Why Would You Have Cash in the Bank and No Coach?

As a Business Coach to a wide variety of businesses I am well aware of the many great reasons to have cash in the bank and on hand as a business owner.   This post, therefore, is not directed at business owners who have cash on hand that they have already ear-marked for a purpose.  That’s not really cash in the bank, it’s pre-paid expenses by a different name.*

Confused about how to use your money to best effect? Coaching will help it to multiply.

I am aiming this post at those business owners who are fortunate enough to have cash in the bank “for a rainy day”.  They have no immediate need for that cash yet they have adopted the habit of keeping it on hand as a measure and means of security.  The issue that I have with that is that it generates under 1% interest (if any) so it is actually losing value and they are eroding the value of their time and effort in the past by holding that money there.  They are also subconsciously hoping for a rainy day so that they can justify having held the cash on hand.  What else could that money be doing for them other than providing a limited, and shrinking amount of peace of mind?

What if I offered that business owner a 1000% ROI, guaranteed investment for a small portion of that money?  The returns on that investment would make a huge difference to the overall ROI on their security blanket and provide additional security and peace of mind through preparing the business for growth, protection, sale or any other desirable outcome that they business owner seeks.  What is that investment?  Business coaching of course.

“Guaranteed?  How can that be so?” you might ask. Well, at FocalPoint the guarantee is that if a client does not see an adequate (as defined solely by them) return on their coaching investment at the end of any given month then that month’s investment would be returned.  Wholly.  Immediately.  I have to say “would be” because returning money to clients is not a process which I am personally familiar and neither are most FocalPoint Coaches.  Our clients see immediate, sustainable and substantial results from the very first sessions.  The success rate is as close to 100% as you can get without allowing for outliers (a small fraction of 1% in this case) in any system.  You might like to think of it as a visit to the casino where you bet some money on the roulette wheel and when you win the house lets you keep your winnings but if you lose they give it back to you.  If you knew that would happen at a casino you would go and play, right?  It is no longer gambling.  It has become a guaranteed investment. Well at FocalPoint that’s exactly what we do.

So if you own a company, particularly one where employees are looking to you for security and leadership and you have “rainy day” cash in the bank, I have two suggestions for you:  firstly pat yourself on the back, you are clearly a successful business owner and one that many people would love to emulate in the current economy; secondly I suggest that you contact your local FocalPoint Coach and find out what kind of additional returns a small investment in coaching could create for you and start to build a bigger, stronger umbrella before it starts to rain.

*  For those business owners who do not have the luxury of non-earmarked cash in the bank I still recommend that you consider hiring a business coach. The quick results that you can see from coaching can create that cash cushion that you need and then you’ll have both, cash and a coach.

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Special Offer for my Blog Readers

This could be you after we talk on Wednesday!

Many of my clients tell me that they received more value in terms of immediately applicable insights from our first session than they eventually invest in many months of subsequent coaching.  From the first session my value is more than evident and it is effectively free from that point onwards.  We always target a return on their investment of coaching of 10:1 or more. That’s right, they typically get at least $10 back for every $1 invested.  These returns flow back to them by way of increased profits from higher revenues or lowered/avoided costs.  Whichever way they are generated they are real, tangible and vital improvements in business performance.

So here’s the special offer:

The first two business owners to comment on this post (which will be taken down as shortly after the second comments is made) telling me the area of their business that they would like to work on starting this Wednesday will get a free hour of one-on-one coaching from me which can be worth tens of thousands of dollars in received value.

Only two free hours are available.  Leave a short comment and a way for me to contact you and we’ll get started on Wednesday!

Write now!

Dark Knight provides a sad lesson for news junkies

The events at the midnight showing of the Dark Knight in Colorado last night will be very familiar to many of you.  Words like terrible, appalling and tragic  spring to mind.  I for one send my prayers to those affected.  But out of every event, good or bad, it is our responsibility to learn and grow.

