Wednesday, December 26, 2012


When you want to get something done, how important is it to specify the time you are going to start? 

Turns out Precision and Specificity are mighty helpful when listing things to get done. Researchers have found that even chronic procrastinators are eight times more likely to follow through on planned for tasks if they set a specific time to start them. 

In “Be Excellent at Anything,” author Tony Schwartz illustrates this point.

A group of subjects was asked to exercise at least once a week for twenty minutes. Certainly not a daunting task, yet only 29% complied. Another group was also asked to exercise but they were provided information on the impact exercise plays in reducing heart attacks. This, of course, was a ploy to motivate them. Compliance rose to 39%. A third group was asked to commit to exercising at a specific time, on a specific day, and designated location. Compliance more than doubled to 91%! Wow!

Why does this work? When we define precisely what we’re going to do, then specify a time to start we’re more likely to actually do it. And, we’re far less likely to suddenly “discover” there is something else that is more pleasurable or easier to do instead of our intended task.

Think about a To Do List in which you didn’t specify when you would do any of the tasks. Perhaps you created your list the evening before you left work. Then the next morning, suddenly the tyranny of the urgent, along with the pull of your old previous habits, overpowered you. You looked at your list and said, “I can do that, that, and that later, maybe this afternoon.” Later, you looked at your list again and told yourself, “I really don’t have time to do any of these things today. I’ll do them tomorrow.”

So what’s the solution?

Simple: Give yourself no leeway in the start time. Make an appointment with yourself to start the work you have on your list at a specified time. If a phone call or conversation is running long, say to the other person, “I’m sorry I have another appointment, can we continue this later?”

When you set and adhere to a schedule with specific times to start things, right down to your family commitments, the activities not only expand to fill the time allotted to them, they also contract to fit within the time allotted. To make this work for you, the following tactics are recommended:

  • Precision and Specificity: Define precisely what you plan to undertake -- and specify exactly when you will get started. The more physically, mentally or emotionally challenging the task, the greater the need to be precise and specific about the start time.
  • Doable Chewables: Undertake only one task at a time. Start small and build on incremental successes as you go through your list of things to do each day. 
Now common sense tells us these are good ideas, right? So why don’t we get with it and start achieving more? Because life interferes, we get distracted. It’s a constant struggle to minimize our distractions and use the precious time we have wisely. But to win, we gotta work smarter. And, yup, we can do that.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


All serious sailors know how to win a sailboat race. You win by getting a good start. Win the start—win the race. I think winning in business is also hugely facilitated by getting a good start. Throughout the year there are chances to get a good start or a good re-start at many things that make for winning in business. Certainly this is true when you get back to work after the December holidays and the New Year celebrations.

How to start off right in 2013 and have the best year ever, this is the subject of my Chalk Talk for January.
Winning in business has many requirements of course and central to them all has to be clearly identifying and successfully putting forth your top profit generating behavior, the things you say and do that bring in money. Successful businesses thrive on money making activities and on the operational activities that produce immediate, ongoing, or future income.

As a business owner, the key to focusing time and effort on money making activities is to keenly understand which day-to-day actions (behaviors) produce steady profitable income. Simple sounding huh, yet many business owners have not isolated these activities nor have they identified enough time to employ them so as to secure the desired results, more net income. How can you expect to double your net income if you do not start with the vital planning step?

Money making activities must be scheduled during peak money making hours. And all conditions that contribute to this must be present and working flawlessly.

The notion of clearly identifying your top money making activities and getting them working well for you as you start another year, your best year ever, will be the subject of our CHALK TALK in the January 2013 meeting of the Master-Mind Alliance. 


What is the purpose of life? This is a great question, one that does not get asked enough and certainly does not get answered adequately enough. How does the purpose of life interact with and affect business ownership? Are these things related? Need they be? If they are… how so?

The purpose of life is to find and pursue our interests successfully. That’s what it’s all about. And when that is somehow prevented, all sorts of unhappiness, emotional misery, depression and even fits of rage can occur. Truly and undeniably, chronic, bone crushing frustration is a terrible thing. At work chronic frustration and low productivity is what often puts a business out of business, or even worse, cause a business owner to succumb to life’s greatest temptation which is to settle for less.

All of us have NEEDS and WANTS. We certainly do. When we get our needs satisfied we start going after our wants.

