I had to stop the screaming.
That is what I was doing after all. Screaming.
For an entire year, I shouted my company message at would-be customers like an activist with a megaphone... And got zero results.
Project management is among a top skill to master in any business; especially one wanting to grow.
Because without project management, business owners will unnecessarily run into common issues:
You often get derailed by "the unexpected.”
You get interrupted an unexpected number of times daily. Those interruptions come at unexpected times. They each take an unexpected amount of time with which to deal.
That’s why it’s "the unexpected."
These interruptions kill your flow, destroy your focus, and force you to work on the urgent instead of the important.
So how do you deter, prevent, and deal with the problems these unexpected interruptions incur?
I was shocked, hurt, and felt like my idea had been stolen. Though I had the idea first, Nintendo would be the star. Nintendo would make $millions. It took years before I was old enough to recognize the important lesson in this experience...
Are you second-guessing your next great idea? Are you downplaying the value you could provide to others? Are you upset that you found a competitor in the market who seems to be offering everything you want to (and seems to be finding great success doing it)?
It might be time to step back and realize a few important things.
At 35,000 feet, it’s unnerving when your 737 spins sideways like a fighter jet dodging a missile. On a routine flight, you don’t want to feel your commercial airliner shudder, violently, as if the pilot drove you through a field of boulders in a convertible.
But that’s what happened to me on a recent flight, halfway between Washington Dulles and San Diego.
In the early ‘90s, when personal computers could only beep and boop, you had to buy a sound card to hear realistic sound effects or music. By all measures, Creative Labs, Inc. was the undisputed king of PC sound cards, selling their Soundblaster hardware to video game enthusiasts across the country.
Soundblaster touted 16-bit audio (later 32-bit) and multiple channels of sound as their “drool-factor.” But when I first picked up a sound card from the shelves of Circuit City (remember that store?), I was interested in it’s hidden secret: Dr. Sbaitso.
Dr. Sbaitso may not have been the first chatbot ever created, but he was the first chatbot with whom I ever spoke. Hearing his canned digital voice tickled my geek feathers. But it wasn’t all kittens and unicorns. Dr. Sbaitso had an unrecoverable problem...
He was quite possibly the worlds worst chatbot posing as an even worse clinical psychologist.
More recently, chatbot have entered into consumers lives and minds with force. And for good reason. In an age where instantaneous communication is valued over human interaction, getting the answers you need from a chatbot makes good business sense.
Given my historical interactions with Dr. Sbaitso (and equally dissapointing interactions with Amazon Alexa’s chat service), I doubted chatbots would have a positive influence on business owners. Then I came across this comprehensive infographic...
Check it out and let me know in the comments below if and how you think chatbots can help your business succeed in 2018 and beyond!
(Posted with permission from Josh Wardini, 16Best.com)
In order to be successful, a business has to find its workflow.
A business must work successfully and smoothly to maintain structure during tumultuous times. Whether your team is working on a really important project or has an upcoming deadline, if you have a strong workflow, there is nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, if you don’t have the right procedures in place, that can be something that might negatively impact your company.
An effective workflow is only possible by shifting focus onto efficiency and work towards avoiding inefficiency. Inefficiency can cost your company time, money and even employees, so it’s important to know where a company’s problem areas are. Below are some tips for improving your company’s workflow.
Just recently, Forbes published an article reporting that only 7% of workers feel productive during the workday.
Just think about that for a minute... 93 out of 100 employees don't feel like they can get their work done.
And if they don’t feel like they’re getting their work done… Guess what? Let’s just say they could be doing a lot more.
What do they blame?
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?
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?
You follow up again. You ask them to call you back. You try anything to get them respond. And what do you get?
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%!
So far in this series, we have explored several common mistakes that can harm negotiations as well as tactics you can employ to avoid negotiation pitfalls. This post is about re-framing the way we view negotiations, especially regarding how we look at the “other side” that we are negotiating with. The idea is to achieve a satisfactory result without damaging relationships.
Glen Hellman is a business expert and strategist that writes and presents on the topic of “How To Pitch to the Reptilian Brain.” It’s an approach grounded in neuroscience that is designed to influence others and move them to action. In this interview, Glen shares his insights on how to use these principles to sharpen your business’s sales pitch and how they can improve your leadership and business in general.
Look, there’s no way around it. Delivering bad news sucks.
When you’re receiving bad news, you sit back, you listen, and you react.
But when you are delivering bad news, your mind races with possibilities: What will I say? How will I say it? How will they react? What if they get angry? What if… what if…
It doesn't get any easier as a small business owner. With your customer's satisfaction and the revenue they generate at risk, delivering bad news can be downright stressful.
If you've never had to deliver bad news to a customer, congratulations. This post is for you. Because inevitably, you will.
If you have had to deliver bad news to a customer, I feel for you. This post is for you as well. Because I've been there a few times before. So many times, actually, my business finally figured out how to do it well. In fact, after delivering the worst news in our company's history, the customer literally called us back to thank us for it.
I’d like to tell you that story, and help you craft a “bad news message” for the next time you need to do the same.
If there’s one thing I learned from projects, it’s this…
They’re on track until they’re not.
And once they get off track, there’s no going back. They either spiral out of control or get stuck, the last 10% effort taking longer than the first 90% combined.
You see, project management is theoretically easy. Start your project, define your project, launch your project, control your project, and close your project. Five easy steps with volumes of books written about each, explored and experienced by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of project leads and project managers worldwide.
In practice, however, it’s one of the most challenging aspects of business.
As a leader, you are expected to have answers. Whether it’s a team member asking how to get a project back on track, a customer asking for more service, or a boss demanding better results, there is pressure to provide quick, definitive responses.
The drive to find the “right answer” and to do so expeditiously may be well intentioned but comes with considerable risk. What if your response fails to address the issue you are trying to solve? Or more importantly, what if you are spending all of your time and energy finding an answer to the wrong question?
Taking a step back from a problem and further assessing it through questioning can provide powerful insight. In addition to helping re-frame a problem and sharpen focus, asking powerful questions can foster breakthrough thinking and yield many critical benefits.
Listening is the foundation for developing lasting relationships, building trust, preventing conflict, and influencing others. When you really listen, you show the other person that you care what they think and that they are worthy of your full attention.
No one is going to be a perfect listener 100% of the time and shedding old listening habits isn’t always easy. However, it’s entirely possible to improve your listening skills using the approach outlined herein.
There is no one perfect script or style for leadership. However, research has shown that there are distinct leadership styles, each of which has a unique impact on an organization’s climate and results. This makes it worthwhile to assess various leadership styles to determine their situational effectiveness and what conditions must be in place for success.
In this post, we explore a coaching approach to leadership - one that focuses on investing in the long-term development of others.
Feedback is one of the most helpful and important things we all need to learn, grow, and improve. Furthermore, delivering skillful feedback can serve you well in all aspects of life. And yet in working with businesses and coaching clients, I hear time and time again how uncomfortable people are with the idea of giving feedback. I see the negative consequences of organizations and teams who avoid feedback – conflict, frustration, and stagnation.
If giving great feedback is an important skill for business leadership and performance, what is it that makes people so apprehensive about it? Let’s break it down and then look at some simple strategies for delivering effective feedback.