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How to Weather Financial Climate Change

weather_a_stormBigg success is life on your own terms. There are five elements of bigg success – money, time, growth, work and play. Today we’ll focus on money.

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We hear a lot about climate change and its implications. It occurred to us that financial markets change much like the weather.

So here are 4 tips for weathering financial climate change:

Asset prices heat up and cool down

Stock prices skyrocket. Then they fall.

Real estate prices rise. Then the bubble bursts.

Nothing goes up linearly. Yet most of our projections do. Plan for all weather – diversify.

You won’t create much wealth without taking some risk. But you can manage that risk by investing across asset classes (e.g. stocks, bonds) and within asset classes (large cap, mid-cap and small cap stocks).

Price movements can be extreme

Experts are predicting more volatility in the years ahead. We don’t mind it when prices are rising quickly. But we have to be prepared for the other side as well.

Very, very few people successfully time the market period after period. So it’s important to move your money to less risky assets as you near the date when you’ll need it. If you’ll need it in less than ten years, you may want to look at shifting money to something less risky.

As we always say, talk with your financial planner about your specific situation to determine your best move.

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Watch your emissions

By emissions, we mean money out the door. In our businesses and in our personal lives, it’s much easier to spend less than to make more.

When you’re getting ready to spend it, think about how many hours you have to work to earn the money in the first place. If you really want an accurate picture, do this on an after-tax basis.

Make the green house effect work for you

When you’re buying a house, ask some important questions. Do you really need that extra room? How often will you use it?

You may decide to buy a smaller house and invest the “green” to further diversify your portfolio and increase your returns.

Also, invest your “green” in energy efficiency. Improving the efficiency of your home pays you back month after month by lowering your utility bills. You can’t say that about most outlays.

Take these four tips and go green to build a sustainable future for yourself. That’s bigg success!

How are you weathering financial climate change?
Share that with us by leaving a comment, e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leaving a voice mail at 888.455.BIGG (2444).

Thank you much for visiting us today. Next time, we’ll discuss a positively fantastic way to improve your bottom line. Please join us. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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A Technique to Cut Costs

spendingHere’s a concept that business owners often struggle to really understand: Every penny you spend is an investment.

We’re used to seeing investments show up on our Balance Sheet. We buy a new computer and we see it added there.

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When we spend money on advertising or office supplies, it shows up on our Income Statement rather than our Balance Sheet.

But we’re still spending money. It’s an investment for the purpose of increasing our sales.

The financial statement on which it shows up on is based on accounting rules. We have to understand that we are spending the money with the purpose of increasing sales.

Interdependence of business and personal finances

While we say business owners, this concept applies to our personal finances as well.

As a business owner, particularly a business owner who owns 100% of your firm, your business finances and personal finances are completely linked.

Not in a legal sense – you’ll want to talk with your attorney to select the right entity for your company – but in a philosophical sense.

Your business has to do well or it will affect your personal finances. We all get that.

What a lot of people forget is that their standard of living may affect their business. If you spend too much personally, you put more of a burden on your business to produce more income for you to take out of the business. It can really add to the pressure, particularly for a start-up business.

In our personal lives, every penny we spend should add to our happiness. If it doesn’t, it’s not a worthwhile expenditure.

Start from scratch

There’s a technique that helps you decide if the returns you’re getting are sufficient. It’s called zero-based budgeting.

For every line item on your Income Statement, you assume you don’t need to spend any money. Then you add to it for the outlays you determine will give you the return you desire.

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georgeI do this in my businesses every three years. Costs can creep in. You commit to this service or that program. It all adds up. Instead of doing it all every three years, you may pick a few line items every year for review. Just make sure you cycle through all of them every few years or so.

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marylynnLet’s take an example that applies to our businesses and our personal lives – our cell phone. I might ask myself: Do I need the package I currently have or could I cut back? Do I need unlimited texting?

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You’ll also consider alternatives. If you weren’t spending this amount of money on your cell phone, what might you spend it on? You might find you could increase sales faster or be a lot happier if you spent this money on another thing.

You might decide to increase your long-term happiness and invest this newfound money. That may make you happier now and then.

By justifying the expense all over again, away from the emotional point of purchase, you’ll spend your money on what you really want. You’ll get the returns you seek. That’s bigg success.

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Thanks for the gift of your time today. Please join us next time when we ask, “Have you evolved enough?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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A Paint Roller Helps Manage Change

life on your own termsChuck e-mailed his bigg challenge to us. He’s starting a new job next week. It’s his third job as a manager. In the position he’s leaving, he feels he made too many changes too quickly. It created a problem with his directs. He’s hoping we can offer him some suggestions as he gets ready for his new job.

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As bigg goal-getters, we often want to change things too fast as leaders and even in our personal lives. We think we need to lose weight so we jump into an exercise routine and completely change our diets. It’s too much and we end up right back where we started.

