Stop Worrying About Being Efficient

I do a lot of one-on-one business coaching (www.akris.net) and I have seen this problem time and time again: owners not doing something because it takes to long. 

 

You want an example? One business owner did not do billing because it took over one hour to create an invoice and he did 10 invoices a month. His total process should take 10 minutes per month.

 

The problem: he was over thinking it trying to make it very efficient. His Business Mastery Advisory Board suggested he use a simple excel spread sheet and not outlook to track his activities. When we looked at his existing process, he came to the conclusion he could make this change in just a few hours. 

 

If he focused on being effective, the right amount of efficiency would have been introduced. Since he focused on efficiency, his effectiveness was being compromised. 

 

Time is short. It is the only thing was have. Focus on the best use of your time, not the more efficient use of your time. 

 

Ron Finklestein

www.akris.net

ron@akris.net

330-990-0788

Goal Setting

Several of my associates are using www.iLearingglobal.biz/ronf to help them with their personal and business growth. Below is an unedited email from one of them. I thought I would share it because this training works and works well.    

I got a lot out of the “Goal Setting” section; took some notes that might encourage others to get into the material.  There’s some good stuff there! Paul Martinelli:

  • You have to use your imagination, not reasoning when setting goals.
  • the reason we set a goal is not to GET something, but to BECOME something.
  • Don’t set a goal on what I THINK I can do….it has to be OUTSIDE my comfort zone to inspire me….That’s where all growth takes place
  • Don’t base any goals on OUTSIDE circumstances
  • Give all my creative energy to the GOAL, not the plan!  The HOW will always show up; be flexible.
  • Ask myself, is this goal worthy of me: I’m trading my life for my goal, it must be worthy of me.
  • Ask myself: what do I really want??? Then take off the lid of reason, and tap into my imagination.

Bill Bartman:1. Make sure it’s MY goal, and not someone else’s2. Don’t call it a “Goal”….The average person misses their goals 70% of the time.   My mind just can’t “unknow” this!
Instead, call it a PROMISE to myself.   Most people keep their promises!!!   (I really like this one; it’s shifted some things for me, and I feel much more SURE of achieving my promises to myself!)
3. Clearly identify the PROMISE.4. Use all the tools around you: people, support, what motivates you..5. Create a “Promise Plan”:   

  • What it is I’m going to do
  • When am I going to do it
  • Where will I be when this happens
  • Why do I want this; what is my passion
  • Who; whose help do I need?
  • How am I going to do it?  I can’t know this from where I am right now!   I only have to know what I want to do, and why…the HOW will show up.

6. Review the plan and the promise regularly.  Focus on it for 20 minutes daily.   (If it’s that important to me, I’ll FIND 20 minutes)7. Pay attention to what I’m saying to myself…tell myself what I can do, who I am….not what I can’t do   (Manage my self talk)8. Tell other people my promises- have confidence to do that.  It increases the risk; yet most people want to help…  be able to articulate what I plan to do.9. Envision the results before hand.

10. Start- take inspired action.

If you want access to the same training please click here to learn more www.learningglobal.biz/ronf

To purposeful action

Ron Finklestein

330-990-0788

ron@akris.net

500 Business Owners Have Spoken. They Told What They Did to Be Successful!

500 Business Owners Have Spoken. They Told What They Did to Be Successful! January 1, 2009 – Ron Finklestein, President of AKRIS INC, a Business Coaching and Consulting firm, and Robert Schepens, President of Champion Staffing, A Job Near Home.com and Drug Free Solutions NEO, have published a breakthrough book called

Nine Principles For Inspired Action: A New & Targeted Perspective.
This is great news for new, home based business owners and small business owners who are struggling to grow prosper and get result.  Ron Finklestein and Robert Schepens conducted research on nearly 500 successful business owners and discovered the Nine Principles that are being effectively implemented by those owners on a daily basis. They also discovered that many do not know they are doing it! They are only aware that they are getting the results they want.

