One of the hardest lessons for most new business owners to learn is the difference between being cheap and being frugal. You can understand why. When a business owner finally starts making some money from the hard work in their business, they want to reap some of the benefits. They want to be paid for the hard work and sacrifice they have put in to that point.
This usually happens in the early stages of a business - within the first year or two. But, the big mistake that most young entrepreneurs or new business owners make is becoming cheap and not spending on the things that will really take their business to its next level. At this stage in a business, it is not the time to stop investing - it is the most important time to invest. A business owner in this stage must be frugal in that they don't waste money, but they spend it on the things that will give a large return in the future.
The other issue that must be watched is short term thinking. Many new or young entrepreneurs are only focused on the next month or two at this stage in their business and are not being strategic about what is needed to 2x, 5x, or 10x their business over the next year or two. You must remember to delay gratification at this stage and invest back into your company if you are in this position.
This one mistake can delay or ruin the growth of a business.
For example, if you are having some success and generating positive cashflow, but you are still doing all of the roles in your company, ie. trying to sell every client, run operations, manage cash, etc., you are going to do a bad job. You will be a jack of all trades and a master of none and your business will flounder. Instead, invest in a great salesperson or contractor and don't worry about paying them commission for their work - it will pay off 10 fold down the line. Or maybe you need some help with administration or getting all your processes and systems dialed in and documented (a critical key to success for a business), then bring in someone, whether a consultant for a period or an operations employee to help gets things dialed in. These are investments that will pay off, allow you to scale, and help you to make massive amounts of money. Don't be cheap and delay these investments.
Lastly, this is also the stage where you should be on the hunt for A-players to form your rockstar team...and almost inevitably one will come along during this time that will cost more than you think you can afford. This will stretch you and stress you, but my advice is get them on-board. To find true A-players that will be as excited and devoted to your business as you, is difficult. They are basically diamonds in the the rough. Figure out a way to get them on-board. If you can't pay the salary, work with them to find a way to compensate them less in the beginning and more over time or give them something they don't have currently (maybe a more flexible schedule or more vacation). Do whatever you can to find a way to get them involved because they will make a huge difference in the future of your business.
Always remember, that there is a difference between being cheap and being frugal. Don't be cheap. Invest in your business and your future, and the rewards will be exponentially more than the little bit your are trying to hold onto in the early stages of your business!
One of the greatest business lessons you will ever get is going to the start with a 5 or 6 year old for them to buy something.
Recently, we were at the store picking up groceries and some odds and ends and my wife told our 6 year-old daughter that she could pick out a coloring book to get. If you have kids, I bet you can imagine what happened next. For next 15-20 minutes we sat there while the little tyke went back and forth on every single coloring book they had on display - picking almost every one and starting to put it in the cart only to stop and go back and pick a new one.
I watched amused as this went on and my wife, who had started to whole thing, go more annoyed to the point she had to do a countdown from 10 or my daughter was going to have the forfeit the book. It literally came down to the wire where on "1" she grabbed one and said "This one!" Of course, as we walked away, she started to second guess herself, etc.
As I watched and thought about this, it occurred to me that a big lesson was unfolding before me. A lesson that anyone who wants to truly succeed must learn and skill they must practice. The lesson? How to make decisions. Great leaders and successful entrepreneurs are decisive. They have the ability to look at all the angles in the moment and weight the consequences of the outcomes of their decisions on something quickly and act.
This is something I have practiced hard over the years and a skill you must learn. Your ability to think in the moment, separate emotion from logic, and see the different angles to make quick, solid decisions is priceless on your path to success. Make it a point to decide firmly and quickly - and to learn when you make a decision that was not the right one. You will get better and better and your success will grow as you do.
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Read the quote above again. Think deeply about it....
Do you know what it means? Do you understand the power that is in that short amount of words? It is one of the most powerful statements every uttered and it can change your life.
If you take everything but the first 3 words and the the last 5 words, what do you get? You get, "Watch your thoughts, for it becomes destiny." Everything and I mean everything begins in your thoughts.
Your beliefs, how you feel about yourself, your worldview, your worthiness, you attitude about life, you confidence or lack there of - even your physical capabilities all start in your thoughts. What you think every second of every day determines your world and the life around you.
If you believe the world is stacked against you, it will be.
If you believe that you are not worthy of reaching the levels of success you want, you won't.
If you believe that your life sucks, it will.
