We are all guilty of it, aren’t we?
Guilty of what, you may ask.
You know, guilty of starting the year with some lofty goals to achieve great things with out lives. But then, you are two weeks into the year and things begin to breakdown and your goals just don’t happen.
Then the excuses flow:
-> Life got in the way.
-> I realized I didn’t have time.
-> I’m too busy.
-> I didn’t see any real progress.
You have heard them all. Heck! You may have even used them all at one point or another.
The saddest thing though is that they all raise their ugly heads in week two.
My good friend, world class speaker, and New York Times best selling author, Vince Poscente once encouraged me to, “Set the goal and let if go. Then, focus on the next obvious step and take it.”
Basically, Vince was helping me focus on executing daily the fundamentals leading to success because they build upon each other, compounding the results.
Have you ever watched a house being built? Did the builder decide to build a house there and suddenly it appeared?
The house was the result of a series of small steps, compounded over time, which began with the idea to build a house.
-> The builder chose a lot and still no house.
-> The lot was cleared, and still no house.
-> The foundation was poured, and still no house.
You get the idea. The house (goal) is the culmination of small steps taken in conjunction with each other to result in the final outcome.
Just like building a house, while you may want an increase in sales, productivity, brand recognition, better health, a stronger marriage, they don’t all happen just because you want them and see them.
Your results are the culmination your daily habits of focusing on and executing the of the principles and fundamentals leading to the outcomes you desire.
Now it is up to you to develop the daily habits that lead to the life you were created to lead. You were born awesome. Now, keep being awesome.
You have just completed your first week of the new year. How did you do?
Did you have a good first week? If you did, write down that your first week of the new year was a good week.
How do you know?
There are two aphorisms at play here:
All too many perform the first task and fail to perform the second. So, let’s do a quick check to see how your first week went.
List the things that you accomplished during the week. By listing your accomplishments for the week, you will…
-> establish yourself as an achiever,
-> create a spirit of confidence,
-> begin to see the areas you were willing and not willing to invest your time and efforts,
-> be in a position to adjust your game plan, placing you in a better position to achieve more.
You are the artist responsible for creating 2024 as a work of art. When you do what you planned, and review what you did, you can make the adjustments to paint the strokes on the canvas of your masterpiece, which is 2024.
How did you do in week one?
Watching The Citadel play against Western Carolina University in a basketball game last night, I saw a player suffer a painful and possible season and career injury.
Following a quick prayer that the player would be okay, the stories of Job, Joseph, and many others who first feared, felt pain, and moved to hope ran through my brain.
Like Job and Joseph, the injured basketball player is suffering, not only from the pain of the injury itself, but also the pain of the unknown that follows this time of adversity.
The young basketball player must rehab his injury to return to normal activity; review his strengths to carry him forward; and review his new weaknesses, created by the injury in order to adjust his life’s plan for the new realities.
What is required for the ballplayer’s journey? Faith, the kind of faith that endures all things seen for his unseen future.
Isn’t running a business of any size like the basketball player who was injured?
When faced with the challenges of the past four years, business owners felt much like Job and Joseph, wondering what the suffering was all about yet not wondering “why me?”
It is by faith in the positive future that the business owner saw when planning what the business would look like and achieve. That plan provides the map to get back on track in three steps.
-> With the use of solid business principles, immediately improvise your actions based on the new reality, thus rehabbing the way you operate.
-> Adapt your activities to the new reality, focusing on your strengths to carry you through. Remember Covid?
-> Reviewing your original principle-based plan and applying what you have learned in the new operating environment, overcome the challenges calmly and methodically.
If you are not on a principle-based, faith driven journey in which you will rise in all tides, reach out. Help is always in your future.
Want help? Give us a call!
“Is the customer always right?” I was once asked.
After a moment of consideration, I answered, “The customer is always the customer.”
The customer, being the customer, always deserves to be treated with respect.
The customer always deserves your full attention.
The customer always deserves your honesty provided in a respectful way, even when they don’t agree with your position, demanding the answer that want, be it the correct answer or not.
There is an amazing customer service story told by Pete Nordstrom on The Nordy Pod podcast.
Nordstrom shared that almost 40 years ago at a Nordstrom store in Fairbanks, Alaska a store associate noticed a customer rolling a pair of tires into the store. When the associate asked how he could help, the customer asked to return the tires, insisting that he bought the tires at that very location with a guarantee that he could bring them back to the store at any time.
