I’ve spent 30 years studying how to perform at a high level.
Today I want to show you a 3 step formula that will dramatically improve your business in just 10 minutes.
That’s right, in just 10 minutes.
I’ve spent 30 years studying how to perform at a high level.
Today I want to show you a 3 step formula that will dramatically improve your business in just 10 minutes.
That’s right, in just 10 minutes.
That he can credibly do this and that so many people care about it has a lot to do with how The Donald has created his brand.
You may not aspire to be like Trump, but if you run a company there are several important lessons to learn from him. Most notably in the area of personal branding.The fact is that he has branded himself more effectively than almost any entrepreneur alive.
Let’s look at how Donald has created such a mighty brand and how you can do the same. In my view he has followed three of the most fundamental laws of branding impeccably.
For better or worse, Donald Trump’s positioning is super clear. He is synonymous with brazen success and wealth. In the last ten years did you ever see Trump interviewed about anything else? Very rarely. He sticks to his brand, night and day, in what he says, does and where he is seen. He is very clear about the message he wants to convey, about himself and his company. Year after year.
Compare that with most entrepreneurs: they are neither sure what their brand stands for nor consistent in how they position themselves. As a result most CEO’s and entrepreneurs have extremely weak brands.
Ask yourself this: what exactly do I, or does my company, stand for? And are we embodying that in everything we say and do?
This is a very important aspect of branding and one poorly understood. To have a very strong brand, you must make a stand about something. You have to be willing to be different, to separate yourself from the pack. Now as soon as you do that you will get people who disagree with your stand and will actively dislike you because of it. You will get detractors.
To be known, you can be either liked or disliked. In fact you can’t create raving fans without also creating the opposite. Anyone who has no ‘anti-fans’ does not have a strong brand. If you play it safe and are scared of offending anyone, you may well have no haters but you will have few deep admirers as well.
Trump understands this. He is quite prepared to be disliked by many, knowing that he is becoming known by many. Now you probably wouldn’t want to get noticed the same way as Trump is going about it, but you must be prepared to be different, even controversial, if you want to develop a strong brand.
I’ve been mentoring companies and entrepreneurs on branding for over 25 years. And one of the main errors I see CEO’s make is they go to all the trouble of developing a good brand positioning and then they whisper it to the world.
Fast forward 18 months and their oh so clever brand is virtually invisible.
Look, it doesn’t matter how good your brand is on paper, unless you get out there and shout it from the rooftops, you’ll never get famous.
There’s just too much competition out there, too much media noise. Only those who endlessly push their own barrows will get heard above the din. You may not like promoting yourself or your company, but you have to do it if you want to get all the benefits that a stellar brand enjoys. This is no time to be a wallflower.
I’m not saying you have to exude the braggadocio of Donald Trump, but you do have to be loud, in your own way. Not just once either. Constantly. For years. That’s just how most enduring brands are built.
Will Donald Trump become President? Probably not, and he knows it. But he also knows that no matter what happens he will win. Because he will become even more known, and his brand will become even stronger, worldwide. Trump is all about building his brand and he knows that running for President is just another way of doing it.
So in conclusion, you certainly don’t have to be like Donald to create a great brand. But you should emulate his brand building prowess. Just follow the three branding laws above, as he does, and you’ll be more famous than almost all of your competitors.
Christopher Gregory/Getty Images
Many entrepreneurs think that business growth has to occur slowly. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I coach large numbers of entrepreneurs every year, and time and time again I have seen people achieve stupendous levels of growth in a very short period of time.
There’s many ways super fast growth can be achieved, but I’ll outline 4 of the most crucial ones below.
It’s easy to get a little slack when it comes to driving your own daily performance at work.
Your business might be going quite well, without much of your effort or perhaps you’ve been running it for many years and you’re just bored by what you’re selling. Pretty soon you’ve relaxed too much and started functioning at a sub optimum level.
It shows in small ways: you arrive a little later to work, you settle for lower product standards. You don’t give a sales presentation everything you’ve got. And before long you aren’t performing brilliantly, you’re coasting and taking it a bit too easy.
The solution is to take a step back, evaluate your performance, and if you find it lacking decide to recommit to personal excellence.
What do I mean by that?