We have to be especially careful with change when it affects others. Like in Chuck’s case, any changes he makes will affect one or more of his employees.

Two of our rules for change here at Bigg Success are:

“That’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t mean it’s the best.

“That’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t make it wrong.

Change is essential to make improvements in our lives and our businesses. We want to focus on the changes that will make the greatest impact given their cost. When we talk about cost, we mean your investment of time and money – two of the five elements of bigg success

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Get out the paint roller

We heard a suggestion some time ago from a person who had learned to manage change effectively. He said that when he takes on a new leadership position, the first and only change he makes is to paint a single wall of his new office.

He feels like he’s changed something. It relieves that pressure. Everyone around him can see that he changed something. In fact, they often ask, “Why did you paint that wall? Why that color? Why just one wall?” It makes them curious.

You may make a different, but similarly insignificant, change. By doing this, you’re really buying time to find out what is and isn’t working while subtly signaling that change will happen.

Once you find out what isn’t working, you can determine which changes to make in what order based on their impact on your organization … or your life!

What are your suggestions for Chuck?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks Chuck for sharing your bigg challenge with us and good luck with your new gig! And we thank you for reading our post today.

Join us next time as we share a remedy for one of the most discouraging thoughts you can have.

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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Halloween: A Great Time to Tap into Your Creative Side

halloween Friday is play day on The Bigg Success Show. We spend time looking at our personal lives and ways those activities can benefit us professionally as well. We’ve talked before about why it’s important to tap into your child-like nature and use your imagination.

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With Halloween coming up, it’s the perfect opportunity to be a bigg kid again. When you get invited to a costume party, don’t be a stick-in-the-mud. (Although, come to think of it, that would be a great costume!) Play along. Have some fun.

One of our favorite places, Boltini, is turning themselves into a speakeasy this year. Yep, that’s right … we’re going back to the roaring 20s! 

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marylynnI went as the waitress from hell one year. I wore an old dress with one of my old aprons, and I had a tray for serving up eyeballs and all kinds of nasty things. This year, I think I’ll be the freaky flapper girl. Instead of a feather boa, I’ll wear a spider web!

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georgeI had thought about being a gangster, but that may be a bit too obvious. We had dinner with some friends the other night. They have a friend who just got married so she’s hyphenating her name now. It’s Butts McGee. I love that name. I immediately pictured a beat reporter from the 20’s. So I’m going as Butts McGee!

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3 fun costume ideas

We found a list of great costume ideas over at the Hollywood Flakes sight. Here are our three favorites, but check out her full list for more great ideas:

Nudist on strike
This is a really simple costume that can be created at the last minute. Dress in your normal clues. Make up a picket sign that says “Nudist on strike.” Just make sure you’re home before the strike ends!

Chick magnet

This is another very simple idea, although perhaps not the cheap. Get a bunch of Barbie dolls and attach them all over your body. It’s every guys dream, right?

Miss Conception

This is the perfect costume if you’re pregnant, but it can work for anybody – just use a pillow. Get a glamorous gown. Do your hair and your make-up like you would for a beauty contest. Make a sash that says “Miss Conception”. Then just smile and wave all evening!

Use our comment box below to share your costume ideas with our community!

Play time is important. A Halloween party is a great way to spend time with friends. Little things, like creating a costume, tap into your creativity. Sometimes, it’s good to be a bigg kid!

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Next time, we’ll visit with a money expert about the emotions of money. 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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Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work

An increasing number of people have given up on the balancing act. They have found that it’s impossible to draw a line in the sand and divide their lives into two parts.

We only have one life to live, so why complicate it by trying to reach our goals in two separate worlds as if one doesn’t have anything to do with the other one?

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You might find that it pays to NOT try to balance your life!

Thus the emerging trend of work life integration. This concept is still in its early stages, but more and more people are finding that it works better for them than trying to keep things in balance.

Work life integration is all about flowing seamlessly from one area to the other. Your spouse may say something that helps you at work. Your co-workers may give you insight for things at home.

Pay attention to all the important people and priorities in your life all the time, rather than thinking that you need to segment them.

A paradigm shift

That’s the essence of work life integration. It requires a paradigm shift … thinking about your life a different way. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to be great in two separate areas of your life, focus on doing your best in your single life. Remove the limitations that you’ve placed on yourself.

Limitation #1 – Place
Work only occurs at the office; personal only occurs at home. We shouldn’t mix the two. It’s how we’ve been trained to think. The problem is … it doesn’t work!

Limitation #2 – Time
Many people think they of work as the activities they do during certain times of the day (e.g. 9 to 5). Then they live their personal lives. It may make sense for you to adjust your schedule, depending upon the flexibility your employer allows.

A recent study by Hudson, a leading international recruiting firm, showed that nearly one-third of the people surveyed ranked flexibility as their #1 priority in considering a new job offer.

