Fiscal Cliff . . .

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mayan_calendar1“Be Prepared”


Boy Scout Motto 


If you are reading this, the world has not ended – yet. Our politicians battle about the impending fiscal cliff that will spin the entire US economy into a financial disaster worse than the Great Depression. At the same time, our National Debt continues to rise, random mass shootings seem to be  happening everywhere, unemployment is still high, and any other headline you see in the news may impact your life at any moment


How do you protect your business and family from all of these impending catastrophes?


I’ll call on Stephen Covey to start. It boils down to circles of influence. Most of us have little influence on the debate in Washington. We vote, write our congressman, stay abreast of what is happening, and let our voices be heard in various other ways. Beyond that, we have little influence.


What we can do is prepare our selves, businesses, and families for the most probable of situations?

  • Reduce or Eliminate Debt. You don’t need to fear what the banks or lenders will do when they are in need of cash. Any of them call “call the loan” at any time and expect all of the debt to be payed back. Without debt, all cash flow is completely in your control.
  • Cash reserves. Keep six months of cash put away in an account. I suggest two accounts: one for your business and one for your family. The amounts there do not need to be extravagant – just enough to keep either the business from folding if there is no revenue and enough to take care of the bare necessities of your family (food, shelter, heat). These accounts can also be used when an incredible investment opportunity presents itself.
  • Educate Yourself. When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, have a basic knowledge of survival techniques: find shelter, build fires, find clean water and food. Not only will it protect you from the Zombie Apocalypse, but should you ever get stranded in a snow storm or caught in a natural disaster you will be ready.The same is true for your business. Knowledge and skill will help your business survive almost any catastrophe.
  • Have a Plan. This is something that they taught us in elementary school. If there is a fire, you should have an escape route, a back-up and a meeting place. The same is true for any other catastrophe that may occur. Know what you would do if . . .


When you are prepared, fear will not be the basis of your decision.

We Need You!

We are putting together Accountability Partnerships! This is a new accountability and educational format I have developed based on Napoleon Hill’s Master Mind.

Learn more at the Accountability Partners Website!


91 Hours Every Year

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“Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time”


Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
Considered the most well-known French Romantic writer

I was going over my calendar the other day and wondering where all my time was slipping away. I knew I had time wasters creeping in and was making new resolutions to get rid of the “extra”.


To convince myself how much time I was wasting, I did a little math:


Suppose I spent 15 minutes each day doing something that was a complete waste of time.


15 min= 0.25 hours

365 days=1 yr

therefore: 0.25 X 365 = 91.25


That’s 91.25 hrs wasted every year if I spent 15 minutes each day doing somthing useless!


Eliminating weekends, holidays: 65 hrs wasted in a year!


Averaged between the two it’s about 2 work weeks more in my life.



How many calls could I make?

How much could I get done on that book I want to write?

What could I do with my family in that much time?


Think about that the next time you want to cruise the net when you could be doing something else. I know I will.



Be Grateful . . .  .


Violent Execution

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“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”


General George S. Patton (1885 – 1945)

In 1944, Patton lead the U.S. Third Army, advancing farther, capturing more enemy prisoners, and liberating more territory in less time than any other army in history.




  1. Review this year – Did you meet your goals? Where did you fall short? Why? If you exceeded your goals, what did you do that made that happen? What tasks can you eliminate that did not contribute to your success?
  2. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) – This seems cliché, but this exercise works. Figure out what strengths and weaknesses you have. Determine the Opportunities and Threats that exist in your environment. How do you plan to leverage or guard your business in the different aspects you just laid out?
  3. Plan – Create a month-by-month and week-by-week plan for each of your resolutions from the step above. Don’t overwhelm yourself with these plans. Make sure you have time to actually develop and implement each objective.

While you should be planning and looking ahead, you don’t have to have the perfect plan. Don’t get caught in the trap of being a “perpetual planner.”

Now that you have a plan, execute with decision. Hold nothing back. As Patton says, “with violent execution.

Time Keeps On Slipping

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Stop Letting Time Slip Away

“Half the time men think they are talking business, they are wasting time”


Edgar Watson Howe (1853-1937)


We leak quite a bit of time. How much of your effort is not bringing you the results you desire?


I was once coaching an individual about his business. I was volunteering for a business incubator and had discovered that he had very little revenue and faced the possibility of losing his home. When I asked him what he planned to do for the next two weeks, his response was: “Work on my website.”

“For two weeks? How are you driving people interested in your service to your website? What are you doing to convert website visitors to customers? What you have is a revenue problem that can best be resolved with a little more shoe leather. Since you do not have the money to spend in advertising, you are going to have to distribute flyers, knock doors, subcontract or get a job.”

