What is Branding? And Should Small Businesses Care?

If you spend any time in marketing circles or reading about marketing, you will bump into the word “branding”. Branding is one of those concepts that is a bit vague, at least for the non-marketer small-business owner. So today we’re going to look at “what is branding” from the small business perspective.

We’re also going to tackle the question of whether branding should matter to small businesses — or whether it’s something only large corporations should or can afford to care about.

What is Branding?

There are thousands of definitions of “branding” or just plain old “brand.” One of the best definitions of brand I’ve seen is from the Tronvig Group. To them, a brand is “what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization — whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.”

That seems a good informal way to describe a company’s brand. Under that definition, many things can contribute to a brand.

Does a picture pop into your mind about a company, such as its logo or colors?  Think about the logo, such as Coca Cola — recognizable the world over, executed in its distinctive curvy script in white against red. And when you see it, do you imagine the effervescence of a Coke, the dark color or how it tastes?  All of those things may run fleetingly through your mind when you want something to drink.

Sometimes it’s not the logo but another visual that comes to mind — even packaging. For instance, I couldn’t tell you what the Tiffany logo looks like, but the instant I see the iconic Tiffany blue box, I know which company we’re talking about. Certain attributes immediately come to mind, such as high quality jewelry and luxury home goods — things no one actually needs, but so many desire.

Or perhaps it is the company’s approach to customizing its product. Mention the name Starbucks and immediately coffee comes to mind. Now, I don’t even like Starbucks coffee (too strong and burnt tasting to me) but when traveling I will always look for a Starbucks.  I know I can expect a certain level of quality. The coffee will be fresh — not a stale witches brew.

But it’s more than coffee I think of — it’s that I can get it the way I want it.  No matter where I am, Starbucks will have hot, steamed low-fat milk to cut the strength. I can ask for a Cafe Misto (the Starbucks name for cafe au lait) made half with steamed milk, and half with brewed coffee. And I will get it — even though it’s not on the menu.  Why? Because Starbucks aims to give you coffee gussied up the way you want it.

So when you ask the question “what is branding” — it is something that triggers associations in our minds.  Branding is about creating an identity. It’s what sets one company apart from another. In short, it tells us what we can expect from that company.  It’s about the perception people have of the company.

Branding (a verb) is doing those activities and communications, large and small, that create and reinforce a brand, i.e., what a company is known for.

Your branding (a noun) is all the elements that make up a brand, whether logo, packaging, colors, reputation for customer service, reputation for customizing customer orders without complaint, speed, self-serve options, low price, high quality — whatever.


The Value of Branding

According to the Tronvig Group that I mentioned above,  branding is what createscustomer loyalty.  They say it is what keeps consumers loyal and buying repeatedly.

I would agree with that … but….

I’d go further.  Branding is what helps a prospective buyer call to mind a particular company when it comes time to buy.  In other words, branding also helps with awareness.

In a world of infinite choices, branding that helps people remember YOUR company is more important than ever. Today consumers have a seemingly endless choice of retailers, products and services available at their fingertips online, or at the local strip shopping centers or shopping malls.

If consumers are shopping for something, what do they do?  Go to Google, where billions of Web pages and yellow page listings are available.

Not only are there many choices, but some of the decision factors that traditionally separated and defined companies are today transparent and without much difference.  Take, for example, pricing.  Pricing is easier to discover and compare than ever before.  In certain industries there may be very little price difference.

When all prices are the same, what makes the buyer choose one over another?  Nuances and qualitative factors may make the difference.

For small businesses, what sets apart the business may be factors such as high quality, craftsmanship, personalized customer service, superior knowledge to help customers make the proper product selections, and similar qualitative factors.

The challenge for some small businesses is how to get customers to think of them when it’s time to buy.  You don’t want your company to be nonexistent in the customer’s mind.

And if they see your brand name in a list of competing vendors (such as in a search engine), you want your brand to be associated with positive factors that make it stand out.

Branding is not a replacement for sales or specific marketing campaigns.  But branding assists and reinforces your sales and marketing efforts in important ways.


But … We Can’t Afford to Do Branding

Actually, you can’t afford not to.  Sure, branding can get incredibly expensive if your idea of branding is a nationwide television and print campaign.  But it doesn’t need to be.

Here are 4 low-cost actions you can start on today to help your small business create, build and reinforce brand:

1) Start with clarifying what your brand stands for.  What’s that “one thing” you want customers to think of, when thinking of your company?

