Ever get a FLASH . . . of insight?  Sometimes you find a bit of wisdom that’s so ‘spot on’ that you swear someone had to be watching your life and how it was going (or, not going!) just before they gave you a FLASH of wisdom that you couldn’t deny and you needed to remember.

Here’s a list I feel meets that standard. “21 Ways To Self-Sabotage”.  Enjoy . . . reflect on it and act accordingly.

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of taking risks
  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Inability to listen to instructions carefully
  • Inability to plan ahead
  • Inability to say “no” to others
  • Inability to consider the consequences of our actions
  • Inability to think carefully before making decisions
  • Inability to think critically or practically
  • Inability to think flexibly about problems
  • Inability to admit mistakes or errors
  • Worrying constantly
  • Having unrealistic expectations
  • Critically judging self or others
  • Constantly comparing self to others
  • Always complaining about people, life, circumstances or perceived bad luck
  • Habit of procrastination
  • Habit of perfectionism
  • Accepting people’s advice without question
  • Limiting beliefs, emotions and attitudes
  • Limiting thoughts focused on what’s not working or on wishful daydreams

Get a beautiful MINDMAP of all these ‘self-sabotaging’ moves from a wonderful website.

Download The Mindmap!

Andy Sernovitz is a genius.

He’s also the author of this great book (revised) that’s truly ‘New and Improved’.

What I like about Andy and his company (Gaspedal — is that cool or what!) is that he’s got a SINGULAR focus.

You never wonder, “What does Andy do?”.  It’s clear as a bell.  He helps his client companies generate and leverage Word-Of-Mouth as a means of promoting their business, products, services, brand and . . . as a result . . . generating more business and profits for his clients after they spend time and money with Andy.

This is a good guy, folks.  He’s got great ideas.

Do yourself a favor and buy this book.  It will change your business.  And only for the better.

Buy this book!

I attended a local business gathering yesterday.  John Voice, a business contact who ‘makes the rounds’ of social connection meetings, shared a piece of insight that is absolutely brilliant!

He was challenged at a business meeting to introduce himself in just ten (10) words.  TEN!

He said it was difficult.  But then added, “I was then asked to do it in only FIVE (5) words!”

Discussion about each person’s ability to do this ensued and became rather lively.

We developed a formula:  “I help . . . ” (the first 2 words)  “(Ideal client / target market)” (third word or phrase) “Action Verb + Valuable Outcome” (the fourth and fifth words).

Examples:  “I help seniors find work”, “I throw parties everyone remembers”, “I grow sales for entrepreneurs”.

Of course, you can expand on these ‘core value statements’.  But isn’t it better to start with a solid ‘core’ than a ‘muddled middle’?

Less is More . . . especially when it comes to communicating your value!

From time to time, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at how incredibly indolent some people in business are.

So I’ve decided to create the “What Were You Thinking” award to recognize these people who inspire me with their ‘Bad Behavior’.

Today’s winner (LOSER!) is a contractor who worked on our home about two years ago.  Did good work, too.  Not long ago, a neighbor stopped by and asked, “Who did the work on your home?  We need to do the same thing at our house and wanted to know if you’d recommend your contractor.”

We were happy to oblige and gave our neighbor our contractor’s phone number.  Today, our neighbor stopped over.  “We wanted to let you know the guy you recommended . . . nice guy, but . . . he didn’t get back to us so . . . we’re going with a different company”.

That’s so wrong!  First, this contractor isn’t doing THAT good that he can afford to lose a piece of business that was put on the tee for him by us.  Second, at some level, it reflects badly on us.  And if asked, we’re not going to refer much less recommend this contractor to anyone else.  EVER!

Not Following-up with a Referral  . . . BURNS YOUR BRIDGES / SOURCES — Don’t Do It!

You’ve heard the expression, “Actions speak louder than words”.  It’s very true.  Especially in marketing.

Recently, we had a little problem in our home.  We called a company for a ‘service’ call.  What an oxymoron!  The technician didn’t know what he was doing, was unfamiliar with the type and brand of appliance and spent the better part of an hour reading our ‘owner’s manual’ before telling us that he couldn’t help us.  (But the $187 charge for a ‘house call’ still applied!)

The second company sent someone who knew immediately what was causing our problem.  Within an hour the problem was fixed and the appliance running like new.  They also gave us a ‘New Client Package’.  It outlined their ‘satisfaction guarantee’ and invited us to contact the company president if we had any questions, comments or concerns.

The next day the company called to make sure the work was done correctly and we were happy.  A few days later, we got a nice letter from the technician and the company president thanking us for our business and reminding us that if we ever have a problem with an appliance, that it would their honor and pleasure to be of further service.  My wife and I were BLOWN AWAY.  Who does this anymore?  (sharp business owners!!)

