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Squirrels, Nuts and Business Cycles

squirrel You might think that our title has something to do with the recent behavior of Wall Street and Washington. It probably could, but in this case, it doesn’t.

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It does refer to seasons. We’re in the Midwestern United States. We’re heading into fall which, of course, means winter is just around the corner. Squirrels are busy hoarding up nuts so they will have the food they need to sustain them through the winter months.

Hot and cold, boom and bust

Like the seasons, our economy moves through times when things are hot and times when they’re cold. We experience booms and busts.

It’s interesting, though, that our friends in the southern hemisphere are just heading into spring. Things are heating up there while they’re cooling down here! It reminds us that most businesses do best during the boom times, but some actually prosper when times are tough.

Almost every business has products or services that will do better when the economy isn’t doing as well. With your offerings, which ones will save your clients money? Those are the items you should promote now as consumers seek to stretch their budget.

Your cash stash

Speaking of stretching our budgets, just like squirrels hoarding nuts for winter, we should all make sure we have an emergency cash reserve. Financial planners recommend keeping between three to six months of living costs stashed safely away for ready access.

In recent times, some have suggested a Home Equity Line-of-Credit could be substituted for this cash reserve. Only you can decide if that’s the right option for you; however, with what’s going on with banks and the credit markets, it may pay not be your best option for your crucial cash stash.

If you own a business, you should also look at your working capital. Is it adequate to take you through a slow season? If not, look for ways to cut your costs so you can shore up your cash hoard.

Purchasing out of season

The seasons also create opportunities for us when we’re purchasing. For example, if you live where we live, you’ll probably get a better deal right now on a lawn mower than a snow blower. Timing your purchase when demand is down on these bigg ticket items can save you money.

Tougher times also create opportunities for us as consumers. Businesses still have bills to pay. They want to keep the doors open. So they may cut deals now that they would never consider in good times.

Purchasing in season

With other items, you’re better off buying in season. Retailers will often lure you to their stores by drastically discounting these items. For example, isn’t turkey cheaper right before Thanksgiving than any other time?

Time Money has a great article about the best time to buy everything. Planning when to buy is just as important as what you buy. Buying on impulse less often will save you BIGG money more often!

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Next time, we ask, “Are you a victim of your own success?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

(Image by tome213)

One More Thing to Add to Your Schedule

balance We were at an event recently as was one of our friends. As he was leaving, he announced that he “had another thing”. Now he’s a really busy person; there’s no grass growing under his feet as the old saying goes. He’s into his job, which requires a lot of meetings.

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But his “another thing” remark got us thinking. What a great way to politely excuse yourself!

And that “other thing” could even be personal. He may have been going home for dinner for all we know!

It leaves a good impression – you’re a busy person. You like to stick to your schedule. It’s also a great way to excuse yourself, even from people who like to talk your ears off!

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georgeI’ve used this before. As a business owner, I had some flexibility with my schedule. I would go to a “lunch meeting” which sometimes meant I was meeting a friend. Or I’d sneak in a work out in the middle of the afternoon by saying I was off to a meeting.

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marylynn When I was in radio, we used to have a “Morning Show Meeting” once in a while. My co-host and I would get off the air and sneak out for some breakfast. It was a great way to bond, talk about work, and just get away for a bit. We found that sometimes we got more done by leaving the office!

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Now we’re not recommending that you use this technique to excuse yourself for a huge part of the day. But as a busy person, sometimes the best way to balance your personal and professional lives is to integrate the two!

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the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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There’s a new study that shows mean breeds mean. Next time, we’ll discuss how to avoid the trap. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Is Your Status Costing You Money?

balance We all experience trade-offs. One of the most significant ones is time and money. If we have money, we can use it to buy services that give us more time. Another trade-off is status and money.

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Status at work

We may ask our boss for more money, but he or she tells us that it’s not in the budget. So instead, we’re offered a title – it gives us more credibility but it doesn’t line our coffers.

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marylynn When I was starting out in my radio career, I helped out quite a bit in the production department putting together commercials. I eventually became the go-to person when the production director wasn’t available. When I asked for more money, I was told it wasn’t in the budget but they gave me the title of Assistant Production Director. This helped me negotiate for a higher salary when I left for a different market.

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So sometimes the title can lead to more money. If that’s the case, great! But we need to go into it with eyes wide open because status without money usually doesn’t do us much good in the short- or long-run. We may have to work more hours because of our new title. We may be held more responsible. So we have to weigh the benefits.

