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Starting from Scratch – Part 2

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Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continued our discussion with Adam Shepard. Adam is the author of the book Scratch Beginnings, which describes his year-long real-life experiment to see if the American Dream is still alive. Last time, Adam told us about the initial stages of his experiment and what it took to begin his path toward independence. Let’s get back to the conversation …

georgeAdam, have you ever thought about becoming a Wall Street investment banker, losing all your money and turning to the government for help?

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I have not.

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Creating Wealth in the Next Generation Economy

balance Last century, we saw wealth created by large companies using economies of scale to keeps costs low so they could dominate markets. In the next generation economy [pdf], new wealth will be created by entrepreneurs through a network of great relationships built on trust.

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Trusting relationships will save you time and make you money. The question is, “How do you build this trust so you can build relationships?”

There’s a concept called equal consideration of interests – you place your interest equal to the other party. That sounds so simple, but we believe it deserves emphasis.

Win / lose. “I win, you lose” doesn’t work because it doesn’t build the trust that is necessary to have good relationships in tomorrow’s business world. Yet there are a lot of people who place their interest above everybody else’s.

Lose / win. “I lose, you win” ultimately fails because fulfilling relationships can’t be one-sided. Eventually frustration leads to anger and the relationship (if that’s what you call it) dissolves. Yet there are a lot of people who place everybody else’s interest above their own.

Neither one is the best path to building fulfilling relationships. There is a better way …

Win / win.
This is the perfect combination in today’s business world. Win / win is equal consideration of interests. Even if it benefits me, I won’t do it if it hurts you. We’ll work together to find a better way that is mutually beneficial. That’s the key to innovation – another 21st century necessity. What works today won’t be good enough tomorrow. By working together, we can find a better way than either of us could find on our own.

Moving quickly on a new venture

We just launched a new offline venture. We had an idea for a product. We talked it over with people in our network. Based on their recommendation, we revised it … a lot! But it was much better. We reached out to potential strategic partners and got them in place. Last week, one of those strategic partners began selling our product across the nation.

It probably would have taken us six to twelve months to do this if we didn’t have the right relationships in place. Instead, this all happened in about two months. That’s another 21st century mindset – once you spot an opportunity, you have to move very quickly.

It’s hard to do that if you have to develop the concept from scratch. You need to reach out to people and firms who have the infrastructure in place to help you capitalize on it. If they aren’t already in your network, it will take longer. So building trusting relationships is essential. But there are (at least) two points to consider …

Relationship building is a long-term investment.

It takes time to build your network. We have years of goodwill built up with some of our strategic partners. This helps get revenue-generation going quickly once you have the right idea. Don’t wait to build your network until you need it. It will probably be too late then. Make relationship building an everyday thing.

Trusting people solve problems quickly.

When you trust your partner and your partner trusts you, problems can be solved much more easily. As we’ve had issues, we’ve been able to deal with them very quickly. We can hear our partners considering our interests along with their own; they can hear us doing the same thing.

The best way we know to capitalize on an opportunity quickly is when two or more people, with trust already in place, consider their interests equally and seek mutually beneficial solutions. It’s the way to create wealth in the 21st century!

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Join us next time as we celebrate our one year anniversary! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00262-111108.mp3

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Is Convenience Busting Your Budget?

time-money The good people at CareerBuilder recently posted the results of a survey of workers. Forty-seven percent of the people surveyed said they “always” or “usually” live paycheck to paycheck.

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Does more money help?

One way to stop living paycheck to paycheck is to make more money. Forty-two percent said an additional $500 each month would help make ends meet.  Fourteen percent already work more than one job.

The amount of money that comes into a household does make a difference, but not as much as you might think. Twenty-one percent with salaries of $100,000 or more said they also live from payday to payday.

We’re working ourselves to death instead of thinking about the other solution to the more month than money problem. We need to look at our lifestyle. We’re so busy trying to make more money to support our lifestyle that we end up spending money we wouldn’t need to spend if we just slowed down and honestly assessed our situation.

Convenience expenses

We’re so busy that we spend more money on “convenience expenses”. We define convenience expenses as the premium we pay for goods and services because we don’t have time.

So we end up in a downward spiral – we work more to have more, but then we
spend more and we don’t have any time to figure out how to do anything differently.

One example of a convenience expense is that we eat out more than we plan to. An appointment runs long. We get stuck in a traffic jam. The boss needs to talk. The next thing you know it’s late. Now we feel we have no choice. We’ve hit that wall. We’re hungry now! We’re too tired to do anything but grab some carry-out or order delivery.

