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Critical Keys to Business Success – Part 2

success Today we continued our discussion with Deb Neuman, host of the Back to Business Radio Show. Last time, Deb shared four of her keys to business success, which all happen to start with the letter “P”. Today, she will share her final three. Let’s get back to the conversation …

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People

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marylynnSo far we’ve discussed Passion, Product, Persistence, and Planning. Now Deb, you say we have to think about People – surround yourself with people whose strengths are your weaknesses.

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debAnd look beyond your friends, family, and significant other. They are important people to have on your team, but you want to have other people who can be objective, who don’t have any emotional ties to you as well.

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marylynnOften, to get someone to take care of a weakness, you have to pay them to do that. If you don’t have any money, what is the answer then?

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debA lot of people barter. I have a friend who is a massage therapist who needed help building the web site for her business. So she and the web designer now trade services. The web designer gets massaged and doesn’t even have to pay for it … he’s happy! A side note to that – check with your accountant to make sure you’re accounting for it properly when tax time comes up. A lot of people I know really enjoy helping small businesses. They may be an accountant or an attorney. They’re looking for new businesses as future clients. Sometimes they’re willing to give you a few hours of service at no charge or give you a reduced rate. They recognize that, if they help you get your business started, you’re likely to become a future customer for them. Talk to other business owners and see who they’re using as providers.

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Promotion

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georgeNext up on the list is something that many business owners are cutting back on because of the tough economic climate – Promotion.

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debI just did some research into The Great Depression, what businesses survived, and how they did it. Some of the businesses that made it through the depression very successfully include Procter & Gamble, Camel cigarettes of all things, Kellogg, and Chevrolet. What they all had in common is that they scaled up their advertising during The Great Depression. They stayed visible in the minds of consumers and they were able to continue to do business throughout the depression even though people were spending less money. And when the economy did turn around, and it always does eventually, they had customers loyal to their brand. So now is not the time to stop promoting your business. Now is the time to kick it up a notch because people still have money to spend. They may spend less of it and they may be more choosy about where they spend it. But if they don’t know you’re out there, you’re not even going to be considered. Few of us have the resources to just advertise here, advertise there, and just throw money around that’s not going to pay back. So you really need to sit down and identify who your customers are. Be specific. Are they men or women? What age range? What kind of profession? Where are they? What are they reading? What are they listening to? What are they looking at online? Then think about how you can best reach them. Successful promotions, marketing, and advertising don’t mean you buy an ad in the newspaper and run it once. It has to be a long term plan and commitment.

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Positive Attitude

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george
So the last “P” on your list is Positive Attitude.

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debYou just have to maintain a positive attitude, through thick and thin. That reflects on your employees. Your customers know it. I just heard from a colleague of mine who went into a retail store. She said she’d never go there again because the owner of the store was in a really bad mood, griping about the economy. She said that she wasn’t there to hear all of that. She was there to have a nice experience. It really turned her off.

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marylynn
Because shopping is my escape. This is me trying to stimulate the economy, so relax!

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georgeRight now, not just for entrepreneurs, but any leader … it seems like we’re hearing such dismal news from so many of our leaders from the highest levels in the country to the biggest businesses. And I think, in many cases, small business owners are buying into it and people don’t want to follow someone who doesn’t have a better vision for the future.

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debExactly. I’m seeing businesses, some who’ve decided to close, but others who are planning and taking a different approach. They’re being very creative about it. They’ve said that this is forcing them to not be lazy. When things are good, they do whatever they want. They can’t do that now so they realize they have to be really proactive, but they’re making changes that they’re really excited about, even if they were forced into making them. They think they’re in a much better position going forward, now and when things do turn around for the better.

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Thanks Deb for sharing your wisdom with us! Check out Deb’s site, debneuman.com for more great tips for your small business.

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And thank you for reading our post today. Join us next time when we’ll tell you how to find the deal of your lifetime. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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Critical Keys to Business Success – Part 1

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Making Change Work

change2 Entrepreneurs see a problem and immediately start trying to find a solution. That’s why entrepreneurship has been defined as the science of change. And there’s a new concept starting to take hold – that we are all entrepreneurs. We must all be innovative in finding solutions for the problems that we each face.

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There is real value in seeing ourselves as entrepreneurs and in looking at change as an opportunity rather than something to be resisted. We should welcome change!

That’s a bigg step for a lot of people. But if we don’t change, it means we’re standing still. There’s an old saying that a rut is nothing more than a grave with both ends knocked out. We have to get out of our ruts; we have to change – either as a response to the change we see coming or by creating the change that we see needs to be made.

We’ve been talking about change in our last couple of shows. We started by talking about the lost art of making change. Last time, we talked about how saving our change can lead to bigg changes in our lives.  It occurred to us that we can think about change in our lives by thinking about change – pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

A penny for your thoughts

The change process begins with a penny for your thoughts. It’s important to generate ideas about where you want to go. Then check the validity of your idea to see if it plays to your strengths. If it passes that test, look at the customers (or employer) you plan to serve as well as the competition already serving them to see if this is a good opportunity.

If I had a nickel for every time …

But the idea itself isn’t worth much. It’s the actions that follow the idea that make it valuable. So think about the saying, “If I had a nickel for every time I (fill in the blank).” We’re usually making a joke or lamenting something we’ve done too many times to count when we say this.

But there’s some bigg wisdom in this little saying. It’s the key to moving the idea from inside your head to something tangible. It’s about inputs. You can’t control the outcome, but you can control your actions.

