition into an exceptional opportunity. The entrepreneur is the visionary in all of us. The dreamer. The energy behind every human activity. The imagination that starts the ﬁre of the future. The catalyst for the change. The entrepreneur lives in the future, never in the past, rarely in the present. The entrepreneur is our creative personality always at its best dealing with the unknown, prodding the future, creating probabilities out of the possibilities, engineering chaos into harmony. Every strong entrepreneurial personality has a craving for control. Given his need for change, the entrepreneur creates a great deal of havoc around him, which is predictably unsettling for those he enlists in his project. To the entrepreneur, most people are 129
problems that get in the way of the dream. The Manager - The managerial personality is pragmatic. Without the manager there would be no planning, no order, no predict ability. If the entrepreneur lives in the future, the manager lives in the past. Where the entrepreneur craves control, the manager craves order. Where the entrepreneur thrives on change, the manager compulsively clings to the status quo. Where the entre preneur invariably sees the opportunity in events, the manager terrifyingly sees the problems. The manager builds a house and then lives in it, forever. The entrepreneur builds a house and the instant it’s done begins planning the next one. The manager creates neat, orderly rows of things. The entrepreneur creates the things the manager puts in rows. The manager is someone who runs after the entrepreneur to clean up the mess. Without the entrepreneur there would be no mess to clean up. Without the manager, there could be no business, no society. Without the entrepreneur, there would be no innovation. It is the tension between the entrepreneur’s vision and the manager’s pragma tism that creates the synthesis from which all great works are born. The Technician - The technician is the doer. “If you want it done right, do it yourself” is the technician’s credo. The technician loves to tinker. Things are to be taken apart and put back to gether again. Things aren’t supposed to be dreamed about, or supposed to be done. If the entrepreneur lives in the future and the manager lives in the past, the technician lives in the pres ent. He loves the feel of things and the fact that things can get done. As long as a technician is working, he is happy, but only on one thing at a time. He knows that two things can get done simultaneously; only a fool would try. So he works steadily and is happiest when he is in control of the workﬂow. As a result, the technician mistrusts those he works for, because they are always trying to get more work done than is either possible or 130
necessary. To the technician, thinking is unproductive unless it’s thinking about the work that needs to be done. To the techni cian, all ideas need to be reduced methodology if they are to be of any value. To the manager, then, the technician becomes a problem to be managed. To the technician, the manager be comes a meddler to be avoided. To both of them, the entrepre neur is the one who got them into trouble in the ﬁrst place. As a business owner I ﬁnd that I exhibit each of these three personalities to varying degrees. The problem I found was that I leaned more towards the technician. I was constantly working in the business rather than working on the business. By cre ating an organizational chart I was able to identify the roles and responsibilities. Most importantly I began to see the type of personality required for each position. Some of the positions required the technician. Some of the positions require the man ager. And some of the positions required the entrepreneur. What was interesting was that many of the positions required a com bination of a couple or all of the personalities. It was important that I get my bearing straight by understanding the roles and responsibilities and the various personalities that corresponded to each of them. There is a funny little story you probably might have already heard about an American ship that was out in the ocean when the captain noticed something on the radar that was directly in their path. He got on the radio and said, “I honorably request that you alter your course 15 degrees north to avoid an acci dent.” The blip on the radar, a Canadian answered back, “no, I request that you change your course 15 degrees north to pre vent an accident.” At this the American captain became quite angry, so he got on the radio and said, “I am the captain of a U.S. Navy ship, I respectfully demand that you alter your course.” The Canadian answered back ,“No, I think you should alter you course.” At this point the captain couldn’t stand it, so he got on 131
the radio and said, “This is the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise, we are the largest ship in the U.S. Navy, I demand that you change your course NOW!” At this the Canadian calmly got on the ra dio and said, “We are a Canadian lighthouse, your call.” Creating an organizational chart can be extremely helpful be cause it can show you the present status of the business and the direction your business is heading. From my own experience creating an organizational chart helped me to clearly see just how many “hats” I was wearing. As a business owner I would suspect that you do a multitude of different things on a daily basis. I would also venture to say that you would probably love to have some help to assist you in those daily tasks. My question to you is, “what type of person would you get to help you if you didn’t have a clear idea?”
Operating on all four cylinders Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. As they lay down for the night, Holmes said: “Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?” Watson said, “I see millions of stars.” Holmes: “And what does that tell you?” Watson: “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Theologically, it tells me that God is great and that we are insigniﬁcant. Meteorologically, it tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?” Holmes: “Somebody stole our tent.” You don’t need to be a detective to ﬁgure out the essentials of 132
running a successful business operation. Hopefully we can help you out with that. To some, the operational aspects of a business are considered like a function of the business and not really the business. It’s easy to view the operational func tions of a business as cost centers rather than profit centers. It’s true the operational aspects of the business do not inherently bring additional revenue to the bottom line of your company. However I would like you to consider that when a business is running like a well-oiled machine the value is priceless. There are four essentials to running a successfully business: 1) Leadership 2) Team Work 3) Business Development Process 4) Project Management When all these elements are running smoothly it’s like a well-crafted engine operating on all four cylinders with complete precision. Now I realize what some of you may be saying, “A four-cylinder engine? That’s not a lot of power.” My response to that is, if you’re interested in achieving “power” then you’re looking in the wrong place. Power is not the objective in running a successfully business. Trust me many businesses have gone out of business because those who were running the business were only interested in Power. Let us not forget the age of the Internet startups. Some called it the age of “the dot coms” however it’s been more appropriately renamed the age of “the dot bombs”. Obviously power wasn’t the only reason why the Internet startups failed. There were many other reasons why Internet startups failed for which I’m not going to cover. That would be a book in and of itself. I will however discuss the four essentials to running a successfully business. 133
Follow the leader In the 21st-century the business climate will con tinue to be one of constant change. One skill that will prevail amongst all the rest and almost shield you from this constant change is the skill of being a leader. Just a few weeks ago I had lunch with a friend of mine who is a former CEO of a wellknown Fortune 500 company. This gentleman is someone I highly respect and trust. I always consider it an honor to spend time with him because he exempliﬁes what it means to be a compassionate leader with integrity. During our lunch I pro ceeded to ask him, “What was the best decision you’ve ever made in business?” (Note: This is one of the questions from my list of fourteen meaningful questions.) My friends response was, “The best decision I made in terms of business was reversing the organizational chart of the company. By turning the organizational chart upside down my job as CEO was now to focus on the consumers and our employees. I answered to them. I worked for them. It was my job to make sure they had everything they needed and that they were happy.” It’s interesting the more I have had the chance to interview executives who are leaders in their respective industries the more I have learned that there seems to one personality trait that they all seem to agree is vitally important: Integrity. If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. -Jim Rohn My own personal deﬁnition of integrity is stating something and behaving in a way that is consistent with what you said. In other words following through on your word. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of saying one thing and doing another. The language we use is so power 134
