Sales and Marketing

Episode 86 – Really Simple Stuff About Business Building: Don’t Try To Church It Up!

Watch this short video clip from the movie, Joe Dirt. Then listen to today’s show.

Business building is part art, part determination (a big part) and part plan (think systems).

I consistently encounter business people who have veered away from the foundational elements of business building. Maybe they never learned them. Or maybe they forgot them. It happens. Been there, done that.

Questions are the vehicle for clearer thinking. First year journalism students learn the best questions to ask. They form the basis for every good news story. Even feature writers know how important these questions are because every good story answers these questions. They also form a solid basis upon which to build – or revamp – your business.

While the order may not matter I think it’s important to start with, “WHY?”

None of these questions is particularly difficult, but any one of them (or more) can stump us. Devote some time and mental energy to the process of answering these questions. The time you spend up front will return rewards to you time, and time, and time again. The process will also help you develop habits of staying on course with simplicity that can propel your business forward while everybody else is spinning their wheels over-thinking stuff that doesn’t matter.

Clarity and simplicity are your allies. Treat them right. Favor them. Your business will benefit.

Other resources mentioned in today’s show:

• Kevin Kelly’s post about 1000 true fans

Thanks for listening,

Podcast: Download

Jumping From Horse To Horse: Why The Pony Express Is A Bad Business Model


Your business or your career isn’t the Pony Express.

The Pony Express had a unique business model that seems to be how many people approach their life. They hop from horse to horse. That business model worked for the Pony Express because they had fresh fast horses poised and ready at fixed spots along the route. The Pony Express rider knew where he was starting his journey, and equally important – he knew where he was going.

A common problem today is the urge to jump from one strategy or tactic to another. There are tons of people who are busy hopping around, but they’re not moving forward. When we embark on a journey toward higher performance we’re almost always in uncharted water. Think about it. If we knew exactly how to go from where we’re at to higher performance, then we’d just follow the sign posts and make it a certainty. Sadly, higher performance is not a certainty. If it were, then everybody would be a high achiever.

There are inherent risks in our careers and our enterprises. Go to any lending institution and you’ll be required to show your plans. The bankers want to see what the risks are. They also want to see the potential rewards. Typically, a committee will discuss your plans to see if they think your venture is worth the risk. They’re interested in how reasonable and realistic it is. All of that would be unnecessary if there were some guaranteed steps we could take to achieve success. Do steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 – and BAM! – you’re a success! It doesn’t work that way.

That’s the problem with people who want to jump from horse to horse. We see what worked for one person and we incorrectly assume it’ll work for us. Maybe. Maybe not. Not all horses are created equal. Not all circumstances are equal. What worked for one person may fail miserably for you. That’s why business is so challenging – and exciting. It’s risky. Succeed and you can be rewarded handsomely. Fail and you can quit, or try again!

One of the toughest challenges facing many of my clients is choosing a strategy, developing a plan, selecting a course of action (or a variety of other things) – then working it for all it’s worth until they see that it won’t work – or until it does work. They’re Pony Express riders, but they don’t have fresh fast horses at set places along the course toward their final destination. They’re just constantly jumping from horse to horse looking for the one that will propel them forward.

For example, a person decides to ride the horse of Quality. They produce a superior product, but it’s far from being the lowest priced product of its kind. The Mercedes dealerships aren’t exactly giving away cars. If you want quality, you’ll have to be willing to pay for it. The producer has to prove that their quality is well worth the investment.

Price pressures the person riding the Quality horse. They find the Quality horse is growing difficult to ride. They’d like to find an easier horse. Along comes a horse called Low Price. They jump off the Quality horse and board the Low Price horse. Now, all the momentum that might have been gained aboard Quality are gone! Worse yet, this new horse called Low Price isn’t so easy to ride either.

The business – or the person – who jumped from one horse to another is losing ground. It’s like playing the board game, Sorry. They’re bumped off course and knocked all the way back to the starting point. Except it’s worse. Now, they’ve shown people they’re fickle, undecided about who they are…and who they want to be. They’ve lost their uniqueness in the quest to find the latest, greatest secret. The search for an easier solution has a high price. Failure.

Decide what horse to ride, then ride that horse.

If you’re riding the horse of Selection, Value or Quality – or a variety of any other horses – commit to it. Don’t try to narrow it down to your 3 favorite horses. Remember, you can only ride one horse at a time. Dragging 2 other horses behind won’t work. It slows you down. Pick ONE. And only one!

If the riding is slow at first, don’t quit. You don’t know how long the ride will take. Maybe you’ll find success soon. Maybe not. High achievement takes time. I can’t tell you how long it takes because that’s one of the variables – one of the big unknowns of business and careers. And achievement in general. We just don’t know how long it’ll take. It takes however long it takes.

