Be Dashing While Dining

Bigg Challenge: We recently received an e-mail from one of our newsletter subscribers. Brett is raising money for his business. He’s planned a dinner meeting with some potential investors. He wants our tips to make sure his dinner is a bigg success.

Bigg Advice: Let’s start with two pieces of general advice on how to be dashing while dining.

  • Do the little things well. Above all else, be yourself. That’s assuming you are respectful and sincere!
  • Be the leader. You’re the host; they’re the guests. Lead them through the evening.

Now, let’s look at some specifics.

  • Before dinner
    You should choose the restaurant. Try to determine their preferences – favorite restaurant or type of food. But if you can, balance that with your own. If you have a place you know you’ll get great service, go for it!

    Get there early. You set the appointment, so don’t be late. If you’re late, you’re saying to your investors that your time is more valuable than theirs.

    Arrange to pay the bill away from the table. Yes, you’re paying the bill. After all, you’re the one trying to make the sale!

    On the show, George talked about a businessman who wanted to buy a company. The businessman met the seller and they began negotiating. As day turned to night, they reached an impasse. They were $100,000 apart.

    They decided to go out for dinner so they could come back fresh.

    During dinner, the businessman decided that he would pay the extra $100,000 IF the seller paid for dinner.

    You see the businessman had bought breakfast and lunch. He thought it only fair for the seller to buy dinner! The server presented the bill. It sat on the table … and sat … and sat. Finally, the businessman pulled out his credit card.

    That dinner cost the seller $100,000, even though he didn’t pay for it!

  • During dinner
    You set the agenda. Start off with some small talk, while you’re all looking at the menu. Once you’ve placed your orders, get down to business. You want time at the end for their questions or to just build your relationships.

    After dessert, excuse yourself and take care of the bill.

  • After dinner
    Walk them out. You’ll often find that your best conversations occur once you’re away from the table. There’s pressure to discuss follow-up because the night is drawing to an end. Don’t miss this great opportunity! Make sure that you follow-up. Thank them again for meeting with you. Be positive – reinforce that you look forward to working with them.

Thanks for sending us your bigg challenge, Brett. We hope our advice helps you be dashing at your upcoming dinner!

Do you have a bigg challenge? We’d love to help. E-mail it to bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

For our Bigg Quote today, we felt obligated to defer to Emily Post.

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have
that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.”

Mind your manners and the world can be your oyster!

Next time, we’ll offer some tips to cope with information overload. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Abandon Ship!

Yesterday, we said that persistence is the single most important ingredient for your success. If you persist long enough, you’re sure to succeed! However, you have to be smart about it. With that in mind, here are four signs that it’s time to abandon ship!

Internal signs
#1 – It’s affecting your health.
Your health is more important than any career. You may be having anxiety attacks, experiencing constant stress, feeling burned out or fatigued. These are indications that it may be time for a change.

To succeed bigg, you’ll feel stressed from time-to-time. You need to push on, unless it’s affecting your health long-term. NOTHING is worth that. If your long-term health is being affected by what you’re doing, it’s time to abandon ship!

#2 – You’re bored beyond belief.
You’ve been there, done that. Every day feels like a week. It’s harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t look forward to work. You feel like you’re stagnating.

The first sign covers your physical health. Here we’re talking about your mental health. When you’re bored to tears, it’s time to abandon ship!

External signs
#3 – There’s no room for growth.
This is related to the second sign. However, in this case, it’s beyond your control. It may be that you’ve been promoted as far as you can go. Perhaps you can’t expect any significant increase in your income. Maybe your company is reaching maturity.

You’ve taken it as far as the circumstances will allow. If there’s little or no opportunity on the horizon, it’s time to abandon ship!

#4 – The trends are bad.
Change happens. It affects your industry – for good or bad. If it’s creating damage, ask yourself 

Is it a trend or is it a fad?

Fads are short term – they will come and go. Trends are long-term things that you can’t change. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, said, “When management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”

We don’t doubt that you’re good. But even you can’t buck the trends. If it’s a fad, push on! If it’s a trend that’s devastating your industry, abandon ship!

Have you felt the need to abandon ship? Or maybe you’re considering it now?
Share your experience with us … leave a comment below!

But don’t just jump ship … prepare your life boat first.

Store up provisions.
Find ways to save some money – skip that latte or pack a lunch until you get settled. Set it aside to provide for you and your family.

Don’t forget your life jacket.
This is your support network. Talk to people who will encourage you, weigh in with ideas, and perhaps refer you to good opportunities.

Remember your compass.
Obviously, you need to know that you’re headed in the right direction. Check out these great resources for guidance:

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part I)    

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part II)   

Coping With Life Change    

Your Potential Power    

Are You Going Through A Mid-Life (Career) Crisis  

Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll (Change Careers)    

10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business    

Stretch Yourself Anew    

What Makes You Tick    

Finding The “Good” In Good-Bye    

How Do You Define Success      

Visualizing The Life You Want (Part II)    

Climbing The Stairway To Success    

Take your oars.
You don’t want to just float, so grab your oars. These are things you can do to steer you in the right direction – like take a class or get a part-time job in a field you think might be interesting.

