This business reference guide for entrepreneurs, CEOs, and startup founders covers it all, from staying relevant, to cutting overhead, to providing outstanding customer service, to increasing sales, to teaching you what mindset you need to have to be successful on a daily basis. It’s put together to empower you so that you can, “do great today.”
Table of Contents
Take the lessons that you learn from this business reference guide, and put them into action. Share what you learn, teach others what you learn, and commit to yourself to make a difference in your own life, starting right now. Enjoy the ride.
Preface – Push Yourself
0.1 Be Responsible for You
Ultimately, you need to be responsible for you. No one has the power to push you to excel more than yourself. Success is a mindset. Make the decision to do better with your life today by continuing to learn. If you’ve messed up in the past, make it right, and then start doing the right things today. Learn from your failures. Be helpful, be useful, be empathetic, be forgiving, and always be true to you.
Chapter 1 – Staying Relevant and Competitive
1.1 Adapt and Evolve to Stay Relevant and Competitive
Thinking you’re fine just doing what you’re doing today, tomorrow, is lying to yourself. You always need to be adapting and evolving on a daily basis, that is, if you still want your business, to actually be in business, years from now.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a once powerful business giant fall to the ground ungracefully, but it’s part of reality every year. If only they had taken the steps to adapt and evolve, all that money may not had been wasted, but with complacent behavior, comes sub-standard results, and with sub-standard results, comes big losses of money, and with big losses of money, come job layoffs and cost reducing measure, and with all this, comes your weakness to your competition, and they ultimately end up driving you to the ground and out of business.
This is the fact of business life. If you want to run a business that’s profitable, and that delivers a cutting-edge product or solution, you need to adapt and evolve, and you need to do it on a daily basis.
So here are some steps you can take.
A. Hire young, savvy, and very smart people – a person doesn’t have to be book smart, or have graduated from an ivy-league school to be smart in this sense. The person only needs to know what people want and like, and in some instances, not looking at the business data over the past twenty-years, and just being able to predict the future in some sense, is well beyond good enough
B. Take suggestions – the power of suggestion is everything in business. Some of the best business improvements to products and services have come from simple suggestions. However much you think you know, you can always know a lot more. Take suggestions to heart, the more open your mind, the more ways to success you’ll find
C. Figure Out What’s Working vs. Not Working – if you’re only doing what you know to work, you’ll never grow. There’s no such thing as failure because even when you fail, you learn what doesn’t work, and the faster you learn what doesn’t work, the faster you can stop wasting time and money, and keep testing other methods out until you find a few things that do work
Pushing the limits is a big part of adapting and evolving. The biggest lessons in business will come from pushing the limits, but if you don’t push them, you’re eventually going to stop learning, and when you stop learning, you get complacent, and when you get complacent, your business starts to go down the tubes
D. Invest in Technology – not investing in technology, is flat out ineffective and inexcusable. It’s also one of the fastest ways to make your business non-relevant. Invest in right technology, and you’ll have good profit, and you’ll have excellent potential for big-time growth. Don’t invest in technology, and your overhead will continue to rise, you’ll have low profit margins, and your competition will eat you up.
It’s extremely important to make the right technology decisions. Just because your competition is using a certain software solution, it doesn’t mean that the same one is good for your business. Try out different technology, see which one fits best with the way your business functions, test it out for a month or two, get an implementation plan together, and then execute it.
Jumping into an enterprise Oracle solution, may not be the best fit for your mid-size company. Over invest in technology, and you’re done as well. Balance is everything.
There’s no sense in beating yourself up over business decisions that ended up being incorrect. Just rack them up as learning lessons, keep your head up, and rock on through the future.
Commit to adapt and evolve, that is, if you want to continue to be in business. Remember, there’s a big difference between book-smart, and business-smart, whatever type of person you are, recognize it, embrace it, and then higher the counter opposite of what you are as your top employee so you balance each other out.
1.2 Focus on the People that Engage
Having a massive email subscriber list is great, but if people aren’t engaging with what you send out, it’s not serving you any purpose. You’re better off spending time focusing on the ten percent that are actually opening your emails, and furthering your relationship with them i.e. finding out more personalized about them, and learning how your service can help them solve their short-term and long-term objectives.
Focusing on the ten percent will enable new opportunities to blossom. When you take care of what you have, and the people that are important to your business, great things happen. Focus on providing the ultimate client experience whenever possible. Form real relationships, understand each other, and sincerely care about each others well being for best relationship results.
You get the drift, these are the type of clients I like to deal with, no one can offer a highly personalized service for a hundred thousand people, and if you can, you’re hired, and let me know how you do it. The old philosophy of it being difficult to, “mix quantity with quality,” really does hold true. If your goal is just to get a bunch of random email addresses, then go ahead, but your real power is going to come from actually bonding true long-term personal and business relationships. This is the area where you’re going to make the most money, in the least amount of time.
It’s easy in the beginning to think, numbers, numbers, numbers, but I’d rather sell ten cupcakes to one person, instead of ten cupcakes to ten people, that just makes more sense to me.
Go through your email list, sort the people that interact with your emails, sort the people that don’t do anything with them, separate your email list into categories, and then focus on the ones that are interacting with you. Dump the ones that don’t do anything, and start fresh. It may be tough at first, but it will be much more rewarding later. This will allow you to focus on what really matters i.e. the great clients that you already have in front of you. Provide the best service they’ve ever had, make their experience so great that they tell there friends, and you’ll see success like never before.
Respect people and their email addresses. Don’t just send out junk, and whatever you do, build your email subscriber list up naturally. It may grow slow, but it will continue to pay dividends for you for years to come.
Chapter 2 – Overhead Will Kill Your Business
2.1 Technology is the Solution to the Overhead that’s Killing Your Business
Overhead will continue to kill your business if you don’t invest in technology that replaces time-intensive people tasks.
High overhead kills profits. When you have high overhead, you need to charge more to keep your margins, and when you need to charge more, you ultimately become uncompetitive in regards to pricing, and when you become uncompetitive, you lose customers, and when you lose customers, you start to not be able to pay your bills, and when you’re not able to pay your bills, you go out of business… it’s pretty simple to understand when you look at it this way.
I’ve listed a few of the more prevalent time-intensive overhead busters below.
A. Customer needs to call in and speak with a support representative to receive their information – such as billing histories, executed contracts, receipts, and service histories
B. Customer needs to call in and speak with a service representative to open a new service ticket, or to follow up on an existing one to check on an ETA
C. Customer needs to call in and speak with a sales representative to receive product, and pricing information
If your business is guilty of any of the above, look to implement technology that can automate these tasks. Automation is not nearly as expensive as it used to be, and in most cases a relatively small investment, can save you big time dollars.
Here’s what’s going to happen if you don’t invest in technology.
A. As customers continue to want instant access to their information, you’re going to need to keep hiring more and more people to answer the phone, gather the information, and then email it or physically mail it to them – the end result will be that your overhead will continue to rise, your productivity will continue to decrease, and smaller, more nimble and technology savvy companies will offer your service or product at a lower cost, thus eating up your market share and eventually putting you out of business
B. We live in a mobile-centric world, people don’t want to call a business to open up a service call, or to check on an ETA. They want to be able to quickly hit a website or app on a mobile phone and open up a service ticket or check to see what time the service rep is going to arrive – the end result will be that again in order to support the customers needs of instant gratification, you’re going to need to hire more staff, and have them work longer hours, thus again busting you’re overhead.
Customers want to have a fluid, interactive experience, in real-time, and if you don’t offer it to them, they’re going to gravitate to the smaller, more technology savvy companies that do provide easy of use, and real-time tracking
C. Customers want instant gratification, and when they want to buy something, they want it right away. Not having sales reps manage your phones all day and night, is going to cost you sales, it’s also gong to cost you a lot to money, so it’s never going to work in the long run – the end result will be that companies that are more savvy in presenting information, pricing, and instant checkout information online, will smoke you and you’ll end up out of business within the next three to five years.
Overhead is no joking matter in business. It’s one of the fastest ways to eat up all your profits, and send yourself right down the tubes.