If the riding is difficult, don’t quit. Many horses appear to be an easier ride when nobody is on their back. The longer you ride the horse you’re on, the more acquainted you become. That makes you a better rider. When you jump off one horse and onto another, you start that learning curve all over again.

You’ll know if the horse you’re riding will get you there or not…but you won’t know that immediately. Belief is a critical component of your strategy. You must select a strategy that you can fully embrace. Your faith and confidence in the horse you choose is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Equally important is your belief that YOU can ride that horse successfully to your destination. If you can’t see yourself achieving greatness…you’re in trouble. If you can’t see yourself achieving greatness aboard the horse you’ve chosen…you’re in trouble. Both rider and horse must cross the finish line.

Riders, up! Good luck.

13 Lessons For Your Business Provided By AC/DC - HIGHER HUMAN PERFORMANCE

13 Lessons For Your Business Provided By AC/DC

13 Lessons For Your Business Provided By AC/DC - HIGHER HUMAN PERFORMANCE

Here are 13 AC/DC song titles that provide some solid lessons for your small business.

1. Back In Black

Assume debt with great care. If you can avoid taking on debt, do so. Debt-free is not only a great personal goal, it’s a terrific goal for your business, too.

2. Moneytalks

Yes, it does. Cash is king. Never, ever take your focus off your cash flow. Nothing will kill your business quicker than running out of cash. And nothing is more stressful to chase.

3. What Do You Do For Money Honey

What’s your focus? What is your business selling? Avoid trying to be too many things to too many people. It’s easy to let your focus get dispersed in too many different directions. Avoid it and do what you do best. Gauge your success by what people are willing to pay you for.

4. Are You Ready

Preparation trumps a lot of things. So many businesses fail to seize opportunities because they’re not ready to take full advantage of them. The same goes for careers. Put in the time, study and effort to get yourself ready. Stay ready. It will put in the top 5% immediately.

5. If You Dare

No risk, no reward. Be wise, but take action. Make a decision. Be daring or be boring. Boring fails. Daring, when done wisely, achieves wild success.

6. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Don’t waste your time doing things that somebody else can do more cheaply. Yes, that may mean outsourcing. I’m an American capitalist, but going out of business won’t help you, your family, your customers, your employees or our country. No business owner should busy himself with trivial, but necessary tasks that can hired out cheaply.

7. Shake A Leg

Move. Faster. Nobody achieves success without a commitment to action. Fail faster and you’ll succeed faster.

8. Stiff Upper Lip

Be resilient. Adversity is common to all of us. Take it in stride as the price you pay for finding success. Resolve. Grit. Determination. Embrace all these qualities of mental toughness.

9. Can’t Stand Still

You’d better not. If you’ve found success, don’t sit back. Success isn’t final any more than failure is. Keep moving forward or you’ll find yourself on your butt.

10. Come And Get It

Higher performance and success won’t chase you down. They won’t magically land in your lap. Purposeful intention is required. You have to pursue high achievement. Faithfully. Daily. Without being distracted.

11. Money Made

Money is important. We all want more of it. Our lifestyles depend on it. So do our businesses. It’s the barometer of how well we’re doing. But money made (past tense) isn’t necessarily a measurement of the money we will make, or the money we potentially can make. Keep money in proper perspective, but don’t just rest on the money you’ve already made. Use the money you made to help you make more money today, and tomorrow.

12. Thunderstruck

Don’t be. Don’t be shocked or amazed at success or adversity.

13. Shoot To Thrill

Aim to please. No, aim to dazzle and amaze. Your employees, suppliers, bankers and customers should be thrilled with you and your business. Is that your aim – to thrill? It should be.


Be An Aspirin, Not A Vitamin!

It’s not a new or novel concept. It’s an ancient truth that likely started whenever the aspirin was first invented back in 1897.

The Internet deceives us into thinking it’s easy to create, market and build a business. It’s not easy. It hard work. It takes longer than you think. And it can often put such stress on you that you question whether it’s even worth it. Or, if it will ever pay off.

The opportunities are enormous. Vast opportunities trump the deceptive ease of it all. The world is your oyster. But oysters have never jumped in the boat by themselves. Ask any oysterman and they’ll tell you it’s hard work. It doesn’t matter that oysters are in shallow water. Prepare to work.

The process is easier to explain than to perform. Set aside the hours, days or weeks you need. Do not expect immediate response or results. Prepare to put in the time. Above all, get started and stay with it. Don’t give up.


Trust People, But Always Cut The Deck

Recent discussions about the FTC crackdown on testimonials for Internet marketers have brought to light the fine arts of deception, lying and fraud. Enron and Bernie Madoff preceded this news – so it’s not quite the newsflash it might otherwise be. Cheating is commonplace.

Pick any area of human endeavor and you’ll find deception and cheating. Education, business, religion, and all others. Marketing and sales are especially susceptible to it because people are working to exchange something for money.

The competitive edge – YOUR competitive edge – can be honor, integrity and complete honesty, 100% of the time.


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