10 Professional Tips the Superbowl Can Teach You

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10. Meeting big goals is about making big sacrifices. Cut people, switch your strategy and change your approach when you need to.

9. There’s a lot of money to be made out here if you have a product, event or brand that people want.

8. Winning is everything. If it wasn’t there wouldn’t be so many people earning money by trying to do it OR so many people spending money to see it done.

7. Great teams or groups are led by strong, unwavering, committed people. If you don’t want to be on a great team, find a weak or doubting leader.

6. Creating a lot of strategic and solid plans can determine whether or not your effort to accomplish a goal is successful.

5. You have to work on your individual talent every day, regardless of how you feel, what you’ve accomplished or how you’ve been defeated. You won’t improve unless you commit to this.

4. Even when it looks like you’re either ahead of the pack or falling short of a goal, situations change very quickly. Be prepared for it.

3. A bunch of people rooting you on sounds the same as a bunch of people hoping you fail—it’s noisy and distracting. Focus on what you came to do.

2. Every effort you make ends in one of two ways: winning or losing. Sometimes the outcome is based on how well you performed, how smart your strategy was or who your competition was. Other times, it’s based on fate.

1. Approach the goal with a fierce determination to win. If all else fails, make sure you are well-dressed, humble and ready to fight again in the end.

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The Art of Bartering

Bartering is an age old solution for people to get what they need, but also offer something of value in return. When bartering is effective, two sets of people are pleased with what they receive and are equally as pleased to offer their goods.
In business, bartering is one of the quickest ways to make solid connections, build relationships and decrease your expenditures. A business can barter services, products or even time– all depending on what its needs are.

Solid bartering relationships are based on two key factors. First, you should only barter for things you actually want or need. And secondly, the exchanges should be of equal value and importance. Thus, bartering a vacation to Europe for a year’s worth of basic office supplies may not be a favorable barter.
Here are a few strategies for creating a solid bartering strategy:
1. Know what your needs and wants are— Create a list of your regular business needs and wants which you wouldn’t mind bartering for. Avoid listing services or items that are critical to your productivity or general success because those things should never be bartered. Instead, list things such as courier services, meeting space or vouchers for entertainment activities that you can pass along to clients. Knowing what your business can actually benefit from allows you to make better decisions on whether or not to accept a barter proposal.
2. Understand the real value of your barter— When you’re entering into a barter agreement, one of the most important things to consider is the value of the services or products rendered or received. It’s very easy to assign a price to an item, but it doesn’t make it of value to you or the other bartering party. Know the value of the exchange. Will bartering this item save you time or money? Will it create better opportunities? Will it improve a situation? These are things you should give hefty evaluation to before entering into a bartering agreement.
3. State your contingency plan— It’s dreadful when you’ve entered into a bartering agreement and the other party doesn’t fulfill their role–especially when you’ve fulfilled yours. Make the other person aware of the contingency of your bartering agreement with clear outputs for each party. Perhaps you’d state that for every 5 restaurant vouchers you receive from the other party, you’d provide 5 hours of event space in your facility. The contingency in this agreement is that 5 hours of space would be scheduled in advance, but can not be confirmed until the vouchers are received at least 48 hours before the event takes place. This contingency option gives both of the parties the option of canceling or rearranging their offerings without compromising the agreement.
4. Keep accurate records--Barter agreements should be treated like a regular payment transaction or business deal. Keep receipts of your activity within the agreement to ensure that both parties are receiving a fair exchange.
5. Put your money where your barter is— If you have a concern with a full barter agreement, consider a partial barter agreement. Offer certain products, services or phases of a project under a barter and then agree to exchange cash for the rest. In this method, neither party overextends their resources, whether it’s time, money, space or otherwise. Just make sure to state those terms at the beginning of the barter agreement and clearly state what is covered under the exchange and when financial payment should be expected.

These are just a few tips on creating a successful barter agreement. For more tips, please contact me. Do you have a few tips of your own? Please share them. I’d like to have your feedback.

Bouncing Back from Rejection

Who knew two little letters could cause so much grief? Hearing the word “no” probably evokes the worst feeling, especially when it comes to a matter that was of extreme value to you. Perhaps you were pitching a new idea to your colleagues, asking for a raise or trying to close a sales deal. Rejection and the accompanying sentiment is enough to make you evaluate your skills, growth and sometimes, even your worth.
It’s important to remember that rejection is an important part of the growth and accomplishment processes. The word “no” provides you with the opportunity to re-evaluate and revise your approach to a situation. It also requires you to hone in on strengths and techniques that you may have overlooked or even dismissed initially. “No is a transitional word that demands that you persevere. Here are some tips to help you bounce back from the word  “no”:

1) “No” is not never— Rejection is temporary. In fact, as much as you were hoping for a “yes”, you only have a 50% shot of getting that answer. Think of it this way, no is not definite. It can also mean, not yet or maybe after a few improvements have been made. Don’t allow those two little letters to deter you from continuously pursuing your target. Who knows?  Your “yes” could simply require one more try.