On the other hand, investing in technology will get you to where you want to go in business. It will allow you to cut out all the people sitting at desks doing time-intensive tasks, saving you on office space and payroll.
Yes, technology costs money, but people costs way more money. From healthcare, to hiring, training, to firing, it all comes at a big expense to businesses. You can ultimately do what you want, but just beware, there’s an entirely new generation coming through the ranks, and these kids our technology and automation experts, and they know how to run a business on a dime.
To keep up, you must change the way your grandfather ran his business, which is most likely the same way that his grandfather ran his business. It’s time to change, it’s time to update your technology, and it’s time your business becomes competitive again in a crowded market space.
2.2 Don’t Get Over-Tooled by Monthly Subscription Services
Have you ever heard the term “over-tooled” before? Getting over-tooled simply means that you have way too many tools than needed. Companies get over-tooled all the time now because they get caught up in the hype of the, “next great monthly subscription website,” only to find out months later that they just wasted a bunch of money.
If this sounds like you, immediately do an analysis of every monthly subscription website you’re currently using. I can assure you, that you’ll most likely find a handful of them that you can drop and start saving money on asap.
There’s nothing wrong with subscribing to a monthly subscription website if you’re using it to the fullest, but if you’re over-tooled, and you have too much going on to keep a track of your monthly expense budget, you’re 100% going to be paying for services that you don’t need.
I speak from experience when I share this information, I was over-tooled myself and was paying out hundreds of extra dollars a month for monthly subscription services that I hadn’t logged into in months. I was astounded, as well as dumbfounded, when I saw what in the world I was spending my businesses hard earned money on.
What helped me the most moving forward was that I put together a simple Excel sheet listing all the monthly subscription services I use, along with what they do and how much they cost, and I review them on a monthly basis to see if I still need to use them. It’s simple, it’s easy, and this is what I’ve found to work best for me.
2.3 Keep Your Tools Greased
Knowing the tools the pros use is great – the only thing is, it’s not going to get you very far if that’s all you’re relying on. In order to use the tools to the best of their ability, you need to add some grease to them. Not physical grease, I’m talking about enthusiasm and personalization grease. Everything in life needs grease i.e. tires, nuts, bolts, door hinges, and everything else you can imagine. The same holds true for what you do in business. You are the grease – yes, you.
Your personalization, your genuine passion, your effort, and your willingness to help without receiving anything back in return is your grease. Remember the story of the old man and the teenager that have a contest to see who can chop down a tree faster? The teenager spends all day continuously chopping at the tree, while the old man chops at the tree, stops for an hour, gets a drink, sharpens his axe blade, then goes back to chopping. Do you understand the story here – the old man is sharpening and greasing his blade to actually chop faster.
You need to do the same thing with the tools you use in your business efforts. Everyone has the same tools available to them, it’s those that grease the tools and use them to their maximum ability that find ultimate success. You don’t have to listen to what I’m sharing here, but I can tell you from personal experience, when I started adding grease to the tools in my toolbox, things really took off.
One other thing that really helped me turn my business around was focusing on less tools, and really working the tools that I did use, to their maximum capability. In some cases I find that when I focus on less, I actually get back more. My recommendation is that you select a handful of tools, test them out, and I mean more than just logging into the site and doing one thing.
Grease the tools up, learn from them, and see if they can work for you in the long run. What works for one person may not be right for you, make your own tool recipe, add your own grease to it, and figure out a way to maximize the tools to the best of your ability.
Chapter 3 – Outsource Time Wasters
3.1 Outsource Everything that Eats up Your Valuable Time
A job is about getting stuff done, for the lowest price, at the highest quality level. People, especially our younger generation, are excellent at working independently. They don’t need to come into an office so that they can be checked on every day.
In fact, the lease you check on them, the better they work. Assign and outsource jobs that need to be completed. People work better when they know what they need to do, as well as what the expectation is for how long it’s supposed to take.
Outsourcing lower costs, it allows you to higher specific experts, for specific jobs, rather than have a jack-of-all-trades, it allows you to hire and fire as needed without any legal obligations, and it allows you to be nimble and quick without having any long-term insurance benefits.
Freelancers know this, and when you work with an experienced freelancer, the experience will be fluid, and will deliver excellent results. Your entire team can be freelancers, but you always want to make sure you have a strategic advisor to help you out with major decisions and to bounce questions off of, as well as seek advice from.
Outsourcing tips to help you succeed.
A. Start by outsourcing one simple task – the big issue with most people is that they make too big of a deal with what they want to outsource, and it gets too confusing, and then nothing ever gets done. The simpler the first outsourced task, the better. You’re not looking to outsource a difficult math equation here, you’re just looking to offload something that typically eats up a bunch of your time.
B. Stop expecting perfection, and start expecting above-average results –
great, your perfect, and you never make any mistakes, but there’s a whole world of people out there that aren’t perfect, that do make some mistakes, but do deliver awesome results. There’s no way someone is going to do everything the exact way you want them to one-hundred percent of the time, especially if you’re not explaining what you want them to do absolutely perfectly. Most of the time, if there’s an error, it’s probably because of you not explaining it properly.
C. The first freelancer you work with, doesn’t have to be the only freelancer you ever work with – this is the beauty of outsourcing. You don’t need to hire someone and invest time on boarding and training them, only to find out six-months into it, that they’re really not the right fit
You can hire and fire as many freelancers as you want until you find the right one for the specific job you’re looking to outsource. Once freelance may work well with behind the scenes data, while another one may be great with customer facing items, everyone is different, find each freelancers strength, and then hire them for jobs where they can succeed. If they’re not succeeding, get rid of them, or redeploy them to work on another job. Some people just don’t have what it takes to work with your business standards, don’t be mean about it, just let them know the job is not right for them and walk away from the situation
D. Master the art of outsourcing – there’s nothing better to have the comfort level of being able to have any type of freelancer at your fingertips, for any type of job that may come your way. The better you set up and keep track of what freelancers do what, the better you’ll be able to assign them jobs.
It’s no joking matter. Being an effective and efficient outsourcer, will drive your profits through the roof, without any long-term employee payroll or health insurance expenditures.
Be true to your company, look to take care of every penny, and be sure to take care of the people that are taking care of you in business. Growth comes from pushing boundaries, and yes, implementing an outsourcing strategy is pushing the limits of your comfort level, but the fast you become comfortable with the uncomfortable, the faster you’ll be able to start to put some real money in your pocket.
3.2 Only Do the Most Important Business Tasks
The key to your success in business is not in you doing everything yourself, it’s in you doing the most important aspects of your business yourself.
You spending time generating leads may not be in your best interest, while you spending time closing leads that your employees nurtured and educated already, may be the best use of your time. What you see here is that you need to let go of the little tasks that you can give to your employees.
Working in your business i.e. sweeping the floor, answering the phones, doing data entry, etc., is not going to pay you money to keep your lights turned on in the office. Working on your business i.e. closing down pre-qualified leads, planning marketing strategies, building high level c-suite relationships, is going to pay you money to keep the lights turned on.
It’s not hard to see what I’m talking about when I explain it this way. What I see is that entrepreneurs get caught up in the acts of running their business, when they really need to get caught up in the aspects of growing their business by continuing to keep their sales funnels full of highly targeted and qualified prospects.
So the key point to remember, is for you not to get caught up doing every little single business task yourself, but in you just doing the most important aspects of your business yourself i.e. activities that generate new revenue streams.
Chapter 4 – Customer Service
4.1 Customer Service Must Rule
Without a doubt, there’s no easier way to set your business apart from your competition than offering the absolute best customer service. Excellent customer service equals happy customers, and happy customers equal repeat customers, and repeat customers equal people that tell their friends and family about your business, which equals you getting additional customers without paying any advertising.
The customer is always right, even when they’re wrong. There’s always a solution to a problem if you try hard enough, and you’re willing to make some small sacrifices. It’s possible to reach a happy medium, with anyone, over any situation, with a little bit of giving
It’s just not worth arguing over loose change, when you’re sticking dollar bills in your pocket. Losing the little battles, allows you to win the big battles, which is where your continued revenue stream is going to come from. Repeat customers keep your business running. Without repeat customers, it’s going to cost a lot in advertising.
