5 Random Lessons Of The Week

1)   You Pick Up A Stick You Get Both Ends – 

My kids get tired of me saying this to them in regards to their decisions. Of course you do NOT have to clean your room! That is a ‘you’ decision, but there are consequences. You can also choose TO clean your room and guess what? That too comes with consequences. The same is true in your business development as a business owner, manager, or sales rep. 

You can choose NOT to invest time or money in your people, but don’t be surprised if you have high turnover and unhappy customers. You do NOT have to make sales calls, network, or ask for referrals. You are just too busy, but don’t be surprised if your business develops slower for you - than others who ‘find’ the time. The bottom line in life is this – when you pick up a stick you do get both ends; the same holds true for our decisions. Make sure you consider both ends of that stick (decision) before your pick it up!

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2016 New Years Resolutions For Your Company

I am going to stop eating donuts.  Okay– Let’s be honest that probably isn’t going to happen.  (Don’t worry Tony McInnis with Tasty Donuts…your apple fritters had me at hello) – and as much as I want to commit to watching less TV I am not sure I can do without the life-changing, motivational, true-north type of direction in life that the Kardashians deliver each week.  

As a business owners there are some resolutions you could make that would help you. Help your business grows, help you grow your network, help you with employee retention, and help you be more efficient. So get out your list and let’s go over a few…shall we? We shall: 

Get Mobile - If your website isn’t mobile…get it mobile and quick.  If you have not researched mobile advertising/marketing…look into it and see if it makes sense for your business. It is growing and it is not going to change.  

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12 Men - 12 Lessons

In honor of Father’s Day I thought I would share a few important lessons I have learned by some influential men along my journey. Most of these lessons have business and personal applications.  

Coach Lester Walls – Carson Newman
I tried to walk on in college for football – I realized after a few months that I was a much better fan than I was a player. Coach Lester Walls was running back coach at Carson-Newman and the day I quit he called me up and encouraged me to stay  – I can still hear him say: "Quitting never goes away son." I would have never started…ever, but maybe I could have been part of a team. He didn’t need me. He didn’t want me to live with quitting. If you quit….take time to learn the lessons tucked away in the disappointment.  '

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Networking Is A Waste Of Time!

Networking is a waste of time! Do I have the attention of all you networking gurus? You sales folks - you “people person” types? I hope so, because this article is written for you. 

Before I dive in I want to say it one more time – Networking is worthless! Like eating a donut on the treadmill – buying a hair brush if you're bald – winking at a girl in the dark – eating eggs without ketchup – I mean worthless! What….doesn’t everyone eat ketchup on their eggs? 

UNLESS! Yep…you had to know there was a hook somewhere. After all I am a huge proponent of networking, so here is the big IF.

Networking is worthless IF…..IF….IF (Is the suspense killing you?)….IF - you do NOT have a follow-up plan in place. If you do NOT spend your time intentionally. One of the most frustrating things that can happen is to meet people and then look back on those encounters and say ‘well that was a waste of time.’ When in reality it may simply be you didn’t pursue the relationship with purpose.

 

Do you network with purpose? Do you have a plan for those contacts after the introductions and meetings? If not then you are WASTING YOUR TIME! You are also missing out on business down the road. Your return on time investment for networking is not defined based on ‘todays’ business, but on the relationships developed. Those relationships can become a resource to better business practices…to other introductions…and to business down the road. 

Here is a very simple system I have used in the past:

  • Meeting Scheduled 
    • Do you know who will be at the meeting? Is it a one-on-one, small group OR is it a big networking meeting? 
    • Try to know some of the attendees. LinkedIn and social media is a great way to do some research. 
  • Go to the meeting prepared. You would be amazed how many times I have seen folks show up with no business cards or info regarding their company.
  • Ask questions! Remember people like to talk about themselves and tell their story. Asking questions and being focused on the conversation gives you information on who they are, who their clients are, who they may know, and it is just plain polite. 
  • NOW comes the most important part of the networking process….your follow up. This is what I do:
    • A ‘Thank you’ email within 24-hours.
    • A ‘Thank you’ hand written card within 2-3 days.
    • Schedule a reminder to send them another invitation to meet – lunch or coffee. This is how relationships are developed. Send them an email invite and then call them to follow up and confirm. 
    • Put them in your ‘touch’ system. Newsletter or maybe just a reminder to shoot them an email or card every month or two. 
    • For a select group I always try to keep an eye out for news articles or topics that would be beneficial or interesting and email it to them. 