So if you think about the actions necessary to bring your idea to fruition and then mentally think that you’re getting a nickel every time you act, you begin to see that your inputs create the output you want. The more you perform, the more you eventually get back.

A dime a dozen

As you come up with your ideas and begin to implement them, stand out. You don’t want to be a dime a dozen. You need to be unique. If you don’t find a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd, you can’t expect to be seen as outstanding. Find your niche. Entrepreneurs do it. So must we.

Two bits

One bit isn’t good enough. Have a back-up plan. If your tactics don’t work, what will you do next? This is the advantage of action. You learn. Notice that we didn’t say you fail. But you may not succeed bigg at first. You must adapt. Think about how you will need to adapt before you have to.

So there it is … the change process. Making change work leads to bigg success. 

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Thanks for taking time out of your day to read our post today. Please join us next time when we talk about the seven P’s of business success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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The Lost Art of Making Change

change We don’t pay with cash too often, but one of our brother-in-laws does. A pet peeve of his is that people can’t (or don’t) make change properly anymore. You know, the way it used to be done. Starting with the amount of the sale and counting back the change up to the amount you gave them.

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It seems like retail clerks either count out how much you have coming back or they just dump the change in your hand. Couldn’t they at least hand us the bills and the change separately? Or have one of those cool machines that spits out the change automatically?

So making change seems to be a lost art. Which made us wonder … what does that say about us?

That we can’t do math?

Because that really is what change-making, the old-fashioned way, requires of us. We depend on computers today, so we don’t have to do the math ourselves.

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georgeMy first real at-risk business was a retail store. We’re going back over 20 years here. I hired a woman in her 50s as a clerk. She hated the new-fangled cash registers we had. But she was brilliant. She could figure out how much change the customer had coming back faster than the cash register!

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marylynnI wonder what percentage of retail clerks could do that today. Here’s another example – have you ever given a clerk the dollars plus some change so you get an even amount back? And they get confused about why you’re giving them extra money!

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Practice makes perfect

We found a fun game to practice your change making skills and we have a link to that site on our site today. You get to see the change accumulating in your little piggy bank every time you get an answer correct.

What counting back change properly says

We’re losing some of our skills while gaining others. That’s part of the evolutionary process, but we need to make sure we’re not losing something in the process.

As we talked about this, we realized that there is a very important reason to count back change the way it used to be done. It has far bigger implications than you might think.

But today, we suspect that many people don’t see the benefit of the custom and it’s a pretty important benefit. By counting back change properly, the customer is reassured that we’re giving them the correct amount of change back. It highlights our honesty and integrity.

So whether we use a computer or not, that’s the reason to do it – it builds trust.

That’s why we’re talking about this today. We have a zest for new technology and that’s good. We are on a quest to be more productive. That’s good. But we have to make sure that we’re not throwing out customs that build our relationships.

It’s one thing to lose a skill that can be done by a computer; it’s a totally different story if we stop doing something that enhances our relationship with people. So, here at Bigg Success, we’re reviewing our practices to make sure we aren’t neglecting actions that solidify our relationships with the people we depend on for our success.

Sometimes the old way of doing things is the right way to do them. Because we rarely distinguish ourselves by some bigg accomplishment. We set ourselves apart by things that seem insignificant. Bigg success often comes from little actions.

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we continue on this thread but twist it in a different direction. We’ll talk about making change count. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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Stop Trying to Fit into the World

puzzle_piece Here we are. It’s February 27. And we don’t know what to do. You see, last year was Leap Year and we got married on Leap Year Day, February 29. So we’re ready to celebrate our one-year anniversary and the date doesn’t exist!

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marylynn
I guess you’re off the hook, George!

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george
Well, now Mary-Lynn, it takes two to tango!

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Of course we knew this when we got married, but we still thought it was fun to get married on Leap Year Day. We get a lot of jokes about it.

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marylynnYeah George, you get a lot of high fives from the guys because they think you only have to remember our anniversary every four years!

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george
They think I’m a genius!

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One of the interesting things we learned about February 29 is that it doesn’t exist as an option on many drop-down lists. For instance, people born on Leap Year Day can’t enter their correct date of birth. Or, if you’re like us, and you were married on Leap Year Day, the real date often isn’t an option.

We don’t fit into the world. So what are we going to do about that? What do you do when you don’t fit into the world?

Our answer is to make the world fit us instead of trying to fit into the world.

We realized that this is an opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons, as the saying goes. So we’re not going to celebrate on February 28 or March 1. Nope.

We’re going to celebrate on both days!

First, did you notice that, by making the world fit us, we get to celebrate twice as much?
Now that’s a good deal! And that’s often the case – if we stop trying to fit into the world, and instead make the world fit us, we end up much happier with the results.

Second, it doesn’t have to work for anybody but us because it doesn’t affect anyone but us. We’re perfectly happy celebrating for two days instead of one. We’re just fine with the date of our wedding not being on the calendar every year. Because it made us come up with a better alternative!

And in being forced to come up with that better alternative, we ended up with an answer that’s even better than if we weren’t faced with this situation. We will get to spend even more time together. 

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marylynn
Hey, I just thought of something … does this mean double the gifts?

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georgeYou’ll just have to wait and see, Mary-Lynn. But I just thought of something too. What do we do in 2012 when there actually is a February 29?

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marylynnHmmm, that’s a good question. I guess we’ll have to celebrate for three days … three times the gifts sounds like a good deal to me! Now I’m the genius!

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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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Thanks for checking in with us today. Join us next time when we discuss the lost art of making change. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00340-022709.mp3

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