If you believe that you are destined to fail in relationships, you will.
If you believe that you cannot climb the mountain, you won't.
What do you believe? What thoughts are going through your head right now? What thoughts should you have?
Change your thoughts and you will change everything. You will change your life and live in a way that you have never lived before. Think and Start Living!
It's a very exciting time of year. It's time for all the hard work and effort for college students over the years to culminate in graduation. It can also be a scary time for a lot of graduates. For many, they have known school and working toward grades, etc. their whole life and now its all over. They are asking, "Now what?" or "What am I going to do?" or "I have a job, but I'm still nervous, etc."
There is nothing odd about this. In fact, it's almost a right of passage in life. I've had the chance to speak to and advise a lot of grads over the years and we talk about a number of things, but I also make sure to tell them the following 3 tips to succeed.
#1: Your Education Doesn't Stop at Graduation
The real world is different than school, especially in business or entrepreneurship. There are so many opportunities and potential avenues out there for you. Keep learning. In fact, some of the best education you will get is self-education. One of the best ways to succeed early on is to become a voracious self-developer. Read books, listen to podcasts, go to sites like Skillshare or Udemy and learn from those doing it every day in the trenches. Most importantly act on what you learn - don't just consume, try things out. Don't worry if it fails...and that brings me to my next piece of advice to succeed.
#2: Take Chances, Fail, and Enjoy the Ride (Learn about Asymmetric Risk)
Now, is not the time to be conservative. For the next 3-5 years, you can really take chances and some risks, have some failures, and still be fine. But, don't go out without common sense. Learn to take "Asymetric Risk." Asymmetric risks are risks that if taken, have small downsides, but have major upside potential. If you can take a risk that if you fail, might hurt a little, but not wipe you out, but at the same time, if you succeed, have much more upside that even if you are half-right, it is major success - then you have an asymmetric Risk.
For example, for someone who wants to invest in real estate, an asymmetric risk might be to buy a duplex and live in one side, while you rent the other out. The rent from the other side may not cover all of the costs, but maybe you pay much less than you would if you just bought a place or rented one yourself. And you are building equity in an asset that you can eventually move on from and keep for cashflow, sell, etc. The upside is tremendous, and the downside is that you have to pay the full payment for your place to live if you don't have a renter for a little while.
#3: Develop Your Financial Acumen
Personal finance and financial education in general, is not something that is taught as mandatory is most curriculum. This has always puzzled me and the reasons for not doing so that I speculate, I will save for another blog post. But, if you want to get off to a successful start, it literally pays, to get financially educated. Understanding the language of money, debt, compound interest, and investing is critical to succeed throughout your life, so why not get started as soon as possible? You can make it part of your new self-education routine. Whatever you do, recognize the importance of increasing your financial IQ and commit to doing so.
If you implement these 3 tips in your life as a new grad, you will be light years ahead of your peers on the path to success. Here's to a great start!
One of the biggest reasons I've had success over the years is because I've been fortunate to have great business partners committed to great partnerships. I was recently reflecting on some of these relationships and analyzing what has made them work so well and what I found was very interesting.
There are so many reasons that these partnerships have worked so well and produced, but after review, five of them really stood out. I have labeled these the 5 Secrets of Great Business Partnerships.
#1: All Parties Are Aligned for the Long-Term
One of the most important secrets of a great business partnership is alignment on timing. It is very hard to succeed if one partner wants to get in, make some money, and get out quickly while the other is taking an entirely different view. Additionally, I have seen many times that if the whole point of the partnership is to "make a quick buck" then it usually doesn't work out. Great partnerships blossom over time and usually the biggest successes come later down the road after the partners have worked together for awhile. If you are looking to partner with someone or another company, make sure that you both have a long-term view in mind.
#2: Treat it Like the Marriage That It Is
A great partnership is very much like a marriage. In fact, you may spend more time with your business partner than you do with your significant other at times. And like a marriage, not everything is going to be sunshine and lollipops all the time. There will be times where you aggravate each other beyond belief. There will be very hard times and hurdles that you have to maintain your commitment to each other through. There will also be amazing times and lasting memories. But, it is very important that you go into things committed to it like a marriage, realizing that you will grow closer together over time and have to learn each other ways, accept them, and learn to love each other for it - even when those things potentially drive you nuts.
