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.



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


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

Building Blocks

Building Blocks

By | Cost Controls, Finance, Leadership, Marketing, Operations, Systems | No Comments

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”


Michelangelo (1475-1564)

A business is nothing more than a system of systems that create value. So examining those systems, there are five basic systems every business should have. I call them the 5 Building Blocks of Business.

  • Marketing
  • Management/Leadership
  • Operations
  • Controls
  • Finance

Of course within those categories, the specific systems that create widgets, tools, knick-knacks, food, services or experiences depends entirely on you as the business owner.


In each of my Kicks In the Butt, I try to address each of these individually. Today I am taking a step back and looking at the system as a whole. I am breaking down my own business into these systems with the intent of having them all work together in a seemless fashion.


Take a couple of hours over the next few weeks to review your systems. Where is the hand-off from one system to the next? What systems do you have within each of these “Business Building Blocks”


I have a very simple diagnostic for reviewing these building blocks. Email me or request it here if you want a copy sent to you.



Who are you accountable to?

Check In

By | Accountability, Leadership, Marketing, Time Management | No Comments


Who are you accountable to?

Who are you accountable to?

“The more accountable I can make you, the easier it is for you to show you’re a great performer. “


Mark V. Hurd (1957- )

Co-President, Oracle Corporation
Former CEO, Hewlett-Packard


It’s lonely being an entrepreneur, business owner, or leader. We are often left to “figure it out” our selves or to have great ideas, only to fall behind or poorly implement because of our own shortcomings. Sometimes, it’s not lack of desire, skill or time. Just being human gets in the way.


A big piece of survival in business is accountability. There are a few stalwart individuals who can make it on their own – most of us are not them. We need someone to hold us to the commitments we make to ourselves. As I coach, this is a large majority of what I do.


There other accountability measures we can take. One that was clearly defined almost a century ago was the “Master Mind Group”. Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich, listed it among the basic principles of success that he observed when interviewing the most successful people of his time.


Do you really want your business to succeed?

Would you like more than just making ends meet?


Get a coach or a mastermind group.


If you would like more information on a master mind group, please check out “Why A Master Mind?”.

Yelling Is Not Selling

By | Marketing, Sales | One Comment

“The sole purpose of an advertisement is to sell a product”


Claude Hopkins (1866-1932)
Author of “Scientific Advertising”. Considered the Father of Modern Advertising.



We are all looking for that “silver bullet” that’s going to bring hoards of people into our business or overload our phone line wanting what we offer. While there is no single trick, there are some aspects to advertising that many businesses miss:


  1. Define the purpose and goal of the ad. Is there a specific volume of sales or responses you hope to get from the ad? Just putting your logo, name and phone number in the ad is not going to get a response. Usually only about 3% of your target market is actively looking for your offer – what are the chances they will act only on your “name, rank and serial number”?
  2. Forget branding. I do suggest you have a strong logo and recognizable name. However, branding is a difficult to quantify benefit. Generally your brand strength depends on the recognition and reputation of your business or product. Your brand will be built over time through great service and better product – not usually through advertising. Most small businesses don’t have time or money to spend on branding because you need sales now. Leave branding to Coca-Cola and McDonalds.
  3. Give a compelling reason to act. Do you have information they need to make a decision? Will you help them escape some great catastrophe?
  4. Have only ONE step for your market to do. In sales, often the sole purpose in the first phone call is to get an appointment. They know they will not sell in the first couple of minutes over the phone. Your ad should be similar –one purpose and one action.
  5. Develop a strong headline and copy. Get their attention without yelling at them. Define the problem and solution. Help them see the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Make them aware of an impending disaster they need to be prepared for. Please stop yelling at us.
  6. Test it. Test it. Test it. Give an ad a short run. If it doesn’t get you the response you expect, edit and try it again. Spend a little money to see if it works. When you find what does perform well –blow it out of the water.
  7. Have a plan. The ad should be part of your overall strategy. Now is the time to put one together if you have not already.

Don’t let all your advertising become only about steep discounts, starbursts and “Act Now” calls to action. You don’t have to yell at your market to communicate your value.


Remember the lifetime value of a customer. Don’t get so focused on today’s sale, that you make it difficult for them to buy from you again. Keep your promise and create consistency between the look and feel of the ad and the actual customer experience.


Thank You

Just Good Business

By | Follow-through, Leadership, Marketing | No Comments

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”


~H.U. Westermayer
It’s been beat to death the need to show gratitude to our clients, our staff, our family and our Maker.  So why do we still stuggle with it?


