Mindset for Busines

Have you heard of the book, E Squared, by Pam Grout? One of the book’s exercises is about looking for something very specific and seeing how it shows up over and over again. For example, butterflies. At first I wondered what the chances would be that I would happen across a butterfly throughout my day (especially since I work from home). Guess what happened:

I pulled an inspiration card (part of my daily success routine) and the picture on it was a butterfly! Astounded, I shuffled through the deck and counted eight butterflies in the cards. For the first time, I noticed my hand lotion – that I use every day – had a butterfly on the label. On my walk, I saw a giant wooden butterfly on the side of a neighbor’s house. Something caught my eye and, when I looked up, I saw a sweet little butterfly at the top of a tall tree. At the movies that night, about twenty butterflies flew across the screen during a pre-flick advertisement.

What does this have to do with your mindset for business? Everything! What you look for, you find. So what are you focusing on? Negative people with every objection in the world? Or successful people who are attracted to your products and your business? Make a decision now to intentionally look for what you want.

Mindset for Business Success
LISTEN for Clues

Part of having an empowering mindset for business is listening to your intuition. Call it Spirit, the Universe, or God – whatever speaks to your spiritual connection – the divine has a way of whispering messages to you. The question is are you listening?

I learned this the hard way a few years ago. I had been receiving messagesnot to go through with a particular investment – I had a strange feeling in my gut whenever I thought about it, and a couple people even warned me this was not a person to invest with. I went through with the investment anyway, though, and ended up losing a lot of money. Now, I listen to those divine nudges!

When developing your mindset for business, pay attention to the subtle messages the Universe sends you. If an old friend’s name pops in your head out of the blue, perhaps you might give her a call. If you hear a book title repeated numerous times throughout the week, that book might just have the exact lesson in mindset for business you need.

Mindset for Business Success
SPEAK Your Intentions

Cultivating a success mindset for business means understanding that you create your experience when you speak your intentions. Create a habit of setting an intention each morning for what you want to happen during the day. Solidify your mindset for business intentions by asking for people to show up who are enthusiastic about your product and company. Expect to receive what you ask for, and be grateful in advance.

The spoken word is a potent creative force, and affirmations are a powerful form of intention. Here are some of my favorite affirmations (feel free to borrow them)!

  • “I’m able to ask for what I want”
  • “I get value from everything I do”
  • “Every day I wake up to new wealth”
  • “Money comes to me in unexpected ways for the good of all concerned”

Is Your Mindset for Business Geared Toward Success?

Here’s the good and bad news: YOU are the only one holding you back.

If you are a startup and willing to start your business, we are here to help you. write us at info@businessplanwriters.us


B2B Sales and Social Media

Understanding the force that is social media is a quite a task. But leveraging effectively it to advance your team’s selling efforts is beyond the capabilities of most companies. (See information about upcoming webinar on social selling at the bottom of this post.)

There is no lack of data to underline how far social media has progressed. Last year Facebook topped a billion users. LinkedIn has over 200 million members. And here’s a statistic you’ve likely heard but may not have a strategy to overcome: according to the Corporate Executive Board, “customers will contact a sales rep when they independently completed about 60% of the purchasing decision process.” How do savvy sellers meet, create a dialog with, and nurture sales prospects during that time? The answer is social selling. Try this. Go to trends.google.com. They type in social selling and hit enter. See what I mean? It’s a force.

Too many companies are leaving the learning and development of a social media strategy up to the individual salesrep, and that’s a dangerous thing. It often leads to wasted time, confused company messaging, offended customers, and, most importantly, not adapting to the new way customers are buying products and services. That disconnect means fewer wins.

You can buy social media strategy advice and training from any number of sources. The challenge is integrating all that into your company’s selling process.  And while some sales training companies have invested in social media learning as part of their solution portfolios, many others are less willing to be held accountable for that component of sales peoples’ skill sets. That’s not a good thing.

Leveraging social media isn’t new to Philadelphia-based Richardson. Over the past several years we’ve given them high marks for how they’ve employed social media in their own marketing and selling efforts. Right now they’re planning to incorporate LinkedIn and Google Alerts into their “Prospecting with Insights” and “Selling with Insights” programs. That’s a good choice of platforms, since Facebook tends to be more of a Business-to-Consumer and friends & family network. Twitter, the other big force, can be a time-waster and risky, as I mentioned above.