Imagine you had a restaurant that had no repeat customers, it’d be nearly impossible to find new people, within your local demographic, to come in and fill the place to eat every night, and you’d eventually end up going out of business
Repeat customers are your revenue stream for continued growth. It’s much easier to share a new product or service offering to a repeat customer because you already have their attention and they’re willing to listen to you. This is one of the easiest types of sales, and it’s one that costs the least, because it’s just you simply informing them of the addition to your already excellent offerings.
If you want to keep high profits and grow your business really quickly, getting people to share their incredible stories with their friends and family, is the way to do it. When people have an excellent experience, they’ll share it with the people that are closest to them, giving your the warm introduction to gain a new customer. The best part about a warm introduction is that the friend or family member already knows that your business does an excellent job, and they already have a certain level of trust and expectation.
Typically, building trust and expectation takes time and money, but when you can get people to share how good of a job your business does, and how excellent your customer service is, it puts you in a higher starter position in the relationship.
The more free advertising you can get from excellent customer service, the more money you’re going to put in your pocket. Yes, you can go to one of the major advertising outlets and pay them a lot of money to get your message out in front of your target audience, or you can repay your customers and say thank you to them for doing business with you by offering them special discounts, incentives, and awards, which ultimately gets them feeling great, which ends up meaning that they’re going to share what your business did for them, thus creating the free advertising and warm introduction you’re looking for.
People work harder and buy more when given incentives. Learn this lesson early, and incorporate excellent customer service, along with excellent incentives, and you’ll be well on your way
It’s never too late to start offering excellent customer service. If you’ve done a terrible job of customer service, and you’ve fought to get every penny, from every customer, regardless of whether it was ruining the business relationship or not, you can change. Everything successful starts with change, and every company has gone through some rough patches, the only difference between that companies that are still around and that are successful today, is that they’ve evolved and changed with the times, while the ones that aren’t around, never adjusted and just became irrelevant.
The goal for your business is to provide the ultimate client experience to your customers, so that they will continue to support your business, and help it grow faster, and at a lower cost than using standard advertising methods.
4.2 Provide Impeccable Customer Service
Business is driven by relationships. Impeccable customer service is the keystone to initially build, and then maintain those relationships.
Impeccable customer service starts with you. It starts by taking ownership of whatever customer interaction you’re having. The smallest thing to you, may be the biggest thing to your customer, so every need or concern that a customer expresses, needs to be dealt with in a professional manner.
Chapter 5 – Always Keep Your Word
5.1 No Matter What, Always Keep Your Word
It’s absolutely vital to keep your word in business, no matter what, even if it ends up costing you money to do so. Your word needs to be like concrete. Once you say it, you need to stick to it, otherwise you’re going to lose trust very quickly, and when you lose trust, you lose customers, and quickly.
Words are powerful, especially in business. If you say you’re going to do something, at a particular day or time, do it. If you have a circumstance that arises, and you’re not able to keep your word, communicate that to your customer immediately so that they know what’s going on and so that they can make alternate plans.
A. Lack of communication is unacceptable – there’s nothing worse for a customer than having a business say they’re going to do something, and then not follow through. Even more damaging, is when the business doesn’t communicate effectively.
B. A simple email or call from your company will suffice. Any communication, is good communication in most circumstances, especially when it comes to scheduling and having people waiting around.
C. Success starts with internal communication – if you’re business doesn’t communicate well internally, how’s it ever going to communicate well externally. The answer is, it’s not. Keeping your word needs to start on the inside. Everyone on the inside of your business needs to keep their word to each other to start with. Keeping your word forms trust, and it forms a bond where people feel like their part of a team and that whatever they’re going through, they’re going to do it together.
Businesses that keep their word to each other internally, naturally understand the benefits, and translate the communication levels externally.
D. Automation needs to come into play – new communication tools are released monthly. Find out which one is most cost effective and solves your businesses unique needs. From the most simple location tracking communication apps i.e. the driver will be at your house shortly, to the most robust tracking and online monitoring systems, they’re out there for you to use
As your business grows, it’s going to continue to get tougher to keep your word, no matter what, but without a doubt, it needs to absolutely stay at the top of your importance list, as it’s one of the core building blocks to successful business longevity. Words are like magic, use them properly, and great things will happen, but use them improperly, and business will go down faster than you ever imagined.
E. Keeping your word may cost you money – always look at the big customer picture. If you aren’t able to keep your word, and it’s going to be on a consistent basis with a particular client, let them know what’s going on, why the situation is occurring, and that perhaps it may not be best for you to continue the business relationship
It’s better to be upfront and straightforward rather than beating around the bush. People understand real life situations, so when you can put what’s going on into simple terms, people will be able to relate to it and understand it easier
Treat your word like gold, and let your customers know you feel that way. Set a new standard of excellence for every individual customer your business serves. The higher standard you keep, the higher level of customers you will serve. Great companies hire great people, and being a great company can start with you by keeping your word, both internally and externally.
Chapter 6 – Be Helpful
6.1 Be the Helpful and Useful Resource
In business, your success is going to depend upon how helpful and useful you are to your customers. If you’re constantly taking from them, and never giving back anything in return, you’re not going to be in business very long.
A. The easiest way for you to become a valuable resource to your customers is to be helpful and useful to them – this means, sharing new information with them that’s going to help them grow their business, or cut costs for their business. In some instances, the information you share with them is not going to directly pertain to the product or service that you sell, but that’s ok, because you’re still providing value to them
B. You may lose some money initially – being the helpful and useful resource may cost you money in the short term, but it will definitely make you a lot more money in the long term. If a law changes in the favor of a client, and it’s going to have them stop using one of your services, let them know anyway. Being a helpful and useful resource is about providing value to your customers, not about robbing them blind when you know that they can be saving money
When you’re always selling, it gets tiresome for the client, and when a client gets tired, they get frustrated easier, and when they get frustrated they get irritated easier, and when they get irritated it usually doesn’t work out well for you, so steer clear of the “always be selling” philosophy, and stick to the always be “helpful and useful” philosophy instead.
C. Keep your clients awake – there’s nothing worse than a sales rep that comes into your office every few months trying to sell you the next greatest widget on the market. Think of your the worst sales reps that come into your office, study what you don’t like about them, and then do exactly opposite of what they do when you’re on your customer facing appointments selling the products and services that your business offers
D. It takes one to know one – if something that a sales rep does gets under your skin, you may be doing similar yourself. Take an honest review of how you’re doing things, and make sure that you’re not putting your customers to sleep by sharing boring information with them. Find helpful and useful information, put together a presentation, and go out and have some fun with it
E. Don’t get your customers frustrated – customers are human, they want to be talked to normally, they want to have clear expectations set, and they want to work with a business that has their best interest in mind. When your business fails to provide clarity, expectations, and trust, they’re going to dump you, and quickly.
There are just too many businesses, doing excellent jobs, for a person that gets frustrated time and time again, to decide to stick with you. Remove any customer frustrations immediately, otherwise they’ll be gone in a flash.
To be a helpful resource, you need to be invested in doing business with the market segment you serve. You need to stay up on the laws by listening and reading the news, you must attend industry conferences, and you must be engaged with businesses in your market segment on a daily basis.
To be a useful resource, you need to be able to mid together everything you’ve learned, bake it up, and serve up a delicious presentation that quickly and easily explains what’s changed in the marketplace, and why it’s important that the customer takes action. When you’re helpful and useful, you’re positioning yourself to grow your business in a natural and organic way, slowly over time.
Always, no matter what, be helpful and useful, even if it is to your worst enemy, because you never know if your worst enemy may end up turning into your best friend once the walls are broken down and a certain level of trust is formed. Be human, be kind, be helpful, be useful, and you’ll be successful in business, but always be cognizant of where you’re spending your time, as well as where you’re spending your money.
6.2 Lead by Example and Actively Participate
You must lead by example within your organization. Your employees are going to go off of your lead – so it’s vitally important that you lead by example within your organization. When you say one thing verbally, but your physical actions don’t back it up, it’s very confusing for people. The best results in entrepreneurship come when your verbal communications, sync with your physical communications.