  • Most knowledgeable — that is, your representatives can help the customer choose options in a complicated product environment?
  • Speed — such as your 10-minute lunch menu, or same-day delivery, or fastest time to create a customized solution?
  • High quality — especially when all the competition is low quality?
  • Something else?

Think it through.  If you or your team are confused about that “one thing” that sets your company apart, customers probably will be, too.

If you’re not sure what this is, find out.  Schedule a strategy session and hash it out with your team.  Do a customer survey to ask existing customers what they value most.  Start asking new customers what made them choose your company or product or service.

Try to limit it to one thing or at most two things you want your brand to be known for.  If you end up with a laundry list of 20 things, go back to the drawing board and narrow it down. Customers don’t choose a vendor for 20 reasons. It’s usually one or two reasons that push them over the decision edge.

2) Audit your marketing materials.  This is low hanging fruit. Check over your website, your Facebook page, your brochures, your ads — every piece of marketing you have.  Do you have words in them to clearly convey “that one thing” that you want to be known for?

Or are your marketing materials sending mixed messages, with brochures emphasizing lowest cost, while your website emphasizes unparalleled quality?  Maybe you deliver both, but in that case the combination of both should be conveyed, not one or the other.

Is your company name abbreviated in your marketing materials with cryptic initials that customers may not understand?  Just because you refer to your company internally by an abbreviated acronym doesn’t mean customers have any clue what you’re talking about.

Look at sales scripts, too.  Are sales reps conveying what your brand is, the way you want them to?  Or are they saying something different?  You may even learn something from them — they may have discovered through trial and error what customers value most and how customers perceive your company.

Make sure everything reinforces what you want customers to think about your business.

3) Demonstrate it with stories.  Stories make your brand “stick.”  It’s not enough just to say over and over that “we offer high quality.”  Show it!

Write up case studies about how you helped a customer with your high-quality solution to solve a problem that no one else could solve.

Or get a testimonial about how your product outlasted other products by five years.

Write your company story in the About section of your website, and repeat that story in press releases, interviews and other communications. Create a video about your company “story.”

4) Use colors, symbols and other elements to create visual associations. Check your marketing materials for consistency.  Are you using an outdated logo on some materials?  Do you even have a logo?  Are colors consistent?

Visual elements are important clues that trigger other associations and help customers remember your business.

Remember, branding isn’t just for large corporations.  When customers have seemingly endless choices, branding becomes a crucial competitive edge.  That’s the value of branding for small businesses.


By: Anita Campbell


The Secret to Building the Most Profitable Business Possible

Perhaps the most important marketing step any business can take is to discover a way to be different.

– Different is doing something like no other.

– Different is creating your own category.

– Different is exceeding people’s chronically low expectations.

– Different is marketing in a way that makes people take notice.

Most of the time marketers seem to be in a race for sameness and this is what leads to low profits and that sinking feeling that somehow your business is stuck.

Now, if I’ve got your attention let me add this.

If you want to build a truly fulfilling business you’ve got to be different and remarkable at the same time.

And here’s the tough part. You’re probably pretty remarkable already, but it’s just that you’re remarkable at something everyone else claims. I know you do better work and provide better service than anyone in your industry – heck, your existing clients know this too, but those are expectations that everyone can boast.

Testing different

Don’t believe me? Try this. Go to your top five competitors and copy the first bit of content you encounter on their website onto a blank document. Do the same for your own site. Now, on this document, black out the names or any reference to the name of the business represented.

Take a look at what remains. Can you tell one from another? Can you even identify your business on this page anymore? Feeling brave? Pass this around the office and see how your staff does. Pass this to your best customers and see how they do.

Experience tells me that this should cement once and for all the opportunity that exists for your business to take a different path.

Stop paying attention to your competitors it will only lead to making you look the same.

Finding different

The source of your best different strategy is your customers.

I know you know what sets you apart from the pack, but your customers know what sets you apart in the ways that matter to them.

Sure, they love your great experience and knowledge, but what they really love is that you call them back immediately when they have a question.

Of course they love your wide selection of products, but what they really love is that you remember their name and what they bought the last time them came in.

The craftsmanship of your carpenters is second to none, but the fact that they clean up the job site every day is what rocks your customer’s world.

Sit down with your best customers and find out what they think you do that’s different. Listen for stories about times you did something different. Those stories are your key to carving out your difference. Take that gift and don’t ever be like everyone else again.

Making it remarkable

When you make a decision to be different, and that decision is fueled by the real world validation of your customers, then you simply take that knowledge and make fortifying that difference and turning it into the thing that makes your business remarkable your primary business objective.

Don’t shy away from your difference. Don’t think it’s too small or too odd or too unimportant sounding.

Make it your core message, make it the filter for every business decision and build business processes steeped in highlighting that difference.

If your people clean up the job site better than anyone else then show and tell the world and know that others will value that difference. Make that the thing your business is remarkable at doing.

If you remember a customer when they return to your store then build your entire business around that simple feeling of warmth that your business embodies. Make that the thing your business is remarkable at doing.

If you just happen to think it’s polite to quickly return calls and answer your customer’s concerns then broadcast that difference and build a company culture around what others might see as extreme customer attention. Make that the thing your business is remarkable at doing.

Now, let me give you the real payoff.

Companies that are different, that essentially have no competition for what they do in a remarkable way, charge a premium for what they do.

10 Things You Can Learn From the Apple Store

My friend, Carmine Gallo, has written a book called The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty. The Apple Store is the most profitable retailer in America, generating an average of $5,600 per square foot and attracting more than 20,000 visitors a week.


In the decade since Steve Jobs and former head of retail, Ron Johnson, decided to reimagine the retail experience, the Apple Store not only reimagined and reinvented retail, it blew up the model entirely and started from scratch. In his research for The Apple Experience, Carmine discovered ten things that the Apple Store can teach any business in any industry to be more successful:


1.) Stop selling stuff. When Steve Jobs first started the Apple Store he did not ask the question, “How will we grow our market share from 5 to 10 percent?” Instead he asked, “How do we enrich people’s lives?” Think about your vision. If you were to examine the business model for most brands and retailers and develop a vision around it, the vision would be to “sell more stuff.” A vision based on selling stuff isn’t very inspiring and leads to a very different experience than the Apple Retail Store created.



2.) Enrich lives. The vision behind the Apple Store is “enrich lives,” the first two words on a wallet-sized credo card employees are encouraged to carry. When you enrich lives magical things start to happen. For example, enriching lives convinced Apple to have a non-commissioned sales floor where employees feel comfortable spending as much time with a customer as the customer desires. Enriching lives led Apple to build play areas (the “family room”) where kids could see, touch and play on computers. Enriching lives led to the creation of a “Genius Bar” where trained experts are focused on “rebuilding relationships” as much as fixing problems.



3.) Hire for smiles. The soul of the Apple Store is in its people. They are hired, trained, motivated and taught to create magical and memorable moments for their customers. The Apple Store values a magnetic personality as much, if not more so, than technical proficiency. The Apple Store cares less about what you know than it cares about how much you love people.



4.) Celebrate diversity. Mohawks, tattoos, piercings are all acceptable among Apple Store employees. Apple hires people who reflect the diversity of their customers. Since they are more interested in how passionate you are, your hairstyle doesn’t matter. Early in the Apple Store history, they also learned that former teachers make the best salespeople because they ask a lot of questions. It’s not uncommon to find former teachers, engineers, and artists at an Apple Store. Apple doesn’t look for someone who fits a mold.



5.) Unleash inner genius. Teach your customers something they never knew they could do before, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty. For example, the Apple Store offers a unique program to help people understand and enjoy their computers: One to One. The $99 one-year membership program is available with the purchase of a Mac. Apple Store instructors called “creatives” offer personalized instruction inside the Apple Store. Customers can learn just about anything: basics about the Mac operating system; how to design a website; enjoying, sharing, and editing photos or movies; creating a presentation; and much more. The One to One program was created to help build customers for life. It was designed on the premise that the more you understand a product, the more you enjoy it, and the more likely you are to build a long-term relationship with the company. Instructors are trained to provide guidance and instruction, but also to inspire customers, giving them the tools to make them more creative than they ever imagined.



6.) Empower employees. I spent one hour talking to an Apple Store specialist about kids, golf, and my business. We spent about ten minutes talking about the product (a MacBook Air). I asked the employee whether he would be reprimanded for spending so much time with one customer. “Not at all,” he replied. “If you have a great experience, that’s all that matters.” Apple has a non-commissioned sales floor for a reason—employees are not pressured to “make a sale.” Instead they are empowered to do what they believe is the right thing to do.