I mean make a conscious decision to do every important thing at work to the very highest standards of excellence. When you as the owner of the business decide to lift your performance level, you’ll find everyone around you (staff, suppliers, even clients) will lift theirs.
But if you accept low standards from yourself, all those you work with will function at a lower level too.
Believe me, all great business results start inside the head of the business owner. They see a vision of themselves as outstanding entrepreneurs then endeavor to make that vision a reality. If you don’t start with a personal vision of excellence, great achievement is simply impossible.
So step one is to lift your ideals, aims and standards and everything else will rise in accordance with that vision.
Too many CEO’s spread themselves too thin. They aim to do everything and end up achieving almost nothing.
While in some ways it’s admirable that a business owner wants every part of their business to get better, the reality is they usually need to focus on just getting a tiny number of critical things right. If they choose those wisely their business growth will be spectacular.
Where do you focus? Well start with these three areas:
Think about it. If you just got these three aspects of your business running magnificently, imagine how much wealth you could create.
Now let’s do a little test: How much of your time each week is presently dedicated to these three crucial areas? Probably less than 20%.
So often, business owners get caught up in all the other stuff that seems important at the time, but in the end doesn’t really improve your profits. That’s plain crazy. Get focused on what matters and don’t let yourself get distracted with the endless business trivia.
Entrepreneurs tend to do too much themselves. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen the heads of businesses waste hours doing tasks that a low level assistant could have done. And they wonder why they are still at work at 7.30pm!
You must stop doing what doesn’t matter. Hire an assistant (part time if your cashflow is low) and load them up with all the tasks that take you away from making money: looking for stuff on the internet, typing, tidying, answering unimportant emails. etc etc.
You’re not saving money, you’re losing money – if you had somebody to help you you could double or even triple the amount of time you spend growing the business.
Here’s an interesting story. Years ago I had left the company I co-owned after a disagreement with my then business partner. I didn’t know what company I was going to open next, so I rented an office space and then hired not one but two personal assistants.
Now some people would say that was a ridiculous waste of money – after all, I didn’t even have a business at that point. But I saw things differently.
As soon as they started I got them working on any business idea I could think of – researching, organizing and reporting back to me. After awhile I began to work out what my next venture would be and I hit that business with massive momentum. With those assistants helping me I was able to concentrate on what mattered most – developing a new killer business.
Isn’t it time you got some help? To achieve great things you must give yourself the time to think of great things. And it’s very hard to do that if you’re handling a mountain of urgent and low level tasks yourself.
If your company has grown to more than $1 million in revenue, often the fastest way to grow faster is to sell an additional product to your customer base. Is it not true that you probably have numerous customers who would buy a second product from you, if only you offered it to them?
After all they already know your company. They like what it does. And they believe in your staff and what you’re aiming to do.
That should make it pretty easy to convince a fair amount of them to take a look at something else you’ve been developing for them.
Disney did this by creating a Disney cruise line. Apple did it by adding the iPod, iPad and Apple Watch. Porsche did it by creating an SUV for the family.
As soon as you begin thinking along this vein, you’ll quickly come up with some promising ideas. Simply ask yourself: what else would my customers buy from me? Then choose something that is easy for you to produce or offer within your current way of operating. (You don’t want to radically change how your company works just to try a new product).
What’s an easy way of finding out what else your customers want? Why not survey them and actually ask them. They’ll appreciate that you bothered to seek their opinion and you’ll get some valuable intel.
The faster you increase your product offering, the quicker new and greater revenue will come in.
Now none of these four ways to build your business quickly are particularly difficult.
And at least 3 of them could be done within a week (developing a new product will probably take a little longer).
So why not give them a try? If you do it’s almost certain that within a very short period of time you’ll have both a bigger business and a better run one.
To give you an idea of some of the things you’ll learn on that webinar, I did a training a while back which you may want to check out below. Enjoy!
Although I mentor CEO’s and entrepreneurs from a vast array of industries, there’s one mistake that I constantly see, no matter what kind of business they run.
This mistake is so prevalent, I’d estimate that at least 8 out of 10 business leaders make this error, often at great financial cost.
Here it is: They get caught up handling their current business and therefore don’t spend nearly enough time getting new business.