#3: Be Open About Your Strengths and Weaknesses with Each Other Before Partnering
One important secret of great partners is that they are fully transparent about their strengths and weaknesses going into the relationship. They don't see weaknesses as a detriment or a bad thing. They see them as an opportunity for the partner to fill the gap. If you don't lay these things out on the table prior to starting the relationship; you may get into it and find that you have the same weaknesses or strengths and that the partnership is not as strong as it should have been. Great partnerships always share some of the same strengths and weaknesses, but they compliment each other in their bigger deficiencies. Make sure to use this secret to your advantage.
#4: Your Spouse or Significant Other Approves
If you are going to essentially be married to someone else alongside your spouse or significant other, they better like each other or it will create massive headaches for everyone. A huge secret of great partnerships is that their spouse or significant other approves of who they are partnering with. After all, they are, by default, partnering as well. Make sure that your spouse or significant other and potential partner meet beforehand and spend time together with you. If they can't get along and if your spouse or significant other has serious reservations about them, you're better off not going into business with them. Keep looking for a partner that checks this box in addition to the others.
#5 Can You See Yourself Genuinely Caring for Them Like Family?
The fifth secret is that great partners genuinely care about each other and their families. They see each other almost as family - so it goes beyond business, and so does the bond between them. If you are evaluating a potential business partner and they are checking the boxes in the other secret reasons above, make sure that you can definitely answer the question, "Can I see myself genuinely caring for this person and their family and well-being - not just a way to help me in business?" If you can answer that in your head and your heart and act in accordance with it, you are ahead of many partnerships in your relationship.
After 16 weeks of grueling training, I was ready for race week for my latest Ironman. As I went into the week, I could not help but notice how things took on a new importance and how my attention to them was more focused than usual. As I thought about it, I asked myself, "What if every week was treated like race week, not just for an athletic pursuit, but in business?"
As I pondered the question I began to think of how it would affect my life if I treated every week like race week. Granted that I follow a pretty rigorous training routine and have a healthy focus and discipline on a weekly basis for my goals, but even with that, some things still stood out to me.
First off, race week has a special feeling to it. All of your senses are heightened as you get ready for the event. There is a sort of excitement in the back of your mind mixed with a little bit of nervousness for how things will ultimately turn out. An Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and then a full marathon, so a lot can transpire and you need to be prepared and ready for everything from being kicked in the face during your swim to a flat tire on your ride and fatigued muscles when you get to your run (and a host of other potential things). Your mental preparation is just as a important as your physical. On top of that, it is a race. It is a competition. The biggest thing you are competing against is yourself, but make no mistake a close second to that is you competing against the other racers. All of this really gets real in race week.
Additionally, during race week, you pay very close attention to your sleep making sure you are well rested throughout the week. You take extra care of your body through your eating during the week, prepping your body and muscles through stretching, massage, and light activity to keep yourself loose. You also become very focused in on your goal(s) for the race. You have to steady your emotions and not get "too high or too low" so you can manage your emotional energy alongside your physical. You also have to think through all of your transitions and your nutrition for the day during the various aspects of the race and make sure everything is prepared and ready. Lastly, you do a lot of visualizing of the courses, how you will feel at different points; really for me, I try to visualize every aspect of the race in my head and almost play it through ahead of time so my mind has a sort of plan or "experience" on the course.
Race week requires a very special focus and attention. Why shouldn't every week be like that? Especially in your business? Imagine if you approached every week with a big goal, a competition that you were going into, and you had to visualize and prepare for the challenges and outcome. Imagine what would happen if you were focused on your sleep, diet, exercise, and mental awareness needed to be your best. Imagine, if you were prepared to manage your energy through the week to make sure you were operating at the optimum levels.
What would happen to your results? Where could your business be in 12 months if you approached every week like a race week? I bet, you would be exponentially more successful than you are now. So, make a choice to take it up a level. Treat every week like race week. Pick a "race" for your business each week. Make it a big goal to achieve to move the business forward and the go about it reaching it in "race week" state of mind.
You'll be surprised at how much you can achieve!
We've all been there. That point in the course of an endeavor or time in our lives where we just don't know what to do. We are overwhelmed, unsure, and our brains feel stretched. A lot of people give up in these times or just put their head in the sand and don't deal with it.
But, here's the secret - these are some of the greatest times in your life to grow. If you can overcome the confusion, inertia, and propensity not to act; you'll be amazed at how it can help you get to your next level. Always remember that the bigger the problems you can handle, the bigger your business and you personally can grow.
