Something is weird here…

Yes it’s true….

Something IS VERY WEIRD on this site.

Here is why.   At the original hosting site for this blog (you can get a hint of the host from this sentence…) they really did a lousy job of keeping out the malware.  Yes, seems like everything was extra for this, extra for that.  Well, even with that, they did a lousy job and the site was trashed.

Fortunately, when I moved this site to WPEngine, the guys (yes, “guys” used in a non-gender manner) were able to recover almost all of my previous posts.  Over 150 different posts.  I can’t thank them enough.

In this current site, I have been able to keep those posts alive. But they look very different because I have had to change the theme of this site, and all of the images were lost.  Bummer.  But a small bummer compared to the major bummer it would have been if I had lost everything.  So all in all, I am pretty happy.

It’s been a while since I was actively writing on this site, so if you see some large gaps in time, you will understand why.  I hopefully will be writing more in the future…and I plan on going through the site and cleaning up all of the flotsam and jetsam left over…including missing images, bad links, etc.

I will also be sharing with you many of the new projects that I am working on …. Stay tuned in!

 

5 Steps to Gaining Trust With Anyone

I recently ran across this short article about gaining trust with people, even those you have just met.

5 Body Language Basics That Make You Appear 100% More Trustworthy to Strangers
By Rhett Power of Inc, and published on TheMuse.com

Now none of these techniques is earth shattering, but I think that they are all simple enough and worthy of being on your “mind checklist” when you are looking to create instant rapport with individuals.

It’s interesting to note that the first for of these five suggestions are all about what WE do with our bodies to help project non-threatening body language.  Easy to do, and something you can implement immediately.  The last, “mirroring” can be highly effective, yet takes some understanding and practice to implement in a natural (non-artifical) manner so that it doesn’t look obvious to the other party.

I hope you enjoy the article.

 

 

5 Reasons To Make Podcast INTERVIEWS part of your Inbound Strategy

Make Podcasting part of your Marketing Strategy

This is a wonderful article on the benefits of podcasting.  And it’s a great concept that Thomas Schwab points out that YOU don’t need to be the host of the podcast.  Being a guest is as…or perhaps MORE…powerful as being the host.  And it’s a whole lot easier.

Read the whole article here:  5 Reasons To Make Podcast INTERVIEWS part of your Inbound Strategy (Linkedin) by Thomas Schwab

I like the EIGHT major points that Tom makes in this short, but powerful article. (He might not be able to count to 8, but his points are great take-aways.

1. It the easiest content you will ever produce

2. It’s the easiest content to repurpose

3. Podcast are growing

4. The audience is VERY focused

5. Getting on a podcast is free

6. Podcasts aren’t over saturated yet

7. The traffic is FAST

8. Traffic converts 25x better than blogs

Learn more by visiting the original article by Tom.

Then share this with others…and share YOUR thoughts below!

 

Wishful Thinker or Entrepreneur? Who are you?

Many people have asked me what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.  That can be a difficult question and one that maybe is never complete.  And sometimes it’s more important to know what traits will reduce your chances of being a successful entrepreneur.

This article, “These 8 groups of people will NEVER start a business”, by Martin Zwilling published in May 2015 in Entrepreneur.com highlights some of these “wanna-be”s who say they want to be an entrepreneur…but never will be.

Do you see anyone YOU know on this list?  Hopefully, it’s not YOU…

Enjoy the read….

Who WON’T start a business.

Every entrepreneur I know is dismayed by the number of friends who approach them with a line such as “I have an even better idea that will change the world, and one of these days I’m going to get around to starting my own business.” I always wonder what is more important to them on an ongoing basis than changing the world, since their startups usually never materialize.

With the cost of entry to be an entrepreneur so low today, the common excuse of “lack of funding” doesn’t get much sympathy from me. People can build great e-commerce sites with free tools, smartphone apps in their spare time and use crowdfunding to bypass the dreaded angel funding and venture capital penalties. There must be something deeper that slows people down.

So if you have a great idea, and funding isn’t an overwhelming challenge, what are the real reasons that the world is filled with so many “wannabe” entrepreneurs that never get around to starting up?

