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To feel important.

  • Why do your friends forward chain emails?
  • Why do parents brag about their children's accomplishments?
  • Why do your Facebook friends announce every-little-dang-thing about themselves?

It's to get that feeling that says:

  1. I'm important.
  2. I have a high status.
  3. I am loved.

How do you make your team feel important?

Celebrate them.

Organizations that do any celebration things tend to do them seldomly:

  • "We celebrate once at the end of the year."
  • "We give them gifts during the winter holidays."
  • "We publicly thank them once a year."

Remember when you got that big-frickin expensive gift?

  1. It wowed you at first.
  2. But, the crazy happiness dissipated within 48 hours.

Now, think about those tiny gifts you received in bunches spread out over time; each and every one of them got you a similarly happy feeling as the one big one.

  • One big gift: 1 happiness.
  • 250 little gifts: 250 happiness-es. BAM.

Instead of throwing one big celebration per year, throw 250 mini-ones that last 5 minutes each; for instance:

  1. Celebrate the most productive accomplishments for the day.
  2. Print little cheese-tastic awards using Microsoft Word Templates on recycled paper.
  3. Publicize accomplishments on your company's wiki/intranet/website.
  4. Etc.

Now, here's the caveat:

  1. You can't make everyone feel important doing X.
  2. But, you can make each and everyone of them feel important where they excel.
  3. Celebrate their Tiger Woods.

Make important.

Posted on October 08

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Here's one way.

You're in the computer service business. You're providing a biweekly computer newsletter filled with industry tips and tricks to keep business owners productive.

You charge a measly $25 per month.

The Week 1

  1. Your first week, you snatch 1 whole client.
  2. $25/month for 12 months = $300 per year.

"I can't survive on $300 per year!" you tell yourself.

  1. Slap yourself.
  2. You're not content with being S-U-C-K.
  3. You're a crazy mofro who would steal dinner from 4-year-old little orphan Billy, who has one leg.

The Week 2

  1. "I talked to 100 clients last week and got 1 client."
  2. "Let's try for 500 clients this week. 100 clients per day is more than doable," you tell yourself.
  3. At the end of the week, you get 5 clients.

You're up to 6 clients this week ($1,800 recurring revenue per year so far.)

Week 3 Starts

  1. "I'll up my calls to 150 per day, and direct mail the rest to reach 2000 contacts this week."
  2. 2000 contacts produces 20 new clients.

You're up to 26 clients this week ($6,240 recurring annual revenue).

BAM!

  1. You know that you convert 1 customer for every 100 business owners you pitch.
  2. 1 customer = $300/year. "To achieve a recurring million-dollar business with the biweekly, my company must have 3,334 clients."
  3. You set The Goal: "My company must pitch to at least 334,000 prospects in [whatever time frame you desire]."

Instead of having an ambigously-weak-sauce X-dollar goal to guide you, you have a super concrete goal to get you on your way:

  • Pitch to 334,000 prospects.

(~25M businesses in US alone, and millions more inside large companies. ~300M peeps. 334K - itzy.)

That's it. That's the goal. Concrete like a muffin.

(And of course, if you have a solid product, you'll get referrals -- which drastically cuts down on the number above.)

You can reach your concrete goal through an infinite number of ways depending on your time frame; for instance, using your Week 3 strategy above of 2000 pitches/week will get you there in 3 years.

SOONER!

Some super generic ideas to give you some ideas:

  • Industry ads = BAM. You ad pitches to thousands.
  • Business conferences = thousands more.
  • Hiring folks/firms = BAM. You multiply productivity by X to reach ridiculously more.
  • Helpful online posts in business message boards that displays your pitch at the bottom? A bunch-bunch-bunch more.
  • Raise funds = Expand your reach infinitely more.
  • Partnering up with Firm A to get your promotional ads in its packaging boxes = BAM. Freakish thousands.
  • Entrepreneur Magazine cover story? OH NOES. WE CAN'T KEEP UP WITH ORDERS. OH NOES.

