Preparing for 2015

As entrepreneurs, we encounter a flood of challenges when we are starting our businesses and making them grow. We are looking to find out what areas will be m most challenging to you and your business in 2015. Click Here to Take This Short 4 Questions Survey 

When you fill out the survey will receive a code for 20% off all Rule of Thumb Books and these upcoming workshops:

Getting Started with Pay Per Click Advertising
Wednesday December 3, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM CST
Pay-per-click, can be a very effective way to market your business online. PPC is a type of online ad that you pay for only when someone clicks. It can consist solely of a headline, a couple of brief lines of text, and a link — or it can feature an image that links to your site. Learn about Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter ads
Metropolitan Community College – Fort Omaha Campus

A Strong Organization: How to Building Teams and Partnerships

Thursday January 8, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM CST
In this workshop you will discover how to create the right ownership and board, what it take to recruit the right employees. You will learn how to create strong outsourcing partnerships with suppliers and contractor. Discover what it takes to map core business processes and making sure you have the legal framework in place.
Metropolitan Community College
Being Profitable: How Productivity Can Help Make Money

Wednesday January 21, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM CST
In the workshop you will learn to make sure you have the right financial practices in place to ensuring there is enough funding for profitable future investments. You will learn to how important it is to setup the right production and project management systems to ensure deliveries. Discover how setting up the right IT systems and facilities to can
Metropolitan Community College

Buoyancy: The Next Step in the ABC’s of Sales

The ABC’s of Selling: attunement, buoyancy and clarity. In last week’s blog, I began to talk about this theory from Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell Is Human. Pink claims that we need these three things to survive in the new age of sales. Last week, we focused on attunement, which is the ability to bring one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people. In other words, it’s understanding another persons’ perspective. This week’s topic is buoyancy; the ability to stay positive despite a slew of rejection. Not only is this necessary to be successful in sales, it can also help your personal life! Buoyancy, like attunement, includes three different elements.

Before the Sale: Interrogative Self-Talk
Oftentimes, the most difficult part of the sale is the beginning. Instilling enough self- confidence in yourself to lace up your shoes, walk out the door, approach the client, and make the sale. So, what should you do before the sale? Most people state that you should participate in positive or declarative self talk: “I can do this!” or “I am the best salesperson out there!” However, Pink says that you should use interrogative self-talk. An example of this is, “Will I be successful?” Interrogative self-talk asks a question and elicits an answer, which makes the person think through how they will achieve their goal. It helps them come up with strategies for success. So before engaging with your next client, think of yourself positively and also ask the question, “Will I make this sale?” You may be surprised at the results.

During the Sale: Positivity Ratios
Positivity is key during the sale. This is the second component to buoyancy. It is important to convey positivity, as it is often infectious. Pink states that it makes the client, “less adversarial, more open to possibility, and perhaps willing to reach an agreement in which both parties benefit.” In addition, you must truly believe in what you are selling, as customers can see through fake positivity. Using an optimistic and cheerful manner will help you be more successful during the sale.

After the Sale: Explanatory Style
Explanatory style is a form of self-talk that occurs after the event. It can be either positive or negative. It is imperative that after the sale, you use positive explanatory talk. In Pink’s book, To Sell Is Human, a study of new salespeople found that those with a positive explanatory style saw rejections as temporary rather than permanent, specific rather than universal, and external rather than personal. As a result, they were more successful in sales and stayed at their jobs much longer.


Buoyancy and Your Sales Career
In a world full of rejection, buoyancy is imperative to sales. The ability to stay positive despite failure will help ensure your success. Before the sale, participate in interrogative self-talk. During the sale, make sure to stay positive and afterwards, use optimistic explanatory self-talk. The ABC’s of selling: attunement, buoyancy and clarity. By utilizing this technique, you will be able to improve your sales process and ensure better success in your career! If you want to learn more about this topic, check out Daniel Pink’s video on the science on buoyancy.