It sounds pretty simple to do, but it’s actually quite challenging. The good part is, once you start synching your verbal and physical communications in everything that you do – people will really start to understand and get behind what you’re saying and doing. Becoming a leader within your organization may not happen overnight, but if you always stay true to your verbal words, and you keep your physical actions in sync with your verbal words, you inevitably will be looked upon as a leader within your organization.
You must actively participate to be a strong leader within your organization. Just showing up on a daily basis is not going to get the job done – you need to show up and actively participate. You can actively participate in conversations, you can actively participate in question and answer sessions, and the list goes on and on of ways that you can actively participate in activities that will help position you as the go-to leader. The idea here is that you’re making the effort to actively participate.
If you’re not actively participating in making your own life more successful as an entrepreneur, no one else is going to walk up to you and make you do it. You need to make the decision within yourself, that you’re going to make the most of every moment, in every day, by actively participating, wherever you are, and with whomever you’re with.
Chapter 7 – Data is Your Foundation
7.1 Pick Out the Right CRM from the Start
The CRM “customer relationship management” tool is the backbone of every successful organization, but don’t get sucked into the new and brightest star out there all the time. Test several different platforms out to see which one works best for your specific needs.
Investment and transition can be high, so you want to be as sure as possible that you’re selecting a CRM that’s going to last for the next few years. Below are some of my tips to help you select the best CRM.
A. Do your research – test out several different systems. What works for your friends business may not work for yours – every CRM has different advantages.
B. Don’t over invest – start small and grow from there. Stay away from any customizations – they’ll eat up your budget quickly. Go with lean and mean – easy import and export abilities are key.
C. Be sure you can easily setup and run email and/or mobile text number campaigns – not segmenting means not personalizing, and not personalizing means lower engagement rates.
D. Be sure you can commit to working in the CRM 24/7 – the CRM needs to be the heart of your organization.
E. Make the CRM allows you to build relationships with people while gathering as much personalized information as possible. Being able to tag and highlight what’s important to you within the fields you setup in your CRM, such as: job titles and departments, is extremely important.
F. Check to see how easy it is to run highly segmented reports and customize outreach campaigns, while tracking everything. Make sure the CRM can constantly evolve with your needs – it needs to be able to grow with you.
Above all, if during the transition things are clearly not going well, don’t be afraid to dump it right there and then. Remember that time you were at the restaurant and the bread came out stale, then the soup came out cold, and then the meal was terrible… it’s the same philosophy here. Dump it before you’re too heavily invested and have to live with it.
7.2 Use Communication Technologies
The beauty with all the communication technologies available to sales reps today, is that you can cover a lot of ground, very quickly. Even better, some of your daily sales tasks can actually be automated if you’re really smart about how you set things up. Yes, we all know about email marketing, and yes we all know about social media marketing, but it’s really how you use these communication technologies which is going to determine how successful you’re in regards to your efforts.
What takes you a few hours to do, may take someone else a few minutes, and that reason is most likely because the person that’s taking less time, is using technology to automate repetitive tasks. Successful companies understand that client data, client communications, and client support, are the three pillars for long term continued success for their businesses. Brands that master the art of using their data, not only to communicate with their customers, but also to offer unparalleled customer support, are setting themselves apart from the pack very quickly.
It’s not ok for companies to sit back and drive out of the their rearview mirror saying how great they’ve done in the past. Quite frankly, these companies will get smoked by some of the more agile, new companies, that are investing money in customer relationship management technology.
The beauty of a CRM (customer relationship management) tool, is that it’s affordable for both big, and small organizations. Yes, the larger companies will invest in more automation and customization of financial reporting within their CRM systems, but this is definitely not a requirement for a smaller brand that’s looking to build and maintain a strong client foundation.
Let me put it to you this way, “Companies that invest in customer relationship management tools will be working ‘on’ their business in the future, while those that don’t invest, will always continue to work ‘in’ their business.” I hope that makes sense to you, and that you get the point that I’m making immediately, because it’s very important to understand.
As a business owner, or an executive in an organization, you know how difficult it is to maintain communication with not only your clients, but your own staff as well. Investing in a CRM will tie all the pieces together for you. A customer relationship management tool will enable you to keep all your data in one central repository, communicate with your clients about service and product updates, as well as handle all of your customer service needs.
With any type of technology you implement, you want to stay lean, mean, and super efficient. My suggestion is for you to test out a few different setups, and see which one works best for your organization. Since every company has different workflows, and all the systems run differently, it’s always best to try before your buy. You can thank me later.
Chapter 8 – Increasing Sales
8.1 Best Practices for Increasing Sales
To increase sales, you need to be smart about how you go about your business. Sales don’t happen by accident, sales are made by putting together several key steps, all ultimately culminating in the end result of the sale.
Below are my insider tips for increasing sales. Some of them are actual tasks you need to do on a daily basis, while others have to do with mindset. Wake up ready to go in the morning, and make sure you’re mentally prepared for best results.
A. You have to want it big time – proper attitude is everything. No one can want it more than you.
B. You need to be smart and get sales strategy in place – failing to plan, is planning to fail.
C. You need to become an expert in communicating with people – if you don’t know how to read voice inflections and body language, learn how, and quickly.
D. You need to stay up on industry relevant information that directly affects your target market – a law changes, a new cost cutting measure, or something along those lines.
E. You need to figure out who your target market is – find the market to see into where you’re able to maximize your profit.
F. You need to identify the people, that work for accounts within your target market – segment them as much as possible.
G. You need to keep all your prospect/client information in one central repository i.e. Salesforce, Google Docs sheet, or something along those lines.
H. You need to constantly be updating your prospect/client information – keep notes of every name you hear, make sure they’re spelled properly, as well as any personalized information that you learn. This is not about being creepy, this is just about being able to make your conversation more timely and relevant throughout your relationship.
I. You need to focus on building relationships – buyers may work for 4 or 5 companies, but if you’ve built a strong relationship, they’ll bring you along with them.
J. You need to be an expert in your market segment – be the authoritative resource that your customers turn to for answers.
K. You don’t need to know all the answers about your product and services, but you need to know who to get in contact at your company that does know the answers.
L. You need to reach out to people before they’re in need – the best time is before they’re even aware of a situation. If a person reaches out to you, it’s too late to build value because they’ve already done their research online and are just looking for you to validate how they already feel.
M. You need to master the art of initial outreach in both verbal and email form – the shorter, the simpler, the better.
N. You need to be persistent and never give up – persistence wears down resistance.
O. You need to become the master of follow up – the fortune is in the follow up.
8.2 Targeted Selling to Departments within Companies
Below is a helpful list of common departments within companies, along with the roles each of them provide. When selling your product or service, it’s always a great idea to speak directly with each individual department, and focus on their specific needs. Your not trying to sell popcorn to the world here, you need to get real focused and provide specific value to the department.
Keep an eye out for compliancy and law changes that affect each department, and when your product or service fills the need, directly reach out to the person, or group, that handles it for the company, and get in front of them asap to go over how you can help make them compliant. Selling takes timing, and you keeping up to date with market segment changes, will put you in the drivers seat to pounce on easy sales opportunities.
Remember, when a person calls you saying they want something, it’s already too late. You need to be calling them and telling them they need your solution because it’s going to solve a big problem for them. My suggestion is that you print this list out, go through the product and services you sell, match them up to the departments, and get in front of your customers and prospects before your competition does.