“It is amazing how each individual really focused on their intelligent self-interest and how that intelligent self-interest drives not only their behavior but also the behaviors of their employees, customers and business associates.” said Finklestein. Available wherever readers buy books and online at http://www.amazon.com for a cost of $14.95. ISBN 978-0-9760297-0-0 

Ron Finklestein is a small business success expert and has been doing business and technology coaching and consulting his entire career. In 2001, he devoted his full time efforts to AKRIS INC, a business and technology coaching and consulting firm. Since that time he has been involved with hundreds of small companies and helped them achieve success by teaching them the same principles documented in this book.
Robert Schepens is the owner of Champion Staffing, A Job Near Home.com and several other businesses. According to Robert: “We have discovered that owners of start-ups, established businesses and re-established businesses who achieve success have done so due to a clarity of focus in their visions. We believe we have found the fundamental principles that lead to increasing the odds of being successful, not just as a business owner, but as managers and people.”  Finklestein continues, “These principles are so powerful, we have created several products to drive these behaviors in our clients and we have been so successful in helping them achieve results that we now offer a 100% money back guarantee on our popular Business Mastery Advisory Board.” As a small business success expert, business and technology consultant, coach, speaker, and international author, Finklestein has written or coauthored three other books: The Platinum Rule for Small Business Mastery, 49 Marketing Secrets (THAT WORK) to Grow Sales and Celebrating Success! Fourteen Ways to Create a Successful Company.

Finklestein is available as a trainer, coach and consultant for your business needs. He can be reached at 330-990-0788 or ron@akris.net.  Finklestein is a lifelong resident of Akron, Ohio. Finklestein attended the University of Akron and Malone College. Robert Schepens is an entrepreneur, and former president of several business trade associations. His companies have achieved: ISO 9001:2000 Certification, multiple Weatherhead 100 Awards for Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies in Northeast Ohio, The First Staffing Service in Ohio to Achieve Level II Drug Free Workplace Certification by the Ohio BWC, multiple NorthCoast 99 “Best Companies to Work for in Northeast Ohio” Awards, Northeast Ohio Business Success Award and “Top 10 Most Dependable Staffing Firms in the Central USA” Award (Fortune Magazine 2008). He is the Host of “Entrepreneur to entrepreneur”, “Innovation Northeast Ohio” and “People Making A Difference in Northeast Ohio”, video channels on A Job Near Home.com which can also be found on You Tube and iTunes. Robert is a graduate of Valparaiso University, Christ College, and attended Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University. For quantity purchases or how to implement these principles in your business please contact Ron Finklestein with any questions. Contact:
Ron Finklestein
330-990-0788
ron@akris.net

Robert Schepens

216-823-5900

ras@ajobnearhome.com

 

How to Recession Proof Your Business

How to Recession Proof Your Business

What’s the common mistake most businesses make in a recession?    I believe business owners, especially new business owners, make nine fundamental mistakes, especially in a market downturn.
 

These nine common mistakes have been identified by interviewing hundreds of business owners: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good ones do things right. The bad ones have never been taught to be business owners. It is something they learn as they go. These owners probably never planned to be a business owner but through circumstances, they find they are running their own business. Many never make the adjustment.

I took the best behaviors from the business owner I interviewed over the years and distilled them into nine specific behaviors. I compared them against my clients’ behaviors and the behaviors of other successful business people I met. I found them to be valid. I then introduced these behaviors in a coaching program that drives these specific behaviors.

When the economy gets bad, business owners lose all discipline and focus they had when they created a successful business. Instead of being more discipline they tend to go after everything. This is a problem because they dilute their already limited resources by trying to do too many things or being all things to all people. 

The key to success lies in how well you create an “attitude of success.” My studies have shown that there are nine behaviors that all successful people exhibit, especially in an economic downturn. When these behaviors are implemented in the highest levels of an organization and are combined with the correct attitude, they cascade down through the organization. Successful business owners understand that the organization they manage takes on the attitude of the top person in the organization, and they strive to ensure that their behaviors reflect this. To be successful you must implement these nine behaviors.

1. Become Selfishness – Get Clear on What is Important  When I say successful companies are selfish, I am not referring to the childish behavior of everything is “mine, mine, mine.” I am referring to a mature selfishness that allows them to make decisions based on the outcomes they want to experience.

Being selfish asks, “How do I protect my time, energy, and money so I am only spending them on those things that will take me closer to my goals?” This kind of selfishness allows them to make sure their precious resources are only being spent on activities that benefit their company. But, until they can define the types of customers they want to attract and the problems they solve for them, it is very hard to be selfish. They must get clear and stay focused on their strengths. All decisions must be based on being selfish with your time, energy and money. You must ask yourself “what is the best return for the investment?”