I had a client come visit me this morning for a meeting that has the potential to make or break his company.  What had he done on the way to meet me?  Listened to the radio.  He arrived deflated, agitated and focussed on the actions of a madman a thousand miles away and was running through similar incidents  in his head.  Did he arrive in a positive frame of mind,  prepared to focus on saving his business?  Let’s just say not as focussed as he could have been.

Brian Tracy calls music on the radio “Chewing gum for the brain.”  I agree.  Contemporary music lacks nutrition and is just a distraction in the context of setting you up for business.  Whole foods for the brain are quality audio like any of Brian’s programs or Darren Hardy’s, Compound Effect, TED talks or pretty much anything that is not produced with the intention of selling advertising air-time.  Worst of all though is the news.

My first job interview included a section on how up to date I was with current affairs and as a result I lived for a long time with the notion that reading newspapers was somehow a worthy use of my time.   I used to think  that I must keep up to date with current affairs in order to progress my career.  Hooey!.  You learn virtually nothing enriching from the mass media but you do learn about all the bad people.  All of which helps you to achieve your goals how?

You can’t live in a cocoon, totally isolated from the world but please do learn from the events in Denver a few hours ago that nothing good can come from your knowing about it.  Look at how it has impacted your work today.  Were you more or less productive as a result of this news?

And how did I find out about it – same as you – I succumbed to the lure of the news channels and look where it got me.  Don’t do it people.  Turn off the radio and put on the tapes.  If you struggle to do this then believe me I understand.  I actually find it harder to give up my habit of surfing news websites than I did to quit smoking or to stop drinking alcohol.  It is that addictive and also that destructive.

Read more blogs like this instead!

Did you warm up for the game of life this morning?

You expect elite athletes to warm up and down – Are you an elite business person?

I played rugby at a reasonably high level in England and if I had one regret in my twenty or so gloriously happy years of playing my beloved sport it is that I rarely if ever PROPERLY warmed up or down.  Consequently my career was about ten years shorter than it should have been and I suspect it was not as successful as it would otherwise have been either.  I had plenty of muscle but it was all incredibly tight and not very useful to me when it mattered and it has taken me close to ten years of not playing to repair the damage that I did.  I was young enough to repair pretty quickly but I did so in spite of how I treated my body.

How does this apply to your business?  Well if you are charging headlong into your day in the same way that I used to rush on to a pitch, ready for the battle then you aren’t setting yourself up for optimal performance.  Equally if you leave the pitch (the office/working day) in the same way that I used to – i.e. headed for a bath and a beer rather than warming down and letting my body readjust then you are storing up tension and problems that can easily be avoided.

Try this.  Every morning take a few minutes (2-3 only) to prepare your mind.  Write out your goals for the week or month or life and take a moment to remind yourself of what you have to accomplish that day – what’s your game plan?

And when you are done, take some time to decompress through meditation, gratitude exercises, dumping all your to-dos down so that you can relax knowing that you won’t forget them.

This will not only extend your ability to work on what is important to you but it will also immediately improve your performance in the process.

Achieve more consistent performance – For FREE! Today!

What would happen to your business?

This was the marked increase in the performance of an amateur golfer using visualization over his normal pre-shot routine. How does this apply in your business?

Last Friday I took a highly valued client to the golf driving range to help him learn a valuable business lesson.  One about the power of visualization.

I got him to hit single shots with a 3-wood, 4-iron, 7-iron and wedge in rotation until he had hit 10 shots, scoring himself on each shot on a scale from 1-10 based on how satisfied he was with the result (10 being a very good shot).  The point about single shots was to ensure that muscle memory played as small a part in the results as possible.

After ten shots we paused and all I asked him to do for the next 10 shots was to visualize the flight path of the ball to its intended destination.  Nothing else.  I didn’t change his stance, swing or anything mechanical.  My sole instruction was to use his imagination to create a clear image in his head of the ball’s flight.  I asked him to think of it like those images that you sometimes see on the TV coverage where the ball flight is tracked on the camera.  We gave him as long as he needed to get that image clear in his head and it typically took him 20-30 seconds.