Cutting back

It may seem like a small expense, but it eats away at your budget (pun intended). If you’re feeling like we’ve described you perfectly, don’t feel like you’re alone. We’re right there with you! Here are some ways we’ve found to cut back on this convenience expense:

Always stock some food that’s easy to stick in the oven or microwave.

Then if you’re running late, you can have less expensive convenience food. Plus you’ll save the time of stopping or running out for carry-out.

Plan for leftovers

If our next week’s schedule looks busy, we’ll cook up a little extra food on the weekend so we have leftovers which can be nuked in a matter of minutes. These leftovers are also an excellent way to save money on going out for lunch. There are more productive ways to spend a lunch hour than driving back and forth.

Invest time today to save money tomorrow

By planning next week’s meals, you can find coupons for the items you want to purchase. It’s like printing money legally as we learned from Crissy Thompson, who often spends as little as $10 a week to feed her family of five.

You can also think about where you shop. They’re called “convenience stores” for a reason! We pay a price to be able to run into the store and grab something on our way home.

This is just one example of the many convenience expenses. If you’re living payday to payday or not saving as much as you would like, think about your convenience expenses and the time / money interplay.

There is a huge trade-off between time and money. If you have money,
you can save time. If you don’t have money, it’s important to really
 think about how you’re using your time and try to save money.

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You can get the tips and tools you need to be a bigg success
Subscribing to the Bigg Success Weekly! It’s conveniently e-mailed to you once a week. And it doesn’t cost you any money! But the time you spend reading it will help you make and save money! How’s that for a deal?

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Next time, we’ll discuss how to create wealth in today’s new economy. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00261-111008.mp3

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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!

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Recession Progression

Pretend that we could eat as much as you want, of whatever you want, whenever you want, with no consequences. What would a lot of people do?

Probably eat a lot of their favorite foods!

Of course, in the real world, we know that if we do that for any period of time, we’ll have to go on a diet.

That’s what a recession is – the economy going on a diet.

It’s just the business cycle. Things go well. People get over-exuberant. Too much debt. Bad investments. Then a recession gets rid of the excesses. It’s part of the evolutionary process.

So today, we want to discuss how to survive and thrive in a recession.

How to survive a recession

  • Develop a contingency plan.
  • Start by asking yourself, “What if …?”

    What if you get laid off?
    What if you have to work longer hours because other people got laid off?
    What if your time gets cut back?
    What if your benefits get cut?
    What if your business takes a hit?

    You know your situation. Think about the most likely scenarios and develop a plan for them. Then, do what you can now.

    For example, why put off updating your resume until you need it? Do it now! Most people wait until they need it. You’ll be a step ahead.

  • Watch your spending
  • Businesses cut spending to get through a recession. We should take a clue. Try to avoid making long-term commitments. In times of uncertainty, wait until you’re more certain before making major purchases.

  • Don’t panic.
  • Resist the urge to drastically change your retirement plan and other long-term investments. You need to look at the specifics of your situation. However, as a general rule, if you won’t need the money for five or more years, you should probably stay the course. Historically, that’s been the best thing to do.

    If you need the money before that, you may want to deploy another strategy. Check with your financial planner to figure out your best option.

How to thrive in a recession

  • Take advantage of low interest rates.
  • Interest rates tend to go down during a recession. So consider refinancing your mortgage and other debt. Business owners may have prepayment penalties, but it may still make sense. In both cases, you need to analyze your specific situation.

    Let’s assume you refinance. Use what you save each month to 38 build your passive income].

  • Keep investing in yourself
  • Once again, let’s take a clue from businesses. Businesses that thrive, after a recession, are often those that kept on investing, during the recession.

    There are a lot of opportunities once a recession ends. Position yourself to thrive – take a class, attend seminars, and go to conferences. You’ll build skills and make great contacts. One of those contacts may lead to your next bigg opportunity!

  • Look for great deals.
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities may present themselves during a recession. People are often more willing to negotiate. You probably won’t find your great opportunity advertised anywhere.

    So how do you find it? Network, network, network! You’ll most likely be surprised by it, so keep your eyes and ears open. Your accidental discovery will be the result of your active searching!

Our Bigg Quote today is by an unknown author.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.”

So keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Be ready for detours so you don’t have to come to a screeching halt!

Next time, we’ll look at the question, “Does it pay to blame others to cover your backside?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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