Based on my own experience mentoring real entrepreneurs and likely candidates, there are at least eight categories of non-starters. I’m sure you will recognize someone you know, maybe even yourself, in one of the following groups:

1. Enjoy the dreaming, but not the implementation

These are people who often call themselves “idea people,” who like to talk about their vision and leave the implementation to some lesser beings. In my experience, there are a wealth of good ideas out there, and the harder part is converting the dream into a profitable business.

2. Unwilling or unable to acquire business implementation skills

Our culture propagates the myth that business skills, like rocket science, can only be learned in a classroom or lab. In today’s world, with a pervasively connected and constantly updated Internet knowledge base, online self-learning is always available and more productive.

3. Irrational fear of failure or embarrassment

Everyone has some fear of the unknown, and that’s a good thing for survival. Successful entrepreneurs are ones who overcome their fears and manage some risk and failures as a part of the learning process. Others are debilitated by their fear, avoid risk at all costs, and never start.

4. Equally irrational fear of dealing with success

We have all seen people on the cusp of success, who seemed to intentionally undermine their momentum, only to fail near the finish line. Of course, too much early success can kill a business, but real entrepreneurs are certain that they can grow and learn from success, just as they do from failure.

5. Insist on perfectionism, rather than pragmatism

I know very talented inventors who have been working on the same technology for 20 years, and still want to do more research to make sure it’s perfect before selling a product. In today’s rapidly changing market, perfection is a fleeting and impractical objective. Pragmatists create a minimum viable product (MVP), test it in the market and iterate to success.

6. Unable to maintain their focus and resist distractions

“Focus” is the key to success as an entrepreneur. A business that tries to do too many things for too many markets will likely excel at none and discourage all potential customers. Focus means keeping priorities straight, separating important from urgent, organizing and delegating.

7. Substitute excuses for accountability and responsibility

Excuses are efforts to rationalize failure after the fact or justification for never starting. The best attribute of a real entrepreneur is acceptance of the fact that “the buck stops here.” There are always alternatives, pivots and creativity to overcome any obstacle.

8. Simply not a self-starter, leader or decision-maker

These are the products of the industrial revolution, who wait for others to tell them what to do, and love to find fault and play the victim.  When you adopt the entrepreneur lifestyle, it’s up to you to set the pace, stay positive, be the model and lead the follow-through.

If you expect someone else to make your decisions and bear the risks and responsibilities of implementation, then “one of these days” will probably never come for you. So my view of what it takes to be an entrepreneur is simply to adopt the right attitude and full accountability. People who want it bad enough will get around to it.

How long will you be a “wannabe” entrepreneur?

Sales Call Dissection…to land more sales

Making your sales calls better…and make more money

When doing sales call…we all think that we are doing a great job and nailing the sale.

Maybe that’s not the truth.  The fact is that most sales calls can be done better.  And the best way of getting better at something is to work on it and have a plan for improvement.  This recent post by Justin Zappula provides a lot of great information. The part that I really like is the “Phone Call Coroner”.  See his list of what to do immediately after you hang up from a phone call:

First on the list of post-call duties is to snap on the mental rubber gloves and swiftly conduct a post mortem. Take a few minutes to write down and answer the following questions immediately after a call (Taken from Justin’s posting.)

1) Be the Phone Call Coroner

First on the list of post-call duties is to snap on the mental rubber gloves and swiftly conduct a post mortem. Take a few minutes to write down and answer the following questions immediately after a call:

  • Did I achieve my objective?
  • What was successful?
  • What was not so successful?
  • What information did I gather?
  • What evidence do I have that this is still a viable sales opportunity?
  • Did I advance the sale to the next stage?
  • What will my next move be?
  • Who else needs to be involved in the process?
  • What do I need to do to bump the sale to the next stage?
  • When am I next going to speak with or see the customer?
  • What’s my objective for the next meeting?

2) Feel Their Pain Points

3) Perform a Rescue Mission

4) Brain Dump

5) Send a Follow-up Email

 

Read the rest of Justin’s great article “5 things to do as soon as you hang up a sales call” to get the full discussion of these last 4 items.

I am sure you will enjoy it.

 

SGR

 

Is Luck an Illusion?

It seems like there are some people who are lucky, and others who are not. Or worse yet, there are people with bad luck. And it’s everywhere. Lucky in business. Lucky with relationships. Lucky in finances. Lucky in health. Lucky in life.

