Which Entrepreneurial Level Are You?

Wouldn’t it be great to have the luxury to have ambition, perspective, and philosophy to work less while making more and more money.

Nowadays It is so important to have the work / life balance in order to get the most out of your career and your personal life.

If you think that working every hour under the sun makes you successful you’re wrong. You need to understand and focus on your goals in life in order to get to where you want to be.

This is why it is important to know which level are you on in your entrepreneurial journey:

1. The Entrepreneurial Employee

If you fall in this category, you tend to work with a sense of familiarity and security. Your main priority is financial subsistence, rather than to work on more profitable ventures that might require new experience beyond comfort zone. For a short period of time, you are an excellent employee, but eventually you become bored and burned out. Although you may threaten to leave, you fail most of the time. This is because of your nature to be risk-averse, comforting, and inclined to please others than acting for yourselves or accepting leadership roles.

2. The Self-Employed Entrepreneur

You want freedom from an authority of a boss. A do-it-yourself entrepreneur who have so much drive for autonomy and self-reliance, but lack the necessary administrative, leadership, and managerial skills. With these drawbacks, you tend to work long hours alone, work through all the details in the business, and avoid new and innovative learning methods as well as taking help from other people.

3. The Managerial Entrepreneur

You belong to this level when you prioritise growing your organization in systematic way even if the growth may or may not make sense. You often expand when it isn’t necessary and ignore bottom line profits. More often than not, you will mismanage small, flexible companies into complicated and constrained ones by expanding bureaucracy.

4. The Entrepreneurial Investor/Owner

Your focus is not only creating business, but also on marketing and selling as an investor and / or owner. You don’t concentrate on sales of products and services, but on sales of the whole company that often leads you to successfully franchise your company. Selling companies for profit is your centre of attention, because you primarily view business as investment vehicles meant to be sold, not held for life.

5. The Visionary Entrepreneur

A type of entrepreneur who rises to the level of enjoying many passive-income centers. In this level, you can dedicate as much time as you want to your personal endeavors. You view work as a pursuit that involves turning dreams into reality. You devote your time thinking of great ideas that you can come true. With the immense resources that you have, you are able to create things no one can ever imagine.

Each one of us place ourselves within these five levels of entrepreneurship.

I used to be stuck in the first two levels of entrepreneurship, but I learned strategies that made my business into success and now I am in number 4 and 5!

Now, that I was able to grow my business, I want to share my knowledge on how I grew this into a highly profitable one.

Feel free to drop a message on dean@entrepreneursuccess.ieor call me on (076) 888 6170.

All the best
Dean

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your business:

1. Grab a free copy of my Productivity Planner

The Productivity Planner allows business owners track their time in 30 minute increments, showing them the areas where they are spending their time, where they are wasting their time and where they should be spending more time on. Download Here – https://goo.gl/TZn1X8

2. Come along to our EXCLUSIVE ‘Discovery Day’ Business Seminar

I’ll show you the “ins and outs” of how I’ve been growing my companies by 20-30% year on year and cutting my hours in the process. I’ll also show you behind the scenes of some of my most successful projects (including the financials behind them and how I pulled it off, step by step).

3. Join the Entrepreneurs and Business Owners LinkedIn group and connect with other business owners who are scaling too.

It’s our new LinkedIn community where Entrepreneurs, SME’s and Business Owners in Ireland meet and discuss best practices in growing a company. Join NOW – https://goo.gl/zfC1dy

4. Work with me and my team privately

If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from 5 to 6 figures… just send me a message and with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

5 lesson

5 lessons learned from starting & scaling a multi million euro company

Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster of emotions and challenges.

A recent article posted by Forbes stated that 80%  of small businesses fail within the first 18 months.That’s a lot!

There were plenty of times when I was starting out that I was probably very close to making that 80% myself.

Thankfully I came out on top. I have started several businesses in different industries in Ireland, UK and America. These businesses ranged from a fitness studio to corporate events business, travel agent and a software company.

Each and every business had its own challenges and daily frustrations. Validating your business idea, cashflow, acquiring new customers, sales, hiring employees. The list is endless…

By the time you read to the end of this article you will have solid ideas on how to grow your company to its next level. These are some of my biggest ahha moments I’ve had from taking several companies from 0 to 100K+ per month.

small business failure rate

Lets jump in..

Focus on Sales & Marketing!

Sale’s is  the lifeblood of every single company. If you can’t sell, your screwed. You could have the best product or service in the world but without a focus on sales, you’re doomed for failure.