Bottom line there are a number of ways, either with a formal system or simple calendar reminders, that will help move your networking connections from contacts to relationships. 

Do NOT waste your time networking…unless you have a plan for the meeting and for how to stay in touch and foster the relationship after the meeting. 

(Side note: If your opportunities are in large groups; then that can seem overwhelming. Meet a few at a time and ask them to meet for lunch or coffee outside the big group setting.)

Being Thankful Is Overrated

In the busy world we live in going out of your way to be thankful for every little thing is asking a lot. Twenty, thirty years ago…maybe. We had more time back then. Things moved slower and expectations were different. In the hurry up world we live in now most people do not expect a thank you for their time or business. They want you to just do what you say you will do and provide a good product or good service.  So stop worrying about those thank you emails, cards, or texts and just focus on your company doing a good job. 

Do I have your attention now? Did my sarcastic rant get you shaking your head and calling me bad names? Of course being thankful is good.  Of course showing gratitude is the right thing to do. As a matter of fact I assert that in the big picture of life - being thankful is probably one of the most important things we can do. Let’s review a few who’s, why’s, and how’s…shall we? We shall:

Who –
The easy one is family.  We all say we are thankful for our family, but how many times do we give them our left over time and attention. We get so busy making a living that we forget to live the life we are making. 

Friends. Another easy one right. How long do we go between a call or lunch? Remember, friends are the ones that probably bailed you out a bunch and had the courtesy not to share the stories.  

Clients. We say we are grateful, but how many times do we act like they get in the way of our ‘to do list’ or running the business. Consider how competitive the world is and how hard people work for their money - now consider how honored we should be that they have chosen to spend it with us, We should never forget how lucky we are to have them. 

Supporters/Mentors. These are folks who have listened to you vent over the years. They have attended your events, they have given advice, they have given you time, and helped promote you and/or your brand. They have applauded you when you have done well, and helped lift you up when you were down. Have you thanked them?

Employees. I know - They get paid to do a job, but a good employee is very hard to find and even harder to keep. A consistent attitude of gratefulness will go a long way to keep them and create loyal employees who are invested in the company’s success. You can plan the direction of the ditch, but don’t forget most of the time they do the digging. 

Brand Ambassadors.  These are not just clients and customers that spend money…they love your product, your service, your experience. If you have heard the word ‘organic’ when it comes to social media or word of mouth advertising - these are the ones that get the credit. Do you have a system in place to consistently let them know how much they mean to your business? 

Freedom. I know a little cheesy right? But let’s be honest…we don’t have the opportunities we have without the sacrifice of millions who have given their life and service to help provide us the freedom to pursue our dreams.

Little Things. Here is my personal list (outside the ones we just mentioned)…feel free to add or subtract. -- Sunrise/sunsets, good music, good wine or whiskey or a good beer, camp fires,  dogs, tomorrow, yesterday, jazz music, folks who can proof reed (get it?), people with a sense of humor and good hamburgers. 

Why – 
Being grateful just makes us feel good. Want to have a better 2016…be more thankful for things and watch how much brighter and happier your world gets.  

People may forget what you say, but not how you make them feel. Think about it…even our words contribute to how we make others feel. A genuine thank you will do wonders.  

Karma is real and the bus can either run you over or pick you up and carry you to the next ‘success’ stop. You know this is true….admit it.  

When you die…what do you want to be said at your funeral? Do you want the focus to be on you as a business person or as a good person? Whatever it is….go live the life necessary to make it come true.  

Because I said so. Seriously….I am telling you what to do…now get to it. 

How – 
We have a lot of options. Texts or emails. We can post on social media. Maybe a gift? I know it’s old fashioned, but we can send a card or letter and if you really want to send them a throwback - actually write it. Like with a pen. Not the print that looks like it has been written, but it’s actually been written. Now this is radical, but how about a call or lunch or coffee. Spending time with human beings that you are thankful for will do you both a world of good. It’s called perspective. 

One last thing. Using the excuse ‘That’s just not easy for me’ or ‘that isn’t what I am good at’…are cop-outs and should never be used by adults when it comes to doing things they know they should do. Being hard isn’t a good reason. Hard is doable if we care enough.  

So to recap, be thankful.