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By | Follow-through, life style | No Comments

flex“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”


Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)


I know I have said it before, but as I look back I realize:


I was a short and scrawny kid.


I started wrestling in the 4th grade to learn to defend myself against bullies. After about a year of wrestling, my coach pulled my father aside and told him that I really needed to work on my upper body strength. He suggested my father buy a climbing rope and have me climb it as often as I could. The goal was to get me to where I could climb the rope and then lower myself back down using only my arms.


My wise father could not find a ready-made rope – so he made one by tightly twisting smaller rope strands together. He hung the 10 foot rope in a tree and told me that if I was to get better in my wrestling, I should learn to climb the rope as my coach had suggested.


I remember getting to the point where I could climb up and down several times in a row with only my arms. It wasn’t until recently that my father related the following to me:


“I would get calls from your mom a couple of times a week,” my father told me. “She would be almost in tears saying ‘He’s at it again!'”

The way he tells it, learning to climb the rope was such a struggle for me at first that it worried my mother. 


As my father told me the story I came to realize something about myself. I hate to quit. At times I have been absolutely destroyed because I refused to admit that I was beat.


Sometimes, I am not sure if it’s strength, stubbornness, determination or just stupidity.


In your business – what is your strength? Besides expertise, knowledge, or resources. What inner strength do you have to keep plugging along?


For your business to survive, you have to find it.



Build to Sell!

Dan Martin with Seattle Score will lead a discussion on how to build your business with the intention of selling it for a profit.

Dan co-founded a book publishing business with his wife, Nancy, in 1976. He boot-strapped the small start-up out of his garage and grew the company to $10 million in annual sales before selling the company to his employees in 2007. He remains a member of the Board of Directors and now volunteers for Seattle SCORE.

Panera Bread will provide Coffee and Bagels for the Event.

Eventbrite - Kitsap Business Forums - Business Built to Sell

Ability to Move

By | life style, Strategic Planning | 2 Comments

motion“Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow…Only while we are in action is the circulation perfect.”


Henry David Thoreau ( 1817 – 1862)



My nine-year-old son is in full-swing wrestling season. While this is his 5th, he is still learning some very basic wrestling concepts. Techniques and holds can be taught and learned. However, there are a few things a wrestler needs to learn that cannot be taught.


As I looked over some of my more recent emails, I noticed some similarities in these “learned but not taught” skills and running a business. Just like a wrestler, a business must master:

  • Balance
  • Leverage
  • Strength
  • Ability to Move

And most importantly:

  • Determination

I recently talked about Balance and Leverage. How is your ability to move?


Some wrestlers are not the most technical in their execution or graceful in their motion. They are just great “scrappers.” They intrinsically know how to move and they move quickly.


Strategy and planning are critical to your business success. But plans are useless without motion. Moving on an unexpected opportunity or being able to fend off and recover from surprise adversity can mean the difference between winning and losing.


Learn to move quickly by practicing these things:

  • Know your market and your competitors
  • Know what you do best and apply it
  • Know what you do worst and keep out of it
  • Understand your customers’ changing desires
  • Keep a cash reserve for quick investments or unanticipated liabilities
  • Develop a personal life-style of learning

My wrestling abilities changed dramatically in 1991 when I learned proper stance and motion. I had already been wrestling for six years, but learning how to move quickly made a bigger difference than any other skill I had learned to that point.


Be ready to move.

Death & Taxes

By | Accounting, Finance, Follow-through, Systems | No Comments

Taxes“It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.”


Dave Barry



It’s that time of year again. Ain’t it fun?!?


Don’t get  me wrong. I don’t mind paying my share for our military, roads, law enforcement and other systems we need in place to keep our society stable. There are just three things that bother me about paying taxes:

  1. The complexity
  2. The waste
  3. All of us become liars – some in order to pay less in taxes and some accidentally because of reason #1.

So what does that mean for your business?


Know what you are getting into. Find resources that help you make your business grow in spite of your tax burden. Use a group of professionals that can help you steer through it.


Make sure your professional is the right one. I just sat with a client this week that is very worried about how much he will owe in taxes. He has switched CPAs because he felt he had outgrown his previous CPA. Now it looks like he may have more tax liability than he planned because of poor advise and because he failed to do the next hint:


Prepare ahead of time. Make sure you are have a sales tax account if you are collecting sales tax. Make accommodations for your employee’s employment taxes and your own self-employment taxes. This is sacred cash and should never be disturbed until you have paid all taxes. It’s better to have a little too much in the account at the end that you can re-invest than to be stuck with a bill your business can’t bear.