Bringing it home

We also often fall into the status trap personally. We buy things, such as cars or houses that we don’t really need or want. We do it to keep up with our friends and neighbors.

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georgeTwo of my friends are best friends. They don’t do this anymore but, when they were first starting out, it was almost comical to watch them compete with each other. One bought a new car; within a month or so the other got a new car. One of them bought a new house; the next thing you knew the other one had his house on the market and was buying a new one. One got married; soon the other was engaged. One had a kid; soon the other one was an expectant father!

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The point is to recognize when you’re about to do something solely to increase your status. It may hurt you financially! Which means, in the long run, you’ll have less status than you would like.

It’s funny … what often keeps us from getting rich is acting like we’re rich before we are rich!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Next time, we’ll discuss one more thing to add to your schedule to keep you on schedule. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

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It’s Hard to Beat this Place for Cheap Entertainment

libraryShhhh! You have to read this quietly. We’re at the library!

We’ve been thinking about fun, yet inexpensive, things to do. So today we took a little … make that bigg … trip to our local library.

We’re in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Champaign’s brand new library is a state-of-the art facility. As we walked in the door, the first thing we noticed, that is different from the libraries of yore, is there’s a coffee shop! Remember the old “No food or beverages” signs. Not in this library! One thing that’s still the same – it’s a cool place to stay cool on a hot summer’s day. But don’t look for the card catalog! You won’t find one … everything’s on computer now. They also have flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and other modern technology.

What  did we check out?

While we were there, we checked out a few things – two audio books … Brian Tracy’s Goals and The Long Tail by Chris Anderson with Wired magazine … and Janet Switzer’s book Instant Income.

The price? FREE. It’s paid for by our property taxes.

They have tons of DVDs for FREE. Even the ones that are rentals are only $1 for a week. Right now, with so many of us looking for ways to save money, the library is a great place to go for cheap entertainment!

We’ve decided that we’re going to make it our “office away from the office”! It’s a great place to go for a change of scenery!

Don't do this!

We also found some real characters at the library. By observing them, we compiled a list of six things you should NOT do at the library:

#6 – While pointing to a very simple word like “the”, ask the person next to you if he or she can pronounce it for you.

#5 – Put down your book, then lean over and start reading the book of the person sitting next to you. When he or she looks at you, quickly pick up your book and act like you're reading it.

#4 – Read your book upside down.

#3 – Flip the page loudly every two seconds or so.

#2 – Announce the page number loudly each time you turn a page.

And the #1 thing you should not do at the library …

Break the silence with the noise from a bodily function … you know the one. Then say, "Wow! That was a good one!"

(Image by Dan O'Brien)

Santa Shares Some Jolly Good Tips

Today we have a very special guest at Bigg Success…Santa Claus! Tis the season for stress and the winter blues, and we thought we’d find out from the man, who is the busiest of all of us this time of year, how he keeps a smile on his face.

We can’t really do this justice in type. We highly recommend you click on the play button above (just click the arrow), or, if you are viewing this in a reader, just click the mp3 button. You’ll definitely get a good laugh, which is just one of Santa’s secrets.

Here’s what else Santa told us:

  • You can be happy without being jolly, but you can’t be jolly without being happy
  • Happiness is a mindset. If you are happy, you become jolly. Happiness comes from the inside, and jolliness is what everyone sees on the outside as a result of your happiness.

    So, you’re jolly on the outside because you are happy on the inside.

  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • If you are having a less-than-jolly start to your day, think about something that makes you laugh, which leads to bigger and bigger laughs, and eventually a big belly laugh! Now you are jolly again.

  • Work up a big Santa belly laugh
  • Studies have shown that belly laughs actually improve your health!

    Here’s how Santa does it. Take a big, deep breath. Really fill up your lungs with lots of air. As you exhale, push all that air out with a big Ho-Ho-Ho! Now you are smiling, and those around you are too!

  • Santa’s secret to happiness
  • If you don’t feel jolly, then act jolly. Put motion to your emotions. Think happy thoughts, smile and laugh, and soon you’ll be jolly!

Our quote today is by author and scholar, Carolyn Birmingham.

“A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.”

Again, we encourage you to listen to today’s Bigg Success Show, where you are sure to work up a bigg (with two g’s) belly laugh!

Next time, we’ll talk about Santa’s helpers. One man’s legacy of giving and how it’s being carried on. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!