Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Struggling With Business in a Down Economy?

I recently posted this question openly on LinkedIn. While the responses varied, the overwhelming majority of business folks who answered said the downturn in the economy was the biggest problem holding their company back from being great.

Mary answered simply “UM...the economy! :P”.

A few nights ago my family and I were leaving a friend’s home around 7 pm. As we drove down the interstate our 2-year old daughter said “Mommy; Target.” Sure enough, there along the interstate was the side of Target. What is interesting about this story is that at two years old our daughter cannot read. Even more interesting is the fact that the word “Target” could not even be seen from the road; only the graphical part of their bull’s eye.

My first reaction was to ask my wife how much time she honestly spends there each day. Then I wondered what it would look like if kids recognized other businesses as much as my daughter recognized Target.

Our economy is changing, I do not deny that. Ask Best Buy how much they are hurting and they will quickly tell you that big-screen TVs are at an all-time high for sales. As much as we want to blame our problems on the economy, as business owners, the problem often falls on us.

How have you adapted your business to the changing economy? The businesses I coach with have not noticed a downturn in business simply because the economy has changed. Many of them have actually noticed an increase in their business.

You must continually be adapting to the changing market. If not, you are being left behind. Target has done a great job of branding itself to its market. My guess is “the economy” is not hurting their business model. How could you benefit from adapting to the marketplace rather than complaining about it?

Here are all the answers on LinkedIn.

Can Your Brand do This?

We were driving home from a friend's house recently when our nearly 4-year old daughter said from the back seat "There's Target Daddy!"

This was in a location that we rarely drive by and all you could see was the logo and not the actual word "Target."

I realize we probably visit too much, but what would it look like for business if kids did that with your brand? My guess is that Target is not blaming the economy on bad business right now. Are you?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What I Learned from Lunch with Ron Blue

I learned that Ron and I are a lot alike. After the stock market tanked and subsequently rebounded in 1987 (does the first half of that story sound familiar?) Ron testified before Congress.

Senetor Dodd asked him what Americans need to do to survive. Ron said "Easy, we all need to do 4 things." When someone like Ron gives you a list of things you need to do, you grab a pen and get ready to write.
  1. You need to spend less than you make
  2. You need to get out of debt and stay out
  3. You need to have an emergency fund
  4. You need to have long-term goals instead of living for today.
If you know me at all you'll be familiar with this list because it's exactly what I teach! Download the steps if you like.

Senator Dodd was just as intrigued as I was when Ron announced he had a list and took diligent notes. The Senator was dumbfounded that it could be that easy. Ron's response? If it works for the people Senator, it also must work for the government."

Point taken Ron. Thanks for lunch.

Let's Hear it for Networking

I was able to attend an event last night with some of the brightest minds in Raleigh, NC. The intellect in one room was amazing.

My advice, don't ever turn down the chance to connect and meet some new friends. Whether you're looking for a new job, a change in career or any other number of things, it's amazing what can happen to open up to others and talk.

iContact owner Ryan Allis and I will be talking about Social Entrepreneurship on the Past Due Radio Show on October 4th. This is one you won't want to miss. Ryan built a company from $0 to over $1,000,000 in sales in his early 20's and is now working to eradicate poverty and human suffering without simply infusing money into a culture.

Talk to everyone you meet because they all have a story. I am willing to bet you can help them some way which always comes back to you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How's Your Portfolio?

This question conjures the image of Ivy League chums in smoking jackets spouting business jargon in an effort to impress each other. A portfolio is nothing more than a collection of investments.

Could be stocks, bonds, or real estate. Could be career, time with kids, and spiritual life.

We coach our clients in the career and financial aspects of their lives, resolving to help them regain control. Take control of your work life – do something you’re passionate about. Take control of your finances – live on a plan to eliminate the burden of debt and bask in financial freedom.

In the investing world, we’re supposed to make educated decisions with money over the long term. In our daily world, we must responsibly make decisions about ourselves and our family. You could work a part-time job in a field you love to see if there’s a long-term fit. You could leave the office and have lunch with your kids. You could read a book that challenges you to grow spiritually. You could seek help with creating a plan for your financial future.

They all take time – an investment on your part. They all require effort – you have to take control of the situation.

So, how’s your portfolio?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

10 Ways to Get Rich

Parade recently had a great article with Warren Buffett who is the richest man in the world. According to Warren, here are 10 ways to get rich:

  1. Reinvest your profits
  2. Be willing to be different
  3. Never suck your thumb
  4. Spell out the deal before you start
  5. Watch small expenses
  6. Limit what you borrow
  7. Be persistent
  8. Know when to quit
  9. Assess the risks
  10. Know what success really means
When the richest man in the world speaks, it's a good idea to listen.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Create Demand for Your Products and Services

We all want to create more of a demand for our higher priced products and services. You may even feel like it's a hard sell to get a customer or client to upgrade and spend more money.

But what if the demand started with the customer instead of in the sales department?

My friends at iContact do a great job at this. Check out this chart that you can find if you want to upgrade your account...

At iContact you are charged more for each contact you have on your list. This chart really makes you strive to build that list, even though it costs more each month to do so.

Why remain clever or sharp when you can be brilliant, advanced or even a genius?

How can you build customer demand into your products and services? Let them do the selling and you may not have to.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Power of Relaxation

I have been on a working vacation for almost 2 weeks now. We are in California with family, but every few days I have scheduled phone coaching with clients around the country.

I often hear from business owners who lack clarity and ideas for their business. If this is you I urge you to take some time off to reconnect with why you started your business. I can't believe the number of ideas I have come up with in such a short amount of time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Raising Your Income to Become Debt Free

During the radio show this past weekend we talked about getting out of debt. Do you REALLY want to be debt free? Do you REALLY want to accomplish your long-term goals, build wealth, and become a better giver? What holds you back?

We have clients that leave our offices and immediately brainstorm what they can pull together for a yard sale by the next weekend. Some clients are out doing side work painting houses and fixing air conditioning. Others are delivering pizzas or sorting boxes for UPS and FedEx.

There are only two ways to make your monthly budget balance: increase your income, or decrease your outgo (expenses). Debt payments raise monthly expenses, so increasing income is the best way to speed up the debt snowball process. you REALLY want to be debt free? Life has plenty to offer, from fulfilling careers to making a difference in the lives of those around you by freely giving. Don't let income be an excuse that prevents you from finding your path to financial freedom.