Growth Through Subtraction

The old adage that “you don’t get bigger by getting smaller” does not always apply in the modern world. In order to thrive in today’s fast-paced global marketplace you must think differently about what is essential to growth, and where and how to invest your time and limited resources.

Big corporations have gotten it wrong for decades. To artificially “pump up” stock prices and appease shareholders and the board of directors, they have historically downsized and reorganized during the fourth quarter to improve short-term financials. However, if you do not make fundamental changes to improve operational performance, this is a “slowly bleed to death” strategy that ultimately leads to disaster.

“When you remove just the right things in just the right way, something very good happens.”—Matthew E. May Continue reading…

Discover Your Purpose

Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my motivation? What is my ‘Why’? These are all purpose-related questions most of us will struggle with at various stages throughout our lives.

What is purpose and why is it important?

Purpose is “the reason anything is done, created or exists”. Everyone has or needs a purpose, otherwise we are just flopping around with no true sense of direction or meaning to our lives. However, defining our purpose in meaningful terms can be a major challenge.

We quite often hear the term, “find your purpose”. Every time I hear this I want to respond, “I didn’t know it was lost”. But in reality, it wasn’t lost because in order to be found it had to exist. Therein lies the difficulty for many people.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” – Lewis Carroll

Why having a purpose is so important:

  1. Focus.
  2. Clarity.
  3. Meaning.
  4. Drive and passion.
  5. Achieve success.

These are just a few of the things that come to mind when we consider why having a strong sense of purpose is so important. Continue reading…

#1 Question That Gets Overlooked

What is the #1 question that most often gets overlooked?

You will have to wait a bit for the answer. However, I will give you a hint. The answer is shown in the image below.

As we begin to wind down the 2017 fiscal year, most business owners are thinking about or already beginning their planning cycle for the new calendar year ahead. They’re going through the early stages of the goal-setting process, reviewing the quarterly performance, and putting together annual budgets, forecasts, staffing plans and financial projections for the coming year.

It’s an exciting time of the year and right now, looking through those rose colored lenses, the future looks exceedingly bright. But what is missing? What’s missing is a reality check. Have we done our due diligence? Have we asked the most basic, fundamental question that should be answered before we charge ahead? Probably not. Continue reading…

Disruption Doesn’t Mean Dysfunction

Disruption as a noun means “disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process.” To cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way. For business, however, disruption is viewed in broader terms as ‘disruptive innovation’, a term first introduced in 1995 by Clayton Christensen, the author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.

“A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances.”

Fast forward to today, what does disruption look like in 2017? Businesses generally still have two options when faced with disruptive innovation. Try and hold on to existing market space by doing the same thing(s) better, or attempt to capture new markets by embracing new business models and technologies, and adapting to rapid change.

“Change is good if it leads to improved performance, highly engaged employees and more satisfied customers.” Continue reading…

Sales Funnel vs. Sales Process

“Sales Process” most often refers to the repeatable set of steps your sales team takes with a prospect to move them from an early stage to a closed sale. Many of the articles I have read on this topic refer to the Sales Funnel and the Sales Process as the same thing. However, my view of the two is somewhat different.

From my vantage point, you should have a clearly defined Sales Process for prospects and existing clients. Why? Because the sequence of events, hand-offs, deliverables and timeframes may be different for prospects vs. clients. These key differences should be understood by you and your sales team in moving prospects to clients, staying in-touch and building those long-term business relationships.

The “Sales Funnel” on the other hand, reflects all of the active sales projects that result from the various interactions with both prospects and clients.

Our BLF ELITE Mastermind group has been working on the areas of Sales Process and Funnel Management for the past two months. And I want to share some thoughts with you from our work in the hope that it will help you build more effective sales processes for your business.

Sales Funnel … Is opportunity driven. The Sales Funnel provides a visual snap shot of all of the active sales opportunities that you are working on, and their various stages of completion from warm lead to Customer Acceptance. It is also the virtual “lifeline” for your business to both new and existing customers in driving sales revenues. Continue reading…

2017: A Year of Triumph and Success?

Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s hard to believe that the New Year is well underway. We’ve already packed away the Christmas decorations, dusted off the holiday cheer and are slowly getting back into the swing of our daily lives and routines.

While we are just getting started on our prosperity plans for 2017, the Chinese calendar year for 2016 is coming to a close. The Chinese New Year does not officially begin until January 28, and is the year of the (Fire) Rooster. The Rooster symbolizes the dawn and awakening, where triumph and success can only be achieved at the price of hard work and patience.

“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”

This coming Saturday, January 7th, my mother will be celebrating her 103rd birthday with the Angels. I mention this because Mom was a wonderful example of what hard work and sacrifice is all about. Mom was adopted at an early age and grew up in the Depression era. Growing up she had to overcome extraordinary obstacles, including dropping out of school after the 9th grade, to help her adopted family out financially and “earn her keep” in order to survive.

Key to Success

Now we all know that success requires hard work and sacrifice, but what else? What is the key to success? Continue reading…

Get to Know Your Customers

Get to Know Your Customers Day is observed annually on the third Thursday of each quarter (January, I'm Your CustomerApril, July, October). This is a day to reach out to your customers and get to know them better. However, should it really be necessary to designate a day each quarter to get to know our customers?

Getting to know customers (all the time) is a requirement for building a successful and thriving business or practice!

We have heard it recanted over-and-over again, “People do business with people they know, like and trust”. A large measure of building that level of trust is staying in touch. Likewise, the primary goals of any business are what? Get more profitable customers to buy, buy more and buy more often. Continue reading…

Success Is a Continuous Journey

What is this “success” thing we all spend countless hours thinking and talking about and preparing for? Will we recognize it when it gets here?

The dictionary tells us that success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, or the attainment of wealth, honors or power”. This infers that success is a destination, place or thing, with a beginning and an end. I would argue that our desire for success is the driving force within each of us that propels us forward throughout our lifetimes.

We all want to believe that our lives have purpose and what we do is recognized and valued. It’s only when we stop trying, stop moving forward in our quest to attain success and personal fulfillment that we fail. As Richard St. John reminded us in his 2009 Ted Talk, “Success is a continuous journey, a journey that begins with our first step”.

Success Is a Journey

The popular belief that “people are as successful as they choose to be” is highly misleading. Continue reading…

Networking: Stop ‘Bobbing for Apples’

If you sign-on to Meetup.com, you’ll find there are approximately 130,000 Meetups (884 within 25 miles of my office) happening at any given time that represent opportunities to network and build great new relationships.

With this over-abundance of networking opportunities at our disposal, why do many small business owners struggle to make networking work for them?

The short answer is that most are not prepared for success when they walk through the door. Yes, networking can be time-consuming, frustrating and expensive if you don’t take the time to adequately prepare in advance.

Bobbing for Apples

As my good friend Jeff Klein, the author of ’30 Seconds to Success’ and the founder of Speaker Coop says, “There are only two reasons to network – to get referrals and give referrals”. Continue reading…

Get Your Head Out of the Cloud

Get your head out of the Cloud! Yeah, I’m talking to you (and me) and everyone else out there. Whether your business is online, offline or both, we all need time away from the keyboard and out in the ‘real world’ in order to effectively grow our businesses.

Although it has been said many times over that advancements in technology have brought us closer together, I contend that it has done just the opposite. While technology has made it easier for us to engage machine-to-machine and automate various aspects of our daily work lives, it has also diminished the “human touch” in the process.

The Cloud2

At the end of the day, however, building a profitable, scalable and sustainable business still comes down to people and the human interaction that happens in the marketplace between consumers and suppliers. That personal connection is still a key differentiator. Continue reading…