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Sherlock Holmes Reveals 3 Elementary Steps to Starting a Business

221b Baker Street | BIGG SuccessWe love Sherlock Holmes in all his varieties, including the 21st century Sherlock Holmes. But our favorite is the Sherlock Holmes series with Holmes played by the late great Jeremy Brett.

We recently watched an episode where Holmes reveals his secret to solving a crime. We were struck at his outline – it’s the track a will-be entrepreneur should follow to start a business.

Of course, solving a crime is a backwards-looking exercise. Starting a business requires you to look forward. So other than a change in tense, here are Sherlock Holmes’ three elementary steps to starting a business:

Step 1: Imagine what might happen

You must see the invisible when you start a business. It’s part science, part art.

Picture what might happen. Successful entrepreneurs know they can’t predict what will happen.

As you create the image of your start-up, write it down.

  • What are you selling?
  • How are you selling it?
  • Who is buying it?
  • How will you deliver it?
  • How will you measure success?

To borrow from Holmes, put an “exactly” in front of each question. This isn’t even close to being an exhaustive list of questions, but you get the idea.

We remember a mentor telling us that the most successful entrepreneurs could clearly picture what their business would look like. You should be able to do the same.

And don’t just picture one scenario. Think about what could happen to derail you. How would you respond? You’ll be better prepared to deal with alternative scenarios if they materialize by imagining them in advance.

Also picture the amount of time and money it will take to reach profitability. Hint: Plan on it taking at least two to three times as long and costing at least two to three times as much as you think. Make sure your vision is realistic.

Step 2: Act upon your supposition

It’s fun to imagine. Acting is where things get difficult.

At launch, every start-up is nothing more than a hypothesis. It’s a theory about a product and a market.

You’ll learn a lot about your product, your market, your people and yourself when you launch. In fact, it’s where the learning really begins.

You may think you know before you launch, but remember it’s all hypothetical. You launch to find out what’s real.

Step 3: Find yourself justified (or not)

As you discover reality, your hypothesis may prove to be correct. Congratulations! Keep pushing.

More likely, you will find that you missed the mark in part or in whole. Adapt.

You may tweak what you imagined. Or you may discover a completely different business. In either case, you win by getting started.

Sherlock Holmes had an advantage over entrepreneurs. His job was to go back in time to discover what happened.

Entrepreneurs must start from scratch to create their future. The key is to get started. It leads to BIGG success!

Are you thinking about starting a business? Maybe we can help.

We hope you can detect how thankful we are that you checked in with us today.

Please join us tomorrow when we’ll talk about the three influencers of career success. Until then, here’s to your BIGG success!

 Image in this post from linder6580

Is Speed Costing You a Fortune?

speeding | BIGG SuccesWe do everything fast these days. Here’s an example:

We quickly scan an e-mail. Then we quickly respond.

But we miss important points. So we end up asking a question about a point that was already covered.

Here’s another example – have you ever received a text message and said, “Huh?”

Sometimes we choose the quickest medium for us to get a message out. We fail to think about the best medium for the message we want to deliver.

We text when we should e-mail.

We e-mail when we should call.

We call when we should meet face-to-face.

In other words, we waste time my moving too fast. And, as we all know, time is money. Speed is costing us a fortune!

SPECIAL PODCAST ANNOUNCEMENT: This is show #719 on The BIGG Success Show, airing live on 07/19/11! Thank YOU so much for your support! Click a player below to listen to this show.


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[haiku url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00719-071911.mp3″ title=”The BIGG Success Show #719″]
We want to share two thoughts about speed today:

Speed and efficiency

BIGG success is life on your own terms. Terms are incredibly important. Many people think the terms speed and efficiency walk hand-in-hand.

However, you can be efficient without being fast. And you can be fast without being efficient.

BIGG success comes from efficiency, not speed. Efficiency is about producing a result without waste.

Of course, the faster you can produce that result, the better. But it’s important to focus first on efficiency, not speed.

As you get more efficient, speed usually follows.

Speed and people

Speed is never the goal when dealing with people.

In fact, speed is often incredibly costly, as in the examples we talked about earlier.

Efficiency isn’t the goal either.

When dealing with people, you want to be effective. Effectiveness, in this context, is about producing a result with full understanding.

When dealing with people, speed can lead to misunderstandings. It can even alienate people. Speed can cost you relationships.

Speed can be your friend. But it can also cost you dearly.

Knowing when to slow down will save you time and money. That leads to BIGG success!

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your BIGG success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00719-071911.mp3

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The Only Two Sources of Money

money | BIGG SuccessBIGG success is life on your own terms. Money is one of the five elements of BIGG success.

When you look at the essence of money, you realize that it comes from only two sources.

Money for time

Time is another one of the five elements of BIGG success. You can trade your time for money.

This is the first source of money. For millions upon millions of people, it is the only source of money.

For the most part, these people will never get ahead. In fact, they will probably end up worse off than they are now.

Once they are unable to trade time for a paycheck, they will be destined to scrape by for the rest of their lives.

Money from money

Your money will work for you if you let it. When you save and invest, you make money on your money.

This is the second source of money. It’s how most wealthy people got rich.

Every human being has the same 24 hours a day. So the only way to get ahead is to get your money working for you.

The starting point of riches

How do you get money to go to work for you?

You must understand this concept:

What you make matters much less than what you keep.

You can’t always control your earnings. However, you are in full control of your spending.

The key to getting started on the road to riches is saving money, month after month. It leads to BIGG success!

Image in this post from money 1

Success Through Collaboration is Short Sighted

cooperation collaboration and coalitions | BIGG SuccessThere are two ways to do almost anything: the hard way and the easy way.

We’re overselling that a little bit – BIGG success does not come easily. However, it can come easier.

