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How to Advance Your Career

How to Advance Your Career More Quickly

How to Advance Your Career

Advance your career by using leverage, one of the most powerful tools in your toolkit. In this post, we’ll share five ways this tool can help you reach BIGG success faster.

Leverage is the entrepreneur’s friend. It can help you do more with less.

And you can use it, even if you never plan to own a business.

Most people think of leverage with money, but that’s just part of it. We’re going to share things they don’t teach you in school.

Here are five ways to use leverage to advance your career:
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Shape Shifting Leads to Bigg Success

dog-shape-shifting.jpgLast time, we discussed the two ways to create wealth: other people’s money and other people’s labor (i.e. their time and talent). Historically, there’s been more focus on other people’s money as the lever to riches. Now, other people’s labor holds more promise.

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Today’s show extends that concept and is inspired by one of the characters from the HBO hit series, True Blood. Sam Merlotte, who owns the bar, is a shape-shifter. He can change forms – from human to dog and back.

So here’s a little behind the scenes here at Bigg Success: we often get asked how we get ideas for our shows. We’ve been thinking about this shape-shifting thing for some time as a possible fun topic. Then we saw a Harvard article about a new business strategy.

The words “a shape-shifting enterprise” leapt off the page. Voila … a show was born!

Back to the article – it discusses how many large companies are starting to outsource core activities in order to focus resources on solving customer problems.

The author postulates that the future value of companies will be the sum total of all their arrangements. Let’s emphasis that – using words we use more often here at Bigg Success – the future value of businesses, both large and small, will be in the total value of its relationships.

But a key thing to keep in mind is that businesses don’t have relationships; it’s the people in those businesses who have relationships.

You may have a relationship with a customer who has a problem. How many other customers like this customer have the same problem? With how many do you have relationships?

Once you’ve identified that, who in your network can best solve that problem? By becoming the customer’s go-to person (or company) – by delivering the right product or service at the right time for the right price, you’ll create value for your business.

The Harvard article we talked about references a Fortune article about how Chinese and Indian companies are structuring themselves. The answer: they’re positioning themselves to be shape-shifters!

Shape-shifting is a key for us, as entrepreneurs, to survive and thrive in all economic conditions. It extends well beyond outsourcing. It’s an even deeper relationship, which will create more opportunities for small businesses to work with large companies.

To become a shape-shifter:

Watch your operating leverage. The more fixed costs your business has relative to its total costs, the greater your degree of operating leverage. Just like with financial leverage, higher operating leverage can work against us if things take a downturn.

That’s one of the secrets to being able to be a shape-shifter. If you keep your fixed costs low, you can quickly maneuver your organization to take advantage of opportunities that may present themselves.

Seek out strategic alliances. Explore opportunities to collaborate or joint venture with other people and organizations. The do-it-all-yourself mindset is so yesterday. Focus on what you do best and work with people doing what they do best. This is another key to shape-shifting.

Work with anyone and everyone where it’s mutually beneficial, including your competitors. You may find ways to do more together than either of you can do on your own.

Sometimes you may take the lead; sometimes they may take it. You don’t care. You’re shape-shifting yourself to bigg success!

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We thank you so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’re “getting to know you.” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00417-061609.mp3

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(Image in today's post by wundel)

Profitable Passions – Part 2

career_renegade Today, we continue our conversation with Jonathan Fields, author of the great new book Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love.

Last time, Jonathan discussed why it’s so important, especially in tough times like these, to understand how to operate online because it’s an inexpensive way to swap work for money. Let’s get back to the conversation …

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georgeJonathan, I believe that really good entrepreneurs are masters at minimizing risk. I think one of the great secrets of being online is that you can test concepts with a relatively small amount of money compared to what it used to cost us in the real world. You find out fairly quickly whether or not that concept can get traction. If it doesn’t, you move on. If it does, you keep funding it.

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jonathanThat’s such a great observation. We were talking briefly before we started recording. You said that it seems like everything I do is a success. And I said, “No, everything that lasts that I do is a success.”

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Test, listen, adapt

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marylynnBecause you have two successful blogs, you have this book and then you have best yoga center in New York? You have the magic touch.

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jonathanI do a lot of different things. I’ve had failures offline and I’ve had failures online. I will continue to have many more failures in both worlds. I can tell you, hands down, that I have lost so much less money in my online failures. I’m able to jump back in to the next adventure in the blink of an eye online. Whereas when something goes wrong offline, you have a substantial amount more money, overhead or time invested in it. Everything is recoverable in my mind, but it takes longer. It may take months or years. In the online world, I’m sort of off and running. I have tried and failed online too many times to count, but that’s just part of being an entrepreneur. You’re constantly testing. The ability to listen and adapt are critical to survival, whether you’re online or offline.