But I would suggest that most of what we consider luck…isn’t luck at all. Rather it’s something more direct. Something more about US than luck. But often it’s easier to give credit to…or blame something outside of us. Something that we believe we have no control over. Yes…we credit it to, or blame it on… “luck”.

What is Luck?

Is there “real luck”? I would guess so. Having a meteor fall out of the sky and land in front of us would be “good luck”. Having it fall a couple of seconds later and hit us would be “bad luck”. Neither has really much to do with us inherently. But I believe these are the exceptions.Most of the time our “good luck” and “bad luck” is more likely due to our own actions.

Do you win at the lottery or at roulette? Maybe you lose. But is that really luck? Partially yes, but fundamentally no. I don’t play the lottery, so I consider myself a winner. I don’t waste money on a game of chance thinking I will win because I am “lucky”. It has nothing to do with luck. I don’t participate in the game of chance, so there is no possibility that I would be “lucky” and win. In this case I win by not losing (a statistically far more likely outcome), and it’s a deliberate decision, not luck. It’s a choice that I made.

Are “Lucky” and “Unlucky” people born that way?

How about the person that seems to have everything that they do turn to gold? Is it because they are “lucky” or because they have developed relationships and knowledge that puts them in an optimal position for success? How about the person who is “unlucky” enough to have a fatal heart attack at age 35. Hmmm….seems like bad luck, until you learn that they never exercised, weighed 300+ pounds and smoked 2 packs a day. Now it doesn’t seem much like it was luck…as much as personal choice. Even for people who were truly unlucky enough to be born into a family with bad genetics, some go on to live long and health lives, despite poor genetics, because of how they take care of their self. Or those born into bad situations…yet are able to rise above and excel. On the other hand, how about the child who is a “born athlete”. Chances are there a millions of them out there. But we hear about the ones who have made it big. Is it because they are talented? Partially, but none of that talent would have come to fruition had there not been effort and dedication to the sport they are naturally good at. Their DECISION to do something with their talent. Success for them is not luck…it is a personal decision.

In a conversation with a very successful friend of mine a number of years ago, I mentioned that he was quite “lucky” to have done so well with several business that he started. He quickly replied to me…”I work HARD at my luck”. It was then that I realized that luck wasn’t as common as I had thought. I realized the wisdom in that statement. It wasn’t about chance. It was about the hard work and knowledge that HE had invested into his businesses…and the dividends that he was paid was his success….his “luck”. Decisions, not fate, dictated success.

What you do in your life. What relationships you foster, and those you shun. What you read and what you ignore. What you believe and what you don’t. What you say, or choose not to say. Who you hang out with, and who you avoid. What you eat, what you drink and what you don’t. How you drive. How much you exercise. Who you choose to work with, or not. What opportunities you will develop, and which you will avoid. Each of these choices shapes what happens to you in your life. Each of those choices can create positive and negative events in your life…and you may call them “good luck” or “bad luck”. But most of the time, the concept of luck is merely an illusion. What happens to you is a manifestation of what you think, do, say and the relationships that you have. Your choices are your future.

Abraham Lincoln said

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”.

And it’s also true that the best way of getting “good luck” is to create it. To make positive choices. To work with and associate with successful people. To have wonderful personal relationships. To treat your body in the best manner possible. And to make the most of each of the opportunities that you have.

Do “lucky” things in your life and you become “lucky” in outcomes.

You CAN create your future. Go out and start.

Comment on how YOU have created “good luck” in your life or career….Your comment may be the thought seed to help others create “good luck” in their lives. That’s a pretty nice gift!

Follow EntrepreneurialPractice on Twitter: @Entrepractice

Images: Shutterstock

Three essential entrepreneurial skills

Three Essential Entrepreneurial Skills

There are three skills that are essential in business and as an entrepreneur.  They are:

  • Systems Thinking
  • Creativity
  • Optimism

Each one is very different from the other.  And they are all essential to a highly successful business. It’s important that YOU have these skills.

Let’s look at each of these skills individually.

Systems Thinking is the ability to be able to systematize processes to ensure that you perform functions with the highest level of consistency and efficiency.  It provides your employees the ability to perform functions with the same level of proficiency and produce a product or service with the same standards and outcome.

Creativity is the ability to see new ideas and solutions where others may not. To make connections between various items creating new and novel products and services.

Optimism is the trait where you look at the positive side of something.  It’s the ability to see the glass half full…and not half empty. To feel positive.  To look at the potential of a situation and not be paralyzed by the potential pitfalls.