Sales Performance International—the Solution Selling® folks—have successfully piloted their “Social Media for Sales” workshop. For that program, they’ve defined emerging roles a seller must play within new customer buying processes. One role is what they call “Micro-marketer,” whereby the seller uses social media for planning and demand creation and generation. The learning objectives and exercises for that program will certainly provide a solid foundation for a salesrep to get the most leverage out of technologies such as InsideView, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and YouTube. This all relates to recent changes in the Solution Selling execution methodology, intended to boost sales performance in our world of tech-savvy, sophisticated, and powerful purchasers.

Solution Selling now includes a new framework for mapping social media into the sales process. They actually open up selected social media tools and exercise them in the context of a sales process.  So they are able to answer the question, “As a seller, exactly how do I use this at a given point in the sales process to advance my sale?”  SPI provides the roadmap.

 What can you do now to separate the value from the hype and get up to speed on what social media networks, tools, and strategies to employ in your selling efforts? Talk to your customers. Find out what networks they use to build and maintain business and personal relationships. That’s where you need to be. Find out where they educate themselves so they can perform their jobs better. That’s where you need to be. Then, as we’ve learned from two top sales training firms, get your new social media strategy integrated with your sales process and get your reps trained on how to leverage it.

Get ready for the Meeting

Back in 1994 I attended a Tony Robbins seminar. It was held at the Navy Pier in Chicago. Five or six hours into the session, Tony had us in a state where he could ask these two questions: “Think about something you always wanted to do, but for some reason, you never did it. Write it down.” Then, “Think about something you always wanted to have, but for some reason, you never bought. Write it down as well.” Within six months I earned my private pilot’s license. Six months after that I owned a single-engine Cessna and had earned my instrument rating. Now that’s what I call motivation. Thanks,  again, Tony.

But Tony didn’t just motivate the audience. He gave us some real business value.  Here is something I learned that day and have used dozens of times since: BEND-WIMP.

Tony explained that when meeting with an important executive for the first time, we need to have a pretty comprehensive understanding of who they are and what’s on their mind. BEND-WIMP is an acronym for Tony’s checklist.  Here it is:

B – Beliefs. What are the person’s beliefs about you, your company, your product? It would be really helpful to know that before you meet the person.

E – Evaluate. How does the person evaluate? Gut feel? Dependence on a recommendation from a trusted advisor? What questions might they ask?

N – Needs. What are their business needs? What will enable them to achieve their business plan?

D – Desire. What do they want on a personal level? (I think about Larry Ellison and the America’s Cup.)

W – Wounds. Where have they gone off the track. Mistakes, errors in strategy, execution, judgment? What subjects should you stay away from discussing?

I – Interests. What are their personal interests? What common ground might you have with them?

M – Mentors.  Who are their mentors? Whose books do they read? What business leaders do they emulate? I won a new customer years ago because I found out that the CEO had all his people read Who Moved the Cheese? I read the book on the plane on the way to the sales call.

P – Proud. What are they proud of? Accomplishments, big wins, etc.?

LinkedIn, which wasn’t around in 1994, is a great tool for executing your BEND-WIMP process. I find people in my network who have worked directly or even several levels down from my targeted executive. As I fill in my checklist, a clear picture of that person emerges. I’m sure you can imagine how much more effective than an ad-hoc Internet search this process is.

Be Nice, you worth it

Yes, it is an art. Being nice, that is. It is easy to react to anyone in line with our present disposition, but that would not be a smart move. In fact, it is very selfish and bad manners.

Most of us make this mistake. Every day we go through different challenges in life and our state of mind would be along those lines. The problem is say someone is having a pleasant day and he throws a funny remark at you in a very nice, jovial way and given your frustrated state of mind at the moment, you give him back a disparaging remark.

You may justify that you did what you did because you were feeling bad, sad or outright dull. But the fact remains that you ruined the pleasant day of another human being.

Go figure!

Now, look at it this way: If you were to just hold off on brooding on your state of affairs and actually made an effort to reciprocate pleasantly to his funny remark with a smile, then one thing would have led to another and the happiness he was carrying would have infected you too and things would have turned for the better.

Then you would have had two happy people.

That is the power of being nice! This is the power of reciprocating true emotion when a genuine emotion is thrown your way.

I am not saying it is an easy thing to do, but I am saying that is the right thing to do. And the results aren’t bad, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyone can make a person unhappy, but how many can make someone happy with a simple remark?
Everyone can.

But the difference one who can and one who can’t is this: It is the one who tries, makes an effort can do it.

It is as simple as that.


2 Types of Slacker Employees

It takes all kinds of people, experience, backgrounds and personalities to make a business successful. If everyone were a cookie cutter of each other it would make for a pretty boring and frankly unimaginative place.