2. Stay Focused on What is Important. It is very hard for a company to be focused if you don’t know where you are going. The dictionary defines focus as “close or narrow attention; concentration.” Without a clear perspective, you cannot focus on the desired outcome. It is too easy to become distracted, unorganized, and inconsistent. When you understand what it is you are to be selfish about, you generate a clear focus—a sense of purpose. There are two questions you must always ask yourself. “Is what I am doing taking me closer to my goal (selfishness)? If not, why am I doing it?”

3. Be Disciplined by Creating Corporate Habits that Work Discipline is controlled behavior resulting from training and self-control. Your mind is made up. You have decided to achieve your marketing goals.

Being disciplined means you will not abandon your goals. Discipline has taught you that business life is not smooth and that there will be rough spots. Experience has taught you that by being disciplined, you can get through the tough spots. Your eye is on the target, and you have the discipline of a laser-guided missile; you seek out your objectives, and your focus never falters. Think of discipline as the creation of personal and corporate habits that you do over and over again, because they work.

4. Persistence – Stay the Course. Webster’s Dictionary defines persistence as the continuance of an effect after the cause is removed. Once you take the time to create a marketing strategy and implement a marketing plan, your goals will be clear. And when you are focused, disciplined, and selfish, your persistence allows you to see any unplanned obstacles not as problems, but as opportunities. After all, if it was easy, anyone could accomplish what you are accomplishing. But not everyone is on the field of battle with you. They see obstacles and stop. You see obstacles and opportunities.  You keep your eyes clearly fixed on your objectives; you try different things to overcome these obstacles. You know where you are going; you know you can’t be stopped. You know that your persistence is what drives you forward. You will find a way around any obstacle, and keep right on going. 

5. Ownership – It You Don’t Own It, You Can Not Change it.  Ownership is the state of being an owner. It is taking the legal right to the possession of a thing. Not only tangible things, but also your dreams, your goals, your business, and your life; if you do not take ownership for achieving your dreams, who will? You cannot blame the market or the economy for your problems. You must take ownership or you cannot take action to address the problem. Taking ownership is about change—making the change necessary to move forward, changing behaviors that are not working, and dealing with the world as it is and not as you want it to be. 

You own the outcome because you are clear about where you want to go, and you take ownership for it. With ownership, you know that if you are not getting your desired results, you can take action and change the outcome. Ownership is so very empowering. You know that if you do not have the skills, you can learn or hire someone to teach you. 

6. Measure Everything – Orientation toward Results. Results mean ending in a particular way. Once you define your goals—the outcomes you want to achieve—and how you want things to end, you can take ownership to create your desired outcomes. You can create the results. It is now a matter of implementing the behaviors that will drive those results.  When you don’t get the results you want, you fall back on persistence, ownership, focus, and discipline, and know that you have the skills, the drive, the desire, the knowledge, and the road map that will take you where you want to go. Results are simply a way of measuring your success. You either get the job done, or you don’t. If you don’t, because of your ownership, you go back and try something different. No excuses. No remorse. Only results. You understand that there is no trying; only doing. 

7.  Success is Dependent on Your People Effectiveness All successful people understand that their success comes with, and through, other people. Successful people recognize these individuals and appreciate them for their contribution to the results. Understand who your best customers are and treat them like gods. Determine who will help you (employees, referral partners, business associates, etc), why they will help you and how you can help them. 

8. Only the Right Ideas- Not All Idea are Created Equal Most people have an abundance of ideas and this is the problem. Once they get selfish by focusing on one specific goal, they can generate ideas that allow them to implement their intelligent self-interest. This will move them to new level, both personally and professionally. If they are not clear, the abundance of ideas will just get further off track. Getting selfish is very important here. It is also important to understand that ideas typically come from others.

9. Defining Success as Taking Action. Success, in the original sense of the word, simply means to take action. When in doubt, do something – anything. Successful people understand that they can always correct something that is not working. They also understand they cannot correct an action that is not taken.

Do not be confused by the outcome of success: new car, new house, more time off, money etc. These are outcomes of success. They are not success. Success, simply defined, is taking action. When you take action you can achieve the outcomes of success. 

Many time people have a great idea. They believe their idea will lead them to success but they have no idea how to move forward. Or, they have so many ideas that they cannot make up their mind. Successful people know they need people to help them implement their ideas.

About the  Author

Ronald Finklestein, President of AKRIS, INC, is a small business success expert, business coach, consultant, speaker, author, and trainer, and has published three books, 49 Marketing Secrets (THAT WORK) to Grow Sales (www.49marketingsecrets.com), Celebrating Success! Fourteen Ways to a Successful Company and The Platinum Rule to Small Business Mastery. Ron’s client have increase sales 35% year over year, experienced 150% return on investment, opened new markets and created new products that have transformed companies. Finklestein is available for coaching and consulting, speaking engagements, workshops, and seminars. You can contact him at ron@ronfinklestein.com or (330) 990-0788. Sign up for his newsletter at http://www.yourbusinesscoach.net/promotions.html. All the books mentioned above are available on www.amazon.com.   

 

Ron’s next book, Taking Inspired Action will be released in Jan 2009.

  

When is Intelligent Self-Interest Different From Enlightened Self-Interest

I received the following comment to the blog post I wrote on intelligent self-interest. I included the link for those of you who wanted to read (reread) it.

http://www.rpfgroupinc.com/2008/07/22/the-power-of-intelligent-self-interest/

Here are the comments:

You seem to have taken the reverse side of the coin marked ‘Enlightened Self-Interest’ which encourages us to take up the burden of community involvement.

The reasons to exercise ‘enlightened self-interest’ include maintaining an environment (physical and social) that can be enjoyed. And in cocktail conversation it takes us inevitably to discussing whether there are pure ‘altruistic acts’. (I vote in favor, by the way).

So would you expand your blog to discuss where the balance lies? When are the times you (personally and specifically) say “yes” with less regard to intelligent self-interest and more toward enlightened self-interest?

Here is my response:

Thanks for a well thought out comment and excuse my delay in responding. I found your comment on Plaxo.

The premise behind this post is simply our intelligent self interest: The key being intelligent. There is no difference between intelligent self-interest and enlighten self-interest from my perspective. Both come from the same source: Our need to take care of our self. For some of us there is no intelligent in self-interest. At this point it is all about me. When the word intelligent in introduced it changes the meaning of self-interest.   

Let us look at the definition of Intelligent Self-interest:
Intelligence
The word intelligent, according to the web site www.etymonline.com, means a “faculty of understanding,” from L. intelligentia “understanding,” from intelligentem (nom. intelligens) “discerning,” prp. of intelligere “to understand, comprehend,” from inter- “between” + legere “choose, pick out, read.”

Selfish
The work selfish comes from the word self.  Self, according to the same web site, means “one’s own person, same,” synonyms included self-seeking (1628), self-ended and self-ful.

Interest
The word interest comes from interresse “to concern, make a difference, be of importance,” Interesting meant “important” (1711)

If we put these definitions together we can see the intelligent self-interest simply means: intelligent – to understand, comprehend and chose, self means self-ended or for our own self and interest means “what’s important.” For our purposes let define intelligent self- interest as meaning that we understand, comprehend and chose what is important to us. In this definition we are to define what is important to us and chose how this is important to others.

When you remove the intelligence from self-interest you are also removing enlightenment. At that point you have only self-interest, which is essentially childish selfishness: It is mine and I want it now! 

I have new book I am finalizing that discusses this topic in real detail. It defines intelligent self-interest, the eight behaviors to implement intelligent self-interest and is loaded with examples of people who changed their life and their business using these concept. Let me know if you want a copy and I will email you when the book is ready. The title is Taking Inspired Action: Nine Secrets to Business Success.

I hope this answers your question.

To Your Continued Success

Ron Finklestein
330-990-0788
ron@akris.net

Learning to Let Go

Learning to Let Go

I was listening to Jim Britt on www.ilearningglobal.biz/ronf conduct a short training video on The Power of Letting Go.

Britt talks about not about your going after what you want but what you become. He uses happiness as an example. He addresses the question: How do you become happy?
He suggests the unhappiness is a learned behavior and we can change this behavior by letting go. 

We must let go of the behaviors that are m aking us unhappy. This will allow up to replace them with behaviors that will allow us to be happy. 

He discusses four steps to letting go:

Intention – Create the Intention to let go

Willingness – Be willing to let go

Commitment – Make a commitment to let go

Self observation – Pay attention to your thoughts, language, and behaviors and ask yourself how your thoughts, language and behaviors are supporting your unhappiness.

For self observation he suggests letting go of the thoughts that bring unhappiness.

For self observation he suggests use language that supports what you want to achieve or become.