A. Administration – officers and support staff that run the company behind the scenes
1. Human Resources – support hiring, firing, and insurance needs
– Health insurance
– 401(k) plans
– Wellness programs
– Litigation risks
– Social outreach
– Property insurance
– Workers compensation
– Drug testing
2. Office Support – deliver mail, make copies, answer phones
– Waste removal
– Vendor maintenance
– Shipping and Freight
3. Legal – make informed business decisions based on current laws
– Internal governance
– Research risks
– External communication
– Review agreements
– Provide legal clarification
– Enforce copyright
B. Finance – plans and organizes how to spend money
1. Purchasing – buys products and services
– Fleet leasing
2. Accounting – creates, tracks, and pays invoices
– Property tax
– Tax credits
– Sales tax
3. Credit – offer payment terms to customers
– Bank fees
– Credit card processing
C. Marketing – creates sales opportunities
1. Public Relations – handles interviews and public interactions
– Local newspaper articles
– Local TV coverage
– Speaking engagements
– Store events
– Guest radio appearances
– Podcast interviews
– Guest blog posts
– Local bulletins
– Community newsletters
– Social media
– Local organizations
2. Advertising – supports paid campaigns
– Google Adwords
– Online Ads
– TV Ads
– Magazine Ads
– Newspaper Ads
– Direct mail
D. Sales – work with customers to close opportunities
1. Distribution – gets the products and services delivered
2. Service – provides product and service support
– GPS tracking
– Quality control
E. Production – make the products that get sold
1. Research – study market trends and share new ideas
2. Development – bring ideas into reality
– Create models
F. IT – support computer infrastructure and users
1. Data Management – manages customer information in a CRM
– Email subscribers
2. Analytics – measure website data to gain customer insights
G. Customer Service – answer customer questions and help with concerns
1. Quality Control – makes sure high level of consistency is maintained
H. Environmental – makes sure all products and services do not cause climate damage
1. Recycle – take back products and turn them into reusable goods
There you have it. Almost every primary business department is listed above. My suggestion is to print out this list, go through each of your accounts, and match up what product or service you sell with each department. Once you have this done, reach out to each individual department and let them know how your product or service is going to help them. It’s that simple.
8.3 Best Practices to Pitch and/or Present to Clients
Best pitch and presentation practices are like core building blocks needed for any successful construction or engineering project. Skimping out and cutting corners is going to lead to disaster later on down the line.
From the mom and pop shop selling donuts in a corner bakery, to a Fortune 100 company with a sales team of thousands, the core pitch/presentation building blocks are the same. The beauty with the best practices for pitching and presenting clients, is that how much you use of each one of the building blocks is up to you. It’s like cooking a meal… you may use some more of this or that, but in the end it’s going to be your personalized pitch, using the core components in the unique and special recipe that you blended up, that’s going to make the difference.
The difference maker is you, and the faster you blend your own recipe, the faster you’ll start to relate to people on a more personable level. Below is some crowdsourced information from movers and shakers in business in regards to how they best pitch and/or present to clients to deliver the best results.
Take this information, use it, implement it in your daily routine, learn what works for you best in your particular case, and then rinse and repeat what works.
A. Be yourself – if you’re quirky, that’s cool. Being you is what makes you unique and different.
B. Be personable – writing like an attorney does not work. Talking like a human being is what works best.
C. Keep it simple – your most likely not sending a rocket to space. Keep your message simple.
D. Make it easy to understand – there’s nothing worse than falling asleep in a presentation because it’s like the person is talking a foreign language. The easier it is to understand, the easier it will be to make a decision.
E. Share your weaknesses – if you don’t share your weaknesses, people will assign them to you, and they may not be the ones you want.
F. Share your strengths – never brag, only inform.
G. Never bash the competition – don’t be afraid to bring up the competition and share what areas they excel in vs. what areas you excel in.
H. Don’t hide anything – just come out and say exactly how it is. People like to know what they’re getting into upfront.
I. Have a price estimate ready – everything in your presentation needs to build value in your cost of goods. Be ready to share pricing, and especially be ready to support it with value.
J. Share something that can be passed around the room – if you have prototype, have it with you. People love to look at feel at things when in presentations. It keeps them awake.
K. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare – it’s all in the setup. Put the oil in the skillet first, heat things up, then start cooking.
L. Be ready to handle objections – know what the common objections are, and be prepared to address them head on when they come up.
Now that you have some unique and different pitching and/or presenting ideas, put together your own recipe for success and go out and make it happen. No one else is going to do it for you. Your success is up to you.
8.4 Persistence and Perseverance
To be successful in sales, you need to have both persistence and perseverance. Persistence enables you to wear down any surrounding resistance, and perseverance enables you to have the will to keep going, even after other people quit.
Persistence – what does persistence mean to you? Think about it for a second yourself – to me, persistence means continuous effort to achieve a desired goal. It does not mean nagging or bothering someone, it is an internal drive within me that says, this is the right thing to do, so make it happen, regardless of what it takes. Kids provide a great example of persistence, when they want something, they relentlessly keep asking for it, and will almost do anything to get what they want. We as entrepreneurs, need to take the same approach that kids do, and never give up.
Perseverance – what does perseverance mean to you? Think about it for a second yourself – to me, perseverance means the undying will to achieve my desired goal. For example, calling on a prospect for five-years, never getting them on the phone, never getting in front of them, while continuing to look for opportunities in which my services may help them save time and money. Now I’d call that perseverance.
Some might define this as the definition of insanity, I define it as the will to make things happen, and eventually they will. Believe me, the ice will get thin and you will find an opportunity. The moral of the story is, most people give up before the opportunity presents itself. Whatever you do, don’t give up, the opportunity will present itself. From personal experience, it is when I have pushed through the biggest pain points, that the biggest breakthroughs have occurred. Like they say with the lotto, you have to be in-it to win-it, the same holds true for life as a sales rep.
In the end, the continuous effort and undying will to achieve a goal, that’s what it comes down to for successful sales reps. However you define persistence and perseverance, it really doesn’t matter, just blend up your own recipe and go out and achieve your sales goals today. Dig deep within yourself, regardless of where you are right now, you can ultimately achieve what you want to. You don’t have to be great to start, just start to be great.
8.5 If You’re Not Failing, You’re Not Trying Hard Enough
As a sales rep, you can slide into a comfort level that’s not advantageous for your continued growth. Yes, you can work from anywhere you want, you can make a lot of money, and you can have freedoms that other jobs don’t allow, but it’s all based on you producing sales at a high level.
Once you’re living the life that you’ve always dreamed, complacency can start to set in i.e. meaning that you get comfortable and stop pushing the limits like you did when you first started out. Pushing the limits is what got you to have ultra sales success, and it’s what allowed you to have the freedoms other people dream of having. So never stop pushing the limits, regardless of how successful you become. When you push the limits, it’s only natural that you’re going to have failures, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough, it’s that simple. Failing is part of the process of getting to success.
In my life, I fail everyday, sometimes multiple times throughout the day, but my brain is working strong, I’m open to new ideas, I’m listening to people, and in the end, I’m learning how to offer the very best products and services for my clients. I understand that if I sit back and enjoy my past successes, my life isn’t going to continue to be successful for long. I always say, “You may be on the right track, but if you’re standing still you’re going to get run over.” I say this to myself everyday, to make sure that I’m continuing, focused, and committed to continuing to move forward.
Failing is not a bad thing, in fact, the faster you get to find your weaknesses and where you can improve, the faster you’ll get to success. The point is, you need to have the will to keep going when others quit. The low points in your life, the decisive moments when you’re put in a position to fight-or-flight, these are the moments that will define your success in the long run. If you fail and hand it in, you’re done, if you fail and decide you’re going to use the experience to learn and do better next time, you’ll ultimately be the winner in the end.
Read some books on ultra successful entrepreneurs, they’ve all failed, and many times. The difference between them and someone else, is that they learned from their experiences, they used the lesson to catapult themselves forward. Focus on taking two steps forward, one step back. This way, you’ll always be one step ahead. Make the decision in your head, that no matter what happens, you’re going to take away a positive experience from every situation, no matter what.
Give what I’m talking about a try, and see how your life changes. When people start coming up to you and saying, “I see a positive change in you, what’s going on,” you’ll know that you’re on the right track. Turning negatives into positives takes time, don’t be too rough on yourself in the beginning, just try your best and always look for the positive. The situation doesn’t define you, the way you react ultimately does.
8.6 Rapidly Increase Your Sales
You don’t need to do anything crazy to increase sales, you just need to stick to the core basic foundations of sales success. Do the actions that are going to provide you the most impact, in the lease amount of time. The whole idea is to do everything you can to get new paying clients on board.