This usually means that every few months they run short of customers, then have to scramble desperately to get more income in.
Because they do not hunt new customers constantly, their revenue becomes sporadic, spluttering between feast and famine. (This can be incredibly stressful on the CEO or entrepreneur).
Although they often blame the economy, or increasing competition for their hardship, the real reason their business is suffering is because they are using their time incorrectly.
They are responding to immediate issues, like client requests, or staff complaints, instead of focusing on new sales. Of course client and staff issues have to be handled, but they should not be put in front of the real task at hand: growing the enterprise.
To do that, you must have “The Growth Mindset”:
As the esteemed management guru Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” If we spend all our time managing our customers that leaves no time to create new ones.
This is all very well in theory, you might be thinking, but day to day how can I do this?
The answer is you need to create a simple, not overly arduous diary structure, that builds in times of the week where you work on getting new business in the door. And stick to it.
One very elementary but highly effective way of doing this is to diarise the first hour of every work day as ‘Business Building Time’. Commit to devoting this hour each and every work day solely to sales and marketing efforts. (You can either spend the time brainstorming new ways to get customers or spend it working on already existing sales generating systems.)
Why I like to recommend this method to the entrepreneurs I mentor is that it’s easy to yield great results with it.
It takes hardly any time. It’s at the beginning of the day so you’re likely to get it done. And because it’s in the morning you can bring a fresh mind to it.
With just this one change to your day you can literally transform your business. After several months of using this system you will have dramatically improved your new business machine. New business leads will be coming in consistently, your confidence will skyrocket and your revenues will be greatly enhanced.
But if you don’t do this, or a simple, consistent system like it, then your business is likely to go on as it always has.
For most CEO’s and entrepreneurs that means slow and occasional growth. Nothing disastrous happens to their profits, but not much exciting happens either.
So give my system a try. It’s ridiculously easy. Yet it may just revolutionize your company’s speed of growth.
Okay, there’s only a few weeks to go until the end of 2014.
How can you make sure these last days really count? How do you really move your business and career ahead in such a short time?
Here’s a series of strategies that can make an enormous difference to how well you complete the year. Follow each of them and you’ll go into the holiday season feeling satisfied and confident that you made the most of your opportunities.
1. SIMPLIFY YOUR KEY TASKS DOWN TO 3 VITAL ACTIVITIES.
If you have not had the kind of year you’d hoped for, part of the reason will be that you spread yourself too thin. Don’t make this mistake in this final month. Sit with a pad and pen and brainstorm just three tasks you could do that would really help your business. Just three.
Then block out several hours in your diary each and every week day allocated purely to getting those done. There’s no time to waste. Get simple and serious about what really matters and your progress will be greatly enhanced.
2. REACH OUT TO YOUR BEST SALES LEADS. IN PERSON OR DIGITALLY.
At the end of every year there are always some people that are close to signing up and buying what you have to offer. Rather than use the final weeks of the year for just cleaning up and festivities, immediately reach out to these potential sales several times, working hard to get them across the line.
Maybe give them a last minute discount, or some added value for the same price. Perhaps cogitate on the possible unsaid reasons they have not bought already and address them. These sales are close, don’t let them slip away in these final days of 2014. If it’s not appropriate to call them, send them a couple of emails asking for at least a further chat- it’s these small actions that often yield big December revenue.
3. SINCERELY THANK YOUR CUSTOMERS.
I’m not talking about the usual cards they are flooded with at this time of year, I’m talking about something much more meaningful or memorable. Call them if possible, and let them know exactly why you value them. Send them a carefully considered gift. Invite them to a lunch, dinner or interesting event. Do something, anything, that let’s them know that they are more than income to you- they are important and precious. It may take a bit of effort, but these are the type of gestures that if done with sincerity and panache will be remembered by your customers for years.
4. GET TOGETHER WITH YOUR STAFF (AND THEIR PARTNERS) FOR BREAKFAST.
Put on a fun and high quality breakfast that let’s them know how valued they are. But be sure to invite their partners as well. The typical worker’s partner is never thanked or appreciated by the boss- and that’s a big mistake. If you can make them feel that you’re grateful that they have put up with the late nights and weekends their partner has done throughout the year, your company will have a loyal supporter for years. Remember, staff retention is one of the hidden keys to profitability. And one of the best ways to retain somebody good is to win over their spouse to the company cause.