So, what do you do when you don't know what to do?
First, Take Inventory. Step back, take 5-10 deep breaths and allow logic to help you get a handle on things. What is the problem? What do you feel overwhelmed or like you don't know what to do? Think of 2-3 actions that you know would start to help you go in the right direction.
Second, Focus on What You Can Control. As yourself, what you can control and affect in the situation and what you cannot. Then ask yourself, what you actually need to control. This will separate out a lot of the confusion because we usually are overwhelmed in thinking about all the things we cannot control. This does no good simply because you cannot control them. So, narrow your focus on what you can do and take the first action step.
Third, Ask Yourself Who Can Help and Why. Don't go it alone. Get help. Fast. Identify where you need help, who you need it from, and why you need it - then ask for it. It does you no good to procrastinate here. It just delays you from getting the result you need and will further complicate the situation. Ask for help.
Lastly, Create a Checklist. Write down your action steps and then systematically and methodically go about doing them, checking them off the list. While you do this, have a sense of urgency. Get it done, but do it right.
If you follow these 4 steps, you can overcome most times in your life where you feel lost or don't know what to do. The key, like in anything, is to follow the steps and take action. Remember, the bigger the problems you can handle, bigger your business and you can grow!
I have written a lot of posts that pertain to leadership because it weaves through everything. Whether you lead a company, a division, team, 1 person, or just yourself, your growth as a leader will directly impact your success and the success of your organization.
While I have shared my 4 Pillar of Leadership before, I want to go more in depth on one of them in this post, because it is one of the most important and hardest to get right for leaders.
The pillar I am talking about is that "People live up to the expectations that are set for them." It's easy to set expectations. It's very hard as a leader to help them live up to them.
It's very important to have expectations for what you want people you lead to do and accomplish and it's very important to help them understand their unique genius and true capability. The latter is an expectation as well...an expectation for the potential of an individual.
And that is the hardest thing. How do you help someone understand their true potential, believe in, and then go about making it a reality?
The short answer? By caring about it as much as they do and getting in the trenches with them to help them reach it. To go through the ups and downs and bleed with them is the only and best way. Now, this doesn't mean that you do things for them or don't leave them on their own to find themselves. It does mean that you are there at the right times to pick them up and help them persist through and continue on the path to live up to their truth self and expectations.
Ask yourself, "If I set expectation and share the possibilities of who someone can become, do I really believe it? If so, I am willing to go the distance with them to make it reality? Am I prepared to put in the effort needed and be there when they need me?" Many "managers" set hollow expectations. They tell people what they expect and then leave them on an island. That's not leadership. Leadership is putting those you lead ahead of you and being as invested in their success and potential as you want them to be, and showing it in your actions.
Make sure you are setting expectations as a leader and not a manager and you'll be amazed at what can be accomplished.
The most successful have a secret. It's one that they keep close and that they use to continuously achieve their goals and succeed at the highest level.
The secret? Radical Responsibility.
What is Radical Responsibility? Radical Responsibility is the adherence to the principle that you are responsible for everything in your life and business. It is understanding that you are in control and that your decisions are yours to be accountable to. Even if that means that a decision you make leads to someone else making a mistake.
Why is this so important? Because if you don't take Radical Responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and decisions, then that means you are ceding that control (and power) to someone or something else. And when you lose that control, you give away your right to make your own destiny and have control over your success.
But Radical Responsibility is hard to do. It's hard to be responsible for everything in our lives in today's world. In an age of people "playing the role of the victim" and using victim status to try and enrich themselves; it seems that it is much easier to give up our responsibility. But, in truth, it is not. When you "play the role of the victim" and give up your right to control, you essentially become a slave to the mentality and everything that comes with it. It now controls you and your life.
And truth be told, in the end, there is no successful "fake" victim. Don't get me wrong. There are real victims of terrible things, that show the world what courage truly is, when they rise from their terrible tragedy to succeed. But, if you think about that, what are they doing to do that? They are taking responsibility for themselves - Radical Responsibility. It's ironic to me that people that "fake" being a victim are the ones that give away their right of control and responsibility, and true victims that find the power to move forward are the ones that are responsible, take control, and ultimately succeed. That's karma for being a fake, I guess.
No matter who you are or what situation you have in life, BE strong, and resolve to take Radical Responsibility for yourself. You will amazed at how it will change your life.
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