Thursday, May 14, 2015

What's Your Entrepreneurial DNA?

What’s your entrepreneurial DNA? There are really four main types of e-dna and most of us have a combination of two or more. From Builder to Opportunist, Specialist to Innovator there's real value in knowing where you stand. Once you know who you are you can identify which role you should be playing in your business. Some things should be given to others because that's where they excel.

Joe Abraham, the founder of BOSI DNA shares these aspects of entrepreneurial dna on Accelerate Your Business Growth and in the new book Expert Insights. You can also take the DNA quiz on his website and discover who you are.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Exemplary Customer Service

There’s customer service and then there’s exemplary customer service. In this highly competitive world your level of customer service can make a huge difference. During a conversation with Jim Mr. Energy Smith Jr we explore this topic.

Or pick up a copy of Expert Insights to read this and other words of wisdom from business experts. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind

The 4 Intelligences of the Business Mind by Valeh Nazemoff Is a pretty interesting book and can be valuable to small business owners. The author breaks down 4 areas of the brain when it comes to business:
  •        Financial Intelligence
  •        Customer Intelligence
  •        Data Intelligence
  •        Mastermind intelligence

The author talks about each of these intelligences in detail and how you can determine which mind you have. Some of us have one, some may have a couple. None of us have all four fully developed.

We have to have all four to have a successful business. So this helps a business owner determine if there is an area they should learn more about so they can be more effective. It also allows them to decide if they should hire or outsource for that expertise. A business leader can say they are going to take it on and can use the book to identify what they need to learn and focus on.

If they decide to bring in outside assistance it tells them what to hire for, what sort of expertise, what sort of mind someone needs to have in order to be helpful to their business.

I found it to be an easy read and yet detailed at the same time. There is even a chapter on integrating the 4 intelligences. I think it’s worth reading. You can go straight to an area you are interested in or read the whole thing. It’s not a heavy read - only about 120 pages of very clear information that any business owner would find valuable.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Lesson of Customer Care From ICON15

Imagine a vendor who was totally invested in your success; a vendor who consistently considered your needs and helped you meet them. I think it’s hard to find vendors who aren’t focused on their own needs and how their clients can help them achieve them.

And then there’s Infusionsoft. I just spent 4 days with them, their partners, and 3000 of their clients at ICON15. This user’s conference really is all about the customer. It’s about the good, the bad, and the ugly of small business. And it’s all about helping their clients grow and strive.

If you aren’t familiar with Infusionsoft, it is sales and marketing software. It was created by a couple of guys who were providing answers to the challenges their clients would bring them.

And it is so much more. As they say, it is a community. A community of people who are genuinely interested in the success of small business and the future of the middle class. Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft shared some of his thoughts during our visit to their headquarters. Their driving force is what can we help you with; what are the things you are trying to do in your business.

One of the most interesting things I learned is that they understand there are things they should take on and others they shouldn’t. When there is a small business need that they should not take on, they find what they consider to be the best solution and partner. This maximizes the benefit they can be to their clients. And we can all learn from this.

Another valuable point is that they stay true to their target market. They had to make a decision about where they serve best, and to stay there. This is in the 1-25 (no more than 100) employee space. And yes, that is very small. What they know to be true is that this is the space where they can have the greatest impact. So, this is where they should stay.

This is a case study of customer care. When you focus on what your clients need and provide them with the things that are your core competency your customers thrive, and by extension, so do you. And when you aren’t afraid to stay in your niche, you are able to continue to provide your best value. It’s not about growing outside your target market. It’s about growing for your target market.

So, when you are looking at your small business and making decisions about how you should move forward, remember these lessons:

1.    Know your value
2.    Know your market
3.    Stay true to these two things

It may sound simple but it works. Just ask the 600+ employees of Infusionsoft. Or better yet, ask the 10,000+ customers. They will confirm how well this works and can work for your business.

Copyright© 2015 Seize This Day

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Common Negotiating Mistakes Biz Owners Make

Negotiating well is so very important in business. Kathleen Burns Kingsbury says, "the key to a successful negotiation is going into it as a dialogue. To calmly discuss your perspective versus the person who’s purchasing your service or product’s perspective, and then come to a middle ground of what’s going to work for both of you."

You can hear more of her thoughts on the subject on Accelerate
Your Business Growth. Pick up a copy of Expert Insights and read what she, and other business experts have to say about the important areas of your business.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Initiative Based Writing Can Change Your Biz

Why is great writing and content marketing so important to the small business owner? Stefanie Frank explains how initiative based writing can have a dramatic impact on your business during my chat with her on Accelerate Your Business Growth. This same conversation, along with others, can be found in the new book, Expert Insights

As you work on your company's content marketing strategy, take some time to explore what Stefanie has to say about the subject. Her expertise will help you master writing for your business success.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Driving The Conversation

The Bernie Moreno Companies and Smart Business have partnered to bring critical conversations that matter to the business community of Northeast Ohio. I had the pleasure of attending the first of these discussions on March 19, 2015. The premise is that there are crucial topics that require honest, open, nonthreatening conversation with a goal of finding solutions to some of the community’s challenges.

The topic that was tackled was The Impact of Raising Minimum Wages and the panelists were Steve Millard, Executive Director of COSE and John Corlett, President and Executive Director of The Center for Community Solutions. Dustin Klein, the publisher of Smart Business was the moderator.

I arrived with a belief that allowing the government to dictate  minimum wage rates can have a negative impact on small business. My belief was that there are many small businesses that don’t have the margins to pay anything more than what they do currently.

As I listened to the discussion a couple of things dawned on me.
1.    Nothing happens in a vacuum. So to talk about minimum wage alone fails to address all of the issues that impact it. For example, part of the discussion was around the importance of education when dealing with wages. We should be talking about these issues together, not separately.
2.    All business owners should want to be paying ALL of their employees as much as possible because it would mean that they are succeeding while positively impacting their community. Wages, prices, expenses, margins – all of these things should be considered when growing a business. I realize that if we look at our businesses from a different angle we could actually pay a premium for premium talent and our businesses would benefit. It possibly means turning our viewpoint around and not seeing employees as an expense.
3.  We owe it to our companies, our employees, our clients, and our communities to work on the disease while considering the symptoms. Low wages and income inequality are symptoms of other problems - like poor education and inadequate training for today's jobs.

I think it’s a great idea to engage in these discussions and then to take action. As the saying goes – talk is cheap. Employees need the tools to be successful, and employers need the resources to be able to grow their businesses in a way that everyone wins. And we can talk all we want. But until we start taking action, nothing will change.

It’s all in how we look at it, and talk about it. If we can eliminate the vitriol and speak openly we can put solutions in motion. If we approach these subjects with an eye toward first understanding where the other person is coming from instead of deciding they are just plain wrong, we can affect great change.

I’m looking forward to future discussions and the changes that will come. I hope you’ll join me!