A. Segment your database – put your contacts into “market segment” campaign buckets, so you can start to send out highly relevant information that’s related to each specific market segment. There’s no sense in sending a person that loves golf, information on biking, it’s just not going to resonate with them, and the conversions are going to be very low.
B. Create case studies and success stories for each specific market segment – once created, share the compelling information (via your email marketing system, as well as your social media channels) that gets people within each specific market segment to take action, and either signup for a free account, or even better, a paid account.
C. Host a “how to” WebEx every week. This will be a place where anyone on the fence about your service can stop by and learn more about the benefits that it provides. Run the weekly “how to” sessions for fifteen minutes, followed by a fifteen to thirty minute question and answer session.
D. Focus on increasing the “free” users to “paid” users – do this by looking at how many times a “free” user logs into the system, as they’re the low hanging fruit, and then look to convert them right away. Also, convert anyone that opens a help desk (problem-tunity) ticket into a paid user.
E. Get a targeted list of companies that will benefit from having a customized solution built for them, and then send them helpful, useful, and relevant information in regards to how your service is going to directly benefit them. Reach out to the companies both by email and phone. Focus on these strategic accounts and give them highly personalized attention because they’re going to yield the largest monthly subscriptions amounts.
F. Continue outreach on a consistent basis, and get current users that love your service, to share out their love for it on their social channels. Entice people to do this by providing them with beneficial perks like, “the more people you share it with, the more perks you’ll receive.” Run some contests, giveaways, and promotions to engage new prospects.
G. Review all of the analytics from all the above activities, and then, “rinse and repeat,” all the steps, primarily focusing on the one’s that provide the greatest results.
Don’t sit back and wait for people to come to you, go out and get them. The above sales actions will provide the most value, in the least amount of time.
Chapter 9 – Entrepreneur Mindset
9.1 What it Takes to Become a Successful Entrepreneur
Think you want to be an super successful entrepreneur… you may want to understand everything that it’s going to take, before you take the leap of faith and dive in.
If you’re looking for a get rich quick entrepreneur type theme… good luck… it’s not going to work. If you’re looking to commit a lifetime of work to fulfill a life long dream or passion of yours, while making a super successful business out of it, then you stand a very good chance of being successful as an entrepreneur. So let me share some of what it’s going to take to become a successful entrepreneur.
A. You’re going to need to bust your hump – no doubt about it, you’re going to have to throw out any lazy habits that you may have. It has to be a full on attack on what you need to accomplish for that day, everyday… sometimes seven days a week. You’re going to need to wake up early, and go to bed late.
B. You’re going to need to sacrifice a lot of different things – those Sunday football games that you go to and tailgate for five hours before the game, you may need to dump. Those hour and a half lunches that you take with your friends to hang out, you may need to dump that as well. The idea here is to make the most of every minute of the day. Yes, everyone needs to have some fun, but you’re going to need to cut back on some of these longer socializing activities.
C. You’re going to need to work harder and longer than any of your friends – your friends may not have the same goals that you have, and they most likely don’t have the same work ethic either. Some people are fine going to a nine to five job and collecting a paycheck for the rest of their lives. In entrepreneurship, it’s about laying the cement foundation in the beginning, to reap the rewards later. You want to be the one writing checks to your employees, not the one receiving checks from an employer.
D. You’re going to need to have an undying faith that things are going to work out – I don’t mean faith in a religious sense here, I just mean that you’re going to need to believe in things that you may not be able to physically see directly in front to you i.e. the rewards and monetary gains that you’ll receive once your business is successful. Friends and family are going to tell you that you’re crazy, and that you’ll never do it… these are the times when faith is going to pull you through. People that don’t have the entrepreneurial vision, don’t understand the way entrepreneurs think, don’t worry about it, just move on and keep doing what you’re doing.
E. You’re going to need to throw out the idea that failure is an option – failure is not an option. If you’re going into your entrepreneurial endeavor with a bail out plan, you’re most likely going to end up using your bail out plan. Any ideas that you have around failure, must be smashed. Your attitude needs to be right, one hundred percent of the day, and you always need to be focusing on the positives in any situation that you’re in.
F. You’re going to need to take advantage of every second in every day – planning is vital to an entrepreneurs long term success. It’s not like you’re going to wake up in the morning and ask yourself what you’re going to do for that day. You need to plan your day ahead of time, so that you can max out every second of the day. Entrepreneurship is fast paced… it’s like no other career in the world. You are literally living, and dying, by the sword every single day in the beginning.
G. You’re going to need to give up control – as an entrepreneur, it’s going to be tough to give up control of certain tasks in your business. After all, you spent your blood, sweat, and tears building your successful business, but to expand and grow your business, you’re going to need to give up control to employees and partners that you rely on. Yes, no one does a job like you do, but by you handing over some of your more time intensive daily tasks, you’ll free yourself up to focus on more important business expansion projects.
The above points are not meant to discourage you from becoming an entrepreneur, they’re meant to educate and inform you, so that you can prepare yourself mentally for the entrepreneurship road that’s in front of you.
Taking on a new entrepreneurial endeavor, and being successful at it, is going to be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. You just need to realize that it’s going to take some time, and that you’re going to deal with many failures in the process.
The fact is, that most people actually have no idea of the commitment that successful entrepreneurs put into their everyday meetings and tasks, all they think of is some guy or girl out on the golf course, or vacationing on their fancy yacht. This is far from the true reality, because most successful entrepreneurs bust their hump and are already working before people wake up, and long after they go to sleep, people just don’t know it.
9.2 Master These Traits
Successful entrepreneurs have mastered these traits, and they work them into every client and prospect interaction that they have. If you can personally master these traits, you’ll be on your way to entrepreneurial success as well.
A. Be polite and courteous – to become a successful entrepreneur, you’ll have to be polite and courteous because being rude or disrespectful is not going to get you anywhere. Being polite and courteous as an entrepreneur just makes it easier to get business done with current clients, as well as future prospects. The simple power that a thank you, or the holding of a door open, actually has with people, is way more powerful than you think.
B. Be respectful and accepting – when a client makes a decision that doesn’t go in your favor, don’t just go and bash the client and say their idiots, or they have no idea what they’re doing, be understanding. What a respectful and accepting entrepreneur does is find out what made the client or prospect make the decision they did, and they look to find ways that they can continue to help and provide value to the client or prospect. Successful entrepreneurs understand that not everything is going to go their way, and they understand that one decision not going in their favor, is not going to determine an entire relationship.
C. Being timely and helpful – successful entrepreneurs understand that their businesses success is going to be based around being timely and helpful to their clients and prospects. They understand that they need to be timely and helpful 365 days of the year, not just when a client or prospect is looking to buy something from them. Successful entrepreneurs help their clients and prospects when there’s no dangling carrot (immediate sale) sitting right there in front of them. Successful entrepreneurs provide their clients and prospects with helpful information on a continual basis, keeping them informed of any industry updates, or relevant products and services that will help their business.
It takes a lot to be a successful entrepreneur, it’s not like they just wake up, flip the light switch on, and everyone loves them, and their business is successful. Entrepreneurs work long and hard to get where they are with their business, and their success is no joking matter.
If you can personally challenge yourself to embody these success traits: being polite; being courteous; being respectful; being accepting; being timely; and being helpful to your clients and prospects, 365 days of the year, regardless of the circumstances, you will be well on your way to entrepreneurial success. Now that you know what you need to do, go out and do it, no excuses.
9.3 Entrepreneur Lifestyle
Living the entrepreneur lifestyle is truly amazing, but it’s not something that you just naturally fall into.
It takes planning, and in most cases, years of working long, hard, and strenuous hours, while not knowing 100% if you’re going to actually be successful or not.
Being an entrepreneur takes some real guts, and you actually have to be a little bit crazy as well – at least this is what I’ve found to be true from hanging around super successful entrepreneurs over the years.
Just think about the journey for an entrepreneur when they’re first starting out – all they have is an idea in their head that they feel will make a difference in either their own life, or someone else’s, and then they make the decision to just go for it. Most people will say this entrepreneurship thing is a totally crazy way of thinking, and then they’ll go back to their normal day job working away doing the same boring task, day in, and day out, while an entrepreneur is on the total other end of the spectrum, thinking that anyone that works a normal day job and doesn’t live the entrepreneur lifestyle is totally crazy.
