The Halloween season wouldn't be complete without a post about skeletons!
But the skeletons I want to talk about today are different. They are your business' skeletons.
Business skeletons? What are those?
Your business skeletons are the things that you know have needed fixed or done in your business for a long time, but you have not gotten around to or keep putting off because you can continue operating with them the way they are. They might a lack of processes or not being buttoned up legally or in accounting. They could be keeping a line of business that should be removed. They could also be something that is embarrassing and to confront it would bring it to light.
Business skeletons exist in a lot of different ways and if not dealt with will eventually cause issues and come out. It's best to confront them head on now, than to wait til later.
What kind of issues can they cause? Well, let's say you've built a nice business, but have been lax in your contracting with clients and thus have no consistency or even records of contracts in some cases. If you have a problem with a client you have nothing to go back - no clear set of rules for your relationship. Or worse yet, maybe you go to sell the business, but have no record of contracts with your clients - the buyer would definitely red flag that and your value would probably not be what you expect.
Another example is not delegating and creating processes with systems for others to follow. As your business grows, you will reach a breaking point and could get crushed under the weight of tasks that fall only to you making you a giant bottleneck and limiting the growth of the business.
Every business has skeletons. The key is to admit it and fix them long before they can become an issue. Yes, they are often things we don't want to deal with or don't seem as important as the day to day in the business - until they are. Deal with them now and you'll find it much easier to grow, scale, and succeed!
A friend of mine sent me the video above. It won an Oscar for Best Animation. And as I watched it, it made me think about an old adage I used to talk about, called R.A.K.
It stands for Random Act of Kindness. As you watch, think about how you can incorporate R.A.K. into your life daily and make a difference - Because YOU CAN.
What a world it would be if we all practiced R.A.K daily!
One of the biggest challenges for people and that limits their potential is their own self-destruction. But, here's the rub - most people don't know that they are doing this to themselves.
Wait, what? How can someone be self-destructing to themselves without knowing they are doing it? One word: Subconscious.
You see, we have 2 minds, a conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind is the mind we "think" with and use to process information into our inner core, the subconscious. You can think of it this way. When you learn to drive a car, the conscious mind is at work where you have to think about everything - "hands at 10 and 2, blinker on when turning, checking mirrors, etc." Most would agree that it is awkward at first, but after a while, "we get the hang of it." Now think about this, the last time you drove a car, did you really have to think about it? No, you just got in started it up and went. What changed? The subconscious mind. Because you have now driven so many times, it is almost automatic, just like throwing a ball or brushing your teeth. Your subconscious mind has filed all of the reactions needed to the scenarios when driving a car and automatically reacts without you having to think.
Once you understand this, you can start to see how the subconscious can automatically affect other areas of our lives. It is truly the most power part of our brain and when we learn how to use it properly, can be our biggest asset. If we don't, it can become our biggest liability and hinder our success.
How can it hinder our success? Over time the subconscious is "trained" by the influences throughout our lives, our experiences, and trauma that happens through our lives and begins to create responses to situations and scenarios that come up. The subconscious is also the animal part of our brain that puts survival above all else and avoid pain wherever possible. So, when put in a situation where you need to push your limits or get outside of your comfort zone, your subconscious will automatically respond in a way that keeps you safe and where it is used to and has been trained to be.
And these automatics reactions and responses stop people from reaching higher levels and capabilities. If you are wondering why you cannot break out or a rut or keep having trouble getting to a new level, it's most likely your subconscious at work.
The good thing is that you can change this. Awareness is the catalyst to change in anything and the key growth. Now that you are aware to the fact that your subconscious runs a lot of areas of your life without you even knowing it, you can begin to recognize these patterns and change them.
for example, if you find that you seemingly spend every dime you make and never have money leftover to save, you can recognize this self-destructive money management problem from your subconscious and start to change the pattern. Maybe you start by writing out your monthly expenses and tracking where you spend your money. And then start small, setting a mini-goal like saving $10 per week in a "money jar" on your counter that then get's put in a savings account. You begin to develop this habit and a new pattern and your subconscious sees the money being "saved" and begins to change it's automatic responses/reactions to money situations. Over the course of a few weeks and months, you can completely change your subconscious conditioning to saving money.
Remember, first become aware to subconscious and it's potential to self-destruct or stop you from reaching what you desire. Then start to change it's programming or patterns incrementally over time and create new patterns that take you where you want to go. And while, you are at it, embrace the amazing responses/reactions that your subconscious has that bring greatness and good into your life and that you want to keep. Make the most of them. Lastly, know that this process is a lifelong one and will require effort, but it is a lot of fun to start to see the success that can happen when you do. Now go out and make it happen!
