Monday, February 14, 2011

In This World Of Give And Take...

A phenomenal man named Clebe McClary has a saying that goes something like this: "In this world of give and take, there are far too few who give what it takes."

It's true in schools. I was an official slacker in school. I always tested very well, was always bragged upon by my teachers for my talent and potential, but as we all learned in Science class - potential energy doesn't do anything it just has potential, kinetic energy makes things happen but only after movement begins or an action has taken place in order to activate that potential. Fortunately for me, I have outgrown my slacker ways (I hope.)

It's also true in relationships. Look at all of the relationships that fall apart because one or both of the people in the relationship decide it's not worth the effort to fix the problems.

And it's especially true in business and that's unfortunate. It always amazes me when I hear stories from clients who say things like "You are the only contractor I've ever worked with that showed up when they said they would." or "I had actually called another company to come do this work, but they didn't show up for the appointment and they never called to say they were running late or to reschedule."

In my mind, I'm thinking "It must be nice for them to be making enough money to be able to afford to miss an appointment - especially in today's economy." Of course I'm also thinking "What can I do in my marketing efforts so that people like her don't have to call me as the 2nd choice, but call me the first time?"

I've come to the conclusion that in reality all I have to do is "keep doing what I'm doing" and that is to provide as good or better service at as good or better price than the next guy to every person that hires my company. If I do that, it will make it easy for my clients to refer me to their friends, neighbors, and family.

I read this book a couple years ago called The Referral of a Lifetime by Timothy Templeton. In it he explains that everyone knows at least 250 people. And all of the people you know, also know at least 250 each. And if you can make it worthwhile for the people in your sphere of influence to refer you to the people in their sphere of influence you have the potential to access over 62,000 people. But there again, we go back to Science class - it's only potential - you have to take action and do (not just your best but) whatever it takes to make it happen.

So what does it mean for me in my business to "give what it takes"?

Well, it means I might lose some sleep because after working all day I have to spend several hours planning the next day, the next week, or the next project. Been there done that.

It means I might have to hold off on buying a new work truck because that money can be more wisely invested elsewhere.

Really what it means is that I will have to start working more "on my business" not just "in my business."

See, every appointment I go to, every picture I hang, every shutter I install is working "in my business." If I only work "in my business" I'm nothing more than an employee of my own company. I create revenue for the company, but I don't grow and expand the business.

But the gameplanning, the goal setting, the analysis, the course corrections, the marketing, the networking, all those things are part of working "on my business." Those are things that will help the business grow and find new outlets and markets to tap into.

Someone who only works "in their business" says "I'm as busy as I can be, I don't need to take time to look for more clients." But when a slow period hits they look up and say "What happened? I used to be busier than this?"

But the business owner who works "on their business" is even more aggressive with their growth strategies when they are super-busy. They aren't happy with just a piece of the pie in their marketplace, they want the whole pie (or in my case - the whole bakery.)

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Time To Buzz The Tower

So you've decided you are not going to wait for your business to take off.

You are the pilot, and you are in control.

You are the "Best Of The Best" and you are not going to let your competition "Fly Right By You" because you've found someone you can trust to be your "wingman."

So you are out there... in business for yourself... chasing your dreams... your passion...

You've been "working it like a yard dog" for as long as you can remember... And then it happens...

You land the ultimate client - the one who knows everybody and is willing to introduce you to them...

You make a sale to the impossible customer - the one that nobody else has even been able to get an appointment with...

You invent the next generation of personal entertainment device - the product that will make people sleep in tents in front of Wally World waiting for the official release...

You do whatever it was you set your mind to doing when you started your business, and it is starting to pay off.

The customers are calling... the products are moving... the competition is wondering "what just happened?"

Congrats! It's time for a small celebration. It's time to "buzz the tower."

Just don't forget that after you do so, it's time to get back to work on the next project, the next goal, the next deadline.

I'm sure there are other lessons we could learn from watching Top Gun, and it was fun for me to go back and watch it again while I was writing this series, but I'm going to close with this... It's okay to go Mach 2 with your hair on fire and don't let anyone try to convince you that you are "out of balance" because the successful business owner is ALWAYS going to be out of balance in different areas at different times.

Good luck. I'm pulling for you.

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