Although sales and marketing are the most important part of business, 80% of business owners never really focus on. Hence the high failure rates for businesses. Seems crazy right…

Peter Drucker, the world’s most famous marketing and management consultant has a famous quote.

“A Business Has Only 2 Functions, Marketing & Innovation”

-Peter Drucker-

The day you started your business is the day you innovated! There is no need to try come up with some new innovation to grow your business until you have the cash flow to do so.

You are no longer an accountant, a beautician or a fitness instructor. You are now a marketer of your product or service, that should be your main focus.

This is a big mindset shift for most business owners that they fail to see. The reason, you think having a fantastic product or service is enough. You worked in a day job where clients were landed on your lap everyday..but you don’t understand how that client got there.

sales

Action Item..

Make sure you spend at least 2-3 hr on sales and marketing every single day!

Get your Numbers dialed in..

You cannot successfully grow your business unless you know your numbers.This is key! You cannot just give your company a goal of 500k of revenue and not have all your numbers mapped out in order to achieve it.

If you were going on holidays you would map out everything that needed to happen to reach your destination. What time you would leave your house to arrive at the airport. What time and where you would catch the bus / train in order to hit your destination by a certain time. Business is no different.

So let’s say you want your company to make 500k this year. What would need to happen to achieve that. We would use the following table to figure this out.

[table width=”100%” style=”border: 1px solid black;margin-top: 40px;” colwidth=”20|100|50″ colalign=”left|left|center|left|right”]
Target Revenue ,500000

Average Sale Value,800
Customer Required ,652
Average Conversion Rate ,20%
Leads Required,3125
Leads Required Per Week ,60
[/table]

 

We now know exactly what needs to happen in order to achieve the growth you want in your company.

You then communicate this back to your employees. The best solution is to have a big whiteboard in your office where you have a daily 15 minute standing meeting around your numbers.

Each employee should have their targets aligned with your revenue goals. When speaking to each employee/ sales person/ marketing executive etc..you ask the following two questions.

1. Where are you against where you need to be?

2. What needs to change to get you there?

By constantly asking these questions and always having your eye on the end goal, you will achieve it.

know your numbers

Action Item..

 

1. Use the above  table, figure out exactly what needs to happen in order to hit your desired revenue as a business.

2. Communicate this to your staff on a daily basis and track on a whiteboard

3.Keep each staff member aligned with your goal on a daily basis.

Who are they..Where are they and what can you give them…

Now that we know how much money you want to achieve as a business, now we want to figure out the following.

1. Who do you want to serve?

2. Where are they hanging out?

3. What can you give them?

Who do you want to serve?

Some of your customers will be a pain to deal with, that’s the reality. Others won’t. You will make twice as much money off a certain customer type over another.

You need to get very clear on exactly who you want to serve as your customer. What do they look like, how much do they make, what are their current challenges and frustrations. This is your customer avatar profile.

So many businesses never take the time to work this out. Believe me, it only makes business harder, more stressful and a lot less profitable.

Ideal Customer Profile

Where are they hanging out?

Where do your customers hang out online. Where can you get their attention in order for them to hear about your product or service. Here is a common list where you can reach most customers online.

1. Google (Search engine optimisation, adwords and Google display network)

2. Facebook ( Facebook business page (organic leads), paid advertising)

3. Instagram

4. Pinterest

Give them what they want…

Once you have figured out exactly who your customer is and where they are hanging out online, you now need to transition to a bait. What I mean by bait is what can you put in front of your potential customer that might solve a problem for them.

This could be in the form of a short report or a checklist.

Example: If you are a builder and you are looking to pick up some new clients, you could write a checklist on “The 10 things you must check before hiring your next builder”

The only people who will optin for this report are people who are potentially looking for a builder.

The above example can be used in almost any industry.

Action Items…

1. Figure out who do you want to serve?

2. Find where they are hanging out?

3. What can you give them?

Conclusion

I honestly believe that if you focused on the above strategy every single day for the first 2/3hrs you will have a steady flow of customers.

Keep things as simple as possible when you are starting out. Focus, focus, focus on one single marketing channel until you are starting to generate consistent leads on a daily basis that are turning into sales.

Starting and growing a business is one of the most challenging things you will ever do. The only thing that will stop you from being massively successful is consistently focusing on the things that will make your sales.

Your Implementation checklist…

    1. Make sure you spend at least 2-3 hours on sales and marketing every single day!
    2. Using the above table, figure out exactly what needs to happen in order to hit your desired revenue as a business.
    3. Who do you want to serve?
    4. Where are they hanging out?
    5. What can you give them?