What do we NEED? We have two kinds.

First, we have physical or tangible NEEDS. We need breathable air, drinkable water, decent food, clothing, shelter, and health, both physical and mental, and a temperate climate, one that’s not too hot and not too cold and is free from radioactivity.

Second, we have emotional or intangible NEEDS. We need to feel competent, that we are good at something that matters to people, good enough and public enough that we are recognized for our talent and skill. We need to feel significant, that we make a difference. And we need to feel loved or at least lovable or at the very least, respected.

Everything else in life that we might seek or go after is a WANT, a desire, but not a need. And the getting or securing of some of the things we want helps us improve the quality and quantity of some of the things we need and generally get the more under our control as well.

Needs and wants, wants and needs, it’s a circularity type of thing.

So what do we WANT? We want MONEY because money is instrumental in the getting of all things, both needs and wants. When we get money by working, we get success, recognition, respect and yes, even love sometimes because when we have enough money we can focus our attention on forming meaningful relationships.

Does purpose matter in our business life? Oh yeah, big time. We even have a special name for purpose when attached to a business. We call it MISSION.

After we get these things we want then we’re on the meaning trail. Do we get meaning from food? No. Do we get meaning from clothes? No. Some people say clothes make the man, but we don’t get meaning from clothes we just get fancy clothes. And shelter, well shelter can make us comfortable and maybe give us status but it can’t give us meaning. Meaning is a consequence of the things we say and do. Meaning comes from the results generated by our behavior as we strive for success. Now we’re right back to the place we started.

Identifying and pursuing interests that we have—and doing so successfully—that’s what gives our life meaning. What we’re looking for is success, because success at something in which we have keen interest gives us meaning. We achieve success through behavior, things we say and things we do. So in the end, it is success at things attached to our interest, that’s what we really want. That’s what gives us the feeling of competence and significance.

There are three reasons why we sometimes don’t achieve more success in our business. Reason number one: we have no strategic plan of any kind. Reason number two: we have a plan but we don’t implement it. Reason number three: we implement our plan but it does not work, does not make us enough money.

Think about the importance of a plan. If we get into our car and decide to drive to Florida, and we take no map or compass and we pay no attention to road signs and we never ask anyone for directions, we won’t ever get there. We’ll be lost forever. And yet people do this in the business all the time. They wander and ramble around aimlessly, haphazardly and wonder why they’re frustrated and considerably less than happy about their lack of positive results and success. For our business to succeed, we need a plan, we must implement our plan and our plan has to work. Common sense.

So how do we get more of what we want at work and in life too?

Author Brian Tracey, a guy I really like, wrote the following two paragraphs on this very subject in a newsletter to which I subscribe.

Have you been taught how to succeed? The most common question I'm asked is, “What’s the most important ingredient to success?” And my answer is ALWAYS the same: You need a strategic plan that works and you must implement it successfully. According to, a strategic plan is a systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them. So, do you have one?

Have you ever wondered how you can become more satisfied in life - how you can enjoy life more than ever? Well, simple clarity accounts for probably 80% of success and happiness. Lack of clarity is more responsible for frustration and underachievement than any other single factor. That’s why we say that SUCCESS IS GOALS AND ALL ELSE IS COMMENTARY. People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. This is true everywhere and under all circumstances. You could even say that the three keys to high achievement are, Clarity, Clarity, Clarity, with regard to your goals. Your success in life will be largely determined by how clear you are about what it is you really, really want.

Tracey is dead on right. To win in all our business activities we need goals and a decent game plan and clarity and we must be able to successful implement our plans. Successful implementation matters in business and in sports and in life too. We must play well, everywhere, all the time.

“Play great or get beat.” ~Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers Football Team

How to play and therefore be better at everything: Set better goals, talk more convincingly, close more deals and make more money. It’s all about the thinking we do, the words we use, the helpful input we seek and accept, the persuasion tactics we employ and how well we formulate and execute strategy. We work on this stuff at every Master-Mind Alliance meeting and always will, because pursuing our interests and doing so successfully is what life is all about.


Every day, all the time, you are either thinking, dreaming, scheming, wishing, or saying and doing things. This is all behavior. Your behavior defines you as a person, an individual, a unique human being. Doing these things well at work matters a lot, a whole lot. Sadly and unnecessarily, for some, making this happen is a constant source of frustration.

