Saturday, May 29, 2010

Going It Alone -- Day 19/365

Real People.  Real Business.  Real Life.

If you're going to accomplish something truly great with your business, do you really think you are going to do it alone?

Or do you think it's going to be a situation where you can actually take all the credit?  Legitimately?

Your answers to those questions, my friend, should be no.  But entrepreneurs have a really bad habit of trying to do things essentially by themselves.  Or, if they do have a team around them, they still try to position themselves so that the "real results" were created by themselves -- not the team.

Here are the top 3 reasons why I see entrepreneurs trying to hold all the reigns and try to go-it-alone:

  • Greed: They want all the money, or as much of it as possible, for themselves.  They get stuck restraining their enterprise because they don't bring others in and give them a real piece of the action.
  • Pride:  They want to be responsible for the big wins and want all the glory.
  • Fear:  They think they are the only ones on the planet who really can "do it," and so they never hand enough control over to others so they can put points on the board ---- OR ---- they hand over control, and then sabotage the other person's effort (usually subconsciously).

Very few small business owners I encounter are totally free from these vices.  And usually they are guilty -- on one level or another -- of holding their business back for the above (or related) reasons.

TAKEAWAY:  You're a different breed if you're in business for yourself.  "Normal" people go get a job!  Realize that you have a tendency to over-control the world around you, and that as a result -- you're probably significantly constraining the performance of your business in at least one area.

ACTION STEP:  Spend some time in self-reflection.  Figure out where greed might be guiding your decisions.  Uncover the areas where pride is causing you to over-control.  Dig up the fears that keep you from harnessing the strengths others might bring to the table.  Just becoming conscious of these short-comings will help you let go a little and behave a little more productively, growth-wise.

To Your Enduring Success,

Growing you, growing your business, engineering your BREAKTHROUGH.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Are Your "Business Growth Eyes" Open? -- Day 18/365

Real People. Real Business. Real Life.

Are your eyes open?

Are you really ready to see what you need to see, when you need to see it?

Or are you so focused on "business as usual" that your blind to the growth opportunities flying past you virtually all the time?

There is a lot to be said about persistence, determination, and not giving up. I buy into all that...

But what if you are channeling the power of your will into
an idea, tactic, strategy, or venture that actually is doomed to fail?

There's a thing about being so goal-directed ... yes, it helps you see the things out there that can help you get where you want to go. But it also blinds you to the opportunities and solutions that are not on your "usual radar". AND -- it's keeps you focusing on ideas, tactics, strategies (etc) that are, well... less than ideal...

You've always got to keep an open mind -- and an open eye -- so that you can absorb, process, and apply different approaches to solving your problems. Often times, your best solutions are outside the box ... and as a result, they are often looking you right in the face ... and you don't even see them.

It's true. I see this over and over (and over) with new clients.

TAKEAWAY:  Recognize that being highly goal directed has advantages and disadvantages.  It tunes you in to potential ways to achieve your objectives ... but also tends to tune out the innovative solutions presenting themselves to you --- things you normally wouldn't notice or think of.

ACTION STEPS:  Simply recognize that you, like everyone, are victim to this tendency.  Then consciously begin to work to pay attention to ideas, information, and opportunities that might get you where you want to go --- but that you normally wouldn't consider.

To Your Enduring Success,

Growing you, growing your business, engineering your BREAKTHROUGH.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finding Your Next "Breakthrough Point" -- Day 17/365

Real People.  Real Business.  Real Life.

I was working with a client earlier today ... a tech start-up with a killer concept that has the potential to make him a wealthy man.

This guy is awesome.  Every time we talk, he has driven his business forward and made some sort of measurable progress.  It's always a pleasure to work with him.

Our conversation really brought out a crucial point that I'd like to share with you today...

Launching a business, growing a business ... doing anything that moves  your enterprise forward ... involves 2 types of "forward motion".

2 Types of Forward Motion

The first is when the steps you need to take are obvious and clear to you.  There is no confusion about what you should do.  Answers about what has to be done, where you need to go, how to solve a problem ... these things basically fall in your lap.

When a solution falls in your lap, it's only a matter of energy, effort, and self-discipline to get it done.

But here's the hard part ...

Finding the "Breakthrough Point"

The second type of "forward motion" is a bit more difficult to come by.  And this is typically where Breakthrough Points exist.

Your Breakthrough Point is the point at which --- if you were to apply the proper action or activity --- your business would take a serious leap forward.  Or ... it's where a barrier would be knocked down, thus clearing the way for a whole new degree of progress and advancement.

It's that idea and its corresponding application that allows you to go to your "next level".

