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What’s Hot in 2009: Questions

hto_2009 This week on The Bigg Success Show, we’re discussing opportunities and threats in 2009. Today, we continue the five-part series by looking at some important questions to ask.

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marylynnEarlier this week, we discussed continued outsourcing as a threat to our careers. We also talked about the opportunity to be a free agent – to start your own micro-business to which large businesses can outsource. So a threat to one person may be an opportunity for another.

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That’s why it is so important to look at the opportunities and threats holistically. We wrote an article recently with five questions which help you do just that.

Is there a cheaper substitute?

This is one of the questions we suggested you consider in light of today’s economy. We discussed in a previous show this week that consumers are repairing instead of replacing. And when they do replace, they’re often looking for used items instead of buying new ones.

Substitute: Store brands for name brands

In other words, they’re substituting down and it goes beyond lower priced alternatives to a product or service. In other words, it doesn’t just mean they’re buying store brands instead of name brands.

Substitute: Do-it-myself for do-it-for-me

As an example of that, we’re coming out of an era where more and more consumers were willing to pay for more and more services. They wanted someone to do-it-for-me. Now they’re substituting with do-it-myself more often.

Prove the lifetime value
It’s not just about price, although that is a more important consideration. Consumers are looking at lifetime costs, not just upfront costs. They’re willing to pay for value, but you need to be able to prove it to them.

Your business, your career
If you’re in business already or considering starting a business, think about what your product or service could be a substitute for. That’s where you’ll find opportunity. Also consider what products or services might be a substitute for what you offer. Those are your threats.

What about your job? If your company offers a cheaper substitute, there should be opportunity right now. If not, can you help them find ways to reduce costs? Or prove to customers that what you offer will pay them back in the long run?

Personal considerations

So far in this series we’ve only looked at the external environment, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. You also have to think internally.

The best opportunity for you will match a market need to your personal considerations. So as you consider a career or a business, it’s important to consider your own wants and needs.

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georgeI wish I had heard that advice a long time ago. I tended to be very opportunistic. I got into businesses that looked promising without thinking enough about how I really wanted to spend my time. I enjoyed being a business owner, but I’m having even more fun these days!

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Find your passion
We hear it all the time, “Do what you love.” That’s the ideal. However, what if you can’t get paid to do what you love? What if there are no job opportunities? Then do something that lets you do what you love when you leave work.

Consider your preferences

Also think about your preferences when it comes to the environment in which you’ll work. Some people prefer to work at a desk; others can’t stand it. Some people prefer to work in a group; others like to work alone.

The best opportunity in the world isn’t a good opportunity for you if you don’t enjoy working at it.

Contemplate your proficiencies
What are you really good at? What do other people compliment you on? What do you find really easy to do? Chances are that is a skill you can exploit.

Now take another look
With your passion, preferences, and proficiencies – we’ll call these “the three P’s – in mind, consider your career and/or business opportunities again.

What can you help people do? What can you teach them to do? How can you save them money? What skills do you have that are transferable from one business industry to another?

Match your 3 P’s to a market need to find your bigg opportunity.

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we look at some fun trends for 2009. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00304-010809.mp3

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(Image in today's post by MISHA)

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3 Questions for a Brighter Future

questions You and you alone create your future. You are the only person, place or thing with that power. With that being the case, it's up to you to create the future of your dreams.

One way to do that is to look back so you can look forward. Reflecting upon the past and pulling lessons away so your future is bigger and brighter. With the New Year upon us, now is a great time to review last year so next year lives up to its promise for you.

There's a simple three-stage framework for performing this exercise. It involves asking yourself three questions:

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What?

Start with the actual events of this year. What happened? Describe major events in your life. As you record your answers, test your perceptions to make sure they reflect the reality of the situation. If it helps, pretend that you are a reporter objectively recording the facts of the event.

So what?

At this stage, you move from reporting to understanding, from logic to emotion. That's why it was so important to get the facts right in the first step. What did this experience mean to you? How did it make you feel? Why did you feel that way? What have you learned?

Now what?

The previous two questions lead to this one. How will you apply the lessons you learned? What specific actions will you take as a result of the events you've outlined?

These three simple questions serve as a great outline to review major events in your life and develop forward-thinking plans to be a bigg success.

Let’s look at a couple of examples, using events from 2008.

Example: Volatile stocks

What?
The stock market can be very volatile.

So what?
I can lose money if I don’t understand the risk and how to manage it.

Now what?
I will learn more about investing and asset allocation. I won’t invest money in stocks that I will need in the next ten years. I will pay closer attention to my quarterly reports to make sure I maintain the proper asset allocation given my age and goals.

Example: Layoffs

What?
Times are tough at work; layoffs are possible.

So what?
It makes me nervous. I think I could lose my job.

Now what?
I will look for ways to help my company save money. I will make sure my boss is aware of the projects I complete successfully. I will look for opportunities to add additional skills so I’m more competitive.

Solid goals

In our examples, the “Now what’s” are a little bit fuzzy. You really want to refine them to turn them into solid goals. For instance, looking at the second example, instead of saying “I will look for ways to help my company save money,” turn that into “I will find one way to save my company $X (you pick a relevant amount) in the next 30 days.”

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Would you like more help turning your thoughts into concrete goals? Get our FREE Goal-Setting Workbook when you subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE too!