Limitation #3 – Daily reconciliation

We think that we need to achieve balance every day. In reality, sometimes work demands more of us; at other times, our personal life needs the most attention. Give yourself permission to focus on what’s most important. Don’t worry about whether everything is balanced every day.

If you think about it, work – life balance is sort of an unnatural expectation. Work – life integration is more congruent with how most of us actually live. It’s just more natural.
How we use work – life integration

Here at Bigg Success, we understand this concept very well because we live it. We work together, often at home. We play together. We often get to travel together, combining some pleasure with the primary purpose of the trip. We also find that a lot of personal conversations lead to ideas like the one you’re reading now.

Of course, not all spouses can (or should) work together. Do what works for you. The good news is that, according to the Chartered Management Institute, there will be a blurring of boundaries between work and family because more and more of us will be working virtually.

Our bigg quote today comes from Karl Weick.

“Simply pushing harder within the old boundaries will not do.”

So pull yourself together … integrate your lives.

Next time, we’ll discuss four things to pay attention to that pay off. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Great Bigg Ideas are Born Bad

By Bigg Success Staff
10-01-08

Growth

newborn 

Cavas Gobhai has consulted with some of the world’s largest companies. He helps them implement bigg ideas. Over the years, he has noticed something about ideas that succeed bigg. Here’s a quote from The Wall Street Journal:

"Big ideas don't get built incrementally. You back into big good ideas from big bad ideas."

Most good ideas may look a bit odd at birth. They may sound crazy or outrageous at first. But these bigg bad ideas are the seed for break-through ideas that help you succeed bigg.

We became familiar with Gobhai’s work through the book, The Predators’ Ball, written by Connie Bruck. One of his most famous clients, Drexel Burnham, ultimately failed for reasons that aren’t relevant to our discussion. However, during the time Gobhai consulted with them, they went from being a no-name firm to become one of the most formidable investment houses on Wall Street. 

While Gobhai’s techniques are largely geared for companies, we can also use these ideas in our personal lives. Here are nine steps to find your great bigg ideas:

#1 – Schedule time

If you don’t plan time for creative thinking, the odds are that it won’t get done. Dedicate a block of time at least every quarter to creative thinking. In a short time, you’ll see what a valuable investment this is.

#2 – Create the right environment

Some people think most creatively in absolute silence. Others work best with some noise. Whatever works for you works! Just make sure you place yourself in an environment where you can be most productive as you seek bigg bad ideas.

#3 – Accept spontaneity

While it’s important to dedicate time, it’s also crucial to develop a system to record your bigg bad ideas as they occur – on your commute, in the shower. Make sure you archive your bigg bad idea, whenever or wherever it pops into your mind.

#4 – Focus on challenges and opportunities

What’s the biggest challenge you face right now? What’s the biggest opportunity you have right now? Your opportunity may come from your own challenge or somebody else’s. By concentrating your energy on your biggest issues, you’ll move ahead further and faster.

#5 – Suspend reality

When you find yourself coming up with all of the reasons why something won’t work, suspend reality for a bit. Picture yourself free from all constraints – time, money, and your own self-imposed limitations.

Think about why it could be done and how you would do it. Don’t reject any idea out of the gate; remember that your great bigg idea will come from a bigg bad idea. In fact, allow yourself to think of it the opposite way – the more outrageous the idea seems at first, the better!

#6 – Use images

This is another Gobhai technique. Use pictures, drawings, metaphors, animals or anything else you can think of to bring your ideas to life. By visualizing your idea, you come to a deeper level of understanding. You may realize that your image isn’t right; there’s a better analogy. Fantastic! You might be moving from the bigg bad idea to the great bigg one!

In The Predators’ Ball, Bruck discusses a Drexel session with Gobhai. One of the Drexel employees suggested that most of their competitors operated like a pride of lions. These companies had a definite pecking order among their employees. As the group discussed this, they realized their model should be a wolf pack, where everybody would feast together. 

#7 – Form a Master Mind Alliance

Here’s the bad news – you don’t have all of the world’s best ideas. The good news is that you can align yourself with others to discover more great bigg ideas.

Napoleon Hill, in his great book, Think & Grow Rich, defined “master mind” as:
“Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

Find people who skills and goals are complementary with yours. Play off of your different strengths to discover ways you can mutually succeed bigg.

#8 – Review all your ideas

At regular intervals, but no less than once a week, sit down and review your inventory of bigg bad ideas. Upon further reflection, you’ll be able to categorize your bigg bad ideas in three ways:

  • truly just bad ideas that won’t go anywhere. You can ditch these.
  • bigg bad ideas that don’t solve your most immediate challenges and opportunities. You’ll want to archive these ideas for future use.
  • bigg bad ideas that you can implement now. You’ll develop these further and act upon them.

#9 – Reduce your idea to buzzwords

For that last category of ideas, reduce your great bigg idea to buzzwords – a word or phrase that you can easily call upon. These words should excite you to act now. You’ve turned a bigg bad idea into a great bigg idea!

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show

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