5. THROW OUT 50 % OF YOUR PAPERS AND FILES.
Be honest: you’ve been hoarding unnecessary files and documents for years. Don’t go into the new year with this clutter still in your life.
Read the current New York Times bestseller ‘The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and you’ll appreciate that generally the less stuff and mess around you, the better your psychological state. Now is the time to purge! Not a few papers, but at least 50% of them.
The key question to ask when doing this is not “‘Will I need it again?”, as that usually leads to keeping mountains of stuff just in case. But rather “Will I be able to get it again if I need it ?” That small change in words make all the difference in results.
Each of these 5 tasks is easy to do- but also easy not to do. But if you want to finish the year feeling happy and confident in a strong start to 2015, they are a must. Pick one right now and get working on it, the days left in 2014 are dwindling fast.
But when it comes to performing better in business, there are five books that shine brighter than the rest. If you’re committed to creating a truly world class business, these books can really help you.
1. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Jack Trout and Al Ries
If you’re struggling with your company’s strategy, this is the only book you have to read. This slim volume has more smart ideas about meaningful differentiation than any book I’ve read. There’s no complex jargon or methodologies designed to make the author look like a genius, just simple, street smart tactics to get your company noticed and in demand. You could make 7 figures as a marketing consultant just by parroting it’s principles.
2. Winning, by Jack and Suzy Welch
This was the widely anticipated follow up to Jack’s autobiography, Guts. Once again it’s devoid of highfalutin theories, just hard facts about what it takes to build an ever growing corporation, even in low growth sectors. Jack can be brutally frank and at times even strident, but at GE he practiced what he preached with stunning results.
3. Focal Point, by Brian Tracy
This is my pick for business leaders and entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed with stuff to do – and are therefore finding it hard to break through into new growth. The entire book is about simplifying your work life systematically and using the increased time to focus on what really matters in your company. What is your Focal Point in each key area of your business? This book will be a revelation for anyone unclear about their crucial tasks.
4. The Ultimate Marketing Plan, by Dan Kennedy
Dan has been teaching business owners how to make more money for over 40 years, and this book in my view is his magnum opus. It focuses heavily on how to pick your ideal target market, then how to make consistently effective offers to them. (Beware though, the book is full of plugs for Dan’s own consulting and his friend’s courses, but in my opinion that doesn’t in any way diminish the validity of what he says).
As an added bonus, most of the business building strategies he recommends are very low cost.
5. A Passion For Success, by Kazuo Inamori
Twice voted Entrepreneur of The Year in Japan, Kazuo is virtually unknown in the west. His 3 books on business however are amongst the best ever written. This book is unusual in that it blends brilliant management techniques with profound philosophies on human potential and corporate duty. It’s not just an exemplary business book, it’s a manual for living an all round superb life.
So check out each of these fine works and seriously consider making them part of your business library. Apply their wisdom and the sky’s the limit for your business
Many believe that entrepreneurial superstars are born, not made.
I beg to differ. I coach hundreds of entrepreneurs every year, from a colossal range of industries, and I believe they all share 7 common character traits.
Importantly, each of these traits did not exist at birth, they were developed with time, intention and persistence.
Let’s go through these key traits now.
1. Reality Based Optimism.
As renowned psychologist Dr Barbara Fredrickson of the University Of North Carolina has shown, positivity is a choice – and an exceedingly important one. Those business leaders with strong inclinations toward positivity are more persistent and effective than entrepreneurs that are pessimistic. See also Martin Seligman’s research on optimism in the insurance industry for more evidence of the importance of thinking positively. Not a Pollyanna like blind optimism, but an overall positive outlook while accepting current realities.
2. Speed Bordering On The Reckless.
As Mark Zuckerberg famously put it, in these chaotic times executives need to “Move fast and break things”. Slow, methodical improvement can reap dividends of course, but for optimum business growth, those consistent and never ending small improvements need to be matched with an attitude of pushing the envelope of time. Zuckerberg’s theory has always been that ≈.