So ... the 2nd type of forward motion is the type where you don't know what to do, you can't see where to go or how to get a problem solved.  It's when you know the result you want, but you don't know how to create that result.

Where is your next breakthrough waiting to happen?

Right there at that point where (frankly) you don't know what to do.

TAKEAWAY:  So you want to take a big leap forward?  Identify that result that you want and need to cause ... but don't know how to cause.  Figure out what to do at that point --- that Breakthrough Point --- and your business will take the largest strides forward.

ACTION STEP:  Identify your most crucial Breakthrough Point.  Then, start talking to people to get ideas about actions you might take to get your breakthrough.  Talk to more experienced business owners.  Talk to a consultant.  Google a long tailed keyword directly related to your issue.  Do something that will give you ideas that you'd never come up with on your own.

Then, after you've generated several viable solutions, pick the best one and test it on your situation.  Worst case scenario, it doesn't work and you get information to help you try again!

To Your Enduring Success,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Are You Making Sure You Max Out Your Income? -- Day 16/365

Real People.  Real Business.  Real Life.

I brought this up in brief yesterday, and today I realized I should give it its own blog post.

When you are in business for yourself, you're only paid when you get results others will pay for.  That was yesterdays topic.  And I made the point that, of everything you are doing, there are typically 3 top tasks that can account for the bulk of the results you are generating --- and thus the bulk of your income.

If you are not clear on what those top 3 tasks are, you'll waste a lot of time and energy spinning your wheels, getting nowhere, and typically taking away from the results you could be getting ... and income you could be generating.

For example, my top 3 activities are:
  1. Writing proposals for potential clients.
  2. Servicing current clients via coaching and consulting.
  3. Continued research and study in my area of expertise.
In terms of measurable, income generating results --- everything else I do takes a far backseat to those 3 activities (even writing on this blog).

As another example, consider a salesman.  Their top 3 might be:
  1. Prospecting.
  2. Giving presentations.
  3. Making follow-up contacts to leads.
One more example - a dozen man online retail operation.  For the head honcho, the top 3 might be:
  1. Making deals with suppliers.
  2. Making deals with distributors.
  3. Managing and motivating the salespeople.
If you aren't super clear about which activities you
do that really make you money ...
you'll go broke as an entrepreneur.

Because you'll spend your time doing things that seem productive, but aren't productive...

TAKEAWAY:  You've got to know, without a shadow of a doubt, what the top 3 daily tasks you engage in that actually directly produce results that create your income.

ACTION EXERCISE:  This is very similar to yesterday (it's that important).  Figure out the top 3 tasks you're engaged in that generate the bulk of your results, and thus the bulk of your income.  Refine your daily schedule so that you invest more time in those 3 tasks.  Reduce, delegate, or eliminate the other tasks that take away from your top 3.

To Your Enduring Success,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What you REALLY get paid for ... -- Day 15/365

Real People.  Real Business.  Real Life.

Especially when you're a start-up, this is a crucial lesson to remember...

And many-a-failed business has gone under because they never fully understood this.  I mean really fully understood this.  (We can all do good to remind ourselves of this pretty much daily.)

When you are an entrepreneur, what do you really get paid for?

What answer instantly comes to mind?  ...Let me ask you another question...

When you are an employee, what do you get paid for?

What answer instantly comes to mind?  Most employees are paid for their TIME.  They usually get paid by the hour, or they get paid a salary, or some such arrangement.  Some positions, typically those involving sales, have some sort of results-based pay.  But most normal "employment-minded" people get paid for their TIME.

The time-for-pay paradigm is EXTRAORDINARILY
dangerous for entrepreneurs.


Because when you are an entrepreneur you get paid for RESULTS.  And if you can generate $1000 worth of value and effectively bring it to market in 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days ... or 5 whatever ... you still get paid the same.  You get paid for results.  And if you don't generate enough results, you don't get paid, your business doesn't grow, and you might even go under.

TAKEAWAY:  As an entrepreneur, you only get paid for getting measurable results that people will pay you money for.  PERIOD.

ACTION STEP:  Ruthlessly examine the way you are spending your time.  Are you generating value?  If you are generating value, are you effectively bringing it to market so that people can pay you to get that value?  Look at your daily activities and figure out the top 3 things you do that generate results people pay you for.  Refine your routine so you can invest more time in those 3 things.

Usually, of those 3 top activities, 1 clearly stands above the rest as the one that pays you the most.  Focus even more of your time on that one.

To Your Enduring Success,

Monday, May 24, 2010

How To Avoid Revenue Ceilings, Pt. 3 -- Day 14/365

Real People.  Real Business.  Real Life.

Today we wrap up our brief primer on business optimization.  And again, we're focusing specifically on optimization as is relates to generating revenue in your small business.