You see, there’s no right or wrong here – ultimately the choice to work a normal job, or the choice to live the entrepreneur lifestyle, is totally up to each individual person making the decision. I can tell you first hand that the lifestyle that you most likely see yourself living when you first start your business is totally incorrect. The movies and TV glamorize the entrepreneur lifestyle as if it’s as easy as going to get a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s in the morning – let me tell you, it’s not.
Successful entrepreneurs didn’t get to be successful by accident, they got to be successful by design, and you can do the same. One thing that you can do that will really help you out if you’re just getting started in your entrepreneurship journey, is to utilize every resource possible to the maximum. The SBA.gov site and SCORE.org site are two great resources.
Living the entrepreneur lifestyle is the ultimate prize for a long, hard fought journey, that so few take, and that so few actually make. The ultimate entrepreneur prizes come to those that put the time in up front, so that they can reap the rewards later.
You need to get fired up about this entrepreneur stuff, and you need to be able to tell people that tell you that you can’t do it, to go take a hike, because you can do it, but the inspiration and perspiration needs to come from within yourself. Living the entrepreneur lifestyle is going to take some serious effort, heart, and soul, but you can do it if you put your mind to it.
9.4 Entrepreneur Mindsets to Master
If you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur, you’re going to need to take crystal clear action in your life, and you’re going to need to take ownership of every second of your day. Yes, I’m talking about sacrifices here, and big ones as well. The ups and downs in your business are going to come and go, but in the end, what really matters, is that you’re still standing when it’s all said and done.
Top entrepreneurs all embody similar traits, and in fact, they all have very similar mindsets that don’t let anything get in the way of them achieving their desired goals, and you can do the same!
To help you out, below I’ve shared some of the more prevalent traits that successful entrepreneurs embody.
Have a read through them and implement them into your life, and I assure you that you’ll find success in whatever you’re setting out to achieve.
A. Change your attitude to change your results – attitude is everything. When you have a bad attitude, everything seems terrible, and when you have a good attitude, everything seems great. This is why it’s so important for you to have a good attitude. The best part is that when you change your attitude, you literally change your results, but it’s up to you to make this attitude change.
Do it, and you’re going to see the world in an entirely different light, don’t do it, and you’re going to see the world from an entirely different darkness. You have to control the things that you’re able to control in your life, and your attitude is definitely one of those things that you have total control over. Yes, it may be tough to keep a positive attitude in some instances, but if you can fight through it and maintain a positive attitude, you’ll surely be rewarded by feeling good later.
B. Get used to being uncomfortable – getting outside of your “norm” may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s where you’re going to make the most progress, this is why it’s vitally important that you learn how to handle your emotions. The bottom line is that you’re going to need to commit to yourself to do things a little differently than everyone else, and sometimes it’s just going to feel flat out uncomfortable. You need to get beyond this feeling and learn to thrive from it, rather than continuing to run from it.
C. Make the most of your time and money – don’t waste time, and don’t waste money, it’s that simple. Getting caught in the time and money trap will completely ruin your business. To make the most of your time and money, you need to understand where you’re currently spending a lot of your time, and then you need to take a look and figure out if where you’re spending your time is really making you any money.
Yes, it’s easy to follow your passion and do what you love, but if you have a family and you have people to feed, you need to make money, that’s the bottom line. There’s nothing wrong with doing what you love, but you just need to make sure you’re creating a way to generate money for yourself in the process, and not wasting time.
What you want to look for is high-value opportunities. This means that you’re going to spend very little time actually doing the task, and you’re still going to get paid good money. Discover what makes you unique in business and what you do very well with ease, and then focus on driving high-value opportunities around those assets that you naturally have.
D. You have to believe in yourself – you’re never going to excel at selling your product or service unless you truly believe in it yourself. Yes, you can fake it for a while, but eventually you’re going to need to take ownership of your feelings and make a decision on what you want to do.
If you believe in the product or service you’re providing, than continue to move forward with it, but if you don’t, stop kidding yourself and just move on. There’s not enough time to be lost in the downward spiral of selling something that you don’t believe in. You want to be sure that you believe in your product or service offering because people that do believe, are much more likely to be successful, than people that don’t believe.
Anytime you can set yourself up to be in a situation where you can find success, you need to jump on it, and believing in what you offer is one of those easy opportunities.
E. Write your goals for the day – when you write your goals for the day, you set yourself up for success. Thinking that you’re going to remember every goal that you’d like to achieve during the day without having them written down is nonsense. When you write your goals for the day, you make yourself accountable, and when you make yourself accountable, you again set yourself up for success, this is why it’s important to do it on a daily basis.
Look at writing your goals for the day like this: if you don’t know how to get somewhere, you’d write down the directions and follow them – the same holds true for the goals that you write down for the day, they’re going to provide you directions to get to where you want to go.
Remember these thoughts, to be a successful entrepreneur you need to maintain a good attitude, get out of your norm, make the most of your time, believe in what you’re providing, and write down your goals on a daily basis. Not everything is going to happen on your time frame, so being patient is a must. You just need to stick to your core values, and stick to the success mindsets shared above, and you’ll do just fine!
9.5 Tips to Get to the Next Level
As an entrepreneur it’s easy to get caught up in the next big thing, only to find out a few months later that it’s a complete waste of time and money. It’s ok though, because as entrepreneurs, we know that not everything we touch is going to turn to gold. If every entrepreneur project that we worked on turned to gold, there’d be no challenge in trying new things and breaking new ground. Successful entrepreneurs understand that failure is just a pothole in the road, you hit it, and you just keep driving, it’s that simple.
So let me share some entrepreneur tips of wisdom that have been passed on to me and that will definitely help get to the next level.
A. Stop with the nonsense and do what works – this is as about as simple as it gets. If you’re doing activities which are not yielding you any type of results, stop doing them. If you’re not convinced, look up the definition of ‘insanity’ and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Find out work works, and quickly, and start to do it before you’re broke and out of business.
B. Don’t get caught up in the hype – let me tell you, ‘hype is hype’ because it’s just a bunch of hot air. Jumping on the hype bandwagon is not the way to go. Hype causes people to make irrational decisions, and when you make quick hyper-inflated decisions, the results are usually not what you expect them to be. Stay away from the hype as an entrepreneur.
C. Get to success by failure – there’s nothing wrong with failing as an entrepreneur. Some successful entrepreneurs say, “the faster you get to failure is the faster you get to success,” and I’m a firm believer in this myself, as I’ve seen it work in my own life and business interactions.
D. Get some grit in your life to grow Your business – you need some grit i.e. some toughness to stick it out when the going gets rough. Having grit as an entrepreneur is a must, you have to be able to jump in, get dirty, get the job done, and get out right at the perfect moment. Grit is tough to teach, it’s more of an inherent trait the successful entrepreneurs seem to have been born with.
E. Don’t take the shortcut – if you take the shortcut, you’re eventually going to have to circle back and do everything all over again, so just do it right the first time. Cutting corners is not the way to go about doing business, especially if you’re cutting corners in the products or services that you’re providing to clients.
There you have it, some great entrepreneur tips of wisdom that will help you build your own business success story. To close things out, let me share my personal entrepreneurial journey with you in one sentence,“When I started out I didn’t have a crystal clear vision of what I wanted to do, but I new the initial direction I wanted to go, so I just started walking in that direction and next thing I new, through much hard work and failure, I ended up being exactly where I was supposed to be.”
Look, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be an entrepreneur, you just need to be someone that has the guts to go out on a limb and try something new and different. If you do venture out and give this entrepreneur lifestyle a try, you’ll see that life is fair to those that work hard, and when you work hard, good things happen, that’s the bottom line.
9.6 We All Have Similar Stories
The more and more I study and learn about the top entrepreneurs in the world, the more I’m amazed. I continue to hear similar stories from the majority of them: most of them are doing what they are truly passionate about; most worked for a couple years making absolutely no money; most have founded several different companies; and most live healthy lifestyles.