At your work there are certain things that you say and certain things that you do that make things happen, that benefit your clients/customers, employees, partners, yourself, your business and even your community.

The things you say and do regularly and repeatedly, because they are essential to your success at work, can be divided into two categories. Things you CHECK ON and things you DO (including talking). In the Master-Mind Alliance World, we call these Checking On Behaviors and these Doing Behaviors “ROUTINES.” And for success to be attained and maintained, these crucial behaviors must be mastered and continually improved.

When people come into the program they sometimes have way too many things that they check on and do. We encourage everyone to do an audit of their ROUTINES, to examine and filter and boil down and streamline their ROUTINES to the few essentials, a more manageable number of activities. The people who have way too many things going on must go through this audit and streamline procedure because only afterwards is it possible for them to achieve mastery of their now more reasonable number of ROUTINES. No one can personally master fifty separate ROUTINES. Three to five or six ROUTINES is a much more reasonable number. An audit of your ROUTINE Checking On and Doing Behaviors is a logical and useful place to start yourself on the road to a DONE Business.

A DONE Business is the grand goal, the top level, the ultimate accomplishment, for once achieved and maintained, business owner nirvana occurs. And that is ABSOLUTELY SPLENDID.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Big True Fact: Experiencing proof of your progress and achievement will spur you on to even greater success!

Something we discuss at every meeting is -- are members making measurable progress in reasonable time? One of the goals of Master-Mind is that members make progress that can be measured by counting something or concretely observing something substantial. We want every member to make noticeable steady progress, to keep getting better, to approach that DONE Business Ideal and upon reaching that goal to enjoy it and, of course, to sustain it.

Since measurable progress matters so much we talk about and plan for it and encourage all the appropriate behavior to make it happen throughout our entire group meeting. And it feels really good to experience this from one month to the next month when we meet again.

Human beings like feeling that progress, growth, new understanding, learning and such is happening. These things feel good. The opposite of these things -- stagnation, frustration and being totally stuck – causes stress and unhappiness and misery which no one wants.

We know how to make the operation of any viable small business highly successful. You just have to do enough of the things that are known to work. Those things are not a secret. We talk about them and share experiences using them at each and every Master-Mind Alliance meeting. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Wikipedia says PERSUASION is the influence of beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors. They go on to say that it’s a process aimed at changing a person's (or a group's) attitude or behavior toward some event, idea, object, or other person(s), by using written or spoken words to convey information, feelings, or reasoning, or a combination thereof.

That’s pretty good. Persuasion certainly is one of the several way in which you use communication. You often communicate with the intention of persuading an individual or a group of people. With this aim in mind, you might all want to get better at persuading huh.

Think about how important it is to be able to get others to do what you want and immediately a few benefits for learning to speak more persuasive should spring to mind. You’ll make more money. That’s clearly good. You’ll be a more substantial resource when you are helping others. That’s good too. And of course, you’ll get your way more often. These are obvious reasons to sharpen your persuasion skills.

Now the question is HOW. What specific communication techniques will help a person become more persuasive and how can they be practiced and learned? Well, some of the basic techniques have names. Here are a few: The Magic Opening technique. The Magic Word. Embedded Commands. The Suppose Ploy. The Any Good Reason Question.

These are persuasive communication techniques you can put to good use when you wish to get people to things for you. Things like: Buy from you. Come in on a Saturday to help you paint the bathroom. Drive more slowly when on the freeway at night. Or vote for you in the upcoming election.

Of course, there are many more opportunities to wield persuasion more effectively. You can probably think of several from your life right now.

Persuasion, specifically outlining how to use the techniques listed above, will be the subject of our CHALK TALK in December 2012 meeting of the Master-Mind Alliance. 

How do you manage yourself and lead your people effectively as you slog through the operation of your small business day after day after day? What does it take to win at leading employees? What about leading customers and clients who you want to get to do things that are good for your business, namely buy from you? How do you do this stuff well every day? What are the requirements for good leadership? What is the official role you play when you lead? And what is Peak Performance and how does that fit into this whole leadership thing.

This was the subject of our Chalk Talk in the November 2012 Master-Mind Alliance meeting.