We then repeated the exercise of hitting the different shots in rotation.  The graph we created shows the rolling 5 shot average score for the two exercises.  The red ones being his usual pre-shot routine and the green ones being the shots he made after making a concerted effort to visualize the outcome.  Although they both ended up at the same average point for the final shots (which included the last shot being interrupted by the range staff) you can see the huge improvement in the earlier shots.  Regardless that both sets ended up pretty much in the same place I would take that improvement, wouldn’t you?

So don’t underestimate the power of visualization.  In a business context it is useful in determining the outcome of a meeting, a presentation or any other business event.  In this case the goal was short-ter but it works equally well if not better on longer term goals.  Try it for yourself.

This was a simple, immediate feedback exercise that I’ll be using again and again with clients.

STOP RIGHT THERE – Don’t do anything until you read this post!

Morning all,

It’s Monday morning and unless you are reading this late you’re ploughing through your emails ready to start the new week.  Which is why I say “STOP!”  Put your calls on hold.  Take 5 mins to read this post and take the action I suggest and I PROMISE you, you will have a more productive week than otherwise.

Have you got a plan for the week?  Do you have any goals that you must hit in order to make the week a success?  Most of us don’t.  We have stuff we must do, tasks to process and things to tick off a list but not real goals. Not ones that take us closer to a bigger goal.  And that is where we miss a huge trick.

So stop now, write out 5 goals for the week.

“Be sure to call Dave back about the deal.”  is not a goal, that’s a task.  “On or before Friday I sign a contract with David for a minimum order of $40,000 and a minimum gross margin of 40%.”  That’s a goal. “By Friday I will have contacted twenty new or existing contacts and held a meaningful conversation (of five minutes or longer) about my business and where I may be able to add value to their business interests or those of their contacts.”  That is a goal. “On Friday I will have a complete sales plan for the next quarter.”  That is a goal.

This should take you no longer than 4-5 mins.  Write them out by hand.

By thinking about your goals not your tasks this Monday morning you will have a much more productive week and if you can review and rewrite those goals at the start and end of each day the chances are that you’ll have reached them all by Wednesday and you have two free days to accomplish additional goals.  When you have clear goals the tasks take care of themselves.  Review this exercise on Friday and the odds are that you’ll realize that spending some time on Sunday night writing out your goals for next week is the best use of 30 minutes of your Sunday evening.

Good luck and have fun this week.

For those of you on the brink of ownership! – Funny song

I was sent this by Tim Mushey and it’s funny enough for me to want to share it with you guys.  The audio quality is not great but it’s short and funny so if you are new to entrepreneurship or thinking about it take a moment to watch.

Happy Weekend All!

http://sellleadsucceed.com/2012/07/13/have-a-laugh-fridays-i-will-commit/

if, as one reader suggested this doesn’t work try the youtube link directly:

Have you learned to play too many bad hands at business?

Just because Doyle Brunson can play it doesn’t mean that you should.

I play a bit of poker.  I love the game.  There’s a mathematical element to it, a strategy element but also a significant luck element.  Sadly for many it is that luck element that keeps bad players playing when they should give up.  That luck element gets over-played by poor players and they learn through experience that sometimes “two live cards” is good enough to win.  They may win the battle (the hand) but they lose the war (they consistently lose money overall).  I think that some business owners fall into the same trap with their marketing efforts and end up gambling far more than they would ever dream of wagering on the felt.  Let me explain.

Take for instance the poker player who for any reason chooses to go “all-in” with 7-2 off suit.  That is as bad as it gets in the most popular version of poker, Texas No-Limit Hold’Em.  He gets called by another player who was pretending to be weak but who actually held a pair of Aces – the best possible starting hand.  Depending on whether the aces were the same suit as the 7 or the 2 our player has between 10.7% and 12.4% chance of winning that hand.  About one time in every nine times then that this scenario plays out the 7-2 will win the hand.  One in nine is frequently enough that it happens “often” in the minds of poker players.