Ad Man

Ad men live in a world of puns, quips, rhymes, jingles, and anecdotes— with a touch of poetry—a world of words and phrases, which grab the mind and stick. If you publish a magazine, it is copywriting writ large. It’s all stories. Stories that will not only entice your subscribers to renew their subscriptions but also will attract new advertisers—the lifeblood of radio, magazines, newspapers, and television. Copywriting writ small must accomplish the same end for your product or service. Whether it is William Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Ernest Hemmingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, both authors rode the power of the written word to success, albeit a different style, a different time, a different audience. Remember, the only reason a business exists is to make a profit. If you decide to write your own copy, I suggest that you take a walk, visit a business, and write in your mind copy for that business. 

Advertising made simple, check out the book Small Business Guide to Marketing Basics

Drive-by Performance Feedback

For some reason providing valuable performance feedback is hard for most managers. Relegated to the mandatory, and not very effective, annual performance appraisal, managers miss out on opportunities to shape the performance of employees by failing to practice the simple art of drive-by performance feedback.

The important thing about performance feedback is providing timely, specific, and helpful insight that is both encouraging and motivating. The goal in drive-by performance feedback is to take advantage of teachable moments and meaningful praise to reinforce what it is you want to see more of.

Formal Feedback

The formal feedback process is centered on the annual appraisal, and for motivated managers, regular sessions throughout the year that are used to keep focus on the written goals that you and the employee agreed they would accomplish during the year. Large organizations rely on performance management software to help track progress and to provide templates and forms that help organize the appraisal process. Small businesses find the cost of such systems prohibitive and are usually using paper-based methods.

Informal Feedback

But drive-by feedback is an informal method of providing ongoing communication to employees about their day-to-day performance. It recognizes opportunities in the moment to provide coaching or accolades. From stopping by an employee’s workspace to coach them on how to handle a difficult customer or complete a report, to praising them the moment you get off the phone with a happy client or they make a sale, drive-by feedback has three main characteristics:

  1. It’s timely. Don’t wait to provide feedback. Take time while the information is fresh in your mind. The longer you wait, the less detail you will recall, and your message will be diluted.
  2. It’s specific. General feedback, like saying “good job,” is not nearly as effective as specific feedback. Tell the employee exactly what you noticed that you want to see more of. When coaching for improvement, specific advice and guidance is much more likely to give you the performance you’re looking for.
  3. It’s helpful. Helpful feedback flows from a helpful attitude toward your employees. A helpful attitude fosters positive expectations (self-fulfilling prophecy). Successful managers understand that one of their primary responsibilities is to help employees succeed.

Reciprocal Commitment

When you believe people have the skills and abilities for peak performance, you will recognize when they display those behaviors, and naturally provide feedback on a regular basis. Drive-by feedback is powerful because not only does it clarify what it is you value and expect, it gives your employees motivation and encouragement to continue working hard for you. When they see that you are genuinely interested in helping them succeed, they will rise to the occasion and commit themselves to your success as well.

Check out Rule of Thumb: A Small Business Guide to Peak Performance Through People (WriteLife, 2013) for more about managing employee performance.

Why do I benefit from a Vision Statement?

The primary benefit of having a Vision Statement is  that it allows the organization to function as a unified  entity with many intelligent people sharing the same  central reason for doing what they do. This Vision  allows those caring individuals to work together to set  meaningful and achievable goals for the organization’s  present work and future aspirations. In addition,  it allows them to make decisions about everyday  behavior. What is behavior in a business? It is both  how we handle any situation that comes up, and, how  we expect team members and leaders to interact with  one another and with our customers.  Having a company Vision brings every  member of the team to the table with the  same information about how the company  founders want it to be run.

Keep in mind that the word Vision with the capital “V” means the all three of the statements: Mission, Vision and Value statements all working together to keep the organization on track.  To learn more about how these statements can help your run a successful company pick up a copy of my book, “A Small Business Guide to Developing Mission, Vision, and Value Statements