Of course, Nordstrom never sold tires. But in 1975, it purchased three stores from a company that did – Northern Commercial of Alaska, a company that offered an eclectic mix of goods– everything from towels and linens to automotive supplies.
When Nordstrom took over the locations, it narrowed the merchandise mix to apparel and shoes.
Was the customer right when he said he bought the tires at that location? Yes.
Was the customer right by expecting Nordstrom, a retailer that never sold tires to accept the return? I think not.
However, instead of turning the tires away, insisting that the tires were not purchased from Nordstrom, the store associate wanted to do right by the customer who had driven more than 50 miles with the intention of returning these tires.
The store associate called a tire company to determine the value of the tires and then gave the customer the estimated amount, took the tires, and sent the customer on his way.
While the exact dollar amount paid to the customer for the tires is not known today, there can be no doubt it has been earned back thousands of times over when you consider the impact that story has had on the Nordstrom customer service reputation over the years.
So, is the customer always right? No.
However, it is always right to do right by the customer.
Tis the season to be jolly! Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Til ID thieves create folly. Oh no! What do I do now?
Here are 10 signs your season won’t be so bright because your identity has been compromised unless you have a power source looking out for you.
1. Unexplained charges on your credit card
2. Unauthorized withdrawals from your bank account
3. You start receiving debt collection calls
4. Not receiving mail or receiving someone else’s mail at your address
5. Receiving statements for credit cards you don’t have
6. You’ve been told you already filed your taxes
7. Receiving an unexpected medical bill
8. Police approach you about a crime you did not commit
9. The IRS asks you to verify wages you didn’t earn
10. Noticing unusual activity on your credit report
These surprises don’t typically happen to IDShield members who have
-> Monitoring Services – All the information they choose to be monitored is monitored 24/7/365
-> Consultation Services – Consultants are available 24/7/365 to respond to your concerns and questions.
-> Restoration Services – A team of investigators is available to identify the issues and restore your identity for you.
Click here to learn how you can have the power of IDShield working for you while you focus on the things you enjoy.
Attending a meeting recently, one of the other attendees remarked to me, “I notice that all your emails, texts, and comments, both written and spoken end with, ‘Keep being awesome.’ Why do you say that to people when you don’t know if they are being awesome or not?”
“What a great question!” I thought to myself. Answering, I asked if he really wanted to know why I did that and would he listen to the entire answer. Affirming that he would, I began my explanation that I believe what is in The Bible and that in the first chapter of the first book of The Bible it says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,'” (Genesis 1:26). “So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them,” (Genesis 1:27).
Now, whether you believe in God or not is not my point, although I hope you do. My point is that logic tells us that if the Creator of all things made you in His image, you must have some pretty good stuff inside of you. Now note, He did not make you as a replica or a clone, albeit we do have gifts and talents that make us pretty darn awesome.
He made you and me in his image, so you and I don’t have all the same attributes of God, much like you and I don’t have all the same attributes of our birth parents, while demonstrating some of their physical and mental attributes. The challenge each person has is to identify those gifts and talents and use them for the purposes for which they were given.
So, you see, when I exhort you to keep being awesome, I am encouraging you to keep being the way you started.
KEEP BEING AWESOME is the title of my new keynote and/or breakout session for small groups, churches, church groups, business organizations, and business networks of all types. I would love to speak with you for the opportunity to speak into your organization with the principles to Keep Being Awesome. Contact me via LinkedIn or my website.
Earl Nightingale shared the Strangest Secret back in 1956, “We become what we think about.”
What are you thinking about, these days? Is it a poor business climate for small business, or maybe hiring good people seems impossible, or maybe even that there is a recession on the horizon?
You will manifest those things you hear and see into thoughts, which determine your reaction or response.
I recently heard that economic experts, media, and doomsayer have predicted 82 of the last 11 recessions. Is that the group to whom you listen?
Listen to those who guide you toward the light of new beginnings, who speak with principles, and who live lives of integrity and character.
Read principle-based books, articles, blogs, and posts that encourage and edify rather than manipulate and discourage.
Leaders who are principle driven understand that when you do the right things day in and day out, positive results follow no matter what difficulties and challenges appear.
Good leaders understand that opposition and difficulties do not control you. They only provide you with the opportunity to persevere. Perseverance builds character, and character leads to hope, as taught by the first Century teacher, Paul.
Lead well when you lock out the noise and focus on principles and the fundamentals to execute them.
