Run Full Tilt

I was watching Kurt play fetch with his new puppy, Max.  Kurt would throw a ball as far as he could, Max would race after it, never slowing down until he had it in his mouth.  Sprinters call this “running through the tape”.

Have you’ve ever watched as some runners near the finish line and slow up in the final few steps?  There’s something in us that clicks off the engine as soon as we know we’re going to make it to the end of the race.  It’s human nature.

It’s even more impressive when you see a runner lean forward and push their hardest in those last few steps.  Olympic runners put their heads down and plow forward pushing their hardest.  It’s special and it elevates the elite competitors.

We all need to pursue our goals full tilt, not cautiously.  You can always make mid-course adjustments, like Max does when the ball takes a weird bounce.  But life is short.  We’re not here to dangle our toes in the water, we’re here to make waves.

How many of your 2017 goals have you made progress on?  Tomorrow, pick a goal or create a new one and meet it.  Like the runner who leans forward and gives his best burst of energy, give your all.  Push into the task and don’t slow down.

The road is easier together,

Four Powerful Questions

For several years I did a show called “Talking Business” on a local radio station. (Thank you Neighborhood National Bank for sponsoring it!)  One of the most popular shows was “Four questions business owners should ask themselves every day.”

1.  How have I improved the value of what I sell?

•Can you “bundle” products or services differently?
•Can you create different pricing options?
•Have you called your customers lately to ask if they have any suggestions on issues you could improve upon?
•Don’t just call the buyer, talk to the accounting department, the receiving department and quality control.
•Dig a little – there are always opportunities for improvement.

2.  How many more people are learning about my product today than yesterday? 

•What are you doing to attract the attention of new customers?
•Have you tried different ways to promote your product or service?
•What social media channels are your customers using?  Do you have a presence on them?
•Be aware of where traditional marketing techniques are still valuable: trade shows, direct mail, telemarketing and expos.

3.  Have I improved my conversion ratio by improving my selling skills? 

•Is there a better way to describe your product or service?
•Are you using relationship selling?
•Have you considered hiring a coach, attending a Dale Carnegie or Sandler course?

4.  How much more have I sold today than yesterday? 

•Keeping track is important!
•Set goals and monitor your progress.
•Log in the orders you get every day – compare the results to the orders you wanted to get.

There will be ups and downs to a sales cycle; don’t be discouraged if your sales levels aren’t stable.  The important thing is to keep at it.

Responding to these questions every day will create a sense of urgency, focus attention on critical tasks and make your business more successful.

The road is easier together,

When in doubt, do without.

JoAnn shared the best advise she ever received from her grandmother; “When in doubt, do without.”  The advice rings in her ears when she shops, when she ponders taking a vacation on a credit card and most recently when she was approached by a friend to get a tattoo. Read More

Everything can change tomorrow – Can you adapt?

John Nese’s business was going broke.  His family-owned grocery store was being eaten alive by big chain stores.  So, when a woman called looking for a unique mint soda, he saw an opportunity.  Today John’s store, Galco, sells every imaginable kind of soda from around the world.  Business is good.

John Nese was able to adapt, here are other examples:   Read More

Make People Talk About You

I walked into a purchasing manager’s office and noticed his wall was peppered with quotes on blue postcards.  There were quotes about quality, pricing and appreciation. I asked about them and he enthusiastically explained that a supplier sends a quote-card every month as a thank you for doing business with them.  He even pointed out his favorite.   Read More

What Limiting Beliefs Do You Haul Around?

Trevor founded a manufacturing company 20 years ago. The business continues to expand; the customer list now includes Fortune 500 companies.  He has been asked to share his wisdom on several occasions, but declined. Despite his success, Trevor secretly feels inferior to other owners, insecure because of his lack of formal education.   Read More

Do You Polish Bricks?

Darcy has accomplished her life-long dream, she owns a coffee shop in a small town.  She planned and saved, researched all aspects of the business, visited scores of cafes, bistros and coffee shops, and quizzed the owners.  She developed a sound business plan that her banker approved.  Darcy even contacted high school counselors because she wanted to share the entrepreneurial experience with young people who might one day open their own business.   Read More

Look Ahead to See When. Look Back and See Why.

Class reunions make us think about what our hopes and plans were at graduation compared to where we are now.  I’ve attended several class reunions over the years – we have one every five years.  It has been interesting to watch people move through their careers over time.   Read More

Mess Makers and Fixers

It became clear as I listened to the conversation around the table: there are two kinds of people in the world – the mess-makers and the mess-fixers.

Mess makers come in all shapes and sizes; their intentions may or may not be good.  Some know they are manipulative, but others don’t have a clue.   Read More