For self observation he suggests use behavior that supports what you want to become.

These three actions allow you to let go by letting you disconnect from the problem.

He concluded by saying a “Belief is not something that has latched on to us but something we have latched on to.”

The only thing I would like to add is that we must it would be easier if we define what kinds of actions, behaviors, thoughts and sentence we would like to speak so we can focus on what we want, not on what we don want.

To Your Continued Success,

Ron Finklestein
RPF GROUP
330-990-0788
ron@akris.net

Are You Confused? delegation not abdication

Are you confused?

I was working with a member of my Business Mastery Advisory Board on some issues about her business and inconsistent attendance at her board meetings.

As we talked it became apparent to both of us that we did not know what success met to this individual.

Her conscious mind wanted more money. She associated having more money as a way of having to work less so she could spend more time with her daughter.

Her subconscious mind was telling her that the more you work the less time you will have to spend with your daughter.

So she would work really hard and build a book of business then drop out of sight for a while wondering how she got so busy. What we came to understand was that she had a hard time delegating because of some situations that occurred in her past so she felt she had to do everything herself.

As a result of this discussion we did two things that got her focused and clear: create a delegation process so she felt comfortable and helped her prioritize. Many people confuse delegation with abdication. Delegation is knowing the who, what, where, when, and why of the delegation process so there is no confusion. Abdication is delegation without follow through.

In helping her prioritize we helped her understand what she needed to work on and what could be delegated. Two months after this discussion we talked and her stress level has dropped, her work load has dropped but she has more business.

The big benefit to her in being involved in the Business Mastery Advisory Board is that she had someone to hold her accountable. Through this accountability process she has made major changes in her life and business.

To Your Continued Success,
Ron Finklestein
www.businessmasterynow.com
330-990-0788
ron@akris.net

How to Grow Your Business During a Recession – 11 Actions You Can Take

Business owners, especially new business owners, make nine fundamental mistakes, especially in a market downturn, when growing their business. 

These nine common mistakes have been identified by interviewing hundreds of business owners: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good ones do things right. The bad ones have never been taught to be business owners. It is something they learn as they go. These owners probably never planned to be a business owner but through circumstances, they find they are running their own business. Many never make the adjustment.

 The bad business owners just don’t care as long as they made money. They will leave a trail of bodies behind them. They typically are people you do not want to do business with long term. 

I took the best behaviors from the business owner I interviewed over the years and distilled them into nine specific behaviors. I compared them against my clients’ behaviors and the behaviors of other successful business people I met. I found them to be valid. I then introduced these behaviors in a coaching program that drives these specific behaviors.

When the economy gets bad, business owners lose all discipline and focus they had when they created a successful business. Instead of being more discipline they tend to go after everything. This is a problem because they dilute their already limited resources by trying to do too many things or being all things to all people.

The key to success lies in how well you create an “attitude of success.” My studies have shown that there are nine behaviors that all successful people exhibit, especially in an economic downturn. When these behaviors are implemented in the highest levels of an organization and are combined with the correct attitude, they cascade down through the organization. Successful business owners understand that the organization they manage takes on the attitude of the top person in the organization, and they strive to ensure that their behaviors reflect this. To be successful you must implement these nine behaviors.

   Become Selfishness – Get Clear on What is Important 

When I say successful companies are selfish, I am not referring to the childish behavior of everything is “mine, mine, mine.” I am referring to a mature selfishness that allows them to make decisions based on the outcomes they want to experience.

Being selfish asks, “How do I protect my time, energy, and money so I am only spending them on those things that will take me closer to my goals?” This kind of selfishness allows them to make sure their precious resources are only being spent on activities that benefit their company. But, until they can define the types of customers they want to attract and the problems they solve for them, it is very hard to be selfish. They must get clear and stay focused on their strengths. All decisions must be based on being selfish with your time, energy and money. You must ask yourself “what is the best return for the investment?”

Stay Focused on What is Important

It is very hard for a company to be focused if you don’t know where you are going. The dictionary defines focus as “close or narrow attention; concentration.” Without a clear perspective, you cannot focus on the desired outcome. It is too easy to become distracted, unorganized, and inconsistent. When you understand what it is you are to be selfish about, you generate a clear focus—a sense of purpose. There are two questions you must always ask yourself. “Is what I am doing taking me closer to my goal (selfishness)? If not, why am I doing it?”