When you lead others effectively, with a minimal amount of effort and with a minimal supervision on your part, you inspire people to willing start and successfully complete things you want done. This is the official definition of LEADERSHIP.

And PEAK PERFORMANCE, well that’s consistent excellence in thinking and behaving applied to an activity or task. It’s a condition in which your mind, body and emotions are fully committed and you engage with utter conviction and desire to excel.

Put Leadership and Peak Performance together properly and you’ll be able to construct accurate productivity monitoring systems that give you valid and reliable knowledge of what’s happening in your business. You’ll be able to develop skilled employees you trust. And you’ll be able to enjoy consistent competent execution of well-crafted game plans with automatic course correction procedures in place.

It all comes down the one big secret. To win at leading others you must first take care of yourself in all things. When as a manager of your own self, you are fit and happy, then and only then you are ready and able to lead others effectively. 

You Come First!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Persuade, beg, threaten or force. When you lead people, which of these techniques do you most often employ? And which one works best? And how can you get better at it?

Please remember that when you assume the role of a leader in your business, or anywhere for that matter, your responsibility, your task is to…with a minimal amount of effort and with minimal close supervision on your part…INSPIRE people to willing start and successfully complete things you want done. That’s it. So persuade, is that what you do? Or must you resort to begging, or threatening or forcing?

And also remember this business owner big true fact. You want to effectively operate all aspects of your small business so you can make a difference, have fun, build a great life and become as rich as possible. Deep in your heart this is what you want. And that happens when you are able to consistently get the right things done right the first time and on time and on budget with as little stress and as much joy as possible for all concerned, especially you.

Of course, you must assume the leadership role at times, usually every day. You may have employees to lead. You certainly have customers or clients to lead, so they will buy from you. And resorting to begging, threatening or forcing in order to get someone to buy from you is never effective. Effective leaders persuade, they don’t beg or use threats or force.

No choice.

An ineffective leader either does not get people to do anything he wants and, therefore, feels frustrated and probably sad or angry a lot of the time. Or he must resort to begging or threatening or force to have his wishes carried out. And if he does that, then he must constantly closely monitor those he would lead or, upon noticing that he has left the scene or that his vigilance has waned, they will immediately stop doing what he wants done. In the threat or force case, when the intimidation stops so does the compliance. If the relationship is one of master slave, the slave aint gonna ever be happily compliant.

When you lead, the key to being effective is to be persuasive. Persuasion is the skill you must master. An effective leader persuasively inspires people so they willing want to do things he wants done and, therefore, his followers do not require his constant monitoring and attention. He can do other things and everyone can be happy.

Now the question of course is how can you effectively persuade someone to do something you want done? And the answer is simple. You persuade people by using the Request-Plus-Reason technique.

Request-Plus-Reason: By using a combination of talking and explaining and showing and demonstrating, you lay out the specific advantages those you would lead will enjoy when they comply with your request and follow your lead, do what you want. This means you do The Vision Thing. Using words you paint a pretty picture of a desirable future in the minds of those you want to do something.

And the kicker is that then you give them a reason for complying with your request to take some sort of action.

For example, you say, “Buy this great copier today and you’ll be able to make as many colorful beautiful copies as you want for years and years because this unit has all the features you say you want.” 

Request-Plus-Reason, you already do this a lot. You may not think of it as such, but it is.

Here’s another example. You’re at the grocery store checkout line with only a few items and several people are in front of you. You don’t want to wait. So, you say, “Excuse me, I only have a few things, may I go ahead of you?” People look at you and often times, nothing happens, they don’t budge, and with frustration, and maybe a little embarrassment, you have to wait your turn.

But — if you change the words of your request just a bit, to, “Excuse me, may I go ahead of you, because — I only have a few things?” This simple change in your request will often produce a much different reaction. And now, many people will indeed wave you ahead of them. 

What’s the difference? In the second request, you gave the people in line ahead of you a reason to let you move ahead.  You said, “because — I only have a few things.” And this worked.

When attempting to persuade an individual or a group of people to be most effective, you must talk about purpose and mission and results and such…and…if you’re smart about it…you’ll give them a reason for taking the action you wish them to take.

To make Request-Plus-Reason work, your request must be sensible and practical  and your reason must be clear and believable. When those things are present then persuasion works well and leading is relatively easy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


How can we best start the day off right? How can we win the daily war against distractions and interruptions which unfortunately abound? How can we reliably get more of what matters to us actually done each day? 