Download PDF Checklist & Bonus Business Building Mindmap..($97 value)

Dean Gammell, Voted Irelands No.1 Entrepreneur in 2014 is a 29 year old businessman from Westmeath. He employs 35 staff across a broad range of businesses. He started his first business when he was 22 and has since received numerous awards for entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dean speaks nationally on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. You can ad Dean on Facebook here.. (Feel Free to message me on Facebook :)

Business

7 Must have systems to grow any business

Do you ever feel frustrated trying to manage all the different moving parts of your business?

 

Trying to keep tabs on everything is tough unless you put the systems and procedures in place to allow it.

 

The sort of systems and procedures that would allow you to manage your entire business through your iPhone if you wish!

 

Impossible you might think, not for me.

There is a reason Mcdonalds is the most famous franchise in the world.

They understand that in order to be successful they must look at their business as a system and NOT a business.

 

There is a BIG difference.

 

Business

This is where most business owners fail.

They become a victim to their own business because they do not realize the IMPORTANCE of having the right systems in place.

 

Systems that would allow them to step away from their business and for it to still produce a consistent profit and grow without them.

How Do You See Your Business?

You need to start looking at your business like a cash machine with a troop of monkeys running it.

In order for that cash machine to thrive without you, what would you put in place so even a monkey can run and maintain it for you?

I am lucky enough to have found some amazing staff over the years.

However, I have found that in order for the business owner to put the right systems in place, you need to believe it’s going to be ran by monkeys.

When you have this mentality, you will go above and beyond in your systems to make them monkey proof.

For the last number of years, I have spent countless hours making my businesses monkey proof.

I have documented EVERYTHING so when one employee leaves another one can easily be trained in.

When I am on holidays, all my employees know exactly what has to be done and when.

My monkey systems and dashboards are there to make running a successful, profitable company inevitable!

So me, “chief monkey” can work on other, more important things in business and life.

How Can This Be Archieved

So how is it possible to make your business monkey proof in order for you to do what you want when you want?

I have dedicated a lot of my time in this area.

I’ve read hundreds of books and constantly refined a system that revolutionizes any business once these 7 steps are fully implemented.

Business

The 7 Systems I use & Teach Other Businesses To Use:

 

I use a project management software called Asana. Through this software, I run and maintain my entire company.

You do not have to use this, but its what works for me. The business name is the project name.

I then make the following subtasks under that company name.

1. Business Operations

2. Accountancy Systems

3. Sales systems

4. Lead generation

5. Fulfillment

6. Weekly meetings

7. Projects

These tasks are all then broken down further into more subtasks.

We connect the project management software in google docs for anything that requires a description and also use google spreadsheets where required.

1. Business Operations

Everything got to do with running the company. HR, culture, hiring/firing, business dashboard, time management, etc.
Each section is laid out so it is easy to understand and navigate.

2. Accountancy Systems

Most business owners do not realise how much money they are leaving on the table by not having good accountancy systems in place.

A business that is turning over 200k in revenue always has a number of opportunities to increase profits and cash flow through a few tweaks inside their accounts.

Areas you need to consider for your accountancy systems are, Forecasts, P&L, Cashflow analysis, Bank recon, Profit maximisers (Driving labour efficiency, driving profit by driving expenses monthly etc) and of course budgets.

3. Sales systems

Your business will not survive without having a very structured process in place in order to get sales and tomaximize them throughout the customer life cycle.

Through your sales systems you should have the necessary training to allow your employees make the sale.

Sales scripts, Sales upsells/ maximisers, cross-sells, down-sells. Each one designed in order to get the sale and maximize the profit for the company.

4. Lead generation

Lead generation is the life blood of every business. We generate leads in every possible way.

It’s broken down into “lead acquisition” and “conversion“.

We are always looking to improve and tweak both.

However, one thing to note is we only focus on certain channels at one each time, we don’t spread our focus too thin across many and get no results.

5. Fulfilment

Delivering the product the way the owner wants it delivered without any problems. This system is designed so each employee knows exactly what a happy fulfilled customer should look like.

We also describe of how NOT to deliver our product, anything that would be substandard to our end result. By doing this, an employee has no excuses for poor delivery.

6. Weekly meetings

One of the biggest problems with companies is the lack of execution and communication.

We plan this into asana, so that everyone knows where they stand and who is doing what.

This is broken down into Quarterly, monthly and weekly meetings. All meetings are aligned with our yearly goals so we are constantly working towards our year end target.

