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  1. You're wondering what customers think.
  2. You pose a question on a blog entry sent out to all customers: "How can we improve?"
  3. You get back a disappointing @^^ number of answers.

Where'd everybody go, you think?

Here's why you sucked.

How to Dissuade Response

Simple:

  1. Pose an impersonal question.
  2. People will assume somebody else will answer it.
  3. So, nobody answers.

Boo!

That's called a diffusion of responsibility, where people assume no responsibility because they think others will step up.

  1. "Hey, he didn't ask me directly!"
  2. "I'm sure somebody else will answer it!"
  3. "So, I will not answer!"

You end up with nothin', you sad little soul.

If you want mucho feedback, what do you do?

Say NO! to posing a question to the world.

Instead:

  1. Choose X amount of folks.
  2. Make your requests personal to the recipient.
  3. Win.

That's backed by super psychologist Cialdini: "To diffuse the diffusion of responsibility, be sure to individualize your requests."

  1. "Hey, he's really wants my opinion!"
  2. "So, I will answer his request with all my heart!"

Yay for you as you increase the number of feedback responses you get to ridicoulsly rock your business like it ain't no thang but a cherry pie on a tie.

Personalize el requesto.

Posted on April 29

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  1. You travel to Las Vegas in a busted Pinto.
  2. You get there safely.

Did you make a good decision?

NO WAY BILLY B!

Yes, you got to your destination; but, your odds of getting to Vegas: tremendously against you.

For instance, out of ten tries, you'd probably:

  • Get there safely 2 times.
  • Fail 8 times.

Multiply bad decisions over time, and what happens?

  1. Yes, you'll generate a few successes.
  2. But, you'll net a horrifically number of horrible results -- rendering your successes moot.

Entrepreneurs/companies/peeps can mistake a few successes for good decisions; in reality, those flawed decisions will ultimately catch up to them.

Instead, make good decisions that will statistically pull you ahead in the long-run.

Why Immediate Results Don't Matter

You're playing a game of Blackjack.

  1. You have a 20.
  2. The dealer shows 19.
  3. Do you raise?

Let's say you you stay put with your 20.

  1. The dealer hits.
  2. He gets a 2.

Uh-oh.

He just rocked your money, where you go home crying to mama.

Did you really make a good decision?

Of course, you did. You'd win 90% of the time if you were in the same situation.

Now, let's say you had 19.

The dealer had the same 19.

  1. He hits.
  2. He gets a 2.

Did the dealer make a good decision?

NO WAY CHARLIE CEEBEE!

The dealer would lose almost every single time if he had committed that same move.

Immediate results don't matter; what decisions you make over time do.

Don't Mistake Good Results for Good Decisions

If some self-proclaimed business guru tells you to do X because he succeeded doing X -- that might just mean he used a severely busted-up Pinto to get his destination.

  • That is, dude got lucky using a horrifically horrible decision -- that statistically, would've destroyed his journey.

Just because you know/heard some super-successful Schmo who works tirelessly until 3 a.m, it doesn't mean he's making a good decision.

(Hint: He's succeeding despite the faulty decision.)

You can make ridiculously bad decisions, and still win -- but relying on those bad decisions over time will destroy you in the long-run, or at least seriously stunt your growth.

Good decisions every tick. Win.

Posted on April 28

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Bob's trying to generate more leads for his catering company.

  1. Bob: "Hey, let's test if this direct mail piece performs better than the one we mailed last month!"
  2. Dikembe: "Bob, you're a moron."

Why Is Bob a "Moron"?

What occurred last month probably won't occur this month.

For instance, more graduation-dinners/weddings/conferences will probably happen this month than last month -- rendering Bob's test super flawed.

To test well, testing conditions must be as identical as freakishly possible.

How to Test Effectively

  1. Run tests simultaneously.
  2. See what works better.
  3. Win.

Restrictions:

  • Population (e.g. target markets) should be identical.
  • Subjects (e.g. people) should be randomly chosen.

Hooray!

Are results really reliable?

You want statistically significant results -- not results that happen by pure chance.

For instance:

  1. You interview three ugly people.
  2. Two want to jump off a cliff.

Does that mean 66% of all ugly people in America want to jump off cliffs?

NO WAY JOSE! HIGH-FIVE!

To Test for Significance...

Use this free split-testing calculator to see if your results are really significant.

By the way:

  • Goals: Mean the ^ of desired actions taken (e.g. newsletter sign-ups)
  • Visitors: The number of people tested in each group

(There, we just saved you from solving complex statistical mathematics.)

If you see your results as being at least 90% statistically significant, take it.

Remember, you want to make consistently good decisions that over time, will pull you ahead -- regardless if there's a slight chance that your results might be incorrect.

Example Up

Bob identifies his testing parameters:

  • Target market: 1000 California business owners between 30-35 years old.
  • Testing collateral: Two different ads pitching catering services.
  • Mail date for both: Tomorrow.

Flash Forward a Few Weeks...