A. Do what your truly passionate about – if I told a normal person to show up to work for two years and that they were going to make no money, they’d never do it, but for some crazy reason, entrepreneurs don’t have an issue with it. This is why it’s so important to do what your true passion is as an entrepreneur. Making no money is not fun, it actually physically hurts you, but if your persistent, consistent, and insistent, you will make money in the end.
Almost every entrepreneur has a down-and-out story where they were about to quit, and then all of the sudden, the magic started to happen and business started to take off – this is the beauty of being an entrepreneur. I don’t want to mis-lead you into thinking that every entrepreneur makes it big, some make it big by making a lot of money, some make it big by feeling fulfilled at the end of every day, and some don’t make it at all. In every outcome, as long as you put your heart into it and give it your best shot, you are ultimately winning. You may not think you are, but you are – deep down inside yourself you’ve grown stronger, and that strength will last you a lifetime.
B. Have multiple streams of income – another consistent story I hear is entrepreneurs having several different companies and them helping develop other companies as well. Not everything you do is going to be a success. Do you catch a fish every time you go fishing? Do you win every game? The same holds true in business, you try something, it may not work, you learn from what you went through, you wake up the next morning and you try something different. Trying and failing does not make you unsuccessful, what makes you unsuccessful is not trying, and not doing anything i.e. not even giving yourself a chance.
C. Eat healthy and workout – most successful entrepreneurs live healthy lifestyles, meaning physically and mentally. They work out, they eat right, and they’re into some type of meditation. You need to be hitting on all cylinders to be ultra-successful. Their is limited downtime, so you need to take care of your body and mind. What were looking for is balance in your life, the ability to know when to call it quits and move onto something else. You can have all the money in the world, but without your health it all really doesn’t matter. Feed your body with proper nutrients throughout the day, just like you put ultra-gas in your high-end car, put ultra-foods in your body.
Being successful is a decision that ‘you’ make. Your outside circumstances may enable or deter you, but they truly do not determine your success. Some entrepreneurs have risen out of the absolute worst physical and mental circumstances, while others grew up with a silver spoon in their mouth. It’s ok either way, just make the decision to be successful.
You are who you hang around, so choose your friends and business associates wisely. When you hang around positive and successful people, the energy seems to penetrate into your very own body, this may sound crazy to you, but it is one-hundred percent true. Always continue to learn, be sure to be involved in something you’re passionate about, hang around smart and successful people, and the money will come. Everything is up to you. Work hard and you’ll create your own luck.
9.7 Make the Decision in Your Head
How do you make a big business or personal decision? Are you one-hundred percent committed to the decision once you make it? Are you willing to take action every day to move you closer to your decision?
People make big and small decisions all day long. The thing that gets me is that people make big decisions, and they’re the correct ones, but then they’re not one-hundred percent committed, causing their dreams to just fade away. A great example of this is a New Year’s resolution, you may have great dreams and resolutions, but what you need to have is a commitment, not a resolution.
A commitment is long-term, while a resolution is short-term. What you’re looking for is to have a commitment that will provide you with long-term success, while still allowing you to reach your short-term goals. The point that I want to make, is that you have to make the decision yourself, you have to believe in the decision that you are making one-hundred percent, and you have to take action and move yourself closer to your decision every single day.
The reason I say you need to believe in the decision you make in your head, is because once you do so, this decision becomes written in stone in your brain, and from that point, virtually nothing can stop you from reaching your decision or goal. I have personally had this happen with decisions I have made, so I know it works.
You have to believe in yourself, if you don’t believe in yourself, how is anyone else supposed to believe in you? Listen, I don’t care what anyone else says, “you can do it,” get up right now, make the decision to be successful today, and never look back. The beauty of this is that once you make the decision that you are going to be successful, an entirely new world opens up. This is the world of inner-success power and it’s so strong that once you’re in it, failure is not even on your radar screen or in your head.
One side note, when I say, “success,” it doesn’t always mean money. I know people with no money, but huge personal successes in helping others, and this is as much a success to me as having an infinite amount of money. How you make the decision is up to you, some people just make the decision, some get spiritual guidance, some ask friends, however you do it, just make sure you believe in it one-hundred percent. There’s no wrong or right way, it’s whatever way works best for you.
Chapter 10 – Suggested Plans of Action
10.1 Ways to Promote Yourself as a Musician
My suggestion is for you to put some of your own skin in the game and do most of the initial work yourself. No one you hire is going to do it with the passion that you bring.
Below are some immediate suggested steps of action to get your music out in front of the right audience. Your job right now is split in half, meaning you need to be 50% sales rep, and 50% music man. The more you sell, the more you can start to focus on just your music and have someone else do everything for you, but you need to focus on putting money in the bank and keeping the lights turned on for know.
A. Partner and/or network with other musicians. Do shows together, cross-promote each other. Share each others music on your social channels. Remix each others music. Reach out to local colleges, do a free concert, start to build up a following.
B. Put together a target list of music companies, radio, satellite, or internet stations you want to get your music in front of. Personally reach out to them, send them music, build relationships, and follow up. Set up radio and podcast interviews with as many of them as possible.
C. Find the influencers in your specific market segment, and again, personally reach out to them, let them know what you’re up to. Local community papers, newscasts, and websites work well for free exposure. Start to form relationships with them.
D. Promote you as the artist. Share unique photos of yourself. Be you in them. Have great artwork and make sure it views excellent online. Put together a website where people can learn more about you, download your music, and purchase merchandise. Be sure to include a subscription button where people can opt-in to receive email updates from you.
E. Share your music on as many social channels i.e. Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud, or any other ones where people listen to music and look for new artists. Put some money behind what you share by running ads that get your music in front of your target audience. List your live appearances on national and local music databases.
Performing all these actions is not a once a week thing, it’s a daily routine that takes a lot of passion, enthusiasm, and effort on your part. Remember, persistence wears down resistance, so get in there and make it happen. Every musician started in the same spot that you’re in right now. If they can do it, you can do it.
work in progress still
Consistent Daily Effort Yields the Best Results
Your daily activity is really going to determine what you achieve, and how fast you actually achieve it. It’s great that you want to make $150,000 over the next six months, but waiting until the last month to generate all that income may be a little difficult for you.
It’d be better if you focused your daily efforts around generating $25,000 per month, this way, it doesn’t look like too big of a mountain that you need to climb. Being consistent with your daily efforts is like walking up the stairs in our house. You need to hit every step to safely make it to the top… and if you skip some, you may lose your balance and fall, so you’re better off being patient and steady on your way up.
Daily consistency starts with planning ahead. Waking up in the morning and making a plan is too late, it needs to be done a day, a week, or further out in advance for the best level of results.
Tag Individual Contacts in Your CRM by what they Specialize In
Companies don’t make purchasing decisions, a company is just a name – it’s people that make the purchasing decisions for the company, and that’s why it’s important that you tag individual contacts in your CRM by what they specialize in.
Focus your efforts on selling to a company, instead of the people that run it, and your sales are going to fall flat, but focus on individual people within a company that have the power to make purchases, and you’re going to see solid revenue growth. Not only are you going to be rewarded with immediate sales, you’re going to form long-term relationships that will reap the rewards of continued sales for years to come.
Yes, it’s great to enter a persons fancy title into a CRM, but who really cares about a title – what you want to be able to do is run a report on anyone that specializes in something for the company they work for, such as “Education,” “Marketing,” or “IT Services.” The more you can get personable and send our correspondence which resonates with the person receiving it, the better the results will be.
To segment individual contacts in your CRM by what they specialize in, just create a few tags in your CRM i.e. “legal,” “marketing,” “data management,” and etc., and start tagging everyone. Tagging individual contacts by NAICS code, is way too detailed, so stick to the more broad theme of what the person specializes in as a whole, not as an exact specific.
Below are some segment examples that we use in our CRM so that we can run reports in a matter of minutes. Once we have the report, we can send out a text or email message to all the subscribers in that segment.
Advertising and Marketing
Business Products and Services
Food and Beverage
IT Support, Software, and Hardware
Logistics and Transportation