Although these are very brief descriptions, I believe you can get the idea of what these three skills represent.  It is possible to describe each of these skills in much greater detail, but these simple definitions will suffice for now.  Why?  Because what I would like to discuss is the relationship of these three skills and how they function together. Furthermore,  there is even a greater depth of consideration that I would like to address.   It is…

What is the order of importance of these three entrepreneurial skills?  And why?

Yes, each of these skills is important.  But there is definitely an order of importance to them.  One is the most important to an entrepreneur, then there is a second and third skill, also important, but perhaps more dependent on the others for successful implementation in your business.  So let’s look at them and you can pick…

What order do you think they belong in?

In order of importance here are your choices for these entrepreneurial skills….(a) most important  to (c) third in importance.

  1. (a) Systems Thinking   (b) Creativity   (c) Optimism
  2. (a) Systems Thinking   (b) Optimism   (c) Creativity
  3. (a) Optimism   (b) Systems Thinking   (c) Creativity
  4. (a) Optimism   (b) Creativity   (c) Systems Thinking
  5. (a) Creativity   (b) Systems Thinking  (c) Optimism
  6. (a) Creativity   (b) Optimism  (c) Systems Thinking

I will give you a hint…you need to think about what each of these different skills contributes to the success of an entrepreneur and  business person.  And what would be missing if any of these skills were not well developed?

Choose what order of importance you feel that these skills hold.

Will it be one? Two? Three? Four? Five? Or six? And WHY did you choose that order?

Write your thoughts down, because I will want you to contribute your thoughts in a comment below…and I don’t want you to be influenced by the discussion that will follow.

So let’s look at the three skills again, but this time in a little different context.

Creativity allows you to come up with novel ideas, concepts and solutions.  It’s an essential skill that can help you develop products and services that are new and unique.  The opposite of creative is dull, boring and uninspiring. This skill is where you transform your thoughts and ideas into concrete possibilities.

Systems Thinking helps you create uniform systems that help keep your business running efficiently…regardless whether or not you are there. The opposite of systems thinking is chaos, disorganization and anarchy. This is the most concrete of the three skills.

Optimism provides you will the vision of being able to achieve something great.  The opposite of optimism is pessimism. This is the most nebulous of the three skills. How do you feel or touch or even describe optimism?  I am not sure that you can.

So did you figure out what MY order is?

Let me share my thoughts with you, one at a time.

First….OPTIMISM…is the most important skill for an entrepreneur and business.  Why? Because without optimism, you have no motivation. You are not inspired to achieve something.  You are unlikely to stretch yourself to accomplish your goal.  Without optimism, you will have pessimism. You won’t see the opportunity and goal..you will only see the bad and negative aspects of what you are looking to achieve.  In a state of pessimism, rather than optimism, you won’t have the vision or belief that you will achieve your goal.  Only with optimism will you take the steps necessary to strive for your goals. Without it, you will never start your quest to achieve your goals.

Creativity…is next in importance.  Once you have created your optimistic vision, you need the creativity to “create” it. As the leader of your business, the entrepreneur, it’ is up to you to create the vision.  To see opportunities and goals that others do not. To find ways of doing things that are unlike any other that have been done before. You won’t be creative without having the optimism fueling you with energy.  Pessimism is like starting a trip with an empty tank. You won’t go far, regardless how creative you are about it.  Optimism is the fuel that helps creativity run long, hard and fast.

Systems Thinking…although a current buzzword in many entrepreneurial and business circles today, is less important that the other two skills. But it still is very important to allow you to develop your business to be consistent.  Logical and systematic thinking can be performed by others…provided you supply the vision and creativity…all fueled by your optimism.  There are many people who can qualify as a “COO” and do a perfectly good job at ensuring that systems are in place and faithfully executed. But those same people may not (probably do not) have that same level of creativity and optimism…that sets you apart from them, as the entrepreneurial leader of the your business.  If they were…it’s likely they would not be working for you, but rather have their own business. Also, systems can be automated and performed by machines.  You should be able to oversee the  development of systems, but they should function autonomously, without your oversight.

It’s up to you to supply the optimism that gets the ball rolling and supplies the energy to keep it moving.  It’s then for you and your creative team to tap into your creativity to find novel solutions and opportunities, and last it’s your guidance of your support team that can help ensure the consistency of delivery from a well developed systematic business. From “ethereal” to “conceptual” to “concrete”.