And when it does it is the pits for everybody involved, even the poor player who “won” if they are not careful.

Why?  Well they win the small pot today but learned that this kind of suicidal move can work so they employ it far more regularly than they should (which is never).  Even observers start to contemplate the Hail Mary Manoeuvre now that they have seen it work.  The guys with aces, assuming he is sensible, comes off best.  He just licks his wounds and sits and waits for the other 8 times when he will double his money.

That is an extreme example but it actually gets worse for the bad players as their odds improve.  Many more players are in the habit of playing “Suited Connectors” because that is what great players can get away with.  They still only win one time in five against an over-pair like Aces.  But they can win and do win (sometimes) so people play them much more often that they deserve to be played.  For non-pros it is often simply because the player just wants to be “in the game”.

There is a direct parallel to small business marketing and often there is the same kind of payoff.  If you “want to get your name out there” and spray and pray your marketing budget what happens?  Well some customer may come in and tell you that they saw your advert so you learn that “it worked”.  One customer. You spent $200 on the advert and they bought $10 worth of candy.  But the ad worked right?  Wrong.  Not even close.

What about the professional who does land a commission from an advertorial on the radio?  $5000 of commission for one $1000 ad.  It’s a bargain, right?  Well wrong on two accounts; firstly you’d have to win a new commission every four times or fewer that you ran the ad to make it profitable so good luck with that kind of hit rate and you have to be absolutely sure that the ad was the piece that landed the job or you are throwing money away; secondly if you were just watching this from afar and copied the action of placing an advertorial and you didn’t win a commission you don’t have the benefit of the commission to pay for the adverts so you are out of pocket from the start.  Can you afford to burn your marketing budget that way?  Of course not.

Going back to the poker analogy.  Bad players excuse poor play by claiming that they are “cultivating a loose table image”.  That only works under two conditions; that you have a large enough bankroll to afford the initial downswing; that you have the skill and time to exploit that image later on.  Most have neither so bad play is just bad play.

In marketing your business, ‘investing’ in low ROI marketing is not “building my brand” unless you have a huge budget, and the strategy and ability to exploit that brand in the future.  Most small businesses have neither so it is just money down the drain.

So my simple message today is not to get suckered into spending money like your competition spends it.  If they knew what they were doing they probably wouldn’t do it that way.  Those few businesses that actually understand what they are doing are NOT doing what everyone else is.

One very cheap and effective way to learn about how to differentiate yourself in the market is to click here for a $1, 30-day trial of a website specifically set up to help small and medium sized businesses market their products and services much better, more cost-effectively and to be able to measure their results in a way that informs their future decisions.

Good luck and know when to to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.

Goal Setting – Step 12 – The Final Step

Well you are still with me.  That bodes well for step 12.

In the previous 11 steps we have laid solid foundations for your goal.  You may be on your way to a new relationship, financial stability, financial freedom, a significant material purchase or a new body shape.  Whatever your goal is you have already qualified it as being important to you.  It is important enough that you have written out a long list of the ways that you will benefit when you achieve it, a long list of the prices that you are willing to pay to achieve it and a long list of the things that you must do to achieve it. You know all the people whose help you need and you know a time and date by which this will be accomplished.

That doesn’t make it easy though.  Any goal worth attaining is not easily won. That is why they are called goals. If it was going to be easy you would only have a list of tasks and that would not only be boring but also unfulfilling.  What you are about to do is go and get something that very few other people have.  Think about it.  Of the 7 or 8 Billion people on Earth today, how many have what you are going after?  Probably under a million.  That means that you are at the very least trying to attempt something that close to 8,000 other people are not willing or able to attempt.  If it is to buy a particular car or house you know that there are only maybe 1000 such cars or one such house on the planet.  You are going after something that tens of millions, if not billions of people can’t get their heads around achieving.  If you look at it that way of course it won’t be easy.