Simple…make a WILL DO TODAY LIST every day and stick to it. A WILL DO TODAY LIST is a short list of just a few important things that you will do without interruptions today. This really helps a lot.

Start by listing ALL THE THINGS YOU’D LIKE TO DO, all of them. This list could turn out to be several pages long. Next, transfer the most important of all those things to a second list called MUST DO. Finally, transfer a few of those items, a manageable amount, to your WILL DO TODAY LIST.

Do this last transfer to the WILL DO TODAY LIST at the end of the previous workday, just before you go home. Then when you start your next workday, keep your WILL DO TODAY LIST right in front of you, where you cannot miss seeing it, and start working through it. Start with the most difficult item on it and move to the next most difficult and so on. This way you’re always going from hard toward easy which helps cut down on procrastinating.

After a few days, based on actual experience, you will determine just how much or how many things you can predictably accomplish in one workday. And from then on you can realistically create your WILL DO TODAY LIST comprised of just enough things you predictably can get done in one workday. Now you’re set. Now victory can occur more often. Simple and neat huh. Yup.

We like positive habits. We don’t like negative habits. Positive habits are good. Negative habits are bad. Everyone understands this. Make the DO TO TODAY LIST a new habit. You’ll be glad you did. 

Adapted From Many Sources And A Boat Load Of Common Sense

A Small Business Is Not A Little Big Business. It’s a lot different. Home Town Bank is not a little Wells Fargo. Mike’s Corner Store is not a little Safeway. Coffee Shop Cute is not a little Starbucks. There are huge differences between small businesses and big businesses.

In a big business management and leadership are very different animals. In the realm of big business, leadership is about formulating the vision, defining where the enterprise is going and how it will get there. While management is about taking raw talent (the employees) and turning it into performance aligned with the vision as set forth by the leader. 

In the realm of small business, leadership and management is one in the same. The small business owner does it all. He leads and manages at the same time. There’s no choice about it.

If you run a Small Business, you must IMMEDIATELY rid your mind of the word “manager” and replace it with the word “leader.” Now let’s look at LEADERSHIP and get a new understanding of what that’s all about.

I define leadership by talking about what a leader does. 







So let’s look into the HOW a bit more.

Leading is about Motivation: When you are leading people you must find all sorts of ways to get your people to become motivated and stay motivated so they can to do their jobs well and with pride. This means you must inspire, encourage and coach with words and show the way by personal example.

You must have a Clear Plan of what must be done…and Identify Your Goals: What are your specific measurable goals? Do you have hourly, daily or weekly targets your team must meet? What about your new goals such as reviewing productivity? Write down everything you want done and post this list prominently so there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind about what you want. This will be your checklist. Of course this list will change over time, it is a living document. Some things may stay the same, but others may change depending on a whole lot of things. Review your list frequently, with a critical eye, and revise it when necessary.

Communicate your Expectations Verbally but also in Writing: Little memo forms are great for doing this, each individual on  your team gets a copy and so do you, do you can keep track. Solicit feedback from the people you’re leading. Know what they expect from you too. Address any discrepancies immediately and clearly. And should you discover that you have a disruptive personality or person who fails to perform up to your expectations and who cannot be rehabilitated, you must take all steps to get rid of him or her as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Don’t fall in love with your team members.

Know your team: You need to know individual strengths and weaknesses for each team member. John works extremely fast but occasionally misses some of the details. Jane is incredibly thorough but has issues with the volume of work processed. Bill has spectacular customer relationships but can never say “no” to people whereas Mary has excellent technical skills but falls short in people skills. You really need to know all this very, very well. You will use this knowledge to balance the productivity of your team.