7. Projects

Every company always has small and big projects ongoing. We break these down in this section. We can see who is doing what and how each project is coming along.

What’s really good about using a project management software is you can assign a person to each of these 7 areas.

That’s crucial in business, someone having clear accountabilities for each area of the business.

Each of the 7 points are broken down further into sub-systems (or sub-tasks) each subtask is either a reactive or proactive task/system.

What I mean by proactive and reactive tasks.

A proactive task/system is put in place to achieve the desired output, ie your goals.

A reactive task/system is put in place as a result of an unforeseen challenge that has happened in the business, you put this in place to overcome this challenge and ensure it does not happen again.

Conclusion

These 7 systems took me years of trial and error to figure out. Each one still evolves to this day as our companies continue to grow.

As a business owner, you have worked pretty hard to get to where you are. Long working hours, stress and daily frustrations. You owe it to yourself to implement the above so the business is less dependent on you. This will allow you to focus on either growing your business in a new direction or working less in your company.

Dean Gammell, Voted Irelands No.1 Entrepreneur in 2014 is a 29 year old businessman from Westmeath. He employs 35 staff across a broad range of businesses. He started his first business when he was 22 and has since received numerous awards for entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dean speaks nationally on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. You can ad Dean on Facebook here.. (Feel Free to message me on Facebook :)

business

Using Goals to Get What You Want From Life!

Whats the one thing I can guarantee you without ever having to meet you? Nothing is going to get handed to you in life. Nothing! Everything you want must be earned through long nights, early mornings, stressful and emotional days.

 

Each and every desire you have in life, that you have mentioned on passing or have dreamed about is as achievable against the amount of time, effort and planning you put into getting it. When you set out on going to a particular destination in your car, you will have an idea of how long it will take you to get there and what route you’re going to take. If you don’t take a car and use public transport then you have to figure it all out. Get the bus to the train station, the train station to your destination and then maybe a taxi. Setting goals should be treated no differently. You need to set yourself a route you can take, what you need to do along that route, how much money you may need, any obstacles that you might come up against on the way. This is the only way you can increase your chances of making it happen.

 

We are very lucky growing up in such a tightly connected world. Compare to 10-20 years ago, the world was a much bigger place and information on certain topics was impossible to find. This makes goals easier than ever to achieve. Everything for you to increase your chances of achieving them is at your fingertips. Your biggest obstacle in achieving them is you, your mindset, work etihc, persistence, determination and planning. You!

 

Case Study:

I have read about a case study numerous times but I cannot find any direct evidence of it. Though I would suspect that the numbers are fairly accurate. The case study is as follows.

 

A graduating class from Harvard were asked; “Have you any written goals for the future?” The results were as follows:

  • 3% had written goals.
  • 10% had goals in mind, but nothing written on paper.
  • 87% had no idea of their goals.
  • 10 years later, the whole class was interviewed again. The results were astounding.
  • The 10% of students who had goals in mind, but nothing on paper were earning twice as much as the 87% who had no idea of their goals.
  • The 3% of had written goals, were earning on average, 10 times more than the 97% combined.

 

The above does not surprise me. 87% of people walk about life haphazardly, going with the flow expecting everything to come to them. They dream and talk about everything they want in life, but never find it in themselves to realise, nobody is going to hand you anything.

 

The Process:

 

I recommend on reading the article as a whole first, then set a date, time and place where you can have 30-60mins of peace to get through as much as possible. The chances of you going through and doing this now is very unrealistic.

 

Decide on the goal.

You should have goals for every area of your life that you want to see improvement. However, being realistic you probably won’t.  It really depends on what you want and what your current circumstances are. Ie whats the No.1 thing you want at the moment more than anything else. For me at one point, all I wanted was my own business. That year that was all I focused on all day every day. If you are starting out with goals, just pick one or two. The most important step is getting started and using goals. You can add more over time. These are the areas I have come up with over time.

 

  1. Health – Your key health goals. I want to be 79kg and go to the gym 3 days per week.
  2. Income – What you would like to make per year. I want to make €150,000 / year
  3. Relationships/Family – I want to spend more time with my family.
  4. Business/Work – You want a certain promotion, own a business,
  5. Experiences – Parachute jump, climb Mount Everest, live with a tribe.
  6. Legacy – What do you want to be remembered for? Great husband/wife, charity work, commitment,
  7. Achievements – What do you want to accomplish? Climb Mount Everest. Retire at 45.