Create a system and be organized. Unfortunately many of us have trouble keeping a mileage log, filing receipts, balancing our books regularly and keeping up with our tax commitments throughout the year: quarterly state taxes, estimated self-employment taxes, sales tax reports, unemployment and workers compensation. If you create a system to make them happen, it makes it easier to stay out of hot water.


Finally, get involved. Let your local, state and federal officials know how you feel. Become part of groups that influence how taxing decisions are made: professional organizations, business lobbyist organizations, and chambers of commerce allow you to amplify your voice.


At the end of it all: the only sure things in life are death and taxes. Be prepared for both.




Marketing Follow-Through

(January 30, 11:30 -1:00 – Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce)

Co-sponsored by the Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce, this is a FREE Lunch and Learn series.

Most of the time our marketing becomes a flash in the pan because we fail to follow through. Get some Ideas on how to close the gap and keep leads, customers and clients from falling through the cracks.

Eventbrite - Marketing Follow-Through


Call 360.779.4848

Get Surrounded

By | Accountability, Accounting, Leadership, Marketing, Operations, Systems, Uncategorized | No Comments

support“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”


Colin Powell

Retired four-star general and former Secretary of State (2001-2005)


In the last few weeks, I have repeatedly come in contact with businesses that have achieved a level of success and want to take the next step, but can’t get through it. Often their biggest obstacle is getting the right people on the team.


This was emphasized in the Kitsap Business Forum on Tuesday. It seemed we kept coming back to the same point:


You shouldn’t do it all yourself.

This does not mean you have to hire and replace yourself in your business – at least not right away.


It means finding the core team you need to make your business a success. Here is my list of professionals you need to be successful. There are many others, I suggest every business owner have the following.


  • Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Attorney
  • Insurance Agent
  • Banker
  • Marketing Expert (actually a team of experts here)
  • Cooperative/Complimentary Business owners
  • Accountability Source (Master Mind, Coach)


Surround yourself with great people and great minds. If you are surrounded by people or businesses that you do not wish to emulate – it’s time to get find a new group.


Don’t do it alone! Entrepreneurship is lonely enough already.



By | life style, Systems, Time Management | One Comment

unicycle_forces“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life.”


Zig Ziglar

Balance in life is like riding a unicycle. If you do find a perfect balance, it only last a second. Whether it is a breeze, a slight tremble in the rider or the imperceptible shift of the earth, you become “off balance” and must again make adjustments. 


If you want to stay still – you must constantly be making adjustments to maintain your position. However, if you want to move forward, you must take yourself out of balance and gently lean into it.


Progress and balance are nearly impossible to maintain simultaneously.


We inherently know that starting something new or significantly changing course in any endeavor in life requires more energy, concentration and devotion than keeping the “status quo”


So which are you after – do you want to stay where you are or do you want to move forward? The trick, of course is not keeping perfect balance.


The trick is knowing when to throw yourself off-balance, in what direction and by how much. If you lean into it too much you end up on your face. If you don’t lean into it enough, you stay where you are or even have to move backwards to recover.


A few things that to help keep you off balance enough without falling on your face:


  • Your “Don’t Do” list is probably more important than you “To Do” list
  • Know how much your family is willing to sacrifice for your dream.
  • Make sure you reward your family, friends, associates, partners, etc for their sacrifice. This can be as simple as sharing profits, small gifts, or a 4-day weekend away.
  • Look for leverage.



By | Hiring, Leadership, Leverage, life style, Operations | No Comments

leverage yourself

“Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.”

Archimedes (287 BC – 212 BC)
Regarding the power of the lever


Programmer ‘outsources’ his own job to China to laze around at work

The mid-40s software developer, named only as ‘Bob’ in the report by Verizon’s Risk Team, paid programmers in China one-fifth of his salary, and spent his work days browsing the internet.


Did you see this article!? I first heard it on the radio this morning and later read the whole thing this afternoon in one of my news-feeds.Here is a quick link to the article if you did not get a chance to read it.