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We really appreciate you taking the time to read our post today. Join us next time when we look at the most important people of 2008. We think you’ll be surprised at our choices! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00297-123008.mp3

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Starting from Scratch – Part 2

scratch_beginnings

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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adam_shepard
I have not.

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70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

How $70,000 Delivered 5,000 Families from Drought and Hunger

70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

Bloggers from all over the world wide web are discussing poverty today in the hopes that conversation for a cause will lead to a cure. We’ll share how $70,000 had an impact on drought and hunger.

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marylynnWe chose to participate because we believe in the cause and we believe in the power of people working together with a purpose.

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georgeWe remembered an inspiring Wall Street Journal article [pdf] written by Roger Thurow. It highlights how seemingly small things can make a bigg difference in the developing world. We love success stories and this one is awesome!

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$70,000 feeds 5,000 families

A group of farmers in Ohio raised $70,000 and sent it to another group of farmers in Kenya. The project is part of the Foods Resource Bank, an organization that fights hunger by connecting churches here with groups in need around the world.

The Ohio farmers decided to send money, rather than food, so the farmers in Kenya could decide how to use it best. They spent the money to build a number of small dams and retention ponds to catch water in the rainy season so they would have water year-round. With that water, five thousand families have been delivered from hunger.

Everybody wins

Here’s an example of the impact made by just one project. The farmers in Ohio sent $3,000 to the farmers in Kenya, who hired an engineer. With the plan in hand, the Kenyan farmers built the dam with their own labor and materials.

Now their village has water – for themselves, for their cattle, and for growing crops. The women of the village used to walk about ten miles to get water. Now their time is being used much more productively.

With the water problem solved, the village switched its focus to better roads. These roads are the link to nearby markets where the farmers can sell their surplus produce. But they had deep ruts which made them nearly impassable.

It used to take two hours to get to the market by bike, which is the main form of transportation there. Bikes cost $6 to rent. With the improved roads, it only takes a half-an-hour now to get into town and bike rents have fallen to $3.

Talk about win / win! The farmers are paying 50% less to rent a bike. But the person who rents the bikes is making 100% more, because the bikes get returned so quickly. Everybody wins!

Farmer increases income over 400%

The article also highlights one Kenyan farmer. With the water nearby thanks to the dam, he was able to dig his own water retention pond, which he uses to irrigate his crops. His income has grown from less than $100 a year to $500 per year!

That’s an increase of over 400%!

Now he’s plowing his extra profits back into his business. He bought a generator and mechanical pump to double his cultivated land. He also planted 400 mango trees.

Entrepreneurship at its finest!

How it started

All of these wonderful things started with the vision of one man – the pastor in the village. Originally, he reached out for food from the large international agencies. But he feared that his people would become dependent.

So he formed a development group that created a list of needs – water was number one on the list. He sent that list to a number of organizations, including the Foods Resource Bank. They got the farmers in Ohio involved.

Takeaways

We found this story so inspiring because it shows that a small amount of money with a large amount of focus can accomplish bigg things.

We liked how farmers here supported farmers there. We can all use our passion, knowledge, and skills to help people like us in other parts of the world.

It also shows the resourcefulness of people. Get resources to people on the scene. They will find a way to overcome their biggest obstacles with their ingenuity and industriousness. The accomplishments can be phenomenal!

You, too, can make a difference. Donate money or make microloans to people in need with good ideas. Reach out to organizations that have the infrastructure in place to help people in need.

It only takes one person.
Each of us can make a bigg difference in helping other people around the world be a bigg success.

Next time, we’ll talk with a man who left a high-paying job with a prestigious law firm to do his own thing. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

how $70,000 saved 5,000 families|Blog Action Day 2008

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Success Building Blocks: Competitive Greatness

By Bigg Success Staff
09-17-08

Timeless Principles

success_pyramid

John Wooden, arguably the best coach in the history of college basketball, developed the Pyramid of Success.  It’s a wonderful tool to succeed bigg in any endeavor you choose.

So far, we’ve discussed four rows of his Pyramid.  Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, and Enthusiasm form the foundation. The second row consists of Self-control, Alertness, Initiative, and Intentness. The third row, which sits right in the middle of the Pyramid, includes  Condition, Skill and Team Spirit.

The fourth row, which is also the second from the top, is made up of Poise and Confidence

This week, we’ll look at the single block that sits at the top of the Pyramid.

Competitive Greatness

This success building block sits atop Poise and Confidence. Without these two, Wooden asserts you won’t achieve Competitive Greatness. But it goes beyond that – this block sits at the top because it is the result of all the rest. Putting in place all the other attributes helps you achieve this one.

The great performers bravely step forward when others are afraid. They thrive when others wither. So they want to be the point person in attacking the bigg challenge. After all, who is better suited to lead the cause? They believe it is up to them. This is their opportunity to shine … and they do! 

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

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John Wooden's Pyramid Of Success

Success Building Blocks: Industriousness

Success Building Blocks: Friendship

Success Building Blocks: Loyalty

Success Building Blocks: Enthusiasm

Success Building Blocks: Cooperation

Success Building Blocks: Self-Control

Success Building Blocks: Alertness

Success Building Blocks: Initiative 

Success Building Blocks: Intentness

Success Building Blocks: Condition 

Success Building Blocks: Team Spirit

Success Building Blocks: Skills

Success Building Blocks: Poise

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