 

Some of the above areas may cross with another area. This does not matter, all you want is to get everything out of your head and down on paper. I would recommend on spending no longer than  one minute doing this initially. Write down your first list as quick as possible. Usually, the most meaningful things will come to you straight away.

 

Recording your Goal:

 

Getting your goal down on paper and out of your head is critical. I like to take it one step further and write all my goals down on a google spreadsheet. From here, everything is a lot more manageable. I can set reminders and share with other people. I will always know where it is. I will share a special spreadsheet I use at the end of the article; this will make life super easy for you and increase the chances of you hitting your goals tenfold.

 

Set your start/deadline date

I like to have start / deadline dates. This lets me know when I need to start planning my next goal and when I need to have the goal complete by.  For every minute you spend in planning, it will save you 10min’s in execution.

 

Assign how much you will think it will cost to reach this Goal (Budget)

A lot of people miss out on this one. You will need a certain budget to achieve a goal. If you want to climb Mount Everest it would cost in the region of €60,000. As of today, 31/12/2013 it costs $250,000 to fly to space with Virgin Galactic. Maybe to build your dream home you will need €500,000. Whatever the amount, it’s something you need to consider.

 

Time Required:

To hit your goals, how much time is required by you. There is no point setting a goal of traveling around the world if you can’t take if off work. Some goals may not take any time as they are goals you accomplish over a longer period. You should consider it for some goals and ignore for others. Something I find very helpful is I take the last week off every quarter. This spaces out my holidays evenly and lets me slot plan well in advance what destinations I am going to visit. 

 

What’s going to stop you from hitting your goals?

Make a list of everything you can think of that is going to stop you from hitting your goals. This is powerful as too many people set goals then when they hit their first obstacle it stops them dead in their tracks.  Make these obstacles your No.1 priority action steps towards that goal, this is called negative planning. I have found that this helps me tremendously reach my goals. It puts you in a different frame of thinking and gives you a much clearer line of sight of how you can achieve your goal. There are bottlenecks to any good plan, you need to look hard ahead to spot these and find a way to eliminate them.

 

How can you leave you your goals so they are inevitable?

This will only apply to some goals but again, I find this very powerful. You are looking for ways to achieve your goal by putting less work on you. So if you want to get fitter, you might hire a personal trainer. If you want to learn a new skill you might book a course right this very minute so you have to go. One of my goals was to eat healthier a while back so now I get fresh fruit delivered to my office every Monday. I noticed before when I had to go out and buy it, I rarely did. I also share all my goals with my PA, once the goals are set, she helps me achieve them. She books trips, checks availability, does research etc. For every goal I complete she gets a bonus.

 

Accountability

Inform someone of your goals, this may be your girlfriend, wife, friend or someone that may be able to help you. The more people you involve, the higher your chance of hitting everything. Make others part of your goal by sharing the experience with them, it will encourage you even more.

 

Break them down

Break down each goal into small manageable pieces. The smaller and more detailed they are the easier the goal will be to achieve. You’re looking for the specific steps in order of sequence from start to finish.

 

Action Calendar

Write down what you need to do for each goal on the following basis.

  • Daily habits / action steps
  • Weekly Habits / Action Steps
  • Monthly habits / Action Steps

 

Review – Set time aside to review your goals. Depending on how disciplined you are, you can either review them daily or weekly. I prefer weekly. I review all my goals on a Sunday evening, review the previous week and plan the following week.

It’s very rewarding to sit down and trash out your life goals. It doesn’t take long for this part, so I would highly advise on doing it. When you have to break down each and every goal into action steps, it can be a bit of a pain. Lucky you, I have a really easy way of doing it. I have made a google spreadsheet that guides you along the whole process and makes everything super easy for you. It will send reminders to your email when you need to start certain goals and when there deadline is approaching. It also breaks up your goals and leaves them a lot more manageable than having a piece of paper. All you have to do, is sign up for my newsletter and I will send you details of the spreadsheet together with a video showing you how to use it.

 

My most important question yet!

So which category do you fall into from the case study?

  • 3% had written goals.
  • 10% had goals in mind, but nothing written on paper.
  • 87% had no idea of their goals.

 

28 Dec 2014 Update! 

I originally wrote this article in 2013 and have learned a lot since this. Some updates that I would like to add. 

I no longer use a spreadsheet to track my goals. I now use Asana.com. The reason I made the move is Asana gives me the option to share my goals with other people, discuss them and make more actionable tasks under each one. I can choose to assign a task to another person or just myself. 