Be Disciplined by Creating Corporate Habits that Work

Discipline is controlled behavior resulting from training and self-control. Your mind is made up. You have decided to achieve your marketing goals.

Being disciplined means you will not abandon your goals. Discipline has taught you that business life is not smooth and that there will be rough spots. Experience has taught you that by being disciplined, you can get through the tough spots. Your eye is on the target, and you have the discipline of a laser-guided missile; you seek out your objectives, and your focus never falters. Think of discipline as the creation of personal and corporate habits that you do over and over again, because they work.  

Persistence – Stay the Course

Webster’s Dictionary defines “persistence” as the continuance of an effect after the cause is removed. Once you take the time to create a marketing strategy and implement a marketing plan, your goals will be clear. And when you are focused, disciplined, and selfish, your persistence allows you to see any unplanned obstacles not as problems, but as opportunities. After all, if it was easy, anyone could accomplish what you are accomplishing. But not everyone is on the field of battle with you. They see obstacles and stop. You see obstacles and see opportunities.
You keep your eyes clearly fixed on your objectives; you try different things to overcome these obstacles. You know where you are going; you know you can’t be stopped. You know that your persistence is what drives you forward. You will find a way around any obstacle, and keep right on going.

 Ownership – It You Don’t Own It, You Can Not Change it

Ownership is the state of being an owner. It is taking the legal right to the possession of a thing. Not only tangible things, but also your dreams, your goals, your business, and your life; if you do not take ownership for achieving your dreams, who will? You cannot blame the market or the economy for your problems. You must take ownership or you cannot take action to address the problem. Taking ownership is about change—making the change necessary to move forward, changing behaviors that are not working, and dealing with the world as it is and not as you want it to be.

You own the outcome because you are clear about where you want to go, and you take ownership for it. With ownership, you know that if you are not getting your desired results, you can take action and change the outcome. Ownership is so very empowering. You know that if you do not have the skills, you can learn or hire someone to teach you. 

Measure Everything – Orientation toward Results

Results mean ending in a particular way. Once you define your goals—the outcomes you want to achieve­—and how you want things to end, you can take ownership to create your desired outcomes. You can create the results. It is now a matter of implementing the behaviors that will drive those results.

When you don’t get the results you want, you fall back on persistence, ownership, focus, and discipline, and know that you have the skills, the drive, the desire, the knowledge, and the road map that will take you where you want to go. Results are simply a way of measuring your success. You either get the job done, or you don’t. If you don’t, because of your ownership, you go back and try something different. No excuses. No remorse. Only results. You understand that there is no trying; only doing.

Success is Dependent on Your People Effectiveness

All successful people understand that their success comes with, and through, other people. Successful people recognize these individuals and appreciate them for their contribution to the results. Understand who your best customers are and treat them like gods. Determine who will help you (employees, referral partners, business associates, etc), why they will help you and how you can help them. 

Only the Right Ideas- Not All Idea are Created Equal

Most people have an abundance of ideas and this is the problem. Once they get selfish by focusing on one specific goal, they can generate ideas that allow them to implement their intelligent self-interest. This will move them to new level, both personally and professionally. If they are not clear, the abundance of ideas will just get further off track. Getting selfish is very important here. It is also important to understand that ideas typically come from others.

Defining Success as Taking Action

Success, in the original sense of the word, simply means to take action. When in doubt, do something – anything. Successful people understand that they can always correct something that is not working. They also understand they cannot correct an action that is not taken.Do not be confused by the outcome of success: new car, new house, more time off, money etc. These are outcomes of success. They are not success. Success, simply defined, is taking action. When you take action you can achieve the outcomes of success.

Many time people have a great idea. They believe their idea will lead them to success but they have no idea how to move forward. Or, they have so many ideas that they cannot make up their mind. Successful people know they need people to help them implement their ideas.  

11 Actions you can take During Tough Economic Times

1. Create a Strategy. The first action you must take is to create a marketing plan. You must get clear on who is your best customers, where to find them, what problems you solve and why they should buy from you. This does not require a long document but clarity in thinking. All eleven actions are documented in 49 Marketing Secrets (THAT WORK) to Grow Sales. The book is available on Amazon.com. 

2. Be Consistent. You must be consistent in your message and brand throughout all your marketing activities. Otherwise potential customer can get very confused. Most people do not lose an opportunity to the competition; they lose the opportunity to complacency of the prospect. When the prospect gets confused they do nothing. Be consistent in your message.  