When you do, you will make great days and keep being awesome.
Who influences your thinking and actions?
Leaders understand that what they think about and how they act are interwoven.
In The Strangest Secret, personal development guru, Earl Nightingale said, “We become what we think about.”
Leaders also recognize that what you see, what you read, what you hear, what you watch, (you get the picture) all have influence on what you think, and what you think has an influence on how you act.
When I was younger, I learned that reading was something you had to do, which was not enticing.
Then, I met Ron Peer, the sales vice president over the area in which I worked. Ron shared his philosophy for reading with me. He showed me that reading can be fun when you read for the right reasons.
Ron said, “I usually have four books going, and each book is for a different purpose.”
-> Novels, from which he learned to tell stories about the objects of his presentations rather than simply the facts.
-> Business books, from which he learned how business leaders think and act.
-> Biographies, from which he learned that nothing comes easy to those who are dedicated to their visions.
-> Classics, from which he learned subjects that made conversing with him an education rather than a conversation.
Ron’s willingness to share valuable philosophies and principles greatly impacted my growth as a leader.
Leaders who discern the values the values of those with whom they associate, identify the right people to whom they should listen and learn to grow in significance in all facets of their lives.
Over three thousand years ago, King Solomon, in his book of proverbs said, “The thoughts of the righteous are just, but guidance from the wicked is deceitful.” (Proverbs 12:5)
When you listen and learn from the right people, your thoughts and actions will reflect their influence.
Make it a great day and keep being awesome.
Have you noticed on LinkedIn and at in-person networking events and meetings that people have a tendency to connect to you rather than with you?
What’s the difference?
Connection to someone is a surface activity where you seek to know what the person does for a living rather than learn their story which leads to an understanding of who the person is.
A question I ask when I first meet with someone is, “Tell me about your journey.”
That’s it! No more, no less.
The typical response is a question, “Are you talking about what I do now?” to which I answer, “No, I want to know about your life that brought you to where you are now.
In a recent Zoom meeting with a new LinkedIn connection, the initial question and response led to a journey that was fascinating and highlighted by lessons learned along the way.
The result of the conversation was two people who enjoyed each other’s company, not for what we do or can do for each other, but how we got to where we are, revealing wisdom and understanding.
This interaction reminded me of a story about the late, great NBA star, Bill Russell. At 6’9”, you can imagine he stood out in a crowd.
John Havlicek, one of Russell’s teammate recounted the story.
“Bill and I were standing in a hotel lobby when an older woman came up to Russell and asked, ‘Are you a basketball player?’
Russell answered, ‘No ma’am, I am not.’
After the woman walked away, Havlicek asked Russell why he answered that he was not a basketball player, to which Russell answered, ‘Because a basketball player is not who I am. It is what I do.’”
In Proverbs 13:20, Sol says, “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Leaders recognize that wise counsel is not wrapped up in what a person does, but the story of the wisdom gained on the journey to where they are now.
Ask the right questions, make it a great day, and keep being awesome.
What is more important to you, growing revenues from the market you serve or reaching out to a new market that is completely opposite of your current core customer base?
Knowing your customers, what they want, and providing what they want are three imperative elements to building a profitable business and growing your brand.
Once you have identified the marketplace problem you solve and the customer base for whom you solve it, reaching that market and growing that base is important.
Let’s take a look at why retaining your customer base is so important:
-> Boosting customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25-95%.
-> Companies have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer vs. a 5-20% chance of selling to a new customer.
-> 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers.
-> It costs 6x to 7x more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones.
-> A company’s top 10% of most loyal customers spend three times more per purchase than the other 90% of customers do.
So, the question of whether you really want new customers totally opposite of your base or focus on building sales within your base begs to be answered.
Of course, you need new customers. While new customers are needed and wanted, remember the benefits of keeping the existing customer while you seek new customers is vitally important.
A major beer brand lost sight of that in a recent campaign to capture a small percentage of the population while forsaking their core customer.
-> They made a business decision based on a political stance.
-> They didn’t understand the culture or values of their base versus those of the new customer being sought.
-> They failed to prepare properly for anticipating and handling unintended consequences
Good leaders ask questions that prevent self-made catastrophes while accepting responsibility for the mistake while seeking to resolve it.
Make it a great day and keep being awesome.
Brian Kennedy is an encourager who shepherds small business owners and entrepreneurs along the path of business success to preeminence by embracing time tested principles and executing the associated fundamentals daily.