7.) Sell the benefit. Apple Store specialists are taught to sell the benefit behind products and to customize those benefits for the customer. For example, I walked to the iPad table with my two young daughters and told the specialist I was considering my first iPad. In a brilliant move, the specialist focused on my two daughters, the ‘secondary’ customer who can influence a purchase. He let the girls play on separate devices. On one device he played the movie, Tangled, and on the other device he brought up a Disney Princess coloring app. My girls were thrilled and, in one memorable moment, my 6-year-old turned me to and said, “I love this store!” It’s easy to see why. Instead of touting “speeds and feeds,” the specialist taught us how the device could improve our lives.



8.) Follow the steps of service. The Apple Store teaches its employees to follow five steps in each and every interaction. These are called the Apple five steps of service. They are outlined by the acronym A-P-P-L-E. They are: Approach with a customized, warm greeting. Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs. Present a solution the customer can take home today. Listen for and address unresolved questions. End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.



9.) Create multi-sensory experiences. The brain loves multi-sensory experiences. In other words, people enjoy being able to see, touch, and play with products. Walk into an Apple Store upon opening and you’ll see all the notebook computer screens perfectly positioned slightly beyond 90-degree angles. The position of the computer lets you see the screen (which is on and loaded with content) but forces you to touch the computer in order to adjust it. Every device in the store is working and connected to the Internet. Spend as much time as you’d like playing with the products—nobody will kick you out. Creatives who give One-to-One workshops do not touch the computer without asking for permission. They want you to do it. The sense of touch helps create an emotional connection with a product.



10.) Appeal to the buying brain. Clutter forces the brain to consume energy. Create uncluttered environments instead. The Apple Store is spacious, clean, well-lit, and uncluttered. Cables are hidden from view and no posters on placed on the iconic glass entrances. Computer screens are cleaned constantly. Keep the environment clean, open, and uncluttered.



The three pillars of enchantment are likability, trustworthiness, and quality. Apple’s engineers take care of quality, and the Apple Store experience personifies likability and trustworthiness. I’ve never left an Apple store without being enchanted—in fact, I seldom leave the Apple Store on University Avenue in Palo Alto without being enchanted and buying something too! Resisting Carmine’s book, like resisting an Apple Store, is futile, so just get it here: The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty.


By: Guy Kawasaki

How Richard Branson Started Over 400 Companies: The most powerful productivity (& confidence) hack of all time

On discovering the ultimate source of confidence & productivity…


Not long ago I attended an event with Sir Richard Branson and a bunch of other entrepreneurs. Something about his message and his presence brought clarity to a concept I’ve inherently known & practiced for years. Now that it’s clear, I’d like to share it.


It’s a topic I rarely write about, but it’s a huge part of every one of my days (often before I check an email, write my first sentence or even open my computer).



It’s the primary foundation of not only my own confidence and productivity, but that of almost every successful lifestyle entrepreneur and CEO on the planet.


“So, how do you get more done?”


Why is it that so many successful people seem to be able to do so much? How is it that the more accomplished the person, the more it seems they’re able to get done?


Shouldn’t it be the opposite?


How is a CEO of one company able to found another one on the side, while administering his charity and still taking the occasional family trip?


For years this has blown my mind. With how much effort it takes to do one thing well, I couldn’t imagine how people who seemed even ‘busier’ than me could produce magnitudes more results.


Then I figured it out.


Most Successful People Have One Thing in Common 


One day a handfull of people were on a small boat with Richard Branson heading out to his private island, Necker Island, for a few days (OK, maybe the boat wasn’t that small…). One of the guys on the boat asked something along the lines of “Richard, how can I be more productive?” Keep in mind, Richard is the founder and operator of a 400-company conglomerate. He also has dyslexia and a pretty piss poor academic track record.


Yet somehow, from space travel to deep sea exploration, to music and cell phones, this guy has literally been able to accomplish a bazillion times more than the average Joe. And he’s still only 61.


Hence, the crowd of boat passengers hung on the edge of their seat cushions in anticipation of what turned out to be an unbelievably simple answer…


Richard responded: “Work out.”

That was it.

And that has turned out to be the answer to so many seemingly ‘hard’ to solve problems:


How do I get more energy? Work out.
How do I get more confidence? Work out.
How do I keep from getting sick? Work out.
How do I find more time? Work out.
How do I stay focused? Work out.


And of course the obvious…


How do I look and feel better?


I’ll let you answer that one.


Most problems, and especially those related to motivation, come from inside ourselves – From our physical body and how much we do or do not respect it.


And Richard Branson is not the only one.