So the final step is to make a solemn promise to yourself to NEVER quit on the goal.

To be clear on this point, I passionately believe in the power of the quitter as a force for good.  Quit thinking negative thoughts, quit smoking, quit eating cream cakes everyday, quit your energy sucking job, quit that bad relationship/friendship.  But DON’T quit on working on your goal.  Quit banging away on a part of your original plan that clearly won’t work but don’t quit looking for another way to make it work.  Quit doubting yourself but don’t quit quitting on anything that doesn’t serve you.  Quitting is for winners but only the right kind of quitting.

At that, my friends, is the end of the process. You have set yourself up to succeed so all you have to do now is PERSIST.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other with that clear goal in mind and you are certain to succeed.

And when you feel that you are lost and that you won’t achieve the goal all you have to do is go to step 12 and work back up the process to step 1 to find out where you have been going wrong.  All that you can ever need by way of guidance is in this process.  It’s a little piece of magic that you have used time and again, probably without realizing it, that you can now us consciously to focus your time and effort on what it takes to achieve your goals.

FINAL NOTE:  This process deserves a full 300 page book to be written about it but out of respect for your time I have tried to keep each step as short as possible to just give you an idea of the tasks within that step.  There are, of course, many nuances about how you approach each step for maximum effect and as a result of my summarizing you will likely encounter some apparent contradictions or ambiguity.  If that is the case please feel free to email me at rwhiting@focalpointcoaching.com and I will answer your question in greater depth.

Good luck and  I would love to hear what changes you make as a result of using this process.

Goal Setting – Step 11 – Slow down everyone you’re moving too fast

Illustration by David Pohl

{ I apologize for some finger trouble in auto-scheduling the publication of this post which means that it has been published out of sequence]

Well done.  It may have taken you several days to get it there but you now have a plan and all of your left brain faculties have been having a field day.  Logically processing task orders, a bit of risk assessment here and there, some probability calculations going on (whether or not you realized it).  That was an exercise in tangibility and, arduous as it may have been for many of you, it really appealed to our conscious mind.  It made sense.

But we are creatures with two sides to our brains and now we should engage the left hemisphere.  What we are about to do will not be news to most readers but it might be to some people who are new to personal development.  If so then I am proud to be the first person to bring this to your attention.

Our task in step 11 is to take some quiet time to create a vibrant image in your mind of you having already achieved your goal.  Where will you be?  What will you see? (for this make sure that you use bright hues of yellow, blue, red and green in your image). What will you hear, smell, taste and feel both emotionally and in a tactile way?    Work on this image as if your life depended on it.  Your goal probably does depend on it.  Creating a vision for the achievement of your goal is fundamental to achieving it.

I could write for pages about the power of a having, holding and repeating a clear vision in your head but suffice to say that they are essential if you are to actively create your future.  You will find that some elements of the vision are harder to generate than others.  You may not be able to see a picture very clearly but the noises of celebration and feelings of joy may be profound.  Work with whatever to get and turn up the volume, contrast, intensity of whatever your create.  And work with that image daily (morning and night if you can).  It doesn’t have to be a moment in time that you capture, it can be walking through your new house or factory or just being with friends knowing that money worries or other stresses are no longer part of your life.

Without a clear vision you will find it hard to recognize the incredible coincidences that will start to occur in your life and you will be easily tempted by shiny new objects that also will come your way.  Like the picture shows, a vision of your goal is like a magnet for the universe.

If, as some of you will, you decide to try and skip some steps in this process then I respectfully suggest that this is one of the ones that is unmissable.  Missing any step leaves you with profoundly lower chance of achieveing the goal but without a vision I believe quite fervently that you are lost.

Dim the lights, put on some Mozart, drink some water and find a comfortable position.  Get ready to create your future.  Have fun.

Tomorrow we graduate the Masterclass in Goal Setting with one final, essential step.