Happy New Year! I am excited to share with you exciting, new journeys and experiences as 2012 reveals itself to all of us.
With each new year comes changes big and small . . . whether we like it or not! And because change is inevitable, and because we have just entered a new year, I wanted to touch on this subject just a little deeper.
By this point, we can talk for days about our money blueprint, yes?
It’s that program we created, or way of being that we’ve grown accustomed to, in relation to money—mostly without us being aware of it. Our money blueprint manifests our financial reality. Like the blueprint of a physical structure, it’s either going to be drawn up big or small—to accommodate a lot of money, or little.
That kind of blueprint is about the mental game of money, but let’s take a look at a different kind of blueprint—the one that encompasses the machine, the vehicle that will build your wealth—that is, your business.
A lot of people start their businesses without any blueprints. They say, “Well, I’ve got a couple of clients. Then I’ll figure out all the marketing stuff and get some more clients.”
That actually could work, but the downside of that kind of success—without a system in place that can handle the new volume—could lead to having so many customers that you literally don’t know what to do with them. You could end up losing as many potential repeat customers as you will the additional word-of-mouth customers those lost repeaters could have served up for you.
Designing a basic blueprint for your business allows you to get the lay of the land for your enterprise and understand how your business is organized. Maybe even more importantly, your business blueprint can show you those critical success factors that aren’t in your business. Enjoying the fruits of owning your business is much different when you can take a six-month vacation from it, yet it’s still running the way it should when you get back.
No matter what the business, there are four basic blocks that need to be included in the foundation of your business’ blueprint:
- Leadership. This is the part that provides vision, inspiration and makes most of those key, highest-level decisions about how things should be run.
- Business development. This is mostly marketing and sales. That’s where all the business comes from. These are the team members—and the processes in place—who find those prospects that want your product or service. Business development is where your promises are made and disseminated.
- Delivery. Once those promises are made, somebody’s got to do the work, yes? In manufacturing, those are the people who create the product. In other businesses, it’ll be those people who provide the service. Those are the fulfillment people, those who deliver on the promises.
- Administration. These are the often unheralded (don’t take them for granted, though!) people behind it all: accounting, legal, payroll, etc. It’s a separate yet very important group because that’s exactly where a lot of systems and processes often go awry.
Again, no matter what the business, every one of them is going to have these four essential components.
Similar to our psychological blueprints, what’s under the ground creates what’s above the ground. So many of the obstacles we come across in business can be tracked to structure and systems. As intensely as we work on the mind game of money, so to we need to pay special attention to the actual structure of our money making machine.
What do you think? We want to hear your comments and stories!!!
Of all the things that occur in your business, which ones make the most difference?
If your top value is revenue, for example, which parts of your business make the most difference toward revenue? Is it lead generation? Is it having a good sales process? Is it knowing how to close and eventually sell the business?
Those critical factors that lead to success in your business—or really in anything—are those practices where you put more time, attention and effort, and where afterward you get even more in the return for that time, attention, and energy you put in.
For example, adding legal services might not transform your business, but adding lead generation systems (i.e. systematic marketing!) could really transform it. Adding a referral generation system could totally transform your business at an incredibly low cost.
There are some fairly broad success factors that really make a business hum to the tune you want to hear. Those factors include:
- – Lead Generation
- – The sales process
- – Client, customer, or patient services that make for returning clients, customers or patients
- – Knowing the cost of each customer you acquire
- – Delivering on your promises
- – Recruiting—your ability to staff up and deliver on what it is that you’re trying to do
- – Production or manufacturing, if you have things to make then sell
- – Product development—you can be great at acquiring customers, but if you don’t have anything to sell them, you create the product
- – Marketing communications and media—how you manage the media, public relations, articles, etc.
Compare each of these things to the things that tend to frustrate you in your business, or those factors that you consider to be most important to you. If revenue is your top value, lead generation is going to take on greater importance, but if it’s client services, then recruiting will be more important to you than lead generation. There is no fixed, one-stop shopping solution.
Your selection of criteria could be vastly different from everybody else’s, so you select your criteria first, and then you go through the list and you consider, “What are the pieces that are most important to how I get what I want out of this thing I call my business?” Naturally, the list above isn’t all inclusive; there are many others.