Meet with your team members: YOU MUST TALK TO YOUR PEOPLE. This takes time but it a MUST DO. Regularly occurring one-on-one meetings are critical to good business performance and profitable growth. Your meetings provide you with opportunities to:
  • Give feedback on job performance: Discuss the previous week’s objectives including what went well, what areas might improve for next time and how that improvement might be obtained.
  • Outline the goals for the next meeting: These are typically referred to as “action items” and will form the basis for the next weekly production review.
  • Learn about staff issues: Once in a while you’re going to be a bit out of touch. And you absolutely must realize that. The only way to keep track of issues that affect the performance of your team is to meet and talk with your team.
  • Ask for ideas: Your staff wants to feel engaged. Without exception, the number one motivating factor behind people leaving a job is poor leadership–and that very often stems from people feeling ignored.
  • And conduct a regular Monday Morning Huddle with everyone who reports to you.
Document team activities: The performance of your business will be determined by your team’s performance, so make sure you keep a written record of issues and accomplishments. This will be especially important if there are significant issues that arise. Problems are expected. How you and your team handle those problems must be a focus of your efforts.

Show up in their workspace: Employees expect you to stay in your seat. Don’t. Once a day, get up and walk over to the desk of someone you haven’t spoken to recently. Take two minutes to ask her what she’s working on. Once she’s done answering, respond “What do you need from me to make that project/transaction successful?” Message to employee: I know who you are, I’ve got high expectations—and I’ve got your back.

Look for the Pirate: The Pirate in the room questions the status quo and provides ideas on doing things differently. The Pirate has a loud and bold voice that unflinchingly challenges authority, and every time he opens his mouth you can count on at least one third of the people in the room rolling their eyes. It sometimes seems like the Pirate brings every single issue up for debate (whether it needs to be debated or not) and takes personal joy in being on the opposite side—simply to champion an alternate point of view. He enjoys rocking the boat because he feels he’s doing the company a favor by not letting everyone get too comfortable and complacent. A ship might be safe in the harbor, but that’s not why ships are built. The Pirate can be an invaluable source of insight and information for you. Pay attention to your Pirate.

Reward Performance: This doesn't always mean money. Money is nice, but it’s not a primary motivator for on-the-job performance. Recognition is much more effective. If you can, grant performance leave (an extra day off for doing something exceptional). Make the rewards regular and make them attainable but not overly difficult to achieve. When you give a reward, make it well known. Smile and say “thanks a lot,” a lot.

Be Decisive: When asked for your opinion, you should have it well thought out and present it persuasively. Waffling and stalling is no good. For big decisions, set a deadline and meet it. If someone offers an argument that convinces you to change a decision, acknowledge it and embrace the new idea completely.

Be Consistent and Flexible: As a leader your actions and reactions must be consistent. You don’t want to be the type of leader that everyone asks what kind of mood you are in before they approach you with an issue. Being flexible is important too and it does not conflict with being consistent. You must remain flexible to change directions, change rules, and change resources to remain competitive.

Job Descriptions Matched To The Work To Be Actually Performed: Jim Collins, author of “Good To Great,” tells us that our people come before assignments, that we must get the right people on the bus before we start the journey. Therefore, you will need crystal clear descriptions and clarifications of what you want done, specifying the talents, attitudes, experience and education you require from your employees to make that happen. These descriptions must be precise, pristine, accurate and kept up to date. Remember, a positive attitude with poor skills is more likely to help your success than great skills with a poor attitude. Get this right. Then hire slowly, take all the time you need. Go for good quality people. Never offer a job to anyone until you do a thorough background check, both criminal and credit. Never settle for less than what you truly require or you will be disappointed.

AND, have as much fun as possible all the time. Work is work but everyone ought to have as much fun as possible. 

What is the most effective, most inexpensive, most personal way to market your offerings you’ve found to work for your business so far? What is that that thing you do that attracts prospective buyers to you every time you do it and results in profitable new sales? What method, modality or avenue makes sales happen in your business? To win consistently in your business you must figure this out.

Let’s look a bit deeper.
  1. What’s one thing you’d like to focus your marketing on selling more of right now?
  2. What’s the compelling benefit buyers would enjoy when they buy that?
  3. What positive emotions go with that benefit?
  4. What words and images or sounds take and hold people’s attention to that benefit?
  5. What supportive testimonials do you have for proof?
To make more money as soon as possible your marketing needs to work splendidly. Big true fact and no secret either, most business owners have no marketing plan, nothing written, no measurement system, no testing, nothing. Most do not even have testimonials from satisfied buyers.

Where should you start? Well, it would be wise to answer a few elemental marketing questions such as the following.