What in your business are you doing that does not have a clear method of moving people through the stages of service?


Party Time!

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“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”


Jeff Bezos (1964 – )
Founder/CEO of


Often we hear a customer walk out the door as they tell us how awesome we are and how much they loved the experience – and then we never hear from them again or see any of their friends. What happened?


The first question is: did you create a WOW experience or just give them what they asked for? Are you creating a satisfied customer or are you developing a raving fan?


Find the answer to the following and then develop a plan to move it forward:


  1. What is the biggest frustration customers voice about my industry? Can I eliminate or reduce that frustration?
  2. Is there a “human comfort” that is missing? If I have some, is there an incremental change I can make at a low cost?
  3. What can I do to make them feel like the most important customer of the day?
  4. Do I have a procedure to thank them and verify that they are thrilled with the service and that the procedure is going well?
  5. Did I ask for a referral, social media check-in or encourage them back?

This by no means is an all-inclusive list. But it’s a start.


Be purposeful and fanatical of your customer experience.


Fear Itself

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“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong”


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)


I have a hyper sense of failure. Some of the things that have driven me forward in my life is not always a desire to achieve, but a fear of falling flat on my face. It always follows in the same order: I start moving towards a goal I have and then once I have the wheels in motion, fear of fumbling takes control. I recognize its not the best way to operate, yet it is so entrenched in my psyche, I battle with it constantly. 


As I work with clients, I see fear manifested in many ways. For some the fear of failure prevents them from getting started. For some it’s the fear of loosing what they already have.


How many times have you heard that failure is only another opportunity to learn, failure only occurs when you don’t try again, and any other number of quips, quotes and anecdotes.


I’ve found this is the way I overcome my fear and help clients overcome theirs:

  • What is the worst case scenario?
  • Decide if you can live with that scenario
  • What is the best case scenario?
  • What is the most likely result?

If I do this, I can get away from operating on a fear of failure and move towards my best case scenario.

Are You a Commodity?

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“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)

David Mitchell

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David is a Business Consultant and Coach focusing on helping small businesses become more profitable and stable. David helps businesses create systems that permeate into the Building-Blocks of Business: Marketing, Operations, Management, Controls and Finance. With these systems, businesses are better capable of responding to opportunities, exceeding customer expectations and surviving downturns in the market.

David’s first business venture was at the ripe old age of 11. He landed his first commercial contract at 13 with 84 Lumber. Since then, David has received his MBA from Texas Tech University and has managed many businesses and projects successfully. Most of these businesses have been start-ups or turnarounds. His education, experience, never-say-die attitude and the heart of a teacher have played an integral role in helping many businesses succeed.

In addition to his passion for business, David volunteers in developing Kitsap youth. He is a volunteer coach for Bremerton’s Blue and Gold Wrestling Team and East Bremerton Peewees Baseball. He also serves as the Committee Chairman for BSA Troop 1560 and teaches Leadership Training his local BSA District.

The greatest blessing in his life, however, is his beautiful wife Sarah and their two children: Josh and Rachel

Dave Mitchell+

Reflections on Fatherhood . . .

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“One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters.”

George Herbert (1593-1633)
Welsh-born English poet, orator and Anglican priest


As we gear up for Father’s Day, and anticipate the gift the kids made at school (teachers are getting pretty creative these days), I remember my own dad.

I consider the wisdom he tried to pass on to me. I ponder the sacrifices of time, money, effort, toil and pride. It makes me grateful to have had a man like this in my life. I know others who were not so lucky and that there are many children growing up today who wont have a man like that in their lives. I am grateful.

Looking back through the lens of maturity and age (though Sarah often doubts my maturity), I see better the life challenges he faced and the resistance I gave him. I realize, too, that one of his wisest decisions was marrying my mother

May we stand on the shoulders of giants. May our success be because of the example set by our fathers.

Manage What You Measure

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There is no substitute for a good bookkeeper. When working with your bookkeeper, make sure you communicate what measurements you need to run the business. Financial management is more than just counting your expenses and knowing what is in the account. When you are designing your accounting process and how to structure your book, keep a few things in mind:

  1. What will success look like?
  2. What key ratios do I need to make sure my expenses are reasonable for my revenue?
  3. Are there different services or products that I need to measure and consider which is my most profitable?
  4. What measurements do my employees need to see that will tell them when they are successful?

This is only the beginning of the questions you need to ask. If your bookkeeper is not asking these questions from the beginning – get a different bookkeeper.