Insanity.

I believe the term is Insanity – to do the same thing and expect different results.

There are two scenarios- when a business is losing money or has hit a plateau.

When this happens, you can’t do the same thing you’ve always done (waiting for the economy to recover is not in your budget, trust me). You’re going to have to change something. Do something different.

Maybe you need to spend less time in the office and more time on the sales floor. Maybe you need to get a new sign and clean up the front door, maybe you need a new marketing campaign.

The moral of the story is that you have to do something new to get a new result.

Here are 3 things you can do to get started.

Look at your front door. Is it inviting? Do your customers know who you are? Go stand out front with an objective lens and decide whether or not you would shop there. Is it too cluttered? Don’t litter your entrance with signs. Keep it simple: business hours and possibly one other promotional sign (NOT handwritten). I also allow “Local First” stickers if they are off to the side and in good condition. But that’s it, nothing else!

Network. Go talk to the other businesses in your area (within walking distance), start a relationship with them. Don’t sell them anything, just go be a good neighbor, learn about what they do and refer some business their way. You’ll be amazed at the effect it has on your business. Givers gain!

Self Promotion. For some reason that’s foreign to me, I find that business owners do not self promote their status as a business owner. I mean, COME ON! Your own a business! When people ask what you do, tell them. Be honest and proud, I assure you it’s not boasting, it’s factual information.

Just try it. See where these thing lead you. They may not all work, but it’s something different than what you normally do. Chances are, you’re going to get a different result.

Business Card Challenge

I have a quick challenge for you over the weekend.

Clear your mind, for a moment, forget who you are and take a good look at your business card.

What does it say about you and what you represent?

Does it accurately portray the image you want your clients and customers to grasp?

Food for thought.

Get Motivated

“Just like New Year’s resolutions, all the motivation in the world means nothing if you don’t have the determination see it through to the end.”Six Pixels of Separation.

Starting and maintaining your business is much the same as a New Year’s resolutions, but there’s more than a marathon at stake – your livelihood. At some point, we are all going to run out of gas. Working 60-80 hour work weeks while balancing your personal life (or lack there of), is draining. There have been a slew of studies on limiting your work week to 40 hours, but let’s face it, we can’t all be that lucky. And frankly, some of us like to stay busy.

What happens when the spark is gone?

There’s the challenge. How do you keep the momentum in the right direction? My trick? Reminding myself what I want to achieve.

Last year, I decided I wanted to run a full marathon. That’s 26.2 miles. Less the 1% of the US population has completed the feat. I’m not a competitive runner – in fact, up until recently, I hadn’t run more than a mile at a time. But I had put the marathon on my bucket list and figured now was better than later.

To be honest, the training leading up the race was terrible. It was time consuming, And while a had a few friends running the marathon with me, I was doing the training completely by myself (due to my work schedule). To add to the difficulty, it was summer and summer in Utah’s can be crazy hot. I was getting up before 5 am to attempt to beat the heat on my 15-20 mile runs. The first time I ran 20, I misjudged my distance and ended almost 3 miles from my stopping point. I nearly cried at the thought of having to walk back to my car and almost quit the training all together.

I didn’t quit.

I knew what my goal was. I knew that I wanted to finish the marathon training and ultimately run a marathon. I had to take a breath and remind myself of the goal. Not only that, but I was able to reflect on where I was compared to where I’d been. While I didn’t feel quite prepared to run all 26.2 miles, I had just completed 20. A year ago, I would never have thought that possible.

I congratulated myself on my accomplishments so far.

It was such a great feeling to realize what I had managing to accomplish up to that point. There had been so many hurtles along the way and I had managed to jump them all. It was so motivational that I managed to make it to my car and ultimately complete the marathon.

Your business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Every business has it’s own set of challenges, and each of us are going to have our own set of doubts. 10 years ago, you may not have imagined you would be a business owner – look at you now.

When the going gets tough – take a breath.

Remind yourself where you’ve been and where you’re going. Dig deep and find the determination and the spark that got you moving on this path in the first place. Write your goals down, hold yourself accountable to them, relax – and take action.

Find the determination to see it through to the end.


3 Steps to Charisma

Charisma truly is a learned art. Some people are gifted with the ability to command attention as soon as they walk into a room.  The stage is set, the question is whether they can keep their audience engaged. Sure we want to hear about your latest product line, and of course we are interested when you tell us a marketing disaster story, but if you fail to connect with us – we’re going to stop listening, and likely stop caring. You’ve missed one of the pieces of the pie and potentially lost a sale.

There are 3 distinct features of charisma. With practice and self-awareness, there is no doubt you too can be a least little more charismatic.

  1. 1.       Confidence

Before you can begin any conversation, or presentation or sales pitch, you must be confident. Essentially, you must already know you are a success before presenting yourself (and your product) to your audience. More and more we are told through this social media age that we don’t sell a product or service, we sell its value. To do that, we sell a connection with our audience. To even begin the connection, you must exude a confidence that makes people want to hear what you have to say.

Confidence cannot be taught. The best advice I can give you is to remember that you are an expert in your field. You must know more about what you do than the average person, use that as leverage next time you walk into a crowded room.

However, if that’s just not enough, and you need a little more than a lifetime experiences check out “10 Ways to Instantly Build Self Confidence” be Editor in Chief, Pick the Brain.

  1. 2.       Assertiveness

The dictionary defines assertiveness as confidently aggressive or self-assured; positive. Notice that you cannot be satisfactorily assertive until you’ve mastered the confidence. This feature of charisma is by the far the most difficult to balance. While you want to put your ideas into the hands of your audience, there is only a thin line between confidently aggressive and overly dominant and bombarding.

Don’t be afraid to let people know that you are the owner of your company, or the head of marketing, or whatever fancy title you prefer. Not only do these titles give you a more memorable appearance (you’re not just Joe Schmoe, you’re Joe Schmoe the Owner of “insert your business here”), you also open the door to assert yourself into conversations where you can be the expert on the subject.

Being assertive is the trickiest part of being charismatic. It’s a demonstration of self-control.

  1. 3.       Genuine Interest

I personally find this to be the most difficult part to master. Of course we have a genuine interest in our own careers or family, but that’s not what I mean here. To truly be charismatic, you must show a genuine interest in what other people have to say. Ask a question then listen to the answer and respond accordingly.

Not everyone is going to enjoy talking about that same things all the time, but you will never know unless you ask. Likewise, they may have valuable information to share, or a product that you personally wouldn’t use, but you know someone who would.

Showing a genuine interest in the people you strike up a conversation with is priceless when networking and building clients.

I cannot claim to be an expert at achieving a perfect charismatic balance. However, I do my best to remember all three pieces of the pie. As long as I am keeping a decent balance, my interactions with others usually go very well.