  1. What do you sell? 
  2. What are the benefits? What’s your proof?
  3. Who are your buyers?
  4. Why should people buy from YOU?
  5. What’s your Compelling Marketing Message?
  6. What are your options for attracting people? 
  7. How much can you afford to spend?
  8. How much of your time? What should be your marketing schedule? 
  9. How will you track results?
  10. What’s missing? How can you close the gaps?
Start generating answers to these questions then tackle the money thing. Instead of spending a lot of your money on advertising, invest your time instead. Put on an event. There are some costs associated with this but not as much as a full page yellow pages ad. Conduct a survey at your front counter or over the phone. Cross sell and up sell, you should be doing this all the time already. Offer incentives to current clients and customers. Solicit recommendations. And systematically go after referrals. All these activities ought to personally involve YOU and ought be performed and evaluated systematically.

Remember, marketing is everything you do in your business and it must work or you will not be happy. It’s not rocket science. It takes careful planning and systematic implementation. And even though you probably did not go to school to learn marketing, you can still master it.

To Win, Make it Personal, Inexpensive, And Keep At It. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Let me put this as simply as I can. If you own a small business... and if your business is viable, that is... if you can answer a resounding YES to 13 Simple Questions, then you are poised and ready to... wait for it... DOUBLE YOUR INCOME and cut the time you spend working in HALF. 

We absolutely, positively know how to make this happen. In any economy in any kind of business. 

There is no mystery here, no big secret. Doubling your income and cutting the time you spend working in half requires the application of strategies that are known to work and nothing more. And we know what those strategies are. We do. 

The hard work part of making this happen is getting a resounding YES answer to the 13 Simple Questions.

And once poised and ready, it will take you about two to three years to get there, to DOUBLE and HALF. But, don't you think it will be worth it. Of course. So why not? Why not now? Why not you now?

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Our CHALK TALK for October is entitled “Marketing - Make Yours Work Better.” It is true that if you put your offer forward, out into the market place, eloquently enough, your stuff will sell big time. But if you’re like most small business people, you do not have a college degree in marketing. So what are you to do? You certainly want to sell more stuff. But how? What are your best marketing options, the ones that will make your marketing work better?

When you can SHOW your target market that what you do solves a problem, makes their life easier or gives them pleasure in some way, sales will happen and your business will take off. 

But if that’s not happening for you now, here are some underlying causal factors that may be holding you back. 
  • No written marketing plan
  • No clearly identified target customer or client
  • Offer is vague or not compelling
  • No measurement or accountability
  • Not enough time or money budgeted
  • Poorly organized
  • No follow-through
  • Too often caught up in the tyranny of the urgent
  • Don’t know how to talk (negotiate) so as to close enough sales

Any one of these things can kill your marketing before you start. If you have one of these issues or more than one going on, then you've found your place to begin making improvements. 

Bottom line, your marketing message must do three things. First, it must CAPTURE ATTENTION. There’s a reason why people will spend thousands of dollars on a TV commercial or on a logo design. These things have to work, to almost instantly grab the attention of whoever see, hears or experiences them in some fashion. 

Second, your marketing message must CLARIFY. It must show what’s unique or special or how what you offer will help or solve a problem or give pleasure to the buyer.

Third, your marketing message must COMPEL. It must be crafted in such a way as to make it so some people, hopefully a lot of people, respond to it by calling or by coming in or by emailing or by visiting your website and eventually, again hopefully, buying from you sooner rather than later.

If the topic "Marketing - Make Yours Work Better" is of interest to you, and you’d like to attend the October meeting of the Master-Mind Alliance as a guest and listen to what we have to say about all this, call us and we’ll make it happen. Who knows, it could change your life.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


INTEREST: Most people like doing whatever it is that they do for a living. Some love it. Can you imagine a carpenter not liking wood or nails or an accountant not liking precision with numbers? No. “The most important thing in life is interest.” John Houston, the famous Hollywood movie director said that. So if you own a business, and plan to work at it for years and years, two things stand out. First, you’d better find it interesting. Second, you’d better like it huh. Yeah.

And…similar to INTEREST…we have AMBITION.

AMBITION: How bad do you want that thing you find interesting? Whether it is building the business of your dreams, making a million bucks, becoming famous, finding eternal beauty or just having a few moments of serene peace and quiet, ambition is a part of that. Ambition drives us all…it's what the first psychology teacher in the United States, William James, called the worship of the Bitch Goddess Success.