Bob gets back his results (so far):

  • Ad A: 500 targets, 25 leads called
  • Ad B: 500 targets, 10 leads called

He plugs his results into the nifty split-testing calculator, and sees that Ad A has a 98% chance of kicking Ad B's ass if Bob sent his ad to all of California's 30-35 year-old business owners.

(Note: anything above 90% chance is good. Take it.)

So, Bob concludes Ad A is the winner! YAY!

Simultaneous tests that reach statistically significant results win, b!^ch.

Posted on April 25

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Think of stereotypical seller Joe Goe.

  1. He's aggressively pitching you, daily.
  2. Dude-just-does-not-stop. Ever.

Why Joe Can't Sell

Joe's approach is like prodding some stranger to buy you a free gift.

  1. You'll probably succeed once in a kabillion tries.
  2. You'll turn the rest of 'em off fo life.

Say NO! to being a net-negative on peeps' lives.

Instead, be a net-positive -- and sell more.

Provide Ridiculous Value

How to sell your IT services to Billy:

  1. First, provide Billy value -- genuinely. (Teach him where to source for the best tech suppliers, how to keep maintenance costs down, tips to build his software application iteratively, etc.)
  2. Billy still won't buy? Provide him more value.
  3. Still won't buy? Provide him even more value.
  4. Still won't? Provide him even much more crazy-ridiculous value.
  5. Etc.

Billy tunes in more to your messages because you're helping his life, making him more open to your offerings.

Value, Value, Value, Value.

Keep piling on value, and he'll eventually:

  1. Buy from you, unsolicited.
  2. Or, he'll refer his connections to you.

(Rule of reciprocity: You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.)

Hooray for you.

One caveat:

You have to really want to help.

People can spot ungenuine mother-kabluckers from a million miles away.

If you sell some product that provides absolutely no value to peeps' lives, you'll:

  • lose those customers for life
  • lose their networks for life

Your long-term earning potential: S.U.C.K.

When you:

  1. genuinely try to improve people's lives
  2. sell stuff that improves their lives even more

...you'll become a ridiculously-legendary selling machine who wrestles carne asada burritos for fun.

Ridiculous value.

Posted on April 24

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Take Dustin.

  1. Dustin makes $40K per year.
  2. He's buying a BMW 3-series for $42K.
  3. He's gambling in Vegas, monthly.
  4. He sticks to designer brands, shops at Whole Foods, and buys premiums on every-frickin'-thing.
  5. Dude still lives with mama.

Flash-forward 10 years later...

What do you see?

  • Dustin's still paying off debts.
  • Dustin grows financially nowhere.
  • Dustin still lives with Mother.

Debt makes you its bizatcchi; it keeps you in place, and cripples you and your company from rocking to the top.

How Companies Destroy Their Futures

Try diving headfirst into piles of debt by:

  • Maxing credit cards.
  • Buying only premium.
  • Throwing money at unproven innovations.
  • Throwing glamorous parties/gatherings/conferences.
  • Spending $$$ where you don't have $$$.

Companies remain financially stagnant because they're financially stupid about how they spend money -- eroding their future opportunities.

They're at the mercy of changing interest rates, paying back much more than what they got.

If you're ever tempted to show off, simply remember the Forbes' 400 billionaires' biggest recommendation:

  • Stay debt-free.

Win.

Debt = Steroids = Say NO!

Piling on debt is akin to taking steroids.

  1. You might beef yourself up for a bit.
  2. But, it'll destroy your future in the long-run.

The more you take on debt -- especially long-term debt, the more ka-ching you'll have to pay back in the future.

The result:

  1. less money in the future
  2. = less $$$ to invest in new opportunities
  3. = stagnant growth
  4. = ugly bottom line
  5. = you cry.

Long-Term Debt = Bag Full of STDs

Remember, long-term debt sucks more than a $2 hooker:

  1. You don't know how badly interest rates will kick your company's ass in X years.
  2. You can't really predict future cash flow because rates can deviate dramatically, making your company the interest rates' b*^^%.

Thus, you can't plan for the future effectively.

Potential for rock star profits: Drained.

Just say NO.

"So Wait, Debt Always No Good?"

Some debt might be help; for instance, short-term debt can help you finance stuff quickly to satisfy a big customer order.

Rule of Thumb

A very rough rule to determine what's good/bad debt:

  1. Take your profits from last year.
  2. Calculate how many X months it'll take you to pay off total debt Y.
  3. If you need more than a year = Bad.

But if you can, avoid debt.

Instead, grow revenues organically grow through your retained earnings (i.e. net profits), and you'll set your company up for one bright-frickin'-future to rock the world and its mother.

Debt. Boo.

Posted on April 23

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  1. Johnny's building his business.
  2. He doesn't keep track of how many customers come daily.
  3. He fails to improve.

BOO!

Wanna Improve?

Keep score.

Think baseball. Without keeping score/standings/records/leaders/yaddas:

  1. Baseball players couldn't strive to improve.
  2. Baseball team execs couldn't play the best lineups.
  3. Baseball would suck.