HERE’S WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD ON SERIOUS GROWTH.  Once you understand your core success functions and high value tasks, you must begin take your support/complimentary activities (and the high value tasks you are not good at) and choose to do the following:
  • Hire someone to do it for you.
  • Outsource the lower value project, or the high value project that you are not proficient in.
  • If possible, delegate the task down to someone working with or for you.
  • Eliminate the task altogether.  Sometimes we do things that just don’t need to be done at all.
Reaching Revenue Ceilings
  • If you do all the previous steps correctly, you will eventually reach your first revenue ceiling.  That simply means that -i for your current business model and operational capacity -- you just cannot take on more business or facilitate increased cash flow.
  • Assuming:  you are the only true “value generator” in your firm, you have maxed out your workday with $100/hour tasks, and you average the normal 2000 work hours/year, your first revenue ceiling is at $200,000/year.
  • As you approach and reach that ceiling, it will be time to begin the process of increasing your ability to generate value.  You’ll need to ask yourself questions like the following:
How can I generate $200/hour worth of value?
How can my partners/employees/ect generate more value?

Finally --- raising your firm’s capacity to acquire and handle more business, and generate more value for more clients, often boils down to improvement in one of 5 areas:
  • Creating and implementing an improved strategy to guide your business.
  • Improving the marketing you do.
  • Improving the way you manage your firm.
  • Innovating new ways of delivering value.
  • Improving the individual performance of yourself and those in your firm.
Very simply, you can return to your business process flow chart, focus on your core success functions, and develop ways to improve upon them in terms of strategy, marketing, management, innovation, and individual performance.


Many entrepreneurs don’t view their business as a process.  They never understand it as a simple series of sequential, value-generating events.  They don’t see their business as a system that can be measured and monitored… and thus improved.  This is a very big reason why so many small businesses remain stuck where they are at.

Let me close this series of blog posts by condensing the optimization process down to its most crucial steps:
  1. Examine and understand your business as a process.
  2. Map out the process on paper, from generating a lead, to creating a satisfied customer/client.
  3. Make your core success functions the focal point of the bulk of your activities.
  4. Gradually position yourself so that you are engaged only in the highest value tasks which you perform the best at.
  5. Systematically and continually improve specific components/steps of your ‘business process’.
And let this all be governed by:

.... a mindset of continual improvement.

To Your Enduring Success,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How To Avoid Revenue Ceilings, Pt. 2 -- Day 13/365


Real People.  Real Business.  Real Life.

Yesterday we dove head first into an incredibly powerful topic -- optimization.  You could also call it "continual improvement," or "process improvement" ... whatever term clicks with you.

The core of it is simply this:  Learning how to systematically improve your business, little by little by little, so that it performs better and better and better.  And while this concept has a host of applications, we're applying it particularly to the habits of the entrepreneur --- and aligning those habits to generate maximum revenue.

Yesterday's action exercise addressed the stuff you need to do to start optimizing your business.  Today is all about getting started and actually doing it.

It picks up right where yesterday left off:


Start focusing the bulk of your time and energy on your CORE SUCCESS FUNCTIONS that generate the majority of your business results – IE, revenue.
  • Start looking at the activities you engage in and understand how much financial value you are generating each hour. This doesn’t mean what you charge per hour, but rather --- what activities, in actuality, generate the highest financial return?
  • Systematically begin to engage in the highest return activities as much as possible. Avoid low value activities as much as possible. Example: you have to stay on top of the books, but that is not a high value task for you. It is complimentary. Don’t burn unnecessary time there, but don’t neglect it.
  • Think of it this way: Imagine that you want (or need) your activities to consistently generate $100/hour. You must continually ask yourself, “would I pay someone else $100/hour to do what I’m doing now?” If the answer is no, then you are engaged in the wrong tasks.
  • A point: When you are a one-man show, you have to engage in a delicate balancing act here. Yes, you actually do have do ‘do it all’ yourself. But the key is to focus the bulk of your time and energy on core success functions and high value tasks that move your business forward.
  • Something else to consider: You won’t be totally effective at all your core success functions. There might be high value tasks that you just aren’t very good at. Eventually, you will need to discern which tasks you perform the best at and focus on those, while someone proficient in the others handles them for you.
The truth is ... if I was really going to make sure you "got this" fully ... I would dive in much, much deeper -- and perhaps blog about it for a month or so.  But the core boils down to...

...a mindset of continual improvement.  

And if you can read this post, and if it can introduce this mindset, or affirm it ... then the post has been worth it.  Tomorrow we'll address following through with the optimization process you have started.

To Your Enduring Success,


Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner | Blogger template converted & enhanced by eBlog Templates