Here’s the whole quote taken from a letter William James wrote to HG Wells, September 11, 1906. “The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success, together with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success, is our national disease.”

Now Freud would have us believe that all drive stems from the libido. Sorry Sigmund, success is biologically determined by one’s own ability to stay focused on a task and persistence is a function of an active limbic system. Focus and persistence are influenced by desire and training and practice and discipline and determination and so on.

So INTEREST and AMBITION…what can we say about these two concepts? 

AMBITION fuels our desire for success and INTEREST steers us in a direction in which our success can be achieved. We can say this because it’s true. One the down side, some people are cursed with ambition, it ruins their lives, for they have no interest in anything else, like relationships and love and family. But for most of us, ambition works just fine.

If you’ve ever been in a job interview you may have heard a question like the following. Can you give a brief outline of the tasks which have your specific interest and ambitions? If you are unprepared to answer a question like this it can be devastating, and your chance for a job offer...gone in a hurry.

Then there is this wonderful little question. What would you do IF you knew you could not fail? And if you can answer that, then there is this follow-up question. What should be next? In other words, once armed with the answer to the first question how will you change your life?

Okay, you say, so what now?

Well now we can ask what would make a person with a certain ambition and interest enjoy that particular interest even more. Well, a person with a certain interest might enjoy that particular interest even more if he or she got better at doing it, don’t you think? Sure, that’s logical. They would derive more intrinsic pleasure if they could pursue their interest more successfully or simply…do it better. When they would perform the activities fundamental to their interest flawlessly, that would give them temporary or even lasting moments of joy, right? Yup. They might also enjoy their interest more if they were rewarded for doing it more dramatically, as with a round of applause or more financial remuneration, you know, more money. That would probably make them happier, don’t you think? So let’s talk about how an ambitious person with a particular interest might pursue it more vigorously and successfully, and if it’s business related, make more money doing that thing they love.

Here are a couple of things that come to mind.

Create And Keep A Morning Phrase: “Today I will get all my important stuff done…before noon in fact.” Whatever you say to yourself in the morning, if you sincerely mean it and if you stay focused on it, it will most likely come true during the day. Why not taking advantage of this? Create a simple morning phrase and say it to yourself first thing in the morning and a couple of more times during the morning. Is that simple?

Change Your Work Space: Clean up your desk. Re-arrange the furniture. Add some color to that space. Make the place where you work really enjoyable. So enjoyable that work there won’t be perceived as work anymore. It will be something you love to do.

Let’s do one more.

Wake Up Early: This is not a habit, this is a lifestyle. Don’t just wake up early without a purpose. Be early. Be there before others, while it’s still and quiet. Decide what matters most to you that day. Write it down. Look for new opportunities and embrace them. Waking up early means keeping your eyes open to every available opportunity…and pursuing all your interests with all your might. 

We like positive habits. We don’t like negative habits. Positive habits are good. Negative habits are bad. Everyone understands this. We also know that we don’t like wasting time when we’re trying to be productive. I’m not talking about procrastinating, that’s a subject for another article and I have a great deal to say about that. I’m talking about distractions, going pulled off on a tangent or being interrupted. Distractions that take our attention off something we consider important abound. In fact life is one great big hailstorm of distractions…and they can ruin an otherwise productive day or string of days. Ugh! 

The 5 Minute Rule is a Get-R-DONE Habit designed to keep you on the path to success every day. Here’s how it works. 

A few times a day, you stop what you’re doing, pause, take five minutes, and ask yourself this question. What Am I Doing? If the answer is—just what I want to be or should be or planned to be doing—then keep on doing that. But if your answer is—something urgent but not important, or I’m chasing something that has distracted me and working on it is keeping me from being productive, from pursuing what will make my day today a success—then stop doing that thing and refocus your attention and concentration on the important things you have to do or should do with the rest of your day. 

This simple little habit can be one of the best focusing and re-prioritizing routines you've ever embraced.

Now, here’s what some people do make this work splendidly. We all have computers and many of us have smart phones. It is eminently possible to make these devices remind us, with a friendly beep, when it’s time for an appointment or some such thing. So, I recommend you set your computer or smart phone to beep you twice a day, at 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM. The beep is your cue to stop what you’re doing and ask yourself the What Am I Doing Question. 

The rest is easy, refocus and get more done that day.