BIGG success is life on your own terms. It’s about entrepreneuring your life – taking control to design and build the life of your dreams.

Hear George & Mary-Lynn discuss this post on The BIGG Success Show podcast. Click the player to listen.


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[haiku url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00707-060911.mp3″ title=”The BIGG Success Show #707″]
You may or may not be an entrepreneur in the traditional sense, but you and you alone own your life.

Feeling lonely, overwhelmed and strapped

Entrepreneurs and small business owners know that going it alone is hard.

You may feel overwhelmed at times.

There’s so much to do. And you have to make it all happen. You’re the driver, the only driver.

You may feel strapped on occasion: strapped for time as we just said or strapped for money. Money and time are two of the five elements of BIGG success.

They are your two resources and entrepreneurs know they have to make the most of the resources at their disposal.

So let’s talk about how to do that; let’s chat about an easier path to BIGG success.

Collaborate for success

Collaboration is one of the buzz words in business these days. Everyone is striving to get more done with the same resources (or even fewer). Entrepreneurs have always done it. Now big companies are doing it. Even government, at all levels, is struggling to learn how to do it.

Merriam-Webster’s definition for collaboration is “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.”

Stated simply, it’s working together to achieve a common goal. For example, you may work with someone on a specific project for a specific customer.

Collaborating with someone else brings resources to the table for both you and the party you collaborate with. You can focus on your strengths while they focus on theirs. You can work through a project more quickly and more cost-effectively.

So collaboration has a lot of advantages. But collaboration is often thought of as temporary. Like a project, it has a beginning and an end. Sure, you may collaborate on another project in the future. But it’s sort of an in-and-out kind of thing.

Which is perfect for today’s business environment. You can ramp up organizational capacity by bringing in your collaborators. When the need is no longer there, you each go your own separate ways until another project comes along.

So collaboration is an easier way to reach success. We suggest that you go beyond collaboration for BIGG success.

Coalitions lead to BIGG success

Think coalitions! Merriam-Webster says that a coalition is “the act of coalescing.” So what does it mean to coalesce? We love their definition: “to grow together.”

BIGG success is life on your own terms. While everyone else is looking to collaborate, we suggest you also think about a different term: coalition.

A coalition is a long-term strategic partnership with many participants. It’s collaboration on steroids without a due date.

For example, we talk with a lot of will-be entrepreneurs, small business owners, community banks and Chambers of Commerce every week. If we know what you offer, we may find customers for you.

In essence, we can be part of your sales force. And maybe you can do the same for us.

This is just one small part of a coalition that can be created to grow together. Maybe we can’t help each other but it never hurts to ask. Coalitions lead to BIGG success!

We’re looking to form a coalition. Would you like to join us? Let’s talk about how we might grow together. Send us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leave a voice message at 888.455.2444.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your BIGG success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00707-060911.mp3

Image in this post from nellart

2 Important Things to Know About Your Customers

customerIt was a beautiful day in our area on Sunday so we decided to go for a drive. There’s an outlet mall about thirty minutes from us. So we stopped and shopped!

We like to combine work and play. While we were playing, we got a couple of ideas for post, including this one today.

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Where are your customers from?

As we made a purchase, the clerk asked us for our phone number. She said, “We like to know where our customers are from.”

Isn’t that an important thing to know about your customers? 

Geographic area
This is what the store we were at wanted to know. This may or may not be important to your business. It may be useful for targeting areas for your marketing.

Marketing activity
Unlike large companies, small businesses can’t afford to invest a lot of money on building their brand. When we spend money as small business owners, we need to see a return in the short-term while also building our brand long-term.

So discover what marketing activity is driving people to your business. While this is an inexact science, you want to determine as closely as you can if the time and money you’re spending on various activities are paying off.

Consumers often segment the research and the purchase. They may do some research on you as a result of one marketing activity. Then they may respond to another one to make a purchase.

The first activity may be important to the process but doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

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georgePrior to Bigg Success, my businesses relied on inbound telemarketing. In other words, our customers called us to schedule projects. Our Customer Service Reps might ask this question, “How did you hear about us?” Later in the process, we might also have them ask, “How did you get our phone number today?” We often got a different answer from the same caller!

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marylynnIsn’t that amazing? You don’t want to annoy your customers with too many questions. You do want to get as much information as you can as a natural part of the conversation you’re having.

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Demographics
There are a number of factors that may be important to understand about your customers. What is their level of education? How much money do they make? What is their occupation?

Obviously, you may not directly ask them some of these questions. You may survey them anonymously.

This information helps you target your products and services better. It’s also highly likely that your future customers will be a lot like your current customers. So it helps you qualify prospects.

Where are your customers going?

It’s arguably more important to know this one. What are your customers trying to accomplish? What problems are they having trying to do that? How can you help them?

Retailers
The type of business you have will dictate how you find this out. Let’s say you’re a retailer serving lots of customers with relatively small purchases. While they’re checking out, you may ask them if there was anything that they didn’t find.

You may want to keep a list of their requests. When you start seeing something over and over, you may want to add that item to your inventory.

Consumer services
For a consumer service business, the question is very similar. “Is there anything else that I can help you with today?” 

We used a version of this in my service businesses and it was amazing the projects we would uncover. For instance, we often learned that they were considering a remodel from this simple question.

Business services

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marylynnIf your business serves other businesses, the best way to find this out is the hard way – talk with them! This is what we do. It takes a lot of legwork to keep in touch with your customers at this level. But it’s the best way to find opportunities.

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Nobody likes to be sold. People like to buy.
Discover what your customers are trying to accomplish.
Uncover the problems they’re having getting there.
Then show them the solution you can provide and you’ll be a bigg success!

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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 so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll celebrate a bigg milestone. 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/00519-111109.mp3

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(Image in today's post by LotusHead)