Bring your flare gun.
Prepare to market yourself – spruce up your resume and cover letter. Think creatively so you get the attention of the right people.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from George William Curtis.

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

You are the captain of your own ship. Usually you will persist and stay with the course. But occasionally, the best thing you can do is to find a new ship and start your journey anew. Bon voyage!

Next time, we’ll answer a question for one of our newsletter subscribers. He wants some tips on wooing potential investors over dinner. We’ll talk about how to be dashing while dining!

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

The One Ingredient That Guarantees Your Success

Successful people are a diverse group. Some are outgoing while others are extroverts. You have creative types and analytical people. They do however share a few commonalities.

One of those was displayed by Thomas Edison. The great inventor obtained over 1,000 patents in his lifetime. But did you know that it took Edison about 10,000 tries to finally invent the light bulb? If at first you don’t succeed, try 10,000 times again!

The one must-have ingredient to succeed is persistence!

History is ripe with example of people whose greatest success came after their biggest failure. So today we’ll discuss three persistence principles – things you can do to keep on keeping on.

#1 – Believe in yourself and your idea.
You need to almost be stubborn about it. Have faith – not a blind faith, but a “calculated faith”. We often think of “calculated risk” – this is similar. You have insight that others may not.

You’ve done your research. You may have a unique perspective based on your education and experiences. You have confidence in your plan. Trust your instincts and push on!

#2 – Keep your spirit up.
There are a number of ways to do this; find those that work for you. You may read success stories. Or keep your batteries charged by hanging out with positive people. Get a good night’s sleep … or take a nap. Get some exercise. Whatever it is, plan some time daily to keep your flame burning so you can keep pushing, no matter what obstacles come your way!

#3 – Welcome failure.
Imagine if Edison had quit after two tries, or 5,000 … or just one time short of his great invention? Learn to recognize failure for what it is – progress toward success.

Take the example of great sales people. The numbers are different for different industries, but think of this example – a sales person knows that he has to make ten calls to get two appointments. He has to have two appointments to make a sale. He fails ninety percent of the time. But here’s what he knows …

The sooner he gets through those nine failures, the sooner he succeeds!

Here’s a story that illustrates the importance of persistence. It comes from Think and Grow Rich, the great book by Napoleon Hill.

During the days of the gold rush, a young man went west to find his fortune. He staked a claim and went to work. A few weeks later, after much work with no reward, he discovered gold!

He quickly raised the money to buy the equipment he needed to mine the gold. He started drilling, but then the vein disappeared. He kept drilling, but to no avail. In desperation, he quit and went home a poor man.

Some time later, it was discovered that he had stopped just three short feet of one of the richest deposits of gold in the United States.

Don’t stop three feet from success – be persistent!

What do you do to keep going? We’d love to hear from you!
Leave us a comment below…

Our Bigg Quote today is by the great author and speaker Brian Tracy:

“Remember you only have to succeed the last time.”

Here are two things to add to your list of things that are certain –
(1) you will face obstacles on the way to success, and
(2) you will succeed bigg if you persist.

Next time, with all this talk of persisting, we thought we’d throw a curve ball your way – we’re going to talk about when to quit. What are the signs that it’s time to move on?

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Do Your Customers Trust You?

Recently, the Better Business Bureau released the results their first Trust in Business Index. They found that trust in business is down and cite contributing factors such as:

  • toy recalls
  • the sub-prime mortgage crisis
  • ethical lapses in leadership
  • declining customer service

All of these things affect a company’s reputation. Stephen Covey, in his great book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about “emotional bank accounts”. When we do good things, deposits are made into our emotional bank account; when we do bad things, withdrawals are made.

Trust is built as we make more deposits. Relationships are built on trust. According to BBB, the single biggest factor in earning customer trust is honesty, closely followed by dependability.

Today, we’ll look at three things that you can do to increase your customers’ trust.

  • Under-promise, then over-deliver
  • Unfortunately, we usually see the opposite. In most cases, the intentions are good. However, good intentions don’t build relationships. Good actions do. One of the keys here is to manage expectations to make sure you don’t over commit.

    On the show, George talked about a customer who wanted him to commit to something he didn’t he could do. After much prodding, he told the customer that he could lie to her now, and make her happy. But she would probably be disappointed later.

    Or she could accept what he’s saying, and be happy when he was able to do it. He asked which one she preferred. She understood.

    Tell me now and it’s an explanation. Tell me later and it’s an excuse. Customers accept explanations; nobody likes excuses. Once you have set the proper expectations, you can work to exceed them. That’s where it gets fun!

  • Follow-through
  • This is closely related to the first point, but it’s so important that we thought it deserved to be separate. Say what you’ll do, and then do what you say. We’re all so busy these days; it’s easy to make promises that we don’t keep. Don’t be one of those people! Follow-through.

    Develop a personal system that tracks your promises so you rarely “drop the ball”.

    During the show, George talked a friend who’s in sales. When he called prospects, they often told him to call back some time later. He developed a system to notify him when he should call them back. Then he called them!

    George liked this idea. He started testing sales people by agreeing to a follow-up date. A very small percentage actually did it! If someone won’t live up to their promises before they sell you something, how do you think they’ll do afterwards?

    Follow-through won’t always make you money, but it always builds trust.

  • Address the needs of your customer first, then worry about your needs.
  • On the show, Mary-Lynn talked about her sister, who recently saw some fraudulent activity on her credit card. When she called the credit card company, they tried to sell her another credit card and additional services on her current credit card.

    She explained that she didn’t care about that right now; she was stressed out that someone was using her credit card. The service representative just kept pitching her on other services.

    It’s hard to understand why anyone would design a process that way. If someone comes to you with a need, you won’t get anywhere until that need is addressed.

 

How do you build trust with your customers?
As a customer, what do you wish businesses would do?
Leave us a comment.

 

Going back to the survey, we talked about honesty and dependability, which finished first and second in building trust. In case you’re wondering, here are the next three:

#3 – safe products
#4 – value
#5 – price

There’s one more thing that we found interesting from this survey:

67% of the respondents would rather patronize a small business than a large one.

That’s good news for all you small business owners. You have an edge – consumers trust you more! And now may be a good time to start that business you’ve been dreaming about. Check out 10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s.

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

Remember that your customers will last if they feel like you put them first. Your honesty and dependability leads to their loyalty.

Next time, we’ll talk about the marshmallow test. Can you resist sweet temptations? Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Freedom Or Security – Which Do You Choose?

Let’s start with some definitions of what we’re talking about when we say freedom and security.

When we talk about security here, we’re talking about things like your personal financial security or job security. Freedom means financial freedom and career freedom.

Many experts say that it’s a trade-off – you have to choose one or the other. We want to examine that today.

So here are a few questions –
Given the definitions above, when we say “security”, what do you think?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking things like “a regular paycheck”, “an annual salary increase”, and “no fear of losing my job.”

What do you think when we say “freedom?”
You might say “creative control”, “no money worries”, “set my own schedule”, and “be my own boss.”

Which one is more fun to think about?
Freedom, of course! In fact, most people tend to smile when thinking about freedom. Thinking about security doesn’t yield the same emotions.

If that’s the case, why do we spend so much time worrying about security and so little time planning for freedom?
That’s a good question, isn’t it? Of course, you might say it’s because you have bills to pay and a family to take care of.

What if you could have both freedom and security?
Isn’t that ideal? Before we offer some suggestions on how to make that happen, we want you to think about how secure that job truly is.

Think about two scenarios –
Scenario 1: You’re an employee with an employer.
Think of your employer as your customer. Think of the services you provide to your employer as your business. Now, look carefully at that … isn’t that what a job really is?

How many customers do you have?               One.
What happens if you lose that customer?      You lose all your income.
How secure is that?                                            It’s not.

Scenario 2: You’re self-employed.
Now picture yourself in your own business with five customers. To keep it simple, assume that each of these customers gives you exactly the same amount of business.

What happens if you lose one?                        You only lose 20% of your income.

So which one is more secure?

Ah, but you protest – with your job comes unemployment insurance and/or a contract with severance pay!

That’s true. However it doesn’t change how you will feel when you realize that your job is being eliminated or you’re being let go for any number of reasons. Wouldn’t you rather live a life free from that concern? To do that, you need more than one source of income … you need multiple “customers.”

2 ways to get started having both freedom and security:

#1: Start a business part-time.
Your part-time business may be related to what you already do, or it may not. If it’s related, make sure you’re not violating any company policies.

How do you get started in business? Get a customer! Now, you’ve diversified your income. Then get another … now you’re even better off!

Hopefully, the income from your part-time business grows to exceed your full-time salary. Now you’re free and secure!

#2: Invest aggressively.
You don’t have to start your own business to have the freedom we’re talking about. Start setting aside money each month into your “freedom fund.” Invest it wisely and over time, you’ll see your passive income start to grow.

When your passive income equals your salary from your full-time job, you’re free and secure. If this strategy interests you, check out Getting Aggressively Passive.

Considering a career change?
Subscribe to the FREE Bigg Success Weekly newsletter to help you plan it and inspire you to go for it. Sign up now and get the Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook. It’s FREE, too!

Our Bigg Quote today is by Alan Cohen, the great author.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”

Don’t let a false sense of security hold you back. Ultimately, true security comes from the freedom you find when you pursue your dreams with passion.

Next time, we’ll answer a question from one of our listeners. She’s doing most of the work, but getting little of the credit. We’ll discuss how to get the credit you deserve.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!