Look around you. Who are your idols and mentors? Who are the people who have absolutely crushed it in their industry? Open up the lastest edition of Forbes and check out the Forbes 400 richest men and women in the U.S. Look at our current and past Presidents. Look at Tony Robbins, Barack Obama, George Bush, Stephen Covey, Eckhart Tolle, Yvon Chouinard, Simon Sinek, Chip Conley, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Or even in the online world with Leo Babauta, Chris Guillebeau and Tim Ferriss, whom we talked about last week. The guys run marathons, constantly break their own records and push themselves physically almost daily.


And it has nothing to do with their actual business – at least not directly.


How many terribly overweight and unhealthy people do you see among the people who have knocked it out of the park – especially ones doing work they truly enjoy?


Sure there are some, but for the most part, the people who do well (by whatever measure) have realized that the more they respect their body, the better it will perform for them.


That is the holy grail.



Why is fitness so dam powerful?

For me everything comes back to fitness. Losing weight, gaining muscle or looking fit is only the very tip. The magical part is what happens to your mind and your world as a result.


1. You are in complete control. There are very few things in life in which you are in total control. In business (and much of life), you can do things to stack the deck in your favor, but a prospect can still slam a door in your face. A girl can still backhand you for a poorly executed pickup line. A seemly trusted friend can still deceive you.


When it comes to the outside world, we are in less control than we think (aside from how we interpret what happens to us, which is a whole separate, and hugely powerful discussion).


But when it comes to fitness, we are in complete control. A new client can fire you, but no one can stop you from coming home that night and running a faster mile than you’ve ever run, or adding a few pounds onto your favorite lift. Do you have any idea how empowering it is to be in full control of something and actually use it to your advantage?


2. The impossible breeds the impossible. When you start to harness things you’re in control of, your confidence starts to strengthen. Think of what happens to your mind if all of a sudden you watch yourself shed 40 pounds, especially after people around you doubted it would happen. If you can lose 40 pounds, then why couldn’t you double sales in your business next here? Or finally quit that miserable job to do something that matters.


Do you know anyone who’s lost a ton of weight in the past years? What effect did it have on their outlook and confidence? Think about that for a minute.


The confidence is massively transferable – So why not build it in a realm you have complete control over and then transfer it to an area you don’t? It’s the ultimate hack!


Just yesterday morning at the Crossfit gym in SF, I hit a new personal record for one of their main lifts (a hang-clean). Class was done at 8am, the sun was barely up, and I already felt on top of the world. Guess how hard I went after my writing and projects for the next 8 hours?

No matter what happened the rest of the day, I still had my workout (and the burning chest as a nice reminder).


No one could take that from me.


Once 8am rolled around, I couldn’t lose.


You play enough games like that, and you literally start to believe you can do anything.


Then you start doing it.


So why is fitness the first thing to go?


The sad thing is most of the above probably isn’t that new to you. But still so few people get off their ass and do something about it…


The problem is most the world works out not because they want to, but because they feel they should.


When you know you should do something, you immediately look for excuses.


And when it comes to fitness, excuses are everywhere.


Usually the winner is “I don’t have enough time.”


The world is missing the point. The fastest and best way to literally add minutes to your day is to get off your ass and start moving and breathing.


Busy people who don’t work out say they don’t have time. Busy people who do work out, swear they 


Successful people don’t have time to work out because they’re successful. I’d argue they’re successful because they work out.


Ladies and gentleman, there is no putting this one off for later.


“I don’t have time” is a downright shitty excuse.



A simple way to start getting active:


1. Start small. If you try to go from running 0 miles a week to running 15, you are likely going to fail. Start ridiculously small. Just take your current level and add a bit more weight or a few more laps (or even just a few extra meters). If you don’t start small, you likely won’t start.


2. Build your team. Find a few active and motivated friends to join you. This will help a ton with accountability and making it way more fun. And if your buddies are anything like mine, you’ll push each other without even trying. If you can’t find anyone locally then get online. There are some great tools. By far my favorites are Runkeeper and Fitocracy – which happen to work really well together too. More on them below.


3. Pick your activity. Brainstorm a list of things you can do for a month (or more) using the following criteria: 1. It must be fun and exciting, 2. Can be done almost daily, and 3. It must be a stretch to accomplish. Remember, overcoming challenges is what builds confidence – that’s the point. A bonus would be that it teaches you a new skill. I listed some ideas below. Most gyms and workout classes have an introductory special that is a ridiculous deal. Even trying a new one of those each month works well. Plus, you may find your perfect activity in the process.


4. Create your schedule. Ideally first thing in the morning, because that gives it the best chance of actually happening.