3. People Before Strategy.
When Alan Mulally took over at Ford, the company was in dire straits. While he was ruthless on costs and process, he surprised many at Ford with his equally strong emphasis on looking after staff. At his first major meeting with Ford’s most senior executives he put up a slide with ten key principles.At the top of the list was ‘People First’. Real progress would only occur, Mulally believed, when top management treated their staff superbly.
4. Data, Data, Data.
Twenty years ago there were certainly great entrepreneurs winging it – moving fast but not really evaluating the data. There are very few leaders in business performing that way now however. In every industry the top entrepreneurs have realized that far better decisions are made by gathering maximum data on sales, marketing, pricing, positioning and customer preference. That’s not to say that intuition is no longer important, far from it. But it needs to be balanced with logic formed from empirical intel.
5. Grand Persistence.
The biggest myth about successful business people is that they are more intelligent and talented. Having met many super rich entrepreneurs and read over a thousand books on business success I can tell you categorically that that is not the case. More often the great fortunes have been made by people of average intelligence who had tremendous drive, matched with almost ridiculous levels of persistence. As high performance expert Denis Waitley expressed it, “Success is almost totally dependent on drive and persistence. The extra energy required to try another effort or another approach is the secret to winning.”
6. Confident Contrarianism.
It’s hard to make a lot of money in business just doing things a little bit better than your competition. Usually the big fortunes have been accrued by taking a vastly different path from other companies in the sector. It takes real confidence to go against the pack. What looks obvious in a decade, often seems absurdly dangerous at the time.
7. Long Term Time Perspective.
The get rich quick crowd rarely make it big in business. Read the biographies of Edison, Ford, Walton, Ellison, Kamprad et al and you’ll discover tales of long struggle over decades. Some may have given the impression it was easy but that is rarely the case. Substantial and enduring business success usually takes a long time – experimenting, failing, then beginning anew with more refined solutions.
(Character trait number two has a curious relationship with trait number seven. The great entrepreneurs act urgently, like they have no time left, yet work like this for decades, making their business successful).
Which of these seven traits do you have? Which do you need to consciously develop more? A few minutes spent evaluating your situation regarding these traits now could reap great dividends in the future.
This month the greatest female chess player in history decided to retire.
Judit Polgar has beaten the finest male Grandmasters of the modern era, including Kasparov, Karpov, Anand and today’s world number one, Magnus Carlsen.
She is so good, she rarely even bothered entering the women’s chess championships, preferring to duke it out with the men because it was more fun.
She has been the sole female in the men’s top 100 for an astonishing two decades. She even broke the record set by Bobby Fisher to become the youngest Grandmaster in history.
She is, quite simply, a chess genius.
But it’s how she became so great that is the tale most worth telling. Because every one of us could learn a lot from it, no matter what field we aspire to be successful in.
You see, Judit didn’t reach the very top of her world by natural talent. She was part of extraordinary experiment carried out by her father, Laszlo.
Although it is commonly believed that Chess Grandmaster’s are born not made, Laszlo believed that he could train anyone to become a Grandmaster. So he advertised for a woman to partner with him with the aim of having children that he could train to play chess. Incredibly, he found someone and 3 sisters were born. Laszlo then went about the task of teaching them everything he knew about the game, and designing training methods that would constantly enhance their skill levels.
Here are the results. Incredibly, all three became Grandmasters. And Judit became the best female player the world has ever known.
What’s the lesson from this astounding story?
I think it’s the following. Don’t rely on your natural talents – they matter far less than society believes. You can learn virtually anything. Especially in the business arena. If you’re scared of doing sales calls, you can learn how to do it well and even learn to enjoy it. If you’re bad at business financials, you can learn to handle them excellently too. If you’re chronically disorganized that’s not a genetic trait. You can study time management and end up a world class productivity expert.
There are virtually no skills you cannot acquire, particularly business skills.
But the Judit Polgar story also shows that great skill only comes after three elements are added: a) great effort, b) many years of practice and c) aiming high. Without these three components our skill levels would still improve, but not to the point of mastery.
As authors Daniel Coyle, David Shank and Geoff Colvin have each shown with their meticulously researched books on high performance, there is a path to greatness and it sure ain’t about innate talent.
It’s about constant learning, huge aspiration and putting in the hours under an excellent teacher.