What makes a great brand? What creates loyalty? What makes you want to keep coming back time and time again to buy from a brand?
Picture a brand you truly love. Why do you love it so much? I bet you could list a number of things.
I've spent some time thinking about this lately and have come up with a lot of signs of a great brand. But, after some further thought, I was able to distill things down to 4 signs that signal a great brand and are always present in great brands.
1.) The brand engages you on an emotional level
Great brands stir our emotions. We absolutely love them and are major advocates for them to them point where we will even stand up and defend them when others disparage them. Some may saying that getting emotionally involved with a brand is going a little too far, but think about your favorite brands - the ones you know, count on, and love in your life - you are emotionally involved with them. That is OK and perfectly normal. It also means the brand has done a good job in creating a relationship with in addition to #2, #3, and #4.
2.) The brand provides a truly unique and incredible service to it's clients
Think of your favorite brands and how good they service their clients, including you. Their service may be one of the reasons you love them so much. They aren't perfect, no company is, and they know it, so they go above and beyond to provide service to their clients and make sure they have a great experience.
3.) The brand takes care of you
To go along with great service, the brand actively works to take care of you - not just when you have a service issue, but as a customer in general. They may give you special offers. They may check in on you from time to time just to see how you are doing. They reach out in unique and creative ways. They show genuine gratitude for you putting your trust in them. They go above and beyond to take care of you and make you feel like part of their family.
4.) The brand listens to you
Lastly, on top of service and going above and beyond to create a great relationship and take care of you, a great brand will truly listen to their clients and work to serve them in the ways they want. They will take the feedback, both good and bad, and use it to create better products, services, customer environment, and tailor things to what people are asking for. And they will prove to go above and beyond in doing so and not just say they do it. They will show it and they will keep their clients engaged and updated on the progress.
If you look at those 4 signs of a great brand and think of your favorite brands, they no doubt have them and if you embrace them in building your business and commit to them, you will develop deeply loyal customers who are raving fans and great advocates for all you do.
Every should an advisor or mentor for themselves. You do not have to pay for these services, although when you do pay, you are much more apt to take it seriously because your money is on the line.
It is important to seek out the right advisor or mentor for your needs - not just someone with experience. You need someone who understands you and were you are on your journey of development. You need someone who understands your business and it's needs not only now, but in the future. And you need someone willing to work with you on a consistent basis.
Once you find someone that fits the criteria, do everything possible to work with them. The benefits will be tremendous.
For example, I mentor a young entrepreneur that has a fast growing startup. This entrepreneur is very good at a few things in the business, but crafting professional communications is not one of them - at least not yet. Recently, there was a client contract dispute in which the entrepreneur needed to get an attorney to represent the business in a specific state. They had no idea what to do and were just going to fire off a couple sentence email that would not have gotten a response. They knew they needed help.
So, they reached out to me and we crafted the message together. I shared with them how to address an attorney, how to lay out the facts and desired outcome from retaining their services, and craft a professional message that would get an attorney to respond and work further to potentially represent them. I saved this entrepreneur hours of time and headache and taught them how they need to approach professionals for their services. I also walked through the situation with them to see the client's point of view and come up with a plan and solution that when communicated by the attorney would most likely resolve the matter and cost a few hundred bucks at most.
This type of mentorship can be priceless. I know it was for me when I started out (how do you think I learned to craft professional messages!)
No matter what stage you are in for your growth and that of your business, you should seek to bring in the best people you can around you to fill your gaps and help you become better in these areas. Remember, the bigger you grow yourself and your capabilities, the bigger business you can have.
Reach out and seek an advisor (or two), today!
I get to meet, speak to, and work with a lot of top entrepreneurs. I am always impressed by their ways of thinking, success routines, and the effort they put in to be the best in their business and in serving their clients/markets.
But, still, as good as these people are, they aren't perfect and have to overcome challenges. Many times, those challenges are self-imposed. I was thinking about this the other and I started to look at the most common ways I've seen that entrepreneurs sabotage themselves and hurt their success. Here are 6 of the most common ones.
This is probably the most prevalent. Everyone goes through periods of doubting themselves and their abilities, especially entrepreneurs, but the key is someone's ability to pull themselves out of it and not let self-doubt create unnecessary destruction in your life and business. The first place I always start when I feel self-doubt creeping in is to stop and ask myself if what I am feeling is really true or just an emotional reaction to current events, a bad day, etc. Usually, it is a temporary outside event or influence that is short lived and in understanding it, I can change my thought patterns and gain perspective so that I don't let it sabotage me. You can do the same.
Taking on Too Much and Not Delegating
It is sometimes tough for entrepreneurs to truly let go and remove themselves from the day to day tactical needs of their business - but they will not grow or scale unless they do so. The hardest part is knowing that you can do all of these better and/or faster than those you delegate to, but that is OK. You will never be able to have the business run for you unless you realize that there is only one of you and that is OK. Others can get the job done. They may do it differently, but they will get it done. Trust in that and empower them. Let go!
To go with above, one of the biggest sabotaging habits of entrepreneurs is not trusting the people around them and questioning everything instead of empowering and trusting. I've see another of great businesses ruined by an owner who could not and would not trust those they have worked hard to bring in to help them. And typically either ends with good people quitting or leaving or the business owner taking the business down. If you are going to have a business and grow, you must be willing to trust those you bring into help you. There is nothing wrong with checking in and verifying things are being done how they are supposed to, but that is leadership, not lack of trust. Don't fall into this trap.
A lot of business owners are incredible at creating and selling their product, but horrible at managing their finances. I understand. Financial education is not taught in any real good way in formal education. Understanding cash flow and how to read a P&L, or how to understand the trends happening in a business is a different kind of financial literacy. Entrepreneurs need to invest the time to understand the numbers and what they are telling them. An accountant can easily help educate you on these things and you should self-educate. I've seen a lot of businesses who are "killing it" fall apart because they could not manage cashflow. Just because you sell something doesn't mean you have the cash yet and not understanding the expenses required to deliver what you sell can sabotage you very fast. Get financially literate.
Understanding and Managing Risk
Great entrepreneurs, understand risk and how to use it well in their business. They practice "asymmetric risks." These are risks that when taken have a tremendous upside, but small downside. In other words, if it doesn't work out, the business won't fail. Many entrepreneurs do the opposite. They take huge risks where almost all of the risk and consequences are on them if they fail. They "bet the farm" and many times don't last because of it. As entrepreneurs, we will always have and many times must take risks, but the key is to make sure they are asymmetrical and that the consequences can be mitigated or overcome if the risk doesn't pan out. I'd rather take a number of risks and have a few workout very well than take one big risk and it bring me down. I think you'd agree.
Lack of Focus on Two Key Areas
Another thing that sabotages entrepreneurs has nothing to do with the business itself. It is a lack of focus in two key areas: Physical and Mental Health. You cannot be your best in your business if you are not at your best physically and mentally. You need to have the stamina to keep things going and pushing forward in your business and you need the mental capacity to handle all of the things that come your way. The best entrepreneurs have a daily fitness routine and a daily mental health routine. And it doesn't need to be anything crazy. For me, it is my Ironman training every morning and my 10 minute prime that I do where I write our 3 things I am grateful for and my 3 most important things to do for the day, followed by a prayer. This keeps me grounded, focused, energized, and healthy. Everyone is different, so you need to figure this out for yourself, but you must figure it out and put it a physical and mental health routine into action in your life.
Avoid these 6 ways of sabotage and you'll find you reach goals even faster and will have a better business for it.
Right now is a very interesting time. OK, I know that is a duh statement. But, I don't say it because of everything we are having to do with the Wuhan Coronavirus, I say it because there are a lot of other things happening out there that people aren't paying much attention to.
Most people gloss over when they hear about the US Congress passing trillion dollar spending bills. That is TRILLIONs. Just to see it as a number - it looks like this: $1,000,000,000,000. There are 1000 billions in a trillion. Now, where does all that money come from? Most people, say, "We just print it!" But, what does that mean? And what does that mean for your life, your business, your future?
The short answer is that it is all debt - in fact, all dollars in the world are essentially debt. This has a big impact on you and your life and most people never educate themselves on the ramifications of all of this debt and the printing of more. More importantly, they need to prepare themselves to be ready for the future consequences of this debt and money printing.
Below are 5 Books I feel are important for everyone to read before the end of 2020 to help better take control of their financial future and understand money and finance in our world. Remember, whoever controls the money is in control.
1.) The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffith
This book is a comprehensive history of central banking in the world and ramifications of it. If you want to understand money and how it works - and how "we print money out of thin air," this book will educate you better than any. It reads like a mystery novel and the history is extremely well researched. It will blow your mind.
2.) Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
A classic that you may have read. If not, you should. In this book, you will learn by savers are losers and your house is not an asset.
3.) Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
In my opinion, Robert's first two books go best read back to back. This book teaches you about how and where to build your wealth. (Hint: It is not as an employee).
4.) The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clayson
Personal finance is not taught in our schools. I happen to think it is deliberately not taught for a host of reasons - none of them good. This book, told in the form of a fable, gives you all the basics of personal finance you need. You can follow it up with some Dave Ramsey books if you want to go further.
5.) A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel
This book covers it all and is great for beginners in investing. You can follow it up with the Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.