5. Do it. No excuses. Keep each other motivated.


6. Track it. You have to have a baseline for progress. Measure and track everything. I always do before pictures (those are especially motivating) and after, as well as measure the main areas of your body (thighs, waist, arms, chest, butt). I tend to get a little crazy with this stuff and actually for the past couple months have been getting my body fat tested in Redwood City at the BodyComposition Center (the same place that did all of Tim’s measurements for the 4-Hour Body). They have an insanely accurate $300k DEXA bone density scanner that also measures body fat. It’s only $69/scan and gives a great baseline. Whatever you do, just be sure to track progress somehow.


7. Celebrate. No accomplishment is complete without a victory dance.


8. Leverage technology: By far the two most motivating and fun technology tools for tracking fitness and workouts are Runkeeper (online and iPhone app) and Fitocracy (both totally free). Fitocracy is like the Facebook for fitness. It is so damn fun to use! You can compete and compare with your friends, enter into challenges and all kinds of other stuff. Many of my buddies and online friends track each other on this.


The Magical 30-Day Challenge


By far my favorite way to tackle fitness is through 30 and 60-day challenges.


Given our craving for variety and how quickly we get bored with the norm, especially with working out, I decided to break my activity into 30-day bursts. This allows me to try all kinds of adventures and to seriously go after the activity at hand without getting burned out. Plain and simple, it makes fitness fun.


I encourage you to use the above steps and apply them to a different 30-day challenge every month or two.


You can do anything for 30 days, right?


Some of my recent challenges include: 


  • 31 days of Bikram Hot Yoga in a month (this was last month’s January challenge). I also juiced veggies for breakfast and ate mostly plants the rest of the day to do a little New Year’s cleanse – Chelsea, my wife, is an insanely talented cook – check out her mostly plants veggie cooking blog Food-Life Balance. (Side note: I was in a body fat loss competition with my buddy – not because I felt I needed to necessarily lose weight, but just for the fun challenge).


  • See how much muscle I can gain in 2 months – that’s my Feb and March challenge, which involves a combo of Crossfit and Leo Costa’s Titan Training System (btw, the quality of the instruction at Kelly Starett’s San Francisco Crossfit gym is bar none. Also has a great view of the Golden Gate…).


  • Complete the Goruck Challenge with 8 friends this June.


  • Run a self-guided ‘Accidental Marathon’ with four friends.


  • Rock climbing (gym or outdoors) – pick a face the first day you hope to conquer by month’s end.


  • TRX Suspension training- whoever can get the most days in wins.


  • Swim Fast Escape from Alcatraz and across the Golden Gate swims – with a group of 12-year-olds.


  • Tahoe Rim Trail Ultra Marathon barefoot run- long runs and learning Chi Running as prep.


  • Pick a different staircase to run each day in San Francisco- we found a great guide book for this. Every city has countless stairs.


  • Summit Mt. Shasta or climb any mountain for that matter – this was actually what I did for my bachelor party…


  • Cross-country Crossfit (high intensity 10-20 minute workouts) – I did this challenge last year remotely with my buddy in the Navy in Maryland using his Crossfit website. Free workouts posted daily. What a fun way to keep up from afar. We compared times each morning.


  • P90X Extreme Home Fitness. The 13-week program is one of the best I’ve experienced for full body muscle, cardio and flexibility. Doing a month of it is a great start. I did the full 13-weeks and even gained just under 10lbs.



They do it for themselves…


I’m not the strongest guy at my gym.


I’m not the fastest guy in my running group.


I don’t win the races I enter.


I don’t do the things I do for some external trophy.


I do them because when I lift a little more weight, run a little farther, swim a little longer or eat a little healthier, I become a different person.


When I’m fit, I treat people better, I help people more and I’m capable of putting a bigger dent in the world.


I find new levels of confidence. I experience new heights of ambition.


I become powerful on an altogether different level.


And I absolutely love it.


The fit people don’t do what they do for those around them. They do it for themselves. 


They do it for the person it makes them and for the way they’ll be able to impact the world as a result.


There is no health benefit to being bigger, faster or stronger than the person checking himself out in the mirror next to you.


The power comes in knowing that you can control the things you can control.


That you have the discipline to move mountains.


Get in control of that, and you’ll start to surprise yourself.


By: Scott


37 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life


Today we have decided to feature some of the world’s top inspirational life quotes for you to love, share and remember. Quotes are those little reminders that we all need now and then and some are powerful enough to inspire us for the whole week.


So here is the beautiful collection of Inspirational life quotes that are loved and highly shared throughout our Twitter & Facebook pages.


Inspirational Life Quotes


“Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” – Unknown


 “Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown


 “I don’t regret the things I’ve done, I regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance.” –Unknown


 “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine


 “Its hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but its harder to give up when you know its everything you want.” – Unknown


 “One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you dont feel like doing it.” – Unknown


 “Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.” – Unknown


 “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.” – Denis Waitley


 “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby


 “Go where you are celebrated – not tolerated. If they can’t see the real value of you, it’s time for a new start.” – Unknown


 Dont be afraid to stand for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone.. – Unknown


 “The best revenge is massive success.” – Frank Sinatra


 “Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.” – Unknown


 “I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. Its because of them I’m doing it myself.” – Albert Einstein


 “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs


 “Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.” – Unknown


 “When you say “It’s hard”, it actually means “I’m not strong enough to fight for it”. Stop saying its hard. Think positive!” – Unknown


 “Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.” – Unknown


 “Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” – Jack Canfield


 “The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is opportunity for growth.” – Unknown


 “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” – Farrah Gray


 “The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.” – Joel Brown


 “Self confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have. how can anyone see how awesome you are if you can’t see it yourself?” – Unknown


 “We learn something from everyone who passes through our lives.. Some lessons are painful, some are painless.. but, all are priceless.” – Unknown


 “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. it means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” – Unknown


 “Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget


 “Three things you cannot recover in life: the WORD after it’s said, the MOMENT after it’s missed and the TIME after it’s gone. Be Careful!” – Unknown


 “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard


 “When the past calls, let it go to voicemail, believe me, it has nothing new to say.” – Unknown


 “Rule #1 of life. Do what makes YOU happy.” – Unknown


 “Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away from your joy. Life is too short to put up with fools.” – Unknown


 “Love what you have. Need what you want. Accept what you receive. Give what you can. Always remember, what goes around, comes around…” – Unknwon


 “Just remember there is someone out there that is more than happy with less than what you have.” – Unknown


 “The biggest failure you can have in life is making the mistake of never trying at all.” – Unknown


 “Life has two rules: #1 Never quit #2 Always remember rule # 1.” – Unknown


 “No one is going to hand me success. I must go out & get it myself. That’s why I’m here. To dominate. To conquer. Both the world, and myself.” – Unknown


 We hope you enjoyed these inspirational life quotes today. Please don’t forget to share these with your friends, family and followers to brighten their day and inspire them to live a better life.


 By: Joel Brown



(Motivational Video) – How To Be Limitless!

Silicon Valley’s Serial Entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal is set to launch his 4th Successful Multi-Million dollar company, Gravity4.

 Gurbaksh decided to kick things off with a motivational video and message to inspire the world and it’s awesome.

He has big things lined up for G4, which is his brand new advertising software company based out of San Francisco.

As a matter of fact he is actually looking for people to join him in the new voyage with G4, right now!

Here is the “Be Limitless Motivational Video“, enjoy and don’t forget to share this to inspire others.


Gravity4 – How To Be Limitless – Motivation

The biggest sport where you get knocked down, where you get told; you’re not good enough, where doubt, rejection and fear try to take over is called LIFE.

In this sport you only have one option: to keep running, to keep chasing that dream, or to stop, and let it consume you.

I always knew one thing…….. that I was chasing something greater than myself. Something that defined purpose. Something that was immeasurable.

They say; “The two most important days of your life is the day you’re born and the day you find out why.”

Limits are there for a reason.


They are imaginary. They create boundaries.

But when you come from NOTHING, EVERYTHING is LIMITLESS!

You become FEARLESS!

You measure success not by numbers, but by courage.

It’s about going the distance…..minus the setbacks.

It’s about enjoying the destination, but never getting to comfortable.

And just like Gravity…. Your energy attracts everything.

And that’s why, I’m never gonna stop running.

Because it’s always just the beginning.

And there’s only one way to live it……


The #1 Priority in Your Day


Everything was going according to plan. I was 30 minutes early and the film crew was all ready to go. We had six short scripts to record along with one long PowerPoint-based presentation. I was going to be done early, or so I thought, before, of course, things went wrong. You’ll discover the full story in a moment.


But first, you need to realize that what you’re about to discover is a really simple tip. However, it’s also one of the most important concepts to follow every day, in both your personal and professional life. This simple reminder could mean the difference between success and failure.