So there you have it.  My answer to the question originally posed would be (a) Optimism (b) Creativity (c) Systems Thinking. Option #4.

Was that the same answer you had?  Do you agree with me?  Why or why not?  Take a look at your original notes…and share your thoughts below.  I look forward to seeing your creative thoughts.

 

 

13 Business Lessons From Yoga

Yoga.

The simple use of the word can create a variety of emotions in different people.  Soothing. Hard.  Refreshing. Exhausting.  Stretching. Pain. Essential. Crazy. Relaxation. Stressful.  Wonderful. Nutty.

Yes, yoga can be both an essential component of life for some, and for others is a completely foreign concept.  And for most of us that do yoga, it’s a form of great exercise, where we can push our physical limits and help us improve.

This morning’s yoga class.

While I was in class this morning, learning a variety of new poses, having my instructor (Chad) helping us achieve pretzel like positions that I didn’t realize that my old bones could still do…I was thinking about what I could learn from yoga about business and entrepreneurship. Many of these ideas came to me while I was twisting my legs and arms in positions that previously I would have considered unnatural.  But clearly it helped me clear my mind and learn more about my business interests.

Here is what I learned about entrepreneurship and business from yoga:

Yoga is not for everybody.  Neither is entrepreneurship. Or business.  You need to want to do commit to it yourself.  Just like yoga…if you are not committed to doing it right…you will never succeed in business without commitment.

Yoga is harder that it looks. Yoga can look deceptively simple.  It looks easy..until you try it.  Just like entrepreneurship and business. You look at other people running businesses and you see the EASY parts.  You see the FUN parts.  It looks easy….until you do it yourself.  THEN you realize how truly difficult it is to do it right. And you gain a new found respect for successful entrepreneurs and business owners.

It’s easier to do it wrong than it is to do correctly. Yoga positions can be done two ways.  Correctly and poorly.  When done correctly, it is much harder, but you get far more from your effort.  Doing the positions in a sloppy manner can also have you THINK you are doing yoga, but you are only doing a poor imitation, and you won’t get as much out of it. Entrepreneurship and business is the same.  Practice it in a precise and correct manner can be more difficult to do…but you will achieve more and a longer lasting result than practicing in a sloppy manner.  Just like in yoga.

Most of the time you don’t do it right at first. That’s why you need to be ready to adapt to mistakes and learn from them.  Re-tool and then attack your business / entrepreneurial endeavor again.  When doesn’t work the first time…it only means it didn’t work that time…and you have to be able to pick yourself up and restart.  So plan on failures, before you achieve success.

Sometimes you are upside-down, but when you right yourself, you are stronger for it. In yoga, I have found myself looking at my feet with a background of the ceiling.  Certainly disorienting initially. But when you come out of that pose, you feel better and you become more accustomed to strange perspectives.  In business and as an entrepreneur, you have to be able to feel comfortable looking, and approaching, your business from different perspectives.  From the client. From the supplier.  From the customer…and on.  With each new perspective that you use, your business becomes stronger.

It’s best to have a coach. You can learn yoga yourself from a book, but it’s not the same.  Just like in business and as an entrepreneur.  Having a coach can help you stay objective and gain different perspectives.  They can help you make quantum leaps faster and more confidentially, and can help you avoid serious mistakes.  And they can help you learn the RIGHT way of doing things..both in business and yoga. 

You don’t do it as well at home as you do in a dedicated facility. Okay, so you have a home business.  That’s fine for some business, but for most entrepreneurial businesses you will need to move out of your house and get your own place.  Just like yoga, you will be more serious about your activities when you have a dedicated location where you DO your job.  It helps keep you focused when you are there…just like doing yoga at a studio, instead of in front of the TV with a CD instruction playing.

There are multiple different versions of yoga. There are different approaches to yoga.  Hot yoga.  Flow yoga. Static yoga.  And in business, you can approach what you do in different ways also.  Just like selecting the type of yoga that you like to do, and are most successful at, you should determine how you want to approach your business.  Small one-person operation?  Many employees?  Outsourcing of services?  Off shore? Domestic?  Figure out what works best for you and then stick with it.

