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Want to Grow Your Business? Find These 3 Numbers First...

Want to Grow Your Business? Find These 3 Numbers First...

I’m going to use two words that will quickly turn you away.

Your first reaction will be to close this article and search for greener pastures.

But you mustn’t…

Because these two words are going to be the root of your success. If used correctly, these two words are going to help you:

·       discover your niche,

·       find your ideal customers,

·       increase sales,

·       grow your business, and

·       crush your competition.

You’ve heard these words before. So has your competition.

Your competition has already used these two words to get funding, grow their startup, snag away your customers, and start encroaching on your company’s territory.

That’s because these words aren’t some hidden secret. They are widely used in corporate circles, necessary for business planning, and critical to any company’s success.

That’s why you’ll want to leave. Because you think you know what these words mean. Because you’re convinced that you’ve already gotten everything you can out of them. Because you believe you are too busy and have more pressing things to learn and bigger problems to solve.

But you don’t.

Because while you may have done this before, you haven’t used these two words since you started your business… and you haven’t used these two words to affect growth.

That’s what we’re going to do today.

We’re going to make your company stronger. Stronger from within (through a clear understanding of your customers, their buying power, and their problems) and from without (through increased presence, better customer targeting, and growth into new business areas).

Ready to hear them?

How to Prioritize Product Features Your Customers Will Pay For

How to Prioritize Product Features Your Customers Will Pay For

Half of us were annoyed. The other half were pissed. 

“We have to let users ‘undo’. Our product is useless without it," I argued (I was on the pissed off team in case you’re wondering).

“But nobody is going to NOT buy our product just because there’s no undo," came the response.

We argued far longer than we should have, debating the intricacies of an undo button and whether our engineering team should develop this one feature for our customers.

After multiple meetings, half a dozen arguments, and hurt feelings all around, a decision was finally made.

Sort of.

How to Get the Most Out of Business Travel

How to Get the Most Out of Business Travel

If you do any amount of business travel, you'll want to listen to this podcast. 

With nearly a million flight miles between the two of us, we uncover travel tips and tricks (and hilarious stories) that could only come from experience. 

In it, we discuss how to get the most out of business travel, how to maximize the value of your time, tips and hacks to make travel more enjoyable, and what to do when things go wrong.

How to Succeed at Business When Things Are Looking Bleak

How to Succeed at Business When Things Are Looking Bleak

In this podcast, Modern da Vinci expert and business owner Seth Sinclair talks about how difficult it is for small businesses to succeed, how anxiety and stress build when business plans don’t pan out as expected, and how financial and other pressures can lead business owners to give up.  He shares a personal and recent story about persisting through these challenges over a two-year period to finally achieve a foundation of success. 

How to Hire A-Players Like a Recruiting Professional with Fletcher Wimbush

How to Hire A-Players Like a Recruiting Professional with Fletcher Wimbush

Consistently hiring A-players is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business. Far too often, our hiring process is either non-existent or hasn’t been given a lot of thought. Fletcher Wimbush from The Hire Talent is here to help us change that.

In this interview, Fletcher shows us (with over 30 years of experience) how hire and recruit top talent. We talked for nearly an hour, and discussed dozens of amazing insights any business owner can use consistently hire A-players. Use these tips to begin getting the right people on the bus and build a team that gets results.  

3 Things You Should Do to Give Killer Performance Reviews

3 Things You Should Do to Give Killer Performance Reviews

Oh, the dreaded performance review process.

You either hate it, or you hate it. Am I right?

It’s not that you think they’re unnecessary… After all. Even if you don’t give performance reviews now, somewhere in the back of your mind, you know you should.

It’s that they take time out of work, cause unnecessary stress, and don’t seem to be very effective at changing employee behavior. And isn’t changing behavior for the better the whole point?

So, should we just ditch them all together? My answer to that is a resounding “NO!”

When done properly, performance reviews can be a welcome source of feedback for your employees. They can lead to deeper discussions about responsibilities, career goals, and organizational improvements.

So instead of throwing them out, let’s implement 3 simple tips to get them right.

How to Turn Anxiety Into Opportunity with Business Networking

How to Turn Anxiety Into Opportunity with Business Networking

If there's one thing that makes business owners anxious, it's networking.

Some would describe it as difficult, others stressful. However, the importance of it cannot be understated.

Business networking can lead to partnerships, sales, and future contacts that can help you (and you them) in unforeseen ways. It's a necessity for any business owner, and if you do it wrong, you'll miss countless opportunities. 

So how does someone (like me) who is anxious about networking with other professionals push through? 

How to Uncover the Greatest Threats to Your Small Business

How to Uncover the Greatest Threats to Your Small Business

You need your business to be successful.