ful. I have often found myself committing to projects and then having to back out at the last-minute. I think the one thing I was committed to was not being committed. I have since come up with a formula that helps me to stay more committed and fol low through on my word. It’s actually not a formula that I per sonally came up with. It’s a formula that I heard long time ago and have since adopted as my own. The formula is: Be slow to say yes, be quick to say no. You see integrity is such an interesting topic. On one side of the fence you have those that are completely overboard when it comes to integrity. They are almost fanatical about it. They’re like the integrity police. Always calling you on your own in tegrity and pointing out where you have fallen short. I’m not quite sure that’s the best possible way to live one’s life by being completely fanatical about integrity. I mean honestly we’re not robots. We are fallible. We make mistakes. All of us make mis takes. On the other side of the fence you have those who are completely opposed to following through on their word. They escape into their identity of being a “free spirit”. They are “in dependent”. They love their freedom. They are, as I once was, committed to not being committed. These are the people I like to call, backdoor people. They seem to always have a back door or a way out. Being one of these recovering backdoor people it’s easy for me to pick them out from the crowd. Again I’m not honestly sure this is such a great approach to liv ing one’s life if you’re interested in being a person of integrity. I think when it comes to integrity there is a balance or a sort of dance. Have you ever seen two people holding hands while danc ing together? There’s a rhythm. There’s a ﬂow. The movement is graceful and elegant. The two dancers come together to form beautiful harmony. I kind of think that’s how integrity is, it’s a sort of dance between the “integrity fanatic” and the “free spirit”. 135
We are all at some point in our life going to commit to some project or say yes to something and then have to cancel or back out at the last-minute. It happens. Life is unpredictable. I think being a person of integrity has a lot to do with being open and honest. Realize that it’s perfectly okay to cancel or back out at the last-minute from a commitment that you’ve made earlier. Just don’t make it a habit. If you ﬁnd yourself in a situation where you need to cancel from a previous obligation just be open and honest. If you ﬁnd that this behavior is becoming a pattern you might want to ask yourself, “Am I being slow to say yes and quick to say no?” The same can be said for the “integrity fanatic”. If you ﬁnd yourself being ruled by your drive to constantly follow through on your commitments you may want to consider easing up on yourself. Life is not black or white. There are shades in between. Don’t get caught up in ﬁnding it a completely unacceptable to cancel or change a commitment. There is a concept that my CEO friend shared with me over lunch; his own mentor, who was an ofﬁcer from West Point, ﬁrst told the concept to him. The concept was called, “Hard right versus easy wrong.” Basically the idea has to do with making the hard decisions versus making the easy ones. The focus is on the truth and doing what’s right versus doing what’s wrong. Obviously morality is subjective. Some of you may be saying to yourself, “Well what’s right for me may be wrong for another.” I’m not speaking of morality. I trust that the majority of you can distinguish between what’s true and what’s false using the measure of your own conscience. If you ﬁnd that you have a lot of resistance toward telling the truth there’s a good chance that this falls in the category of a “hard right”. Remember the old saying that said, “that which 136
you resist will persist.” It’s true at least from my experience that in the areas I resist the most I often will ﬁnd my greatest break throughs.
One ﬁnal note about leadership In the years I served in corporate America I witnessed many of my fellow co-workers fall victim to budgetary cuts. I saw many gifted and talented people married with children literally tossed out on the streets. I remember feeling such an overwhelming sense of anger and emotional distress. There was one particular moment I remember when I was working for a rising Inter net startup. It was right after the “Internet Bubble” burst. Many Internet startups found themselves in a precarious situation of having to lay off their employees in a desperate attempt to stop the hemorrhaging of ﬁnancial capital that was slowly bleeding from their companies. Our company was no exception. Our company had just moved from a 10,000 square-foot warehouse, literally a warehouse used for shipping and receiving that was converted into an ofﬁce space, into 40,000 square-foot ofﬁce building where we took up two ﬂoors of a thirty-story building in the high rent district of downtown Bellevue, Washington. It was a Monday morning and e-mails had been sent notifying selected groups of individuals to meet at designated conference rooms throughout the ofﬁce building. Others were sent an email to meet at the second-ﬂoor main conference room. The second-ﬂoor main conference room was so big that it often was used for our monthly company meeting. I was one of the many that was selected to go to the second-ﬂoor main conference room. The CEO of the company opened his morning statement by saying, “Good morning group you are part of the A-team.” As he 137
spoke several people standing in the aisles began to pass out pieces of stapled paper. He proceeded to continue; “…at this very moment several of the executive management are in meet ings with selected groups of individuals in our various confer ence rooms on the ﬁrst ﬂoor. The selected groups of individuals are being told that their jobs have been eliminated and that we no longer require their services. Today will be their last day and they are being asked to leave the building. The paper you have in front of you is a list of the A Team. Each department within our company was forced to reduce their headcount. We have taken this necessary step to move forward as a company. At this time I am open for questions. Does anyone have any ques tions?” I was in complete shock. Actually I think the whole company was in shock. Before the announcement of layoffs the com pany had taken incredible measures reminiscent of a General that was about to go to war and was preparing for battle. The Executive management made both swift and tacti cal maneuvers. Those that were to be laid off had their security badges deactivated prior to the announcement and their com puters were turned off and logins deactivated. Unfortunately there were some who were laid off who were not present that day. They found out that their jobs were eliminated the hard way. Some found out they were laid-off when either they tried to use their security badge to enter the building and found that it no longer worked. Others found out that they were laid off when upon being able to access the building they arrived at their desk to ﬁnd network engineers dismantling their comput ers and packing them away. When we adjourned from the meeting I began to wander around the halls and into the different ofﬁces. It was easy to identify those that were just recently laid off. They were the ones with moving boxes. I think the worst 138
thing that you could be was a person with a moving box. It was almost like a big marker or sign that said, “Hey look at me I’ve just been laid off.” There were two groups in the company, those with boxes and those without. Those without boxes could hardly look up into the eyes of those with boxes. Because we had just recently moved into this new ofﬁce building, parking for the majority of employees was extremely expensive. Management had not considered the fact that many of the employees could not afford to park in the high price underground parking. In ad dition all nearby available parking across the street or around the corner was at a premium that many of the employees could simply not afford. The next best thing for many employees was to park several miles away from the ofﬁce and take a bus to work in order to save money. I remember helping a colleague of mine pack his things. He was one of those from our department that was just laid off. He had a couple of boxes and I had volunteered to help carry one of the boxes to the elevator for him. As we walked down the hallway I asked him where his car was? He told me he was going to take the bus. Without even thinking I told him, “No way, you’re coming with me. I will drive you to your car.” As we loaded into the elevator two other associates boarded the elevator with us. Because I was carrying one of the boxes the other two associates naturally assumed I was one of the recently laid off employees. For a brief moment in time I got a glimpse of what it was like to be on the other side of the fence. What an uncomfortable elevator ride. They wouldn’t even look me in the eyes. We exchanged a few words that seemed more like idle chitchat. I thought to myself how awkward, “Just moments be fore we were all comrades united and now we were two groups on completely opposite sides.” It was deﬁnitely a humbling ex perience even though I knew I wasn’t one of the recently laid off employees. 139
We loaded his things into my car and I drove him to the “park and ride”. When we arrived at the “park and ride” we loaded his car and exchanged a few pleasantries. That was the last time I ever saw him. I remember driving back to the ofﬁce emotionally drained. I was pretty angry. I kept asking myself, “How could they do this? How could they get rid of the most important resource of any company? Without the people there is no company!” Shortly thereafter I began looking for another job. Six weeks later I resigned. I will never forget that experience. I’m actually glad I went through that. I share this story with you because for a long time I felt a deep animosity toward “Corporate America” and its executives. I guess it’s fair to say I had a couple cobwebs in the closet that needed cleaning out. It wasn’t until I began doing research for this book and interviewing many executives that my animosity turned to deep understanding and compas sion. One of the questions I asked many of those interviewed was, “What was the most difﬁcult decision that you have ever had to make in business?” Do you know what their response was? Just about every person I interviewed that was in top-level management, a CEO, a president or executive had the same response, letting someone go. Each one of the people I interviewed remembered in precise detail the experience of having to ﬁre somebody. What was most notable was their demeanor as each of them began to re call the experience. It was visibly evident that they were greatly affected by that decision. For the ﬁrst time in a longtime I got a brief glimpse into the other side. I guess in my own mind I had created a story that executives in “Corporate America” were devoid of any feelings. Obviously that’s not true. With all the cor porate scandal in the media today it’s easy to distrust executives. I know I did for a very long time. The lesson 140
I learned is that leadership is often ﬁlled with hard right versus easy wrong choices. I also learned that when it comes to leadership “doing what’s right isn’t always popular, and what’s popular isn’t always right.”