The more you do it, the better you get at it. This is a no brain-er.  The more you do of anything…the better you will get at it.  Running your business.  Developing yourself as an entrepreneur. Honing your innovation skills.  All of these will get better and better the more you use them.

The return on your investment isn’t immediate. Anyone who has practiced yoga knows that it takes a LONG time to become an expert.  Maybe your entire lifetime.  And you do start to see immediate benefits, but they are small.  The really big payoff is when you have practiced for a long, long time.  And then one day, you realize that it has all paid off.  It might be great flexibility and health from yoga, or it may be from getting that big fat check when your business has been sold.  

It’s more fun to do with others. How often do you see a yoga class of one person?  Not often.  And successful businesses are not much different.  It’s more fun, and productive, to be working with others. The sum of our parts is greater than they are individually. 

Sometimes when you are making the most progress, you are the most sore. Do you have a successful business?  Has it always been smooth and easy?  I would guess not.  During those times when you have cash flow shortages because of inventory needs, or perhaps 18 hour days when you don’t have anyone to help out when you have a massive increase in business, are not much different than doing some new poses in yoga.  There is some soreness before the benefit.  But stick with it and you will find that you excel beyond your starting state. You will be sore for a while, but that will go away in time.

It’s best to learn from others first. It’s not easy to start a business with no experience.  Just like in yoga, it’s not easy to achieve the right form of the positions without help.  In both cases, you may not even realize what you need to do…thereby jeopardizing the potential of your achieving your goal at all, both in Yoga and business.

What do YOU have to add?

I am sure that there are a number of additional lessons for Entrepreneurship and Business that can be learned from yoga. Perhaps YOU have some that you can share below.
Oh…and by the way…that is NOT me in the image for this post.  If I tried to do that, well it wouldn’t be pretty!

Share your experiences in business below, and help other EntrepreneurialPractice readers.

Productivity from ONE Question.

Productivity

We all look to be more productive.  We look for “secret” methods that others have used to boost productivity.  We have examined “efficiency” checklists to help us do more.  We look at tools that can help us pack in more into our days.  We buy software to make our lives easier and do more with less effort.

And yet we often find that we don’t get the benefit that we wished that we could.

Does this sound familiar to you?  Have I hit a nerve with you?  I certainly hope so, because I am no different that you.  Those items in at the beginning of this post are all things that I have done.  So I hope you didn’t feel embarrassed by agreeing with the items I listed.  I have been there too.

Yet, I still work to find the Holy Grail of productivity.  What is the one (or more) things that I can do to help me get more done with less effort and less time. To get more out of what I do.

Why is productivity so hard?

One of the problems that I see with productivity programs is that they can be pretty complicated.  Worksheets.  Lists.  Priorities. Computer programs.  You name it….and someone has made it into a productivity program.

Now I don’t want to give you the impression that I am against these types of programs….far from it. I find that I have learned, and use, many techniques from a variety of different programs. And great ones can really provide you with an enormous boost in productivity.  But they have to be good.   See my additional note at the end of this post for what I think is a great program, “Wake Up Productive”.

First Start Simple

Before you start using any productivity program, there is one thing that you can do first. Have a simple start.  Before undertaking anything else to boost your productivity.  And it all revolves around asking yourself one question…and answering it honestly…each time you start a new task.  Each time you work on a project.  Each time you put something on a to-do list.  Each time you bring that task, job, obligation or commitment into your life. And it includes asking this question before you start any productivity program!

And because it’s only a single simple question, you can learn to use it in about 5 seconds.  That’s less time than it takes you to read this paragraph.

And you will have mastered a great first step of productivity.

Simply ask yourself this single question.

The question is deceptively simple.  It is only five words.  Yet is packs a powerful productively punch. This question cuts to the heart of everything that you may decide to spend time, effort or money on. And we should answer positively to this question before you do anything.

Most of the time, we start committing ourselves to even the smallest, simplest item without asking this question.  And what ends up happening is that we find we are spending time on worthless items.  Then we kick ourselves for falling into the trap of wasting our time, but only realizing it after the damage is done.  But by using this simple question, you can short-circuit that waste of time, helping you achieve a higher level of efficiency, both mentally (by not wasting our mental horsepower on things we shouldn’t be doing), as well as physically not wasting actual hours of time, resulting in a new found sense of control over our lives.

So what IS this powerful question? What IS this “holy grail” that will help us?