Once you figure out your criteria and then start looking at how to systemize whatever process you’re focusing on, that’s permanent. The hardest part of that is already done. You might look at your critical success factors every half-year or so—you don’t want to just do this once and get complacent in thinking that adjustments won’t be necessary along the way. But doing it in the first place is a key step in creating those systems that not only grease the wheels of your business for smoother function, but also those reasons why we started doing all this to begin with; more profit, more time, and eventually freedom from the business so you can do whatever you really want to do.
What do you think? What are the success factors that have been critical to your business, or where do you find yourself focusing your time? How does that pan out? What adjustments did you or do you have to make? The Millionaire Mind community wants to hear from you!!!
Last week we explored how sometimes we just need to be able to identify what we’re frustrated at in order to begin addressing it. When there are consistent frustrations in a business, we can usually address them but putting systems in place that minimize inconsistencies and produce more of the results we’re really looking for.
It’s another one of those no-duh, no brainers that may not appear like much until those frustrations build to the point of blinding us from the most direct solutions.
But we now want to articulate the impact of that frustration on our business condition. How does this thing impact you? What results aren’t you getting? What’s happening? What’s not happening that you want to happen, or don’t want to happen?
We don’t want to be working on anything that doesn’t really matter. If you’re frustrated because your partner starts their day later than you do, does it really matter as long as the work is getting done? But if that lateness means missing calls from earlier time zones, that could have an impact, yes?
So it’s one thing to name a frustration, and it’s another to know exactly what that frustration translates into toward your bottom line. You’ve got to probe, measure, and quantify that frustration. You might find at the end of the day, you’re really getting bothered over something trivial—or you could find that your frustrations are indeed warranted.
If you have a complex system you’re looking at, this process can take months. So how about a more simple formula?
“The real problem in my business is the absence …” It could be a system that will cost-effectively generate leads rather than be a costly guessing game every time. Or a system that staff can follow consistently rather than doing it their own way each time, producing mediocre or inconsistent results. Or it could be the absence of a system for strategic planning rather than primarily responding to a competitor’s moves.
It’s just a generic way of focusing. You’re not actually formulating a system yet. What you’ll find is some of these things that you describe can actually be purchased as software programs, or you can easily hire consultants who do them much better than you would. But once you’ve figured out what the problem actually is, reformulating starts to become easier.
“The real problem in my business is the absence of a system that will …” Fill in the blank with that generic system solution and then write down your original frustrating condition.
You should start to feel a shift in your energy in terms of some of these things that are frustrating you. The question that you simply have to ask now is: Is this frustration worth fixing? Is this frustration that you named—if it’s not stemming from within you—something you have to address quickly or is it lower on the priority scale?
Do you really want to remedy this frustrating condition or would you rather just live with it? That’s the question that you have to answer.
What do you think? What are some frustrating aspects of running a business that you’ve encountered, and how did you remedy them? Did you find value in naming and understanding the impact of those frustrations? Were some of them really nothing? We want to hear from you!!!
When we get frustrated by our conditions, we inevitably end up becoming frustrated with ourselves. It can take us over and we tend to run with it. It can creep into every aspect of our lives, from how we relate to the people around us, to how it will impact our business.
If the frustration builds for too long, pretty soon we might forget altogether what the hell we were frustrated at in the first place, yes?
This happens in business all the time, especially when, in the early stages of the business, cash flow can fluctuate maddeningly, which then leads to all other kinds of frustrations from payroll to profits.
There’s an energy attached to frustration that sucks the life out of your business, and if you’re not dealing with this as a business owner, it’s only going to go downhill from there.
Moving back away from whatever the problem is, step one toward a solution is simply being able to classify your frustrations. Is it with your team? Your results? A process that doesn’t seem to flow efficiently?
Some typical early-stage business frustrations include time (there never seems to be enough of it), feeling like you’re too bogged down with menial detail-work instead of bigger-picture tasks, or relying on people to get things done that don’t follow through. Just to name a few.
This is where the importance of systemizing your business processes plays a huge role. First you name your frustration, and then you develop the system to address it.
So if you’re having problems with freeing up your time yet ensuring that essential tasks still get done, then the real problem is the absence of a system that will hire the right people rather than you doing it all yourself. That way, not only is your time freed up, but the right people will also help micro-manage the way processes continue to develop and flow.
The good news is that frustrations within your business are fairly easy to identify and deal with, though they may take time. Inner frustrations, on the other hand, not only take more time and energy to deal with, but may also be harder to identify in the first place. You could be mad at yourself because you’ve done something poorly for so long, and you get frustrated about not seeming able to turn the corner. Or worse, you externalize that frustration toward everybody else—the customers, the suppliers, the vendors, the client; everybody but yourself.
