Friday, 31 August 2012

Expert Potential: Everyone has it, not everyone leverages it

I read "Millionaire Messenger" sitting in a Thai food restaurant on the Oregon coast. The food was outstanding and what was interesting was that there was a book and DVD set talking about going to college for free up at the cash register. The author was a young guy who graduated from Harvard. The whole book series was designed to show college students and parents how to find money to pay for college. Come to find out the author was the restaurant owner’s son. This is a classic example of "The Millionaire Messenger" in action. 

I've said it once and I'll say it again, the best way to financial freedom is through a business. Now, most people cannot simply quit their jobs and to start a new business. Typically you need to work your job and your new business until you have enough sustainable revenue to take your business full time. The Expert Industry is a caring community of people who share their advice and knowledge with the world and get paid for it. 

You may be thinking you're not an expert in anything. This mindset has everything to do with Self-Esteem & Self-Confidence. Brendon addresses these concerns in the book. Think about this – every person has a unique finger print and unique life experiences. Those experiences with additional research can yield you an expert. 

I want to start with a potential example of being an expert in something. I have a good friend of mine that has been doing cement work for over 20 years. He does this with his four brothers. He does not think of himself as an expert. Have you ever considered how successful Home Depot is as business? They cater to the do it yourself community. My friend could simply film different cement jobs and sell them as a do it yourself venture. It would look like this: 

1. Create simple how to videos on the basics and give them away for free. 

2. Create a deeper video series on how to do a full patio, sidewalk or stairs and sell it with a checklist manual. 

3. Offer paid for consulting for job layouts with customers. 

4. Take high priced large concrete jobs that are above the do it yourself community and name your price. 

This is a simple example of releasing 100 years of combined cement expertise that could easily be parlayed into a seven figure business model. The Millionaire Messenger is packed with great how to advice. For the sake of time, I am going to chat about the 9 reasons you should consider unlocking your knowledge and passion in the expert business. 

1. Your work is based entirely on your passion and knowledge. This is really important because it no longer seems like work when you wake up each morning doing what you love. 

2. Relating and Creating – Your work activities center around gaining trust and relating to your audience as well as creating useful content that add real value to their lives. 

3. Anytime / Anywhere – Creating information how to products allows you the comfort of working on your schedule from anywhere. I can tell you from personal experience that setting up your business to do this one great step toward personal freedom. 

There are four more "essentials" as I call them, and I break them down in my "The Millionaire Messenger" video book review, which you can find on the Success Progress website. 

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone. I appreciate your feedback.



Friday, 24 August 2012

Halligan & Shah's "Inbound Marketing"

Running a business with long sales cycles can be very frustrating. It is a load of fun dealing with cold calling, traditional prospecting and whinny salespeople. If you run or work for an office equipment, high tech or other business to business sales organization then this book is for you.

Why is this important to me? I always want to ask this question as if I am sitting in your shoes. Will this summary benefit you if you review it? Companies today have to innovate to earn business. The key word here is earn. Traditional outbound or push marketing works but is much less effective today. Push marketing techniques are blanket advertising, print ads, cold calling, telemarketing, spamming and other intrusive techniques.

Magnetic or pull marketing is very effective today because prospects are better educated. When they want information, they go to Google first and look for relevant content. Pull marketing techniques are SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Blogging, thought leadership websites, video, podcasts and a host of other content generating devices.
There is a ton of excellent information in this book. For the sake of time, I am going to profile three important points.

1. Create Content– Most websites are “brochure-ware” meaning that they simply try to sell goods and services. The problems with this approach include: 1. product centered not customer centered, 2. no differentiation from the competition, 3. commodity driven which equates too little profit. Creating content is about helping your defined customers with their problems as it relates to your solutions. This happens with FAQ’s, blog posts, How to – whitepapers and other relevant content. The relevancy of the content is critical and has to be customer driven and not company driven. This quote from Ben Franklin sums it up – "Either write something worth reading about or do something worth writing about."

2. Specialist – Creating content will allow you to become a leader in your field. Customers want to work with leaders, experts and specialists. This is the quickest and best way to leave your competition in the dust and differentiate your offering from theirs. The easiest way to start doing this is read related blog articles and comment and share them. Take your content and repurpose it into a blog, video and podcast and shoot it out to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. People want flexibility with the content and when you provide it, they will take action and follow you. If you compete against larger organizations, this can be a real advantage. Remember that most people are punching a clock and if you show passion for your industry then you will be seen as a Thought Leader and your business will grow

3. Measure– The best thing about inbound marketing is that you can measure everything. This means you have a running machine that can be tweaked for maximum performance. Google is an unlimited prospecting machine. You can setup a PPC (pay per click) campaign and have feedback in a couple hours. The goal is to keep what works and discard want does not work. Measuring progress will make your inbound lead generation a finely tuned orchestra.
Inbound marketing is the holy grail of lead generation because once you get it right, the lead generation compounds. This is the secret difference between inbound and outbound lead generation. If you use telemarketing then you have to pay the people every day to make calls and they will get a percentage of leads. With inbound marketing, you build your following and traffic which starts to compound which magnifies the Word of Mouth effect. This is a big deal and the key is to give it enough time to bear fruit

I hope you found this summary useful. Always appreciate any and all feedback! Have a good one.
-Joe at Success Progress


Friday, 17 August 2012

Appreciation in the Workplace: It All Comes Down to Language

Gary Chapman wrote "The 5 Love Languages," which is a revolutionary relationship book. The knowledge garnered from that book has actually saved relationships. It outlines how people express and receive love and outlines the issues that arise when people don’t know each other’s love language. Once you understand how people accept and show love, it becomes easy to grow stronger in relationships. Now the goal is to translate this in the workplace. 

Payroll is the biggest expense for almost every business. If you want to grow a successful organization, then you need to have employees. According to Gallup, an organization with engaged team members grows their earnings four times faster than organizations with disengaged employees. This is a big deal! You can suffocate your competition by beating them to the market, but you need an engaged team to do this. 

"The 5 Languages of Appreciation" is a must-read that is packed with excellent information. For the sake of time, I will briefly profile the five languages.

1. Words of Affirmation – This means that people receive appreciation through your words. The authors talk about different dialects and understanding the methods of delivery for Words of Affirmation. These people want and need to be affirmed through encouraging words. Likewise the opposite is true. If you hammer them with negative words, they will take it to heart and become demotivated. Words are no different than punches for people with this love language.

2. Tangible Gifts - People with this love language express their feelings and appreciation through giving and receiving gifts. In the workplace, this could be a dinner card to show appreciation or tickets to a sporting event. When a team member does a good job, it is better to give them tickets than to give them praise when they have this love language.

3. Quality Time – People who accept appreciation through quality time want to spend time with you. This means that they want your attention. If you work with people on a project then give them your attention. It does not have to be for a long time. Likewise the inverse is also true. Quality time people want your attention so if you are texting or emailing while spending time with them then it will turn them off and cause negative feelings.

4. Acts of Service – Acts of service people are doers. Action speaks louder than words. They perform and that is how they show and accept appreciation. As usual, the inverse is true. When you commit to doing something and do NOT do it, it offends people who accept appreciation through Acts of service.

5. Physical Touch – Physical touch is a big deal in your relationship. In the work environment, people with this love language need to be careful. You can express appreciation through a solid handshake or pat on the back. Obviously in your intimate relationship physical touch is much more powerful.

This book is a great start to full team engagement. Gallup shows that engaged employees create engaged / loyal customers. Understanding your workforce and their appreciation languages will be a true competitive advantage. The good news is it doesn't cost anything to put this in place!

I hope you have found this short summary useful. I'll have a new book and blog post next week for you.

Until we meet again,

Joe at Success Progress


Friday, 10 August 2012

Generational Stability

Do you ever think about generational transfer of wealth, fiscal accountability and contribution? The statistics for generational wealth hitting the 3rd generation are dismal. Basically, the first generation busts ass and creates something great. The second generation leverages the knowledge and the experience and expands the enterprise because they grew up seeing the work ethic and ingenuity exerted by the first generation. Now comes the third generation that basically is handed over the keys without doing the work and the enterprise dies. This is the fault of the second generation teachings and the third generation entitlement mindset. 

If you have a business and you are building your net worth and want to pass it along then this is critically important to you. Do you know that 90% of lottery winners are broke in 5 years and end up in worse shape than when they started? This is even worse for ex-athletes. Athletes are good at what they do and they simply think they are good in business because they have the money. Just like athletics, creating wealth is a science that takes hard/smart work and dedication. 

Anybody who says that they will go into business and succeed without the work is no different than me saying I will start for at tailback for the Dallas Cowboys next year. Both are very unrealistic but most people don’t see it that way for business. Education is critical along with hard/smart work. 

The Brower Quadrant is broken down into three key parts. For the sake of time, I will define what the quadrant is and then touch on how to start living it. 