(Results-oriented marketing experts/consultants with proven results in your industry = GEMS. Seek/hire them to help you.)

The Steps

  1. Define your product.
  2. Price it. Pitch it.
  3. Determine the average ^ of pitches it takes to generate 1 customer.
  4. Then, determine the ^ of pitches you need to get to $1M, based on the $ value of a customer.

(And for those shouting: "Oooooh. We reached $1M fifteen years ago. OOooooOOh hooo hoooo. Doesn't apply to US!" - the same model applies even if you're trying for a $1B product.)

Pitches. Pitches. Pitches.

Posted on October 07

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If you could sit back and relax, you can generate an annual average of 10% return on X investment.

That's what you'd typically get on average if you invest in an index fund that tracks the S&P 500.

That is:

  1. You sit back and chill-ax.
  2. You drink your lemonade and turn on your inner Alicia Keys.
  3. You wait for your invested funds to grow to 10% at the end of the year.

Now, get this:

  • What if you spend 365 days working your butt off for a 5% return?

That's what many crazy-hard-working companies are doing: They're working their butts off when they could just be chill-axing by a poolside turning on their inner Alica Keys, and getting their 10% returns at the end of the year.

  1. "We got a 3% return last year! High-five!"
  2. "Let's continue setting world-record rip-roaring returns and aiming for 3.3% this year!"
  3. "WOOT! WOOT!"

How do you distinguish good companies/industries from bad companies/industries?

Take a look at some financial reports on Yahoo Finance or Google Finance:

  • If the company's ROE < 10%: not good.
  • If the company's ROE > 10%: GOOD.

The point is this: If you can't consistenly achieve a higher return than the S&P's annual average, look for different opportunities that will enable you to obliterate the fasheeezy out of the S&P.

Quit opportunities that give you measly returns; if you get low returns, you're most likely thinking too small.

Example: You + Computer Shop

For instance, say you're running a computer service shop.

  1. You achieved 7% returns last year.
  2. You got your customers through advertising.
  3. Most customers were 1-and-done transactions.

Quit your current approach, and think bigger:

  1. "Let's not settle for 1-and-done transactions. Let's try to increase the average number of customer transactions to 2 or 3."
  2. For instance, put customers on an email list, and give them periodic tips and deals on your services.
  3. Soon, you start noticing an annual return of 12-20% simply because you increased the average number of customer transactions from 1 to 3.

Think larger and better, and you'll find greater returns.

Beat the market.

Posted on October 06

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You're running your business pretty mighty fine, but you start noticing a trend of repetitive questions that your website already answers:

  1. "How do I make the product do X?"
  2. "How do I make the product do X?"
  3. "How do I make the product do X?"
  4. "How do I make the product do X?"
  5. "How do I make the product do X?"
  6. "How do I make the product do X?"
  7. "How do I make the product do X?"

Every call to your customer service team, for instance, results in $10 in costs -- as you start racking those charges up-and-up-and-up.

You've tried getting your customers to read the little manual that came with the product, and you also blasted a headline on your manual that your website will answer 99.9% of their questions -- but they continue calling you, draining profits.

What in the whole wide world do you do?

Enforce financial mechanisms ("If you want ______, that will cost you $___").

For instance, to prevent your staff from repetitively unnecessary questions, enforce some mechanisms:

  • "Customer phone call support now cost $100 per call."
  • Still getting unnecessary calls? Increase the price until you're satisfied.
  • Those customers will start consulting your manual/website to save bucks.

You soon start cutting down on unwanted customer behavior that stagnates your company.

The idea works for any other customer interaction you want to avoid.

Are window shoppers overburdening you?

  • "We now charge $X for the initial consultation."

Are you going on unproductive meetings?

  • "We now charge $X for a face-to-face meeting."

Are you constantly revising customer projects?

  • "We now charge $X for 1-hour in revisions."

Play with $X until satisfied.

BAM.

The steps:

  1. Identify the behavior to rid.
  2. Attach $ to the behavior.
  3. Increase $ until fully-satisfied.

You start cutting costs, increasing morale, and ensuring your team works on the most productive tasks for your customers.