But what happens when slackers infiltrate your efficient culture and how do you light a fire under their a#@ or suffer their far reaching negative effects?

Excuses Ethan

We all know an Excuses Ethan. Yep, he’s that guy that has an excuse for everything. He may have started the habit long ago with the proverbial, “the dog ate my homework” and has now adopted it as standard operating procedure, much to the chagrin of everyone that has to work with him. Ethan knows far too well how to work the system with one excuse after another but the real danger is Ethan rubbing off on your other great team members.

What message does it send to your team when you let an Excuses Ethan continue his charade? Think about the impact this has. Do you send the message that it’s okay? Nip this one in the bud pronto. Give Excuses Ethan specific measurable goals with a heavy dose of accountability. You may just turn him into Eager Ethan by showing an interest in what he does and how he does it. Too often Ethan-types fly under the radar, when what they really need it a bit managing.

Deadline Debbie

Debbie is darn good at what she does and she knows it. But, there are heaps of people who depend on Debbie and when she’s late with projects, they’re late and the landslide starts. It’s not pretty. Debbie may even be bold enough to start pushing her work on those around her. Soon enough large projects don’t get delivered and your customers are impacted. Debbie’s co-workers start to resent her and something needs to change. STAT.

You need to get to the bottom of Debbie’s struggles fast. Is it a resource issue, or does she just suck at managing her time? What help can you, or someone else provide? Get Debbie’s buy-in at the start of a project about how long it will take. Negotiate timelines if her needs are unrealistic. You need to let Debbie know that she’s responsible for making deadlines not only for her own sake, but for her co-workers and your customers and that deadline creep is unacceptable. She can certainly come to you if there is an unforeseen risk that will impact the deadline, but otherwise you need to empower her to make the deadlines that she has agreed too.

Do either of these slackers sound familiar? If they do, get involved and provide coaching and help to turn them into productive contributors. They’ll thank you for it and so will the rest of your team.

Source: inc.com

US: Entrepreneurs and Shutdown

Source: Inc.com

Inc. is reporting on the threat of a government shutdown at midnight tonight, if Congress can’t agree to a government budget proposal. Return here for our up-to-the-minute coverage.

The U.S. Senate rejected a House budget bill this afternoon, stripping out amendments that would have delayed implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and setting the stage for a government shutdown starting at midnight.

Global markets fell and small businesses reacted with anger and alarm as the specter of a U.S. government shutdown edged closer to reality.

And though the implications of a shutdown that lasts a few weeks would be profound for small business owners across the country, causing a drag on growth for the remainder of the year and beyond, this year’s Inc. 500 winners were not caught unaware, and many had already planned for the eventuality.

Owners Like BNL Founder Larry Miller Are Angry

“This is an absolutely outrageous scenario enabled by inept lawmakers who are bogged down in their own private and unnecessary [interests],” says Larry Miller, founder and chief executive of BNL in Lovettsville, Virginia, which provides systems engineering and program management to the Departments of Defense, Treasury, and the Veterans Administration, among other agencies.

Miller’s BNL, which is No. 391 on the Inc. 500 this year and has had a three-year compound annual growth rate of more than 1,000 percent, and $6 million in revenue in 2012, prepared for a shutdown that could last as long as a month. Miller reached out to his 55 employees weeks ago and told them that they will not be laid off or furloughed, and that he will do what it takes to get through the tough times.

Miller will offer employees time off, or the option to redeploy to work on project infrastructure, such as process engineering and documentation, updating the process documentation library, and maintaining reference data and materials.

Practically, that means Miller has to continue paying salaries, health care costs that amount to about $1,200 per employee per month, and other benefits at a time when revenue is not flowing.

“Most of our contracts are fixed-price cost accounting standard,” Miller says. “There is a high risk we won’t recover the cost.”

Some Entrepreneurs Stalling Hiring Already

The budget crisis and looming government shutdown will likely force Michael Lin, owner and chief executive of LinTech Global, to put off hiring an employee he wanted to start October 1.

LinTech, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, does enterprise software consulting, systems integration, and help desk and network support for federal agencies as well as commercial entities, is No. 412 on the Inc. 500 list. It had revenue of nearly $3 million in 2012, and has experienced a compound annual growth rate higher than 1,000 percent in the last three years. He was expecting a new federal contract to get signed this month, but that’s now in limbo.

“We may have to delay hiring . . . until the project gets the green light,” Lin says, adding that, luckily, most of his other projects have already been funded for the year.