3. Use Press Releases. Let the world know what you are up to. Use press releases to target specific locations. Write the press release with a unique angle that makes it easy for reporters and other readers to read your message. There is the possibility for a huge return for minimal investment.

4. Create Controversy. Take you message, your story and build some controversy so it is interesting to others. Take something that everyone is talking (newspapers, magazines, industry blogs, etc) about and incorporate that into your message.  

5. Write Articles. Writing articles is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to get your name out and increase visibility. There are hundreds of sites looking for articles. The key is to write about what your prospects what to hear about, provide value and have a clear call to action. 

6. Networking for Referrals. The quickest and fastest way to get new business is to ask for it; especially from your existing customers. They know your products and services so pick up the phone, take them out to lunch and ask them if they know anyone who they would introduce you to who could use your products or services.  

7. Create Your Business Mastery Advisory Board. Create your own advisory board. Many business owners think they can go it alone. You can’t and the sooner you realize this the faster you can the result you want. It is all about people. If you do not test your message with your peers and see what works, you are wasting, time, energy and money. 

8. Generation Leads. Use Teleseminars and Webinars as a marketing tool so people can find out what you are about. These can be free or paid. The key is to provide value so people listening want to engage you. The beauty of this approach is people who are interested in what you are promoting naturally opt-in to listen to your story. 

9. Use Electronic Newsletters. Electronic newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your audience. They opt-in so you know they are interested. Having someone buy your products and services is as much need as it is timing. Your name (product) needs to be top of mind when they need something. A newsletter can do that for you. 

10.  Speaking Before Groups. Public speaking is one of the best approaches to generating new business. You need to be professional and provide value but where are you going to get an opportunity to have 100 people pay to listen to you talk about what is important to you and how it can help them. If you are afraid of speaking, get trained. There are many different organizations to help you.

11. Create an Event.  Create and event and make it a party. People are social animals who love to be involved and find deals. You can do a grand opening, grand reopening, anniversary sale, holiday sales or any one of 100 reasons to have a party and invite people into your business. 

What to do next to Grow your Business

I had a consulting company hire me to help them grow their business. All I did was bring them back to what they did successful to grow their business. Effectively, they got selfish. This resulted in a 35% year over year growth rate.

I worked with a patent agent and he had a 150% return on his investment. We got him focused on who his idea customer is. By simply getting clear and targeting his ideal client, he had his best month ever. I worked with an Information Technology company and we reduce his time to make for a specific product by 800%.
I worked with a telephony company and took a service they provided to their existing customer at no charge and help them turn this into a product they use to expand their market.

It is all about getting clear: your market, your customers, your product, your services and taking action. If you are thinking about taking action you are already too late. It is not about thinking, it is about doing. If you don’t know how, hire someone, read a book, call someone who will share with you his experiences. Take ownership for your situation and take action to move forward.    
Ronald Finklestein, President of AKRIS, INC, is a small business success expert, business coach, consultant, speaker, author, and trainer, and has published three books, 49 Marketing Secrets (THAT WORK) to Grow Sales, Celebrating Success! Fourteen Ways to a Successful Company and The Platinum Rule to Small Business Mastery. Ron’s client have increase sales 35% year over year, experienced 150% return on investment, opened new markets and created new products that have transformed companies. Finklestein is available for coaching and consulting, speaking engagements, workshops, and seminars. You can contact him at ron@ronfinklestein.com or (330) 990-0788. Sign up for his newsletter at http://www.businessmasterynow.com. All the books mentioned above are available on www.amazon.com.

The Habit of Discipline or the Discipline of Habit?

“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”
—Napoleon Hill

“Amateurs practice to get it right, professional practice not to get it wrong.” Unknown

“Modern Man is the victim of the very instruments he values most. Every gain in power, every mastery of natural forces, every scientific addition to knowledge, has proved potentially dangerous, because it has not been accompanied by equal gains in self-understanding and self-discipline.” Lewis Mumford (1895 – 1990)

Discipline
The simplest and easiest definition of discipline is creation of a corporate or personal habit.

Let’s talk about a corporate habit first since it is the least understood but vitally important. My experience has taught me that small companies get to be big companies because they figure out want works and create measurable, repeatable, and predictable processes (habit) so the same behaviors are being performed daily. Most consultants who do process work usually do not look at it from a behavioral perspective. It is defining what behaviors you want an individual to perform and then putting a process in place to ensure it happens the same way each time.

