Tag Archives: Results

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.


Who Are You Accountable To?

9.2.15Accountability is never to a number. Accountability is always to a person.

Simon Sinek

The question in the headline: “Who are you accountable to?” is a sticky one for entrepreneurs, especially if they are small business owners who are performing every function of the business–product creation, sales/marketing, administration, production, leadership and chief technician.  You wear all the hats and are frankly accountable to no one but yourself.  Most likely, that is why you started your own business.

In fact, the nature of the question actually insinuates you should be accountable to someone other than yourself.  But, is that true?  Isn’t it possible that you can and will be the person that you are accountable to, and that you as a solopreneur have the ability to compartmentalize your functions so that you can be accountable to yourself?  Yes!  That is possible.  What is important is that you are accountable to someone, even if that someone is YOU.

So, what is accountability?  According to the Webster’s Dictionary –Accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

The strength of the definition is in the phrase to account for one’s actions.  In order to be able to be accountable, one has to design measurable results for each of the functions of the business.  The measurable results are most powerful when they are quantifiable, specific, and also have a “by when” date attached.  When you do that then you have set up a way to be accountable to yourself.  Your planning does not have to elaborate, but it does have to have at least the minimum categories of what, by when and how much.  There are a ton of ways to plan for your business offered both on the internet and in business books.  Keeping in mind that simple plans are usually easier to implement than detailed plans with minute categories and subcategories.

Following this simple plan based on accountability will give you the structure you need to review the success of your business.  It will also make your business successful since you are being accountable for its success.  As your business grows you may want to engage someone to work with you to continue to grow your business.  If you already have a habit of accountability, you will be able to expect others who you hire to be accountable too.  Accountability allows you to set a standard of performance that will ensure that your business is outstanding.

What’s Your Most Powerful Word?

5.27.15How is your business going?

We do not always think about the power of the words we use to describe our lives, feelings, behaviors and yes, our businesses.  It is through what we say about our lives and business that we define how we behave and even the outcomes that happen to us.

Phrases and adjectives can actually define what happens to us.  For instance, years ago I was a probation officer for both juveniles and adults.  It was the words, tattooed on my clients arms and hands that indicated to me what they really thought of themselves; and many times, more often than not, those words totally described their lives.  I would wince when I saw the words “Born to Lose” tattooed on a body.  Each time I saw it I knew that they were fulfilling on their own prophesy.  These people did not think they had a chance so they didn’t take the actions that would have changed their “bad luck”; they just kept on doing what they had always done, even though they knew where it would lead.

I think that you get my point here.  So, what word will you choose to inspire you and your business as you head into the the second half of 2015?

Here are some words that I found on “List ly” that people are using to describe the results that they want in themselves and their business: awake, implement, smarter, ignite, abundance, amplify, progress, living, re-imagine, humility, simplicity, know, embrace, give, action, now, uphold, do.

The word that I find inspiring is “powerful”.  The rest of this year will be powerful for both my clients and for me.  Using that word as a litmus test for actions, and then measuring for results, will give me a pathway for achieving what it is I want to achieve.

Now it’s your turn.

What is your word?  What word will inspire you to make the rest of 2015 awesome?


This Is A Great Time To Begin

3.25.15Spring is the time of plans and projects.

Leo Tolstoy

No matter where you live, and what the climate is like right now: rain, snow, sleet, winds, sunshine, it really doesn’t matter does it?  It is Spring.  Spring!  Even the word sounds hopeful, fun, exciting, energetic and makes you hum a little.

Today’s topic is “time to start your new plans and business projects”.  Imagine my delight to see that Leo Tolstoy also thought the same thing.

April is the beginning of a new business quarter.  It is also the time to formulate and implement new business projects and/or plans that you have been thinking about.  Given that you have reviewed the success of the first quarter, you know where you want to spend your time creating something new, or if not create something new, how you want to refresh and improve what you are already doing that is working.

There is much about your business that is successful.  How do I know that?  I know that because you are in business.  So, this week, if you look at what is working well in your business, look at that component and see if it needs any trim tabbing.  The term “trim tab” is a nautical/aeronautical term relating to a small supplementary rudder that is attached to a boat or an airplane that keeps the direction steady without the pilot having to continue to apply pressure to control it.

If you look at what’s working in your business, you will know if it needs a “trim tab” so that it essentially runs itself.  An example of this is adding a virtual assistant to your staff for publishing your blogs, hiring a web designer to refresh your web site or a bookkeeper to do your books.  You get the idea.  How can you make small changes that will free you up for creating new projects that will make your business even better?

Since your list of new projects could be very long, it is important that you choose one to work on that will have measurable results and that you can realistically put a “by when” date on.  And, I suggest that you work on one project at a time.  Please do not overwhelm yourself with several projects at once.  You will make more progress when you follow a new project to completion.

Enjoy the new energy that Spring brings to you!


Photo courtesy of Cliff Thorbes, Vancouver, B.C.

Four Practices Of Successful Entrepreneurs

2.4.15In order to succeed in business, and in life, we need basic practices that become valuable, dependable allies when our problems loom larger than we are.

Every person has a set of default practices that he has learned over the years.  They usually remain in the background until we are faced with a challenge; then they come forward.  These default practices are seldom what is needed to succeed in business.  You may want to adopt some new ones.

Here are the practices I use every day. They are effective and powerful.

  • Keep your word.  Communicate immediately if you cannot.
  • Claim responsibility when something goes wrong.
  • Measure for results and include a “by when” date for the results to occur.
  • Have someone you trust hold you accountable for these results.

When business people use these practices there is a certain ease about them.  They are trust worthy.  If they make a mistake, it is easy to forgive them and carry on.  In short, on the playing field of business, these practices go a long way in having people be respected and successful.

They are not always easy to adhere to.  It is easier to remain silent (rather than communicate).  It is always tempting to blame someone else (rather than take the responsibility yourself).  And the safety of not telling anyone what we intend to do (in case it doesn’t turn out).  Haven’t we all done that?  In the end, the easy way bites us, causes more problems, and makes us seem untrustworthy.

Being conscious of using the practices gives you the opportunity to stand out, be respected, and trusted.

What Will You Do To Get The Result?

1.28.15Driving to yoga class on Tuesday I stopped at a red light.  A man stood on the side of the street.  He was holding a sign, and he had something around his waist.  Was that a catheter bag?  YES!  His sign was asking for money.  Oh my god!  Really.  How could he be so graphic with his need for money?  The light changed and I drove on to yoga.  I was repulsed and angry with him for putting his plight in my face.  An hour later, there he was again . He had moved to the divider in the middle of the wide street, standing on the grass.  Same sign, same catheter bag—now almost full.

My revulsion changed to realization, admiration.  He was a real living example of intention, determination and getting the job done.  He was going to raise money to pay for his medical care in the only way he had.  His purpose was clear and his actions were aligned with his purpose.  He was not stopped by glares from drivers, nor by a cop trying to move him along.  He was going to raise the money.

The man became my hero.  A real life illustration of what it takes to make purpose become reality.  First we have to want something so much that we are willing to risk our dignity.  We fail; we feel humiliated; we are sometimes mocked—but if we are willing to face the obstacle we can win.

I think in the end, we as entrepreneurs are creative and courageous; we demonstrate that we have what it takes to get the job done.  Just like the man with the bag, we are willing to do what it takes to cause the result.  We are the heroes of our business story.

Please use the space below to comment.  I look forward to hearing from you.

What’s Your Plan?

121014Plan“If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.”
Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra makes sense.  And yet, although we all know it is essential to make a plan for our business, we hesitate to do it.  Or we do it haphazardly at best.  So what is your plan for 2015?  If that question seems a little too intimidating to you and you are frankly left speechless, let’s begin with an easier question.

What do you want to contribute to your clients in 2015?  Surprised?  It’s not the typical question about how much money do you want to make in 2015.  That question is useless unless you think of your clients first.  To enlarge on the question about contribution to your clients, first you have to trust that if you make a contribution to them, you will be fairly compensated for the contribution.  This is not some airy-fairy “build a field and they will come” type of thinking.  It is solid in that people are willing to pay for what they want.  It is up to you as a business person to provide the answer to a problem that a client has.  You already know how to make a contribution to clients, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be in business.

Doing some thinking about what problems clients have is a very valuable use of your time.  It’s useful to brainstorm about what problems you solved for your clients this year.  Write them down and then project into the future about, what is the next predictable problem the client will have upon solving the present problem?  This is called “getting out ahead” of a problem.  You are presenting a solution to the problem that the client doesn’t yet know he will have.

Of course, to solve the next, yet to be presented problem, will take planning on your part.  You can’t solve all of their problems, and you can solve some of them.  Pick 3 problems that are predictable for your clients.  When you list 3 major problems that your client will have, and that you can solve, that will become the foundation of your plan for that client for next year.

In the comment section below, please tell me about 3 problems that your clients have that you plan to solve in 2015.  As always, I look forward the hearing from you.


Next Year Will Be Great! Won’t It?

11.12.14“Next year” is such a comfortable phrase.  It promises hope, new adventures, a renewed entrepreneurial spirit and the future of producing new results.  ”Next year” means putting away past disappointments and failure—a new beginning filled with creation and light. 

We feel good when we say it.  It’s like a universal pass to productivity and success for “not now” but “Next Year”.  With all of its possibility and light, we need to be cautious about that phrase and know what we are saying and what we mean when we say it.  It gets us off the hook for what we can do now and lulls business people into thinking they are being productive when actually they are putting something off instead. 

Unless the phrase and your mindset has been conditioned it can derail you and cripple your progress as you build your business success.  What conditioned means in this sense is to adapt the phrase in such a way that it means something active and conscious as in pinning it down with a “by when date”, with specific actions and expected results.

Without proper conditioning the phrase “next year” becomes something that gets you off the hook for now but will actually cripple your success for the time the real next year rolls along.  Here are some things that clients have said recently that they are doing “next year”: build a new web site, re-write their sales proposition, re-write their business plan, develop a contact management system, and add a new currently undeveloped offering to their clients.  

It all sounds so good on this side of Next Year.  But is it really going to happen?  Doubtful without intentional, truthful conditioning.

This is the time, now, right now, to write down all the things that you are going to do next year and with a 2015 Calendar condition each item with a “by when date”, expected actions and results.  The conditioned list is your pathway to your future that you are creating now.  With a pathway that is clearly marked with dates and actions, you will be way ahead of the business people who are letting themselves relax right now and who are promising themselves that they really are going to do “that thing” next year. 

Let’s start now, in the space provided below, share what you will do Next Year and say by when you will do it as well as what the expected result will be.  I look forward to hearing from you.


Does Coaching Work? A Golf Story

10.8.14Yesterday my husband told me, “Susan, I finally understand what coaching is all about.”

Until this past May he had not hit a golf ball for almost 50 years.  Now he is playing again and last week he actually won a round.

What he said was that one of his golfing partners started to very subtly give him some coaching.  He did what the “coach” said and his game improved.  The next time they went out together to play, the “coach” pointed out some more things about his swing.  My husband says he listens carefully to the coach, puts in the correction—and his game improves.  The last time they played, he won a round.  He was delighted. “I beat the coach,” he said—but then he laughed, “Of course on the back nine he slaughtered me.”  He went on to say, “This is what you do with your coaching clients—you point out things they can’t see, and when they put in the correction they win at the game of business.”

He is right.  Coaching is all about listening to the coach then being in action with whatever the coach says to do.  It works like magic when the client does it that way.

So then, why do people continue to hire a coach?  If this is all so easy, one would think that there would be thousands of successful businesses and thousands of unemployed coaches.  What is the factor that stops the magic of coaching?  Resistance.

What is resistance?  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as: refusal to accept something new or different: effort made to stop or to fight against someone or something: the ability to prevent something from having an effect

Think about it.  As humans we are a huge resistance machine.  We don’t like change, and we certainly don’t like being told what to do.  We work very hard at avoiding the domination of another person, even if we are paying this person to advise us.  Crazy huh?  And yet, you know I am right.

When we give up resisting the coach, our game gets better; when we don’t give it up we continue to play the same old golf game.

I look forward to your comments. What do you resist? What are willing to give up in order to experience success? I look forward to hearing from you.


If Profit Isn’t the Purpose, What Is Its Cause?

mapProfit isn’t a purpose, it’s a result.  To have purpose means the things we do are of real value to others.

-Simon Sinek

The passing of Labor Day has signaled the end to summer and perhaps, for most, the end of summer holidays, leisurely passing time in the vacation mode.  It is time to ease our way back into the business of our business.  September allows us to transition to a more focused back to work mode.  It is a time to consider what it is that we have accomplished so far this year in our work and what it is that we still want to or will accomplish before the end of the year.

It is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the quote from Simon Sinek about purpose and the place profit has in examining our purpose.  For some entrepreneurs, profit is the all-encompassing measurement of our entrepreneurial success.  For some it is as if profit is synonymous with purpose.  However, as Sinek points out: “Profit isn’t purpose, it’s a result.”

If what Sinek says is true then it is best to look at what your purpose is in business.  Is it, as he says, to provide “real value” to others?  If so, what is real value?  Only our specific target market can speak to what they see as valuable.  That is why it is very important to get to know your target market to the point where you see that market not as a group but as a person, who, at least to you, has a name, gender, marital status, a specific income, certain worries, concerns, and lives in a specific place.  If you pass over this step in doing your target market research, and developing the target market profile, your intention to be of service or to provide real value will be diminished.  And mostly likely, since profit is a result not a purpose, your profit will also be smaller than you had hoped.

Fortunately, we have the time now in early September to make changes in our business that can impact our bottom line for the year.  If you find that your target market isn’t defined enough, now is the time to do that.  There is plenty of information about doing so on the internet.

What is your response to the Sinek quote?  And what exactly is he pointing to, from your point of view?  I look forward to reading your comments about this topic.