We know the power of blueprints, so we won’t address that here.
When it comes to outer frustrations that we can identify, though, the questions are much simpler. What’s my frustration? What’s the gap in the system? What system is missing altogether?
If your frustrations begin with ‘I’, it’s about you. It’s inner directed. If it’s about ‘them’ or ‘those people’ or ‘those lousy clients’ or ‘those suppliers’ or ‘that lousy machinery’ or ‘that way’ of doing something, it can then be addressed systematically and objectively.
What do you think? Have you experienced similar or even different kinds of frustrations, and how did you address them? Did systemizing play a role? The Millionaire Mind Community wants to hear from you!
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I wonder how many would-be entrepreneurs consider—while they’re thinking about running a successful business—that ultimate success means not running that business?
Building a business that has you stuck in the middle of it isn’t much better than working for someone else under their terms. It gets to the point where you look up one day and you find that you might make some money, but now you have no life! You’re a slave to your business. Money with no life, or vice versa, is brutal.
If someone told you, right before you got out of the gate, “Sixty-three percent of all businesses fail within the first six years,” would you still want to start a business?
That’s the figure according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means most people stand a little bit better than a 50/50 chance of, at minimum, staying above water; we’re not even talking about profitability.
Two hamburger joints open back in ’67 … we’ll call one Bob’s Burger Shack. Great hamburgers! The other shop is McDonalds. The rest is history, yes?
Were Mickey D’s burgers really that much better than Bob’s? I mean, really … how hard is it to get a burger right? Even Ray Croc himself admitted this to eager business school students he lectured in his lifetime. He’d ask them, ‘How many people in here can make a better hamburger than McDonalds?’ Everyone would raise their hand because everybody’s made a tasty burger before, at least tasty by their own standards. But then he’d ask, ‘How many people make more money than McDonalds?’ Naturally, all hands dropped.
It’s a simple yet eloquent demonstration that it doesn’t matter whether you have a better idea, a better product, or a better service. In business, the only thing that matters is getting that product, idea, or service out to as many people as possible, and/or at as much profit as possible.
It’s the learning curve of the entrepreneur—amassing the skills necessary to take what you have to offer to a mass audience profitably, which anybody can learn how to do, but it also takes a nerve and determination that most people just don’t show when it comes to taking control of their financial future. That kind of moxie can be the rope that saves you instead of binds you in stagnation after a big failure.
Few people have the kind of moxie that Karl Eller has. He’s a legend in Arizona but a giant in business period. He started out in billboard advertising; was one of the founders of the NBA Phoenix Suns basketball team; president of Columbia Pictures at one point, which he helped merge into Coca-Cola—amazingly successful businessman.
But he had a major setback, to say the least. He built another company called Circle K—a kind of convenience store—into the second largest chain in the U.S. during the 80s. Under his leadership, the company grew from something like $750 million in sales to $3.4 billion!
Then the company filed bankruptcy in the 90s, due in part to just a bad turn in business. He was forced to leave with $100 million in personal debt! Can you imagine being $100 million in debt? Not your company … you, personally???
Instead of declaring bankruptcy, though, Eller dug himself out by going back into what he knew well: outdoor advertising. Eller built another media company and merged with Clear Channel Communications for a then-record $1.15 billion!
And he did this when most people are retiring.
His track record is elegant proof that the question isn’t what type of business you want to go into—or at least that’s not the essential question. You’re going to find your niche, and you’re going to be better at that particular field of interest than others—whether we’re talking about burgers or billboards.
The essence of success in business, I believe, is the intangible quality that means having integrity no matter what the situation—win or loss—not being afraid to take risks, and your ability to bounce back after tremendous setbacks.
What do you think? What do you consider to be some of the intangible qualities of business success? The millionaire Mind community wants to hear from you!!!
When it comes to generating the momentum of market presence, you want to cast the widest net possible that makes sense to your niche, and then be more discerning about who you’re spending time on later in the process.
The top producers, though, have learned to cast a smaller net that catches bigger fish. Chet Holmes, one of the top sales producers in the country today—the guy turns bad sales around in struggling companies unbelievably—said, “There’re always a smaller number of best buyers rather than all buyers.”