What Actions can you use to communicate your value proposition and position your firm in a better light than your alleged competitors?

Actions speak louder than words!

Goals are important.  They focus your attention and energies on factors that, if not addressed, could limit your effectiveness, efficiency and results.

But there’s a GAP between where you are now and where you want to be in the future.  And, while it does take ACTION to achieve your GOALS, it helps if you have a PLAN to do that.  Planning helps you take consistent, coordinated, aligned and effective ACTIONS to reach your GOALS.

Planning is not ‘setting goals’.  That’s just one step in a PROCESS of planning to make things happen.  The acronym “D O M E” explains the process of planning:

Diagnosis . . . assess where you’re starting from today . . . ARE NOW
Objective . . . after you know where you are, where do you want . . . TO BE
Method/s . . . now you have defined a GAP . . . how will you close it?   MEANS
Evaluation . . . once you begin to implement, what will you look at and how often to measure . . . PROGRESS?

Setting and reaching your Goals is important; Planning to do so is . . . ‘priceless’

While you may differentiate yourself around the value you provide, you still have to communicate that value, don’t you?

Often I go to a meeting and find people who leave me totally confused about what it is they do for their clients.  They don’t seem to be able to communicate what their Position or Value Proposition really is.

We hear a lot about ‘elevator’ pitches — those short, pithy sound-bites designed to get the attention of someone who’s able to appreciate what we do . . . and if not today, then soon enough.  And you know what?  An Elevator pitch is a good thing to have!

But do yourself a favor . . . don’t forget to put some time and effort into creating yours.  And when you do, tweak it and polish it up until it shines brighter than anything anyone else might say at your next business gathering.  The results might just amaze you!

Find a way to communicate your VALUE in a MESSAGE that’s short and sweet

Once upon a time a manager was put in charge of an automobile manufacturing plant.  “You’re responsible for producing 100 cars a day” his boss said, “do that and your position is safe.  Fail, and you will be replaced!”.

Things started out well.  The plant produced, on average, 100 cars / day.  But then things changed.  The plant averaged 97 cars a day . . . then 92 . . . then 87.  The trend was obvious.  So were the consequences.

One option to correct matters was to stand in the parking lot and shout, “C’mon guys . . . you did it before, you can do it again”.  A second option was to go up the production line until a ‘problem’ could be identified and correct it.  The manager was smart.  He took option #2.  Eventually finding that a certain part was in short supply and that reduced the plant’s output.  Once known, the basis for corrective action was able to be directed to the ‘real’ issue.

In your practice, a common lament may be ‘Not enough revenues’.  That’s about as helpful as producing ‘not enough cars’.  If you go ‘up’ your production process, I’ll bet you’ll find that you’re not putting enough people into your active pipeline.  And THAT . . . is where you should begin actions to correct your symptomatic problem of ‘not enough revenues’.

The symptom of ‘poor revenues’ is often best addressed by focusing on ‘improving your pipeline’

In 1986 John Landis made a very funny movie – The Three Amigos starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short.

Here’s another memorable couple of ‘amigos’ who can make your marketing really effective: Advertising, Public Relations and Referrals. If you’re not using all three to generate leads, you’re probably missing out on some business opportunities.

Advertising may or may not work for you.  But advertising doesn’t necessarily mean a 1/2 page ad.  PR doesn’t mean blowing out press releases mindlessly, either.  And referrals is a strategy that reflects how you operate your business more than how artful you are at asking for ‘people to talk to’.

Regardless of which of these ‘amigos’ is right for you to use — and how — they do kick-start the selling process by generating opportunities you can develop into the sales you seek.

Lead generation is a vital function; involving your 3 Amigos in a consistent and effective manner will work wonders!

You’ve heard that ‘Content is King’?  It’s true!

I know people must get to Know of you (awareness), Like you (preference) relative to other providers in your field and Trust (confidence) that you can (and, will!) ‘deliver the goods’ before they’ll do business with you.

That’s even truer if you’re in law, accounting, or any field of business consulting.

Building a preference for you and your brand . . . is where ‘educational content’ becomes relevant.

If you offer a service . . . what you’re asking a prospective client to buy is . . . YOU!  Faith and trust in your ability to deliver a valued outcome that, let’s be honest, is not going to be enjoyed until some time in the future.

Offering information that helps a prospect make a good decision about the kind of services you offer will help differentiate you from other providers who think saying, “Trust Me” is really going to cut it.

Educational content not only makes buying less risky for your prospects, it also makes it more likely it will be with you!