Episode 85 – Rule #5 Don’t Waste Good (Teacher Appreciation Day)

Leroy Jethro Gibbs (that’s him to the left) is a TV character on CBS’s hit show, NCIS. It’s one of my favorite shows.

Last night’s episode included a closing scene where we learn rule number 5. Gibbs is a man with rules.

Rule number 5 is, “Don’t waste good.”

Gibbs the leader utters rule 5 to a prospective hire, Anthony DiNozzo. Tony, of course, goes on to join NCIS and Gibbs’ team.

Gibbs is a great leader. He sees the future first. He sees in Tony (that’s him to the right) possibilities that Tony doesn’t yet see for himself. After telling Tony about rule number 5 Gibbs utters two words that make all the difference in Tony’s life.

“You’re good.”

It’s a game changing  phrase. For both men. It compels Tony to join NCIS. It gives Gibbs another good investigator on his team.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.

Today, May 4th is Teacher Appreciation Day!

Today I want to share some ideas, thoughts and perspectives on not wasting good in our own lives, and in helping students prevent wasting good in their lives, too. It’s a powerful work. It’s high value work. Congratulations to all the teachers who do it.

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Reaching People Who Count Is Not Easy

countvoncountWell, okay – I don’t mean people who actually count – like Count Von Count. I mean people who matter. I mean people who are meaningful. I mean people who benefit you. That doesn’t mean people you can take advantage of, or use. I mean people with whom a valuable relationship can be formed.

Reaching people who count isn’t limited to customers, or prospects. Sometimes it’s reaching people who can mentor us, coach us or help us grow. Sometimes it’s people who can serve as collaborators. There are many valuable relationships we can create and foster.

Analytics existed before computers. Businessmen created databases – once they were simply card files – of inventory and customers. Handwritten charts and logs kept track of all sorts of things. Primary among those things were client lists. Business owners wanted to have good records of their customers. We needed their contact information, including their mailing addresses. Our direct marketing campaigns depended on the accuracy of our analysis – our analytics.

Computers enhanced our ability to effectively track many more things. We could dissect the behavior of our customers. Whatever we captured in our computers could be easily outputted to give us greater details. If we captured a customer’s eye color, then we could easily find out which customers had blue eyes. We went from low information diets to feeding at an all-you-eat-buffet where we could feast constantly! The gorging began…and continues. More data than we can possibly digest. It’s the stuff of business intelligence, business analytics.

There’s an old marketing maxim that says, “It’s more important to reach people who count than it is to count the number of people you are reaching.”

Even so, we get caught up with how many people are on our list – how many we’re converting into buying customers – how long they linger on our sales pages – and so much more. The numbers. It’s all about the numbers.

I’m not saying numbers aren’t important. Nor am I saying that you shouldn’t study or analyze all the data available to you. But you must remember that behind every single number is a PERSON. A real, live breathing person with a family, people they love, people who love them and all the other stuff that life brings to the party.

Build a list, say the Internet marketers. Build a BIG list. If you can get 10,000 people on your list – well, that’s great. But 20,000 is better. And if you can surpass the 50K mark, you’re in the rarefied realm of guru status! Just think of it. If you only convert 2% of them into buyers, then you’ve got 1000 buyers! That’s 1000 people paying you. No wonder a 50K list of names and email addresses puts you among the most select folks selling stuff online! We’re all gonna be filthy, stinking RICH.

Building a list of any sort is more difficult than you might think though. Let’s say you could care less who these people are – how are you going to reach them? How will people even know YOU exist? Will you spend money on PPC (pay per click)? Will you hired an SEO (search engine optimization) expert who can get you ranked number 1 in Google? Will you join up with somebody else who has a big list?

Who are these people that matter? Who counts?

That depends on your business.

We all need people who are interested in what we’re selling. Those are the people who count. If I’m selling scuba gear then a list of 10,000 people who are into bird-watching won’t do me much good. Unless, of course, they’re scuba divers who also happen to watch birds. But there’s no direct connection between those two. It’s highly unlikely that bird watchers are scuba divers. Now, if they were surfers instead – maybe!

No, if I’m selling scuba gear then I’m in search of people who love to go diving. More importantly, I’m really interested in people who regularly scuba dive or who will spend money toward scuba diving. I’m not interested in a list of 10,000 names of people who go on vacation and rent scuba gear. I’m looking for 10,000 names of people who actually purchase scuba gear.

Once I know who counts – then my job is to find them. Reaching the people who count is often an overlooked strategy. People wrongly assume that anybody who opts into their list must be a hot prospect – somebody with a high inclination toward purchasing something they offer, like scuba gear. That’s only true if you have properly targeted – that is, if you’ve taken aim at finding only the people who count – those who are definitely interested in what you offer.

The other component involved in this is clarifying your offer. I don’t mean making your offer clear to others. I mean making your offer clear in your mind. Can you narrow your focus so your offer is precise? Again, people fail too frequently because they haven’t clearly defined what it is they’re selling. If it’s unclear in your mind, it’s super unclear in the mind of your prospect.

Consider the competitive field of web design. Let’s say you open up a web design shop and you think everybody is your market. Anybody who wants a website is your prospect, right? So you don’t put any restriction on building your list. You’re not trying to reach any specific type of person – all people are people who count…because your business has a universal appeal. It’s a common mistake. Some businesses die having never reached the people who count because they never calculated what they were offering – so they could figure out who counted.

The most successful web designers I know are so specialized it’s ridiculous. I know web designers who not only specialize in WordPress sites, but they specialize in customizing specific WordPress themes. It’s the only thing they do. That specialization allows them to more narrowly focus on WHO – on who it is that really counts for them, and their business.

The same thing will work for your business. Narrow your focus. Drill down to the real core of your offer. That will prepare you to drill down to the people who count most. Now, get busy reaching only the people who count. Warning: It’s more difficult than you think, but it’s easier when you know who you are trying to reach.

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.


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