This is the same a defining a company culture. A culture is understanding what makes a company successful and ensuring that knowledge is passed to the next generation. This is done through the creation of a habit; a measurable, repeatable, predictable habit. 

The same concepts that are used to create a corporate habit can be used to create a personal habit. There is one major difference. In creating a corporate habit there is accountability build into the process. If things do not work, someone is held accountable to address the issue.  This is not always true in creating a personal habit. Who holds the business owner accountable to ensure they are doing what they are supposed to do?

The biggest challenge with being disciplined is understanding the difference between an effective habit and an efficient habit. Effective is doing the right things. Efficient is doing thing right. Many of have efficient habits that are no long effective. We should always strive for effectiveness. When we create an effective habit, there will be the right amount of efficiency.  After we know we are doing the right things we should then strive to be more efficient.

Let me give you a personal example. For years I worked out regularly. I stopped because of some serious injuries. After I stopped exercising, I did not change my eating habits and I gained weight. This caused some problems with sleeping, joint problems and various others aliments. I was very efficient in my eating habits for a person who worked out three times a week. My eating habits were not very effective for my new life style.

I needed to create some new habits. I purchased a bike and ride it regularly; three times a week. I have reduced the amount of carbohydrates I eat. I go to bed at a regularly scheduled time and I track (focus on results) everything I do in relationship to my weight. I track how long I exercise, the day and time. I weight myself daily. I call my accountability coach weekly to discuss progress or lack thereof. I track this because I know what I focus on is what I attract. It also allows me to understand what is or is not working.

The same thing applies to a corporate habit. Are the employees doing the right things, performing the right action? Are all employees doing things the same way (repeatable)? Are the outcomes always the same (predictable)? Are all functions being managed for effectiveness (measurable)?

Think of disciplines as nothing more than a habit.

Comments?

Nine Behaviors That Lead to Success

As a reuslt of my research, I was able to isolate nine specific behaviors that successful people implement in their business. Let’s discuss the nine behaviors.

1.     Selfishness … Selfishness is defined as intelligent self-interest. Intelligent self-interest means to understanding what is important. What is important is helping business owners be success. It is this intelligent selfish-interest that allows business owners to protect their time, energy, money and take action that leads to successful results.  

2.     Results … Successful people measure everything. Their actions are driven by the results they want. It is important to measure everything to ensure the actions being performed led to the correct results. This step can only happen when you take ownership.

3.     Ownership … Ownership states that I am responsible for what is happening in my business and my life. When a person takes ownership of his/her situation, change can be effected. Our job is to help you be successful but it is your business and you need to take responsibility for the outcomes you experience.

4.     People … Our success is largely dependent on how well we lead, communicate, manage, influence, and sell our ideas to others. Successful people understand this and they are consistently looking to surround themselves with other likeminded individuals to test ideas, receive feedback, improve their skills and be held accountable for doing what is important. These concepts are discussed in my book The Platinum Rule for Small Business Mastery.

5.     Persistence … The best laid plans rarely work out as planned. You know the old saying: “plan for the worst and hope for the best.” Successful people are flexible in implementing their plans; changing as the facts dictate while remaining true to their intelligent self-interest. 

6.     Discipline … When you measure your results a powerful thing starts to happen: you find out what works. Discipline means created measurable, repeatable and predictable processes that allow business owners to create corporate and business habits that anyone can learn. This makes it easier to pass along the corporate knowledge that leads to business success.

7.     Focus … Focus means asking two questions: Is what I am doing leading me to my goal? If not, then why am I doing it? When you are focused, you determined what is really important to implementing your goals as defined by your intelligent self-interest.

8.     Ideas … Many business owners suffer from a glut of ideas. Instead, they need to focus those ideas that specifically drive their goals and support their intelligent self-interest. Finklestein and his team create a third book called 49 Marketing Secrets (THAT WORK) to Grow Sales. The primary focus of this book is to generate marketing ideas that are used to help business owners grow sales. 

9.     Action … The original definition of the success is to take action. When business owners get clear on their intelligent self-interest, it become much easier to take action… and it is all about taking action. That is what the Business Mastery Advisory Board is all about, holding business owners accountable to take the correct action to achieve their goals.

How many of these behaviors have you implemented in your business?