Team Work It’s called America’s favorite pastime, Major league baseball. In 1920 Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth (known as the Bambino to his legion of fans) to the New York Yankees. The Red Sox, who had won ﬁve of the ﬁrst 15 World Series, nev er won again; while the Yankees, who had yet to win a single Championship, went on to dominate the sport of baseball. So, with the ending of the 2004 baseball season, the Red Sox had a lot on their plates. However, an 86 year old drought of having not won a World Series and the selling of arguably the best baseball player in major league history, proved to be enough for the Sox to handle. In late October, on a freezing night in Fen way, with the Yankees leading the series 3-0, the Red Sox did the unthinkable. Winning game four and continuing to ﬁght for the ALCS title, Boston stretched the series to game seven, mak ing baseball history by being the ﬁrst team ever to come back and win a championship series after being down three games to none. The Red Sox shut down the Yankees, clinched their ﬁrst ALCS title since 1986, and went on to take the Cardinals in a four game sweep in the 2004 World Series.
Teamwork is such a vital part of running a successful business. You truly are only as strong as your weakest link. By creating your “Advocate” group you began to strengthen the core of your operations. You built your team. The next thing is to make sure you stay in regular contact with your “Advocate” group. We discussed ways to stay in contact with your “Advocate” group in the chapter on sales and marketing so I won’t be going into detail about that here. One ﬁnal thing I would like to mention is the importance of growth and contribution. Probably one of the best deﬁnitions of success that I have ever heard was by John C. Maxwell in this book, “The Success Journey.” Maxwell deﬁnes the key to success as, “knowing or at least trying to ﬁnd your purpose in life, growing to your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that beneﬁt others.” Obviously a person’s purpose in life can vary from one to another and there are countless books on the subject of trying to ﬁnd one’s purpose in life. What I’d like to focus on as it pertains to teamwork are Maxwell’s last two keys to success. When you grow and contribute as a person and as a business, building a successful team becomes almost organic. When you grow as a person your business grows. Growth is almost like a magnet to people around you. Equally and probably more magnetic is contribution. Every book on wealth and ﬁnance that I have read talks about that importance of contribution also known as tith ing. When you focus on the needs of others you create a certain way of being. It’s such a wonderful reward when you unconditionally give of your time, energy, and money. This way of the being translates in your business with your customers, vendors, partners, and staff. Being of service to others in your business without the expectation and getting something back is what I like to call, The Tao of Business.
Human Resources As with any organization you are only as strong as your weak est link. As you build your business you may encounter difﬁcult people albeit your staff, vendors, partners, or customers. Before you go and ﬂy off the handle and do something that may be out of character I ask you to consider this story of the Buddha. The Buddha once had a conversation with an effective horse trainer. He asked the trainer how he handled his horses. The trainer explained that some horses respond best to gentleness; others re quire the whip, and some others, a combination of both. A few even have to be killed for the sake of the stable. The trainer then asked the Buddha how he taught his followers. He said he did it the same way. Some need a lot of gentleness, some do best with strict discipline, and some need a combination of the two. But some needed to be killed. The horse trainer was surprised. How could this peaceful, gentle teacher talk of killing? The Buddha explained that, for the sake of the whole community, it was sometimes necessary to ask a follower to leave the community. It’s important to note that whichever treatment the Buddha found helpful, the Buddha’s compassion was not far behind.
Walking T.A.L.L. Several months ago a good friend of mine turned me on to the concept of Thinking Big. I suppose in retrospect I realized that I was attracted to people that thought big and for that matter acted big. So let me take a step back and qualify what I mean by “thinking big.” I deﬁne “Thinking Big“as one who has conversations that include more than themselves. It’s about being of service. It’s about letting go of the person you thought you were in order to become there person you always dreamed you could 143
be. It’s about being great. Thinking big does not rest only in thought it truly takes form in your actions as well. It’s what I like to call “Walking T.A.L..L.” T.A.L.L. is an acronym for: Thinking Big Acting Big Living Big Loving Big You see it’s when you are truly walking T.A.L.L. that you are creating your own revolution. According to Michael Port from his Think Big Revolution web site , there are 8 Essential Strategies for Thinking Bigger About Who You Are and What You Offer The World: 1) Have a mad, passionate love affair with you. 3) Trust yourself. 4) Choose friends and teachers wisely and play big with others. . 3) Trust yourself. 4) Choose friends and teachers wisely and play big with others. 5) Make commitments and fulﬁll those commitments. 6) Take action now. 7) Have fun. 8) Create your own revolution. Be the leader of your own revolution.
Legal Eagle Get a good attorney. This is a simple recommendation that will add tremendous value to overall business. Let me qualify this statement. Unless you are an attorney or have a background in law there will come a time when you need to leverage the experience and knowledge of those more capable in the 144
legal aspects of your business than yourself. In other words, issues are going to come up in your business where you simply need an attorney. Issues such as: intellectual-property, trademarks and patents; partnership agreements; terms and conditions; nondisclosure agreements; independent contractor agreements; formation of a limited li ability corporation; creation of a corporation; etc. I have found that ﬁnding a good attorney is generally best through word-ofmouth. Learn from the experience of others.
Physiology 101 In physiology the head leads the body or more appropriately where our eyes lead us our body will follow. So what leads our spirit and emotions? What moves and inspires the spirit of who we are as people and as business owners? I would like you to consider that the people you interact with on a daily basis are what move and inspire your spirit. My dear friend and men tor Duke Bushong once said that, “Business is boring, it’s the people that make it fun and exciting.” One fantastic way to move and inspire your business is through the 5/15. You are probably asking, “What the heck is a 5/15?” The 5/15 is a report. I realize it sounds more like some freeway or toll road. I ﬁrst learned about 5/15 reports while reading Paul Hawken’s book, “Growing a Business.” Paul Hawken is one of the founders of the company Smith & Hawken, the premier mail order garden tool company.
5/15 reports Originally invented by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia. A 5-15 report is 145
so named because it requires no more than ﬁfteen minutes to write and ﬁve minutes to read. Handwritten or type, it is submitted every Friday by most employees of the company. They are three parts to the report. The ﬁrst part of the report is a simple description of what a person did during the week. Employees ﬁnd that, when they describe their work week after week, their ability to really describe what’s going on becomes reﬁned in more detail. And if they do not become more adept at deﬁning their work, if their reports become more more and repetitive, this comes through as a danger signal: employee requires transfusion, for job needs to be more challenging, or both. The second part of the 5-15 reports is a blunt description of employees’ morale, and the morale they see in their department. The last part requires everyone to present an idea for his or her job, department, with the company having one idea a week, ﬁfty-two ideas a year.
