How I Built the Most Profitable Industrial Container Management Company in America (Part 2 of 3)

If you missed Part 1 of this series, you may want to read it before proceeding.

After I had set my vision for what I wanted to accomplish with the turnaround of this company, I needed a team that could help me turn that vision into reality. I needed everyone—from my office staff, to my production crew, to my delivery drivers—to be completely on board. If we were going to dominate the marketplace, we needed 100% buy-in.

I’ll have to exert some restraint to not turn this post into a book. There were many details Teamworkthat led to my success in molding a winning team. I’d like to share the high-level points here and leave it to you and your team to determine how these same principles and practices can be applied in your business.

I began by developing my big-picture vision into a set of daily outcomes—how many units needed to be produced, maximum end-of-line rejections due to defects, number of units/day delivered to clients, and so on. Note that I did not make a plan as to how I was going to accomplish these things, but simply that these were the tangible results I needed each day to make my vision become a reality.

Key #2: Role Ownership

Once I had the daily requirements determined, it was time to involve my team. I called a meeting in which I shared my vision and the daily requirements, in terms of output and quality, needed to bring this vision to fruition. I was met with everything from indifference to significant resistance, which was what I expected. After all, these people had collected their paychecks without these requirements in the past. Why change?

Then I got them involved in a way that was meaningful to them…

“I’ve told you what I want,” I said to the group, “Now you tell me what you want in exchange for making these things happen.”

It took a while for their creativity to kick in, but when they saw me readily listing the suggestions that were being made—many of which they clearly thought were excessive—the flood gates opened. When we were done making the list of proposals—which included performance bonuses, early shift termination when quotas were met, company-paid lunches, and other such perks—most people in the group were laughing and making comments about how ridiculous the thought of my accepting these demands was; obviously assuming I would never say yes to even a portion of their ideas.

I asked them if it would be alright for me to take a day and think about their suggestions. They agreed, and headed back to their work stations, still laughing, jeering, and even poking fun at how foolish this waste-of-time meeting had been.

I had already run numbers and knew what I could pay for the performance for which I was asking. Some quick head math during the course of our meeting had already led me to know I could provide everything for which my team had asked, and still have room to provide some additional surprise perks along the way. A formal calculating of the numbers that afternoon told me my preliminary beliefs were correct.

When the team gathered for our follow-up visit the next day, the laughing, scoffing, and attitude that had prevailed the previous day continued. Everyone took their seats, undoubtedly certain they would hear some less-than-exciting news as to my findings. I had debated whether to slide into the acceptance of their proposal, or drop my acceptance like a bomb. I decided on that latter approach.

The Answer They Didn’t Expect

“Thank you for all your suggestions yesterday,” I began. “I’ve run the numbers, and I’m ready to give you everything you asked for.” Many were still talking among themselves and focused elsewhere when I made that statement. Then the room became completely silent. “What?” came a query from my plant foreman. “Say that again,” he went on.

I repeated myself: “I’ve run the numbers, and I’m ready to give you everything you asked for.” You could have heard a pin drop. I went on…

“This is the way it’s going to work. I’m not going to issue any reprimands for being late. I’m not going to conduct surprise status checks on the production floor. And I’m not going to personally handle end-of-shift inspections anymore. That’s all up to you.

“If you have a co-worker who is not performing, it’s up to you to help him see the vision and pick up his performance. When a piece of equipment goes down, your shift is over for the day without pay. Your opportunity to earn money will resume when the equipment has been repaired. You own this opportunity. It’s up to you to make of it what you will.”

I’ve never seen a more wide-eyed group of adults in my life. They were floored!

“Are we in agreement?” I asked. The answer came in an enthusiastic affirmative. “Let’s make it happen then!”

Instant Change

From that moment forward, quality improved until we beat the best of the best in the industry. Daily quotas were almost always met an hour or more before the end of the scheduled shift (which represented somewhere in the neighborhood of double our previous output). Equipment failures diminished to nearly zero. Poor performing employees were coached by their peers to improve performance. On two occasions, a delegation of team members approached me about firing those who were not catching the vision and improving. I still smile with satisfaction when I think of those team members coming to me as a group to get their non-performing peers ousted.

