Smarter or Harder?

I just met with a business owner whose business offers multiple services and he shared with me his goals to focus on growth for 2020. The first question I asked him was which services he was going to focus on growing and why. His answer was, all of them. My second question was if he could share with me which services were the most profitable and he couldn’t answer it. My immediate concern was that he was probably going to experience the most growth in the service that was the least profitable. Doesn’t it seem smarter to focus on the services in which you’re making the most profits? 

I then met with another client who shared with me that although they completed the services they did on a consistent basis that their method of billing was to tally up each service they completed for each client each month and then create invoices for each and mail them out. When I hit them with, “How much time would you save if you just put them all on a recurring monthly plan with an automatic payment deducted from their credit card or bank account the first of the month?” I could see the wheels spinning between their ears. Even more so when they realized that this would also reduce their collections problems.  Although it may create some challenges in signing up new clients doesn’t it seem a lot smarter to sign them up this way?

The third one I want to share this week was when the subject of pricing was presented with another client. I asked them simply, “Why do you charge what you do?”. Their answer was the same one I almost always here, “the going rate for my industry”. When I responded with the question “Can you achieve your goals charging this amount?” I got that same deer in the headlights look I so often get. Wouldn’t it be smarter to set your goals and work them backward to see what you need to charge in order to achieve them?

I can tell that each of these clients and many others that I speak to are very hard workers. I want to help them be even more successful while not having to work so hard. So, do you want to work smarter or harder?

Hello December!

And just like that it’s December! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are preparing for equally great Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. 

I’m going to be spending a lot of time over the next few weeks working on finalizing my 2020 goals and laying out the plans to achieve them. Also for the month of December I will be working with WAM! members on Identifying their target markets. 

There is  so much time, energy and money spent on marketing and advertising and more often than not, the results are minimal at best. As a result, I hear multiple testimonies about which platforms, methods, frequencies, etc. don’t work. This got me thinking, how come it works for some and not others? 

The conclusion for me is that there is not enough effort being spent in identifying their target markets. Without knowing exactly who you are targeting you can’t identify the real problem that your solving, the right solution and the call to action. The desire to sell to everyone makes this even worse. The more people you are trying to serve the more clouded your message becomes, the less desirable you become and the more you will have to work to make a sale. 

How many clients do you need in order to achieve your goals? Helping solo-preneurs, sales professionals and micro-business owners I have discovered that this number is normally much much smaller than even those Im working with him think it is. In all cases, it’s a fraction of the number of people they are marketing to. 

If you want to stand out from the crowd in a way that actually creates sales, you need to identify yourself or your business as being able to offer something your competition cannot. Let’s see what we have;

A – what do you offer or do that your competition does not

B – how many clients do you need in order to achieve your goals

C – use A & B to define your target market

D – seek out where the best place is to get in front of your target market

E – define the problem you are solving and the solution you are offering

F – clarify your offer or call to action

This is what we are going to be discussing during this month’s WAM! meetings. Want to sit at the table with your peers see how they can help you and you can help them work through these items? There are four meetings this week, tomorrow at 7:30 or 10:00am and Thursday at 9:30am or 5:30pm. RSVP in advance so the facilitator is prepared, a seat is saved for you and so you can see who else will be attending.

Have a great week.

Manage your time or it will manage you

With so many things to do, so many fires to put it out and so many pressing issues its hard to take the time needed to prioritize it all.

What happens if you don’t? Well, for most it means they don’t focus on the long term and instead spend their time and energy on what has to be completed right now. What do you think happens in this situation?

I spent so much time and energy today working on all of these “important” things to do that I am now too tired to concentrate on those future goals. Have you experienced this yourself?

So how important do you think prioritizing is now? If you don’t take time to work on your future, what will your future look like? If you don’t take time now to build valuable relationships, what kind of relationships will you end up with?

I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t easy. Finding the balance between what needs to be taken care of now and what needs to be taken care of in order for you to achieve the long term goals you want is extremely difficult. I do know that it won’t change until you start working on it. I also know, that once you do, it’s amazing how much time you can find and how much more efficient you can become.