More than anything, Lin says he is dismayed by the budget crisis. “By now I am used to this, but it seems to happen every year with the debt ceiling or the government shutdown, it is always in discussion and we have to play it as we go and adjust our strategy,” he says.

Razor-Thin Margins Only Getting Thinner

For her part, Joni Green, founder and chief executive of Five Stones Research in Brownsboro, Alabama, says the government shutdown will dramatically affect her business this year. Like Miller, the costs for her contracts are fixed.

“This will put us in negative profitability mode,” Green says. “If we ran the business like the government, we would long ago have shut down.”

Green, whose company is No. 421 on the Inc. 500 list for 2013, has 51 employees and had revenue of more than $5 million in 2012. Though the company also had a compound annual growth rate of more than 1,000 percent in the past three years, Green thinks her $9 million revenue forecast for 2013 may drop.

Green, whose company provides engineering, logistics, and information management to the Airforce, Army, and Navy, says the sequester from earlier this year has already forced her to operate on razor thin margins.

“We have been driven by the budget cuts and cost slashing so much this past year that the management reserves on our contracts are minimal,” she says.

Green says 13 of her contracts, or 80 percent of the total, will be delayed by a government shutdown. Five Stones Research also bills on a monthly basis for the prior month, which could hurt its accounts receivable collections for months, particularly if the shutdown lasts for several weeks or more.

She adds that uncertainty about the debt ceiling, the budget crisis, and lingering questions about pricing for health care next year are like neon blinking question marks making it next to impossible to budget, which the company usually does three years out.

The uncertainty interfered with Green’s hiring plans, too.

“We are only hiring if absolutely necessary,” Green says. “I would have thought by this time this year, we would have hired three more [employees].”

The Longer-Term Implications

Economic experts say the government shutdown could haunt small businesses and their growth prospects for years to come.

In the future, owners seeking funding from bankers or investors will have to explain why they weren’t able to meet their budget expectations.

“When you have a funding event, you have to talk about your history and you cannot just use the excuse of the government, because everyone knows it is harming everyone and it just ends up looking bad for entrepreneurs,” Laura Gonzalez, professor of finance and business economics at Fordham, says.

BNL’s Larry Miller concurs. Speaking as if the shutdown were already a foregone conclusion, he says: If we were able to avoid a shutdown, “we would have been ahead of valuation, and our EBITDA would have been much higher, and banks would have been happier,” he adds.

For start-ups: Best Interview technique

Eventually, almost every interview turns into a question-and-answer session. You ask a question. The candidate answers as you check a mental tick-box (good answer? bad answer?).

You quickly go to the next question and the next question and the next question, because you only have so much time and there’s a lot of ground to cover because you want to evaluate the candidate thoroughly. The more questions you ask, the more you will learn about the candidate.

Or not.

Sometimes, instead of asking questions, the best interviewing technique is to listen slowly.

In Change-Friendly Leadership, management coach Rodger Dean Duncan describes how he learned about listening slowly from PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer:

Duncan: He urged me to ask a good question, listen attentively to the answer, and then count silently to five before asking another question. At first that suggestion seemed silly. I argued that five seconds would seem like an eternity to wait after someone responds to a question. Then it occurred to me: Of course it would seem like an eternity, because our natural tendency is to fill a void with sound, usually that of our own voice.

Lehrer: If you resist the temptation to respond too quickly to the answer, you’ll discover something almost magical. The other person will either expand on what he’s already said or he’ll go in a different direction. Either way, he’s expanding his response, and you get a clear view into his head and heart.

Duncan: Giving other people sufficient psychological breathing room seemed to work wonders. When I bridled my natural impatience to get on with it, they seemed more willing to disclose, explore, and even be a bit vulnerable. When I treated the interview more as a conversation with a purpose than as a sterile interrogation, the tone of the exchange softened. It was now just two people talking…

Listening slowly can turn a Q&A session into more of a conversation. Try listening slowly in your next interviews. (Not after every question, of course: Pausing for five seconds after a strictly factual answer will leave you both feeling really awkward.)

Just pick a few questions that give candidates room for self-analysis or introspection, and after the initial answer, pause. They’ll fill the space: with an additional example, a more detailed explanation, a completely different perspective on the question.

Once you give candidates a silent hole to fill, they’ll fill it, often in unexpected and surprising ways. A shy candidate may fill the silence by sharing positive information she wouldn’t have otherwise shared. A candidate who came prepared with “perfect” answers to typical interview questions may fill the silence with not-so-positive information he never intended to disclose.

And all candidates will open up and speak more freely when they realize you’re not just asking questions–you’re listening.


source: Inc.com