My favorite part of each day was standing by the time clock as my team clocked out early, having made more per hour for the day for having met their quota, and being paid at that higher rate for the hours they would not have to work, as well. “We’re ripping you off, Bryan!” was a common phrase my smiling team members would chant as they gave me high fives on their way out. Although I never said it out loud, my response was always, “Keep ripping me off, guys… Keep ripping me off.”

There is, of course, more to the entire account than what I have shared; but in short, I got my team to buy in to my vision by allowing them to take ownership of their roles in a way that was beneficial to them. I didn’t dictate the rewards. I didn’t mold the culture of the team. They did.

Those who “got it” stayed around and enjoyed the benefits of our joint efforts. Those who didn’t went on their way and were replaced by people who wanted what we had to offer.

My team took control of their work. I had more time to build other parts of the business.

They had a better job than they could get elsewhere. I had a killer team that made things happen.

They made more money. I made more money.

It doesn’t get much better than that. Role ownership by all team members is necessary if we’re to build a top-performing organization. After all, a successful company is a community of successful people. How can you help your people become more successful?

Check in for my final installment of this series when I’ll share the third key that launched this company from losing money to being the top profit performer in its industry.

How I Built the Most Profitable Industrial Container Management Company in America (Part 1 of 3)

“Why do you cut the ends off the roast before putting it in the oven?” Rebecca asked her mother. “I don’t know,” replied her mom. “That’s just how we’ve always done it.”

That answer wasn’t good enough for Rebecca, so she went to her grandmother and asked the same question. Her discovery: Grandma’s pan was too small to fit the whole roast—which was not an issue with the pans at Rebecca’s house.

How often do we carry on with business practices that are less than optimal just because that’s “how it’s always been done”? We’re all guilty of this at some level.

A Larger Proverbial PanIndustrial Site

About 20 years ago, I had the opportunity to take over a failing business. It was in a tightly held, private industry sector dominated by a handful of large corporations and decades-old, family-owned enterprises. I was not welcomed in as a newcomer, to say the least. And I was young—a punk kid of just 30 years old who garnered zero respect in the container management community. Yet I was convinced I could dominate my marketplace. I just needed to look at this industry differently than others had over the prior 60 years or so the industry, in its current form, had existed.

Key #1: Vision

“That’s How We’ve Always Done It” could have been the theme song for this industry. There was talk of innovation at the national conventions, but all discussions seemed to lead back to a place of complacency and comfort. I knew there were better ways. Using my lack of knowledge of the industry as a point of strength, I pictured how I believed things could be done better.

My vision consisted of 3 key elements:

1. Dominate my service region by providing a superior product, on time, and always as promised. (This was not the norm in this industry.) When I saw this vision, it consisted of my company being the preferred provider in the region. Ultimately, it resulted in running two national competitors out of business in the region. Not bad.

2. Get my entire team to own their roles. You can’t build a business powerhouse without a fully dedicated team. And I’m not just talking about the management team. I’m talking about every team member. I envisioned a business in which everyone clearly understood and owned his or her role. This was a far cry from where the company was. (More on this in Part 2 of this series.)

3. Do away with “business as usual” by innovating in our management practices, production processes, product lines, and allied services we could add to our offerings. Nothing was passively accepted as “the way we do it” as we moved forward. Everything was questioned. Consistent tweaks were made, and results measured. In the end, we trimmed fat, increased output significantly, nearly eliminated defects, and brought a new practice and service to the industry that would prove to disrupt the status quo in a way I could not have imagined—even with my aggressive vision. (In Part 3 of this series, I’ll share how my innovations made my company seven times more profitable than the industry average, and the mob threat that accompanied my success. Stay tuned!)

In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” the following exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat speaks volumes as to the power of vision:

Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where –”
Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Vision matters. Without it, our efforts cannot be maximized in reaching our desired outcome.

In my next installment of this series, I’ll share how I got my team on the same page, and skyrocketed productivity, output, sales, and on-time delivery of near-zero-defect products.