On Thursday December 12th from 5:30pm until 7:30pm I will help the first eight people to sign up in a time management workshop that will address these items and more to help those in attendance to accomplish far more in less time. Here is the link to sign up if you wish to attend – https://www.wamrva.com/event/time-management-workshop-2/

Do I need a password manager?

Simply put yes! If you are still using a spreadsheet or heaven forbid a document on your computer named “PASSWORDS” to track passwords then you are ripe for having your accounts broken into. But how else am I supposed to remember a password like ;s”U7*7WFg[8sCV{ and also remember to change it every 6 months? For just a few bucks per month you can have a tool that generates very strong passwords for you and stores them securely on your device(s). Your PC Magician would be happy to discuss your current password management system to ensure you have the best processes in place to protect access to your valuable data.

I’m thankful for you!

I only had the opportunity to visit three of the WAM! meetings last week but they were good ones. Having the opportunity to start discussing and working on our 2020 goals seems to be helping a lot of the members. I know it’s helping me a lot. I look forward to having a strategic plan in place with daily, measurable actions ready to go on January 1st.  Much better than throwing something together at the last minute. You have three opportunities left this week if you still need help; Tuesday at 11:30 and 5:30 and Wednesday at 11:00am!

I hope on Thursday you are able to shut off the business stuff and spend some time with the family. I’m looking forward to Michele and I spending a little time with her family in Virginia Beach. Of course I will need to hit the gym hard on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Which by the way, I enjoy working out with anyone so if you want to get together to hit the gym, hit the trails with the mountain bike, a good ruck or anything else to get a workout in, just let me know.

Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. What are you thankful for this year? I can’t express enough how thankful I am for all those involved in helping me this year. Starting something as unique as WAM! with no experience and nothing to really guide often seemed like an insurmountable challenge. I have some great people in my corner though and they have really stepped up and helped me to define our mission, our values, our why and how it is all going to come together. I hope they know how much I appreciate them.

Outside of work, I have even more reasons to be thankful. I have an awesome wife, amazing parents, some of the most beautiful and talented children and grandchildren and some really cool friends. I can’t wait until I have even more time to spend with them all.

I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving! 

Warmer weather is coming!

Hello from Myrtle Beach! I had a couple meetings here today so I came down yesterday morning and snuck in a round of golf. I’m in Myrtle Beach setting things up to start doing business down here too. I’m really liking it when the temperature is over ten degrees warmer.

How was your week? I was able to personally visit three WAM! meetings last week. The Brandermill and Tuesday Night meetings were filled with great input on 2020 goal setting and the Downtown meeting is coming along. On Wednesday I was able to bring together multiple members as we worked together to help introduce careers in the trades to local high school students. It was a great event and I think we helped a lot of your people.

I am returning to Richmond tonight and will be attending two meeting tomorrow, WAM! Focus and WAM! Tastic, both of which should have full tables. On Thursday I will be attending the WAM! Masters meeting and also on Thursday the Sandston WAM! meeting is at 5:30pm near the airport. I am really pleased with the progress I am making on setting my goals for 2020. 

As of now, we are back in the 60’s by Friday so we all have something to look forward to. Have a great week!

Work smarter, not harder

Almost everyday I meet people that tell me that the most important thing for them right now is another sale. For most, no matter how many years later I see them, their number one focus is to make another sale. Why do you think this cycle continues?

I do meet salespeople and business owners who are making good numbers of sales. However, most of them are the ones who simply work harder. And again, no matter how many years later I see them, they are still working hard. Why do they have to continue working so hard?

I greatly enjoy watching our members helping each other to better identify their ideal clients, creating efficient sales processes, identifying strategic partnerships and creating plans that will allow them to work less and make more. It’s huge. Are you following a plan that’s taking you toward less work and more money or just lots of work forever?