Working quickly is one of the most important characteristics of the high performing business person.
You can be highly intelligent, motivated and experienced, but if your output is slow then you’ll never reach your potential.
Speedy working is a craft well worth learning, but few executives spend any time developing their skills in this area.
To help you work much faster, I’ve outlined three simple, yet exceedingly effective techniques to improve the pace at which you work.
1. The 80% Rule
Invented by well known Canadian business coach Dan Sullivan, The 80% Rule suggests you should do tasks to about 80% of excellent standard, then move on to another task. It’s extremely effective because it’s often the last 20% of the task that takes much of the time. Yet in general doing that last 20% is not appreciated by other people, nor is it necessarily particularly useful to you that you got it done.
Be clear that I’m not suggesting that you don’t finish the job, but rather you finish the job to an 80% excellent standard. Perfectionism tends to destroy productivity.
2. Rush The Unimportant.
You can usually achieve twice as much if you rush jobs that aren’t crucial to your business.
Most tasks don’t really matter, but many people give trivial tasks the same care they give important jobs. The net result of that attitude is they no longer have enough time available to do the vital jobs superbly.
Take it from me, you do not have enough time in the day to do everything well. Pick your battles and rush the rest.
3. Practice The Closed Door Policy.
No doubt you’ve heard of the Open Door Policy – that your door should be open to any staff that want to see the boss. In my view that philosophy has been responsible for more lost productivity than almost any other way of working.
Try keeping your door closed most of the day.
Interruptions are the great killer of high achievement. It’s not just the time lost from the interruption itself, it’s the time it takes to re-focus and get fully engaged in the previous task as well.
If you let people know that you’re available from X time to Y time most days, they’ll organize themselves to see you at those times. This will then leave you with most of your day available to get more valuable work done.
These three techniques are incredibly simple to institute, but will have a profoundly positive influence on the speed at which you do your work. Begin doing them this week and within ten days your output will be higher and your stress levels will be lower.
The vast majority of business people focus on tactics to be successful – strategy, marketing, sales and systems.
Yet after doing this religiously for ten years still often complain that they have not achieved what they had hoped.
Is there something more they needed to work on to succeed at a high level in business?
I think there is: Their self image.
In my view, doing all the external tactical stuff can only get you so far, if you are being held back by inner feelings of not being deserving of business success, or not feeling that you’re good enough personally to succeed.
Self image affects our performance at work, in subtle yet impactful ways.
We present a little too timidly to win the account. We don’t dare to move the company forward in a new and better direction. We accept a medium level of revenue growth when we should be aiming for a record uplift. There’s a hundred ways our progress gets impeded by how we feel about ourselves deep down inside.
But enough about the problem, let’s look at some solutions.
From Dr Nathaniel Branden’s work in the Sixties to Professor Barbara Frederickson’s very recent research (she was born in the Sixties) a myriad of studies have been done on the way how we think about ourselves affects our performance, in work and life.
Here are two ways to increase to increase your self esteem and thereby improve your chances of succeeding in the business world.
Be Your Own Best Fan.
Too often we are the opposite – we are our harshest critic, slamming ourselves in private for perceived errors in public.
Those with high self esteem and high self efficacy are no less demanding of their performance, but also support themselves with their own thinking and self evaluation. They talk themselves up. They choose to interpret events in a positive way. They tell themselves that they can and will achieve.
Doing this takes considerable self discipline, but with consistent effort we can become our most ardent supporters, rather than beating ourselves up inside. If we can pull it off then inevitably our business performance will improve.
Invest In Your Own Competence.
Generally the more competent you are at business skills the more confident you will be when doing them. Logical of course. Yet so many entrepreneurs and executives are happy to coast on their previous studies and accumulated experience rather than dedicating themselves to ever higher levels of learning and competence in their fields.
When you think about it, it’s clear that becoming highly competent has a dual reward. You get the benefits of that specific area of competence but you also feel better about yourself generally. In sports parlance, you feel more like a winner, which in turn leads to more confident actions/results.
Combine positive self talk with ever increasing task competence and you have a powerful synergy of internal and external self esteem boosters. It won’t be long before what you think of yourself changes – and then so will your entire future.