We already know that showing gratitude will:

  1. Increase return customers
  2. Develop more loyal employees
  3. Improve our family relationships
  4. Make us happier people.


I know I tend to not show gratitude when I:

  • am focused on a goal that I have not reached
  • don’t feel the result is as good as I had hoped
  • have too much on my plate to accomplish
  • feel that the result is owed to me.

So here is my suggestion: Before setting your goals or moving on to the next one – count your blessing. I will try this week too . . .




Make a Marketing Machine

Your Marketing Machine

By | Marketing | No Comments


Make a Marketing Machine

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”


Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)

Author of A Message to Garcia


I have heard marketing defined as the “quickest path to the sale.” Marketing is not about creating ego-boosting advertisement. It’s about developing a machine that creates value to the business by systematically bringing the right people to you who are pre-qualified and interested in your product.

So if you are to truly have a systematic method of moving your market towards the sale, it has to have some key common traits with a “machine”:

  1. Multiple Moving Parts: By not having more than one method in place, you are missing many potential customers that are may consider your business.
  2. Interlocking Cogs: Just getting them to look at you is merely a start. You have to move them through the process and it has to be more than one presentation of the service with a strong offer at the end. It should be several interactions that move them through the process at their pace.
  3. Elimination of Waste: Efficiency is key. Once you have given them what they were initially seeking, have you kept them asking “what next?”
  4. Re-purposing and Recycling: They are not moving through your main sales process. Now develop a second, third or fourth sales process that will continue to give them value they seek without cutting them off completely.
  5. Come As Close to “Perpetual Motion” As Possible:  Just as your car recharges your battery while you drive, create a process to keep current and past clients coming back and referring to you.


Now is the time to be developing your marketing plan. Don’t just consider your advertising, but work on your sales process as well.


Have you checked out Dave’s Recommended Reading?


Dave has put together an incredible list of business books that EVERY entrepreneur should read.


Check out the list here.


Stop Leaking

By | Marketing, Time Management | No Comments

“One leak will sink a ship: and one sin will destroy a sinner.”


John Bunyan (1628-1688)
English Christian Writer and Preacher


I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about leaks. Businesses are full of leaks.

  • Lost Leads
  • Return Customers
  • Expenses
  • Extra Product
  • Time
  • Effort


So I think for the next few emails, I will expound on these leaks and look for ways to overcome them.


Let’s talk about lost leads, first. Often we talk about customers and putting them into a funnel. We identify who they are and then strategically move them through the process. The idea being that eventually everyone who starts in your funnel will move down.


What this concept lacks is the fact that leads and potential customers choose to leave the funnel for a variety of reasons.


Before you can create the systems to catch and keep these leads, you have to first understand who they are and why they leave. Just talking to lost leads may get your wheels turning on how you can capture them.


Bonus Tip: Sometimes just calling them is enough to get them back into the funnel.


Are You a Commodity?

By | Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized | No Comments

“A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one. ”


Henry Ford

Ford Motor Company Founder (1863-1947)


The iPhone 5 released last week.


Over the weekend, I overheard someone bemoaning the iPhone she currently has. “It’s so bulky,” she complained.


The New York Times gave the following review:

“Faster chips, bigger screens and speedier wireless Internet connections are among the refinements smartphone users can count on year after year in new models, most of them in familiar rectangular packages. They are improvements, to be sure, but they lack the breathtaking impact the first iPhone had, with its pioneering fusion of software and touch-screen

How many people do you know with a smart phone? How many have more than one or have “upgraded” the same day they were able? Good product – saturation has not happened yet..

Many businesses complain because their product or service is a “commodity.” This is not true if you have found your differentiation and are providing a superior experience. However, the superior performance has to be visible and readily recognized to the client.

Often we feel we are doing more and providing better value than our competition. Here is a short test to determine if it has an impact:

1. Does your customer ask for the added value before you provide it?

2. Do you have to point out the value for your customer to recognize it?

3. Is your value based on credentials that hang on your wall?


If you answered yes to any of these, your customer may not be aware of the value you provide. Time to educate them.


Add Value:

5 Reasons Your Marketing Doesn’t Work
Reason 2: Tactics Instead of Strategy
(Poulsbo Chamber Office – September 26, 11:30p-1p)


Leadership Boot Camp
Next-Level Leadership
(Cafe Noir – October 5, 8a-12p)