***

Note: My use of the term “most profitable” in the title of this piece refers to the profits I achieved in this company as a percentage of revenues. I can make this claim because the industry association to which we belonged published industry average numbers for various benchmarks (and every company in the industry in the United States belonged to the association). The highest claims of profit margins of which I was aware were considerably lower than ours—our profits being some seven times the industry average.  I doubt my company was the most profitable in terms of dollars, however, as some of our competitors produced more product than we did, although at much lower profit margins.

3 Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work (and the 1 Tweak You Can Make to Consistently Achieve Your Goals)

A new year is upon us, and with it comes the annual ritual of setting New Year’s resolutions—a complete waste of time and exercise in frustration for most people. Here are three reasons this hollow tradition fails to deliver results, along with one powerful action you can take to break out from the crowd.

Reason #1: We’re Marching to Someone Else’s Drum

We don’t make resolutions at this time of year because we feel it in our bones. We do it Summit_Blogbecause everyone else does, and it’s something to which we’ve become accustomed. Those are poor reasons to do anything.

Is an annual check-up a good thing? Yes, absolutely. It falls right in line naturally with our daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly self-analysis. I’m a believer; but only when this annual event is part of our ongoing review and strategic planning process—not as a euphoric romp into the self-improvement realm that fades within a few weeks.

Don’t march to someone else’s drum. Own your regular introspection, planning, and goal-setting activities and employ them regularly on your schedule, in a way that actually works for you.

Reason #2: We Think Big, With No Plan That Leads to Success

“Think BIG!” We hear this trite statement all the time from hypesters—usually because they have something to sell us that we think will make our dreams come true because we threw some money at them. That’s simply not how it works.

“I want to make an extra hundred thousand dollars this year,” or “I’m going to lose 30 pounds” are flimsy goals, at best, without a plan that incrementally leads to those results. Are both of these possibilities for the right person? Sure. But jotting them on a list of resolutions with no plan to lead to their accomplishment is a waste of time.

Reason #3: We Already Know When We Make New Year’s Resolutions That We’re Not Going to Keep Them

You know you’ve had this experience. We all have. You think that somehow the magic of a new year is going to make something happen that hasn’t happened in the past. History has a way of repeating itself, and this scenario is no exception. You know when you write a goal if you’re going to see it come to fruition because you know your commitment level to achieving it. We all know how this works from our own past experiences.

No More Self-Inflicted Torture

So why do we engage and write these wistful dreams down anyway? If it’s for entertainment sake, and we’re honest with ourselves about this reality, perhaps there isn’t any real harm in it. If, however, we somehow believe our resolutions are going to see the light of day despite our inner-most belief that they won’t, why torture ourselves?

How to See Your Goals Come to Fruition

Are resolutions useless? No. We just need to see them in the right light and apply them in an effective way. I’m not going to cover a complete goal-setting and implementation plan here, but I do want to share the one principle-based action I’ve found to work consistently in achieving what we want in all facets of life. It can be summed up one phrase…

Make incremental, sustainable, measurable improvements.

Let’s look at each of these three adjectives and why they are the trifecta of ongoing accomplishment and success.

Incremental – It’s human nature to want the prize before we’ve completed the journey, so we often attempt to arrive at the finish line in one giant step. This rarely works. Eat the elephant in bite-size pieces and you’ll successfully devour it instead of finding yourself at the same point in time in the future with a partially eaten elephant and a plate full of discouragement. Additionally, small missteps are usually relatively simply to correct. Big missteps can be cumbersome to correct, or even irreparable and detrimental.

Sustainable – For me, this has been the real powerhouse realization in achieving my goals. We’re not just going to be consistent for the next week, or month, or even year. And our incremental steps aren’t going to be bigger than we can handle or daunting in any way. If we can’t see a step, process, or other action being sustained to the end of its necessity in accomplishing our goal, we don’t engage. Stop. Rethink. Revise. Then run the scenario through again. When we only engage in sustainable actions, our success skyrockets!