Too many business owners make the same mistake that I did that day. They start their day making lists, often affected by what I call “Whiteboard-itis”, where they spend more time organizing and prettying-up their whiteboard (or worse, whiteboard-paint painted walls) with to-dos, and ideas, and grand plans…


…but they never get down to implementing the plan. (Mostly because all of this other stuff is used as a giant procrastination crutch to avoid the REAL work.)


Most people fail to do the #1 most important activity FIRST.


And that’s what happened at the filming session.


When I arrived, the film crew had set up to film the scripts, first (these required a teleprompter and specific arrangement of the lighting and camera). However, the scripts were of the lowest priority. We should have started with the PowerPoint presentation, because it was longer and was due for our Virtual Mastermind members.


The scripted videos were just Youtube experiments and didn’t really matter that much. Still, we started with those. Two hours later, I was running out of mental energy. Filming takes a lot out of me, although with training I’m getting better at this activity that is way outside of my comfort zone.


Then, to make things worse, just as we started with the priority PowerPoint presentation, construction started up just outside the office suite where we were filming. That caused another twenty-minute delay. I fought hard to regain my energy for the video, and we were able to create another fantastic piece of content for Virtual Mastermind members.


However, it would have been much easier if we had done the most important task first. We made a classic mistake. Like most business owners, we fell into the trap of doing the easy, “busy work” first, rather than the tougher priority tasks. But that’s not how you make massive progress in your business. To move ahead, work on your #1 priority first thing when you are mentally fresh and full of energy.


My friend Ryan Lee recently gave a great example of this in an interview. He explained how his sister ran a real estate business in New York City. Competition was fierce and Ryan was trying to help her out. During a consultation, Ryan asked, “What’s the #1 activity your company does that gets more clients?”


Her reply, “Calling the landlords for listings.”


So Ryan asked, “And how many hours do you devote to this each day?”


Her reply, “Usually one or two, but sometimes none because we are so busy with other stuff.


And THAT is the problem.


Are you “so busy with other stuff” that it prevents you from doing the important work?


When you fail to act on your most important priority first thing you end up paying the price. Other things get in the way. Your mental energy wanes. You set it aside and procrastinate. And you fail to make progress. That’s why you feel like you are struggling.


Business owners get so busy with OTHER stuff that they neglect the most important activity in their business that drives the vital number that they should be obsessively watching. (Matt Smith and I covered this in his interview here.)


Make sure you are doing the #1 most profitable activity FIRST thing in your day. Make sure it gets the necessary time and energy it deserves EVERY day. That’s why I go straight to writing content for 60 minutes EVERY morning.


I wake up and I know what to do. This was decided at 5 p.m. LAST night. Not this morning. (For example, finishing this issue is my most important task today, and that’s why the words are flowing freely onto this page at 5:01 a.m. I’m attacking my most important task when I’m in my most creative state of mind. Email can wait until 2 p.m.)


And yes, this will require sheer will and determination to stay on point when there is a myriad of distractions around you. Even I, at this early hour, want to grab my phone and post this morning’s motivational quotes to my Early to Rise Facebook page. (Fortunately, my old Blackberry has taken such a recent beating with repeated drops to the floor that the internet function no longer works. That’s just another secret technique in my time management routine.)


So I’ve glued my butt to this chair (figuratively, not literally…I’m not willing to go that far…yet) and force myself to get every last word out before my 5 a.m. deadline – when it will be time to move to my next writing priority. You will need to take this approach too. Eliminate distractions and know what needs to get done.


Your to-do list should be made the night before. You should know exactly what you are going to do – and need to do – first thing in the morning.


I truly believe there is something to the idea of having your sub-conscious mind work on your problems overnight…and that’s why you should wake up, get through whatever routines and chores you must do, and then get right to work on letting those thoughts flow freely that have built up during your sleep. You might even want to dictate those thoughts into a recorder or iPhone as soon as you wake up.


That’s how breakthroughs are made – by working on your number one priority first thing in the morning -then moving to your next biggest priority, and so on.


As legend has it, Charles Schwab once paid a consultant, Ivy Lee, for this advice: Make a list of priorities the night before. When you get to work, start with priority one and don’t do anything else until it is finished. Then move to priority two. Don’t work on anything else until that is finished. And so on. Schwab found this advice to be so effective that he paid Lee the handsome sum (at the time) of $25,000 for that simple, yet powerful strategy.


My advice to you is practically free. Work on your number one priority first thing in the day. And don’t let this habit slip slide away. Block the time. Prepare the night before. And attack that #1 most important activity in your business – EVERY day.


By:  Craig Ballantyne