Business development process As with all good stories there is a beginning, middle, and an end the business development process is no exception. In his book, “The EMyth,” Michael Gerber brilliantly details what he calls the business development process that includes innovation, or chestration, and quantiﬁcation. According to Gerber, “Building the prototype of your business is a continuous process, a Business Development Process. Its foundation is three distinctive thoroughly integrated activities through which your business can pursue its natural evolution. They are Innovation, Quantiﬁcation, and Orchestration.” 146
Innovation - Innovation is the heart of every exceptional busi ness. Innovation continually poses the question: what is stand ing in the way of my customer getting what he wants from my business? For the innovation to be meaningful it must always take the customers point of view. Innovation is constantly asking, “what is the best way to do this?” Knowing, even as the question is asked, that we will never discover the best way, but by asking we will assuredly discover a way that’s better than the one we know now. Innovation, then, is the mechanism through which are business identiﬁes itself in the mind of your customer and establish its individuality. Think of innovation as the best way skill. Quantiﬁcation - But on its own, innovation leads nowhere. To be at all effective, all innovations need to be quantiﬁed. With out quantiﬁcation, how would you know whether the innovation works? By quantiﬁcation, we are talking about the num bers related to the impact an innovation makes. Ask yourself, if you could increase sales 10% by doing something as simple as wearing a blue suit, would you do it? Would you make it important? The answer is as obvious as the question is ridiculous. Of course you would! And it is the obvious that must be addressed by quantiﬁcation. Begin by quantiﬁed everything related to how you do business. I mean everything How many customers to you contact in person each day? How many in the morning? How many calls to ask for price? How many want to purchase something? How many of our services are sold each day? How many are sold each week? Which days are busiest? How busy? And so forth. You cannot ask too many questions about the numbers. 147
Orchestration - Once you innovate a process and quantify it’s impact on your business, once you ﬁnd something that works better than what preceded it, once you discover how to in crease the yeses from your customers, your employees, suppliers and your lenders, it’s time to orchestrate the whole thing. Orchestration is the elimination of discretion, or choice, at the operating level. In short it is simply a unique way of doing business. It is a unique way of doing business with a system that is repeatable. It produces a consistent, predictable result in the world of business. The business development process provides a simple process to assist you in better understanding the operational aspects of running your business. It is a dynamic process of constant changes as the world changes. According to Gerber, “The business development process honors the past, the present, and the future. It focuses on the very ordinary things humans do from day-to-day that are the essential hub of the wheel around which the business revolves. Once the business development process becomes an integral part of the business, it also becomes an integral part of the communication between the participants. It becomes not only a way of thinking and a way of doing; it becomes a way of being as well. You might say that, while going to work on the business, people begin to realize that it is a powerful metaphor for going to work on their lives.”
Project Management In managing the day-to-day operations of your business you’ll probably come across many projects that require your immediate attention. So how do you prioritize? How do you makes sense of it all? How are you managing your projects? When it 148
comes to managing projects there are as many different methods as there are companies. It seems everyone has his or her own approach to managing projects. Some are good and well quite honestly some not worth even mentioning. The interesting thing is when I ask business owners where they learned their approach to managing projects many of them will reply, “I don’t know, we’ve just always done it that way.” It reminds me of a story that I once heard about a wife named Mary who wanted to impress her husband David by cooking her family’s traditional pot roast recipe. The recipe was rather simple. It included a few slices of onions, some seasoning, a few slices of carrots, and slices of potatoes. As the husband watched his wife cut off the ends of the pot roast and place the remainder into the pan David asked, “Why do you cut the ends off?” Mary replied as she laid the knife down and threw the cut ends of meat into the trash can, “I’m not sure, that’s the way it’s always been done.” I ﬁnd that the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it--but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Senior Several days later, Mary’s mom stopped by, and she remembered her husband’s inquisitiveness. “Mom, why does our family recipe for pot roast include cutting off the ends?” A smile covered her mom’s face and she jumped upon the barstool. “I’m not sure that’s the way it’s always been done,” she replied. Realizing the mystery was not solved and David would keep wondering why two grown women engaged in severing nice cuts of meat; she knew she had to cover the groundwork for this 149
thirty-year plus puzzle. “Mom, let’s call Granny and ask,” Mary urged with excitement in her voice. “Hello,” stretched across the phone lines and ﬁlled the silence in the kitchen. “Hi, Granny, this is Mary. I need to know why you cut the ends off your pot roast.” She dropped the phone into her mother’s hand and waited in silence. Their grandmother replied, “I don’t know why you do it but I cut off the ends so that it would ﬁt into the oven.” Many business owners run the operational side of their business in one fashion or another. They continue day in and day out without really giving it a second thought. Their employees inherit the owner’s way of running the business and they also do it without giving it a second thought. The goal of this section is to provide you with an alternative way of looking at the operational aspects of your business. As you manage the day-to-day operations of your business you may often be faced with having to manage many projects. I often like to think of operations in the same light as I look at project-management. As with most things in life the ability to break tasks down into ﬁner and more manageable pieces is extremely important. The following are ten simple steps taken from Fergus O’Connell’s book, How to Run Successful Projects: The Silver Bullet. Step 1: Visualize the Goal; Set Your Eyes on the Prize - essentially you want to make sure that you have deﬁned your goal. It’s important to know the direction you’re headed. Step 2: Make a List of the Jobs to be Done - make a list of all the jobs and tasks that need to be performed. Very often you’ll ﬁnd that the organizational chart may provide some helpful clues. Step 3: Assign People to Jobs - one you have a list of all the jobs need to be done you then can begin assigning people to those 150
jobs. Make sure that you assign the appropriate people to each of the appropriate jobs. Step 4: There Must be One Leader - make sure you have at least one person who’s accountable for whether or not the project gets completed. The job of a leader is to help the project move along. Step 5: Manage Expectations, Allow a Margin for Error, Have a Fallback Position - it’s important that you take an inventory of what is to be expected once the project is completed. It’s critical that your inventory is detailed and clearly deﬁned. Once you have a thorough inventory of the expectations for the project you will probably want to allow a margin for error. Remember that the project is made up of people performing the jobs that need to get done and as with everything in life people are often unpredictable so you’ll need to factor that in. Create a backup plan or a fallback position. Your fallback position will take into consideration worst-case scenarios. Step 6: Use an Appropriate Leadership Style - once again it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with people and as such no two people are exactly alike. You probably want to factor in the different group dynamics and picked an appropriate lead ership style. If you’re working with the team for the ﬁrst time choosing an appropriate leadership style may be a hit or miss. That’s okay. Simply readjust and change your approach to ﬁt the group dynamics. Step 7: Know What’s Going On - create an open form of communication that is extremely convenient for your team. Such as: an electronic bulletin board or weekly meeting or 5/15 reports. Step 8: Tell People What’s Going On - this is probably one of the most important steps. It’s crucial you keep all parties involved 151
in the project fully informed as to what is going on. This is one of those things that can have an immeasurable impact on the success of your project. No one likes to be kept in the dark. Step. 9: Repeat Steps 1-8 Until Step 10 - repeat the above-men tioned steps until you reach your goal Step 10: the Prize - once you’ve reached the goal and completed the project it’s important that you reward your team. For example if the project includes some sort of launch for a new service or product, have a party once it’s completed. By creat ing a prize the project now becomes fun and when your team is having fun they are more likely to be enrolled in the project.
Tips The following ﬁve tips can help you streamline the operational aspects of your business: 1. Virtual ofﬁce. ($34) This is a great service that provides all the features of a virtual receptionist which includes faxing, dial by extension, voicemail, conference calling and call forwarding. It is essentially a virtual ofﬁce without the brick and mortar costs that are often times associated with having a comparable service. There is a one time $65 set up fee. The $34.95 applies if you have a Costco membership. If you don’t I would highly recommend getting one. And for those of you who are Costco Executive Members the service is $29.95 per month. For more information: http://www.accessline.com/ 2. TotallyFreeconference.com (FREE) this is one of my favorite all time services. For all of you that hold conference calls with prospects, customers, vendors or employees this service is ideal. The service 152
is absolutely free and can conference up to 100 people. In order to take advantage of the free service the maximum duration of a call is three hours. Also you can record the call and they create an MP3 file for you for FREE. http://www.totallyfreeconference.com/ 3. Telephone services ($39) with the emergence of Voice Over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) businesses can now take advantage of unlimited local and long distance calls to Canada and the United States. These fantastic services offer businesses all the same PBX/Centrex features without the huge up front capital costs. VoIP is quickly becoming an easy way for businesses to reduce the cost of their monthly phone bill. With VoIP you can be up and running in a matter of minutes. The hosted PBX/Centrex services provide the ďŹ‚exibility to centralize all your calls through one phone number. The services offered are extremely feature-rich with music on hold, dial by extension, caller id, bridge conferencing and an auto attendant. Itâ€™s an office in a box. I use and recommend Nuvio. They offer area codes in 49 of the 50 states in the United States that is by far the largest coverage area. For more information: http://www.etomicphone.com/ 4. Managing customer support ($49) increasing customer retention while reducing service costs is a primary goal of most every company. According to a study done by the American Society for Quality: Reasons Customers Leave: - Move or Die 4% - Other Company Friendship 5% - Competition 9% - Product Dissatisfaction 15% - No Customer Contact Strategy 67% 153
If there ever was a part of the business that was vitally important and yet misunderstood it has to be customer support. I scoured the web looking for a solution that could solve our own internal customer support calls and found a phenomenal company, Hosted Support. (http://www.hostedsupport.com/) They offer a complete customer support call service center that can dramatically reduce your support calls, increase customer satisfaction, quickly address and resolve customer complaints/issues and free up your time to generate more sales. 5. Backing up your valuable information (FREE) It’s better to be safe than sorry. The saying is a bit trite but the hard reality is that it’s often times true. In an ideal world I think that it should be a requirement that all computers are backed up on a regular basis. The reality is that they are not and I am not one for pontiﬁcating the shoulds, coulds, or woulds of life. Backing up your data is important. There you have it. I have said it, so let it be. I personally use A Drive. It’s FREE for the ﬁrst 50 gigabytes (GB) of storage. They have a really slick interface and it’s pretty simple to use. For more information: www.adrive.com 6. Office suite applications (FREE/$49) Think Free offers an office suite that provides word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications. It works with Windows, Linux or Mac. http://www.thinkfree.com/ OR Google offers Google Docs: http://www.docs.google.com/ OR Google currently offers SUN Microsystems Star Office FREE: http://www.downloadstaroffice.com/ 154
This chapter discussed some of the important elements of run ning the day-to-day operations of your business. I realize all businesses are not created equal. The intent of this chapter is to provide some fundamentals that can be applied to any business. I outlined a general framework that can hopefully help you to streamline your business so that you are working on the business rather than working in the business. In the next chapter I will discuss the accounting and ďŹ nancial aspects of your busi ness. Accounting is a vital part of any business. The next chapter will outline some basic accounting principles without getting too technical and provide simple to use and inexpensive tips and tools to help manage your ďŹ nances.
Chapter 8 Making cents of it all Accounting & Finance It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you have not lost the things that money can’t buy. - George Horace Lorimer An American consultant was at a pier in a coastal Mexican village when a boat with just one ﬁsherman docked. Inside the boat were several large yellow-ﬁn tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his ﬁsh and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while. The consultant then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more ﬁsh? The ﬁsherman said he had enough to support his family’s im mediate needs. The American then asked the Mexican how he spent the rest of his time. The Mexican ﬁsherman said, “I sleep late, ﬁsh a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.” 157
The American consultant scoffed, “I am a business consultant and could help you. You should spend more time ﬁshing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a ﬂeet of ﬁshing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. “You would need to leave this coastal ﬁshing village and move to Mexico City, then L.A. and eventually N.Y.C. where you will run your expanding enterprise.” The Mexican ﬁsherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the American consultant replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” asked the ﬁsherman. The consultant laughed, and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public. You’ll become very rich, you would make millions!” “Millions, señor?” replied the Mexican. “Then what?” The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a coastal ﬁshing village where you would sleep late, ﬁsh a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Alphabet soup There’s an old story that when he was the wealthiest man in the world, J. Paul Getty’s brother sent him a letter that began, “To the Wealthiest Man in the World, from the Richest Man in the World.” His brother was making the distinction between cash and true riches. I ﬁnd it rather interesting that we use words such as wealth, capital, rich, and prosperity when we speak of ﬁnances and money. I thought it might be helpful to take a brief look at some of the words we use around money before we begin our journey into the world of accounting and ﬁnance. First off did you ever wonder where the word money actually came from? The actual root word of money ﬁnds its origins from Latin and actually comes from the word mone’ta or mint. The mint is the place where money was coined and thus we have the word for money or quite literally mint. (As you probably can tell I enjoy useless facts and ﬁgures.) Other words such as wealth (well being), rich (strong), and prosperity (whole ness) are also widely used even today to describe one’s ﬁnancial state. The actual idea of money came from the concept of private property. (The word cattle is still often used today and associated with herds of animals quite literally means, chattel, or personal property.) According to Laurence Boldt, in his book The Tao of Abundance (Yes, this is where I got the inspiration for the title of the book.), “the concept of personal property became extended by patriar chal herding peoples from the animals themselves to the lands in which they grazed and, to the land on which the crops grown. Concept of private property was further extended to include the husband’s ownership of his wife (or wives) and minor chil dren as well as conquered foes or slave workers. Descendents of these patriarchal herding peoples, the seafaring nations and Greeks develop the widespread use of money. Coined money 159
served as a substitute for the trading of cattle, which is difﬁcult to transport in seagoing vessels. The word capital itself comes from capitia (Latin for head as in a head of cattle). The early coins often marked with images of cattle, and that´s why we still say heads or tails when we ﬂip a coin. Finally, from the herding cultures, we derived as well the concept of interest payments. The idea of loaning money and interest originate from the practice of repaying one who had lent a bull for producing some number of offspring from its mating” So what does this all mean? Well as a business owner, unless you are a nonproﬁt organization or have taken a vow of poverty, a key measure of the growth of any business is how much net proﬁt you are making. Some of you may be saying to yourself that you’re prime measure of growth is more altruistic in nature and that making lots of money does not interest you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I would like you to consider that you can be altruistic and also make money in the process. In working with -business owners I have come to ﬁnd that the number one reason why most businesses struggle ﬁnancially is because they associate negative things to having money. You see the words that we use to describe hav ing an abundance of money such as wealth, prosperity, and rich actually have nothing to do with money. Each of these words derive their meaning from who you are on the inside and not what you get from the outside. Once you realize that you’re already wealthy, prosperous, and rich the limits to how much proﬁt your business can create are boundless.
It makes sound cents It’s been often said that we spend more time planning a vacation than we do planning our own lives and for that matter planning our own ﬁnances. I will never forget what Jim Rohn said about planning. Paraphrasing just slightly he said, “if you want to get your health in order get a health plan, 160
if you want to get your life in order then get a life plan and if you want to have your ﬁnances in order get a ﬁnancial plan.” It’s simple advice that makes sound cents. Have you ever heard the phrase, “if you fail to plan then you’re planning to fail”? Obviously creating the plan does not guarantee ﬁnancial success, but it does improve your odds signiﬁcantly. So how do go about creating a ﬁnancial plan? That’s a great question. There is great book that you probably have already heard of that really teaches people the ﬁnancial principles that the rich use to teach their own children. The book is called, Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the premise of the book Kiyosaki discusses growing up with two fathers and how according to his own words, “One dad taught me how to write an impressive resume so I can ﬁnd a job. The other taught me how to write strong business and ﬁnancial plans so it can create jobs.” The following are a summary of the ten steps to awakening your ﬁnancial genius from Kiyosaki’s book: Ten Steps to Awaken Your Financial Genius: 1. Find a reason greater than reality, a big dream. Think of the freedom, the lifestyle wherein you control your own time. Think of what you don’t want, i.e. “I don’t like being an employee”. 2. Use the power of choice, daily. You can choose to watch MTV, or watch CNBC. It’s how you choose to use your time and energy everyday that brings ﬁnancial success in the long run. 3. Choose your friends carefully. It pays to have friends who are focused and achieving their goals. Surround yourself with friends you can learn from. 4. Master a formula. Learn a new one, and learn fast. 161
5. Pay yourself ﬁrst. Practice self-discipline by keeping expenses low. Tenants can pay for your expenses if you rent out apartments or ministorage, for instance. Savings are used for investing and creating more money, not for paying bills. 6. Pay your broker well. Attorneys, accountants, stockbrokers, and real estate brokers will have more incentive to work harder for you. If they make more money, it means you make more money as well. 3-7% is a good incentive. 7. Be an Indian giver. It’s the concept behind ROI. (Return on investment) Invest and then take the initial money out after a time when the investment has earned for you. 8. Buy luxuries last. Let the income from your growing assets afford you the new car. Wait for your asset base to grow ﬁrst. Middle class people buy luxuries ﬁrst, on credit. 9. Find yourself a hero. When you play golf you can imagine you are Tiger Woods. When you do business, you can ask yourself, “What would George Soros have done if he was in my place right now?” 10. Teach and you shall receive. As in money, love, or friendship. If you give without expecting anything in return, you receive more. According to Kiyosaki, the Japanese have a belief in three great powers: 1. The Sword (weapons) 2. The Jewel (money) 3. The Mirror (self-awareness) The most valuable of the three is the mirror, or knowing your self. Without this knowledge of self, you will have no direction in life and in your business.
To-Do List 1. Stop what you’re doing. Take a step back to assess your situation. Stop doing what is not working and look for a new option. 2. Look for new ideas. 3. Take action. Find someone who has done what you want to do. Take them to lunch. Ask for tips. 4. Take classes and buy tapes. 5. Make lots of offers. Finding a good business deal is a lot like dating. You must go to the market and talk to a lot of people, make offers, counteroffers, negotiate, accept and reject. Many single people sit at home waiting for the phone to ring instead of going out and hitting the dating scene. 6. Take a walk through your neighborhood and look for bargain deals. Often you will find diamonds in your own backyard. 7. Buy the pie and cut it into pieces. People buy only what they can afford so they think . Think big. 8. Learn from history. Colonel Sanders lost everything in his 60’s and started from scratch with a fried chicken recipe. Bill Gates became rich before he was 30.
Principles that add up In the book, The Richest Man in Babylon, by George Clason, he discusses three timeless principles that I think just about every ﬁnancial advisor should recommend to their clients. The three principles from his book are: 1) Tithe 10% of your income. 163
2) Pay yourself 10% of your income. 3) Pay 10% or your income to pay off debts.
Tithe 10% of your income In her book, Open your mind to prosperity, author Catherine Ponder states, “the act of tithing, or giving back a tenth of one’s gross income, is not something that some minister dreamed up as a means of raising money! It is a universal prosperity law, practiced throughout the centuries as a method of prospering people on a permanent basis. When you give consistently, you open the way to receive consistently in your own.” Many of the country’s millionaires attribute their wealth to tithing: the Rockefellers, the Heinz people, the Quaker Oats people, and the Kraft people. Tithing is a tried-and-true method in business.
Pay yourself 10% of your income According to ﬁnancial expert David Bach, author of, Start Late, Finish Rich, “Frankly, as long as you’re saving a certain portion of your salary, it doesn’t really matter what you do with the rest. So, the key is making your saving automatic by paying yourself ﬁrst. In other words, pay yourself before you pay the mortgage, the credit card company or even your taxes. And make sure it happens automatically each month so you don’t have a chance to put that retirement money toward new shoes or golf clubs. “I’ve always believed that to be fair to yourself and your future, you should Pay Yourself First, at least one hour’s worth of in come every day,” Bach writes. “(Another way to put this is to say that you should Pay 164
Yourself First 12.5 percent of your gross income, but an hour a day is easier to remember.) Most people today only save about 4 percent of their income. That means they are only working 22 minutes a day for them selves. If you’re serious about ﬁnishing rich, you need to change this behavior. By making, incremental improvements to your savings, you can win big. Once you’ve decided to Pay Yourself First, how do you make this money work for you? Where should you put it? (Well that’s up to you. Just be sure that you make the money work for you so that you don’t have to work for money)
Pay 10% of your income to pay off debts This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’ve incurred any debt than it’s probably a good idea to start paying it down. Every little bit helps. We all know how easy it is to sign up for credit cards. According to Mary Rowland in her article, 10 Steps to Debt Freedom, she states that, “The average American pays more than $1,000 a year in interest fees and carries a balance of $8,500 on two to three bank credit cards, according to recent estimates. And credit card companies are tacking on new fees and raising interest rates that make it even more expensive. If you carry credit card debt, paying it off should be your top ﬁ nancial priority for two important reasons: First, it gives you a guaranteed rate of return of as much as 21%, depending on the rate charged by the credit card issuer. So paying off $2,500 at 16% yields a 16% return on that money. Second, paying off debt gives you ﬂexibility. If you’re stretched to the limit on your credit cards, you have no margin for error; no room to maneuver if you have an emergency. Paying down debt frees up your cash ﬂow and gives you the
opportunity to take advantage of a compelling career move—or a great vacation.”
Show me the money The two most important aspects of any business are sales/marketing and accounting/ﬁnance. The sales/marketing aspects of the business are pretty obvious, if you don’t have sales you’ll eventually go out of business. The other aspect of business, ac counting/ﬁnance, is one that I feel many business owners may neglect. It is for this very reason that I would like to share a couple helpful hints and strategies so that the accounting/ﬁnance aspects of your business become autopilot. The accounting/ﬁnance aspects of your business can be divided into two major areas: Assets and Liabilities
In both cash ﬂow patterns the above boxes represent the income statement, often called proﬁt and loss statement. It measures income and expenses. Money in and money out. The bottom boxes of both cash ﬂow patterns are the balance sheet. They are called that because it is supposed to balance assets against liabilities. Essentially an asset is something that puts money in your pocket and a liability is something that takes money out up your pocket. The arrows in the diagrams represent the ﬂow of cash, or cash ﬂow. Once you understand how you create cash and understand the ﬂow, you can begin to make changes to ac cumulate more and more cashﬂows. And just like water that ﬂows into a glass begins to accumulate, your wealth will rise and eventually overﬂow with abundance. Here are some of the key points about ﬁnancial literacy in the “Rich Dad” book: 1) Your greatest wealth is not money. It is your state of mind, your thinking and understanding, and your (not necessarily conventional) education. Once you learn how to make a lot of money, even if someone takes it all away, you still have the knowledge to re-create it and more. Even more important, if you have profound ﬁnancial knowledge, there is much less chance that you will ever lose it once you create it. The lesson: invest your time and your money studying how to create positive streams of passive cash ﬂow. 2) Its not only how much money you make, its how much you keep. As cash ﬂow comes in, you have to be watchful not to spend it as fast or faster than you make it. Track and control your ﬁnances. 167
3) Understand the difference between assets and liabilities. This is one of the most controversial points in the book. According to Kiyosaki, an asset puts cash in your pocket; a liability takes out cash from your pocket. These are not academically correct deﬁnitions, but they are very helpful in getting control of your cash ﬂow. 4) In order to be rich, accumulate assets. Most people get into ﬁnancial trouble by accumulating liabilities (especially credit card debt). The most common reason this happens is due to a lack of understanding, lack of intelligence of what is happening to their cash ﬂow pattern. 5) If you accumulate a lot of money, but do not have the intelligence to understand how to effectively manage your cash ﬂow, an increase in money can actually accelerate the problem. 6) Here is one point that I’m still wrestling with: your home is not an asset. It may be an asset on your balance sheet, but because it is taking money out of your pocket, it is a liability. He’s not saying don’t buy a home. He’s saying don’t call it an asset when it is really a liability. 7) When you are in the process of building your wealth, exercise ﬁnancial discipline to maximize what you spend on cash producing assets and minimize what you spend on cash drain ing liabilities. Saving is not enough if you are not buying cash producing assets. 8) One point that is emphasized more in his game Cash Flow is his deﬁnition of a doodad. I absolutely love this term, because it interrupts your buying patterns and helps you take control of your spending habits. Doodads are those material possessions that we spend our money on that are really liabilities. Like that luxury car that is really beyond your current means. Or that new television set that you just 168
had to have. Or as simple as that new DVD. Buying dodads when you should be buying assets is the one of the primary causes of ﬁnancial trouble. 9) He is not saying don’t buy doodads. The point is to buy assets before you buy doodads. And then let the extra income that is generated by the assets pay for your doodads. Put ﬁrst things ﬁrst. 10) The poor, middle class, and wealthy all spend money. Where they eventually end up depends on the intelligence and wisdom they develop and what they choose to accumulate. What you focus your thoughts on expands. If you focus on increasing your knowledge of assets, they will accumulate. If you focus on doodads and indiscriminate spending (even unconsciously), you will accumulate liabilities.
Valuations: What’s Your Company Worth? A young man asked an old rich man how he made his money. The old guy ﬁngered his worsted wool vest and said, “Well, son, it was 1932. The depth of the Great Depression. I was down to my last nickel. “I invested that nickel in an apple. I spent the entire day polish ing the apple and, at the end of the day, I sold the apple for ten cents. “The next morning, I invested those ten cents in two apples. I spent the entire day polishing them and sold them at 5:00 pm for 20 cents. I continued this system for a month, by the end of which I’d accumulated a fortune of $1.37.” “And that’s how you built an empire?” the boy asked. “Heavens, no!” the man replied. “Then my wife’s father died and left us two million dollars.” Depending upon how you look at it many of us may not be so fortunate as to inherit millions from a deceased relative. As a business owner we are left with the enviable task of going about our day building our own empire. Your empire consists of a strong business foundation. This foundation includes a healthy sales and marketing strategy; a robust operational plan; an intelligent accounting system; a constant and neverending research and development strategy; and most importantly a motivated team to implement all of the above. With a strong foundation in place and a business that is returning a comfortable proﬁt you may be tempted to chart a new road map for where you would like the business to go and what 170
will be your exit strategy. Your exit strategy can consist of a multitude of different options. You may want to sell the business. You may want to keep the business and grow it. You may want to be acquired. You may want to take your business public. Ultimately your exit strategy will be based on determining what the business is really worth. So how do you go about determining what the business is really worth? There are just as many ways, if not more, in determining the valuation of a business as there are in determining your exit strategy. Typical valuations use some type of earnings multiplier. Now I would like to preface before I go any further that the information I’m sharing is a gross over simpliﬁcation and in no way is meant to be used as a guiding rule. In other words I am not a business valuation expert. Okay so now that we are all clear let’s continue. Earnings multiplier is generally the earnings before interest and taxes otherwise known as EBIT. After you have settled on an earnings multiplier other factors need to be considered such as what earnings ﬁgure are you going to multiply by? Last year’s earn ings, this year’s earnings, future earnings, etc. Other things you may have to consider are the various tangible and intangible assets such as the real estate, equipment, vehicles, inventory, etc. additionally you’ll have to determine what multiplier and factor you’ll use. Will you use a 10 X multiplier, 3, 5? Determining what the business is really worth is sometimes more art than science. The reality is you may have a dollar ﬁgure that you feel your business is worth and no buyer in their right mind would touch it with a ten foot pole. My recommendation is to ﬁnd a business appraiser and/or research what similar businesses are selling for. Take your time. 171
Raising capital Raising capital seems to be that one major component that can inevitably make or break a business. It’s the classic mistake. Many entrepreneurs are passionate about their idea and yet so few have working cash readily available. I wanted to take a moment to uncover some important answers that address the issues surrounding raising capital for the business owner. Rather than professing to be an expert on this particular subject I decided it would probably be best for me to consult a real expert. I contacted my friend Dave Parker, CEO and President, at One Accord Corp. His company specializes in helping clients maximize their revenue potential. Parker is an amazing human being with an uncanny ability to explain complicated ideas so that they are easy to understand. I wanted to better understand some of the ﬁnancial struggles, misconceptions and challenges that business owners encounter. In addition I was curious to understand the importance of a ﬁnancial model, also known as a pro forma. And last but not least, I wanted to learn what possible tips or suggestions he could provide for business owners. The following are six areas that I will cover regarding the topic of raising capital that came directly from my conversation with Parker: 1) Forecast calls for a healthy ﬁnancial model. 2) Is your turn signal on? 3) Don’t be board. 4) Too many cooks in the kitchen. 5) Know your audience. 6) The goal.
Forecast calls for a healthy financial model I will never forget a seminar I attended that featured Brian Tracy. 172
During those three hours he spoke of success. Tracy said that all success leaves clues, combinations, and hints. He stressed the importance of modeling success. In other words be a student of success and learn all there is to know. Moreover modeling success can be applied in creating a healthy ﬁnancial model. Ac cording to Dave Parker you may want to consider the following in building a healthy ﬁnancial model: • • • • • •
Determine what are the average sales reps doing. Be sure to put your assumptions on the ﬁrst page. Determine transactions per month. Determine how many agents per transactions per month. Determine your sales cycle. (I.e. 15, 90, 120 days) Take the assumptions and rationalize them. For example, are your numbers and assumptions realistic?
Is your turn signal on? Just like driving in a car, your turn signal can help to signify which way you will be turning. Indicators can prove to be extremely helpful as you begin to build your ﬁnancial model. Four very simple indicators are: • Does the model make sense? Does the model make sound external or internal sensibility? • Does it “foot” (ﬁt)? Does it work or not? (Do an internal validation) • Are we undercapitalized? • How many leads to proposals to close? Remember that the goal is to tactically move past conceptual to a technical view of your ﬁnancial model. According to Dave, the reason many businesses struggle ﬁnancially and 173
have the revenue challenges that they do centers around the classic under capitalization issue. They simply do not have working cash. From a ﬂow perspective it’s important to understand your Day Sales Out (DSO) and your Day Paid Out (DPO). The DSOs are all those outstanding sales that have invoices but have not been paid. The DPOs are all those out standing sales that have invoices and have been paid. It’s the difference between actual money in the bank and waiting to be paid.
Don’t be board. I remember sitting at a local café in San Diego with my friend Shannon Thompson who runs Shakti Rising. A recovery organization committed to helping women ages 15 to 30 to get back on their feet and live extraordinary lives. During our conversation Shannon mentioned that she was growing her, Directors Circle. When I inquired as to what exactly a Directors Circle was. Shannon replied, “Our Directors Circle is very similar to Board of Directors the only difference is I didn’t want to call it a Board of Directors because we didn’t want our directors to be bored so instead we chose to rename it.” Whatever you decide to call it I would highly recommend that you create a ﬁnancial advisory board. The difference between an advisory board and a Board of Directors is that a Board of Directors implies long-term commitment. When you create an advisory board its informal in nature. The two things to look for in an advisory board are: • Experience • Experience (No this is not a typo.) Make sure that those that serve on your advisory board have been thru the process and are subject matter experts. 174
Too many cooks in the kitchen. According to Parker, one of the classic and common mis takes businesses make is inviting too many people to manage the business. For example, many businesses will higher expert lawyers to help and assist them. Oftentimes business owners ﬁnd that they paid way too much money and don’t get value for what they paid for. Another classic mistake is in the buy and sell agreement of the business. Make sure that your buy and sell agreement is detailed and explicit. Make sure that you put smart and talented people around you who can also do the work.
Know your audience. If I could have you get just one thing from this section on Rais ing Capital it would be that you know your audience. This is probably key and fundamental to your success in raising capital for your business. Unfortunately I made a few mistakes in rais ing capital early on. Hopefully you may be able to learn from my mistakes. One of the ﬁrst things to understand in raising capital for your business is that typically investors fall into three categories: 1) Friends and family 2) Angel investors 3) Venture-capital (also known as smart money versus dumb money) Once you’ve determined which type of investor you will be dealing with the next step is to know your investor and what interests him or her. This is classic Sales 101 - know your customer and 175
what motivates them. In this case your customer is your investor. Find out what type of investments he or she has invested in the past. By knowing your investor you can save yourself valuable time.
The goal. Okay so you are ready to raise some money. So what’s your goal? The common misconception is that in raising capital the end goal is to have a check in hand for the amount you are re questing. Fortunately for myself I have made the goal a lot easier. According to Parker, your goal with any potential investor is due diligence. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not getting enough information to move to the next step. In other words, most entrepreneurs give enough information to say no and not enough to say yes. Here are three simple steps: 1) Send your executive summary. a. Executive summary should be two pages. Include what you do. b. It is an advertisement for the appointment. c. Needs to be comprehensive. d. Catered to your investor’s proﬁle. 2) When your potential investor(s) likes the executive summary then you send your business plan. 3) When your potential investor(s) likes the business plan he/she/they will do due diligence. a. This is ultimately what you want. b. Give them just enough information to say yes. Raising capital for your business can be quite an endeavor. It’s that one piece of the pie that you sometimes savor and simul taneously resist. In this section we’ve covered six important key elements that may be able 176
to increase your chances of successfully raising the much-needed capital for your business. Once again those six key elements are: 1) Forecast calls for a healthy ﬁnancial model. 2) Is your turn signal on? 3) Don’t be board. 4) Too many cooks in the kitchen. 5) Know your audience. 6) The goal. The following are tips for dramatically saving your business money: Laptop Insurance. ($30) If you run a business then you are probably all too familiar with the term road warrior. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, “road warrior” refers to someone who travels extensively for their business. They are on the road traveling generally 4 to 5 days out of the week. For all of you road warriors have I got the tip for you and for those of you who may not travel as often as our friendly road warriors, if you have a mobile phone and use a laptop this tip will also be of use. Insurance companies now offer what they call laptop insurance. For as little as $30 per year with no deductible you can get both your laptop and your mobile phone covered on the same policy. The policy covers you against theft, damage, loss or simply if you mistakenly spill water on your keyboard and your laptop no longer works. Before I got this policy I was paying $4.95 per month to my mobile phone provider for in surance and this only covered my cell phone. In other words I was paying close to $60 a year for just cell phone insurance. To the best of my knowledge you do not need to have an existing policy in order to qualify. It has been my experience though that many insurance agents would like the opportunity to provide you with additional quotes on other insurance such as auto or home before signing you up with laptop 177
insurance. Hopefully you don’t mind getting some additional insurance quotes in or der to take advantage of this great opportunity. You probably can contact your existing insurance agent and ask him or her if they have laptop insurance. I personally use State Farm. One ﬁnal thing to consider is that laptop insurance is not intended to give you carte blanche to go out and trash your laptop and/or mobile phone. I tell you this for selﬁsh reasons because I don’t want to see my insurance premiums go up or worse have this coverage or type of insurance no longer be offered. So please don’t redeﬁne the term road warrior. Financial & Accounting ($19) as you probably have ﬁgured it out by now I am a big fan of hosted services. One of the things I like most about this particular hosted service from Intuit is that their QuickBooks Online version provides you with three user accounts and an additional account for your controller/accountant for a grand total of four accounts. You have all same functionality you would get from QuickBooks Professional with the added beneﬁt of being able to work from your home, on the road and/or from multiple locations. All four accounts can work simultaneously. You get all the upgrades without having to lift a ﬁnger. Their online service also includes: automatedredundant back up and offsite data backup. Compare and see for yourself. http://quickbooks.intuit.com/ This chapter discussed some of the important elements of managing the ﬁnancial aspects of your business. We discussed some basic accounting principles without getting too technical and provided simple to use and inexpensive tips and tools to help manage your ﬁnances. Hopefully you were able to garnish some valuable information that can help you and your business in building a healthy ﬁnancial model that will take your busi ness from good to great.
Epilogue I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center. -Kurt Vonnegut A professor stood before his class of 20 senior organic biology students, about to hand out the ﬁnal exam. “I want to say that it’s been a pleasure teaching you this semester. I know you’ve all worked extremely hard and many of you are off to medical school after the summer. So that no one gets their GPA messed up because they might have been celebrating a bit too much this week, anyone who would like to opt out of the ﬁnal exam today will receive a ‘B’ for the course.” There was much rejoicing amongst the class as students got up, passed by the professor to thank him and sign out on his offer. As the last taker left the room, the professor looked out over the handful of remaining students and asked, “Any one else? This is your last chance.” One ﬁnal student rose up and took the offer. The professor closed the door and took attendance of those students remaining. “I’m glad to see you believe in yourself,” he said. “You all have ‘A’s.” Be what you is and not what you ain’t; Because if you is what you ain’t you ain’t what you is. -Author Unknown Life is unpredictable. Life is like a dance that requires balance and rhythm to know when to lead and when to follow. It requires 179
patience. I oftentimes wonder if I knew how my life would turn out with all the sordid details would I still have that drive and passion for life. As it stands I will never know the answer to that question. I can only speculate. What I have come to realize is that business is much like life. When you believe in yourself your personal life is greatly enhanced. This belief sys tem will then carry over to your professional life. Your business is a direct reﬂection of the person you see in the mirror. You see it’s when you start believing in yourself that your business will begin to score high marks. And as the professor in the story so eloquently said to his students, “I’m glad to see you believe in yourself.” I would like to leave you with one ﬁnal thought, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our dark that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people the right to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Yes it’s true building a business can be somewhat daunting and other times it can be extra-ordinary. It truly depends on how you wish to look at it and the beliefs you have about yourself and what you are ca pable of achieving. Thank you for taking time to read this book. I wish you all the success and prosperity.