It’s simple:  Go ahead and say it out loud:  “Why am I doing this?

Yup.  It’s deceptively simple, yet devilishly effective.

Each time you do ANYTHING….ask yourself that question.  And you should have a great answer, otherwise don’t do it.

  • Reading this post?  Why am I doing this? A: Because you can learn something useful that you can use the rest of your life!
  • Checking your e-mail?  Why am I doing this? A: I don’t need to do this now…I can do it later more efficiently.  Do it later when it’s more efficient!
  • Eating some candy? Why am I doing this? A: I don’t have a good reason.  Don’t do it!
  • Typing out notes that you took at a meeting?  Why am I doing this?  A: It will be a great record of what I learned, BUT I shouldn’t do it….I should get someone else to do it.

Which brings us to…

The Second Meaning of the Question

This question is so productive, that it actually asks two questions in one.

The first is obvious.  WHY am I doing this?  The focus is on the WHY.  If there is not a good reason for the why…then it shouldn’t be done. Drop it and move on to something else. You have just improved your productivity dramatically.

But the second meaning is this:  Why am I doing this?  The why may be very useful.  It is something that needs to get done.  But the second question is …are YOU the one that needs to be doing it?  Can someone else do it cheaper?  Faster? Better?

Many times we do things out of habit. Maybe because we never consider having someone else do it.  But delegation is a very important skill to master.  This can be one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase your personal productivity and reduce the amount of time you spend on working.  (You can read more on “how to buy time” or learn about resources to help you have others do tasks cheaply such as eLance.com).

Maybe YOU are not the one that needs to do a certain task.  Delegate it to someone else.  Perhaps someone in your business.  Or if not, perhaps to an outsourcing service.  In addition to eLance.com there are other sources such as Crowdsource.com and Fivr.com.  Use them liberally for tasks that you are too highly paid to do…or you don’t have the skills to do well.

Remember to do ask this question….Hundreds of times daily.

So lets put this into action NOW.  Follow these 4 simple steps.

  1. Ask yourself….WHY am I doing this task of learning how to question each task?  (And your answer should be because you want to immediately improve your productivity.)
  2. Ask yourself….Why am I (emphasis on “I”) doing this?  (And your answer should be because you want to improve YOUR productivity by doing it and not someone else).
  3. Now let’s do it…. Write the question on a post-it note or 3×5 card.  Put it on your desk. On the wall.  In your pocket.  Everywhere you can see it.
  4. Then USE the question all the time.  Use it with the very next thing that you do. And with everything you do daily.

I am sure that you will find that this one simple question, and it’s two meanings, will help you boost your productivity almost immediately. And it will also help you identify various items that you can, and should be delegating and outsourcing.

Remember, using this question is complimentary with other productivity programs… such as “Wake Up Productive”.

So here is to your increased productivity!

Write a comment…right now!…about what you think about this technique.  I look forward to seeing your comments!

Here is to a highly productive and efficient 2015!

As I mentioned above, one of the best programs that I have run across for productivity is this:  Wake Up Productive.  It is enormously helpful to get you to increase your productivity.  I highly recommend it (check out this sponsored link here to learn more about this program: Wake Up Productive).  If you are serious about boosting your productivity, check it out. The videos are free and you are sure to learn something…with no obligation.  The answer to the question, “Why am I doing this?” when it comes to this program is … because it will help YOU become more productive.  It’s something that everyone (including you) can benefit from, and only YOU can do it for yourself.  You can’t outsource self-help

Just FYI…for full disclosure, I do get something if you purchase the program, but I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it would benefit you.  Go ahead and check it out…I have used it…and recommend it highly).

 

 

 

Unlock the power of your e-mail address

e-mail addressUnlock the power of a CUSTOM E-mail address

You spend an enormous amount of time and effort in the development of your business. You recruit customers. Create and build product.  Produce things that people really want.

You build rapport.  You build your reputation. You develop respect.

Then, when you communicate with potential clients, they see this:

YourName@gmail.com

Or maybe this…

YourName@yahoo.com

Or perhaps…

YourName@MSN.com

Or God forbid, they see this…

YourName@aol.com

Holy Cow!  Where have you been?

Really.  I am NOT kidding.  I see this type of thing all the time and think to myself….just where the heck have these people been?

There is nothing wrong with these e-mails for personal use…but using them for your business is a monumental mistake!

Using these types of e-mail addresses do nothing for advancing your credibility.  They only make people wonder why you are so smart in one area…yet can’t even figure out how to have a customized e-mail address for your business.  After all, how hard is it to program in some e-mail addresses under your URL.  You spent the time developing your web site, yet you can’t even get it together to create your e-mail address under that URL.  That TERRIBLE!  It’s a horrible waste of a potential resource. And it reflects poorly on you.

Custom E-mail Addresses are EASY.

You probably already have the URL for your business web site.  It probably looks like this:    www.YourCompanyName.com   That’s GREAT!  Congratulations on the first part of a great web presence.  But why stop there?  Your hosting company should be able to easily add a custom e-mail address to your URL so instead of a potential customer replying to YourName@aol.com they will reply to YourName@YourCompanyName.com!

Why should you do this?

  1. It looks significantly more professional
  2. It keeps all of your communication congruent.  It all says the same thing.
  3. It’s another way of getting your name out there.
  4. Your customers will get your company name drilled into their head every time they write an e-mail to you.
  5. And last…you won’t look like a business chump.

How to get your custom e-mail address

Go to your web site hosting site.  There should be instructions on how to do it.  If you can’t figure it out…call support at the hosting company.  They typically have very helpful people there to help you out.  If they don’t…perhaps you should change hosts.  I use HostGator and find that they provide a great level of service…and UNLIMITED e-mails (for certain hosting plans).

What else can you do with custom e-mail addresses?

Here are some other ideas of what you can do to use your new found tool in your business.

Do you provide support to clients?  How about  SupportNow@YourCompanyName.com ?

Do you take billing questions for client?  How about BillingQuestions@YourCompanyName.com?

I hope you are getting the idea.  This level of customization makes your company look REALLY professional!

But I don’t want to have to check all of those e-mail addresses!

Great thought…and you don’t.  By using a “e-mail forwarding” function, you can have all of those e-mails forwarded to different accounts.  If you are a solo operator…they can ALL be forwarded to your single account.  But nobody else needs to know that!  It makes you looks big and successful.  Here is another tip…do you want to really project a bigger image to clients?  Create an e-mail with another persons name…like Jodi@YourCompanyName.com or Frank@YourCompanyName.com, and communicate to clients and customers through this e-mail as if they were your secretary or personal assistant.  Presto! You now have the appearance of a bigwig!  But one caveat.  You will need to maintain this charade up…or it can backfire and make you look silly. So be cautious using this tactic!

What about my employees?

In my business, I ASSIGN an e-mail to all of my employees with the format:  FirstInitial + Last Name@YourCompanyName.com.  I keep the naming system for e-mails constant because it then makes it really easy to send an e-mail to my employees.  John Doe?  JDoe@YourCompanyName.com   Alice Jones?   AJones@YourCompanyName.com.   This also makes it easy for all of your customers and clients to access the e-mail of your staff.

Moreover, I have my staff use ONLY this e-mail for their business communications.  There are a couple good reasons for this.

  • It’s easy to remember
  • It’s universal for all employees
  • Employees keep their personal and work e-mails separate
  • Every time an employee uses their e-mail, it’s like a tiny billboard with the company name on it.
  • When an employee leaves, I can “shut off” their communication with clients and customers.

Go and Do It.

Don’t wait any longer.  STOP using e-mail addresses for your business that don’t support your professional image.

Do this TODAY.

  1. Make your list of e-mail addresses that you need to create for your business, employees etc.
  2. Contact your internet URL hosting service.
  3. Learn how to set up the e-mails in your hosting service, either by on-line instructions or phone /live chat help.
  4. Set up those new e-mails
  5. Set up e-mail forwarding as needed.
  6. Start using your new e-mail addresses today!
  7. Update all of your business cards, stationary, etc. with your new CUSTOM e-mail addresses.

Share YOUR experience with members of EntrepreneurialPractice.com below

And be sure to FOLLOW us on twitter @EntrePractice

You can contact me at….you guessed it!… SGRuby@EntrepreneurialPractice.com.

I look forward to hearing from you…from your custom e-mail address.

 Please note:  The URL  “YourCompanyName”  is made up just for this posting. It is not a real URL that I use.  Please do NOT send anything to that e-mail address.  I won’t get it.