Measurable – Not only should our destination goals be measurable, but so should the incremental, sustainable actions we take each day in our journey to those goals. Measuring and analyzing our outcomes, then tweaking our plans based on our findings, will greatly accelerate success.

As you review this past year and look forward to what you want to accomplish in the coming year, commit to making incremental, sustainable, measurable improvements that will lead to your larger annual goals. Engaging in a sincere review and strategic planning session in this way, instead of just writing a few wishes on a paper and sticking them to your bathroom mirror, will help you arrive at your desired outcomes.

 

The Great Digital Marketing Lie

Over 4 years ago, I wrote a post called “The Great Internet Marketing Lie.” I just read it again today, and I stand by every word I said then. I won’t repeat its contents here, so if you’d like to see what I had to say back then, please take a moment to read it.

This issue has been on my mind once again due to a recent situation to which I was privy
in which a digital marketing agency took unabashed, irresponsible, and Digital Marketing Liecompletely self-serving advantage of a struggling company I was brought in to help point in the right direction. The offending agency charged this company multiple times its annual profits for their services that were supposed to significantly increase revenues. Instead, sales plummeted.

I took the opportunity to meet with the agency, and was entertained (although not amused) by the pats they gave themselves on the back for taking this company from position 157 to 73 on Google for obscure search terms very few people were using. They further paraded their design awards for me, pointing out how much prettier the company’s website was now compared to the “ancient” look they previously had. (That “ancient” website was making money, however, which seemed to be lost on these non-business people.)

In the end, they were not willing to let the suffering client out of the 12-month contract they had entered into, despite the fact the agency had failed to perform on a number of the specific services provided for in the agreement. They were unapologetic for the wasted six-digit investment of this small company. (“Hey, no marketing effort is guaranteed, right?”) And, they had no potential solutions to offer beyond increasing the budget to get more exposure and services. Truly disgusting.

The Internet is not magic, as I stated in my previous post on this subject. Mobile marketing, video marketing, and other digital marketing tools are not cure-alls for sagging revenue pictures. (By the way, I dislike terms like “[blank] marketing” because they mislead unschooled marketers into thinking a single tool or vehicle is, perhaps, a marketing solution in its entirety.)  Digital marketing tools shouldn’t be a black box unwitting end-users pay through the nose to use because they feel hostage to the “gurus” who [supposedly] know how to use them. They are nothing more than vehicles to carry a properly crafted message, targeted at an appropriate audience, for the purpose of creating engagement and action–a function that hasn’t changed since the dawn of marketing.

“Digital Marketing” is a dangerous term, if not properly understood. All the elements that make up effective marketing still apply here. The latest digital fad is not “the new face of marketing.” It’s a new tool–just like billboards, bumper stickers, radio, TV, direct mail, and many other message vehicles were when they were introduced.  And, just like other message vehicles through the centuries, these digital tools, too, will change over time.

We live in a very exciting time. The rate at which new digital technologies allow us to engage with our audiences is staggering. Used properly, they can be very effective. Otherwise, they are shiny distractions that suck time and money while returning nothing to their users. Don’t fall for the lie that “digital marketing” has replaced “traditional marketing.” (Again, I dislike those terms.) Effective marketing is, and will always be, the same set of principles applied using an ever-evolving set of implementation tools. Keep this in mind the next time you’re presented with the latest, greatest marketing breakthrough.

Bryan Waldon Pope
America’s Chief Marketing Officer

I help business owners and marketing decision-makers engage in marketing that works. If your marketing isn’t working the way you’d like it to, contact me and let’s fix that.

3 Benefits to Pausing for a Marketing Review and Strategic Planning Session

How did this year turn out for you and your business? Did your marketing accomplish what you wanted it to?

December and January are the perfect time Team Meeting_320to pause, review, and plan for the upcoming year. Here are three benefits to taking time to engage in a marketing review and strategic planning event…

  1. Improve Existing Marketing Activities

We can always improve on our results, even if they are favorable. In fact, we have to, or our efforts lose their edge and effectiveness.Refocus, Refine, andRedirect are constant watchwords that keep us fresh and viable in today’s noisy marketplace.

  1. Discontinue Ineffective Marketing Activities

Altogether too often, I see less-than-optimal (or completely ineffective) marketing activities remain on companies’ action lists. Why? In some cases, it’s fear that discontinuing that activity may prove detrimental because there was some unknown benefit lurking under the surface (I see this a lot with the “black box” of digital marketing). In other situations, it’s a lack of awareness of what is working and could replace these failing marketing efforts.

There are certainly other reasons as well. Bottom line: If it isn’t working,reallocate the time and money being poorly invested into something that will (or, at least, may) outperform the dead marketing activity. Which brings us to our third benefit…

  1. Identify and Implement New Marketing Opportunities

Marketing vehicles are changing at an ever-increasing rate. While theprinciples, and even over-arching strategies, may remain the same, the way we carry those out tactically may change regularly.

Unfortunately, far too many would-be marketing gurus choose to focus on these tactical vehicles and tools as if they are the essence of marketing. They are not. And chasing the latest fad in marketing tools can prove costly, and maybe even deadly, to your company.

Properly engaged, however, most wisely employed marketing tools, vehicles, and activities have their place in a successful marketing picture. So, how do we know what to do, when to do it, and how the results should look? That’s where our marketing team comes in.

If you have an established team, you have people who understand the principles that reside at the foundation of marketing. Others are specialists in areas of marketing that impact your business. And you have a leader with vision and an intimate knowledge of marketing directing those efforts.

Share the three benefits above with your team so their review and planning activities yield these results. Their awareness of these three desirable benefits will help them see how to improve, what to cut out, and where new opportunities exist as they apply their various areas of marketing expertise in the review and planning process for your company.

If you don’t have a marketing team, I can show you how to fix that. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot, either. Watch for my upcoming installment of “Marketing Demystified” on building and leading an effective marketing team to find out how. (Not getting my training notifications? Join my community at bwpope.com.)

Stay tuned… I have much more to share that will help you and your team find the greatest possible marketing success in the New Year!

‘Gratitude’ as a Business-Building Strategy

When we think of business-building strategies, “gratitude” most likely Thank Youdoesn’t leap to mind. I believe it belongs among the most powerful of tools for business success.

Consider for a moment some of the areas of business we regularly address when we’re striving to improve our companies. This list includes improving the customer/client experience, closing more sales, recruiting and retaining top talent, increasing team morale, creating effective strategic alliances…and the list goes on.

Even as you read that list, you probably began to consider how gratitude can boost efforts in each of those areas. It’s simply true. Feeling and expressing sincere gratitude is a turbo charger for just about any business activity. Here are a few ways to implement this truth:

Improving the Customer/Client Experience

Imagine a team of employees that understands where their paychecks come from, and who feel sincere gratitude for those who spend money with your business. Creating a culture where team members know that the client is the ultimate boss will nurture an atmosphere where clients are the recipients of expressions of heart-felt gratitude.

Closing More Sales

One of the best ways to close more sales is to sell more to repeat clients. Existing clients are more likely to become repeat clients when they know they are sincerely appreciated. Genuine displays of gratitude promote loyalty and increase revenues.

Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent &
Increasing Team Morale

We’ve all applied for jobs before. Often, we feel like a number or a commodity in that process. Employers who appreciate the time candidates are taking to apply for a position and submit to the sometimes laborious process of multiple interviews are appealing to candidates who have the most to offer. Remember, the sales job taking place in this process is a two-way street, especially in the minds of highly talented candidates. Treating all candidates with the highest of respect, and displaying true gratitude for their interest in our companies will bring the right people into our ranks. Maintaining this course with our team members will help ensure the best team members stay with us long-term.

Creating Effective Strategic Alliances

One-sided thinkers do not experience stellar success in business. When looking at strategic alliance possibilities (or working with vendors, employees, clients, etc.), be fully aware of the value the other party is bringing to the table and express gratitude appropriately for that benefit you and your company are, or will be, receiving. We tend, by default, to posture ourselves as the party bringing the most value to the table. Be objective. Step back and look at the big picture as clearly as possible. You’ll be amazed to find, in most cases, that a strategic alliance partner or other business party feels the same way we do in this regard. When we’re objective and see things from their perspective, then show gratitude for the value we are receiving, we become favored partners and reap bigger financial rewards.

This is a very brief look at just a few of the ways feeling and expressing gratitude can enhance our businesses. Hopefully it’s enough to get your mind turning on how this can apply in your situation. I know it works. I’ve witnessed it personally across industry borders, in all sizes of companies, and in multiple cultures. At the end of the day, business is about people. And people come first. Those who understand this and show gratitude to the people with whom they work are ultimately the biggest winners in business (and life, for that matter).

Increase Touch Points to Increase Revenues (Without Increasing Marketing Spend)

touchpoint

Are we bent on getting as many single impressions with our prospects as possible with our available budgets, or do we focus on achieving enough interaction throughmultiple touch points to help convert prospects into first-time buyers, first-time buyers into ongoing clients, and clients into loyal advocates?

Here’s a quick illustration of two real-life scenarios:

Business person #1 has enough money to make 10,000 impressions, so he makes a single impression with 10,000 prospects. His conversion rate is 0.5%, so he gets 50 new buyers. Not bad, perhaps, depending on industry and margins.

Business person #2 also has enough money to make 10,000 impressions. She chooses to make five impressions each with 2,000 prospects using the same budget. She achieves a 5% conversion rate, yielding 100 new buyers—twice the number for the same money.

As impressive as this reality is, here’s where the real difference comes into play…

Business person #1 runs the same scenario again to get the revenues he needs for next month. Sure, some of the people who have bought from him in the past make additional purchases, but he doesn’t do much to foster a long-term relationship with them. His focus is always on bringing new people through the doors (literally or virtually).

Business person #2 knows if she keeps a large percentage of her clients active, that’s good for her business in the long run, so she reallocates half her marketing budget for client retention activities. This means she’s only bringing in 50 new clients a month now through her initial acquisition activities, but well over half the clients she brings into her fold stay and keep buying from her because of her proactive relationship-building efforts. Furthermore, they become her ambassadors, bringing new clients into the fold with simple incentives that add to their positive experience with her company.

Over the course of just a few months, business person #2’s client base is considerably larger than that of business person #1. Over the course of years, you can image the difference.

Simple? Yes. Easy? Apparently not, since business person #2 represents an extremely small percentage of the business owner population with regard to their approach to initial customer acquisition and client retention.

In the end, business person #2 isn’t #2 at all. She’s #1 in the minds of her clients.She’s their #1 choice for what she provides, making her a client loyalty superstar with industry-leading revenues and profits.

Become More Effective and Efficient By Slowing Down

I had a great mentoring call with one of my star clients this morning, during which our conversation turned to something she said made it one of our best calls ever. If it was that beneficial to her, I probably ought to share it more broadly with a hope it will be helpful to others as well.

As business owners, we get busy putting out fires and working (sometimes frantically)Slow Down to get things done. It reminds me of a funny saying my grandpa used to share: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Can you relate?

Good leadership often means slowing down and doing less ourselves. What? Did you read that right? Yes, you did. When we try to accomplish everything on our radar, and we attempt to do it alone, we likely get less done while failing to use the skills and resources of our teams.

Here are 5 ways we can get more done by slowing down:

1. Slow Down and PLAN

Being busy accomplishes much less in the big picture when there isn’t a plan in place. Although it may be difficult to do, leave the current of doing business and take time to make a plan before proceeding.

2. Slow Down and IMPLEMENT

All the planning in the world won’t do us any good if we don’t implement the plan. How many times have we made to-do lists, marketing plans, or other types of plans only to discard them at the first fire we encounter? Stick to the plan and implement it.

3. Slow Down and GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME

Redoing tasks is inefficient. If we try to make up for the time we took making the plan, or we feel rushed to implement it, we will end up making mistakes, missing important details along the way, or otherwise misstepping such that we have to go back and fix our mistakes or oversights. Getting it right the first time is always worthwhile.

4. Slow Down and TRAIN

This is a tough one for driven entrepreneurs and business owners. Just like a mom Trainingwho doesn’t involve her kids in doing the housework because she can do it faster herself, we miss the boat when we fail to train our team members to do a job right (the first time). Yes, it will take longer to accomplish most tasks working side-by-side with a team member in training mode than simply attacking the tasks yourself. But tomorrow it will take less time. And soon it won’t take you any time at all because the tasks have now been offloaded to someone else as part of their routine. Painful? Yes, at first. Worthwhile? Absolutely.

5. Slow Down and REVIEW

No plan is perfect. No implementation is seamless. No performance is flawless. And no training session yields permanent results. Because of these universal truths, we must take time to review our progress and adjust our course as necessary. Once we’ve reviewed our month, week, or day since our last plan, it’s time to revise the plan and begin the cycle again.

Reality dictates there isn’t just one plan in play, but rather multiple plans of different focus and duration at any given time. Because of this, we’ll usually find ourselves in all five “slow-down modes” on any given day as we address different projects and situations. When this becomes the way we naturally lead, our lives become so much more manageable. We may even choose to go an extra step and slow down and RELAX, knowing our business machine is running smoothly. Now, there’s a concept that warrants consideration.

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Make More Money This Holiday Sales Season

I’m a little slow in getting this posted, but there’s still time to make use of these five strategies to bring more people into your businesses in December, get them to return multiple times, and help them bring their friends along as well. As a bonus, I share the number one way to leverage your high traffic holiday sales season into a better first quarter in the coming months. This recording is just 30 minutes long and packed with actionable content.

Enjoy!

5 Sure Fire Ways to Make More Money This Holiday Sales Season

The Fallacy of Making Up for Lost Opportunity, Time, Or Anything Else

In two different conversations today, the concept of making up for past mistakes came up in the form of using time more effectively to make up for poorly managed time in the past and accelerating investment portfolio growth because of prior losses. In both cases, my immediate reaction was, “This is a bad idea.”

Sure, there are some situations in which one might compensate, in some measure, for mistakes or lost opportunities of the past; but as a general rule, it seems we end up being less effective when trying to run faster to somehow reverse the effects of past actions. It reminds me of a saying from my childhood: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

I’m no psychologist, but in my experience adding anxiety to procrastination, loss, unintended detours, or any other distraction or misguided action only serves to compound the problem instead of making it better. As counter-intuitive as it may seem or feel, here’s what works for me, and what I’d recommend as a first line of attack when attempting to get back on course…

1. Determine what went wrong. When we know what happened (or didn’t happen) counter to our desired path, we have a meaningful starting point from which to progress.

2. Idenfity what we did, or did not do, that allowed this variation of our course. Most of the time, there was something within our control upon which we failed to act effectively. Knowing what that was so we don’t step in the same mud hole twice is important.

3. Make a plan to avoid the same pitfall again. How often do we make the same mistakes, yet somehow expect things will turn out differently than they have in the past? I believe it was Einstein who told us this is insanity. Without a plan, we may find ourselves having the same how-did-I-get-here conversation with ourselves again altogether too soon. Let’s not go there.

4. Steady wins the race. I’m not going to impose “slow and steady” on anyone, as the old adage proposes. Proceed at the pace that makes sense for you; but travel steadily. Avoiding the mistakes that make us feel we’ve lost ground will most likely happen consistently when we’re handling business, family, personal, or other matters at a pace that represents our “sweet spot.”

My own experience tells me that beginning today, right now, to do anything better than I have in the pastwith a plan in place to see my way to success–at a sustainable pace that makes sense for me, always beats feeling anxious and, therefore, engaging in some type of binge-fest in an effort to make up for lost time or opportunity. That second approach always results in less accomplishment, more frustration, and a lower level of ultimate success.

We should never stop improving. We must always push to be our best. But if we’re going to succeed, we must let clarity, not anxiety, drive us. We’ll all find we can cover a lot of ground at a comfortable, consistent pace.

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