What the hell does that mean? It just means narrow down who you’re targeting to prospects that—although smaller in number—would bring in much more revenue than all the small fish combined. Linking with these big fish would not only save you time and energy, but could be great ways to affiliate, partner with, and otherwise make marketing and sales easier than fishing on your own.
You’re a real estate broker in your town. Who are you going to in order to start generating leads? Who are you targeting before you start sending out direct mail to every household in the town? Who, if you were famous among them, would drive so many referrals to you that you couldn’t even handle it all?
You’re looking for the most influential people who have access to the same types of prospects you want, and you’re pounding them relentlessly. That would be the people who live in the most expensive homes in your town. You make this a must in your marketing budget.
Pick the dream prospects! It’s the most cost effective method of building your business without spending a lot of money.
These select people looking at your face in the mail once a month, every month may not need you now, but when they do, they know like clockwork that your flyer’s coming in the mail. Commission on one expensive house sold could more than make up for the marketing budget on that strategy. When it comes to high-end real estate in that area, you’d be at the top of those people’s minds, even when most of the time they weren’t thinking about you.
Even when we’re talking about in-store client relations, we still want to be narrowing down what we want out of each interaction, so it’s still a mindset of quality of interaction versus number of interactions. How could you get one customer to buy more than just the item they came it looking for? Or a number of more expensive items?
How can you make the first point of contact more interesting right from the first or second sentence or with the first thing you show them? How can you make it more attractive, more appealing, and more exciting?
Get clear on your objectives. Most people are not strategic. They don’t think like, ‘How many things do I want to accomplish with the buyer?’ It changes the whole quality of the interaction when you start thinking strategically.
The more narrow and focused your objectives, the more impact you will have right from the very beginning, and the quicker and faster you’ll grow with less effort. The biggest element is persistence, patience and commitment to really seeing this strategy through.
Give us your opinions, comments or stories. The Millionaire Mind community wants to hear from you!!!
Watch the news and observe the so-called “experts” on the economy or the latest tabloid trial. When you’re the expert, people pay attention to you more and take you up on your words. But what makes them more authoritative on a topic than anyone else?
Experience helps and knowledge helps, but the real difference is a keen eye for details. And if you happen to be passionate about the topic, it’s a lock.
It’s no different in business. What does an expert get in a sales situation? You get credibility before you even get started selling anything. People come to you and you can charge more money. And your ability to position yourself as an expert is far less complicated than you might think.
You start off with information that’s of interest. ‘Did you know that today, you’re spending three times more money in advertising to try and get the same result that you would have gotten ten years ago?’
I might be selling marketing programs to make you more effective, but I gave you factual information. That’s real data, and it’s power like you can’t believe. What business owner wouldn’t want to stick around and hear free information about that (You are giving that info away for free!)? And you’re positioning yourself as an expert on how you can help them fix common marketing problems.
Before you sell anything, you set up criteria on what would be important to your audience, something that they couldn’t logically say no to. It should be full of interesting and good data that is of value to your prospects, things that would make them say, ‘Holy Crap!’ or, ‘I didn’t know that.’ ‘Hmm that’s interesting!’
Of course, you can’t just say you’re an expert; you actually have to know what you’re talking about, so it requires research. You can outsource it or have an assistant gather it, but you still have to take the time to read it, understand it, and know it. If you can articulate it thoroughly, understandably, and passionately, guess what? As far as anybody knows, you’re an expert in that! Time and experience strengthens that.
If done properly and with integrity, it can be powerful, but in general so called “experts” are also overrated. In his book “Expert Political Judgment—How Good is It?” Philip Tetlock collected over 80,000 forecasts over a 20-year study of almost 300 political experts whom he asked a range of questions: would there be a non-violent end to apartheid in South Africa? Would the U.S. go to war in the Persian Gulf? The experts were bad at predicting, nor did specializing in a field improve their answers. Journalists and average people did about as well as the experts when it came to predicting the future.
That doesn’t negate the impact of positioning yourself as an expert. It just means you can be as much of an expert as anybody else. It’s about presenting facts passionately and undeniably. In business, market data or market trends are just as, if not more important, than knowledge in a particular area.
Any success we’ve found in business or in a career was because for whatever level we are at, we present ourselves as a specialist of sorts. How have you been able to position yourself as an expert or higher-quality professional? What impact did that have on your trajectory? The Millionaire Mind community wants to hear from you!!!