I admit it. I'm still not good at doing what I am about to share with you. But, by sharing it and putting my thoughts down, I hope it helps you in your life and business - and selfishly, me as well.
What do you know of in your life right now you should be doing? What is it that is in the back of your mind, your gut, that you know you need to do? What is it that is constantly there, eating at you?
Even knowing it is there is tough, because you think of all the ramifications of what would happen if you followed this thing that is pulling at you. What would be the consequences if you did it? How would it affect others, your family, your business(es), your business partners, employees - those that rely on you. How would it affect you? How do you know it is the right decision and not just some stupid impulse that if acted on could ruin everything?
I'm talking about when you know you need to make a change or at a crossroads. You gut, your intuition is telling you where you need to go and what you need to do. It gnaws at you. It is there day and night - and you know you need to act - but all those potential consequences, right?
I've had these moments many time over the years, and as much I fight them, I ultimately give in and follow my intuition and it has served me well when I did. I have also missed out because I didn't act when I knew I should - only to do it later and things still turn out well, but not as good as they could have.
I learned over the years to trust these instincts and "my gut" in life and business, but sometimes I'm too stubborn to give in for a while or let a lot of potential made up consequences/ramifications rattle around in my head keeping me from acting for longer that they should.
I haven't yet quite figured out how to best manage these situations, but I am getting better.
One thing I have found is to be open and talk through them with others that you trust and that you know have wisdom and experience. They should challenge you, but also help you to see through the jumbled mess to get to the core of what really matters and help you see the benefits/detriments of the decision.
Sometimes you need to just talk it through and it's best not to do it with those that are close to it or in it with you. For example, when I have one of these situations in my businesses, I won't try to solve it with just my business partners, but instead reach out to those I trust and know will can help outside the organization and that are not close things. I have found that the perspectives and new ideas that come forward have helped me the most in making the right decision - which the majority of the time is going with the pull of the intuition.
If you are in one of these times in your life, I really understand the struggle - these things can eat at you and consume you. Get some help and don't go it alone. Reach out to that person you know is the right one to help you see things the right way and that will help you think about it differently. You'll find that once you do, a weight will be lifted off you and it will be easier to proceed forward.
There is a growing trend happening across the world and it's not good. It was happening before the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, but since the virus was unleashed on the world, it has been exacerbated and it's getting worse.
The trend is being fostered by governments and many aspects of society - all in the name of helping - when it is actually hurting people and their future.
The trend? The lack of personal responsibility.
When people stop taking responsibility for their actions and choices and in many cases, are now being rewarded for it, it fosters a false sense of reality in society. And at some point, truth and reality always win. People can blame others for their place in life or commit terrible acts in which they don't take responsibility, but those that do, never get the satisfaction or reward they are looking for. They end up disappointed and disheveled.
Success and fulfillment lies in taking full responsibility for yourself, your life, your actions, and your choices. Why? Because it gives you your power back. When you blame others and don't take responsibility for yourself, that means you are ceding your power to someone else or something else. You handing over your biggest chess piece on the board and letting someone else, something, or group control your life.
The power is in you, the individual, and in taking your power back through personal responsibility. When you do that, you cannot be hurt, you cannot be offended, and you don't have to play a victim, because you are in control and choose how you respond to things. Everything is your choice. And choices have benefits and consequences, no matter if you take responsibility for them or not. But, if you do take responsibility you will find that you will be and achieve so much more and reach levels that you never expected. You will hold yourself to a higher standard - a better standard, one that you choose.
Don't miss out on this incredible secret to success by giving away what is rightfully yours - your biggest source of power, your personal responsibility.
The times I have made the biggest strides in my life and work have always come when I put an intense focus on my personal growth and development.
I am always reading and studying something - most of the time because I enjoy it and it keeps me learning new things, but there is a difference between passively learning something and being intently focused with a goal.
I have found that when I set a goal to learn a subject to use the information to generate true results in an area of my life; I learn it better, I use it better, and I retain it better.
And the periods I have been able to do this best are when I have slower times or downtime in my life. Times when I don't have as many distractions and obligations taking my time and I can focus better. For example, when I am working on a product launch over a 6-8 week period and am reiterating with my teams and working late hours seemingly up to the last second to get it right; it is not a great time to set a focused personal growth goal.
But, when the launch is over and we've celebrated our success and things calm down - I find it a great time to immerse myself into learning a new skill or subject.
One thing that the Coronavirus has done for most people, is slow things down. It has given many people a great opportunity to focus on personal growth in their lives. In fact, now is one of the best opportunities in years to focus on learning new skills and subjects, not just because we have, but also because there are so many great resources available to us.
If what I just shared makes sense to you and you want to make a commitment to your personal growth, here is my advice to you.
Now is the THE time to grow in your life. Don't waste it!
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