I found it interesting that he was considered one of the best programers in the company. He was probably considered one of the most productive – until they discovered that he spent all day watching cats say “I haz cheezberger??”


It got me thinking about all the things we do that take up our time that prevent us from having the business or lifestyle we want.


All businesses struggle with leveraging regardless of the size. Not only does hiring someone mean an increase in expense, but it also means letting go. When we are passionate about the success of something, we have a hard time letting it go. 


A few questions to ask yourself when you start thinking about leveraging:


  • Is there someone who can do some of my billable work for less?
  • Is there work that I do now that takes me away from creating more revenue?
  • Who do I know that is better than me at this that I can collaborate with – allowing us to do what we each do best and creating even more value?

Cost is always a concern. Some work-arounds for these might include temporary help, subcontractors, or virtual assistants.


One thing is certain: It is nearly impossible to do everything and become successful.


Get some help.




The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce is now taking RSVPs for the Kitsap Business Forum to be held January 22 at 7:30 am in Cavallon Buiding 3rd floor conference room (2011 NW Myhre Rd, Silverdale, WA).


Our first forum is a panel of experts – facilitated by yours truly:


Kelle Kitchel-Cooper (Rockfish Group Marketing )

Dennis Bryan, CPA (Parker, Moores & Cena)

Jeff Reed (State Farm Insurance)

Lisa Jewett (Customer Service Specialist)

Wayne Sargent (Express Personell)

Dan Martin (SCORE)

Diane Russell (Attorney)


Bring your business and local economy questions for the panel to answer and debate!


Eventbrite - Kitsap Business Forums - Panel

or call:

(360) 692-6800

Just Do It

By | life style, Marketing | No Comments

JUST_DO_IT._(NIKE)“Just Do It”


Nike Advertising Slogan
First Launched in 1988 by the
Wieden and Kennedy Ad Agency

“Just Do It” became a mantra for many of us in the 90s. A testament of the American “can-do” attitude. It struck a chord in those that want to become achievers.


Not only did I choose this particular “quote” because it encourages you to achieve – but it is a great example of good marketing. It has been at the core of Nike becoming the sneaker giant we now see it.  


Nike historically came in a distant second to Reebok in the 70s and 80s. People generally saw it as a running or athletic shoe – not a fashion statement. Nike had lost even more ground when the aerobics trend hit and Reebok took much of that market.


The “Just Do It” campaign was different than what Nike had done before. It was intensely focused on the person wearing the shoe and the desired results and much less on the shoe itself.


They closely tied their product to high-achievers like Bo Jackson, John McEnroe and Michael Jordan. In one article I read, they made the clear observation that “Nike was able to attract those who wanted the image without incurring the pain.”


Nike also had several ads that were funny, but more of a chuckle rather than a belly laugh. They still portrayed the achiever mentality with a sense of humor. Anyone else remember Spike Lee’s “It’s gotta be the shoes?”


So what are the lessons we can take away for our own businesses?

  1. Know your target market
  2. Focus more on the “benefit” and not on the product, service or “bells and whistles”
  3. Encourage action
  4. A sense of humor is important – while not becoming the brunt of your own jokes

A word of caution: Most small businesses do not have the marketing dollars for a large “branding” or “image” campaign. I highly encourage a “direct response” approach to most businesses. Why? Because sales cure all. Image campaigns are great if you have a large distribution for your product or a sales force that can complete the sale for you. If you would like to know more about the difference between branding and direct response – click here.






The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce is now taking RSVPs for the Kitsap Business Forum to be held January 22 at 7:30 am in Cavallon Buiding 3rd floor conference room (2011 NW Myhre Rd, Silverdale, WA).


Our first forum is a panel of experts – facilitated by yours truly:


Kelle Kitchel-Cooper (Rockfish Group Marketing )

Dennis Bryan, CPA (Parker, Moores & Cena)

Jeff Reed (All-State Insurance)

Lisa Jewett (Customer Service Specialist)

Wayne Sargent (Express Personell)

Dan Martin (SCORE)

Diane Russell (Attorney)


Bring your business and local economy questions for the panel to answer and debate!


RSVP at (360) 692-6800

Fear of Success – Fiction?

By | Accountability, Follow-through, life style | One Comment

Fear“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”


Vince Lombardi (1930-1970)

One of football’s most winning-est coaches in the NFL:

Winning 73.8% (149-47-6) of all games


I had a very interesting conversation with someone this week. We were talking about the “fear of failure” and the term “fear of success” came up.