1. What is the Brower Quadrant? The Brower Quadrant consists of four components. The first component is the “CORE”. This is your special talents and what drives you as a person. If you are a musician, athlete, artists or business person, the core is what defines you. The “EXPERIENCE” quadrant is all the experiences that define you and your family. This is important and needs to be captured and put into story format. Example: My grandfather came over to this country by himself when he was 9 years old on a ship across the Atlantic Ocean. Put this into perspective as most 9 year old kids today are not even allowed to be outside after 5:00 in a good neighborhood. Unfortunately, I was too young when he died and I was not able to capture the whole story to share. The experiences that shape your personality and your core need to be captured and shared. They may seem trivial to you but are important because they define what you do and how you do it. The “CONTRIBUTION” Quadrant is next. This is where you instill an attitude of gratitude and open up your heart. I realize this is esoteric but I cannot tell you how many books I have read that say the same thing. Basically this is Emerson’s law of compensation – If you want more then give more. The “FINANCIAL QUADRANT” is the money and wealth preservation quadrant. Most Estate planning people will simply show you how to minimize tax liability and ask you how you want to divide up the assets once you go down for the dirt nap. Lee takes a whole different approach and shows you how to continue to grow your financial position with the Family Empowered Bank and pass it from generation to generation. The Brower Quadrant is the solution to fleeting wealth across generations. 

2. Why is the Brower Quadrant important? I touched on this above but it bears repeating. Each of the quadrants can be thought of as assets. Family knowledge and skill sets are typically taken for granted and lost. Most hard working business people lose their businesses to their heirs. This also creates family stress and torn relationships. I can personally attest to this. Our business consisted of extended family and the entitlement of one of the partners was absolutely despicable and it tore the family apart and ended up in court. 

3. How does it work? Lee says it best in a chapter subtitle – “Family Leadership”. This is much more than estate planning. Leadership requires vision, clarity, action, communication, influence and a whole host of other attributes. Implementing the Brower Quadrant requires clarity in each quadrant with a set of action plans that are communicated and acted upon. 

I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions regarding this book, don't hesitate to reach out.

Have a good one!

-Joe at Success Progress


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Rule #1: Break the Rules

"First, Break All the Rules: What the world's greatest managers do differently" by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

 The right people make all the difference in the world. Question – How do you train people to be happy? Answer – You hire happy people. This piece of advice makes everything so much easier because you’re highly selective upfront and invest time matching skill sets to the job at hand.

Why is this important to me?

I am not doing this summary to waste your time. It is my vision to provide concise action steps that you can adopt right now to enhance your life. According to Gallup, 9% of employees are ENGAGED, 71% are DISENGAGED and 20% are ACTIVELY DISENGAGED. This costs companies billions of dollars per year in revenue. 

Why do people leave their jobs? Research shows that the number one reason people leave is because of their direct supervisor. Common sense solidifies this notion. People are spending 40% of their lives at work. If you have a neighbor that you hate, would you invite them over for dinner or avoid them? The same holds true for crappy supervisors. 

First, Break all the rules is broken down into 7 chapters based on significant research from Gallup. For the sake of time I want to point out the What, Why and How on four key points that will help you and your organization. 

1. Focus of Great Managers – The key to driving profitable growth is customer engagement and loyalty. In order to have customer engagement, you need employee engagement. The authors profile 12 questions based on the basics that great managers focus on. These are important because it focuses on the relationships to their direct reports and if they have the tools to do their jobs effectively. These simple questions are worth asking in your organization and I am going to do it in ours. 

2. Leverage Strengths – People have inherent strengths and great managers know to pair those strengths with the right jobs. Traditional thinking focuses on the negatives and working on the weaknesses of your employees. Great mangers leverage the talents and strengths and manage around the weaknesses. In order to do this, you need to understand the weaknesses and help these employees work around them. This requires reciprocation and team work. Remember that people don’t change that much. You see this in relationships all the time, one person tries to change the other person and it never happens. It is much better to simply pick the right person. This also means you have to know what you want. Talents can be defined as recurring behaviors that can be productively applied to defined outcomes. 

3. Focus on Performance – It is human nature to compete and want to excel at tasks. The 2012 

Superbowl was watched by 116 million people in America. This is almost half the population. Question – would people watch if they did not keep score? Absolutely not. This is why it is imperative to have your people keep score. They have to know who the adversary is and why they are keeping score on those items. When the right people are doing the things that come natural to them and that gels with the outcomes, profitable growth will happen. People’s nature and productive habits are their talents. The great mangers hunt for talents in their people. To get people to do their best you need a firm understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, goals and dreams. 

4. The Peter Principle – This principle basically says that people get promoted to their level of incompetence. Here is an example: You have a top salesperson and you promote him to sales manager. Next thing you know they fail at it. They just left their talent zone and moved to their weakness zone. The goal here is to recognize it and help people become more of what they already are. 

First, Break all the rules is a good book if you manage people. This will help you understand and reorganize your focus. This book will help me personally in two ways. One, we will be doing the 12 question survey of our people to see where we are at and two; we will realign and focus on strengths and manage around weaknesses. 

Have a great Saturday.