Financial mechanisms.

Posted on October 05

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If you've tried driving a car while talking on the phone with your headset, you know you still have a tough time driving.

The mind's ability to focus on multiple things while performing 100% on each doesn't happen.

Try watching a TV while you're working.

  • Your comprehension of exactly what's happening on TV sucks.
  • Likewise, your laptop-working-skills sucks.

(Protip: If there's something crazy happening on TV and you still want to work, try leaving your laptop in a separate room from the TV -- and run back-and-forth between commercial breaks; your grasp of both TV and on your work soars by freakish multiples.)

How Companies Destroy Revenue

Think of BoShmiSchmoSchmo Bobson.

  • BoShmiSchmoSchmo has a side business doing computer tech for small companies.
  • He also has a music business where he promotes local artists.
  • He also builds apps for the App Store to make additional revenue.
  • He also has a graphic design business for night clubs.
  • He also sells eXcess energy drinks to family members.

Now, he might present to the world that he's filthy rich; but those with even a slight understanding of IRR (internal rate of return) knows he's full of shifreakiskablamamas.

  • If Opportunity A gives you a 5% return, and Opportunity B gives you a 20% return, you should really pour your resources into Opportunity B (with some hedges depending on how risky you're feeling.)
  • Doing anything else just destroys your earning potential.

BoShmiSchmoSchmo Like Corps

If you think of BoShmiSchmoSchmo as an actual corporation, where the corporation dives itself into multiple revenue opportunities without a singular focus, you think of conglomerates:

  • Conglomerates with strong central management just don't happen anymore in free-market economies.
  • Companies that have tight business models ('making money on X') have made them obsolete.

Why Have Conglomerates Failed?

Congolmerates are multi-taskers who couldn't maintain their focus on becoming great at one thing; trying to become great at multiple things rendered them S-U-C-K at all things.

Trizzy terms it The Tiger Woods Concept: The longer you work on your focus on making money on X, the better you become at X.

It's like you're playing basketball for the first time, and each and everyday that you working on improving yourself at basketball, the better player you become.

  • For instance, you suck more than Jim at basketball because Jim has practiced more hours of basketball than you.
  • Now, replace basketball with X -- and you have your model of The Tiger Woods Concept.

Win By Skill

Companies arbitrarily dabbling in various ways to make their money destroy their chances at becoming great at just one thing.

Instead, companies with a tightly-focus business model, in which they improve their "Tiger Woods" daily, ultimately defeat anybody who even tries to compete with them.

For instance:

  • Google's business model remains tightly focused on advertising.
  • Walgreen's business model remains focused on convenient local stores.
  • Goldman Sachs's business model remains focused on helping companies succeed financially.

The "closest-thing-resembling-a-conglomerate-with-freakish-success" Berkshire Hathaway succeeds because its central headquarters takes an absolute-hands-off-approach, letting the subsidiaries' homegrown managers run their companies as distinct operations:

  • Geico's business model revolves around insurance.
  • See's Candies's model revolves around confectionery.
  • Dairy Queen's model revolves around soft-serve fast-food.

Yes, you can make money with your business by diving into multiple revenue-generating opportunities, but diversifying your funds on lesser profitable opportunities keeps your most profitable opportunity from succeeding to its fullest.

Say NO! to multi-tasking, and start focusing on becoming great at one way to make $$$.

(Caveat: Your one way to make money should be eternally relevant; confining your business model to "Apple iPhone apps" probably won't be relevant 50/100/200 years from now; "helping people organize better" will.)

Focus tightly. Improve daily.

Posted on October 04

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From VentureBeat:

"There’s a growing recognition by Zuckerberg that 'all human behavior boils down to incentives.' That’s reflected by Zuckerberg’s efforts to motivate each person according to what gets them excited: For engineers, that means giving them the best product to build, but for business executives, it means big financial incentives....At Facebook, if you excel in meeting your project goals, you can double your stock option count in 1.5 year 'refreshing' cycles. This individual multiplier is added on to another bonus that is based on how well the company does as a whole, in terms of user and revenue growth. But here’s the tough part: Managers have to force-rank their employees. The more Machiavellian managers make a point of telling their employees where they stand. If you’re tenth on of team of 10, you’re hanging on by a thread, and you know it."

http://venturebeat.com/2009/10/02/mark-zuckerberg-the-evolution-of-a-remarkable-ceo/

Posted on October 03

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People are inherently self-interested.