2) Don’t shoot the messenger— Although the person bearing the bad news is just as discouraging as their negative response, remember, they are still a powerful tool in your success. So reconsider your thoughts about lashing out at them. Instead, ask them to give you feedback on improving your chances for next time. Figure out if they can help you achieve your goals through a stringent evaluation, constructive criticism, successful examples or even a point in the right direction. The messenger may have the information you need in order to get past “no”.

3) Narrow your focus— Sometimes “no” is the result of the wrong approach or the wrong focus. If you’re not completely qualified or capable of handling a task, you may be setting yourself up for failure in the first place. Make sure your target is aligned with your capabilities. As bold as you may be to pursue something out of your reach, you may actually be pushing it further away. Try narrowing your focus with your pitch– no matter what you’re pitching about– this should help you pursue the best opportunities that bring you more positive results.

4) Dust yourself off— Don’t wallow in self-pity. No can be a harsh word, but self-pity can make the sting last longer than it should. After receiving rejection, allow some time for it to settle in, vent appropriately, then dust yourself off and try again. You’re going to face a decent amount of rejection in your lifetime– even with tasks that you thought you were surefire to win.  It’s okay.  Don’t beat yourself up about it. Be willing to give anything you really want another shot.

These are just a few tips on dealing with rejection. For more tips, please contact me. Do you have ideas of your own? Please share them! I’d like to hear your feedback.

Test before you Invest

Tips to determine if your new business could actually be a good idea
As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve had my fair share of late-night business ideas. I’ve gone to sleep thinking about a problem and when I awaken, not only do I have a solution, but I also reserve a domain name to go with it. The gift of being innovative is that you are eager to take a risk and start a new venture. The curse of being innovative, is that you come up with so many “good” ideas that you rarely see them through.
However, how would you know if the idea in your head is the next big thing if you don’t pursue it? Trust me, I’ve gone through this dilemma several times. And because of that, I’ve developed these tips for internally testing your new idea before you invest in it.

1) Build a quick and FREE website: If your new business is actually a good idea, you should be able to build a 5 page website overnight. The concept behind this idea is that a website usually displays general but critical information about a product or service for a potential customer. Your 5-page website should tell:
–what the product is
–how it solves a problem
–who benefits
–how much it costs
–how to purchase the product or service
Label each page: Product/Service Description, How it Works, Benefits, Pricing, Customers. Don’t launch the website, but you can pay for a domain if you’d like. Don’t worry about the technical aspects such as quality stock photos and a content strategy just yet. You’re simply visualizing an idea. If you’re able to fill these 5 pages with good information relatively easily, it might be a good indication to pursue the idea a little more in-depth.

2) Develop an objective FAQ: Pretend you are a customer who is just hearing about this idea. You think you may like it, but you have a few concerns. What would those questions be? Write a list of questions about the product such as description questions, customer service related questions, billing questions, ordering questions, deadlines/delivery questions, technical specs questions, contact questions, etc. Think of anything you, “the customer”, would like to know about the business and try to address it.

3) Google (or Bing) your competitors: Compare your business to theirs. What are they lacking? What do you like about them? Jot a few notes about the top 5 competitors that appear in your search engine’s results. A pro’s & con’s list is a decent way to gage whether or not a similar service would address what you feel your competitors lack and where you can fill the void.

4) Be your first customer: There’s no better way to see if something works than to try it on yourself first. Before you spend money on inventory or land a client, you should know how the business will work and IF it will really work in general. So, take it for a whirl!  Use your product/service as if you were a paying customer. Take note about the changes you’d like to make or features you’d like to add, especially when it comes to delivery. Make sure you’re objective or else you wont see the major flaws (yes, there will be flaws) that are in front of your face.

5) Pitch it! Share a general idea about the business with a trusted person. Your pitch should provide enough information to either sway or repel the person you’re talking to. Take note of their questions, concerns, comments and enthusiasm. Make sure to ask what you can do to improve the idea.

These are just a few tips on what you can do to determine if one of your many ideas should be pursued. For more detailed strategies, please contact me. Do you have tips of your own? Share them! I’d appreciate your feedback.