Bizo how?

Like baseball peeps, business execs fail to improve because they think:

  1. "I can just 'feel' how well we're doing!"
  2. "I already know who the best people are!"
  3. "I don't need to keep score!"

Yet, if you don't know objectively what really drives the performance of your company, you'll ruin its potential.

What Performance Drivers?

Performance drivers: Anything that helps you keep track of how well you do.

Ta-da!

For instance, those might include:

  • Widgets-built/person
  • Customer-visits/day
  • Revenues/week
  • Products-sold/seller
  • Completion-time/project

Think Katherine + Bobby

Peep this:

  1. Katherine builds 100 widgets/hour.
  2. Bobby builds 70 widgets/hour. But, he's a crazily charismatic schmoozer.

Without understanding objectively who drives better performance, you might be tempted to give Bobby a raise over Katherine.

Times that by one-kabillion...

...according to your employee count, and see how much lost productivity revenue you waste.

That is:

  1. You pay $X amount for less performance.
  2. That leaves you less money to buy more productivity.
  3. Result: Lost revenues.

BOO!

Baseball teams don't pour millions into charismatic dudes who bat .200.

Likewise, your business would destruct its potential if it doesn't understand who/what really drives the performance of your company.

Keep @^^% score.

Posted on April 22

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  1. Trish fails at Task A.
  2. Manager Bill yells.
  3. Manager Bill assigns Trish menial work.

What results?

Manager Bill destroys Trish's potential to rock.

  • Productivity drains.
  • Profits plummet.
  • People cry.

How do you optimize Trish after failure?

Simply, do this:

  • Give Trish another chance to prove herself.

If you punish failure, people become more focused on failure -- instead of rocking the actual work.

They're thinking:

  1. "Dude! What if I fail again?"
  2. "I cannot fail! I will not fail!"
  3. "I can't make one more mistake!"

Result: they fail.

The Focus Beyond

Instead, when people know failure ain't-no-thing-but-a-chicken-wing-on-a-string, they start focusing on the kick-assing part.

  • Full focus: away from failure.
  • Full focus: on success.

Win for you, her, and the world.

You ain't no failure! Hooray!

Posted on April 21

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  1. "You're so born with it!"
  2. "You have a gift!"
  3. "It comes just so naturally to you!"

If someone had told Tiger Woods at a young age that he was born to play golf, that dude would've sucked big-time as an adult.

Prodigies are made -- not born.

The people you see on American Idol?

  • They don't have natural singing abilities.
  • Instead, they spent 9869584795409 hours practicing their singing chops.

The people you know as awesome mathematical geniuses?

  • No natural talent.
  • Just spent a tremendous more number of hours studying than the normal Joe.

No shortcuts exist to achieving greatness; it just takes strenuous hours of putting in your time to become better at what you do.

The Extremely Talented

When you tell the extremely talented that they're born with their natural gifts, what happens?

  • They stop practicing.
  • They stop getting better.
  • Instead, they rely on "what they were born with."

Result: The Suck.

Resting on your laurels destroys your greater potential.

Keep improving.

Posted on April 18

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"Yo, you just gots to read business books!"

  1. But, what if you've read everything and its mama -- and you're still nowhere?
  2. What do you do?

Just answer this:

What's one distinguishable factor that transformed poor folk into rich folk?

  • a) they always believed in themselves!
  • b) they surrounded themselves with great folks

Did you answer B?

Yay for you.

That ridiculously sweet finding comes from Columbia University's Charles Harrington who studied how poor kids transitioned into rich adults.

Lonesome Doves Go Nowhere

Entrepreneurs can get too frickin' into their abilities, that they forget how much they really suck in various areas of business.

So:

  1. They come up with ideas.
  2. They incorporate the ideas.
  3. They try to find solutions to problems.
  4. They fail.

They forgot the vital ingredient:

  • Accept help. Get help. Seek help. You suck.

Help is good.

If you're going nowhere quickly with your business, seek help.

Experienced help in your particular industry can turn your sad little desperate company into something fab-tac-ulous.

Help me.

Posted on April 17

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Geniuses have 'em, and so should you! Yay!

But why?

  1. You rock one hobby.
  2. You build new skills to incorporate into your primary work.

Grasping the complexities of winning a chess game, for example, helps you adapt new skills to slaughter your work like a champion.

Think Coach Mika + Basketball

Mika's coaching a youth basketball team.

Because her kids sucked big time, she had to develop some plays for 'em.

In the meantime, she built a framework -- where her kids had freedom to do anything within that framework (e.g. running cuts, screen-and-rolls, etc.).

Ka-bing!

Mika's Eureka Moment!

It went something like this:

  1. "My work team sucks too!"
  2. "I'll develop some frameworks for them."
  3. "And then, let them use their creativity to accomplish stuff!"

Mika = Winner.

And you, too, can be a winner.

Master a hobby, and build innovative new ways to attack your business stuff.

Hobby.

Posted on April 16

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