  1. Your employees would rather make $X more than what you're paying them.
  2. Your employees would rather take longer breaks than what's expected.
  3. Your employees would rather take more unpaid days off than what you allow.

How then do you design incentives that cater to people's self-interests?

Examples:

  • Sales team: Discouraging incentives for low sales; motivating incentives for more sales (e.g., low base, high commission).
  • Engineering team: Discouraging incentives for delayed projects;  motivating incentives for projects completed before deadlines.
  • PR team: Discouraging incentives for no press reports; motivating incentives for more positive press mentions.

Design incentives where pursuing one's self-interests mutually benefits your company.

Posted on October 02

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  1. Your favorite singer collaborates with an unfamiliar artist from a different genre.
  2. You love the new song.
  3. You start liking the new artist.

When muscians of different genres collaborate, they expose themselves to untapped markets.

For instance:

  1. Taylor Swift collaborates with T-Pain.
  2. T-Pain gets access to Taylor's crowd.
  3. Taylor gets access to T-Pain's crowd.

Get Access

Try this:

  1. Identify your largest untapped market.
  2. Then, identify a huge influencer of that untapped market.
  3. Seek ways to collaborate ("I'll/We'll give you access to my market in exchange for yours").

Win/Win = WIN.

Examples:

  1. "We'll include your company in our ad in exchange for you including our ad in yours."
  2. "We'll write an article for your newsletter in exchange for you writing an article for ours."
  3. "We'll offer coupons to your customers in exchange for you doing the same for ours."

If the exchanges aren't initially mutually beneficial, make it beneficial:

  • The weaker side offers additional stuff until the two sides agree to a mutually beneficial trade.

BAM.

Both sides immediately get access to untapped markets.

Collaborate.

Posted on October 01

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Here's one way.

Use a modern web browser to try this:

  1. You see a collection of article/tutorial links on a webpage.
  2. Ctrl+click each link to open the clicked article in a new tab.
  3. Rapidly click the next 5/10/20/30/etc. articles.

You'll have a bunch of articles in multiple tabs (e.g., if you clicked on 30 links, you'll have 30 new tabs of articles).

Now, like a freakish one-armed ostrich on Red Bull that just snorted Cheetos:

  • Read one. Close the tab.
  • Read the next. Close the tab.
  • Read the next. Close the tab.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat -- until you've filled your mind with a bunch of articles.

You start learning ridiculously quickly, as you cut down on the lag time that it normally takes you to dig up and read subsequent articles.

Ctrl+clicks.

Posted on October 01

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  1. You buy Books, A, B, C, D, E from Amazon.
  2. You don't read them.
  3. You're now thinking about buying Books F, G, H, I, J.

How do you stop buying things unnecessarily?

  1. "I will buy new books when I finish reading the unread books I've purchased."
  2. Done.

Before you make a purchase, try this:

  1. List things you've purchased but haven't really used.
  2. Know that the next thing you buy will likely go on that list.
  3. Tell yourself that you'll buy the item if you can clear your List-of-Things-I've-Bought-But-Haven't-Used.

For instance, companies that use consulting services tend to waste freakish dollars purchasing new consulting services.

  1. They purchase expensive consultants.
  2. Consultants provide expensive reports.
  3. Executives ignore expensive reports -- thinking they'll get back to them later.
  4. They never get to the report and instead purchase new consultants who write another report -- which they never really use.

Dollars wasted.

Cycle continues.

More dollars wasted.

Clear your List-of-Things-We/I've-Bought-But-Haven't-Used list before you make another unnecessary purchase.

Mechanisms.

Posted on September 30

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