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Getting started online

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marylynnSo for our audience, Jonathan – they may be thinking, “This sounds interesting. I may like to explore this online world. But I have no idea how to build a web site. I have no idea how to get started with an online business.” What would be some critical, career renegade, first steps for someone like that?

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jonathan
Step 1 – Buy my book!

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marylynn
Ha-ha, good suggestion! Does your book help walk people through that?

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jonathanIt’s interesting. When I started writing this book, I didn’t intend for it to have so much online advice, but it turned into a massive encyclopedia of references answering that question. So, if you’re interested in blogging, starting an information business, or figuring out how to turn your knowledge into a revenue stream – not just little products but real businesses – the book offers a ton of information. It also offers a ton of links and resources to other places where you can go a lot deeper because I don’t believe any one book is capable of covering the entire space. Beyond that, though, there is so much free information when you start to explore the blogosphere. I would start out with an idea, with what interests you. Search on it. Find the blogs where people write on a regular basis. To me, one of the critical things for almost anybody who is trying to build a reputation as a leader in any field is blogging. That’s something you can leverage into working for someone else or starting your own business. To me, it’s an amazing way to position yourself as the go-to person in your field of interest in an astonishingly short period of time. Anybody can start a blog, probably in less than an hour, and it costs almost nothing to do.

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georgeI became a renegade because I couldn’t find anybody to pay me what I thought I was worth. Then I found out I couldn’t afford to pay myself what I thought I was worth. What do you do about that? I had to adjust the value a little bit, but over time it’s been just fine!

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A very special offer

Jonathan amazed us with a special offer for you. He’s put together a sixteen-hour video training course called Career Renegade Flight School. You could expect to pay $1,000 for similar programs. He’s giving it away for a short while with proof that you’ve purchased his book. Go to Career Renegade to learn more.

Thanks, Jonathan, for the great advice!

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Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for stopping by our site today. Next time we ask, “Is your idea worth your money?” 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/00320-013009.mp3

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(Image in today's post by Career Renegade)

Overstepping Stones

steppingstones We’re sure you’ve heard of stepping stones. Today we want to talk about overstepping stones.

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We’re proud residents of the State of Illinois. We’re dismayed, however, that our great state has been getting some bad press recently because of the actions of our Governor, Rod Blagojevich. While he hasn’t been convicted yet of any wrongdoing, it appears that he’s in deep trouble.

A state of dissatisfaction

It’s rumored that he felt he had reached a stalemate in his career. He wanted to make more money. He even had aspirations of running for President. But even before this scandal broke, his approval rating was incredibly low (the last number we heard was 4%). If you look at the state of our State, you can understand why.

He looked at every opportunity for a stepping stone, which culminated in what appears to be illegal activity. That got us thinking – we all need stepping stones to help us get to the next level of success.

Overstepping the bounds

But there’s a fine line between a stepping stone and what we’ll call an overstepping stone.

We abuse our stepping stones when we overstep our bounds. It appears our Governor did this on at least three levels:

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Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

tribes
On The Bigg Success Show, we’ve been talking with Seth Godin about his incredible new book, Tribes. So far we’ve discussed:

Part I: what a tribe is, what the leader does, and why quality trumps quantity

Part II: why Seth became a leader, the power of one, and the importance of leverage

Today we wrap up our conversation. Let’s get to it!

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Change and chaos creates opportunity

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Pages

Top Threats to Your Career and Finances in 2009

By Bigg Success Staff
12-17-08

caution

We’ve all heard plenty of bad news recently, but the bad news now is that there is more bad news to come. While we must think about the opportunities in front of us, it’s also important to consider the threats to our careers and our finances so we can prepare appropriately.

Recession

Consumers, businesses, non-profits, and governments, all over the developed world, are learning a hard lesson about leverage. We will climb our way out of this recession but it will take some time. Before it’s through, it will be one of the, if not the most, severe recession since the Great Depression. 

Layoffs will continue. In most recessions, layoffs occur mostly at the bottom of the earnings / education spectrum. Expect this recession to be more evenly distributed, if not hitting higher end jobs harder.

Outsourcing

Companies will continue outsourcing, but here’s the difference. Manufacturing jobs have been getting shipped overseas for some time now. As fuel prices rose, there actually seemed to be a resurgence in companies bringing manufacturing jobs back on shore.

Now more white-collar jobs are at risk thanks in part to technology that allows information to be shared instantly from any place in the world with internet access. We found a great article that discusses the characteristics of jobs that can now be easily outsourced and jobs that can’t. It also lists what you can do to make yourself less vulnerable and provides a list of jobs by their level of risk to offshoring.