I spend even more time reviewing and updating my goals that ever before. It’s a bit of a cliche but I have found the more planning, preparation and reviewing I have put into my goals the bigger return I get. To make things easy for goal reviewing I take the last Friday off to review all my goals for that month. I also take the last week off of each quarter to review everything from that quarter. Taking so much time off made me nervous initially but It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Your circle of friends. Who you hang around with most will either push you towards your goals or pull you away from them. There is a famous saying from world renowned self help guru Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” This is very true. If you want to own your own business, then start mixing among entrepreneurs and business people. If you want to earn more money, then start spending more time with people who you admire and look up to. This was a difficult one for me, my childhood friends are happy and in content with where they are at the moment. I on the other hand want to push myself forward, this meant seeking out the people I wanted to be like and start trying to spend some time with them. 

Achieving your goals is by no means an easy task but when you do, it is the most satisfying feeling in the world. Once you are persistent and hungry enough to pursue your goals, nothing will stand in your way! 

 


Top 100 Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes and motivational quotes have the power to get us through a bad week, and can even  give us the courage to pursue our life’s dreams. We share surprising research into the true triggers of workplace motivation. So in the spirit of self motivation, here are 100 inspirational quotes.

 
 Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. –Kevin Kruse

 Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill

 Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein

 Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.  –Robert Frost

 I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. –Florence Nightingale

 You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky

 I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. –Michael Jordan

 The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

 Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. –Babe Ruth

 Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. –W. Clement Stone

We must balance conspicuous consumption with conscious capitalism. –Kevin Kruse

 Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. –John Lennon

 We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover. –Mark Twain

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. –Alice Walker

The mind is everything. What you think you become.  –Buddha

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb

 An unexamined life is not worth living. –Socrates

Eighty percent of success is showing up. –Woody Allen

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. –Steve Jobs

Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. –Vince Lombardi

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. –Stephen Covey

Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. –Christopher Columbus

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou

Either you run the day, or the day runs you. –Jim Rohn

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. –Henry Ford

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The best revenge is massive success. –Frank Sinatra

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily. –Zig Ziglar

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. –Anais Nin

If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. –Vincent Van Gogh

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. –Aristotle

Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. –Jesus

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined. –Henry David Thoreau

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me. –Erma Bombeck

Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.  –Booker T. Washington

Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart. – Ancient Indian Proverb

Believe you can and you’re halfway there. –Theodore Roosevelt

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. –George Addair

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. –Plato

Teach thy tongue to say, “I do not know,” and thous shalt progress. –Maimonides

Start where you are. Use what you have.  Do what you can. –Arthur Ashe

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy’.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. –John Lennon

Fall seven times and stand up eight. –Japanese Proverb

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. –Helen Keller

Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see. –Confucius

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. –Anne Frank

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. –Lao Tzu

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. –Maya Angelou

Happiness is not something readymade.  It comes from your own actions. –Dalai Lama

If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on. –Sheryl Sandberg

First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end. –Aristotle

If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. –Latin Proverb

You can’t fall if you don’t climb.  But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground. –Unknown

We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained. –Marie Curie

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. –Les Brown

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

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. –Booker T. Washington

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. –Leonardo da Vinci

Limitations live only in our minds.  But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless. –Jamie Paolinetti

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing, no one to blame. –Erica Jong

What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. –Bob Dylan

I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong. –Benjamin Franklin

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

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein

 The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it. –Chinese Proverb

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. –Roger Staubach

It is never too late to be what you might have been. –George Eliot

You become what you believe. –Oprah Winfrey

I would rather die of passion than of boredom. –Vincent van Gogh

A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. –Unknown

It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.  –Ann Landers

If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money. –Abigail Van Buren

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

The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at. –Jesse Owens

Education costs money.  But then so does ignorance. –Sir Claus Moser

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear. –Rosa Parks

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. –Confucius

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. –Oprah Winfrey

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. –Dalai Lama

You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have. –Maya Angelou

Dream big and dare to fail. –Norman Vaughan

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. –Martin Luther King Jr.

Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. –Teddy Roosevelt

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. –Tony Robbins

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. –Gloria Steinem

It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. –Mae Jemison

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try. –Beverly Sills

Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. –Eleanor Roosevelt

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. –Grandma Moses

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. –Ayn Rand

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. –Henry Ford

It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. –Abraham Lincoln

Change your thoughts and you change your world. –Norman Vincent Peale

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. –Benjamin Franklin

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. –Steve Jobs

If you can dream it, you can achieve it. –Zig Ziglar

 

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