Another one that continues to surprise me are those who have been in business for several years, are in desperate need for sales today and are looking everywhere for them while completely ignoring their previous clients. Your previous clients already know, like and trust you so the majority of the hard work is already done. Maybe they need additional work, some of your other products or services, repeat work and they are most likely the best place you can go for referrals that easily convert.

Work smarter not harder! I want to go golfing, fishing and even cruising with you! 

Let’s get serious about our goals

For many years I struggled with the whole goal setting thing. The only goals I ever set were set just to appease people telling me that I had to have them. I never stuck with these goals and now I see why. I wasn’t vested, they didn’t have any real meaning. They were normally financially based goals and money isn’t what ultimately motivates me. So what was missing? I didn’t know and understand what my success really looked like. I now see this as the first step in goal setting.

What is your definition of success? Most often it seems that any talk of success is centered around business and when we talk about like we talk about happiness. Well, I just spent a week enjoying a visit with my mother, family and friends in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota and it really got me reflecting on what I want in life. It reminded me of what my success looks like. I want to spend more time with family, travel more and participate in more outdoor activities.

Do you want to be happy? What does your happy look like? What do you need in order to achieve your happy, your success?

Our topic of discussion this month is Your 2020 Goals and I hope this will help get some more folks on the right path to setting their goals, putting together plans they can follow that will help them to actually achieve their goals and achieve their success.

Happy Veterans Day

Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory”.

In 1926, the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I and declared that the anniversary of the armistice should be commemorated with prayer and thanksgiving.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) was approved on May 13, 1938, which made November 11 in each year a legal holiday, known as Armistice Day. This day was originally intended to honor veterans of World War I. A few years later, World War II required the largest mobilization of service men in the history of the United States and the American forces fought in Korea. In 1954, the veterans service organizations urged Congress to change the word “Armistice” to “Veterans”. Congress approved this change and on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all American veterans, where ever and whenever they had served.

 Here are just a couple of the local events you may want to attend;

 10:30am – 11:30am    Virginia War Memorial              https://www.virginia.org/listings/Events/CommonwealthsVeteransDayCeremony/

2:00pm – 3:00pm         VA Hospital                                   https://mrpes.band/gigs/50

3:00pm – 5:00pm         VCU Student Commons             https://www.facebook.com/events/482508279144637/

7:30pm – 9:30pm         Altria Theater                               https://z-m-www.facebook.com/events/529447164281038/

One way several restaurants and other businesses show their support is by offering additional discounts to the Veterans today. Here is one special event I know of

9:00am – 11:00am       Midlothian YMCA                   https://www.facebook.com/events/2465508290399012/

There are literally so many places that offer free meals or deep discounts this Monday I can’t list them all. Here is one pretty comprehensive list though – https://militarybenefits.info/veterans-day-discounts-sales-deals-free-meals/

I greatly appreciate everyone’s support.

Hello from Iowa!

I hope you all are enjoying your beautiful weather in Richmond, the average high temperature here this week is 37*. I’m glad I got that round of golf in last week at Ford’s Colony with the Swinging for Success group and that I was able to get in some great runs and a bike ride too. I do appreciate that I am able to visit my mother, some old friends and that I have some exciting meetings with some Omaha and Council Bluffs professionals. 

For the second week in a row I must share the loss of another great Marine. Sergeant Major Cecil McNair lost his battle with cancer on Halloween night. His funeral is this Thursday and since I am here in Iowa I won’t be able to make it. I am sure my fellow Marine Corps League brothers will be there to show our support though. 

We talk about him a lot this past Saturday evening during the Marine Corps Ball while we celebrated the 244th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Always a great evening! 

Upon my return next week I will enjoy Veterans day with my daughter and grandchildren and then will enjoy an evening with over three hundred of my favorite local businessmen at Annual Boxing Smoker with the West Richmond Businessmen’s Association. Live competitive boxing, amazing spreads of food, cigar smoking, bourbon tasting, open bar and more. If you haven’t gotten with me yet and want to go definitely let me know right away, as my guest you will save $50. 

Get to work on those 2020 goals and I’ll see you all soon.