Deflation

Expect deflation to continue as everybody keeps a tight lid on spending, the credit markets remain relatively tight, and inventories of everything from housing to cars remain comparatively high. The good news is lower prices will remain, but …

Inflation

Governments in the developed countries have poured money into the world economy at unprecedented rates. At some point, once the credit markets loosen up and demand returns, inflation could become a problem.

We’ve just witnessed prices on everything from gas to groceries rising quickly. We could see it again. It will take wise leadership to know when to slam on the brakes on economic stimulus without tightening so much that another recession ensues.

If this happens, that cash stash will quickly lose its value. Investments in hard assets have typically performed well in times of inflation.

Delayed retirement

A number of retirees are being forced to look for work after the freefall of their portfolios. Even more people who planned to retire soon are putting those plans on hold because they need to bulk up their assets again before they stop working. This will create even more competition in already tight job markets.

Benefits

Employers are under intense pressure to cut costs. It’s reasonable to expect them to cut benefits. Even if it’s promised now, don’t count on having health insurance provided to you as a retiree. Even while you’re working, expect to cover a greater share of the premiums.

Also don’t be surprised if your employer cuts back or eliminates the matches on your 401(k). These aren’t the only benefits at risk, but they’re two of the most significant ones.

Access to credit

It won’t show up on your personal balance sheet, but your credit score will be an incredible asset. Cash will be king as long as prices remain in a deflationary state. At some point, cash along with the ability to access credit will open doors for opportunities that most of us will never see again in our lifetimes. 

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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(Image in this article by asifthebes)

Danger: 10 Warning Signs of Trouble Ahead for Your Business

By Bigg Success Staff
03-19-08

Bigg Success in Business

danger

We’re told that diagnosing a medical condition early greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. The same is true for your business – seeing the warning signs early gives you the opportunity to solve minor issues before they become major problems.

Cash to a business is like blood to our bodies. It has to continue flowing or we won’t survive. The bottom line is that you can’t run out of cash. So you have to know how to diagnose and treat the source of the ailment before it spreads.

With that in mind, here are ten signs that your business may be heading for trouble:

#1 – Lost market share
Your sales may be growing, but your share of the market may be falling. Market share is precious – among other things, it provides leverage to raise prices as your costs increase. As competitors enter your market, you have to work even harder to maintain (and hopefully increase) your share or your business may get into trouble.

#2 – Declining customer counts
Your sales may be holding steady, but fewer and fewer people are making purchases. Your remaining customers are spending more, possibly because of price increases. You have to find a way to attract new customers or your business is headed for trouble. 

#3 – Low repeat and referral business
You need a healthy percentage of repeat business because it’s much less expensive to keep a customer happy than to get a new one. It also shows that your product or service is still meeting the needs of a core base of people who will refer other people to you. If your customers aren’t coming back, your business may face trouble.

#4 – Declining sales

If your sales are falling, you’re definitely headed for trouble. It may have nothing to do with you – it may be your industry that is experiencing trouble. Isolate whether it’s a problem with your business or the industry as a whole to know your best strategy.

#5 – Disproportionate sales to a small group of customers
Picture this extreme situation – all of your sales come from one customer. You’re totally at the mercy of that customer. It’s like being an employee without the safeguards that go with employment! Generally speaking, if more than ten percent of your sales are to one customer, you may face trouble at some point.

#6 – High employee turnover

When you lose employees, customers are affected – they deal with less experienced people who don’t know your business or the customer’s needs as well as long-time employees. The costs of training people so they’re fully productive are also significant. If you can’t retain employees, your business will likely face trouble.

#7 – Costs rising faster than sales (declining profit margins)
Costs rise for a number of reasons. As your sales rise, so will your costs. If they don’t, why do you need that cost at all? So rising costs are expected. However, costs that rise faster than sales means you will face trouble at some point because you’ll have less and less profit for each dollar of sales. 

#8 – Disproportionate purchases from one vendor

You don’t want to be dependent on any vendor for purchases in any category. That gives that vendor too much leverage in your business. They’ll be able to pass on costs to you that you may not be able to pass on to your customers. If you don’t have a diverse base of vendors (or at least a back-up plan), your business will probably face trouble sometime.

#9 – Unwarranted increase in receivables
It’s great to make sales, but not if you don’t get paid! That’s worse than not making the sale at all because it costs you money to make a sale. Slow paying customers also create problems because you can’t pay your bills with receivables. If you don’t control your receivables, your business may be headed for trouble.

#10 – Unjustifiable inventory build-up
Depending on your business, inventory may be even less liquid than receivables. First, you have to sell it; then you have to collect on the sale. Inventory that’s not turning over is dead-weight. So if your inventory is building up too fast, your business will likely experience a cash crunch at some point.

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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(Image by Craig Rodway, CC 2.0)