If your business fails, you won’t be able to earn a living and provide for yourself, your family, or your employees. If you don’t have money, you can’t buy food and shelter. And if you don’t have food and shelter, you die!

Sound a little extreme?

Maybe, but to a large extent, it’s true. Your business is your livelihood. You can always try to find another job if things go wrong, but that would mean your business failed.

This is the pressure that many small business owners feel each day, and we’re here to help you change that feeling.

Instead of worrying about what the future holds, we want to build your confidence in your business. We want to give you a clear path to achieving your goals. And what we’re about to cover in this post will give you exactly what you need to focus on to make that happen.

How to Get Unresponsive Prospects to Return Your Calls (and Emails)

How to Get Unresponsive Prospects to Return Your Calls (and Emails)

It's mind-boggling, isn't it?

You have a great meeting with a potential customer. Your presentation is on point. You answer all their questions. And they show all the buying signs. 

Before leaving, you end with a hearty handshake and promise to send more information. 

Only when you do, they don't respond.

You leave them a friendly voicemail. You shoot them another email. You remind them about your great meeting. And what do you get in return?

Nothing.

You follow up again. You ask them to call you back. You try anything to get them respond. And what do you get?

Silence.

At some point, you give up... figuring your prospect was never interested to begin with. Enough with them. On to the next client.

Sound familiar? It's happened to me dozens of times. 

Unfortunately, I learned later, I had left dozens of sales on the table.  

There's good news, though. With one simple technique, you can drastically increase the number of silent prospects that return your calls. Case in point, when I implemented this technique, my response rate increased by over 60%!

Team Building Like a Professional with James Bennett

Team Building Like a Professional with James Bennett

Quick...

Can you describe the difference between teamwork and team building? 

Do you know the three factors to creating an effective team building event?

How do you apply vulnerability-based trust into your leadership and management goals to bring out the most productive, effective, and excited staff?

These questions aren't for the feint of heart, and often take years to understand and execute. 

Unless you're a Professional team builder like James Bennett of Firefly Events. 

James runs a small business to build team productivity, camaraderie, and effectiveness through planned events and outings. His experience is incredibly deep, and the list of companies he's worked with is impressive, to say the least. 

In our interview with James, we uncover some of his secrets to building strong teams, tips for dealing with toxic employees, and influential books that have helped businesses of all sizes develop an effective and energetic staff.

How to Stay on Track (and Massively Productive) Every Day

How to Stay on Track (and Massively Productive) Every Day

You know what's coming... 

At the end of today, you'll either feel a sense of accomplishment, or like you've wasted another day. 

It's not that you didn't work hard. 

You answered emails. You took phone calls. You attended meetings. You made decisions. 

But for some reason you got nothing done. 

Well, that's not true. You got a lot of other people's work done, just not your own. 

You've made little progress toward your goals. You've been running around solving other people's problems. You've been answering other people's questions, and spending time in other people's meetings.

In other words, you've been working on urgent, but not important tasks. 

There's a solution to this problem. A way to move closer to your goals every day. 

How to Crush Your Small Business Goals in the New Year

How to Crush Your Small Business Goals in the New Year

If you’re heading into 2017 thinking about setting new plans and goals for your business, Modern da Vinci is here to help. In this brief video, we cover:

  1. three big planning mistakes that you must avoid, and
  2. the first step you should take to set the foundation for your planning process.  

This is the first video in a series where we will lay out a specific approach for creating a simple, clear, and impactful plan to help you set (and reach) your goals in 2017. And beyond.

How to Get Superhuman Productivity with One Remarkable App

How to Get Superhuman Productivity with One Remarkable App

It’s no secret, you’re pressed for time.

You wear multiple hats, share multiple responsibilities, and have more things to do than there are hours in the day.

Maybe you’ve even committed to being more productive or focused in the new year.

Superhuman productivity you say? I’ll take two helpings of that.

After all, with so many demands on your time, being able to accomplish your goals while still saving time for family, self-improvement, and relaxation sounds like a dream.

But where do we start?

There are literally thousands of productivity tips and apps on the Internet… every one claiming to give you that dream.

This isn’t “yet another productivity tip.”

This is a way to organize your learning, clean up your computer, educate yourself using spare moments in your day (like driving), and literally read your news and articles twice as fast as you can today.

Superhuman. Productivity.

Let’s get focused. Let’s get productive. Let’s stop procrastinating. And let’s download an app to help.

Top 7 Small Business Topic Posts of the Year

Top 7 Small Business Topic Posts of the Year

I’m a big believer in looking back, reflecting on what has gone well, and building on that in the new year to get closer to my goals.

When I look at Modern da Vinci, the growth we’ve seen is incredible. It’s a sign that we’re on the right track, but more importantly, it’s a sign that the small business community is as vibrant as ever.

