Tag Archives: business

Promises! Promises!

1.20.16It is extremely powerful to implement the use of “promises” and “go for’s” as part of your business success plan.  The use of these terms instead of the term “goal” is more potent and precise.  Now, you may be thinking that I am parsing words and aren’t these terms kissing cousins at least?


Here is what a goal is: something that you are trying to do or achieve. A promise is: a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future.

Think about it.  As an entrepreneur are you trying to do or achieve something?  If so all you do is try.  Try does not indicate commitment to results.  It indicates effort without commitment.  Trying lets you off the hook.  “I tried,” you can say to explain why you didn’t achieve what you wanted to achieve.  This is why I say that thinking and speaking in terms of goals is ineffective.

Thinking and speaking in terms of promises on the other hand puts you on the hook for performing and reaching what it is that you want to happen.  Promising trues you up to figure out how to reach that which you promise.  In a business, we are usually talking about sales and profits.  Promising to make X dollars in sales is way more powerful than a goal to try do the same thing.

When we promise to achieve something we are wired to produce it.  Why?  Our word is on the line.  And anyone who is serious about business, honors their word.  Our word represents that we mean business about business.

Last week, I talked about using whites boards to outline the future results of your business.  I suggested that you create a promise and go for in a dollar amount and write it on the white board.  When you do that you have put yourself on the hook or in the game.  You begin to be intentional about what you say you are definitely going to achieve.  And you begin to plan what actions you will need to take to get there.  You see, having a promise and “go for” is the start point for being in action.  I know.  I promise you, it works.

The “go for” gives you playing room.  It only makes sense that your “go for” is bigger than your promise.  If you play for the “go for”, of course your promise will be met.  It is simple math.

If you feel stuck or a little confused about making your business successful, please give me a call.  I am here for you.


This One Tool Will Fuel Sales

There is one tool that all serious entrepreneurs need in their office.  This tool has a magic effect of skyrocketing sales to a new level.  And, I would bet that not everyone reading this has it.

People who have it, or perhaps several, report to me that it is this item that keeps them on track.  People who use it daily, report to me that they have surpassed their sales goals, sometimes to higher levels than expected and sooner than they expected.

It is the most important tool to have on your wall.  It is placed right where you see it several times a day and most definitely will get your attention when you enter your office or are daydreaming instead of causing something to happen.

What is it?  Can you guess?


Yes, a simple whiteboard in a medium size.

Now, why am I attributing such magical sales “juju” to a whiteboard?  I do so because, when you begin using a whiteboard to manage sales, sales occur.

Why is that?  When used properly, daily, you will become focused on making sales.  You will know who to call, when to call them, and certainly you will know how to close the sales because you are your best sales person on staff.  After all, it is your company, your creation.

Here is the best way to use a whiteboard.  First, write in large letters in the upper right hand corner of the board, your sales promise and go for the year.  Underneath that all the prospects you currently have to close, and next to each name – the amount of the sale you intend to close.  Next to their name and the amount of sales, write the date by when you will close this sale.  Underneath that, write the actions you will take to close the sales.  Give each action a by when date.  Finally get to work contacting those prospects.

What will happen is that you find out that some prospects aren’t prospects at all.  Take them off you board.  Then you will find new prospects, put them on the board.  Follow the same instructions as before.

What happens to you is that you are actually engaged in managing for results.  You have a vibrant tool that continues to change and grow and multiply before you.

You have created a silent and powerful partner in creating what you say you want to create.  And, this creation will happen.  YOU will make it happen.

Clients who actually use this tool report to me with glee that they just sold this or that.

If it sounds to you that I am passionate about whiteboards, you are right.  Try using one or two as I describe above.  I will look forward to hearing about your new sales.

If you feel stuck in moving your business forward, please contact me.  I am here for you.


Want To Have a Powerful 2016? Do This First.

1.6.16All the resolutions, intentions, goals, and planning for your business will be diluted until you take the time to complete your 2015 business year.  This is serious.  You will suffer from a syndrome called: Rehearsal Exhaustion.  What is that you may be asking?  According to changingminds.org, Rehearsal Exhaustion is “constantly referring back to our past to make sure we don’t forget it, and to predict possible future outcomes.  As more and more things are left incomplete, we are more and more distracted and exhausted by the ever-increasing rehearsal.”

Yes, that’s right, without completing your 2015 business you will be destined to replay it and the more you do that, the more dispirited you will become about creating newly in 2016.

So what is the process of completion?  It is the conscious act of reviewing what we did or didn’t accomplish in 2015.  Declaring that it was in the past, that you are okay with what happened, and can give up the right to beat yourself up about it in the present.  By doing that, we are freed up to create a new future which is not bogged down by the past.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?  If something is incomplete, we do continue referring back to it to make sure we don’t forget it.  So to avoid that state of mind, let’s just complete 2015 and then be ready to move on to 2016.  This isn’t hard.  It does require some time and thought.  What are the working parts of your business that you may want to complete?  Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself.  This list certainly is not exhaustive so please add to it.

Regarding your Business in 2015:

  • Who were you being?
  • What did you accomplish?
  • What did you learn?
  • What do you need to improve?
  • What challenges did you have?
  • How were your relationships with your staff? Clients? Contractors?  What could change?
  • What new products did you offer?
  • How well did your marketing work?  What worked best about your marketing?
  • What new marketing ventures did you try?  How did they work?
  • What product did you sell the most?  The least?
  • What was your gross profit, expenses, net profit?
  • Overall what was the best thing about your business in 2015?
  • What was the worst thing about your business in 2015? What would you do differently if you could?

If you get stuck on doing this completion process alone, please contact me.  I am here for you.


If The Sun Is Shining, Do You Have To Make Hay?

12.9.15Whan the sunne shinth make hay.  Whiche is to say.
Take time whan time cometh, lest time steale away.

John Heywood, 1546

Or as we say it today: Make hay while the sun shines.  I heard this phrase a million times when I was young as I frittered away my time day dreaming and playing paper dolls.  Then I heard it again, another million times when I was an adolescent as I frittered away my time day dreaming and messing around with trying to have a boyfriend.  Then I heard it—I think you get the point.  And I bet this proverb is part of your past too, if like me, you frittered your time away.

As entrepreneurs we take Mr. Heywood’s warning very seriously now.  We certainly don’t want to waste time when there is business to close and profit to make.  This is the time of year when we can be influenced by the “Sales!” that are bombarding us on the internet.  We may think, we need to have a sale too.

Before you jump into putting your product on sale, think about if it is appropriate for your type of business.  For example, if you are a consulting company, would it really work to have a buy one get one free consulting package?  Or if you offer insurance products, could you really offer a major discount in insurance?

The point of this article is that it is up to you to decide what really makes sense regarding being in the holiday mode for your business.  It may make more sense to send a great happy holiday card to your clients and potential clients.  You could also focus on sending a personal message that checks in with your clients with your personalized best wishes and a preview of what you are planning for next year especially for clients.  You can use this time this time strategically to highlight your services.  You really don’t need a “Cyber week-Sale”.

If you want to brainstorm what would be appropriate for your business, I am here for you.  You are always welcome to contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you.


How To Have Time Off During The Holiday Season

12.2.15Have you recovered yet from the amount of gratitude that you have received from the people who either celebrate or recognize the American Thanksgiving Day as a holiday for immense gratitude?  I know that I have felt a little woozy just from reading all the emails and Facebook posts about gratefulness.  And, I think that it is wonderful given all of the violent horror that we have witnessed in the world, and for some of us, in our own countries, states, neighborhoods and cities.

And now, what we have next is the holiday season.  We all are touched by the holiday spirit of celebrating and giving during this last month of the year.  Entrepreneurs can be easily distracted from focusing on business when there is so much fun to have and so many to do items to check off our list so that the holidays are bright and shining for our families, beloved friends, colleagues, and customers.

I have a simple suggestion for you to take some of the burden of the holiday season away.  Use time this week to look at your calendar and plan to take some well-deserved time off so that you too can enjoy the season.  This is not an original suggestion, I know.  In fact most large businesses recognize that the last two weeks of year are the slow period of their business and being realistic, they schedule for their staff to take time off.  We as entrepreneurs reject this idea because, after all, we are responsible for the success of our businesses.  However, I do think you can have it all, business success and quality time off.  It is a matter of planning for accomplishing what you want to accomplish this month and planning to be off.  How much time off is up to you.  You can decide that when you look at past years business cycles and know when during this month, your business is predictably slow or even nonexistent.

I know you will be responsible for making the best choices for your business because that is who you are.  If you feel stuck or want to talk out how to plan for taking time off and have your business run smoothly, please give me a call.  I am here for you!


What’s In Your Future?

11.18.15This time of the year many entrepreneurs are in a conundrum about working: When should I work? How much should I work? Should I offer that new service during this time of the year?  After all, entrepreneurs are not immune to the enticement of having fun during the holidays and putting away their entrepreneurial concerns until next year.

It is tempting, isn’t it?  Just let everything go and have fun?  And I say you should have it, but do this one big thing first—plan for next year now.  If you make your business plan now, you will not waste the first quarter of 2016 creating a plan to implement.  You will already have it—ready to go.

You can design a simple business plan by thinking about 2016 as if it is already finished and it was the greatest year ever for you in your business and in your life.

Ask yourself the following questions about your business in 2016:

  • How would you describe your business?
  • What was your mission and vision?
  • What were your financial goals?
  • How did you accomplish them?
  • What new services did you create?
  • How much money did they make?
  • What challenges did you overcome?
  • How did you overcome them?
  • How many new customers did you add to your customer list?
  • What did you do to add new customers?
  • What systems did you add to your infrastructure to make managing your business easier?
  • How is your relationship with your vendors?
  • Are they a referral source for you?

As you develop the answers to the above questions, write down the actions you will take make them happen.  This is what I call, planning the future from the future.

You may want to add or subtract from this list of questions.  Each business is different and has different needs.  The point of this blog is to encourage you to plan now from the future for a brilliant 2016.  You will be ready to go in January with a plan that is solid, and you will know the actions to take to make it happen just as you said it would.

If you get stuck or want to brainstorm, please call me.  I am here for you.


How To Avoid Sleepless Nights and Useless Social Media Postings

10.21.15There is one thing that hundreds of previous clients have not done that has cost them sleepless nights and many hours learning to use the latest social media fad, but to no avail—they haven’t taken the time to define their target market.

I understand it to a point; some people think they have already done that and don’t want to waste time doing it again.  And there are other seemingly logical reasons not to spend time defining their target market.  They get confused about how to do it.  Or, they decide that everyone in the world is their target market and they don’t want to leave anyone out.

After deciding not to define their market, their next step is to jump into the latest popular social media way to market their goods or services.  Then they spend hours learning how to use the latest fad.  They master it and boom; they find they have no more clients than they did before.

Here is the easiest way to define your target market.  It’s so easy you just haven’t thought of it.  The key is to look at the demographics and psychographics of your customers.

Demographics include: age, ethnicity, education, marital status, employment, household income, number of children, and geographic location.

Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.  In the use of psychographics, you are looking for why your customers want what they want from you, why they buy from you.

The best way to find out about the demographics of your customers is do a simple survey.

And the best way to find out the psychographics of your customers is to interview them.  You can tell them why you are doing this and of course, anything that they tell you is confidential.  Here are some questions to ask your customers, keeping in mind that the questions relate to your offering: What do you like about my product?  What do you not like about it?  What had you buy this product?  What would have you NOT buy this product?  Ask questions that will elicit your customers’ personalities, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.  You are developing a profile of you target customers, and once you have that profile you will then know how to best reach them and market to them.  They will tell you how.

Taking the time to do the research to define your ideal customer will save you many sleepless nights and useless social media postings.

If you get stuck, I am here for you.


Your Fourth Quarter Game Plan

10.14.15We are beginning our fourth quarter of the year.  This is the time of the year to assess the factors that have influenced the success of your business in 2015.

Yes, it probably seems too early for this type of assessment but really it’s not.  When you look at the calendar and realize that we are entering in the busiest time of the year: Halloween! Thanksgiving! Holiday Season! New Year’s Eve!  Egad, it’s a good thing we are beginning now.

Let’s begin by doing an honest and in depth analysis of what has been working for you in your business this year. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What offering has created the most profit in your business this year?
  • Which segments of your target market responded to your marketing?
  • Which new offers stimulated the most business this year?
  • What parts of your marketing hit home runs for you?

It is also beneficial to take a look at what didn’t work for you this year.  Ask what actions you could change to make them more successful, or if you want, stop those facets of your business that your target market doesn’t relate to.  Of course, you do not use what didn’t work in your business as a way to beat yourself up.

I am talking about a process that is designed to help you make the best decisions for your business.  It is the intention of this conversation to give you a game plan that is robust so you end the year on the highest note possible.  The best possible scenario is for you to end the year totally satisfied about what you accomplished this year.  By doing this type of analysis you will be able to plan for the advent of 2016 fully informed about what direction to take.

This is also a good time to put your marketing plan in sharp focus.  And of course, continue to market your business.  This is not the time to lean back and relax—this is the time to be present and clear in the market place.


Could You Introduce Me To Your Target Market?

9.30.15Whether you are starting a business or expanding the business that you already have, knowing and marketing to your target market is the gold standard for assuring marketing and sales success.

This idea of knowing your target market sounds so simple, and yet business owners stumble more on this step than any other.

  • Some people think they have already done that and don’t want to waste time doing it again.
  • There are so many opinions floating around about how to define a target market that people become confused and thus do nothing.
  • Others don’t want to leave out any potential client so they decide that everyone—the world—is their target market.

If you are stuck on defining your specific target market, I introduce you to my colleague, Jennifer L. Morrow, owner of Creative Company www.creativeco.com

Jennifer has over 35 years of successful experience in branding businesses.  She and her team of branding experts are world class experts in defining target markets.

Jennifer designed a simple worksheet to guide you in designing your target market.  It is innovative and very useful.

The worksheet will help you define your target market; it will help you determine how to design your marketing to reach the actual decision makers, and will help you discover what will cause them to buy the product or service you are offering. Read It Now