I’ve heard that term before but never really understood it. How can someone be afraid of success? This article suggests that Maslow (yeah, the guy with the Hierarchy of Needs and the pyramid) and his friend Frank Manuel coined the phrase. I don’t believe this fear is as pervasive as some suggest.


There are genuine fears of responsibility, not being accepted, or gaining prominence. Some of us use this “fear of success” as an easy excuse.


 Why Many of Us Sabotage Ourselves:

Sometimes we are so beat up, run-down or self depreciated that we don’t put our best effort forward. As I was discussing this with my friend, we came up with the term “Bad News Bears Syndrome”. Here is what happens:

You feel burned out or defeated after putting it all out there and not accomplishing what you thought you should have. Instead of analyzing what went wrong or learning from it, you emotionally decide not to do it again. You then stop putting it all on the line. Now you can tell yourself, “Well I didn’t put as much into it as I could have.” We accept our role in the world – just like the Bad News Bears. This becomes a habit. You may have some success and you feel like a genius or just lucky because “I didn’t do much” but you can still use your excuse if it falls short.


Have you accepted your place? Are you ready to break out?





The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce is now taking RSVPs for the Kitsap Business Forum. Our first forum is a panel of experts (facilitated by yours truly):


Kelle Kitchel-Cooper (Rockfish Group Marketing )

Dennis Bryan, CPA (Parker, Morris & Cena)

Jeff Reed (Farmer’s Insurance)

Lisa Jewett (Customer Service Specialist)

Wayne Sargent (Express Personell)

Dan Martin (SCORE)

Diane Russell (Attorney)


Bring your business and local economy questions for the panel to answer and debate!


RSVP at (360) 692-6800

Discriminating Between Opportunities

By | Marketing, Systems | No Comments

Cullinan 1 – one of the largest diamonds in the world

“The entrepreneur in us is more concerned with discriminating between opportunities than he or she is with failing to see the opportunities.”


Michael Gerber
Author of The E-Myth Revisited

One of things I present in many of my seminars and presentations is that many business owners tend to chase “the shiny new penny”. They get into the mindset that the reason they are not succeeding is because there is some opportunity they are missing, some key strategy they are not using, or some person they don’t know yet. 

I have heard several versions of the farmer or rancher who sold his property to seek his riches elsewhere – only to discover that the man who bought the property found a large amount of diamonds or gold (depending on the version) already on the property. While I don’t believe every patch of earth has large amounts of diamonds in it, I do believe what the parable is teaching.

For most of us, the gold mine we keep searching for is not always in a new breakthrough.


It’s about reaping more from opportunities that surround us. Instead of worrying about missing an opportunity, why not take full advantage at some of the opportunities right under our nose?

This sounds like a repeat from Friday’s “Pat on the Back”. It’s something I am coming to understand more all the time.

Look closely at what you are doing. Stop chasing the end of the rainbow. Make the most of all the opportunity around you!


Read More

Don’t Make a New Plan!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

measurement“The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.”

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Russian Composer, Immigrated to France and Later the US
Considered Most Influential Composer of 20th Century


Welcome to 2013!!


I was listening to the radio on Tuesday (New Years Day) and heard the following commercials run repeatedly:

  • Plastic Surgeons – get liposuction
  • Weight Watchers – get on the program now
  • Plastic Surgery – get the beauty you always wanted
  • Goodwill – urging you to clean out your junk

How often have you heard the catch phrase: “New Year, New You!” It seems every fashion, fitness and gossip magazine has that blazing across the top.

Most of us consider the new year the moment to start over. Marketers know this. This is the biggest month of the year for the self-help industry.


I want you to go against the grain.


Only scrap your plan if you are implementing on all cylinders. Re-evaluate your implementation – not your plan. Chances are, you are not failing from a bad system or process – it’s how you implement that is the problem. 


But, if you are flying by the seat of your pants: it is time to get a new plan.


Improve Execution


Accountability is key to proper impelementation. Get an Accountability Partners Group to follow through better this year. I’ve developed a great program that will get you going strong. Get a sounding board and a committed professional group to help you reach your potential in 2013.


Learn more at the Accountability Partners Website!