Here are some incredible statistics from 2016:

  • Average reading time is up 21.45% over last year.
  • Bounce rate is down 35.14%.
  • 521.74% more page views this year over 2015.
  • 850.70% increase in new visitors in 2016!

These statistics are obviously exciting for Seth and me here at Modern da Vinci. But more so, these statistics should make you proud. Proud to be a small business owner. Proud to be part of an ongoing conversation with owners like yourself, all learning and growing together.

We’re excited for what’s to come in 2017. We’re looking forward to growing more with you and finding new small business owners like yourself to learn from.

But before we end 2016, it’s worth reviewing the top posts in each of the five areas for a growing, thriving small business.

3 Meaningful, Memorable, Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Employees

3 Meaningful, Memorable, Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Employees

I know you laughed as hard as I did…

A corporate Christmas gift, from a corporate big-wig, sent to a corporate weeny. It was a ridiculously funny scene. It was art imitating life. It hit close to home.

It was the Christmas gift (or some version of it) we could all see ourselves receiving from a terrible boss, at a terrible company.

27 years ago, on December 1st, Clark W. Griswold reminded the world just how bad a corporate gift could be when he received a “1-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.”

It was more than thoughtless, it did nothing to thank Clark for his hard work or show him that his company cared.

Why should this matter to you?

4 Ways Cash-Strapped Small Business Owners Can Save Big

4 Ways Cash-Strapped Small Business Owners Can Save Big

For small business owners, finances are nearly always in limbo. If you are running into stressful money moments, there are some steps you can take to make those moments less frequent and taxing on your business and your sanity.

What follows are four tips for small business owners who find themselves strapped for cash a little too often

What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Financial Planning with Blake Fellows

What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Financial Planning with Blake Fellows

Many small and medium-sized business owners kick the can down the road when it comes to financial planning. That’s understandable since business owners are preoccupied with short-term responsibilities and dealing with fires that inevitably pop up daily.

Unfortunately, this leaves the business owner and his or her partners and family members exposed to tremendous risk.

What happens if conditions change and the business fails? How will the business respond if a partner falls ill? What is the business exposed to as the market fluctuates? How can the business be financially responsible while offering competitive compensation and benefits to employees?

In this interview, business finance expert Blake Fellows explains why it is essential for business owners to be proactive about setting goals, determining ranges for spending and saving, ensuring that foundational agreements are in place, and having specialized support in all aspects of financial planning

How to Delight Customers on this Small Business Saturday

How to Delight Customers on this Small Business Saturday

It's Small Business Saturday, and today's the day when small businesses like yours get to fight for your share of the pie.

And the pie is quite large.

In 2015, over 95 million people spent $16.2 billion (with a B) in small businesses and more than 55% of Americans were aware of the holiday! This year, some project small businesses can look to claim nearly $18 billion in receipts, a 10% increase over last year [Grasshopper Blog – Small Business Saturday Statistics].

Whether you've prepared for this day or not, it's too late to adjust course now. It's too late to develop a new marketing campaign, and too late to create flyers for some new sale. 

But it's not too late (even if you are reading this at the end of the day) to do a few simple things that will delight your customers, getting them spending more money, getting them to share the word with friends and family, and ultimately attracting more customers to your business.

2 Valuable Leadership Lessons from an Ugly Presidential Election

2 Valuable Leadership Lessons from an Ugly Presidential Election

Like many of you, I thoroughly appreciated the thoughtfulness, rationality, and unifying nature of the recent presidential election.

As I was reflecting on how much everyone seemed to enjoy the entire election process and subsequent goodwill it created, a remarkable idea came to me. I thought, “why don’t I write a post that brings the election back up since people clearly haven’t had enough of it?”

Sarcasm aside, I do believe there is something useful we can learn from the election, although I’m not going to focus on anything in the political arena. Instead, I’d like to talk about leadership issues that seemed to plague the candidates throughout the process. I’m specifically referring to two key leadership attributes where both candidates demonstrated obvious and consistent weaknesses...

How to Know the Right Skills (and Perfect Time) to Hire

How to Know the Right Skills (and Perfect Time) to Hire

The thought of burning cash on a new employee who can't keep up with the work and is making life worse for everyone around them is a real threat.

On the flip side are small business owners who need to hire but won't pull the trigger. They stand frozen by uncertainty. They don't know who to hire, and can't justify hiring to grow their business. So they don't act. Their businesses are suffering from overwork and stagnant growth. 

What these unfortunate small business owners don’t have is a method to sort through the confusion, making it clear when to bring on a new employee, and what skills they should have. 

This is the method I’m going to show you today. And if you’re not sure it’s needed, consider this: